Free Agency ……It’s Never Been That Simple

Free Agency ………It’s Never That Simple

It’s remarkable to see that the NFL is nothing more than a business driven machine. But herein lies the problem for many of its players. How do you explain to them that it’s never that simple to simply pursue the money instead of the greater glory of winning ? Far too often that at the height of a player’s career after achieving a modicum of success with one club , he’s then saying that he wants out unless he gets paid. We often hear ‘I’ve been disrespected ‘ !. Or for some reason when the player becomes either a restricted or unrestricted free agent that the contract negotiations begin with a club. There seem s to be an impasse reached between the two vested parties over money. The club is willing to pay but not overpay for that player’s services.

Seahawks'   wide  receiver   T J Houshmanzadeh   shows   off  his   new  jersey   replete  with  his   name  and   number.  Pity   however  the  player  has   yet  to  show  the  form  for  his  new  team  that  made   such  a  highly  sought  after   free  agent  .    picture  appears  courtesy  of    ap/photo/  Kevin  P. Casey  .............

Seahawks’ wide receiver T. J Houshmanzadeh shows off his new jersey replete with his name and number.Pity however,the player has yet to show the form that made him such a highly sought after free agent. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Kevin P. Casey….

Fast forward and take a look at the situation that involved two of the most noted free agents to have hit the market within the NFL. First there was former Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver T.J Houshmanzadeh. A terrific player, who’d been productive with the Bengals and he alongside, Chad Ochocinco , were once viewed as one of the best receiving duos in the league. He simply made life easier for Bengals’ quarterback, Carson Palmer , with his electric speed , blocking ability and most exceptional were his catches and the yardage gained after the catch. Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis was visibly upset with the loss of the player ,when he left the team , to sign with the Seattle Seahawks.

Houshmanzadeh’s career seems to have taken a turn for the worse, as the Seahawks have tumbled out of relevance within the league. The excuses are made that the team declined with the injury bug that hit the roster , with the loss of quarterback , Matt Hasselbeck. Some have said that the departure of former coach, Mike Holmgren , upon his retirement -the team were never the same. Holmgren’s successor Jim Mora Jr. has seemingly been unable to maintain the success attained by Holmgren . And Houshmanzadeh ‘s play has just simply declined in the aftermath. While all of this has been happening , the Bengals as a team , is now on the rise. And the play of Palmer and Ochocinco has been exceptional. Marvin Lewis has the team playing with a great deal of passion and resolve . They’ve also become competitive within the AFC North and the NFL , as a whole.

For $ 100 million you’d be better bringing a lunch bucket to work , rather than a sandwich box. It’s simply amazing to hear of a player being paid such an excessive sum , only having simply produced , merely just one year’s body of work , having been in the league for a number of years going unnoticed.But simply put , the Washington Redskins have never been averse to overpaying for marginal talent. It’s been their coup de gras over the years. Think of it , as desiring a Maserati and you end up buying a hoopty. The Redskins sought and pursued former Tennessee Titans’ defensive player Albert Haynesworth with a great deal of zeal. Justified or not, the team to my mind had far greater needs in a variety of areas. And on another level , the team’s general manager, Vinny Cerrato at the behest of team owner , Daniel Snyder , simply has played fast and loose in spending money , on players who’ve never panned out with the Redskins. Just look down the list and it’s who’s of infamy- players who just haven’t lived up to the perceived hype about their abilities.

Haynesworth  seen  here  with   Redkins'  coach  Jim  Zorn

Haynesworth seen here with Redskins’ coach Jim Zorn just after formally agreeing to and signing a $100 million, 7 year contract offer with the team. Of which $45 million was in guaranteed money.Haynesworth’s form for the team has fallen far short of the contract’s worth. picture appears courtesy of getty images-north america/ Mitchell Layton…………

Haynesworth, having had a tremendous season with the Titans, was on the market as a free agent. And in essence, he was one of the most desirable of them all, out there. Far be it for me to suggest otherwise. But I do think that the play of Haynesworth’s former teammate , Kyle Van Den Bosch , played a great part in the player’s perceived importance and Albert’s belief in his own self worth. Haynesworth may well have been the fulcrum that held the team together . But to my mind Van Den Bosch played just as great a part in the team’s success last season under coach , Jeff Fisher and their 13-3 regular season of last year. Unfortunately, their loss in the playoffs was something of a surprise to many , who felt the team was destined for something better. But it wasn’t to be.

The Titans this season are (0-6) in the NFL ,soon to be quite possibly , (0-7) and further descending into depths of banality. But if anything , there’s more synergy and camaraderie within the Titans’ organization and the team’s respect for their coach.Their problem I believes is in the fact that the team’s quarterback ,Kerry Collins,has lost the confidence of his teammates and his leadership skills appears to be on the decline. As are Collins’ skills as a quarterback. Waiting in the wings, is said to be a rejuvenated Vince Young,who’s set to prove to the organization and its fans that he is the same player whose performance in the Texas Longhorns’ celebrated win over the USC Trojans, has been the highlight of his football career thus far. He’d like to show them that he’s regained that type of form. If Young can resurrect his career and play the Titans back into competitive contention. Then all will be forgiven in the eyes of many.

Haynesworth, for his part, now appears to be a character from the H G Welles’ classic novel ‘The Invisible Man’. If his name comes up any of the Redskins’ stats sheet, then can someone show it to me , please ! It was never about the money was it Albert ? Don’t bullshit me , please ! You say you wanted to play for a successful organization and build further upon their success ? What happened ? The fact of the matter is that the Washington Redskins under their coach, Jim Zorn ,have been totally abysmal . And the team and the organization has lost all confidence in the coaching abilities of Zorn. But what might be more damning ,may well be the fact of the lack of passion shown by the players on the field. Haynesworth ,quarterback, Jason Campbell are front and center. Obviously , they’re all are equally to blame for the abysmal showing of the team. There has no leadership shown from either and Zorn quite simply put, isn’t NFL coaching material. Plainly and simply, the organization has made another one of their several faux pas over the years. Think back to the Steve Spurrier era for the Redskins ? Was he bad or what ?

As I’ve alluded to earlier, it may well have not been about the money but simply wanting to build upon their legacy. But for Albert Haynesworth and T J Houshmanzadeh , the decision made to leave for pastures green, just hasn’t seemed to have worked out at all. It has been a complete and unadulterated mess for both. And it’s hard to see where both can go from here. Up you might say ? But that’d be predicated upon viewing both the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks getting a new lease on life and starting to win and perform better than they are now doing . And based on the evidence as the season has unfolded ,they appear to be a hell of a long way off from where they desire to be. Simply put ,Haynesworth and Houshmanzadeh made a decision about the careers that has been nothing short of being disastrous. Would you agree on that summation ?

Skip Bayless Says He’ll Get A Life Once LeBron James Wins An NBA Title

I don’t know which is worse – on air tv personalities covering sports by way of being so called sports journalists, politicians , lawyers or perhaps your local unwashed pan handler on the streets ? To my mind it may well be far too close a call between the aforementioned pan handler and a sports journalist. Especially the type we tend to see pop up on television , merely because the program director of the station thinks that they might have something interesting to say. Well, that appears to be the case with noted writer and sport’s journalist Skip Bayless of ESPN .

Bayless and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Chad Ocho Cinco discuss the player’s talent within the NFL on the ESPN program ‘ 1st And 10’ . Certainly a conversation between self absorbed individuals who’d rather listen to their own voice ,rather than what the other has to say.

Now don’t get me wrong, ESPN are entirely able to do as they please , with regard to their on air talent and how they proceed to use them in subjecting the viewer to a specific sport’s format for a television program. I mean, after-all, isn’t that why we watch some of their programming ? To be informed and to be entertained ? However, there has to be a point where the hype and insults have to stop and we’re given something more informative. Rather than the constant barb we tend to get from talk radio and that of the political diatribe served up there. And that’s continually served up for the public’s daily consumption. How did it ever get this bad or god-damn awful to begin with ? It’s not as if they , themselves provide any real political insight to begin with ? And the same can be sometimes said for the squawk boxes at ESPN and also at Fox , with regard to their coverage of sports on an undue basis ! In reality though, all of the major broadcast networks are in the same proverbial boat with regard to this particular subject.

Jarret Jack  of the  Toronto  Raptors   goes  up for the  layup while under  the  defensive  presence  of the  Cavaliers'   Shaquille  O'Neal  in  a  game  played  at  the  Air Canada Arena  in  Toronto , Canada.    picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty images/   Ron  Turenne  ................

Jarret Jack (1) of the Toronto Raptors goes for the layup while under the defensive presence of the Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (33) in a game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto , Canada. The Raptors would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 101-91 , despite the fact of a triple double by LeBron James during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……

Skip Bayless , he of the coiffed hair-do, seems to think that whatever he says tends to be gospel. Whether or not he’s just being conceited , I’ll leave that up for you to decide ! And he plays his part with a great deal of aplomb. Never let it be said he doesn’t know how to play up to the camera and always show his best side, as the case maybe. Of late Bayless to whine and wax on lyrically as to how over-rated LeBron James of the NBA really is. What Bayless tends to all too often forget is , ” …… one man doesn’t a team make ” ! I’m now beginning to wonder whether or not Bayless was ever a college athlete or merely just a geek ? But then again, I may well be wrong as he could have been neither. And his main focus of this, is because James has yet to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title .

While Bayless is entitled to his opinions valid or invalid as the case maybe. His constant need to bring up this subject and whine on about LeBron James now borders on being ridiculous. James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still growing as a team . And Bayless continues to make comparisons of James to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, makes the case that he’s becoming something of an idiot to begin with ! It took Jordan a number of years to assimilate into the league, hone his skills and then to become a complete and great player. Am I missing something here ? But it wasn’t until Jordan had Scottie Pippen at his side with a platoon of role players who knew their roles,that things began to click for Jordan and the Bulls.And the rest as they say is history. Something that it appears that Skip Bayless seems to be forgetting at this juncture How soon one forgets !

Bayless and his fellow co-conspirators on ‘1st And 10’ , discuss the episode about LeBron James, after he was dunked on by a college player in an indoor gymnasium , not under game condition. This was essentially much ado about nothing. But this was essentially , considered to be newsworthy ? What the hell ?

And while Bayless still continues to pay homage to Jordan , to this day. It casts doubt as to the veracity of the case that he’s trying to make . Bearing in mind that the talent that James had around when the Cavaliers first went to the NBA Finals was little more than average at best. And there wasn’t a ‘ Pippen type player’ there to begin with. Nevertheless, they made it there, even if it was at the expense of being swept by by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2006-07 NBA Finals (4-0). Where the NBA Finals’ MVP was Tony Parker , who had a stellar series en route to winning the championship.

Cavaliers'   point guard  Mo  Williams (2)  drives  the  lane  as  he  makes  his   way  to  the  basket  against the  Toronto  Raptors  .  Attempting  to  supply  the  defensive   presence  is the  Raptors'  Jarrett  Jack .    picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty  images/  Ron  Turenne  ..................

Cavaliers’ point guard Mo Williams (2) drives the lane as he makes his way to the basket against the Toronto Raptors. Attempting to apply the defensive presence and stop, is the Raptors’ Jarrett Jack . picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……….

Now with the 2009-10 season having just opened and with the recently acquired ,Shaquille O’Neal at his side, for what will be a very interesting season for James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans. For the further progression of LeBron James as a player,it’ll no doubt be interesting to see what Bayless now has up his sleeves by way of a commentary as to this new situation within the Cavaliers’ organization. Certainly one doesn’t expect him to as such downplay his remarks or the sentiment. But I’d like to think that the ongoing analysis that he’ll provide will be fair. Rather than the bloviated and rather inane commentary that far too often he has been known for. It’s as if he bears LeBron James ill will and a grudge for some past misdeed. Or perhaps it’s because as a boy , he (Bayless ) was overlooked by others when they went about picking a team for a pickup game. He no doubt may well have been the last boy chosen to play on a team ? Whereas ,there was always someone there who may well have reminded him of James because of the talent shown. Hard not to view it that way, isn’t it ?

The  Cavaliers'   Shaquille O'Neal  (left) and  teammate  LeBron  James  oncourt   against the  Toronto  Raptors   in an   NBA  game  played   at  the  Air  Canada  Arena in  Toronto , Ontario,  Canada.      picture  appears  courtesy of  nbae /getty  images/  Ron Turenne  ...............

The Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (left) and teammate LeBron James (right) oncourt together against the Toronto Raptors in game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ….

Understandably, there are those who fully support the claims being made by Bayless , as is their right to do so. But I’d ask of them this question. Can they seriously think that LeBron James is that over-rated a player based on his career thus far ? His stats alone show that he’s far exceeded what was expected of this young phenom, when he first entered the league as a high school sensation and the first round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers , chosen number one overall , in 2003 . Amongst the entrants in the draft of that year, were players such as Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, David West , Kirk Hinrich and Mickael Pietrus. All of whom, seem to have made a name for themselves within the NBA with regard to their careers, thus far. That 2003 NBA Draft, may well have been one of the most talent laden rich drafts in recent memory. And many of those players mentioned are still productive within the NBA today. Which is far less than can be said for the likes others who fell short of the plaudits that were first thrown at them. Think Sam Bowie, Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi . I’d certainly like to think that somewhere along the way the general managers who went out of the way to make the decision to take each of this particular triumvirate. Are somewhere , in a place where they’re not left to make a decision that could do irretrievable damage to an organization.

The eternal  triumvirate  of  the  Chicago  Bulls' dynasty . From  left to right   Scottie Pippen ,  Michael Jordan  and  the  team's  coach  Phil  Jackson.  Through  the  early to  mid  nineties  the  team  was  the  dominant  force in the  NBA  having  won  6  NBA championships  in an  eight year  span.   picture  appears courtesy of  Sports Illustratred  si.com/  Manny  Millan  ...............

The eternal triumvirate of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty . From left to right , Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and the team’s coach, Phil Jackson. Through the early to mid nineties, the team was the dominant force in the NBA ,having won 6 NBA championships in an 8 year span (1991-98). picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated si.com/ Manny Millan. ………………

And while Bayless will have his platform to make his rather incendiary statements. For James and the Cavaliers , this could very well be a make or break season for the organization and their fans. After the disappointment of last season, having lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. The thought is that they’ll have to retrench and reassess where they went wrong, if they’re to improve upon last year. The loss and James’ unsportsman like conduct afterwards left a great deal to be desired. It created the impression that LeBron was immature and unable to deal with defeat in a sportsman like manner. It sent the wrong message across the NBA but more so, to his young adoring fans. Now he and his new teammate Shaquille O’Neal will look to make amends for last season. And for Cavaliers’ coach, Mike Brown, this will prove to be a severe test as to his capabilities as a coach. Failure now, and he’ll be questioned by not only the Cavaliers’ fans but also fans of the NBA in general , who’ll say that he can’t get it done – with two superstars on his team surrounded with a contingent of the customary role players in tow.

As for James , in my mind this is but a part of a well traveled journey that he’ll have to take. Success will inevitably find its way to him , if it is ultimately what he seeks. For moment however, it appears to be that the hype in essence has overshadowed in some ways his undoubted talents. But wasn’t it the same way too , for Michael Jordan ? And look at what he aspired to become .

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009-10 Roster:

Players:

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
1 Daniel Gibson G 6-2 200 02/27/1986 Texas 3
14 Daniel Green F 6-6 210 06/22/1987 North Carolina R
21 J.J. Hickson F 6-9 242 09/04/1988 North Carolina State 1
11 Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 7-3 260 06/05/1975 Kaunas, Lithuania 11
00 Darnell Jackson F 6-9 253 11/07/1985 Kansas 1
23 LeBron James F 6-8 250 12/30/1984 St. Vincent-St. Mary HS (OH) 6
5 Coby Karl G 6-5 215 03/06/1983 Boise State 1
15 Jamario Moon F 6-8 200 06/13/1980 Meridian CC (MS) 2
33 Shaquille O’Neal C 7-1 325 03/06/1972 Louisiana State 17
18 Anthony Parker G-F 6-6 215 06/19/1975 Bradley 6
44 Leon Powe F 6-8 240 01/22/1984 California 3
17 Anderson Varejao C-F 6-11 260 09/28/1982 Santa Teresa, Brazil 5
13 Delonte West G 6-3 180 07/26/1983 Saint Joseph’s 5
31 Jawad Williams F 6-9 218 02/19/1983 North Carolina 1
2 Mo Williams G 6-1 190 12/19/1982 Alabama 6

HEAD COACH
Mike Brown (College – San Diego)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Hank Egan (College – Navy)
Melvin Hunt (College – Baylor)
Chris Jent (College – Ohio State)
Michael Malone (College – Loyola (MD))

STRENGTH-AND-CONDITIONING COACH
Stan Kellers (College – Cleveland State)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Max Benton (College – Colorado)

Divisional Standings: Central Division

Central W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Chicago3 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 1-0 0-0 1-0 W 1
Detroit7 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-0 1-0 W 1
Indiana 0 1 0.000 1.0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-1 L 1
Cleveland 0 2 0.000 1.5 0-2 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-2 L 2

New Jack City , New Jack City …….. The Cash Money Crew ………

“Am I my brother’s keeper ? Yes I am ! “ A quote from the movie “New Jack City” (1991) made by the character Nino Brown – villain of the piece in the movie. Character played by the actor Wesley Snipes .

A nine minute scene from the movie ‘New Jack City’ .

No doubt by now the vast majority of you will have realized that the World Series has started and that game one, in the best of seven game series ended with the result of a (6-1) victory for the National League representative- the Philadelphia Phillies . They thoroughly dominated their opponents, the New York Yankees in arriving at this result. And for the vast majority of the fans in attendance , who just happen to be New York Yankees’ fans.This must’ve been a vast disappointment to see their team go down in such a fashion. The Phillies had their starting ace on the mound , in Cliff Lee . Who pitched a complete game ,giving up no runs ,striking out 10, for the win. It was a tremendous performance by the pitcher. For which, he was ably abetted by the offensive output by his teammates.

Phillies' ace  Cliff  Lee  pitches  in  the  ninth  inning  of game one  of the  World  Series .  Lee  pitched  a  complete   game   for  the  NL  Pennant  winners    against the  New  York  Yankees  at   Yankees  Stadium , in  the Bronx,  New  York City.,    The  Phillies  are   now  1-0    having  defeated  New  York  6-1  in the   best  of   7  game  series.     picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo /Julie   Jacobson   ........................

Phillies’ ace, Cliff Lee pitches in the ninth inning of game one of the World Series . Lee pitched a complete game for the NL Pennant winners against the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City., The Phillies are now 1-0 having defeated New York 6-1 in the best of 7 game series. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo /Julie Jacobson…………..

The New York Yankees for their part had pitched their hopes on their own starting ace, C. C. Sabathia. Ironically enough, the two starting aces on opposing teams, were once former teammates with the Cleveland Indians. A thought not lost on many who witnessed last night’s game at Yankees Stadium ,in the Bronx, New York City. That being said , the aftermath of this result puts undue additional pressure on the Yankees to rebound immediately from this loss with a win game two. As to how easy that may well be , will be dependent upon the mental attitude of the Yankees’ players and in particular that of their game two stater , A. J. Burnett. His opposing number in game two, will be former Yankees’ killer, Pedro Martinez. And that will be very much predicated upon how the Yankees set about dealing with the wily veteran pitcher. Martinez is essentially a player, who loves the big game events , where everything is set up for him to perform at his optimum level. The New York Yankees would be fools to underestimate him , thinking that his best days are behind him as a pitcher. There’s a reason , Martinez sought the desire to come back and pitch again in the ‘Big Leagues’. It was after all to win another World Series ring and add to his tally and illustrious legacy. Nothing wrong in that, is there ?

For Major League Baseball (MLB) what better stage is there for a World Series , with the Yankees there in the postseason as one of the two representatives ? It cries out for the series to be a thoroughly competitive one. And for the game in particular and its major corporate patrons, this will be a big financial bonanza. Say nothing of which , for the city of New York, it will create a vast economic impact , for an already troubled city, financially. Can’t say that the Yankees will be hurting for money with this appearance. As they’ve got this thing tied up in terms of the money that they’ll no doubt earn through their various revenue income streams. It’s expected that the New York Yankees could very well make in excess of $ 45 million from this World Series appearance alone. And who says crime doesn’t pay ? Not that one should equate what they are doing as a crime. But it certainly looks that way on paper when measured against of their competitors within the rest of Major League Baseball. It’s a matter of supply and demand , is it not ? The New York Yankees supply it and we as the fans in our never-ending quest demand it. And whatever it is , year in , year out , the thinking is, when the Yankees are there in the postseason . Then, there will always be a demand for their product. The proof will not only be in the attendance for these series of games but also in the tv coverage under the watchful eye of MLB, as the television broadcast will be carried by Fox . Ah , the sounds of cash flowing through the coffers of the Yankees and that of MLB must be bringing joy to ears of not only the Steinbrenner family and their patriarch, George Steinbrenner. But also, that of Commissioner , Bud Selig as well , who knows that this was perhaps the most desirable match-up that the fans could’ve wished for. The two best teams in either league , meeting face to face to decide baseball’s ultimate prize.

92343071CC174_Philadelphia_

Cliff Lee and teammate ,catcher , Carlos Ruiz celebrate after the Phillies’ defeat of the New York Yankees in game one of the World Series at Yankees Stadium in New York. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Julie Jacobson ……….

Well if last night was any indication of what we’re to expect from the Phillies. Then for the rest of this series dependent upon how long it ultimately lasts. The Yankees will be in for a great deal of problems in more ways than one. The Yankees were held hit-less through eight innings by some extraordinary pitching from Cliff Lee. And he was helped with some stellar play defensively when it mattered by his teammates. And this from a Yankees’ offense that had overpowered many of their opponents throughout much of the regular season with the sheer weight power ? Never mind that during their postseason foray Alex Rodriguez– well for him the light switch came on and he began to hit like a madman possessed. Nothing appeared to be out of his reach. Not so last night, as he went back into that proverbial slump we’ve all become accustomed to seeing from him when the postseason comes around . And to think that some were already referring to him as ………”Mr October “? What the hell were they thinking ? As we all know there’ll only ever be one Mr October …. and that’s Yankees’ great , Reggie Jackson.

At present, A-Rod couldn’t even put on Reggie’s jockstrap for that matter ! But as they say, it’s not always size that matters, as it’s how one uses the tools of the trade that really counts. Can you hear that Kate Hudson ? One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Rodriguez suffered the same fate as his teammates, as he was unable to decipher the pitching of Phillies’ ace Cliff Lee. It was left to Yankees’ captain,Derek Jeter to get the sole hit attained by the Yankees’ team on the night.How anemic was their offense last night ? Well consider this, the only reason that the Yankees actually scored a run was because of a throwing error by Phillies’ shortstop, Jimmy Rollins in the ninth inning. A run that was actually scored by none other than Jeter, himself. It’s pretty safe to say that a repeat of that tonight and Yankees’ coach, Joe Girardi had better start thinking what the future might hold for him. I’d dare that the post-game discussions that took place between he and General Manager, Brian Cashman glossed over the pleasantries of the game ? Whatever they might’ve been at the time, unless they were of the opinion that things didn’t go all that badly ? Which, it did !

Yankees' third  baseman  Alex  Rodriguez  looks  at the   scoreboard  having   just  struck  out  in the  ninth   inning of  game  one   of the  World  Series.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo /  David  J.  Phillip  ..............

Yankees’ 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez looks at the scoreboard having just struck out in the ninth inning of game one of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David J. Phillip ………….

For the Phillies, last night must have filled their fans and players with a great deal of hope. Coming into Yankees’ Stadium as the presumed underdog and essentially beating the Yankees like an unwanted stepchild in front of their home fans. Well it’d suggest that this series won’t be one where the Phillies will presumably lay down and accept their fate at will.

The heroes of the night for the Philadelphia Phillies were no doubt Cliff Lee and Chase Utley. But in essence, it was essentially an all-round effort by this Phillies’ team and its coaching staff in preparing their players for the pressure cooker atmosphere of Yankees Stadium and the Yankees’ fans in particular. Utley, on the night homered twice , as he silenced the New York fans and many others watching on television. It’s pretty safe to say that a repeat of last night’s heroics and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, will be like a cauldron of high expectation for game three in front of the home-front crowd. And it’d be also safe to say that Phillies’ manager, Charlie Manuel may well have a wry smile on his face after his team’s exploits. The chance that this series could take a such turn would leave quite a few people very surprised. Especially , the ‘Cash Money Crew’ otherwise known as the New York Yankees. As theirs is a brand that doesn’t look quite so hot at this present moment in time. Well, it doesn’t now , does it ? Who knew ?

Below is a link to an earlier article as a precursor to last night’s game. There you’ll have an insight as to my thoughts upon the events as I though they might unfold. In order to view just click on the text link shown.

” Batter , Batter , Batter, Batter Up” …….

Dumb A_s ! Dumb A_s ! Dumb A_s !

The NFL evidently prides itself upon the image portrayed, in particular by its members. And that no doubt constitutes all of its staff. From its executives on down, through its owners and players. Which begs the question what sort of an a_shole must you be when you can act like a fool and denigrate not only the organization you’re employed by but also a certain group of individuals and think that you can get away with such behavior ? The reason I state this , is because of the recent incident concerning the Kansas City Chiefs’ Larry Johnson.

Chiefs'  running  back  Larry  Johnson  seen  here  in a  September  20th   picture   during  the    fourth  quarter of  an  NFL   game   played  against the  Oakland  Raiders   at  Arrowhead  Stadium  in   Kansas   City  , Mo.,   The  player   was   suspended   by   the   organization    after   his   criticism  of  them  as  well  as  some   disparaging   remarks   made   about  the   gay  community.   The   player  has  since  offered  an  apology  and   has  stated  that  he  will   contest   his  suspension  by  lodging   a  complaint with  the NFLPA  .   The   suspension  is   meted   out  by the  Chiefs  is  on  a  week  to   week  basis   at  the   franchise's    behest.   He's to  have   no   contact  with the  team   by  way  of   practice  or  other   activities  deemed   conducive   to  the   team  and   its  community obligations.    picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Charlie   Riedel   .......................

Chiefs’ running back Larry Johnson seen here on the sidelines in an NFL game played against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri,. The player was suspended by the organization after his criticism of them and some disparaging remarks made about the gay community. He has since apologized for those remarks but the franchise hasn’t not agreed to rescind the suspension. Johnson intends to lodge an appeal to the NFL and will seek representation through the NFLPA. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Charlie Riedel …………

The hapless Chiefs, under first year coach , Todd Haley, is going through a tough time in the NFL and in particular within the AFC West. Never mind the fact that at (1-6) within their conference, they stand at the bottom of their division looking up at the likes of the Oakland Raiders (2-5),San Diego Chargers (3-3) and the unbeaten Denver Broncos (6-0).

Beleaguered   first  year  coach ,  Todd Haley  of   the  Kansas City  Chiefs  seen  here  on  the   sidelines   of  a  game   against  their   divisional  rivals the  San Diego  Chargers.    The   Chiefs would   go  on  to  lose  the  game  in  a   lopsided   blowout  37-7   to  the  Chargers   .   The  team   has   a  record  of   (1-6)   in  the NFL  and  sit  afoot of   the  AFC  West  Division.     picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/ Ed  Zurga  .....................

Beleaguered first year coach , Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs seen here on the sidelines of a game against their divisional rivals the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs would go on to lose the game in a lopsided blowout 37-7 to the Chargers. The team has a record of (1-6) in the NFL and sits afoot of the AFC Western Division. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Ed Zurga ……………

Courtesy of NFL.com Wire Reports;

Chiefs give two-week suspension to RB Johnson, who plans appeal

From NFL.com Wire Reports

Running back Larry Johnson, who used a gay slur twice within a 24-hour period and has a history of poor behavior, received what amounts to a one-game suspension from the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday night.

In a three-sentence release, the Chiefs said Johnson would be suspended from the team until Monday, Nov. 9. The Chiefs are on their bye week and will not play again until traveling to Jacksonville for a Nov. 8 game against the Jaguars.

The Chiefs had been saying for three days that they were “investigating” the situation. Johnson was told to stay away from the team Tuesday.

Peter Schaffer, Johnson’s agent, told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora that he already has been in contact with union officials and will appeal the suspension. Schaffer is hoping for a ruling from an independent arbitrator in the matter before Johnson, who stands to lose two paychecks (or roughly $560,000), would miss any playing time.

Schaffer contends that this suspension is “unwarranted under the circumstances” and said Johnson doesn’t want to miss any playing time. Schaffer also noted that Johnson already had issued a public apology before the suspension was issued and said “we respect the Chiefs’ right” to impose discipline, but “we disagree that the Chiefs’ proposed penalty is warranted by Larry’s actions.”

Ultimately, the Chiefs could elect to release Johnson, who’s averaging just 2.7 yards per carry this season. His $4.5 million salary for this season is guaranteed, but he’s set to make $5 million next season, not including a $2 million roster bonus. That likely means Johnson isn’t in the Chiefs’ long-term plans.

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Here an ESPN profile on NFLPA Executive Director , DeMaurice Smith. The expose’ was seen on the network’s magazine program ‘Outside The Lines’.

To say that this team is like a ship adrift at sea, aimlessly heading nowhere, would be a vast understatement to say the very least. Almost at will, this team has no semblance of defense, or offense, on either side of the ball. And even though the form once of expected of quarterback, Matt Cassel , has yet to be seen and the team still continues to struggle. Johnson, for his part hasn’t proven to be productive and as alluded to earlier , he has derided the organization , the coach and seemingly made an antagonistic and needless remark about the gay community. And all under the pretense of supposedly as an act of anger ? Or if the truth be told , the player actually wants out of Kansas ? Well if this is what it takes , he may not get his wish but more likely than not a suspension awaits and quite possibly a league reprimand and further punishment at the behest of league commissioner , Roger Goodell.

It’s often at times like this I begin to wonder if the NFLPA under its Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith , is entirely at all concerned with the conduct or behavior of his members ? Or is his primary concern more to do with the renegotiating of the collective bargaining agreement and the amount of money that the union can attain from the NFL by way of that agreement ? He’s had very little say about his members’ behavior. Especially, in light of them having transgressed the laws of the land. Never mind the only time he has shown any concern , is when he believes that the commissioner has overstepped his boundaries with regard to meting out punishment that he deems fit to players – when they’re in clear dereliction of the NFL’s personal conduct rule as it applies not only to the game but also with to the image of the NFL.

NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell seen  here  addressing   members  of   the  press  at   a  news  conference   in  Tampa , Florida ,.    Both  Goodell  and   DeMaurice  Smith  of  the  NFLPA are   due  to  address    the   Senate   Judiciary  Committee  on health    related  issues  concerning   concussions  suffered   by    players  in  the  NFL .  There  may  well  be  a  great deal  of  posturing  and contentiousness   from   Goodell  and   Smith  when  they  address   the  Senate  Committee.    As  neither   party  wants  to  accept  any  responsibility   concerning  this   very   delicate   issue .       picture  appears  courtesy  of   reuters  / Jeffrey   Haynes   .....................

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seen here addressing members of the press at a news conference in Tampa , Florida ,. Both Goodell and DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA are due to address the Senate Judiciary Committee on health related issues concerning concussions suffered by players, current and former – in the NFL . There may well be a great deal of posturing and contentiousness from Goodell and Smith when they address the Senate Committee. As neither party wants to accept any responsibility concerning this very delicate issue . picture appears courtesy of reuters / Jeffrey Haynes …………

It’s obvious that the NFLPA and the game’s hierarchy are on a collision course in more ways than one. In the eyes of Smith it won’t be only about the collection bargaining agreement but also what he believes to be Goodell’s autocratic rule as he deems when it comes to dealing with player suspensions and the airing of their grievances by way of an appeal. Granted , some of Smith’s claims may well be justified but he, himself , has done very little to rein in the conduct of his players by way of meeting the situation head on and addressing the issue. It’s as if, his making a public statement merely adds window dressing to the issue by showing trite concern for the issue and the image of his members. What’s more it gives the appearance that he condones their very behavior by way of not acting in a proactive manner. Sadly enough, these players don’t want to be held accountable for their actions in any shape or form ! And they merely think that by offering a trite and meaningless apology , it will be enough to address the issue. As is the case now, with the Chiefs’ Larry Johnson , after his disparaging remarks about the gay community and the Chiefs’ organization.

Whatever is left to be said can be best summed up in six meaningful words to my mind ! And that is that is ” Larry Johnson is a dumb ass ” ! Dumb ass , dumb ass , dumb ass ! Need I say anything more on the subject ?

Batter , Batter , Batter , Batter Up ………..

Well finally, here it is , Major League Baseball’s (MLB) showcase event is now about to commence. And the two participants , representatives of the American League and the National League are the very best that the game has to offer , this season alone. And for the New York Yankees (103-59) as winners of the AL Pennant, they’re now on the cusp of trying to attain their twenty seventh World Series‘ title. Their opponents, as the representatives from the National League will be the Philadelphia Phillies (93-69). Two diverse ball clubs that you’re as likely to wish for, in this showcase event. The big spendingYankees matched up against the team from Philadelphia, seeking to win only its third World Series title, in their one hundred and twenty six years of existence.

The  2009  World  Series  between the  New  York  Yankees  and  the  Philadelphia  Phillies.  Tonight's  starters  are   pictured  ,   Cliff Lee  of  the  Phillies ,  left and  the  Yankees'   C. C  Sabathia  ,  right.         picture appears  courtesy  of  getty  images  .....................................

The 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. Tonight’s starters at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx will be , C. C Sabathia for New York and Cliff Lee for the Phillies. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Mark Cromwell ……………

The battle of two teams with a great deal of legacy behind them. And then add into the fact, that the bylines in terms of the additional stories. You have an instant classic in the making , one would hope. Both teams have an excellent roster , with a litany of All Star players in a number of positions. The Yankees and their roster reads like a who’s who ,of major league talent . And the same too can be said of the Phillies and their roster. And both teams are lead by shortstops who just might be the best players at the position in either league , in terms of sheer determination and leadership qualities. And that’s not to detract from the players in either league who play the position. But in Jimmy Rollins , of the Phillies and Derek Jeter of the Yankees , you might have two of better players at the position, when all is said to be on the line.

Rollins and Jeter are seen as the respective figure heads of their team and are accorded as such, the roles of captain. But what may well prove to be focal point to my mind , will be the experience shown by both team managers. The Phillies as defending champions , have the veteran presence and experience of Charlie Manuel. Whereas, the Yankees will have Joe Girardi , who’ll be making his first appearance in a World Series as a manager.

The story lines will be amp’d up , merely because of the teams and in particular their respective fans. Bot ball clubs have very passionate and vocal fans. And in New York, well, they like to seen, heard and be just downright obnoxious when the case calls for them to be so. That’s not to say that the Phillies’ fan can’t reciprocate in the same manner. If they can boo Santa Claus , well who won’t they boo in terms of voicing their disapproval ? So, for the faint of heart , this won’t be your ordinary run of the mill World Series , in terms of fan presence and demeanor.

Televised coverage of the game will be carried by the Fox Network and the broadcast will also garner great deal of interest not only nationally , but also internationally. They’ll be looking to maximize the attention that they can muster, in the hopes of ratings’ bonanza. Something that Fox hopes will be played out by having both the first and the fourth largest tv markets in the nation being represented in the ‘Fall Spectacular’. And it’s hoped that this’ll be borne out by the viewership response . It they can garner anything of in excess of a 12.5 Nielsens ratings’ share for the series as a whole, will be considered to be a success not only for Fox but also for the denizens of corporate giants on Madison Ave. Because, at the end of the day it’s the viewership that drives the ad revenue rates, that in essence makes both Fox and MLB a great deal of money. And that’s not to say that the Yankees will be left out of the equation at all. They have their own cable tv broadcast outlet that carries their ball games in the local and surrounding media market. And therein , for the Steinbrenner family, as the team’s owners , lies their monumental cash cow , known as the YES Network. And one wonders why there’s said to be a major financial imbalance between the haves and have nots– when it comes to Major League Baseball (MLB) ? Look no further, than what the Yankees are said to be capable of doing almost at the drop of a hat, at will. For lesser teams around the league ,they can only wish that their harvest was as bountiful , in terms of the Yankees’ cash windfall each season.

Tonight’s pitching match up will have both team’s aces on the mound. For the Phillies it will be former Cy Young winner,Cliff Lee. And not to be outdone, the Yankees will throw out their former Cy Young winner as well , in C. C Sabathia. Both Lee and Sabathia were teammates in Cleveland, with the Cleveland Indians.
And this first match up may well dictate the pace , tempo and quite possibly the direction that this series could well take. The Yankees may well be seen as the prohibitive favorites. But being as they’ve not played in a World Series since 2003. I’d have to say , that if anything they’ll be under a fair amount of undue pressure in that presumed role. I, for one, feel that this will be a hard fought series and it will be dictated by which team can deal with any unforeseen adversity the best. There’s really not that much to separate the two teams in terms of overall talent. As they’re both equally adept in churning out runs with their how powered offense. Though pitching wise, the New York Yankees might hold a slight edge over the Philadelphia Phillies. The margin isn’t that great on the face of it. These two teams are evenly matched in more ways than one would care to presume. It’s just a matter of looking at the intangibles to see who might have that slight edge, overall. From that we might be able to determine who could eventually end up being the World Series’ victor.

Perhaps, the hardest part may well be determining who could end up being the MVP of the World Series. There’s a plethora of talent there on either side. And though it mightn’t be one of the more recognized stars who’ll step up to the plate. I’d like to think that one of the run of the mill behind the scene’s players could end being a noteworthy winner. But that’s merely my own wish for the accolade. And so there you have it as to my own thoughts on this World Series between two very worthwhile adversaries. Let the games begin and ultimately may the best team win. What else ,could an ardent baseball fan ask for ?

NB : The Yankees’ YES Network not only carries the Yankees’ ballgames but also a slew of other sports’ events ranging from the NFL , NBA ,College Football , College Basketball, NHL and other sports’ events that encapsulate the tri state area.

The Fight To Remember Or Perhaps Not …………….

One of the great tragedies of the modern sporting arena, was to witness the downward spiral of the boxing career of Muhammad Ali . We all knew that he fought way past his prime and if anything had four or five fights too many. Call it the ‘Pride And The Passion ,The Agony Of Shame And Defeat’ . But nothing to my mind epitomized that more than when Ali fought Larry Holmes (69-6-1, 44KO’s) for the WBC heavyweight title in October of 1980 .

Here, Ali (56-5, 37 KO’s) is seen challenging Holmes for the heavyweight title in a bout that took place at Caesars Palace , in Las Vegas, Nevada , on the 2nd October , 1980 .

What cannot be disputed is that, whilst being courageous , Ali was also being foolhardy in thinking that he would be able to defeat at Holmes at this stage of his career. Larry Holmes at the time, was the pre-eminent heavyweight boxer in the world and his record suggested as much. And though the relationship between the two wasn’t all strained. Holmes as a former sparring partner of Ali, was at first reluctant to accept his challenge. With that in mind , the fight still went ahead with the usual ballyhoo accorded with such a spectacle. We had a former champion looking to regain the title for an unprecedented fourth time. Holmes if anything , wanted to keep some semblance of respect that he had for his former mentor. But it was hard to do so when Ali , himself, wanted to sell the fight with his usual aplomb. A task made certainly all the much easier as it was being promoted by none other than Don King. Perhaps no else within the sport of boxing as a promoter, would be able to put on such a spectacle and at the same time have the public lapping it all up like voracious beasts ?

Ali (left)  seen  here  in the  ring  with   Holmes (right)   in their   match up  for  the  WBC  heavyweight title  bout held  at  Caesar's  Palace  in  Las Vegas , Nevada  .  The   fight  took   place    2nd  October   1980   .  It  was  Ali's  penultimate   fight   , which  he  lost  in  an  11th  round  TKO  decision to the  champion ,  Larry  Holmes.  In  his  last fight   Ali   would   also   lose  a  unanimous   verdict  to   Trevor  Berbick  of Canada.    picture  appears  courtesy of   John  Iacona  ..........   copyrighted  material      @  All  rights  reserved ...........

Ali (left), seen here with Holmes (right), in their WBC heavyweight title clash . Ali would lose the bout to Holmes in an 11th round TKO. The fight would be Ali’s penultimate fight but he would go on to have one last fight against , Canadian , Trevor Berbick . A fight which he also lost in a unanimous decision. picture appears courtesy of John Iacona – copyrighted material . @ All rights reserved …………..

Now, not wanting to sound outlandish or come off as being trite. I do believe that those within the sport and many who governed the sport of boxing at the time. I feel , full well that they were quite aware as to the acute problems that Ali was facing at the time. Primarily , with his health and the fact that he was lured into taking on fights that in no way shape or form , should be have done so, to begin with. And even prior to the Holmes’ bout , it was quite evident that his skills had already began to erode as a boxer and were in fact on the decline. Unfortunately however, he was being enabled by his handlers and many in and outside of his entourage. They impressed upon that he was still ‘The Champ’ , even if it was in name only. And by all accounts , that was how Ali still wanted to be referred to -as ” The Champ” . Sadly, but surely this was one of those episodes where valor may well have not counted for a great deal on Muhammad Ali’s part.

Holmes   the   aggressor  takes  the   fight  to  Ali   and  backs  him   up  into  a  corner   for  a  vicious  onslaught  in the  sixth   round.   picture  appears  courtesy of   sweetfights.com/ boxing/archives    ......................

Holmes the aggressor takes the fight to Ali and backs him up into a corner where unleashes a vicious onslaught with a barrage of punches in the sixth round. picture appears courtesy of sweetfights.com/archives/boxing/Ali-Holmes …….

From the moment that the bell first rang and until the referee stopped the fight in the eleventh round. One knew that this was going to be a night when we all saw a once great champion be brought humbly to his knees . Ali had his moments in the fight, where he brought back memories past , with moments of impish speed and flashes of brilliance. But on the side of the equation, there stood Holmes , a masterful technician, with an all too wicked right jab , powerful upper cuts and tremendous body punching. Who completely at will , literally went about destroying the legacy and myth that was once Muhammad Ali. He was brutally efficient in exposing Ali to his barrage of attacks and more than once he called on the referee to stop the fight , in order to save Ali from further punishment and embarrassment. Alas, much of that fell on deaf ears as the referee proceeded to let the fight continue to its bitter conclusion.

Don King , boxing promoter and infamous showman. Here he talks about his influences , the sport of boxing ,how he feels that he’s influenced and enhanced the sport . Little does he speak of the subpoenas that he’s received over the years from boxers who he’d represented over that time. You can see also, that King has a way with words, as he waxes on so lyrically on a number of subjects. I do believe that he’s swallowed a dictionary !

Now we come full circle where both of these tremendous gladiators of the ring have moved in differing directions as far their lives have gone. Both having been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. However, one of these two fighters is in conscious state of clear health. Aging , but still active in the community , Holmes resides in Scranton , Pennsylvania, with his wife and family close at his side. Ali , as we all know suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, plus various other ailments that have ravaged his body over the course of time. Much of it coming from his many fights within the ring.
Cognitive of those around him , Ali now mumbles as he’s unable to speak , nor can he facilitate any prolonged movement because of the degenerative disease. Furthermore , with him being cloaked in silence , it seems all the more bewildering for us all who’ve witnessed him speak with rapid fire aplomb about he would indeed defeat an opponent. Medication alone won’t bring him back to us in some shape or form that we can all recognize from days of old. Sadly in part, this has been due to the negligence of others. But perhaps , even more so, the negligence shown by Al, in not heeding the advice of others who only wanted the best for him and not the worst.

Ali in a scene from a ESPN commissioned documentary entitled ’30 For 30′ . The titles denotes the sports programming network’s thirty years as a cable broadcast outlet. And it has commissioned a wide variety of documentary films covering sport’s topics of the past thirty years. One of the films in question , is a piece on the Ali – Holmes’ title fight , entitled ‘ Muhammad And Larry’ . Which goes into great detail, as to the lead-up to the fight and what ensued after-wards.

Ali  seen  here  at  a    black  tie  affair   ,  though  cheerful  and   irreverent   . He's   nowhere   near  the person  we  once   idolized  as  a  fan  .        picture appears   courtesy of   askmen.com/ celebtrities/sports-icons/   Brett  Stephenson  ......................

Ali seen here at a black tie formal affair, though cheerful and irreverent . He’s nowhere near the person we all once idolized as fans. picture appears courtesy of askmen.com/archives/images/galleries/muhammad-ali …..

There are very few sporting icons alive today whose names are immediately recognized no matter where you are on the face of the planet. Muhammad Ali is one of those icons whose light still shines brightly in terms of that said recognition. But now, it merely in his own mind , it is but a fading ember as his memory . And for we , his fans all we now have to live with are those memories that are on film. Never again will hear his voice speaking passionately on a wide range of subjects. As his voice has now been silenced in the most cruel of ways. I can only but imagine how different his life might have been ,had he not been struck down by such a debilitating disease.

Ali’s career fight record 56 (37 KO’s)-5

Chronology;
Date of Birth 01/17/1942
Name; Born Cassius Marcellus Clay changed name to Muhammas Ali after change in religious status- becoming a Muslim- Nation of Islam
Place of Birth; Louisville, Kentucky,.
Notable achievements; Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1960 Rome Olympics Lt Heavyweight champion
First Professional fight ; 10/29/1960 Opponent ; Tunney Hunsaker W UD 6 rounds
Final Professional fight ; 12/11/1981 Opponent ; Trevor Berbick L
UD 10 rounds

First man to win the heavyweight title three times

* UD Denotes- Unanimous Decision

Nation of Islam

Give Charles Barkley His Due He Knows What He Knows And He’ll Always Be Opinionated Whether You Like Him Or Not ………….

Well it’s that time of year once again, where the round ball game comes into play. The NBA season is now upon us folks and though as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t really get into stride until the season gets into the meat of its schedule -roundabout Christmas. By then, we’ll be seeing how a number of teams will have played themselves into some sort of rhythm. And perhaps not , as the case maybe !

Former  NBA  great,  turned NBA   broadcast  analyst  ,  Charles  Barkley   ,  seen   here   courtside   at  the  T-Mobile  Rookie Youth  Jam part  of  the   2008  NBA  All Star  Weekend  that  took  place  at  the New  Orleans  Arena  ,  New  Orleans,  Louisiana,.  Barkley   recently  stated  that  he'd   like  to  take  an  executive   role as the GM  of   an  NBA  franchise.   Something   that  I  for  one  can't   necessarily  see   Barkley   doing  at this   juncture.  He's   got   far  too  comfortable  a  position  behind  the  desk   at  TNT  covering  the  NBA  with  his    usual   forthright   and   deprecating  analysis.       picture  appears  courtesy   nbae/getty images/ Andrew  D.  Bernsein ....................

Former NBA great ,turned TNT NBA broadcast analyst , Charles Barkley seen here at the T-Mobile Rookie Youth Jam, part of the 2008 NBA All Star Weekend that took place at the New Orleans Arena , New Orleans , Louisiana,. Barkley recently stated that he’d like to an executive role as the GM of an NBA franchise. Something that I for one can’t necessarily see Barkley doing at this juncture. He’s got far too comfortable a position behind the desk at TNT covering the NBA with his usual forthright analysis and self deprecating humor. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D. Bernstein ……..

And for me the coverage of the game can only be enhanced by the spirited banter of former NBA great and Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley. What he brings to the table is honest to goodness forthright analysis , tinged with sometimes his acerbic wit and devil may care attitude. He just puts it out there and tells it like it is. And most of all he doesn’t care who he offends for that matter. Fans of the game either hate him , or they simply love him. There are no in betweens when it comes to ‘Sir Charles’ . The TNT coverage of the game is amongst the very best that there is on offer and that’s inclusive of the NBA’s (NBA Tv) own cable broadcast coverage of the sport.

The  NBA  champions  of  the  2008-09   season  , the  Los  Angeles   Lakers.   The   franchise   secured  their   15th   NBA title   at  the  expense  of  the  Eastern  Conference's Orlando  Magic.     picture  appears  courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/   Nathaniel  S. Butler  ....................

NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2008-09 season , having secured their fifteenth NBA title at the expense of the Eastern Conference’s Orlando Magic. Who they defeated (4-1) in the best of seven games’ series finals. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Nathaniel S Butler ……………..

The season kicks off tonight with a double header feature of games scheduled to start with an eagerly anticipated match-up between the Boston Celtics , who’ll be taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers. The other game on tap will feature the defending NBA champions , the Los Angeles Lakers , taking on their neighbor, the Los Angeles Clippers . Unfortunately, for fans of the Clippers they will not be afforded the privilege of seeing the NBA #1 draft pick , Blake Griffin. The player injured himself in practice and will be sidelined for anywhere between four to six weeks , by all estimates. It’s hoped that his recovery will be a speedy one and that there’ll be no long lasting or lingering effects from his injury (a cracked patella [broken kneecap]).

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press:

Barkley wants his shot at being a general manager

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP)—Charles Barkley thinks he can do better than some of the general managers he criticizes on TV.

The Hall of Fame player and TNT analyst said Monday he’d like his chance to run an NBA team, though he’s in no rush because he’d want the right job.

“I think that it’d be fun to try to build my own team,” Barkley said at a luncheon, joined by studio partners Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. “We talk about it all the time. Sometimes we say, ‘What is that guy doing? Why did he draft that guy? Why did he make a trade for that guy?’

“Some of these guys have done a bad job, plain and simple.”

Barkley was critical of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who under new team president David Kahn took point guards with the Nos. 5-6 picks in the draft, then signed point guard Ramon Sessions(notes) in free agency. He compared the Wolves’ draft strategy to when the Detroit Lions kept spending high draft picks on wide receivers.

The 46-year-old Barkley planned to do TV for only a couple of years, but is now in his 10th season with TNT. He’s in no hurry to leave for a team executive job that opened up, because some of them wouldn’t give him an opportunity to be successful.

“Every job ain’t a good job,” said Barkley, who said he wouldn’t take any position unless he was given complete control of basketball decisions, because some owners aren’t interested in winning.

Smith also is interested and has interviewed for some positions. He doesn’t think he or Barkley are hurt by not having previous experience working for a team.

“Every day you can hear what we say about your team, what your team is. You know our philosophy. If you follow basketball, it’s not like you don’t know Charles and myself. You can’t not know us and you can’t not know how we think,” Smith said. “We’re just in a unique situation where we’re interviewed every night.”

Barkley has seen some of his contemporaries try and fail as team executives. Isiah Thomas was fired after a horrible tenure running the New York Knicks, and even Michael Jordan, Barkley’s good friend, is regularly criticized for his inability to build a winner in Washington and Charlotte.

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90198023CE001_SPUR_CAMP
San Antonio Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich speaks to members of the team during a training session at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas , during the preseason . It's hoped that the team can rebound from last season's disappointment in the NBA playoffs . picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ D. Clarke Evans ................

Now as an erstwhile fan of the NBA and a fervent supporter of the San Antonio Spurs . I can only hope, that much of Charles’ criticism won’t be directly targeted towards by beloved Spurs. He’s been known to let rip even when it’s not been justified . But such are the wiles of Barkley , that even he can’t be held in check by his bosses at TNT . And that’s no doubt what the vast majority of NBA fans love about him from the get-go.
The thought of Barkley leaving the broadcast booth to be behind the desk dealing with the day to day operations of an NBA franchise. Though on the face it – it may well appear to be ghastly. There’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t prove to be a success in that particular endeavor. Albeit , that we’ve seen the failures of such individuals , as Michael Jordan , Isiah Thomas and Elgin Baylor. All of whom at one time or another were in charge of an NBA franchise as a general manager , head of the player personnel operations. Their failures have been of such monumental proportions . That it left the respective franchises that they oversaw in almost irretrievable situation. So much so, that it has taken them in some cases almost a decade to attain some semblance of normalcy within those respective organizations. So for now for the likes of the Washington Wizards, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers , they can be thankful that a lesson has been sorely learned.

From left to  right,   Kobe  Bryant,  Dwight Howard,  LeBron  James  and  Kevin  Garnett    .  All   with  their   eyes  on  the NBA's  ultimate  prize   an  NBA  championship   title   and ring.   Three  from  this quartet  may  well  in  the  end   prove  to  be   disappointed with the  outcome.   Which  one   do    you   think  it will  be  ?       picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Marcus  Talbot  ......................

From left to right, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett .
All with their eyes on the NBA’s ultimate prize , an NBA title and ring. Three from this quartet may well end up being disappointed at the final outcome of it all. Which one do you think it will be ? picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Marcus Talbot ………………….

As to the aspirations of a number of teams. One can merely speculate as to the fate that may well await them over the course of the season. Of this though we’re sure , for LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal , this will be a make or break season as to how the Cleveland Cavaliers will fare. Perhaps, no other franchise is under as much pressure as the Cavaliers. And that’s including the Los Angeles Lakers, as the defending NBA champions. O’Neal , was brought in to the franchise, to provide that added leadership and prominent offensive presence. That is what was felt the team was lacking. As to whether or not, O’Neal can regain the form of old , remains to be seen. But this much is sure , failure by the Cavaliers to at least make the NBA Finals and raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy . And Cleveland might as well start to pay homage to LeBron James , as he heads out for pastures new. His remaining with the franchise, is predicated upon them winning the NBA title. Anything short of that, is absolutely meaningless for him and his overall ambitions as a player, at this stage of his career.

Lakers'  players   from  left to   right   ,  Pau Gasol,  Lamar  Odom  and  Kobe  Bryant   receive their NBA    championship  rings    prior  to  the  season  opener  against the  Los  Angeles  Clippers   at  the  Staples  Arena  in  Los  Angeles ,  California ,.     picture  appears courtesy  of  nbae/getty images/ Andrew  D .  Bernstein  .................

Lakers’ players from left to right , Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant receive their NBA championship rings prior to their season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Arena in Los Angeles , California ,. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Andrew D. Bernstein …………….

History has shown us recently, that it’s hard to successfully defend an NBA title. And for the Lakers it will prove to be no different. With the loss of Trevor Ariza through free agency ,with him landing with the Houston Rockets . Who’d have thought it possible that Ron Artest would’ve ended up in a Lakers’ uniform ? Now the question has got to be , will he be more of an attraction , rather than a distraction ? Granted , his stay with the Rockets proved to be fruitful. Where he played alongside Aaron Brooks , and proved that he’d matured into a leader and a teammate on their roster that was hampered by injuries to Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady – as they made the playoffs last season. Now comes the real task for Artest, can he defer to the likes of Kobe Bryant , Pau Gasol and in all likelihood Andrew Bynum ? He’ll after all be no more than their fourth or fifth scoring option , if that !

90040593TO006_ROCKETS_BLAZERS

Rudy Fernandez (5) of the Portland Trailblazers goes up for the layup as he evades Chuck Hayes (44) , in the game played against the Houston Rockets , in the teams’ season opener played at the Rose Garden Arena , Portland , Oregon. The Trailblazers would go on to defeat the Rockets 96-87 . picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Thomas Oliver ………………..

And most certainly Lakers’ coach , Phil Jackson ,will be watching diligently, as Artest acclimatizes himself with his new teammates. For the Lakers’ fans also, they’ll be hoping to see their team successfully defend their title. As it is, they merely see the opponents in the Eastern Conference , as nothing more than cannon fodder. Especially in light of the ease with which they dispatched the Orlando Magic last season. However, with the likes of the Boston Celtics, the Magic to name but a few, making acquisitions to bolster their rosters. It will be interesting to see how many of the Eastern Conference’s top teams fare over the course of this upcoming season. The Celtics have added another aging veteran in Rasheed Wallace , to provide them with depth. And the Magic, meanwhile, have added Vince Carter to provide them with some much needed offense. Unfortunately, the loss of Hedo Turkoglu for the Orlando Magic, might prove to be too much to bear. But if anything the Magic’s coach, Stan Van Gundy will be able to make do , with the talent made available to him.

The NBA and in particular the game’s commissioner , David Stern will no doubt be pinning his hopes that the league’s stars will be at the top of their game. And in particular the young rookies that will be taking their first steps on the professional basketball stage. But paramount to this all, will be if there is a far more entertaining product placed on the court this season. In light of the economic turmoil that the country now faces and the fact that the erstwhile NBA fans may not be all too willing to pay overly inflated prices for a product that at times has been about as entertaining as watching an episode of ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8’. Well, you can see why it is that the fans have at times become less approving of the game.

For Charles Barkley and his post broadcast career, I’m of the opinion that I would rather see him behind the desk giving us his succinct observations on the game . Or him court-side having a great deal of fun at the expense of the players, coaches and fans. Barkley being an NBA General Manager ? Let’s just say that on the face of it , the tone and reverence sought just wouldn’t be there. Could you imagine Charles and a player , much less a coach having a spat over the the productivity on the basketball court ? You know one way or another that there would definitely be hell to pay . And there’s no telling what may well happen between him and his antagonist. Suffice to say, the aftermath of it all wouldn’t be pretty !

NBA Kickoff schedule ……..

Games

Tue October 27th …………
Away Home

Boston @ Cleveland
Washington @ Dallas
Houston @ Portland
L.A. Clippers @ L.A. Lakers

When Is The Wildcat Offense Not A Wildcat At All ? Pardon Me But You’ve Been Punk’d …………….!

When Is The Wildcat Offense Not A Wildcat At All ? Pardon Me But You’ve Been Punk’d ……..!

For all of the hype and ballyhoo concerning the Miami Dolphins and their offensive presence and the ‘wildcat offense’ . It’d appear that when you live and die by the sword and there’s not much creativity beyond that one offensive strategy . Then the cupboard becomes bare . All of a sudden the Miami Dolphins are beginning to look very ordinary. Much of what we’d witnessed from the team last year was surprising. But this year the teams around the NFL have seen this team for what they really are. What’s even more surprising are the analysts who are still buying into the idiocy that this is still competitive. And in large part, they were against the New Orleans before their sails were caught in the bluster of the winds of Drew Brees and the offensive presence and play of the Saints.

New Orleans  Saints'  cornerback  Tracy  Porter (22)  runs for  the  score  in the   fourth  quarter   against  the  Miami  Dolphins   in a  game  played  at  Land  Shark  Stadium   in  Miami,  Florida.   The  Dolphins   would  give  up  a   24-3  lead  to the  Saints  and    ended  up   losing  46-34   .      picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Jeffrey   M.  Boan      .......................
New Orleans Saints' cornerback Tracy Porter (22) runs for the score in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins in a game played at Land Shark Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins would give up a 24-3 lead to the Saints and ended up losing 46-34 . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Jeffrey M. Boan .......................

The New Orleans Saints started off as if they were asleep at the wheel . And it wasn’t just midway through the game that they suddenly realized that they were in with a good chance of being one of the unbeatens within the NFL who could be in for a fall. From being 24-3 down, Brees and the Saints rallied back to defeat the Dolphins 46-34 . For Sean Payton and this Saints’ team , they now move to 6-0 within the NFL and sit atop of the NFC South. And with the fall of the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre , who fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers,27-17.

Dolphins'  wide   receiver   Ted Ginn Jr.(right)  can't  hang  on  to  the  ball   causing an   interception  that   would  be   returned   for  a  touchdown    by the  Saints'  cornerback    Tracy  Porter  (22) .      picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Jeffrey  M.  Boan   ................
Dolphins' wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr.(right) can't hang on to the ball causing an interception that would be returned for a touchdown by the Saints' cornerback Tracy Porter (22) . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Jeffrey M. Boan ................

Well, can we now stop with the hoorah, as to the indomitable play of the veteran quarterback ? It’s become an irritant, much like a pain in one’s rear end ! And at this moment in time, it’s very much how I feel about Favre and his traveling circus. Clown school must be out, and one would expect the likes of Mark Schlereth , Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski must be declaring their profound disappointment with the Vikings’ loss. I trust they’ll be replacing their Brett Favre posters with pictures now, of Clay Aiken ?

Vikings'  quarterback  Brett  Favre (4)  watches  as the   Pittsburgh  Steelers'  Keyaron  Fox  (57)  returns  a TD  interception   for   82 yards   in  the  fourth    quarter   of  the   game  played  at  Heinz  Field    in  Pittsburgh   Pennsylvania,.     The  Steelers   would    go  on  to   defeat  the  Vikings   27-17   inflicting them  with  their    first   loss  of the  season.        picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/Star Tribune/   Jerry   Holt   ........................
Vikings' quarterback Brett Favre (4) watches as the Pittsburgh Steelers' Keyaron Fox (57) returns a TD interception for 82 yards in the fourth quarter of the game played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania,. The Steelers would go on to defeat the Vikings 27-17 inflicting them with their first loss of the season. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Star Tribune/ Jerry Holt ........................

For the Miami Dolphins and their coach, Tony Sparano , they now have to show their fans and those of the NFL in general. That they can play with a great deal more than what they’ve shown us. But what else , can we now expect from a team that has fallen short of expectations to begin with ? So much was promised but so little has been delivered by this team. The AFC East is now back to the way it ought to be ! Cream always rises to the top and so it has done so, once again. Need one say anymore on the subject ?

Buccaneers'   quarterback  Josh  Johnson  (11)  is   sacked  by   Patriots'  safety  Pat  Chung  (25) and  linebacker   Tully  Banta-Cain  (95)   in   an   NFL   game   played   at   Wembley   Stadium  ,  London  ,  England .,   The   New England  Patriots   would  hand the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers  a   demoralizing   35-7  loss   .  Leaving  the  Buccaneers  still  winless  at   0-6   within  the  NFL.    picture  appears  courtesy  of    ap/photo/ Matt  Dunham   ....................
Buccaneers' quarterback Josh Johnson (11) is sacked by Patriots' safety Pat Chung (25) and linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (95) in an NFL game played at Wembley Stadium , London , England ., The New England Patriots would hand the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a demoralizing 35-7 loss . Leaving the Buccaneers still winless at 0-6 within the NFL. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matt Dunham ....................

Well is there anything else that needs to be said when the St Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders still are mired in so much putrid mediocrity ? If there has ever been a triumvirate of teams to have played so badly within the NFL ? And their fans don’t appear to be indifferent as to the sheer ineptitude being displayed by these teams. Personally, when I see fecal matter in the street , I tend to avoid it. There’s no way I’d want to intentionally step in it. Which essentially is what we’re seeing from a number of these teams and their fans. They’re quite prepared to keep on supporting the team through thick and thin , without questioning the ineptitude being shown by the team. I’ve even had a Raiders’ fan try to tell me that this team was disciplined. Well , if that’s dependent upon how one defines the word discipline ? In the Raiders’ case, under the tenure of Tom Cable, it’s akin to playing with the aplomb of a bunch of effeminate transgendered males. And if this is an affront to the transgendered males out there . Then, please accept my apologies as it’s not meant to offend at all. Merely, to make you feel that there are guys out there who are beneath you in the social pecking order. So for Raiders’ fans out there, get your players to man up and act like they’ve got a pair ! And the same applies to Tom Cable as well. Acting tough and assaulting an assistant coordinator is one thing , but it only proves what a fool you really are to begin with. Now, the question that one needs to ask …..is Al Davis still cognizant of what’s going on- on the field of play, as well as off it ?

Oakland  Raiders' quarterback   JaMarcus  Russell (2)   sits  on  the  bench  in  the  waning  moments  of  the  team's   38-0    loss  to  the  New  York   Jets  in  game  played  in  Oakland  Alameda  County  Stadium,  Oakland   , California,.      picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Tony  Avelar    .........................
Oakland Raiders' quarterback JaMarcus Russell (2) sits on the bench in the waning moments of the team's 38-0 loss to the New York Jets in game played in Oakland Alameda County Stadium, Oakland , California,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tony Avelar .........................

NFL Scores Week 7 ….

Green Bay Packers 31-3 Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers 21-24 Houston Texans
San Diego Chargers 37-7 Kansas City Chiefs
Indianapolis Colts 42-6 St Louis Rams
New England Patriots 35-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings 17-27 Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills 20-9 Carolina Panthers
New York Jets 38-0 Oakland Raiders
Chicago Bears 10-45 Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons 21-37 Dallas Cowboys
New Orleans Saints 46-34 Miami Dolphins
Arizona Cardinals 24-17 New York Giants

Raiders'  backup  quarterback  Bruce  Gradkowski  (5) is  about  to  be  brought  down   for the  sack by   Jets'   linebacker  Calvin  Pace    in  the   third   quarter  of the  game.   picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Ben  Margot  .....................
Raiders' backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (5) is about to be brought down for the sack by Jets' linebacker Calvin Pace in the third quarter of the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ben Margot .....................

Monday Night Football encapsulates the game being played between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. This NFC East match-up pits the beleaguered Redskins and a somewhat pedantic Eagles’ team looking to rebound to from last week’s stunning 13-9 defeat at the hands of the Oakland Raiders. The Eagles’ , Donovan McNabb was doing his level best to make the statements made by Rush Limbaugh, seem to have some veracity to it. His play was so inept that he made his Raiders’ counterpart JaMarcus Russell seem like a Pro Bowl caliber player. Which in essence, if it were possible then I’m sure that the Raiders’ quarterback coach, Paul Hackett would have Russell enrolled in such a program, were it available to begin with. Because Russell has yet to prove that his game has matured to the level where one would deem him even an NFL ready quarterback. And most certainly, it would provide Hackett with something of a respite at this juncture.

I’ve stated this already but in the sixteen plus years that I’ve been following the NFL . Since I emigrated to this country , I can’t remember having witnessed such an abundance of horrendous NFL teams. I know there’s always been talk of parity -whatever they allege it to mean. But at this juncture in time, you can tell , when which teams are good, which are marginal and the ones who are infinitely bad . It’s not rocket science and I certainly don’t need Ashton Kutcher to be about to provide me with a playful prank to begin with ! Seven weeks into the NFL season and I’ve been already provided with enough of them to make a scrapbook of it all. Have you been watching the NFL lately ? How much worse it is liable to get ?

Kirk Ferentz Come On Down The Price Is Right ……………….

Kirk Ferentz Come On Down The Price Is Right ……….

Should the Washington Redskins come to a decision as to the fate of Jim Zorn . Then it’s my belief that owner Daniel Snyder and Executive VP Vinny Cerrato might make the decision to hire a college coach . OK, so there are those amongst us who are of the opinion that the Redskins should go with a proven NFL coach with credentials that can back up the aspirations of both Snyder and the Redskins’ organization.

Iowa (Hawkeyes)  coach  Kirk  Ferentz,  left, stands  alongside   Michigan  State  coach  Mark  D'Antonio  prior  to  the   game  between their  two   teams   played   in   East Lansing,  Michigan.     The   Hawkeyes   would  go  on  to defeat  the  Spartans  15-13  to   remain   unbeaten  in  the   Big  Ten  as  they   sit  atop  of  the  standings  within  the  conference.   The  Hawkeyes   are  also    ranked  #4  in  the BCS Poll  standings.  And  they  are   one   of the   seven   ubeaten  teams  within  the   top   ten  of the  BCS   rankings  at  present.   picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Al  Goldis   .........................
Iowa (Hawkeyes) coach Kirk Ferentz, left, stands alongside Michigan State coach Mark D'Antonio prior to the game between their two teams played in East Lansing, Michigan. The Hawkeyes would go on to defeat the Spartans 15-13 to remain unbeaten in the Big Ten as they sit atop of the standings within the conference. The Hawkeyes are also ranked #4 in the BCS Poll standings. And they are one of the seven ubeaten teams within the top ten of the BCS rankings at present. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Al Goldis .........................

The candidates out there that comes to mind are Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Mike Shanahan and Herm Edwards. OK, so the last candidate was just meant to pull your leg. In all honesty hiring Herm Edwards is akin to having a fetish for seeing your mother-in-law naked or perhaps your grandmother ? But that’s a story for another day. I do believe however , that of the four primary candidates named , none would prove willing to coach the Redskins under the presence of an owner such as Daniel Snyder. Cerrato, would have you believe that neither he , or Snyder, tend to interfere in the day to day operations of the organization as it concerns the team’s on the field performance. Well, if the recent actions that we’ve seen within the organization is anything to go by. Then there’s no way, one can take them at their word.

Beleaguered   Redskins'   coach  Jim  Zorn    on the  sidelines   against the Kansas  City  Chiefs   in  an  NFL  game   played  at   Fedex  Field  in  Landover  , Maryland.    The  Chiefs  would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Redskins  in  an  utterly   deplorable   NFL  game.  It   has  only  ratcheted    up  the  anger   for  Zorn  to be   dismissed  as  the  team's  coach.   Zorn   has  been   relieved   as  the  play  caller   for  the  team's   onfield    strategic   play.   Those  duties  are   now   in the  hands  of   special   consultant   Sherm  Lewis.     An  indictment    of  the  deplorable  season  thus   far  for   the  team  and   its   fans.     ap/photo/  Nick  Wass   ...........................
Beleaguered Redskins' coach Jim Zorn on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs in an NFL game played at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland. The Chiefs would go on to defeat the Redskins in an utterly deplorable NFL game. It has only ratcheted up the anger for Zorn to be dismissed as the team's coach. Zorn has been relieved as the play caller for the team's onfield strategic play. Those duties are now in the hands of special consultant Sherm Lewis. An indictment of the deplorable season thus far for the team and its fans. ap/photo/ Nick Wass ...........................

The candidate I’d like to see take over the soon to be vacant position would be Iowa‘s, Kirk Ferentz . A college coach you say ? Well , if there are no worthwhile candidates within the NFL ranks . Then why not revert to the college ranks and pick a coach with a proven resume’ of success ? Other than Pete Carroll , Urban Meyer , Bob Stoops , Jim Tressel , Mike Leach and Les Miles . There might not be a better coach in all of collegiate football. As to whether or not, Ferentz would be amenable to taking the next step to the professional ranks. Well, that remains to be seen but it’s the logical step for a coach whose proven to be a very good one at the college level. My only reservation however , would be his willingness to have Cerrato and Snyder hovering over him. Much like a flock of vultures hovers over the carcass of a dying animal. And as we know Snyder, is known for making somewhat of a big splash, both on and off the field. Other than the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones , perhaps no other owner in the NFL epitomizes greed and excess as much !

The return of Joe Gibbs was greeted with a great roar of approval and the hope was that Gibbs would be able to revive the era of successes past, for the franchise. Alas , it was not to be. Gibbs’ predecessor , Steve Spurrier proved to be a complete bust and to further point out the fact that he was best served by remaining within the college ranks as a coach. The ol’ ball coach’s style didn’t acclimatize well in the NFL. Much like his narcissism and attitude ,when it came to communicating with the players in the NFL. If ever there’s been a low point of Spurrier’s coaching career, then his stay with the Redskins proved that the NFL wasn’t the place for him to be .

Team  Exec VP Vinny  Cerrato  (left)  seen  here  alongside  coach,  Jim  Zorn  (center)  and    the  Redskins'   owner    Daniel  Snyder   (right).     The  formal  introduction  was   being   made    as  to the  announcement   that  Zorn  was  to become  the  team's   new  head  coach   at  the   team's   training   facility  in   Ashburn  ,  Va.    That   formal   announcement   was   made   10th February  2008.     picture  appears   courtesy  of    united press  international (upi)/  Kevin  Dietsch   .............................
Team Exec VP Vinny Cerrato (left) seen here alongside coach, Jim Zorn (center) and the Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder (right). The formal introduction was being made as to the announcement that Zorn was to become the team's new head coach at the team's training facility in Ashburn , Va. That formal announcement was made 10th February 2008. picture appears courtesy of united press international (upi)/ Kevin Dietsch .............................

One can only surmise now what awaits Zorn and the Redskins as the remainder of the season plays itself out. Of this we’re certain, we know that something is already
stirring within the organization. The death knell as to the hierarchy’s vocal backing of the coach with the usual perfunctory statement…..’Zorn remains our coach for the moment until the end of the season.’ Et tu Brutus ? Now we know why Caesar couldn’t trust anyone. And that’s simply the same reason that an NFL GM can’t be trusted when they make such a statement to begin with ! We all know the fate that awaits a coach , when such a statement is made. Just like a death row inmate knows his fate when he’s being led to the death chamber , it’s the same for Jim Zorn at this present moment in time. Cerrato , and the organization are saying the right things in order to create the impression that there’s unity within the Redskins’ organization. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. The players on this Redskins’ team just doesn’t know what’s happening from one day to the next. Too many chefs in the kitchen ,not enough help and common sense at all.

Ferentz , I do believe might be reluctant to leave the program. But if the right set of circumstances are in motion , then there’s the possibility that he’d make the decision to make that jump to the next level. But this is merely just speculation on my part and nothing more than that. So, for now we can only take the attitude of ‘wait and see ‘ as to how the situation plays itself out.

Which candidates could you see taking the soon to be vacant position with the Washington Redskins ?

The Sad Part To All Of This ……………..

The Sad Part To All Of This

The NFL knows they’re on to a good thing but unfortunately they’ve a way of messing up from time to time. The NBA for their part, seemingly knows how to adjust around an ever changing environment that goes with the times. MLB just remains archaic, and shows no signs of changing – even when it becomes apparent that they’re in need of change. And what else needs to be said that hasn’t already been said about the NHL ?

Chris  'Beanie' Wells (26) of   the   Cardinals   scrambles   for  the   touchdown  against  the  NY  Giants   at    Giants  Stadium  in  East  Rutherford ,  New  Jersey    on   Sunday  night.     picture   appears  courtesy  of   getty  images/ Jared  Wichham   ................
Chris 'Beanie' Wells (26) of the Cardinals scrambles for the touchdown against the NY Giants at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey on Sunday night. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jared Wichham ................

Each of the four major professional sports is in the midst of this economic crisis and has seen its fan base dwindle incrementally. The signs have been there for all to see but the hierarchies of each would have you believe that everything is OK. But vanity, can only get you so far before you’re bitten in the ass. If you don’t believe it, then ask yourself this . As we know, each of the four major professional sporting hierarchies operates under the anti trust exemption and they’re essentially private businesses. But how is that in essence they can seemingly have state of the art venues built to exact specifications at the taxpayers’ expense ? Furthermore, if each of the franchises in question are above reproach and are allegedly in a healthy financial state. Then how is it that whenever there’s a call for them to be open, as to their finances. Their books are never or have they ever been opened for lose and intense public scrutiny ? The funny thing is , I hear so many individuals state that they’re totally against the Federal government raising their taxes. But yet, they show no anger when their state or municipal government chooses to raise their taxes in order to facilitate the building of a new sport’s venue ? Any questions being asked there ? No ,absolutely none at all . Recently there have been few stadiums that’ve been completely privately financed.

Kobe  Bryant  (left)  of  the  Lakers  and   the  Nuggets'  J R Smith   contest a   loose   ball    during   a  preseason   game    played    Friday  in   San  Diego ,  California .  The   Denver  Nuggets would  go  on to  defeat  the  Los  Angeles  Lakers   119-105 .     picture  appears  courtesy  of    ap/photo/Denis  Poroy   .............
Kobe Bryant (left) of the Lakers and the Nuggets' J R Smith contest a loose ball during a preseason game played Friday in San Diego , California . The Denver Nuggets would go on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-105 . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Denis Poroy .............

But the owners , who are multi-millionaires and billionaires keep on coming to the trough of the public . And seemingly, the government agencies are only all too willing acquiesce to the needs of these owners. But no one seems to be questioning the fact that many of these municipal governments are cutting services to their residents covering a wide range of services. And if you think that this is something of a myth. Then consider the situation that’s now said to be facing the city of Tampa and the NFL franchise within the city. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers plays in Raymond James Stadium, situated in the city of Tampa. The venue is owned by the Tampa Bay Sports Authority. And no, this isn’t a privately owned entity but a ‘de facto’ government business entity that was set up to oversee the running of the venue. However , it now appears that the city of Tampa is owed in excess of $5.2 million by the NFL franchise. That money is owed to the city but somehow they’ve chosen to be negligent in the collection of the funds owed. What’s even more frightening in the midst of this all is the city’s reticence in addressing the issue. Meanwhile they’ve began to cut much needed services within the city. Starting within the police department and fire service. Naivete on the part of the city commission in Tampa ? Or just your typical political stupidity that we’ve come to expect of our politicians at all levels of government ?

Chris  Kunitz (center)   of  the  Philadelphia  Penguins  collides  with   New  Jersey  Devils'   goal tender   Martin Brodeur (lower right )    during  a   regular  season  game .  Looking  on  is   Devils'   defenseman   Johnny  Oduya   (left)  .    The   Devils   would    go  on  to   defeat  the  Penguins    4-1 in  the  game  played   in  Pittsbugh  ,  Pennsylvania ,.      picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Gene  J.   Puskar     ...........................
Chris Kunitz (center) of the Philadelphia Penguins collides with New Jersey Devils' goal tender Martin Brodeur (lower right ) during a regular season game . Looking on is Devils' defenseman Johnny Oduya (left) . The Devils would go on to defeat the Penguins 4-1 in the game played in Pittsbugh , Pennsylvania ,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Gene J. Puskar ...........................

Sports has always been considered to be a uniter rather than a divider but at this moment in time . I’m inclined to believe that it’s now becoming the latter. As we continue to see things to spiral out of control for a number of reasons that are far too numerous to mention. My own view of this all , is that it has now become something of a Pandora’s box. Once opened it’s very hard to close even when necessity dictates that something ought to be done !. But we’ve yet to see leadership in the true sense of the word from the hierarchies of each of the various sports in question. And very much the same thing can be said of the politicians that we seemingly vote into office. They much like the various commissioners that oversee these respective sports are a self serving group of individuals.

Nick   Swisher   (33)  of   the  New  York Yankees  and    teammate    Robinson   Cano   celebrate  a   run  being   scored    of  a   single  by  Johnny   Damon.     The  Yankees  are   on    the   cusp of    winning the    AL  pennant   as  they've    now   taken   a  3-1  lead   in  the  bottom  of the    eighth    in    game  6  of  the  ALCS.    They  lead  the   Los  Angeles   Angels    3-2   in  the  best  of  the   seven  game   series.     The  winner   will   meet   the   Philadelphia  Phillies  for  the  World  Series  .     picture  appears courtesy  of     getty  images /  Jim   McIsaac   ......................
Nick Swisher (33) of the New York Yankees and teammate Robinson Cano celebrate a run being scored of a single by Johnny Damon. The Yankees are on the cusp of winning the AL pennant as they've now taken a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth in game 6 of the ALCS. They lead the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 in the best of the seven game series. The winner will meet the Philadelphia Phillies for the World Series . picture appears courtesy of getty images / Jim McIsaac ......................

Apathy has become the norm when it comes to the realms of politics but also when it comes to arena of sports. And how essentially we tend to overlook the bigger picture when it comes to financing of the venues and the revenue streams that each sport generates. We’re overly concerned by what happens on the field of play, that we tend to forget also what the effect to us all are when it comes to the business practices of each of the four major professional sports.

They Say There’s No Sex In The Champagne Room But What’s Been Happening In Bristol , Connecticut ?

They Say There’s No Sex In The Champagne Room But What’s Been Happening In Bristol Connecticut ?

So I wouldn’t be mistaken in making the assumption that all is awry at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol Connecticut ? Whatever’s said to have taken place between former New York Mets’ GM, Steve Phillips ,46, and a young female production assistant, who’s an employee at the broadcast network. Phillips has admitted to an affair Brooke Hundley and has that the relationship was consensual between the two. However, it would now appear that the ESPN baseball analyst has been less than forthright with the truth. He failed to make his wife aware as to what had been going on. And furthermore, when confronted by his paramour at his home, he denied all knowledge that anything had taken place between he and the young 22 year old, Brooke Hundley .

Brooke  Hundley, 22,    ESPN  production  assistant  at the  center  of  attention   in  the  Steve  Phillips   sex  scandal and  affair.    Hundley  and  the  46  year  old   Phillips  it  has been  alleged   carried   on  a  sordid   affair   over   a  prolonged   period  of    time.    Hundley  seen  here  is   leaving   her   appartment   complex  in  Bristol   Connecticut.       picture   appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo .....................
Brooke Hundley, 22, ESPN production assistant at the center of attention in the Steve Phillips sex scandal and affair. Hundley and the 46 year old Phillips it has been alleged carried on a sordid affair over a prolonged period of time. Hundley seen here is leaving her appartment complex in Bristol Connecticut. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo .....................

Courtesy of New York Daily News;

Steve Phillips ‘girlfriend’ photo: Tight-lipped jilted mistress Brooke Hundley blows by reporters

By Staff News Writers

Brooke Hundley, the mistress whose fling with ESPN analyst Steve Phillips ended the former Mets GM’s marriage and may have permanently damaged his career, surfaced outside her Connecticut home for the first time since the sex scandal broke.

A photographer for the New York Daily News captured 22-year-old Hundley leaving her house Friday as she breezed by reporters without comment.

After being spurned by Phillips following their three-week affair, Hundley left a taunting letter for Phillips’ wife about their tryst. Hundley wrote that she was “not just some random girl he had sex with in parking lots.”

Phillips’ wife, Marni, called police Aug. 19 when she came home to find Hundley in her driveway.

Hundley, in turn, claims Phillips tried to ruin her career and threatened to get her fired if she told his wife about their affair.

Phillips, 46, has acknowledged the affair and took a leave of absence from the network. In 1998, he admitted having sex with a Mets employee, who sued for sexual harassment. That case was settled out of court.

Phillips ,46,  seen  here  in  a  picture   with ESPN  production  assistant  ,  22  year  old ,   Brooke Hundley.     picture   appears   courtesy  of  the producers/weei.com/sports/boston/ dennis    ...................
Phillips ,46, seen here in a picture with ESPN production assistant , 22 year old , Brooke Hundley. picture appears courtesy of the producers/weei.com/sports/boston/ dennis ...................

Phillips’ wife , Marni , who made a rather fraught 911 call to the police – when the female confronted her indirectly at her home. . Phillips’ mistress was said to have left a note at his home stating that she no longer wanted to be the ‘other woman’ in this ménage au trios‘ . Phillips has since been given a leave of absence from the network. And for the network, this further provides evidence that the presumed camaraderie that’s said to be there within those esteemed halls at Bristol isn’t all it is said to be. With the “Erin Andrews’ saga” still fresh in our memories . And now Phillips places the network in all too further embarrassing situation. Never mind the fact that Phillips was said to be viewed as one of the nicest guys to work with , within the fraternity of males at the network. Well on the surface , nothing is ever as it is meant to be .

Courtesy of NY Daily News:

A love mistress of Steve Phillips, Rosa Rodriguez who slept with then-Mets GM in 1998, resurfaces ……

By Kavita Mokha and Corkie Sieszamasko

The brunette who turned Steve Phillips’ head – and wound up in his bed – when he was the Mets’ general manager surfaced on Thursday with a knowing smile on her face.

Rosa Rodriguez said nothing about the seamy sex scandal that has knocked Phillips off his perch at ESPN and appears to have torpedoed his marriage, but she wasn’t shy about getting her picture taken.

“Just make sure the photos are good,” she said before driving off from her Long Island home.

Phillips was laying low after it was revealed that he had fling with a “delusional” 22-year-old named Brooke Hundley. He claims she cyberstalked his teenage son and bombarded his wife with phone calls and taunting texts.

Phillips would lecture his female workers about the importance of maintaining a wholesome image while he cultivated a family man facade in six years with the Mets.

But in 1998, Phillips suddenly took a paid leave after learning that a former Mets employee who worked at the team’s Florida offices was planning to sue him and the team for sexual harassment.

When Phillips returned to work, he admitted to having a “brief, consensual relationship” with the woman and having “consensual sexual relationships” with other women during his marriage.

One of them was Rodriguez.

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine ripped Phillips for his off-the-field dalliances before Phillips left the Mets in 2003.

In a strange twist, Valentine will be doing some of the baseball analysis for Phillips, who took a leave of absence to deal with his latest domestic crisis.

Phillips’ wife, Marni Phillips, filed for divorce after coming home and finding Hundley on her doorstep and a letter detailing her affair with her husband.

In a police report, Steve Phillips said he feared Hundley, a low-level ESPN worker, might harm his family. He said she “clearly displayed erratic behavior and delusional tendencies.” He also admitted to “three sexual encounters” with her.

Rosa  Rodriguez   with   whom  Phillips  had  an  affair,  whilst   was the  general  manager  of   the  New  York  Mets.    The   affair  also  led  to  a   sexual    harasssment   grievance  being    filed  against  Phillips   which  was  later   settled   out  of   court.              picture  appears   courtesy  of    nydailynews.com/photo/archicves  .....................
Rosa Rodriguez with whom Phillips had an affair, whilst was the general manager of the New York Mets. The affair also led to a sexual harrasssment grievance being filed against Phillips which was later settled out of court. picture appears courtesy of nydailynews.com/photo/archicves .....................

Now for all sense and purpose, the denizen we‘ve come to know as ESPN is no different from any other working environment, where hedonism to be precise and sexual promiscuity isn’t at all frowned upon. A normal work environment brings about rules wherein employees are asked to restrict the relationships between employees to be purely on work only basis within their place of business. However , once outside the place of employment as they say ‘……….it‘s anything goes’. Just as long as it‘s done beyond the view of prying eyes. In the case of Phillips and the fact that he‘s an individual in the public eye. This whole episode paints a dark picture wherein he felt that he could conduct himself one in front of the public and an all to different way away from the public‘s prying eyes . Phillips‘ immediate future is somewhat uncertain as he now faces the paparazzi and tabloid press as they seek further expose‘ on his all too private and some might sordid affair , with a young female co-worker.

One has to also remember that this isn’t the first such situation that has happened within ESPN. Former ballplayer , Harold Reynolds was is said to have been sexually inappropriate with a number of female employees at the cable network. And though there were denials from the player, as to the accusations. He left the network under a cloud of suspicion. Only to resurface elsewhere as analyst. So , it can be said that the ramifications for Phillips may not be that bad after all. The only thing now he may well have to do is to face his wife and family and seek their forgiveness.

Once Phillips returns behind the mic as an analyst for the network,covering the game of baseball. I’m not so sure how I’ll now view him. This from the guy ,whose sole claim to fame is the fact that he was once the New York Mets’ GM and that he brought shortstop,David Wright ,up from the minors. As to the veracity of that particular argument. Warranted or not, it’s not as if the Mets have achieved a great deal over the ensuing years, since Wright’s introduction to the ‘Big Leagues’. So as of now what lies down the road for Phillips is anyone’s guess at this moment in time.

As for ESPN ‘…………it’s party over here and a little sexual promiscuity over there and here’. But somehow they would have you believe that the environment there is a paragon of virtue. And that the programming and journalism there are of the highest standards possible. Little did we know that they have more in common with hedonistic virtues of Sodom and Gomorrah . But that asides what else should we come to expect from a bunch self indulgent , narcissistic fools ? Journalistic integrity and ESPN no longer it appears has anything in common. Except for the fact that they like to portray themselves as being knowledgeable journalists or analysts , as the case maybe ! The hard part is trying not to laugh when incidents such as this come to the fore . And the usual set of excuses are brought out in front of the public for them to consume in the form of an apology. They (ESPN) are always the first in line when it is an athlete either runs afoul of the law or has some sort of sexual impropriety . When it’s one of their own then all of a sudden everything seemingly becomes a matter of privacy and not worthy of news on their part. How crass , by ESPN as an organization !

What’s Meant To Be Politically Correct ? Did Ali Not Have A Right To Free Speech ?

I know that we all don’t share the same ideology or political views. But I’m sure that the majority of us know right from wrong. Well , at least I’d like to think that we do ! I know that the freedom of speech is one of the main freedoms that this country affords its citizens and it is a freedom that we’re all imbued with and value like no other. But at the same time that very same freedom can have its consequences. Unfortunately there those who seem to forget that and also use it as a veil for their own insidious behavior.

Ali  seen   here   being   escorted   away   by  MP's  after  having  been  found   guilty   for  refusing  to  be   inducted   into  the   US  Army.     The   verdict  was   later   overturned   by  the  US  Supreme  Court   in  1971.    As  a   result   he   would   miss   3  1/2  years    from  the  sport  of    boxing.      picture  appears   courtesy  of   si/sports illustrated / id.cnn/turner/archives
Ali seen here being escorted away by MP's after having been found guilty for refusing to be inducted into the US Army. The verdict was later overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1971. As a result he would miss 3 1/2 years from the sport of boxing. picture appears courtesy of si/sports illustrated / id.cnn/turner/archives

Recently on a local sports’ talk radio show here within the Tampa Bay area. The co-hosts of the early to mid-morning show were having a rather innocuous discussion on the state of race relations within this country. I knew from the outset that this wasn’t going to be very good. The calls from many of the listeners that ensued bordered on the absurd. And by no stretch of the imagination , I’m definitely sure that the screener who took the calls for the program had to be screening out many of those incoming calls. Especially the ones that’d doubt want to air their vapid views as to the state of the country and the fact that they no doubt thought that minorities were the cause for many of the ills that the country now faces. True or not , this is more of a collective problem and not one of race at all !

One  of the  seminal   moments   in   race   relations    during  the   sixties   the   race  riots   in   Detroit   in   1967 .    picture  appears  courtesy  of   time magazine.com/archives ....................
One of the seminal moments in race relations during the sixties the race riots in Detroit in 1967 . picture appears courtesy of time magazine.com/archives ....................

However. over the course of the aired discussion during the program , one of the hosts who happens to be Hispanic made the comment that former boxer, Muhammad Ali was an outright racist. Now the other host of this show , who also happens to be of ethnic origin , in part agreed with his co-host. But what I found somewhat galling , was that he, as an African American took such a stance to begin with. Bearing in mind , what Ali had to endure and what was taking place at the time during his fight against the US government and his refusal to fight in Vietnam. Less we forget , that during the height of the sixties and the Civil Rights’ era – minorities and in particular African Americans had to endure a great deal of abuse , physical and verbal . All as part of fighting for the right to be free bstut what’s even worse the right to cast a vote . And though it pains me to think that these things had to take place just so that the rights of the few can be recognized. It pains me even more to think that there idiots such as this on the airwaves who are so unintelligent and have sense of history . But who proffer up an opinion without any looking back at the history of this country to begin with.

Ali    stands over the  prostrate   body  of    boxer  Zora  Folley   , whom  he  defeated  in the   defense  of  his  world  heavyweight   titLe   held   at  Madison  Square    Garden  New  York   in  March  of  1967.    Ali   won  the   fight   with  a   7th  round   knockout  of  the   challenger     and  it  would  be   his   last   professional  bout  before  being   stripped  of  the  heavyweight  title    that   same   year.  His  return  to  the  ring   would  be  almost  four  years  later when  he  fought  Jerry   Quarry  in  Atlanta, Georgia , in  October  of   1970.      picture   appears    courtesy   of    corbis   / Bettman    ...............   copyrighted  material  @   all   rights   reserved .........................
Ali stands over the prostrate body of boxer Zora Folley , whom he defeated in the defense of his world heavyweight titLe held at Madison Square Garden New York in March of 1967. Ali won the fight with a 7th round knockout of the challenger and it would be his last professional bout before being stripped of the heavyweight title that same year. His return to the ring would be almost four years later when he fought Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, Georgia , in October of 1970. picture appears courtesy of corbis / Bettman ............... copyrighted material @ all rights reserved .........................

This host’s view that because Ali used the words or shall we say term ? “………… the white man is a devil “ In his eyes it suggests that Ali is a racist and as such he’s no different than a member of the Klu Klux Klan. Perhaps , I mistaken here but I think that in making such a comparison. It either proves the point that ….’ ignorance is bliss’, or that this individual doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about from the get-go. I know that the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) is wavering on the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ as it perceives to the airwaves, the print and television media. And the counter culture war that’s now said to be taking place between the Liberals and Conservatives. But clearly much of this just smacks in the face of all that’s said to be decent and of moral integrity. And if anything in trying to make a case for his argument it just showed how ignorant this individual was being. But then again, I ought to remind myself that this is the state of Florida . It still remains in ‘the dark ages’ in terms of its social and economic progression.

Ali   faces   Jerry   Quarry   in   his  comeback   fight  at  the  City  Auditorium   in  Atlanta,  Ga

Ali seen here facing Jerry Quarry in his comeback fight held at the City Auditorium in Atlanta , Georgia. He would go on to defeat Quarry with a 3rd TKO. picture appears courtesy of moneygallery.com/ Neil Leifer ………………..

The strange thing is , this country decries the fact that some isn’t afforded the right to freedom of expression. But rarely does it do something when a person is actually denied that right. I mean if you’re being denied the right to vote , much less make a choice . What does that tell you about that society to begin with ? Furthermore , I thought it somewhat asinine that a person who’s on the airwaves didn’t put all that much thought before he made his statement to his listeners to begin with. Education obviously has its merits but it’s also predicated upon a student’s willingness to learn. An acute crisis the country now faces and has been facing over the last two decades.

Racist as defined in dictionary reference.com …..

racism …………

–noun
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Most certainly the road traveled …..’ as to the social journey in terms of race relations’. The final destination is not yet in view. And that stems from the mere fact that on both sides of the social divided there’s a great deal of ignorance out there, that’s still being displayed. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the political climate and both parties shares a great deal of blame for that as well. From the very outset they’ve made it a part of a political agenda and doctrine that has done little to eschew the ideals ‘….of all men are created equal’. Instead there are those who are meant to be viewed as the dominant idealists , merely because of the color of their skin. Something that I for one don’t believe was being taught by Jesus Christ at the behest of his ‘Holy Father’. We were supposed to have been created in his own image , were we not ? So I guess the traits that we’re meant to share are essentially the same in some aspects ? Other than that of the color of our skin off-course !

Muhammad Ali’s boxing career stats …………. 61 fights, 56 wins,(37 KO’s), 5 losses .

An Empire State Of Mind ………….. In New York

There’s no denying it , the Los Angeles Angels are not prepared to go down without a fight , against the New York Yankees , in the ALCS .Seemingly, in an improbable position and 3-1 down in the best of the seven game series. The Angels were able to salvage their season somehow and came back to win last night’s game in defeating the Yankees 7-6 in game 5. It was a tremendous effort by both teams and in many it ways it has come to define this whole series. As neither team could really gain the upper hand and build on the momentum attained.

Yankees'    players   in  the  dugout   watch  as   teammate  Nick  Swisher  is  up  for  an  at  bat   in   the  ninth  inning  of   game   of the  ALCS  between the  New York  Yankees  and  Los  Angeles Angels .    The   Angels   would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Yankees  7-6   in   the  game  played  at  Anaheim  Stadium  ,  Anaheim , California.         picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/ Harry  How  ......................
Yankees' players in the dugout watch as teammate Nick Swisher is up for an at bat in the ninth inning of game of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . The Angels would go on to defeat the Yankees 7-6 in the game played at Anaheim Stadium , Anaheim , California. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ......................

Now the series will return to the ‘Big Apple’ where the Yankees will look to close out the series once and for all. They can ill afford to allow the Angels to believe that this series now becomes theirs for the taking. And though I don’t believe it is beyond them win this series outright. At this juncture I do still believe that this series is still New York’s for the taking. The question that the players on the team and Joe Girardi have to ask themselves – ” …..is do we really want this ” ? If not , then they might as well just fold up their tents, pack their bags and head on home to their palatial abodes. Never-mind the fact, as to what the New York fans and media might think, were they to allow the Angels back into the series and win it outright. They would become the scapegoats and the cannon fodder for the media in the city for the next few months , right up until the resumption of spring training ,next season. That’s the dilemma that would be facing the New York Yankees.

Angels'  teammates  Bobby  Abreu (left)  and  Reggie  Willits  (right)  celebrate   after the  team's   victory   in  game   5  of the  ALCS  over   the  New   York  Yankees  .       picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Harry  How  ......................
Angels' teammates Bobby Abreu (left) and Reggie Willits (right) celebrate after the team's victory in game 5 of the ALCS over the New York Yankees . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ......................

And for the Los Angeles Angels and their undoubted loyal throng of fans. They may well now see this as their chance to get that proverbial monkey off their back , with regard to the Yankees’ dominance over them in recent years . And that’s not just with regards to the postseason but also the regular season as well. A return to the World Series at the expense of the Yankees would be quite an achievement for this team , after what has taken place internally with the organization. The loss of pitcher, Nick Adenhart would’ve decimated the resolve of most teams and led them to seemingly regress as a playing unit.. But for this Angels’ team and their manager, Mike Sciocsia , that wasn’t to be the case. They regrouped and they have played some outstanding baseball after Adenhart’s untimely demise.

Yankees' catcher   Jorge  Posada (20)   tags   out the  Angels'  Kendry  Morales    (19)    in   game   five   of  the   ALCS   played  in  Anaheim  Stadium  ,  Anaheim  ,  California .     The   series  will   resume    this weekend  with  games   6  and 7  being  played    at   Yankees   Stadium  ,  in  the  Bronx,  New  York  City,  New  York.     The  Yankees   currently  lead  the  series   3-2  in  the  best  of   seven  game  series.    The  winners  of the  ALCS    are   due  to  meet   the    Philadelphia  Phillies   in  the  World  Series .    The  Phillies  are   the   current  defending    World  Series   champions.    picture  appears     courtesy   of    getty   images/   Stephen  Dunn   ......................
Yankees' catcher Jorge Posada (20) tags out the Angels' Kendry Morales (19) in game five of the ALCS played in Anaheim Stadium , Anaheim , California . The series will resume this weekend with games 6 and 7 being played at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City, New York. The Yankees currently lead the series 3-2 in the best of seven game series. The winners of the ALCS are due to meet the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series . The Phillies are the current defending World Series champions. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ......................

Now this series , really has become a series of note , with more than a great deal to play for. Two games to play and just a single win is all that is needed by the Yankees. The Angels will no doubt be determined to take game 6 and even the series at three games apiece. And then look to take game 7 decisively , resulting in knocking off the Yankees in postseason play and thereby ending their postseason ambitions. If the Los Angeles Angels were able to somehow achieve that feat , then the nightmare that was bestowed upon the Yankees by the Boston Red Sox in 2004 would be akin to not only being deja vu , in so many ways. But the mere thought of this Yankees’ team built in large part , from highly paid All Stars , would be deemed the worst nightmare scenario possible for the organization. To have it happen once , would be one thing. But twice ? Well suffice to say , the aftermath would speak for itself. The well versed fans in New York wouldn’t take so kindly to the team and in all probability they would be dumping on individual players. And I would not put it past them to question the birthright of several of those players and no doubt , Joe Girardi, himself. New York sports’ fans aren’t averse to being vocal at all and showing their displeasure against their teams, given the right set of circumstances. So it should prove to be no different for the players of the New York Yankees. And that is despite the organization’s unprecedented success over the years.

Joe Girardi  (center)  in  the  midst  of   his  players    on the   mound  to   discuss   a  strategy  to  be  used   during the  game    against the    Los  Angeles  Angels.    Also  in   picture   is  Yankees'  captain  Derek Jeter (2)  and    And  Alex  Rodriguez   amongst the  other  players.        picture   appears    courtesy   of  getty  images/   Stephen  Dunn   ............................
Joe Girardi (center) in the midst of his players on the mound to discuss a strategy to be used during the game against the Los Angeles Angels. Also in picture is Yankees' captain Derek Jeter (2) and And Alex Rodriguez amongst the other players. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ............................

Now we can all contend that the Yankees may well be favored to close out the series , once and for all. And I’m still of the belief that they can and will do it. But if I have any doubts now . It is merely because of the indecisiveness that’s now being shown by Yankees’ manager ,Joe Girardi. He, much like the St Louis CardinalsTony La Russa , can be a pain in the ass ! Now don’t get me wrong as both are undoubtedly talented managers. But there also comes a time when indecisiveness can be a detriment to a team. La Russa essentially through his own indecisiveness allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to essentially beat the crap out of the Cardinals in the NLDS. By not adjusting to the changes being made by his opposite number , Joe Torre . He played into the hands of the Dodgers , in allowing them to walk Albert Pujols almost ‘at will’ throughout much of the divisional series. Not once, was he inclined to change his strategy. And now this ‘buffoon’ is pondering whether or not to return to the team next year ? The complaint against Girardi , has been his micromanaging and tinkering around with his bullpen and starting pitchers for some inexplicable reason. Should he continue to do that , then it could very well lead to his team’s demise and with being booed out of town. Like I said , the fans in New York aren’t always that forgiving of their teams , managers and owners, as the case maybe. But then again, that’s the same within the realms of sports , the whole world over. And who’s about to deny that as being a fact ? Not you or I , one would hope ?

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and New York Daily News :

Manager Joe Girardi should be fired if the New York Yankees lose to Los Angeles Angels in ALCS

By Jessie Spector , NY Daily News Sports Writer

The Yankees will come home Saturday still leading the ALCS, 3-2, still one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2003, still with Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia lined up to pitch them there.

But let’s get this out of the way now, so it’s not a reactionary thing if the Yankees lose their sixth and seventh consecutive games with the American League pennant within their grasp: So this is not to say that the Yankees will lose this ALCS, but if they do, Joe Girardi should be fired.

It’s harsh, yes, and it’s not easy to fire a manager coming off a 103-win season, but the burden of a collapse in this series would fall squarely on Girardi, who has made decisions in both losses that are indefensible. In both Games 3 and 5 in Anaheim, Girardi’s management of the Yankees’ pitching staff left fans saying to themselves, “What the hell is he thinking?” And that was before Alfredo Aceves coughed up Game 3, and before A.J. Burnett let the tying runs get on base in Game 5. From the time that Aceves came in, and from the time that Burnett stayed in after a long top of the frame, Girardi’s decisions had “mistake” written all over them. Both proved catastrophic.

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Jeff  Mathis (5)   of  the   Angels   as   he   returns  to  the  dugout  having   just  scored  a  run  in  the  seventh   inning   of   game   5   of  the  ALCS    against  the  New  York  Yankees.        picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty   images/   Jacob  de  Golish      ...........................
Jeff Mathis (5) of the Angels as he returns to the dugout having just scored a run in the seventh inning of game 5 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jacob de Golish ...........................

Whilst this is all being played out , the Philadelphia Phillies as winners of the National League pennant , awaits the winner. And as defending World Series’ champions they’re out to prove that they’ve got what it takes to successfully defend their title.
Chances are , the hierarchy of MLB are hoping that it will be the New York Yankees. It’s what they’d no doubt like to see , merely because of the fact the sport of baseball needs the Yankees more than they’re willing to let on. A series without the ‘Evil Empire ‘ as participants and for almost everyone to root against. Well it’s like having a crime thriller without the villain of the piece to root against – with just the hero there , forever taking up the screen.

Truth be told, I want the Yankees in this World Series ! As to whether or not I’m rooting for them to win it all. Well , unfortunately I won’t be divulging that piece of information at this particular moment in time. Suffice to say, I’m no Yankees’ lover or hater. I just essentially love sports , that’s all ! So I’ll leave you with this thought , if the Yankees were to win the World Series . Would it be a ‘good’ or ‘bad thing’ for the sport of baseball ?

“Empire State of Mind……New York “ by Jay-z feat’g Alcia Keys .

What I’m Now Reading And I Like To Read In The World Of Blogging Essentially Sports-wise

What I’m Now Reading And I Like To Read In The World Of Blogging Essentially Sports-wise

Here within the blog -o-sphere there’s a great deal t be read and then there’s a great deal that’s frankly just not worth reading at all ! For myself , being a complete sports junkie I’ve got to admit that there are a great many blogs about that I thoroughly enjoy. And though I must admit that also part of my ritual is to also read the business pages of a number of business journals featured papers. I’ll also take in the CNBC‘s business coverage as it’s amongst the best on tv in terms of analysis alongside that of Bloomberg Tv . Nothing gives me greater pleasure than reading an intensely good sport’s blog. Admittedly , there are the professional writers out there whom we can all appreciate one way or another. But quite honestly , a number of them I consider to be trite and disingenuous ! They would rather ram their views down your throat , rather than being informative and insightful .

First up there’s the Sportschump . Always a humorous side to him but essentially someone who’s very informative and knowledgeable when it comes to sports. An unapologetic Gators’ fan , who’ll support anything attributed to the Gator Nation and its fold. But don’t for one minute think that sports is his only passion. As Sportschump, also has a passion for the movies. I’d rather not date him when it comes to his age but suffice to say he’s approaching his fourth decade in terms of his youth. A proud alumni of the University of Florida for one , I’d highly recommend you take a perusal of his site and enjoy the content therein. Sportschump’s site http://sportschump.net

Another of my favorite sites to churn through at present are the guys of http://doin-work.com . This quartet of writers are about as good as it gets, as they bring a great deal of panache to their pieces. Passionate on a number of levels , they just tell it like it is , with no holds barred. Nothing is sugar coated , as it’s out there for all to behold and then some . And though their views are diverse, I can guarantee you this , you won’t at all be disappointed with the content matter or the quality of their work. The guys of doin-work.com’s site . http://doin-work.com

Well if you’re an avid soccer fan and you’re looking for anything to do with the world of soccer on all levels. Then you mightn’t find anyone better than Sports/Futebol by the infamous Bobby Gee. A guy who’s proud of his heritage but more so , not afraid to let you know that he’s passionate about the ‘beautiful game’ . No not the NFL but we’re talking round ball , as in the ball you kick . He will cover the leagues of Latin and Central America , primarily . But he’s not averse to opining on the English Premiership or for that matter the other leagues of the European continent. Hence, you’ll get an all-round feel as to what this guy is all about when it comes to the sport of soccer . A link to the site http://bobbygee.wordpress.com ……

Now I’ve got to admit that this one particular site and I should say person is the primary reason that I became passionate about blogging . James Dovine aka ‘Mean Dovine’ is the sole reason that I became passionate about the genre. When I first came across his work within that the three letter network otherwise known as Foxsports.com/blogs . His work stood out from all others ! . His was the premiere site within the realm of Fox that dealt with primarily the NBA. But that would be dismissive of his knowledge also of several other sports. Most notably boxing , for which he and I share an avowed passion. If you were a novice to the sport of basketball and the wiles of the NBA. Then ‘Mean’ was the type of guy who’d make the rudimentaries of it all essentially self explanatory with the use of his verbiage. He would wax on lyrically of the heydays of the sport , long before Jordan came along to make it the spectacle it has become today. And oh yes , for those amongst you , who are uninitiated , there was life in the NBA long before Michael Jordan , Kobe Bryant , Dwyane Wade , and LeBron James . Mean’s work has run the gamut in terms of sports and though he’s since departed from Fox . You can now find his work on his own site The League Sports by Mean Dovine. There, he’s now ably assisted by his partner in crime and equally as passionate about the NBA. It is rick o , his number one man . Think of him as being the sorcerer’s apprentice but essentially his apprenticeship has already been served. As rick o is another former member of the Fox cadre of bloggers. As too was Sportschump. Who says quality is dead ? They know not of what they speak ! The League’s link http://clap.name/theleague/meandovine .

Vaishali Bhardwaj’s blog is written by the sole female I’ve come across who truly has a passion for the game of soccer. Her pieces are succinct and filled with a great deal of insightful and creative observations. Were she a man she’d be lauded for the reverence and passion that she shows for the game. But yet this is a lone female who’s gone out there and has shown that she’s just as good as the guys when it comes to writing about the game. Never mind the fact that she may well be just as insightful on any other sport , were she to put her mind to it and write about it. But then as they say ………..’ that’s where the glass ceiling comes into effect’. As there’s the belief that women don’t share the extraordinary passion for sports as a male counterpart would. However, I for one feel that it’s the exact opposite ! Given the right set of circumstances , I believe that a woman can share that same sort of imbued passion for sports. Albeit, that there are very few of them out in the mainstream press who are actually writing about sports in general. Much less merely giving us their own insights via a blog. But as they say …….’that is how the cookie crumbles.’ It’d appear that blogging or writing about sports in the mainstream press in one of the last bastions of male supremacy. Where women haven’t yet made any major inroads into. Could it be that in large part because they’ll tend to get too emotional and let the femininity get in the way , when writing ? I’ll let you be the judge of that ! Vaishali Bhardwaj’s site http://vaishalibhardwaj.wordpress.com ……

If you like your topics to be funny , tawdry and at times ribald . Then the trio behind Too Old For Maxim, Too Young For Esquire ought to do the trick. They’re great and they’ll touch on a number of topics- ranging from music to sports and more often than not a social issue. And it’s plain to see that these guys really love their work. And they don’t shy away from controversy either. So beware , if you go gunning for them , then you’d better have the balls to back it up. If not , prepared to be raked over the coals , several times over. They’re extremely good at what they do ! Too Old For Maxim, Too Young For Esquire link to their site http://2oldformaxim.wordpress.com/

Well these are just my recommendations as to some of the sites that I’ve been reading as of late within the bloggers’ world, as with regard to sports. Hopefully , you’ll take time to peruse the site and in question and leave a comment on any of the topics that might be of interest you. And to those whom I’ve mentioned within this piece , guys continue to keep up the good work . There are readers out there who appreciate what you’re doing. Count me amongst them ! If there are any sites that you’ve come across and would like to recommend then by all means do so by leaving a comment. I’ll take time to visit and at the same time give them a plug within my own site. Take care and always keep on keepin’ on !

The Impossible Seems Probable But So Far The NFL Remains Mum On The Issue Whereas The NFL UK Is Chiming Almost As Loud As Big Ben ………….

Earlier this month I’d written a piece with regard to the NFL and their desire to have a franchise in the country’s second most populace city, Los Angeles ,California . The subject seems to arise every few years and it continues to take on a life of its own. At the same the NFL itself hasn’t been at a loss to express its interest in seeing a franchise return to the city. They continue to have support from all the usual places. From the Governor’s office on down to the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa . That being said, the financial burden that’d be placed upon a franchise were it to be a completely new entity may well be a mighty one. As continually the franchise fee entrance into the NFL rises to absurd amounts. The thought however , is the relocation of an existing franchise from another part of the country to the West Coast.

Wembley  Stadium  is  prepared   for   Sunday's    NFL  game  between  the  New  England Patriots  and  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers.  This  will  be  the   third   consecutive   year  that  a  regular  season   scheduled  game   has  been  held  at  the  venue   in  London.    picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Sang  Tan   ...............
Wembley Stadium is prepared for Sunday's NFL game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers . This will be the third consecutive year that a regular season scheduled game has been held at the venue in London. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Sang Tan ...............

Within the city itself there is a movement by local businessman and wealthy entrepreneur Ed Roski ,Jr to build an all purpose facility, in the hope of luring an existing franchise to the area. Roski and his partners have been canvassing a number of teams around the NFL , including the San Diego Chargers , in particular. And though nothing has yet to be finalized . It is thought unlikely that the NFL would allow such a move to happen. Albeit , that it would appear to be the one that would make the most sense to begin with. However, the Chargers , as the residents of Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego,- would be unable to move immediately without breaking its lease agreement with the city of San Diego , who are the owners of the stadium.

NFL UK Managing Director, Alistair Kirkwood seen here in 2007 opines on the the NFL game that took place between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants .

In contrast the NFL will this weekend have a regularly scheduled game played in London, England at Wembley Stadium. The two participants will be the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And though this isn’t the first time that the league has undertaken such an endeavor. Each time it happens , the more the rumors tend to arise that the NFL is in fact looking to broaden its appeal abroad. Though the league’s ambitions has never been openly discussed as to an international NFL franchise outside North America. There continues to be rumors being placed out there, with each passing maneuver of an NFL regular season game being proposed to be played abroad. And this time around it appears to be no different than before.

Courtesy of Sky Sports;

London dream for NFL

NFL team could be placed in London if popularity grows

By Paul Higham


NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood told skysports.com a franchise could be based in London within the next six years, if the games at Wembley continue to flourish.

A third game at Wembley takes place on Sunday, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the New England Patriots, and with another 85,000 sell-out on the cards the games continue to grow.

The first game in 2007 did come in for criticism because the newly-laid Wembley pitch was dug up as rain lashed the capital, but as the Giants won and then went on to claim the Super Bowl, any negativity has largely been forgotten.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has spoken of the possibility of playing another regular season game at Wembley, and Kirkwood believes that will be the first step on the road to an NFL team being based in London.

“Whether its 2010 or 2011 I’m not sure but playing two games is definitely a possibility,” Kirkwood told skysports.com. “The key thing is we need to get two teams to give up a home game. And that’s what we’ll be working on after this game.

“We’re a long, long way away from having a fanbase that would support a London team. But we’re getting a track record here. Once it moves to two games and we make a success of that then it becomes closer. If you can then get four games a year then that’s half an NFL season. ” Quote from Alastair Kirkwood Managing Director of NFL UK.

Process

“It’s quite an involved process. The league office talks to the owners of the potential home teams and we get testimonials from teams who have played here – we were lucky the Giants made the Super Bowl after 2007.”

And on the possibility of a franchise in London, Kirkwood added:

“If the stars are aligned and everything was working really well, then I think maybe something like 2015, but for that to happen we’d have to continue to do a really good job every year.

“We’re a long, long way away from having a fanbase that would support a London team. But we’re getting a track record here. Once it moves to two games and we make a success of that then it becomes closer. If you can then get four games a year then that’s half an NFL season.

“The last couple of years have been about proving that the games could work and would be popular. This year we are concentrating on growing the fan base and the popularity of the sport. Once you’ve played enough games then those theoretical discussion about franchises become more realistic.”

Praise

Wembley has received glowing praise and players such as the great Tom Brady are thrilled to be playing in London this year, and having the most successful team of the past decade playing in the Patriots just emphasises how the game is growing.

“We’ll have 85,000 in which is our capacity for this year, I was at the stadium earlier today and things are looking really good,” Kirkwood added.

“We have some input in discussions about what away teams would be best for the game, and we’re delighted this year to be welcoming the most successful team of the last decade and players of the calibre of Tom Brady.”

Kirkwood is confident the sport will grow in the UK, and with commissioner Goodell right behind them that dream of a London franchise may not be too far from a reality.

“He’s very supportive of everything we’ve done,” Kirkwood said of Goodell.

“For the last ten years he’s been very focused on building up the UK side of things. We’re relying on him to keep providing us with opportunities to keep staging games and keep extending the fan base.”

On the face of it, – it seems preposterous that the NFL would consider a franchise outside North America. And logistically this would create a nightmare for any team having to prepare to travel from either coast to the UK , in order to prepare for a regular season game. Were it scheduled on a Sunday or part of Monday night football. But herein, lies the rub , the NFL continues to march to beat of its own drum. And they are unlikely to listen to any criticism from anyone , even from within their own midst, much less from the NFL fans in general . NFL UK Managing Director , Alistair Kirkwood, has openly expressed his desire to see an NFL franchise in London, within the next 5 or 6 years. Be that as it may, it does place the NFL in somewhat of a compromising position to an extent. Should they seek out a partner to make this all a reality before embracing the return of a franchise in Los Angeles ? Or is it incumbent upon them(NFL) to seek out new partners in pastures farther afield , if there’s said to be an interest there to begin with ?

NFL   Commissioner   Roger   Goodell   seen  here  addressing   members  of  the  media  .        picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Noah  Rogers   ...........................
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seen here addressing members of the media . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Noah Rogers ...........................

The popularity of the game is on the rise and Sunday’s game between the Buccaneers and Patriots is already a sellout. But even with that sort of predisposition it doesn’t necessarily mean the fans will remain completely loyal to the game. Especially when soccer is still the dominant sport in the United Kingdom and right across Europe. And one can only speculate as to whether or not the fans’ loyalties will be equally divided between the two sports. Of this we’re certain, this will be a bold maneuver on the NFL’s part . And there is the belief that a number of fans stateside will not look upon this at all favorably.

Commissioner , Roger Goodell hasn’t openly discussed the matter with the media at large. But one thing is for sure, he’s not about to look a gift horse in the mouth if it means making money for the NFL and its owners. The chance that a willing participant would be willing to dole out in excess of $700 million just to become a franchise member of the NFL shouldn’t at all be scoffed at . And then bear in mind the additional revenue stream that it creates for the NFL as a whole. What’s not to like about it all , at the end of the day ? OK, so there may well be one or two fans here in the US that’ll be uncomfortable with it all. But at the same time those doing the complaining at times are the same ones who can’t see beyond the end of their nose to begin with. The only disadvantage to this all , may well be the fact that having to go to an away game , really will mean having to go away. A really long way as a matter of fact, right across the Atlantic Ocean. But that’s predicated upon those who can afford to travel to see a game in London to the begin with.

MIA’s ‘Paper Planes’ may well best describe what the NFL is said to be all about . Don’t you think ?

Can We All Agree That The NFL Is Here To Stay ? ….. Click here to read this piece in its entirety.