The fine art of incompetency and how it has found its way into the world of professional team sports, while ambivalent sports’ fans make light of it all … …
In the aftermath of the Thanksgiving Day trilogy of NFL games played on Thursday afternoon and evening. It cannot have escaped the the view of the fans how incompetent the losing teams were said to be. A sign of the times might one think or purely endemic of a league where the talent level and coaching seems to have been on the decline? This season the NFL has seen its fair share of issues on the filed and also off it, with player misconduct taking place center-stage , with the league hierarchy not showing a great deal of intelligence in such matters without the diatribe and downright pomposity of the NFLPA (Players’ Union) being on show for all to witness. Roger Goodell’s lack of communicative skills and lack of candor supports the thought process he remains in over his head. The same can also be said of the franchise owners around the league and their lack of action in dealing with such matters.
Game one of the trilogy offered up on Thanksgiving Day might have lead us to believe the fans would be in for a treat , but even having ate way too much turkey , with the Tryptophan yet to take effect, it has to be said the level of play from defeated teams would have led the fans to become sick, suffering with gastrointestinal problems and in some cases, loose stool, leading to bouts of diarrhea. Hell, the shit was piled so high by Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler , you could have smelled the odor emanating from Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan , as the Detroit Lions and Matt Stafford feasted upon a Bears’ defense lacking in creativity and real competitive zeal. Detroit came away with a rather lopsided victory where the NFL North divisional opponents succumbed with the utmost of ease .
If ever there was time, to be convinced Jay Cutler never had what it took to lead a team with any degree of success, Cutlers’ performance in this game was a clear indication of that fact. The loss dropped the Chicago Bears’ record to 8-4 a mark shared with the Dallas Cowboys (8-4) within the NFC . With only three games left for the teams to jockey themselves within their divisions and conference as they make a push for a berth in the postseason. Chicago’s position now becomes all the more precarious precarious within the division, the conference and their only hope remains, in winning out their remaining games and a wish to see their fellow conference rivals slip up along the way.
Tony Romo’s playoff record has been well-chronicled, ridiculed and debated. Yet , for all of the missteps by the quarterback, his regular season record though impressive, his unwillingness to lead with authority , never-mind the fact he continues to apportion blame elsewhere for his team’s woes and his own incompetence, clearly seen also in the Cowboys’ lopsided loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, who were led by the team’s backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, having one of his performances as a starter over the past two seasons.
Mark Sanchez not only outplayed the more experienced Tony Romo, with any memories of the infamous “butt-fumble” now being pushed back into the past. Nick Foles now sidelined by injury might not be pushed back too quickly into his starting role. Head Chip Kelly will certainly have to think long and hard before coming to a decision about whether or not to reinsert Foles into the lineup , especially with the team’s backup performing so well. As to what this loss meant to the Dallas Cowboys and the fact , it was all the more bitter , the defeat took place at home inside the cavernous Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington, Texas,. Jerry Jones might not be seething over the defeat of his beloved Cowboys, but you can bet the organization and their fans have to be embarrassed after such a demoralizing and disastrous display.
If you tend to flirt with disaster one way or another it is likely to come back and bite you in the ass . Over the course of this season the San Francisco 49ers (7-5) and the Seattle Seahawks have courted and flirted with the remnants of that premise far too often the course of this year. These two teams met on Thursday in the late evening game and there was a great deal on the line within the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals now seem to be running away with the divisional lead needing only a victory in Sunday’s game to guarantee themselves a postseason berth. I have no doubt in my mind the Cardinals will come away with an easy road victory over the Atlanta Falcons whose season has not only spiraled out of spiraled of control, but it is now mired in the depths of mediocrity.
Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson have been part of some epic battles during the regular and the postseason . These two young quarterbacks are thought to be among the future of the NFL and two of the young passers to have been drafted over the past three years. Both have been part of the postseason foray and it has been Wilson , who prevailed , as he led the Seattle Seahawks to their lone Superbowl victory in the franchise’s history. Since that success, Russell Wilson has been a model of consistency for Seattle. Kaepernick, while having considerable postseason success, the big win sought, has not come into being.
Seattle’s decisive 19-3 demolition of the San Francisco 49ers was a case in how to negate a team’s offense which has spluttered through this season. The Forty-Niners will now have to win out, if they are to secure a berth in the postseason and even a double-digit win tally of ten wins might now seem improbable, given their performances over their last five games , going 3-2 , which now places them third within their division and the likelihood of scrambling to obtain a berth in the postseason. Not exactly the way GM Trent Baalke, CEO Jed Yorke or Jim Harbaugh and the members of the front office had envisaged seeing the season actually pan out. Thankfully, perhaps the knowledge of knowing their next scheduled game will be against the like-minded and offensively challenged Oakland Raiders (1-10) will offer a reprieve for San Francisco when they meet their opponent on the road in week fourteen. Failure to win there and the team might as well call it quits on their season.
Putting your best foot forward has taken on new meaning in the NFL this season especially within the NFC South. It seems almost unfathomable the winner of the division could end up with as few as seven wins and still make the postseason at the expense of a team within the NFC with a better record. Personally, I would rather not go in depth and describe the seasons of the Atlanta Falcons (4-7), New Orleans Saints (4-7) , Carolina Panthers(3-7) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9), other than to suggest what you see is exactly what you ought to get . All four teams within the division have given a new meaning to the words, “banality”,” ineptitude” and sheer ” mediocrity “ this season . Unfortunately, with the top three teams still in with a chance of winning the division , the fans of the NFL will still have to witness their ongoing performances over the remainder of the regular season schedule. This is what has been endemic about the NFC South all season long, with their being few positives to point out whatsoever.
No one can deny the league’s handling of the Ray Rice “affair” has been an act of sheer stupidity on the part of Roger Goodell, the league hierarchy and in particular on the part of the Baltimore Ravens’ organization . Team owner Steve Bisciotti’s explanation as to why he and the front office failed to act has been met with a great deal of skepticism and the fact that Goodell’s office have stumbled their way through this whole spectacle with repeated pratfalls , while being economical with the truth leads me to believe another misstep by the NFL over another ordeal of this nature and the same steps will almost certainly be repeated. At no time was there any transparency shown by the league , other than during this arbitration case where the arbitrator a former Federal Court judge Barbara Jones found in favor of Rice with the disgraced Ravens’ running back now given a reprieve and being reinstated back into the NFL. As to whether or not another NFL franchise will re-sign Ray Rice will be dependent upon their needs and if they are willing to be subjected to the likely backlash by a number of women’s groups. Now some might point to the fact Michael Vick was allowed back into the league having paid his debt to society after his wrongdoings. Those said to be deserving of a second chance are given that reprieve and a chance to make amends . Rice may well have been contrite after his heinous actions , but his then fiance , Jenay Parker-Rice did little to serve the best interests of women with her statements her husband had been made a scapegoat by the NFL and society in general.
The NFL has failed miserably in their efforts to deal with a number of social ills and the issue of player misconduct, the incompetence of the union and in large part a great of apathy and ambivalence shown by the fans and how they have viewed the issue of domestic violence and spousal abuse.
An old adage …. ” the more things change the more they are said to remain the same” . Quite clearly, this season within the NBA the Philadelphia 76ers (0-15) are well on the way to proving that very point. There is nothing noble or gallant in seeing a professional sports’ franchise display this type of ineptitude while fans try to shrug it off as being part of the game. This very same franchise spent much of last season performing so deplorably , it all seemed lost on the NBA hierarchy as they sang and heaped praise on their departing commissioner David Stern . Proponents of the former commissioner continue to point to how he assisted with the growth of the NBA. I will put it more succinctly, when you can ride on the coattails of the NBA’s greatest player and perhaps one of the greatest sports’ personalities and professional athletes this country has ever produced. Only an imbecile could have failed in not being able to expand the reach of the NBA domestically and globally, while witnessing and using the exploits of Michael Jordan to market their brand.
Stern’s successor Adam Silver is now having preside over the 76ers as this team for the second successive season seeks end their schedule with the worst record in the NBA. The best and the worst have been on show in league over the course of its schedule at this point and it is pretty much a safe bet, no one expected to see the Memphis Grizzlies (14-2) and Toronto Raptors (13-3) possess the two best records in the league , with the Grizzlies leading a very competitive Western Conference.
Brett Brown and his Sixers’ coaching staff have a long way to go before they match the infamy of having worst regular season losing streak(twenty-six games) , but they are making damn sure of taking aim of matching that ignominious feat. Fifteen games and counting with each loss to start this season, has been by an average margin of 15.5 points. That sort of ineptitude is either ingrained or by taught by Brown and his coaching staff to the roster of players. I will use the term ” players ” loosely, because there has been absolutely nothing to suggest that this group can actually play the game of professional basketball competitively .
Next up for Philadelphia will be a game against the Dallas Mavericks (12-5) at the Wells Fargo Center , in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ,. Sixers’ owner Josh Harris and his fellow executives have shown little propensity in changing the mindset of the organization in spite of claims to the contrary by others within the game. Little has been done by this league to even remote chastise owners who merely seek to make a profit from their franchise while producing a bad product on the court. The NBA has become indicative of that over the years and nothing is likely to be done by Adam Silver or the league hierarchy. If left to idiots to such as Mark Cuban to sell the current brand of the NBA as a solid product , the self-absorbed and publicity seeking entrepreneur would have us eat his crow, while telling us what a great Hors-d’ouevre and appetizer the entree and main course just happen to be.
Sixers’ roster led by the mercurial talents of Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid , Drew Gordon , Luc Mbah a Moute and Tony Wroten are hardly names meant to instill e fear in any opponent , never mind the coaching staff lacking a great deal of experience . Yet somehow , there are fans who believe the team being a work in progress, will become competitive in years to come. This lineup is unlikely to be the same a year from now, much less at the trade deadline this season (19th February). GM Sam Hinkie will likely to strip away pieces from the roster under the pretext once again that he is building for the future . Attendance levels at the Wells Fargo Center are lower now than they were last season when the Sixers were not even remotely competitive. The same can now be said of this season as they continue struggle in the NBA.
Phil Jackson since returning to the New York Knicks (4-13) has seen the team struggle this season. The expectations were said to be high , but it is hard to envisage how a roster team devoid of talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony could be seen as a worthy challenger to the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors within the Eastern Conference this season . Derek Fisher is still learning on the job in his freshman year as a head coach and it does not instill any confidence, if you are an observer , watching this team from afar.
Fisher’s career as a player is littered with success, but so far in his first coaching stint , he is beginning to see how tough this job is going to be. Coaching many of today’s top stars in the NBA is not unlike dealing with a petulant child. The Knicks’ head coach will likely find this out while also having to deal with Phil Jackson in his position as Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise. The “buck stops here” , but in the case with this particular franchise, it will be deferred and failure by the team this season, will likely lead to Fisher’s firing. New York is not at all forgiving when their professional sports’ franchises are failing and when the finger-pointing begins and it tends to be the head coach taking the fall as the ” fall guy “, when the players themselves are in fact the real reason behind the team’s failure.
In their most recent game on the 28th November the New York Knicks were on the wrong side of a lopsided twenty-seven point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder . . Returning to the Thunder lineup was the team’s point guard Russell Westrbook , but the Thunder’s best player and League MVP , guard , Kevin Durant is still several weeks away from returning the starting lineup. Westbrook led all scorers in their defeat of the New York Knicks, where the leading scorer for the Knicks’ loss was Amare’ Stoudemire in the absence of the injured Carmelo Anthony.
Any thought that Jackson would have Derek Fisher install the “Triangle Offense” and have it, up and running with a great deal of efficiency has been lost in terms of the Knicks’ play this season. This team , as with last season has yet to show any signs of being a great defensive unit. The Knicks’ strengths will continue to be their offense, especially with Carmelo Anthony on court to display his offensive arsenal .
The New York Knicks and Miami Heat will renew one of the NBA’s most heated rivalries . Dwyane Wade and Chis Bosh are the lone survivors of the franchise’s former ” Big Three” , with the departure of LeBron James and his return to the Cavaliers. New York will play host to Wade and his teammates at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York. The contest will one of the highlights of Sunday’s schedule. Regular and postseason games between these two storied franchises have in many respects represented the animosity which still exists between the two Eastern Conference teams. For Dwyane Wade this will also offer him another opportunity of going up against Carmelo Anthony in another contest, where the two will seek to show off their vast array of offensive skills.
As the NBA is about to enter the third month of the season, it is hard to envisage how a number of these teams with poor records will actually survive while playing a less than competitive brand of basketball .
It would be fair to suggest the MLB postseason provided the fans with an astonishing array of events. The Kansas City Royals and their improbable run to the World Series gave us great drama and theatrics. Now in the aftermath of the series the Royals are now build on that success. Unfortunately, it now appears one of the team’s regular and postseason heroes will not be returning to the ball-club. Billy Butler was traded by the Royals to the Oakland A’s . In what has to be a strange turn of events the team Kansas defeated in the AL wildcard game would be the recipient of Butler’s services with the player garnering a three-year $30 million contract . As to what this now indicates about the AL Pennantwinners and their apparent wish to be seen as long-term contenders for the World Series has now taken a backwards’ step in my opinion ! For years the front office of this organization has systematically traded away players, rather than pay what was deemed to be fair market value .
Now in light of their recent success, it would appear team owner David Glass and GM Dayton Moore seem to be intent on reverting back to ways of old. An almost three-decade wait for a postseason appearance and now this ? It may not be viewed as a slap in the face of the Royals’ fans, but now trading players away, because you haven’t the financial resources to retain some of your stars on your roster does seem crass and impudent.
Billy Butler is unlikely to be the last player to be let go by the Kansas City Royals during the off-season and as admirable their season was said to be, all of that will now be forgotten, as the team prepares for their Spring Training Schedule schedule and then unto the regular season. Their regular season schedule will begin with a two-game series against the Houston Astros , an AL franchise still looking for some semblance of consistency and success since Jim Crane assumed control of the Astros .
With the NFL season now entering its final quarter what do you believe has been the biggest disappointment by way of the players or teams ? Meanwhile, in the NBA do you think the league hierarchy will make an attempt to improve the level of play by possibly making rule changes ? Finally, after the unbelievable postseason by the Kansas City Royals do you believe they are capable of keeping the momentum going and competitive in 2015? Your comments are always more than welcome, so by all means chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.
Picture and slideshow details below.
(1) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions signals to his team in the fourth quarter while playing the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images North America / Gegory Shamus …
(3) Ezekiel Ansah(94) of the Detroit Lions sacks Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Lions won 34-17 . Getty Images /Gregory Shamus …
(4) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys is hit by Brandon Graham (55) of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half at AT&T Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images Tom Pennington ….
(5) Quarterback Tony Romo(9) of the Dallas Cowboys talks with quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) of the Philadelphia Eagles after the Eagles beat the Cowboys 33-10 at AT&T Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images /Tom Pennington …
(6) Richard Sherman (25) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates an interception in the fourth quarter on a ball intended for Steve Johnson (13) of the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. . Getty Images / Thearon Henderson …
(7) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers is seen here with his NFC West counterpart and fellow quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks . These two young stars of the NFL have been very prodigious since entering the NFL. The duels between the two , have proven to be very exhilarating for the players, the fans and their respective teams. AP Photo / Matt Hammond …
(8) Former Baltimore Ravens’ running back Rice is seen here leaving the arbitration hearing on the 5th November in New York City , New York , along with his wife Jenay Parker-Rice . The player has been reinstated , after former Federal Court Judge Barbara Jones found that Rice had not lied in his statements to the NFL league hierarchy , who claim Rice’s statements were misleading not totally honest . The player who now is an unrestricted free agent can only wait for a team to now offer him a roster spot and possible contract . Yet it seems unlikely for the present given the adverse publicity his case has received and the gravity of the original incident of domestic violence. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s position seems all the more tenuous not only by this outcome but by the league’s failure to act with transparency and in a timely manner . AP Photo / Paul Monroe …
(9) From left to right , Philadelphia 76ers’ players Michael Carter-Williams , Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel . The team is off to horrendous start to the season , with a sixteen-game losing streak and with their being no apparent sight as to where the Sixers’ first win of the season is liable to come from. Losing by an average margin of almost 16 points per game , from a defensive standpoint Philadelphia is simply devoid of talent in various aspects of their game. AP Photo /Emily Carpenter ..
(10) Kansas City Royals’ Mike Moustakas (8) is congratulated by teammate Billy Butler (16) after hitting a two-run home run off Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco during the sixth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, April 18, 2014. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner …
(11) Owner Jim Crane (center) of the Houston Astros talks with former owner Drayton McLane Jr (left) and owner David Glass of Kansas City Royals before a game between the Astros and Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 7, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Ed Zurga ….
Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com
NFL articles within this site .
NBA articles within Tophatal’s Blog