Explain it to me again ?
So here we are , as the NFL is embroiled in another scandal leading into the opening weekend of the league’s preseason game being played at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio,. Now unless you have been in the midst of the Gobi Desert over the past fourth months then you couldn’t have missed the spiraling animus now brewing between the New England Patriots and the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended for the league mandated four games , for his involvement in the now infamous Deflate-Gate scandal. The quarterback has the solid backing of team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft , even in light of the evidence gathered by the league’s investigators headed by noted attorney Ted Wells.
Also emanating from the episode has non-cooperation of Tom Brady and his alleged actions of his deliberately damaging his cell phone , rather than turning it over to Wells and his assistant investigators . Were this a criminal case and had the player been subpoenaed to hand over the evidence requested , this whole saga would certainly have taken on a whole new face as to how things are viewed.
It is becoming abundantly clear , Brady and the Patriots’ organization feel they have been hard done by with regard to how the NFL has conducted its investigation. Yet is also clear, Brady has been less than forthright concerning his actions with answers to the allegations being clearly orchestrated by his attorneys. Bob Kraft , as a once close ally of Roger Goodell , might now be close to reevaluating his relationship with the league’s highest ranking executive. One should bear in mind also . Kraft had been one of the staunchest supporters in Roger Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. The Patriots’ owner and his fellow franchisees made sure Goodell’s ascent to his current position was a smooth end run without any major opposition from any other NFL franchise owner.
As to how Bob Kraft is now viewed by the likes of Steve Bisciotti, Dan Snyder, Jed Yorke , Jerry Jones, Woody Johnson , Steve Ross , Tom Benson and Zygi Wilf is now open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. I am not about to suggest there now happens to be a “ them against us mentality” , that might now exist against within the NFL, but the New England Patriots’ actions in recent years and the allegations of cheating speaks volumes as to the franchise’s actions and the perceived views of the organization.
The Patriots might now be the most despised professional franchise in all of sports. Brady, has gone from being one of the most high-profiled and most admired sports’ personalities in the country has become persona non-grata across the sports’ landscape. Might I now suggest , that other than Lance Armstrong , Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez , the NFL player is now the most disliked athlete in the world of professional sports.
Hall of Fame weekend in the NFL will see the latest addition of players to the establishment’s edifice in Canton, with the inductions of Tim Brown , Jerome Bettis , Charles Haley , Will Shields , Mike Tingelhoff the late Junior Seau and former league executives Ron Wolf and Bill Polian .
Each of this year’s class of inductees are well deserving of the accolade. However, in light of their enshrinement next Saturday prior to the Hall of Fame game on Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings , some controversy has emanated with the Hall of Fame and NFL , seeking not have members of the Seau family speak on Junior Seau’s behalf when he is inducted in the Hall of Fame. To my mind, it is simply idiocy on the part of the league hierarchy and Hall to come to such a decision given the adverse publicity league has been the receiving over the past season and into off-season leading up to the present. A great deal of this falls squarely on the shoulders of Roger Goodell and the continued lack of leadership shown, along with the failure of the NFLPA leadership and that the union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and his unwillingness to address the issue of player misconduct off the field of play. It would appear, the only concerns of the union as well as the league, is economic driven and the revenues derived as a commercial concern for the almost $8 billion reaped annually by the NFL.
If this is meant to be year of the rookie players in the NFL to make a name for themselves , the player likely to be under the greatest pressure could be the number one pick taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. It would be fair to suggest , Jameis Winston is under the greatest pressure to succeed, as he has been entrusted to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a new chapter for the beleaguered franchise. Last season , having finished with a 2-14 record , it is easy to understand why the team failed so miserably . Defensively and from an offensive standpoint, head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff could not get his players playing any great degree of commitment and the optimism now being shown is simply one of brevity, rather than reality.
The roster has changed , but I believe the mindset remains the same , along with the seeming apathy shown by Glazer family as the owners of the franchise. Their concern now seems to concentrated more on the fate of their other sporting concern , Manchester United who will enter this season under a great deal of optimism with head coach Louis Van-Gaal and a new multi-million dollar lineup of star players looking to win the Premiership title . I would suspect the English soccer giants face a much easier task of winning English soccer’s most valued domestic title than the Buccaneers stand of winning the NFC South, gaining an NFC postseason berth or the Superbowl itself.
Tampa will open their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings on the road at the Vikings’ Hubert Humphrey Metrodome Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota . With Minnesota’s new facility not due to open until June of 2018 for the NFC North based Minnesota Vikings. It will be interesting to see also the role given to Adrian Peterson as he gets to play in his first professional game back in the NFL after last year’s well chronicled suspension for his actions off the field. For the Buccaneers it provides Jameis Winston with his first opportunity to play against an NFL opponent and the chance for fans to get a sense of what he has to offer the franchise. With Lovie Smith having named Winston the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback , Mike Glennon is left out in the cold after his brief spell in the position provided little of note during his tenure in the role. If Winston should fail during the preseason , I believe the roles are likely to be reversed between Tampa’s two front-line quarterbacks with the team’s depth chart being so thin.
I believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hard pressed to compete in the NFC South this season , given their woes of 2014 in spite of the renewed optimism among the rookies , veterans , coaching staff as well as the fans. Tampa’s divisional games this season will likely prove to be tough against the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans and what now appears to be a declining Atlanta Falcons’ team led by Matt Ryan . A player now on borrowed time with the franchise , and whose contract with the organization has become a burden upon the player and a real hindrance for the Falcons.
Call me naive, but if Roger Goodell really wanted to persuade women around the country that he is intent on really changing the way they are perceived by the NFL’s players, then his statements and actions have done little to change the perception. Dealing with the National Organization of Women (NOW) has been nothing but a publicity stunt, as the league seeks to move forward after the actions of Greg Hardy, Ray Rice , Ray McDonald and several other players around the league over the past few years. Goodell has already proven himself to be an @ss with his actions concerning player misconduct and the issue of violence against women , without taking into account the lack of action by the team owners and the NFLPA(union), whose own lack of action has been inexcusable alongside DeMaurice Smith’s ongoing oblivious stance as to his members’ behavior.
In the midst of what appears to be a well orchestrated stunt the Arizona Cardinals have introduced Jen Welter , a coaching intern and linebackers’ coach with the franchise. Needless to say, there are likely to be numerous jokes made about Welter being around so many balls , deflated or otherwise, either in the Rams’ locker room , on the practice field as well as preseason and regular season games. Bruce Arians and the front office appear to have a great deal of faith in Welter and the positive approach she brings to her role. Cardinals’ players Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are likely to have been asked to take the lead in showing the franchise has a keen awareness of the role women have to play not just in their roles as a spouse, but also the positive image that can seen having Welter in her current role with the team.
Now my question would be for both of these seasoned veterans , if they are prepared to tow this line, then why have they remained so silent on the issue of domestic violence by many of their peers within the game ? The NFL would rather be perceived as being ahead of the curve on social issues , when in fact its hierarchy and players have simply been nothing more than the litmus test and fire behind what has been so wrong within today’s society in terms of a lack of decency, integrity, but most of all having a conscious to do what is right , rather than being reactive after the fact. Let it not be said, it is only the players who have behavioral issues , as Jim Irsay’s own personal demons continue to be a blight on his personal and professional reputation. If the NFL is said to be the acid test here , then they have erstwhile followers within the NBA where its hierarchy remains a continued joke and the same can be said of the old boys’ network that is purveyed by Rob Manfred and his cohorts within MLB .
There has been little which has gone right for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past eight years. As the rumors continue to percolate the franchise will be next to relocate beyond the obvious motives behind the likely moves of the San Diego Chargers and St Louis Rams . It is the Jaguars who have the most to gain, albeit , that why anyone would think relocating of the Chargers and Rams to the outskirts of Los Angeles will prove to be positive, even if both teams will be competing against each other economically for the largest slice of the pie which makes up the market in the nation’s second-most populated city as well the second largest ad-market.
Roger Goodell hankers to one-up his predecessor and add to his truly small list of successes as NFL Commissioner. Having either the Chargers or Rams in Los Angeles proves nothing , when there appears to be no real zeal for the NFL within the city by residents there. Studies can mean anything one might want it to say, but here is the facts as we know them to be , the city of Los Angeles over the past twelve years has continued to survive without an NFL franchise while the league’s revenues have continued to grow. Meanwhile, attendance levels have also increased, as have viewer ratings for the league’s broadcasts for regular season games , no matter when they are being played.
The systematic failures of the Jacksonville Jaguars have simply been brought on by lack of real coaching acumen seen over the last ten years . Jacksonville’s last winning season came in 2007 , along with a postseason appearance leading to a divisional loss suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots in a thrilling game. In the subsequent years ,one could suggest the Jaguars have plodded a path of sheer ineptitude. Shahid ‘Shad’ Khan , the team’s ubiquitous billionaire entrepreneurial owner has sought to change the mindset of the franchise as well as winning over new fans , while trying to show that beyond the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers there is a third NFL franchise within the state of Florida.
On and off the field the Jaguars continue to have problems , as they are one of the league’s least profitable teams and one of its worst supported over the last ten years. Throw in the fact the franchise’s home venue of Ever Bank Field has about as much appeal as a kick to both the groin and the head. One could ask what comes next for the Jaguars on its path to redemption ? Gus Bradley continues to struggle as a head coach and quarterback Blake Bortles has continued to struggle in his role while showing small incremental signs of improvement. Rookie or not , Bortles has been placed in an impossible situation when you consider what has been achieved by the likes of Andrew Luck , Russell Wilson and even Andy Dalton through their first your years in the NFL . Each of the quarterbacks in question have experienced postseason play with Wilson having led the Seattle Seahawks to back to back Superbowl appearances in 2013 and 2014, with Seattle’s triumph coming in their lopsided victory over the psychologically demoralized Denver Broncos and their veteran quarterback Peyton Manning.
I don’t believe the Jacksonville Jaguars will be able to achieve the heights reached by the Seattle Seahawks in the last two seasons and I certainly do not see the team challenging the Indianapolis Colts for divisional supremacy within the AFC South this upcoming season. At best Jacksonville is unlikely to win more than six games based on their current schedule even with the play of Allen Hurns , Denard Robinson and Johnathan Cyprien. Robinson having played quarterback in college, has now converted to running back and could become a dual threat as an imposing receiving and rushing combination for a team starved of talent on both sides of the ball.
The Jaguars will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ever Bank Field , in Jacksonville , Florida. No doubt the Steelers will be looking to make the season opener for their opponents an inauspicious start to the preseason. As to what we ought to expect from the Jacksonville Jaguars this upcoming season will certainly be predicated on what Blake Bortles is capable of showing as he enters his sophomore year in the NFL.
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What do you believe will be one of the biggest stories to break during the preseason within the NFL ? Also , how do you see the top teams of last season performing this year in the league and do believe there will be a major fallout from this latest issue involving the New England Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady ?
Related articles : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/are-we-not-amused/
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