The Hard and Fast Principle, Is That You Play To Win

The Hard and Fast Principle, Is That You Play To Win

Far be it for me to suggest, but with the NFL season almost coming to a close, the likely dismissals of several Head Coaches were an inevitability. The biggest firing, was not the dismissal of Hue Jackson from the Cleveland Browns , but the firing of Mike McCarthy by the Green Bay Packers , was one of which came to some as a surprise. The Packers’ season has been one which has been woefully inept in certain aspects of their game, but the blame should not be placed solely at the feet of Mike McCarthy alone. He was failed by his team and most notably by Aaron Rodgers perhaps the Packers’ best player on the roster and his twice being named the League MVP . Rodgers has not demanded more of himself or from that of his teammates and it has come to fruition by way of the results on the field and their standing within the NFC North , where there are likely to miss the NFL Postseason for 2018.

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It has become abundantly clear that a replacement for Mike McCarthy is most likely to come from outside the coaching staff , rather than from within. Several names are being considered , notably David Shaw of Stanford , Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots and Jim Harbaugh , Head Coach of Michigan . Green Bay’s front office headed by Mark Murphy will consider all of the aforementioned names as well as others that will cross Murphy’s desk in the coming days. Yet for the moment , the current coaching staff and players must prepare for their final four games starting with their contest against the Atlanta Falcons this upcoming Sunday , 9th December , 2018. A sub. 500 record for the Packers this season would provide the franchise with their worst record in over a decade. Certainly the worst since Aaron Rodgers first entered the league in 2005 as a rookie quarterback for the franchise. Where the Green Bay Packers will now go from here will be open to a great deal of conjecture and debate

Jay Gruden has made it abundantly clear that with the loss of Colt McCoy as the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins , neither he or any member of his coaching staff or anyone from within the front office have a wish to replace McCoy with disenfranchised quarterback Colin Kaepernick . It has been over two years since the player was last seen on an NFL field , but yet somehow the likes of Mark Sanchez and lesser talents have been given a chance in the NFL this season ? Suffice to say , Roger Goodell and the majority of the team owners have no wish to see the player make a return to the league. His banishment continues in the midst of a season where Goodell’s autocratic rule continues.

With the NFC East division still up for grabs with even the Philadelphia Eagles still in with a chance of possibly winning the division , it is quite possible the division itself, will be one ending in carnage. Both teams will be in action this weekend weekend with the Eagles facing the Dallas Cowboys , while the Redskins will meet the New York Giants .

The trigger was pulled and the first salvos of the MLB off-season have been fired . The New York Mets have made everyone aware that they mean business this off-season with the acquisition of Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to their roster in what can be seen as a blockbuster trade. This rings in a new era for the Mets’ front office now being ran by newly minted General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen . Adding the salaries of Cano and Diaz to the team’s payroll will certainly bloat the obligations of the ball club, but if it leads to success than , then I doubt that the Mets’ fans will be overly concerned.

While the New York Mets seek to keep up with the rest of baseball , one of the ball club’s National League rivals the Chicago Cubs will be seeking to make a monumental splash of their own as they look to sign Bryce Harper to a long-term deal with the ball club . Cubs’ front office executives , Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein would certainly like to bolster the roster and make Chicago even more competitive for this upcoming season. The addition of Harper to an already formidable offensive lineup would be a boost for this Joe Maddon managed team . It remains to be seen if the Washington Nationals are willing to part ways with Bryce Harper or they will seek to sign him to a deal of their own.

There have been some major signings made within the past forty-eight hours , with several players on the move now getting high-priced deals .

It never ceases to amaze me how naïve and simply out of touch fans and analysts are when it comes to the NBA and the talk of current reigning NBA champion the Golden State Warriors now being vulnerable and not capable of defending their title. We are barely three months into the NBA season and some idiots are already looking to write off this team altogether. From my own perspective until there is a team capable of challenging the Warriors on a consistent basis within the NBA , they will remain the team to beat within this league. Then the argument against this franchise remains redundant . In the Warriors’ most recent game they faced the Atlanta Hawks , winning that game decisively against an Eastern Conference opponent.

If the rumors are to be believed then there could be a major blockbuster trade in the offing , as the Los Angeles Lakers make a play to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans . All signs seem to be pointing that GM Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson have something big planned , but there has yet to be any type of formal announcement made. Lakers’ forward LeBron James has shown his frustration at the real lack of progress made by the team in spite of a winning record at this point of the season. The fact that Lonzo Ball the sophomore point guard is seen as the bait to entice this move, with Davis joining the Lakers. It could be said that this might also send the wrong message to the Lakers’ fans and the long-term future of this franchise. Lonzo Ball is seen as the face of the Los Angeles Lakers once the career of LeBron James comes to an end , because I seriously doubt that at the end of his current contract he will seek to resign with the franchise , furthering his fifteen-year career in this league.

From my own perspective the window of opportunity for the Los Angeles Lakers to win big, is to start winning now. Their biggest challenge will remain being good enough to beat the top contenders within the Western Conference , then knocking off the league’s current dynasty and reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors , by no means an easy task. The first meeting between these two teams this season will take place on Christmas Day when the Golden State Warriors will play host to the Los Angeles at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California . In all , they will meet four times over the course of this regular season with games being played at home and away.

OK, so it we all knew that the Alabama Crimson Tide would stroll through their regular season sojourn of College Football (FBS) . In all honesty this Nick Saban coached team has been barely challenged and it wasn’t until they faced Georgia (Bulldogs) in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) championship game that Alabama was made to run the gauntlet in a true test of their mettle. . Having won the game in its last waning moments, Alabama booked themselves a place in College Football Playoffs’ Format . As they look to make history by winning another National Title , I truly believe, it will be theirs for the taking unless they become truly complacent .

What if anything do you believe best provides the winning approach with regard to professional team sports at this moment in time ?


Tophatal ………….

NFL news …

MLB news

MLB transactions

MLB payroll

NBA news

NBA schedule (December)

NBA standings (division)

NBA transactions

NCAA College Football

NCAA Football schedule

Picture gallery along with accompanying narrative.

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

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

80 thoughts on “The Hard and Fast Principle, Is That You Play To Win”

  1. Todd Bowles and Marvin Lewis became the latest Head Coaching casualties within the NFL as the regular season came to an end . Bowles was fired by the New York Jets as the management within the front office made the decision to dismiss him. Lewis had been one of the longest tenured coaches within the league with the exception of Bill Belichick , Head Coach of the New England Patriots .

    Marvin Lewis’ dismissal by the Cincinnati Bengals was not a complete surprise as the front office also made the decision not to extend his contract. The failings of both of these AFC teams came, from their inconsistency on all fronts throughout much of the regular season. From a defensive standpoint both were inept and on the offensive side of the ball , there wasn’t much coming by way of their starting quarterbacks overall .

    There are likely to be several assistant coaches and coordinators among the respective teams likely to be considered for the current vacancies around the league . It will be interest to see which potential candidates are considered to fill those vacant positions.

    NFL news ….

    Tophatal …………….


  2. So the Christmas Period within the NBA schedule provided us with several games of note. Among the games played yesterday the first of 2019 , we had the Toronto Raptors dropping the Utah Jazz by the score of 122-116 . The Milwaukee Bucks also got the better of the Detroit Pistons in a thoroughly riveting display by both teams. It’s becoming hard to imagine how the New York Knicks can dig themselves out of their current hole as a team . The Knicks have mustered only two victories from their last fifteen games played , In their most recent contest , the New York Knicks fell to Denver Nuggets while playing on the road .

    New York Knicks’ Head Coach Dave Fizdale might find his head on the chopping block
    if this team can’t play any better over the remainder of their regular season schedule. In their next game the this Dave Fizdale coached team will face the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , on Friday , 4th January, 2019 . New York’s record against Western Conference teams has been far from impressive.

    There will be nine games on the schedule for today . Among the teams hitting the hard-court we have the Dallas Mavericks facing the Charlotte Hornets , while the Miami Heat will be taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers . Perhaps the most intriguing match-up of the night will see the Oklahoma City Thunder taking on the Los Angeles Lakers .

    NBA news …

    Tophatal ………..


  3. So for what was meant to be an exhibition bout in Japan , unbeaten titlist Floyd Mayweather received a reputed $9 million , which included a $1 million guarantee when he faced Tenshin Nakasawa .

    This bout did nothing for the sport of boxing and only went on to further emphasize that Floyd Mayweather’s greatest pursuit and joy, is his love of money . Tenshin Nakasawa was outmatched and outclassed . Mayweather’s next opponent will likely be UFC Lightweight Champion , the man who also beat Conor McGregor , Khabib Nurmagmomedev of Kazahstan . That bout could possibly net the boxer (Maywather) in excess of the $300 million he’s said to netted in earnings for his bout against Conor McGregor


  4. So after another horrendous season the New York Giants are said to be weighing up all of their options concerning their playing roster . Having failed to make the postseason , wherein the team just wasn’t good enough, the front office will not only make recommendations concerning the coaching staff but they’re also likely to look at the players they believe to be no longer needed. Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman is said to be reluctant to offer starting quarterback Eli Manning a long-term contract , while believing that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr might well be the key to the franchise’s long-term goals.

    Eli Manning can become a free agent in 2020 , when he will be thirty nine years of age . Given
    lack of productivity by Manning over the last four years , his seeking to be paid like an elite quarterback does seem highly unlikely . If the Giants should seek to cut Manning they won’t be on the hook for the remainder of his contract . From my own perspective , other than his two Superbowl victories , the career of the veteran quarterback has not been overly impressive. His overall win record remains mediocre at best.

    A 5-11 season was not what the New York Giants or their fans had in mind at the beginning of the 2018 regular season . Pat Shurmur as the Head Coach could very well be looking over his shoulder during the off-season . Dave Gettleman hasn’t yet decided the fate of anyone within the organization , but it is clear the coach might well be within the general manager’s sights.

    NFL news

    NFL transactions

    New York Giants news

    Tophatal ……….


  5. There still seems to be no big news within the world of Major League Baseball as it relates to any major blockbuster trades . Both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned among the current wave of free agents on the market . Having spent last season with the New York Yankees as a relief pitcher , David Robertson has found himself a new home having been signed by the Philadelphia Phillies . The club has been one of the major players during the off-season , bolstering their roster with some new players.

    MLB news ….

    Tophatal ……….


  6. Though it’s still early days yet , the NBA is now waiting with baited breath to see if there will be at all , any major changes as the first wave of possible trades could take place with regard to the regular season . NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has issued somewhat of a stern warning directed at the players , that they cannot consider it appropriate to make statements with regard to players under contract , seeking to have them sign with a new team . This was a pointed warning for LeBron James who in recent weeks has stated that he’d like to have Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans playing for the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Both of these franchises seem to be heading in opposite directions . Both of these teams have been in action in recent days . LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers faced off against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder . Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans were in action against the Minnesota Timberwolves .

    There are several games on the Thursday evening schedule, of which the most noticeable match-up pits the Toronto Raptors against the San Antonio Spurs . This game will see the return of former Spurs’ player and two time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and Finals’ MVP , Kawhi Leonard .

    Another game featured on Thursday evening will see the Houston Rockets take on the Golden State Warriors . The Rockets have been on an impressive run of late , beating opponents with ease , while barely breaking sweat.

    NBA news

    NBA schedule 3rd January

    Tophatal …………


  7. There are some crucial Wildcard Games being played this weekend in the NFL and perhaps the most intriguing among them might well be the NFC contest between reigning Superbowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles as they face Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears . Trubisky and his team surprisingly won surprisingly the NFC North , without much of a real struggle during the season . It will be interesting to see how this young sophomore quarterback fares as he takes on Carson Wentz . his opposite starting quarterback in this game .

    Another of the games being played will feature an AFC match-up between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts , where the resurgence Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck who had a sensational season leading Indianapolis back into the postseason. With both of these teams being AFC South residents and their having met twice during the regular season , there is a great deal on the line for both of these franchises.

    There will be a lot riding on this game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks , as both teams look to advance further this postseason . For Jason Garrett as the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys , he does have a great deal to prove as his postseason record remains an extremely poor one with the franchise.

    NFL news …

    NFL postseason wildcard round

    Tophatal ………


  8. Nothing extraordinary with regard to last night’s games within the NBA . If there was said to be a real shock ,
    then it came
    from the fact the San Antonio Spurs were able to get by the Toronto Raptors with such ease , winning their contest by the score of 125-107 . Next up for the Spurs will be a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at home on the 5th January , 2019. In another of yesterday’s games , the Houston Rockets got the better of the Golden State Warriors , winning that contest by a one-point margin , 134-135 , with the game ebbing and flowing throughout the contest.

    There will be some interesting games on schedule for Friday , 4th January , with the pick of the bunch being the match-up between the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Portland Trailblazers .

    At this point last season within the NBA the standings , didn’t give us a sense of forbearing as what we would expect over the remainder of the season .

    NBA news ….

    NBA weekend schedule


  9. It seems that the front office of the Washington Nationals are not quite yet prepared to give up on losing their six time All Star and MVP outfielder Bryce Harper whose agent Scott Boras seems intent on getting his client the best possible deal available . While I don’t believe that the Nationals are capable of matching the perceived price tag sought , thought to be a deal in excess of $350 million over ten years. I do believe the team’s owners believe it to be figure that could be costly to their bottom line .

    MLB news …

    Tophatal ……..


  10. In what should have been a thoroughly exciting game to decide the BCS National Championship turned out to be a monstrous lopsided affair , as Clemson completely took apart and embarrassed Alabama on a national stage where millions nationwide witnessed this debacle. Clemson won a national title again for the second time in the last five years and with it, Dabo Swinney becomes one of a handful of college coaches to have won multiple national titles at the FBS (Football Subdivision D1 Level) . One could contend that there might be several NFL franchises with a coaching vacancy who might approach Swinney about moving to the professional ranks of the National Football League , but I believe the Clemson Head Coach would be reluctant to do so , while now having the best recruiting program in all of College Football .

    Tophatal ………………………….


  11. Some great games were played last night within College Basketball . None of the top-ranked programs in the nation were in action last night , but that will likely change in the coming days . Duke (Blue Devils) still sits atop of the national rankings while heading the ACC . Coach Mike Kryzewski will next take his team to face Wake Forest on Tuesday , 8th January , 2019 . This will be one of several games scheduled for the day .

    NCAA Men’s Basketball

    Tophatal …………….


  12. Several years removed from winning the last of his three World Series’ titles as a manager , Bruce Bochy as the team manager of the San Francisco Giants and Brian Sabean as the general manager of the Giants are seeking to revamp the team roster completely. It would appear that former World Series’ MVP pitcher Madison Bumgarner might be on his way out as the front office seeks to improve the roster in advance of the upcoming season . With Spring Training just over two months away it will be interesting to see what moves are likely to be made by the Giants.

    Madison Bumgarner’s contract with the San Francisco Giants would be considered menial in
    comparison to the other starting pitchers within Major League Baseball . In 2018 , the pitcher earned a misery $7 million as part of what is a five-year , $35 million deal.

    Brewers emerge as front-runners for Madison Bumgarner

    By Jake Nisse , New York Post

    Madison Bumgarner could be set for a move to the Midwest. reported Monday that Bumgarner’s likeliest destination — if he is dealt before spring training — is the Brewers.

    According to the report, the Brewers and the Giants have discussed a possible trade this winter, with the Brewers mulling how much is too much to give up for the 29-year-old pitcher.

    Bumgarner has a career 3.03 ERA, three World Series rings and an affordable $12 million salary in 2019. But his health is a red flag. The lefty has gone down in the past two seasons, and hasn’t posted a sub-3.00 ERA since the 2016 season.

    Still, he would represent an attractive option for the Brewers as they look to solidify their rotation after last year’s NLCS run.

    Madison Bumgarner could be set for a move to the Midwest. reported Monday that Bumgarner’s likeliest destination — if he is dealt before spring training — is the Brewers.

    According to the report, the Brewers and the Giants have discussed a possible trade this winter, with the Brewers mulling how much is too much to give up for the 29-year-old pitcher.

    Bumgarner has a career 3.03 ERA, three World Series rings and an affordable $12 million salary in 2019. But his health is a red flag. The lefty has gone down in the past two seasons, and hasn’t posted a sub-3.00 ERA since the 2016 season.

    Still, he would represent an attractive option for the Brewers as they look to solidify their rotation after last year’s NLCS run.

    Click on link to read in full.

    There are likely to be several teams interested in signing Madison Bumgarner and he is still an effective player , in several aspects of his game.


  13. Results over the past five days within the NBA and how the standings haven’t seen any major changes . Last night there were several games of real interest for the fans to watch . Attendance for the games this season in part of have seen an increase around the league over last season . Of the games from Monday night, the one which might have provided the most excitement was the match-up of Western Conference rivals , the Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets as both teams look to vie for conference supremacy . The Rockets came away with a 125-113 victory as Houston player James Harden cements his season while
    looking to move up the MVP Ladder Race .

    There are several intriguing match-ups on the schedule for Tuesday , 8th January and it will be interesting to see how these teams fare . One game likely to pique everyone’s interest pits the
    Washington Wizards against the Philadelphia 76ers . That match-up also pits point guards John Wall of the Wizards against Ben Simmons of the Sixers . As good as Simmons is believed to be , the Sixers’ player has yet to show the discipline of the seasoned veteran , Wall.

    NBA news ……..



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