It never rains ,but it does pour and then there’s the 1,000 pound Gorilla in The Room …

It never rains ,but it does pour and then there’s the 1,000 pound Gorilla in The Room …

Well , with the  NFL Pro Bowl   having    taken place   and their being a     victory    for the    AFC    in   defeating     the NFC   , the league can now put to past another meaningless event as part of the      postseason . From my own perspective there is no amount of tinkering which can be done which will make this game all the more appealing for the fans ! These games are always non-competitive and the sole reason for this exhibition , is simply lure the fans out once again and their for them to spend their money needlessly.  NFL   Commissioner    Roger Goodell    and the league hierarchy continue to sell the fans a bill of goods , which is of no real value and then bear in mind , the league still wishes to expand not only the postseason format , but also the number of teams to possibly include a franchise in Latin America as well as Europe. In this day and age , with the current President’s policy of America first, I am beginning to wonder if the league might become all the more jittery concerning President    Donald Trump’s    reach with his new agenda.

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The NFL’s biggest showcase event of the season will take place this Sunday at the NRG Stadium in Houston , Texas, when the Atlanta Falcons will face the New England Patriots in Superbowl LI (51) . This will be the Patriots’ seventh appearance in the big game as they seek to win their fifth Superbowl , while the team’s quarterback Tom Brady will seek to join Hall of Fame players Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana , as the only quarterbacks with four Superbowl victories to their name. Brady and the New England Patriots are likely to be seen as the presumptive favorites in this game, while opposing quarterback Matt Ryan and his teammates will be looking to upset the apple-cart and pull off what would be Falcons’ biggest win the franchise’s history. No doubt Atlanta’s billionaire owner Arthur Blank will be hoping to witness a victory for his team, after the near misses and the real consolation that after the era of Michael Vick , the Falcons can now be viewed as one of the league’s more respectable teams.

If this Superbowl game goes to form , then the fans should be in for a thrilling event , with both teams having been very good through much of the regular season , with each having risen to the occasion in the postseason. Matt Ryan’s record against the New England Patriots is not an enviable one, whereas for Tom Brady , this could be business as usual , considering the three-time Superbowl MVP’s record in the postseason as well as the big game itself. Get ready folks , as the fireworks will be explosive and certainly deafening . The pace of this game could very well be dictated by the pass offense of both teams and the defensive capabilities shown by both secondaries , but it would be remiss not to suggest the rush offense won’t come into play. With over one hundred and fifty million viewers likely to be watching the game domestically and a further 1.6 billion worldwide , this will be the television event of the year as it has been repeatedly over the last two decades.

Two years of frustration and it all led to the firing of head coach Chip Kelly and the subsequent dismissal of GM Trent Baalke by the San Francisco 49ers , as the franchise looks to retrench itself . Kelly was simply abysmal and this constant idiocy of his being a coaching genius , borders on the stupidity of Donald Trump having the wherewithal to defeat ISIS . Ego and outlandish statements cannot make up for common sense and intelligence , for which , both Kelly and Trump are indeed short off ! At no point during his NFL coaching career has Chip Kelly ever been able to get his teams play competitive football. This was clearly indicative of the abysmal season by of the Forty Niners in 2016. How else can you explain the team’s 2-14 record , with a defense which was nowhere to be seen, while the offense continued to spiral out of control faster than fecal matter being flushed down a men’s restroom cubicle ?

In the aftermath of the firing and drama surrounding Colin Kaepernick , the Forty Niners now find themselves at a crossroads , with many calling for the York family to relinquish control of the team and selling the franchise to someone who actually cares about football , as well as the organization itself. The team’s CEO Jed York has now made the decision to replace Trent Baalke and his decision to name a successor , has actually caught everyone off-guard , with the naming of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ strong-safety Jon Lynch . The player has never held an executive role in the NFL , since his retirement and the absurdity of this decision will either come back to bite the Niners in the ass or it will be seen as an ingenious move along the lines of Ozzie Newsome being hired run the operations of the Baltimore Ravens . Newsome has guided the franchise to two Superbowl victories, while several of his picks have produced Pro Bowl caliber players . One could equate Lynch’s hire with that of Matt Millen’s tenure with the Detroit Lions and the abysmal chapter for Lions , while Millen was in charge of all personnel decisions for Detroit. Needless to say , the fans were angered and his dismissal could not come fast enough. I would hate a that a similar fate would await Jon Lynch , but how can anyone have any faith in a member of the York family , as owners of the San Francisco 49ers. Since the departure of Eddie DeBartolo , this franchise has been adrift in an ocean of continued mediocrity .

If Jed York and his family were to consider selling the San Francisco 49ers , then the team could be sold for in excess of $3 billion , based on today’s value alone , without considering their market demographics , as one of the league’s best supported teams. Yet, for the moment, this will all be pure conjecture and a great deal of speculation as to the nature of the ongoing story-lines concerning the Forty Niners.

All of a sudden the Miami Heat have hit a rich vein of form having won seven straight games and placing themselves in with a chance of garnering a playoff berth , but it should be noted with the All Star Game still at the forefront of the players’ thoughts , albeit they still have two weeks of play before the break. It should be noted there has been a great deal of debate about the gross error in judgment by the fans and the continued idiocy of the league hierarchy of allowing the fans have the greatest say in the players placed on the starting rosters for the East and Western Conferences. The omission of Russell Westbrook speaks as to the lack of intelligence among the vast majority of NBA fans and their lack of in-depth knowledge of the game of basketball. To my mind, I feel as if the fans believe they are in fact voting for a contestant on the now defunct television reality show American Idol .

If the fans are being entrusted to with this sort of endeavor in voting for the All Star Game rosters solely based on popularity , then you might as well do away with the game altogether as well as the rest of the festivities which encapsulate the whole weekend encompassing the event. Russell Westbrook is having an exceptional season by anyone’s standards and this idiocy of fans stating their unimpressed shows , might be an indicator of what might be wrong with the NBA in general , they are far too impressed with style over substance. Westbrook has been added to the Western Conference roster as a reserve by Steve Kerr , who will be the coach of the team representing the West. It will be interesting to see how much playing time will given to the point guard during the contest.

Over the past ten days , the league has been very tops-turvy by way of the results and the all too inconsistent play seen from the players and the teams . Yet, still leading the pack within their respective conferences are the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East and the Golden State Warriors in the West. A repeat of last season’s NBA Finals seems to be what the fans want, even if there is once again going to be a great deal of controversy along with the way, with some rather dubious calls from among the officials . There still remains a great deal to play for and the fans seem to be loving every minute of what has been seen this season to date. There will be several games on tap for Monday night , of which the most interesting might be the contest between the Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics , two teams vying for dominance within their divisions as well as having an eye on the NBA Playoffs this season.

Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics has proven himself to be the vocal leader on this Brad Stevens’ coached team . The Celtics have proven themselves to be the surprise team in the East this season , as seen with having the second-best record in the conference behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Serena Williams emphatically stamped her authority on the game of tennis, by winning her twenty-third Grand Slam singles’ title , defeating her sister Venus Williams in the Australian Open Singles Final. In doing so, Williams surpassed the mark of Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steffi Graf , whose mark of twenty-two has stood for over a decade. Now the question becomes where does Serena Williams rank among the all-time greats among the female players to have graced the professional ranks of tennis?

In what turned out to be a tremendous Men’s Singles Finals , Roger Federer defeated one of his greatest adversaries , Rafael ‘Rafa ‘ Nadal of Spain. This five-set thriller graced the Rod Laver Stadium in Melbourne, Australia , as thousands watched this enthralling game , simply giving the fans everything they could have wanted and a great deal more . Sportsmanship was there to be seen , as was the athleticism and aggressiveness from both of these great players . Sadly, both of these players are now at the twilight of their careers and from my own perspective , Men’s tennis will be all the worse , once they make the decision to make an exit from the game. All due respect to Andy Murray , but your number one ranking , is something of a joke at present !

Spring Training is still over a month away , but already teams have been to assemble their rosters by way of their free agency acquisitions , non-roster invitees and no doubt there will be still more trades to come. Fans are already making a prognosis as to which prospects will be able to contribute for their ball-clubs this season. No doubt the reigning World Series champions will be looking to make a successful defense of the title they won with ease last season.

Major League Baseball really does need to provide the fans with something special this upcoming season and I don’t believe the World Baseball Classic will do anything to add to the perceived notion the game has been losing its way over the past five seasons. Teams continue to be profitable , because of the ever increasing admission prices , concessions and dare one say it , with the renewal of licensing agreements and television contracts, the league hierarchy led by Rob Manfred and the team owners will continue to gloat.

Mike Trout has added another ALMVP award to his resume’ , but the thing one the player desires the most is a World Series ring and championship acclaim. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Los Angeles Angels will getting there anytime soon. With each passing year of near misses or just downright bad luck , this franchise’s continuing downward slide provides little hope for Trout , that his dream will ever come true. Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia , I do not believe he will be managing this team next year, should Los Angeles fall short of Arte Moreno’s wishes. Moreno , the impassioned owner of this team has stood by and given full reign to successive general managers and it has all been to no avail. For Mike Scioscia it’s now all in or bust , or he will be fired with the speed of lightning .

The Los Angeles Angels’ exhibition schedule will be somewhat rudimentary , but the real battles will begin with their regular season schedule and off-course Opening Day . The first game of their 2017 season schedule will be against the Oakland Athletics (A’s) on the 3rd April , 2017 at the O Coliseum in Oakland , California . The struggles of the A’s were apparent for all to see , with their pitching and hitting being inconsistent throughout much of last season . Now with the moves made it will be interesting to see what else will be done by GM Billy Eppler to bolster the roster for the upcoming season. One thing for sure , Mike Trout cannot do it all by himself as he has been asked to do , ever since he first played in an Angels’ uniform in 2012.

When baseball fans start to prognosticate about prospects (up and coming players) it is either , because they have nothing else better to do or they are simply reminding us why their team or teams might have been bad last season. From my own standpoint, these so-called prospects will not be making that great an impact in their first season. Consistency is they key , but not many are able to keep it all up over the prolonged season of one hundred and sixty-two games. Their contributions will be what they are , nothing more and nothing less.

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What aspects of the recent news’ stories have you found to be the most intriguing and with the Superbowl just a few days away , do you believe the game will meet all expectations one feels we are using to seeing ?


Tophatal  … 01/30/2017

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Out with the old and in with the new …

Out with the old and in with the new

Well as we enter 2017 , there are stories yet to be written and there are also stories yet to be finished. Nowhere is this now more relevant than within the NFL as stories continue to unfold , head coaches’ firings and all of the failed expectations of the teams who failed to make the postseason. Granted , we are now four days away from the beginning of the playoffs and the wildcard round of the postseason will begin. The top-two seeds within each conference will have a bye and will not enter the fray until the divisional round. A great deal is expected of the New England Patriots (14-2) as the number one seed within the AFC and they are closely followed by the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders respectively. Within the NFC , the Dallas Cowboys have proven themselves to be the best team within the conference , but the most dangerous team could very well be the Green Bay Packers , who have rolled off five consecutive victories to end their regular season schedule behind the arm of their Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers .

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From my own perspective , I feel the Green Bay Packers could very well be the most dangerous team in the NFC this postseason, clearly endangering the ambitions of the Dallas Cowboys. For the Cowboys , their season has been one , where expectations were exceeded as they excelled behind the arm of their rookie quarterback Dak Prescott Now given the fact both Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez saw some playing time during the team’s final regular season game , it will be interesting to see if Dak Prescott will be given his first postseason start, when the Cowboys open up their postseason schedule in the divisional round.

Elsewhere within the NFL , it wasn’t really a great surprise to see coaching firings which actually took place. Rex Ryan rightfully , was shown the door at the Buffalo Bills , while Mike McCoy was jettisoned by the San Diego Chargers , Gus Bradley was let go by the Jacksonville Jaguars , Jeff Fisher was simply shoved out the door by the Los Angeles Louis Rams . Last , but not least was the non-too surprising move to fire both Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers who was also followed by the team’s general manager Trent Baalke . It now begs the question , with their being calls for the York family to relinquish control of the Forty Niners and sell the franchise to someone who actually cares about the game , will the team CEO Jed York actually come to the decision to make this all a reality ? Forget about the idiocy and so-called distractions off the field concerning quarterback Colin Kaepernick , as the real issues for the Forty Niners came from the very fact they were very non-competitive on the field of play. Ending the season with a record of 2-14 with only the Cleveland Browns (1-15) with a worst record in the entire league. I am still at a loss as to why there were idiot fans around the NFL who were of the belief Chip Kelly was actually a great coach . He was an abysmal failure with the Philadelphia Eagles , where his teams played no defense and this trait was brought to San Francisco where again , his teams were an abysmal failure. Two years with the San Francisco 49ers and the franchise remains in complete disarray, while the York family as the owners continue to preside over this monumental mess of their own making.

The wildcard round of the NFL postseason provides the fans with some intriguing match-ups featuring the Oakland Raiders (12-4) taking on the Houston Texans (9-7) at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas on Saturday, 7th January. The second game of the day will feature Seattle Seahawks playing host to the Detroit Lions . Sunday’s contests will offer the fans the chance to see the Miami Dolphins match wits with the Pittsburgh Steelers , while the Green Bay Packers will entertain the New York Giants at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If all four games are as entertaining as the wildcard games of last season, then fans will definitely be in for a real treat.

Far be it for me to suggest this College Football playoff format is the best thing which could be offered to the fans , but the final games leading up to the championship game taking place on the 9th January have proven to be an immense disappointment. Alabama steamrolled their way past Washington on New Year’s Even in what was meant to be the first of two thrilling semi-finals games played . The second of the two contests proved to be even less compelling as Clemson embarrassed an Ohio State team which was clearly outmatched and didn’t come to play . The national champion hip game will feature the top-two ranked teams in the nation as Alabama chases it fourth national title in the last eight years when they face off against the Clemson Tigers , led by their quarterback DeShaun Watson . I firmly believe if Watson has good showing in this game , even if Clemson falls , he will certainly be one of the top-two quarterbacks taken in the upcoming NFL Draft (2017) . Many analysts around the NFL may well feel Lamar Jackson leads the field alongside Jake Browning , but I do feel Watson has proven himself against a higher caliber and quality of opponent. Should Clemson upset the apple-cart and get the better of Alabama , which is not without merit , then DeShaun Watson can name his own price a s possibly the top pick in the NFL Draft.

The public have not been made aware as to the reason why Lane Kiffin was summarily dismissed as the lead assistant on the coaching staff of Nick Saban’s team at Alabama , but it does add a great deal of intrigue and speculation as to what might be the reasons why Kiffin was fired so close to the national championship game. Saban has yet to issue a public statement on the matter and Kiffin has remained tight-lipped as to the reasons why , but clearly something is amiss and likely to cause a distraction should the whole story become known to the public. Lane Kiffin has supposedly accepted a head coaching position with Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and was said to be assembling his staff for the new position instead of his role, as the offensive coordinator for the team . I find the whole episode somewhat asinine given the explanations now being given by the respective parties involved. It should be noted several years ago , Nick Saban in a deceitful act, lied to the members of the press in Miami , leaving the Miami Dolphins high and dry to accept his current position with Alabama. How soon the idiots seem to forget !!! Kiffin may well have reinvented himself , but as a pet project for Nick Saban , you just knew at some point the bow would break on this particular vessel . The jury is still out on another of Saban’s reclamation projects , former USC (Trojans) head coach Steve Sarkissian , whose sobriety and imbecilic behavior while at the school, became something of a national spectacle and a complete embarrassment for the program.

No bells and whistles as of yet, but something will be coming down the pike within the NBA , because all eyes are watching for the first head coaching casualty of the season. The Brooklyn Nets (8-25) , currently have the worst record in the league , though the likes of the Dallas Mavericks , Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns are by no means teams which should be admired for their poor play at this point of the season.

It is becoming abundantly clear the NBA really does have an image problem concerning its brand , even though many of the league’s leading stars are among the most admired and recognized athletes on the planet. While LeBron James continues to be the leading face of the league, having assumed the mantle of his idol Michael Jordan , a player who James’ game in many ways is modeled on . It remains to be seen if can garner the same sort of success achieved by his idol . The four-time League MVP and three-time time Finals MVP does want to emulate the achievements of Jordan in just about every way imaginable. His thirteen year career will be part of his legacy , as will any further accomplishments, as he seeks to win more championships on top the Cleveland Cavaliers being the reigning NBA champions . The first professional team title within the state of his in the last twenty-five years or more .

The Cleveland Cavaliers essentially have the Eastern Conference to themselves and have yet to be challenged by any team they have faced within the conference. In their last game the Cavaliers got by the New Orleans Pelicans , winning the contest by an eight-point margin 90-82 . The team’s last defeat came by way of a loss to the Detroit Pistons on the 26th December in a road game at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit , Michigan. LeBron James might be lucky enough this time around. to be surrounded by a better cast of teammates than the championship winning team of last season . If there is to be a serious challenge to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season within the Eastern Conference, then it could very well come from either the Boston Celtics or the Toronto Raptors based on the current conference standings . Both of these teams have been highly competitive within the conference this season and clearly have to be seen as legitimate contenders. Brad Stevens and his Celtics’ team will be in action against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night in a home game at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston , Massachusetts , while the Raptors will face a tough battle on the road , when they tip-off against the San Antonio Spurs (27-7) .

They are still a young team at their core , but the Indiana Pacers are a franchise looking to recall their heyday when Reggie Miller led the franchise to their infamous battles with the New York Knicks during the regular and postseason . Larry Bird remains a pivotal element within the organization . Head coach Nate McMillan and the coaching staff know if the team is to be remotely competitive , then they will have to raise the level of their play over the course of the season. Whether or not the Pacers can seek the consistency sought will also be dependent upon the type of leadership seen from the team’s best player Paul George . He has hit his mark , while providing them with the assurance needed and the very fact the Pacers are not one of the highest paid teams in the NBA should point to the financial acumen also seen from the franchise.

Paul George and the Indiana Pacers will be on the court for their next game when they are due to face the Detroit Pistons in a road game on Tuesday night.

This season’s League MVP race could be one of the toughest to decide in recent history . Steph Curry , the reigning two-time League MVP will be looking to make it a third consecutive win of the award , as he and the Golden State Warriors currently possess the best record in the league. There are many who feel the votes will be split , merely , because of the fact he has now been joined by Kevin Durant as a teammate on the Warriors’ roster . While this is valid , I do believe if the voters can see beyond that issue , then there is no reason why the player cannot win the award for a third consecutive season ! Granted , there are many other candidates to be considered , among them , LeBron James , Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden , Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and perhaps the most electrifying player in the league at present , Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . The point guard has been lighting up the scoreboard throughout much of the season , while leading the Thunder in many of the offensive categories which matter the most .

Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder will be on the court to face the Charlotte Hornets on the 4th January at the Spectrum Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina . This should prove to be a very competitive contest between the two opposing conference teams .



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With the NFL postseason now about to get into full swing , which teams do you feel are capable of rising to the occasion ? Also , of the two teams now left to decide who will become this year’s NCAA FBS champion , will Alabama claim another title in a lopsided victory or will Clemson pull of a surprise by derailing the Crimson Tide’s ambitions ? Finally , from your own observations of the NBA at this point of the season, do you believe the fans are getting their money’s worth from the teams and players ?


Tophatal ………..

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