You can fool the people some of the time but the anal retentive just deserve to be fooled and embarrassed all of the time ………..that is why the NFL exists .

You can fool the people some of the time but the anal retentive , just deserve to be fooled and embarrassed all of the time ………..that is why the NFL exists .

The NFL season is over two months away but the preseason begins in earnest in August with the Hall of Fame game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants to be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York. With that would come and then the induction of the latest batch of NFL greats and their eagerly awaited enshrinement in Canton, Ohio,. Meanwhile , we have NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft , still trying to sell the public on the merits of having a franchise in the city of Los Angeles. Also at some point in the immediate future, it is their wish to see a franchise in the United Kingdom , specifically in London , the financial heartbeat of the nation and one of the world’s financial centers.

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I have always found the NFL to be a behemoth, whose only concern has been to make money, where the owners are nothing more than parasites , the union (NFLPA-Players’ Union) lacking compassion and understanding. Roger Goodell remains a poor choice as the league’s highest ranking executive , but that in part was initiated with his being chosen as the heir-apparent to Paul Tagliabue , with Goodell’s predecessor, rubber-stamping the decision before a final vote was taken by the league hierarchy.

It would seem , neither Roger Goodell or Robert Kraft are concerned with the financial imperilment of the nation’s second largest city and where the officials within Los Angeles seem incapable of making a decision showing financial restraint. Perhaps, it is the main reason why the NFL would like the return of a franchise to the municipality under the ruse of the financial windfall to be claimed in the nation’s second largest advertising market. When broached on the subject, about who will actually finance the building of a venue to house this new or relocated franchise, neither NFL executive has been able to offer up a concise answer. I can only surmise, it is their wish to see the city offer up billions to make such a venue possible. Earlier endeavors to build a stadium venue in the greater Los Angeles area , have either failed , because of political infighting or because the proposers of such a deal did not have the financial backing or show the wherewithal to get the project off the ground.

One of the latest entrants in a bid to get the NFL back within the confines of the city of Los Angeles, just happens to be Magic Johnson , part owner in the Los Angeles Dodgers , whose primary owners, Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC . The company is backed by the multi-billion dollar assets of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners Inc , led by Todd S Boehly and Mark Walter. . The company is also reputed to be interested in making an unsolicited bid for AEG Worldwide , the entertainment and sports’ concessions company owns several pieces of prime real estate in the downtown Los Angeles area . Philip Anschutz , owner of AEG , is known to be interested in selling the company ,but not unless the proposed suitor is ready to meet a price believed to be in excess of $9 billion . I would rather see Johnson and his partners concentrate on bringing back a World Series’ title to Los Angeles than their seeking to reestablish the NFL back in the Los Angeles area. Besides professional sports within the city is almost at an all-time low with the NBA bedeviled by the ineptitude of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers’ ongoing incredulity , which has been handled with about as much foresight as a blind man playing with an explosive device. I would say the Los Angeles Kings has brought back a sense of pride to the city having won the Stanley Cup , but the NHL piques about as much interest today as a debate being conducted within the confines of the US Congress.

If the NFL is to return to the city of Los Angeles , then the matter will have to be dealt with as joint partnership between the league and the city. More often than not , such arrangements have been made with the NFL profiting from these type of arrangements , with them giving little in return to these municipalities nationwide . If you wish to see how acute the situation just happens to be , then simply look at the issues now being faced within the cities of Chicago and Detroit as a pointer about how dire things can become. Detroit remains in a state of financial disrepair , albeit, they are now seeking to resolve their financial woes though bankruptcy reorganization . Chicago is now bedeviled by a crime wave not seen since the days of Prohibition and Al Capone , with incumbent city mayor Rahm Emmanuel blaming the increasing gang violence on the perpetrators of the crimes in question , without acknowledging like a number of his recent predecessors , he has cut the budget of the city’s police force to try and solve Chicago’s budgetary woes.

I have read numerous pieces by patrons and contributors within the blogging world who claim the NFL is a for profit business without them actually failing to realize the league itself is set up as a not for profit entity , afforded antitrust status as well as tax exempt status in its dealings. What returns indicated to the IRS will clearly show miniscule profit if there is one to be shown , but their franchises are not afforded such luxuries. How little one knows , when only seeking to proffer up an opinion without ever taking time to do an ounce of research.The NFL leads and their fans will continually follow their lead , by eating up every morsel of garbage they are likely to serve up on a silver platter as an appetizing meal.

As the NFL has gained popularity abroad , you have to wonder why NFL Europe was such a bust . Millions of dollars were lost by the teams who sought to invest in the experiment with nothing tangible being gained in that very first sortie. The second time around through a media blitz and having regular season games scheduled in Europe, a small shift has occurred. Yet for all of the hopes and the dreams of not only Roger Goodell , Bob Kraft and even the rambunctious Jerry Jones , the league has not seen the traction they believed could be obtained . Seventy thousand fans packing Wembley Stadium in London might seem impressive, but consider the fact , the staging of such as game was not done to coincide with a Premierleague game scheduled within one of soccer’s elite leagues in Europe. You can always to try to turn a pig into a sow by dressing it up , but you cannot turn a sow into a pig . The NFL is seeking to do just that and is failing miserably on all counts. Having reached saturation point in terms of marketing the real issues that dogs Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy are the quality of the games, little real understanding of the markets where they are now seeking to reach , as well as the cultural differences they have to face in exposing the NFL to new markets and a new consumer.

Other than being remembered as the most popular NFL Draft in recent NFL history and exploits of sixth round draft pick Michael Sam , there would not have been anything memorable about the NFL’s staging of an event where the fans got to see the latest graduates to the world of professional football. Johnny Manziel had his dreams go up in smoke when he was not the first quarterback taken in this past draft. Perhaps, ” Johnny Football” can now join LeBron James in learning some humility, rather than always seeking to make themselves the centerpiece of a story. Sooner, rather than later, the fans tend to get sick and tired of it all.. I guess the city of Cleveland will now have something to look forward to , as both James and Manziel fight to be the top story on the sports’ pages of the newspapers within the city and state as well as nationwide ? That premise seems also likely as the television sports’ broadcast outlets, now begin to fawn over two, of perhaps the most polarizing figures in professional sports today.

The drafting of Johnny Manziel has provided the Cleveland Browns with some much-needed publicity, but yet team owner Jimmy Haslam remains the one NFL franchise owner whose custodianship of a team does not seem in jeopardy , in spite of the misdeeds of Haslam’s company and their being found guilty of defrauding many of their clients out of hundreds of millions of dollars . The slap on the wrist proffered up by the Justice System is another continued knock a legal system bereft of intelligence at the judiciary level. One should also take into account at the time of the legal undertakings against Haslam , he was in the midst of purchasing the Cleveland Browns and actually received the league’s blessing with their seal of approval. Whether or not the league itself sought a thorough investigation of Jimmy Haslam’s finances, character and acumen to own an NFL franchise is open to great deal of conjecture and debate.

The Browns will enter their season looking to put the era of Brandon Weeden in their rear view mirror. Cleveland’s loss is said to be Dallas Cowboys’ gain as they acquired the free agent quarterback during the off-season. I would like to once again thank Jerry Jones in fortifying my continued belief why he remains a blithering idiot ! Now head coach Jason Garrett can look across at his depth chart at the quarterback position , look to both Weeden and Tony Romo to lift the Cowboys out of their continued doldrums.

Johnny Manziel will have a great deal to prove as he seeks to make his mark in the NFL, but he is not likely to be the Cleveland Browns’ opening day starter in their first regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest to be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. These two franchises have a great deal of history behind them , with their match-ups tending to be either eventful or a complete letdown. With the AFC North likely to be up for grabs this season it will be interesting to see how things play out for the teams within the division as the season unfolds.

Paying on potential or paying on merit, which is said to be the more prudent thing to do? To try and figure that out one might need to call on a senior member of MENSA because your sure as hell cannot rely on an NFL general manager or an owner to give a you a clear and concise to such a question. During the off-season the Chicago Bears in their infinite wisdom , saw fit to give their veteran quarterback a multi-year deal, that now makes Jay Cutler one of the highest paid players in the NFL in terms of annual salary and contract value ($126 million) . All this for quarterback whose postseason exploits seem envious when compared to those of Tony Romo’s but that is a discussion for another day .Now in light of Cutler’s reward there were those who questioned San Francisco 49ers’ general manager Trent Baalke offering the team’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick a comparable deal in a similar vein to salary pack of the Bears’ quarterback. Kaepernick has twice taken the team to the NFC championship game as well as a Superbowl appearance in his short time in the NFL. Having succeeded Alex Smith , the consensus appeared to be the player did not possess the level of maturity or skill-set needed to lead the Forty Niners. Colin Kaepernick has proved his doubters wrong , now the question remains , can he lead the franchise to their sixth Superbowl title ?

The Forty Niners and their fans would like nothing better than to drown out the ongoing memories of their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Superbowl 47 , and most definitely overhaul their divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks as the best team in the NFC West as well as the NFC . Encounters between these two teams over the past three seasons have now taken on epic proportions and with the Seahawks’ annihilation of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl , the stakes have now been raised even higher between the two NFC West franchises.

Both the Forty Niners and Seahawks have made considerable moves to bolster their respective rosters, beyond utilizing the NFL Draft and the free agency market. What their regular season meetings and scheduled games may well come down to , is the determination of Jim Harbaugh and his opposite number Pete Carroll in guiding their teams. We all know how tough it just happens to be for a team to make a successful defense of their Superbowl title and it has been over a decade since the feat was last accomplished. . The meetings between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in weeks’ thirteen and fifteen , could very well provide us with a precursor concerning who the best team in the NFC and NFL might just be.

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Do you believe the upcoming season in the NFL can surpass the events of last season? Also is it necessary for the NFL to have a franchise in either Los Angeles or London to remain viable in the eyes of their fans? Your comments on this and anything else you believe pertinent to this article is most certainly welcomed.

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(1) New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, left, is seen here alongside Roger Goodell as the two answer questions from an array of NFL journalists, having just attended a safety clinic concerning NFL players . Both Goodell and Kraft are asking for a concerted effort to be made to reestablish an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. The NFL Commissioners has repeatedly stated that the city’s council members are amenable for the return of the NFL to the city , but he has failed to show who would bear the brunt of the financial obligation for a new stadium for the franchise. AP Photo / Greg Jones …

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ co-owners Mark Walter left and Magic Johnson , having spent $2 billion to buy the baseball franchise, now seem to be intent on either buying an NFL franchise or perhaps seeking to start a new NFL team within the confines of the greater Los Angeles area. a . The duo are also believed to be interested in buying AEG Worldwide and are willing to make an unsolicited bid for the concessions and entertainment company. UPI/ Getty Images / Chris Palmer …

(3) Cleveland Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine , far left, is seen here alongside Justin Gilbert , Johnny Manziel and the Browns’ general manager Ray Farmer . Gilbert and Manziel were part of this season’s draft class for the Browns. AP Photo/ Penny Wilson …

(4) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears is seen here with his counterpart Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys at the end of game with Bears defeating the Cowboys 34-18 in an NFC contest in 2012. The two quarterbacks have yet to taste a Superbowl victory with only Cutler having appeared in the NFL’s postseason finale which resulted in a lopsided loss for the Bears . Getty Images North America / Rafael Henriques ….

(5) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick , left, talks with head coach Jim Harbaugh during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in San Francisco, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. Having replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback Kaepernick cemented himself as the team’s starter and has accomplished a great deal since his first game in the NFL …

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Two delightful reasons to love Lela Star !

Hey Kids It’s Story Time ………

Hey Kids It’s Story Time ………

By tophatal

Stories, from not so far afield and that would appear to the hold the sports fans’ interest . Well, the NFL remains the center of focus even during the off-season and for a number of reasons , both right and wrong . Roger Goodell while still trying to make his intent clear has been handling the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal with about as much care as a murderous felon on the run , who still seeks to commit at least one more crime . The commissioner is now embroiled in a “war of words” between himself and Jonathan Vilma , a defensive player for the Saints. Vilma , is one four players named in what appears to be an all too secretive report that would suggest the scandal was an event with actuality and giving clear evidence as to its existence . Having been suspended by the league over the evidence within their possession , Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit in US Federal Court against the NFL as well the league’s commissioner , Roger Goodell . Furthermore , as part of that filing the player has stated that he also seeks his reinstatement by the league . Now while this process has yet to be fully initiated , a hearing will take place concerning the quartet’s suspension and it may well be here that we might have some finality to this issue but one seriously doubts it .

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Should this defamation case go Federal Court , then the league would have to lay out its case for public scrutiny , as well as that of the plaintiff’s lawyers with theirs . Inasmuch , as the league has acted in what they believe to be a positive manner , there is a distinct feeling that all has not been above reproach in the league’s handling of this issue . It is becoming all too clear that there is a great deal that the NFL would prefer not to have laid out in public . For his part, Vilma did himself no favors by choosing not to attend the league’s headquarters for questioning by the league’s investigators when requested to do so . Instead he has sought to question the veracity of the evidence gathered by the league and its subordinates while choosing to question Goodell’s integrity . This is simply another episode in a long running drama wherein the NFL has been distrustful of the players and the NFLPA (union) as the representative of its rank and file members are no closer in having a bilateral relationship with the league hierarchy. If this decade long collective bargaining agreement was meant to stand for anything and supposedly lead the league into a ten years of peaceful coexistence . Then then it is now clear that it is not worth the paper it was written on !

Global expansion , sought by the NFL ? Is it not enough that the league fell flat on its face with their farcical experiment of NFL Europe as they sought to make the game more accessible to their fans on that particular continent ? Now with several offices across the globe and an increasing presence audience in the Far East , Latin America and the African continent , the league still yearns for a physical presence with a franchise outside the American continent . How that would work logistically during the regular season as well the possibility of a franchise being part of a postseason schedule may well not have crossed the minds of the league hierarchy and franchise owners . Roger Goodell , not long after having succeeded Paul Tagliabue to his current role , had suggested that he would like to see an NFL franchise in Europe . Preferably in the United Kingdom , and more importantly, London to his mind would be the preferable choice .

Obviously , lessons were not learned by Goodell , with the NFL having lost tens of millions of dollars with their rather idiotic experiment of NFL Europe for over a decade . Nothing really tangible came out of the experiment , although some point out to the fact it allowed for some borderline talent to play in Europe , who might not have gained access to being part of an NFL practice squad. And even though at its inception NFL Europe was an initial success , the fact that could not be hidden that having to compete against such sports soccer and cricket and several other sports not just within the UK but also on the continent , NFL football could not gain the traction needed to be self-sustaining without having to depend upon its parent for the financial backing needed to exist . Initially , there were corporate tie-ins with several prominent businesses in the participating countries (UK, Germany , France , Netherlands , Spain & Belgium) but those relationships soon quickly died , without those corporations seeing their profiles raised to any major degree . Now come full circle and over decade from the folding of NFL Europe and once again we have a prominent personality once again raising the question of having a franchise in Europe .

New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft in a recent interview stated that the NFL should make a renewed effort in getting an NFL franchise off the ground and into being , in Europe within the next decade . Now unless I am mistaken the word “ England” is already part of the Patriots’ moniker . So what in hell’s name is the Patriots’ owner trying to get at ? In addition , one seriously doubts that amongst either the landed gentry of England or even amongst the country’s wealthiest individuals that any of them would have the desire to own an NFL franchise . Especially , when one bears in mind the costs involved , and all of the political and connivance and intrigue that is said to go on between the NFL , and many of the state and municipal governmental agencies here in the United States . Kraft was broad in terms , on how best this would come into being , only to suggest that the NFL had now reach saturation point and its maturation level domestically .

From my own standpoint , the league’s biggest concern should be with “ cleaning up “ its image , dealing with player safety and above all stop taking a soft-shoe approach in dealing with the Players’ Union when it comes to the “issue “ of PED’s and other illicit substances . The league having reached an agreement with the executive committee of the NFLPA has yet to enact the statute of mandatory testing of the players even if after the union itself voted on , and ratified the deal . Instead, Goodell and the owners seem to have backed off enforcing the mandate and as usual Roger Goodell comes across looking like a “cowering bitch “ and a virgin who’s afraid to be deflowered , even though she has led her partner on .

Goodell , like the other three major high-ranking executives who oversee the four major professional sports , tends to only show a backbone when he feels he is on the winning end of a fight . He might be the very worst of a really inept bunch of individuals who have no reason to be holding the executive positions in question , much less presiding over a sports’ hierarchy .

Don’t look now but the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees have some real problems on their hands . In the case of the Dodgers they have seen a five game lead within the NL West be erased within the past three weeks , while the New York Yankees have lost two of their most high profiled pitchers to the DL . For the Dodgers , their issues stem with the loss of Andre Ethier and the slow return to form of Matt Kemp , albeit that one could attest to the fact that the team’s ….. woes are far more widespread . With the San Francisco Giants having now overtaken the Dodgers for the lead within the division , this could very well take on some chilling reverberations around the organization were the team not able to play themselves back into contention .

Now as much I admire Andy Pettite , I felt his comeback to the game of baseball , and specifically the New York Yankees was a foolhardy decision ! No sooner has he returned to the organization , he now finds himself out for a possible four to six weeks with a broken ankle . To exacerbate things further , C C Sabathia is now down with a groin strain . Yankees’ fans how’d you like those apples ? And if you thought that may well have been the end of the Bronx Bombers’ worries , then think again . Their old arch rivals , the Boston Red Sox are looming close , having played themselves into contention within the AL East , with some gritty determination but also in part they have been aided by some poor performances by their fellow occupants within the division.

As contentious as the AL East is known to be this season , the division is very much there for the taking for any of the teams with the desire to make it theirs . Granted , the Yankees possess perhaps the potent offense in the game as can be seen by the run differential which is by far the best in baseball (MLB) . With the 2012 All Star Game a mere week away , it may well give the teams that are said to be ailing with injuries , a chance to look over the injury woes and perhaps how best to address those issues .

Now comes the hard part for the managers as the mid-season showcase event approaches do they allow their players to participate in the scheduled festivities or do they order them to rest . The fans’ wishes , are to see their heroes in action but at the same when the risks are too great whereby a major star could be lost for the remainder of the season , then questions arise as to what is said to in the best interests of an organization . There is no denying that the festivities that surround the All Star Game is perhaps the best of four professional mid-season showcase events of the four major professional sports . Granted , the NBA , NHL and NFL in their capacity would have you believe their respective events are by far the most popular amongst the fans but the real proof stems in the fan involvement and attendance. Baseball’s presence of mind to give the fans what they want in terms their teams’ and their performances . What might be even more impressive are the progressive statistics of the players over the ensuing years in terms of batting averages and ERA’s for the pitchers.

This year it has been a stellar season as always with teams performing up to the usual expectation , with one or two exceptions . The pitchers this season are proving that with the “right stuff” they can make the hitters’ lives a testing one . . I would certainly like to think that in the lead-up to the All Star Game and thereafter we will be seeing a great deal more from the teams. Kauffman Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri , will be the scene of this year’s showcase for baseball . So make of it what you will .

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Picture gallery .

Do you as an NFL fan believe that we will ultimately see a franchise in Europe or quite possibly in Latin America or Canada ? By all means leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) FILE – This Aug. 2, 2010 file photo shows NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaking during a news conference at the New Orleans Saints’ football training facility in Metairie, La. The appeals hearing for four players suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for their role in the Saints bounty program has begun. On hand at NFL headquarters Monday, June 18, 2012, are all four players: Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is suspended for the 2012 season, and defensive end Will Smith, who has been docked for four games; Green Bay defensive end Anthony Hargrove, suspended for eight games; and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita (three games). AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

(2) New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma arrives at the National Football League’s headquarters, Monday, June 18, 2012 in New York. Vilma and three other players are appealing their suspensions for their role in the Saints bounty program. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan …

(3) Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin , D-Ill., left, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speak during a media availability after their meeting to discuss bounty programs, on Capitol Hill Wednesday, June 20, 2012 in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon .. …

(4) Green Bay Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove speaks to the media outside the National Football League headquarters, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in New York. The former New Orleans Saints player had been suspended for half of next season for his alleged involvement in a bounty program among Saints players that rewarded cash for big hits on opposing players. Hargrove maintains his innocence. AP Photo/John Minchillo ….

(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (L) chats with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the field before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kraft in a recent interview reiterated his wish to see an NFL franchise in the UK within the next decade . Getty Images / Ezra Shaw ….

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: A.J. Ellis (17) of the Los Angeles Dodgers catches the ball as Lucas Duda (21) of the New York Mets scores in the fifth inning during the MLB game at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers would go on to lose the game 9-0 . Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images …

(7) Chicago White Sox A.J. Pierzynski , right, receives congratulations from third base coach Joe McEwing as he rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees on Friday, June 29, 2012, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The White Sox defeated the Yankees 14-7 . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …..

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One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All …….. !

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All

Well it’s finally here as MLB’s showcase event for the 2011 season with the commencement of the World Series . The prospective seven game series will be televised nationally by Fox and their hope is that the games will be a major lure for the prospective audiences even they just happen to be a passing observer. The two rival teams are the AL pennant winner the Texas Rangers who will be the guests of the St Louis Cardinals who in defeating ( 4-2) the Milwaukee Brewers garnered their seventeenth NL pennant over the course of the franchise’s storied history .

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The Texas Rangers coming off their second consecutive ALCS pennant and return to the World Series hope that a return in light of their World Series disappointment of 2010 in losing to the San Francisco Giants will be one of redemption . With that loss the front office led by team president Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels looked to learn from the mistakes made and at the same time revamp the roster in order to make them more competitive this season . The Texas Rangers were the runaway winners of the AL West with there being little opposition in any coming their opponents within the division .

The opposition provided by their opponents during the ALDS and NLCS was futile for want of a better word . However, this match-up against the St Louis Cardinals could well prove to the test that the Rangers so desperately need . From my own standpoint I hope that this will one of the better postseason finales of recent years ! On the mound for the St Louis Cardinals will their starting ace Chris Carpenter who faces off against C J Wilson .

St Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa like his opposite number Ron Washington has been part of the postseason but unlike the Texas manager he has had the pleasure of winning a World Series title . In fact the Cardinals’ manager is one a select band of MLB managers to have won a world championship in both leagues. If anything the St Louis Cardinals may well be viewed as the underdogs in this series as the AL pennant winner seem to be the prohibitive favorites for the world championship. A win could very well play its part and perhaps be the determining factor as to whether or not the St Louis Cardinals will be able to retain their highly prized impending free agent Albert Pujols . GM John Mozeliak and principal managing partner William O DeWitt know that securing the player to a long term deal that isn’t exorbitant and beyond the means of the organization . There is no denying that both teams in MLB postseason are looking to make this series an exciting thrill packed event , as to whether or not it turns out that way remains to be seen.

As much I can understand the need for the NFL to expand the broad base and global of the sport of football , it is now becoming more ridiculous with the league hierarchy’s thinking that staging a regular season game now on annual basis is in the best interest of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team franchise owners heightens the game to even more astonishing peaks . This upcoming Sunday the Chicago Bears are guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the two teams meet at Wembley Stadium , in London , England .

With the NFL now having offices in Canada , South America , Europe , Far East Asia and an office in the United Kingdom , with the UK itself being one of the NFL’s most prominent consumer markets outside of North America. Herein lies the caveat , with the global economy now unstable it seems somewhat out of the norm to believe that the league still feels that they can continue down this path . Granted , the NFL is a multi billion dollar industry and though they recently returned to the workplace after their league imposed stoppage. The signs are that the league hierarchy and team owners feel that the North American consumer market has peaked , reached its maturation and saturation point.

This NFC matchup brings together two teams vying for divisional supremacy , albeit that the Chigaco Bears (3-3) are looking up at the Detroit Lions (5-1) and Green Bay Packers (6-0) who sit atop of the NFC North . Coach Lovie Smith’s team have to be of the opinion that if they are to contest the division , then a win against the Buccaners would place them in good standing . Jay Cutler , Brian Urlacher , Julius Peppers and Matt Forte as the season veterans on this team they ill be looking to show the form that had the Bears on the cusp of making their way to the Superbowl last season , only to be upended in the NFC championship game by the Green Bay Packers , the eventual winners of the Lombardi Trophy.

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff having rebounded from their 48-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers , in week 6 they rebounded in taking down the New Orleans in a highly competitive divisional game (26-20) during which the Buccaneers prevailed .

Josh Freeman of the Buccaneers is proving to be a real leader and one of the young up and coming quarterbacks within the NFL . He’s proving to be a hero in more ways than one and his last minute come from behind heroics are at times reminiscent in some ways of John Elway at his very best . The player’s stats in this one particular category already bears this out , much to the delight of his teammates and in particular to Raheem Morris and the coaching staff . In many ways this will be a game that will give even more credence as to whether or not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can improve on last season’s showing and mount a legitimate pedigree wherein one could view them as viable contenders for the this postseason and beyond .

GM Mark Dominik in conjunction with Raheem Morris , the scouting department and coaching staff have been prudent in their draft picks in recent years , making the team far more athletic and with the players being held accountable . Something that one couldn’t actually subscribe to when it came to Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden . And Raheem Morris’ predecessor was never one to be known as someone who’d actually developed talent over the course of NFL career . Now please don’t throw the name of Rich Gannon into the ring as some evidence of that as the player simply found himself in an environment where he could flourish with the Oakland Raiders at the time and it wasn’t as if he wasn’t already a known commodity to begin with ! But therein lies the myth concerning Gruden and his presumed prowess as a developer of NFL talent !

Both the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stout defenses but as of late that hasn’t necessarily been the case with both having seen their secondaries exposed . That being said both teams have to get that facet of their game back on track as well as being more efficient from an offensive standpoint .

The Buccaneers will be seeking to get their offense off and running when they take centerstage at Wembley Stadium against their NFC opponent . As to what the fans in London should expect , remains to be seen . But clearly the NFL league hierarchy believe that this annual staging of a regular season game abroad will further broaden the brand’s (NFL) appeal on a global basis . Get the feeling that no matter how much money the league will have in its coffers it well never be enough ?

Well now that the NBA finds itself in the midst of league hierarchy mandated lockout ____ the league itself along with the NBPA (union) sought to go through mediation via the FMCS a federal government agency . The mediator just happens to be George Cohen , who initially presided over the initial hearings of the NFL during their prolonged labor stoppage . Commissioner David Stern and union his counterpart Billy Hunter are still at an impasse . To furthermore emphasize the diverging stances being taken the union’s executive committee led by their president Derek Fisher have unequivocally stated that they are not prepared to acquiesce to any of the league’s demands without there first being concessions from the NBA, itself .

With the NBA preseason having been postponed and the regular season schedule set to start in November it is now becoming abundantly clear that the entire regular season schedule is now in jeopardy . The league has estimated that losses accumulated will be in excess of $35-$40 million per month . That does not include losses to local authorities and the business closely tied into the local communities once the season begins in the NBA . There are those who suggest that those figures are vastly overstated but when you consider that the league itself has lost in excess of $450 million cumulatively over the past two seasons it is easy to understand the concerns of the league hierarchy and the team owners . However, to my mind these very same owners and the league itself , in pleading poverty have overlooked one thing , and that is that they have continued to spend capriciously over the past five years while not looking to rein in their costs. At the same time the avarice of the union seems to know no boundaries with some outrageous demands on their part .

So contentious have been the deliberations that you have also had high profiled players such as Dywane Wade , LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in no large part questioning the character of the commissioner . It is now becoming increasingly clear that the league and union are not only on a collision course but in the aftermath of this wreckage there could very well be one , if not two franchises that could end up biting the dust should this lockout be a prolonged over several months , if not longer .

The mayor of Sacramento , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA professional is seeking to retain the Sacramento Kings within his city . But with a burgeoning municipal deficit , as well his having to reduce the city’s workforce it seems something of a futile exercise on Johnson’s path to try and keep the franchise within the city , while supposedly seeking assistance from businesses within the local community. Those very same businesses are feeling an economic crunch just like the rest of the country and it the population en mass . And the thought of the mayor seeking to use public funds in conjunction with private financing smacks of incompetence , given the issues he faces already within his city !

Owners such as Dan Gilbert , Mikhail Prokhorov , James Dolan and Jerry Buss for now may well be showing their support for the commissioner but I can’t help but wonder what happens when the league itself , now sees the stoppage entering into its second , fifth or six month !

The Sacramento Kings as a franchise has been hemorrhaging red ink incessantly over the past three years , with there being no real signs of abatement. The team is owned by the Maloof family with Joe and Gavin Maloof primarily overseeing the franchise’s business in conjunction with general manager and team president Geoff Petrie . And with the Kings’ ownership group merely playing a waiting game for the present with the city of Sacramento , while seeking out the opportunity to relocate the club . I for one , now feel that not unlike the acrimonious split that took place between the city of Seattle and the Seattle Supersonics we could very well see history simply repeat itself. I mean , David Stern was duplicitous in that instance with his backing of Clay Bennett and his partners leaving the city with the franchise to relocate in the city of Oklahoma , forming the Oklahoma City Thunder . The city of Seattle may well have felt that they got the better end of the deal with a $25 million payoff but they now have a white elephant on their hands with the venue which housed the Sonics at present now vacant .

The NBA lockout now has surpassed 100 days in its length but with no real sign of an accord in sight . However the cities of Memphis and Oklahoma are said to seeking a legal recourse against the league in light of potential financial losses they may well suffer if this stoppage goes on much longer . Oklahoma is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder where they’re housed in a multi million dollar facility owned ( Chesapeake Energy Center ) by the municipality . The Memphis Grizzlies are housed in the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee .

If either municipality should proceed ahead with any legal action action against the NBA , then in all likelihood they may well seek outside legal counsel in any prospective proceeding . My only personal thought on this matter would be for the two municipalities to proceed with that the proposed legal action jointly in US Federal Court in the state of Delaware ,. Given the fact that amongst the thirty NBA teams they are several multi billionaires amongst the throng of franchise owners within the NBA with now a number of them pleading poverty with regard to their respective franchises . Adam Silver the deputy commissioner of the league , one the mainstays of the NBA’s committee working on behalf of the hierarchy along with David Stern and Peter Holt , the owner of the San Antonio Spurs. representing the sport’s governing body in these deliberations . I have always maintained that no matter what the sport happens to be at the professional level municipal and state governmental agencies should not be held hostage by leagues such as the MLB , NBA , NFL , NHL , NASCAR or for that matter MLS (soccer) in assisting those governing bodies building state of the art facilities when rarely do they get anything tangible back in return . Does anyone truly believe that the city of New York is in a healthy financial state given that its mayor Michael Bloomberg fast-tracked the deals that benefited both the New York Mets and New York Yankees in aiding them to build their respective stadiums ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium ) ? Built at a joint cost of $2.355 billion with much of the funding coming by way a bond issue , multi faceted loans from a number major financial institutions and certain increases service fees levied upon residents and business within the locale .

For the Steinbrenner and Wilpon family as the proprietary owners Yankees , Mets and New York City government — _____ to say that they have screwed over the residents within the Bronx and Flushing would be an understatement to say the very least ! But at the same much of this can be easily laid to rest squarely upon the shoulders of US Congress and Senate , with regard to the statute (antitrust exemption & special tax privileges) that gives the governing sports’ bodies such latitude as a sport’s franchise .

With the Tampa Bay Rays’ demise in the postseason falling to the Texas Rangers it looks as if the apparent fallout that a number of Rays’ fans would fear to see could come into being . The team’s general manager Andrew Friedman has met publicly and privately with Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno . The Angels are without a general manager after the abrupt resignation of Tony Reagins at the culmination of the regular season after the team’s subpar year .

Andrew Friedman’s contract has expired and it doesn’t appear as yet that an agreement on a renewal had been reached between the Rays’ general manager and the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg . If the senior managing partner knows what is good for not only himself and baseball club then it would be to sign the organization’s architect of the most heralded successes of the past five years . Not only was Friedman behind the hiring of Joe Maddon as the successor to Lou Piniella but also for some the Tampa Bay Rays’ astounding successes in their draft choices since he assumed the team’s lead front office executive in charge of personnel matters.

Amongst the ranks of the general managers within the game Andrew Friedman would have to rank up there alongside the likes of Brian Cashman , Theo Epstein , Jon Daniels , Kenny Williams , John Mozeliak , Frank Wren and Dave Dombrowski as being amongst the best of the best of the GM’s in MLB .

With the growing uncertainty as to the impending future of the ballclub this could very well be one of the first few nails in the coffin leading to the upheaval of the Tampa Bay Rays if they cannot continue the momentum attained under Andrew Friedman , should the premise arise of with him leaving the this organization. The fans may well applaud the plays of Evan Longoria , Desmond Jennings , David Price and James Shields but were it not for Friedman I seriously doubt that the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field would have seen this team come to fruition , much less there being a ball-club to support . If the Rays’ most loyal and fervent supporters want this organization to remain viable then they ought to make their voices heard , and let Stuart Sternberg know he would be ill advised to allow his young general manager to leave .

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In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts do you have ? And are you of the opinion that sports’ franchise owners should not hold state and local city municipalities hostage when it concerns arena and stadium issues ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and once again thanks always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Rafael Furcal(15) and Matt Holliday (7) of the St. Louis Cardinals go after the hit by Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers would go on to defeat the Cardinals 2-1 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers celebrates in the dugout after hitting an RBI sacrifice fly ball to take a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers won 2-1. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(3) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith answers a question during a news conference at the Oval cricket ground, London, Friday Oct. 21, 2011. The Bears will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday. AP Photo / Tom Hevezi …..

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Kellen Winslow, left, shares a joke with coach Raheem Morris during a team training session, Bagshot, west of London, Thursday Oct. 20, 2011. The Buccaneers will face Chicago Bears at London’s Wembley stadium on Sunday. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi …..

(5) Peter Holt, the owner of San Antonio Spurs, speaks to members of the media after NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on October 20, 2011 in New York City. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that talks have broken down and no further meetings are scheduled. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …..

(6) Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman greets a fan at the front of the St Petersburg government center in downtonwn St Petersburg. Rumors are rife that the general manager could well leave the organization and accept the formal offer from the Los Angeles Angels’ team owner Arte Moreno to succeed Tony Reagins . St Petersburg Times / Ray Massey ….
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NB: This article was written on 20th October 2011 and published on the 10/21/2011 after game two had ended .

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The Impossible Seems Probable But So Far The NFL Remains Mum On The Issue Whereas The NFL UK Is Chiming Almost As Loud As Big Ben ………….

Earlier this month I’d written a piece with regard to the NFL and their desire to have a franchise in the country’s second most populace city, Los Angeles ,California . The subject seems to arise every few years and it continues to take on a life of its own. At the same the NFL itself hasn’t been at a loss to express its interest in seeing a franchise return to the city. They continue to have support from all the usual places. From the Governor’s office on down to the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa . That being said, the financial burden that’d be placed upon a franchise were it to be a completely new entity may well be a mighty one. As continually the franchise fee entrance into the NFL rises to absurd amounts. The thought however , is the relocation of an existing franchise from another part of the country to the West Coast.

Wembley  Stadium  is  prepared   for   Sunday's    NFL  game  between  the  New  England Patriots  and  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers.  This  will  be  the   third   consecutive   year  that  a  regular  season   scheduled  game   has  been  held  at  the  venue   in  London.    picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Sang  Tan   ...............
Wembley Stadium is prepared for Sunday's NFL game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers . This will be the third consecutive year that a regular season scheduled game has been held at the venue in London. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Sang Tan ...............

Within the city itself there is a movement by local businessman and wealthy entrepreneur Ed Roski ,Jr to build an all purpose facility, in the hope of luring an existing franchise to the area. Roski and his partners have been canvassing a number of teams around the NFL , including the San Diego Chargers , in particular. And though nothing has yet to be finalized . It is thought unlikely that the NFL would allow such a move to happen. Albeit , that it would appear to be the one that would make the most sense to begin with. However, the Chargers , as the residents of Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego,- would be unable to move immediately without breaking its lease agreement with the city of San Diego , who are the owners of the stadium.

NFL UK Managing Director, Alistair Kirkwood seen here in 2007 opines on the the NFL game that took place between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants .

In contrast the NFL will this weekend have a regularly scheduled game played in London, England at Wembley Stadium. The two participants will be the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And though this isn’t the first time that the league has undertaken such an endeavor. Each time it happens , the more the rumors tend to arise that the NFL is in fact looking to broaden its appeal abroad. Though the league’s ambitions has never been openly discussed as to an international NFL franchise outside North America. There continues to be rumors being placed out there, with each passing maneuver of an NFL regular season game being proposed to be played abroad. And this time around it appears to be no different than before.

Courtesy of Sky Sports;

London dream for NFL

NFL team could be placed in London if popularity grows

By Paul Higham


NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood told skysports.com a franchise could be based in London within the next six years, if the games at Wembley continue to flourish.

A third game at Wembley takes place on Sunday, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the New England Patriots, and with another 85,000 sell-out on the cards the games continue to grow.

The first game in 2007 did come in for criticism because the newly-laid Wembley pitch was dug up as rain lashed the capital, but as the Giants won and then went on to claim the Super Bowl, any negativity has largely been forgotten.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has spoken of the possibility of playing another regular season game at Wembley, and Kirkwood believes that will be the first step on the road to an NFL team being based in London.

“Whether its 2010 or 2011 I’m not sure but playing two games is definitely a possibility,” Kirkwood told skysports.com. “The key thing is we need to get two teams to give up a home game. And that’s what we’ll be working on after this game.

“We’re a long, long way away from having a fanbase that would support a London team. But we’re getting a track record here. Once it moves to two games and we make a success of that then it becomes closer. If you can then get four games a year then that’s half an NFL season. ” Quote from Alastair Kirkwood Managing Director of NFL UK.

Process

“It’s quite an involved process. The league office talks to the owners of the potential home teams and we get testimonials from teams who have played here – we were lucky the Giants made the Super Bowl after 2007.”

And on the possibility of a franchise in London, Kirkwood added:

“If the stars are aligned and everything was working really well, then I think maybe something like 2015, but for that to happen we’d have to continue to do a really good job every year.

“We’re a long, long way away from having a fanbase that would support a London team. But we’re getting a track record here. Once it moves to two games and we make a success of that then it becomes closer. If you can then get four games a year then that’s half an NFL season.

“The last couple of years have been about proving that the games could work and would be popular. This year we are concentrating on growing the fan base and the popularity of the sport. Once you’ve played enough games then those theoretical discussion about franchises become more realistic.”

Praise

Wembley has received glowing praise and players such as the great Tom Brady are thrilled to be playing in London this year, and having the most successful team of the past decade playing in the Patriots just emphasises how the game is growing.

“We’ll have 85,000 in which is our capacity for this year, I was at the stadium earlier today and things are looking really good,” Kirkwood added.

“We have some input in discussions about what away teams would be best for the game, and we’re delighted this year to be welcoming the most successful team of the last decade and players of the calibre of Tom Brady.”

Kirkwood is confident the sport will grow in the UK, and with commissioner Goodell right behind them that dream of a London franchise may not be too far from a reality.

“He’s very supportive of everything we’ve done,” Kirkwood said of Goodell.

“For the last ten years he’s been very focused on building up the UK side of things. We’re relying on him to keep providing us with opportunities to keep staging games and keep extending the fan base.”

On the face of it, – it seems preposterous that the NFL would consider a franchise outside North America. And logistically this would create a nightmare for any team having to prepare to travel from either coast to the UK , in order to prepare for a regular season game. Were it scheduled on a Sunday or part of Monday night football. But herein, lies the rub , the NFL continues to march to beat of its own drum. And they are unlikely to listen to any criticism from anyone , even from within their own midst, much less from the NFL fans in general . NFL UK Managing Director , Alistair Kirkwood, has openly expressed his desire to see an NFL franchise in London, within the next 5 or 6 years. Be that as it may, it does place the NFL in somewhat of a compromising position to an extent. Should they seek out a partner to make this all a reality before embracing the return of a franchise in Los Angeles ? Or is it incumbent upon them(NFL) to seek out new partners in pastures farther afield , if there’s said to be an interest there to begin with ?

NFL   Commissioner   Roger   Goodell   seen  here  addressing   members  of  the  media  .        picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Noah  Rogers   ...........................
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seen here addressing members of the media . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Noah Rogers ...........................

The popularity of the game is on the rise and Sunday’s game between the Buccaneers and Patriots is already a sellout. But even with that sort of predisposition it doesn’t necessarily mean the fans will remain completely loyal to the game. Especially when soccer is still the dominant sport in the United Kingdom and right across Europe. And one can only speculate as to whether or not the fans’ loyalties will be equally divided between the two sports. Of this we’re certain, this will be a bold maneuver on the NFL’s part . And there is the belief that a number of fans stateside will not look upon this at all favorably.

Commissioner , Roger Goodell hasn’t openly discussed the matter with the media at large. But one thing is for sure, he’s not about to look a gift horse in the mouth if it means making money for the NFL and its owners. The chance that a willing participant would be willing to dole out in excess of $700 million just to become a franchise member of the NFL shouldn’t at all be scoffed at . And then bear in mind the additional revenue stream that it creates for the NFL as a whole. What’s not to like about it all , at the end of the day ? OK, so there may well be one or two fans here in the US that’ll be uncomfortable with it all. But at the same time those doing the complaining at times are the same ones who can’t see beyond the end of their nose to begin with. The only disadvantage to this all , may well be the fact that having to go to an away game , really will mean having to go away. A really long way as a matter of fact, right across the Atlantic Ocean. But that’s predicated upon those who can afford to travel to see a game in London to the begin with.

MIA’s ‘Paper Planes’ may well best describe what the NFL is said to be all about . Don’t you think ?

Can We All Agree That The NFL Is Here To Stay ? ….. Click here to read this piece in its entirety.