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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tophatal ………….

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Care To Take A Bite Out Of This Apple …. ?

Care To Take A Bite Out of This Apple ?

No time to linger on week 5 of the NFL with week 6 comes teams positioning themselves for the long haul. With only two unbeaten teams both residing in the NFC North the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers could very well be the lone teams vying for the postseason from within the division. Matt Stafford and Aaron Rodgers are showing their mettle for the Lions and Packers respectively , in proving to be amongst the best quarterbacks not solely within the NFC but also the NFL as a whole.

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When a team has aspirations to be better than they claim to I’d like to feel that the coach or manager can actually back up that claim. Last season (10-6) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming off a great year , albeit that they narrowly failed to make the playoffs . Head coach Raheem Morris bitterly disappointed by the team’s free-fall made it his sole purpose to see an improvement from his team this year. He has seen his players flourish but I doubt that he could have envisaged this Bucs’ team would prove to such disappointment in their last regular schedule outing against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park , in San Francisco , California . Jim Harbaugh’s team simply laid waste to the Buccaneers’ defense on their way a lopsided 48-3 win .

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff now have to get this team amped up and prepared to meet divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints as they play hosts to Sean Payton’s team at Raymond James Stadium , Tampa , in front of what is sure to to be a raucous and vociferous home crowd . No slip ups here for the Buccaneers and in particular from their young quarterback Josh Freeman . His play if anything has to be clear and indicative of the team’s aspirations .

Forty Niners’ quarterback Alex Smith and the offense looked like the Niners’ offenses of old that simply were as efficient and as devastating as one could imagine. The San Francisco 49ers at 4-1 lead the NFC West and given their performances this season it would be fair to presume that they are now to be viewed as the presumptive favorites for the division and a playoff berth.

The Forty Niners are guests of the high flying Detroit Lions (5-0) at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan this upcoming Sunday. Matt Stafford , Calvin Johnson , Jahvid Best and Ndamokung Suh are the talk of the town at present as the rest of the NFL are now taking notice of Jim Schwartz’s young and confident team .

I am not so sure that if I were Steve Spagnuolo’s footsteps , that I would relish the thought of playing the Green Bay Packers in front of a raucous home crowd at Lambeau Field , Green Bay , Wisconsin. The St Louis Rams’ coach has a winless team , lacking in confidence and playing without any real passion . And season given the strengths of this Packers’ team I view this match-up as a train wreck waiting to happen because the Rams are on a collision course with a locomotive traveling at a very high rate of speed.

Two teams with supposedly taking diverging paths but somehow within the AFC East the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets at present seem to be having a multitude of problems . Both Tony Sparano and Rex Ryan are coaches desperately seeking solutions to the malaise of their teams. At 0-4 Sparano must now realize that his very future is on the line if he cannot begin to turn things around and the coach has a Dolphins’ team that simply hasn’t a competent quarterback on their roster. Chad Henne in what universe can this player be viewed as a leader , much less a competent enough starter at the position ?

The New York Jets for their part seem to have a problem with their offense most notably running the ball . And it hasn’t helped that there now seems to be off the field problems concerning one of their more experienced players on the roster with Derek Mason . Clearly things are not all a bed of roses within that Jets’ locker room and now Rex Ryan has to show that for all of the false bravado and sound bytes , he will now have to once again prove that he can become the toast of the ‘Big Apple’ along with his team . Monday night when these two teams collide at the New Meadowlands/ Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey .

This contest between two teams within the AFC East with stark contrast as to the apparent directions that their respective seasons could be heading in , may well determine the fate of one coach and most certainly a number of players on his team. Rex Ryan , himself, is definitely not out of the woods , as he and this Jets’ team can ill afford to lose a conference and divisional game , only to fall further behind the Buffalo Bills (4-1) and New England Patriots (4-1) within the division.

Either Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Wayne Weaver loves to endure constant pain or he’s simply enamored with Jack Del Rio and the coaching staff . There has to be a reason why Weaver and the entire front office seem adamant on retaining their coach ? Personally , after the record of the team over the past five years , I cannot think of one ! Del Rio has been an absolute bust and the malaise of the team’s woes can be firmly laid to rest upon his shoulders . He’s simply wasting the talents of Maurice Jones-Drew and even with the organization jettisoning David Garrard they now have to thrust Blaine Gabbert —- given him his baptism of fire within the league .

The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) are the guests of the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-0) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania , this upcoming Sunday. And while Mike Tomlinson’s team have had their issues this season this game could very well be viewed as a “gimme ” if they play up to their full potential . Overall defensively the Jaguars are struggling as a cohesive unit and it has been one of the telling signs as to why they have continued to struggle . As an effective offensive unit with Garrard as the signal caller you simply never knew what to expect of the team or the player and that may well have been the primary reason why the decision was made to jettison the veteran and his $9 million salary .

Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts should be the scene of some real fun and games this Sunday , as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots entertain the Dallas Cowboys . And for those aspirants who continue to make their continued claims as to the “greatness ” of Tony Romo can they please take him down off that damn pedestal ? The player has yet to lead or win a meaningful game in the postseason for the team but yet he’s being placed amongst the throng of great quarterbacks in Cowboys’ history . Isn’t that like saying the “hot chick” in high school gave ” good head “ even though her lips and mouth were covered in blisters ? Ouch ! You’ll either get momentary flashes of brilliance from the player but he simply cannot string together consecutive games where he has played at a consistently high level .

Now I would contend that for Jerry Jones and the entire front office of the Dallas Cowboys this has to be a make or break season for the organization and team . A number of players on this roster are playing for their very livelihood this season . Anyone who believes that to be the contrary had better wake up and smell the coffee at this juncture ! Jerry Jones has been known to tolerate a great deal and through his own sheer ignorance and stupidity the franchise has been something of a laughing stock over the last decade. The organization may well be one of the most profitable sports franchises in North America but when it comes to recent success , well let’s just say for the Dallas Cowboys there has been little to actually rejoice about much less hang one’s hat unto in terms tangible on-field success .

Tony Romo knows that the jury is now in session as to his abilities and leadership skills . He may well be statisically be one of the franchise’s most successful quarterbacks in terms of regular season wins but that simply counts for absolutely nothing if you can’t lead the team to the “Promised Land” . It’s a Superbowl win or bust because that’s how Romo’s legacy will be adjudged amongst his more successful predecessors within the Dallas Cowboys’ fraternity of quarterbacks . Nothing less will be acceptable for the fans or for that matter for those within the front office of the franchise . They may well not voice that opinion openly in public but there’s a reason they tied the player long term , to a very generous and lucrative contract .

As to the game itself between the Cowboys and Patriots it should be an event of contrasting styles . The New England Patriots’ defense ought to be able to contain and contend with whatever Jason Garrett and his coaching staff have prepared for Bill Belichick’s players . With that being said nothing can be taken for granted by the Patriots’ coach . Brady and the plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal should be able to show why it is that they are a high octane offense and amongst the very best in the NFL at present .

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The the NFL season is not yet at its halfway point what thoughts if any do you have on the schedule so far ? And which teams if any have been a major disappointment to you in general as a fan ? Of the coaches at present whose future appears to be in the greatest jeopardy and which one if any could very well be the first managerial casualty of the season ? Chime in with a comment as you deem fit on this and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……….

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(1) Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets separated from the ball by Dashon Goldson(38) of the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(2) Tim Hightower (25) of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the St. Louis Rams October 2, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Redskins defeated the Rams 17-10 . Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images …….

(3) Quarterback Chad Henne (7) of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ………

(4) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots hands the ball off to teammate BenJarvius Green-Ellis (42) in the first half against the New York Jets on October 9, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …….

(5) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys calls a play in the huddle against the Detroit Lions during the second half at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

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Michelle McCurry …….. she definitely makes me feel like plucking her strings !

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Worth plucking her strings don’t you think ?

They Say You Can’t Take It With You Or Ever Return Home …………

They Say You Can’t Take It With You Or Ever Return Home …………

Week two of the NFL season is now upon us and there are one or two intriguing match-ups . That being said perhaps the game that may draw the greatest attention could very well be Michael Vicks’ return to Atlanta where his high flying Philadelphia Eagles’ team are the guests of the Atlanta Falcons , his former team.

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For Vick this will be his first game against against the Falcons who got off to an inasupicious start with an overwhelming 30-12 loss to the Chicago Bears in their season opener . We all have read of Vick’s problems off the field and the fact that he was incarcerated for his crimes , served his sentence and now seems to have accepted back into the NFL with open arms by his peers and the league hierarchy alike . The player himself has gone out of his way in atoning for his misdeeds by working in conjunction with PETA in a number of PSA’s with regard to animal cruelty .

For the Falcons’ fans who may still feel aggrieved at the player’s actions and the very fact that he had if anything lied to them and the organization as to his misdeeds may still not sit well with many of them. But at the end of the day with the player no longer being a part of their staff they have moved and seemed to have found a successor to Michael Vick in Matt Ryan . If nothing else the quarterback knows that he will have to perform at his very best if he is to outduel his predecessor . And given his somewhat error filled and average performance against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field you have to know that he and his teammates will have take their game up a notch or two at least against a hungry Philadelphia Eagles’ team .

Eagles’ coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff they have to be pleased with what they have seen from this team this early in their season . And the coach obviously has to be pleased with his quarterback’s performance , maturity but no doubt his growing leadership skills as well . With the Philadelphia Eagles being viewed as the presumptive favorites not merely for the NFC East but also the conference and Superbowl the bullseye has firmly been placed on their backs as a target . Whether or not this is justified remains to be seen .

Michael Vick seems to have acclimatized himself well with his teammates and there is growing mutual respect between the player , the veterans and even the new draftees on the roster . The player’s breakout return last season may well have provided the Eagles’ fans with a sign of things to come not merely for this season but quite possibly for the future . Clearly the organization’s sights are set on the Superbowl (SBXLVII) and raising the Lombardi Trophy in February 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana .

With a plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal Michael Vick will be given every chance to show his prowess and further enhance his reputation as being perhaps the best quarterback playing in the league today. Certainly no expense has been spared with regard to Andy Reid setting about acquiring players for this team as they seek to improve and justify their new found position atop of the NFL. That being said the defending Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers are not about to give up their crown without a fight. And an anticipated match-up in the postseason should there be one would be seen as one of the highlights of the NFL calendar .

While Vick seems to be excelling this season with the Philadelphia Eagles his two former teammates Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb seem to be having their own struggles as they seek to acclimatize themselves with their respective teams. To say that McNabb underachieved with the Minnesota Vikings in their season opener would be to suggest that Van Gogh could paint a masterpiece with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back . Suffice to say that the Vikings front office , coaching staff and their fans cannot be entirely happy with what they witnessed from the veteran so far . Is there room for improvement you may ask ? The jury is still out on that I guess ! Kevin Kolb for his part the newly acquired starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals not only has to prove himself worthy of the faith shown in him by Ken Whisenhunt , the front office but also in the fact he’s signed a lucrative multi year contract with the team . His play this season may well prove to us whether or not this was a prudent decision made by GM Rod Graves .

It is clear that the Philadelphia Eagles will want to send a clear and resounding message to the NFC as well to the rest of the NFL that they ready to take on all comers . And the best way to do that would be to defeat the Atlanta Falcons decisively on their home turf at Fulton County Stadium / Georgia Dome in , Atlanta , Georgia . I expect this game to be a highly competitive one with both defenses being tested . But it may well come down to the offensive prowess shown by the Eagles that could be the determining factor in this match-up in what is sure to be an emotionally charged game.

If you are a Boston Red Sox fan you cannot be entirely happy with what you’re now seeing from this team . Losers in eight of their last ten games the Red Sox’s season appears to be spiraling out of control and with the Tampa Bay Rays now bearing down on them in their rear view mirror there now has to be cause for concern. If last night’s game [9-2] ( loss to the Rays) at Fenway Park against their divisional foes was anything to go by then the Boston Red Sox had better get this show back on the road , rather than now being subjected to a great deal of ridicule . These two teams are now battling it out for the wildcard berth within the AL and it has to be said that at this stage of the season this might just the most suspenseful event happening in baseball at present .

For Carl Crawford the former Rays’ player this has to be one of those situations as to what might have been . But circumstances being what they are the player signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent when it became apparent that his former team could simply not afford him. He was signed to a lucrative 7 year $154 million deal that placed him alongside stars such as David Ortiz , Josh Beckett , Dustin Pedroia , Jon Lester and all of the other highly paid players on the Red Sox roster .

For Terry Francona and his coaching staff it cannot be pleasing to the eye to witness his team fail so miserably through the month of September , thus far. And I am sure under the watchful eye of GM Theo Epstein and the rest of the front office questions are now raised as to why this roster is now wilting under pressure . Suffice to say that when the pressure is brought to bear there are some who can and withstand it and there are others who cannot . At this moment in time deliberations are now taking place as to what guise this takes in the case of the Boston Red Sox. And for Carl Crawford this has been a season where he simply hasn’t delivered the goods as expected when adjudged by that of his teammates from an offensive standpoint .

To simply apportion blame solely one player would be remiss , as it has been a collective effort this has placed the Boston Red Sox in the predicament that they now find themselves in. The team has simply struggled and been errant through their last six or seven series that in that time they have seen their lead amongst the wildcard aspirants simply being whittled down by the Joe Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Now while everyone watches this race between these two teams unfold there’s a lot to be said for who could now be viewed as a favorite and who ought to be deemed the underdog. From my own standpoint I am in apoplexy merely watching the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays play. One minute we are seeming one team find a semblance of consistency only for the next to completely succumb and do the inexplicable . Granted , one could say that this simply mirrors the form of the Red Sox as of late but given the importance of the next three games to be played in their current series now unfolding at Fenway Park , who’s to say what the likely outcome will be in the end ? I am sure that Carl Crawford would not be able to answer such a question succinctly and neither would anyone else from the opposition for that fact .

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With regards to the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter in question . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

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

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(1) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick throws a pass during practice at their NFL football training facility, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ..

(2) Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid speaks during a media availability at their NFL football training facility Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ……

(3) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles prays with teammates and St. Louis Rams players after a game at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Eagles defeated the Rams 31-15 . Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images ……

(4) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles as Chris Long (91) of the St. Louis Rams dives for him at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Eagles defeated the Rams 31-15. Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images ……..

(5) Mike Aviles (3) of the Boston Red Sox kicks the dirt in the ninth inning during a game with Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park September 15, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox lost 9-2. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) …..

(6) Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays and B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a 9-2 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park September 15, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ….

(7) As rain falls, Boston Red Sox’s Carl Crawford heads back to the dugout after popping out against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ……

(8) Carl Crawford (13) of the Boston Red Sox fouls off a pitch in the second inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on September 14, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images …..

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Thanks But No Thanks ! It’s The NFL For Me !

Thanks But No Thanks ! It’s The NFL For Me !

The NFL season kicks off tonight with a lively NFC game between the last two Superbowl champions , with the Green Bay Packers hosting the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field in Green Bay , Wisconsin . All of the hoopla , pomp and pride expected , will be regaled upon the nation and fans in attendance . With the tenth anniversary of the “9/11” about to be commemorated this apart from being a sporting event will also be a somber and reflective point of time for the nation at large .

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It seems hard to believe that a decade has come and gone in the blink of an eye with the coalition forces still fighting a war on two fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq but if we are to live in a much safer world then the nation’s enemies must be defeated !

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In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, workers set up the stage for NFL Kickoff concert at S. Oneida Street and Armed Forces Drive in Green Bay. Wis. The Packers open the 2011 NFL football season on Thursday, when they host the New Orleans Saints. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson …

I certainly believe that this game will give us a pointer as to the desires of both teams . There’s no denying that both Aaron Rodgers and his opposite counterpart Drew Brees will be yearning to lead their respective rosters in seeking that initial first season win. Certainly Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff having prepared the team during their preseason wants to come flying out of the gate and showing the rest of the league that the Green Bay Packers are looking to successfully defend their crown. Sean Payton for that matter is likely to feel the same way about the ambitions of his New Orleans Saints’ team as they look place themselves amongst the viable NFC contenders this season .

In what’s sure to be a raucous crowd at Lambeau Field cheering on the Green Bay Packers and the game being televised on prime-time television by NBC this is perhaps a great way to open up the season. Mike McCarthy during the offeseaon made the moves sought to bolster the organization’s ambitions through the draft and via free agency . Though based on the team’s performances of last season it’s hard to see how they could be faltered for even wanting to make what they believe are necessary changes. And even the Packers’ foray into the postseason was simply one of a team believing in itself , adapting to the environment and the challenges placed in front of them .

That justification for the Packers was borne out in their defeat (31-25) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Superbowl XLV (SB 45 ) . Aaron Rodgers was named the MVP of the game and therein laid waste to the claim that he was simply not good enough to succeed his predecessor Brett Favre or to lead the team to a Superbowl triumph . It wouldn’t be remiss to suggest that Favre the long beloved hero in Green Bay may well be now something of a distant memory for the fans within the city. But such are the vagaries of the NFL then even when you’ve reached the ultimate heights within the game you can easily be forgotten when your last moments with an organization is to seemingly act like a petulant child who has been rebuked for behaving badly .

For Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints after being unceremoniously dumped out of the playoffs last season it has to be said that I started to consider this team to be one and done ! As prolific as the offense was said to be over the course of the regular season you simply had the feeling that somehow they would come up short . And that was sorely pointed out when they fell by the wayside in their wildcard round —- loss (41-36) to the Seattle Seahawks .

The roster some might say was purged with the loss of Reggie Bush and others . The running back was traded to the Miami Dolphins —— some might feel that it wasn’t that big of a loss considering the player’s proclivities off the field and the fact he may well have lost the respect of some of his former teammates . But GM Mickey Loomis in line with the thinking of the coach saw fit to draft players whom he felt would be able to contribute to this team . Amongst the players drafted by the New Orleans Saints were Mark Ingram , Heisman Trophy winning running back out of Alabama . Joining Ingram also , are Jordan Cameron , Martez Wilson , Johnny Patrick , Greg Romeus and Nate Bussey . All viewed as players who’ll no doubt be able to offer something to the organization .

As I alluded to earlier within this piece the Saints’ offense is as potent as any within the NFL . The team’s depth within that category says a great deal and the figures put up by the players says a great deal as mindset of Sean Payton and in particular offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr . Most certainly the team will be looking for another productive season from Marques Colston , Lance Moore , Robert Meachem amongst the team’s receving corps to complement the running game that will be provided by Ingram , Chris Taylor and Darren Sproles amongst others .

It is hoped tonight that this game showcases the very best that the NFL has to offer the fans and public at large . If nothing else , going into the weekend’s scheduled series of games we can only feast on the delights of the match-ups games themselves and at the same time solemnly remember those lost in the senseless events of 9/11. My sincerest hope is to commemorate this anniversary with the utmost respect that it deserves but also for all of the fans to celebrate the return of the NFL after a needless drawn-out and protracted stoppage .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything will you be looking forward to from tonight’s game and also with regard to the weekend’s NFL schedule ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you feel may well be pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always , for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !.

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Packers’ fan Dean Haberle is seen before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ……

(2) David Bowman, right, and James McNally are seen before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ….

(3) (L – R) David Asman and Emmitt Smith visit FOX Studios on September 7, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images …..

(4) In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green (3) works with kids while participating in the NFL PLAY 60 Youth Football Festival inside the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon, Wis. The Packers open the 2011 NFL football season on Thursday, when they host the New Orleans Saints. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Evan Siegle …….

(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 26: Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers calls a play at the line during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(6) In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, workers set up the stage for NFL Kickoff concert at S. Oneida Street and Armed Forces Drive in Green Bay. Wis. The Packers open the 2011 NFL football season on Thursday, when they host the New Orleans Saints. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson ……

(7) Head Coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on as his team plays the Tennessee Titans during their pre season game at Louisiana Superdome on September 1, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana Photo by Sean Gardner/ Getty Images …….

(8) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left, and quarterback Drew Brees (9) watch from the sidelines in the third quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ……..

(9) Marques Colston (12) of the New Orleans Saints is dragged down at the one yard line by Tyvon Branch (33) of the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….
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I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

Well the Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) was somewhat anticlimactic to my mind a game (31-25) which was essentially beset by the mistakes made by both teams . I think that much of that came down to the fact that both teams never really settled down to the cavernous atmosphere of the stadium and the expectations that many felt was there to be had. The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking to win their seventh Superbowl title and cement themselves in the annals of the game. The Green Bay Packers not without a legacy themselves were looking to win their fourth Superbowl in the team’s history .

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The respective coaches in this case Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy have been the epitome of class throughout much of the season . We’ve had the bombastic attitude of Rex Ryan and we all saw how quickly the bottom fell out of the New York Jets’ season and their and languid their performance was in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That game pretty much summed up the Jets’ season and how overrated they actually were. I even remember one patron trying to suggest that Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez wasn’t a player that was being asked to do too much by Ryan and his coaching staff . Those of us who witnessed that game saw a player who struggled in large part and a player that was simply let down by his teammates as well.

The Superbowl itself was a game which I watched with several of my work colleagues at a local VFW as a number of them are former military vets or members of the Florida National Guard . We all vary in age from 35 to 65 and having served in the British military as a member of the Royal Marines in various parts of the world for a nine year stint ( Northern Ireland , Eritrea , Cyprus and the Ivory Coast ) . Along with my cadre of colleagues it goes without saying that others in attendance were obviously former service members. The USMC, US Army , US Navy and Air Force were all well represented. Many of them there had their allegiances to the teams participating or one should say specifically to the conferences. I simply wanted to see a game that was competitive and in some ways it actually fell short of that . It may well have been that this was the highest rated Superbowl in television history with an estimated audience by all accounts of 115 million viewers domestically. For Fox and their advertising partners this was a ratings’ bonanza and with ad rates said to be in excess of $150,000 per second a thirty second spot during peak viewing time would garner the network $4,500,000 . It’s pretty safe to say that not only was the network making a great deal of money but so too was the NFL .

I’ve got to admit being around these guys and watching the game was very much in essence like being around some of my former military buddies I’d served with. Now don’t get me wrong attuning myself to the sports’ landscape here and aligning myself to many number of teams once this country became my permanent home. Two decades on and I can categorically say that my allegiances are with the San Antonio Spurs , New England Patriots , and Duke (Blue Devils) Basketball . Admittedly at one time I was also an avid fan of the Florida Marlins and the USC Trojans but that all fell apart one I saw that the front office of the Marlins led by owner Jeffrey Loria couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth as to the team’s financing and viability. Let’s just say that team’s plight and anything that’s now said to be coming from Loria publicly can’t be trusted as being factual.

The same can be said of the Trojans’ athletics program and the mere fact that the university’s former AD Mike Garrett took winning to heart even if it meant doing so by unscrupulous means as a way of gaining untold riches and notoriety . At the center of it all was the behavior by former coaches Pete Carroll , Tim Floyd , athletes Reggie Bush and O J Mayo . And as we now know what transpired there was enough to indict everything that’s wrong in collegiate athletics today and the mess that the NCAA itself has created and condoned in many respects with the idiocy of their actions.

In the UK I still follow religiously my two favorite soccer teams Manchester United and Chelsea of the Premiership (EPL) . And not a day goes by when I’m no online checking on both teams’ progress in their various competitive endeavors. As many of you know also I’m somewhat passionate about the sport of boxing and there my alltime favorite boxer is Marvin Hagler perhaps the most underestimated middleweight champion in history. But with the sport now becoming something of a misnomer and with there now being a complete lack of credibility in many of the weight categories I now find myself more interested in MMA and specifically the promotions of UFC . As a martial arts practitioner I’ve got to admit that watching these bouts unfold now gives me greater pleasure than what’s now being served up in the world of boxing by the sport’s most prominent promoters such as Top Rank Inc , Don King Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions Inc . That triumvirate in large part along with the multitude of boxing’s international governing bodies have brought the sport to depths it’s now at , completely lacking in any credibility at all !

While watching the game I couldn’t help but wonder where many of us might be were it not for the circumstances that’s led us to where we are at present. A number of the veterans in attendance were also young vets who’d served in both Afghanistan , Iraq , as well as older veterans who’d served in the the first Iraqi conflict , World War II , Vietnam and Korea . However it also pained me to see number of the vets who’d recently returned from both Afghanistan and Iraq , who having served their country gallantly are having difficulties acclimatizing themselves back to civilian life. The Dept of Veterans Affairs as well meaning as it is overwhelmed with way too much bureaucracy and the fact that in some cases the facilities at which some of these veterans are treated at can at times best described as deplorable and outrageous. Having worked in conjunction with a number of organizations such as the PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) and charities specifically that deal with the well being of former vets I have to say that the conditions I’ve witnessed first hand as well as through some of the work that some of my work colleagues have done as pro-bono work as lawyers , has simply indicated to me that the US government does treat their veterans deplorably ! A lot of the time the utterance coming from members of Congress and the Senate is simply a sound byte merely to be politically correct and to seek empathy from the electorate.

To see a military veteran who’s now confined to a wheelchair having because of an IED and the fact that in many cases these incidents could have been avoided had former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seen fit to plan with some insight and not utter the rather asinine sound bytes while the propaganda war being waged came to a grinding halt as repeatedly this conflict has become completely out of control. Two wars , $1.6 trillion ($1,600,000,000) has been spent and there’s no sign that there’s light at the end of the tunnel ! . We’re told that the US troops will be leaving Iraq in an orderly fashion once the Iraqi security forces are able to secure their borders and the civilian population. Unfortunately what President Obama , Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now seem to be forgetting is that the Iraqi government has become so corrupt where the rule of law has become non existent . The less said about Afghanistan and the government led by President Hamid Karzai the better as that’s another cluster fuck that’s getting worse by the minute , and the fact that coalition lives are being sacrificed for no other reason than the pomposity now being shown by the US government and its allies. Democracy as always , there’s a steep price to pay but when the cost is that of US men and service women’s lives with there being nothing tangible to show for it at the end of the day has me now asking what is the stance of the US and its diplomacy as it relates to the Middle East ?

Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers having led the Green Bay Packers to their first Superbowl win in almost fifteen years . It has to be said that this was a long time coming for the fans in Green Bay . Mike McCarthy had this team playing with a great deal of resolve and it showed throughout much of the preseason , regular season and into the playoffs . And statistically the team led by Rodgers simply more than a pleasant surprise . And it augurs well for the prospects of the organization as a whole . A chance of a successful defense isn’t out the realms of possibility if they’re able to show the same sort of attitude shown throughout the 2010 season. But as we all know winning is the easy part the hard part is to successfully defend a title as everyone places a target on your back aiming for that bullseye, with the intent of knocking that team off their pedestal.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Spending time with my colleagues in such a way was nurturing on a number of levels merely because I felt at ease around many of these individuals with whom I had something in common with. We’ve shared stories about our experiences in the military but we’ve also formed a bond over love of sports and all that it brings . What else could one really ask for and how else would one want to spend a Superbowl Sunday ? Unfortunately the event itself from my own perspective had been something of a downfall with the fact that during the pregame ceremony you had 5 time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera butcher the National Anthem and then the halftime show headlined by The Black Eyed Peas was a complete cacaphony of noise that if anything sounded like lead singer Fergie was unsure what the hell she was doing on stage. I’ve got to wonder wasn’t there a sound check instituted before the group took stage and if anything was the original sound check conducted by Hellen Keller ? The game itself while entertaining in part did leave a lot to be desired but then again it met the expectations with the fact that it was once again a monumental and financial success for the NFL . And as we all know the NFL has simply about their image and the money because nothing else really matters to the hierarchy !

What impressions if any did you have on the event itself and how did you feel about the entertainment that was provided throughout ? Simply chime on in with a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slide show details below

(1) Green Bay Packers fan John Magnin celebrates after the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 . AP Photo/LM Otero ……

(2) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 with his family at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ……..

<p (3) Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) talks with the media after winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL ………

(4) Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson, right, celebrates with teammate Andrew Quarless after scoring a touchdown during the first half of NFL Super Bowl XLV football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(5) U.S. Army medic SGT Tyrone Jordan (top) of Charlotte, NC attached to Dustoff Task Force Shadow of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade works on Marine LCpl. Michael Staley aboard a MEDEVAC helicopter after Staley suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder September 18, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. Task Force Shadow is responsible for evacuating wounded Afghani and Coalition forces as well as local nationals throughout southern Afghanistan. Scott Olson/Getty Images AsiaPac ……….

(6) Afghan President Hamid Karzai holds a press conference at the Presidential Palace on February 8, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Karzai called on his Western allies to close down civil-military provincial reconstruction projects (PRT’s) that have served their purpose, likening the PRT’s to a ‘plumber’ whose services were no longer required. Majid Saeedi/ Getty ImagesAsiaPac ……….

(7) US Air Force Senior Airman, Lisibeth Payano closes the door of a mortuary vehicle during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base on December 3, 2009 in Dover, Delaware. The dignified transfer was for US Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Taylor of Jacksonville, Florida and US Army Cpl. Kenneth R. Nichols, Jr. of Chrisman, Illinois, both killed in Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson ….

(8) Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) (L) thanks U.S. Army Specialist Eric Edmondson (C) and his father Ed Edmondson (top) during a news conference about Democratic efforts to pass an omnibus veterans? health bill at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2009 in Washington, DC. Specialist Edmondson, who suffered severe traumatic brain injury in an improvised explosive device attack in October 2005 while serving in Iraq, is cared for by his parents. Democrats indentified Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) as the sole Republican holding up the passage of the bill designed to help Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and family caregivers of the seriously wounded. However since this bill became law what many veterans are now finding out is that the VA (Veterans Administration) hasn’t been all that quick meeting their obligations in facilitating the expedition of the paperwork . The agency itself is undermanned and being mismanaged never mind the absence of well trained medical professionals needed . Getty Images North America / Chip Smodoville ……….

(9) A marine checks a weapon as eighty Royal Marines of Zulu company 45 Commando prepare to leave their base RM Condor for six months tour in Afghanistan on October 2, 2008 in Arbroath, Scotland. A total of 500 Royal Marines from 45 Commando are going to Afghanistan, Whiskey Company left last week, and the rest of the marines will leave in the next two weeks. Jeff Miller / Getty Images Europe ………….

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[ In my military active service I saw action while being on the front lines of the troubles in N Ireland as the troubles there and where the violence actions of the IRA who in essence were a para-military organization _____ a precursor for what we now see in Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Jeemah Islamiyah . ]

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

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John Legend ……………….feat’g Andre’ 3000 …….”Green Light” Music as it should be with actual instruments and vocals !

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Packers , Steelers, Packers , Steelers , Packer , Steelers …. Who’ve You Got ?

Packers , Steelers , Packers , Steelers , Packer , Steelers …. Who’ve You Got ?

Well the NFL’s showcase event Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) is but a week away this Sunday and is set to take place at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas , Sunday 6th February, 2011. For coaches Mike Tomlin and his counterpart Mike McCarthy this is essentially the epitome of their professional career. Having your name mentioned in the same breath as such luminary NFL greats as Lombardi , Shula , Ditka , Knoll and Bill Walsh will no doubt resonate with both of these coaches and what they’ve meant to the NFL. Each having been enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio it’s easy to understand why having your name associated with the Lombardi Trophy and the adorning winner’s ring that signifies you’re a winner __ there’s not much else that really needs to be said.

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Well the Pittsburgh Steelers being the AFC representatives will be viewed as the home team having the better record of the two participants. The Green Bay Packers for their part coming off a rather impressive performance against the Chicago Bears it has to be said that if anything that was their finest effort put forth of the season . Everything seemed to click right for the Packers as Aaron Rodgers and this unlikely cast simply laid waste to Lovie Smith’s —- team . And while there’s been a great deal of criticism of Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler for his non-participation in the latter part of this game , to my mind it merely endorsed what I’ve always thought along about Cutler as a player and his character. He’s self absorbed , aloof and cares little about others , other than caring about himself !

Now while I’m under no illusions as to the pedigree of both teams there’s no doubt in my mind that these are the two best representatives that the AFC and NFC could have mustered for this showcase event. All of the hoopla over teams such as the Minnesota Vikings , Dallas Cowboys , New England Patriots , San Diego Chargers and reigning Superbowl champions the New Orleans Saints were all for naught as they simply fell by the wayside either during the regular season or during the playoffs itself.

For Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates this will be their chance to add to the Steelers’ already illustrious history by becoming the first NFL franchise to have won seven Superbowl titles . And it’s easy to comprehend why the Rooney family as owners of the team are revered and respected throughout the game. They’re often viewed as the class organization within the NFL and there’s indeed great deal of veracity to that claim. And in spite of the off the field issues of Roethlisberger this season it has to be said that how Tomlin and his coaching staff got his players to play with a great deal of zeal in all facets of the game while holding themselves accountable has to be admired.

If anything as the season progressed the better this Steelers’ team became and that was with the return of Roethlisberger after he’d served his league mandated four game suspension. At 3-1 few thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers would have been in that position and augured well for the fans in attendance at Heinz Field with the terrible towels showing their and unbridled and unrivaled passion for their team. Consistently playing to their strengths the second half of the season would have its ups and downs for the Steelers. But if anything it has been the play of Roethlisberger and the offense that simply showed why this team was on a mission. Not to be outdone Dick LeBeau’s defense simply turned it up a notch as and when needed. And if anyone is of the belief that LeBeau is not the best defensive coordinator in the NFL today, then they’re in need some psychiatric help !

Mike McCarthy has had to deal with a great deal over the past five years and it having survived the Brett Favre saga and all that it represented I’ve got to say that his psyche has got be as tough as hell ! And for those supporters of Jay Cutler who are of the opinion that he’s as tough as nails , I’ve heard that American Idol alum Clay Aiken has asked that Cutler turn in his man card . Rodgers this season has proven that by his play , leadership qualities and skills he’s the proven successor Brett Favre . I doubt that there’s a Packers’ fans in Green Bay who’s all that concerned or cares about Brett Favre any longer ! And whereas Favre has always showed some type great emotional well being towards the fans at Lambeau Field , Green Bay , when he’s been a player on an opposing team. Well let’s just say that the love hasn’t always been reciprocated towards the former Packer , not since his abrupt departure from the organization . There’s more chance that Hugo Chavez or some current members of Congress and the Senate would be more welcomed with open arms and signs of affection. But that’s just my take on the situation and I’ll stick with it !

If the Packers are to prevail in this game then it will take a concerted effort by the entire team if they’re to prevail . And for a seasoned veteran such as cornerback Charles Woodson this will be the chance to put a stamp on an illustrious career and an almost certainty as a future Hall of Famer . This game certainly won’t be just about the performances of both teams but I do believe that both coaching staffs will have their roles to play. And while McCarthy seeks his first Superbowl win this will Tomlin’s second appearance as a coach as he looks to add to his already impressive record as an NFL coach. He seeks to become only the second African American coach to have won a Superbowl and the youngest to have won two before the age of forty.

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As I alluded to earlier the game will be about the play not only of the two starting quarterbacks who’ve essentially now become the faces of their respective franchises. And if anything this adds further legitimacy that they’re amongst the elite within the league at the position . The Brady’s , Manning’s (Peyton) , Brees and Rivers of the world won’t be in the building just like Elvis , as they’ll be sitting at home while Elvis rests in his mausoleom.

Alas on a bye note it now appears that Tennessee Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher will not be returning to the team next season . It goes without saying that I feel that he’ll find a another position within the NFL at the drop of a hat. He’s too well respected around the league not to be given the opportunity. And for Titans’ owner Bud Adams all I can say is that you are the butt-hole I’ve always thought you to be ! With a miscreant and ass wipe like Vince Young on the team who customarily laid waste to any ambitions that the organization may well have had for the season with his errant play and infantile behavior. And for you to stick with him when common sense revealed that he was more of a detriment to the team than a case of bubonic plague or dengue fever. Well it would suggest that clear thought of mind was never a strong point of yours and heeding the genuine advice of others also was never ever something that you took into account !

Young , himself , has revealed that he still feels given the right opportunity that he can contribute to any team around the league and that the setbacks that have occurred can be turned around. Is it me but do I hear some laughter in the background after the player’s latest statement ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the Superbowl and how do you see things panning out between these two teams ? Also how do you view the decision of Jeff Fisher not to return to the Tennessee Titans next season ? As you can see I’ve my own distinct thoughts on the matter. Simply chime in with your comments as you see fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated ! Thanks !

Picture and slide show details for your perusal .

(1)Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) and defensive end C.J. Wilson stretch during NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ………..

(2) Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, left, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers look on during NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …..

(3) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers , right, and head coach Mike McCarthy talk during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. It now appears that budding relationship now exists between the player and coach which has blossomed into an outstanding season for both. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ……..

(4) Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, left, and safety Nick Collins enjoy a laugh during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …….

(5) Arlington, Tx,. A general interior view of Cowboys Stadium as the Dallas Cowboys play against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. An expected worldwide television audience of 1 billion people are expected to watch the broadcast live across the globe. Domestically the NFL is expecting the audience to top Superbowl 44’s (SBXLIV) . Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ………

(6) Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images ………….

(7) Tampa , Fl,. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy in the locker room after defeating the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. The player will be seeking his third Superbowl title in six years and in his third Superbowl appearance . Some extraordinary feat wouldn’t you think ? Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……..

[8]Pittsburgh Steelers center Doug Legursky, left, and Kyle Jolly work on blocking drills during NFL football practice in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. The Steelers will be facing the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ……..

(9) Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin (left) is seen here with Dick LeBeau the team’s defensive coordinator . Speculation now surrounds the fact that there are a number of teams around the NFL looking to pry away the Hall of Fame player turned coach. LeBeau resolutely states if he remains in coaching then it will be with the Pittsburgh Steelers as he’s happy within the familial type environment of the organization. AP Photo/ Keith Srkaroic ……..

(10) Tennessee Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt, right, and former head coach Jeff Fisher, left, walk to an NFL football news conference at the team’s headquarters on Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced on Thursday that Jeff Fisher will not remain as head coach. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ……

(11) In this Sept. 2, 2010, file photo, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, right, talks with Titans owner Bud Adams prior to an NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, that Fisher will no longer be their coach. AP Photo/Dave Martin …………

(12) Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans talks with head coach Jeff Fisher, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and trainer Brad Brown after coming in the game in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions on November 27, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Young no longer with the team having been cut this postseason is now looking to return to the NFL . In a recent statement to the local press he offered his thoughts on why he wasn’t retained by the team but states categorically that he can contribute to a team and become a Pro Bowl caliber type of player. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ………..

Alan aka tophatal ……………..
01/28/11

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Eye candy …………………… Latin beauty Dania Ramirez

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T- Pain ………………… “I’m In Love With A Stripper”

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Who’s Going To Protect The Players If The NFL Itself Can’t Do Its Best To Protect Them ?

Who’s Going To Protect The Players If The NFL Itself Can’t Do Its Best To Protect Them ?

It’s becoming extremely difficult to find some reason to give credence to the events that took place on the sidelines of the game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets . The actions of Jets’ strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi and that of a number of players who are on the teams’s injured reserved list . As the Dolphins’ Nolan Carroll raced down the sidelines Alosi made sure that his leg was there to impede Carroll causing him to fall to the ground. Now while an apology has been forthcoming from Alosi , one could clearly see that the move was intentional and not an accident as he was trying to suggest at the time. What might be even more unconscionable is the mere fact that Mike Westhoff the assistant coach to Rex Ryan is now coming to the defense of the beleaguered Alosi and suggesting that the incident was unfortunate mistake by his associate. The question I’d ask of Westhoff would he be of the same opinion were that a Jets’ player and the player in question were Mark Sanchez ? I guess we’ll never know but somehow I do believe that Westhoff and the Jets’ organization would be asking for their pound of flesh with the offender’s head being served up and placed on a silver platter !

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Slide show for your perusal.

Alosi has since been suspended by the Jets’ organization indefinitely and the NFL is now conducting its own investigation into the incident. Roger Goodell and his office have to do more to stop this sort of irresponsible behavior and furthermore for the players who were on the sidelines at the time of the incident and stated this is done by them all the time, it begs the question why didn’t they speak out at the time of Alosi’s stupidity ? Two of the players who were on the sidelines at the time of the incident have stated that Sal Alosi asked them to be on the sidelines during regular game-time play and to be there as a way of depriving the opposing player room while in motion. Now what I’d like to know is what would have been done had Nolan Carroll been seriously injured during his fall after Alosi’s idiocy ? It’s bad enough that with the repeated injuries such concussions being suffered by a number of players after rather dubious plays in some instances we now have the NFL coming and imposing fines upon the players who are actually enacting these hits. To date the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ____ James Harrison has been penalized to the tune of $125,000 and it’d be fair to say that before season’s end that sum could rise exponentially.

Those of us who may well have seen the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will have witnessed the mind numbingly physicality of the game between the two teams and there were several hits aimed at Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick . The player who has been having a tremendous season to the extent that he’s now the top vote getter in the NFL for the Pro Bowl . That asides those hits and the fact that they were not called leads me to believe that Vick was fair game for the Cowboys’ defensive players . Were that say, Tom Brady , Peyton Manning , Philip Rivers or Drew Brees I do believe that the referees officiating the game would have called the penalties …….. roughing the passer ! But invariably the calls were not made even in light of the fact that many of the hits were most definitely after the play. It’s now being left to the league and certain officials after a game to determine what’s fair concerning a hit by a player on another player on the opposing team . If there’s no consistency by the officials officiating during a game then how can anyone believe that a decision made after the result has been determined makes things right ? If anything by perception alone this smacks of incompetency and sheer stupidity on the part of the NFL . But as Goodell’s office now determines what they deem to be appropriate then I guess that the focus and mindset within the game somehow changes in terms of the competitiveness of players and how to some extent a game will be determined.

We all know that the NFL is a ‘star driven league’ that’s essentially about the pre-eminent faces there and in this case those stars are inevitably the highly prized and well known quarterbacks around the game . As I alluded to earlier, the likes of Brady , Manning , Rivers and Brees are well protected by the officials and I’ve no doubt that this is being done at the behest of the commissioner’s office. The Green Bay Packers’ ___ Aaron Rodgers has now suffered his second concussion in as many months this season and is probable for the team’s —— game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts . That being said without Rogers at the helm the Packers’ season could very well go up in smoke as they’re fighting for not only a playoff berth but also with the possibility of winning the NFC North . Things are tightening up within the NFC and it could very well be that the Green Bay Packers who were heavily favored as a playoff contender will now be on the outside looking in.

Speaking of quarterbacks isn’t it now time for Brett Favre to put an end to this farce and the possibility of him now returning to play the final three games of the Minnesota Vikings’ season ? As bad as things have been for the Vikings this season much of it has come about as Favre has seemingly fallen apart not only professionally but also privately , as there’s still an open ongoing investigation into the allegations that the player had sent sexually explicit pictures to Jenn Sterger a former New York Jets’ employee. If that wasn’t enough Favre has admitted to sending explicit messages to Sterger but states that pictures allegedly of him are in fact of someone else. Commissioner Goodell has stated that he’s close to making a decision concerning the player’s actions and that it will be in line with the league’s personal conduct policy. At best Favre would be looking at a suspension and perhaps some form of rehab which to my mind is all too little, too late considering the nature of the player’s actions and the fact that he’s married man, a father and grandfather. The league is all about its image but the fact of the matter is when it comes to doing what’s appropriate they continue to come up short repeatedly. It’s as if at times the league condones misogyny and acts such as this which are so egregious and unlawful. It now begs the question also why weren’t law enforcement officials brought in to investigate this matter when it first came to the fore ? This has been one story that Favre and the NFL wishes would go away.

The season itself now has come down to a number of teams looking to remain consistent and those looking for a backdoor into the playoffs. I’d recently suggested to a patron of my site that I felt it was ludicrous that we could very well see a team from either of the AFC West or NFC West win their division with a sub .500 record . And far be it for me to suggest but when that happens and a team with a much better record within the conference is denied a place merely because of a divisional winner’s record that to my mind smacks of stupidity ! And inasmuch as the league deems it a fair system there is nothing at all on appearance that is really fair. It’s all a matter of perception and what the league itself wishes as a proponent of the present format.

Rich McKay who’s the President of the Atlanta Falcons has proposed that the league re-seeds the teams once the regular season is over and wherein teams with a better record than those of a divisional winner within their respective conferences are given a higher seeding and home field advantage. This isn’t as complex as it might first sound but there are a number of detractors of McKay’s proposal and the fact that those teams who’d be affected aren’t entirely with these changes. But to my mind these changes would be far more beneficial to the league and for the fans but as we know the league has an aversion to change in a number of ways. Change is normally seen as being good but somehow I feel that at this moment in time the NFL would rather be at a standstill as it deals with a number of other obligations. Case in point they are no further along in their negotiations with the NFLPA and DeMaurice Smith the Executive Director of the union. And one would have thought that speeding up the labor negotiations and coming to an amicable agreement would be a great deal easier given the things at stake and possible loss of goodwill amongst the fans. In many ways I view the NFL hierarchy , owners and players as top heavy bureaucracy that’s laden with a group of idiots at all levels from the top on down.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NFL , the season and how the direction that things seem to be going for a number of teams around the league ? Chime in with a comment on your thoughts and views .

😛

Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

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Sasha-XXL

Eye candy ………… Sasha . The month of June’s eye candy from XXL Magazine.
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Kimbella

The delectable Kimbella !. Is there anymore that needs to be said about her at this juncture ?

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