The Life You Lead and the Road Less Traveled

The Life You Lead and The Road Less Traveled ….

With the NFL Postseason having come to an and with it being a glorious celebration with the Kansas City Chiefs wining Superbowl LIV . Patrick Mahomes joined a select group of players to have won the Superbowl MVP and League MVP , though not in the same season within a three-year span of having entered the league. Mahomes excelled during the regular season with his play and he truly stepped up to the plate during the postseason .

Patrick Mahomes and his teammates were truly invigorating in their defeat of the San Francisco 49ers . For Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid , this was a tremendous achievement , after his years of trying to reach the pinnacle of the NFL. Reid has now taken two teams to the Superbowl , won two conference titles and multiple division titles with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. From my own perspective , Reid can now take this Chiefs’ franchise to even greater heights than any of his predecessors including the venerable Hank Stram .

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During this off-season , it will be interesting to see how the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office will deal with the free agents on the roster as well as positioning themselves with regard to the upcoming NFL Draft as well as their positioning with the salary cap . Leigh Steinberg , agent for Patrick Mahomes knows that he can negotiate a revamped deal for his budding NFL superstar , with the chance that Mahomes could very well become among
the highest paid players in the league.

There were several teams who failed miserably over the course of the NFL season , with perhaps none more so than the Cincinnati Bengals . Though some might say the Cleveland Browns were equally abysmal with Baker Mayfield proving how over-hyped the quarterback has been , albeit that he could share the same ignominy of Jamies Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his erratic play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . One thing that is clear , several franchises will be in need of a quarterback for the upcoming season and the likelihood with several veteran free agents on the market , notably Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Philip Rivers , there could be some major changes on the way. Joe Burrow appears to be overall consensus number one overall pick in this upcoming Draft and I seriously doubt that the Bengals’ front office will pass on a player of his caliber , given his play on the national championship winning team of LSU (Tigers) .

In the aftermath of the fallout from the Houston Astros and their spectacular fall from grace , it has to be said that the MLB hierarchy’s handling of the situation was swift and exact . Furthermore , team owner Jim Crane immediately fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow . Crane has moved ahead with the hiring of Dusty Baker to succeed Hinch and the hire of James Click , a former front office executive with the Tampa Bay Rays to succeed Jeff Luhnow . It would appear that the Astros are now in a position to embark on a new chapter within the franchise’s history .

The world of baseball is still in shock , with some of the game’s most prominent players not said to be completely satisfied with the punishment meted out to the Houston Astros’ organization. From my own perspective , I feel that the steps taken by MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred , were more than justified and it sets an example for the rest of the teams within the league as to the dangers of cheating .

If you’ve provided a great deal of success for a team that you have played for ever since your very first game for the franchise , then you would expect to be compensated accordingly. That doesn’t appear to be the case for Mookie Betts , an All Star player for the Boston Red Sox and the ball-club’s most recent recipient of an ALMVP Award . Betts and the Red Sox front office seem to be miles apart in the renegotiation his existing contract which has a year to run and with the player due $27 million for the upcoming 2020 MLB season .

There are said to be at least two interested parties wishing to acquire Mookie Betts , with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres said to be those two leading ball-clubs vying for his services. The Dodgers for their part can offer up several players, while committing themselves to adding Betts’ final year to their already burgeoning payroll and likelihood of committing themselves of being penalized by way of the luxury tax threshold of $200 million if necessary. . It will be interested to see what the Dodgers can achieve with Mookie Betts and David Price , with the news now emanating that the Red Sox have relented and sent these two players westwards to Los Angeles . The Dodgers with these two acquisitions would have to be considered for the NLCS in 2020. with the depth of their roster overall .

With the Opening Day for the MLB season beginning on 26th March , 2020 and it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare through the first month of the season . The Los Angeles Dodgers’ regular season opener will see the team face the San Francisco Giants , their NL West divisional rivals .

It will be hard to suggest which team in the AL can be seen as a viable favorite for the ALCS in 2020. The New York Yankees , Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins were the only three teams to have notched over 100 wins this past season . All three were divisional champions and it will be interesting to see if either can repeat that feat , given the changes made to the respective rosters and payrolls . For the Yankees , their continued to pursuit of a twenty-eighth World Series’ title remains ever present in the minds of their fans as well as the Steinbrenner family as the owners of baseball’s most revered franchise . New York’s last victory in the World Series came by way of the managerial talents of Joe Girardi , as he led them to victory over the Philadelphia Phillies . New York’s manager Aaron Boone and this largely talented team will be looking to guide the franchise to another postseason berth with another title in mind. Their season will begin with a game the Baltimore Orioles , in a contest being played on the road against their AL East divisional rivals.

Aaron Boone will undoubtedly be tested over the course of the season , with the continued impatience among the fans of the New York Yankees. With the team having several All Stars on the roster , these players will have to play to the best of their abilities over the course of this season . The likes of Giancarlo Stanton , among the highest paid player on the team alongside Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge will be looking to have a great season in 2020. Gerrit Cole , the starting pitcher acquired during this off-season will debut for the Yankees , likely leading their starting roster of pitchers. . If Cole is the Opening Day Starter against the Orioles , it will be interesting to see how the player fares against Baltimore .

Is there any chance that Derek Jeter as the newest New York Yankees ‘ Hall of Fame inductee will be able to see the Miami Marlins actually compete this season within the NL East ? It has been several years since the ball-club last played in the postseason and several years since the finished either as a runner-up or division winner within the division.

The Miami Marlins have gone from being franchise with a great farm system to an after-thought and laughing stock around the game of baseball. Not even under the managerial acumen of Don Mattingly and his staff , has the ball-club to achieve anything of note. Suffice to say another sub-par year now awaits the Marlins after their 57-105 record of last season . . This season if nothing else , Jeter and team managing partner , Bruce Sherman will be expecting a great deal out of this team heading into the season. . On assessing the team’s roster and the fact the payroll is among the lowest in the league , something of a trait the ball-club has followed for a number of years . This continues to be the mantra that they’ve followed for several years heading into 2020 . The Marlins’ regular season opener will see the team face the Philadelphia Phillies at home .

We’re heading into the NBA All Star Game which takes place this upcoming week and with the teams having not fared too well at this juncture in the lead-up to this big mid-season event. The Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the league , and the team is the only franchise to have hit the forty victory mark . Current League MVP and captain of the World Stars , when they face the domestic NBA Stars of the league as Giannis Antetokoumnpou will lead that roster of World Stars . Antetokounmpou once again leads the Brewers in offense and has been the focal point of a franchise once again looking to meet expectations . Milwaukee has a mere handful games before the All Star Break , with their next game being against the Philadelphia 76ers , a team which is clearly over-matched in this contest to my mind with their players being nowhere as talented as the Bucks.

With the aftermath and the death of Kobe Bryant , there has been a giant shadow cast over the NBA and specifically the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise , with the organization as well as the fans players alike in a complete state of shock. For Lakers’ premiere players LeBron James and Anthony Davis , it has been a devastating for both All Stars. While I believe that the franchise can overcome this tragedy , it remains to be seen how the players will acquit themselves in the coming months . They are clearly the best team within the Western Conference by a wide margin , but the regular season being what it is . It’s a playoff run which really determines great champions and the players themselves . LeBron James knows this to be true given his playoff record in the NBA. Over their next ten games , it will be interesting to see how the Lakers will fare in those upcoming contests . Their upcoming game against the Golden State Warriors on the 8th February .

If the Los Angeles Lakers are said to be having problems, then one equate the continued problems of the New York Knicks as one of their very own making over the past ten years at least. . The fact that the franchise’s last appearance in the NBA Playoffs took place during the 2012-13 season should tell you all you need to know about the Knicks and their continued dire straits . The team’s roster as it now stands isn’t overly impressive and when compared to the other franchises in the conference and league overall , there’s the feeling that the front office under GM Scott Perry , team owner James L Dolan and the coaching staff of Mike Miller have completely lost their way . Up next for the New York Knicks will be a game against the Detroit Pistons on the road against an Eastern Conference rival . The New York Knicks remains the most valuable franchise in the NBA and among its most profitable , purely based from the fact they’re in the nation’s largest ad-market . Beyond that, there’s nothing remotely significant about the organization and its current destination at this juncture.

What if anything, would you like to see happen in the coming weeks within the world of sports and which recent stories have held your attention the most ?

Tophatal 02/07/2020………….

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NFL news …

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MLB news ….

MLB schedule 26th March Opening Day …

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Stupid is as stupid does and no one does it better than the NFL now , with the exception of the Federal Government …

Stupid is as stupid does and no one does it better than the NFL now, with the exception of the Federal Government …

Take nothing away from the incompetency of the NFL but Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice ” affair” and the actions of the Baltimore Ravens’ front office has left a great deal to be desired , along with the lack of a response from the hierarchy of the NFLPA and many of their most senior members . It seems rather idiotic, certain team owners are coming to defense of the NFL Commissioner , one of whom is Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones , who finds himself as a defendant n a civil suit, in a complaint filed by a female, who claims she was sexually harassed by the high-profiled publicity seeking owner. Jones and his legal representatives deny the claims of the plaintiff, dismissing them as nothing more than a nuisance suit and annoyance from someone seeking monetary compensation in a frivolous claim. Of late, there have been far too many negative stories encapsulating the NFL concerning the misdeeds of players , league executives and owners. Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay in a plea deal with State Attorney General’s Office in Carmel , California, had his DUI case pled down to a misdemeanor , with his serving no jail time, simply paying a fine and accepting to do community service.

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The San Francisco Forty Niners are now having to deal with the negative publicity surrounding defensive player Ray McDonald , his attacking his pregnant fiancee’, and punching her in the face and head. McDonald has admitted his guilt, hitting his fiancée and with the case now under investigation, it seems staggering that Niners’ CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke believe that the legal path of the issue has precedence over many punishment the franchise might deem appropriate in leveling against the player. The public outcry against the Forty Niners has been widespread, with the print and television media pointing to the hypocrisy of the statements made by Baalke , York and head coach Jim Harbaugh concerning the matter. Needless to say, other than the few curt words by McDonald, it has been left to his legal representatives to plead the case for their client.

Over the past eighteen months Roger Goodell’s decisions have become as equally baffling, as has his tenure since succeeding Paul Tagliabue as the NFL Commissioner. Needless to say, the calls for his being asked to step down have been growing but he has the clear support of many of the NFL’s most high-profiled owners including Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft , Steve Bisciotti , Woody Johnson , Daniel Snyder , Steve Ross , Dean Spanos and Pat Bowlen . I can only surmise the owners feel Goodell in spite of his mistakes can and will learn something from this episode while seeking to be more communicative and providing more leadership as the league’s highest-ranking executive. Based on his current and past record , I do not believe we are likely to see a vast improvement in how the commissioner handles such issues and that includes the NFL’s ongoing legal issues with current and older veterans and the issue of head trauma cases and their continued action of seeking legal recourse.

The league and Players’ Union (NFLPA) behind a closed door deal with the plaintiffs’ attorneys , were not only audacious, but smacked of greed, with many of the plaintiffs not being made aware of the negotiations at the time when the case was being litigated in the US Federal Court . Yet, at the end of it all, there was Goodell suggesting the case and the settlement in question was a just one. Thankfully, a US Appellate Court Judge threw out the settlement , issuing a statement that the final compensation figure was in fact far too low , asking that the league furnish him with more details as to their financial records and detailing an in-depth breakdown of how the NFL’s revenues are derived .

As the Roger Goodell tries to explain his latest pratfall, with the league hierarchy rallying behind to show their support for the beleaguered league executive, one has to ask how much more can the NFL actually handle before Goodell’s own position comes under scrutiny? Another catastrophe on such a scale and quite possibly not only will the owners be questioning the commissioner’s stewardship but also many of the NFL’s corporate endorsers but also their broadcast partners as well. There may well the analogy of there being no such thing as bad publicity , but bear in mind , the league now has almost broad base of female supporters who are now showing their disgust and disdain in Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice affair , without the idiocy of the various league spokespersons suggesting the NFL does not condone domestic violence.

Repeatedly, over the last several years a litany of players have fallen afoul of the law concerning domestic abuse , with many being merely given a slap on the wrist by the league hierarchy or the justice system itself , has been an abject failure in treating such crimes , by meting out a fitting sentence for the defendants concerned , thereby leaving the victims to feel the system has further let them down and having not given them any legal recourse. It should be noted, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has remained remarkably silent on this issue of domestic violence, but has maintained , where he feels his members are being railroaded by the league , they will be rigorously defended. Somehow , I do not believe Smith fully comprehends the gravity of the situation and the outrage there happens to be concerning a social plague among his members, in terms of their behavior , of which the fans themselves are also showing their apathy concerning this matter. Then again, it seems to be nothing new and simply the norm when it comes such an issue , as it may well take the murder of a female victim , before the matter is actually taken seriously by the league , union or then fans .

Week one in the NFL did not really tell us a great deal , but I do believe there was an indication that the NFC East still remains highly overrated , and the results were clearly there for all to see . The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants opened their season with inexplicable losses , with Tony Romo leading the way for the Cowboys with another mediocre performance in Dallas’ 28-17 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback’s NFC East counterpart with the New York Giants, Eli Manning did not fare much better in his team’s mauling at the hands of the Detroit Lions , succumbing the NFC North based franchise losing 35-14 . Jay Gruden’s inauspicious start as head coach of the Washington Redskins , was signaled in with a mediocre performance in his team’s loss , a 17-6 defeat to the Houston Texans. If this is a sign of things to come this season within the division, then fans of the teams in question will be in for a dire year. It may well be too early a call, but Robert Griffin III in spite of his performance for the Redskins was far from inspiring in terms of his leadership in the team’s loss to the Texans, but yet he remains Washington’s best chance of winning when a game is said to be on the line. Kirk Cousins may well be waiting in the wings but in this contest , Gruden’s and the team’s woes were typified by a <a href=”http://nfl.com/teams/depthchart?team=WAS”&gt; secondary which was extraordinarily inept in just about every facet of the game .

I was never impressed with the NFC East even with the praise being heaped on the teams and the belief that Nick Foles , Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo and Eli Manning being thought as being among the elite of the league’s quarterbacks . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and nothing as of yet suggests to me either of the quartet can be considered among the league’s best at the position. Manning has not been able to reproduce the form which guided the Giants to two Superbowl victories, in six years . Tony Romo as we all know, his postseason forays have not been a thing of beauty and his excuses for those poor performances are beginning to wear thin. Nick Foles was able catch everyone by surprise last season , but head coach Chip Kelly has yet to learn his defense has to be able to contribute to his team’s victories. The same can be said of the Washington Redskins and it remains to be seen whether or not Jay Gruden and his coaching staff can get the team to perform more stoutly on defense, but also be more competitive on offense.

Bill Belichick, forever the head coach everyone loves to hate and with just cause, cannot exorcise the demons of his egotistical behavior. It is either his way or the highway, even when failing to admit he might be in the wrong. A monumental mistake in allowing the departure of Wes Welker , caused some uproar among the fans , angered his franchise quarterback Tom Brady , but it has been his failure draft players who have been productive on the team’s defense over the past five seasons which has led to the Patriots’ failings in the postseason during the time-span in question. As if to start the year off with even more drama, Bill Belichick made the decision to trade Pro Bowl offensive guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the start of the season . Again drawing the ire of Tom Brady, but with GM Nick Caserio and Belichick stating Mankins’ reluctance to take a pay cut was the primary reason for the team’s decision to make the trade . In 2013 , Brady made available an additional $12 million to the franchise to assist in keeping Wes Welker , only for the head coach and general manager to bungle the entire negotiation process , which saw Welker sign with the Denver Broncos , adding another lethal weapon to Peyton Manning’s arsenal for the season. . It begs the question, if Brady’s largesse was not good enough to broker a deal , then how was it this time around, they could fail so miserably in not being able to persuade the lineman to stay, knowing full well what he meant to the organization by way of his leadership and productivity ? The excuses proffered up, comes across as lame and without merit.

New England began its season with an away game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami , Florida. It was seen as very much as an easy win , if the team simply played at a competent level . It was definitely not the case, with Tom Brady being outshone by the opposing quarterback on the day , as Miami were allowed to stroll through this contest barely breaking sweat. The Patriots’ woes , once again was the secondary , with the offense itself, being equally abysmal . Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins played like a Pro Bowl caliber player ,while Brady was languid , seemingly disinterested in the outcome of the game.

This 33-20 loss by the New England Patriots was pretty much systematic and endemic of what this staff has been about , with Bill Belichick showing very little passion, Complacency sets in , with their being little signs of urgency from a number of the players on the team. Darelle Revis is proving at this stage of his career, his best years have passed him by and Rob Gronkowski is far from being game fit, much less being at his very best in spite of his claims.

In week two the New England Patriots will be the guests of the Minnesota Vikings(1-0) as the visiting team hopes to get back to winning ways. Minnesota for its part will be looking to prove their week one result was no mere fluke and finally the team might have a starting quarterback capable of actually getting the job done after the .inconsistency shown by the often injured and under-achieving Christian Ponder. Matt Cassel may well have the starting quarterback position , but he has become a journeyman and it will be only matter of time before Mike Zimmer makes the decision to insert Teddy Bridgewater in the starting role . Cassel has yet to show the level of consistency needed to make the Vikings a credible challenger within the NFC North , let alone within the NFC .

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints put on an exhibition this past Sunday that may well have had fans excited as the two NFC South teams went about trying to blow each other out of the water . Now while the NFL might believe this was the type of game the fans love to see, what was clearly apparent, was the fact, both teams were simply mediocre in terms of their respective defenses . With over one thousand yards of offense amassed during the game both defenses were simply nondescript if not mediocre throughout the entire contest.

Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in recent years may well have been two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL and their prowess while unquestioned to a degree , yet it begs the question , if the two players are going to be asked to air the ball the majority of the time of the time for the Saints and Falcons it is likely to lead to the teams having to play a great deal more cautiously in terms of the pass offense , because any mistake by the quarterbacks could prove to be costly . With Sean Payton and Mike Smith looking to take the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons to the postseason this upcoming year , the NFC South is likely to become one of the more competitive divisions within the the league this season.

In week two the New Orleans Saints will take their show on the road to face the Cleveland Browns , while the Atlanta Falcons will also be in the state of Ohio to meet the Browns’ instate , divisional and AFC rivals the Cincinnati Bengals in what is likely to be two of the day’s more intriguing games .

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In light of the issues now providing major problems for the NFL in terms of the commissioner’s haphazard handling of the Ray Rice affair , do you feel that Roger Goodell should step down from his current position and hand in his resignation to the league hierarchy ? Or you of the opinion his judgment at the time concerning the matter and the punishment rendered initially was correct? Also if there is any action to be taken against Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers with the player having admitted his actions publicly , then what do you feel ought to be the appropriate action to be taken by the league? Your thoughts on this and anything else you feel relevant to the subject matter is welcomed.

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who is now facing mounting criticism to re-sign after the league’s poor handling of the Ray Rice affair. The Baltimore Ravens’ running back has since been banned indefinitely by the league , with Goodell suggesting there is a a possibility for the player to return to the NFL at some point in the future . To further compound the statement the commissioner went on to suggest that the league office was not in possession of the taped incident showing Rice assaulting his then fiancee’ Jenay Parker , whom he has since married . The tape in question was sent to the NFL by an unnamed source thought to be a member of law enforcement in Las Vegas , Nevada. However, it has been noted that the source had an in-depth conversation with a league employee who had seen the tape upon its arrival . The original airing of the incident was aired by entertainment news’ website TMZ.com . AP Photo/ Mick Charles …

(2) Indianapolis Colts’ team owner Jim Iray who recently ran afoul of the law for a DUI and the possession of a controlled substance This was not Irsay’s first legal entanglement for such an infraction and it has been repeated pattern of behavior with the team owner . Irsay has seen been suspended by the league with a six-game ban and $500,000 fine , with a warning of any further misdeed on his part will be met with a much sterner punishment and possible sanctions . Getty Images/ Chris Russell …

(3) Jerry Jones , owner of the Dallas Cowboys is seen here with his son , Stephen Jones , a senior front office executive with the franchise . The elder patriarch , a long time supporter of Roger Goodell now finds himself entangled in a rather unsavory legal wrangle where an exotic dancer is claiming sexual harassment by the team owner . The plaintiff is seeking a legal and financial recourse from Jones for his alleged actions which he and his legal representatives denied ever took place. AP Photo/ Paul Bishop

(4) From left to right San Francisco 49ers’ CEO Jed Yorke , team head coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke . The three individuals are now having to deal with issues of Ray McDonald and his actions in having attacked and beaten his pregnant fiancee’. The franchise believes the matter can be best dealt with by law enforcement before any action can be taken by the organization . McDonald has admitted his actions in an interview with the local press but it is not known what his plea might be when and there is said to be any legal action taken against the player. Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle ….

(5) DeMaurice Smith , executive director of the NFL Players Association, talks with the media after negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke down without an agreement on Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington. Smith has remained somewhat passive when it comes to the issue of player misconduct concerning the players within the NFL and it has only been in light of the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice where has chosen to speak out publicly on the matter . AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots hands off to teammate Stevan Ridley (22) in the first quarter during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 7, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 33-20 in the contest. Getty Images North America / Mike Ehrmann …

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Is she (September Carrino) making you feel giddy all over ?

All in a good day’s work, September Carrino shows off some of her great attributes .

Just dip it low and let it go.


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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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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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 .

Picture and slide show details below.

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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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