Don’t Look Now ….. But Something Rotten Smells ………. And It’s Not In Denmark
By tophatal ………
So surprisingly enough this Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is making a few heads turn and for myself as an ardent Duke (Blue Devils’) fan , having seen Mike Krzyzewski’s players all but fold their tents in an embarrassing loss . I was under the presumption that the three Florida programs left in the tournament would provide me some hope . Well unfortunately , that would not be the case as South Florida , FSU (Seminoles) and finally the Florida Gators have all bowed out . In the latter , it Billy Donovan’s ….. team having led Rick Pitino’s …. Louisville Cardinals for large stretches of the game only to succumb Peyton Siva and his teammates through the Gators showing a complete lack of defensive presence when it was needed the most .
Slide show for your perusal .
All the more surprising may well have been Ohio State’s (Buckeyes) somewhat easy defeat over the number one ranked Syracuse (Orangemen) coached by Jim Boeheim . Suffice to say , as those top seeds are being weeded out and this tournament now becomes even more wide open . And for those who still feel that John Calipari and his Kentucky (Wildcats) team have had an easy go of things during this tournament . Well , that is now about to change as they meet their in-state rivals Louisville in the Elite 8 , with the state’s bragging rights up for grabs. And at this juncture I am not so sure that you can simply state that this game is definitely the Wildcats already gift-wrapped .
What I have seen from the games that I have viewed is that nothing can be taken for granted , no matter how clear things might just appear to be . The only people who have some semblance of relief , are those still with their brackets in tact and the odds-makers in Vegas who laid the odds that simply induced the bettors to place their wagers . And right about now I would think that the odds-makes are doing well for themselves !
It is now going to be interesting to see how things play themselves out in the next series of games as precursor for the events of the Elite 8 . Say nothing of which, if anymore of those top ranked seeds do go down , where will that leave us now ?
In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers disappointing season , it would appear that there was something of an upheaval within the organization . Team offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was let go and brought in was former Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Todd Haley . This apparently didn’t sit well with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and he chose to let his thoughts be known to Mike Tomlin and the front office , likewise . That being said perhaps the most surprising move may well have been that of the organization to cut wide receiver Hines Ward , after his fourteen years of service to the Steelers . Now whether or not this had something to do with what they believed was a lack of productivity or basically a cost-cutting exercise on the part of the Pittsburgh Steelers in order to elicit cap space . The ramification is now there for all to see , an aging roster and the fact that it would appear that there was some internal friction within the Steelers’ locker room . This being a very proud and often cautiously ran organization that doesn’t court controversy and tolerate the players who tend to make fools of themselves are often discarded , rather than being retained long-term . Think Plaxico Burress , Santonio Holmes and Joey Porter and with their tendencies ____ who tend to ” say and do “u> the wrong things and you can now understand where I am coming from on this !
In the case of Ward it was never about that , as he was of a leader and a player of with skills , who if anything now had become superfluous to the team’s needs . Now out of this comes the very fact second year starter Mike Wallace who has now become one Roethlisberger’s primary receiving v targets and a constant threat on offense now sees himself as an ” elite “ elite wide receiver in the league . So much so , that with his contract pending the player seeks to be paid along the lines of the league’s best at the position . Pardon me for saying this , but as good as Wallace just happens to be , there’s no way in hell that he’s going to be getting $120 million (as part of an eight or 10 year contract) or anywhere close to that figure under my watch , if I am the general manager of the Steelers ! He is certainly not Larry Fitzgerald or for that matter Calvin “Megatron” Johnson by any stretch of the imagination ! Wallace through his agent has demanded that as a starting off point in their deliberations . Did I miss something here as to how good the wide-out believes himself to be . And as good a deep threat or close quarters’ receiver as he might happen to be at this juncture it is asking way to much of this organization to simply “place their eggs ” in one basket . Especially not when the issues of the Pittsburgh Steelers were abundantly clear for all to see this past season . Their defense became complacent , the offense way too inconsistent and Roethlisberger over the course of the season was inconsistent even by his lofty standards , which he freely admits to in the team’s final regular season close-out interviews with the press.
With Hines Ward having formally announced his retirement from the NFL , it remains to see where his career now takes him . Will it be in the booth as an air analyst with one of the major broadcast outlets or will it be in some other capacity ? Certainly , given his upbringing as biracial child , often on the receiving end of racial epithets merely because his mother was Asian and his father an African-American military serviceman . Ward’s own childhood experiences as a child growing up in the US left a great deal to be desired . It may well have been because of those experiences , it simply made him the gritty and determined player he became . If judged against other great luminaries within Steelers’ history such as John Stallworth , Lynn Swann and Franco Harris , chances are , he will be looked upon favorably when it comes to being possibly being enshrined in Canton , Ohio as a member of the Hall of Fame. His (Ward’s) figures in some cases surpass those of the aforementioned trio . And though the game has changed dramatically over the years . The inescapable of fact is that Wards joins a select group of players with over 1,000 career receptions , in excess of 10,000 career receiving yards and over 80 touchdown receptions . If those figures are not Hall of Fame worthy , besides the fact that he’s two-time Superbowl winner and a Superbowl MVP . Then can someone please explain to me what is ? Not that I give a great deal of credence half the time to NFL writers who adjudicate the nominees for the Hall of Fame to begin with ! For them . it all comes to down to favoritism , rather than subjectivity and the body of work of the players in question .
Now it’d be remiss to simply discount the Pittsburgh Steelers as an organization within the NFL . One only has to look over the course of the franchise’s history to see the success attained , their drafting of players and the Hall of Famers associated the Steelers . They are an abiding success story within the league and the franchise against which all others (NFL) should be judged . Now claims might be made by the fans of the New York Giants and New England Patriots and their success over the past decade plus, that they should also be considered elite and well ran franchises . But herein lies my thoughts as it relates to the Steelers , there's little turnover by way of the coaching staff and their front office executives tend not to make the mistakes often seen by so many franchises when it comes to the NFL Draft by way of their choices .
Needs or otherwise, the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t let the demands to Wallace or any other player on their roster for that fact trouble them in the slightest . They’ve been frugal , spending their money wisely by simply not overpaying for the talent within their midst . Whereas the likes of the Dallas Cowboys , Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins tend to back up a Brinks’ armored truck merely to make a player happy , even when that player just happens to be moderately average at best . Granted, the Raiders’ front office staff led by GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis now seem to cutting the fat from the Raiders’ roster like a surgeon who suffers from epileptic fits ! But let’s just say , that when the Raiders’ fans have questioned the fact that they (front office) fired a very good head coach in Hue Jackson , merely to that they could off with a fresh slate , then you have to wonder whether or not the late patriarch’s son has become as senile as Al Davis appeared to be in the latter days of his life as the owner of this organization !
Inasmuch as I like the Raiders as an organization , I feel that the front office has failed to recognize that times have changed and so too has the game . ! More to the point , the struggles with the franchise has always remained consistent and one can’t help but wonder what now happens with the addition of Peyton Manning into the mix , in his having joined the Denver Broncos ? If anything within the AFC West it now becomes about who wants to play ” second fiddle “ to the Broncos amongst the San Diego Chargers , Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs ? And all the more bewildering is the very fact that Norv Turner retained his coaching position with the Chargers after their half-assed season and the continued disappointment of that team . Sooner or later , Philip Rivers will have to realize that the money he is being paid simply isn’t worth it to remain in that hell-hole with a bumbling coach and an asshole in AJ Smith , who’s simply bereft of ideas when it now comes to determining talent ! Low and behold Chargers’ fans will now have endure another season of inadequacy and mediocrity from this organization and the team !
The Spanos family obviously are not overly concerned as they seek to possibly leave Qualcomm Stadium like thieves in the night ! Be it real estate billionaire Ed Roski coming to their rescue or that rather odious ingrate , the city of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa . You can be sure that the NFL hierarchy led by Roger Goodell will be firmly in the corner of Chargers’ ownership group . After-all at the end of the day , if it means that the taxpayers’ monies are being spent to facilitate the needs of a view greedy but immeasurably wealthy individuals I don’t believe that the commissioner or anyone else within the NFL simply gives a shit ! And given that Villaraigosa simply panders to whomever is willing to fund his political campaigns and excesses as a less than successful politician , I don’t feel that there’s much more that needs to be said ! I mean the mayor’s successes thus far , have been diminished by grand failures in more ways than one ! But apathy is all the more apparent amongst the city of Angels because the residents there simply don’t know any better or that bright to begin with !
Picture gallery for your perusal .
In the aftermath of the recent results at the NCAA Tournament what if anything has been the biggest surprise to you in terms of the play ? And do you feel upon meeting the criteria for eligibility Hines Ward is worthy being inducted into the Hall of Fame ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Florida forward Casey Prather reacts after getting fouled during the second half of an NCAA tournament West Regional final college basketball game against Louisville on Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …
(2) Louisville coach Rick Pitino hugs his wife, Joanne Minardi , after their win against Florida in a NCAA tournament West Regional final college basketball game, Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Chris Carlson ….
(3) Russ Smith (2) of the Louisville Cardinals passes the ball around Patric Young (4) of the Florida Gators in the second half during the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball West Regional Final at US Airways Center on March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….
(4) Former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward wipes his eye while announcing his retirement from the NFL at the Steeler’s offices in Pittsburgh Tuesday, March 20, 2012. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …
(5) Retired Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, left, embraces coach Mike Tomlin after Ward announced his retirement from the NFL at the Steeler’s offices in Pittsburgh Tuesday, March 20, 2012. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …
(6) Wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the football on a 95 touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 32-20 . Getty Images / Christian Petersen …
(7) Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers, a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award , addresses the media during a news conference on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images … ….