I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

Well, the big story in the NFL at present is the league hierarchy’s apparent punishment of the New England Patriots and their Superbowl MVP winning quarterback Tom Brady . The player and the franchise were punished for their apparent actions during the AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts . As serious as the claims are said to be, with the league fining the Patriots $1 million , Brady being suspended for four games and having forfeit two future draft picks in the NFL Drafts of 2016 (first round) and 2017 (fourth round) . I am not so sure what this fine will or actually make a dent in the tens of millions of dollars in of revenues reaped annually by the New England Patriots ! If the findings in the Ted Wells’ report are anything to go by , then I believe the punishment should indeed fit the crime . Unfortunately, the scales of Justice within the NFL when meted out under the auspices of Roger Goodell , it often tends to be that of a parent merely scolding a child,by merely spanking them across their backside and then telling them not to do it again.

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Wells’ report finds that members of the Patriots’ staff were uncooperative and evasive during their investigation and in many instances are said to have refused any of the questions being asked of them by the league’s investigators. To my mind , the NFL now seeking to be arbiters of some form of justice, is somewhat like the investigations conducted by the Roman Catholic Church and the sexual abuse that rocked the church over the past ten years. Simply passing the buck, or obfuscating their own responsibility has become something of a widespread pattern of behavior and stupidity by the NFL.

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GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the podium following Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24 . Kraft was a main supporter of Roger Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner . Roger Goodell has yet to issue a public statement on the findings from the Wells’ Report , leading many to believe he is seeking to distance himself , as a way of seeking to be impartial. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Don’t look now, but some fans still believe this league can overcome this type of bad publicity, while remaining popular. During this past season, the league has found even more ways of shooting itself in the foot , without the apparent aid of anyone else helping them along the way. Goodell , as NFL Commissioner , has even admitted he made mistakes. Well Roger they’re piling up and I seriously doubt we will be seeing the last of your now comic and epic mistakes ! If there were to be an Oscar awarded for the portrayal of stupidity , then the commissioner would have the inside track and be the leading contender for the award.

Tom Brady is likely to challenge his suspension (four-games) with the backing of the NFLPA (union) and the likelihood , he will mount a defense , stating the league’s investigation was not only biased , but lacked credibility . Team owner

From my own standpoint , I find this whole spectacle to be one big charade , with the league simply looking to save face among its fans while seen to be doing the right thing . The media for their part seem intent with the fanning of flames and also showing their ongoing stupidity. Yet, what else would be expect from the cabal of buffoons , who cover the sport in print , on the radio and on television ? There remains a great deal more to this ongoing spectacle as it is likely to played out in the coming weeks , if not months.

For the Indianapolis Colts, in the aftermath of their lopsided loss , there has been nothing of note coming from within the organization by way of public statement . GM Ryan Grigson and team owner Jim Irsay have remained silent . Something of a shock from the Colts’ owner , given his penchant for making rather asinine statements . But I believe Irsay’s silence has more to do with the fact he was one of the more prominent owners who supported the hiring of Roger Goodell to succeed Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. Best not to show opposition to the beleaguered executive and simply have others outside the game voice their indifference as the league stands behind their man , even as his repeated pratfalls continue to make a mockery of the NFL .

Mandatory rookie camps are not yet officially in session , but already the unthinkable has happened with Jacksonville Jaguars’ draftee and line backer Dante’ Fowler , with the player being lost to the team for entire preseason and regular season . Given the plight of the Jaguars last year, Fowler’s loss will be seen as a disaster. For head coach Gus Bradley and his coaching staff this now provides them with the opportunity to assess their options within the team’s secondary. LaRoy Reynolds will now have to prove himself worthy partner to seasoned veteran, Geno Hayes as the Jaguars seek to bolster a defense which stumbled throughout much of last season.

Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles, this will be the season where will either see the progress in the player’s ability or has often been the case with so many second-year starting passers their regression . Bortles is expected to lead this Jacksonville team with the expectation of their being able to compete in what is likely to be a fairly competitive AFC South division.

Gus Bradley and his players will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 14th August , 2015 . This will be the first of Jaguars’ quartet of contests making up their exhibition season. With the regular season getting underway on 10th August when the Jaguars will have as their guests the NFC South based Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton . This game should tell us a great deal about both teams , especially with regard to the Panthers , their ascent , while there just happens to be the flagging fortunes of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan is proving that his contract and game are more a of a hindrance , with his being unable to lead the Falcons to any type of meaningful win during the postseason. ” Father Time ” has begun to catch up with Drew Brees and his teammates , while Sean Payton looks like a desperatel man searching for answers.

I will say this for Trent Baalke and Jed Yorke , they are certainly putting on a brave face after the departure of Jim Harbaugh to the Michigan Wolverines . Mutual consent or not , the one thing we now realize was the very fact the San Francisco 49ers’ front office had lost all respect for their once revered head coach . A disastrous sojourn around the league in 2014, and the . inconsistency of not only Colin Kaepernick as well as the team , without delving into the off-field antics of several of the players. It led many to believe Harbaugh had lost sight of discipline and respect among the roster. A fractured relationship between the Niners’ head coach and the franchise’s lead front office executives was certainly the “ writing on the wall” and for the imminent departure of Jim Harbaugh . His successor, Jim Tomsula has a tough act to follow ,given his predecessor’s success with the Niners.

A rookie head coach , an organization in transition , upheavals and in recent years their biggest divisional rival has now ascended to become one of the biggest teams in not only the NFC but the entire league . So much of the 49ers’ perceived dominance in recent years with the quick rise of the Seattle Seahawks . Their divisional contests this season should prove to be thoroughly entertaining as Jim Tomsula seeks to match wits with his counterpart Pete Carroll. It will be interesting to see if Colin Kaepernick can rebound after a disastrous season in 2014. If not, then the Forty Niners will be in for a dire time this upcoming season among their rivals and the league enlarge.

San Francisco will kick-off their schedule with a Monday Night contest against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi Strauss Stadium in San Francisco , California , on 14th September , 2015.

If ever there was a franchise in the NFL whose constant scrutiny causes endless debates , then other than the Dallas Cowboys , the organization in question would have to be the Washington Redskins. With due deference to the Oakland Raiders and their lackluster performances over the last ten years. The Redskins have been embroiled in the sort of incompetence not often seen in the league , even with the bankroll of team owner Dan Snyder.

Political correctness asides , issues with the franchise’s logo and name , the question remains when will the Redskins have some semblance of success? . Robert Griffin III leading the team to a divisional title and a postseason appearance in 2012 , only to be followed up by two years of abysmal inconsistency and failure , speaks volumes as to how overrated this franchise remains. Jay Gruden is still trying to find his footing and also having to deal with the egos of Griffin and his immediate backup Kirk Cousins . If that wasn’t enough, throw in the fact Dan Snyder’s ego is as large as FedEx Field itself. In some respects. the Redskins’ owner models himself after Jerry Jones , but without having the responsibilities of being the general manage . A task currently undertaken by Scot McGloughan , whose first draft class with the Redskins is considered to be a success and perhaps the franchise’s best in the past six years.

The main issue facing Washington for the upcoming season, will be how to get the best out of Robert Griffin and an offense which sputtered , while also seeing a great deal of improvement from the team’s secondary, which seemed to give up point and yards at the drop of a hat throughout much of last season. Their regular season will prove to be a tough one , with all four teams within the NFC East looking to gain a competitive edge over a rival. Dallas , the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants will be looking to make point as to their ambitions for the season.

For Washington , if they and Robert Griffin are to have any semblance of success, then their first four games to start the season will have to be a resounding success with at least a minimum of three wins if they are to have any sort of momentum. Their first regular season contest will be against the Miami Dolphins at FedEx Field , Landover , Maryland, on 13th September , 2015. Match-ups between these two teams have proven to be entertaining and it would be the very first time that Robert Griffin has faced the Miami Dolphins in a regular season game . Likewise also , for his opposing number Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins as he looks to prove himself to be one of the better young quarterbacks in the AFC.

It is not difficult to explain the reasons why San Diego Chargers have failed to make a deep postseason run during the NFL Postseason . The franchise has been ill-served by the numerous bad decisions made by a succession of head coaches down the years . From Mike Riley to Marty Schottenheimer , to Norv Turner and down to Mike McCoy, this franchise has simply stumbled from one season to the next. San Diego’s last postseason appearance came in 2013 , ending with a divisional round loss to the Denver Broncos with a 24-17 defeat. For Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers this was another heartbreak in an otherwise stellar playing career in the NFL and with the organization. It is hard to say how history will judge the ten-year veteran who stands second all-time in franchise’s career passing yardage , but who leads Hall of Fame legend Dan Fouts in career wins for the franchise.

With Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco contemplating the trading of Philip Rivers prior to the NFL Draft and with apparently no takers for the veteran . The team will start off their season with Rivers at the helm for the offense, as they begin their preseason exhibition games. Alternatives at the quarterback position for the Chargers are not encouraging, should Rivers come down with an injury. Prospective free agents at the position are there, but I am not so sure they would fit the system Mike McCoy has in place concerning the Chargers’ passing offense. San Diego will have Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions as their guests at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California on the 13th September ,2015. Relocation or not the Spanos family may well see this as the last season where Phillip Rivers will be in a position to lead the Chargers to a Superbowl appearance.

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Based on the suggested evidence in the Ted Wells’ report do you believe the punishment mandated by the NFL hierarchy is appropriate or is not severe enough given the extent of the charges leveled against the New England Patriots ? Also, with the NFL Draft having taken place which teams benefited the most from the exercise and which teams failed to meet your expectations ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site and the associated content !

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Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Repeated pratfalls by the NFL and it would seem some fans believe a less than forthright apology by Roger Goodell now rectified the idiotic decisions the commissioner made in light of the league’s handling of the Ray Rice “affair”. Escalating acts of misconduct by the NFL’s players over the years and it would seem that neither league hierarchy , the commissioner or many of the NFL’s apathetic and lame ass fans have learned a damn thing about the league, much less the fact the commissioner is so damn clueless. Theirs seems to be the belief as long as the NFL trudges along providing the fans with a banal on the field product , with a group of pompous and asinine on air prognosticators, the league can survive in its present guise.

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The players and their union (NFLPA) continue to hide behind privacy rights and the issue of due process , but at a time where the league has seen a rise in misconduct , the Players’ Union has done little to discuss the issue, much less player representatives or union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have done little to rein in the misbehavior of their players or sought to discuss the issue publicly.

With news coming to light, where certain executives within the Baltimore Ravens organization might well have been privee’ to the taped incident of Ray Rice assaulting Jenay Parker , it begs the question, if the franchise was indeed in receipt of this information , then why was it not passed on to the league head office ? The NFL and the Ravens have been complicit in another unsavory cover-up and an episode which further suggest the ongoing incompetency of the league during Roger Goodell’s disastrous tenure. If to make matters worse, the commissioner is now of the belief in bringing in former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and Louis Freeh , it adds credibility in his seeking to rectify the problems he has long ignored concerning player misconduct. Nothing could be further from the truth , as we have seen in the lackadaisical way , with which the commissioner has failed to show consistency in how he metes out punishment to players guilty of misconduct.

Freeh and Mueller are essentially bureaucrats being brought in as the commissioner suggests in assisting the league to formulate a code of conduct and policy to be followed by all of the NFL’s thirty-two teams . If such a provision was never properly enacted or there was never a firm policy in place , then Roger Goodell is being a mere fool , if he now believes such a policy will be willingly accepted by the union and the players , when there has been a continued mistrust between the two parties all along.

Week three in the NFL offered the fans very little respite with the usual amount of anomalies one would now come to expect , with several teams giving the type of performances they and their fans would rather forget. This was highlighted by the inept display of the league’s worst team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , who were on the wrong side of a lopsided loss , in their 56-14 defeat suffered at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Lovie Smith , his coaching staff are now coaching a roster with the worst record in the NFL , with the Buccaneers now 0-3 , having posted this record for the third time in the last six seasons in a start to a regular sixteen game NFL schedule. Where Tampa now goes from here is anyone’s question, with the team showing little signs of life , in terms of competitiveness or any real leadership from the players. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which will be a Sunday afternoon game for the two teams in question, part of the week four schedule for the NFL.

A 2-0 start to the season may well have had everyone believing the Buffalo Bills were off to very good start , but they were quickly brought back down to earth as they fell 22-10 to the San Diego Chargers at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York. For the Bills’ new owner , billionaire developer Terry Pegula , this was definitely not the way he wanted to start off his reign as the franchise’s and the NFL’s newest owner. The defeat , brings the Bills back to the pack as they share the lead in the AFC East with the New England Patriots , whose hard-fought victory over the Oakland Raiders was one of the less memorable games in the NFL over this past weekend . New England will look to follow-up with a second consecutive victory , when they face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City, Missouri in week four.

It is still early days yet in the NFL season, but I believe not until after week five can we really have a real insight how good the teams are , and the likely direction they will be heading. Granted, one or two teams are already showing signs they are likely to be uncompetitive as witnessed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Yet, there is every reason to believe the likes of the Buccaneers , Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders will likely struggle over the remainder of the season given their lack of competitive play at this point of their respective schedules.

Kirk Cousins is now providing something of a lovely headache for Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins’ coaching staff. The Redskins’ backup quarterback is proving to be a more than adept substitute for the usual starter Robert Griffin III , whose first two years in the NFL have proven to be somewhat erratic. Griffin however, is seen as the face and future of the franchise without delving into the financial investment made in the player, who was taken as the number two overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , where he was drafted behind Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.

While Washington is rooted at the bottom of the always overrated NFC East , it has to be said other than the Philadelphia Eagles , who have found a way to distance themselves from the rest of the pack within the division, the other three inhabitants are pretty much the best of a rotten bunch of apples.

Jay Gruden will take the Washington Redskins will be at home in week four where they will meet up against divisional rivals the New York Giants who will be led by Eli Manning , as the Giants’ quarterback will be looking to resurrect what was a very disappointing season in 2013 for the player. If the New York Giants fail to gain a postseason berth this season , then there are likely to questions raised, concerning the long-term future of Tom Coughlin , his coaching staff and the ten-year veteran quarterback of the NFL.

With a week to go before the end of the MLB season , several of the divisional races have all been sewn up. The Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East over a very disappointing Atlanta Braves team which did not provide much of the competitive race or competition for the Nationals over the course of the season. Now there seem to be rumors surfacing that GM Frank Wren will be shown the door by Braves’ organization. My own beliefs are , he front office should also be assessing the failings of Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff , as well as certain members of the team who failed miserably . At the end of the season, a decision is likely to be made concerning Frank Wren , but it is not likely to be the only changes made concerning the internal makeup of the front office , managerial staff and playing roster going into next season .

Elsewhere, there has to be a great deal of adulation within the state of California , with the knowledge both baseball clubs in the greater Los Angeles area have made the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers swept through to an easy defense of their NL West title and now look to make up for last season’s failings in the MLB postseason. The Dodgers’ AL counterparts the Los Angeles Angels made light work within the AL West dethroning the two-time defending divisional titlists the Oakland Athletics , bringing the Angels their first divisional title in five years , their last coming in 2009.

With there now being talk of a possible all Californian World Series’ finale, with the Los Angeles Angels facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers . I would dare say this would be the sort of showcase finale baseball requires and needs, in light of the failure of the New York Yankees not being part of baseball’s postseason fare. Derek Jeter bows out of baseball after two decades of a career, which can be best summed as being exemplary. By contrast, it has to be said the AL East new divisional champions the Baltimore Orioles come into the postseason , with several notable achievements for the team , but a major blemish to their image, with Chris Davis having been suspended for failing the league’s steroid policy , all of this , from a player who swore blindly he had never once used a banned substance. Personally, if Davis can afford to be tutored by Brady Anderson , whose career was always suspect, given one standout year in an otherwise under-achieving career. There isn’t much else that really needs to be said concerning the accomplishments of both players and the apathy of the Orioles’ fans who believe Chris Davis and Brady Anderson, can be considered genuinely great players for the franchise .

Buck Showalter will take the Baltimore Orioles on the road where they will be the guests of the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium in New York City, New York , on Monday evening. On the mound for the visiting team will be Bruce Chen as he faces off against Michael Pineda of the Yankees.

In the space of fifteen days the Kansas City Royals have gone from a sure thing, to a team intent on self-imploding as the final month of their season seems to be falling apart at the seams. The Royals are now 1 1/2 games behind of the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central , with only eight games left to salvage their year or otherwise , become part of the wildcard foray, where they are likely to face the Oakland Athletics in the wildcard round of the MLB postseason, In what is simply a one and done contest , such a game between the two teams is not likely to favor the Royals , who would have to face the A’s at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California , with the winners going on to the divisional round (ALDS) of baseball’s postseason fare. Kansas City may well be leading their season series in 2014 , having won five of their seven meetings , but it would take a real betting man to believe Bob Melvin and his staff will allow his players to let the Kansas City Royals run over them , given the A’s recent postseason experiences, for which the last visit for the visiting team their last such foray came two decades ago. Kansas City has been in meltdown mode and their last ten games (4-6) have been ample evidence of that very fact.

The Kansas City Royals will take on the Cleveland Indians as they look to make inroads into the lead of the Detroit Tigers . Brad Ausmus and the Tigers will be remain at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan where their guests will be the lowly Chicago White Sox . That particular match-up should prove to be a lopsided contest if their season series is anything to go by , with the game favoring the home team.

The Boston Red Sox as the reigning World Series’ champions were expected to contend this season not only within the AL East, but also in the American League (AL). Unfortunately. for John Farrell and his managerial staff this was to be a season of more lows than highs , with the team showing no signs of competitiveness or leadership from anyone on the roster. A far cry from last season, when the team swept through the postseason with the utmost of ease and they were barely challenged within the division of having out-gunnned their divisional rivals.

David Ortiz may well have been the World Series’ MVP last season and while his stats for this year have been far from impressive , but the real issue has been , why the falloff from a ball-club which was so competitive and decisive in 2013? One could possibly point to the issue of GM Ben Cherington choosing to assemble a roster which failed to live up to expectations . with several players nowhere near as good as was first thought. How and why AJ Pierzinski was ever thought to be a player with the ability to lead , much less provide the type of productivity sought has to be as bewildering as the acquisition itself by the ball-club. Boston has not only fallen out of contention, but will finish with its worst divisional placing in several years. With no game scheduled for Monday 22nd September, the Red Sox will resume their schedule on Tuesday 23rd September when they play host to the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts , in a contest between two AL East teams heading in the wrong direction . direction.

If the NFL is said to be rife with incompetence and utter stupidity, then NBA cannot be all that far behind ! It took the utter audacity and bigotry of Donald Sterling to in some ways show what is now going on behind the closed doors of this old boys’ fraternity made of up buffoons among the league’s hierarchy and owners , without delving further into the stewardship of former NBA Commissioner David Stern or his neophyte successor Adam Silver . Having to deal with the damage to its image, caused by the racial insensitivity of the tirade of Donald Sterling , which in some circles was simply being treated rather apathetically by fans ,as merely an owner having the right to freely express himself .

The NBA has since had to deal with the rather nonsensical uttering of two Atlanta Hawks’ executives further reiterating how bigoted and racially intolerant this league just happens to be. And for the idiots trying to suggest because of the makeup of the NBA is largely ethnic based, with a preponderance of the players being minority in their background. It simply cannot hide the fact, Bruce Levenson and Danny Ferry were showing a now obvious side to the league , which both Stern and his successor have failed to address over the years. If both Levenson and Ferry can be allowed to get away with such behavior and then one adds the depraved rants of Rich DeVos into the mix , while trying to negate DeVos’ idiocy with the fact, he might well have donated thousands of dollars to the transgendered and gay causes, it simply cannot detract from the statements made by the Orlando Magic owner concerning a specific demographic within society. This is not a not fictional drama being played out , but real life events , and in many ways , fools are now seeking to excuse such behavior as being acceptable within society , without ever mentioning the words , “ common decency and the respect of others “ .

You have to hand it to Glenn Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves who continues to bitch and whine about having to trade All Star power forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Things would not have become so farcical for the Timberwolves had either Taylor or Flip Saunders sought to build a roster competitive enough which would have persuaded Love to remain with the franchise . Instead , both executives have continued to take parting shots at the now departed star. As if to further exacerbate the situation, the front office now has to deal with a disgruntled Ricky Rubio,perhaps the only valuable asset left on the roster. The Spaniard has let it be known he is not entirely happy with the direction the franchise is now heading in , with even head coach Flip Saunders seemingly unsure about what his best lineup is likely to be during the exhibition season as well as starting the Timberwolves’ regular season schedule which sees the team with an opening against the Memphis Grizzlies. Saunders as the de-facto GM and head coach will have to make a decision before the start of the season or seek persuade Ricky Rubio to remain with the team , while he seeks to bolster the roster. Easier said than done , as I believe Rubio no longer has any desire to be with the Timberwolves . It certainly will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the start of the season, as the Minnesota Timberwolves seek to placate another disgruntled star.

Rex Chapman come down and take a bow. Having earned over $22 million over the course of your professional career in the NBA , you took it upon yourself in retirement to prove you were nowhere as intelligent as many believed you be . As a former Kentucky Wildcat may well have achieved some semblance of collegiate success , but in the aftermath of that career and the nondescript years in the NBA , you have now brought some unwanted attention upon yourself , being accused and then being charged with nine counts of theft of $14,000 worth of items from an Apple Store and then seeking to pawn those very same items in a pawn shop in Scottsdale , Arizona. Pardon me for saying this , but , how much of an asshole is Rex Chapman and are certain collegiate alumni from Kentucky that frigging dumb ?

While Rex Chapman is no longer a part of the NBA fraternity, the ex-player’s behavior is somewhat typical of the ongoing idiocy one continues to see within the league and player misbehavior. If left to the general managers , owners and league hierarchy to deal with such issues , more often than not the NBA tends to treat the players with kid gloves” . As to those who prescribe to the fact the Justice System has a way with dealing the misdeeds . State Attorney Generals at the state level and then at the county level , tend to seek a plea deal from the offenders who are then offered rather lenient sentences in such instances or if a case should go trial, you tend to have a jury not often aware of the law, even when under the advice being given to them by a presiding judge. Justice for all ? No , justice tends to be given to those who can afford the privilege of being treated with leniency, while the victims have no real rights of recourse.

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Picture gallery.

In light of baseball’s season now almost reaching its culmination, what do you believe have been some of the major highlights of the season ? Secondly, the NFL season is becoming more known for the off-the field issues , rather than for the play on the field . Do you believe the league has been able to deal with these issues appropriately ? Finally , how do you see the NBA season panning out and do you believe Ricky Rubio will be a player for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the start of the season or will he be traded ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topics raised in this article.

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) From left to right , Baltimore Ravens’ executives, team President Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome and team owner Steve Bisciotti . Bisciotti has been critical of the claims being made by ESPN that the franchise had been receipt of the taped evidence showing Ray Rice assaulting his then fiancée Jenay Parker . The Ravens’ owner refutes the allegations but does state he wished he had approached the league earlier to decide whether not the franchise could take action against the player directly, rather than leaving the matter in the hands of the league hierarchy to deal with. AP Photo / Richard Walker …

(2) Tight end Levine Toilolo (80) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America/ Kevin C Cox …

(3) Running back Antone Smith(35) of the Atlanta Falcons gets tangled with corner-back Johnathan Banks (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a fumble during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …

(4) Buffalo Bills’ quarterback EJ Manuel looks to make a play in the game against the San Diego Chargers this past Sunday. San Diego would end up being the victors the in this contest defeating the Bills 22-10 . AP Photo / Paul McGee …. ….

(5) Oakland Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley (58) puts pressure on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass. AP Photo/Elise Amendola … ….

(6) Deposed GM Frank Wren who o summarily fired by the Atlanta Braves with a six games left in the regular season . Braves’ team President John Scheurholz made the decision in consultation with senior executives within the organization. John Hart will assume the role as interim-general manager until a permanent successor can be found. About the only real bright spot to the season has been the productivity of Braves’ outfielder Justin Upton who led the team in a number offensive categories in 2014 . AP Photo/ Gerry Parsons …

(7) Ricky Rubio (9) is seen here alongside his former teammate Kevin Love (42) . The pair led the Minnesota Timberwolves in a number of offensive categories last season but it was simply not enough for the team to get into the postseason. Love has since been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers leaving the Timberwolves without a proven scorer on the current roster. Rubio has voiced his displeasure in the trading of his former teammate and it is believed he too will seek a trade away from the franchise. Getty Images/ Adam Harris …

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Rule Of Law , Rule Of Thumb Or Simply The Rule According To Goodell ………. ?

Rule Of Law , Rule Of Thumb Or Simply The Rule According To Goodell ………. ?

By tophatal ……. 05/23/2012 08:50:40 PM (EST)

The NFL Draft for 2012 set off no major surprises for the most avid of fans who viewed the televised event from the Radio City Music Hall , New York City , New York . And as we all know the Indianapolis Colts set about a chapter in their history with the beginning of the Andrew Luck era. The player was taken #1 overall to be followed by Robert Griffin III by the Washington Redskins . Now with the league’s OTA’s (organized training activities) already up and running with rookies reporting for training camp , it will be interesting to see what is made of the players drafted and how they fare during these preliminary exercises.

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Now for myself this season to my mind will be a make-or-break for the New England Patriots . Look, as an avid a fan as I am of this franchise it has gotten to the point where I have simply become so annoyed with head coach Bill Belichick and his continued tinkering with the defense . And yes , I am aware that last season the Patriots’ defense was amongst the worst in the NFL , especially in the yards allowed in terms of the pass defense . Hell , it got to the point where the New England Patriots’ secondary would have been hard pressed to stop a group of geriatrics , were they the opposition. Belichick and his coaching staff led by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have judiciously chosen to address all of the team’s needs. Nick Caserio who succeeded Scott Pioli as the general manager , has simply followed the path of least resistance as he and the head coach seek to follow the franchise’s pattern of success . It has served the Patriots well with three Superbowl victories and five appearances during Belichick’s tenure. The team drafted well during the NFL Draft and it will be interesting see these young players acquit themselves over the course of the Patriots’ schedule .

One year older , and hopefully a great deal wiser , I certainly hope that Tom Brady and offensive weaponry at his disposal will up to the task , especially in light with what was achieved by the quarterback last season . Certainly , with the offensive proficiency of Danny Woodhead , Aaron Hernandez , Rob Gronkowski , Wes Welker , Chad Ochocinco and Brandon Lloyd , it has to be said that the Patriots should prove to be a formidable offense to face over the course of this season .

The NFL season in 2010 was an eventful one , with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers raising the Lombardi Trophy after a tumultuous and exhilarating season for this renowned franchise . The year also happened to be an un-capped season , wherein the teams could simply choose as they pleased to spend as much money as they sought in acquiring free agents or to meet the salary needs of the players already on their rosters. In light of this all both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins were punished with impunity by the NFL hierarchy , with Commissioner Roger Goodell rendering a verdict whereby the aforementioned teams would have to forfeit a combined $46 million for having surreptitiously contravened what is said to be an ” unwritten rule “ . In this case both the Cowboys and Redskins who are said to have front-loaded the contracts of the players signed during the season . Now unless I am mistaken , I was under the impression if there is no salary cap then why the hell is Goodell now throwing his weight around like a “whirling Dervish “ dictating how the teams should conduct their business affairs under such a premise ? Applicable should be the fact that the teams have contracts in place for the players on their rosters , nothing , more nothing less . What might be even more idiotic is the very fact that the commissioner and the hierarchy did not choose the issue until midway through the 2011 season to make their findings known , concerning the actions of both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins . Have you ever heard anything so damn asinine ?

Both teams have sought to have Goodell’s decision overturned , with Jerry Jones , Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen now seeking another line of recourse with special arbitrator Stephen Burbank upholding the league’s original decision . Now comes the true test , will either team owner now seek to appeal that judgment within the legal system ? The NFLPA and its executive committee are now seeking their own challenge to the NFL’s ruling in the US District Court , in Minneapolis , Minnesota. The union’s challenge , states that the NFL in collusion with the team owners have sought to circumvent the principles of the salary cap , which in of-itself was moot , as there was no salary cap for the 2010 season. DeMaurice Smith , executive director of the union is no stranger to the environment of judicial expediency and jurisprudence , having been a former US Assistant District Attorney with the Justice Dept and then in private practice as a corporate litigator with renowned DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC . This is no longer the NFL of old where the power laid in the hands of the commissioner and the team owners as it is now in essence in the hands of the all-powerful NFLPA . The recent CBA (collective bargaining agreement) between the league hierarchy and union led to a ten-year-deal which was meant to bring about stability and labor peace between the two parties. Yet , there’s still a great deal of mistrust between the NFL and NFLPA , and along the way growing friction also amongst the team owners and the way the league hierarchy has dealt with a number of issues . Much of this has come to light with the latest owners’ meeting that recently took place and ended last week . That fraternity of franchise owners , much like a clandestine group have become so secretive and , manipulative to the extent , where they now have paid lobbyists working in the hallways of Capitol Hill , DC seemingly looking for any advantage that they can get in order to get congressional leaders to lessen their tax burdens , even in light of the very favorable statutes that allows the NFL to operate under the antitrust exemption statute already in place .

Courtesy of USA Today

NFLPA’s latest fight consistent with new reputation

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today

When the NFL had its unprecedented 18 years of labor peace with the players during the late 1990s and early millennium era, there was the perception it included, well, an unfair advantage.

The NFL Players Association was viewed as being too soft, too cushy in its relationship with the league. Nearly a half-dozen years ago, Bryant Gumbel went so far as to characterize late union chief Gene Upshaw as a “lap dog” for ex-commissioner Paul Tagliabue .

Gumbel was off-base. Under Upshaw, the NFLPA waged the legal war that finally won liberalized free agency, and salaries exploded as the sides kept extending collective bargaining agreements. And Upshaw won the last CBA he negotiated, to the point that owners opted out.

MORE: Union files complaint vs. NFL

Still, there was that perception. The NFLPA — key partner in the USA’s most popular sport — was nothing like the all-powerful baseball players union.

My, how perceptions have changed. The NFLPA has recast itself in the image of its leader, DeMaurice Smith , a former federal prosecutor. It is ready to scrap at the drop of a hat, no issue too large or small.

After de-certifying last year and suing over the lockout, the union has kept up the pace since striking a 10-year labor deal. Even when it looks silly or frivolous.

The union has stalled the testing for HGH that it agreed to (in principle ). Citing lack of evidence, it has vehemently fought on behalf of players accused as lead perpetrators in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal rather than leading the chorus that decries any system in which players are out to hurt their union brothers.

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At this juncture I am not so sure why the union is simply pressing ahead with this issue and the appeal ! Are they now seeking to work in conjunction with both Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder to right what they deem to be an egregious wrong ? Or is this now coming down to the union , once again seeking to flex their muscle concerning the NFL , while seeing whether or not the league will budge ? All of this ambiguous pomposity from both parties but yet one of the most pressing issues neither the league or union would willingly seek to address. First , and foremost there is the issue of player safety and how the league treats concussions and specifically CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy ) . With the recent deaths of Junior Seau and Ray Easterling , only now has the league actually realized the gravity of the issue . Needless to say , the murkier side of this whole idiocy has been the culpability of both the union and the league concerning the New Orleans Saints’ ” bounty scandal “ . That farce , and the mere fact that the league had been correlating , and collecting evidence would now suggest that the NFL quite possibly has bungled their investigation. Questions have arisen as to the veracity of the case that the league has presented but I do believe that this has been driven by the fact that the vast majority of the NFL franchise owners are said to be angry at the fact that the New Orleans Saints have been allowed to get away with , in their actions for the past three years . Joe Vitt , Sean Payton and GM Micky Loomis have admitted their guilt in the actions purported to have been put in place . But for the four players under suspension ( Anthony Hargrove , Scott Fujita , Johnathan Vilma and Will Smith ) have all denied any wrongdoing on their part . They have sought their appeal with their original verdicts being upheld but Vilma has now filed a defamation of character and libel lawsuit in the US Federal Court against the NFL commissioner and the league (NFL) , itself . Chances are , that lawsuit may well be a protracted legal matter where Roger Goodell will have to take the stand in his defense and that of the NFL . Care to ask how the commissioner will address the questions posed by Vilma’s attorneys at that trial , should it ever actually take place ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Of the four major professional sports’ hierarchies and their respective commissioners , David Stern . Roger Goodell , Gary Bettman and Bud Selig have all over the course of the past season seen the blow-back against their decisions on a number of issues . But perhaps for Goodell , his actions if any have come under the most scrutiny . Certainly , the commissioner’s answers to the convened members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the reason why the league has yet to adopt the steroid policy agreed to , as part of the NFL’s most recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA) , ratified by the league and union. To my mind , Roger Goodell has been one of the biggest pompous assholes in the recent history of the NFL ! The commissioner shows about as much intelligence as a mentally challenged individual who seeks to play hopscotch in the midst of a minefield ! He chooses not to address the most serious of the issues that the league faces with any veracity but instead he simply points to the growing revenues and not much else as part of his so-called legacy . This mother-f#cker has a pair of brass cojones on him , and not much else ! Anyone now coming to his support to my mind has to be some of the dumbest fucking idiots on the face of the planet . The sphincter licking morons of ESPN , namely Chris Mortensen , John Clayton , Adam Shefter need to get a damn clue rather than chasing after the stories , that in large part is simply of no interest to anyone ! Do you really want to know what Tim Tebow may well have had for breakfast , beyond his Wheaties ? Really , ESPN is that the best you can do ? Sh_t !

Is this what the NFL has come to ? I’ve repeatedly read and have heard patrons within this forum try to explain the difficulty that the commissioner has in his capacity as the NFL’s highest ranking executive . Apathy once again has set in amongst the fans , who simply haven’t got a fu_king clue concerning a number of issues that now currently afflict the NFL . Their only concerns seemingly is whether not their fantasy picks will pan out over the course of the NFL schedule and the point spread of a number of games . Enough said on the matter because really , what does anyone get by that by way of anything tangible from being a draft geek ? Getting your “jollies ” rocked are you ? ‘nough said ! Roger Goodell couldn’t find his ass from a hole in the ground , even if his very life depended on it , and that’s not necessarily saying a lot at this juncture , given his handling of a number of situations ! And even with the alleged expertise legal counsel being provided to him by Jeff Pash and Adolphus Birch III , the commissioner still bungles his way through the day , still coming across like many of the fu_king clueless members of the US House of Representatives and Senate , who just happen to be on both sides of the political aisle ! Would you have expected me to say anything but that ? I mean there are actually dumb assholes on both sides of the political divide as the Democrats much like their counterparts , the Republicans are simply no more intelligent than their rivals. It’s not as if either party has to clue how to deal with the most acute of the issues that this country now faces to begin with ! And as to the prospective Presidential candidates for the upcoming election . Well, let’s just say it’s a pick ’em between the self-absorbed duo of the Presidential incumbent Barack Obama and the equally odious Mitt Romney , former governor of Massachusetts , the self-proclaimed entrepreneur and business innovator. If only the last claim were indeed true . But I’ll let you all be the judge of that ! I mean , Romney speaks volumes of his life in the business field and the private sector but rarely has he addressed his successes during his tenure as the chief executive of the state of Massachusetts . Really , Mitt ? Really , it’s going to now come down to the fact that of expertise and your work at Bain Capital ? My , oh my ! And Obama’s handling of the debt crisis ? Well what’s another trillion dollars ( $1,000,000,000,000) to an already bloated national debt that will never ever be actually paid off ? And to think that there are now renowned economists applauding the Congress’ handling of this debt crisis , while being critical of the economic crisis in Europe , specifically those weighing down Greece , Italy , Spain and Portugal . Are you fu_king kidding me ? But you or I as a taxpayer will be hounded by the IRS if we’re said to be delinquent in paying our federal income tax. Go figure !

It is a sad indictment when you have a high-ranking executive of a professional sport’s hierarchy who simply cannot explain himself succinctly on any issue that affects his sport and the business of the NFL . Anyone now still on the Goodell bandwagon can you somehow explain the real positives that he has brought thus far to the table since he succeeded Paul Tagliabue ? Do so if you can ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NFL may well now be a $ 10 billion-a-year-industry and their franchises’ ….. values have risen faster than the average rate of inflation in each of the last eight seasons . But beyond that , in reality would you honestly say that the league is now in a better place than it was a decade ago , or even five years ago , given the PR problems that the NFL now faces ? By all means simply leave a comment on any of the salient points raised within this piece , and anything else you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter . And thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1)A banner stands outside a conference room as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft returns to an NFL owners meeting Tuesday, May 22, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Goldman ….

(2) Former New England Patriots football player Ted Johnson speaks to a conference on pediatric concussions at Children’s Hospital in Boston, Friday, May 18, 2012. Johnson says the death of former Patriots’ Junior Seau was the tip of the tipping point” that convinced him to speak out for concussion victims . AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …..

(3) New England Patriots rookie defensive backs Alfonzo Dennard (37) and Tavon Wilson (27) are directed to another location by special teams coach Scott O’Brien during NFL football rookie mini-camp at the team’s facility in Foxborough, Mass., Friday, May 11, 2012. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia ….

(4) Team owners Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys . The executives have fought rigorously to appeal a ruling by Roger Goodell that saw their respective teams having to forfeit the return of $46 million having contravened an “unwritten rule” as it relates to the salary cap in 2010 . That year, however was an un-capped season and teams were free as such to pay their players salaries commensurate to whatever in principle was agreed with the players’ agents . Roger Goodell has insisted that the “spirit of the rule” was broken by the Cowboys and Redskins in the way that the contracts of the players were structured . Hence the financial penalties levied ___ $46 million to be shared amongst the other 30 teams within the NFL . AP Photo / Mark McKinnon …

(5) (5) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , foreground , is seen here with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith during the NFL labor dispute prior beginning of the 2011 season. What appears to a 10 year peace accord between the league and union is now on the verge of being in tatters. Smith and the union hierarchy have lodged a civil suit in US District Court challenging the NFL and the owners with collusion in setting about with the charade of a salary cap in 2010 , when in essence the season itself was un-capped . At the heart of this however , in the league’s claims, is the fact that the union cannot challenge this action when their most recent CBA , the NFLPA gave up the right of recourse in challenging the NFL in matters relating to its business practice . Reuters / Philip McConnell ….. …..

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NFL news

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Hot chic pic of the day Brenda Lynn Acevedo .

More of Ms Acevedo . Nice , real nice !

We Are Doing This Now Because It’s The Right Thing To Do ….. Or At Least We Think So ….. !

We Are Doing This Now Because It’s The Right Thing To Do ….. Or At Least We Think So ….. !

Well now that the NFL preseason will be in full flight as of the 11th August, I think it interesting that the league will now subject the players to game day testing for HGH as well as other PED’s ( performance enhancing drugs) in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. The league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his opposite number within the NFLPA , Executive Director DeMaurice Smith knew that this would be a sticking point amongst the members of the union but it was obvious that concessions were made by both sides so that this rule could be enacted .

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Slide show for your perusal.

The NFL will now become the first of the four major sports to actually test its members at the highest echelons of the sport for HGH on game day and it remains to be seen how such a rule will be looked upon by the fans. Baseball (MLB) tests merely at the minor league level for HGH and for other prohibitive substances . They do not however test at the top tier of the game with completely comprehensive testing for anything beyond steroids. That in part is due to the power of Michael Weiner as executive director of the MLPA and the fact that the union holds away over the league hierarchy and the team owners themselves . And that is in spite of the claims made by Bud Selig that professional baseball now has in place the most comprehensive testing program in all of professional sports . The commissioner knows that is sheer bunkum but in his eyes merely looking and playing the fool appears to be nothing new at all .

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Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (11) and wide receiver Austin Collie (17) walk out for the start of the NFL football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

It is clear that the NFL would like be seen as being proactive with its image having been sullied throughout the whole period of their mandated lockout of the players. And it is in this aspect that the hierarchy wishes to show the fans that they have now taken on with a renewed sense of purpose of righting several of the issues that were part of their deliberations ___ that became highly contentious between themselves and the union. Leading the way in terms of getting this message across to the fans and public in general will be Adolpho Birch one the NFL’s highest ranking executives and amongst their chief lead legal advisers . He played a major part in seeking that this rule was mandated and enacted by the league which could very well be seen as a blue print for the other major professional sports governing bodies. But given the stance taken by the NBPA , MLBPA and NHLPA it is very difficult to see those three unions allowing their respective hierarchies to have that much power and acquiesce to such an agreement.

Courtesy of USA Today

NFL exec on HGH: ‘I don’t believe it’s prevalent’ in league

By Nate Davis , USA Today

Even as the NFL prepares to take the unprecedented step of administering blood tests to screen its players for human growth hormone, the league doesn’t necessarily believe its product is chemically fueled from sideline to sideline.

“I will say, based on my judgment and experience, I don’t believe it’s prevalent,” said NFL Senior Vice President of Law and Labor Policy Adolpho Birch when asked about the concerns expressed by Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez that HGH use occurs in the league and a recent CBSSports.com report which speculated 10-20% of NFL players are juicing .

Added Birch: “Those estimates are why it’s critical we have testing.”

And Birch expects those tests will be in place by the start of the regular season as the NFL and NFLPA work out the final details of the system, which was a component of the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement both sides seemed to desire.

“How many guys are on it, that’s hard to say,” Gonzalez told The Indianapolis Star on Tuesday. “It could be 10, it could be a hundred or more; either way, it’s too much. But around the league, you see guys on Sunday, and things don’t add up; they don’t look right. I see guys I saw in college, now they’re in the NFL and they look totally different.

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Click on link to read article in its entirety .

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Claims that as many as 20% of the NFL players within the league are “juicing” might seem somewhat conservative but one can’t really be sure to what extent the use of prohibitive substances are prevalent within the sport. It would be remiss however to suggest that such an instance is not in fact taking place . We know that players have been suspended for abusing the league’s drug policy whereby the initial suspension is for a mandatory four games and the athlete undergoes counseling. But the fans have yet to be publicly advised as to what the penalties will be should a player having been tested , found positive for the use of HGH what punishment would be meted out . Not one to speculate on such a point I can only surmise that whatever form of penalty is dealt to a player it will be one in line with the CBA as agreed upon between the league and union.

Indianapolis Colts’ player Anthony Gonzalez has offered his own thoughts on the issue of players ‘juicing’, stating that he believes it takes place within the NFL but doesn’t care to suggest how prevalent it is or whom he believes to be using anything prohibitive. Clearly this may well be something that doesn’t sit well with a number of players within the NFL but it now gives credence to what many of us may well have already believed to begin with . And that is the NFL much like their counterparts within MLB are not averse to breaking the law never mind the perception of cheating. Granted, there’s a case to be made that the use of certain substances to avert or assist in a quick recuperation from an injury aids a player. When would one suggest that an abuse of steroids or any other prohibitive PED isn’t in the best interest of the game never mind the overall health issues as it relates to the player ?

I have always maintained that we can look upon the use of steroids from both sides ! But herein lies my own train of thought on the matter , not once have I ever read anything by anyone within this medium address the issue concerning the apparent dangers of steroid abuse and the harm it undoubtedly does to a player’s well being . Instead it has been the thinking ………. if it makes them (players) perform better then so be it , which if anything is somewhat of a naive stance to take . Herein lies to caveat to this all , if the gain is actual financial wealth and some semblance of success then it appears that absolutely nothing is off the table . But at what point should we then say enough is enough ? One simply now has to look at what has happened within the game of baseball as answer to the folly that has taken place there and the very fact that the arguments now arise as to who is now worthy of being enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Over a decade as such has come into question because of the sheer weight of the malfeasance that took place there concerning the abuse of steroids within the game. Are we , or have we as such already witnessed that now in the NFL ? Maybe we have , or quite possibly we have not ____ no one actually knows and it’s unlikely that anyone within the league hierarchy , union or amongst the NFL team owners are willing to discuss the issue as to the possibility that there has been rampant use of illicit substances within the game.

We have seen the sheer and utter stupidity and naivete’ shown with the game of baseball the mere fact that Bud Selig and the union had to be dragged kicking into the twenty first century , merely adopt some form of drug testing within the game. The NFL for its part has taken an approach but it could now very well open up a Pandora’s box that once ajar , cannot be closed as quickly as they would actually like . As to the implications for the players within the NFL , while no doubt agreeing to this all , I’d hate to think what could very well happen should the situation arises where one of them tests positive for HGH during this new era of labor peace between the two parties of the league !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the new rule how do you as an NFL fan view this change and do you believe it ultimately be of benefit to the league ? Simply leave a comment as to your thought and anything else you believe to be pertinent on this matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

Contact tophatal ……… rapptu@gmail.com ….

http://facebook.com/tophata2

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Picture and slide show details below for your perusal .

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(1) Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (11) and wide receiver Austin Collie (17) walk out for the start of the NFL football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(2) Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark, left, and wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez stretch out during the NFL team’s football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy…..

(3) Adolpho Birch III (J.D.) NFL Senior VP of Labor Policy & Labor Relations seen here speaking with ESPN on the league enacting their new drug testing policy for illicit substances but primarily HGH. AP Photos/ P Velazquez

(4) Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell and Director of the National Football League Players’ Association, DeMaurice Smith pose with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 5, 2011 in Canton, Ohio. Getty Images North America/ Michael Loccisano …….

(5) Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell and Director of the National Football League Players’ Association, DeMaurice Smith sign the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 5, 2011 in Canton, Ohio. Getty Images North America / Michael Loccasino ……
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NFL news

NFL Preseason schedule commences Thursday 11th August 2011

Preseason Week 1
Thu, Aug 11 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
BAL @ PHI Lincoln Financial Field 7:30 PM Tickets
JAC @ NE Gillette Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
SEA @ SD Qualcomm Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
DEN @ DAL Cowboys Stadium 8:30 PM Tickets
ARI @ OAK O.co Coliseum 10:00 PM Tickets
Fri, Aug 12 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CIN @ DET Ford Field 7:30 PM Tickets
MIA @ ATL Georgia Dome 7:30 PM Tickets
PIT @ WAS FedExField 7:30 PM Tickets
SF @ NO Superdome 8:00 PM Tickets
TB @ KC Arrowhead Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets FOX
Sat, Aug 13 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
GB @ CLE Cleveland Browns Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets NFLN
BUF @ CHI Soldier Field 8:00 PM Tickets
IND @ STL Edward Jones Dome 8:00 PM Tickets
MIN @ TEN LP Field 8:00 PM Tickets
NYG @ CAR Bank of America Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets
Mon, Aug 15 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NYJ @ HOU Reliant Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
Byes: None
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Preseason Week 2
Thu, Aug 18 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NE @ TB Raymond James Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
PHI @ PIT Heinz Field 8:00 PM Tickets FOX
Fri, Aug 19 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
WAS @ IND Lucas Oil Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
CAR @ MIA Sun Life Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
DET @ CLE Cleveland Browns Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
KC @ BAL M&T Bank Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
ARI @ GB Lambeau Field 8:00 PM Tickets
ATL @ JAC EverBank Field 8:00 PM Tickets FOX
Sat, Aug 20 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NO @ HOU Reliant Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets NFLN
OAK @ SF Candlestick Park 8:00 PM Tickets
TEN @ STL Edward Jones Dome 8:00 PM Tickets
BUF @ DEN INVESCO Field at Mile High 8:30 PM Tickets
MIN @ SEA CenturyLink Field 10:00 PM Tickets
Sun, Aug 21 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CIN @ NYJ New Meadowlands Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
SD @ DAL Cowboys Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets NBC
Mon, Aug 22 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CHI @ NYG New Meadowlands Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
Byes: None
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Preseason Week 3
Thu, Aug 25 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CAR @ CIN Paul Brown Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
CLE @ PHI Lincoln Financial Field 7:30 PM Tickets
WAS @ BAL M&T Bank Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
Fri, Aug 26 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
STL @ KC Arrowhead Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets
GB @ IND Lucas Oil Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets CBS
Sat, Aug 27 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
JAC @ BUF Ralph Wilson Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
NYJ @ NYG New Meadowlands Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
ATL @ PIT Heinz Field 7:30 PM Tickets
MIA @ TB Raymond James Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
CHI @ TEN LP Field 8:00 PM Tickets
DAL @ MIN Mall of America Field 8:00 PM Tickets
HOU @ SF Candlestick Park 8:00 PM Tickets
NE @ DET Ford Field 8:00 PM Tickets CBS
SEA @ DEN INVESCO Field at Mile High 9:00 PM Tickets
SD @ ARI University of Phoenix Stadium 10:00 PM Tickets
Sun, Aug 28 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NO @ OAK O.co Coliseum 8:00 PM Tickets NBC
Byes: None
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Preseason Week 4
Thu, Sep 01 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
DET @ BUF Ralph Wilson Stadium 6:30 PM Tickets
IND @ CIN Paul Brown Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets NFLN
BAL @ ATL Georgia Dome 7:30 PM Tickets
NYG @ NE Gillette Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
STL @ JAC EverBank Field 7:30 PM Tickets
TB @ WAS FedExField 7:30 PM Tickets
PHI @ NYJ New Meadowlands Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
DAL @ MIA Sun Life Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
KC @ GB Lambeau Field 8:00 PM Tickets
CLE @ CHI Soldier Field 8:00 PM Tickets
HOU @ MIN Mall of America Field 8:00 PM Tickets
TEN @ NO Superdome 8:00 PM Tickets
PIT @ CAR Bank of America Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets
DEN @ ARI University of Phoenix Stadium 10:00 PM Tickets NFLN
SF @ SD Qualcomm Stadium 10:00 PM Tickets
Fri, Sep 02 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
OAK @ SEA CenturyLink Field 10:30 PM Tickets NFLN

NFL Regular season schedule commences 8-12th September 2011

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .

It’s Never Too Late ……………

It’s Never Too Late ……..

There’s been a lull on the sports horizon and very little of late that has been happening . It was however sad to hear and read about the death of Hall of Famer John Mackey . The 69 year old died in his sleep at an assisted living facility during which he suffered many ailments such as dementia , epileptic seizures and the early stages of Alzheimers but the troubling thing related to Mackey’s untimely demise is the mere fact that this former NFLPA President saw that the NFL has done little to assist former players with aid benefits . John Mackey a prodigious and productive player over the course of his career but the sadness in his passing should be something that the NFL can perhaps learn from.

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And as saddening as it was to heat of John Mackey’s passing , consider this concerning what can be described as part of the former of NFL player’s last moments on the earth . He had to have constant around the clock assistance as he has lost many of motor neuron skills , a colostomy bag was part of the player’s regimen as he was unable use a restroom under his own volition . Unable to care for himself with a sense of dignity this was how this former NFL player spent his final days on this earth , not quite in a place of degradation but it was simply has to be humiliating to know that this simply is an untold story that seems to another episode that the NFL would rather not let the world actually have an eye on . The underbelly and the dark side of what happens to many of the players that sacrificed so much for their love of the game and with a view to finding success and fame. In retirement we are under the impression that many of the players from Mackey’s generation and prior have all the means where they will be able to take care of themselves with all of the amenities one would deem available to them . But that was certainly not the case and it would now appear for many of his contemporaries from the era he played in a similar position .

We are constantly bombarded with the message that the NFL cares about its own but in reality how true is that to begin with ? Far too many players are actually falling through the cracks when it comes to the so called care that’s said to be provided by the NFL and in particular by the players’ own union the NFLPA . And inasmuch as the alleged assistance that was being provided to the player at the time of his death in terms of benefits to assist him in his time of need , so much more could have been done to assist Mackey and many of his kind who are suffering

The sad part to this all is that while the NFL labor stoppage now in its 116th day very little has been mentioned as what the league’s intent will be with regard to retired veterans and how they will be assisted . More we have been led to believe as part of these labor negotiations has been to do with how the league heirarchy and the NFLPA will split their $9 billion revenue stream . DeMaurice Smith as Executive Director of the NFLPA much like his predecessor Gene Upshaw has said little about the issue of current veterans as to their benefits . And though Mackey died in an assisting living facility what might be even more surprising was the mere fact that the former NFL great’s benefits were actually cut to such an extent that it seems inconceivable that the league now feels that is doing more now than ever before in providing assistance for their former now retired members . If that is the case then perhaps they can somehow explain why it was that former Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Webster and Dave Duerson died under such degrading circumstances ? This player part of the Steelers’ Iron Curtain and was a man of honor but his death was in such a stark contrast to what his career was said to be all about. We know that his story has been well chronicled , bouts of alcoholism , depression but again Smith suffered from chronic headaches all due to his career in the NFL .

Throughout the course of his career Mike Webster is said to have suffered as many as a dozen game concussions over the course of his career through much of which the medical observations and advice given to the player was extremely poor. And granted the NFL has progressed a great deal in the years since Webster retired from the game with regard to information and research that the medical establishment has provided from their research into the cause and effect of concussions and head traumas. It hasn’t been the NFL that has actually laid the groundwork in this research but academia and in particular such noted colleges of medicine such Boston University School of Medicine & Neuro Sciences , Harvard School of Medicine & Neurology , Stanford School of Medicine & Neurology as well as the AMA’s own conclusive and incisive research. That being said it has been the NFL’s reluctance even with their own medical counsel who have simply said to the contrary that there was no discerning cause and effect with regard head trauma , concussions and the debiliatating maladies suffered by the players in the aftermath of their retirement from the NFL . Dave Duerson suffered from extreme bouts of depression having suffered multiple concussions over the course of his career but the sadness under circumstances that led to the player taking his own life cannot simply be misplaced as another act of another suicide. There has to be a real reason behind these cases and much of that can be related to the mere fact that the NFL itself has not been there to meet the needs of the retired players.

As I alluded to earlier with Mike Webster’s death came as a shock to many but the conditions surrounding his death are so inconceivable and beyond belief. We know that the player had fallen on hard times that he sought help but little had been forthcoming from the NFLPA and was beyond comprehension to believe that here was a real giant of the game who at the time of his death lived in squalor , suffered with dementia , bouts of severe depression. But what could be even more troubling was the fact that Mike Webster with his medical issues died under such dire circumstances where at times he would defecate and urinate on himself while trying to hold a normal conversation with family members or friends.I am not so sure that in the midst of this all the NFL fully understands the serious ramifications from the course of action that it has failed to take over the years.

I find it rather ironic however that players such as NFLPA President Kevin Mawae and Drew Brees now suggest that this lockout has more to do with asssisting the retired and veteran players than it has to do with dealing with a mere labor issue. Perhaps I’m mistaken but this discussion rarely comes up over the course of their negotiations or the formal statements made to the print and television media . It could well now be that the NFLPA much like the league hierarchy are now seeking to curry favor by seeking the public’s sympathy in the ongoing charade. This has never been a labor dispute in the true sense of the word because it has been in fact merely been about money and how best each side can try to outdo each other while simply not losing face in the eyes of the onlooking public ! It may well be too little too late at the end of the day as it appears that now more than ever before so many former NFL players are living in suffering in such dire circumstances and many of whom may well die in such in such abject squalor or perhaps in other such conditions beyond their control .

In the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement from the Arizona Cardinals it was apparent that the organization would face an uphill battle trying to remain relevant within the league . And for head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his coaches this past season”> season was a trying time for the fans , the team and in particular the Bidwill family as owners of the team.

Given the fact that the team having drafted Matt Leinart his lack of candor and command in learning the nuances of being a quarterback in the NFL . It is extremely understandable to see the reason why this team has failed so miserably in the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement . Leinart with having a heralded career with USC at the collegiate level he has completely failed to live up to the percieved hype that would suggest that he had the makings of a NFL caliber quarterback. His career in the NFL so far can be best described as mediocre for want of a better word !

Coming off a 5-11 season within the NFC West season where the team simply underperformed . Much of that came down to the fact that there simply wasn’t a quarterback on this roster that good enough to command with the respect of the team much less play with any degree of consistency. You cannot imply to me that the likes of Max Hall , Derek Anderson , John Skelton or Richard Bartel are what the coaches of this organization now have the belief in guiding them to the promise land less and a legitimate shot at the Superbowl ! There’s more chance to be had with Andre Bocelli spending a night of passionate unadulterated sex with several porn stars than the premise of seeing that trio of quarterbacks actually leading the Cardinals to a winning season much less raising the Lombardi Trophy in triumph !

From an offensive standpoint the Cardinals are quite an attractive team but without a signal caller of confidence and the ability to lead they will continue to come up short . It would be pretty safe to say that Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the league and certainly noteworthy enough to be considered amongst the top five overall ! But the real problem has that has simply bedeviled this team over the past season has simply been not being able to close out games with authority when they have their opponents on the ropes . This above anything else has to have been truly worrisome for Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff .

This upcoming season it will be very interesting to see whether or not the Arizona Cardinals can acquit themselves with any real degree of authority and simply be considered contenders within the NFC West and the conference overall . They’ve shown signs defensively that they’ve made some progression but clearly there has to be a great deal more consistency on both sides of the ball from this team !

One of the most pressing issues for the Cardinals also will be to quell the rise in discontent with Larry Fitzgerald as the player is now said to be genuinely dissatisfied with the direction that the organization is said to be apparently going in. It is abundantly clear that this organization can ill afford to lose a player of Fitzgerald’s caliber and simply become an also ran amongst the ranks of the NFC . And that is something that clearly Rod Graves as the team’s general manager or members of the Bidwill family would like to see isa disgruntled star player looking for a trade . But let’s face facts here if this team can’t take care of business this season then in all certainty Fitzgerald will want out ………. no matter what !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

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

Picture and slide show details below
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(1) John Mackey, left, and Ralph Wenzel were both on the San Diego Chargers in 1972, but have no memory of playing together. Courtesy of The New York Times /Brendan Smialowski ….

(2) John Mackey, left, seen here some five years prior to his death with his rings from Super Bowl V and the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and Ralph Wenzel at the Annapolitan Assisted Living Community in Annapolis Maryland. Mr. Mackey, 65, and Mr. Wenzel, 64, both have dementia. Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times ……..

(3) Dave Duerson (right) is seen here testifying before Congress in June of 2007 . In the background seated is former Dallas Cowboys’ player Darryl Johnston . Duerson’s testimony to Congress dealt with the issues of neurological disorders suffered by current and retired players . He was a staunch advocate also for the rights of players with regard their medical plight , denial of benefits and numerous other health related issues. He was only 50 years old at the time of his death. AP/ Malcolm Warren …………

(4) Webster and Bradsahaw seen here in Cantion , Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame . AP Photo/archives …

(5) First round draft pick, Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals speaks during a press conference at the team’s training center auditorium on April 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. Getty Images / Christian Petersen ……

(6) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) catches an 11-yard touchdown in front of San Francisco 49ers safety Reggie Smith (30) in the second quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Cardinals would go on to lose the game 38-7 to the San Francisco 49ers . AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

(7) San Francisco 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson (99) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton in the first quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. San Francisco 49ers corner-back Shawntae Spencer was also credited on the sack. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(8) (L-R) Quarterbacks Matt Leinart (7) left and Kurt Warner (13) of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after winning the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 32-25 to advance to the Super Bowl. Getty Images North America /Jamie Squires ……
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NFL News

Arizona Cardinals news

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

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

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

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Slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL News

NFL Schedule 2011 subject to change

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons team roster

Atlanta Falcons’ schedule 2011

Atlanta Falcons’ teams stats 2010

Mike Smith Head coach

Atlanta Falcons coaching staff

Atlanta Falcons News

For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

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With the NBA postseason set to commence in the second week or third week of April (April 16th), it’s easy to understand why these teams contending for a playoff berth would want to hit form of consistency that sets them on the right track as the playoffs approach . My own thoughts are that the teams looking to make a postseason berth are going to have to raise the level of their game as the playoffs approach.

A work colleague of mine brought up the subject of the NFL labor dispute and the lockout and made the statement that how is that all of a sudden the league now sets to paint the NFLPA in a dark light bearing in mind that they were the ones who sought instigate the lockout because the Executive Committee of the union were unwilling to acquiesce to a number of conditions that league proposed ? With Neil being a labor relation’s lawyer I found it somewhat surprising that he raised that point ! One of the sticking points now appears to be the league’s wish to have a comprehensive drug testing policy as it relates to PED’s and in particular HGH . For some reason I was under the impression that the league already had what they’d deemed to be a comprehensive drug testing policy but obviously it’s no better than the policy that MLB hierarchy has in place . Now if this is one of the real sticking points said to be many that the league and the union are said to be far apart on then it this lockout suddenly becomes not merely about money but a great deal more.

I know that the league (NFL) does test for certain prohibitive substances , namely marijuana , anabolic steroids and certain other illicit opiates but if they weren’t already testing for HGH then this is the question I’ve got to ask what the hell is going on within the NFL and their own credibility as it relates to the use of HGH ? Given the fact that we’ve all seen the dangers of abusing steroids and in particular a number of these opiates how is it that they’ve continued to not address the issue of HGH being used by the players . I know that it’s use has to be closely scrutinized by a medical professional. But herein lies the caveat if it’s only now that the league hierarchy under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to address this issue then clearly there’s something that the NFL and owners weren’t prepared to make public unless they’re prepared to use it as leverage against the union. At the same time in the midst of this all Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams issued a public statement saying that it is his belief that a 2011-12 season will commence on time . Unless Bud Adams is actually fully aware of some upcoming turn of events then clearly the league feels that they now hold the upper hand in any proposed return to the table concerning resolving the labor negotiations.. I’m not so sure that now appears to the case as I do believe that Goodell and the owners have been out-maneuvered by the NFLPA headed by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith .

Courtesy of NFL.com

NFL wants its players tested for human growth hormone

By Steve Wyche of NFL.com

The NFL believes now is the time to include human growth hormone testing in its banned substances policy and is pushing players to add it to a collective bargaining agreement — whenever one is reached.

The NFL and NFL Players Association discussed the policy before the union decertified March 11 and league owners imposed a lockout March 12, but no details were provided regarding where things stood.

News of the league’s insistence on HGH testing being part of the new CBA was first reported Thursday by FoxSports.com.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president of law and labor policy, said Friday that the league has pushed for HGH testing since 2008, but with the opportunity to re-cast terms of a labor deal, it has become a priority. The NFLPA had resisted it in the past because of HGH testing methods and the reliability of results.

Blood testing remains the most reliable means to detect the presence of HGH, and that has been the sticking point — not both sides’ desire for fair play, Birch said.

“In terms of the policy, we’ve always been in lockstep with the players,” Birch said. “It’s an important tool in deterring — that’s maybe the most important part — and detecting those who are using (HGH). It helps the public understand what they are seeing is legitimate and that it’s not the result of artificial means. It’s equally important to players to know that someone hasn’t gained an artificial advantage over them.”

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At this juncture the whole labor dispute nonsensical and personally with each passing day with the damage being done to the image of both parties , I now feel that the fans couldn’t give a sh_t how things turn out. It’s not as if the league or players have ever had the fans’ best interests at heart any time during their deliberations !

With the trial of Barry Bonds now hitting its stride it’s amazing to see to read or hear about the testimony now be given by the number of witnesses subpoenad to appear at the trial by the prosecution in this case the US Justice Department and the attorneys representing the People of the US. With Jason Giambi having testified that he was a recipient of steroids from Bonds’ former personal trainer Greg Anderson and Bonds’ former mistress Kimberly Bell testifying that in her time spent with the MLB slugger over the course of their relationship the player got considerably bigger. I can only surmise that apart from Bonds’ rigorous training regimen that she was trying to allude to the fact the player was using something illicit to spurt his growth or could it be that she was also taking about the size of his member ? And as absurd as this case has become I do believe that we’re going to hear a great deal more than goes from the sublime to the ridiculous !

The longer this charade goes on as to the money being spent on this case the more I continue to question the asinine stance of the MLB hierarchy under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , in particular the owners within the game , managers and the MLBPA under then Executive Director Donald Fehr who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA . If the NHL and the sport of hockey hasn’t gone through enouhh problems as it is ther Players’ Union hires Fehr to become their Executive Director ? Are they fu_king mad ? The game is still in a financially tenuous position and it’s not as if Gary Bettman as the NHL Commissioner has actually got them now heading in the right direction as of now is it ?

As it now stands the legacy of the game throughout the nineties and into the early part of this decade has been irrevocably damaged and harmed ! With the advent of the regular season about to start as of tomorrow I can’t help but wonder what the teams , owners , union , fans and the game’s hierarchy hope to see when in large part the fans are still being reminded of the inane stupidity of the league hierarchy’s lackadaisical approach to the steroid issue . Bud Selig and his then counterpart Donald Fehr and the union as a whole were complicit in perpetrating this fraud upon the public and wherein the teams and players had a financial windfall. Were this a white collar crime committed I can assure you that the FBI , Justice Department and dare I say it the idiots within both Congress and the Senate would be asking that there be indictments of all of the guilty parties concerned ! But instead those blowholes have remained mind numbingly silent , even with those odious and sleep inducing Congressional hearings that took place and was overseen by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on Energy & Commerce . What was achieved by those hearings dependent upon one’ s views ranged somewhere between the idiotic with the grandstanding by those congressional committee members and the idiotic statements and testimony given by the league hierarchy and the players subpoenad to testify !

The one thing I for one question now is given what we may or may not know to be true is how the public view the records attained by players during the steroid era and how they ought to be viewed by the fans and public in general ? God knows the single season home run record as well as the home run record ought to have an asterisk placed at their side . I don’t state this as a damning indictment of Bonds alone . But I do feel if that he’s now to be viewed as the face of the steroid era along with Jose Canseco and several other players whom we all know to be associated with the illicit use of steroids amongst other substances banned by the game then we also ought to question silence maintained by players such as Derek Jeter , Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine who’ve often been viewed as what’s right within the game but with their avowed silence on the issue , has to have the fans thinking up to a point whether or not they condoned the actions by their fellow players ? I mean even the most menial and lowly of the low within the union (MLBPA) as well as the marquee names have profited greatly from the era having seen their salaries rise not merely based on potential alone but from the stats that were achieved during the era . And with the idiot general managers then willing to pay exorbitant salaries to players while being lassoed in by uber-agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem and Leigh Steinberg making the players immeasurably wealthy beyond their wildest dreams . It now begs the question what credibility does the game of baseball really have as to its legitimacy in being viewed as the nation’s favorite pastime as well as the integrity of its players , managers and the league hierarchy itself ?

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As the NFL labor dispute continues to meander along whatever route it presumably takes how do you as such view the situation as a discerning fan of the game ? Do you also feel that the league’s stance with regard to them wanting to instigate a test for HGH via blood testing is the proactive thing to do by the NFL ? Or do you feel that a the federal laws in place as it relates to the use of steroids is enough of a deterrent to the players as a whole ? And what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the recently commenced federal trial of former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds ? Simply leave a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter as you’d deem fit .

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(1) Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalists Nnamdi Asomugha (R) of the Oakland Raiders and Israel Idonije (2ndR) of the Chicago Bears pose with the Peyton family, Connie Payton (2ndL), wife of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, and her children Brittney (3rdL), Jarrett (3rdR) and Adolpho Birch (L) during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America Inc / Doug Pensinger ……..

(2) Birch (center) seen here with officials of the NFL and local dignitaries in Arlington , Texas prior to this past season’s Superbowl played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers . AP Photo Chris Morgan ………

(3) DeMaurice Smith (R), NFLPA executive director, arrives with NFL Players Association Spokesman George Atallah (L) and Kansas City Chiefs player Brian Waters (C) for an extra day of negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners during a 24 hour extension in negotiations. Brian Smialowski / Getty Images North America …..

(4) Former TN. Govenor Phil Bredesen, Honoree/Owner NFL TN. Titans Bud Adams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and current TN. Governor Bill Haslam present Bud Adams with the “Lifetime Humanitarian Award” at the 2011 T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala at the Hutton Hotel on March 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rick Diamond / Getty Images ……

(5) Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court at the end of the day on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images ……..

(6) Major League Baseball player Jason Giambi leaves federal court after testifying during Barry Bonds’ perjury trial on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images North America ….

(7) Kimberly Bell the former mistress of Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the US Federal Courthouse in San Francisco , California, having given her testimony in the player’s obstruction of Justice and perjury trial . AP Photo / Phil Montgomery …

(8) Former Major League All Star Jose Canseco known steroid user whose revelations of widespread steroid and PED use amongst his peers in the league led to widespread outrage along with the watered down Mitchell Report and MLB ‘s inane drug policy . AP/Reuters / Keith Pettigrew ……….

(9) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (L) is pictured alongside then Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Donald Fehr during testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime . Andy Krupp /Reuters ……

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Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

🙂

NBA News

NFL News

MLB News

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Bubba Sparxxx ………………………….”Ugly ” .

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Dre Dre ……. feat’g ……… Snoop Dogg …………………… ” Let Me Ride ”

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TI ………… feat’g ………. Christina Aguilera ……….” Castle Walls ”

Could this better describe the situation now facing both the MLB and NFL and their respective images as they each perceive it to be ?
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Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

It’s often said ………’it takes a tragedy to happen before we truly understand or appreciate one’s mortality’ and truly that saying hits home every time. Sadly last night while having a drink in a bar with friends after work it was reported that former NFL star , two time winning Superbowl player and Pro Bowler Dave Duerson died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Unfortunately this tragedy doesn’t encapsulate the whole facet of the player’s life after his retirement from the NFL. The player had taken his life this past Thursday at his South Florida home in Sunny Isles .

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Duerson lost his wife to an acrimonious divorce and his post professional life saw him lose his business to financial mismanagement and bankruptcy. Dave Duerson was also a rights’ advocate for current and former NFL players , specifically those who’d suffered from mental health issues related to chronic head traumas . In his will the player left specific instructions that his brain be donated to science for research into blunt head trauma injuries and chronic traumatic encephalathopy ( CTE). Neuro surgeons and Research Fellows at Boston University will be the recipients of the player’s brain and it has been there within the university’s School of Medicine and Neuroscience where research will and has been conducted into head traumas and other neurological health related injuries and diseases as it relates to the NFL. Duane Duerson during his career had suffered repeatedly from chronic symptoms of concussions on the field of play which saw him win a Superbowl with that heralded Chicago Bears’ team coached by Mike Ditka. His second triumph was gained with the New York Giants coached by Bill Parcells .

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports

Ex-NFL safety Duerson found dead; police await word on cause

Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, has died. He was 50.

The Bears released a statement Friday saying they were “stunned and saddened” by the news and called Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.”

“Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave,” the team said. “We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”

Miami-Dade Police Detective Robert Williams said the body of a Dave Duerson was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Computer records show that the Duerson who lived at the address was born the same month and year as the player.

Investigators haven’t determined the cause of death. Williams said detectives are awaiting the medical examiner’s report.

Duerson’s ex-wife, Alicia Duerson, told NBC Chicago that the former player “loved and cherished his family” and was “extremely proud” of Notre Dame and the Bears.

A native of Muncie, Ind., Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on one of the greatest defenses ever assembled.

Who can forget the 1985 Chicago team mauling opponents while shuffling all the way to the championship with Hall of Famers such as Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent up front? With Todd Bell sitting out the entire season, Duerson played a big role in the backfield with five interceptions that year and made the first of four consecutive Pro Bowls.

“He was a great player for us,” former Bears coach Mike Ditka told The Associated Press. “He stepped in and did a great job. It’s very sad.”

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With all that’s now going on concerning the NFL , the NFLPA and their ongoing collective bargaining agreement . It goes without saying that this issue may not be a part of the two parties’ ongoing negotiations. And with the two parties now said to be hard at trying to eke out and reach an amicable agreement as both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae have met with a US Federal Court appointed and mandated mediator to mediate and address the issues brought up by both sides. In spite of the league’s and union’s appearance in front of the House Congressional Oversight Committee and their investigation into head traumas , their cause and effects with regard to the concussions and other neurological injuries. What we’ve now come to know is that the NFL and the union have never taken these issues seriously and that’ s in spite of the statements attributed to Goodell, Smith and members of the union’s Executive Committee .

Sadly, it may well have to take such tragedies as this , Duerson’s death, before the whole world wakes up the acute problems that players current and former face when they put their very health at risk all in the pursuit of excellence and wealth on the field of play. Granted, the life span of an NFL player on average is no more than six years at best but for those who’ve been involved in th game even longer the long terms effects of repeated injuries be they head trauma or some other inury, the aftermath at times can be catastrophic ! We now have players who’ve been retired no more than two years now suffering from early onsets of Alzheimers’ disease , debilitating and chronic head pains and other far more acute neurological disorders. Dave Duerson was a victim of repeated chronic head pains in the aftermath of the repeated concussions suffered over the course of his career. I’ve often heard the idiotic comments by fans and members of the public alike who state ….‘ let them play because this is a man’s game and they know the risks’ . Well one of the risks isn’t as such to end up in a damn wheelchair and then not knowing who members of your family are or what day of the week it is . This is the sort of asinine , idiotic statement that one would come to expect from someone who’s completely undeducated and without about as much common sense as an invertebrate !

If there’s to be an in depth study into these medical issues by independent as well the NFL’s own medical professionals then it ought to be a concerted effort by all of the parties concerned. Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue had repeatedly and it certainly hadn’t help that Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw were about as contrite in dealing with these issues as former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein had been before he decided to gas several hundred thousand Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq as a precursor to the first Iraqi war. In realiy it has only been in recent years that the NFL and NFLPA have been proactive in dealing with this issue. Goodell and the league’s own inhouse medical professionals have long held the view that injuries suffered by players within the game , many of them at times have been or were pre-existing . Now they’ve begun to change their tune and shown a change in their attitude but they haven’t yet been completely swayed. Goodell’s counterpart , DeMaurice Smith has merely given the public sound bytes but in reality his stance hasn’t been any different than that of Gene Upshaw.

And Upshaw as a player has been someone who I’ve admired but as a union representative he has my complete and utter contempt ! His primary concern has always been how much money came rolling into the NFLPA’s coffers by way of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. His concern , if any , was never for any of his peers or the retired players and there have been public statements that can be attributed to the late union chief executive. Meanwhile the fans out there continue to be completely in awe by what they see on the field of play but rarely do they show any real wish to view after the after life of an NFL player and many of the problems that they face. I liken it how the VA (Veterans’Administration), the government and public at large say that they stand behind the troops in their support but most days they wouldn’t give a soldier the time of day much less say hello . Doubt my word ? Then ask yourself this, when was the last time you offered some form of assistance to a returning veteran much less having spent some time with one either at a military facility such as a hospital or VFW lodge ? Go ahead give it a try and let me know what the experience was like ? It may well change your mindset as to how you actually view their plight. I mean the whole world felt aggrieved with the loss of former NFL star Pat Tillman even in the advent of his death being due to friendly fire but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone say what happened in the aftermath as to the coverup concerning his death by the Defense Department and the US Army itself ?

The NFL has long maintained that it cares about the players and their well being but you’d be hard pressed to actually believe that statement . And I do believe that the league as a whole as well as the owners as a fraternity are a bunch of conniving and greedy bastards ! Nothing that they’re liable to say as it relates to the health issues of current and former NFL players can be taken with any type of veracity and the NFLPA for their part will merely act as if their concern has always been that of their union members. What I find galling by this whole travesty has been the utter contempt shown by the league in treating this matter with the seriousness ad dignity it deserves. But instead it continues to sweep the matter under the carpet until the next crisis or incident catches the public’s and media’s attention and then it tends to act in something of a diplomatic manner.

I’d certainly like to think at this juncture some common ground can be found where both the NFL and union can work in conjunction with the medical community as well as academia in thoroughly investigating and looking to safeguard the well being of current and former NFL players not just neurological disorders but also all forms of life threatening injuries that can and are suffered over the course of a player’s career. Rather than then seeing a player being pushed aside then left to fend for themselves and more often than not being egregiously denied benefits that’s rightfully due to them. At present there’s a civil suit filed by current and former players against the NFL as the sole defendant that charges them with gross malpractice , fraud and grand larceny in the denial of benefits due to the plaintiffs , in this case a collective of seventy five current and former NFL players. The suit has been filed within the US Federal Court System in Los Angeles for which a trial date has yet to be set. The plaintffs seek unspecified as well as punitive damages . The NFL and owners for their part haven’t as such issued a public statement concerning the matter but I’ve no doubt that the league’s general counsel in all due time with gave that rather perfunctory statement saying that …..” the plaintiffs’ case is without merit”.

In light of Duane Duerson’s death and the health problems that the player is said to have sustained during his professional post NFL career do you firmly believe that the league and union has done enough with regard to safe guarding the well being and health of the players ? Or do you believe that they’ve simply obfuscated their responsibilities and would rather see the players simply deal with their own health concerns themselves ? Bear this in mind the rate of neurological health issues suffered by NFL players is far higher than the general population at large and when compared to the geriatrics (elderly) the actual rate is almost 33% higher . Cause for concern don’t you think when players in their late thirties and forties in some cases are suffering from the early onset of such afflictions as ALS , Alzheimers’ disease , Parkinson’s disease , epileptic seizures, or CTE or an abundance of other life threatening maladies ? Say what you will but at this juncture but this is no longer an issue that can be swept under the carpet as it has been repeatedly done by both the NFL and NFLPA over the years . It’s time for them to do what’s morally and legally right rather than hiding behind that veil of ignorance and complete stupidity !

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Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter and any other issue you feel is pertinent as it relates to the NFL and this topic . Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

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(1) Dave Duerson (right) is seen here testifying before Congress in June of 2007 . In the background seated is former Dallas Cowboys’ player Darryl Johnston . Duerson’s testimony to Congress dealt with the issues of neurological disorders suffered by current and retired players. He was a stauch advocate also for the rights of players with regard their medical plight , denial of benefits and numerous other health related issues. He was only 50 years old at the time of his death. AP/ Malcolm Warren ……….

(2) Duerson seen here during an game for the Chicago Bears playing against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois . AFP/Reuters / Phil Pressman ………..

(3) Chicago Bears former safety Dave Duerson holds up his drivers’ license during a public tribute to his teammate Walter Payton at Chicago’s Soldier Field in this November 6, 1999 file photo. Duerson, a key member of the team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, has died, police said on Friday. Duerson, 50, was found dead this past Thursday night at his home in Miami, said detective Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Miami Dade Police Department. No immediate cause of death was given. REUTERS/Sue Ogrocki …..

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NFL news

Alan aka tophatal …………………

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DMX ………………. “Slippin”

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Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Can answer be found for the utter stupidity now being shown by both the NFL , the owners and that of the NFLPA . It now appears the line that couldn’t be crossed has been as Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee seems to be now at a point where no one seems to be making any sense. Both sides claim that they want there to be a 2011-12 season but it’s becoming abundantly clear that scenario isn’t about to happen anytime soon. An NFL imposed lockout and labor stoppage will lead to a cataclysmic problem for the NFL from a financial standpoint and that of their major corporate sponsors. It has been estimated that each week of the regular season schedule of the NFL brings in an estimated $ 300 million in gross revenues for the league . And less we forget the postseason reaps an even bigger bonanza for all concerned .

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What might now be a cause for concern will be the fate of the unrestricted free agents that will come to the market in the offseason. Any lockout leaves those players in limbo without an existing contract and as such without a team . And while we know that the NFL Draft will still take place the contention of the league is that process goes ahead without any hindrance. At what point does the idiocy stop with regard to the demeanor of the league’s hierarchy and the union itself. Both parties seem to be self serving and completely oblivious to the image created for the fans . Each side has seen fit to produce their own ads portraying their situation from their own standpoints but in reality the discerning NFL fan out there isn’t concerned with what they want or think. All the fans want to know is that there will be an NFL season to be played rather than a league imposed lockout. And while the House Oversight Committee watches from afar you simply get the feeling that they’d like to wade into this issue and leave their own mark on it all.

Courtesy of ESPN

Roger Goodell: Latest talks ‘beneficial’

ESPN.com news service

Dallas — Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were among the star players who attended a negotiating session between the NFL and players’ union Saturday, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

While it is not unusual for players to occasionally sit in on negotiations, the presence of Manning was a surprise and is an early indication that the union is successfully getting the support of its superstar quarterbacks. During the 1987 players strike and subsequent labor strife, several of the league’s star passers broke union ranks by signing licensing rights with the NFL which weakened the union revenue pool.

Manning was also joined at Saturday’s meeting by Brees, who has been an activist as the team’s player representative. Sources did not reveal if any players spoke during the negotiating session but their presence was considered symbolic, at the very least. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was named the NFL’s MVP on Sunday for the 2010 season, also has been an outspoken pro-union player rep.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the two-hour meeting with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” Goodell said.

“My focus is on the next three or four weeks,” Goodell said. “I’ve often said, our agreement expires on March 4th. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that’s fair for the players, fair for the clubs, and allows our great game to grow for our fans.”

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks. Goodell also addressed the NFL’s labor issues on Sunday in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning”.

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Given Smith’s background and the fact that he worked in DC with the litigation firm Patton Boggs LLC , I’d say that the union’s Executive Director’s circle of friends within Washington could very well be in his corner . The NFL not to be outdone have their own supporters up on Capitol Hill and the very fact that they’ve their body of lobbyists pleading their case there within Congress and the Senate has me believing that the NFL’s hierarchy is in this for the long haul even with the financial mayhem that’s bound to follow. Words fail me at this juncture as to how the two sides can’t seem to find their way to come to an amicable resolution when a $9 billion a year industry is at risk ?

The broadcast networks ABC/ESPN , Fox , CBS and NBC aren’t going to be entirely happy with this outcome should the two sides not be able to come to an amicable solution. From their standpoint they clearly won’t be happy to the fact of the loss tv viewership ad revenue . And let’s not forget the NFL stadiums around the league that will stay empty around the NFL should there be a lockout ? And what might be even more telling would be the loss in terms of the economic impact each week brings to the cities concerned when an NFL game takes place. This situation has become so acute that it’s hard not see there not being a fallout on such a seismic scale that it won’t undercut the economic impact on those communities.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft , Jerry Jones and Woody Johnson of the New York Jets had all provided the public with statements stating they believed that a compromise could be reached . But obviously the league had forgotten to make the owners aware that their private thoughts and their public stance weren’t in line with this triumvirate. In terms of open transparency the NFL is not unlike of that of MLB , NASCAR , the NBA , NHL and MLS in the fact that they never choose to open their finances up for public scrutiny. And with each of these having been given antitrust exemption courtesy of Congress it’s clear to see why the league would rather not let that happen.

The league has sought concessions from the NFLPA requesting a give back initially of $1 billion annually from off the top of the gross revenues over the next seven years . But that’s just the topping for many of the other concessions sought by the owners and Goodell. And it’s easy to see why the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae have been averse to these and many of the other concessions sought by the NFL hierarchy. The league states one thing while the union has another idea as to what the NFL really wants and that’s specifically to add to their coffers while not acquiescing to any additional financial rewards sought by the players.

Courtesy of The Nation

DeMaurice Smith: On an NFL Lockout and Inspiration from Egypt

By Dave Zirin

There is no form of entertainment in this country more popular than football, and there is no one, save Barack Obama, being scrutinized more closely these days than DeMaurice Smith . Smith heads the National Football League’s Players Association—a union that’s being threatened with being locked out unless players give back substantial amounts in wages and agree to lengthen the season to 18 games. NFL players make large sums of money but risk a lifetime of physical debilitation and the average career lasts only 3.5 years. Owners are banking on the fact that players, with their short window to make money, will cave to every demand. Smith is banking on something bigger: a sense of history, sacrifice, and community that’s bigger than sports.

I spoke with Smith last Friday, the day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked away from the table during negotiations. I asked Smith, on a scale of one to ten, whether he felt there would be a lockout. “On a scale of one to ten, it’s still 14,” he said. “We’re preparing our guys for the worst, we’re hoping for the best. I’m going to keep negotiating. We’ve got our guys on standby right now to be virtually anywhere in the country whenever they want to talk. That’s the way we’re going to roll. I’ve told them that we’re going to negotiate day and night until we get it done, but it takes two.”

Smith is negotiating with—or trying to negotiate with—some of the most powerful, politically connected corporate actors in the United States. Their reach truly inspires awe. When the NFLPA produced a television ad in an effort to garner fan support, the networks first agreed and then refused to air it, presumably after pressure exerted by the league. DeMaurice Smith deemed the censorship “stunning.”

You might think, faced with such power, this would make him pessimistic about the prospects for players, but Smith finds himself inspired by events far removed from the world of football.

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If the NFL isn’t prepared to look at their own financial template on a regular basis then how will they be able to recognize the fact that along the way there has to adjustments made that can be dealt with by the interested parties in a manner befitting of each where they actually have trust in one another. And that’s clearly not the case here between the NFL and the NFLPA ! Neither side at this juncture have shown that they can either be trusted much less the fact that they can be openly honest with one another. Each side seeks the public’s empathy and I think that as of now the fans and general public aren’t overly interested in what either side has to say ….. other than perhaps them stating that there won’t be a lockout or labor stoppage .

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Now as an avid fan of the NFL I’ll say this, a lockout would to my mind be a mistake that won’t be of any help to either side . The goodwill that the league and union felt that they had amongst the fans is now hanging tenuously by a single thread . Their mistake is that they’re of the fans believe that they really care ………… the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the fans simply no longer care ! The league and the unions continue shoot themselves in the foot and will continue to do so now for the foreseeable future. The March 4th deadline for both sides to get a deal done before the current collective bargaining expires is not that far off but at the same time both Goodell and Smith act as if they have all the time in the world at their disposal , but it could in reality time is of the essence given the fact that the two sides only met for the second time twice in the last three months trying to work out a deal.

Should there be a lockout within the NFL what thoughts if any do you have and how do you envision this whole scenario panning out ? Simply proffer up your thoughts on the matter .

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has until March 3 to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association and executive director DeMaurice Smith.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt …….

(2) NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFL Players Association press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Scott Halleran / Getty Images North America ……….

(3) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports. Getty Images North America / Brendan Hoffman ………..

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😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

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Eye candy ……….. Rosa Acosta . Doesn’t she make a slice of watermelon look ever so enticing ?

Rosa Acosta 1

What’s not to like about this side of Rosa Acosta ?

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Bones Thugs-N-Harmony …………… “First of The Month”

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The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ………. Long Live The New King ………

The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ………. Long Live The New King ………

Well OK then the ghost of Brett Favre has finally been exorcised from Lambeau Field . And Aaron Rodgers has been able to lead the Green Bay Packers to the ” Promised Land” and that of further notoriety as the team was able to overcome overwhelming odds in defeating the presumptive favorites the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl (SBXLV).

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From an entertainment standpoint this game (31-25) was filled mistakes by both teams as the event played itself out in front of a global audience of hundreds of millions and those entrenched at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas to watch the NFL’s showcase event. And for Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff this was their time to shine as they were able to keep the Steelers in check. For Rogers this has been a season to prove the doubters wrong as to show them that finally the wait as was worth it . The Lombardi Trophy comes home to Green Bay and the NFL has a worthy claimant of the trophy.

Rodgers and his teammates now know that their heroic efforts will be recognized and at the same time the fans there in Green Bay and nationwide know that Favre no longer needs to be the topic of conversation whenever it comes to associating the Superbowl to the organization’s history . And inasmuch as the former Packer is still revered across the NFL , I for one can’t help but feel that he burned some bridges in the way he departed from the Packers and his somewhat laissez-faire approach to the organization where he made his name. This much we do know, the fans in Green Bay now have a new working class hero to look up to, in Aaron Rodgers . But it’d be somewhat inappropriate to suggest that this merely about Rodgers alone as it has been more of a collective effort on the part of this team with such young studs as Clay Matthews , James Starks , Jordy Nelson and others simply stepping up to the plate throughout the regular season and into the postseason itself.

Rodgers stakes claim in Titletown lore with Super Bowl journey

By Albert Breer NFL Network

Dallas , Tx,. — This night wasn’t about Brett Favre.

The Packers said good-bye to the most decorated quarterback in franchise history 30 months prior to the day of Super Bowl XLV, and the Favre questions were really only coming up again for Aaron Rodgers in big moments like the one he had Sunday night. And all that stuff was really superficial anyway, since the shadow Favre casted hardly seemed to have any effect on the rising, young team he left.

But for a brief minute in Cowboys Stadium, still picking confetti out of their hair and with older brother Luke Rodgers toting Aaron’s trademark title belt, those closest to the newest Packers legend let the scars show.

I told both Luke and father Ed Rodgers that for all the things Brett Favre accomplished over his career, No. 4 never won Super Bowl MVP, like the kid from Chico, Calif. just had.

“He didn’t?” Ed said, grinning ear-to-ear. “Oh, I didn’t know that. OK, I like that, though. That’s awesome.”

“I didn’t know that,” Luke responded earlier. “That’s fantastic. Now Aaron’s got one up on Brett.”

If those words have a tinge of edge to them, well, then so be it.

That’s what happens when you see your son or little brother told, for the first six years of his career, more about what he isn’t than what he is. That’s what happens when the kid finally erases that last “isn’t,” leaving only room for what he’s become. And for Rodgers, that’s the biggest star on the game’s biggest stage.

Despite some uneven moments on Sunday night, particularly in the third quarter of the game, Rodgers was, to use his family’s words, awesome and fantastic.

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Throughout much of the season this Packers’ team had been beset by injuries and McCarthy had to literally look to many of the younger and inexperienced players on the roster to put forth their best . In doing so and continually showing faith in those players paid dividends for the Green Bay Packers. And while many had viewed the likes of postseason hopefuls the Atlanta Falcons , Chicago Bears as teams within the NFC that could perhaps have a chance of raising the Lombardi Trophy , the Packers simply played to their strengths never once doubting themselves or the fact that they were good enough not to win.

As an avid NFL fan I simply looked for this to be an entertaining game between two evenly matched teams. In reality however it was a game fraught with errors by both teams as they looked to stamp their identity on the game. Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin was looking to become the youngest coach in NFL history to have won two Superbowls before the age of forty and the organization’s seventh win of the title itself. What transpired was that the Steelers got somewhat complacent and it led to them being too reliant on an aerial attack and for their Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger quarterback having to lead the charge once they found themselves with an eighteen point deficit early in the game . The team responded heartily but you simply got the feeling that it might not be enough as they were never able to fully dictate the pace of the game for any prolonged stretch as the events played themselves out in front of the fans in attendance and the countless tens of millions watching globally.

Now while the NFL can feel proud that once again their brand is in a unique position as an event it has to be said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell now has a great deal on his hands now that the postseason has ended. The league and the NFLPA are no closer to reaching an amicable agreement in their labor negotiations and what might even more surprising to the fans out there is that this past Friday was only the second formal meeting between the two sides to discuss to impasse between the two parties. Don’t you think that the situation itself has become so insane if they’re only meeting as and when they choose to rather than actually getting together with some urgency and hammering out an agreement. Instead we have the various factions either through intermediaries or through their respective leaderships making public statements that give the impression the fans and public in general that an impending labor stoppage isn’t all that far off. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , NFLPA President Kevin Mawae have remained steely eyed and aren’t prepared to budge from their position unless the owners and league are prepared to make a number of concessions.

The collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight March 3rd and it remains to be seen whether or not the two sides will be able to resolve this matter . From the fans’ standpoint if in viewing this Superbowl they’d come to realize that this might just be the last NFL game that they might see in quite a while were there to be a labor stoppage , I’d dare that any goodwill that the the NFL and NFLPA thought it had amongst the fans would readily disappear at the drop of a hat . The sheer stupidity being shown by both sides borders on that of two kindergarten pupils fighting in the sandbox over a toy , only this case the toy in question just happens to be the tens of billions of dollars that are at stake. Multi-millionaire owners and players all fighting over who can have the largest slice of an ever diminishing slice of a pie. Nothing says stupidity than that what we’re now seeing being played out by both sides. The league’s showcase event is meant to be the celebration of the ultimate that the game has to offer but yet there’s still so much acrimony between the two sides !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

For the Green Bay Packers , their fans there in the city of Green Bay , across the state of Wisconsin and nationally this is a time for a great deal of pride and joy. The foundations upon which this organization was built under its first coach Vince Lombardi is still adhered to . And it goes without saying that being one of the NFL’s most storied franchises has given the Green Bay Packers that air of legitimacy and even the appreciation of fans nationwide and deservedly so !

Over the last five years since Rodgers’ introduction to the league it has to be said that he’s dealt with a great deal much of which could have been avoided were it not for the actions of Brett Favre and to a lesser extent that of the front office of the organization. In large part however I think that we can all agree that the primadonna attitude of Favre has been one of a petulant child who wasn’t simply allowed to get his way ! Now the Packers’ fans can appreciate what it is that they have within their midst and simply forget about the histrionics of Favre and all that he brought to the Packers in his latter years with the team. The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ….. Long Live The New King !

What observations if any did you have on this Superbowl ? And as such were you thoroughly entertained by the game itself or did you feel in part that it was something of a letdown ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter and thanks as always for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Dallas , Tx,. February 7th 20011. Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers speaks to the media during a press conference at Super Bowl XLV Media Center on February 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …….

(2) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pose with the MVP trophy after speaking to the media during a press conference at Super Bowl XLV Media Center on February 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……..

(3) Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers celebrates with teammate Josh Sitton (71) after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(5) Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, right, is congratulated by his father Clay Matthews Jr after the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 31-25 . AP Photo/Paul Sancya ………

(6) The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie performs with Slash during halftime of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL …….

(7) The Vince Lombardi Trophy is delivered to the Green Bay Packers by Roger Staubach celebrate winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Perry Knotts/ NFL ……

(8) Green Bay Packers’ Tramon Williams, bottom, fights for the ball during a fumble as Pittsburgh Steelers’ Keenan Lewis and Green Bay Packers’ Sam Shields chases NFL Super Bowl XLV football game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/ Marcio Jose Sanchez …….

(9) Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) runs up field during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL ………

(10) Feb 6, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark (25) during the first half of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium. Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE ……….

(11) Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ……

(12) Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ………….

(13) Aaron Rodgers (12 )of the Green Bay Packers meets with Brett Favre (4) of the Minnesota Vikings after the Packers defeated the Vikings 28-24 at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A sure sign that the torch had been finally passed and the exorcism had began ! Getty Images / Jim Pirsching ……

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NFL news ………..

Green Bay Packers’ news ……

Pittsburgh Steelers’ news …..


😛
Alan aka tophatal ………………………

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Eye candy ………. Veronica Vior . Giddy up now !

Rachel Havanna . Could she be looking for some rear end action ?

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Mint Condition ………….. “What Kind of A Man Would I Be ”
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Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

In all honesty I can say that I thoroughly enjoy my work as a research analyst within the corporate affairs department of a noted law firm . Now having said that in the endeavor of working with a number corporate litigators with regard business incorporations for corporations not just here in the United States but also in their incorporation for overseas. That being said , I’ve always felt that we can learn a great deal about sports be it from an individualistic standpoint or through a team endeavor. By merely just adapting the solid business principles applicable if one adheres to those principles then it does make things a great deal easier. I do feel that we can understand greatly what’s needed to make not only a business successful but also sports organization be it a franchise or an individual in their own respective regimen.

Practice, dedication and applying one’s self to and adhering to that discipline. Over the weekend I wasn’t really able to get in a great deal of watching that much sports as a great deal of my time was spent collating a number of files for work. Having done that I was lucky enough to see a number of sporting events that took place. The World Cup has now reached the knockout stage and all of the bitching and whining isn’t going to hide the fact that the expectations of both England and the USA had failed to be met. In the round of 16, the US fell to a well-disciplined Ghanaian team . Never mind the fact that I’d read within this forum , a number bloggers who had this asinine notion that this Bob Bradley coached team would simply march through Ghana as if they were none existent. Much of the time, when I read such diatribe I can only surmise that much of this comes from the personification of xenophobia rather than anything that has been rationally or well thought out. But a lot of that came about from the fact that those who are actually writing about the subject might not actually know a great deal about the sport.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Sadly for the US team , their journey in the World Cup came to an abrupt end in their 2-1 loss to Ghana , who now proceed on to the quarter finals of the event. The US’s Group C fellow residents, England ,would fail also to make it through to last eight of the World Cup. The Fabio Capello coached team would fail miserably as they were thoroughly outclassed by their most fabled foe and nemesis Germany. Any thought of England reliving the 1966 World Cup Finals would be thoroughly dismissed as they were outclassed by a German team that simply was too much for an English team that lacked the will and creativity to be competitive and win !. What little that the English fans in attendance saw , could only have disappointed. With that being said, Capello had thought that the game hinged on a disallowed goal, was idiotic , from the very outset. Rather than pouncing on the real reasons why his team lacked an effort and it became all the more relevant that the team became completely deflated . As they would succumb to a German that team wanted to win with a great deal of passion and desire. And that was most definitely the case, as they came a away with a thoroughly convincing 4-1 victory over their English counterparts.

Well now that the backbone of the Tampa Bay Rays seems to have been broken about the only thing left was for there to be some discord shown amongst the players. Having seen only mere snippets of the Carlos Zambrano meltdown wherein he berated his teammate Derrick Lee of the Chicago Cubs. Not that I’ve ever been overly concerned with anything that’s allegedly pertinent about the Cubs as this is an organization who simply doesn’t know how to win much less being able to spell the word were you to spot the them the letters W and N ! This is a club whose manager Lou Pinellas’s best years as a manager are behind him. With Zambrano being indefinitely being suspended by GM Jim Hendry and Piniella, it remains to be seen how the Cubs will regroup and reemerge from this all.

Over the weekend we saw the Rays’ B J Upton show us all why he will forever remain an enigma for this organization. All “the talent in the world” but Upton appears to be either a “knuckle head” or someone who just doesn’t seem to care much about the game at times. This was very much evident in the inter-league game between the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks . Rather than chasing down a ball hit in deep left center field ,Upton merely loll gagged as he jogged to the wall made the fielding play and then threw the ball back into the infield . He would later state that he’d misjudged the play and was under the impression that his teammate Jason Bartlett was within easy reach of the ball that would elicit a triple being attained by the Diamondbacks . For the fans who saw this , I can only surmise that for them it was either disgust or the mere fact that they’ve now become use to seeing Upton become lazy and make the most extraordinary of excuses for his lackadaisical play. What might have been more exacerbating was that Rays’ manager Joe Maddon tried to shrug this all off as if it were nothing important. But it was important enough for Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria to see fit to dress down his teammate for his poor play ,decision making and complete lack of effort shown by the out-fielder. And for the notion that this has now all blown over if this is an indication of the meltdown we’re now seeing from a team that can’t seem to put together a series of wins much less score runs. Then before it’s all said and done we could see this team’s season go completely up in smoke.

OK by now, you all know that I am no great admirer of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Neither of these two high ranking officials have shown their wish to acknowledge what has now become more a rather acute topic. And that is the mere fact that players having suffered multiple concussions are now prone to multiple lapses in concentration , loss of memory and severe head pains. Now in the midst of this all with the recent autopsy and medical report concerning former Cincinnati Bengalis’ wide receiver Chris Henry . We’re now being made aware that the player had suffered several head concussions brought on from playing in the NFL . In addition, not only that but the player was said to be a sufferer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). An abnormal bruising of the brain that can lead to mild forms of dementia, losing of one’s speech and in some cases lead to a person’s loss of their motor neuron skills. That being said, the player’s death should now be a great cause for concern, given what we now know from the findings in this medical report.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

WVU doctors: Chris Henry had chronic brain injury


By Vicki Smith Associated Press Writer

Morgantown, W.Va,. (AP) Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter, West Virginia University researchers said Monday.

The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry’s brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, announced their findings alongside Henry’s mother, Carolyn Henry Glaspy, who called it a “big shock” because she knew nothing about her 26-year-old son’s underlying condition or the disease.

Henry died in December, a day after he came out of the back of a pickup truck his fiancee was driving near their home in Charlotte, N.C. It’s unclear whether Henry jumped or fell. Toxicology tests found no alcohol in his system, and an autopsy concluded he died of numerous head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging.

But Bailes, team doctor for the Mountaineers and a former Pittsburgh Steelers physician, said it’s easy to distinguish those acute traumatic injuries from the underlying condition he and Omalu found when staining tiny slices of Henry’s brain.

Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL , have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.

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It appears that for the likes of both Goodell and Smith, this issue is the least bit of importance to them at this very juncture. I have heard it said that Goodell has a great deal on his plate as commissioner of the NFL. From my standpoint the only thing at appears to concern Goodell and Smith….. is the sound of cash falling into the NFL’s coffers and how best the two parties can best disperse of their windfall ! Goodell and DeMaurice Smith haven’t brought it upon themselves to deal with this very issue head on . If anything they both would rather hide behind their ever increasing glib sound bytes on the matter in stating that they’re taking everything under advisement from the very best medical professionals out there. My question to both Goodell and Smith is how much longer will they both carry on with this charade that the NFL and NFLPA are actually doing something proactive about this very matter ? Try pissing in a lake to see how much of a ripple effect is made and there you’ll find your answer as it concerns both the NFL and NFLPA !

Is it me but is the collective IQ of the alleged NBA writers comparable to that of the IQ’s of Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag combined ? I’m not saying that these idiots are absolutely clueless but if their continued speculation is anything to go by then each has their own idea as to where LeBron James’ final destination will be. Let us just say that both Cavaliers’ principal partner Dan Gilbert and the team’s GM Chris Grant had better know how to assemble a team that will complement James prerequisite skills . Up until now, all that James has been given is bare meat and potatoes instead of filet-mignon. In addition, as well we know when it comes eating the main course meat and potatoes does not go down well with Baron de Rothschild 62 vintage champagne. Now there is a great deal of speculation as to where James will ultimately end up. From what we know is that there are at said to be at least six interested parties for James’ services. However, if anything until we ultimately know what the teams are actually prepared to do. We can only prognosticate and debate the MVP’s future and where his future may now lay.

Now the Stephen Strasburg effect is playing its part in bringing out the fans to witness the young phenom’s prowess. I have a word of advice for the Washington Nationals’ fans out there. Now that his arbitration clock is ticking and given the fact that his agent is Scott Boras . Well, three years from now Strasburg may well be no longer be a Washington Nationals’ player. Suffice to say, that the New York Yankees will swoop down to take Strasburg off the Nationals’ hands. I don’t care what you might think but the present Nationals’ team isn’t going anywhere at all. They are simply not good enough in either facets of the game of baseball. Other than Strasburg, there is simply nothing at all worthwhile to look at, on what can be best described as a rather mundane and mediocre team.If you doubt my word simply, look at the box score of the game between the Nationals and Atlanta Braves . Strasburg pitched an outstanding effort for six innings only to see the bullpen waste an opportunity . In the end the NL East division leading Braves would come away with a 5-0 victory from Turner Field , Fulton County, Atlanta , Georgia.

Nationals’ team President Stan Kasten simply knows how to make the customary sound byte but beyond that he has to realize that he’s now facing an uphill battle in hoping to make the young pitcher the centerpiece of their future. If the Nationals cannot place a team good enough to supplement his talents then they might as well give up hope of retaining his services in the future. We know that whatever the New York Yankees simply want, they usually get and without a doubt if they desire Strasburg, much like when a lion stalks its prey before swooping down for the kill .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As I alluded to earlier at the beginning of this piece one can always gauge not only the determination and success of a business entity or sports franchise by the discipline shown by the executives within an organization as it tends to give an indication as to what they aspire to become. A good business much like a good sports franchise has to be good from ground up and from the top down..

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

UB40 …………………” Higher Ground”

Calmer Heads Ought To Prevail ……..But We’re Talking About The NFL and The NFLPA (Players’ Union) Here …….. So What Gives ?

Calmer Heads Ought To Prevail ……..But We’re Talking About The NFL and The NFLPA (Players’ Union) Here …….. So What Gives ?

OK, so this is the showcase weekend for the NFL, as its piece-de-resistance’ , showcase event , as in the Superbowl takes place in the ‘cosmopolitan’ city of Miami ? . Having lived just north of the municipality, I wouldn’t exactly call Miami cosmopolitan ,in the true sense of the word. The city and the large proportion of its residents believe themselves to be entitled and better off than many of their other residents. But that’s a story for another day.

MIiami  Grounds crews prepare the field for the Super Bowl at Sun Life Stadium February 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida. <strong>Super Bowl XLIV (SB XLIV) </strong> between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints will be held tomorrow, Sunday February 7, 2010.  photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Win McNamee  .......
MIiami Grounds crews prepare the field for the Super Bowl at Sun Life Stadium February 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Super Bowl XLIV (SB XLIV) between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints will be held tomorrow, Sunday February 7, 2010. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Win McNamee .......

With countless millions watching nationally and tens of millions worldwide , this is the most watched sporting event in North America. In effect it becomes a proxy ‘national holiday’ for many. And the two participants , the respective representatives of the AFC and NFC will throw down the gauntlet on Sunday evening, as they seek to achieve supremacy and be anointed ‘Superbowl’ champions. The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints are more than deserving of their place in the championship game. And for God’s sake can the ‘Brett Favre apologists either stop whining or simply jump of the damn cliff and follow the other lemmings that might’ve done so already !

A group of New Orleans Saints players pose on the Super Bowl logo at the 50-yard line for a souvenir photograph during football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo  appears  courtesy of Associated Press /  Mark  Humphrey  ......
A group of New Orleans Saints players pose on the Super Bowl logo at the 50-yard line for a souvenir photograph during football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Mark Humphrey ......

For both coaches and their entire staffs this will be something to savor , whether or not it’s their first time or a repeat , as in the case of the Colts . For first year coach Jim Caldwell of the Colts, he seeks to do what only a few men have done in the NFL in their first year as a coach and that’s to raise the Lombardi Trophy to signify that they have won the Superbowl. Caldwell’s counterpart, Sean Payton seeks to achieve his own place in history and at the same time give the residents of the city of New Orleans something to be proud of. This may well be the redemption also that Saints’ owner, Tom Benson seeks. As he’d often been thought of as something of a pariah within the city and its surrounding parishes. That may well have now changed but prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster , let’s just say the sight of Benson within the city and its surrounding area was about as welcoming as a dose of the bubonic plague. Much of that changed once the city underwent the disaster as the nation and the inhabitants rallied around to help rebuild and resurrect the city and residents. Though a lot has been done there is still a great deal more to do.

As to the game itself , I’m not about to prognosticate and make a bold prediction. I’ll leave that to the likes of the ‘guys’ in Vegas and the analysts on tv. Suffice to say, all I’m wishing for is that this will be a highly competitive contest ! And on the day the better team will prevail. Sentiments being what they are, would suggest that some will rally around the Saints and cheer them on to victory. While others will no doubt want to see the Peyton Manning led Colts win their second Supebowl in four years. Manning having won his fourth league MVP award , now looks to cement his legacy and add to the annals of NFL history. Whether or not he’ll achieve that goal, we will know by late Sunday evening . But you can bet that he and his teammates will be looking to make it a certainty. Hoping to make sure that doesn’t happen will be Saints quarterback, Drew Brees , his high powered offense and the veteran presence of Darren Sharper .

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton leads football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo  appears  courtesy of  Associated  Press/ Mark  Humphery  .....
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton leads football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Mark Humphery .....

Now once the game is over and all of the celebrations are to be had. We head into the off-season and all of the uncertainty that’s surrounds it. The ongoing slugfest between the two prinicipla rivals , as in the NFL and the NFLPA (Players’ Union), has left a decidedly and uniquely nasty taste and stench within our midst. One the one hand you have the players wanting, it would seem an even larger slice of an ever diminishing piece of pie. Whereon the other hand you now have the owners and the NFL pleading poverty and the fact that they’re not making as much money as they use to. Pardon me for saying this but when the fu_k have you ever heard of a ‘poverty stricken NFL owner’ ? Well other than that of the ‘Glazer family’ and their less than candor shown, as to their ongoing financial predicament with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United .

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

‘We want an agreement,’ Goodell says

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – DeMaurice Smith slammed a 200-m.p.h. serve into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s end of the court Thursday afternoon when the executive director of the players’ union strongly suggested that the owners would force a work stoppage with a lockout in 2011.

Goodell was far less aggressive with his return in yesterday’s state-of-the-league address at the Broward County Convention Center.

“We want an agreement,” Goodell said. “I think every owner will say the same thing. We want an agreement that is fair to the game, to the players, and will allow us to continue to invest in the game.

“The idea that ownership would be anxious for a work stoppage is absolutely false. You don’t make money by shutting down your business.”

That was much more diplomatic than the message sent by Smith when he met with reporters in the same building less than 24 hours earlier, but Goodell didn’t offer any substantial reasons for optimism on labor negotiations that apparently will lead to a season without a salary cap in 2010.

Smith and the Tennessee Titans’ Kevin Mawae, president of the union, the National Football League Players Association, said the owners had asked the players to take an 18 percent cut in the revenue sharing between the sides.

That contention was among 10 labor questions asked of the commissioner, who had to know the subject would dominate his news conference.

“I will tell you that what we’ve asked for very clearly” is “that when investments are made to grow the game and generate new revenue, they’re given recognition,” Goodell said. “And that will encourage further investment that will hopefully grow [the] pie.”

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NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith and Union President, Kevin Mawae , have pretty much made it clear that if it’s a fight that the NFL wants. Then they’re pretty much prepared to give it to them. As to what form that might take , no one is sure and nor do they welcome it. But it’s pretty much safe to say that the union is prepared for a stoppage and the possibility of a lockout. The last time that happened the NFL was shut down for a few months in 1987. To think that would happen again would send a seismic shockwave across the sporting landscape. And the financial loss to all involved would cost tens of millions of dollars. Never mind that the fans would no doubt feel alienated and betrayed both parties. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , appears to be saying all of the right things but his actions and that of the owners would suggest otherwise. The owners aren’t prepared to acquiesce and give any ground to the union and the same can be said of the union and their view of the situation . For the time being it appears to be a stalemate but somehow , I for one feel that things could get a whole lot nastier before they even give the appearance of getting better. Time is essentially running out for both sides as the deadline set for both sides to reach an agreement is the 5th March. That may well seem a long way off but when measured by the lack of progress that’s been made between both sides. It feels like an eternity or as wide as the Grand Canyon, if you want a meaningful contrast and visual portrayal ?

NFLPA President Kevin Mawae seen here discussing the NFLPA’s involvement with regard to their philanthropic assistance to the strife torn country.

Courtesy of USA Today

NFLPA president Kevin Mawae: ‘What you see this Sunday may not be here in 2011’

FORT LAUDERDALE — No sooner had NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah said during a state of the union Thursday news conference that total league revenue rose to $7.6 billion this past year, than labor strife rhetoric ramped up.

There was NFLPA president Kevin Mawae saying inside meeting room 315 at the Super Bowl media center inside the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center that owners are asking players to take an 18% pay cut and the players’ motto is, “Once uncapped, we’ll never go back.”

The league is less than one month from entering an uncapped 2010 season. If an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached by the end of the 2010 league year in early March, NFL executive director DeMaurice Smith said on a scale of 1-10 that a lockout by owners is a “14.” And once the owners remove the salary cap for this season with restrictions in place, players won’t want to return to a salary-cap mechanism.

“It will be a very difficult task to go back to a capped season,” the veteran Tennessee Titans center said. “I can’t see going back to it. If players can make more than what they can make now in the future, than why would we go back to it?”

It is one of the key questions amid owners demanding the players’ side accept an 18% paycut.

“It’s absolutely that they’ve asked for 18%,” Mawae said. “(New York Giants co-owner) John Mara came out in a meeting last time that they proposed 20% and they won’t budge.

“It’s football. This is the greatest week in the NFL every year. It so happens to be a year when there could be possible labor unrest.

“You don’t want it to overshadow the game. But it’s obviously a part of what’s going to happen in this game. What you see this coming Sunday may not be here in 2011.”

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Tampa Bay Bucaneers former President Gay Culverhouse (R) testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about football brain injuries along with National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (C) on Captiol Hill October 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. A recent NFL study of retired players suggested that N.F.L. retirees ages 60 to 89 are experiencing moderate to severe dementia at several times the national rate. Suffering from cancer and with six months to live, Culverhouse is an advocate for players with brain injuries and testified about her 20 years experience in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Bucaneers former President Gay Culverhouse (R) testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about football brain injuries along with National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (C) on Captiol Hill October 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. A recent NFL study of retired players suggested that N.F.L. retirees ages 60 to 89 are experiencing moderate to severe dementia at several times the national rate. Suffering from cancer and with six months to live, Culverhouse is an advocate for players with brain injuries and testified about her 20 years experience in the NFL. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images North America / Chip Somodevilla ................

Needless to say the fans will start to get pissed , having seen the posturing of both sides and with very little having been accomplished. Kindergarten children have been known to show more resolve than what we’re now witnessing from both sides. Suffice to say, the bickering is ongoing and the only thing we’ve yet to see from either side is the name calling. When asked as to how close they were in reaching an amicable agreement upon a new collective bargaining agreement – Kevin Mawae was heard to say …..’what you see here on Sunday …may not be here in 2011′. With that one statement it’s pretty safe to say that averting a lockout, will not be happening. If an agreement can’t be reached in principal and they somehow do seek to play this upcoming season. Then it will be done without the NFL mandated salary cap. Without one in place then it petty much gives the wealthier teams around the NFL ‘carte-blanche’ to go after whomever they want and pay a player whatever they may well seek in terms of a salary. Financial constraints simply goes out the window and the mayhem ensue thereafter. If it’s one thing that we learned when the salary cap first came into being within the NFL. It was that it leveled the playing field and it made the teams and their general managers fiscally responsible. A return to the days of old and the chaos and mayhem that comes with it all , will no doubt add to the complexity of an already exacerbated situation.

If there’s one thing that we know about both the NFL and the NFLPA , it’s that they can both be inconsistently consistent as to a stance taken and then seemingly in the next breath do an about face and act as if the first stance taken by them never happened to begin with. And we’re now seeing it happen as each side is trying to portray themselves as a victim. Whilst I’m watching this unfold it has somewhat given me something of a new found respective for Bud Selig , the MLB hierarchy and that of their own MLBPA (Players Union). At least with each of the parties there , I could tell that they were blowing smoke up my ass , even if it wasn’t being done intentionally ! With the case of both the NFL and NFLPA , they would have you believe that they are sincere in trying to resolve their situation amicably and at the same time stay in the good graces of their patrons, the fans. Truth be known ? Neither party gives ‘a flying fu_k’ what the fans think to begin with because in their eyes it’s about what ‘they want’ , ‘their needs’ and how best it gets achieved !

While we’d all like to see an agreement reached that’s equitable for all of the parties concerned. It’s becoming abundantly clear that there could very well be labor unrest this off-season within the NFL. And if that does happen and there’s a lockout and stoppage. Then for all sense and purpose the NFL and its players can in effect say goodbye to the last piece of goodwill that it had amongst the fans.

Far be it for me to suggest that both the NFL and NFLPA should resort to the ‘ Chicago Way’. But it seemed to have worked for Eliot Ness and his Untouchables.

tophatal

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The  <strong>  always sensuous  <em> ravishing , captivating </em> and  sexually  alluring Italian  actress    Monica  Bellucci </strong>  .   There aren't   too  many  actresses  around  with  her   sort  of   <strong> sex  appeal </strong>   by  far  !
The always sensuous ravishing , captivating and sexually alluring Italian actress Monica Bellucci . There aren't too many actresses around with her sort of sex appeal by far !

No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

Am I completely mistaken but isn’t the US Congress meant to intervene in labor disputes that are of national security or when it comes sensitive areas within the US economy ? Then why oh why is that we’re now seeing both sides of the NFL hierarchy under its Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as the NFLPA (Union) convening with Congress up on Capitol Hill, in order to get them to mediate or at least in part be an arbitrator in their ongoing unrest with regard to the present ‘collective bargaining agreement ? Having Congress intervene in this is akin to witnessing the idiocy of the legislation passed with regard to the ‘stimulus bil’l. Which has so far cost the taxpayers $787 billion at last count. Never mind the fact that both GM and Chrysler had a piece of the ‘proverbial pie’. And the public in general has yet to see anything tangible from this all.

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA is itching for a confrontation with his counterpart, Roger Goodell. And with the owners having opted out of the present collective bargaining agreement. It will now create a chasm whereby the 2010-11 season will become one , that is an uncapped season. Now what this does around the NFL, may well give the suggestion that both sides do indeed know exactly what they’re doing. But it is becoming increasingly clear that this has nothing to do with the agreement itself but more to do with who maintains the balance of power within the NFL. It is more to do with who controls the purse strings as to the $ 8.7 billion a year industry that the NFL is said to to represent globally in terms of the NFL’s business interests. A tidy sum to say the very least and with the greed of both sides said to be unabated . I’m guessing that this could very well lead to one of those confrontations up there on Capitol Hill that will have more to do with posturing by not only the NFL hierarchy and the unions. But also from the legislators who are empaneled on the House Judiciary Committee and who are hearing from both sides on the issue. With the meetings likely to be carried by C-Span , it should make for some very interesting viewing.

NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell.  The  commissioner  this  week   went  to  Capitol Hill  to  address  members  of  the  House  Judiciary  Committee  who  were  empaneled  to  look  into  the  increasing  unrest  between  the  NFL  and   the  NFLPA  (union).  The  two  sides   are   looking  to  stave  off   an  envisaged  lockout.  Moreover ,  the  2010-11  season  will  be  an   uncapped  one  because  the  NFL  and   their  owners  opted  out   of  the  'collective  bargaining  agreement'   that  was  in  place.      photo appears  courtesy  of   ap/ Marc  Gilbert  ...................
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner this week went to Capitol Hill to address members of the House Judiciary Committee who were empaneled to look into the increasing unrest between the NFL and the NFLPA (union). The two sides are looking to stave off an envisaged lockout. Moreover , the 2010-11 season will be an uncapped one because the NFL and their owners opted out of the 'collective bargaining agreement' that was in place. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Marc Gilbert ...................

Courtesy of The New York Times

Mara cites lack of progress in talks

By Judy Battista , The New York Times

The Giants co-owner John Mara said Tuesday he was resigned to an uncapped season in 2010 and thought the union and owners might be moving further apart in talks toward a new labor agreement.

Mara was one of the owners who took part in the 11th negotiating session with union leaders in Washington on Tuesday. He is the first owner to speak extensively since negotiations began.

An uncapped year would have no salary limits or floors for teams and would begin in March. It would also start the clock ticking toward a lockout starting in March 2011.

Mara said he still had hope that a lockout could be averted.

“I don’t think we’re making any progress,” Mara said in a telephone interview. “We made a proposal in early November. I don’t think we’ve received a meaningful counterproposal. The point that we try to make to them is that the costs and risks are much greater than they ever have been. Especially in this economy. I don’t think there has been enough of a recognition on their part of that concept.”

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NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting  with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo  appears  courtesy  of ap/ Alex Brandon   ........
NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Alex Brandon ........

There’s no doubt in my mind that the NFL as well as the union are looking to usurp each others’ powers as much as they can. It’s not as if either side has the fan’s best interests at heart to begin with. Goodell for his part wants to prove to the fans and public in general that he’s a strong and very determined commissioner. His sometime autocratic rule has chafed the rationale of Smith and it has to be said that DeMaurice Smith does have some reason to feel aggrieved with many of Goodell’s findings and edicts , as of late. How this all will play out also, may well have to do with who wields the ‘biggest stick’ at the end of the day. Both sides no doubt have their lobbyists up there on Capitol Hill, who are hard at work trying to lay out the case for their client. As to why ‘both’ the NFL and NFLPA should see fit to have lobbyists working on their behalf in Washington , merely suggests that this has more to do with being seen to have the power to get legislation passed that is of benefit to each of the respective parties in question. And for the NFL this amounts to their anti-trust exemption status.

Is it me but are the members of the House Judiciary Committee such a dull and boring group of individuals ? Perhaps none more so than the committee chairman himself, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) .This guy makes Pat Robertson seem like a lively, well versed intellectual and then some !. But then again, that’s not saying much about Robertson , given his ‘vile remarks’ aimed towards the Haitian people in the aftermath of the recent earthquake there. Hopefully there’s a f_cking hot place in hell waiting for his racially bigoted a_s !

All of the posturing in the world won’t help change anything if neither side is willing to acquiesce to the others’ wishes . As to what Congress, in this case can do to ramp down the rhetoric between the two sides and force an agreement that is equitable for both parties remains to be seen. I’d certainly like to think that there are far more important domestic issues that need to be addressed , rather than seeing the House Judiciary Committee meet with two sides who are more self absorbed about their own PR images than they are about getting things done. And at the same I’d certainly like to think that DeMaurice Smith can be proactive in addressing the issue as to the conduct of his members. Especially in the case of their off the field behavior. For the NFL and in particular the owners , theirs now is a thankless task as they seemingly don’t viewed as being greedy . But yet with this lone move in the rescinding of an agreement that they’ve failed to honor. How must it look to the fans and general public to begin with ? Surely the owners and the Goodell’s office had to have foreseen that there would be an economic downturn of sorts ? Never mind how acute it has now become. It’s all about planning and getting your ducks all lined up in a row. Instead they’ve feasted on the largess of the fans and the public over the years while growing extremely wealthy from all of their business dealings and maneuvers. The average value of an NFL franchise has increased exponentially over the last decade. In fact it has increased in excess of 25 % over that period. Pardon me for saying this but if they’re now claiming poverty then there’s something indeed wrong with the business template under which the NFL now works .

In November of last year, I wrote an article entitled ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free’ ! The piece in question, went on to suggest how I felt that many of the US owners who had made the foray into owning an English soccer club within the Premiership (EPL), were in fact no better than that of disgraced financiers Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In each case it has led to the demise of their respective financial empires and the loss of untold billions of dollars for their prospective clients. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, while Stanford awaits trial through the US Federal Court System.

Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......
Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......

It has been well chronicled that the Glazer family having bought Premiership side Manchester United had hoped to carry on the same undoubted success the team has come to be known for over the past quarter of a century. Their unparalleled success with manager, Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm has made the team ‘the most glamorous and most valuable sports franchise in the world’ .

Initially the purchase was met with a great deal of skepticism and the fact that the family used very little money of their own in the purchase, should’ve been enough of an indication that they were being capricious and overwhelmingly disingenuous as to their overall intentions concerning the team. They leveraged the team buy borrowing against its assets in order to facilitate the purchase . The price at the time was in excess of $1.255 billion including fees. Four years on into the ownership by the family , ticket prices have risen in excess of 45% and the team is laden with a debt in excess of $1.11 billion . As to what that would suggest as to the business acumen of the family , is that they’re nowhere competent enough to be running a sports franchise. With Malcolm Glazer, as the patriarch now handing over the reins of running the club to his sons, Byran , Joel and Avram Glazer. It was felt their custodianship of the club would be in safe hands. At this juncture that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson seen here in a CNN interview discussing his famed managerial career. Ferguson is the most successful soccer coach in Premiership history. Prior to his ascending to the position as manager on Manchester United , he also assembled a successful resume’ as coach of Scottish Premier League team Aberdeen FC.

Courtesy of The Guardian UK

Manchester United’s sales pitch is far from a premium bond

The Glazer family’s attempt to raise money to pay off massive debts paints a bleak picture of Manchester United’s future

By David Conn , The Guardian

When navigating the thunderously depressing proposal by the Glazer family to load Manchester United with £500m of debt for the third time since their takeover in May 2005, it helps to imagine where United might be had the Glazers never turned up in the first place, to buy the glory, glory club with all their borrowed millions.

Before engaging with Sir Alex Ferguson’s remarkable contention that United’s finances, laden with borrowings over £700m and £67m interest payable last year, are “of no concern at all”, recall what the United board itself said at the time. When Malcolm Glazer and his six children – who, we now know, have borrowed £10m from United – launched their takeover bid, the board, which included the current chief executive David Gill, expressed vehement opposition to it.

Echoing the concerns of the well-informed United fans’ campaign, the board warned that the Glazers’ business plan was “aggressive”, and that the proposed structure for the club “still contains more leverage [debt] than the board would consider prudent and that as a consequence there is likely to be significant financial strain on the business.”

Despite that, the Glazers bought the club for £810m, a fortune pocketed greedily by enough shareholders in what was then Manchester United plc. The Glazers paid £270m themselves, borrowing the other £540m from banks and hedge funds. In the four years up to the latest accounts to 30 June 2009, United became liable to pay more than £325m in interest alone, yet the interest they have not paid, plus fees, has increased the debt the Glazers loaded on to United to £700m.

United, and Ferguson, now argue it is all fine, the club are not constrained by that debt mountain and the board was therefore wrong in its warning back then. Ferguson said last week that the windfall from the £81m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo is there for him to spend, but he does not want to because the market is overpriced. That assertion has been rather undone by the prospectus, which sets out the plan to transfer £70m cash from United to one of the Glazers’ holding companies, partly to pay off the hedge funds which charge swingeing 14.25% interest.

Now imagine how United might look without the Glazer debt. True, as a plc – the Stock Market listing which football executives now agree was a failed experiment, despite defending it zealously at the time – United paid dividends to shareholders. Yet even allowing for the increase in turnover, from £171m to the most recent £278m, the 2004 dividend was £7m, nothing like the mountain of interest, £42m to banks, £25m to hedge funds, with which the Glazers have burdened United.

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With the team now ‘hemorrhaging red ink’ all over its balance sheet , it has to be said that the Glazers have been completely inept in their running of the team. On the field they still continue to have success but there mere thought that they’re now being brought to brink of bankruptcy is enough to send shivers down the spine of entire Premiership (EPL). Never mind the fact that the family’s other sporting interest, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is now undergoing a change in its persona as well as in terms of its executive and coaching structure. First time GM, Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris have been thrust into the deep end . With the firing of their predecessors Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden. The team underwent a less than stellar season in the NFL, posting a 3-13 record in the NFC South. And with the front office being reluctant to spend money in attracting talent to the team . It is understandable why the franchise is now in such a dire predicament. They aren’t in the slightest bit interested in being a serious contender within the NFL and both Morris and Dominik are merely paying lip service with their inane comments to begin with. They’re fully aware as to the financial dilemma and maelstrom that the organization is now in. The Glazers will do whatever they can to ‘pay the piper’ in order to try and stave off financial bankruptcy. They have been far too secretive as to their financial dealings and their present situation.

Raheem  Morris (second from the right)  is  seen here  alongside    Edward  and  Brian Glazer (center)  with   Joel  Glazer   far   right.    Left   is  Buccaneers'  GM,  Mark  Dominik .    photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images /  Paul  Mason  .....................
Raheem Morris (second from the right) is seen here alongside Edward and Brian Glazer (center) with Joel Glazer far right. Left is Buccaneers' GM, Mark Dominik . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Paul Mason .....................

The latest ploy by the Glazers initiated by Malcolm’s sons, is have a bond issue, in order to pay off some of the mounting debt and accruing interest that’s owed to their creditors. But herein lies the rub, the family is asking that United players participate in the exercise in order to show good faith, to try to elicit fans, as well as members of the public and public institutions into entering the endeavor. If they can’t be trusted to keep the club in a healthy financial state then why should it be incumbent on the players to participate in this maneuver ? If anything Bryan, Joel and Avram are looking to save their own asses as they to try not to embarrass the family any further with the sheer ineptitude shown by them when it comes to their financial dealings and business acumen, as it not only relates to the soccer club but also to their NFL franchise.

It is hoped that the NFL hierarchy as well its board of governors are keeping a watchful eye on the Glazer family and their dealing with both sport’s franchises within their custodianship . If one should fail then there’s no reason to believe why the other can’t be placed in a similar predicament.

In order to read ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor ……It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free’ ….click here.

The  always  delectable   Vida   Guerra  .  More  than  willing  to  aspire to  meeting  a  man's   many   needs  and  then  some  !
The always delectable Vida Guerra . More than willing to aspire to meeting a man's many needs and then some !

No Habla Espanol …………….

No Habla Espanol

Surprising enough listening to the NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell address the House Judiciary Committee recently,was like listening to a Caucasian trying to have a conversation with a Spanish speaking native in their native tongue. Goodell’s command of the English language was a hideous embarrassment. With his double-speak and the fact that the NFL hierarchy has become so secretive that it makes Opus Dei seem like the transparency shown by the Klu Klux Klan. But in essence, we should expect no more different from an individual tries to appear to be all things to all people. The commissioner’s appearance up on Capitol Hill was to address a very acute issue, that somehow the commissioner and the NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have been averse to deal with it head on. And that is the issue of players current and past, who’ve suffered from repeated numerous concussions on the football field. And if that wasn’t enough with the country in apparent uproar of health-care reform and the fact that the government is about to change the parameters of that very issue. By possibly pursuing a public option, it will bring about a situation wherein the government essentially enters the health-care market. What people seem to forget, is that they already are doing so. Now if the question being raised is whether or not they can operate better in this field than the private enterprises . Then, there you have the veracity of a case for an argument that can be made.

Goodell meets with Congress in a scheduled meeting with the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol, Hill, Washington D.C.,.

The NFL and the NFLPA would have you believe that they have the players’ best interests at heart on this very issue. But the fact of the matter is, that both parties have failed odiously on this very issue to address it head on. Over the years there have inexplicable situations where former players have been unable to attain benefits due to them and what is even more incredulous has been the undeniable fact the NFL appears to be oblivious to the issue. They’ve skirted around it for years even when former players have made numerous calls to Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue. Their failures , have made this very issue all the more transparent that the NFL’s sole goal is the chase after the ‘Almighty Dollar’ and the expense of their players and very little else. Inasmuch, the same thing was stated by Smith’s own predecessor Gene Upshaw and his odious rant that’ ………the players then, aren’t my concern but today’s players are! As they’re the ones making the money for the NFL’ . If that’s not a damning indictment of the league and the union. Then can someone tell me please what is ?

Courtesy of The New York Daily News :

Congress slams NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about NFL’s head trauma policy …..

By Wayne Coffey Daily News Sports Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Like a quarterback facing a game-long blitz, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the nation’s richest professional sport absorbed a barrage of hits on Capitol Hill Wednesday, when a hearing on football head injuries produced sharp questioning and a finger-jabbing accusation from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Waters, whose husband played in the NFL, was particularly incensed when Goodell refused to acknowledge a direct link between football and brain-trauma injuries.

“I believe you are an $8 billion organization that has failed in your responsibility to the players,” Waters said. “I know that you dearly want to hold on to your profits. I think it’s the responsibility of Congress to look at your antitrust exemption and take it away.”

The league’s antitrust exemption, established in 1961, cleared the way for owners to reap billions in television revenue.

The hearing – convened by the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) – was held before an SRO crowd in the Rayburn Office Building, among them two NFL Hall of Famers, Willie Wood and Jim Brown.

Wood, the former Packers defensive back, was in a wheelchair. Brown, perhaps the greatest running back in history, walked with a cane.

The hearing was called in the wake of a recent NFL-commissioned survey that revealed that retired NFL players may suffer from such irreversible brain diseases as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and dementia, at rates far greater than the general population. Conyers said it was time for the committee to do “an expeditious and independent review all of the data.”

The league has steadfastly downplayed the validity of any studies indicating a connection between playing football and the incidence of brain disease, maintaining that its own recent survey was widely misinterpreted.

Christoper Nowinski, a former Harvard football player and professional wrestler, is the founder of the Sports Legacy Institute and co-director of Center For the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University. He testified about his own years of concussion-related problems, while his colleague, Dr. Ann McKee, reported that she found “severe” brain damage in all 11 of the postmortem studies she has made of former pro and college football players.

“I am constantly surprised by the NFL’s reaction to evidence that is overwhelming that we have a serious public-health crisis on our hands,” Nowinski said.

Goodell repeatedly defended the league’s actions and policies, saying he had spent more time and attention to the issue of brain injuries to NFL players than any issue in his time as commissioner.

Click here to read further ……………….

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The league has conducted its own investigations into concussions and head traumas suffered by NFL players and the their aftermath. But as of yet , they’ve yet to make their findings public. However, a number of universities have conducted similar studies their own investigations into the issue at the behest of former NFL players and a number of insurance concerns. Much of which had repudiated earlier claims that were being made by the NFL. The real issue however , may well be why the NFL has failed to deal with this very acute issue ? The thought would be that the health of its players would be paramount to the well being of the game and its viability ? But then again, when the feeder system for your non ending talent pool, is that of the collegiate game. Then one would guess that this sole issue would be not be of paramount importance to the league.

Much of what Goodell and Smith have stated here has only recently enacted done in the last ten months . What of prior to this period in time ? As I alluded to earlier, it’s been nothing more than mere double-speak on both of their parts.

The indifference shown by the league has been incredulous and what has proven to be even more exacerbating has been the very fact that we’ve not heard any current NFL player come out openly and comment on the issue. It’s as if they’re of the opinion that this doesn’t concern them . Moreover , it’s unlikely that they’d ever suffer such a trauma on or off the field of play. One of the bye products of a concussion suffered on the field is the very real possibility of there being long suffering and lingering long term problems for the victims. The possibility that down the line there’s a chance of possibly a player being in the first early stages of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is a very disturbing scenario. Anyone whose seen the result of this very debilitating disease ,surely knows that the suffering is a constant one . And most certainly, it leaves its victims in a place of not being cognizant of what’s happening around them. Much less, being able to hold an oral line of conversation with anyone and then being able to respond with some semblance of clarity.

Courtesy of USAToday.com:

Goodell grilled by Congress on head injuries, won’t admit link

WASHINGTON (AP) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would not acknowledge a connection between head injuries on the football field and later brain diseases while defending the league’s policies on concussions before Congress.

Under sometimes-contentious questioning from lawmakers — and suggestions about reconsidering the league’s lucrative antitrust exemption — Goodell sat at a witness table Wednesday alongside NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith.

Both men agreed to turn over players’ medical records to the House Judiciary Committee.

Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., asked Goodell whether he thinks there’s an injury-disease link. Goodell responded that the NFL isn’t waiting for that debate to play out and is taking steps to make the game safer.

“I just asked you a simple question. What is the answer?” persisted Conyers.

Goodell replied by saying a medical expert could give a better answer than he could.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., whose husband played in the NFL, asked Goodell how the league was addressing the welfare of retired players during current collective bargaining negotiations with the union.

Goodell said that it’s a “priority for the owners and players to take better care of our retired players,” but Waters cut him off, demanding specifics.

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So what now , you may ask ? Will the NFL and the NFLPA be proactive on this issue ? Or will they just cast it aside as so often has been done , with them issuing the statement that they will address it at some time in the future ? Much like any other business entity where image is everything. The NFL is no different than any other – other than the fact that in their field of operation they’re the only game in town. And they will continue to act and do as they please because they’ve no opposition within their field of endeavor. Or from the federal government as a matter of fact as they too have been culpable in ignoring the plight of present and former players in the NFL , in this regard. Now being the only game in town and with this issue being of a very delicate nature. There has to be something that the NFL can do at this juncture ? Rather than hiding behind that veil of secrecy and outright denial.