Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

I can’t but wonder the bull#hit now being espoused by idiots not only in the world of politics but also within the world of sports. Former GOP Vice Presidential running mate Sarah Palin has taken it upon herself to defend the comments made by Curt Schilling , as the former baseball player took it upon himself to describe some Egyptians and Muslim extremists as ” Nazi ” sympathizers. Schilling has become a pitiful individual , bemoaning the fact he wasn’t among the list of final candidates of those inducted into the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class, while at the same time not being ready to answer for his own misdeeds as a former businessman. It is well-chronicled how the player and his business partners mismanaged their former gaming company , declaring bankruptcy , and then seeking to blame their state of Rhode Island for their incompetency, with the state having backed Curt Schilling and business partners with millions of dollars in financing , as well as a favorable tax breaks.

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As for Sarah Palin, her political career has become something of an ongoing joke , while she continues her stumping of GOP conservative candidates and ideology , also continuing to be paid five-figure sums for public speaking engagements nationwide. With the Presidential nomination cycle now said to be in full swing for both parties , it is easy to understand why those already said to be bored with the idiocy it all entails would rather seek solace elsewhere. Palin and Schilling both noted Republicans, might not typically be representative of what the party is said to be about , but it is clear they’re an embarrassment to what one might be an individual deemed to have some semblance of intelligence.

I doubt that Curt Schilling might feel his statements can be taken out of context, while he provided analysis for ESPN during the coverage of the Little League World Series . How this might have anything to do with a group of children participating in one of the nation’s great pastimes might prove to be more embarrassing for the player as well as the network itself.

ESPN has proven to be a bastion for a great deal of hypocrisy , sexism , misogyny and so much more ,while trying to uphold their own idea of journalistic integrity. The network over the past few years and in recent months, has become an environment of complete stupidity, with the outlandish behavior of several current and now former contributors to the broadcast outlet. From my own perspective , I find ESPN simply another bastion of what is said to be totally abhorrent with the media at present as well as being the microcosm of society enlarge !

If there’s said to be one team in baseball which most likely is under the greatest pressure to succeed, then I believe the ball-club in question would have to be the Los Angeles Dodgers . Take into account coming into this season , in 2013 and 2014 the Dodgers failed miserably in each of the postseasons in question. Don Mattingly , might well be under the biggest pressure to succeed most of all, beyond this multi-million dollar lineup on parade this season. This Dodgers’ team has been extremely impressive with the pitching staff being exemplary , led by Zack Greinke , who over his last eight starts has been extremely impressive. Greinke pitched a gem of a game, going seven scoreless innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers “ downed” the Cincinnati Reds on their way to a 1-0 victory over their NL rivals. Don Mattingly’s players will have as their guests at Dodgers Ballpark the Chicago Cubs for a three-day weekend schedule , beginning on Friday evening with Jason Hammel of the Cubs on the mound to face Clayton Kershaw in one of the day’s more exciting games.

Two of the most disappointing teams of this baseball season to my mind , have been the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners . It’s pretty much safe to say , both organizations are now looking towards 2016 , rather than seeking to glean anything from the remainder of this calendar year or the remaining schedule. The Phillies possess the worst record in the Majors , having posted a 50-78 mark as of 27th August and the managerial staff without a clue about how to get this team playing with any type of consistency . Peter Mackanin the interim manager has now seen several former stars on this ball-club leave for fields elsewhere as the front office has begun to gut the active roster . Chase Utley and Cole Hamels are no longer with the Phillies and there is now little semblance of the team that won the World Series in 2008 defeating the Tampa Bay Rays with utmost ease .

The Philadelphia Phillies are 4-6 in their last ten games , sitting 21 ½ games behind the first place New York Mets in the NL East and twenty-four games behind the combatants in the NL wildcard race. If that isn’t a clear indicator of how disastrous a season the Phillies have managed to put together , then their fans have to be equally embarrassed by the performances of the players. Players within the farm system are now likely to be given the chance to prove themselves worthy of being part of the starting lineup as the season begins to wind down for Philadelphia Phillies.

Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano might be about the only reason to watch the Seattle Mariners this season. Yet for all of the hype over Cano having signed with the Mariners, his bringing a great deal of productivity and leadership to this Seattle team . On the field, with the exception of the aforementioned players the ball-club has been bereft of competitiveness , while Lloyd McClendon and his managerial staff have simply strayed off the path of their planned strategy for success this season.

Seattle enters its weekend schedule with a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois beginning on Friday , 28th August, 2015. Taijuan Walker of the Mariners will be on the mound to face John Danks of the White Sox in this AL contest. With what can only be described as abject failure by the Mariners , GM Jack Zduriencik was fired by the Board of Directors where senior managing partner , Howard Lincoln had the full support of the senior-most executives within the Mariners’ hierarchy for the removal of Zduriencik. This was meant to be the year where the Seattle Mariners would be making a credible challenge within the AL West seeking challenge the recent dominance of the Oakland A’s , a team which this has been nowhere near as competitive as some thought they would be. The two teams remain as cellar dwellers in the division where they have been for much of the season .

A’s manager Bob Melvin is likely to be retained by GM Billy Beane heading into the 2016 season , but the real issues facing the organization has been the very fact senior managing Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley remain at loggerheads on how best to proceed concerning the rebuilding of this once proud franchise. It remains a constant financial struggle for the Oakland A’s to be on par with their peers within the game and the fact they will the miss the postseason for 2015 will only add to that struggle. Oakland will try to make this waning month of August and heading into September , something meaningful for the year. Sonny Gray will take the mound on Friday evening when the A’s face the Arizona Diamondbacks and their starting pitcher Chase Anderson .

The difference between 2012 and now with the Miami Marlins . is not a damn thing, as the ball-club still remains in complete disarray and Jeffrey Loria remains the worst owner in Major League Baseball . His commitment to mediocrity is only exceeded by his ongoing blatant stupidity and that of the ” entire” front office of the organization. Giancarlo Stanton’s thirteen- year $325 million contract might as well have been written a role of toilet paper , considering the play of the team over the course of this season. Mike Redmond was jettisoned as the manager early in the year and Dan Jennings has yet to show his competency in his role for this franchise. Michael Hill made a splash with the Stanton contract and the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki as a free agent , but beyond that the Marlins have simply been a comedic caricature , so representative of so many teams around MLB , no real plan of action other than continuing to show sheer audacity alongside ongoing stupidity .

Winning with consistency has been the farthest thing from the mind of Dan Jennings’ managerial staff as well as the team over the course of this year . Miami’s victory over what has been a very disappointing Washington Nationals team this season, might well provide a slight respite, but I believe Nationals’ manager Matt Williams believes his players are still capable of obtaining one of the two wildcard berths up for grabs within the NL. Nine games out of that final berth may well prove to be too big a task for the Nationals to overcome during the final month of the season , but the final two games of their three-game home set against the Miami Marlins could make something of a dent in the leads held by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs .

There can be no denying Nationals’ slugger Bryce Harper is having a sensational year for the team , as he leads the NL in batting average , home runs , on-base percentage , slugging percentage and total OPS .

Bryce Harper has to be seen as the leading candidate for NLMVP and the Nationals’ first MVP Award winner in the franchise’s history . From my own perspective, while I believe the Washington Nationals to be a good team, they are falling way short of expectations. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are meant to be the fulcrum of this roster ,with both players sharing the same agent, Scott Boras . As we know the sport’s agent has been among the astute and savvy of the MLB certified agents within baseball. When both Harper and Strasburg due to become free agents, it will be interesting to see what decisions are likely to be made by front office led by GM Mike Rizzo . In 2017 , both of these former number one draft picks by the Nationals will be eligible as free agents and it will be interesting to see if Mike Rizzo and lead managing partner , Ted Lerner will seek to keep both of these formidable All Stars , while paying them both ,what Scott Boras will believe to be fair for his clients.

The AL East divisional race has become something of a cat and mouse thriller, with the Toronto Blue Jays now holding a 1 ½ game lead over divisional rivals the New York Yankees . Hal Steinbrenner , has pretty much stated the division is the Yankees to lose and the team is not ready to give up the race for the divisional title until the very last game of the season has been played. As good as the Yankees seem to be , the division I believe no longer provides the excitement and notoriety fans have usually come to expect. The real issue and their Achilles’ Heel will remain the lack of depth to the team’s pitching rotation and that of the relievers in particular.

New York’s pounding of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia on Friday night , was the Yankees’ largest margin of victory this season and certainly their most productive outing from the team’s offense. A 15-4 victory was just what the doctor ordered for New York and Joe Girardi’s team of stars . Girardi and his players will round out their weekend road series against the Atlanta Braves with Saturday’s game which will have Luis Severino on the mound to face Matt Wisler and then on Sunday Nathan Evoldi will face off against Julio Teheran of the Braves in the final game of the trilogy. .

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The MLB regular season will end on the 5th October with the wildcard round of the postseason beginning on the 6th and 7th October respectively . For the teams prive’ baseball’s postseason foray , this will be the time when nothing else matters other than their zeal to win. What are you hoping to see in the lead-up to the MLB postseason and which teams from the respective leagues do you believe can win the AL and NL Pennant and ultimately the World Series ?


Tophatal ….

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Nas …. “God’s Son ”

I Got Game , What You Got ?

I Got Game , What You Got ?

In the world of sports where athletes are times more often than rewarded for their mediocrity , it remains confounding when many of these stars, then seek to gain even more notoriety for the off-court of field antics than anything they have yet to have achieved during their active playing careers. It would appear to be the case now with the Memphis Grizzlies’ veteran Matt Barnes, who but at one time played for both Los Angeles’ based NBA franchises the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Now something of a journeyman within the NBA , Barnes has never been the meaningful or an integral part of any team where he has played. Now seeking to emblazon himself in the minds of the masses, Matt Barnes is on a quest to let the world know about his private life and the fact he has dated pop sensation Rihanna. Last I looked the singer had notched up her own fair share of male suitors which have included current San Diego Padres’ slugger Matt Kemp , rapper , Drake and his erstwhile nemesis Chris Brown . No mean feat by the singer , until you realize, she actually garners more press than the aforementioned names combined and has been more successful from a talent and commercial standpoint. Which begs the question, is Matt Barnes really that much of an asshole ? Yes indeed, he is that much of an asshole and a great deal more .

With the upcoming season of the NBA not due to begin until the opening regular season tip-off , opening night 27th October 2015, much of the off-season and heading into the preseason has been about what various teams have sought to do to bolster their rosters. The Golden State Warriors rode on the crest of an emotion alongside great coaching to win their first NBA title in four decades. Unfortunately , rather than seeking to praise the franchise for the achievement , the press and in particular anal retentive fans, have sought to make excuses for the defeated NBA Finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers and their superstar guard LeBron James. James for his part in spite of his heroics was never seriously in with a chance of winning his third straight NBA title. There was way too much pressure on the Cavaliers to succeed and clearly the inexperience of head coach David Blatt played a part in their downfall beyond the loss of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James has been lucky enough to know the front office of the Cavaliers are willing to do just about anything to facilitate the player’s whims , including seeking to acquire just about anyone willing to play a secondary role to the LeBron James traveling circus. Cleveland is likely to be among one of the top draws on the road as well as at home during the upcoming regular season and it is also clear they will be a major ratings’ draw when it comes to a television audience. The Christmas Day scheduling of the rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena is a clear indication of how orchestrated and self-important the NBA now believes itself to be.

While I have no doubt the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will each have a role to play in this upcoming season , where both teams will likely be challenging for divisional honors within their respective conference. I do believe that the West will be the better of the two conferences on display , as has been the case over the last eight seasons.

With Marc Gasol choosing to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies , it will be interesting to see what this team has in store for their fans this upcoming season. Gasol will be the focus of the roster alongside Zach Randolph and Vince Carter , who after all of these years within the NBA still believes he has something to offer a team. There was a time when Carter was among the most explosive and dynamic players within the NBA , but over the last few years , his productivity has declined. Head coach David Joerger and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove this season if they (Grizzlies) are to be considered among the top teams within the Western Conference throughout the year. Memphis will tip-off their regular season schedule with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 28th October,2015 at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee,.

So much for the hype behind the return of Phil Jackson and what he might be able to offer the New York Knicks by way of his basketball acumen. This past season showed the Knicks to be as bad a team to be found in this league. Embarrassing and simply asinine, might not be enough to describe how bad the New York Knicks just happened to be. What might now be even more befuddling concerning the Knicks were the choices made by the front office during the most recent NBA Draft. Still trying to figure out who Kristaps Porzingis just happens to be? Try looking at his team bio with the Knicks and then ascertain why he was actually chosen as their number one pick in the first round . Someone needs to explain , how a front office led by Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher believes Porzingis is a better choice . ahead of players such as Willie Cauley-Stein , Frank Kaminsky , Justice Winslow and several other players many believe to have greater talent than Kristaps Porzingis.

Consider the fact , Knicks’ fans in attendance of the NBA Draft immediately began to boo the choice of the Latvian star whose experience with the Spanish League giant Sevilla was said to one of the main reasons he was drafted by the Knicks. Given New York’s failure to draft anyone of note who has contributed to the franchise over the past five seasons, it easy to understand why the franchise remains such a mess. Phil Jackson’s legacy can solely be judged on his achievements as a head coach , but as a front office executive, he still has his training wheels firmly strapped to his feet . Very much the same can be said of Derek Fisher as a head coach along with his aimless staff of coaching assistants. There are jigsaw puzzles with over one thousand pieces, which could be better assembled than the mess put together by Phil Jackson. Knicks’ fans start kissing your own proverbial @sses , rather than coming up with the regurgitating excuses of Jackson having a plan of action.

Carmelo Anthony may well have chosen to remain in New York because of the money , but the past two years for the player have been wasted years in terms of his talent and the fact the front office has failed miserably in placing around him the talent necessary for the New York Knicks to win consistently , much less make their presence felt in the NBA Playoffs . I do not believe there is anything more which needs to be said about the New York Knicks , where we know their Achilles’ Heal will remain their lack of defense and the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony there remains little to this roster by way of the offense. The Knicks will begin their regular season sojourn with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks coached by their former point guard Jason Kidd when the two teams meet at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, on the 28th October, 2015.

Kobe Bryant will enter this season as the highest paid player in the league while on a Los Angeles Lakers’ team likely to be heading nowhere and not as competitive as their fans might believe them to be. Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss , as the senior owners of the franchise along with GM Mitch Kupchak have been culpable in presiding over what has been unmitigated disaster over the past four seasons for this once proud organization. The more Lakers’ fans tend to talk about past glories, rather than deal in the reality of here and now . It is more borne out by the fact , they have simply become delusional and unwilling point the finger at where the responsibilities lay for the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace. Bryant is no longer the player who once reigned supreme over this league and flashes of momentary brilliance cannot hide the fact this aging veteran is now several years past his prime. Yet fans of the Los Angeles Lakers remain optimistic the player can win a sixth NBA title , matching that of his personal icon Michael Jordan .

After a horrendous season in 2014 , it is easy to understand why the Lakers’ fans and the team would like to place it in their rear-view mirror . The Los Angeles Lakers much like the New York Knicks have been feeble in their attempts in drafting players with a competitive zeal, clearly evident in 2014 , 2013 , 2012 and 2011. Granted, this year and their choices of D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr, in round one , to be followed by Anthony Brown have yet to bear fruit. The feeling however, appears to be , this will be a work in progress as Byron Scott and his coaching staff embark upon this regular season. I believe through their first twenty-five games of the season , will provide us with enough of a gauge to see how the Lakers are likely to fare during 2015.

Scott and the Lakers will open their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles California on the 28th October.

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Tophatal ………

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Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

There is no disputing the fact, with the year-round cycle of perpetual NFL news you simply cannot get away from football , no matter how much one might try. With the ongoing fiasco of the Deflate-Gate saga now taking place within the legal system and a Federal Court judge Richard Berman now presiding over what will likely the final arbitrary judgment on the matte. I am now beginning to believe this league desires all of the negative publicity possible simply to remain in the limelight.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell no longer has any credibility and the fact that the team owners remain staunchly loyal to him remains not only incredulous but also unfathomable. Fans may well point to the fact the league is highly profitable, but what does it suggest when the NFL still can’t clean its own house or where its relationship with the NFLPA (union) remains adversarial and antagonistic? When asked about this , the commissioner remains nonplussed and comes across as a buffoon. As to the fans who continue to point to the popularity as one of the sole reasons to find football popular , then they might as well bend over and seek to kiss their own ass for all of the good it might do.

Week one of the NFL season went by without there being a standout performance by a team or player after the games played. Divisional standings asides, there wasn’t a great deal that could be taken away from the results seen other than the fact two Heisman Trophy winners are likely to struggle during this season should they be entrusted with leading their respective teams as that franchise’s starting quarterback.

Tim Tebow a recent free agent signing by the Philadelphia Eagles has become a reclamation project for team head coach Chip Kelly. All signs point to the fact the former New York Jets , Denver Broncos and New England Patriots’ player will likely be a bust. His performance in the Eagles’ season opener of the preseason was a disaster and there was nothing to suggest Tebow’s game has actually improved since he last played in the NFL during the 2012 season.

Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team’s and the league’s number one overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft fared no better in the Buccaneers’ preseason opener, as they fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a rather lopsided game. Pretty much safe to say this Buccaneers’ offense could very well end up being among the worst in the NFL this upcoming season with the defense not actually faring any better. Depth on this team roster can only be described as being mediocre at best.

Week two of the preseason will see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida on Monday , 24th August, 2015. Lovie Smith and his team will be seeking their first winof the preseason with Jameis Winston likely to once again get the start in preference over Mike Glennon.

Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will face the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , In the second game of their preseason schedule. Tim Tebow will likely get some playing time in the contest. Yet I have no doubt in my mind the head coach knows , that his and the team’s best option to win lays in the hands of either Mark Sanchezand the much-criticized Sam Bradford whose years in the league have proven to be something of a major disappointment. The NFL to my mind has now become a league of insipid mediocrity , where the fans in general, simply remain apathetic, unbelievably asinine and naive.

The 2012 NFL Draft might well go down as one of the best in recent NFL history and perhaps one of the best in terms of quarterback talent since the hype was made concerning where Hall of Fame players Dan Marino and John Elway would be taken and which teams they would indeed be drafted by. Both quarterbacks went on to have legendary careers , with Elway leading the Denver Broncos to successive Superbowl victories and then riding off into Broncos’ folklore. John Elway is now Head of Football Operations for the franchise, where there is now another legendary quarterback looking to add a second Superbowl victory to his resume and adding a third such title for Denver Broncos.

There are many who now believe the window off opportunity has now closed for Peyton Manning , but yet I feel , as long as the four time League MVP has an effective arsenal to complement his immense skill-set then the Broncos remain with a chance of possibly winning , but that would also be prefaced by suggesting they would be able to get the better of an AFC opponent in the postseason before facing their NFC counterpart in the “Big Game”.

Denver got off to a winning start in the preseason , defeating the Seattle Seahawks on the road in a 22-20 victory against the 2013 Superbowl champions. The Broncos will be looking to add to their winning ways when they face the Houston Texans at Reliant Field/NRG Stadium in Houston Texas on the 22nd August, 2015.

2015 will mark the third year in the NFL for the Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III. The player has made one postseason appearance for the franchise which came to an abrupt end . His sophomore season was by far the best Griffin has had in the league. Granted, he has yet to show the intestinal fortitude of Andrew Luck the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback taken directly ahead of him as the number one overall pick in in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Jay Gruden as head coach of the Washington Redskins’ having not only to deal with the local media , now has to deal with a player whose own entourage seems to be one where they feel , Robert Griffin can and should be seen as the only reason this Redskins’ team exists. Griffin himself, has come out and suggested he remains the best quarterback on the roster and the provides the team with the best chance to win. Yet by any stretch of the imagination , other than his postseason foray in 2012, as a quarterback, he has yet provide the consistency sought for the Washington Redskins to be seen as a credible challenger within the NFC East much less withinthe NFC this upcoming season. Beyond Griffin’s claims of being the best quarterback on the Redskins’ roster, the player believes himself to be the best in the league. All well and good if you have the performances to back it up, but nothing could be further from the truth. It seems what Robert Griffin lacks in competitiveness he makes up for with hyperbole, a great of brevity , a false sense of self-importance and narcissism.

The Redskins’ quarterback is well-paid , perhaps far more than he is actually worth at this juncture, but for the moment, he remains with the franchise knowing this could very well be the last season to prove himself, before the decision is made to jettison him altogether. Robert Griffin III has certainly been more of a distraction for the franchise in his three years rather than an asset and when you consider postseason appearances for the Redskins have become something of a rarity over the last ten years. It is understandable why the front office and team owner Dan Snyder are now at their wits’ end. As valuable as the Washington Redskins remain with an ultra loyal fan-base, having nothing at all to show for during that time-span means absolutely nothing at all , even if organization remains extremely profitable. Making money in the NFL comes extremely easy when you charge exorbitant prices for admission and the television contract are simply extortionate, without mentioning the fact the consumer seems forever starved of a product that has now become extremely pallid.

A narrow three-point win over the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener offered up nothing new as to what the aspirations might be for the Jay Gruden coached Washington Redskins. In week two the Detroit Lions led by Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford will be the guests of the Redskins at Fedex Field, in Landover, Maryland for an NFC conference match-up. It will be interesting to see how the two opposing front-line starting quarterbacks will fare in this contest. Not due to become a free agent until 2017 , a two-year window of opportunity for Robert Griffin is now fast approaching , whereby it’s now or never for the player, who feels he is the best quarterback in the NFL, when he is on his game. RGIII, as he likes to be known, still has a long way to go before he proves himself the equal of his peers , never mind the players and quarterbacks from the 2012 NFL Draft class.

Say what you will, but the Chicago Bears are now playing a rather stupid game of not only cat and mouse, but also who moved my cheese? Former Bears’ GM Phil Emery took it upon himself to sign Jay Cutler to a seven-year $126.7 million contract and what might be even more ludicrous was the insistence of Emery, this would provide the franchise with stability and secure Cutler’s long-term security. Since Jay Cutler was acquired by the Bears the franchise has made only one postseason appearance and the fact they failed so abysmally, a great deal of the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the quarterback. Prior to the start of the preseason there were rumbling heard the front office of the Chicago Bears might be willing to off-load the beleaguered quarterback.

Jay Cutler, I believe remains this generation’s Jeff George , another quarterback with a bullet of an arm , but whose technical prowess and leadership skill-set always came into question. It has been the very same questions , continually being raised about the Bears’ incumbent starting QB. John Fox now comes in looking to turn things around for the Chicago Bears in what is likely to be a combative NFC North division where the Green Bay Packers will be looking to remain the dominant force while also repeating as champions of the division. The regular season meetings between the two teams should prove to be very interesting. I certainly believe Aaron Rodgers and his teammates will get the better of the Bears in both scheduled contests , with Rodgers’ record against his divisional foes continuing. Chicago will face the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday , 22nd August , while Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Heinz Field , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday , the 23rd August,2015 .

Postseason or should I say two Superbowl performances can define a person’s career and create a legacy which is likely to make you a candidate for the Hall of Fame . Such might be the case for New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning and a claim could be made that he might be better than his elder sibling Peyton Manning when it comes to being on the NFL’s grandest stage . Eli Manning hopes to negotiate a mega-contract as he closes out the final year of his six-year $97.5 million current deal , with all evidence pointing to the fact the player wishes to have or be offered a contract that would make him the highest paid quarterback in the league.

While I believe Eli Manning to be a very good quarterback his career beyond his postseason heroics have been somewhat sedate. Granted he does possess winning record during the regular season is credible, but his twelve years in the NFL and he only has six winning seasons indicates to me something average, and averaging a mere seven wins a year throughout his career in the NFL. The past two seasons for Eli Manning have proven to be mediocre, with the player showing little or no leadership qualities whatsoever , while seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for his failings . Manning, like head coach Tom Coughlin will be under a great deal of pressure this season and the likelihood appears to be, should the Giants fail, then both the head coach and player are likely to become no longer part of this franchise. Do I believe Eli Manning to be on the downside of his career ? Yes , in many ways I do feel his skill-set has declined , but the Manning name in the NFL does cast a giant shadow over this league and with the Deflate-Gate fiasco still within our midst, it has been the Manning brothers who if anything have defined his last decade and a half in this league more than any other player during the time-span in question.

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Do you believe this upcoming season in the NFL will prove to be exciting ? Or do feel the league will simply struggle to show any signs of real consistency among the teams ?

Tophatal ..


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Failure wasn’t an option , but it happens and not much can be done about it …

Failure wasn’t an option , but it happens and not much can be done about it …

We’re but a month away as the MLB season begins to wind down and already , several teams seem to have fallen from grace . The AL East’s one-time almost season-long leader the New York Yankees have slipped up allowing the John Gibbons’ managed Toronto Blue Jays to take a half-game lead within the division. Hal and Hank Steinbrenner the familial owners of baseball’s most successful franchise have been vociferous in their support of Joe Girardi and remain of the belief the division is still theirs to lose. From my own standpoint, I believe those statements from the siblings stems from the fact they’re now running scared , knowing there is a great possibility the team will fall way short of the organization’s expectations for the season and it is the winning of the Yankees’ twenty-eighth World Series title.

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New York’s last triumph in the Fall Classic came by way of their lopsided series’ victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. In the subsequent years baseball has not been necessarily kind to the New York Yankees by way of success or the fact they have repeatedly failed to acquire a player who has actually contributed in any great way for the franchise. The team’s payroll has lessened in recent years , while the operations of the ball-club still remains profitable by way of their baseball operations and the revenues derived from their wholly owned cable network , YES Network . Presiding over this all, are the children of the late George Steinbrenner III .

The patriarch might now be looking down on the team’s season and questioning the decision making of GM Brian Cashman and that of his children as he has witnessed the ball-club’s failings this season . A great deal was expected of this team, but inconsistency seems to be the norm , while there now appears to be no assumed leader on the roster since the retirement of Derek Jeter after his two-decade career with the franchise. What the Yankees wouldn’t give now to have someone Jeter’s caliber leading this team. Unfortunately , the traits needed are not going to be found among the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Jacoby Ellsbury or Mark Teixeira , much less from anyone else on the roster. There has been a great deal of talk about the players within the Yankees’ farm system and which ones are likely to be brought up as the team makes a final push to win another divisional title.

Coming off an 8-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians , the New York Yankees will begin a three- game weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays, with their being a great deal to play for as this series begins in earnest on Friday evening . The Blue Jays currently have a 7-2 lead in their seasonal series with Toronto winning their last encounter 2-0 in a game played at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York on the 9th August, 2015. On the mound in the first of this three-game series will be David Price of the Blue Jays, whose starts for his new team have proven to be beneficial for Toronto. Price will be facing Ivan Nova of the New York Yankees.

The most exciting divisional race now taking place might be the one within the AL West where the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels seems to be “duking it out” for divisional supremacy. Houston might just be the surprise team within the AL this season and likely to be viewed as this year’s rendition of the Kansas City Royals . Whether or not the Astros can match the accomplishments of the Royals of last season remains to be seen. For the moment , Mike Scioscia of the Angels faces a tough fight as he seeks to lead the Angels against his managerial counterpart A J Hinch of the Houston . Over their last ten games , both the Angels and Astros have posted pedantic records with their being nothing to suggest the two teams will have enough to truly separate themselves from one another. It might well just come down to which of the two ball-clubs actually wants to win the the division more.

The Houston Astros will be at home to take on the Detroit Tigers in what will likely become a make or break three-game series for the fading Tigers. Jered Weaver and the Angels will have a decidedly tougher weekend series at Kauffman Field as the Kansas City Royals will seek to distance themselves from their closest rivals within the AL Central.

Don’t hold your breath and please do not place a great deal of storage in the NFL preseason schedule . Football may well be back , but there is more drama to be found off the field than there is now said to be anything occurring on it. New York Jets’ presumed starting quarterback for the season , Geno Smith now finds himself sidelined having been cold-cocked , or some are now saying sucker-punched by former teammate Ik Enemkpali. Enemkpali was summarily cut by the Jets and his since found a new home with the Buffalo Bills , where former New York Jets’
head coach Rex Ryan is now the coach of the Bills, a fellow AFC East based franchise. As to what this all now alludes to, in the regular seasonal meetings between the two teams can be best adjudged by whether not the two players will looking across at each other during the contests in question. Bryce Petty , the Jets’ fourth round draft of 2015 will be offered the opportunity to prove his worth and even supplant a player (Smith), who has yet to acclimatize himself to the NFL after two years in his role as a starter on the team.

In their preseason opener the New York Jets were on the wrong side of a ham-fisted 23-3 loss to the Detroit Lions. Let’s just say whether or not Todd Bowles sought to assess his second string and third string players. There was nothing to suggest this Jets’ team will actually perform any better than their fans were privileged to witness last season. Defensively, New York seems to be apoplectic and the offense cannot be considered that much better.

Week two will see the Jets pit their wits against the Atlanta Falcons , a team that will certainly have a great deal to prove to not only themselves but also their long-suffering fans this upcoming season. Matt Ryan has long proven that while in the regular season he is viewed to be competent , where it matters most , the postseason has become an anathema to one more six-figure $100 million dollar quarterback who is overpaid and simply not worth the money . Ryan and his Chicago Bears’ counterpart Jay Cutler , to my mind are now the two most overrated passers currently playing in the NFL , by far.

You cannot put lipstick on a pig and expect to turn it into a sow and anyone who believes Jay Cutler is capable of leading the Chicago Bears to become a leading contender within the NFC this season, most likely is delusional. There is a new sheriff in town with John Fox heading a coaching staff looking to put the Bears back on the competitive map , with a newly revamped roster still built around Cutler as the centerpiece of the offense along with Matt Forte. Fox and the Bears got off to an auspicious start with a 27-10 victory in their preseason opener over the Miami Dolphins. Cutler got some playing time, but the majority of the snaps were taken by his backup Jimmy Claussen in this contest played at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

If Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears are to prove themselves this season, then they will have to show that they’re the equal if not better than divisional rivals the Green Bay Packers who still remain the class of the NFC North division. Having come off their victory over the Dolphins the Bears will prepare for their next preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts and their stellar quarterback Andrew Luck.

I believe we will not get to see the best of what the preseason has to offer until week three when the coaching staff will be giving more playing time to their front-line playing staff in preparation for the start of the regular season.

So it’s now official. The NBA will begin its regular season eighty-two game schedule on 27th October , 2015. With the New York Knicks failing miserably posting one of the worst records in the franchise’s history and their sheer apathy of some of the most inane NBA fans who continued to drink the Kool Aid and their thinking, that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would waltz their way through to the NBA title simply indicated how clueless and continually naive the North American sports’ fan just happens to be. I swear if you placed lipstick on a pig, these morons would actually believe it to be a goddamn fucking sow. Just another example of how damn apathetic, they just happen to be.

In the aftermath of David Blatt being out-coached by Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors . I have yet to hear anyone who was a detractor of the Warriors admit they actually got their prognosis wrong, in deliberating the outcome of the Finals . Instead , the excuses were rampant and widespread LeBron James’ apologists came out in their droves of the four-time League and two-time Finals’ MVP. Granted, James’ heroics in the series against Golden State was extraordinary , but clearly the Cavaliers’ roster did not have the depth of their Western Conference adversaries. If that escaped the knowledge of the fans , then clearly the inexperience was also overlooked by their dumb asses. LeBron James is not an on-court coach, but be might just be the best facilitator of his era, of which not much more can be said beyond that.

The Golden State Warriors will begin the defense of their title against the New Orleans Pelicans in an opening night home stand . Kerr’s roster of last season pretty much remains intact with the exception of one or two minor changes and the most recent draft choices . Reigning League MVP Steph Curry will be returning alongside his robust teammate Klay Thompson and the hero from the Warriors’ Finals success Andre Iguodala most certainly will be looking to prove his performances during the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers were no fluke.

I certainly believe Golden State will remain a prohibitive favorite within the Western Conference to make an immediate return to the NBA Playoffs. They are likely to be joined by five time champions the San Antonio Spurs who during the off-season were the main winners in the free agency sweepstakes , landing LaMarcus Aldridge and David West to fortify what already is a formidable lineup for this upcoming season . Gregg Popovich and GM R C Buford continue to amaze with the acumen shown, with Peter Holt showing why he is perhaps the best owner in the NBA. He delegates , allows his executives to make the decisions necessary while giving his wholehearted support to the members of the front office in their carrying out of their duties.

San Antonio also end up leading the charge with regard to social awareness and gender equality , as they currently are the only franchise within the NBA, where a female coaching assistant , Becky Hammon is the only female holding down such a role. Success with Hammon came by way of the franchise’s D League affiliate winning the Summer League title. The NBA failed to capitalize on this , showing why it still remains a bastion of testosterone driven idiocy , with archaic ideas and sexist behavior by not only the league hierarchy , but also among several of the team owners and notably among the players themselves, in spite of the union’s Executive Director , Michele A Roberts, being a female.

If there is one thing I do know, the NBA needs this upcoming season, if this league is to remain vital and a major success, then it has to be an immediate rebound for both the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks after their disastrous seasons in 2014.

For two of the most renowned teams to have fallen so far off the map was not only an embarrassment for the franchises themselves , but it also gives credence to the fact , Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson are being given a pass based solely on past reputation and not by anything intrinsic or tangible being shown as of late. All of the bravura and idiotic naivete’ of both executives having a long-term plan was idiotic and remains asinine.

Last season remains a clear indication of how bad both teams were and their recent draft choices over the past three seasons. once again has proven a point. Not one player chosen has yet to make an indelible mark on the league. Yet fans of both the Knicks and Lakers are meant to believe Jackson and Kupchak actually know what they are doing ? Byron Scott and Derek Fisher may well have had stellar playing careers , having won multiple titles as players , but their coaching acumen has been abysmal in terms of the undoubted failures seen from their teams.

The Los Angeles Lakers will begin their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles , California . For the New York Knicks their year-long sojourn within the NBA starts off with a contest against the Milwaukee Bucks , coached by former Knicks’ point guard Jason Kidd .

From my own perspective the NBA will not find its rhythmic heartbeat until we enter the month of December and from thereon-in which team yearns it the most, as they seek to win an NBA title.

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What are you hoping to see as the MLB season winds down and enters into its postseason spectacle ? Also, are you remotely interested in the NFL preseason as a way of gauging the teams’ play ? Finally, what are your thoughts on the NBA and which teams do you believe will be major contenders looking to dethrone the Golden State Warriors this upcoming season ?


Tophatal ……

Contributor & editor’s advisory notes



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MLB schedule 14th August

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This week in MLB history

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And this is what we know …

And this is what we know ..

Over the past week I have not thought to delve back into the world blogging ,regaling readers with my impressions from the world of sports . In reality, I find this time of the year extremely boring , with their being nothing of note to be seen . The NFL remains in a quandary and it would appear that the once respectful relationship between Bob Kraft and Roger Goodell has now come to an unsavory end. NFL Commissioner Goodell , has seen fit to punish not only the New England Patriots’ star quarterback Tom Brady, but also the Patriots’ organization , owned by billionaire Kraft. As to where this now places the New England Patriots among the most hated professional sports’ franchises in the country , let alone history , I am prepared to let you all figure it out , as I believe it would actually make for a great debate among the sports fans’ fraternity.

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With Brady having been suspended for four games and his appeal being unsuccessful , the next step is for the player and the commissioner to once again lock horns in a US Federal Court, where there is likely to be a finality to this idiocy. Personally, I believe both sides to be culpable in this mess , with the track record of the Patriots being there for all to see, while the league hierarchy under Goodell has always been weak, apathetic and without a clue. The Patriots are not the only team in the NFL bending the rules. It just happens to be that they are the only ones to have been caught more than once , albeit , we have seen the antics of the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton , Gregg Williams and general manager Micky Loomis. How easily one seems to forget the Bounty-gate Scandal .

Entering into the NFL preseason , I am not so sure I would be happy as a fan of the Buffalo Bills , knowing head coach Rex Ryan is unsure who is starting quarterback will likely be for the Bills’ preseason schedule , let alone the regular season. His choices are, veteran Matt Cassel , EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor ,as competing quarterbacks for the starting role. Based on last season’s performances and the statistics noted , it easy to suggest Ryan’s worries might are justified , but then I look at his own experiences with Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith during his last few years with the New York Jets. His failure there, alongside the poor play of the players mentioned, is not only a cause for concern, but it would hardly allay one’s fears as a fan of the Buffalo Bills let alone being a fan of the NFL.

Buffalo with a new owner in tow , billionaire Terry Pegula ,has promised to bring back the luster to a franchise long starved of success. Consider the fact , the last time the Bills won the AFC East was in 1995 and their last playoff appearance was in 1999 and you can well understand why success has been something of a non-factor in the franchise’s struggles over the last sixteen years. The preseason schedule almost in sight , Buffalo’s coaching staff will be looking to use this time to assess not only the quarterbacks on the staff, but also lesser players hoping to make the team’s final roster before embarking upon their regular season schedule.

With the possibility of Tom Brady still being out for the first four games of the regular season , unless the Justice System has a change of heart, then the other three teams within the AFC East must feel they are in with a chance to dethrone the current divisional champions. To my mind the task will not be that easy, as I believe the Patriots will still be a force to be reckoned with should Jimmy Garoppolo start in replacement of Tom Brady , while the three-time Superbowl MVP sits out the first four games of the Patriots’ regular season schedule.

It’s going to be fun watching as the teams embark upon this preseason schedule, when one bears in mind, in 2014, nothing from the preseason pointed us in the direction of how the regular season would finally pan out. Granted, the belief remained the Seattle Seahawks were seen as the class of the NFC , with the Green Bay Packers perhaps their biggest conference rival. What we found out in the end, Peter Carroll while being a very good head coach, needs to show more authority among his coaching staff and place responsibility where it lays when an assistant makes a bone head decision , as seen during the waning moments of last season’s Superbowl . Russell Wilson will never be able to distance himself from the play and I am sure Marshawn Lynch must be feeling a great deal of anger from the fact he was not allowed to make one final dash into the end-zone. Talk about nightmares, there are still thousands of Seahawks’ fans reliving the image of Malcolm Butler intercepting Wilson’s pass during the waning moments of the game.

The Hall of Fame game kicks off this season’s preseason schedule , with the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Minnesota Vikings at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio on Sunday afternoon. Week one of the preseason actually kicks off on Thursday 13th August ,2015 when the Baltimore Ravens play hosts to the New Orleans Saints , with the two teams being viewed among the favorites for their respective divisional titles and possible contenders for this season’s Superbowl. Opposing head coaches Sean Payton and John Harbaugh will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season for their respective teams.

So if this baseball season has proved to us anything, it has been the fact being complacent is still prevalent within the game. Fallout, has not only been the managerial departures but also what appears to be dissatisfaction between an owner and a front office executive. Jerry Dipoto left the Los Angeles Angels , after what appears to be an internal power struggle , as to who had the ear of team owner Arte Moreno .

In Detroit , the abrupt stepping down of Dave Dombrowski as the general manager of the Detroit Tigers has shocked not only the fans of the ball-club , but the entire baseball community. Michael Ilitch has thanked the executive for his fourteen years of service and the success brought , but with the missing piece to the puzzle being a World Series title. It clearly wasn’t enough for the eighty-two year old owner and his long-held ambitions of a world championship. Al Avila, a protege of Dombrowski now ascends to the position of general manager for the franchise , hoping to turn things around for the team as they enter the stretch run of the season , looking to close the gap on the Kansas City Royals who lead the AL Central and are seen as one of the primary contenders for the AL Pennant this season.

Boston Red Sox team President Larry Lucchino has stepped down from his role within the organization as team owners John Henry and Tom Werner have to be wondering what went wrong this season, as John Farrell , his managerial and playing staff have been so lax with their play and performances this season. With no chance of mounting a sustainable challenge within the AL East the Red Sox aren’t even competitive enough to challenge for a wild-card berth as the schedule enters its final third of the season. Needless to say. GM Ben Cherington will have some major decisions to make once the team’s season comes to an end. Boston’s record since winning the World Series in 2013 have simply been an unmitigated disaster both on an off the field of play.

Mike Trout remains the best player of his generation and has now become the best player in the game, bar none. If you doubt that , then simply look at the player’s statistics since he entered baseball and now having won the AL Rookie of The Year as well as ALMVP . He now has his sights set on a World Series crown with the Los Angeles Angels , something last accomplished by this franchise in 2002 , under their current manager Mike Sciocsia .

Trout alongside teammate , Albert Pujols have led an offensive onslaught for the Angels this season, with the duo likely to finish with a projected combined home run total of ninety-five home runs. The last duo to accomplish the feat of one hundred home runs in a season were Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro as teammates with the Texas Rangers in 2002. The Rangers for their part , as competitive as they were , simply lacked the the stamina for the long haul and also failing to make the postseason. Both Palmeiro and Rodriguez’s careers have respectively taken unexpected turns due to their web of deceit and lies. These two players have become infamous , with their names now synonymous with the use of banned substances with their repeated denials in light of the mounting evidence which suggested to the contrary.

Mike Sciocsia and the Angels have what appears to be an insurmountable lead within the AL West and can be seen as one of the prohibitive favorites within the AL (American League) this season alongside the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. I certainly believe given their play , the Angels might just be the best team among the aforementioned trio , but the Royals appear to be on a mission of redemption after last season’s heroics during the postseason , ultimately ending with their series’ defeat in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

Trout and the Angels will be up against the Baltimore Orioles when they begin a weekend three-game home series at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim, California , starting on Friday, 7th August, 2015. On the mound for the opening game of the series will be Andrew Heaney of the Angels as he squares off against Kevin Gausman of the Orioles.

In recent months the term ” the most dominant athlete in sports” has been banded about like its the only acclaim which can best describe an athletes’ prowess in their chosen field. As to that might be of late , can be best summed by how one might view the accomplishments being lauded over. Serena Williams continues to dominate the WTA Tour like no other female tennis player of her generation , with the last such player to have matched Williams’ feats being the now retired Steffi Graf . There the comparisons can come to an end , because until Williams has actually achieved the Grand Slam of winning the four tennis Majors in the same calendar year, all of this apathetic stupidity can stop. I have always maintained that the North American sports’ fans and members of the media would rather deal in hyperbole, than the evidence actually in front of them. In the case of sports such as tennis , soccer , auto racing outside of NASCAR , the fans and media alike are simply oafs with little or no intelligence at all !

Now comes the case where the comparisons are actually being made among female and male athletes , as to who the most dominant just happens to be . So next up , I guess it will be left to idiots such as Christine Brennan , Stephen A Smith and Bill Simmons to enlighten us all and tell us that Floyd Mayweather just happens to be a better athlete than LeBron James , Ronda Rousey , Serena Williams , and Jimmy Johnson ? While each of the individuals are considered to be among the best in their chosen fields , all of the hype and conjecture simply makes for a great debate and not much else beyond that. Trying to adjudge the dominance of an athlete from differing sports’ endeavors is like trying to count the grains of sand on a one foot square area on a beach . It is impossible to do, especially when you are simply going by what’s said to be their achievements and then not looking at the level of competition.

Ronda Rousey destroyed her last opponent Bethe Correia inside of one round at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil on 1st August , 2015. It would be fair to suggest Rousey has become the brightest face in UFC at the moment and perhaps its biggest star. With their being no real challengers within her bantamweight division of note and the UFC weight class for female fighters solely tied to the bantamweight and strawweight division . There seems to be little chance Ronda Rousey will be dethroned as the female bantamweight champion within the UFC. She has been by far the best female fighter within the UFC ever since her first appearance inside the octagon and now with growing and unrelenting calls for her to face Cristiana Chris Cyborg Santos , a fighter within the rival Strikeforce organization .

There seems to be growing optimism the fight could take place. However, Santos has ran afoul of Strikeforce having tested positive for a banned substance leading to her being suspended by the organization . Rousey for her part, has drawn this fact to everyone’s attention and the fact she believes Santos has devalued the sport with her suspension, having tested positive for a banned substance. Now as if to keep the feud going ,Cristiana Santos has sought to have her lawyers draw a defamation lawsuit against Ronda Rousey , stating the fighter has defamed her character with unsubstantiated allegations. Much ado about nothing I believe , as Santos is more in need of seeing her profile being raised. while also seeking a big payday for a proposed bout against Rousey.

As if to prove the state of disarray the sport of boxing just happens to be in . Floyd Mayweather has announced his next opponent as he defends his welterweight title belts will be against the lightly taken and exceedingly mediocre Andre Berto . Mayweather may well be seeking to equal and then best the 49-0 record of the late Rocky Marciano , but taking fights against lesser opponents now simply demeans a sport now dying on its feeble and last legs, .

The welterweight title holder (Mayweather) was barely tested in his last fight a unanimous decision over the past his prime Manny Pacquaio . The fact that both fighters split an estimated $225 million purse, only adds further injury to insults, one would still like to throw not only at both fighters, but the various international governing bodies of the sport of boxing. Needless to say , with promoters such as Don King , Bob Arum , Oscar de La Hoya and Mayweather himself , pulling the strings as marionettes , there is little that can be done by the likes of the WBA , WBC , IBF and WBO . Not that the governing bodies in question has ever had the sport’s best interests at heart. Consider the fact , there is not an undisputed champion in any of the weight categories in the sport of boxing and it easy to understand why there is now growing disinterest in the sport. With Mayweather’s likely retirement coming sooner, rather than later , boxing will lose its biggest draw and most acclaimed and gifted fighter of the last fifteen years. Vacuum in the sport ? I guess so !

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Tophatal …

Editor’s advisory notes



NFL news

NFL transactions

NFL preseason (2015)

NFL regular season schedule

NFL preseason results 2014

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The Wells’ Report

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MLB results 5th August

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Explain it to me again ?

Explain it to me again ?

So here we are , as the NFL is embroiled in another scandal leading into the opening weekend of the league’s preseason game being played at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio,. Now unless you have been in the midst of the Gobi Desert over the past fourth months then you couldn’t have missed the spiraling animus now brewing between the New England Patriots and the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended for the league mandated four games , for his involvement in the now infamous Deflate-Gate scandal. The quarterback has the solid backing of team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft , even in light of the evidence gathered by the league’s investigators headed by noted attorney Ted Wells.

Also emanating from the episode has non-cooperation of Tom Brady and his alleged actions of his deliberately damaging his cell phone , rather than turning it over to Wells and his assistant investigators . Were this a criminal case and had the player been subpoenaed to hand over the evidence requested , this whole saga would certainly have taken on a whole new face as to how things are viewed.

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It is becoming abundantly clear , Brady and the Patriots’ organization feel they have been hard done by with regard to how the NFL has conducted its investigation. Yet is also clear, Brady has been less than forthright concerning his actions with answers to the allegations being clearly orchestrated by his attorneys. Bob Kraft , as a once close ally of Roger Goodell , might now be close to reevaluating his relationship with the league’s highest ranking executive. One should bear in mind also . Kraft had been one of the staunchest supporters in Roger Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. The Patriots’ owner and his fellow franchisees made sure Goodell’s ascent to his current position was a smooth end run without any major opposition from any other NFL franchise owner.

As to how Bob Kraft is now viewed by the likes of Steve Bisciotti, Dan Snyder, Jed Yorke , Jerry Jones, Woody Johnson , Steve Ross , Tom Benson and Zygi Wilf is now open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. I am not about to suggest there now happens to be a “ them against us mentality” , that might now exist against within the NFL, but the New England Patriots’ actions in recent years and the allegations of cheating speaks volumes as to the franchise’s actions and the perceived views of the organization.

The Patriots might now be the most despised professional franchise in all of sports. Brady, has gone from being one of the most high-profiled and most admired sports’ personalities in the country has become persona non-grata across the sports’ landscape. Might I now suggest , that other than Lance Armstrong , Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez , the NFL player is now the most disliked athlete in the world of professional sports.

Hall of Fame weekend in the NFL will see the latest addition of players to the establishment’s edifice in Canton, with the inductions of Tim Brown , Jerome Bettis , Charles Haley , Will Shields , Mike Tingelhoff the late Junior Seau and former league executives Ron Wolf and Bill Polian .

Each of this year’s class of inductees are well deserving of the accolade. However, in light of their enshrinement next Saturday prior to the Hall of Fame game on Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings , some controversy has emanated with the Hall of Fame and NFL , seeking not have members of the Seau family speak on Junior Seau’s behalf when he is inducted in the Hall of Fame. To my mind, it is simply idiocy on the part of the league hierarchy and Hall to come to such a decision given the adverse publicity league has been the receiving over the past season and into off-season leading up to the present. A great deal of this falls squarely on the shoulders of Roger Goodell and the continued lack of leadership shown, along with the failure of the NFLPA leadership and that the union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and his unwillingness to address the issue of player misconduct off the field of play. It would appear, the only concerns of the union as well as the league, is economic driven and the revenues derived as a commercial concern for the almost $8 billion reaped annually by the NFL.

If this is meant to be year of the rookie players in the NFL to make a name for themselves , the player likely to be under the greatest pressure could be the number one pick taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. It would be fair to suggest , Jameis Winston is under the greatest pressure to succeed, as he has been entrusted to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a new chapter for the beleaguered franchise. Last season , having finished with a 2-14 record , it is easy to understand why the team failed so miserably . Defensively and from an offensive standpoint, head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff could not get his players playing any great degree of commitment and the optimism now being shown is simply one of brevity, rather than reality.

The roster has changed , but I believe the mindset remains the same , along with the seeming apathy shown by Glazer family as the owners of the franchise. Their concern now seems to concentrated more on the fate of their other sporting concern , Manchester United who will enter this season under a great deal of optimism with head coach Louis Van-Gaal and a new multi-million dollar lineup of star players looking to win the Premiership title . I would suspect the English soccer giants face a much easier task of winning English soccer’s most valued domestic title than the Buccaneers stand of winning the NFC South, gaining an NFC postseason berth or the Superbowl itself.

Tampa will open their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings on the road at the Vikings’ Hubert Humphrey Metrodome Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota . With Minnesota’s new facility not due to open until June of 2018 for the NFC North based Minnesota Vikings. It will be interesting to see also the role given to Adrian Peterson as he gets to play in his first professional game back in the NFL after last year’s well chronicled suspension for his actions off the field. For the Buccaneers it provides Jameis Winston with his first opportunity to play against an NFL opponent and the chance for fans to get a sense of what he has to offer the franchise. With Lovie Smith having named Winston the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback , Mike Glennon is left out in the cold after his brief spell in the position provided little of note during his tenure in the role. If Winston should fail during the preseason , I believe the roles are likely to be reversed between Tampa’s two front-line quarterbacks with the team’s depth chart being so thin.

I believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hard pressed to compete in the NFC South this season , given their woes of 2014 in spite of the renewed optimism among the rookies , veterans , coaching staff as well as the fans. Tampa’s divisional games this season will likely prove to be tough against the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans and what now appears to be a declining Atlanta Falcons’ team led by Matt Ryan . A player now on borrowed time with the franchise , and whose contract with the organization has become a burden upon the player and a real hindrance for the Falcons.

Call me naive, but if Roger Goodell really wanted to persuade women around the country that he is intent on really changing the way they are perceived by the NFL’s players, then his statements and actions have done little to change the perception. Dealing with the National Organization of Women (NOW) has been nothing but a publicity stunt, as the league seeks to move forward after the actions of Greg Hardy, Ray Rice , Ray McDonald and several other players around the league over the past few years. Goodell has already proven himself to be an @ss with his actions concerning player misconduct and the issue of violence against women , without taking into account the lack of action by the team owners and the NFLPA(union), whose own lack of action has been inexcusable alongside DeMaurice Smith’s ongoing oblivious stance as to his members’ behavior.

In the midst of what appears to be a well orchestrated stunt the Arizona Cardinals have introduced Jen Welter , a coaching intern and linebackers’ coach with the franchise. Needless to say, there are likely to be numerous jokes made about Welter being around so many balls , deflated or otherwise, either in the Rams’ locker room , on the practice field as well as preseason and regular season games. Bruce Arians and the front office appear to have a great deal of faith in Welter and the positive approach she brings to her role. Cardinals’ players Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are likely to have been asked to take the lead in showing the franchise has a keen awareness of the role women have to play not just in their roles as a spouse, but also the positive image that can seen having Welter in her current role with the team.

Now my question would be for both of these seasoned veterans , if they are prepared to tow this line, then why have they remained so silent on the issue of domestic violence by many of their peers within the game ? The NFL would rather be perceived as being ahead of the curve on social issues , when in fact its hierarchy and players have simply been nothing more than the litmus test and fire behind what has been so wrong within today’s society in terms of a lack of decency, integrity, but most of all having a conscious to do what is right , rather than being reactive after the fact. Let it not be said, it is only the players who have behavioral issues , as Jim Irsay’s own personal demons continue to be a blight on his personal and professional reputation. If the NFL is said to be the acid test here , then they have erstwhile followers within the NBA where its hierarchy remains a continued joke and the same can be said of the old boys’ network that is purveyed by Rob Manfred and his cohorts within MLB .

There has been little which has gone right for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past eight years. As the rumors continue to percolate the franchise will be next to relocate beyond the obvious motives behind the likely moves of the San Diego Chargers and St Louis Rams . It is the Jaguars who have the most to gain, albeit , that why anyone would think relocating of the Chargers and Rams to the outskirts of Los Angeles will prove to be positive, even if both teams will be competing against each other economically for the largest slice of the pie which makes up the market in the nation’s second-most populated city as well the second largest ad-market.

Roger Goodell hankers to one-up his predecessor and add to his truly small list of successes as NFL Commissioner. Having either the Chargers or Rams in Los Angeles proves nothing , when there appears to be no real zeal for the NFL within the city by residents there. Studies can mean anything one might want it to say, but here is the facts as we know them to be , the city of Los Angeles over the past twelve years has continued to survive without an NFL franchise while the league’s revenues have continued to grow. Meanwhile, attendance levels have also increased, as have viewer ratings for the league’s broadcasts for regular season games , no matter when they are being played.

The systematic failures of the Jacksonville Jaguars have simply been brought on by lack of real coaching acumen seen over the last ten years . Jacksonville’s last winning season came in 2007 , along with a postseason appearance leading to a divisional loss suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots in a thrilling game. In the subsequent years ,one could suggest the Jaguars have plodded a path of sheer ineptitude. Shahid ‘Shad’ Khan , the team’s ubiquitous billionaire entrepreneurial owner has sought to change the mindset of the franchise as well as winning over new fans , while trying to show that beyond the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers there is a third NFL franchise within the state of Florida.

On and off the field the Jaguars continue to have problems , as they are one of the league’s least profitable teams and one of its worst supported over the last ten years. Throw in the fact the franchise’s home venue of Ever Bank Field has about as much appeal as a kick to both the groin and the head. One could ask what comes next for the Jaguars on its path to redemption ? Gus Bradley continues to struggle as a head coach and quarterback Blake Bortles has continued to struggle in his role while showing small incremental signs of improvement. Rookie or not , Bortles has been placed in an impossible situation when you consider what has been achieved by the likes of Andrew Luck , Russell Wilson and even Andy Dalton through their first your years in the NFL . Each of the quarterbacks in question have experienced postseason play with Wilson having led the Seattle Seahawks to back to back Superbowl appearances in 2013 and 2014, with Seattle’s triumph coming in their lopsided victory over the psychologically demoralized Denver Broncos and their veteran quarterback Peyton Manning.

I don’t believe the Jacksonville Jaguars will be able to achieve the heights reached by the Seattle Seahawks in the last two seasons and I certainly do not see the team challenging the Indianapolis Colts for divisional supremacy within the AFC South this upcoming season. At best Jacksonville is unlikely to win more than six games based on their current schedule even with the play of Allen Hurns , Denard Robinson and Johnathan Cyprien. Robinson having played quarterback in college, has now converted to running back and could become a dual threat as an imposing receiving and rushing combination for a team starved of talent on both sides of the ball.

The Jaguars will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ever Bank Field , in Jacksonville , Florida. No doubt the Steelers will be looking to make the season opener for their opponents an inauspicious start to the preseason. As to what we ought to expect from the Jacksonville Jaguars this upcoming season will certainly be predicated on what Blake Bortles is capable of showing as he enters his sophomore year in the NFL.

Picture gallery. Click unto a single frame and then view that image in a reformatted size along with the accompanying narrative.

What do you believe will be one of the biggest stories to break during the preseason within the NFL ? Also , how do you see the top teams of last season performing this year in the league and do believe there will be a major fallout from this latest issue involving the New England Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady ?

Tophatal ….

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