My observations for what their worth …

My observations for what their worth … Flights of fancy being what they are this is the time of the year, which gives thoughts to what will happen next in the sporting world. I have still not engratiated myself with the goings on within NASCAR, as I believe it to be a second-tier sport, filled robotic characters and a lone female said to represent the best that the sport has to offer. Personally, I believe the best Danica Patrick has to offer, is less of her inside a car and more of her, without her fire retardant suit, naked lying on a Persian rug, suggesting something provocative she would like for her male partner to come up wit a sexual act showing a great deal of initiative in performing that said ” act “ . That’s my take and I will stick with it ! However, I can understand the selling point of NASCAR, but to my mind having the most prestigious race on your schedule , the Dayton 500 begin your year of racing makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, especially when the thrill and excitement of the race easily forgotten, to make up for a mundane series, building up to a pape- weight crescendo of the final event at Homestead , Florida, and that is without delving into the format that decides the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Champion .

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Baring all, for her art form or is she not as talented as many claim her to be ? NASCAR driver Danica Patrick.

This year within NASCAR their fans will get to witness the good , the bad and the downright ugly side of the sport and I believe it is the one thing that keeps them so engrossed in a sport now struggling to maintain its presence on the sporting landscape from a television viewership standpoint and struggle to go beyond its current demographics.

So Tiger Woods is back to struggling on the PGA Tour ? And I was under the impression with his recent signing of a multi-year , multi-million dollar endorsement deal , things were back on track as this era’s once most dominant golfer had righted the ship and he was ready to make a spirited attempt to increase his tally (fourteen) of Grand Slam Majors’ wins , as he seeks to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ tally of eighteen career Grand Slam victories. The less consistency shown by Woods , the less likely it will be for him to pass his idol and add to his own legacy . That asides, it certainly doesn’t help that Woods has shown himself to be now , a mere mortal , rather than the most intimidating golfer on the PGA Tour . His ranking has taken a tumble while Irishman, Rory McIlroy has become the ” new wunderkind” on the PGA Tour as well as the number one ranked golfer in the world , a ranking that I believe will not be regaining anytime soon ! Such has been the dominance of McIlroy not just on the Tour, but also worldwide, where he is now challenging Woods in terms popularity, visibility and earnings on and away from the course , albeit , McIlroy still has a long way to go, before he can match Woods’ sexual avarice and wealth.. Do the two go hand in hand , might I ask ?

If there is nothing else to be said for Tiger Woods, it has been that he has kept us all constantly entertained throughout his almost two decades as a professional within the PGA ranks. Hard to believe in that time the headlines concerning the players has reached the highest of highs and then sank to the lowest of lows . Other than the indignities suffered by Mike Tyson , Lance Armstrong , Alex Rodriguez and O J Simpson , I can think of no other athlete whose own self inflicted wounds and utter stupidity has led to such a rapid decline with not only their character coming into question but also their ability to perform at the highest level possible. Simpson’s incarceration lets him off the hook to perform having already retired at the time of his alleged criminal offense , but I cannot help but wonder , how proficient was he in the kitchen with a paring or carving knife and what role did Al Cowling play in that infamous homicide ? The question was never really broached or answered by anyone much less come under the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department , Homicide Division . I guess crime dramas on television do get it right some times, but in reality, the justice system becomes blind where the alleged assailant just happens to be a high-profiled athlete or celebrity. Simply go ahead and pick your poison.

The ” No Fun League ” , not sorry about the intended pun ! With the NFL having ended its regular and postseason in something of a spectacular fashion , that this league and sport continues unabashed , with the year-round volley of stories , covering all of the teams and the ensuing drama as it unfolds , then fed to the fans and public alike.

How will the new Superbowl champions fare during the off-season as the coaching staff of Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio assess the current roster deciding which players are likely to be kept and the players thought to be superfluous to their needs will simply be jettisoned .

This much we do know , as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady continue as a coaching quarterback tandem, the England Patriots’ continued strive for ” Five “ will
continue
to be reality . You cannot deny those facts when placed in-front of you and that even after the stupidity of Spy-gate and now ” Deflate-Gate ” and the cries of foul. Does anyone truly believe the New England Patriots are the only NFL team to have practiced such antics in light of the claims being made ? Check all of the anger, acts of surprise at the door , show some damn intelligence and maturity of for once. There have been maneuvers in this league to get ahead and an edge, ever since this game came into being and only an idiot would try and contend otherwise .

This is certainly not the NFL so many of us grew up on anymore , as some have repeatedly stated , this league has become a business and it is in the business first and foremost to make money, , where winning affords those the privileges of wealth , notoriety , great deal of acclaim. Some of it will either be positive or a great deal of it negative. If you want the uncensored truth , then be prepared to handle it, welcoming or not , just don’t cry off , to bitch and whine continuously like a petulant child , perhaps out of jealousy, because things are not to your liking.

There are now so many plot-lines unfolding of which the biggest might be the decision likely to be made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft as the franchise has the first pick in the first round of this draft. The consensus appears to be, the top two players in this NFL Draft are Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston , the last two recipients of the Heisman Trophy . Whether or not Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith concur on their choice in taking one of the two quarterbacks mentioned , will be now be a matter of great deal of conjecture and debate . Mariota might well have been the best quarterback in College Football this past season , but his showing in the national championship game belied those claims . Winston for his part, remains an individual lacking maturity , discipline and leadership , without delving into the issues of character , honesty and whether not the Seminoles’ quarterback (Winston) has the aptitude to play at the next level or lead a team with any degree of authority.

If there were any doubts in the minds of the fans of Peyton Manning this past season might well have been the last played by him in the NFL, then they were firmly put to rest with the four-time League MVP informing the front office of the Denver Broncos that he would be indeed back for his eighteenth season in the league. Longevity asides , Manning is a likely first ballot Hall of Fame player beyond all of his accomplishments on and off the field of play.

Manning’s return was of the utmost importance to the Broncos’ plans this off-season , as it would provide them with the guarantee they sought to proceed with any major plans to revamp their roster . Any thoughts that the quarterback might well have been willing to forgo his $2,500,000 million roster bonus , to walk off and simply retire , might well have been valid, but it appears pride amongst other things has been the driving force behind this decision. For two successive postseasons , Peyton Manning’s performances have been lackluster by even his own lofty standards. The loss to the Indianapolis Colts during this past postseason was not only stunning in its manner , but also by the margin of victory over the Broncos, as it further emphasized why the Colts’ fans are now extremely happy with Manning’s successor , Andrew Luck .

It will be strange entering into this off-season , watching how the Denver Broncos now proceed in going about things , as this franchise , within the space of two years, has literally fallen from being a contender , to a team now in transition with a new head coach , Gary Kubiak and a veteran quarterback in the twilight of his career , looking for that one last glimmer hope to add to his already astonishing career and legacy. John Elway as Head of Football Operations for the franchise will undoubtedly be mulling over a number of moves likely to be made. What we do know for sure , as the lead executive in charge of the franchise’s personnel operations . his reprieve was the return of Peyton Manning, as anything short of that would have been viewed as disastrous .

In the past eighteen months, we have witnessed the travesty of a sport having grown in popularity , now floundering in its own ineptitude , brought on by an executive who has become egotistical , self-absorbed in the belief the sport he presides over remains his brainchild for him brandish to the rest of the sports’ world . UFC President Dana White , who governs the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) like an Emperor wielding a scepter waiting for everyone to do his bidding. Dictatorial in nature, would not even come close to describing White in recent months , with his criticism of fighters , opposing promotional entities and even the sport of boxing , which has been bedeviled by its own incompetence and lack clear direction for the past decade. With recent return to the octagon by former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva , the stage had been set for the return of MMA’s most honored and recognized champion . His two losses to current champion Chris Wiedman have been the only recent blemishes on an astonishing career. Silva’s clash with Nick Diaz at UFC 183 was something of a one-sided and uninteresting contest, between the braggadocios talent of Diaz against the wily veteran skills the Brazilian , Anderson Silva.

The former champion came away with the victory , but in the aftermath of it all, the victor tested positive for an illicit banned substance prohibited by UFC. Silva declared his innocence , stating he did not take any substance banned his sport , but his explanation seems to be a little condescending and hard to believe. White for his part, has not leveled any type of criticism this time around, after haranguing Anderson Silva once before, knowing that another slight could possibly lead to one of the biggest draws in the sport walking away for good .

With the UFC Welterweight Division awry and no charismatic athlete within the division there is now a void that is sorely missed with the long-term sabbatical of Georges St Pierre . Having vacated the title he once held, St-Pierre and fans of the sport have seen that title exchange hands in two successive and uninteresting bouts between Johnny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler , the current champion within the division. Add in the fact , White misjudged the backlash with his non-too believable excuse after Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine use , prior to his most recent title defense , for which the UFC President has yet to explain how and why the Light Heavyweight title bout was allowed to proceed , in light of the UFC having been made aware of the positive test, prior to Jones’ defense of his tile against Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.

Money may well have been the determining factor behind White’s decision to go ahead with the bout, as it was the marquee contest on the PPV broadcast, which had been a sellout reaping several million dollars for UFC ,as a major financial windfall. By all estimates, the overseas’ rights to UFC 182 , netted the sport’s governing body an estimated $45 million, though those figures are on the conservative side. UFC as the governing body , rarely discloses final sales’ figures for many of their scheduled events, unless they feel it is necessary to do so . Consider the fact however, the UFC brand is now a billion dollar ($1,000,000,000) behemoth , where its gross revenues for 2013, exceeded $1.45 billion worldwide . That figure is likely to be surpassed in 2015, if their projections are met, given the pace of their schedules and proposed fights being lined up by the UFC’s promotional arm, , affiliates and through their well oiled sales and associated business concerns.

Dana White has a great deal to answer for at present and none of it, can be said to be viewed, in a positive light.

As a fan of the Atlanta Braves, to suggest I was extremely disappointed with their lackluster showing during last season would be an understatement ! Team manager Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff were as complacent as the players they managed over the course of 2014. The fact that this team barely challenged the Washington Nationals for divisional supremacy within the NL East , leads me to believe there was a great deal more than complacency being exhibited by the players. Fredi Gonzalez’s approach was never to demand more from his team , instead being reliant on the fact they would be able play themselves out of trouble which clearly was never the case , as seen by a number of their results.

Missing the MLB Postseason was nothing short of disastrous and the fact Fredi Gonzalez managed retain his position, might well have been the biggest surprise of all , with the Braves entering the the start of the season as a legitimate favorite to win the NL East. Braves’ GM John Hart and team President John Scheurholz have set about revamping the roster , leading to the departures of Jason Heyward and Justin Upton . If this was meant to be a money-saving exercise or simply the front office looking to save face, then the fans might now be asking, what is likely to happen next ? It remains to be seen which player currently on the playing staff, will be seen to take up the slack after two of the more prominent and productive players on the Braves’ roster from last season have been traded elsewhere.

Members of the Braves’ managerial staff and the front office might well believe that the reashaping of the team , was the .best way to move forward , but my question would be at what cost to the long and short-term future of this franchise ? The loss of both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton could prove to be devastating in the long run, if players such as Freddie Freeman , Evan Gattis , Chris Johnson , Andrelton Simmons and BJ Upton are not able to produce this upcoming season .

Chances are , management will place enough faith in these players , along with the likely promotion of a number of youngsters from within their farm system to get the job done alongside a number of the veterans now part of the roster. The team’s Spring Training schedule could go a long way in determining how good the Braves are likely to be , before they begin their regular season slog of one hundred and sixty-two games , with their opener against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark, Miami Florida , as part of a three-game road trip beginning on the 6th April , 2015. All thirty teams within MLB (Major League Baseball) will have begun their regular season sojourn as of that date.

When the NBA resumes its schedule the two dominant teams from within the Eastern and Western Conference will be the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks . Few could have foreseen that either the Hawks or Warriors would be playing such great basketball, while fearing no one at home or on the road . Such has been the dominance of these two teams , there now seems to a great deal of talk as to the legitimacy of a potential NBA Finals’ match-up between the two franchises . Personally, I do not place a great deal of credibility in such a premise , not when there is the entire second-half of the season still be played, where injuries could factor into a teams’ final standings and overall play heading into the NBA Playoffs.

With a slew of games taking place on the 20th February , with the previous night’s opening soiree’ as a precursor , teams will have to up their game and presence with play having resumed. For James Harden and the Houston Rockets their season has been extremely good , with Harden now seen as a legitimate candidate for League MVP after a stellar first half to the season, where he has been the leading scorer in the NBA.

The Houston Rockets will get the chance to further legitimize their League MVP candidate’s credentials when they take on the take on their instate and conference rivals the Dallas Mavericks on Friday evening at the American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas,.

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Picture gallery.

Though 2015 is still in its infancy, what are you most looking forward to on the sporting calendar this year ? Also , which stories do you feel as a carry-over from last year, will still be ongoing throughout this sports’ season ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you feel to be relevant to the subject matter.

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(1) Jeff Gordon celebrates after posting the fastest time to win the pole position during qualifying for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. Gordon a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will retire after the 2015 season , leaving one of the most impressive racing resumes` in the modern era of the sport. However, he will still be involved with NASCAR with the day-to-day operations of Hendrick Motorsports where he is a minority stakeholder in the racing outfit as well as the joint-owner o teammate’s Jimmie Johnson race vehicle. AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Stephen M. Dowell

(2) Carl Edwards , right, talks with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . before qualifying for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in Daytona Beach, Fla. AP Photo/Terry Renna

(3) Danica Patrick talks about how unpredictable the Daytona 500 will be and how she’s prepared for the 2015 season. Patrick has yet to win a race at the highest level of NASCAR’s elite racing series. AP Photo / Terry Renna

(4) Racing celebrity, Danica Patrick poses along a Florida beach for the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit 2008 issue. Courtesy of SI .

(5) LA JOLLA, CA – FEBRUARY 05 : Tiger Woods walks off the course after withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open due to injury at Torrey Pines Golf Course on February 5, 2015 in La Jolla, California. Wood issued a public statement , stating he would be taking a long leave of absence from the PGA Tour to recuperate from his latest bout of ill-health and to work on his golf game. i Donald Miralle/Getty Images/AFP

(6) Denver Broncos’ owner , Pat Bowlen (left), is seen here alongside the team’s quarterback Peyton Manning and Head of Football Operations , himself a former player with the Broncos, John Elway . Manning made the decision to return for an eighteenth season in the NFL, the last three with the AFC West based franchise . A disappointing postseason in 2014 played a part in the decision, but the loss in Superbowl 48 to the Seattle Sehawks left an indelible mark on Manning’s playoff legacy, where his one Superbowl victory with the Indianapolis Colts has been his lone success in the postseason. Getty Images North America / Martin Walker

(7) UFC President Dana White is seen here at the podium while he addresses the media as UFC Heavyweight Champion , Cain Velazquez seated, listens as the executive speaks concerning the upcoming bout between Velazquez and Junior Dos-Santos at UFC . Courtesy of MMA Inc .

(8) Atlanta Braves’ GM John Hart , left , team President John Scheurholz , former team manager and Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Cox . In an off-season of upheaval , several players have left the franchise via trades initiated by Hart and Schuerholz . Jason Heyward and Justin Upton were two of the most high-profiled and visible players who were traded during the off-season to the St Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, respectively. AP Photo / Mark Shaw

(9) Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, left, looks to make the defensive play against point guard Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks . These two teams currently have the best two records in the entire NBA with Eastern based Hawks firmly seated atop of the Eastern Conference with Warriors holding the same position in the Western Conference. A potential NBA Finals series’ match-up is now being discussed in some circles, because of the dominance shown this season by both teams. Curry and Teague are just two of the primary reasons by behind their respective teams’ success this season . Getty Images / Paul Morris

(10) James Harden and his Houston Rockets’ teammate Dwight Howard are seen here during an NBA game in the first half of the season. Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale has his team playing an up-tempo style, giving the Rockets one of the best records in the NBA . AP Photo / Chris Moore

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MLB

MLB news

MLB schedule important dates

MLB transactions (February 2015)

M LB Postseason picture and postseason play (by round )

2014 MLB World Series

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2015 NFL Draft and combine news NFL transactions (February)

NFL free agents

NFL team caps (projected 2015)
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PGA Tour and news

PGA Tour schedule 2015

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NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA standings playoff picture and playoff picture (games remaining )

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NBA league lineup 5 man starting rotation best records

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UFC

UFC news and archived stories

UFC Fighter news

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From left to right , Jon Jones , Anderson Silva and Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre .

The Killer Elite ….

The Killer Elite

Well, baseball season (MLB) is almost upon us , with certain position players due to report to their respective teams within the next few days. For a number of franchises , this off-season has proven to be dramatic, suspenseful and dare one say, even exhilarating ? The MLB Postseasonprovided us with several stories and theplot-lines came thick and fast , so much so,that not even the script writers of Hollywood could have provided us with more drama. Who could’ve foreseen the Kansas City Royals blowing the frames off the doors, as they brushed aside their postseason opponents with a great deal of ease , only to succumb to the wily experience of Bruce Bochy, his managerial staff and the players of the San Francisco Giants , in dramatic fashion of an intense seven-game thriller of a World Series. A perfect ending to the 2014 MLB regular and postseason. Some might say, the Cinderella Story of the Royals would have been the perfect ending, but it was not to be, simply because the lack of postseason experience on the Royals’ roster of last season.

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With baseball’s Winter Meetings taking place in the aftermath of the Fall Classic, deals were being made with an alarming speed and regularity. Topping them all , was Giancarlo Stanton’s record- breaking deal with the Miami Marlins. Leaving many flabbergasted and surprised by the contract’s value and length , never-mind where the financial resources might be coming from, considering the Marlins’ menial attendance record for the Marlins’ Ballpark, in Miami , Florida and the fact, since its inception, it has been rarely filled to capacity. That asides, should Mike Redmond and his coaching staff not have this team not in a position to win the NL East or actually gain a postseason berth. The common thread of thought, appears to be the front office led by Michael Hill will be quick to pull the trigger on dealing Stanton elsewhere, rather than having to bear the brunt of a $25 million payout, in the first year of the deal.

From my own standpoint, I believe the Miami Marlins will be hard-pressed to make a serious enough challenge against what appears to be not only something of a revamped Washington Nationals’ lineup , but also on paper, what might be the ” deepest” roster in the entire National League (NL). It will be interesting to see how these two NL East teams are likely to fare over the course of their regular season series in 2015. If the Marlins are to have any semblance of success this season, then Giancarlo Stanton and his teammates will have to be playing their very best baseball right out of the starting gates on Opening Day of the regular season schedule. A one hundred and sixty-two game arduous slog, will prove to be a matter of attrition, stealth and a great deal tenacity on the part of the players and managerial staff, as things begin to play out.

Rob Manfred has succeeded Bud Selig as the MLB Commissioner and as the highest-ranking executive within the game. Whether or not Manfred can succeed where his predecessor repeatedly failed, will be dependent upon how he deals with the issues that have bedeviled baseball and the league hierarchy’s often contentious relationship with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . The union’s recently elected Executive Director , Tony Clark is a former player whose career in the Majors could be deemed passable. Clark’s predecessor, Michael Weiner’s death cut short his tenure in an executive role, leaves the newly elected union leader as the players’ voice in the collective bargaining agreement for all issues involving the game, beyond the union’s own failure to deliver their concise formal statement on the matter of steroid abuse and the still prevalent deliberate misuse of performance enhancing drugs at the Major League Level and especially within the Minor League , where it now seems to rampant, but widely reported by the mainstream media, whose priority just seem to be the events as they unfold at the Major League Level. Yet, they would have the fans believe, their reporting of their so-called facts, has never been clouded or simply a white-wash, when it comes to the truth or their un-avowed bias of their reported stories .

Coming off his first win of the AL MVP, of which in the future I am sure there will be others, Mike Trout will be looking to cement his position as not only the best young player in baseball, but also the best player to have been drafted in the game since 2009 , the year he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels. Trout in his brief career in the Majors to date, has now become the best player on the Angels’ starting lineup, which has been devoid of leadership. Some might believe it to be an astonishing statement, when you consider the fact, there are experienced veterans on this team, where Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton and C J Wilson are the most recognizable names. The fact remains however, Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff have not put the Angels in a serious position win the World Series in spite of their most recent appearance in the 2014 postseason . The Angels’ missteps there were well-chronicled and something of a major disappointment to their fans after the team’s triumph in succeeding the Oakland Athletics as the AL West divisional champions.

This season might prove to be a horse for a different course as I expect the A’s to rebound back after a disappointing sojourn in 2014 ! If there is one thing I do know, it is not to underestimate a general manager such as Billy Beane , whose portrayal by Brad Pitt in the hit movie ” Moneyball” has just about everyone convinced they could become a great front office executive in Major League Baseball. Separating fact from fiction, we all know what Beane has been able construct and quite remarkably succeed in repeating, and that is to make the A’s competitive team in spite of a cash-starved ownership group and the very fact , Bud Selig has somehow refused to come to the organization’s aid in assisting them to obtain a new baseball stadium. Though somehow , the former commissioner was front and center when Citi-Field, Yankees’ Stadium and Marlins’ Ballpark took shape at the expense of the taxpayers within the cities of New York and Miami , where the final cost exceeded for all three venues exceeded $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000). Never let it be said, Selig doesn’t know how to maneuver his way around the corridors of power, while making so many political dignitaries at the municipal , state and federal level look like complete morons. Personally, I don’t believe it to be that difficult a task whether or not it’s a Democrat or Republican, whose largesse is being sought. Simply look at the idiocy of the political bickering now taking place at the national level and the continued partisan discord between both parties and then ask yourself, why you would be willing to trust a congressional member from either party , let alone someone at the municipal or state level ? Add in the fact, Bud Selig’s, greatest accomplishments as commissioner could be written on the back of a first class stamp and be posted to the North Pole , addressed to Santa Claus, for all of the use that would do. Yet I digress, as Claus based on a fable, has been far more successful in bringing joy to many , than anything accomplished by Selig during his tenure as the lead executive in Major League Baseball.

Mike Trout has more than repaid the Angels’ faith in him, which has resulted in a contract commensurate to his talents. Trout’s maturity is there to be seen and he has most definitely become the face, voice and undoubted leader of this team. As to whether or not his teammates are now willing to follow his lead can be best judged by your perception of their overall performances during the 2014 postseason, where Trout I believe, led by example, but there was no one else around willing to assist their teammate.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto has to be wondering , if not second-guessing himself as to whether or not it was prudent investing over $300 million of team owner Arte Moreno’s money into acquiring Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Moreno is known to be a shrewd businessman with a keen eye for detail and seeking out deals, which will more than maximize a return on that particular investment. Having made his name showing a keen eye for an investments specifically in the world of sports and broadcasting. One thing becoming abundantly clear at this juncture and it is, with each passing season where Mike Scioscia comes up short, he one step closer to becoming the next managerial casualty in the world of baseball. If Scioscia fails this season, then he is likely to become one the first casualty of an ongoing policy which has become the norm not just in baseball but in professional and collegiate sports. The dismissal of a coach or manager, as the case maybe.

The Angels will begin their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners , with the first of those games on 5th April, 2015 at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington,. However, before Los Angeles embarks upon their regular season schedule, they have their Spring Training Schedule and the chance for Mike Scioscia and his staff to assess their non roster invitees as well as their newly acquired players from this off-season. Chances are, several players will play their part in contributing to Angels’ endeavors over the course of their schedule.

For the third straight season the Los Angeles Dodgers will enter the year with the highest payroll in baseball. Several of the players on the roster are among the highest paid players in the game by way of their salaries and contractual compensation. With the franchise having failed miserably in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014 , each time falling to their nemesis the St Louis Cardinals, most notably in the NLDS last season.

Magic Johnson has been the front officeimage of the Dodgers’ organization, but now with Andrew Friedman having been brought in to oversee the franchise’s Baseball Operations, it does appear Johnson will have to take a back seat to to the new front office executive as he looks to create a resurgent and competitive on field product this upcoming season. That tall order has led to the departures of Matt Kemp , Josh Beckett and several other players during the off-season as Friedman looks to provide Don Mattingly and his staff with the tools needed for the Dodgers to win their first World Series title since 1988 .

While I believe the Dodgers to be a good team, they are far from being a great team and that is what is needed in the postseason if the franchise is to make it their ambition to win a world title. NL MVP and Cy Young winner in 2014 Clayton Kershaw , teammates Zack Greinke , Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig will have to show a great deal more than what was witnessed during 2014, especially during the postseason.

Don Mattingly and his team will begin their regular season with a home game at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles California against the San Diego Padres on the 6th April, 2015. For Matt Kemp, it provides the player with the chance to renew old acquaintances with former teammates, as he gets the chance to play at the stadium where some of the most famous exploits of his career took place. Padres’ GM A J Preller and team manager Bud Black will be looking to make this team worthy challengers to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season within the NL West , which I believe will be one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball this upcoming season.

Where would we be without some drama being provided by baseball’s most illustrious ball-club? This season will be the first time in over two decades , where the now retired Derek Jeter will not be part of the New York Yankees’ opening day lineup. Major changes have taken place within the organization , among the playing staff, with several players departing , while the Yankees seek to reshape the roster, which at its core, is still one, with several players at the twilight of their careers . It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice, in the midst of this all, Alex Rodriguez was welcomed back into the fold, but I feel that the player, while being closely scrutinized, he likely to make another misstep and as before, then look to apportion blame elsewhere for his own misdeeds, as so often been the case over the past eight and a half years. If nothing else, Rodriguez has been more consistent off the field with his repeated lies than he has been on the field for the Yankees during the time-span in question.

The New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has continually been afforded the means necessary to craft a team, he believes capable of winning a World Series, but last season’s disastrous showing had more to do with disjointed performances and an aging roster riddled with injuries throughout the year. Out the window it appears, has been the notion of paring down payroll to a manageable size , because clearly Cashman , Joe Girardi , the managerial staff and ownership place no faith in the organization’s farm system. Granted, a number of players made appearances at various points during last season, having been promoted up from AAA, but I believe, it had more to do with Cashman being at a loss, not willing to splurge and taking something of conservative approach. Now it all comes down to, which player on the roster can Joe Girardi look to , in providing the leadership necessary for the Yankees to be successful this upcoming season ?

The New York Yankees have a great deal of money tied up in players , such as Alex Rodriguez, C C Sabathia , Masahiro Tanaka , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran . Salary commitments for the New York Yankees in 2015 will top $210 million , which pales into comparison to the monies being paid out this year ($267 million) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Inasmuch, as many try to point out there is parity within the game of baseball, there is nothing at all to really bear this out, because in essence, what it all does come down to more than anything else_______ talent on the field of play and extremely good managerial skills. Overlooking that premise and simply using the analogy of parity suggests pragmatism and laziness on the part of those watching the game. However, it should be noted, of the participants in last season’s postseason, several were among the top paying teams in all of baseball.

I certainly do not believe Alex Rodriguez can or will provide the leadership sought by Joe Girardi ! Among the players on the team, where the trait needed for team success to become a reality, the most likely candidate would appear to be Jacoby Ellsbury, a player ,whose career with the Boston Red Sox was well-chronicled, albeit, his last season and a-half with the franchise was more injury riddled, with a noted decline in his productivity . Last season , there were glimpses of Ellsbury back to almost his very best and providing the leadership sought which will surely be missed with the retirement of Derek Jeter ! The Yankees will kick off their regular season schedule with a three-game home series’ opener against divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays , beginning on the 6th April, 2015. The AL East , where both teams reside, will likely prove to be another competitive season, with the Baltimore Orioles looking to fend off the challenge of their their divisional foes in defense of the divisional title , while also seeking to steer away the rest of the AL and their NL opponents in 2015.

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What are you hoping to see come out of the first two months of the MLB season ? Also, at the half-way point of the schedule which teams and players do you believe will have made something of a statement as to their intent ? Merely leave a comment as you see fit on the questions raised and anything else you believe relevant to the article.

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(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner , left, and manager Bruce Bochy stand by the trophies after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Bumgarner’s scintillating postseason displays were just one of the many reasons why the Giants prevailed in a drama driven and thrilled packed World Series . AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(2) Oct 29 , 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig (right) presents San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (left) , chief executive officer Larry Baer (middle) and general manager Brian Sabean with the Commissioners Trophy after game seven of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium . Charlie Neibergall/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

(3) Howie Kendrick (47) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Albert Pujols (5) after driving in the game winning run in the tenth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 28, 2014 in Anaheim, California. Far right , is Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. rtfied;a222) Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld

(4) Mike Trout (27) celebrates with Mike Scioscia (14) of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(5) Giancarlo Stanton is seen here hitting a home run off Jonathan Pettibone during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies . The Marlins’ slugger signed a $325 million contract with the franchise, making it the most expensive deal in baseball history and the most expensive in any of the four major professional team sports in North America . AP Photo / Alison Fisher

(6) A pensive looking Alex Rodriguez looks up from the dugout to the scoreboard during a game . The New New York Yankees’ third baseman has not played in regular season game for the ball-club since the latter half of the 2013 season . Having sat out all of last year due to a league mandated suspension, Rodriguez will be returning to a team , missing two of its most popular players after the retirement of Derek Jeter and the departure of Ichiro Suzuki who during the off season signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins . It remains to be seen whether or not Alex Rodriguez can contribute to a team lacking leadership and a great deal of productivity in terms of overall offense. AP Photo / Keith Slocum

(7) New York Yankees’ teammates Derek Jeter , left and Jacoby Ellsbury leave the field after a game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . Jeter’s retirement after a two-decade long career with the organization , leaves a tremendous void and vacuum, with their now being viewed as what is likely no real on-field leadership. Ellsbury might be seen as the ideal replacement for such a role. but there doesn’t appear to any signs from management or the front office as to whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will succeed Jeter as the captain of the New York Yankees . A role of stature which has only ever been held by five players during the franchise’s illustrious history during the past four decades. AP Photo / Keith Wallace
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Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance, on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Well the NFL season is now over and the fallout from an unbelievable end to the Superbowl (SBLVIX) still has not subsided five days after the event. Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll has staunchly defended offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and has suggested the decision in many respects, was Bevell’s alone and that he agreed with the coordinator’s take and final call. My question remains, if Marshawn Lynch throughout much of the game gave the New England Patriots a great deal more than they could handle, why would the Seahawks seek to change course at such a pivotal moment in the game ? Lynch, during this contest, scored a touchdown on a short yardage gain after a reception, yet this actually escaped both Carroll’s and Bevell’s notice ? Call me naive, but the head coach’s post-game explanation given during his interview, smacks of sheer stupidity and utter nonsense !

New England ascends back to the top of the NFL world, and simply cementing their dominance of this league, as a ” true dynasty, one of the most discussed, if not one of the most alienating also, in the world of professional team sports across the North American landscape over the past twenty-five years.

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Five months into the NBA season and the talk in recent weeks has been the unbelievable play of the Atlanta Hawks and their ongoing dominance within the NBA. In the month of January, Mike Budenholzer’s vastly improved team went a staggering 17-0 , unbeaten for the entire calendar month of their scheduled games. Consider the fact, the Chicago Bulls’ team of their championship winning season of 1995-96, where they went 72-10, setting an NBA franchise record for wins in a season. The team coached by Phil Jackson was never able to achieve that feat with a roster which boasted Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman among the starting lineup , which was also well-served by several role players who contributed greatly to the Bulls’ success of that season.

There is a great deal to be said, for the days of dominance once had by the Chicago Bulls, as for years the franchise was waylaid by the fact the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics held center-stage within the Eastern Conference, while the Los Angeles Lakers were simply extending the glare of the Showtime Lakers’ extravaganza. During that time, the Chicago Bulls grew to overcome their fears and went about beginning their historic run, which rang in a new era and perhaps the most popular reign in NBA history, most certainly from a fan and global standpoint. Michael Jordan reigned supreme, as the most dominant player in the NBA and one of most recognized athletes on the face of the planet . With it, came the wealth and acclaim, few athletes today can match. LeBron James , currently, the best player in the NBA and rightfully so, the latest NBA star, seen as the heir-apparent to Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant’s era of supremacy is slowly winding down and with it, the Los Angeles Lakers’ most recent chapter of NBA dominance. .

As good as the Atlanta Hawks appear to be and what they have achieved has been fascinating . The true test for any NBA franchise can be judged by what they have been able to do during the NBA Playoffs. For Atlanta the type of success sought, has been fleeting for an organization still seeking acceptance as an elite franchise in the NBA. This might be the season, in which the Hawks can finally stake that claim , if they make the NBA Playoffs and then go on a prolonged run, all the way to the NBA Finals.

The Atlanta Hawks’ exceptional month of January has heightened expectations for the month of February, even with the upcoming All Star Game Weekend fast approaching. Between now and then, it will be interesting to see how this team fares as it is being led by Paul Millsap , Al Horford , Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Needless to say this has been a collective effort from the Hawks’ players over the course of the season . They have been able to eke out their victories on the road as well as at home against divisional , conference and Western Conference opponents .

Having gone 9-1 in their last ten games the Atlanta Hawks are as sure a bet, as you can get, for them to make the NBA Playoffs, where if things were to remain as they are, their first round opponents would be the Miami Heat , last eat season’s losing NBA Finalists . It would be definitely be an enticing first-round contest to survey , with the Heat seen as an opponent , good enough to cause an upset.

I believe the Atlanta Hawks are good enough to make a solid run through to the end of the season , winning their division outright and making the NBA Playoffs. Where they then go from there, is anyone’s guess, because during the postseason, it then becomes about the teams and their players standing tall , excelling at critical points of a game. Recent signs show the Hawks are not yet at the standard required for them to be seen as a credible contender to win it all .

If ever there was a sign to indicate , Phil Jackson erred in the hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the head coach of the New York Knicks. Then look no further than what has been achieved by Steve Ker, the successor to Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors . The Knicks continue on their season of sheer ineptitude while the Warriors have not only slain the dragon, but chopped off its head. Leading me to believe, Jackson’s ego has gotten the better of him at this stage of his career.

Golden State behind the solid play of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have led the team to the best record the Western Conference and along the way lead the Pacific Division by healthy 7 1/2 game margin over the Los Angeles Clippers. Coming off a fourteen-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks it is becoming hard to envisage any team within the Western Conference actually challenging the dominance of the Warriors over the remainder of this season.

To comprehend how the guile and tenacity shown by Golden State this season, has been such a success, you simply have to look at the margin of victory in their games where they overpower an opponent. Next up for the Warriors will be a cross-conference game against the Atlanta Hawks on the road, where the team has been very good. It’s pretty much safe to suggest, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be looking have their division and conference sewn up by no later than mid-March . It gives Kerr the opportunity needed, to rest a number of his front-line starters, while assessing what his bench players are able to do before the end of the season on the 15th April, 2015

Defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs have slowly plodded along while the elder statesmen on the team have sought to gain some semblance of consistency to their season. Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have been the mainstays of the franchise’s successes and one of the reasons why they have been a perennial playoff team and contender for the NBA title. Seventeen straight NBA Playoff appearances and yet when fans, tend to talk about dynasties and dominance, rarely has the name of the San Antonio Spurs been mentioned in the same sentence as the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls or the Motown Bad Boys of Detroit under the coaching acumen of Chuck Daly, as he engineered the success of the Detroit Pistons. I suppose not playing in what is deemed to be a major-market, has a tendency of taking the gloss off a team’s achievements. While many, were surprised the Spurs were able to get past the highly favored Miami Heat in last season’s NBA Finals. It should not have come as any great surprise,if the suggestion was made, LeBron James and his teammates were simply complacent and went into the postseason foray, with the expectation of simply waltzing through through a seven-game series, merely based on having defeated San Antonio in the previous season’s Finals Series.

San Antonio now has a competent lineup beyond their Big Three of Duncan , Ginobli and Parker now joined by last season’s Finals’ MVP of Kawhi Leonard , it must be said the team does have have a formidable lineup , which I believe to be among the best in the NBA for a starting five, without delving into the contributions from the bench. It would also be remiss to not take into account the coaching staff of Gregg Popovich, a staff which includes the NBA’s only lead female assistant, former WNBA player Becky Hammon. As to whether or not this league will ever have its very first female head coach remains to be seen , but I am sure, it is something Hammon will seek to achieve !

With only the Cleveland Cavaliers , Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks over their last ten games having a better record, it indicates at present, how competitive the NBA happens to be. San Antonio’s thirteen-point victory at home over the Miami Heat was indicative of what we know to be the frailties of a weak Eastern Conference as another franchise drops a game to a Western Conference foe. The Spurs’ next game takes them North of the border to face the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. For both teams this should prove to be a fascinating contest as they seek to maintain their momentum in the run-up to the All Star Break .

A ninety million dollar ($90 million) payroll doesn’t appear to have aided the Brooklyn Nets this season as the team struggles to make sense of their failures at this point of the NBA schedule. It would be fair to suggest the Nets have been a major disappointment for their fans and the NBA alike. Personally, I believe the team to be lacking in leadership with Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams being overpaid and offering the franchise absolutely nothing on all levels at this stage of their respective careers.

For Nets’ head coach Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff at a loss for an explanation,while GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov wondering if changes will have to be made before or at the trade deadline, if the franchise is to make some sense of their season. In their last ten games the Brooklyn Nets are a paltry 5-5 , simply mirroring what they represent as a team, to the NBA fans at large, being average and representing mediocrity !

Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets will take to the court to face conference rivals the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. This will be game, between two teams of similar ambitions, seeking to make their presence felt within the conference as well their respective divisions could very well make or break their seasons from hereon-in. The All Star festivities to be staged at the Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets will provide a timely respite for the teams as they take stock and then prepare for the second half of the season. This will be the point where executives and team owners look to make some major deals and naturally shed players for salary cap reasons.

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As the first half of this NBA season comes to a close, which team or teams have been the biggest surprise in your opinion ? During the second half of the schedule which franchise and players will play a decisive role of making a playoff push within each conference ? Also, of the teams in the league (NBA) over the past two decades, which do you believe is the most deserving to be thought of as a dynasty ? Simply leave a comment or comments as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it has always been appreciated ! Thank you !

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(1) Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks completes a catch against Tyler Gaffney (31) of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Rob Carr

(2) Marshawn Lynch(24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jamie Squire

(3) John Wall of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the game on February 7, 2015 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NBAE/Getty Images/ Ned Dishman

(4) David Lee of the Golden State Warriors goes to the basket against Travis Wear(6) of the New York Knicks on February 7, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Getty Images / Nathaniel S Butler

(5) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 7, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Getty Images / Mike Hamilton

(6) Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2015 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham

(7) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs shoots against the Miami Heat on February 6, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images North America / D. Clarke Evans

(8) Becky Hammon , left , is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich . Hammon is the first full-time lead assistant head coach with any franchise in the NBA . The NBA might just be the most progressive of any of the four main professional team sports , with Michele Roberts also recently being named the Executive Director of the NBPA (Players’ Union) . Popovich believes Hammon due to her vast experience as a former WNBA player and now an assistant coach , could become the first female head coach in the NBA . AP Photo /Gary Ross
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Horton Hears A Who ….


Horton Hears A Who ….

In the aftermath of the mental breakdown ,which took place during the waning moments of the Superbowl (SBLXIV) leading to the New England Patriots’ dramatic win. The real cause-celebre’ has been Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll’s explanation as to the reason behind why and his last minute change of play .

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With running back Marshawn Lynch having caused the Patriots’ secondary all kinds of problems through large segments of the game, the defending champions needed only a red-zone rushing play to guarantee themselves a successful defense of the title won last season. Instead, as millions of us witnessed, inexplicably , Russell Wilson rifled a pass meant for Seahawks’ wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, only for rookie defensive player, Malcolm Butler to make the game-saving interception, leading to New Englands’ historic win and their their placein Superbowl history. As to what this now means for and to the psyche of the Seahawks’ players and the fact, Carroll’s explanation in his post-game interview seems somewhat unconvincing, leads me to believe a great deal of blame for the loss rests squarely upon his shoulders, as well as that of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for the play-calling and specifically, this one play, likely to be repeatedly shown on television and become a bone of conjecture and debate among fans across the NFL.

Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) carries the ball for a touchdown in the second quarter past New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) and Brandon Browner (39) in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Even to the uninitiated, this maneuver by the Seattle Seahawks made absolutely no sense, but somehow the head coach and offensive coordinator felt it the right thing to do at the time. The ramifications of this loss will be far reaching without delving into the fact as to where the blame ought to be apportioned for this mea-culpa and undeniable mess. There have been games in Superbowl history with a great deal of controversy, but never one where within the blink of an eye , victory was simply snatched away because of the sheer idiocy of a decision made by the coaching staff of a team. Seahawks’ players never one to shy away from their own self-belief and specifically, their defense known as the “Legion of Boom”, must now be wondering how and why things got so out of hand, when they played to the best of their ability in keeping the offense in the game, only for the coaching staff and offensive players to have irrationally choked away this contest through their sheer stupidity.

“Deflate-Gate “ and whatever idiocy, else comes out of that particular storyline , leaves the league hierarchy in an impossible situation. Allegations,being what they are, the real blame does lie with the game officials(referees) who oversaw the AFC championship game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots, staged at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro’, Massachusetts, on the 18th January, 2015.

Colts’ owner Jim Irsay and GM Ryan Grigson have said very little on the issue, leaving it instead for the ongoing league investigation to take its full course, with their findings and outcome yet to be made public. For the Indianapolis Colts the abrupt end to their postseason foray, was epitomized by the loss to the Patriots, but where the highs of the postseason, was represented by their complete annihilation of the Denver Broncos and what was said to be one of the best defenses entering into the postseason and for much of the regular season. That was clearly not evident in their divisional round contest played at Sports Authority Field-Mile High Stadium in Denver , Colorado on the 11th January , 2015.

Tom Brady now joins Hall of : Fame quarterbacks , Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only players to have won four Superbowl titles, while being the quarterback for the very same team. Bradshaw achieved that feat with the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Montana’s success was borne out of his career with the San Francisco 49ers As to where Brady might now rank among the all-time greats to have played the position will be the subject of many debates and obvious conjecture. Now as a three-time winner of the Superbowl MVP . Tom Brady’s postseason legacy has been set, with an indelible mark left on NFL postseason history play among quarterbacks . Needless to say, the player will still have his critics, borne out of jealousy and the ongoing allegations of cheating which continues to surround the Patriots’ franchise. My question for the naysayers out there, if Brady were the quarterback on the team you allegedly support, would the feelings of hatred still remain the same ?

From my own standpoint, while the adjudicators felt Brady was worthy of the Superbowl MVP, my own choice would have been the team’s wide receiver Julian Edelman, whose performance was scintillating to say the very least. New England’s head coach Bill Belichick may well have won the plaudits’ praise ,but defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has now found his niche among the league’s top coordinators. The Patriots’ defense was very good and negated the best the Seahawks had to offer.

Away from the field of play, it will be interesting to see what steps are likely to be taken as the New England Patriots seek to defend their title next season. The first step likely to be taken by GM Nick Caserio and the impending free agents on the team’s roster and the cap obligations the franchise will face. Darrelle Revis , Devin McCourty , Shane Vereen , Stevan Ridley and Jonathan Casillas are among the list of players who are free agents, where the team’s cap figure will be in excess of $152 million and the projected cap for next season at an estimated $160 million , leaving the franchise with very little wiggle room should they seek to retain many of the aforementioned players.

Tom Brady’s ‘window of opportunity’ for possibly a fifth Superbowl victory at present doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility , not when you consider the tandem of he and his head coach Bill Belichick continuing their quest for NFL ” immortality” . Certainly , we know with the ongoing claims as to the veracity of several of their seasons continually coming into question , what cannot be denied, is the very fact the success achieved has been astounding , if not incredible , six Superbowl appaerances , four wins , six AFC conference championships as a coaching quarterback tandem , twelve AFC East divisional titles , of those twelve , six have been consecutive , since 2009, with the duo along the way, having won just about won every singular regular season award possible for their respective fields. What is likely to dictate this pursuit, will be the willingness of Brady’s teammates to follow his lead, while at the same seeing the challenges ahead, acquiescing to the need for not only to continuity, but also to make necessary financial sacrifices and resources available to GM Nick Caserio for that pursuit. It is not often something done in today’s NFL, when far too often, the real issue among far too many of the players is that real ‘need to get paid’ , and to be paid what they believe to be commensurate to their talent-level , skill-set.

Somehow , I am beginning to wonder if Jay Cutler , with the “yoke around” his neck of his seven-year, $127 million contract, wouldn’t trade that all in for another appearance in the Superbowl and an actual victory, rather than the continued notion of his being an overpaid and talentless buffoon, as he’s now deemed to be and ridiculed in NFL circles ! The same I might add, has to be true of Tony Romo and his continued mediocrity witnessed during the postseason, albeit, with his group of supporters, they , very much like the player , continue to apportion blame elsewhere for his failures, rather than acknowledging his lack of leadership and the very fact the Dallas Cowboys are not only overrated, but the mere fact, de-facto GM and team owner , Jerry Jones over the past eight years, has simply been allowed to run amok, unchallenged, with a number of his personnel decisions, far too often coming into question. Yet, those Cowboys’ fans remain ever-royal, showing an unwillingness to question the authority of the owner and those recent failures by Jones or Romo. I guess apathy remains strong, alongside stupidity, as has often been the case with ” America’s Team ” and their vapid fans .

It never ceases to amaze, the apathy shown among fans of the NFL who seek to overlook the bad behavior the players while like the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell , all they simply point to, are the ever-increasing revenues, the popularity of the game, while Goodell’s glaring incompetency is being embraced by these anal retentive fans and the franchise owners alike. Pornography remains popular, but not everyone subscribes to it as a wantoned piece of pleasure and the same should be said about the league in its present guise. The Players’ Union (NFLPA) remains a constant joke, with their proxy, the commissioner oversteps his boundaries , however the Executive Committee of the NFLPA and its Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have failed miserably, in addressing the repeated misconduct of their members throughout the years, while pointing to what they believe to the autocratic and dictatorial rule of Roger Goodell. I am suppose to believe the popularity of the NFL, far outweighs the glaring issues , that besets this league each season ? One postseason finale , does not make the NFL an ideal league or the game itself, at its zenith, but yet that remains the asinine proxy lame @ss fans are prepared to adhere to. Being anal retentive, seems to have found its niche among the majority of NFL fans !

With so many teams having failed their fans miserably during the NFL regular season this off-season, becomes more about rebuilding and throwing mis-assembled pieces placed together to make up many of last season’s rosters . Nowhere was that more glaring than with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose season was one big mess , with the team setting out on what appeared to be a predetermined desire to be viewed as not only incompetent, but also without a clue in any aspect of their game . Head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff were brought in to instill discipline, a defensive mindset , consistency to the team and to a franchise, long lacking in those very same traits. Instead, beyond the injuries , what their fans witnessed , were the repeated prat-falls and the continued idiotic post-game rhetoric so often associated with a head coach, when they are at a complete loss for words, when his players are continually incompetent.

Statistically, the Buccaneers’ league-worst 2-14 record was a true reflection of the team and all of the vagaries therein. Not once, was their any real semblance of urgency and the two regular season victories eked out, may well have been seen as a god-send, but in a number of ways, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have considered themselves extremely lucky their season did not mirror that of the Detroit Lions’ win-less season of 2008.

For the privilege of having the NFL’s worst record of last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the occupants of the top spot in the 2015 NFL Draft and where the question will be , will they make Marcus Mariota their choice , or go with a position player ? The Buccaneers are in need of so many pieces, but the common thread of thought appears to be they would be stupid, to forgo a player of Mariota’s abilities , when they are definitely in need a dynamic passer on the field. Neither Mike Glennon or Josh McCown could supply the team with what was needed last season concerning a passing offense.

With Tampa’s needs, being so glaring at a number of positions, on the current roster and with the defense being so poor, it would not surprise me if Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht traded down in the order, giving up the top pick for an abundance of second, third and fourth round picks, for a player many believe to be the best quarterback in College Football this past season, although those signs were not seen in Oregon’s national championship loss to Ohio State , where Cardale Jones’ play for the Buckeyes in their fantastic victory over the highly favored Ducks, made it seem, he ought to be the player NFL head coaches should be salivating over.

In recent seasons, the Buccaneers’ draft picks have proven to be more misses than outright hits . While it is too early to truly assess the talents of their top rookie draft pick of 2014 , one might conclude Mike Evans barring injuries could be around for a long time serving the franchise’s best interests. He may well have been the sole reason to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014.

This off-season will prove to be a difficult one for the Buccaneers , with their being several decisions likely to be made concerning the future look of the team’s roster and what transactions the Buccaneers’ front office deems to be necessary to secure the long-term ” future success” of the NFC South based franchise. The NFL Draft alone may not predetermine the future of this organization, but it will indeed play a significant part in a strategy now being hatched up by Lovie Smith and Jason Licht as they look to secure some semblance of success.

Zygi Wilf and his fellow executives within the Minnesota Vikings’ hierarchy have managed to finagle a publicly financed stadium out of the Minnesota State Legislature with Governor Mark Dayton (R-Mn) having done about- turn, far more than John Kerry is said to have done during his presidential run for the White House. Dayton for his part, is now seeking to suggest his stance was brought about by Wilf’s commitment have this venue be of benefit to the state and its residents. Personally, I believe the governor has shown his naivete’ in believing the Vikings’ owner has any thoughts about the well-being of the fans, much less the state’s residents. The NFL’s franchise owners’ remains the image of the league, the overriding wish to reap billions in profits while, Roger Goodell continues to wax on lyrically about the league , not ever truly addressing the continued social issues currently engulfing the NFL .

Cynicism suggests the NFL hierarchy has never cared what the hell the fans think, while the apathy of the fans, is the response of, the NFL is is simply a business and not much else . The league’s moral compass was lost long ago and the idiotic rhetoric, forthcoming from the league, owners and union,simply shows it to be bereft of real leadership. If the fans who continue to point to the idiocy of the popularity will be the lone concept which will benefit the NFL’s long-term success will sooner, rather than later be rationale, which will begin to have major corporate sponsors shy away from the NFL. Consider, Roger Goodell’s response concerning the fallout of the Ray Rice affair and how it was viewed by women, who in shape or another make up a large portion of the NFL’s fan-base, without acknowledging the fact they are also mothers, daughters, without also acknowledging the fact, female victims of sexual abuse and assaults are victimized not just by their assailants, but also the entire legal process, from its start to not necessarily what is deemed to be a just ending to the legal process.

The NFL with Goodell’s asinine comments and response, shows him to be without a clue and most definitely no idea , what a woman has been subjected to , after a sexual assault, without his ever acknowledging how poorly he and the league have dealt with the actions of the players and their continued misconduct, especially where allegations of assaults have taken place. What more now needs to be said ? Oh, your response remains, the NFL is really popular and can withstand this type of negative publicity ? Only a complete idiot would continue to hide behind this premise.

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Picture gallery .

What were your impressions of the events, that unfolded during the Superbowl and do you believe the Seattle Seahawks will be able to overcome the psychological aspects of the loss suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots ? Also, if there is blame to be apportioned in the defeat, where it should it lie ? Is it with Pete Carroll and Darrel Bevell or the Seahawks players ? Finally, with the disastrous season of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, having just passed , do you believe the front office should draft Oregon quarterback, Marcus Mariota as their number one pick in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft , or should trade the pick and move lower down the order , seeking multiple picks in the latter rounds ?

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: Malcolm Butler (21) of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass by Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks intended for Ricardo Lockette (83) late in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. A pass play involving Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch was thought to be the strategy for the team in the red-zone , but head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Revis went with “the pass “ leading to the game-winning defensive interception and play by Butler. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

(2) Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) carries the ball for a touchdown in the second quarter past New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) and Brandon Browner (39) in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

(3) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks looks on after his pass is intercepted by Malcolm Butler (21) of the New England Patriots late in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Kevin C Cox

(4) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks makes a pass in the second half against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images / Andrew Lyons

(5) Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) catches a touchdown pass in front of Seattle Seahawks corner-back Tharold Simon (27) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

(6) New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady is seen here alongside head Bill Belichick after the team’s triumph in Superbowl 49 over the Seattle Seahawks, the franchise’s fourth triumph in their seventh Superbowl appearance . The tandem have won four Superbowls together, joining Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw for the most titles won together. Brady also joins Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four Superbowl victories. Brady may well seek to win an unprecedented fifth victory if franchise can keep this current roster together with Belichick remaining as the head coach , Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniel as part of the Patriots’ coaching staff. GM Nick Caserio has been the architect of the franchise’s most recent appearances and successes in the postseason. Getty Images / Grant Wilson

(7) Patriots’ GM Nick Caserio , left, is seen here with head coach Bill Belichick at the team’s practice facility in Foxboro, Massachusetts ,. Caserio in conjunction with Belichick , have been the main architects of the franchise’s most recent success as well as the ongoing rebuilding of the roster over the past six seasons. AP Photo / Mark Howard

(8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Josh McCown (13) is seen here congratulating teammate Mike Evans (13) from the sidelines after Evans made decisive play during a preseason season game against the Miami Dolphins played at . Seen in the background is Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith whose first season as the head coach has been an unmitigated disaster . AP Photo/ David Ross

(9) Marcus Mariota , left, of the Oregon Ducks is seen here congratulating Jameis Winston of Florida State after a game between the two teams . Mariota and Winston are the last two winners of the Heisman Trophy and considered to be the consensus top-two picks in the upcoming NFL Draft as well as being the two best quarterbacks in College Football . Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht will be making a decision which is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the franchise as well as the whole draft process this off-season . AP Photo / Amy Douglas

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Tophatal

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Seattle Seahawks’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell , left is seen here alongside head coach Pete Carroll on the sidelines talking to the team’s quarterback Russell Wilson .