From Good To Mediocre And The Band Played On …

From Good to Mediocre   And The  Band   Played On   …..

I’ve   always   found  it  interesting  to  see how  dumb  the  average  sports’   fan  just happens  to  be  in  America.  They  will  continue to  bitch  and  whine but  when  it comes  to    ineptitude  among  their teams,  rarely  do  they  speak  out  and  demand  more  of the  owners,    executives  ,  coaches  let alone the players.    This    season within the  NFL  we’ve seen how anemic both  the    Cleveland  Browns  (0-14)  and   New   York  Giants   (2-12)  have  been. The Browns  remain  win-less and  they are  in  with  the chance of  joining  the   Detroit Lions whose 2008  season  has   been chronicled  as the worst in the league’s history .

In  the case  of  the  New  York  Giants, the  firing  of  Ben McAdoo  was to  be  expected  , but  what   follows  as  to  who’s    ultimately to  blame   should  be  laid  at a  number  of   doors and  not  just the  former  head  coach  and his staff and the players themselves. The   front office  remained lackadaisical  and   it should be added   veteran quarterback    Eli Manning has   become nothing more than an appendage   concerning   the franchise.  Granted, he will  be   lauded  as   having  led  the  Giants to two historic Superbowl   victories  over  the New  England   Patriots ,  but  other than  that , the  player’s    resume’   remains   threadbare.


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This   weekend  in  the   NFL  with  just  two   games  left  to   round  out  the   regular  season  schedule  ,  both  the  Cleveland  Browns  and   New  York  Giants  will  be in  action  as  both  teams  look  to   avoid being    at   the  bottom  of their  respective   divisions  as well  as    within  their  conference  and  needless  to   say  avoid  being   anointed    the  worst  team  in  the  NFL   during the  2017   season.  The  Cleveland   Browns   will  face   the    Chicago  Bears  in an   intra-conference    match-up  in  week sixteen ,  while   the   New   York  Giants   will  face the  Arizona  Cardinals .    All   four  teams  will  have   something  to  prove   during  these   respective   games.

I am not so sure what Eli Manning has left to offer the New York Giants’ franchise , but it’s clear the misguided fans of this team, clearly believe some type of reverence is owed. Manning and teammate Odell Beckham might be among the best paid players on the roster, but in return they have offered the franchise very little over the course of this season. The offense remains anemic and the defense simply has been nowhere to be seen and I am not about to make excuses and suggest injuries have been the reason behind their poor showing. I have always felt , to make excuses by stating injuries , when every team in the NFL is plagued such issues , but at the same time isn’t that why each team has a fifty-three man roster ?

So while there seems to be some outrage concerning allegations of conduct unbecoming by Carolina Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson . With the owner having been sexually overt , with his behavior concerning female employees within the organization, as well as racist taunts and comments about his own players and those around the NFL. I am beginning to wonder if this wasn’t all known to the NFL hierarchy led by Commissioner Roger Goodell ? It would appear that this has been an ongoing pattern of behavior by Richardson for a number of years and yet it was somehow kept as the NFL’s own little secret. Now with Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones lending his somewhat asinine support of Jerry Richardson , claiming his loss to the league would be a shame , after it was revealed the Panthers owner would be putting the franchise up for sale. Roger Goodell has stated the league would be conducting an in-depth investigation of Richardson’s behavior. At a time when the NFL has been known to be lackadaisical with regard to player misconduct and their misogynistic tendencies and sexual assaults of their partners and spouses. The last thing the league needed , was for an owner to be embroiled in the latest salacious news concerning sexual misconduct . The NFL continues to have an image problem and we needn’t bother to go with the downward spiral of attendance or viewership being caused by player protests. This has been ongoing for some time , but the league simply didn’t want to reveal those facts publicly. Players could be going around murdering innocent victims for no reason and somehow the hierarchy would continue to do whatever it takes to protect its sullen image.

A bigoted racist among the NFL’s owners is not going to change the mindset of the league , much less their actually being a complaint from the players themselves or from the NFLPA (union) . The union would rather protect their players even in spite of proof of their guilt and it’s something Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has never addressed publicly, because just like Roger Goodell, Smith’s concern continues to be about the bottom line and the overall amount of money the NFL continues to make. A shot across the bow of $8 billion a year industry is like a ripple across a pond to this league , given all of its continued troubles . I don’t expect the NFL to clean up its image anytime soon, in spite of the maneuvers by Goodell and his cabal of idiot owners.

Entertainment mogul Sean P Diddy Combs has spoken strongly about his wish to purchase the Carolina Panthers and it appears he already has some support with the backing of Colin Kaepernick as well as NBA star Steph Curry , but from my own standpoint it will take more than the trio to make this all a reality of the NFL actually having an African-American owner within their ranks. At point in the league’s history, there has never been a person of color within the ownership ranks until 2012, when Pakistani-born US citizen Shad Khan purchased the Jacksonville Jaguars . No ” Rooney Rule ” for the league’s owners, but they sure as hell want to make the fans aware it applies to the hiring of coaches and front office executives. If only that were really true , given the fact with Sashi Brown’s firing as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns , the team’s owner Jimmy Haslam surreptitiously hired John Dorsey without their being a whiff that the Browns had followed league protocol. The NFL is an exclusive club, with the makeup of predominantly elderly white middle-aged males owners, where Shad Khan is the lone exception . Don’t expect for that to change anytime soon, because given the antics of Jerry Richardson , I don’t believe he is the only NFL owner within the league such tendencies. Goodell is simply the overseer on this plantation and he remains answerable to the slave owners (NFL owners).

Mediocrity know thy name and within baseball over the past decade and a half the Tampa Bay Rays’ history and reputation has become synonymous with mediocrity. I know that Rays’ faithful will point to the years when Joe Maddon was the manager of the franchise and they achieved some success. Yet an appearance in the World Series where they were completely embarrassed has now gone by the wayside. In what might be the most startling news in the ball-club’s history the decision was made by the front office to trade their long-time star and third baseman Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Denard Span and some minor league prospects. Where this now leaves the Rays and their long-term future is just about anyone’s guess, but I now believe the team’s depressing attendance numbers at Tropicana Field will now take an even greater tumble with the departure of a fan-favorite.

Evan Longoria will add some offense to the San Francisco Giants’ own productivity which was somewhat anemic this past season. A last place finish in the NL West might have been among the most surprising results in all of baseball and in particular for the team. . I expect the Giants to bounce back and make things tough for the Los Angeles Dodgers within the NL West this upcoming season and quite possibly be a contender for the NLCS Pennant . Where they would go from there would then be a matter of speculation.

Far be it for me to suggest the front office of the Tampa Bay Rays doesn’t appear to have an end-game, it must be extremely worrying to see player after player simply being set adrift, while claims are being made this is ultimately for the better. Baseball within the state of Florida continues to be a struggle during the regular season for not only the Rays, but also for the other in-state team, the Miami Marlins . Rays’ GM Erick Neander will have to offer up a believable explanation as to why Evan Longoria was traded. It is becoming abundantly beyond the lack of competitiveness, the Rays simply cannot afford to compete economically not only with the big-market teams but also with the ball-clubs in the middle and small markets. Tampa will open its regular season with a game against the Boston Red Sox , their home-opener as part of a three-game home stand against their divisional rivals within the AL East.

He won the NLMVP with stunning numbers being put up throughout much of the season , but you simply knew that once new team owner Derek Jeter made it known it was his intent to lower the payroll of the Miami Marlins , it would only be a matter of time before the Marlins’ fans would see the departure of Giancarlo Stanton . The player had made his feelings known, stating that he would want no part of a rebuilding process under the new ownership regime . And it was abundantly clear with the ball-club hemorrhaging money , while not being competitive in 2017 , something drastic had to be done. Stanton now joins the New York Yankees where he will be part of a formidable offensive lineup that might be the best in the AL this upcoming season . The Marlins’ loss will most certainly be the Yankees’ gain and when you bear in mind Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t the only player Derek Jeter decided to dump because of salary issues , it begs the question with Dee Gordon also being moved , what the hell with the Miami Marlins have by way of a lineup from an offensive standpoint as well as defensively ? Marlins’ manager Don Mattlingly is being left with the bare bones of a team and within their farm system , I don’t believe it is going to get any better !

The Miami Marlins will open their regular season, after a Spring Training schedule that will likely see one or two non-roster invitees actually making it unto the team for the start of their regular season schedule. Their opening game will see them facing the Chicago Cubs , with the visiting Cubs likely to start off with a win to open their regular season . I would be pleasantly surprised if the Miami Marlins were able to win more than seventy-two games this upcoming season based upon their team lineup and the coaching acumen of the managerial staff . That wins’ total wouldn’t even guarantee a top-three finish within the NL East much less a postseason berth within the National League.



Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman co-owners of the Miami Marlins are seen here giving their first official interview after their purchase of the ball-club.

Do you believe mediocrity within sports has become the norm ? If not, then what do you believe is the cause for a team’s malaise?

  Tophatal     ……  


NFL  news

Week  sixteen schedule 

  NFL    standings (divisional)    and   conference standings 

NFL Playoff picture projections


 MLB  news    and MLB  transactions 

MLB 2018 important dates scheduled

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World’s highest paid celebrities

 


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

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

25 thoughts on “From Good To Mediocre And The Band Played On …”

  1. So let’s get real there’s no denying that Eli Manning is on the downside of a good career with the only high points being the two Superbowl victories on his career resume’ . This season the New York Giants have just been mediocre with Manning and Odell Beckham being unashamedly crap by any stretch of the imagination .

    Roger Goodell has proven to be one of the most inept executives in all of professional sports. He has presided over the NFL while habitually ignoring not only the vapid behavior of the players but also the front office executives and that’s now being seen with the venal behavior Carolina Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson . His behavior has been widely known with racist tendencies and characteristic misogynistic lasciviousness towards females . The fact that this owner has shown such behavior towards his own players as well as those around the NFL is simply disgusting. If after four plus decades the NFL can only have one owner of color within their ranks while lauding the fact they have the ” Rooney Rule ” is simply a fucking joke . It is shameful that during this time only Shad Khan of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been the only minority owner within the league .

    Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid ‘ Shad’ Khan .

    Jimmy Haslam , is as crooked as they come and owning a corrupt company as well as an NFL franchise seems to be way that he continues to operate. Sidestepping all of the league protocols sought the hiring of John Dorsey was a clear violation of the Rooney Rule. Yet neither Roger Goodell or the league hierarchy has sought to penalize the Cleveland Browns in any way.

    From the outhouse to the plantation, the likes of Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson will continue with their antics . This is not unlike the morose behavior from former Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling .

    Can we readily admit both the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays are now being ran by idiots ? As likable as Derek Jeter remains , if you look at the front office and the executives with so called Baseball Operations’ experience , it is clear for everyone to see that both of these ball-clubs will continue to operate on shoe-string budgets , while their respective payrolls will remain among the lowest in all of baseball.


    Erick Neander
    was clearly told by Stuart Sternberg that it was time for another round of cost-cutting within the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization and the trading of Evan Longoria will begin a domino effect as the team looks to get leaner from a salary standpoint. As to their being competitive this franchise is on the way to having quite possibly their lowest wins’ total in franchise history .

    Erick Neander the general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays is seen
    here at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida .

    ====

    Tophatal

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  2. Hold on Tophat. Longoria’s power production dipped this year and he’s not a spring chicken @32. DSpan is aprox. the same age and a 270+ hitter that can cover outfield ground. Besides, he’s a local with hustle. But that’s not the bargain the Rays acquired. CArroyo has tremendous upside. Good move dumping Longoria’s salary. Just hoping they keep Kermairer and Archer.

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  3. At the beginning of the season, Al, Las Vegas casinos had a prop bet.

    If you thought the Cleveland Browns were going to go winless, you could have made four-and-a-half times your money.

    Sounds like a pretty solid wager to me.

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  4. Well week fifteen brought us some conclusive results with several teams having now claimed a postseason berth within the AFC and NFC . Injury plagued season or not several of the teams in the NFL are likely to make some coaching changes at the end of the season .

    It is still debatable as to whether or not Dirk Koetter and several members of his coaching staff will be asked to return next season. After another humiliating loss with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) falling to their divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers (11-4) . A three-point loss to the Panthers with Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston having another dismal display having been sacked six times during the game. Winston after four years in the league still hasn’t gotten a complete command of the game and he’s now becoming more of a liability than an asset to this team and the Buccaneers as a franchise.

    In their final game of the season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are due to meet the New Orleans Saints (11-4) . This contest will be of vital importance to the Saints as they look to solidify their position within the NFC South where they are in a tight race with the Carolina Panthers for the divisional crown.

    NFL news

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers news

    Tophatal …………………….

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  5. The New York Yankees have made the decision to re-sign veteran starting pitcher CC Sabathia to a one-year $10 million deal for the upcoming season . It’s likely that this will be the last year for Sabathia in the Major Leagues , where his career with the Yankees hasn’t exactly set the world alight . No real explanation for this deal can be seen from an outsider as really making any sense as the pitcher was not one of the best players on the team during last season.

    It is expected CC Sabathia will be one of the front-line starters that incoming manager Aaron Boone have at his disposal this season . With the addition of Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees’ lineup it is expected that this team should be able to compete for not only the AL East , but most certainly for the ALCS Pennant , where they’re likely to among the front-runners for the crown . From my own perspective , I do believe the reigning World Series champions the Houston Astros are still the team to beat in all of baseball .

    Aaron Boone will begin his era of management with the New York Yankees opening up their regular season schedule with a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario , on the 29th March , 2018 . These two teams will meet nineteen times over the course of this season .

    MLB news

    New York Yankees news

    MLB transactions

    Tophatal ……………..

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  6. Jay Cutler is really going beyond the limits of credibility by suggesting he wants to return to the Miami Dolphins in 2018. His 2017 season has to be one of the worst of his NFL career with his being more of a liability rather than an asset to the team . His erratic play has now put the team’s head coach Adam Gase on the hot seat . The fact that veteran quarterback was signed to a one-year $10 million deal only further cements why his signing was the biggest mistake of the Dolphins’ error strewn season only goes to show the front office went with what they thought was a safe bet rather than a more accomplished player and free agent quarterback. In week sixteen the Miami Dolphins will play their final game of the season when they’re matched up against the Buffalo Bills . It will be interesting to see if Cutler is called upon to helm the Dolphins in their final regular season game .

    Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

    Jay Cutler liked 2017 so much that he wants to return in 2018

    By Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports

    Jay Cutler must not follow his wife on Instagram.

    Cutler’s wife, actress Kristin Cavallari, ranted on Instagram last month about “this football (stuff)” and made it clear she isn’t too happy with the sport anymore, for whatever reason. One reason might be that Cutler has gotten pounded as Miami Dolphins quarterback, after coming out of retirement for $10 million.

    This doesn’t appear to bother Cutler. Before the Dolphins’ last game of the season, Cutler said he wants to play again in 2018.

    “I love playing football. You can only do it for so long,” Cutler said at his normal Wednesday press conference, according to Miami radio host Alex Donno.

    Cutler did say he wouldn’t come back as a backup, which seems like a bold proclamation after a so-so season. But someone paid Cutler $10 million in August, so maybe someone else will pay him as a starter when he becomes a free agent in March.

    Cutler seemed to have an odd year. He moved into a hotel once the Dolphins signed him at the last minute, and never moved out (“I did get the points,” he said), and he wasn’t pleased with the variety of pay-per-view movies there (“They don’t change as often as you’d like,” Cutler said). He mostly played poorly, but with a few games that were really good. He played particularly well against the Oakland Raiders and a home win against the New England Patriots. It was pretty much like most other Cutler seasons: He was never one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but probably good enough to be one of the 32 starters.

    We’ll see what the offseason brings. He had a hard time finding an NFL team that wanted to sign him earlier this year, and had an announcing gig with Fox lined up, but he was on speed-dial then and probably will be again in 2018 if he doesn’t get signed to be a starter right away. And if he does get signed as an emergency replacement, he’ll have enough hotel rewards points to pay for the stay.

    Click on link shown to read article in full.

    If Jay Cutler does return to the Miami Dolphins it will have to be in a reduced role along with a major pay cut. There is no way in hell he is worth another $10 million contract let one at $2 million a year.

    NFL news

    Miami Dolphins news

    Tophatal …………………

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  7. Week seventeen and it’s the final week of the NFL season. One where several teams have been a major disappointment . Reigning Superbowl champions the New England Patriots will be making another postseason appearance having won the AFC East with ease. In their final game of the season the New England Patriots will face the New York Jets in what is likely to be a contest where several members of the Patriots’ bench will be given a chance to shine at some point during this game. Quarterback Tom Brady is having an exceptional year even by his own lofty standards.

    The Patriots’ closest rival within the AFC are Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) who like New England share a a similar record but with the Patriots having a better conference record the number one seed remains up for grabs. Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin will have his team prepared for their match-up against the win-less Cleveland Browns (0-15) who seem almost certainly are on the verge of becoming only the second franchise in modern NFL history to lose all sixteen regular season games. The last such team to do so were the 2008 Detroit Lions who were a disaster from start to finish that year .

    NFL news

    Week seventeen regular season schedule

    NFL standings (conference)

    Tophatal ………………

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  8. Amidst an array of bad performances and an outright disastrous season the
    New York Giants (2-13) have rid themselves of Ben McAdoo as the head coach of the team . Veteran quarterback Eli Manning has been abysmal while vaunted wide receiver Odell Beckham has been a non-starter by way no real productivity for the team . Let’s just say the firing of the Jerry Reese was to be expected with his replacement being named as Dave Gettleman . It will be interesting to see what will happen as the Giants move forward and round out their regular season with a game against the Washington Redskins (7-8) . The contest is of vital importance for both teams , but more so as a matter of pride and self-respect.

    Opposing quarterbacks Kirk Cousins of the Redskins and Eli Manning , for them their seasons have not met the expectations of the fans let alone their respective organizations. Dave Gettleman during this off-season will have to make some serious decisions concerning the long-term future and make up of the roster.

    Eli Manning and Oliver Vernon are among the highest paid players on the Giants’ roster . Manning and Beckham are not due to become free agents until 2019 and 2020 respectively . While I don’t believe Dave Gettleman will seek to move either player without the implicit approval of Lawrence Tisch or John Mara , I have to believe nothing will off the table should the right offer come along for either player. Stranger things have happened and for Eli Manning , perhaps a new environment at this stage of his career might be the best thing possible even if his best years are now behind him. In the case of Odell Beckham , his first two years in the league were good , but his ego and lack of maturity has led to his decline in productivity and lack of real effort. If he’s hoping to land a big contract as sought , then he will have to prove that he’s among the best in the league to be considered an elite receiver.

    New York Giants news

    NFL free agents (2018)

    Tophatal …….

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  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ (4-11) wide receiver DeSean Jackson has lived a storied but troubled career in the NFL . With the Buccaneers’ season spiraling downwards the player and the team now seem to be mirroring problems both on and off the field of play .

    When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field this Sunday in their final game of the season, this could very well be the last time fans will see DeSean Jackson in a Buccaneers’ uniform when he and his teammates face the New Orleans Saints (11-4) . This is not a game I believe the Buccaneers will be able to win , especially when Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has been on fire this season .

    DeSean Jackson might well be facing felony drug and weapons’ possession charges after a vehicle owned by the player was found abandoned in the downtown Tampa area. Jackson’s representatives have stated the player is cooperating with local law enforcement authorities , while stating that the vehicle had been loaned to a personal friend. His story while believable could be construed as being dubious . Yet in light of past problems off the field I really doubt that the Buccaneers’ front office would leap to the defense of the player without their using due diligence. GM Jason Licht will certainly have his staff investigate the whole matter and no doubt the NFL league hierarchy will also seek to carry out their own investigation as well as asking for the copied records of the police’s own findings.

    Once again beyond the issues of DeSean Jackson it has to be said Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston continues to disappoint. Consistency is not yet something the player has been to able to achieve for the franchise. To understand the failure of the Buccaneers you simply have to look at their woes on offense as well as on defense .

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers news

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  10. More cost-cutting from the Tampa Bay Rays as this organization seems intent on competing with a threadbare team and payroll . The rumors continue to circulate the departure of Evan Longoria might not be the only big-name player the front office is willing to deal . Pitcher Chris Archer could be very well their next star on the way out of Tampa . It is hard to see how this team will be able to compete if their payroll is under $75 million .

    From my own perspective I would be pleasantly surprised if the Tampa Bay Rays were able to win more than sixty-five games (65) this upcoming season. In what is likely to be a truly competitive and tough AL East division the Tampa Bay Rays might well be the weakest of the five teams within the division . Having to go head to head against the likes of the Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays could prove to be too tall an order for this team to handle. Rays’ manager Kevin Cash will be heading into his fourth season leading the team as their manager. While I believe him capable of having a good season , I don’t think it will be a winning one for the organization.

    The Tampa Bay Rays will have a straightforward Spring Training Schedule before embarking on their regular season where they will have an opening game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida on March 29th , 2018 , the official Opening Day of baseball for the 2018 season.

    It will be interesting to see which of the Tampa Bay Rays’ players will be stepping up to the plate to lead by example . With the loss of Evan Longoria , there has to be someone prepared to lead the offense in 2018 and the same can be said of the pitching staff and their potential lineup.

    Tampa Bay Rays news

    Tophatal …………..

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  11. So this is what we know , several teams thought capable of making the NFL postseason have failed miserably . Among them were the Dallas Cowboys where Jerry Jones has made it clear that Jason Garrett will be returning for another season. The fact that the Cowboys trailed the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) for much of the season within the NFC East was no great surprise. Dallas was simply atrocious throughout much of their schedule . The Cowboys ended their season with a rather meaningless 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles . Philadelphia rested several of their front-line starters for the game knowing they’d already qualified for the postseason as the number one seeds in the NFC.

    Elsewhere the Cleveland Browns (0-16) became only the second team in league history to all sixteen of their regular season games joining the 2008 Detroit Lions with that ignominious distinction. It would appear that Browns’ head coach Hu Jackson is unlikely to return in 2018 , with the team performing so badly. Newly installed GM John Dorsey will now have to find a suitable successor to Jackson .

    Though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) finished their season on a high with perhaps their best victory of the season in defeating the New Orleans Saints (11-5) . There can be no denying this Dirk Koetter coached team is sorely lacking with players who can be considered play-makers both on defense as well as offense. Quarterback Jameis Winston is not the caliber of player needed to lead this Buccaneers’ offense as he simply remains inconsistent and wayward .

    Jimmy Garoppolo has proven to be a godsend for the San Francisco 49ers . His acquisition from the New England Patriots has made all the difference for a franchise who after week three was among the worst teams in the NFL . Garopolo has almost single handed transformed the Niners over much of this season. The team ended their season on a high note with a five-game winning streak . In their final game of the season the San Francisco 49ers manhandled the Los Angeles Rams (11-5) who will be making their first postseason appearance since 2004 . It all bodes well for the San Francisco 49ers and their future.

    NFL news

    Week seventeen’s results

    Wildcard round games

    Tophatal ……………

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  12. This weekend provides us with the opening rounds of the postseason within the NFL with games in the wildcard round for both the AFC and NFC. With the Buffalo Bills making a welcome return to the postseason it will be interesting to see how they’ll fare against their first round opponents the Jacksonville Jaguars . The last meeting between these two teams took place during the 2016 regular season in week twelve with the Bills coming away with a 28-21 victory in that contest. The opposing quarterbacks in the upcoming game have performed admirably for their respective teams this season. Blake Bortles of the Jaguars
    has settled along with Tyrod Taylor , finally getting his chance to shine after years of having been a backup.

    One of the more interesting games taking place will see two teams from the NFC South clashing for the third time this season as the Carolina Panthers take on the New Orleans Saints .

    With the New England Patriots getting a bye as the number one seeds in the AFC and the addition of veteran defender James Harrison is bound to add some intererest to the Patiots’ postseaon , especially if New England should meet Harrison’s former team the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game as is being projected.

    NFL news and wilcard round match-ups

    Tophatal ………….

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  13. Far be it for me to suggest the NFL has any type of rationale let alone being socially responsible . We have seen as the regular season rounded out , teams fire head coaches , the departure of general managers and the hiring of John Dorsey to replace Sashi Brown as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns . The Rooney Rule as applied by the NFL and its hierarchy was meant to assure that minority candidates were part of the intereview process for any coahing or executive vacancy within an NFL franchise. Clearly the rules were not followed when Dorsey was hired to succeed Brown . Yet somehow , NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not seen fit to initiate an inquiry into the hiring.

    What also appears to be imminent , Jon Gruden currently an on air commentator with ESPN is seen as the favorite to replace Jack Del Rio as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders . It would appear all that is needed , will be for Gruden to tie up any obligations he now has with the broadcaster before returning to the NFL. From my own standpoint , I don’t believe he will be able to capture the success achieved with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he led the franchise to their lone Superbowl title.

    Jon Gruden returning to the Oakland Raiders and he willbe inheriting a team which underperformed this season . Even with their best player Derek Carr being inconsistent through much of the season and injuries hampering the lineup , this team was over compensating with their being little talent on either side of the ball. It will be interesting to see what steps are taken by Gruden and how much latitude he will be given by GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis .

    Oakland Raiders news

    Tophatal ……….

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  14. Perhaps it’s me but there seems to be a great deal of not only apathy, but sheer idiocy among fans of College Football .

    OK , I know the Playoff format is not perfect and we know it still favors many of the stronger conferences and programs within the sport. Now while the UCF (Golden Knights) 13-0 had an unbeaten regular season before having a very exciting Peach Bowl Game where they completely destroyed Auburn in a one-sided contest . With the win the Golden Knights will be the only unbeaten team among the top five teams in the nation likely based on rankings at the end of the postseason. However to suggest the team is good enough to be seen as the top-ranked team in the nation is asinine when you consider their schedule is not even remotely on par with powerhouse conferences such as the SEC , ACC , Pac-12 or even the Big Ten .

    For the moment the UCF Golden Knights will have to wait out and see the outcome of the championship game between Alabama and Georgia to gauge how they are likely to viewed in the final rankings.

    NCAA Football news

    NCAA Football postseason schedule

    NCAA Football (FBS) rankings

    Tophatal …………….

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  15. This NFL postseason and it will be interesting to see what transpires in the wildcard round as the teams take to the field. Last season the first round games didn’t exactly provide any major surprises for the fans.

    There are two games being played both on Saturday as well as Sunday with their being contest from either conference. The first of Saturday’s contests offers up the Kansas City Chiefs playing hosts to the Tennessee Titans . Game two presents an NFC match-up with the Los Angeles Rams playing host to the Atlanta Falcons .

    Sunday’s contest and in the first contest we have the Buffalo Bills taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars while in game-two the Carolina Panthers will be on the road to visit the New Orleans Saints .

    With the coaching carousel set to begin and the fact it seems all but certain Jon Gruden will become the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders . It will be interesting to see where the likes of Josh McDaniels and Matt Partricia could very well be ending up. Both are assistants on the coaching staff of Bill Belichick the five-time winning head coach of the New England Patriots . McDaniels does have previous head coaching experience having spent two years with the Denver Broncos , a tenure steeped with ineptitude and mediocrity. Patricia has been the defensive coordinator with the Patriots for the past five seasons but this will be his fourteenth year with the franchise.

    NFL news

    Wildcard round (NFL)

    Tophatal …………

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  16. Where the rubber meets the road will take place this weekend as the Los Angeles Rams make an unexpected run to the NFL postseason. Quarterback Jared Goff has led the team , showing a great deal of maturity while being ably assisted by Todd Gurley and receiver Cooper Kupp . When the Rams take the field for their wildcard game against the Atlanta Falcons this will not be a contest for the feint of heart . While many believe the Falcons to be the underdogs , I believe that it’s the Rams who should be seen as the underdogs, with Atlanta viewed as the favorites. If nothing else Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan has a great deal to prove to himself as well as to the Falcons’ fans.

    Tophatal ……………..

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  17. In 2016 quarterback Colin Kaepernick had some impressive stats during the last five games in each of those seasons while playing for the San Francisco 49ers . After his acquisition from the New England Patriots , quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has led the Niners on an impressive five-game winning streak to round out the team's season and avoid ending up with the worst record in the league (NFL) . Kaepernick remains unsigned , unlikely to ever play again in this league because the NFL remains intent on black-balling the player. Call it what you will , but there's no denying the word is out and it's led by some of the prominent owners within league along with the ongoing verbal assault via social media coming Donald Trump and his ignorant comments via Twitter .

    Jimmy Garoppolo’s stats and those of Colin Kapernick’s over their last give games played are very much comparable . Yet for all intense purposes while both players are gifted , only one of them is thought worthy of being in the league.

    This off-season , when there’s likely to be a rush of quarterbacks hitting free agency , the most prized being Kirk Cousins , player constantly overpraised who’s yet to achieve anything of note within the league.

    If Kirk Cousins were to hit the market, rather than re-signing with the Washington Redskins , he could command as much as $25-$30 million a year over five years .

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  18. This weekend the wildcard round produced some of the most mind-numbing and less than competitive games as the participants struggled to show their dominance. Not only that, but the officiating in a number of these contests were far from perfect. The Jacksonville Jaguars somehow managed to produce a game where the passing efficiency of both quarterbacks Blake Bortles of the Jaguars and Tyrod Taylor of the Buffalo Bills might as well have been setup by two individuals struggling with their eyesight.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars now move on the divisional round where they will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon, 14th January , 2018. It is a game which should prove to be a true test of wills for Blake Bortles as he goes up against a vaulted Steelers’ defense.

    Marcus Mariota of the Tennesssee Titans led the team past the Kansas City Chiefs in one of the more exciting games to have taken place over the weekend. . Mariota
    will now face the reigning Superbowl champions the New England Patriots . This contest will be more than a test for this free wielding quarterback as he goes up against
    Tom Brady as the Patriots’ quarterback seeks to add to his legacy and playoff history .

    NFL news and wildcard round results

    Divisional round schedule


    Tophatal …..

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  19. Pittsburgh Pirates senior managing partner and owner Bob Nutting has a great deal of explaining to do after the trading away of fan-favorite Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants . Though the outfielder’s stats have declined in recent years. McCutchen could always be relied upon to show maturity , leadership and go at all costs in search of a victory for the ball-club. Sadly , that is likely to be lacking this upcoming season as the Pirates embark upon the year without one of the club’s best players in recent history.

    New opportunities will be provided to Andrew McCutchen as he joins a team which will also include Evan Longoria formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays . It will be interesting to see what type of productivity can be produced by the Giants this season where they will also have Buster Posey as part of this lineup.

    Pittsburgh Pirates news

    Tophatal

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  20. This year’s list of inductees for the Baseball Hall of Fame are players who were productive throughout much of their playing career. Among those being inducted are Vladimir Guerrero , Chipper Jones , Alan Trammel and Jack Morris . Unfortunately , with each passing year it would appear there is less credibility with the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) as they seek to legitimize the entries of Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds , Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa . All four players were indeed tainted by the steroids’ era within the game of baseball .

    <img src="Chipper Jones

    Hall of Fame inductee Chipper Jones

    Bud Selig and his successor MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred choose not to place any expulsion of the quartet of players mentioned , but with each passing year it seems at some point they will gain entry , while the Baseball Writers’ Association has even less credibility.

    MLB news

    Tophatal …………

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