A year in review , I think not !

A year in review, I think not!

This tends to be the time of year, where we tend to reflect upon the events of the outgoing three-hundred and sixty-five days. In sports, like any other , there too, fans and analysts alike will tend to dissect and reflect upon what is said to be their favorite moments of the 2013. From a personal standpoint, I believe that there were a number of highlights , but none that would simply have me jumping out of my seat and suggest that they were simply fantastic feats of excellence . As a once proud and avid boxing fan, well let’s just say it was another year of simple fatigue and neurosis for a sport now dying on its feet .

Floyd Mayweather still rules the roost as the best boxer on the planet , while his best adversary Manny Pacquiao made a comeback of sorts in claiming a title that does nothing for the legitimacy of a fighter who remains on a downward slide . Far be it for me to suggest that Pacquiao and his handlers are avoiding Floyd Mayweather , but a proposed mega-fight between these two long-time adversaries , no longer elicits the excitement that it would have perhaps two or three years ago . Pacquiao’s manager Bob Arum still believes that a fight can be made , but had he not spent a great deal of his time haranguing Mayweather and the boxer’s main representative Leonard Ellerbe , then perhaps a fight of this magnitude would have definitely happened a long time ago.

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If dinosaurs were still alive today, then I believe that they would be truly represented by the Neanderthals , who now are part of the heavyweight scene of boxing ! The Klitschko brothers for the past eight years have fought no one of anyone of any real consequence while padding their statistics with their numerous title defenses of the heavyweight title . To suggest that Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko , are now the two best boxers within the division, is truly an affront to the sport and it denigrates the achievements of champions past , when boxing historians are now trying to suggest that the Ukrainian siblings are the most dominant fighters to have come along in the sport of boxing over the past decade. Somehow, these individuals, are either viewing the division through rose-colored glasses or indeed the stature of heavyweights within boxing, is extremely dire . It may well be both, but I can assure of this, if Mike Tyson were to make comeback and get himself into shape , that was part of his preeminent reign , early in his career. He would have, clearly carved up this division and provided us with an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Instead, it has been the Klitschko’s refusal to meet each other in the ring, that clearly sets not only the sport back , but also from the division from now being taken seriously .

As to the other notable events within boxing that are said to have taken place , if you simply have no recognition of many of the fighters now afforded championship status , why would anyone seek to take an interest ?

The Miami Heat strolled their way to a second consecutive NBA title , albeit , that in the 2013 NBA Finals , they were pushed to the limits by the San Antonio Spurs . Miami Heat player LeBron James proved beyond a reasonable doubt , why he is now arguably the best player in the NBA , leaving little else to the imagination with his spectacular play during those Finals. The four-time League MVP and reigning two-time reigning Finals’ MVP has definitely cemented his legacy , as he now seeks to add a third consecutive title for the franchise , and the Heat’s fourth overall .

Now while the Miami Heat may well seem to be laboring this season , do not be fooled into thinking that although with a revamped roster . The appetite of the players has lessened, as they seek to place themselves amongst a very select fraternity. Erik Spoelstra , his coaching staff and the front office , led by team President Pat Riley have a singular purpose in mind this season , and that is to make a successful defense of their title.

The Eastern Conference of the NBA this season has become an eyesore , for the most ardent of fans as the teams there , just seem to be going through the motions, without showing actual competitiveness or signs of real life . At present, only three of the top eight franchises , actually possess a winning record within the conference , and in all likelihood , we are likely to quite possibly see five of the eight occupants for the upcoming NBA Playoffs with conference records that will be, sub 500 . If that is not a sad indictment of the NBA brand at present , then the league hierarchy led by NBA Commissioner David Stern , has to offer the fans a succinct explanation for the league’s travails this season . Fans may well be willing to part with their hard-earned disposable income, but at what cost to their own allegiance to their teams, when the play has been so abhorrent.

Injuries, will continue to plague any team sport and rob it at times , of their marquee stars. Nowhere has this become more relevant or prevalent, than with the misfortunes of Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose , who for the second time inside of eighteen months, has been lost to the league for an indeterminate period , through no fault of his own , as he once again succumbs to a career threatening injury. Chicago for its part , has continued on without the star , while posting some impressive wins , with coach Tom Thibodeau , now asking more of his players than ever before. As to whether or not the team can keep up their momentum over the course of the season remains to be seen .

Continuing to labor, under the belief, that they remain credible challengers to the Miami Heat and the high-flying Indiana Pacers . This season, if nothing else, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks have provided their fans with a bellyful of comedic drama and quite actually, some horrendous play. With a combined record of eighteen and thirty-eight (9-19 apiece) , it is easy to understand why some are calling for the heads of Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson , respectively. Only the , actual ineptitude of Mike Shanahan and his handling of the playing staff of the Washington Redskins , might be considered a worst performing coaching experience than of any coach of the four major professional teams sports over the course of this or last season. Granted , Bo Porter and the managerial staff of the Houston Astros have been a testament to ineptitude over the past two seasons . Yes, it’s the Astros and we simply cannot expect any-less from baseball’s worst franchise over time span in question.

James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov , as the respective owners of the franchises in question , may well feel it appropriate to make a combined payroll outlay exceeding $200 million , to see an outpouring of such banality , fitting enough to make a child suffering from a stomach ailment , feel even worse than they already happen to be .

In the Western Conference last season’s conference champions the San Antonio Spurs are gently plodding along , as if they have not skipped a beat in terms of their form of last year. Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff still have the triumvirate of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker to work with , along with the rising star of Danny Green , who last season proved himself to be a budding accomplice to the renowned trio. This season, it is hoped, that Green’s maturity, along with that of the team in general, will lift them over the hump and on to a fifth NBA title. Meanwhile, the rest of the West, saw the arrival of Doc Rivers as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers , while what appears to be the angst of the Los Angeles Lakers still taking a turn for the worst, with Mike D’Antoni still unable to get the best out of what in actuality is a poorly assembled roster . With Kobe Bryant having only appeared in six games all year this season for the Lakers, it is hard to imagine how the team can fare without him and his leadership abilities. Lakers’ fans merely speak in hyperbole and cannot point to another player on the roster capable of leading the team in the player’s absence , such is their real lack of intelligence on the issue .

With Rivers’ arrival in Los Angeles to coach a team led by point guard Chris Paul , the question now being asked , is whether or not the coach can corral the talent on the roster and get these players playing as a cohesive unit on both ends of the floor . Vinny Del Negro tried as hard as he did to achieve that last season, but it was clear that the players felt it only necessary to show their prowess on offense and simply forget about defense altogether . Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan , will certainly, have to prove their worth in that, very aspect of the game if the Clippers are to have any real chance during the postseason , should they actually make it that far. With the only other real stories of any relevance within the conference , might just be the ascent of the Portland Trailblazers under head coach Terry Stotts this season and the growing signs that Damian Lillard is very much the player that many presumed him to be . Also back into the mix are the Oklahoma City Thunder , where the league’s top offensive duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are now making it a statisticians’ nightmare in trying to keep up with their combined offensive and defensive prowess. It is now fair to say , that there seems to be a new ” pecking order “ within the Western Conference , with once perennial Lakers now taking a back seat to teams with more athleticism and coaching ingenuity.

No matter how much anyone tries to spin it and this continued idiotic insistence in using the idiom, that there is such a thing as parity in the NFL . The fact of the matter is , the only reality has been that there are some good teams , mediocre teams , extremely inept coaching and no real dearth of talent at some of the more notable positions . For the protagonists, still trying to use parity to make their claims, and then please feel free to make your case. Otherwise , simply shut the hell up and look at the facts as they are being displayed right in front of your very eyes. Last season in the league , the Baltimore Ravens simply got into a rhythm a of consistency that brought them the Superbowl and laid the foundation for Joe Flacco to be given an exorbitant contract that he has failed to live up to this year , beyond his own lack of consistency , but failure to step up to the plate as a leader of this team .

In 2013, the Ravens have certainly regressed , but such has been the banality of the play , that the team still remains remotely in the hunt for a playoff berth , even with an 8-7 record within the AFC . Baltimore faces a sizable task on Sunday afternoon, when they face their divisional rivals and leaders of the AFC North , the Cincinnati Bengals in the final game of the season for both teams as the regular season comes to a finale. A win is imperative for John Harbaugh and the team if they are to have any chance of making the playoffs along with the failures and at the expense of the Miami Dolphins , Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers , if they are to assure themselves of a playoff berth.

The AFC as a conference , has now come down to which opponent, is capable of stopping the offensive juggernaut of the Denver Broncos and the record-breaking season of Peyton Manning , who now seems on course to win an unprecedented fifth league MVP Award , barring the downright stupidity of the voters. No other NFL player this season has remotely come close to putting up the type of statistics , much less show the consistency of Manning, as he and the Broncos have simply laid waste to the rest of the NFL over the course of the season . Nick Foles remains a nice feel-good story for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans , but is anyone truly ready to trust that defense much less the coaching ability of Chip Kelly at this juncture ? Especially in light of what has been a downright pathetic showing within the NFC East by all four occupants of the division over the course of their respective schedules . The Seattle Seahawks for their part , while proving to be very effective , because of the progression of Russell Wilson and the undoubted ability and tenacity of Richard Sherman. Yet, the conference itself, the NFC remains a pick ‘em , as to who the outright conference champion is likely to be amongst the top four contenders . You simply cannot discount the Carolina Panthers and the coaching acumen shown by Ron Rivera , while Cam Newton has regained the type of form shown during his rookie season , while becoming a better all-round player and the apparent leader on that Panthers’ team . It is simply amazing what winning can do in changing a player’s attitude and mindset along with showing a great deal more maturity. Those traits have been evident with the Panthers’ quarterback , all season long. The Panthers will seek to not only close out their season with a win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday , but also secure themselves their first divisional title since 2008 , when they won the NFC South quite handily over their closest rivals that season the Atlanta Falcons .

I do not believe that there was a great deal to be learned from this past baseball season , other than the fact that the owners still remain clueless , general managers are overpaid and work nowhere near hard enough some would have us believe . As to the players themselves , well let’s just say they remain in denial are poor examples as human beings as well as role as being, a role-model for the young . The entire playing fraternity’s stance on the use of banned substances within their sport remains a joke with not one noted player willing to step into the fray or up to the plate to address the issue of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) within baseball . And yes , that does include the likes of Derek Jeter , Mike Trout , Albert Pujols , Miguel Cabrera , Mariano Rivera , Yasiel Puig .

When you have a union (MLBPA) that simply remains disingenuous alongside a league hierarchy made up middle-aged individuals who are not quite aware that we now are in the twenty-first century and that the sport has evolved . Then you simply can no longer take the game seriously on its merits , let alone point to any real positive strides that have been made. As to the purists falling in line , with the idiocy of the introduction the use of cameras for instant replay. If you are dumb enough to believe that to be the most important issue within the game , then simply bury your head in the sand or preferably in a bucket of dog crap and smell the odor emanating there , because it is simply no different from the bull#hit being served up from the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during his entire tenure.

The season did not play out as planned for teams such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers , two teams with the highest payrolls in baseball , with a combined outlay exceeding $425 million , with several of their players being amongst the highest paid in the game. For managers Joe Girardi and Don Mattingly , their task was at a minimum, to guide both teams deep into the postseason . Anything less, had to be viewed as a major disappointment for both ball-clubs as well as their respective fans who are among the most rabid in all baseball , if not professional team sports. While those teams faltered , the storyline for much of the season was simply about whether or not the Pittsburgh Pirates could hold sway and make a successful attempt in gaining their first playoff berth in two decades. Granted, Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers did provide the fans in general with a fifty-game stretch , where the team went a 42-8 , a run that essentially made the NL West a foregone conclusion before the end of the season.

John Farrell and his managerial staff worked a major miracle, in taking a last placed team from 2012, and simply turning the Boston Red Sox into a championship caliber talent in 2013. GM Ben Cherington , felt it prudent enough to simply jettison a number of big name and highly paid stars , in order to make the roster a great deal more competitive. Contributions came from all round, as the improbable, became possible and the memory of Bobby Valentine’s year of incompetency , seem a distant memory from the past . Having won the AL East with considerable ease , the Red Sox were up to the challenge of the postseason , as they swept through the ALDS , ALCS and the World Series , without simply skipping a beat . Their opponents in the postseason finale, the St Louis Cardinals gave a bold effort , but they were found wanting in so many ways . Boston’s triumph in that series, was the ball-club’s third title in the past eight years and their eighth overall.

As to baseball’s individual prizes for 2013, there were no major surprises overall, as the most worthy individuals won the awards in question.

With the steady decline of boxing, the sport of MMA has come within focus for the public, while leaving the more renowned pugilistic sport in its wake, as the rise of the UFC , has guided mixed-martial arts to the forefront of combat sports. UFC President Dana White , Frank Fertitta and Lorenzo Fertitta the co-founders of the sport’s sanctioning body , have built the genre into a multi-billion dollar commercial behemoth . . The fighters within MMA have in many cases become household names and there is now a global presence not only with UFC affiliates but also amongst the practitioners , male and female , who have come from around the globe to make a name for themselves.

At the forefront of this ascent of MMA in recent years , have been Georges St Pierre, Jon Jones , Demetrius Johnson , Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis , Cain Velasquez , Anderson Silva and the most notable female fighter Ronda Rousey , who now represents the female face of MMA.

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Anderson Silva holds his fractured right leg having suffered the injury in his rematch against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on Saturday night in their title contest . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC

Of the most anticipated bouts on the UCF’s schedule during 2013, was the highly anticipated middleweight title defense of MMA’s most successful fighter Anderson Silva , who happened to be making a record twelfth defense of his championship belt . His challenger, at the time, was the well-rounded former college wrestler Chris Weidman . What took place at UFC 162 is perhaps the biggest upset in MMA history , as the challenger wrestled away the belt from the champion with a ferocious knockdown and then knockout that was heard around the world and shook up the middleweight division . Their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 168 , would also end up with an equally surprising outcome , with the former champion being forced to retire , having suffered a leg injury . Referee Herb Dean immediately stopped the fight in the second round of the five round title bout, realizing the gravity of Silva’s leg injury (broken right fibula) and Weidman was declared the winner , with a successful first defense of his title, improving his record to 11-0 . Anderson Silva’s future now seems unclear, but the future Hall of Fame inductee is assured of one thing , his legacy has certainly helped the sport to gain worldwide respect as well heightening the fact that the Brazilian jujitsu art form is amongst the most successful fighting forms , in mixed martial arts as well as all forms of combat sports .

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Picture gallery .

In what has been a highly eventful year in the world of sports in part two of this look at the sports’ calendar. I will address my thoughts on the College Basketball and College Football seasons and what the fans were afforded during 2013. Yet, do take time to provide me with your own analysis of the sports’ year , as you have viewed it overall.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Floyd Mayweather ,right , on his way to a twelve round majority decision over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this year . The fight was even more controversial than necessary , because of the incompetency of the judging by one ringside official , Cynthia CJ Ross , who actually scored the fight a draw , after Mayweather overwhelmed his opponent throughout the entire twelve round contest , held at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada,. AP Photo / Benny Thompson …

(2) Bob Arum , Chairman & CEO of Top Rank Inc , is seen here with Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao . The boxer recently suffered a number of untimely losses that has now placed in an unenviable position . Any proposed mega-bout between he and Floyd Mayweather now seems unlikely , even with the renowned ‘clout’ of Pacquiao’s promoter . The animus that there remains between the two opposing camps remains as deep as ever in spite of Arum’s insistence that he and Leonard Ellerbe remain in close contact , seeking to make a deal , for a a proposed bout . Getty Images / Tom Rowan …….

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat is seen here on the sidelines with the team’s head coach Erik Spoelstra during a game . The Heat are seeking to win a third consecutive NBA title this season , with the only obstacle likely to be in their way , are the players’ own complacency . Miami Herald /AP Photo / Alberto Ramos ….

(4) Mikhail Prokhorov , owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here inside the franchise’s cavernous venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . This season, the Nets have simply underperformed , while having amongst the NBA’s highest paid salaried team payroll , with a crop of aging players in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . Fans may well feel it plausible that the team can still make a run at gaining a postseason berth within the Eastern Conference , given the dire state of play within all three divisions as well as the conference , itself . That belief however , may well be only viewed with any reality by the front office and the Nets’ fans and players , themselves . NY Daily News /AP Photo / Mark Brown ….

(5) Los Angeles Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul is seen here with team head coach Doc Rivers as they discuss a play during the interval of a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California . Off to a good start within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , fans and the players are hoping for the team to make a deep run in this season’s playoffs. The Clippers who share their venue with their more famous residents the Los Angeles Lakers , who are laboring at present without their All Star guard Kobe Bryant , with their being calls for changes in the coaching and roster makeup . As the Clippers’ ascent seems to be more assured , for the Lakers , their days ahead seem very uncertain , albeit that Bryant signed a two-year $48.5 million deal with the franchise. LA Time/AP Photo / Hector Munoz ….

(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens answers questions from the media during Super Bowl XLVII Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 29, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Baltimore Ravens on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome . The Ravens would go on to defeat San Francisco in a highly contested Superbowl contest . This season for Baltimore , with the retirement of Ray Lewis and the trading of Ed Reed , the team’s season has been one of inconsistency , with the quarterback’s play .. being somewhat erratic , without their being any on-field leadership being provided by Flacco or any of his teammates . A remote chance and shot of making the postseason was simply obliterated on Sunday afternoon with the team’s embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals . Getty Images North America / Scott Halleran …..

(7) Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington , background , is seen here with manager John Farrell foreground , as the formal announcement was made that Farrell would succeed Bobby Valentine , who was fired at the end of the 2012 season . The newly hired manager would lead the team to the AL East divisional title as well as the ALCS pennant and World Series in his first season as the organization’s manager . In 2014 , with the front office having made several moves to bolster the roster , the Red Sox remain favorites within the division as well as being likely to make a successful defense of their divisional title and ALCS pennant . AP Photo / Alex Reid ….

(8) At UFC 162 then UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is seen here mocking his challenger Chris Weidman in the first round of their title fight . Weidman would go on to defeat the champion with a devastating knockout in the second round of their bout . On Saturday night at UFC 168 , in their highly anticipated rematch Chris Weidman would prevail once again in the first defense of his title , after the former champion suffered a leg injury that would prohibit him from carrying on in the bout . Referee Herb Dean , had no other option , but to call a halt to the fight . Silva’s future may well remain in doubt , as Weidman now looks to flourish within the middleweight division by making another defense of his title against the number one contender Vitor Belfort . . Courtesy of Foxsports .

(9) UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman , right , looks to avert a leg kick from challenger Anderson Silva during their rematch at UFC 168 , held at the MGM Grand Garden Casino & Hotel Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC . Copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(10) Referee Herb Dean calls a halt to the UFC middleweight title bout between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva (lying prostrate) after the challenger suffered a broken right fibula during the bout in the second round . Weidman retained his belt in his rematch against the former champion. UFC Inc / Zuffa LLC …

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Anderson Silva holds his fractured right leg having suffered the injury in his rematch against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on Saturday night in their title contest . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC

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tophatal ……….

NB: Related article A year in review, part two

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Boxing news

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings (division)

NBA 2012 postseason

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NFL news

NFL standings division

NFL standings (conference)

NFL Playoff picture

NFL schedule week seventeen

NFL team injuries

NFL transactions

MLB news

MLB postseason 2013

MLB transactions

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UFC and UFC news and highlighted coverage by Foxsports and FoxSports 1 .

Upcoming UFC scheduled events and past events

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A breast in one hand is better than a bird don’t you think ? Adult star Alexa Loren .

And here’s Alexa, having some fun with her mammary glands

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Why are you bringing a knife to a gunfight?

Why are you bringing a knife to a gunfight?

If there has been one thing that I have learned about this NFL season as it begins to wind down , with but one game to go on the sixteen week schedule . It has been that a number of teams came into the year, with a great deal of high aspirations, as well as being ill-prepared. That was clearly the case, with teams such as the Atlanta Falcons , Buffalo Bills , Dallas Cowboys , New York Jets , Houston Texans , the ‘ always putrid’ Oakland Raiders , Washington Redskins , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings . A great deal of what fans have witnessed this season , has been extremely poor coaching , highly overrated players, but above all, a watering down of an NFL product that has become so bland .

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In a season that has provided few memorable highlights , Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning remains on a quest to rewrite the history books. This year was no exception with the player, as he surpassed the mark for touchdown passes in a season and could very well come within close proximity for breaking the single season yardage mark for passing yards. Such as been the play of the four-time league MVP , that it seems asinine to suggest that there has been another player in the league in 2013, who is even remotely close to be seen as a legitimate challenger in stopping Manning from winning what would be an unprecedented fifth league MVP award.

The Denver Broncos, having secured their postseason berth, in winning the AFC West with considerable ease , as the challenge from Kansas City Chiefs , simply petered out , after the Chiefs’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts . Peyton Manning and the Broncos, simply wrapped up the division, with their 37-13 rout of the now determinedly incompetent Houston Texans. Mindful of that must now be expected of what now must be expected of the team, as they are likely to be viewed as the AFC’s top ranked contender for the Superbowl . Anything short of an appearance in the league’s showcase event will undoubtedly be seen as a tremendous disappointment not only for the players but also for the organization , led by owner Pat Bowlen and Head of Football Operations John Elway . The former Broncos’ great has a fashioned a team in his own guise, that was simply reminiscent of his playing days and his having led this particular franchise to back to back Superbowl appearances and victories .

The Broncos’ final game of the season , will be against the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Alameda County Stadium ( O Coliseum) , in Oakland , California . Having gained 5211 passing yards for the season, along with fifty-one touchdown passes , Peyton Manning needs only 266 yards to erase Drew Brees’ mark of 5476 yards from 2011 . I believe that Manning will be able to break that mark with ease , against a Raiders’ secondary that simply has been ineffective all season long !

Disappointment of the fans, cannot be made up for, by the blatant stupidity of a coach , general manager or an NFL team owner . Nowhere has this been more well-chronicled and demonstrated than with the respective seasons of the Atlanta Falcons , Dallas Cowboys And Washington Redskins . As to this idiocy , façade that has been rationalized and far too often subscribed to by analysts and fans alike, that shrewd businessmen make for great professional sports’ owners . Well , it has been abundantly clear that this season Arthur Blank , Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder are and have been about as dumb as they come , in terms of their collective custodianship of the franchises they own. Collectively, these three individuals have a combined wealth exceeding $8.5 billion , but the collective and singular IQ of a comatose and neurologically challenged traffic accident victim. . The three teams combined, are 17-30 over the course of this season and one could surmise that the respective records of all three , is a true reflection of where each franchise ought to be . Mike Smith , head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and his staff , have a team that seemingly does not possess the heart or will to succeed , much less eke out a win of any sort . All of this from a franchise that last season was seen as a legitimate contender within the NFC for the Superbowl, only for the Falcons to once again fall short of their target , while an overpaid and over-hyped quarterback in Matt Ryan continues to flounder and disappoint .

A 4-10 season sums up the trials and tribulations of the Atlanta Falcons’ year and their task will not get any easier when they are the guests of the San Francisco 49ers , tonight in an NFC game of utmost importance for both teams . The Forty Niners , who will be seeking secure themselves a high seeding within the NFC, for the postseason, having failed to make a successful defense of their 2012 NFC West divisional title . It is highly unlikely that the Falcons will be able to stop the Forty Niners at any point during this game , given Atlanta’s own predilection to just self-implode at the most inopportune of moments , with a defense that simply is bereft of talent along with a less than potent offense .

I guess, if there were several words, that could be used the describe the Washington Redskins’ season . Then the adjectives. one would be looking for would be an unmitigated disaster , wherein Mike Shanahan and his coaching staff have simply become lost in the idiocy , whereby there seems to be rhyme or reasoning behind many of the in game decisions being made by the head coach. With what, now appears to be a simmering and soured relationship between Shanahan and last season’s number two overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft . It has to be said, that Robert Griffin III and his head coach have now reached “the point of no return” , as to their relationship and the cordiality between the two. Dan Snyder, the franchise’s flamboyant and outgoing owner, has presided over a decade of under-achievement, coaching and managerial stupidity. Never mind, the fact , that GM Bruce Allen continues to remain silent on the ever-widening chasm within the organization and the very fact this season has become one of the worst in recent franchise history, beyond the excuses being made concerning Griffin’s form and health in 2013.

As if to further emphasize, how inept the Redskins have now become . In a contest between two struggling divisional teams , Washington faltered against divisional rivals the Dallas Cowboys in a rather uninspiring game , where the Cowboys themselves showed , that , were they to make the postseason , they are likely to be summarily dismissed by their wildcard round opponent . It would not be outrageous to suggest that this season in particular the NFC East is simply devoid of inspirational play , much less a team that could be thought as a threat to anyone within the NFL. As to the bloviate morons, calling the coaching mindset of Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly as being outstanding , clearly, those who have fallen into that trap, are just as devoid of intelligence as the members of the US House and Senate !

The more I continue to hear Jerry Jones try to sing the praises of the Dallas Cowboys each season , the more I believe him , devoid of reality and anything he purports to be his knowledge of late, in assembling a championship caliber team . That clearly, has not been the case, with the franchise in close to a decade, in spite of the numerous coaching changes made during that time-span. The fait-accompli, now appears to be Jones’ unbridled passion for head coach Jason Garrett , who in many respects has been as clueless as the Cowboys’ owner on a wide variety of issues as it relates to the coaching of the team and his actually being able to communicate with his players on a competitive level . The Dallas Cowboys lack leadership both on and off the field of play. With no one willing to challenge the authority of Jerry Jones , and his never-ending micromanaging every facet of the franchise , from their personnel decisions even the play calling in some instances . It easy to understand why, in recent seasons, the franchise has become more known as a theater of comedic errors , than for being a competitive NFL team. I could continue to lambast Tony Romo , who from season to season , simply shows us that at best , he is nothing more than a good regular season quarterback. A championship caliber quarterback, he clearly is not , and only an idiot would countenance anything along those lines .

It’s no use having a highly explosive offense in today’s NFL , when your defense is simply unable to keep you in a tightly contested game or where the coaching acumen of the staff in recent weeks has continually come into question . Over the past five weeks to see the Detroit Lions’ fall from grace , where the team itself seemed on the verge of perhaps tying up the NFC North . Head coach Jim Schwartz is now trying to suggest that he doesn’t see the team’s failing in that time-frame a failure , but merely the players losing direction and focus. My question, is there a damn difference between failure , losing focus, losing three straight and four of your last five games ? Schwartz is either an idiot, seeking to blow smoke up everyone’s ass or the very same coach who in having succeeded Rod Marinelli’s hapless 0-16 , 2008 roster , then proceeded to chalk up a 2-14 record , in his first full season as head coach in 2009.

With the makeup of this team on offense in particular , with quarterback Matt Stafford , wide receivers Calvin Johnson , Nate Burleson , running backs Joique Bell and Reggie Bush . It is hard to comprehend how this roster can simply fall apart in the way that it has done , until you realize that the defense remains susceptible and as inept as any other in the NFL that seems insistent in not exhibiting that trait of being a competent secondary. Schwartz, often a rambunctious individual, likes not to be pointed out of his flaws and that of his coaching staff , concerning the Lions’ play. Yet somehow, his demeanor during these post-game interviews and all too abrupt behavior , beyond being a sign of weakness has never been met with a fine of any sort , when he has sought to respond to the convened press with a flurry of expletives .

The Chicago Bears now appear to be in the driver’s seat within the NFC North as they lead the division with an 8-7 , followed by the Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) , Lions (7-8) , and lastly the anemic Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1). Detroit’s three-point loss to the New York Giants this past Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan , may well have sealed the team’s fate and their now minute chance of making the postseason . Their final game of the season, against the Minnesota Vikings will go a long in way in quite possibly determining the fate of Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff. . Team EVP Tom Lewand and GM Martin Mayhew beyond having to gauge this roster and making the decisions as to how they enter next season , will have to address what now appears to be the fans’ growing discontent with the team, the head coach , and Schwartz’s long-term future with the franchise.

I do not know if you can describe the bravado now being shown by Rex Ryan as “true grit” , or someone who now realizes that the writing is now on the wall , in terms of his tenure as the head coach of the New York Jets . An indifferent season , a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith who was thrown in at the deep end, and whose performances , while admirable in some cases , underscores the fact that the player was simply not ready for the NFL. The options for the Jets at the position were indeed limited , with the coaching staff and front office having very little faith in former incumbent starter , Mark Sanchez. Needless to say, with Sanchez surprisingly, remaining on the roster , you kind of get the feeling that the franchise is likely to return to something old, while something new gets placed on the sidelines , while he learns the nuances of the game and the position as a whole. Throughout much of this season , Smith’s weaknesses were exhibited repeatedly in several games , and a great deal of that responsibility has to be borne by Rex Ryan and quarterbacks’ coach David Lee .

Rex Ryan’s fate and future, does not now lie in his own hands, but in the hands of GM John Idzik , who is likely to deliberate in great depth, with team owner Woody Johnson , as to the beleaguered head coach’s tenure and whether or not he remains the Jets’ most viable option moving forward .

If the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins were meant to be seen as serious challengers to the New England Patriots , as Bill Belichick and his players sought to make a successful defense of their AFC East title. Then this season, has to be seen as a profound disappointment for the Jets as well as the Dolphins. Neither team seemed to be able to sustain a worthwhile challenge throughout the year and questions are likely to be asked about Joe Philbin and the staff, albeit , that there were growing signs in the maturity and in the play of Ryan Tannehill . Unfortunately, the season for Miami will be more renowned for the fact that Richie Incognito’s infamous off-field antics , the franchise’s handling of the situation and the blatant apathy and stupidity of the fans who somehow feel that racially sensitive and sexually derogatory remarks somehow belong in the workplace and can be easily excused by hiding behind the idiom of “freedom of expression” . How fucking pathetic do you have to be, to countenance such behavior ?

The Miami Dolphins will play host to the New York Jets in their final games of the season, when the two teams meet at Landshark Stadium , in Miami this upcoming Sunday , in what is sure to be a competitive divisional contest. New England meanwhile, having secured the AFC East , will now seek to close out their season on a competitive high when they face the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro , Massachusetts, while also seeking to reinforce their status as a legitimate contender within the AFC as the number two seed and a contender for the Superbowl .

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Picture gallery .

With but a week to go, in the NFL regular season , I believe that this has simply reiterated, that while the league remains extremely popular , the coaching and the play of the teams have now tedious and monstrously boring for a wide variety of reasons , that while too numerous to mention , can essentially be summed up by stating that the league hierarchy has made the game far too generic and without creativity . What if anything do you believe to be has been the most exciting event to take place during the year within the NFL ? By all means, leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass during the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America / Scott Halleran …

(2) Eric Decker (87) of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball against the Houston Texans during the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Scott Halleran …

(3) New Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds up his Broncos jersey as team owner Pat Bowlen , left, and John Elway, vice president of football operations, look on during an NFL football news conference at the Broncos headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. The player was acquired by the Broncos in March of 2012 , having spent the majority of his career with the Indianapolis Colts. AP Photo/David Zalubowski ….

(4) Kirk Cousins(12) of the Washington Redskins chats with Robert Griffin III after throwing a 4th quarter interception against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 15, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. The continued souring relationship between the head coach and Robert Griffin III now seems that with a growing certainty Mike Shanahan is likely to be relieved of his duties during the off-season . Should that be the case, then the franchise would have to honor the final year of his contract , paying Shanahan the remaining $7 million due in 2014. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham …

(5) Aug 21, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) with head coach Jason Garrett during a timeout against the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium. Matthew Emmons US PRESSWIRE …

(6) Head Coach Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions disagrees with a call against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. Arizona won 38-10 . The loss was the Lions’ most lopsided defeat of the season , with fans now questioning the competitiveness and lack of coaching acumen being shown by Schwartz and his staff. In 2013, the Detroit Lions have been losers of four of their last five games , yet it has been the coaching staff looking elsewhere for faults , much to the chagrin of the front office . Jim Schwartz has sought to apportion blame elsewhere questioning the officiating , but never the fact that his teams have either been ill-prepared or simply complacent. Getty Images / Norm Hall …

(7) Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets walk off together at the end of the game against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium on December 22, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets would defeat the Browns 24-13 in the AFC contest . Getty Images / Ron Antonelli

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tophatal ………. 2013/12/23

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A few good men at the right price, its baseball

A few good men at the right price, its baseball

The MLB Winter Meetings came and went, with a number of trades being initiated , with several teams coming away better off than they were last season in some respects , in terms of the makeup of their personnel. One of the biggest acquisitions made, was the signing of former New York Yankees’ first baseman Robinson Cano by the Seattle Mariners to a ten-year $240 million deal . A far cry from the desired $300 million contract that was being bandied about as the compensation package t that analysts said it would take for the Yankees to retain the player. Out of that deal, came what now can be stated as being bar, for other offensive players, by way of the deals now being set.

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The New York Yankees for their part, have made a number of moves sought to bolster what has been an aging roster that was uncompetitive and unproductive for much of last season. New York’s failure to reach the postseason was a further indictment of a number of issues that befell the team in 2013. Injuries may well have plagued the Yankees , but a lack of leadership from anyone on the roster , while Derek Jeter remained on the disabled list further emphasized what was wrong with this team on the whole. Manager Joe Girardi and his staff tried their best to motivate the players, but nothing at all seemed to work. Less we forget also, the franchise still has to deal with the issue of Alex Rodriguez and his long-term future with the organization , as he seeks to have his two-hundred and fourteen game suspension overturned by a special arbitrator appointed by the MLB hierarchy . The fallout from this all, could very well see a new change within the game should Frederic Horowitz rule in the league’s favor in upholding the player’s suspension.

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MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner is seen here with his wife Mildred Mariner at a public function . As the Chief Financial Officer for Major League Baseball, it is Mariner’s day-to-day responsibilities to deal with baseball’s $6.4 billion business concern, as well as making sure that the teams are adhering to the league’s rules , concerning their financial and fiduciary duties . Somewhere along the way Mariner was oblivious to the financial woes that befell the Chicago Cubs , Los Angeles Dodgers , New York Mets and that now seem to be encircling the Houston Astros and the franchise’s owner Jim Crane . Getty Images / Phil North ….

Rodriguez and his lawyers, David Cornwell and Joe Tacopina have sought to make this a vendetta that the MLB hierarchy has , in seeking to drive the player out of the game. Alex Rodriguez’s candor in this matter, would suggest, that he has a great deal to hide , beyond the monetary compensation he is likely to lose , were the suspension upheld. Forty-three million dollars is the estimated amount, the player would lose, beyond his now tainted legacy. It has been baseball’s mishandling of the entire “steroids’ issue “ and the apathy shown by a number of the game’s fans , that this issue and the game itself , can no longer be taken seriously on its merits, much less with regard to the integrity of the sport , itself . The vast majority of the players have remained silent , their union simply disingenuous on the matter , and less we forget Bud Selig has continued to act like a buffoon from the very start , which has now led us to the present predicament .

While, I do not begrudge the New York Yankees their immense success over the course of their existence, it should not go without notice , that a great deal of the triumphs attained, were simply availed by way of the vast financial resources and the very fact that the organization has been simply been able to outbid an opponent in order to acquire a player. Repeatedly, we have seen this become the norm , but yet , the fans and league hierarchy ignore that fact and liken it to the cost of doing business . It has probably escaped the notice of MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner , that with more than one-quarter of the league’s thirty teams failing to show an operational profit , unless aided by the luxury tax system, the financial health of baseball would be in dire straits. In reality, the game is teetering on a precipice, with the hierarchy simply failing to address the issue.

Hal Steinbrenner as the lead managing partner of the familial holding company that owns the New York Yankees, has sought to reduce the team’s payroll in recent seasons , but in reality , it has become an act of futility , as GM Brian Cashman has been countenanced to carry on with the capricious spending the organization has been continually known for. One simply has to look at baseball’s payroll and the very fact of the ten highest paid players in the game , three of the players atop of that list, just happen to be on the Yankees’ current roster .

With Jacoby Ellsbury’s defection to the New York Yankees and the signing of a seven-year $153 million deal, questions are being asked, why would they sign a player who in recent years has been more known for his health issues , rather than his on-field performances ? Granted, Ellsbury was a part of the . Boston Red Sox’s World Series winning roster this past season, where his contributions played a part of the franchise’s postseason success. As to whether or not the player can make a solid contribution to the team this upcoming season , in spite of the offensive woes that befell the team for much of 2013, beyond the lack of in-depth pitching, remains to be seen.

The New York Yankees are likely to be competitive in 2014, but I do not believe that they are the best team in the AL East , as the season gets underway . That status will remain with the Boston Red Sox, whose manager John Farrell , proved himself to be the best manager within the division as well as perhaps the most adept in getting the best out of his players, no matter what type of adversity stood in their way. . As New York’s fortunes declined this past season, to the point where it appears that Cashman , the coaching staff and the lead executives seem to have no faith in the farm system , it not only shows how reliant this ball-club is on the revenues derived from its baseball operations , but also of their proprietary cable sports’ broadcast outlet the YES Network . Without the revenues of the programming entity , one seriously doubts that the Yankees could afford to keep up their vast spending on team payroll , without adding to the fact that in the past five years the franchise has paid over to the league hierarchy in excess of $150 million in luxury tax compensation. Baseball’s idea, of taking more out of the hands of the wealthy and simply giving not necessarily to the “needy” as they see fit .

Courtesy of New York Daily News

Yankees slapped with $28 million luxury tax bill for 2013 season

Because the Yankees have been over the tax threshold at least four consecutive times, they pay at a 50 percent rate on the overage, and their $28,113,945 bill was second only to their $34.1 million payment following the 2005 season. The Yankees are responsible for $252.7 million of the $285.1 million in tax paid by all clubs since the penalty began in 2003.

By Mark Fiensand , New York Daily News

No wonder the Yankees want to get their payroll beneath the luxury tax threshold. The Bombers were hit with a $28 million luxury tax bill Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Since luxury tax penalties began in 2003, the Yankees have shelled out more than a quarter billion dollars, accounting for $252.7 million of the $285.1 million in tax paid by all teams in the majors.

RELATED: ROBERTS AGREES TO 1-YEAR YANKEES DEAL

The Dodgers joined the Yankees as the only teams to blow past the $178 million threshold this season, paying $11.4 million. The Dodgers’ total luxury tax payroll was $243 million — $9 million higher than the Yankees — but they were charged at only 17.5% since they were beneath the threshold in 2012. Having exceeded the threshold for four straight years, the Yankees paid out at a rate of 50%.

Should the Yankees somehow get their payroll beneath the threshold next season — that number rises to $189 million in 2014 — they would reset their tax rate to 17.5% and become eligible for some revenue-sharing refunds.

RELATED: NEW POSTING RULES HAVE YANKS WAITING

According to the AP, the Yankees’ payroll is now $177.7 million with only 15 players signed, and it appears their only hope to stay under $189 million will be a season-long suspension for Alex Rodriguez.

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The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers might well be, two of the biggest disappointments, in terms of their respective performances throughout last season within the AL . Combined payroll for the two teams, exceeded $240 million . General managers Jerry Dipoto and Jon Daniels saw little, by way of a tangible return, with both ball-clubs failing to make the postseason . Within the hierarchy of the Rangers , former team President and a minority stakeholder, Nolan Ryan was ousted from his position by his fellow partners , with Daniels, now being given a greater say, in the day to day running of the franchise. The off-season for the franchise has proved to be eventful , with the team sending every day utility player Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for slugger , Prince Fielder . As to what that may well indicate about the Rangers’ offensive woes last season , begs the question , with Fielder not providing much aid to the Tigers’ own issues in that category, something must be awry with the mindset of Jon Daniels and the organization.

Texas now adds a burdensome contract to its payroll , while simply having not achieved anything of merit by obtaining Prince Fielder, adding to the woes of an under-achieving franchise over the past five seasons. Albeit, that with back to back World Series’ appearances , the outcome with each , was profoundly disturbing in 2010 and 2011 , with the lack of effort from the franchise. . The Texas Rangers may well be lucky enough to actually do something exciting in 2014 , but based on their showing last season , I believe that their fans will be in for more of the same !

Angels’ owner Arte Moreno may well have decided to give Mike Sciocsia one last chance to prove himself as the manager of the team . Yet I felt , that he was extremely close to being fired , in spite of his relationship with the team’s owner and general manager Jerry Dipoto ! This season may well be the last chance for Sciocsia to get it right, albeit , that the fans of the Los Angeles Angels will point to the fact that Albert Pujols was lost to the club for a large part of their season. The lone bright spot for the franchise remains the rising profile of Mike Trout , who now , might just be the best player in the American League , in spite of the achievements of Miguel Cabrera over the last two years.

Mike Sciocsia’s tenure, as one of the longest-serving managers in the Majors has come at quite an expense for an individual , who is well-respected amongst his peers. However, but for the Angels’ lone success , in 2002 , the subsequent years for the ball-club have been very lean. The last postseason appearance for Los Angeles came in 2009 and the team’s foray was extended, until they ran into the New York Yankees in the ALCS , where they succumbed to the New York based franchise in six games , losing 4-2 . The makeup of this Angels’ lineup , built up around the power-hitting of Pujols , Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout, will have to be at its very best , along with a pitching lineup that must be effective and consistent throughout this upcoming season.

The Atlanta Braves proved to be a tremendous disappointment during the postseason , falling by the wayside in the NLDS, as they fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers and their highly bankrolled roster of players . A great regular season during which the Braves laid waste to their divisional rivals within the NL East , with what appears to be the utmost of ease . GM Frank Wren , in seeking to make the Braves competitive this past season, the organization acquired both Upton brothers by way of trades, with Justin Upton leaving the Arizona Diamondbacks to make his way East , to be joined by his elder sibling BJ Upton . Adding that type of offensive firepower , to be alongside Brian McCann , Evan Gattis , Dan Uggla , Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward actually paid dividends during the regular season , but the team’s postseason was heightened by inconsistency alongside what turned out to be an exceptionally poor showing by the pitching lineup in that series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

That divisional series’ loss by the Atlanta Braves was simply indicative of what I believe to have been a great deal of complacency on the part of Fredi Gonzalez and his staff. The team, was ill-prepared and there can no excuse for such a lackadaisical approach by the players and coaches . This off-season the team saw the departure of Tim Hudson as a free agent, who has since signed with the San Francisco Giants . Several other players have departed , most notably catcher Brian McCann who signed a multi-year deal with the New York Yankees and filling that role for the Braves will be Evan Gattis. Having also acquired pitcher Gavin Floyd and Ryan Doumit , this will bolster the Braves’ lineup and giving it additional depth in a number of needed positions. However, if the Braves are to not only repeat as NL East champions next season, then there will need to be a great deal more consistency from the pitching staff .

If there is said to be a franchise in need of a World Series’ win, then it would have to be the Los Angeles Dodgers. The acquisition of the franchise for an outrageous figure of $2.156 billion , all countenanced by Bud Selig , gives even greater credence that the game has lost touch with reality. Granted, the Dodgers’ principal owners, Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC, under that of parent company Guggenheim Partners Inc has a great deal of monetary backing ,with assets exceeding $125 billion , and a television deal in conjunction with cable giant Time Warner Inc , reputed to be worth over $ 8 billion over the next two decades. Stakeholders , such as Magic Johnson , Hollywood movie mogul Peter Guber , along senior managing partners Todd S Boehly and Mark Walter are intent on winning that elusive series . The fact that the Dodgers have not won baseball’s biggest prize since 1988 , only adds to the franchise’s allure . A quarter of a century is a long time to wait for one of baseball’s most venerable organizations to simply say we are champions . The expectations were high during 2013, during which the Dodgers’ fans were introduced to rookie sensation Yasiel Puig , who led the baseball franchise on an improbable fifty game stretch , where the team went 42-8 over that period .

The Dodgers’ ignominious failure against the St Louis Cardinals in the NLCS was as shocking , as it was simply ridiculous , in what was said to be an explosive Dodgers’ offense , that the Cardinals’ pitching simply closed the door on during the series , coming away with an all too easy 4-2 series’ victory . Don Mattingly , was clearly out of his depth , as Mike Matheny and the St Louis headed to their third postseason appearance in the past seven seasons . This off-season Mattingly , Stan Kasten and for Ned Colletti , their biggest priority , remains “inking” pitcher Clayton Kershaw to a long-term deal , albeit , that the Cy Young Award winner is likely to be rewarded with the highest arbitration salary, ever given to a starting pitcher in league history. There seems to be some reluctance on the pitcher to accept what may well be the most lucrative contract in baseball history , which is likely to top Alex Rodriguez’s ten-year $275 million compensation package and currently the highest paid pitching contract, being the deal signed by Justin Verlander , which pays him an astonishing $180 million over seven years .

Kershaw and his agent J D Smart are fully aware that the Dodgers will move heaven and earth to get a deal done, at any price, as the pitcher is by far the best starter on the team’s pitching rotation . His amazing season in 2013 , speaks volumes as to his prowess , and over the past two seasons , he has been simply been the best starting pitcher in the game .

If the rumors are to be believed, that the Golden State Warriors` CEO & Chairman Joe Lacob and his partners are likely to make an unsolicited bid for the Oakland Athletics. Lew Wolff and GM Billy Beane have not made any formal statements on this latest news concerning the franchise. If the rumors are to be believed, then Lacob’s preemptive strike and $600 million valuation of the franchise might be on the high side . Yet, given the issues that the Athletics are dealing with, and their being no aid from Bud Selig, in assisting the organization in their quest for a new stadium , now seems to be the norm , unless that ball-club just happens to be in a major ad-market .

In the A’s quest for a new ballpark to replacing the aging O Coliseum , it would appear that Alameda County and the state are noncommittal in aiding the franchise. More out of budgetary concerns and their own looming fiscal deficits , it is now time for team owners and the league hierarchy to show their alleged business acumen , instead of this continued asinine rationale that every damn sports’ venue has to publicly funded using taxpayers’ monies . Fans seem oblivious to this all , either through sheer apathy , stupidity or simply the fact that they do not understand or care . Personally, I believe it to be all of the aforementioned , given the idiocy I have witnessed and read in certain comments attributed to alleged knowledgeable fans of the Tampa Bay Rays and their idiotic sentiment that a new ballpark for that franchise ought to be paid for by using public funds. The locale barely supports the Rays, which annually ranks amongst baseball’s least supported thirty franchises, in terms of home attendance and overall support . As to the idiocy, that they are a viable brand in terms of market share for viewers. Consider the market that the Tampa Bay area covers, and that there is barely nothing else to compete with the Rays, in spite of the franchise’s limited success over the last eight years . The same can be said of the Oakland A’s and their continued struggles to compete with a number of the big market teams , but moreover with the likes of a Los Angeles Angels , Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants , in terms of their respective payrolls .

If Lew Wolff is receptive to this proposed bid, then it would mark a changing landscape within baseball , with the A’s following the sale of the Dodgers last season , which came out of that franchise having been placed into bankruptcy reorganization , because of the mismanagement of the ball-club by then owner Frank McCourt . Major League Baseball is now in need of leadership within its upper echelons , by someone who can lead , has an insight of the ever-changing economic landscape , but above all, a leader who actually is not afraid to confront the MLBPA (union) , rather than shying away from confrontation. All of the traits, that have been exhibited by Bud Selig throughout a great deal of his tenure, as the MLB Commissioner.

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the points raised within this article , and what if anything, do you hope to see come out of the upcoming season within Major League Baseball ? Chime in with your comments on this and anything else you believe to relevant to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Robinson Cano is formally introduced by the Seattle Mariners during a news conference at Safeco Field in Seattle on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. The second baseman is flanked by general manager Jack Zduriencik , left, and manager Lloyd McClendon . Cano having left the New York Yankees as a free agent, signed a ten-year $240 million deal with the Mariners and hopes to lead the franchise to their first postseason appearance since 2001 , where they made it to the ALCS , which resulted in a loss (4-1) to the New York Yankees . Dean Rutz/ MTC ….

(2) From left, New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart , manager Joe Girardi , shortstop Derek Jeter and first baseman Juan Rivera (54) wait out a pitching change after Girardi removed starter Andy Pettitte during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The 38-year-old Jeter hadn’t played the field since breaking his left ankle in the first game of the AL championship series last October. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(3) MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner is seen here with his wife Mildred Mariner at a public function . As the Chief Financial Officer for Major League Baseball, it is Mariner’s day to day responsibilities to deal with baseball’s $6.4 billion business concern, as well as making sure that the teams are adhering to the league’s rules , concerning their financial and fiduciary duties . Somewhere along the way Mariner was oblivious to the financial woes that befell the Chicago Cubs , Los Angeles Dodgers , New York Mets and that now seem to be encircling the Houston Astros and the franchise’s owner Jim Crane . Getty Images / Phil North ….

(4) New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman presents Kelsey Ellsbury with flowers as her husband, center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury , right, looks on at his introductory press conference at Yankee Stadium on December 13, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Ellsbury’s agent Scott Boras negotiated the deal for his client which puts the player almost at the forefront, in terms of the compensation packages paid for center-fielders . Getty Images North America / Maddie Meyer ….

(5) Atlanta Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez is seen here alongside player Justin Upton. The Braves’ preseason acquisition left the field after suffering a mild concussion in a collision with a teammate during a game played against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Florida ,. Atlanta would go on to defeat Miami 4-3 in the contest . AP Photo / Christine Monroe ….

(6) Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw who was the runner-up in the 2011 Cy Young Award voting ballot , but won the prestigious accolade in 2013 , after a phenomenal year by the pitcher . Now in arbitration , Kershaw is likely to be the largest recipient of the largest offer ever made to a starting pitcher in league history. Meanwhile , the front office of the organization under the authority of Magic Johnson a minority stakeholder in the franchise has informed team President Stan Kasten that a sizable offer should be made to sign the pitcher , in what is likely to be the largest contract offer for a starting pitcher that is likely to top the $180 million contract currently in existence with Detroit Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander . AP Photo / Joe Morrison ….

(7) Golden Warriors’ CEO & Chairman Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , are two of the primary owners of the NBA franchise . Lacob a former senior partner with capital asset management company Kleiner , Perkins , Caufield & Byers LLC , is now said to mulling over whether or not it is feasible to make an unsolicited $600 million bid for the Oakland Athletics . Current A’s owner Lew Wolff has not issued a public statement concerning the issue , who along with GM Billy Beane are part of franchise’s ownership group , with Wolff being a majority stake holder. Getty Images / Paul Woodley …..

(8) Oakland A’s team President Michael Crowley , left , is seen here with Lew Wolff , center and GM Billy Beane . All three individuals have yet to issue a public statement concerning what is said to be an aggressive and audacious $600 million bid for the AL West based baseball franchise . Chronicle / Kristina Koci Hernandez ….

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Hype will be the death of sports and then some ….

Hype will be the death of sports and then some ….

Well there is nothing like a littler hyperbole to set tongues wagging and to get the most idiotic of prognostications from analysts and fans alike. Nowhere does this happen to be more prevalent than within the world of the NBA and NFL . The 2012 NFL Draft , may well have been the best draft of the past decade in terms of the depth of talent made available by way of the players who declared their eligibility . The NBA has seen its wealth of talent makes its way into the league with the current class of rookies now making a name for themselves by contributing to their teams’ success during this season . Already, a little more than one-quarter of the way through a rigorous eighty-two game regular season schedule and talks already amiss concerning the 2014 NBA Draft and whether not Kansas Jayhawks’ rookie phenom Andrew Wiggins will be the top player taken in that upcoming draft. Now as good as Wiggins just happens to be , and he is very good, given the talent already on display for the Jayhawks. I truly believe that Wiggins might not be the best player, likely to be available in the draft. That accolade quite frankly, should go with the Duke Blue Devils’ own rookie sensation Jabari Parker , who is coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski .

Now while there is a great deal to be said for both of these respected programs, in terms of Duke and Kansas, do not make the mistake that both coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Bill Self are unlikely to take anything for granted concerning the aforementioned talents in question. What we do know , is that Parker like Wiggins , both make their teams considerably better when they are on the court , than sitting on the sidelines watching their teammates at play. Both Duke and Kansas are currently ranked in the AP Top Twenty-five , with the unbeaten Arizona Wildcats (11-0) sitting atop of the heap , followed by the number ranked Syracuse (Orangemen) , also unbeaten with a record of 10-0.

Duke (7-2) coming off a recent ten point 79-69 victory over John Beilin’s Michigan Wolverines , will be seeking to push their mark to 8-2 , while seeking to move themselves up in the ACC standings , where the Pittsburgh Panthers (10-0) and Syracuse both lead the way in the overall standings , but the conference lead is held by Maryland (Terrapins) and the Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) . Next up for the Blue Devils, will be one these always nondescript out of conference games that tend to make up the more mundane side of a top programs’ schedule. Facing Duke in that contest, will be Gardner Webb of the Big South Conference , in a meeting that is not likely to prove too much of a mental or physical test for Mike Krzyzewski’s players .

Jabari Parker will undoubtedly prove to many that he is not only the best player on the Blue Devils’ team, but clearly has to be thought of as one of the best collegiate players in the nation. Andre Wiggins for his part, has been making analysts and fans sit up and take note of his game . . While the Jayhawks recently came unstuck, when they faced Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators , it was clear, that those in attendance for that contest , were indeed witnessing a very special talent in Andrew Wiggins, albeit , that the Gators came away with a well-deserved victory . Subsequent to that defeat, the Kansas Jayhawks were able to rebound with a rather lopsided 80-63 victory over New Mexico .

At this stage of the Collegiate Basketball season , there still remains a great deal to play for , but at the same time a number of teams are exuding a great deal of confidence.

The nation’s top ranked program in the AP Polls , the Arizona Wildcats are playing some very good basketball , and the case be made that with their current RPI , the plaudits are justified in their current ranking of the program. Much of that credit for the team’s early season form has to go to Sean Miller and his coaching staff . Miller and his team will play host to Southern University on Thursday night, at the McKale Center , in Tucson , Arizona,.

I have no wish to anoint a player as being the next big thing in any professional team endeavor , as has often been done by these on air analysts . Only for those very same individuals to then go on to have selective memory loss , when posed the question, why it is that their choice, has not fulfilled those expectations ?

It has to be said that the NFL has not only proven to be a complete joke this season by way of the poor coaching , pedantic play , but even more so, players long thought to very good or anointed as being “ the next big thing” , have simply offered nothing of substance . If that premise could not be better emphasized, then anyone who witnessed Sunday’s home game at Texas Stadium , where the Dallas Cowboys played host to the injury riddled Green Bay Packers , who were without quarterback Aaron Rodgers , will know that this game unraveled , simply because the Cowboys possess no stomach for any type of adversity on a football field . A twenty-three point lead by Jason Garrett’s players was simply squandered , as Garrett , his coaching staff and the team were unable to answer the unbelievable rally , as Matt Flynn led his team on an improbable comeback , that quite possibly may well have sealed the Dallas Cowboys’ postseason aspirations .

As Tony Romo and a weeping Dez Bryant , now ponder what might have been. It begs the question, if Bryant as he claims, is the best wide receiver currently playing in the NFL. Then where was the skill-set so often hyped over, which was simply nowhere to be seen during this contest? As to those, who are still jumping to the support of Tony Romo, being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. My question for those , who still believe that to be true , why is it that this player, has no leadership ability or and whose postseason career has been mired in mediocrity ?

The Dallas Cowboys, in perhaps their worst loss of the season , will now have to live with that experience , as Jason Garrett seeks to regain some type of momentum for the team. A divisional game against the still self-imploding Washington Redskins in week sixteen , in what is likely to be either a putrid contest or something thrilling. I am liable to think that it will be the former as Tony Romo and his teammates seek to close out their season on a competitive high. Yet, it could very well be the final game of the season that could ultimately decide the fate of the Cowboys, in what is likely to turn out to be a highly physical contest against the Philadelphia Eagles at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas , could very well be the difference of the Texas-based franchise being part of the postseason makeup or sitting at home , watching the participants in the NFL postseason foray.

This season’s NFL rookies have acquitted themselves well in a number of cases , even if their teams are not necessarily competitive. We have seen the travails of Geno Smith whose rookie season with the New York Jets has simply been abysmal . A great deal of the player’s woes, stem from the fact that he was not an NFL ready quarterback and his game has simply been far too inconsistent for the Jets to have been competitive . Furthermore, in what is eerily , looking like a situation that could very well see the departure of Rex Ryan and his entire coaching staff . There is a growing belief that GM John Idzik, no longer has any faith in the one-time bombastic head coach. The coaching staff is unlikely to be the only remnants jettisoned at the end of this season , as several players on this roster are likely to be as superfluous to the franchise’s needs as well as Idzik seeking to slash the team’s payroll .

Coming off a ten-point loss to the Carolina Panthers , in what was simply a pre-audition for the playoffs, for Ron Rivera’s team, as they seek to challenge the New Orleans Saints within the NFC South . Just about every area of the Jets’ game in this contest was abysmal , and it is a further damning indictment of Rex Ryan having lost the team, where there seems to be no on-field leadership, not from Geno Smith or from any of the veterans on this roster. The sooner, the departure of Rex Ryan becomes a reality, rather than the continued idiocy of his reign remaining intact, the greater the likelihood of this franchise continuing with its ever-growing incompetency.

A season of indifference and now the talk has to be, how and why the New York Giants have failed so miserably this season . Having missed the playoffs last season, the front office saw fit to do some house cleaning , seeking to get rid of several players that aided the franchise in winning two Superbowl titles in the past six seasons. Eli Manning , for his part, his play has been indifferent, with coach Tom Coughlin not seeing fit to call out his veteran quarterback and for his lack of leadership this season. If nothing else, Jerry Reese must now be blamed for several of the transactions that led to the departures of Mario Manningham, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Boley and several others who contributed in that success.

This past weekend the Giants were on the wrong side of a lopsided defeat against the Seattle Seahawks , as Russell Wilson led his team to a 23-0 whitewash of the NFC East based franchise. At 5-9 New York’s season has all but ended , with their being few positives to have been gained at all from the team’s schedule, by way of the productivity of the players and with the rookies unable to add little of note. It’s likely to be, back to the drawing board for Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff , who are likely to work in conjunction with Jerry Reese to assess the needs of the franchise. Needless to say, Eli Manning has to know that a great deal more will be expected of him , given his status with the franchise and amongst the highest paid players on the roster , as well as at the quarterback position in the NFL .

The two remaining games on the New York Giants’ schedule , will pit them against the Detroit Lions in week sixteen, to be followed by a divisional contest in their final regular season match-up, where they will meet the Washington Redskins . Victories in both games, would end the year on something of an emotional high, but the common belief has to be , that the franchise has simply under-achieved in 2013.

I’ll say it again , of the four major professional team sports , nowhere is the hype greater than within the NBA ! Each season , the crop of rookies entering the league are being anointed for no other reason , than the less than knowledgeable on air analysts, feel the need to feed into the idiocy , that their insight happens to be the only thing that matter. Granted , when you have the piety of _ Mel Kiper and Todd McShay being thrust upon you at each NFL Draft , the fans get the feeling that the idiocy doesn’t only remain within the NBA alone.

The 2012 NBA Draft brought us a less than memorable rookie class and likewise it has been the same for this season. In the midst of it all, the league’s brand has deteriorated with the play of the teams seemingly mediocre , but meanwhile the NBA hierarchy and its broadcast partners would have us believe that it is simply a cyclical effect, and that the marquee stars are still playing at the highest level . There are, but a handful of ” elite players ” in the NBA, yet an abundance of average to mediocre teams , with no more than four or five franchises that would be considered credible contenders for the NBA title.

Last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard .. excelled in his role with the Portland Trailblazers (21-4) , and with the Indiana Pacers suddenly looking far from impervious or invincible , it has been the Trailblazers and coach Terry Stotts’ team with the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA, with Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way for the Northwest Division based franchise who lead their closest divisional rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder by a mere game in the standings.

The Trailblazers’ young point guard along with a number of his peers from last season are off to notable starts this year , and a somewhat similar case could be made for this season’s crop of rookies , where Michael Carter-Williams , Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke lead in scoring . In the assists’ category , the leaders there are again , Carter-Williams, Burke , with Nate Wolters being given due consideration.

It would be correct to suggest that this season the two biggest stories in the NBA season, are the not so implausible facts , that both the Brooklyn Nets (9-15) and New York Knicks (7-17) continue to be mired in mediocrity, in terms of their play , collectively . Never mind the fact that for all of the alleged insight of their fans , even they , cannot acknowledge the fact that neither team has the propensity to play defense . Personally , I believe the more ridicule heaped upon both of these franchises , the more justifiable the claims can be made that owners Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan are out of their depth as proprietors of a professional sports’ franchise , never-mind the incessant stupidity still being shown by Billy King and Steve Mills .

With New York coming off another defeat , which in many respects has been symbolic of their season. I cannot help but wonder , how long before a revolt takes place amongst the players , with the blame being apportioned upon the shoulders head coach Mike Woodson and his coaching staff ! ! The turmoil is beginning to take its toll on a number of players on the team, many of whom have no wish to be held accountable, much less with their being any leadership shown by the veterans on the roster. That one point loss at home to the Washington Wizards , where in the third quarter of the game was essentially broke open by the offensive output of the Hawks . From thereon-in, the Knicks were left found wanting , showing very little heart in the waning moments of the contest. . Next up for the laboring New York franchise, will be an away game against the Milwaukee Bucks , that is likely to tell us about the mental capacity of this team.

Brooklyn’s blowout victory over the Philadelphia 76ers might not be seen, as this Jason Kidd coached team turning the corner, but for the moment , it might well have loosened the noose that appeared to be around his neck. This much we do know, even with the front office , giving the coach their full backing , a case can be made, where if the season for this franchise should become more woeful , then a decision has to be made whether or not, he should be retained in his current position. . Kidd and the Nets will play host to the Wizards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday night , as the team seeks a second consecutive victory.

Do you believe, that it is worthwhile hyping up an athlete , purely based on speculation or what they have achieved at the collegiate level , when there is no guarantee that success will come their way at the professional level ? Your thoughts, on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

🙂

tophatal ….

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NCAA Men’s Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball results 15th December

NCAA Men’s Basketball Conference standings

AP Poll Men’s Basketball rankings

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NFL results week fifteen

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Mack Wilds …… “Own It”

😉

Wendy Fiore

Which best, suits a crazed professional sports’ franchise owner?

Which best, suits a crazed professional sports’ franchise owner?

I don’t know whether it’s the stupidity of some individuals, but I once read a comment on a sports’ blog website by a patron who suggested that Republicans and specifically Republican leaning businessmen make for better professionals in the world of business . Clearly, this was someone with an axe to grind and an individual who simply overlooked George Bush’s two terms as the President of the United States and his overseeing of the ruination of the US economy . Bush’s successor Barack Obama , has proven to be just as incompetent in that same resolve and seeking to now take credit for initiatives that ere no part of his own creation. That being said, both of these Presidents hold degrees from prestigious academic establishments, probably much to their own disdain as things now stand.

George Bush’s business failings are well chronicled and Barack Obama , shall we say , would rather let his own deeds speak for themselves, by way if his ties to some of the largest financial institutions in the nation, as well as having the support in some circles of several Fortune 500 companies . Yet, this is the very same President, who in his first election cycle, suggested that “fat cat bankers and businessman would be no part of his campaign finance structure” . One only has to look at the makeup of the two administrative cabinets that this President has presided over to see that his statements, are simply a crock of shit.

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In the world of professional sports the highest ranking executive of a franchise just happens to be the CEO & Chairman and more often than not the team owner. As the NFL season winds down , we have seen failure of the Houston Texans , with the firing of head coach Gary Kubiak. Team owner , Robert ‘Bob’ McNair thought it best for the fans of the franchise to endure eleven consecutive losses by the team before requesting GM Rick Smith to remove Kubiak from his position as the head. For the remainder of the season , the reins are passed on to Wade Philips who as the interim head coach will guide the Houston Texans through the two remaining games on their schedule. Amongst the leading candidates for the vacancy are said to be former Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith , and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden a , though it remains my firm belief that Gruden is likely to show interest in the vacant coaching position with the Texas Longhorns after Mack Brown’s abrupt resignation , a program that Brown has revamped during his tenure bringing them back to national prominence along with a multi-billion dollar windfall, by way of their joint programming alliance with ESPN.

Personally, I have never been that high on these so-called business entrepreneurs , who are simply attracted to owning a professional sports’ franchise, then treats that entity as a bauble for show , and then loses all sight and the relevant fact, that the entity as such, is about competition and then a consumer brand , and a commodity. The fact that the Texans’ season has spiraled out of control has more to do with Gary Kubiak’s complete lack of addressing the team’s secondary , even with the claims as to the prowess of JJ Watt . Overblown, if the truth be known, given Watt’s tenure in the NFL and the hyperbole created about the player. And while the fans are baying for blood, by way of the lack of leadership and playing ability shown by Matt Schaub this season . Is there really anyone completely surprised with the Texans’ demise , given the fact that in each of the last two seasons , the team has come up short in each of the postseasons in question? Like a deer caught in headlights, the Houston Texans remain their own worst enemy.

On Sunday, in the Texans’ penultimate game of the regular season, they are due to meet their AFC South divisional rivals the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indianapolis, Indiana, in a contest that now becomes pivotal for both teams. The Colts are coming off a rather embarrassing loss, that head coach Chuck Pagano believes was one of the team’s own making. It has to be said, that a victory is now paramount to the Indianapolis Colts’ divisional and postseason aspirations.

In the aftermath of the turmoil within the Texans’ organization, it is becoming a abundantly clear that the shakeup now underway will become even more dramatic, once the postseason has ended . Several notable players on the team’s roster, are likely to be jettisoned, with the franchise likely to rebuild by way of the NFL Draft and through free agency acquisitions. A number of the rookies on the Texans’ roster failed to meet expectations, but in all likelihood , a great deal of that had to do with the poor coaching acumen shown by Gary Kubiak and his staff .

Three of the more prominent owners within the NFL this season, have seen their teams simply perform badly. There is not much more that can be said about the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) , New York Jets (7-7) and the dire Washington Redskins (3-10). Owners Jerry Jones , Woody Johnson and Daniel Snyder , all had envisaged their respective franchises being in a much better position than they currently are. Needless to say, what one presumes and what is reality, are two different things. “America’s Team” , as the Cowboys have been anointed, are no better and no worse than they record currently suggests , but yet the franchise remains the most profitable > and most valuable in the NFL . Much of this has more to do with the business acumen of Jerry Jones and his zeal for making money. Which is a great deal more than what he has striven to achieve on field, by way of the franchise’s lack of success over the past decade.

. Coming off a defeat , that was so harsh and ill-disciplined , in terms of the Cowboys play against the Chicago Bears. The question I have to ask, is why the owner still believes that Jason Garrett remains a competent head coach? At each and every turn where a loss has come to this Dallas’ franchise , Garrett has simply been out-coached by his opposing number and it has to be said that his coaching assistants have not provided much comfort , by way of their lack of coaching aptitude. Not to be left out of this equation either, should be the fact that quarterback, Tony Romo , whose current contract is likely to be more of a lead weight than it is likely to be a worthy reward, given the fact that he remains one of the most overrated players in the NFL and amongst his current peers at the position . Each loss and the sound bite continues to remain the same in terms of the player’s response, which to my mind has always indicated his lack of leadership pedigree. Unfortunately, the owner and Hall of Fame inductee Roger Staubach still believe Romo can lead this team to a Superbowl victory. Romo’s postseason forays would suggest otherwise. With Dallas playing host to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon, that contest is likely to have a bearing on both of the franchises’ respective seasons.

Would it be correct, to suggest that New York Jets’ GM John Idzik is giving head coach Rex Ryan just about enough rope to hang himself with this season? The Jets’ ineptitude this year has been far more unbelievable than anything that actually transpired during 2012 , concerning the Tim Tebow drama and whether or not Mark Sanchez was still able to play at the highest caliber . With rookie Geno Smith supplanting Sanchez in the starting quarterback position , the rookie for the most part has simply shown that he is not yet an NFL caliber starting quarterback . Errant plays and a propensity to throw interceptions and fumbles have epitomized Smith’s play for much of the season. Never mind the fact, defensively , the Jets remain an eyesore that not everyone would like to see. If you thought that was the only issue to befall this team, then think again , as the offense has in large part become just as incompetent as the secondary.

When the New York Jets travel to North Carolina to take on the Carolina Panthers , a team who will be chomping at the bit after being dissected with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel in their loss to the New York Saints in week fourteen. I get the impression that the retribution that the Panthers are hoping to lay on their AFC opponent is likely to be swift and exact, if Cam Newton is back to on track with the form that he has displayed throughout much of this season ! At this juncture , I do believe that Rex Ryan’s time with the Jets’ franchise is about to come to a close ! It would make no sense, for the organization to retain a coach who last control of a team, and one in, where the players themselves, actually show no confidence their coach’s ability.

Jets’ owner Woody Johnson has remained circumspect , but for all of the fallout that has taken place , his behavior last season was that of a petulant child looking to apportion blame elsewhere because he says he was forced into acquiring Tim Tebow. Last I looked , Johnson was the owner of this franchise, and he in conjunction with then GM Mike Tannenbaum agreed to a trade, that simply blew up in the franchise’s face, because neither Rex Ryan or his offensive coordinator Tony Sparano , knew how best to utilize a player who was simply of limited ability.

The furor now surrounding what has now become an improbable and lamentable season for the Washington Redskins, can be best summed up by what appears to be the deteriorating relationship between Mike Shanahan and his quarterback Robert Griffin III and what is now likely to be Shanahan’s own coziness the Redskins’ billionaire owner Dan Snyder. The fans have now grown tired of the coach’s week to week indecisiveness and lack direction for the franchise from a competitive standpoint. The coach’s demotion of Griffin to become the third string backup behind Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman , is either meant to be a slap in the face for the sophomore quarterback , or simply Shanahan’s way of forcing both GM Bruce Allen and Snyder to terminate his contract and buy him out for the remaining $7 million salary due in 2014. If Mike Shanahan is now trying to convince the fans in general, that he believes that Rex Grossman gives the Redskins the best opportunity to win, were Cousins to be injured during the team’s upcoming game against the lamentable Atlanta Falcons . Then clearly, there has to be off kilter, with the head coach’s thinking . Grossman’s last game as a starter in the NFL, was more than fourteen months ago, which resulted in a loss for the franchise .

Dan Snyder, his considerable wealth could probably “write off” a $7 million loss and think nothing off it , given the franchise’s value and profitability . Yet, what does that indicate about this owner , whose penchant for overspending on vastly inferior talent as well as coaches has made him one of the more comical and perhaps the most ridiculed NFL owner, with the exception of Jerry Jones . It would be perhaps in the franchise’s best interest, to have a turnstile placed instead of a door, leading to the office of the next head coach , because in all likelihood his tenure is likely to be short-lived.

James Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks continues to preside over a franchise that simply has under-achieved over the past decade , even with a battalion of head coaches having come and gone during that time-span. Who can forget those wondrous years of ineptitude as Isiah Thomas presided over the franchise as Head of Basketball Operations and also as a head coach ? If that was not bad enough , having made the postseason in 2012, the Knicks led by Carmelo Anthony simply fell short , which in many respects should not have come as a surprise given the team’s unwillingness to play an iota of defense. Knicks’ fans remain delusional and as usual, their observations concerning the team , bears upon whose the next marquee talent that they are able to sign to complement the talents of Carmelo Anthony. If as first reported, that Anthony was indeed considering opting out of his contract to test the “free agency market” in 2014 . One could imagine, the jolt that this would be for what in effect has been a languid franchise.

A four point 86-90 loss to a revamped Boston Celtic’ ….. roster indicates further how much the New York Knicks have regressed, to the point where it has become extremely difficult to see what opportunities are likely to arise, where the team is likely to play itself into playoff contention . A languid defense and with only Carmelo Anthony, providing any type real offense for the franchise this season , troubles definitely lay ahead for the ball-club. You simply get the feeling that this Mike Woodson coached team is going through the motions just for the sake of it. Next up for the Knicks will be their hosting of the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden , in New York City, New York , on Saturday night in an Eastern Conference contest match-up.

At 6-16 , this record has the New York Knicks firmly rooted at the bottom of the conference and they are in exactly the same position within the Atlantic Division . Needless to say, Knicks’ fans will argue, that it is still early in the season and in no way actually represents what it is likely to happen by late January . My question for those fans, if the team is now playing so badly , what indications are there that things are liable to get better , or who on the roster is a worthy trade bait , that is likely to induce worthwhile trade of equal value ? Amare Stoudemire’s contract, makes such a move mute, because no team has a wish to burden itself with an unproductive center/ power forward . The Knicks penchant to simply overpay for mediocre talent is emblematic of everything that is wrong with the NBA , but it has been this franchise and its New York neighbor the Brooklyn Nets , that has now become the personification of this idiocy ! David Stern has no solution for this mind-boggling stupidity and fans suggesting that a team willing to overpay in order to put the best product available on the floor, have yet to grasp the fact that teams now exceeding the league’s salary cap ($58.679 million) are now being penalized more than ever before.

Nets’ GM Billy King and Steve Mills have been entrusted to sort a mess of their respective franchises’ own making. Meanwhile, Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan are still being lauded as astute businessmen and professional sports’ owners. The sad fact is, both of these NBA franchise owners actually represent what is actually wrong with the NBA in terms of its financial template and David Stern’s never-ending web of deceit and lies, that the league’s franchises are in a healthy position .

No bad blood really , as the New York Yankees simply allowed Robinson Cano to depart as a free agent , with his agent Jay-z being able to negotiate a multi-year deal that will pay Cano $240 million over the next ten years . As the recipient of the Seattle Mariners’ largess , this now has me wondering what the player hopes to achieve with a franchise that this past season was barely competitive within its own division the AL West , much less within MLB as a whole !

Whatever transactions are now being made by GM Jack Zduriencik to fortify the Mariners’ roster will not be not enough to make the team competitive enough to compete within its division much less the rest of baseball. That was clearly evident last season with Seattle’s 71-91 record within the AL which was good enough for third place within the division and amongst the naysayers within the AL this past season . Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge can only hope that Cano provides the Seattle Mariners the type of offense it so seeks, in order to challenge the likes of the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics within the AL West. Senior Managing partner Howard Lincoln and the rest of the Mariners’ Board of Directors have simply been negligent in their custodianship of this ball-club. The franchise’s record over the past eight years reflects that fact and their lack of postseason activity during that time-frame.

Robinson Cano may well have felt slighted in the fact that the New York Yankees did not resign him to the long-term deal sought and the reputed $300 million said to have been requested via his agent. Yet , in many respects the moves since made by Cano’s former team now smacks of desperation , flights of fancy , but above all the real fact that GM Brian Cashman knows that the cupboard is bare in terms of the farm system and there is not a player that he or Joe Girardi believes is ready and capable of supplanting the players that have since departed from the roster during the off-season. New York remains in a circling pattern, hovering in the clouds, while the Steinbrenner family under the auspices of Hal Steinbrenner seeks to resolve many of the franchise’s off the field issues. The biggest most pressing of which, remains the unresolved situation concerning third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Weakness within the Yankees’ front office and a complete lack of leadership is now one of the numerous things that have now befallen this franchise and I sincerely believe that it is likely to get a great deal worse, before we see a gradual turnaround in the fortunes of the franchise !

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts, as to the points raised within this ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site!

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Presidents Barack Obama , left and his predecessor George W Bush . History is likely to treat both of these statesmen differently, in terms of their legacies and accomplishments. Yet it cannot be denied, that each had a profound effect on this country for several reasons . AP Photo / Angus Frye …..

(2) Former Houston Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak speaks to quarterback Matt Schaub (8) during a game . The Houston Texans (2-11) have lost eleven consecutive games this season and are likely to end up with the worst record in the NFL this year , putting them in a position to take the number one pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft . Matt Schaub is unlikely to return to the franchise where he made his debut for the franchise in 2007 in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs . The quarterback was drafted in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Getty Images / Harry How …

(3) ASHBURN VA-JANUARY 13: L to R: Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder chats with his new head coach Mike Shanahan after watching offensive line coach Joe Bugel announced his retirement from 32 years in NFL football today at Redskins Park in Ashburn VA January 13, 2010. Shanahan after an indifferent season finds himself in the midst of a maelstrom of criticism for his decision to sit starting quarterback Robert Griffin as the team prepares to face the Atlanta Falcons. Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images …

(4) New York Knicks owner James Dolan, right, is seen here with the team’s head coach Mike Woodson . With the team faltering , the rumors have began to swirl that the owner will seek some drastic changes and has ordered GM Steve Mills to assess the underlying problems now facing the franchise. AP Photo/ Michael Walsh ….

(5) The Seattle Mariners’ newest acquisition , first baseman Robinson Cano who signed a ten-year $240 million deal with the Seattle-based franchise . Meanwhile, Cano’s former team the New York Yankees have been quick to seek a replacement, with the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year $153 million contract . Leaving the podium with the player is Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik. AP Photo / Tip Wills …..

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tophatal ….

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NFL news

NFL schedule week fifteen

NFL team injuries

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NFL Playoff picture

This date in NFL history

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This date in MLB history ( 14th December & 15th December)

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They’re just swapping saliva that’s all .

Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

In light of Jim Brown’s recent statements about athletes of today, not being socially involved in a number of politically or socially relevant issues. It had me wondering, why any athlete, who more often than not would rather seek the advice of their agent as to how to carry themselves in public, and what to say on camera, would actually be at loggerheads with someone such as Jim Brown , who alongside Arthur Ashe , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell , Billie Jean King and Muhammad Ali , might be the most socially active athletes this country has produced in the past four decades ! Brown was extremely critical of NBA player Kobe Bryant , in saying that the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard is somewhat confused about his culture and background. Personally, I do not believe Brown to be that far off the mark in his presumptions about the NBA star, whose history prior to his legal entanglements in Eagle , Colorado , told us a great deal about Bryant and his disloyalty towards then teammates Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal . The relationship between Bryant would be soured between he, O’Neal and Fox , after the player tried to implicate both , in , and after his own sexual indiscretion , and the alleged sexual assault charged brought against him .

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Granted, Kobe Bryant prior to the incident, was the “face” of the NBA and one the league’s beloved and respected stars. Once those allegations of a sexual assault came to the fore , ” Team Kobe ” were quick to corral the star and sought to protect his image , while seeking to paint his then victim, as a scheming harlot, looking for a large payday. In the end, Bryant would apologize for his actions while embarrassing himself and his immediate family, in the aftermath with his act of contrition . Several years later, Kobe Bryant’s name would become associated with Hollywood actress Sanaa Lathan , whom the player described as a close family friend. The fact that at the time, his wife Vanessa was pregnant with the couple’s second child , the player was being photographed with the starlet at a Prince concert being staged at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California , spoke volumes as to Bryant’s improprieties , his lack of candor and honesty in simply stating that he and his wife were separated at the time. Divorce proceedings were filed, but in the end the couple reconciled and settled their differences.

Courtesy of The LA Times

Kobe Bryant responds to Jim Brown slight

By Eric Pincus , The LA Times

Former NFL running back Jim Brown gave a controversial opinion on Kobe Bryant while visiting “The Arsenio Hall Show” on Tuesday night.

“He threw [Shaquille O’Neal] under the bus and he is somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country,” said Brown. “[Bryant] doesn’t quite fit what’s happening in America.”

Bryant spent many years of his youth in Italy, where his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played basketball professionally.

“In the days when we had a summit and we called the top black athletes together to talk to Muhammad Ali about his status with the armed forces, there were some athletes we didn’t call,” said Brown. “If I had to call that summit all over, there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. Kobe would be one of them.”

Brown’s comment prompted Bryant to reply via Twitter.

[ Kobe Bryant
@ kobebryant

A “Global” African-American is an inferior shade to “American” African-Americans?
? #hmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir ]

Bryant also addressed the topic after practice Thursday.

“It surprised me in the sense that it just came out of left field. I’ve never even met him,” Bryant said of Brown. “I do think it’s a great opportunity to have these conversations, to have this discussion.”

Why did he choose to respond to Brown publicly?

“If it’s a major issue that involves equality or the perception of racial equality, I feel like that’s something that . . . needs to be addressed,” Bryant said. “Obviously it’s a sensitive topic for everybody but I think the best thing to do is not dance around it.

“Ultimately, the conversation is that it doesn’t matter what color skin you are,” continued the Lakers All-Star. “I think it’s a good place to start, to have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society because of it.”

Would he like the opportunity to sit down and talk with Brown?

“There’s nothing to talk about. We have different perception, different views on it, clearly,” Bryant said. “What I’m trying to do is educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are, African-American, white, whatever the case may be.

“For he and I, there’s no reason for us to have a conversation. We’re completely on the opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog. He’s probably a lot more set in his ways than I am.”

Brown’s summit in 1967 with Ali included Bill Russell and future Lakers Hall-of-Famer Lew Alcindor, who would change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Having amassed an estimated $200 million fortune , Kobe Bryant has been philanthropic , with a number of social causes in the greater Los Angeles area as well in Lower Merion , Pennsylvania, Byant’s place of birth. That being said, like many of his peers , the player has never sought to ingratiate himself with any real deep felt social cause or issue or spoken out on any particular political matter. Needless to say, it is by no means an indicator as to what the player might think about any one particular matter , but if adjudged against the asinine rationale of an idiot such as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive lineman Jared Allen , then it is perhaps best that we do not often hear an athlete address any type of political or social issue.

Allen prior to the 2008 Presidential election, came out with the rather asinine statement that he would not be voting for the Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama on the grounds that the nominee was simply about hiking taxes and living off the rich. Last I looked, even if Allen , were a noted Republican supporter , surely it could not have escaped his notice, that during the reign of then incumbent President George W Bush , taxes may well have declined somewhat , but the value of the US dollar had declined even more so , forcing the consumer to actually spend more of their income than ever before, even on the most basic daily staples . The economy was in a downward spiral and for a player who at the time was earning in excess of $ 8 million a year , I can only surmise that Allen felt uniquely placed to speak for the masses when his own salary was actually two hundred times that of the ordinary average working American worker . Allen’s education at Idaho State albeit, on a scholarship, was greatly wasted on this ass !

While, it would be easy to be critical of today’s athletes and what appears to be their lack of social awareness, far too many of their actions, are too often dictated by agents , sponsors or even their very teams. And while could state that during the era of Jim Brown , Arthur Ashe , Muhammad Ali , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Billie Jean King chose not only to be socially active, but also politically . The same cannot be said of today’s so-called pantheons of the sports’ world, whose concerns more often than not, appear to their image , amassing wealth and being seen in public at the biggest social events , when away from their chosen endeavors. Also, when an athlete now chooses to place themselves within the midst of an issue , specifically one that is political , their apparent intelligence also comes into question , as was the case with Jared Allen. One could also attest that times have changed since Ali was a vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam , and while his incarceration may well have been more one of political and racial motivation , by the government . I would suggest that even now, the country has not preceded that far forward, in terms of its apparent social progress. The nation still remains, one that is divided, along not only racial lines, but also economically as well as politically. With the latter inference, coming by way of the two political parties seeking division rather than bipartisanship in dealing with what ails the country.

There have been athletes who have gone about quietly seeking change, but much of that goes uncovered , or rarely reported on, in full by the press , who if anything are just as guilty with their ongoing impudence and lack in-depth journalism on a wide variety of issues, be they economic or social issues . The big story always sought, seems to be one of salacious or sexual intrigue , or shall we attest to the fact , there just seems to real disinterest in many of the topics raised, merely because the journalists believe there happens to be no real story of human interest ?

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Tiger Woods , are perhaps two of the most recognized athletes on the planet, but rarely have you seen either , speak openly on a matter of social or economic importance. Both of these high-profiled athletes apart from being extremely wealthy individuals , as can be seen from their ranking in Forbes’ highest paid athletes , are very much indifferent as to what they believe their legacies are said to be. Mayweather brandishes his opulence, by way of his lavish lifestyle, penchant for fast cars and gambling. Woods for his part, having careers earnings from the PGA Tour exceeding $100 million , with a further $850 million in endorsement earnings , might just be the wealthiest active North American athlete.

The golfer whose off-course issues came cannon fodder for the press, while idiots, such as Christine Brennan sought to ingratiate herself, with her readers by trying to suggest that Woods’ sexual peccadilloes were an outrage. Somehow, it might well have escaped Brennan’s notice, that the player’s actions were not unlawful, just simply repulsive. However, it would appear, that because of Woods’ visibility, the story was worth running with, merely to whet the appetite of the readers of USA Today and provide evidence and further lower what we now know is simply the press at its worst , without ever seeking to be informative or overly judgmental. Brennan , may well be seeking to show that as a woman she can compete in an environment that is uniquely dominated by her male counterparts , but she has yet to show that she can shy away from letting her emotions get the better of her.

Woods and his Tiger Woods Charitable Foundation in conjunction with many of his corporate sponsors have spent countless millions on children’s issues, with the furtherance of their education and well-being . Woods , himself, beyond the creation of foundation , now has several educational facilities in the state of California and nationwide , with monies also being spent abroad to establish similar academic institutions in Thailand , the birthplace of his mother , Kutilda Woods , and on the African continent.

Tiger Woods , like LeBron James , Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, have chosen to remain silent on a wide variety of sociopolitical issues . And while the golfer has let his money and deeds speak volumes as to his actions , by contrast the NBA and its fraternity of players along with their MLB and NFL counterparts have remained mute . Somewhat strange, when you consider that annually the MLB hierarchy annually in remembrance of Jackie Robinson’s integration into the game of baseball and at the insistence of Bud Selig , have sought to exhibit their political activism . Yet today, there has not been one player of note during this era, who has stepped up to the plate to speak openly on any issue of note . The self-absorbed image of the NBA and their egotistical fraternity , as presided over by David Stern , remains one of ridicule narcissism. In the wake of the death of teenager , Trayvon Martin ,whose demise brought a great deal of national outcry, the only action of note from many of the league’s players and specifically those of African-American heritage , was to stand silently before a game adorned in hoodies to express their concern over the teenager’s tragic demise . Even though Martin’s assailant, George Zimmerman was later acquitted of the victim’s death , it has not gone unnoticed, that the former defendant , has subsequently had several more run-ins with the law, with two occasions of Zimmerman having used a weapon to have allegedly threatened his ex-wife and a girlfriend. Speaks volumes, as the justice system within the state of Florida, the lack of intelligence amongst the twelve members of the jury and that of the complete incompetence of the prosecuting attorneys in the presentation of the state’s case.

Kobe Bryant may well have taken umbrage at being targeted by Jim Brown , but the NBA player’s response if anything showed a great deal of naiveté and a lack of understanding . Bryant’s own response if anything, further emphasizes why today’s athlete , has become way too-image conscious and even less involved and dare I say it, even less informed than many of their peers from years past ?

Loves labors lost, as it would now appear with the Los Angeles Lakers (10-11) , as they strive for some semblance of success this season . The very fact that their joint co-habitants at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , the Los Angeles Clippers (15-9) do appear have taken some of the glare off the more renowned of the two LA based NBA franchises , could very much be a part of one of the numerous reasons why prior to the start of the regular season schedule Kobe Bryant was somewhat mystified as to why analysts felt the Lakers would be no better than the twelfth best team in the Western Conference . From my own standpoint, I believe that the analysts were being rather generous with their own analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers as a team and their season’s aspirations in possibly making the NBA Playoffs. A less agile Bryant coming off , off-season surgery , with Pau Gasol’s game now in regression and with point guard Steve Nash not being able to give the Lakers at best no more than twenty minutes per game . I cannot see how anyone could expect to see this Mike DAntoni coached team make a deep run within the postseason , much less make a credible challenge within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.

Coming off a recent narrow six-point loss (114-108) to the Phoenix Suns , which saw the return of Kobe Bryant for his second game of the season , has pretty much summed up the Lakers’ season. Without him, Los Angeles are simply a team, treading water whilst in the middle of the ocean without a life-jacket . His return, makes Los Angeles a far more potent team offensively, but there remains numerous flaws that clearly need to be addressed by GM Mitch Kupchak . The team’s next game does not get any easier, as they meet a highly rejuvenated Oklahoma City Thunder team buoyed by the return of their All Star point guard Russell Westbrook .

Make no bones about it , with Bryant on the downside of an illustrious career and in spite of his recently signing a two-year $48.5 million contract extension . There is a continued belief that unless Mitch Kupchak is able lure away a highly prized free agent this upcoming off-season, this franchise is likely to languish in the middle order of the conference and at the lower end of the Pacific Division , which at present is a clear reflection of the Lakers’ present situation. There may well be a great deal of optimism amongst their fans, as would be expected , yet, the reality has not begun to set in, as to what the franchise’s real future is likely to be without a Kobe Bryant.

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Picture gallery .

In light of Jim Brown’s criticism of Kobe Bryant, do you believe that the former NFL player was justified in criticism of the NBA star ? Do you also believe that today’s athletes are too noncommittal concerning matters when it comes to politically or socially sensitive issues? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of the site .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Hall of Fame great Jim Brown is seen here during an appearance on the late night syndicated television talk show of host Arsenio Hall . Brown’s comments concerning NBA star Kobe Bryant seems to have caused a stir with the NBA player , who seems to believe that the statements attributed to the former NFL star were unflattering. Courtesy of UPN/Paramount Studios …..

(2) Bill Russell ,left, joined Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Lew Alcindor (among others) in 1963 at a meeting of top African-American athletes to show support for Ali’s refusal to fight in Vietnam. The boxer’s refusal on the grounds of being a conscientious objector to the war , also centered around the social injustices also taking place in America and the civil rights’ movement. . Getty Images / Tony Tomsic ……

(3) Lakers of ’04 as things didn’t go as planned as they were summarily dismissed in the NBA Finals by the Detroit Pistons . Seated from left to right Gary Payton , Shaquille O’Neal , Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox. That was one of the truly amazing upsets in NBA history as the Lakers were heavily favored in the series which they ended up losing 4-1 to the Eastern Conference based Detroit Pistons. Associated Press / Louis Lattimore

(4) Arthur Ashe, a three-time Grand Slam singles’ tournament winner and a founding member of the ATP , who succumbed to the aids’ virus having received contaminated blood, intravenously . A vocal opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa , the former world number one spoke put passionately against the regime refusing to play in any sanctioned tournament in the country while many of his fellow professional took an opposing view , citing that playing there would actually bring closer harmony between the minority white populace and the majority black population during the seventies . Upon his contracting the HIV virus leading to full-blown aids , Ashe also sought to aid and educate those contracting the disease. A foundation was set up in the player’s name , which has since raised tens of million of dollars for aids’ research and education . AP / REUTERS/ …….

(5) PGA Tour player Tiger Woods , long seen as the face of golf worldwide . Woods has seen fit to stay away from being political , choosing instead to simply let his philanthropic deeds speak as to his legacy on a number of social issues . Courtesy of PGA Tour .

(6) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni is seen her with Kobe Bryant , court-side during a game . With the Lakers off to an inauspicious start to this NBA season , it remains to be seen whether or not the team can make it a reality of making the NBA Playoffs . Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez …..

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Have her (Jordan Carver) place your balls in the right place .

Trust is something that has to be earned and it says a great deal about the relationship between star player and a coach …..

Trust is something that has to be earned and it says a great deal about the relationship between star player and a coach …..

In any great sporting endeavor, is it of a singular nature or from a professional team aspect and the success attained. In the end, it all comes down the trust that is said to have been placed between the head coach , his managerial staff and that of the star player or players or seasoned veterans on that team. All of the dynamics, of the great multiple team successes over the past four decades, can be attributed to this trait. And nowhere was this more prevalent, than with the championship winning teams of Phil Jackson as he presided over the dynasty with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of those Chicago Bulls’ teams that reigned supreme during the nineties. Jackson, would once again, replicate that success with the Los Angeles Lakers , where both Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were the centerpieces of three teams that won back-to-back to back NBA titles .

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The Miami Heat with Erik Spoelstra , seem to be on a predetermined journey to win their third consecutive NBA championship , with the team being led by the erstwhile triumvirate of LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . Now, while all of the talk at present might refs be about the scintillating form of the Indiana Pacers and in particular the play of Paul George . Let’s not fall into the mistaken belief, that the defending champions are likely to relinquish their crown, all too easily. If anything, the Heat will be even more determined to prove themselves worthy champions, while seeking to make a successful defense of their title.

The NFL since the inception of the Superbowl , has seen a multiple of what one might determine as being a dynasty in terms of tangible teams’ successes , with that of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ coached by Chuck Noll , Bill Walsh and the San Francisco 49ers , Jimmy Johnson and the marauding Dallas Cowboys and perhaps in the last decade the legacy of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots . The advent of free agency , the salary cap has truly changed the landscape of team sports and with the teams now treating their industry more like a business in some instances , it places a premium more so , on immediate success , . than it does in trying to seek longevity by way of success.

Major League Baseball for all of its nuances , on an off the diamond issues, continues to be the pastime that fans yearn for during the fall, but where they have now become tired of the complete lack of leadership from the league hierarchy , as well as the continued deceit amongst the players themselves and propensity for simply being disingenuous. . The World Series has not seen a repeat champion in over a decade , when Joe Torre was leading the New York Yankees to one of the most successful eras in that franchise’s rich and benevolent history . Yet for the sole victory by Torre’s successor Joe Girardi in 2009 , the subsequent years from that final triumph have been somewhat lean for the franchise.

As the title of this piece would suggest , it is the relationship between the coach and a star player that can in many ways determine the success of a franchise. That relationship quite obviously will be based on trust and the mutual respect and faith of the coach in the player’s abilities and likewise that also has to be reciprocated between player and coach. Michael Jordan certainly had that type of relationship with Phil Jackson , with Pippen being the lieutenant to Jordan’s on court general . The legacy of those six championships in an eight year span , might be one of the greatest eras in the NBA’s proud and rich history and I say that with all due deference to the era of the Boston Celtics’ triumphs and that also of the Showtime Lakers , led by Magic Johnson , who alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy made the NBA a prime-time event , even when their adversary may well have been the Celtics on the game’s biggest stage, with the stakes being the NBA title. . Those heady days of the Lakers are their very best, had Pat Riley coaching that those great players , with the now Miami Heat executive showing his flair for the showmanship, as well gaining almost celebrity like status alongside the players on those teams. Riley’s relationship with all three of the Lakers’ legends and now Hall of Fame inductees was built upon trust, with Magic Johnson being the conduit for a great deal of that success.

Joe Torre’s relationship with Derek Jeter , was one of the mainstays behind the New York Yankees’ four triumphs, where the centerpiece of the rosters were Andy Pettite , Jorge Posada , Mariano Rivera and Paul O’Neil . Yet , if anything , with Jeter being entrusted as the team captain, it was he who led , while his teammates imply followed , all under the command and respect of the Yankees’ manager . Those triumphs are since held in high esteem , with members of the organization , teams, but most of all with the fans who were there to have witnessed those memorable moments.

Chuck Noll’s four Superbowl triumphs with the Pittsburgh Steelers are well chronicled , with the teams in question, long-held as being some of the very best to have raised the Lombardi Trophy . The list of players who were part those triumphs , now enshrined in Canton , Ohio , within the Hall of Fame are a testament to the franchise’s quest for excellence and the coaching acumen of Noll, himself. . Chuck Noll’s relationship with players such as Franco Harris , Terry Bradshaw , Jack Lambert and Joe Greene , epitomized what made not only the Steelers’ franchise and players respected , but it also brought about the fans’ even greater appreciation of the NFL as a spectacle and the Superbowl as an event.

Bill Walsh’s demeanor, beyond his success attained with the San Francisco 49ers is the stuff that legends are made . His coaching schemes revolutionized the game as we know it . Yet, it may well be his relationship with Joe Montana and Walsh being the architect of three Superbowl winning teams , and his influence on the fourth triumph achieved by George Siefert , that may well be perhaps , his greatest legacy and testament. Fans know of Montana’s exploits in the Superbowl as well as the postseason , and I believe he remains the best quarterback to have ever played the game . Albeit, that the arguments are now being made that Peyton Manning might be an even better player and quarterback. Be that as it may , four Superbowl rings, to Manning’s lone triumph , tends to paint an all too different picture, when it is all said and done .

As an avid fan of the New England Patriots and the franchise’s triumphs with Bill Belichick as the head coach , with Tom Brady helming the ball-club to each of the three triumphs in question . The memories of two stinging losses to the New York Giants and then an inexplicable AFC championship game loss to the Baltimore Ravens , last season , still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. During the decade plus span of Tom Brady’s reign as the franchise’s quarterback , the player has simply rewritten many of the Patriots’ passing records , as well placing himself in the NFL’s records books with his own prowess . Whether or not Brady can join Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to have won four Superbowls, quarterbacking the same franchise , will be predicated by what the Patriots’ signal caller can achieve over the remainder of his NFL career. Tom Brady’s relationship with Bill Belichick has been built on a like-minded premise, that the ‘ pursuit of excellence ‘ will often outweigh all of the negatives that tend to crop within the game . That being said, Belichick has been a coach, who is often despised , though respected for his coaching acumen , but always seen as a self-absorbed individual. Image may well be everything , but for the Patriots’ head coach , it has never really meant a damn thing, just as long as his teams are winning.

The NFL this season , has seen its ups and downs , along with Gary Kubiak being the first coaching casualty of the year . Though, I do not believe he will be the last, after his summary firing by Houston Texans’ GM Rick Smith . If the swirling rumors are to be believed, then Mike Shanahan’s reign in Washington , DC as the head coach of the Washington Redskins is likely to come to an end , after a season of sheer ineptitude on the part of the coach , his coaching staff and the entire Redskins’ roster . Robert Griffin III , may well have been the number two overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft , but his performances this season, have been woefully abysmal . Yet , it would be wrong to lay the majority of the blame solely upon the shoulders of the sophomore quarterback. His woes , much like the rest of this roster , have been built around the poor coaching of Mike Shanahan and the never-ending wide variety of excuses for the poor performances and results this season. With revelations that the head coach wanted to abandon the team last season , it begs the question , if he felt that way , then why did he not simply resign? At the crux of it all, may well be the fact that had tendered his resignation , then the $ 7 million salary due in 2014 , would be lost to him, in its entirety . Instead, it now looks as if Shanahan is seeking to play a game of “cat and mouse ” with GM Bruce Allen and the team’s billionaire owner , Dan Snyder .

Shanahan’s relationship with his quarterback , cannot be fully categorized , because so much of what has been reported concerning the two, has simply been based on mere supposition. At the same time, I was never truly of the opinion, that the Redskins’ head coach was truly aware of what he had within his midst in terms of Robert Griffin’s undoubted talents. The team’s offense this season has been a blight to the NFL and when trying to make sense of the defense , well , let us just say that there are not enough words to simply describe the sheer ” bull$hit” that has been associated with the Redskins’ secondary this season.

If Sunday’s 45-10 annihilation suffered at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs by the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover , Maryland , this past Sunday, was not enough of an indicator , as to how far this team has fallen this season. Then surely, it must now be a sign, that changes need to be made amongst the coaching staff as well as with the entire roster . Far too much dead weight on the team , and simply not enough NFL ready talent, capable of playing at the highest level, and ably coached by a good enough coaching staff.

Ah , the NBA season and you can simply see how much the brand has deteriorated down the years , when the fans of the Brooklyn Nets (6-14) 5 , Los Angeles Lakers (10-10) 10 and New York Knicks (5-14) , seek to make excuses for the plight of the respective teams in question. If only those very same fans were able to show the intelligence or actual perception to know that , you simply cannot buy your way out of a mess that was organically created by the front offices of the organizations in question. Head coaches , Jason Kidd , Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson between them have a combined record of 21-39 . Great if you believe that kind of ineptitude can buy the fans and observers of the NBA an actual piece of mind . It has been this sort of mediocrity that the league hierarchy has continually gift wrapped for the fans over the past few seasons , especially within the Eastern Conference in particular . Another damning indictment of the level of play within the NBA at present, where the more asinine of fans are now more concerned with highlight reel dunks , more than anything else . The IQ level of the NBA fan has been on a steady decline along with the play of the vast majority of the teams within the league . Soon to be outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern will have this as a piece of his legacy , that should actually be etched on his tombstone .

Coming off a fifteen point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers , you simply have to wonder when this Knicks’ team and the coaching staff will actually begin to realize the fact that the season is already in motion , and that they are not still participating in their preseason schedule . Carmelo Anthony has been surrounded by a group of disinterested teammates, simply looking to earn their bloated salaries , while serving up the New York Knicks fans a content of bile inducing basketball . Never mind the continued excuses from the always less than intelligent Knicks fans at this juncture , as if it would be worth anything of note . Head coach Mike Woodson remains at a loss, to explain his team’s woes . And I doubt that he can actually place his trust in anyone on the current roster to lead by example , if these results are anything to go by . The Knicks’ next game will be against an always tough Chicago Bulls’ team , who this season have handed the defending champions the Miami Heat , their most embarrassing and lopsided loss of the season in a 107-87 defeat , and who were without Derrick Rose , who has been lost to Tom Thibodeau and this team for the remainder of the season .

I do not believe it impolite to now suggest that both Billy King , general manager , of the Brooklyn Nets and the team’s owner , Mikhail Prokhorov are in fact imbeciles , who simply have no damn idea as to what the hell they are doing or what they sought to achieve in hiring Jason Kidd to become the head coach of the team. In spite of Kidd’s vast experience as a player, who commanded the respect of his peers during his playing career? It has become abundantly clear, that as a head coach , he has simply brought absolutely nothing to the table, whatsoever . Jason Kidd’s predecessor PJ Carlesimo was jettisoned by the organization after his brief stint as the interim head coach last season, in light of Avery Johnson’s abrupt dismissal . To suggest that the Nets have now fallen on hard times would be an understatement , but it could be best summed up by saying that the current environment within the organization is simply further evidence why the NBA has become a complete joke ,with regard to the claims by David Stern and many of his subordinates that the league is soundly ran , with a business template that sees increasing values of the franchises and their ever-increasing profits’ growth . All well and good for the teams that are actually profitable , but the commissioner and his second in command, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have never sought to address why the league still wishes to punish teams with impunity , with their outrageous “luxury tax” , while not seeking have the teams and owners rein in their expenses , especially as it relates to teams’ payroll .

Brooklyn’s acquisition of three aging veterans in Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry has now made about as much sense as Barack Obama’s claims that the taxpayer would not see any money lost in their investment into then bankrupt Detroit automaker GM , who recently hired female Mary Barra to run the company, in the immediacy of Daniel F Akerson stepping down from his position as Chairman and CEO. Personally, with Obama, now out of the country , seeking to prop up his popularity polling numbers, while attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela . Personally, I am wondering, if it will be left to either Vice President Joe Biden or Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to explain how the country and taxpayer still ends up with a $10.5 billion loss in their original stake and multibillion bailout of the still troubled automaker ? I mean, Obama now simply cuts and runs , after each asinine guffaw , that he actually either promises and puts his name to , in the aftermath its failed implosion. He remains a gutless leader , much like the vast majority of the NBA hierarchy , , union and the team owners associated with the league.

Jason Kidd’s rein as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets should not be allowed to go beyond this season , because while he may command the respect of his players , I doubt that Kidd, himself, knows whom he can place his trust in on this team, to actually lead it moving forward . Deron Williams , while, a very good player, has never been thought of as a leader. Joe Johnson remains emblematic of everything that is currently wrong with the NBA and its continued idiocy of reward , while actually producing nothing of merit throughout his NBA career . Please , can someone explain to me what advantages if any have taken place in this nonsensical experiment of Jason Kidd being made the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets ? A failed exercise behind a failed franchise , that hemorrhages red ink continually, and for this the Brooklyn Nets’ fans have something to be thankful for ? Are you kidding me? Then again both New York based NBA franchises, are simply deserving of their present fates along with their herd of self-absorbed fans .

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Picture gallery .

I welcome your thoughts if any, concerning the points raised within this article. Simply chime in with your comments as you see fit.

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(1) Chicago Bulls’ legends from left to right Scottie Pippen , Michael Jordan and head Phil Jackson . The bespectacled Jackson guided the franchise to six NBA titles during an eight-year span before guiding the Los Angeles Lakers to another five titles during his reign with the Los Angeles’ based franchise . Jordan and Pippen’s relationship with their famed head coach was built on mutual respect and trust , with Michael Jordan leading the way in the Bulls’ greatest triumphs during the NBA playoffs . AP /REUTERS/ Mitchell Hahn ……….

(2) Kobe Bryant , left is seen here with Phil Jackson , center and Shaquille O’Neal at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA , after the team’s triumph in 2000 NBA Finals . Bryant and O’Neal were the main forces behind the Lakers’ triumphs of the late nineties that brought an additional three titles to one of the league’s most illustrious franchises. Getty Images / Matthew Donaldson ….

(3) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is seen here with LeBron James during a game played at the AAArena in Miami , Florida this season . The relationship between the young head coach and his superstar forward is said to be an extremely close one . Spoelstra is seeking to become the youngest head coach in NBA history to have won three consecutive titles in his capacity , before the age of forty-five. The two-time defending champions remain the team to beat in the Eastern Conference in spite of the spectacular start of the Indiana Pacers this season . AP Photo / Chris Fordham …. (4) Famed Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Chuck Noll is seen here with Joe Greene . The two individuals are part of a famed era during the Steelers’ history , which saw the franchise’s dominance of the NFL as Noll coached the teams to four Superbowl victories . Both are inductees into the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio . Archived footage …… @ all rights reserved copyrighted material

(5) New York Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter is seen here with then manager Joe Torre after the one of the four World Series’ triumphs shared as a paring during one of the richest eras of the Yankees’ postseason history . Jeter remains a part of the ball-club’s current roster , as he begins to wind down his almost two decade old career , all served with the New York Yankees . Torre is now a senior league executive with Major League Baseball . AP Photo / New York Daily News / Anthony McCarron …

(6) Bill Walsh is seen here with Joe Montana (16) and their shared triumphs in the NFL postseason and in particular in four Superbowl triumphs solidified the San Francisco 49ers’ legacy in NFL history . AP Photo archives ….

(7) A young Tom Brady (12) is seen here on the sidelines with New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick . The two as a tandem , have been part of five Superbowl appearances having won three of those meetings and losing the other two contests both times, to the New York Giants . The quarterback and head coach hope to make it to sixth appearance this postseason , while seeking to become only the third coaching and quarterback tandem to have won four Superbowls, joining the duo of Chuck Noll , Terry Bradshaw and the pairing of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana . AP Photo / Rachel Manners ….

(8) Brooklyn Nets’ (7-14) head coach Jason Kidd is seen here talking with the team’s point guard Deron Williams prior to a game this season . The Nets are off to a horrendous start to their schedule which has seen the team flounder within their division , the Eastern Conference , in the league , both away and at home during the infancy of this NBA season . The front office has given their beleaguered head coach its backing , which most circles is ordinarily seen as the “kiss of death” for a struggling head coach seeking wins and leadership amongst his playing staff . Getty Images / Harry How …….

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MLB news

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NBA results 10th December 2013

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NFL news from around the league

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NFL schedule week fifteen schedule

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Get your ‘whip’ looking good and simply admire the view as we all like to do !

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Actress and fellow Brit Naomie Harris , soon to be seen in the next Bond installment as the sexy reincarnation of ‘Moneypenny’ .

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So what? What have we really learned about the NFL this season ?

So what? What have we really learned about the NFL this season ?

With three weeks left to the end of the NFL regular season , we have one post-season qualifier , with the Seattle Seahawks having all but secured the NFC West divisional title . Meanwhile , the Houston Texans have fired head coach Gary Kubiak, after eight seasons of inconsistency and relatively little success. Mind you , if you believe that two playoff appearances where the team simply failed to show anything of a competitive nature is something that the franchise can actually take pride in . Then clearly , your thoughts about the organization might well be clouded on so many levels. The off-season for the Texans, will begin with an in-depth managerial search for a competent successor to Kubiak and I believe that team owner Robert McNair and GM Rick Smith , will take a look at the prospective teams , that are likely to make the post-season, and then seek to gauge the interest of any potential candidate amongst the assistant coaching staffs , of the teams in question .

One early and likely contender for the vacant Houston Texans’ coaching position , would appear to be Lovie Smith , formerly of the Chicago Bears whose firing from that position remains almost inexplicable as the asinine answer given by the front office , that the organization now needed to head in a new direction . The fact of the matter remains , as long as Jay Cutler remains in a Bears’ uniform the franchise is unlikely to win a Superbowl , no matter who head coach happens to be . Marc Trestman succeeded Smith, and has been able to do little of real note . Albeit, that the team, might appear to be on the cusp of gaining a playoff berth by default , after the Green Bay Packers lost Aaron Rodgers for a number of games, is simply one more pointer as to not only the weakness of the division , but also how dire, the play has been within the NFL this season. . On Monday night the Bears will get the chance to try and enhance their status and standing, when they play host to the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois in another of the games the NFL felt will likely entice the fans to watch . Given the unevenness, in the majority of those match-ups this season . This is a game , that I am likely to give a pass to , simply because of a contest between two highly overrated teams is simply one of the many idioms and idiocies of the proponents, who are still trying to suggest that “parity” has now become a part of the NFL. It’s not parity , but simply bad football and the vast majority would rather buy into what the NFL and their broadcast partners are selling, rather than coming to the conclusion that the NFL’s product is no longer an exciting brand .

Speaking of an unexciting brand and specifically the glamor that surrounded the game and a franchise having a one thousand yard rusher for the season . In an era, where a sixteen game schedule , means a running back simply has to average just over sixty yards a game to achieve that mark, that feat no longer seems at all relevant . Never mind the fact that the NFL has now become “a pass first league” , “pass happy league ” , where offense is simply predicated upon the yardage amassed and accuracy of a teams’ quarterback and that players’ propensity to amass the yardage needed in terms of a potent offense . Nothing more and nothing less!

The NFL has become an annual $7.55 billion industry and that business is presided over by perhaps the league’s most incompetent Chief Executive, since the league came me into existence. Don’t get me wrong , there may well be some admirable traits about Roger Goodell , but I have yet to see any of them exhibited during his tenure as the NFL Commissioner . To my mind , Goodell like his predecessor Paul Tagliabue are simply individuals too easily led and who have shown no intelligence whatsoever on a wide variety of issues that have affected the league over the past decade ! The primary concern of Goodell ,that of the team owners and union alike , are that of increased revenues leading to even bigger profits , and offering the fans little in return by way of a tangible on field product .

While the value of the franchises are now at all all-time high , and the owners are now corralling themselves to seek out even bigger revenue streams domestically as well as internationally . One now has to wonder the direction that the league will now seek to take, as it looks to compete on the global front . The North American market has now become saturated and with their being no real urgency by the NFL to have a franchise in the nation’s second largest advertising market , in spite of the continued overtures being made by several noted luminaries in the greater Los Angeles area. Before anything gets done, before an NFL franchise comes to that city, it will have to get its fiscal house in order . God knows , the state of California remains not only a mess from a financial standpoint , but also politically and it has become abundantly clear that its state legislature is simply a microcosm of the nation and the turmoil that still continues within Washington , DC , by way of the lack of political leadership and common sense being shown from either political party .

The Minnesota Vikings (3-8) are in a quagmire and I firmly believe that head coach , Leslie Frazier will be on his way out the door at the end of this season. As to the belief that the team’s quarterback Christian Ponder at any stage of his . NFL career was capable of leading this franchise to any semblance of success , has to be treated with a great deal of question . Ponder had moderate success while a player at Florida State , but even at his very best with that particular program , it was extremely difficult to view him as one of the top college quarterbacks in the nation upon his departure for the NFL. Minnesota has struggled this season and that has been reflected in one of the league’s poorer records this season . At best , all the franchise can simply hope for, is a respectable showing at the end of the season , with a year-end rousing string of positive results. . The first of those remaining five tests , will come when the Vikings are the guests of the defending Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday afternoon. For the Ravens, this is a last gasp attempt as the team seeks to play itself back into if not divisional contention , well at last a last ditch attempt at a playoff berth within the AFC , at this stage of the season.

Ponder, might not have been the best quarterback taken or available to Minnesota during 2011 NFL Draft as the twelfth overall pick . As to what, the Vikings fans may well have thought about the choice, I firmly believe, that they now regret the fact that the choice was ever made to begin with. Though the issues are not merely about Christian Ponder’s playing ability , there are also numerous other factors that have now brought the franchise to where they currently are . Namely, the team’s defense is poor and beyond Adrian Perterson , the offense remains at best , simply inept and the very fact that Leslie Frazier’s coaching staff have been repeatedly out of their depth during the head coach’s tenure , weigh further into this continued debacle . The longer Peterson remains with the franchise , the less likely , he is to fulfill his ambition of winning a Superbowl , as gauging the franchise on its current pace , they are at least three years away from a competitive enough team to be even remotely thought of as a legitimate contender within the conference, much less the NFL . With neither Jared Allen or Adrian Peterson traded at the trade deadline, I can only assume that it remains GM Rick Spielman’s wish to build a contender around the two seasoned veterans . If that is likely to be the case, then franchise will either seek a quarterback good enough to lead this franchise from the crop of free agents that will become available or from amongst the college quarterbacks likely to declare their eligibility for the 2014 NFL Draft .

One of the more pleasant stories to come out of this NFL season, has been the assured-ness shown by Peyton Manning during this year. The four-time league MVP is still on pace for a record-breaking season , if he continues on his current streak , which has been at a splintering pace . Through twelve games , Manning has thrown for over four thousand yards , an astonishing forty-one touchdowns, with only nine interceptions . Any thoughts, that there are any serious competitors or challengers to Manning for the league MVP this season , would be as asinine as suggesting that Usain Bolt , the men’s 100 meter Olympic champion , two-time world champion and record holder is likely to be challenged by Richard Simmons at the champion’s chosen event, with Simmons being given a thirty meter head start.

Manning and the Denver Broncos remain the clear favorites within the AFC to make a clear and distinctive run towards the franchise’s third Superbowl victory. As to whether or not this team is capable of emulating the teams that won back to back victories with team Executive Vice President John Elway leading his teammates in both triumphs. Could the same be ever said of Troy Aiken and Tony Romo , were Aiken to leave his current position in the commentators’ booth to take a similar role with the Dallas Cowboys ? I guess not , given Jerry Jones’ reluctance hand over the reins , but to continually micromanage every damn aspect of the Cowboys as an organization and with the franchise having not achieved anything of note in the last ten years .

It may well be deemed unkind, to make comparisons between organizations and what they have achieved over their respective historical legacies . Yet each season, I peruse the Dallas Cowboys and their list of accomplishments for that actual year, all I ever see , is the continued ineptitude of not only the team , but also the coaching staff and front office executives ! I would dare say, that if 2013 , ends with the Cowboys missing the playoffs or even making it for that matter . It is very unlikely that Tony Romo and his teammates will actually possess the mindset to defeat any of the contenders within the conference in spite of what has been a very mediocre season for the team within the NFC East by way of their overall record .

Dallas’ remaining schedule of four games , will begin with their Monday night clash with the Chicago Bears, which I earlier alluded to earlier , as being a contest of two highly overrated teams , looking to make headway this season within the NFL.

This season’s NFL rookies , have not been overly impressive , if measured against their predecessors in 2012 and 2011 . Yet, these observations, are merely my own and not from anyone’s observation on the issue . Your thoughts on this matter, are more than welcomed, as a healthy debate is better than no deb ate at all. The hype over Geno Smith as being one of the better quarterbacks in the college ranks of 2012 that was drafted and deemed good enough to succeed Mark Sanchez has bordered on being an unmitigated disaster beyond what now appears to be an even poorer season for Rex Ryan from a coaching standpoint. . This could very well prove to be the head coach’s last year with the franchise , unless he is able to pull off something extraordinary in terms of the New York Jets’ end of season run as it relates to their schedule . A welcomed triumph over the continually woeful Oakland Raiders , would be something of a genuine start , but not much more beyond than that .

Just when I thought, I could think no less of Bill Belichick and his continued antics as a head coach . He once again, proves me wrong with a coaching performance that defies all logic , as places the New England Patriots in a position to almost lose a game against the Cleveland Browns , that in essence would have killed their chances of gaining the number two seeding within the AFC at the end of the regular season. Belichick remains a self-absorbed individual who may well have the respect of his peers and his players , but he continues to viewed as an obnoxious and abrasive individual by the vast majority of fans , who have no binding allegiance to the Patriots. As a diehard fan of the franchise , I will continue heap praise on the team when necessary and when needed , be the first to also be one of the team’s biggest detractors, when I believe that they are simply not doing good enough , as adjudged by the franchise’s own lofty standards.

As the NFL season now winds down, having not reached its culmination by way of the regular season schedule. What to your mind has been the biggest surprise as well the biggest disappointment during this year? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of the site, as it has always been greatly appreciated !

tophatal ……………

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Meet Jordan Carver and just think what she could do for you .

Painstakingly refreshing , wouldn’t you agree ?

A horse by any other name is still a horse and the New York Yankees will still remain the New York Yankees as an organization who remain bereft of creativity …

A horse by any other name is still a horse and the New York Yankees will still remain the New York Yankees as an organization who remain bereft of creativity …

It would appear that with the death of their patriarch George Steinbrenner , his offspring led by Hank , Hal Steinbrenner , Jessica Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindahl as the current owners of baseball’s most venerable and successful franchise are intent on carrying as progeny’s, with the premise that they are willing to spend as they seek further success , but in their own right. As we know over the past decade , when all else fails , when this organization has not been able to develop talent from within its system in several years . It has been left to GM Brian Cashman ,once given the “go ahead” , to simply pry open the vault and overspend on talent . In aftermath of an unsuccessful season in 2013, in which we saw the team flounder for the majority of their schedule, as aging players CC Sabathia , Hiroki Kuroda , Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Andy Pettite were either unproductive , ailing with injuries or in the case of Rodriguez, simply seeking to make excuses for his own misdeeds as he continues to blame the league hierarchy for seeking to drive him out of baseball.

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Slideshow gallery .

Now while it would be true to suggest, that the New York Yankees are the franchise who simply sets the ratings for the national viewership of for baseball and attendance as well adjudging the value and profitability of the league’s thirty teams . It would be fair to say, that in terms of overall success in the past six years, but for their lone triumph in 2009 , the intervening years between that World Series’ victory and the franchise’s last 2000 , have been somewhat lean as to the lofty expectations of the New York Yankees’ organization overall. At the start of the 2013 season , Hal Steinbrennner’s intent was to reduce the team’s payroll to below $200 million , in order to avert having to pay the MLB “luxury tax” that has repeatedly penalized high-spending salaried teams within the game . Given the fact that in 2013 , only the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers were the only team meeting the criteria of having to be taxed . It does beg the question , whose assistance is this all being provided for , when the league itself does not choose to monitor how these monies are utilized by the beneficiaries of the Dodgers and Yankee’ largess ? Bear in mind , also , Bud Selig when pressed to explain the disparities, in the fact that New York was burdened with a surcharge of almost $40 million , whereas the Dodgers paid only $9.355 million when their payroll commitment to their entire personnel was merely $12 million less than the New York based franchise. The MLB Commissioner, was unable to explain the reason behind the disparity , as well as lacking the knowledge and expertise concerning the alleged benefits of the scheme.

Over the years, team owners such as Bob Nutting , Lew Wolff , Jeffrey Loria and Drayton McLane have simply used this charade as a way to line their own pockets , while pleading poverty on their franchises’ behalf . And for anyone seeking to also state that within the game of baseball , a form of parity is the closest thing that the “four major professional team sports” now have . I would ask you to look at the participants of this past postseason and then adjudge the teams’ payrolls and then explain how it is that 25% of baseball’s $3.125 billion payroll commitment was tied up in the salary commitment of the Dodgers , Detroit Tigers and others who made up the MLB postseason fare ?

There is no denying that for Joe Girardi and his staff , this past season was a nightmare beyond the injury issues of the team. An inconsistent offense as well as pitching led to numerous team woes beyond the lack of overall leadership , with Derek Jeter being missed from the lineup for the majority of the Yankees’ regular season games this past season , because of a re-occurrence to an old and persistent injury . From my own perspective, Jeter’s career is now on the wane and rarely are we able to simply see the flashes of brilliance , that once made him one of the best players and short-stops within the game . If anything, what is now sorely missed on this roster, are the intangibles he brought to the team as well as his leadership abilities. The same cannot be said of anyone currently playing on this team and therein now lies of the greatest flaws for the New York Yankees moving forward.

If the New York Yankees are to contend with a resurgent Boston Red Sox team that is likely to get better in 2014 rather than regressing . The same can be said of a Baltimore Orioles’ franchise, that came so close , but simply for the lack of dearth of pitching and offense , saw the latter half of their season implode. The retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera leaves the pitching lineup with a great deal of uncertainty, as well as to who is now best capable to fit the closers’ role for the rotation. . The salaries of CC Sabathia , Mark Teixiera , Alex Rodriguez , Curtis Granderson , Alfonso Soriano and Veron Wells is one thing to bear when the organization is said to be doing well competitively and from a financial standpoint . However, this past season , more than any other time in recent memory this organization, has now become no longer impervious to genuine criticism into every aspect of its conduct on and off the field of play , but also the image , that has been permeated by lingering doubts as to the capability of the Steinbrenner family , in running what is essentially a multi-billion dollar business empire . The handling of the fallout of the Alex Rodriguez ‘ scandal’ .. , and the lack leadership shown by Brian Cashman , Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner in questioning the sound legal advice availed to them by Lonn A Trost , Chief Legal Counsel & SVP , has me now even questioning the rationale of many of the decisions now being made within the front office of the organization .

As I alluded to earlier, Hal Steinbrenner sought reduce the Yankees’ payroll substantially below $200 million for this past season . Yet, in a flurry of early and mid-season madness, some thirty-eight million dollars, were added to the payroll, when they sought to acquire both Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano . Now, while both players contributed to the team over the course of the season . One could hardly say that those contributions amounted to what would be deemed in any way, tangible success . Injury prone, Mark Teixeira , Curtis Granderson , Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez accounted for almost forty per-cent of the Yankees’ offense in 2012 , but with the injuries and age came the fall-off in a once prodigious offense.

With the Boston Red Sox seeking to build upon their success in 2013 , having won the World Series with a rather lopsided win over the St Louis Cardinals . GM Ben Cherington and the managerial staff headed by John Farrell sought to bolster this roster during this off-season . A number of players obviously would become superfluous to the team’s needs , as so often is the case. One of the more highly praised free agents this off-season by way of a productive bat , would be Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox . In what undoubtedly will come as a surprise to many of the die-hard Red Sox fans, been the player agreeing to a reported six-year $153 million deal with the New York Yankees . Now while I believe Ellsbury to be a very good player , and a great clubhouse leader , the very fact that in recent years he has become more of a health risk , leads me to be of the opinion that the risks do outweigh the advantages of such a deal . The likelihood is that Ellsbury is being brought into replace Curtis Granderson whose statistics were down from last season , as well as the outfielder’s recent own health concerns , also has me wondering what are the actual advantages of this deal in the first . Brian Cashman is merely moving once piece of a mismatched jigsaw puzzle , for another piece, that is very much similar in kind .

Having re-signed Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees’ projected pitching rotation will be steeped in mediocrity . CC Sabathia and Kuroda may well be seen as the best one two punch that New York can assemble , but beyond that, there would be very little for an opponent to be fearful of .

The resignation of Jim Leyland from the Detroit Tigers after their free-fall in the postseason, leads me to believe that the manager felt that he could no longer take this ball-club farther than he already had. GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner Michael Ilitch tried to have their longstanding coach change his mind . Leyland’s wishes were respected and the Tigers have moved on, with the hiring of Brad Ausmus to succeed the venerable manager. With Ausmus’ hire has come the upheaval within the roster , with the departures of Prince Fielder and Doug Fister . And it does not appear that these deals are to be the last of the transactions that are likely to be made as Dave Dombrowski seeks to reshape this roster into a more competitive unit . The remainder of Fielder’s ludicrous contract will now be absorbed by the Texas Rangers whose lean years have continued , even in spite of two recent back to back ALCS pennant wins and World Series’ appearances that were doomed , because of the incompetency shown by the Rangers’ teams in each of the postseason finales in question.

The emphasis of this Detroit Tigers roster, now appears to be built around Miguel Cabrera , the reigning two-time AL MVP , pitchers Justin Verlander , Rick Porcello , Anibel Sanchez and Max Scherzer . With Brad Ausmus now succeeding Jim Leyland as the manager of what is likely to be a newly revamped Tigers lineup , a great deal is being asked of Leyland’s successor to emulate the success achieved and in leading this franchise forward. Dave Dombrowski will also have to deal with, the issue of a new contract for Max Scherzer , the AL Cy Young winner in 2013 and the American League’s most successful pitcher in terms of wins . It is debatable if the general manager will seek to make the pitcher the highest-paid pitcher on the Tigers’ roster, by offering him a multi-year deal .

The window of opportunity will always remain open for the Detroit Tigers , as long as Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander remain the centerpieces of this team and the pieces are in place around them . Anything short of that, and the future for the franchise would appear to be bleak.

It is extremely difficult to see how anyone can stand behind and continue to support the Houston Astros after two consecutive seasons of having exceeded one hundred losses in each of the past two years . Call it either the poor management style of Bo Porter and his staff or the fact that the teams in 2012 and 2013 have absolutely mediocre on all fronts . . Astros’ owner Jim Crane may well have been induced into overpaying for a franchise purely based on the marketing and revenue potential of the Houston area market place and the fact , that as part of the $775 million paid to purchase the franchise from Drayton McLane was deemed to be a bargain .

Two years on from that deal and the franchise apart from having amongst the lowest attendance in Major League Baseball , is now staving off financial worries as well as seeking in an injunction the US Federal Bankruptcy Courts to stop their broadcast partners CSN SportsNet Houston (CSN) from filing for bankruptcy reorganization (Chapter 11). Any such move, for the franchise would create financial embarrassment for not only Crane but for the entire Astros’ organization moving forward and for baseball , itself. Considering, the MLB hierarchy and their ongoing incompetence , as they are led by Bud Selig . All roads now appear to point to an uneasy journey ahead for the AL West ball-club. The MLB Commissioner was found wanting, in his now surreptitious handling of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sale from the previous owner Frank McCourt , whose own mismanagement of the franchise has been well chronicled . Add in the fact that , a number team owners were widely convinced that Selig acted improperly during the proceedings, in trying dissuade the bankruptcy judge from accepting any other offer , than the bid submitted by Guggenheim Partners Inc and their wholly owned property Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC .

With the Houston Astros having a vested interest in CSN Houston as a stakeholder in the cable broadcast outlet , that is also owned in part by Comcast Inc , parent company of NBC /Universal . The question that has to be asked, is how can a regional cable and sports’ broadcast outlet that is often seen as a financial windfall for a professional sports’ franchise be so mismanaged and mis-ran , to the extent , that one party simply wants to relinquish its holdings , while the other seeks to force their partner to carry on writing a blank check , and simply getting nothing tangible in return ? Clearly, Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow are forcing this issue, as represented by their legal counsel in the US Federal Courts .

As to the ongoing competitiveness of the Houston Astros and this upcoming season . I am not so sure that we are not likely to see the franchise pull off a third consecutive season of losing in excess of one hundred games There has been nothing to suggest that the team is likely to improve , in spite of what are said to be great off-season moves and Jim Crane’s explicit wish to raise the payroll from $65 million in 2013 to over $80 million in 2014.

If there could be one word, to describe the Miami Marlins last season , along with their inept record and continued failings . It would have to be “failure” . On so many levels, this organization continues to be mismanaged , from the front office on down , never mind the fact manager Mike Redmond was thrown in at the deep end , without so much as a life jacket , yet was expected to somehow pull of a miracle and make this team competitive . Well, Redmond was able to achieve neither , in spite of the lone accolade of organization having seen their rookie pitcher , Jose Fernandez pick up the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Honors . Team owner , Jeffrey Loria continues to play fast and loose with the truth, as to his dealings with the city of Miami as well as the Miami Dade County government and what was entailed in the franchise acquiring its ballpark and the fact the city of Miami residents will be left on the hook for the $575 million in costs for the paltry 35,000 seated venue . The public has yet to be ,made aware of the US Justice Department’s investigation of the city and their actions that led to the approval of the financing for the barely attended venue for Marlins’ games since its inauguration in 2012.

Miami City Mayor Tomas Regalado and many of his subordinates have remained tight-lipped , concerning any allegations of graft, with certain high-ranking city officials having accepted monetary gifts in order to approve the finance bill , that availed the baseball franchise its new venue. Bud Selig for his part , whose influence was ongoing , met with Loria behind the scenes to check the ongoing progress of deliberations, that were said to be taking place between Jeffrey Loria , Larry Beinfest , Michael Hill and David Samson in their continued meetings with both governmental agencies at the time . Somehow in the midst of this all, the commissioner also found time to disparage Florida’s only other professional Major League Baseball franchise , the Tampa Bay Rays , by questioning the integrity of the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg and the club’s apparent unwillingness to obtain a new stadium . No assistance of any kind , has been provided by the commissioner to the Rays, in their continued endeavors for a new ballpark , and the franchise’s own fans being the continued imbeciles that they are, have never had the temerity to question Bud Selig’s motives in assisting the Marlins , but failing to come to the aid of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays’ fans are not as knowledgeable as they make themselves out to be , but they are extremely apathetic , most definitely , as can be seen in their wavering support of the franchise and continued excuses when it comes to the continued low attendance figures at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg, Florida .

The Miami Marlins coming off their 62-100 season within the NL East , only the Houston Astros bore a worst record in the entire league last season . Personally, having once been an ardent supporter of the franchise before complete abandoning them in 2011 , after the contempt ongoing deceit of the ownership group , that was also abetted by Bud Selig and his hierarchy cohorts . There is really nothing admirable that can be said about the South Florida franchise and the continued incompetence being shown not only its upper management but also by the league in its entirety. As to the ongoing idiocy, and what appears to be the love-fest , with the adoption of instant replay being introduced within the game of baseball . Considering, the lack decisiveness being shown by the teams , players , union , owners and front office executives in dealing with issues , such as, rampant steroid use and the financial disparities that still continue within the game . I doubt , that , this upcoming season within baseball, will be any different from the previous seasons of controversy , excesses of the players in terms of their personal conduct or the ongoing incompetency of Bud Selig and his leadership style , whatever that might be !

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Picture gallery .

Chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and anything else that you feel that is pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Members of the Steinbrenner family pose for photographers following a ceremony dedicating a monument to the late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner before the Yankees baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Seen are (L-R) Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, Jessica Steinbrenner, George’s widow Joan Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner. Source:Pool/Getty Images North America ….

(2) Members of the Steinbrenner family, (L-R) Hal Steinbrenner, and Jessica Steinbrenner pass by their father’s monument following as another member of the family places a rose beside the newly unveiled plaque, at a ceremony dedicating the monument to the late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner before the Yankees baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Source: Pool/ Getty Images North America ….

(3) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox , seen here during a game played at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts,. The player having become a free agent this off-season, signed a reputed six-year $153 million deal to play for the New York Yankees . Ellsbury, age 30, has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons , but his agent Scott Boras believes his client will be a productive player and provide the clubhouse leadership needed by the franchise . It begs the question, will Jacoby Ellsbury now become the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter as perhaps the new captain of the team ? AP Photo / Jae C Hong ….

(4) Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, Ben Cherington (R), introduces John Farrell as the new manager, the 46th manager in the club’s 112-year history , on October 23, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. In his first season as manager of the ball-club Farrell would lead the Red Sox to their third World Series title in the past nine years and the franchise’s eighth overall in their history. Getty Images/ Jared Wickerham …..

Detroit Tigers’ general manager Dave Dombrowski , left is seen here with the team’s new manager Brad Ausmus . The new skipper succeeds Jim Leyland whose resignation was reluctantly accepted by the organization this off-season. Players such as Miguel Cabrera , Justin Verlander , Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer thanked the outgoing manager for his contributions to the Tigers , as well for the relationships founded and also, in making them better players . AP Photo / Tony Jackson ….

(6) Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane ,left, is seen here alongside the team’s manager Bo Porter . Two years into his reign and Porter has led to the franchise to back to back 100 losses in each of the last two seasons. With now lowered attendance having moved from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013 , the organization apart from being uncompetitive , is now having severe financial difficulties, which Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow are denying, in spite of their civil suit against CSN Houston , the regional cable sports’ broadcast outlet that the ball-club has a stake in . Getty Images / Paul Stevens ….

(7) Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, left, and team president David Samson walk through the lobby of the hotel hosting Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in Dallas , Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(8) Bud Selig is seen here alongside fellow MLB hierarchy executive , Joe Torre SVP & Head of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball . All signs seems to be pointing to either Rob Manfred or Bob Dupuy succeeding the outgoing commissioner in February 2014 , rather than the popular choice of Torre, himself . Courtesy of ESPN and MLB Properties Inc ….
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MLB news

MLB transactions (December) and for November

2013 MLB postseason

2013 MLB World Series

MLB final regular season standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

This week in MLB history

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Can’t get enough titties to look at ? Try her’s .

All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …..

All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …

Well , the sports’ world brought us all an array of surprising results , but perhaps , nowhere was this more surprising than in the arena of College Football . The continued arrogance of Alabama’s , Nick Saban continues to know boundaries as to its excessive-ness and his self-absorbed demeanor, was once again on display for all to see in the team’s ” highly touted” match-up against Auburn on Saturday afternoon . Given what this game meant to nation’s top ranked team at the time , the ensuing loss suffered by the Crimson Tide , their first of the season , pretty much has sealed their fate in terms of any national title hopes , as the program sought to win their third BCS national title in the past four seasons . Personally, I see the team’s defeat as a blessing in disguise for the program , a wake-up call for Nick Saban , his coaching staff and players as a whole !

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Slideshow .

Saban’s explanation, as to the reasons why he felt it necessary to go for a fifty-seven yard field goal attempt , when all season long , neither kickers Cade Foster or Adam Griffith had succeeded from a range beyond forty-eight yards , warrants as much of answer , as to the coach’s own decision , to seek to make the attempt at the time. What followed is likely to go down in the annals of the Auburn Tigers’ folklore, as well its rich heritage of footballing history. With the remainder of the Collegiate Football schedule, yet to be played out , the question now becomes who best serves being anointed to play for this year’s BCS title, with the winner being viewed as the nation’s top football program for the 2013 season .

A clearly disgruntled Nick Saban strolls the sidelines during Alabama’s game against Auburn this past Saturday . The game ended with Alabama’s unbeaten reign for the season coming to an abrupt end .

While Alabama, was being sent back to Tuscaloosa, with their tails between their legs. Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes , sought to move up the rankings by seeking to be victorious over Michigan . It is pretty safe to say that the Buckeyes and that rampant offense are by far the best team in the country as things now stands with the exception of the ACC’s own juggernaut Florida State (Seminoles) . I am beginning to wonder, if Jay Jacobs the Tigers’ AD is actually serious when he says ” ‘College Football’ would be done a great disservice, if a one loss team would be left out of the national title game and undefeated team such as Ohio State were allowed in “ . Once again, an administrator with clearly no damn intelligence, is seeking preferential treatment for the SEC , after Alabama’s repeated chances to put the game beyond Auburn’s reach, when the teams faced each other on Saturday afternoon . Jacobs, if anything should be elated at his school’s triumph and that they are now viewed as a possible national title contender while praising Chris Davis in showing his athleticism in racing through for a one hundred and seven yard touchdown run , that sealed the victory for the Tigers and leaving Alabama questioning their alleged invincibility .

Urban Meyer having brought back a sense of respectability to the Buckeyes’ program , their clash with Michigan (Wolverines) has always been seen as one of the highlights of the Collegiate Football season. Nonetheless, it would take a wildly rousing and stirring contest , before this game would come to a satisfactory conclusion on Saturday afternoon , with Meyer’s team coming away with a narrow but hard-fought 42-41 victory . At 12-0 , the Buckeyes can now seal their own fate, by winning the Big Ten title and booking their way to a BCS title match-up .

One can truly tell a great deal about a program in College Football , by the demeanor of a head coach and the relationship that he is said to have with the fans. In the case of the Florida Gators . The expectations were high , with the hire of Wil Muschamp , as he sought to make a name for himself , rather than seeking upon the retirement of Mack Brown at the University of Texas and that illustrious program . Of late , both the Longhorns and Gators seem to have hit upon lean times , and now comes the question what fate now awaits both Mack Brown and his former heir apparent Wil Muschamp after their respective under-achieving seasons. You can have all the talent in the world along with this asinine notion as to a top recruiting class on an annual basis , as many of these misanthropes who purportedly call themselves die-hard Gators’ fans . Ask them to explain why none of that has matriculated into a successful 2013 season , and it almost akin to berating and telling them to stop suckling on their mother’s breasts .

These Gators’ fans are bright , but not that bright or excessively intelligent. Jeremy Foley no longer has that glint in his eye and his reputation has taken a gigantic hit with the team’s failings this season under the young head coach . From my own standpoint, I do not believe that Wil Muschamp is a great motivator , while he may well be a very good coach , there has been nothing to suggest that he is either astute or in fact knows how to deal with real adversity on or off the field of play ! The results this season bear this out and the team’s lopsided loss (37-7) to instate rivals, the Florida State Seminoles , further emphasized that fact and was a damning indictment of the team’s failings that have been on show , all season long .

Wil Muschamp is likely to be retained by the school , but I believe that after this loss to the Seminoles, the picture for the head coach is not as bright as first thought , when hired as the successor to Ron Zook , whose own tenure with the program was short-lived , after the boosters were not satisfied with the on field progress of the team , at the time . If Zook, can be hung out to like a dying carcass , for just about everyone to pick at his entrails , then why has not the same fate , now befallen his successor ?

If the NFL has actually proven one thing to me this season , it is never ever look at a team and to think them great , in spite of the results or statistics ! Well , in the case of the , Atlanta Falcons , Buffalo Bills , Cleveland Browns , New York Jets , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins , that argument was already mute to begin with, Neither team from a coaching standpoint, or competitive standpoint has been a worthwhile exhibit to view and categorically state , this is what the NFL is all about . If anything , all six teams , it could be argued this is what the league should not desire to be about , under any description that would give credence that this is how football ought to be played .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9) were thought to have turned the corner having won two straight , before running into the hottest team in the NFL , when Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers played host to their NFC South divisional rivals on Sunday afternoon . Anyone who may well have remotely thought this contest to be even competitive , must be viewed with a great deal of skepticism . This is a badly coached Buccaneers lineup , whose head coach Greg Schiano is as bereft of coaching acumen , as the team he sent out onto the field of play on Sunday afternoon . Where Tampa and the front office now decides to go from here, will be predicated upon the remaining four games of the season on the Buccaneers’ schedule.

Geno Smith , turnover machine , his understudy this season , Mark Sanchez , likewise . How else can one describe a New York Jets’ team that has been so extraordinarily bad , other than to say , “ boy this team sucks “ ! The Jets and the Miami Dolphins met in an AFC East divisional game that had a great deal riding on the outcome for both teams. Miami, is still looking to downplay and forget about the verbose behavior of Richie Incognito , while the Jets are simply looking to forget about this season altogether . Suffice to say, after the Dolphins’ open-ended 23-3 annihilation of the Jets , you have to come to the conclusion that the team’s GM John Idzik has to take matters into his own hands and fire head coach Rex Ryan at the end of this season . What use is a coach , who is unable to motivate a team , much less teach them the basic fundamentals of the game ? Answer me, that , if you can ?

Geno Smith may well be in his rookie season , but the repeated mistakes , are common placed , that there is no way in hell , I can see the player being the regular season starter for the franchise next year ! He was ill prepared in 2013 and under the tutelage of quarterbacks’ coach David Lee , his progression has been at a snail’s pace. .

How the mighty have fallen and it seems almost inconceivable, that the Houston Texans (2-10) can now be so bad and look so bad . At the beginning of the season, this team was thought to be one of the more credible contenders within the AFC South , as well as the AFC and a legitimate Superbowl contender. Instead, a team , plagued by injuries , poor quarterback play, inexplicable mid-season personnel decisions and a complete lack of leadership both on and off the field of play . Matt Schaub , has simply proven that all the all great regular season stats cannot make up for the flaws he has in terms of his postseason play , and not one to be viewed as a leader , when faced with adversity during the postseason. Head coach Gary Kubiak , in spite of his recent health issues , I can only surmise that team owner Robert “Bob” McNair and GM Rick Smith are likely to make the decision to jettison their beleaguered coach. Two successive postseason failures and then , in 2013 , a none responsive unit on the field of play , has all but condemned the franchise to a rather moribund season . The team’s record, as it now stands, certainly bears this out and it is simply another damning indictment of another NFL franchise , where the coaching has been so mediocre beyond the atrocious play .

The Texans’ narrow three-point 34-31 loss to the New England Patriots may well have been another nail in the coffin , that is likely to bring about Gary Kubiak’s abrupt departure as well the team’s veteran quarterback Matt Schaub. Many, still question, why it is, that the coaching staff have not made more use of either TJ Yates or Case Keenum . The latter, in Keenum, who showed a great deal of poise earlier this season , when asked to step in for the then injured incumbent starter , Matt Schaub. Keenum’s demotion back to the bench, created a great deal of anger amongst Texans’ fans. Case Keenum’s play on Sunday was very good , but the Texans’ defense was simply diabolical to watch under any circumstance , that one might deem to imagine.

As the Seattle Seahawks roll on , and based on last night’s rollover and demolition of the New Orleans Saints, this Pete Carroll coached team might just now be the best in the NFC . My only caveat to this all , “buyer beware “ , as the Carolina Panthers with their recent win streak aided and abetted by the play of Cam Newton and the Panthers’ defense has the team rolling along nicely . Not only that , but with a 9-3 record , they are now challenging the Saints for divisional supremacy within the NFC South , in what has been a totally abhorrent season for the division’s two other divisional occupants , the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While I believe that the Seahawks’ fortunes are tied to that of the team’s quarterback Russell Wilson . I can’t help but wonder, how differently, things might have turned out, had not then GM John Idzik persuaded Pete Carroll to draft Wilson, rather than going with a defensive lineman . It is clear, that since Russell Wilson’s first appearance for the Seattle Seahawks, the franchise has become relevant once again, with the young sophomore quarterback once again showing his worth this season . Seattle’s next game will be a true test of wills when they make an appearance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco , California, when they are the guests of the San Francisco 49ers in a divisional contest. In the driver’s seat, having already garnered a playoff berth, the best record in the conference and the league are still up for grabs.

As a die-hard New England Patriots’ fans , I must say that at times I have been completely dismayed by the play of the team and what appears the whimsical and often complacent attitude of Bill Belichick and his staff . I believe much of this, may well have to do with how the franchise has been viewed in light of the Aaron Hernandez ” scandal” . A great deal of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the head coach and front office , with GM Nick Caserio working in close conjunction with team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft. . In the aftermath of Hernandez’s arraignment and being charged first degree murder , all of the finger-pointing and blame game began , with Kraft suggesting that the player lied to the organization . My question for Kraft , if as suggested , the franchise conducted their own in-depth background check of Aaron Hernandez’s past history , then why was it that a number of the prior allegations against the player while in college, were simply overlooked by the organization ? And given the player’s propensity for violence and a need to be around multiple firearms, licensed and unlicensed , then clearly that had to have been a ‘red flag’ raised for the Patriots’ investigators, for Bill Belichick , Nick Caserio and Robert Kraft.

A trial date, has yet to be set for Aaron Hernandez, in the homicide of a former acquaintance, Odin Lloyd . This story will become a media cycle and news’ frenzy for the NFL and the nation’s broadcast networks in 2014. Especially where, there now seems to be a belief that the tight end may well now be an accomplice in two other homicides that have yet to be closed by law enforcement in terms of a full investigation .

At 9-3 and leading the AFC East , quite comfortably, New England’s destiny over the remainder of the regular season rests in their own hands. The remaining four games on their schedule, are all winnable , if the effort is shown to garner the results desired. A number two seed and gaining a bye, in the wildcard round of the playoffs has to be the objective of the team. I am sure that Tom Brady and his teammates would like to make that a reality , rather than having to face the pitfall of facing a lower seed in the always dangerous opening round of the NFL postseason .

This never-ending rationale by Roger Goodell with the rise in popularity of the NFL across the Atlantic Ocean , and specifically in Western Europe . There now seems to be a growing anticipation amongst Goodell and the most senior league executives that the time is almost upon the league to make it a reality , of having a franchise based in Europe . Language barriers asides , the preferred choice would appear to be London , England . Yet, the real issue would become the venue and the cost to an apparent aspiring franchise owner. Any bidding consortium is likely to be asked for a rights’ fee in excess of $750 million . No small price, considering the avarice continually being shown Goodell and the franchise owners around the NFL . What the NFL Commissioner has failed to take into account, apart from the tens of millions dollars lost after the league’s first foray on the European continent with the doomed failure . of NFL Europe . Presided over by Paul Tagliabue as the then commissioner , is the league having to compete against not only Premiership soccer , but also the various professional soccer leagues in Western Europe and their scheduling .

One of the major failings of that first start-up , was the very fact that the NFL handled it all haphazardly , without their being any input being sought from the then starting franchises, that encompassed NFL Europe’s beginning . Communiques between the league and its counterpart , were often comedic and bore no substance in fact , in terms of the claims that the initiative was an overall success . Two decades later , and I am convinced that Roger Goodell has learned absolutely nothing from his predecessor’s failure with NFL Europe. Owners such as Jerry Jones , Robert McNair, Jed York , Arthur Blank , Jerry Richardson , Pat Bowlen and Jim Irsay and Jeff Lurie are proponents for the league’s expansion outside North America .

If the NFL can barely make any inroads, in seeking the creation of a franchise in the nation’s second largest advertising market in Los Angeles , California. Then what might I ask, would embolden the league to now believe, it now has a better chance of having a European franchise ? One would also have to take into account the logistical nightmares that are likely to be created, concerning a regular season schedule and the time zones involved . While there are billions of dollars at stake in terms of increased revenues , there is no guarantee of success and I sincerely doubt that a prospective franchise owner would willing wait anywhere between four to six years before the franchise would be deemed a competitive success. Never-mind the fact, that the fans are likely to be subjected to several years of likely incompetence in terms of the on-field product . Is that really the price , that you as a consumer and fan would be willing to pay?

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Picture gallery .

As the NFL regular season is coming into the final stretch , what if anything do you believe awaits a number of the league’s perceived contenders ? Also, which team to your mind , has proven to be the biggest disappointment of this season ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else, you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Auburn’s Chris Davis (11) returns a missed field goal for the winning touchdown against Alabama. Auburn would go on to defeat the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 34-28 in a nail-biting game that may well have dashed Alabama’s national tile hopes in a game played this past Saturday Nov. 30, 2013 in Auburn, Ala. Todd J. Van Emst …

(2) Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn , arms aloft , celebrates as he sees Chris Davis makes his way to the end-zone during the game between Alabama and Auburn this past Saturday , in a clash of two of the SEC’s most respected programs . The outcome has now wreaked havoc in the BCS standings , with the formerly unbeaten Alabama now falling down the rankings to number four in the BCS Poll . AP Photo / Curtis Todd ….

(3) Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (21) of the Michigan Wolverines is tackled by defensive back Tyvis Powell (23) of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first quarter during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Getty Images North America / Gregory Shamus ….

(4) Wide receiver Devin Smith (9) of the Ohio State Buckeyes scores a touchdown in the first quarter as safety Josh Furman (14) of the Michigan Wolverines defends during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Getty Images / Gregory Shamus …..

(5) Wil Muschamp left , head coach of the Florida Gators’ program is seen here with his counterpart Jimbo Fisher of Florida State as the two meet center-field prior to the game between the programs in Gainesville , Florida on Saturday 30th November , 2013 . The Seminoles would go on to rout Florida 37-7 in a lopsided match-up where the Gators’ defense was simply abysmal . So much for the idiocy that the program on annual basis has a top five recruiting class , which obviously hasn’t matriculated into anything of substance in 2013 , given Florida’s present record (4-8) . Orlando Sentinel / Jose Garcia ….

(6) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers breaks through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense for a first down during play at Bank of America Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 27-6 . Getty Images / Grant Halverson …..

(7) Another loss and another erratic display from the New York Jets . Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets leaves the field after a loss against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on December 1, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(8) Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll , right , is seen here with the team’s quarterback Russell Wilson . The player has guided the team to their second consecutive playoff berth in two season and will be looking to go one step further than last season , when the Seahawks were defeated in the divisional round by the Atlanta Falcons . Seattle currently has the best record in the NFC , much of it due to the improved play of the quarterback and what is now turning out to be one of the league’s best defenses . On Monday night the Seattle Seahawks showed their dominance in routing the New Orleans Saints in a completely lopsided affair . AP Photo / Mark Shaw …

(9) Case Keenum (7) of the Houston Texans is seen here on the sidelines at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas, speaking to head coach Gary Kubiak . Currently rooted at the bottom of the AFC South with a 2-10 record , all things seem to be pointing to the fact that Kubiak will not be returning in 2014 , albeit that the front office has been noncommittal concerning the head coach’s long-term future. AP Photo / Scott Parker ….

(10) Former New England Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) is seen here with head coach Bill Belichick at the Patriots’ practice facility in Foxboro’ , Massachusetts. With the franchise having released the player early this season after his having been arraigned and charged with first degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd . Hernandez now awaits a trial date to be set , with two accomplices and his fiancee` Shayanna Jenkins also charged on a lesser count of obstruction of justice and perjury . Meanwhile , the New England Patriots, have seen their season become one of erratic performances , but with their not being much of a competitive resolve from their divisional competitors , their fate now lays in their own hands over the remainder of the regular season , and beyond . Getty Images / Sam Gardner ………

(11) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , foreground , is seen here with Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones . Both high level executives are proponents of the NFL’s expansion beyond North America . Jones has long wised and pushed for the NFL to have an overseas’ franchise specifically in Europe even in spite of the league’s failure with NFL Europe in the mid to late eighties. NFL regular season games have been played in Toronto , Ontario , Mexico City , Mexico and in recent years in London , England , at the cathedral of English soccer , Wembley Stadium , in London. In 2014 , Goodell expects the schedule to incorporate two regular season games at the English soccer venue , though no concrete deal has yet to be set on the schedule and how it would fit in with any proposed events to be staged at the stadium. . AP Photo / Scott Parker ….

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NCAA Football news

NCAA Football results week fourteen

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NFL news and stories from around the league

NFL week thirteen schedule

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NFL schedule week fourteen

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Slap me silly .

Saban left his team hanging in the wind with his boneheaded decision , much like this chic’s tits .