You’ve Been Struck By A Smooth Criminal

The world of sports is such a finicky place. Do well and you’re viewed as ‘something of a hero’ ? Do bad and hell, pack your bags and get the ‘hell outta’ Dodge’ and by the way don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out’ ! Such are the vagaries, whether you’re a player , a coach or for that matter the GM of a professional sports franchise. This same ‘mantra’ also applies within the collegiate field of sports.

Mike Leach, right, talks with a reporter as he leaves a hotel in downtown San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009. Texas Tech fired Leach as football coach on Wednesday after the coach took the school to court to try to overturn his suspension for alleged mistreatment of an injured player. Texas Tech  will face Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photos/  ............
Mike Leach, right, talks with a reporter as he leaves a hotel in downtown San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009. Texas Tech fired Leach as football coach on Wednesday after the coach took the school to court to try to overturn his suspension for alleged mistreatment of an injured player. Texas Tech will face Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday. picture appears courtesy of ap/photos/ ............

Curiosity may well have killed the cat but it was struck down for a good reason. Greed perhaps ? Or just sheer plain deceit ? The reason why I say this goes in line with what has happened at Texas Tech and that of their head football coach, Mike Leach. As you all no doubt may have been aware , Leach and the faculty have been embroiled an in argument as to the treatment of a player who’d suffered a mild to middling concussion . The player in question was David James, son of the ESPN broadcaster and former NFL running back, Craig James. That in of itself isn’t where this situation gets disturbing. It is however, in the actual handling of the situation by Leach and his coaching staff. When the player was alleged to have made the staff aware as to his ailment , we’re told Jones was taken to a darkened room by an assistant coach and told to remain in the room and …..’stay calm’. What the fu_k ? If I have a serious ailment and am in some intense or excruciating pain, I don’t want to be told to ‘take a time out’. You’d better get a medical professional to look into what’s said to be ailing me. Pardon me for saying this but if that’s how things are done at Texas Tech concerning the well being of the student athletes there. Then I for one, am surprised that there haven’t been more such unreported incidents . Well , low and behold, it would appear that all that glitters isn’t as such gold as to the environment created there within Texas Tech’s (‘Red Raiders) football program.

Courtesy of Associated Press and rivals.com


Texas Tech fires football coach Leach

By Betsy Blaney , Associated Press Sports Writer

Lubbock , Texas (AP)—Mike Leach’s firing by Texas Tech stemmed from more than just a lone complaint by the father of a player who alleged the coach mistreated his son.

Jerry Turner, vice chairman of the university system’s board of regents, said Wednesday that “other things” became known during an inquiry into the complaint. Turner added that Leach’s failure to agree to guidelines set forth by the school’s president led to his suspension, and “we are where we are” because Leach sued the university to try to coach in the Alamo Bowl.

Leach was fired Wednesday, two days after he was suspended by the school as it investigated his treatment of receiver Adam Jones, who said the coach twice confined him to a small, dark place after the sophomore was diagnosed with a concussion.
“Over the past several months, there have been individuals in the Texas Tech administration, Board of Regents and booster groups who have dealt in lies, and continue to do so,” Leach said in a statement provided to The Associated Press late Wednesday. “These lies have led to my firing this morning. I steadfastly refuse to deal in any lies, and am disappointed that I have not been afforded the opportunity for the truth to be known.”

Leach’s attorney, Ted Liggett, said earlier Wednesday that a lawsuit will be forthcoming.

The school handed a termination letter to Liggett minutes before the two sides were to appear in court for a hearing on the coach’s suspension. Liggett said Texas Tech general counsel Pat Campbell approached him outside the courtroom and told him that Leach would be fired regardless of the outcome.

Liggett told the judge there was no need for the hearing on Leach’s request that he be reinstated to coach the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State on Saturday.

As for Leach’s reaction, Liggett said, “Well, he’s not thrilled.”

“We can guarantee that the fight has just begun,” Liggett said.

Leach was suspended Monday after he refused to agree to guidelines for dealing with players set forth by school officials in a Dec. 23 letter. Turner declined to elaborate on what other issues surfaced during the investigation

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Leach as a coach and as a parent , has a responsibility to conduct himself as well as that of the conduct of his coaches in the appropriate manner , when it comes to the health and well being of a student athlete in their care. And in such a situation it is becoming abundantly clear that not only was poor judgment used all round. But there may well a complete lack of concern by Leach and his coaching staff as to that player’s well being. And we hail individuals such as this because they’re succesful in their chosen endeavors ? OK, so the Red Raiders under Leach’s guidance has been a prominent force on the collegiate football landscape over the past few years . And that is of course commendable but that shouldn’t get in the way as to the real reason why the athletes are at an academic establishment. They are there after all to get an education and to learn how to become a much better and productive citizen in the world, once their collegiate and athletic career is over with at that particular university. We know of course there at times unforeseen tragedies that can take place on a practice field or on the actual field of play. But for all sense and purpose , actions that are inexcusable shouldn’t be allowed to take place on a college campus when the coaches are aware as to what is taking place. Furthermore , if after this initial incident why is it that neither Leach or any member of his staff saw fit to escort this player to a medical professional on campus ?

Associated Press’ release announcing Mike Leach’s suspension .

Leach initially, used legalese to explain his situation in obtaining a restraining order , in order to allow him coach in the upcoming Alamo Bowl (game) against Michigan State. He (Leach) had been suspended by the university, pending their own further investigation into the incident and certain other allegations that have now come, in to light of that initial incident. It seems to countermand everything that Leach’s lawyer, Tom Liggett has put forth in repeated statements over the past fews days , wherein, he states … this is nothing more than isolated incident for which my client will be found innocent of all charges. Leach, himself, a law graduate certainly knows how to blow smoke up people’s ass . If ever a statement gives semblance to the fact that something awry has gone on. Then it points to the initial claim being made and then the defendant using the term ‘isolated incident’ to then cover up other more revealing and thought provoking situations where now even more allegations are coming to light over Leach’s conduct. But not only that Leach has gone on to say that he wasn’t made aware to what that James had been sent to a room and told to remain there. Even if this had been done as a simple form of punishment had the player been unresponsive to an instruction from his coach. How can Leach have the actual audacity to make such a claim while he’s there coaching these kids ? ‘Hey Mike, you can no longer have your cake and eat it’. It’s either one or the other concerning this whole idiotic episode..

Things are now going to take a turn for the worst as Leach and his lawyer seek a lawsuit against the university for wrongful dismissal and defamation of character. Can we say ‘tort reform’ in light of these type of frivolous lawsuits ? We know the real reason behind this all , and that’s the fact Leach recently signed a contract extension with the university and stands to lose several million dollars from his termination. Whether or not there are grounds for him to challenge his firing will be decided by the judicial system. One thing is sure however there are no real winners here at all in this situation , except that is for the highly paid legal professionals being paid here to represent the two opposing parties. Who says crime doesn’t pay ? The only instances where it does , is when you’re the highly paid defense attorney for a high profiled defendant . Need I say anymore on the matter ?

This won’t be the first or last time that we will hear of such incidents as this but it does seem to highlight the lengths that a coach will go to , in order to try what they deem to a sterling reputation in tact. We’ve seen allegations this season being made against coaches such as Rich Rodiguez of Michigan, Jim Leavitt of USF and his altercation with a player. But it does come to mind that many of these college coaches either don’t know right from wrong or they’re just plainly amoral and couldn’t give a damn. I know that they’re under pressure to succeed , garner success and acclaim for their respective programs. But at what cost must this be done ? Should it to their reputation and that of the program they represent ? Or is the real pressure that’s brought to bear because of the undoubted financial rewards that goes along with being a collegiate coach at a noted school and that the acclaim it all brings ?

Courtesy of ESPN.com


Trainer says James was monitored

By Mark Schlabach

Texas Tech head football athletic trainer Steve Pincock said Red Raiders receiver Adam James was placed in a “sports medicine garage” and media room as “big as a two-car garage” while recovering from a concussion, and was monitored by two trainers at all times.

Pincock’s account of the incident, given in a statement to representatives of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, contradicts James’ version of events that led to Leach being fired Wednesday.

James, who is the son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James, sustained a concussion on Dec. 16. He was examined the following day and told not to practice because of the injury and an elevated heart rate.

Pincock’s statement was obtained by ESPN.com on Thursday night from Leach’s representatives. Pincock refused further comment when reached on his cell phone in San Antonio, Texas, where the Red Raiders are preparing to play Michigan State in Saturday’s Alamo Bowl.

A source told ESPN’s Joe Schad that Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James “to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours.”

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NB This column only adds to the stupidity of the actions of the coaches involved in this incident and the excuses made by Leach, himself , whose only concern was his appearance as the coach of the team for the upcoming Bowl game.

Isn’t the collegiate athletics bad enough as it is already with reports of cheating scandals and the fact that in some cases the coaches were in fact duplicitous and compliant with the actions involved ? Without now knowing that, they’re either assaulting a player or indeed for that matter showing how stupid and intolerant they are of the athletes that they’re meant to be not only coaching but also guiding along life’s path in order to make them better individuals. And just in case you were under the notion that nothing at all seriously happened. Then consider this, what would the consequences have been , had Adam Jones died there and then ? Purely just my thoughts here on the incident , as you can make up your own mind as to whether Texas Tech’s decision to fire Leach was justified or not.

In the end Leach will land on his feet, by landing a job with another college program altogether or he’ll find his way into the professional ranks amongst the NFL. Coaches of his offensive mindset are few and far between. And at this point there are bound to be a number of franchises around the league looking for a very good offensive coordinator. What do you think ?

Homage is being paid here to late Michael Jackson with his rendition of his hit ‘Smooth Criminal’ . You snooze ,you lose !

NB Blaney’s note states the player as Adam Jones but it should read Adam James.

A Year In Review , Hits And Misses In Sports Thus Far …………….

Well as 2009 comes to a close , I can’t say that I haven’t been surprised by a number of story and plot lines that’s taken place throughout the year. Put your hands up , if you’d envisaged Tiger Woods being part of some ‘sordid sexual’ intrigue ? Not with just one woman but a ‘baker’s dozen, as in thirteen ? Screw that, Tiger was ‘hittin’ more tail’ off the PGA Tour than he’d been hitting divots on the golf course, throughout much of the Tour’s regular season. Noted, he has been voted AP Athlete of The Decade. No pun intended there ! But he laid more cable than the usual installers for my local cable operated affiliate here in Polk County, Florida.

Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....
Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....

So are you still buying into the fact that Brett Favre can lead the Minnesota Vikings to the promised land of a Superbowl win ? Watching this team succumb to the lowly Chicago Bears last night, was enough to suggest to me that this has been more about hype than anything substantive to begin with. And less we forget, it has been those merry band of idiots within CBS Sports, ESPN and Foxsports that have been leading the charge about Favre. And no doubt those devoted Brett Favre fans have been buying into all of this, as they’ve succumbed to Brett’s wily charms ? Much like Rasputin, Favre is as evil , as he can sometimes look. And perhaps even more so, when he’s not getting his own way like some whining prissy little kid. He talks about being a teammate but I’ve yet to hear one of his former or present teammates actually come out and support the guy wholeheartedly. Am I wrong here , or not ?

In the NBA can we all finally agree , that it’s Kobe’s world and until LeBron James actually wins something of note , other than another endorsement contract. He will continue to play ‘second fiddle’ to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Now with Shaquille O’Neal at his side as a new-found teammate. We’ll see if once again LeBron can get to those lofty heights and actually win an NBA title. Who can forget his infantile and somewhat petulant behavior after the Cavaliers were swept out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals of last season , by the Orlando Magic. Now he equates it with being a momentary lapse and the fact that the team lost. Suck it up you wuss and act like an honorable sportsman but above all, like a man ! You say you want to be a role model to kids but this is how you act ? Is it me but why is that when an athlete falls foul of his own actions , they look to allay that act elsewhere by looking to apportion blame upon someone else ? If you can think of an answer why ,then all by all means leave a comment concerning that very matter.

The Los Angeles Lakers showcase their style in beating the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the NBA Final in 2009.

With the Lakers handily beating the Magic in the best of seven game series 4-1,thereby allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to lift their fifteenth NBA title and Phil Jackson his tenth, as a coach. We can all agree that last season was simply all about the Los Angeles Lakers . Every other NBA story had to be punctuated with a comma. It wasn’t that there weren’t other noteworthy stories throughout the season. But once it became clear that the Lakers would make the NBA Finals. It essentially became about whether or not Kobe would finally win a title without Shaq in tow. Now we know that he can and did, he’s out to prove to us that the team can defend its title successfully. And you’d be hard pressed at this juncture to think that they’re not capable of achieving that feat. Given the fact that they’re now playing as good as any time over the past eighteen months. And Bryant along with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum are as hungry as ever. The rest of the NBA is on notice, that until you take down the champion , it’s his courtyard that you’re playing in. So whoever is good enough to step up to the plate and do battle , step forward.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has showed us once again that even though the economy is being ravaged. It still lives in its own small little world of make belief. Commissioner Bud Selig tells us that the sky is blue when it in fact there is a thunderous rainstorm, then we’re meant to believe him. I mean he’s the ‘commish’ and what he says, goes. Selig and his former counterpart , Donald Fehr of the MLBPA (Players’ Union)have seen the game slip into the depths of an abyss and without there now being any integrity to the game. It still carries with it that tarnished image and the very fact that two of the game’s most high profiled stars were embroiled in a steroid abuse scandal , only goes to show that there’s still a tremendously long way before there’s some semblance of respectability is brought back to the game. Both Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez now joins the likes of Roger Clemens , Rafeal Palmeiro , Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as being looked upon as ‘cheaters’- never mind a ‘steroid abuser’. But the biggest domino yet to fall , is that of Barry Bonds, whose own saga is being played out within the justice system at the taxpayers’ expense.

But it’d be remiss to think that the ‘steroid issue’ is the only inherent problem that the game now faces. There is the financial stability of the game itself. And the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots of the game. And far be it for me to suggest to Bud Selig that he ought to take his thumb out of his ass and deal those two issues. But it has reached a point where not only is the game’s hierarchy content with this mess but so too, are the players and the owners. And we all know that in the end, it’ll be the fans who’ll end up having to pay for the mess to begin with. If they’re (MLB) not raising the prices of general admission and season tickets. You can bet that the price of the concessions ,parking and memorabilia will rise faster than the rate of inflation.

New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player.
New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player. picture appears courtewsy od ap/photo/ Seth Wenig ...............

And less we forget, the ever power hungry agents out there will be looking to do their part to make sure that the escalating salaries within the game continues. None more so than the man deemed to be the main culprit behind so much of the escalation in the salaries and that’s none other than Scott Boras. His mendacity and the maneuvers he’s been able to pull off with the complete gullibility of the owners and general managers, gives you the indication that they believe that they’re playing with ‘Monopoly money’ , rather than cold hard cash. And why not , like I said, it’ll be the fans who in the end will pay for those increases. It’s not as if the revenues attained within the game is being equally spread amongst the teams within major league baseball, to begin with. But for all of the image set forth I’ve yet to hear anyone really question the financial plight of the game. Not even such esteemed baseball writers such as Buster Olney or Peter Gammons. Another reason why you can’t take those individuals at their word when it comes to providing any real analysis concerning the health of the game. As they’d rather deal in platitudes and fairy tales.

The season itself was one of excellence wherein we saw once again that the best player the game doesn’t happen to wear the pinstripes of the New York Yankees and whose name happens to be Alex Rodriguez. The person in question, who for all sense and purpose has the fans of the game in awe, is none other than St Louis Cardinals ,first baseman, Albert Pujols. And for the third time in five seasons he was named the NL MVP (2005,2008,2009) . And deservedly so, considering that the dominance that he’s shown within the game. In the AL the recipient there was the Minnesota Twins’ catcher , Joe Mauer. Another model of consistency over the last five years.

The World Series itself, would pit the best in the AL, the New York Yankees against last season’s winners, the Philadelphia Phillies. Two contrasting teams that are only separated by their mindsets as it comes to the game. The Yankees known for their lavish spending in acquiring the best talent that money can buy. Often reviled by the fans solely on this one issue. The Phillies for their part are viewed as the dominant team in the National League. And they’ve been that model of consistency over the last four years. However, this was a series wherein the Yankees were seeking redemption and the chance place themselves back at the top of the baseball world. And for the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. This was the chance to win their fifth World Series together as teammates. The triumvirate being the sole remnants left from that dominant dynasty of the mid to late nineties.

The series itself , would see the Yankees dominance rise to the occasion, with them winning the World Series in six games (4-2) over the Philadelphia Phillies. The heroics however, would be that of Yankees’ slugger and DH , Hideki Matsui, who was named series MVP. And for the New York Yankees’ fans this was a reason to rejoice , as they raised their twenty seventh World Series title. No doubt the fans in the ‘Red Sox Nation’ can’t wait to take a bite out of the ‘Evil Empire’ . And so too no doubt will the rest of major league baseball.

Vitali (left) and Wladimir  Klitschko   of the  Ukraine.   At  present   the  two  brothers   hold  three  of   the  four  major  recognized  heavyweight  title  belts  between  them.     picture appears  courtesy  of  theindependent.uk.co/ Ian  McGregor  ................
Vitali (left) and Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine. At present the two brothers hold three of the four major recognized heavyweight title belts between them. picture appears courtesy of theindependent.uk.co/ Ian McGregor ................

What haven’t I said about the state of professional boxing , that I’ve continued to state repeatedly ? It has become ‘a complete farce’ at the heavyweight level ! Wherein, the two best fighters in the category refuse to fight each other , because of a promise given to their mother. Well, that’s what we’ve been told by the respective holders of the recognized belts in , Wladimir Klitschko (IBF,IBO,WBO)and his brother , Vitali Klitschko (WBC). Granted, a promise given to one’s mother is better than no promise at all. But these two brothers were they to fight and create an undisputed champion within the division. Then it would bring back some credence to the sport as well as the division. Not only that but it’d actually create a certain degree of interest within the heavyweight division. Nowadays, watching two boxers within the division fight one another is akin to watching the Animal Planet and seeing a male and female rhinoceros contemplating the mating ritual. It begins to get somewhat hazardous and downright scary for you to watch. They’re looking somewhat cumbersome and at the same time you may well find the act itself, somewhat gross ? Not unlike the vast majority of the heavyweight boxers now with the aspirations of winning the heavyweight championship. And that would also include the various holders of the belts in question. There isn’t that much talent in the division to begin with. But yet the idiots such as Larry Merchant , Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas and Jim Lampley claim that there is. Who knew that idiots such as this were paid to offer such asinine comments ? Even Stevie Wonder can tell the difference between a tomato can and ‘a bum’. Whereas, these assholes couldn’t tell you the difference between sh_t and shinola ! Yeah, I said and I damn well mean it , ’cause it’s true.

A male and female rhinoceros mating. It somewhat resembles the farce of witnessing the heavyweight boxing scene at present, wouldn’t you say ?

And unfortunately at the lower levels within boxing , things are decidedly taking a nasty turn for the worse. The so called ‘superfight’ match-up envisaged between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao for the welterweight title, is now looking more like a distant dream, instead of becoming a reality. The acrimony between the Mayweather camp and Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, has become an all-out battle of words, insults and barbs being traded between the two sides. What this actually does for boxing and its image, is about as welcoming as seeing Rosie O’Donnell dressed in nothing but a thong and getting ready to engage in a sexual act. You don’t want to watch but at the same time you’re still enlightened as to what you’ll anticipate that you’re going to see happen ? Pardon me here guys, but Rosie engaging in a sexual act ain’t my cup of tea , nor should it be yours !

Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision.   Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP (Photo credit should read Ethan Miller/AFP/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision. picture appears courtesy of AFP/Getty Images/ Ethan Miller ..........

The other divisions within the sport have their aspirants but none whereby the public would immediately recognize them as being a household name. When one considers that the three dominant promoters within the sport here in the United States are all claiming to bring back respectability to the sport. You have to wonder what steps were being taken by Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc., Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc, and Don King of Don King Promotions Inc.. Last I checked, not one of these guys could be viewed as pillars of the boxing community and bastions for upholding the integrity of the sport. But this indeed the price that one has to pay when the organizations that govern the sport internationally have become an alphabet soup group of bodies, who’ve no one’s best interests but their own when it comes to the custodianship of the sport. Never mind the fact, that they’re induced to carry on with this type of behavior by the very promoters who say that they want the sport to remain competitive and of interest to its most ardent of fans. Those words are beginning to ring ever so hollow at present !

And I’d have something to say about NASCAR and the NHL but the words that come to mind aren’t used to characterize the niceties of both sports. Suffice to say , that while there are fans of both sports out there. I am most definitely not one of them ! There isn’t anything at all that I find either alluring or engrossing about both of these sports. I’ll may well give them a passing glance but when it’s all said and done. It just doesn’t float my boat !

NB: All pictures appears courtesy of either AFP, AP/Photo and Getty Images, respectively

What In The Wide World Of Sports Is Going On Here …………Hey Urban ‘Lean Back ‘ And Do The Rock Away

Imagine my surprise when I first heard and then read about the re-signing and retirement of Florida Gators’ football coach , Urban Meyer. Now to say that the ‘Gator Nation’ wasn’t caught flat-flooted by the announcement would be like stating that all the Titanic did was to strike an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic. There was far much more behind the event that met the eye. As is the case here with Urban Meyer.

Meyer seen  here  speaking  to  a  number of  his  players  on  the  sidelines   during  a  college  game.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Brian  Joubert   .........
Meyer seen here speaking to a number of his players on the sidelines during a college game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Joubert .........

Health issues asides , much of what we’re being told seems to be somewhat benign in many respects. We all know that a coach’s life is a pressured one. Especially where the program you oversee is a successful one and that is the envy of many schools across the nation. That’s not to say that Meyer’s statement aren’t valid. But he’s been in the position of coaching this program for the last four years. And it wasn’t as if he’d enter into the agreement of being hired that he’d done so with his eyes closed. He knew the expectations that awaited and of the legacy and tradition of the program. Herein lies the rub, the loss to Alabama 32-13 in the SEC championship game and the subsequent embarrassment may well have far too much to bear for the coach. Not only that but a great deal was expected of not only Florida but also its coaches , as it’d set out of defending its national championship title.

Courtesy of Gatorzone.com

Urban Meyer To Take Leave of Absence, Not Step Down; Addazio Named Interim Head Coach

University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer informed his team Sunday afternoon that he will take an indefinite leave of absence rather than step down. Meyer addressed the team shortly before the Gators boarded a plane to New Orleans for Friday evening’s Allstate Sugar Bowl.

“During the past couple of days I was offered and encouraged to take a leave of absence,” said Meyer. “I’ve accepted this offer to improve on my health.”

The news came less than 24 hours after Meyer had announced he was stepping down as head coach. Meyer will still coach the Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Friday evening before beginning his leave of absence.

Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will take over as interim head coach during Meyer’s time away from the program.

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Now an about turn has been done by Meyer and subsequent to his original formal announcement, he’ll take an indefinite leave of absence from the team to deal with his health issues and to be alongside his family. Good or bad, this was a drastic step to be taken originally by the coach. One can only suspect that whatever the trauma he faced was indeed grave and needed his urgent attention. Far better to be a live coach rather than a dead one on the sidelines of game that you’re coaching.

Florida coach Urban Meyer calls a time out during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Troy in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, left, and quarterback Tim Tebow stand behind him . Florida won 56-6. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Phil Sandlin ......

Calmer heads have prevailed and the likelihood of the school losing its coach for good has been sidestepped for the moment. With Meyer deciding to take an indefinite leave of absence after he’s coached the team in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati . He’ll hand over the reins to his assistant coach , Steve Addazio until his impending return. Addazio is a well versed and highly thought of assistant And there should be no immediate drop off in terms of the coaching process. He’ll no doubt want the team to avail itself of the chance at redemption by showing that the loss to Alabama, while traumatic , they’ve been able to overcome it. So it is expected that the Gators will go out of their way to waylay whatever the Bearcats might offer up in terms of an effective opponent on the day.

If there’s any discomfort to be had in this story it is the skepticism with which it was initially met. I am not saying that there isn’t some veracity in the decision made by Urban Meyer. But at the same in the four years of his coaching this program , this is the first time something of this nature has come to the fore. And most certainly prior to this I am sure that he must’ve known whatever health issues he was in the midst of , had to have come into being at some point during his coaching tenure with the program. So it begs the question why here and why now ?

My own thought here is that Meyer came to the right conclusion but made an erroneous error in the timing of the announcement of his original decision. He ought to have ‘leaned back’ – do ‘the rockaway’ and really chilled before coming to his decision. If nothing else it’d wouldn’t have scared the ‘living hell’ out of avid Gators’ fans such as sportschump and the litany of others like him up down the state of Florida. They must’ve literally shat bricks when they first heard the news !

What were your original thoughts when you first heard the news ?

Terror Squad feat’g Fat Joe ‘Lean Back’ .

Time To Contemplate ….. And Now On To The Future …………. The NFL Playoffs Are Almost Upon Us

Well here we are and there but five days left in this first decade of the twenty first century. How time flies ? It only seems like yesterday that I was reliving the surreal effects of the man made disaster and the catastrophe of 9/11/01. To this day, I still am in disbelief that this all took place and that it ultimately led to the meltdown in the confidence of the US economy to weather any type of storm. The ramifications of those attacks are still being felt to this day up and down the country. For those who think otherwise , then they’re in complete denial.

Twin towers  alight  on  Tuesday  September  11th 2001.  My own thoughts  at the time were  of shock  , horror  and  amazement that  such a  thing  could happen.  And  then asking myself   who'd  be  brazen   enough to  carry  out  such  a heinous  crime  resulting in the  loss  over  3,000  innocent  lives ? In  the end  the  words  'Al  Qaeda'  held    a new  meaning  for us all.       picture appears courtesy  of  bethcarey.com/9/11/01 ..................
Twin towers alight on Tuesday September 11th 2001. My own thoughts at the time were of shock , horror and amazement that such a thing could happen. And then asking myself who'd be brazen enough to carry out such a heinous crime resulting in the loss over 3,000 innocent lives ? In the end the words 'Al Qaeda' held a new meaning for us all. picture appears courtesy of bethcarey.com/9/11/01 ..................

This more likely than not will be my last sporting post of the year. In essence I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to stop by and read my articles and for leaving your comments on them all. It has been a great privilege to exchange with you thoughts and ideas about sports and various other topics that have cropped up in our discussions over this year. Like I said, there’s only five days left and a great deal can happen in the world of sports.

Well last night the NFL endowed us with the privilege of seeing the San Diego Chargers (12-3) take on the Tennessee Titans (7-8) in a game that would have some ramifications for both teams and their postseason aspirations. In a game that meant all are nothing to both, we would see the Chargers take the reins and subjectively bear down on the Titans and all but end what little hope they stood of making the playoffs.

Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, left, meets San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner on the field after  the Chargers won 42-17 in an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Russell .....
Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, left, meets San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner on the field after the Chargers won 42-17 in an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Russell .....

For coach, Norv Turner and his Chargers’ team this gives them the legitimacy and resolve that they seek in showing the rest of the NFL that they’re someone to be feared, once the postseason comes around. They’ve essentially won the AFC West divisional crown and sewn up the second seed berth for the playoffs within the conference. Now all that awaits the Chargers is for them to acquit themselves in the postseason.

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, right, scores a touchdown on a 30-yard run ahead of San Diego Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper (54) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. The Chargers won 42-17.  picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/  Wade Payne .....
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, right, scores a touchdown on a 30-yard run ahead of San Diego Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper (54) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. The Chargers won 42-17. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Wade Payne .....

The Chargers’ 42-17 defeat of the Tennessee Titans saw the team play with a great deal of aplomb. And unfortunately for the Titans, quarterback, Vince Young had one of those games that he’d most rather likely would want to forget. Instead of showing the recent rise in form that he’d been recently showing. It was back to the player who lacked confidence and was prone to making costly mistakes. In the game he would throw two interceptions and go 8 of 21 pass attempts. for a meager 89 yards. Hardly the stats you’d expect from a quarterback expected to lead his team to victory.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes against the Tennessee Titans in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John  Russell  ................
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes against the Tennessee Titans in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Russell ................

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Chargers secure 1st-round bye, beat Titans 42-17

By Therese M Walker , AP Sports Writer

Nashville, Tenn. (AP)—The San Diego Chargers have their first-round bye, and Philip Rivers(notes) is still perfect in December.

Tennessee’s bid for NFL history? The Titans lost that right along with their postseason dream, looking like a throwback to the team that started the season 0-6.

Rivers threw two touchdowns passes, LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) ran for two scores and the Chargers beat the Titans 42-17 on Friday night to grab the AFC’s No. 2 seed and that first-round bye in the playoffs.

“It was nice to get the two seed and keep the streak going in December and positioning ourselves going into the postseason,” Rivers said. “It says a lot about our guys and (coach) Norv (Turner).”

The AFC West champs streaked to their 10th straight win and tied the 1970-74 Miami Dolphins for most consecutive wins in a month with their 18th in December dating to 2006. The Dolphins won 18 in a row in November.

Darren Sproles(notes) caught a TD pass and ran for two more scores to help San Diego (12-3) squash the Titans’ dreams of becoming the NFL’s first team to start 0-6 and rebound to make the playoffs. Tennessee (7-8) had hoped to top what the 1994 Chargers did in reaching the postseason after an 0-4 start.

San Diego rolled, outgaining Tennessee 425-270 in total offense while holding the ball for 39 minutes. Turner credited his offensive line, which featured Nick Hardwick back at center after being out since the opener, with letting Rivers play.

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Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young (10) is brought down by San Diego Chargers linebacker Tim Dobbins (51) after Young scrambles for a 2-yard gain in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.   picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/ John  Russell  .................
Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young (10) is brought down by San Diego Chargers linebacker Tim Dobbins (51) after Young scrambles for a 2-yard gain in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Russell .................

And for Jeff Fisher, as coach of the Tennessee Titans this loss must have proven to be a great disappointment. At 7-8 within the AFC South, there’s little chance of them now making the playoffs after this resultant loss. At an 8-8 season is now essentially all awaits this Titans’ team. Well, that and their sense of pride.

San Diego Chargers running back Darren Sproles (43) follows the blocking of guard Kris Dielman (68) as Sproles scores a touchdown on a 9-yard run past Tennessee Titans linebacker Gerald McRath, right, in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/ John  Russell  ......
San Diego Chargers running back Darren Sproles (43) follows the blocking of guard Kris Dielman (68) as Sproles scores a touchdown on a 9-yard run past Tennessee Titans linebacker Gerald McRath, right, in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Russell ......

After a 0-6 start to the season and with Young being installed in the starter’s role at the insistence of owner, Bud Adams. The Titans went on roll that astounded many as they reeled off six successive victories. But now having lost 2 of 3 in their last starts. Their season has all but come to a close and as I stated earlier all that they’re now left to play for,is ‘their pride.’ And this may well be the one thing that will allow Fisher to keep his job with the organization.

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, left, shakes hands with Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson after the Chargers defeated the Titans 42-17 in an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.  picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ John  Russell  .........
San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, left, shakes hands with Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson after the Chargers defeated the Titans 42-17 in an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Russell .........

For the Chargers , theirs is the chance that finally they’re no longer to be viewed as the bridesmaid but as the bride. And they know if they’re to acquit themselves throughout the playoffs and beyond. Then they’re going to maintain the momentum that they’ve shown over their last dozens games within the NFL. Other than the Indianapolis Colts (14-0), perhaps no other team has been on such ‘a tear’ in terms of their form. Consistency has been the key for the Chargers, along with a stifling defense and an attack that is at the height of its prowess.

Philip Rivers and his teammates have essentially turned the NFL on its ear. As it was at first thought that the Denver Broncos might just be the team to give the Colts ‘a run for their money’ this season within the NFL. But the Broncos have proven to be a team that is susceptible to being just a little too comfortable in its own skin. Instead the ‘rah-rah’ cheers heard from their coach Josh McDaniels has been nothing more than that of an over ardent cheerleader wanting to will their team to victory. Alas, for McDaniels the poms-poms and cheers alone just weren’t cutting it !

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) scores a touchdown on a 1-yard-run against the Tennessee Titans in the first quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. From left are Titans safety Chris Hope (24), Tomlinson, and Titans linebacker Jamie Winborn (52).   picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/ Wade Payne  ........
San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) scores a touchdown on a 1-yard-run against the Tennessee Titans in the first quarter of an NFL football game on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. From left are Titans safety Chris Hope (24), Tomlinson, and Titans linebacker Jamie Winborn (52). picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Wade Payne ........

As much as I’ve enjoyed this NFL season and seeing two unbeaten teams go neck and neck in trying attain perfection within the regular season. I’m now glad to see that the NFL playoffs are almost upon us. If nothing else it’ll give us all the chance to see how many of these teams will face real adversity, when all is said to be on the line. In the regular season one loss doesn’t mean you’re out of the hunt at the start of the season. But from the midway point on it does tend to take on a whole new meaning for a team. In the postseason however, it’s one and done ! No do-overs, no complaints to the officials about wrong calls and most certainly no excuses as to the poor play of your team. If they’re not ready to play in the first place, then they ought not be there to begin with.

NFL Week 16 schedule click here, 25th-28th Dcember, 2009.

It Should Never Have Happened But It Did ………..Breakin’ Up Is So Hard To Do

Well 2009 is about to come to a close and the decade as such , has been filled with a litany of sporting events and some heart warming stories. Others however, haven’t been so endearing or comforting to our psyche.

We’ve reveled at the exploits of many of our sporting heroes and at the same time we’ve been reviled by the actions of others. But such is the dichotomy of the sports panacea that we’ve got to take the good with the bad. We simply have no other choice.

As an avid reader of the one US national daily newspaper that I find gives me a great deal of insight on a broad based and a wide variety of topics. I’ve got to admit that I’m enamored with the USA Today and in particular its sports coverage. And today of all days one particular article stood out above all others . And that was an article written by Reid Cherner, entitled ‘Countdown to 10’: Top sports breakups since 2000. If ever there was an article to make you think and about a subject matter in depth. Then this was it. And his picks in some ways, do pack a punch, as the veracity for a case can be made for each. And those picks are wide and varied in terms of the gamut of sports wherein he suggests that the breakups were indeed bad.

Tiger Woods is  seen here  with  his  former coach  , Butch Harmon .  The two  split  in what was  said to be  at  the  time under somewhat  acrimonious  circumstances.  Something  now which  both parties  deny.   picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/  Eric  Richsberg .............
Tiger Woods is seen here with his former coach , Butch Harmon . The two split in what was said to be at the time under somewhat acrimonious circumstances. Something now which both parties deny. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Eric Richsberg .............

And amongst the storylines where Reid made his picks there were the following. Tiger Woods’ split from his long time golf coach, Butch Harmon. Well, bearing in mind that Woods now has far more on his plate to handle as of late. I think that the split with Harmon might seem somewhat trivial to Tiger at this juncture. The fact of the matter is, despite the split, Woods would continue to win and steadily amass a fortune that now makes him one of the richest, if not one of the ‘richest athletes’ in the world. But I do expect Elin to have something to say about that ! ‘ I want half, Tiger ‘ ! Need one say anymore on the matter ?

Courtesy of USA Today

Countdown to ’10: Top sports breakups

By Reid Cherner, USA Today

‘Don’t take your love away from me

Don’t you leave my heart in misery

If you go then I’ll be blue

‘Cause breaking up his hard to do’ Neil Sedaka

If the past decade has proved anything, it is that sometimes love will not find a way. There were plenty of bromances started in after 1999. Not all of them made it to 2010. The top sports breakups since 2000:

Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon: It seems so quaint now. After all, no back windows were smashed and the Florida Highway Patrol was never called. The notion of being a great swinger was something we all wanted to emulate then. But when Woods fired Butch Harmon as his coach after 10 years, it broke up one of the most successful partnerships in golf history. The two won a hunk of hardware together. There is no question that Woods would be the world’s greatest golfer whether Harmon or Hank Haney was giving tips, but some of his best years came with Harmon. “I loved the 10 years I had with Tiger,” Harmon told reporters. But he also said he enjoyed “being away from that circus — the media, the cameramen, the people running after you, always asking questions.” Harmon had no idea how prophetic he would be.

Bobby Bowden and Florida State: No marriage is forever, no matter how happy you were in the salad days. When the Seminoles hired Bowden 34 years ago, it was with the hope that he would build a football program where none existed. Bowden brought his homespun wisdom and his sense of humor. Oh, and he brought a little bit of coaching and recruiting know how. He exits the stage with the two national championships and almost 400 lifetime victories. Bowden, who once said “I guess I’ll retire some day, if I live that long,” says he now plans to see the world with his wife Ann. Bowden wanted one more year but seemed resigned to his fate. He leaves Penn State’s Joe Paterno, who faced his own firing squad earlier in the decade, as the grand old man of college football.

Roy Williams and Kansas: When Williams turned down his alma mater to stay at Kansas he was a hero in the state. When he changed his mind a few years later and agreed to re-establish the program that Dean Smith had built, Williams became a public enemy. Even after the Jayhawks won the 2008 national championship, destroying Williams and his Tar Heels in the Final Four, there were many who grew nauseous at the mention of his name. This for a man who took the team to a couple of national championship games and won almost 80% of his games. Williams writes in his new book Hard Work that one of his closest friends told him “Whatever you do I’m going to be with you” didn’t speak to him for 1½ years after he made the decision. Williams tried to remain loyal, even wearing a Kansas sticker during the ’08 title game, but the Jayhawks didn’t want to remain friends. Some might think that Williams can keep himself warm on cold nights but watching the tape of his two national title teams at UNC.

Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers: Tom Hagen, the consigliere of the Corleone Family says in The Godfather “your father wouldn’t want to hear this, Sonny. This is business not personal.” The Packers thought Favre was in the late afternoon of his career and Aaron Rodgers was ready to become the bright new shiny penny at quarterback. This was a divorce between Packer management and one of its players. There are still Green Bay fans who proudly wear their No. 4 jersey and talk of the glory days when Favre took them to two Super Bowls. If any of these tales can have a happy ending this one may be it. Favre has new life with first the New York Jets and now the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are among the league’s hottest teams. Will everyone ever vacation together? No. Will they be meeting in Minneapolis for the NFC title? Well, wouldn’t that be interesting?

Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee: Isn’t it always sad when drugs, or in this case the talk of drugs, comes between two people who seemed so right for each other. Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. McNamee is a trainer who helped Clemens keep his 40-year-old body in 20-year-old shape. Then came allegations of performance-enhancing drugs and blood encrusted gauze and syringes. Everyone can benefit from third-party consultation but when that third party is Congress nothing good is going to grow out of the shards of relationship that are left. The lawsuits between Clemens and McNamee may remain alive for decades but the marriage is nothing but shambles.

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This Feb. 13, 2008 file photo shows former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, left, listening to the testimony of his former personal trainer Brian McNamee, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on drug use in baseball. Clemens broke his silence Tuesday, again denying that former personal trainer Brian McNamee injected him with performance-enhancing drugs in his first public comments in more than a year. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Susan Walsh ......
This Feb. 13, 2008 file photo shows former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, left, listening to the testimony of his former personal trainer Brian McNamee, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on drug use in baseball. Clemens broke his silence Tuesday, again denying that former personal trainer Brian McNamee injected him with performance-enhancing drugs in his first public comments in more than a year. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Susan Walsh ......

Of all the splits mentioned by Cherner in his piece. For me, the standouts were Roger Clemens’ split from long time personal trainer, coach and close personal friend ,Brian McNamee. What that tells you about friendship and alleged betrayal, is all that you need to know. Never mind the fact there was and still has been a web of deceit and lies from both of these individuals. And the story and the acrimony between the two ,still hasn’t died down.

And Roger Clemens for his part , still maintains his innocence of any wrongdoing over the steroid abuse allegations made against him. And he somehow saw fit to throw his ‘wife under the bus’ when he gave testimony to the House Oversight Reform Committee up on Capitol Hill, Washington,D.C.Nothing says ‘coward’ when you choose a member of your family as a pawn in a game that has some very serious ramifications of all involved. Even though his name appears in the ‘Mitchell Report’. It’s just Roger being Roger. Yet another story that MLB could’ve done without. But there again just look who runs the hierarchy of the game ?
.

In happier times  former  San Francisco 49ers'  teammates  Jeff Garcia (5) and  Terrell  Owens .  picture appears courtesy  of Sports Illustrated  /Getty  Imagrd/  Doug Miralle .......
In happier times former San Francisco 49ers' teammates Jeff Garcia (5) and Terrell Owens . picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated /Getty Imagrd/ Doug Miralle .......

If Terrell Owens feels aggrieved about anything , should we at all, believe him ? Or is it that the player seeks our sympathy ? Here is a player who knows of more ways to outlive his welcome with an NFL franchise, quite simply more than porn star, Jenna Jameson knows how to disrobe and perform a plethora of sex acts right before your very eyes. Not that there’s anything wrong with Jenna Jameson performing a sex act. To each his own and whatever floats your boat.

McNabb  and  Owens seen  here  as  teammates  for  an  official  picture  of  the  duo  .  After of something  of  a short lived career in  a Philadelphia Eagles'  uniform   . The  player  still  part of the equation  with the  Eagles  and  they've sent  him  packing to  the  Dallas Cowboys.  picture  appears  courtesy of  Al  Tielmans   ...............................
McNabb and Owens seen here as teammates for an official picture of the duo . After of something of a short lived career in a Philadelphia Eagles' uniform . Thr player still part of the equation wwith the Eagles and they've sent him packing to the Dallas Cowboys. picture appears courtesy of Al Tielmans ...............................

Owens over his storied career has seemingly found ways to alienate teammates , self destruct and lay waste to any franchise where he has been professionally. From the San Francisco 49ers, to the Philadelphia Eagles to the Dallas Cowboys. In his path there has been left turmoil and disruption. If he’s not questioning a teammate’s sexuality, then he’s questioning their physical abilities and integrity. One wonders how he’s ever called himself a teammate to the likes of Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo and Jason Witten ? But then again, the narcissist that is TO , will always be TO, no matter what ! That’s the way it is and always will be ! I’m just waiting around for the first tremors to be felt up in Buffalo , once the Buffalo Bills have decided that he’s no longer of any use to the team or the organization ?

Bret Michaels of Poison and the hit ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorns’ sums up the relationship of Owens and Romo, when they were teammates with the Dallas Cowboys.

These are but a few of the stories that I for one found somewhat interesting of the ten mentioned by Reid Cherner in his article. You’ll no doubt have your very own thoughts on a story that was ripe for this topic of discussion. So by all means feel free to offer it up for discussion within this forum.

A young Neil Sedaka sings his hit ‘Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do’.

This is but a tidbit of the sports’ breakups that’ve taken place over the decade. So feel free to chime on in with one of your own. And by all means do leave a comment.

Pret-A-Porter …………..No I’m Not Buying Into It At All

Absolutely nothing says arrogance and pomposity than when you have two narcissistic individuals trying to ‘one up’ each other, in order to make and get their point across. And so it goes in the world of boxing. While the world awaits the formal announcement and a date to be set for the impending fight between Floyd Mayeather Jr,(40-0,25 KO’s) and Manny Pacquiao(50-3-2,38 KO’s). There is already a ‘war of words’ being waged between the two factions. In this case it’s between Mayweather’s camp and that of Bob Arum , the promoter of the Philippine fighter.

Boxing promoter and  Top Rank Inc  President & CEO, Bob Arum.  The promoter's charge  , Manny Pacquiao  is  due to  fight Floyd Mayweather  Jr  in  early  2010 - in  a  highly anticipated welterweight title  fight  that'll  also  be co-promoted  by  Mayweather  and  Arum's  Top Rank Inc. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Joe Caravetta ....
Boxing promoter and Top Rank Inc President & CEO, Bob Arum. The promoter's charge , Manny Pacquiao is due to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr in early 2010 - in a highly anticipated welterweight title fight that'll also be co-promoted by Mayweather and Arum's Top Rank Inc. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Joe Caravetta ...

Arum and Mayweather are at logger heads over the fighter’s request that his opponent, Manny Pacquiao be subjected to random blood and urine tests between now and the scheduled fight due to take place on the 13th March, 2010. Mayweather wants the testing to be done in accordance with the USOC and that of WADA. Arum for his part seems all aggrieved by this all, as if it implies that his fighter , Pacquiao is an alleged cheat. Given the fact that the sport is already as corrupt as it can be. And also in light of what had taken place when another of Arum’s charges, Antonio Margarito was found to have used an illicit covering on his hands in his defeat of Miguel Cotto in a welterweight title bout. One could well understand Mayweather’s actions. But given that this may be nothing more than ‘one up-manship’ on the part of Mayweather , his love of controversy and the limelight. This all becomes much ado about nothing. Or does it ? Many now feel that the sport should fall in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency as well as the USOC and its testing protocols for athletes. Somehow the sport of boxing (in the United States) is so far behind the ‘8 ball’ on this one issue, that it doesn’t even bear thinking about.

But if in large part both camps are now at an impasse from the mere fact that Arum and his fighter won’t acquiesce to the request of Mayweather. Then what was meant to be the most anticipated fight in boxing history could very well go ‘up in smoke’ without a punch ever being thrown between the two fighters. Fight fans around the world have eagerly awaited this much anticipated bout. In large part because you’ve two immensely talented fighters and in most people’s minds the two best ‘pound for pound’ fighters on the planet. Never mind the fact they’ve both got their own loyal band of devout followers across the globe.
This event is too good a spectacle to be all of a sudden implode because of one fighter’s possible wish not to take a blood and urine test over the scheduled weeks and months leading up to the event itself. Arum and Pacquiao may well feel slighted. But would it actually hurt either man’s reputation were they to acquiesce ?

Manny Pacquiao (left)  and Floyd Mayweather Jr (right), the two are scheduled to meet in a  higly anticipated welterweight title  bout in the early part  of 2010. It'll be the fist major title fight of the  decade.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ A  Randolph ..................
Manny Pacquiao (left) and Floyd Mayweather Jr (right), the two are scheduled to meet in a higly anticipated welterweight title bout in the early part of 2010. It'll be the fist major title fight of the decade. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ A Randolph ..................

The bout itself though it appears in jeopardy , I’d certainly like to think that calmer heads will prevail and that something amenable can be worked out between both camps. As entrenched as they both appear to be. There’s far too much at stake now for either party to back out of this deal. Someone amongst ‘the three’ will have to be the bigger man and step up to the plate and come to some sort of an agreement. If not then irreparable harm could be done to their reputations , as well as to the sport of boxing. And as the sport now stands at present , this is the very last thing that it needs.

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Mayweather promoter: ‘I’m not saying the fight is off’

[Updated]

There’s no love lost between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Bob Arum, the promoter of Manny Pacquiao whom Mayweather split with a few years ago and went on to fight in the major events he says Arum deprived him of.

So when Arum told the Grand Rapids, Mich., Press today that the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was “off,” it should be noted that past animosity can lead to short tempers.

[Updated at 11:30 a.m: Arum elaborated today, telling The Times he does believe the fight is off because “we have suggested everything possible to make this happen and it’s falling on deaf ears.” He added, “Mayweather is not the commissioner of boxing.”]

Arum is bothered that Mayweather’s camp has asked Pacquiao to agree to Olympic-style random drug testing overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Pacquiao, said Arum, has agreed to blood tests more than 30 days before the fight and right after the fight, but not so close to the actual first bell.

[Updated at 11:30 a.m.: Those independent tests would be used instead of the current pre- and post-fight urine tests required by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Arum said he won’t agree to the testing protocol of USADA because he said that organization has the right to request multiple tests, extra blood and a blood sample on fight night. Arum agreed that USADA was not likely to request a sample just before fight night.

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If the impasse between the two camps is as cavernous as it is now believed to be. Then the fight fans will be denied a fight that has been long time in the making. On the other hand the issues being raised while it may have no veracity in the argument being put forth by Mayweather. It does bear being raised , as not enough is really being done by the sport to counter act the use of illicit substances. Once in a while we hear of fighter having fought and after a post fight test has been conducted we’re made aware that there’s been an illegal substance within their system. The customary apology is sometimes made and the fighter and his manager are then fined and mandatory suspension is given to the fighter. And in some cases to that fighter’s trainer , if it’s known that they acted in conjunction in the subterfuge of cheating.

Throughout his career Pacquiao has conducted himself like a gentleman in and outside of the ring. He has treated his peers and opponents with the utmost respect. And that is a compliment to the Filipino boxer and his entourage. Albeit , that Arum ,with his checkered past tends to intervene to say some rather disdainful and obnoxious things about some of his Pacquiao’s opponents at one time or another. But then that’s to be expected in order to ‘ramp up’ the ‘hype and publicity’ behind a major fight.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports


Blood test issues turns to test of will

By Kevin Iole Yahoo Sports Writer

The hotly anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao was teetering on the brink of collapse on Wednesday over a dispute regarding drug testing procedures, a debate that has some experts standing on Mayweather’s side.

On Wednesday, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank proposed a drug testing schedule that would include three blood draws and an unlimited number of urine tests in an attempt to salvage the bout that hit a negotiating snag on Tuesday, when Mayweather’s side insisted on random Olympic-style drug testing administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The world’s top two boxers had agreed to meet on March 13 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for what is expected to become the largest-grossing bout in the sport’s history.

Arum said frequent urine testing is sufficient in the final 30 days to prevent either fighter from using performance-enhancing drugs. He said Pacquiao is willing to submit blood samples in early January, in mid-February around 30 days prior to the fight and then again in the locker room immediately upon conclusion of the fight.

In the interim, Arum insisted urine testing would be sufficient.

“Everything can be picked up by urinalysis,” Arum said. “Everything.”

Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA, disputed Arum’s contention and said a combination of blood and urine testing is required to be effective. He also said that to be most effective, athletes would have to be subject to random testing while out of competition.

If any testing is conducted in the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight outside of what is mandated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, it would be during competition since the fighters are scheduled to start training in early January.

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Mayweather on the hand, nothing gives him greater pleasure than to mock an opponent in the run up to and after a bout.Though rarely will he actually laud praise upon another fighter. He has some respect for the history of the sport but his ‘greatest respect’ shall we say say is …to portray himself as the narcissist we all know him to be and the boxer and fighter he believes himself to be. He has long felt that he’s not received the credit due because others have looked upon Oscar De La Hoya as being the ‘mainstay’ and ‘savior’ of the sport over the last decade.
And that may well be the case as De La Hoya has proven to be the biggest draw in the history of the sport in terms of PPV revenues. His fights alone have grossed an estimated $450 million over the course of his illustrious career. Mayweather hasn’t even exceeded half that amount in his own esteemed career. And therein, may well lie the jealousy behind Floyd Mayweather Jr and his antagonistic tendencies. He believes that the respect due to him has long been overdue. And now that he’s finally getting the acclaim and the due accolades, he still somehow finds a way to alienate the masses.

If this fight now fails to take place at the time envisaged, then there will be a great many fans of the sport left wondering in what direction is the sport going and why won’t it adopt merely the most simple of policies in order to safeguard its very own integrity.On this one issue alone the sport of boxing is so far behind ‘the 8 ball’ that it doesn’t even bear thinking about. With the various state athletic commissions as well as the international governing bodies of the sport each adopting its own set of guidelines. It’s hard to distinguish what there is right that is being done inside the sport of boxing. And what there is that is being done wrong. So divergent are their policies that there’s no uniform guideline that solely regulates this issue.

What are your own thoughts on this matter as well as the possible title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao ? I look forward to reading and responding to your comments.

The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

Well if you had any doubts that the NBA season is underway, then look no further than the play of the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic , Cleveland Cavaliers , Los Angeles Lakers , Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets, and the Atlanta Hawks. And perhaps the most surprising of these teams mentioned may well be the Atlanta Hawks.

Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...
Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...

The Eastern Conference Hawks have been playing some exemplary and an exciting brand of basketball. So much so, that one has to say that they’ve got to be looked at as the ‘surprise team’ within the NBA at present. And for Commissioner, David Stern ,this has got to be pleasing not only for him , but the NBA hierarchy and most of all the fans in general around the NBA. Without the usual up and comers shall we say , we’d still be looking at the usual suspects around the league for our entertainment. Granted , we’re also witnessing the privilege of seeing the mediocrity of the New Jersey Nets. And one sincerely hopes that their alarming slide into banality doesn’t continue throughout the remainder of the season ? If so, then their long suffering fans may well have to look elsewhere for entertainment in terms of the hardcourt game. And let’s put it this way the entertainment they seek , won’t be coming from the New York Knicks, either ! This Mike D’Antoni coached team gives a new meaning to the word putrid, in terms of their overall play. And what’s even more alarming is that there appears to be no effort forthcoming from the team.

East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel  S. Butler .........
East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel S. Butler .........

We know that the game’s major stars in the guise of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Brandon Roy will be looking to hold sway over the league with their play. But it’d be remiss not to mention some of the rookies in the league who’ve started off strong. The Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Jennings has shown that he’s a star on the rise. And though he’s no longer a rookie the play of the Oklahoma Thunder’s Kevin Durant has made everyone sit up and take note of this ‘one man wrecking crew’. It seems that on any given night when his game is on , then Durant comes out to lay waste to the opposition by running them ragged with his offensive weaponry. Never mind the fact that he’s making the scoreboard register numbers faster than the women who are coming out of the woodwork to lay claim that they’ve been bedded by Tiger Woods.

Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......
Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......

There are number of teams that are on the decline due to a number of factors. A lack of coaching , inexperienced or an aging roster and then some could also say that there might be something of mindset with the lack of a will to win. And at present those traits seem to sum up the Detroit Pistons. The loss of Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics and the return of a ‘prodigal son’ in, Ben Wallace , seems to have not made a change for the better. If anything the team is struggling to show some semblance of competitiveness. And for team coach, John Kuester and General Manager, Joe Dumars this is something of anathema and a dilemma. The acquiring of Allen Iverson backfired with the team trading Chauncey Billups in exchange for the seasoned veteran. But the turmoil that followed, in essence summed up how far the team has fallen. Then coach, Michael Curry couldn’t instill what he wanted out of the players and nor did they reciprocate with their best efforts in return. It certainly then didn’t help that there was a degree of acrimony being built up between Iverson and Curry- and also between Iverson and Dumars. It would all lead to the abrupt firing of Curry and Iverson being allowed to leave the team as a free agent.

Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE,  Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............
Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE, Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............

Allen Iverson’s sojourn with the Memphis Grizzlies was short lived. And he has returned to where his NBA professional career started, in the city of ‘Brotherly Love’ with the Philadelphia 76ers. His presence there, though welcomed with opened arms, it will take a great deal of more than a love-fest between the two parties for Iverson for to prove that he’s still capable to contributing to a team, not just as a player with offensive presence but also to prove himself as a team leader with veteran presence. That if anything will be the legacy now for Iverson at this stage of his career. He’s at the twilight of it and one seriously doubts if the 76ers has what it takes to be even viewed as a legitimate contender for postseason honors , much less as a contender within the Eastern Conference. At best they may well no more than a fifth or sixth seed out of the conference, when it’s all said and done.

Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies  at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............
Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............

While there’s a great deal to be said for the talent in the Eastern Conference . It is their counterpart in the Western Conference where ‘the show’ is said to take place. The eight best teams in the conference record wise , all have an above .500 record. Whereas , in the Eastern Conference ony five of the top eight teams even have an above .500 record. The quality and the talent is in the West but in the East there the game is greatly predicated on defense. In the West that’s not always the case. Though you’d be hard pressed to believe when hearing many of the fans there speak about how their teams are defensively. Say it ain’t so ?

Now as we may wile away our time opining on our teams. We ought to remember that the season has essentially started as of now. What little we’ve seen of the teams, has been for them to start to fine tune their games for the onslaught of the next six arduous months of traveling and playing. For some teams their season is already essentially over . No disrespect to the Nets, Warriors , Timberwolves , Knicks and Sixers. Don’t call us but we’ll call you if the NBA is in need of your services for the postseason.

Los Angeles, California ,.  Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  picture appears courtesy  of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............
Los Angeles, California ,. Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............

It has to be said that this season is one filled with a great deal if intrigue as there are so many plot lines ,suspense and theater to be had. Will LeBron James with Shaquille O’Neal in tow be able to lead the Cavaliers to a title ? This may well be his last shot at one with the organization. Can the Celtics regain their composure and acquire another title with Kevin Garnett leading the charge ? Or will we see Dwight Howard finally live up to that leadership role with the Magic, instead of the asinine portrayal of Superman ? The thing is, it wasn’t Kryptonite that led to Howard imploding in last season’s NBA Finals against the Lakers. It was his sheer arrogance and naivete’ that led to his and the team’s downfall.

For the Los Angeles Lakers and their influential coach Phil Jackson, this season and NBA championship is theirs to lose. As the presumptive favorites to win it all again this season. It’ll be down to the calming influence of Jackson and the mercurial skills and leadership of Kobe Bryant take to this once again to the ‘promised land’. And one would hope that Bryant’s new teammate, Ron Artest, can above all, keep a level head on his shoulders ? As it is, he’s already proving that his basketball mind is great but anything beyond that intellectually and he’s like a fish out of water.

Commissioner , David Stern sits down with noted columnist and tv sports personality Michael Wilbon. Stern discusses the economics of the NBA.

Plot lines , stocking stuffers , call it what you will. Because ‘Santa Claus Stern’ wants you to enjoy this festive season surrounding the NBA and up to the season’s finale. After all, it is the least he’s asking of you , or is it ? Have fun this NBA season and hopefully your team will do well !

NB: To view the NBA Conference standings click here….

General allround NBA stats click here .

NB: You can also find this post within http://thebasketballoracle.com under the same title The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

Festive Greetings …………

For those of you within the blogo-sphere my heartiest wishes to you all ,on this the most festive of seasons.

At this the most solemn and festive time of the year I’d to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. !

For myself it will be an occasion for me to spend time with many of my closest friends and colleagues over this period. And it will also give me the chance to reflect on how the year went for me in 2009. Hopefully, I’ll be able to learn from my mistakes, professionally as well personally , in order to make my life and those around me a great deal better. I trust for you also, it will be the same sort of contemplation and a renewal of faith, dependent upon your spiritual beliefs ?

Peace and goodwill unto all men  but  above all the  celebration  of  the  birth of Jesus  Christ .
Peace and goodwill unto all men but above all the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ .

Anyhow, once again my sincerest wishes for you and your immediate family and may you and they have an eventful and productive 2010 ! May all of your dreams come to fruition in the upcoming year.

John Lennon’s ‘War Is Over’

In passing, thanks as always for your continued support, as it has been truly appreciated.

Merry Christmas !

Happy Hannukah !

As Salaam Alaikum !

Happy Kwanzaa !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

Just Like Rodney Dangerfield Over The Course of His Career The Indianapolis Colts Still Can’t Get No Love Or Respect …………

Just Like Rodney Dangerfield Over The Course of His Career The Indianapolis Colts Still Can’t Get No Love Or Respect …………

Did I miss something here ? A 14-0 team in the Indianapolis Colts, isn’t viewed as the best team in the AFC ? But the pundits view the San Diego Chargers at 11-3, are viewed as the better team ? But now that’s the pundits, as we all know they’re always enamored with style over substance. Pardon me for saying this but shouldn’t one’s body of work over the course of the season matter ? Granted, should these two teams meet in the AFC championship game, then the Chargers might just have the slight edge in the match-up.

The late great Rodney Dangerfield, seen here giving a performance on ‘The Tonight Show’ hosted by Johnny Carson. The performance was from the show on 3rd February 1981.

The Chargers are riding high at present with the team sitting atop of the AFC West and there’s nothing else for them at all to fear within their own division and over the remainder of their schedule. This Norv Turner team has hit their stride and they’re playing with a great deal of confidence. Phillip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and Shawne Merriman are all playing with a great deal of zeal. And the defense of the Chargers has literally come into their own. And the offense is as potent as ever, both on the ground and through the air. It may well be, that finally the players are buying into and believing what it is that their coach is selling them. Mind you, at the start of the season , I’m sure that their the fans may well have felt somewhat differently. But that’s how fickle the fans can be, when it comes to the inconsistent play of their team.

San Diego Chargers NFL football coach Norv Turner gestures while talking about calling a timeout during a news conference Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 in San Diego. The San Diego Chargers clinched a playoff spot while still playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, then secured the AFC West title with a 27-24 victory. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/Lenny Ignelzi.....
San Diego Chargers NFL football coach Norv Turner gestures while talking about calling a timeout during a news conference Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 in San Diego. The San Diego Chargers clinched a playoff spot while still playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, then secured the AFC West title with a 27-24 victory. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Lenny Ignelzi.....

For the Colts, only the second time in their career have they reached the pinnacle of being 14-0. And now having surpassed the feat of the New England Patriots in having won 21 consecutive regular season games. They now seek to add ‘perfection’ and the raising of the Lombardi trophy, as the culmination to their prolific season under their quarterback, Peyton Manning. But what might be even more surprising is that this being done with first year coach, Jim Caldwell. The footsteps that Caldwell stepped into, are those of Tony Dungy, the former beloved coach of the team and well respected throughout the NFL. Now the Colts’ fans and fans around the NFL wait to see if the team’s march towards perfection will be a historic one, or will they end up falling short at that last obstacle placed in their way. These are things that await the fans of the Colts and the fans of the NFL in general.

Jacksonville , Fl - December 17th 2009. Maurice Jones-Drew (#32) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is stopped by the Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/  Sam Greenwood  .........
Jacksonville , Fl - December 17th 2009. Maurice Jones-Drew (#32) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is stopped by the Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood .........

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Colts dilemma : Go 16-0 ?

By Barry Wilner , AP Football Writer

As the NFL’s lone unbeaten team, the Indianapolis Colts will have even more of a spotlight on how they approach their final two games of the regular season. They recognize that, but their mantra won’t change: winning the Super Bowl is the goal.

The Colts returned to practice Monday after a long weekend of rest and relaxation. Their 35-31 victory over Jacksonville on Thursday night earned them that reward, and when New Orleans lost to Dallas on Saturday night, the Colts became the NFL’s only spotless team.

How much does that mean to them?

“Obviously, it’s an honor for our team to have an opportunity to stand alone at this point,” coach Jim Caldwell said Monday, “but the fact of the matter is that it is a real task to maintain this position, as well. I think our guys are certainly up to that challenge.”

And they want to meet that challenge.

“Obviously, we’ve been here before. It helps in dealing with the media and helps us in how we should feel,” linebacker Gary Brackett(notes) said. “Everything is measured by the end of the season. But we welcome (the spotlight). We’re not under the radar anymore.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good team. What we’ve done is nothing to take lightly. We’re definitely proud of where we’re at right now. And it’s a good problem to have, deciding whether you’re going to play or whether you’re going to sit.”

So, will they get the chance to prove it? Or will the Colts back off in their final two games, against the Jets at home on Sunday, and then at Buffalo?

Judging by how they performed at Jacksonville, and how Peyton Manning(notes) and Reggie Wayne(notes) have been vocal about wanting to be on the field, it would seem matching the Patriots’ 16-0 mark of 2007 is a priority. Just not the main priority.

“Right now I could not tell you exactly what it’s going to be, whether or not a guy plays one series or the entire game,” Caldwell said. “The other thing is the health also includes, obviously, looking at them from a standpoint at what they’re going to be able to do in the future as well. That’s also included.”

Only two other franchises have reached 14-0 in the regular season: the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who went on to 17-0 and won the Super Bowl, and the ’07 Patriots, who were 16-0, won two playoff games, then fell in the Super Bowl to the Giants.

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Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood  .........
Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood .........

In 2007,we witnessed the New England Patriots’ march to perfection in the NFL, during the regular season, only for the team to fail in their bid to win the Superbowl. Unfortunately the team would fail in their quest for perfection and equal the feat of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots were upended by the New York Giants in a memorable game that was highlighted by David Tyree’s phenomenal catch and then we saw the Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress reception that would eventually win the Superbowl for the Giants.

Joseph Addai (#29) of the Indianapolis Colts runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Colts would go on to  defeat the  Jaguars 35-31 to keep their  unbeaten  record  in tact.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam  Greenwood .......
Joseph Addai (#29) of the Indianapolis Colts runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Colts would go on to defeat the Jaguars 35-31 to keep their unbeaten record in tact. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood .......

Well, much like the famed comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, the Indianapolis Colts can’t seem to get the respect they so richly deserve. And that’s even with the team having won a Superbowl with Manning and Dungy in tow. Will a second win, give validation and respectability to this team ? Or will they be continually disrespected by others, who simply value style over substance ? They were comedians during Dangerfield’s era who many felt were far funnier but none could elicit a laugh the way that Rodney Dangerfield could from an audience. And in many ways this is the same problem that the Indianapolis Colts now face with the purists at heart. What many of them seem to forget, is that apart from Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Joseph Addai and Dwight Freeney. This is a roster that has been revamped with a plethora of young players. And perhaps this may well be the reason why many aren’t so enamored with the Colts and so vapidly in awe of the San Diego Chargers.

Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Indianapolis Colts coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida. picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood ..........
Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Indianapolis Colts coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood ..........

It is quite possible that these two titans could very well meet in the AFC championship game. And that’s where it’ll be for all the marbles for what’s at stake. The winner of that matchup may well be viewed as the presumptive favorites to raise the Lombardi trophy. But that’d be predicated upon these two teams being able to steer their way through the obstacles that will be placed in their path throughout the postseason. So as of now, just watch the displays of the Colts and their quest towards perfection. One way or another, the journey could be just as exhilarating a joy ride as you could ever wish for. Along the way there might a smile placed on your face as you watch this great team’s chase at glory and history.

NB: Click here to view the Indianapolis Colts’ 2009-10 NFL roster.

Coach: Jim Caldwell
Jim Caldwell became the Colts coach following the retirement of Tony Dungy on January 12, 2009. Caldwell has served with Indianapolis since 2002. He spent the first three seasons as quarterbacks coach before earning the expanded title of assistant head coach prior to the 2005 season.

Caldwell’s leadership has helped the Colts continue to have one of the league’s most prolific offenses. In 2007, Indianapolis ranked fifth in NFL offense, the club’s fifth straight top five league finish. The club amassed 450 points to rank third in points per game, the fifth straight year the club was among the league’s top three scoring units. The Colts set an NFL record with a fifth consecutive season with at least 12 victories. The club’s victory totals of 50 from 2003-06 and 75 from 2003-08 rank among the best in NFL history over any four- and five-year spans. The club earned an NFL-best ninth playoff appearance in the last ten seasons, and Indianapolis extended its franchise record with a fifth consecutive AFC South championship. Additionally, Indianapolis became the first team in 76 years (Green Bay 1929-31) to open three consecutive seasons with 7-0 starts. cont’d…………

Assistant Coaches :

Clyde Christensen

Offensive coordinator; born January 28, 1956, Covina, Calif. Quarterback Fresno (Calif.) J.C. 1975, North Carolina 1976-78. No pro playing experience. College coach: Mississippi 1979, East Tennessee State 1980-82, Temple 1983-85, East Carolina 1986-88, Holy Cross 1989-1990, South Carolina 1991, Maryland 1992-93, Clemson 1994-95. Pro coach: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1996-2001, joined Colts in 2002.

Larry Coyer

Defensive coordinator; born April 19, 1943, Huntington, W. Va. Linebacker Marshall 1962-64. No pro playing experience. College coach: Marshall 1965-67, Iowa 1974-77, Oklahoma State 1978, Iowa State 1979-1983, 1995-96, UCLA 1987-89, Houston 1990, Ohio State 1991-92, East Carolina 1993, Pittsburgh 1997-99. Pro coach: Michigan Panthers (USFL) 1984-85, New York Jets 1994, Denver Broncos 2000-06, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2007-08, joined Colts in 2009.

Richard Howell

Asst. Strength And Conditioning; born February 19, 1972, Bladenboro, N.C. Quarterback Davidson 1990-93. No pro playing experience. College coach: Davidson 1994-98, North Carolina 1998-99. Pro coach: Barcelona Dragons (NFLE) 1999, joined Colts in 2000.

Gene Huey

Running Backs; born July 20, 1947, Uniontown, Pa. Defensive backwide receiver Wyoming 1965-68. Pro running back San Diego Chargers 1969. College coach: Wyoming 1970-73, New Mexico 1974-76, Nebraska 1977-1986, Arizona State 1987, Ohio State 1988-1991. Pro coach: Joined Colts in 1992.

Pete Metzelaars

Offensive quality control/Asst. offensive line; born May 24, 1960, Three Rivers, Mich. Tight end Wabash College 1978-1981. Pro tight end Seattle Seahawks 1982-84, Buffalo Bills 1985-1994, Carolina Panthers 1995, Detroit Lions 1996-97. College coach: Wingate 2003. Pro coach: Barcelona Dragons (NFLE) 2003, joined Colts in 2004.

Tom Moore

Sr. Offensive Coordinator; born November 7, 1938, Owatanna, Minn. Quarterback Iowa 1957-1960. No pro playing experience. College coach: Iowa 1961-62, Dayton 1965-68, Wake Forest 1969, Georgia Tech 1970-71, Minnesota 1972-73, 1975-76. Pro coach: New York Stars (WFL) 1974, Pittsburgh Steelers 1977-1989, Minnesota Vikings 1990-93, Detroit Lions 1994-96, New Orleans Saints 1997, joined Colts in 1998.

Howard Mudd

Sr. Offensive Line; born February 10, 1942, Midland, Mich. Guard Hillsdale (Mich.) College 1960-63. Pro offensive lineman San Francisco 49ers 1964-69, Chicago Bears 1969-1971. College coach: California 1972-73. Pro coach: San Diego Chargers 1974-76, San Francisco 49ers 1977, Seattle Seahawks 1978-1982, 1993-97, Cleveland Browns 1983-88, Kansas City Chiefs 1989-1992, joined Colts in 1998.

Mike Murphy

Linebackers; born September 25, 1944, New York, N.Y. Guard-linebacker Huron (S.D.) 1963-66. No pro playing experience. College coach: Vermont 1970-73, Idaho State 1974-76, Western Illinois 1977-78. Pro coach: Saskatchewan Rough Riders (CFL) 1979-1983, Chicago Blitz (USFL) 1984, Detroit Lions 1985-89, Arizona Cardinals 1990-93, Seattle Seahawks 1995-97, joined Colts in 1998.

Rod Perry

Special assistant to the defense; born September 11, 1953, Fresno, Calif. Defensive back Colorado 1972-74. Pro cornerback Los Angeles Rams 1975-82, Cleveland Browns 1983-84. College coach: Columbia 1985, Fresno City College 1986, Fresno State 1987-88. Pro coach: Seattle Seahawks 1989-1991, Los Angeles Rams 1992-94, Houston Oilers 1995-96, San Diego Chargers 1997-2001, Carolina Panthers 2002-06, joined Colts in 2007.

Frank Reich

Quarterbacks; born December 4, 1961, Freeport, N.Y. Quarterback Maryland 1981-84. Pro quarterback Buffalo Bills 1985-1994, Carolina Panthers 1995, New York Jets 1996, Detroit Lions 1997-98. Pro coach: Joined Colts in 2008.

Ray Rychleski

Special Teams; born September 27, 1957, Old Forge, Pa. Attended Millersville (Pa.) State College. No college or pro playing experience. College coach: Temple 1981-88, Northeastern 1989-1990, Penn State 1991, East Stroudsburg 1992, Wake Forest 1993- 2000, Maryland 2001-07, South Carolina 2008. Pro coach: Joined Colts in 2009.

Bill Teerlinck

Defensive assistant; born July 23, 1978, Champaign, Ill. Defensive end Chadron State 2000-02. No pro playing experience. College coach: Indiana 2003-04, Illinois State 2005-06. Pro coach: Joined Colts in 2007.

John Teerlinck

Defensive Line; born April 9, 1951, Rochester, N.Y. Defensive lineman Western Illinois 1970-73. Pro defensive tackle San Diego Chargers 1974-77. College coach: Iowa Lakes J.C. 1977, Eastern Illinois 1978-79, Illinois 1980-82. Pro coach: Chicago Blitz (USFL) 1983-84, Arizona Wranglers/Outlaws (USFL) 1985-86, Cleveland Browns 1989-1990, Los Angeles Rams 1991, Minnesota Vikings 1992-94, Detroit Lions 1995-96, Denver Broncos 1997-2001, joined Colts in 2002.

Ricky Thomas

Tight Ends; born March 29, 1965, London, England. Safety Alabama 1983-86. College coach: Kentucky 1996, Gardner-Webb 1997. Pro coach: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1997-2001, joined Colts in 2002.

Jon Torine

Strength And Conditioning; born November 16, 1973, Livingston, N.J. Linebacker Springfield (Mass.) College 1991. No pro playing experience. Pro coach: Buffalo Bills 1995-97, joined Colts in 1998.

Alan Williams

Defensive Backs; born November 4, 1969, Norfolk, Va. Running back William & Mary 1988-1991. No pro playing experience. College coach: William & Mary 1996-2000. Pro coach: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2001, joined Colts in 2002.

Colts’ Front Office: Jim Irsay , Owner & CEO

Bill Polian , President & General Manager

Carlie Irsay-Gordon , Vice President

Casey Irsay-Foyt, Vice President

Peter Ward, Senior Executive President

Tom Zupancic, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing

A Tale of Two Teams ……….

A Tale of Two Teams

As with the Dickens’ novel ‘ A Tale of Two Cities’ , here we have two teams in the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who seemingly are going in opposite directions. But we are talking about quite possibly two of the worst teams in all of the NFC and the entire league.

Bucs'  fans  in the  hope  of an  early  Christmas  wish  and gift  in the  team's  game  against the  Seattle Seahawks  on   Sunday  afternoon  played  at  QWest  Field  in Seattle , Washington,.    picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Ted S.  Warren  ............
Bucs' fans in the hope of an early Christmas wish and gift in the team's game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon played at QWest Field in Seattle , Washington,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ted S. Warren ............

On the one side, you have the inexperience of Raheem Morris as the first year coach of the Buccaneers and the more experienced but less consistent coach, in Jim Mora Jr. of the Seahawks. Both teams this season have definitely had their problems. Much of it has been self inflicted, in terms of both teams’ level of play and their inconsistency. But beyond that, it is now their immediate future that may well be the guide that will indicate the ultimate direction that both organizations are said to be heading in. Seattle is now without a general manager, as Tim Ruskell has now left the organization. And from what we’ve been led to believe,overtures were made to former coach, Mike Holmgren to return to ‘the fold’ and become the President of Operations for the Seattle Seahawks. Holmgren refused the offer and is now set to take a similar position with the Cleveland Browns.

Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture  appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr,. ........
Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr,. ........

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their best football of the season in defeating the Seahawks 24-7, in a thoroughly lopsided display and victory. The Seahawks are a team lacking in confidence and ability. The play of the team’s quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck is showing his age, as he now looks more like an octogenarian in need of multi-vitamins, instead of a player who at his peak was one of the better and more reliable players at the position. But if you think that this was the only problem that Jim Mora and his team faces, then you’d be sadly mistaken. They’ve now seen a resurgent San Francisco 49ers within the division (NFC West), without having to see the triumvirate of Boldin , Fitzgerald and Warner, of the Arizona Cardinals now start to lay waste to the division with an alarming amount of ease. For Mora and the Seahawks this is a time for contemplation and regrouping. But one seriously doubts if Mora and his coaches actually know what it is they’re striving for. My own thoughts are that Holmgren wasn’t the person to be making the decision as to who his successor ought to have been. There were far more noteworthy candidates who could’ve assumed the vacancy. No ’Rooney Rule’ was followed here. Only the fact that the organization somehow acquiesced to Holmgren’s demands.

Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr .........
Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr .........

Courtesy of News Chief

Buccaneers prey on struggling Seattle for second win of the year

Seattle-Washington ,. Josh Freeman walked over to Tampa Bay’s sideline after his ninth interception in just over two games. The 21-year-old rookie looked first-year coach Raheem Morris in the eye and calmly said: “I got it.”

Morris’ reply: “Go get it.”

He did.

Freeman threw two touchdown passes in the second half, Tampa Bay’s battered defense forced five turnovers from Seattle’s reckless Matt Hasselbeck, and the Buccaneers rallied to a 24-7 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Tampa Bay (2-12) won for just the second time in 17 games, and won on the West Coast for the first time since beating Oakland in the Super Bowl on Jan. 26, 2003, in San Diego.

With maybe 500 angry Seattle fans watching by the end, the young Bucs smiled triumphantly pointed to the sky after the team’s first win away from Tampa in 10 tries, since Nov. 23, 2008, at Detroit.

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Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks.  The  young  rookie quarterback  would  lead  his team with  authority  on their  way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory  over the  Seattle  Seahawks  in an  NFC match up  between the  two teams.   picture  appears   courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr  ..................
Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks. The young rookie quarterback would lead his team with authority on their way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC match up between the two teams. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ..................

With this win, the Buccaneers had finally stemmed the tide of losses, albeit that this was a game that was won away from home, away from their long suffering fans. For Raheem Morris and his Bucs’ team this was the best that they’ve played this season. Josh Freeman, the team’s starting quarterback showed a great deal of poise and he led this team with authority. Also following suit by example, was the play of Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward who ran with a great deal of gusto. Something that we’ve not often from Williams over the course of his career, so far. But most surprising of all ,may well have been the play of the Buccaneers’ defense as they stifled anything that the Seahawks tried to achieve during the game. Having attained just their second win of the season, this may well be something that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can build upon over the remainder of the season and show their fans that the tides may well be changing for the better. Certainly, it’s a great deal better than many of their woes that we’ve witnessed over the course of this season.

 Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.   picture appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/  Otto  Greule Jr ................
Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ................

This will be something that they (Buccaneers) can build upon and take into the off-season and into the next. With the upcoming draft in April, we’ll have to see the decisions that’ll be made by team GM, Mark Dominik, as to their needs. And mark my words their needs are many. On both sides of the ball the Buccaneers are in need of a playmaker and on appearance alone this roster is lacking a player in the assumed role. It certainly hasn’t come from either Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant or Michael Clayton. But from the start of his reign as the coach of this team, Raheem Morris has let it be known that he was happy with the players he had at his disposal. But at the halfway point of the season it became increasingly clear that not only had he misjudged the talent on the roster but also the players’ resolve to play as a cohesive and competitive unit. However, what was even more asinine was his outspokenness as to the merits of the team. Shamelessly making an ass of himself, he continued with the mantra that the team was merely lacking in the opportunities. What was that ‘lacking the opportunities’ ? No, in the NFL you aren’t afforded opportunities , you play to the best of your abilities. And if anything the Buccaneers’ record (2-12) reflects that. So whatever it is that Morris presumed it was that he saw in the team wasn’t forthcoming until late into the season.

Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to  show their disgust  at the  team's  effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........
Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to show their disgust at the team's effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........

The 2010-11 NFL season will bring a great deal of turmoil to the league, if the game’s hierarchy and the players’ union (NFLPA) can’t come to some agreement as to the collective bargaining agreement. In all likelihood, if both sides can’t come to some sort of resolve in sorting out their issues, then the turmoil of an uncapped season awaits the league. Certainly not something that the vast majority of the teams would even contemplate, given the present economic climate. And though the NFL salary cap, at $112 million is at its highest it has ever been. The thought that next season could become all askew without the salary cap keeping everyone’s budget in ’check’. We will end up seeing the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins spending money like drunken sailors on a weekend furlough.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/  Ted  S Warren  ....................
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Ted S Warren ....................

And now comes the hard part for everyone to think about. What happens next ? As to the fortunes of both the Buccaneers and Seahawks and the paths that they’re now said to be on. Well this has all been about the tale of two teams and their travels. Where do you see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks, as to their impending future ?

Mercury Morris Please Do Us All A Favor , Shut The F_ck Up !

Mercury Morris Please Do Us All A Favor , Shut The F_ck Up !

It never ceases to amaze me as to the none stop whining by former Dolphins’ running back, Mercury Morris. His appearance at a time whenever an NFL team is on the cusp of making history in the NFL by going unbeaten in the regular and postseason , has now become an irritation to myself and no doubt a number of fans around the league.

OK, so we know that the Miami Dolphins are the only team in the history of the NFL to go unbeaten in the regular season and then go on to glory in the Superbowl . But for God’s sake the way that Morris continues to come on as if the achievement by the team makes them the best team ever to play the game in the history in the NFL. While the feat accomplished is a commendable one. To my mind since the Dolphins’ historic win, we’ve seen far better teams compete in the NFL and have gone on to surpass the accomplishments in terms of a Superbowl win and a level of consistency.

Morris as usual seen here opining on the Patriots and their quest in ’07.

From those halcyon days and the accomplishments in question, all we have seen from the Miami Dolphins has been a level of consistent inconsistency that borders on abject mediocrity . But Morris as a former player, would rather overlook the team’s present persona. But then again, that’d be what one could come to expect from a self absorbed individual, who feels that his team’s accomplishment has never been truly appreciated. And to my mind why should it ? It’s now old hat and it’s not as if the NFL think it’s now still a big thing. In all honest that’s the only thing that the Dolphins’ fans and Morris have their hats to hang unto. Oh forgive me, there was Dan Marino, whose accomplishments by themselves are commendable but he never led them to a win in the Superbowl . His lone appearance at the game’s premiere event , ended up with a loss. Again, something that Morris fails to acknowledge and unfortunately all we continue to hear from this aged veteran, are his continued belittling of the teams that have come close to achieving what the Dolphins accomplished three plus decades ago.

Mercury  Morris  makes  his  feelings  known  .  picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Mike  Thompson ...................
Mercury Morris makes his feelings known . picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Mike Thompson ...................

Courtesy of NBC Miami

Here We Go Again: Saints, Colts Bring Out ’72 Dolphins

If the Saints and Colts really love America, they’ll lose just to spare us from ESPN.

By Janie Campbell

It’s that time again! Time to pull the venerable old undefeated ’72 Dolphins out of the attic, dust ’em off, and prop ’em up next to the blank-and-0 teams du jour.

Will Perfectville soon have a population increase?

Will America survive another round of Mercury Morris without electing to saw Florida off and shove it out to sea?

Greatest Dolphins
Greatest Dolphins
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Greatest Dolphins

If the either the Saints or Colts go undefeated, can we Dolphins fans just be glad it isn’t the Patriots?

And can we please do this round without arguing ad nauseum about strength of schedule and road trips and talent pools, and just recognize greatness when and in what context it happens?

Oh, the debate will annoy the tar out of all of us over the next two months, though mercifully the Pats’ aborted run in ’07 has, if nothing else, kept ESPN from starting up a premature website of overkill comparing everyone with six games between now and Super Bowl glory.

But though it’s begun more quietly, it’s certainly begun.

Over there is Don Shula “secretly” rooting for a loss.

Over there is Bob Greise actually suggesting New Orleans and Indianapolis lose a game each on purpose, which happens to be the sort of sinister psychological warfare we can get behind. Kudos to you, Taco Bob.

And over there is someone still trying to credit the Pats with ruining the mystique of the Dolphins’ perfect season (fact: the media ruined the mystique of the Dolphins’ perfect season) and pointing out that no one’s talking about it by…talking about it.

And it’s only going to get louder.

Can it happen? Both the Saints and the Colts are 13-0, and have good chances at running the table against the Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Panthers (New Orleans) and the Jaguars, Jets, and Bills (Indianapolis) before they head into their respective postseasons.

They also have equal chances of not running the table, if narrow escapes for both are any indication, so we’ve all got that going for us.

After all, 37 years later, it’s become less about preserving some measure of glory for the Dolphins that can’t be tarnished anyway, and more about surviving the inevitable overdose when the machine gets really and truly cranked up.

Now with the Indianapolis Colts as the lone unbeaten team left in the NFL and a possible chance to make history a reality in the Superbowl. Once again, Morris and his asinine rants have come to the fore. Each year when a situation arises and there’s a possibility of a team going unbeaten in the NFL , Mercury Morris pops his head up just like Punxsutawney Phil. Are you sick and tired of his inane rants on this lone matter ? I am and I feel that he ought to just shut the f_ck up !

A further word of advice for Mercury get a damn life , you much like the team you said to have represented are about as admired as much as the Democrats and Republicans are said to admire each other for their political beliefs. Somehow I for one can’t see either Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin sitting down and breaking bread together. Much as in the same way we’ll ever witness Morris sit down and break bread with a member of any team that would go on to accomplish that same feat by the Miami Dolphins. He’s just not that type of guy, he’s far too conceited to ever be man enough to do that , to begin with ! He merely lives in the past because he has nothing else to cling to !

Would It Be Remiss To Suggest That Bob Dupuy And Bud Selig Are Baseball’s Answer To Beavis & Butthead ?

Back in its heyday the show ‘Beavis & Butthead’ had its legion of fans. And many an adolescent male and those older would follow these characters and their escapades religiously. It was pretty safe to say that the shows didn’t care what social graces that they would decry. It was the comedic element of it all that made the show and its characters so hilarious !

Beavis and Butthead ‘vaya cornholio’ .

The same sort of intolerance and their desire to be crude ,lewd, irreverent and loud are the same traits that are now being shown by baseball’s two highest officials, in Bud Selig as MLB’s commissioner and Bob DuPuy as the game’s President of Operations. Major League Baseball (MLB) is in something of a mess ,with regards to the health of many of its franchises. Financially the the clubs are now about the haves and have nots. Those who’d try and tell you different , clearly are out of touch with what’s now going on with the game.

Clips showing episodes of the best of ‘Beavis and Butthead’ .

In the case of both Selig and DuPuy they’re simply about making money and very little else with regards to the concerns of the fans and in great many cases the concerns of its players and perhaps even more so the their biggest benefactors, the US Congress. Who in large part having allowed them anti trust exemption have seen the game’s hierarchy under Selig’s tenure make a complete hash of things in terms of baseball’s operations and its goodwill amongst the majority of its fans.

Here we see commissioner Bud Selig addressing members of the House Oversight Committee up on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. If we can cast our memories back to the testimonies given by such luminaries as Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro , Curt Schlling , Sammy Sosa, Andy Pettitte,Miguel Tejada and Roger Clemens. Well , from there we can clearly see that the commissioner and former MLBPA Chief Executive, Donald Fehr – that the game and its various entities were all involved in the subterfuge that took place. And it has cost the game its legacy and goodwill amongst the fans so dearly. Albeit, that there was a great deal of grandstanding by both sides. From those who gave testimony and from the panelists of House Oversight Committee.

MLB President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Donald  DuPuy  , seen here addressing members  of the  convened  press .    picture  appears courtesy  of   getty  images/ Paul  Rosenbaum  .................
MLB President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Donald DuPuy , seen here addressing members of the convened press . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Paul Rosenbaum .................

Though the caricatures of DuPuy and Selig weren’t created, their persona was there to begin with and it would suggest that at times they are clearly out of touch with what’s going on around them in the world and particularly within their very own sport of baseball. Moreover, it has been both DuPuy’s and Selig’s obfuscating of their responsibilities and their custodianship of the game that has led many to believe that unless something drastic is done. Then we’ll see a number of baseball clubs continue struggle financially. Not only that but with the continued empowering of the sports agents wherein, they are able to force up the asking price of impending and free agents with their exorbitant salary demands. And clearly when the likes of uber-agent , Scott Boras states that the game can withstand the upward climb of the escalating salaries of many of the game’s top players. With the general managers of the teams are in obeyance and acquiescing to their wishes, then not only is the game’s hierarchy to blame. But clearly so too are the general managers and the very clubs themselves, with their brash stupidity and lavish overspending. Given the fact, that the small and mid market teams haven’t the vast financial resources of teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and of course ‘The Evil Empire’ – the New York Yankees.

The now disgraced former first baseman, Mark McGwire, seen here giving testimony to a congressional committee up on Capitol Hill. Seated alongside him is fellow player, Rafael Palmeiro. Whose own testimony to the committee would come back to haunt him some months later.

All kidding asides, other than the playoff format and scenario, wherein, the winner of of All Star Game has home field advantage for their respective conference throughout the playoffs. What other major innovations has Bud Selig really brought to the game of baseball ? The ‘steroid issue’ abounds throughout much of the nineties and game’s hierarchy remained deafeningly silent, when it was quite obvious that there was something amiss with many the game’s records were being broken at rapid fire pace. Not only that but many of the game’s biggest stars were part of the ever present ruse with regard to steroid abuse and the cheating that went on. But yet it’d appear that Selig’s only concern was with the coffers of MLB’s treasure chest. The tens of millions of dollars that found its way into MLB’s coffers, courtesy of the Sosa -MGwire summer slug-fest of 1998. Wherein, Roger Maris’ single season home run record was breached and subsequently obliterated by Mark McGwire. The ‘boys of summer’ took on a whole new meaning that year. And for McGwire , the fans of the St Louis Cardinals and of the game in general, that was most certainly a year to remember.

Home run king Barry Bonds seen here hitting his 758th home run. Bonds has set the all-time home run mark with of 762 home runs, eclipsing the figure of Braves’ player, Hank Aaron’s mark of 755. Bonds holds the single season home run figure as well as that of the all-time home run mark.

McGwire would finish the season with 70 home runs ,eclipsing Maris’ mark of 61. The record would again be broken by another controversial slugger in, Barry Bonds. The San Francisco Giants’ player and the subsequent turmoil that has since followed him. Bonds’ shattering of the record amidst the allegations that his feat was enhanced by his taking of steroids only adds to the disgust of the era and its overall travails. The new mark set by Bonds of 73, in 2001, is looked upon with a great deal of disdain. And it has been suggested that an asterisk should be placed against the mark- designating it a feat of dubious distinction. Somehow that hardly seems to matter at this juncture. Given the fact the game’s hierarchy looks upon it with validation and that any subsequent record surpassed in the game will be looked upon with a great deal skepticism. And that is in spite of the fact the commissioner believes that its steroid policy is the most stringent in all of professional sports. We ought to remember that both the MLBPA (union) and MLB, itself, had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century just to adopt a policy that would be equitable for all of the parties concerned.

As much I’d like to put a positive spin on the achievements of Bud Selig and some of the things that he’s brought to the game. I view that the negatives that can be associated with his tenure have far outweighed the positives that are said to have taken place. Both he and Bob DuPuy have done the game and its many fans worldwide, a great disservice. It were as if their only concern was to fill the coffers of their treasure chest , without having ever genuinely making good stewardship of the game they were chosen to oversee. And like the animated characters Beavis and Butthead whose antics from the start has been to show their idiocy. Bud Selig and his partner in crime , Bob DuPuy can be compared to the cartoon characters in question. Their task over the years, rather than doing what ought to have best for the game. They’ve chosen instead to make it something that now has become almost unrecognizable to the fans in its purest form.

Bob DuPuy , President  & COO  of Major League Baseball (MLB)  and  Commissioner, Bud  Selig .   picture  appears courtesy of  getty images/  Hugh  Daniels  ................
Bob DuPuy , President & COO of Major League Baseball (MLB) and Commissioner, Bud Selig . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Hugh Daniels ................

What we have in essence in the guise of Selig and DuPuy , is baseball’s own answer to Beavis and Butthead. Whose very own idea of having fun , are crude sexual innuendos , acts of flatulence and not a whole of common sense being in their day to day lives. Unfortunately for Selig’s detractors , even with his announcement that he’ll be stepping down from his position upon the expiration of his contract in 2012. For myself, that moment can come soon enough ! I’d rather have seen him step down immediately ,rather than endure another three more years of his inane sound bytes and asinine buffoonery. Could it be that they have close affinity for those very same cartoon characters ?

There But For The Grace Of God ……..

Death when it comes to someone so young, is often seen as a tragedy , dependent upon how that life is lost. And the loss of a life is never an easy one to take . Not for the family of the victim or for their friends and acquaintances.

Bengals' wide receiver   Chris  Henry  , seen  here  with  one  of  his  three   young   children at  the   doorstep  of   his  home.   picture   comes courtesy of  wcpo.com Channel 9- Cincinnati ,Ohio .
Bengals' wide receiver Chris Henry , seen here with one of his three young children at the doorstep of his home. picture comes courtesy of wcpo.com Channel 9- Cincinnati ,Ohio .


Well, as many of you will no doubt will be hearing or have read, the life of Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver, Chris Henry was lost due to an unforeseen accident. Henry and his fiancee’ , the mother of his three young children had been involved in an altercation, which ended up being a domestic incident. The player is said to have fallen from the back of a pickup truck that his fiancee’ is said to have been driving. His body was found lying unconscious in the road. But it hasn’t yet been established as whether not the driver of the vehicle remained at the scene of the incident or called 911.

Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiver Chris Henry (15), hauls in a touchdown against New England Patriots cornerback Terrence Wheatley, left, during their preseason NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009.  picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/ Charles  Krupa  ........
Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiver Chris Henry (15), hauls in a touchdown against New England Patriots cornerback Terrence Wheatley, left, during their preseason NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Charles Krupa ........

Courtesy of NFL.com and the Associated Press

Bengals’ Henry dies day after dispute

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry has died, one day after falling out of the back of a pickup truck in what authorities described as a domestic dispute with his fiancee.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Henry died at 6:36 a.m. Thursday. Henry was 26.

Henry was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after being found on a residential road. Police said the dispute began at a home about a half-mile away, and Henry jumped into the bed of the pickup truck as his fiancee was driving away from the residence.

Police said at some point when she was driving, Henry “came out of the back of the vehicle.” They wouldn’t identify the woman, and no charges were immediately filed.

Police spokeswoman Rosalyn Harrington said homicide detectives have been assigned to the case but had no further information. Police have not released the 911 tapes, and Harrington wouldn’t say if the woman was present at the scene when police arrived.

Henry is engaged to Loleini Tonga, and the couple has been raising three children. Tonga’s MySpace page identifies herself as “Mrs. C. Henry” and has a picture of her next to a person who appears to be Henry. She also has a post from Tuesday talking about buying wedding rings. A neighbor said Wednesday that the Tonga family owns the home where police say the incident began. Charlotte is home to his fiancee’s parents.

Henry was away from the team after breaking his left forearm during a win over Baltimore on Nov. 8. He had surgery and was placed on injured reserve.

He caught a touchdown pass in each of Cincinnati’s four preseason games. A thigh injury slowed him early in the season, and he had 12 catches for 236 yards – his 19.7-yard average per catch leads the team – when he broke his left arm during a win over Baltimore on Oct. 11, ending his season.

When he showed up in the locker room for the first time since surgery to fix the fracture, Henry sounded confident he could get through the latest setback.

“It just comes with time, you know?” he said. “I learned to handle all situations, so I’ll be all right.”

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a football game in Cincinnati, in this Dec. 31, 2006 . picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ David Kohl  ...............
Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a football game in Cincinnati, in this Dec. 31, 2006 . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David Kohl ...............

As to whether or not this tragedy could have been avoided is open to mere speculation and not much else. But the scene surrounding this incident gives us no real insight as to how this event just happened to have taken a turn for the worse. One thing however we are sure of, it is that this family has now been left without a father , a companion and a teammate to the members of the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster. And for those teammates, this must come as something of a shock to them all.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Emotional Bengals take Henry’s death hard

By Joe Kay, AP Sports Writer

Cincinnati, Oh,. (AP)—Teary Cincinnati Bengals players held a somber practice and dedicated the rest of their season to receiver Chris Henry after hearing that he’d died a day after falling out of the back of a pickup truck during what police described as a domestic dispute.

Receiver Chad Ochocinco sniffled and blinked back tears, saying he didn’t see how “Chris was supposed to go already.” Henry died early Thursday at a hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

Ochocinco wore Henry’s white No. 15 practice jersey to an afternoon workout that was subdued—no joking, no laughing. The Bengals (9-4) can clinch the AFC North title with a victory on Sunday in San Diego.

Quarterback Carson Palmer says the team should dedicate the season to Henry and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s wife, who died in October.

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Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry (15) is congratulated by the team mascot after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl
Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry (15) is congratulated by the team mascot after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006, in Cincinnati. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David Kohl .......

And for the Cincinnati Bengals this tragedy only casts something of a blight on the team that was said to be having a resurgent season. At (9-4) within the AFC North where they lead the Baltimore Ravens (7-4) by two games – Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) and the low struggling Cleveland Browns (2-11). The aftershock of Henry’s death will be widespread and will be felt not only within the division but across the entire NFL. While it is never good to lose one of their own , no matter under what the circumstances may well happen to be. The loss of Chris Henry here at this juncture, will lead to the players around the league to take a look at their own mortality as well as their well being.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry carries the ball during the NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009 in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry carries the ball during the NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009 in Baltimore. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nick Wass .......

Chris Henry’s five years within the NFL hasn’t been without incident. His own personal run ins with law enforcement has been numerous to warrant his suspension by the NFL , as well as his infraction of the league’s conduct and drug enforcement policies. And when one looks back at the Bengals as recently as between 2006 through 2008. One has to wonder whether not the internal turmoil within the organization couldn’t all have been avoided. Coach,Marvin Lewis, essentially let things foment within the organization and merely took a laissez-faire approach to it all, concerning his players. And on more than one occasion it has to be said it looked as if the lunatics were indeed running the asylum, there in Cincinnati. The police blotter came to read like a who’s who with regard to the Bengals’ roster and the number of players that were said to have had trouble with the law enforcement , on a varying number of wide ranging incidents. Some of which were serious enough to make one wonder whether not it was time for Commissioner, Roger Goodell to intervene in some way , shape or form. He’d done so but it still hadn’t stem the tide of wayward behavior by the Bengals’ players. And somehow, Goodell seem to be besides himself in not wanting impose some sort of a stiffer penalty upon the organization. In order to make an example to the other NFL franchises around the league. If only to show them that sort of behavior will not be tolerated around the league.

Henry seen here is being scolded by Circuit Court Judge , Douglas Grothaus. The player was charged with the solicitation of a minor for sex and serving them alcohol. Needless to say, the justice system failed us once again !

It is has often been said that the commissioner tends to pick and choose the battles he intends to want to win , in order to seek media attention. Rather than somehow, acting to the benefit and in the best interests of the game. Make of it what you will but his actions over the years, is there for all to bear witness to.

Chris Henry , his  fiancee, Loleini  Tonga  and  their  three  young  children,  DeMarcus , 10 months,  Seini ,  3 and  Chris  Jr, aged  2.    picture   appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ The  Enquirer /  Jeff  Swinger  ........................
Chris Henry , his fiancee, Loleini Tonga and their three young children, DeMarcus , 10 months, Seini , 3 and Chris Jr, age 2. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ The Enquirer / Jeff Swinger ........................

Now as the Bengals’ fans and the entire league mourns the loss of the player under such tragic circumstances. One could ask whether or not this could have been avoided ? It’d appear that whatever took place between Henry and his fiancee’ , Loleini Tonga, got completely out of hand, leading to this unfortunate tragedy. A loss of this nature hasn’t been felt within the NFL, since the untimely death of former Washington Redskins’ safety , Sean Taylor. His death came as an act of wantoned violence, at the hands of his assailants who were known to Taylor. Though comparisons to an extent can be made , as in each case there has been a loss of life . As to whether or not Henry’s death will be viewed as an act of violence. We can only wait to see what course the investigation will take as to the circumstances surrounding his death. Criminal charges could very well be filed but that is open to mere speculation and the discretion of the agency undertaking the investigation. Once their findings have been filed then it will be down to the district attorney’s office to make a recommendation as to how they will proceed.

In this Aug. 2009 photo, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry is pictured at Bengals training camp at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky. with his girlfriend Loleini Tonga and their three children. Police say Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered serious injuries Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 after falling out of the back of a pickup truck during a domestic dispute with his fiancee Tonga. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Dayton Daily News/ Barry D. Scheffel  .........  (mandatory credit)
In this Aug. 2009 photo, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry is pictured at Bengals training camp at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky. with his girlfriend Loleini Tonga and their three children. Police say Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered serious injuries Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 after falling out of the back of a pickup truck during a domestic dispute with his fiancee Tonga. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Dayton Daily News/ Barry D. Scheffel ......... (mandatory credit)

This season for the Cincinnati Bengals had started out so bright and there was a belief that with the team’s resurgence , something special could very well be in the making. Now the entire organization is at a loss to explain this event as they mourn the loss Chris Henry. As to what the future holds for this team as the regular seasons winds down. One can only pass on our condolences to the Chris Henry’s family and that of the entire Bengals’ organization and its entire fan-base. Theirs is a tragedy that no one would want to go through. And there but the grace of God, life as we know it, must go on.

Get By…….Got To Get By ………..

‘Get By’ …. Talib Kweli

Being socially conscious and aware are well meaningful things that one can aspire to be. But it at all falls into anonymity if you act the fool. Creating an image just to get by does no one any good at all. But unfortunately too many of today’s athletes simply fall into that trap in order to create that falsehood in terms of an amenable PR image and persona for the public to gravitate towards to.

Woods first came to prominence, catching the public’s attention with an appearance on television with his father, Earl Woods on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ in 1978.

Failings such as this , are what essentially brought the likes of Kobe Bryant and now Tiger Woods to their very knees. A complete lack of self control and being led by an entourage of what was thought to be well meaning friends and acquaintances. One tends not to go looking for trouble but when one tends to find it. Then the ramifications can be far reaching and seismic in proportions. A fellow blogger and correspondent has essentially said that the troubles that Tiger Woods has now found himself embroiled in , will blow over in time. Unless I’m mistaken , it has been two weeks and all that has happened , has been the never-ending saga of a multitude of women coming out of the woodwork to parlay their lurid stories of clandestine meetings and illicit sexual encounters with the golfer. Far be it for me to suggest to this person but Woods is far from out of the woods, as of yet. Pardon the pun there ! He (Woods) has yet to fully accept responsibility for his actions.

The once amazing , Woods shows his dexterity ,amazing shot-making creativity and ability around the golf course.

Instead of being themselves , both Bryant and Woods eschewed what was natural for them and sought to create an image that neither could ultimately live up to. Be it through sheer naivete’ or just narcissism and being condescending . Their fall from grace has shown us not only what the media can do to a celebrity when they’re on top. But what it can also do and will continue do when a celebrity or major sport’s star steps out of line and crosses the lines of moral decency. With age comes maturity but it’d appear for Tiger his actions have borne out the fact that this particular individual is still very much immature. Hiding behind the veil of secrecy and ignorance does nothing but infer those very traits. And seemingly not wanting to be held accountable for his own actions and apportioning blame elsewhere , rather than looking at the reflection coming from the mirror indicating, who , he really is.

An apologetic Kobe Bryant protests his innocence over the allegations that he sexually assaulted a female hotel employee in Eagle , Colorado. Though the case never went to trial , the player did settle out of court with the alleged victim.

Suddenly, that luminous presence that was once Tiger Woods and whose very essence, shone so brightly. In all but a few fleeting moments, that brightness has in fact become a dud. And all of this was done as a means for an end . Essentially just for him to get by. And get by , by his own means and needs . Never actually once heeding the damage that would be done to his image and that of shame that he’s brought upon himself and his immediate family. Woods now seeks the public’s empathy and sympathy. But in reality, once again it’s now about trying to resurrect that now, tarnished image in order to get by !

Lyrics in part to ‘Get By’ by Talib Kweli


‘Yeah.. my Lord.. yeah

[Verse 1: Talib]
We sell, crack to our own out the back of our homes
We smell the musk at the dusk in the crack of the dawn
We go through “Episodes II,” like “Attack of the Clones”
Work ’til we break our back and you hear the crack of the bone
To get by.. just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
We commute to computers
Spirits stay mute while you eagles spread rumors
We survivalists, turned to consumers
Just to get by.. just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
Ask Him why some people got to live in a trailer, cuss like a sailor
I paint a picture with the pen like Norman Mailer
Me Abuela raised three daughters all by herself, with no help
I think about a struggle and I find the strength in myself
These words, melt in my mouth
They hot, like the jail cell in the South
Before my nigga Core bailed me out
To get by.. just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
We do or die like Bed-Stuy through the red sky
with the window of the red eye
Let the lead fly, some G. Rap shit, “Livin’ to Let Die”

Click here to read on further for the lyrics to this song…..

What’s The Difference Between An Ambulance Chaser , A Congressman , And The Vast Majority Of Owners In Major League Baseball ? Answer …. There Isn’t One As They’re All After Your Money !

Over the past few months, I’ve been watching the developments of the ongoing deal by Texas Rangers’ owner, Tom Hicks’ attempts to sell the team to any interested party willing to pay his over inflated asking price for the organization.

Tom Hicks (right)  is seen here   with  Dallas  Cowboys' owner,  Jerry  Jones.   The  two  were  in  an  attendance  of  a Texas Rangers'  ball  game.   picture  appears   courtesy  of  Associated  Press/ Matt  Greenwald ....................
Tom Hicks (right) is seen here with Dallas Cowboys' owner, Jerry Jones. The two were in an attendance of a Texas Rangers' ball game. picture appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Matt Greenwald ....................

Hicks, as the owner of Hicks Sports Group, is also the owner of the NHL’s Dallas Stars as well as the English Premiership soccer club, Liverpool. And through his investment vehicle , he oversees this vast array of sporting interests,as well as his other varied business holdings and investments.

Tom Hicks by all accounts we’re led to believe is a very shrewd businessman who’s well respected by his peers. But in this day and age that’s not really saying a great deal . Especially in light of the shenanigans of businessmen , such as, Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. The two men in question have been accused of defrauding their clients in excess of $59 billion , in monies that is unlikely to be fully recovered on behalf of their original investors. Stanford at present awaits trial in Federal Court,for grand larceny, wire fraud ,tax evasion and the running of a Ponzi scheme. Madoff , having been found guilty , was sentenced to 125 years in a federal prison by the US Federal Court System in Manhattan,New York City, New York.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Greenberg-Ryan group Rangers finalist

By Stephen Hawkins , AP Sports Writer

Arlington, Texas (AP)—Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks will enter into an exclusive negotiation for the sale of the team to a group headed by Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg that includes team president Nolan Ryan.

Hicks Sports Group said in a release Tuesday night that Greenberg’s group “primarily consists of Dallas-Fort Worth investors,” including the family of Hicks, who would maintain a stake in the team under the proposal. Ryan would remain president of the team.

Greenberg’s group and Hicks will work over the next 30 days to complete the transaction. It then will be forwarded to the commissioner’s office and require approval by 75 percent or more of all owners.

“Our family has chosen to negotiate with the group we believe will be best to protect and ensure the long-term positive future of this franchise,” Hicks said in the release. “Nolan Ryan is the personification of the word trust; he and Chuck worked diligently and relentlessly to get to this point.”

The sale is expected to be for more than $500 million, but Greenberg and Hicks declined to discuss the specifics of the proposal.

“The deal isn’t done yet, but I am confident we can complete this soon and have the Rangers well-positioned for the future,” Greenberg said. “We are committed to stability, continuing to work the baseball plan that’s in place, and doing whatever is necessary to build upon the team’s tradition and bring home a World Series championship.”

Greenberg’s proposal was chosen over bids submitted by former agent Dennis Gilbert and Houston businessman Jim Crane, who just last week submitted a new one after Greenberg and Gilbert had emerged as finalists.

Forbes earlier this year valued the Rangers at $405 million, 15th among the 30 major league teams. Hicks bought the team for $250 million in 1998, from a group that included former President George W. Bush.

The San Diego Padres were sold for just over $500 million this year and the Cubs were bought in October for $845 million in a deal that also included Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast Sportsnet.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig had called Tuesday a “hard and fast deadline” for Hicks to submit a prospective buyer for the team.

Hicks Sports Group this year defaulted on $525 million in loans tied to the Rangers and the NHL’s Dallas Stars, which Hicks has owned since 1996. Hicks has said that was a deliberate move to force lenders to renegotiate terms of the deals.

The group of 40 lenders holding debt from Hicks Sports Group will have to approve the sale of the Rangers
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With the never-ending tales of economic woes that continues to cast its blight across the sports panacea. Baseball it seems has been affected more than most. But then again the same tales of woe that now continue to spread across the nation has also affected the arenas of NASCAR, the NBA , NHL, MLS and golf’s PGA Tour , as well as the LPGA Tour. And with the ongoing Tiger Woods’ saga seemingly taking one unsavory turn, from one moment to the next. It has to be said that the world’s number one golfer and the PGA Tour are in for some very rough and difficult times ahead, without the abrupt departure of Woods’ self imposed exile from the circuit for the foreseeable future.

In happier times Liverpool fans held Hick in high esteem. Not so , now . As he’s burdened the club with a great deal of debt and the competitiveness of the team just isn’t what it use to be . Add in the fact , that the club’s manager, Rafael Benitez’s relationship with Hicks is said to be strained. And the mere fact that Benitez has been told that there’s no money to pursue the purchase of new players. Well , in the end you’ve got nothing but turmoil within the organization.

While baseball has recently ended its winter meetings, wherein the general managers and teams get together, to discuss the state of the game and make the usual customary deals. Free agents , impending free agents and a number of players are either traded , signed or re-signed by the teams. The deals range in value from the outlandish to the minimal. But yet the general managers and in particular the game’s commissioner, Bud Selig and its President of Operations , Bob DuPuy continually fail to address one of the main underlying issues concerning the game. And that is the finances of the clubs within MLB. At the drop of a hat, Bud Selig will continue to tell you that the game’s revenues have increased.
Albeit, that attendances for major league games are slightly down. But in large part the increases come from inflationary elements and the very fact that a number of teams around the league have raised prices , whereas others have decreased some of their ticket prices but increased concession prices , parking and other such sundries. It’s all smoking mirrors.

Hicks speaks of his own aspirations with regard to the soccer club. But yet we’re led to believe that Hicks had a plan in place ?

The maneuvers by Hicks and that of his company in deliberately defaulting on a loan with the Dallas Stars as an entity. While not on the face of it illegal, it does smack of a man who is less than genuine in his business dealings. It gives credence to the fact that in not getting his own way he was quite prepared to place in the franchise and its existence in some jeopardy . The very fact that all three of his major sporting investments are now in a state financial woe. It goes to the question as to the business practices of Hicks and his ownership group.

The Texas Rangers are in financial turmoil, as too are the Dallas Stars. And Hicks’ involvement in the Premiership soccer club based in England , has left the fans there baying for Hicks’ blood and that of his business partner, George Gillett. Having bought the club for $400 million , the club has seemingly had some success but at the same time he’s made the club look a complete mess in its operations. And in terms of success on the field , it has been something of anathema.

Charles   Greenberg,  noted   attorney  and  partner  with  law   firm   Pepper  Hamilton  LLC
Charles Greenberg, noted attorney and partner with law firm Pepper Hamilton LLC. picture appears via Pepper Hamilton , LLC.,

Baseball in all of its various shapes and forms has become a sport about the haves and have nots. Time and time again, I’ve either read or heard people say that the status quo as it now stands is good for the game. But how can that be ? When the minnows of the sport continuously see their best players leave for pastures green and the likes of owners such as Hicks , who with their vast wealth seemingly do nothing in terms of trying to make their teams competitive. It’s not redundant to ask Bud Selig the question …..’what has the tax sharing revenue scheme solved at the end of the day ‘? It’s not as if the smaller teams and their owners have in large part used the money to the benefit of their organizations. More often than not , the money ends up going into the pockets of the owners and their various partners.

Courtesy of Wall St Journal


Creditors Find Hicks Sports Group in Default

By Matthew Futterman, Wall St Journal

Creditors to Texas financier Tom Hicks’s Hicks Sports Group have declared the company in default, a measure that could eventually dislodge the Texas Rangers baseball club and Dallas Stars hockey franchise from his control.

The default notice is the strongest sign yet of the economic perils awaiting the country’s professional sports leagues, where owners have spent lavishly on player salaries. Many owners’ personal fortunes are also on the wane, creating uncomfortable standoffs between the owners and lenders.

In Mr. Hicks’s case, a group of 40 financial institutions and other investors hold $525 million in debt. Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York sports-financing group, holds the largest position, having lent nearly $100 million to Hicks Sports Group.

Mr. Hicks missed a $10 million quarterly interest payment on March 31, triggering the default notice. The teams are unable to fund both their operating expenses and debt service, and Mr. Hicks has declined to continue making up the difference out of his own pocket, according to a person familiar with the matter.
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Baseball for all of its inherent legacies and history, is still very much an archaic sport in terms of its business practices. It states that before a prospective owner is allowed to purchase a team, they have to be on a sound financial footing and that the purchase of a club has to be approved by at 75% of its members. However , what we know to be true, is that the game’s hierarchy rarely conducts an audit as to the financial well being of its teams. How else can one explain them allowing former Chicago Cubs’ owner, Sam Zell, place the team into bankruptcy proceedings, merely to stave of the advances of creditors who were owed money by the Cubs’ former parent company , The Tribune Group ?

Nolan Ryan, President of the Texas Rangers, speaks about his philosophies on the sport of baseball and in particular the art of pitching. Ryan, alongside Charles Greenberg have formed a business syndicate looking make a successful bid in purchasing the team from much beleaguered owner, Tom Hicks and his, Hicks Sports Group.

Now with Hicks in an acrimonious tussle with several creditors with regard to the Dallas Stars and at the same time he’s looking to sell the Texas Rangers to a group made up of noted Pittsburgh attorney , Charles ‘Chuck’ Greenberg and former Texas Rangers’ great, Nolan Ryan. The sooner Hicks is out of the sports franchise ownership business. Then the better off the sport of baseball and hockey is liable to be ! One would hope also that at some point in the future there’s an interested party looking to pursue the purchase of the soccer club ? If only to allay the fears of the fans that the team won’t be driven into the ground by Hicks and placed on the brink of either extinction or bankruptcy.

As to the travails of baseball, while it remains in the hands of Bud Selig. Just expect the same sort of asinine attitude and statements to be put forth by him and the members of the game’s hierarchy. It’s not as if they’d ever have been viewed as being the brightest set of individuals that one would ever be likely to come across, just the greediest , that’s all !

NB: Below is a poll by all mean do take time if you’ve got it , to participate by choosing an answer that best reflects your thoughts on the subject matter. Thanks in advance for your cooperation !