I will paint you a picture and you can tell me how you would like the story to end …

I will paint you a picture and you can tell me how you would like the story to end

Training camps are now underway in the NFL , with a number of teams now in full swing as to mandatory workouts with rookies and seasoned veterans already in camp. Headlines around the league have been bleak, with players now becoming part on law enforcement blotters for all of the wrong reasons .

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Not to be left out of it all, there have also been two high-ranking Denver Broncos` executives who fell afoul of law enforcement for two DUI misdemeanors and who now await some sort of action to be taken. The matter was dealt with rather swiftly by the Broncos` Head of Football Operations , with John Elway placing the two individuals in question on administrative leave without pay, pending the outcome of the law enforcement investigations. Unlike the rather laughable actions taken by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has simply sat back and watched the NFL placed into further disarray by his lack of authority and complete inaction . The league might well be able to rebound from this latest mea-culpa , but with the likelihood of a media circus surrounding the upcoming homicide trial of New England Patriots tight-end Aaron Hernandez . I am not so sure that this is the staple that the league wants to be part of any time during part of its regular season schedule .

Away from the menagerie of player misbehavior, there have been one or two notable moments. Reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens saw the retirement of defensive stalwart Ray Lewis , the departures of Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin as well as other roster changes that could either lead to the Ravens again being a contender to successfully defend their title or perhaps, simply fall from grace, as we have been accustomed to seeing of recent champions over the past few years . In all likelihood, it all makes for a great premise to be rolled out within the AFC North this season .

As to the expectations for the Baltimore Ravens , the questions likely to be raised are. Can Joe Flacco show the form witnessed during the postseason , as he guided the team to the franchise’s second Superbowl triumph in its young history . The quarterback, having excelled in postseason play , was able to garner a lucrative contract that in terms of guaranteed money is the fourth highest NFL history. Also, with the departures of such seasoned veterans, are the team`s young rookies and sophomore players able to step up to the plate for head coach John Harbaugh and his staff ? The Ravens` exhilarating Superbowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers and the fact that team owner Steve Biscotti and GM Ozzie Newsome can feel vindicated in assembling a roster and building a franchise , that is now amongst the most well-respected organizations in the NFL .

The preseason for the Ravens will be a situation where John Harbaugh can get to acclimatize himself with his new look roster in light of the off-season player-personnel upheavals . Games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week one of the exhibition schedule to be followed by the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and St Louis Rams will act as a precursor for the rigors of what should prove to a fairly tough regular season schedule for the reigning Superbowl champions .

As an ardent fan of the NFL I am not expecting a great deal out of the preseason , as I find the whole exercise a futile effort on the part of the league hierarchy and team owners to excoriate even more money out of the fans for meaningless games, that simply plays no part in the makeup of the regular season . Rising ticket and concession prices, to go along with what at times has come to be rather bland product, does now seem to be alienating some fans , without us having to delve into the behavioral issues of the players and the total lack of urgency being shown by Roger Goodell and the NFLPA (Players` Union) to address the situation head on .

Call me naïve, but every time I hear the Dallas Cowboys` owner Jerry Jones talking about the expectations for his franchise each upcoming season. I tend to wait with bated breath, just to see if he will suddenly fall down from having drank far too much alcohol in giving his State of the Cowboys` speech on an annual basis . Each season for the past decade the expectations have been continually high. And repeatedly the Cowboys have never failed to disappoint with their continued ineptitude . Could this season be any different for the franchise, often described as America`s Team ? I will leave it for you all, to be the judge of that !

The off-season for the Dallas Cowboys saw the departure for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan , who was ultimately being blamed for the team`s defensive woes last season . Ryan`s replacement is the aging Monte Kiffin whose prior place of employment upon his return to the NFL was to aid his son, Lane Kiffin in turning the USC Trojans into a lackluster and perennially defensively mediocre program for a number of seasons during his foray back amongst the collegiate ranks .

One of the more comical aspects as to the Cowboys` off-season was the very fact that Jerry Jones sought to extend the contract of the often overrated Tony Romo , whose playoff career reads like a horror story from a Bram Stoker novel . One playoff-win was somehow enough to garner Romo a seven-year $119.5 million deal , of which $40 million is guaranteed , inclusive of a $25 million signing bonus . Which begs the question, is Jerry Jones now printing his own money , beyond the lucrative and extortionate deals he has been able negotiate with various sponsors ? As profitable and valuable as the Dallas Cowboys` franchise is said to be . There has to come a time when common sense must prevail from within this particular organization . Alas, there seems to be no signs of that even with the rather asinine insistence and notion of some fans and NFL analysts alike, who seem to be under the impression that Romo is an elite, if not a top-ten quarterback in the NFL .

Tony Romo has continued to spend more time making excuses for team losses racked up during his tenure than he has shown in is continued lack of effort in terms of all-round leadership ability . Other than the Chicago Bears` …. Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals , could there be a more overrated and under-achieving quarterback currently playing in the NFL ?

A tepid 8-8 season in the NFC East , once again summed up the plight of the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 , in spite of the coaching indecision of Jason Garrett , who continues to flounder under the weight of expectation and the ongoing implicit faith being shown in him by the league`s most self-absorbed and rambunctious owner .

The front office of the Cowboys having parted ways with a number of players that the coaching staff and Jones in particular, felt were superfluous to the team`s needs . This year`s draft and a number of free agent acquisitions were the basis for bolstering the roster for the upcoming season. Inasmuch, as I believe that Jason Garrett will have his eyes on the divisional games within the NFC East . His first priority must be the preparation of is players on what will be a do or die season for many of these players and I believe undoubtedly for the head coach himself ! Jerry Jones has been known to tolerate a great deal as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Yet I seriously doubt that he finds the bitter taste of losing as harmonious as he would be in winning, and winning on a consistent basis . The franchise’s last playoff win came in the wildcard round of the 2009 postseason . And since then, the cupboard has been essentially bare .

I am not one to point to conspiracy theories behind a franchise’s high s and lows . One is, either to make your own luck , or if you are unable to do so, simply fly by the seat of your pants. In the case of the Dallas Cowboys over the past decade, it has been the singular-minded belief of Jerry Jones , that as team President and general manager , he can do no wrong in either role . What has become abundantly clear however , is that Jones` mistakes have been paramount in the failure of the franchise to be successful in terms of the on-field product of the Cowboys . More misses than hits in recent years, concerning the draft and overpaying for players who have been somewhat unproductive for the team in recent years , are glaring examples reasons why the team has failed abysmally. With the preseason being no indicator of what is likely to place during the regular season . All that is left to do , will be for Jason Garrett and his staff to assess the merits of a revamped roster and how best to equip themselves for the upcoming season .

A week one opening regular season schedule for the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants, could prove prophetic for both franchises, as each looks to regain their swagger. For Eli Manning and the Giants, after last season`s 9-7 divisional second place finish and squandering numerous chances to make the postseason . This divisional match-up might just be the test to they need to gauge themselves against an opponent where their contests have always proven to be very competitive .

So to avoid indictment and further embarrassment to himself the franchise he purchased and the NFL as a whole. Cleveland Browns` owner, Jimmy Haslam has agreed in principle that his company Pilot Flying J Inc will pay the rebates (several million dollars) due to clients , rather than facing a federal indictment and a trial . The fact that Haslam agreed to this all , after at first, denying any culpability on his part , even in the advent of several Pilot J executives and mid-level managers being fired , among those , several who suggested that Jimmy Haslam was privy to the fraud being perpetrated . It would appear all along, the Pilot Flying J proprietor, did indeed have something to hide . What might be even more unpalatable over the course of this whole sordid mess ? The NFL hierarchy and its Board of Governors approved the sale of the Cleveland Browns` franchise while the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department was conducting an investigation into the business dealings of Haslam`s company . Suffice to say, not a great deal of due diligence was being used by Roger Goodell and the in-house investigators and financial experts used in such instances . It begs the question, if the NFL can be so lax in such procedures, and then what else are they also incapable of doing so incompetently?

What also has come out of this , is a class action lawsuit filed in the US District Court by twenty-five national trucking companies , seeking punitive damages from Jimmy Haslam and Pilot Flying J Inc . It would appear that this will not be the last that we will hear on the matter should there be a trial. The Browns` owner insists that the franchise is not for sale . Yet , it is my belief that should this situation become even dire , there will be calls amongst the NFL`s Board of Governors to force Haslam into an unwanted sale or in all likelihood the league itself, taking over the day-to-day operations of the franchise . Even with this action by the Browns` owner , it does appear likely that the US Attorney overseeing the case for the US government will press ahead, seek an indictment and then proceed on to a trial . This paints another bleak picture for the image of the NFL and specifically amongst the team owners . Far too often they old themselves up as captains of industry , yet in reality, their business practices in and outside of the NFL ranks, are akin to that of a racketeer or Mafioso Boss. Il Capo dei Capi (Boss of Bosses) .

The Cleveland Browns, coming off a 5-11 season (2012) and a last place finish in the AFC North , will be looking to rebound from last season . A great deal of that will be predicated upon the play of quarterback Brandon Weeden and how the player seeks make up for a rookie season filled that was with highs and lows . A chance of a sophomore breakout year could be expected , but it will be predicated upon the weapons available for the quarterback . For second-year head coach Rob Chudzinski and his staff , this year might well be the opportunity they seek to prove that 2012 was something of an aberration .

On both sides of the ball , last season proved to be an immense struggle for the Cleveland Browns. There is no doubt in my mind that Chudzinski has sought the upgrades he believes necessary by way of the NFL Draft and free agent acquisitions to improve both the offense and defense . If those solutions are dealt with adequately, then there is no reason to believe why the Browns cannot create some sort of competitive edge for themselves within the AFC North and AFC in particular

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The off-season of the NFL has proven to be rather unsavory for a number of reasons , without their being any type of proven leadership being shown by anyone within the league hierarchy or from the union (NFLPA) for that matter . Yet, we are now to believe that the league can continue to withstand the continued type of adverse publicity without any type of criticism being leveled at the brand , its leadership and all that is said to represent ? By all means, do leave a comment as you see fit concerning anything you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) FILE – In this June 27, 2013, file photo, former New England Patriots NFL football tight end Aaron Hernandez stands during a bail hearing in Fall River Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. The legal problems of current and former SEC players _ from ex-Florida and NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez to LSU’s Jeremy Hill _ has cast a negative light on the league that has won seven consecutive national championships. Coaches in the conference say they have to weigh a player’s talent vs. trouble in or out of the locker room. AP Photo/Boston Herald, Ted Fitzgerald …

(2) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco warms up during practice at the NFL football team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Tuesday, July 23, 2013. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh speaks during a news conference after practice at the NFL football team’s facility in Owings Mills, Md., Tuesday, July 23, 2013. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(4) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo throws a pass during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Oxnard, Calif. AP Photo/Gus Ruelas …

(5) Dallas Cowboys` head coach Jason Garrett , left is seen here with team President & general manager Jerry Jones at the team`s practice facility in Arlington , Texas . Jones believes that the team will be rebound from a rather lackluster season in 2012 , during which the franchise missed the postseason for the third consecutive year , having finished third within the NFC East , behind the high-flying Washington Redskins (10-6) , eventual divisional champions . Getty Images / Chris Walker …

(6) Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is one of the NFL`s newest owners having bought the Cleveland based franchise in 2012 . In recent months, Haslam and is company Pilot J Flying Inc have been under investigation by the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department for failure to pay trucking company clients nationwide rebates amounting to millions of dollars . Haslam denies any wrongdoing on his part , but several senior executives fired by the owner have stated that Jimmy Haslam was party to the massive fraud perpetrated against the clients . Those clients have since filed a civil suit against Pilot J Flying , in US District Court in Tennessee , seeking unspecified and punitive damages . For his part, the Cleveland Browns owner has stated categorically that the franchise will not be put up for sale , in spite of this latest controversy . AP Photo / Matt Carr ……..

(7) Browns` quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is shown leaving the field after an off-season workout in Berea, Ohio, has been working to improve his footwork. Weeden leads Browns` quarterback depth chart made up of himself , veteran Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer . The Browns will be looking to make a serious challenge within the AFC North this upcoming season . They start their regular season, with an opening home game against the Miami Dolphins in all an all conference AFC duel . AP Photo / Brendan Sykes ………

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NFL related stories & links : Baltimore Ravens links

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NFL team payrolls ……………. Salary cap will be raised from $120.6 million to $123.65 million for the 2013-14 season .

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When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

By Tophatal

Well, the 2012-13 NFL season has come to close , with the Baltimore Ravens winning their second Superbowl since 2000. The “ Harbaugh Bowl” lived up to all of the hype and expectations , one have come to expect of the nation’s biggest sport’s event . The city of New Orleans were wonderful hosts, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Louisiana , was the perfect setting for the event.

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With Ray Lewis now riding off into the sunset as a retiring NFL player , happy with the knowledge of having won his second world title ring , whatever awaits defensive lineman , undoubtedly will be a great deal of wealth and adulation. The wealth, will come in the form of the monies that will obviously be offered to a player by a number of broadcast outlets seeking to have Lewis become an NFL analyst , and who might well be described greatest defense player of his era, and quite good enough to be placed amongst the top five players at the position to have played the game in the NFL . The Ravens came away with a moral and well deserved victory , in a thrilling 34-31 win over their NFC counterparts , the San Francisco 49ers . Opposing quarterbacks , Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick , for the most part , were excellent , and it would suggest that both of these players, should have long and successful careers for their respective teams. Flacco was named the MVP of Superbowl 47 , albeit , that I felt either Jacoby Jones or Ed Reed could have supplanted Flacco for the award, but at the end of the day, the recipient of the award , seemed just right.

For winning head coach , John Harbaugh , he now becomes the first coach in NFL history to have taken a team to the postseason in each of his first five seasons , and to have won a Superbowl in his very first attempt. Baltimore Ravens’ owner, Steve Biscotti , billionaire industrialist , and avid sport’s fan has worked tirelessly in making the franchise he now owns a source of pride in the greater Baltimore area . Both Bisciotti, and general manager, Ozzie Newsome , have built the Ravens into a formidable franchise both on and off the field of play. And this victory was a culmination of their efforts along with that of the entire coaching staff , the players and the fans , themselves . . Newsome drafted prudently , and acquired players , using due diligence , while not having to pay outlandish salaries , in assembling this current roster . Inasmuch, as we know that there is bound to be off-season upheavals amongst the playing staff, there simply can be no denying that the Ravens will be amongst the contenders and quite possibly be viewed as a prohibitive favorite for the Superbowl , for next season. . Your thoughts, on this ? Simply chime in with a comment.

At a time when the NBA should be content with its environment , the game is mired in mediocrity , and lo and behold the self-indulgent union, the NBPA (union) now finds itself mired in controversy , that can only be deemed as an embarrassment not only to the union , league but also the sport , and the brand itself. The now embattled union has seen its Executive Director, Billy Hunter , be forcibly asked to step down , but he states, he is in fact taking a voluntary leave of absence , while the union’s executive committee conducts an in-depth investigation into the misappropriation of league funds , and suggestions that Hunter , sought to transfer $ 7 million in NBPA funds , to be used as an investment to shore up the finances of a Cherry Hill , New Jersey based bank, where two of his children , just happened to be employees . What makes this latest mea-culpa so embarrassing, at the center of this all, is the very fact that Billy Hunter’s intent was have this transaction take place without having advised any senior executive member of the union hierarchy. And here was I thinking , the only such organizations who conducted themselves with such secrecy, were the Teamsters Union , UAW , AFL-CIO and the now inept US government .

It is hard at this juncture to feel any empathy towards the union , Billy Hunter , who is being paid a $ 3 million annual salary to provide the union with his expertise in labor laws, as well as a wide variety of union related issues concerning the NBA . Somehow, I now feel, that Hunter’s days with the union are numbered , with him being in all likelihood being fired. Only a formal announcement awaits , pending the outcome of the investigation , with union President , Derek Fisher , or his deputy , VP , Keyon Dooling , making the statement that Billy Hunter will be relieved of his duties, as the union’s Executive Director , to take effect , immediately .

At the start of the season , in the midst of the upheavals around the league with so many off-season moves . A great deal was made of the fact that the Brooklyn Nets would be seen as a viable candidate to challenge the perceived dominance of the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference . After an inauspicious start to their schedule , Nets’ GM Billy King summarily fired , beleaguered head coach , Avery Johnson and promoted , his assistant , PJ Carlesimo to the position of interim head coach , until the end of the regular season . And while the Nets under Carlesimo , have proven to be a great deal more energetic in their play , I am not so sure that this team , will be able to challenge the likes of the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks , were it to come down to a postseason seven game series !

At 28-19 , the Brooklyn Nets , currently sit in second place , three games behind the New York Knicks (30-15) within the Atlantic Division . In what might be seen, as one of the more competitive divisions within the NBA , it has to be said that the three teams in contention within the division , cannot now afford to make any major slip-ups between now and the end of the regular season , with so much being on the line , and where a drop in a conference position , can mean a life or death situation for those teams and their postseason aspirations. Personally , I am not convinced that the makeup of this current Nets’ roster is simply good enough or anywhere near talented enough to win an NBA title. The team led by Deron Williams , Joe Johnson , Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries have proven to be somewhat inconsistent , albeit , that since the installing of P J Carlesimo as the head coach , there has been a gradual overall improvement in the team’s play.

Are you beginning to wonder how good the Chicago Bulls(29-18) might be , were Derrick Rose fully fit and playing on that current roster ? Taking up the slack , in the absence of the point guard , have been Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , Joakim Noah , and Nate Robinson . And this has all been borne out , by having the third best record within the Eastern Conference ,while leading the Central Division over their closest rivals , the Indiana Pacers (28-19) . Bulls’ head coach , Tom Thibodeau , in spite of his postseason letdown in 2012 in the playoffs , which at the time , it was the scene of what precipitated to the loss of the Bulls’ point guard , in their first round series loss to the Philadelphia 76ers . Thoroughly outplayed in the entire series , the reverberations from that series’ defeat to suggest that beyond the inexperience shown by the team at the time , Thibodeau’s inexperience was glaringly transparent for all to see. With Rose, now on the mend , and thought to be almost nearing the end of his rehabilitation from his surgically repaired left knee . The anticipated timeline for his return, is said to be, after this year’s All Star Break (15th-17th February 2013) , which will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas , with the rosters of the East and Western Conference being made up of the game’s biggest stars.

The Bulls’ next game will be on Monday night , when they face the Indiana Pacers in a pivotal match-up , that should tell us a great deal about these two teams and where they currently now stand . However , with the anticipated return of Derrick Rose , Tom Thibodeau , has to be mindful , as to how the insertion will affect the rhythm, that the team currently now have. Winners of seven of their last ten games , which is amongst hottest streaks now going in the NBA . As I alluded to earlier , the expectations are high for the return of Derrick Rose , and the likelihood , his first game back could very well be either against the New Orleans Hornets on 19th February , or quite possibly against the Charlotte Bobcats on the 22nd February . There is an intervening game in between 19th and 22nd , on the 21st February , which would I believe would prove to be too stern a test for the player, in having to face the Miami Heat at home in the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois .

If Rose can recapture the form that won him the NBA league MVP , in 2011, then it would certainly bode well for the Chicago Bulls and their very ambitious point guard .

Call me naïve , but it may well take more than a kick in the a$s for David Stern to realize that the NBA brand is in the midst of a down year from a competitive standpoint in comparison to last season . And it would certainly help if the commissioner and the league hierarchy would acknowledge that fact, rather than continually extol the virtue of a league that is lacking in truly appealing stars. Granted , the likes of LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook , James Harden , Tony Parker , Chris Paul and Blake Griffin , are some of the most recognized names , and well-paid stars in the NBA at present . Yet, even that by itself, is no real guarantee concerning the success of the league. The revenues of the brand , will grow and decline exponentially , as the NBA finds itself in the midst of another economic downturn .

At a time when the NBA calls out for a rivalry to match the most famous of them all , that of the “ heated rivalry “ between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers during the regular season , but one which took on a life its own during the playoffs , but even more so during the NBA Finals . The budding embers of what could be this best era’s rivalry , that of the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder was on view last season during the 2011-12 NBA Finals. And we have seen growing stature and respect between the game’s two best players , in Kevin Durant and LeBron James . Their teams , which they represent , the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, are considered to be amongst the best in the NBA , but this season it is clear that the league is seeing some rather mediocre play being exhibited by the teams in the NBA .

For the Thunder’s head coach , Scott Brooks , his team’s play has been as resolute as ever , even in light of the departure of James Harden from last season’s roster in a stunning trade that sent Harden to the Houston Rockets , and one which literally took everyone by surprise. Currently, with the second best record in the Western Conference. At 36-12 , the Thunder sit two games behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (38-11) who are winners of ten consecutive games , currently the longest such winning streak in the NBA at present .

In their regular season meetings between the Heat and Thunder , since the inception of Western Conference franchise , these two teams have met a total of 54 times , when one takes into account the franchise’s former being as the Seattle Supersonics . The Miami Heat currently leads the series 30-19 during the regular season , and by a margin of 4-1 in the postseason , as reflected in their only series’ postseason meeting , which took place in last season’s NBA Finals.

In the 2012-13 season , and their only meeting thus far , the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 in the Heat’s regular season opener to start the defense of their NBA crown. Kevin Durant , and LeBron James, led all scorers , scoring 33 and 29 points respectively , for the Thunder and the Miami Heat, during the game. The next scheduled meeting between these two franchises will take place on the 14th February when they will meet at the Chesapeake Energy Center , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , in front of what is sure to be a rabid and vociferous crowd of primarily loyal Thunder supporters . It could be seen as a precursor, as to another possible encounter in the postseason , but much of that will be predicated upon how both teams acquit themselves over the remainder of their respective regular season schedules, and in the earlier rounds of the postseason.

Shrewd businessman and some might say perhaps , one of the ” most despised “ owners in the NBA . Yet somehow , Mark Cuban , owner of the Dallas Mavericks , and a constant thorn in claw of David Stern, has always found a way to either keep himself in the news , or that of the franchise that he owns. In the subsequent years, since the Mavericks won it all, in 2011 , when they defeated the Miami Heat in a surprisingly easy 4-2 series’ victory , with Dirk Nowitzki , being named Finals MVP. Since that triumph , the Mavericks have fallen on hard times, with Cuban and general manager , Donnie Nelson , having to shed burdensome contracts , or simply players who were under-achieving with the franchise. Head coach , Rick Carlisle , will be asked to work his magic once again , this time however , with something of a younger cast to complement the aging and declining skill-set of Nowitzki, who is now , in the twilight of an illustrious career.

Now playing for pride more than anything else , it is extremely difficult to see how the Mavericks can hope to play themselves into playoff contention , and currently playing with a sub .500 record at 20-28 ! The team lacks real scoring , and defensively , there remains a great deal to be desired , from unit that gives up on average 102.9 points per game and a staggering 33.7 defensive rebounds a game. Definitely, not the sort of statistics that is likely to win a franchise a championship. Away from the court , Donnie Nelson, is having a tumultuous time in dealing with troubled star , Delonte` West , a player , whose off the field troubles and well chronicled run-ins with law enforcement , have shone a light on West , far more than anything he has ever achieved on the field of play throughout his troubled career . His refusal to originally report for duty , with the Mavericks’ D League affiliate the Texas Legends , can only cast further doubt , on whether or not he has a role to play for this franchise , much less a have a future at all within the NBA . At this juncture , I would think it pretty safe to suggest that either by the trade deadline or at the end of this season , Delonte West will no longer be with the franchise ! I mean , why have a loose cannon , within your midst , when your coaching staff is trying to create some semblance of camaraderie and competitiveness amongst the players ?

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During the Superbowl , which incident or incidents do you believe may well have been the focal and turning point of the game ? And do believe, the explanation of electrical the power outage was good enough, given the importance of the event? Last but not least , what do you believe to be the biggest disappointment behind such lackluster play season in the NBA at this point of season ? Chime on in with your thoughts as you see fit

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(1) A fan looks around the Superdome after half the lights went out during a power outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …

(2) Baltimore Ravens players look around the Superdome after the lights went out during the second half of NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. The game would resume after a 34 minute delay with the Ravens defeating the Forty Niners 34-31 , in the most watched Superbowl game in NFL history . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a news conference after NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with MVP Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco at a news conference after the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. The unassuming quarterback whose contract expires on the 31st March seeks a new deal with Ravens’ organization . Team owner , Steve Bisciotti , in conjunction with GM , Ozzie Newsome have stated that they will do whatever it takes to retain their Superbowl and MVP winning quarterback without having to resort to “breaking the bank” . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(5) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh , left, greets Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after the Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31 in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Dave Martin …

(6) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, left, and linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates their 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(7) Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome , who also happens to be the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager . Newsome became the franchise’s general manager in 2002 , having worked as a consultant with the Ravens prior to being promoted by owner Steve Bisciotti . In the subsequent years , it has been the executive’s keen eye for talent , which has drawn rave reviews from his peers. He now joins a select group of NFL individuals to have won a Superbowl as a player and in the role as a front office executive , but it should be noted that with the victory, he becomes the first African-American to have guided a franchise to a Superbowl victory , in his present capacity, as a general manager. Courtesy of USA Today /AP Photos / Mark Warren …

(8) NBPA President , Derek Fisher , left, is seen here with the union’s Executive Director , Billy Hunter , right , taking questions from the convened press , at a time when the union was at an impasse with the NBA hierarchy over the renegotiating of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Hunter , is now embroiled in tawdry scandal that involves the misappropriation of union funds by a subordinate in his employment who was in fact a family member (daughter – Alexis Hunter) . Further allegations. though not fully substantiated but showing a pattern of behavior suggesting that the union executive sought to transfer $7 million in union funds to a Cherry Hill's , New Jersey based bank , where his son just happened to be a mid-level executive . The intent was to use the funds to prop up the balance sheet of what was then a financially impoverished concern.

(9) Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries (43) shoots over defending Chicago Bulls players in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center , Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(10) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams ….

(10) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) drives past Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

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Actress , author , philanthropist and entrepreneur , Jaime Pressley .

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I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

By Tophatal

Well the divisional round of the NFL postseason came and went , with one or two surprises along the way. This just in , Denver Broncos’ Head of Player Operations , John Elway will be purchasing Bulova watches for the entire roster , as well as John Fox and his coaching staff . Clock management, clock management , you co#k-suckers . The Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , had their game all gift-wrapped merely awaiting delivery to their fans . Somehow , Peyton Manning , Fox and the entire Broncos roster , simply let this game slip from within their grasp , and thereby sending the Ravens to their second AFC Championship game appearance, in two years.

I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

By Tophatal

Well the divisional round of the NFL postseason came and went , with one or two surprises along the way. This just in , Denver Broncos’ Head of Player Operations , John Elway will be purchasing Bulova watches for the entire roster , as well as John Fox and his coaching staff . Clock management, clock management , you co#k-suckers . The Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , had their game all gift-wrapped merely awaiting delivery to their fans . Somehow , Peyton Manning , Fox and the entire Broncos roster , simply let this game slip from within their grasp , and thereby sending the Ravens to their second AFC Championship game appearance, in two years.

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Slideshow .

For John Harbaugh , he becomes the first coach in NFL history , to take his team to four playoff appearances in his first five seasons ,with two conference championship appearances , coming along the way. Ironically enough , Harbaugh’s brother, Jim Harbaugh will join his brother in accomplishing a similar feat , but his accomplishment might be even more impressive , as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach will be making his second successive NFC championship game appearance , which will have come in his first two full seasons, as the head coach of this illustrious franchise. And if the subplot plays out , as a number of fans hope , a Harbaugh rivalry at Superbowl (SB XVLII) , could await us all. However, their respective opponents , the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots , will no doubt be seeking to upset the apple cart and topple that whole scenario , altogether .

There are some intriguing plotlines to both conference championship games , taking place this weekend at Gillette Stadium , in Foxboro, Massachusetts and at the Georgia Dome , in Atlanta ,Georgia . For Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens , they will be seeking to redeem themselves after last season’s disappointment in the AFC championship game. That loss , left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Ravens’ players as they will undoubtedly seek to exact revenge on their conference rivals . On the flip side of that equation , Bill Belichick and his team will be seeking to make their sixth appearance in the Superbowl , in the last ten years , with Tom Brady , and the head coach , each seeking their fourth Superbowl victories , in their respective positions within this organization.

Well, the exploits of Colin Kaepernick has simply raised the crescendo level , as to what the San Francisco , and the front office led by Trent Baalke , may well seek to do with Alex Smith , the incumbent six-year year starting quarterback for the Forty-Niners , before his dethronement by Kaepernick , earlier this season . And while it has come as a surprise as the poise and presence shown by the young quarterback , it certainly now does give credence to the decision by Jim Harbaugh , to thrust the young quarterback into the limelight . An easy win, of the NFC West, for his second successive divisional title , adds into the astuteness of Harbaugh , as a head coach. It was certainly there for all to witness, while he rebuilt the Stanford program , and made them a force to be reckoned with , within the Pac 12 . Having ascended to the professional ranks of the NFL , Jim Harbaugh has proven to be a more than worth adversary for his peers .

The continued “ knock” against Matt Ryan was the very fact that he had yet to prove himself in the postseason. Well , now that he has finally accomplished the feat of having won his first playoff game , a much loftier task awaits , and that is to lead the Atlanta Falcons pass a very hungry San Francisco 49ers’ team . That being, said it’s not as if, the Falcons are without a thirst of their own , and most certainly after the impoverished years and the years during which Michael Vick may well have brought a great deal of attention to the franchise for good , and some very infamously bad reasons . There is no denying that , Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff , team President Rich McKay and owner Arthur Blank , have brought back a sense of consistency and presence to the once beleaguered franchise.

With a season’s and league best 13-3 record , the Falcons have simply gone about their business in a thoroughly understated way . . Atlanta for its part , was never seriously challenged within the NFC South , in spite of a spirited effort from Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints . Matt Ryan and his teammates , led by Michael Turner and seasoned veteran , Tony Gonzalez , will seek to derail the hopes of Colin Kaepernick and the Forty-Niners , in what I believe might be, one of the better NFC championship games in recent memory !

Jim Harbaugh, has what might be one of the most balanced of the quartet of teams, now left at this point of the postseason . There can be no denying that the Niners’ defensive unit is amongst the very best in the league , having been extremely efficient , all season long . And it would be a tremendous slight to their offense , if they were to left out of the equation , as well . Now all that awaits is four quarters , rough and tumble all-out football, with the victorious garnering all of the “spoils” , and off-course a final berth in the Superbowl , to be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , in New Orleans , Louisiana on the 2nd February , 2013 .

With the ouster of Romeo Crennel and former , GM , Scott Pioli , it has to be said that it should have come as no surprise that Kansas City Chiefs’ COO Clark Hunt would come to such a decision to “clean house” with such veracity. The failures of the team were well chronicled , with a 2-14 record , in the end , to show for it all. The biggest issue, for the team , it must be said , was the poor play from the quarterbacks on the Chiefs’ roster . Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn , simply showed that they have an aversion to playing with any semblance of consistency , and that was clearly mirrored in team’s results in 2012.

Beyond the Chiefs’ absolutely poor offensive play , it has to be stated , that the team’s defense was just mediocre, and often at times, downright insulting , for the Kansas City Chiefs’ fans and the NFL fan in general to watch. And it certainly did not help that a number of the team’s rookies drafted in 2012, failed to live up expectations , and the same I believe, can be said of their draftees from 2011 ! Newly installed , general manager, John Dorsey , has entrusted to return this franchise to its former glory. Dorsey, Andy Reid, and his coaching staff will certainly be assessing the roster, to certainly see what may well be superfluous to the team’s needs.

Reid’s record, while stellar with the Philadelphia Eagles , it has to be said that 2012, may well have been the worst of his distinguished career. A listless and often impoverished Eagles’ team in 2012 , simply did not put up much of a fight , but what might be even more improbable was Andy Reid’s implicit faith in the clearly declining skillset of Michal Vick , as the veteran , labored throughout much of the season . It wasn’t until the player, suffered a concussion, that Reid relented , with rookie Nick Foles being installed to replace the injured veteran. A 4-12 season , was simply a reflection of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, in an NFC East division that could be best described as being rather mediocre . When all said and done, 2012 was a season that the Eagles would rather forget , and specifically for Michael Vick and Foles , as their joint productivity for the team was somewhat sedentary to say the very least !

The interview process for the Philadelphia Eagles is still ongoing with GM , Howie Roseman still perusing and interviewing an ever-growing list of potential candidates , as he seeks a worthy successor to Andy Reid . As to the impending future of Michael Vick , there has been no formal statement , as to whether or not the veteran, remains a part of the franchise’s long or short-term future .

As seasons go, I don’t know that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season could ever have been more disappointing ! What should have been one of growth and improvement , simply whimpered out , through sheer lack of conviction by the Buccaneers’ players , and a complete lack experience on the part of first year coach , Greg Schiano . Excuses asides , concerning a litany of injuries to players , but the truth of the matter comes down to a complete lack of preparation , immaturity by the rookies, as well as the seasoned veterans on the roster , along with their now , rather asinine excuses for a season of all too inept performances ! If there was a bright spark to be found on the team, then it came by way of the play of rookie running back , Doug Martin , and that of tight end , Vincent Jackson . Other performances of note, were all too fleeting , with perhaps none more so than that of starting quarterback, Josh Freeman , with another year of unfulfilled dreams.

Schiano tried to instill a robust sort of discipline , one which reverberated around the league and made the head coach and his players , the subject of a great deal of ridicule , as well as the target of a lot of defamatory remarks concerning the lack of sportsmanship on the part of the Buccaneers’ players. Yet , I feel much of that came down to the poor lack of execution , on the part of this team , and Greg Schiano’s wish to prove to opponents that his players would be “ no pushovers” . Well in retrospect , they were very much pushovers , having lost four of their last five games to end the regular season , wherein they posted a 7-9 record within the NFC South. Definitely , not much to celebrate, given the earlier expectations of Schiano and his coaching staff , prior to the beginning of the regular season.

Courtesy of NFL.com Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ official site

Greg Schiano hints at Buccaneers’ quarterback competition

By Marc Sessler , NFL.com

<u< Greg Schiano's biggest to-do this off-season ? Determining if young ,Josh Freeman goes forward as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ franchise quarterback.

The team’s first-year coach told reporters Monday he believes Freeman someday will win a Super Bowl, but he hinted the Bucs (7-9) might bring in new bodies at the position in 2013.

“The one thing I do believe in is competition at every spot, including the quarterback, so I want to have as many good players on our football team as we can at every single position,” Schiano said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s a little different in the NFL.”

Pressed on if he was “all-in” on Freeman, Schiano stopped a few yards short of full support.

“That’s a question that, again, I’m not all in with myself yet, so how could I me all in with Josh Freeman or any other player?” Schiano said. “I’m not side-stepping you, but I need to evaluate.

Track the rookie QBs:
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“What I can say is, a 4,000-yard passer, a touchdown record — there’s a lot of things you say, ‘Wow.’ Are there things that frustrate you? Yeah. There are things that frustrate him, too. And I’m not ducking the question, because quite frankly, I really like Josh Freeman. But I want to make sure I don’t get ahead of my skis at all here and really evaluate every single thing to what’s best for this organization.

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With Greg Schiano having conducted his own postmortem, as to what went wrong in 2012, the Buccaneers’ head coach has sent a defiant message to all of his players , that all positions will be up for “grabs” in the 2013-14 season . Furthermore , he has become non-committal , with regard to Josh Freeman being offered a long-term contract with the franchise. There now seems to be , a gathering storm , that will be hovering above the head of Josh Freeman , and his own future with the Buccaneers’ franchise . A sense of foreboding , that , if Freeman is unable to show any signs improvement , given his alleged off-season conditioning and workout regimen , then there is the likelihood , that at the start of the Buccaneers’ OTA’s and mandatory workouts prior to next season, Josh Freeman could either be on his way out , or find himself down the pecking order for the starting role as the team’s quarterback.

The fact that the Detroit Lions’ head coach , Jim Schwartz , escaped the postseason culling , now known as “Black Monday “ , is all the more remarkable , when you consider that one of his divisional peers , Lovie Smith was summarily fired having guided the Chicago Bears to a 10-6 record within the NFC North, only to narrowly miss a playoff berth . Now while I understand , the Bears’ reasoning behind Smith’s dismissal , I do feel that GM, Phil Emery , was naïve in simply suggesting that the brunt of the blame lays primarily with the fired head coach . It must have escaped his notice , that the often coddled and overrated Jay Cutler , simply doesn’t have what it takes to lead a team , much less win a series of meaningful games in the postseason .

Matt Stafford having thrown for a career best 5038 yards in 2011. The four-year starter for the Detroit Lions , while falling short of another 5,000 yard season in 2012 , simply provided the Lions with an aerial attack , and little else by way of leadership . And while Calvin Johnson set his sights on , and having surpassed the single season receiving yards’ mark , beyond that, there was very little to suggest , that this season that the Lions were remotely in with a chance of doing anything worthwhile in 2012. And that was clearly mirrored in the team’s final standing within the NFC North , in posting a 4-12 record . At no time throughout the Lions’ season , did it ever appear that Jim Schwartz could corral this team into playing with any discipline or resolve , yet somehow he remains in a position to return next season , under the premise that injuries played a great part in derailing the team’s aspirations in 2012. . Lions’ GM , Martin Mayhew , and team Vice Chairman , William Clay Ford Jr , will seriously have to assess the performance of their head coach his coaching staff and several of the players on the roster , who simply came up short in 2012 . Both front office executives are deeply in denial , if they felt that, Jim Schwartz wasn’t part of the equation, that led to such a disastrous season for the Detroit Lions .

Inasmuch as 2012 , has been a successful season, off the field, the governance of Roger Goodell , still remains in question , as his power-base , has diminished greatly , because of his sheer contempt and conceit. The commissioner’s handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal , the league hierarchy’s almost nonexistent handling of veterans’ issues, as it relates to their denial of rightfully earned benefits , speaks greatly , to Goodell’s complete lack of understanding of the position which was bestowed upon him , by the team owners and the NFL’s Board of Governors . The commissioner simply glosses over those pertinent issues , only heighten the league’s ongoing economic growth, but when pressed to address the aforementioned problems that still ensnare the NFL , he is unable to give a succinct and comprehensive answer . It is almost as if , Roger Goodell , does not care , just as long as he believes his image remains intact , while still being able to cling to power. It is at this juncture , that the fans must ask , do we not deserve a great deal more from the NFL as paying customers and loyal fans ? Your thoughts on this ?

Inasmuch as 2012 , has been a successful season, off the field, the governance of Roger Goodell , still remains in question , as his power-base , has diminished greatly , because of his sheer contempt and conceit. The commissioner’s handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal , the league hierarchy’s almost nonexistent handling of veterans’ issues, as it relates to their denial of rightfully earned benefits , speaks greatly , to Goodell’s complete lack of understanding of the position which was bestowed upon him , by the team owners and the NFL’s Board of Governors .

It has been almost two years since the league hierarchy and NFLPA (Players’ Union) came to a firm agreement , ratified in their most recent CBA (collective bargaining agreement) , wherein the league would now begin mandatory testing for HGH (human growth hormones). Now in light of Lance Armstrong’s admission of guilt as to his rampant use of HGH , EPO and other illicit substances , the union led by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , still tries to hide behind the idiotic notion that there is no concrete testing protocol that can fully detect these substances , and that until there is , he does not feel that the NFL has the right to begin blanket and mandatory testing of his members . Unless I’m mistaken , in 2007, Smith before a congressional committee did in fact give testimony , that he was not opposed the league , testing the players within the NFL , just as long as those tests were carried out by a reputable body , and that there would be safeguards to insure that mistakes were not made . Pardon me for saying this , but Smith , much like his predecessor , Gene Upshaw , just seems to be intent on blowing smoke up everyone’s ass , while hoping to see the subject of testing for HGH simply disappear from within the NFL’s midst ! It is unfortunate , that DeMaurice Smith should take this stance , while many of his current and retired members , are besieged with a litany of health issues, that are wide-ranging . Yet , it does appear that the union , much like the NFL hierarchy , simply operates, on the basis of collateral damage , and the fact that , the NFL is , now more about economic power , wealth and not much else beyond that !

Courtesy of USA Today

Bell: NFL falls further behind on HGH testing

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today Sports

The pressure just went up a notch for the NFL.

What’s the delay in implementing an HGH testing program?

We know. We’ve heard it before. The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) isn’t convinced that there is a reliable test, regardless of what anti-doping experts maintain.

Yet Major League Baseball players don’t dispute that there are valid tests, so MLB beat the NFL and its players to the punch in announcing Thursday that it will implement random, in-season blood-testing for human growth hormone.

HGH: MLB to begin in-season testing

So, despite that great photo-op on the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 17 months ago, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith announced that the NFL would become the first U.S. pro sports league to implement HGH testing as part of a new labor deal, Major League Baseball takes the honor.

Of course, this did not go unnoticed on Capitol Hill. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has held hearings and written letters aimed at nudging the players union toward an agreement for testing, issued a statement Thursday.

It was predictable. In part, it read, “Other professional sports leagues, including the National Football League, must also implement their own robust testing regimes. Major League Baseball’s announcement increases the pressure on the NFL and its players to deliver on pledges to conduct HGH testing made in their collective bargaining agreement that was signed (nearly) two years ago.”

There was silence on the matter from the NFL players union on Thursday, although it did mention the House Committee in its statement about findings that the late Junior Seau, who committed suicide in May, suffered from a degenerative brain condition, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The NFLPA called on Reps. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee, and ranking member Elijah Cummings to look into issues related to health and safety beyond HGH testing, including its desire to have independent sideline concussion experts and revisions in the workers compensation system.

MORE: Is new drug policy sufficient ?

“We hope the MLB players' union will inspire the NFLPA to stop its stalling tactics and fulfill its commitment to begin testing for HGH,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports. "If the NFLPA stands for player health and safety, it should follow the lead of the MLB players union and end the delay."

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The commissioner simply glosses over those pertinent issues , only heighten the league’s ongoing economic growth, but when pressed to address the aforementioned problems that still ensnares the NFL , he is unable to give a succinct and comprehensive answer . It is almost as if , Roger Goodell , does not care , just as long as he believes his image remains intact , while still being able to cling to power. It is at this juncture , that the fans must ask , do we not deserve a great deal more from the NFL as paying customers and loyal fans ? Your thoughts on this ?

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Picture gallery .

What if anything , has stood out for you , this NFL season ? And how do you see the AFC and NFC championship games playing out as a scenario ? Furthermore , what are you hopes during the off-season for your respective team or teams , by way of a change in their fortunes ? Chime in on this , and anything else you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh speaks during a news conference at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The Ravens are scheduled to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) …..

(2) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis , left, watches as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game , Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. The Ravens would go on to defeat the Broncos 38-35 in overtime . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis shakes hands Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after the Ravens won 38-35 in overtime of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. Lewis , a perennial Pro Bowl player , made the formal announcement statement that this would be his last season with the Ravens , with the intent of retiring at the culmination of the team’s postseason foray . AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …

(4) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waves to spectators following an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. The Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(5) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) ,after Kaepernick’s 56-yard touchdown run , against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. AP Photo/Ben Margot …..

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach , Greg Schiano ,left, is seen here with the team’s GM , Mark Dominik at the franchise’s training facility , One Buc Place .. The two members within the franchise’s hierarchy have come to the conclusion that incumbent starting quarterback , Josh Freeman is now in need of stiff competition , if the team , is indeed to get better . Last season proved to be amongst the least successful for the former ….. Kansas St quarterback . Drafted 17th overall in the in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers , Freeman’s struggles have been well chronicled in the local and press . It would appear that 2012 , seems to be the year which things have come to a head , with Greg Schiano now at his wit’s end concerning his starting quarterback . Tampa Bay Times / Scott Hughes …

(7) Martin Mayhew , left , Detroit Lions’ general manager , is seen here with the team’s head coach Jim Schwartz , on the sidelines of regular season game played at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan. Having made the postseason in 2011 , the team fell back to earth , with disastrous thud finishing at the bottom of the pile within the NFC North , with a 4-12 record in 2012. Many were surprised that Schwartz retained his position with the franchise , but Chairman , William Clay Ford Jr and the general manager were in agreement that Jim Schwartz should be asked to return for next season. Detroit Free News / Daniel Mears ….

(8) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , left is seen here alongside NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , as each wait to address to members of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee , up on Capitol Hill , Washington DC , in October of 2010. The pair , were also joined by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , MLBPA Executive Director , Michael Weiner , David Stern of the NBA , as well as Gary Bettman of the NHL . The congressional committee convened a hearing to address the issue of performance enhancing drugs within four major professional sports . However , senior members of the committee took umbrage with both Goodell and Smith , and their reluctance to enact their initiative , which had been ratified by the NFLPA in 2010, to start testing for the use HGH (human growth hormone) by the NFL players . Three years later and the NFL is no closer to starting their testing protocols , whereas baseball has begun testing not only HGH , but a wide substances by MLB , but also designated a felony , wherein , a player is known to have obtained such a substance without medical approval and that of a prescription by a licensed medical professional , specifically for medical use. AP REUTERS / David Rogers …..

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’Maino’ feat’g Roscoe Dash ….. ”Let it Fly”

Have You Heard The One About The Lion That Roared Loudly ? There Were Also Several Mice In The Background Scurrying , Looking For Safety ………..

Have You Heard The One About The Lion That Roared Loudly ? There Were Also Several Mice In The Background Scurrying , Looking For Safety ………..

I have to admit that I have become completely enamored with the sporting landscape here in the US ! That being said I readily admit that NASCAR , NHL and MLS (Soccer) has about as much interest for me as hearing another story about the latest Kardashian entrepreneurship adventure ! The NFL , NBA , MLB and the UFC in effect has my undivided attention . Granted , within this domain I rarely touch on the sport of MMA as I feel that there isn’t enough followers who may even have an idea as basis of what the UFC has been about over the last decade and half. Other than to suggest , that it has placed the sport of boxing in its rear view mirror because it now offers far more excitement and competitive bouts , of what has now become an archaic sport on the sporting landscape !

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Now that the NFL season encountered and passed with the events of week 5 I am beginning to wonder whether or not I underestimated the wherewithal of the Detroit Lions ! At 5-0 this is a team playing with a great deal of vitality and Matt Stafford is now slowly making a believer out of me ! Yes , I did say he’s slowly making a believer because until he is able endure an entire regular season schedule he’ll continue to be suspect in my mind .

Well on Monday night the Lions slayed (24-13) the Chicago Bears and further emphasized to my mind why I feel Jay Culter is overrated as a quarterback in this league ! I’m not saying he’s terrible but given a choice between himself and Peyton Manning playing at a mere 20 % of his capability …. I would rather take Manning hands down ! And though the early stages of the game weren’t at all pretty to watch with numerous penalties there would be plenty admire about this Detroit Lions’ team . Ndamokung Suh is proving to be a man playing amongst boys and the Lions’ posture is that of a unit that is beginning to realize how good they can really become .

Now while the praise being heaped upon both Stafford and Suh can be justified for me it has simply been about watching Calvin Johnson simply shred to pieces the defenses he’s faced this season. Watching Johnson go about his work is like seeing a surgeon perform intricate and painstaking surgery without missing a beat . If there is a better wide receiver playing in the NFL at present purely based on current form then I have yet to witness that player at work.

Now while the month October has yet to reach its halfway stage weeks 6 ( home against the Niners ) and 7 (@ home against the Falcons) in terms of their schedule should tell us a great deal about the Detroit Lions and whether or not they can maintain their momentum . If by then the team remains unbeaten then there is no reason why the cannot prove to be a serious challenge to the Green Bay Packers within their division (NFC North) , the conference and NFL as a whole . But to my mind what may well truly determine the merits and progression of the team will be their Thanksgiving Day meeting against Mike McCarthy’s Packers team whom they will host at home at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan,.

The Detroit Lions in the past few years have to be patient as they have drafted prudently and much of this can be put down to the insight of Jim Schwartz , his coaching staff and the front office led by GM Martin Mayhew . The team’s picks from the 2011 NFL Draft also proved to be fortuitous , albeit that their top pick Nick Fairley has yet to suit up for the Lions having suffered what appears to be a lingering injury . But the coaching staff hopes to have the player up and ready at some point in their season . It bodes well for the Detroit Lions with the drafting of Fairley alongside Titus Young , Mikel Leshoure , Douglas Hogue and Johnny Culbreath . If these players can produce the form that they undoubtedly showed in college then the Detroit Lions could very well be set for years to come .

Now of all the results of this past NFL weekend by enlarge this may well have been the most surprising . We had two NFC teams whom I felt were evenly matched . But the end result certainly didn’t create that impression as somehow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered what was their most embarrassing and lopsided loss ( 48-3) during the tenure of their coach Raheem Morris . The Buccaneers traveled to the West Coast to take on the vastly improved San Francisco 49ers under first year coach Jim Harbaugh and what appears to be a rejuvenated Alex Smith .

Personally I don’t believe anyone saw this massacre coming , certainly not the Buccaneers’ fans and I definitely don’t believe that even the Niners’ fans could have envisaged that they would have laid down such an emphatic performance against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team that was said to be forceful on defense but now had a growing offensive game by way of their running attack led by LeGarrette Blount . Raheeem Morris may well have felt that Blount’s bruising style would somehow negate the efficiency of the Niners’ defense but during the game the Buccaneers’ running attack was held to a measly eighty yards of run offense and 204 yards in receptions . The San Francisco 49ers defense has not had a 100yard rusher against them in thirteen regular season games and it easy to understand the reason why. Ahmad Brooks , Patrick Willis , Parys Haralson , Donte Whitner and Tarell Brown are proving to be a very cohesive unit on defense . The credit for this must go to Harbaugh and in particular defensive coordinator Vic Fangio .

Now while Jim Harbaugh can be happy with the performance his team and the fact that they now stand atop of the NFC West with a 4-1 record there is nothing at all that Raheem Morris and his coaching staff can take away from this as a positive . The Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman quite possibly had one of the worst performances of his career as a player throwing for two interceptions in the game without a touchdown of any kind by way of productivity . Without a fluid and competitive Freeman this Buccaneers’ team does tend to struggle and that was indicative throughout this entire game. Jim Harbaugh’s team were able to have their way with the Buccaneers’ secondary and simply made them look extraordinarily mediocre in every facet of their game .

With the 48-3 loss the Buccaneers now fall to 3-2 in what is already a very competitive NFC South division. And with the New Orleans Saints (4-1) now coming into their own and finding a rhythm the Buccaneers now find themselves firmly seated behind the divisional leader . With the two teams set to meet at Raymond James Stadium this upcoming Sunday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers know that playing host to Sean Payton’s Saints team they can ill afford to suffer a second consecutive loss . In doing so it would certainly do irreparable harm to the team’s chances of quite possibly making the postseason , given the the uncertainty within the NFC and the performances of the teams within the conference . And that is certainly something that Raheem Morris in spite of his proselytizing that the Buccaneers should be viewed as one of the best teams within the NFC , at this juncture nothing could be further from the truth .

Sean Payton as coach of the New Orleans Saints knows he that he cannot take this game as a “gimme” and any type of complacency by his players will be seen as a clear sign by their opposition that they are thinking ahead towards their match-up against the Indianapolis Colts at the Mercedez Benz / New Orleans Superdome in New Orleans , Louisiana ,. That thought should be the farthest thing away from the mind of Drew Brees and his teammates as they first have to get past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

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As a fan of the NFL which of the results that took place during week five were of the biggest surprise to you ? Do you also believe that given the surprising start to the season by the Detroit Lions they can now be taken seriously as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl ? Or do you somehow believe that it is still too early in the season tell ? Take time to leave comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ………………

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(1) Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola (51) and guard Stephen Peterman (66) celebrate running back Jahvid Best’s 88-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter of NFL football game in Detroit, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. The Lions won 24-13 . The Lions are undefeated through five games for the first time since 1956, the year before their last NFL title. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(2) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears reacts during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bears 24-13. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(3) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions makes a short pass to Jahvid Best (44) during the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bears 24-13. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ……

(4) Ndamukong Suh (90) of the Detroit Lions tries to get around the block of Lance Louis (60) of the Chicago Bears to get to Jay Cutler (6) at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 24-13. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images …….

(5) Josh Morgan (84) of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Corey Lynch (44) and Anthony Gaitor (24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Morgan was injured on the play. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty ……

(6) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers runs past a diving Mason Foster (59) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Forty Niners would defeat the Buccaneers 48-3 . Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) ……

(7) Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets separated from the ball by Dashon Goldson (38) of the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….

(8) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws the ball while pressured by Ahmad Brooks (55) of the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …….

(9) Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

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Aubrey Wilson ….. Playboy Playmate

It’s Not My World But It’s The One That I’m Enjoying At Present ….. !

It’s Not My World But It’s The One That I’m Enjoying At Present ….. !

Well due to the fact of Hurricane Irene depriving me of the chance to travel up to the nation’s capital for the formal unveiling and dedication of the MLK monument on the Mall in Washington , DC , my weekend was spent at home. With the girlfriend having traveled off to the West Coast for a family emergency , for myself it would be one where I would be left to my own devices . That meant scouring the sports pages to peruse what was happening in the world and how it all pans out in terms of the environments there .

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In baseball the divisional races seem to be taking on a life of their own , with some simply being up for grabs while other are all but over bar the shouting . Certainly the wildcard races haven’t really left us with a great deal of intrigue at all. Although there’s the idiocy within the local market here that the Tampa Bay Rays will somehow be able to overcome their six game deficit to the New York Yankees and gain that AL wildcard berth . One could attest to the fact that the teams are looking to play themselves into contention and in some cases out of contention .

With the recent moves made by teams concerning their postseason ambitions it’s clear that a number of teams that are of of the belief that they can make a run at their divisional foes . That now seems to be the case with the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers within the AL Central . With the respective managers Mike Sciocsia and Ron Washington leading the charge for both the Angels and Rangers .

If anything for the Los Angeles Angels the play of Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver have been stellar , as have been the rest of the team . It’d be remiss of me to suggest that the Rangers are good enough to run away with the division make a return to the World Series after last year’s escapades .

While Michael Young is viewed as a player who’s said to be in the declining years of a productive career , this season if anything , Young has proven to be the catalyst for this team not only by his presence but also his veteran leadership. And while Elvis Andrus , Adrian Beltre` and Josh Hamilton are seen as the star players on this Texas Rangers’ roster , were it not for Michael Young I seriously doubt that the team would be leading the AL West and playing with such command .

One of the major stories during this baseball season has been that of future free agents Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers and Albert Pujols of the St Louis Cardinals . Both players whose contracts expire at the end of the year are seen as the most desirable unrestricted agents coming to the market in 2012. The thirty one year old Pujols …” the face “ of the Cardinals and perhaps that organization’s second best player when one considers the Hall of Famers associated with the team over the years. Albert Pujols has made it abundantly clear to the front office and GM John Mozeliak that it is his wish to remain a life long St Louis Cardinals’ player. Pujols remains the one constant and draw on this team and while there’s no denying that many of the team’s active records and historical records could well be surpassed by the player . The off-season deliberations between Albert Pujols and the organization could be very interesting indeed. The All Star slugger wants to be compensated befitting a player of his worth and whether or not that is a seven year or ten multi million dollar deal remains to be seen. Many prognosticators are suggesting that the player may well be looking for a deal that is northwards of $200 million over eight years .

Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores a run against Michael McKenry (55) of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on August 25, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …….

Averaging out at $25 million a year one doubts that the St Louis Cardinals would seek to financially hamstring themselves to such a long term commitment . But then again the team salaries seem to be escalating for the big market teams while those mid to small market ball-clubs seem to be struggling to remain amongst the fray. If Pujols were unable to commit to an offer from the St Louis Cardinals then it would appear that there would be a number of teams vying for Albert Pujols’ services. Amongst those thought to show an interest would be their divisional rivals the Chicago Cubs who’ve long needed some star appeal and real offensive productivity within that ballclub. The team itself having seen the upheaval with the firing of GM Jim Hendry by team owner Tom Ricketts are now looking for a change of direction both on an off the field of play.

Prince Fielder five years younger than Pujols , is seen as a player whose best years are ahead of him, as the 27 year old first baseman on the Brewers’ team . The Milwaukee Brewers have seen their years of highs and lows within baseball with little postseason success in recent years . It has been a cautionary tale for this organization and the present ownership group after they assumed control from the Selig family.

This season we have seen the Brewers simply smash their way to success leaving all else in their wake , especially within the NL Central . They’ve distanced themselves from the St Louis Cardinals and now have an eye on the postseason, as they prepare for the divisional series. For Fielder , Ryan Braun , John Axford and the players on this roster who’ve made hay while the sun shines this has been much more than a fortuitous year for the ball-club. Team owner Mark Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin have a major decision on their hands as they seek to make an offer that doesn’t do irreparable financial harm to the organization.

The pay structure of the Milwaukee Brewers has to be held in check given the limited resources of the ball-club as a whole . Prince Fielder knows that he has a choice to make at the end of the year that will provide him with long term security no what the outcome of the choice made by the player or front office . What may well matter is the financial weight of the contract offered to the player in terms of its worth . Are the Milwaukee Brewers in a position to make Prince Fielder the highest paid player on the roster and what might be the seismic shot sent across the bow of the game ? How will that decision be viewed by the general managers and team owners around the league ?

I am not so sure that Prince Fielder can be deemed a person said to be worth in excess of $20-$25 million a year no matter what length the period of the contract offered to the player . But herein lies the idiocy of the game today , a player such as Vernon Wells this year will be paid in excess of $26.5 million for an unproductive and lackluster season with the Los Angeles Angels .

Having not taken much interest in the NFL preseason I have to admit that the latest results have not really come as a great surprise ! . Certainly if the teams are said to be seeking consistency during these preseason games then for the San Francisco 49ers their games if anything have been an indication of the sheer ineptitude in terms of the play offered by the quarterbacks on the team .

Team general manager Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh may well have hastily made the decision to announce that his regular season starter would be Alex Smith .

For those of us who have witnessed the productivity of Smith over the years , we can all attest to the fact that the player has had his moments but when it has mattered most he has struggled to show any real command or the trust of his teammates . In the preseason once again, it has been more of the same from the five year veteran and it is becoming extremely hard to understand how it is that the player was taken first overall in the 2005 NFL Draft .

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Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers roles out to pass against the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

From my own perspective given the travails of the 49ers during the preseason I do believe that this team will struggle over the course of the regular season ! For Jim Harbaugh , his coaching staff and in particular quarterbacks’ coach Geep Chryst this will be a year during which their mental psyche will be tested by the play of Alex Smith. It has been the player’s inconsistency but more so the fact that during his time in the NFL at no point of his career has the coaching staff remained constant. The staff of the Forty Niners has been changed more often than that of a newborn baby’s diapers on a daily basis. If Geep Chryst can keep things simple not only for Smith but also his primary backup Josh McCown then there’s no reason to believe why the team cannot be competitive over the course of this season . But as of now that remains a big “if “ in the minds of not only the fans in general but quite possibly also the Forty Niners’ coaching staff , themselves.

With the off-season moves made by the 49ers and the draft choices it would be easy to suggest that the team is back on the road to being competitive within the NFC West . Although the division may well seem ripe for the taking , with teams such as the Arizona Cardinals , Seattle Seahawks and St Louis Rams all vying for overall supremacy. I do feel that NFC West has and always remain a division where there’s more uncertainty bound to happen than any fan could hope to wish for. It has been the inconsistency of the teams over the past few years that leads me to believe that trying to predict an outright winner of the division is akin to playing “three card Monty” !

Alex Smith will have to justify the faith shown in him by Jim Harbaugh this season , if not then I can see his NFL career coming to an abrupt end with him being jettisoned by the organization. Given the fact that he was so highly touted and taken as a number one overall pick , I am now beginning to wonder what it was that the front office saw in the player that originally that convinced them that he had the makings of NFL quarterback ? Anyone care to hazard a guess and provide us all with an answer ?

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support !

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

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(1) TORONTO, CANADA – AUGUST 28: Desmond Jennings of the Toronto Blue Jays of the Tampa Bay Rays during MLB game action August 28, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Rays would go on to defeat the Blue Jays 12-0 . Photo by Brad White/Getty Images …..

2 Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson looks on as Jose Bautista (19) of the Toronto Blue Jays walks off after striking out during MLB game action against the Tampa Bay Rays August 28, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Brad White/Getty Images …….

(3) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 25: Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals flips the ball to first base at Busch Stadium on August 25, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 8-4 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(4) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores a run against Michael McKenry (55) of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on August 25, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …….

(5) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 28: Corey Hart (1) of the Milwaukee Brewers is congratulated by Prince Fielder (28) after scoring a run during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park on August 28, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers would go on to defeat the Cubs 3-2 Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …….

(6) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 28: Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers catches the baseball from Zack Grienke (13) as Starlin Castro (13) of the Chicago Cubs dives back to the base at Miller Park on August 28, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 3-2. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……..

(7) SAN FRANCISCO – AUGUST 27: Chris Culliver (29) of the San Francisco 49ers returning a kick off gets tackled by Shiloh Keo (31) of the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Texans won the game 30-7 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….

(8) Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers looks on against the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….

(9) SAN FRANCISCO – AUGUST 27: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers roles out to pass against the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..
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NB : In the Forty Niners most recent preseason game they suffered a decisive 30-7 loss to the Houston Texans .

If Curiosity Killed The Cat Then Who Led The Cat There In The First Place ….. ?

If Curiosity Killed The Cat Then Who Led The Cat There In The First Place ….. ?

Well now that there’s a peace accord within the NFL and all parties appear to happy the preseason is under way questions will abound as to what we the fans ought to expect from the teams this upcoming regular season as well as what we have all witnessed so far in the preseason ? And as such it’s pretty much safe to say we will have our contenders and pretenders within the league this year.

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Certainly questions will abound as to the lofty expectations for teams such as the San Francisco 49ers , Carolina Panthers , Denver Broncos , Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns . The Forty Niners come into this season with a new coach in Jim Harbaugh along with new coaching assistants and once again the onus will be upon Alex Smith to prove that he’s capable of leading this team . Far be it for me to suggest but the player has had his gamut of criticism over the course of his career , much of it valid ! . But then again, consider what he’s had to endure since his introduction into the NFL ? A coaching carousel , several changes in offensive coordinators and the very fact that the front office of this organization led by John York and his wife Denise DeBartolo York have never really had the presence of mind to even give this team their undivided attention. Instead they’ve simply paraded it around as a bauble for their socialite friends to gaze upon .

In the NFC West where the San Francisco 49ers reside their regular season schedule dictates that they take on their inhouse rivals the Seattle Seahawks , St Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals . Given the impressions of last season within the division you get the feeling that the quality of football played there won’t be up to the usual standards one would come to expect . Albeit , that last year the Seattle Seahawks would make the postseason , go on to knockout the then defending Superbowl champions , New Orleans Saints in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

This season if I had to pick a team to come out of the NFC West to make the postseason then I might have to go with the St Louis Rams ! Steve Spagnuolo has proven to me that he’s a good coach who can get the best out of his players. And in Sam Bradford he has one of the young rising stars in the league who may well go on to do some great things in the NFL if given the prerequisite tools , in being surrounded by a very good team . That being said this season the Rams will have to give it their all and show that the progress made under Spagnuolo hasn’t all gone unheeded . Certainly from an offensive standpoint you would expect this team show signs of progress based on last season’s figures . Most certainly with the offseason moves made and the draft choices you would expect to see some solid contributions from the likes of

Defensively if this team can hold its own and take heed of the lessons being taught by defensive coordinator Kevin Flajole then they ought to fare well over the course of the season . Certainly there’s reason to believe that the St Louis Rams can have and make this division truly competitive . Granted , the NFC West has never really been highly looked upon as one of the more competitive divisions within the NFL as it has its detractors as well as supporters across the nation. That being said every division within this league has its highs and lows , some more so than others .

If there’s one thing that Jim Harbaugh has to deal with and make it an absolute priority , then that will be settling upon of a starting quarterback for the regular season . Other than Alex Smith the coach has Colin Kaepernick and McLeod Bethel-Thompson but it is being rumored that the coach will be bringing in seasoned veterans Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper . This may merely be a backup plan should things not work out concerning Harbaugh’s insistence that Alex Smith is the team’s starter but given the player’s inability and lack of productivity in preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints where the team was simply outplayed in a rather lopsided 24-3 defeat . If anything , the coach had to have been perturbed by what he saw from his starter but he’s prepared to show his implicit faith in Smith until all else fails. Given that display , I’d say that scenario is likely to happen sooner rather than later !

The Forty Niners have been prudent in the draft seeking to bolster the roster with prudent choices that will complement this team overall. Along with their offseason acquisitions it is thought that Harbaugh and coaching staff will seek to progress with this squad systematically looking for improvements over the course of the season from their rookies as well as greater contributions from the veterans on the team. And for the likes of draft choices Aldon Smith , Colin Kaepernick , Chris Culliver , Kendall Hunter , Daniel Kilgore and Ronald Johnson .

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ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo talks to quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……..

We certainly know what the San Francisco 49ers are capable of from an offensive standpoint given the right set of circumstances as can be seen from their play over the course of last season . But it has been the defense that has been as such the team’s Achilles Heel apart from the inconsistent play of Alex Smith over the course of last year.

Clearly this will be a season of can we , or will we be able to overcome all forms adversities placed in our way as far as Jim Harbaugh and his team are concerned . The task ahead for this rookie NFL coach will be an arduous task but the faith shown in him by GM Trent Baalke and team President & CEO Jed York must have been fortified in the success achieved at Stanford as a college coach .

As much I believe that the St Louis Rams are capable of winning the NFC West outright, my choice is predicated upon there being an immense contribution from seasoned veterans on this team such as Steven Jackson , Jerious Norwood , Brady Poppinga and Josh Brown to lead this squad throughout the season . Last season these players played their part contributing to the success of the team which narrowly missed the postseason by failing to win an additional game that would have guaranteed the St Louis Rams winning the division , thereby toppling the Seattle Seahawks .

The moves made by GM Billy Devaney in conjunction with Steve Spagnuolo and the coaching staff sets this organization up for the future and the immediacy of now. Most certainly with the draft choices and the existing roster in place there’s a very good reason that we ought to see real progress throughout the course of this season . It is clear that the organization now feels that they have found their man in Sam Bradford as the franchise quarterback to lead this team well into the future . And if the player shows the growth and maturity already exhibited then we are liable to see this team reach excel once again . The fans yearn for it and so too do Bradford’s teammates at this juncture after some pretty languid years , ensuing their Superbowl ( SBXXXIV) triumph .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the upcoming NFL season and in particular with regard to the teams within the NFC West ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you believe to be pertinent .

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

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(1) FILE – This Aug. 12, 2011 file photo shows San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh prior to an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Before he transformed Stanford from a laughingstock to a powerhouse and achieved his goal of being an NFL head coach tasked with rebuilding the floundering San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh got his full-time coaching career started across the bay in Oakland AP Photo/Bill Feig …..

(2) In this Aug. 12, 2011 photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) calls for the snap from New Orleans Saints center Olin Kreutz (50) during an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Drew Brees is coming to grips with the fact that a couple familiar faces will be missing from the table when he takes the offensive line out for dinner each week. New Orleans lost their starting center of the past three seasons when Jonathan Goodwin opted to go to San Francisco in free agency and then head coach Sean Payton released starting right tackle Jon Stinchcomb. AP Photo/Bill Feig …….

(3) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith pulls back to throw during NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …….

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli (3), Alex Smith (11), Colin Kaepernick (7), and McLeod Bethel-Thompson practice during NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …….

(5) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford drinks on the sidelines between drills during NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011, at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(6) FILE- The July 31, 2011 file photo shows St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson runs with the ball during NFL football camp at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. The Rams have planned to get Jackson on the field for the second preseason game. Jackson missed much of Tuesday Aug. 16, 2011 practice, though, with a hip flexor issue . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …….

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: Robert Quinn (94) of the St. Louis Rams gets past a block by Anthony Castonzo (74) of the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

(8) St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, left, shakes hands with Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell at the end of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011 in St. Louis. The Rams won 33-10 . (AP Photo/Tom Gannam ….

(9) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: Mardy Gilyard (81) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room to run on a punt return against the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ….

(10) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 13: St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo talks to quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……..
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I’ve Got Many Rivers To Cross But I Can’t Seem To Find My Way Over ………. The Niners Really Do Have Problems …………….

I’ve Got Many Rivers To Cross But I Can’t Seem To Find My Way Over ………. The Niners Really Do Have Problems …………….

I’ll say this repeatedly but when it comes to the NFL there’s no doubt in my mind that the ‘two worse divisions’ are by far in a way the AFC West and NFC West . The teams there are either atrociously bad or they remain an enigma as to their inconsistency. And when measured against the other divisions within their respective conference . I think it’s pretty safe to say that the case I’m putting forth pretty much justifies itself ! I’m now stating that the San Francisco 49ers now fits nicely into that category !

Indianapolis : Head coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers watches drills on the field during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. photo appears courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Matt  Boehm  .............
Indianapolis : Head coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers watches drills on the field during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Matt Boehm .............

Mike Singletary as the coach of this team has tried to bring back a sense of respectability to not only the team itself but also to the organization. For the last few years the ‘Forty Niners’ have become stagnant and languid. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the front office and ownership has shown as much care for the organization as a pachyderm would acknowledge a fly sniffing at its rear end for the pungent odor of fecal matter. Denise DeBartolo York and her husband , Dr John York it would appear are more concerned about their image , appearance in high society and the social circles of San Francisco , than they would be about the NFL franchise that they own. And why not ? Considering that the team that has won 5 Superbowls has been about as relevant to the NFL over the last decade as Dennis Kucinich has been to the Democratic Party . Both he and the Forty Niners it’d appear , are simply just there , merely to be laughed at and to be admired from afar as not what to do if you want to be taken seriously. The Forty Niners’ legacy once considered to be the epitome of class around the NFL has merely become the ‘cannon fodder’ for the fans and the press alike.

Denise  DeBartolo-York  and her   husband  Dr John  York - the  owners of  the  San  Francisco   49ers  .    photo  appears   courtesy  of the  San Francisco  Chronicle /  Michael  Macor  ..................
Denise DeBartolo-York and her husband Dr John York - the owners of the San Francisco 49ers . photo appears courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle / Michael Macor ..................

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Agent: GM McCloughan still with 49ers—for now

By Janie McCauley , AP Sports Writer

Santa Clara , Calif. (AP)—The agent for San Francisco 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan said Thursday night his client is still employed by the team— for now, anyway.

Peter Schaffer, McCloughan’s representative, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that he has “not heard any different” regarding McCloughan’s job status amid speculation he’s on his way out. The 49ers have been mum on the situation.

Niners spokesman Bob Lange told The AP by phone Thursday that he could not discuss McCloughan’s status or future with the team and gave no indication a formal announcement was imminent.

Several reports Thursday said the Niners are cutting ties with McCloughan because of personal issues. Schaffer would not discuss anything regarding McCloughan’s situation unrelated to his employment status.

“I don’t control those reports,” Schaffer said. “Every employer has every right to terminate an employee. Those are the rules. … He has not resigned and he has no plans to resign.”

AOL FanHouse reported that the move is based on a personal matter not related to team issues.

ESPN, citing anonymous sources, reported later Thursday that the 49ers are giving McCloughan an extended leave of absence and also referred to him dealing with personal issues.

McCloughan told FanHouse via text message, “I’m fine and moving forward.” The Fanhouse report said he would not elaborate.

If McCloughan departs, the timing is highly unusual for the 49ers’ top personnel executive since 2005. San Francisco has two picks in the first round of the draft, which is just five weeks away.

FanHouse’s report, which cited unnamed sources, said the decision was by mutual agreement and followed a meeting Wednesday between McCloughan, team president and CEO Jed York and several members of the 49ers’ front office.

E-mails to McCloughan and York weren’t returned.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat first reported late Wednesday that McCloughan was considering stepping down as 49ers GM
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Click on the link to read this AP article in its entirety
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While last season Singletary did an admirable job coaching the team there was profound disappointment for the fans who had expected so much more. Candlestick Park , home to the franchise , though not yet the proverbial ghost town. It might as well have been at times, when you sometimes saw the effort being put forth by the team. Inconsistency and poorly executed plays on both sides of the ball summed up this team. It were as if nothing that Singletary’s coaching staff placed as a premium in training actually got across to the players on the roster , even on game day. And it’s hard to think that is the same franchise that had NFL greats , Hall of Fame caliber players such as Joe Montana , Steve Young, Jerry Rice , Ronnie Lott and Bob St Clair played for the team. And the architect of their greatest successes, is ‘the man’ often thought of as being the savior of the franchise , Bill Walsh .

An 8-8 season in 2009 and the frustration was there for all to see , from Singletary on down. I doubt that the players themselves were that overly concerned. But then again , who’d have known ? Internal turmoil and the ineffective play of starting quarterback Shaun Hill led to a change , where Hill was replaced the team’s former number one draft pick and Utah Utes’ player Alex Smith . And with the stupidity that went on prior to the start of the season with Michael Crabtree . One simply had to wonder whether or not there was anyone with an utter ounce of sense with Niners’ front office ? The ‘Crabtree episode’ alone, indicated that not only was the front office devoid of any common sense but so too was Singletary, himself. To effectively have the player hold the team hostage essentially showed me how poor they’d become organizationally. It seems unfortunate that with the death of Bill Walsh, who was a consultant with the team. I couldn’t have envisaged Walsh putting up with the player’s demands and that of his agent. But as I alluded to earlier when there’s no sense of urgency or direction from the owners , there’s a tendency for that to become throughout the organization.

Courtesy of NFL.com Wire Reports

Niners GM McCloughan likely losing duties in front-office reshaping

The San Francisco 49ers’ front office is undergoing change, a league source told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora on Thursday, and general manager Scot McCloughan’s duties likely will be divided among others — at least temporarily.

Director of player personnel Trent Baalke is expected to inherit many of McCloughan’s responsibilities and could end up with the GM title, if only on an interim basis.

The 49ers are hashing out the matter internally and aren’t commenting on McCloughan’s status at this time. However, a restructuring is happening, a source told La Canfora, and the reasons are unrelated to football matters.

McCloughan’s agent, Peter Schaffer, had said that his client wouldn’t resign. But when reached Thursday, Schaffer said he had no comment on McCloughan’s status.

The timing — in the middle of free agency and with the NFL draft next month — has led to much speculation about the reasons for the change. For now, all that’s clear is the 49ers are in the process of reshaping the organization. McCloughan remains listed as the 49ers’ GM on the team’s official Web site, and no changes have been announced.

McCloughan had the final say on the 49ers’ last two drafts, but coach Mike Singletary told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine last month that the team would make its draft-day decisions according to players’ rankings on an overall draft board, not on the gut feelings of any team executives.

The 49ers hired McCloughan in February 2005 to supervise their personnel department for Mike Nolan, a career assistant coach who was given total control of the team’s football operations by owner John York.

McCloughan was named GM in January 2008 when the 49ers gave him authority over Nolan instead of firing the coach after the 49ers’ third consecutive losing season. Nolan lasted just seven more games, and team president Jed York, the owner’s son, abruptly replaced him with Singletary during the 2008 season.

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Click on the link provided to read the NFL.com article

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Michael Crabtree, center right, the San Francisco 49ers' first-round pick in the NFL football draft, holds up his new jersey number as he stands with 49ers coach Mike Singletary, center left, general manager Scot McCloughan, left, and president Jed York, right, during a news conference in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, April 26, 2009. Crabtree is a wide receiver from Texas Tech. photo  appears  courtesy  of   Associated  Press/ Paul   Sakuma  ................
Michael Crabtree, center right, the San Francisco 49ers' first-round pick in the NFL football draft, holds up his new jersey number as he stands with 49ers coach Mike Singletary, center left, general manager Scot McCloughan, left, and president Jed York, right, during a news conference in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, April 26, 2009. Crabtree is a wide receiver from Texas Tech. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Paul Sakuma ................

Now with the NFL Draft just around the corner. It appears that the franchise will be cutting ties with its GM Scott McCloughan . Timing is everything we know but this is simply asinine. But we are led to believe that McCloughan is leaving the organization for personal reasons. Other sources report that the ownership isn’t entirely happy with McCloughan’s handling of certain personnel issues. Well isn’t this what we’d all like to see within an NFL franchise ? Sheer and utter incompetency from the top on down ! Is there anyone there with an ounce of common sense at least ?

Alex  Smith the  San  Francisco  49ers   starting  quarterback  sits  on  the  sidelines  during  an  NFL game  having  sustained   a leg   injury.  photo  appears courtesy  of   Cary  Edmondson /US Presswire  .........................
Alex Smith the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback sits on the sidelines during an NFL game having sustained a leg injury. photo appears courtesy of Cary Edmondson /US Presswire .........................

To to my mind, if the Niners want to implode at least do it in such a way that the fans are left paying for the mistakes made. Now all the Niners’ fans have got to be wondering what the hell is going on and whether or not the Yorks actually care about what’s happening at present ? Can we get someone in there who actually knows how to run an NFL franchise from the top on down ? Better yet , how about a damn change in the ownership as far as the Niners are concerned ? It’s not as if Denise DeBartolo-York and her husband John York have been proud custodians of the franchise as its owner. They simply treat the franchise as a bauble to be shown off to their friends and acquaintances. I’d dare say that Bill Walsh must now be spinning in his grave , quite possibly knowing that the franchise that he turned into an NFL powerhouse , has now become nothing more than a stop gap makeshift graveyard for the careers of players who might otherwise be doing something elsewhere or perhaps be either be a backup or on the practice squad on another franchise around the league. Let’s put it this way , there’s not a actually player on the roster who you’d genuinely think of as a game breaker , play-maker and who’d be the ‘legitimate desire’ of another franchise in the NFL, as an ‘out and out starter’ during the regular season. Come on now, think about it ? Maybe Frank Gore or Takeo Spikes ? Clock is ticking ?

The evidence there now for all to see that while the Yorks are presiding over the franchise as its owners. Things are regrettably going to get a great deal worse rather than better for the San Francisco 49ers. As the title of the piece would suggest ” ………..I’ve Got Many Rivers To Cross But I Can’t Seem To Find My Way Over ………. The Niners Really Do Have Problems ”

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………………

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Jimmy Cliff sings his international classic hit ‘Many Rivers To Cross’

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Natalie  Martinez  ...........
Actress & model Natalie Martinez ........ Who wouldn't want to get ahold of her rims ? I know I would !

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We Already Knew There Was Trouble In Paradise But Who’s Now Stirring The Pot ?

It’s often been said that there are three sides to a story …’yours, mine and lying somewhere in between .. normally is the truth ‘ . So what’s now unfolding within the San Francisco 49ers organization and with them having lodged a formal complaint – tampering violation with the NFL against the New York Jets , concerning unsigned rookie Michael Crabtree . It opens up another chapter in something now that could become a rather unsavory episode for all involved.

This   picture  from  May  of this   year  shows  rookie   draftee   Michael  Crabtree  at  the   49ers'  training   facility  in  Santa  Clara,  Ca,.  The 49ers have filed tampering charges with the NFL against the New York Jets regarding Crabtree, Jets coach Rex Ryan confirmed .   picture appears courtesy of  ap/ Paul   Sakuma   .................
This picture from May of this year shows rookie draftee Michael Crabtree at the 49ers' training facility in Santa Clara, Ca,. The 49ers have filed tampering charges with the NFL against the New York Jets regarding Crabtree, Jets coach Rex Ryan confirmed . picture appears courtesy of ap/ Paul Sakuma .................

It most certainly doesn’t add to the case for the 49ers to still sign Crabtree. But does go to the argument , whereby that if the allegations are said to be true. The actions of Crabtree and his agent , Eguene Parker , would leave a great deal to be desired. And though denials have been forthcoming from the Jets’ organization and in particular from their coach, Rex Ryan . If as such negotiations had broken down between Crabtree and the Niners’ front office. Any pursuance by the Jets under any circumstances unless they were speaking with the Jets formally was a contravention of NFL rules and as such violated those rules. And it is punishable, as deemed fit by the the league office.

Eugene  Parker BS.JD,   Parker is  a  prominent   sports agent  as  well as   entertainment   attorney.  Michael  Crabtree   the  unsigned   rookie at the center  of   contract negotiations  between  he  and  the  San  Francisco  49ers    are  now  facing the  possibility  of   being   investigated   by  the  NFL   for their  possible  actions   in the  allgeged  charges   levied  against   the   New  York  Jets.     picture appears  courtesy  of  lifeinsports.org/eugene parker ............
Eugene Parker BS.JD, Parker is a prominent sports agent as well as entertainment attorney. Michael Crabtree the unsigned rookie at the center of contract negotiations between he and the San Francisco 49ers are now facing the possibility of being investigated by the NFL for their possible actions in the allgeged charges levied against the New York Jets. picture appears courtesy of lifeinsports.org/eugene parker ..........

Obviously a routine but yet thorough investigation will have to be conducted by the NFL to ascertain the veracity of the claims being made the San Francisco 49ers. But now one must ask if this is the way that Crabtree and his agent Eugene Parker feel is a way of conducting business. Then it clearly shows how naive they both. Especially given Parker’s reputation as an agent. This isn’t his first client as he’s represented amongst others Deion Saunders, Emmitt Smith, Lavaranues Coles , Ray Lewis , Hines Ward and several other NFL players , current and past.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Tampering accusation worse than ‘Spygate’ if true

By Charles Robinson Yahoo Sports

There are no hidden cameras to be seized, no long-established feelings of hatred. The key figures involved have yet to carve out rock-star status in the NFL, and unless something unexpected comes to light, the NFL won’t be destroying any evidence.

So, no, this isn’t Spygate. However, it might actually be worse.

That’s what some league executives and at least one owner had to say this week, after the San Francisco 49ers, frustrated at their lack of progress in signing No. 10 NFL draft pick Michael Crabtree(notes), filed a tampering charge against the New York Jets. In what executives are viewing as an extremely serious allegation, the 49ers are alleging, either tacitly or directly, the Jets have played a role in undercutting San Francisco’s ability to sign its first-round pick. And while the charge doesn’t have the sparks and scandal of Spygate, in which the New England Patriots were disciplined for illegally videotaping Jets’ defensive signals in 2007, it’s being viewed as no less serious in some NFL corners.

“[Spygate] was limited,” said a high-ranking NFC executive. “That’s something where – that information or competitive edge or whatever you want to call it, was limited to one team gaining an advantage over another team. But that’s just two teams. … We all have first-round picks – 32 teams have first-round picks.

“It’s hard to prove if it did happen. But if it did, it’s cheating the whole draft. You shouldn’t even be thinking about someone else’s pick. When the draft is over, that’s their deal and you have your own [selections] to worry about. It’s none of your business what is happening in someone else’s [negotiations]. If that [tampering with draft picks] flies, we might as well just make all the college players free agents.”

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In order to read the entire contents of Charles Robinson’s article just click on the text link provided within
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Jets'  coach   Rex  Ryan  on the sidelines  watching   his  team   during   warmups   before the  start  of  a  preseason   game against the  Baltimore  Ravens and New  York Jets.   The  coach  has  denied   any  wrongdoing  on the  part   of  the  Jets'  organization  and the  allegations   made  about  tampering  and  that  of  the  unsigned   rookie  Michael  Crabtree .    picture appears  courtesy  of ap/photo/   Gail  Burton  ....................
Jets' coach Rex Ryan on the sidelines watching his team during warmups before the start of a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets. The coach has denied any wrongdoing on the part of the Jets' organization and the allegations made about tampering and that of the unsigned rookie Michael Crabtree . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Gail Burton ....................

We all know that the players do have their foibles and there are some who think of themselves as being …’the big man on campus’ . But also there’s the agent who at times is the one who’s the driving force behind very much what you’d see coming from a player. He’ll entice his client to do and say all the right things when dealing with a club. But unfortunately for public consumption by way of the media then all of the idiocy comes to the fore. Then the media buys into it all and goes on to report it. Or the two will work hand in hand to create a buzz out there for the fans and members of the public. Hey, Chris Mortensen can you tell me does Brett Favre still put his pants on , one leg at a time ? And of your routine sources in and around the NFL , how many of them actually go … ‘dumpster diving’ in order to provide you with your so called reliable source of information ? The same can be said of your counterparts at Fox, as well !

As to how the ensuing situation plays out . We can but only wait to see what steps will be taken. Clearly the San Francisco 49ers feel concened enough to take this to the NFL and ask them to deal with the issue. But what if anything does it tell you about the NFL as a whole and how it goes about conducting its business ? I’ve heard all of the whining about the ‘Spygate affair’. But when I suggest to those , commenting on the issue, as to whether or not this isn’t widespread around the league. They become as quiet as a church mouse or actually start to act like a spoilt child who’s been spanked merely because they’ve not been able to get their way. And then they can’t even elicit a meaningful response with regard to the question.

We can take a look at an issue but we tend to not always look at the underlying cirucumstances surrounding a case. The league sees fit to deal with a great many issues placed before it. But how many of us actually agree with many of those decisions made at the end of the day ? Especially when more often than not it’s about the perception of their image remaining in tact. If there’s a case to be made here concernng the tampering violation by the Jets. Then the league shouldn’t just be looking at the actions of only accused but also clearly that of Crabtree and his agent. It’s certainly now placed them in a not too enviable light at this juncture. Nevermind what has gone on from the very beginnng , the player and his entourage rolled into town. Now no amount of back-tracking and public statement can change the image already placed in front of the public or the fans.n