A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum …

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum

It seems in the world of sports, things just get drastic by the second.  In  the   NFL  as  the  league  proceeds to the  lead-up to the  NFL  Draft  , teams  are   positioning   themselves to obtain  the  players   available  from   the  collective    seeking  to  make  their  mark  in  2018.  Away  from the  hotbed  of  decision  making  the  owners  themselves  are   either in  hot  water  or  looking to add more  coal to  the  firing   and  stocking  it  to  the  fan the  flames more  widely .  Houston   Texans’   owner  Robert  McNair  is  doubling  down  on  his  comments   that in  some   aspects could be  seen  as  insensitive  as well  as  racist. Now the beleaguered owner  has  stepped  back  into the fray,   stating  that  he has  nothing  to  apologize for . I  suppose  calling your  players  inmates and  then  caustically  referring  to  them  as  slaves  might  not  seem overly  expressive,  but in  light  of recent  events, I believe  McNair  might  not  be  aware of  what  is  happening  around him  and  elsewhere  in  the  world.  Perched atop  of his  ivory tower  with  his  amassed  wealth ,  it’s   always easy  for an aging  white  Anglo  Saxon  male  to say  whatever  he  wants  and  whenever he  wants,   without  fear  of being  held  accountable .


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Robert McNair  obviously  is  following in the  footsteps  of   President   Donald  Trump  who  has  become known  for  his  caustic  remarks   on   a wide  variety  of subjects.  To  date  as    Trump   tries to  navigate  the  treacherous waters  of  his  Presidency, there  is  growing  belief  with all of  the  controversy  now surrounding  his  Presidency, there will  be  great deal  more  flak  coming  his  way, especially  as he  enters the  midterm   elections  and  the   Republican  Party are struggling to  hold  unto both  chambers  of   Congress.

For Robert  McNair and the Houston Texans   last   season  was a  coming  down  to  earth   for the  franchise as they  played  much of  their schedule  without  two of  their  best   players  , with   JJ   Watt and    Jadaveon  Clowney   missing   much  of  the   Texans’  regular season schedule due to  injury. In  their  wake, it  was  left  to  the  surprisingly resourceful Jacksonville  Jaguars , came  out of nowhere  to  win the  AFC  South  and make  their way to the NFL postseason where  they  would  be  upended in  the AFC  championship game by  the New England  Patriots .   Jaguars’ quarterback  Blake Bortles may  well  have  won himself  over some new  fans, but I’m   not  so sure  it’s enough  to suggest  that he is now  good  enough to  join the  ranks  of  the  league’s  elite quarterbacks.    Jacksonville hit  lightning in a bottle during the  first  two  rounds of the postseason.

It  will  be  interesting to see how  both the Houston  Texans  and  Jacksonville Jaguars will fare  during the NFL  Draft with their  decisions made.

I am no longer  at  a  loss to  explain  why   Colin  Kaepernick  remains   unsigned as  a free agent   quarterback, suffice to  say the NFL   still  seeks to make  him  a pariah .   While  the  former  San  Francisco 49ers’  passer  remains  adrift one of  his  contemporaries    Robert  Griffin III   has  been  signed  as   the  backup   quarterback to  Joe  Flacco ,   a former  Superbowl  MVP  with the  Ravens.   It  will  be  interesting  to  see   Griffin  is  able to mount  a serious enough  challenge  to  unseat   Flacco  as the  starting quarterback  for the  Ravens .Robert Griffin    was  signed  to  a  one-year   deal  with  the  AFC  North  based  franchise.

The   NBA  regular  season  will   come  to   an   end with new  divisional champions ,  but  a sense  of  deja-vu  in terms  of  the  leading  contenders  for  the   NBA  title . Defending NBA  champions  the Golden State Warriors    are  not  as  dominant as  last season and  the   loss of   two-time League MVP  and  All  Star Steph Curry has left  the team looking  somewhat   vulnerable .    With the loss of  Curry over the last  three weeks, the team has  struggled, but they still  remain  a clear  favorite to make it back to the Western Conference Finals where  they  are  likely  to  face the   Houston  Rockets  ,  currently the number  one seed in the conference and the team  with the best record in  the  NBA. Both of these teams will be in action this weekend in games that will be of vital importance .

Tiger Woods is looking to play himself back into contention at The Masters in Augusta , Georgia , and the thought of winning his fifth Green Jacket cannot be far from his mind. However, his second round has been erratic, with him now being twelve shots off the pace behind tournament leader Patrick Reed at seven under par (-7) at this moment in time. As we know the final two rounds of any of the Grand Slam Majors tend to be the most exciting aspects of a contest , because that is where the best players in the world tend to showcase their skills as well as their mental psyche.Woods would have to play some remarkable golf over the final thirty-six holes to be remotely in with a chance of winning this particular Major.

Conor McGregor , remains a gregarious creature of habit , with narcissistic tendencies, a penchant for looking to belittle others, showing that he’s a misogynist and a racist. Let’s not be fooled here, as UFC President Dana White welcomes these elements from the biggest name in the sport. MMA needs McGregor more than he now needs the sport, because with what looks like the apparent retirement of Georges St-Pierre and the ultimate banishment of Jon Jones . The UFC is in need of a major star. They do possess one in Demetrious Johnson , but for some reason White has not done his utmost to promote the most successful fighter in UFC history. McGregor has once again found himself on the wrong side of the law as he faces assault charges from a recent UFC event. If found guilty of these charges he could face possible jail time, but there are indications that he might be willing to accept a plea deal and avoid serving anytime in prison.

If Conor McGregor never enters an octagon again to face an opponent it would not be lost on me, as I dislike the fighter and what he stands for, which has nothing at all to do with the sport.

So as the NBA season winds down , the divisions are all but sewn up but there are still one or two things to be finalized within each of the two conference , East and West . The Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets are now in a dog-fight for the final berth within the Western Conference, with the winner looking forward to a first round match-up against the Houston Rockets , the team with the best record in the league as well as the conference. A series against either of these two teams for the Rockets should prove to be a one-sided affair favoring the top seeds.

For the reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors , having
been without Steph Curry for the past two weeks, the team’s Head Coach Steve Kerr has stated he is willing to rest his All Star point guard for the first round of the NBA Playoffs , rather than risk further injury to the player. Curry himself might not be entirely happy with the situation , but Kerr knows that the deeper their run the Playoffs goes , the better the Warriors’ chances will be in having a player of Steph Curry’s caliber fully fit and able. A first round match-up for the Golden State Warriors would see them pitted against the Oklahoma City Thunder led by point guard Russell Westbrooke . Having split their regular season series at two games apiece , this series might not be as clear-cut as one think.

Tiger Woods couldn’t get the job done at Augusta National Golf Course as he sought to win his fifth Green Jacket and push himself one step closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record for the number of Grand Slam Major victories (18). Woods
had
a disastrous final two rounds of The Masters , the first Grand Slam Major of the season on the PGA Tour . Woods is like to take a week or so away from the PGA Tour missing the next few scheduled events. Patrick Reed for his part simply played some stellar golf over the final two rounds , though Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth sought to make the final two rounds very riveting for the fans.

Patrick Reed’s victory was the first Grand Slam of his career , while it also pushes him up the FedEx Cup Standings as well as the World Golf Rankings . . The next Major on the PGA Tour schedule will be the US Open at Shinnecock Hills , in New York from June 14th to the 17th , 2018 .

Still too early as of yet to make statements about which teams are playing the best in baseball at present , but it’s pretty safe to say with the injuries already suffered by the New York Yankees at this stage of the MLB season , it could be a struggle for them over the remainder of their schedule , if certain players don’t step up to the plate. The divisional standings should have provided us with something of an insight into the psyche of the ball-clubs at present . The Yankees are 5-5 over their last ten games with their pitching and hitting struggling at present. For team manager Aaron Boone this has to be very frustrating seeing his team struggle like this. Giancarlo Stanton will have a great deal to prove to the Yankees’ fans as well his new-found teammates . His salary alone demands it when you consider that he is among the highest paid players in the game and by far the highest paid on the New York Yankees’ roster.

The New York Yankees will not be in action on Monday 9th , April as they prepare for a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox , beginning on Tuesday, 10th April . On the mound for the Yankees in that opening game will be starting pitcher Luis Severino (2-0) facing Chris Sale of the Red Sox. New York is need of a morale boost and a victory over Boston would go some way in fulfilling the angst now to be found within the organization after such a rough start.

While the New York Yankees are having struggles of their own, their divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays are pretty much a capsized vessel. Only the Chicago White Sox have a worst team ERA (5.88) at present within the AL as of the 9th April. Rays’ manager Kevin Cash and the managerial staff have to be at a loss to explain the team’s poor play as they head into the second-half of the month of April. They will begin a three-game series on the road against the White Sox on Monday and it will interesting to see how they will fare against their AL rival. . Of the players who are said to be offering any type of production for the Rays, there has only been veteran Denard Span as a stand-out for the entire team.

I certainly feel before anyone can make any real judgment concerning the ball-clubs, we should wait until mid-June before making any real assessment of the teams and how they are likely to fare.

Is it possible for Bryce Harper to have another astonishing season and simply push up his value as he seeks to become a free agent. Harper is off to another good start as he and Washington Nationals seek to have another very good season. The continued issue for the Nationals remains the fact they have yet to make a deep postseason run in their current guise. This has to be very frustrating for Bryce Harper , given his talent and being surrounded by a more than capable group of teammates . If the Nationals are not able to prove themselves this season , then it could lead to GM Mike Rizzo making unwanted sacrifices before the end of this season , while looking to keep Bryce Harper as a long-term member of this organization. There is no doubt the front office remains under a great deal of pressure to succeed. This team needs to win consistently, with their being contributions coming from everyone on the roster over the course of this season. The Nationals will be in action over the next three days as they face the Atlanta Braves in a home series at National Ballpark in Washington, DC.

There will be many sports’ stories unfurling over the coming months and the drama from it all will be played out in all parts of the media for the fans. What are the possible segues that you’d like to see coming out this all with regard to the stories now percolating ?

Tophatal …… 2018/04/06 03:30 pm


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It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

All season long in the NFL , friends and fellow bloggers alike have been suggesting the league has entertaining with the results mirroring the competitive brand of football being played . Week sixteen provided us with a league-wide set of games which either sank to the levels of sheer ineptitude or the highest of highs, with some spectacular performances . Several teams have been “knocked out of the box” and have become “cannon fodder” for the media after their woefully inept showings over the course of this season.

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The hype which surrounded Johnny Manziel because of his incredible collegiate career with Texas A&M might well have been justified , but once you enter the NFL , you simply start with a clean slate and where the only intangible one possesses, is leadership and maturity. Unfortunately , Manziel has yet to show any of the traits in question, since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. Never was that more evident than with Manziel’s performance in the Browns’ week fifteen contest against their divisional and conference rivals the Cincinnati Bengals . Cleveland was “shut out” in a lopsided contest where head coach Mike Pettine had no explanation for his team’s sheer ineptitude . The finger-pointing has already began , with many question why Pettine chose to sit Cleveland’s incumbent starting quartertback Brian Hoyer , who had shown a great deal of leadership and competitiveness in placing the franchise in a position to actually win the AFC North, before . this erroneous decision by the head coach .

With Cleveland now out of the divisional race and a postseason berth , pride remains the only thing the franchise now has to play for , along with placing Johnny Manziel’s disastrous display behind them.

The Browns will have a tough game on Sunday 28th December , when they face the Baltimore Ravens . If John Harbaugh and his Ravens’ players can eke out a win over the Browns, they could most certainly place themselves back into the playoff race, where they would have the advantage over the San Diego Chargers(9-6).

Philip Rivers and the Chargers will face an eager Kansas City Chiefs’ (8-7) team looking to make up for a rather disappointing season where they expected to contend for the AFC West. Andy Reid has seen his team fall by the wayside , because of a lack urgency from the players but above all, there has not been the exceptional play seen from the Chiefs’ defense last season . Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith is having an indifferent season , with the offense spluttering over the course of the season , one could surmise the team’s woes were self-inflicted.

The fallout has begun and it seems almost certain the San Francisco 49ers’ (7-8) will relieve their head Jim Harbaugh of his duties at the end of the season . How things could have spiraled out of control so quickly is dependent upon which story you are willing to believe at this juncture . GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke will either retain the often criticized Harbaugh or see the coach hed off under his own steam to accept the vacant head coach’s position at Michigan (Wolverines) where there is said to be a multi-year $48 million offer awaiting John Harbaugh’s signature on the dotted line. Before that takes, place Harbaugh and his team of under-achievers have a divisional match-up against the Arizona Cardinals (11-3) . Having clinched a postseason berth, the Cardinals find themselves in an unenviable position, losing their most recent game ,the momentum seen at the start of the season now having completely vanished , leaving many questioning how good the Cardinals just happen to be.

Over the past five weeks, if there has been a better player in the NFL than Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks , then I would like to hear your nominations for such a mantel . A Superbowl victory has seen a growth in maturity of the quarterback as well as his play overall , along with a leadership ability, rarely seen from a player with less than five years experience though one could make a comparison with Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and the success he has achieved with the franchise since his being drafted by the organization.

Pete Caroll and his team have systematically cut a swath through the league, as they have risen up the ranks and might now be the best team in the NFC based on their record. The Seahawks have a rather interesting game on Sunday afternoon, when they play host to the St Louis Rams , in a match-up I believe likely to be one-sided with the visiting team being unable to deal with their hosts.

Jay Cutler has led the Chicago Bears (5-10) into another season of sheer ineptitude with the quarterback questioning why Marc Trestman and the Bears’ front office made the decision to sit him out for the remainder of the season. Clearly, the player has failed to live up to the expectations thought and what the Bears were said to be capable of in 2014, with many believing they would be in with a chance of making an assualt on the dominance of the Green Bay Packers and the unlikely resurgence of the Detroit Lions . Instead, Chicago has repeatedly faltered, showing very competitiveness as their season unfolded . A great deal of the blame has to lie with the inconsistency shown by Jay Cutler. GM Phil Emery signed Cutler to a seven-year $127 million deal , a deal which I believe was rather idiotic , with it being offered to a player whose achievements in the postseason have been miniscule .

Chicago has a less than enlightening contest when they are the guests of the Minnesota Vikings (6-9). A contest between the bottom-feeders of the NFC North elicits very little excitement or interest among the fans of these two teams. When one bears in mind the issues faced by the Vikings this season , both on and off the field of play , their woes have manifested themselves in a litany of ways . Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater typified the issues one could come to expect of a rookie quarterback playing in the NFL

Six straight divisional titles have epitomized the dominance of the New England Patriots(12-3) and their season was once again one where Tom Brady has led by example as the team made light of their divisional opponents within the AFC East.

A narrow one-point victory over the beleaguered New York Jets whose season has taken on comedic levels of ineptitude , while head coach Rex Ryan is at a loss for words as to his team’s repeated failures over the course of their schedule . The victory placed the Patriots into the postseason, where Bill Belichick and Brady will be seeking to win the franchise’s fourth Superbowl during Belichick’s illustrious tenure. The New England quarterback (Brady) hopes to join Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only other quarterbacks to have won four Superbowls during the modern era of the NFL. It would be fair to suggest , over the last decade-and-a-half Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been the ” face” of the NFL, providing the fans with the best the game has had to offer during that timespan. Inevitably, the comparisons will be made as to where Brady and Manning belong among the NFL greats and whether or not they can be considered among the greatest quarterbacks to ever have played the game. Conjecture and a protracted healthy debate may well be the only thing that can solve the issue, but to my mind the duo are Canton bound for the Hall of Fame !

In their final game of the regular season the New England Patriots will have as their guests at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’, Massachusetts , their divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills . Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone may well be looking to put a damper on the celebrations of the Patriots by inflicting a fourth defeat of the season for the AFC champions . I certainly believe New England will want to carry the momentum gained by notching their thirteenth victory of the season and sealing their advantage as the number one seed in the AFC while ending the season with the best record in the NFL . As to whether not they can be considered the best team in the league will remain a matter of long, heated arguments that will not solve the problem.

Each season in the NFL , there will always be a team where the analysts (pundits) and fans are astounded by the disappointment of one or perhaps two franchises. In 2014, the candidates I believe who best represent this case are the New Orleans Saints (6-9) and Washington Redskins 4-11) . The fact that both are NFC representatives should not be seen as a big surprise . Neither the Redskins or Saints have proven to be good enough within their respective divisions to be seen as competitive , and the delusions of grandeur exhibited by Jay Gruden and Sean Payton, an only be parodied by the repetitive and asinine behavior often with members of Congress.

From week to week Gruden is unsure as to what his starting lineup ought to be, without referencing his handling of the team’s quarterback situation and the consistency sought from his trio of alternatives, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy . The fact that it has been McCoy , the team’s third string quarterback , who has led the Redskins to two of their three victories on the season should tell you all you need to know. Jay Gruden may well be an accomplished coordinator, but he is proving to be absolutely clueless as a head coach in the NFL. On Sunday, Gruden’s Redskins will be looking to avoid the season series’ loss when they face the Dallas Cowboys (11-4) at FedEx Field in Landover , Maryland, in a less than thrilling prospect as an NFL game.

Sean Payton may well be considered an offensive guru with his teams over the years considered among the most explosive in the NFL. It still remains the case , but this season , as in year’s past the defense has been one of the constant reminders why the New Orleans Saints can never really hold unto lead . Once out in front, this becomes a team that needs to inflict pain on an opponent by O13 piling up the points and yards , while controlling the time of possession. A 6-9 season has pretty much epitomized what the Saints have been about over the course of the year. Drew Brees, arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the past eight years , still provides the New Orleans Saints with the best chance of winning on a weekly basis. He has been the franchise’s best player since being acquired by the Saints as a free agent trade from the San Diego Chargers.

Hoping to round-out their season with a victory, the New Orleans Saints will have the pleasure of making the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their customary whipping post. If Brees and the Saints’ offense are not able to put up at least thirty points on an incompetent Buccaneers’ defense , then I will be extremely surprised ! Lovie Smith was brought in to instill some semblance of discipline into a Buccaneers’ team, but instead, there has been abundance mediocrity on all levels , from the coaching staff on down , to the players. Meanwhile, the apathy remains among the Tampa fans who may well feel there is light at the end of the tunnel . More darkness than light, because neither coaching staff or front office actually have a damn clue , as to what the hell they are actually doing from one moment to the next .

Now comes the hard part for the teams and that will be for them to maintain their consistency as they enter the postseason . Chances are we will witness one or two upsets , as was the case last season throughout much of the league’s postseason foray.

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Picture gallery.

As the spectacle of the NFL regular season has unfolded, what if anything proved to be the biggest disappointment or buoyed your belief the NFL would be special ? Which player do you believe will likely win the league’s highest regular season award the League MVP ?

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(1) Cincinnati Bengals corner-back Adam Jones makes the Johnny Manziel “money” sign after the Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 30-0 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/David Richard ….

(2) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(3) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs off the field after a 30-0 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. Manziel’s performance in week fifteen was among the worst of any starting quarterback on the day and among the very worst witnessed this season. AP Photo/Tony Dejak …

(4) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, greets San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The Chargers won 38-35 in overtime. AP Photo/Ben Margot ..

(5) Seattle Seahawks fan smiles while holding a sign prior to the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images/ Norm Hall …

(6) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks prepares to snap the football in the first quarter during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images / Norm Hall …

(7) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is pressured by Dwight Lowery (20) of the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 21, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Chris Graythern ..
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🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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There`s a reason it’s called the NFL , they play football or at least I was led to believe that they do ….

There`s a reason it’s called the NFL , they play football or at least I was led to believe that they do ….

Week one in the NFL did not really provide us with any overall surprises , as I believe that we all knew who the good teams were said to be in the league . Granted , no one expected the reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens to be so lackluster in their opening game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos . The margin of defeat , twenty-five points, told me a great deal about this Ravens` team and the experience of seasoned veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are sorely missed. Yet I do believe that the Baltimore Ravens can rebound from this loss and from the lessons learned , and that the younger players on the roster will have to step up to the plate as required . You simply cannot rest on your laurels, just because you have reached the summit once ,as the secret , is to remain there , once having reached that destination and peak.

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Monday night`s double-header featuring the Philadelphia Eagles playing the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Washington , DC and the subsequent showing featured the Houston Texans and their high-octane offense taking on the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California. Michael Vick and the Eagles , along with head coach Chip Kelly , sent a resounding message that is likely to heard loud and clear across the NFL . That message is , there is a new sheriff in town and he means business . The two NFC East combatants put on a terrific showing of offensive productivity , with Vick and is opposite number Robert Griffin III passing for in excess of a combined 500 yards of passing offense, , with and another 300 plus yards of rushing offense from the two teams combined . The bulk of the rush offense , the advantage laid with the visiting team, the Philadelphia Eagles. .

Philadelphia came away with an invaluable 33-27 victory, placing themselves jointly atop of the NFC East alongside the Dallas Cowboys . Next up for the Eagles will be a home game against the San Diego Chargers this upcoming Sunday . For Mike McCoy and the laboring Chargers , they need to get back to winning ways after Monday night`s debilitating loss to the Houston Texans , in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game . A twenty-one point lead , carried over into the late third quarter , would prove to be not as decisive as the home team`s fans might have felt , as Matt Schaub repeatedly marched the Texans down the field to erase that deficit and to come away victorious from Qualcomm Stadium . The less said about the Chargers` defense at this juncture would be perhaps the most prudent thing to do. .

Say what you will about the Jacksonville Jaguars and its owner Shahid Khan , but any belief that he might well have had in turning things around quickly for the franchise , is unlikely to happen this season. Gus Bradley , and this team entertained the Kansas City Chiefs in their season opener and to put it politely, they laid a goose egg in a lopsided 28-2 loss . I am not saying that the two points were a gift from Andy Reid`s team , but it is the kindest thing that I could perhaps say about the Jaguar` performance this past Sunday. The travails of Blaine Gabbert have been well chronicled as the Jaguars` quarterback has struggle since his entrance into the NFL in 2011 . Not a prodigious quarterback by any stretch of the imagination but he was ill-served by then head coach Jack del Rio and his staff at the time . And not much has actually changed since del Rio`s departure , with Jedd Fisch in as the team`s offensive coordinator and Frank Scelfo as quarterbacks` coach . As witnessed in Sunday`s loss the Chiefs , the Jaguars are struggling in every facet of their game and they are amongst the least productive teams in the NFL from a defensive and offensive standpoint this early in the season .

Two years into his career and we can begin to deduce that Blaine Gabbert is a bust as an NFL quarterback . With the Mizzou Tigers , Gabbert may well have been deemed a college success , but so much hype is placed and around college quarterbacks , that when they fail in the professional ranks , fingers are actually pointed at the players themselves , rather than in a great many cases, where the blame actually lies and that is with the coaches at the collegiate level and the in the professional ranks . Granted , there have been one or two quarterbacks in recent years where the hype simply was not justified , notably in the cases of JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow . To my mind, neither had the propensity to learn , in spite of notations stating that both were being tutored in their mechanics by well-respected quarterback coaches prior to their entry into the NFL Draft, in the years that both were drafted . Well , as we can see , their Russell or Tebow have proven to be a success in the NFL . So let us now close the chapter on both and move on . Time demands it , and in reality , does anyone really give a damn ?

Week two may well provide the Jacksonville Jaguars with a chance to put things back on, track when they are the guests of the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum , in Oakland , California , this upcoming Sunday . That conference game, is one of several that will pit a number struggling teams in several intriguing contests . . For the Raiders coming off their narrow four-point loss (21-17) to the Indianapolis Colts , the questions now being asked , is whether or not Terrelle Pryor is the player to be leading this team at quarterback position. Auditions during the preseason proved to be inconclusive and head coach Dennis Allen seems to be unsure what he has in the player , a future star or simply another one of a litany players that the franchised has used at the position over the past five years without any resounding success . And for the Raiders` head coach time may well not be on his side, considering the tenure of his three former predecessors on average, has lasted no much longer than two years.

Well the drama and comedic elements of the New York Jets` off-season continues with all of the idiocy one would come to expect from a franchise completely lacking in leadership both on and off the field of play . Head coach Rex Ryan now seems to be less rambunctious , knowing full well that this could very well be his last season with the organization after last season`s considerable failures . Mark Sanchez in 2012 was woefully inept and then there came all of the drama that surrounded Tim Tebow . Well with the former Broncos` starting quarterback, no longer with the Jets or with any NFL franchise , the issue became who would the front office seek to become the team`s new starting quarterback . That answer would be provided when GM John Idzik and the staff made the decision to draft Geno Smith . player a second round draft pick has shown that he may well have the skill-set but deep questions remain as to the player`s demeanor and his consistency at the position . That became a stark reality in his only meaningful action during the preseason , during the Jets` third preseason game against the New York Giants . That display was very unnerving , yet it proved to be a pointer as what fans could very well expect during the regular season from the rookie quarterback.

In Smith’s first professional regular season game he proved himself adequate but far from convincing as the heir-apparent to Mark Sanchez , but with his predecessor now out injured , the position now becomes Geno Smith` to lose . With the team also having acquired Brady Quinn as a backup , the stage I believe , is being set for the franchise to trade Sanchez at some during the season . The New York Jets have a divisional date , in what will be the first of two divisional meetings this season , when they meet the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts on Thursday night . With the Patriots coming off an opening day victory over another rookie quarterback , when Tom Brady and his teammates came away with a hard-fought victory over the Buffalo Bills and their rookie quarterback E J Manuel. Bill Belichick will look to start of this season with an early unbeaten run, as a way of bringing in a great deal of confidence on this revamped roster . Issues that still remain for the organization will certainly start with the team`s defense and whether or not they will be considerably better than last season . Also with the prevailing injury issues concerning Rob Gronkowski , the question will be , who will provide Tom Brady with the safe pair of hands he needs to get the Patriots’ offensive game going in 2013 ?

There seems to be this continued idiocy by the fans who are under the impression that the NFL cares about the well-being of their players . Nothing could be further from the truth and this was clearly evident in the recent settlement made between the league as defendants in a civil suit brought by 4,500 former NFL players seeking punitive damages from the NFL . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash may well now seek to create the perception that will see the league provide those players with a settlement figure of $765 million , far less than the $1.3 billion originally sought . In agreeing to settle, the league hierarchy avoids further public embarrassment , while not having to make public, a great deal of its somewhat surreptitious activity concerning research conducted by the league concerning the cause and effect , of blunt force head trauma , concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). For years the NFL suggested that there was no cause and effect , even in spite of their own research findings and that of independent studies carried out by world-renowned academic d institutions . Add in, the apathy of fans, who believe that the NFL has now become soft , and you can easily understand the machismo bullshit, that was sought by the literally uneducated . Veterans such as Bernie Kosar and Superbowl winning quarterback Jim McMahon are now having to live with the early onset of Alzheimer’s’ disease, chronic memory loss and a speech impediment , all due from injuries suffered from their playing careers.

Somehow I get the feeling that the NFL would like for its image and public persona to remain pristine and not vilified , as the tobacco industry was said to be for their own collusive activities concerning their product and how they misled the consumer . Well, the league is simply no different from the cigarette manufacturers. I certainly believe the league and the NFLPA (Players Union) have acted irresponsibly and now look absolve themselves of their responsibilities to their former members . Goodell and is union counterpart DeMaurice Smith would like to have you believe to the contrary . The apathy being shown by the fans on this issue is simply no different from the same fucking ignorance , they continue to show when it comes to the well-being of the members of the military , who far too often are being left to fend for themselves but yet all of the gung-ho patriotism one sees being exhibited is all for nothing in the end because they are no deeds being matched by all of that exuberance , definitely not from the public or the federal government for that matter ! .

As if to further indicate the gullibility and downright stupidity of the commissioner , consider his recent actions concerning Detroit Lions` defensive player Ndamukong Suh . In what now appears the fifth such incident concerning the player`s on field behavior concerning his play, for an illegal tackle , Suh was fined a mere $100,000 rather than face a multi-game a suspension for what appears to be ‘chop block` on Minnesota Vikings’ center John Sullivan . The fact that this is not the first time that Suh has not shown any restraint much less an act of contrition fort what does appear to be a premeditated act . It now is becoming apparently clear that neither the Lions` hierarchy , head coach Jim Schwartz or league is prepared to act prudently . A fine of this nature, is menial and a mere drop in a bucket for a player due to earn in excess of $10.3 million this season . So can someone now explain to me how this is meant to corral a player whose on-field actions and character have repeatedly come into question ever since he entered the NFL ?

Detroit came off their season opener, with a 34-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings, fellow NFC North rivals . The game itself , eventful, was filled with some exhilarating play and last season`s MVP , Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson looking to carry on where he left off from last season . This Sunday the Lions will be the guests of the Arizona Cardinals in Tempe, Arizona , in what should prove to be a highly entertaining game between these two teams . Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians will seek to gain his first victory as an NFL coach , while getting his team back on a winning track, as they seek to make inroads as a legitimate challenger within the NFC West this season . A remote possibility, should either the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks slip up over the course of their respective schedules .

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Picture gallery .

This NFL season while still in its infancy, but already controversies are amidst within the game . Consider also , that three years in and the league has yet to instigate , an in and out of season testing for human growth hormones and this is all being done under the subterfuge of the league and union reneging on a statement made to Congress on the matter, to have that policy in place by no later than the 2011 season . So for all of this excitement of what fans hope to be an exciting year in the NFL , the league still remains an archaic and outmoded bastion of incompetence and where there is absolutely no leadership to be found . Chime in, with your comments as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below . .

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(1) Broncos` quarterback Peyton Manning warms up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens in the team’s regular season opener . The quarterback would go on to throw for a career-high seven touchdowns on the team’s 49-25 runaway victory over the reigning Superbowl champions . AP/Photo/Jack Dempsey ….

(2) Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco (5) looks to make a pass before Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers (91) makes an attempt at a tackle . AP Photo / Jack Dempsey …

(3) Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a rushing touchdown in the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Monday night . Philadelphia came away with a well-earned victory over their divisional rivals . AP Photo / Nick Wass …..

(4) (4) Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs leaves the Jaguars’ Geno Hayes (55) in his wake after Hayes’ vain attempt to make a tackle . The Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-2 . AP Photo / Phelen Ehlenback …

Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by Dontari Poe (92) of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images North America / Sam Greenwood ….

(6) Geno Smith , background , looks on as teammate Mark Sanchez takes a couple of pass attempts at the Jets` training facility . With Sanchez’s injury in the New York Jets’ last preseason game , Geno Smith was the starter in the team’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . AP Photo / Anthony Knowles …

(7) Pensive , but are they realists ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , left , and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are seen here listening to a committee member from the House Government & Oversight Committee . That committee was convened to pose questions to both executives as to when the NFL would bring in a comprehensive testing policy for anabolic steroids and human growth hormones ., An agreement was reached . voted upon and ratified by the player representatives in 2010 . Three years later and the policy has yet to be initiated by the NFL , much to the annoyance of the committee in question , who may well seek to rescind parts of the NFL`s antitrust exemption status . Something which is said to be under serious consideration by several members of the aforementioned House Committee . Getty Images / Doug Pensinger …..

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tophatal ……………………..

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NFL news , news from around the league

NFL standings (division)

NFL week one results

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NFL injuries week one

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s

Meet Kenya

It is the season to be jolly ……. or maybe not

It is the season to be jolly ……….. or maybe not

Well, on Thursday night , the NFL officially kicks off its season for 2013, where the reigning Superbowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens are the guests of the Denver Broncos at the Sports Authority Stadium /Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. Reigning Superbowl MVP Joe Flacco brings with him a newly revamped roster to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos . The four-time league MVP is now on the cusp of further adding to his already illustrious career . Manning now sits a mere five hundred and thirteen yards from hitting the 60,000 yards` career plateau . A mark that has only been surpassed, by Hall of Fame inductee Dan Marino and the all-time career yards` leader Brett Favre , as Manning now seeks to join that illustrious list .

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Last season, the fans saw the rise of rookie quarterbacks , Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson , not only have extremely productive years , in also having each led their respective teams into the postseason . Yet, it can be said, seasoned veterans such as Peyton Manning , Drew Brees , Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were also one of the primary reasons why the NFL was such a success. And beyond the Superbowl itself , with the Ravens winning the second title of its proud heritage, one could attest to the fact that the expectations are high are for this season for not only that organization, but also for the other thirty-one teams around the league , with each expecting a chance of getting their shot to raise the Lombardi Trophy. .

This opening game of the regular season schedule places John Fox and John Harbaugh under the spotlight, as they each seek to get their teams off to a winning start . For Peyton Manning the highlight of the Broncos` off-season may well have been the choice to make that decisive decision to obtain former New England Patriots` wide receiver Wes Welker . That player`s addition to what was already a highly explosive offense, now becomes considerably better , and one in which Manning gets to be a teammate of Welker, who has averaged over one hundred receptions a season for the past five years .

Both of these teams, the Broncos and Ravens are expected to defend their divisional titles and come away with a considerable amount of success in that particular endeavor. In the case of the Denver Broncos, within the AFC West , I certainly do not see a credible challenge coming from the Kansas City Chiefs , Oakland Raiders or the San Diego Chargers , as the Broncos seek to further enhance their dominance of that particular division . John Fox`s team is by far the best of the quartet within the AFC West and it certainly denotes the belief why a number of analysts and fans around the NFL believe why they should be considered a prime contender for the Superbowl within the AFC . I do believe that the Ravens are likely to face a much stiffer challenge however , within the AFC North , merely because of the growing confidence of Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals . A team that I believe to be one of the most dangerous in the conference altogether !

Bengals` head coach Marvin Lewis has to believe that the growth and maturity shown by his team over the past two seasons , has to be a sign that the franchise is on the right track . Coupled with another very good draft class and a number of free agent acquisitions , it will be interesting to see how the Bengals fare over the course of this season. Dalton and his teammates will open their regular season schedule on the road at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois against the Chicago Bears .

For the Bears` Jay Cutler now in a contract year and unrestricted free agent at the end of the season , he now must prove himself to be resolute enough after all of the major upheavals during the off-season . The retirement of Brian Urlacher was one thing, but the inexplicable firing of Lovie Smith , still does not sit well with a number of individuals around the NFL. The front office explanation for Smith`s dismissal remains idiotic and most definitely bewildering. Smith`s successor, Marc Trestmann now has to get this team into a mindset where they have to perform at the highest level possible. Yet, the biggest questions that will remain is whether or not Jay Cutler can fulfill his potential or simply remain at best, a moderately average NFL quarterback.

If Cutler is said to be under a great deal of pressure to succeed then is conference peer Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys are also in a similar position. The ten-year veteran not drafted in the 2003 NFL Draft , but was signed by the franchise and has become one of the league`s more dependable regular season quarterbacks, but a deer caught in headlights once the postseason rolls into being. Either because they are in a drug induced haze but repeatedly each season the Cowboys are viewed as a favorite for postseason play and the Superbowl itself . Unfortunately, since Romo has been the team`s quarterback , one postseason win during a decade of play for the franchise , has been all that the player has to show for his mediocre efforts. Tony Romo has his supporters, of which his biggest supporter, remains the team`s owner Jerry Jones . Yet for all of Jones` continued support and the recent decision to sign the player to a seven-year $119 million contract of which $40 million is guaranteed. It begs the question; upon what are Jones` expectations based, in offering such a lucrative deal to the quarterback? As I alluded to earlier , Romo does have his supporters, but he also has a great many detractors , many of whom are very vocal in ridiculing Tony Romo`s alleged skill-set. Personally, I find Romo to be overrated , lacking in leadership and one someone who continues to make excuses for his and his team`s own shortcomings !

The NFC East has now become a division once again where the most discerning of NFL fans can now take a real interest. The Washington Redskins came out of nowhere to surprise a number of individuals to capture the division and many , who expected if anything the division to be a three-horse race between the Cowboys , New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles . Well, the three aforementioned teams all fell by the wayside in 2012, through some lackluster play and poor coaching. If Tony Romo are to prove themselves this season to be amongst the elite within the conference and the division itself , then their play will have to be of the highest quality possible .

For Tony Romo and the Cowboys, the regular season begins with a divisional game against their erstwhile rivals the New York Giants. That contest will be played at the palatial Cowboys Stadium in Arlington , Texas , on Sunday night , in-front of a television audience of millions, between two of the NFL`s more celebrated franchises. Eli Manning will once again pit wits against a team where in recent years , he has had a considerable amount of success . Jason Garrett and his opposite number Tom Coughlin , a two-time winning …. Superbowl coach, will be looking to add to his already impressive record. . Inasmuch as Jerry Jones and his son, EVP Stephen Jones have sworn to stick by Garrett as the Cowboys head coach through thick and thin , I truly believe that this season their patience will be severely tested , if in any way the Dallas Cowboys are unable to acquit themselves on the field of play . Considering the tenures of several of the incumbent`s predecessors have been in a number of cases, considerably less than is own. I am actually now surprised that Jason Garrett has lasted as long as he as in his present position ! The likes of Dave Campo , Chan Gailey , Wade Philips and Barry Switzer have come and gone, along with their infamy and granted, Switzer was the only one of the quartet to actually guide the Cowboys to a Superbowl victory . It should be noted that the team in question was essentially built around the pieces put in place by Jimmy Johnson . Barry Switzer, may well be given a great deal of the credit , but in reality, his input when sought, may well have been minimal at best .

After what might well feel and seem like an eternity , the New York Jets have made the decision to name Geno Smith , their second round draft pick as the team`s opening day starting quarterback for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Add in the fact, that the franchise also acquired Brady Quinn and signed him to one-year deal worth $715,000. It now seems only a matter of time before the decision is made to jettison Mark Sanchez , after what many might now feel , has been four years of highs and lows . Consider that to be now, more lows than highs , for another lackluster quarterback from the University of Southern California . I should not really say this , but isn`t that where a number of overrated quarterbacks tend to make their exit from , to enter into the NFL , only to then disappoint ? Matt Cassel, Matt Leinart , Carson Palmer and now Mark Sanchez. On paper, their college stats are impressive, but their NFL careers to date, have been about as eye-popping as Lindsay Lohan`s acting career and Miley Cyrus` somewhat bile inducing performance at the VMA`s . Now that’s a white girl that has no ass and should not be singing or `twerking` !

With Sanchez injured in the Jets` final preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles , in a contest also marking Geno Smith`s unbelievably poor play . It now has me wondering whether or not the former West Virginia Mountaineer is as good as advertised ? And was he really the best option available of the quarterbacks available in the second round of the NFL Draft ? Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik , I believe if they had it to do all over again, would have either drafted up or simply taken another position player and then acquired a free agent quarterback . I simply do not believe that Geno Smith is yet ready to play in the NFL ! Granted, this outing against the Buccaneers could prove to be trouble-free, given that team`s still unresolved problems in their secondary and the doubts concerning the unevenness of Josh Freeman`s continually lackluster displays. A home victory would appear to be on the cards for the Jets , but it will be dependent upon which Geno Smith the New York Jets` fans will be privileged to witness on Sunday afternoon . The player many saw at the collegiate level or the player many witnessed performed so ineptly against the Eagles ? Chances are that during the game we will actually witness both.

As to Tampa`s own ongoing issues , well, let us just say that Greg Schiano has some sort of plan, which he and his current staff are currently carrying out. For all of the team`s off-season maneuvers , we are likely to see a team much like last season , where the players who lined up to be part of what was an essence an extraordinarily bad roster. Considering that for now, almost three straight years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been unable to sell out a regular season home game. I believe that streak is likely to be continued this season , for a franchise whose preseason performances and record were woefully lackluster and inept . Also what remains in doubt, is whether or not defensive back Darrelle Revis is likely to see any type of action in the team`s regular season opener against his former team. Having missed the entire preseason schedule , clearly Greg Schiano must be aware, that it is now time to have Darrelle Revis ready to resume his NFL career and justify that six-year $96 million deal , the player was signed to in the off-season. GM Mark Dominik , by his reluctance to address the media on this one fact, has now become someone whose judgment must come into question .

At best , in a division , the NFC South , where the quarterback play is likely to be of an extremely high standard , I cannot see the Buccaneers coming through their divisional games unscathed and where their conference play is likely to be just as daunting a task. A 6-10 or 7-9 record is what I envision for the team , and that is likely to be generous, given what I believe will be another difficult year for Josh Freeman ! With the Buccaneers` quarterback due to become an unrestricted free agent this off-season , it is paramount that he puts himself into a situation where he is likely to be rewarded and that is by having a solid and very productive season . Is that beyond the scope of Josh Freeman? I will let you be the judge of that ! My own thoughts on the matter are that I did not feel he was a worthy first round draft pick in 2009 by then Buccaneers` head coach Raheem Morris . Four seasons later and the player is still acclimatizing to the environment of the NFL. A steep price to pay for an organization that has not seen a quarterback of note perform for the franchise at a consistently high level in its entire existence .

The Kansas City Chiefs may well have ended the season in 2012, as the team with the worst record in the NFL . In 2013 , I believe that with the addition of Alex Smith to helm the roster at the quarterback position, along with a new head coach in Andy Reid , we are likely to see a competitive club that will certainly be looking to meet the challenge of stopping the Denver Broncos` recent dominance of the AFC West. That in of-itself may well not be enough , but given Reid`s vast experience and GM John Dorsey has seen fit to revamp the lineup , seeking a number of changes that should see the Chiefs making inroads within the NFL this season.

Andy Reid`s team will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ever Bank Stadium in Jacksonville , Florida. And for the Jaguars coming off another disappointing season and having yet to see any real signs of progress in the game of Blaine Gabbert . It will be interesting to see what Gus Bradley and his coaching staff are likely to do , in order to get the best out of what was one of the league`s more inept offenses and defenses of last season . Jaguars` owner Shahid Khan , as ambitious as he is, as the franchise’s self-effacing proprietor , must know that he faces an extremely daunting task in turning around the fortunes of this team . They are likely to face an uphill battle, in competing within the AFC South against the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts , two teams thought to have the best chance of taking divisional honors this season.

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Certainly the build-up up to this season has seen some rather sensational stories within the NFL. Yet I can`t help but wonder what will unfold over the course of the year , as teams lay siege within their conference and divisions , with the hope of making the postseason . At the same time several head coaches within the league will be placed under the usual scrutiny one would come to expect, with the likelihood of their livelihood actually being at stake. It all makes for an intriguing and suspenseful year of anticipation within the NFL . What , if anything are you most looking forward to, as the season unfolds and which games in particular, in week one and throughout the first four weeks of the regular season do you believe will be the most appealing ? Just simply chime in with a comment as you see fit.

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) John Fox and Peyton Manning are seen on the sidelines during a postseason game from 2012 . The Denver Broncos vs Baltimore Ravens AFC Divisional playoff game at Sports Authority Field Saturday January 12, 2013. Fox and Manning will be looking to avenge that loss in their home regular season opener against the reigning Superbowl champions . Denver is seen as the prohibitive favorite to win the AFC West this season . Photo by Tim Rasmussen,/The Denver Post …….

(2) From left to right , Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson . All three rookie quarterbacks from last season took their respective teams into the playoffs at the first time of asking , with all three being highly effective in the postseason. Getty Images / Mark Parsons …..

(3) Cincinnati Bengals` quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is seen here during a team practice session alongside head coach Marvin Lewis . Dalton has led the team into the postseason for two consecutive seasons starting in 2011 and then again 2012 . The franchise`s head coach will be looking for further progress from this team , in which we have seen the growing maturity of Dalton and teammates , Jermaine Gresham and A J Green . Getty Images / Michael Carpenter ………..

(4) Jun 11, 2013; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestmann and quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during mini-camp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

(5) Tony Romo and Jason Garrett are seen here on the sidelines during a game from last season . After a disappointing 2012 foray , the Dallas Cowboys well be looking to rebound this season by making a serious challenge within the NFC East , where the Washington Redskins will be looking to make a successful defense of their divisional title . Gerry Matthews / AP Photo …..

(6) New York Jets` quarterbacks Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez are seen at the team`s training facility . Smith, the team`s second round draft pick from 2013 will be the opening day starter for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . A bye-line to this contest will be the return of Darrelle Revis, when he suits up for the Buccaneers to face his old team for the first time on the field of play. With Mark Sanchez now sidelined with a shoulder injury , GM John Idzik signed Brady Quinn to a one-year $715,000 deal . There now seems to be growing speculation that the Jets will seek to trade Sanchez, while taking his $8.25 million salary off the books . The former USC Trojans` quarterback signed a five-year $52.5 million deal in 2012 , of which $20.5 million was guaranteed . USA Today / Scott Patterson ….. `

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers` head coach Greg Schiano is seen here with the team`s defensive back Darrelle Revis . The player did not see any playing time during the Buccaneers entire preseason schedule and is likely to see limited time during the team`s regular season opener against the New York Jets at Met-Life Stadium ,in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Mark Palmer / AP Photo ….

(8) Buccaneers` starting quarterback Josh Freeman is seen here after a regular season game from 2012 . Freeman`s play has been inconsistent over the past two seasons . An unrestricted free agent in 2014 , the quarterback will be seeking a new long-term contract . GM Mark Dominik is not prepared to address the situation until the end of the regular season. Paul Dominguez / Miami Herald ….

(9) Where the white women at , with the `big junk` in the trunk ? Temptress, Miley Cyrus seen here performing with R&B crooner Robin Thicke at the VMA`s (Video Music Awards) . The untalented Cyrus now seems to be courting controversy rather than trying to enhance her talent as a singer and dancer . Talent is not something that seems to run in the Cyrus family . Courtesy of MTV/Viacom Inc .

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If at all interested, do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .

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tophatal ……………. 09/04/2013

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NFL news and news from around the league

NFL standings (2013 divisional)

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2012 NFL regular season results and the postseason .

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Pic of the day , Denise Milani

I will paint you a picture and you can tell me how you would like the story to end …

I will paint you a picture and you can tell me how you would like the story to end

Training camps are now underway in the NFL , with a number of teams now in full swing as to mandatory workouts with rookies and seasoned veterans already in camp. Headlines around the league have been bleak, with players now becoming part on law enforcement blotters for all of the wrong reasons .

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Not to be left out of it all, there have also been two high-ranking Denver Broncos` executives who fell afoul of law enforcement for two DUI misdemeanors and who now await some sort of action to be taken. The matter was dealt with rather swiftly by the Broncos` Head of Football Operations , with John Elway placing the two individuals in question on administrative leave without pay, pending the outcome of the law enforcement investigations. Unlike the rather laughable actions taken by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has simply sat back and watched the NFL placed into further disarray by his lack of authority and complete inaction . The league might well be able to rebound from this latest mea-culpa , but with the likelihood of a media circus surrounding the upcoming homicide trial of New England Patriots tight-end Aaron Hernandez . I am not so sure that this is the staple that the league wants to be part of any time during part of its regular season schedule .

Away from the menagerie of player misbehavior, there have been one or two notable moments. Reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens saw the retirement of defensive stalwart Ray Lewis , the departures of Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin as well as other roster changes that could either lead to the Ravens again being a contender to successfully defend their title or perhaps, simply fall from grace, as we have been accustomed to seeing of recent champions over the past few years . In all likelihood, it all makes for a great premise to be rolled out within the AFC North this season .

As to the expectations for the Baltimore Ravens , the questions likely to be raised are. Can Joe Flacco show the form witnessed during the postseason , as he guided the team to the franchise’s second Superbowl triumph in its young history . The quarterback, having excelled in postseason play , was able to garner a lucrative contract that in terms of guaranteed money is the fourth highest NFL history. Also, with the departures of such seasoned veterans, are the team`s young rookies and sophomore players able to step up to the plate for head coach John Harbaugh and his staff ? The Ravens` exhilarating Superbowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers and the fact that team owner Steve Biscotti and GM Ozzie Newsome can feel vindicated in assembling a roster and building a franchise , that is now amongst the most well-respected organizations in the NFL .

The preseason for the Ravens will be a situation where John Harbaugh can get to acclimatize himself with his new look roster in light of the off-season player-personnel upheavals . Games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week one of the exhibition schedule to be followed by the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and St Louis Rams will act as a precursor for the rigors of what should prove to a fairly tough regular season schedule for the reigning Superbowl champions .

As an ardent fan of the NFL I am not expecting a great deal out of the preseason , as I find the whole exercise a futile effort on the part of the league hierarchy and team owners to excoriate even more money out of the fans for meaningless games, that simply plays no part in the makeup of the regular season . Rising ticket and concession prices, to go along with what at times has come to be rather bland product, does now seem to be alienating some fans , without us having to delve into the behavioral issues of the players and the total lack of urgency being shown by Roger Goodell and the NFLPA (Players` Union) to address the situation head on .

Call me naïve, but every time I hear the Dallas Cowboys` owner Jerry Jones talking about the expectations for his franchise each upcoming season. I tend to wait with bated breath, just to see if he will suddenly fall down from having drank far too much alcohol in giving his State of the Cowboys` speech on an annual basis . Each season for the past decade the expectations have been continually high. And repeatedly the Cowboys have never failed to disappoint with their continued ineptitude . Could this season be any different for the franchise, often described as America`s Team ? I will leave it for you all, to be the judge of that !

The off-season for the Dallas Cowboys saw the departure for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan , who was ultimately being blamed for the team`s defensive woes last season . Ryan`s replacement is the aging Monte Kiffin whose prior place of employment upon his return to the NFL was to aid his son, Lane Kiffin in turning the USC Trojans into a lackluster and perennially defensively mediocre program for a number of seasons during his foray back amongst the collegiate ranks .

One of the more comical aspects as to the Cowboys` off-season was the very fact that Jerry Jones sought to extend the contract of the often overrated Tony Romo , whose playoff career reads like a horror story from a Bram Stoker novel . One playoff-win was somehow enough to garner Romo a seven-year $119.5 million deal , of which $40 million is guaranteed , inclusive of a $25 million signing bonus . Which begs the question, is Jerry Jones now printing his own money , beyond the lucrative and extortionate deals he has been able negotiate with various sponsors ? As profitable and valuable as the Dallas Cowboys` franchise is said to be . There has to come a time when common sense must prevail from within this particular organization . Alas, there seems to be no signs of that even with the rather asinine insistence and notion of some fans and NFL analysts alike, who seem to be under the impression that Romo is an elite, if not a top-ten quarterback in the NFL .

Tony Romo has continued to spend more time making excuses for team losses racked up during his tenure than he has shown in is continued lack of effort in terms of all-round leadership ability . Other than the Chicago Bears` …. Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals , could there be a more overrated and under-achieving quarterback currently playing in the NFL ?

A tepid 8-8 season in the NFC East , once again summed up the plight of the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 , in spite of the coaching indecision of Jason Garrett , who continues to flounder under the weight of expectation and the ongoing implicit faith being shown in him by the league`s most self-absorbed and rambunctious owner .

The front office of the Cowboys having parted ways with a number of players that the coaching staff and Jones in particular, felt were superfluous to the team`s needs . This year`s draft and a number of free agent acquisitions were the basis for bolstering the roster for the upcoming season. Inasmuch, as I believe that Jason Garrett will have his eyes on the divisional games within the NFC East . His first priority must be the preparation of is players on what will be a do or die season for many of these players and I believe undoubtedly for the head coach himself ! Jerry Jones has been known to tolerate a great deal as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Yet I seriously doubt that he finds the bitter taste of losing as harmonious as he would be in winning, and winning on a consistent basis . The franchise’s last playoff win came in the wildcard round of the 2009 postseason . And since then, the cupboard has been essentially bare .

I am not one to point to conspiracy theories behind a franchise’s high s and lows . One is, either to make your own luck , or if you are unable to do so, simply fly by the seat of your pants. In the case of the Dallas Cowboys over the past decade, it has been the singular-minded belief of Jerry Jones , that as team President and general manager , he can do no wrong in either role . What has become abundantly clear however , is that Jones` mistakes have been paramount in the failure of the franchise to be successful in terms of the on-field product of the Cowboys . More misses than hits in recent years, concerning the draft and overpaying for players who have been somewhat unproductive for the team in recent years , are glaring examples reasons why the team has failed abysmally. With the preseason being no indicator of what is likely to place during the regular season . All that is left to do , will be for Jason Garrett and his staff to assess the merits of a revamped roster and how best to equip themselves for the upcoming season .

A week one opening regular season schedule for the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants, could prove prophetic for both franchises, as each looks to regain their swagger. For Eli Manning and the Giants, after last season`s 9-7 divisional second place finish and squandering numerous chances to make the postseason . This divisional match-up might just be the test to they need to gauge themselves against an opponent where their contests have always proven to be very competitive .

So to avoid indictment and further embarrassment to himself the franchise he purchased and the NFL as a whole. Cleveland Browns` owner, Jimmy Haslam has agreed in principle that his company Pilot Flying J Inc will pay the rebates (several million dollars) due to clients , rather than facing a federal indictment and a trial . The fact that Haslam agreed to this all , after at first, denying any culpability on his part , even in the advent of several Pilot J executives and mid-level managers being fired , among those , several who suggested that Jimmy Haslam was privy to the fraud being perpetrated . It would appear all along, the Pilot Flying J proprietor, did indeed have something to hide . What might be even more unpalatable over the course of this whole sordid mess ? The NFL hierarchy and its Board of Governors approved the sale of the Cleveland Browns` franchise while the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department was conducting an investigation into the business dealings of Haslam`s company . Suffice to say, not a great deal of due diligence was being used by Roger Goodell and the in-house investigators and financial experts used in such instances . It begs the question, if the NFL can be so lax in such procedures, and then what else are they also incapable of doing so incompetently?

What also has come out of this , is a class action lawsuit filed in the US District Court by twenty-five national trucking companies , seeking punitive damages from Jimmy Haslam and Pilot Flying J Inc . It would appear that this will not be the last that we will hear on the matter should there be a trial. The Browns` owner insists that the franchise is not for sale . Yet , it is my belief that should this situation become even dire , there will be calls amongst the NFL`s Board of Governors to force Haslam into an unwanted sale or in all likelihood the league itself, taking over the day-to-day operations of the franchise . Even with this action by the Browns` owner , it does appear likely that the US Attorney overseeing the case for the US government will press ahead, seek an indictment and then proceed on to a trial . This paints another bleak picture for the image of the NFL and specifically amongst the team owners . Far too often they old themselves up as captains of industry , yet in reality, their business practices in and outside of the NFL ranks, are akin to that of a racketeer or Mafioso Boss. Il Capo dei Capi (Boss of Bosses) .

The Cleveland Browns, coming off a 5-11 season (2012) and a last place finish in the AFC North , will be looking to rebound from last season . A great deal of that will be predicated upon the play of quarterback Brandon Weeden and how the player seeks make up for a rookie season filled that was with highs and lows . A chance of a sophomore breakout year could be expected , but it will be predicated upon the weapons available for the quarterback . For second-year head coach Rob Chudzinski and his staff , this year might well be the opportunity they seek to prove that 2012 was something of an aberration .

On both sides of the ball , last season proved to be an immense struggle for the Cleveland Browns. There is no doubt in my mind that Chudzinski has sought the upgrades he believes necessary by way of the NFL Draft and free agent acquisitions to improve both the offense and defense . If those solutions are dealt with adequately, then there is no reason to believe why the Browns cannot create some sort of competitive edge for themselves within the AFC North and AFC in particular

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The off-season of the NFL has proven to be rather unsavory for a number of reasons , without their being any type of proven leadership being shown by anyone within the league hierarchy or from the union (NFLPA) for that matter . Yet, we are now to believe that the league can continue to withstand the continued type of adverse publicity without any type of criticism being leveled at the brand , its leadership and all that is said to represent ? By all means, do leave a comment as you see fit concerning anything you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) FILE – In this June 27, 2013, file photo, former New England Patriots NFL football tight end Aaron Hernandez stands during a bail hearing in Fall River Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. The legal problems of current and former SEC players _ from ex-Florida and NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez to LSU’s Jeremy Hill _ has cast a negative light on the league that has won seven consecutive national championships. Coaches in the conference say they have to weigh a player’s talent vs. trouble in or out of the locker room. AP Photo/Boston Herald, Ted Fitzgerald …

(2) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco warms up during practice at the NFL football team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Tuesday, July 23, 2013. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh speaks during a news conference after practice at the NFL football team’s facility in Owings Mills, Md., Tuesday, July 23, 2013. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(4) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo throws a pass during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Oxnard, Calif. AP Photo/Gus Ruelas …

(5) Dallas Cowboys` head coach Jason Garrett , left is seen here with team President & general manager Jerry Jones at the team`s practice facility in Arlington , Texas . Jones believes that the team will be rebound from a rather lackluster season in 2012 , during which the franchise missed the postseason for the third consecutive year , having finished third within the NFC East , behind the high-flying Washington Redskins (10-6) , eventual divisional champions . Getty Images / Chris Walker …

(6) Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is one of the NFL`s newest owners having bought the Cleveland based franchise in 2012 . In recent months, Haslam and is company Pilot J Flying Inc have been under investigation by the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department for failure to pay trucking company clients nationwide rebates amounting to millions of dollars . Haslam denies any wrongdoing on his part , but several senior executives fired by the owner have stated that Jimmy Haslam was party to the massive fraud perpetrated against the clients . Those clients have since filed a civil suit against Pilot J Flying , in US District Court in Tennessee , seeking unspecified and punitive damages . For his part, the Cleveland Browns owner has stated categorically that the franchise will not be put up for sale , in spite of this latest controversy . AP Photo / Matt Carr ……..

(7) Browns` quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is shown leaving the field after an off-season workout in Berea, Ohio, has been working to improve his footwork. Weeden leads Browns` quarterback depth chart made up of himself , veteran Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer . The Browns will be looking to make a serious challenge within the AFC North this upcoming season . They start their regular season, with an opening home game against the Miami Dolphins in all an all conference AFC duel . AP Photo / Brendan Sykes ………

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Hell , you know me ! There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough!

Hell , you know me ! There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough!

By Tophatal

We are but a month away from the 2013 NFL Draft , and already there is a great deal of speculation unraveling, as to who that first player, to be taken, will be . In seasons past , that number one overall choice has either had an outstanding career, or somehow fallen into oblivion , never to be heard from again . From afar, as a fan of the NFL , this is the one time of the year that I choose not to take any notice as to how the draft unfolds ! I am of the belief that the players chosen , will either live up to the perceived expectations or they will simply fall by the wayside , because of their lack of physical ability and mental toughness .

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In 2012 , it was the year of the rookie quarterbacks , by way of the excellent play witnessed and the leadership qualities shown by quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck . Luck and Griffin, taken numbers one and two respectively , by the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins , would go on to lead their teams to respectable showings in the divisional standings , as well as garnering a playoff berth for each franchise . Unfortunately, during the playoffs , both teams would indeed have early exits , with the Redskins falling to the Seattle Seahawks , and the Indianapolis Colts succumbing to the Baltimore Ravens , the eventual Superbowl champions .

This upcoming Draft , inasmuch as there is said to be a great deal of talent among the players declaring their eligibility . I truly believe that the talent level that many believe there is said to be , is not actually there , in any great depth ! Granted, the so-called “draft geeks “ and analysts will espouse the virtues of Geno Smith , Matt Barkley , Luke Joeckel and Alec Ogletree . More often than not , there is rarely a sure-fire bet or hit , that will be that impactful . However, a case could be made that last season Luck and Griffin proved that the 2012 draft class , particularly for the quarterbacks , might well have been the best NFL has witnessed in the past fifteen years .

This upcoming Draft , inasmuch as there is said to be a great deal of talent among the players declaring their eligibility . I truly believe that the talent level that many believe there is said to be , is not actually there , in any great depth ! Granted, the so-called “draft geeks “ and analysts will espouse the virtues of Geno Smith , Matt Barkley , Luke Joeckel and Alec Ogletree . More often than not , there is rarely a sure-fire bet or hit , that will be that impactful . However, a case could be made that last season Luck and Griffin proved that the 2012 draft class , particularly for the quarterbacks , might well have been the best NFL has witnessed in the past fifteen years .

Of course, it will be interesting to see how both of these sophomores will progress as the 2013 regular season beckons and what we might expect from both quarterbacks , as they become further acclimatized to the rigors of playing in the NFL . I certainly believe that with the moves made by the Colts , in particular , they are likely to prove to be a major contender for the AFC South and quite possibly a major force to be reckoned with , within the conference overall !

With the NFC East always being something of a conundrum , merely because of the preponderance of idiocy that simply overwhelms those who espouse to the fact that the Dallas Cowboys will always be a force to be reckoned with . The truth of the matter remains , the team , while Jerry Jones sits atop of his throne , the franchise will be nothing more than a mere laughing-stock , lacking in leadership , accountability at an any level , on or off the field of play. And, with the team’s overrated quarterback , Tony Romo being overpaid , while continuing to make excuses for his and the team’s perennially poor play . It were as if , flies are being genuinely attracted to fecal matter , each and very time I read a piece subscribing to the fact, that Romo is a great regular season player , while clearly being unable to lead the team to the necessary heights in the regular and postseason . Tony Romo, is only great, in brief spurts , of two or three games at a time , beyond that , he is not a player that can be can be consistently be relied upon, to lead a team to any length , of real tangible achievement or success . A fact that , seems to be lost, on the vast majority of the analysts who cover the game , and who are paid handsomely, for their opinions . Unfortunately, we also have a clueless batch of individuals within this forum, who will continue to be of the same mindset ! Stupid is , as stupid does !

It goes without saying that Jason Garrett and his coaching staff will this season , remain the focus of attention from around the NFL. The Cowboys’ failings, in 2012 , was self-evident in a wide range of categories , from their defense to their sputtering offense . Pardon me for saying this , with the Cowboys’ firing of Rob Ryan as the team’s defensive coordinator , to be replaced by an aging Monte Kiffin , whose two years assisting his son Lane Kiffin in a similar capacity with the Pac 12’s USC Trojans , to my mind has to be considered an asinine decision , especially when you take into account , that during that time-span ! The Trojans were never ranked in the nation’s top twenty-five , in any meaningful defensive category. Clearly , a case of the blind , leading the blind within the Cowboys’ front office at the timing of that particular decision !

I believe that a case can be made that the winning of a Heisman Trophy , no matter how prestigious the award might be , can be a claim that as the nation’s best collegiate player , is by any measure a guarantee of success . Yes, last season, Robert Griffin III excelled for the Washington Redskins , but the 2011 Heisman Trophy claimant did have his issues in spite of the team’s extraordinary season. With 2012 winner , Johnny Manziel remaining in college quite possibly for one or two more seasons in order to hone his game with the Texas A&M (Aggies) . It has to be said that Manziel may well have made the best possible decision. Countering that , are the following two quarterbacks , who might now be viewed as perhaps under-achieving journeymen around the NFL. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart , now find themselves at a crossroads in their respective careers . Both achieved a great deal of success at the collegiate level , and each were afforded college football’s highest individual honor, by being named a Heisman Trophy recipient and award winner. Both, were players at USC (Trojans) , under what was thought to be the capable hands of then head coach , Pete Carroll and a program said to be above reproach. In the subsequent years, since their departure , and Carroll’s own jump to the professional ranks , I believe that we can attest to the fact that the coach’s tenure, was rife with sordid improprieties , that he and then AD , Mike Garrett simply chose to ignore and sweep under the carpet.

I believe that a case can be made that the winning of a Heisman Trophy , no matter how prestigious the award might be , can be a claim that as the nation’s best collegiate player , is by any measure a guarantee of success . Yes, last season, Robert Griffin III excelled for the Washington Redskins , but the 2011 Heisman Trophy claimant did have his issues in spite of the team’s extraordinary season. With 2012 winner , Johnny Manziel remaining in college quite possibly for one or two more seasons in order to hone his game with the Texas A&M (Aggies) . It has to be said that Manziel may well have made the best possible decision. Countering that , are the following two quarterbacks , who might now be viewed as perhaps under-achieving journeymen around the NFL. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart , now find themselves at a crossroads in their respective careers . Both achieved a great deal of success at the collegiate level , and each were afforded college football’s highest individual honor, by being named a Heisman Trophy recipient and award winner. Both, were players at USC (Trojans) , under what was thought to be the capable hands of then head coach , Pete Carroll and a program said to be above reproach. In the subsequent years, since their departure , and Carroll’s own jump to the professional ranks , I believe that we can attest to the fact that the coach’s tenure, was rife with sordid improprieties , that he and then AD , Mike Garrett simply chose to ignore and sweep under the carpet.

Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart spent 2012 , laboring with the rather mediocre and self-aggrandizing Oakland Raiders , who over the last decade , have become the poster child , in how not to run an NFL franchise , but how to systematically ruin one, on a competitive and economic front . Albeit , that even being close proximity to one of the nation’s largest media markets , somehow the Raiders’ front office led by team owner , Mark Davis and GM , Reggie McKenzie , continue to make complete fools of themselves , with their remarkable consistency for making some of the most unbelievably ridiculous personnel decisions encapsulating the franchise . With the revenue streams afforded the Oakland Raiders , theirs as a franchise , should not be one , that is said to be losing tens of millions of dollars annually . Yet , somehow the incompetency of the front office does bear this out . Needless to say , with the incompetence being shown off the field , last season and 2011 , simply mirrored “ how far this franchise “ has fallen over the past decade .

With it now being apparent, that Palmer was not the player whom McKenzie felt could lead the team , after a very sporadic 2012 season . There now seems to be little interest by the general manager and owner , to supplant 2002 Heisman Trophy recipient and number one overall pick from the 2003 NFL Draft , with either his backup , Matt Leinart , or another troubled enfant-terrible , in Terrell Pryor . Albeit , that there were signs of intuitive play on the part of the former Buckeye starting quarterback. Carson Palmer has refused to take a pay cut or simply reconstruct his contact favorably , affording the Raiders some cap space . Reggie McKenzie has not exactly gone out of his way to endorse Pryor as the team’s future , as the Raider’s starting quarterback. It now seems likely , that the ten-year veteran , Palmer , will be cut and tossed unto the scrap heap , or quite possibly McKenzie might well seek out any opportunistic franchise , seeking to make a trade for the seasoned veteran.

With the Raiders due to take the third overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft , it seems highly unlikely that there is a need to trade down or up for the franchise . However , what will be needed by Dennis Allen and the organization’s scouting staff , will due diligence being used as it relates to the choices to be made . I am not so sure a quarterback is of the utmost priority for the franchise , as there are gaping wholes that need to be addressed over the team’s entire lineup . How the staff deals with those adversities, will very much be an indicator , as to what we should expect in 2013 , from the organization as a whole .

From a national champion title holder , to an “ overnight bust” , this is certainly how one could best describe Vince Young’s career at the collegiate level and then within the NFL . Never mind that in the wake of it all , the player has squandered the millions earned , having filed for personal bankruptcy, and now in the midst of seeking to make a comeback to the professional ranks . Given the player’s proclivity for being immature , oafish , disdainful of his teammates and simply ignorant of the fact that a coach seeks to guide him , as to how best to fulfill his career goals . I am not so sure, that it would be in an NFL franchises’ best interest to even remotely entertain the idea of giving Young a tryout ! . That being said , it would not surprise me if that perfunctory asshole and Tennessee Titans’ owner , Ken “Bud” Adams , sought to welcome Young , back with open arms . It was Adams’ intransigence and downright stupidity that led to Jeff Fisher’s departure , after the owner sought to side with the often troublesome former NFL player , rather than his well-respected head coach . The aftermath of it all, Young would soon be jettisoned by the franchise , as his play simply deteriorated .

From a national champion title holder , to an “ overnight bust” , this is certainly how one could best describe Vince Young’s career at the collegiate level and then within the NFL . Never mind that in the wake of it all , the player has squandered the millions earned , having filed for personal bankruptcy, and now in the midst of seeking to make a comeback to the professional ranks . Given the player’s proclivity for being immature , oafish , disdainful of his teammates and simply ignorant of the fact that a coach seeks to guide him , as to how best to fulfill his career goals . I am not so sure, that it would be in an NFL franchises’ best interest to even remotely entertain the idea of giving Young a tryout ! . That being said , it would not surprise me if that perfunctory asshole and Tennessee Titans’ owner , Ken “Bud” Adams , sought to welcome Young , back with open arms . It was Adams’ intransigence and downright stupidity that led to Jeff Fisher’s departure , after the owner sought to side with the often troublesome former NFL player , rather than his well-respected head coach . The aftermath of it all, Young would soon be jettisoned by the franchise , as his play simply deteriorated .

With there soon to be an abundance of free agent quarterbacks on the “open market” , Vince Young’s task will become all the more difficult , even with his less than impressive workout at the Longhorns’ Pro Day on the university’s campus playing field . He may well catch on , with an NFL team , either as a third string starter or as part of a practice squad, because I no longer believe that he has the play-making ability or the mental psyche to be a successful quarterback in the NFL ! All of the promise shown at the collegiate level , seem all for nothing , given the years wasted by Young , as he simply became a boorish oaf ! Win some ,and you lose some ! Vince Young has been nothing but a loser , since his entry into the NFL !

The more things change , at times , it is in fact the more they remain the same . Sideshow , performing animals , comical clowns and a high wire and trapeze act could best sum up the New York Jets’ diabolical season . A clueless owner , in Woody Johnson , a coaching staff simply devoid of creativity and intelligence , all of which was led by the self-absorbed Rex Ryan . And the reason why I categorically state that the Jets’ owner is simply clueless ! When you seek to apportion blame upon others, when you have the final decision as an owner on all personnel decisions , and you were said to be indifferent to the signing of a player. It indicates to me , that you are either an idiot , or simply willing to listen to others when their own decision-making has repeatedly come into question.

During this off-season , Woody Johnson bitched and whined that he was pressured into giving the final OK , in the trade that brought Tim Tebow over from the Denver Broncos , to the New York Jets . Heralded by the print media within the “Big Apple ” as a thing of “genius” , the acquisition would prove to be the Jets’ undoing and hoisting even more ridicule not only on the franchise but also upon the now stunted shoulders of the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner . See where I am going with this all , as it relates to the aforementioned winners of this accolade who have simply done nothing of merit in the NFL ?

With the Jets’ front office, now seemingly more unsure than ever before , as to whom is best suited to lead the team at the quarterback position , speculation mounted during the off-season that the organization would simply jettison their starter, Mark Sanchez , after his rather dubious forays of 2012 . With the franchise now having acquired ten-year journeyman and veteran David Garrard . It kind of makes you wonder, what other rabbits Rex Ryan will now seek to pull out of his top hat , while seeking to create the illusion and perception that the Jets are now progressing in the right direction . Suffice to say, anyone who feels that Garrard can provide the roster of quarterbacks already on this team with further competition , having seen the veteran quarterback’s play in recent seasons , has either got to be on prescribed medication or under the delusions of grandeur.

With the tempering rumors, that the Jets may well use their Pro Bowl corner-back , Darrelle Revis , as a form of trade bait to move up in the NFL Draft order , a great many things are now certain to come into play , as it relates to the franchise and the player .

In the midst of this all, Tim Tebow’s future remains uncertain with the New York Jets . A homecoming of sorts , is already out of the question , with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ management categorically stating that they have no interest in acquiring the beleaguered quarterback. There now seems to be a quandary as to how Rex Ryan will seek to extricate himself from a mess he fashioned alongside the team’s former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano , an individual, whose NFL coaching experience , can be best summed up in two words “absolute bull#hit “ !

From my own personal standpoint , what Ryan was able to achieve in his first three seasons with the franchise was impressive . Yet, in the subsequent years , all of the ballyhooed and hype simply cannot hide the fact, that he has become a bloviated ass , who rested on his laurels , rather than seeking to improve New York Jets ,as a franchise . GM John Idzik may well use this upcoming season , not only to assess the roster , but also Rex Ryan and his entire coaching staff . Failure once again , and it is likely , that he will be summarily relieved of his duties as a head coach with the franchise. Ryan’s most pressing issue beyond dealing with the team’s cap issues will be how best to also address the team’s draft needs .

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(1)Quarterback Matt Barkley , center, talks to reporters during NFL football pro day at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(2) Safety , T.J. McDonald looks during Southern California’s NFL football pro day, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(3)Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is hit by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) , as he throws, during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. The Ravens would go on to defeat the Colts 24-9 . AP Photo/Nick Wass …

(4) In this Jan. 6, 2013, photo, Washington Redskins quarterback , Robert Griffin III (10) returns to the huddle after hurting his right knee as he fell awkwardly while throwing an incomplete pass during the first quarter of their NFL wild card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Landover, Md. An injury that sidelines Griffin well into next season is a very real possibility _ or at least it seemed that way Monday, Jan. 7, after head coach Mike Shanahan described the results of tests on the rookie’s right knee following a series of plays in their Sunday game that did additional damage to a knee that was just three games removed from suffering a sprained lateral collateral ligament. AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, L. Todd Spencer …

(5) Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine . Joeckel is being seen as a the consensus # 1 overall pick likely to be taken in this year’s NFL Draft . Yet the prevailing thought with the Kansas City Chiefs seeking a proven passer , Geno Smith of West Virginia could supplant Joeckel as that number one pick. AP Photo / Richard Sasser ….

(6) Geno Smith of West Virginia is seen here going through drills at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana , Indianapolis , earlier in the year. The quarterback is seen as the best passer in this year’s crop of eligible college quarterbacks with their sights set on the professional ranks of the NFL . AP Photo / Richard Sasser ……

(7) There’s always something to laugh about and seemingly find comical , if you just happen to be a member of the Dallas Cowboys . Pictured here , are the team’s under-achieving quarterback , Tony Romo and team owner , Jerry Jones , sharing a few laughs. I wonder what the 2013 season may well hold for the franchise within the NFC East and the conference as a whole . Certainly , it can’t be any worse than last season ? Perhaps it could ? Well , let’s hope so ! Getty Images North America / Christian Petersen …

(8) Raiders’ quarterbacks , from left to right , Terrell Pryor , Matt Leinart , Carson Palmer and Kyle Newhall-Caballero . Newhall-Caballero, no longer on the roster , remains a part of the Raiders’ practice squad. Rumors persist that with Palmer unwilling to restructure his contract for which he is due to receive $13 million for the 2013 season and the team seeking a cut , down to $10 million , he is likely to be cut by the organization . AP Photo/ Junii Kumagawa …

(9) Vince Young on the campus of the University of Texas (Longhorns’) campus , as he prepares for the Longhorns’ Pro Day . The former Tennessee Titans’ , Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills backup quarterback is hoping to make a last-ditch attempt to resurrect his somewhat understated NFL career . Of the NFL coaches in attendance on the day , only the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin was said to have shown any discerning interest. However, rumors now circling around the NFL , are that the Chicago Bears may well bring in Young for a tryout and as a backup to team starter , Jay Cutler . Getty Images North America / Ian Thompson ……

(10) Mark Sanchez(6) , listens in , as offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano confers with head coach Rex Ryan and starting quarterback Greg McElroy (14) , during a game played against the San Diego Chargers at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Also in picture , second string starter, Tim Tebow . The Chargers would go on to defeat the Jets 27-17 . To further exacerbate the franchise’s travails was their poor finish to the season and final standing within the AFC East , a third place finish with a 6-10 record . AP/Getty Images / David Shults ….

(11) From left to right , New York Jets’ owner , Woody Johnson , is seen here with newly installed general manager , John Idzik, who succeeded Mike Tannenbaum , and who was summarily fired by Johnson , after the team’s disastrous 2012 season . AP Photo/ Chris Douglas …….

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When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

By Tophatal

Well, the 2012-13 NFL season has come to close , with the Baltimore Ravens winning their second Superbowl since 2000. The “ Harbaugh Bowl” lived up to all of the hype and expectations , one have come to expect of the nation’s biggest sport’s event . The city of New Orleans were wonderful hosts, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Louisiana , was the perfect setting for the event.

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With Ray Lewis now riding off into the sunset as a retiring NFL player , happy with the knowledge of having won his second world title ring , whatever awaits defensive lineman , undoubtedly will be a great deal of wealth and adulation. The wealth, will come in the form of the monies that will obviously be offered to a player by a number of broadcast outlets seeking to have Lewis become an NFL analyst , and who might well be described greatest defense player of his era, and quite good enough to be placed amongst the top five players at the position to have played the game in the NFL . The Ravens came away with a moral and well deserved victory , in a thrilling 34-31 win over their NFC counterparts , the San Francisco 49ers . Opposing quarterbacks , Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick , for the most part , were excellent , and it would suggest that both of these players, should have long and successful careers for their respective teams. Flacco was named the MVP of Superbowl 47 , albeit , that I felt either Jacoby Jones or Ed Reed could have supplanted Flacco for the award, but at the end of the day, the recipient of the award , seemed just right.

For winning head coach , John Harbaugh , he now becomes the first coach in NFL history to have taken a team to the postseason in each of his first five seasons , and to have won a Superbowl in his very first attempt. Baltimore Ravens’ owner, Steve Biscotti , billionaire industrialist , and avid sport’s fan has worked tirelessly in making the franchise he now owns a source of pride in the greater Baltimore area . Both Bisciotti, and general manager, Ozzie Newsome , have built the Ravens into a formidable franchise both on and off the field of play. And this victory was a culmination of their efforts along with that of the entire coaching staff , the players and the fans , themselves . . Newsome drafted prudently , and acquired players , using due diligence , while not having to pay outlandish salaries , in assembling this current roster . Inasmuch, as we know that there is bound to be off-season upheavals amongst the playing staff, there simply can be no denying that the Ravens will be amongst the contenders and quite possibly be viewed as a prohibitive favorite for the Superbowl , for next season. . Your thoughts, on this ? Simply chime in with a comment.

At a time when the NBA should be content with its environment , the game is mired in mediocrity , and lo and behold the self-indulgent union, the NBPA (union) now finds itself mired in controversy , that can only be deemed as an embarrassment not only to the union , league but also the sport , and the brand itself. The now embattled union has seen its Executive Director, Billy Hunter , be forcibly asked to step down , but he states, he is in fact taking a voluntary leave of absence , while the union’s executive committee conducts an in-depth investigation into the misappropriation of league funds , and suggestions that Hunter , sought to transfer $ 7 million in NBPA funds , to be used as an investment to shore up the finances of a Cherry Hill , New Jersey based bank, where two of his children , just happened to be employees . What makes this latest mea-culpa so embarrassing, at the center of this all, is the very fact that Billy Hunter’s intent was have this transaction take place without having advised any senior executive member of the union hierarchy. And here was I thinking , the only such organizations who conducted themselves with such secrecy, were the Teamsters Union , UAW , AFL-CIO and the now inept US government .

It is hard at this juncture to feel any empathy towards the union , Billy Hunter , who is being paid a $ 3 million annual salary to provide the union with his expertise in labor laws, as well as a wide variety of union related issues concerning the NBA . Somehow, I now feel, that Hunter’s days with the union are numbered , with him being in all likelihood being fired. Only a formal announcement awaits , pending the outcome of the investigation , with union President , Derek Fisher , or his deputy , VP , Keyon Dooling , making the statement that Billy Hunter will be relieved of his duties, as the union’s Executive Director , to take effect , immediately .

At the start of the season , in the midst of the upheavals around the league with so many off-season moves . A great deal was made of the fact that the Brooklyn Nets would be seen as a viable candidate to challenge the perceived dominance of the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference . After an inauspicious start to their schedule , Nets’ GM Billy King summarily fired , beleaguered head coach , Avery Johnson and promoted , his assistant , PJ Carlesimo to the position of interim head coach , until the end of the regular season . And while the Nets under Carlesimo , have proven to be a great deal more energetic in their play , I am not so sure that this team , will be able to challenge the likes of the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks , were it to come down to a postseason seven game series !

At 28-19 , the Brooklyn Nets , currently sit in second place , three games behind the New York Knicks (30-15) within the Atlantic Division . In what might be seen, as one of the more competitive divisions within the NBA , it has to be said that the three teams in contention within the division , cannot now afford to make any major slip-ups between now and the end of the regular season , with so much being on the line , and where a drop in a conference position , can mean a life or death situation for those teams and their postseason aspirations. Personally , I am not convinced that the makeup of this current Nets’ roster is simply good enough or anywhere near talented enough to win an NBA title. The team led by Deron Williams , Joe Johnson , Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries have proven to be somewhat inconsistent , albeit , that since the installing of P J Carlesimo as the head coach , there has been a gradual overall improvement in the team’s play.

Are you beginning to wonder how good the Chicago Bulls(29-18) might be , were Derrick Rose fully fit and playing on that current roster ? Taking up the slack , in the absence of the point guard , have been Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , Joakim Noah , and Nate Robinson . And this has all been borne out , by having the third best record within the Eastern Conference ,while leading the Central Division over their closest rivals , the Indiana Pacers (28-19) . Bulls’ head coach , Tom Thibodeau , in spite of his postseason letdown in 2012 in the playoffs , which at the time , it was the scene of what precipitated to the loss of the Bulls’ point guard , in their first round series loss to the Philadelphia 76ers . Thoroughly outplayed in the entire series , the reverberations from that series’ defeat to suggest that beyond the inexperience shown by the team at the time , Thibodeau’s inexperience was glaringly transparent for all to see. With Rose, now on the mend , and thought to be almost nearing the end of his rehabilitation from his surgically repaired left knee . The anticipated timeline for his return, is said to be, after this year’s All Star Break (15th-17th February 2013) , which will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas , with the rosters of the East and Western Conference being made up of the game’s biggest stars.

The Bulls’ next game will be on Monday night , when they face the Indiana Pacers in a pivotal match-up , that should tell us a great deal about these two teams and where they currently now stand . However , with the anticipated return of Derrick Rose , Tom Thibodeau , has to be mindful , as to how the insertion will affect the rhythm, that the team currently now have. Winners of seven of their last ten games , which is amongst hottest streaks now going in the NBA . As I alluded to earlier , the expectations are high for the return of Derrick Rose , and the likelihood , his first game back could very well be either against the New Orleans Hornets on 19th February , or quite possibly against the Charlotte Bobcats on the 22nd February . There is an intervening game in between 19th and 22nd , on the 21st February , which would I believe would prove to be too stern a test for the player, in having to face the Miami Heat at home in the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois .

If Rose can recapture the form that won him the NBA league MVP , in 2011, then it would certainly bode well for the Chicago Bulls and their very ambitious point guard .

Call me naïve , but it may well take more than a kick in the a$s for David Stern to realize that the NBA brand is in the midst of a down year from a competitive standpoint in comparison to last season . And it would certainly help if the commissioner and the league hierarchy would acknowledge that fact, rather than continually extol the virtue of a league that is lacking in truly appealing stars. Granted , the likes of LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook , James Harden , Tony Parker , Chris Paul and Blake Griffin , are some of the most recognized names , and well-paid stars in the NBA at present . Yet, even that by itself, is no real guarantee concerning the success of the league. The revenues of the brand , will grow and decline exponentially , as the NBA finds itself in the midst of another economic downturn .

At a time when the NBA calls out for a rivalry to match the most famous of them all , that of the “ heated rivalry “ between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers during the regular season , but one which took on a life its own during the playoffs , but even more so during the NBA Finals . The budding embers of what could be this best era’s rivalry , that of the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder was on view last season during the 2011-12 NBA Finals. And we have seen growing stature and respect between the game’s two best players , in Kevin Durant and LeBron James . Their teams , which they represent , the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, are considered to be amongst the best in the NBA , but this season it is clear that the league is seeing some rather mediocre play being exhibited by the teams in the NBA .

For the Thunder’s head coach , Scott Brooks , his team’s play has been as resolute as ever , even in light of the departure of James Harden from last season’s roster in a stunning trade that sent Harden to the Houston Rockets , and one which literally took everyone by surprise. Currently, with the second best record in the Western Conference. At 36-12 , the Thunder sit two games behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (38-11) who are winners of ten consecutive games , currently the longest such winning streak in the NBA at present .

In their regular season meetings between the Heat and Thunder , since the inception of Western Conference franchise , these two teams have met a total of 54 times , when one takes into account the franchise’s former being as the Seattle Supersonics . The Miami Heat currently leads the series 30-19 during the regular season , and by a margin of 4-1 in the postseason , as reflected in their only series’ postseason meeting , which took place in last season’s NBA Finals.

In the 2012-13 season , and their only meeting thus far , the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 in the Heat’s regular season opener to start the defense of their NBA crown. Kevin Durant , and LeBron James, led all scorers , scoring 33 and 29 points respectively , for the Thunder and the Miami Heat, during the game. The next scheduled meeting between these two franchises will take place on the 14th February when they will meet at the Chesapeake Energy Center , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , in front of what is sure to be a rabid and vociferous crowd of primarily loyal Thunder supporters . It could be seen as a precursor, as to another possible encounter in the postseason , but much of that will be predicated upon how both teams acquit themselves over the remainder of their respective regular season schedules, and in the earlier rounds of the postseason.

Shrewd businessman and some might say perhaps , one of the ” most despised “ owners in the NBA . Yet somehow , Mark Cuban , owner of the Dallas Mavericks , and a constant thorn in claw of David Stern, has always found a way to either keep himself in the news , or that of the franchise that he owns. In the subsequent years, since the Mavericks won it all, in 2011 , when they defeated the Miami Heat in a surprisingly easy 4-2 series’ victory , with Dirk Nowitzki , being named Finals MVP. Since that triumph , the Mavericks have fallen on hard times, with Cuban and general manager , Donnie Nelson , having to shed burdensome contracts , or simply players who were under-achieving with the franchise. Head coach , Rick Carlisle , will be asked to work his magic once again , this time however , with something of a younger cast to complement the aging and declining skill-set of Nowitzki, who is now , in the twilight of an illustrious career.

Now playing for pride more than anything else , it is extremely difficult to see how the Mavericks can hope to play themselves into playoff contention , and currently playing with a sub .500 record at 20-28 ! The team lacks real scoring , and defensively , there remains a great deal to be desired , from unit that gives up on average 102.9 points per game and a staggering 33.7 defensive rebounds a game. Definitely, not the sort of statistics that is likely to win a franchise a championship. Away from the court , Donnie Nelson, is having a tumultuous time in dealing with troubled star , Delonte` West , a player , whose off the field troubles and well chronicled run-ins with law enforcement , have shone a light on West , far more than anything he has ever achieved on the field of play throughout his troubled career . His refusal to originally report for duty , with the Mavericks’ D League affiliate the Texas Legends , can only cast further doubt , on whether or not he has a role to play for this franchise , much less a have a future at all within the NBA . At this juncture , I would think it pretty safe to suggest that either by the trade deadline or at the end of this season , Delonte West will no longer be with the franchise ! I mean , why have a loose cannon , within your midst , when your coaching staff is trying to create some semblance of camaraderie and competitiveness amongst the players ?

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Picture gallery .(By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a larger formatted size)

During the Superbowl , which incident or incidents do you believe may well have been the focal and turning point of the game ? And do believe, the explanation of electrical the power outage was good enough, given the importance of the event? Last but not least , what do you believe to be the biggest disappointment behind such lackluster play season in the NBA at this point of season ? Chime on in with your thoughts as you see fit

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Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal.
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(1) A fan looks around the Superdome after half the lights went out during a power outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …

(2) Baltimore Ravens players look around the Superdome after the lights went out during the second half of NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. The game would resume after a 34 minute delay with the Ravens defeating the Forty Niners 34-31 , in the most watched Superbowl game in NFL history . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a news conference after NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with MVP Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco at a news conference after the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. The unassuming quarterback whose contract expires on the 31st March seeks a new deal with Ravens’ organization . Team owner , Steve Bisciotti , in conjunction with GM , Ozzie Newsome have stated that they will do whatever it takes to retain their Superbowl and MVP winning quarterback without having to resort to “breaking the bank” . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(5) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh , left, greets Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after the Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31 in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Dave Martin …

(6) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, left, and linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates their 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(7) Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome , who also happens to be the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager . Newsome became the franchise’s general manager in 2002 , having worked as a consultant with the Ravens prior to being promoted by owner Steve Bisciotti . In the subsequent years , it has been the executive’s keen eye for talent , which has drawn rave reviews from his peers. He now joins a select group of NFL individuals to have won a Superbowl as a player and in the role as a front office executive , but it should be noted that with the victory, he becomes the first African-American to have guided a franchise to a Superbowl victory , in his present capacity, as a general manager. Courtesy of USA Today /AP Photos / Mark Warren …

(8) NBPA President , Derek Fisher , left, is seen here with the union’s Executive Director , Billy Hunter , right , taking questions from the convened press , at a time when the union was at an impasse with the NBA hierarchy over the renegotiating of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Hunter , is now embroiled in tawdry scandal that involves the misappropriation of union funds by a subordinate in his employment who was in fact a family member (daughter – Alexis Hunter) . Further allegations. though not fully substantiated but showing a pattern of behavior suggesting that the union executive sought to transfer $7 million in union funds to a Cherry Hill's , New Jersey based bank , where his son just happened to be a mid-level executive . The intent was to use the funds to prop up the balance sheet of what was then a financially impoverished concern.

(9) Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries (43) shoots over defending Chicago Bulls players in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center , Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(10) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams ….

(10) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) drives past Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

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NFL news & archived NFL news

Superbowl 47 (SBXLVII) results & stats

Baltimore Ravens news

San Francisco 49ers news

2013 NFL Draft

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings by division & by conference

NBA playoff picture

NBA results 3rd February

NBA schedule 4th February (8 games)

NBA statistics

NBPA (Players Union) & news and events

2013 NBA All Star Game to be played at the Toyota Center , in Houston , Texas (15th -17th February, 2013)

NBA All Star rosters (Eastern & Western Conference )

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Actress , author , philanthropist and entrepreneur , Jaime Pressley .

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And as most would aspire to see Pressley !

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

It isn’t over, ‘til it’s over

It isn’t over ‘til it’s over

By Tophatal

With a now heated rivalry brewing into something that the AFC has long needed, and that is a competitive match-up of two like-minded teams. Unfortunately, for the fans, they are no longer accustomed to seeing this within the NFL. Franchises no longer have real longevity where they are dominant over a determinate period. Granted, the New England Patriots, New York Giants, and Pittsburgh Steelers are the only teams in this decade to have won multiple Superbowls in this decade. Only the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts , specifically, have been teams that have been able to produce double-digit wins each season while making multiple appearances in the postseason .

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The existing series (46-29[in favor of the Patriots]) between the Colts and Patriots still has some meaning to it but with AFC South franchise now in transition under a new quarterback , coaching staff and a crop of rookies and free agents . I seriously doubt that the vast majority of fans will still take a in keen interest, in this once intriguing rivalry ! Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback , Andrew Luck still has a no long way to go before he can rival the feats of his predecessor Peyton Manning , much less constitute and reinvigorate a this rivalry with Tom Brady and the Patriots. In years to come however, there may well come the scenario where we may well see Luck and the Colts challenging the pre-eminent teams within the league for supremacy as well as being perennial challengers for the Superbowl .

Week three brings about a slew of games that are as intriguing as they are in some respects dire for a number of teams. The New England Patriots this weekend will be the guests of the Baltimore Ravens when the two teams meet in a rematch the AFC championship game of the 2011—- post season . New England would go on to prevail over the Ravens 23-20 and thereby abruptly bringing an end to the Ravens’ postseason foray .

This season both AFC teams are off to shaky , but steady starts with each holding a 1-1 record and seated atop of their respective divisions . Coaches Bill Belichick and his counterpart John Harbaugh know though it’s still early days yet , but neither team can go afford enter week four with a 1-2 mark . Both teams have made the customary off-season revamping of their rosters and the draft choices made as each seeks to make their presence felt. In week two both teams both somehow inexplicably lost games that they each had within their grasp. . The Baltimore Ravens fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-24 in an error strewn game . Those flaws will need to be addressed Harbaugh and his staff before the team faces the Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium , in Baltimore, Maryland, For Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, two seasoned veterans thought to be in the twilight of their careers , this season both are in exceptional early season form.

Ravens’ quarterback Joe Falco has to be entirely happy that he finally has an offense that is capable of competing at the highest levels of the game. Ray Rice , Anthony Allen, Dennis Pitta , Anquan Bolden and Torrey Smith have all been able to profit from Flacco’s new-found resolve this season. If the Ravens are to succeed , then it will have to be their quarterback who shows the greatest poise beyond the other given and well-known attributes of this team.

Five appearances in the Superbowl in this decade, with three wins, have pretty much cemented Bill Belichick’s legacy as a candidate for the Hall of Fame . The franchise already has a future Hall of Fame enshrinee in Tom Brady . And it has been the league MVP’s desire , determination to add to his legacy and to lead this team to another triumph in the NFL’s postseason finale. The team’s inexplicable 20-18 loss in week two to the Arizona Cardinals , beyond the complacency shown , leads me to believe that the defensive woes evident last season, have once again returned to haunt the franchise once again in 2012. This must situation must be quickly and remedied by Belichick and his coaching staff , if the Patriots are to have any semblance of a successful season within the NFL.

The Patriots’ offense remains as potent as ever , and it remains the focus of the team as a whole . Admittedly, there are a number of established rivalries within the NFL but in the AFC , none might now prove to be as exciting or as intriguing as this budding rivalry and series between the Patriots and Ravens . Since the Baltimore Ravens’ reestablishment as a franchise in 1996, in Baltimore , Maryland , these two franchise have met eight times in total , with New England holding a 7-1 lead over the Ravens. No doubt John Harbaugh and his players would like to see that particular stat improved , and the belief that over the course of time , it will ! This game I believe , will be a game of two halves with both seeking to achieve some dominance . Undoubtedly, the slight advantage may well lie with the Ravens as they have been able to show something of a more balanced attack and with a physically ferocious defense , this all could come down to how effective the Patriots’ running game can be. And for Tom Brady and his counterpart Joe Flacco, this as such could be a contrast in styles , when the two players meet this upcoming Sunday.

Fresh off his team’s embarrassment, Greg Schiano remains unrepentant , as to the actions of his players, after their 41-34 loss to the New York Giants last Sunday. The Buccaneers’ head coach would have the public believe , that with his players being caught on camera throwing punches and looking to stamp on their opponents as Eli Manning was about to “ take a knee” to close out the game , this was meant to be sportsmanlike behavior. Schiano, for all of his eagerness to prove himself an NFL worthy coach , and having the respect of his peers . He has in effect , placed himself and the Buccaneers right in the crosshairs of the NFL , never-mind the fact that the less than sportsmanlike play has now gone unpunished by the NFL hierarchy . Yet we are told that NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell , values safety , and the players’ safety is the paramount issue within the game and the NFL as a whole ! The NFL commissioner is a pompous ass , were he to commit an act of flatulence, he would certainly suffer an aneurysm. The league at present has enough to deal with , without another NFL head coach making a complete ass of himself , while the NFL fans now have to deal with a less than thrilling on-field product and replacement official , for who the speed of the game now leaves them gasping for air , beyond being indecisive when it comes to making even the most instant of decisions. However, this is what the fans are now being asked to deal with as the season enters week three of the regular sixteen game NFL schedule .

The Dallas Cowboys (1-1) will play hosts to their conference rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as both teams look corral the errors made that saw each , succumb to a loss against their most recent opponents . Jason Garret and his defensive coordinator , Rob Ryan , have several issues to address on a team , that if anything is overrated and continues to greatly under-achieve ! From my own perspective , I don’t believe that this game will be highly entertaining , if anything it would very well end up being one monotonous bore , given their recent performances in those aforementioned losses. Both offenses have struggled in part because neither quarterback has proven to be consistent enough , two weeks into the regular season. As good As good , as Josh Freeman and Tony Romo are said to be , neither player has really shown the prerequisite leadership that would make you believe that both teams are viable Superbowl candidates.

I’ll give it to the city of Los Angeles but the clamor to have an NFL franchise , no matter how bad the economic environment and the clear fact that for Antonio Villaraigosa and his horde of parasites seated on the city council . It should be noted that with the recent announcement by billionaire media mogul Philip Anschutz to sell his company AEG Inc ______ the possibility Anschutz being part of any deal to bring a franchise to the city of Los Angeles has gotten even more remote. The NFL hierarchy may well crave to see this happen but in this economic environment even the wealthiest of investors would not be stupid enough to even remotely consider bring a franchise to the nation’s second largest and populous city. Villaraigosa , for his part has substantial budgetary woe that he and his council members have failed to address but yet it is being reported that he is constant contact with Roger Goodell to gauge the NFL ‘s interest and the their timeline in bringing an NFL franchise to the greater Los Angeles area.

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Daily News

Philip Anschutz to hand off NFL stadium project near goal line

By Vincent Bonsigniore , Staff Columnist

As you might imagine, my cell phone has been blowing up since news broke that the Anschutz Company, headed by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, said it is looking for a buyer for its AEG interests, which also has ownership in L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, the NBA’s Lakers, NHL’s Kings and Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team.

Anschutz and AEG have been pushing to build an NFL stadium and revamp the Los Angeles Convention Center for more than a year. The proposal is now within two weeks of gaining full clearance from the L.A. City Council to commence building.

Only to have Anschutz announce Tuesday he’s going to sell, prompting a flood of calls from everyone ranging from people within Ed Roski Jr.’s competing NFL stadium project in the City of Industry to media types in San Diego interested in what this might mean to their Chargers, one of the teams most prominently mentioned as a possibility to move into one of the two stadiums being proposed.

Every one of them asking, essentially: Did you see this coming and what does it all mean to the Farmers Field stadium plan?

My answers being, “No,” and, “Who knows?”

Welcome to the world of billionaires, right?

Off the top of my head, one possibility comes to mind.

Based on private conversations I’ve had with people involved in the project, I never got the feeling Anschutz truly felt the stadium proposal AEG president Tim Leiweke was pushing on him would ever get as far as it has.
Anschutz kept telling Leiweke that he had his blessing, while never truly thinking Leiweke would navigate through all the political red tape and potholes in his way to actually get it to this point.

Now that Leiweke has carried the ball to the goal line, maybe Anschutz isn’t as “in” as we thought as he’s ready to hand it off to someone who is prepared to carry the ball into the end zone.

If so, Anschutz walks away with billions and a new, energetic, completely “in” owner takes it to a new level.

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Anschutz is heavily vested in the downtown Los Angeles area , as owner of the Staples Center , Nokia Theater , as well as being a 30% owner in the NBA’s , Los Angeles Lakers, a majority stake owner in the L A Kings of the NHL and owner or minority stake holder in several MLS soccer teams beyond being the outright owner of the Los Angeles Galaxy . Though Anschutz maintains that an NFL franchise within the greater Los Angeles area still remains a viable concern , much of that is predicated upon the city and to a lesser extent the county providing the majority of the financing towards any proposed venue , albeit that another wealthy mogul , Ed Roski has seen his own ambitions for a similar maneuver take a backseat to Anschutz’s own proposal for the Los Angeles Convention Center , in downtown Los Angeles.

While there is a clamor to bring the NFL to los Angeles but yet, Villaraigosa has done little to address the city’s budgetary deficit, increasing poverty levels , a growing homeless population , increased crime rate, and a growing divide in the community across socio-economic lines .Throw in the fact that a number of private and mid-size businesses no longer see the city or state as a viable and business-friendly partner. Any immediate hope for a change in the fortune of that municipality seems further away than ever. Add in , the very fact that as part of his city’s own austerity measures, while truly not wishing to address Los Angeles’ dire financial situation , the mayor is now out the political stump , currying favor with the Hispanic voters , in seeking their support for the Presidential incumbent Barack Obama, in the upcoming Presidential elections . Roger Goodell supports the return of football to the city of Los Angeles but neither he , or any senior member of the league hierarchy has suggested how best to make this all possible. Furthermore , he has not stated whether or not the NFL would be a willing partner in engineering any proposed maneuver , at this moment in time. Talk is really cheap but actions speaks louder than words in such an instance , and that is all the fans will continue to see , not that they are entitled to anything beyond that.

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that the NFL currently has a rivalry that truly enthralls the fans? If so which pair teams or multiple rivalries within the league that actually does create the biggest interest ? With Philip Anschutz’s decision to sell his multi-media entertainment conglomerate , do feel that this now advances or hinders the prospect of an NFL franchise within the greater Los Angeles area ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site .

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(1) New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin watches during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. The Giants would go on to defeat the Panthers 36-7 , in a thoroughly lopsided victory . AP Photo/Bob Leverone ….

(2) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws a pass under pressure from New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. AP Photo/Bob Leverone ….

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(3) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick dives in for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/The Wilmington News-Journal, Suchat Pederson …

(4) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) walks off the field after a 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Mel Evans ….

(5) New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd , left, and tight end Kellen Winslow (82) run on the field during a team practice at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The Patriots announced Wednesday that they signed Winslow. AP Photo/Steven Senne ….

(6) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald , left, pats the shoulder of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. The Patriots lost 20-18 for their first regular season home loss since 2001. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(7) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo throws in warm ups before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Seattle. The Cowboys would go on to lose to the Seahawks 27-7 . AP Photo/John Froschauer …

(8) Seattle Seahawks’ Greg Scruggs, left, and Jason Jones (90) move in to sack Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Seattle. AP Photo/John Froschauer ……

(9) New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) runs past Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (24) for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(10) Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (L) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas (R) hold a joint news conference at the Los Angeles Central Library on September 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Villaraigosa and Mayorkas announced an initiative with the Los Angeles Public Library to bolster local immigrant integration efforts. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America ….

(11) David Beckham (L) and Philip” Frederick” Anschutz attend the game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on April 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images North America / Noel Vasquez …..

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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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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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Ricky Don’t Lose That Number ………….

Ricky Don’t Lose That Number ……….

Well week three of the NFL preseason is upon us and as of Wednesday night the Washington Redskins remained one of the unbeaten teams within league . No great surprise as not many of us tend not to place a great deal on these games to begin with . They’re merely there to test the consistency of the teams and their play making abilities .

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For Mike Shanahan and coaching staff this has to be something that he relishes in seeing this team play to the best of their abilities . With both John Beck and Rex Grossman seemingly in tune with the offense it’s hoped that the players can overcome their misfortunes of last season . In the offseason Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen saw fit to make the moves necessary to compliment their roster through the arrival of free agents and the NFL Draft .

The Washington Redskins may well find themselves in something of a dogfight within the NFC East should they be able to raise the level of their play and be highly competitive within the division against their foes the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles . Clearly Mike Shanahan believes that after the drama of last season with the inconsistency of Donovan McNabb the coach saw fit to jettison the veteran quarterback and look to both Grossman and Beck to secure the starting quarterback position .

5

Ricky Williams answers questions posed to him by the convened press at M&T Bank Stadium after the player was formally announced as the latest free agent signed by the Baltimore Ravens . The eleven year NFL veteran still seeks an elusive piece of silverware to adorn his finger a Superbowl ring. AP Photo / Brian Cross ………

For John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens who hosted the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore , Maryland . This was a chance for the coach and his staff to assess the team after their own off-season moves sought by GM Ozzie Newsome .

One of the more surprising moves of the Ravens was to acquire former Miami Dolphins’ running back Ricky Williams to complement the offense led by Ray Rice . Certainly with all of the changes made on this roster apart from that of the coaching staff in particular with Cam Cameron now the offensive coordinator with Chuck Pagano now the defensive coordinator , both the defensive and offensive players now have a whole new premise as to their play-making. For quarterback Joe Flacco with the weapons he now has around him this season will be a true test of his abilities in set situations .

For the veteran Ricky Williams in what has been an up and down career filled with a great deal of controversy both on and off the field . I can only surmise that the player feels that he still has something to offer to the Baltimore Ravens and the organization’s front office feel that he would be of benefit to the team. Now there may well be many who would question the mindset of Ozzie Newsome’s decision and they may well be justified in their thinking. Granted, with the Miami Dolphins feeling that both Ronnie Brown and Williams were superfluous to their needs some may well have felt that this was a major mistake by GM Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano .

From my own standpoint this may well be the last hurrah for Ricky Williams as a player in the NFL . He may well be productive enough to indeed offer this team whatever it is they seek but I do feel that the Ravens’ best chance will lie in the productivity of Joe Flacco and that of his offense . This season the Ravens start off running right out of the gates with two conference games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and then the Tennessee Titans . We will definitely get to see the character of this team in both events and a great deal more about the Baltimore Ravens , in terms of their overall aspirations.

10

From left to right Baltimore Ravens’ president Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome , team owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh. The quartet took questions posed by the convened press concerning the NFL Draft , their own thoughts on the event as well as the NFL lockout and what effect it would pose to their decision making. AP Photo Rob Carr …….

Last season for the team was reflective of what they felt could be achieved , having made the postseason . Their wildcard defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs with the demonstratively easy 30-7 win was met with a somewhat less exhilarating display , with a subsequent loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers —- 31-24 in the divisional playoffs and the chance of making the AFC Championship game. That letdown may well explain the decision by Ozzie Newsome to implode the roster and start afresh with the influx of youth and speed , while at the same time still relying on the traits that has given the organization that it has been known for over the years. A hard hitting defense that’s miserly with points allowed per game and a running game that’s used as and when needed . I’ve no doubt that Cam Cameron will refine the attributes of the offense to get the best possible results and the same must be said of the defense that is now under the tutelage of Chuck Logano . This should be a very interesting season indeed for the Baltimore Ravens and their legions of loyal fans.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything to your mind has been of real interest to you this preseason within the NFL ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming regular season for the Baltimore Ravens ? Are you of the opinion that this may well be the last hurrah for Ricky Willams as a player as he strives to obtain that elusive Superbowl ring ? Simply leave comment as to your thoughts .

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

Contact tophatal @ http://facebook.com/tophatal or

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) LaQuan Williams (15) of the Baltimore Ravens returns a punt against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(2) Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron (L),Jason Murphy (61) , and head coach John Harbaugh (R) celebrate scoring against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(3) Quarterback John Beck (12) of the Washington Redskins throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(4) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 25: Quarterback Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with Anquan Boldin (81) after the pair connected for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……….

(5) Ricky Williams answers questions posed to him by the convened press at M&T Bank Stadium after the player was formally announced as the latest free agent signed by the Baltimore Ravens . The eleven year NFL veteran still seeks an elusive piece of silverware to adorn his finger a Superbowl ring. AP Photo / Brian Cross ………

(6) Wide receiver Lee Evans (83) of the Baltimore Ravens catches a touchdown pass against defender DeAngelo Hall (23) of the Washington Redskins during the first half of a preason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …..

(7) Running back Ray Rice (27) of the Baltimore Ravens leaps into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Ryan Kerrigan (91) of the Washington Redskins during the first half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(8) Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman is sacked by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Baltimore, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……..

(9) DeAngelo Hall (23) of the Washington Redskins returns an interception for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of a preaseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(10) From left to right Baltimore Ravens’ president Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome , team owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh. The quartet took questions posed by the convened press concerning the NFL Draft , their own thoughts on the event as well as the NFL lockout and what effect it would pose to their decision making. AP Photo Rob Carr …….

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It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

Well with the ongoing NFL lockout you simply knew that ESPN couldn’t live without getting a sound byte no matter how inane it might be. And you can simply count on ESPN to sink to the lowest common denominator to make sure that scenario arises . Reporter Sal Palantonio  in an interview with the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Lewis had me chuckling when he correlated that the prolonged labor stoppage would lead to a rise in crime because the discerning NFL fan would have nothing to with there being no football. I simply wanted to say …” nig_a shut the fu_k up for God’s sake ” ! Ray Lewis knows about committing a crime and actually getting away with it because of the fact that the legal establishment simply obfuscated their responsibility as they often do , when taking a plea agreement or in this case, Lewis simply got off ” Scott free” in the manslaughter death of a victim in a deadly brawl during which two of Lewis’ accomplices actually committed this heinous act . ==================================================================================

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Courtesy of USA Today

Ravens’ Ray Lewis warns of spike in crime if NFL season is lost By Nate Davis , USA Today Ravens star LB Ray Lewis believes if the players and owners don’t soon find a way to resolve the ongoing lockout that people outside the NFL’s family could suffer far more severely than the ones squabbling within it. “We really got to remove pride. Seriously,” he said in an interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “There’s no other reason the issue is going on. That’s why I don’t get into words and all that other stuff, because it takes away from life — itself. Man there are people who’s really struggling — for real. There’s real struggles out there. What we’re going through right now, we’re affecting way more than us. “There’s too many people (that) live through us, people live through us. Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.” Lewis goes on to suggest that the livelihoods of many fans and some of the NFL’s subsidiary employees — such as stadium workers — hang in the balance. “Do this research if we don’t have a season,” Lewis says. “Watch how much evil — which we call it crime — watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game. … There’s nothing else to do, Sal.” —————————————————————————————————Click on the link to read this article in its entirety . =================================================================================

Ray Lewis ought to recognize that crime usually goes up primarily because of the harsh realities of an economy goes into the tank ____ it’s now there for all to see. Without a doubt Lewis is either showing his ignorance or he’s merely looking for a way to show that he feels aggrieved because of the league’s actions in initiating the stoppage . And the very fact that the stoppage itself has been legally upheld by a judicial ruling by the 8th District Court of Appeals in Minneapolis , Minnesota he of all people should be concerned with his own union (NFLPA) body has been doing while all of this plays out . The NFLPA has simply been about its own image and self worth while painting the league hierarchy as the villains of the piece . It’s at times like this I’m simply happy that the idiots within the NFL and the NFLPA show that what they lack in common sense is only exhibited by the stupidity that either side has shown in trying to further play to the public’s sympathy by simply looking to blame the other for something that they collectively brought into being .

As respected as Lewis may well be by his peers within the league and some fans across the NFL panacea , I do believe that he could have expressed himself considerably better . Emotional as he may well be about this stoppage , he should remember also that the average fan out there isn’t as lucky to have been attributed with the Lewis’ God given talents and the fact that they would be able to earn a multi million dollar salary each year . And in spite of his image makeover after his legal issues in the aftermath of the trial that took place in the manslaughter death of that male victim by his two accomplices I still believe that Lewis is considerably lucky not to be behind bars ! Were this a mere civilian rather than a high profile athlete the outcome might well have been different. At this juncture there’s not much more that can be really said other than the words I’ve already directed at the Ravens’ player !

We all know the idiocy that has taken place concerning the New York Mets  and the fact that the organization as well two of the team’s most prominent owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon  as defendants are being sued in a Federal Court by the plaintiffs in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal . The plaintiffs are being represented by noted attorney Irving Picard . In light of this Katz and Wilpon have plead their innocence in any wrongdoing and have stated that they are if anything victims of Madoff’s malfeasance rather than being enablers that have profited financially wherein the duo have received in excess of 700 million over the decades that the scheme had been enacted.

Given the grave financial instability of of the New York Mets I found it quite comedic that Fred Wilpon was being critical of several players on this team most notably Jose Reyes , Carlos Beltran and David Wright . Wilpon stated that he felt that Reyes, in the process of seeking a contract extension isn’t good enough to be earning a Carl Crawford type of a contract (7 years / $140 million ) and that Beltran isn’t the same player they signed to a 7 year $119 million contract. Furthermore , he went on to state that the team’s All Star and team captain David Wright isn’t a star in the making or simply good enough to be compared to his cross-town counterpart Derek Jeter  . Strong words indeed for an owner who simply signed the checks on the say so, of then general manager Omar Minaya  . And during Minaya’s tenure it simply wasn’t about attaining players for the sake of it but merely gaining back page coverage in order to compete with the New York Yankees for that coverage on the sports’ pages within the nation’s largest ad market and also on the local television there within the Big Apple. I’ve got to say when you’re that envious, there’s got to be something that you can do better in order to obtain a higher profile rather than spending money so capriciously ! Keeping up with the Joneses ?

This season much like last season it would appear that the New York Mets are simply mediocre and I seriously doubt that things are liable to change anytime soon . And even though the organization sought to bring in Sandy Alderson , J P Riccardi  to head the front office as Exec VP, general manager , assistant EVP general manager it still has me wondering whether or not this will be enough to turn things around for a team that has been engulfed in such an abysmal situation where much of that has been self inflicted by the idiotic personnel decisions made . But it appears even with a new manager Terry Collins and coaching staff in tow it appears that things haven’t changed all that much from his predecessor Jerry Manuel was leading this team. Minaya and Manuel simply took this team to depths of mediocrity and beyond if that’s actually possible . And Minaya simply tried to justify the personnel decisions made that brought this club to where they became somewhat of a laughing stock . Never mind that uber-agent  Scott Boras  and many of his clients made off like thieves in the night as the Mets simply overpaid for mediocre talent .

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Mets owner Fred Wilpon sounds off on his beloved team’s troubles By Tom Verducci , Sports Illustrated New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, as profiled this week in Sports Illustrated, provided a blunt picture of the team’s finances: The team is “bleeding cash” at the rate of a possible $70 million loss this year and his ownership of the team could be jeopardized by the $1 billion lawsuit against him and his Sterling Equities partners. The suit was filed by the trustee of the liquidation of Bernie Madoff’s investments. What does it mean for the baseball operations? In the short term, the Mets likely will cut payroll next year by about 30 percent and give a voice to a new investor that Wilpon expects to introduce in about three weeks — an investor he will treat as a limited partner. Is Wilpon worried that the lawsuit — in which the trustee wants about $300 million in fictitious profits and another $700 million in principal the Sterling partners put into Madoff accounts — could cause him to lose the team? “Not right now, no,” he told SI in an exclusive interview last week. “Because I don’t think anybody thinks that 700 is realistic.” ————————————————————————————————————————-

Click on the link shown to read this article in its entirety .

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At present the New York Mets  6-4 in their last ten games coming off a two game losing streak but they’re already 4 1/2 games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies  (28-18) within the NL East . And as spirited a change as many well have thought might have taken place with the Mets this team continues to perform monstrously in the most inexplicably of ways . Injuries or not the explanation being given by Wilpon as to the team’s present woes while in part justifiable it simply doesn’t go anywhere in explaining how it is that he and the front office have simply let things get to where they are at present . Most team owners I would have thought would desire some real effort put forth by its players even in the face of real adversity . Instead all we have seen from this team is an exceptionally inept organization from top to bottom in terms of its performances both and off the field of play.

Now some might say it is still too early to judge Alderson , Riccardi and Collins at present but if things continue to get any worse I can assure you that the fans in attendance at Citi Field for the team’s home games can’t continue to endure the mediocrity that seems to be part of this organization’s current mantra. Er’go it’s akin to the laughable excuses I’ve heard being uttered when some patrons try to state that because a change are in the offing, it solicits that the changes being made even if they are incremental , will be for the better . Since when was the game of baseball not been about what you’re doing now but what you’ll be doing four to five years from now . And that's especially true when teams are struggling not only from a competitive standpoint but also financially as well ! If one is going to delve also into the business of sports at least one should show the acumen to understand that the game simply isn't just about winning but also being a profitable going concern. After all the owners are simply doing this all out of the goodness of their heart but some idiotic fans seem to be under the impression and that making money is the last thing that the team owners simply want to do !

Fred Wilpon and his partners within the Mets’ organization and at his company Sterling Equities of which Katz happens to be a co-founder have a lot to be concerned with given their reluctance to comply with many of the requests of the plantiffs’ attorney Irving Picard with regard to certain financial documents still in their possession concerning monetary movements between the New York Mets and the financial concern under their command. I get the feeling that Wilpon has made this statement simply to deflect the attention he feels that has been unwarranted concerning his actions and Saul Katz’s as it relates to the financial scandal that has engulfed the Mets and their company ! He may well be justified in calling out certain players but he also should be taking a close look at his own actions in all of this , as an owner , he too has a responsibility to voice his concerns but it was clear that was the furthest thing from his mind at the time when he , in conjunction with Minaya and Jerry Manuel decided to make many of the outrageous personnel decisions that have brought the New York Mets to where they presently are.

As this season plays itself out it will be very interesting to see how things pan out for the New York Mets and the steps that might well be taken by the front office come the trade deadline . Win or lose , as of now , the clock is ticking on this organization’s immediate future and the shape that it will ultimately take. The league hierarchy under Bud Selig may well be watching this all with a great deal of close scrutiny because simply put, in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ debacle , their financial woes and the assault of a San Francisco Giants’ fan, Brian Stow , at Dodgers Stadium . The last thing the game now needs is another black eye to further taint its already tarnished image .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And do you believe that the statements attributed to both Lewis and Wilpon in any way are somehow justified ? Chime in with your thoughts as see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………..

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Lewis seen here in his interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio speaks of what he sees as the ramifications of what he sees will embody and impact this lockout with regard to the NFL fan . ESPN/ Mark Gustaffson …….

(2) Linebackers Ray Lewis (52) and Terrell Suggs (55) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate a play during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America / Dilip Vishwanath …..

(3) From left to right Fred Wilpon , GM Sandy Alderson , team manager Terry Collins , Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon  and team President Saul Katz . Collins was being formally introduced to the public and New York press as the team’s new manager after the abrupt firing of his predecessor Jerry Manuel . Getty Images / Chris McGrath ……

(4) Mike Pelfrey (34) of the New York Mets reacts after giving up a first inning home run to Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  9-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(5) Chris Dickerson (27) of the New York Yankees hits a double in the seventh inning against the New York Mets on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

(6) Mike Pelfrey of the New York Mets is pulled in the seventh inning as teammates Daniel Murphy(28) , Willie Harris(22), and manager Terry Collins (10) look on against the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(7) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees and Jose Reyes (7) of the New York Mets share a laugh on May 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  7-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ….

(8) David Wright(5) of the New York Mets who’s on the team’s DL sits on the bench during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Mets defeat the Yankees 2-1 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(9) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees (not pictured) hits a home run just over the leap of Carlos Beltran(15) of the New York Mets in the bottom of the third on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……..

—————————————————————————————————

<a href="http://nfl.com/news/"&gt; NFL News

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New York Mets’ front office

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New York Mets’ team stats

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If at all interested by all means do take part in the poll constituted within this piece .

Sports’ Stories That Just Make You Want To Do A Double Take ………..

Sports’ Stories That Just Make You Want To Do A Double Take ………..

Well now that the NFL season has ended and we’re into postseason play, now all of the suspense builds up with the divisional round playoffs. The match-ups are the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets taking on the San Diego Chargers. Those are the final four participants within the AFC . In the NFC we’ll see the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Minnesota Vikings and the other half of the NFC divisional round will pit the Arizona Cardinals taking on the New Orleans Saints .

This weekend in that regard we’ll certainly see eight teams aspiring to make it to the respective championship games for the four remaining berths , thereof. The teams are most certainly evenly matched and you’d be hard pressed to pick out a decisive favorite amongst them all. For myself, I’m simply looking forward to these quartet of games and as to what their outcomes might be. My hopes were long shot down when the New England Patriots put up such ‘a putrid performance’ against the Baltimore Ravens, in their thoroughly lopsided 33-14 loss at Gillette Stadium , in Foxboro , Massachusetts. The less said about the loss at this juncture , the better ! Suffice to say as a Pats’ fan, I’m about as enamored with the ‘team’ right now as Rush Limbaugh might be, were he in a room filled with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and The Congressional Black Caucus . And we all know how Rush loves the minorities at this juncture don’t we ? Well that’s the same way I feel about the Patriots at this juncture !

CBS Sportsline’s own coverage of the McGwire’s admitted use of steroids.

Is it me ? But was anyone at all surprised that former Cardinals’ slugger, Mark McGwire finally ‘fessed up’ to the fact that he took steroids ? Sooner, or later that baby had to be thrown out with the bath water. And this as_hole is now trying to say it was all a mistake ? And he was under pressure to take the elicit substances ? F-ck him and the horse he rode in on ! If he didn’t have the temerity to tell the truth when he was subpoenaed by Congress. Then why the hell should I now believe that this confession is a full act of contrition ? What he’s done to the game of baseball and the very fact that the MLB hierarchy still acknowledges his feats are as unconscionable as it comes. It’d appear that if anything what McGwire is now yearning is the public’s empathy and final vindication that all is now forgiven . Well, as a baseball fan , I won’t be forgiving McGwire or any of his counterparts who subjected the public to this sham , anytime soon. They’ve all profited from this immeasurably and still do , to this day. Whereas, the fans of the game haven’t at all received anything tangible in return.

McGwire in his interview with Bob Costas on the MLB Network admits his use of steroids.

Over the next five years many of the more prominent names from the era will be up for nomination into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York. And although those gullible idiots of the BBWAA will preside over the process. I’m not at all certain that many of them won’t see fit to do unimaginable and actually grant the likes of Barry Bonds , Roger Clemens , or perhaps McGwire , himself, induction into the Hall of Fame. Those morons couldn’t find their way out a dark room with the assist of a flashlight and compass to guide them. But we’re now going to have them preside of an adjudication process that’s about as flawed as they come. Never mind the fact that their objectivity is actually based more on favoritism , rather than subjectivity.

McGwire  (right) seen  here  with  then  manager , Tony  La  Russa of  the  St  Louis Cardinals.    McGwire  was  recently   hired  as  a  hitting  instructor  for  the  team.  Is  anyone  under  the  impression  that  Albert  Pujols  is  in   need  of    McGwirie's  assistance  when  it  comes  to  'hitting'   a  baseball  ?      picture  appears   courtesy  of   Sports  Illustrated and  AP/Photos/  Rod  Killion   ......................
McGwire (right) seen here with then manager , Tony La Russa of the St Louis Cardinals. McGwire was recently hired as a hitting instructor for the team. Is anyone under the impression that Albert Pujols is in need of McGwirie's assistance when it comes to 'hitting' a baseball ? picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated and AP/Photos/ Rod Killion ......................

Courtesy of AP and Yahoo Sports

Mark McGwire finally admits using steroids

By Ronald Blum , AP Sports Writer

New York (AP)—Ending more than a decade of denials and evasion, former major league slugger Mark McGwire admitted Monday that steroids and human growth hormone helped make him a home run king.

“The toughest thing is my wife, my parents, close friends have had no idea that I hid it from them all this time,” McGwire told The Associated Press in an emotional, 20-minute interview. “I knew this day was going to come. I didn’t know when.”

In a quavering voice, McGwire apologized and said he used steroids and human growth hormone on and off for a decade, starting before the 1990 season and including the year he broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record in 1998.

“I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said. “It was foolish and it was a mistake.”

He had mostly disappeared since his infamous testimony before a congressional committee in March 2005, when he repeatedly said, “I’m not here to talk about the past,” a response that made him an object of ridicule during his self-imposed exile.

Once he was hired by the Cardinals in October to be their hitting coach, however, he knew he had to say something before the start of spring training in mid-February.

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And the one other person who’s complicit in this all , has to be St Louis Cardinals’ manager , Tony La Russa . For him to still categorically state that he never knew that McGwire was using steroids either when he was a player with the Oakland Athletics or as a player with the Cardinals. Well that’d be about as believable as Joan Rivers stating categorically that she’s never undergone cosmetic surgery. Have you seen Joan’s ‘grill’ lately ? Alabaster or porcelain never looked that good and nor do the lies that have emanated from the lips of Tony La Russa ! And for La Russa to still stand ‘pat’ behind those claims gives the impression that he knowns the truth but just doesn’t to be implicated in the midst of it all. Funny but on looking back at the Congressional hearings , it seems somewhat ironic that very few club managers were actually subpoenaed to testify before Congress. Strange isn’t it don’t you think ? All of these players but yet ‘no managers’ were actually called to testify ? What is that Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy still has to hide ? Could it be their duplicity and complicity on the ‘fraud’ perpetrated on the public throughout much of the nineties ?

The game of basketball is filled with its nuances and complexities and to my mind it might just be the most exhilarating of the four major sports to watch. Especially when it comes to the NBA and its plethora of stars on a number of teams around the league. The likes of Carmelo Anthony , Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard , Brandon Roy and Chris Paul, makes this such a wonderful spectacle to watch. That when incidents such as the ‘Gilbert Arenas’ situation arises, you have to wonder what the hell is going on with many of the players in the league , who ought to damn well know better ! And as much I’d to have confidence and faith in the NBA hierarchy under the league’s commissioner in, David Stern. I simply ‘cannot trust him to do what is right’ for the sport without him interjecting himself in the midst of it all , to make it more about what he’s doing for the sport. Rather than what needs to be done proactively when acts detrimental to the sport arise. If ever there was a person who is as ego driven and who craves the limelight just as much as the game’s biggest stars. Then David Stern is that very person ! If you doubt my word, just see the way that he conducts his interviews with the print and television media.

Former  NBA star,  Jayson  Williams  is seen  here   with  his  attorney  after the  court  deliberations  in  his   trial.  The  player was  sentenced to  18 months  in  prison  for  the  wrongful  death  of   his   former  limo  driver  Costas  'Gus' Christofi.    The incident  took  place  in  March  of  2002  and   with there  being  two  intervening  trials  since  the  incident  Williams is  finally  willing to  accept responsibility  in the  death  of  the  victim.   A  civil  settlement   was   paid  to  Christofi's   family   which   was   privately  agreed  to   out of court in which  the  family was  paid  $ 2 million for  Christofi's  death.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  nytimes.com/ Brian  Branch  Price   ....................
Former NBA star, Jayson Williams is seen here with his attorney after the court deliberations in his trial. The player was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the wrongful death of his former limo driver Costas 'Gus' Christofi. The incident took place in March of 2002 and with there being two intervening trials since the incident Williams is finally willing to accept responsibility in the death of the victim. A civil settlement was paid to Christofi's family which was privately agreed to out of court in which the family was paid $ 2 million for Christofi's death. picture appears courtesy of nytimes.com/ Brian Branch Price ....................

It hardly seems like almost a decade ago, that former Nets and Sixers’ player, Jayson Williams seems finally willing to accept responsibility in the death of his former limousine driver, Costas ‘Gus’ Christofi. The limo driver was shot to death in the errant gun play of Williams who’d consumed a fair amount of alcohol that evening, having returned home with his entourage to his palatial mansion in Alexandria Township , New Jersey. The events that led up to that fateful event and what transpired afterwards has been told and retold , time and time again. And now with a final plea agreement reached after a third trial , Williams will be sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment for the wrongful death of Christofi. To my mind the sentence is far too lenient , given the circumstances of the crime and Williams’ actions before and thereafter.

Williams and his entourage having returned to his home would then proceed on with their partying , whereupon further unlimited amounts of alcohol was consumed and it was alleged that Williams and several of his guests had also smoked marijuana. Which if anything further exacerbated what would already be an unfortunate event. Williams along with several of his guests had seen fit to employ in some jocular play and as to why he and they should deem it fit to wield a loaded shot gun about, as part of that scenario is about as thoughtless as running through a mine field blindfolded. But somehow, Jayson Williams thought it appropriate wielding a loaded shotgun whilst inebriated and his inhibitions greatly impaired from drink. Can we all agree that ‘stupid is, as stupid does’ ? With Williams, Christofi and several of the host’s guests in an upstairs room in the mansion. Somehow , Williams states that the gun went off accidentally, whilst he was pointing it away from the victim. This wouldn’t be the original story told however , to law enforcement when the crime was originally investigated.

Courtesy of The NY Times

Williams Pleads Guilty in ’02 Driver Shooting

By Nate Shweber

Somerville, N.J. — Jayson Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on Monday in the fatal shooting of his limousine driver, bringing toward a close a legal case that began nearly eight years ago

Williams’s driver, Costas (Gus) Christofi, 55, died of chest wounds from a blast from Williams’s shotgun on Feb. 14, 2002. Williams will serve at least 18 months in state prison under the terms of the plea. Sentencing was set for Feb. 23.

Williams, 41, a former Nets forward, admitted in State Superior Court that he took out a shotgun in his Alexandria Township home to show friends, and that the weapon “discharged and hit Mr. Christofi in the chest.”

“Mr. Christofi died from the gunshot wound,” Williams said.

In 2003, Williams paid $2.75 million to Christofi’s family to settle a wrongful death civil case. On Monday, Williams appeared alongside his lawyer, Joseph A. Hayden Jr., who prompted him with questions. Williams admitted that he did not check the position of the safety on his shotgun, or whether it was loaded.

“I only saw the top barrel; I didn’t check the bottom barrel,” Williams said, adding that when he snapped the firearm shut with one hand he “did not look at the direction the muzzle of the gun was pointing.”

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NB : As reported in the New York Times

Upon the blast from the shotgun , Christofi’s body was removed to a downstairs room within the home and the gun was placed besides his body and his finger prints were handsomely placed all over the weapon. Then Williams would then get one of his guests to ‘call 911′ and report that a suicide attempt had taken place at his residence. If that wasn’t heinous enough, Williams’ own wife would play a part in this all by backing up her husband’s story, knowing full well that it was all ‘a lie’ to begin with . But yet charges were only brought against Williams and two of his accomplices who in the end would testify against him in all three trials that’ve taken place in the pursuance of justice. They pled to lesser charges and in each case were given suspended sentences and probation of five years apiece. Throughout the many trials there has been a gross miscarriage of justice, as the victim and his family have had no justice whatsoever ! The prosecution has simply mishandled this case with almost the same ineptitude as shown by Chris Darden and Marcia Clark in the O J Simpson murder trial. In this case however, although Williams pled to a lesser charge as part of a plea agreement and was found guilty. The case is deemed a victory for the prosecution and ‘justice’ is seen to have been done. In the case of Simpson , that particular case was handled with the bumbling ineptitude not often seen with prosecution attorneys. But then again when a case becomes more about the pursuance of celebrity status, stardom and notoriety which was parlayed by both Clarke and Darden at the end of the Simpson trial. It gives the public very little faith in the justice system to begin with. And the same can be said once again, here in the Jayson Williams’ trial. He may well have been found guilty but a sentence of eighteen months seems nowhere near fitting enough for a crime that was contemptible to begin with because of the actions of the defendant.

courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Jayson Williams pleads guilty in fatal NJ shooting

By Samantha Henry , Associated Press Writer ,

Somerville, N.J. (AP)—Former NBA star Jayson Williams, his personal life in shambles, took responsibility for accidentally shooting his limousine driver to death eight years ago by pleading guilty Monday to assault and agreeing to serve at least 18 months in prison.

Williams was awaiting retrial on a reckless manslaughter count but pleaded guilty to the lesser aggravated assault count for the 2002 death of Costas Christofi.

Williams remained poised during the hearing and mostly answered yes and no questions, though he did tell the judge that he had not fully checked a shotgun he was showing off to friends before snapping it closed.

“I didn’t look in the direction the muzzle of the gun was pointed,” he said, before admitting that his handling of the gun was reckless and that the gunshot caused Christofi’s death.

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This isn’t the end of Williams’ legal entanglement with the legal system as he’s yet to await a hearing over a traffic stop in New York City on a DUI charge. Somehow , I think that the justice system may well let that one go as nothing more than a light reprimand for the former NBA player, along with a mere slap on the wrist.

When is a man not a man ? It’s when he sees fit to raise his arms against his spouse as an act of subduing her merely to show off his masculinity. Isn’t it enough to read about a golfer’s philandering . And then to find out that he’s as much of a man as an effeminate ‘drag queen’. Tiger Woods states that it’s his intention to ‘heal the wounds and unpleasantness caused’ in the upheaval of his marriage. Unfortunately, Woods is nowhere to be seen at the side of his wife or children over the past five weeks. But yet he’s working on repairing his marriage ? Hey Tiger, let me know how things are working out for you ? If not that lover of Asian American men , Kate Gosselin has room for you at her modest abode along with a ready made family of eight children. And if you play your cards right she’ll no doubt ‘put out’, as well ?

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Bucs’ safety Phillips accused of choking wife

Tampa , Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay safety Jermaine Phillips(notes) has been charged with trying to choke his wife during an argument.

According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office press release, Phillips was charged with domestic battery by strangulation. Jail records indicated he is scheduled to be released on his own recognizance Monday.

Authorities say Phillips’ wife called 911 Sunday and said her husband had grabbed her around the neck. She said the couple argued after she confronted him about a number in his cell phone.

The Buccaneers said in a statement that the team was closely monitoring the situation.

Public defender Julianne Holt said a lawyer from her office appeared in court Monday for Phillips, but he is expected to retain a private attorney for future proceedings.

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Bucs'  safety  Jermaine  Phillips (23)  seen  here  with  Tampa Bay Buccaneers'   fan  Robert McFarland at  the  team's  fanfest    held  Raymond  James  Stadium  in  Tampa  , Florida.   These are  the  sort  of   characters   from  the  Gruden  regime  that  in  essence  are  what  the  Bucs are  now  pinning  their  hopes on as to  the  immediacy  of  their   future.   Well  coming  off  a  3-13   season    , can  we  just  say  that  this   team and   Phillips   are clearly showing  that a  backbone   and  character  isn't  one  of their  strongest   traits  !     picture   appears  courtesy  of Tampa  Bay  Tribune  /  Pete  Clarke  .......................
Bucs' safety Jermaine Phillips (23) seen here with Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fan Robert McFarland at the team's fanfest held Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida. These are the sort of characters from the Gruden regime that in essence are what the Bucs are now pinning their hopes on as to the immediacy of their future. Well coming off a 3-13 season , can we just say that this team and Phillips are clearly showing that a backbone and character isn't one of their strongest traits ! picture appears courtesy of Tampa Bay Tribune / Pete Clarke .......................

As I alluded to earlier, Woods is no real man , instead of dealing with his problems he continues to run away from them. Way to go Tiger, way to go ! In light of it all Woods’ problems seems slight when measured against that of Bucs’ safety Jermaine Phillips. The player has been arraigned and charged with domestic abuse in trying to strangle his wife , after she confronted him over a number she found on his cell phone. It’s not known whether or not the number belongs to an acquaintance of Phillips but it was enough for him to react physically violently in the ensuing confrontation with his wife. Grabbing her by the neck, he choked her until she fell to the ground, almost suffocating and passing out. There’s a moral to the story here Jermaine , walk the fu_k away , rather than losing your temper. Your actions in no way prove that you’re a man , provoked or unprovoked. It shows you to be less of a man than you already are, and then some !

We live in a violent enough of a society as it is already , without having to read about athletes wielding guns needlessly or subjecting members of their immediate family to such abhorrent horror and abuse, merely because of their temper. Enough already ! And hopefully the powers that be , in this case law enforcement , will go about doing their job in the appropriate fashion , rather circumventing the real tenets of the law with the never-ending abuse of plea agreements and bargaining. More than often not, these same offenders become the same repeat offenders. And where does that get us at the end of the day ? Needless to say, that there’ll be some bleeding heart morons who’ll continually stand up and say let the athletes alone, as it’s their life to do with as they please. Well no , that’s not the case, when they endanger the public or a family member and then it’s the taxpayer’s monies that is being used to incarcerate and feed them whilst they’re behind bars. I’ve no problem with locking their a_s up, just as long I’m not the one paying the expense of their stay behind bars.

NB: Due reverence is given here to my compatriot Bob Marley & The Wailers and their rendition of ‘Concrete Jungle’ . With my heritage being of Caribbean ancestry , I’m fully appreciative of this particular part of my Jamaican ancestry. And the culture brought forth with regard to reggae music and what it has meant to the music culture and the borders it has crossed.

🙂

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………. 🙂