Too late the hero …

They came they saw and thought they would conquer , instead the heavily favored Carolina Panthers laid a monumental goose-egg as they were outplayed , outcoached and made to look ordinary in their loss to the Denver Broncos. For their part, the Broncos avenged their horrendous loss of two years ago, when they fell asleep at the wheel in their embarrassingly lopsided defeat to the Seattle Seahawks. Panthers’ quarterback , Cam Newton the presumptive League MVP was harassed all game-long by the Broncos’ defense, with Vonn Miller having an exceptional game , while being named Superbowl MVP.

Too late the hero

They came they saw and thought they would conquer , instead the heavily favored Carolina Panthers laid a monumental goose-egg as they were outplayed , out-coached and made to look ordinary in their loss to the Denver Broncos . For their part, the Broncos avenged their horrendous loss of two years ago, when they fell asleep at the wheel in their embarrassingly lopsided defeat to the Seattle Seahawks . Panthers’ quarterback , Cam Newton the presumptive League MVP was harassed all game-long by the Broncos’ defense, with Vonn Miller having an exceptional game , while being named Superbowl MVP. The resulting 24-10 win by the Denver Broncos, brings to an end one of the best seasons seen from an NFL franchise in terms of their defensive capabilities seen during the regular and postseason . Denver’s defense was exceptional and their play-making ability exhibited in the Superbowl was nothing short of spectacular.

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For Peyton Manning , the question remains, does he now bow out on a career-high , having won his second Superbowl or does he return for one more year with the Denver Broncos ? Certainly, he will be getting advice from his family and closest friends but I believe Manning also seek advice from Broncos’ Head of Operations and former quarterback John Elway , whose career with the franchise have been etched in Denver Broncos’ folklore. Denver came into this game as the overwhelming underdogs , but when it mattered the most, it was the defense who stepped up to the plate to make this victory all the more satisfying for their fans and the organization.

This off-season , I have no doubt John Elway , the front office and the coaching staff of Gary Kubiak will go about assessing the team’s needs in the run-up to the 2016 NFL Draft . With notable free agents on the roster who will undoubtedly be looking to get paid , one could reason , Elway will not be rushed into things concerning the Broncos’ roster and their off-season dealings. Having been the architect of this team , drafting and acquiring free agents to bolster the roster , adding depth to the team overall. It could be said , Elway should be taking as much credit for this success , as the players on the team.

There was a solemn note to this Superbowl with John Elway acknowledging words of appreciation for team owner Pat Bowlen who was unable to attend Sunday’s event. Bowlen has been the ever-present figure presiding over the franchise almost from its very start. Ill-health has taken its toll on this much revered owner and it seems only fitting that the Denver Broncos’ greatest player was the person offering Bowlen , his best wishes.

Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera , obviously disappointed with his team’s loss , was the first to acknowledge this was a learning experience for his players . In his post-game interview the coach praised his opponents while stating his team will get better and they have learned something from this loss. The disappointment on the faces of the Panthers’ players was there for every one to see and the gut-wrenching way with which they discombobulated, was all the more unbelievable. Mistimed efforts by the receivers , Cam Newton being harassed and pressured played a part in the Carolina Panthers’ downfall. Furthermore, with Ron Rivera’s coaching staff not adapting the to Wade Phillips’ defensive strategies have me wondering , did this have more to do with Panthers not figuring out they were going up against the NFL’s best defensive team during the postseason ? As good as the Denver Broncos were said to be defensively, Carolina through their sheer desperation simply had no real answer , their world came crashing down because they lacked composure and an unwillingness to change or battle their opponent head on.

With the result of the Superbowl now known , we will see how the NFL Draft pans out as the teams make their choices on Draft Day. The Tennessee Titans will have the privilege of making the first pick in the upcoming draft and it will be interesting to see the decision made by the Titans’ front office as they seek to fortify a roster around the skill-set of Marcus Mariota . The only way is up for the Titans after another disastrous season in the NFL and while Mariota was able to show signs of leadership and composure , when the surrounding cast appears to be nothing more than mediocre , then there is not a great which can be done and that was clearly the case for Mike Mularkey and his coaching staff . Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt who had been fired earlier in the season after the Titans’ inauspicious start to their schedule . There are a litany of issues which needed to be addressed by the Tennessee Titans during the off-season and while one can only hope to see some signs of improvement from the AFC South based franchise, I am of the opinion they are likely to struggle again this upcoming season !

Over the last ten years the Dallas Cowboys have sought ride into the postseason on the shoulder of Tony Romo . Suffice to say, I believe Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones has spent way too much time hyping up the franchise while making a great deal of money over-charging fans for a rather mediocre product ! Romo’s postseason malaise have been well-chronicled along with his continuous excuses and the very fact he is no longer able to play a regular sixteen-game schedule . During this off-season the quarterback will once again be undergoing surgery, having re-injured his shoulder. Can we just say , if Romo were a race horse who repeatedly suffered the same injury , he would have been euthanized ? Head coach Jason Garrett , continually the ‘pet poodle’ of Jerry Jones , is simply proving whether or not he has on-field talent, slight or genuinely very good , he cannot get the best out of those players , much less truly indicate he has a modicum of coaching acumen. The losses suffered by the Cowboys this past season were as just as much the players’ fault as it was Garrett’s and his ill-prepared coaching staff’s .

I have never really been enamored with the Dallas Cowboys and this constant belief they are ‘ America’s Team’ . It is said , if you tend to spread the message long and loud enough , then people are likely to believe it. Well, I do believe the Cowboys alongside the New England Patriots are the most despised teams in the NFL , while also being the most hated in North American professional sports !

It would be a safe bet to suggest , when Tony Romo was lost the Dallas Cowboys during the season, their year was essentially over. Neither Matt Cassel or Brandon Weeden as Romo’s under-studies were able to get the job done as the team’s starting quarterback, replacing the Pro Bowl player . Cassel was never consistent enough and Weeden was simply out of his depth.

The losses suffered by the Cowboys this past season were as just as much the players’ fault as it was Garrett’s and his ill-prepared coaching staff’s. Dallas having finished their season with a 4-12 record will have the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. If their first round draft based on the team’s needs are anything to go by, then there is a very distinct possibility Jerry Jones will likely take a quarterback , but this purely based on speculation from my own perspective ! The Cowboys’ needs are vast and varied and given Jones’ inclinations , just about anything is possible. One can only hope this upcoming season the Dallas Cowboys will have their game faces on , rather than being dressed in clown costumes and performing like the NFL’s answer for ‘comedic relief’.

Not one to pour salt into the wounds ,but in the aftermath of another deplorable season if all the fans of the St Louis Rams can feel excited about is their imminent return to the greater Los Angeles area , then it is to their shame. Rams’ owner and eponymous billionaire and husband of Ann Walton-Kroenke , of the Walton family fortune . Stanley Kroenke , as the owner of the NFL franchise has presided over a disaster since he acquired the team and this move can and should be seen as nothing more than to take away your attention away from what has been another year of just incompetence from the top on down . Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff appeared lost and the players seemed to be lost all season long. There was but one bright spot to this team and it was the play of their rookie running back Todd Gurley . While others might be calling for the names of Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston for the NFL Offensive Rookie of The Year . To my mind , Gurley made enough of an impact to have outshone his contemporaries from the 2015 NFL Draft class ! Whether or not the Rams’ running back wins the award remains to be seen.

Jeff Fisher and the St Louis Rams never seemed to be in control of their own destiny from the start of the season , right until its very end and their 7-9 record was reflective of that very fact . Poorly led on the field of play, their quarterback play it has to be said , neither Nick Foles and Case Keenum were up to the task of leading this team.

Stanley Kroenke having bought a large parcel of land outside the town of Industry , California will now seek to build a stadium which will in all likelihood will be publicly financed, while the surrounding area for the stadium will be for commercial and residential use , all under the umbrella of one of Kroenke’s commercial enterprises. While the Rams’ fans in Los Angeles might not seem perturbed with the use of public funds to aid one of the richest men in the country with one of his whims, it plainly speaks to the ignorance of the fans of the NFL in general and their lack of economics. As to the NFL hierarchy , well with the move having been approved, this is one more feather in the cap for Roger Goodell , whose own image is in need of something positive . His leadership of the NFL has been one of the poorest in living memory and perhaps among those of his contemporaries within MLB (Bud Selig and Rob Manfred) , NHL (Gary Bettman), NBA (David Stern) and NASCAR (Mike Helton).

If the St Louis Rams’ season was said so monstrous , then for the Oakland Raiders theirs was simply dire and one where there was little of note to take seriously. Jack Del-Rio did all he could without their being anything to show for it at the end of the day. Now with team owner Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie having met with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson , CEO of Sands Corporation the entertainment and gaming conglomerate with a major presence in Las Vegas , Nevada as well as throughout much of the Far East . Adelson proposes the building of a vast stadium for the Raiders , along with a mix of commercial and residential real estate . As to what the NFL will make of this all , given their given wish not to be closely involved with the gaming industry , is somewhat hypocritical , when one considers professional football is a major source of revenue for the industry. Something the league hierarchy is well aware of and lately, several influential owners have been pressing Roger Goodell to loosen his stance with regard to their being no association.

Personally, I believe the league and the gaming industry to be hypocritical , as are the laws which prohibit wagering on sports’ events around the country ! The US Justice System and the States Attorneys’ General have bigger fish to fry , than seeking to punish with impunity , the gaming industry and those who make a living from it.

Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie’s meeting with Sheldon Adelson also took in the local political dignitaries, along with senior members of the Las Vegas City Council . If their weight is thrown behind such a proposal , it will be interesting to witness how the NFL will seek to dissuade its members from allowing the relocation of the Oakland Raiders. While I have no problem with NFL franchises seeking to move , I do have a problem with team owners believing it best for municipalities , county or state governments to be at the beck and call when it comes to the financing of stadiums ! Less we forget , the NFL remains a tax-exempt organization , where only the teams , and the league’s employees are taxed. Bear in mind also, in 2014 , Roger Goodell’s salary exceeded $25 million dollars , and were he a player in the league that year, he would have been among the highest paid in the NFL . I am sure when the next CBA (collective bargaining agreement) meeting is due to take place between the union (NLFPA) and league hierarchy , the issue is likely to be raised by its leadership and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . I mean is there any way Goodell can truly try and justify his salary ?


Tophatal …….. 02/08/2016

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Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

11 thoughts on “Too late the hero …”

  1. What should have ended in a triumphant season for the Carolina Panthers became nothing more than a damp squib on the 4th July . The team was error prone constantly in their game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon , as seen in the result and the statistics .

    For Ron Rivera to put a brave face on this all is admirable , but at the end of the day , he knows his team screwed up mightily . There are no do-overs and the Panthers have only themselves to blame for the loss . Cam Newton , the league’s new MVP , had a disappointing game by his own standards and standpoint as did several players on the Carolina roster.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum this was redemption for the Denver Broncos as they triumphed to with the franchise’s third Superbowl victory of their existence. Peyton Manning can now ride off into the sunset , rather than make a return to the NFL. He has until the 1st of March to make his decision , as on the date in question all , teams will make their roster moves, with cuts and preparing for free agency , the NFL Draft and positioning themselves for the cap (2016) projections .

    John Elway joins Ozzie Newsome general manager for the Baltimore Ravens as the only former players to have won a Superbowl as a front office executive . Elway being the first to win as both a player , an executive and part-owner of a team.

    NFL news

    Tophatal …………..


  2. Can someone please explain to me how the hell Jimmy Haslam as the owner of the Cleveland Browns and many executives within the franchise now seeks to make excuses for not having known about the issues of their 2014 first round draft pick , Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel ? The player’s off the field problems had been well-chronicled while he played at Texas A & M . Never mind the idiocy shown by Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies’ Athletics Director Scott Woodward sitting Manziel for a game and a half for serious violations of team rules.

    If this is what the front office seeks to offer as an explanation for being duped, then it explains how much incompetence there just happens to be with Haslam and senior executives within the Browns’ organization.

    Johnny Manziel is simply an overrated player where hype and promise never lived up to the exploits or the level of expectations sought .

    NFL news

    Cleveland Browns news

    NFL quarterbacks drafted since 1980 and their statistics

    Tophatal ……………….


  3. I thought it was a great game, Al. I heard a number of people complain that it was boring but there’s nothing wrong with a good defensive battle. Heck, these were two of the best defenses in the league this year. I’m not sure what everyone was expecting.

    Although I will say this. I still think that Cotchery incompletion was a catch. That could have changed things early on.


    1. SportsChump


      This game was one pitted with errors by both teams and the statistics bear this out . There were 115 million viewers for the Superbowl as televised by CBS and the NFL Network with another 1.2 billion other viewers worldwide .

      The Cotchery ‘catch’ was legit and it simply bears out what we have always known, the referees are prone to making mistakes and often do so at vital moments in a game.

      Your thoughts on the idiocy now concerning Johnny Manziel and claims by the Cleveland Browns’ front office they were duped by his agent , the playe and Texas A&M prior to his being drafted by the franchise ?

      Tophatal ……

      Tophatal ….


  4. Having an indifferent season the San Diego Chargers led by Dean Spanos and the members of the Spanos family , who now seem more intent on moving the franchise from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The organization’s dealings with the city of San Diego have hit an impasse and with neither side seeking to budge from their stance it only seems right NFL franchise would seek to move.

    Dean Spanos and Mike McCoy (right) .

    With the Oakland Raiders now seeking to relocate and permission already granted for the relocation of the St Louis Rams back to the Los Angeles’ suburbs and the town of Industry . It will then revert back to three teams after the Raiders’ departure. The Oakland Raiders are unlikely to move until after the 2016-17 season , pending league approval .

    With the league’s aversion to having a franchise closely associated with the gambling industry , it remains to be seen whether or not Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy made up of NFL team owners will vote to allow the relocation of the Oakland Raiders by no later than 2018.

    Mike McCoy was lucky enough to have kept his head coaching position after such a disastrous season, but a great of the Chargers’ problems last season stemmed from the having lost several key starters at various points of their regular season schedule .

    For Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers it remains to seen whether or not he is released or kept for the upcoming season . Having seen the team fail miserably to make the postseason .

    Philip Rivers of the Chargers.

    Rivers might not be content to remain with the franchise and see his opportunities for a Superbowl appearance dissipate as his career enters their inevitable waning years .

    San Diego Chargers news

    Oakland Raiders news

    St Louis Rams

    Tophatal ….


  5. Here’s what we do after the New England Patriots’ loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship game and it is , their much vaulted defense is not all it’s cracked up to be and it was clearly the case during the postseason. Tom Brady and the rest of his teammates were far from perfect and it will be interesting to see where Bill Belichick and the coaching staff go from here as they seek to bolster the roster this off-season. The departure of Adam Gase to become the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins deprives Belichick of one of his and most trusted assistants . For Gase it provides him with the opportunity to prove himself while also hoping to resurrect the fortunes of the Miami Dolphins .

    New England Patriots’ GM Matt Caserio will now come to a decision concerning several of the impending free agents on the roster while also seeking added cap relief in the run-up to next season.

    The loss of a draft pick due the repercussions stemming from ” De-Flate Gate leaves the Patriots without a pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

    New England’s needs are not that great , but I do believe Bill Belichick will be looking to add some youth to the roster along with a couple of free agents seeking the opportunity of postseason play. There have been few teams as consistent as the New England Patriots in the last fifteen years and it remains one the prime reasons the are one of the most valuable and profitable teams in the NFL today.

    Tom Brady enters this upcoming season this might be the penultimate season for him in the NFL ,as he seeks to bow out on a high note. If the franchise’s most renowned quarterback does make the decision to make this his last this year his last year in the league , then he will be bowing out on high note should be and the Patriots with their fifth Superbowl title . Over the years Brady has seen his fair share of arrivals and departures from the NFL , with the perhaps the most pleasing being the arrival of Randy Moss , but his brief stint with the franchise necessarily being a pleasant one in terms of his behavior. I expect to see the New England Patriots back atop of the heap within the AFC East, with the Miami Dolphins barely challenging the Patriots for divisional supremacy over the last eight years.

    I fully expect Matt Caserio to make some interesting moves during this off season as well as some interesting draft choices for the franchise.

    NFL news

    New England Patriots news

    NFL transactions (month March 2015)

    Tophatal ………


  6. As much as I love some of the content within the blogging world ,there are times when seeing is believing with regard to some of the idiocy I continue to read. Nowhere was this more evident than a ridiculous premise put forward with a writer claiming Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears had a great season . Cutler had a horrendous season and his play continues to be errant , while he seems to be incapable of leading the team to where they need to be . It would not be so bad for the franchise , had former GM Phil Emery not seen fit to sign Cutler to a ridiculously offensive seven-year $126 million contract making the Bears’ quarterback one of the highest paid players in the league as well as at his position.

    ” Bro’ can you believe they’re paying us over $17 million a year to do this ” ?

    Matt Stafford (left) and Jay Cutler.

    Chicago’s record last season bore out what we already know and it is , this is not a very good team by any stretch of the imagination.

    Jay Cutler’s contemporary Matt Stafford is another quarterback this individual also believes showed signs of improvement over last season.

    Matt Stafford and Jay Cutler remain the extremely poor man’s version of Jeff George and then some .

    Stafford and the Detroit Lions continue to stink up the joint , while showing few signs of improvement and the wasting of the talents of wide receiver Calvin Johnson .

    Tophatal …..


  7. With the NFL Draft coming up , the teams will be looking to pare down their salary cap of last season as they enter the long off-season of preparations , contract negotiations and general league banter . The salary cap is expected to jump by 12% over last season .

    Teams with biggest cap- weighted advantage will have a greater chance of landing a marquee free agent . This was clearly seen once free agency was declared last season as players moved and re-signed with their new teams .

    NFL news

    Top-capped players of 2015 and projected top-capped players for 2016 .

    NFL transactions (March 2015)

    NFL transactions (2015) as recorded by

    NFL news

    Tophatal ……..


  8. The Indianapolis Colts and their front office will have to seek remedies after what has to be described as a disastrous season for head coach Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff .

    Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano (right)

    Team quarterback, Andrew Luck might well have had his worst year in the league since being drafted as the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft . Luck and his teammates last season were non-competitive with their being little to show for it all at the end of the season. A great deal more was expected from a team thought to be in with a chance of winning another AFC South divisional title and making the postseason again, since Luck began his career with the franchise in 2012 .

    Injuries played their part in a listless season for the Colts alongside their having one of the worst secondaries in the entire NFL .

    Andrew Luck (12)

    When all was said and done, GM Ryan Grigson having been critical of Chuck Pagano was as much to blame for the team’s failings as the players themselves. Grigson failed to give Pagano the tools needed to make the team better by way of the Draft or through free agent acquisitions. Heading in to this off-season it will be interesting to see what moves will be made by the front office concerning their own free agents , acquisitions made and of course the 2016 NFL Draft itself.

    My own belief is the coaching staff and Ryan Grigson will seek to fortify the secondary , offensive line and receiving corps. The Colts cap structure should allow them to meet all of their needs necessary, as they prepare for the start of OTA’s , preseason and then the regular season .

    I fully expect Indianapolis Colts to rebound from last season and be one of the most competitive teams in the AFC once again this upcoming season !

    Ryan Grigson has expressed his view in signing Andrew Luck to a long term contract , which is likely to surpass the deal signed by Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears. Luck’s contract is not due to expire until 2017 .

    Indianapolis Colts news

    News from the Indianapolis Colts official news site



  9. Matt Forte
    , running back with the Chicago Bears is one of the first . casualties on the Bears’ roster as he is cut in order to shed salary to be in line for cap flexibility for Chicago before they enter the 2016 NFL Draft .

    Forte has been a fixture on the offense of the franchise for several years and is one of the franchise’s most productive running backs during his tenure with the team.

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    Chicago Bears news

    Tophatal …………


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