So we’re now at a point in the sporting calendar where there’s a vast array of sports’ activities taking center-stage and usual the non-stop cycle of the NFL (National Football League) continues with activity. Reigning Superbowlchampions have all of their ducks lined up in a row , having signed several players from their championship winning roster to new deals , with their Superbowl MVP , Tom Brady also agreeing to a new deal at an almost bargain basement price by his own standard s . Brady will head into the upcoming season seeking an unprecedented eighth Superbowl ring , having won six with the New England Patriots and his seventh with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , for the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy in their history.
Beyond what has been taking place by way of the league and the teams seeking to position themselves for the upcoming NFL Draft and salary cap issues , we have seen the retirements of Alex Smith , Philip Rivers and Drew Brees, with all three veteran quarterbacks having varying degrees of success for their respective teams . One team looking to take advantage of this all will likely be the New York Jets after their recent foray with the trading away of quarterback Sam Darnold . More likely than not the Jets will seek to draft a quarterback to replace Darnold who simply did not meet the expectations of the franchise during his stay .
Trevor Lawrence could very well be taken as the number one overall player and most certainly be among the top quarterbacks taken by the end of the first two rounds of this upcoming Draft.
Far be it for me to suggest , but I get the feeling that while the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are seen as the teams to beat within the Eastern Conference , one team which is being overlooked just happens to be the Milwaukee Bucks , but given their recent failures in the postseason it would be easy to write them off once again . Yet for all sense and purpose the Bucks led by two time League MVP , Giannis Antetokounmpou seems to have his teammates playing the way Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has sought . This team is quite capable of overcoming the deficit within the conference and ending up as the top seed . Next up for the Bucks will be a game against the 76ers as par of their regular season series. The contest should tell us a great about the intentions of both teams and the directions they’re said to be heading .
Alex Rodriguez having not been able to make a successful attempt to become a MLB team owner, but the former New York Yankees’ player has joined a consortium with a view to buying the Minnesota Timberwolves , where owner , Glen Taylor is seeking to sell the franchise , but under which retains control while the new ownership group acclimatizes to their fiduciary responsibilities . Rodriguez and his partner , Marc Lore an e-Commerce executive and CEO of Walmart’s e-commerce operations, purchased the Timberwolves for a reputed $1.5 billion .
The fallout of the NFL season has begun with the firing of three NFL head coaches in the past ten days. There will likely be more to follow at the end of the regular season as the teams now will play their final games of the seventeen-week sixteen-game schedule. Jeff Fisher was given his marching orders by the front office of the Los Angeles Rams . Fisher for his part , stated he was proud of the accomplishments achieved , most notably the wins attained. Unfortunately, for the Rams , his record with the franchise was deplorable and overall it was sub. 500 . Buffalo Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan was ousted after GM Doug Whaley made the decision the vociferous head coach had to go. Two seasons of absolute failure with his teams failing to perform was far too much for team owner Terry Pegula to bear. It should be noted , Pegula purchased the Bills for a reputed $1.6 billion with the understanding he wanted a competitive product on the field of play , alongside a world-class organization within the front office . Clearly , the Buffalo Bills have fallen way short of the target sought by their billionaire owner .
Another NFL owner, whose fortunes have failed to meet his own lofty expectations , are those of Jacksonville Jaguar’ owner Shahid Khan . Since his acquiring the franchise, the Jaguars have yet to post a winning season or have a top-two placement finish within the AFC South . Jacksonville , also seem to be waiting on the maturity level of their top pick from the 2014 NFL Draft . Quarterback Blake Bortles continues to struggle and much of this stems from the fact there front office has never placed around him, a team capable enough to win consistently . Gus Bradley was made the sacrificial lamb and with good reason, as he was never able to get the best out his players during any part of his tenure with the Jaguars. His firing was not a complete surprise to most NFL fans or analysts around the league.
Several of the divisions within the NFL have a reached a conclusion concerning their winners , but there are one or two which have yet to be decided. Likewise , within the AFC and NFC , there are postseason berths which are still up for grabs and many of the teams on the outside looking in , will be hoping to make one last attempt to make it in. Not to be left out of the equation are the teams capable of playing spoiler for the aspirants with an eye on a postseason position. Needless to say, all of the outcomes will become known to the fans as the week seventeen schedule comes to a close on Sunday evening (1st January). The Los Angeles Rams are set to face the Arizona Cardinals , while the Buffalo Bills will have a divisional match-up against the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars will find themselves at the mercy of the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday.
I am of the opinion, you never mess with a good thing , when things are going good, why seek change ? Jerry Jones and the coaching staff are said to be ‘toying’ with the idea of inserting Tony Romo back into the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys for their final game of the season. Now consider the fact, while Romo was sidelined due to injury, the Cowboys were led by a rookie quarterback , Dak Prescott , who has since broken rookie franchise records for Dallas and actually making believers out of the detractors, who felt the Dallas Cowboys were past their prime. Not only have they been the best team in the NFC throughout the season , but also the best team in the NFL over much of the season.
Tony Romo will likely get some playing time in this game against the Philadelphia Eagles , but I do not feel it would be in the bests interests of the Dallas Cowboys were he to play the entire game ! The veteran quarterback remains susceptible to innocuous injuries and clearly as his career is in its twilight , he is no longer the passer everyone believed him to be , much less a player capable of leading this franchise to a Superbowl victory. His postseason record simply speaks for itself , in spite of the continuous excuses being made for one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the NFL over the past twelve seasons.
The Dallas Cowboys might well have been the surprise of the season , but I feel the most disappointing teams in the NFL were the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints . Both teams have very good coaches , with Chuck Pagano leading the Colts , while Sean Payton has led the Saints as their head coach for over eight years , along the way winning the Saints ‘ first Superbowl in the franchise’s history , during the 2009 NFL season . Defense and a lack of it has been one of the many issues which explains many of the woes faced by both the Colts and Saints this season. Quarterbacks Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Drew Brees of the Saints have been productive , but it could also be said, they are having down years by way of their own lofty expectations. Brees and his Saints’ teammates will lock horns in a season divisional rematch when they meet the Atlanta Falcons , while as I alluded to earlier the Colts will be facing the Jaguars. This season continues to be one filled with surprises and they will continue once the postseason begins .
Over their last twelve games played , the Philadelphia 76ers have performed with the mediocrity expected of a team with little or nothing to play for . Brett Brown will now prepare the Sixers for their next game when they face the Utah Jazz on the road this Thursday , 29th December . It is becoming abundantly clear the Sixers are playing to be part of the Draft Lottery for the third time in the last three seasons. It is no longer idiotic to suggest the NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner Adam Silver and the team owners are willing to accept continued mediocrity from their franchises , just as long as everyone is making money along the way . In the case of the league . when you have an estimated $7.7 billion a year in gross revenues , there are unlikely to be any complaints from within the NBA fraternity .
If DeMarcus Cousins continues along his path of self-destruction , then he will have no one else to blame but himself. It is becoming exceedingly difficult to try to justify any reason for the mercurial and talented center to be kept by the Sacramento Kings . Cousins might well be the best player on the team’s roster , but he also has become their problem child , with a combustible temperament , which is also a detriment to the team. Former Kings’ players , Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic are senior front office executives for this Kings’ franchise and it does not appear that they carry enough of an influence to change the mindset of Cousins. The coaching staff of Dave Joerger also appears to be dumbfounded and at a loss for words in dealing with their troubled star. Suspensions and monetary fines by the Kings or the NBA hierarchy has done little to sway the behavior of DeMarcus Cousins and it is difficult to see how he has the respect of his teammates at this juncture.
The New York Knicks might well be the most valuable NBA franchise , solely based on their location , but when it comes to basketball legacy within the NBA everything starts and ends with the Boston Celtics or the Los Angeles Lakers . For Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton , his rookie season has been a tough baptism of fire , but he is coping well , has the respect of his players , but most noticeably , the front office have continued to back him all the way. However, on the personal side , with the revelation that Jeanie Buss had ended her four-year engagement to former Lakers’ head coach Phil Jackson . Conspiracy theorists have run amok, with the suggestion , because Jeanie couldn’t persuade Phil to return to the franchise , she torpedoed their relationship to devote more time to the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving Jackson to try and reinvigorate the fortunes of the New York Knicks.
The Los Angeles Lakers simply have has no one on the roster who can score or average a double-double per game , much less their being any type of support coming off their bench. Defensively the team is also very anemic , but as long as there remains a commitment from the players in doing things the way Luke Walton believes they should be done, then there will likely be gradual signs of improvement from the team.
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Manning for his part has not revealed what his intentions are likely to be , but we should bear in mind the player has to notify the Broncos’ front office of his intent by no later than midnight Wednesday, February 29th in order to not obligate the Denver Broncos having to pay him for the upcoming regular season. Elsewhere around the NFL , the stories remain the same, as teams now begin their off-season deliberations as to which players they will keep and which they will let go. Personally, this is the one time of the year which I completely become disinterested in concerning the NFL ! Likewise for the NFL Draft and all of the prognosticators and prognostication as to which rookies are likely to end up where.
From my own perspective , these choices were simply ridiculous on the face of it . with neither David Blatt or Derek Fisher having any NBA coaching experience at all, much less dealing with megalomaniac characters of today’s NBA players ! If a coach is unable to deal with today’s stars within the league, then there is absolutely no chance of success whatsoever.
If the rumors are to be believed , which in part I do doubt , then the thought of GM Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets now seeking to trade Dwight Howard , seems to make about as much sense as their acquiring the center to begin with. Howard’s game has been on the decline and the last three years have proven to be the case. He is no longer a dominant defensive player and if nothing else he is not even capable of being a facilitator much less a great defensive presence. Long gone are the days where Dwight Howard was a force to be reckoned with. He cannot be considered one of the best centers in the NBA and he has offered very little to the Houston Rockets since being acquired by the franchise. The Rockets remain James Harden’s at will and it is his team , but unfortunately, the role players around him as a supporting cast are nowhere to be seen.
The scary thought concerning the Golden State Warriors, is how good they are, but also the fact, they now seem to be a much better team than they were last season . There can be no denying, they swept through their conference with ease during the postseason and during the NBA Finals of last season, they completely outplayed the Cleveland Cavaliers and defeated them with utmost ease. The one-two-three combination punch of Step Curry , Klay Thompson and Draymond Green make the Warriors a formidable opponent for any team in the NBA . This is borne out by the fact they enter into the Pre-All Star Break with the best record in the league.
The NBA continues to be concerned with image, yet their main priority , remains profits above all other issues , but yet when the players’ behavior drags that image down its hierarchy , owners and union appears to be bereft of intelligence and a sense moral outrage or for that matter, duty. It took years of self-indulgent and totally abhorrent behavior before David Stern actually got off his fat ass to do anything about Donald Sterling and his racially inflammatory remarks and if that were not enough , we still have an aging homophobic octogenarian , Rich DeVos showing totally indignance towards the LGBT demographic , while idiot fans try and point to his philanthropic efforts within the greater Orlando area. Perception can create a myth about an individual, but nothing explains a person more than their words or deeds.
In the case of Rich DeVos , it has been more about his words and then those around jumping to his support by suggesting his statements are misconstrued. Pretty much sums up the whole political arena as well and the shit-loads of buffoonery , one tends to see when they talk about political correctness. but never seem to throw in terms such as common decency or etiquette . Then again, this is the country where idiot politicians are not exactly held to a high standard to begin with and both sides of the political continue with their buffoonery . Caught in the middle of it all , are the hierarchies within professional sports and collegiate athletics and their self-absorbed stupidity and lack of indignation.
David Stern has been nothing more than a bloviate ass , while Commissioner and his hand-picked successor Adam Silver has shown no sign in changing course. Silver has sat back , said and done nothing concerning the recent tactless behavior of Blake Griffin , the Los Angeles Clippers’ forward when it is within his power to do so. Granted, it has also taken a while for the Clippers’ organization itself to even issue a statement concerning the player’s altercation with another employee in a public place. While Blake Griffin’s apologetic tweet on social media might have showed contrition , in reality was a well-managed and orchestrated response in part thought up by his agent and done in conjunction with the Clippers. It has not lessen the blow and it certainly has not lessened the continued low image the league now has with the fans when it comes to the conduct of the players. It would not be so bad were it not for the fact the NBPA (union) remains in denial and where its leadership has done little to suggest they are dealing with such issues.
The only issue where all parties now and will forever agree upon , is seeking to increase the profits of the league at the expense of actual decency. Their rather hypocritical and self-indulgent PSA ( public service announcement) take on gun violence was insulting , as it was mismanaged and about as thought-provoking as watching paint dry . The NBA hierarchy , players and owners are completely out of touch with reality , as are many of the fans , when it comes to social issues. In part this is due to their ambivalence , stupidity , lack of intelligence and their willingness to be led by taking in the information provided them by the media (print, radio and television) .
What do you expect to see during the All Star Game weekend break ? Do you also believe the Golden State Warriors have a very good chance of breaking the regular season record of 72-10 achieved by the Chicago Bulls ?
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