I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

By Tophatal

Well the divisional round of the NFL postseason came and went , with one or two surprises along the way. This just in , Denver Broncos’ Head of Player Operations , John Elway will be purchasing Bulova watches for the entire roster , as well as John Fox and his coaching staff . Clock management, clock management , you co#k-suckers . The Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , had their game all gift-wrapped merely awaiting delivery to their fans . Somehow , Peyton Manning , Fox and the entire Broncos roster , simply let this game slip from within their grasp , and thereby sending the Ravens to their second AFC Championship game appearance, in two years.

I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

By Tophatal

Well the divisional round of the NFL postseason came and went , with one or two surprises along the way. This just in , Denver Broncos’ Head of Player Operations , John Elway will be purchasing Bulova watches for the entire roster , as well as John Fox and his coaching staff . Clock management, clock management , you co#k-suckers . The Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , had their game all gift-wrapped merely awaiting delivery to their fans . Somehow , Peyton Manning , Fox and the entire Broncos roster , simply let this game slip from within their grasp , and thereby sending the Ravens to their second AFC Championship game appearance, in two years.

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For John Harbaugh , he becomes the first coach in NFL history , to take his team to four playoff appearances in his first five seasons ,with two conference championship appearances , coming along the way. Ironically enough , Harbaugh’s brother, Jim Harbaugh will join his brother in accomplishing a similar feat , but his accomplishment might be even more impressive , as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach will be making his second successive NFC championship game appearance , which will have come in his first two full seasons, as the head coach of this illustrious franchise. And if the subplot plays out , as a number of fans hope , a Harbaugh rivalry at Superbowl (SB XVLII) , could await us all. However, their respective opponents , the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots , will no doubt be seeking to upset the apple cart and topple that whole scenario , altogether .

There are some intriguing plotlines to both conference championship games , taking place this weekend at Gillette Stadium , in Foxboro, Massachusetts and at the Georgia Dome , in Atlanta ,Georgia . For Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens , they will be seeking to redeem themselves after last season’s disappointment in the AFC championship game. That loss , left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Ravens’ players as they will undoubtedly seek to exact revenge on their conference rivals . On the flip side of that equation , Bill Belichick and his team will be seeking to make their sixth appearance in the Superbowl , in the last ten years , with Tom Brady , and the head coach , each seeking their fourth Superbowl victories , in their respective positions within this organization.

Well, the exploits of Colin Kaepernick has simply raised the crescendo level , as to what the San Francisco , and the front office led by Trent Baalke , may well seek to do with Alex Smith , the incumbent six-year year starting quarterback for the Forty-Niners , before his dethronement by Kaepernick , earlier this season . And while it has come as a surprise as the poise and presence shown by the young quarterback , it certainly now does give credence to the decision by Jim Harbaugh , to thrust the young quarterback into the limelight . An easy win, of the NFC West, for his second successive divisional title , adds into the astuteness of Harbaugh , as a head coach. It was certainly there for all to witness, while he rebuilt the Stanford program , and made them a force to be reckoned with , within the Pac 12 . Having ascended to the professional ranks of the NFL , Jim Harbaugh has proven to be a more than worth adversary for his peers .

The continued “ knock” against Matt Ryan was the very fact that he had yet to prove himself in the postseason. Well , now that he has finally accomplished the feat of having won his first playoff game , a much loftier task awaits , and that is to lead the Atlanta Falcons pass a very hungry San Francisco 49ers’ team . That being, said it’s not as if, the Falcons are without a thirst of their own , and most certainly after the impoverished years and the years during which Michael Vick may well have brought a great deal of attention to the franchise for good , and some very infamously bad reasons . There is no denying that , Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff , team President Rich McKay and owner Arthur Blank , have brought back a sense of consistency and presence to the once beleaguered franchise.

With a season’s and league best 13-3 record , the Falcons have simply gone about their business in a thoroughly understated way . . Atlanta for its part , was never seriously challenged within the NFC South , in spite of a spirited effort from Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints . Matt Ryan and his teammates , led by Michael Turner and seasoned veteran , Tony Gonzalez , will seek to derail the hopes of Colin Kaepernick and the Forty-Niners , in what I believe might be, one of the better NFC championship games in recent memory !

Jim Harbaugh, has what might be one of the most balanced of the quartet of teams, now left at this point of the postseason . There can be no denying that the Niners’ defensive unit is amongst the very best in the league , having been extremely efficient , all season long . And it would be a tremendous slight to their offense , if they were to left out of the equation , as well . Now all that awaits is four quarters , rough and tumble all-out football, with the victorious garnering all of the “spoils” , and off-course a final berth in the Superbowl , to be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , in New Orleans , Louisiana on the 2nd February , 2013 .

With the ouster of Romeo Crennel and former , GM , Scott Pioli , it has to be said that it should have come as no surprise that Kansas City Chiefs’ COO Clark Hunt would come to such a decision to “clean house” with such veracity. The failures of the team were well chronicled , with a 2-14 record , in the end , to show for it all. The biggest issue, for the team , it must be said , was the poor play from the quarterbacks on the Chiefs’ roster . Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn , simply showed that they have an aversion to playing with any semblance of consistency , and that was clearly mirrored in team’s results in 2012.

Beyond the Chiefs’ absolutely poor offensive play , it has to be stated , that the team’s defense was just mediocre, and often at times, downright insulting , for the Kansas City Chiefs’ fans and the NFL fan in general to watch. And it certainly did not help that a number of the team’s rookies drafted in 2012, failed to live up expectations , and the same I believe, can be said of their draftees from 2011 ! Newly installed , general manager, John Dorsey , has entrusted to return this franchise to its former glory. Dorsey, Andy Reid, and his coaching staff will certainly be assessing the roster, to certainly see what may well be superfluous to the team’s needs.

Reid’s record, while stellar with the Philadelphia Eagles , it has to be said that 2012, may well have been the worst of his distinguished career. A listless and often impoverished Eagles’ team in 2012 , simply did not put up much of a fight , but what might be even more improbable was Andy Reid’s implicit faith in the clearly declining skillset of Michal Vick , as the veteran , labored throughout much of the season . It wasn’t until the player, suffered a concussion, that Reid relented , with rookie Nick Foles being installed to replace the injured veteran. A 4-12 season , was simply a reflection of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, in an NFC East division that could be best described as being rather mediocre . When all said and done, 2012 was a season that the Eagles would rather forget , and specifically for Michael Vick and Foles , as their joint productivity for the team was somewhat sedentary to say the very least !

The interview process for the Philadelphia Eagles is still ongoing with GM , Howie Roseman still perusing and interviewing an ever-growing list of potential candidates , as he seeks a worthy successor to Andy Reid . As to the impending future of Michael Vick , there has been no formal statement , as to whether or not the veteran, remains a part of the franchise’s long or short-term future .

As seasons go, I don’t know that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season could ever have been more disappointing ! What should have been one of growth and improvement , simply whimpered out , through sheer lack of conviction by the Buccaneers’ players , and a complete lack experience on the part of first year coach , Greg Schiano . Excuses asides , concerning a litany of injuries to players , but the truth of the matter comes down to a complete lack of preparation , immaturity by the rookies, as well as the seasoned veterans on the roster , along with their now , rather asinine excuses for a season of all too inept performances ! If there was a bright spark to be found on the team, then it came by way of the play of rookie running back , Doug Martin , and that of tight end , Vincent Jackson . Other performances of note, were all too fleeting , with perhaps none more so than that of starting quarterback, Josh Freeman , with another year of unfulfilled dreams.

Schiano tried to instill a robust sort of discipline , one which reverberated around the league and made the head coach and his players , the subject of a great deal of ridicule , as well as the target of a lot of defamatory remarks concerning the lack of sportsmanship on the part of the Buccaneers’ players. Yet , I feel much of that came down to the poor lack of execution , on the part of this team , and Greg Schiano’s wish to prove to opponents that his players would be “ no pushovers” . Well in retrospect , they were very much pushovers , having lost four of their last five games to end the regular season , wherein they posted a 7-9 record within the NFC South. Definitely , not much to celebrate, given the earlier expectations of Schiano and his coaching staff , prior to the beginning of the regular season.

Courtesy of NFL.com Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ official site

Greg Schiano hints at Buccaneers’ quarterback competition

By Marc Sessler , NFL.com

<u< Greg Schiano's biggest to-do this off-season ? Determining if young ,Josh Freeman goes forward as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ franchise quarterback.

The team’s first-year coach told reporters Monday he believes Freeman someday will win a Super Bowl, but he hinted the Bucs (7-9) might bring in new bodies at the position in 2013.

“The one thing I do believe in is competition at every spot, including the quarterback, so I want to have as many good players on our football team as we can at every single position,” Schiano said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s a little different in the NFL.”

Pressed on if he was “all-in” on Freeman, Schiano stopped a few yards short of full support.

“That’s a question that, again, I’m not all in with myself yet, so how could I me all in with Josh Freeman or any other player?” Schiano said. “I’m not side-stepping you, but I need to evaluate.

Track the rookie QBs:
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“What I can say is, a 4,000-yard passer, a touchdown record — there’s a lot of things you say, ‘Wow.’ Are there things that frustrate you? Yeah. There are things that frustrate him, too. And I’m not ducking the question, because quite frankly, I really like Josh Freeman. But I want to make sure I don’t get ahead of my skis at all here and really evaluate every single thing to what’s best for this organization.

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With Greg Schiano having conducted his own postmortem, as to what went wrong in 2012, the Buccaneers’ head coach has sent a defiant message to all of his players , that all positions will be up for “grabs” in the 2013-14 season . Furthermore , he has become non-committal , with regard to Josh Freeman being offered a long-term contract with the franchise. There now seems to be , a gathering storm , that will be hovering above the head of Josh Freeman , and his own future with the Buccaneers’ franchise . A sense of foreboding , that , if Freeman is unable to show any signs improvement , given his alleged off-season conditioning and workout regimen , then there is the likelihood , that at the start of the Buccaneers’ OTA’s and mandatory workouts prior to next season, Josh Freeman could either be on his way out , or find himself down the pecking order for the starting role as the team’s quarterback.

The fact that the Detroit Lions’ head coach , Jim Schwartz , escaped the postseason culling , now known as “Black Monday “ , is all the more remarkable , when you consider that one of his divisional peers , Lovie Smith was summarily fired having guided the Chicago Bears to a 10-6 record within the NFC North, only to narrowly miss a playoff berth . Now while I understand , the Bears’ reasoning behind Smith’s dismissal , I do feel that GM, Phil Emery , was naïve in simply suggesting that the brunt of the blame lays primarily with the fired head coach . It must have escaped his notice , that the often coddled and overrated Jay Cutler , simply doesn’t have what it takes to lead a team , much less win a series of meaningful games in the postseason .

Matt Stafford having thrown for a career best 5038 yards in 2011. The four-year starter for the Detroit Lions , while falling short of another 5,000 yard season in 2012 , simply provided the Lions with an aerial attack , and little else by way of leadership . And while Calvin Johnson set his sights on , and having surpassed the single season receiving yards’ mark , beyond that, there was very little to suggest , that this season that the Lions were remotely in with a chance of doing anything worthwhile in 2012. And that was clearly mirrored in the team’s final standing within the NFC North , in posting a 4-12 record . At no time throughout the Lions’ season , did it ever appear that Jim Schwartz could corral this team into playing with any discipline or resolve , yet somehow he remains in a position to return next season , under the premise that injuries played a great part in derailing the team’s aspirations in 2012. . Lions’ GM , Martin Mayhew , and team Vice Chairman , William Clay Ford Jr , will seriously have to assess the performance of their head coach his coaching staff and several of the players on the roster , who simply came up short in 2012 . Both front office executives are deeply in denial , if they felt that, Jim Schwartz wasn’t part of the equation, that led to such a disastrous season for the Detroit Lions .

Inasmuch as 2012 , has been a successful season, off the field, the governance of Roger Goodell , still remains in question , as his power-base , has diminished greatly , because of his sheer contempt and conceit. The commissioner’s handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal , the league hierarchy’s almost nonexistent handling of veterans’ issues, as it relates to their denial of rightfully earned benefits , speaks greatly , to Goodell’s complete lack of understanding of the position which was bestowed upon him , by the team owners and the NFL’s Board of Governors . The commissioner simply glosses over those pertinent issues , only heighten the league’s ongoing economic growth, but when pressed to address the aforementioned problems that still ensnare the NFL , he is unable to give a succinct and comprehensive answer . It is almost as if , Roger Goodell , does not care , just as long as he believes his image remains intact , while still being able to cling to power. It is at this juncture , that the fans must ask , do we not deserve a great deal more from the NFL as paying customers and loyal fans ? Your thoughts on this ?

Inasmuch as 2012 , has been a successful season, off the field, the governance of Roger Goodell , still remains in question , as his power-base , has diminished greatly , because of his sheer contempt and conceit. The commissioner’s handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal , the league hierarchy’s almost nonexistent handling of veterans’ issues, as it relates to their denial of rightfully earned benefits , speaks greatly , to Goodell’s complete lack of understanding of the position which was bestowed upon him , by the team owners and the NFL’s Board of Governors .

It has been almost two years since the league hierarchy and NFLPA (Players’ Union) came to a firm agreement , ratified in their most recent CBA (collective bargaining agreement) , wherein the league would now begin mandatory testing for HGH (human growth hormones). Now in light of Lance Armstrong’s admission of guilt as to his rampant use of HGH , EPO and other illicit substances , the union led by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , still tries to hide behind the idiotic notion that there is no concrete testing protocol that can fully detect these substances , and that until there is , he does not feel that the NFL has the right to begin blanket and mandatory testing of his members . Unless I’m mistaken , in 2007, Smith before a congressional committee did in fact give testimony , that he was not opposed the league , testing the players within the NFL , just as long as those tests were carried out by a reputable body , and that there would be safeguards to insure that mistakes were not made . Pardon me for saying this , but Smith , much like his predecessor , Gene Upshaw , just seems to be intent on blowing smoke up everyone’s ass , while hoping to see the subject of testing for HGH simply disappear from within the NFL’s midst ! It is unfortunate , that DeMaurice Smith should take this stance , while many of his current and retired members , are besieged with a litany of health issues, that are wide-ranging . Yet , it does appear that the union , much like the NFL hierarchy , simply operates, on the basis of collateral damage , and the fact that , the NFL is , now more about economic power , wealth and not much else beyond that !

Courtesy of USA Today

Bell: NFL falls further behind on HGH testing

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today Sports

The pressure just went up a notch for the NFL.

What’s the delay in implementing an HGH testing program?

We know. We’ve heard it before. The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) isn’t convinced that there is a reliable test, regardless of what anti-doping experts maintain.

Yet Major League Baseball players don’t dispute that there are valid tests, so MLB beat the NFL and its players to the punch in announcing Thursday that it will implement random, in-season blood-testing for human growth hormone.

HGH: MLB to begin in-season testing

So, despite that great photo-op on the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 17 months ago, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith announced that the NFL would become the first U.S. pro sports league to implement HGH testing as part of a new labor deal, Major League Baseball takes the honor.

Of course, this did not go unnoticed on Capitol Hill. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has held hearings and written letters aimed at nudging the players union toward an agreement for testing, issued a statement Thursday.

It was predictable. In part, it read, “Other professional sports leagues, including the National Football League, must also implement their own robust testing regimes. Major League Baseball’s announcement increases the pressure on the NFL and its players to deliver on pledges to conduct HGH testing made in their collective bargaining agreement that was signed (nearly) two years ago.”

There was silence on the matter from the NFL players union on Thursday, although it did mention the House Committee in its statement about findings that the late Junior Seau, who committed suicide in May, suffered from a degenerative brain condition, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The NFLPA called on Reps. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee, and ranking member Elijah Cummings to look into issues related to health and safety beyond HGH testing, including its desire to have independent sideline concussion experts and revisions in the workers compensation system.

MORE: Is new drug policy sufficient ?

“We hope the MLB players' union will inspire the NFLPA to stop its stalling tactics and fulfill its commitment to begin testing for HGH,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports. "If the NFLPA stands for player health and safety, it should follow the lead of the MLB players union and end the delay."

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The commissioner simply glosses over those pertinent issues , only heighten the league’s ongoing economic growth, but when pressed to address the aforementioned problems that still ensnares the NFL , he is unable to give a succinct and comprehensive answer . It is almost as if , Roger Goodell , does not care , just as long as he believes his image remains intact , while still being able to cling to power. It is at this juncture , that the fans must ask , do we not deserve a great deal more from the NFL as paying customers and loyal fans ? Your thoughts on this ?

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Picture gallery .

What if anything , has stood out for you , this NFL season ? And how do you see the AFC and NFC championship games playing out as a scenario ? Furthermore , what are you hopes during the off-season for your respective team or teams , by way of a change in their fortunes ? Chime in on this , and anything else you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh speaks during a news conference at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The Ravens are scheduled to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) …..

(2) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis , left, watches as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game , Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. The Ravens would go on to defeat the Broncos 38-35 in overtime . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis shakes hands Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after the Ravens won 38-35 in overtime of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. Lewis , a perennial Pro Bowl player , made the formal announcement statement that this would be his last season with the Ravens , with the intent of retiring at the culmination of the team’s postseason foray . AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …

(4) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waves to spectators following an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. The Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(5) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) ,after Kaepernick’s 56-yard touchdown run , against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. AP Photo/Ben Margot …..

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach , Greg Schiano ,left, is seen here with the team’s GM , Mark Dominik at the franchise’s training facility , One Buc Place .. The two members within the franchise’s hierarchy have come to the conclusion that incumbent starting quarterback , Josh Freeman is now in need of stiff competition , if the team , is indeed to get better . Last season proved to be amongst the least successful for the former ….. Kansas St quarterback . Drafted 17th overall in the in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers , Freeman’s struggles have been well chronicled in the local and press . It would appear that 2012 , seems to be the year which things have come to a head , with Greg Schiano now at his wit’s end concerning his starting quarterback . Tampa Bay Times / Scott Hughes …

(7) Martin Mayhew , left , Detroit Lions’ general manager , is seen here with the team’s head coach Jim Schwartz , on the sidelines of regular season game played at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan. Having made the postseason in 2011 , the team fell back to earth , with disastrous thud finishing at the bottom of the pile within the NFC North , with a 4-12 record in 2012. Many were surprised that Schwartz retained his position with the franchise , but Chairman , William Clay Ford Jr and the general manager were in agreement that Jim Schwartz should be asked to return for next season. Detroit Free News / Daniel Mears ….

(8) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , left is seen here alongside NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , as each wait to address to members of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee , up on Capitol Hill , Washington DC , in October of 2010. The pair , were also joined by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , MLBPA Executive Director , Michael Weiner , David Stern of the NBA , as well as Gary Bettman of the NHL . The congressional committee convened a hearing to address the issue of performance enhancing drugs within four major professional sports . However , senior members of the committee took umbrage with both Goodell and Smith , and their reluctance to enact their initiative , which had been ratified by the NFLPA in 2010, to start testing for the use HGH (human growth hormone) by the NFL players . Three years later and the NFL is no closer to starting their testing protocols , whereas baseball has begun testing not only HGH , but a wide substances by MLB , but also designated a felony , wherein , a player is known to have obtained such a substance without medical approval and that of a prescription by a licensed medical professional , specifically for medical use. AP REUTERS / David Rogers …..

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AFC championship game Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots …. Gillette Stadium , Foxborough, Massachusetts ,.

NFC championship game San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons , Georgia Dome , Atlanta

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’Maino’ feat’g Roscoe Dash ….. ”Let it Fly”

16-0 is nice, 19-1 is considered great, but 20-0, is damn brilliant!

16-0 is nice, 19-1 is considered great, but 20-0, is damn brilliant!

Well as the Atlanta Falcons (8-0) move towards securing a place in NFL history , the detractors and supporters, wishing to see a “ perfect season” , are already out like a predatory group of carnivores , ready devour their prey. Head coach Mike Smith and his coaching staff will seek to impart some wisdom into his team, as they embark on the second half of their season. The Falcons have handily dispatched a number of their opponents on the early part of their schedule with some ease , while not being severely tested to date.

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Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank has presided over the renaissance of this franchise after the unholy tenures of former head coaches , Jim Mora Jr , and Bobby Petrino. Less we forget also, Blank had to deal with the unsavory antics of Michael Vick and the odious group of anally retentive individuals , who simply jumped to the player’s defense because of his ethnicity, rather than dealing with the heinous crimes of Vick , and the fact that he repeatedly lied about his involvement in an illegal gambling ring, as well as the torturing and killing of canines in his keep , which he used as fighting dogs. As to the idiocy of the suggestion that dog-fighting was part of his familial environment growing up as a youngster , it is simply utter bullshit ! The player, knew right from wrong, and simply made a decision to profit financially, from those misdeeds. His subsequent incarceration at a federal facility and release , has seen the return of Michael Vick to the playing field , though not necessarily for the better , as can be evidenced by his inconsistent displays this season as the Philadelphia Eagles(3-5) have faltered and stumbled this season. As things now stand for the franchise , this might just be the waning moments in the careers of Vick and the team’s head coach , Andy Reid.

GM Thomas Dimitfroff and team President Rich McKay have steadfastly brought construct this team through free agency and through the NFL Draft. And these players have excelled this season for the Falcons , as the team has made the NFC and the NFC South their own , over the course of the season. What has really piqued the interest of most fans this season , has been the play of team quarterback Matt Ryan . With Ryan’s play , the benefits have been numerous for the offense and most notably in the pass offense of the Atlanta Falcons . The beneficiaries of this all , have been Tony Gonzalez, Michael Turner , Jacquizz Rodgers , Harry Douglas , Roddy White , and Julio Jones. And this offense, has become one of the most efficient and prolific in the NFL this season . It should be noted also , the team defense ranks in the top ten , in points allowed per game.

At this time of the season each year , over the past few seasons where there has been an unbeaten team at this point , there is the tendency to compare that team , with the 1972 Miami Dolphins, that went 14-0 during the regular season , and then triumphed in the Superbowl (SBVII) , to set the precedent of being the only undefeated team during the regular and postseason in NFL history. The moment that this scenario has arisen for teams that have embarked upon this journey , the greater there happens to be a heightened interest in not only on the team , but also several of the players and the coaching staff, in question. The indelible mark left on us all , after the New England Patriots’ memorable march in looking to assail the Dolphins’ mark in 1972 , still resonates with many, In 2007, Bill Belichick led the team to an unbeaten 16-0 , regular season record. In achieving that feat, the franchise became only the second franchise in NFL history to go through entire regular season , as an unbeaten team.

Having earned the number one seed within the AFC , which gave Tom Brady and his teammates a bye in the first round of the playoffs of that season . The Patriots would systematically march through divisional round , with an efficient 31-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars , with the AFC championship against the San Diego Chargers , starting off as something of a chess match , before New England’s offense seemingly took charge of the game. A berth in Superbowl 42 (SB XLII) against the New York Giants , with NFL immortality , said to be awaiting the New England Patriots , should they prove to be victorious . As we now know , things are not necessarily written in stone , during which one’s fate is said to be determined. Highly favored, as the Patriots were said to be, the script was flipped, as the Giants showed their determination and resilience in upending the New Patriots , hoisting them on their backside, and soundly beating the favorites, in thrilling fashion . That defeat and the bitter taste that came with it, has pretty much cemented the fact that, the Patriots went in complacent and too cocksure of themselves. The fact that in Superbowl (SBXLVI) would be a repeat meeting with again almost the same result , ended whatever thoughts Bill Belichick may well have had to redeem himself and the franchise , was sealed with an error laden display by the New England Patriots . A cautionary tale for any franchise, now going deep into the postseason with an unbeaten record.

As much as a story about an unbeaten team heightens the interest of the NFL fans in general, but for the Atlanta Falcons on paper at least their schedule does appear to be looking somewhat easier. Having defeated the Dallas Cowboys in week nine, with a convincing a 19-13 victory, that lead this team, as they now seek their tenth consecutive win of the season. The next game on Atlanta’s schedule will be a divisional match-up against the New Orleans Saints to be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , in New Orleans, Louisiana , this upcoming Sunday, 11th October,2012. Previous meetings between these two franchises have proven to be high-scoring affairs , with a great deal offense being provided by both teams. As I alluded to earlier, Atlanta’s schedule does look a little pointed in their favor , and if they should prevail in Sunday’s meeting , then the anticipated second meeting which takes place in week thirteen in Atlanta , Georgia , at the Georgia Dome, should prove to decisive. Beyond that, the only other game that is likely to be a stern test for the Falcons would be a conference match-up on the 16th December ,2012 in week fifteen against the reigning Superbowl champions, the New York Giants.

While I see nothing wrong in chasing after NFL history , one thing has become abundantly clear , is the very fact that complacency tends to set in with a number of teams who go through a multi-game unbeaten streak . Are the Atlanta Falcons good enough to make a legitimate run , and quite possibly equal the regular season feats of the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots ? Well that is now open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation. From my own perspective, I would rather witness the Falcons lose a regular season, go into the postseason with a single-minded approach, with a goal to achieve , rather than have that mountain of expectation being heaped upon this team’s shoulders !

The departure of Scott Pioli from the New England Patriots, to fill a similar role as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs , was a position I felt that was filled with so many dangerous pitfalls. Upon his arrival , Pioli simply went about revamping the roster and drafting rather judiciously , with a view to building the franchise to be competitive in the future. Two years removed from his arrival, Scott Pioli and the Kansas City Chiefs, are a downtrodden organization that is simply bereft of ideas, creativity , both on and off the field of play. And did I mention that this team is 1-7 , stands at the bottom of the AFC West along with possessing the worst record in the NFL alongside the Jacksonville Jaguars ?

Head coach, Romeo Crenel and Pioli pinned their hopes on a quarterback in Matt Cassel , who simply had one breakout season in 2008 , when he under-studied for an injured Tom Brady. And based upon those displays , Cassel was able to garner himself a multi-year contract , signing as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs , having been acquired in a trade and then be offered a six-year $62.5 million contract by the organization. I do believe that someone was shortchanged in this deal! It is hard to envisage where the Chiefs now go from here with their being mounting speculation as to the impending futures of Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel. Pioli, the wunderkind , who worked in conjunction with Bill Belichick to bring about a great deal of success that has been attained by the New England Patriots , as the ” Midas Touch” , has now been lost by the young general manager.

Looking at the Chiefs’ roster , one could readily identify perhaps one or two play-makers on that team . In reality , however , the cupboard looks extremely bare in terms of the franchise’s long-term future , and that is in spite of the draft policy of Scott Pioli , this season and in previous seasons . . Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles , Peyton Hillis , Shawn Draughn, Dexter McCluster, Jon Baldwin , Derrick Johnson , Eric Berry , Justin Huston and Tamba Hali , will each have to contribute a great deal more than they have been doing , if the Chiefs are able to redeem their season. And if you thought things were about to get easier for Romeo Crennel’s players , well this weekend , they will be the guests of the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) , in a game to be played at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. There may well be a great deal still to be played for by this franchise , such as self-respect, and a competitive attitude , but above all , to simply indicate to the fans by the players , that it is not their intent to give up on the season. OK, so the presumption could be made, that the Chiefs may seek to “tank” the remainder of their schedule , in order to go get the number one overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft , which could prove to be productive , by producing a bountiful crop of extremely talented players. At this juncture who knows what may be lingering with regard to the mindset of the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office ?

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Picture gallery.

As an NFL fan , do you believe that the Atlanta Falcons can remain unbeaten over the course of their remaining schedule ? If so, do state the reasons why. Likewise , if you feel that they will suffer a loss , which team do you believe will be the one to inflict that defeat ? In your own estimation , what do you believe has been the biggest hindrance for the Kansas City Chiefs this season in terms of their play ? Do take time offer up a comment on this and anything else you think relevant to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws under pressure from Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff (90) during the first half of an NFL football game , Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/Rich Addicks …

(2) Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. Atlanta won 19-13 . AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

(3) Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones (11) tries to run past the grasp of Dallas Cowboys’ Gerald Sensabaugh (43) during the second half of an NFL football game in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. Atlanta won 19-13 . AP Photo/Rich Addicks …

(4) Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a catch as Dallas Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh (43) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/Rich Addicks ….. (5) Head Coach Mike Smith , right, and owner and CEO Arthur Black of the Atlanta Falcons look on during opening day of training camp on August 1, 2009 at the Falcons Training Complex in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Kevin Cox …

(6) In happier times , Michael Vick is seen here with Atlanta Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank . The two at the time , it was thought had a healthy and respectful relationship. Unbeknownst to us all , it would then unravel with a web of lies and egregious acts of deceit by the player ,as his involvement in an illegal gambling ring and his presiding over an illegal dog-fighting enterprise came to the fore . Vick having gone to trial , pled guilty and was incarcerated in a federal facility . The resumption of his career , came as a backup to Donovan McNabb , with the Philadelphia Eagles . AP Photo / Bruce Welch …

(7) Kansas City Chiefs’ general manager Scott Pioli , is seen here with the team’s head coach Romeo Crennel , on the field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri. The team is off to a disastrous 1-7 start this season , and questions abound , as to whether or not the head coach and general manager can survive this season , serving in their current capacity within the organization . AP Photo / Chris Rogers ….
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Hot chic pic of the day . Ayesha Mathis

What Is In An Arm ?

What Is In An Arm ?

By tophatal ……..

I have been reading with a great deal of interest as to who has been the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL over the past four seasons . In reeling off my own list of names , it was reasonable to assume that Drew Brees , Tom Brady , Peyton Manning , Eli Manning , Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo would be amongst that list . In addition, yes they were , but the real criteria set , were in terms of regular season wins by a quarterback . A great statistic no doubt alongside that of comebacks and game winning drives , that would be a great way to judge a quarterback’s abilities . Far too much is placed upon the quarterback ratings’ system and pass completion percentages but it appears these are the statistics that said to work best for the analysts and NFL coaches and their respective staffs . .
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Slide show gallery .

The one name that I overlooked was that of Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan . A tremendously gifted player , the “ knock” against Ryan is that he has never been able to lead the Falcons deep into the playoffs . Ryan has amassed a 43-19 record in regular season games since 2008, which amongst the tops of starting quarterbacks over the past four seasons . For his part though , Ryan has to contend and play in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL where the Falcons resides , that has four equally compelling teams that will be looking to play themselves into contention this upcoming season . The NFC South is home to the Falcons as well as the Carolina Panthers , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the much maligned New Orleans Saints . Moreover, the quarterbacks to be found within the division are not too shabby when playing at their very best .

Drew Brees along with Matt Ryan , Cam Newton and Josh Freeman have their own strengths and weaknesses as players . It bodes well this season for Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith , as the team has to be viewed as the prohibitive favorites within the NFC South for the upcoming season . Smith , team owner Arthur Blank , GM Thomas Dimitroff and President /CEO Rich McKay have been prudent and fortuitous in their personnel decisions in the aftermath of the Michael Vick “ scandal “ , which essentially saw the franchise’s fall from grace and the less than honorable departure of Bobby Petrino in the wake of the scandal . Matt Ryan , who was a first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft was taken third overall by organization . The player became a starter that season for the team , with the franchise going 11-5 within the NFL (8-4 /CONF & 3-1 non-conference). The young quarterback in his rookie season was steady but not spectacular. By comparison to his peers that season , one could attest to the fact that Mike Smith was happy with he witnessed from the young player in his first year within the NFL .

The 2012 NFL Draft for the Atlanta Falcons was built around the prerequisite needs of the team , namely a guard , tackle and nose tackle and running back . Moreover, this was borne out in the choices made by Mike Smith and the coaching staff in conjunction with Thomas Dimitroff. Peter Konz , Lamar Holmes , Bradie Ewing and Johnathan Massaquoi were the first four players taken by team in rounds , two through five . If the Falcons can improve upon last season by way of their overall statistics then it , and where they ranked defensively and on offense would be a boost for the coaching and the young players hoping to make a solid contribution for the franchise this season .

Am I convinced that Matt Ryan can join the elite quarterbacks within the NFL ? Well that would be dependent as what one constitutes as being amongst the “elite” ? The Falcons’ quarterback has proven that he is capable of leading a team but it is being able to get over that final obstacle of getting a franchise deep into the playoffs is how now adjudge the greatness of a player and that intent is to win the game’s biggest prize the ……………. Superbowl .

The Michael Vick years as we know , showed him to be a phenomenal athlete who was able to light up a game with some “ exhilarating plays “ . Vick’s on the field performances notwithstanding , it was the player’s off field issues that gained some unwarranted attention and notoriety. His lying to federal investigators and to the ownership of the Atlanta Falcons showed that the naiveté of Michael Vick as well as his lack of maturity . Vick a great deal of wealth and notoriety at a young age, and not being able to handle the public attention , as well as the praise tends to be one of the many reasons that an athlete feels that they are above the law , while feeling that they will have the backing of their entourage or the press in some instances plays into an athlete’s mindset . We have seen these scenarios played out far too often within the public arena , with many of the fans either siding with the athlete or decrying their actions , no matter how heinous their actions are said to be.

The seasoned veteran is now with the Philadelphia Eagles , where their 2011 schedule simply imploded due to their lack of real commitment and the apparent lack of ingenuity coming from head coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff . An 8-8 season led to the Eagles missing the postseason . Moreover , questions were asked as to why this team failed so miserably , in spite of the apparent talent at Reid’s disposal. The Eagles’ front office led by team owner Jeffrey Lurie , GM Howie Roseman and senior consultant Joe Banner had eschewed the idea of firing the head coach after last season’s malaise . Reid’s tenure has been filled with highs and lows , and in recent years, one could attest to the fact that it was more of the latter .

In 2012 if the Philadelphia Eagles are unable to have a successful sojourn through their schedule , then we may well see the head coach being shown the door . I am not about to suggest that the Vick “experiment” in Philadelphia has been a distinct failure but the rhetorical excuses being served up by the player and the coaching staff might just be the most asinine of the premises that best describes why this organization can be considered a joke ! That notwithstanding , the supercilious attempts by the NFL analysts to consider both the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys as being repeatedly favorites within the NFC , has to be looked upon as being rather redundant. The fact that both teams reside within the NFC East indicates how mundane that the division a has become with the ascendancy of the New York Giants in recent years and their playoff history . Do you get the feeling that the Cowboys and Eagles are envious of the Giants and their success ?

Whatever the season now holds for the Atlanta Falcons and the aforementioned teams as they embark on their respective schedules . We can only speculate on what is likely or not likely to happen concerning those franchises . As the defending Superbowl champions , the New York Giants will be the team with a bulls’ eye on their backs . Everyone will be out to take the Giants down , and I am sure that Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning will be out to prove their detractors wrong .

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Picture gallery .

The NFL preseason should prove to be interesting as we get the first glimpse of the rookies taken in the Draft and see what their aspirations may well be . If at all interested in the subject matter simply leave a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan takes part in football mini camp Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Flowery Branch, Ga. AP Photo/David Goldman …

(2) Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham takes part in NFL football practice, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Flowery Branch, Ga. For much of the free agency period , it appeared likely the Falcons would lose Abraham, the team’s top pass rusher. Instead Abraham has returned to find his new defensive coordinator is Mike Nolan , who was the Jets’ defensive coordinator for his 2000 rookie season. Abraham says it’s a perfect fit. AP Photo/David Goldman ..

(3) Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith conducts NFL football mini-camp, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Flowery Branch, Ga. AP Photo/David Goldman ….

(4) Tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) of the Atlanta Falcons breaks a tackle during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America …..

(5) Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons heads off the field after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Scott Cunningham / Getty Images North America …

(6) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with head coach Andy Reid before the start of the Eagles game against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. …………

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Atlanta Falcons draft history

Where’s The Beef ………. ?

Where’s The Beef ….. ?

By tophatal

Well it seems crazy that the self absorbed NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus seeks a home for perhaps his most high profiled client in Terrelle Owens while the accomplishments of one of the league’s most accomplished players seems to go unnoticed and un-praised . Atlanta Falcons’ tight end Tony Gonzalez joined a select band of players when he caught his 1,104th career reception. Only six other players in NFL history have caught in excess of 1,000 passes and all have had illustrious careers within the league. Jerry Rice the alltime career receptions and touchdowns leader has astonishing 1,549 receptions and 207 touchdowns and if that were not enough the Superbowl MVP , three time Superbowl winner is enshrined in the Hall of Fame , in Canton , Ohio. From that esteemed septuplet to have reached that millennium mark also are Cris Carter , Tim Brown , Isaac Bruce , Terrelle Owens and Marvin Harrison . Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward at some point this season should become the eighth player to have reached that impressive mark of 1,000 career receptions in the NFL . Ward , currently has an impressive and gaudy 980 catches to go alongside 86 career touchdowns .

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Slide show for your perusal.

I sometimes wonder many of these analysts and alleged journalists who cover the NFL how it is that they believe that they are representative of their craft when all the time all they are ever in search for is something controversial , rather than informative and insightful with their craft. Never mind the ass kissing that seems to be part and parcel within the broadcast outlets such as Fox , CBS , ABC/ESPN and NBC . Is there a chance that these pompous assholes can ever take their jobs seriously , rather than acting like prepubescent school boys who’ve seen their first nude photograph ? But that would be too a high a praise to heap upon these buffoons as they are probably flaccid and suffering from some sort of erectile dysfunction. There you go Mark Schlereth , Chris Mortensen , Merrill Hoge , Jon Gruden , Jason Whitlock and Skip Bayless !

Tony Gonzalez a first round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1997 the player has established himself as one of the premier players at the tight end position in the NFL. And most certainly one of the alltime greats who I would genuinely place along such luminaries as Shannon Sharpe , Kellen WinslowSr,. and Ozzie Newsome who have perhaps made that position their very own. In today’s league alongside the renowned tight end making a name for themselves we have Jermichael Finley of the Green Bay Packers , Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots , his teammate Rob Gronkowski , Jason Witten , Jimmy Graham and seasoned veteran Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers .

You can’t but admire Tony Gonzalez’s career from afar and the player has been the epitome of class even when it seemed that the Kansas City Chiefs ebbed and flowed under the coaching of Dick Vermeil . The former Chiefs’ coach as we now went on to considerable success with the St Louis Rams guiding them to their lone Superbowl win over that establishment’s history. And though Gonzalez’s career flourished and floundered with the franchise his amassing the greater part of his statistics with the team . He now now seems to be rejuvenated under Mike Smith , his coaching staff and a quarterback in Matt Ryan who’s yearning to win . When the player was acquired by the Falcons in 2009 I felt it would certainly make the Atlanta Falcons a legitimate contender for the Superbowl within the NFC . However, it has been Ryan’s inconsistency in the playoffs that has plagued the team since his arrival in the NFL . Now with the plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal it is hoped that he and the team can make a creditable push for postseason honors .

If Matt Ryan cannot succeed with players such as Roddy White , Michael Turner and Gonzalez , himself , then questions will have to asked of the young quarterback. There’s no denying that the player is capable of leading this team but whether or not he is the signal caller many believe him to be . Well it would appear that the jurors are still out on that subject before they render a decision .

The NFC South where the Atlanta Falcons reside alongside Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers . That division is a highly competitive one and could surmise that they can lay the claim that they currently have the best quartet of teams in all eight divisions of the NFL .

It should come as no surprise that the high flying New Orleans Saints at 5-2 followed jointly by Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers each at 4-3 with the lowly Carolina Panthers 2-5 bringing up the rear . Now while Cam Newton has been setting the league alight with his exhilarating displays this Panthers’ team under coach Ron Rivera has struggled in terms of overall consistency . For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and coach Raheem Morris the issues facing his team is actually having enough active starters who are not injured . With the loss of LeGarrette Blount and Earnest Graham from an offensive standpoint this hampers the Buccaneers and their running attack and the opportunities for quarterback Josh Freeman .

The NFC South has now become a division , that each given week with the teams in play just about anything is liable to happen . And no doubt when each of the residents within meet up for that combustible divisional match up the fans are usually given a thrilling display. And for the Atlanta Falcons they know that their schedule proves to be no different especially in light of their divisional foes . Week 8 gives the team a bye before they then embark upon the rest of that daunting 2011 calendar schedule. However, in week 10 they face off against the New Orleans Saints , week 14 sees them taking on the Carolina Panthers , week 16 they are the guests of the Saints and the New Orleans Superdome , New Orleans , Louisiana , before ending their season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 17 at the Georgia Dome , in Atlanta , Georgia ,.

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Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) pulls in a reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ….

One could surmise that given the play of Drew Brees and his Saints’ teammates the race for the division is already over , albeit that we’re only seven weeks into the NFL season. Were it not for the injuries sustained by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers I would say that we would witnessing a three horse race within the division ! The New Orleans Saints on paper would appear to be the class of the NFC South , and you could give credence to that premise . But between now and until the end of the season just about anything could very well happen. A miscue consequential losses and things suddenly get turned upside down and on its ear . Thankfully , I can look at the NFC South and simply state that it has a great deal more going for it than the allegedly esteemed NFC East ! One simply has to look at the poor play and the inconsistency of the teams there to realize that , although the New York Giants seem to be playing with the resolve not seen from the team in quite a while . That if anything has more to do with the defensive presence of the team’s secondary and in particular the play of Osi Umenyiora . Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell should be the individual on the coaching staff upon which the praise ought to heaped upon alongside Tom Coughlin .

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Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs off the field after their 23-16 win over the Detroit Lions in an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …

The NFL much like its NBA counterpart has become driven by the characters rather than the teams themselves. But while the football’s season is one of a mere 16 game schedule and a postseason that in its immediacy ends with a one and done concept . That clearly is not the case with NBA . Furthermore , the players in the NBA can simply play with a lax attitude knowing full well the penchant of the NBA hierarchy and team owners have a tendency to shoot themselves in the as the power they ( union/players) have over that body is powerful enough to dictate policy . One could hardly say that would be the case within the NFL , not in light of the recent events that have taken place concerning their labor issues. A compromise had to be reach rather than the league hierarchy and NFLPA (union) sinking the league into a morass that they might never have successfully recovered from .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have as to the points raised within this piece and in particular with regard to the career of Tony Gonzalez ? And how do you view things panning out for the teams within the NFC South ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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Picture and slide show details .
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(1) DETROIT – OCTOBER 23: Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons catches an 18 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in the second quarter of the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Falcons would go on to defeat the Lions 23-16 Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Turner (33) of the Atlanta Falcons looks to get around the tackle of Amari Spievey (42) of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Atlanta won the game 23-16. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images …

(3) Quarterbacks Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons and Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions shake hands after the game at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Falcons defeated the Lions 23-16. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(4) Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) is stopped by Detroit Lions outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter , rear, during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …..

(5) Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) pulls in a reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski …..

(6) Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs off the field after their 23-16 win over the Detroit Lions in an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ….

(7) Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith celebrates a 23-16 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

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NFL news

NFL tight ends and their stats this season

Atlanta Falcons news

Atlanta Falcons 2011 regular season schedule

Head Coach Mike Smith

Falcons’ assistant coaching staff

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Falcons’ teams statistics 2011

Atlanta Falcons’ draft 2011

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Tony Gonalez’s career stats

Tony Gonzalez’s bio

Players taken alongside Tony Gonzalez ( 13th overall pick in the 1st round) in the 1997 NFL Draft include Orlando Pace , Bryant Westbrook , Walter Jones , James Farrior , Jake Plummer , Marcellus Wiley , Corey Dillon and Sam Madison to name but a few .

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NFL all-time reception leaders

NFL all-time career touchdown leaders

NFL all time career receiving yards

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Well week one of the NFL season came about with a bang and in some cases something of a whimper given the rather morbid performances of some noted players. Anyone who witnessed the performance of Donovan McNabb in the Minnesota Vikings loss 24-17 to the San Diego Chargers . And though Chargers’ fans may well feel that they can take a great deal out this victory , in truth the team’s performance wasn’t really something to be desired . A seven point win but it was simply the woefully inept performance by Donovan McNabb that surely indicates that the player’s best years are behind him . Anyone who simply felt that McNabb would be the answer to the team’s woes has to be now rethinking that premise .

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From my own perspective , Zygi Wilf and the entire front office of Vikings clearly were sold a “bill of goods” in terms of the McNabb acquisition . As for Minnesota Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier if he has pinned his hopes on the veteran quarterback leading this team to unprecedented heights then he clearly hasn’t learned anything in the aftermath of the Brett Favre fiasco under his predecessor Brad Childress and then last season with himself at the helm as coach of the team. And with the team’s quarterback Adrian Peterson having signed a multi year multi million contract this looks as if it could be a season of discontent for the Minnesota Vikings . McNabb’s stats from this season opener might just be the most anemic a performance of any quarterback in the league over the past five seasons . 7/15 , for 35 yards 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s and you have to wonder what happens next for the now beleaguered player. .

For those of you out there who are intrigued as to who Leslie Frazier may well choose to step into McNabb’s shoes . If not Joe Webb or Christian Ponder then you might as well say that the Vikings’ goose has been cooked . Without an adept quarterback to lead this team then there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of the Minnesota Vikings having a legitimate chance doing anything meaningful within the NFL this season .

From winning the AFC West last season and then garnering a postseason berth the Kansas City Chiefs had sought to improve on their showing last season . Todd Haley and his coaching staff along with quarterback Matt Cassel were looking to bolster their claims that they could be viewed as a legitimate contender within the AFC . Offseason acquisitions and a draft class thought to be the best amongst the teams within the conference and there might have been every reason to believe the claims made by the staff. Well if you have ever seen an anvil being dropped from a great height then the Chiefs’ 41-7 bludgeoning by the Buffalo Bills . If anything we can all attest to the fact that the Bills might well have been one of the worse performing teams in the NFL last season.

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Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

In this game the Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had the type of performance that cast him as the second coming of Jim Kelly the Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame signal caller . There’s nothing to suggest that this Chiefs’ team possessed anything that was the equal of their conference opponents this past Sunday .

Care to suggest how the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to fare over the course the remainder of the season ? But simply base that thought upon the team’s woefully inept play against the Buffalo Bills . If you believe that the Chiefs are liable to improve then simply say “yes” , if not then obviously you’ll say ” no ” .

Mike Smith as coach of the Atlanta Falcons if he’s improve the goal of this organization . Smith over the past two seasons has seen gradual improvement not only in team’s play but also in the leadership qualities of his quarterback Matt Ryan . The player for his part is seen one of the bright young players at the position within the NFL . The Falcons for their part often regarded as a very good regular season team but come the postseason they simply floundered under the weight of great expectations .

In the Atlanta Falcons’ season opener against the Chicago Bears , wherein we saw an onslaught that the Falcons simply had no answer in a completely lopsided loss that not even most NFL fans would could have envisaged . Jay Cutler and his Bears’ teammates mauled the Atlanta Falcons 30-12 leaving the team in a complete daze. I have to admit that of all the games that took place this past weekend the result that I found to be the most surprising happened to be the lopsided defeat of the Atlanta Falcons .

One could surmise that the entrenched battle . between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers and the absolute bloodbath in terms of the adversarial demeanor between these two heated NFC North foes had to be seen to be believed . Seven turnovers and a slew of mistakes by Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger amongst others on what is usually well disciplined Steelers’ team coached by Mike Tomlinson .

To suggest that anyone could have foreseen the Baltimore Ravens laying waste to the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7 would simply be a complete lie . The margin of victory was one thing but for the Steelers to be so thoroughly outplayed had to have come as a complete surprise . Joe Flacco , Ray Rice , Terrell Suggs , Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin simply had a day at the office that they could all be pleased with . And for Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh this might be just the evidence needed to suggest that gutting of the roster from last season and the subsequent offseason moves that coincided with the draft picks was a vindication for the Ravens’ front office and coaching staff that the decisions made were simply the right ones at the time.

It is pretty much safe to say that the NFC West might just be the least competitive of all the divisions in the NFL . Anyone of the belief who simply belief that a team that wins its division with a sub .500 record should be viewed as a team with a legitimate chance of winning the Superbowl must be either satisfied with that type of mediocrity or they simply view those teams as viable within the NFL .

Each season the more I simply take in the events of the NFC West it is the more I feel that the appropriate action to take would be get a paper bag and simply begin to regurgitate the food I may well have ate earlier ! To describe the football being played within the division as mediocre would be to describe a painting by Van Gogh as average . Simply put , it’s diatribe being served up on a silver platter for the fans’ edification , not that the NFL fans should be subjected to this over the complete NFL regular season schedule by the teams within that division. But that’s ….. c’est la vie !

The Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll is amongst the highest paid NFL coaches in the league earning in excess of $7 million a year . Granted , team owner Paul Allen is amongst the wealthiest individuals on the planet but I’m sure that even he and GM John Schneider could have imagined wherein the team would simply have regressed rather than taking a step forward . I have never really thought Pete Carroll to be a very good NFL coach as his previous tenures has proven that coaching in the NFL isn’t within his wheelhouse . But this where the front office executives and team owners simply become at times too enamored with a college coach who’s said to have attained unprecedented success. Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier should have been a clear indication that ………. all that glitters isn’t clearly gold .

The Seahawks were hosted by the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend and the effort put forth by Pete Carroll’s team can be best described as being anemic and completely devoid of any aggression . Funny how a team who made the playoffs last season can now be looked upon as quite possibly one of the worst performing franchises in the NFL , on both sides of the ball. The Niners came away with the bragging rights in the divisional game clearly laying waste to their opponent 33-17 . With the loss of Matt Hasselbeck to the Tennessee Titans as a free agent somehow the coach felt that former Vikings’ quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could be seen as an adequate successor to the seasoned veteran . Given Jackson’s performance in that game I somehow think that Pete Carroll’s problems have now increased immeasurably ! The coach’s options at the position are not that great beyond Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis , so it is hard to view this team as a viable contender within the NFC much less the league as a whole .

It has to be said that there would be no doubt that the Indianapolis Colts would suffer this season with the long term loss of their celebrated quarterback Peyton Manning . You simply knew that this team wouldn’t be the same with his loss. GM Bill Polian and the front office may well have felt that acquiring seasoned veteran Kerry Collins would indeed make a difference but in reality the Colts are not a team that play on par with a nemesis when they simply haven’t got their best offensive weapon at the helm as the signal caller and in truth you cannot expect them to be .

Colts’ head coach Jim Caldwell and the coaching staff may well now have to keep the playbook simple for Collins and the team to have any semblance of success this season . Given the experience and the shock to the system of their season opener I am inclined to believe that the Indianapolis Colts are likely to struggle over the course of this year . The humiliating defeat the Colts suffered at the hands of the Houston Texans was enough to suggest that we might well be seeing the decline of a team who having the lost its leader has now become a rudderless vessel about to be capsized at sea. That 34-7 loss more than suggested how devoid of leadership this team becomes , without Peyton Manning but even more so , when you realize that there was no one willing to step up to the plate and assume the role as a leader . Say what you will , but if they are to fare well this season then someone has to be seen as the new leader on thus team .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NFL lockout may well have played its part in the rust we have seen from the teams in their performances in this first regular season scheduled game . But if anything it has to be said the coaches and their staffs had more than enough time to prepare their squads for expectations of what is always expected to be an arduous season . Simply put some of the teams in question may well have performed badly , much of it from their own doing and complete lack of preparation . If nothing else this could well be what we could very well expect over the next few games . But from my perspective these teams on the wrong side of these lopsided losses must have felt that they had been hit upside their heads ! What thoughts if any do you have from this first week of the NFL schedule ? Do you expect to see more of the same or could it be that this was merely a minor blip on the screen for many of the franchises in question ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings in the huddle with his teammates against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ….

(2) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings in action against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images …….

(3) Adrian Peterson (28) of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Donald Butler (56) and Takeo Spikes (51) of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ……….

(4) Quarterback Matt Cassel (7) of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a turnover during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …….

(5) Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills in action during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(6) Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(7) John Abraham (55) #55 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(8) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers scrambles while being pressured by defender Arthur Jones (97) of the Baltimore Ravens during second half of the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(9) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks the sidelines during their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …….

(10) Tarvaris Jackson (7) of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. the 49ers won the game 33-17 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(11) Quarterback Kerry Collins (5) of the Indianapolis Colts is blind sighted by linebacker Mario Williams (90) of the Houston Texans on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34-7 . Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images …

(12) Head coach Gary Kubiak talks with quarterback Matt Schaub (8) of the Houston Texans during a time out against the Indianapolis Colts on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34 -7 .(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images ……..

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Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

It’s been pretty much an offseason of discontent within the NFL with the owners , players and league hierarchy suddenly realizing that the start of the season is merely around the corner . Never mind the fact that teams haven’t really been able to conduct their OTA’s at their respective training facilities . In that respect the whole preseason and initial start of the regular season due to begin on the 8thd September could very well offer the fans a product that could be so bland and meaningless that it might have us wondering whether or not it wasn’t worth completely abandoning the season altogether . No one wants to see an on field product that by three or four three that could be so out of sync and mediocre that given the fact that the fans will be asked to pay a sizable sum to witness this all . And if as is being proposed we could very well see a preseason that will have to forgo two of the four scheduled games then any sort semblance of cohesiveness could very well be something that the fans are not liable to see at all .

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Slide show for your perusal .

With that in mind of all the teams that I witnessed over the course of last season none more so than the Atlanta Falcons had me wondering how good could this team really be . Granted , their postseason foray ended somewhat abruptly but I put that down to more inexperience more than anything else . The team’s coach Mike Smith and his coaching staff seem to have found that semblance of cohesion and consistency that many teams yearn for in the league but so few are able to find it . Having won the NFC South rather comfortably, posting a 13-3 record within the league . Many felt that the team led my their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan could very well have pulled off a major surprise during the postseason. This season if anything a great deal is expected from this team and in particular by their erstwhile fans . The era of Michael Vick is long gone and but a distant and quickly fading memory . Team owner Arthur Blank and the front office headed by GM Rich McKay know that they were fortuitous not only in the hiring of Mike Smith as the team coach but also in their drafting of Matt Ryan .

I’ve no doubt that this season could very well see this team prove to be dominant but that being said I also believe that the NFC South could very well be a highly competitive division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers , alongside the New Orleans Saints should prove to be formidable and with the Carolina Panthers no doubt looking to their overall number one pick from this year’s draft Cam Newton to simply show the Panthers’ fans what he’s made of . Who knows where the season could very well take us ?

Rich McKay and the scouting department made some prudent choices in the NFL Draft that will prove to be productive for the Falcons’ organization as a whole . And with those selections being strategically rendered with there being an assortment of offense and defense to bolster the needs of the team . The prize pick was wide receiver Julio Jones who will no doubt compliment what is already a formidable offensive presence alongside Michael Turner , Roddy White , Tony Gonzalez and Brian Finneran . And from a defensive standpoint this team can only get better as they being to gel more as a cohesive unit . But in retrospect it does all come down to have a balance on both sides of the ball and here too the Falcons aren’t necessarily lacking as the offense when having found its rhythm can be as good as any within the league .

Now would it be remiss to suggest that the Atlanta Falcons are not good enough to be considered amongst the NFC favorites for the Superbowl ? I think that perhaps not given that no one could really have foreseen the Green Bay Packers coming out of the NFC as conference champions much less wining the title itself . If anything all eyes were perhaps on the New Orleans Saint or Chicago Bears from last year as it related to the postseason. I read with interest where a fellow blogger within this medium suggested that the next young quarterback within the league who is on the cusp of leading a team and actually winning the Superbowl will be the Bears’ Jay Cutler . Yes the that Jay Cutler who essentially baulked and walked away from his team when they needed him most . For all of Brian Urlacher’s traits , facing reality doesn’t seem to be one of those , especially in light of the player coming to his quarterback’s defense by saying that ‘…..Cutler was a warrior and one of the hardest working players in the league as well as one of the best players at the position in the entire NFL’ . Obviously Urlacher hadn’t been taking much note of what happened in the Bears’ meltdown and their subsequent 21-14 loss to the Packers much of which could be squarely placed on Jay Culter’s shoulders for the team’s demise in the NFC title game .

As to the ongoing impasse between the league and NLFPA I would certainly like to be optimistic with regard to what I have been hearing via the various news sources . But given the fact that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handled this situation with about as much precision as a one armed individual being asked to juggle an explosive device . I think that it’s pretty safe to say that this episode is far from over as it relates to the present work stoppage . For all of the pontificating , finger pointing and in the end so called accord that we are now seeing from all sides with Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA issuing a joint statement focusing on the two sides close to reaching an accord , I for one won’t believe it until I hear that an agreement has been reached , a binding contract signed and we are told the league will indeed begin its regular season schedule on time . Anything short of that I will still deem to be a complete failure !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

Alan aka tophatal …………… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This May 24, 2011, file photo shows Atlanta Falcons rookie receiver Julio Jones, left, greeting quarterback Matt Ryan before an informal football workout, in Buford, Ga. Ryan and Jones haven’t let the NFL lockout stop them from beginning a new friendship. AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(2) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(3) Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, rear, looks on as teammate Steve Smith, center, calls a play at his youth football camp in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, June 17, 2011. It was another bonding experience for what will be one of the most scrutinized quarterback-receiver combinations in the NFL _ if Smith stays in Carolina. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(4) Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, right, talks with Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, as they arrive for meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Owners gathered to discuss the status of negotiations with the players for a new collective bargaining agreement. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(5) Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy shows off his Super Bowl ring Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis., after the NFL football team’s ring ceremony at Lambeau Field. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …..

(6) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with team owners and legal counsel for the league . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ……

(7) Sam Shields (37_ of the Green Bay Packers intercepts the game’s final pass and runs for 32-yards to seal the 21-14 victory for the Packers against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America ….

(8) Quarterback Jay Cutler (6 ) of the Chicago Bears celebrates his six-yard touchdown run with Devin Hester (23) against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images …….

(9) After a failed coaching experiment four years ago, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, left, is thrilled with the job Mike Smith, right, has done with the team. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

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