Packers , Steelers, Packers , Steelers , Packer , Steelers …. Who’ve You Got ?

Packers , Steelers , Packers , Steelers , Packer , Steelers …. Who’ve You Got ?

Well the NFL’s showcase event Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) is but a week away this Sunday and is set to take place at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas , Sunday 6th February, 2011. For coaches Mike Tomlin and his counterpart Mike McCarthy this is essentially the epitome of their professional career. Having your name mentioned in the same breath as such luminary NFL greats as Lombardi , Shula , Ditka , Knoll and Bill Walsh will no doubt resonate with both of these coaches and what they’ve meant to the NFL. Each having been enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio it’s easy to understand why having your name associated with the Lombardi Trophy and the adorning winner’s ring that signifies you’re a winner __ there’s not much else that really needs to be said.

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Well the Pittsburgh Steelers being the AFC representatives will be viewed as the home team having the better record of the two participants. The Green Bay Packers for their part coming off a rather impressive performance against the Chicago Bears it has to be said that if anything that was their finest effort put forth of the season . Everything seemed to click right for the Packers as Aaron Rodgers and this unlikely cast simply laid waste to Lovie Smith’s —- team . And while there’s been a great deal of criticism of Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler for his non-participation in the latter part of this game , to my mind it merely endorsed what I’ve always thought along about Cutler as a player and his character. He’s self absorbed , aloof and cares little about others , other than caring about himself !

Now while I’m under no illusions as to the pedigree of both teams there’s no doubt in my mind that these are the two best representatives that the AFC and NFC could have mustered for this showcase event. All of the hoopla over teams such as the Minnesota Vikings , Dallas Cowboys , New England Patriots , San Diego Chargers and reigning Superbowl champions the New Orleans Saints were all for naught as they simply fell by the wayside either during the regular season or during the playoffs itself.

For Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates this will be their chance to add to the Steelers’ already illustrious history by becoming the first NFL franchise to have won seven Superbowl titles . And it’s easy to comprehend why the Rooney family as owners of the team are revered and respected throughout the game. They’re often viewed as the class organization within the NFL and there’s indeed great deal of veracity to that claim. And in spite of the off the field issues of Roethlisberger this season it has to be said that how Tomlin and his coaching staff got his players to play with a great deal of zeal in all facets of the game while holding themselves accountable has to be admired.

If anything as the season progressed the better this Steelers’ team became and that was with the return of Roethlisberger after he’d served his league mandated four game suspension. At 3-1 few thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers would have been in that position and augured well for the fans in attendance at Heinz Field with the terrible towels showing their and unbridled and unrivaled passion for their team. Consistently playing to their strengths the second half of the season would have its ups and downs for the Steelers. But if anything it has been the play of Roethlisberger and the offense that simply showed why this team was on a mission. Not to be outdone Dick LeBeau’s defense simply turned it up a notch as and when needed. And if anyone is of the belief that LeBeau is not the best defensive coordinator in the NFL today, then they’re in need some psychiatric help !

Mike McCarthy has had to deal with a great deal over the past five years and it having survived the Brett Favre saga and all that it represented I’ve got to say that his psyche has got be as tough as hell ! And for those supporters of Jay Cutler who are of the opinion that he’s as tough as nails , I’ve heard that American Idol alum Clay Aiken has asked that Cutler turn in his man card . Rodgers this season has proven that by his play , leadership qualities and skills he’s the proven successor Brett Favre . I doubt that there’s a Packers’ fans in Green Bay who’s all that concerned or cares about Brett Favre any longer ! And whereas Favre has always showed some type great emotional well being towards the fans at Lambeau Field , Green Bay , when he’s been a player on an opposing team. Well let’s just say that the love hasn’t always been reciprocated towards the former Packer , not since his abrupt departure from the organization . There’s more chance that Hugo Chavez or some current members of Congress and the Senate would be more welcomed with open arms and signs of affection. But that’s just my take on the situation and I’ll stick with it !

If the Packers are to prevail in this game then it will take a concerted effort by the entire team if they’re to prevail . And for a seasoned veteran such as cornerback Charles Woodson this will be the chance to put a stamp on an illustrious career and an almost certainty as a future Hall of Famer . This game certainly won’t be just about the performances of both teams but I do believe that both coaching staffs will have their roles to play. And while McCarthy seeks his first Superbowl win this will Tomlin’s second appearance as a coach as he looks to add to his already impressive record as an NFL coach. He seeks to become only the second African American coach to have won a Superbowl and the youngest to have won two before the age of forty.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As I alluded to earlier the game will be about the play not only of the two starting quarterbacks who’ve essentially now become the faces of their respective franchises. And if anything this adds further legitimacy that they’re amongst the elite within the league at the position . The Brady’s , Manning’s (Peyton) , Brees and Rivers of the world won’t be in the building just like Elvis , as they’ll be sitting at home while Elvis rests in his mausoleom.

Alas on a bye note it now appears that Tennessee Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher will not be returning to the team next season . It goes without saying that I feel that he’ll find a another position within the NFL at the drop of a hat. He’s too well respected around the league not to be given the opportunity. And for Titans’ owner Bud Adams all I can say is that you are the butt-hole I’ve always thought you to be ! With a miscreant and ass wipe like Vince Young on the team who customarily laid waste to any ambitions that the organization may well have had for the season with his errant play and infantile behavior. And for you to stick with him when common sense revealed that he was more of a detriment to the team than a case of bubonic plague or dengue fever. Well it would suggest that clear thought of mind was never a strong point of yours and heeding the genuine advice of others also was never ever something that you took into account !

Young , himself , has revealed that he still feels given the right opportunity that he can contribute to any team around the league and that the setbacks that have occurred can be turned around. Is it me but do I hear some laughter in the background after the player’s latest statement ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the Superbowl and how do you see things panning out between these two teams ? Also how do you view the decision of Jeff Fisher not to return to the Tennessee Titans next season ? As you can see I’ve my own distinct thoughts on the matter. Simply chime in with your comments as you see fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated ! Thanks !

Picture and slide show details for your perusal .

(1)Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) and defensive end C.J. Wilson stretch during NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ………..

(2) Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, left, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers look on during NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …..

(3) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers , right, and head coach Mike McCarthy talk during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. It now appears that budding relationship now exists between the player and coach which has blossomed into an outstanding season for both. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ……..

(4) Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, left, and safety Nick Collins enjoy a laugh during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …….

(5) Arlington, Tx,. A general interior view of Cowboys Stadium as the Dallas Cowboys play against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. An expected worldwide television audience of 1 billion people are expected to watch the broadcast live across the globe. Domestically the NFL is expecting the audience to top Superbowl 44’s (SBXLIV) . Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ………

(6) Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images ………….

(7) Tampa , Fl,. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy in the locker room after defeating the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. The player will be seeking his third Superbowl title in six years and in his third Superbowl appearance . Some extraordinary feat wouldn’t you think ? Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……..

[8]Pittsburgh Steelers center Doug Legursky, left, and Kyle Jolly work on blocking drills during NFL football practice in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. The Steelers will be facing the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ……..

(9) Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin (left) is seen here with Dick LeBeau the team’s defensive coordinator . Speculation now surrounds the fact that there are a number of teams around the NFL looking to pry away the Hall of Fame player turned coach. LeBeau resolutely states if he remains in coaching then it will be with the Pittsburgh Steelers as he’s happy within the familial type environment of the organization. AP Photo/ Keith Srkaroic ……..

(10) Tennessee Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt, right, and former head coach Jeff Fisher, left, walk to an NFL football news conference at the team’s headquarters on Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced on Thursday that Jeff Fisher will not remain as head coach. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ……

(11) In this Sept. 2, 2010, file photo, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, right, talks with Titans owner Bud Adams prior to an NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, that Fisher will no longer be their coach. AP Photo/Dave Martin …………

(12) Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans talks with head coach Jeff Fisher, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and trainer Brad Brown after coming in the game in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions on November 27, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Young no longer with the team having been cut this postseason is now looking to return to the NFL . In a recent statement to the local press he offered his thoughts on why he wasn’t retained by the team but states categorically that he can contribute to a team and become a Pro Bowl caliber type of player. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ………..

Alan aka tophatal ……………..
01/28/11

NB: Suggested links below for your perusal

NFL news …………………

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers’ front office ….

Steelers’ team roster

Steelers’ 2010 schedule

Head coach Mike Tomlin

Assistant coaches

Team stats ………

Steelers’ news

Green Bay Packers

Packers’ front office …..

Packers’ team roster

Packers’ 2010 schedule ..

Head coach Mike McCarthy

Assistant coaches

Team stats ……….

Packers’ news …

Superbowl history

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Dania R

Eye candy …………………… Latin beauty Dania Ramirez

Hailie --King Mag

Hailie comes courtesy of King Magazine

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T- Pain ………………… “I’m In Love With A Stripper”

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Obligations of Office ……………..

Obligations of Office ……………..

Having witnessed the President’s State of the Union Address last night before both legislative Houses of Congress . It got me thinking as such, what obligations is that an owner has to the fans of a major professional sporting franchise ? One of my patrons (sportschump) and someone I’d like to think of as more than an acquaintance and patron of my site has as such stated that the Tampa Bay Rays’ signing of both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez will stand the franchise in good stead this upcoming season . From my own standpoint given the financial difficulties that the organization and team has faced since it came into being as a baseball franchise within MLB I think that it goes without saying that they’ve struggled to have a fan base that can truly support its existence. And while the success attained is commendable the truth of the matter is that the Tampa Bay Rays can barely exist in its present being . Cost cutting and penny pinching has now become the order of the day and it’s once again back to the old convoluted ways of their previous owner Vince Naimoli in part .

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Tropican Field has been home to the Tampa Bay Rays and the hardcore fanbase of no more 15,000 fans have remained loyal through the highs and lows of the organization. However at this moment in time it’s now becoming abundantly clear that owner Stuart Sternberg and his partners are making one calculated last stand that may well force their hand in the end. Having twice won the AL East in the last three seasons and with a lone appearance in the 2008 World Series the Rays have come up short in their aspirations. Now while success can be measured in a number of ways both on and off the field let’s just get one thing clear the Rays’ success has only been recent and when one considers that for the vast majority of its existence the team has been at the bottom of the food chain , it has only been since the ascent of Joe Maddon and his coaching staff to the tenure of the Rays that they’ve had a modicum of success. So let’s not kid ourselves that this team has the tradition of success and they’ve been steeped in it or actually have it behind them.

Courtesy of MLB.com

Newest Rays asked to lead and have fun ….

Pals in Boston, Damon and Ramirez reunite in a new clubhouse

By Bill Chastain of MLB.com

St. Petersburg James Shields got his first look at Johnny Damon on July 30, 2006, when the Rays right-hander pitched at Yankee Stadium for the first time in the 12th start of his rookie season.

Through 4 1/2 innings, the game stood tied at 2, and Shields was showing a great deal of moxie while facing the fierce lineup wearing pinstripes in front of a Sunday afternoon crowd of more than 54,000.

The Yankees had scratched two runs together in the third inning, but otherwise, Shields remained flawless. Damon then stepped to the plate with one out in the fifth. Shields came inside, and Damon re-routed the offering into the upper deck in right field.

Damon batted again with two outs in the seventh. Once again, he turned on a pitch by Shields, hitting yet another upper-deck shot and setting up a 4-2 Rays loss — the fifth of Shields’ career.

With memories like elephants, pitchers never forget. So Shields managed a chuckle when asked about the news that Damon would be his teammate in 2011.

“I’m definitely glad he’s on my team now,” Shields said. “He tends to get the head out on me a little bit, so I’d rather him hit upper-deck homers for us than against us.”

Damon, along with Manny Ramirez , will be joining Tampa Bay for the 2011 season, each having agreed to a one-year deal on Friday night. According to a Major League source, Damon will be paid $5.25 million with a $750,000 attendance bonus, while Ramirez will make $2 million.

The Rays have not confirmed the deal, nor have they commented on either player. However, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that the deals are done, pending physicals.

Damon and Ramirez were teammates in Boston from 2002-05 and were key members of the club’s World Series championship in ’04. The years Damon and Ramirez spent together in Boston were magical ones for the Red Sox; the Rays are hoping to buy a sliver of that magic and put it to good use in ’11.

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Financially the Rays struggle year in , year out and this is something that seems to be lost on sportschump and at the same time his thought process that an aging Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon will have an impact while justified , in part in no way does it guarantee success for the organization. While the large majority of teams within baseball have their own financial problems it does paint an acute picture as to how volatile the situation really is within the game. Now one could surmise that because of the ensuing economic climate , this was one of the most apparent problems that Sternberg faced with the fact that fans weren’t turning up in vast droves to attend the games. But in reality before this most recent downturn in the economy in 2007 the levels of attendance were still meager to begin with . Baseball within the locale isn’t at all self sustaining and that is in large part because a lot those in attendance for the games at Tropicana Field have their own allegiances elsewhere as team support goes. Something that my patron fails to acknowledge and something I for one feel that he has continued to overlook ! It’s asinine to even think that with public funding even if a new ballpark were to built that things would actually change, not when 15,000 people is all that this organization can show as a fan based asset. It’s certainly not financially feasible and only a complete idiot would believe that to be the case ! And even if a proposed 45,000 seat facility is built once the novelty has actually worn off it’s clear that things would return to where they use to be . Ten to fifteen thousand fans cheering on the team and nothing tangible at all to show for it at the end of the day.

League statistics from the commissioner’s office suggest that average attendance for the Rays’ games borders on 23,000 but even that figure can’t be taken seriously given what we all know to be true. Which begs the question what is that Commissioner Bud Selig and particular the Tampa Bay Rays are now trying to pitch and sell the fans in general ? I’ve always felt that in order to have success not only on the field there has to be viable and tangible success economically and real leadership being shown from the executives off the field as well. Teams that have been successful at the highest echelons of the game have actually shown this and it goes without saying that when it happens it breathes success across the whole organization. Trying to placate a situation by saying well look we made it to a World Series , won two divisional titles and a pennant means nothing if at the end of it all you’ve failed in your main objective and still from a financial standpoint you’re not even breaking even. And this is once again something that my learned friend has failed to acknowledge or even state. He has simply painted a broad picture of optimism and dealt in nothing but platitudes and that’s not how any real business principle works. Well at least not in the real world that is ! And therein lies the problem for some of the fans within this locale they simply don’t deal in reality .

What obligation does the owner of any major professional sports franchise have to the team’s fans ? Is it simply put a product on the field and eke out a profit or to put a winning product on the field of play and look to attain some success in whatever form it may take ? It’s not unlike an agenda that a President puts forward before Congress and the citizens in the hope that it leads to prosperity and success. Not that this current administration or its predecessor has had that much success on either front . This much we do know when there’s a genuine lack of creativity being shown there tends to be one big monumental mess that’s then being created and it has now began to bear itself out here with the Tampa Bay Rays. One only has to look at the upheaval that has taken place on the team’s roster from last season to now to see what has happened .

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And while Sternberg has been somewhat restrained at times in his statements I do believe that he’s also proven to be a complete ass with some of his more public statements in denigrating the fans for not turning out to games. What might be even more asinine also have been the statements also made by team GM Andrew Friedman in suggesting that making one or two off season moves will still make them all the more competitive than in previous years . Is he frigging kidding me ? Has he forgotten that the team now plays in the most competitive division in all of baseball ? Not to mention the fact that the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles haven’t rested on their laurels after last season. If it’s the front office’s intention to blow smoke up everyone’s ass with their antics and statements then so be it but please don’t insult the fans and general public’s intention that you’re intent is to be competitive when clearly you’re now not really in a position to do so !

This Rays’ team will struggle at best to remain competitive within its division this season let alone win anywhere near the number of games needed even to gain a wildcard berth in the postseason. The only situation where that could arise would be for there to be prolonged injuries being sustained to every day players on both the Red Sox and Yankees’ teams and given those two organizations’ financial means does anyone believe that’s liable to happen when they can merely seek to buy their way out of trouble ?

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to this subject matter and how do you view the obligations of a team owner and what’s expected of them from the fans ? Simply chime in with a comments as to your thoughts and the game itself.

Picture and slide show details below .

(1) Chris Humpherys aka ‘Sportschump’ hard at work making sure that his loyal readers are readily supplied with hard pertinent pieces from an open perspective. Either that or he’s about to download some porn . Either way he’s always worth the read ……….. you heard it here first !


(2) Tampa Bay Rays’ Rocco Baldelli hits a home run during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the baseball World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The player will formally announce his retirement taking a coaching position within the organization . AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(3) Alex Rodriguez (13) and Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees have a laugh with former teammate Johnny Damon (18) of the Detroit Tigers prior to their game on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images/ Jim McIsaac …….

(4) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox pinch hits in the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 5, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez ………

(5) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox takes a swing against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on September 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ………

(6) In a picture from 2008 seen here are from left to right , coaches Jim Hickey and Dave Martinez and manager Joe Maddon watch the the team in AL game played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . Picture appears courtesy of St Petersburg Times / James Borchuck …………..

(7) Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg (left) is seen here holding aloft the ALCS trophy alongside Matthew Silverman and team manager Joe Maddon after the team’s triumphant series’ victory . AP Photo/ Chris Hendricks ……..

[8] Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………

Rays’ front office

Rays’ coaching staff

Rays 2011 roster ……..

Rays 2010 roster ………..

Rays’ team stats ….

Rays’ history ………

Rays’ team news

See my previous post on the team’s signing of Damon and Ramirez entitled …. When Johnny Met Manny ….. . And you may also view sportschump’s own piece on the team’s signing of the duo Tampa Bay Rays make big splash in American League East pond: Sign Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon

Simply click on the links shown to read each piece in its entirety .

NB MLB News ……

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Tiara

Eye candy ………………. Tiara

Tiara 2

Hold ’em up honey so that we can all see ’em !

Continue reading “Obligations of Office ……………..”

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

Well at the midway point of the NBA season teams are now jockeying for positions as the meat of the season now awaits after the game’s midseason showcase event the All Star game. Now what many view as one of the better professional staged midseason events amongst the four major sports it has to be said that beyond the MLB All Star game the NBA All Star event might just be the most popular of the four major sports.

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From my own perspective the game itself is about as competitive as the NFL Pro Bowl is meant to be. There’s no real incentive and it is in essence really about the multi million dollar owners —- players of the league merely to have one great big party that in essence in the end comes at the expense of the all too willing public who are in attendance at the game and the surrounding events that take place over the All Star weekend. Now the voting itself for the event borders on the insanity that we see each quadrennial when the Presidential elections take place. Do you vote for who you favor because of their popularity or from the substance of their being ? There’s more acrimony over who’s been slighted but in the end there it’s also nothing more than a popularity contest as the fans participate in this alongside the coaches of the teams participating in the All Star event. And what’s portrayed isn’t far off the non-sense we see on the ratings juggernaut reality show American Idol . Only here there’s no three panel of arbitrators offering up their thoughts of the talent on view but at times you might feel that there ought to be . I mean Paula Abdul use to show about as much insight on the show than the idiocy we’ve seen being shown as to the nominees for some of the spots on the NBA All Star roster .

The Eastern Conference may well give us starters Dwight Howard , Kevin Garnett , Amare’ Stoudemire , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . Coaching the Eastern Conference team will be Doc Rivers but that may well change given precedence that’s normally set . Reserves for the team will be firmly adjudged with the fans’ voting and that of the input of the coach himself.

The Western Conference will throw up the usual suspects Kobe Bryant former league MVP and the likes of Steve Nash , Carmelo Anthony , Dirk Nowitzki , Deron Williams , Yao Ming who’ll miss the event due to season sending surgery . Cases are now being made for the Los Angeles Clippers’ —– Blake Griffin , and the Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love after the outstanding seasons that they’ve had. There are some who may well feel that neither is deserving while others who feel that there’s a possibility that one of the duo will make it unto the Western team roster while the other will be a reserve for the game.

Now while I’ve never really been enamored with the event I do think that for Commissioner David Stern the league’s hierarchy and the owners this is more of getting the NBA global brand further out there. With countless billions of dollars in revenues each season and the mere fact that the game is perhaps more widely recognized across the globe than the NFL and MLB combined. Michael Jordan was and still is the pre-eminent face of the NBA albeit that he’s retired from the game . The mantel may well have been assumed by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as they seek basketball fame and immortality but other than the regular season and the NBA postseason the regular schedule as such provides us with nothing more than seeing the stars and team we’ve come to support .

Reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers have had their season of ups and downs but they’ve been able to maintain their status amongst the West’s elite as they seek a three-peat with coach Phil Jackson at the helm of this team . While I’ve no doubt that they’ll be a part of the postseason parade I must admit that they do need to get more solid contributions from players such as Ron Artest , Lamar Odom and in particular Andrew Bynum if they’re to prove to be the team to beat not just within the conference but as the presumptive favorites for the NBA title.

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on each frame you can view that picture in its orginal formatted size.

Well it does go without saying that glamor of the “Big Three” in Miami engineered in part by Pat Riley at the insistance of owner of Micky Arison that if they should fall short of the expected goals that many believe has been set within the organization even though no one has gone on record that winning the NBA title has been set as the target. It’s clearly evident that this is what is actually wanted by all associated with the team and organization. Should they fall short of that presumed target then questions will have been asked and answered and I’ve no doubt that James’ former employer and team owner Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the happiest man in the world should LeBron James come up short with the Miami Heat.

At midpoint of the season there’s no denying that a number of teams have underachieved and there have been one or two pleasant surprises. The San Antonio Spurs have come flying out of the gate and have the best record in the league . Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan are still omnipresent on this team and with there being added contributions from the young players on the roster DeJuan Blair , George Hill , Tiago Splitter and seasoned veteran Antonio McDyess who are making Gregg Popovich quite possibly a shoo-in for the NBA Coach of the Year .

If there’s said to be an immense disappointment it may well be the seasons for the Sacramento Kings and that of the Minnesota Timberwolves . If nothing else both teams could be on the cards for the top pick in the NBA Draft . Jared Sullinger , Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith are thought to be the top three players liable to be the top picks in the draft. And given that triumvirates’ play this college season I’ve no doubt in my that they’d be able to contribute to the Kings and Timberwoves greatly !

At the midpoint of the season what are your impressions of the NBA and the upcoming All Star event itself as a spectacle ? And if anything are you entirely happy with how the players are voted unto the respective team rosters ? Fans’ contributions apart and that of the coaches do you believe that there’s justification as to how the votes are accorded for the NBA midseason showcase ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the topic and as always thanks for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details …………….

(1) In this file photo taken Jan. 17, 2011, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant rests during a timeout in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Los Angeles. Representatives for Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood announced Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, that Bryant will have a ceremony setting his hands and feet in cement at the theater as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities on Feb. 19, the day before the All-Star game in Los Angeles. Bryant will become the first athlete honored with the ceremony. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

(2) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, dunks over Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. AP Photo/Don Ryan …………

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(4) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, congratulates DeJuan Blair during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 104-95 . AP Photo/Darren Abate ……

(5) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, below, dunks as forward Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ………..

NB

The 2011 NBA All Star Game will be held at the Staples Center home to the Los Angeles Lakers

NBA News

NBA Scores & results …..

NBA schedule

NBA Standings ……….. Conference ………. Division ….

NBA Team Stats

NBA Player Stats

NBA All Star ballots

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………

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Lenny Kravitz ………… “Come On Get It” NBA TNT theme song for the season

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Karmen

Eye candy ………………….. Karmen Sutra and a continued montage of the beauty .

What’s not to like ?

Karmen  Sutra

Bootylicious !

As Kravitz says in his song ‘Come On Get It” …….’come get some of this’ !

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Have Balls Will Travel ……………… Anyone For Tennis ?

Have Balls Will Travel ……………… Anyone For Tennis ?

Well the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year has already got the ball rolling on both the Men’s and Women’s Tour . The ATP covers the men’s where the dominant factors are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer the world number’s one and two in the ATP rankings . The Australian Open as always is the first of the four Grand Slam majors that encapsulates the French Open , Wimbledon and the US Open .

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

On the women’s side on the WTA Tour the new number one ranked player is Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark albeit that in many eyes a grand slam tournament without Serena Williams is very much like having a four course meal without one of the main hors-d’ouever starters. But with the younger of two Williams’ sisters not a participant it will be left to Venus Williams to carry the familial torch.

Now while the eyes of the tennis world be upon the top two men in the game I’m of the belief that unless both walk into a trap then these finals will be about two pre-eminent players of their generation and perhaps the best two players in the game over the last two decades. Their joint resumes alone is most certainly a testament to that, with each having won a career Grand Slam having won each of the four majors . Nadal will now have the privilege of trying to emulate what only Rod Laver has been able to achieve twice over the course of his esteemed career and that’s to try and win the Grand Slam as it’s designated to be and that’s to win all four majors in a calendar year . There’s the idiocy being paraded out there by observers that Federer’s game is on the decline but like any other player on the circuit players will have ebbs and flows over the course of their careers never mind that they’ll also become susceptible to injuries and that’s something that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the blogs I’ve read concerning the player.

But take this as a fact Federer and Nadal have been participants in 23 of the last 25 tennis Grand Slam Finals either facing each other or another top 10 player at the time . Those being Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djokovic who’ve won the two Slam Finals where the names of Federer or Nadal weren’t etched on the trophy. And that’s meant to be a decline in Federer’s career as a singles player ? Less we forget also that the former Swiss number one has made it to 23 straight Grand Slam tennis semi-finals ? Am I missing something here and where what the hell have these individuals been watching and what is that they base their actual thought process on if not the facts that are in front of them ?

The earlier rounds so far for both the men’s and women’s singles competition hasn’t brought about any great surprises as of yet but you can be sure as the second week approaches at the Rod Laver Center in Melbourne , Australia we will be in for a plethora of surprises . The one thing that I feel is abundantly clear is that on the men’s side of the game the once dominant US no longer has a male player of any real note that can challenge for any of major slams on the circuit. Andy Roddick is no longer a real presence on the ATP Tour and simply going through the motions and I can only surmise that marriage and the domesticity it brings with being married to SI model Brooklyn Decker has softened the player somewhat !

If there are to be any challenges offered to the duo of Federer and Nadal then it could very well come from Novak Djokovic , Andy Murray , Fernando Verdasco , Gael Monfils to name but a few . But as I alluded to earlier that would be predicated upon either Federer or Nadal seemingly losing interest and falling into the trap of perhapos of misjudging an opponent. The reality here is given both players’ slam experiences it’s very hard to envisage that happening. Between them they have won a combined 23 Grand Slam Finals and have appeared in 27 altogether. Do you get the feeling that the two know what they’re doing when they’re on the grandest of stages in the men’s game ?

Although the top ranked Caroline Wozniacki has yet to win Grand Slam major her career has been marked with very good tournament wins and 2010 she showed a great deal of consistency and there’s justification as to why she’s ranked number on the WTA Tour. Granted the absence of Serena Williams waters down the competitiveness of the event in the women’s singles but nonetheless it now becomes something of a wide open event where you can pick a winner from amongst the remainder of the top ten in the rankings and feel there’s a cause to be made for each . Certainly Kim Clijsters , Venus Williams , Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova can be looked upon as a threat in the competition and perhaps deny Wozniacki the chance to win her first Grand Slam singles title. Sharapova to my mind having been injured hasn’t really played herself into match fit competition but given her experience she could derail the ambitions of others given the right set of circumstances and even with her being outside the top ten she’s still good enough to beat any of the top ranked players on her day. Caroline Wozniacki needs a Grand Slam major win to justify that top ranking on the WTA Tour as it adds legitimacy to her career also. As to whether or not she can achieve that in this tournament remains to be seen but here’s the clear chance for her to justify that to the public and for tennis fans around the globe.

Tennis if anything has its place in the pantheon of sports on the world stage and without the tete-a-tete and rivalry brought about by the likes of Federer and Nadal we’d be left with a cumulative void. There’s nothing coming along from within the US men’s game to suggest that they can regain dominance in the men’s game. And apart from the tradition of the Davis Cup a team even where there too they’ve fallen on hard times _____________ there’s not much else for them and the fans to really look forward and that’s in spite of the changes now being made at the ground level and up within the USTA to seek a change in fortunes and the nurturing of young talent at every level within the game on the domestic front.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on Australian Open and how do you see things panning out in the men’s and women’s singles competition ? And as as such do believe that the US men’s tennis can once again become a dominant force on the world stage with the players that it currently has within the ATP Tour rankings ? Simply chime in with your comments .

NB Picture and slide show gallery details .

(1) Gael Monfils of France plays a stroke during his third round men’s singles match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland on the fifth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2011. Warwinka leads by two sets to nil as play continues. AFP Photo/William West _______ Photo credit should read William West/AFP/Getty Images ….. copyrighted material …… @ all rights reserved

(2) Kei Nishikori of Japan serves against Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their round three men’s singles match on the fifth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2011. Verdasco won 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 . Getty Images /Nikolas Ashfouri ………..

(3) Melbourne , Australia ,. Rafael Nadal of Spain serves in his second round match against Ryan Sweeting of the United States of America during day four of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images …….

<p (4) Roger Federer of Switzerland serves in his third round match against Xavier Malisse of Belgium during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Federer would go on to defeat Malisse in straight sets . Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images ………

(5) Andy Roddick of the United States of America shakes hands after his third round match against Robin Haase of the Netherlands during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images ……….

(6) Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark plays a forehand in her third round match against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images ……..


The Australian Open Schedule & Results ——

ATP Men’s Rankings

……………………………. WTA Women’s Rankings ……

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………..

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Courtney  Black

Eye candy …………… Courtney Black and pictorial montage to follow.

Courtney parades her wares courtesy of King Magazine .

Courtney  4

Balls are meant to be played with and Courtney most definitely knows how to do that !

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U2 ………………. “One”

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News With A Twist ……………….. And The Ridiculous

News With A Twist ……………….. And The Ridiculous

It may not help but it’d now appear that with the plea agreement accepted the world for former NFL great Lawrence Taylor has come full circle. His lust for still wanting to be part of of the spotlight having retired from football has now landed right back in front of the camera for all of the wrong reasons. In order to avoid jail time the player accepted a plea deal wherein he admits to adding to the delinquency of a minor and sexual solicitation for pecuniary gain and needs. Taylor will now become a registered sex offender and be subjected six years probation. And while the prosecutors are entirely happy with this verdict it doesn’t say enough about what took place behind the scenes concerning this case. As we now find out the player also assisted Federal authorities (FBI & Justice Dept ) in the tracking down and subsequent arrest of several felons who’d been involved in the trafficking of young females across state lines for the procurement of sex . This is now a growing epidemic that has swept across the nation and has led in many cases to the sexual assault and death of several underage teens. What might be even more striking is the fact that this type of crime doesn’t only involve young girls but now young boys as well.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now it goes without saying that Taylor’s life and troubles inside and outside of football have been well chronicled . From cocaine and drug abuse to allegations domestic violence Lawrence Taylor’s life has been one big maelstrom and hooplah of ups and downs. A Hall of Famer and two time winning Superbowl player to a now convicted felon and sex offender . How the mighty have fallen and with all this come the embarrassment to his wife and children. This simply goes to show fame and fortune has its peaks and troughs but in the case of former Giants’ great his head never left the trough .

Not wanting to make a complete ass of himself as if the “The Decision Interview” co-opted with Jim Gray wasn’t enough Miami Heat player LeBron James tried to explain to the fans and public that a < 'tweet' sent from his ‘Twitter’ account and directed at Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert in which stated ………………”Karma is a bitch” ! Well those very words now seem to have come back to have bitten James and his teammates in the ass. Having lost a recent game to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center . The team , albeit without James were routed by the Denver Nuggets in their subsequent game at the Pepsi Center —— 130-101 .

Now one might ask if after all of this James with his rather immature behavior will now finally get it into his head that for all of the empathy he seeks he will not be forgiven by the fans there in Cleveland because of his betrayal. It’s agreed that both James and Gilbert could’ve handled the situation better with regard to his departure without a doubt. But now it appears that this pristine image that the player tries to purvey has become burdensome for him and he’s now beginning to like a complete ass some of us took him to be after that ludicrous self aggrandizing interview conducted by Jim Gray coming courtesy of ESPN . If anything it shows how far both sides in this case , the network hand player have gone to overhype a non-event for what they believed it to be worth at the time.

James if anything having taken the night off due what we’re told is an ankle sprain had better get back on court because it looks as if teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are mere microcosms of themselves when he’s not on the court with them. I’ve always maintained that Bosh was along for the ride on this roller coaster while James and Wade would simply supply with all of the highlight reels and entertainment the fans sought. Now this team along with the coaching staff led by coach Erik Spoelstra will have to put things right back on track .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

So the New York Jets’ Antonio Cromartie believes Tom Brady to be a spoilt unsportsmanlike individual after his gametime demeanor during the Jets’ 45-3 loss to the New England Patriots earlier in the season . Brady’s antics it’s believe infuriated Cromartie and his teammates after he gesticulated and pointed towards the New York Jets’ fans in attendance after the Patriots had scored a touchdown , one of many I might on their way to that now infamous rout.

If Cromartie wants to be seen as a professional shouldn’t the question that he ought to be asking himself is why he and the team played so badly and were unable to defeat the Patriots on the day ? Instead in his recent interview concerning this weekend’s divisional matchup between the two teams he went into an expletive driven tirade against the Pats’ quarterback which has since been defended to an extent by Jets’ coach Rex Ryan who states that this is merely two teams showing their dislike for each other . I hope he’s of the same opinion should his team be on the losing end of this game ! Cromartie on the other hand should count himself lucky that he’s still able grace the NFL stage given his off the field issues , his 9 children with eight different women including his wife are as such in dire need of financial support but yet here sits a player who’s only means of attention is denigrate one of his peers because his team was simply made to look bad while all Brady was simply doing was celebrating a touchdown during a game. What’s wrong with this picture ?

Well Cam Newton has declared for the NFL Draft ? Who didn’t see that coming down the pike ? I guess all that’s left now is for his father Cecil to now represent his son at the professional level as an agent because in essence that was what he has been essentially doing at the collegiate level. With that being said it should come as no surprise that NCAA President Mark Emmert now wants to tighten if not close the loopholes which have allowed Newton , Terrelle Pryor and several of his Buckeye teammates to basically flout NCAA rules without so much as a mere hint of punishment being levied upon the players for their transgressions. This coming from what I believe to the most corrupt organization in the country besides that of Mafia and US Congress and Senate . The NCAA has and always will be considered a joke never mind the ‘ idiots’ who oversee the BCS ! Trying to figure out what it is these bodies have to offer the public at large much less the sport’s fan in general is like trying to count the grains of sand on the beach while the tide comes in and there being a gust of wind blowing !
Is there a real reason behind their existence other than to look completely stupid and bereft of any intelligence whatsoever ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime on with a comment as to your thoughts and as alwauys thanks for the continued support !

NB: Picture and slide show gallery details .

(1) This May 6, 2010 file photo shows Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor leaving the Ramapo Police Department in Suffern, N.Y. Taylor pleaded guilty Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 to sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute, misdemeanor charges that carry no jail time but require him to register as a sex offender. AP/ Kathy Willens ……….

(2) Former NFL Players Dieon Sanders and Lawrence Taylor talk on stage during the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2009 in New York City. Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky ……

(3) Taylor (left) is seen here with his defense attorney Arthur Aidala at his arraignment hearing in May of 2010 to hear the charges he faced on statutory rape the solicitation of a prostitute and adding to the delinquency of a minor. The hearing took place in New City , New York. AP/ Rod Carpenter ……

(4) Taylor is seen here with his lawyer Arthur Aidala at his trial and hearing as to sentencing at Federal court in New City, New York . AP Photo/ Mark Walls ………….

(5) New York Jets coach Rex Ryan , center, reacts near the end of the Jets’ 28-21 win over the New England Patriots in NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Winslow Townson ….

(6) New England Patriots tight end Alge Crumpler (82) delivers a stiff-arm to New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia ……

(7) Los Angeles , Ca,. January 12 th 2011 . LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat warms up before taking on the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Players are wearing special warmups recognizing the one year anniversary of ongoing efforts of recovery from the earthquake in Haiti on January 12-13 2010. Copyright 2011 NBAE Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images …..

[8] LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat is fouled by Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers during a 111-105 Clipper win at the Staples Center on January 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(9) Chris Bosh (1) of the Miami Heat grabs a rebound away from Al Harrington (7) of the Denver Nuggets as Mike Miller (13) of the Heat watche the action at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 130-102 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(10) In this Dec. 11, 2010, file photo, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton holds the trophy during a news conference after winning the Heisman award, in New York. Newton will forgo his senior season and make himself eligible for the 2011 National Football League Draft. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle …..

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

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Amy Leigh Andrews

Eye candy of the eye popping kind . Playboy stunner Amy Leigh Andrews

It’s your duty to want to tap this booty.

Amy isn’t afraid to show her softer side as we can all see.
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Outkast ………..“Hey Ya”

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You Want An NBA Storyline …………………… ?

You Want An NBA Storyline …. ?

It’s been something of an anticlimax to the say the least as the NBA season has got off to a rather inauspicious start. The Miami Heat of late has been the storyline that everyone wants to follow as the ‘Big Three’ have become the talk of the town . LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have made the Heat relevant once again. That being said to my mind the story that has me wondering how asking what else can befall a team has been that of the Houston Rockets . It’s hard to comprehend the misfortune that has beset this team as having lost All Star center Yao Ming for the season to a recurring injury . While much of this has been happening the one constant to this all has been the play of Kevin Martin and the fact that without him the Rockets would simply just another byline to the NBA season.

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The troubling here there though has been the fact Yao hasn’t played a meaningful game in over a year and the danger is that his career now seems to be on the verge of being at end. Barring a miracle I seriously doubt that we’ll see this player back on a basketball court in a competitive NBA game. Say what you will but Yao Ming had his admirers as well as his detractors . At his peak, he was certainly one of the most admired but also one of the best centers in the game but herein lies the caveat to this all once injiries started to befall the player , you simply knew that it was only a matter of time before things would go south for both he and the organization . What now happens for the Rockets is now merely dependent upon the players and their desire play the remainder of the season with the zeal one would come to expect of a team looking for some type of redemption. If nothing else they owe it to themselves and their fans.

The NBA Western Conference has now become awash of the unexpected and as the plot thickens the idiocy surrounds the sudden lull in the play of the Los Angeles Lakers . Don’t be fooled by anything you’ve heard or read at this point of the season teams will have their ups and downs and it’s how they respond that will define them. The Lakers have rebounded back and Kobe Bryant and his teammates seem to now back in the driver’s seat and their resolve will be to play the games as they come and then in the postseason show the NBA world why it is they’re the reigning NBA champions . If nothing else you simply have to respect that pedigree and until they’re toppled off the pile then due respect has to be given .

The Lakers’ neighbors within the Staples Center the Los Angeles Clippers and their sudden recognition around the league. No one person is more responsible for this other than Blake Griffin and his play through much of the season so far . In the same way that Dominique Wilkins came to be known as the “Human Highlight Reel” , Griffin has single handedly made that nom-de-plume his very own this season with his spectacular dunks. Unfortunately for the Clippers and their fans this hasn’t resulted in that many wins and at the same the Clippers still remain the same old Clippers. I’ve often maintained that when an organization simply lacks the will and ambition to win then whatever befalls that team is simply one of its own making. Is there now a more despised owner in professional sports than the Clippers’ Donald Sterling ? OK, so we could add the Redskins’ Daniel Snyder , Pittsburgh Pirates Bob Nutting and last but not least Jerry Jones of the Cowboys.

I understand that the business of sports is primarily about making money and any bye product sought is to win championships but what can be said as to morass that continually extends and surrounds the Los Angeles Clippers ? Someone needs to explain to me at what point will their fans simply say enough is enough ………? It’s apparent that NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy isn’t overly concerned as to the mediocre plight of the Clippers under the tenure of Donald Sterling. But then again simply but as long as the league is reaping the vast rewards of the billions of dollars that unyieldingly comes into its coffers he’s not going to be concerned. For Stern the storyline here is that of the attention gained by the likes of the Heat , Boston Celtics and Lakers . If they’re being repeatedly on by the press then Sterling’s concerns aren’t that great but then again this is the same individual who last season issued the statement that the $250 million paid to a number of teams should not be viewed as a bailout because of those teams’ financial plight due to the economic climate. Kind of makes you wonder what perception the commissioner is trying to create with that rather asinine statement ?

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Clueless in Phoenix as that appears to be the situation with the Phoenix Suns at present under Alvin Gentry as the Suns’ coach. Ever since their most recent trades with the team acquiring Vince Carter and a number of other players which in turn sent Jason Richardson to the Orlando Magic . This team can’t find a win much less play a lick of defense and statistically they rank in the bottom half of the league with that rather dubious distinction. And now with rumors circling that the franchise may well be willing to offload Steve Nash with a view as building for the future , the question being asked is where they go from here ?

With the competitiveness of the Western Conference where week in week out it’s something of a dog fight one could say that last season’s Western Conference finalist’s this season appears to be something of a regression back to the ways of old. In all likelihood if Gentry is unable to have the Suns playing with any semblance of a will to win then team owner Robert Sarver will look to bring in a coach who can take the team back to the heights and expectations that he feels befits the organization .

There’s reason at present for noted film director Spike Lee and avowed basketball fan to be happy as his New York Knicks are once again relevant . Coach Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff has the team playing with a great deal of resolve within the NBA. Amar’e Stoudemire , Raymond Felton , Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler have been playing at a pace that not many may well have expected. And those in attendance at Madison Square Gardens for the Knicks’ home games have to be more than pleasantly surprised but also extremely excited.

With what we’re now seeing within the Eastern Conference there’s no reason to believe that the Knicks cannot play themselves into contention within the conference and garner their first playoff berth in almost a decade. At their current pace the Knicks are on target to win 47 games, albeit that a sub .500 record or slightly above can garner a playoff spot within the conference. If that’s not enough of an indictment as to how bad the conference can be, then simply look over the past seasons and the records of the teams that have prevailed within the conference in garnering a postseason berth ? It hasn’t been uncommon for the teams ranked four through eight to have a record barely above .500 (41-41). It remains to be seen if this season we can see a vast improvement of the teams in the lower half of the seedings within the conference and how they may well fare. If nothing else the remainder of this season will be proof of that and what we ought to expect from some of those teams within the conference.

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Picture gallery . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size.

Should the Knicks make the playoffs there’s a distinct possibility that Mike D’Antoni could very well be in with a chance of winning the NBA’s Coach of The Year Award . Given what he’s been able to achieve in assessing and building this team with the help of President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh this has been a season of redemption for the Knicks and their long suffering fans . One can only hope that barring injuries they can remain on course of achieving their goals .

Chime in with your comments as to your thoughts on the NBA season and any of the topics raised within this piece .

NB: NBA Conference Standings ..

Latest NBA news …..

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NBA Divisional Standings ….

NBA Statistics ….

NBA win streaks by conference and division

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

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Faran W

Eye candy ……………. Faren Williams

More of Faren….. as you know doubt like it ?

Faren

That’s a body worth watching from any view ! Faren’s that is !

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Lupe Fiasco feat’g …… Matthew Santos …….. ” Superstar”

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It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !

It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………….. Triumph Or Go Home !

The wildcard rounds of the playoffs begin this weekend and with a number of games set to get the fans salivating at their outcome . No game might be more intriguing than the NFC match-up that pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the Green Bay Packers . To my mind these are two evenly matched teams that are well coached by Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy respectively. Furthermore even with the advent of the play of Michael Vick I for one don’t believe this is by any means a foregone conclusion ! There’s enough here to suggest even with their records and play late in the season this game could go either way just like the flip of a coin.

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As good as Michael Vick has been playing, his counterpart Aaron Rodgers in spite of his injuries appears to be as tough as they come and willing to do battle in order for the Packers to win. And not only that it’d appear that the Lambeau faithful have taken Rodgers to their heart while onetime hero Brett Favre now remains a distant memory. He may well be still beloved in certain parts of Green Bay but I’m not so sure that holds through for the entire state of Wisconsin much less the rest of the country. This Packers’ team has shown a great deal of resiliency in spite of repeated adversity and when many may well have felt all was lost , they’ve risen to the challenge and this may well be one of the reasons why they could upset the apple cart as far as this match-up is concerned .

Defensively at times both teams have struggled but the Packers might well have the edge in that department . Where the advantage lies is in the fact that McCarthy’s coaching staff will have to deal with the mercurial and enigmatic play of Michael Vick . And as we know given his play this season a game can be turned at the drop of a hat. And I’ve no doubt that both defenses will be rigorously tested by the respective offenses at game time. This may well also become a game of attrition if neither side can find an opening but if it isn’t, then look for it to be something of a one sided affair with the winner showing the tenacity needed to seek out a win.

While many of us will have no doubt question the merits of a 7-9 team making the playoffs the Seattle Seahaws as winners of the NFC West are now there by right. And given what we’ve come to expect from that division within recent years I’m not entirely surprised. Sadly this is now what the league and to an essence the competitiveness of that division has now become where mediocrity is immediately rewarded rather than substance. How else can you explain when teams such as the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with better records but failed to make the playoffs ?

The Seahawks will have the privilege of hosting Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this weekend and it remains to be seen whether or not the reigning Superbowl champions have overcome their recent slump of late. Both teams come into the postseason with a great deal to prove …….. the Saints in proving that they’re worthy champions and looking to make a successful defense of their title . Whereas Pete Carrolls’ team is simply looking for respect and a chance to upset the apple cart .

This game will certainly down to as the stealth of the Saints’ potent offense and how good this Seahawks’ defense is presumed to be. And given what we’ve seen from that defense this season they will have to be at the very top of their game . Having been ranked in the lower echelons of all of the defensive categories this season it remains to be seen whether not they will be able to counter act whatever the New Orleans Saints will be able to throw at them . What the Seahawks will have to their distinct advantage will be a home crowd of raucous fans at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington who will essence become the team’s twelfth man. If Matt Hasselbeck can rise to the occasion and lead this Seahawks’ team with any semblance of competitive instinct then this game could be a great deal closer than most would expect it to be . Discerning a victor from the midst of this all will come down to who has the greater appetite for the win.

With all of the off the field antics and some might say the overbearing personality of the New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan one can’t help but wonder what the coach will do next. Apart from one time proclaiming the Jets the best team in the league this season Ryan has repeatedly put his foot in his mouth with some of his rather outrageous statements. Needless to say fans far and wide have either ridiculed the coach or supported his claims in part. Now comes crunch time for the team as they meet the Indianapolis Colts in a highly anticipated game that’s a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game .

Ryan and his team are certainly looking for redemption and the same can be said too for the Peyton Manning led Colts after their immense letdown in last season’s Superbowl against the New Orleans Saints . Many believed that the Indianapolis Colts would have the better of that Saints’ team on the day but that was clearly not the case as the defense of the Colts was exposed as flawed and extremely slow. Brees simply shredded that team almost at will and nothing could hide the disappointment from Manning’s face at the end of the day. To top it all off we then had the rather asinine claim by Colts’ GM Bill Polian that the reason for the team’s loss was the fact that the offensive line didn’t play well. This was a collective loss on all parts as the Colts were simply outplayed in every facet of the game and nothing can hide that fact not even the infantile rants of the team’s general manager.

It will be interesting to see how this Jets’ defense measures up against the Colts’ offense and how in fact they’re able to deal with Peyton Manning . One thing is sure this game won’t be short on drama whichever way you look at it and if Mark Sanchez is keen to prove that last season’s form was no fluke then now will be the time for him to prove that fact. As he goes so does this team and if he’s not performing at the highest caliber then the Jets’ postseason ambitions could come to an abrupt end once again at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.

In this season of surprises within the NFL perhaps none could have been more of a surprise than the turnaround initiated by Todd Haley and the coaching staff of the Kansas City Chiefs . Having handily won the AFC West where many had expected to make the San Diego Chargers to make their normal late season charge the Chiefs simply held on whereas the Chargers fell by the wayside . Can someone please remind the Chargers that the NFL season is one played of sixteen games and not eight or nine as they and their fans have now come to expect ? Sooner or later it had to catch up with them and it’s safe to say that even with the exploits of Philip Rivers this season way too much was being asked of the player to lead this team into the postseason.

The Chiefs will have the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Ravens and somehow I get the feeling that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed of this Ravens’ team will be baying for blood as they look to seperate Matt Cassel’s head from his shoulders . I’m not suggesting that this won’t be a baptism of fire for this Chiefs’ team but I just hope that there are several fire engines and marshals in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium once this game begins. There’s liable to so much heat brought to this party by the Ravens that I’m not too sure that the Chiefs might be able to withstand the onslaught.

On the flip side of this , the Chiefs offense led by Cassel has a number of offensive weapons that could waylay the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s team. Thomas Jones , Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are liable to give the Ravens’ defense all that they can handle if they’re left to their own devices as they’ve become the main threats on offense this season for the Kansas City Chiefs. And the trio are one the main reasons behind the success of the franchise this season in convergence with the team acquiring both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to take over the coaching responsibilities of the offense and defense respectively. If the Chiefs are to endure then it will come down to the coaching strategies put into place by Haley and his staff and how his team goes about executing that plan.

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Picture gallery by clicking on each individual frame you can a picture in its originally
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What thoughts if any do have with regard to the wildcard round of the playoffs and which game do you anticipate will be the most entertaining to watch ? Simply chime in with a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

NB : Click on the link shown to view the latest news in the NFL .

NFL News

Teams receiving a bye are the New England Patriots , Pittsburgh Steelers , Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………….

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Continue reading “It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !”

The BCS Stands For What ……….. ? ? ?

The BCS Stands For What ………… ? ? ?

It’s here, it’s now for all the marbles and I though I must say it I’ve not been overly enamored with what I’ve seen throughout the Bowl Series within collegiate football. Perhaps from a standpoint that I’m amongst a growing group I believe who would desire to see a playoff system within college football. Having the coaches , the press and a back room filled with computer geeks summarily in part make the decision as to who may end up playing in the national championship game does smack of idiocy to begin with. Never mind that the lesser games with their rather superfluous names make about as much sense as having the choice being made by a group of blind people simply using a pin and having the teams’ names being listed on a piece of paper. The whole BCS Championship series is simply nothing more than a money making exercise and that’s simply it. The six major conferences ( ACC , Big 10 , Big 12 , Big East , Pac 10 and SEC) that in essence oversees this rather corrupt system if anything ought to be thankful that they’re allowed to keep up this charade.

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While there’s been repeated criticism by members of Congress as to the way that teams are determined and the template put in motion is something of a joke. Any member of Congress wishing to address this situation given the fact that the BCS system has its supporters and detractors within that body smacks of idiocy to begin . Were you aware that the BCS Championship series has its own body of lobbyists up on Capitol Hill in Washington DC in order to safeguard its very existence ? The tax advantages to be attained by the NCAA as well as the BCS as a body and one can see why there’s billions of dollars to be made by both of these bodies who as such state that the interests of the student athletes at heart. Yeah I’ve heard it said also that’s the same belief held by the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia as they simply flood this country with their drugs. So what’s the difference between the BCS , NCAA and the drug cartels of Colombia ? Oh so it’s illegal to smuggle narcotics into this country for ill gotten gains while supplying that ever increasing band of drug users dependent on these narcotics. It’s not exactly stopped the big pharmaceutical companies in acting the way that they’ve been allowed even with the FDA as a conduit . Merely look at the billions made by these companies and the financial windfall it creates for the federal government by way of the taxes ? That’s simply the only difference between the two entities in question and the way that the government views their activities by way of its legality.

The championship game sponsored by Tostitos and to be played between the SEC’s —– Auburn (Tigers) led by Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and coached by Gene Chizik hope to convey why it is that they’re favored to win this matchup against the Oregon (Ducks). Both teams will have their slew of vociferous supporters up and down the country. And I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a certain East Coast – West Coast bias to this matchup and the feelings to be had between the fans and perhaps the nation at large. If anything these matchups are essentially driven by the appeal of the what the nation’s programmers’ wish to see , in order that they can attain the best returns possible by way of a televised audience.

Oregon for its part coached by Chip Kelly and led by Darron Thomas at quarterback with running back LaMichael James are sure to make this game a competitive one. We may well have been spoiled in recent years by the exploits of the Florida Gators , Texas Longhorns and that of USC but this game could very well match that classic of between the Trojans and Longhorns when they were led by Matt Leinart and Vince Young respectively . Both players in question were able to parlay those feats into careers within the NFL . Young for his part may not be long with the Tennessee Titans where his career has plummeted as fast as a meteorite falling from the sky. Leinart has yet to show his true guile for the NFL and if anything his being coddled while at USC may well have something to do with the fact that he’s yet to meet the expectations that many felt he was capable of.

This game will come down to one of two things how capable both defenses are at stopping the potent offensive threats that either side can display in terms of their respective pass and running attacks. If neither can actually stymie the other in that respect then we could end up with a high scoring game and one wherein yardage could be off the charts. Will it be what the fans want to see at the end of the day ………..who can say ? The national championship games haven’t always been entertaining but they seem to fill that void in airtime that the programmer has no other product at their disposal to display , so make of it what you will.

The Tigers’ Cam Newton despite his off the field issues will be looking to put an emphatic stamp on this season having led his team to the SEC championship game (56-17) and winning the Heisman Trophy with ease. It’d be indicative of the player at this juncture of the season to simply stamp his authority on it by showing why he’s the best college player in the game. Given the recent exploits of Stanford’s Andrew Luck there may well be a great deal more on the line with the perception that Newton could enter the NFL Draft for the untold riches that can be garnered there. Whether or Newton can and will be allowed exploit the weaknesses of the Oregon Ducks will be largely dependent upon the skill-set of that Ducks’ defense.

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Oregon I’ve no doubt will come into this game being viewed as the underdogs by the press , public and no doubt the oddsmakers in Vegas. But I’d dare say that they’re keen to pull off the upset and show the nation what they’re truly capable of. Throughout much of the season Oregon has systematically played uptempo and they’ve literally destroyed some of their opponents almost at will. When tested at times they’ve risen to the occasion in more ways than one, showing their deftness in all phases of the game. This game will be a battle of wills and the coaching staff of both teams had better have their battle plans drawn and ready . If not, then one of these teams will find itself in the midst of an incessant onslaught and the ensuing battle could very well be viewed as being one sided and something of bore for the fans watching.

With the $17,500,000 at stake for the winner apart from the privilege of raising the the crystal trophy to signify that they’ve been crowned national champions. Along with it all comes the bragging rights and a great deal of prestige for the winning team and its program. Recruits will no doubt be watching with a great deal of interest and given the exposure that such a game brings they can’t help but feel that’s where they’re going to want to be ……….. on collegiate football’s grandest stage playing for a national title. The end goal being to showcase their talents for the watchful eyes for the NFL general managers and scouts also who are watching. It’s every young kids’ dream as well as that of the players who will be on display this upcoming Monday were the game is scheduled to be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium , Glendale , Arizona ,.

How have you viewed the games that have taken place during this Bowl season and what if anything to your mind has been the bright spot so far ? And are you as such entirely interested in the outcome of the national championship game ? Furthermore , what are your feelings on how the BCS system works and why they’re unwilling to adopt a playoff system ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

NB: Auburn Tigers’ roster

Head coach Gene Chizik

Tigers’ coaching staff

Oregon Ducks’ roster

Head coach Chip Kelly

Oregon Ducks’ coaching staff

BCS National rankings as of 12/05/10

Click here to get the latest college football news.

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………………

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Leonie Nicole

Eye candy for you all . Leoni Nicole and a small montage of this beauty.

Hello and good morning ! It’s a hell of a day don’t you think ?

Leonie Nicole 2

Naughty but simply nice !

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John Legend feat’g Common & The Roots ……..”Wake Up Everybody”

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They Shoot Horses Don’t They So Why Did Goodell Simply Not Put Us All Out Of Our Misery?

 

They Shoot Horses Don’t They So Why Did Goodell Simply Not Put Us All Out Of Our Misery?

Well by now you will have all heard the news that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has chosen to fine Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Brett Favre $50,000 after conducting what he says has been an arduous investigation into the allegations made concerning the player’s misconduct . In a public statement after handing down the fine to the player the commissioner made it known that Favre , his agent and legal counsel were non cooperative in assisting him in anyway whatsoever. Which to my mind is of great concern given the player’s behavior and also that of the league’s image as it relates to the players’ conduct not only on but also off the field of play. What sort of message is Goodell trying to send by fining a player who this year alone will make in excess of $12 million this season ? At the same time were this not Brett Favre and some lesser light in the midst of these allegations and that player’s response were the same as the future bound Hall of Famer , I think that player would be now looking at a greater financial penalty as well as some sort of suspension. It appears that Goodell simply like the rest of the drooling buffoons who are still enamored with Favre simply haven’t had enough of him . How else could you explain the commissioner’s actions ?

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I’ve always maintained that Goodell as a commissioner has never truly been balanced in the way that he treats players concerning acts of misconduct . Instead he merely waffles and shuffles the life jackets on board his vessel as he sees fit. Favre for his part still comes off looking like a complete buffoon, albeit that he alleges that this will indeed be his last season in the NFL . Where have I heard that before from this imbecile and ingrate ? Ah well one more game I hope and then he can ride off into the sunset and completely away from the NFL . As to the plight of his team ___ the Minnesota Vikings their season has been a clear effort in futility . What organization do you know who would operate under such conditions where they’re at the beck and call of a player whose passion for the game is like a candle blowing in the wind ? I’ve heard it often being said that because he knew the playbook and the offense of the Vikings he needn’t be there with his teammates prior to the start of the season, because he’d simply be in sync once he was back in his cleats and simply throwing the ball. Well there’s a vast difference between working up a sweat throwing a football to a bunch of high school kids and being hard at work getting your timing right during preseason workouts with your receiving corps <at the NFL level . Perhaps someone should have reminded Brett Favre of that ?

Courtesy of The Toronto Sun in conjunction with Reuters Tim Shaffer

NFL fines Favre in sexting case

NEW YORK — The NFL fined Brett Favre $50,000 on Wednesday, though it did not find the Vikings quarterback violated the league’s personal conduct policy.

The ruling ends the league’s investigation into allegations that Favre sent former Jets employee Jenn Sterger improper voice mails and several graphic pictures.

The NFL’s statement said the sole focus of the investigation was on whether Favre violated league policies regarding conduct in the workplace, which generally do not extend to private conduct or personal relationships.

But the league was not able to substantiate that Favre violated those rules, given the available information.

“On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct,” the statement said. “The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger.”

The statement said the NFL interviewed knowledgeable people — including Favre and Sterger — analyzed public reports, and reviewed available communications between Favre and Sterger as part of its investigation, which began in October. The league also employed an independent forensic analysis of electronically stored material.

However, because the actions occurred in 2008, when Favre played for the Jets, the league said the unavailability of some records and individuals limited the investigation.

Goodell did find that Favre did not cooperate in “a forthcoming manner,” resulting in a longer investigation and the $50,000 fine. The NFL’s statement said Goodell told Favre he would have imposed a “substantially” higher level of punishment if he found a violation of the league’s policies.

The league said it reviewed another media report about allegations involving other women working at the Jets’ facility in 2008, but could not substantiate any claim about Favre’s conduct because people who might have had relevant information did not cooperate.

Goodell reiterated the league’s stance on conduct in the workplace in a memo to teams on Wednesday, saying that Favre’s fine will help fund the league’s new training program.

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Clearly the ruse under which which Favre led this organization from team owner Zygi Wilf to the coaching staff on down and to many of his teammates was simply more to do with the money than him simply wanting to play football. He may well have wanted to play and win as he says but consider this ………. how has that situation now turned out ? Brad Childress the team’s former coach showed no backbone when dealing with Favre and many of the players who through much of the season questioned his authority . But then again once you hitch your wagon to a broken down old mule what else would you come to expect ?

With Childress’ firing , Leslie Frazier has become the interim head coach , a job I feel won’t be his for long given the prospective list of candidates who may well be interested once the season has ended. And inasmuch as Frazier insists that Favre will suit up for the final game of the season I can’t help but wonder how Joe Webb must now be feeling having engineered the team’s victory (24-14) over the high flying Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16 . Ah well Joe, welcome to big time where your dreams can be dashed in the blink of an eye especially in the case where everyone still seems to be kissing Brett Favre’s ass !

Vince Young may not yet have outlived his welcome in Tennessee but he’s sure as hell driven a wedge between himself and his coach Jeff Fisher . With his petulant behavior of simply calling out his coach and then leaving the stadium abruptly after a recent league game smacks sheer stupidity on his part and shows that he simply doesn’t have the mindset do what’s necessary in the interest of his team or teammates . As things now stand either Young goes or Fisher goes . The player’s so called apology for to his coach for his actions wasn’t done personally , instead Young sent a text message to Fisher in his less than tactful act of contrition. If Titans’ owner Ken ‘Bud’ Adams is as dumb as I believe him to be then his apparent fixation on Vince Young instinctively leads me to think that Fisher will be the one who’ll either be shown the door or he may well indeed resign from his position as coach of this team. Not only are the lunatics running this asylum but I do believe that Adams and Young now share the same straight jacket !

The Tennessee Titans’ season has been overwhelmingly disappointing and it’s pretty safe to say that a player such as Chris Johnson can’t be entirely happy with this situation. There are litany of problems on this team and it all starts with the fact that there’s no leadership on or off the field of play. Obviously Young can’t step forward as he’s simply not bright enough nor does he show that he’s mature enough. One good season in his tenure with the Titans simply proved that while there was a great deal of promise those jaw dropping moments in that BCS National Championship game for the Texas Longhorns against USC was simply nothing but a mere aberration. Truly what has Young really done to suggest that he can actually be the face of this franchise and actually lead them to the Superbowl ? Is there anyone out there with a simple answer to this question ? Or better yet does someone have <a href=”http://espn.go.com/melkiper/s/kiperbio.html&#8221; Mel Kiper’s number on speed dial ?

And while this Titans’ vessel runs adrift in this ocean of mediocrity what now become of Randy Moss ? Good God , how can someone literally waltz themselves off a playoff contender such as the New England Patriots , make their way to the Minnesota Vikings and within the mere blink of an eye for all sense and purpose where he’s now with a third team ___ has become a much maligned and is now thought of as nothing more than a festering cesspool of ongoing turmoil. Three NFL teams in one season and Moss’ productivity therein has been about as significant as that of a legislative session that’s held in the partisan cloisters of Congress . Neither of these two entities are doing enough to give anyone hope that there are better days ahead , as Moss can’t seem to do anything right at the moment for the Titans .and the members of Congress merely gesticulate while achieving nothing of great concern. If there was a time for the NFL postseason to start then that time would be now !

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Picture gallery for your perusal by clicking on individual frame you can view that
picture in its original formatted size.

What thoughts if any do have on the issues raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………


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Summer Walker
Eye candy for the patrons . Summer Walker a season worth waiting for don’t you think ?

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