The year of the young guns …….

The year of the young guns

By Tophatal

Well , in the aftermath of last season in the NFL , we saw the rookies excel and explode unto the scene . Perhaps , none more so, than Carolina Panthers’ quarterback , Cam Newton , whose rookie season entered the record books , under the applause of the fans and NFL analysts like.


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Granted , in 2012 , Newton has suffered something of a “sophomore slump”, but as of late the player , seems to have got his “ swagger back” , having led the Panthers to , two victories , in their last three games . The Panthers (4-9) though out of the divisional race within the NFC South , can play “ spoiler” over the remainder of their schedule , in hurting the conference and divisional aspirations of the teams they face while aiding others with a view to gaining a postseason berth. In truth, there are many, who still doubt the ability of Cam Newton , in spite of the momentary flashes of brilliance exhibited by the sophomore quarterback during this season. And a great deal of that criticism is valid, when you consider the candor and lack of maturity shown by the player. If he is to improve , then it will be incumbent upon, head coach , Ron Rivera , his quarterbacks’ coach , Mike Shula and offensive coordinator , Rob Chudzinski to get the best out of the Newton , not just as a player but also as a much more amenable character. If those traits can be imbued upon Newton , then there’s no reason not to believe why the Panthers can’t be successful in the future .

Next up for the Panthers, will be a game against the long-suffering San Diego Chargers , whose season just seems to be spiraling completely out of control. And to top it all , it is being reported that beleaguered head coach , Norv Turner , will be retained and brought back next season . My question would be , an emphatic , why ?

To discuss the issues of the Chargers would , constitute having to go through their litany of woes, one-by-one . But this call dealt with succinctly in complete sentence . Get rid of Norv Turner and general manager A J Smith , and start afresh , with regard to a new front office executive in charge of the player personnel operations , and a head who is acutely aware as to what it takes to create “ a winning brand of football “ in today’s NFL !

Veteran quarterback , Philip Rivers has been laboring under a great load , over the past three seasons at least, with the organization , under the belief that he can carry the franchise upon his shoulders , while playing at a high-caliber. If the Chargers can’t give the player , the tools to get the job done , then at least , do him the service , of allowing him to leave , rather than have him decline , while playing on an extremely bad team . For Rivers, who entered the NFL as part of that of well-versed quarterbacks in the 2004 NFL Draft , that provided us with “signal callers” , Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger , JP Losman , Matt Schaub, Craig Krenzel , Jim Sorgi , and shall we say “ several characters “ that were never to be heard from again ? Manning and Roethlisberger , between them, have won four Superbowls in their first eight seasons , joining a select group of players to share that distinction of multiple Superbowls , while playing the quarterback position , in the NFL’s biggest postseason fare.

In 2012, as it relates to this season’s Draft , and the players , who have contributed to their team’s productivity and victories . Let’s just say, we have been very privileged to have witnessed the exploits of many of these young players, over the course of this arduous sixteen-game regular season schedule. And while it has been the talents of Robert Griffin III , Andrew Luck , Doug Martin , Russell Wilson , Trent Richardson, Chandler Jones , Ty Hilton , and Alfred Morris who have had an impact this season .

Granted, it has been the “skilled positions” , such as the quarterbacks , running backs , wide receivers , tight-ends and corner-backs , from this year’s NFL Draft , who tend to attract the glare of the limelight . It should be noted that the contributions have come farther afield , and from the most unlikely of sources in terms of this particular crop of rookie players .

Certainly , in 2011 , it was Cam Newton who stood out amongst his particular rookie class . Those players , now sophomores can only hope to maintain that promise shown , in their first year , otherwise known “as their baptism of fire “ .

Andrew Luck in 2012 , has simply been stellar this season, leading an Indianapolis Colts’ team, that no one would have guessed or suggested , would be on the cusp of gaining double-digit wins, while challenging the Houston Texans (11-2) for divisional supremacy (AFC South) , and with a rookie quarterback in tow, helming the roster. The faith shown in Luck by Colts’ GM , Ryan Grigson , in making the player the team’s number one pick

in this draft, has been repaid numerous times over. I am not about to suggest that Andrew Luck , has made the fans forget about the exploits of Peyton Manning and the almost fourteen years , he spent as the franchise’s quarterback and simply obliterating whatever records that stood on the Colts’ books ! Yet, you have to admit that no one saw this coming , as it relates the player’s skill-set , or that the franchise’s fortunes would take this much of an upswing in Luck’s first season.

The Colts will face a daunting task this Sunday , when they are scheduled to take on the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium , in Houston , Texas . This is a pivotal game for both teams , with their being so much at stake , at this point of the season. This is but one, of a slew of potentially exiting games on the schedule for week fifteen. A victory for the Colts pretty much places a great deal of pressure upon Gary Kubiak and his team , as they seek to make a second consecutive appearance in the postseason. In 2011, the team had a humbling experience , when having won their first playoff game in franchise history , a 31-10 blowout of the Cincinnati Bengals in their very first postseason victory. The Texans’ subsequent match-up would be against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the 2011 postseason , a game , in which Kubiak’s players were simply outmatched , as they suffered a “stinging “ 20-13 loss .

The groundswell of support for Robert Griffin III , and what he has been able to achieve for the Washington Redskins , simply indicates to me, all of the ballyhooed hype over Tim Tebow was not warranted ! Jersey sales my ass ! How about Tebow actually showing that he possesses the damn acumen to actually play the position of quarterback , rather than these lame-assed interviews he conducts concerning wanting to be a good teammate , and help his team improve ? Rex Ryan and the entire New York Jets’ front office obviously woke up that morning , kissed each other on the ass , before deciding to trade for Tebow . I knew that Denver Broncos’ GM, John Elway built his half-billion fortune ($500,000,000), through his vast business interests , having owned several car dealerships in around the greater Denver area , as well as around the state of Colorado. It’s obvious however, he didn’t need to do a lot of arm-twisting to get the idiots from the Jets to be a “sold “ on Tebow . Does the state of New Jersey not have “lemon laws” ? Never mind , “ Snooki “ , and “ The Situation” are now researching that on behalf of the Jets’ front office . That’s great ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

RGIII, the “moniker “ , so commonly used to describe one of the league’s best young players . The quarterback has now made believers out of his doubters , as he now has the Redskins (7-6) , in the mix for a playoff berth within the NFC , as they sit a game behind the sixth-placed Chicago Bears (8-5) . And though the franchise has greatly improved this season , primarily because of the play of Griffin and his fellow rookie teammate , Alfred Morris. There is no denying , that there is still need for improvement , from this team . Griffin, I believe is fully cognizant of this fact , that he and his teammates will seek to do their utmost , in claiming one of those four berths available , with the top two teams from each conference gaining an automatic bye in the wildcard-round of the NFL postseason.

Teams come , and teams go , but over the past few seasons I have looked at the Seattle Seahawks and said “ were it not for their multi-billionaire owner , no one would really take notice of the franchise “! . Paul Allen , co-founder of Microsoft , passionate about the sports’ franchises he owns , but in particular about the Seahawks , has simply thrown money at almost every problem that has befallen the franchise. Case in point , can anyone justify how it is that the team’s head coach , Pete Carroll , is earning , close to $7.5 million a year ? The coach we knew had unprecedented success while at USC (Trojans) . Cheat ! Now there’s no call for that , as this was how the game was being played at the time , with just about everyone involved in College Football , suborning the actions of a school , that simply didn’t care or give a damn about NCAA violations . There were millions of dollars to be made and the Trojans’ program simply backed up their Brinks’ trucks and those in support of the program , just filled those motherfuckers up , at will .

Now look , am I saying I’ve got proof ? No , I am not , but here’s my take and I’m sticking with it , follow the goddamn money trail and it will lead you not just to the athletics department , but all the way up the ladder to hallowed offices of the board of trustees and the university’s President. ! It’s not fucking rocket science , unless you choose to be that naïve . There was a reason why then AD , Mike Garrett , stepped down , along with it came a golden pension that remains intact , without any admittance of wrongdoing on his part . As for Pete Carroll, ask him a question as to what went on , and just watch his nose extend as lie , upon lie is, uttered from his mouth . Pete , we get it , there was money to be made and Reggie’s family (Bush) needed to get theirs , as well. Nothing wrong with earning money dishonestly , just don’t fucking lie about it , that’s all . Pimpin’ “isn’t easy” , as every whore comes with a price tag , no matter how cheap or expensive the services rendered are . “Big-ups “ to you bro ! Gotta’ get paid just like everybody else .

If Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are to viewed as the A1-A2 of the quarterbacks taken in this draft , then based upon his performances this season , the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson has to viewed as perhaps B1 ? At 8-5 , Peter Carroll’s team have slowly but surely made themselves a legitimate contender for a postseason berth , but can they viewed as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl (SBXLVII) to be staged at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , in New Orleans, Louisiana . The Seahawks’ quarterback has found himself likely offensive weapons in Marshawn Lynch , Golden Tate and Sidney Rice . The latter pair , between them have accounted for fourteen of the twenty touchdowns passes thrown by Wilson in 2012 . There’s no denying that Seahawks are more than happy with the accomplishments of their young rookie quarterback , as they probably are with the rookies , now on the team’s roster. The surprising thing , is that while there now seems to be a budding quarterback controversy with another NFC West occupant . the San Francisco 49ers . It would appear that the Seahawks may well be set at the position for the foreseeable future , as Wilson seeks to stamp his own name , and make an indelible mark in the franchise’s record books. And with that in mind, I fully expect Wilson to feast on the Buffalo Bills’(5-8) tawdry defense when the two teams meet this upcoming Sunday in a game to be played at Ralph C Wilson Stadium , in Buffalo , New York. Your thoughts on the possible result of this upcoming event ? Chime in with a thought, as you see it .

Within the space of three weeks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) have fallen out of divisional and playoff contention to being an “ also ran” and hoping that others will provide them with an assist , if they are to make the postseason. Along the way however, the lone bright spark , on an otherwise lackluster season from the Buccaneers , has been the play of the team’s rookie running back , Doug Martin. And while the questions arise as to the topsy-turvy play of quarterback , Josh Freeman , I am not so sure where this team now goes from here , and how Greg Schiano intends to rectify the ongoing problems with the Buccaneers . Inconsistency has essentially killed the hopes of this franchise and long with once again a fan-base that now seem even more disinterested in the week-to-week exploits of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Can’t say that I would blame the fans given the fact that the Avram Glazer shows about as much business acumen , in seeking to make the Buccaneers’ brand more appealing to the fans , as there at times seem to be a contempt being shown by the Glazer family (owners of the franchise) and how the view the locale at large. The Buccaneers have simply conned the city and county government , as they have sought exploit every single financial opportunity offered by those anally retentive governmental agencies !



Picture gallery.

Which 2012 NFL rookie have you been impressed with this season , and do you believe that they will indeed be hampered by that “customary sophomore slump “ that many seem to have grown accustomed to having ? Take time to comment as you see fit, and thanks always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !


Picture and slideshow details below.

(1) FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2012., file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons’ Chris Owens (21) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers second-year quarterback had his best game of the season, but the highlight occurred as he was crossing the goal line to complete a 72-yard scoring run . He somersaulted into the end zone, and as his legs were in the air, he was nudged slightly by a Falcons defensive back. AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt …

(2) Carolina Panthers’ Greg Olsen (88) and Cam Newton (1) celebrate Olsen’s a touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt ….

(3) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) scrambles past Atlanta Falcons’ Chris Hope (24), Kroy Biermann (71), and Sean Weatherspoon (56) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. AP Photo/Bob Leverone ….

(4) Indianapolis Colts’ Robert Mathis (98 lifts Cassius Vaughn (32) after Vaughn intercepted a pass from Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker and returned it for a 3-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game , Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(5) Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) looks up during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(6) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. The Seahawks would go on to defeat the Cardinals 58-0 . AP Photo/Stephen Brashear …

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) celebrates with teammate wide receiver Tiquan Underwood after scoring against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….




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Elisha Cuthbert .


Mila Kunis

Cuthbert & Kunis . And who wouldn’t mind being in the middle as part of a triple-decker sandwich ? I know that I wouldn’t mind ! Are you in ?

Hot chics pic of the day Elisha Cuthbert & Mila Kunis .

Into the valley of death rode the six hundred

Into the valley of death rode the six hundred

“Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!’ he said:

Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Some one had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:”
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

by tophatal

The NFL preseason has kicked off with the usual flurry though not with the expectations accorded a new season, being embarked upon within the league. In the midst of the off the field idiocy that’s said to be taking place , we still have the NFL battling litigiously as a defendant and plaintiff, in a number of legal issues that has created the perception that the league hierarchy is clearly clueless under the tenure NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . I firmly believe , that the proponents of those supporting Goodell to succeed the outgoing , Paul Tagliabue . Had they hindsight to fully grasp how incompetent the incumbent has been, it is my belief that they would have been far more judicious in their choice ! . At this juncture Robert Kraft , Steve Bisciotti , Jerry Jones , Jerry Richardson , Dan Rooney III , John K Mara , may well on the face of it, show signs of contentment with the incumbent but behind closed they might well be rethinking their position concerning Roger Goodell .


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Slide show .

First off, the issue of the New Orleans Saints scandal still stands within their midst , with Saints’ defensive player Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit still standing leeringly over the head of the NFL . A US Federal Court judge of the 5th District , in New Orleans , Louisiana , having stated that he believes a compromise can be worked out between the two sides , and has not ruled out hearing the case in due course. This is the last thing that Goodell as a defendant as well as the NFL wanted to hear. Such has been the poor handling of this ongoing issue , that I for one firmly believe if this matter cannot be resolved expeditiously , it could come back to be a major embarrassment for all parties concerned. As it now stands, for all of the posturing said to be taking place , neither side comes off looking good , from an image standpoint . The league has shown no transparency as how they gathered and derived much of the evidence used to suspend the four alleged players involved in the scandal. And but for the less than contrite apologies forthcoming from the Saints’ current and former coaching staff as well as GM Micky Loomis, I seriously doubt we would have truly known outright the depth of the malfeasance that has taken place concerning this sordid episode . Now to exacerbate things further the league is now embroiled in waging a battle that could very well turn into an all-out war with the league officials , who preside over the NFL games during the regular and postseason.

Goodell , prior to this latest episode with the NFLRA (referees’ union) saw fit to denounce the union, calling them disingenuous and operating from a position of strength , when in fact that they were unjustified in doing so. Furthermore, the commissioner also stated that it was unjust for the referees’ union to call for a strike action in the lead-up to the pre and regular season . Well, at no time had the union call for such an action , the only thing being sought, was there to be a starting point for the negotiations between the two sides . Something now the league has yet to acknowledge, albeit that the NFL , chief legal counsel Jeff Pash has stated that this is something the league had sought all along. Adolphus Birch III, chief labor negotiations’ adviser to the NFL , whose diligence led to what some might feel was the only way for the NFL to end its impasse with the NFLPA (Players’ Union) during their long and often contentious battle , is now said to be working closely behind the scenes with the senior members of the union’s hierarchy , as he seeks to reach a far-reaching compromise between the two sides that would lead to sanctioned officials working the 2012-13 regular season schedule . As of now, that situation remains in jeopardy , with the NFL , having already used replacement officials for the opening games of this preseason.

In terms of implicit faith , I have never seen fit to trust Roger Goodell, and how he conducts the business of the NFL ! For an individual in such a position of power , his communicative skills are certainly mediocre and I do believe that he wields far too much power in terms of his influence, and the way in which he is the sole arbiter justice , as related to the punishment meted out to the players concerning their on and off the field transgressions ! Goodell, has been quick to point out that Vilma’s actions in terms of his defamation lawsuit , has no bearing upon the actions taken by himself in suspending the player , three of his peers as well as current and former members of the Saints’ coaching staff. However, the commissioner has seen fit to hide behind the tenets of jurisprudence as it relates to the league’s own transgressions concerning their willingly withholding evidence of concerning the effects of blunt force head trauma and its cause-and-effect for current and former NFL players suffering various neurological disorders CTE ([chronic traumatic encephalopathy]), concussions , short and long-term memory loss, vision impaired issues, aneurysms . Do you get the feeling that the league hierarchy always had something to hide concerning this issue? And for the idiots out there who continue to suggest that the players knew exactly what they were getting into as it relates to the full-contact sport of the NFL . Well I would suggest you consider the actions of “Big Tobacco” and their surreptitious maneuvers concerning their product, the evidence withheld and which they sought to have stricken from their research. Are their actions any different from those of the NFL and the very fact that at no time had the league sought to make their own research public . Instead , it has been left to world-renowned bastions of academia to hold the NFL accountable for their lack of action and embellishing of the truth.

I have read number of pieces within this forum by individuals who will rail on about the grandest of the NFL its popularity but rarely have I read anyone taking the league to task on the aforementioned issues. Instead , it is if they remain oblivious to what is actually happening in-front of their very eyes or they simply lack the wherewithal to question the NFL image . Prior to the start of the preseason , Goodell saw fit to avail the fans analysts with the very to make everyone aware that the league would be adding another $1.75 billion in additional revenue by way of a renegotiated television contract . Money may well be the root of all evil but in the eyes of the NFL it is very much the dulcet tones of mezzo-soprano singing an aria . With the NBA revenues now deriving in excess of $7.75 billion annually and who continues to offer the public something of a diluted product while the franchise owners continue to cajole municipalities into using their resources to facilitate the building of new venues for multimillionaires and billionaires . And it certainly doesn’t help that rarely does the league seek to avail their franchises with its G4 loan program

when they seek to build a new facility , instead it is left to the cities where many of the franchises operate are coerced into financing such arenas. You merely have to see the idiocy of the Minnesota state legislature and the very fact that the governor , Mark Dayton (R-MN) succumbed to a number of his state legislators and the lobbyists who represented the interests of the Minnesota Vikings. Team owner Zygi Wilf was relentless in pressing the case for the franchise he owns , without ever taking into account that the state faced a burgeoning state deficit of $5.6 billion ($ 5,600,000,000), and that state agency having to furlough state employees or and cut the state’s education budget , in order to stave off financial ruin. Some would suggest that because the Vikings are part of the minutiae of the fabric of the St-Paul Minneapolis area , it was a matter of urgency that the Vikings be retained within the vicinity , rather than seeing the franchise relocate elsewhere .

Minnesota in part will be partially funding the $1.2 billion development that will house the venue that will be named Target Field , in Minneapolis . As to the franchise’s aspirations this season within the NFC North, well, everything will most certainly lead to all avenues , and will have to go through the Green Bay Packers. Head coach, Leslie Frazier will be hard pressed to make this team competitive this season, given their schedule .

GM Chris Spielman and the coaching staff were judicious in the drafting of the players they believe will make great contribution for the franchise this season. The team’s preseason schedule began with their meeting the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, San Francisco , California ,. The resultant 17-6 loss by the Vikings, this past Friday, the event gave us little by way of an indication by way of expectation from this beleaguered franchise. Game two of their preseason schedule pits the Vikings against the Buffalo Bills . With both teams looking to resurrect their fortunes after last year’s underachievement , it will be interesting to gauge how both of these teams will fare in 2012. From my own perspective the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings are due for some good fortune but much of that will be predicated on the ambitions of the franchises and how they each seek to acquit themselves over the course of the 2012 regular season schedule .

A great deal is being asked of both Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck for this season , with both players taken as the number’s 1 and 2 draft picks in 2012 NFL Draft. Also as the top two quarterbacks taken the added pressure being placed upon further heightens the expectations. For general managers Ryan Grigson of the Indianapolis Colts and Bruce Allen of the Washington Redskins , theirs is a season which will be predicated upon the play both of these quarterbacks rookie quarterbacks. With the scintillating performances of Cam Newton in 2011 , the bar has been set very high by the 2011 number one draft pick from last season’s NFL Draft. Beyond the aspirations of Luck , RGIII , Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler and Russell Wilson , are each likely to see some action at some point during the regular season but in all likelihood their baptisms of fire will come in form of the preseason . If they are able to prove themselves to their respective head coaches , then in all probability there is the chance at some point during the regular season we are like to see the quarterbacks beyond Griffin and Luck , start for their respective teams.

If there is said to be a certainty with regard to the NFL season then it is the very fact that year-in-and-year-out there is bound to be a managerial casualty . This season will be no different , while Norv Turner continues to walk a tight rope of uncertainty and ineptitude with the San Diego Chargers . Pete Carroll , among the league’s highest paid coaches ($7.5 million a-year) continues to prove that in spite of his success at the collegiate level , he is not an NFL caliber coach . And for those making the claim that this season , this current Seahawks’ team , is the very best that unit that he has had at disposal , since he assumed the mantle of the head coach of this franchise . Let’s put it this way, if Carroll is unable to guide this unit deep into the postseason , then team owner Paul Allen , seriously has to consider jettisoning the head coach .

For Lovie Smith , this may well be the final season , with which has the chance to guide the Chicago Bears and redeem his and that of the Bears’ reputation . The 2010 NFC title game was a damning indictment of how lackluster and gutless the team just happened to be . Jay Cutler, simply has no heart , in spite of the claims that he is an immensely talented quarterback . The day he wins a meaningful game but more aptly , possesses the leadership skills to lead , then perhaps one might take those claims more credibly . If Rex Ryan missed his vocation , then it should have been as a federal legislator in either the House of Representatives or US Senate . How he can continue to come up with that deluge of garbage professing to the merits of the New York Jets while claim there is some veracity to his claims , is as asinine as the claims of Sarah Palin and her knowledge of jurisprudence . Ms Palin can you name a current US Supreme Court Justice or at least one piece of “landmark ruling “ rendered by the Justices of that institution ? That bit#h is s so dumb that those fawning over her every word , clearly have not one iota of goddamn intelligence !

If Rex Ryan is unable to secure a Superbowl title for the Jets within two years , then his reign as the head coach of this franchise , has to be viewed as a monumental failure . No excuses, about the lack of talent afforded him over the years , since he was installed as the head coach or that of not having drafted wisely . Everything has come under his watch , has been of his own volition and the coach cannot apportion blame elsewhere . Only a petulant child would seek to do that , and by appearance alone physically , Rex Ryan could never claim to be that . Mentally however, that might be another thing altogether !



Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slide show details below .

(1) From left to right Dan Rooney , Roger Goodell , Paul Taglibue and Jerry Richardson . Goodell assumed the mantle of commissioner , succeeding Tagliabue in 2008 . USA Today/ Getty Images/ Anthony Carbone ….

(2) New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty (32) breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints tight end David Thomas (85) during their first NFL preseason football game in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. The Patriots would defeat the Saints 7-6 . AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(3) A New Orleans Saints fan expresses his sentiments during their first NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(4) Vikings owner Zygi Wilf , right, tells the media he is open to a new stadium at the Metrodome site, but no decision has been made, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 at the State Capitol. In the background are Gov. Mark Dayton , Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Rep. Morrie Lanning , left to right. A subsequent vote taken in state legislature to approve the financing of a new venue for the Minnesota Vikings and signed into law by the state’s governor Mark Dayton. MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson ….

(5) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks with corner-back Roy Lewis , left, following a drill, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, at NFL football training camp, in Renton, Wash. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ….

(6) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6), kicker Robbie Gould (9) and tackle A.J. Greene (75) watch from the sidelines against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. The Bears’ offensive line played a mere series on their way to a 31-3 loss but the quarterback remains detached and lacking in leadership with regard to his team . It remains the question that has followed Cutler over the course of his professional career since he entered the NFL Draft in 2006 AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast ….

(7) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith speaks at a news conference at NFL football training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., Tuesday, July 24, 2012. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(8) New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, right, meets with Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis after an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 17-6 . AP Photo/David Kohl …

(9) New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) gets up after being sacked in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman …..

(10) New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow passes against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Tom Uhlman ….





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Hot chic pic of the day Tasha Douglas .

Tasha makes sure the “coochie” gets a good feeling by making sure it’s moist and aroused .

If you simply look beneath the surface then you realize what is really wrong.

If you simply look beneath the surface then you realize what is really wrong.

by tophatal

N FL pieces within this site

So much was made of the IPO (initial public offering) for the social media platform company Facebook . The investment banks and venture capital institutions were not only singing the company founder’s praises , that Mark Zuckerberg , who was heralded and thought of as the Steve Jobs of this modern era. Instead, what we are now finding out is that this company is built like a deck of cards . All that is needed for this all to come falling down, is one seismic and volatile shift in the market by institutional investors and that whole piece of crap comes tumbling down . In the time it that it took the initial-public-offering to be gobbled up and non-too successfully I might add , the share price has dropped in excess of 35 % of its original tender offer with the market capitalization of the company being devalued in excess of 60% . And that in turn, that has led to hundreds of millions of dollars being wiped off the shareholders’ stakes and investment portfolios. Beyond the advertising revenues does anyone truly comprehend how Facebook makes its money? Not only that but the company continues to alienate many of its subscribers by way of the changes made and what appears to be the surreptitious means by which they collect and disseminate much of the personal information it gathers .

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Slide show.

Public companies , are no more secretive than that of a private enterprise , albeit that both are asked to operate under differing standards. However, what should not be delineated from are the matters of ethics and the morals of the executives who preside of these companies. The criteria set by the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) in order to denote a public company that is traded on the NYSE , is that it should have at a minimum 500 shareholders , be they private or institutional stakeholders.

Consider, the NFL, and that of its franchises/teams, and the way that it operates. Led by a commissioner , in this case Roger Goodell , whose appointment has to be approved by its hierarchy , essentially a body that is made up of the league’s 32 team owners . What the fans have now come to find out, has been the very fact that the league shows no transparency with which it operates . Back-door , secretive negotiations and the very fact that the NFL cajoles municipalities to undertake greater financial burdens as a way blackmailing those very cities and ensuring its retention within those markets . I have read some rather asinine slant on why professional sports franchises benefits a community and the additional revenues they bring to a municipality. In large part that is true but what is not clearly stated , has been the way these agreements between those cities and a hierarchy can be so slanted to favor that sporting body , rather than it being a shared responsibility by the parties concerned . Case in point, with the turn of events within the Minnesota state legislature , it now guarantees that the state will have to bear the vast majority of the financial burden in building the new stadium that will house the state’s only NFL franchise . Somehow, from being a staunch opponent of using public funds to finance the almost $1.3 billion venture for the Minnesota Vikings , state governor Mark Dayton has acquiesced and signed into law a bill , that will lead to the financing of a new stadium . How this is all viewed in the eyes of the state’s residents while the Minnesota , itself, staves off financial ruination , having ran up budget deficits in excess of $5 billion ($5,000,000,000) does seem somewhat ridiculous. State employees are either being laid off , furloughed or simply being asked to work but at a reduced pay scale . Oh, these politicians on both sides of the political aisle, simply too f##king stupid for their own good ! Vikings’ team owner , Zygi Wilf comes up smelling of roses , even if in large part, he and his partners will only have to fund this deal with no more than $200 million of their own money to facilitate the building of the new structure . WTF!

Is there now really any need to go over the event leading up the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal ? Other than to suggest that both league and NFL franchise , have seen their images damaged irrefutably beyond repair . No one ultimately comes out of this situation looking good. Certainly not anyone, within the front office of the Saints’ organization, including team owner, Tom Benson, the coaching and entire playing staff. And for the owner , I have to wonder at times whether not he is truly cognizant of what it happening within his very midst .

The upheaval that has taken place with coaching , player , executive suspensions and the loss of draft picked as adjudicated by Roger Goodell , has done little to quell this situation. Goodell , could still find himself on the wrong end of a legal suit if things still play themselves out as they currently are . The league has offered an olive branch to Jonathan Vilma , whose lawsuit filed against the NFL and the commissioner as the two lead defendants in his defamation lawsuit , has me wondering how the hell did things get this far . Is there no common sense to be now found from anyone within the NFL , at this present moment in time ? The NFL commissioner has simply sought to sell the league as a money-making enterprise , with little concern for anything else , other than the billions it derives by way of its numerous commercial ventures and the television deals , that with each passing contract sees those values appreciate while the on-field talent becomes more diluted and mediocre.

The divergent paths taken by the Minnesota Vikings over the past five years indicates what can happen when you have no real idea what the hell you are doing . Last season the Vikings were an eyesore both on and off the field of play. At 3-13 , the words ___ “can be considered dangerous to one’s heath” had to be applicable to head coach , Leslie Frazier’s team . I am not saying that the Vikings were bad but if there was an award offered by the NFL for futility , then the franchise would clearly be the runaway winners of the accolade .In 2012, it rings in a new chapter for the franchise, as they seek to re-address their problems of last year. The “ only way is up” as they say , and the distance that this team now has to travel is almost as wide as the Sargasso Sea . Everything this season as it relates to the Vikings will have to go through the Green Bay Packers , and that premise is also applicable to the Chicago Bears . I’m sorry but as long as Aaron Rodgers is breathing and is six feet above ground , then the more difficult the task becomes for both the Bears and Minnesota Vikings to topple that team (Packers) .

Christian Ponder will be entrusted with the quarterback duties duties for the team in 2012, and I might hasten to add that although he has shown some poise in a number games played , he still remains a long way off from where Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff desires him to be . Ponder’s first test in the preseason , will be when the Vikings face the San Francisco 49ers , in Candlestick Park, San Francisco , California , this upcoming Friday . GM Rick Spielman has sought to use the franchise’s draft picks productively, in order to bolster the roster as well making a number of off-season free agency acquisitions . It should prove to be intriguing as to the progress made by Christian Ponder , as he seeks to make his claim as rising quarterback star within the NFL . A first round , twelfth pick overall from the 2011 NFL Draft , many felt that the former standout quarterback from Florida State was drafted far too high but in what might well have been an act of desperation on the path of the Minnesota Vikings , it has led the player to his present situation . Given his recent predecessors playing the quarterback position , I believe that the player cannot do any worse than the likes of Joe Webb , Tavaris Jackson , Donovan McNabb or a declining Brett Favre, during the latter stages of his career . As we know the way Favre bowed out of the NFL , was somewhat distasteful and undistinguished but these are but a few of the downsides to an otherwise phenomenal career. The biggest hurdle for the Vikings is to now engineer a swift return to full health one the NFL’s most impactful player , in running back , Adrian Peterson . As he goes , then so will this franchise over the course of this season . Anything short of Peterson not being fully fit , and you might as well count the Vikings out, as being a legitimate contender within the NFC . It has been three years since the Minnesota Vikings made an appearance in the postseason , which last came in 2009 . The team would ultimately fall to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC title game , losing 34-28 , in that now infamous match-up, that in part led to the events of the Saints’ bounty scandal.

The NFC North will not be ripe for the picking, as all roads will have to go through Lambeau Field , in Green Bay , Wisconsin , home to the Green Bay Packers . And anyone under the misapprehension that Mike McCarthy and his team are about to will lay down like lambs to the slaughter , had better think again . The secondary of the Packers were undistinguished last season, ranking near the bottom in a number of categories . And while there was no denying that the offense of the team was simply prolific , the needs of franchise rested squarely upon shoring up that porous defense . This is where GM Ted Thomson , Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff simply refocused their efforts in bolstering the roster strategically. Get the feeling that this season with the Green Bay Packers we won’t be seeing a repeat from this team defensively , as evidenced in 2011 ? Your thoughts on the matter with regard to the Packers’ defense ?

A colleague and I , were discussing the astonishing sale price of $800 million paid by a consortium in the purchase of the San Diego Padres . The family of the late Walter O’Malley and PGA Tour golfer Phil Mickelson , not only surprised the vast majority of baseball fans and MLB analysts by paying that exorbitant sum . It now leads me to believe that the game , economically , has lost all credibility ! The Padres are not the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Los Angeles Angels or Texas Rangers , for that matter . Yet somehow , a barely competitive baseball franchise in this day and age can realize almost a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) as a sale price ? Are you kidding me ? Padres’ senior managing partners John Moores , Jeff Moorad are now laughing all the way to the bank as the recipients of this mountain of cash that will be coming their way , in the sale of the team . The deal now awaits league approval , of which I do not believe that it will be denied . Baseball (MLB) will now welcome its newest owners in the guise of Phil Mickelson and his partners .

Speaking of professional sports franchises that need to be sold ! Is it not time that the Maloofs sell their interest in the Sacramento Kings , altogether , ran than continuing to dupe their fans and city officials , who continue buy into the bull#hit that Joe and Gavin Maloof are selling ? Pardon me for saying this but at what point has bull#hit been able to look more alluring than the odor emanating from the Power Balance Arena in Sacramento ? Is there anyone actually now showing a blind bit of interest in a mismanaged and uncompetitive franchise , such as the Kings ? And for their besotted fans who yearn for years past , forget about it . As they are long gone !

Another franchise that I continue to have my doubts about , are the San Diego Chargers ! Bemoan as I might, the ineptitude continually shown by GM AJ Smith and head coach Norv Turner . I have to readily admit, nothing gives me greater pleasure concerning the NFL , than to hear the Chargers’ fans explain away their team’s woes . Think Oakland Raiders’ fan but with even less intelligence . I kid you not , the San Diego Chargers fans are now more willing to accept futility than even the fans bold enough to say that they support the Kansas City Royals . And anyone who knows of that baseball franchise’s —— ineptitude in terms of a lack of success , can argue the fact that while those fans will always point to the fact that they are building towards the future . I would question when, and where in the future are they looking towards seeking success? Chargers’ fans please take note.

Norv Turner still seems content to ride on the coat-tails of the success achieved as subordinate of famed college and NFL coach Jimmy Johnson For Turner, his professional career as an NFL coach has been filled with lean years . In terms of his tenure with the Chargers , it would not be remiss to suggest the teams in question have achieved little of notoriety during the regular or postseason . Now with the fans lamenting those woes the desperation that now encompasses the franchise has left many wondering whether or not there should be an upheaval in the hierarchy of the franchise and amongst the coaching staff .

Alex Spanos , patriarch of the family, who owns the franchise, has handed over the reins to his son, Dean Spanos . The lean years have remained the Chargers’ fan-base seems to be declining . Qualcomm Stadium, home the franchise has become a decaying structure that has long outlived its usefulness. Dean Spanos has tried to negotiate terms wherein the San Diego city council would facilitate the building of a new state of the art structure to house the franchise. Given the dire economic situation that faces the municipality as well as the entire state of California, it seems highly unlikely that either the state or the city council would finance such a venture. With the city of Los Angeles yearning for the return of an NFL franchise , it would appear that the Chargers are the most likely option for the return of football to the nation’s second most populated city and home to the second largest ad-market in the nation. Untold millions are part the trove that awaits a franchise but at what cost to a city from a financial standpoint? And therein, lays the dilemma that faces so many cities that now houses a professional sports’ franchise across the country. Do they use the resources of their cities to facilitate the needs of multimillionaires and billionaires , especially in light of so many state , county and municipal agencies facing budgetary deficits . There are currently twenty-three cities within the state of California facing a budgetary crunch , with at least 7 , who are said to be considering declaring bankruptcy (Chapter 9) . Care to now hazard a guess as to the financial plight of the city of Los Angles and that of the state of California ? Well you would be correct in guessing that the finances of both are so acute, that neither Los Angeles city Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa or Governor Jerry Brown has a god-damn clue , as to how best to address those issues .

Whether not San Diego Chargers is relocated to the greater Los Angeles city area must be a decision left in the hands of the Spanos family. Their biggest concern has to be immediacy of this season and how this team goes about acquitting themselves during their 2012 schedule . For Philip Rivers , in his eighth season with the franchise , it has proven to be a career filled with highs and lows . The quarterback taken as the fourth pick overall in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Chargers . Much of what we have witnessed by this organization over the years has to be one of amazement , as to why this franchise simply continues to come up short when it matters most.

The first test facing the Chargers as they embark upon their quest in 2012 , will be to get through their preseason schedule . They will play hosts to the Green Bay Packers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California , on Friday 9th August , 2012. Though the preseason is not often thought to be competitive , this will give the Chargers’ rookies a chance to prove themselves to their new employers . And for players such as Melvin Ingram, Kendall Reyes , Brandon Taylor, LaDarius Green, Johnnie Troutman , David Molk and Edwin Baker , this now becomes their “baptism of fire”. For Norv Turner and the embattled AJ Smith , this may well be the last chance for the duo to prove their worth to the Chargers’ fans and NFL at large .



Picture gallery.

Which of the salient points within this article do you believe raises an issue which in your opinion best gives credence as to what we ought to expect from the NFL this upcoming season ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site.


Picture and slide show details below for your perusal.


(1) Mark Zuckerberg , CEO & co-founder of social media platform of The tech phenom has seen the market capitalization of the company drop precipitously , with $4.5 billion being wiped off the estimated $15.75 billion personal fortune of Zuckerberg. AP Photo/ Kris Patton …….

(2) Christian Ponder (7) of the Minnesota Vikings passes against the Houston Texans in the first half on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images North America ….

(3) SAN DIEGO, CA – AUGUST 8: Will Venable (25) of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park on August 8, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Padres would go on to defeat the Cubs 2-0 . Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images …

(4) FILE – This May 29, 2012 file photo shows San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers warming up during NFL football training in San Diego. The Chargers have missed the postseason for two straight seasons and have one playoff win in the last four years. That victory came in a 23-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the wildcard round of the 2008 NFL Playoffs . AP Photo/Gregory Bull …..

(5) PGA Tour golfer Phil Mickelson , seen here taking batting practice in the cages at Petco Park , San Diego , California . Mickelson along with the members of the O’Malley family have purchased the San Diego Padres for a reputed $ 800 million . The sale awaits the league hierarchy approval , pending a vote by MLB and team owners . Jeff Moorad and John Moores will relinquish control of the embattled franchise , which has struggled to remain competitive within the NL West in recent years . AP Photo / Chris Henson …


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MLB probable pitchers 9th August 2012

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Hot In Cleveland ………. Lukewarm In New England ….

Hot In Cleveland … Lukewarm In New England ….

By tophatal ….. 06/14/2012 10:13 PM (EST)

Well with NFL off-season workouts are at an end and for a number of teams this was a precursor for the rookies of the NFL Draft . This also gave the coaches and general managers to assess their new recruits as well as the free agents acquired through a number transactions .


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Slide show , for your perusal .

As an avid New England Patriots’ fan , I was pleased to find out GM Nick Caserio has seen fit to offer Rob Gronkowski a new contract that makes him the tight-end , the highest paid player at the position in NFL history . Gronkoswki had an exceptional season for the Patriots in 2011 , which saw the team make the postseason and then progressing all the way to the Superbowl . The New England Patriots would succumb to the New York Giants in a thoroughly thrilling game , which gave Tom Coughlin’s players their second victory over their AFC rivals in the NFL’s showcase event in six years.

This season for the New England Patriots will be about regrouping with Bill Belichick and the coaching staff assessing their draft picks , taking note and assessing whether or not the players acquired will complementary to the team’s needs . Certainly , with the loss of wide receiver Chad Ochocinco who was released by the franchise , this was addition by subtraction . The player was unproductive over the course of the season and the Patriots’ loss was the Miami Dolphins’ gain , with head coach Joe Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland adding the wide receiver to an unproductive offense . The player will certainly bring along a great deal of baggage but I doubt anything by way of productivity that will make the Dolphins one of the major surprises this upcoming season in the NFL .

The Miami Dolphins for their part have Ryan Tannehill as the heir-apparent at the position of quarterback for the Dolphins . It remains to be seen how the rookie will undoubtedly fare and what problems if any , this would create for the team . It will take a monumental effort from the young player to even have the impact and success achieved by Cam Newton for the Carolina Panthers last season as an incoming freshman quarter back . However , the franchise has seasoned veteran David Garrard within their midst , presumably as the starter , it is Tannehill who is being groomed to become the starter for the Dolphins. Week 1 should provide us all with the evidence needed to verify that fact and how the player should be viewed as a > potential starter for the team .

The New England Patriots as we know , were one of the poorer teams in league , in terms of their defensive capabilities . It would prove be the team’s Achilles Heel throughout their schedule over the course of the year . Bill Belichick continues to tinker with the defense and there is no denying he has not been pleased with the lack of defense shown by that defensive unit of last season Clearly , Belichick knows that if this team is to be successful this season , then the players of their defensive corps will have to prove their worth . It is one of the many reasons why the Patriots sought to draft players that would bolster the defensive unit .

The acquisition of Brandon Lloyd adds more potency to an already potent offense which had on display over the course of the regular and postseason in 2011 . What we should now expect from the Patriots this season could very well have the fans salivating if this team shows a marked improvement over last year and that will not bode well for the rest of the NFL , at all .

The AFC East as know , beyond the New England Patriots has the Buffalo Bills , Miami Dolphins and the somewhat under-achieving …. New York Jets . For coaches Chan Gailey and Rex Ryan of the Bills and Jets , respectively , this will be a season where a lot will be asked of each of these head coaches . For Ryan in particular , with the big splash made with the acquisition of Tim Tebow as the backup to Mark Sanchez , this should prove to be quite an eventful season for both quarterbacks . The New York press and tv analysts have made this a far bigger story than it needs to be , all in the hope of building up a budding controversy between the two players. Sanchez knows that failure on his part will lead to the fans calling for his head and the installing of Tebow to replace the beleaguered starting quarterback . Since Mark Sanchez’s entrance into the league in 2009 , many have wondered whether or not the player could live up to the perceived hype of the players (quarterbacks) who have left USC (Trojans) to make a career in the NFL .

For the quarterbacks in question under the tutelage of Pete Carroll to my mind , has proven to me that the controversy that surrounded the program was an aberration in terms of the perceived greatness . Players such as Matt Cassel , Carson Palmer as well as Sanchez , have yet to truly establish their credentials as legitimate high-caliber quarterbacks with leadership abilities . We know that in his first two seasons , Mark Sanchez was able to take the Jets to the cusp of a Superbowl appearance , with two consecutive AFC championship games in 2009 and 2010 . All of which , led to defeats for the teams in question , on both occasions for Rex Ryan’s and his coaching staff.

It is extremely difficult ________________ what to make of the Buffalo Bills but it has become increasingly clear that even with the fast start to a season , they cannot maintain that momentum over the course of a sixteen game schedule . I firmly believe that once again it will be very much more of the same that once again will see this team ride on the coat-tail and the arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick . Another sub-par year for the Buffalo Bills and it could pretty signal the end for Chan Gailey as the head coach of this franchise .

Colt McCoy , will either be the opening day quarterback for the Cleveland Browns this season , or he will be seated on the bench as Brandon Weeden , receives his baptism of fire , within the NFL . McCoy has been mistreated by the franchise , specifically by Mike Holmgren and the coaching staff led by Pat Shurmur . The incompetence shown by the Browns last season when the quarterback suffered a concussion , which saw the player, rendered helpless and not cognizant of his surroundings . Yet somehow , the Browns saw fit for Colt McCoy to reenter the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers , whose defensive player James Harrison supplied “ the hit” that incapacitated the opposing quarterback . McCoy tried to regain his balance but stumbled to ground , then to be assisted off the field , only for the player to be forced to return to the game . The coaching staff stated the player agreed to return and McCoy , himself responded in kind . After the game however , it was revealed that the player’s father revealed that he spoke with the coaching staff concerning his son’s condition at the time , only to be told they felt he was fit enough to take the field . It seems rather asinine in the current climate of the NFL with the medical information and staff on hand , somehow Browns’ own medical staff completely misdiagnosed medical condition at the time.

What might now be even more unpalatable , has been the very fact that the league hierarchy led by Roger Goodell , team owners and the NLFPA (union) have continued to ignore the plight of the players who have suffered such maladies , and the information that has been within their possession for decades . For those who believe that this issue has been around since Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner , then think again . A great deal of this information has been around during Tagliabue’s reign but somehow this has simply been ignored and the sheer naiveté of the league and the media has been beyond belief . What might be even more idiotic has been the very fact that a number of fans have stated that hindsight being 50/50 , there was really nothing that the NFL could really do to address the issue . Are you kidding me ? The NFL was not capable of meeting this issue head on and deal with this damn PR nightmare ? And therein lies the current idiotic stance of Goodell and his trying fend of the numerous civil suits for which the NFL is now a defendant . At present , there are 70 legal suits representing 1200 current and former players filed at various levels within the judicial system . Roger Goodell wishes for these suits to be conjoined and tried at the Federal level within US Federal Court . Pardon me for saying this but Goodell has been at least five steps behind ON this issue for a number of years , and it has been his sheer incompetence that continues to shine repeatedly as this matter has become relevant within the current climate of the NFL . Never mind the fact , that in light of the current collective bargaining agreement ratified and voted upon by the union, to instigate mandatory in and off-season testing for steroid and other illicit substances but somehow this has now been placed on the back-burner by the commissioner . His response under questioning by a congressional committee (House Energy & Commerce Committee) were that he , and the union’s executive committee still had a number of issues to “ iron out” before they could begin testing . The upcoming schedule and as of yet , the fans and the public are still unaware as to whether or not the league will begin to test the players for HGH and anabolic steroids . Care to respond as to which path will be taken by the NFL ?



Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any do you concerning the salient points raised within this article ? By all means leave a comment as you see fit and as always thanks for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated !


Picture & slide show details below .


(1) New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski , middle, walks down steps from the practice field at Gillette Stadium with other players after NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass. on Thursday, June 14, 2012. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(2) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick listens to a question during an NFL football media availability in Foxborough, Mass. on Thursday, June 14, 2012. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(3) FILE – In this Sept. 25, 2011, file photo, New York Giants tight end Jake Ballard runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. Ballard, coming off ACL and micro-fracture surgery and likely unavailable for action until 2013, was claimed shortly before Tuesday’s opening workout of Giants mini-camp, a day after he was waived because of a failed physical. It was the Giants’ intention to re-sign him and eventually place him on injured reserve. But the New England Patriots beat them to it, leaving Giants coach Tom Coughlin displeased with the entire situation on Wednesday. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …

(4) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady smiles while stretching during NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, June 13, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …

(5) Patriots GM & Head of Player Personnel , Nick Caserio , is seen here addressing the convened press at Gillette Stadium , Foxborough , Massachusetts ,. AP Photo /Getty Images / Harry How ….

(6)Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin talks during an NFL football news conference after the team’s practice, Monday, June 11, 2012, in Davie, Fla. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ……

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

(8) Chad Ochocinco seen here arriving at the Miami Dolphins’ training facility in Davie, Florida . The player recently signed one-year-deal with the Dolphins , hoping to revive his career with the franchise , having had a less than successful reign with the New England Patriots . Miami Herald/ Roberto Gomez …..

(9) Jets’ teammates Tim Tebow (15) and Mark Sanchez (6) seen here at the team’s training facility in Florsham , New Jersey . Tebow was brought in as a backup quarterback , to incumbent , Mark Sanchez . The rumor mills are rife , that this will now lead to a quarterback controversy within the Jets’ organization . Mark Sanchez , now caught within the crosshairs of the press and fans like , knows he has to produce this season for the New York Jets . AP Photo / Mike Parrish …

(10) Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns talks with Pat Shurmur during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Scott Boehm / Getty Images North America …

(11) Colt McCoy (12) is seen here alongside the Browns’ first round draft pick Brandon Weeden (3) at the team’s practice facility . Team President Mike Holmgren , and owner , Randolph “Randy” Lerner seem intent on Weeden being the opening day starter at quarterback for the team . This has further alienated McCoy and his future with the organization . AP Getty Images / Paul Ronson ….



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Biting Off More Than He Could Chew …………….

Biting Off More Than He Could Chew ……

tophatal ….

I am not so sure what to make of the upcoming NFL season with so much being on the line for a number of teams and specifically their head coaches . But if anything the person said to be most under the pressure may well be NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . With the ongoing scandal that has embroiled the New Orleans Saints and further tarnish the image of the sport as a whole . Unfortunately , there’s said to be great deal of apathy among a number of fans who feel that while the game remains as popular as ever they would rather simply look at what takes place on the field of play.


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Slide-show for your perusal .

The NFL this season has a great deal going for it with many of the fans simply looking to see if the rookies taken in the first round of the NFL Draft will matriculate into something special . Cam Newton had a spectacular season in 2011 while leading the Carolina Panthers to an extraordinary season . Granted, the Panthers failed to win the NFC South or make the postseason but quite obviously the front office were extremely pleased that the top pick from the 2011 NFL Draft exceeded their own expectations .

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will have something to prove along with their peers taken in the Draft. And most notably the quarterbacks chosen will be under the greatest scrutiny of all. Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden might not be starters in week one for their respective teams the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. Those two teams in question are now at a crossroads in terms of the paths taken . Both aspire to be forces within the AFC and they each have a long way to if they are to surpass the peaks scaled by the New England Patriots , Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts . The quartet of teams between them have 11 Superbowl titles collectively .

Before the season gets underway the league could be facing a another major dilemma as the NFL hierarchy are in protracted negotiations with the NFLRA (union) [referees’ union] as the league sets about renegotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the union . Roger Goodell , simply thinks that with one perceived victory in overturning appeals of the four suspended New Orleans Saints’ players at the center of the team’s bounty scandal . The NFLRA are adamant that they will not acquiesce to any deal that would see them having to take a cut in their salaries as well as reduced benefits. If this is Goodell’s idea of a joke , then it is not a very good one considering issues he had with the NFLPA and their hard-fought battle that went before the FMCS and then before a Federal Court appointed mediator. The commissioner’s inter-actions with his counterpart , DeMaurice Smith , left a great deal to be desired . The biggest joke about those deliberations was the very fact within months an agreement the two sides are once again adversaries , as Smith seeks to protect his members at what he believes to be a witch hunt . At the center of this all is whether or not the evidence gathered and used to prove the league’s case against Johnathan Vilma , Anthony Hargrove , Scott Fujita and Will Smith . Vilma has filed a civil suit against the commissioner and the NFL , claiming defamation of character , libel and slander . That case , should it go to trial , would place Goodell , on the witness stand having to recollect how the league’s investigators went about conducting their investigation and collecting evidence . It should be noted that Vilma when asked to attend the NFL headquarters for questioning , even though the union would be providing him with a player rep and lawyer to represent his interests while being questioned . It should be noted , that the player (Vilma) chose not attend , stating it came under advisement from his legal counsel . That , in of-itself doesn’t preclude us from coming to a decision as to Vilma’s guilt or innocence but I firmly believe the player has done himself no favors with his actions. And that is also further substantiated by the coaches who were embroiled in this mess with their admission of guilt but less than contrite apologies . Personally, for the idiots out there rallying behind the commissioner , coming to his support , without fully comprehending the intricacies of an agreement between the league and union that simply wasn’t worth the paper it was written on ! Only an asshole would believe that the two sides tried to suggest what was a binding an arbitrary agreement is one that resolved their divisions . It was simply nothing more than one big cluster fuck and a complete charade ! The union has reneged on the testing for HGH and steroids of their members, while trying to suggest that the league’s testing protocols and regimen are not in line with that of the USOC or that of WADA . As asinine as it sounds , somehow Goodell has relented and once again he cowers from steering down the NFLPA and forcing them to abide by their agreement , that was ratified by the NFLPA’s Executive Committee Does anyone now truly believe that the NFL is currently on a great footing in terms of its overall image ?

Goodell may well be over-reaching his boundaries in now seeking another out another adversary in the NFLRA , as he can ill-afford to have a possible delay to the start of the NFL season, this year . But it could very well come down to that, should things become contentious between the two parties . As of now , it would appear that calmer heads are prevailing . My question however , but for how long ? Your thoughts ?

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

NFL refs association: no strike contemplated

By Barry Wilner , The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) The NFL Referees Association is disputing a claim by the league that the officials threatened to take a strike vote after their contract expired.

Mike Arnold , counsel for the officials, says Tuesday that claim is ”patently false.”

”The NFLRA has never threatened to strike,” Arnold said. ”After repeated references by the NFL during negotiations regarding its plans to obtain replacement officials, the NFLRA briefed its members at its annual meeting on April 21, 2012. No strike vote was taken at the meeting.

”In fact the NFLRA’s directive to its membership was to prepare for the season and to perform each and every task assigned to them both before and after CBA expiration. This continues to be the position of the NFLRA.”

The collective bargaining agreement ended after the 2011 season. The sides had been meeting since October, but mediation lasted only two sessions and talks broke off Sunday.

On Monday, the league said it will begin hiring and training replacement officials.

The officials say that the NFL offered salary increases lower than those obtained in the 2006 agreement.

”They heard about the increases that team and league employees receive, far less than the increases we proposed for the game officials, even without considering the improved offer made on Sunday,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. ”Do the officials get the same kind of raises in their other jobs as they did in 2006?”

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Roger Goodell may well be happy with the fact that the league was able to add an additional $2.65 billion in additional revenues by extending and renewing a number of television contracts that were set to expire . The commissioner’s gleeful joy over this paints a rather grim picture when you take into account that he , the union and the team owners have been less than forthright when dealing with the issue of player safety as it relates to severe blunt force head trauma , concussions Grade II and above , as well as the issue as to how the NFL has dealt with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The latter malady is often seen as a precursor to long-term memory loss , Alzheimer’s Disease and other maladies not normally associated with the game , until later on , long after many of these players have retired and left the game. Consider the untimely death of Junior Seau , due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound , and the very fact that he sought out medical help in terms of a therapist but failed to attend the prescribed meetings . Neither the league or the union provides any help to the players under such circumstances but the commissioner has the temerity to suggest that hierarchy does its best to assist the players in their times of utmost need. That has never been the case , if truth be known , as they only provide assistance to players when they break the league’s the drug (substance abuse) policy as it relates to their mandated edicts . Beyond that , the league’s scope and assistance has been minuscule as they have chosen to keep the seasoned veterans at arm’s length . What might now be inconceivable , in the aftermath of the agreement presided over by the arbitrator the league and union saw fit to set aside $1 billion in a sealed document , which we are told will be disbursed to assist the veterans in paying for medical benefits. However , with the NFL being defendants in seven separate legal civil suits filed in US Federal and US District Court as well as the case that may well set the precedence , and that is the civil suit filed by the family of the late Dave Duerson in Cook County Court , Chicago , Illinois,. Should the family prevail in their suit and a judgment is rendered in their favor , then it is highly likely that the jury could seek to compensate the Duersons with punitive and compensatory damages in their wrongful death suit . The very fact that as the defendants in this case , the legal ramifications for the NFL could be disastrous should they be on the losing side of this suit . The fact that the league sought to have all of the cases conjoined in the US Federal Court in the 4th Circuit should be enough of an indication as to how serious the league views this situation . The NFL’s Chief legal counsel Jeff Pash and their head of Labor Negotiations Adolphus Birch III are providing Goodell with legal insight , as both of these legal minds will be tested as to how they will ultimately address this issue for the NFL , as a matter of jurisprudence .

September 5th may well bring about a sensational season , with all 32 teams vying for the Superbowl but if anything it has and will be the off the field problems that for now will provide the fans with a great deal of intrigue. And how this is all addressed by the NFL will give us something of an indication as to how we should perceive the league . Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy faces an uphill battle as they seek to rebuild the NFL’s image especially in light of these controversies . The NFL commissioner like his predecessor Paul Tagliabue may well be two of the poorest executives in all professional sports during which their tenures can best described , as being mediocre ! That last premise is with due respect to both David Stern , Bud Selig and Gary Bettman . And given the ineptitude shown by each in recent season as they have repeatedly used an acute economic crisis for the woes that their respective brands have faced and continue to face , even when it is abundantly clear that their issues have not been properly dealt with . Greed , and dare one say corruption , if nothing else has been the opportune word that could best describe why these sports now find themselves engulfed with a litany of issues of one form or another . Your thoughts on the matter ?

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In your judgment do you believe that the NFL and union have been culpable in their mistreatment of the NFL veterans ? Also Roger Goodell’s scope as NFL commissioner do you believe him to be adroit enough to be considered a good enough chief executive or is he simply an individual who does not have a complete grasp as to what is needed , as required for the NFL’s highest ranking position where authority and very good communicative skills are needed ? By all means chime on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter .


Picture and slide show details below .

(1) Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers , right, talks with wide receiver Johnny Knox during NFL football practice in Lake Forest, Ill., Wednesday, June 6, 2012. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(2) Tennessee Titans quarterbacks Jake Locker (10) and Rusty Smith (11) pass during a workout at the team’s NFL football training facility on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

(3) 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 …

(4) Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) and Thaddeus Lewis (9) watch Colt McCoy (12) during practice at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Tuesday, June 5, 2012. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …

(5) Executive director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith (L) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (R) speak outside the NFL Players Association Headquarters in Washington July 25, 2011. The NFL and players have agreed to terms to end their four-month lockout and ensure America’s most professional sport will go ahead as planned next season. The commissioner is now taking aim at the NFLRA (National Football League Referees’ Association [union]) as he seeks to weaken their stance . The union’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire at the end of the 2012-13 season , however , they sought to obtain an extension of the agreement but the league hierarchy is said to be seeking sweeping concessions from the NFLRA , while at the same time setting out they believe to be are scurrilous claims made by the union concerning their demands . For the moment the NFLRA states that they have no intentions of going on strike and delaying the start of the 2012-13 season . But the commissioner is said to be already contemplating the use of replacement officials should the union cal an all-out strike . “The more things change the more they remain the same” . Goodell at his best but most notably , at his worst ! REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque ….


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NFL Schedule 2012-12 ……. week 1 5th September 2012

It Was Meant To Be The Year of The Quarterback And In Many Ways It Was And Then It Wasn’t ….

It Was Meant To Be The Year of The Quarterback And In Many Ways It Was And Then It Wasn’t ….

By tophatal ………..

There’s no denying that this past season was the year of the quarterback and that can be seen from the statistics of runner-up in the MVP race . Drew Brees and Superbowl MVP …. Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers but if anything the supporting cast of the offensive weapons that complemented the talents of the celebrated trio as well as Matt Stafford and Tom Brady to make this a year to be remembered .


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Slide show for your perusal .

Brees and one other quarterback ( Brady) surpassed the long-held single season passing yards’ record of Dan Marino set in 1984 . Tight ends Jimmy Graham , Aaron Hernandez , Rob Gronkowski and Jermichael Finley made this NFL season one of astonishing highlight reels that will be long remembered for years to come . Not to be outdone also are the wide receivers who also held sway with their own with Mario Manningham , Wes Welker , Hakeem Nicks and Marques Colston all adding to the NFL experience of explosive offense seen throughout much of the season and postseason during 2011.

With what we now know to be a near certainty Ryan Grigson the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts will be drafting Stanford (Cardinals) quarterback Andrew Luck as the #1 overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft . Baylor Bears’ quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is likely to go second overall but with the St Louis Rams unlikely to take player it is envisaged that the front office and team owner Stanley Kroenke will entertain any teams wishing to move up in the draft order to have that second overall pick but only if they are prepared to themselves offer a flurry future picks or possible talent superfluous to their needs .

Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder never one to not know the meaning of excessive spending or make bold decisions as it relates to personnel moves and the organization’s draft choices may well make the move and take Robert Griffin in with the hope of making him the team’s quarterback of the future. That doesn’t bode well for either Rex Grossman or John Skelton at this juncture given their woes this past season for the Redskins over the course of their 2011 schedule .

Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan are now on a tight leash because in light of the Donovan McNabb experiment that went South no sooner the season started , it has to be said if the duo of coaches who are being compensated to the tune of $ 7 million a year combined , this might well be the last chance for both coaches to prove their worth . The Washington Redskins much like the two of the residents within the NFC East who were not part of the postseason excitement have become essentially the laughing-stock of the NFL ! God knows , what was being served up jointly by the Philadelphia Eagles , Dallas Cowboys and Redskins , no way in hell can it be described as high-caliber football that one would associate with the NFL and its brand !

Now while there may well be a slew of top-notch talent on display at this past weekend’s NFL Scouting Combine where a number of players impressed the coaches , their assistants , general managers and owners who were said to be on hand . The consensus appears to be that once you get beyond the top ten to fifteen picks of the first round of this upcoming the cupboard becomes bare in terms the talent that is said to be on hand . Something of a far cry off from last season’s NFL Draft (2011) While its way too early to start to make those sport of prognostications I would tend to agree that were they may well a definite drop-off in terms of the tight ends who have declared their eligibility for the Draft !

Now while there has always been a love-fest and leaning towards the college quarterback , wide receiver , running back , offensive tackle and dare one say a great defensive pass rusher ? It is these players in particular that the coaches tend to yearn in terms building a franchise around . Granted, every coach has their own idea and opinion as to how they would like to build successful franchises and this is certainly borne out by how the likes of Bill Parcells , Jimmy Johnson , Chuck Noll , Bill Belichick and Mike Holmgren have gone about successful organizations over the course of their careers within the NFL .

I’ve never been one to be inherently bogged down by perusing the statistics in order to assess a college player’s ability ! Because to my mind , at the end of the day they are either ready to take that step to the next level and ply their trade in the NFL or they’re not ! The failures at the next level are magnified to such a degree that they become ever so glaring and there’s no way that excuses can be made . Certainly , there are going to be hits and misses in this upcoming Draft but in reality we tend to see the best come out in a player normally after years two to three . There’s always the exception to the rule , because could anyone have foreseen the explosive impact that Cam Newton would have on the Carolina Panthers this past season ? And but for a defense that had some issues amongst other problems and with the usual tally of injuries then perhaps the Panthers could have challenged the likes of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints within the NFC South in 2011. Because it sure hell wasn’t going to come from the woefully inept ….. Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that piss poor squad of players !

Now while Messrs’ Kiper and McShay will be regaling us with their ” big draft board ” , their likes and dislikes , let’s remember one and make that abundantly clear these two individuals have rarely stepped up to the plate and actually stated why so many of their prognostications have blown up in their proverbial faces .

For players such as Trent Richardson , Morris Claiborne , Justin Blackmon , Matt Kalil , Michael Floyd , Whitney Mercilus , Reuben Randle , Dont’a Hightower and Dre` Kirkpatrick it will be interesting to see if their careers at the next level will matriculate into something that on appearance alone can be deemed a resounding success .

Certainly if last year’s NFL Draft was anything to go by then beyond Cam Newton we saw players such as Von Miller , Marcell Dareus , A J Green , Patrick Peterson , Julio Jones and Aldon Smith contributed greatly for their respective teams . As I alluded to earlier, my thoughts on the prognostications as it concerns these young players aren’t relevant , not at this time . Perhaps a year or two down the line , then we can really assess their contributions .

It takes a man with strong convictions to stick with a decision no matter how controversial or meaningful it’s said to be . I’d recently stated that the Pittsburgh Steelers would consider cutting their Pro Bowl wide receiver Hines Ward . Well it appears that the decision has been made by the front office to jettison the fifteen year veteran whose contributions are an example that if you apply yourself to your craft then success will surely follow .

Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin obviously had to have thought long and hard before coming to the decision . But I can’t help but feel that Ward could well be resigned to a lesser contract in order that the organization can have the leeway sought to offer their wide-out Mike Wallace a revised contract. There’s no real loyalty or love lost within the NFL between player and team owner as it all comes down to money , profits and not much else beyond that ! I’d be equally surprised given the idiocy that took place within the Colts’ organization this off-season if Peyton Manning still is on the team roster beyond the 8th March , 2011 . Manning is due a $28 million roster bonus pending a clean ” bill of health ” . Team owner Jim Irsay is said to be the consummate businessman , at this point , this just doesn’t come down to merely business but what is actually in the best interests of the Colts franchise . The franchise does have some extremely important decisions to be made as it relates to the roster and the impending fate of a number of the players. Suffice to say , beyond the decision to be made concerning their esteemed quarterback . we could well see a few other players leaving this organization.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything as a fan do you expect to see during the NFL Draft ? Also during this off-season with the apparent turmoil that’s now said to be taking place what move or transaction to your mind will be or has been the biggest surprise to you overall ? By all means do take time to leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !


Picture and slide show details below .


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – FEBRUARY 07: Justin Tuck (91), of the New York Giants laughs with teammate Eli Manning (10) at a rally to celebrate the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory at MetLife Stadium on February 7, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images …

(2) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers looks on in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images … …..

(3) Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins watches from the sidelines during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

< (4) Heisman Trophy-winner and former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III poses for a photo on the Baylor campus, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in Waco, Texas, for the EA Sports NCAA Football 13 video game to be released in July. AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jerry Larson ….

(5) Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward (86) walks off the field after the Steelers lost 29-23 to the Denver Broncos in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Denver. It is being widely reported that the wide receiver was let go by the Steelers’ front office as a cost cutting exercise . AP / Getty Images / Eric Schneider ……….. ….





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Gemma Atkinson . Lovely !

Gemma 2/

Another reason why one might love Gemma are those rather beguiling assets of hers . What do you think ?


A Tribe Called Quest ……… ” Check The Rhyme ”