With the NCAA Tournament getting ready to tip off, everyone’s in the mood for a good bracket.
Any good bracket features the cream of its chosen crop, has a favorite, has a dark horse, has a snub or two (still salty Syracuse?) and creates a lively debate.
560 WQAM’s unofficial “selection committee” (like, two dudes) chose some of the championship winning teams that hail from South Florida and decided to seed them and place them on an eight-team bracket to decide who is the “greatest South Florida champion” of all time.
Fans will be able to vote on the hypothetical matchups. The team that receives the most votes will move on to the next round until the “G.O.A.T.” is crowned.
1972 Miami Dolphins
The No. 1 overall seed in our mini tournament. This team is widely regarded as the greatest team in NFL history – simply because of the feat it accomplished. The 1972 Miami Dolphins won 17 games, including Super Bowl VII – becoming the first and only team to complete a season without any losses. Unduplicated feat aside, this team was quite talented, too. The roster included six future Hall of Famers as well as being coached by Hall of Famer Don Shula.
2001 Miami Hurricanes
The No. 1 seed on the Wynwood side of the bracket. The 2001 Miami Hurricanes should go down as “the greatest college football team ever”. This team had the results and had the talent. Miami outscored opponents 512-117 en route to a 12-0 record and Rose Bowl victory. Overall, 38 members of this team would be selected in the NFL Draft. This team was so good, Kellen Winslow II, Antrel Rolle and Sean Taylor – all of whom went on to be Top 10 overall picks in their respective drafts – didn’t even see the field.
2012-13 Miami Heat
The first of two LeBron James-led Miami Heat championship teams on the bracket. This team – or should we say one player in particular – has a special place in the hearts of Heat fans. That player…Ray Allen. It was Allen’s uncanny game-tying three-pointer that saved Miami’s bid for a second straight NBA title. Sure, LeBron spent the whole season doing LeBron stuff – but this season is remembered for Ray Allen’s shot.
1997 Florida Marlins
Here’s a team that fits the “dark horse” category. South Florida mega-money man Wayne Huizenga threw some money around and built a roster that was one of the best in baseball. Kevin Brown, Moisés Alou, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Liván Hernández and Édgar Rentería were some of the dudes that helped lead the Marlins to a thrilling World Series win over the Cleveland Indians.
2011-12 Miami Heat
This team holds importance because it will forever be known as the team that won LeBron James his first NBA championship. In the second season of “The Big Three” of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat was able to get the best of the young trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. I imagine that series would go a bit differently if it were played today. Still, this team brought the Heat franchise its second NBA crown.
1987 Miami Hurricanes
The Jimmy Johnson-led Hurricanes of 1987 went on to defeat Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl and be named the national champions of college football. The 87 Canes had swagger for days. The talent level was second to none, too. Michael Irvin, Melvin Bratton, Brian Blades, Randall Hill, Brett Perriman and Steve Walsh – all players that etched into Hurricanes lore.
2006 Miami Heat
There’s no fonder memory than your first. Shaquille O’Neal came to South Beach and made good on his promise to bring a title to the 305. This year was extra special because it was basically Dwyane Wade’s “coming out party”. From the time he was drafted in 2003 up to this point in history, Wade became “Flash” and Miami became “Wade County”.
2003 Florida Marlins
This team has Cinderella written all over it…mainly because it had Cinderella written all over it in real life. The 2003 Marlins went from the outhouse to the penthouse. Climbing from the bottom of the NL standings, the Marlins won the NLDS on a play at the plate; rallied back on the Cubs in the NLCS (thanks, Bartman); and took out the evil empire that is the New York Yankees in the World Series. How can you not vote for this team?
By the way, Jeff Conine was on this team, too.
Matchups will go live each day and fans will be able to visit http://www.WQAM.com to cast their vote for the team they believe is best.
We have neither a fancy simulation program nor a time machine, so we are pitting these teams against one another based on their merits. So as fans, whatever your criteria is – the number of wins, the level of competition, how old you were when the team won, whatever – that’s how you cast your vote.
Whichever advances through and wins the final vote will be crowned the greatest South Florida sports champion of all time and will be able to forever – or until next year – say that it is the best of the best.