Rarefied air and toxicity ….

Rarefied  air and toxicity
The sports’  world is all aghast and with good reason , we have seen the  New England Patriots reign supreme unmasking  the  Atlanta Falcons  as being something of a fraud, even if the   Superbowl  itself was an exciting game . What cannot be denied as evidenced with the coverage of this game,  was the very fact the Falcons  fell apart during the finals eight minutes of regulation play  before the contest went into overtime,  with New England prevailing for their    fifth win   of the Lombardi Trophy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show .

The victory placed Patriots’ head coach  Bill Belichick    and the team’s quarterback    Tom Brady  in   rarefied air , as the only head coach and quarterback in NFL history with five  Superbowl rings to their names. The   NFL remains a year-round league in terms of the ongoing news’ stories to be found and it will be that way throughout much of the off-season as the league now has its free agency period, as well as the upcoming     NFL Draft . The New England Patriots will have the privilege of taking the   last pick     in the  first round    of the Draft, which is befitting the best team in the NFL. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this all Bill Belichick and his      coaching staff    seek to bolster the   current     roster     with a fresh crop of players to add to the Patriots’ arsenal. Break-out players for New England   during   the regular season were     James White  whose heroics in the Superbowl was there for everyone to see. As were the talents of White’s teammates ,who ably abetted Tom Brady as the quarterback would go on to win his fourth Superbowl MVP Award.

This off-season should prove to be interesting for the New England Patriots as well as the other teams around the NFL as they seek to bolster their respective rosters through, free agency , trades and the NFL Draft. It could all prove to be very fruitful for the Patriots based on their past experiences , especially over the last five seasons .

Kyle Shanahan has now become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers , succeeding Chip Kelly , whose firing along with that of GM Trent Baalke did not come as a great surprise to many. However, it was Baalke’s successor which might well have taken everyone off-guard, as team CEO Jed York made the formal announcement that Jon Lynch , former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ player would be hired for the position. Lynch has no NFL front office experience and with Shanahan now assembling his own staff, it will be extremely difficult to see how this franchise can be seen as being in a position to be competitive this upcoming season. This past season was one of sheer incompetence on the part of the coaching staff as well as the players , as the Forty Niners labored both on and off the field of play. Their record was reflective of that very fact with their being no signs of competitiveness at any point during the season. Colin Kaepernick was a mere shell of the player who guided the team to a Superbowl appearance less than five years ago. Kaepernick’s teammate Blaine Gabbert , whom Chip Kelly threw his weight behind as being the team’s starting quarterback at the start of 2016, was equally incompetent in the role. There is no doubt San Francisco will be looking to draft a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft or they will be seeking a free agent passer of proven ability .

Carson Palmer will be returning to the Arizona Cardinals for the 2017 regular season and during his five years with the franchise, Palmer’s leadership has come into question. Under Bruce Arians the Cardinals have become more resolute, but postseason success for this franchise has been lacking. One could seek to blame the veteran quarterback for this or place the blame elsewhere by placing it squarely on the shoulders of the front office , where GM Steve Keim leads the staff. Keim was a replacement to for Rod Graves , but whose tenure as the general manager for the Cardinals, saw highs and lows.

Having failed to make the postseason in 2016, the Arizona Cardinals will have to assess the roster and look at where the improvements will have to be made as to the makeup of this team. If there are deficiencies on the Cardinals then clearly, it starts with the secondary and the fact the defense showed how vulnerable it just happened to be. Larry Fitzgerald the veteran wide receiver on the playing staff, still seeks that elusive Superbowl ring and title as a player. Considered to be one of the best receivers in NFL history , it is hard to believe that during his career , Fitzgerald has never been able to play on the NFL’s biggest stage with an appearance in the “big game ” itself. It was rumored Larry Fitzgerald was considering retirement and were that to take place , then it would leave a considerable gap in the Cardinals’ lineup for next season. It is hard to envisage how the Arizona Cardinals would look without their veteran receiver on the roster, but with the league now being about the here and now , the window of opportunity for this team is now closing fast.

The Atlanta Falcons’ destruction of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game was as embarrassing for the team as it was for not only the NFL, but also for the fans watching. In spite of what Aaron Rodgers might now feel concerning the Packers, this team simply wasn’t prepared for the game. A great deal of the blame must lay squarely on the shoulders of Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff . Green Bay’s front office have already begun to take swift steps to shed players from the current roster , with the first casualties being veterans Sam Shields and James Stark . Yet , I do believe the pairing will not be the only ones to be let go during what is likely to be a turbulent off-season for the Packers !

Aaron Rodgers was among the NFL’s best quarterbacks during the regular season , but his performance and that of his teammates against the Atlanta Falcons left a great deal to be desired as the Green Bay Packers fell to the Falcons , losing by the score of 44-21 .

The fallout from the head coaching dismissals in the NFL was not much of a surprise , but I do believe many of the firings were warranted , as several of the head coaches in question, simply obfuscated their responsibilities , created a toxic atmosphere within their regimes, while also failing to acknowledge their own shortcomings.

Rex Ryan having been dismissed by the Buffalo Bills has continued to behave like a spoiled child whose pacifier was taken away from him , along with his rattle and assorted toys. The fact that he led the Bills into a deeper morass as the season progressed , simply showed that he was completely out of his depth and never capable of leading the players to any type of success envisaged by team owner Terry Pegula or the organization . Buffalo’s downward slide is likely to continue, as the team’s depth is sorely lacking at just about every position imaginable . Many of the players on the Buffalo Bills’ roster are likely to be gone during this off-season , as they seek to pare down their cap , creating enough cap space for some acquisitions beyond their likely draft choices.

Having seen a triumphant New England Patriots’ team win their fifth Superbowl , the fans of the Buffalo Bills can only admire their AFC East rivals from afar wondering what might have been.

Through unconfirmed sources, it is rumored Jeffrey Loria , erstwhile owner of the Miami Marlins reached an agreement to sell the South Florida based MLB franchise for $1.6 billion in what would prove to be the second largest sale of a ball-club in baseball history. Only the $2.156 billion paid by the consortium headed by Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Earvin Magic Johnson , for the auction ( sale of then bankrupt) of the Los Angeles Dodgers , has there ever been a large sale or purchase of a professional baseball team. The purchasing consortium for the Marlins is made up several businessmen , but one name which comes up as part of the buying group is that of John Kushner , brother to Presidential adviser Jared Kushner , who just happens to be the son-in-law of Donald Trump . Now one can speculate as to whether or not there might well have some sort of White House influence concerning this impending sale remains to be seen, but given the ongoing incompetence shown the current Presidential administration and the idiocy of Trump’s own special adviser Kellyann Conway , it would be reasonable to assume , nothing as of now, would appear to be off-limits.

It should be noted there was no transparency seen when former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was seen consorting with several members of the Miami Dade County Government and the Miami City Council in the lead-up to both government entities taking a vote on whether or not Marlins Ballpark would be a publicly funded expenditure , when the stadium was built at the cost of over $600 million ,through a mixture of taxes , bond issues , which could end up costing both the city and county as much $3 billion , because of the structured financing of the project.

Only now have the chickens come home to roost , while Jeffrey Loria will walk away with a cool $1 billion in his pocket . There hasn’t been this sort of financial malevolence since Frank McCourt , former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers , who filed for bankruptcy protection of the ball-club in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from his wife. McCourt was said to have used the ball-club and several of its assets as part of several private business deals , all of which contravened the bye-laws of Major League Baseball , but not once did Bud Selig or any member of the league hierarchy seek to formally press charges or seek Frank McCourt’s removal as a franchise owner within baseball while this was all going on . It should be noted Selig and then MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner claimed that the Dodgers were a well-ran organization, with its finances meeting the league’s own stringent financial threshold . Clearly , without an audit having been conducted by MLB , this was all a big fat lie.

Jeffrey Loria presided over one of the two World Series’ triumphs by the Miami Marlins , but it has been several years since their last appearance in the MLB Postseason and during that time , little success has been evident for the organization. Managers have come and gone, as too have several famous players . Yet , some how in the midst of this all, Loria , David Samson and GM Michael Hill have pulled the wool over the eyes of the fans. Since the opening of the Marlins Ballpark and its inaugural game , the venue has never been filled to capacity for a home game. Subject to the MLB approval and the ratification by the owners , this proposed sale could be passed unanimously be the next meeting of the league hierarchy and team owners or with an emergency being called. This latest scenario could provide the MLBPA (Players’ Union) with all the ammunition they need to seek a major increase with regard to baseball’s next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) . Something I firmly believe the owners as well as the league hierarchy will want to negotiate from a position of power, rather than staring down the barrel of a sawn off shot-gun with the union firing their volley of shots across the bow of Major League Baseball.

For years as a team owner Jeffrey Loria plead poverty , but yet he in conjunction with Bud Selig, coerced local politicians to finance a deal so outlandish, it places both the city of Miami and Miami Dade County with a fiscal crisis , which many would determine was actually of their own making. Concessions will have to be sought from the new owners of the Miami Marlins that the team will not be relocated and that all agreements now in place will be adhered to. As to the competitiveness of the team in its present form , a great deal of this will be based on the managerial acumen shown by Don Mattingly and his managerial staff .

The death of Miami Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez shook this Marlins’ organization to its very roots, along with the fan-base of the ball-club. It will be hard to replace a player of Fernandez’s stature and popularity. His teammate , Giancarlo Stanton is expected to be the vocal leader of this team alongside seasoned veteran Ichiro Suzuki . While I believe the Miami Marlins to be a good team on paper , I do not expect them to be a legitimate contender within the NL East , much less a favorite for the NLCS Pennant or the World Series itself. There remains far too many flaws in this lineup and I believe Don Mattingly hasn’t proven himself to be a manager capable of winning the big games that really matter !

The Miami Marlins will begin their Spring Training Schedule with a game against the Houston Astros on March 1st at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas , before embarking on their regular season schedule, where their Opening Day Game of the regular season will be against the Washington Nationals on the 3rd April , 2017.

There has to be something real troubling when a former player of an NBA franchise creates more excitement on a basketball court than the home team itself. This was the case when Charles Oakley was arrested and escorted away from his seat at a recent New York Knicks’ game in Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York . The Knicks were playing the Los Angeles Clippers in a home game against their Western Conference opponents . Oakley got into a verbal altercation with court-side staff and the former NBA star directly a profanity laced tirade against the employees. Knicks’ team owner James Dolan has since issued a statement , advising and informing Charles Oakley he is no longer welcomed to attend games at Madison Square Garden , with or without an apology from the former player.

Clearly, Charles Oakley’s behavior was unwarranted, but the banishment I believe was certainly an over reaction from the owner ! The employees were not physically assaulted by Charles Oakley and in the heat of the moment , his anger got the better of him as the situation got out of hand. Oakley’s reputation is well-known around the NBA and it has been chronicled thousands of times , as his play was a reflection of his image and persona , a bad boy, perhaps one of the toughest players in the league among his contemporaries. Just a pity that sort of grit and determination is not shown by the current crop of Knicks’ players. Their loss to the Clippers has been reflective of what is lacking in the team over the course of this season.

Next up for the New York Knicks will be a contest against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday afternoon and with New York having lost on Friday night in a game against the Denver Nuggets , I have to now ask myself are the Knicks one of the most incompetent teams in Eastern Conference other than Brooklyn Nets when it comes to facing opponents from the opposing conference ? I will continue to say this about Phil Jackson , he may well know how to win championships and to inspire championship caliber players , but when it comes to assembling a competitive roster , he simply knows nothing at all . It has been his ego all along , which has proven to be fallible and the entire reason why the New York Knicks will continue to be a rather mediocre team ! Jackson brings along his own toxic mess and utter stupidity , while his admirers look on from afar, lapping it all up as if it were perfection .

—-

—-

Picture gallery and by clicking on an individual image you can view the picture along with a narrative.

What have been your most recent observations taking place within , the NFL , MLB and the NBA which have given you the cause for greatest concern ?


  Tophatal    …… 


  NFL   news 

NFL standings (divisional) 2016

The 2016 NFL postseason

2017 NFL Draft

NFL cap 2017

NFL free agents
🙂

MLB news

MLB transactions

MLB Spring Training

MLB important dates


NBA news

NBA standings (division) and by conference

NBA standings overall

NBA player stats and rookie stats

86 thoughts on “Rarefied air and toxicity ….

  1. So the parents of the other victims in the death pitcher Jose Fernandez are now suing the player’s estate seeking a civil suit of monetary value for punitive damages ? Less I am mistaken , all three victims in what turned out to be an alcohol-related incident , they were all under the influence and are equally to blame. Very much typical of the bull%hit one should come to expect when no one wants to take responsibility for their actions. Fernandez’s recklessness , stupidity and his consumption of alcohol were all contributing factors in his death as well as that of his fellow victims. There should have been no reason for all three to have got unto a boat while impaired and then seek to operate the vessel . If this case comes to court , then the judge should throw out the case because of its lack of merit.

    Courtesy of NBC Miami

    Marlins: Jose Fernandez’s Estate Targeted by Two Lawsuits

    The late pitcher’s estate is being sued by the families of the other men who passed away on his boat

    By Larry Walansky

    Jose Fernandez’s estate will be named as the defendant in a pair of negligence and personal injury lawsuits.
    When the former ace of the Miami Marlins tragically passed away in September, two other men perished with him. The parents of both men will be the plaintiffs in the lawsuits. Each lawsuit is seeking $2 million in damages from Fernandez’s estate. One lawsuit was filed on Friday, and a second will become official on Monday.
    Trump Attacks on Judiciary Raise Safety Concerns for Judges
    Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Jesus Macias were the other men with Fernandez on his boat that evening. Rivero who was 25 and Macias who was 27 had alcohol in their systems at the time of the crash, but were not over the legal limit. Rivero’s toxicology report showed cocaine, but Macias’ did not. Fernandez however was legally drunk and also had cocaine in his body. Both families are being represented by attorney Christopher Royer.
    Fernandez’s career was brief, and therefore his earnings were minimal compared to his potential. Estimates of the value of his estate hover around $2.5 million, which would be lower than the demands in the lawsuits combined. A settlement however could be possible and is something Royer mentioned in a statement.

    ——————————————

    Click on link to read in full.
    —————————————–

    In all honesty there is more than equal blame to be apportioned here , but the families here now seeking damages should also be asking questions of the individuals who also lost their lives.

    MLB news

    Tophatal …..

    Like

  2. The death of Detroit Tigers’ owner and billionaire entrepreneur Michael Ilitch has now left a gaping hole in the city of Detroit professional sports. Ilitch presided over the recent success of the franchise alongside former GM Dave Dombrowski , but it should also be noted , Michael Ilitch was beyond being a passionate sports’ fan in particular his love of baseball and hockey , where also owned the Detroit Red Wings. Ilitch Holdings , the parent company of the pizza chain Little Caesar’s which the famed owner started over three decades ago was one of the largest pizza chain franchises in the world, as well as being a leading innovator within the industry.

    Michael and Marian Ilitch .

    The family will still maintain control of the Detroit Tigers and one would hope as a fitting tribute to the late owner, the Tigers are competitive this season , with them possibly making it to the World Series and bringing back the title to the city for the first time in over three decades .

    Tophatal …….

    Like

  3. The Miami Heat fell to their first loss in their last fifteen games , stumbling , when losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in an Eastern Conference contest. This was the longest win-streak for the Heat this season and the third longest in franchise history . It has to be seen as very impressive when you consider the last time the Heat had a win streak of such a length , their former big the NBA stars, Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were all a part of the roster .

    Miami Heat news

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  4. I will still continue to maintain the NFC East is by far the most overrated division in the NFL in spite of the accomplishments of the Dallas Cowboys this past season. Having made the postseason, Dallas’ stay came to an abrupt end when they fell to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round as the team was found wanting in just about every aspect of the game . The one clear thing now known and it is the fact the Dallas Cowboys can move forward knowing they have their quarterback of the future after the exciting play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott . Team owner Jerry Jones may well have struck lightning in a bottle with the choice and Prescott has repaid those dividends at least two-fold . The question now , is can this rookie continue to improve while leading the team back to another Superbowl appearance . It was been well over a decade since the Dallas Cowboys raised the Lombardi Trophy as champions of the NFL.

    For the Dallas Cowboys their future now seems to be secure and they don’t appear to be cash-strapped by the salary cap as I expect them to be a major player in the free agency market . The real issue facing the Cowboys specifically the front office , is whether or not it remains worthwhile to committing themselves to Tony Romo and the $24.7 million he is due for the upcoming season. It seems ridiculous the coaching staff is considering keeping him around given the fact , Romo has been unable to play a full sixteen-game schedule in over three years . He is an aging veteran , clearly injury prone and past his sell-by date. Good in the regular season , Tony Romo’s postseason record remains abysmal and is not about to get any better given the limited opportunities he is likely to have in 2017 , if he is retained by the franchise.

    NFL news

    Dallas Cowboys news

    Tophatal …………

    Like

  5. There were several games of note which took place in College Basketball on Saturday afternoon as well their being a schedule for Sunday with off-course the NBA taking center-stage with its normal schedule for both the afternoon and late evening .

    The top-two teams in the nation got by with easy victories and seem to be assured of making the NCAA Tournament for this season barring any mishaps.

    In the professional ranks the Miami Heat lost for only the second time in their last fifteen games , moving slowly up the ranks of the Eastern Conference as well as their division . Among the games which will be of interest of interest to the fans today , is the contest featuring the San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks . In the aftermath of the Charles Oakley fiasco the Knicks were in need of some good news .

    Like

  6. I don’t want to hear a damn thing from anyone with the assignation that the Philadelphia 76ers are a competitive team , looking to build for their future . The front office of this entire organization is completely clueless . Having brought in both Bryan Colangelo and his father , Jerry Colangelo to head up the 76ers’ Basketball Operations , it is becoming abundantly clear team owner Joshua Harris would rather see this team just take the route , where they continue to make money at the expense of the fans , while the NBA hierarchy led by Adam Silver and Chairman Emeritus David Stern don’t do a damn thing to stop this type of idiocy. Meanwhile , a bumbling @sshole and ex 76ers’ player Charles Barkley continues with his moronic criticism of LeBron James , rather than address some real issues within the game of basketball especially as it relates to a franchise he once played for.

    The Philadelphia 76ers are in the process of trading Jahlil Okafor to the Chicago Bulls , simply abandoning their season , all with the view of once again getting a Lottery Pick in the 2017 NBA Draft . This is not the first time the Sixers have taken this route and it is becoming increasingly clear the NBA doesn’t give a damn and neither does Joshua Harris , who should be seen as a charlatan as well as being perceived as an asset stripper .

    Philadelphia 76ers news

    Tophatal ………..

    Like

  7. We’re three weeks away from the beginning of Spring Training and just about everyone with their own mindset on the game of baseball seems to prognosticating about which prospect is likely to be a main factor and contributor for their team this upcoming season. Many of these players are still learning their craft and in the majority of the cases they are still several years away from reaching the potential sought to be seen as even good enough for the ‘Big League’ (MLB) .

    From my own perspective, I feel while it’s still early days yet , perhaps no more than a dozen of the Minor League players will actually get their chance during the regular season and less than a handful will actually be truly productive. Young stars such as Andrew Benintendi , Yoan Moncada , Dansby Swanson , J P Crawford , Amed Rosario and Tyler Glasnow might well have great futures ahead of them , but no one can know for certain how good they could be. Only time will tell and the willingness of the teams to place their faith in these players. Last season several players made their Big League Debuts and were able to contribute to the success of their respective teams.

    MLB news and MLB transactions

    MLB team payrolls (2017)

    Tophatal ………….

    Like

  8. Inexplicably Dave Roberts was named the NL Manager of The Year for a Los Angeles Dodgers’ team which once again failed to live up to expectations. I sometimes get the feeling the adjudicators of the BBWAA along with the managers within baseball simply have no idea as to what the hell they’re doing . The Dodgers were wayward and inconsistent throughout much of the season, with several of the players being overpaid while not meeting the expectations of the owners. When you spend over $2.156 > billion to purchase one of baseball’s most famous teams , you are entitled to expect a great deal more than witnessed over the past four season from the players. The Los Angeles Dodgers currently have the highest payroll in all of baseball with at least two players earning in excess of $18 million for this upcoming season.

    While I believe Dave Roberts to be a good manager , I am not so sure he is capable of motivating a group players whose egos in several cases are larger than life. They might well have won the NL West with consummate ease , but that was only because their division was a very weak one in comparison to the rest of the divisions within Major League Baseball .

    Clayton Kershaw remains the best pitcher in all of baseball, though it could be said his postseason heroics do leave a lot to be desired and the same can be said of teammates who made up the team’s pitching rotation of last season.

    From my own standpoint , I no longer believe the Los Angeles Dodgers are capable of winning another NLCS Pennant , much less a World Series’ title , as they simply do not possess the temperament or skill-set needed to win it all. The Dodgers will begin their exhibition season in earnest this March with a full schedule of games before embarking on their regular season with a game against the San Diego Padres on the 3rd April , 2017.

    Los Angeles Dodgers news

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  9. The Monday night games in the NBA will offer up a varying contrast in styles of the teams competing this evening . History was made as the San Antonio Spurs (42-13) assured themselves of their twentieth consecutive winning season when they defeated the Indiana Pacers (29-26) , by a score of 110-106 . In one of the surprising results of the night , the league-leading Golden State Warriors fell to the Denver Nuggets losing their contest 110-132 for the Warriors’ biggest loss of the season and largest defeat to a conference rival .

    NBA news

    NBA results 13th February and the schedule for 14th February (Valentine’s Day)

    NBA standings (division) and by conference

    Tophatal ………………….

    Like

  10. Having been on an extended winning streak the Miami Heat are now back to losing ways and losing to teams with extremely bad records. In their last game the Heat fell to divisional rival the Orlando Magic , a team still searching for answers . For the Miami Heat coaching staff and front office the next few games in the lead-up to the All Star Break should pose some very interesting questions for the franchise and how they move forward.

    The Miami Heat’s next game will see them facing the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas on the 15th February .

    NBA news

    NBA transactions

    NBA results 14th February

    Tophatal …………….

    Like

  11. Well now comes the hard part for all of the teams as they seek to regroup after what might be arguably described as the best postseason in recent NFL history , most certainly over the last fifteen years at least. The New England Patriots capped off another fantastic season winning the Superbowl for the fifth time in the franchise’s history. A sixth title isn’t that improbably , now that the odds-makers in Las Vegas have the Patriots as the prohibitive favorites for Superbowl 52 (LII) for next season. History would suggest it is extremely difficult to make a successful defense of the Lombardi Trophy , with all but a handful of teams managing to win the title in successive seasons.

    From my own standpoint , I believe it is justified in making the New England Patriots the favorites for the Superbowl ! The team is certainly going to get better and the rookies on this current roster will improve.

    While there appears to be growing speculation the New England Patriots are willing to part ways with their backup quarterback Jimmy Garopollo , there also seems to be concerning if Tom Brady’s direct understudy is not the subject of numerous inquiries there is a likelihood of Jacoby Brissett also being a target of several pursuers. From my own standpoint I believe this would be a major mistake were the Patriots to part ways with of the two quarterbacks. Tom Brady is still playing at a high level , but in actuality , he is at the twilight of what can be described as an astonishing career. Yet , I can’t help but wonder were Brady to call it quits, what type of situation would be created from his leaving New England without their being a smooth transition to a player ready to take his place ? One should remember when Brady took over from Drew Bledsoe , it was during a mid-season game , when Bledsoe was injured. In the aftermath of Tom Brady’s insertion into the lineup , it would be the beginning of an astonishing chapter in the franchise’s history, while Drew Bledsoe’s career would come to something of an abrupt end with the Patriots in 2001.

    Drew Bledsoe (left) is seen here with teammate Tom Brady on the sidelines of a New England Patriots’ game.

    I believe it would be a monumental mistake by the New England Patriots to allow either of their two quarterbacks to leave with or without adequate compensation . It is too high a risk as was seen last season when Tom Brady had to miss the first four games of the regular season due his mandated four-game suspension. The Patriots came through by the skin of their teeth through those first four games with a record of 3-1 . In his absence Tom Brady was able to witness teammates Jimmy Garopollo and Jacoby Brissett lead the team through those quartet of contests. Arguably the next three years could very well be the most important in the Patriots’ history as they look to begin their transition from Tom Brady to his successor , while the same thoughts might well be pertinent to head coach Bill Belichick .

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    NFL free agents

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  12. The ‘ Fall of The Roman Empire’ , Emperor Nero plays the fiddle while the Senate burns or in this case New York Knicks’ (23-33) owner James L Dolan presides over the catastrophe of another embarrassing season by the Knicks’ as a franchise . In the aftermath of the Charles Oakley fiasco , where the former New York Knicks’ forward clashed with the owner , it is now being reported NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is now seeking the aid of Michael Jordan to act as an intermediary between James Dolan and Charles Oakley. Fans are taking sides , siding with the former player , while Dolan has sought to surround himself with the likes of Latrell Sprewell , Larry Johnson , John Starks and several other former players as a way of using their presence as a public relations’ exercise.

    Courtesy of Newsday

    Charles Oakley-James Dolan truce brokered by Adam Silver, Michael Jordan

    By Al Iannazone and Neil Best

    Former New York Knick Charles Oakley gets involved in an indecent as the Knicks take on the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

    HIGHLIGHTS

    Owner hopes former Knicks great can return to MSG “in the near future”
    Commissioner calls it a “disheartening” situation

    Charles Oakley could be back at Madison Square Garden as a guest of Knicks owner James Dolan in the near future.

    The NBA intervened in the Oakley-Dolan feud Monday, trying to put an end to what NBA commissioner Adam Silver called a “disheartening” situation.
    Silver met with Dolan and Oakley at the league office in Manhattan on Monday while Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan took part on a conference call. Jordan is close friends with Oakley, his former teammate, and has built a relationship with Dolan.

    Silver said the two men were “apologetic” about what happened, and it sounds as if things can be ironed out.

    Oakley was removed from his seat behind Dolan during Wednesday night’s game and, after a confrontation with security officers that involved some shoving by Oakley, was dragged out by Garden security guards, taken to the ground and handcuffed. Oakley was arrested that night and banned from the Garden two days later by Dolan, who said the beloved former Knick was being verbally abusive.

    —————————————————————–
    Click on link to read this article in full.
    ——————————————————————

    James Dolan in recent weeks has clashed with cheerleaders of the franchise , castigating them while outwardly showing his support for President Donald Trump . It should also be noted Dolan shares many of the same views as the President , a close friend and confidante , concerning women and the subject of immigration reform.

    There can be no denying the New York Knicks are having an indifferent season as the teams struggles to remain relevant. Inconsistent throughout much of the season , it is becoming abundantly clear , all of the recent moves made by Head of Basketball Operations & SVP Phil Jackson , have been to no avail. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have contributed little to the team’s efforts while the two best players on the roster , Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis might be the only reason to watch this team play at home when it might be bearable . Jackson appears indifferent to the angst of the fans and it seems quite clear things are coming to a head as to direction this franchise appears to be heading in. The Knicks are a deplorable team and the front office continues to be viewed as a joke. Things are dire , with the team’s payroll still extremely high by comparison to their contemporaries .

    In their last game the New York Knicks faced the San Antonio Spurs getting the better of their Western Conference opponents. Their next contest will see them matching wits against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday evening .

    New York Knicks news

    Tophatal …….

    Like

  13. Well with Brandon Phillips having agreed to a trade , leaving the Cincinnati Reds to join the Atlanta Braves . It begs the question are the Reds simply intent on tanking another season , merely because they no longer have the desire to win , be competitive or have the financial resources to afford a decent payroll and pay their players ? Brandon Phillips , formerly of the Cincinnati Reds .

    There is now an even greater disparity in the payroll of the top , middle and bottom teams in baseball, that even the ongoing asinine excuses of a cap and luxury tax still cannot resolve. Baseball cannot and never has been able to keep its financial house in order , even when the claims of Bud Selig and his successor MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s statements continually ring hollow. With a new CFO now taking the helm of the game , there still remains a great deal to be done by the teams , league hierarchy and the Players’ Union (MLBPA) reaching some type of accord as to what is actually in the best interest of the game and its fans. Ever increasing value of the teams and now with what appears to be the apparent $1.6 billion sale of the Miami Marlins , subject to league approval and their being no backing out by the potential buyers. There remains a growing suspicion baseball will either implode or actually find a way to resolve many of its own self-made problems . I am liable to think it will be the former , rather than the latter !

    For Brandon Phillips this will provide the player the chance to add his ever increasing reputation as a five-tool player , while providing the Atlanta Braves with the additional fire power needed on offense as well as great defense . In the case of the Cincinnati Reds they have lost an All Star and the team in its present guise is unlikely to be viewed as a major challenger within the NL Central , where the Chicago Cubs and St Louis Cardinals are viewed as the best teams within the division. Cincinnati’s front office and managerial staff will head into the season with a number of questions about this team and what they are capable of achieving. Joey Votto remains the focal point of the lineup and it will be interesting to see if he can provide his teammates with the type of leadership sought if the Cincinnati Reds are to be successful this upcoming season.

    The Cincinnati Reds’ exhibition season will introduce several new players to their lineup for 2017 . Reds’ manager Bryan Price will be asked to lead this team to at least a postseason appearance , high-place finish or divisional win of the NL Central . Cincinnati’s first exhibition game will be against the Milwaukee Brewers , with their Opening Day regular season contest being against the Philadelphia Phillies .

    MLB news

    Cincinnati Reds news

    Tophatal ……

    Like

  14. Other than the Cleveland Cavaliers , no other team has been more surprising than the Boston Celtics (37-19) , whose young head coach Brad Stevens , has managed to get the very best out of his players as they have shown a great deal of consistency throughout much of the season within the Eastern Conference . The continued faith showed in Stevens should come as no surprise , considering his level of success at the Collegiate Level with the Butler Bull Dogs during his tenure with the program .

    Currently, the Boston Celtics have the second-best record within the East Conference and they lead their division by four-and-a-half games (4.5) over the Toronto Raptors (33-24) within the Atlantic Division . The Celtics’ most consistent player this season has been Isiah Thomas who is averaging 29.9 points per game this season for the Boston Celtics . Over their last twelve games the Celtics are 11-1 for the best record in the league over the period mentioned . Many of those victories in question were by double digits with their biggest margin of victory coming against the Orlando Magic in a thirty-point win over their Eastern Conference rivals on the 27th January , 2017 .

    Isiah Thomas (left) and Brad Stevens , head coach of the Boston Celtics.

    Brad Stevens’ Celtics are one of the better defense teams in the league , with Boston’s players showing their deftness on both ends of the floor.

    The Boston Celtics will be in action next when they face the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois

    NBA news

    Boston Celtics news

    Tophatal …………..

    Like

  15. No news is good news as they say in the world of sports . The NFL for the moment seems to have hit a dry spell , but I expect thing to change within the next three weeks in the lead-up to the NFL Draft ! Baseball will soon have their catchers , pitchers and outfield players report for Spring Training , with the exhibition schedule a little over two weeks away before it begins. The NHL , a sport which hasn’t interested me in the slightest , continues to wane in terms a television audience . College Basketball is now about to take center-stage with the National Tournament set to begin very soon for both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA National championships.

    Tophatal …..

    Like

  16. Great game NO! exciting YES!. Atlanta blew it. 49ers are a joke. They need to rebuild the team from the ground up and get a real QB. The NFL is on the downhill slide.

    Like

    1. Bobby Gee

      The problem with the San Francisco 49ers is that they have a quarterback but the coaching last season was absolutely ludicrous ! Only an idiot would buy into the coaching ability of Chip Kelly and the staff in 2016 . The team’s play and record was simply a reflection of what they were and still remain at this juncture . I don’t think the answer to their needs in the NFL Draft will be to take another quarterback . As for the hiring of Kyle Shanahan as the new head coach , the jury is still out on that situation . Their biggest regret however will be the hiring of Jon Lynch as the new general manager of the franchise. Things have simply gone downhill since they allowed Jim Harbaugh to leave and become head coach of Michigan (Wolverines) .

      Jed York has to be one of the dumbest executives in the entire NFL .

      From left to right, Niners’ GM John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan.

      Team CEO Jed York, whose family owns the San Francisco 49ers.

      Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons is a very good player in the regular season , but during the postseason he becomes a deer caught in headlights.

      Tophatal ……….

      Like

        1. Bobby Gee

          Matt Ryan has been paid a boat-load of money over the last six years and he hasn’t produced anything of real note for the Atlanta Falcons . It should have come as no surprise when the Falcons self-imploded giving up a double-digit lead to the New England Patriots in Superbowl LI (SB51) . It goes without saying the result left the Atlanta Falcons’ fans very despondent and broken-hearted , in particular team owner , Arthur Blank and members of the organization.

          Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons .

          Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank is seen here with Team President Rich McKay (right) .

          Atlanta Falcons news

          Tophatal ……

          Like

  17. The NBA’s greatest player , Michael Jordan celebrates his birthday , today reaching the ripe old age of fifty-four (54) . Jordan simply established himself in the game’s history, with a legacy which might only surpassed by number of championships won by the great Bill Russell , considered to be greatest player in Boston Celtics’ history.

    Michael Jordan is now the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets (24-32) ,whose season has been somewhat sporadic at best . The former NBA great has been asked to intervene and play the role of being an intermediary after the flare-up between former New York Knicks’ player Charles Oakley and Knicks’ owner James L Dolan . I am not so sure what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver thought could be gained by Michael Jordan’s intervention on the league’s behalf, but it is becoming increasingly clear , Silver is a weak Chief Executive of this league .

    If the Charlotte Hornets are to be seen as legitimate contenders for the NBA title , then they had better be prepared to take on all-comers for the remainder of the season. The team will next be in action when they face the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills , in Detroit , Michigan on the 23rd February , 2017 , which will be among the first scheduled games after the All Star Game .

    Like

  18. Well to close out the last five games played before heading into Sunday’s big showcase event of the NBA season , the results of Thursday’s games are now official. The 2017 All Star Game will take place at the Smoothie King Center in Sacramento , California , home to the New Orleans Pelicans . Official starting lineups are known for the Eastern and Western Conference rosters. With the fact that the league’s top scorer was snubbed from West’s starting lineup and is only a reserve continues to show the idiocy of the league’s decision to have fans have the greatest emphasis on the voting rather than perhaps the coaches and players continues to show by the NBA hierarchy remains a constant joke .

    This is a league (NBA) that would sell its soul to The Devil for what it believes is the greater good , rather than show an iota of intelligence , let alone some common sense . Russell Westbrook has been consistent throughout much of the season , even if the record of the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-25) might not appear to be overly impressive . The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard will be looking to join a select group of players to have won the All Star MVP on more than two occasions when the two teams meet on Sunday afternoon .

    While the NBA takes a short recess the College Basketball Season is slowly winding down as the last few games of the regular season prefaces the conference championships in the lead-up to the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournament . The U Conn Huskies are the firm favorites for the Women’s National Title , with head coach Geno Auriemma chasing his twelfth national championship during his tenure with the program. The picture is not quite so clear when it comes to the Men’s National Title as anyone among the top-ten teams in the rankings are seen as having a chance .

    NBA news

    NCAA Men’s Basketball

    NCAA Women’s Basketball


    Tophatal …………

    Like

  19. Adam Gase head coach of the Miami Dolphins guided the team to the postseason , only to see them fail and fall miserably in the divisional round of the NFL postseason . The loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was not only embarrassing for the team , but it truly exposed Miami as being overrated in just about every facet of the game. Granted , starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was missing from the lineup for the contest against the Steelers , but I doubt that Tannehill would have made that much of a difference. Ryan Tannehill’s back-up , Matt Moore played adequately as a replacement , but where the team failed , on offense as well as within the secondary.

    In the aftermath of the defeat by the Pittsburgh Steelers , the front office of the Miami Dolphins have cut several players from the roster , due to cap issues or simply due to fact the players waived didn’t meet Adam Gase’s expectations.

    In the upcoming NFL Draft the Miami Dolphins will have a first round pick , but will be interesting to see if the organization decides to move up in the latter rounds as they seek to solidify the roster. With their exit in the wildcard round , this marked the first time the Dolphins had made the postseason since 2008 and once again their exit came in the wildcard round of that season . As long as Tom Brady remains part of the New England Patriots’ long-term plans , then the Miami Dolphins will continue to play second-fiddle to the best team within the AFC East .

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    Tophatal

    Like

  20. A year removed from having won the AP League MVP the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton has found himself at a crossroads. Last season was not only a down year for Newton but also for the team as they finished among the worst teams within the NFC and within the NFC South , they were equally abysmal . An early season injury to Newton did not help and his backup , Derek Anderson was not of much use when called upon. Head coach Ron Rivera and his coaching staff along with the front office will have lot to contend with as they reassess the roster for the upcoming season .

    Cam Newton was his own worst enemy last season , yet at the same time things were made difficult not only due to the injuries suffered , but also to the lack of real depth on the roster. It wasn’t addressed properly by their draft or the trades made during 2016. Panthers’ GM Dave Gettleman will certainly be looking to address those needs during the off-season , while Cam Newton will also be looking to rebound after a down-year .

    Carolina Panthers news

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  21. Well after six years of play with the Sacramento Kings , being a first round draft pick of the franchise in 2010 , center DeMarcus Cousins is no longer a player in Sacramento. Immediately after the resulting game of the All Star contest , Cousins was traded by the Sacramento Kings to their conference rivals the New Orleans Pelicans . This immediately provides a boost to the Pelicans’ offense while in return to the Kings are given a small modicum of cap space moving forward , but to my mind the trade had more to do with Vlad Divac’s and Peja Stojakovic’s impatience with the unruliness, lack of maturity and leadership shown by the troubled center. Cousins has a prolific offensive presence and is among the best centers in the NBA and by far the most versatile of them all .

    From my own standpoint I am not so sure what to make of Sacramento Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive , because clearly going from once being a minority stake owner in the Golden State Warriors to owning the Kings outright , he has not learned a thing while the front office of the organization haven’t learned a damn thing about operating an NBA franchise let alone making it & a profitable concern .

    Vivek Ranadive , owner of the Sacramento Kings

    If the Sacramento Kings now believe , this is the time to start rebuilding again with an eye on the future , then in reality, they should have made the decision to trade DeMarcus Cousins at least two years ago .

    Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

    Sources: Kings agree to trade DeMarcus Cousins to Pelican

    By Adrian Wojnarowski

    After promising DeMarcus Cousins privately and publicly that he wouldn’t be moved prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings unloaded the three-time All-Star center to the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told The Vertical.

    New Orleans will send guard Buddy Hield, 2017 first- and second-round picks, and guards Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway to Sacramento for Cousins and forward Omri Casspi, league sources told The Vertical.

    The 2017 pick has lottery protection in the top three, which likely means the Pelicans will convey the draft choice to Sacramento this year.

    For the Pelicans, Cousins, 26, will join All-Star forward Anthony Davis to create a potentially devastating frontcourt pairing that could facilitate the re-signing of free-agent point guard Jrue Holiday in July. Cousins grew up in Alabama, but not he nor his agents wanted a trade, and both had been assured that it wouldn’t happen. With the trade, Cousins loses the chance to sign a five-year, $209 million designated maximum contract extension this summer.

    Cousins and his representatives were blindsided by the deal after being told repeatedly – even as late as Sunday afternoon – that Cousins wouldn’t be moved to the Pelicans in the deal, league sources said. Around the league there was surprise that general manager Vlade Divac would take such strident public and private stands – only to go back on his word.

    “DeMarcus is in shock,” one source close to him told The Vertical.

    Click on link to read this article in full.


    This trade will have massive implications for the rest of the league especially among the marquee free agents . This deal however , could provide the New Orleans Pelicans’ front office with the inducement needed to to keep Anthony Davis and sign the player to a long-term contract .

    NBA news

    NBA transactions

    NBA player stats and player stats by experience

    Tophatal …..

    Like

  22. Well it won’t be long before fans are made aware of the draw for the sixty-five teams competing in the 2017 Men’s NCAA Tournament . It has been several years since the tournament has produced a repeat winner , whereas in the Women’s Tournament , U Conn (Huskies) will be looking to repeat as Geno Auriemma seeks his twelfth national title with the program . The schedules are now winding down as the conference championships will soon come into play.

    NCAA Men’s Basketball and NCAA Women’s Basketball

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  23. Sibling , rivalry , in-fighting , lack of continuity , complacency and sheer stupidity have now led the Los Angeles Lakers to their present position where for the first time in several years they did not have one player chosen for the NBA All Star Game . Within the front office there has been a massive upheaval as CEO Jeanie Buss fired her brother , Jim Buss and the general manager , Mitch Kupchak . Many may have felt Kupchak’s dismissal should have come long ago. Missteps with regard to the draft and several trades over the past two years have not placed the franchise in a position to win or put it in a position where the long-term future could be seen as healthy.

    Lakers’ CEO Jeanie Buss.

    Jeanie Buss has been quick respond the present situation , by bringing in former Lakers’ great Magic Johnson to head the Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers , with their being a number of other executive positions to be filled , namely , a successor to Mitch Kupchak. Kobe Bryant has been mentioned in some circles as being someone who both Buss and Magic Johnson would like to work alongside , but the real issue may well be bringing an individual to run the front office in the capacity as general manager, Neither Bryant or Johnson have the experience or a proven track record in that capacity. However , it believed that Rob Pelink , co-founder of The Landmark Sports Agency is the person most suitable for the position. Pelinka is a well-respected agent, whose client list is one of the best in the industry. Rob Pelinka would have to relinquish his role with Landmark , were he to readily accept the position with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Rob Pelinka (left) is seen here holding his young son, seated next to Pelinka is a Kobe Bryant , a client of Rob Pelinka .

    Magic Johnson having been brought in , has been quick to act , trading the Los Angeles Lakers’ best player Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer . The deal makes absolutely no sense , based on competitiveness or in order to save cap space . Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton has been placed in an unenviable position , having to coach a team bereft of depth , experience and talent . Where the Lakers now go, moving forward , will be dependent upon the mindset of both Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson.

    Luke Walton head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Los Angeles Lakers news


    Tophatal ………..

    Like

  24. With the return of the NBA after their All Star Game post mid-season break , the stories emanating are still sending shock-waves around the league. As the schedule begins its wind down the trades which took place are likely to impact the shape of the NBA over the coming weeks .

    The Los Angeles Lakers after the recent upheaval within their front office are due to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday . Their conference rivals and co-habitant of the Staples Center the Los Angeles Clippers are in action on Thursday evening where they face the Golden State Warriors , where at present the Clippers have a double-digit lead over the league-best Warriors.

    Point guard Deron Williams is now without a home after the Dallas Mavericks waived the veteran . This season has been one of sheer inconsistency for the Western based franchise . Williams’ own inconsistency has been evident throughout the season for the team . It is believed Deron Williams will sign as a free agent , joining the Cleveland Cavaliers , bolstering their offense and creating more depth on the Cavaliers’ roster .

    NBA news and transactions

    NBA schedule

    Tophatal ………….

    Like

  25. As if there was another reason to understand how clouded the judgement can be by analysts around the NBA and their thoughts on certain players . Andrew Bogut’s career in the league can be best described as underwhelming and at no point during his twelve years in the NBA has the center ever been a statistical leader in any category be it defense or offense. Having been drafted as the number one overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks . Bogut has become something of nomad around the league , making stops with several teams , but he now finds himself in the Eastern Conference , having been sent from the Dallas Mavericks to the lowly and clearly overrated Philadelphia 76ers .

    Andrew Bogut .

    From my own standpoint , I believe Bogut’s time with the 76ers will be short-lived , either with his playing out the remainder of the season or his contract being bought out and his then being waived. It is clear that whatever Jerry Colangelo and his son , Bryan Colangelo have planned , Andrew Bogut is unlikely to be part of Philadelphia’s long-term future.

    The front office of the 76ers traded away Nerlens Noel and it is believed with the franchise’s plight concerning their rebuilding will be in complete disarray because of decisions made in 2014 and 2015 with regard to the franchise’s draft history. This season for the 76ers can be considered a complete bust on all levels with the coaching staff once again simply being out of their depth. Joshua Harris as team owner of the Sixers has become a complete joke , simply another billionaire enthused with the belief they can use a sports’ franchise a tax write off for their other commercial endeavors .

    Brett Brown will have his team prepared to face the Washington Wizards on Friday evening at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , a contest being played at home .

    Philadelphia 76ers news

    Tophatal ……………..

    Like

  26. I had someone explain to me that there was a winning culture with the Los Angeles Clippers when current team owner Steve Ballmer bought the franchise for over $2 billion in the aftermath of the Donald Sterling fiasco . The Clippers did not have a winning culture and their last playoff appearance prior to the tandem of Doc Rivers as the head coach along with the Ballmer ownership reign , came in 2012 when they fell in the first round of the NBA Playoffs of that season losing to the Memphis Grizzlies .

    Doc Rivers (left) and Steve Ballmer.

    This season (35-22) the Los Angeles Clippers have proven themselves adept to the conditions of their schedule , with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan leading the offense for the Clippers in the absence of Blake Griffin . On Thursday night in a match-up of conference rivals the Los Angeles Clippers faced the Golden State Warriors , somehow managing to lose the contest , having a double-digit lead throughout much of the first quarter and well into the second-quarter , before succumbing to the Warriors , losing the game 123-113 . If there are frailties on this Clippers’ roster then it comes down to the fact they are not a good defensive team .

    Doc Rivers and Clippers’ front office stood pat with regard to trade deadline and did not make any major moves . Next up for Doc Rivers’ players will be a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night .

    Los Angeles Clippers news

    ———

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  27. It’s amazing to think that some NBA fans can get caught up in the immediacy of things and then try and suggest also , in terms of a team’s history , there has been a great deal of success. Unless you’re the San Antonio Spurs , Miami Heat or the Los Angeles Lakers , over the past eighteen years there should be no reason to suggest your team has been the epitome of success. Since 1997 , no other team in league has derived more success than the Spurs and this year will mark the twenty-first season with a winning record by head coach Gregg Popovich .

    Already with a comfortable lead within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference the San Antonio Spurs appear to be well on their way to another divisional title . With a roster led by two-time NBA Defensive Player of The Year award winner Kawhi Leonard , it could be suggested the reins of greatness have seen a smooth transition on from Tim Duncan to his young successor. Leonard is on team which has a great deal of depth and experience apart from their offensive prowess as one of the best scoring teams in the entire league. However , what defines the team remains their solid defense and their willingness to play as a team . The consistency shown has been there for all to see throughout the season. Over their last fifteen games the San Antonio Spurs have been one of the most effective teams in the NBA . Their victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night was simply reflective of that fact and how they have played this season .

    Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs

    Gregg Popovich along with his coaching staff will prepare the team for their next contest when they face the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center , in Los Angles California in another road game . I fully expect this to be a lopsided contest favoring the visiting team !

    San Antonio Spurs news

    Tophatal …………..

    Like

  28. Well, here we are almost at the culmination of another year in College Basketball where the only things now rounding out are the regular season contests as a precursor to the conference championship games before the beginning of the NCAA Tournaments for the Men’s and Women’s National titles .

    Gonzaga (29-1) as the top-ranked men’s team in the nation had been looking to maintain their unbeaten run during the regular season , but they fell in defeat , losing to the BYU Cougars . No small feat on the part of the Cougars in what turned out to be a sensational game . This was part of a massive schedule of games taking place on Saturday afternoon of Men’s and Women’s contests .

    Gonzaga are likely to be a number one seed within their region in spite of the defeat when the NCAA Men’s Tournament begins. For the moment however , the fans will get the chance to see their favorite teams in action in the lead-up to the start of the tournament .

    The U Conn Huskies have continued to dominate Women’s Basketball over the last four three seasons and they now have 100-game unbeaten run . The team has stars on the roster at just about every position. Statistically they might be even better than last season’s national championship roster .

    NCAA Men’s Basketball

    NCAA Women’s Basketball

    Tophatal ……………

    Like

  29. There were games in action with the NBA schedule now heading into its final months of regular season play. Last night offered no real surprises among the contests played . The Sacramento Kings fell by the wayside , losing to the Charlotte Hornets in another home loss . In the aftermath of DeMarcus Cousins being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans , it is hard to envisage how anyone can have any empathy for the Kings, much less their front office or coaching staff . They have simply abandoned their season , let down the fans and essentially thumbed their noses up at trying to be competitive . In their next game the Kings will face the Minnesota Timberwolves at home in a game to be played at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California , on Monday evening.

    Another game of note which took place on Saturday featured the New York Knicks taking on fellow conference stragglers the Philadelphia 76ers , with the Knicks prevailing in the contest , winning by the margin of a single point , 110-109 .

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of three teams in the NBA to have notched up forty-wins and at least assured themselves of a winning season at this point of the league schedule. However , in facing the Chicago Bulls at home on Saturday afternoon , the Cavaliers fell to their divisional rivals in what turned out to be one of the most exciting games played on the day .

    I don’t think there is much left which needs to be said concerning how woefully inept the Brooklyn Nets just happen to be , as they fall to the Golden State Warriors in a seventeen point loss to the Western Conference’s best team , losing , 112-95 . The Nets are an extremely bad team heading nowhere real fast with the front office without an ounce of knowledge as what is needed to improve .

    NBA news

    NBA results and schedule for 26th February

    NBA standings by division and by conference

    NBA player stats and rookies’ stats

    This month in NBA history and on this date

    Tophatal …………..

    Like

  30. Having won a Superbowl title with the New England Patriots , tight-end Martellus Bennett has sought free agency as a way of testing the waters as to his value . It seems unlikely that the Patriots’ front office would let a player of Bennett’s caliber go , given his importance to the team during the regular and postseason . Yet, stranger things have happened and as we know when it comes to the NFL Draft , as the Patriots tend to use due diligence in assessing real talent.

    Patriots’ tight-end Martellus Bennett (88) , whom it is believed will seek free agency. Bennett had signed a one-year contract with the team in 2016.

    Martellus Bennet’s season with the New England Patriots was a fulfilling one on a personal and professional level . However , with the player likely to want to be paid more and their being needs around the NFL for a productive receiver and blocking tight end the sky could be the limit for Bennett.

    Courtesy of CBS Sports

    Report: Martellus Bennett to test free agency
    NFL Network reports that there is a “real possibility” that Bennett signs elsewhere this offseason.

    By Tyler Sullivan

    Martellus Bennett’s time with the New England Patriots may be nearing its end.

    According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the tight end will test free agency and based off of his asking price and the offers that will likely follow, there is a “real possibility” he moves on.

    Rapoport also notes that the relationship is mutually respectful between Bennett and the team. The price tag may just get to a point that is going to be too rich for the Patriots blood to keep him in Foxboro.

    Want to know everything about your Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots? Take a second to sign up for our FREE Patriots newsletter!

    Both sides seemed to benefit from their lone season together with Bennett helping the Patriots go on and win Super Bowl LI, while the tight end revitalized his career catching 55 passes for 701 yards and a career high seven touchdowns.

    If he is to leave, the Patriots will need to find not only someone who can fill Bennett’s shoes, but also someone who they feel comfortable with as their No. 1 tight end if Rob Gronkowski were to go down again next season with another injury.

    For more Patriots news, follow Tyler Sullivan on Twitter: @TylerSully

    —————————————————-

    For New New England Patriots GM Nick Caserio and head coach Bill Belichick , this becomes not only about keeping Martellus Bennett , but also making sure there is an alternative to Rob Gronkowski , the team’s premier asset at the position , but who over the past few seasons has been limited to the number of games played due to injury. In terms of depth on the current Patriots’ roster , it would be prudent for the front office to do try and do everything possible to keep Bennett, even if it means seeking several players on the roster restructuring their contracts to make cap room available for a possible Martellus Bennett re-signing.

    While I believe the New England Patriots might feel they have other priorities beyond Martellus Bennett ,. there is not that great a market for tight on the free agency market and for those declaring at the Collegiate Level , I am not so sure the coaching staff will be as lucky in chasing after a really productive player at the position . Among the list of draftees in 2016 , none truly stood out during the regular season

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    NFL free agents

    Tophatal …………

    Like

  31. The vast majority of the teams in the NBA have now played fifty-seven games with the Cleveland Cavaliers (40-17) leading the Eastern Conference while in the West it is the hard-charging Golden State Warriors (49-9) looking to become the first team in the league to reach fifty-victories and also seek to repeat the same feast as last , with the best record in their conference as well the league overall . Over their last ten games both the Cavaliers and Warriors have comparative records with having posted a mark of 8-2. Neither the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors were in action on Sunday were in action , so center-stage was left both famed Los Angeles’ based franchises the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers were on the court .

    With the recent upheavals within the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office , it was time for the players to get back to business . Their task would not be an enviable one as they took on the San Antonio Spurs . They would fall in a twenty-one point loss to the Spurs, suffering their seventh-loss in their last ten games . Magic Johnson the newly appointed Head of Basketball Operations for the Los Angels Lakers alongside GM Rob Pelinka have been entrusted by team owner Jeanie Buss turn things around for this downtrodden franchise. The issue now becomes . are the fans willing and patient enough to wait for things to elicit a new chapter with the Lakers ?

    Magic Johnson’s first decision in his position was to trade away the team’s best player Lou Williams and barely getting anything in return for the Williams who was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer . Hardly a trade of equitable value , but it is clear this was an act of desperation rather than one of due diligence. If this is a sign of things to come for the Los Angeles Lakers , then I believe their turnaround will take a longer time than planned. I firmly believe the franchise will be at least three years away from being competitive in spite of the projected marquee free agents coming to the auction block in 2018 , 2019 and 2020 . For their part the Los Angeles Lakers under their head coach Luke Walton his coaching staff will now have to get the players playing more uptempo basketball . In their next contest the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Charlotte Hornets in a home game on the 28th February , 2017 .

    There’s winning and then there is a winning culture. This is not synonymous with the Los Angeles Clippers and only a fool would try and suggest there has been a winning culture , much less the Clippers winning anything of note .

    Doc Rivers might finally have a Los Angeles Clippers’ team capable of defeating the best the West has to offer . This team will only go as far as Chris Paul will be able to lead them as he remains the focal point of this lineup , regardless of the prowess of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan . Next up for Chris Paul and his teammates will be a game against the Houston Rockets on March 1st , 2017 .

    NBA news

    Los Angeles Lakers news and Los Angeles Clippers news

    NBA results 26th February

    NBA player stats and rookie stats

    Tophatal …………

    Like

  32. It seems all but certain the Minnesota Vikings will allow the franchise’s career rushing leader to leave during this off-season . Everything seems to be pointing to the fact the front office will not seek to re-sign Adrian Peterson to even a veteran deal , allowing Peterson to leave as a free agent and likely to sign elsewhere. There would be a slew of teams in the race to sign one of the league’s truly elite running backs. The veteran rusher has made it known if he doesn’t return to the Vikings , then there would three or four teams which would pique his interest and each of them he believes has to be viewed as a contender for the Superbowl . Adrian Peterson’s postseason experiences have not been great and the running back is clearly unsatisfied with that aspect of his postseason career.

    Adrian Peterson (28) of the Minnesota Vikings .

    For their part the Minnesota Vikings proved to be a major disappointment at the end of the season , having gotten off to a very fast start through their first five games of the regular season. The team would simply fall apart as the season wound down . Head coach Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff were unable to fix the problems which afflicted the players.

    The rationale behind this current situation concerning Adrian Peterson might well have more to do with the fact the franchise would like to pare down their cap obligations for the upcoming season in the lead-up to free agency and upcoming 2017 NFL Draft . Adrian Peterson might well be the player most likely to provide any team their wish , but at the end of the day , I truly believe there’s little choice for Vikings’ front office to consider. It will be strange this upcoming season to see one the league’s best at the position now in another uniform altogether beyond his own personal ambitions and goals , chasing after the one team award which would certainly add to his already great legacy . .

    Like

  33. Things are now becoming very heated within the NBA . The teams are now jockeying themselves into position within their divisions , conferences , as they looking for that playoff spot among the top-eight seeds within the East and Western Conferences .

    One of the more surprising results from Wednesday’s games came when the Boston Celtics (39-22) defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers (41-18) in a rare home loss for the Cavaliers against a conference opponent this season. Leading the way for the Celtics in the victory was Isiah Thomas , who led all-scorers with thirty-one points in the contest. Whichever way you try to look at this game , it is clear the Cavaliers have some issues which still need to be addressed.

    Elsewhere around the league , the Minnesota Timberwolves blew out the Utah Jazz on their way to a twenty-seven point victory , 107-80 .

    Like

  34. Some might say and not a moment too soon, as the Chicago Bears are closer to the decision to rid themselves of veteran quarterback Jay Cutler after seven excruciating years of miserable play and one playoff appearance , it was time for the ten-year veteran to go. One should bear in mind also , Cutler had been signed to what was at the time the largest contract ever offered to an NFL quarterback in league history , seven-years $126.7 million dollars . That figure has since been superseded by players not often thought of as being better than Jay Cutler , but most certainly quarterbacks certainly thought of as being much grittier. The Bears failed miserably as competitors this past season with the team failing in just about every aspect of their game. The depth on this Bears’ roster left a great deal to be desired . The continued failure of the franchise can be firmly placed on the front office regimes led by Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery were simply asinine with the acquisitions made and their draft classes from 2002 right through until 2016.

    Courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times


    Five ways the Bears could replace Jay Cutler

    By Adam L Jahns

    INDIANAPOLIS — Fluid is the Bears’ buzzword. It’s how general manager Ryan Pace characterized Jay Cutler’s situation and his team’s quarterback situation.

    “There are a lot of scenarios right now, and there are a lot of different things that can happen,” Pace said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “It’s fluid throughout this week and as we approach free agency and even after free agency.”

    For Cutler, that means he’s in flux for the first time in his Bears career. Though Pace said keeping him remains an option, it’s thought around the league that the Bears will move on.

    “At this point, we pretty much have everything on the table,” Pace said. “For us, to do it the responsible way, that’s necessary.”

    Here are five ways for the Bears to replace Cutler:

    Cutler himself

    It seems very unlikely that Cutler returns, but Pace seems intent on keeping him an option for now. At least that’s what he’s saying.

    Either way, Cutler’s trade value might have increased with the news that the Patriots aren’t expected to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

    Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin also said his team isn’t actively looking to trade A.J. McCarron.

    Cutler is available, and according to a league source, he has some input in the trade process.

    Pace made it a point to highlight his communication with Bus Cook, Cutler’s agent.

    “We’re close,” Pace said. “In times like these, that relationship is important because we can be honest and transparent. He’s one of the top agents out there. That helps in this process.”

    Brian Hoyer

    The Bears like Hoyer. Coach John Fox highlighted his efficiency and ball security, and Pace called him a “big part of the equation.”

    Hoyer, who is recovering from a broken arm, also has said he’s open to being a mentor should his next team draft a quarterback.

    The Bears like Matt Barkley, too. Connor Shaw, a restricted free agent, also is in the mix. Going with Hoyer, Barkley or both would fit the option Pace described as “staying the course.”


    Click on link shown to read this article in full.


    Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler .

    John Fox and his coaching staff inherited a team which has proven itself incompetent with the defense and offense being among the worst in the NFL during 2016. GM Ryan Pace will now seek to remold this roster with players he believes good enough for the Chicago Bears to be seen as legitimate contenders for the Superbowl . This will start with assessing the free agents and for the most part getting the best picks available within their slots of the 2017 NFL Draft .

    Bears GM Ryan Pace.

    Jay Culter’s own future within the NFL remains debatable , because most certainly the player’s best days are behind him and not ahead of him. He is likely to be picked up by an NFL team , but I do not believe he will be placed in a position where becomes a starting quarterback once again in the league.

    Like

  35. So here we are , just under a month away from the beginning of the MLB regular season schedule and teams have begun their Spring Training Schedule with a flurry of games . Also within the month of March, baseball will also provide the fans with their quadrennial international team event the World Baseball Classic . Team USA has yet to win the competition and it doesn’t appear likely they will be winning this competition even with presence of several Big League stars on the roster .

    The Los Angeles Angels(5-0) are off to a positive start in their preseason . However, as we know the exhibition schedule is nothing like an arduous one hundred and sixty-two game regular season schedule . Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia and his players enter the season knowing , it has to be now or never if they’re to make a deep run in the postseason . Mike Trout and his teammates will be in action today when they face the San Francisco Giants in a game being played today. While I believe the Angels are a very good team , I do not believe they are a great team, capable of beating out the contenders for the AL West divisional crown much less win the ALCS (Pennant) .

    The Los Angeles Angels’ regular season schedule will begin with a game against the Oakland Athletics . a team whose season may well be dependent upon the competitiveness shown by their pitching staff , rather than offense.

    This should prove to be another exhilarating season for Mike Trout , one where I expect the two time ALMVP will be among the front-runners for this year’s award also.

    MLB news

    MLB standings (Spring Training)

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  36. In the midst of a sea of change , after a shocking postseason exit , the turbulence continues during the off-season for the New York Giants as the front office made the decision to cut veteran wide receiver Victor Cruz . It wasn’t that long ago Cruz was seen as a vital asset to the franchise’s long-term future , but with injuries and a downturn in his production he was jettisoned by the franchise . It remains to be seen if Victor Cruz will find a new home in the coming months in the lead-up to the NFL Draft . He will likely be one of the most sought after free agents on the market , likely high on the list of wide receivers on the market.

    Victor Cruz , formerly of the New York Giants.

    For Eli Manning he loses one his favorite receivers with the departure of Victor Cruz. Giants’ GM Jerry Reese will have his work cut out for him during this off-season as he and the coaching staff and front office executives will have to look at the makeup of the roster as well as using due diligence with regard to the upcoming NFL Draft .

    Courtesy of the The Dallas Morning News

    Victor Cruz or Pierre Garcon to Cowboys? This WR would make sense (despite potential snag)

    By Brandon George

    What do you think Dallas ends up doing with Byron Jones? Keep him at safety or move him back to CB?

    Brandon George: I believe they’ll keep him at safety. They value his versatility on the back end. He can play safety or he can cover the opposing team’s tight end or even play at slot cornerback. They moved him back and forth between safety and cornerback as a rookie. They believe he’s better suited at safety, which is why he was there in 2016. Smart to leave him there and let him develop.

    Do you think Dallas could take a safety in the first round of the draft?

    Brandon George: Yeah, I could see that late in the first round. NFL teams generally don’t like to draft safeties in the first round, but late in the first round, if the board falls that way and he’s the best player available for you, why not. It’s a position of need, too.

    Do you think Victor Cruz or Pierre Garcon could be a better fit in Dallas? I’m ready for the Cowboys to steal some ex-division talent.

    =========================================
    Click on link to read article in full.
    —————————————————

    The problems for New York Giants last season stemmed from a number of factors . In terms of depth on the roster , it did leave a great to be desired, the much-sought after leadership expected from Eli Manning was simply fleeting , while Odell Beckham Jr continues to show a real considerable lack of maturity , while being overpaid for his so-called talent .

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    Like

  37. There seems no end to the perpetual stupidity of loyal Tim Tebow fans , who feel the former NFL quarterback deserves some chance of respectability as a professional athlete. His record and failures within the NFL have been well-chronicled and were it not for his heroics at the Collegiate Level , he would continue to be a thing of the past , nondescript bye-line and footnote. Granted he won a Heisman Trophy as a sophomore , while playing football at the Florida (Gators) and being on two national championship teams , where he led one as a starting quarterback . Yet, beyond that , Tebow’s professional career still languishes and he will never rise to the level where becomes a nationally recognized two-sport’s start who can resonate along the lines of a Bo Jackson or a Deion Sanders .

    Mets’ player Tim Tebow.

    Having a second bite of the apple , Tim Tebow has made it unto the Spring Training squad of the New York Mets , where many of his followers appear to be excited by the fact , his ability appears to be no longer suspect , but in all probability , he is unlikely to make the full team for the start of the Mets’ regular season schedule in April. Thus far in Spring Training , it has been on offense where Tebow’s star seems to be in its ascendancy. Given the woes of the Mets last season , even if Tim Tebow were able to raise his stats above the Mendoza Line (.200) , it still would not be enough to place an impoverished team over the top , where they could be seen as a legitimate contender for the NLCS much less the World Series . Pitching remains the Mets’ greatest strength and in all likelihood it could also become their Achilles’ Heel if their starting roster cannot be consistent and remain injury-free.

    To really understand the inane stupidity of the legions of Tim Tebow fans out there you simply have to consider the fact Tebow is not even listed among the New York Mets’ top thirty Minor League Prospects . The team’s record (6-3) in the month of March is not an overly inspiring one, with their next game scheduled to be played against the St Louis Cardinals . Tim Tebow deserves no favors , nor should he be given any, but in this instance where he is being given the privilege of being part of the Mets’ lineup simply makes a mockery of the system , denying far more credible and noteworthy prospects who are better equipped to play at the Minor League and Major League Level .

    New York Mets news

    Tophatal …..

    Like

  38. Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson has been doing everything asked of him and a great deal more during the NFL Combine . The player having led Clemson to the national title with their sensational victory over Alabama , is sitting on a once in a lifetime opportunity . If he is taken as the number one overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft , then I expect Watson to become an immediate starter for the Cleveland Browns (1-15) . The franchise would be fools not take a player who has proven himself to be undeniably , the best collegiate quarterback this past season. Anyone with an ounce of common sense, would be foolish not to think he would not be a good fit for the Cleveland Browns.

    Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson (4) .

    Having finished with the worst record in the NFL as well as the AFC and at the bottom of the AFC North . It should be noted the Cleveland Browns did not get their one and only win of the season until they defeated the San Diego Chargers in week sixteen of the NFL regular season schedule . The Browns’ coaching staff led by Hue Jackson in conjunction with the front office will have to assess the merits of this current roster and how they will stand in the lead-up to the NFL Draft.

    There does appear to be persistent rumors that the Cleveland Browns might well be prepared to give up that number one overall pick to move down in the draft to obtain an assortment of picks , while also possibly trading for New England Patriots’ number two on their depth-chart , quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo . Personally , I believe this would prove to be a dangerous maneuver on the part of the Patriots’ front office , given there is no real certainty Tom Brady , in spite of his insistence that he would like to play into his mid-forties , would still be around three or even five years from now. Injuries being what they are and the fact the three-time Superbowl MVP having accumulated a small fortune might somehow wish to call it quits at some point when he feels it suits him , while also creating what would be considered to be a major dilemma for the Patriots.

    For the Cleveland Browns , one year removed from having acquired Robert Griffin III as a free agent , they saw the player’s season basically crumble before getting into the heart of the regular season . Griffin along with the other players on the team’s depth chart at the quarterback position are not overly inspiring .

    NFL news

    NFL Combine news

    NFL Draft (2017)

    NFL transactions

    NFL free agents

    NFL cap

    Tophatal ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Like

  39. One year removed from having won the Superbowl , this past season for the Denver Broncos , seemingly fell apart , because the team’s offense was not as good as first thought . Failure to have a player who would succeed the now retired Peyton Manning proved to be fruitless and having hitched their wagon to Trevor Siemian , that experiment failed abysmally. Now it has been left to John Elway as Head of Football Operations to pick up the pieces along with the front office and coaching staff , as they seek to start afresh. It would be pointless for the Broncos to take a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft when they have far more urgent needs. In terms of the alternatives they can either look to their depth chart , seek to acquire a quarterback through free agency , where their alleged desired target is Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys or they could stick with Trevor Siemian in the hope he is likely to show signs of improvement . A major move has to be made by John Elway as he seeks to improve the playing staff for this upcoming season . Romo at best has no more than three years left within him , given his recent injury woes and being unable to stay healthy for an entire season. From my own standpoint , I cannot see the Denver Broncos investing more than two years in the veteran quarterback

    Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

    Broncos reportedly ready to pursue Tony Romo, Romo reportedly wants to play for Denver

    By Frank Schwab , Shutdown Corner

    Throughout the whole Tony Romo offseason “Where will he go?” drama, the team that always made the most sense was the Denver Broncos.

    And after spending the offseason telling everyone how satisfied they were with young quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, the Broncos are apparently ready to move on Romo.

    Longtime Broncos beat writer Mike Klis of 9News in Denver said that the Broncos are ready to pursue Romo if and when he’s released by the Dallas Cowboys. That was according to multiple NFL sources. In the same story, Klis reports that an agent source said Denver is Romo’s preferred next stop. Keep in mind that the report said if Romo is released.

    The Broncos have never seemed to be interested in a trade, and there’s still time for the Cowboys to make one. But if no trade happens and Dallas cuts Romo, which has been the expected outcome from many recent reports, it appears Romo and the Broncos are a perfect marriage.

    That doesn’t mean the deal is done because other teams could have interest in Romo if he’s a free agent. The Houston Texans have been rumored as another destination, and they’d be attractive to Romo too. Perhaps Houston is ready to offer much more money than Denver will. Romo’s story could take more twists and turns before a deal is done.

    But right now, let’s guess Romo does land in Denver. It would satisfy Romo’s presumed desire to be with a contender. The Broncos have been down this path before too. They signed Peyton Manning to a four-year deal when nobody knew how much he had left, then rode that to four division titles, two AFC championships and a Super Bowl ring. Romo isn’t Manning, but he’s a high-level quarterback who could still have a good season or two left.

    ——————————————-
    Click on link to read in this article in full.


    John Elway knows the Denver Broncos cannot afford to have another down year , not with the improvements seen with the Oakland Raiders this past season. The Raiders are likely to improve given the new-found belief within the front office as the coaching staff in the current team . If John Elway is going to pursue Tony Romo then the deal has to be done as soon as possible , rather than their having to wait on any decision being made by the Cowboys’ front office which is led by Jerry Jones .

    NFL news

    Tophatal ……………….

    Like

  40. This is not what the doctor ordered or what either LeBron James or David Griffin had in mind , when Andrew Bogut was acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers as an unrestricted free agent . In his first game debuting for the Cavaliers , the veteran center breaks his leg and will likely miss the NBA Playoffs for the Eastern Conference leaders . This places even more uncertainty on the team which has seen its lead over conference rivals decrease over the last fifteen days . In the game where Andrew Bogut was lost the to Cavaliers in the opening minutes of the contest , it was clear that Cleveland would be in for some major problems .

    This is not the time where Cleveland Cavaliers should conceivably be having problems and yet they are , much to the amazement of head coach Tyronn Lue and his coaching staff .

    Cleveland Cavaliers news

    Tophatal ……………..

    Like

  41. So Brock Osweiler’s stay with the Houston Texans lasted a year after the quarterback’s rather miserable season with the AFC South based franchise. It was clear that neither head coach Bill O’Brien or his coaching staff or the Texans’ front office staff were entirely happy with Osweiler’s play , much less his lack of leadership. Unfortunately . the Texans were simply stupid enough to have offered the player a rather ridiculous contract , along with a rather asinine guaranteed sum as part of the deal . The decision to send Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns is likely to alter the landscape and what will happen in the first round of this upcoming NFL Draft .

    Courtesy of ESPN

    Texans trade Brock Osweiler, 2018 second-round pick to Browns

    Adam Schefter ESPN Writer

    The Texans are trading quarterback Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round pick to Cleveland, which will take Osweiler’s $16 million guaranteed salary off of Houston’s books, league sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

    While Osweiler is technically coming to Cleveland in the deal, league sources tell ESPN’s Pat McManamon that the team is not acquiring him to be its quarterback. The move clears millions in salary-cap space for Houston to intensify its efforts to sign Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, sources said.

    Teams have already reached out to the Browns to inquire about Brock Osweiler’s availability, team sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

    Romo is expected to be traded by the Cowboys.

    To be exact, Houston will save $16 million in cash and $10 million against their cap this season.

    The Texans also will get the Browns’ fourth-round pick this year in exchange for their own sixth-round pick. So Cleveland gets Osweiler’s contract, a 2018 second-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick, and Houston gets Cleveland’s 2017 fourth-round pick, saves $10 million in salary-cap space and $16 million in cash.

    Cleveland is not committed to keeping Osweiler, 26, and is likely to try to trade him, sources said. If that happens, the deal would turn into a basketball-like trade in which NBA teams routinely trade contracts to get them off their books. That kind of move rarely happens in the NFL.

    It’s hard to remember another time in the salary-cap era when a team traded a contract to get it off its books. But Houston was so eager to rid itself of Osweiler and turn the page to its next quarterbacking chapter that it is giving Cleveland extra picks to take him and his contrac


    Click on link to read this article in full.


    It seemed all but assured the Cleveland Browns would have taken DeShaun Watson as their first overall choice in the NFL Draft , but with the acquisition of Brock Osweiler , it no longer appears to make sense , unless Hue Jackson still believes Watson is part of the Browns’ long-term future. Adding to the dilemma, is where this now leaves Robert Griffin III after his year of in-consequence with the Browns . Cleveland may well go on to trade their newest acquisition , but simply shuffling the deck chairs on a vessel which resembles The Titanic makes absolutely no sense.

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    Tophatal …………

    Like

  42. So there it is , they stood pat in not seeking to trade Derrick Rose and now there appears to be even more unrest within the New York Knicks’ franchise, as Carmelo Anthony becomes increasingly bitter about the team’s misfortunes and the apparent lack of competitiveness being shown and the lack of aggression by the front office led by Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills . A little over a year ago I was told by an ardent Knicks’ fans the team would be on the rise and that Kristaps Porzingis would be one of the best centers in the league. Well one of out two predictions, wasn’t all bad , with Porzingis certainly playing like an NBA All Star , but unfortunately , other than Carmelo Anthony absolutely no one else on the roster is even worthy of an honorable mention. Derrick Rose has now descended into the midst of mediocrity , while his teammate Joakim Noah is simply on the roster to grab a paycheck and not much else.

    Over their last ten and fifteen games the New York Knicks have been an abomination to watch . The Charles Oakley fiasco still rings through and even with the advent of team owner James L Dolan deciding to surround himself with former Knicks’ players , Latrell Sprewell , John Starks and Larry Johnson as something of a PR ploy , the real issue has to be why Dolan hasn’t been overly concerned with what the fans now think , when he hasn’t chosen to address the franchise’s lack of competitiveness seen this season as well as last season ?

    The insistence that Phil Jackson has the wherewithal to build a roster is very much like suggesting Sarah Palin would be a good Director of the CIA or Ben Carson is well suited to his new Cabinet position as HUD Secretary . Only an idiot would believe Palin has the knowledge to lead the nation’s top spy agency or that Carson is well nuanced in the issues of affordable housing across the nation.

    In their most recent game the New York Knicks faced off against the Milwaukee Bucks , losing the contest 104-93 . Knicks’ head coach Jeff Hornacek will now prepare his players for a Saturday evening game against the Detroit Pistons on the road against an Eastern Conference rival .

    NBA news

    Tophatal ……………..

    Like

  43. The first day of NFL free agency has now arrived and there are likely to be various trades being made over the next few weeks and during the week of NFL Draft as the teams get down to the business of bolstering their rosters . At this point last season, in the lead up to the 2016 NFL Draft there were a spate of trades which took place that certainly altered the framework of the regular and postseason .

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    Tophatal …….

    Like

  44. While the NBA has seen some mystifying results over the last four days , College Basketball has been rounding out its conference championship games as a precursor to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tournament for 2017. The professional ranks provided us with the following results on Friday night and a number of games for Saturday afternoon and evening . There will also be a full slate of games scheduled for Sunday afternoon , likely to bring about some changes within the divisional and conference standings .

    Like

  45. Well there you go , from all consensus first round draft pick in 2012 to the NFL scrap heap in 2017 . Unfortunately , the brightest days in the career of Robert Griffin III will ever see are now in his rear-view mirror . The front office of the Cleveland Browns sought to rid themselves of the often-injured quarterback and I do believe their latest acquisition Brock Osweiler will also meet the same fate , with Osweiler being packaged in deal which will send him elsewhere , as the Browns seek bundle up on picks in the latter rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft. .

    Robert Griffin will not be able to find a back up or even a starting position in this league as a quarterback , given his travails since 2012., his first season in the league . With the Browns not only controlling their own destiny in the NFL Draft , but for so many of the other teams around the league , It will be interesting to see how things will pan out for the franchise during the Draft.

    Former Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Robert Griffin III , who like Johnny Manziel before him , is an ex Browns’ passer and former Heisman Trophy winner.

    It is already becoming abundantly clear Cleveland’s front office , believes the best way to move forward is to bundle up on picks and possibly trade down in the latter rounds for some valuable assets , but still they are likely to make DeShaun Watson the number one overall pick in this NFL Draft.

    NFL news and NFL transactions

    Cleveland Browns news

    Tophatal ………

    Like

  46. Could two NFL teams have taken a more divergent path over the course of last season ? The answer would most definitely be yes ! The Oakland Raiders made their first postseason appearance in over a decade only to fall at the very first hurdle while their bloviate fans merely made excuses for the team’s demise , rather than admit the fact the players were just not good enough when it mattered the most. Their loss to the Houston Texans was an embarrassment of riches for the Texans , as they came away with a 27-14 victory in the wildcard round of the postseason. Raiders’ head coach Jack Del Rio and the coaching staff must now contemplate what has to be done to make this team considerably better. Impending free agent status for several players on the roster makes it abundantly clear there are issues to be addressed. Quarterback Derek Carr had his best season yet in a Raiders’ uniform and it bodes well for the franchise’s future if they can strengthen the roster. For that purpose Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie will have assess the team’s needs during the off-season and address them .

    In the case of the Los Angeles Rams this was meant to be a new chapter in a season to be filled with hope . Instead they served up nothing but incompetence , ultimately leading to the dismissal of head coach Jeff Fisher , who took pride in making the statement ” I am most proud of my achievements in particular the victories ” . Fisher’s coaching record with the Rams was mediocre at best and among the worst of active coaches in the NFL The Rams’ rookie quarterback of last season Jared Goff was thrown in at the deep end without a life jacket and was expected to lead the team with authority . There wasn’t much to indicate that the Rams would improve over the course of the season. The team would round out the season with a loss to divisional rivals the Arizona Cardinals losing 44-6 at home .

    From my own perspective the issues facing both the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders stems from the lack of insight shown by their respect front office executives and team owners . Mark Davis has been one of the most incompetent owners in recent NFL history , while Stanley Kroenke has proven himself far from being an astute owner , much less a businessman in spite of his wealth as being one of the richest franchise owners in all of professional sports .

    Mark Davis , owner of the Oakland Raiders and Stanley Kroenke (right) , who owns the Los Angeles Rams

    It will be interesting to see how both the Los Angles Rams and Oakland Raiders will fare in this upcoming NFL Draft in comparison to the Draft of 2016

    NFL transactions and Free agents

    Tophatal ….

    Like

  47. Clearly there are moments of delusion and grandeur in the NFL and it is most certainly clear that is now taking place during the off-season. Green Bay Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy was somehow allowed to leave the franchise as a free agent , without their being any sort of action to keep the player and offer him a worthwhile contract . Instead , Lacey joined conference rivals the Seattle Seahawks , signing what is said to be a very generous deal . For Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy this has to be a bitter blow . The team’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers has yet to make his own thoughts known on the departure of Lacey , but I have the suspicion the former League MVP cannot be entirely happy with the situation and what might well have went down during negotiations.

    Courtesy of NFL.com

    Eddie Lacy agrees to one-year contract with Seahawks

    By Connor Orr , Around The NFL Writer

    Eddie Lacy agrees to one-year contract with Seahawks

    After sampling nearly all the veteran running back talent on the free-agent market, the Seahawks decided to sign Eddie Lacy on Tuesday.

    Eddie Lacy

    Lacy’s representatives, Sports Trust Advisors, announced on Twitter he has agreed to terms with team. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the deal is for just one year and $5.5 million, including $3 million fully guaranteed.

    The move could jump start a loaded veteran running-back market that includes Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Latavius Murray. For Seattle, the draw was obviously Lacy’s potential and similarity to former franchise stalwart Marshawn Lynch.

    Rapoport noted that Charles is still visiting with the Seahawks on Wednesday despite the Lacy signing.

    This prove-it season for Lacy will come down to conditioning and health, two points of struggle for the former Alabama star. After a breakout rookie campaign where he rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, his yards, attempts and touchdown totals dropped with each year. Lacy played in just five games this season and was placed on injured reserve in October.

    Lacy’s rejuvenated commitment to offseason training and distance from his October surgery make him an interesting bounce-back candidate. Of course, combining with offensive line coach Tom Cable and a difficult-to-crack movement offense has been great for running backs’ careers in the past, which might have led Lacy to make the decision he did on Tuesday. He also visited with the Minnesota Vikings and the Packer

    ——-
    Click on link to read this article in full .


    The loss of Eddie Lacy for the Green Bay Packers could not have come at a worse time , especially in light of their failings during the postseason. Lacey was productive during the regular season for the Packers , but the team’s shortcomings during the postseason were exposed both on defense as well as on offense .

    Eddie Lacy joins a Seattle Seahawks’ roster which is clearly a very good one , led by their quarterback Russell Wilson , one of the best young players at the position in the NFL. Missing the power shown by the now retired Marshawn Lynch , Seattle now gets a power running back s and a very good receiver also , which will clearly help Wilson and the coaching strategy of Pete Carroll and his coaching staff .

    From my own perspective , I believe the front office of the Green Bay Packers made a monumental mistake in not seeking to resign Eddie Lacy and it wasn’t as if they were cash- strapped and facing cap liabilities . On the the Packers’ depth chart at present , the alternatives don’t appear to be all that bright . I can only guess Mike McCarthy in conjunction with team GM Ted Thompson will either seek to draft a running back or simply acquire a free agent during this off-season.

    NFL news and transactions

    NFL free agents

    Tophatal …………….

    Like

  48. Just in case you hadn’t heard the San Diego Chargers are defunct and will now be known as the Los Angeles Chargers , Team owner Alex Spanos is perhaps more reviled than Art Modell will ever be after he moved the franchise from San Diego to the outskirts of the greater Los Angeles area just because the city of San Diego was unwilling to finance a $2 billion stadium to replace the outdated Qualcomm Stadium , home to the Chargers for a number of decades. Having fired their head coach , the front office made a number of upheavals internally as well as among the playing staff of last season . With a new head coach in place , headed by Anthony Lynn , it will be interesting to see how Lynn and his newly assembled coaching staff will fare during the upcoming season.

    Last season was a disappointing year for the Los Angeles Chargers with the team faring badly over the course of their schedule . At the hear of the issue for the Chargers this past season was their apparent lack of being able to control the ball alongside their continually inept defense . Considered to be the Chargers’ best player over the last decade it could be said Philip Rivers’ career is now coming to an end . Rivers has played with a great deal of determination , but his being unable to get the job done in the postseason has been down to the lack of commitment shown in placing a capable group of players around the veteran quarterback.

    I have no doubt GM Tom Telesco will be looking to boost the roster of the Los Angeles Chargers this season and it will likely start with his assessing the players , shed a number of free agents due to lack of productivity and cap value . Philip Rivers needs to have a solid team around him and Tom Telesco will also look to the NFL Draft for some of those needs as well as acquiring or resigning a number of their free agents.

    This upcoming season the Los Angeles Chargers will be playing in the Stub Hub Center , one of the smallest stadiums among the NFL’s thirty-two teams .

    San Diego Chargers news

    Tophatal ……….

    Like

  49. Well , we already have a shock in the first round of the Men’s NCAA Tournament with the exit of Minnesota Golden Gophers (5) losing to Middle Tennessee (12) by the score of 81-72 . Fans also got the chance to witness Maryland fall to Xavier in another upset on the first day of the tournament. If your bracket has already been busted , then your chance of taking the top prize in the $1,000,000 giveaway by Warren Buffett is now a passing opportunity.

    Friday’s games will give the fans a completely new perspective on the NCAA Men’s Tournament .

    NCAA Basketball schedule for 17th March

    Tophatal ……….

    Like

  50. Newly installed San Francisco 49ers executive John Lynch has recently been offering up his own thoughts on Colin Kaepernick and the fact that the quarterback could have been dealt to a number of teams who made inquiries as to the availability of the player. Protests asides, given the sheer apathy of fans who would rather show their complete ignorance and lack of intelligence concerning players who have freedom of speech . We saw public figures , current and former athletes all voicing criticism over the actions of Colin Kaepernick . Away from the matter of the quarterback’s own actions , no one seemed to be overly concerned as to the reasons why the Forty Niners were so mediocre over the past three seasons , first under Jim Tomsula and then under Chip Kelly , whose sojourns in the NFL have become monumental disasters , A third chance being given to Kelly , would not be a charm , nor would a fourth or fifth chance for his to have a bite at the apple.

    With the San Francisco 49ers and the era of Colin Kaepernick almost certainly now at an end , the question is , how will Kyle Shanahan , his coaching staff and the front office rebuild a roster that was so inadequate this past season . At 2-14 , only the Cleveland Browns (1-15) had a worse record in the entire NFL in 2016. From a defensive and offensive standpoint the 49ers were able to display inadequacies all over the field of play.

    The current roster of the San Francisco 49ers has seen the franchise add some veteran quarterbacks to their depth chart . I seriously doubt that fans of the team will find the likes of Matt Barkley or Brian Hoyer truly inspiring given their collective winning percentage .

    Courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

    49ers’ Lynch: Kaepernick nearly signed with another team, but deal fell through

    By Matt Barrows

    SANTA CLARA

    Colin Kaepernick’s free-agent market is so quiet you can hear a knee drop.

    We’re only a week or so into free agency and there still are a number of teams in search of both starting and backup quarterbacks, so something could change quickly. But other quarterbacks with flimsier resumes were hungrily snapped up at the start of free agency, and you have to wonder why Kaepernick, who won four playoff games over his career — three of them on the road — remains at home waiting for his phone to ring.

    Apparently it rung once last week.

    Appearing on KNBR radio Friday, 49ers general manager John Lynch said that when the 49ers were signing Matt Barkley last week they learned that Kaepernick was close to signing with another team. “He was, in everyone’s mind in the league, close to signing a deal with a team at a really good number and it fell through, apparently.”

    Which team was it? There are several that have no clear-cut quarterback starter at the moment:

    * The Jets. They make sense for a number of reasons, the first being that they need a starting quarterback and currently are looking at Josh McCown — they’d be his eighth NFL team — for that role. They also have the same combination of strong defense/solid rushing attack with which Kaepernick once excelled with the 49ers. They even hired an offensive coordinator, John Morton, who was San Francisco’s receivers coach during Kaepernick’s glory days with the 49ers. Furthermore, Kaepernick recently sold his San Jose home and lives in Manhattan.

    A big reason why the Jets might not want Kaepernick: Their owner, Woody Johnson, is rumored to be getting an ambassadorship to the United Kingdom from President Donald Trump, who once criticized Kaepernick for not standing during the pre-game national anthem ceremony. Johnson reportedly donated $349,000 to the Trump Victory fund in the run-up to the presidential election. Asked Friday if the Jets and Kaepernick had been close on a deal, Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said he spoke to the team’s general manager and salary-cap specialist and was told, “That’s not us. Definitely was not us.”

    * The Browns. They were one of two teams that inquired about Kaepernick when he asked to be traded last year. Kaepernick, however, turned them down after the Browns parted ways with several quality players in free agency. Did he burn bridges there? Cleveland still has no long-term answer at the position — though they have plenty of draft capital to use toward a quarterback — and there have been no reports of Cleveland being interested.

    ———————————————————
    Click on link to read article in full.
    ———————————————————

    With Colin Kaepernick declining the $16.9 million to re-sign with the San Francisco , it leaves the quarterback as a free agent , but likely to be not the most sought after player at the position . I believe Kaepernick will end up with a team, but not likely as a starting quarterback . John Lynch will now have to assess the roster , through attrition there will be cuts and then the NFL Draft , all comes into perspective . The Forty Niners having saved almost $15 million with the non-return of Colin Kaepernick , will most certainly have a great deal of cap space at their disposal .

    NFL news and NFL transactions

    Free agent quarterbacks

    —-

    Tophatal ……..

    Like

  51. Another seed fell in the NCAA Tournament , as Seton Hall lost the chance to advance to the next round . Inexplicably , Seton Hall found themselves on the wrong side of another tournament upset . The USC Trojans took care of business , furthering their case and cause by taking down SMU (Southern Methodist University ) . In another game Wichita State got the better of Dayton , for another one of those upsets that seem to happen all too often in the early stages of a a tournament when some teams are so ill-prepared. Elsewhere , top-seeded Kansas had no trouble pounding UC Davis on their way to a thirty-eight point victory , 100-62

    NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

    NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule (03/18/2017) ….

    Tophatal …………

    Like

  52. So just when you thought there couldn’t be anymore to ” March Madness ” , the whole finds out what the tournament just happens to be about . The Wisconsin Badgers pull off the upset win , putting an to the defense of last season’s national champions by defeating Villanova by the score of 65-62 . Also falling from grace was another top regional bracketed seed , number three-ranked Florida State who fell to eleventh-seeded Xavier on their way to an embarrassingly lopsided defeat . FSU’s instate rivals Florida almost ” doubled up ” on Virginia beating their opponents by the score of 65-39 .

    Sunday’s scheduled games could very well provide us with several more upsets , leaving the brackets even more wide open for one of the outsiders to make a ‘ great run’ to the Final Four . There are several intriguing games on today’s schedule with many of them being between evenly matched teams. We have Michigan facing Louisville (Cardinals) , in a game where Cardinals might be seen as the outright favorites . Also on tap , Wichita State will tip-off against Kentucky . We will also see South Carolina taking on the Duke Blue Devils . If that particular contest doesn’t whet your appetite then you can salivate as Michigan State faces Kansas , one of the top-ranked teams in the nation .

    NCAA Men’s Basketball

    Tophatal …….

    Like

  53. It has to be an act of desperation on the part of the Oakland Raiders as they seek to lure Marshawn Lynch out of retirement . Lynch having won a Superbowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks is now content in his retirement and simply doing a great deal of philanthropic work. A possible return to a team which lacked genuine veteran leadership might not be the role Marshawn Lynch would like to undertake. As a member of the Seahawks’ team that won the Superbowl , he was simply known as The Beast , Beast-Mode , because of his fearless running prowess on the ground and leading the offense with their running game.

    Oakland Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie clearly doesn’t have a great deal of faith in the running backs currently on the team’s roster . There are flaws on the Oakland Raiders and it something which will be addressed by head coach Jack Del Rio , his coaching staff and the front office this off-season . Uppermost in their mind , has to be their impending free agents , seeking to address any cap issues as well as their choices in the upcoming NFL Draft . Jack Del Rio and the Oakland Raiders will be looking to make a fast start to their season as well as seeking to win the AFC West divisional crown .

    Oakland Raiders news

    Tophatal …………..

    Like

Leave a Reply & notification by e-mail

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s