Hits ,misses and a bye your leave …….

Hits ,misses and a bye your leave

By Tophatal

Week fifteen is in the books , as far as the NFL goes , and with two penultimate weeks are left , before we hit the postseason . The once glamorous “best division” in football has become the moniker for ineptitude and mediocrity . There’s now a three-way tie atop of the NFC East , guys , so take your pick from really bad bunch of teams .

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It would be fair to say , that should the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) make the postseason , then team owner, Jerry Jones , will be bellowing it from the rafters , that “ America’s Team is back “ . In an ungodly mess of a game , the Cowboys somehow managed to overcome a Pittsburgh Steelers’(7-7) team that was as equally mediocre in terms of their play. Big Ben may well be , Big Ben , but I can’t help but wonder what the hell Ben Roethlisberger thought he was doing , when he made an errant and mistimed pass late in the fourth quarter, that was ultimately the deciding factor in this game , that went into overtime and a three-point 27-24 victory for the Cowboys , in front of a near sellout crowd at Cowboys Stadium , in Arlington , Texas.

While the Dallas Cowboys were defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers , their bitter divisional rivals , the New York Giants (8-6) were somehow finding ways to embarrass themselves further ,by giving their worst display of the season , in a lopsided 34-0 shutout loss to the Atlanta Falcons (12-2) , led by their MVP contender, Matt Ryan . As to Ryan’s NFC counterpart , well let’s just say this might have one of those days at the office , that Eli Manning would rather forget , as his own display , was equally as puerile as the team’s real lack of effort on the day. As to what this says about the mental and physical toughness of the Giants , I’ll leave it for you to be the judge of that ! Suffice to say , should the team miss the postseason , then they can point to this defeat as one of the many reasons why their season was such a failure .

Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin cannot be pleased with this effort, t put forth by his players, and it doesn’t augur well for the team , as they face Baltimore Ravens’ , in week sixteen, in a game that will be of significant meaning for both teams. A further loss by either team may well put to rest and extinguish their postseason hopes altogether.

In the aftermath of the Roger Goodell , debacle and the overturning of the suspensions of the four players that were said to be at the center of the Saints’ bounty scandal. What better way than for the New Orleans Saints “ to the thumb their noses” up at the league hierarchy and send an emphatic message to the rest of the NFL , that this team is , or was by no means “ dead in the water” . Drew Brees and his teammates feasted on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , like a lion devouring its prey . I’m sorry there may well be teams in the NFL , with a far worst record than the Buccaneers , but I doubt if those teams in question simply lack the heart and are as ill-disciplined , as this team has shown itself to be. All the rhetoric in the world and post-game idiocy, exhibited by Greg Schiano , cannot hide the fact that this a badly coached and poorly executing team , in just about every facet of the game . Josh Freeman , lacks poise , and his in-game decision-making is now coming into question more and more . And if you are looking for an indication as how Freeman’s performance was in this game , then his 37.5% quarterback rating , to add with his game stats of 26/47, for 279 yards and 4 interceptions , should be enough to tell you , how poor a game Freeman had , this past Sunday. The win for the Saints (6-8) moves them into a two-way tie for second place within the NFC South , and it now leaves Joe Vitt’s players , with an ever so slim chance of garnering a postseason berth. In order for that to be facilitated for the New Orleans Saints , they would have to “ win out “ , while others immediately ahead of them in the NFC standings , would simply have to falter over the remainder of their respective schedules .

Of the scheduled games on Sunday , perhaps AFC West match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders might well have been one of the worst games , that the NFL fans have been asked to witness and endure in the last five years. For two teams so bereft of talent on both sides of the ball , the fact that this game was decided by five field goals , speaks volumes as how goddamn awful both of these ball-clubs actually were . Sebastian Janikowski may well have earned his money on the day , but what does that suggest to you , concerning the lack of talent , as it concerns both the Chiefs and Raiders ?

This was not a game that the paying or viewing public should have been subjected to , under any circumstance ! Five fucking field goals , for a 15-0 Raiders’ victory , was the only way to decide this game ? Are you kidding me ? If this was the best that the Chiefs and Raiders had to offer , much less the NFL , then I would have preferred to have watch three hours of gratuitous porn ! No plot-line you might say , well it would have been a whole lot more enjoyable and preferable than continuing to watch the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders’ play in this comedic farce ! Hell , two elephants going through their “ ritual mating rights” would have been far more entertaining than the bullshit served up by these two AFC teams ! But that is to be expected , if you simply look at the history of the match-ups between these two teams over the past decade . In terms of relevance their games , have never really been a worthwhile spectacle !

With the Denver Broncos having won the AFC West with relative ease , distancing themselves from their closest divisional rivals with so much distance that even the Hubble Telescope might not have been a useful aid in guessing the distance . Suffice to say , once Peyton Manning graced the Broncos with his presence and the AFC West as a matter of fact , you simply knew that the division would be a one-horse race . And at a time , when it looks as if Romeo Crennel and Dennis Allen might well be relieved of their duties , the San Diego Chargers have made it known that Norv Turner will be asked to return for 2013. And one wonders why that particular franchise is in such a goddamn mess ? The Spanos’ family , as owners the Chargers, do not have a propensity for showing common sense , and the apathetic fans of the team , will gladly continue to accept themediocrity being passed off as football by the San Diego Chargers.

Dean Spanos continues to be a bombastic ass , who has done more harm to the franchise , his family owns, by retaining the services of general manager, AJ Smith and Norv Turner , than the damage that could have been wreaked by an earthquake hitting Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego , California , home venue of the Chargers. And Norv Turner’s team did their utmost on Sunday , in their 31-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers to reiterate why, they have been such a monstrosity this season.

The Broncos for their part have been the “hottest team” in the NFL , having won nine of their last ten games , while Manning has simply been electrifying , not merely over that stretch , but over the entire season , in leading the franchise to the third best record (11-3) in the entire NFL , and second best mark in the AFC . Coming off the Broncos’ emphatic win over the Baltimore Ravens (9-5) in something of a 34-17 rout of the AFC North franchise, Manning and his teammates have a realistic shot at ending up with the second seed within the conference , and earning a first-round bye in the playoffs..

The Chicago Bears (8-6) may well be the most deceptive of the teams in with an 8-6 record the NFC , in the midst of the midst of the playoff mix . This is a team which has been lauded over but in truth , they are not that good , in spite of the statistics that would suggest that they have one of the “better defensive units” within the NFL.

Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith , in witnessing the team’s latest defeat (21-13) , in a game played at Soldier Field , in Chicago, Illinois , against the Green Bay Packers , has to be asking himself what else does he have to do to get this team playing with passion much less pride . Instead, this lineup merely goes through the motions , and the lauded duo of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall , who were meant to be this “dynamic duo” that would add potency to the offense , have been about as effective as a Rabbi seated in a mosque reading from the Torah , to a group of radical Muslims . No good can come of it , and that has definitely been the case in terms of the effectiveness of the pairing . Not only that , but this Bears’ rushing attack can’t can’t run on anyone and they are one of the poorer offensive units within the NFL , in that specific category. . And should the Bears make the playoffs, then a great deal more has to be expected out of the defense and the team’s rushing attack led by Matt Forte , but most of all Jay Cutler has to show that he is a leader , rather than going through the motions and continuing to disappoint each season .

Don’t look now , but it would appear that the Seattle Seahawks have found themselves a quarterback , who has the poise and promise, that could quite possibly lead to a title , at some point in their future . Russell Wilson, to my mind , beyond the heralded exploits of Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, has been by far the best quarterback to have exploded onto the scene this season , not named Griffin or Luck . Many , had the likes of Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill , and deemed that duo , as B1 or perhaps B2 of the players taken at the position in the 2012 NFL Draft . Tannehill and Weeden are playing on teams that have struggled throughout the season , and it should also be noted that neither has shown the poise or leadership qualities now being exhibited by the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback. Stats asides , the intangibles are what should be looked at, rather than simply making comparisons a in player’s statistics , those intangibles and leadership qualities have to count for something . Yet all I’ve read, is this idiocy of making comparisons by way of statistics as the sole reason to judge a player’s abilities !

Wilson has led the Seattle Seahawks to an admirable 9-5 record within the NFC West and good enough for the fifth seed and quite possibly a playoff berth within the NFC. Winning out in their final two games , would be “icing on the cake” for a team that many may well have felt would not be not in the running for a postseason seeding as an NFC representative . Those final pair of games for the Seahawks will be a home game at Q West Field , in Seattle , Washington in week sixteen against Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers . Week seventeen and once again another home game that pits the Seahawks pitted against divisional rivals the St Louis Rams . Cautiously optimistic , I believe that Pete Carroll would gladly like to take this team back to the playoffs , as he had done in 2010 , when they surprised the then, reigning Superbowl champions , the New Orleans Saints 41-36 in the wildcard round of the 2010 postseason . The Seahawks’ foray was short-lived as they suffered a 35-24 loss in the divisional round to the Chicago Bears. All eyes on the Seahawks as a worthy “dark horse” in the NFC ? Your thoughts ?

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Picture gallery.

In truth a great deal of the NFL season has proved to be exciting but in a number of ways it has also proven to a tremendous disappointment because of the off the field issues and the very fact that Roger Goodell as the NFL commissioner , has done his utmost to render more harm to the NFL brand than anyone could ever have imagined .

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) Dallas Cowboys corner-back Brandon Carr (39) celebrates after the Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 in overtime of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. Carr intercepted the ball in overtime to set up the winning field goal. AP Photo/LM Otero …

(2) Dallas Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears (96) sacks Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/LM Otero …

(3) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) walks off the field after the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. The Falcons won 34-0 . AP Photo/John Amis …

(4)Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes a touchdown catch as New York Giants corner-back Jayron Hosley (28) defends during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis …

(5) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. The Falcons would go on to defeat the Giants 34-0 . AP Photo/John Amis …

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) sits on the bench in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. The Saints won 41-0 . Freeman had another atrocious game which saw him end up with a 37.5 QB rating in an error strewn unproductive game by the quarterback . AP Photo/Bill Feig …

(7) Oakland Raiders place kicker Sebastian Janikowski (11) kicks a 57-yard field goal from the hold of punter Shane Lechler (9) during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. The Raiders won 15-0 . This was just one of five field goals kicked by Janikowski in the Raiders’ victory over their AFC West rivals in an offensively and rather mediocre display from both teams . AP Photo/Ben Margot ….

(8) San Diego Chargers’ Quentin Jammer and Eric Weddle watch as Carolina Panthers’ DeAngelo Williams(34) and Cam Newton(1) celebrate their 45 yard touchdown pass during the first half of a NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in San Diego. AP Photo/Gregory Bull ….

(9) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh looks at quarterback Joe Flacco as he walks off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Baltimore, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. The Ravens would end up being on the wrong sided of a lopsided 34-17 loss to the Broncos who won their ninth straight game in the NFL on Sunday . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(10) Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) celebrates after sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. The Packers won 21-13 to clinch the NFC North title. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …

(11) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) walks off the field after the Bears’ 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers in an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. The win clinched the NFC North division title for the Packers. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(12) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the first the half of an NFL football game in Toronto, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. The Seahawks demolished the Bills in a 50-17 rout , with Wilson capping the day with three rushing touchdowns of his own in a scintillating performance by the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback . AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette ……

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It’s not Football ‘til you hear the crunch of that first hit

It’s not Football ‘til you hear the crunch of that first hit

by tophatal

NFL posts within this site

The NFL preseason began with a game between two NFC teams with aspirations towards this season’s Superbowl . The Arizona Cardinals faced the New Orleans Saints, with the Saints coming away with a 17-10 victory over their opponent . And in reality , though this was a preseason game , we learned nothing new beyond the fact that Cardinals’ quarterback Kevin Kolb simply isn’t as good as advertised , and it is becoming questionable if the front office were justified in signing the player to a lucrative contract .

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Kolb was replaced early in this game , having suffered a rib injury , to be replaced by back-up quarterback John Skelton . Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Ken Whisenhunt must now have reservations as to whether or not Kevin Kolb is the player he wants to be the “signal caller” , calling the shots for this team . Personally , I have never been impressed with Kolb as a quarterback , even during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles ! His inconsistency has been a plague and a liability , that has followed him over the course of his career. Given the issues that the Cardinals now have on both sides of the ball , it does have me wondering how Whisenhunt and his coaching staff will remedy the problems that his team now has .

The Arizona Cardinals’ preseason schedule will undoubtedly give the coach a chance to assess the draftees acquired from this season’s NFL Draft . In the off-season also the Cardinals were quite active as they sought to bolster their roster , in order to a make full onslaught on the NFC West . What we evidenced throughout much of last season , there is no doubt in my mind that the San Francisco 49ers will be the team to beat within the division ! What awaits the fans is open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation as it relates to the division.

The New Orleans Saints for their part , as they seek to rebuild their image after the fallout of the scandal . It would appear that the NFL is now prepared to offer an olive branch to Jonathan Vilma , in order to stop the procedure of the litigation by way of the player’s defamation lawsuit against the league and commissioner Roger Goodell . Having filed his suit in the US Federal Court (5th Circuit) in New Orleans , Louisiana , for which a date has yet to be set for a trial . Goodell has not spoken publicly on this matter but it would appear that Jeff Pash , legal counsel to the NFL, has been the individual seeking out a response from Vilma and his legal representatives . If the suit is dropped , the league would then reduce the player’s year-long suspension to one encompassing eight games of the regular season. Image is everything , and here , the NFL’s , the Saints and that of Vilma’s has seen irrefutable damage, beyond repair .

With interim-coach Joe Vitt , now being entrusted to lead the coaching staff through the first half of the Saints’ regular season schedule , it will be interesting to see how team acquits itself , once they embark upon regular season play . Drew Brees , will seek to surpass the record-breaking efforts of last season while leading a new-look Saints’ roster . There were a number of departures from last from the team through free agency and players simply thought to be superfluous to the organization’s needs. However, a large part of the core remains in-tact , with the names of Jimmy Graham , Brodrick Bunkley , Marques Colston , Mark Ingram , Chris Ivory , Pierre Thomas and Lance Moore remains at the heart of the team. In the NFL Draft, GM Micky Loomis sought to address the Saints’ needs by picking judiciously in taking five players , through rounds three to seven , in order to fulfill their requirements .

Coming off a 13-3 season in 2011 , which saw the Saints come away with the NFC South division with considerable ease. This season however , with the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers , each having what has been said to be exceptional drafts . One has to believe that the division will become all the more contentious in 2012 , with the Saints having to fend off the challenges of their divisional rivals during their upcoming regular season schedule .

You somehow knew it had to happen , Chad Ochocinco , readopt the name Chad Johnson , legally . All this , is being done, to further explain and gain exposure , having been signed by the Miami Dolphins . Johnson, recently married tv- reality show star, Evelyn Lozado , and the two have seen their profile and popularity raised with their show on the VH1 Network . Don’t ask me why but I can never understand why such individuals would seek to embarrass themselves on television for the whole world to see ! Furthermore, with Johnson’s career now on the decline , does anyone truly believe that he will be able to make a difference to an already questionable Miami Dolphins’ offense ?

While Johnson is not being handsomely rewarded by NFL standards , the salary afforded the player , should keep him from running afoul of his new spouse . As to the Dolphins under their new head coach Joe Philbin , I would hazard a guess that this will be a season that will truly test his mettle as a rookie NFL coach ! The franchise embarks upon its preseason schedule with a game —- against instate rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , this upcoming Friday at Sun Life Stadium , in Miami , Florida.

Philbin and his coaching staff have a number of decisions to make , most notably, who will be the starting quarterback on this team . The choices are not that enlightening , given the fact the players in question have no proven pedigree . . The choices are not that enlightening , given the fact the players in question have no proven pedigree . David Garrard , Matt Moore , a seasoned NFL veteran and the team’s 2012 first round draft pick , eighth overall , Ryan Tannehill are the duo in question, from which, Philbin will make his choice . Given what was exhibited last year by way or the team’s passing game , I get the distinct feeling that neither player will be able to add much to the Miami Dolphins’ cause this season !

Miami’s issues are widespread and the belief is , they and the Buffalo Bills could very well be vying for last place within AFC East this upcoming season. I certainly cannot see the Dolphins challenging the “ might” of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots , under any circumstance ! Whereas the NFL’s answer to the Ringling Bros’ traveling circus act , will be encompassed around the “ freak-show “ in the making , with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow trying to lead the New York Jets back to NFL prominence .

While much of the Jets’ talk during the off-season has been about how the team’s new offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , will try to incorporate Tebow’s strengths into the Jets’ offense . I have to ask, when and where did Sparano become an offensive minded guru ? Certainly , while he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins , they had their moments but they were few and far between any major triumph. He rode his “one trick pony” come unicycle known as the “wildcat offense” into the ground . Once, the Miami Dolphins were exposed , as an offensive and defensive challenged team , during Sparano’s tenure . Well, the rest as they say…. is history , and not long after , the head coach was shown the door by GM Jeff Ireland .

Two years removed from his last game while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals , Terrell Owens now seems to be back in the good graces of the league . What the f#ck is that all about ? In what I believe to be an act of desperation by the Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks , the NFC West franchise has signed the player to a one-year $ 1 million deal ! The Seahawks cut the under-achieving Mike Williams whose erratic and inconsistent performances were only outdone by his complete lack of preparation as an NFL wide receiver . It is hard to believe how this once prolific player at USC (Trojans) could have fallen so out of favor with his former college coach. Well, once you are considered a “bust” in the NFL , the only direction to go is down . See the likes of Ryan Leaf , Akili Smith and Heath Shuler as evidence of that and you are quite right , there are others who could be added to this short list of considerable failures !

I will not dare to comprehend or try to explain what it is that Peter Carroll hopes to gain out of this maneuver but I can only surmise that he was duped into this move by Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus . Who may well have pointed to the fact that the Seahawks’ divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers —– signed fellow veteran wide receiver Randy Moss to a one-year $2.5 million deal . So now we can start to compare apples to oranges and Moss to Owens ? I think not ! Whatever Owens brings to the table for the Seahawks , I certainly don’t believe that it will be enough to derail the ambitions of the 49ers , as they seek to make a successful defense of their NFC West divisional crown ! Are the Seahawks capable of upending the San Francisco 49ers this season ?

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Picture gallery .

What plot-lines do you believe will be the biggest <b of the NFL preseason that may well carry over into the regular season itself ? And of the teams, to have made the postseason in 2011 , which do you believe has the best chance of making a return and which franchise will not ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt walks the sidelines during the preseason match-up in the Hall of Fame exhibition football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin ….

(2) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) pass the ball under pressure from Arizona Cardinals’ Calais Campbell (93) during the first quarter of the Hall of Fame NFL exhibition football game, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin

(3) New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (28) turns the corner past Arizona Cardinals’ William Gay (23) during the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin …

(4) Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) of the New Orleans Saints tackles quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals during first quarter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium on August 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. Kolb was injured on the play and left the game. Jason Miller / Getty Images North America …

(5) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) is helped by a team trainer after being hit by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) during the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition football game, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. Photo: Scott Galvin / AP ….

(6) DAVIE, FL – MAY 4: Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins talks to the media after the rookie mini-camp on May 4, 2012 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images ….

(7) June 14, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) listen to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano during mini-camp at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE….

(8) FILE – In this June 5, 2011, file photo, Terrell Owens watches the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. Owens is coming back to the NFL, hoping the Seattle Seahawks’ search for another veteran wide receiver will get him off the sidelines. The 38-year-old Owens had a tryout with the Seahawks on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, and hours later the team announced it had agreed to terms with the former star receiver. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….

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Here Comes the NFL and Not a Moment Too Soon ……

Here Comes the NFL and Not a Moment Too Soon

by tophatal ……….. NFL pieces within this site

With the NFL preseason , a little less than three weeks away and the first slew of games due, as a precursor to the regular season beginning the 5th September , 2012. Team are getting ready in their preparations before they report for training camps. The off-season still found to be fascinating provides with all of the round-the-clock , of the 24-hour coverage we have now come to expect . So much so , that with the launch of NBCSports Network . ESPN now has a competitor with in its midst and mix to provide the NFL fan with even more news for their already insatiable , and ravenous appetite .

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The off-season itself , has not been without incident , or suspense , with the news that New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has joined a select group of NFL players to become a member of the $100 million club . Brees having finally agreed to a 5 year $100 million contract , of which $60 million comes by way of guaranteed money . In addition, the quarterback will undoubtedly end his career with the organization that he successfully brought a Superbowl (SBXLIV) .

Now with all of the tumult that has surrounded the Saints this off-season with the countless suits being issued within the US Federal Court System , there are about to be a number lawyers who are about to be well compensated . Saints’ defensive player , Jonathan Vilma has filed two separate suits in the state of Louisiana against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell , that seeks his reinstatement , injunction overturning his year-long suspension and a defamation lawsuit singularly at the commissioner for defamation of character. Needless to say , the league itself has filed their own suit and grievance against the player , seeking to have his legal action overturned . Do you get the feeling that the acrimony between the NFL and the players , specifically the union (NFLPA) has got a great deal wider , even in light of the recent renewed collective bargaining agreement ? We were told that this agreement would bring us a decade of peace and unison between both sides . It his has been this idiocy and an agreement , simply based on greed and mistrust that has now led us to a point that even the fans now feel betrayed . Albeit , that the alleged actions by the New Orleans Saints cannot simply be overlooked , as there has been a constant slew of misleading statements from the accused and the accusers . Where is Ben Matlock or Perry Mason when you need them the most ?

The embattled New Orleans Saints will start the their season without the services of Sean Payton , as he sits out a year-long suspension . In his role as interim coach , in comes Joe Vitt , who himself will also cede to the league’s edict in having to miss eight games of the Saints’ regular season schedule . Boy , what an absolute cluster fu#k this has been concerning the New Orleans as an organization ! Never mind the fact , that team GM Micky Loomis , also under suspension is now being investigated by the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office for illegal wire-tapping . Attorney General James ‘Buddy’ Caldwell , has already been called to task by Loomis for overstepping his boundaries by stating that there is no case or cause for Caldwell’s office to be intervening in this matter . I beg to differ , as there is clear evidence to suggest that Loomis has not only broken state laws but also Federal laws as well !

The New Orleans Saints I do not believe are the preseason favorites within the NFC ! The two teams I believe ahead of the them , are the defending Superbowl champions , the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers . In addition, all three teams as we know have Superbowl MVP’s are at the helm of their respective offenses . With Brees coming off a stellar year , which saw the prolific quarterback surpass Dan Marino’s single season passing yardage mark of 5,084 yards , dating back to 1984 . However, the Saints’ 2011 schedule (13-3) would see the team qualify as the third seed in the NFC in 2011. The team led by Brees would make the postseason where they would succumb to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round in a highly competitive game 36-32 .

The 2012 NFL Draft proved to be fortuitous for the Saints , with the coaching staff taking Akiem Hicks , Nick Toon , Corey White , Andrew Tiller and Marcel Jones in rounds three through six . The preseason will present the Saints with a number of issues . Joe Vitt , apart from having to insert his rookies , he will also have to assess the franchise’s free agent acquisitions and insert those players into the side.

The biggest hindrance for the New Orleans Saints winning another Superbowl if their ambitions are to be upheld . Then it will be for the coaching staff to overcome the obstacles that have already been place within their path beyond having to overcome what appears to be a rigorous regular season schedule . It will be incumbent , on the Saints getting off to a fast start , if they are to fare well over the course of the regular season , especially in light of what is expected to be a highly competitive …. NFC South division . A re-engaged Carolina Panthers , along with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers gives us a quartet of combative franchises within the division . Brees , along with a trio of young quarterbacks , Josh Freeman , Matt Ryan and Cam Newton will no doubt be looking to improve upon last season’s performances , as each seeks to guide their respective teams deep into the postseason .

Week one will see the Saints take on the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Dome , in New Orleans , Louisiana . Mike Shanahan will proudly introduce Robert Griffin III , upon whose shoulders the Redskins’ season will ride . The Saints trail the Redskins (8-15) in their head-to-head series tracing back September 1967. . I’m in no doubt that Robert Griffin III will be a success but I doubt that he will be able to have the success seen last season with Cam Newton , as the rookie quarterback and number one overall pick of 2011 simply set the NFL alight .

The Carolina Panthers are no “hard luck story” and but for the lack of a real defense , I firmly believe that the team would have had a great deal more success in 2011 . Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera , one year the wiser , will now see how this team acquits itself during their 2012 sojourn . The Panthers are firmly in place to take advantage of any missteps made by the likes of the Buccaneers , Falcons and Saints . Moreover , with the feeling that the New Orleans Saints will have their issues in the aftermath of the upheavals within the organization , I do not believe that we will see the sort of consistency often seen from this team over the past few seasons .

The NFC South could very well be a series of cat-and-mouse match-ups that will be dependent upon the divisional games and how the teams fare against each other during 2012 . Greg Schiano , the newly installed head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers strives to make this franchise relevant again . Raheem Morris’ era came and went in the blink of an eye from a coach whose inexperience was glaringly obvious for everyone to see . However, with Morris’ firing there were many who felt that GM Mark Dominik should have asked to relinquish his position. Raheem Morris’ failings were also Dominik’s as well , as both reconstructed the Buccaneers in their own image . Unfortunately , the success they strived for was nowhere to be seen , even in light of going 10-6 in 2010. That aberration along with the inconsistency shown by Josh Freeman , and you have to wonder where the Buccaneers are now heading .

In 2012 the Buccaneers will have a great deal to prove , not only to themselves but also their long-suffering fans as the fan-base of the franchise has dipped along with the television ratings in their home market . That will be the true test for Mark Dominik and the Buccaneers’ Marketing & Sales Department , beyond what the team will seek to achieve this year. The Glazer family as owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have parlayed their notoriety beyond the NFL franchise , to assume control of the EPL soccer team Manchester United , where they have devoted a great deal of the time to not only burdening that franchise with a great deal of debt ($2 billion [$2,000,000,000]) but also seeing a considerable amount of success , since they assumed full control of the team in 2005. It has been that sort of indifference shown , that has drawn the ire and anger of the Buccaneers’ fans since that acquisition . Now , Malcolm , Avram and Joel Glazer will have to reaffirm their attention back to the NFL franchise and in a consummate business manner deal with the issues that have placed Buccaneers in their current predicament .

Matt Ryan has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL over the past four seasons. His maturation process has seen him improve but the “ knock against” the player has been the fact that he has been unable to lead the Atlanta Falcons deep into the postseason . Head coach Mike Smith and his young quarterback will seek to address those doubts as they embark on their preseason and regular season schedule . The Falcons possess a consistent offense but it has been the productivity of Michael Turner and the rushing offense that makes the Falcons a repeated threat as they enter the season . Whatever awaits the Falcons and their fans this season , it will be interesting see how Matt Ryan and his teammates fare .

Far be it for me to suggest but the continued hyperbole over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles continues to grate on my nerves ! Both teams in recent years have done little to suggest that they are actually capable of winning a Superbowl . In addition , while the NFC East continues to be looked upon as one of the most desirable divisions in the NFL. In truth nothing else , other than the success of the New York Giants , the rest of occupants have offered the fans of the NFL a mere morsel by way of anything tangible in terms of success . There is no doubt in my mind that Jason Garrett and Andy Reid will be under close scrutiny of not only the fans , NFL analysts but also the respective front offices of the Cowboys and Eagles . If it has yet to sink into the pea sized brains of Jerry Jones and Jeff Lurie that their respective coaches have failed miserably in their respective capacities in 2011, then nothing ever will . Excuses abound from all corners of each of the organizations in question but yet Tony Romo and Michael Vick are continually lauded over as being amongst the very best at their profession within the NFL .

Vick while being a terrific athlete , is still in the midst of re-imaging his career and becoming much more “family friendly” . Tony Romo for his part , continues to make excuses for what is already abundantly clear for those who are willing to say it . He is a good regular season quarterback but but one who is incapable of showing the necessary traits required to lead a team deep into the postseason . This season may well hold a great deal more than great games in the NFL as it is my firm belief that there will be several coaches whose heads will be on the “chopping block” if they fail to attain some semblance of success . The suspense will unfold but quite possibly , by week six or seven we could very well be seeing the first managerial casualty of the season . Then , it could well be sooner , rather than later .

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Picture gallery .

As a fan of the NFL what are you most looking forward to , as the preseason and regular season is set in motion ? Do leave a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass and breaking the NFL single-season record for passing yardage, held by Dan Marino, in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans. Brees has agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract with the Saints, with $60 million guaranteed, on Friday, July 13, 2012, a person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press. AP Photo/Rusty Costanza ….

(2) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, right, shares a laugh with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as they recognize Soldier Field as the only NFL stadium to become a LEED-certified green building during a news conference, Thursday, May 31 2012, in Chicago. Goodell and the NFL have filed a lawsuit against Saints’ defensive player Jonathan Vilma in seeking to overturn his defamation lawsuit against the league and the commissioner . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast ….

(3) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys greets Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles after a game at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Romo suffered a hand injury during the first quarter of play against the Eagles. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez …..

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NB : A follow-up piece with regard to the AFC will be in place , in due course .

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2012-13 NFL salary cap set for this season at $123.55 million

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Hot chic pics of the day Emmannuelle Chriqui

Faren Williams What is not to like about both of these women ? Any thoughts ?

Justice By Any Means Necessary But Not Necessarily So In The NFL ……….


Justice By Any Means Necessary But Not Necessarily So In The NFL ……….

By tophatal ….. Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:38:56 AM

Well for all of the idiotic posturing of the New Orleans Saints as an organization and the fact that head coach Sean Payton , GM Mickey Loomis , assistant coach and coordinator Joe Vitt sought to have their suspensions overturned . It would appear that Roger Goodell showed after-all that he does posses some intelligence even if it appears to be less than an ounce overall ! As to his mindset , and the very fact that to date the league hierarchy has shown little by way of their wish to aid their seasoned veterans now facing a great deal of uncertainty as to their health and well-being . Goodell , much like his predecessor Paul Tagliabue and the NFLPA and its hierarchy have for years ignored the plea of these players . And now because of this latest smear upon the game the fans are to believe the NFL actually cares about the players most notably those at present currently in the league ?

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The commissioner was judge and jury in rendering his decision not to overturn his original ruling . But here’s my thought to this all , the monetary fine levied upon the Saints ($500,000) if anything was insult to the fans when one considers the millions of dollars in revenues that the New Orleans Saints reaps annually in terms of receipts ! As for the Saints’ owner Tom Benson , it would appear that in spite of his anguish he still retains some sense of dignity , albeit that almost as quick as this original was rendered he all too quick to seek the advice of his now disgraced coach and general manager as to who should be Payton’s interim successor for the upcoming season. At the same time Benson made the statement that Pete Carmichael would to his mind provide the team with the stability needed while the organization undergoes this controversy . Not so fast Pete , it would appear that those statements were taken out of context and your ambition to be a head coach in the NFL may well have to wait a few more years .

Courtesy of Associated Press & ABC News

Goodell Upholds Penalties in Saints Bounty Case


By Brett Martell , AP Sports Writer
NEW Orleans , 10th April 2012

If the Saints become the first NFL team to play a Super Bowl on their home field next season, they’ll do it with an interim coach and some new faces on defense.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell rejected on Monday an appeal of coach Sean Payton’s season-long suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty system, clearing the way for New Orleans to turn its focus on who should take Payton’s place.

The replacement coach could come from the Saints’ experienced staff, or he could be someone from outside the organization such as Bill Parcells, Payton’s mentor since their days together in Dallas.

The Saints did not immediately indicate how long they’ll take to make a decision on a coach, but they already have made roster moves that could potentially soften the blow if Goodell also decides to suspend players who participated in a program that paid improper cash bonuses for hits that knocked players out of games or left them needing help off the field.

The Saints have signed four defensive players in free agency, three of whom could step into starting roles right away: linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne , and defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley . New Orleans also signed former Rams linebacker Chris Chamberlain .

The NFL’s investigation found that as many as 27 Saints defenders from the past three seasons may have taken part in the club’s pay-for-pain bounty system. Some of those being investigated could include former Saints who have signed elsewhere.

Given recent history, penalties for at least some players are likely to be tough, too .

While NFL veterans say off-the-books incentives have been around for years, and some current players claim tough talk about hitting opponents so they are injured happens in locker rooms throughout the league, Goodell responded to the Saints case by handing out unprecedented penalties.

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Now while the search begins , with the likelihood that Bill Parcells , the two-time Superbowl winning head coach of the New York Giants would entertain the idea of succeeding his protege` for one year. The monetary fines notwithstanding and the loss of NFL Draft picks for 2012 and 2013 , it would appear that not all of the team owners and front office executives were entirely happy with the decision of Roger Goodell’s original decision . Many felt that the punishment simply didn’t go far enough but it begs the question , what type of verdict would have been to their satisfaction ? At the same I am of the opinion that the New Orleans Saints are not the only NFL franchise conducting such a practice now known as the “Bounty Scandal” ! . Good God , this practice has been part and parcel of the NFL and was notably practiced by Buddy Ryan whilst in the NFL , albeit that we may not know whether or not his players were said to have been financially rewarded for their excess . Your thoughts ? The fact of the matter is , the Saints were the idiots who got caught and it may not be enough to stop what we have to view as a malicious and obviously dangerous practice .

As to Roger Goodell and his face-saving and image makeover exercise for the NFL . He is now beginning to make his MLB counterpart Bud Selig seem like an insightful individual . And as we all know nothing could be further from the truth as it relates to Selig showing insight much less having an ounce of intelligence ! Simply look at his outrage after the overturning of the 50 game mandated suspension for Ryan Braun ? Knowing full well that the fault lay with the very fact that the testing laboratory failed to follow its own protocols in safe guarding the player’s test specimens , baseball’s commissioner voiced his displeasure at the verdict rendered by the arbitrator Shyam Das . If that doesn’t indicate to you how much of an ass Bud Selig just happens to be, then I certainly don’t know what will !

And with Parcells having second thoughts on taking the interim position with the New Orleans Saints , one wonders what the next step to be taken will be by Tom Benson . Personally , as this whole controversy entered the public domain I have become acutely aware as to the stance that would be taken by the team owner . Benson has been disingenuous as a franchisee within the NFL and prior to Hurricane Katrina was all too ready to uproot the Saints and relocate almost anywhere , just as long as that municipality would willingly favor his NFL franchise with some favorable financial inducements . Tom Benson , Robert Kraft , Jerry Jones , Dr John York & Denise De-Bartolo-York and Woody Johnson were steadfast in their supporting Roger Goodell as the successor to Paul Tagliabue and that was resoundingly reflected by the votes that took place amongst the league’s team owners . At some point these owners have to be aware that the unfolding controversies have been poorly handled by the league hierarchy but most notably by the commissioner , himself .

Courtesy of NFL news

Parcells tells Saints he won’t unretire to coach team in 2012

By Jason La Canofora , NFL

Bill Parcells has informed the New Orleans Saints the he will not replace suspended coach Sean Payton and is staying retired, according to a league source.

The Saints will now look to hire from within the organization. By promoting an assistant on the team, the Saints will not have to interview a minority candidate in accordance with the league’s Rooney Rule.

Assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who has been suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are among the internal candidates who could fill in for Payton.

On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Payton’s suspension for the 2012 season along with an eight-game suspension for general manager Mickey Loomis, and Vitt’s six-game suspension.

Payton and Parcells spoke in March about a possible role with the Saints for the retired coach. Parcells said he felt “an obligation” to assist Payton, but he remained coy about if he’d fill in for his longtime friend.

Payton’s season-long suspension without pay will begin April 16. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL Network’s Albert Breer that Payton “cannot be involved in any coaching activities, he can’t be at the facility, or with the team at games.”

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As this all now takes on a life of its own , it will be interesting to see how Roger Goodell and the league looks to deflect much of the negative publicity that has come its way in a rather pointed fashion. At the same time the New Orleans Saints now have to look at its own image and how it is has been irreparably damaged by this whole episode . Granted , the league may well have upheld their decision but what might be even more unpalatable was the very fact that Tom Benson would still seek advice from both Sean Payton and Micky Loomis as to an interim successor for the disgraced head coach . Of the stories I have read within this domain , none have specifically addressed the fact that Loomis and Payton repeatedly lied to the league’s investigators , the NFL commissioner , the team owner and the public at large . And Payton while recently in West Palm Beach , Florida at the league hierarchy and owners off-season meeting , chose not to apologize for his actions having met with a number of the league’s hierarchy . His less than contrite public offering , when the allegations were first revealed showed Sean Payton , as a man with little integrity ! One has to question why the punishment rendered by Goodell wasn’t more severe ? Had one of the league’s more high profiled players such as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Eli Manning or Adrian Peterson suddenly see their careers come to an abrupt end , had they each been on the receiving end of these actions . What type of outrage would there now be from the public , much less from the owners themselves ? Instead , it has been the apathy of the fans simply waxing on lyrically about the Saints and the mere fact that this has been much ado about nothing . Really ? Much ado about nothing when we now have seasoned NFL veterans in some cases drooling , urinating and defecating on themselves because they simply do not have the mental or physical capacity to take care of themselves . If you believe this last sentence to be false , then consider the plight of Hall of Fame player Mike Webster at the time of his death and the circumstances under which he died ? A harsh reality should now begin to set in !

In reality as proactive as the NFL now tries to be in terms the actions now being taken by Roger Goodell as the league’s highest ranking executive . The commissioner has been poorly served by his subordinates , the team owners and most notably by the NFLPA , its executive committee and definitely by both DeMaurice Smith and his predecessor Gene Upshaw as then , Executive Director of the union (NFLPA) .

In reality as proactive as the NFL now tries to be in terms the actions now being taken by Roger Goodell as the league’s highest ranking executive . The commissioner has been poorly served by his subordinates , the team owners and most notably by the NFLPA , its executive committee and definitely by both DeMaurice Smith and his predecessor Gene Upshaw as then , Executive Director of the union (NFLPA) . To my mind the NFL in terms of the assistance now being provided to its retired veterans seems to be no different than that of the less than appropriate aid provided to war veterans by the Veterans Administration (VA) ! But yet we have our , oh so patriotic politicians saluting the troops at each and every moment that they can when they’re on the political stump . In reality however , those very same politicians are simply banging the drum all too loudly with their jingoism and rhetoric ! And in doing so , they’re simply giving the electorate something that they believe they want to hear . Unfortunately , those young men and women of the military are provided with about as much care and assistance as that can be found in the squalor of a disease ridden city of third world nation . Ask yourself this , if the federal government in all of its earnest to bring democracy to such far-flung places as Afghanistan and Iraq while barely moving heaven and earth to assist its men and women in uniform in their time of need . It is no different now with the NFL and its handling of the situation and that of its veterans . Anyone care to guess why it is that you now have former players being denied their benefits that in many cases is rightfully due to them ?

The NFLPA has sought the legal counsel of Fulbright & Jaworski LLC to represent its members in any upcoming proceeding against the Saints’ players current and former embroiled in this affair . But herein lies the caveat to this all , because undoubtedly there will be those who are of the opinion that this is a matter where the players in question should be honest enough to tell the truth rather than hide behind the charade of what is already a skewered form of justice within the NFL . You had players being blatantly being order to cause undue harm and damage to an opponent and many of those players willing sought to do so for the financial reward being used as an incentive . Yet , where there is a clear case as an act of criminality this whole scenario would indeed take on a whole new light . Instead , the idiocy here is that there are those who do not feel any undue harm has been done by this at all ! Only apathy and naivete` is being shown by those who see this nothing more than being part and parcel of the day-to-day inner workings within the sanctum of the NFL . In reality , the league has become outlandish ________________ and one of avarice rather than it being simply about doing what happens to be in the best interests of the game ! .

And while the league (NFL) now finds itself as the defendants in two separate civil suits brought at the US District Court and US Federal Court , clearly the NFL seeking to makeover its image as an uncaring and unwilling entity seeking to assist the most desperate amongst its members who just happen to be in urgent need . I certainly would like to see how Goodell and the owners now address each of the cases in question ! At the end of the 2011-12 season Roger Goodell was quick to point to the fact that the league hadn’t lost any major corporate sponsors while stating that the NFL as a business entity had negotiated deals worth in excess $1.6 billion by way of additional revenues from a number broadcast outlets , very little was made of the fact that when questioned about the legal proceedings faced as he sought to deflect their importance and simply view them as meaningless . In reality NFL Chief legal counsel Jeff Pash may well see it all from a different perspective should the league as defendants be on the wrong end of either of the judicial proceedings in question .

Roger Goodell seeks to be all things to all people and it is clear while appearing to be like the consummate politician it has to be said that for all sense and purpose the electorate now appear to be sick and tired of the whole spiel being put forth by both political parties and it is the very much the same thing with the NFL commissioner at present . He’s shown himself ineffective when he needs to be effective and someone who is unwilling to stick with a tough decision even when he knows it to be right . The stupidity of it all , has been the very fact that from the outset he needn’t have adjudicated an appeal when there was already an admittance of guilt from Sean Payton , Micky Loomis and Joe Vitt . Now what ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the latest developments concerning the New Orleans Saints what if anything would you now like to see happen with regard to the franchise ? And also do you believe that Roger Goodell has handled this situation to the best of his abilities ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This April 2, 2012 file photo shows NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell framed by New Orleans Saints hats during an interview before the grand opening of the NFL Shop at Draft store in New York. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has rejected the appeals of coach Sean Payton and other New Orleans Saints officials stemming from the league’s probe into the club’s bounty system. After hearing from Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt last week, Goodell decided Monday, April 9, 2012, to uphold his initial sanctions, which include Payton’s suspension for the entire 2012 season. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …

(2) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton during his season-ending news conference at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has rejected the appeals of coach Sean Payton and other New Orleans Saints officials stemming from the league’s probe into the club’s bounty system. After hearing from Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt last week, Goodell decided Monday, April 9, 2012, to uphold his initial sanctions, which include Payton’s suspension for the entire 2012 season. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

(3) FILE – This Jan. 14, 2012 file photo shows San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) passing against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of an NFL divisional playoff football game , in San Francisco. A newly released recording purports to capture former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams telling players to “put a lick” on San Francisco’s Kyle Williams to see if the receiver has lingering effects from an earlier concussion. In the recording from a meeting before the Saints played the 49ers in a playoff game in January, Williams urges players to beat running back Frank Gore’s head, “lay out” quarterback Alex Smith and go after receiver Michael Crabtree’s knee. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma …..

(4) New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, left, is followed by media as he arrives for a meeting at NFL headquarters in New York, Thursday, April 5, 2012. AP Photo/Seth Wenig ….

(5) New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt, right, arrives with attorney David Cornwell for a meeting at NFL headquarters in New York, Thursday, April 5, 2012. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

(6) NEW ORLEANS – JANUARY 18: Owner of the New Orleans Saints Tom Benson (L) tries to put a hat on Sean Payton’s head after announcing him as the new head coach of the Saints at the New Orleans Saints Practice facility on January 18, 2006 in Metairie, Louisiana. Payton has been an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys for the past three seasons. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images … …..

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One Crime Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All ……. But Then Again It Might !

One Crime Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All …….But Then Again It Might !

By tophatal …..

Well NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has publicly issued the penalties to be handed down to the New Orleans Saints . And harsh as it may seem there are many who feel that it simply wasn’t enough in terms actual crimes as we now know them to be . Saints’ head coach Sean Payton been suspended for the entire 2012 season , and in conjunction with that suspension assistant coach Joe Vitt also has been suspended for 6 games . GM Micky Loomis was handed down a penalty of suspension without pay and no contact whatsoever with anyone within the Saints’ hierarchy . Former Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams now with the St Louis Rams in a similar capacity has been suspended indefinitely and it could lead to his actual firing by the Rams’ organization , with cause . Also as part of this action , the league hierarchy has penalized the Saints $500,0000 and the organization will also forfeit two future NFL Draft picks in …… a 1st round pick in 2012 and a second round pick in 2013 .

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Commissioner Goodell having been in contact with Saints’ owner Tom Benson throughout the entire length of this investigation , and the franchise’s owner was made aware of the league’s findings forty-eight hours before it was made public. Benson is said to happy with the manner in which the investigation was conducted but said to be shocked at the severity of the penalties . With the Saints’ reputation now impugned , it’s hard to view the franchise as having any integrity whatsoever ! Sean Payton not only lied to the owner concerning the allegations when they first arose but also had his coaching staff also lie to the press , league hierarchy and public alike concerning the claims leveled against the team but the head coach also lied to league investigators at each of the interviews conducted by the league . Is it me but I can only surmise that the Saints’ head coach is simply a moronic asshole of the highest order ! And given the controversies and allegations that surfaced as to the use of illicit substances by certain members of Payton’s coaching staff as well as the head coach , himself. It begs the question , was there a case to actually conduct an investigation into those allegations which we told at the time were unfounded ? I bet they were ! Payton, we can now see is a man who lacks integrity as well as having a preponderance to avoid telling the truth . The irrevocable damage done to his reputation and that of the New Orleans Saints and lays the NFL wide open to any other multitude of sins from hereon-in .

At the heart of this all , has been the actions of the coaches in this saga and the temerity of current and former players to deny that there was ever surreptitious deal as an incentive for defensive players to go out cause harm to an opponent . Between 2008 and 2011 is primarily when Williams’ plan was put into place and carried out rather effectively over that period of time . Now we could look upon the results over that time and argue their veracity but it would be too little
, too late at this juncture . And although former Saints’ defensive player Darren Sharper has categorically stated that at no time did he or any of his teammates enact any of the strategies called for by either Gregg Williams , Joe Vitt or Sean Payton . One has to ask, is Sharper in complete denial or does he have something to hide ? With Jabari Greer now coming forward to suggest that the Saints’ integrity and that of the team has been smeared when he and other have done nothing wrong , smacks of sheer idiocy and lunacy on the part of the player ! But then again how can anyone not look at the organization and now look at this team with any integrity whatsoever !

The Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees in his first interview after the findings were made public stated Sean Payton was man of high praise and as being of someone with deep-rooted honesty and integrity . Now don’t get me wrong as much as I admire Brees as a player , at this moment in time any type of statement forthcoming from a player within this organization has to be treated with a sense of disbelief ! That being said, this story and the severity of the punishment should serve as a warning for all of the NFL’s 32 franchises . Let me pose this question to you all , when the “Spygate” fiasco came to the fore there were many amongst you who were of the impression that Bill Belichick and the fine imposed against the organization was justified because they were the only ones said to be involved in such an act . Did anyone truly believe that the New England Patriots was the only NFL team involved this whole charade ? If yes, then raise your hand like a kid in a classroom ? Less we forget , Josh McDaniels as the former head coach of the Denver Broncos enacted the same idiocy as his now mentor and head coach with the Patriots , where he now serves and the team’s offensive coordinator . Would it be remiss to suggest that there might be one or quite possibly two teams in the league now seeking to review their strategies from a defensive standpoint ? Think about at depth before proffering up an answer .

Roger Goodell has been in contact with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and it appears that the union leader along with the union’s executive committee are conducting their own investigation into the Saints’ deeds at the center of this major NFL controversy . As to what the union’s own investigation can find, is merely now mute and redundant . What is it that the union now hopes to achieve when it is clear that many of their members were apparently acting with malice a-forethought in seeking out an opponent and looking to cause harm ? And for the purists out there still espousing the idea that the game comes with many dangers . The dangers , yes , are many but they should not come about where an opponent is seeking to cause you irreparable harm and possible long-term injury . Can you imagine the public outcry that there would be had one of the league leading figures , such as recognizable names Tom Brady , Eli Manning , Peyton Manning and Matt Stafford or quite possibly running backs Adrian Peterson , LaDainian Tomlinson had suffered long-term injuries ? Consider the monies vested in the players and the very fact that monetarily the loss to a team would be catastrophic for any organization ?

Goodell has made it clear that the players involved in this scandal will face some form of punishment as deemed necessary by the NFL hierarchy . The ramifications for the New Orleans Saints will be ongoing and will certainly have an effect on their season . I would dare say also , that any former player of theirs during the time in question involved in this “mea-culpa “ now with another franchise may well be looking over their shoulder , waiting to see what the league may well have in store for them by way of a penalty .

Seeing the league now become so proactive seems somewhat like an image makeover when you now consider that the NFL is now defendant two separate civil suits one at the Federal level and one at one at the state level , Cook County Court , Chicago , Illinois . Each of the plaintiffs seek monetary damages for what they believe to negligence and fraud on the part of the league (NFL) in hiding what was said to be information within the league’s possession as it relates to the cause and effect of blunt force head trauma and concussions suffered by players during the course of their professional careers in the NFL . Given the fact that the union itself , has been just as negligent and asinine as the league hierarchy , first under Paul Tagliabue and his successor ( Goodell ) as well as DeMaurice Smith’s predecessor that bumbling and somewhat dimwitted oaf , the late Gene Upshaw ! And even though the league has set aside $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) to assist league veterans with their medical needs , it does look as if both the league and union now seem to be looking save face , after this latest controversy and debacle to hit the NFL square in the face . As to this asinine notion that the NFL really cares about their seasoned veterans , consider the plight of former Bears’ quarterback Jim McMahon . The former NFL great is now a shell of himself , now suffering from long and short-term memory loss . McMahon is part of the suit now filed US Federal Court in , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . The trial date though not yet set as both sides are going through their preliminary hearings . Chances are , we’re about to see some the league’s dirty laundry being aired for the whole world to see .

The other case I mentioned , is a civil suit filed in Cook County by the family of the late Dave Duerson , who also just happened to be a teammate and close personal friend of Jim McMahon and a member of the Bears’ Superbowl championship winning team in 1986. Duerson , as you may well be aware died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound , having played his entire career in the NFL . Upon his retirement , the player suffered a number of hardships , a failed marriage , personal as well corporate bankruptcy for a number of businesses he had set up prior to and after his retirement from the NFL . Unbeknown to many was that, Dave Duerson during this time had been suffering severe concussions and epileptic fits . All this mind you, and we’re led to believe that a player of Duerson’s caliber was never in danger given the physicality of the game . Who’s laughing now ? Certainly not Dave Duerson , or any member of his immediate family !

Fans have always seen the league first in a competitive light with its teams vying for the NFL’s highest honor . This past season was self-evident of that . The postseason however , offered us so much more by way of the games that were on display. Who could forget the Superbowl itself and the competitiveness of the game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants ? The events as they unfolded served up a plethora of excitement that led to Giants winning their second Superbowl in five years , with Tom Coughlin pretty much being assured a place in Canton , Ohio upon his retirement . The Hall of Fame is a revered institution and I now get the feeling that a number of players on the Saints’ current and past rosters during the time these incidents are said to have occurred , may well have seen their chances of entrance being waylaid , simply for the reason that they were willing and some might even suggest unwilling participants in the schemes of Sean Payton and Gregg Williams . Chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

This upcoming season with the NFL and in particular the NFC South we may well see distinct change within the mindset of the New Orleans Saints . Certainly the other residents within the division such as the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers this might well be the season where competitiveness within the division now sees some real equity between the quartet of teams . Not that the NFC South wasn’t said to be already competitive to begin with and most certainly from an offensive standpoint with . Certainly , coaches Greg Schiano , Mike Smith and Ron Rivera view the Saints in a new light . And I would dare say that Pete Carmichael Jr as the interim head coach of the New Orleans Saints may well use the season as a stepping stone to prove himself as a credible candidate for any future NFL position that may well come about .

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(1) In this Jan. 7, 2012, photo, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton yells from the sideline during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans. The NFL has suspended Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/The Shreveport Times, Jim Hudelson ….

(2) St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher discuss the indefinite suspension of Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. Williams was banned indefinitely on Wednesday because the New Orleans Saints defensive players were paid bounties for big hits on opponents from 2008-11 when Williams was with the team. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …….

(3) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is seen on the television as Saints fans Bryce Powers, left, and Jonathan Hebert watch news reports of the NFL’s punishment of the New Orleans Saints football team at Walk On’s sports pub in New Orleans,Wednesday, March 21, 2012. The NFL suspended New Orleans coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

(4) In this Sept. 18, 2011 file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton yells on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. he NFL has suspended Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Bill Haber …. ….

(5) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2011, file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson looks on before the first half of an NFL football game between Saints and the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. The NFL has suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Rich Addicks ……..

(6) FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2011 file photo, New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt walks the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans. The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman …..

(7) FILE – In this Dec. 19, 2012, file photo, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis watches from the sidelines before the start of the Saints-Dallas Cowboys NFL football game in New Orleans. The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Bill Haber ..

(8) FILE – In this Sept. 26, 2010, file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talk during an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, ….

(9) Former Bears’ quarterback Jim McMahon seen here giving a rare interview on the ESPN magazine program “Outside The Lines” . The player is part of a contingency of players in a civil suit filed against the NFL in the US Federal Court in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania that seeks punitive damages against the league . McMahon was a member of the Chicago Bears Superbowl winning team in 1986 and a teammate of the late Dave Duerson . Source ESPN / espn.go.com ….

(10) Dave Duerson seen here in front of a Congressional Committee that looked into the matter of head trauma and concussions suffered by current and former NFL players . The player would die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February 2011 . Dave Duerson’s family claims he suffered at least 10 concussions during his 11-year career . AP Photo / Susan Walsh ……

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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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(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 Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

Well week four is finally over and the NFL teams and their respective staffs have to deliberate which players will be cut in order for the rosters to have the league mandated 53 members per franchise. As this process takes place at the same time a number of players have been richly rewarded by their respective ball-clubs. Michael Vick has now become the latest member join the tier of those in the $100 million contract fraternity . Few players within the NFL are as athletic as the quarterback or as electrifying, and it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office feels justified in rewarding the player so handsomely , albeit that $40 million is said to be guaranteed money. That simply won’t matter because the residual effect will be for Vick and his agent to negotiate what’s hoped will be several multi-year multi million dollar endorsement contracts that will leave the Eagles’ player set for life .

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Perhaps I was simply mistaken but the team owners of the NFL simply pled poverty as to their financial plight during the alleged labor stoppage that lasted some 145 days . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , chief legal counsel Jeff Pash and the hierarchy’s chief labor negotiator Adolphus Birch all led the way in the league’s negotiations with the NFLPA and its executive committee . The union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stood firm but only acquiesced after the league gave up several concessions but perhaps the one concession that the fans did not expect was the very fact that during the regular season the league will be allowed to test the players for HGH ( human growth horomone) during regular season . Invasion privacy or not , the union knew that it had to fall into line and not be seen as the sport where their muscle bound specimens might misjudged for all of the wrong reasons . Granted , Major League Baseball still seems to be in denial as it relates to this issue and the fact that the MLBPA (union) has the game’s hierarchy cowering in a corner like a cat with its tail on fire . But in reality the less said about this topic within the realms of the sport it’s simply better abruptly end discussing the matter as neither the league or its players would clearly want to broach this topic.

If there was one thing that was clear Michael Vick simply proved himself last season for the Eagles and the team was simply better for it during the regular season . Now even with the additions made to the roster by way of the draft and off-season moves the Philadelphia Eagles may well be seen as the presumptive favorites within the NFC to make it to the Superbowl . That may well change over the course of the season for Andy Reid and his coaching staff as the team will almost certainly go through its version of highs and lows .

The next quarterback presumed to be joining the ranks of the $100 million club could very well be the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees . No one can deny that Brees at his very best should not be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers . All Superbowl winning quarterbacks , Superbowl MVP’s and at some after the end of their careers , all may well headed on their way to the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio. .

Brees and the Saints’ owner Tom Benson are fully aware as to what each party means to the other. The player is seen as the face of the franchise and the quarterback is beloved by the fans in the Crescent City and that feeling is reciprocated by the player. Sean Payton knows that this will be a testing schedule for his players and that if they are to prevail in what is clearly a very competitive NFC South division , we could very well be in for some very entertaining football from all of the residents there.

Calmer heads prevailed , as Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson got what he wanted , which was an extended contract . Either Bud Adams is that much of an idiot by initially insisting that the player would have to honor his existing contract or he was of the opinion that Johnson would not somehow not make idile of his threat to sit out the entire Titans’ regular season schedule . It is clear that this was the resolution that all parties had hoped for Chris Johnson being handsomely rewarded with a four year contract extenstion worth $53 million of which $30 million is guaranteed . The NFL players’ salaries become all the more baffling as the players and their agents simply are laughing all the way to the bank. I am not so at this juncture it’s still plausible for the team owners or general managers or for that matter Roger Goodell to continue with their original stance ! Nothing says ……… we’re so full of it than to continue to plead poverty while teams are said to be ignorant of that first relayed facade.

With Chris Johnson having received his contract extension now comes the thought that Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson will seek an increase in salary . And as productive as he has been over the past five seasons for the Vikings who can fault the player with whatever demands he may well seek . Certainly the Minnesota Vikings’ front office led by team owner Zygi Wilf may well feel that for all of the pandering and statements forthcoming from the league office , nothing at all has actually changed prior to NFL lockout . The negotiations that took place may well have led to a rookie salary cap and other concessions from both parties but when you get right down to it , we’re back to square one _____ the players chasing after the almighty buck with the league hierarchy still decrying their current fate and looking to apportion blame elsewhere.

With Donovan McNabb newly acquired by the Vikings along with their draft picks it remains to be seen how this team will fare over the course of the upcoming season . In the aftermath of the Brett Favre era with the organization it has to be said has to got to prove that they are capable of being thought of a legitimate contender within the NFC North and the conference as a whole . The preseason for the Vikings has not given us much to go on but it appears that McNabb seems to finding a rhythm with his offense .
Head coach Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff know that the expectations will continue to be high and this season no less will be seen as a determining factor as to how this team will fare .

So next season the Florida Marlins will move into their new ballpark in downtown Miami the site of the old Old Orange Bowl . The team seated at the bottom of the NL East are barely averaging 18,000 fans per home at Land Shark /Sun Life Stadium also home to the Miami Dolphins . Team owner Jeffrey Loria and the entire front office sold the city of Miami a can of goods in leading the city commission to believe that a new purpose venue , capacity of approximately 40,000 would be to the organization’s benefit. The only thing of benefit that is pertinent here is to know that Jeffrey Loria has not had to dip into his multi million dollar fortune in facilitating the building of this new stadium but you’d be hard pressed to believe that when you here the owner gushing about the stadium and what has been the very fact Loria has been less than truthful in his dealings with the city of Miami and other governmental agencies .

The cost of the facility is upwards of $450 million and much of that will be at the taxpayers’ expense though you’d be hard pressed to believe otherwise when the Loria , team President David Sansom and general manager Michael Hill are trying to convince the public otherwise. The team owner like many of his peers within the game seem to be of the opinion that the public’s coffers are there for their expense. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the MLB hierarchy has lobbyists working on their behalf not only at the state level but also at the federal level . This is one of the underbelly’s within the game that even Bud Selig would not care to discuss , along with the league’s stance on the financial solvency of its ball clubs .

While baseball is a multi billion dollar enterprise of which the teams at the top rungs of the financial ladder are immensely profitable , the minnows at the foot of that apparatus are barely able to get by. The Florida Marlins having pared down team salary but it has been Loria’s blatant use of the press to forge ahead with his belief the ball club needs a new stadium while the team owner seeks to benefit from the public’s largesse. Miami city mayor Tomas P. Regalado even with his demeanor and the love of the limelight has seen fit to praise the Marlins during the negotiating process in developing and building the of the new venue. If this franchise can barely fill their present facility, it stands to reason it will be the curiosity value that first brings the fans out but after a while that novelty will surely wear off ! A bad economic climate or not baseball within the state of Florida has always been a hard sell , especially given the attendance woes of the Tampa Bay Rays .

Tropicana Field home to the AL team has struggled even with the advent of the team’s success in recent years , albeit in the first decade years of their existence , this organization was one of abject futility . Team owner Stuart Sternberg along with his partners are vying for state and local governments’ attention in bringing about their own wish for an all purpose venue to be built in either Hillsborough or Pinellas County , in central Florida. And once again the burden in terms of the cost will be placed firmly on the shoulders of the public , the governmental agencies in question will in large part have to finance the building of that facility. Be it through a bond issue at some point there always tend to be , some indirect cost that is added to the public’s expense in terms of the services that they are asked to pay either for their municipal services or increased state services.

It would be remiss to suggest that baseball and football are the only major sports where the fans are asked to bear the burden of up-keeping a sport’s venue but would it be too much to ask if the franchise owners would for once step up to the plate say……” I’m here to do the right thing “ ? Somehow , I seriously doubt that is liable to happen as the franchise owners seeks to keep as much money in their pockets , rather than give the impression that they are able to for once able to fend for themselves without preying on the fans ! Is that too much to ask ?

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(1) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the Oakland Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

(2) Head coach of the New Orleans Saints Sean Payton (L) acknowledges the crowd as he and owner Tom Benson (R) wait for the beginning of a reception for the 2010 National Football League Super Bowl champions in the East Room of the White House August 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. The New Orleans Saints, lead by head coach Sean Payton, finished the 2009-2010 season with a winning record of 13-3 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts to take the championship . Getty Images/ Chris Rodgers ……

(3) FILE – In this file photo taken Sept. 20, 2009, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson runs for a 57-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans in an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, signed his four-year contract extension worth $53 million and the $30 million guaranteed he wanted, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011. He agreed to the deal Thursday and flew into Nashville from his Orlando, Fla., home Friday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …. ……

(4) Owner Bud Adams (R) of the Tennessee Titans greets family members of quarterback Jake Locker (10) before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. …….

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans and head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings speak after the game on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0 . Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….. …..

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings throws his hat to fans after the win against the Houston Texans on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Lopez (11) of the Florida Marlins is congratulated after hitting a solo home run by Emilio Bonifacio (1) during a game against the New York Mets at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Marlins would go on to defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(8) Emilio Bonifacio (1) of the Florida Marlins scores on a wild pitch avoiding Chris Capuano (38) and Josh Thole (30) of the New York Mets during a game at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(9) Jack McKeon (25) of the Florida Marlins walks away from Fieldin Culbreth (25) , Crew Chief of the umpires, after losing an argument in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images /Chris Pasiateri ……

(10) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by Ben Zobrist (18) after his home run against the Texas Rangers during the game at Tropicana Field on September 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays would defeat the Rangers 5-1 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields , center, reacts with teammates Sam Fuld , left, and David Price (14) after pitching a complete baseball game against the Texas Rangers Monday, Sept. 5, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. the Rays won the game 5-1. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …….

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Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Week 3 of the NFL preseason and one doubts that there’s anymore that can be learned from the teams within the league . Certainly from a statistical standpoint as impressive as some teams appear to be there’s a great deal to be said for the fact that your starters will get their accustomed workouts but it will be the rookies who will look to acclimatize themselves with the rigors of the NFL.

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And perhaps nowhere will the spotlight be than upon more , than , the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton as he looks justify the faith shown in him by the Panthers’ front office , and the team’s coaching staff led by Ron Rivera . And though Newton has showed his guile and athleticism there has been nothing yet to suggest that he may well be the answer to the team’s needs at the position . The player and his presumed backup Jimmy Claussen now have one more game to prove to the fans and staff in particular that they are ready to embark upon the regular season in with the right frame of mind and the ability sought , in order for the Carolina Panthers to be successful.

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CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

After a rather lackluster and disappointing 2010 season where the Carolina Panthers finished with a 2-14 record much to the disdain of their fans , it was felt the organization would embark upon a major personnel upheaval on both front within the playing and coaching staff. Jon Fox was seemingly allowed to depart along with several members of the coaching staff and this offseason the purge began amongst the playing personnel along with the players acquired through the NFL Draft .

As with any number one player taken in the draft a great deal is placed upon the shoulders of that athlete . They’re often seen as the presumed savior and future face of a franchise and for Cam Newton it will undoubtedly be no different. If the player can have half the success during his final year at Auburn then one could deem it a success for Cam Newton and his new teammates . Now it would be true to surmise that for any rookie quarterback starting in the NFL success isn’t expected to immediate but for the Panthers who have so much riding on the player , that anything short of an 8 win season would as such be deemed a failure for the organization . Granted , as with any team said to be going through this type of transition there will always be growing pains and a great deal of uncertainty not only about the team as a whole but also upon the expectations of the coaching staff , as well. Ron Rivera , it has to be said a rookie coach in the NFL will have his work cut out for him but with his credentials and insight into the game , one would expect the coach to fare well this upcoming season.

Unfortunately , for the Carolina Panthers they find themselves in a tough NFC South division where three of last year’s most promising teams within the conference reside . The Atlanta Falcons , New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot be overlooked as teams that are not capable of holding their own and being competitive in what can be best described as one of the better divisions within the NFL.

It might be at this juncture however that one now begins to question whether or not this team might be capable of usurping the dominance of their neighbors within the NFC South. I do believe that with that even with the changes on the roster , the team will be in for an arduous season ! The six games played within the division will be tough enough without considering the typical conference schedule overall for the Carolina Panthers. And ccertainly the team’s celebrated wide receiver Steve Smith will be looking to regain the form that made one of the more prolific players at the position .

It would be remiss to think that an offense led by Newton and Smith alone will be enough or for the Carolina Panthers to garner any semblance of success if this team is to show any semblance of progress beyond the mediocrity shown last season , then the team will have put forth a collective effort that is of their very best . There’s no denying that last season injuries had beset the 2010 team and as with any organization the coaching staff underestimated those losses to the roster as a whole . And it’s clear as a result of that the franchise ation believes it best to have players complemental and befitting a team that seeks the game’s ultimate prize _______ the Superbowl .

Noted veterans on this Carolina Panthers’ roster such as Steve Smith , Jeremy Shockey , Chris Gamble , DeAngelo Williams , Jordan Gross , Chris Massey and Jason Baker will have to step up if this team is to have any semblance of success over the course of this season.

By way of production shown in the preseason by the team’s young rookies the fans can expect something of note . Cam Newton , much like the players drafted alongside him by the Carolina Panthers have something to prove Albeit , that the quarterback’s own baptism of fire has been somewhat unspectacular . His rookie classmates Terrell McClain , Sione Fua , Brandon Hogan , Kealoha Pilares , Lawrence Wilson , Zachary Williams and Lee Ziemba are hoping that they too can offer something to this beleaguered franchise. If nothing else , it certainly will be interesting to see what transpires for this team as to their overall play.

For this season’s rookies in their first within the NFL this could very well prove to be an interesting year. Undoubtedly, even for the the players taken in the supplemental draft they too have something to prove . Terrelle Pryor in spite of his off field problems will have to justify the faith shown in him by the Oakland Raiders’ front office . I’d dare say that this is one gamble Al Davis might truly believe in, given his past forays with regard to over-hyped talent that simply didn’t measure up to much . With Pryor at this juncture who knows what he may well be able to offer the team ? Their travails of last season were well documented.

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

Certainly with the moves made by the organization and through the draft it has to be said the Oakland Raiders are positioning themselves to have a successful run within the AFC West and conference as a whole this season . The team certainly has the offensive capabilities to be amongst the best within the NFL and certainly within the AFC . If the team is able to reproduce that sort of form over the course the season then the Raiders’ fans could very well be for not only a wild ride but perhaps a shot of making the postseason .

Hue Jackson and his coaching staff must be hoping to get the very best out of this team . There’s enough veteran experience on the roster to suggest that Jason Campbell and his contemporaries are capable of providing enough leadership for the rookies on this team . But if there’s said to be a problem for the Raiders it has the consistent lapses by the defense in particular that of the pass defense that has let them down repeatedly over the course of last season . These are the things that John Marshall as the defensive coordinator will be lookin g to tweak over the preseason while Al Saunders will be looking to fine tune the skill-set of the team’s quarterbacks and that of the offense .

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What traits do you believe Cam Newton has that may well convince you that he is capable of being a success in the NFL ? Or do you believe that he will essentially be a work in progress over the next couple of years ? And are you of the opinion that the Oakland Raiders can be a legitimate contender within the AFC West and conference this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and as usual thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

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(1) New York Jets’ David Harris intercepts a pass by New York Giants’ Eli Manning during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 17-3 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(2) Brandon Jacobs (27) of the New York Giants greets Plaxico Burress (17) of the New York Jets after their pre season game on August 29, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ……..

(3) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Gibril Wilson (27) of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a tackle against DeAngelo Williams (34) of the Carolina Panthers during an NFL preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera looks on during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ………

(5) Jimmy Clausen (2) of the Carolina Panthers runs away from pressure while trying to pass during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(6) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

(7) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) meet after the Bengals defeated the Panthers 24-13 in an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Tony Tribble ……

(8) Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson walks off the field after the Raiders lost to the New Orleans Saints 40-20 in a preseason NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ) …….

(9) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Taiwan Jones (36) of the Oakland Raiders runs twenty two yards for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the third 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 ….

(10) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(11) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

(12) Jason Campbell (8) of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the New Orleans Saints 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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The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

One year removed from having won the Superbowl the New Orleans Saints had the inauspicious privilege of being hoisted on their own petards during the wildcard round of last season’s NFL playoffs by the Seattle Seahawks . That untimely exit left many wondering whether or not the New Orleans Saints had in fact become complacent in light of their triumph . The loss in of-itself was simply one where what you see is what you get as complacency simply had set in with this organization .

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Heroes in the wake of the post ‘Hurricane Katrina’ disaster the Saints set out to bring pride back to the Crescent City and its residents . The 2010 regular season for the team showed that while they still possessed that offensive prowess there was something lacking in Sean Payton’s team. It was never properly addressed by the coach and his assistants in spite of the belief that this organization was looking to be once again a part of the postseason. Team owner Tom Benson loved being the center of attention after the years of ridicule being portrayed as disinterested NFL franchisee . But the tide turned after the team was able to secure the trade that would bring Drew Brees from the San Diego Chargers to join the New Orleans Saints . And the rest as they say is history as things gradually progressed to the point were the quarterback would simply bring about changes in the fortunes of the organization.

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

This season however , with changes made by the front office led my general manager Mickey Loomis the loss of Reggie Bush notwithstanding the organization sought to make the necessary moves through the draft and via free agency make this team considerably better and a serious challenger within the NFC South , the conference as a whole and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl once again.

With the former Heisman Trophy winner now making his home with the Miami Dolphins like a former Saints’ predecessor , Ricky Williams ___ it has to be said that Bush’s undistinguished career with the Saints was simply one of ups and downs. Never truly acclimatizing or living up to the hype the player will now try to prove himself worthy of Dolphins’ trust in him. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross , general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano may well be going out on a limb in acquiring the player but given Dolphins’ woes of last season within the AFC East of this organization leads me to believe that not only is this an act of desperation but Sparano’s very future will rely upon Reggie Bush leading this team with some authority on the field of play.

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Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) ………

The New Orleans Saints at this point through attrition and the moves made via free agency and the draft should be considerably better. The team added Alex Barron , Aubrayo Franklin , Olin Kreutz , Will Herring , Darren Sproles , Fabian Washington and Shaun Rogers . Players one would still deem that they have something to offer the organization and will ultimately be of benefit to the team. The defense needed to be shored up and it should now bode well for the Saints over the course of the regular season. The Saints having drafted Mark Ingram to complement a receiving corp that might just one of the most potent weaponry of any team within the NFC and league as a whole .

As I alluded to earlier the season could very well give a great insight into how the New Orleans may well acquit themselves . And given the competitiveness within the NFC South , a trio teams in the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers ___ each of whom will be looking to prove their dominance within the division. From my own perspective I believe that the Carolina Panthers will have their struggles as Cam Newton looks to acquaint himself to the rigors of the NFL as rookie coach Ron Rivera also has his own baptism of fire within the league.

The Falcons with their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and Mike Smith the team’s coach will also be looking to gauge their own competitiveness within the NFL this upcoming season . I can’t say that the Atlanta Falcons are not a team to be feared but given the inconsistency shown by the team they may well struggle to prove themselves truly worthy consideration as a Superbowl contender .

For what is now a resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization led by coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik . This will be a team looking to make even further strides than beyond what was achieved last season . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly missed the postseason by failing to notch an eleventh win which would have secured them a berth in playoffs. That lone misstep pretty much summed up a lost opportunity for the team which was gallantly led by their quarterback Josh Freeman .

Coming off a stellar season Josh Freeman will be out to prove to his doubters that he’s quite capable of taking this current roster to the next level. Certainly those who have witnessed the play of the young quarterback will know that he has a great deal of poise about him and that his maturity level is way beyond what many believed capable of a the third year starter. Raheem Morris, his coaching staff have a great deal of faith in the player and under the tutelage of quarterbacks’ coach Alex Van Pelt one can see the strides taken to improve Freeman’s play.

Ever resourceful , this organization will be looking to usurp the perceived supremacy of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints as their season unfolds. Their first task will be gauge themselves during their first outing of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs . Rookies and some starters will play a number of series as Raheem Morris and the coaching staff get the chance to assess the players under a game scenario , albeit that is merely a preseason game. It will be interesting to see how the fans will view the chances of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the course of the season and whether or not they are in fact credible contenders within the NFL. The disappointment of last season may well still linger but if this team can put that behind them , then there’s no reason not to believe why they cannot have a chance to prove themselves worthy opponents over of this NFL calendar .

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….

The NFC South is not often considered one of the glamor divisions of the NFL . But when one considers that a sole loss was all that deprived the Buccaneers of finishing with a 11-5 mark and making the postseason as a wildcard entrant leads me to believe that this team won’t be making the same sort of mistake again. They have learned their lesson and most certainly that seems to be now showing during which we are now seeing Freeman taking much more of a leadership role on this team alongside seasoned veterans Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the New Orleans Saints and in your opinion are they viable contenders within their division and perhaps the Superbowl ? Or do you in fact see either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Atlanta Falcons proving to be a better team this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

Contact tophatal ………. rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc . AP Photo/Gerald Herbert ….

(2) Head coach Sean Payton talks with Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with center Olin Kreutz (50) of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ……

(4) METAIRIE, LA – AUGUST 05: Mark Ingram (28) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(5) Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ………

(6) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Quarterback Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signs an autograph during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(8) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Tight end Kellen Winslow (82) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs up-field with a pass during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….
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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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The NFL Has A Zero Tolerance Of What ?

The NFL Has A Zero Tolerance Of What ?

While the NFL has its off-season , the stories that come to the fore never cease to amaze. From former NFL great Lawrence Taylor’s assignation with a young teen and his choosing to having solicited sex from this female , to the very fact that he now causes embarrassment to his wife and immediate family. To top it all with his lawyer professing his client’s innocence we now find out the player confirmed to law enforcement _ members of the Ramapo Police Dept that he did in fact have sex with the teen and paid her for the act . It appears that LT isn’t one to heed his lawyer’s advice.

Former New York Giants L-R: Carl Banks, Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson on the sidelines before an NFC wildcard game January 8, 2006 at the Meadowlands. The Carolina Panthers defeated the Giants 23 - 0. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ..........

Carl Banks (left), Lawerence Taylor (center) and Harry Caron (right) are seen on the sidelines before an NFC wildcard game at the Meadowlands against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers would go on to defeat the Giants 23-0 . Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt ….

Courtesy of the New York Daily News

Lawrence Taylor’s arrest on rape charges saddens his New York Giants family


By Gary Myers New York Daily News

This was in December of 1998 and I was sitting with Lawrence Taylor in his house in Upper Saddle River, just more than a month before the vote on his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It had been a bumpy five years following his retirement and LT was aware voters could stray from the rules and consider his drug arrests and long list of off-the-field problems when considering his candidacy.

LT was in a talkative mood that day – part therapy and part campaigning for votes.

“I’m quite sure, as long as I live, there is always going to be some controversy with me,” he said. “People must think I get up in the morning and say, ‘Let me see what I can get into now.'”

He has rarely given reason to think otherwise.

Although it had been pretty quiet on the LT police blotter since he was inducted in Canton on Aug. 7, 1999, that all changed this past week after he was arrested for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl and soliciting a prostitute. LT has two daughters from his first marriage older than the girl he is accused of raping.

It has left the Giants community saddened and stunned.

“LT is like a brother to me,” Harry Carson told the Daily News. “I consider it a family matter and far be it from me to speak about my brother or my family at this time. What generally happens is you circle the wagons and support one another. It’s not about communicating with the world, it’s not about me running my mouth. It’s about trying to be as supportive as I can to someone I am very close to.”

Carson and Taylor had a falling out in the late ’90s after LT’s drug arrest in Florida. He said Carson was saying negative things about him and he was tired of it. They didn’t speak for the nine months before Taylor entered Canton, but Carson broke the ice when he showed up for LT’s induction. Taylor then gave a special mention to Carson in his speech.

“We’ve always been buddies,” Carson said. “There was a period when there was a rough patch.”

Taylor went from the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, where he was honored as one of the 10 best draft picks of all time, to St. Kitts, where he met up with Carson to play in Bruce Smith’s golf tournament. “Everything was fine,” Carson said.

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Click on link to read details in full.

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Now having been indicted , Taylor a trial awaits with all of the paparazzi and mayhem that one expect would occur when it comes to a fallen NFL idol. Should we at all be surprised by the sheer stupidity that emanates from the NFL and from its current or former players ? It’s not as if the league’s hierarchy or the NFLPA- (union) is overly concerned with its image to begin with ! Not only unless it adversely affects the monies coming into its coffers. Roger Goodell merely chooses the battles he sees fit to intervene in but rarely has he been proactive in dealing with many of the underlying issues that affects the game and its image adversely. And it is the same with his union counterpart NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith .

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As reigning Superbowl champions you’d expect that the New Orleans Saints would now be basking in the glory from its 31-17 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts in Superbowl (SBXLIV) . Well low and behold, nothing could be further from the truth. The organization has now become embroiled in a rather nasty civil suit that could very well send shock waves not just within the front office hierarchy of the Saints , itself. But the tremors from those very waves could well be felt across the bows and within the front office of NFL hierarchy itself. Saints’ owner Tom Benson is steadfastly sticking behind team GM Micky Loomis , coach Sean Payton and assistant coach Joe Vitt .

Courtesy of Associated Press

Saints’ coach Payton deflects lawsuit questions

Metairie , Louisiana — Saints coach Sean Payton says this weekend’s rookie camp is the wrong time to address accusations that the club covered up prescription drug thefts and abuse at team headquarters.

Payton says he cannot discuss the matter while a civil lawsuit filed by former team security director Geoffrey Santini is pending.

The suit claims linebackers coach Joe Vitt was caught on video stealing Vicodin from the team’s drug locker and that the Saints tried to keep it quiet. It also claims Payton was allowed to take excessive amounts of Vicodin from team supplies.

Both coaches are going about their normal duties this weekend.

Payton says Vitt deserves as much credit as anyone for last season’s Super Bowl championship.

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What is now unfolding from within the New Orleans Saints is either a wantoned act of sheer stupidity and desperation by several senior executives or just complete deniability or culpability by those embroiled in the alleged theft of property from the Saints. The allegations are that Joe Vitt is said to have removed excessive amounts of the drug Vicodin from the club’s property without authorization. And given the fact that under federal law the drug’s use has to prescribed under prescription from a certified medical professional. Former team security and liaison officer Geoffrey Santini is said to have been asked to conduct an investigation into the missing medication. However, it has been alleged that upon having culminated his investigation , Santini states that GM Micky Loomis conducted a cover up as to what took place and the very fact that Vitt was the actual perpetrator of the criminal act of removing the drugs in question. It is also being alleged that Payton , himself , is also embroiled in this from a standpoint that he’s said to be an alleged abuser in the use of Vicodin. Though there have been denials from both coaches concerning the matter. It has to be said that trying to question Santini’s credibility might well be a tough thing to prove. Geoffrey Santini is a former decorated and seasoned veteran of the FBI .

With Santini having been fired and bring about this suit , the Saints and their legal counsel have made it clear that they intend to challenge this suit vehemently and add this suit itself is without merit and frivolous. However, the landscape of this all could well be altered from the fact that Santini states that he still has within his possession evidence that supports his findings. And much of that evidence stems from the fact that he says he has videotaped recordings of Vitt removing the ‘said items’ from the Saints’ property. If this proves to be true then the cat and mouse antics that’s now taking place between the two sides will be for nought. Federal investigators aren’t yet involved in the matter but one can be sure that they’re watching this all with a great deal of scrutiny. And should they intervene and then become involved in this all, then it could very well spell disaster for a number of high ranking officials within the Saints’ organization. At this moment in time , it is nothing more than a civil suit brought about by an ex-employee of the New Orleans Saints with the organization as defendants and Geoffrey Santini as the the plaintiff.

You’ve either got to be the dumbest “son of a bitch” on the face of the planet or you simply don’t give a f_ck once you become a much vaulted player within the camaraderie of the NFL ! That’s simply the only reason I can now describe ormer USC defensive player Brian Cushing . The player has been drafted by the Houston Texans and was seen as a fulcrum for a very porous defense within the AFC South .

The AP NFL Rookie of The Year will now spend the first four games of the 2010 NFL season having violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy, having tested positive for an illegal substance. Though this isn’t the first time that the player has had such a problem as there had been suspicions as to his use while under Pete Carroll’s program there at USC . And one was under the impression that the only real problem there with the program may well have been flouting the NCAA rules ? Hell no , you name it and more likely than they’d have found a way to circumvent the rules as long as it benefited the program. Never mind the morons within the NCAA hierarchy. Those as_holes couldn’t find their own rear ends were they given a mirror to assist them. And as for USC Athletics’ Director Mike Garrett . Well let’s just say his idea of remaining within the guidelines have become somewhat skewered. As for Pete Carroll , his ass fled from USC faster than sprinter Usain Bolt slips from the starting blocks in a 100 meter sprint. You’re not going to blame him for any of the mess that befalls the program. That s_it will land firmly in the lap of his successor Lane Kiffin .

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Texans owner: More info needed on suspensions

By Barry Wilner AP Sports Writer

New York (AP)—Houston Texans owner Robert McNair says he’d like more information to be provided to the team when a player has a league suspension pending.

McNair said Monday he knew during the 2009 season that linebacker Brian Cushing(notes) had “an issue” with the NFL. McNair was given no details by the league of what it concerned.

Turns out, it concerned Cushing using a banned substance, for which he was suspended last week for the first four games of the 2010 season.

The Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year admitted taking a non-steroid banned substance, which is still considered performance-enhancing by the league. He did not identify the substance he took.

Cushing won the end-of-season honor as part of the AP’s annual awards for outstanding on-field performance by players. As a result of the penalty and admission, the AP is taking a revote for the defensive rookie award plus for All-Pro outside linebacker. Cushing received five votes in that category and made the second team. He is still among the nominees in the revote.

All ballots in the revote are due by early Wednesday afternoon.

Cushing was a runaway winner for the rookie award in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. He received 39 votes, easily beating Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd(notes), who had six.

“This is the first time we’ve encountered an issue like this,” said Lou Ferrara, AP’s managing editor for sports and entertainment. “Because these awards are based on on-field performance, we consider it necessary to review the matter and allow for a re-vote, especially after concerns were raised by many of our voters.”

McNair criticized the suspension and appeal process.

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Click on link to read Wilner’s article in its entirety.
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Texans’ owner Bob McNair feels aggrieved that Cushing will have to undergo the four game suspension. Did I miss something here ? But this is a mandatory suspension that was agreed upon by all parties concerned , the owners the NFL hierarchy and that of the , NFLPA as laid out in the collective bargaining agreement. Brian Cushing for his part hasn’t been forthcoming as to what he tested positive for but one can surmise that it could either be for marijuana or a steroid. McNair on the other hand is crying foul for all of the wrong reasons. Could an owner be more asinine in his resolve ?

You don’t bend the rules simply because you’re not happy with it ! Especially given the fact that the player’s character has come into question prior to his joining the NFL. I am of the opinion that the NFL at times , feels that it is above the laws of the land ? Never mind the fact that its players act like a bunch of primadonas the vast majority of the time ! Clearly there’s something awry here when an owner feels that the hierarchy of the game ought to be answerable to him and not the other way around. After-all , it is a player that is in the Texans’ employ that has flouted the rules here . And as such if there’s proof of guilt then the punishment ought to fit the crime.

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Here it appears that McNair is merely trying to make the situation as it concerns his player somewhat more beneficial to himself and his organization. As to the NFL under the tenure of Roger Goodell , as its commissioner . I am still at a loss what to make of him not just as the game’s highest ranking official but also as a human being ! The vast majority of the time he comes across as none-plussed and clearly out of his depth . And at other times even when trying to be succinct you can’t be sure what it is that he’s trying to communicate to us all en masse`. Pardon for saying this but what is the NFL’s actual tolerance level and policy ? Does anyone really know ? If you have an answer or the answers , then by all means submit them as part of your response to this very article . It ought to make for an interesting topic of discussion !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………………..

Nelly …………………. “Country Grammar”

All Good Things Must Come To An End ……. So Did Superbowl SBXLIV ……………

All Good Things Must Come To An End ……. So Did Superbowl SBXLIV ……………

So it came and went , what was the NFL’s showcase event …. Superbowl 44 (SBXLIV). The two representatives of the AFC and NFC put on a thoroughly energetic display of all-out attacking football. And at times the Indianapolis Colts showed that their defense was more than capable of stopping the New Orleans Saints’ ‘prolific offense’. But when it was all said and done , the Boys of ‘The Louisiana Bayou’ would end up prevailing in an exhilarating and well earned 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

<strong>Superbowl  (SBXLIV)  MVP  Drew Brees </strong> raises  the  Lombardi  Trophy  aloft   after  his   team's victory  over  the   Indianapolis  Colts <strong> 31-17 </strong>  in  the  game  played   at  Sun  Life  Stadium  ,  Miami,  Florida.   This  was  the  Saints'  first  victory  in  the  Superbowl in  their  enrtire  43  year  existence.     photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images  /   Chad   Restins..................
Superbowl (SBXLIV) MVP Drew Brees raises the Lombardi Trophy aloft after his team's victory over the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in the game played at Sun Life Stadium , Miami, Florida. This was the Saints' first victory in the Superbowl in their enrtire 43 year existence. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Chad Restins..................

Sun Life Stadium , Miami, played host to the event and its ensemble spectacle. The half time showed had veteran rockers ‘The Who’ perform many of their hits, the show of which was somewhat uninspired , to say the very least. But then again the demographics that the NFL tends to appeal to doesn’t always resonate with the masses at large . The preponderance of young kids watching may only know some of themes being sang as that to the various CBS hit shows from the ‘CSI’ (trilogy) dramas on the station, hosting the Superbowl itself. Good cross product tie in by the network , even if it was somewhat uninspired to begin with.

New Orleans - February 7th, 2010. Celebrating New Orleans Saints fans spill out into the streets outside of LeBon Temps Roule uptown neighborhood bar just minutes after the New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl XLIV victory  in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears  courtesy  of  <strong>Getty  Images </strong>/  Skip Bolen  ......
New Orleans - February 7th, 2010. Celebrating New Orleans Saints fans spill out into the streets outside of LeBon Temps Roule uptown neighborhood bar just minutes after the New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl XLIV victory in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Skip Bolen ......

Courtesy of NFL.com and Associated Press

Brees answers ‘Who dat?’ with Super Bowl MVP performance

Miami Gardens, Fla. — Drew Brees grew up in Texas and started playing for pay in faraway San Diego. But he made New Orleans his home and its cause uniquely his own.

After 43 years of Saints futility and one of the finest quarterbacking performances ever delivered in a Super Bowl, Brees made sure there’s no need to ask “Who dat?” anymore.

Thanks to Brees, the answer to “Who dat say they gonna beat them Saints?” is nobody.

“We just believed in ourselves, and we knew that we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us,” Brees said Sunday after being voted MVP in New Orleans’ 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. “What can I say? I tried to imagine what this moment would be like for a long time, and it’s better than expected.”

“I’m just feeling like it was all meant to be. What can I say? The birth of my son, and in the first year of his life, we won a Super Bowl championship.”

The people of New Orleans now will embrace Brees tighter than some of their kinfolk. It didn’t hurt, of course, that when Brees arrived in 2006, both he and the city were at a crossroad.

A torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in the final game of the 2005 season, coupled with young Chargers passer Philip Rivers waiting in the wings, made Brees expendable in San Diego and left him wondering whether his career already was on the downside. When Saints coach Sean Payton drove Brees around New Orleans hoping to sell him on joining the Saints, the quarterback realized, seeing residents struggling to cope with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, that he’d found the perfect place to begin his own comeback.

“Four years ago, who ever thought this would happen?” Brees said, still fighting back tears.

Earlier, as confetti swirled just above the playing surface at Sun Life Stadium, Brees’ eyes already were watering, trying not to cry as he held his son, Baylen, who was wearing a Saints jersey with his father’s name on the back and a headset so the loud celebration wouldn’t scare him. Brees struggled yet one more time to keep his emotions in check as he lifted the silver Lombardi Trophy over his head.

But a few minutes into his post-game interview, Brees simply quit trying.

“Eighty-five percent of the city was under water, all the residents evacuated all over the country, people never knowing if they were coming back or if New Orleans would come back,” he said. “But not only the city came back, and the team came back … when the players got there, we all looked at one another and said, ‘We’re going to rebuild together.’

“We leaned on each other,” Brees said, pausing as he choked up. “This is the culmination of that.”

Yet in the same way that New Orleans’ progress has come in fits and starts, so it was with the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. After a rocky first quarter, Brees found his rhythm midway through the second quarter and finished with a record-tying 32 completions in 39 attempts for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He was never finer than during what turned out to be the go-ahead scoring drive, stringing together seven straight completions — to seven different receivers.

“Phenomenal,” Saints wide receiver Marques Colston said. “You really can’t put that kind of performance in words. To have 32 completions and two drops, he deserves the MVP.

“Hopefully,” he added, “you guys (in the media) can start putting Drew in that elite quarterback conversation.”

Consider it a done deal.

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The Indianapolis Colts fights for a loose ball against the New Orleans Saints after an onside kick to start the second half during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong>Getty Images/ </strong>  Doug Benc .....
The Indianapolis Colts fights for a loose ball against the New Orleans Saints after an onside kick to start the second half during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Benc .....

The game pitted two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL to have started a Superbowl in recent years and it was expected to be something of a chess match between these two celebrated stars of the league in, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. And the two most certainly did not disappoint with their play. If anything they served to show they have two of the most prolific and accurate passers in the NFL, in recent years.
And for the respective coaches in, Jim Caldwell and Sean Payton , this was an experience to soak up and remember for years to come. They may well use it as anecdote to tell their children and grandchildren for years to come, into the future.

<strong> Garrett Hartley (#5) </strong> of the New Orleans Saints kicks a field goal as <strong> Mark Brunell (#11)</strong> holds against the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  photo appears courtesy  of  <strong> Getty Images</strong>/  Ezra   Shaw ..........
Garrett Hartley (#5) of the New Orleans Saints kicks a field goal as Mark Brunell (#11) holds against the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ..........

Initially it was the Colts who got off to a fast start and they harried and rushed the Saints and their offensive line. But once the Saints steadied themselves , the game took on something more of a competitive edge about it all aspects. It was never going to be blowout for either side but at the same you got the inclination that whoever made the least amount of mistakes would end up prevailing in the game. And when it was all said and done , that was inevitably became the case. And for residents and citizens of New Orleans this may well have felt like vindication and redemption for all that the city has been through over the past few years. At the height of its troubles , they well have felt that the world had left them behind and had forgotten about them. But that was never really the case . As it all came down to the haphazard way that the local , state and federal government agencies dealt with a natural disaster that was unimaginable and inconceivable to comprehend in the magnitude of the destruction caused and the psychological aftermath of the toll that it left on the city’s citizens , young and old. Never mind the lives that were lost in the tragic disaster that was ‘Hurricane Katrina’ . This victory by the Saints may well provide some and be part of the healing process in the end , as the city looks to pick up the pieces and rebuild.


For the moment , whatever the future hold for the Saints and its owner, Tom Benson remains to be seen. But somehow , I for one don’t believe that the masses and the fans of the NFL will begrudge the team , the organization or for that matter , the citizens of New Orleans their moment to shine and to be proud of the achievements of their team. Kudos to the New Orleans Saints on a well deserved victory !

tophatal

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Kellita Smith, actress and former model. Smith is more widely known for playing the wife of the late comedian Bernie Mac , on the Fox comedy hit ‘ The Bernie Mac Show’.

Titillation ……. Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That At All ! … The NFL Does It ..

Titillation ……. Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That At All ! … The NFL Does It

Well ever since my weary a_s departed from Foxsports.com’s blogsite. I have to admit, I’ve received a new found burst of energy, that has made me all the more analytical and discerning when it come to not only my writing but also the succinct commentary that I try to offer up on contributor’s website. Granted, at times the contributor and I may well have a differing opinion on a subject matter. But I feel that it’s imperative not to offend but merely offer up a comment offering the reasons why I might disagree with an a opinion or quite possibly a ‘misquoted’ fact. I think that we can all agree, that’s the appropriate etiquette to be shown between a commentator and someone who as a reader patronizes a blogger’s website ? It’s far better than behaving like an infantile child and resorting to < ‘name calling’ or stating that you don’t want to be entertained or return to someone’s site. That sort of behavior smacks of sheer stupidity and immaturity to my mind and ought to be treated as such ! But I digress, as that’s not what this piece is meant to be about.

Here's something  that I'd like to  stick  a <strong> 'certain  appendage' </strong>  into   .  It's a  nice  looking<strong>   'hot  chick'</strong>  wearing  a  South  Beach  t-shirt .
Here's something that I'd like to stick a 'certain appendage' into . It's a nice looking 'hot chick' wearing a South Beach t-shirt .

My venerable acquaintances , chappy 81 of doin-work.com and sportschump of the similarly named site that bears his name, sportschump.net obviously share a taste in fine wine and no doubt the love of a good woman. Ain’t nothin’ wrong in that, is there ? And as we are about to proceed into the dark days of ‘Spring’, as far as I’m concerned. Wherein, the NFL regular season has ended and all we’re now left with, is that of the NFL Pro Bowl game and Superbowl XLIV to be played between NFC representative, the New Orleans Saints and their AFC opponents , the Indianapolis Colts. As I’ve previously stated to my buddies, chappy 81 and sportschump , the thought of ‘Brett Favre’ envisioned Superbowl would’ve created the worse case scenario as far as I was concerned, with regard to the ‘NFL’s showcase event’ !

Mansion Night Club on South Beach is a happening place and you’ll definitely find yourself ‘a bevy of hot beauties’ there , for sure !

Well the Pro Bowl to be played this weekend at the Sun Life Stadium, Miami, South Florida – home to the Miami Dolphins. Let’s just say that the fans there will be getting ‘two for the price of one’ in consecutive weeks. Well, at least it appears to be that way on the part of the NFL hierarchy. With interest waning in the Pro Bowl and the fact that its customary stage is that of Honolulu ,Hawaii . League Commissioner, Roger Goodell , really needed to do something that would provide the event with a jolt and some new found interest from the fans. His idea and that of the NFL owners, was to stage the game in the preceding week of the Superbowl and at the same venue. The economic impact to the South Florida region and in particular to the city of Miami will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars over the next two weeks. Is it any wonder what City of Miami Mayor Tomas P. Regalado is licking his lips like a rabid dog ? With the blight that has taken hold of the city, some much needed PR is here to offset many the city’s problems. And with Miami Dade County Mayor, Carlos Alvarez not wanting to be left out of the festivities and the spotlight. The whole event will be used as one big ‘PR event’ to espouse the virtues of the city of Miami and Miami Dade County , as not only as a center of finance , commerce and a gateway to Latin America. But also the event will be used as a ‘marketing tool’ to ‘sell the city’ and the surrounding areas as somewhere one can live , work and raise a family.

 <strong> Ain't  nothing  wrong  with    these  babes   !   Nothing  wrong  at  all   ! </strong>  Can I  get  at least  three amen's  on   that  ?
Yowzah ! Yowzah , yowzah , yowzah ! Ain't nothing wrong with these babes ! Nothing wrong at all ! Can I get at least three amen's on that ?

Hot women abound in South Florida and especially on South Beach , where they are replete in ‘various ethnicities’. It’s enough to make a grown man think that he’s died and gone to heaven. And for those who shall we say, who choose the ‘alternative life style’ ? Well, there’s something there for you as well. It’s an equal opportunity den of debauchery and whatever else might take your flight of fancy.

She may well have nothing to do with Miami and the Superbowl . But there’s a reason why both sportschump and I love Denise Milani. Who could miss those ‘very ample assets’ of hers ?.

Now I’m not about to make a prognostication as to how I see the big game going. But all I know, is that these are by far the two best teams in the NFL, regular season wise and in the post-season as well. They’re proven it with their consistency and be damned about them not going unbeaten during the regular season. That’s for the likes of idiots such as former Dolphins’ player Mercury Morris, as it gives him something to hang his hat on , from the unbeaten ’72 Superbowl winning Miami Dolphins’ team. The question one ought to be asking Morris ‘……is what the hell have the Dolphins done since then’ ? Much like a geriatric with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease , the Miami Dolphins can’t win a game , much less a Superbowl , since those halcyon days under their former coach, Don Shula. And they’ve forgotten how to, as that can borne out by this past season and their less than stellar mark of 7-9 within the AFC East. Wherein , they finished third, behind the division winning New England Patriots and the New York Jets. Well the state of Florida has always been about their ‘fair weather fans, rather than supporting their home-state teams earnestly . One minute the support is there , the next there’s deafening silence and you’d have thought you were in a confessional box because of the deafening silence that can be found from the none appearance and complete lack of vociferousness of the fans showing support for the local teams. That’s how bad it can get and still does to this day ! Just check out the fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays, Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Panthers and to a lesser extent the Florida Marlins. Albeit , that the Marlins will be soon seated in a state of the art facility within two years. The caveat as it concerns myself , is that ‘I am a die-hard Marlins’ fan “through and through” !. My support for the team has never once wavered and I’m as critical of them in the good times and the bad.


Whatever   the Czech  born  Milani  wants    ,  she  can  have  !  I  ain't  too   proud   to  beg    !   No sir,  not at  all.
Whatever the Czech born Milani wants , she can have ! I ain't too proud to beg ! No sir, not at all.

The most discerning of football fans nowadays, has to be enticed by the NFL in large part to attend a game. One can stay in the comfort of one’s own home and watch a game or a plethora of games if you either attend of local sports bar or you indeed subscribe to the NFL Networks’ ‘Season Pass’ or Direct Tv’s Sunday Ticket, their own enhanced service of the NFL. One thing that you can rest assure of, is that the enticement is no less different from that of a scantly clad female walking into crowded filled with testosterone driven heterosexual males. The result will always be the same , our eyes will be agape, as we look lasciviously at that scantly clad female. I most certainly wouldn’t want it any other way !


<strong> You  cannot  try  and   take  your  eyes  off those  wonderful   round  voluptuous   breast  of   hers</strong>.   It   just make  you  want   to  do  something   either  with   them  and  then   to   her .
You cannot try and take your eyes off those wonderful round voluptuous breast of hers. It just make you want to do something either with them and then to her .

The NFL knows when it’s on to a good thing , so it can ill afford to lose the goodwill of the fans and its corporate patrons. But with there being talks a labor dispute and threat of lockout between the NFLPA (Players’ Union) and the NFL. Well it suggest that the possible confrontation between the two parties isn’t at all far off, at hand. he game is still being sold to us religiously nd we the fans devour every morsel that is thrown our way , ravenously. Now imagine the possibility of there being no NFL games for a prolonged period of six months or more ? What are we as the fans expected to do ? It’s obvious that the likes of Goodell and his union counterpart ,NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, haven’t exactly thought this all through. As they seemingly continue to lock horns with neither party prepared to give ground as the contest the veracity of each side’s claim of the collective bargaining agreement and as to the spoils that awaits the winner.

Show us what  you're  working  with  Denise  ,  please  ?
Show us what you're working with Denise , please ?

The loser in all of this tends to be the fans exactly 100 % of the time as both parties aren’t overly concerned as to what we want or think. It has more to do with what they want, what they think and how best to go about it , even when it is the consumer who in the ends up paying the cost of their sheer greed and downright stupidity. All the while , we’re still being titillated by their ongoing sales’ pitch. Nothing wrong in that , just as long as we’re not the ones in the end who end up paying . But alas, that scenario is not about to change. So keep on just being titillated by the NFL . But remember being titillated by a female can be far more pleasing at half the cost of an NFL game. What do you think ?

Mystikal gives to you , upside your head . ‘Shake Ya Ass’ . Do you think that Denise Milani can shake her a_s and show us what she’s indeed working with ?

Ladies And Gentlemen The 1,000 lb Gorilla Is Back In The Room And His Flatulence Is As Great As Ever ………… Welcome Back Brett Favre …………

Ladies And Gentlemen The 1,000 lb Gorilla Is Back In The Room And His Flatulence Is As Great As Ever ………… Welcome Back Brett Favre …………

You can’t blame them for trying but surely the Minnesota Vikings and their front office knew what they were letting themselves for , when they signed Brett Favre to what they felt was a favorable two year ‘$24 million deal’ ? Now with the team’s season having been so abruptly ended in the ‘NFC championship game loss’ to the New Orleans Saints. The organization must now await a decision from the veteran quarterback as to whether or not he will indeed return to the NFL and to the team for ‘an astonishing twentieth season’ .

Who couldn’t have envisioned this particular ‘soap opera’ starting all over again ? And if those as_holes within Bristol, Connecticut, start to chime in that…… ‘it is Brett’s right to once again walk away and take time to think things over’. Then I’ve got these nine words to state to you all…..’ f_ck you and the horse you rode in on ‘ ! It may well be Favre’s right to take time away from the game to think things through but it ‘certainly does not give him the right to hold another organization hostage’ while he acts like a petulant school child ! We’ve seen this twice before , with his retiring and un-retiring to return to the game. What’s he now become ? A rabbit that can be pulled out of a hat repeatedly as part of a magic trick to entertain the most discerning fans of the NFL ? If that is the case, then can be sawed in half and then not be put back together again ? That’s a trick that I’d love to see concerning Brett Favre at this particular moment in time. Because when it’s all said and done this whole shtick of his , has become tired and played out ! If anything, it borders on being insulting to the fans , to the game of football and the entire NFL !

New Orleans January 24th 2010:  Kim Kardashian looks on as her boyfriend Reggie Bush (R) of the New Orleans Saints talks on the phone after his team's victory against the Minnesota Vikings to win the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome.  photo appears courtesy of  Getty  Images /  Michael Rourke .................
New Orleans January 24th 2010: Kim Kardashian looks on as her boyfriend Reggie Bush (R) of the New Orleans Saints talks on the phone after his team's victory against the Minnesota Vikings to win the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Michael Rourke .................

Courtesy of NFL.com and the Associated Press


Vikings ponder Favre’s future with team while coping with defeat

Eden Prairie, Minn. — One after another, the Minnesota Vikings mentioned how much they enjoyed playing with Brett Favre.

Will the fun will be one season and done?

The devastated Vikings gathered Monday at their practice facility for exit physicals and meetings with coaches, two weeks sooner than they hoped because of an epic overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game.

Despite all the other intriguing in-game developments and offseason storylines, the day-after focus fell on the 40-year-old Favre’s future. He didn’t appear in the locker room at Winter Park while it was open to reporters, but his demeanor after the game and responses from teammates suggested that he’s leaning toward quitting.

For now.

“In a situation like this, I really don’t want to make a decision right now based on what’s happened, because I do know the year could not have gone any better, aside from us not going to Miami,” Favre said Sunday night at the Superdome. “I really enjoyed it, to be honest. Just wondering if I can hold up, especially after a day like today.”

Favre took a beating by the Saints, and the ankle injury he suffered during the third quarter was another reminder of how draining the game has been for him mentally and physically down the stretch of his 19-year NFL career.

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Quarterback Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings<strong> kneels on the turf in pain after he took a hard hit </strong> against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  photo appears  courtesy  of Getty Images/  Chris  Graythen  ................
Quarterback Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings kneels on the turf in pain after he took a hard hit against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythen ................

The championship game itself was exhilarating to watch as ‘both teams’ gave each other the very best that they had to offer. Favre’s counterpart,Drew Brees, showed why on his seasonal form alone and then his postseason play, the he has to be now considered an ‘elite quarterback’ in the NFL. On my scorecard, he’d be considered one of ‘the top two or three’ in the entire league ! I’d certainly now place him alongside the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, most definitely ! And if the game was on the line then I’d certainly choose him over an error prone and gunslinger in the mold of Brett Favre. Want further proof of that fact then just look at the asinine play of the Vikings’ quarterback in the waning moments when he saw fit to throw an interception into double coverage. I’m not averse to taking risks but there’s a time and a place for doing it and at that time it was just wasn’t worth it all. Not in the waning moments of the game when many of your teammates around are weary not only physically but also mentally. He could’ve played out the clock in regulation and then take it from there. But no, that’s not the way that Brett Favre likes to do things at all . If he’s not the center of attention then it’s just not worth it for him to be the focus of everyone’s gaze.

While I’m an admirer of Favre as a player when he’s at the top of his game. My sole problem with him , is his persona away from the field and how he conducts himself. Many consider him to great player and there’s a case to made that he’s amongst the all-time greats to have played the game. As to whether or not he can be considered to be a great teammate , then we’ll have to await the testimonies of those forthcoming who’ve played alongside him over the years. But it’d appear that the player has his ‘supporters’ and ‘detractors’ amongst his peers within the NFL. And this was certainly evidenced when he departed from his two prior stays within the league, first with the Green Bay Packers and then with the New York Jets. Though the fans there in Green Bay, Wisconsin, still see him as a football deity (god), while others view him something of a betrayer of their trust. Personally, I feel that Favre is a little of both but I’m liable to come down on the side that his behavior can be seen as nothing more than that of an immature and often well though out individual who also happens to be amoral. Favre does his thing and to hell with what anyone thinks until it’s time for him to tell his side of the story. I wonder what the likes of both the Packers’ and Jets’ front office staff must be thinking right about now ? I’ve no doubt that they’re indeed chuckling over this, while considering the Vikings’ present fate !

(L-R) Drew Brees (#9) and head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after the Saints' <strong>31-28 overtime win</strong> against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  photo appears  courtesy of  Getty  Images/  Chris  Graythen  ...................
(L-R) Drew Brees (#9) and head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after the Saints' 31-28 overtime win against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythen ...................

Courtesy of NFL.com and Associated Press

Favre left limping away from another title game loss; future unclear

New Orleans — Battered and beaten, Brett Favre limped off the field for perhaps the final time.

His head down, the pained look on his face was brought on as much by a head-scratching turnover as it was by a bone-crunching hit from Bobby McCray.

With the NFC title game tied, the Minnesota Vikings close to field goal range and mere seconds left, Favre made the kind of mistake he had avoided all season. He committed the No. 1 no-no for an NFL quarterback when he threw the ball late and back over the middle toward Sidney Rice, and Tracy Porter stepped in front to intercept the pass Sunday.

New Orleans won the coin toss in overtime, and before Favre could take the field, Drew Brees drove them into position for Garrett Hartley’s winning field goal that gave the Saints a 31-28 victory and their first Super Bowl berth.

After the game, a glassy-eyed Favre had scratches on his nose and bruises on his forehead. He said he wasn’t quite ready to make a decision on his future just yet.

“I know people are rolling their eyes or will roll their eyes,” Favre said. “In a situation like this I really don’t want to make a decision right now based on what’s happened because I do know the year could not have gone any better aside from us not going to Miami. I really enjoyed it, to be honest.

“Just wondering if I can hold up, especially after a day like today. Physically and mentally. That was pretty draining. I am going to go home, a couple of days and just talk it over with the family.”

The interception was a crushing end to an inspiring performance by Favre, who hobbled around the field for the entire final period after a hit by McCray put him on the trainer’s table with a left ankle he thought might be broken.

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Having lost 31-28 to the Saints in the NFC championship game played at the Saints’ home venue of the Louisiana Superdome , in-front of a sold-out crowd and millions of viewers on broadcast television. It has become apparent that with this loss we may well have seen Brett Favre for the very last time in an NFL uniform. As we all know Favre marches to the beat of his very own drum. And that drum is about to beat at an ever increasing decibel over the ensuing months. And the likes of ESPN’s Mark Schlereth , John Clayton , Chris Mortensen and Chris Berman will make sure that the noise emanating from that drum will be heard loud and clear across the tv airwaves. Never mind the fact that the sports talk radio hosts will make this ‘the daily gristle’ that their listeners can chime in on. And those within the denizen of ESPN will continue to show support for Brett Favre earnestly, without ever questioning the player’s motives or his behavior , as to how he has treated or continues to treat many of the organizations that he’s played for over the course of his career. Fu_k me but is it really going to get this bad throughout the entire NFL off-season ? I sincerely hope not !

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre wipes his face as he leaves the field following their loss to the New Orleans Saints the NFC Championship NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. The Saints defeated the Vikings 31-28 to advance to the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. It may  well  have  been the  <strong>  last  professional  game played  by   Favre in an  NFL  uniform. </strong> But  somehow this  all  could  turn  out to  be  more of  the  <strong>'usual dramatic soap opera' </strong> that we've come use  to  seeing  from  Favre  over the  last  couple  of  years .   photo appears  courtesy  of   Associated Press/ Morry  Gash .......
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre wipes his face as he leaves the field following their loss to the New Orleans Saints the NFC Championship NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. The Saints defeated the Vikings 31-28 to advance to the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. It may well have been the last professional game played by Favre in an NFL uniform. But somehow this all could turn out to be more of the 'usual dramatic soap opera' that we've come use to seeing from Favre over the last couple of years . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Morry Gash .......

My own wish is to see Brett Favre walk away from the game if this is to his final time, make an emphatic statement that this it and he’s finally done ! No fu_cking us all around with his …..will or won’t he bulls_hit ! It’s enough that we’ve had to put up with this repeatedly and see Brett act like a woman who’s on her menstrual cycle, undecided as to what she wants or when she wants it. For God’s sake just shut the f_ck up make the statement and then march your a-s off back down to Kiln, Mississippi, to be with your family. They at this moment in time, I’m sure need you more than the game itself needs you ! We’ve the years of glorious memories that you’ve given . So why now continue to tarnish your legacy with your childlike behavior ? You’re more than that aren’t you ? Or are you ? Would my summation then be correct , as I’ve characterized you in the title of this piece ? Are you indeed ‘……………The 1,000 lb Gorilla In The Room With Flatulence And Your Act Is As Great As Ever ? Either walk away or come back but if you intend to do so , then don’t hold an organization and its fans hostage as you’ve done repeatedly before. It’s undignified and beneath you as a human being !

Perhaps this song personifies Brett Favre’s situation as to his post-season meltdowns over the last few years ? Bone Thugs N Harmony ‘I Tried So Hard’ feat’g Akon. Granted, Brett could never be considered to be a black man but he’s now the one who’s said to be creating the misery within the NFL. As this whole scenario will no doubt overshadow the NFL’s Pro Bowl game and the NFL’s showcase event itself , the Superbowl to be held in Miami , a week from this upcoming Sunday.

Things That Brett Favre Won’t Get To Do Past The Age Of Forty …………..

Things That Brett Favre Won’t Get To Do Past At The Age Of Forty …………..

Well no doubt as many of you now know the ‘Brett Favre Story’ has come to an unwelcoming end for the fans in Minnesota and his fledgling band of followers in Mark Schlereth , Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski . As to what those guys’ll now do , as their erections have gone flaccid, remains to be seen. But if the noises said to be coming out of stalls or or cubicles of the mens’ room in Bristol ,Connecticut, will be anything to go by . Then one can surmise that they’ll no doubt be relieving themselves by some form of self arousal ? Spankin’ the monkey, spankin’ the monkey . Oops, there goes a dollop of juice on the floor as Schlereth goes down for the count.

Pierre Thomas (#23) of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty  Images/ Chris  Graythen  ......
Pierre Thomas (#23) of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythen ......

To say that I’m immensely happy would not justify my feeling at present . More like I’m overwhelmed with joy would be much more to the point. And to see the New Orleans Saints stand toe to toe with the Minnesota Vikings and take it to them , was to my mind a thing of beauty ! Needless to say, for the fans of ‘Who dat’ , this was a day of redemption and vindication not only for the fans but also for the entire city of New Orleans. The team now meets the Indianapolis Colts in the Superbowl (SB XLIV) , in what many hope will be an exciting spectacle for those in attendance and the countless millions that will be watching globally.

  Bernard Berrian (#87) of the Minnesota Vikings fumbles the ball in the fourth quarter against Trscy Porter (#22) of the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  photo  appears  courtesy of Getty  Images/ Chris  Graythen  ..............
Bernard Berrian (#87) of the Minnesota Vikings fumbles the ball in the fourth quarter against Trscy Porter (#22) of the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythen ..............

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Saints beat Vikings in OT , reach first Superbowl

By Barry Wilner , AP Football Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP)—A 40-yard field goal in overtime by a little-known kicker could become as famous as jambalaya in these parts.

The New Orleans Saints, a team with no home and an uncertain future five years ago, are heading for their first Super Bowl. By battering Brett Favre(notes) and beating the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 Sunday, they set off celebrations on Bourbon Street that locals never could have imagined in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“This is for everybody in this city,” said coach Sean Payton, the architect of the Saints’ turnaround. “This stadium used to have holes in it and used to be wet. It’s not wet anymore. This is for the city of New Orleans.”

And it came courtesy of Garrett Hartley and the Aints—who surely ain’t the Aints anymore.

“In reality, we had to lean on each other in order to survive and in order to get where we are now,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “The city is on its way to recovery, and in a lot of ways has come back better than ever. We’ve used the strength and resiliency of our fans to go out and play every Sunday and play with the confidence that we can do it, that we can achieve everything we’ve set out to achieve.”

Favre threw away Minnesota’s best chance to win, tossing an interception deep in New Orleans territory in the closing seconds of regulation. Then the Saints won the coin toss and ended it on Hartley’s kick 4:45 into OT.

“Just helping my team get to Miami,” he said. “Just doing my part.”

A team of nomads after Katrina ravaged its city and the Superdome, overcame a slew of mistakes in the biggest game the Big Easy has ever seen.

Forget the paper bag masks and that long history of losing that started in 1967. Moments after Hartley’s kick, they were toasting their hometown winners in the French Quarter and making plans for South Florida.

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New Orleans - January 24th 2010. Brett Favre (#4) of  the Minnesota Vikings reacts after taking a hard hit in the second half against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Jed Jacobsohn .......
New Orleans - January 24th 2010. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after taking a hard hit in the second half against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jed Jacobsohn .......

The game played at the packed Louisiana Superdome with a vocal crowd cheering on the home team , left us all in no doubt what they wanted to see from this Sean Payton coached team. Their wish was granted but in no large part, thanks to the ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ performance of Brett Favre. There are things that one ought to be capable of doing past the age of forty. And it’d appear that Favre wanted to prove the naysayers wrong on all counts. Unfortunately for Brett Favre, ‘Old Father Time’ has put up with enough of his s_it in recent years, that even he himself was no longer willing to let Favre play the hero once again.

Greg Lewis (#17) of the Minnesota Vikings sits on the bench towards the end of the game against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of   Getty Images  / Ronald  Martinez  ...........
Greg Lewis (#17) of the Minnesota Vikings sits on the bench towards the end of the game against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ...........

If there was a hero in this game, then it most certainly came in the guise of Drew Brees’ leadership and the willingness of his teammates to follow his example. The Saints’ defense was stellar and this was all down to the presence of mind shown by defensive coordinator, Gary Gibbs and the schemes that he put into play that often negated the running attack of the Vikings. It led to the two interceptions of Favre, as well as a team high five fumbles. This was a game of missed opportunities by coach Brad Childress’ ‘team’. But was even more telling was that the interception that took place in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter was avoidable had Favre not chosen to be so gung-ho with his antics. If it’s not about Favre being ‘the hero’ then nothing else at all seems to matter ! And with ever passing utterance that comes out of Favre’s mouth when he claims that he’s not in it for himself. Well, it only speaks to the gullibility of those who feel that his utterances are sacrosanct. It always has been about Favre and nothing is liable to change in that regard for the foreseeable future !

Though the game was competitively contested , one felt that it was a game that was the Saints’ for the taking. Any other outcome than the resultant 31-28 victory would’ve felt unjustified. Serendipity has a way of making things right as many within NFL diaspora wanted to see Favre make it for that one last hurrah of a ‘big game’ atmosphere in a Superbowl. This upcoming Superbowl in Miami at Sun Life Stadium. And the anticipated match-up against Peyton Manning and the Colts would’ve added just that extra bit of sparkle ,that the likes Schlereth , Hoge and Jaworski would’ve sought alongside their ‘compadres’ there at ESPN would have craved for. Now that’s all a bust, I guess that they’ll just have to make do with the two number one seeds from the respective conferences ?

As the momentum builds up the NFL’s showcase event , we still have the Pro Bowl to be played. A game which I might add to my mind is about as relevant and warranted nowadays, as having to be force fed the diatribe by some that it’s a game that the fans want to see. Given the fact that the venue has been changed from Hawaii to Miami. And the mere fact that a number of the game’s elite players considered it nothing more than a sideshow or an incentive that’s added to their contract should they make the roster. For most, it was something of a privilege to be named but in large many of the players weren’t all that interested in playing to begin with. Never mind the fact that the attendance and viewership for the game was hardly earth shattering. The NFL’s heirarchy just doesn’t know when to quit when it comes to the marketing angles and how to sell its game to the masses. Does anyone honestly think that there’ll be that much interest in the game itself a week before the main event of the Superbowl ? C’mon now we’re talking Pro Bowl and the Superbowl . It’s akin to watching flag football one minute and ‘the real game’ itself the next !

Now I for one am not about to speculate as to whether or not this was Favre’s last game because we all know he marches to the beat of a very different drum. And if he feels that he’ll walk away abruptly from the game then he’ll do so. It’s not as if we haven’t all witnessed this before . Hell he retires and un-retires faster than Jenna Jameson has been known to have had multiple sex partners in one her infamous adult movies. But that asides , that’s for the Vikings’ front office to deal with and that of their fans. I can tell you this though , if he now walks away stating that his heart is no longer in the game. Then I hope that the fans there in Minnesota have the patience to deal with all of the s_it that comes their way in the terms of the ‘ …….is he or isn’t he coming back ‘ ? This’ll be the gristle that’ll keep the print , tv media and radio talk show hosts talking in the weary months of the offseason. Never mind what the ‘boneheads’ of ESPN will be saying .

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) walks across the field after the NFC Championship NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. The Saints defeated the Vikings 31-28 to advance to the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. photo  appears courtesy of  Associated  Press/  Mark  Humphery  ...............
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) walks across the field after the NFC Championship NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. The Saints defeated the Vikings 31-28 to advance to the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Mark Humphery ...............

There are some things that Brett Favre should be doing at the age of forty and then there are others that he won’t. One of them in this case, won’t be as a participant in ‘Supberbowl XLIV’. Thank God for that ! Can I get multiple amen’s on that ?

As Tupac Shakur says ………’All Eyez On Me’ .Simply put this is the mantra that Brett Favre lives by. It’ll never be about his teammates. It’s about the boy from Gulfport, raised in the small town of Kiln Mississippi. He just wouldn’t want it any other way.