I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?
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.
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
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:
For the first time in league history, five rookie quarterbacks earned starting jobs. We’re keeping track of their performances and progress on the field throughout the season.
“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.
Click on link to read in full.
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
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.
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."
Click on link to read in full .
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 ?
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 .
Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
(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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