A fascinating look at stupidity or as I would like to say, another day, another idiotic decision by Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys

A fascinating look at stupidity or as I would like to say, another day, another idiotic decision by Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys

They may no longer be ” America’s Team” , but they remain one of the most valuable and profitable professional sports’ franchises in the world , and by far the most profitable in the NFL . Five Superbowl victories have as such, defined the legacy of the Dallas Cowboys as an NFL franchise. Unfortunately, for the Cowboys, the last of those Superbowl victories, came in the 1995 season , when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last of their quintuple of Lombardi Trophy successes . Two-decades, is an extremely long time to go without an appearance in the NFL’s most prestigious game, its postseason finale.

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Coming off another disappointing season for the Dallas Cowboys , with the customary excuses repeatedly being made by a number of executives , players and the coaching staff , after another year of incompetency. The Cowboys’ owner , Jerry Jones , CEO and de-facto general manager, has continued to paint a rosy picture of the team’s accomplishments year in and out , in spite of the mounting criticism leveled his way. Head coach Jason Garrett and a former player with the Dallas Cowboys , notably as a backup to Hall of Fame player Troy Aikman , remains in his position, with mounting criticism as to his coaching acumen and capability as an NFL head coach.

An 8-8 record , having gone 7-5 within the NFC and 5-1 within the NFC East , finishing second to what now appears a rejuvenated Philadelphia Eagles’ team , proved to be acceptable to some within the Cowboys’ organization, who tried to use the injuries suffered by the team, as one of the primary reasons why the Cowboys failed so miserably. At the start of the season, the Dallas Cowboys had high hopes of making a serious playoff push with a team that Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones believed to be legitimate contender within the division and the NFL as a whole .

Though the success garnered by the Cowboys within the division should have proven good enough to be great launching pad for the season , it was on the road and with their non-conference schedule , where the team proved to be utterly dreadful , with Jason Garrett and his staff not showing the acumen needed during to close out games . Furthermore , as it proficient as quarterback Tony Romo is said to be during the regular season , it has been his continued lack of leadership that now has to come into question. The player always the first to complement his team when they are victorious , has proven to simply pathetic, in choosing not to accept any responsibility for a loss or take to holding his teammates accountable for their lack of competitiveness. Futility and lack of composure , has now become the embodiment of the Dallas Cowboys and it appears to be something that neither the players or Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett are prepared to acknowledge , has crept into the Cowboys environment and throughout the entire organization.

As if to further emphasize how bad this past season was said to be for the Dallas Cowboys and the numerous issues that the team had on offense and on defense . Nothing, could have been more emphatic, than the defeats suffered during week five of their schedule and then again in week’s ten and fourteen . Those three losses simply highlighted how overrated the Dallas Cowboys remain and how out of touch the coaching staff just happens to be and will continually remain to be. The issues with the team are not just about the talent said to have been assembled, but the very fact that this team is one made up of individuals who are seemingly cannot play together as a cohesive unit, showing any degree of consistency.

Players such as DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten, could make their way unto any team in the NFL, but the rest of this Cowboys’ roster is simply just a mere caricature of what should be expected of a competitive NFL franchise. I intentionally excluded the likes of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, because as good as both are said to be, neither can put together a string of games where they both are able to play at a continuously high level.

Monte Kiffin was brought in as the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator and that experiment bore about as much fruit as could be found in a vineyard of rotten grapes. Consider the fact, that during Kiffin’s tenure as an assistant to his son Lane Kiffin , while he was head coach of the USC Trojans’ program , those teams would be abysmal during the majority of his tenure . Yet, somehow, Jerry Jones believed Kiffin to be the perfect individual to replace Rob Ryan , who was not offered an extended contract. Monte Kiffin brought nothing new to the table and the Cowboys’ statistics from a defensive standpoint was proof of that fact last season. Bill Callahan as the offensive coordinator , brought in to aid Jason Garrett , has fared no better , with the same mistakes being repeated, at the most inopportune of moments, during games. Now with rumors of their being growing tension amongst the coaching staff , with the decision of Jerry Jones to add to the roster of the staff with a second assistant head coach to assist with the offense. It now appears that Jason Garrett will now not only have to look over his shoulder to see if he still remains under the ever watchful eye of the team owner , but also whether or not , he should feel threatened by the hiring of Scott Linehan . Callahan believes, his authority will be undermined , with a second offensive coordinator and assistant head coach . As to how this sits with Jason Garrett remains to be seen, but it is now becoming abundantly clear , that Jerry Jones cannot be entirely happy with the coaching staff and the monetary outlay having made to assemble that side of the organization, without taking into account the Dallas Cowboys’ team payroll ($118.1 million) and the outlandish contract of quarterback Tony Romo , who signed a six-year $108 million contract , of which $40 million is in guaranteed money .

This off-season could prove to be a tumultuous one for the Dallas Cowboys without the drama now constituted by the hiring of Scott Linehan. My question for Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen Jones , would be. How many coaches are necessary , to coach what is , simply a mediocre team ? Far too many Chiefs and not enough Indians and absolutely no common sense being shown by anyone within the Cowboys’ organization, that now seems to be bereft of talent on the field as well as off the field of play ! Jerry Jones and the front office are now likely to go about spending the off-season with the coaching staff assessing the needs of the team as well jettisoning players they believe to be superfluous to their needs . Having signed Dan Bailey to a long-term deal , one . that goes through until 2020 , it could be suggested that Jones might be starting off small and then working his way up the pecking order in terms of the Cowboys’ payroll .

If this past off-season was anything to go by, it is my belief that the Dallas Cowboys beyond considering the productivity of their 2013 draftees , may well seek to make some bold moves in order to bolster the roster , with their also being some attrition , with the likelihood of certain players departing .

The build-up to the Superbowl , which will be staged at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey , will provide the fans in attendance for game ,that is likely to be thrilling . Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos , will face off against the Seattle Seahawks, where corner-back Richard Sherman still remains the topic of conversation . There is no such thing as bad publicity , just as long as you are not a felon accused of a heinous crime . Last I looked, the print and television media were making the Seahawks’ player their central focus of their attention, rather than seeking to delve into some more poignant stories. Such as the case with Broncos’ receiver DeMaryius Thomas , whose mother and grandmother are likely to be watching him from their jail cells , where they are both currently incarcerated on a sentence of selling and distributing crack cocaine . Thomas’ mother and grandmother , are just over ten years into their twenty-five year sentence , but both are eligible for parole in 2018, pending the approval of the state’s Department of Correction , Parole Board and that of the Florida Attorney General’s Office . I get the feeling, that were Thomas to win the Superbowl MVP award , after a Broncos’ victory , then quite possibly the “shout-out” from the player, will not be directed, in wanting to go Disneyland, but at the two women, who raised him in the initial years of his life , before , they each, were incarcerated ! !. This story has been grossly overlooked by the press in general , while the journalists and celebrities seek out the players who will be the participants in Sunday’s game to ask simply the most asinine of questions .

I may well not be the only one willing to ask this question , but how the hell does Deion Sanders remain an employee with the NFL Network , beyond his idiocy shown, in trying to ignite the build-up of last weekend’s Pro Bowl game ? Sanders’ eloquence and use of the English language, in questioning a number of the Broncos’ and Seahawks’ players, makes Magic Johnson seem proficient in his speech and a seasoned interviewer. Anyone who witnessed Johnson’s short-lived late night syndicated talk show as well as appearances with ESPN , ABC and TNT , will realize that the NBA great, is simply not that eloquent , nor can he enunciate when it comes to his use of the English spoken word. Horses for courses as they say and for this continued idiocy , we have to thank none other than Roger Goodell and the NFL hierarchy for the annual and continued idiocy that surrounds Superbowl weekend and all of the scheduled and unscheduled events.

A second Superbowl victory for Peyton Manning is unlikely to bring to an end a career , that has been one of the most heralded in NFL history for a quarterback. The accolades and records are already known to the vast majority of the fans and it is widely acknowledged that he and Tom Brady , along with Drew Brees , have been the most high-profiled and visible faces for the NFL over the past decade. However, I firmly believe that Manning will remain with the Broncos for one or possibly two more years , before walking off into the sunset as the NFL’s greatest quarterback ,ever . Rightly or wrongly , you simply cannot deny that Manning belongs amongst the all-time greats of the game and has to be seen as one the top-five quarterbacks in NFL history and perhaps amongst the top fifteen players to have ever played the game in any era .

While the plaudits for the Denver Broncos’ quarterback will remain revered and supreme , one of his more unheralded teammates , Champ Bailey , is likely to be playing his last game in the NFL . Undoubtedly , a future Hall of Fame inductee, Bailey’s career, has been one of excellence and gallant accomplishments. Where he might rank amongst the players to have played the corner-back position will be speculated upon, once he has retired. However, he leaves the game , either as a loser or a winner of this Superbowl , Champ Bailey will be looked at as a player , who carried himself with a great deal of class and played the game with the exuberance of a player , who has always had the respect of his peers .

The NFL and its proprietary broadcast partner for the Superbowl will be provided with a “cash cow “ , once the game gets underway , with the prime-time scheduling of the event . At a rumored $165,000 per second, a thirty-second marketing ad will net broadcast outlet just under $5 million gross for that sales’ pitch . With projected advertizing revenues, likely to exceed $3.4 billion for the league , the NFL Network and Fox Sports , somehow, I get the feeling that Roger Goodell’s post-game summation will take into account the financial windfall for the league and their main broadcast partner. The preceding game event , will be pure theater and at the same time, I still have my doubts, that the Superbowl ought to be played under what are likely to be terrible game time conditions , with a predicted wind chill factor , likely mean that when the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks take to the field , they will be playing at near to sub-zero conditions, with elements that are likely to be mentally and physically sapping for the players . Someone needs to convince me, the decision behind this idiocy to stage the Superbowl in New Jersey under these conditions , were meant to be sound !

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Picture gallery .

What if anything, do you believe, is likely to come out of the off-season for the Dallas Cowboys ? Also, as Jerry Jones seeks to win a sixth Superbowl title for the franchise , which has struggled during the postseason since their last triumph in 1995. By your own estimation, is it possible, that he can guide the franchise back to another Superbowl appearance as an owner general manager ? Lastly, what expectations do you have for the game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks? Do leave a comment, as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support and the content therein, as it greatly appreciated !

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Jerry Jones,left , Stephen Jones and Jerry Jones Jr , owners of the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL . The trio are seen here watching the team warm up prior to a game played against the Houston Texans played at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas , on the 26th September, 2010 . Getty Images North America / Bob Levey …………

(2) Second from the left , Jerry Jones and his son Stephen Jones , fourth from the left are seen with members from the team’s 2013 NFL Draft class , along with the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett , far right. The trio taken were Travis Frederick, Gavin Escobar and Terrance Williams , all of whom made a solid if unspectacular contribution to the franchise’s under-achieving season within the NFC East in 2013. AP Photo/ Matt Prince …

(3) Quarterback Tony Romo (9) hands the ball off to running back DeMarco Murray (29) of the Dallas Cowboys against the Chicago Bears during a game at Soldier Field on December 9, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears would completely dismantle the Cowboys on their way to a lopsided 45-28 victory over their NFC rivals . Getty Images / Jonathan Daniel ….

(4) Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett is seen here with assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan at the team’s training facility in Oxnard , California ,. Callahan is said to be slighted by Jerry Jones’ decision to hire Scott Linehan to become a secondary adviser and offensive coordinator , as part of the franchise’s already burgeoning coaching staff . Garrett , himself blindsided by the hire , is now said to watchful of what now appears to be a changing environment within the organization . Jerry Jones has issued a public statement standing behind his head coach , but states, that the hire should be seen as nothing more than seeking to bring fresh input and a set of eyes a with regard to the team’s offensive options . AP Photo / Jordan Hartley …..

Scott Linehan is seen here with Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matt Stafford (9) as the pair discuss a play that failed during an NFL game. Linehan has now found his way unto the Cowboys’ coaching staff after the public announcement was made Jerry Jones at the Cowboys’ headquarters in Arlington, Texas,. AP Photo/ Kelly Rutherford ….

(6) A playful moment between Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett , left and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Unfortunately , for the Dallas Cowboys there was nothing playful or exciting to be seen concerning the team’s defense which was amongst the worst within the NFC East , conference as well as the entire NFL , with the team giving up yards at an alarming rate per game . AP Photo / Phil Parsons …..

(7) Champ Bailey , defensive back for the Denver Broncos and undoubtedly a future Hall of Fame inductee . The player has been selected to 12 Pro Bowls over his entire NFL career , leading all players at the position in NFL history. In all likelihood , if the Broncos are victorious in Sunday’s Superbowl contest against the Seattle Seahawks , Bailey will bow out , retiring , with the Denver Broncos’ player , amongst the upper echelons for the franchise in a number of defensive categories . AP Photo/ Getty Images / Carter Poole ………

(8) Peyton Manning and DeMaryius Thomas , teammates , with Thomas proving to be one of the quarterback’s favorite targets over his record-breaking season in 2013 . Whether or not, the two can combine to be just as explosive during the Superbowl , remains to be seen . AP Photo / Edgar Thomas …

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tophatal ………..

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Gladiators in the arena would state we who are about to die, salute you. Today’s NBA has no gladiators , merely characters and a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure

Gladiators in the arena would state we who are about to die, salute you . Today’s NBA has no gladiators , merely characters and a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure

Midpoint of the NBA season and the and the . news seems to be the season high score individually by Carmelo Anthony , as he broke the New York Knicks’ franchise scoring record for a contest , with sixty-two points against the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden this past week. Now, the holder of that record, is a Knicks’ all-time great, in Bernard King . While Anthony’s achievement in that game should be applauded , let us not forget that although the Bobcats are holding the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with an odious record of (19-27 [0.413]) . If that mark is not a damning indictment how bad the conference has become along with the league in general . Then, can someone please explain to me, what is ?

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Perhaps, the irony of all ironies , coming out of this contest, might well have been the fact that the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats happens to be none other than Michael Jordan , someone who during his playing career , was known for some rather spectacular single game achievements , beyond the numerous other accolades , that highlighted perhaps the greatest career in NBA history . Fans and analysts may well have been drooling at Carmelo Anthony’s display , with his teammates at the time ,simply reveling in that prolific output . Unfortunately, currently for the New York Knicks’ fans there has not been a great deal for them to either revel in or simply suggest that this team has finally turned a corner . Their season so far, has been strewn with inconsistent performances , lackluster displays by a number of players , beyond the perfunctory excuses of players being sidelined due to injury . Take into account that Mike Woodson and his coaching staff have shown about as much acumen for their roles, as the US Congress, has in trying to abate the ongoing economic crisis still submerging and threatening the nation.

With all of the awe and fervor being thrown about, concerning the accomplishment of Carmelo Anthony, consider the fact that the sixty-two point outburst, albeit, a career high , it still ranks behind the eighty-one point explosion by Kobe Bryant against the Toronto Raptors in a game dating back to January 2006 , and the seventy-one points scored by Hall of Fame center David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs in a contest against the Los Angeles Clippers . Need we be reminded that the all-time single game scoring record belongs to the late Wilt Chamberlain , and that one hundred point explosion that had so many career and NBA highs interspersed within the contest between the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks in a game that took place on March 2nd , 1962.

Now, while I do believe that the New York Knicks could quite possibly play themselves into contention for a postseason berth . I simply cannot see this team in its present guise being a nuisance to the likes of the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat , undoubtedly , the two best teams within the conference by far . New York on Sunday afternoon, will play host to another laboring franchise , in the Los Angeles Lakers and their woes over the course of this season. The once mighty Lakers might not be the best NBA franchise in the entire state of California , given the present fortunes of late of the Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings . There was a time when a contest between the Lakers and Knicks actually meant something within the NBA, but those times now appear to be long gone and it simply does not bode well for this league when there does not seem to be a major team rivalry within the NBA at present or even on the horizon. The league has now become all about individualistic achievements , rather than that a collective team achievement and success , in spite of what the on air analysts and members of the NBA hierarchy would like to have us believe .

In a match-up of last season’s NBA Finals , the San Antonio Spurs were the guests </a. of the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, where LeBron James and his teammates were looking to reestablish their dominance over the Finals’ foes, as well as send a sobering reminder why they are the reigning two-time NBA champions. A third consecutive win of the championship would certainly legitimize the franchise’s claims of being a dynasty, but over the course of this season the team has shown some worrying signs of complacency as well as what appears to be a lack of depth at certain positions. Take into account also, that Dwyane Wade has become a virtual invalid , is day-to-day in terms of a game-time appearance and only one-third of Miami’s “Big Three ” are now said to be playing at a high level, while still being productive . Granted, momentary glimpses of Chris Bosh might send shock waves around the league , but I find it somewhat comical to hear many say that he is a vital asset to the franchise. For the monetary outlay being made to Bosh , his productivity for the team should be a great deal more than it is .

I am sure that Miami Heat President Pat Riley along with Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff are likely to continue to gauge the progress of the team before coming to a decision as to whether or not an acquisition or a trade needs to be made. Somehow, you get the feeling, that Riley is likely to pull the trigger , but not at the expense of taking breaking up his trio of All Stars. Wade and Bosh and Ray Allen , have now become the complementary foil to the still growing repertoire of LeBron James’ game.

The Western Conference now seems to have found calmer waters and the now surging Oklahoma City Thunder now appear to be the best team within the conference . With due respect to the always formidable San Antonio Spurs and the still surprising resilience being shown by Terry Stotts and the Portland Trailblazers . Perhaps, the second half of this NBA season , might be better spent, surveying the likely carnage that will be wreaked by the top teams in the West , rather than glaring at the ongoing futility that still exists in the East and has done for the past two years , at least .

Kevin Durant this season has been on a tear, while staking a really legitimate claim , that he is having a better all-round season than LeBron James . Durant along with teammate Russell Westbrook , while the point guard is on-court , remain the league’s best offensive duo averaging well over 28,5 points per game each as a duo. With that type of offensive output backed up by the play of Serge Ibaka , it is understandable to see the reason why many now feel that this team is likely to be the Western Conference Finals’ representative in this year’s NBA Finals . As an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see both of these teams facing off in the aforementioned conference finals , and then letting the chips fall where they may ! A twelve-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers’ has given the Thunder the best record in the NBA, with a current mark of 35-10 as of Saturday afternoon . That win simply an exclamation mark and stamp on the first half of the season , albeit , with a game on Monday night at home to the Atlanta Hawks , within the confines of the Chesapeake Energy Arena , should provide the Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans a great send off for the players likely to be a part of the Western Conference’s All Star roster , where Durant leads all players in the voting count within the West.

Of the teams in the Western Conference, vying to take that next step into the upper echelons of the conference are the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Two teams made up of prodigious young talent , but with a great deal of coaching acumen being exhibited in two of the game’s great point guards , now having made great strides within the coaching fraternity , with Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Mark Jackson with the Warriors . Both are likely to be part of the playoff picture as they each seek to position themselves within their respective divisions and the conference as a whole.

In the regular season meetings , between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, the two contestants have split their first two contests, with the margin of victory in each game , being no more than ten points on each occasion . The next scheduled meeting between the two will take place on the 30th January at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California ,. It will be interesting to see whether or not Doc Rivers will have the services of point guard Chris Paul , a player who is of pivotal and vital importance to the team , if they are to succeed this postseason. For Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , to have the franchise back to the point, where the team is gaining respect , while being given the added publicity , all stemming from the consistency of the players , but also combining that with the play of Steph Curry and his maturity , since entering the league as a first round draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Curry, along with teammates , Harrison Barnes , David Lee , Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are providing the fans with reason to believe that the team is capable of pulling off a major surprise during the playoffs. Certainly, a case could be made that were it not for the lack of experience , then last season during the NBA Playoffs the Warriors would have pulled off the biggest upset in the franchise’s recent history, had they got past the San Antonio Spurs in their conference semi-finals’ contest . A fifteen-point victory over the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday , further emphasized the strides made by the Warriors, as they seek to make themselves be viewed as a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference.

Living in the shadows of the Los Angeles Lakers cannot be an easy thing, if you happen to be a Los Angeles Clippers’ fan or a member of the player personnel of the franchise. Having to share the same home venue is one thing , and then meeting in home and away games , does tend to provide something of a novelty. Be that, as it may, for the past two seasons , it has been the Clippers with the bragging rights , as the Lakers have floundered , providing the entire NBA with enough drama to be viewed as something of an ode to being self-absorbed and conceitedness .

From the ongoing petulance of Kobe Bryant, to the incessant stupidity of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , for the Los Angeles Lakers , this season as well as last season is something I believe that the entire organization would rather forget ! While, they continue to flounder , it has been the Clippers providing the noteworthy headlines in terms of basketball success for the City of Angels. Some might beg to differ, with Pau Gasol and Nick Young providing the Lakers’ fans of something of a momentary respite , but clearly Mike D’Antoni still has his issues in trying to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve . With Bryant still ailing from a persistent injury, it has hard to conceive how the Lakers’ most revered active performer, actually believed that this team in its current guise was capable of making the postseason. It has to rile and rattle the angst of every fan of the franchise, that the Los Angeles Lakers are now being belittled as less than average . In truth, this is exactly what the Lakers now just happen to be, with their record simply bearing this out.

As Kevin Love continues to put up impressive numbers for the Minnesota Timberwolves , it is becoming extremely difficult to see how he can remain with an organization that has done very little to assist in lifting the burden off his shoulders , while seeking to make the team competitive. While Flip Saunders , a former head coach with the franchise has been brought in as a special consultant and to aid GM Milt Newton and the coaching staff of Rick Adelman with regard to player personnel decisions. With Love having signed a four-year $61 million deal to remain with the Timberwolves in 2012 and not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2016 . It could be argued , that the power forward has been ill-served by that deal , given the lack of support overall that has been provided by the Timberwolves to fulfill his own personal ambitions well as those of the franchise as a whole.

From my own standpoint , I believe that Glen Taylor , owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves , has been one of the most incompetent owners not only within the NBA , but perhaps amongst the very worst in all of the four major professional team sports. Years of mismanagement and simply idiotic personnel moves , have seen this franchise , simply mired in mediocrity . The franchise’s last postseason appearance came almost a decade ago, during the 2003-2004 NBA season , in which the team was led by Kevin Garnett . Minnesota would make it to the Western Conference Finals that season, eventually losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, with a 4-2 series’ loss . In the ensuing decade, there have been very few highlights for the franchise, beyond the exploits of Kevin Love.

With a record of . 21-22 , good enough for eleventh seed within the Western Conference , the Timberwolves are 3 ½ games out of the eighth spot, currently held by the Dallas Mavericks(26-20). A game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois awaits Minnesota , and it will be interesting to see whether not they can make some inroads into the lead of the Mavericks, while seeking to chase down a playoff berth. It may well be, that the organization could seek to abandon that chase , with their being mounting speculation that the All Star power forward of the Timberwolves, has become decidedly unhappy with the current direction of the franchise. A trade might well be the only objective that can be sought, where Kevin Love can feel satisfied , and at the same time the front office can obtain an equitable exchange for the player, that would be financially advantageous for the Timberwolves. Far be it for me to suggest , but I believe it would be preferable to allow Kevin Love to play on a championship contender , rather than remain on a team that seems to be aimlessly heading nowhere are at this juncture !

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Picture gallery .

As the NBA schedule, meanders towards the NBA All Star Break , what if anything do you believe has been a positive for the league during the first half of the season ? Also , with David Stern due to step down in his role as NBA commissioner , do you believe that the leadership under his successor Adam Silver will be of benefit to the league as a whole ? Your thoughts on this and anything else, you believe pertinent to this topic.

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) Carmelo Anthony (7) is all smiles , having just hit a three-pointer during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats . Anthony would go on to score a career high sixty-two points for the New York Knicks during the contest , which was also a franchise record. That mark was previously held by former Knicks’ great Bernard King . The Knicks would go on to defeat the Bobcats 125-96 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun ……

(2) The Bobcats’ Anthony Tolliver (43) tries to make the defensive play as Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks looks to make the lay-up play during the game between the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats, played at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York , on Friday , 24th January , 2014 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun …..

(3) LOS ANGELES – 1984: Bernard King (30) of the New York Knicks calls for the ball on the wing against the Los Angeles Clippers during an NBA game in 1984 at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. Copyright 1984 NBAE Photo by Ron Koch/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(4) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angles Lakers and Jalen Rose of the Toronto Raptors are seen here during a game between the two teams. Bryant would go on to score a career high 81 points during the contest played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on the 22nd January, 2006. Getty Images / Marty Webb ….

(5) Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat looks to strip the ball away from Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs . Bosh’s teammate, LeBron James (6) looks on, hoping that the defensive play is a successful one during the contest played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida this past weekend . Miami would go on to defeat San Antonio 113-101 . AP Photo / Pat Carter …..

(6) Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . Durant and Westbrook are the NBA’s leading offensive duo and one of the primary reasons why the team now has the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA as a whole . Getty Images / Richard Hart …..

(7) LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers looks to drive the lane as Kevin Love (42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to make a decisive defensive stop during the game between the two Western Conference opponents played at the Moda Center in Portland , Oregon on Saturday , 25th January , 2013. AP Photo / Don Ryan ….

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tophatal ………….. 01/26/2014

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Saving the best , for last and then some .

Yes I can give you one of those as a treat

Sell it or quit …….

Sell it or quit

The idiocy of the NFL and the belief that this meaningless postseason nonsense of the Pro Bowl , actually provides the fans with any real excitement , must now stop. This year’s spectacle has two NFL Hall of Fame greats in Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders facing off against each other , as the opposing general managers or what one might deem or whatever. The fact that Roger Goodell has countenanced this idiocy and both former players, are trying sell this event as something special , has merely indicated that the NFL no longer has any idea how to make this spectacle actually worthwhile. There were strong indications that the league, simply wanted to do away with the game, altogether . Yet , such has been the avarice of the owners and league hierarchy, that common sense and intelligence, now seems to beyond the commissioner and the executives within the league’s headquarters.

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As to the game, with Sanders suggesting that he might even suit up and take to the field , has me wondering if a player once described as the best shutdown corner ever to play the game, is actually ready to take on players who are considerably quicker than Deion Sanders in his very prime , albeit that the game itself will be less than competitive ! While, I do not doubt that the talent of Sanders at his very best , I simply believe that he was able to create a persona that the fans and press simply bought into , nothing more and nothing less !

Jerry Rice is now beginning to realize that he cannot hold a candle to Sanders’ charisma, while trying to sell the Pro Bowl as something of a very special event on the NFL calendar. In dispersed between the AFC and NFC championship games , were it not for the fact that there is a two-week break between those two conference games and the Superbowl itself , I seriously doubt that there would be any real interest in the Pro Bowl ! It is now bad enough that the league is now trying to sell the fact that by quite possibly having perhaps at least two regular season games played beyond the continental United States, would be of benefit of the NFL as a brand globally.

What we now know to be true is the fact that the league has reached saturation point within the North American market and the only way to increase its revenues will be to expand beyond these shores . With offices now in London , Rotterdam , Munich , Paris and with the NFL now looking to make inroads into the Pan Pacific basin. It would not be beyond the realm of possibility of the league, seeking to open an office in Tokyo , Japan and Beijing, China . Needless to say, with over 1.8 billion people in those two countries alone , who are already passionate about the game of soccer, and having seen the success of the NBA and the consumers’ awareness of players such as Kobe Bryant , LeBron James and before the two current idols of the NBA. There was of course, Michael Jordan and the player’s charisma that made the NBA brand , a worldwide global phenomenon, along with Jordan being seen as a marketing icons’ dream. The NFL sees the dividends, that can be reaped from the game’s base broadened to capture the world stage and compete with the inroads made by Major League Baseball and the NBA .

The signs have been there for far too long as to the declining popularity of the NFL’s Pro Bowl game along with many of the players’ own declining interest to be willing participants . Many of them, simply know even after a long arduous regular season schedule , one meaningless contest , simply is not worth it, at all. Furthermore , even with monetary incentives being part of their contracts, merely being chosen and placed on the roster for the game , there are not actually losing out financially , even if they do not make an appearance in the game , itself . And one wonders why there remains a lowering of the fans’ interest in the event , even when the NFL Commissioner and the league hierarchy continue to laud the praises of a meaningless postseason event , that is just not popular with the fans? There may well be an economic impact for the state of Hawaii, but specifically , the island of Honolulu, where the game is usually staged on an annual basis. At the end of the day, does anyone remember or care who won , much less , who the Pro Bowl MVP winner just happened to be ?

With the proposed changes being made as to the lineups for the rosters , with both Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders making their choices of players due to be part of their respective rosters . This is simply, a draft geeks’ ultimate dream of sorts. Gimmick or not, I seriously doubt, that this is likely to change, how this game will be viewed in the eyes of the fans or the public in general!

As to the expected highlights, from this upcoming game, what should the fans be hoping to witness ? I will let you all be the judge of that, because as I have alluded to before, this is simply a game whose popularity continues to decline at an alarming rate and the league hierarchy suddenly realizes like everything else over the past few seasons . The changes made , this latest foray , might not be enough to actually deter the fans from simply abandoning the Pro Bowl altogether . The NFL brand will continue to remain popular , just as long as a number of teams, continue to remain relevant , along with the league’s more high-profiled players , still playing at a competitive level . I firmly believe however, the NFL either has to abandon its postseason tradition of the Pro Bowl or simply make it the type of event, that will actually draw the fans , rather than it being another novelty act, wherein the main profiteers from it all, are simply the players from a financial standpoint and many of the league’s corporate sponsors .

Since Roger Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue as the NFL Commissioner , there can no denying that he has had his fair share of pratfalls . Many of them , of his own making and without him showing to possess great communicative skills . This blunder on the part of the NFL owners in believing that Tagliabue’s heir-apparent was the right choice a well-respected leader , was simply done out of the fact, that the league wanted someone who would tow their line and be solely in obeisance to them. How Goodell has sought to handle the issues of steroids , HGH, and the ongoing ramifications of the league’s billion dollar settlement with veteran and recently retired NFL players , has indicated to me , that the incumbent commissioner, has been clearly out of his depth and the poor counseling he has received from legal advisers, Jeff Pash and Adolphus Birch III , along with Goodell’s wish to stamp his own identity upon the NFL , has been one of the primary reasons why he has become so loathed by fans around the league ! Add in the fact, what many believe have been his poor handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty-gate scandal, his lack of candor in addressing why a policy agreed to, ratified and voted upon by the NFPLA (union) as to the league’s proposed mandatory testing for HGH , and you have the real evidence that Roger Goodell , as an individual , who simply has remained in office , possessing a level incompetency , without any tangible accomplishments throughout his entire tenure , thus far . All he can simply point to during his reign , has been the NFL’s growing revenues , the value of the league’s franchises and very little else beyond that.

The NFL Draft may well be , but a few months away and yet there already seems to be a great deal of speculation , as to who the number one overall draft pick ought to be . Many believe that South Carolina’s defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney , ought to be the choice of the Houston Texans , who will have the privilege of taking that pick. Clearly , with the Texans having defensive woes for the past two seasons , even in spite of the presence of JJ Watt . Something has to be done to shore up a defense that was simply one of the worst in the NFL throughout much of last season .

As good as Clowney appears to be , I do not believe that he alone can simply turn around a franchise that during 2013 , managed to have an eleven-game losing streak , as well as showing very few signs of leadership , either on or off the field of play while Gary Kubiak led this team , as their head coach. Kubiak and his assistants showed very little creativity and though quarterback Matt Schaub spent a great deal of time on the injured reserve list , that in no way excuses the repeated poor performances exhibited by the team over the course of the season.

The needs of the Texans, are many, both within their offense and the secondary . Kubiak’s successor Bill O’Brien, has seen fit, to stamp his own identity upon this team. O’Brien, the former Penn State head coach , as well the former offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots , has already brought about a number of moves, that leads me to believe that he will be more aggressive a head coach, than his predecessor. Houston’s new incumbent head coach during the off-season is said to have shown interest in pursuing Patriots’ backup quarterback Ryan Mallett , a player who he worked closely alongside, while on the coaching staff in New England. It seems apparent , that Bill O’Brien will seek to create an environment where Case Keenum and Mallett are in competition for the starting role as the Texans’ quarterback during the 2014-15 season. With that in mind, there is a clear case to be made that Matt Schaub will be on his way out , having served the franchise well , but whose lack of productivity in 2013 , as well as lack of leadership , can be seen as one of the many reasons for the franchise’s failures this past season. For the moment however, unless the Texans are able to sweeten the pot, in terms of their overtures to New England , it seems highly unlikely that Bill Belichick or the team’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel will allow the player to leave, without what they believe to be due compensation.

Robert “Bob” McNair, the Texans’ CEO and owner , along with GM Rick Smith , I truly believe blundered in prolonging the agony of having Gary Kubiak continue to coach the Texans , when it was clear that he had lost complete control of the team. Having replaced him with then defensive coordinator , Wade Philips , proved to be as effective as trying to fit a square peg into a round hole . Philips’ credentials as defensive coordinator are respectable and commendable , but I would hasten to add , his body of work , were it to include his coaching stops , would have you believing that he should have been able to at least have the team playing competitively under his short tenure as the interim head coach. That simply was not the case and one of the main reasons why , the Texans’ front office after a not too exhaustive search , got the best candidate they thought possible , in , Bill O’Brien. Now whether or not , he can bring the type coaching philosophy shown at Penn State , in order to turn things around , remains to be seen. This off-season with the NFL Draft and having to assess the overall state of the roster as to its most dire needs , will prove to be a true test of his acumen and indicate also the type of relationship he is likely to have with Rick Smith.

While I find the whole process of the NFL Draft intriguing, I also believe it to be an exercise that has the fans either extolling the virtues of the their team they support or simply believing the general managers and the head coaches to be bumbling idiots . Year in and year out, as a die-hard fan of the New England Patriots’ fan , my biggest wish, is to merely hope that they can make the right sort of moves that prove to be productive for the franchise. Their loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship game was another sign , that as great a coach as Bill Belichick is said to be, his arrogance and conceitedness seems to be just as large as his considerable ego . How else can you explain his reluctance to adapt his game plan, as the Broncos made great inroads in their conference championship contest . ? For Tom Brady, this particular postseason and the AFC championship game itself, simply was a microcosm of last season’s contest repeated all over again, in 2013 . Missed opportunities and errant plays , along with what I alluded to earlier , as being, Bill Belichick’s continued arrogance .

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Picture gallery .

This NFL postseason, has been one of thrills and spills, with all that waits, being the climax of the league’s postseason foray. In terms of the NFL Pro Bowl , I will contend that it has become an event that the NFL will either have to revamp , making it far more exhilarating or simply doing away with the game altogether ! It has become meaningless , but yet no one has been willing to acknowledge that fact within the NFL’s inner circle and even amongst current and former players themselves . How best do you believe that the event (Pro Bowl) can be made more appealing for the fans and viewers in general ? Chime in, with your thoughts and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts is seen here taking in the scene alongside fellow players while in Kapolei , Hawaii on Wednesday , 22nd January , 2014. The quarterback will be making his second Pro Bowl appearance as a member of the Colts having made an appearance in 2012 , his rookie season. Michael Yanow /NFL.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved (2014)

(2) Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson ,left , is seen here with Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton . Both players were selected to the rosters of the 2014 Pro Bowl . The game itself will be played at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, this upcoming Sunday, 26th January , 2014 ,. NFL.com / Michael Yanow …….

(3) Hall of Fame players Deion Sanders , left and Jerry Rice , are the two opposing captains for this season’s NFL Pro Bowl game. Both former stars made their choices as to the players filling their respective rosters not by allegiance to any conference or division , but simply based upon their preferences . Not much of a real novelty , but then again, it has to be seen as the latest in a line of gimmicks that the league may well believe, will somehow raise the profile , popularity and visibility of the game. The Pro Bowl has in essence lost its significance in recent years with a number of players having received an invite to appear after being on the ballot, they have simply turned down the offer. Financially for some stars , it is an added incentive in terms of bonuses paid out by a number of NFL franchises . Getty Images North America / Sam Ross …..

(4) Jerry Rice speaks to Drew Brees to his immediate left, as they consult , as to which player they will seek to draft on Day two of the draft process of the Pro Bowl . Team Rice will face Team Sanders in the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday afternoon . The game will be televised by the NFL Network in its entirety from Hawaii . NFL.com/ Michael Yanow ….

(5) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ,right, is seen here with New England Patriots’ CEO & owner , Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft , as the two have a brief discussion at the league’s headquarters. Kraft was a staunch advocate of Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in 2008. Since his ascent to the position, the league has seen a great deal of drama and turmoil during Roger Goodell’s tenure . Getty Images / Ian Holt ….

(6) October 20, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) warms up prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Clowney in some circles , is being viewed as the number one overall pick for the 2014 NFL Draft . Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(7) Bill O’Brien the new head coach of the Houston Texans , who succeeded Gary Kubiak , fired by the franchise prior to the end of last season. The Texans finished with a league worst 2-14 record , during with the franchise had an eleven game losing streak during their 2013 schedule . AP Photo / Kyle Walsh ……

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tophatal ………..

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If money is not the issue, then what seems to be the problem ?

If money is not the issue, then what seems to be the problem ?

For any professional sports’ franchise, it is extremely tough to put a winning product on the field of play. For one, it simply starts with the right type of ownership structure , one where the owners ought to let the lead front office executives do their jobs , by consulting with the coaching staff to assess the needs of a team . Granted, when you have such owners as Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder within the NFL , it is extremely difficult to overlook their repeated guffaws . Within Major League Baseball you have the Steinbrenner siblings , now trying to live up to the achievements of their late father and patriarch George Steinbrenner III . Needless to say, after the New York Yankees’ struggles on the field and the idiotic drama created off-field by Alex Rodriguez , you can well understand why 2014 might just be the most important in recent history for the once proud Yankees’ organization.

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A fourth place finish in the AL East with a sub .500 record is not something that the New York Yankees fans are accustomed to seeing at the end of the regular season , as they expect to be competing no less than for an AL pennant or the World Series at best , annually. Well, given the fact that their last triumph came in 2009 , it has to said that the intervening years in many respects have been lackluster as the roster ages , and their being, no significant development of talent within their Minor League system . A great deal of the blame for this can be placed firmly on the shoulders of the managerial staff of Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman . Now excuses may well be made for the rash of injuries suffered by the New York Yankees team during 2013. Yet, on the face of it, their woes are no different from any other team in the Majors seeking the same success.

Beyond the high drama of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension which is now in effect ,wherein the third baseman will not be a participant in the Yankees’ 2014 foray. The organization last year had to contend with the retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera , two of the franchise most celebrated and revered players in the club’s long and distinguished history. Having to compete in a division, where the Boston Red Sox are once again resurgent , well-managed and the reigning World Series’ champions, will not be lost on a Yankees’ organization looking to put behind them the woes of last season.

. Knowing that their biggest problem of the past season was the inconsistency of the pitching , Brian Cashman has sought to bolster the roster . Overtures have been made to Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka, but it would appear that the Los Angeles Dodgers with their burgeoning deep pockets and the voracious ambition of managing partners, Mark Walter , Todd Boehly , Peter Guber and Magic Johnson , are not without their own clout , as they have now joined the chorus of teams said to have a desire to acquire the pitcher.

I am not about to suggest that a major bidding war is about to commence for the player, but consider the fact, that the Dodgers are likely to start the season with a team payroll upwards of $220 million and where, several of the players on the existing roster will be earning in excess of $15 million annually . It begs the question, at what point will the game and specifically the league hierarchy , owners and general managers seek to get together to put an end to this type idiocy ? It is not as if the lesser teams are able to compete against their big-market counterparts , in spite of what has been suggested . A clear indication of that can be made, by simply looking at the postseason participants in 2013 and their payrolls. For the first time in Major League Baseball history the combined salary commitment of the league’s thirty teams exceeded $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) in 2013 and there seems to be no signs that figure is likely to decrease significantly in the coming years.

If New York was to acquire Masahiro Tanaka or lose out, in a likely bidding war. I certainly do not believe that deal alone, will be enough to make them a likely contender within the AL East , much less challenge for an AL wildcard berth. Beyond their pitching woes , they still have to deal with the fact that in acquiring Jacoby Ellsbury and then offering him that contract , they have obtained a player who in recent seasons has spent great deal of time on the disabled list, while observing his teammates from dugout . Questions will also surround the managerial style of Joe Girardi and whether or not, he can still get the best out of his players. Furthermore, with the return of Derek Jeter , are we likely to see the Yankees’ captain back at his very best or simply a player who has become a mere shadow of his former self?

As I alluded to earlier, with an offer being made to Masahiro Tanaka, all that now awaits, is the player agreeing to that deal and then joining his new teammates. Crazy as this might seem, Tanaka’s deal as great as it is likely to be. It will be dwarfed by the contract recently signed by Clayton Kershaw , a deal that makes the starting pitcher among the highest paid players annually , in baseball, as well having signed one of the largest contracts ever in Major League Baseball. With the vast revenues at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ disposal , this season will not be seen as a last-ditch attempt to bring back a title to franchise , whose last taste of victory as World Series’ champions came in 1988 . This year may well be the season, where we will either the team sink or swim , in terms of their efforts . A great deal is being asked of Don Mattingly and his staff this upcoming season and we will get to gauge this club first hand by how they acclimatize themselves for the regular season by their play during their Spring Training schedule.

The NFL postseason, has all but ended and in two thrilling games , we saw the league’s two best teams prevail in their conference title games. The AFC will be represented by the Denver Broncos , who simply waylaid any ideas that both Bill Belichick and .Tom Brady might have had in winning a fourth Superbowl together as a coach and quarterback tandem. Peyton Manning and his teammates booked their place, for the 2nd February title game, where they will meet Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks . Seattle for their part, simply got the better of the San Francisco 49ers , in erasing a deficit and then putting the game beyond Colin Kaepernick and his teammates’ reach. The rivalry between the two NFC quarterbacks , is likely to become something to relish if both are able to maintain their current level of play. Whether or not over the test of time both can provide us with rivalry and excitement witnessed whenever Tom Brady stood across the field from Peyton Manning , remains to be seen

For head coaches, John Fox of the Broncos and Pete Carroll of the Seahawks, this opportunity provides both individuals the chance to test their coaching acumen against an adversary, where each has the utmost respect for the other. The Seattle Seahawks are seen as perhaps slight favorites , in this upcoming contest. Yet, more than anything else, the odds-makers in Las Vegas tend to induce the bettor , in order to create an environment that will always be in their favor. On the day, this game will come down to the experience an elder statesman of the game and a quarterback whose two years in the NFL has seen him reach an unexpected high in a short period of time.

The defeats, or both the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers ,means that for respective general managers Trent Baalke and Nick Caserio , it is back to the drawing board. Caserio, has to deal with the fact that for all of the progress shown by the Patriots in various areas of their game , they were still found wanting. ” Manning-itis” , it appears , is the latest affliction to have hit the Patriots’ organization and there seems to no apparent cure for this particular ailment. Something, that the CDC (Center For Disease Control) does not seem to have a vaccine for, otherwise large doses of the vaccine would have already been sent directly to Foxboro’ Massachusetts. Will Belichick and his coaching staff , simply revamp certain areas of the roster in preparation for next season or simply build through natural attrition and by way of the NFL Draft ? ? I am sure that the head coach and t general manager will find a way to figure this all out , without their being too much an upheaval overall !

Colin Kapernick’s first three years in the NFL have been a revelation and any doubts his succeeding Alex Smith can now be firmly put to rest. For Trent Baalke, however, the off-season, now becomes about financial expediency in terms of renegotiating and offering sizable increases to players who have aided in the 49ers’ recent success. Jim Harbaugh , for his part assembled a highly skilled and experienced roster , but therein lies the issue. The seasoned veterans, on the team, while being productive, did not appear to provide the leadership needed to put the Forty Niners over the hump. With three straight appearances in the NFC championship game over the past three seasons, it begs the question, is there something in the water that has afflicted the San Francisco 49ers?

Among the free agents, likely to be seeking a long-term contract or an extension are Anquan Boldin , Donte Whitner , Mario Manningham and Johnathan Goodwin. Kaepernick, having signed a rookie deal (four years $5.124 million) that is set to expire in 2015 , is likely to prompt his agent Scott Smith to start negotiations that may well prompt Trent Baalke to offer the player a multi-year deal or seek to franchise tag the young quarterback and then pay him what it is likely to be a healthy annual salary , as adjudged at the average for his position or possibly lower than the prevailing figure. Not to be left out of this all, is the head coach himself, as Jim Harbaugh’s own contract is set for expiration this upcoming year. I very much doubt that team CEO Jed York would welcome the departure of the man who has put the franchise back on the map , while gaining the admiration of the Niners’ fans in general ! .

With the NBA trade deadline not that far off , already the speculators as making their prognostications as to what moves are likely to be made. A plethora of transactions, could very well be made, with a number of teams likely to stand pat. Yet , with their being growing rumors that Carmelo Anthony is said to be unhappy with the direction of the New York Knicks and the very fact the front office is seemingly at a loss as to the direction is said to be heading in. Here’s a hint, recording artist , Stevie Wonder was recently rumored to have said the Knicks stink, after a member of his entourage subjected the group to an act of flatulence, while they were all seated in a restaurant for a meal.

Courtesy of Newsday

Woodson ‘concerned’ but confident Carmelo will remain a Knick

By Al Iannazzone of Newsday

INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Woodson admitted he’s “concerned” that some of the things that have transpired with the Knicks this season could lead to Carmelo Anthony leaving. Nevertheless, Woodson said he believes Anthony will retire a Knick.

Anthony has said he will opt out of the final year of his contract after the season and become a free agent. This season hasn’t gone anywhere near how Anthony or the Knicks expected.

They’ve won six of their last eight, but they’re 15-23 overall and the drama surrounding J.R. Smith has overshadowed their improved play lately. But Woodson doesn’t believe it will impact Anthony’s future in New York.

“You’re concerned,” Woodson said on ESPN New York radio Wednesday. “But Melo’s wearing a Knick uniform. I think Melo loves playing in New York. He’s been one of the bright spots this year. He’s been solid all the way through our ups and downs this year. To me, that’s the sign of a true pro.

“We are starting to get back healthy. We are playing a little bit better. As far as Melo leaving New York, in my heart I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think Melo’s going to retire a New York Knick. That’s just my own personal belief.”

The trade deadline is Feb. 20< and The Knicks don't want to move Anthony. But if they get any indication he might not re-sign, the Knicks could explore trade scenarios rather than let Anthony leave in the summer without getting anything in return.

Anthony can get a maximum five-year deal worth roughly $129 million from the Knicks. The most another team can pay him is four years and about $96 million.

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Three straight losses by the team , all by double-digits and with their being no signs of life defensively from this group of players . All signs could very well be pointing to GM Steve Mills , making the decision in conjunction with James Dolan and Mike Woodson to seek a trade of the franchise’s best and most valuable asset. With the exception of last season , Anthony’s stay in New York has been shrouded with the ineptitude of his supporting cast. This season appears to be no different with his being provided little aid from an offensive standpoint . No other alternative seems to be possible for the Knicks should their slide continue, because Carmelo Anthony , may well have feigned earlier signs about his intent to opt out of the final year of his existing contract . Given the lack of direction now being shown and lack of heart by a number of players , it would be understandable if Anthony saw fit to exercise that option . Mills and Woodson do not appear to be showing any signs of bolstering the roster, well at least, not publicly. Yet, even if they were, it would prove to be difficult move players such as JR Smith , Metta World Peace , Amar’e Stoudemire , unless it was all part of a salary dump or taking on needless salary commitments with a view to next season and then making a play for a marquee free agent to aid their disgruntled star.

I have repeatedly, read the idiocy of statements being made, that the issues the Knicks have been due to the fact that they have not been able to develop talent from within. While, that may well be true in part, a litany of bad trades , overpaying for average talent, some truly idiotic and ridiculous draft choices over the last five years, have led the franchise to their current predicament. I do not believe that I could put it any more succinctly than that !

Even now, the New York Knicks are still bound down by a number of existing contracts ($91.4 million) , that from a productivity standpoint have not been beneficial for the team or franchise , itself. Bear in mind that the franchise will have to meet their obligations to the NBA by way of the salary tax , of which the team will be due to pay in excess of $48 million as a luxury tax surcharge for going over the league’s soft salary cap (58.68 million) ..

With a slew of games on Monday, 20th January , a public holiday, with the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday , the Knicks played host to their in state and fellow conference rivals , the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York . Needless to say, Mike Woodson’s players did not fail to disappoint , rolling off a fourth consecutive loss , going down 103-80 in a lopsided defeat .

I would like to believe that something good can come out of this present situation with the New York Knicks, but there now seems to be a sense of foreboding is in the offing , with no one within the organization prepared to make a statement to assure the deeply loyal fans of the franchise. Nothing new , when you consider the mindset of James Dolan over the years and how he has somehow simply ignored the dire nature of the franchise, in terms of lack of a competitive nature. His concern may well be , as long as the New York Knicks, remain the most valuable franchise in the , if not its most profitable in the NBA , that is likely to be only real concern, overall.

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the paints raised within this piece and what do you believe will be the likely result in the Superbowl ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Two of the NFL’s most visible team owners , Jerry Jones , left , shakes the hands of Dan Snyder . As the owners of Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins , these two executive oversee a multi-million dollar concern , in terms of revenues . Their two franchises are among the most profitable and valuable in the league. Getty Images / Patrick Mayhew …

(2) Hal Steibrenner , senior executive with the New York Yankees is seen here talking to the team’s general manager Brian Cashman. In spite of the ball-club’s off the field issues over the past season , both executives are hoping for much more successful year in 2014 . It would appear that the team has missed out on signing highly prized Japanese star and pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka . No public confirmation as of yet, . suggesting the player’s acquisition by the Los Angeles Dodgers but all signs are pointing to the fact that Tanaka has been offered a lucrative deal. Getty Images North America / Sandra Patterson ….

(3) Los Angeles Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti ,left , seated alongside team President Stan Kasten . The front office executives are now said to be one of the main forces behind organization’s now aggressive moves in the free agency market. It would appear that the Dodgers are on the verge of acquiring Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka. With the team having committed over $300 million alone in signing Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke in the past twelve months . It would appear that money will remain of no object as the franchise pursues their first World Series’ title since 1988. AP Photo / Paul Mason …

(4) Pete Carroll , right, is seen here with his opposing number John Fox, now of the Denver Broncos after a game in 2010 , between their respective teams at the time. Fox was then coaching the Carolina Panthers . These two head coaches will meet once again in the Superbowl (SB48) , which will be played at MetLife Stadium , East Rutherford , New Jersey,.

(5) San Francisco 49ers’ CEO Jed Yorke is seen here with head coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke . Under the guidance of Baalke and Harbaugh the Niners’ CEO has seen the franchise make the straight NFC championship appearances, albeit , with only one Superbowl appearance , which resulted in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In the off-season Trent Baalke and the entire organization will have several decisions to make concerning the playing staff and the status of the head coach. Getty Images / Philip Carter ….

(6) Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos is seen here with Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson after a preseason game in 2013 , where the Seahawks defeated the Broncos 40-10 at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington,.. It is unlikely that their Superbowl encounter will be such a lopsided event. Manning will be making his third Superbowl appearance but his playing in his twenty-third playoff game by comparison this be only Wilson’s fifth playoff game of his young career . AP Photo/ Matthew Parrish …..

(7) New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan looks on during a game played at Madison Square Garden earlier this season. It would appear that the Knicks’ owner wanted to be closer to the fans and to hear them voice their concerns over the team’s lackluster performances . Seated next to Dolan, is team GM Steve Mills , who succeeded Glen Grunwald at the start of this season . Mills has inherited a very inconsistent team , along with a coaching staff that now appears to be in over its head. In a Monday afternoon game against the Brooklyn Nets , the team was on the wrong side of a very lopsided defeat . A growing cacophony of vocal dismay as to dire situation of the team seems to be going unanswered by the members of the front office , while head coach Mike Woodson’s hopes concerning Carmelo Anthony’s future with the franchise, appear to be just as uncertain and less candid than his recent statements to the press. Getty Images / Ron Hall …..

(8) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks is seen here with teammate J R Smith , on-court during a game . Smith’s issues of court , having sat out a league mandate suspension has seen the troubled start get into a verbal argument with head coach Mike Woodson . Those troubles along with a lack of consistent performances , have led to a dire season for the Knicks who currently have a 15-26 (0.366) record within the Atlantic Division , which at present would be place the team in eleventh place within the Eastern Conference , two games out from the eighth placed Charlotte Bobcats (18-25 -0.419). AP Photo / Brian Stokes ….. .

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Mike Posner feat’g Big Sean …. ” Top of the World ”

They’re human as well , but they don’t always show it , seeking to hide behind that veil of whatever

They’re human as well , but they don’t always show it , seeking to hide behind that veil of whatever

It is a quiet time in world of sports , albeit, that the NFL is likely to provide the fans with what is likely to be the most important pair of games of its entire schedule . The league’s AFC and NFC championship games are scheduled for Sunday afternoon , where the Seattle Seahawks will play host to the San Francisco 49ers , their divisional rivals. Whereas, the AFC provides us with just as thrilling a contest , as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots travel to Mile High Stadium in Denver Colorado to meet the Denver Broncos .

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This particular AFC match-up is all the more intriguing, as it pits Tom Brady against .Peyton Manning for the fifteen time of their already historic NFL careers . Along the way, both players have provided the fans with some spectacular performances. This time around , with a Superbowl berth on the line , it would take a soothsayer to predict the outcome of this game. From my own personal standpoint as a die-hard Patriots’ fan , I am simply hoping that Brady and his teammates are able to prevail in this contest ! Anything short of that, and I will be extremely disappointed.

Away from the spectacle of this weekend’s contest, a disturbing trend continues to rear its ugly head within the game and that is the continued apparent misconduct of players off the field of play. If the allegations are to be believed, even in light of his being charged with indecent exposure , lewd and lascivious behavior, while seated in his Cadillac Escalade , where Kellen Winslow Jr was said to have been caught masturbating, in the parking lot of a Target store in New Jersey. No one can deny, that the career of New York Jets’ tight end , has been an extreme disappointment. Having to follow in the footsteps of a famous father, with a Hall of Fame career, is an extremely tough act to follow , without having your patriarch , Kellen Winslow Sr, watch your every move both on and off the field of play.

How this now all pans out for Kellen Winslow Jr , will be dependent upon the course of action sought by the prosecutors and whether they believe there is enough evidence to proceed to trial , with a case. The player suggests that , it was simply case of the witness having been mistaken and that his actions were not unlawful , with his simply stopping in the parking lot to get his bearings as he sought out a local restaurant . If your vehicle a Cadillac Escalade has GPS tracking navigation , then Winslow’s explanation, does seem somewhat dubious to say the very least. Yet somehow, his lawyers, are likely to suggest that this whole incident, is much ado about nothing , with the press and prosecution seeking to make an example of another high-profiled athlete.

As disturbing as Kellen Winslow’s situation might now appear to be , there are now allegations being leveled against NFL Network analyst and former New Orleans Saints’ defensive player Darren Sharper . Sharper has been released on $200,000 bail, on related charges of two alleged sexual assaults that took place within the space of a month. One incident is said to have taken place in December, with the second assault , in early January of this year. Darren Sharper maintains his innocence, but such has been the gravity and seriousness of the allegations made , that the NFL Network has taken action, suspending the analyst without pay .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy , admittedly , are almost powerless to stop the deal with the behavioral conduct of the players , never-mind the fact that Goodell’s union counterpart DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA and the union’s executive committee do not see this as a serious issue concerning the ongoing conduct of their members. It certainly , has not helped also , by the actual conduct of the players’ legal counsel , when cases such as this arise. More often than not, they are likely to seek to paint the alleged plaintiff or victim , as a money seeker or someone of disrepute. The NFL Commissioner’s powers have become muted and his bark is now worse than his bite. A collective bargaining agreement ratified and voted upon by the union is not worth the paper it is written on , when at every turn the NFPLA seeks to challenge the authority of the league hierarchy in rendering any type of action against a player.

With the ongoing investigation and quite possibly, pending legal action against Darren Sharper. It will be interesting to see the direction this whole matter now takes and what the outcome might possibly be. As to the on-field spectacle and what we ought to expect this postseason , well that will certainly be predicated upon the play of the four remaining teams at this stage of the season.

Well, the idiocy of the Alex Rodriguez saga has now ended , with the New York Yankees’ third basemen abandoning his bid to have his suspension overturned by the US Federal Appellate Court . The fact that Rodriguez sought to go ahead with this façade ,while seeking to maintain his innocence, even when it was suggested originally that he sought to have the two hundred fourteen game suspension meted out by baseball’s hierarchy, be lowered in line with the deal offered to Milwaukee Brewers’ player Ryan Braun . Rodriguez did his co-legal counselors Joe Tacpoina and David Cornwell no favors, in choosing to disparage the MLB arbitrator Fredric Horowitz and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , prior to Horowitz rendering his verdict.

Tacpoina and Cornwell offered no evidence , to suggest that their client was innocent , but maintained that the league’s case , was simply weak and built upon the illegal gathering of evidence , which was used to substantiate their case against Alex Rodriguez . Clearly, Alex Rodriguez could not take the stand during the arbitration hearing , because in all likelihood, he would have perjured himself and provided the league with a legal case against him, were they to choose such a route. The player’s civil suit against MLB and the New York Yankees’ chief medical physician was also abandoned, with Rodriguez issuing a public statement while in Mexico City , that he would now put the whole issue behind him , while seeking to rest and recuperate throughout the entire 2014 baseball season , reassessing the things said to be important to him , before resuming his career in 2015.

The length of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension may have been lowered to one hundred and sixty-two games, with it being the greatest penalty , ever rendered against a player for their involvement with performance enhancing drugs. However, the league still faces an uphill battle to abate the proliferating use of steroids and other illicit substances at the Major League Level , but even more so, at the Minor League Level , where it has reached epidemic proportions , with over 150 players having been ensnared in baseball’s testing protocols in the past three years, alone.

If and when Alex Rodriguez returns to the game of baseball , it is hard to simply to look at his career achievements without questioning just about every aspect of those statistics over the past ten years , if not more . The player was less than candid, concerning his involvement with steroid use , after being repeatedly being questioned by not only members of the press but also by investigators from Major League Baseball, as well as by senior officials and investigators from within the Yankees’ organization . We should also take into account Rodriguez’s actions in 2007 , when questioned on air, by CBS news’ anchor Katie Couric as to his alleged use of steroids. Then, as now , he refuted those allegations , only to do an about-face in February 2009 , finally admitting his use , while offering a less than contrite apology to the New York Yankees , Major League Baseball and to his fans. I am beginning to wonder wholeheartedly , if the fans who came out in support of Alex Rodriguez this time around , have actually forgotten the events of 2009 ? Or are they simply that naïve and stupid enough to believe that the player remains innocent of any wrongdoing , concerning the allegations made against him ? Rodriguez’s pattern of behavior, has been there for all to see and it now begs the question , what else should we continue to believe concerning the player and his new-found persona ?

As the NBA season proceeds , the consensus of opinion of the vast majority of fans , has been , who is likely to mount a serious enough challenge to topple the defending NBA champions from their throne ? The Miami Heat in their last few games may well have had a few hiccups along with the way, with some notable losses against lesser teams . Those series of defeats, are only likely to force LeBron James to show even more resilience , while seeking to lead his teammates to even greater heights .

Coming off a well-deserved victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, Miami will continue with their road schedule , meeting the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night at the Time Warner Center in Charlotte , North Carolina , before ending that schedule with a further away game against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening . I get the feeling that as the NBA’s most watched team at present by way of attendance , outgoing commissioner David Stern is seeking to maximize the Miami Heat’s exposure globally , for the sake of the NBA brand , knowing that the league’s biggest selling point is LeBron James . Michael Jordan , may well have retired from with the game , with his accomplishments and legacy unquestioned. A new era, has dawned, with James casting a gigantic shadow over the NBA , seeking to rewrite records and adding his name to list of greats within the NBA’s pantheon of greatest players .

Only time will tell, if LeBron James goes on to surpass the feats of Jordan as well Kareem Abdul Jabbar . Ten years into an astonishing career and James continues to add to his already unbelievable repertoire as a player . It was once felt, that Kobe Bryant might well have been the closest thing we would ever see concerning the skill-set of Michael Jordan. Yet, I now firmly believe that James will surpass anything that Bryant will achieve, as the Los Angeles Lakers player sees his career , begin to wind down . Bryant may well have signed a two-year $48.5 million contract to remain in Los Angeles , but unless the franchise develops talent from within, as well as making several beneficial trades, the player and the Lakers are likely to continue with their struggles .

While Miami continues to flourish within their division and the Eastern Conference , albeit, that the New York Knicks seems to have found something of a rhythm to their game . There now seems to be an issue with the team and whether or not Mike Woodson can get the players to buy into his coaching philosophy. Considering the egos , that make up the current roster and the very fact that beyond Carmelo Anthony and his continued play , there seems to be no real desire by his teammates to follow his example . In what now appears to be a heated altercation, where words were exchanged between JR Smith and Woodson were said to have gone toe-to-toe , as if both were ready have a real pugilistic bout between the pairing .

Smith, having already been suspended, once this season, for what was deemed a transgression of league rules. It now appears that he is creating an environment, where he is likely to be jettisoned by the franchise , rather their having to deal with his continued infantile behavior . The likely outcome, may well be that GM Steve Mills will seek to engineer a trade , rather than keep JR Smith on the roster. Smith for his part , suggests that he is simply an emotional player , who often lets his emotions get the better of him , while also exploding with angry outbursts , directed at those who , he believes are against him. From my viewpoint , it suggests not only a player with anger management issues, but someone who is close to being psychotic and a danger to himself as well as those around him ! It is bad enough that the Knicks have to put up with Smith’s bad behavior , and then you consider the ” poster child ” for such tirades , Metta World Peace , also just happens to be teammate of JR Smith.

A fourteen point loss at home to the Los Angeles Clippers , where the Knicks showed the defensive capability of a group of octogenarians with hemorrhoidal problems as the Clippers simply manhandled their opponent through the entire four quarters of regular play . Yet, somehow, Knicks’ fans truly believe that this team is capable of doing something special this season. If the postseason of 2012 , was anything to go by , the New York Knicks are likely to be brushed aside in the first round of play , much like dust might be swept under the carpet, in order that those with an aversion to cleaning , simply wanting to create the impression that their home is habitable and hospitable. Not unlike the Knicks and their continued aversion to playing defense in any form when it comes to the NBA.

It looks as if former seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong just cannot keep himself out of the news. Having repeatedly lied about his use of banned substances, the now retired cyclist still seeks the public’s empathy and forgiveness. To my mind, the deceit and lies while using an illness (testicular cancer) to simply solicit tens of millions of dollars millions out of corporate and public donors , shows Armstrong to be no better than a snake-oil salesman and that of a common criminal ! While we are it , how is it , that to date, neither the US Justice Department or the US Postal Service has sought to go after Armstrong and recoup the $35 million of funds used to sponsor the cyclist ? Though the Postal Service is meant to be a stand-alone for profit entity , though it comes under the oversight of the federal government and where its debts are guaranteed by the government. In other words, the US taxpayer has the privilege of paying off any debt incurred by the USPS, were they unable to meet their liabilities. Good to know that the US government can be continued to be relied upon to show its continued incompetency while seeking to show that it remains the greatest country in the world . Really? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

Armstrong, remains a pariah and amongst his former peers within cycling, he is looked upon with a great deal of disdain . Yet, it can be said , that the sport of cycling, as overseen by the Swiss based ICU (Union Cycliste International) has done little to truly clean up the sport , including the protocols now in place by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). Cycling’s biggest event , the Tour de France, features prominently on its calendar and is viewed as the doyenne of all the road events throughout the year , including the year when the Summer Olympics are scheduled.

A patron of this site, once suggested that Lance Armstrong’s once renowned charity Livestrong , could continue and be a success without the athlete being its main spokesperson. Well, subsequent to his admission of guilt, the charity has seen donations be impacted to the extent , where they have fallen way below projected estimates . Lance Armstrong had to be removed from the board of directors, with his no longer being associated with the charity under any circumstance . One reaps what they sow, and for Armstrong, the lies and deceit have come back to bite him in the ass , in more ways than one and deservedly so. Now looking for the public’s compassion, Lance Armstrong now seeks to reinvent himself as a humanitarian and goodwill ambassador . If only , he used the intelligence given to him , to genuinely display those traits to begin with , before entering into his delusional world of make belief , while seeking to discredit those who knew of his web of lies and deceit .

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One might believe, that fact, is stranger than fiction , but consider the following, Alex Rodriguez studiously followed the issues of Lance Armstrong and the two stars became close friends . Need one suggest, that in this particular instance , birds of a feather flock together ? Enmity between two of today’s biggest frauds in the world of sports and yet , each has their legions of supporters out there, still believing that neither has done anything wrong. ? Enmity between two of today’s biggest frauds in the world of sports and yet , each has their legions of supporters out there still believing that neither has done anything wrong. It would be remiss to suggest that Lance Armstrong did not bring a slew of new supporters to the sport of cycling with his success , but now knowing it was built on a great deal of fraud , with his own posse of accomplices , I cannot help but wonder why the now disgraced cyclist never felt that his house of lies would never come crashing down , the moment he sought to harangue many of those who were once closest to him at the time! Was he really that conceited and naïve, along with showing a great deal of stupidity on his part? Unfortunately, this is all too often, is lost on the fans and various areas of the public , who continue to show a great deal of apathy when these individuals fall from grace . In light of the points raised within this article do you believe that the hierarchy’s of the various sports act with a great deal of vigilance when dealing with athlete misconduct ? Leave a comment , as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of the site and its content , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning is in the scrimmage of the team at Sports Authority Field in Denver, CO. Saturday, August 4, 2012 while speaking to head coach John Fox . Manning and Fox will seek a berth in the Superbowl by defeating the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon when the two meet in the AFC championship game . This will be the fifteenth professional contest between Peyton Manning and his New England counterpart Tom Brady . Beyond being two of the most highly visible faces in the NFL , these two quarterbacks lead active passers in a number of passing categories and rank extremely high amongst the career’s list in a number of quarterback statistics. Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post….

(2) Tom Brady of the New England Patriots hands the ball off to running back Stevan Ridley (22) as the rusher makes his way for some decisive yardage during a game. Ridley and LeGarrette Blount have proven to be productive for the Patriots during the regular and postseason . Blount in particular set a franchise record for rushing and yards from scrimmage , eclipsing the mark once held by Curtis Martin . If the duo can reproduce that type of form in rushing yards, then it will certainly add to Brady’s arsenal of weaponry for their game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. AP Photo/ Harry Thomas ….

(3) MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 29: Kellen Winslow (81) of the New York Jets warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins on December 29, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 20-7. Winslow , having been charged with indecent exposure , lewd and lascivious behavior stemming from an incident which allegedly took place in the parking lot of a Target Superstore in New Jersey , while the player was parked in a Cadillac Escalade SUV. The female witness is said to have immediately called the police , upon witnessing the Jets’ tight end in the vehicle masturbating , a claim which Kellen Winslow totally denies . Jets’ GM John Idzik is said to have been informed of the allegations and it is believed that the player is l likely to be cut by the franchise , rather than his being retained by the team , albeit that his current contract expires this year . Hal Auerbach/Getty Images ….

(4) New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper is interviewed during a news conference in Miami on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010. The Saints will play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Released on his own recognizance on a $200,000 bond , Sharper having been accused of two sexual assaults , now faces new allegations that he assaulted a third female victim. The player and his legal representatives are likely to challenge the foundation of the allegations and the victims themselves . In lieu of a pending trial , the NFL Network where Darren Sharper is employed as NFL analyst, have suspended the former NFL Pro Bowler without pay indefinitely. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks . The two players who were part of the 2003 NBA Draft class , have seen their respective careers diverge into diametrically opposite directions. James, already a NBA Rookie of the Year , four-time League MVP , two-time NBA champion and Finals’ MVP , is seen as currently the best player in the NBA. Carmelo Anthony having begun his career with the Denver Nuggets, now finds himself in New York playing for a consistently under-achieving team over the past five seasons . With the Knicks’ , the player be able to opt out of his contract at the end of this season . There are continuous rumors that he will “test the free agency market” , where the known suitors are likely to be the Dallas Mavericks , Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks, who are likely to make the strongest bid , to retain the star by offering him a max contract, ,likely to be six years $125 million. Getty Images / Bernie Pollack …..

(6) Alex Rodriguez , right , is seen here with one of his two lead attorneys , Joe Tacopina to the player’s right . Rodriguez has now completely abandoned his entire appeals’ process in seeking to have his suspension overturned . While in Mexico City , Mexico , he issued a public statement , with his intent being to rest and recuperate throughout the entire 2014 MLB season , refocusing his energies on making a full return to the game 2015 . Undoubtedly, that career he re-seeks , will be to rejoin the New York Yankees and help them pursue a twenty-eighth World Series’ title , while perhaps also seeking to break the all-time career home runs’ record . Rodriguez currently leads all active players in terms of career home runs and runs batted in (RBI’s) . Getty Images North America . Armando Jiminez …..

(7) A rather pensive Lance Armstrong , having finally admitted his use banned substances to win a record-breaking seven Tour de France titles as well as an Olympic medal , now has time to contemplate his future , while seeking an avenue now to fulfill his life , in terms of some sort of social advocacy group or philanthropic effort. Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour wins , his Olympic medal victory and several other professional titles won over the course of his professional career. All of the goodwill built up, during his cycling career , were shattered, when the former cycling great admitted his use of steroids as well as several other banned substances . Armstrong now faces several civil suits, where his estimated $100 million fortune is likely be completely eradicated , with many of the plaintiffs seeking monetary damages running into tens of millions of dollars . UPI/REUTERS/ Tom Glennon ….

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Above, a cure for what might ail Kellen Winslow Jr , who was simply exercising his right to “beat his meat”

No fuss, no sweat, no tears, no problem ….

No fuss, no sweat, no tears , no problem …

Having almost reached the midway point of the NBA season , the divisions are now becoming a little more competitive on the whole. Needless to say, that the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat , in spite of a few hiccups along the way are plodding along nicely . Albeit, that there now seems to be doubts as to whether or not the current roster has the resiliency of the team that won he title last season in defeating the San Antonio Spurs .

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A two-game losing streak for the Heat , and the doubters have already began to question the mindset of Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff . Those losses to the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets on successive nights in New York City and Brooklyn , may well have had the victorious fans of the teams in question now licking their lips , with thoughts of being capable of taking down the champions in a playoff series this season. For the moment, let’s not think too far ahead , for what is in all honesty an arduous and grueling eighty-two game schedule for each of the NBA’s thirty teams . While LeBron James remains the “heart” and ” soul” of this Miami Heat ensemble , then the team itself , will remain the best in the NBA , in spite of their current record (27-10) , standing within the conference and league .

The first of those two back-to-back defeats , came against the New York Knicks came last Thursday night at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York , in front of a raucous Knicks’ crowd . Miami was subjected to a ten-point loss in a 102-92 defeat . James led all scorers with 32 points , six assists and five rebounds, but this teammates’ productivity in this contest can be best described as being sub-par. Carmelo Anthony for his part, has repeatedly shown why all season long, the Knicks would be an anemic force , were he not on this roster . He sets rhythm for the team and if they are not on the same page , it becomes the matter of another poor performance from the Knicks. It would now appear, that after an anemic start to the their season , New York is now finally on a roll. Next up for the Knicks, will be a game against the high-flying Indiana Pacers (30-7) , currently the best team in the Eastern Conference record-wise.

That second loss by Miami , may well have come out of the blue , as the Brooklyn Nets have been just as erratic as their divisional counterparts the New York Knicks. Consider the fact , that in the aftermath of the victory , Jason Kidd and his players headed up to the Air Canada Center (Rogers Center) in Toronto , to be hammered in a sixteen-point 96-80 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors . Anyone under the impression that Kidd as a rookie coach has the Nets heading in the right direction , really has to rethink that mindset .

Erik Spoelstra has now become his own man , as a head coach , having no longer to look over his shoulder to see if his mentor Pat Riley still observes his every move . Back to back NBA titles , as the team now chases a third championship , now gives the head coach a great deal of security in terms of his position within the organization and its structure . Riley as the team President and a minority stakeholder in the franchise , has seen the Heat’s value rise , along with their revenues and profitability over the past five seasons. With that in mind , as the league’s most popular and visible team , the executive knows that any disruption, in that all too high-profile , knocks off the All Star image that organization has successfully portrayed. The team once seen as the ” Big Three “ ” has now become an All Star quartet with the addition of Ray Allen , who became an instant hero . with his postseason heroics in last season’s NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Suffice to say, that NBA’s best three-point shooter in league history , will be looking to further cement his legacy during the season .

Miami in light of the losses in question , will get the chance to rebound, when they face the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC on Wednesday evening . The Wizards led by John Wall , will be seeking to make light of a series between these two teams, that has favored the defending NBA champions over the years.

Someone will have to convince me, that the brand of basketball now played in the Eastern Conference is actually conducive to the health of the NBA fan. David Stern , continually seeks to sing the praises of this league , but year in and year out , the NBA brand has become more about individualistic achievement , rather than of team achievement and success. The NBA title may well have been won by a team. In reality however, the fans relished the exploits of LeBron James as the Finals’ MVP , more than they remembered what was achieved by the Heat as a team or namely members of the team’s roster and how each fared during the series. Much of what has been exhibited within the conference and the very fact that only four teams possess a record above . 500, has to be seen as a blight to the NBA , rather than being viewed as a positive.

Team scoring is up , but at the same time, the defensive strategy of the teams are on the wane . So much so, that highlight reel dunks have become the cannon fodder for the league to entertain the fans in attendance and those watching by way of the broadcast or cable networks .

The Los Angeles Lakers , alongside the Boston Celtics , are by far in a way the two most successful franchises in NBA history . These two teams have combined for more than half the NBA titles won. Finals showcasing , the two celebrated and revered teams have produced some of the most memorable highlights in league history. Halcyon days of Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy , as they gazed across court to match wits with Larry Bird , . Kevin McHale and Robert Parish , has now become a thing of the past. And the last postseason match-up, in an NBA Finals’ series, now seems a distant memory. That last occurrence took place during took place in 2010, when the Lakers led by Kobe Bryant prevailed in a thrilling 4-3 series’ win .

Both the Celtics and Lakers are in a season of transition, Boston in particular , with a new coaching staff headed by rookie head coach Brad Stevens and a revamped roster under the leadership of point guard Rajon Rondo . Rondo has yet to be on court this season , still recovering from an injury sustained last season . In his absence, those leadership responsibilities have fallen squarely on the shoulders of Jeff Green and Avery Bradley . Yet, it has been all-round contribution from just about every player on the Celtics’ roster, which has seen the team post a 13-26 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . That mark places the franchise out of a playoff berth, that sees them lying in the twelfth spot of the conference, 1 ½ games behind the eighth seeded Charlotte Bobcats (16-23). Coming off a /. twelve point loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night , the team will play host to the Toronto Raptors at the TD Banknorth Center in Boston Massachusetts, on Wednesday night. A victory would serve this young team well and set them in a positive direction, while Brad Stevens seeks to find a footing in this league , among his more experienced and noted peers.

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The Celtics’ most recent visit to the NBA Finals came in 2008 and there , once again the opponent cross-court were their perennial adversaries the Los Angeles Lakers . It was left to Paul Pierce , teammates Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to provide the franchise with their most recent title , Boston’s seventeenth overall , leading their closest rival the Lakers whose tally of sixteen remains second all-time .

It is pretty much safe to say, that a struggling Los Angeles Lakers’ team is not good for the NBA. Likewise, the same is also applicable to the New York Knicks, as two of the league’s most recognized teams. Mike D’Antoni , is still under the gun, as he seeks to find a group of players that can execute the strategies he believes they are capable of putting into place. . A record of 14-24 , at this point of the season , and I believe that this team can be now left for dead ! A seven-point loss last night to the Phoenix Suns , pretty much sums up one of the numerous reasons why the franchise is in a maelstrom of inconsistency beyond the continued idiocy of that the front office led by Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak are seeking to bolster the roster by acquiring a marquee free agent during the off-season. Hopes of acquiring either LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , two players who can choose to opt out of their existing contracts do appear to be a pipe-dream. Yet needless to say , in Los Angeles and its close proximity to Hollywood , leads me to believe that the Lakers’ fans and the front office executives are just dreamers, seeking to weave their own pieces of fiction in order to create their own personal “Utopia” . A lack in developing talent by way of their drafts over the past eight years have essentially shown why the franchise is now in period of transition and inconsistency . Never mind, the very fact that D’Antoni struggles to get the best out of his players from a defensive standpoint.

The Los Angeles Lakers next scheduled game will be on Friday night, when they are the guests of the Boston Celtics. In a regular season series , that now sets a new chapter in motion, the changes in their respective environments and of the rosters in question.

They may not be the runaway trains , but the consistency now being shown by both the Portland Trailblazers coached by Terry Stotts and as always , the perennial contenders within the Western Conference , the San Antonio Spurs , leads me to believe that based on current form, both of these teams will be part of the postseason foray ! Spurs’ head coach , Gregg Popovich remains the best coach in the NBA, albeit , that Miami Heat fans will believe that Erik Spoelstra has become his equal , because of his body of work over the past three seasons. Valid as that point may well be , until Spoelstra takes his team to twelve consecutive postseason appearances , the debate becomes moot.

With both the Spurs and Trailblazers on a considerable role within their divisions and the Western Conference , it remains to be seen whether or not any other contender is likely to step up and make that race within the West more entertaining and actually suspenseful. Granted, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are back to the their very best , while guiding the Oklahoma City Thunder(28-10) to one of the best records in the conference and league. Scott Brooks and his players , are on a mission to simply erase the aberration of last postseason . And while the talk may well be about the rise of the Los Angeles Clippers (27-13) , let us analyze that team’s current situation under their head coach Doc Rivers , who took over after the abrupt firing of Vinny Del Negro .

As good as the Clippers appear to be , it is highly debatable, as to their likelihood of taking down the Spurs or Thunder in a seven-game postseason series , with their being n a great deal on the line. Teething problems remain for an experienced roster that is still finding its way , even with the coaching acumen of Doc Rivers and the playing experience of Chris Paul. Exuberance and a great deal of overconfidence remains one of a number of flaws on the team alongside being unable to commit themselves to playing defense as and when needed.

The Clippers coming off a high scoring two- point victory over the Dallas Mavericks , they will now take their game on the road to face the New York Knicks on Friday night in Madison Square Garden . Having signed veteran guard, Hedo Turkoglu , it will be interesting to see how the team acquits itself against their Eastern Conference opponent. San Antonio and the Portland Trailblazers for their part, will parlay their prominence into a anticipated and eagerly awaited contest when the two meet at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas on the 17th January, 2014. A precursor, to the conference finals perhaps or just a another regular season game on the calendar? Well, that remains to be seen, but one way or another, it should be a good enough guide in telling us what we are likely to see from both teams over the remainder of the season.

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The NBA continues to march to the beat of its very own drum and with David Stern due to step down after a close to a three-decade tenure as the league’s commissioner. His heir-apparent Adam Silver will now have the unenviable task of taking on the next phase of the league’s evolution , while trying to remain relevant amongst its existing fan-base and seeking to increase the game’s popularity on a global scale . Stern has brought to the NBA brand into greater prominence, than one could ever have imagined, from the days when a televised game was something of a novelty. Today, those broadcasts, have become a sports’ staple, along with a growing number of former players parlaying their ex-careers into a highly respectable second vocation, as a NBA broadcast analyst . As to what, may well now be expected be over the remainder of the schedule could be very well be summed up the level of the play seen over the first half the season.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Greg Oden (20) of the Miami Heat dunks the ball during a game played against the Washington Wizards played at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC. Miami lost the contest and their third consecutive road game on their schedule . John Wall of the Wizards and LeBron James of the Heat led all scorers in the contest played on the 15th January, 2014 . Getty Images / Rob Carr ……

(2) John Wall of the Wizards drives to the basket in a game played against the Miami Heat. The Wizards’ point guard and his teammates prevailed in defeating Miami 114-97. Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks up at the scoreboard during the first half of the game between the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat. A third consecutive road loss seems to have created some amongst Heat fans . Yet the team still remains atop of their division as well as having the second best record in the Eastern Conference . Getty Images /Rob Carr ….

(4) Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets goes up for the offensive play during a game played against the Toronto Raptors this past Saturday at the Air Canada Center in Toronto , Canada,. The visiting team would end up on the wrong side of sixteen-point 96-80 loss to their hosts . AP Photo/The Canadian Press/ Chris Young ….

(5) NBA Commissioner David Stern is seen here alongside Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver during a press conference convened prior to last season’s NBA Finals . Stern made the announcement that he would be stepping down in his role, with Silver succeeding him as the new NBA Commissioner, as of the 15th February 2014,. AP Photo/ Josh Rogers …

(6) Jodie Meeks (20) of the Los Angeles Lakers makes an offensive play over the Suns’ Gerald Green during an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night . The Suns defeated the Lakers in that contest. Subsequently , former Lakers’ great Magic Johnson was openly critical of the coaching staff , GM Mitch Kupchak , but in particular of team owner Jim Buss , and the lack of direction of the franchise. AP Photo/ Ross D Franklin …..

(7) Portland Trailblazers’ point guard Damian Lillard is seen here alongside head coach Terry Stotts , court-side, as they discuss an upcoming play. The Trailblazers have been one of the surprise teams in the NBA this season , showing a great deal of consistency as the schedule approaches its midpoint . Portland will be the guests of the San Antonio Spurs when the top two teams within the Western Conference meet at the AT&T Center on Friday evening . Matthew Arnold /UPI …

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tophatal ………………. 2014/01/15

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NBA news and archived stories

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It could well be a contest for the ages , if everything goes to plan

It could well be a contest for the ages , if everything goes to plan

The sporting weekend within the NFL brought us the divisional games within both conferences with the prize at stake being the four berths available in the AFC and NFC championship contests that will take place on Sunday the 19th January , 2014. For quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning their meeting in the AFC contest will be the fifteenth meeting regular season or otherwise , between these two highly regarded and future Hall of Fame players . On each occasion, where the two have met on the field of play, the margin of victory has been fewer than seven points. Which sets up this contest as being one of the more intriguing, with now a Superbowl berth . being at stake?

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Manning will be seeking to his third Superbowl appearance, whereas his opposing number , Tom Brady will be seeking to make his sixth appearance , in the hope of winning a fourth Superbowl victory and ring. Other than Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw , as quarterbacks , have been the only two players to have led the same franchise to respective titles in the Superbowl era.

Throughout much of the 2013 regular season , both the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots have proven by far that they were the two best teams within the AFC . Granted, the Kansas City Chiefs could have laid claim to that very fact , had the latter part of their season not span out of control and then to fall by the wayside in their wildcard round loss to the Indianapolis Colts , whom the New England Patriots handily disposed of in their divisional round contest this past Sunday. . If there was said to be a hero in that game between Indianapolis and New England, then by rights, the Patriots’ running back LeGarrette Blount would have to be regarded in that light. A cast off, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Blount was acquired , primarily as a backup to Stevan Ridley and for short yardage use as and when determined by head coach Bill Belichick . However, in 2013, Blount has proven himself to be not only to be productive and worthy backup for Ridley. Yet, it has now created something of a dilemma for the Patriots’ head coach , as to whether not the running back should now supplant Ridley as the featured back on the team for the postseason . Personally, I believe that things should be left just as they are , with both players being utilized to their best of their abilities as the coach sees fit .

As an avid New England Patriots’ fan, my singular issue all season long has been the inconsistency of the team’s defense and the very fact that Bill Belichick and the coaching staff, have never truly felt comfortable with the makeup of the secondary as a whole . The postseason has done little to dissuade of me of that , even in spite of the ease of the victory over the Indianapolis Colts , as I know that team will be in for a much sterner test when they face the Denver Broncos led by Peyton Manning and that high-octane offense .

While, the most recent meeting between the two teams was an instantaneous classic , with Tom Brady and the Patriots getting the better (34-31) of Manning and his teammates . You somehow, get the feeling that this contest is unlikely to be like their previous meetings , especially with so much now being at stake with regard to this particular game. It would be fair to surmise, that both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been by far the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL since 1998 , the year Manning was drafted , then to be followed by Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft as a sixth round pick by the New England Patriots . In terms of their longevity and the unprecedented success achieved by both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning , wherein , both are now viewed as the positive and preeminent faces of the NFL .

The NFC championship contest , between the San Francisco 49ers as the guests of the Seattle Seahawks at Q West Field in Seattle, Washington on Sunday afternoon, in what is likely to be a highly competitive game. For the respective teams’ young quarterbacks , Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson , this will be a chance to renew not just a divisional rivalry , but something of budding competition between of the league’s up and coming players in the league at the quarterback position, who entered the NFL less than a year apart .

Seattle’s head coach Pete Carroll and his opposite number Jim Harbaugh this opportunity affords both head coaches the change to gauge the progress of their respective teams over the past three seasons , since each assumed control in their positions. Harbaugh will seek to reverse this season’s regular season away loss to the Seattle Seahawks. . The two teams have evened their divisional meetings in 2013, with both sides coming away with rather convincing victories. .Both the Forty Niners and Seahawks are viewed as well-balanced teams, capable of play making on both sides of the ball . Opposing running backs Frank Gore of San Francisco and Marshawn Lynch of Seattle, are seasoned and wily veterans, who still remain productive at this stage of their respective careers. For Colin Kapernick and Russell Wilson , it will be interesting to see how both of these young quarterbacks acquit themselves in what is likely to be the most important game that either has played at this stage of their young careers. . This contest between these two divisional rivals, could prove to be something big, or simply a one-off , by way of the lack of a truly dominant team within the NFC over the past two seasons. I believe we shall see, as this encounter unfolds on Sunday afternoon whether or not my assumptions come to fruition !

Away from the postseason schedule , fans might not have been completely taken aback by the coaching dismissals that took place within the NFL . Greg Schiano’s firing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with GM Mark Dominik’s contract not being renewed was not that much of a surprise . Schiano, brought absolutely no discipline whatsoever to a team , that was lacking creativity and guile , in spite of idiotic analysis and claims being made by observers . A three-game win streak , was the best, that the Buccaneers achieved all season long . The team’s defense , was an abject failure and a sign what not to strive to achieve, if you happen to be a defensive coordinator in the NFL .

The Buccaneers have yet to find a successor, albeit, that the organization is rumored to be showing an interest in getting re-acquainted with former GM Rich McKay , who now happens to be the team President of the Atlanta Falcons and oversaw the successful attempt by that particular franchise in their obtaining the financing and soon to be finished billion dollar edifice that will house the NFC South based franchise. It may well take a great deal more than reminiscing about old times to lure McKay back to Tampa , after the way he was treated by the Glazer family during the Jon Gruden tenure , in which the former head coach and his sidekick Bruce Allen won a Superbowl , only to then hamstring the Buccaneers financially for the next several years, during which the team’s fortunes, fell with alarming speed . Yet, the moronic fans and the idiot on air personalities, simply lacking the intelligence to realize what the hell was going on or the very fact that during Gruden’s tenure, few players were developed that have become mainstays with the franchise. Idiocy begets idiocy and nowhere, is this more prevalent than with the fans within Central Florida and as it relates to all things concerning the Buccaneers , Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning .

Former Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith has been brought in to resurrect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fortunes and make this franchise competitive enough within the NFC South , where the two dominant teams at present would appear to be the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers , who are likely to become considerably better next season , with the not so stunning maturation process shown by Cam Newton this past season , and where Ron Rivera has brought about a resilience to the franchise not seen in several years. I believe that Smith can be a success, but that will be predicated upon the latitude provided him by what remains a clueless ownership group . Anyone who believes that Joel and Avram Glazer have any idea how to run a professional sports’ franchise, need only to look at their handling of the family’s other sporting interest , the now declining …. fortunes of Manchester United and the fact that the board of directors and that team’s manager David Moyes are besieged by the fans and press alike for the club’s rapidly falling fortunes and the absolute inept hire of Moyes to succeed Alex Ferguson , soccer’s most successful club coach.

The NFL Draft is a little more than two months away and a number of decisions are likely to be made by Lovie Smith and the coaching staff that he will have assembled, as they seek to gauge makeup of the current roster and then judge which players they believe superfluous to the franchise.

For a team coming off a 4-12 season , there was little that anyone could feel pleased about concerning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and yes , that includes the play of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon . Granted, he has to be considered a major upgrade over a failing Josh Freeman , a player with issues both on and off the field , and whose complete lack of maturity was continually on display along with the asinine behavior of his agent Erik Burkhardt , whose claims about his client’s medical condition were leaked to the press in order that the Buccaneers could jettison the player. Burkhardt has been known to make outlandish statements, simply to garner the press’ attention , but when finally pressed to answer who else had information concerning Freeman’s mental health issues , the agent could not give a succinct answer. Begs the question , was Erik Burkhardt seeking sympathy for a player who over the past three seasons has failed to live up to the hype . Freeman was not that great a player at the collegiate level and he certainly showed no real signs of progress once he made it into the NFL .

The future of the Buccaneers may well seem to be bright with Lovie Smith at the helm, as the franchise’s head coach , but as I alluded to earlier , unless the ownership group takes more of an interest in the franchise , and has an experienced front office executive working in conjunction with the head coach. Then, we are likely to see a repeat of the same missteps being made, as witnessed with Bruce Allen and Mark Dominik.

Mike Munchak’s dismissal as head coach of the Tennessee Titans was more out of a rush to judgment by a franchise, that has completely lost its way. The late CEO & owner , Bud Adams remained clueless, and he much like fellow NFL franchise owners , Jerry Jones , Dan Snyder , Mark Davis , Woody Johnson and Steven Ross are individuals who treat those franchise as mere baubles while wanting also display their ostentatious-ness and considerable wealth . I have become sick and tired of hearing idiots such as Chris Mortensen , Adam Schefter , Tm Hasselbeck , Stephen A Smith , Skip Bayless and John Clayton describe these owners as highly intelligent individuals , simply because they made their fortunes elsewhere, outside the realms of the NFL . With as great a business acumen as the individuals mentioned are said to possess , consider the fact that the Titans , Dallas Cowboys , Washington Redskins , Oakland Raiders , New York Jets and Miami Dolphins as franchises, have only three playoff appearances between them over the past six years . A meager return, when one considers the esteem in which a number of those franchises are said to be held.

Munchak’s firing , simply came by way of the lack of success of the team during this past season . Moreover, the loss of quarterback, Jake Locker to an injury , early into the Titans’ season after the player’s great start , simply sent the franchise spiraling downwards , unable to regain that early momentum. With that decline, came the mounting losses , the questionable decision-making during games and the lack of a real competitive fight from the Titans’ players. Yet, the responsibility for the franchise’s woes should not be placed solely on the shoulders of the dismissed head coach, because he was never given any real help by way of a general manager Ruston Webster , whose experience in the position since 2012 , was something of a clear indicator, as to what the fans and franchise should have expected. Fractured decision-making, by way of assessing and the drafting of personnel , never-mind some rather off-kilter acquisitions , simply summed up the franchise. Bud Adams’ relinquishing of his role as the Chief Executive, with his children, Suzie Adams Smith , Amy Adams Hunt and son-in-law Thomas Smith now assuming control , taking the franchise in a new direction. As to the course, now being traveled , that destination has yet to be determined

Ruston Webster hired former Arizona Cardinal’s head coach, Ken Whisenhunt to succeed Mike Munchak. It will be very interesting to see how the new coach proceeds, as he seeks some semblance of success with a team that lacks veteran presence and a real vocal leader on the field of play.

What happens in Vegas they say , usually “stays in Vegas “ . In terms of the Minnesota Vikings’ season. Well, , that is something, that reads like a badly written comedic piece. Suffice to say, with all of the assembled talent , in terms of the roster. The coaching mindset of Leslie Frazier was simply nowhere to be seen, along with this long considered belief that either Christian Ponder or Josh Freeman would be placed to lead this franchise to a divisional title , much less a postseason berth . To top it all, Zygi Wilf, the team’s owner, during the season was found guilty , in a civil suit of defrauding several former business partners of monies due from a commercial real estate deal. Somehow, these problems, are overlooked by the league hierarchy and in particular by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , whose continued idiocy , simply knows no boundaries . Adding insult to injury , was the fact that the commissioner thought nothing of the actions of Cleveland Browns’ owner , Jimmy Haslam in seeking to settle out of court in a monetary payout of several millions, sought to avoid federal prosecution for grand larceny , fraud and theft , all resulting from his company , Pilot J Flying Inc’s business practices, in defrauding clients of monies rightfully due them. Ah , the joy of being a team owner in the NFL , where there is no damn leadership and where Roger Goodell, is more concerned with player misconduct , their sullying of the league’s image , rather than his being worried by the illegal and reckless activities of a number of team owners. Could I have put it any more succinctly than that?

Frazier was relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings , having posted a record of 21-32 (.396) in four seasons with the franchise. The vacancy remains unfilled , with GM Rick Spielman , now seeking a suitable replacement for the deposed former head coach. From my own perspective, a team that has the league’s best running back , but fails to utilize him properly , has to pay the price for that type of stupidity . One which, we have seen repeatedly, with this Vikings’ franchise over the past three seasons, and are likely to see in the future, with their atypical approach and lack of what is needed in terms of success within the NFL. Adrian Peterson, may well be racking up the yards , on his way to a Hall of Fame career, but at the end of the day , his enshrinement may well mean a great deal to the player in terms of his accomplishments. In essence , the fans tend to only remember the players who have won a Superbowl , because it is the ultimate sign of team success , rather than just looking at the player’s singular achievements , as a way of assessing their greatness.

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Picture gallery.

This off-season, will see a great many changes not just amongst the Minnesota Vikings and its staff, but there is likely to be a preponderance of changes around the entire NFL , as the coaching merry-go-round begins , as teams seek fill the voids within their coaching and playing staffs. What thoughts, if any, do you have with regard to this NFL postseason? Also, which of the four remaining participants, do you believe to be the favorite and victorious during this playoff season?

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(1) Tom Brady (left) and Peyton Manning (18), seen here , after the duo’s most recent meeting , during which the Patriots’ quarterback prevailed in the encounter , the pair’s fifteenth overall over the course of their respective careers. Manning entered the NFL in 1998 as the number one overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts , with Brady taken in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft . Tom Brady and Peyton Manning lead the NFL in certain offensive passing categories amongst active quarterbacks now playing in in the NFL . Getty Images North America / Philip Miller ….

(2) 18 Apr 1998: Quarterback Peyton Manning displays an Indianapolis Colts jersey during the 1998 NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Alongside Manning is NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue . Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport ….

(3) Tom Brady(12) and England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick are seen here on the sidelines during a game. The combination of head coach and player are amongst the most successful in NFL history . Belichick and Brady have combined for five Superbowl appearances and six AFC championship games during their thirteen years together. Brady, this postseason hopes to join a select number of quarterbacks with at least five six Superbowl appearances, while seeking to win his fourth Superbowl ring. Already a two-time Superbowl MVP and NFL MVP . All that now awaits the Patriots’ quarterback upon his retirement, will be the call formally announcing his induction into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio,. AP Photo / Chris Woodson ….

(4) NFC quarterbacks , Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers is seen here with Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks . The two players will meet on Sunday afternoon in the NFC championship game when the Seahawks play host to the 49ers at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington . The winner of the contest will be the NFC representative in the Superbowl , where they will face the winner of the AFC game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots . Getty Images / Mark Fisher ….

(5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Chairman Joel Glazer is seen here speaking to Buccaneers’ head coach Greg Schiano . After a 4-12 season the franchise and coach parted ways . Also leaving the Buccaneers, GM Mark Dominik whose contract was not renewed after 5 years as the franchise’s front office executive in charge of player personnel decisions. The team has yet to hire a successor to Dominik , but the hiring of Lovie Smith is seen as a positive step in the right direction. All rights reserved copyrighted material @ Tampa Bay Tribune ….

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith is seen here with members of the Glazer family , owners of the NFL franchise. Seen here from left to right are Ed Glazer, Bryan Glazer, Smith and Joel Glazer . Will Vragovic / The Tampa Bay Times ….

(7) Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman is seen here addressing the convened press at Vikings’ headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The franchise fired head coach Leslie Frazier , but have yet to hire a successor to the departed Frazier. There now seems to be a great deal of speculation concerning Spielman’s own future with the team , with several of the partners with the Vikings questioning the general manager’s handling of the franchise this past season and many of the personnel decisions made . AP Photo / Hunter Matthews …..

(8) Cleveland Browns’ owner, Jimmy Haslam , whose tenure as the team’s Chief Executive has come under a great deal of criticism after it was revealed that Haslam’s company Pilot J Flying Inc and the executive himself , faced charges of grand larceny , theft and fraud . The NFL franchise owner and the Justice Department reached an out of court arrangement but with a fine having been paid by the company . However. several other clients of Pilot J have lodged a civil suit in US Federal Court seeking unspecified damages against the company and its executives . Further embarrassing the NFL as this episode unfurled , were the claims that the monies used in Haslam’s purchase of the Browns were derived from the fraud perpetrated. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s failure , in having the league’s investigators carry out what was said to be an in-depth investigation of Jimmy Haslam’s finances , would have uncovered the ongoing action of the Justice Department at the time the sale of the franchise, actually took place. UPI/ REUTERS/ Keith Thompson …..

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tophatal ………………. 01/14/2014

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NFL news

NFL postseason results

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NFL quarterbacks drafted since 1998 and their stats within the league.

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Minnesota Vikings’ news

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List of NFL franchise team owners

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We the people, deserve better !

We the people deserve better!

As an avowed fan of the game of baseball , albeit, that I still believe that the MLB hierarchy under the leadership of Bud Selig has been completely incompetent along with the lack of direction and integrity of the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . I do feel that with the recent voting and soon to be induction of into the Hall of Fame of former players Tom Glavine , Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas , quite possibly , the game itself might well be seeing light at the end of the tunnel , in terms of the fans’ acceptance of integrity returning to the sport. It must be said, with the still ongoing spectacle of baseball’s constant battle with the misuse and manipulation of its rules by players, such as Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and the litany of players who in 2013 were suspended by the league hierarchy for their use of a banned substance . The question that has to be asked by the fans, has to be, why the leniency of Bud Selig, when it is clear that the players and the union can simply confound the league and its ongoing incompetency with an appeals’ process, that simply makes a mockery of the system now in place and said to be part of the collective bargaining agreement between the union and Major League Baseball ?

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Baseball has yet to get its finances and house in order, in terms of the ongoing issues that it now faces , yet , the idiocy of Bud Selig ringing another rule change that will allow the use instant replay in 2014, simply addresses an issue that in reality, is meaningless , when the question ought to be, how qualified are the game’s officials and their actual knowledge of the sport they adjudicate ? Now while I do believe that in general, the vast majority of the umpires are quite capable , doubts do come in, when repeatedly , the same officials are making mistakes that in instances , have cost a team a result or that has led to a great deal of controversy, without their being response from Bud Selig’s office on the matter. Managers and players alike, must also bear a certain amount of the responsibility, in such instances and come to a consensus , as to how best address the issue of blown calls and seek to work in conjunction with the officials to deal with the matter succinctly.

Alongside the induction of Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas , baseball will also welcome into its hallowed edifice in Cooperstown , New York, are former managers Bobby Cox , Tony La Russa and Joe Torre . That triumvirate of managers, between them have won a combined eight World Series , several AL , NL pennants and are considered to be amongst the finest managers ever to have been involved in the game at the managerial level. Away from it all, it should come as no surprise as to the obvious names, who were overlooked, in terms of the other nominees considered eligible for induction in 2014. Controversial as the names of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens , Mark McGwire , Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa are said to be . The very fact that their names were on the ballot, can either been seen as an affront to the game of baseball or the willingness in part of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) to let its members vote with their conscience, as to whether not these players are worthy of the game’s highest singular distinction , enshrinement and induction into the Hall of Fame.

One of the more seedier issues to come out of the voting for the class of 2014 , in terms of the players to be inducted in baseball’s Hall of Fame, was the very fact that one particular journalist was said to have offered his vote for sale. That journalist is now known to the public , and though Dan Le Batard has stepped forward and categorically stated that he did not sell his vote to Deadspin.com , but gave it to them free , explaining that his intent was to show how flawed the voting system was said to be and that his fellow members could be induced monetarily to sway their votes. Le Batard , is either that much of an idiot , or having been caught in an all too embarrassing situation , is now seeking to extricate himself from an incident of his own doing.

The sports’ website, still insists that they paid a member of the BBWAA for their vote and one now has to question not only that body’s integrity, but also that of Dan Le Batard and his own character , integrity and alleged honesty . As to what this might possibly mean as to his professional career , the columnist and sometime on air personality with cable sport’s network ESPN , may well have to offer up some type of apology for his actions. It is abundantly clear, Le Batard’s actions, were that of a self-ingratiating individual, simply seeking more notoriety, that he might not have gained elsewhere, unless through making some scandalous allegation. Not that , he has never been known to make such claims, yet in reality, the network and his primary employer , the Miami Herald , are unlikely to reprimand the journalist at this moment in time. Speaks volumes, as to the fact, that sports’ journalism and news’ gathering in general , continues to sink even lower levels, than ever before !

With the BBWAA now taking away Dan Le Batard’s rights to participate in any further Hall of Fame voting for nominated candidates . It begs the question , what will the institution itself seek to do , in addressing the issue of players associated in the steroids’ era that wreaked havoc in baseball , while at the same making a number of these players financially secure in their long-term future. The writers within this organization frowned upon these stories once they began to first surface, believing themselves above the fray and simply wanting to report on the events taking place within the game . At the same time , even the on air television personalities took a somewhat similar stance as their counterparts in the print media , perhaps not wanting to upset the apple cart and their paymasters , the MLB hierarchy. Little else needs to be said concerning the altruism of the BBWAA , their hypocrisy and that of the broadcast networks who cover the game of baseball.

The off-season in baseball , brought about the usual movement of players as a number of marquee free agents sought to move elsewhere , not necessarily for competitiveness’ sake, but more for the opportunity to pad their wallets, monetarily. From my own standpoint, I do believe that Robinson Cano’s departure from the New York Yankees for a move cross-country to join the Seattle Mariners , was actually one of idiocy, rather than a decision made prudently ! Cano, through his representatives at RocNation Sports , stated, that he was never given the respect due for a player of his status. Asking for a reputed $300 million multi-year deal , while also having your agent , Jay-z publicly taunting the New York Yankees as to their unwillingness to pay his client , may well have been the ultimate act of portrayal , as viewed by the Yankees’ organization and in particular by Brian Cashman as the general manager of the baseball club. Cano’s career began with the franchise and over the past three seasons, he has been by far , the Yankees’ best offensive weapon.

The Mariners may well feel, that they have obtained a player capable of making them a far more competitive ball-club in 2014, than they were last season , during which they were fell off the map, in terms of their final divisional standing within the AL West . It will be interesting to see whether not Robinson Cano can provide the sort of impact sought , in order for the Seattle Mariners to challenge the likes of the Houston Astros , Los Angeles Angels , Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers this upcoming season. The fans will be able to get a first look of the newly revamped Mariners’ roster during their Spring Training ….. schedule and then when the team kicks off their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim Stadium , in Anaheim , California on the 1st April , 2014.

No doubt, there was a great deal of disappointment amongst a number of teams last season , who were thought to be legitimate contenders for the World Series . It would be fair to suggest, that even with the late spirited run of the Los Angeles Dodgers and their winning of the NL West, comfortably. The team’s failure in making a deep postseason run and gaining what many felt would be an inevitable World Series’ berth , was all to no avail , as they succumbed to a very lopsided defeat in the NLCS in a 4-2 series’ defeat . The final game of that pennant series simply summed up in many respects how conceited that Dodgers’ team and managerial staff were said to be, as the St Louis Cardinals romped to a 9-0 victory .

While the Los Angeles Dodgers were left to wonder what might have been , Mike Matheny and the Cardinals would prove to be no match for the Boston Red Sox in baseball’s showcase finale for the postseason . John Farrell and the Red Sox, strolled to the franchise’s third World Series’ title in the span of nine years, which would be ball-club’s eighth title overall. For Dodgers’ senior managing partners , Todd Boehly, Mark Walter , Magic Johnson and Peter Guber , for all of the money spent assembling a roster of All Stars , under the watchful eye of manager Don Mattingly and his staff . The extraordinary fashion under which that team wilted, either says more to the lack of intestinal fortitude as to the makeup of the team , or the very fact that the players themselves were simply not that concerned and just wanted to rest on their laurels of the regular season. It would be fair to suggest that there will be moves afoot to bolster the roster and undoubtedly an increase in the Dodgers’ already considerable payroll , well above the existing $220 million , as it currently stands .

Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti is under no misconception, as to what is expected of this Dodgers’ team in 2014 . Anything short of a World Series’ title and the fans and pundits in general , will begin to question the mindset of a franchise , still waiting twenty-five years later , after their last triumph in a postseason finale contest.

Say what you will about the New York Yankees , but a postseason without most successful franchise tends to push the ratings down for the a television broadcast of game’s most celebrated event. That being said, the travails of the franchise this past season , have been well chronicled , from the on field woes, to off-field controversies and the ball-club’s inept handling of issues surrounding Alex Rodriguez . The team’s late owner, George Steinbrenner III , must be rolling around in his grave, while viewing the haphazard handling of this fiasco by Hal and Hank Steinbrenner as well as Brian Cashman. As the franchise’s general manager, Cashman has been lauded for a great deal of the Yankees’ success over the past twelve years . Inasmuch, as that may well be the case, this past season , the general manager has shown himself to be completely out of touch on a wide variety of issues concerning the team and the organization in general.

To suggest merely, that the New York Yankees failed miserably in 2013 , would be an understatement. Joe Girardi and the managerial staff , in having to deal with a litany of injuries over the course of the season, but the real issue he faced , was the fact that without team captain Derek Jeter on the field to lead by example , there was simply nothing shown by this team. In the midst of it all, there was Girardi throwing his support behind the beleaguered Rodriguez, whose ongoing litigation case against the league hierarchy (MLB) , also had a the player and his legal representatives seeking to sue the team’s personal physician , but not the ball-club itself .

Alex Rodriguez, has subsequently walked out of the arbitration hearing, covering, his seeking the rescinding of his two-hundred and elven game suspension , rendered by Bud Selig, for what the commissioner believes to be the player’s known association with Biogenesis and that supplement company’s distribution of performance enhancing drugs to several players within the game. Rodriguez , continues to maintain his innocence, calling the league’s case against him a witch-hunt and the gathering of the evidence used against him , as ill-gotten and underhanded. However, under subpoena , Biogenesis ‘ founder Anthony “Tony” Bosch , has continued to maintain that the Yankees’ slugger purchased many of the company’s products knowingly, having them sent to several addresses under assumed aliases. When pressed, to answer those allegations, Alex Rodriguez has proceeded to brush those claims aside and pointing to his legal representatives, Joe Tacopina and David Cornwell to provide the answers. I can only surmise, that the player has no wish to once again be caught in lie , while further embarrassing a ball-club that knows only too well , they have placed themselves in a situation of their own making. Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner failed to heed the advice provided to them in April 2013, by the Yankees’ Chief Legal Counsel and SVP Lonn A Trost that the franchise would be well within their right to terminate the player’s contract and the $43 million still owed to the team’s highest paid player . Take into account the third baseman’s lackluster season and you can simply see why this ball-club failed ,miserably in a so many areas of the game .

With a revamped lineup for 2014 , the Yankees will enter the season , with a number of doubts ,concerning its their pitching and whether or not their latest acquisitions, such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann with their sizable deals can gel with what is already an aging roster. Derek Jeter, while providing a great deal of the leadership sought by Joe Girardi, Jeter’s athleticism and productivity is no longer what it once was , when he first came into the game as a short-stop for the ball-club. The team’s season, will be measured by the success they are able to attain , by way of making at least the postseason. In what, is sure to be a tough AL East division, the Yankees might not be even the second or third best team within the division by way of the make-up of their roster, when adjudged against that of the Baltimore Orioles , Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays .

New York’s opening schedule for 2014, will begin with a three game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, with the opening game on the 1st April, 2014. One down, one hundred and sixty-one to go and therein, lies what is head for the New York Yankees over an arduous schedule .

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Picture gallery .

In 2013 the MLB season reached some great highs and plummeted to some extremely low depths of ineptitude , both on and off the field of play. Yet, it would appear that purists still believe, that there still remains something to be relished about the game of baseball. The MLBPA (union) remains distrustful of the league hierarchy and Bud Selig’s tenure , soon to come to an end, has been an unmitigated disaster as the game’s highest ranking executive . As to the team owners and general managers. Well, their idea of fiscal restraint seems to be very much in line with the continued idiocy of this Presidential administration and both legislative chambers of the US Congress. Unfortunately, with idiots, championing the merits of fiscal hawks, such as Rand Paul , Paul Ryan and Max Baucus . It is easy to understand why the country still remains on a precipice, as it relates to its financial health , along with MLB itself . Surely, the fans and the nation deserves a great deal better from both entities, than we have witnessed at present ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit on this article 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) Greg Maddux (left), of the Atlanta Braves baseball club and Tom Glavine , right, are two of the former players who will be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame this year . Glavine and Maddux will join a list of illustrious list of Braves’ players enshrined in Cooperstown, New York . The third player joining the pair of Braves’ pitchers will be former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas . @ copyrighted material … Barbara Germano

(2)KANSAS CITY, MO – APRIL 7: Frank Thomas (35) of the Chicago White Sox bats during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 7, 2004 in Kansas City, Missouri. The White Sox won 4-3 . Photo by Dave Kaup/Getty Images …

(3) From left to right , Tony La Russa , Joe Torre and Bobby Cox . All three former Major League Baseball managers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, as part of the 2014 induction class in Cooperstown , New York . AP Photo/ Gail Marshall …

(4) Dan Le Batard, a columnist with the Miami Herald , an on air radio personality in the local sports’ media market , and sometime analyst and provider of content for sports’ cable broadcast outlet ESPN. Le Batard embroiled in a controversy , in which he acknowledges having given his Hall of Fame vote to website Deadspin.com . As a member of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) the columnist confirmed his actions , but has reiterated that he did so without any monetary gain. Deadspin however , states that money exchanged hands and that the vote took place as part of the 2014 vote process. Getty Images North America/ Paul Harris …

From left to right , Sammy Sosa , Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds . All three players having been on the ballot of the 2014 class of eligible nominees for the Hall of Fame ,but failed to garner enough votes to be inducted into the institution . The trio will once again be up again for the ballot in 2015 along with several other eligible candidates looking to be inducted in Cooperstown . Getty Images / Phil Townsend …..

(6) Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners is seen here with the team’s general manager Jack Zduriencik after the franchise’s high-priced acquisition was formally introduced to the convened press at Safeco Field , in Seattle , Washington ,. Cano signed a ten-year $240 million deal with the Mariners , having been rebuffed by the New York Yankees , in terms of resigning with the New York based franchise. Mark Potter/ UPI Universal ……….

(7) New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi is seen here with GM Brian Cashman as the duo take a moment to peruse a play at the team’s training complex at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida . After a disappointing season in 2013 , the ball-club made several off-season moves seeking to improve the roster . An aging core of players and with the managerial staff not seemingly having enough faith with the players within their farm system . It would appear that the franchise will going to this upcoming season with a group of high-priced staff , as they seek to win their twenty-eighth World Series’ title. Getty Images / Jason Wilson ….

(8) Peter Guber , Stan Kasten , Mark Walter and Magic Johnson of the Los Angles Dodgers . Having purchased the team for a reputed $2.156 billion in 2013 , the ownership group saw the team make the NLCS only for the club fail in their quest to make it to the 2013 World Series . The Dodgers will enter the 2014 season with a high-priced roster and a managerial staff headed by Don Mattingly . Fans and the organization, alike are hoping to succeed in bringing a title back to Los Angeles for the first time since 1988 , when the Dodgers defeated the Oakland A’s in the World Series that year . Getty Images North America / Rafael Fuentes …..
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tophatal …… 2014/01/09

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I yield to no man !

I yield, to no man!

Over the weekend, the NFL opened up its postseason with the wild card round series of games . As usual, the summary surprises came with games that resulted with a number of unwanted endings . Suffice to say, in spite of the huge television ratings one comes to expect , it is by no means a guarantee that the contests themselves are necessarily outstanding.

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All the hype earlier in the season, concerning the coaching acumen and in-genius mind of Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles came to nothing , as the Eagles succumbed to the New Orleans Saints in a highly entertaining contest . From my own perspective, I simply could not buy into an Eagles’ team whose head coach has never been known for his propensity for his teams to play an iota of actual defense. That was the case with Kelly as coach of the Oregon Ducks at the Collegiate Level and it has most certainly been the case with the Philadelphia Eagles throughout much of this past regular season and then coming into this contest against the Saints .

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, now go on to a divisional round contest against the Seattle Seahawks , at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington, with the winner gaining a berth into the NFC championship game . . As to the other NFC contest, that pitted the San Francisco Forty Niners against the Green Bay Packers in a game played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay , Wisconsin. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers were being asked to take on not only a Packers’ team , but also a raucous and vociferous home crowd in a game that lived up to all of the hype and a great deal more. . San Francisco came away with a well-deserved three-point 23-20 victory , and now move on to play the Carolina Panthers in what is likely be a real slug-fest between two of the more entertaining teams within the NFC over this past regular season.

The contests within the AFC , were no less riveting than their NFC counterparts , but all in all, the lesson to be learned , has been , all that glitters is not necessarily gold as and when it came to teams, who showed a great deal of dominance early in the regular season , but somehow over their last five games , they seemed to falter and showed no signs of being able to play themselves back into contention, with any type of consistency.

Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs made quite a splash early in the season , with the Chiefs actually challenging the Denver Broncos for divisional supremacy within the AFC West , as well as who ought to be looked upon as the best team in the AFC altogether. Unfortunately, for Reid and his team the script was flipped , as Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts summarily hoisted the Kansas City based franchise unto their own petard . In what turned out to be, a completely wayward performance, the Chiefs were found wanting in all areas of their game. . A twenty-one point lead, by the Kansas City Chiefs, was slowly erased, as Andrew Luck showed why he is one of the best young quarterbacks now playing in the entire NFL. As to the abrupt end to the Chiefs season , it all comes down to what might have been and the missed opportunities.

To say, I expected more from Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals this postseason would be an understatement ! However, in light of that premise, I have to say in all honesty their contest against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers ,was about as lopsided a postseason game that I have seen in some time. A 27-10 shellacking by the Chargers, not only indicated how bad the Bengals just happened to be, but quite possibly how overrated the AFC North may well have been over the course of this season. . I certainly felt that Andy Dalton and the presence he has shown since entering the NFL would be able to lead a Bengals’ team , that over the past two seasons under Marvin Lewis, has shown a great deal of progress, as Dalton’s own game itself, has shown a great deal of promise.

With Greg Schiano’s dismissal after two seasons of rather pedantic football by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Nothing actually delighted me more, than also seeing Mark Dominik’s firing by the franchise’s owners led by Avram Glazer and the rest of the Glazer family . Truth be known, the family has shown all of the alleged business acumen in dealing with the franchise as of late , as the collective intelligence of the House Finance Committee and that of the Senate Banking Committee when dealing with the economy and the financial sector of the country. Suffice to say, this is a Buccaneers’ franchise that has lost complete direction , so much so, that their fans would be none the wiser , even in light of their apparent apathy and complete lack of understanding as to what they have witnessed over the past four seasons under Schiano and his predecessor , Raheem Morris . As to this idiocy, that , Dominik himself, was a great assessor of talent. One simply has to look at the fact that the Buccaneers’ play under both of these coaches , was simply lackluster , unimaginative and completely lacking in guile .

Greg Schiano’s successor , Lovie Smith , the former Chicago Bears’ head coach and a disciple of the Tony Dungy coaching philosophy may well be seen as the right candidate for the position , but unless the Buccaneers show the actual wherewithal to hire a knowledgeable front office executive. Then the franchise is likely to witness more of the same incompetency that has been witnessed in the last five years , without any major strides, having been made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mike Glennon might be viewed as a more than apt successor to Josh Freeman in the quarterback position ,but in all honesty the franchise has not had a player of note in that particular position in well over a decade and that includes their Superbowl winning quarterback, Brad Johnson . You may well disagree with my summation in that context , but please do go ahead and proceed to change my mind on the matter !

The travails of the NBA season and there still remains the banality of a league , where a highlight reel of a slam dunk, simply, is now meant to dictate the actual prowess and the game now being witnessed in the league. Far be it for me to suggest, but if things get any worse in the Eastern Conference , then the division leaders , should be handed their divisional titles by default , because the fans should not have to bear witness to such ineptitude ! Hell, at times, I would rather watch paint dry , than having to witness a game in the NBA , when teams have wish to play defense and where the talent that is said to be on show, is the best that this league is said to have on offer . There remains but a handful of truly gifted and talented players currently in the NBA, and the rest are simply playing a game that no one actually wants to see and where the coaching has truly become downright awful.

The Golden State Warriors may well be the “hottest team” in the NBA ,while currently on an eight-game winning streak . Yet , don’t be fooled into thinking that as they now stand , they ought to be seen as a legitimate candidate for the NBA title . While, head coach, Mark Jackson and his coaching staff have begun to instill a great deal of resilience into a team led by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson , David Lee and Harrison Barnes leading the roster in scoring . Golden State’s sixteen-point destruction of the Washington Wizards , shows the team’s offensive prowess , and also the weakness of the Eastern Conference as a whole. The less I see of the conference , with the exception of the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers , the more comfortable I am likely to feel about the league in general , as it now stands !

In general, if someone is going to opine on a subject , it does pay to at least use some facts to bear out your case . Nothing can be more asinine at present than to merely suggest that the issues that currently encompass both the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks , simply comes down to the fact that they would rather spend money on their teams. In reality, it comes down to a litany of issues, that both franchises have failed to address in recent years. Coaches that are simply not good enough , owners who have no damn idea what it actually takes to place a competitive product on the field of play and finally a front office made up of general managers , whose acumen, is simply minute and where their knowledge can be debunked. To top it all, you have the undoubted stupidity of the respective fans in question for both franchises , whose ideas can simply be summed up by stating that , apathy is now acceptable , when it comes to professional sports within the state of New York and the surrounding areas , where the majority of the fans are domiciled. Need we be reminded of by the ineptitude shown by the Buffalo Bills , New York Giants and New York Jets this past season without having to look at both the pitiful Knicks and Nets ?

The Warriors will be on the road on Tuesday evening, when they are the guests of the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee Wisconsin , in a game that could push the team’s franchise’s record streak and further enhancing their reputation. While I believe the Golden State Warriors to be a competent team, there remains doubts as to whether or not they are good enough to take on the might of the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trailblazers . All teams I believe to be better than the Warriors not just on merit , by way of their respective records , but also because of each of the teams in question are better balanced, with coaches who show a great deal more awareness as to the nuances changing tendencies with a game . Mark Jackson , has been able to instill confidence into his roster and given them the wherewithal to play the game with abandonment , but the Warriors’ reliance on three-point shooting is likely to be their Achilles’ Heel when adversity stares them in the face. . If the Golden State Warriors are to prove themselves as legitimate candidates within the Western Conference , then theirs will be a task, where they will have to prove themselves a competent unit defensively , when facing a far more experienced adversary within the conference.

Times are changing and with the recent move by the Orlando Magic to waive Hedo Turkoglu and move ahead with a young roster . Head coach Jacque Vaughn with his coaching staff are seeking to resurrect the fortunes of a franchise that has been languid and without direction for a number of years, even with the drama that surrounded the departure of Dwight Howard , from the franchise to then join the Los Angeles Lakers , where Howard’s stay was less than satisfactory to say the very least.

. Turkoglu , a long-time mainstay of the franchise and someone who was viewed as the elder statesman on the team and perhaps a leader for several of the younger players on the roster , has seen his minutes decline , as well as his productivity . GM Rob Hennigan and Jacque Vaughn came to the decision to waive the seasoned veteran , without their being a great deal of controversy arising out of the move . In all likelihood Turkoglu will find a place with another franchise within the league seeking a veteran presence or simply to add to the productivity of a team looking for a streaky player .

At 10-24 , the Orlando Magic are firmly rooted at the bottom of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference . They are 4 ½ games behind their divisional rivals the Charlotte Bobcats (15-20) and a distant sixteen games behind the division’s leaders , defending NBA champions the Miami Heat (26-8) . A four-game losing streak has pretty much summed up the Orlando Magic’s season , which has literally been filled with inconsistency , with the sole bright spot coming with the play of Victor Oladipo , the franchise’s rookie taken in the 2013 NBA Draft . . In that draft, Oladipo was joined by Romero Osby , who at some point in the season is likely to see some playing time should the front office believe it necessary to simply start now looking towards the franchise’s long-time future.

Orlando last night, as guests of the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California, were simply no match for their Western Conference opponents . To put this contest more succinctly , were the Magic spotted a twenty-point lead , they would have still found a way to lose the contest , while looking abysmal in every aspect of their game. Such have been the woes for Jacque Vaughn this season , that it is my belief that team President Alex Martins and Rob Hennigan are likely to consider a coaching change by the midpoint of the season , or allow the beleaguered head coach fulfill the year in terms of his contract. Vaughn’s hire, was nonsensical to begin with, his having very little coaching experience and merely a bystander, on a staff where he may well have been no better than a janitor. Yet, this has simply been the utter stupidity shown by the Magic hierarchy and that has been continually exhibited by owner Rich de Vos .

The Orlando Magic, is being ran by a bunch of simpletons, who have proven that alongside the political environment within the city, just about any type of stupidity can take place. Wherein, a political savant, such as Mayor Buddy Dyer thought it prudent to spend tens of millions of dollars on a needless venue the Amway Center , merely because he felt it was in that city’s best interests to have a new stadium built for the NBA franchise , when there were far more urgent needs within the city of Orlando . Though, the Orlando Magic are now domiciled in one of the NBA’s most expansive and expensive arenas , one should consider the fact that, the NBA franchise over this past season and now in 2013 , have rarely played in-front of a sold-out crowd.

As the NBA season meanders through its eighty-two game schedule , it will be interesting to see which teams rise to the challenge not only within the ,divisions, but also the Eastern and Western Conference , and how the determination of the playoff berths will be met , as the teams in question, make themselves ready for what is likely to be a grueling postseason.

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Picture gallery .

Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this article and anything else you believe to be relevant to the topic in general .

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Nick Foles (9) celebrates as LeSean McCoy (25) of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a 1 yard touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 4, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Al Bello …

(2) Nick Foles (9) of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with head coach Chip Kelly and teammate Michael Vick (7) on the sidelines against the New Orleans Saints during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 4, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(3) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the NFL Wild Card Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images /Andy Lyons ….

(4) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter after recovering a fumble against the Kansas City Chiefs during a Wild Card Playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images /Rob Carr ….

(5) Former Buccaneers’ head coach Greg Schiano and the team’s general manager Mark Dominik are seen here having a discussion . Both individuals t were relieved of their duties this off-season after a disastrous season within the NFL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished with a 4-12 record within the NFC South , barely beating out the Atlanta Falcons for the worst record within the division as well as one of the worst in the NFC and the entire NFL . Former Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith has been hired to succeed Schiano , but a general manager has yet to be hired to replace Dominik , who bore a great deal of the responsibility for the franchise’s failures during his five-year tenure with some rather lackluster and uninspiring draft picks , especially during 2011, 2012 and 2013. AP Photo Marcus Hendricks ….

(6) Golden State Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson is seen here with Steph Curry as they discus a play during a game this season . Curry , Jackson and the Warriors’ organization are seeking to make even greater strides this season , which saw the franchise make the postseason in 2012 , before bowing out to the San Antonio in the Western Conference semi-finals with a 4-2 series’ loss. Currently lying in second place in the Pacific Division a 1/2 game behind division leaders the Los Angeles Clippers (24-13) the Warriors are hoping overtake their instate rivals atop of the division and further enhance their position within the conference and a guarantee themselves a playoff berth. The team is on pace for a 53-29 record , if they are able to maintain their current pace and their next scheduled start will be a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center . AP Photo / Matthew Hall …..

(7) Steph Curry. left is seen here alongside teammate Klay Thompson, during a game . The duo, are the leading scorers on the Warriors’ roster this season and are also one of the top offensive combos in the Western Conference and one of the primary reasons why many believe them a legitimate contender within the West this season . AP Photo / Mark Clarke …..
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Chicken soup but not necessarily for the soul.

Rub a dub-dub , two breasts in a tub .

I’m sorry , but Dwyane Wade couldn’t get an erection., because Gabrielle Union (actress ,picturedabove) wasn’t desirable or had no desire to ” rock the mic” ? LOL,LOL,LOL, !!!

A year in review , part two

A year in review , part two

Less is not necessarily more and that is something , the fans found out as the Alabama Crimson Tide’s season came to an abrupt halt with the team’s inexplicable loss to Auburn (Tigers) , when Nick Saban and this team were seen as prohibitive favorites to repeat as a national champions in College Football . Yet, more than anything else , it was the arrogance of the head coach and his coaching staff that led to Alabama’s own undoing in that highly competitive and touted contest . Far be it for me to suggest , but when you show that type of arrogance during such an important game , your fate can only be dealt with and brought to such a fateful way as many witnessed on that day . Nothing more, nothing less , will suffice at this juncture , the Tide now playing in many respects , a totally meaningless Bowl Game . Anyone who believes that the culmination of Alabama’s season can still be looked upon as a resounding success , has to be viewed as someone who is actually delusional and without an ounce of intelligence.

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Auburn’s victory in the Iron Bowl , now has the team and program playing for their second national title in the past four seasons , where they will face Jimbo Fisher and the number one ranked team in the nation , the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS national title game . . Fisher’s opposing number, Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff will be fully aware that going into this contest as a slight underdog should not be seen, as an actual detriment for the Tigers . If anything , it will be the Seminoles, who as favorites , will have far more to prove , given the way that they have simply steamrolled over the vast majority of their opponents over the course of the their season .

For Florida State’s Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, after his spectacular season on the field . It will be interesting to see whether or not the player can live up the hype and pressure placed upon his young shoulders over the course of the year . This much is certain , next season with his eligibility a foregone conclusion, the quarterback will simply be playing to exhibit his skills and showing his maturity level for any potential suitor seeking a player of his caliber and skill-set.

College Football , but in particular the BCS, now needs to go out on a roll , as a precursor to the new format , that will be put in place for the 2014 season . From my own perspective, no matter whether or not, it is a committee made up of experts, deciding on a formula of sorts, for a playoff system , as long as large sums of monies are exchanging hands , simply to facilitate a pretext to determine a national champion , with purists juxtaposing a premise, that this newly revised format will be the best way to determine a national champion. It is merely a pretext to deny the obvious, money, more than the spirit of competition, will always be a deciding factor .

For those players, who will undoubtedly seek to declare their eligibility for the 2014 NFL Draft , with the hope of undoubted financial and professional rewards. The rich pickings, that they may well envisage, are not necessarily as great, as they believe it to be. Being drafted in the first round and amongst the top-ten or fifteen draft picks , at times can bring about the highest financial rewards. Yet, that, in of-itself is no actual guarantee of success and for many , toiling for a team that has drafted you in the mid to lower first or third round , can prove to be far more rewarding than being drafted as the first or second pick or third pick overall , for a franchise at least two or three years away from being viewed as a legitimate contender within the NFL . Let the speculation begin, as to which player will be taken as the number one pick , as that privilege and the status it holds can so quickly be forgotten, if the individual in question is unable to show his ability within their first two seasons in the NFL . With the sums of money now vested in player of that status , it easy to understand why teams are sometimes unwilling to make that type of outlay , often associated with a player taken that high in the NFL Draft.

The Louisville Cardinals , coached by Rick Pitino came away with last season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball title and along with it, the esteemed coach added to his already list of illustrious achievements . With that also came the departure of several players from that championship winning roster , who having declared their eligibility , made their way to the NBA Draft , where they were picked up by the franchises in question , searching for fresh college talent . For Louisville , Peyton Siva and Gorgui Deng were the players taken in this Draft, now looking to make their amongst the professional ranks .

As the NCAA season has progressed the standings have remained the same , with the Arizona Wildcats and Syracuse (Orangemen) seated atop of the polls respectively, ranked numbers one and two. . From Kevin Durant in 2007, as the AP Player of the Year and Naismith Award Winner to last season’s claimant Trey Burke , everything has evolved around seeking out the next major star , taking his talent to the professional ranks of the NBA. Perhaps, if league itself, were not in such a dire situation , where the play within the Eastern Conference in particular , has bordered on being completely inept , even with the recent struggles of the reigning NBA champions the Miami Heat struggling as of late.

David Stern points to the fact that the brand and product has become a global phenomenon far outpacing the popularity of Major League Baseball and the NFL , combined. Thankfully, however, the commissioner and the fellow members of the league hierarchy , have yet, sought to expand beyond the North American continent by way of adding an international franchise. If only Stern could expound upon that premise and advise his NFL counterpart , Roger Goodell , that it would be futile and simple idiocy to believe that the NFL can be a resounding success in Europe, by way of adding in a franchise and then having to compete against the soccer leagues in the UK , as well those of Western Europe. It was enough that Goodell and his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue, simply learned nothing by the tens of millions in losses accumulated with the experiment of NFL Europe . One hundred and sixty million dollars ($160 million) later and it would appear that the NFL hierarchy , very much like the administration of Barack Obama , simply believes that by burning through vast piles of money, is another way of trying to solve an issue, without having first done a complete and thorough investigation of that issue and then seeking how to solve that problem.

The NBA for its part burns through money, by offering exorbitant contracts to players who in some instances are simply not worth the value of the deal signed . And purportedly, general managers and NBA team owners are said to be astute businessmen? I guess, that, James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov can make the case , that stupid is as stupid does ? Consider the fact that the respective franchises, owned by both individuals , the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are currently struggling, languishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and at the bottom of the Atlantic Division . Meanwhile, the bloated payrolls of both teams , the Knicks and Nets , are simply another reason why the NBA has completely lost touch with reality. The NBA marches to the beat of its very own drum and drum beat without noticing the ever-present danger and self-inflicted wounds to its own image.

There have been plaudits, behind three players this season within the Collegiate Level of the NCAA , that are thought to be stars of the future within the NBA. Andrew Wiggins of the Kansas Jayhawks , Jabari Parker of Duke (Blue Devils) and Antoine Mason of Niagara , who play within the Metro American Atlantic Conference (MAAC) . A conference not necessarily renowned for what one would be deemed great college basketball. Yet, as the game has evolved, so too have the programs who now find themselves with players who were overlooked by the more illustrious schools within the NCAA basketball hierarchy. Whether or not Mason’s game can easily acclimatized to the rigors of the NBA is solely dependent upon his productivity over the course of this season , and the success of Niagara , how their stature is raised and the publicity garnered by their young star.

For Andrew Wiggins , having Bill Self as his coach , will avail the young freshman one of the best tutors in College Basketball , in aiding him hone his game . While there seems to be the consensus that he is likely to be the number one overall pick for the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft . It is my belief, that the player, will undoubtedly be drafted in the first round and likely be a top-five pick. However, there still remain questions, concerning his all-round game and willingness to come to the aid of teammates when adversity stares the team directly in the face. Coming off a recent victory over Toledo , the Jayhawks’ next opponent will be San Diego State of the Mountain West Conference on Sunday, 5th January , 2014. It will be interesting to see whether or not the team can push their record to 10-3 and rise up the rankings.

While, I believe Jabari Parker to be a better player than Andrew Wiggins! Being the best, does not always equate to being great in the NBA , and what is said to be desired by a general manager looking to improve a team’s roster. Parker, under the tutelage of Blue Devils’ coach , the renowned Mike Krzyzewski , will garner a great deal of attention , simply because of the stature of the Duke program and its history under Krzyzewski. Duke as a resident within the ACC and perhaps the most “celebrated program ” within the conference , will this season be undoubtedly tested as they seek to improve on last season’s showing within the ACC as well as the NCAA Tournament . A lopsided thirty-eight point victory over Elon , may well not signify a great deal about Duke , because as usual , it tends to be their conference schedule and games against the more noted programs , that dictates how much of a credible contender that the team is likely to be over the course of the season .

Parker throughout much of this season has proven his worth for Duke in a number of games , showing a great deal of maturity and leadership for someone so young. Clearly, while many are in agreement with the NBA’s ruling, concerning the eligibility of players declaring for the NBA Draft. While, there are supporters of the current edict, a number of detractors have also begun to voice their concerns of the league’s denial of a players’ right to earn a living. However, with so many declarer’s each season making the jump to the professional ranks, all but a handful, are actually looked upon as entering the NBA and capable of playing at a high level .

The NBA and the NCAA will at some point, have to revisit the issue of player eligibility and seek to find a solution that is equitable for all of the parties concerned. David Stern’s biggest concern on this issue has to be the quality of the players making the jump. Within Collegiate Athletics, NCAA President Mark Emmert has to be seen as credible , when consulting with coaches and administrators , in gauging their views on the matter. The coaches, ultimately know, whether or not players that they have recruited for a program are likely to make one or four-year commitment to that school and its athletic endeavors.

Duke for their part will begin 2014 foray, with a game , on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to South Bend, Indiana, to take on Notre Dame . The contest should prove to be a very interesting contrast of styles and coaching , with the Fighting Irish’s coaching staff being led by Mike Brey and his coaching assistants.

Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals , would like nothing better than to make a successful defense of their title . That premise , easier said than done, but with only Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators , having achieved that feat in the past decade , It is extremely difficult to see Pitino and his coaching staff being able to guide the team on not only an arduous season , but then into a series of games , where everything is said to be on the line. The Cardinals’ lopsided victory over the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando , Florida, now sets them up, for what may well prove to a tough contest against Rutgers , in Piscataway , New Jersey this weekend. Both programs, will certainly be looking to give it their all, while entertaining the fans in attendance the Louis Brown Athletics Center , in Piscataway ,. From there, as the season meanders for Rick Pitino and the program, we can but merely speculate on what is likely to happen .

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Picture gallery .

What if anything to your mind, were the biggest surprises of this past season within both College Basketball and that of the Football season also ? And in the BCS championship game , do you believe that Florida State will be able to subdue a very tough adversary , in the Auburn Tigers ? Leave a comment , as you see fit on this and anything you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide is surrounded after their 28- 34 loss to the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin C Cox …

(2) Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers and head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shake hands prior to their game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama. . Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ….

(3) Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher is seen here with the team’s quarterback and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston . Unbeaten all season , the lone quest remaining on their schedule is an upcoming national championship title game against Auburn on the 6th January , 2014 in AP Photo / Curtis James ….

(4) Dwayne Allen of the Indianapolis Colts , who was taken in the third round by the team in the 2012 NFL Draft and has proven to be effective for the Colts this season , as they have garnered their second consecutive playoff berth since the arrival of quarterback , Andrew Luck , who was the pick taken overall in that year’s NFL Draft. AP Photo/ Mark Woods …

(5) Rick Pitino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team during the against the Missouri State Bears at KFC YUM! Center on December 17, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(6) Some time adversaries , but for the most part the best of friends , coaches , Bill Self of Kansas (Jayhawks ) shaking hands with Mike Krzyzewski , right, coach of the Duke Blue Devils . Both of these well-respected programs are currently ranked in the top twenty-five in the nation of the NCAA Rankings . Courtesy of ESPN ….

Three highly touted recruits and like to be lottery first round draft picks in 2014 , in the NBA Draft . From left to right Jabari Parker , Andrew Wiggins and James Young of the Kentucky ( Wildcats) . AP Photo / George Parsons …..

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tophatal ….

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Related article : A year in review , I think not

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NCAA Football and the postseason

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NCAA Men’s Basketball and the NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA results 31st December 2013 and schedule 1st January 2014

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

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A couple of well-developed assets , I believe !

No question , she wants to ‘party’ .