Package It , Sell It , And Someone Is Bound To Buy It ………

Package It , Sell It , And Someone Is Bound To Buy It ………

By tophatal …….

So as a precursor to the NFL’s big postseason ——- extravaganza (Superbowl 46 [SBXLVI])…. the NFL Pro Bowl that pitted the AFC against the NFC in a game that now simply defies all logic ! . The idiocy of the event has become meaningless and nonsensical for the fact that the players involved simply are not participating in an event that is meant to be remotely competitive . Essentially it becomes a game merely for the fans to see some of their heroes and not much beyond that ! At what point will the NFL actually realize that the fans really want to see a match-up that actually is something of substance rather than a damn circus ! Clearly Goodell and the owners simply see the Pro Bowl as another money making exercise that benefits the league and not much else . I seriously doubt that the economic impact for the state of Hawaii and in particular for the island of Honolulu is all that great to be begin with !

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Anyone who witnessed the mess on display in Honolulu , Hawaii, in thinking that this was something of merit . Then they really need to take a look at the facade that is in place and being sold by Commissioner Roger Goodell as he seeks global dominance and a presence for the NFL brand. In CBS’ news magazine program “60 Minutes” host Steve Kroft gave us a behind the scenes look at the NFL commissioner who as the league’s highest ranking executive oversees a $10 billion a year industry at the behest of the league’s 32 owners . Franchisees such as Steve Biscotti and Robert Kraft simply lauded Goodell and his efforts since assuming control as the commissioner from his predecessor Paul Tagliabue in 2007.

The commissioner who recently signed a seven year contract extension that expires in 2019 , will now oversee the league under his authoritarian and autocratic rule . Goodell is generously compensated to the tune of $10 million a year and given that the league hierarchy during their league mandated lockout were in essence trying to abate the demands of the NFLPA (union) , specifically that of the union’s Executive Committee led by DeMaurice Smith , executive director of the NFLPA. I find it somewhat asinine that Goodell saw fit to avoid the questions concerning the NFL profiting from the largesse of the municipalities where there are franchises domiciled with the very fact that so many of the NFL teams in terms of the stadiums where they play are in fact government-funded .

Personally when it comes to such issues where you have billionaire franchise owners who parade their teams as being community based and a major contributor to the economies of the cities may well great for those communities in large part . But herein lies my question to this all , when is it appropriate for these owners to believe that is in the residents’ best interests to be funding multi-billion dollar venues that in large in terms of their tax burden but at the same these very owners will seek to blackmail city official in order to get their own way. Steve Kroft for his part , simply didn’t delve deep enough into this sole issue instead as host the conversation was about the NFL market place and the very fact that now appears to labor peace with the league having set aside $1 billion to aid in the health issues of retired veterans and the research into blunt force head trauma and concussions. Something that in spite of years of evidence the league sought to ignore until it became a ‘ tour-de-force’ in the public eye in terms of a nationwide debate and there being multiple such injuries being suffered by noted players in the NFL.

At the end of the day though in part informative , it was in essence a “powder puff” piece that sought to show a softer but also sterner side to the NFL commissioner . Granted, the only owners on hand during the segue were two of Goodell’s biggest supporters , who were if anything his greatest benefactors in throwing their lot behind the executive when he sought to succeed Paul Tagliabue . <a href=”http://www.baltimoreravens.com/team/People/Staff/Executive/Steve_Bisciotti.aspx”&gt; Steve Bisciotti and Robert Kraft , given their league wide influence also just happen to be two of the wealthiest , though not the wealthiest owners in the NFL ___ the duo have a combined net worth that exceeds $4.5 billion . As owners of the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots respectively both of these men have seen the values of their franchises increase exponentially over the last . Even more so these values have increased higher than the rate of inflation . And that is in spite of a downturn in th economy that began during the turmoil of 2008 and which shows no apparent signs of abating .

Overall this somewhat trite expose` on the commissioner didn’t as such raise the profile of the man but simply gave us insight of what he views as such , is needed to make the NFL sporting behemoth that it has become . Something of which I for one believe that the hierarchies of MLB , NBA and NHL whose commissioner Gary Bettman has shown a propensity to shoot himself in the foot more often than not , thereby hurting the image of the league he presides over .

In large part, the NFL has been lucky enough this season where there have chapters to it all , that has brought a great deal of drama with some yet unfinished business to be dealt with . What else could the commissioner and the league hierarchy ask for than a a reprise of Superbowl 42 (SBXLII) which will once again has the New England Patriots facing off against the New York Giants this Sunday in Superbowl 46 (SBXLVI) . With a national television audience set to exceed 150 million viewers and 1.3 billion across the globe this event has the makings of the sort of extravaganza that not even a renowned Hollywood script writer could have dreamed up .

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There’s no denying that the NFL brand has become a financial behemoth that nets the league untold profits , albeit that as a private concern rather than a public corporation we are not privy to their actual finances and the profits garnered . But herein lies this whole facade rarely does an NFL franchise make the capital outlay for any of the venues in which their games are actually hosted . Do you as such feel that is to the detriment or the benefit of the cities in which the NFL teams are based ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and any else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is seen here alongside 60 Minutes’ presenter Steve Kroft along the sidelines at M&T Stadium in Baltimore Maryland prior to Baltimore Ravens game against the Houston Texans . . Courtesy of CBS News ………

(2) Goodell is seen here with Steve Kroft at the NFL headquarters in New York simply having a some fun during the interview. Courtesy pf CBS News ….

(3) Steve Bisciotti , the multi-billionaire owner of the Baltimore Ravens sits back while enjoying the comforts of a cigar . AFP/Getty Images/ Stuart Janson . ..

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (C), NFL owners Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers (L) and Robert Kraft of the Patriots leave court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 15, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners when labor talks between the two broke down last month. Getty Images North America / Hannah Foslien ……

(5) Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers and Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints shake hands after the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 29, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Getty Images North America /Kent Nishimura ….

(6) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers passes against the AFC team during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 29, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The AFC would go on to defeat the NFC 59-41 in a high scoring and somewhat less than riveting game . Kent Nishimura / Getty Images North America ……

(7) Maurice Jones-Drew (32) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is stopped by the NFC defense during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 29, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images North America) …..

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Too Big To Fail Or Simply Too Stupid ….. ?

Too Big To Fail Or Simply Too Stupid ?

By tophatal ……….

I don’t know about you but the the political debates and the preamble of the GOP candidates seeking to the party’s nominee in the Presidential elections later on this year has become nauseating and tedious . Never mind the fact that the money being spent by the candidates would simply make you feel uneasy . But then again simply look at the perceived credentials of the aforementioned individuals ?

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I know that Spring Training is still some time away but . with the latest moves now being made by the teams as they ready themselves for the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues and their nuanced schedules. . Well, while this all happens , it would appear that the New York Mets and their ongoing debacle sees no apparent end in sight . It is asinine to think that Bud Selig and his office while stating that they’re closely monitoring their situation they have made no formal statement as to the organization’s predicament . The ball-club’s owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon are still at the helm of this once respected Major League Baseball …. franchise .

It would appear that with all of the financial difficulties that are said to have befell New York Mets with declining attendance for their games at Citi-Field a ballpark that is less than five years old and built at the cost of $775 million of public financing underwritten in large part by the city of New York which was guaranteed to be a monumental success by the city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg . Somehow , Bloomberg has been conspicuous in his absence , on speaking about the problems now facing the much beleaguered organization . Far be it for me to suggest but the problems that the New York Mets now appear to be facing is simply just one big cluster fuck with no apparent end in sight !

Baseball’s governing body now seems powerless to stop what now appears to be a downward spiral for this team. Having brought in former front office executives Sandy Alderson and JP Riccardi to steer the front office and deal with all personnel issues and the hiring of Terry Collins as the team’s manager . With the departure of Jose Reyes to the Miami Marlins via free agency it would appear that the fallout from that move has drawn the ire of Alderson and his immediate subordinate , J P Riccardi , with both executives berating the player for his lack of candor and honesty.

Jose Reyes for his part simply stated that the organization did not give him the impression that they wanted him as a lynch pin for a team that he simply led them in almost all of the major offensive categories that mattered most . Though it was felt that the player the player was shoo-in for the NL MVP in 2011 . Jose Reyes fell short in the voting, with the award being won by the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun . Now as we know the player is now the subject of what now appears to be a 50 game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy , albeit that the player has stated categorically that he did not knowingly take an illicit substance. At this juncture with all that Braun had going for him in terms of his image now is on the cusp of going down the drain. Can Braun recover from this and regain the form that made him one of the most productive players in the NL last season ? Well that remains to be seen but I’m of the opinion once you have fallen afoul of this league policy then all bets are off as it concerns your future ! And it is now becoming abundantly clear that Ryan Braun knows that apart from his image being tarnished he’s fighting an uphill battle trying to main that once pristine image never mind undermining his very own character .

Given the stark financial issues now facing the New York Mets and the very fact that Alderson and Riccardi will most certainly have to pare down the team’s …. payroll it does not come as a surprise to me at all that the front office might now be considering shopping their All Star team captain David Wright ! Rumors have been fomenting for the past couple of weeks , although there has been no formal statement coming from the player , his agent or from anyone within the Mets’ organization. If a fire sale is about to begin at this stage , one simply has to now wonder what the New York Mets’ fans might be making of this all. Wright along with his now departed former teammate were seen as the faces of this franchise with a view to the team looking to resurrect their fortunes this upcoming season after a rather horrendous 2011 sojourn. Out of the wildcard hunt and not even within a hair’s breath of even challenging within the NL East , Terry Collins and his assistant coaching staff simply had no answer in large part for the players’ mediocre season .

Courtesy of The New Jersey Star Ledger

Mets’ David Wright surrounded by trade rumors heading into 2012 season

By Andy McCullough , The Star-Ledger

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The crowd never parts for the man of the hour. Inside a ballroom bathed in red light, 20 minutes after going broke in his own charity poker tournament, Mets third baseman David Wright glad-handed a steady stream of well-wishers. One step to the left — a handshake and a smile. Two steps to the right — a hug, a camera click, a signature.

His status as a favorite son here, about 30 minutes from his hometown, remains assured. But his standing back in New York appears less certain as the 2012 season approaches. As part of their franchise overhaul, Wright’s employers are expected to shop him this summer. So either he plays out the final two seasons of his contract on a team with dwindling payroll and cratering expectations — Don Quixote in Flushing — or wears another team’s uniform for the first time.

“It is weird where it seems like yesterday we were winning the division by a crazy number of games and that I never heard myself in a trade rumor,” Wright said Friday before hosting his second-annual Vegas Night here to benefit the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. “And now, all of a sudden, it’s every day.”

Six weeks from beginning his ninth big-league season, Wright is steeling himself for the onslaught of trade innuendo. He does not welcome it. The bitter memories of 2011 allow for easy motivation as he embarks on a season in which he will be both a team leader and trade bait for general manager Sandy Alderson.

Earlier this week, Wright did a radio hit with his former teammate, Cliff Floyd. Wright remembers carrying Floyd’s bags as “his little personal assistant.” Now Floyd is retired, and Wright is in limbo.

“A lot of those guys that we had through those years — actually, all of those guys — are gone,” Wright said. “So now I have to be more of that guy that’s counted on day in and day out.”

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Should the New York Mets make the maneuver to shop Wright then there’s liable to be a number of teams interested in a Gold Glove winner known for his productivity and defense . Are there teams out there willing to take a chance and make the player a part of their future ambitions ? . Certainly the price asked by the Mets might not be a high price to pay but most definitely it would be one that would come at a premium with the organization seeking a number of promising young talent in exchange for David Wright , whom many well feel has yet to reach his peak . Amongst the third baseman in the league I am not. so sure that Wright is amongst the elite players at the position. But somehow the comparisons have been made with the likes of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez when in fact the Mets’ player has yet to accomplish anything as of yet in comparison with regard to the aforementioned players. .

How bad is the New York Mets’ situation ? Well given the fact that the organization was offering a willing participant a 5% stake in the baseball club for a staggering $15-$ 20 million which would allow that individual certain privileges afforded to major front office executives without having a saying in the day to day running of the baseball club. To put this politely , I’d rather take that $20 million and wipe my ass with it , rather than dump that sum into the cesspool now known as the New York Mets ! Furthermore , the fans of the Mets have to be anally retarded if they believe that this organization in its present state is anywhere close to be relevant as baseball team within the game, than have that sum invested in a team that hasn’t done anything as a competitive being in well over two decades ! .

If the woes of the Mets was magnified by anything it was from the mere fact that this team simply didn’t have a pitching staff that was capable of staying healthy. For much of last season Johan Santana was merely on the sidelines as this team pitched their way to mediocrity but even worse even in the aftermath of that Santana’s woes still couldn’t deflate what many are now coming to believe and that the former Cy Young winner is no longer worth that multi- million contract he signed with the New York Mets that he has simply failed to live up to . But then again which player on this current roster hasn’t been overpaid while simply under-achieving ? Your thoughts on the matter ?

While Sandy Alderson and J P Riccardi now feel that the team is up to the task of challenging within the NL East against the likes of the two time defending divisional champions the Philadelphia Phillies , alongside the Atlanta Braves , Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins . If anything in spite of the two executives’ beliefs that the team is capable of competing it is my belief that the Mets will have to rely on this current core of players but they will also be looking for contributions from some of the rising players within their minor league system who will no doubt be brought up by Terry Collins and his staff to be assessed on their productivity. over the course of the upcoming season .

If the New York Mets can be considered to be a ” monumental bust ” as they have proven to be in so many factors then it should come as no surprise that they will continued to be viewed as such , no matter whether or not the present ownership can extricate themselves from their financial morass . Much of that of is of their own making while baseball’s hierarchy has been also culpable in this mess by not strictly overseeing the running of this baseball team and allowing the egregious actions of Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon to continue unabated , never mind the actions of COO Jeff Wilpon . These actions while not yet bordering on grand larceny and fraud , were this a public company I would dare say that the US Justice Department would be to subpoena a number of these executives as seeking their testimony as to their actions and gross dereliction of duty and fiduciary trust. But this is baseball and sound business acumen and practices is not something that is being remotely practiced by any organization at present . Name one baseball franchise who to your mind has been a monumental success in terms of their business practice ? Other than perhaps the New York Yankees , Philadelphia Phillies and and now the Texas Rangers I’d dare you’d be hard pressed to find an organization that is acting with any sound practical business principle !

There is this continued idiocy amongst some fans who believe that there is parity within the game of baseball because in recent years there has been assortment of teams that have won the World Series ! That hasn’t been due to parity but simply the teams in question hitting a rich vein of form when it mattered most and having the financial wherewithal to parlay their success through acquiring players and playing what’s deemed to the market rate for the top priced commodities on the market . If parity were abound then certainly teams such as the Oakland A’s , Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates , Houston Astros , Toronto Blue Jays , Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals would be amongst the perennial contenders within their divisions and most notably their presence would be witnessed in the playoffs . Simply look at the postseason in recent history over the past fifteen years and let me know the last time any of the team mentioned play an active part baseball’s postseason extravaganza ?

I’ll say this for Los Angeles Dodgers and their soon to be former owner Frank McCourt ….. he does still possess a giant pair of brass balls ! Even in the midst of the team that he and the front office executives as well his ex wife Jamie McCourt have brought to its knees , having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US Federal Court . The now disgraced former owner is making the proclamation that the baseball team can and will be sold for in excess of $1.5 billion or for as much as $ 1.75 billion . With it being reported that Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban is said to be out of the running for as a possible suitor for the team that will be placed up for sale through a auctioning process, which will be overseen by federal bankruptcy court judge presiding over the proceedings which was vetted by capital investment advisory firm Blackstone Group who were hired by Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy to oversee the vetting process.

The NBA franchise owner , Mark Cuban had stated all along that he wasn’t prepared to pay for a franchise that is simply overvalued and at best is still beleaguered by a number of problems both on and off the field of play. The valuation itself of $1.5 billion would make the baseball team the second most valuable within the game behind the New York Yankees whose estimated value is in excess of $1.65 billion , never-mind that the fact that the Steinbrenner family controlled franchise is the most profitable of the league’s 30 baseball teams . A claim that certainly cannot be made by the soon to be former Los Angeles’ Dodgers’ owner. As a matter of fact , during McCourt’s seven year tenure as owner of the ball-club that they have yet to show an operating profit in spite of their legacy as one of sport’s most famed franchises. I was once told the real value for the Dodgers just happens to be the land that surrounds the Dodgers’ Ballpark . In this day and age with depressed markets for commercial real estate , the idiocy to maintain the myth that the Dodgers is simply worth its weight in gold is asinine !

Of the eight consortium’s that originally lodged their documentation for submittal in this vetting process which has now been cut to seven , it will be interesting to see whether not groups that have known personalities as part of the groups in question will ultimately be successful in their endeavor . Clearly , Magic Johnson and Joe Torre are intent on making their presence felt in the greater Los Angeles area . The duo are are part of separate bidding teams looking to be the prospective future owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Even with the proposed multi- year tv deal that will net the Dodgers’ organization a proposed $3 billion over the next two decades , something of which McCourt surely would have plundered for his own gain , rather than for the benefit of the ball-club, given the allegations made and then evidence provided that would suggest that he and his wife at the time simply used the ball-club as their own personal ATM. And at no time even in light of there being growing suspicion that there was wrongdoing not only by McCourt but also several high ranking front office executives were complicit in suborning the actions of Frank McCourt. While this was going on even with the widely circulated reports Bud Selig and his office simply overlooked this whole debacle until it was almost too late !

At the end of the day despite the outcry of the fans what I find truly despicable in this whole episode is the very fact that some very well respected baseball columnists have acted like paragons of virtue in their virtual none coverage of this whole episode . But then again no one at all should be surprised by this at all given their pomposity and near complete dismissal of the steroid era and the prolific use of illicit PED’s ____ until the story became a national news’ story being reported on by actual accredited investigative journalists. So to my mind, the likes of Buster Olney and Peter Gammons can continue bury their heads where the sun doesn’t shine , while simply being the buffoons they appear to be !

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In your opinion do you believe that the New York Mets as an organization and specifically its ownership have been negligent ? And what punishment do you feel would be fitting were it possible for the league hierarchy exact some form of mandate against the ball-club ? Do you feel that David Wright is still capable of contributing to a team seeking to be a contender should the Mets seek to trade the player ? And finally given the recent breaking news that Mark Cuban’s attempt at buying the Los Angeles Dodgers has come to an abrupt end do you feel that he was correct in his assessment that the team is overvalued given the fact that they are in the second largest ad market in the nation ? But also do bear in mind that the state of California and in particular the city of of Los Angeles is in a deep economic downturn which at present shows no signs of abating . By all means do take time to leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and anything else that you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2010 file photo, New York Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon , left, club president Saul Katz and Mets owner Fred Wilpon , right, listen to Sandy Alderson answer questions from the media after being introduced as the Mets’ new general manager during a news conference in New York. With spring training just weeks away, nobodyís working harder to prepare for the Metsí future than their lawyers. A March 2012 trial may decide how much the team owners’ investment in imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff’s disastrous fraudulent business will cost the club. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ….

(2) Third baseman David Wright #5 of the New York Mets fields a ground ball against the Florida Marlins during a spring training game at Tradition Field on February 26, 2009 in Port St Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Marlins 9-0 . Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images …

(3) Fred Wilpon, General Manager Sandy Alderson, New York Mets new manager Terry Collins, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz pose for pictures during a press conference at Citi Field on November 23, 2010 in New York, New York. Getty Images Noeth America /Chris McGrath …..

(4) Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt is seen here with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles , California. Having taken the organization on Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings and reorganization the now beleaguered owner hopes to sell the team for an inflated sum said to be in excess of $1.5 billion ……. ($1,500,000,00). A sum with which Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban believes to be an overvaluing the team which still has a number of issues to deal with beyond the financial stability of the organization . AFP / Daniel Boyd ….

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Oh Really ….. ?

Oh Really ?

By tophatal

Coming into the season I fully expected the Orlando Magic would be a team that would certainly be one of the main contenders within the Eastern Conference . But such has been the inconsistent play of the players and the very fact that it would appear that Dwight Howard’s days with this organization could very much remain numbered . In spite of the there being no movement of the player by way of a trade , it would appear that the front office led by CEO Alec Martins and GM Otis Smith could still seek to orchestrate a trade of the center .

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With that being said, it is hard to understand how this team could be playing without any passion and having lost three straight at an average of 23 points per game . Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy and his coaching staff have their work cut out for them if this roster is to succeed and make their way into the NBA’s postseason . Dwight Howard in large part is a one man army with there being little support coming from his surrounding cast . Hedo Turkoglu , Glen Davis , JJ Redick , . Brandon Bass and Jason Richardson have to step up their play if the team is to have any chance of making the postseason .

On Thursday night the Orlando Magic played host to the Boston Celtics but the game itself could be best described as a lopsided event with Doc Rivers’ ….. team prevailing in match-up that saw the Magic give a monstrous performance . And if Stan Van Gundy believes that his players’ next game gets any easier then they should consider the fact their next opponents the Indiana Pacers are themselves having a very credible season having posted a 12-7 in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference .

I have always maintained that while Dwight Howard is a phenomenal player but he will never fulfill his ambition of winning an NBA title with the Orlando Magic ! The team simply isn’t good enough and their coach Stan Van Gundy simply doesn’t possess the prerequisite skills as a coach to lead this or any other franchise within the NBA to a title . To my mind the NBA’s best center will have to leave this organization and resume his career elsewhere . And given the fact that a number of teams around the league are said to be interested in the services of Dwight Howard it remains to be seen what will transpire between now and the trade deadline comes into being . Rod Thorn , team President of the New Jersey Nets knows that if he is to retain Deron Williams then acquiring a player of Howard’s magnitude will have to be his first priority .

As to the ambitions of the Orlando Magic what has become all the more befuddling is that this organization, while appearing to eager to prove themselves amongst the elite teams within the NBA but it would appear that owner Rich De Vos and the senior executives of the franchise’s sole intent might just appear to be to cultivate a business template simply to make a profit rather than looking for on-court success .

For all of this talk about the New York Knicks now being once again relevant in the NBA the team’s style of play and the very fact that they’re amongst the worst defensive teams within the league . And it is something that Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff simply hasn’t addressed , in spite of the front office having acquired Tyson Chandler from defending NBA champions the Dallas Mavericks this off-season.

Team owner James Dolan knows that if the organization and in particular Madison Square Gardens , home to his NBA franchise is to have any type of resounding success then the on-field product has to be one that simply resonates with the fans . At 7-12 by all counts reflects the play of the team being five games under .500 reflects what this over-hyped organization is simply about . Amare` Stoudemire may well have joined the Knicks to further his career but to my mind he simply left the Phoenix Suns not just for the money but also because of the fact that he had to play “second fiddle” to veteran point guard Steve Nash .

Now , even with Carmelo Anthony alongside Stoudemire the primary assets to this team , it has been their offensive capabilities with these two prominent scorers that this team still remains a topic of conversation . It is becoming abundantly clear that D’Antoni knows that the team can only play to its strengths and that has to be their offense ,whereas , from a defensive aspect this simply isn’t a unit can play with that type of mindset . Even with such players as Landry Fields , Iman Shumpert , Tyson Chandler , Carmelo Anthony and Amare` Stoudemire , I do believe that as a cohesive unit they are a good regular season franchise but I have my doubts as to how capable they might be in the postseason . As good as the Knicks’ fans may well think that this team might be one can simply has to look at the their record to realize that this roster isn’t as good as advertized .

It’s funny but once the trade of Chris Paul from the New Orleans to the Los Angeles Clippers took shape the belief was that the shape of basketball within the city of Los Angeles was about to take change and head in a new direction . Clearly, some people have really short memories as it relates to the history of the Clippers and the mere fact that franchise hasn’t made the postseason much less had a winning season in almost two decades . Such has been the ineptitude of the franchise that even with a change in ownership under Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , one has to be patient and face the inevitability that it may well take a while before we see Vinny Del Negro’s players rise to the level of expectation and potential many believe that this team will simply have .

The growing partnership of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will augur well for the franchise and most notably for the front office of this organization . Gone are the days of former owner Donald Sterling and his henchman in arms former GM Elgin Baylor that the Clippers in their present guise are simply looking to up the ante in terms of their presence within the NBA .

If the Los Angeles Clippers are looking to gauge their progress then their most recent game against their neighbors the Los Angeles Lakers clearly shows that they are going in the right direction albeit , that the end result was a 96-91 loss for Del Negro’s players. Ryan Gomes , Randy Foye , Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups make up a great complement of a roster that at some point in the future will have their say within the NBA .

With the NBA season just past the quarter mark of its 66 game schedule of what has been a truncated schedule due to the league mandated stoppage that delayed the season’s regular start. At this point we now see the Los Angeles Clippers leading the Pacific Division within the Western Conference . There is a growing sense that although the Clippers’ star might be on the rise they are going to play second fiddle to the likes of the reigning champions the Dallas Mavericks , Oklahoma City Thunder , Memphis Grizzlies and quite possibly the always dangerous San Antonio Spurs . The Spurs at this point however , do seem to be no better a team than they were last year when we saw them parlay their season into becoming the one seen in the Western Conference only to fall in the first round of the playoffs to the Memphis Grizzlies .

This season during the San Antonio Spurs’ schedule they have struggled away from from home while being near invincible at their home venue. Gregg Popovich in knowing that he has lost Manu Ginobli for what appears to be an indeterminate period due to injury now knows that he has rely on Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to lead this team if they are to have any chance of succeeding this season .

Though Duncan is now playing in a diminished role for the team has to be more of a leader than ever before . With that in mind it would also be in Popovich’s best interest if he could see more of an effort from the likes of Thiago Splitter , Kawhi Leonard , Dejuan Blair , Danny Green , Matt Bonner and most notably from Richard Jefferson . The latter of whom I believe has never fulfilled his potential as a player in spite of his career with the New Jersey Nets when he was a prominent player during his tenure there and also be becoming an All Star . Since that time , his journey through the NBA, wherein , he has become something of a utility player for the Spurs , his contributions at best could described as being sporadic .

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As the NBA season undulates down its path it remains to be seen how the teams will progress over the course of their respective schedules . I simply look at the play of the teams over the season thus far and considering what I have seen , to put it mildly I’m not exactly impressed by what I have seen ! The NBA is said to be back with a bang but in all sincerity David Stern and the teams hierarchy have served up an irrefutable dud this season ! What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert , left, posts up against Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(2) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, left, and guard J.J. Redick sit on the bench during the final seconds of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. The Pacers won 106-85. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(3) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, left, looks on as head coach Stan Van Gundy, right, reacts late in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. The Pacers won 106-85 . AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack …..

(4) There’s a reason why D’Antoni hasn’t won ##it in the NBA ! He was never that good a coach to begin with ! New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni yells at a referee in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Houston. The Rockets won 97-84 . AP Photo/Pat Sullivan ………

(5) Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger (10) tries to block a shot from New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin (17) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Houston. The Rockets won 97-84 . AP Photo/Pat Sullivan ….

(6) New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire (1) and Houston Rockets’ Courtney Lee, right, fight for the ball in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Houston. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan …….

(7) San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) closes his eyes and listens to coach Gregg Popovich during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. The Mavericks won 101-100 in overtime . AP Photo/LM Otero ………

(8) San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) looks to shoot against Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood (33) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. The Mavericks won 101-100 in overtime. AP Photo/LM Otero ……..

(9) San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dribbles past Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) as Spurs center Tim Duncan watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. AP Photo/LM Otero …..
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Be Careful What You Wish For And Then Some

Be Careful What You Wish For And Then Some

By tophatal

Well it’s all down to this as Superbowl 46 ( SBXLVI) when the New York Giants once again steer down their 2008 foe the New England Patriots when they face each other at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indiana, Indianapolis .
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The two head coaches Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin are coaching disciples of 2012 inductee into the Hall of Fame , in , former Giants’ coach Bill Parcells . So right off the bat apart from the adversarial rivalry that exists between these two well respected coaches we have the very fact that they were at one time were both under the tutelage of Parcells. Now for me this is what is so intriguing about the NFL and in particular the coaching fraternity that apparently exists . Beyond that however , as we have seen this off-season the coaching carousel has been one that coaches have been hired and fired at a frenetic pace as teams now seek to place themselves on the part of success .

Between now and Sunday evening before the game kicks off (6.30 pm EST [ NBC Sports ]) there will be slew of interviews given by the players , coaches and in some cases celebrities in attendance as the convened press simply seek out a sound byte that they believe will be of significance to the awaiting world . Personally , I for one simply cannot wait for the game to come around , rather than having at times to listen to asinine and inane questions that will be asked by the journalists and some cases none journalists in attendance in Indianapolis ! Asides from the economic impact ( at a minimum of $500 million by a conservative estimate to northwards of $1.2 billion ) to the city and state this is a welcome boost for a city that has been besieged by a number of problems over the past five years. And that certainly is no different from any other major city across the nation at present .

Now as we know with the growing turmoil within the Indianapolis Colts organization and the very fact that team owner Jim Irsay now seems to be in a situation of his own making , while at the same time trying to avert attention away from the problem by seeking and putting out a joint statement from himself and Peyton Manning as to the apparent impasse is now at an end . For those of us who have been monitoring this situation the quarterback and owner have been at loggerheads as to apparent direction that this organization is said to be taking . Irsay and GM Ryan Grigson in the past two weeks have summarily fired former front office executives Bill and Chris Polian , along with head coach Jim Caldwell . With the Colts having hired Chuck Pagano the only unfinished business remains the immediate and long term future of their well respected quarterback . Manning is due $28 million that is a roster bonus but at the same time with the player’s health issue remains a concern for he , his agent Tom Condon and the Colts’ organization . While I believe that Peyton Manning should immediately retire for his own sake there is the thought that the player wants to prove his doubters wrong by simply returning to the game looking to further add to his legacy .

If this past NFL regular season proved anything , well to my mind it was that the hype over certain teams and the idiocy of the on an analysts remains live and well . A number of these aficionados threw their lot in behind the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles which to my mind was simply idiocy . On paper both of these teams may well have had the talent to go deep into the playoffs but as their records clearly showed and the very fact neither Tony Romo and Michael Vick lived up to the amped up expectations it was a matter of the blind leading and misleading the blind !

For Jerry Jones as the team owner of the Dallas Cowboys , this simply was another season of sheer ineptitude on the part of his team and the poor coaching ability of Jason Garrett . Another year of sub-par performances and Jones might need to rid himself of a number of players on this roster as well the entire coaching staff . Suffice to say , the stadium built at a cost of $1.5 billion ____ it and Jerry won’t be seeing a winning team anytime soon , especially one that he believes is capable of playing in the Superbowl !

In the case of the Philadelphia Eagles this off-season it was firmly my belief that team owner Jeffrey Lurie must have been under the preconception that his head coach Andy Reid had done a wonderful job in guiding this team to a 8-8 record in the NFC East. Meanwhile seeing divisional rivals the New York Giants parlay their season into a second Superbowl appearance in the last five years , at all the expense of the residents within the division. Somehow , Lurie along with members of the front office saw fit retain the services of the now often criticized and beleaguered head coach . GM Howie Reasman and team President Joe Banner must be either devoid of intelligence or perhaps they are still faintly under the impression that their long tenured head coach is deserving of another season ?

If Michael Vick is said to be the most dynamic quarterback talent playing in the NFL this past year and prior , then clearly something is awry if those who still believe that to be case haven’t witnessed the exploits of Cam Newton this past season ! The player led all rookies in all of the major categories that mattered most , and Newton has given his coach Ron Rivera and the coaching staff as well as the Carolina Panthers’ …. players something to believe in , that the promise of their 2011 season season is definitely a thing to build on .

I found it somewhat disingenuous to think that the Philadelphia Eagles sought to retain the head coach while he simply held no one amongst his staff or players accountable for their lousy season ! Instead , all that was offered up by Andy Reid were a series of rather idiotic anecdotal sound bytes while simply choosing not to hold himself or the team for that matter accountable ! Vick on the other hand having seen his profile rise to the point where he now joins a select group of players who are well rewarded in terms of their compensation as a quarterback that has now joined the $100 million club . And that in of-itself says nothing of the salary of the Eagles’ playing staff of over-hyped stars . Troubling as that might be , when you have players such as LeSean McCoy , Jeremy Maclin , Nnamdi Asomugha , Vince Young , Asanti Samuels and Vick all performing rather dubiously over the course of their season , with excuses being proffered up by Eagles’ supporters at a rather rapid fire rate as to the reasons why the team’s season was so anemic .

If Reid can be retained for having such a mediocre season given his coaching credentials and the very fact that he has taken this organization to the postseason repeatedly as well as a collection of NFC championship games and a Superbowl appearance. It begs the question if Reid can’t lead this team to the “Promised Land” then surely it is time to make a change , rather than the continued letdowns that the fans have now become use to ? Your thoughts if any on the matter ?

Now one could point to the injuries suffered by the Eagles over the course of their 2011 schedule as to one of the primary reasons why this team failed so miserably . But I would point out to the fact that the belief was that the roster perhaps had the best depth of any franchise within the NFL . And while that might have been the case on paper it certainly wasn’t the case on the field of play as borne out by their results .

In 2012 , if Andy Reid isn’t able to guide this team deep into the playoffs with at least an conference championship berth at least, then Jeffrey Luria and Joe Banner should rid themselves not only of the head coach but also the entire assistant coaching staff as well as players on this Eagles’ roster , who I consider to be nothing more than “dead weight” !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With there being so many issues at hand concerning the franchises mentioned within this piece what thoughts if any do you have concerning the ensuing situations now awaiting these NFL teams ? Do you also believe that it was a profound mistake made by the Philadelphia Eagles in retaining the services of Andy Reid ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady listens to a question during a news conference on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(2) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers questions during a news conference on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5. P Photo/Mark Humphrey ….

(3) New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft walks off the plane as the team arrives at the Indianapolis International Airport for NFL football’s Super Bowl XLVI Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

(4) In this Jan. 19, 2012, file photo, New York Giants’ Chris Canty (99), , Osi Umenyiora (72), Jason Pierre-Paul (90) and Justin Tuck share a laugh during NFL football practice, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(5) New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin speaks to reporters after NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants are scheduled to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …..

(6) FILE – In this Jan. 1, 2012, file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla. Shortly after introducing Chuck Pagano as Indianapolis’ new coach, team owner Jim Irsay responded to the comments Manning made earlier this week about the Colts by referring to the only four-time league MVP as a “politician.” AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ……..

(7) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 01: Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins and head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles speak after a game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …. …..

(8) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 01: Brian Orakpo (98) of the Washington Redskins sacks Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …..

(9) NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 1: Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers scrambles during the game against Cameron Jordan (94) of the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ….

(10) Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, center, stands for a photo with new assistant football coaches Bill Callahan , left, and Jerome Henderson after a media availability at the team’s headquarters in Irving, Texas, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. Callahan will serve as offensive coordinator/offensive line coach and Henderson will be the secondary coach. AP Photo/LM Otero …..
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Did I Do And Just Say That ….?

Did I Do And Just Say That ….?

By tophatal ………

Well with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having now filled their vacant coach’s position with their hiring of Greg Schiano it now remains to be seen whether or not the existing assistant coaching staff will be retained by the newly installed head coach. This rather long drawn morass came to a positive end when a formal acceptance was made by the Rutgers’ head coach accepted the organization’s offer. For GM Mark Dominik this long drawn out process has a successful resolution . My own thoughts on the matter, was that this was a long time coming and perhaps the best thing that could have for the Buccaneers. I found it so idiotic that the prevailing thought by Dominik and the owners was to dredge up a bunch of coaching retreads as a possible successor to Raheem Morris ! Unless I’m mistaken I wasn’t aware that Pep Boys was a chosen destination for an NFL franchise seeking to find a head football coach in this league ! But then again we are talking about the moribund Tampa Bay Buccaneers , whose fans are simply in large part devoid of intelligence and their mainstay in life is to simply to regale you with their proudest moment when the franchise won their lone Superbowl in 2003 (SBXXXVII [SB37]). That 48-26 victory by the Buccaneers over the Oakland Raiders became the symbol of the franchise’s success .

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Since then , it has been a whirlwind of highs and lows for this franchise. It makes you wonder what might be next around the corner the organization.

Indianapolis Colts’ .. owner …. Jim Irsay is now denouncing the team’s quarterback Peyton Manning by suggesting that the player should keeps his comments and thoughts to himself rather than making it public . Irsay and GM Keith Grigson’s handling of the most recent situations has the public and in particular Colts’ fans wondering what the hell must be going on within this organization. Jim Caldwell’s abrupt firing in light of the 2-14 season had by this team when in reality much of the failure seen was beyond the coach’s will to change it. Poor play and cotillerie of quarterbacks in Kerry Collins , Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky , who on their best days wouldn’t be good enough to sniff Manning’s jockstrap much less assist him in putting on his cleats but yet they were being asked to guide this organization through their regular season schedule. The levity of this whole situation could become a great deal graver when a decision has to be made as to whether or not Peyton Manning will be retained by the franchise as the player is due a $28 million roster bonus by the 8th March .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Colts owner wishes Manning kept comments in-house

By Michael Marot , AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—The NFL’s most watched offseason drama has turned stunningly ugly.

Two days after Peyton Manning complained about the dour atmosphere around the Colts’ complex, team owner Jim Irsay called his four-time league MVP a “politician” and said he didn’t appreciate Manning’s public campaign.

The comments upstaged the introduction of Irsay’s new coach, Chuck Pagano, and came six weeks before Irsay must decide whether to pay the still-recovering Manning a $28 million bonus. Manning missed the entire 2011 season after having his third neck surgery in September.

“I don’t think it’s in the best interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don’t,” Irsay told reporters following Pagano’s introduction. “The horseshoe always comes first, and I think one thing he’s always known, because he’s been around it so long, is that, you know, you keep it in the family. If you’ve got a problem you talk to each other, it’s not about campaigning or anything like that.”

Just a few hours after Irsay responded to questions from reporters, Manning tried to dial things back by telling The Indianapolis Star that he didn’t intend to create a public spat. Instead, Manning said he was speaking from the heart after watching so many of his friends lose their jobs.

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Jim Irsay has stated that the quarterback will be retained solely based on his health . In reality because of the financial implications of that possible payout and the belief that the Colts will make Andrew Luck the number one overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft . Rookie salary scale or not should the Stanford quarterback be taken his agent will expect his client to be well compensated by way of a generous contract that is comparable to to the quarterbacks taken in the most recent draft over the past two to three years . Certainly the expectations will be that Andrew Luck would expect to a contract that puts him on par with last year’s top pick Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers . Granted , based upon potential alone no one can really say whether not Luck will have a stupendous first season in comparison to Newton’s , where the Panthers’ quarterback set NFL rookie records in a number of areas . So much so that many of those statistics would rival some of the best produced not only in the NFC by many of his peers but also in the NFL as a whole . And those would be very tall orders indeed if Andrew Luck were able to match those feats .

Clearly there now seems to be some unresolved issues and tension between Peyton Manning and the Colts’ owner Jim Irsay and much of this may well have come down to the owner’s decision not only in the firing of head coach Jim Caldwell but also former front office executives Bill Polian and his son , Chris Polian , who between them jointly had over two decades of service within the Indianapolis Colts’ organization and architects of the organization’s prominence within the NFL over the past decade plus . It was the prudent decision by the Bill Polian , that saw Manning being drafted number one overall in the 1997 NFL Draft when many had question whether not Ryan Leaf would have been a far more prudent choice at the time. As we now know , Leaf would go on to be one of the ” biggest monumental busts ” in NFL history , while the Colts’ quarterback would go on to set many of the franchise’s records and be placed amongst some of the NFL’s most heralded feats for a quarterback in passing yardage and touchdowns thrown .

What may well lay ahead in terms of a decision to be made by Jim Irsay will set the tone and future for the Indianapolis Colts as an organization. Given , the team’s payroll and the complexities of possibly having to make that $28 million outlay as well as the resigning of free agents leaves Keith Grigson and Irsay a lot to deal with, apart from bringing on-board a highly sought after talent in Andrew Luck . With that all now comes what appears to be the growing tension between the Colts’ quarterback and the team owner. The thought of Peyton Manning either being cut or suiting up in another franchise uniform may well have seemed unthinkable prior to the start of this past season but it now looks as if it become a stark reality and most certainly one of the most stunning events to have taken place in the NFL since Joe Montana departed from the San Francisco 49ers to become a member of the Kansas City Chiefs .

Whatever comes out of the final decision made by the Indianapolis Colts will have reverberations around the NFL , most certainly amongst the teams quite possibly in need of a seasoned and experienced quarterback . None would meet the credentials than that of Peyton Manning , a bona-fide superstar in the NFL who has not only become the face of the Indianapolis Colts’ franchise but also one of the most recognized and most respected players in this league . Now there are doubters out there who say that Manning should retire , while others believe that he has at best , another two or three good years left in him. My thoughts on the matter ………. dependent upon his health , I see no reason why he cannot play for at least another two year or more but certainly no more than four at the most ! What are your feelings if any on the player’s immediate future ?

I have leveled a great deal of criticism at Roger Goodell over the years and will continue to do so , even in the advent of him succeeding Paul Tagliabue . It seems remarkably surprising that he would seek a contract extension and be granted that for a further two years , even after the dissent not only amongst the team owners , leading members of the league’s hierarchy in his handling of this past season’s labor dispute with the NFLPA (union) . . But here is my point to this latest disclosure why all the secrecy to this after what can be best described as one the biggest blunders and cases of misjudgment made by a leading member of the league . Goodell , obviously felt that he and the owners had the upper hand in these labor negotiations and went with guns a-blazing with demands from the union asking for concessions that clearly DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee were unwilling to acquiesce to but somehow Goodell is now rewarded with a seven year contract extension for a job that is thought to have been well done by the league’s hierarchy . We’re told that this new collective bargaining agreement guarantees the NFL a decade long continued peace and just about as much accord as anyone could expect between two sides who battled to get their way .

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times & Associated Press

NFL REPORT

NFL commissioner receives contract extension

Roger Goodell, who helped steer the league through one of its most contentious periods, is rewarded with a seven-year extension.

Now that the NFL has labor peace for the next decade, Commissioner Roger Goodell has job security through the 2018 season.

Not only did Goodell get through one of the league’s most contentious and troubling periods — a 4 1/2 -month lockout of the players — but he oversaw a highly successful season once a 10-year collective bargaining agreement was reached. On Wednesday, he reaped some rewards himself with a contract extension through March 2019.

“It is the only place I have ever wanted to work,” Goodell said after the league’s compensation committee approved the extension.

The 52-year-old Goodell took over for Paul Tagliabue in 2006. His original five-year contract was extended in 2009. He earned about $10 million, including bonuses, under that contract. During the lockout, he had a $1 salary.

No terms were disclosed for the new contract.

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Somehow , I feel that within the next five years these two sides will be once again be bickering like infantile kindergartners over a play toy in the middle of a sandbox . Who wins that fight next time around will be anyone’s guess but for the commissioner to granted a contract extension in light of what I felt was a blunder of his own making and is tantamount to now witnessing these financial executives on Wall St being rewarded for their clear errors in judgment , that in many respects brought about the financial and economic strife that has beleaguered this country ! Only here could you find an executive being rewarded for their sheer stupidity even when their business template is seemingly in tatters ! But then again one only has to look at the actions of the members of both federal legislative chambers ( House & Senate ) and the GOP candidates who are now seeking their party’s Presidential nomination to realize that it is merely business as usual ! No recourse , no oversight and clearly no prudent decision making but mere platitudes being served up for the public’s consumption , and that was clearly the case with this latest collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and union !

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With regard to the most recent hires within the NFL fraternity do you believe the decisions made by the Buccaneers and Colts to be sound ones ? Or do you believe that both Chuck Pagano and Greg Schiano’s tenures within the league will be short-lived ? Chime on this and any other points you believe to be pertinent with regard to this piece .

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(1) FILE – In this Nov. 25, 2006 file photo, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano leads his team onto the field before a football game against Syracuse in Piscataway, N.J. A person familiar with the negotiations says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in talks with Schiano to become the team’s next coach. The 46-year-old Schiano has been with the Scarlet Knights for 11 seasons, taking them from college football laughingstock to a program that has had winning records in six of the last seven years. AP Photo/Mel Evans ….

(2) TAMPA, FL – FILE: Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks at the scoreboard during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on December 17, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. According to reports January 2, 2012, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired head coach Raheem Morris. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(3) (Left to right) General manager Bill Polian, team owner Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning (18) of the Indianapolis Colts look on during Super Bowl XLIV Media Day at Sun Life Stadium on February 2, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. With Polian now out as a front office executive it would appear that the last remnants from the Colts’ era of success is but another decision away, with the growing rift between the quarterback and team owner. Photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Benc ……..

(4) Indianapolis Colts new head coach Chuck Pagano, left, and owner Jim Irsay greet each after Pagano was introduced during a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ….

(5) In this Oct. 16, 2011, photo, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, left, speaks with inside linebacker Ray Lewis during an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Baltimore. The Indianapolis Colts hired Pagano as their new head coach on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. The team said Pagano will be introduced at a news conference on Thursday. AP Photo/Nick Wass ………

(6) GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 02: Andrew Luck (12) of the Stanford Cardinal walks off of the field after Stanford lost 41-38 in overtime against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ………

(7) Roger Goodell formally introduces himself to the press as the NFL commissioner having succeeded Paul Tagliabue (background) in June of 2005 . The commissioner having fulfilled his term has been given a new 7 year contract extension that will expire in 2019 . So much for Goodell and the league pleading league’s case as to being impoverished , with his now multi-year, multi-million dollar annual salary . AP Photo …..

(8) Roger Goodell is seen here alongside NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, during one of their numerous meeting this past off-season trying to reach an amicable accord concerning the NFL league dispute between their two parties . AP Photo / Nick Amundson ……..

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Heads Up It’s Now Open Season On The Coaching Fraternity In The NBA ……

Heads Up It’s Now Open Season On The Coaching Fraternity In The NBA

By tophatal …….

I don’t know about you but the firing of Flip Saunders simply didn’t set off any alarm bells in terms of the moribund season now being had by the Washington Wizards ! To my mind the coach was never really that good to begin with and the brand of basketball and the coaching within the NBA has truly been on the decline over the past five years . Far too much hype the egos of the players never mind the very fact that it would appear that the general managers are not in the firing line when things start to spiral out of control for an NBA franchise .

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Ever since Ted Leonsis assumed control of the Wizards from the team’s late owner Abe Pollin the franchise has been embroiled in controversy . So much so , that in 2010 former players Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were at the center of a fracas that involved gun play at the team’s headquarters at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC. That melee` brought in a tough stance and edict from the league hierarchy as it relates to gambling but also players carrying unlicensed firearms on league property . Both players were suspended and fined monetarily by David Stern .

As many of you are no doubt aware during Pollin’s reign as the franchise’s owner he brought in Michael Jordan as the team’s general manager . The former NBA great whose front office experience was limited at best , saw fit to to take an enormous gamble on drafting Kwame Brown as the number one overall draft pick in the 2001 NBA Draft . That draft had a litany of players who would go on to make considerable names for themselves within the league. Players drafted that year included Shane Battier , Tyson Chandler , Pau Gasol , Zach Randolph and Tony Parker to name but a few within this draft.

Now while everyone simply refers back to the year when Sam Bowie was drafted ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft . And the ramifications that bore the upswing in the fortunes of the Chicago Bulls and the success in subsequent years for the franchise.

Kwame Brown was drafted straight out of high school and whether not Jordan’s musings that led to the decision was based on the player’s potential , his career has never taken off within the NBA . The center has simply become a journey-man in the league whose latest stop now has him playing for the Golden State Warriors , another franchise whose fortunes this season seems to have taken a turn for the worst. .

As to the Washington Wizards’ own plight this season with a record of 2-15 within the Eastern Conference that now finds the team rooted firmly at the bottom of the Southeast Division with nowhere to go but up.

When drafted …… John Wall , having been taken number one overall was seen as the future face of the Wizards’ franchise with a view to taking the next step up in terms of being competitive franchise . The Wizards’ front office and ownership group now must be mulling how best to extricate themselves from the mess that the franchise now finds itself in . With Randy Wittman having succeeded Flip Saunders , a decision made by GM Ernie Grunfeld , it remains to be seen whether not the newly installed coach along with his assistant coaching staff led by former player …. Sam Cassell can set about turning around the fortunes of the Wizards . The roster itself cannot be deemed as being overly experienced with only five players having 4 years or more of playing time in the NBA .

With seasoned veterans such as Andre Blatche , Rashard Lewis , Maurice Evans , Roger Mason Jr and Ronny Turiaf . The question that most might now ask is whether not these veterans are prepared to show the younger players what it takes to become a success within the NBA . Certainly the likes of Wall , Nick Young , Trevor Booker and Jordan Crawford must be willing to learn , albeit that John Wall is still to be seen as the face of the franchise and de-facto leader on the basketball court . My own feelings concerning the Washington Wizards has been that this organization has not been of relevance at anytime during its existence in the aftermath of its name chance and most definitely with the rather asinine thought by Michael Jordan that successive franchise could be built around Kwame Brown ! Would you have made the choice in question of drafting the player number one overall in the 2001 NBA Draft ? Especially when there were far more talented players to be had and most definitely a more prudent choice could have been made by the front office executive at the time .

I don’t know about you but the free fall of the Detroit Pistons over the last few years has been truly astounding . I know that the franchise has gone through an ownership change with the club now in the hands of wealthy billionaire venture capitalist Tom Gores . The financier having bought the team as well its holding company Palace & Sports Entertainment from the Davidson family due to the fact didn’t it was the Davidson family’s wish not to be burdened with the estate taxes due at the demise of former owner Bill Davidson .

Now while all of this is to be commended it would appear that GM Joe Dumars with his Hall of Fame …. career in the NBA now faces an uphill task in resurrecting the fortunes of this franchise. Out has gone one of the club’s most beloved players in recent years with the departure of Richard Hamilton to the Chicago Bulls . And with a team that now seems to be built around the talents of Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey with the erstwhile veteran Ben Wallace now as a mainstay , it is hard to fathom how Lawrence Frank as the coach , can simply get this group to actually play with any real resolve .

The lowly Detroit Pistons with a 4-15 ….. record sits firmly rooted at the bottom of the Central Division and conference wise their mark is only slightly better than that of the Washington Wizards (3-15) and the Charlotte Bobcats (3-16) . I do not believe that there is much more that can actually be said about the lowly Wizards and in the case of the Michael Jordan owned Bobcats , it is my belief that their fans simply turn up at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina , merely to get a glimpse of the former NBA great ! Truth be told whatever it is that is being served up by coach Paul Silas and his coaching staff by this team cannot be faintly called an NBA brand of basketball !

The Charlotte Bobcats in their last 10 games are a languid 1-9 and at this juncture it would be a safe bet to suggest say that they are already completely out of the playoff picture for this season and that is with the NBA calendar already quarter of the way through its schedule . Suffice to say , that at some point GM Rod Higgins , Jordan , himself , and President & CEO Fred Whitfield will have to begin to assess the coaching staff as well as this team.

The roster led by D J. Augustin , Kemba Walker , Desagana Diop , Gerald Henderson and Corey Maggette have offered little of comfort with with the Bobcats’ fans might even grasp at straws to believe that this team is evenly faintly competitive . And with the Charlotte Bobcats due to face the high flying Philadelphia 76ers (12-6) in their next scheduled game it will be interesting to see what Paul Silas and his players will be able to bring to the table . If nothing else the worst that could happen is that the team continues its losing streak at best they notch up another win to add to their already embarrassing tally for the season.

Now with Kevin Love having resigned with the Minnesota Timberwolves you would have to believe that the franchise’s future for now is pretty much in safe hands . Mr “Double Double” as I now tend to refer to the player is one of the most consistent players in the league today . And each night he simply guarantees to put up big numbers no matter who the opponent might happen to be . Suffice to say that the front office led by GM Dave Kahn knows that without having signed the power forward to a contract extension to a new contract ______ this would have set off an auction for the player had he sought free agency . There’s no doubt in my mind that the player is best power forward in the league at present .

With the addition of Spanish star Ricky Rubio this year , it has to be said that there seems to be a robust way with which this team goes about its trade . Unfortunately that simply isn’t borne out in their (7-10) record within the Northwest Division of the Western Conference . Inasmuch as I admire Rick Adelman as an NBA head coach with a distinguished record , it is my belief that he is not the right candidate to be coaching this young team ! A patron (chappy81) within this forum recently wrote an article in which he detailed why it is that the Timberwolves are one of the more entertaining teams within the NBA this season . That’s all well and good , consistency and winning is not something that has been going hand in hand with the Minnesota Timberwolves over the course their season . Plainly put , if you’re simply in awe of a few stars playing basketball rather than seeing them actually accomplish something tangible on the field of play , then you had better have something to back up the premise of your argument . In this case I don’t believe my good friend has laid the groundwork for that debate at all ! .

If the Minnesota Timberwolves are as ambitious their fans believe them to be is the very fact that there is a common belief that this season team is capable of claiming a playoff berth . Persoanally , I believe that Adelman’s players are still a long way of from being a playoff claiber franchise , especially within the always competitive …… Western Conference . I may well be surprised by season’s end concerning the plight of the Timberwolves but I doubt it !

In these of economic plight I don’t know that the NBA’s franchise owners as such , have a great a deal to be sorrowful about . David Stern has done his very best to make sure that they are well taken care of with at least twenty four teams over the past two seasons receiving in excess of $756 million by way of league mandated bailout . Never let it be said that the NBA hierarchy hasn’t followed in the negligent steps we have seen over the course of this administration simply bailing out any weeping and whining corporation in the light of their mismanagement . And it is becoming abundantly clear that these infantile owners were amenable to the gift from the commissioner . They along with the general managers have been ostentatious with their spending , so much so even with their pleading of poverty from the owners has become cannon fodder for the ridicule that is justifiably directed towards them as well as the NBPA (union) .

A recent article in Thursday’s edition of USA Today which was also Forbes Magazine article in highlighted how the value of several NBA franchises had risen faster than the rate of inflation and wherein the owners of those franchises have profited greatly from these new valuations . The Los Angeles Lakers is now said to be the most valuable NBA franchise with an estimated worth of $900 million , having now passed the New York Knicks whose parent company MSG Entertainment is wholly owned by the Dolan family under the leadership of James Dolan . However, while the Lakers is said to be the most valuable it is in fact the Knicks who just happens to be the most profitable of the NBA’s 30 teams. And given the present fortunes of the franchise whose 7-11 record and most recently embarrassing home 97-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers doesn’t belie a team that is playing …. sub-par basketball . It may well be that somehow Mike D’Antoni’s players may well eke out enough wins to garner a playoff berth but I seriously doubt that they will be good enough to go deep into the NBA postseason ! Your thoughts ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the NBA season have just past its quarter mark in the schedule do you believe that there will anymore coaching fatalities along the way ? And if so which NBA coach do you believe is in the most danger of losing his position ? Are you at all surprised by the fact that a number of NBA franchises have seen their values rise with regard to this most recent article by Forbes Magazine as well as USA Today ? By all means leave a comment as you see fit and I will do my utmost to respond to your comments with a succinct answer . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Washington Wizards guard Nick Young (1) smiles during the final seconds of his team’s 92-75 win over the Charlotte Bobcats in an NBA basketball game in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt …

(2) Washington Wizards guard John Wall, center, splits the defense of Charlotte Bobcats guard Cory Higgins (11) and forward Tyrus Thomas , right, as he drives to the basket during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. The Wizards beat the Bobcats 92-75 . AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt …….

(3) Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey (3) collides with Miami Heat forward Shane Battier (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. The Heat won 101-98 . AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ……

(4) Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Auburn Hills, Mich. AP Photo/Duane Burleson ….

(5) Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars , left , is seen here seated alongside Tom Gores owner of the NBA franchise . Since assuming control Gores has seen a marked decline in the performance of the team with them now languishing at the lower rungs within their division barely surviving with a declining attendance for their home games . Detroit Free Press / Tim Nash …….. ….

(6) OAKLAND, CA – JANUARY 07: Kwame Brown (54) of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during their game against the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena on January 7, 2012 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …

(7) Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love (42) reacts to missing on a 3-pointer as guard Ricky Rubio, right, watches in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Dallas. Love contributed 31 points and 10 rebounds and Rubio added 17 points and 12 assists as the Timberwolves won 105-90 . AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……..

(8) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love (42) drives past Dallas Mavericks’ Lamar Odom on his way to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Dallas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

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Ashley Gellar . Where’s the soap going ?

She comes bearing gifts but they’re covered .

Who doesn’t love a chic looking hot while being in a wet T-shirt ?

Who Says Money Can’t Buy You Happiness …….. ?

Who Says Money Can’t Buy You Happiness ?

By tophatal ……..

So it would appear that uber-agent Scott Boras has been finally able to obtain a permanent home for his highly prized client , former Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder . It is now being widely reported that the Detroit Tigers …. acquired the free agent and are about to sign the player to a multi-year deal . Figures being bandied about would suggest Fielder will be paid in excess of $200 million for a 9 year deal . Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski along with team owner Michael Ilitch and manager Jim Leyland must be pleased that finally they have acquired a productive first baseman who can also be productive for this Tigers’ team who last year having made the postseason were summarily hoisted on their petard.

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The Detroit Tigers easily won the AL East ahead of Kansas City Royals , Cleveland Indians , Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins . But the real prize in the organization obtaining Fielder , is that it will give the team a great one two punch of Miguel Cabrera and the formidable power of the former NL first baseman . And given that the Tigers were one of the more potently offensive teams within the AL last season . Any additional power to that offense can only be of benefit to the team this upcoming season . In addition to that you also have the fact the Detroit Tigers will have the reigning AL Cy Young and AL MVP winner returning to the roster . Anyone who witnessed the magical season of Justin Verlander will know that his exploits truly were validated by these awards. The naysayers either need to get a grip on reality or simply give up watching the game and shut the hell up ! Simply explain to me where it states is its edict where the BBWAA cannot vote for a pitcher when adjudicating for either the AL MVP or NL MVP ? If the detractors of the suggestion that a pitcher shouldn’t be allowed to win the MVP then let them explain their thoughts succinctly as a premise !

Now one might say that the Tigers and Dave Dombrowski have overpaid for Prince Fielder but when one bears in mind that the highest paid player in the game Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees , annually , now gets paid in excess of $30 million , you have to wonder why the teams ___ and in particular the general managers and team owners haven’t truly sought seek to rein in their costs then you simply know that the game has lost all credibility .

Last season Carlos Pena was a player on the Chicago Cubs’ roster however at the season’s culmination the Cubs saw fit to allow the player to go rather than re-signing him for the 2012 schedule. I understand the Cubs’ team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer now wish to go in another direction after the morass under the tenure of Jim Hendry and former manager Mike Quade . Granted , the Chicago Cubs’ failure once again was to be expected, given the failings of the organization from top to bottom . Hopelessly , a mess from in terms of their batting and pitching as this was mirrored in the team’s statistical standing within the NL last season .

It remains to be seen in 2012 as to whether or not the Chicago Cubs will see a shift in their fortunes . A century of ignominy has seen this organization rarely place itself in a position to even challenge for the postseason . But such has been the vagaries within the game and what truly appears to have been a real lack of commitment by the team’s ownership led by Tom Ricketts , until the recent upheaval within the front office and amongst the coaching staff . Dale Sveum as the incumbent manager now working in conjunction with Epstein and Hoyer can now work towards reassessing the team’s strengths and needs .

With Pena being allowed to become a free agent it did not take long for the player to find a home . Andrew Freidman as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw fit to bring the team’s former first baseman back into the fold . Carlos Pena was signed to a one year $ 7.5 million deal that sees him being brought back to add some additional “pop” to the offense of the Rays . The knock against Pena is is that he has been a player who tends to strike out great deal but there’s no denying that he is able to be productive in terms of RBI’s .

Carlos Pena can simply reproduced the form he showed as a player for the Tampa Bay Rays during his first tenure , then there is no reason to believe why they the player along with Evan Longoria , Ben Zobrist and B J Upton cannot be a formidable challenge to the likes of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees within the AL East during this upcoming season .

Certainly Joe Maddon as the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays knows that the addition of Carlos Pena to this team gives him an added resource to this roster . He and his coaching staff know that with a pitching rotation that is the envy of the teams around the league . The likes of David Price , Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields will form a formidable one , two , three punch with a bullpen that if it holds true to form can be competitive .

For the life of me I am still trying to understand the wherewithal of the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under the tenure of the Glazer family ! Granted, this team had a miserable 2011 that saw it end with a 4-12 mark within the NFC South and the firing of Raheem Morris as the head coach . GM Mark Dominik who in conjunction with Morris assembled this present roster which if anything showed its true form as borne out by their record .

Josh Freeman simply regressed as a player and what little offense shown by the team can be best described as being moribund and without any real zeal. Dominik and Joel Glazer have trotted out a slew of retreads as prospective candidates for the vacant coach’s position. If anyone is of the belief that Brad Childress , Mike Sherman , Brian Billick and Marty Schottenheimer are capable of resurrecting this organization , then clearly the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not sound in their thinking ! . What might be even more surprising is that they then had the audacity to approach Oregon (Ducks) head coach Chip Kelly . They had an offer of $6 million a year on the table _ in terms of a 5 year contract , which the coach turned down in choosing to remain with the Ducks’ collegiate program . Personally , I don’t fault Kelly for turning down what appears to be an overly generous offer , given the turmoil that the Buccaneers now finds themselves in ! This was something of their own making and the expectations that was placed upon the shoulders of Raheeem Morris and this team that simply over achieved in 2010 and then fell back to earth with such rapid velocity this past season that it was simply beyond belief .

Now while the Buccaneers’ front office continues to meander along in their process of choosing a successor for Rahheem Morris , my only wish is for the front office to stop with the continued asinine statements that they are using due diligence to in their search. If they’re of the belief that trotting out the likes of Mike Sherman , Billick , Childress , Mike Zimmer , Tom Clements and Rob Chudzinski will now actually impress the franchise’s beleaguered fans then they are clearly clueless as to their wrought emotions at this moment in time . This organization hasn’t made a sound decision prior to the firing of Raheem Morris and it now appears that the Glazers’ intent is merely to use the NFL franchise as a feeder in terms of plying extra money into the trough of their other sporting investment Premiership (EPL) soccer team Manchester United . With the continued debt burden on that particular organization , which is still in excess of $1.2 billion and their attempt in getting their creditors twice within the last eighteen months to renegotiate the financial structuring of that debt . It is now becoming abundantly clear the Glazers are in an abyss that has been of their own making . Furthermore, with UEFA the controlling body of soccer on the continent of Europe now mandating that all teams participating in their sanctioned club competitions bring about sound fiscal policy as to their debt burden ___________ the fate of United on this particular front now becomes even more tenuous as they do not meet the strict criteria set by UEFA President Michel Platini and the other senior executives of UEFA’S Executive Committee who are now calling for strict adherence to this new policy in spite of many of the top European teams fighting this fiercely .

Manchester United alongside the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys three of the most profitable sports’ franchises across the globe . Each has a presence not just merely within their own domestic markets but also on the world stage. Much of the Yankees’ exposure on the world scene is impacted by their in-house cable programming outlet the YES Network whose ties in with the MLB Network as well several international outlets in the Far East , Europe and the African continent that nets organization tens of millions of dollars each year . The Steinbrenner family as the primary owners of the baseball club knows with that with this vast revenue stream that allows them to make the bloated transactions that has become its persona over the past few years , making their payroll the highest in all of baseball .

The Dallas Cowboys under Jerry Jones’ tenure as the owner of the NFL franchise has the knowledge in knowing that approximately 23% of all NFL merchandize sales in terms of apparel is encapsulated around the Cowboys’ brand . This figure far exceeds that of any of the other 31 franchises in the league and is one of the primary reasons why the owner can afford to be so ostentatious with his lavish spending . Needless , to say the edifice is most proud of just happens to their $1.5 billion Cowboys Stadium , in Arlington , Texas , surrounded by prime real estate now in the ownership of the famed franchise owner. Jones and his son, Stephen Jones hope to develop the land for commercial and residential use. Alas, for Jerry Jones’ one wish in recent years has been to see his franchise go deep into the postseason and to make an appearance in the Superbowl . The travesty of the team’s season in 2011 that pretty much put an end to that dream that now in essence has become a pipe-dream .

In the aftermath of this spectacle that now embroils the Tampa Bay Buccaneers another controversy is now causing the Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera to question the Buccaneers’ approach in the interview process of their offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. It would appear that coordinator was led to believe that he would be in line for a second interview only to be told that they have postponed that meeting in order to conduct a second interview with Mike Sherman . The former Green Bay Packers’ coach is the presumed favorite to succeed Raheem Morris . No formal announcement is expected to be made for at least another 48 to 72 hours at best .

The longer this embarrassing episode continues for the Buccaneers , the clearer the picture has become as to how out of touch the team’s owners are . As to the aspirations of the franchise and the fact after their lone Superbowl (SBXXXVII) [SB37] triumph , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in spite of the wealth of the Glazers , it would appear as I alluded to earlier , their intent now seems focused on the fortunes of Manchester United and not much else beyond that . The overtures in terms of the organization making the fans aware as to the ongoing candidate search speaks to the idiocy of this situation now enacted by front office .

In my view the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have and will continue to do a great disservice to their most loyal of fans ! It is easy to see why the team failed last year as there was a lack of on-field talent and the unwillingness of the organization to go out and acquire talented free agents . The team remained some $30 million under the salary cap ($120 million) which in essence meant a payroll for the organization that was slightly under $90 million . This figure when adjudged against other franchises around the NFL placed the team in lower ranks of the league .

With the apparent idiocy of the local on air talent now calling for the Glazer family to sell the team to any willing buyer it would now seem that here to there now seems to be growing dissent towards the owners. One specific personality in this local market is former Buccaneers’ player Dan Sileo who has suggested repeatedly that the organization be sold to former San Francisco 49ers’ owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. . Given the fact that the former NFL franchise owner was charged federally by the US Justice Department , indicted and found guilty several years ago on a litany of charges ranging from bribery of an elected official , perjury , obstruction of justice prevents De Bartolo now returning in any formal capacity as the owner of an NFL franchise . But then again who said that WDAE’s radio personality Dan Sileo was that bright to begin with ? His asinine rants on the local airwaves marks him as a buffoon whose only real gift it would appear to be , is to make a complete ass of himself on the local airwaves within this locale ! It hasn’t helped that even the local print media within this domain themselves haven’t shown any greater intelligence as it relates to the lone NFL franchise within Central Florida. They continue to be all so averse raising the slightest bit of criticism of any element towards the franchise or the owners in question . It would appear that they would rather be apathetic as to the situation , continuing to live in the past regaling about when times were good during reigns of former Buccaneers’ head coaches Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden . Given the Buccaneers’ history as an NFL franchise , those years toiled away with repeated years of ineptitude now seems to be raising its ugly head once again .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With Prince Fielder now having found place where he can now ply his trade with the Detroit Tigers do you believe that the team can be viewed as a legitimate contender within the AL and also for the World Series ? Do you also believe that the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has e a fiduciary responsibility to the fans of the franchises as it relates to behavior of the team owners and the general managers/ front office executives ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit as to anything you believe to pertinent to the subject matter .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) FILE – In this June 18, 2002, file photo, Milwaukee Brewers first round draft pick Prince Fielder, right, talks to his father, former Detroit Tigers and American League home run champion Cecil Fielder , in Milwaukee. A person familiar with the negotiations speaking on condition of anonymity says Fielder and the Tigers agreed Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, on a nine-year, $214 million contract that fills the AL Central champions’ need for a power hitter. AP Photo/Morry Gash …..

(2) Milwaukee Brewers’ Prince Fielder watches his two-run home run against St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook in the sixth inning of a baseball game , in Milwaukee. A person familiar with the negotiations says Fielder and the Detroit Tigers are nearing agreement on a nine-year contract worth about $200 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, because talks are ongoing. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps ….

(3) Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. It was reported that Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers won the American League MVP award after being named the Cy Young winner November 21, 2011. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(4) Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, center, GM Dave Dombrowski, left, and starting pitcher Doug Fister had all sorts of laughs Thursday in New York. John T. Greilick/The Detroit News ….

(5) Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers is welcomed back to the dugout by manager Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers after his solo home-run off of relief pitcher Clayton Mortensen (59) of the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning at Coors Field on June 19, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Tigers defeated the Rockies 9-1 . Getty Images /Doug Pensinger ….

(6) Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the on deck circle as he prepares to take an at bat against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 19, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images / Doug Pensinger …..

(7) In this June 18, 2011, file photo, Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Pena hits a two-run home run during the fourth inning of an inter-league baseball game against the New York Yankees in Chicago. A person with knowledge of the agreement tells The Associated Press that Pena has agreed to a $7.25 million, one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, because the club had not announced the agreement. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

(8) Rays EVP & GM Andrew Friedman ,left, is seen here alongside team manager Joe Maddon as they take questions from the convened press . Tampa Bay Times / James Roebuck ………

(9) In this Aug. 3, 2011, file photo, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski smiles during the NFL football team’s training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. A person familiar with the situation says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have received permission to interview Chudzinski for their vacant head coaching position. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, on the condition of anonymity because the process is supposed to remain confidential. AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File …….

(10) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Atlanta Falcons during play at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons won 45-24 . Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images ……..

(11) __ How quickly things change . New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, second from right, poses for a photo with, from left, new general manager Mark Dominik, and executive vice presidents Edward Glazer, Bryan Glazer, and Joel Glazer during a news conference Saturday afternoon Jan. 17, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. Morris replaces Jon Gruden, who was fired on Friday. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….. …..

(12) The pressure was on Manchester United as they clashed with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium with the Gunners handing a start to youngster Alex Ojade-Chamberlain , right as he faces of against Patrice Evra of United. Man Utd would prevail over their divisional rivals 2-1 in the Premiership (EPL) to currently sit three points behind their cross-town rivals Manchester City .

(13) Arsene Wenger ,left , coach of Arsenal FC is seen here alongside his counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson prior to the classic showdown between their two teams in the Premiership (EPL) which was played at Emirates Stadium , in North London , home to Arsenal (The Gunners) . . Alex Hargreaves / The Daily Mail UK …….

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Coco's  thong

It’s Thong Thursday ! So if you’re in need of a fix then here for your perusal are a glossary of pics of the eponymous Coco showing off the assets God gave her . Nice !

Like here ride or would you prefer to “ride” her ?

Well hello !

Coco  balances a can  on her  ass/

I’ve heard of balancing tricks but this is ridiculous but I ain’t gonna complain !

Revenge Is A Meal Best Served Cold… But Let’s Face It …. This Might Not Be The Meal We Expect It To Be …..

Revenge Is A Meal Best Served Cold… But Let’s Face It …. This Might Not Be The Meal We Expect It To Be …..

By tophatal …….

Well now that we know the NFL’s claimants for the two conference berths for the upcoming Superbowl [SB46] —- (SBXLVI) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana ,. The New York Giants in their thrilling over-time victory over the San Francisco 49ers sets up a meeting against the New England Patriots which promises to be reprise of the 2007 Superbowl which gave us perhaps one the most memorable endings to a postseason game in recent memory.

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The New England Patriots’ unbeaten season of 2007 gave way to a postseason that simply defied . David Tyree’s memorable catch and everything that millions witnessed in that game simply left the nation in disbelief that the heavily favored Patriots were hoisted upon on their own petard by Tom Coughlin’s team on the day. That stunning 17-14 victory sealed the New England Patriots’ fate for that 2007 season and their legacy in NFL history .

Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Eli Manning have each had their fair share of postseason heroics and it will be upon both of their shoulders that their respective franchises’ hopes will be pinned . Now, much has been of the stellar displays given this season by each of these Superbowl MVP winning quarterbacks . Both Brady and Manning are now considered amongst the elite players at the position within the NFL but I for one still have my doubts about Eli Manning given the inconsistencies to his game that we have seen repeatedly over the course of his career . His AFC counterpart Tom Brady as we all know is the face of the Patriots’ franchise , with a glamorous catwalk model , in, Giselle Bundchen , as his wife .

Beyond that however, Brady might just be the most consummate professional playing the quarterback position today , constantly looking to improve upon his craft . Slowly but surely , as he looks to join such storied NFL luminaries who have made their names in the postseason . The likes of Joe Montana , John Elway , Terry Bradshaw , Steve Young and Troy Aikman have essentially cemented their legacies with their postseason heroics and the fact that each has been enshrined in the Hall of Fame should let you know that these players are not averse to showing their determination . Tom Brady is Canton bound that’s for sure , and Eli Manning is looking to add to the credentials that would certainly make him a future inductee .

In a game that’s sure to fascinate as well become a bone of contention for the fans of the AFC and NFC and all that it will entail , this could very well pit two esteemed coaches once again playing a game of cat and mouse . Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin are each Superbowl winning coaches , and will be looking to add to their legacies . Belichick is a three-time winning victor , who will be looking to join Chuck Noll as the only four time winning coach of the Lombardi Trophy . Coughlin after his victory in 2008 will look to join Bill Parcells , himself a two-time winner of the Superbowl as a coach of the New York Giants . With so much at stake for each coach , it is easy to comprehend that the amount of pressure that this duo now face. Over the ensuing two weeks leading up to the big game itself there will be that constant barrage of interview requests seeking each coach’s insight as to what they hope to envisage from the upcoming Superbowl match-up.

After-all , an audience that is expected to be upwards of 150 million viewers nationally , and a global audience in excess of 1 billion , it is easy to understand why this sole event is the most watched sporting spectacle extravaganza in the nation. And for NBC Sports this will be the gargantuan financial behemoth in terms of the revenues that the network will reap. Thirty second ads will set most advertisers back a cool $3 million at least , with major corporate sponsors looking to showcase many of their finest products during the televised events . Major film studios , Twentieth Century Fox , Warner Bros , Sony Pictures , The Weinstein Company , Universal Pictures and major Fortune 500 companies such as Coca Cola , Pepsi-Co , Budweiser (Anheuser Busch) , Sony , GM , Ford , Chrysler and IBM …. ____ each will be looking to amplify their presence in the market place even further in what is sure to be some very entertaining ads.

Both teams in this NFL extravaganza have their play makers , with the Giants , their go to guy this season just happens to be Victor Cruz but that would be doing a major disservice to wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham who certainly have some of the most productive wide-outs in the NFC this season . But if the Giants’ offense is said to be worthy of a mention then the team’s defense has to be the fulcrum that has held this team together through their highs and lows this season .

The Giants’ secondary of Jason Pierre Paul , Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck will be there to “bring the pain “ and a great deal more , of which Tom Coughlin knows that his defense will be there shore up the offense should things start to take a turn for the worse.

Tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski had a productive season for the New England Patriots and the duo were amongst the most productive players at the position within the NFL during the 2011 regular season . But the team’s offense will have to be very diverse in terms of its strategy and this is certainly where Josh McDaniels will once again have to prove his worth as the team’s new offensive coordinator. The former Denver Broncos’ manager is back again within the New England Patriots’ fold serving under his mentor Bill Belichick . McDaniels was the primary guiding influence that saw Brady’s statistics reach stratospheric heights in 2007 when he and Randy Moss set the single season records for passing and receiving touchdowns .

As prolific as the Patriots’ offense is said to be it has been the team defense that gives Bill Belichik the greatest cause for concern . Remarkably inconsistent throughout much of the regular season the defense ranked amongst the lowest of the teams within the NFL and conference . And though the head coach is said to be the defensive coordinator for the unit , it is troubling see that this secondary continues to have so much trouble but yet during the postseason they managed to actually managed in part to negate the prowess of the Baltimore Ravens’ offense during the AFC championship game .

The hyperbole has began , and it’s not liable to stop anytime soon , as the build-up gets into full swing with the print and television media devoting hours of air-time in the coming weeks leading up to the game itself. For team owners Robert Kraft ,of the Patriots , the Mara family and Steve Tisch of the Giants , they will have a great deal look forward to , as their respective franchises come under a great deal of public adoration and scrutiny . Each organization has a legacy of success and victory will add to the luster already attained by each .

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What if anything are you most looking forward to with regard to the Superbowl , and which team do you believe this time comes into this match-up with an added advantage ? Simply leave a comment concerning this and anything else you believe to be of relevance to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck speaks to the media during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …..

(2) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning speaks to the media during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(3) New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks during a news conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, the day after the Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens to win NFL football’s AFC championship. The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants, the team that ruined their perfect season four years ago. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(4) FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 22: Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots dives into the end zone to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa Amendola/Getty Images ….

(5) …… A reprise ? Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants congratulates head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after their game on December 29, 2007 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images /Chris McGrath …..

(6) MetLife president and CEO Steven A. Kandarian , seated, holds a signed agreement to name the venue, MetLife Stadium, with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson , left, and New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch , right, at a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011 in East Rutherford, N.J. The stadium, formerly New Meadowlands Stadium, is home to the Giants and the Jets. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(7) David Tyree of the New York Giants the unbelievable catch seen around the globe that was in essence the game changing event during the game from Superbowl 42 played at the University of Phoenix Stadium , Glendale , Arizona , on the 3rd February , 2008. . The Giants would go on to defeat the Patriots 17-14 on their way to a hard-fought and well deserved victory . AFP/Photo / Paul Marhall ………..
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Superbowl 46 (SBXLVI) ….. New York Giants vs New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indiana, Indianapolis . Game to be being televised by NBC
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Autopsy of A Season …. The Cleveland Browns

Autopsy of A Season …. The Cleveland Browns

By tophatal …..

With the NFL regular season ending with the usual inevitability of the playoffs and the added suspense brought to the postseason. I think it can only fitting that we look at the reasons why a number of teams failed to live up to expectations . For the Cleveland Browns theirs was a season of missed opportunities , poor play and in large part and injury prone team that saw the loss of Colt McCoy in the latter part of their schedule and no real leadership from any of the seasoned veterans on the roster .

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Coach Pat Shurmur and his coaching staff struggled to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve . Mike Holmgren as team President in conjunction with GM Tom Heckert during this off-season will have a number of decisions to make as it relates to roster in terms of their free agents and specifically the impending future of Colt McCoy.

With the rumors percolating as to whether or not the Browns will go into next season with McCoy as the team’s signal caller forces the front office into making a decision that many feel is now a priority for the organization. Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert know that is imperative that some sort of decision be made as to Brown’s future. Having to compete in the ultra competitive ….. AFC North alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals . And with the team having finished at the bottom of the division with little tangible to show for a rather poor season . For players such as Josh Cribbs , Peyton Hillis and Cedric Benson this sort of failure must grate on their nerves as professional football players.

The real struggles for the Cleveland Browns this season has not only been the lack of a cohesive unit in terms of team defense and offense . Within the AFC and league as a whole , one would have to ask how Holmgren and Heckert will go about repairing the issues that the team presently has. If nothing else it would appear that the team struggles in almost every facet of the game .

Granted , the team has drafted prudently over the years with their being hits and misses along the way . However, with there being a lack of real growth in the talent in a number of the players the Cleveland Browns’ struggles have been magnified with a succession of ill-timed moves in terms of the managerial carousel that has taken place in recent years. Romeo Crennel had his problems , only to be succeeded by Eric Mangini whose firing was justified , given the ineptitude shown by the coach ! Pat Shurmur in his first season , has seen some growth and confidence from his players but if they are to contend within their division ( AFC North) and within the league as a whole .

With the upcoming NFL Draft and the likelihood that there will a solid collection of quarterbacks having made their declarations to enter the process , it will be interesting to see if the Cleveland Browns do in fact take the opportunity of making a quarterback their first overall pick in the initial round of the 2012 Draft. The consensus seems to be that the Indianapolis Colts will indeed make their choice of taking Andrew Luck as the number one pick . With the likes of other declarees at the position , may well include Robert Griffin III , Landry Jones , Case Keenum and Denard Robinson . Are the coaching staff and front office prepared of the Cleveland Browns prepared to draft a quarterback in the first round albeit that the full health implications of Colt McCoy. The player having suffered a concussion during a regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after what a appears to be have been determined an illegal hit by James Harrison . McCoy’s on-field injury wasn’t determined by the Browns’ coaching staff or medical contingent to that serious at the time. But in the aftermath of it all , we learned that the player had suffered a grade two concussion with momentary memory loss . However , the player was determined that he was safe enough to re-enter the game , albeit that Colt McCoy stated he was OK , when clearly he was not . The player’s father , Brad, angered by the decision made by the coaches at the time spoke openly of his disgust towards the Browns in endangering his son’s long-term health and career.

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports …..

McCoy’s dad says Browns QB ‘never should’ve gone back in’

In the aftermath of the Cleveland Browns’ Thursday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, much of the post-game talk in the visiting locker room did not center on the game’s outcome, but instead, the vicious fourth-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit Steelers linebacker James Harrison administered to quarterback Colt McCoy .

McCoy, who returned two plays after going down, told reporters that he did not remember the hit. According to McCoy’s dad, however, the second-year quarterback’s mental state was far worse than he originally let on.

“I talked to Colt this morning and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t know what happened, but I know I lost the game. I know I let the team down. What happened?’ ” Brad McCoy told The Plain Dealer on Friday.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur admitted during his Friday press conference that Colt McCoy began to exhibit concussion symptoms after the game, and he now is being treated as if he suffered a concussion. Shurmur originally said during his post-game press conference Thursday that McCoy was “fine to go back in.”

That admission could be too little, too late for the NFL and Brad McCoy, who coached his son throughout junior high and high school. McCoy blasted the Browns organization for allowing McCoy to return to the game, and a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the NFL will speak to the Browns and gather information on the possibility that McCoy returned to the game with a concussion.

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With the league hierarchy under the leadership of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply not clarifying how the officials are to determine on-field hits and the players themselves not understanding the instructions it creates a grey area in terms the legalities of what is allowed and not allowed. Harrison , the Steelers’ defensive player has been repeatedly fined over the course of his career and again sustained a monetary fine for the hit that incapacitated the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback . With the NFLPA (union) now wanting clear clarification from the league and the lack of real communication not forthcoming from the commissioner , it does create a great deal of ambiguity for the defensive players around the NFL as they seek to perform with their usual determination, without being viewed as seeking to place an opponent in imminent danger . Given the health risks and the very fact that the NFL itself , along with the union over the years has done little to avert such situations , much readily admit the cause and effect of blunt head force trauma suffered during a game . It were as if the league and union believe that it is a small price to play , as the risk reward is simply a bye-product of the game. Somehow , were this a long-term injury that curtailed and prematurely ended the career of a quarterback named Drew Brees , Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Ben Roethliberger or Aaron Rodgers , then perhaps there would be a tremendous outcry by the NFL fans and the public at large .

Now inasmuch , as I would like to see the Cleveland Browns succeed in becoming a competitive franchise within the NFL . It is pretty safe to say that they are fighting an uphill battle given the fact that Shurmur’s inexperience as an NFL coach and the numerous problems he faced in his rookie season indicates that this team is far from being where he and the coaching staff feel that they need to be. Moreover , while the Browns seek to return to respectability their divisional rivals such as the Baltimore Ravens , Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals now seem to be heading in the right direction . One could claim that the Steelers after their loss in the wildcard round of this postseason , it could be stated that with an aging roster at its core Mike Tomlin and coaching staff might now seek to assess the team in terms of its liabilities . The defeat by itself at the hands of the Tim Tebow led Denver Broncos may not be all that detrimental to the Pittsburgh Steelers overall but by no means should anyone undercut what this defeat has done the organization . Has it made the front office now rethink their strategy and how they will now go about seeking to reassert their themselves as a perennial contender for the Superbowl within the NFL ? It would be remiss to write off the Pittsburgh Steelers given the franchise’s lauded history . A six-time winner of the Lombardi Trophy the organization is still one of the most admired and revered franchises within the NFL.

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What do yo believe to be are great strengths and weaknesses of the Cleveland Browns as a team ? Also do you believe the organization capable of becoming a truly competitive organization and a perennial contender within the NFL ?

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) CLEVELAND, OH – JANUARY 01: Seneca Wallace (6) of the Cleveland Browns runs by Safety Troy Polamalu (43) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game played at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images ….

(2) Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (89) of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a ball in front of defensive back Dimitri Patterson (21) of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images ….

(3) Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns lays on the ground while speaking to athletic trainers after a helmet to helmet hit from James Harrison (92) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ………

(4) : Peyton Hillis (40)of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sidelines during the closing moments of the Browns 20-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(5) Browns’ team President Mike Holmgren , left, is seen here alongside GM Tom Heckert. The two have numerous decisions to make concerning the team’s roster makeup but noticeably the future as it relates to quarterback Colt McCoy. Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer ……..
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Capt America ………Or In As In Today’s Modern Day Sport’s Hero …. The NFL Quarterback ……….

Capt America ………Or In As In Today’s Modern Day Sport’s Hero …. The NFL Quarterback ……….

By tophatal …..

Well here we are , and it’s the championship games this Sunday within the NFL as the New England Patriots play host to the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC title . Whereas, the New York Giants are the guests of the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park , in San Francisco , California .

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To my mind as there’s no need to make prognostications over these games as in the end we know that there will be a result that will culminate with the AFC and NFC representatives for the upcoming Superbowl to be staged Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indianapolis , Indiana. The quartet of quarterbacks on stage this Sunday have been the most efficient of the players we have seen over the course of the postseason . Tom Brady , Joe Flacco , Alex Smith and Eli Manning are simply the quintessential players one would come to expect at this stage of the NFL season.

Now all the plaudits has been simply about the exploits of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees during the regular season but unfortunately during the postseason the players’ teams simply failed to live up to expectations . Now the great players , specifically quarterbacks tend to be held to another standard than that of their peers on the field of play. In today’s NFL the position of the quarterback is glorified even more than ever before. Consider this , what tends to be the water cooler topic once a game has ended apart from the discussion of the result ? It is usually the play of the quarterback and whether or not their play was up to par . Drew Brees had his record-breaking season having surpassed Dan Marino’s mark for passing yards in a year . But all of that simply doesn’t matter when your postseason aspirations simply blows up in smoke because the New Orleans Saints couldn’t get over the hump in their game against the San Francisco 49ers .

Far be it for me to suggest that the game should simply evolve around the quarterback but the perceived hyperbole being what it is there’s simply no other way to avoid hoopla that surround the players of the position within the NFL. Simply look at the preconceived excitement that surrounded the Denver Broncos’ Tim Tebow this season ? Granted, the player led the team into their first divisional title in 7 years , while the fans were in awe of team’s regular and postseason heroics led by the Broncos’ quarterback. Now let’s get ahead of ourselves concerning the merits Tebow as an NFL quarterback . His game is certainly flawed .

And while the player has many supporters across the nation as well as his detractors from an evangelical , social , performance standpoint it has to be said the player himself has admitted that his game needs to improve . To my mind, if Tim Tebow is to have a long and successful tenure in the NFL then he cannot continue to make poor decisions on the field that places him in danger and thereby curtailing any success that he and the team can have . Certainly the Broncos’ front office led by John Elway and GM Brian Xanders have to be aware that if they’re pinning the franchise’s future on Tim Tebow then the coaching staff led by John Fox will have to implore their quarterback to in part change the way he applies himself in terms of his game decisions . The team’s quarterback’s coach Adam Gase to my mind simply hasn’t been earning his money , in spite of the players’ . heroics ! A win , is a win but what would we now be discussing had Tebow’s recent run prior to the 45-10 loss to the New England Patriots ended earlier ? Praise is one thing but in reality , are we also as quick to question a player’s performance when it is truly poor ? That certainly wasn’t always the case based on the rationale of many as it related to the Broncos’ quarterback as many sought to make use of his faith rather than simply look at the player’s body work and critique him on that !

In the aftermath of the firing of Bill and Chris Polian , Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay has been quick to apportion blame elsewhere rather than placing it firmly where it belongs and that just happens to be firmly upon the shoulders of the front office and owner. Subsequent to the abrupt firing of the Polians the team owner under the new GM Keith Grigson has seen fit also to fire Jim Caldwell after the team’s 2-14 …. season within the NFL . If nothing else we saw that in the case of the Colts … one man doesn’t represent a team ” but clearly for the franchise Peyton Manning meant a great deal more . And clearly the player’s record in a Colts’ uniform regular and postseason bears out what a valuable asset to the organization he has been . Never mind the player’s own personal records as borne out approaching the all-time leaders for players playing the position in the NFL [ ( career passing yards , career touchdowns , career passing attempts )] marks.

The loss of Peyton Manning due to a recurrence of an injury and the subsequent multiple operations now casts doubt upon the future of the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback . Bear in mind also that the player is due a roster bonus of $28 million due in early March that is predicated upon his return to fitness. And with the clock now ticking as to what the front office will do with regard to the upcoming NFL Draft if is clear that they have a number of decisions to make that will have far-reaching ramifications not just for the franchise but also with regard to the player’s own immediate future . The consensus appears to be that Grigson will take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as the number one pick overall . If Manning is retained on the roster along with the signing of Luck to the cursory rookie contract normally expected , the financial outlay to the two players could far exceed $50 million . On the face of it , that might not appear to be a great deal of money but even with today’s tightening economy teams are not looking to be gregarious in their spending habits especially when it comes to team salaries . Manning remains the Colts’ highest paid player by far given the fact that he signed a 5 year contract extension (worth $96 million) in 2010 .

Andrew Luck might rightfully be viewed as the best available college quarterback in this upcoming draft ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and Landry Jones . However, with so much being expected quarterbacks taken as a high draft pick tends to take a toll upon the teams and in particular the general managers of the franchises in question. Never mind the fact that with on air NFL analysts such as Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr hyping up the merits of players that more often than not have failed to live up to expectations. Ryan Leaf , JaMarcus Russell , Vince Young , Matt Leinart , Tim Couch , Heath Shuler and Eric Crouch to name but a few have entered the NFL as a highly praised quarterback , only to have failed with great ignominy .

In today’s NFL , the quarterbacks are asked to do a great deal more than play the game efficiently as well as showing leadership qualities . But with such a propensity for failure for these players to succeed I would really like to know why it is that so many of these analysts are buying into the so-called skill-set of player before they’ve played a down in the NFL . Potential means so many things nowadays but herein lies the edict of the league and specifically the analysts who cover the game. I understand that they offer their own opinions but it appears that their only thought has to be to make themselves heard , rather than actually offering up anything tangible for an NFL as real insight . Consider this , Kiper is known to consult with the players’ agents in private merely to curry favor . On the face of it one might not see anything at all wrong with those meetings but how can anyone then believe that anything he may well then proffer up as a keen observation and analysis that can have any veracity at all ? Mel Kiper claims to be an impartial observer who provides something in the market place but who if anything has never owned up for the many blunders that he has made over the years concerning the NFL Draft !

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What thoughts do you have concerning the performances of the modern-day quarterback in the NFL ? And do you as such feel that the on air personalities/ analysts actually provide a service that is beneficial to the NFL fan ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JANUARY 22: Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass against the New York Giants during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …

(2) Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants is interviewed in the locker room by Terry Bradshaw as he celebrates in the locker room with the George Halas Trophy NFC Championship trophy after the Giants won 20-17 in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……..

(3) Lawrence Tynes (9) of the New York Giants kicks a successful 31-yard field goal in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(4) Ahmad Brooks (55) of the San Francisco 49ers pressures Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …

(5) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ……..

(6) The New England Patriots celebrate after Billy Cundiff (7) of the Baltimore Ravens missed a game tying field goal late in the fourth quarter during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……….

(7) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens walks off the field after losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23 . Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ….

(8) Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos is sacked by Shaun Ellis (94) of the New England Patriots during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …

(9) Gone and so easily forgotten ! Former Washington Redskins’ quarterback Heath Shuler whose career in the NFL can be best described as being somewhat nondescript and filled with a litany of woes . Having retired from the NFL they player went on to serve in the US Congress as a House Democratic representative . AP Photo …………. …..

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Do you get the feeling that Diora Baird knows how to use that cue stick to the best of her abilities in more ways than one ?

Which would you now prefer a “hole in one ” or a “mulligan” concerning Diora ?

Manny , Manny, Manny …. Who’s Sorry Now ?

Manny , Manny, Manny …. Who’s Sorry Now ?

By tophatal

The critically acclaimed movie ” Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt , Phillip Seymour-Hoffman and Jonah Hill , celebrates the Oakland A’s and in particular GM Billy Beane’s ascent into baseball folklore as being an astute assessor baseball talent . But as of late the Athletics’ woes have been well chronicled in terms of their lack of regular and postseason success . To say that ” ineptitude” has been the face of the franchise in recent years would be an insult to the use of the word but such has been the mediocrity of the organization that it has myself wondering in particular, why any major league player would want to don an Oakland A’s uniform !

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Now having seen the AL West in terms of this past season with the domination of the division by the Texas Rangers as the divisional champions for the last two years as well as the AL pennant representative in the World Series in 2010 and 2011 . This has to grate on the nerves of the long suffering A’s fans seeing the rise in the dominance of the Texas Rangers and seeing financial acumen shown by GM Jon Daniels and the front office of the Texas Rangers . Money is of no object for the now resurgent ball-club with the vast financial resources at their disposal . A two decade $3 billion television deal that affords the organization leeway in acquiring talent at the drop of a hat , of which $100 million was made available to the Rangers this off-season . It would appear that the league has essentially become about “the have’s” and “have nots “ with the likes of the Texas Rangers near the top of the food chain , whereby they can now challenge the likes of the Boston Red Sox , Los Angeles Angels , New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies .

The Oakland A’s ballpark at times has been bare in terms of fan attendance for their home games and this was noticeably so this past season . Sparsely attended and with winning results coming at an inconsistent pace it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the team barely being able to remain within posting close to a .500 record (74-88) for 2011 . Billy Beane for his part knows that this team needs to bolstered from an offensive standpoint if they are to viewed as a competitive threat within the division (AL West) and most certainly as a viable candidate for a wildcard berth .

If the rumors now swirling are to be believed then it would appear that Billy Beane is intent on acquiring ……. Manny Ramirez as a DH and play various parts of the out-field for the team. The now disgraced former big leaguer , fell from grace last season having retired abruptly, rather than face a second 50 game suspension for a violation of the league’s substance abuse program . Barely contributing for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 Ramirez in for all of his off-field issues remains an enigma and a pariah within the game . There’s no doubt that Manny Ramirez when his head is focused on the game is a big time player who can hit for power and of which his run productivity cannot be denied .

I am not so sure that it would be prudent for Beane to sign the player even if it were to one year deal or otherwise ! That is unless team owner Lew Wolff feels it worthwhile as a lure to get fans’ interests piqued at the prospect of seeing the player in A’s uniform . Though acquiring the player might not be viewed as a great financial risk given their payroll , which is amongst the lowest within baseball . And for those who still feel that the premise of the “Moneyball” aspect can still prove to be pertinent in today’s game , ask yourself how that has been working out favor of the A’s overall financial viability and their success as of late ? Being financially frugal can only get you so far but it would appear that either Wolff is unwilling to increase payroll or he’s simply happy with his lot of seeing the baseball club repeatedly being viewed as an “also ran ” amongst the teams within the league . The apathy amongst the A’s fans seems palatable within their fan-base but I guess it now goes with the territory , given the team’s recent lack of success !

With a relatively young core that makes up this roster it has to be said that if patience is the virtue upon which Billy Beane is hoping to build this team’s future upon while these players acclimatize themselves to the rigors of the game at present he may well be ill served to continue along this path. How much longer can he feel that this organization proceed under this premise ? And the mere fact that the front office and in particular Lew Wolff is waiting upon some sort of resolution to be forthcoming from the league hierarchy led by Bud Selig as to the A’s wish to relocate makes this organization’s situation all the more comical . The commissioner at present seems to be none too interested in the plight of the Oakland A’s as he looks forward to the upcoming season and the inauguration of the Miami Marlins’ new ballpark . Perhaps if Wolff and his partners fawned over Selig and the hierarchy , while brow-beating the city of Oakland then perhaps their wish to have an all new purpose built facility might well have been fast-tracked . Anyone who is aware as to the back door dealings with regard to the Marlins’ stadium issue must now know _____ that deal is now the subject of a federal investigation being conducted by the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) in conjunction with the US Justice Department . Chances are those involved subject to a subpoena will for now remain tight lipped rather than implicating themselves in any possible wrongdoing .

Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin , while he and his coaching staff are expected tutor many of the young players on this team . with a view to bringing out the best in the talents of Jemile Weeks , Scott Sizemore , Cliff Pennington , Ryan Sweeney , Dallas Braden , Josh Reddick and Brandon Allen to name but a few on this current roster . It will be interesting to see how those players handle themselves this upcoming season in comparison to 2011 when their problems were quantified in so many areas , in terms of a lack of run productivity . However what truly plagued the team was their poor defense throughout much of the season which proved to be costly in seemingly allowing their opponents win a number of games that were well within the A’s grasp.

As Spring Training comes around , it will certainly be interesting to see the guise that the Oakland Athletics’ roster will take. As the team’s aspirations take shape for the organization , Bob Melvin and his staff will try their utmost to create the momentum needed before the regular season begins . Are the A’s capable of pulling off a major surprise and competing at a high level this season ? Well that remains to be seen but it is becoming increasingly clear that after years in the doldrums it has to be now or never , rather than the continued excuses proffered up by their fans , and what appears to be on the surface the inability of the front office , coaching staff and players to prove to show that this organization is capable of competing alongside that of their peers.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The future of Manny Ramirez to my mind within the game of baseball is a major gamble for any team willing to take the player, be it on a whim or out of necessity ! As a player , Ramirez has shown that his ego needs to be massaged by his manager and at the moment of any real sign of adversity he is not always willing step up to the plate . Furthermore , with his already tarnished image and continued demeanor why would any team at this juncture be willing to take a chance on the player ? What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the possibility of the Oakland A’s acquiring Manny Ramirez ? Do you feel that his addition will be of benefit to the team or a hindrance ? Chime in on this , and any other topic you feel of relevance as it relates to the A’s , Spring Training and the Opening Day of the regular season in Major League Baseball (MLB) .

Alan aka tophatal …………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (L) speaks, while Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge (R) looks on, at a press conference in Tokyo on January 16, 2012. Melvin and Wedge announced that the Athletics and Mariners will play for their opening Major League Baseball games at the Tokyo Dome stadium in March. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO ….

(2) Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge, center, gestures with Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin, left, and Mariners special consultant Ken Griffey Jr. after a press conference in Tokyo, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. The Mariners and Athletics will open next season in Japan with a two-game series at the Tokyo Dome on March 28 and 29. AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi ………

(3) Josh Willingham (16) of the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in a game in Arlington on July 9, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …..

(4) Oakland Athletics’ owner Lewis Wolff , right, talks with vice president and general manager Billy Beane during the A’s spring training baseball workout in Phoenix, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. Beane, the architect behind Oakland’s four division titles since 2000, was rewarded with a seven-year contract extension Wednesday, June 13, 2007. AP Photo/Eric Risberg …….

(5) Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman (left) is seen here alongside team signings …. Johnny Damon (center) and Manny Ramirez prior to the start of the 2011 season . Also in picture is the team’s manager Joe Maddon . Ramirez’s tenure with the team was short-lived with the player abruptly retiring after it was announced that he had violated the league’s substance policy for a second time . AP Photo /Erica Cresswell …..

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MLB news

Oakland Athletics’ news

Oaklan Athletics’ roster

Oakland A’s coaching staff

Oakland A’s front office

Oakland A’s history

Oakland A’s postseason history

Oakland A’s year by year results

A’s Hall of famers & A’s retired numbers

A’s All Stars & Awards

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MLB final standings on closing day of the 2011 regular season …… Wildcard standings on final day of the 2011 season

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll.

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Elita Lofblad (laying down) & a friend . What’s not to like ?

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Raychel Frew covering up some quantitative assets . And why not might I ask ? .

You Don’t Like What You See ? Well If It’s Not Broken Then It Doesn’t Need Fixing ……

You Don’t Like What You See ? Well If It’s Not Broken Then It Doesn’t Need Fixing ……

By tophatal …………

I’m not about to complain as what would be the use ? With the NBA season now in full swing and almost a quarter of the way through its truncated 66 game schedule , I’ve been told that the play of the teams has actually been very good. Perhaps I might have missed something given the mediocre start to the season for the Detroit Pistons , Sacramento Kings , Washington Wizards , Charlotte Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets . Now while the teams mentioned are either propping up their divisions or for that matter their respective conferences , it has to be said that there are a number of teams that came flying out of the gate much to everyone’s surprise .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The Chicago Bulls , Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks are currently the three divisional leaders within the Eastern Conference . Meanwhile , in the Western Conference those positions within divisions there are led by Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs . Certainly from an offensive standpoint it should come as no surprise that the Miami Heat leads the leads the league in terms offense averaging 106.6 points per game . And from a conference standpoint the team holds that similar position within the East , whereas within the Western Conference that lofty perch is held by the Denver Nuggets .

Defensively , some teams have been very efficient in this specific category but by far the worst defensive franchise has to be the Charlotte Bobcat who are allowing a staggering 101.7 points a game . Paul Silas as coach of the Bobcats cannot be entirely happy with the lack of cohesion he is seeing from this team and their defensive capabilities . And it certainly doesn’t get any better when you peruse the Western Conference in this specific category where the struggling ….. Sacramento Kings are left looking up at everyone else.

Now it would be remiss to suggest that while these teams seek to acclimatize themselves as to the rigors of a reduced schedule we would expect to see a great deal more efficiency from those very same franchises. But herein lies the caveat to this all , while the NBA lockout was actually in place , many of the league’s more high profiled stars were simply on the road parlaying their skills as an image seeking device to curry favor with the fans , through in essence what were charity exhibition games being staged for their entertainment . If anything it would have been in those players’ benefit had they been simply practicing with their respective teammates. But so ego driven has the NBA become , most certainly with many of its stars that the narcissism when exhibited can be truly obsequious ! I was told by a patron that the league would be as good as ever, once the players began to get their rhythm back we would see the players at their very best . From a scoring standpoint LeBron James , Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are the dominant players with the NBA when it comes to showing their offensive prowess this season.

If the league wants to feel reinvigorated as it meanders along its schedule this year then we have to see a greater commitment from all of the teams and simply not a lackadaisical effort from some , while others simply slay an opponent with ease. The weaker teams within the league are either clearly bereft of talent or one could suggest that the coaches at present are not particularly good . I’ll let you be the judge of that considering there are currently only three head coaches within the NBA that have won an NBA title . Gregg Popovich (4) , Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers at one apiece are the sole recipients of a title currently leading their respective franchises as coaches. As to what that says about the longevity of a head coach in today’s league may well have something to do with success and in particular the stranglehold that Phil Jackson had as an NBA coach during his tenure within the league .

The former Lakers’ and Bulls’ coach dominated the league with a total of 11 NBA titles acquired from thirteen Finals’ appearances , much as in the same the late John Wooden with his UCLA Bruins dominated the collegiate basketball landscape during their unprecedented reign . And the debate will always continue as to whether or not Jackson is as good as a coach Red Auerbach and whether or not he would have won as many titles , first and foremost , had he not had the privilege of coaching the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with that particular franchise. The naysayers are still adamant that Phil Jackson was simply not that good a coach , having moved on the coach the Los Angeles Lakers , thereby adding another 5 titles to his resume` while coaching two future Hall of Famers in Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal . My own thoughts on the matter , simply judge the coach upon his credentials , and that at the end of the day the body of his work simply speaks for itself ! Then further ask yourself , as a coach, did he make the players in question that he coached over the course of his tenure any better ?

In light of last season’s first round exit to the Memphis Grizzlies’ the San Antonio Spurs might just be seeing the last remnants of their “Big Three” side by side . Age being the determining factor has led to a situation where Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker are to an extent being used sparingly by head coach Gregg Popovich. The coach knows that if this team in its present guise are to avoid another first round postseason debacle , then the trio in question will have to be healthy but above all playing at high level of intensity . If anything the real problem for the Spurs this season has been the troubling issue of winning on the road and that is something that could come back to bite the team in the proverbial ass . In their last 10 games the team is a healthy 7-3 but if they are to rebound from this all then the team will have to see a much greater contribution from the likes Kawhi Leonard , Dejuan Blair , Thiago Splitter , Matt Bonner and Richard Jefferson .

While I believe that the San Antonio Spurs are a playoff caliber team my overall biggest concern as I alluded to earlier , will be the health of the team’s celebrated trio. Leading the Southwest Division within the Western Conference the club has 3 game lead over their closest rivals the Memphis Grizzlies , followed by the reigning NBA champion the Dallas Mavericks , Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets .

In the aftermath of the David Stern mandated trade of Chris Paul the New Orleans Hornets now look a shell of the team from last year . Following Paul out from the Hornets is power forward David West . And anyone of the belief that GM Dell Demps is of the opinion that this current squad is competent enough to compete within their division and the league as whole has to be in complete denial . This is a poorly coached team that is so bereft of leadership and talent but what might be even more telling concerning the organization is the very fact that the attendance for the Hornets have been falling precipitously low . The New Orleans Hornets remains league owned , and clearly whatever thoughts David Stern may well have had concerning an impending sale with a possible suitor waiting in the wings just isn’t happening at the moment . The commissioner and no one publicly from within the league hierarchy has stated whether or not a potential sale of the New Orleans Hornets is now imminent .

GM Danny Ainge could well be pressed into doing the unthinkable should he feel it necessary as witnesses the uneven start to the season by the Boston Celtics . As the organization’s general manager both he and Doc Rivers reached the pinnacle of their careers as a front office executive and coach , having won an NBA title . Rivers led the team to their 15th title 2008 and the adulation from the Celtics’ fans was not missed by Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce . During the off-season there swirling rumors that Ainge was interested trading guard Rajon Rondo who has been the linchpin and fulcrum of the team over the past three seasons .

What initially was seen as something of a face saving perhaps a financially motivated move Danny Ainge team traded big men Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis in the past year , and in many respects those moves have hindered the team from an offensive standpoint . Thirteen games into their season the Boston Celtics have posted a 5-8 record sit third behind the behind the New York Knicks , and the surprisingly vibrant Philadelphia Sixers who lead the Atlantic Division with a mark of 10-4 as of the 19th January 2012. Sixers’ coach Doug Collins a veteran professional amongst his peers . It is clear that since former TNT analyst assumed control of this team it would appear that the players found a new lease of life , and to my mind they have been the biggest surprise within the NBA this season ! On Saturday the Sixers are the guests of the Miami Heat , who themselves do not seem to be overwhelming their opponents at present in spite of the belief that this team has the most depth of any franchise in the NBA . Those claims at present are now open to conjecture and great deal of debate.

If ever there’s said to be a coach under a great deal of pressure this season then it may well the Los Angeles Lakers’ Mike Brown . Having succeeded Phil Jackson , after being hired by GM Mitch Kupchak at the behest of team owner Dr Jerry Buss and his son Stephen Buss . It has to be said and with the internal upheaval of the playing staff with the departure of Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks amongst other things , you now have to wonder what direction this team will now head in under the coaching authority of Brown. Many questioned the maneuver in trading Odom after the Lakers’ overture play to obtain Chris Paul was over-ridden by David Stern . There were those who made the asinine claims that this would in essence save the Lakers’ money due the fact that with the new collective bargaining agreement which in many ways is ambiguous . Moreover , the commissioner’s actions cannot be seen as impartial . And Stern, himself in the aftermath of his mea-culpa admitted his lack of communicating his edict fully . But herein lies my own thinking on this debacle if the commissioner’s intent was in trying to do his utmost in acting in the best interests of the New Orleans Hornets , then surely it would have been in seeking a quick and easy resolution in actively pursuing the sale of the basketball franchise .

The sheer and utter stupidity of David Stern’s inaction and that of the league hierarchy indicates that his tenure has become autocratic and obtuse . Not only is Stern’s image now even more tarnished than ever before but it also makes the NBA’s own claim of being a fraternity of equals somewhat naive . No one within this forum has even tried to even make the suggestion hierarchy has even acted with any sort of impartiality in this resolve. And the utter idiocy of the claims made by NBA analysts such as Stephen A. Smith and Steve Kerr that the commissioner exceeded his authority , comes from a duo of buffoons whose business acumen is as bloated as their damn egos ! If either hadn’t spent so much time trying to come across as being insiders with their so called knowledge of the NBA and actually provide some real insight into the game certainly believe that the fans of the game would be more appreciative ! It is akin to suggesting that Ben Bernanke’s success as head of the Federal Reserve can be seen as an utter success given his handling of the monetary policy of the country and that of the economy at large . Or dare one say that Tim Geithner’s insight as to the health of the US economy and his claims that the financial bailout of both the automotive industry and financial sector has been of benefit to the country overall ? . Given the fact that both Geithner and Bernanke are still in denial as to how it is that there has been little oversight as to how taxpayers’ monies were disbursed and its use by the banks in its receipts used those funds still doesn’t sit well with the electorate at large . And one might also ask at what juncture will the taxpayers receive a full return of the $185 billion ($185,000,000,000) paid out to insurance giant AIG ?

Neither Smith of Kerr for that matter cared to address their own thoughts on the impending future of the New Orleans Hornets and the very fact that as a business concern within the NBA , they are one of the least profitable franchises and least supported teams in terms of their attendance within the league. So much so , that the stark decline of fans for their home games has been so glaring. And now having lost both Chris Paul and David West , one must now wonder hat the future now holds for the Hornets ? No marquee name recognition amongst the current roster and a franchise that now seems to be spiraling out of control in terms of their inconsistent on-court displays . The future of the franchise on the face of it might not seem perilous but one wonders what steps might well be taken to secure its very survival by the league . Your thoughts on the matter ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the NBA almost at its quarter mark in their 66 game schedule what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the performances of the teams thus far ? Also do you believe that the league hierarchy’s handling of the Chris Paul debacle could have been handled dealt with by the NBA commissioner ? By all means do leave a comment as the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent with regard to the league this season . Thanks as always for the continued support , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Memphis Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay (22) takes a shot over Detroit Pistons’ Jason Maxiell (54) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Auburn Hills, Mich. Gay led all players with 24 points in a 98-81 win over the Pistons. AP Photo/Duane Burleson …..

(2) Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol (9), of Spain, takes a shot against Detroit Pistons’ Greg Monroe (10) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Auburn Hills, Mich. AP Photo/Duane Burleson ……

(3) Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins , left, talks to Lou Williams (11) as they play against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan, 20, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(4) Philadelphia 76ers’ Elton Brand , left, and Jeff Teague (23) defend as Atlanta Hawks’ Ivan Johnson , center, drives into the lane in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan, 20, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(5) Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah (13) drives to the lane against Cleveland Cavaliers’ Semih Erden (9) , of Turkey, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012. The Bulls would go on to defeat the Cavaliers in a “blowout victory” 114-75 . AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …..

(6) Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce (34) passes in front of Phoenix Suns’ Marcin Gortat (4) in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer ……..

(7) New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams watches his team play the Houston Rockets in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in Houston. The Rockets won 90-88 in overtime. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan …….

(8) New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Kaman (35) walks off the court as Houston Rockets’ Kyle Lowry (7) and Kevin Martin celebrate the Rockets’ 90-88 win in overtime in an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in Houston. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan …

(9) Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) shoots past Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. Orlando won 92-80 . AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(10) Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) drives around Orlando Magic’s Von Wafer , left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux …..

(11) Sacramento Kings’ Marcus Thornton (23) drives to the basket during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in San Antonio. The Kings would stun the Spurs by eking out a 88-86 victory . AP Photo/Eric Gay ……

(12) Sacramento Kings’ Jason Thompson (34) and San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) reach for a rebound during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in San Antonio. Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard (2) looks on. AP Photo/Eric Gay … …..

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Alan aka tophatal ……….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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NBA news

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

NBA schedule & results

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Hot chic pic of the day Jaime Hammer . And I certainly know what I’d like to “nail ” her with !

Alan aka tophatal ……….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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NBA news

Simply Looking For A Few Good Men …………..

Simply Looking For A Few Good Men

By tophatal

Well now that the NFL regular season is out of the way we are now down to the conference championship games themselves . The AFC and NFC match-ups are both being staged and televised this weekend with the New England Patriots playing host to the Baltimore Ravens while the San Francisco 49ers have the privilege having the New York Giants as their guests at Candlestick Park , San Francisco , California.

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If anything these two games were not necessarily the match-ups that most fans had envisaged but such are the vagaries of the NFL this postseason that just about anything has happened and will continue to happen. For the coaches in question , Bill Belichick , John Harbaugh , Jim Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin this will add to their already successful careers within the NFL. Belichick and Coughlin between them have more than thirty years of coaching experience within league as well having 4 Superbowl triumphs between them . And when one considers the very real possibility that the siblings, John and Jim Harbaugh could very well face off against each other at the Superbowl (SBXLVI) should their respective teams prevail this weekend .

I’ve never been one to be a prognosticator but I do know that whatever the outcome we are liable to be thoroughly entertained by a quartet of teams whose seasons seems to have mirrored their play during the regular season and into the postseason . And for the quarterbacks now entrusted to lead their teams , let’s just say that Joe Flacco , Tom Brady , Alex Smith and Eli Manning have proven themselves this postseason . The offenses and defenses of the teams also have played their part in the teams’ success.

Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants have belied logic as their season progressed and though the awe inspired play of Eli Manning has been lauded to my mind it has been the team’s defense that has simply got the Giants to where they now are . For the 49ers it has been about the resurrection of Alex Smith , the reclamation of Vernon Davis as a player and to the bewilderment of us all the San Francisco 49ers are now relevant once again . Trent Baalke as the team’s general manager has certainly worked hard to rebuild the reputation and personnel by drafting prudently over the past few seasons .

The Baltimore Ravens have simply gotten over the hump by finally proving that they are capable of winning the big games when it mattered most . They simply made sure of that by winning their season series against the Pittsburgh Steelers within the AFC North . That along with what appears to be the improved play of Joe Flacco this season and the forceful presence of Ray Rice as an all-purpose running back has made the Ravens a force to be reckoned with not just on defense but also from an offensive standpoint as well . Maurice Jones-Drew may well have won the rushing title this season amassing 1606 yards but he was not able to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars anywhere that really mattered and the team’s poor play simply led to the firing of Jack Del Rio by general manager Gene Smith .

OK, so we know of the failings of the Patriots’ defense throughout much of the regular season . So porous has been the unit when it comes to defending the pass that it has me wondering whether or not Bill Belichick has truly been the coordinator or simply playing the role merely for the benefit of the camera ! Luckily enough for the Patriots’ secondary it has been the offense that has come to the rescue when it mattered most with the team’s pair of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez laying waste to the opposition over the course of the season . It should be very interesting to see how the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens look to negate each others’ strengths and weaknesses when this game sets about in its process of determining a victor.

So it looks as if the Texas Rangers have made the big splash they wanted all along this off-season with the organization acquiring Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish from the Nippon Ham Fighters . General Manager Jon Daniels and team president Nolan Ryan had to pay a hefty price for the privilege of making the player an addition to this already potent Texas Rangers’ roster .

With team manager Ron Washington having been disappointed over the past two seasons in leading the team to the “Fall Classic” where they would each time suffer a series’ defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants (2010) and the St Louis Cardinals ….( 2011 ) , you simply have to wonder whether or not the team now has what it takes to actually win a World Series’ title . For the last two successive seasons as the AL pennant winners to have suffered the ignominy the defeats in such a fashion can’t be good for the Texas Rangers’ psyche or that of their fans. And given the fact that the front office with the financial resources at their disposal don’t seem to be afraid the money if the talent available will be of benefit to the team . Having spent a mere $51 million for the rights to simply negotiate with Yu Darvish and his team , the Rangers have now offered the player a five year $60 million deal . So in essence a $110 million commitment will be made to a player with as such no proven track record within MLB . But it is a mere pittance when one considers what is now being paid on an annual basis to the top starting pitchers within the game

There’s no denying that the Rangers have a potent offense led by Josh Hamilton , Michael Young and Elvis Andrus that stacks up pretty well against the rest of the respondents within the AL and all of baseball as a whole . However it was the pitching woes that simply derailed the Rangers’ ineffectiveness alongside that of their inconsistent hitting that simply derailed their hopes in 2010 and 2011 , as they sought to win their very first World Series’ title . As to what 2012 might have in store for the team will be predicated upon the performances of Yu Darvish and the rest of this Texas Rangers’ pitching roster which will have the Japanese star quite possibly as the number two starter in the rotation .

Now there’s no denying that with Arte Moreno and the Los Angeles Angels making that robust acquisition in signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year $254 million deal that simply made all other transactions this off-season all but mute . One has to ask how teams are expected to compete across the competitive and financial landscape of the game. game ? Team salaries in some cases are rising exponentially , albeit , that revenues are on the increase but with the league hierarchy giving very little information as to the financial stability of the teams within baseball one can only speculate as to their overall health. We do know this however , the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets have been hemorrhaging red ink across their balance sheets due to the financial mismanagement of those teams by their respective owners . My question remains , how many other teams are in, if not close to either bankruptcy or quite possibly are fighting for their very survival ? It is clear that this is something that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and team owners would rather keep under wraps , away from the prying eyes of the fans and the public and the press at large ! Given the fact that the journalists who cover the sport only seem keen to report the rather mundane , rather than the real issues at hand concerning the game is it any surprise that these are the very same idiots who missed the boat completely concerning the “steroid issue” and rampant misuse of illicit substances ?

With the Texas Rangers over the past two seasons having won the AL West it will be interesting to see what sort of challenges they will face from the other residents within the division. Most notably from the Los Angeles Angels , Seattle Mariners and , Oakland A’s . However; with it still being unclear as to when the Houston Astros will be entering the division with there being an agreement in principle for the team to be realigned and moved to the division . It is a safe bet to say that until it is actually finalized we will continue to see for now the AL West remain a four team division until officially notified . Astros’ owner James Crane had to receive a financial inducement from the league in order to agree to the move , having bought the organization from Drayton McClane for a reputed $756 million . Money not necessarily well spent given the fact that the Houston Astros in recent years have been one of the least successful and least supported teams in terms of attendance within the game .

Now I would like to think that with the addition of Yu Darvish to the Texas Rangers , with the team having lost former starting pitcher C J Wilson to free agency and the Los Angels Angels there may well be a chance for them to compete successfully this upcoming season . However, much of that will be predicated upon the mindset of the players on this staff and whether or not the remnants of 2010 and 2011 are things of the past . If it is , then they should be successful and quite possibly be seen as a viable candidate for the postseason but most certainly amongst the favorites within the AL not just for the pennant but also the World Series , itself. But if it is not , then look for the Texas Rangers to quite possibly struggle throughout much of their season and beyond .

San Francisco Giants’ starting pitcher Tim Lincecum , a two time Cy Young Award winner now in the process of arbitration with the organization is said to be looking for a salary increase that would see it rise from the present $11,500,000 , to a one year request of $21.5 million . Now don’t get me wrong , I believe Lincecum to be one of the very best pitchers in baseball and if anything perhaps the second best overall behind the Detroit Tigers’ ….. Justin Verlander .

Inasmuch I believe this system to be flawed it is the best that it would appear baseball’s hierarchy and the union (MLBPA) can come up with . But it would certainly help if the team owners would show some restraint from the very outset and there being some clear lines of demarcation in the process by the arbitrators . And as of late the owners simply haven’t shown that , while the blithering buffoons within the league hierarchy carry on as if nothing is awry !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In anticipation of the upcoming NFL conference championship games this weekend what if anything are you most looking forward to ? And in the case of the Texas Rangers acquiring Yu Darvish how do you see the team’s season panning out ? By all means simply leave comment on the points raised within this piece and on anything else you believe to pertinent . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin encourages his players during an NFL football practice Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers in the NFC championship game on Sunday, Jan. 22. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(2) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh addresses the media during a news conference as the George S. Halas Trophy given to the winner of the NFC championship, is displayed between helmets of the 49ers and the New York Giants, at the team’s NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. The 49ers host the Giants on Sunday, Jan. 22, in the NFC championship. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …..

(3) San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis addresses the media during a news conference at the team’s NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. The 49ers host the New York Giants on Sunday, Jan. 22, in the NFC championship. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….

(4) FILE – In this Nov. 24, 2011 file photo, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, foreground, stands alongside his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, before an NFL football game in Baltimore. The Harbaughs, separated in age by all of 15 months, have taken different paths to find themselves one win from facing off in the Super Bowl. AP Photo/Nick Wass …..

(5) Japanese media members attend a press conference as the Texas Rangers announced the signing of Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Japan’s best pitcher and the Texas Rangers agreed before Wednesday’s deadline to a $60 million, six-year contract. In addition to the salary, the Rangers will pay a posting fee of about $51.7 million to pay to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League. AP Photo/Brandon Wade …..

(6) From left to right, Texas Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels, Yu Darvish representatives Arn Tellem and Don Nomura speak to reporters during a news conference to announce the signing of Japanese pitching sensation Darvish, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The two-time defending AL champions signed a multi-year deal with Darvish before their 30-day negotiating window ended Wednesday at 4 p.m. CST. Texas last month bid a record $51.7 million under the posting system to win the right just to negotiate with the 25-year-old pitcher. AP Photo/Brandon Wade …….

(7) FILE – In this March 22, 2009 file photo, Japan relief pitcher Yu Darvish reacts after striking out United States’ Adam Dunn for the final out in a World Baseball Classic game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. For Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers, it’s deadline day. The AL champion Rangers are at the end of their 30-day negotiating window to agree to a contract with Japan’s top pitcher that they bid a record $51.7 million just to talk to player’s team , the Nippon Ham Tigers to start the negotiated rights for Darvish . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(8) FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2011, file photo, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) delivers a pitch during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Francisco. Lincecum has asked for $21.5 million in salary arbitration and been offered $17 million. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner’s request Tuesday, Jan. 17. 2012, neared the record amount sought in arbitration. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….

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Victoria  Daineko/

Hot chic pic of the day Victoria Daineko & Jo Garcia (below) . .

Jo  Garcia/

Jo Garcia … who wouldn’t want to dip their hands into her fruit basket ?

Swimming With Sharks ……………

Swimming With Sharks

By tophatal ……

Well it would appear that the NFL coaching carousel has now reached unimaginable heights of ridicule with the latest victim being Indianapolis Colts’ coach Jim Caldwell who was summarily fired by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay . With the Irsay having already made the decision to jettison former team president Bill Polian and his son Chris Polian , two former executives within the organization . Now as we all know the team had its worst season in the NFL finishing at the bottom of the AFC South and they did in fact bear the worst record in the league , posting a 2-14 mark.

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FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2011, file photo, Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, left, speaks with injured quarterback Peyton Manning before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. The Colts fired Caldwell on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Caldwell just finished his third and worst season as head coach of the Colts, who stumbled to a 2-14 finish without Manning. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

And though the Indianapolis Colts shared the same record with the St Louis Rams by virtue of better conference record it will be the Colts who will have the privilege of taking the first pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft . The consensus appears to be that the front office will stake Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck number one overall. Now the firing of Jim Caldwell has struck me by surprise as I felt that he was not the problem concerning the woes of this team throughout the course of the season ! The loss of Peyton Manning prior to the start of the season was one of the many issues that faced the team . But herein likes the real issue the team acquiring Kerry Collins and then with aged veteran performing poorly it was left to backups Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky to steer this team over its schedule. Suffice to say , that all three were a shadow of what Manning on his worst day would appear to be .

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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, left, speaks during a news conference as general manager Ryan Grigson listens at the NFL football team’s headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Colts announced the firing of coach Jim Caldwell. AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff tried their level best to get this team to play with any amount of resolve and zeal that it might possess. And the team’s cause certainly wasn’t helped with the very fact that their secondary was amongst the worst performing in the league and the offense lacked real penetration. From my own perspective the firing of Caldwell along with what now appears to be the ever-growing uncertainty as to the immediate future of four-time league MVP Peyton Manning . The player is owed a $28 million roster bonus that is due by 8th March 2012 . Manning will of course have to prove his fitness but at the same time should the team choose to cut the player they are still liable for a great part of his salary due for 2012. The 96 million five year contract signed by the player in conjunction with input provided by his agent Tom Condon says a great deal about the willingness of the front office to secure the player to long term future with the organization. But it would now appear that Jim Irsay in light of the mea-culpa by Bill Polian, now looks to rid himself of the last remnants of Polian and it might now include the quarterback that his guided the franchise to a great deal of success over the past decade . One should note , that prior to his being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1997 , success for the organization was rarely seen and there were scant rewards for the fans.

In the fifteen years that Manning has been with the franchise he has simply rewritten the franchise’s record books as well as number of NFL records along the way as a quarterback.

Now any search that is said to be taking place that will no doubt be overseen by Polian’s successor will have to be done with a great deal of expediency . Granted , the postseason prohibits any approach to the coaching staffs of the teams still involved in NFL playoffs . So for now teams such as Baltimore Ravens , New England Patriots , New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers their coaching staffs remain off-limits until the culmination of the postseason on 5th February , the night of the Superbowl (SBXLVI).

Names that will no doubt be a matter of conjecture and speculation as it relates to this particular vacancy will doubt have the likes of Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher , Mike Sherman and perhaps Brian Billick interested . The Indianapolis Colts know that if they are to make a prudent choice that it would have to be a coach with name recognition and some who can be a lure to potential free agents . One can either view this decision as a monumental mistake by Jim Irsay or simply a situation where the owner felt it best to clean house . Given the sheer and utter irrationality of the firing of Hue Jackson by the Oakland Raiders’ front office led by team owner Mark Davis and the team’s newly installed GM Reggie McKenzie , it begs the question are the NFL coaches now swimming in shark infested waters , wherein the team owners are liable apportion blame elsewhere for the misjudgment made themselves and that of their general managers ?

It should come as no surprise that former Tennessee Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher is back amongst the coaching ranks of the NFL , with him having accepted the position to coach the St Louis Rams . Team owner Stanley Kroenke made the announcement public and it will now be left to Fisher along with his new coaching staff to assess the merits of the team as they move forward. Jeff Fisher succeeds Steve Spagnuolo whose three years at the helm of the Rams the team’s former coach guided them to a 10-38 record , a meager return over that period of time .

Fisher may well have more to work with in terms of the talent on hand with the St Louis Rams with 2009 top draft pick …… Sam Bradford at the quarterback position. Apart from Bradford the team also can call upon the talents of running back Stephen Jackson who seemed to have re-found the form that made him one of the most potent running backs in the NFL . Granted , this season we have seen the rise of Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew simply lighting up the NFL this season with their prowess.

The biggest issue facing Jeff Fisher may well his concerns the health of Sam Bradford with the player having recurring injuries throughout much of the St Louis Rams’ season along with a concussion which obviously has to be a major concern for the front office of the Rams and the league hierarchy as a whole , given the misplaced stupidity shown by the Cleveland Browns and their dealing with the same issue concerning the team’s quarterback Colt McCoy . I will continue to maintain that something that borders on being the incapacity of player such as one of the league’s major quarterbacks before they will actually do something proactive concerning the treatment of players suffering a concussion during a game . So ridiculous has the situation now become that they now see fit to have only a physical trainer up in the booths where adjudicating officials preside over calls that are not cleared by the sideline officials. One would have thought will the millions of dollars spent on team salaries the very least that could be done by the NFL is to have a neurosurgeon on hand up in the booth , rather than a mere physical trainer who may not be able be truly cognizant of the game time effects of a concussion on a player at the time.

Added to this whole charade by the NFL hierarchy has been the very fact that there has been clear evidence that points to the cause and effect of blunt head force trauma caused by repeated helmet to helmet hits during a game . Punitive fines to players certainly hasn’t deterred the actions of a number of players . What is even more asinine is that the players themselves are not too clear as to what is said to be legal in terms of a legitimate or illegitimate hit . It has been this sort of lack communicative skill from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , who to my mind at times is simply posturing to the owners , rather than doing what it is the best interest of the game and the safety of the players. Never mind the fact that the players’ own representative the NFLPA led by DeMaurice Smith has truly done little over the years to abate this glaring crisis within their midst . Instead , both Goodell and Smith have spoon fed the public a great deal of fecal matter for their consumption and unfortunately the fans have actually bought into the feces being shoveled their way !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the NFL postseason now in hand what thoughts if any do you have concerning the firing of Jim Caldwell ? And are the Indianapolis Colts capable of resurrecting their fortunes without Peyton Manning at the helm as the team’s quarterback ? By all means do take time to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details .
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(1) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay , left, speaks during a news conference as general manager Ryan Grigson listens at the NFL football team’s headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Colts announced the firing of coach Jim Caldwell. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(2) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, left, speaks during a news conference as general manager Ryan Grigson listens at the NFL football team’s headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Colts announced the firing of coach Jim Caldwell. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(3) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FILE: Jim Caldwell the Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts watches the game action in the Colts 17-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was reported that the Indianapolis Colts have fired coach Jim Caldwell who was 2-14 this season, 2 weeks after firing vice chairman Bill Polian. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …..

(4) FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2011, file photo, Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, left, speaks with injured quarterback Peyton Manning before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. The Colts fired Caldwell on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Caldwell just finished his third and worst season as head coach of the Colts, who stumbled to a 2-14 finish without Manning. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(5) Jon Gruden could the former Bucaaneer’ coach and present ESPN NFL analyst be atop of the list of candidates that the Colts’ front office will seek out to gauge his interest in their vacant head coaching position ? Courtesy of US Presswire ……

(6) St. Louis Rams’ team owner Stan Kroenke speaks during a news conference where Jeff Fisher was officially introduced as the new head football coach of the St. Louis Rams NFL team, in St. Louis, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2012. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ….

(7) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and teammate James Laurinitis watch a news conference where Jeff Fisher was officially introduced as the new head football coach of the St. Louis Rams NFL team, in St. Louis, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2012. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ……

(8) EARTH CITY, MO – JANUARY 17: (L TO R) St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, new head coach Jeff Fisher and Executive Vice President of Football Operations & Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff take questions from the media during a press conference at the Russell Training Center on January 17, 2012 in Earth City, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ………

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert , left, talks with team president Mike Holmgren during practice at the NFL football team’s training camp in Berea, Ohio. After a tumultuous 4-12 season and at the start of a critical off-season, Holmgren and Heckert have to decide who will be their quarterback and what else they can do to fix the Browns. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ………

(10) FILE _ In this Oct. 23, 2011 file photo, Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur , left, talks with quarterback Colt McCoy during the second quarter in an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Cleveland. After going 4-12 in his first season as Cleveland’s coach, Shurmur said McCoy improved in his first full year but would not commit to the 25-year-old as his starter for 2012. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …….

(11) Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns lies on the ground while speaking to athletic trainers after a helmet to helmet hit from James Harrison (92) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……..

(12) Colt McCoy (12 ) of the Cleveland Browns lies injured after being hit by James Harrison (92) (not pictured ) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 14-3 . Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images ….
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Have Your People Call My People …. Let’s Make A Deal ………….

Have Your People Call My People …. Let’s Make A Deal ………….

By tophatal …..

Well with the NFL postseason all but having reached its climax we are now at the point where the championship games within both conference games have their final respondents . The AFC will see the New England Patriots play hosts to the Baltimore Ravens . Whereas , in the NFC we have the San Francisco Giants continuing their remarkable resurrection under John Harbaugh and his team hosting the conference’s road road warriors the New York Giants . Suffice to say as clear as we may now feel that the outcome of these games might seem clear-cut , on paper this past weekend’s evidence in terms of the results should tell us otherwise.

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Slide show for your perusal .

It came as no real surprise to see the Denver Broncos’ story come to an abrupt end with the team losing in such an embarrassing fashion. Hobbled by an ineffective performance by Tim Tebow the Broncos were behind the “eight ball ” right from the start. The team’s offense was woefully inept with there being very little evidence to suggest that Tebow’s growth as a <a href=”http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/stats/byposition?pos=QB&conference=NFL&year=season_2011&sort=timeframe=ToDate&old_category=QB”&gt; quarterback in the NFL is said to be heading in the right direction . Poor </</aadecision making and the very fact that the player scurrying around losing yardage for the team disengaged any advantage that John Fox and his coaching staff might have hoped from this game. On the wrong side of a 45-10 loss says a lot about the Denver Broncos and the very fact that their season as thrilling as it may well have appeared that 8-8 record simply mirrors what this team actually happens to be . And that it is a franchise , who over achieved purely from the fact that its division is extremely poor !

With the abrupt departures of both the number one and three seeds within the NFC with both the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints seeing their postseason forays completely go up in smoke . For coaches Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton they may well view this all as a reason of immense disappointment . And in Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers you have two quarterbacks who lit up the statistical charts throughout the regular and postseason . Call me naive but you have to find it astounding that the conference’s two best players at the position this regular season now happen to find themselves sitting on the sidelines along with their teammates after the most improbable of events that transpired this past weekend .

As an avid New England Patriots’ fan this match-up against the Baltimore Ravens has all the makings of a titanic battle between two teams with a great deal to prove . In the case of the Patriots it is simply to say to the naysayers ……….” we are back and we never actually left ” . For the Ravens for this team in their current guise it is their last chance for the likes of seasoned veterans Ray Lewis , Terrell Suggs , Ed Reed and Bryant McKinnie to add to their legacy . This quartet may not be fortuitous enough to make an appearance in the Superbowl at this stage of their already voluminous careers. Well that would be most definitely be the case for Suggs, Reed and Lewis given their resume`s and the numerous Pro Bowl appearances by the trio along with Bryant McKinnie .

Bill Belichick looking to make another appearance win the Superbowl , his fifth with the franchise as a coach knows that great deal is expected of this team as they prepare to host the Ravens. For much of the season the talk has been of the effectiveness of the team’s offense and how explosive it has been over the course of the regular season . Led by Tom Brady , with the productivity of tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski the Patriots have now added a new dimension to their offense . But that in of-itself clearly does not define this team but a great deal has been made of the fact that the defense of the roster still remains its’ Achilles’ heel .

It’s pretty much safe to say that this game between the Patriots should have all the makings of being an instantaneous classic in the making. We have come to know what to expect of the New England Patriots but for the Ravens although this isn’t uncharted territory Joe Flacco has a great deal to prove . Granted , this postseason the Baltimore Ravens acquitted themselves well in their dispatching of the Houston Texans in a game which was far from being thoroughly convincing on the part of the Ravens . The players on that Baltimore Ravens’ team know that they can ill afford to take this game lightly so it will be imperative for them to get off to a fast start and for their defense to essentially keep that Patriots’ offense off the field for as long as is humanly possible during this game. .

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It is not extremely difficult to understand how the New Orleans Saints succumbed to the San Francisco 49ers. Having a prolific offense is one thing but to my mind it was simply the complacency shown by Sean Payton’s team that led to their demise in the waning moment of the game between the two teams , which now sees the 49ers vying to the NFC representative in the upcoming Superbowl . All of those who are said to be in awe of the Packers and Saints must now be wondering what the hell is going on within the NFL . All the hype in the world concerning two teams that seemed to be on the path to setting up a prospective game that the vast majority of NFL might have envisaged seeing . But such a premise can be now be overlooked as neither the Packers or will be a part of the NFC championship game.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Alex Smith can be the equal of Eli Manning in what is now a highly anticipated match-up as both face off against each other this upcoming Sunday . The Niners’ athletic and stifling defense against an equally ferocious secondary of the Giants should prove to be an immensely entertaining game . Jason Pierre-Paul , Justin Tuck , Osi Umenyiora and Michael Boley will certainly be looking to negate that offense of the Niners led by Frank Gore , Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree .

For coach Tom Coughlin the chance to lead this team to another Superbowl triumph and join a select group of coaches to have won multiple Superbowls with the same franchise . At the start of the New York Giants’ season and through to just beyond its midway point there will still questions being bandied about as to whether or not Coughlin would survive bearing in mind the mid to late season meltdowns the franchise had now come to be known for over the last three years . Instead having suffered that regular season 38-35 loss to the Packers the team simply rallied around their coach and strung together a series of victories that gathered momentum and placed the Giants on the their present path. Anyone now considering to write off the team might need to now reconsider that prospect in light of the team’s defeat of the Green Bay Packers . That victory itself blew a hole in the whole in the theory that the Packers were on their way to successfully defending their title .

A possible rematch between the New England Patriots and New York Giants now seems to be in the offing and it would appear to be the most appealing of the possibilities on offer to the fans . But that premise would be based on the mere thought that both the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are simply prepared to lay down while both the Giants and Patriots march on to their prospective return of unfinished business . Something that I fully believe would wet the appetite of a a number of NFL fans !

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Over the course of this NFL postseason and specifically the divisional round which result if anything was of the biggest surprise to you ? And of the four teams now remaining duo do you ultimately see playing in the Superbowl to be staged at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana , Indianapolis . Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak listens to a question during a news conference Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, in Houston. The Texans season ended Sunday after losing to the Baltimore Ravens 20-13 . Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(2) BALTIMORE, MD – JANUARY 15: Ed Reed (20) of the Baltimore Ravens intercepts a pass intended for Andre Johnson (80) of the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Texans 20-13 . Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …

(3) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to media during his season-ending news conference at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert ….

(4) FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 14: Rob Gronkowski ( 87) of the New England Patriots celebrates by spiking the ball after he scored a 12-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots would end up defeating the Broncos 45-10 . Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …….. ….

(5) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers carries the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the third quarter of the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images ….
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