The case of the man in the moon …

The case of the man in the moon …

Somehow, in the wake of the horrors of the events which took place in Paris, France with the world taking a moment to mourn the loss of the victims. The sports’ world paid their condolences to the victims’ families. In the UFC , in what has to be deemed the most shocking event in the genre’s history the Women’s Bantamweight Champion , former Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey saw her unbeaten run come to an end, as she was defeated by challenger Holly Holm with a second-round knockout.

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For Holm , the unbeaten challenger and now champion, this was the biggest win of her career. Calls for a rematch now seem to be a certainty , with UFC President Dana White knowing a return bout between the two would be an instant sellout and a major PPV draw. Rousey has been the biggest draw in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) since her debut. Her charisma has attracted a slew of female and male fans , along with young girls now seeing the former champion as something of a role model. It hasn’t hurt also, with Ronda Rousey having carved out something of a niche, as a budding action star, with revelations that she will be the lead , in a revamped remake of the Patrick Swayze action drama “Roadhouse” .

For the moment however, Rousey will be looking to prepare for her rematch against the newly crowned champion Holly Holm. UFC 193, the event where the shocking result took place, will likely prove to be a major revenue winner by way of PPV broadcast views and ancillary rights for the UFC. A win-win situation for everyone involved in the event , including both the main fight card headliners , Holm and Rousey.

I am not so sure what can be learned from week ten of the NFL schedule , other than to suggest there were one or two teams who are now falling way short of expectations for the season. Inexplicable losses on the road as well as at home may well have led to a great deal of frustration among the fans as well as the coaching staffs of the franchises around the league. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were able to pull off a last-minute come from behind victory , defeating the New York Giants by the narrowest of margins eking out a one-point 27-26 victory , with kicker Stephen Gostkowski being the hero of the day. With the win the Patriots, moved their record to 9-0 . leading the AFC East by a healthy margin , with Bill Belichick likely now preparing the team for their week eleven contest against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro’ , Massachusetts, on Monday , 23rd November, 2015.

Of the more unexpected results , we witnessed the losses suffered by the Denver Broncos falling to divisional rivals the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers seemingly falling apart at the seams , losing to the Detroit Lions. Those defeats suffered , might not have as lasting an effect on the teams in question, but in the case of the New Orleans Saints and their thirty-point plus loss to the Washington Redskins , this might well have put the final nail in the coffin for the Saints and their inept season.

Sean Payton as the head coach of the Saints , is now left wondering what went wrong during his team’s 47-14 loss to the Redskins. The defeat was the New Orleans’ worst loss of the season and likely leading to some major shakeups to the roster before the Saints meet their week twelve opponents the Houston Texans on the 29th November, 2015. Week eleven will be a bye-week for the Saints as the coaching staff and players look to reassess the issues of the team.

A seven-game losing streak hasn’t yet convinced Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys front office , this team is simply bereft of coaching acumen , leadership on and off the field of play. At the start of the season , Jones believed the Cowboys was capable of actually winning the Superbowl. Needless to say , Jerry Jones remains delusional and continues to live in the land of make belief. Sunday afternoon , was just another day at the office for the Dallas Cowboys, as the display from the players was as inept as any given during the seven game losing streak , accumulated by this team over the course of the season. The fact the Cowboys were facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have been a warning sign of things to come as their ineptitude , shown throughout the contest remained bewildering through four quarters.

In a low-scoring game, the Dallas’ offense could only muster six points and 216 yards of total offense . The two opposing quarterbacks combined for three interceptions , two fumbles and plethora of mistakes throughout the contest and questions are likely to be asked of Jason Garrett , the Cowboys’ coaching staff and the lack of commitment from the players on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. Lovie Smith may well be smiling after the Buccaneers mind a numbingly boring 10-6 victory, but there was nothing about this win which could convince anyone the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still capable of gaining a wildcard berth for the NFL postseason. As to where this now leaves the Dallas Cowboys, can be best summed up by suggesting Jones and the front office are hoping for a high draft pick from the 2016 NFL Draft .

Ten games into the NBA season and needless to say, the Los Angeles Lakers(2-8) have been the butt of so many jokes , with continued criticism of Byron Scott , his coaching staff and the team . With Kobe Bryant back in the lineup and the team being inconsistent through season’s infancy , there is the belief the Lakers will continue to struggle over the remainder of the season. Coming off a twelve-point home victory over the Detroit Pistons this past Sunday , the win provided something of a respite for a team still in search of an identity .

On Monday night as the Los Angeles Lakers seek to keep the momentum going , they will get the opportunity when they meet another Western Conference counterpart , with the team meeting the Phoenix Suns in what is likely to be a thoroughly entertaining contest.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak, team owner & CEO Jim Buss will be hard pressed to turn things around at this juncture , with this likely being the last season of Kobe Bryant illustrious career . The five-time NBA champion will certainly be looking to go out with a “Big Bang” , but that is unlikely to happen this season given the Lakers’
at this stage of their NBA schedule.

In their last game, played on the 14th November , Golden State toyed with the rather inept Brooklyn Nets on their way to an eight-point , 107-99 victory over the Eastern Conference based Nets. The Brooklyn Nets have been struggling and it seems unlikely the coaching staff led by Lionel Hollins knows how to get the team out of their current funk . In their next game the Brooklyn Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks in their home venue of the Barclays Center , Brooklyn, New York on the 17th November, 2015. The match-up should prove to be very interesting as the Nets seek to improve on their current record and stop their current losing streak, where Brooklyn are 1-9 in their last ten games . Only the Philadelphia 76ers have a worse losing streak (0-10) over the time-frame in question , which is no big a surprise , considering the 76ers’ record this season within the NBA .

It would not be remiss to suggest the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers remain without a clue and they are a badly ran franchise . Team owner Joshua Harris and GM Sam Hinkie seem bereft of intelligence , leaving many to wonder if their intent is simply to share in the spoils of war , when one considers how , profitable the NBA teams have become , seeing a sizable appreciation in the value of the franchises ?

Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach Brett Brown will be hard pressed to have this team playing with any type of resilience , when the coaching staff , itself not being able to find anything worthy from the players on the roster. Work in progress or not with the last two first round picks on the roster, but it is clear Brown and Sam Hinkie can no longer this malaise to continue.

Brett Brown and the Sixers will play their next game at home against the Indiana Pacers . Neither Joel Embiid or Jahlil Okafor have been able to provide significant production for Philadelphia this season. The Philadelphia 76ers remain a franchise simply out of their depth and there are no signs, this team is about to get any better anytime soon. It has been almost fifteen years since the Sixers last won a divisional title ,not since the 2000-01 season , with their last Playoff Appearance coming during the 2011-12 postseason , where they fell to the Miami Heat in the first round .

James Harden of the Houston Rockets (4-7) has now become an elite player within the NBA , but it remains to be seen whether or not he can lead Rockets to another NBA title for the franchise. The Houston Rockets have yearned to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy and for team owner Leslie Alexander , nothing would give him greater pleasure than for his team to win the title. Head coach Kevin McHale and his coaching staff , I believe are capable of coaching this team their being able to make a deep playoff run, but a great deal of that will be dependent upon the play of Harden and whether or not Dwight Howard can finally step up to the plate during the postseason. The Rockets’ center has continued to disappoint and I do not believe he is capable of playing at a high-caliber , when it matters the most and that is during the NBA Playoffs.

Houston has made a solid start to the season, but with the Western Conference being so tough , their best chance of a postseason berth I continue to believe will their winning the Southwest Division within the West. In their most recent game the Houston Rockets hung tough in their contest against the Boston Celtics , but lost a game , which on paper, was far from being close, with the Rockets falling , 111-95 in a home loss .

Brad Stevens
has achieved a great deal since being hired to succeed Doc Rivers as head coach of the Boston Celtic. The fact that the team made the NBA Playoffs of last season before being brushed aside in the first round might well provide the fans and the franchise with the hope Stevens was not only the right man for the job, but GM Danny Ainge and team owner Wyc Grousbeck had to be extremely satisfied with the hire. Stevens has now cultivated a mindset within his young roster of players , which everyone now seems to be buying into , including the Boston Celtics’ fans. Boston might not be prolifically talented by way of their offense , but this team does play with a great deal of bravura .

Jared Sullinger , Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson , Evan Turner , James Young , Tyler Zeller, Isaiah Thomas , Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier are among the teammates of the Boston Celtics who are making the franchise one of the hot topics of conversation this early in the season among the Eastern Conference as well as within their division and the NBA this season. Clearly, if the Celtics are able to make back to back playoff appearances and build upon what was achieved last season. Then there is no reason to believe why this team cannot be seen as a legitimate contender for the NBA title at some point in the future. With a very good coaching staff in place, along with a front office making the right type of personnel decisions ,the future does seem bright for the franchise’s long-term relevancy .

Something is finally going on after the recent years of instability within the Detroit Pistons’ franchise and organization. Team owner Tom Gores along with the front office seemed to have figured it out. Former agent Arn Tellem has been brought in to run the business side of the Pistons’ operations, with Jeff Bower as the general manager of the franchise. The ouster of Joe Dumars was seen as an obvious move , after the decline of the franchise during the last few years of his tenure as general manager.

Sitting two games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-3) within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference the Detroit Pistons find themselves in a comfortable position in a division which will be closely watched. Coming off great victory over the Cavaliers, where LeBron James could not muster his teammates to get the win needed to increase their lead within the division , while also while also looking to pad their lead over the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks within the conference. The win might be the most significant of the Detroit Pistons’ young season which is still in its infancy. It might bode well for the team, if they can build upon the victory and put themselves in a position to contend within their division as well as the Eastern Conference.

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With all the news which has come into focus over the past few days beyond the world events . There is the common belief sports can truly unite the masses ,when we can witness a genuine act of sportsmanship , heroics on the field of play. but above all else , a true love of the environment being cultivated on the field of play.

Tophatal ……..

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Rick Ross featuring Ne-yo .. ” Super High ”

Trials, tribulations, a whole lot of grief and angst …

Trials, tribulations, a whole lot of grief and angst

In the aftermath of another not so overwhelming MLB postseason , with the Kansas City Royals winning their second World Series in the franchise’s history , things are suddenly taking on a new shape in the world of baseball. With the Winter Meetings just over a month away , several players have declared free agency , with perhaps the biggest surprise of being Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers .

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Greinke had an exceptional year for the team , but the Dodgers’ postseason foray ended up being nothing more than a glimpse of recent past seasons.

There was nothing about this Don Mattingly managed team which suggested the NL West champions were in with a serious chance of winning the NL Pennant and being the National League’s representative in the World Series. Now it will be, back to the drawing board for front office representatives GM Farhan Zahidi and Head of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, as they seek to rebuild the roster through likely free agent acquisitions and their farm system .

Don Mattingly is no longer a part of the managerial staff , having agreed to mutually part at the end this postseason. While there was considerable success under Mattingly, the Dodgers’ non appearance in the Fall Classic only added to the ball-club’s ongoing woes. There can be no excuses made for the abysmal failure witnessed over the past six seasons by this organization and their having spent over $1 billion in players’ salaries during the time-frame in question.

Zack Greinke’s decision to opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent , will now add to the plethora of pitchers now on the market this off-season. Teams in need of very good starting pitching will be required to pay top-dollar for a number of these prized assets.

There are times within world of baseball where one has to take a step back , d simply observe the frailties within the game and among the players . New York Yankees’ starting pitcher CC Sabathia with his admittance , that he has a sobriety issue as an alcoholic, makes you wonder why an athlete would seek to ruin their career for the sake of a momentary high. Sabathia for his part , made this disclosure while on morning television , explaining in the aftermath of the Yankees’ wild-card loss to the Houston Astros , he checked himself into a drug and alcohol dependency program. Given the recent woes of Josh Hamilton of the Texas Ranger, this issue I truly believe, just happens to be more widespread within the game, than teams and front office executives would care to admit ! As for the MLB hierarchy, given the ongoing lack of a really in-depth testing program for users of banned substances , this is just another glaring headlight the game of baseball can really do without.

There have been no formal comments coming from the New York Yankees’ front office concerning CC Sabathia’s current situation and while the player is due to become Yankees’ free agent this upcoming season, it remains to be seen whether or not he is likely to be re-signed by the franchise. Bud Selig and now his successor MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred have been twirling their fingers and thumbs not seeking to work in conjunction with the MLBPA (union) on a wide variety of issues within the game. The relationship between these two entities, has become adversarial , rather than one of bipartisanship when dealing the problems within the game of baseball.

It seems hard to believe that in 2008, the Detroit Lions were win-less during a regular season , with sixteen consecutive losses on their record. The team’s statistics during the year remains among the worst in NFL history. Rod Marinelli coached the Lions at the time and along with the coaching staff and it was clear they were completely out of their depth. This season bearing a record of 1-7 and it would appear the Lions are on track to have another morbid year in the NFL. Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matt Stafford is having a season he would rather forget , while the talents of wide receiver Calvin Johnson are being wasted on a team which has showed absolutely no signs of winning a game at all this season.

Detroit’s only win of the season so far , came during their week six victory over the equally abysmal Chicago Bears as the two NFC North divisional rivals met in that particular contest. With a bye-week during week nine the Detroit Lions can rest their weary bones while preparing for their week ten contest against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin on the 15th November , 2015.

Matt Stafford’s record (2-7) against the Packers has not been a favorable one , with his last victory against this divisional rival coming in week three of the 2014 regular season. The Lions’ issues this season have come in various guises, with the defense and offense being mediocre at best.

The disarray within the Lions’ organization, particularly within the front office has led to the firing of GM Martin Mayhew and Team President Tom Lewand , but the coaching staff of head coach Jim Caldwell have been kept for now , but I expect if there are likely to be changes should the Detroit Lions fail to turn their season around before the end of their schedule. Mayhew’s firing has led to added responsibilities and a first within the NFL , as Allison Maki becomes the first woman in NFL history to hold the position of general manager for an NFL franchise. It will be a joint role , to be shared between Maki and Sheldon White as interim general manager .

Likely to be also clear, will be the impending future of quarterback Matt Stafford , a first round draft pick from the 2009 NFL Draft. Stafford , who is not due to become a free agent until 2018. Stafford’s three-year $53 million contract , with $41 million guaranteed , expires in 2017 and should the Lions seek to trade the player , they would still be liable for the remainder of his guaranteed money. Matt Stafford is not one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL in spite of the fact he has amassed a great deal of yards during his playing career. He has not proven himself to be a leader , vocal or otherwise as a player with the Detroit Lions. This I believe is what is sadly missing from this Lions’ roster , beyond the ongoing incompetency of the coaching staff !

William ‘Bill’ Clay Ford as one of the team owners of the Detroit Lions has sat idly by as the franchise has gone through a quick succession of head coaches over the last eight years . The off-season I believe will bring a great deal more upheaval within the Lions’ organization , far more than anyone might have thought possible.

It would be fair to suggest the NFC is having something of a down year, with some notable teams within the conference still struggling at the mid- point of the season. Of late, fans of the San Francisco 49ers (2-6) are decrying the fact how quickly the team has fallen off the face of the map after the successes of 2012 and 2013 . There is no denying successive postseason appearances had the Forty Niners’ fans wanting more, but a great deal of complacency set in among the play and coaching staff of former head coach Jim Harbaugh.

This season the plight of the Niners has become worse , with head coach Jim Tomsula considering the improbable with the benching of Colin Kaepernick , perhaps the best offensive weapon on the entire roster. For their part, team CEO Jed York and GM Trent Baalke have offered little or no explanation behind the team’s fall from grace. The warning signs were certainly there last season , ending with sheer embarrassment for the NFC West based Forty Niners. Off the field issues with Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith , clearly showed the franchise to be lacking in moral fiber , while it would appear everyone seemed willing to give Jim Harbaugh a pass, as things continually spiraled out of control. Harbaugh was just as much to blame for San Francisco’s woes , as Trent Baalke and Jed York. Colin Kaepernick for his part, in spite of his postseason heroics still had his stuck firmly in the clouds, beyond having signed his ludicrous contract .

Heading into their week nine contest against the Atlanta Falcons (6-2) the San Francisco 49ers will be looking to right their ship , which is still struggling to stay afloat. If Colin Kaepernick is benched in favor of his backup Blaine Gabbert, it is hard to envisage how Gabbert would be viewed as a better option than Kapernick in this contest . While I don’t believe Jim Tomsula will be fired from his position, I do think the head coach will be in the unenviable of situation of being cast as the ” real villain” of this current situation, when everyone from the front office on down has played an equal part in the franchise’s woes seen this season.

There remains a great deal of idiocy among many of the so-called sports’ fans who genuinely believe they have some insight on sports in general and in particular the NFL. Recently on a visit to sports’ site , the contributor suggested with his declining play , Denver Broncos’ (7-0) quarterback Peyton Manning was no longer capable of playing at a high level or leading a team to a postseason berth. Now given Manning’s play since joining the Broncos as a free agent in March of 2012. In the three years since the Broncos’ ascent to the top of the AFC West which has gone unchallenged by their divisional foes and again in 2015 , the team is back to its very best , starting their season with a seven-game unbeaten streak. So much for this idiocy of Manning not being able to play at a consistently high level. In their week eight game against the then unbeaten Green Bay Packers beat their NFC opponents with the utmost ease destroying the Aaron Rodgers’ led Packers defeating them 29-10 .

The defeat for Green Bay derailed their chances of an unbeaten season, while the Denver Broncos , New England Patriots (7-0) and Cincinnati Bengals (8-0) seek AFC supremacy within their conference , with the three teams still unbeaten entering into the week nine NFL schedule .

With the NBA season still in its infancy , with the majority of teams having only played six games, there is only one franchise that remains unbeaten. Defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors (6-0) are leaving no one with any doubt, , why they won the title last season. With few changes to their core roster of last season , the Warriors have simply began from where they left off at the end of the regular and postseason. The fact they have won their first six consecutive games of this season, should not come as a surprise to anyone, even to those who still believe last season’s beaten finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers were the better team .

Reigning League MVP , Steph Curry has lit up the scoreboard in each of the Warriors’ victories and this season he already has a season-high 50-point game for the year. LeBron James may well be the best all-round player in the game, but Curry isn’t that far behind, with the shadow also of Kevin Durant also to be considered as part of the equation.

Golden State in their last game , subdued the Denver Nuggets on their way to a 119-114 victory and quite obviously the best record in the Western Conference. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr and his coaching staff will now prepare the team for their next game where their opponent will be the Sacramento Kings in a contest to be played at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California on Saturday, 7th November ,2015.

With both New York based NBA franchises struggling at this point of the season and in all honesty, it does not come as a surprise to me at all ! The Brooklyn Nets (0-6) and the New York Knicks (2-4) have mediocre records and are struggling within their divisions as well as within the Eastern Conference. For head coaches Lionel Hollins of the Nets and Derek Fisher of the Knicks , this might be the last opportunities provided to them in their respective positions , because I feel , if both should fail this season , then there would be no alternative than their firings by Billy King of the Nets , Steve Mills and Phil Jackson of the Knicks. It is certainly not difficult to understand how bad both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks have been , when you consider the underwhelming talent on their respective rosters. The Brooklyn Nets were on the wrong side of another loss on Saturday night , coming at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks , another in a long line of mediocre performances by the Nets this season.

If the intent of Phil Jackson was bring about change since he assumed control as Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks. Then the change witnessed by the fans and Knicks’ fans in particular, has been a complete embarrassment for the franchise and the NBA in general . Derek Fisher and this Knicks’ coaching staff remain deep, in over their heads and Phil Jackson’s apparent acumen as a front office executive is and will remain overrated , in spite of his idiots still coming to his support , suggesting he still remains a basketball genius. As a coach yes, but in his current role , he has become an absolute joke.

Billy Donovan is now the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3) and the expectations are once again high for this team. The loss of Kevin Durant for a large chunk of last season led to the Thunder missing the NBA Playoffs by the slimmest of margins . This season Durant and Russell Westbrook will seek redemption and lay claim , they are the equal of the Golden State Warriors and among the best within their conference. A Sunday afternoon home game for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Phoenix Suns should prove to be an interesting contest for both of these Western Conference based franchises.

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As the sports’ world meanders through the usual glutton of stories, it appears the salacious and the mundane tends to get the front page notice while the events on the field will at times take a backseat to it all.


Tophatal … 2015/11/07

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Clearly, they know not what they do …

Clearly, they know not what they do ….

Well as the MLB postseason come into the nation’s focus after a thrilling game one in the World Series with the Kansas City Royals beating the New York Mets in a thrilling fourteen innings’ thriller . Game two on Wednesday night might not live up to the fireworks seen in game one. Again the two teams will be back it at Kauffmann Field in Kansas City , Missouri with the Royals looking to take a 2-0 lead in the best of seven-game series. If the New York Mets were to lose the game, then their task of looking to win the franchise’s first title in almost three decades would become even more difficult. This is a Royals’ team , once given an advantage, they are not likely to relinquish it without a fight, something I do not believe the Mets have within them , and the game one result was merely proof of that fact.

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On the mound in game two for the Kansas City Royals will be Johnny Cueto facing Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.

Away from the field of play, former Philadelphia Phillies’ player Lenny Dykstra continues to be as much an embarrassment to himself as his post career has been , with a litany of financial , legal and personal issues. Dykstra now claims he hired private investigators to dig up dirt on Major League umpires in order to blackmail them. From my own point of view, the former big league player should not necessarily be been , but most certainly he does not need to be heard. Away from the camera is definitely better, than seeing him on camera.

Don Mattingly is now seen as the leading candidate to become the new manager of the Miami Marlins and once again we have a franchise in need of not only an identity , but also one in need of a leader and players capable of winning. The Marlins have not made the postseason since 2003 when they last won the World Series for the second of the franchise’s two triumphs in baseball’s postseason finale. Beyond players with the stature of Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton there has been little of note to be excited about concerning this NL East based franchise. Marlins’ Ballpark in Miami , Florida , remains cavernous entity, barely filled to capacity (34,500) for the team’s home games played at the venue.

One seriously doubts in 2016 , things will be any different for the ball-club, as they seek to make their presence felt within baseball. One also seriously doubts Don Mattingly will be able to show the managerial acumen needed to guide the team where they want to be. I understand the fact Mattingly was admired for all the recent success he attained with the Los Angeles Dodgers , but in essence , he was given the keys to a Ferrari , but in the end, he stalled at the most crucial of moments , never managing to get the team to the “ Big Dance” . By comparison the Marlins , have few players of any real talent beyond Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez , so it is hard to imagine how much of an impact as a manager he is likely to make with this team.

Marlins’ GM Michael Hill and team owner Jeffrey Loria have repeatedly flubbed their lines and the maneuvers made concerning the player personnel in recent years has left , little to be admired at all. Decisions will have to be made concerning several of the Marlins’ impending free agents as well as seeking ways of paring down the team’s salary for the upcoming season. While I do not believe the Miami Marlins will be major players in the free agency market during the off-season , I do expect them to make one or two acquisitions . Whether or not, Don Mattingly becomes the new manager of the Miami Marlins will solely be made upon the desire of both parties to work out a deal based on their needs .

Last night saw the opening tip-off for the official regular season start of the NBA and the defending champions the Golden State Warriors began the defense of that title. With a target on their back , this is now the team to beat in the league . Dating back to the NBA playoffs and then the latter part of the regular season , Steph Curry and his teammates have been the “ class of the league” on the road or at home . Almost unbeatable wherever they have played and it was nowhere more evident than in the NBA Playoffs themselves. Golden State’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans was easy, with Curry getting a game-high forty points , leading all scorers in the contest.

Next up for the Golden State Warriors will a contest against Western Conference rivals the Houston Rockets in a game to be played at the Toyota Center in Houston Texas on the 30th October , 2015. I believe the Warriors will remain a force to be reckoned with over the course of this season especially within their conference and division.

Another year and yet again , the news’ print will encapsulate what is likely to make the Los Angeles Lakers tick ? With the declining skill-set of Kobe Bryant , I do not see any real long-term for the franchise. LeBron James won’t be leaving Cleveland unless Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert fails to massage the player’s easily bruised ego once again. Lakers’ fans hope that it will be either James or Kevin Durant looking to assume the mantel of the next big thing in Los Angeles . At this moment in time, the Lakers might just be the worst NBA franchise in the state of California . Who would have thought the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings might have more going for them competitively than the Los Angles Lakers ?

Byron Scott and the coaching staff have to also deal with the nonsensical ideas of the Buss siblings , while also having to deal with Mitch Kupchak . Scott may well have been a second-tier member of the Showtime Lakers and having some success with the Brooklyn Nets , but his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers has been unmitigated disaster on every level. Byron Scott’s coaching staff remains clueless and the franchise’s development of players from within , has proven to fruitless and the draft history in recent years, have yet to bear fruit. This past season and the NBA Draft therein, had the Lakers taking D’Angelo Russell , Larry Nance Jr and Anthony Brown . This season will tell us a great deal about these players and whether or they can give to the team .

The Los Angeles Lakers will begin their schedule with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves , where the visiting Timberwolves are still mourning the loss of Flip Saunders who died earlier this week from the debilitating illness , Hodgkins’ Lymphoma . As the NBA mourns and is saddened by the death of Saunders , life must go on and so too will the game, as the league’s fraternity remembers one of their very own. These two teams will have a great deal to play for over the course of this season , though I do not expect both to be clear-cut favorites to make the NBA Playoffs.

In recent years , sixty-win seasons have not been the norm for the Atlanta Hawks , but yet, the playoffs have remained their Achilles’ Heel . For all the team camaraderie seen , this has been a franchise short on success , while being very talented. However, the NBA remains a league which tends to remember its franchises based on the success achieved and that means the winning of titles and not singular achievements.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer will be expected to take this franchise back the NBA Playoff this season, where it is hoped they can make a much greater impact than seen last year . With something of a rebuilt roster , draft picks . free agent acquisitions , Budenholzer and the front office will expect the Hawks to compete all season-long , with the certainty of a playoff berth as part of the plan, with the goal being an NBA championship. Having stumbled out of the gate losing to the Detroit Pistons , the Atlanta Hawks will now prepare for the New York Knicks in a game to be played at Madison Square Garden , New York City, New York on Thursday night.

We are almost at the midway point of the NFL season and the fallout will continue , along with the likelihood there will be at least one more coach-firing before the season ends. As to who might be the leading candidate, is now a matter of not when this is now going to happen , but how soon this will all take place. . The week eight opener will provide the fans with the opportunity to see Miami Dolphins (3-3) taking on the New England Patriots (6-0) in an AFC East divisional clash . For opposing quarterbacks , Tom Brady of the Patriots and Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins this contest should prove to be in an interesting contrast in styles .Brady will likely lead the Patriots to their seventh consecutive win of the season and also improve on his record against Miami. However, with Deflate-Gate still fresh in the minds of many . even after the debacle of the league hierarchy’s case against the quarterback, I cannot help but wonder, when and if this will all end !

Roger Goodell remains adamant , justice must be seen to be done ,but as commissioner , he has failed to answer questions about why Chief Legal Counsel & SVP Jeff Pash failed to give any testimony whatsoever to bolster the NFL’s case against Tom Brady. Something does stink in Denmark , otherwise known as the NFL headquarters and if the fans who are still in uproar would actually care to use some common sense , rather than being bellicose and absolute @assholes , then they would see the league is just as complicit in this mess, as are the Patriots.

The best game on the weekend schedule during week eight might well be the contest between two unbeaten teams . Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (6-0) will take their show on the road to face the Denver Broncos (6-0 at Sports Authority Field /Mile High Stadium , in Denver , Colorado, where Peyton Manning awaits his NFC guests. Questions have continued to swirl concerning Manning’s apparent decline, but on any given day when not even seventy-percent fit , the four-time League MVP is still a great deal better than many of his counterparts within the NFL . This game should prove worthy of the audience’s viewing and I believe the winner will be in line for a divisional title as well as a playoff berth for the postseason .

For both Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers their accomplishments can be debated, but a second Superbowl victory for either would certainly pave their way to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Two weeks ago, F1 (Formula One) race car driver Lewis Hamilton won his third consecutive Grand Prix race of the season , winning the US Grand Prix . With the victory Hamilton also secured the world title and with it, the third of his career and a part of racing history among his peers and predecessors.

Lewis Hamilton has become the most high-profiled and most popular driver in Formula One racing and granted Kimi Raikkonen has won the title four times during his career , both still trail far behind seven-time champion Michael Schumacher still considered the greatest driver in history. Schumacher’s record speaks for itself and one of the reasons why he still revered within the sport and worldwide as a sports’ icon.

In the aftermath of his US Grand Prix victory we witnessed the ugly side of Formula One Grand Prix , with the rather disgusting and petulant tirade from the British driver , Lewis Hamilton. If there is one thing this sport does not need in terms of its image being dented and it is its most popular driver acting like a thug , with his use of profanity directed towards a fellow driver. As to the message Hamilton was trying to send , while also wanting to be viewed as a role model youngsters. I am not so sure he has an explanation , much less his act of contrition being believable.

Formula One racing has yet have a firm footing on the North American continent and specifically within the United States , where it lags behind NASCAR and the IRL (Indy Racing League) in popularity , attendance levels and television ratings. All three sports are seeing marked declines in the three areas in question and in spite of the format changes within NASCAR , with the impending retirements of Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart within the sport. NASCAR now finds itself at a point where it is now looking for the younger drivers within its fold to make an impact and bring in a new star with likability. Dale Earnhardt Jr remains popular, but his having not won a NASCAR title at the highest level , speaks as to the volume of his lack of success , while still being so popular.

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As a sport’s fans do you believe athletes have to set an example concerning their conduct in the eyes of the public ? Or do you believe human frailties can be overlooked when at a moment’s notice their anger and emotion is shown ?

Tophatal ……… 10/28/2015 11:50 pm

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Busta Rhymes & Method Man (Tical) ” What’s Happening ”

News , views and chews ….

As Major League Baseball awaits the victor of the ALCS series which now stands at 3-2 , with the Kansas City Royals leading the Toronto Blue Jays in the series. We await the outcome of game six which will be played at the Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City . Missouri, on Friday evening.

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Taking the mound for the home team will be former AL Cy Young winner David Price who will face Yordano Ventura of the Royals in what will be a pivotal game for both teams. A win for Kansas puts them in this year’s World Series , while a win for the Blue Jays forces an exciting game-seven decider between the two AL teams. Awaiting the winners of the AL Pennant will the their NL counterparts the New York Mets , whose convincing series’ win over the Chicago Cubs was as good as the Mets have been in a recent postseason foray. Both their pitching and offense was of the highest level expected from a well-managed Terry Collins’ team.

Away from the on-field foray has been the big news to hit the world of baseball with Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers mutually agreeing to part ways. Unfortunately, the public explanations being given in the interviews granted to the press remain unconvincing from both parties , with neither the front office executives or Mattingly , himself , being truly convincing with their summation as to the reasons behind their abrupt dismemberment. One thing is for certain , Andrew Friedman as the Head of Baseball Operations has been given full control to make the decisions necessary to bring about a real turnaround for this franchise. The complacency seen which has been seen from the Dodgers over the past four seasons during the MLB postseason , is unlikely to be tolerated by Friedman or the team’s general manager Farhan Zaidi.

Having spent over $1 billion on salary since their acquisition of the franchise the owners have seen the team simply implode at almost every hurdle during recent postseason play . This season in particular the Los Angeles Dodgers were never good enough to convince anyone they could be seen as the presumptive favorites for the World Series. A $315 million payroll , the highest in the game , and all we witnessed from the Dodgers throughout much of the season were the thrills and spills of a highly overrated team. Granted, Zach Greinke had an exceptional season for the team and will likely be crowned the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Typically, one would laud the feat as being a great achievement, but in retrospect , singular awards while credible , for this franchise the only success sought, was that of a World Series’ triumph , something last achieved by the Dodgers in 1988.

There can be no denying the NFL season so far has proven to be nothing more than the usual storm in a teacup. Granted, there are several teams we knew would be either be bad or just mediocre , while there will always will be one or two surprises which have left us bewildered. Who knew at this point of the season the Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) would be one of the best teams in the AFC as well as the league in general ? Coming off a week six victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals have a bye-week during week seven , whereby they can rest and recuperate before resuming their schedule in week eight , with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 1st November,2015.

Two games on this weekend’s schedule , will likely have the fans’ attention, will be conference contests featuring the New York Jets facing the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts. Tom Brady is having an excellent season and it would appear the idiocy of the Deflate-Gate scandal now seems to be in the rear view mirror of the four-time Superbowl winning quarterback. No doubt Brady will be looking to extend his regular season record against the Jets , while the team seeks to increase their lead over the Jets within the AFC East. The other game of note, pits the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants , in a must-win contest for both teams. Given the mediocrity of the NFC East . there remains the possibility that the winner of the division could be no better than 8-8 or 9-7 at the end of this season.

Eight weeks into the College Football season and as expected , the talk begins as to which teams are deserving to be called the best in the nation. The Ohio State Buckeyes remain unbeaten and atop of the heap in the College Football rankings . Saturday afternoon , the Buckeyes will be on the road as they visit Piscataway , New Jersey to fact Rutgers University. Somehow , I believe this game will end in a rout , with Ohio extending their unbeaten run to twenty games dating back to last season. This Buckeyes’ team is playing at an exceptional level , barely being challenged by their opponents this season.

Texas Christian (TCU) , Baylor, Utah and LSU (Tigers) are among the unbeaten teams all vying for a playoff berth. Les Miles head coach of the Tigers will be hoping to see his team prove their worth in their scheduled contest on Saturday afternoon when they face Western Kentucky. Leonard Fournette , Louisiana’s all blistering running back will be looking to excel in this game while also showing himself to be a viable candidate for this year’s Heisman Trophy.

With four games left to the College Football schedule , there remains a great deal to play for as the season seeks slowly winds down .

The NBA regular season will begin on Tuesday 27th October , but for the moment the preseason is still winding down. Defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors will be looking to make a successful defense of their title while also seeking to become the first back-to-back titlists since the Miami Heat were able to were able to achieve the feat in 2012 and then again in 2013 . The team was unable to make it a triple , succumbing to the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 . This season the Heat will seek to make their presence felt within the Eastern Conference where the Cleveland Cavaliers will be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the conference title.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the elder statesmen on the Heat’s playing staffand they are being entrusted to lead a roster with a mix of youth and experience. Erik Spoesltra and his coaching assistants will certainly have their work cut out for them over the course of Miami’s schedule. The team will begin their regular season schedule with a home game against the Charlotte Hornets on 28th October, 2015 . However, I believe the true test for the Miami Heat will come in their conference meetings with the Chicago Bulls , Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks , three of the better teams within the Eastern Conference , based on last season’s standings. The Heat will also be counting on their young rookie Justise Winslow to make a major contribution to the team this season , as he comes under the wings of his mentor Dwyane Wade.

For the Eastern Conference champions of last season , the Cleveland Cavaliers after being soundly beaten by the Golden State Warriors in last season’s NBA Finals , this season will be their chance at seeking redemption. The Cavaliers’ front office led by team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin have acquiesced to all of LeBron James’ whims facilitating him with a roster , he believes can win the franchise a title. Big money contracts have been offered to players such as Tristan Thompson , with the hope Thompson can prove to be productive for the team.

LeBron James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will begin their regular season schedule against divisional rivals the Chicago Bulls in their game to be played at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois,. While I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the best team in their conference, and likely to repeat as conference champions this season, my belief remains the this team will struggle to beat any of the top-three teams within the Western Conference.

Kevin Garnett has returned to the franchise where he first made his professional league debut. The fact that Garnett now in the twilight of his career is once again with the Minnesota Timberwolves seems not only fair , but brings back memories of a time when he was among the best all-round players in the league, able to play every position possible , without there being a problem for this once agile player. Now he brings to this team , age , experience and a basketball mind second to none , with perhaps only Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant with an adept knowledge of the game and what is needed to succeed. Having won a title with the Boston Celtics as well as multiple appearances as NBA All Star and a League MVP in 2003 . It could be said Garnett’s career has come full circle, without him having much else to prove , other than being a mentor to a young team in need of real leadership.

Flip Saunders , head coach GM , Head of Basketball Operations as well as a minority stakeholder in the Timberwolves, will seek Kevin Garnett’s assistance in providing the on-court stability needed to make Minnesota competitive this season. Karl-Anthony Towns the franchise’s first round draft pick , alongside Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio are seen as the primary contributors for the team as they embark upon their schedule. The true test for the Minnesota Timberwolves will come when they take on the best the Western Conference has to offer , beginning with their regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Speculation will continue to surround the events which led to former NBA star Lamar Odom being found lying unconscious in the room of a Nevada brothel. Unfortunately, this simply adds another episode in the life of a player who never lived up to the expectations sought as a parent or as a teammate , in spite of the sympathetic words now being used as a cacophony to make up for another athlete’s shortcomings as a habitual drug user.

Odom through his publicists and his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian have thanked the press and public alike for their well-wishes , but this latest episode cannot hide the fact the NBA actually continues to enable and facilitate the use of banned substances within the game. The league’s so-called policy on banned substances remains weak and the fact the NBPA has sought to weaken the original structure of the policy simply goes to show how much of a ferret David Stern just happened to be, before handing over the reigns as commissioner to his chosen heir-apparent Adam Silver. The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran.

The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran. It seems doubtful a franchise would be willing to risk all. after this latest debacle concerning Lamar Odom.

Speaking of athletes with some off-field issues , with his recent plea agreement with the State’s Attorney’s Office former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones has been reinstated by the UFC , allowing the fighter to makes his return to the octagon. Jones was stripped of the title , after it was revealed he fled the scene of traffic accident while under the influence. It was later revealed the fighter had high level traces of cocaine within his system. Now while he has attended drug intervention program and the fact UFC President Dana White issued an indefinite suspension of the former champion. What cannot be denied, has been the fact, White has been very lax in whom he chooses to punish with impunity when he feels it is necessary.

Jon Jones in his last bout before being stripped of the title tested positive for a banned substance and it was widely reported that several top executives were prive’ to the fact Jones’ test had come back positive on the eve of his title defense against Daniel Cormier. Dana White for his part brushed aside those claims aside , stating it was pure fabrication on the part of detractors of the UFC. However, the Nevada State Athletics Commission which governs the sport within the state has records to prove the UFC hierarchy were well aware of the positive tests. Cormier the current Light Heavyweight Champion would like to make a defense against Jon Jones , knowing such a match-up would lead to a big money payday for himself as well has his challenger. There are very few fighters with the appeal and athleticism of Jones within the UFC at present and the biggest draw currently is the Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey who seems be totally unbeatable within her weight class.

Rousey will be looking to parlay her ongoing fame and notoriety in her next bout when she meets Holly Holm at UFC 193 scheduled to take place at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne , Australia on the 15th November, 2015.

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In light of the latest occurrences in the world of sports what do you feel will be the main talking points in the coming days or over the next week ?

Tophatal …

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A Moratorium on Stupidity or What Actually Makes The NFL Tick?

A Moratorium on Stupidity or What Actually Makes The NFL Tick?

Six weeks into the NFL season and the results have come thick and fast. Nonetheless, things have began to pan out within the divisions , conferences and the league standings overall. At the top of the food chain surprisingly enough are the Cincinnati Bengals coached by Marvin Lewis and where quarterback Andy Dalton looks as if he has found his presence as a leader of this team. Whether or not the Bengals can make a successful run at claiming the AFC North crown remains to be seen , but they keep apace with the six consecutive victories , with a win in week eight and the team having a bye in week seven. Then I am of the opinion Cincinnati will be in a position to claim their first divisional title in several years.

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The Cincinnati Bengals got the better of the Buffalo Bills in their week six contest defeating their AFC compatriots 34-21 , in a game where the Bills were never really in with a chance of winning. Marvin Lewis for his part has to be extremely pleased by what he has seen from the Bengals’ players at this stage of the season. Elsewhere within the AFC North the Pittsburgh Steelers got by the Arizona Cardinals , winning that contest 25-13. The Baltimore Ravens continued their woeful season with a 25-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns were on the wrong end of an overtime defeat suffered at the hands of the Denver Broncos .

Chances are the Carolina Panthers (5-0) are looking more likely to be the divisional winners of the NFC South with no clear challenge coming from any of their divisional rivals . Cam Newton has led the Panthers to a 5-0 start to their season with their most recent victory coming in a thrilling 27-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks (2-4). Newton for his part has been proving why the ongoing signs of maturity has Ron Rivera believing in his quarterback and why he believes him to be among the elite players at the position currently in the NFL . If the Carolina Panthers are to gain any semblance of success sought , then it will be predicated on the heightened postseason play of Cam Newton and his teammates .

Week seven is on the horizon and Carolina will certainly look to their bye-week as a way of preparing for their week eight contest against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indiana , Indianapolis on the 2nd November, 2015.

A great deal of hyperbole was being made of the game between the New England Patriots (5-0) and Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday. A renewal of their AFC championship clash which led to the aftermath of the Deflate-Gate Scandal, was seen as another premise to raise the alleged animus between these two franchises. The media have played their part in this ongoing circus , but most certainly the league hierarchy played their role in this melodrama with the sheer incompetency shown by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several of his subordinates throughout this whole charade of one-upmanship .

For New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady the contest provided the player with another chances to show his superiority over the Colts and in particular his counterpart Andrew Luck who remains win-less against New England during the regular and postseason since his entry into the NFL in 2012. Brady and his teammates piled on the pressure in a contest which came down to an erroneous play sealing the victory for the AFC East based franchise. Questions are still being asked as of the Colts’ coaching staff led by Chuck Pagano which led to his team’s debacle in this game .

The Indianapolis Colts (3-3) now find themselves atop of a puerile AFC South division where the play has simply been horrific by all of the division’s occupants. Pagano certainly knows after this loss, Indianapolis will certainly have to reset themselves before entering into their week seven contest against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (2-4) at home. The Saints are in need of a win if their season is to show any signs of a turnaround after a rather disastrous start to their schedule. A defeat suffered against the Indianapolis would certainly begin to bring the curtain down New Orleans’ season and likely to have some questioning the virtue of Sean Payton keeping his position as the head coach of the team , given their indifferent start to the season and and lack of cohesion from the players. Next up , one the Saints’ schedule will be a game against the always intriguing Indianapolis Colts. Defense is likely to play a significant part in this contest , with both teams having struggled to this point of the season.

Philip Rivers , quarterback of the San Diego Chargers (2-4) put on an aerial display in the Chargers’ game against the Green Bay Packers (6-0) , only to see it become of no avail in the team’s loss to the Packers. Rivers had a career-day throwing for over 500 yards in the game , along the way throwing two touchdowns , no interceptions , completing forty-three of sixty-five pass attempts , completion percentage of 66.15 and a QBR of 99.7 in the contest. By comparison one could surmise Aaron Rodgers simply had a routine day at the office , leading Green Bay to their well-deserved 27-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

Of the unbeaten teams in the league the Green Bay Packers might well be considered the best team in NFL , given their schedule so far , when measured against those of teams yet to taste a loss this season. Rodgers is well on the way to cementing his legacy and also erasing the memory of Brett Favre among Packers’ fans. The Green Bay Packers appear to be sprinting towards another NFC North divisional title and a high seed within the NFC , with the postseason activity still over two months away. A bye-week during week seven will provide Mike McCarthy’s players time recuperate from any injuries sustained as they prepare for their week eight contest against the Denver Broncos (6-0) and Peyton Manning at Mile High Stadium/Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado. This might be the game of the day during week eight , if both teams remain unbeaten at the time kick-off on the 1st November , 2015.

Don’t look now , but the New York Jets (4-1) might be back to their best , but like any other New York based professional sports’ franchise with ideas above their station, the Jets remain a work in progress under Todd Bowles who succeeded Rex Ryan as the teams’ head coach. Defensive backs , Darrelle Revis, and teammate Marcus Williams seem to be having their way against opposing quarterbacks with a litany of takeaways and interceptions this season. Certain Jets’ players are now talking about the first of their regular season match-ups against the New England Patriots. When these two teams meet on October 25th at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts, this game might just prove to be the one where the Jets will either sink or swim.

As good as the Jets’ defense might appear to be , I believe their quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will have a difficult time trying to pick apart a Patriots’ defense , while his record against New England is not a favorable one at this juncture of his career. Recent contests over the past three seasons between the two teams would suggest the New England Patriots will come away with another home victory over their divisional rivals.

Somewhere, the Football Gods might well be looking down on the NFC East and simply thinking among themselves , what the hell must be going on within the division ? A Monday Night Game featuring the New York Giants (3-3) and Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) should be considered , league cannon fodder and diatribe . given their respective records. The Eagles having demolished a mediocre Giants team on their way to a lopsided victory can bask in the limelight of just being average .

In the lead-up to the start of the NFL season and we had Roger Goodell seeking to address the issue of player misconduct , domestic violence and seeking the input of the National Organization of Women (NOW) as to how best to address the issue of abuse by players against their spouse or girlfriend. One should also bear in mind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ sexist imagery and undoubted archaic male view as to what appeals to a female in selling the NFL brand to women , can be seen as how out of touch the league and its hierarchy remains , while Roger Goodell suggests they (NFL) are making well-observed strides in dealing with the issue. I would like to suggest the commissioner take a look at his actions and decisions, as it relates to Greg Hardy and Ray Rice , considering the lenient sentences handed down to both of these players.

Furthermore , if at every step the NFLPA (Players’ Union) seeks to challenge the authority of the NFL when there is a clear pattern of misconduct by its members concerning domestic abuse. I would like to know why DeMaurice Smith as the Executive Director of the NFLPA has failed to address the issue in public, rather than seeking to challenge the league and the punishment of the players , by suggesting the commissioner is overstepping his authority ? Never mind the fact , when you have imbecilic and apathetic fans making excuses for the players and suggesting the NFL should leave the issue to the Justice System. It begs the question do these assholes actually understand the law, much less comprehend there is a code of conduct within the league concerning the players’ on and off the field behavior ?

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In spite of the NFL being a multi-billion dollar business enterprise , it continues to be poorly ran , with a hierarchy completely devoid of intelligence, a fan-base made up of a large majority of male Neanderthals , whose concept of the game continues to border on stupidity. Nonetheless, without the demographics in question, the NFL as we know it, might not continue to thrive, but baser instincts would suggest otherwise. Stupid is, as stupid does and in the NFL , where else can you find this much stupidity on display both and off the field of play ?



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A Diamond In the Rough

A Diamond In the Rough ..

The MLB postseason is now upon us and baseball’s most famous and successful franchise bowed out with an unceremonious loss in the wildcard round of the postseason. Needless to say , the front office of the New York Yankees led by senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman , will seek to rectify what I believe to be a ship , sinking faster than the Titanic. This Yankees’ roster was not built for the postseason and this constant idiocy as to the season of alleged acclaim by Alex Rodriguez should be lauded is simply a damning indictment of the game in general, as well as the very fact , Rodriguez’s act of contrition was simply not believable or actually one of solemnity.

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Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi will now have to look to next season and the players likely to be promoted from within their farm system for their solid contributions and consistency over a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule. The New York Yankees failed miserably in seeking to win the AL East and barely survived obtaining a wildcard berth within the AL.

Alex Rodriguez for his part may well have had one his best seasons in recent years after his suspension from the game in 2014, but in all essence the three-time ALMVP has been a poor excuse as a player and leader with the Yankees and his failure to be seen as the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter , shows that the monies invested in the slugger has been poorly served.

The New York Yankees’ dismissal at the hands of the Houston Astros in the wildcard round resulted in a 3-0 home defeat at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York on the 6th October,2015. AJ Hinch and his Astros’ managerial staff having advanced through to the ALDS , where they are currently locked in a competitive series with the Kansas City Royals , which might just be the best series being played at this stage of the baseball postseason. Houston are seeking to be the AL’s 2015 version of their AL opponents , who last season played some exhilarating baseball before falling in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants. With the series now tied 2-2 , the all pivotal game five will now be about which team desires the win the most , knowing full well the winner has the advantage , with the series now being theirs for the taking. On the mound on Wednesday evening ,will be Collin McHugh of Astros to face Johnny Cueto of the Royals at Kauffman Field in Kansas City Missouri ,.

Runaway winners of the NL West and it would appear the Los Angeles Dodgers should view this postseason , as one would believe destiny is meant to be on their side. Don Mattingly has seen both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke have exemplary seasons for the Dodgers with both likely to be among the leading candidates for the NL MVP . There have been solid contributions all round from the entire playing staff over the course of the season. Mattingly knows this is likely to be his last chance to guide the Dodgers to a World Series’ title given their woes in recent postseason appearances. Repeatedly caught like deer in headlights the ball-clubs woes have been well-chronicled. Having spent in excess of $800 million on salary commitments between 2013 and 2015 , with a recent change in front office hierarchy. It has become abundantly clear , lead managing partners Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Magic Johnson are no longer prepared to tolerate the lackadaisical approach of the managerial and playing staff.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have wasted numerous chances in their NLDS contests against the New York Mets to have taken a 3-0 lead, but instead after Monday’s night’s astonishing 13-7 loss to the Mets, I am not so sure the Dodgers can still be seen as the presumptive favorites in the series as thing have been currently unfolding. These two teams will resume their series on Tuesday evening with Clayton Kershaw on the mound to face left-hander Steven Matz in a crucial game four to be played at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York.

Finally, it looks as if the Chicago Cubs have finally assembled a roster capable of making a deep postseason run. Granted, for the past four seasons Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer as the senior-most front office executives in charge of the Cubs’ Baseball Operations have squandered their chance to make the ball-club a viable competitive franchise until this season. Joe Maddon was brought in to add some managerial acumen to the playing staff. Locked in a highly entertaining NLDS contest against the St Louis Cardinals , Maddon and his players have now got the Cardinals on the ropes, looking to land that “knockout punch” in this series. Chicago has squared the series at taken a 2-2 with game five the schedule for (Tuesday) tonight , when the two teams meet at Wrigley Field , in Chicago , Illinois with John Lackey of the Cardinals facing Jason Hammell for the home team


Game three of this series , fans witnessed the Chicago Cubs play some great all-round baseball , playing to their strengths while showing some of the weaknesses within the St Louis roster . Mike Matheny and the Cardinals will be looking to even the series , rather than falling deeper into a bigger series’ deficit , on the verge of bounced from the postseason.

Josh Hamilton is back with the Texas Rangers while teammate Prince Fielder is having one of the best seasons of his career. Together the two have played their part in the Rangers winning the AL West and with it a postseason berth . All square in their ALDS contests against the Toronto Blue Jays , Texas will be looking to win another ALCS Pennant , while for the Blue Jays, this has been their first appearance in the postseason in over two decades. Toronto by far the best team in the AL all season long in terms of their offensive productivity , easily won the AL East , subduing their divisional opponents and along the way their being singular season performances from their big hitters on the team’s roster. Jose Bautista , Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin have been the main reasons behind the Blue Jays’ productive offense, while David Price, Mark Buehrle , R A Dickey and Roberto Osuna have played their roles effectively with their pitching.

John Gibbons
as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays might well be a consensus favorite for the AL Manager of The Yea , but with other candidates such as Ned Yost and A J Hinch , this all could make for a very interesting race for the award. From my own perspective all three are noteworthy candidates for the award !

Over the past four years the problems of the New York Mets have been well-chronicled both and off the field. Doubts have been raised as to the mettle of the team , while Terry Collins and his managerial staff have at times made some rather unfathomable moves concerning the playing staff. Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi have held sway over this all, while in the background Fred Wilpon , Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz have watched closely over the problems and progression of the franchise. It should be noted in the darkest times of Mets’ problems , there was a possibility the ball-club might not have survived , with it being on the verge of bankruptcy . Persistence was the key along with the favorable views and help of financiers on Wall Street, the New York Mets survived their financial woes with the owners of the ball-club coming out unscathed with their reputations somewhat intact.

Tuesday night’s meeting between the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers will tell us a great deal about the New York based franchise and whether or not this postseason will be the one where they will rise to the top of the baseball world. The pitching staff has excelled to the point where the arms of Jeurys Familia , Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey , Noah Syndergaard and Hansel Robles have carried the staff to their current position . Yet , while the pitchers have received a great deal of praise throughout the season, the Mets’ offense have also won over the fans and analysts with their timely hitting and productivity. It is clear baseball needs for there to be a presence of either of the two New York based franchises playing a part in the postseason. Without either the New York Mets or New York Yankees , the interest in the Fall Showcase becomes almost irrelevant. The television ratings will take the expected fall-off unless there is a Cinderella type aspect to the postseason , there rarely is a reason to be a willing participant in watching the postseason unfold.

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Legends and legacies are made during the MLB postseason and this year it is hard to say which player is likely step up and make their presence felt with either the bat or the ball . It will incumbent on the stars or some might say the leaders on their respective teams, step up to the plate and really lead by example , rather than remaining in the shadows. Which player or team do you believe will accept the challenge this postseason and simply rise to the occasion ?


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My balls, my rules in the NBA ….

My ball, my rules in the NBA

The NBA preseason is now upon us and the reigning league champions the Golden State Warriors will begin their quest to make a successful defense of their title with their preseason schedule as Steph Curry and his teammates seek to make it all once again be a reality. For Steve Kerr , his coaching staff as well as the front office led by co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , as they have seen a spectacular rise in the value of the franchise, but also a marked increase in the revenues and attendance levels for the team. With the imminent move to a more fan-friendly and more attractive venue for the NBA’s current champions. The signs are, the Warriors’ ascent to the top of the basketball world has been well thought out and the intent of the franchise to have a lasting and long-term impact on the league.

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Steve Kerr and Steph Curry were recipients in the running for two of the top individual regular season awards of last season , with Kerr coming in second for the NBA Coach of The Year Award , while the point guard won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award after a scintillating season. Curry along with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will be relishing to get back unto the court and begin the defense of their title. The NBA Draft itself, saw the Warriors simply bolster their roster, with some young talent and these players are likely to get their chance at some point during the season to shine.

Without a doubt, the Golden State Warriors will have to be seen as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference to make a quick return to the NBA Playoffs alongside perennial playoff bound and five-time champions the San Antonio Spurs. During the off-season, San Antonio without a doubt were the biggest winners in the free agency market , having acquired Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge alongside veteran power forward David West. Departures from last season’s roster were expected and the losses were certainly outweighed by acquisitions made by the franchise , whose general manager R C Buford has stood stall, showing his executive acumen and one of the many reasons why he has to be considered one of the very best general managers in NBA history.

San Antonio will also see the return of veteran players Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker for another year together , with the trio having won over five-hundred regular season games together as a combination as well as four of the franchise’s five championships all under the coaching tutelage of Gregg Popovich . All three players as well the head coach are future bound and likely inductees into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame joining another Spurs’ luminaries already enshrined in basketball’s most hallowed institution, George Gervin and David Robinson , the two most notable Spurs’ inductees were the starting point for the history of one of the NBA’s most respected franchises. However, it has been the astonishing success under coach Gregg Popovich which has been the template seen , which has led San Antonio to its present time.

The NBA during its preseason schedule will be playing second fiddle to the MLB postseason which begins on Tuesday , while the NFL season though in its infancy has begun to take on a life of its own. Away from the basketball court , there have been some less than palatable story-lines which have come into focus. Former League MVP and Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose finds himself at the center of allegations of sexual assault and battery claim from a female victim. A charge which the player categorically denies and he has been very adamant with his repeated denials of the alleged victim’s claims.

As to how this is viewed by the Bulls’ front office led by GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson . Well, the executives have simply issued what can only be deemed a standard response, with the view , until there has been a legal investigation and legal outcome, the organization will continue to show support for the player.

For Derrick Rose , his failure to make an impact for the Chicago Bulls over the course of last season must come into question given the franchise’s long-term financial commitment to the player , who has missed over 100 games over the past two and a half seasons. This past season, Jimmy Butler stepped up to the plate for the Bulls and though they made the NBA Postseason their foray was somewhat short-lived . Rose for his part was simply a peripheral character in the team’s attempts to make a deep playoff run . The firing of Tom Thibodeau , with his being replaced by Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls , opens a new chapter for the franchise. It will be interesting to see what Hoiberg and his newly assembled coaching staff brings to the table as the Bulls begin their preseason schedule and then on into the regular season.

Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will begin their regular season, when they open up with their first game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a contest at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on 27th October, 2015. If the Bulls are to have a chance of prevailing within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference much less against the rest of the league , then it will be predicated upon of the play of Rose and the team over the entire schedule in 2015.

This season there will be a great deal of pressure on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The four-time League MVP had a roster built around a team which had his own personal blessings and specific wishes. The fact that idiot fans , bought into the belief James would be capable of leading the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship solely based on his play was utterly ridiculous. As good as LeBron James over the course of his career in the NBA , certain things were being overlooked by the James’ supporters. A rookie head coach with little NBA or postseason and a team, where the players , other than Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would be barely thought of as being competitive in comparison to the other lineups around the league.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert along with GM David Griffin have a great deal riding on keeping in the good graces of LeBron James and the player’s yearning to bring a title to the franchise. Two appearances in the NBA Finals have ended up in significantly embarrassing series’ defeats each time for James, as a member of the franchise.

What is becoming abundantly clear is the very fact LeBron James remains an impatient individual who seeks not only to be acknowledged by his peers, but also by the NBA analysts and fans as the greatest player of his generation and the greatest player in NBA history. A tall order indeed, when one considers he has fallen short of the accomplishments of his idol , Michael Jordan. While I do not believe it pertinent to make comparisons between players of the past against players of the present. It is clear, James wishes to be seen as the heir apparent to the six-time NBA champion , Finals’ MVP and League MVP . Such comparisons are best made upon the retirement of both subject as it is best then start a meaningful debate over the accomplishments of the subjects in question.

This season might well be the last opportunity for both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to reestablish their legacies with the Miami Heat. The departure of former teammate LeBron James left the franchise in complete disarray. Inasmuch as there was criticism being leveled at James by Heat Executive Alonzo Mourning , what became abundantly clear was the fact the front office became lackadaisical and negligent in failing to bolster an aging roster , believing it best , James as a one-man band could simply lead Miami to another title. With LeBron James’ departure the Miami Heat became a listless team , with neither Bosh or Wade contributing much to the Heat’s mediocre showing and season in 2014 .

During the off-season, Pat Riley and the Heat’s coaching staff led by Erik Spoelstra bolstered the roster through the NBA Draft and free agency . Miami’s rookies will be expected to make solid contributions to the team over the course of the Heat’s eighty-two game schedule. Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson , the two rookies taken in this past draft will get their opportunities this season and I believe Erik Spoelstra expects to see some great play from these two young players. Miami will open up their regular season schedule when they face the Charlotte Hornets on the 28th October ,2015 at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida.

With the recent news that James L Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks has seen fit to relinquish control of the Cablevision , the public company where the Dolan family still has a sizable presence. The questions now being asked are , will the family quite possibly seek to sell their controlling stake in the Madison Square Garden Company which presides over the family’s sports’ interests ? Can the team actually be competitive this upcoming season ? Is it possible for the New York Knicks to be even worst off, than they were last season ? As woeful as the New York Knicks have been this past season under the guidance of Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher as the team sank to new levels of of sheer incompetence while supporters of Jackson are still trying to suggest the former NBA coach has a Master Plan for the resurrection of the Knicks’ fortunes.

To understand the incompetency of the New York Knicks , one simply has to look for an explanation as to the Phil Jackson first round draft pick of Kristaps Porzingis and how Jackson has tried to placate the fans with his thoughts on the matter. There can be no denying the choice had and still has a number of people perplexed and wondering what the hell is going on within the Knicks’ hierarchy and whether or not there is any semblance to be found there at all ?

Porzingis was taken as the fourth overall pick in the first round and is seen as a solid front court player , but in reality , the player is likely to remain a work in progress and not likely to be a major contributor to this team, which is need offensive talent as well as a solid defensive presence. Triangle Offense or not the basketball IQ on this team is way below average and almost a certain obstacle in the way of a franchise where the coaching staff has to be deemed equally incompetent as the players and the front office executives within the organization. The only saving grace for the New York Knicks has been the fact the franchise remains among the profitable of all the teams in the NBA and that remains about it. From my own standpoint, I do not believe the team in its current guise will pose that much of a threat to their divisional opponents or conference rivals this upcoming season.

Speaking of another vastly overrated NBA franchise, has anyone ever wondered where elephants usually go to die ? If there was said to be an elephants’ graveyard in the league, then it would have to be the Barclays Center , home to the Brooklyn Nets . From one year to the next this franchise over the past six seasons has been a monumental eyesore . For all the wealth of Russian billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov as the Nets’ owner . This organization would not be able to spot talent if the coaching staff of the franchise were given the aid of a flashlight , night vision glasses, if they were left in a darkened room and asked to figure it out all by themselves.

GM Billy King has outlived his usefulness and the only sound decision he has made was the jettisoning of Deron Williams , a player whose talents remain vastly overrated as a point guard . He certainly doesn’t excel under pressure and by no means can he be considered a leader much less the equal of several of his peers within the game today.

With Deron Williams having joined the Dallas Mavericks, it remains to be seen how much of an improvement his addition will be to the team and how competitive they’re likely to be over the course of this season. Dirk Nowitzki remains the best player on the current roster by far. If the Mavericks are to succeed as they seek to win a second NBA title , then it will be predicated Nowitzki’s indomitable play and leadership ability , because none the traits in question , are to be seen even vaguely in any of his teammates.

Two teams with something to prove this season, will be the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden and Kevin Durant are now viewed as being among the elite players in the NBA and there can be no denying that fact. Both of these superstars are likely to be viewed as early preseason candidates for the League MVP this season. The disappointment of the NBA Playoffs was there for all to see as the Rockets failed to get by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season. Harden and teammate Dwight Howard were simply not enough to get by the best team in the NBA during the playoffs. I certainly believe games between the Rockets and Thunder as seen last season and will prove to be extremely competitive.

Oklahoma City Thunder under their coach Billy Donovan will seek to make this season their big opportunity to advance to an NBA Finals for the second time under the ownership group of Clay Bennett and his partners. GM Sam Presti knows it is in the franchise’s best interests to keep the services of Kevin Durant, knowing the player is likely to weigh up his options as an impending free agent in 2016, the Thunder must know their best chance to have Durant within their organization is to have a successful season ,with the ultimate goal being to win a world championship. Kevin Durant and his teammates will begin that quest this season opening up their schedule with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs on 28th October ,2015.

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The NBA hierarchy enters this season looking to avail themselves of the best publicity possible , but I cannot help wonder what the biggest controversy is likely to be once the season gets into full swing .


Tophatal ……

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“Hi Hater ” ….. Maino , feat’g Plies , TI , Swizz Beatz , Jadakiss , Fabolous & Mya

Something Wicked This Way Comes …

Something Wicked This Way Comes …….

Week three
of the NFL season is now in our rear-view mirror and with it came the results leaving a great deal of the league in something of an after-shock. We have seven unbeaten teams , with the AFC on appearance having the better of the showing in terms of the success seen among the franchises. NFC champions the Seattle Seahawks remains a team in a state of disarray , albeit , they had their first win of the season with a 26-0 thrashing of the Chicago Bears , a team I believe will likely be among the worst of the NFL’s thirty teams this season.

Jay Cutler remains more of a liability to the Bears than he is an asset. Among the other NFC franchises, we have the San Francisco 49ers , looking as if they have been caught in a head-on collision , having been hit by a sixty-foot semi-trailer at high speed. Niners’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s season thus far has been one of sheer disappointment, while fans of the San Francisco 49ers appear to be pointing fingers at team CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke for the franchise’s disarray.

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The Niners’ assuredly embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals was as abhorrent a sight as one would not wish to see on an NFL field. Head coach Jim Tomsula and the coaching staff are as much to blame for this defeat as the players themselves. This Niners’ team lacks not only confidence but also a great deal of leadership and discipline. There can be no excuse for the loss , even if one could attribute it the loss , to the fact the Cardinals were the better team on the day.

In week four the San Francisco 49ers will play host to the unbeaten Green Bay Packers (3-0) , where quarterback Aaron Rodgers seems to be on a record breaking pace for the season in terms of his own personal achievements during the Packers’ regular season schedule . Personally, I do not believe the Packers will face much of a daunting task from their divisional rivals within the NFC North during 2015 !

While I believe over the past two seasons we have seen the growth of Cam Newton as a player, until he leads the Carolina Panthers (3-0) on a deep run in the NFL postseason , for the moment, he will just be considered a very athletic and gifted quarterback. He possesses a great deal of athleticism which is undeniable, yet he is complemented by a roster of players who have yet to meet the goals expected of the fans or the ownership at the moment. Head coach Ron Rivera and the Panthers’ coaching staff have slowly begun to mold this roster into a competitive force within the NFC South as well as the NFL , but the real goal for this organization has to be deep run in the postseason and ultimately a Superbowl victory.

The Panthers romped to a victory over a very labored New Orleans Saints’ (0-3) team missing Drew Brees in this contest. Granted, Brees’ back Luke McCown was being asked to do a great deal in this match-up , this loss was indicative of how bad , the Saints have become this season. Three games into their schedule and I am not so sure the New Orleans Saints are capable of extricating themselves out of a hole of their own making. Next up for the Saints will be a home game against the Dallas Cowboys (1-2) , in a must-win contest for both teams , if either of these two franchises are to make sense of their season.

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will be taking their show on the road to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , where Jameis Winston will be looking to acquit himself after his rather lackluster display in the Buccaneers’ week three loss , suffered at the hands of the Houston Texans. Going into this contest against the Panthers , I would be very surprised if the home team is able to pull of a victory against the visitors in this contests . Games between the two teams since Cam Newton was drafted by Carolina have been in favor of the Panthers’ quarterback.

Say what you will , in the aftermath of the debacle which engulfed and embarrassed the NFL hierarchy with Tom Brady seeing his proposed four game suspension bite the dust with US Federal District Court Judge Richard M Berman, siding with the player, The judge stated, the league had overstepped its limits in seeking to suspend the New England Patriots’ quarterback for the first four games of the Patriots’ regular season schedule. Deflate-Gate as this debacle and unmitigated disaster, has come to be known, isn’t simply about the accusations of the New England Patriots cheating , but it is a damning indictment of a league lacking in leadership from the hierarchy on down to the front office executives and among the players themselves.

Meanwhile, clueless individuals , notably the anal retentive fans pointing an accusing finger at the Patriots’ franchise , have been quick to overlook the misdeeds of coaches such as Rex Ryan , Josh McDaniels , Sean Payton and a slew of bothers. Needless to say, these same blithering idiots , with their short-term memory loss have quickly forgotten the antics of the New Orleans Saints’ organization and the antics surrounding the Bounty-Gate Scandal. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell remains the consummate imbecile , while the anal retentive and apathetic fans of this league continue to wax on lyrically about how great the NFL happens to be , but they appear to be nowhere intelligent enough to be succinct in their criticism of a clueless commissioner.

Tom Brady for his part has led the New England Patriots to an unbeaten three-game start to the season, with the Patriots’ quarterback going about his business , as if the scandal which engulfed his reputation was simply a meaningless obstacle. Questions may will still arise as to player’s innocence or guilt, but given the fact the league’s case as so ill-prepared , even the NFL’s SVP and Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash failed to take the stand to explain the NFL’s case against Brady , has simply been another indicator of the ongoing incompetence of this hierarchy under Roger Goodell’s leadership.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots annihilated the Jacksonville Jaguars on their way to a 51-17 victory for their biggest win of the season , with their schedule still in its infancy . Brady has already amassed over 1,000 passing yards on the season , thrown seven passing touchdowns without an interception , with a completion percentage above sixty-five percent (65% ) and a QB rating in excess of 115.00 . Outstanding statistics for the four-time Superbowl winner, three-time Superbowl MVP and two-time League MVP . Awards being what they are and even in light of the most recent allegations , Brady has remained at the top of his game without any real distractions. Granted , there still remains the idiocy of the league , still holding out some hope they are able to suspend the player at some point during this season, but given the league’s poor presentation of their original case , there seems little chance of their having a successful ruling in a Federal Appeals Court , which renders Richard Berman’s verdict null and void.

Brady now remains single-minded in his pursuits , with franchise records and a number of career milestones now within his sight, but perhaps the biggest achievement yet remaining for the player , might be the chance to win a fifth Superbowl ring and championship with the Patriots’ franchise. His six appearances in the NFL’s biggest showcase event is a testament to his career and while there will remain detractors , the fact of the matter remains, neither player or the organization are solely to blame for the malaise and bad publicity this latest scandal has brought the NFL. The leadership within the NFL remains weak , and the owners seem more concerned with , money , profits , team value and less about a positive image, while Roger Goodell’s continued incompetency and lack of real leadership ,drags the NFL further into a quagmire of its very own making.

The New England Patriots will head into week four with a bye , though still looking to increase their lead within the AFC East , while also seeking to remain among the front-runners within the AFC. Their next opponents will be the Dallas Cowboys , whom they will meet in week five of the regular season at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas on the 11th October , 2015. Defensively , the Patriots still leave a great deal to be desired , as the defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will certainly have to assess the issues of the secondary and their continued woes. It remains the one area Bill Belichick must have his deepest concerns and reservations about , as the team seeks to progress this season .

Heading into this season, it was felt, both the Baltimore Ravens (0-3) and Oakland Raiders (2-1) might be in a position to do something special within their respective divisions in 2015. Three weeks into the season and the struggles of both franchises can be chronicled with just a couple of words, “ they have been abysmally awful “ . The Raiders might well be off to one of their best starts in recent seasons , but head coach Jack Del Rio knows a great deal more consistency will be needed from this team , especially from quarterback and presumed on-field leader Derek Carr . The AFC West could become a highly competitive division with the starting quarterbacks within, all looking to play a significant role in their teams’ success. The Raiders will be looking to make sure that their fortuitous start to the season doesn’t come crashing down around their ears when they face the lowly Chicago Bears (0-3) in a game where the visiting Raiders take to Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois on Sunday , 4th October , 2015.

Joe Flacco is coming off a season where by his own lofty standards , he was less than satisfactory for the Baltimore Ravens. Their indifferent start to this season makes his and the team’s situation all the more bewildering. An early season favorite for the Superbowl and now win-less, they might not be in a position to win the AFC North or gain a postseason berth given their poor start to the year. It doesn’t seem that long ago when Flacco’s postseason exploits which led the franchise to their second Superbowl title was being lauded as one for the ages . Out of those scintillating performances from 2012 , Flacco was able to land himself a six-figure deal making him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL . Now while the Ravens have been frequent visitors to the NFL postseason since their 2012 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers , the real issues have been their failure to draft well , ill-timed free agent acquisitions, while several players on the team have failed to meet the expectations of the coaching staff and front office . GM Ozzie Newsome may well be feeling the need to look over this roster and begin to cut the waste from this lineup.

When the Baltimore Ravens take to the field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on 1st October , 2015 in their Thursday night contest , should the Ravens fail to gain their first win of the season. In all probability John Harbaugh will likely be under a great deal of pressure in his role as the head coach , beyond the fallout of a fourth consecutive loss for the franchise.

Things are not all that sunny on the beaches of Miami or with the South Florida based Miami Dolphins (1-2). Quarterback Ryan Tannehill along with his teammate Ndamukong Suh have bared the brunt of the criticism leveled at the team as well as Joe Philbin and the coaching staff . One could question the fact the Dolphins chose to make Suh one of the highest paid defensive players in the league, with Suh yet to show the leadership or ability sought to lead this defense . With the New England Patriots off to a solid start and the New York Jets (2-1) under Todd Bowles , seemingly revitalized by the stabilizing lay of Ryan Fitzpatrick and seasoned veteran corner-back Darrelle Revis back to his best as he has played with a great deal of zeal, leading the Jets’ secondary , among the best in the league at this point of the season.

Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins will play host to the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon in a divisional clash, with Miami seeking to avoid a third consecutive loss at this early stage of the season. Tannehill will be tested in this contest and his play has to be at its very best , if the Dolphins are to overcome this very confident Jets’ team .

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At this stage of the season with there still being a great deal to play for , several of the teams who remain win-less now will now have to play solid football over the remainder of the season if they are to prevail with their season’s ambitions. Yet, for all we have witnessed from the teams, I cannot help but wonder what is likely to happen next.

Tophatal …….

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The buck doesn’t stop here but it should …

The buck doesn’t stop here but it should …

So  two weeks into the  NFL season and already we’re  witnessing  how  banal so many of the teams just happen to be . Nonetheless, things are likely to get far more problematical for several of these franchise before possibly getting better.

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In the NFC East , the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants having opened their respective season schedule with two consecutive losses are proving to be among the pick of the litter when it comes to sheer ineptitude. Far be it for me to suggest, but head coaches Chip Kelly of the Eagles and Tom Coughlin of the Giants are likely to know their jobs are on the line. Team owners , Jeffrey Lurie and John K Mara cannot be entirely happy with what they have both witnessed from their respective teams to start the season.

The Philadelphia Eagles were on the wrong side of an inept performance , with a week two loss to the Dallas Cowboys , whose 20-10 victory , also saw the loss of quarterback Tony Romo due to an injury. This all could spell some serious issues for the Cowboys, having lost Romo quite possibly for a sizable chunk of their regular season schedule. Dallas’ head coach Jason Garrett will now have to reassess Tony Romo’s fitness and the likelihood of possibly going with his backup, Brandon Weeden , should Romo not be available for Dallas’ week three contest against the Atlanta Falcons on the 27th September, 2015 at Texas Stadium in Arlington. Texas,. Inasmuch as analysts and fans alike try to attribute Tony Romo’s toughness to his abilities , in reality the player lacks real leadership and tends to apportion blame elsewhere when his play has been mediocre.

A great deal is being asked of Brandon Weeden, should he be entrusted with the task of leading the Cowboys into battle against the Falcons next Sunday.

For the New York Giants and their start to the season appears to be inexplicable, but at the same you cannot overlook the fact Eli Manning and his teammates have failed to deliver when all is said to be on the line. Granted, Manning has led the Giants to two highly celebrated Superbowl victories over the New England Patriots in the last six seasons. Losses in week one and week two to the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons respectively, have left many wondering where do the New York Giants now go from here. The Giants’ defense and offense have proven to be equally inept and with receivers Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz yet to show anywhere near the skill-set sought for the team to viewed as legitimate contenders within the league this season. Cruz remains sidelined and there seems to be no indicator as to when the Giants will see his return to their starting lineup. The New York Giants’ next game will pit them against the Washington Redskins on the 24th September , 2015 in a Thursday night contest.

Over the last two seasons , I believe quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford have failed to show what they are capable of players in their respective roles. With the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both getting off to inauspicious starts to their season , these two teams are likely to be in for a torrid time as the NFL schedule pans out. Neither the Bears or Lions can afford to go through their first three games with consecutive losses , but given their play at present , it simply doesn’t bode well for either of these two teams. Sunday afternoon, we witnessed the Chicago Bears falling to the Arizona Cardinals in a high-scoring contest 48-26. Stafford and the Lions fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a result which simply reflects how bad Detroit just happens to be , as they succumbed to the Vikings 26-16.

While I am not about to suggest at this point of the season the NFC as a conference is less superior than the AFC , there do seem to be pointers which may reflect this position , albeit , two weeks into the schedule should not be truly reflective of the position. By week four , one quarter of the way through the NFL season , the teams should have found their rhythm, as they look to play themselves into divisional and conference contention.

There are thirteen games left in the baseball schedule , for the league’s thirty teams , with several of the divisions still to be decided as of the 20th September . For much of the season , both the St Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals have remained among the two best ball-clubs within the game. Whether or not the two teams will clash in this year’s World Series remains to be seen and will be predicated on their play as schedule plays out to the likely intensity we have seen in recent weeks. The Royals under manager Ned Yost might well be seen as the likely front-runner for this year’s AL Manager of the Year , with among his closest rivals being AJ Hinch , John Gibbons , Jeff Banister and Paul Molitor .

The Kansas City Royals coming off a decisive 10-3 win over the free-falling Detroit Tigers will seek to increase their lead within the AL Central when they face the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington on 22nd September ,2015. On the mound for the Mariners will be Hisashi Iwakuma as he faces Jeremy Guthrie of the Royals.

Kansas now has the inside track on the division, with the Minnesota Twins unlikely to build up a big enough challenge for the AL Central. With the reverberations from the faltering Tigers , in the aftermath with the abrupt departure of former GM Dave Dombrowski . There is now the belief that Dombrowski’s successor Al Avila will make the decision not to extend the contract of the team’s manager Brad Ausmus , leading to further turmoil within the organization. The Tigers’ players have yet to make their thoughts known on the possible departure of Ausmus , but there seems to be a widespread belief Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera are not entirely happy with the situation, in spite of their indifferent seasons and it is easy to understand the many reasons why the Detroit Tigers have failed so miserably this year. The changes for the Tigers during the off-season could very well be dramatic and very nerve shattering, as a number of high-priced players are likely to be jettisoned. Seeking to assess the players , within their farm system is now likely to be an option for Al Avila , as looks to rebuild for next season.

It would be the ultimate tale of sheer stupidity if Mike Matheny was not awarded the NL Manager of the Year Award for this season. He has clearly been the best manager in baseball this year and has been a worthy successor to Tony La Russa . If Matheny can now take this Cardinals’ team in the postseason where they are likely to be the clear favorites for the NL Pennant , then there is no reason to believe why St Louis cannot go on to win their twelfth World Series title, with their last coming in 2011 when they crushed the the Texas Rangers in seven games . The series’ result might suggest the Rangers might have been in with a chance through the entire seven-game series, but at no point did they ever take advantage of St Louis during the showcase series’ finale .

Mike Matheny and the St Louis Cardinals have been a model of consistency throughout much of the season , with their pitching and offense being equally potent on all fronts. To round out their three-game weekend schedule against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago , the Cardinals came away with a well-deserved 4-3 victory over their divisional rivals . On Monday evening the St Louis will play host to the Cincinnati Reds , with John Lamb of the visiting team on the mound to face his opposing number , Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals.

With Tiger Woods now falling off the face of the PGA Tour and this ongoing stupidity he still remains the biggest draw in the game. I have to wonder what type of idiot , there remains within realms of the sports’ world in terms of the fans who simply have no idea as to what the hell they are talking about ! Woods has not come close to winning a tournament on the PGA Tour in almost two years and his last major Grand Slam title was almost six years ago . He has fallen so far down the world rankings (292 nd) , that he is no longer deemed to be a worthy talking point , unless you want to discuss his ongoing medical ailments. A second back surgery , is now in the offing and Woods’ game has deteriorated to such an extent , that only the player himself has any belief he will be able to resurrect his play to the level where he was once considered the heir-apparent to Jack Nicklaus .

There are now much younger players on the Tour , who are just as determined as Tiger Woods , when he was at his best , but they have shown themselves to be more resilient and less prone to litany of mistakes which have become part of Woods’ current persona on a golf course. Jordan Spieth , Rory McIlroy and Jason Day have become the new faces of the PGA Tour , as well being major draws , and a boost to the television ratings.

Jason Day’s five wins on the season which include the PGA Championship , The Barclays Championship and this past weekend the BMW Championship has pushed the Australian to the top of the world rankings , pushing both Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy to second and third within the standings. With those five wins and ten top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour , Day tops the Fedex Cup standings and is line for the $10 million payout which comes with a first place finish in the Fedex Cup overall final placings. If golf and in particular the PGA Tour is to withstand the loss of Tiger Woods and the deterioration of his game. Then the likes of Jason Day , Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy will now have to stand tall in face of the overwhelming odds that fans yearn a dominant and charismatic player within the sport. Woods had the game, but his indiscretions and willingness to cite others for his problems, was simply another indication of a self-absorbed athlete who yearns the limelight but when faced with off-field adversity, they simply haven’t the intellect to handle it well.

A top-five finish in the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta , Georgia , which is the final tournament of the PGA Tour schedule , could see Day come away with the $10 million bonus payout and quite possibly the Player of the Year Honors, albeit , Jordan Spieth’s two Major victories on the year do make his credentials all the more impressive. Yet if consistency is to be the measure on the season , then the Australian has fared better than his American counterpart.

There are howls of laughter as Floyd Mayweather Jr maintains his wish to now retire from the sport of boxing, having defeated Andre Berto in the defense of his WBA and WBC welterweight titles . Still recognized by Ring Magazine and several of the top analysts within the sports as the Pound-for-Pound King of The Ring and best fighter on the planet. I personally do not believe Mayweather can simply walk away from his unbeaten 49-0 record without seeking to push that mark to 50-0 ! Granted , for an athlete who in the last two years has earned in excess of $400 million from the sport of boxing , there might be few challenges left for a fighter of his caliber. He has the admiration of legions of fans the world over , but he has never been able to truly gain the respect of some of the passionate fans of the sport as well many of the women who follow the sport of boxing from afar.

Floyd Mayweather has failed miserably in trying to allay the persona of his misogyny and denigration of women, albeit , his open invitation of Jen Welter to a press conference and to his bout with Berto was met with a great degree of sarcasm and some embarrassment for Welter , who initially accepted the invitation for both events. Yet it cannot be denied , with Mayweather’s well-chronicled troubles concerning his ex-fiancee and the mother of two of his children , there can be little left to believe the boxer is indeed trying to change his ways. His publicists and management company are trying to create the persona of a social activist , philanthropist and boxing promoter seeking to not only clean up the sport, but also show Floyd Mayweather to be a man of the people. Yet, when it is all said and done, the boxer’s actions outside the ring and his outlandish behavior simply proves the persona created has been nothing more than a charade.

Mayweather still yearns the respect of the purists who cover the sport within the media , even with his impressive fight record. Mayweather Promotions Inc , the boxer’s own management company will certainly be surveying the landscape for a fighter seen as his next challenger. A rematch against Manny Pacquiao would simply be a waste , considering the hype over their first fight and lack of competitiveness seen from the Filipino boxer on his way to a unanimous defeat, was not only embarrassing for the sport of boxing, but also a general fleecing of the paying public and the reputed $500 million gross revenues gained from the bout. Mayweather’s reputed $300 million payday before expenses for the highest grossing title and fight in boxing his history, was nothing more than a comedic mess of gigantic proportions.

The international governing bodies (IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO) for the sport of boxing have been nothing more than a travesty , with Mauricio Sulaiman , Gilberto Mendoza , Daryl Peoples and Francisco Varcarcel have simply forgone their obligations to oversee the sport with robust stewardship, instead leaving it to the unscrupulous boxing promoters to reign over the sport, while leaving the Nevada State Athletic Commission with their connivance and corrupt activities continue to make a mockery of boxing . Conflicts of interests, inexperienced ringside judges adjudicating title bouts have seen the state Athletic Commissioner Francisco Aguilar has been quick to suggest the officials who have judged many of the most recent title fights within the state’s jurisdiction have been without reproach. Yet, in the aftermath of the fiasco concerning the judging Mayweather’s most recent bouts against Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto has left a great deal to be desired about Aguilar’s claims.

If boxing is left in something of a void in spite of the rise of Deontay Wilder as a titleholder among the heavyweight champions. Yet in reality, Wilder can only be seen as seen as either stepping stone for Wladimir Klitschko to further enhance his claims of being the best heavyweight boxer in the world. Klitschko’s own record has been filled with challengers whose records if nothing else, can only be viewed as comedic and idiotic. The rise of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) under the UFC banner , has seen the growth of the fastest growing combative sport in the world. UFC’s fighters are now becoming household names with Ronda Rousey leading the way for the sport along with the sudden emergence of Fabricio Werdum as the undisputed heavyweight champion. Werdum’s devastating victory over Cain Velazquez was not only for the title was not only exciting but it also breathed life into a sport , where in recent months , we had witnessed the fall of established stars such as Jon Jones , Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks either through misdeeds outside the octagon ring or through poor performances within.

UFC President Dana White has proven to be an autocratic and somewhat tyrannical ruler of the governing body of the sport , dictating his whims as to what he believes best serves the interests of the sport. Unfortunately. White has proven to be less than forthright as to a number of decisions he has made concerning fighters, who are known to have known to have used substances prohibited by the UFC. Dana White has been complicit in allowing fighters such as Jon Jones , Nick Diaz, Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen to have fought , having then been tested for a banned substance.

Sonnen, now an analyst covering the UFC has not issued a statement concerning his twice being suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs , while Nick Diaz has continually derided White and suggested he will continue with his use of marijuana as and when he pleases. Silva a former middleweight champion will be making his long-awaited return to the octagon, but with the revelations of his testing positive steroidal medication as well as for an anxiety medication during his rematch with Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 183.

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Sports , amateur and professional sports, have now become a fickle industry promulgated by profligate athletes and hierarchies, where accountability has become a simple bye-word for lack of leadership, athletes without any real integrity and the continued belief that an act of social responsibility paints them as a person moral integrity.

Floyd Mayweather continues to be indicative of such a persona , while Tiger Woods might well now be wishing he could turn back the hands of time. Hierarchy leaders such as Roger Goodell, Adam Silver , Garry Bettman , Dana White , Rob Manfred and Mark Emmert have become oblivious of what needs to be done to actually clean up the mess they preside over , and can only point to the one known fact they actually care about and that is to make millions of dollars at the expense of the consumers , otherwise known as the fans. Accountability remains the farthest thing from their minds while the fans remain apathetic to what is actually now within their midst.


Tophatal ……. 2015/09/21

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Still looking for a hero …

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Well this weekend, within the sports world there have been the slew of news’ stories which will likely inspire us or simply let us down. With the US Open recently coming to an end , Serena Williams was unable to make history by completing a Grand Slam of Majors , by seeking to win all four Major Grand Slam tennis title within the calendar year. Williams’ fell in the semi-finals of the US Open where she was surprisingly beaten in three sets by Italy’s Roberta Vinci . William’s conqueror however, would go on to lose in the finals to fellow Italian, Flavia Pennetta , for Pennetta’s first Grand Slam title at the age of thirty-three.

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In the Men’s Open Final , Novak Djokovic won with a great deal of ease , defeating Roger Federer , to win his tenth Grand Slam title of his professional career. For Djokovic , it also cemented his standing as the number one player in the world in the ATP standings. The Serbian can now lay claim to three of the four Majors for this calendar year and looking forward to another successful foray on the ATP Tour . As this season rounds out its schedule on both the ATP and WTA Tours , there can be no denial as to who the best two players in the world have been on either tour. Serena Williams remains the best player of her generation , while Novak Djokovic continues his dominance among the male players , especially true over the past six years.

Serena Williams will seek to add to her career resume’ in the coming year, with biggest quest being an another Grand Slam singles’ title , the twenty-fourth of her professional career which would equal the career tally of Steffi Graf , the last female , achieving the Grand Slam (winning all four Majors – Australian, French , Wimbledon US Open).

It has now come to the point where the sport of boxing remains not only on the decline but the international governing bodies of the sport have become something of a farce. Evidence of this was certainly in place , when welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr faced the latest challenger for his titles , with Andre Berto took to challenging the unbeaten champion. Mayweather sought to equal the unbeaten record of the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano , whose 49-0 unbeaten record remains a standard bearer within the sport. Berto , was not considered a worthy challenger to the champion, but as of late, Floyd Mayweather would rather cherry-pick his challengers based on their lack of talent rather than the competitiveness of really being challenged in the ring.

Mayweather entered his bout with his record intact at 48-0 and the chance of boxing immortality were he to equal Marciano’s feat. With the fight being staged at the boxing Mecca for the sport. The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada , was the site for this lavishly staged pay for view (PPV) event where Mayweather was due to receive an estimated $35 million upfront payday without taking into account post-fight revenues . Berto received his guaranteed $ 4milllion purse , but in essence it led to a farce in the ring, with the challenger barely doing anything of note during this bout.

Floyd Mayweather won the fight by a unanimous decision, but there had been a great deal of controversy when it was widely announced that one of the three judges actually scored the bout to be a draw.

Officials from the WBA and WBC were quick to jump to defense of the judges , but with there being no acknowledgment of the scorecards having been revised. One has to question which of the three judges ringside, among Adalaide Boyd , Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld , could have seen fit to believe this title fight had in fact been a draw ?

Where Floyd Mayweather now stands among the pantheon of boxers considered to be among the all-time greats can be best judged by your like or dislike of the boxer or how you view the sport , by what it has become or what it once was. I believe Floyd Mayweather Jr to be an extraordinary talent and a fighter who at his best was supremely gifted. Do I believe him to be better than fighters such as Marvin Hagler , Muhammad Ali, Ray Robinson , Larry Holmes , Sugar Ray Leonard , Mike Tyson or any other of the great boxers over the past six decades who have graced the sport.

Mayweather has stated this was to be his last fight as a professional and to my mind his possibly bowing out , with two rather unimpressive and lackluster victories , further points to why the sport of boxing is in such disarray. The welterweight champion’s last fight against a fighter believed to be his greatest challenger and nemesis proved to be something of great farce as Manny Pacquiao simply put up a less than spirited challenge in their title bout. Pacquiao lost in a unanimous decision and then went to claim that an injury suffered during a pre-fight training session led to his underwhelming performance. Pacquiao himself has suggested his next fight will be his last professional bout before he enters the world of politics, as he seeks to become President of the Philippines during the country’s next Presidential elections.

Week one of the NFL season has now come into focus , with the schedule having began with last Thursday night’s game which pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, in Foxboro’ Massachusetts. The Patriots came away with something of a narrow seven-point victory , but in reality Tom Brady in his return to the NFL , could have put up fifty points on a Steelers’ defense which was lackluster and completely out of their element. With the win in the aftermath of the Deflate-Gate Scandal the New England Patriots can set about seeking to make a successful defense of their AFC East divisional title.

Meanwhile, the NFL hierarchy and Roger Goodell will seek to make some sort of amends for the league’s ongoing stupidity and lack of real oversight of a league now completely bereft of intelligence and leadership. Beyond that, there is not much which really needs to be said concerning the league at present.

Of the more surprising results to have taken place on Sunday was the thrilling victory by the St Louis Rams over the Seattle Seahawks in a game filled with missed opportunities by the visiting Seahawks who failed to capitalize on numerous mistakes made by this Jeff Fisher coached team during the contest. The end result was a 34-31 victory for the Rams, as they begin their season with a win. Next up for both teams in week two will be the St Louis Rams taking on the Washington Redskins at Fedex Field in Landover, Maryland, while Maryland, while the Seattle Seahawks will enter the second game of their season where they will meet the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field , in Green Bay Wisconsin on Sunday, 20th September,2015.

The hype of the meeting between the last two Heisman Trophy winners , came by way of the Tennessee Titans facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota , the two players taken in number one and number two in the 2015 NFL Draft , was meant to be a contest of two very astute and good quarterbacks . The events as they unfolded indicated Winston was not the player the Buccaneers hoped for as the home team suffered a rather embarrassing and lopsided twenty-eight point loss , 42-14 to the Titans. Whatever was expected from Jameis Winston was nowhere to be found during this contest , whereas Mariota was able to show a great deal of composure during his first professional start in the NFL. As to what this contest might suggest about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , can be best summed up by the quotes attributed to Jameis Winston during his post-game interview and that of head coach Lovie Smith , as he seeks to make sense of the home team’s lackluster display.

While I don’t believe the Buccaneers will have as abysmal a season as in 2014 , but this team on paper, appears to be no better than the roster of last season where their accomplishment of winning two games was a testament to the incompetence and ineptitude shown by the entire organization from the top down . Lovie Smith has already began to use a great deal of rhetoric and pragmatism to describe what is now becoming an indelible trait for the Buccaneers’ organization and that is to lose with alarming regularity .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will seek to get back on an even keel when they face divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints on the road at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans Louisiana , in week two of their regular season schedule . I expect Drew Brees and the Saints to overcome their week one failure against the the Arizona Cardinals , which a resulted in a stunning 31-19 loss to their NFC counterparts.

In the space of three years, Robert Griffin III has gone from being the quarterback thought to be the future of the Washington Redskins’ franchise to persona non-grata, as Jay Gruden and his coaching staff continue to show just how out of their depth they just happen to be. Griffin has gone from being the incumbent starter to the either number two or three on the team’s depth chart of backup quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins in the Redskins’ week one encounter has simply shown that he might not be that much better than his counterpart and teammate on the roster. In Washington’s 17-10 home loss to the Miami Dolphins , their display was as abysmal and uninspired a defeat as one might expect of team lacking in confidence , a soul complete lack of leadership and coaching acumen on or off the field of play.

Judging by the outcome of this game, beyond the anemic offense shown by the Redskins and the secondary being equally incompetent . I would dare say the NFC East based franchise will be in for a hell of a torrid time this season . Cousins’ own play was indecisive and was one of the many facets which made this loss all the more probable and likely unacceptable to not only the fans, but also team owner Daniel Snyder and certain members the front office.

Jay Gruden and the coaching staff will have a week to prepare for the St Louis Rams’ visit to FedEx Field on Sunday, 20th September , where I fully expect the visitors to take advantage of the home team on the day , with a win, pushing mark to 2-0 in starting their season.

Josh McCown out and Johnny Manziel is in and with that beckons perhaps, another go around for the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A&M . Cleveland Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine had no other alternative but to give Manziel the second start of his professional career in the NFL. Manziel and Cleveland would start out fast , but the game ended in a blowout loss to the New York Jets in a 31-10 rout of the Browns. I am not about to suggest there has been a remarkable improvement in the play of the Jets, but Cleveland’s defense from the second quarter on-wards, was nowhere to be seen during this game. Todd Bowles and the New York Jets came into this contest well-prepared and looking to make a statement , one that will be widely seen around the NFL. It would not be unfair to suggest the Cleveland Browns might just have the worst secondary and offensive unit in the entire NFL , with the league being only one game into the season.

Johnny Manziel has transitioned from being a very good college player to being a little less than average as a NFL player and quarterback. The blame I believe lies in Manziel’s own ego and the very fact the Browns’ coaching staff hasn’t best figured how to best utilize the passer on the field. The blame I believe lies in Manziel’s own ego and the very fact , the Browns’ coaching staff hasn’t best figured out how to utilize the passer on the field.

Cleveland Browns’ head Mike Pettine is now caught between a rock and a hard place, because I do not believe, having Manziel suit up for the Browns’ next game will be of any benefit to the player’s mental ability when he has shown his game, is still a long way off from where it needs to be if Cleveland are to be considered legitimate contenders within their own division , much less the AFC and the entire NFL. The Browns are now a team low on morale , lacking leadership and where the coaching staff does seem to be completely bereft of ideas .

It now all comes down to this and the last twenty-plus games of the MLB season, with several teams still in contention for a postseason berth. As an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves and witnessing their season-long collapse, has been nothing short of a major disappointment. Idiotic roster moves with the departure of several notable players, has led to a dysfunctional team and coaching staff led by a completely clueless Fredi Gonzalez . The Braves’ roster as it now stands has no one with the leadership ability of Chipper Jones , Tom Glavine , John Smoltz or even Greg Maddux. The playing ability of the players on the current roster is less than mediocre , for which a great deal of the blame must rest with GM John Hart and team President John Schuerholz.

The Braves have been falling apart at the seams for the past five years and their last postseason appearance was simply emblematic of the ongoing issues still facing this organization. Their concentration on the building of a new ballpark is only outlasted by their sheer idiocy in the belief that a new venue (stadium) will be the solution to their problems, when the on-field product has been less than desirable over the past five seasons.

Atlanta remains a small-market team with large-market ideas befitting the likes of the New York Yankees , but in reality, the Braves do not possess the drive or the ambition to really pull off or create the type of success needed to win multiple titles or be a perennial contender for the World Series. The years of success under Bobby Cox are now long-gone and simply looking back to the past without, learning any lessons from those events have gone a long way in placing the Atlanta Braves in their present situation. This season will be one of the worst on record for the franchise with their being a realistic possibility of the Braves being on track to lose 100 hundred games for the very first time in recent franchise history.

As of September 14th the Atlanta Braves were 56-88 , twenty-seven games behind NL East divisional leader the New York Mets (83-61) . As the losers of eight of their last ten games. Victories for this Braves’ managed team have been infrequent and in so many ways, it has been reflective of the game performances of the Atlanta Braves this season.

Coming off another emphatic loss to the New York Mets on the 13th September , 2015 , the Braves will resume their schedule with a home game against the high-flying Toronto Blue Jays when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia ,. John Gibbons , I believe has done a phenomenal job in molding together a team in the true sense of the word , a team which has played with a great deal of tenacity and unison. Gibbons might now be the front-runner for the AL Manager of The Year Award , but there are several noteworthy candidates for the award. Yet , is my belief the owners, would rather see this team not only win the AL Pennant but also top off their season with a triumphant win of the 2015 World Series. Bringing about the first title for the Jays since their back-to-back triumphs in 1992 and 1993.

If the Atlanta Braves are having a lamentable season, then for the Philadelphia Phillies , this will prove to be a year they would rather forget as the entire front office have failed disastrously. Interim manager Peter Mackanin has struggled to get the best out of a team that has simply been a horrendous eyesore. Ryan Howard is being rewarded handsomely , but his statistics this season have been absolutely feeble . To justify his $20 million salary in this day and age when players are earning that sum and a great deal more now is almost inexplicable. Yet bear in mind , the $300 million payroll of the Los Angeles Dodgers and you have to wonder when baseball will seek to get its financial house in order.

The Phillies will be taking on the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Ballpark in the second of a three-game home series. Tuesday afternoon will pit Philadelphia starting pitcher David Buchanan against Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals in this NL contest. Philadelphia’s 8-7 loss to the Washington Nationals where former Phillies’ closer Jonathan Papelbon was the winning pitcher placed the home team in a now untenable position within the NL , with their now having the worst record in the league. There has been now consistency with regard to the play of the Phillies this season and the mere fact they’re now seeking to use players from their farm system at this point of the season further highlights the issues now to be found with this entire roster .

The ouster of Philadelphia Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro is widely expected to take place, with the rumblings of team President Pat Gillick , Chairman David Montgomery , Bill Giles and several senior executives simply dissatisfied and angered with the team’s failure this season. Amaro’s expected departure could also be followed by several impending free agents as well as of a number the high-priced players this season who have been an abysmal failure . .

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The world of sports tends to focus far to much on the stars, because they are often seen as the supposed heroes on a team. Unfortunately, when those athletes tend to fail , blame is apportioned elsewhere, rather than actually seeking out the real stars on a team, the ones who are the leaders and the real heroes____ vocal leaders, ones who are judged by their deeds .

Tophatal ……………..

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There’s an app for that ….

There’s an app for that

It might well be apathy, but I suspect a great deal of stupidity on the path of fans when it comes to fans the world of sports and the very fact they seem to think there is no correlation between the world of sports and politics. Then again, here in the sports’ fan here in the United States are not the most enlightened or intelligent to be found on the planet. If the league can find itself with a great deal of lobbying power within Congress and idiots not believe sports and politics not be intertwined, then I would like to know how they might feel in knowing that the NFL is a sanctioned non-profit enterprise , not taxable and afforded the exclusivity of write-offs not afforded many of their own consumers and fans ?

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The NFL remains awry after Federal Court Judge Richard M Berman rescinded Tom Brady’s four-game suspension , but this episode is far from over as an embarrassed league hierarchy now finds itself in the midst of further stupidity as Roger Goodell seeks recourse in US Federal Court of Appeals . To my mind , the league’s position was weakened when NFL Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash refused to take the stand to explain the NFL’s position in seeking to suspend the New England Patriots’ quarterback and with the Wells’ Report far from being conclusive with regard to the evidence gathered , it suggests the league was simply over-confident with their think the presiding judge would find in their favor.

The NFL season will open its 2015 regular season schedule with the defending Superbowl champions the New England Patriots playing host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro’, Massachusetts , on Thursday 10th September , 2015. Sunday’s slew of week one games will pit several teams seeking to make amends for a poor 2014 season , with several new head coaches seeking to make a positive start to their roles within the league.

For Tom Brady as he resumes his career in the NFL , there is no denying that he will remain under the scrutiny of not only by the fans but also the sports’ world in general. It certainly will be interesting to see how not only Brady fares over the course of this season , but also his teammates as well as the franchise itself , as it remains at the center of attention.

Away from the NFL , baseball remains awash with teams still seeking to make something of their season. In some cases , several franchises have already fallen by the wayside out of divisional as well as the wildcard contention and the chance of making the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers while having a commanding lead over their NL West rivals , several of the Dodgers’ fans feel the team will have something of a cake-walk through the postseason. To my mind based on their performances of 2013 and last season , the Don Mattingly managed team is far from being in a commanding position to be viewed as the best team in the National League , much less the best ball-club in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers with an 8 ½ game lead can essentially look to closing out their schedule with Mattingly looking to assess his best lineup of players and gauging the opposition they are likely to face once the postseason gets underway.

Don Mattingly and his players will meet crosstown rivals the Los Angeles Angels when the two teams take to the field at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim California , in a late evening contest on Monday , 8th September . On the mound as the opposing starting pitchers will be Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers facing Andrew Heaney of the Angels. Coming off their 7-5 victory over the Angels on Sunday afternoon , it will be interesting to see if the Los Angeles Dodgers can make it a second consecutive victory for the NL based ball-club.

As the season steers itself towards the culmination of its schedule , the individual player awards should create great deal of interest among the fans and analysts in general. The AL and NL MVP Awards will be of focus , but I also believe the AL and NL Cy Young Awards will be of equal importance within both leagues. Zack Greinke would seem to be the consensus leading candidate within the NL , as he looks to succeed teammate Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers’ most recent winner of the NL Cy Young Award. A player-double seems out of the question with Greinke possibly winning the NLMVP also , as it would appear to be Bryce Harper’s to lose , considering Harper’s extraordinary season. The Washington Nationals are out of the hunt for the NL East divisional title but the NL wildcard berth appears to be something within their grasp, if they can maintain some semblance of consistency over the remainder of their schedule.

Harper and the Nationals were on the wrong side of an 8-5 loss to the New York Mets and will be looking to make amends for the defeat when the two teams meet again in the nation’s capital on Tuesday afternoon.

If there has been one team to my mind , which has been an extreme disappointment this season, it would have to be clear decline of the Los Angeles Angels over their last fifteen games . I am not so sure Arte Moreno is willing to be patient any longer with the managerial staff of Mike Sciocsia as the team’s decline has been so startling and with no signs of any real determination from the players let alone Sciocsia as the manager. With only nine victories in their last fifteen games, it is easy to understand why the Angels’ missteps have been so symptomatic , explicable as to their pitching and offense being so mediocre . If the Angels are to make any inroads on the divisional lead of the Houston Astros within the AL West, while also seeking to surpass the Texas Rangers for one of the two wildcard berths within the AL. It might prove to be too tall a task to ask of an Angels’ team which has under-achieved not only his season, but also over the past five years.

Teammates Albert Pujols and Mike Trout have led the Angels’ offense this season , but inconsistency has been the thing which has plagued the team all season long. Failure at this point I can only believe will lead to Mike Scioscia’s dismissal at the end of the season. Team owner Arte Moreno has continued to spend in earnest over the past five seasons with little to show for it over the time-frame in question. Postseason appearances since 2009 and have been somewhat lean and the ALDS loss to the Kansas City Royals last season was simply symptomatic of what has been wrong with the Angels as a franchise and it is they lack heart. One can apportion blame on the players , but I also believe it comes down to the managerial style of Mike Scioscia and the very fact he remains complacent and far too soft with his players , not holding them accountable or asking more of them on the field of play.

Mike Trout might not be in a position to win back-to-back ALMVP Awards, but he remains the best player in the game , by a considerable margin over his peers. The Angels’ chances of an AL wildcard berth are hanging by a single thread , which to my mind has begun to break. With the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in those wildcard standings, it is difficult to see how the team can now leap-frog all three to jump ahead of the pack.

Pitching and defense win games and in baseball, that has to be one of the most numerable traits needed within the game. Yes, the heroics of Zack Greinke have been well-chronicled this season , but the AL has its fair share of heroes on the mound in 2015. Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros has been by far the most impressive pitcher in the AL this year and his stats have gone a long way in making the Astros the surprise team within the league this season and Cinderella Story of this 2015 campaign . Keuchel is likely to seen as the prohibitive favorite as the AL Cy Young Award winner for this season. Astros’ team manager A J Hinch and his managerial staff might well have done the best job of any AL team this season and that is inclusive of the Kansas City Royals’ staff led by Ned Yost. Both managers are likely to be among the top contenders for the AL Manager of the Year .

Tuesday evening, the Houston Astros will be on the road to face the still all too inconsistent Oakland A’s at the O Coliseum , in Oakland California with Scott Kazmir on the mound to face Sonny Gray of the A’s. This contest should tell us a great deal about the intent of both teams and the apparent directions they are likely to be heading in currently.

Clear-cut winner of the NL Manager of the Year ? Not so fast , given the naiveté and stupidity often shown by the voters on the awards for baseball’s top regular season individual honors . Mike Matheny of the St Louis Cardinals has and should be seen as the runaway winner of this accolade , but I somehow get the feeling as the manager of the team with the best record in baseball, his being the recipient of this prestigious award could very well be denied. The BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) tends to march to the beat of its very own drum , with common sense and intelligence being the farthest things from their minds a great deal of the time. Yet , they are given so much credence for the work they are said to do , alongside with their perceived insight into the game of baseball. It continues to make me wonder , where were these so-called scribes of baseball during the steroid era and were they simply blinded with ignorance , apathy and the unwillingness to right about the truth of what was taking place !

Each year when these awards are bestowed on the best that the game has to offer there tends to be little questioning as to how the adjudicators come to their decision. If Mike Matheny is not this year’s recipient of the NL Manager of the Year, I believe that a great injustice will have been done ! The Cardinals have simply been impressive all season long and the contributions to the team have been all an all-round effort from all members of this roster. Matheny’s acumen along with that of his managerial staff , have simply been fantastic. Granted, there are those who are of the opinion , Don Mattingly has been just as successful as the Cardinals’ manager, achieving his success over the course of this season. It is easy . when you have the unlimited resources of a multi-billion corporation as the team’s exclusive owner and lavish payroll expense exceeding $300 million for this season, as has been the case with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The St Louis Cardinals were on the wrong side of a Tuesday night loss to their divisional rivals the Chicago Cubs , their lead within the NL Central remains a healthy one , inspite of the Cubs’ own aspirations for the season under their inspirational manager Joe Maddon. It would seem the efforts of GM Jed Hoyer and team President Theo Epstein are now finally beginning to pay off . These two teams will renew their season long rivalry , when they reacquaint themselves once again on Wednesday afternoon with a game to be played at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri, with Carlos Martinez taking the mound for the home team against Jon Lester of the Cubs.

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With the preseason being the precursor of what will likely be a fairly controversial NFL season , what do you believe we are likely to witness from the regular season within the NFL ? Also, do you believe the league is justified in seeking recourse to within the US Court of Appeals to overturn the verdict reached in the US District Court , Southern District of New York ? Finally, what are your thoughts on the impending postseason within baseball, and which teams do you believe will rise to the occasion and represent the two leagues in the 2015 World Series ?


Tophatal ……

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What now brown cow or you piece of turd ?

What now brown cow or you piece of turd ?

I have repeatedly been told that Roger Goodell is a smart individual , but in all honesty , his tenure within the NFL since succeeding Paul Tagliabue as the NFL Commissioner has been a complete embarrassment. The Ted Wells’ Report encompassing the Deflate-Gate Affair was filled with potholes and it didn’t take a legal scholar to prove that Wells and the league were simply in the midst of a witch-hunt , with the absurdity of the claims without actually have in substantive evidence beyond the allegations and claims.

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Ted Wells for his part, must be embarrassed with the fact his investigation was looked upon with little credibility by US Federal District Court Judge Richard Berman . The judge for his part was disdainful with the lack of cooperation from both parties as Tom Brady sought to have his suspension overturned in US Federal District Court within the Southern District of New York State. With the news emanating that the league’s action was overturned within the legal system , it now leaves Brady to pursue his career as well as the New England Patriots having their starting quarterback ready as they kick off their regular season schedule with their week one game against AFC rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brady and the Patriots will be looking to get off to a winning start to the season as they seek to make a successful defense of their AFC East divisional title. From my own perspective, while New England will remain under the microscope for the entire season, the league itself will and specifically Roger Goodell will continue to be questioned as to his leadership and the direction the NFL is said to be heading in. Goodell, has repeatedly failed with his leadership, lack of communicative skills and the very fact the fans have lost faith in his ability to lead. The team owners will continue to support the beleaguered executive , but I do believe it is now time to jettison the league’s highest ranking executive and for the hierarchy to seek out a successor with the ability to lead while having the best interests of the game at heart. Roger Goodell remains a paradigm and his relationship with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith continues to be an adversarial one on so many levels.

As if the preseason for the Washington Redskins hasn’t been a controversial one with their now being doubts about the future of the team’s 2012 first round draft pick , quarterback Robert Griffin III. Now comes the news that Jessica McCloughan , wife of the Redskins’ general manager Scott McCloughan has suggested that an ESPN reporter Dianna Russini offered sexual favors in order to get a news’ scoop on a story featuring the beleaguered quarterback and his fall from grace within the organization. The general manager’s wife has since apologized for her statement and the fact it went viral through social media (Twitter) , then to be picked up by various news’ organizations around the country. This all suggests for the Redskins this season, will be equally as controversial off the field as it has been on the field with Jay Gruden and his coaching staff yet to find any semblance of consistency much less any real effort from the players to succeed.

The preseason for Robert Griffin III has been one of missed opportunities for the player and injuries once again look as if they are likely to plague his season. Griffin has been less than confident during the preseason and it should come as no surprise Jay Gruden has gone with the decision to make Kirk Cousins his starting quarterback for the Redskins’ regular season opener against the Miami Dolphins at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland on 13th September , 2015. The Washington Redskins will need to get out to a fast start to their season , because I believe there will be a great deal to fight for within an NFC East division which I believe to be the most puerile in the entire NFL based on last season’s performances from the teams within the division. Aberration or not , the Dallas Cowboys’ overall record was buoyed by the fact its divisional and conference rivals were just mediocre in 2014.

Jay Gruden out of deference to Cousins will hope the player can prove to be far more of a success than his draft class counterpart of 2012 , with both players having some semblance of success for the franchise since being drafted three years ago. Offense will be one of the issues plaguing the Redskins but I also believe their defense will have a role to play if this team is to have any type of real success this upcoming season. Final rosters are not yet set for teams as they enter the regular season, so with their being jobs on the line and roster spots due to be finalized to fifty-three players . It will be interesting to see what steps are likely to be taken by the coaching staff and front office of the Washington Redskins concerning the final list of players likely to make the team.

Gruden will get the opportunity to assess his roster as the Redskins join the league’s thirty-one other teams to close out the preseason with game four of the exhibition schedule of 2015. That contest will be against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Everbank Field on Thursday , 3rd September. The proposed starters will likely play several series in this game with those said to be on the cusp of making the final cut being given a final chance to prove their worth. For Robert Griffin, this will likely be the last chance for the player to resurrect his career with the franchise , as I believe he could very well be jettisoned by the franchise , in their last ditch attempt to save face.

Billionaire businessman Terry Pegula having purchased the Buffalo Bills will be seeking to bring back the former glory of this once proud franchise. Granted, the heyday of the Bills were long ago under the guise Marv Levy, with both Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas reigning supreme for the AFC based Buffalo Bills. Unfortunately , the lean years for the franchise have been unending and now with Rex Ryan taking over the reins as head coach along with a revamped coaching and playing staff , leads me to believe to Bills are likely to be in for another bumpy year and ride . Ryan’s last two seasons with the New York Jets were simply awful and there is nothing to suggest, his taking over the Bills will lead to a quick turnaround for the AFC East based franchise.

Listing the issues Rex Ryan had with the Jets during 2013 and 2014 , are easy enough to sum up , his coaching abilities were simply nowhere to be seen and quarterback Geno Smith was simply an eyesore in terms of his of ability and continued ineptitude. A case could be made , the Bills’ head coach will face the same issues he left with the Jets , having now taken over the reins from his predecessor Doug Marrone.

Though I don’t place a great deal of emphasis on what the NFL preseason has to offer . As I believe it simply a way of the league hierarchy and the owners wanting to have their way with the fans, by having them pay for an inferior on-field product during the exhibition season ! Not that the regular season tends to be any better by any stretch of the imagination, but the league and some fans in general as well as the NFL analysts believe it something we ought to salivate over.

Three weeks into the preseason and the Buffalo Bills have posted a 2-1 record , a mark they share jointly with the New England Patriots and New York Jets , as the three teams share the AFC East divisional lead during the preseason. Rex Ryan will take Buffalo Bills on the road to face the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan to close out their preseason schedule. It affords Rex Ryan the opportunity and final chance to assess his roster , as he seeks to cut the figure down to his final spot of fifty-three players for the regular season.

Week one of the regular season will pit the Buffalo Bills against the against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana in a game which will likely give us some indication about how the Bills seek to gauge their season against one of the AFC’s best teams over the last three seasons and in particular since Andrew Luck entered the league in 2012. For Rex Ryan the preseason has provided the problematical issue of having to sort through a group of quarterbacks not really deemed to be among the best in the league let alone being average. Having to choose from among E J Manuel and Matt Simms is not something one believe to be envious for an NFL head coach would accede to. Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel are two of the four quarterbacks that Rex Ryan will have to make his ultimate choice from, as to who his starter will be for the regular season. As a passing offense the Bills have been one of the poorest teams in the NFL over the past three seasons and I seriously doubt that scenario is likely to change over the course of this season.

Odell Beckham in his rookie season with the New York Giants may well have had a breakout year, but when it was all said and done , neither he or the Giants can conclude 2014 was a tremendous season for the team. They failed to make the postseason and Eli Manning simply did not live to much less meet perceived expectations sought by fans and the front office . In spite of the idiocy one particular patron and something of an infrequent visitor to this site with his idiotic claims Eli Manning now has the best receiving corps in the NFL . I would like to know where and what this idiot might actually be thinking.

For Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning this might be the last season the two in tandem will be given the chance prove their self-worth. Manning will be hoping to have a successful year in order to fortify himself with a highly lucrative contract . If the rumors are believed to be true , Eli Manning will be seeking to become one the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL by way of annual salary as well as by his presumed contract , likely to be a six-figure , five or six-year deal . Eli Manning is now thirty-four years old and a twelve-year veteran of the NFL and I am not so sure he has it within him to guide Giants to a third Superbowl title during his tenure with the franchise.

Far too many people still remain in awe of the Eli’s two singular moments with the Giants’ triumph over the New England Patriots in Superbowl’s XLVI and XLII , but they tend to overlook his failures of late during the regular season. More so, they have overlooked his lack of leadership ability and willingness to admit to those failures. Signs to my mind, indicating conceit and a willingness to apportion blame elsewhere ! . Something often associated with players who are narcissists . A trait I believe Eli Manning also shares with fellow NFC quarterback Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys in several instances.

With no real challengers to his position as the Giants’ quarterback heading into the regular season , it is clear that Tom Coughlin will have to ride with Eli Manning until he sinks or swims . Many believe it will likely be the latter , but there remains this prevailing belief Peyton Manning’s younger brother is now in the waning years of a very good career , viewed in many areas of his being possibly a borderline candidate for the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio,. With the Giants closing out their preseason with a contest against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough . Massachusetts,. The team’s regular season opener will certainly provide the fans with something to look forward to and likewise for their opponents the Dallas Cowboys who they will face at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas in week one of the 2015 regular season schedule .

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In light of Judge Richard Berman’s findings, favoring Tom Brady in the US District Court, do you believe an appeal in US Federal Appeals’ Court will overturn the decision or should the NFL simply accept their failure , having not prepared their case with any real veracity and the very fact Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash as the NFL’s Chief Legal Counsel were simply negligent in their zeal to win ? Finally, with the preseason having come to an end , did you find any of the contests to be meaningful on any level ?

Tophatal ………..

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Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

I can’t but wonder the bull#hit now being espoused by idiots not only in the world of politics but also within the world of sports. Former GOP Vice Presidential running mate Sarah Palin has taken it upon herself to defend the comments made by Curt Schilling , as the former baseball player took it upon himself to describe some Egyptians and Muslim extremists as ” Nazi ” sympathizers. Schilling has become a pitiful individual , bemoaning the fact he wasn’t among the list of final candidates of those inducted into the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class, while at the same time not being ready to answer for his own misdeeds as a former businessman. It is well-chronicled how the player and his business partners mismanaged their former gaming company , declaring bankruptcy , and then seeking to blame their state of Rhode Island for their incompetency, with the state having backed Curt Schilling and business partners with millions of dollars in financing , as well as a favorable tax breaks.

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As for Sarah Palin, her political career has become something of an ongoing joke , while she continues her stumping of GOP conservative candidates and ideology , also continuing to be paid five-figure sums for public speaking engagements nationwide. With the Presidential nomination cycle now said to be in full swing for both parties , it is easy to understand why those already said to be bored with the idiocy it all entails would rather seek solace elsewhere. Palin and Schilling both noted Republicans, might not typically be representative of what the party is said to be about , but it is clear they’re an embarrassment to what one might be an individual deemed to have some semblance of intelligence.

I doubt that Curt Schilling might feel his statements can be taken out of context, while he provided analysis for ESPN during the coverage of the Little League World Series . How this might have anything to do with a group of children participating in one of the nation’s great pastimes might prove to be more embarrassing for the player as well as the network itself.

ESPN has proven to be a bastion for a great deal of hypocrisy , sexism , misogyny and so much more ,while trying to uphold their own idea of journalistic integrity. The network over the past few years and in recent months, has become an environment of complete stupidity, with the outlandish behavior of several current and now former contributors to the broadcast outlet. From my own perspective , I find ESPN simply another bastion of what is said to be totally abhorrent with the media at present as well as being the microcosm of society enlarge !

If there’s said to be one team in baseball which most likely is under the greatest pressure to succeed, then I believe the ball-club in question would have to be the Los Angeles Dodgers . Take into account coming into this season , in 2013 and 2014 the Dodgers failed miserably in each of the postseasons in question. Don Mattingly , might well be under the biggest pressure to succeed most of all, beyond this multi-million dollar lineup on parade this season. This Dodgers’ team has been extremely impressive with the pitching staff being exemplary , led by Zack Greinke , who over his last eight starts has been extremely impressive. Greinke pitched a gem of a game, going seven scoreless innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers “ downed” the Cincinnati Reds on their way to a 1-0 victory over their NL rivals. Don Mattingly’s players will have as their guests at Dodgers Ballpark the Chicago Cubs for a three-day weekend schedule , beginning on Friday evening with Jason Hammel of the Cubs on the mound to face Clayton Kershaw in one of the day’s more exciting games.

Two of the most disappointing teams of this baseball season to my mind , have been the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners . It’s pretty much safe to say , both organizations are now looking towards 2016 , rather than seeking to glean anything from the remainder of this calendar year or the remaining schedule. The Phillies possess the worst record in the Majors , having posted a 50-78 mark as of 27th August and the managerial staff without a clue about how to get this team playing with any type of consistency . Peter Mackanin the interim manager has now seen several former stars on this ball-club leave for fields elsewhere as the front office has begun to gut the active roster . Chase Utley and Cole Hamels are no longer with the Phillies and there is now little semblance of the team that won the World Series in 2008 defeating the Tampa Bay Rays with utmost ease .

The Philadelphia Phillies are 4-6 in their last ten games , sitting 21 ½ games behind the first place New York Mets in the NL East and twenty-four games behind the combatants in the NL wildcard race. If that isn’t a clear indicator of how disastrous a season the Phillies have managed to put together , then their fans have to be equally embarrassed by the performances of the players. Players within the farm system are now likely to be given the chance to prove themselves worthy of being part of the starting lineup as the season begins to wind down for Philadelphia Phillies.

Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano might be about the only reason to watch the Seattle Mariners this season. Yet for all of the hype over Cano having signed with the Mariners, his bringing a great deal of productivity and leadership to this Seattle team . On the field, with the exception of the aforementioned players the ball-club has been bereft of competitiveness , while Lloyd McClendon and his managerial staff have simply strayed off the path of their planned strategy for success this season.

Seattle enters its weekend schedule with a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois beginning on Friday , 28th August, 2015. Taijuan Walker of the Mariners will be on the mound to face John Danks of the White Sox in this AL contest. With what can only be described as abject failure by the Mariners , GM Jack Zduriencik was fired by the Board of Directors where senior managing partner , Howard Lincoln had the full support of the senior-most executives within the Mariners’ hierarchy for the removal of Zduriencik. This was meant to be the year where the Seattle Mariners would be making a credible challenge within the AL West seeking challenge the recent dominance of the Oakland A’s , a team which this has been nowhere near as competitive as some thought they would be. The two teams remain as cellar dwellers in the division where they have been for much of the season .

A’s manager Bob Melvin is likely to be retained by GM Billy Beane heading into the 2016 season , but the real issues facing the organization has been the very fact senior managing Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley remain at loggerheads on how best to proceed concerning the rebuilding of this once proud franchise. It remains a constant financial struggle for the Oakland A’s to be on par with their peers within the game and the fact they will the miss the postseason for 2015 will only add to that struggle. Oakland will try to make this waning month of August and heading into September , something meaningful for the year. Sonny Gray will take the mound on Friday evening when the A’s face the Arizona Diamondbacks and their starting pitcher Chase Anderson .

The difference between 2012 and now with the Miami Marlins . is not a damn thing, as the ball-club still remains in complete disarray and Jeffrey Loria remains the worst owner in Major League Baseball . His commitment to mediocrity is only exceeded by his ongoing blatant stupidity and that of the ” entire” front office of the organization. Giancarlo Stanton’s thirteen- year $325 million contract might as well have been written a role of toilet paper , considering the play of the team over the course of this season. Mike Redmond was jettisoned as the manager early in the year and Dan Jennings has yet to show his competency in his role for this franchise. Michael Hill made a splash with the Stanton contract and the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki as a free agent , but beyond that the Marlins have simply been a comedic caricature , so representative of so many teams around MLB , no real plan of action other than continuing to show sheer audacity alongside ongoing stupidity .

Winning with consistency has been the farthest thing from the mind of Dan Jennings’ managerial staff as well as the team over the course of this year . Miami’s victory over what has been a very disappointing Washington Nationals team this season, might well provide a slight respite, but I believe Nationals’ manager Matt Williams believes his players are still capable of obtaining one of the two wildcard berths up for grabs within the NL. Nine games out of that final berth may well prove to be too big a task for the Nationals to overcome during the final month of the season , but the final two games of their three-game home set against the Miami Marlins could make something of a dent in the leads held by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs .

There can be no denying Nationals’ slugger Bryce Harper is having a sensational year for the team , as he leads the NL in batting average , home runs , on-base percentage , slugging percentage and total OPS .

Bryce Harper has to be seen as the leading candidate for NLMVP and the Nationals’ first MVP Award winner in the franchise’s history . From my own perspective, while I believe the Washington Nationals to be a good team, they are falling way short of expectations. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are meant to be the fulcrum of this roster ,with both players sharing the same agent, Scott Boras . As we know the sport’s agent has been among the astute and savvy of the MLB certified agents within baseball. When both Harper and Strasburg due to become free agents, it will be interesting to see what decisions are likely to be made by front office led by GM Mike Rizzo . In 2017 , both of these former number one draft picks by the Nationals will be eligible as free agents and it will be interesting to see if Mike Rizzo and lead managing partner , Ted Lerner will seek to keep both of these formidable All Stars , while paying them both ,what Scott Boras will believe to be fair for his clients.

The AL East divisional race has become something of a cat and mouse thriller, with the Toronto Blue Jays now holding a 1 ½ game lead over divisional rivals the New York Yankees . Hal Steinbrenner , has pretty much stated the division is the Yankees to lose and the team is not ready to give up the race for the divisional title until the very last game of the season has been played. As good as the Yankees seem to be , the division I believe no longer provides the excitement and notoriety fans have usually come to expect. The real issue and their Achilles’ Heel will remain the lack of depth to the team’s pitching rotation and that of the relievers in particular.

New York’s pounding of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia on Friday night , was the Yankees’ largest margin of victory this season and certainly their most productive outing from the team’s offense. A 15-4 victory was just what the doctor ordered for New York and Joe Girardi’s team of stars . Girardi and his players will round out their weekend road series against the Atlanta Braves with Saturday’s game which will have Luis Severino on the mound to face Matt Wisler and then on Sunday Nathan Evoldi will face off against Julio Teheran of the Braves in the final game of the trilogy. .

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The MLB regular season will end on the 5th October with the wildcard round of the postseason beginning on the 6th and 7th October respectively . For the teams prive’ baseball’s postseason foray , this will be the time when nothing else matters other than their zeal to win. What are you hoping to see in the lead-up to the MLB postseason and which teams from the respective leagues do you believe can win the AL and NL Pennant and ultimately the World Series ?


Tophatal ….

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Nas …. “God’s Son ”

I Got Game , What You Got ?

I Got Game , What You Got ?

In the world of sports where athletes are times more often than rewarded for their mediocrity , it remains confounding when many of these stars, then seek to gain even more notoriety for the off-court of field antics than anything they have yet to have achieved during their active playing careers. It would appear to be the case now with the Memphis Grizzlies’ veteran Matt Barnes, who but at one time played for both Los Angeles’ based NBA franchises the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Now something of a journeyman within the NBA , Barnes has never been the meaningful or an integral part of any team where he has played. Now seeking to emblazon himself in the minds of the masses, Matt Barnes is on a quest to let the world know about his private life and the fact he has dated pop sensation Rihanna. Last I looked the singer had notched up her own fair share of male suitors which have included current San Diego Padres’ slugger Matt Kemp , rapper , Drake and his erstwhile nemesis Chris Brown . No mean feat by the singer , until you realize, she actually garners more press than the aforementioned names combined and has been more successful from a talent and commercial standpoint. Which begs the question, is Matt Barnes really that much of an asshole ? Yes indeed, he is that much of an asshole and a great deal more .

With the upcoming season of the NBA not due to begin until the opening regular season tip-off , opening night 27th October 2015, much of the off-season and heading into the preseason has been about what various teams have sought to do to bolster their rosters. The Golden State Warriors rode on the crest of an emotion alongside great coaching to win their first NBA title in four decades. Unfortunately , rather than seeking to praise the franchise for the achievement , the press and in particular anal retentive fans, have sought to make excuses for the defeated NBA Finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers and their superstar guard LeBron James. James for his part in spite of his heroics was never seriously in with a chance of winning his third straight NBA title. There was way too much pressure on the Cavaliers to succeed and clearly the inexperience of head coach David Blatt played a part in their downfall beyond the loss of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James has been lucky enough to know the front office of the Cavaliers are willing to do just about anything to facilitate the player’s whims , including seeking to acquire just about anyone willing to play a secondary role to the LeBron James traveling circus. Cleveland is likely to be among one of the top draws on the road as well as at home during the upcoming regular season and it is also clear they will be a major ratings’ draw when it comes to a television audience. The Christmas Day scheduling of the rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena is a clear indication of how orchestrated and self-important the NBA now believes itself to be.

While I have no doubt the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will each have a role to play in this upcoming season , where both teams will likely be challenging for divisional honors within their respective conference. I do believe that the West will be the better of the two conferences on display , as has been the case over the last eight seasons.

With Marc Gasol choosing to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies , it will be interesting to see what this team has in store for their fans this upcoming season. Gasol will be the focus of the roster alongside Zach Randolph and Vince Carter , who after all of these years within the NBA still believes he has something to offer a team. There was a time when Carter was among the most explosive and dynamic players within the NBA , but over the last few years , his productivity has declined. Head coach David Joerger and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove this season if they (Grizzlies) are to be considered among the top teams within the Western Conference throughout the year. Memphis will tip-off their regular season schedule with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 28th October,2015 at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee,.

So much for the hype behind the return of Phil Jackson and what he might be able to offer the New York Knicks by way of his basketball acumen. This past season showed the Knicks to be as bad a team to be found in this league. Embarrassing and simply asinine, might not be enough to describe how bad the New York Knicks just happened to be. What might now be even more befuddling concerning the Knicks were the choices made by the front office during the most recent NBA Draft. Still trying to figure out who Kristaps Porzingis just happens to be? Try looking at his team bio with the Knicks and then ascertain why he was actually chosen as their number one pick in the first round . Someone needs to explain , how a front office led by Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher believes Porzingis is a better choice . ahead of players such as Willie Cauley-Stein , Frank Kaminsky , Justice Winslow and several other players many believe to have greater talent than Kristaps Porzingis.

Consider the fact , Knicks’ fans in attendance of the NBA Draft immediately began to boo the choice of the Latvian star whose experience with the Spanish League giant Sevilla was said to one of the main reasons he was drafted by the Knicks. Given New York’s failure to draft anyone of note who has contributed to the franchise over the past five seasons, it easy to understand why the franchise remains such a mess. Phil Jackson’s legacy can solely be judged on his achievements as a head coach , but as a front office executive, he still has his training wheels firmly strapped to his feet . Very much the same can be said of Derek Fisher as a head coach along with his aimless staff of coaching assistants. There are jigsaw puzzles with over one thousand pieces, which could be better assembled than the mess put together by Phil Jackson. Knicks’ fans start kissing your own proverbial @sses , rather than coming up with the regurgitating excuses of Jackson having a plan of action.

Carmelo Anthony may well have chosen to remain in New York because of the money , but the past two years for the player have been wasted years in terms of his talent and the fact the front office has failed miserably in placing around him the talent necessary for the New York Knicks to win consistently , much less make their presence felt in the NBA Playoffs . I do not believe there is anything more which needs to be said about the New York Knicks , where we know their Achilles’ Heal will remain their lack of defense and the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony there remains little to this roster by way of the offense. The Knicks will begin their regular season sojourn with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks coached by their former point guard Jason Kidd when the two teams meet at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, on the 28th October, 2015.

Kobe Bryant will enter this season as the highest paid player in the league while on a Los Angeles Lakers’ team likely to be heading nowhere and not as competitive as their fans might believe them to be. Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss , as the senior owners of the franchise along with GM Mitch Kupchak have been culpable in presiding over what has been unmitigated disaster over the past four seasons for this once proud organization. The more Lakers’ fans tend to talk about past glories, rather than deal in the reality of here and now . It is more borne out by the fact , they have simply become delusional and unwilling point the finger at where the responsibilities lay for the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace. Bryant is no longer the player who once reigned supreme over this league and flashes of momentary brilliance cannot hide the fact this aging veteran is now several years past his prime. Yet fans of the Los Angeles Lakers remain optimistic the player can win a sixth NBA title , matching that of his personal icon Michael Jordan .

After a horrendous season in 2014 , it is easy to understand why the Lakers’ fans and the team would like to place it in their rear-view mirror . The Los Angeles Lakers much like the New York Knicks have been feeble in their attempts in drafting players with a competitive zeal, clearly evident in 2014 , 2013 , 2012 and 2011. Granted, this year and their choices of D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr, in round one , to be followed by Anthony Brown have yet to bear fruit. The feeling however, appears to be , this will be a work in progress as Byron Scott and his coaching staff embark upon this regular season. I believe through their first twenty-five games of the season , will provide us with enough of a gauge to see how the Lakers are likely to fare during 2015.

Scott and the Lakers will open their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles California on the 28th October.

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Tophatal ………

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Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

There is no disputing the fact, with the year-round cycle of perpetual NFL news you simply cannot get away from football , no matter how much one might try. With the ongoing fiasco of the Deflate-Gate saga now taking place within the legal system and a Federal Court judge Richard Berman now presiding over what will likely the final arbitrary judgment on the matte. I am now beginning to believe this league desires all of the negative publicity possible simply to remain in the limelight.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell no longer has any credibility and the fact that the team owners remain staunchly loyal to him remains not only incredulous but also unfathomable. Fans may well point to the fact the league is highly profitable, but what does it suggest when the NFL still can’t clean its own house or where its relationship with the NFLPA (union) remains adversarial and antagonistic? When asked about this , the commissioner remains nonplussed and comes across as a buffoon. As to the fans who continue to point to the popularity as one of the sole reasons to find football popular , then they might as well bend over and seek to kiss their own ass for all of the good it might do.

Week one of the NFL season went by without there being a standout performance by a team or player after the games played. Divisional standings asides, there wasn’t a great deal that could be taken away from the results seen other than the fact two Heisman Trophy winners are likely to struggle during this season should they be entrusted with leading their respective teams as that franchise’s starting quarterback.

Tim Tebow a recent free agent signing by the Philadelphia Eagles has become a reclamation project for team head coach Chip Kelly. All signs point to the fact the former New York Jets , Denver Broncos and New England Patriots’ player will likely be a bust. His performance in the Eagles’ season opener of the preseason was a disaster and there was nothing to suggest Tebow’s game has actually improved since he last played in the NFL during the 2012 season.

Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team’s and the league’s number one overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft fared no better in the Buccaneers’ preseason opener, as they fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a rather lopsided game. Pretty much safe to say this Buccaneers’ offense could very well end up being among the worst in the NFL this upcoming season with the defense not actually faring any better. Depth on this team roster can only be described as being mediocre at best.

Week two of the preseason will see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida on Monday , 24th August, 2015. Lovie Smith and his team will be seeking their first winof the preseason with Jameis Winston likely to once again get the start in preference over Mike Glennon.

Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will face the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , In the second game of their preseason schedule. Tim Tebow will likely get some playing time in the contest. Yet I have no doubt in my mind the head coach knows , that his and the team’s best option to win lays in the hands of either Mark Sanchezand the much-criticized Sam Bradford whose years in the league have proven to be something of a major disappointment. The NFL to my mind has now become a league of insipid mediocrity , where the fans in general, simply remain apathetic, unbelievably asinine and naive.

The 2012 NFL Draft might well go down as one of the best in recent NFL history and perhaps one of the best in terms of quarterback talent since the hype was made concerning where Hall of Fame players Dan Marino and John Elway would be taken and which teams they would indeed be drafted by. Both quarterbacks went on to have legendary careers , with Elway leading the Denver Broncos to successive Superbowl victories and then riding off into Broncos’ folklore. John Elway is now Head of Football Operations for the franchise, where there is now another legendary quarterback looking to add a second Superbowl victory to his resume and adding a third such title for Denver Broncos.

There are many who now believe the window off opportunity has now closed for Peyton Manning , but yet I feel , as long as the four time League MVP has an effective arsenal to complement his immense skill-set then the Broncos remain with a chance of possibly winning , but that would also be prefaced by suggesting they would be able to get the better of an AFC opponent in the postseason before facing their NFC counterpart in the “Big Game”.

Denver got off to a winning start in the preseason , defeating the Seattle Seahawks on the road in a 22-20 victory against the 2013 Superbowl champions. The Broncos will be looking to add to their winning ways when they face the Houston Texans at Reliant Field/NRG Stadium in Houston Texas on the 22nd August, 2015.

2015 will mark the third year in the NFL for the Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III. The player has made one postseason appearance for the franchise which came to an abrupt end . His sophomore season was by far the best Griffin has had in the league. Granted, he has yet to show the intestinal fortitude of Andrew Luck the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback taken directly ahead of him as the number one overall pick in in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Jay Gruden as head coach of the Washington Redskins’ having not only to deal with the local media , now has to deal with a player whose own entourage seems to be one where they feel , Robert Griffin can and should be seen as the only reason this Redskins’ team exists. Griffin himself, has come out and suggested he remains the best quarterback on the roster and the provides the team with the best chance to win. Yet by any stretch of the imagination , other than his postseason foray in 2012, as a quarterback, he has yet provide the consistency sought for the Washington Redskins to be seen as a credible challenger within the NFC East much less withinthe NFC this upcoming season. Beyond Griffin’s claims of being the best quarterback on the Redskins’ roster, the player believes himself to be the best in the league. All well and good if you have the performances to back it up, but nothing could be further from the truth. It seems what Robert Griffin lacks in competitiveness he makes up for with hyperbole, a great of brevity , a false sense of self-importance and narcissism.

The Redskins’ quarterback is well-paid , perhaps far more than he is actually worth at this juncture, but for the moment, he remains with the franchise knowing this could very well be the last season to prove himself, before the decision is made to jettison him altogether. Robert Griffin III has certainly been more of a distraction for the franchise in his three years rather than an asset and when you consider postseason appearances for the Redskins have become something of a rarity over the last ten years. It is understandable why the front office and team owner Dan Snyder are now at their wits’ end. As valuable as the Washington Redskins remain with an ultra loyal fan-base, having nothing at all to show for during that time-span means absolutely nothing at all , even if organization remains extremely profitable. Making money in the NFL comes extremely easy when you charge exorbitant prices for admission and the television contract are simply extortionate, without mentioning the fact the consumer seems forever starved of a product that has now become extremely pallid.

A narrow three-point win over the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener offered up nothing new as to what the aspirations might be for the Jay Gruden coached Washington Redskins. In week two the Detroit Lions led by Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford will be the guests of the Redskins at Fedex Field, in Landover, Maryland for an NFC conference match-up. It will be interesting to see how the two opposing front-line starting quarterbacks will fare in this contest. Not due to become a free agent until 2017 , a two-year window of opportunity for Robert Griffin is now fast approaching , whereby it’s now or never for the player, who feels he is the best quarterback in the NFL, when he is on his game. RGIII, as he likes to be known, still has a long way to go before he proves himself the equal of his peers , never mind the players and quarterbacks from the 2012 NFL Draft class.

Say what you will, but the Chicago Bears are now playing a rather stupid game of not only cat and mouse, but also who moved my cheese? Former Bears’ GM Phil Emery took it upon himself to sign Jay Cutler to a seven-year $126.7 million contract and what might be even more ludicrous was the insistence of Emery, this would provide the franchise with stability and secure Cutler’s long-term security. Since Jay Cutler was acquired by the Bears the franchise has made only one postseason appearance and the fact they failed so abysmally, a great deal of the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the quarterback. Prior to the start of the preseason there were rumbling heard the front office of the Chicago Bears might be willing to off-load the beleaguered quarterback.

Jay Cutler, I believe remains this generation’s Jeff George , another quarterback with a bullet of an arm , but whose technical prowess and leadership skill-set always came into question. It has been the very same questions , continually being raised about the Bears’ incumbent starting QB. John Fox now comes in looking to turn things around for the Chicago Bears in what is likely to be a combative NFC North division where the Green Bay Packers will be looking to remain the dominant force while also repeating as champions of the division. The regular season meetings between the two teams should prove to be very interesting. I certainly believe Aaron Rodgers and his teammates will get the better of the Bears in both scheduled contests , with Rodgers’ record against his divisional foes continuing. Chicago will face the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday , 22nd August , while Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Heinz Field , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday , the 23rd August,2015 .

Postseason or should I say two Superbowl performances can define a person’s career and create a legacy which is likely to make you a candidate for the Hall of Fame . Such might be the case for New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning and a claim could be made that he might be better than his elder sibling Peyton Manning when it comes to being on the NFL’s grandest stage . Eli Manning hopes to negotiate a mega-contract as he closes out the final year of his six-year $97.5 million current deal , with all evidence pointing to the fact the player wishes to have or be offered a contract that would make him the highest paid quarterback in the league.

While I believe Eli Manning to be a very good quarterback his career beyond his postseason heroics have been somewhat sedate. Granted he does possess winning record during the regular season is credible, but his twelve years in the NFL and he only has six winning seasons indicates to me something average, and averaging a mere seven wins a year throughout his career in the NFL. The past two seasons for Eli Manning have proven to be mediocre, with the player showing little or no leadership qualities whatsoever , while seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for his failings . Manning, like head coach Tom Coughlin will be under a great deal of pressure this season and the likelihood appears to be, should the Giants fail, then both the head coach and player are likely to become no longer part of this franchise. Do I believe Eli Manning to be on the downside of his career ? Yes , in many ways I do feel his skill-set has declined , but the Manning name in the NFL does cast a giant shadow over this league and with the Deflate-Gate fiasco still within our midst, it has been the Manning brothers who if anything have defined his last decade and a half in this league more than any other player during the time-span in question.

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Do you believe this upcoming season in the NFL will prove to be exciting ? Or do feel the league will simply struggle to show any signs of real consistency among the teams ?

Tophatal ..


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