The Determining Factor ……………………..

The Determining Factor

It’s crazy but with the end of the NFL Draft and we already have the analysts and draft geeks assessing which team actually had the best draft class from this most recent endeavor . Now don’t get me wrong but the draft has its merits but in reality until those players actually have played down in a regular season game within the NFL we will never truly know what these players are or will be actually capable of. Can’t miss players are merely speculation and conjecture . And now where a first round draft pick especially one that is picked in the upper echelons of the first round, the financial cost and commitment for a player to a team can be well into tens of millions of dollars over the course of an initial contract. Do you think that the Oakland Raiders regret making that initial $ 65 million commitment to JaMarcus Russell right about now ? One simply has to look to their front office of the Raiders to see the cause of their demise . To put it more succinctly Al Davis no longer knows how to assess talent in spite of the continued idiocy that’s misplaced by an overbearing oaf such as radio personality and employee of the organization the nationally syndicated sports talk radio host J T The Brick . Here’s a guy who when it comes to showing any form of impartiality to an issue concerning the Raiders , well let’s just say he’d make a Klan member feel proud !


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Slide show for your perusal .

In reality success has been fleeting for the Raiders over the last decade and half and that is in spite of the organization’s rich history within the NFL . But as with a number of teams and in particular with each generation of fans it’s not merely about those by gone years but what you have you done for me lately by way of success ? And to my mind the determining factor and in relation to the success that any organization wishes to attain be it within MLB , NBA , NBA , or the NFL itself .. It is predicated upon the front office of each organization ,from the ownership on down to the executives and coaching staff. Consider this , think of the most successful franchises within each of the four major sports and what has each got in common apart from winning ? It is the fact that each has had an owner who has remained consistent with what works for it as an entity . The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils within the NHL , the Pittsburgh Steelers , New York Yankees , the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have simply stuck to that tried and tested method of having sound fiscal policies , as well as competent coaches and executives within their respective organizations.

During the NBA Playoffs without a doubt the most disappointing display to my mind was that of the Orlando Magic and their lopsided 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks . Anyone who was witness to the sheer ineptitude of the Magic’s performances throughout this series would realize that without Dwight Howard this team simply isn’t worth a damn . What might be even more perplexing was the sheer idiocy and the belief shown by GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy that the mid-season trades made would in fact improve the team . If anything the team simply became even more inconsistent , lackluster and completely devoid of creativity on either end of the floor . Not only that but they were simply those who labored under the fact Dwight Howard because of his stats made a viable MVP candidate while his teammates simply were mediocre .

Anyone who actually has an ounce of common sense would know from the very fact that the vast majority of the winners of the league’s regular season trophy to the individual recipient has in fact made those around him considerably better as their respective teams statistically have shown signs progress during that season. Case in point , was this season’s runaway winner of the league MVP trophy , Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and the 21 game turnaround engineered by Tom Thibodeau from last season to this where the team became a 62 game winner and the top seed within the Eastern Conference never mind the fact that they’ve now made the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they face the Atlanta Hawks who as I explained earlier dethroned the Magic with effortless ease.

The Orlando Magic and its front office in conjunction with Otis Smith I feel were capricious. Smith and Bob Vander Weide team President & CEO made a gamble that simply didn’t pay off . Not only that but in acquiring Jason Richardson , Hedo Turoglu and Gilbert Arenas the organization is financially on the hook for $65 million in salary for the players in question over the remaining years of those contracts. Call me naive but the productivity by the players during the regular season as well as the postseason has been minuscule and not deserving of the Magic’s fans undoubted expectations. And with this loss the Magic and its management have a great deal of contemplating to do as it regards the moves that need to be made in order to make this team better. Dwight Howard whose contract expires at the end of 2012 can actually opt out of the contract prior to its culmination rather than seeking to start the whole negotiation process. Clearly Van Gundy and Otis Smith will have to be very persuasive in convincing Howard that he ought to remain with the organization. And at this juncture that scenario isn’t as clear cut as some would believe or would like it to be.

In baseball we have all seen the idiocy of the team owners there and their ostentatious spending. Is it any wonder Los Angeles Dodgers and in particular the New York Mets are in a mess financially with regard to their own existence and financial viability ? Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt seems to be under the misapprehension that he will be successful regaining control of the team he bought in 2003 from the local > News Corp through their wholly owned Fox Inc subsidiary. Since then, even though the team has averaged 3 million attendees per season the organization has struggled to remain financially a viable concern . Now with collateralized and none- subordinated debt in excess of $ 1.2 billion McCourt feels that the team and organization still remains a viable concern. He must feel that the his creditors will continue remain lukewarm to his overtures should they feel that he’s having problems paying down that debt. In this sort of economic climate there tends not to that type willingness from many of the nation’s major financiers and their respective institutions. And even with the league hierarchy having assumed control of the Dodgers I would like to think that Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation as it now unfolds with Mets , in particular with co-owners —- Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon !

Success for both the Dodgers and Mets seems to have been fleeting over the past decade and it remains to be seen whether or not their aspirations remains the same and that is to win a World Series title . And as ambitious as those front offices appears to be it seems that they have lost sight of their ultimate goal . Much of that malaise has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of McCourt and his executives within the organization . Ned Colletti may well be enjoying the prestige of running the personnel side of the organization but he too like McCourt may well have lost site of the organization’s goals. It certainly most telling that when questioned by the press as to who now controls the Dodgers and its day to day running Colletti’s response was one that seems to be an individual who just doesn’t care either way . If that is indicative of how this organization is being ran then it shows that they’re completing deserving of their fate.

The New York Mets face a civil suit that at present is being determined through a mediator appointed by the US Federal Courts and at the heart of it all appears to be whether or not the organization knowlingly gain financially from the monies received as profits from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of which several thousands of investors were defrauded of $59 billion. Irving Picard the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in this suit has filed a motion seeking to recoup some $750 million from both Katz, Wilpon their Sterling Equities as well as the New York Mets. The lead defendants Katz and Wilpon deny any wrongdoing on their part but have stated that they are victims of the fraud perpetrated by Madoff and his associates. However , it has been the Mets unwillingness to open their books up for public scrutiny that casts a doubt upon the veracity of the argument now being put forth by the Mets as the defendants and in particular by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon . A federal subpoena has a way of making the truth be known in the end and hopefully several of those will be put to use in the course of this case. And inasmuch the Mets once again are having a mediocre season one can’t help but feel that through the connivance and mismanagement from the executives and managerial level over the past few years that this organization is thoroughly deserving of its present predicament.

I’ve long maintained that the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns as teams within the NFL clearly have some way to go before they can be thought of as serious contenders within the league and as a legitimate team to win the Superbowl . Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and team coach Marvin Lewis are now having to deal with Carson Palmer’s petulant behavior and his wanting to be traded to a contender . If this is what is indicative of what was now being produced by USC as to quarterbacks from the Pete Carroll era then clearly there are some questions that really do need to be asked . I think that things are now likely to get a great deal murkier with the team’s drafting of Andy Dalton as the de-facto successor to Palmer as his reign is about to come to an abrupt end with the Bengals . From AFC North champions in 2009 to a team with a lackluster 6-10 record last season .

The Browns for their part have been in more of a tailspin having dumped Romeo Crennel and hired Eric Mangini only too see the team fail miserably under Mangini’s tenure . And given Mangini’s coaching record in the NFL I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was Mike Holmgren thinking as the team’s President ? Last season this team competed gallantly but in large part they faced an uphill battle trying to usurp the dominance of both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers within their division (AFC North ). Now with Pat Shurmur as the team’s head coach and there being a revamped assistant coaching staff it remains to be seen what this upcoming season may well have in store for the Browns. The team had a breakout star in Peyton Hillis and as always the dependable Josh Cribbs was at his very best and it would appear that team now has a quarterback in Colt McCoy who can actually commands the respect of his teammates.

In stark contrast to the teams that have been consistent and have attained success, much of that can be put down to the fact that apart from making the right personnel decisions . It has been the continuity not only from within their coaching regime but primarily through the fact that at the executive levels as with regards to the general manager that is in place , there has been little , if any , real turnover in that staff. It’s not always been about the coaches because that in essence comes down to the coach’s resume’ and his ability to communicate with the players and if anything above all with his general manager. Simply look at the success attained by the Steelers and New England Patriots over the years and the one constant there has been the ownership , the fact that the general managers there have been tenured with those respective organizations for a number of years and the actual willingness of the owner to defer to subordinates within the organization. And even though Scott Pioli has since left the Patriots to assume a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs we’ve seen that even there also once Pioli was allowed to show his acumen in assessing talent the team has progressed showing a marked display last season in winning the AFC West (10-6) and making the playoffs where they would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens —- 30-7 in the wildcard round. And for head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff though the loss had been been a tremendous disappointment , it also points to the fact that the organization has to be now heading in the right direction after so many barren years in the wilderness .

The Patriots for their part having seen their postseason woes continue with their lackluster performance in losing to their divisional rivals the New York Jets —- 28-21 in a game that pretty much summed up the team’s season. In light of that however they’ve gone about things in their usual business like manner garnering picks for future drafts and at the same time picking up the usual talent they’ve been accustomed to down the years . Much of that by design as Bill Belichick has worked in conjunction with Floyd Reese the team’s senior consultant charged with the task of dealing with personnel matters for the team.

We may well feel that in large part that success is actually achieved on the field of play because of the performances of the players. But it does essentially start with the eager willingness of the owners and their front office executives actually having the right staff in place being able assess the talent that is there to be had and as necessary spend prudently in order to get the best possible player available . How often have we seen a situation where in fact a team that simply looks good on paper just tends to implode because of the undue pressure and the very fact that the coach simply hasn’t done their job adequately ? At times we can blame the players for their lackluster performances but doesn’t that also have something to do with the coach not being able to get his point across as to what needs to be done at a given moment ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

In coming to this conclusion I do firmly believe that any professional sports organization has to have all integral parts on the same page working in cohesion . If that isn’t evident within an organization then by the very evidence we tend to see the vast majority of the time that team does tend fail in its endeavors. We’ve seen it this postseason within the NBA , NHL , also within the NFL and MLB as well . What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that I may well have missed some pertinent factor that should have been included ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………….

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (L) looks on as Raiders owner Al Davis (R) speaks to reporters after introducing Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(2) JaMarcus Russell (2) of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images ……

(3) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic questions a call by the official during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia . Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) In this photo taken on April 14, 2010, from left, Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide, chief operating officer Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith chat prior to an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla. Smith, by his own admission, is a risk-taker. He’s the general manager who traded three starters from an NBA finals team, moves that either will show Smith’s brilliance or become a symbol of a gamble gone wrong for the Magic in the playoffs. AP Photo/John Raoux …….

(5) Andre Ethier (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings and loses his bat in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-1 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(6) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……..

(8) Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren watches from the back of the room as first-round draft pick Phillip Taylor holds a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, right, presents a jersey to first round-draft pick Phillip Taylor during an NFL football news confernce at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. The Browns took the Baylor defensive tackle with the 21st overall pick Thursday night. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(10) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2009, file photo : Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, left, talks with general manager Scott Pioli before a news conference announcing Haley’s hiring in Kansas City, Mo. Pioli and Haley are deservedly drawing praise for taking the Chiefs from 10 wins in three years to 10 wins in 16 weeks. But they don’t deny they were blessed with a core of solidly talented young players when they got to Kansas City after a 2-14 2008 season. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……


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Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

18 thoughts on “The Determining Factor ……………………..”

  1. Yeah, without Dwight, the Magic would be garbage. They are too reliant on their outside game. Hedo’s game has dropped significantly since he helped guide them to the finals. He’s been a huge disappointment. I hope the Hawks steal another one from the Bulls. People tend to forget, they’ve had that same team for quite some time now. Yeah, they usually get swept in the 2nd round, but perhaps the experience is finally paying off. Crawford’s going to have to average 20 plus off the bench in order for them to pull this off.

    NFL Draft wise, it’s good to see Baron Batch (one of my favorite Texas Tech football players of all time) get drafted in the 7th round by the Steelers. He’s not my favorite because of his performance on the field, but what he does off the field.

    Also, LMFAO for the Vikes reaching sooooo far to get Ponder.


    1. jgome

      To put it more succinctly the Vikings’ front office have been clueless for years. They lucked out with Adrian Peterson and Harvin but beyond that they’ve surrounded those guys with utter garbage . Favre didn’t cut it and neither will Ponder ! He couldn’t find his penis even if he were given the assist of a flashlight were he in a room filled with incandescent light . He’s overrated and will become another reason simply not to watch that team play !

      Do I masturbate in the shower ? Only if coach Fisher is watching me ! Christian Ponder

      Ponder wasn’t even the best qb in the ACC last season by any stretch of the imagination . Fisher and the rest of the ‘noles’ coaching staff merely hyped him up and the assholes from the Vikes’ coaching staff bought into the bull_hit !

      I say Jimbo that Ponder is a well hung young man ! That’s the sort of young man I’d like to see layin’ the wood to my daughter and grand-daughter ! Bobby Bowden. Coach I couldn’t agree with you more as I’d like to spoon Christian !

      tophatal …………….


    2. jgome

      Hopefully character wise Baron Batch will prove to be an asset with the Steelers . I’ve not seen him play but I hear he has his moments but his problem has been consistency apart from the problematic injuries .

      Is there a doctor in the house ?

      tophatal ………………………..


    3. jgome

      The Magic have been an utter mess they’re Eastern Conference’s answer to the Clippers when Elgin Baylor was that organization’s GM . Otis Smith and Van Gundy are an utter joke and they now have no credibility whatsoever after this unmitigated disaster !

      Who puts a boatload of crap on a meal that already has caviar on the plate ? Only a duo of idiots as that’s the best way I can sum up the trades that they made in order they say to make the team better . Instead this team couldn’t find or beat their way out of wet paper bag !

      tophatal …………………


  2. There are many things that go into the building of a successful franchise, but I wouldn’t discount the fact that luck and injuries (or lack thereof) have an impact on the degree of success that a team has.


    1. aero

      But first and foremost that’s why a team has depth to its roster and the initial aspect of it all is to have the right coach and executives in place before you make the statement you have made.

      Yzerman and Boucher of the Lightning

      Would you say that the Lightning’s success this season has been down to the players or down to what Jeff Vinik as owner and Steve Yzerman has done as the team’s GM ? Because were it not for Yzerman I doubt that the Lightning would have had the success it has attained this season ! Both you , I and the fans simply know that and there’s no denying that at all !

      Jeff Vinik Lightning owner

      Granted Guy Boucher and his coaching staff have played their part but were it not for the owner showing the foresight to hire Yzerman none of this would have happened at all .

      tophatal …………..


    2. aero

      In large all teams that’ve won major trophies usually have had a great deal of depth to their rosters . If they didn’t they would not have ended up winning the trophies in question.

      Would you not agree on that premise ?

      tophatal ……….


  3. I agree completely. Sometimes you can make your own luck and I think roster depth goes a long way towards that end. As far as the Lightning are concerned, the commitment to winning from the owner on down is something the fans of Tampa Bay greatly appreciate.


    1. aero

      I hear that if the Bolts win the Stanley Cup then Chris’ll ( give every woman under the age of 80 a lap dance at Mons Venus . Those eighty and above he’ll take home and make sweet love to ’em . Fancy that who knew he could be so passionate ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

      Ladies look at me and now look at him ? Now back at me and then at him ? Who’d you seriously prefer ?

      I’m the Old Spice guy ……. bitch !

      tophatal ………..


  4. Why do the raiders have to be your lead in!?!

    Anyways, the Magic are a mess, and I think the only way to fix them is for them to trade Dwight and tie in some of those ugly contracts they have sitting there. Saying to teams if you take Dwight you have to take some crap too.

    Is it just me or does it seem somewhat hypocritical that the MLB hasn’t stepped in for the Mets? I guess they are going a little more by the book than McCourt did, but still!


    1. chappy

      I’m not disparaging the Raiders but let’s face it they’ve been the gauge against which most teams have to be adjudged when it comes to real inconsistency over the last decade .

      If the Magic trade Dwight then look for the organization to take more than a step back . The new Amway Center cost over $500 million to build using taxpayers’ money and I doubt that the city of Orlando and Orange County government can ill afford to have that venue not pay for itself . Smith , Van Gundy and Vander Weide are friggin’ as_holes when it comes to their business and NBA acumen .

      Smith’s predecessors as GM of the Magic John Weisbrod and John Gabriel have been complete stiffs . Gabriel may well have obtained Shaq and Lil’ Penny but once those two left the Magic simply resorted to being mediocre . Weisbrod comes in and he couldn’t pick his nose much less crap out of his own ass much less NBA talent . And it’s the same with Otis Smith .

      Frank McCourt is a f_cking idiot ! It’s now being reported that not only did they not have the money to pay salaries for the month of April but they’re now hard pressed to meet this month’s payroll as well. And that’s in light of his recent interview with ESPN’s Kelly Naqi in which he intimated that the organization was financially sound .

      The league hierarchy won’t intervene at present because there’s now a pending civil litigation going on within the Federal Court system . Not until that matter is resolved will the league intervene . However league spokesman Rob Manfred has stated that the commissioner is closely monitoring the situation , well that’s akin to saying Stevie Wonder is watching porn . Bud Selig is a mindless buffoon because he’s allowed McCourt to ruin this organization knowing full well that he’s repeatedly broken league rules . Now he’s trying to make himself and the league hierarchy look like the good guys !

      Does anyone seem to remember that both the Cubs and Rangers went into bankruptcy before they were eventually sold ? How the hell was it then that he simply didn’t intervene there when things were run amok by then owners Sam Zell (Cubs) and Tom Hicks ?

      tophatal …………….


  5. Ahhh…..What it all boils down to is that everything is just a crap shoot, just like life. Shit happens; injuries, arrests, failure to understand the playbook, etc. Even training camps do not tell the whole story.


    1. al clements

      But even you would have to admit that it starts with the executives in place who make choice as to which coach hire and their respective staffs. But also with regard to the roster one has also has to say if there’s no depth there than the organization is unlikely to be successful.

      You know that’s the mantra that has worked for the Steelers under the Rooney’s their front office executives , coaches and the players .

      I’ve no doubt that Tomlin as a coach consults with his staff and in particular GM Kevin Colbert as to the team’s prerequisite needs when it comes to the roster. Look at their success over the years in the NFL Draft ? That’s not luck or through sheer stupidity but knowing how to assess real talent !

      Steelers’ draft picks first rounders since ’03

      2010 Markice Pouncey
      2009 Mike Wallace
      2008 Rashard Mendenhall & Limas Sweed
      2007 Lawrence Timmons & LaMarr Woodley
      2006 Santonio Holmes & Willie Colon
      2005 Heath Miller
      2004 Ben Roethlisberger
      2003 Troy Polamalu

      You tell me what other organization in the NFL has been that successful in terms of their first round draft picks ?

      Need I say anymore on the matter ?

      tophatal ……………….


  6. Chris Humpherys

    Bear in mind that the Ol’ Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa is now nailin’ comedienne Kathy Griffin I think you might’ve ended up with the short end of that deal ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Now as every white girl knows once you go black you never go back . Kathy has come over to the dark side get some meat to go alongside her vegetables , if you know what I mean ?

    tophatal ………


    1. Bobby Gee

      And that’s part of my point that’s why I preface the piece in saying that in all major sports especially in team endeavors it boils down to having the right coaches but above all executives and owners. Without those in place no professional sports franchise can have success.

      The Lakers are a team that has regressed and that’s in large part because they’ve become too complacent , lazy and believing in their own hype !

      tophatal …………………


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