If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

The NBA season is now in full swing with the often less than memorable Christmas week schedule of games either being of great interest or simply an eyesore . Ongoing stories have evolved around the worsening crisis befalling the New York Knicks (5-28) and the fact this Derek Fisher coached team simply cannot win anywhere , be it on the road or at home. Truth be told , the Knicks simply suck and they are sucking the life-blood out of their season and the league in general. It is a stunning fact one of the NBA’s most renowned franchises is stuck in a morass of its own making. The “quick fix” many felt Phil Jackson might be able to effect has not been a resounding success for a team simply bereftof talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony whose decision to re-sign with the team must now come into question , bearing in mind he signed a max-contract with the understanding Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations would seek to improve the roster.

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Slideshow .

Essentially, the Knicks’ front office executive has simply shown what I believe to be true and it is the fact, he simply has no idea how to assess talent and is simply a great motivator and coach, when the right pieces are in place. How else can you explain the success of the eleven titles won during his now legendary coaching reign , with players such as Scottie Pippen , Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the centerpieces of those championship winning teams ?

New York’s last victory came by way of a win over the Boston Celtics on the 12th December, 2014, whom they beat 101-95 at the TD Banknorth Gardens Center in Boston , Massachusetts, in a game marred by some sloppy play from both teams . Eight successive defeats has a way of indicating the lack of confidence shown by a team , but more indicative, has been the lack of leadership from any of the players, along with Fisher’s coaching staff , led by lead assistant Kurt Rambis. Add to this, the idiocy of some suggesting the assistants are experienced enough to provide Derek Fisher, a rookie head coach in his first season,with the experience needed to bring about some semblance of competitiveness. Well that premise, can be quickly put to rest , along with the belief Fisher’s learning on the job will in the end lead to success. During this run , it has been Carmelo Anthony leading the charge from an offensive standpoint. The Knicks’ continued woes are tied to the fact, they simply do not know how to know how to defend, nor are the players inclined to add the facet to their game.

Alongside Carmelo Anthony on this lightly restructured roster are Amare Stoudemire , Pablo Prigioni , Cole Aldrich , Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon , Samuel Dalembert , Cleanthony Early , Iman Shumpert and JR Smith . Suffice to say, if the rumors circulating are to be believed, with Phil Jackson having asked Carmelo Anthony to consider waiving his no-trade clause, it would suggest the Knicks are quite willing to bail on their season , while looking to build for the future. If that premise were to actually take flight , then it is clear the organization have suddenly come to the realization the team is simply not good enough to compete at the highest levels , much less gain a playoff berth for the NBA’s annual end of the regular season foray.

The New York Knicks’ next scheduled contest will be a road gameon the 31st December , 2014 when they face the Los Angeles Clippers (21-11) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in what will be the last of the regular season scheduled games of 2014.

It was the move meant to send “shock waves “ across the NBA landscape, but instead LeBron James’ return to Cleveland and the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-12) as the ” Prodigal Son” has fallen well short of expectations . James and the Cavaliers are merely three games above.500, although they sit comfortably, as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and four games behind the division leading Chicago Bulls (22-9) within the Central Division. Yet , for all of the brouhaha made of LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to make a heralded return to the Cavaliers, the fact remains, the four-time League MVP while impressive on the on the court, his teammates have failed to follow his lead.

The top-pick from the 2003 NBA Draft remains a prodigious talent and now the standard bearer and face of the NBA, alongside Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder . This duo, one would hope will create a rivalry which will be long-lasting and appreciated as much as many of the greatest rivalries the league has offered over the course of its history. For the moment however, questions are being asked as to why , LeBron James , Kyrie Irving , Kevin Love and the supporting cast have not been more dominant within the NBA. In their last eight games the Cavaliers 5-3, something of a reflection of the team as a whole and the inconsistency witnessed over the course of the season .

As if to emphasize the issues the Cavaliers continue to face, consider the fact they are coming off a twenty-three point home loss to lowly Detroit Pistons . If that contest was not indicative of why Cleveland cannot be currently considered one of the top teams in the NBA, then someone needs to explain to me why there has been such a hype over this franchise merely because of LeBron’s return to this organization ! From the get-go , there was this rather idiotic rationale James would single-handed, make this team an omnipresent force, but seemingly , everyone who ran with this idiocy, failed to recognize the fact, rookie head coach David Blatt was a novice to the NBA and its coaching style . Blatt , his coaching staff and the team will get the chance to reassert their presence in the Eastern Conference, while also seeking to take the lead (1-1) in their season series against the Atlanta Hawks. With the Hawks having built a solid foundation around a core of Elton Brand , Jeff Teague , Paul Millsap , Al Horford , DeMarre Caroll, Mike Muscala , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Tonight’s contest between these two Eastern Conference teams could go a long way in telling us the directions the these franchises may well be heading in .

I certainly believe last season’s NBA Playoffs told us a great deal about the Indiana Pacers . As the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs began, it was felt Frank Vogel and his coaching staff had assembled a team make things tough for the Miami Heat during their postseason foray. Instead, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers played a great deal of the Eastern Conference Finals’ series lacking the offensive firepower to match Miami during the best of seven-game series conference finals’ contest.

Coming into this season the Indiana Pacers remain a flawed team without a backbone and showing very little resilience. In their last five games the Pacers have managed to gain some semblance of consistency winning three of those contests, with their last victory coming in a twenty-five point demolition of the Brooklyn Nets on the 27th December , only to follow up that win with a loss to the Chicago Bulls in what can only be seen as the ongoing weakness of the Pacers as a team. A record of 11-21 is a clear indicator as to where this Frank Vogel coached team should expect to be , with the best player on the roster this season , none other than George Hill, being ably abetted by Roy Hibbert, David West, Rodney Stuckey, Luis Scola , Ian Mahinmi and CJ Watson. Indiana will renew their regular season rivalry when they meet the Miami Heat on Wednesday evening in a highly anticipated game at the Conseco Life Field House Center , Indianapolis , Indiana ,.

Having been the NBA’s youngest League MVP, it is hard to define the career of Derrick Rose. Certainly , on his best days , he can be considered one one of the league’s elite point guards,a facilitator , prolific scorer , stout defensive player and clearly an all-round asset to a team . Yet. for all of those very traits, the question remains, can Rose stay healthy enough to play an entire season, staying injury-free, to aid the Chicago Bulls winning their first NBA title since the era of Michael Jordan being with the franchise ? Tom Thibodeau coaches a tremendous Bulls’ lineup led by Rose , but with the talented shooting guard and small-forward Jimmy Butler coming into his own this season , it would appear the Bulls might now be as talented and with even greater depth than in recent years.

If there remains any doubts about the Chicago Bulls at this juncture, consider where they now stand and then take into account how effective they have been been with the ascent of Jimmy Butler. Derrick Rose and his teammates might be in for a stern test when they face the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , on Wednesday night. The Nets are in need of win , while the Bulls simply want to distance themselves from their nearest rivals within their division.

A great offense can undoubtedly aid a team’s effort to come into its own during a season. Nowhere has it been more evident than with the Golden State Warriors (24-5) and Portland Trailblazers (25-7) who continue to blow their opponents away with almost effortless ease . Leading the charge for both teams are Steph Curry and Damian Lillard . These two extraordinary point guards are providing the league with some exhilarating play and perhaps some of the richest evidence to suggest, that in the last five years this has the been richest era of the game, where these positional players have been so dominant and prominent.

Steve Kerr’s easy transition in succeeding Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors has made his task simple and his merely instructing his players to play with gusto has brought them to the point where they are now at, atop of division and the upper echelons of the Western Conference. Trailblazers’ head coach Terry Stotts has simply shown his coaching acumen , while GM Neil Olshey has merely put together a competitive roster ready to play for a well-respected head coach and his coaching staff .

The Warriors’ most game had them playing the woefully inept Philadelphia 76ers (4-26) , a franchise I now believe should be demoted to the NBA’s D League , simply as a matter of common decency and to stop the promulgation of mediocrity exhibited by the Sixers throughout this entire season. The fact this contest ended in a 3 forty-point blowout loss (126-86) for Philadelphia should come as no surprise, but it ought to be for the NBA hierarchy who still try to brand and sell their on-court product, as riveting and of great appeal to the fans . A blind and deaf mute, is likely to find more excitement in their own solitude, than fans of the Sixers, who continue to watch this team while trying to extol the franchise’s virtues of being a worthy diversion within the NBA. It has been these type of issues the hierarchy has refused to address, along with instances of gross misconduct by team owners , until there is known to be public outrage for such antics, but what else would you expect of sports’ entity ran by a bunch of Neanderthal Caucasian middle-aged males, who are from a bygone age .

Stotts and the Traiblazers would likely make for a formidable contender in the NBA Playoffs if they can maintain their current pace. A projected win total of fifty-six or fifty-eight victories could see them land the top seed within the Western Conference , but that would all be based upon supposition and barring any serious injuries to front-line players on the roster. A well-deserved overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors , one of the surprising stories and teams within the Eastern Conference this season is a telling sign as to how well Portland just happen to be doing at present. The Portland Trailblazers’ first game of 2015 will be on the 3rd January when they play the Atlanta Hawks . A fitting way for Portland to begin the New Year than seeking to take down an Eastern Conference foe and further emphasize the fact the East is weak , while the West is extremely competitive among their top-ten teams.

For all of the continued bellyaching by fans of the Los Angeles Lakers , it is always good to know, we are always only moments away from annually seeing the petulant and self-absorbed behavior of Kobe Bryant. I understand his need to win and to be viewed in the eyes of the fans and public alike, that he is indeed this generation’s answer to Michael Jordan . Bryant may well have surpassed the Bulls’ and NBA icon for third all-time on the career points’ list , but that is all all he is likely to achieve in comparison to Jordan. He will not win a sixth NBA ring or title , most definitely not with the Los Angeles Lakers and their current lineup, coached by none other than Byron Scott and his clueless coaching staff !

Double-digit wins, ten (10-22) in total, have been all the Los Angeles Lakers can muster, just over one-third of the way through the NBA’s eighty two game schedule. Begs the question, if the Lakers were supplanted into the WNBA , would they fare any better ? The fact the Lakers have been unable show any type type of consistency putting together only three back-to-back wins should tell you all you need to know about this team and why they are currently one of the major laughing stocks around the NBA and among the game’s fans. Never kick a dog when it’s down, flea-bitten or not, as there is a likelihood for them to jump right up and take a bite out of your @ss. Something this current Lakers’ lineup is incapable of doing . Continuously over much of the season, Byron Scott’s players have sought to play beneath the level of their opponents, rather than above them . I do not believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that !

An eight-point victory victory over the Denver Nuggets , closed out 2014 for the Los Angeles Lakers but their task will not be any easier when they open up 2015 with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies . I believe Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are prepared to provide an outcome the Lakers players and their fans will not be entirely happy with ! Kobe Bryant may well seek to return to the Lakers next season for an eighteenth year in this league, but at what cost to the organization ? A franchise where GM Mitch Kupchak remains at a loss at this stage of his professional career knowing how to assemble a competitive team, while team owner Jim Buss continues to look bemused , non-cognizant of his actual surroundings and what is happening to the organization he presides over .

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Picture gallery .

Based upon the evidenced witnessed within the NBA , what do you believe has been the biggest surprise in the infancy of the league schedule and which players , team or teams have proven to be the biggest disappointments ? Your comments are more than welcome , so take a stab at making your thoughts known .

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) John Wall(2) and Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards guard Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the second half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25 , 2014 in New York City. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(2) Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards shoots over Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the first half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25, 2014 in New York City. Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky

(3) NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 18TH : New York Knicks introduce Phil Jackson as the new Knicks’ President at a press conference at Madison Square Garden. Also pictured are , far left , team owner James Dolan and GM Steve Mills . Jackson and Mills have seen the team struggle this season and there now seems to be growing speculation the front office will seek to trade their prized and only valuable asset , Carmelo Anthony , with the player being asked to waive his no-trade clause . Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 , having signed contract with the New York Knicks prior to the beginning this regular season. AP Photo by Anthony J. Causi ….

(4) Paul Millsap (4) of the Atlanta Hawks defends against Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena on December 30 , 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox/ Getty Images …..

(5) LeBron James (23) and Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio . Getty Images / Mike Lawrie …

(6) Jimmy Butler , left , defended by Alan Anderson , was held to eight points during the Nets’ 96-82 blowout win over the Bulls Tuesday night in Chicago at the United Center . AP Photo / Holly Anderson …

(7) Deron Williams (8) of the Brooklyn Nets moves against Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 23 , 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel /Getty Images …

(8) (L-R) Damian Lillard (0) , Wesley Matthews , Nicolas Batum and Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers wait on the court as a play is reviewed during their game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on December 22 , 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America/ Scott Halleran …

(9) Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks with Kobe Bryant (24) during a time out in the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 100-94 . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ….

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From  left to  right ,  Kevin  Durant  ,  LeBron    James  and   Anthony  Davis .
From left to right , Kevin Durant , LeBron James and Anthony Davis .

Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ….

” Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ” Quote by William Shakespeare

As the NFL regular season meets its timely demise, the one thing we can take out of these scheduled l games was the fact , like in seasons past ….what you see is what you get. None of this asinine insinuation of their being parity in the NFL has any foundation at all . It comes down to hard work , effort , talent and coaching. This season there was very little of that to be witnessed by the majority of the teams. Even franchises thought to be major contenders at the start of the year , simply flamed out like a damp squib, while but a few surprised , perhaps none more so than the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) who made the NFC West something of a competitive division throughout much of the season , but failing in the end to follow up their fast start , by closing out the deal with a divisional win . Bruce Arians’ Cardinals enter into the postseason as a wildcard entrant with a very competitive game on their hands this upcoming weekend.

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The Arizona Cardinals will travel cross-country to face an over-achieving Carolina Panthers’ (7-8-1) team who somehow fought and then systematically clawed their way to an undeserving NFC South divisional title . Ron Rivera and his players made a successful defense of their title, but it was far from being impressive considering the fact , in 2013 the team had double-digit wins while also claiming one of the best records in the NFC for the year. This season proved to be a complete anathema with all four teams finishing within the division with sub.500 records and the Panthers being privileged to be the divisional representative in the postseason . Say what you will, but mediocrity still plays a vital part in the NFL today and always will in spite of claims to the contrary and the ongoing idiotic suggestion of parity .

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers make welcome return to the postseason , but these are not the Steelers’ teams of old , albeit , Ben Roethliseberger is playing well , but nowhere near the level when he led the franchise to their most recent postseason triumphs . In knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals , Pittsburgh booked their ticket to the postseason, while also capturing the AFC North title. Roethlisberger will be looking to make this Steelers’ team competitive, even if they are looked upon as under-dogs within the conference and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl . If Pittsburgh can find any semblance of consistency then they are likely give any AFC team considerable problems during the postseason foray.

With all three teams from the state of California failing to make the NFL’s end of the regular season showcase. One has to ask, what now becomes of the Oakland Raiders (3-13), San Diego Chargers(9-7) and the San Francisco 49ers (8-8)? Niners’ head coach Jim Harbaugh is most certainly out, with the beleaguered head coach having agreed in principle to part ways with the franchise. There were every growing signs Harbaugh had lost control of the team and the players’ confidence in him, never mind the organization’s lack of accountability in dealing with several off the field issues during the season. It has all led up to this crisis and placed CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke in a position, where they were either going fire the coach , but with his choosing to part ways of his own volition , it now leaves them to pursue a candidate to their liking and hopefully someone who can regain the stature they feel is befitting of their franchise.

A meaningless win for the Forty Niners over the Arizona Cardinals was simply more salt in the wound for the organization , knowing this was a season which went unfulfilled. There were few positives on this team and the likelihood will be, some drastic changes will be made to the roster during the off-season. I am not so sure what needs to be said about the San Diego Chargers and the travails of Philip Rivers . Since his entry into the NFL he has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league, but yet he has been unable to give the franchise or should I say, this organization has failed to supply him with the complementary weaponry to get the job done of availing themselves a Superbowl victory. All that was needed in the Chargers’ final game of the season, was a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , but instead, the visitors chose to give their worst performance of the season with Rivers contributing to the Chargers’ defeat and their being abruptly thrown out of the postseason.

It has never pained me to say this but ” the Oakland Raiders are simply sh#t and not worth the time of day ., much less being mentioned as an NFL franchise ! I don’t believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that at this juncture . As for this idiotic belief , Jon Gruden is likely to return to the organization for a second go-around, is almost absurd as believing Donald Trump has the wherewithal to become the GOP candidate for the Presidency in 2016. Then again, if a smooth-talking Senator from Chicago , Illinois can twice (2008 and 2012) pull the wool over the eyes of a befuddled electorate, then just about anything is possible within reason, wouldn’t you agree ? Gruden signed a lucrative contract extension with ESPN to fill us in with his customary useless diatribe and insights into the NFL. Personally. the less I see of the NFL analyst on the air, the better off I feel about the the league in general, as I believe his insight on the game, offers me no more meaningful information than can be found in a piece of legislative statute, drawn up by a lobbyist, that one of the Congress’s lame @ss legislators, will place their signature on, calling it their own and a meaningful piece of legislation. The Raiders were in the hunt to have the worst record in the NFL this season , until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to enter the fray and exhibit the type of incompetence often seen from silent era of movie making and those comedic classics produced by Max Sennett that evolved around ” The Keystone Cops” .

Genuine pratfalls or not , the Buccaneers have now defined and refined incompetence to a new “art form” within the NFL , with their apathetic fans as usual at a loss with anything meaningful to say about the continuing woes of the team and organization in general. Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht remains as clueless in person as he does when first introduced as the lead front office executive in charge of player personnel decisions for the franchise. Lovie Smith has brought in and instilled the type of home-grown stupidity into the Buccaneers’ roster that you would perhaps more associate with an episode of the the ” Jerry Springer ” Show . ” Who’s my baby Daddy ” ? The Buccaneers were just about everybody”s bit#h during the regular season and their record was a clear reflection of that fact.

The fact the Oakland and Tampa will be in the top-five of the 2015 NFL Draft order shouldn’t really come as surprise to anyone . What may well come as a surprise , is the fact the Raiders are seriously contemplating Tony Sparano remain as the team’s head coach and making it a permanent position . Damn , here was I thinking the revolving door and turn-style of either recycled head coaches or less than qualified candidates would be part of the Raiders’ off-season as they began their interviewing process , but at the end of the day, we are dealing with the Oakland Raiders and nothing they seem to do has anything to do with logic let alone acual common sense. I hear, there is even talk of building the franchise around the talents of Derek Carr ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! If Carr hopes to be a resounding success in the NFL, then here are a few pointers for the player , play a great deal better than you have been and for Christ’s sake take no advice from an elder sibling, David Carr , whose career in the NFL and the fact he was an overall number one draft pick is a sound reason why you cannot always base an assessment of a player on what others might think or the fact Mel Kiper’s lips have been firmly pressed against an agents’ sphincter or the players’ butt-hole as an insightful premise as what we ought to expect from a player.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is once again back to the drawing board, as the franchise seeks to regain some semblance of respectability , if not success. The lone bright spot on the roster from the season which has just ended was the play of their rookie wide receiver Mike Evans who excelled for for the franchise in his first professional season in the league. It’s safe to suggest the Buccaneers have a solid receiver in Evans and a very good talent with running back Doug Martin who had himself a career-day in the team’s narrow three-point loss to the New Orleans Saints (7-9).

Unfortunately, there are no leaders to be found on this current Buccaneers’ roster, and in large part, that has not been the case since the days, when Tony Dungy was the head coach of this franchise. Players such as Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Jon Lynch played with a great deal of pride and honor , when they took to the field for the team. I do not believe that to be the case with this current lineup and that is strange, when you consider, Lovie Smith is a disciple of the Dungy approach to coaching and the players being held accountable. Then again I shouldn’t be at all surprised by the morass and incompetence shown by team, when I consider the fact , Smith coached the Chicago Bears where during his final two years with the franchise, we all witnessed the less than favorable playing traits of Jay Cutler . If Smith could not corral and handle a prima-donna such as Cutler, why would anyone be of the belief he would be able to instill any type of discipline into a roster where Gerald McCoy and Vincent Jackson have practically been “no shows ” this season and as alleged veterans in the NFL, have shown about as much propensity to lead by example as a shy child being asked to read in font of the class by a teacher , on their first day at school.

McCoy and Jackson are among the highest paid players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have have been stealing money under false pretense by way of their respective salaries . Whatever changes are likely to be made during the off-season you can be assured there will be upheavals made as the front office decides to rebuild the roster and several elements of the coaching staff . It has been part of the Buccaneers’ procedural process during each year of undoubted failure , in a season which allegedly, promised a great deal of hope.

OK, so the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) are back in the postseason for the first time since 2009 where the team’s showing ended with a divisional round loss to the Minnesota Vikings . Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones finally has something to shout out loud about, as the team far exceeded expectations which may have been set at the start of the season. The Cowboys won the <a href=http://nfl.com/standings?sort=por won the NFC East, because the Philadelphia Eagles(10-6) under the coaching acumen of Chip Kelly, has no compunction to play defense , something often witnessed during his years with Oregon as the program’s head coach. Prolific offenses seems to be the only thing known to Kelly and within his playbook.

Philadelphia for its part, was simply hoping the Cowboys would falter in their game against the hapless Washington Redskins(4-12) , whose season has been one repeated disaster after the other, with Jay Gruden unsure what to make of his starting quarterbacks this season. Dallas simply blew the Redskins out of the water with a 44-17 victory in a contest where Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murrayshattered the franchise’s single season records for receiving touchdowns , for rushing yardsrespectively and all-purpose yards. Though the Eagles came away with a somewhat easy victory over the New York Giants (6-10) .

It is stunning to face the fact, the Philadelphia Eagles failed to make the postseason when they had the division and postseason berth within their grasp. Questions need to be asked and answered, as to whether or not this team possesses the competitive or mental mindset to get the job done . The answer , based on the occurrences of this season would have to be a resounding …….. no , because clearly, Chip Kelly feels there is no need to change the way the team plays , specifically with their defense being so inconsistent, bordering on ineptitude.

As great a season as the Dallas Cowboys had for the year,I am far from convinced the team will be good enough to make deep run in the postseason ! Add in the fact Tony Romo’s playoff- record leaves a great deal to be desired. A wildcard contest against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington , Texas on the 4th January , 2015 will provide the Cowboys’ fans their first chance to see the team in playoff game in five years. Whether or not the players can get past this first hurdle will greatly be dependent upon on the preparation of Jason Garrett and his coaching staff. The winner will then have the privilege of facing the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the postseason.

The New York Jets'(4-12) failures thisseason have been well-chronicled and the mere fact that the front office seems to on the cusp of firing head coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik should come as no great surprise. At no point during their regular season schedule were the Jets able to muster back-to-back wins. It’s safe to say, as Ryan continually backed his incumbent starting quarterback , Geno Smith , the greater the pressure became for him to revert to the use of the team’s veteran and backup Michael Vick when Smith’s play came into question during 2014. Not that Vick’s play was any more convincing, leading many to now believe his days in the NFL are likely numbered. Strong arm and a great running threat? Well, those days are long gone and his play overall, never led to any meaningful victories for either the Atlanta Falcons Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets over the course of his career. As for Smith, work in progress or not, momentary flashes of glimpses of brilliance are not what the Jets require, it his consistently winning games and showing leadership than his propensity for fumbling the ball and throwing interceptions.

It will be interesting to see what now transpires within the Jets’ organization, as they gauge where and when their season began to spiral completely out of control. My question remains , if John Idzik was the architect behind the building of a Superbowl winning roster, with last season’s champions the Seattle Seahawks , then how is it he and Ryan’s coaching staffwere not able to assemble a competitive roster for this season ?

Credible candidates for the regular season League MVP ? Cast your net wide, but to my mind there are but four strong nominees for the league’s highest invdividual regular season honor ! Granted, everyone seems to be jumping on the JJ Watt bandwagon, but how can anyone feel Watt is so deserving of the award when the Houston Texans (9-7)barely above.500 never really challenged the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) for divisional supremacy within the AFC South or the very fact the team failed to make it into the postseason ? Granted , Watt did have an exceptional year as a defensive player and rightfully or wrongfully he can be considered for the award , but to my mind he has been the best Defensive Player in the league this season , but being the best player in the NFL this year ? There are are other candidates far more worthy than Watt !

I believe the Texans’ defensive end (Watt) to be the best player on the roster this season. Yet , that in-of-itself should be by no means the sole requirement for him to be simply be handed the prize unanimously in a number of adjudicators’ eyes. Has he been the best player in the NFL this season ? Consistency might suggest Watt has been, but I consider the play of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, DeMarco Murray and Tom Brady to have been just as credible. When these awards are handed out during the NFL’s annual awards’ ceremony , it will be interesting to see who the recipient award will be and whether not it a unanimous or majority vote balloted in the player’s favor. Your thoughts on this specific matter ?

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Picture gallery .

With the NFL postseason about to get underway this weekend, what event during the regular season caught your attention and which teams during the league’s postseason foray do you believe will rise to the occasion and win it all ? Chime in with a comment on the subject matter as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has been greatly appreciated ! With the New Year beckoning, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and Prosperous New Year !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers avoids the tackle from Calais Campbell (93) of the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The Forty Niners would go on to defeat the Cardinals 20-17 , with the contest being Jim Harbaugh’s last game in charge as the head coach of the team. Getty Images Ezra Shaw …

(2) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw ….

(3) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers and owner Jed York talk at midfield during warm ups against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images /Don Feria …

(4) Head coach Rex Ryan , left, of the New York Jets speaks with head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins during pregame workouts before the Jets met the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. It was announced today that Ryan and GM John Idzik had been fired by team owner Woody Johnson as the franchise seeks to move on after a thoroughly disappointing season. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …

(5) Mike Evans (13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs after a reception in the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. The Saints defeated the Bucs 23-20 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …

(6) Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(7) J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans celebrates sacking Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images /Bob Levey …

(8) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Century-Link Field on December 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Johnathan Ferrey …

(9) Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback , Russell Wilson is seen here raising the Lombardi Trophy after the team’s lopsided victory over the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl . The Seahawks enter the postseason as the number one seed in the NFC and a strong contender to repeat as the defending champions . Wilson is also considered a leading contender for League MVP after a stellar season for the team. Also pictured are Michael Strahan to the left of the quarterback, with Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll to Wilson’s rear . AP Photo/ Mike Thomas …
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It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

All season long in the NFL , friends and fellow bloggers alike have been suggesting the league has entertaining with the results mirroring the competitive brand of football being played . Week sixteen provided us with a league-wide set of games which either sank to the levels of sheer ineptitude or the highest of highs, with some spectacular performances . Several teams have been “knocked out of the box” and have become “cannon fodder” for the media after their woefully inept showings over the course of this season.

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Slideshow.

The hype which surrounded Johnny Manziel because of his incredible collegiate career with Texas A&M might well have been justified , but once you enter the NFL , you simply start with a clean slate and where the only intangible one possesses, is leadership and maturity. Unfortunately , Manziel has yet to show any of the traits in question, since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. Never was that more evident than with Manziel’s performance in the Browns’ week fifteen contest against their divisional and conference rivals the Cincinnati Bengals . Cleveland was “shut out” in a lopsided contest where head coach Mike Pettine had no explanation for his team’s sheer ineptitude . The finger-pointing has already began , with many question why Pettine chose to sit Cleveland’s incumbent starting quartertback Brian Hoyer , who had shown a great deal of leadership and competitiveness in placing the franchise in a position to actually win the AFC North, before . this erroneous decision by the head coach .

With Cleveland now out of the divisional race and a postseason berth , pride remains the only thing the franchise now has to play for , along with placing Johnny Manziel’s disastrous display behind them.

The Browns will have a tough game on Sunday 28th December , when they face the Baltimore Ravens . If John Harbaugh and his Ravens’ players can eke out a win over the Browns, they could most certainly place themselves back into the playoff race, where they would have the advantage over the San Diego Chargers(9-6).

Philip Rivers and the Chargers will face an eager Kansas City Chiefs’ (8-7) team looking to make up for a rather disappointing season where they expected to contend for the AFC West. Andy Reid has seen his team fall by the wayside , because of a lack urgency from the players but above all, there has not been the exceptional play seen from the Chiefs’ defense last season . Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith is having an indifferent season , with the offense spluttering over the course of the season , one could surmise the team’s woes were self-inflicted.

The fallout has begun and it seems almost certain the San Francisco 49ers’ (7-8) will relieve their head Jim Harbaugh of his duties at the end of the season . How things could have spiraled out of control so quickly is dependent upon which story you are willing to believe at this juncture . GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke will either retain the often criticized Harbaugh or see the coach hed off under his own steam to accept the vacant head coach’s position at Michigan (Wolverines) where there is said to be a multi-year $48 million offer awaiting John Harbaugh’s signature on the dotted line. Before that takes, place Harbaugh and his team of under-achievers have a divisional match-up against the Arizona Cardinals (11-3) . Having clinched a postseason berth, the Cardinals find themselves in an unenviable position, losing their most recent game ,the momentum seen at the start of the season now having completely vanished , leaving many questioning how good the Cardinals just happen to be.

Over the past five weeks, if there has been a better player in the NFL than Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks , then I would like to hear your nominations for such a mantel . A Superbowl victory has seen a growth in maturity of the quarterback as well as his play overall , along with a leadership ability, rarely seen from a player with less than five years experience though one could make a comparison with Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and the success he has achieved with the franchise since his being drafted by the organization.

Pete Caroll and his team have systematically cut a swath through the league, as they have risen up the ranks and might now be the best team in the NFC based on their record. The Seahawks have a rather interesting game on Sunday afternoon, when they play host to the St Louis Rams , in a match-up I believe likely to be one-sided with the visiting team being unable to deal with their hosts.

Jay Cutler has led the Chicago Bears (5-10) into another season of sheer ineptitude with the quarterback questioning why Marc Trestman and the Bears’ front office made the decision to sit him out for the remainder of the season. Clearly, the player has failed to live up to the expectations thought and what the Bears were said to be capable of in 2014, with many believing they would be in with a chance of making an assualt on the dominance of the Green Bay Packers and the unlikely resurgence of the Detroit Lions . Instead, Chicago has repeatedly faltered, showing very competitiveness as their season unfolded . A great deal of the blame has to lie with the inconsistency shown by Jay Cutler. GM Phil Emery signed Cutler to a seven-year $127 million deal , a deal which I believe was rather idiotic , with it being offered to a player whose achievements in the postseason have been miniscule .

Chicago has a less than enlightening contest when they are the guests of the Minnesota Vikings (6-9). A contest between the bottom-feeders of the NFC North elicits very little excitement or interest among the fans of these two teams. When one bears in mind the issues faced by the Vikings this season , both on and off the field of play , their woes have manifested themselves in a litany of ways . Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater typified the issues one could come to expect of a rookie quarterback playing in the NFL

Six straight divisional titles have epitomized the dominance of the New England Patriots(12-3) and their season was once again one where Tom Brady has led by example as the team made light of their divisional opponents within the AFC East.

A narrow one-point victory over the beleaguered New York Jets whose season has taken on comedic levels of ineptitude , while head coach Rex Ryan is at a loss for words as to his team’s repeated failures over the course of their schedule . The victory placed the Patriots into the postseason, where Bill Belichick and Brady will be seeking to win the franchise’s fourth Superbowl during Belichick’s illustrious tenure. The New England quarterback (Brady) hopes to join Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only other quarterbacks to have won four Superbowls during the modern era of the NFL. It would be fair to suggest , over the last decade-and-a-half Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been the ” face” of the NFL, providing the fans with the best the game has had to offer during that timespan. Inevitably, the comparisons will be made as to where Brady and Manning belong among the NFL greats and whether or not they can be considered among the greatest quarterbacks to ever have played the game. Conjecture and a protracted healthy debate may well be the only thing that can solve the issue, but to my mind the duo are Canton bound for the Hall of Fame !

In their final game of the regular season the New England Patriots will have as their guests at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’, Massachusetts , their divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills . Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone may well be looking to put a damper on the celebrations of the Patriots by inflicting a fourth defeat of the season for the AFC champions . I certainly believe New England will want to carry the momentum gained by notching their thirteenth victory of the season and sealing their advantage as the number one seed in the AFC while ending the season with the best record in the NFL . As to whether not they can be considered the best team in the league will remain a matter of long, heated arguments that will not solve the problem.

Each season in the NFL , there will always be a team where the analysts (pundits) and fans are astounded by the disappointment of one or perhaps two franchises. In 2014, the candidates I believe who best represent this case are the New Orleans Saints (6-9) and Washington Redskins 4-11) . The fact that both are NFC representatives should not be seen as a big surprise . Neither the Redskins or Saints have proven to be good enough within their respective divisions to be seen as competitive , and the delusions of grandeur exhibited by Jay Gruden and Sean Payton, an only be parodied by the repetitive and asinine behavior often with members of Congress.

From week to week Gruden is unsure as to what his starting lineup ought to be, without referencing his handling of the team’s quarterback situation and the consistency sought from his trio of alternatives, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy . The fact that it has been McCoy , the team’s third string quarterback , who has led the Redskins to two of their three victories on the season should tell you all you need to know. Jay Gruden may well be an accomplished coordinator, but he is proving to be absolutely clueless as a head coach in the NFL. On Sunday, Gruden’s Redskins will be looking to avoid the season series’ loss when they face the Dallas Cowboys (11-4) at FedEx Field in Landover , Maryland, in a less than thrilling prospect as an NFL game.

Sean Payton may well be considered an offensive guru with his teams over the years considered among the most explosive in the NFL. It still remains the case , but this season , as in year’s past the defense has been one of the constant reminders why the New Orleans Saints can never really hold unto lead . Once out in front, this becomes a team that needs to inflict pain on an opponent by O13 piling up the points and yards , while controlling the time of possession. A 6-9 season has pretty much epitomized what the Saints have been about over the course of the year. Drew Brees, arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the past eight years , still provides the New Orleans Saints with the best chance of winning on a weekly basis. He has been the franchise’s best player since being acquired by the Saints as a free agent trade from the San Diego Chargers.

Hoping to round-out their season with a victory, the New Orleans Saints will have the pleasure of making the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their customary whipping post. If Brees and the Saints’ offense are not able to put up at least thirty points on an incompetent Buccaneers’ defense , then I will be extremely surprised ! Lovie Smith was brought in to instill some semblance of discipline into a Buccaneers’ team, but instead, there has been abundance mediocrity on all levels , from the coaching staff on down , to the players. Meanwhile, the apathy remains among the Tampa fans who may well feel there is light at the end of the tunnel . More darkness than light, because neither coaching staff or front office actually have a damn clue , as to what the hell they are actually doing from one moment to the next .

Now comes the hard part for the teams and that will be for them to maintain their consistency as they enter the postseason . Chances are we will witness one or two upsets , as was the case last season throughout much of the league’s postseason foray.

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Picture gallery.

As the spectacle of the NFL regular season has unfolded, what if anything proved to be the biggest disappointment or buoyed your belief the NFL would be special ? Which player do you believe will likely win the league’s highest regular season award the League MVP ?

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Picture and slideshow details.

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(1) Cincinnati Bengals corner-back Adam Jones makes the Johnny Manziel “money” sign after the Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 30-0 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/David Richard ….

(2) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(3) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs off the field after a 30-0 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. Manziel’s performance in week fifteen was among the worst of any starting quarterback on the day and among the very worst witnessed this season. AP Photo/Tony Dejak …

(4) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, greets San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The Chargers won 38-35 in overtime. AP Photo/Ben Margot ..

(5) Seattle Seahawks fan smiles while holding a sign prior to the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images/ Norm Hall …

(6) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks prepares to snap the football in the first quarter during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images / Norm Hall …

(7) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is pressured by Dwight Lowery (20) of the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 21, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Chris Graythern ..
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It’s that time of year to reflect , review and then ponder as to what happens next …

It’s that time of year to reflect, review and then ponder as to what happens next …

There can be no denying this year within the world of sports we all witnessed the highs and lows of the sporting season. Basketball crowned a new champion in the NBA with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs winning the title, the franchise’s fifth in their admired and revered history. The fact the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat with so much ease , came as a major surprise to many who favored the LeBron James’ led lineup that boasted Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen among their ranks. Complacency and a lack of support for James, were the contributing factors leading to Miami’s demise. With James departing during this off-season, a bewildered Pat Riley , the organization and the coaching staff of Erik Spoelstra will now have to start from scratch rebuilding the roster which hopefully, will have some semblance of competitiveness this season.

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Off to what might deem a favorable start to their schedule , the Miami Heat are no longer a team to be favored or feared, though I believe they are good enough to gain a playoff berth this season, given the mediocrity of the play encountered in the Western Conference , in a season where in its infancy, the basketball in the conference has been truly astounding and banal. The results bear z this out , without delving further about the reasons why beyond stating , two obvious factors, bad coaching and no depth of talent by way of the rookie players .

While of late, singular achievements have been given a great deal of praise, with Kobe Bryant having surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time career points list (third) and LeBron James moving ahead of Charles Barkley for twenty third in the rankings. While I believe this all to be commendable achievements, it begs the question, why are fans now beginning to make comparisons with today’s players and those of the past ? The game has changed drastically during the respective eras, along with a number of rule changes initiated by outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern. This is all overlooked as fans and analysts alike try create a debate that will be filled with conjecture and a great deal of nonsense behind the supposed logic by a number of the debaters on the matter.

On the court the Golden State Warriors led by their dynamic duo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are seen as capable of leading the team on a dominant run in the NBA and to a deep NBA Playoff foray, albeit, they have encountered some stiff opposition resulting in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (20-4) the Warriors still maintain a healthy lead within the Pacific Division of the
Western Conference . No major fallout from this loss, as the loss ,as the team has been able to show its resilience over the course of the season .

In the collegiate ranks of basketball, the NCAA Tournament . Kevin Ollie and the U Conn Huskies won another title which heightened the prestige of the program and the fourth title in the school’s history. The Huskies’ victim in that tournament victory, the John Calipari coached Kentucky Wildcats are once again atop of the college rankings with an unbeaten season and the deemed the best team in the country. They are likely to be a team to be reckoned with as Calipari seeks a second title win to add to his burgeoning resume’. Kentucky has cut a swath through their opponents , but I feel we are reading far too much into the accomplishments at this stage of the season ! The run up to this season’s NCAA Tournament and the event itself will place an d even greater emphasis on how good the Kentucky Wildcats are likely to be. Hard to suggest where a likely challenge is likely to come from in stopping the Wildcats’ dominance.

With its inaugural format within College Football now in motion , last season’s defending national champions the Florida State Seminoles will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Jameis Winston the program’s 2013 Heisman Trophy winner in spite of his off the field problems has been able to lead the team to their unbeaten run this season. The Seminoles ended the regular season ranked in the top four availing the chance to be part of the playoff schedule which has been essentially adjudged a four-team semi-finals’ playoff format with contests’ winner playing in the national title game.

The four programs who are the recipients of this inaugural system are Alabama , Oregon , Ohio State (Buckeyes) and Florida State making up the quartet. While there will be continued debate as to the veracity of this format , many feel a four-team playoff is by no means the best way to decide a national champion . Yet for all of the criticism leveled and the fact an empaneled body were arbiters on this whole scheme, not everyone can state this was of satisfaction to the doubters as well as some protagonists of the new format. Money remains the driving force behind this all, without anyone trying to suggest this system has been the best possible solution after years of idiocy with the BCS format and a system so void of legality , that it was simply ridiculous for anyone to try and justify its legitimacy. Come full circle, in reality the progress made is simply miniscule , even if the new format is tinkered with at various points in the future, as is likely the case.

This year’s Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota can go out on a high if he is able to lead Oregon past Florida State in their highly anticipated game on the 1st January, 2015. Mariota is highly regarded within the college ranks and seen as one of the most dynamic players in the game as well as perhaps the best quarterback in college football. A victory in that that game, to be followed with a championship victory , will lead to certain financial gain, a high draft pick the upcoming NFL Draft of 2015.

In light of the recent disaster of Johnny Manziel’s first professional start in the NFL this season was such a catastrophe it is hard to see any positives which could come out of the debacle, where the Cleveland Browns were shutout by the Cincinnati Bengals in their divisional clash 30-0 . The fact this was a home game for the Browns was all the more embarrassing for the fans. Manziel in the aftermath of his disaster has suggested he can play better , but that must now come into question after the idiotic decision made by Mike Pettine to sit Brian Hoyer merely to gauge what the team’s 2014 draftee was capable of doing. We’ve now seen what Manziel is not capable of doing and that is to lead a team with any great authority, much less play competently at the NFL level.

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders , merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure .

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders, merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure . San Francisco’s home loss in week sixteen to the San Diego Chargers put an immediate end to their postseason hopes. The fallout from it all , has been the growing speculation Harbaugh will fired or he resigns and accepts the vacant coaching position at Michigan (Wolverines). An 8-8 is the best the San Francisco 49ers can now hope for , something no might have envisage at the start of this season’s NFL schedule.

It is extremely difficult to now try and justify any reason why Rex Ryan should be retained as the New York Jets’ head coach for next season. In spite of their narrow one-point loss o to the New England Patriots(12-3) the defeat dropped the Jets’ record , with a with a penultimate game left on their schedule, they now find themselves bearing a mark of 3-12 . The franchise’s front office will have several decisions to make beyond Ryan’s immediate future, there is also the questionable performances of Geno Smith and Michael Vick over the course of this season. It remains to be seen wheter not both players are likely to be retained for the upcoming season, but clearly , GM John Idzik and the front office staff have to ponder the drafting of a quarterback or acquiring a reliable free agent to fulfill their needs .

The NFL enters its final week of games, with a number of divisions having been decided . Yet,for all of their accomplishments, there still remains the preposterous diatribe served up within the NFC South all season long . With the Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) now holding a slender one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints (6-9 and Atlanta Falcons (6-9) , a great deal still remains on the line as they each head into the final week knowing that a defeat could end their hopes of winning the division and gaining a playoff berth . Atlanta made sure, they still remain in the hunt, with their total annihilation of the Saints in Sunday’s game, beating a demoralized New Orleans’ team 30-14 . Carolina for their part, kept up their side of the ongoing equation by making sure the Cleveland Browns’ woes continued as the team suffered their second successive defeat . Thankfully, for the Browns’ fans, Johnny Manziel was kept on the sidelines for the entire game,as his services were not needed , not even for mop-up duty .

While I thoroughly enjoyed the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during this MLB Postseason . The AL Central franchise became the rallying cry for the underdogs within the game of baseball, as they wore down team after team on their way to the World Series . Alas, for the Royals it wasn’t to be, as the San Francisco Giants and Madison Bumgarner had more in store for the underdogs than they could ever have imagined . The series’ statistics may well stated the Giants won their third World Series’ title in five years . with some ease (4-3) and in part they actually achieved that. Yet to my mind, the Royals were never in with a chance of winning game seven , simply because of their lack of postseason and veteran experience being part of their lineup !

During this off-season with the Winter Meetings in full swing , teams made their play a> to acquire the free agents sought, while also jettisoning players they believed superfluous to their needs. The Miami Marlins made the headlines for the right and wrong reasons, dependent upon your point of view , but their signing Giancarlo Stanton to his now ridiculous $325 million contract smacks of sheer lunacy and a great deal of narcissism and conceit on the part of the organization . Two years ago this very same ball-club had a burgeoning roster of high-paid stars who simply flamed out under the misguided managerial acumen of Ozzie Guillen . A last place finish in the NL East games out behind the the divisional winner and a further out of card berth sealed Guillen’s fate for the year, leading to his dismissal after a disastrous season where the team was uncompetitive and > in complete disarray on and off the field . In the aftermath of the disaster, GM Michael Hill summarily initiated the fire sale which led to the trading away of those highly paid players from 2012.

A great deal will be expected of Mike Redmond and his managerial staff this upcoming season, because of the high and renewed expectations of this team led by Giancarlo Stanton and their NL Rookie of the Year pitcher Jose Fernandez , who was also signed to a very lucrative deal by the Marlins.

For the greater part of my youth and into my teenage years, I was an avid and voracious boxing fan and aficionado . My two biggest idols from the sport are still remain Muhammad Ali , ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler with former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins not far behind . All three fighters were great champions during their prime with each rewriting the history books with records likely to be surpassed. I now champion the world of MMA and as an actual martial arts’ practitioner (karate & tae-kwon-do) this sport I believe has far exceeded what has boxing has failed to do in the last decade and that is to draw fans in, rather than systematically pushing them away . The death of another peer of Ali’s , at the age of seventy-five Ernie Terrell died but his career was memorable for the bout in which a charismatic , flamboyant Ali taunted Terrell in a lopsided contest where Muhammad Ali showed his dominance and gave light to what he would go on to achieve in the future . .

Muhammad Ali faces Ernie Terrell for the WBA Heavyweight title at the Houston Astrodome on the 6th February , 1967.

In light of the recent news, that Ali has been admitted into hospital with what is alleged to be a slight bout of pneumonia and with the former champion’s health having deteriorated over the past two-and a half decades. It may well seem sordid, in surmising he could now be at death’s door , wherein, if Parkinson’s disease doesn’t take him from within our midst, this latest health setback, likely will. Ali remains to this day not only the biggest icon in the sport of boxing, but his name and face are the most universally recognized in the world of sports. Outside of Michael Jordan in the NBA and Pele’ in the world of soccer, I sincerely doubt that there has been a more revered icon in the world of professional sports on a global scale.

Boxing has now become a sport, lacking in a charisma , where the top fighters in the various weight categories, simply avoid each other while formulating their prowess and claims of being the ‘true champions’ of their weight divisions . Personally, for all of the hype surrounding a potentially lucrative fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, I will continue to maintain, it is a fight a number fans have become completely disinterested in ! Is there anyone willing at this juncture, to pay in excess of $55.00 for the “privilege” of seeing these two fighters, who have spent the past three years padding their stats with meaningless bouts , while earning exorbitant fight purses ? This has become the ” new norm” within the sport, along with the petulance of the fighters, promoters , connivance and continued corrupt practices of the various international governing bodies which preside over the boxing. Yet we wonder why the sport no longer truly resonates with fans and how it now lacks a broad-based appeal ?

Meanwhile, a viewed as a pugilistic upstart, continues to dominate the landscape and has become a multi billion-dollar industry under the main promotional flagship of UFC . MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has now become the fastest growing sport in the world , with an increased audience participation , rising viewership and gate attendances for many of their biggest events staged around the globe. Idiots such as promoter Bob Arum and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard continue to question the legitimacy of the sport , but have failed to recognize , while boxing has become pallid and stagnant, the growth of Mixed Martial Arts has been explosive. . In little over a decade, this combative style of fighting has caught the imagination of fans around the world and now has a growing legion of female fans, while holding on to its main demographic of males aged between eighteen to thirty-five . If you think fans of the the sport , is strictly confined to adults alone , then you would be wrong, as martial arts’ dojos are now beginning to incorporate MMA within their criteria , while still teaching their main forms of combat , such as karate, judo , taekwondo , Ju-jitsu , Krav-magav and other lethal forms of fighting.

Dana White rules the roost of the UFC, but he has now become more a totalitarian dictator, rather than a lead executive and arbiter of the sport. His apparent idiocy, in chastising many of the biggest names in the sport, who helped place it on the global map, shows not only White’s bombastic attitude, but also his naivete’ and complete stupidity. Can you imagine David Stern questioning the abilities of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson , Kobe Bryant or even LeBron James at the height of their careers ? Well, White has managed to do that with the MMA fighters, while becoming the antithesis of what is expected of a governing sports’ executive.

It may well be a great deal of schtick and panache’ on the part of Dana White, but before too long his idiocy will being to grate on the nerves of not only the fans but also the fighters themselves. The two biggest names in the sport at present are Cain Velazquez and Jon Jones , but with neither fighter having recently defended their respective titles, a small void has been created , yet to be filled by any other fighter, with the character or genuine appeal to strike a note with the masses. Ganted, the likes of Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis and of late the sport’s only genuine female ‘star’ Ronda Rousey have a growing fan-base , but that might not be enough, unless there is a major title bout involving Jones, Velasquez or former champions Anderson Silva or Georges St Pierre. Rousey and St Pierre may well carved out side careers having appeared in a couple of Hollywood action movies, but their ” bread and butter ” remains the UFC for now .

Having been justifiably critical of the UFC and the lack transparency shown by the hierarchy concerning the drug testing of its fighters with repeatedly violations , most notably by Chael Sonnen , it will be interesting to see if Dana White is willing to welcome back the former UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre. Johny Hendricks’ first championship defense of the title , he won in an vacant title bout title as the successor to St Pierre, ended with his loss to Robbie Lawler. . All of the hype and actually nothing to back it up, simply indicated, Hendricks , was not all he was cracked to be .

With no major event on the schedule until January 3rd , 2015 , when Jon Jones defends his Light Heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier in a bout that will see the finality to what has already become contentious period between the two fighters , name calling asides , it’s time for both Jones and Cormier to sort their ” beef out”, rather than act like petulant children . I know the fight scene has to create an angle , with a ” hero” and a ” villain” , but when you are being asked to choose between two self-absorbed individuals, there isn’t much to actually throw your support behind. Your thoughts on that ?

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Picture gallery.

This was my simple breakdown of some of the interesting events I witnessed during the sports’ year and granted, I failed to touch on the PGA , NASCAR the NHL and even the WSOP (World Series of Poker) . So by all means chime in with your thoughts on the event or events of this sporting year which piqued your interest.

o_O

Picture and slideshow gallery .

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(1) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra gestures against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York . The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91 . Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Dec 16 , 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) reacts to losing the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(3) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Johnson (7) holds his head as Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) and Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) high-five late in the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center. The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ..

(4) Nov 11 , 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) pats guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena . The Spurs defeated the Warriors 113-100 . Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports …

(5) Kentucky players from left, Devin Booker , Tyler Ulis , Trey Lyles, and Willie Cauley-Stein celebrate their 83-42 win over UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game , Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Chicago. AP Photo Nam Y. Huh …

(6) Left , Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State . Both college quarterbacks are one of the primary reasons why their respective programs will be part of the inaugural college playoff format which will decide this season’s national champion at the FBS Level of College Football . Both players will likely declare their eligibility status at the end of the playoff season , seeking to enter the 2015 NFL Draft . Mariota and Winston are considered consensus first round draft picks . Yet , there is a common belief teams in need of a passer might well be weary in light of the recent issues of Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel . AP Photo / David Parsons …

(7) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers runs off the field after the 49ers lose 38-35 in overtime to the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium on December 20th, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw …

(8) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with free safety Eric Weddle(32) of the San Diego Chargers after the Chargers defeat the 49ers 38-35 in overtime at Levi’s Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ….

(9) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to his team in the huddle during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(10) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan , left, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, shake hands after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots won the game 17-16 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez

(11) Quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets is tackled by defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) of the New England Patriots in the first quarter during a game at MetLife Stadium on December 21, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez …

(12) Miami Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond left and Giancarlo Stanton are seen here in the dugout at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida during a home game on 2nd September , 2014 played against the New York Mets . Miami would go on lose the contest 8-6 . …

(13) In what is believed to be the last known public appearance by former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is seen here attending the funeral of boxer Joe Frazier in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , in November of 2014. Ali was recently admitted to a local hospital where he is said to be suffering from a mild respiratory problem and a bout of pneumonia . Ernie Terrell whom Ali beat during his illustrious career recently died at the age of seventy-five. AP Photo / Steve Woods … …

(14) Ernie Terrell gets advice from his advisor Joe Louis between rounds of the vacant 1965 WBA World Heavyweight Title fight versus Eddie Machen at the International Amphitheatre , Chicago, Illinois on the 5th March , 1965 ,. UPI Syndicate ….

(15) Anderson Silva (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White prior to Silva’s defense of his world welterweight title against Chris Weidman . The challenger would score a surprising knockout of the champion and then follow up that victory with a successful defense against Silva in their rematch which ended with a TKO after the former champion suffered a broken leg in their bout at UFC168 . Courtesy of MMA Magazine . @ all rights reserved …

(16) From left to right , Georges St Pierre , Anderson Silva and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones . St Pierre relinquished his welterweight title, taking a prolonged leave of absence from the sport . The former champion has been critical of Dana White for his lack of consistency and a stringent drug testing policy. White in retaliation, was less than salutary to one of the sport’s biggest attractions and most successful fighters in MMA history . MMA Junkie … …

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It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

MLB’s off-season has proven to be a .folly of sorts, with teams now spending at will , capriciously on free agents who are likely to be overpaid for their alleged productivity. Many of these franchises will be looking to position themselves for the arrival of Spring Trainingand the regular season which begins on the 4th April , 2015. Reigning World Series’ champions the San Francisco Giants will enter the season having won their third title in the past five seasons, with both Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean back to lead this roster as they seek a fourth win of baseball’s most prestigious prize.

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San Francisco wasted no time in re-signing their World Series MVP pitcher Madison Bumgarner whose postseason exploits were simply scintillating and beyond the perception of the most ardent fans of the game. Bumgarner in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals was a one-man wrecking crew bewildering the Royals’ hitters, leaving them dismayed and completely perplexed .

Heading into 2015, San Francisco will be without another of their postseason heroes with 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval having been allowed to leave the team as unrestricted free agent . Sandoval signed a very lucrative contract joining the Boston Red Sox where he is likely to be hitting in the Red Sox batting order ahead of DH David Ortiz. GM Brian Sabean may have felt it prudent to eschew Sandoval’s financial desires , instead choosing to take his chances with a projected lineup of Buster Posey , Hunter Pence , Travis Ishikawa, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Crawford , Joaquin Arias and a number of players likely to be promoted from their minor league system as the club seeks to bolster an offense that wasproductive throughmuch of the regular and postseason.

There may well have been doubters of Sabean, who made the decision allowing the departure of Pablo Sandoval , but the mercurial general manager has been quick to make a number of moves likely to improve the lineup for the upcoming season. One would be hard pressed to question the moves of an executive, thought to be among the best general managersin all of baseball. Brian Sabaen’s record speaks for itself. San Francisco is likely to be a considerable favorite to win the NL West division in spite of the likely moves being made by the Los Angeles Dodgers under their new Head of Baseball Operations & SVP Andrew Friedman.

Friedman’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays caught off, just about everyone by surprise, including his former fellow executives , the fans and analysts around the game. Add in the fact, the team’s manager Joe Maddon also made an abrupt departure to take a similar position with the Chicago Cubs and one might suggest the franchise got hit with a ” double-whammy ” . Matthew Silverman has succeeded Andrew Friedman and the ball-club hired former hometown hero Kevin Cash to succeed Maddon as the team’s new manager. How this will all be viewed by the Rays’ fans will now be open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. Cash is a first time manager with no managerial experience, though he does have playing experience with an eight-year career in the Majors having played one season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005.

Having spent in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) by way of salary commitments over the past two seasons. It is understandable, that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ executives felt it necessary to take a fresh look at the direction this ball-club was taking. In explicably, they had the best pitcher in baseball, but Clayton Kershaw’s postseason productivity had to be considered a monumental disaster. The team may well have pinned their hopes on Kershaw this past postseason, but the player was nowhere to be seen with his ERA among the highest of the starting pitchers during the 2014 playoffs’ foray. It would be easy to suggest the Dodgers’ pitching was their Achilles’ Heel, but that would be the farthest thing from the truth their offense being almost anemic and pedantic during this Fall.

It is my belief Don Mattingly and his managerial staff did little to provide his players with any impetus or the desire to win, relying merely on the fact a jigsaw puzzle of ill-fitting pieces made up of highly overpaid stars would be enough to get the job done. It will be interesting to see whether not Andrew Friedman will be able to keep the team’s payroll for the upcoming season at a manageable level and by that I mean lower than the $200 million threshold , where baseball’s luxury tax kicks in ,with team, then having to pay a penalty for going above the aforementioned figure.

Money would be of no object, where the Dodgers’ is almost half that of the value of several teams within baseball and then you add in the fact , the organization has a two-decade $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) television deal , which reaps this organization $150 million annually. Not bad for a ball-club, whose lastWorld Series’ triumph came as far back as 1988. Magic Johnson, Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly , Peter Guber and several other partners are intent on making this franchise the most recognized within the game. Certainly , the Los Angels Dodgers’ name still resonates within the game of baseball , but that is all it has been able to do , because success remains hard to come by, with an uncompetitive brand on the field of play, especially with regard to their two most recent postseason appearances.

Bold moves might not be necessary, but there has to be a shakeup in the Dodgers’ roster, if they are to be seen as credible challengers this upcoming season. Dan Haren, Dee Gordon, and Hanley Ramirez have since departed from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster and there is the belief that several otherswill meet the same fate as those jettisoned this off-season. Pitcher Josh Beckett having pitched a “no-hitter” for the team during the regular season in a 6-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Phillies achieved little of note in the aftermath of the achievement. A free agent in 2015 , it seems highly unlikely he will be making a return to the Dodgers unless it is at a reduced salary , bearing in mind he was paid $15.75 million in the final year of his original eight-year deal signed with the Boston Red Sox.

I’ve often been told how insightful the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are said to be, but to my mind, I find the fans of the this ball-club eternally optimistic. For whatever reason, year in and year out, repeatedly , I am told this franchise can survive on their meager pickings and a fan-base that in reality , is no more than an average of 15,000 hardcore fans and that is in spite of the reported attendance levels for the team’s home games at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,, In what can only be described as another down year for this organization. The Tampa Bay Rays finished a distant fourth behind the AL East division winners the Baltimore Orioles , nineteen games out of first place . If that wasn’t a sign of how deplorable the team’s season was said to be, then consider the fact, they missed gaining a wildcard berth within the AL by eleven games . Inasmuch, as Joe Maddon and his coaching staff tried to motivate the team, the talent or level of play simply was not good enough to make a sustainable challenge over the course of the season.

The Rays are never really going to be able to compete with the likes of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers , Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs , much less teams considered to their market equivalent in terms of size. Furthermore , pointing to the fact the Rays are profitable without acknowledging the fact they are able to eke out such gains by way of an assist from the league hierarchy , indicates the complete lack of knowledge among this team’s fan-base. Yet, in spite of it all, the success attained by the Rays cannot be overlooked. Now comes the hard part, with the loss of such assets as Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon , how will this organization seek to rebound and reacquaint themselves to former heights of glory achieved ? Matthew Silverman comes in with a clean slate , but having to fill an extremely large pair of shoes left by his predecessor Andrew Friedman. Kevin Cash faces an even more daunting task , having to follow in the footsteps of the club’s most beloved and successful manager , Joe Maddon. This upcoming season might be the toughest this organization has had to face on record. Upheavals aside, the ball-club has reverted to ways of old , as they jettisoned players during and prior to the off-season, seeking to pare down the team’s payroll.

You can tell a great deal about an organization , when they are on the verge of losing their perhaps their best player. So, it was with the New York Yankees , as Derek Jeter’s career came to an uncompromising end. No postseason heroics or the raising of another World Series’ title, just a disappointing year for the player and the ball-club as Joe Girardi came up with a litany of excuses for a lackluster year-long performance by a team of undeserving players . Granted, the Yankees finished second in the AL East, yet, it was simply fitting the division’s champions, the Baltimore Orioles fell at the very first hurdle, when they succumbed to the Kansas City Royals in the championship series’ of the postseason, losing emphatically 4-0 in the ALCS. Emphasizing how poor the play just happened to be in the AL East, all season long.

A payroll of just over $200 million , much of it misspent , brought about lackluster returns, with Brian Cashman and members of the front office at a loss to explain what went wrong last season. An aging core of players who failed to deliver, with the likes of CC Sabathia , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner , Alfonso Soriano , Brian McCann , Hiroki Kuroda, Shane Greene , Mark Teixeira and others were said to be a core unit, this ball-club could rely on, to bring back some semblance of success, Instead they performed like a damp squib, lit to celebrate an event , but they simply fail to light up that event and make it a success. In the aftermath of it all, Brian Cashman is now said to be counting on the return of disgraced Yankees’ star Alex Rodriguez to resurrect the fortunes of this franchise in 2015. I liken that premise, of trying to place a square peg into a round hole ! Nothing about Rodriguez’s return to the game, will be of benefit to the sport, much less to the benefit of the organization. Idiotically, Cashman , Hank and Hal Steinbrenner stood idly by, as the player lied repeatedly, about his wantoned use of steroids, but they failed to reprimand the Rodriguez , leaving it instead , to a bumbling and incompetent hierarchy, first led by Bud Selig , who has handed over the reins to the equally inept , Rob Manfred ,succeeding his predecessor as the new incoming Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

What has become abundantly clear, is the very fact, the Yankees’ managerial staff and Cashman have no implicit faith in their farm system and the talent said to be on display within the lower rungs of the organization. The franchise has now become overly reliant on buying its way out of trouble rather than seeking to groom the alleged talent within its ranks. This off-season , we are likely to see an influx of new faces and a completely new lineup when the team takes to the field in their first regular season game of 2015. That contest, will be their home season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City, New York on the 6th April , 2015,.

There is no denying , as a professional sports’ franchise owner and businessman Jerry Reinsdorf has tasted success at the highest levels. His ownership of the Chicago Bulls during the well-chronicled era of Michael Jorda’s dominance of the NBA and their six NBA titles highlighted one of the brightest eras of the NBA’s history. Yet, the forlorn years of his ownership of the Chicago White Sox has brought that particular baseball franchise one championship , coming in 2005, when the team defeated the Houston Astros with in an easy 4-0 sweep of the then National League franchise. In the subsequent years things have not been so beneficial for the White Sox or their long-suffering fans. Since that historic second World Series’ win, the Chicago White Sox have made only one other postseason appearance , where they made it to the ALDS in 2008, only to suffer a series’ defeat (3-1) at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The White Sox organization has seen some major upheavals by way of the player personnel staff, managers and general managers over the past decade and a half. Through the midst of it all , the one bright spot has been knowing they have succeeded, where the Chicago Cubs have failed so dramatically in achieving> and that is to win a world championship. One hundred years and counting, the “monkey” has yet to come off the neck or shoulders of the downtrodden Cubs’ franchise. 1908 was the year the Chicago Cubs were anointed champions of the baseball world and there still seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Wrigley Field faithful.

The White Sox, this off-season have begun to spend lavishly , acquiring free agents as if they were an endangered species , with GM Rick Hahn now overseeing Baseball Operations for the ball-club. . Adam LaRoche , Zack Duke, Melky Cabrera and David Robertson have joined the staff of the Chicago White Sox. There is a clear thought process behind these maneuvers , and it may well be Hahn feels the window of opportunity for the Detroit Tigers is rapidly closing with their failure to make a spirited run to win a World Series’ title. The Tigers’ recent postseason failures have proven to be a bitter and ” hard pill to swallow for team owner Michael Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrowski, but the owner and executive continue to toil on.

With Dombrowski not being able to come to contractual terms with Max Scherzer , it would appear that the pitcher’s time with the Detroit Tigers could be coming to a close. Scherzer wants to be paid like a superstar based on his award winning 2013 season , but one of year stellar production is not the basis to be given a multi-year, multimillion dollar contract. Wisdom suggests calmer heads may well prevail, but yet in the world of baseball, logic tends to be thrown right out the damn window, as exhibited with the recent idiocy by the Miami Marlins and their signing Giancarlo Stanton to the most lucrative contract in baseball history and professional team sports’ history in North America.

Perhaps , only in the NBA and baseball, where the players’ contracts are guaranteed, do we tend to see this type of financial extravagance , while idiots try and suggest, both sports are being well-ran by their respective hierarchies and where financial expediency is actually being shown in both sports .

A meeting of the minds, has yet to happen, with the overwhelming presence of the NBPA and MLBPA sending the unions into conniptions, each time the words ” mandatory salary cap” are mentioned . I have always maintained, you can tell a great deal about a business or a sports’ enterprise simply based upon the trust between the two parties , the union, who represent the employees and governing bodies as the employers. If there is continued mistrust, then the likelihood , is that entity is in dire trouble, even when there is said to be millions of dollars being reaped , annually. Profits may well go a long way, but it clearly does not represent common sense or intelligence, being shown . Ask yourself this question, in spite of the popularity of the NFL, how is it, they repeatedly have so many pratfalls, many of which, are self-induced ? Have you been able to come up with an answer ?

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Picture gallery.

This upcoming season in baseball, which teams or players do you believe will provide the most excitement ? Also, do you believe the dominance of the San Francisco Giants can be quelled successfully by an NL opponent over the course of the year ? By all means, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it’s gratefully appreciated !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.
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(1) San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey left , is seen here with World Series’ MVP Madison Bumgarner , as the two celebrate the team’s Game 7 , 3-2 win , a victory over the Kansas City Royals , The series’ victory gave the Giants their third World Series’ triumph over the past five years and fifth overall . The Giants will enter 2015 without Pablo Sandoval , the ball-club’s 2012 Series’ MVP , who joined the Boston Red Sox during the off-season . AP Photo / Andy Addams …..

(2) Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates in the locker room after his team’s 3-2 Game 7 triumph over the Kansas City Royals. Bumgarner’s exploits this postseason placed him in the upper echelons of baseball’s postseason pitching history , with a number eye dazzling feats. The player was signed to a five-year contract extension by GM Brian Sabean securing their young star on very exceptional pitching rotation in 2015. quite possibly the best in the NL and MLB overall. AP Photo / Ezra Rodriguez ..

(3) Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington(left) is seen here with the team’s newest acquisition , slugger Pablo Sandoval . The Red Sox also acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Los Angeles Dodgers as an unrestricted free agent, signing both players to lucrative deals . Cherington hopes the duo will be able to provide the Red Sox offense with some additional firepower this upcoming season . Getty Images/ Alexander Hough …

(4) Chicago Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer ,left, is seen here with Joe Maddon as he is formerly being introduced to the convened press at the Cubs’ official press meeting, announcing Maddon has succeeded Dale Sveum as the club’s sixtieth manager in franchise history. The former Tampa Bay Rays’ manager left that organization after several successful years , taking the franchise from worst to one of the most competitive teams in baseball during his tenure. However, there seems to be some change of discord and the lack of leadership being shown within the front office , leading to Maddon’s abrupt departure along with the team’s former GM Andrew Friedman who joined the Los Angeles Dodgers to become their Head of Baseball Operations. Also pictured , Cubs’ President & SVP Theo Epstein. AP Photo / Michael Holmes …

(5) Los Angeles’ manager Don Mattingly looks on at his pitcher Clayton Kershaw as the pair , along with members of the coaching staff and trainers are in the dugout during a game played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles, California ,. The team made it to the 2014 MLB Postseason where they swept aside in the NLDS with consummate ease by the St Louis Cardinals . It was the second year in succession where the club had fallen to their NL rivals . Kershaw performed miserably throughout the postseason along with his teammates. With Andrew Friedman being hired to take over all personnel decision making and the lateral promotion of Ned Colletti , lead managing partner Mark Walter was adamant , sweeping changes had to be made. Several players have since been released by the ball-club , including Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez . More moves are expected to me made in the coming weeks . The Los Angeles Dodgers have at least four players on their current roster who will be earning in excess of $20 million this upcoming season , among the highest tally of the league’s thirty teams . Getty Images/ Hugh Davidson ….

(6) Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn (2nd from the right) introduces Jeff Samardzija , David Robertson and Melky Cabrera on Tuesday , Dec. 16, 2014 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois,. Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

(7) Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski ,left, is seen here alongside Prince Fielder , center and team owner Michael Ilitch after the team formally introduced the player to the convened press at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan , on 26th January, 2012. The player was signed as a free agent by the team, after Fielder chose not to re-sign with the Milwaukee Brewers. Prince Fielder’s tenure with the Tigers was short-lived and he was traded to the Texas Rangers where the AL West based team will assume the remainder of his existing contract . AP Photo/ Xavier Harris …

(8) February 17th , 2009 , Alex Rodriguez followed by GM Brian Cashman and Derek Jeter on their way to the press conference where A-Rod admitted using Steroids. With the retirement of the Yankees’ short-stop at the end of the 2014 season , Cashman hopes the beleaguered and still despised Rodriguez will be able to provide the team with the impetus needed to have a successful season . During his league imposed ban, Alex Rodriguez has chosen not to offer any public interviews to discuss his suspension , choosing instead, to prepare himself mentally and physically for the long haul of a one and hundred and sixty-two game schedule of the regular season . The player’s cousin , Yuri Sucart was recently indicted in US Federal Court alongside Anthony ‘Tony’ Bosch , (founder of Biogenesis) for running an illegal drug ring , along with the transportation and selling of steroids and other illicit drug paraphernalia . Getty Images / Tate Reynolds ….

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I can feel the burn just as much as she does ! So , what’s not to like ?

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Audrey Bitoni reveals more than natural beauty, she’s got a nice rack ”
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It’s still bad , at the top or the bottom and that’s as good as it’s liable to get .

It’s still bad , at the top or the bottom and that’s as
good as it’s liable to get .

College Basketball’s season has began and in many respects, the level of basketball of being played is not seen as glamorous as its professional counterpart within the NBA. Atop of the rankings remains one of the NCAA’s basketball powerhouses with the Kentucky Wildcats (9-0) casting its eye over the landscape where they reign supreme. John Calipari and his coaching staff having guided this team to the best record in College Basketball . This early in the season and one shouldn’t place a great deal in those standings as the teams have yet to find any type of consistency to their respective schedules.

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With the Wildcats ranked at number one, the second spot in the rankings is held by the Duke Blue Devils) coached by their acclaimed head coach Mike Krzyzewski, he seeks to win his fifth national title with the program. Krzyzewski and his team will be looking to be the dominant program once again within the ACC. Duke will likely be part of ” March Madness”,the climactic postseason soiree of College Basketball, unlike any other collegiate event. The Blue Devils’ next game will be against Elon in what is sure to be a lopsided contest. Kentucky will have a battle on their hands when they face the Pac-12 storied program UCLA (Bruins) in their next game .

To my mind, while the College Basketball season still remains in its infancy, we will not begin to witness the real resilience of the teams until mid January, when many of the programs have their sights set on the postseason fare and all of the visibility it brings. At the same time, there will be several players looking to shine with their displays in the run-up to that particular event.

Last season, in College Basketball the general belief and hype concerned players such as Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker , Joel Embiid and the litany of rookies drafted into the NBA. The presence of these freshmen, has simply proven to be one of the many reasons why the play in the league continues to be dire. Granted, there were always going to be bad teams in the NBA , but this season at this stage , how many of us could have imagined that so many of them would be playing so badly , with their being little coaching acumen being shown by the coaching staffs of these franchises ?

The Los Angeles Lakers have proven to be a monumental bust this season, with the team simply failing to show up, even then, it tends to be rather sporadic before they once again shift back to the depths of mediocrity . Not that Kobe Bryant and his teammates have been able to climb out of the morass frequently, judged on their play. Head coach Byron Scott could very well meet the same fate as his two predecessors if this continued ineptitude shows no signs of changing. Bryant for his partremains single-minded,not in chasing team goals , but more now at this stage of his career chasing personal goals. He is now nine points behind the career points’ total of Michael Jordan and his protagonists are trying to suggest it places the Lakers’ player on the same plateau as the NBA’s greatest player. That notion is simply asinine, needs to be seen as just sheer stupidity and without merit . Bryant will never be viewed as Jordan’s equal , never-mind being remotely close to him in stature or character.

Los Angeles will be on the road today, when the team meet the Minnesota Timberwolves . A game I might add, has a great deal at stake , with both of these Western Conference franchises looking to steer themselves away from the lower rungs of the conference. I have never been a great admirer of Byron Scott as a head coach even with his success coaching the New Jersey Nets, where he was able to take the franchise to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.

The Brooklyn Nets as they are now known , owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov . This season in particular, Prokhorov has seen his team struggle with head coach Lionel Hollins , seeking to instill a great deal of discipline into a lineup that seems to have no intent on playing an iota of defense on both ends of the floor. The fact that the Brooklyn Nets have by far the highest payroll in the entire NBA should not be lost on the fans or league hierarchy , who seem to have little sense of being financially prudent , much less the executives and owners around the league being prepared to show that sense of urgency on the matter.

Lionel Hollins will takes his team bearing a 10-12 record as they sit 6 1/2 games behind the Atlantic Coast Division leading Toronto Raptors (17-6). Brooklyn just happens to be 5-5 in their last ten games and on a two-game win streak. Brooklyn’s next contest will be against the Miami Heat on Tuesday evening when the two teams meet at the AA Arena in Miami, Florida,. Miami after the abrupt departure of LeBron James have sought to build their roster around the talents of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade , with head coach Erik Spoelstra seeking rebuild his lineup around this duo of stars.

Coming off a lopsided twenty seven point victory over what appears to be the hapless Charlotte Hornets , where the Nets sank sixteen three point attempts in this contest. The Hornets I believe are a team who remain an aberration in spite of last season’s success and their having made the NBA Playoffs this past year . Michael Jordan in his new found role as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats must hope his players are able to show the discipline needed to make another run at the playoffs. As good as we might assume the Hornets’ team to be there is clear evidence the front office and coaching staff cannot be entirely happy with what they have witnessed so far this season.

Kemba Walker remains the face of this Hornets’ franchise and it will be interesting to see what moves are made if any, by GM Rich Cho at the behest of head coach Steve Clifford as they seek to bolster the roster. Next up for this franchise will a game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the guests hope to place a dent in the hopes of the Cavaliers, as that team seeks to make a push at gaining the top seed in the Eastern Conference . James for his part, has lost none of scoring prowess as he leads the team in scoring and is well-placed in a number of other offensive categories . Yet, LeBron’s offensive prowess cannot be the sole proviso for the Cavaliers if they are to be successful this season, because his teammates will have to step up to the plate, along with David Blatt and his coaching staff showing a great deal more ingenuity than we have witnessed so far this season. Defensively , the Cavaliers have yet to prove themselves as one of the better teams in the conference or in the NBA overall . James and the Cavaliers’ next contest will see them line up against the Charlotte Hornets at home when they take the court at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio in front of a sold-out crowd on Monday night.

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans might be considered to be having a great season, with the power forward consistently being among one of the topscorers in the league on a consistent basis during the infancy of the Pelicans’ schedule and this NBA season. This is a far cry from what the fans witnessed last season from the team as they struggled to find some consistency during 2013.

The addition of Tyreke Evans has given the lineup a great basis for their progress with their being a greater emphasis on defense as well as offense from this young team . Davis has played like an early season leading contender for the League MVP and it would prove to be extremely difficult to state he is not justified to be listed among the leading candidates for the trophy at this juncture, one quarter of the way through the NBA schedule. There might be no more than five players who considered to be having great all-round seasons , but among those names, one might consider Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, James Harden of the Houston Rockets , DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings and LeBron James .

A narrow six-point loss to the the Golden State Warriors was a clear sign , that the New Orleans Pelicans are on the right track, but there is still a great deal of work to be done by this team , with head coach Monty Williams and his coaching staff undertaking the task to the best of their abilities. Team owner, Tom Benson having bought the franchise, rather than seeing it be relocated with the organization’s previous owner, George Shinn , only all too willing to plead poverty, has begun to engineer a turnaround , that will hopefully see a return to competitive play , but also a profitable economic return on his investment for the owner.

Steve Ballmer paid an exorbitant and outrageous $2 billion for the privilege of owning an NBA franchise. In doing so he merely helped the NBA hierarchy out of a hole of their own making, with the gutless David Stern showing that he has no stomach to come down hard and punish an owner for their egregious actions and behavior. Even when left to his successor, Adam Silver to mete out punishment to the now departed Donald Sterling , the league still found a way make themselves look like complete fools , in their handling of the former Los Angeles Clippers’ owner. Come full circle , with Ballmer assuming control of the organization and still within the fans’ midst remains, Rochelle Stein-Sterling , the estranged wife of the former owner. Somehow, the continued idiocy to be found within the NBA remains , even when a new e owner comes within its midst , with Steve Ballmer acknowledging Stein-Sterling and making her an honorary lifetime member of the organization, albeit, she is said to have been well aware of her husband’s despicable racial beliefs and overtures, during his tenure as the owner of the Clippers. In this case , not only has complicity being rewarded but also he sheer mendacity of Rochelle Stein-Sterling.

As the Golden State Warriors’ ascent has been well-chronicled , with the franchise having the best record (20-2) in the NBA, there can be no denying Steve Kerr has this team heading in the right direction. Joe Lacob , Peter Guber and the members of the front office knew the successor to Mark Jackson had to be someone with skilled basketball IQ, a disciplinarian and an individual who would fit in with the ideals the owners had in mind for their franchise. Jackson for his part, proved to be far too outspoken on a number of issues that bore no relation to the Warriors’ principles or that of basketball. Along the way , he showed his ignorance and some might say bigotry , yet this should be not lost on the public when one bears in mind how out of touch the league remains on a litany of social issues which David Stern and the league hierarchy barely paid lip service to.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have been the primary reasons why the Warriors are off to a flying start , with the team now on a sixteen- game win streak, easily their best start to a season and a franchise record. Curry has fast become a fan favorite, with Thompson not too far behind, with his growing influence and popularity among the Warriors’ fans around the league. These two players are likely to be among the list of candidates to be team’s representatives on the Western Conference All Star Ballot for the NBA’s mid-season showcase. The prowess shown by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson make the pairing a force to be reckoned with in the NBA and be looked upon favorably against any other duo of offensive players in the league.

Kerr and the Warriors will have their next outing against the Memphis Grizzlies , a team with the second-best record in the Western Conference , while leading their division with a great deal of ease. This contest will provide us with a great deal of insight about these two teams, where Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will lead a Grizzlies’ team intent on proving , they are to to be taken seriously as a legitimate threat within the conference as a playoff contender. I am certainly beginning to think the landscape has shifted within the Western Conference , where the only known commodities as perennial playoff contenders are the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, the defending NBA champions.

Two of the NBA’s most storied franchises are certainly having indifferent seasons. The Boston Celtics under second-year head coach Brad Stevens are still in the early stages of their rebuilding phase . A maneuver , I certainly believe GM Danny Ainge should have started at least three years ago, but inexplicably he chose to wait and here we are with a Celtics’ team still getting its feet wet and showing incrementals signs of improvement in their overall play. The New York Knicks remain an undisciplined team with their being little of positive recommendation to be made about this Derek Fisher coached lineup . To top it all , the Knicks’ front office remains clueless and that is with all due respect to Phil Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise, but even he has to see , his task has now become a great deal tougher than first thought. Anyone of the belief that a roster made up of players such as Samuel Dalembert , Tim Hardaway Jr , Iman Shumpert , Pablo Prigioni, Amare’ Stoudemire, JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony were going to possibly compete n this league would have to be delusional or simply long-term diehard Knicks’ fans who welcomed the torture they have been subjected to over the past decade.

Personally, I do not believe fans of the franchise are either eloquent or intelligent enough to succinctly state the problems this team faces but yet they appear to be of the belief Jackson will be able to engineer a quick turnaround. Well, the famed head coach will not be stepping back into his coach’s shoes anytime soon and it is clear to see Fisher is way in, over his head. As to this continued idiocy, the coaching staff is experienced enough to guide these players, clearly that has become a farce of epic proportions. If anyone is trying to suggest Kurt Rambis and Roger Hinds can provide the tutelage needed, let alone assist Fisher to the best of their abilities in making this roster remotely competitive. The evidence is there for all too see, as borne out the team’s record without the continued asinine excuses being made for their plight. A five-point loss suffered at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Sunday evening at Madison Square Garden , served notice as to how soft the New York Knicks have becomeand the fact this team is simply not that good by any stretch of the imagination to compete in the NBA.

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While I know the NBA season remains very much in its early stages , we have already reached first quarter of the schedule. The troublesome and prevailing premise has to be, when are we likely to see any type of improvement from the teams at the bottom end of the pedestal ? Certainly there is a great deal of room for improvement from the likes of the Brooklyn Nets , New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, but their issues are of their own making and not likely to get any better anytime soon. By all means, leave a comment as to your thoughts on the NBA and what you would like to see come out of this season concerning the teams ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) North Carolina’s Marcus Paige , middle, looks for a teammate amid Kentucky defenders, from left, Aaron Harrison , Dakari Johnson , and Willie Cauley-Stein during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game , Saturday, Dec. 13th, 2014. Kentucky won 84-70 . AP Photo/James Crisp

(2) North Carolina’s Marcus Paige , left, draws a charging foul on Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. AP Photo/James Crisp …

(3) Duke’s Tyus Jones (5) shoots past Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Madison, Wis. Duke won 80-70 . AP Photo/Andy Manis …

(4) Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski , left, and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan greet each other before an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Andy Manis ….

(5) Oct 7 , 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) posts up against Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis . The Pacers would go on to defeat the Timberwolves 103-90 . Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports ….

(6) Klay Thompson , Shaun Livingston and Festus Ezeli of the Golden State Warriors during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 14, 2014 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Lane Murdoch Jr . …

(7) Anthony Davis (23) of the New Orleans Pelicans looks to make an offensive play as DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers looks to defend . Davis has been one of the league’s most explosive players offensively , during this season and by far the most effective power forward at this juncture of the NBA schedule. The Clippers would go on to defeat the Pelicans 120-100 in a high scoring game played on the 6th December , 2014 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California ,. Getty Images / Paul Fleming …

(8) LOS ANGELES – FEBRUARY 23: The Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff (L-R) Brian Shaw, Kurt Rambis , Phil Jackson, Frank Hamblen and athletic trainer Gary Vitti share a laugh on the bench during the game game against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on February 23, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 122-96. Rambis is now the lead assistant on Derek Fisher’s coaching staff of the New York Knicks where Jackson is now the Head of Basketball Operations for the Knicks’ organization. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images …

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Lana del Ray …. “Ultraviolence ”

News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …


News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …

Well once again as we approach a festive period , in this case, Christmas and all of the alleged joy it is meant to bring .Sports’ fans are left to ponder what is happening within the realms of professional sports. The NFL remains a complete farce and once again we had a Thursday Night Game which failed to live up to expectations. The Arizona Cardinals (11-3) found a way to eke out a victory over the rather inept St Louis Rams. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians , believes incumbent starting quarterback Drew Stanton has what it takes to lead the team all the way to the Superbowl . Based on the events of the last night’s contest , I believe the head coach is delusional and definitely jumping ahead of himself !

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For the present Arizona has the best record in the NFC and will be looking for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The NFC West, where Arizona has a comfortable lead over their closest rivals , is now a division, which is theirs to lose . As to the continued idiocy and buffoonery by some, who believe the San Francisco 49ers (7-6) were good enough to gain double-digit wins for the season , well their year has been completely turned upside down with the head coach Jim Harbaugh no longer being seen in a favorable light by the front office led by CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke. Whether not Harbaugh returns next season is now open to a great deal of debate and conjecture. The Niners have a divisional clash on Sunday afternoon against the defending Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks and that contest will certainly be a ” make or break game ” for the team.

Colin Kaepernick will certainly have to now prove his worth beyond his audacious contract , one which he now has to live up to in more ways than one.

With the Cleveland Browns (7-6) still in the thick of things within the AFC North and fighting for their very lives, looking to make the postseason for the first time in almost twelve years , it remains to be seen whether or not this team can make that premise a reality. Head coach Mike Pettine has decided to sit starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor the team’s draftee Johnny Manziel and so the era begins for a player, many believe lacks the maturity to play in the NFL. The Browns’ coaching staff may well live to regret this decision, should the team fall at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) when these two AFC North teams meet in a decisive and pivotal division game on Sunday afternoon. Manziel will get the chance to show what he is made of and perhaps persuade his doubters and actually prove to them , he is the future of this franchise.

The NBA season continues with a number of teams already in complete disarray. The Toronto Raptors (16-6) and Golden State Warriors (20-2) are the respective conference leaders within the league as we reach the first quarter of the NBA’s eighty-two game schedule. Undeniably , there is still a long way to go before the season reaches its climax , but already we are beginning to see the frustration among the fans as well as a number of players , because of the continued poor play of the teams. Needless to say , teams such as the New York Knicks (4-20) , Philadelphia 76ers (3-19), Detroit Pistons (3-19) , Charlotte Hornets (6-15) , Minnesota Timberwolves (5-16) and Los Angeles Lakers (6-16) are no longer having to prove why they are so inept . Just take my word for it they are and will remain so over the course of the season based on their current play. Neither of the teams mentioned, have shown any signs of real competitiveness and clearly that has been shown in the results seen this season.

For all of the praised heaped upon Phil Jackson as a head coach , it has to be said, the expectations and his being able to work a miracle by turning around the misfortunes of the New York Knicks have been way beyond his control. The team is in complete disarray , with no signs of life now being shown. The situation will not be helped with Carmelo Anthony being sidelined due to an injury and as the team’s best player and offensive threat , it becomes easy to understand how dire the situation has become for the franchise. Jackson was brought in to head up the Knicks’ operations and now as the Head of Basketball Operations as well as holding a position as a Senior Vice President, the former head coach is witnessing the fact , the job of an executive is not as easy as first thought. Add in the culture of the New York Knicks’ fans and fan-base who have been starved of success for years and weight of expectation from the perceived savior, may well be now in doubt.

The indignity now being suffered by the New York Knicks apart from their dire record and the fact they are on a ten-game losing streak adds to the ineptitude witnessed from this team. Their last victory came in defeating the lowly and even less effective Philadelphia 76ers in a 91-83 win , which took place on the 22nd November , 2014. Hard to say where there are meant to be any positives to be found concerning the Knicks without delving further into the fact, they have a rookie coach , Derek Fisher and a coaching staff who are clearly out of their depth . The team’s next game will be on the road when they face the Boston Celtics (7-13) at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston , Massachusetts on Friday evening .

To now understand how dire things have become for the New York Knicks , consider the fact at the start of the season the franchise did their utmost in getting Carmelo Anthony to re-sign with the team with the player signing a five-year $124 million deal , tying him to the Knicks for the next years. Now comes word, the front office is said to be contemplating trading the NBA All Star and former scoring champion , but the premise would be based on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause. Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 and his $ 22.5 million salary is not necessarily cap-friendly to a team wishing to acquire the player much less obligate themselves to the remaining four years on his current deal. Undoubtedly, Anthony would be a desired player by a franchise looking for offensive firepower , but it is my belief the forward’s desire would have wish to be traded to a credible contender. The New York Knicks for their part are obviously seeking pieces which would complement their roster while looking to the future , whatever that may well be. Though this current situation is by no means the fault of Phil Jackson, it is my belief his arrogance and sheer complacency in not seeking improve the roster during the off-season, has led to this current debacle. For years this franchise has stumbled with their repeated pratfalls and lack of sheer insight as to what what was needed to improve their plight , without delving into the fact team owner James Dolan remained negligent in his responsibilities as the senior executive within the Knicks’ hierarchy. Come full circle and the New York Knicks are now heading aimlessly nowhere and an organization without a clue as what to do next .

It becomes asinine when fans try compare the careers of players from one generation to the next , before one of the athletes in question has actually retired .Yet like the ever anal retentive idots within the sports’ world, there will always be the fan or pundit seeking make an argument as to the merits in such a case . With Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant recently passing the plateau of 30,000 career points , the lead among active players and placing him among the top-ten all-time scorers in NBA history. Now as Bryant inches closer to the career points’ total of the player the greatest in the game’s history , the comparisons are now being made between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan . The former Chicago Bulls’ great, his career being well-chronicled , as been littered with accolades at every level of the game and it should be noted Jordan won an NCAA title at the collegiate level , whereas, Bryant made the jump straight from high school directly to the professional ranks of the NBA, forgoing a college career. Both players have won multiple NBA titles , Jordan’s six to Bryant’s five. Each has been a recipient of the Finals’ MVP Award and League MVP Award. Yet, the comparison should end there , because Bryant has become an anathema and petulant child, now resorting to chastising his teammates and the Lakers’ organization , publicly . Something, Jordan chose not to do publicly , and it was only with the advent of the breakup of the championship winning team in the Bulls’ last triumph under the auspices of general manger Jerry Krause , where the player was critical of the Bulls’ organization. specifically of Krause and his wish to breakup the winning team from that season. The similarities can end there , in-as far as the players may well have been critical of their respective hierarchies .

Kobe Bryant now finds himself in something of a dilemma as he plays on an uncompetitive team short on talent and coaching prowess being brought to the table by Byron Scott and his coaching staff. One could go as far as to suggest, Scott might be doing an even worst job than his two previous predecessors, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown , two former Lakers’ coaches who simply struggled to lead the franchise to any type of meaningful success during their respective tenures. Steve Nash remains unavailable to the team and Jeremy Lin , has proven to be about as useful as a dish-cloth being used to mop up an oil spill in the middle of an ocean. Beyond Lin, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill , there is very little to suggest the Lakers can survive the long haul of an eighty-two game schedule , let alone remain being competitive.

With a 6-16 record the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 13 1/2 games behind the division leading Golden State Warriors . To put it mildly , the Lakers are no longer the best NBA franchise in the state of California , a mantel they have held for a number of years , in particular in recently history , up until the 2012-13 season .

The Los Angeles Lakers are equally abysmal at home as they are on the road , further enforcing the fact they cannot win anywhere , let alone provide an opponent with some meaningful competition . Coming off a 98-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings their next opponent will be defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs in a game to be played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The resilience shown by Los Angeles could go a long way in defining the remainder of their season and whether not drastic changes are likely to be made at the trade deadline by GM Mitch Kupchak .

You have to admire rapper, entrepreneur , budding media mogul and now owner of an upstart sports’ management empire , seeking to challenge the likes of CAA , Top Rank , IMG , Golden Boy Promotions Inc as the next big thing in sports’ management and promotions. Jay-z , having accomplished a great deal as a musical artist , has now set his sights on becoming not only a boxing promoter , but also the manager of a stable of fighters. His fledgling agency RocNationSpotrts under the umbrella of parent company RocNation has entered the field of boxing promotions and management. Having been granted a license by the New York State Athletic Commission , his company will now seek to sign up and coming fighters to his stable of established sports’ personalities and athletes. Nevermind his coterie of renowned musical talent within the RocNation empire. Anything, which furthers the profile of boxing and can drag it out of the depths of mediocrity has to be seen as a welcomed thing , but given the lack and dirth of talent , I am not so sure, Jay-z will be as successful in this endeavor as he has been with his other commercial enterprises . Far be it for me to suggest , with the likes of Victor Cruz , Geno Smith , CC Sabathia , ,James Young said to be having indifferent seasons within their respective sports. It has to be said, an upswing of sorts , is needed for the agency. The biggest high-profiled athletes within the agency remain , Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant , Ndamukong Suh and Dez Bryant .

Boxing needs a dose of fresh air and creativity, because the likes of Don King and Bob Arum have been about as beneficial for the sport as the US Congress can be likened to have been of benefit to the country over the past six years. Inactivity, continued partisan bickering and infantile behavior, have become synonymous on Capitol Hill , just as much as it can now be witnessed within the sport of boxing. Needless to say, there are those who might think otherwise , perhaps due to their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of intelligence.

MLB’s Winter Meetings are not yet in full swing , but there has been abundance of trade activity since the postseason came to an end. A newly crowned World Series’ champion in the San Francisco Giants , and the witnessing of the largest individual contract being signed in professional sports’ team history, when Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed an outrageous $325 million deal , far dwarfing the next biggest contract in baseball. Needless to say, there are those , now questioning the wherewithal within an organization , which has been just as quick to jettison high-salaried players , as it has been to feign poverty , while team owner and billionaire art dealer Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the Marlins’ fans as well as the league hierarchy , whom it appears have willingly let Loria get away with his unscrupulous behavior. Yet, baseball remains a law unto itself , with their being very little financial prudency being shown by the teams let alone with some of the most senior leaders within the league’s management .

Can anyone actually justify the $25 million salary paid to outgoing commissioner, Bud Selig , this past season or the fact , his successor Rob Manfred is likely to be paid in excess of that sum in 2015 ? All of this, coming at a time when a number of teams can barely survive on their gate revenues and still turn a profit even with endorsement deals from major corporate sponsors and that is without taking into account the ever growing payrolls around the league .

The Miami Marlins were far from convincing last season within an NL East division, which was sub-par and mediocre . One only has to understand that fact , in seeing how easily the the division’s winner , the Washington Nationals were brushed aside with the utmost ease during the postseason. Miami for its part, will continue to make good on its promise, to bolster their roster for the upcoming season with a number of deals, as they seek to make themselves competitive , in face of the alleged stiff competition within their division , the NL and the league. This might be just as good as it gets for the franchise, before they are back to ways of old , and the jettisoning of high salaried players.

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Picture gallery.

During 2014, which major sporting event has provided you with the greatest pleasure and which to your mind has been the most disappointing ? Chime in with a comments as you see fit on this and anything else you believe of merit concerning the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) St. Louis Rams’ Kenny Britt (81) sits on the field following an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam ..

(2) St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) reacts after the Rams turned the football over on late downs late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam …

(3)St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher left, talk with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians following an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles from Oakland Raiders linebacker Miles Burris (56) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. San Francisco would go on to lose the game 24-13 . to the Raiders. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ..

(5) Johnny Manziel will be making his first professional start in a regular season game when the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an all AFC North clash on Sunday afternoon , the 14th December during week fifteen of the NFL regular season schedule. AP Photo/ Reece Carr …

(6) New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony reacts after a foul in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 4, 2011. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 119-115 . There now seems to be mounting speculation the Knicks might be willing trade the player with their season now spiraling out of control , but it would take Anthony to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate such a deal, likely to involve multiple teams and several players. UPI/John Angelillo

(7) Michael Jordan, left and Kobe Bryant whose careers are not intertwined by a great many meetings on the court , but clearly Bryant’s game was modeled on Jordan’s iconic stature . UPI / Roger Powell ……

(8) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins having signed the most lucrative deal in baseball history hopes lead the franchise to greater glory this upcoming season . The organization has also signed their NL Rookie of the Year , pitcher , Jose Fernandez (16) to a long-term deal , using both players as marketing chips to lure fans back to Marlins Ballpark , in Miami , Florida . A venue, which in recent seasons has been sparsely attended . Miami Herald / Octavo Figueroa …

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You can’t squeeze those to make lemonade, but you can get a whole lot of milk and a great deal of pleasure from giving her an assist .

A case can be made ….

A case can be made ….

The four teams have been set for College Football’s playoff format and while there will continue to be disagreements as to the merits of the four programs atop of the rankings. While no one can deny Alabama has been the best team in College Football this season , questions are likely to be asked as to why TCU (Hornfrogs) was not given a higher ranking . Yet based on the merits , we can only accept findings of the panel as being diligent. With the Bowl games still in tact , those programs not rewarded with the chance of taking part in the inaugural playoff system will still be part of a lucrative postseason extravaganza. Make no mistake , money remains the sole driving force behind this new format, alongside College Football’s wish to be seen as changing with the times . The first of those Bowl Games will be on the 20th December when Utah faces off against Colorado State .
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Squaring off the right to be designated as the national champion in what will amount to the semi-final round of the Playoff Format will be the number one ranked Alabama (Crimson Tide) staring down to face Urban Meyer and number four ranked Ohio State (Buckeyes) . The two opposing coaches Nick Saban and Meyer have a combined six national titles between them. In the other title bearing contest we have Oregon (Ducks) and their Heisman Trophy leading candidate Marcus Mariota leading the team against the defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) . With so much at stake for the quartet of teams , it will be interesting to see how both contests will come to their respective conclusions on the 1st January, 2015.

I am not about to suggest that either Alabama or Oregon will have their way with their opponents in their contests, but the prevailing thought might well be these two teams would provide the fans of College Football as well as the nation at large the best possible finale sought ,with their being ranked number one and number two in the nation. Granted, Ohio State and Florida State will have other ideas with view to upsetting the perceptions of those favoring the top-two contenders.

There has been little to suggest this has been none of the more memorable seasons in in the annals recent NFL history . If anything this year has provided us with a litany of games we would rather forget , with so many teams playing sub-par football and their being very little defense being shown in a wide variety of ways . Week fourteen provided us with another reason why you can never take anything for granted in today’s NFL and that point was so well emphasized in the San Francisco 49ers’ embarrassing loss to the lowly and hideously abhorrent Oakland Raiders . To suggest Jim Harbaugh’s players were simply complacent would be an understatement and while the Raiders should be lauded for a splendid effort, let us not forget the team’s record and their play over the course of this season. As to what one think of the Forty-Niners and their rapid fall from being the title contenders to quite possibly also-rans, can quite clearly be answered as speculation continues to mount Jim Harbaugh’s future and whether or not he will be returning to the organization next season. Harbaugh’s name has been linked to a number of positions around the NFL as well as within the College ranks , but for the moment, there has been no formal statement from the head coach or anyone within the Niners’ front office .

San Francisco has a 7-6 record and even if this team manages to notch up double digit wins , which seems highly unlikely at this juncture , with their play being so inconsistent and their remaining schedule decidedly shaky. Ten wins will not be enough to secure them a sixth seed conference berth and postseason guarantee , much less a chance of actually winning the NFC West. The division remains in the Arizona Cardinals’ hands and theirs lose if they begin to show any signs of complacency.

Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers will be on the road when they face divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks in ” must win game” for the visiting team as well as the hosts. A loss for Seattle loss would put a dent in their postseason ambitions, but their position as a wildcard team still remains intact for the moment , but as I alluded to earlier , a victory if of the utmost priority for Pete Carroll and his players . Kaepernick may well feel that he bears a certain amount of responsibility for the team’s failures this season , but it has been a collective effort the players as well the coaching staff led by Jim Harbaugh , who have provided the inept performances we have seen from the team this year.

Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals will head to St Louis , Missouri to face the St Louis Rams in an all NFC West clash in the Edward Jones Dome Stadium , to open up the regular week fifteen schedule on Thursday night. Hopefully, both teams will show a sign of solidarity in the aftermath of the tragic events which took place in Ferguson , Missouri,. The violent protests which have taken place cannot be condoned , yet at the same , it gives credence to a much broader based tide of discontent that many simply do not understand or wish to acknowledge, there remains inherent racism within their confines. This is one sign of which, much of America has no wish to address , instead, seeking to show its apathy, continually burying its head in the sand on the “issue of race” .

I wholeheartedly believe Bruce Arians has to be seen as the front-runner for the NFL Manager of The Year ,after a fantastic job done in coaching his team one of the best records in the NFL . A mark currently shared by three other teams , likely to be looked upon as the prohibitive favorites for this season’s Superbowl . Whether or not the Denver Broncos , New England Patriots from the AFC will be there, joining the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers in their respective conference championship games remains to be seen.

It would not be an understatement to admit the NFC South has been the worst division in the NFL all season long . How anyone can equate or justify their brand of football as being relevant, let alone acknowledge the winner of the division will gain entrance into the postseason is beyond belief. Just as College Football decided to make change in its playoff format , the time has now come for the NFL to do the same where a division winner does not have a better record than a conference rival .If it means that team having won its division has to miss the postseason because one more teams have the advantage then so be it . However, with that in mind and the league’s Competition’s Committee and Roger Goodell looking to expand the postseason from eight to twelve teams , I get the impression isn’t seeking increase the level of competition , but solely looking to extract more revenues which comes courtesy of the NFL’s major corporate sponsors without taking into account the hundreds of millions of dollars which comes the NFL’s way at the time of the Superbowl . Avarice within this league remains limitless and the boundaries are forever being broadened and sought by the league hierarchy.

It would not be an understatement to admit the NFC South has been the worst division in the NFL all season long . How anyone can equate or justify their brand of football as bein relevant, let alone acknowledge the winner of the division will gain entrance into the postseason is beyond belief. Just as College Football decided to make change in its playoff format , the time has now come for the NFL to do the same where a division winner does not have a better record than a conference rival .If it means that team having won its division has to miss the postseason because one more teams have the advantage then so be it . However, with that in mind and the league’s Competition’s Committee and Roger Goodell looking to expand the postseason from eight to twelve teams , I get the impression isn’t seeking increase the level of competition , but solely looking to extract more revenues which comes courtesy of the NFL’s major corporate sponsors without taking into account the hundreds of millions of dollars which comes the NFL’s way at the time of the Superbowl . Avarice within this league remains limitless and the boundaries are forever being broadened and sought by the league hierarchy.

The Atlanta Falcons (5-8) jointly lead the NFC South alongside the New Orleans Saints , with Sean Payton being overly optimistic , suggesting the Saints have yet to play their best football and can still contend not only for postseason berth but also for the Superbowl itself. New Orleans’ struggles can be emphasized with the other three divisional occupants the fact, all four teams rank in the lower rungs of the NFL defensively. For head coaches Mike Smith, Ron Rivera , Sean Payton and Lovie Smith , this has been a season where not only have their teams underperformed but I believe their coaching abilities have to come into question ! A year on from having won the Coach of the Year Award Ron Rivera has seen the Panthers stumble to a (4-8-1) record with only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11) seated below them within the NFC South. With Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton likely to be sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering non life threatening injuries in a car accident. One could suggest the team’s the season is now likely over and their now having to rely on backup quarterback Derek Anderson . Misfortune or not , with or without Newton, there can be no denying the Carolina Panthers have performed poorly throughout this season.

Carolina will play host to Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game likely to be high-scoring contest, but not necessarily an entertaining game. The Atlanta Falcons will look to stymie the ambitions of the Pittsburgh Steelers , who are in a tough divisional race within the AFC North. Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints will have a Monday Night contest against the Chicago Bears whose season has capitulated under the poor performances of Jay Cutler and a very under-achieving Bears’ team.

It has been almost six years since the Dallas Cowboys(9-4) had a winning season but now having found themselves tied in dog-fight of a divisional race with the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) , Jason Garrett and his team’s intestinal fortitude will be tested over their remaining three games of the season. That test will begin in earnest when they face the Eagles in the late Sunday night game to be played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania,. This contest will be a make or break shoot-out for both teams with a divisional crown at stake and Nick Foles and Tony Romo on opposing sides of the ball. The quarterback providing his team with the most consistent play is likely come out of this game , leading his side to the victory. For Jerry Jones , this gives the Cowboys’ owner something finally to ” crow about” , but I get the feeling, should his team fail to make the postseason his embarrassment will not be hindered in any way , as he suggests, there have been positives coming from this season. Jones simply loves the sound of his own voice, even when he makes the most ridiculous of statements.

If Gus Bradley , Rex Ryan and Mike Smith return to the NFL in their current capacities , will be honestly surprised. Ryan in particular , has been a monumental bust in his role as head coach of the New York Jets (2-11). His team sits firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East and showing absolutely no signs of life without looking at the play of both Geno Smith and Michael Vick over the course of this season . Ryan seems nonplussed that the Jets have squandered their opportunities and even with hindsight anyone who believes this team with its current makeup was good enough to compete within its division let alone the rest the NFL has to be extremely misguided.

For Gus Bradley it has not been about what if, but more so to do with , where do we now go from here ? Having drafted quarterback Blake Bortlesin the 2014 NFL Draft . The player has shown he is capable of playing but unfortunately he is not surrounded by a great deal of talent in the specialist areas needed on offense for the Jacksonville Jaguars . Needless to say , a 2-11 record will not cut it for a franchise starved of and for success without knowing the organization has one of the lowest attendance level in the NFL , something which has been ongoing for several seasons. Team owner Shahid Khan having spent almost $800 million to purchase the Jaguars , he has tried in earnest to rebuild this organization from the ground up. He has yet to see anything tangible one would equate with success and with the team yet to have a winning season since he assumed control of the franchise in 2010.

As losers of three of their last four games Jacksonville will head into Baltimore to face the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC clash. John Harbaugh and the Ravens will be looking to make some inroads into the slender divisional lead held by the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) , in what has turned out to be the tightest divisional race in the NFL .

It is extremely difficult to have any empathy with the NFLPA (union) much less the NFL under the leadership of Roger Goodell . While the commissioner has not been able to distance himself from the incompetence shown in dealing with the Ray Rice issue . With the team owners having voted unanimously to initiate a revamped code of conduct policy , it does appear rather recalcitrant for the union to question the right of the league to initiate such a policy while having shown little propensity to rein in the behavior of their members . NFLFPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith remains a hypocritical @ss with Executive Committee and Board of Player Representatives showing little concern , if any, concerning the events reported concerning Rice , Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald. Idiots have even come forth, trying to use the law and tenets of innocent until proven guilty to excuse the behavior of McDonald, who jokingly an interview with the press, acted bemuse as why all the fuss over his laying his hands on his pregnant girlfriend. Begs the question if a female remains not off limits to to abuse then what they do they believe to abhorrent and distasteful in terms of personal conduct ? McDonald may well have plead not guilty to the charges with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office then stat there was insufficient no evidence to suggest there was ever an act of abuse , but what they failed to actually detail, was this was not the first time such an accusation had been ever leveled against the Forty Niners’ defensive lineman. Pattern of behavior ? Go figure .

It is extremely difficult to have any empathy with the NFLPA (union) much less the NFL under the leadership of Roger Goodell . While the commissioner has not been able to distance himself from the incompetence shown in dealing with the Ray Rice issue . With the team owners having voted unanimously to initiate a revamped code of conduct policy , it does appear rather recalcitrant for the union to question the right of the league to initiate such a policy while having shown little propensity to rein in the behavior of their members . NFLFPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith remains a hypocritical @ss with Executive Committee and Board of Player Representatives showing little concern if any , for the events reported concerning Rice , Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald. Idiots have even come forth, trying to use the law and tenets of innocent until proven guilty to excuse the behavior of McDonald, who jokingly an interview with the press, acted bemuse as why all the fuss over his laying his hands on his pregnant girlfriend. Begs the question if a female remains not off limits to to abuse then what they do they believe to abhorrent and distasteful in terms of personal conduct ? McDonald may well have plead not guilty to the charges with the Santa Clara County District Attorney , then stat there was no evidence to suggest there was ever an act of abuse , but what they failed to actually detail, was this was not the first time such an accusation had been ever leveled against the Forty Niners’ defensive lineman. Pattern of behavior ? Go figure .

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As the NFL season heads down its final stretch run what do you believe to be the event to have taken place in the NFL by way of the games or story which you think the most relevant ?

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(1) Nick Saban , left, head coach of Alabama meets with Urban Meyer , head coach of Florida in a press interview prior to the 2009 BCS title game , between the two programs . The pair will meet again when Alabama faces Ohio State in newly formatted playoff system in College Football . The winner will then play for the national title against the winner of the contest between Florida State and Oregon . AP Photo / Chris Dempsey …

(2) Marcus Mariota (8) of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State will meet in the second of the two semi-finals games which lead to the winner of that contest having the privilege of playing for the national title. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper in a recent statement made the prognosis that neither Mariota or Winston are elite NFL franchise caliber quarterbacks . Kiper has very little credibility when it should be noted he spends a great deal of time consorting with agents than he does judiciously assessing college talent . That asides, should anyone really take note of what he necessarily has to say , when his only spiel is one of guaranteeing debate and very little else of merit ? Getty Images / Sam Turner …

(3) Brandian Ross (29) of the Oakland Raiders gets his arms around Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter at the O.co Coliseum on December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. Getty Images/ Brian Bahr ….

(4) Head coach Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals is seen here on the sidelines with quarterback Drew Stanton . In the absence of the injured Carson Palmer , Stanton has assumed the role of starting quarterback for the team . Arians believes the player good enough to guide the Cardinals all the way to the Superbowl . AP Photo / Claire Howard …

(5) Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley , left , is seen here alongside the team’s 2014 draftee Blake Bortles , center and team GM David Caldwell . AP Photo / Matt Harris ….

(6) DeMaurice Smith ,left , Executive Director of the the NFLPA is seen her alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The continued discord between the two entities , the league hierarchy and union, remains adversarial , with the union now question the veracity o f the league’s new player conduct policy , voted into effect unanimously , by the NFL’s thirty-two franchise owners. AP Photo / Rich Morris …
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Shit does roll downhill, but it is even harder to try and push it uphill …

Shit does roll downhill, but it is even harder to try and push it uphill …

It has to be either naivete’ or a complete lack of intelligence , when fans try and suggest a team “tanking” their season and then hiring a legend will actually lead to an immediate turnaround for that franchise. Rarely does that happen in the world of sports today , and much the premise is predicated upon the staff being in place and their being able to acquire the right talent to put their plan into play. In the NBA this season, we are seeing that the New York Knicks is an organization still in transition , but even more so, a complete mess in terms of their performances during the schedule. While the hiring of Phil Jackson has to be lauded, the hire is no guarantee of success down the road , in spite of his legacy and the level of success achieved during his coaching career. This current chapter of Jackson’s career is completely a new one in its entirety and we should be reminded, he will have deal with one of , if not the most incompetent owners in the NBA , with James Dolan presiding over this franchise as its senior most executive and owner. Dolan’s ineptitude can be measured in a litany of ways , with perhaps the most infamous being, the decision to hire Isiah Thomas to head the Knicks’ Basketball Operations. A chapter which failed miserably on so many counts, with Thomas himself, having assumed the head coaching position during his tenure. The less said about those episodes , the better the case can be made the franchise is now in a better position, but not by much based on their current play.

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Twenty games into the season and the New York Knicks are an abysmal 4-16, and based on their current pace this team is unlikely to win more than twenty games when it is all said an done. Granted, Jackson hired a rookie head coach, with Derek Fisher succeeding Mike Woodson into the coach’s roll, but here too, it is hard to fathom what type of coach Fisher is likely to be, given his lack of experience then assessing his staff of coaching assistants. As experienced as many of them are said to be, it is likely to Fisher’s decision and his alone likely determine the strategies we see on the court , even with the input of Phil Jackson there for him to fall back on. Carmelo Anthony remains the lone offensive threat for the Knicks, but here too the team has failed miserably , with no one else on the roster willing to step up to the plate on nightly basis for this franchise. From a defensive standpoint the team has been woefully inept at home and on the road.

In one of the Knicks’ most contests the team just hhappened to be on the wrong side of a heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James had less than memorable performances in the in the match-up of two of the Eastern Conference’s less than competitive franchises this season .

Derek Fisher’s team will get the chance to redeem themselves when they face the Charlotte Hornets at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina on Friday night , in one of the NBA’s night of scheduled contests. New York currently leads their season series 1-0 , having won their first meeting by a narrow three-point margin 96-93 on the 2nd November , 2014. Friday’s contest might not prove to be as compelling, given their present status within the conference or their respective divisions.

A one game win-streak doesn’t season make, but in the case of the Philadelphia 76ers, it could be the victory that either defines the Sixers’ season or continues their morass as the worst team in the league at this point of the NBA schedule. Head coach Brett Brown remains forever optimistic, trying to suggest his young corps of the players , the youngest in the league are still capable of being competitive. Having gained their first victory of the season, defeating the Minnesota Timbeberwolves the climb out of the depths mediocrity has just become slightly less embarrassing, but not my much.

At 1-17, it is hard to imagine how things could get any worse for the Sixers , beyond the fact the league hierarchy seems to be condoning this style of ineptitude by several teams around the NBA. Changes in the format of the NBA Draft Lottery has done little to dispel this type of ongoing charade by Philadelphia , when you bear in mind their standing at the end of last season and their draft position in the first rounds of the drafts of 2013 and 2014. Sixers’ team owner Joshua Harris and GM Sam Hinkie suggest they are showing the inclination that the franchise’s wish is to build for the future , but I find that concept hard to believe when there is no veteran experience on the roster to lead by example for young players such as Joel Embiid , Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams , last season’s Rookie of the Year has proven to be good , but not great or a leader by example. Granted , he might just be the best player on the Sixers’ lineup , yet that is by no means of any real consolation for a team that has been a constant reminder of sheer ineptitude in the NBA this and last season .

Philadelphia will have as their guests the Oklahoma City Thunder when the two teams meet on Friday evening and where Russell Westbrook will hope to lead his teammates in the absence of Kevin Durant , who remains sidelined by an injury. After an ignominious start the Thunder are back to playing some semblance of competitive basketball. The point guard has been very impressive upon his return to Thunder lineup this season. Westbrook is averaging 26.5 ppg in his last two outings, and providing the offensive firepower sorely missed by the team with Durant out of the lineup.

Currently lying in third place of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference 9 1/2 games behind the division leading Portland Trailblazers (15-4), Oklahoma City Thunder will have to make some inroad in to the lead if they are place themselves in contention a competitive assault on the second quarter and half of the season. Scott Brooks and his coaching staff will be looking to his players to remain consistent as well as competitive in what is turning out to very tough divisionand conference.

I may well be mistaken , but Flip Saunders and team owner , Glen Taylor created the mess that has engulfed the Minnesota Timberwolves this season . Saunders the Timberwolves’ head coach , minority stakeholder and Head of Basketball Operations in conjunction with Taylor, made the decision to trade Kevin Love , rather than seeking build a competitive roster around the power forward. There has been nothing at all endearing about the Timberwolves this season and with the never ending rumors as to the dissatisfaction of Ricky Rubio , it simply makes you wonder whether or not , the mercurial and talented Spaniard might be bold enough to seek a trade. Can the Timberwolves do enough to dissuade the player from leaving the franchise. It as not as if the head coach brought in any refreshing ideas that might be of benefit to the team ? Having been the first team to fall at the hands of the 76ers was bad enough, but it has been plain enough to see , Flip Saunders remains clearly out of his depth as a head coach , along with his coaching staff.

Going into Friday night’s game against the Houston Rockets the Timberwolves must be aware their season is on the line for this franchise along with its long-term well-being. A playoff berth has eluded the Minnesota Timberwolves for the past several years , with their last appearance coming during the 2003 NBA season . first-round loss to the Los Angeles Lakers sealed their fate (4-2) in the NBA Playoffs , where they were the top seeds in the Western Conference that year. Hard to imagine a decade later and the team entering into the playoffs during that season was led by Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, Fred Hoiberg, Mark Madsen , Wally Sczerbiak ,Michael Olowokandi and Oliver Miller , to name but a few.

If it is December and the Los Angeles Lakers are playing badly , then expect Kobe Bryant sooner or later to begin to harangue and chastise the organization and indirectly a number of his teammates. There is not a great that can or needs to be said about a team so lacking depth and overall talent. Needless to say, you can point an accusing finger at Mitch Kupchak and the exceedingly poor job he has done in drafting players over the last few , seasons as well as the failures of free agent acquisitions , most notably Dwight Howard . The center’s failure to acclimatize himself to the rigors and task of playing in a major market , indicated that he not only lacks the maturity to perform on the “big stage”, but the hyperbole surrounding him was never really justified , even with his having won multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards .

A year on from his departure , Howard is now playing “second fiddle” to James Harden of the Houston Rockets’, while his former team , the Lakers continue to look for semblance of consistency , character and dare I say it , leadership ? Kobe Bryant still yearns to be viewed as a winner , but clearly this team is not going to provide him that all elusive sixth NBA ring and title . Head coach Byron Scott and his staff have their work cut out for them in having coach one of the worst defensive teams in the entire NBA. Needless to say, with Bryant supplying the brunt of the offense, while customarily throwing up more bricks than a bricklaying mason , the question has to asked, who on on the team steps up to the plate to share the load with Kobe Bryant , or are we likely to see the player repeatedly just put on a one-man show night in and night out over the remainder of the season ?

As of the 5th December the Los Angeles Lakers held the bottom rung of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , while clinging to a mediocre record of 5-15. Pretty much sums up the Lakers’ season so far. Kobe Bryant has signaled his wish to sign on with the team for another two years , but I am not sure he is willing to offer home town discount , with his now averaging just over $24.25 million per year on his existing contract. May be , the Los Angeles Lakers can live with that type of risk-reward , but given the stage of his career where Bryant now finds himself at, there seems to be no real advantage in taking the player up on the offer at the time he becomes a free agent in 2016 and it is not as if the organization has used any type of due diligence in assembling a roster to complement Kobe Bryant over the last two seasons. A seventeen-point loss to the Boston Celtics summed up the ongoing issues the Lakers continue to face with any last vestiges of dignity, having been flushed down the crapper after another dismal display . When they face Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Staples Center on Sunday , I can only hope for the sake of the Los Angeles’ Lakers fans’ sake, their team actually show them (fans), they do possess a backbone . This season, there has been little evidence to suggest the Lakers even have that amongst their artillery.

Just as the Los Angeles Clippers can be considered to be the Lakers’ bi#ch or lapdog ,whichever colloquial term you feel fits the the persona. Then, so too, do the Brooklyn Nets as it equates with the New York Knicks. Granted, neither the Knicks, Nets or Clippers have won an NBA title in the last two decades and their combined appearances in the league’s showcase finale in the time-frame mentioned , would amount to two visits , all by the Nets.

Bearing a record of 8-10 the Brooklyn Nets are struggling and for GM Billy King and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov this has already become another season of discontent , with a team payroll among the highest in the NBA. I have to believe that some drastic changes are needed for the makeup of this roster, either before the trade deadline or at the time of its being. A twenty-three point loss to the Atlanta Hawks was not only a cause for concern, with Lionel Hollins and his coaching staffobviously bewildered why this team has performed so poorly to start their season. With experienced players such as Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett , Andrei Kirilenko , Jarrett Jack and Brook Lopez there is clearly a disjoint as to why a team thought to be so talented cannot get out of the way of their own mediocrity on both ends of the court .
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Personally, I have never had an inclination to believe the Nets were ever good enough to win an NBA title, even with the wealth and resources of their billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Barclays Center ,home to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA’s most lavish venue remains an extravagant edifice to opulence and a “White Elephant” . Attendance levels notwithstanding, there is little to suggest the Nets’ front office has the wherewithal to place a competitive product on the court, much less having an economic template to make this franchise a profitable endeavor beyond the value of the commercial and residential value of the entities which surround the Barclays Center, many of which are owned by the Russian billionaire , Prokhorov,through his US business holdings, Onexim Sports & Entertainment Inc and parent company Onexim Group .

Next up for the Brooklyn Nets will be a home game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York when they will have as their guests LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers . With the Cavaliers on a six-game winning streak and point guard Kyrie Irving recently scoring a season high 37 points in the team’s demolition of the New York Knicks on Thursday night in a road victory , there is every reason to believe Cleveland’s winning streak is likely to be extended against a Nets’ team completely devoid of any defensive capability. LeBron James and Deron Williams will also get the chance to renew an under-appreciated player rivalry in the NBA .

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Picture gallery.

Given what you have seen up to this pointof the NBA season do you believe there can be room for improvement among the teams as they enter the second quarter of the schedule in the build up to the All Star festivities and thereon after ? Simply chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on this particular subject matter and anything else you believe relevant to the NBA.

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(1) Dec 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Jefferson (25) shoots the ball over New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire (1) during the second half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hornets defeated the Knicks 103-102. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports ..

(2) Dec 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA;New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher looks on during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hornets defeated the Knicks 103-102. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports ….

(3) Dec 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller (40) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

(4) New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan, left , is seen here alongside Phil Jackson who returned to the Knicks in the capacity of Head of Basketball Operations &SVP within the Knicks’ hierarchical structure . GM Steve Mills will take his lead from Jackson and cede to him all personnel decisions made concerning player personnel . During the off-season the Knicks will have several decisions to be made concerning the makeup of the team’s lineup entering into next season. AP Photo / Marty Cooke ..

(5) PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 5: Nerlens Noel (4) of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to pass against the Orlando Magic during the game on November 5 , 2014 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Noel along with Joel Embiid and Michael Carter-Williams it was hoped would make a solid impact for the Sixers , but instead the team has failed miserably, while having the league’s youngest roster , where the average age is twenty-two, as well as seven un-drafted making up the twelve-man roster. Even with the experience of head coach Brett Brown , formerly an assistant to Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. NBAE Photo by Jesse Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

(6) Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard Ricky Rubio is having an indifferent season as is the team in general . Flip Saunders might well be left contemplating the trading away of the talented Spaniard who is not due to become free agent until 2018 . There has been a great deal of indifference among the fans of the Timberwolves’ , who have seen the departure of Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers. AP Photo / Mary Morris ..

(7) Kobe Bryant (24) is seen here court-side as he and head coach Byron Scott discuss a game plan. Not much has gone right for the Los Angeles Lakers this season . The team has struggled on both ends of the court , with only the guard seemingly providing the brunt of the offense. Unfortunately, it has not been all to the benefit of the Lakers, but more so to the personal benefit of the player as he recently broke the 30,000 career points’ plateau , leading active players and ranking him inside the all-time top ten in NBA history. UPI Syndicated Press …. @ copyrighted material …

(8) From left to right , Joe Johnson , Deron Williams and Bojan Bogdanovic are seated court-side during a game this season. The Brooklyn Nets have been adisaster on the court with their being little resilience being shown with a team that is the highest paid in the NBA. Team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov for the past two years has been willing to have his franchise carry that dubious honor, while failing to gain any type of meaningful success . The Nets’ most recent NBA Playoff appearances have ended with the players showing little appetite to perform to the best of their alleged abilities . AP Photo / Chris Hendricks ….

(9) Brooklyn Nets’ head coach Lionel Hollins, left, is seated next to GM Billy King, as Hollins is introduced the convened press announcing his signing to succeed Jason Kidd as the head coach. Kidd was abruptly fired by organization after the former Nets’ player made it known he wished for more input /on all personnel decisions concerning the team . The Nets made the NBA Playoffs last season, but fell short of their goals that year . Getty Images / Amy Hughes … …

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The Larry O’Brien Trophy . A championship, each of the NBA’s teams will be in pursuit of this season .

It’s the economy and this time also, it’s the NFL, stupid …

It’s the ‘ economy ‘ and this time also, it’s the NFL, stupid .. ..

When George H W Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan to become the country’sforty-first President, it was felt he inherited an economy and a bright prospective era to lead the US to even greater prosperity. Unfortunately, Bush’s economic template set forth and his own ideas as to the direction the country ought to be heading, went South with, such rapidity that it was beyond belief, but of no real surprise to those who had their doubts as to the merits of his legacy as President. While he served the country with dignity , which is all one can really ask of the Commander-In-Chief, the question also has to be what accountability is there when we have an executive who skirts the Constitution and the laws of the land for political and personal gain ? These questions are most certainly being asked of and aboutBarack Obama , the nation’s forty-fourth President.

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Roger Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue and it was seen as the mentor handing over the keys to a Ferrari to his protege’. In the subsequent years , Goodell has managed to force this vehicle the NFL right off the road and into an abyss of sheer ineptitude both on and off the field of play. Image-wise, the league is now at an all-time low and with the recent reinstatement of NFL running back Ray Rice, many have now began wondering whether or not Goodell can remain in his position as the league’s highest-ranking executive. The commissioner for the moment, still has the backing of some of the most prominent franchise owners in the NFL, namely Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, Steve Bisciotti, Jed Yorke, Arthur Blank, Dean Spanos, Jim Irsay and Woody Johnson.

While many now question whether or not the NFL can withstand another high-profiled incident, we should be reminded the league has withstood a great deal more and manage to survive, but what has brought this moral blight into the spotlight, has been the league’s mishandling and lack of understanding concerning the issue of domestic violence and spousal abuse. I mean hell, you simply have to look at the idiocy of Roger Goodell’s statements in the aftermath of the Ray Rice incident, the lack action from Steve Bisciotti and the Baltimore Ravens’ front office executives, never mind the coaching staffled by John Harbaugh whose own actions were not only troubling, but also, his lack of candor on the matter.

Ray Rice’s arbitration case found in his favor, leads to his automatic reinstatement, but now comes the question as was to which NFL franchise will likely sign the player to their roster, knowing full well they are most certainly going to face a backlash by some fans , the press , women’s groups (NOW) and most certainly a number of the league’s corporate sponsors. We have seen the financial loss and cost to Adrian Peterson as well as the Minnesota Vikings , and with that franchise’s season already in tatter and no signs of real leadership amongthe playing staff, you have to wonder how they will go into their inaugural season in their new multi-billion dollar stadium and the likelihood of being without the best player in that franchise’s history. It seems inconceivable team owner, Zygi Wilf will seek to retain Peterson’s services when fans , corporate sponsors and certain areas of the press are calling for his dismissal from the team once and for all. His current suspension ongoing until the end of the season might not be seen as harsh a punishment for his transgression, but one has to also bear in mind that this was not the first such incident involving the player , but the first where he was charged by law enforcement and the act of child abuse for which Peterson pled guilty and now has to undergo parenting classes , probation and financial penalties , beyond the legal costs of his case.

The results this season in the the NFL, have not been unlike any other year and with it comes the poor coaching , lack of real playing ability among the teams and the players , in many ways I believe to the over expectations of the fans ! Prognosticators making predictions as to who the best teams are likely to be, are purely doing so to create a debate which will be ongoing throught the season and let’s be honest, that debate certainly doesn’t hurt the odds-makers in Las Vegas whose lines are used to lure in the bettors like insects being drawn to an incandescent light. The “house always wins” and they generally, do with a greatdeal of ease .

Coming into week fourteen there is still a great deal to play for , with several divisions still up for grabs as well as the conference berths determining which teams will be added alongside the two top seeds from each conference as well as the divisional winners. Being brutally honest, the NFC has now become a minefield, with far too many of the top teams showing not only their inconsistency, but alsotheir vulnerability in so many ways.

Opening up this week’s schedule will be an all NFC clash between the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears when these two teams meet at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday night , 4th December , 2014,. Marc Trestman and the Bears are as much as in need of this win as are the Cowboys. The opposing quarterbacks Tony Romo and Jay Cutler are at the point in their careers where looking ahead doesn’t seem to be as advantageous or beneficial when you consider what they have achieved up to this point, during their tenures in the NFL.

From my own perspective, this game between the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears will be either highly entertaining or a complete eyesore. Contests between two teams have either been exhilarating just understated and a great of that has been predicated upon the play of both Romo and Cutler during those games. With the Bears and Cowboys coming off losses in week thirteen, trying to determine winner between these two teams, will be like trying to separate soiled diapers from the rest of the family’s dirty laundry . Not an enjoyable prospect at all .

You can either choose to harangue Eli Manning and the New York Giants (3-9) for for a forgettable season and the fact that the two-time winning Superbowl quarterback has been just as responsible for the team’s poor play as his teammates and the entire coaching staff of head coach Tom Coughlin who should consider himself extremely lucky if he asked to return for next season. All the signs seem to be pointing to the fact, he will join a list of at least four NFL head coaches likely to lose their jobs at the end of this season, if not sooner.

As of seven straight games the New York Giants have not endeared themselves to their fans or the analysts covering the NFL and if anything, they have now become the butt of so many jokes , that it has become extremely hard to try and justify how anyone can still consider Eli Manning to be among the best quarterbacks playing in the NFL. Without his postseason record the player has very little fall back on to even remotely justify those previous claims. This being a team , coming off a loss to one of the worst teams in the NFL when they fell the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10). In watching the Giants play has become a constant reminder why the NFL can at times be exacerbating as well as overrated by means of the alleged quality of the teams. New York has become a complete anathema unto itself , with a defense sorely lacking> and an offenseas incompetent as any to be found in the NFL today.

Eli Manning and the Giants will be seeking to gain their fourth win of the season when they go on the road to face the Tennessee Titans (6-6) at LP Field in Nashville , Tennessee,. The odds might narrowly favor the home team but at this juncture that is about anyone’s guess as to the outcome of this game. The hype surrounding Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham may well be great, but when measured up against the team’s incompetency witnessed this season, can someone explain to me what it all means at the end of the day ? Comments at this juncture are more than welcome !

New York Jets’ Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath believes there will be sweeping changes be sweeping changes made to the Jets’ roster as well as within the front office at the end of this season. Duh ! That has to be blatantly obvious to anyone with an ounce of damn common sense , but then again we are talking about the New York Jets, where common sense and intelligence have not necessarily gone hand in hand when it comes anything concerning this organization has tried to achieve over the last two seasons. Let’s just say, this franchise has become an affront to anything one might have found decent concerning the NFL . Has there been any time over the last year and a half when Rex Ryan’s position might have been in more jeopardy ? His coaching ability has come more into question this season than at any other time during his tenure and that is without his belief in second-year quarterback Geno Smith , whose play this season has me now wondering why the franchise was in such a haste to get rid off Mark Sanchez , simply because of the infamous ” butt fumble ” incident and his apparent lack of command in securing the ball during a game. By comparison Smith’s play makes Sanchez look like the second coming of Joe Montana. The Jets’ starting quarterback and his back-up Michael Vick just might be the worst tandem and that is with due respect to the teams who are equally as inept as the AFC East franchise.

A Monday night loss to the Miami Dolphins has sealed the Jets’ fate and almost certainly made them among the teams likely to have first round pick among the top ten in the 2015 NFL Draft . As to whether not the New York Jets will make the choice of a quarterback their primary pick remains to be seen but given the evidence on display with Smith and Vick , it is my belief that is the likely route to be taken by whoever the general manager is likely to be. John Idzik’s position is just as much in danger after just two seasons as the lead personnel executive for the franchise. That situation is likely to become even more dire should the Jets fall to the Minnesota Vikings when the two teams meet this Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis , Minnesota ,.

How the mighty have fallen and the fall from grace for Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III might be the most unexpected thing we have witnessed this season. Often injured , performing poorly and now head coach Jay Gruden has seemingly lost all faith n the franchise quarterback and the face of this organization on the field of play. The fact that back-up Kirk Cousins has been just as inept. It has been left to the team’s third-string quarterback , Colt McCoy to lead this franchise to two of their three wins this season, all of this by a player whose salary ranks him among the
lower echelons of the NFL’s quarterbacks.

Having no wish to be dismissive of Jay Gruden and the Redskins , this mess was of their own making , right from the beginning, from the very moment Griffin first went down injured and the very fact there was an extreme rush to have the player back on the field, but at the same time the quarterback has done himself no favors with his sporadic play and lack deference to his teammates and coaching staff while believing himself privileged . Now that he has been humbled, it also appears his career with the Redskins could come to an abrupt end. Rumors are now circulating the franchise might be prepared to listen to offers for their beleaguered first round draft pickfrom the 2012 NFL Draft . However, before that scenario comes into being Griffin and the team will have to play out their season schedule, hoping to gain some semblance of consistency over the time-frame in question.

Fedex Field will be the scene of the crime when the Redskins play host to the St Louis Rams in week fourteen. The Rams for their part will be looking to make things more difficult for their opponents in a “statement game” for both NFC franchises .

Ex NFL players tend to have a high regard for their insight on the game, even when N their own careers tend to be nondescript and offering very little by way of success. Such as been the case, with Shaun King, former quarterback in the league and whose own career failed to provide any memorable highlights on his stops around the NFL.

King in a rather blatant statement, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback has been candid in his belief Johnny Manziel will be a ” complete bust “ in the NFL . Right or wrong, Shaun King has provided little clarity as to his reasons why, Manziel will be a failure, other than to declare his love-fest for Teddy Bridgewater the second quarterback taken in this season’s NFL Draft . The initial calls were for Manziel to be inserted into Mike Pettine’s lineup from the very start , but I believe the over-zealousness came from everyone thinking Manziel would be an instant “smash” leading the the Cleveland Browns to instant success, merely because of his college career. Pettine chose instead to go with Brian Hoyer as the Brown’s starter this season, with the team having a great deal of success while in the divisional hunt for the AFC North crown. The Browns face a tough conference game when they play host to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in what is sure to be one the highlight games during this weekend’s schedule.

Have I missed something, but this constant idiocy of there being a need for an NFL franchise outside North America seems to be taking on new tones stupidity by fans without a damn clue as to what is exactly entailed in acquiring a team from its very start-up , never-mind the underlying costs ? So much so, that when I hear this bull#hit being g be reawakened and talk of a team in London , England. I have to ask myself which imbecile will be prepared to stump up the half-billion dollars ($ 500,000,000) or more needed to make this all a reality ! No one seems prepared to answer the question, but many , are all too willing to offer up where a new franchise outside North America ought to be. Well, if there’s yet to a renewed interest from vested parties in the topic, other than Jerry Jones offering his laughable ideas on the subject . given the fact his franchise might be on the cusp of missing the postseason. Is it possible Jones is seeking to take the spotlight off Jason Garrett and Tony Romo, even if it is momentary ?

The wealthiest individuals in the United Kingdom have shown little interest in owning an NFL franchise and if anything, they know they can derive even greater revenues from owning an English Premiership soccer team than a franchise an NFL team. Profitability might be skewered, but the global exposure is far greater from Premiership soccer than their being calls for the NFL across the globe.

Proponents of the issue will continue stir the pot on this matter , issue while being able to offer little of note to the ongoing debate. The one thing we are able to gather from this all and it is , there is less appeal for an NFL franchise in the city of Los Angeles at present, even when you have the likes of Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group seeking that to be their next goal, beyond bringing a World Series’ crown to “City of Angels”. For two years in succession the Dodgers have failed miserably in that particular quest and in reality , their concentration should be centered on what ails the team, rather than their egos being massaged by another commercial sports’ endeavor outside of baseball. Los Angeles may well house the nation’s second largest ad-market, but its appetite NFL franchise does not appear to be all that palatable at present. Certainly not with the city having to deal with its fiscal woes, even with the local political dignitaries trying to convince their residents this would be in the best interests of their city.

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Picture gallery.

Throughout this NFL season what do you feel might have been the biggest obstacle overall the league had to overcome ? Was it the adverse publicity because of continued player misconduct ? Or was it, the lack truly entertaining games over the course of the schedule at present ? By all means take time to offer up your thoughts on the matter as you deem fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) George H W Bush, the forty-first President of the United States of America . His Presidency has often been ridiculed, as one , lacking in depth and stature. Bearing in mind , those who have succeeded him , one can see it as high praise or simple ridicule .

(2) Left , Barack Obama , President and the current occupant of the White House. Right , Roger Goodell , NFL Commissioner and the NFL’s highest ranking league executive. Both men have been rounded on by the press and public alike for their autocratic rule and lack of communicative skills . It is difficult to suggest, which of these two executives might be viewed as the most incompetent in their respective positions. Washington Times / Keith Cardell …

(3) Arthur Blank , owner of the Atlanta Falcons and one of the most prominent backers of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. This season , Blank has seen his team falter within the NFC South and there seems to be an ongoing feeling thought, head coach Mike Smith will not be asked to return next season . Getty Images / Darren Woods …

(4) Adrian Peterson(28), left and Ray Rice (27) , perhaps two of the most despised athletes professional teams sports at present.. Rice having won his arbitration hearing hopes to sign on with a new team before the end of the season . Something that on the face of it seems unlikely , but given the propensity of this league to routinely overlook a player’s egregious behavior the former Ravens’ running back could on a roster before the end of this season. Peterson has been suspended by the league hierarchy in adherent to the NFL Personal Conduct Policy . His return to the NFL this season seems unlikely and it remains to seen if the Minnesota Vikings will cut all ties with the player. AP Photo/ Ed Harper …

(5) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys and Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears . The two players will lead their respective teams in the Thursday night game which opens the week fourteen of the NFL schedule. This will be the third career meeting between Romo and Cutler over the course of their professional careers. Dallas Morning Star ….

(6) Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants reacts after throwing an interception in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on November 23, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Dallas would go on to defeat the Giants 31-28 . Getty Images / Al Bello

(7) Eli Manning(10) of the New York Giants throws a pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on November 23, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images / Al Bello …

(8) Robert Griffin III (10) is seen here on the sidelines with Washington Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden during a game against the Houston Texans . The Texans would go on to defeat the Redskins 17-6 inflicting another loss for Washington . AP Photo/ Sarah Aldridge …

(9) Shaun King former NFL quarterback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Arizona Cardinals . King is now an NFL analyst with NBCSports and covers the league, offering his insight on the game. Courtesy of NBCSports …

(10) Johnny Manziel,left , is seen here with his Cleveland Browns’ teammate Brian Hoyer. It has been Hoyer who started the season taking the majority of the snaps with the rookie contributing sparingly this season for the team . USA Today / Tim Fuller …

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Up in the air , heads above the clouds ….

Up in the air , heads above the clouds …

By Tophatal

It was interesting weekend in the weekend in the world of sports , acclaimed Hollywood actor and former Oscar, Best Actor nominee, Mickey Rourke at the age of sixty-two decided to to resurrect his boxing career. Well, with his acting career , somewhat on the decline, Rourke has painstakingly fought to get himself back into shape, for what he says is a serious attempt to legitimize himself as serious athlete in the sport. At an age in Hollywood, where leading man status are so few and far between , Mickey Rourke’s attempt as a boxer now seems comical. His bout in Moscow , Russia against a journeyman boxer , the loser of nine of his last ten bouts was not only idiotic, but his this contest against Elliot Seymour , was simply a non-event.


Rourke’s bout in its entirety against Elliot Seymour .

Rourke’s opponent in this match, put up as much resistance as the French, when they were under siege in Paris during the second World War (WWII) . Claims that the bout and result was staged as nothing more than a gimmick, with the state authorities governing the sport under pressure to conduct an in depth investigation in the match, has to be met with a state of realism and I would say derision ! Personally, from my standpoint, nothing concerning the outcome happens to be a surprise at all anymore ! The sport of boxing has now become a paradoxical paradigm and a complete joke ! With fans now yearning for a multi-million dollar mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao , the thought process has to be any damn gimmick to heighten the interest in a waning sport has to be better than nothing at all.

Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

Elsewhere , within the AFC West both the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers came away with victories, that kept their divisional and postseason hopes alive. Peyton Manning and the Broncos had an easy victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , while the Chargers came away with a narrow win over the Baltimore Ravens, leaving John Harbaugh’s team in a tightly contested divisional race in the AFC North. John Harbaugh’s sibling , Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers saw his team put up a rather inept performance as the Forty Niners went down without much of fight in a 19-3 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The loss might well have sealed the fate of the Forty Niners with this divisional loss and their chance of the NFC West divisional title outright. There remains mounting speculation also, concerning the future of Jim Harbaugh, as there seems to be a growing discord between the head coach and senior executives within the organization’s front office. GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke may well come to the decision to relieve their head coach of his duties at the end of the season. Among the NFL teams said to be interested in the services of Harbaugh are the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.

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The best contest of this past Sunday in the NFL was the eagerly anticipated match-up between Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This was only the second professional meeting between two of the league’s most outstanding quarterbacks. With everything to play for including the best record in the league, this contest lived up the expectations and a great deal more. Brady was unable to mount a game-winning drive or come from behind win as the Packers came away with a home victory.

Green Bay not normally known to have a stout defense held the Patriots’ offense to five first-downs and under one hundred rushing yards in the contest .New England for their part face a tough clash when they go on the road to play Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego, California on Sunday afternoon.

The College Football season has seen its highs and lows but this past weekend may well have sent reverberations around the game’s landscape with the death of Ohio State Buckeyes’ player Kosta Karageorge . The defensive lineman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, with his body being found in a dumpster not far from the college’s main campus in Columbus , Ohio,. Columbus Police Department are not treating his death as suspicious, but their ongoing investigation has revealed that Karageorge had been suffering with bouts of depression as well as repeated headaches brought on by concussions likely suffered during his playing career with the Buckeyes. Kosta Karageorge was also an accomplished wrestler and member of of the Buckeyes’ wrestling team as well as being part of this season’s sixth-ranked team in the nation. It has been seen as a devastating blow to the program as well as to his teammates and his fellow students on campus .

Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer has offered his condolences to Karageorge’s family on their loss, but I cannot help but wonder where were the coaches and the team’s medical staff as well campus counselors in the midst of this all ? For years we have been told by the NCAA and many of the more prominent coaches within the game, stressed that safety has been of the utmost importance, but neither NCAA President Mark Emmert or Urban Meyer himself, have ever stressed that to be of utmost importance and whereby the schools or college athletics’ governing body have jointly conducted an in-depth study of the cause and effects of blunt force head trauma from an extremely physical and violent sport such as College Football. While this issues still remains something of a ” hot potato” in the NFL , with Roger Goodell either backtracking or seemingly trying to be proactive on the issue, it is becoming abundantly clear, the only things that seems to matter to the conference commissioners and coaches , are the burgeoning financial windfalls to the sport and the level of publicity raised for the respective programs. Whether not Karageorge’s death will lead to a rethink on the part of the NCAA or Ohio State and how they treat the issue of concussions suffered by athletes will be predicated upon the actions of the athletics department and coaching staff moving forward. As to the NCAA itself, it continues to be an archaic and corrupt organization devoid real leadership and ingenuity.

Ohio State (11-1 ,8-0) stand atop of the Big Ten Conference and on track to garner a playoff berth for the inaugural season of the postseason format in College Football. Next up for the team will be the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Wisconsin (Badgers) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana on the 6th December , 2014. That contest should be a rip-rousing affair with both teams seeking to impose their will against each other.

As Mississippi State’s season has been curtailed after their loss to Alabama (Crimson Tide) in a classic SEC game as has often been the case with the best conference in College Football. With the Bulldog’s fall from grace , so too possibly has the chances of Dak Prescott to win the Heisman Trophy . The Bulldogs’ quarterback is having an exceptional year and though the defeat has led to their dropping down in the rankings, while Alabama’s ascent to the top seems to have happened with the utmost of ease, although they are are a one-loss team. Defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) and their troubled Heisman Trophy star Jameis Winston remain unbeaten and on track it would appear, to make their way back to the national championship game. Any slip-up by the Crimson Tide or the number two ranked Oregon (Ducks) and the Seminoles will be a ” shoo-in for one of the two final berths for the title game.

Oregon’s quarterback Marcus Mariota and his team am are in still in the running for a championship berth and a case could very well be made they might be more deserving of one of the two berths than Florida State whose schedule might well be deemed inferior to the Ducks’ over the course of this season. The upcoming games for both teams are likely to prove to be intriguing with Florida St taking on Georgia Tech (Yellowjackets), while Oregon will pursue Arizona (Wildcats) in an all Pac-12 clash.

The NBA season has been dire and were not yet one-quarter of the way through the schedule. Suffice to say, a number of teams’ seasons are essentially on track to franchise leading paths to possible ineptitude and most certainly at this juncture it is definitely the case of the win-less Philadelphia 76ers, who now bear the mark of starting their season on a sixteen-game losing streak. At this point, it would be fair to suggest that the Sixers haven’t a shot in hell of winning the NBA title though they might well be on the path to leading the NBA for the second time in three seasons> for sheer ineptitude .

It is hard to imagine how the league hierarchy and a number of NBA analysts can continue to look the other way, when a franchise such as the Philadelphia 76ers can continue to demonstrate such monstrous ineptitude, while trying to point to the fact that the level of play in the league, is said to be great, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Brett Brown and his Sixers’ team will have the privilege of facing the defending NBA champions at home on Monday Night when the San Antonio Spurs come to town. Neither defense or offense have been prerequisites of a 76ers’ team actually starved of creativity and the very fact Brown and his coaching staff appear to be out of their depth. A seventeenth consecutive loss does seem to be on the cards and the league’s longest losing streak of twenty-six games ought to be Philadelphia’s for the taking .

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If someone can impart some wisdom upon me, as why I should have any belief in two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, then I would like to hear from right now ! To witness how bad the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become is a question as to how inept their owners and respective coaching staffs are said to be . One can wax on lyrically about the fact Mitch Kupchak has won four NBA titles as a front office executive and Phil Jackson’s legacy as an NBA head coach makes him, perhaps the greatest NBA coach in the league’s history. Let us however, put it all into context, Kupchak has not actually been able to assemble a roster without the talents of two superstars to provide the Lakers with their most recent successes. I would dare say, without the insight of his predecessor Jerry West, their five most recent titles would not have come into being without the acquisitions of Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal. With the last of the franchise’s triumphs coming in 2010 , albeit, that O’Neal was no longer part of those two final series’ victories.

This season the Lakers’ 4-13 mark places the team at the bottom of the Western East Conference with no respite in sight. As to what this might suggest about the coaching acumen of Byron Scott and the mediocrity of the roster will play a great deal in how this organization is likely to move forward, as they approach the trade deadline. Coming off a seven-point victory over the Toronto Raptors may well provide the Lakers with the momentum needed, but it has become abundantly clear this team is far from being competitive enough to be in with a remote chance of winning their division, much less a conference berth as an eighth seed or better for the NBA Playoffs .

I am not saying the New York Knicks have capitulated , but even Phil Jackson had to have known James Dolan’s request for him to assume control for all player personnel decision moves, was not going to make his job any easier. He has a player roster that has marginal talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony and beyond that the pickings are threadbare.

The saying is , ” it’s not easy being cheesy “. Well , the Knicks have been that and a great deal more, with it being a reflection of their current record in the NBA. Feeling sorry for this team is akin to seeking to make an amends for an obese individual, who has no intent to look after their health .I mean, it is not as if this New York Knicks have actually shown a propensity to improve over the course of this season, as borne out in their standing within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, where only the Philadelphia 76ers lies beneath them in the division. To bear this out further, on Sunday night, Derek Fisher and his rag-tag of a team hosted their heated conference rivals the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York. As hosts, the Knicks succumbed to the Heat , with the utmost of ease, and their being no resilience shown by New York throughout this entire contest. Once again, it was left to Carmelo Anthony to try and carry the Knicks on his back, as he has so often done throughout his career with this franchise. If Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills cannot recognize the real issues on this roster, without this incessant idiotic belief that the ‘ Triangle Offense ‘ will aid this team , then the proponents of that idiocy, clearly have no damn idea as to what the hell they are talking about concerning this roster and their play , ultimately in this case, the lack of it .

Next up for Fisher and the New York Knicks will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets 6-9, the Big Apple’s other franchise whose own woes are no better than their conference rivals. New York ” bragging rights” or not , this is likely to be one spectacle that the NBA’s fans can do without as two pitiful teams face off against each other.

A last place finish in the AL East was enough to convince Tom Werner and John Henry , owners of the Boston Red Sox that something drastic had to done to bolster last season’s roster . GM Ben Cherington wasted no time in making a big splash signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez . Boston’s acquisitions are unlikely to be over as they may well seek to make further additions to their projected roster as well losing several players to through attrition via free agency.

Having committed almost $200 million in acquiring both Ramirez and Sandoval , you simply get the impression the Red Sox will not stand idly by while the Baltimore Orioles , New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays seek improve their rosters. Oh wait, let’s be real, the Rays are unlikely to make that sort of financial sacrifice to begin with, as the front office would rather penny-pinch , bitch and whine all the way into next season , as to their dire situation, financially and dare I say it , logistically ?

The Rays lost their two biggest assets during this off-season when GM Andrew Friedman sought to take his services elsewhere, rather than having to deal with an off-season of uncertainty and the constant whining among the local political dignitaries as well managing partner Stuart Sternberg, as to how close the franchise might to getting a new venue to replace the archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. Following Friedman through what has now become the Rays’ postseason turnstile, was the franchise’s most successful manager Joe Maddon. His signing a five-year $25.5 million deal to manage the Chicago Cubs , may on the face of it seem comedic. However, the Cubs are likely to move heaven and earth to give their new manager the tools necessary to get the job done , as they seek their first World Series’ title in over a century. Could the same thing be said of the Rays while Maddon’s tenure brought about a lone appearance in baseball’s showcase finale ? Tampa’s last postseason appearance came in 2013, when they were summarily dispatched with a great deal of ease by the the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS .

Tampa has yet to name a new manager to succeed Joe Maddon and it appears the interview process remains ongoing, but topping the list of potential candidates is Raul Ibanez . Rays’ GM Matt Silverman has not confirmed or denied that the ball-club is still pursuing the former player, but it would appear the organization would rather their cards closely to their chest, than divulge their apparent choice of a successor to Maddon.

While the Boston Red Sox will be hoping for quick turnaround in 2014, a return to the postseason, where their last appearance came in 2013 and unlikely run to the World Series’ that year. For the Tampa Bay Rays, it could very well be another forlorn season where the team lacks leadership both on and off the field of play. Evan Longoria continues to play the part of a Major League star, but what the franchise actually desires from the player are ” superstar exploits “ and a great deal more vocal leadership, none of which has ever really appeared to be evident with Longoria, during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Picture gallery .

What if anything, may well have piqued your interest, of the sports’ stories which came into being during this past weekend ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of this site, as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) Mickey Rourke, right , is seen here taking on his opponent Elliot Seymour in what was said to be legitimate bout, but in some circles the contest is being viewed as simply an exhibition fight. The fact remains , it was something of a sham event , that took place at the Moscow Concert Hall as an under-card event . Elliot was said to be a former Golden Gloves’ champion with a credible record as an amateur . What is known about Rourke’s opponent, was that he has been homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles and was used as a sparring partner for some of the stable of fighters within Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing , managerial and promotional arm of Oscar De La Hoya’s sports’ interests . De La Hoya was not involved in the promotion of the bout and has distanced himself the controversy surrounding the fight. . Getty Images / Mattheus Huchtner …

(2) Mickey Rourke lands a blow to the head of his opponent Elliot Seymour during the first round of their five round bout . Rourke managed to knock down Seymour six times during the fight , three times during the second round . The bout was eventually stopped by the referee to stop the Los Angeles’ based fighter from suffering further punishment . UPI Press Syndicate Europe ….

(3) Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

(4) Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs passes against DeMarcus Ware (94) of the Denver Broncos during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America /Peter Aitken …

(5) Tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) of the New England Patriots runs with the football after a reception past free safety Clinton-Dix (21) of the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Getty Images / Christian Petersen …

(6) Kosta Karageorge a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ football and wrestling team. The player’s body was found in a dumpster in what the local law enforcement agency believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound . The weapon was found close by with the victim’s body in close proximity to the main campus of Ohio State University. The Columbus Police Dept will be carrying out their ongoing investigation , but it is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances behind Karageorge’s death . AP Photo / Keith Jardine …

(7) Oregon Ducks’ starting quarterback and almost certainly the Heisman Trphy favorite for 2014 Marcus Mariota . AP Photo/ Chris Harper … ….

(8) Brett Brown head coach of the Philadelphia 7ers , the team currently with the worst record in the NBA. Getty Images / Angela Harris …

(9) Boston Red Sox senior executives , John Henry , left and media mogul Tom Werner . The pair are hoping to see an immediate turnaround for the franchise this upcoming season . Courtesy of The Boston Globe ….

(10) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, long considered to be the franchise’s best player and the outward face of the organization . Questions have arisen about Longoria’s ability to lead and be more vocal on a team , that is certainly desperate for success, where in the AL East they have to deal with the burgeoning financial resources of the four other occupants of the division . Tampa Bay Times ….. all rights reserved @ copyrighted material …..

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