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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Make Hay While The Sun Shines …………..

Make Hay While The Sun Shines ….

Well now that the mandatory cuts have to be made for NFL teams seeking to reduce their rosters from 90 to 53 players it will be interesting to see what transpires and which members are thought to superfluous to the needs of those franchises. Certainly when this happens players themselves know it’s being done from a business standpoint but more often than it happens because those very same athletes simply have underperformed and not met the expectations of their respective coaches and that of the general managers in question . Now while one can assume that these players are likely to be picked up by a team either to fill a practice roster squad vacancy , most are hoping to make it unto a team where they can contribute and be productive overall for that particular franchise .

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A number of players may well be viewed as now having reached the crossroads of their careers , given the rigors of playing in the NFL . Life expectancy for a player in the league on average is said to be no more than five years at best, given the position played on the field . Granted , for the multiple players that are cut , a number are signed by teams to contract extensions or in some cases multiple year deals . It should come as no surprise that the Philadelphia Eagles sought to resign their quarterback Michael Vick and reward him with a very generous contract ( 6 years __ $100 million cumulative $40 million guaranteed ) . It seems justified given the player’s accomplishments this past season for the team . The faith shown in Vick by coach Andy Reid , his coaching staff , GM Joe Banner and team owner Jeffrey Lurie .

The Eagles’ own offseason moves along with their draft choices shows the organization’s intent that this season they intend to make a full on attack with a view of reaching the Superbowl with the undoubted result of raising the Lombardi Trophy as victors.

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Vince Young (9) of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown against the Cleveland Browns with teammate Michael Vick (7) during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

It would be fair to assume that the Philadelphia Eagles can be looked upon as one of the presumptive favorites within the NFC this upcoming season . I certainly believe that to be the case with this team , along with the defending champions , Green Bay Packers , Atlanta Falcons , New Orleans Saints and quite possibly the Dallas Cowboys . Though I am not yet truly ready to proclaim Tony Romo capable of leading this team to the “promised land ” ! Jason Garrett and his coaching staff first , has to get these players ___ playing with consistency and at the same time simply hope that Romo himself can get through the season without any major ailments as it regards his health. If they are capable of doing that then the postseason itself should become very interesting indeed should the Cowboys be participants in that fair . But Garrett’s greatest predicament may well lie in the fact that team owner Jerry Jones and the front office will maintain a watchful eye on the coach’s progress as well the team’s over the course of this season .

Inasmuch as I view the preseason as something of a precursor , usually of what to expect during the regular season with regard to the starters , I must admit to an extent I have been quietly surprised by the play of several of the rookies taken in this past NFL Draft . One of the players in question that has impressed me the most and someone who I believe can contribute to his team is Julio Jones . Amongst all rookie receivers he has been one of the most impressive along with the Stevan Ridley of the New England Patriots . There’s a reason why Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons and team GM Rich McKay saw fit to make the player the sixth overall pick in the first round of this past draft . Jones’ prodigous talent was on display for all to see while he attended Alabama and it was one of the primary reasons behind the team’s success within the SEC Western Division in posting a 10-3 record overall last season .

Julio Jones brings with him a great deal of speed , agility and the fact that’s he an immediate game changer who can spread the field and add to the offensive weaponry at the disposal of Matt Ryan as the team’s quarterback. And given the prodigious talents of Roddy White , Michael Turner , Jason Snelling and Tony Gonzalez , it has to be said that this team along with the prerequisite draft picks taken , this franchise does now have a legitimate view to be take much more seriously as a bona-fide contender. And that is in light of their postseason meltdown last year against (48-21 ) the eventual champions , the Green Bay Packers .

Within the AFC it has to be said for the San Diego Chargers this might well be the last opportunity for them to have that shot at the “brass ring ” . Norv Turner as the team’s coach has repeatedly found ways to inexplicably coach the franchise to moderate depths of what one deem to be acceptable failure . But if you happen to be a die-hard Chargers’ fans can you honestly say that you find the coach’s missteps as being appropriate , given the talent at his disposal ? The excuses have been continually made about injuries sustained by the team over the course of a season but I believe it comes more from the fact that Norv Turner is essentially out of his depth as a head coach ! If you can’t win with Philip Rivers and that offense , then that’s a clear sign that this team won’t be winning anything at all , anytime soon !

The San Diego Chargers’ GM AJ Smith along with Turner’s coaching staff made the moves that they believed to be in the best interests of the organization as they move forward . Certainly , from a player personnel standpoint ,the roster needed to have more depth in the roster from an offense , defensive and on special team’s . This task would be undertaken with the usual diligence one would come to expect from an organization that seeks turn itself around after a lackluster season that simply further enhanced the fact that the Chargers failed miserably within the AFC West .

For the San Diego Chargers this NFL Draft proved to be a fortuitous one by way of the players acquired . Corey Liuget , Marcus Gilchrist , Jonas Mouton , Vincent Brown , Shareece Wright , Jordan Todman , Steve Schilling and Andrew Gachkar can be productive for this team , given the opportunity to do so. But much of that however will be predicated upon what each brings to the table and how Norv Turner chooses to get the best out these draftees.

The regular season itself starts out with two games that should tell us a great deal about the San Diego Chargers . Their season opener at home against the Minnesota Vikings at Qualcomm Stadium before taking on conference rivals the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough , Massachusetts . Right out of the gate this Chargers’ team has to be ready to play at a high level of consistency as they can ill afford to make any un-necessary slip-ups . All too often we have seen the team play half heartedly over the past two seasons only to somehow fail , much of that being of their own doing . Norv Turner may well be on “the hot seat” in terms of the coaches said to be close , to losing their current positions . Should the Chargers’ coach fail at this juncture , then I for one feel that there’s no justification for him at all to retain his position with the organization !

Interestingly enough , the one player I felt would be ready for the season , will now quite possibly sit out the first six or seven games of the regular NFL schedule. Terrell Owens whose productivity with the Cincinnati Bengals couldn’t be questioned , is now recuperating , having had off season surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in right his knee. The player believe he’s still quite capable of offering something to a contending team in the NFL but I for one now believe that these are the waning days of a player whose career has been littered with controversy as well as some great highs and lows . A Hall of Famer ? Should he choose to retire and meet the criteria set , then Owens would seem to be an automatic choice to be inducted .

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Week 4 of the preseason now beckons as the teams look to get themselves into a set rhythm before they embark upon their regular season schedule. A great deal will be made over how the franchises acquit themselves through those initial first couple of games , as I believe we may well be seeing number of teams simply struggle to overcome their inadequacies as they would normally have to. This NFL stoppage if anything has opened our eyes as to a number of reasons why this whole facade was completely unnecessary but you’d be hard pressed to convince the NFL league hierarchy or the NFLPA . What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming season and with regard to any of the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

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(1) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick smiles during a news conference about his new contract with the NFL football team, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(2) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles against the Cleveland Browns during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles would go on to defeat the Browns 24-14 Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ……

(3) Vince Young (9) of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown against the Cleveland Browns with teammate Michael Vick (7) during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

(4) PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 27: Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons runs after the catch against Keenan Lewis (23) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during a pre-season game on August 27, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

(5) Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) avoids Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu after making a catch for first down in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …….

(6) Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith , left, stands with team owner Arthur Blank , center, who shakes hands with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin , right, during warmup before the preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …….

(7) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) drops back to pass in the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …..

(8) Wide receiver Malcom Floyd(80) of the San Diego Chargers celebrates with Kris Dielman (68) after scoring a 3 yard touchdown reception past cornerback A.J. Jefferson (20) of the Arizona Cardinals during the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(9) Quarterback Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers watches from the sidelines during the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(10) Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers watches from the sidelines during the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……
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Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Well for myself the sporting weekend transitioned itself around Rory McIlroy simply decimating a world class field at the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda , Maryland . The margin of victory not withstanding a resounding 8 stroke victory by McIlroy over his closest rival Jason Day . Now the whole world will want to know what awaits McIlroy and how would he have fared had Tiger Woods been in the field ? From my own perspective given Woods’ recent run of form I doubt that the result would have been any different ! Suffice to say while Woods remains the yardstick against which the current contemporaries are to be adjudged , in reality the Tiger of old isn’t currently around .

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Things are now beginning to look rather bleak for the Florida Marlins . In the month of June this team has won only one of their last eighteen games and the fact that manager Edwin Rodriguez simply walked away from the organization and team having tendered his resignation simply indicates how dire things had become for the NL East franchise . Now with eighty year old Jack McKeon being asked by GM Larry Beinfest to assume control of this beleaguered team I am not so sure that things can be drastically turned around .

Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress soon have his freedom having been incarcerated at the taxpayers’ expense . And for the player who now looks to resurrect his NFL career it will be interesting to see what teams if any take an open interest in the former Pro Bowl wideout . Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made it his desire to have Burress become a teammate of his with the Eagles . But I doubt that either team coach Andy Reid or GM Joe Banner are seeking to make another reclamation project out of another troubled NFL player . Vick in spite of his successes last season still has a long way to go to prove to everyone that he’s actually back to his very best as a player but even more so as a leader .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Burress still has something to offer to a team but given the player’s predilection to self implode , if I were a general manager much less an NFL team owner his joining my organization would have to be based upon his demeanor and actual acknowledgement that he has now changed for the better as a human being . Beyond that not much else would really matter other than him being productive on the field of play .

There’s no doubt in my mind that the rules of the NFL are there for a reason especially where it involves the players concerning gambling. It is now being widely reported that as many twenty five NFL players are known to be investors in a gaming concern in Alabama . The owner of the casino Country Crossing —- Ron Gilley is under indictment by the Justice Department along with two lobbyists for offering state legislator millions of dollars in bribes in order to facilitate the approval and building of the casino in Dothan , Alabama .

The NFL’s rules are very clear on this matter wherein it states that current NFL players are barred from being involved in any type of gaming concern from a business standpoint . In doing so it creates the perception that in some way that there could be a conflict of interest and any type of impropriety that a player or players whilst on the field of play could effect the outcome of game . Well given the fact that the league as such welcomes to the actions of gamblers betting on their games I can’t see how they feel that an NFL player hasn’t been wagering on the games where they are already participants ! It would be naïve to think otherwise , albeit that no one has been caught but I think it is pretty safe to say that the players around the NFL have their own proclivities when it comes to games of chance . Tens of millions of dollars are wagered each year on the Superbowl and I am quite sure that there have been a number of players around the NFL that have profited directly or indirectly from placing a bet on the game . The NFL hierarchy if they do decide to conduct an investigation into this matter than the ramifications could well be very serious for the players involved at the center of this drama .

I’ve never been one to get completely enamored over the glare of the limelight or the very fact that some athletes tend to think of themselves as being bigger than the game. But in light of the recent meltdown of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and the mere fact that the team’s All Star LeBron James has began to chastise the fans for his and his team’s own shortcoming has me now believing more so than ever before that this is the monster that David Stern has created ! Instead of the NBA being a team sport it has now become a heartless ego driven endeavor where upon it is the stars/ marquee players that we are meant to be enthralled by rather than the teams themselves .

If James’ behavior and that of his teammate Dwyane Wade wasn’t enough of an indicator of that then I for one don’t know what is ! ! Self aggrandizement and the mocking of an opponent who at the time was said to be ill shows the lack of class in the two aforementioned players . But yet team President Pat Riley continued to bitch and whine when any criticism was being leveled at the team or his famous duo of stars . In the end nothing could have been much sweeter than seeing the Miami Heat juggernaut being derailed by the Dallas Mavericks and Finals’ MVP Dirk Nowitzki . When all said and done the better and far more deserving team proved to be victorious and laying to rest the myth that having a trio of superstars elicits a win of a title . Teams win titles , where the endeavor is meant to about showing cohesiveness and a genuine will to win and nothing resembling that was ever on display by the Miami Heat throughout the NBA Finals and their series loss to the Dallas Mavericks !

I was never enamored with the NHL and I don’t think I ever will be ! In light of the Boston Bruins having won the Stanley Cup in defeating the Vancouver Canucks . The display by Canucks’ fans in the aftermath of the team’s game seven loss was enough of an indicator that it simply doesn’t matter where the fans are from their baser instincts are always the same ! Act like a Neanderthal and you’ll viewed as such ! The fans went on a postgame riot , looting , burning cars and damaging businesses in the city of Vancouver that in the could run into several million dollars worth of damages . But what might be even more ludicrous may well have been the public statement issued by the city’s police chief , Jim Chu in stating that the incidents and acts of violence resulting in over 100 arrests and 150 people injured were merely the acts of the criminal element with nothing better to do . I wonder if Chu’s mindset would still have been the same had there been far more serious injuries resulting with someone’s death ? Isn’t it bad enough that his city was shown in a thoroughly bad light after these riots , never mind the fact that the game’s image has been tarnished by the events that took place ?

Granted, no sport is ever without its bad elements but the mere fact that Chu chooses to write this off as a criminal element choosing to take advantage of a sporting events smacks of sheer stupidity on his part . If anything it furthermore paints a poor picture of his city and the fact that those involved are nothing more than a marauding bunch of hooligans . That asides , if the hockey fan out there becomes this disgruntled because their team loses in the game’s showcase event then it simply shows another reason why the game continues to flounder in more ways than one from a commercial and professional endeavor .

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as your thoughts .

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) U.S. Open golf championship winner Rory McIlroy, or Northern Ireland, right, is handed his U.S. Open trophy by Francois-Henry Bennahmias, left, president and CEO of Audemars Piguet (North America) Inc., during an event at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Mass., Monday, June 20, 2011. AP Photo/The Cape Cod Times, Merrily Cassidy …

(2) Bethseda, Maryland: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his father Gerry McIlroy pose with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images …

(3) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images …

(4) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks onto the eightenth green before winning the 111th US Open by eight strokes over Jason Day with a record 268 at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON …..

(5) Florida Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, left, talks to reporters as interim manager Jack McKeon looks on during a news conference in Miami, Monday, June 20, 2011. Beinfest announced McKeon’s second term as manager of the Marlins. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields , right, is congratulated by catcher Kelly Shoppach after throwing a four-hitter in the Rays’ 2-1 victory over the Florida Marlins in a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, June 19, 2011.

(7) Former New York Giants wide receiver, Plaxico Burress is seen holding onto a cup of coffee and wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat while out in New York City. On June 6th, Burress was released from prison after nearly spending two years behind bars on gun charges. Courtesy of Pacific coast news.com ….

(8) Former NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress attends a press conference at National Urban League on June 13, 2011 in New York City. Getty Images North America / Joe Corrigan ……

(9) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field before playing against the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Al Bello ….

(10) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles walks of the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles would lose to the Packers 21-16 Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(11) FILE – This June 1, 2011 file photo shows Miami Heat President Pat Riley talking to reporters in Miami. Riley says he will not return to coaching, and says the team has a strong leader in Erik Spoelstra . Riley spoke Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at his annual end-of-season wrap-up and touched on several topics including the disappointment of Miami’s loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File …

(12) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, fights back tears as fans cheer following his introduction during a celebration following the team’s victory parade, Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks earned their first NBA basketball championship by defeating the Miami Heat. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(13) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 12: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat walks into the interview room to answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

(14) Riot police walk in the street on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images …..

(15) Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron carries the Stanley Cup aloft as he walks through a crowd of onlookers from Tia’s Restaurant in Boston on Thursday, June 16, 2011, one day after the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(16) Police on horseback move down a street during a riot following the Vancouver Canucks being defeated by the Boston Bruins in the NHL Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Angry, drunken revelers ran wild Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz ….

(17) Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu seen here speaking with the convened press . copyrighted material @ All rights reserved Post Media News / Ethan Baron ……

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The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword But In The End The Written Word Has To Have That Measure of Truth To It…………

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword But In The End The Written Word Has To Have That Measure of Truth To It…………

A lot is now being written and speculated on concerning Tiger Woods’ return to the PGA Tour and his competing in The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club , Augusta, Georgia. Let’s put it this way with the ‘three ringed circus’ that’s about to be unfurled , does anyone really expect Woods to compete and win the tournament outright ? Oddsmakers in Vegas and in the UK with William Hill may well have him as the prohibitive favorite but it may well come down to the rest of the field and perhaps either an unknown or a top ten player winning one of golf’s most prestigious events and perhaps the most vaulted ‘major out side of The (British) Open .

Augusta ,Ga,. Tiger Woods is awarded the green jacket after winning the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 14 , 2002 in Augusta, Georgia. Woods announced March 16, 2010 that he plans to play in April at the Masters. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Andrew Reddington ..........
Augusta ,Ga,. Tiger Woods is awarded the green jacket after winning the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 14 , 2002 in Augusta, Georgia. Woods announced March 16, 2010 that he plans to play in April at the Masters. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Andrew Reddington ..........

Now with everything that we’ve been made aware of concerning Woods and ‘his sexual’ proclivities . It makes me wonder how much the spectators who’ll be there in attendance for the tournament, will be there to watch the golf or merely to view Woods for themselves up close and personal ? Granted , he members and board of Augusta National will make sure that Woods is protected not just merely from the press but also the rowdy fans who’ll be there. And as much as hierarchy there at Augusta like to view themselves as the paragons of virtue and the custodians of the game. Consider this , forty ive years ago would this much fuss have been made about a member of the PGA Tour caught up in such an intrigue ? Never mind the fact that the person at the center of this all just happens to be a minority . We seem to forget that it wasn’t until 1975 that a minority of African American descent had been allowed as an invitee to compete in the event . And that honor went to Lee Elder . And the greats of the game at the time such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer had been ominously silent on the issue of race when it came to that very subject on the PGA Tour . I wonder why ? I mean young African American males had fought and shed their blood fighting a war in Vietnam were they not – for this country ? But yet at the back end of the civil rights’ era an African American male couldn’t yet compete on one of the grandest stages in golf . Seems somewhat strange and undignified when you really think about it all .

One would like to think that the PGA Tour and the members of Augusta have come a long way since those days. To this day though Augusta is still a members only private club , in terms of its diversity and racial makeup it still falls behind a number of other private clubs across the nation. Don’t be fooled by the fact that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem states that they (PGA Tour) in conjunction with the board members of Augusta are changing that perception. Nothing could be further from the truth ! This is still very much an old boys’ network being ran by aging Caucasians with an axe to grind.

Well the NBA is now down to the final leg of the season with the last dozen or so games to be played by a number of teams as it pertains to their respective schedules. In the Eastern Conference and its standing, seems almost pretty much set as to who the final eight teams will be that will make the playoffs. Though it has to be said that the Chicago Bulls (35-39) are doing their damndest to chase down and pass the Toronto Raptors (36-37) for that eighth and final spot. They’re merely 1 1/2 games behind the Raptors for the last remaining place with just 8 games to be played. I’d like to think that the Bulls’ front office isn’t regretting the loss of John Salmons by trading him to the Milwaukee Bucks , then seeing the resurgence of the team , since his arrival and the ever consistent play of both Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings ! But alas, that ship has now sailed and the Bulls will have to make do with what they now have at present with Vinny Del Negro leading the charge as the team’s coach.

 Ronald Murray (6) of the Chicago Bulls lays the ball up and over Louis Amundson (17) of the Phoenix Suns, as Jared Dudley #3 of the Suns watches from behind  during a NBA game on March 30, 2010 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  photo appears courtesy  of  NBAE/Getty Images / Randy  Belice  ......
Ronald Murray (6) of the Chicago Bulls lays the ball up and over Louis Amundson (17) of the Phoenix Suns, as Jared Dudley #3 of the Suns watches from behind during a NBA game on March 30, 2010 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images / Randy Belice ......

Bulls’ Executive VP & Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman are looking to bring back the halcyon days of the ‘Jordan years’ at the United Center. But it appears that there’s still a great deal of work to be done. And Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf has to be enthused by what he’s seen from the team but must still hope that the club makes the playoffs. Those glory days of Jordan and Scottie Pippen made the Bulls the ‘powerhouse’ of the NBA and drove the frenzy of fan worship of the team around the league and across the globe .

No pun intended here concerning fans of Michael Vick but the Western Conference is now turning into ‘one hell of a dogfight’ amongst the teams seeded two through eight . The Los Angeles Lakers (54-20) pretty much has the number one seed sewn up within the conference and they’ve already cemented winning the Pacific Division within the conference.


The teams two through six, as they now stand are separated by no more than 3 1/2 games and the overall differential between teams, six through eight , is a mere game. That eighth and final spot now rests with the San Antonio Spurs (44-29). The team is now lumbering into the postseason having lost Tony Parker for the remainder of the regular season and the entire playoffs. The point guard suffered a broken right hand and they now have an ailing Manu Ginobli (back spasms) to deal with on the roster . With that in mind unless the younger players on the roster step up their game then then there’s the likelihood that the team will be bumped out in the first round of the playoffs. Should they finish in that eighth spot then they’d have the dubious privilege of having to face the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. A daunting task for the Gregg Popovich coached team but as the say anything is possible when it comes to the NBA . We’ve seen a number of teams struggle of late within the conference and it appears that the bloodletting hasn’t yet finished. No team might be hotter at present within the conference than the Phoenix Suns , led their point guard Steve Nash and their duo of centers in Robin Lopez and Amar’e Stoudemire . The two players are proving to be a force to be reckoned with and with wily veteran Grant Hill still playing with his customary aplomb. There’s the belief that coach Alvin Gentry has this Suns’ team going in the right direction and believing in themselves. Having won eight of the last nine games , they’re certainly showing that they ought to be considered as legitimate contenders within the conference. But it’s not about the perception of thought when it comes to the game but the results achieved when the games are played. That’s how the teams are meant to be judged .

Los Angeles Angels' Torii Hunter(notes) hits a single against the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning during a MLB spring training game in Tempe, Arizona March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Scuter
Los Angeles Angels' Torii Hunter(notes) hits a single against the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning during a MLB spring training game in Tempe, Arizona March 25, 2010. photo appears courtesy of Reuters/Rick Scuter ...............

I’ve begun to get sick and tired of hearing African American sports’ fans bitch and whine about the lack of respect or the none visibility of athletes of the high profiled minority athletes either in the NFL or Major League Baseball (MLB). By my way of thinking the athletes are there but more often than not the ones you’d as such expect to be at the forefront making their voices heard are either making complete asses of themselves or falling afoul of the law for one reason or another.

Now let me premise this by saying having been born in the United Kingdom , raised in the Caribbean (Jamaica) in the early formative years of my childhood before returning to the UK at the age of eight. I’d like to think that with that sort of upbringing ,then living a large part of my adult life in the UK and on the continent of Europe (France & Germany) , that there’s something to be said for being educated , having traveled and being well read. The constant whining about why black players aren’t recognized and acknowledged is completely asinine. If players such as Torii Hunter and his asinine notion that Latin players of African heritage aren’t black enough …or as he puts it “not one of us”. Is it any wonder that the fans in large part will either think of the player as being an ass or he clearly has little of worth listening to ? Furthermore , an athlete of Hunter’s visibility did little to let his voice be heard when the whole steroid debacle was in full flow. As a matter of fact, there were few ballplayers if any, who came out and decried what their fellow players were doing. Not even Derek Jeter , himself, who is bi-racial. The ominous silence from these noted players of ethnicity was docile and insulting to the fans as a whole ! And it shouldn’t surprise us at all by the lack of action that was forthcoming from the hierarchy of the game and its commissioner Bud Selig from the outset. Never mind the fact the MLBPA (union) were as believable in their alleged act of being contrition in wanting to clean up the game they sullied , stained and have done irreparable damage to .

Michael Vick, center, is along with seen Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, left, and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, right, during a news conference in Philadelphia, Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Vick is back in the NFL, landing a job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Looking to add a new dimension to their offense, the Philadelphia Eagles gave Vick a one-year deal with an option for a second year. photo  appears  courtesy  of  Associated  Press/  Matt   Rourke  .........
Michael Vick, center, is along with seen Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, left, and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, right, during a news conference in Philadelphia, Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Vick is back in the NFL, landing a job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Looking to add a new dimension to their offense, the Philadelphia Eagles gave Vick a one-year deal with an option for a second year. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Matt Rourke .........

We’ve seen what entitlement does to athletes when they get themselves caught in something of inappropriate situation as it either involves their personal or professional lives. Vick made that all too plain , with his lying to the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons’ owner Roster Arthur Blank and the entire organization . But yet you had many trying to show their support for Vick in some of the most inexcusable ways. ‘Oh he’s done nothing wrong in being involved in dog fighting or illegal gambling ‘. Some seem to forget the some of Vick’s most heinous acts were in torturing these canines merely for the fact that they didn’t perform up to par. I’d like to think that Vick could either withstand being drowned or quite possibly take to having an electrical cattle prod placed on his genitalia ! Perhaps then , he could then describe the unbearable pain suffered and that he inflicted upon those poor helpless animals ? These were some of the acts described in the affidavits and sworn testimony given by his co-conspirators at his trial. He not only broke the laws within the state of Georgia but several federal laws as it relates to gambling never mind the ‘heinous act of dog fighting’ of which he was a ring leader in .

And Vick with his visibility prior to him being caught, is someone that many had looked up to from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. Personally, I’d judge today’s athletes by the way they conduct themselves on the field of play and how they conduct themselves away from their competitive environment. With their ever so carefully manicured images either by the press, agents, or even their respective leagues. One way or another, whenever they seem to fall afoul, either of the law or from their very own indiscretion, they always seem to apportion blame elsewhere, rather than wanting to be held accountable for their own actions. As Charles Barkley so aptly said “………..I’m no role model ” !

If African Americans sports’ fans are looking for the visibility of high profiled African American athletes to provide some legitimacy either to their lives or the well being of that respective sport. Then in reality they ought to be looking elsewhere. Yes, as fans we may well fawn over the athletes’ exploits but at the end of the day when they ,the athletes disappoint with their behavior . We’ve only ourselves to blame in thinking that they’re paragons of virtue. All that separates us in the end , is that person’s athletic prowess and the vast wealth that they’ve amassed along the way. We’ll be held accountable for our misdeeds. Whereas, an athlete is caught in the cross-hairs of public and media scrutiny tends to hide behind a wall of attorneys , agents and members of their entourage. Joe Public simply has nothing of that nature should he or she get caught up in such a dilemma. Not even our wits at times can stave off the glare of shame or embarrassment.

Lastly, as a final note this isn’t just something that is happening within this specific demographic . It is actually happening within the various ethnic backgrounds that makes up this nation. Some will acknowledge the fact while others tend not to be bothered at all by it. Which area befits you , as far as that’s concerned ?


Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

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Drake feat’g Trey Songz ………..”Successful”

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Adult  entertainment   actress   Tera  Patrick   .
Adult entertainment actress & porn star Tera Patrick .

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It Was One Hell of A Coming Home Party But He’ll Take The Win Anyway …………..

The once much despised, Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles came to town to face off against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, in Atlanta, in a pivotal NFC match-up. Week 13 in the NFL brought about several story lines that might have been well worth paying attention to. But nonetheless, for the fans of Michael Vick and to a lesser extent the fans of the Atlanta Falcons, this was a chance to see their former idol return to the city and organization that he once lauded over but then brought so much shame and disgust to.

Atlanta, Ga,. December 6th 2009. Michael Vick (#7) of the Philadelphia Eagles passes for a completion against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .....
Atlanta, Ga,. December 6th 2009. Michael Vick (#7) of the Philadelphia Eagles passes for a completion against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .....

And for Falcons’ owner, Arthur Blank, this must’ve been a return as such that he’d rather have not be a part of. He’d vested a great deal of time, money and effort in the player , he once believed in and trusted greatly to steer his franchise to success and prosperity. Instead , Vick , seemingly treated Blank and the entire Falcons’ organization with so much disdain with his dishonesty and irrational behavior. That one feels hard pressed to see how he can be forgiven for those misdeeds.

The game itself was fraught with danger, as neither side could really afford to lose. In doing so, it’d make the likelihood of either gaining a playoff berth that more difficult. The Eagles at (8-4) were looking to stay in close proximity of the Dallas Cowboys (8-3) atop of the NFC East. While the Atlanta Falcons (6-6) just didn’t want to lose ground in the NFC South and the wildcard berth proceedings . Either way the game had to played and someone had to turn out to be a winner and no doubt there had to be a loser. The script for this particular wouldn’t be cliche ridden with angst or anything else besides. It was meant to be just your typical ‘run of the mill display’ by two teams with playoff ambitions.

Quintin Mikell (#27) of the Philadelphia Eagles tackles Roddy White (#84)) of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......
Quintin Mikell (#27) of the Philadelphia Eagles tackles Roddy White (#84)) of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......

What the game between the Eagles and Falcons ended up being however , was a chance for Vick to showcase his skills and remind the Falcons and their fans what they were missing. Never mind the fact, that the Falcons now had their own hero , in sophomore quarterback,Matt Ryan, who unfortunately wasn’t suited up for the team on the day. Ryan was unable to play for the team, due to an injury. In his place was backup quarterback , Chris Redman. An able understudy but he’s no Matt Ryan , by any stretch of the imagination.

The game itself was won decisively by the Eagles , with a rather lopsided resulting victory 34-7. Now the Eagles essentially hold their destiny in their own hands. Whereas, for the Atlanta Falcons theirs is a situation that now becomes even more increasingly difficult for the likelihood of them making the playoffs altogether. For Michael Vick on the other hand, the homecoming while celebratory in nature. I’d dare say he’d take the victory and quickly depart out of town !

So are there still many people riding on the coattails of the Brett Favre bandwagon at this present moment in time ? I know that ESPN’s , Mark Schlereth tends to prematurely ejaculate the moment Brett Favre’s name is mentioned, no matter in what context. So much so, that it’s probably a running joke between he and his fellow ESPN colleague,Chris Mortensen.

Glendale , Az,. December 6th 2009. Head coach Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings reacts as he walks the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Christian  Petersen .....
Glendale , Az,. December 6th 2009. Head coach Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings reacts as he walks the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen .....

For coach, Brad Childressand the Minnesota Vikings, there’s a great deal riding on this season. Albeit , that Favre was signed by the organization to a two year, $25 million contract. To say that anything short of winning the Superbowl this would be a great understatement for the team and its most devoted fans. This is the year that they believe that the stars are aligned for them to win it all. And if they should fail to do so, then all fingers will be pointed directly towards Childress and indirectly at Favre, as well.

 Quarterback Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after a first quarter touchdown during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17.  picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/ Christian  Petersen ............
Quarterback Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after a first quarter touchdown during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ............

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Warner, Cardinals dominate Favre, Vikings 30-17

By Bob Baum , AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)—That “kid” Kurt Warner got the best of old-timer Brett Favre on Sunday night.

Warner, a mere 38 to Favre’s 40, threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and the Arizona Cardinals’ defense stifled Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in a stunningly one-sided 30-17 victory.

“They played like they were in the Super Bowl last year,” Favre said, “and we obviously have to play better if we want to be the team that’s in the Super Bowl this year.”

Favre set an NFL record for consecutive appearances, but game No. 283 in a row was no night to remember for him or the rest of the Vikings (10-2). Favre, with just three interceptions in the first 11 games, was picked off twice and sacked three times.

“I made some decisions that I haven’t made up to this point,” he said, “and I’m disappointed about it.”

Even more startling, Arizona (8-4) held Adrian Peterson to a season-low 19 yards in 13 carries and outrushed Minnesota 113-62.

“It was just physical up front and making the tackle,” Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett(notes) said. “It was great team tackling.”

The victory, coupled with San Francisco’s loss at Seattle, gives Arizona a three-game lead in the NFC West. The Cardinals can clinch the division title with a victory at San Francisco a week from Monday night.

Favre had two touchdown passes, but the second, a 31-yarder to Percy Harvin(notes), came with 1:20 to go and the game out of reach. Favre was 30 of 45 for 275 yards.

“I’m pretty sure everybody is going to talk about what Brett Favre did wrong,” Dockett said, “how Brett did this wrong and that wrong, but not talk about how our defense stood up today. We’re going to stay humble, though, because we are going to play that team again.”

Things got worse for the Vikings when linebacker E.J. Henderson(notes) broke his leg late in the game. Coach Brad Childress said the injury would require surgery.

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Brad Childress and his coaching staff felt that Brett Favre was the missing piece to the puzzle that would enable the team to get over that proverbial hump and contend with ‘the elite’, within the NFL. And though there were considered ‘the class’ of the NFC and world beaters. Having started off fast out of the gate ripping of ten straight wins. The Vikings of late have been looking anything but the world beaters that the pundits and their fans believe them to be. And for the likes of Schlereth , Mortensen and it appears ESPN’s reigning ‘buffoon in waiting’, Jon Gruden. The continued ‘lovefest’ for Favre, goes unabated. Even with Gruden , himself, using the adjectives that the the Vikings are ‘the best and most balanced team in the NFL’. Anything that Gruden gives credence to , ought to be tempered by his so called success with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A lone Superbowl win and thereafter , abject failure and draft picks for the Buccaneers’ organization that are as worthless as the share price of Citigroup. (At close of business Friday, their share price $4-01 per share)

Well, on Sunday, we got to see how Favre and the Vikings would do against Ken Whisenhunt‘s Arizona Cardinals. Last year’s NFC representative in the Superbowl , has once again got the NFC West, all to themselves. The division has a moribund group of teams, with the Cardinals appearing to be the lone exception to the rule. And this is a team that is deep in talent and when on top of their game , there as good as anyone offensively and that’s with due credit to the New New Orleans Saints.

While the raves by Messr’s Gruden , Mortensen and Schlereth as to how good this Vikings’ team is and how versatile and well balanced they are. Sunday’s evidence did nothing to support that at all. One wonders if Gruden and his colleagues are looking at the Vikings through rose colored glasses or quite possibly the love-fest for Favre border on homo-erotic tendencies ? Because I’ve yet to hear them post one critical comment concerning this team even when they’ve played poorly. It’s as if it were all an aberration as far as they’re concerned. Now I understand why it is that the outlet is hard pressed to find decent on air talent. They tend to value style and gimmicks over actual substance !

Sunday night the Vikings were found wanting and were exposed a flawed team on both sides of the ball. Instead of them being able to ride rough-shod over the Arizona Cardinals. Instead it was the other way around. And with seemingly another ageless wonder in Cardinals’ quarterback,Kurt Warner, proving to be more than Brett Favre’s equal. As a matter of fact, he made Favre look ever so pedantic and way beyond his forty years of age ! And the Vikings as a whole were completely out of touch as they were man-handled by the Arizona Cardinals.

Kurt Warner (#13)) of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to snap the ball during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ....
Kurt Warner (#13)) of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to snap the ball during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ....

The resultant 30-17 shellacking that the Viking suffered in defeat, at the hands of the Cardinals. Well, it may well have some wondering if at all it was worth the ordeal of bring in Favre ,should they fail to make it to the Superbowl. One thing for sure, if they Minnesota Vikings fails to do so . Then there’s no telling what Favre’s demeanor will be at the end of the day.Him ,then contemplating retirement once again would be about as welcoming to the Vikings’ organization as Paris Hilton entering medical school to study to become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. Stranger things have been known to have happened. And given Favre’s track record over the last few years. I wouldn’t for one minute doubt that he’d contemplate retirement once again. Especially in light of blame that’d be apportioned his way, with the impending failure of the Minnesota Vikings.

Say what you want about Brett Favre but no one, absolutely no one panders to the cameras and seeks the public’s empathy the way that he does ! He craves it more than life itself !