All hail the conquering hero ……..

All hail the conquering hero

Week eight of the NFL departed in a cloud of despair for a number of teams , with many having seen their season implode with a great deal of smoke . For the win-less Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) , we could very well be seeing the last remnants of both Gus Bradley and Greg Schiano as head coaches in the league . Albeit , it is my belief that the Buccaneers would rather not have to let their head coach go and then still have to fulfill the financial obligations of existing contract . As of 2012 they were still paying former head coach Jon Gruden , and they also owe Schiano’s predecessor Raheem Morris monies due from the final two seasons of his original deal . Which begs the question , Joel and Avram Glazer , as well as GM Mark Dominik , are they as smart, as some would try and suggest ? The Buccaneers remain one of the franchises within the NFL , that persistently has trouble attracting fans for regular season home games as well the preseason , but yet, all I tend to hear from their weary fans, are that due to harsh economic times this has been the norm . That is simply utter idiocy , as prior to the most recent downturn in the economy , the franchise still could not attract fans . It has become the norm in the Tampa Bay area market, where the fans are simply fair weather fans , only jumping unto the bandwagon, when things are good .

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In the Buccaneers rather lopsided 31-13 home loss to the Carolina Panthers , it was the franchise eleventh defeat in their last twelve regular season games dating back to 2012 . Anyone under the slightest impression that this Greg Schiano coached team had within the slightest chance of winning the game , either had to have been under prescribed medication or simply saw something that just was not there . Defensively , the team lacks a great deal of discipline and from an offensive standpoint they are as equally inept and just as awful as the word ” offensive” would suggest or con-notate in another vernacular. The real issue with this team and the coaching staff as well , is that there are no leaders and absolutely no one held is accountable in either juncture . And the opinions I have read by Buccaneers’ fans concerning the team simply glosses over that fact , as they look elsewhere for answers .

With the mid-season trade deadline set for 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday 29th October, it will be interesting to see whether or not Mark Dominik sees fit to make one or two moves that might suggest that the Buccaneers will seek to amass draft picks for the 2014 NFL Draft , while giving up on the remainder of this season . There certainly is not any point in them trying to make a run at the division given the fact that they are firmly rooted to the bottom of the NFC South with only the hapless Atlanta Falcons looking as equally abysmal a franchise, within the division . The Carolina Panthers have been the surprise team from within , while a resurgent New Orleans Saints’ team looks to make themselves a force to be reckoned this season , not just within the conference but also the NFL as a whole .

Week nine and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will head West , where they will take on the Seattle Seahawks (7-1) in an NFC match-up of two teams heading in opposite directions. The Seahawks will be looking to firmly tighten their grip on the NFC West , while distancing themselves from their closest divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers (6-2).

Greg Schiano was brought in as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach , under the belief, that what was needed was a stern , strict disciplinarian and someone with an eye for coaching and developing young talent . Unfortunately , if this season is anything judge by , then he has failed miserably on both fronts . It is hard to see where the franchise now goes from here and one also has to ask the question , is Mark Dominik the right person for the job as the team’s general manager ? Clearly , other than the drafting of Doug Martin in 2012 , the Buccaneers have little to show for their lack of any type of tangible success , and another season of setbacks , only profligates another year of discontent for their long suffering fans , who have not seen the franchise in the postseason since 2007 .

There seems to be a constant struggle between ” good ” and ” evil ” within the NFC East each season . Either the teams there, will serve up some great football , or it tends to be the kind that will have you yearning for days when there were said to be highly skilled players within the division . Granted , from season to season , what you see is what you get . Yet , in 2013 , beyond the plethora of bad performances without having to cite injuries , there can be no excuse for the fact that the Dallas Cowboys (4-4) , Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) , New York Giants (2-6) and Washington Redskins (2-5) are no better than . 500 in terms of their overall records . To say that the division sends a bad message about the football now being played in the NFL would be an understatement , but how else can you explain the woefully inept displays from a quartet of teams , that is said to house the best division in the entire NFL ? Personally , I believe the NFC East to be overrated , with a number of players , either past their prime or steadily on something of a downward spiral . As good as Tony Romo is said to during the regular season , we can agree can we not that when it comes to the postseason , the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback is simply like a deer caught in headlights. He may well be a fantasy geek’s dream during the regular season , because that is all he ever will be .

Someone will have to explain to me , how the Dallas Cowboys can somehow lapse into a complete breakdown , having led the Detroit Lions through three quarters with a 13-7 lead , only to then give up twenty four points in the final quarter and then succumb to the Lions 31-30 . Jason Garrett and his coaching staff either like to be far too conservative , or there appears to be a nonchalant attitude in how they view each opponent on a week to week basis . The Cowboys either choose to play up or down to the level of the opposition they face . More often than not , it has been beneath the level of the foe they have to face, during the course of this season .

I would dare say that when the Dallas Cowboys face the Minnesota Vikings (1-7) this upcoming Sunday , there is no likelihood of being able to clarify how that game is likely to turn out , if we base our knowledge on what is said to have taken place during week eight . All things should point to an easy win for the home team , but as I alluded to before , Dallas more often than not, has chosen to play down to the level of an opponent they have faced during this season . So make of it, what you will .

In what proved to be a pivotal game five of this season’s World Series , the Boston Red Sox pulled off a 3-1 victory over the St Louis Cardinals , to place themselves one win away from capturing their third World Series’ title in the past nine years. In what turned out to be a thoroughly thrilling contest , very much in the vein of this series , this game ebbed and flowed as both combatants tried to outwit each other over nine innings .

Jon Lester of the Red Sox out-pitched his opposing number Adam Wainwright but once , again as so often before , it was left to David Ortiz to provide the heroics for the team as he has often done before . Should Boston go on to take this series , then it is my firm belief that Ortiz is likely to be named the series’ MVP . Yet , with their being two games left of this current contest , it would be completely foolish to write-off the St Louis Cardinals at this juncture . The NL pennant winners are far too resolute a team to call it a day , and simply give up . It is certainly not within the players’ or coaching staff’s mindset that all is lost . And even if the final two games are being played in Boston at Fenway Park , all that is needed , is for a game six victory St Louis to even the contest and then, this series now becomes a one game sudden death , all or nothing sweepstakes .

With all the controversy that has plagued this baseball season , it is still good to know that the continued idiocy is not far away from the headlines ,even if the purists and apathetic would prefer to look the other way in spite of the irreparable damage done to the sport . As we all know at the end of this postseason soiree , the MLB hierarchy will seek to press ahead with their action against Alex Rodriguez in seeking a multi-game suspension of the player . Not to be outdone, Rodriguez in turn has sought to press ahead with a federal civil suit against baseball (MLB) citing slander , emotional distress and damage to his reputation , with the game’s hierarchy in seeking to suspend him from baseball , with a two hundred and fourteen game suspension . The hiring of two prominent New York City criminal attorneys in John Tacopina and David Cornwell to represent the player not only at the tribunal hearing, but also in his defamation lawsuit , has me wondering how much longer can this absolute farce be maintained ! No one seems intent on giving an inch , and it has become abundantly clear that this case is now taking on some rather unsavory racial overtones , quite possibly with a great deal of this being orchestrated by Rodriguez’s legal team , in some part .

Hordes of demonstrators in support of the New York Yankees’ third baseman have turned up outside the MLB headquarters, protesting the unfairness of baseball’s investigation and the fact that Alex Rodriguez is being made a scapegoat because of his ethnicity . Back in March of 2010 , I do not believe that was said to be the case when Alex Rodriguez , willingly chose to proffer up what was then an insipid act of contrition , in apologizing for his use of a banned substance . Yet , somehow four years later , when what is said to be tangible evidence of the player willingly having bought several illicit substances for his own personal use and with sworn subpoenaed testimony from Anthony Bosch (founder) of Biogenesis that Alex Rodriguez was indeed a client , who purchased products from his company . It would appear , that now would be the time to use race and ethnicity , as a way to sully what has already become a sordid affair . From my own perspective , baseball , specifically its hierarchy , owners and the union have never treated the issue of steroids with the seriousness it deserves . Yet , for the tens of millions dollars that have been made by the teams , players and the game as a whole during the era of steroids , in reality for all of the suspensions meted out by Bud Selig , not much has really changed to abate the rampant epidemic , that has further soiled the reputation of the game.

Once the World Series reaches its finale , baseball’s season will carry on at length , as it becomes a legal issue concerning Rodriguez’s appeals hearing in front of mediation specialist Fred Horowitz , and then onwards , dare I say downwards, with what is likely to be a rather comedic federal trial ?

Speaking of which , just when you thought you had heard the last of Barry Bonds , his name is amongst the list of eligible Hall of Fame candidates for 2014 . However , you will be pleased to know , that Bonds too , is seeking his own legal recourse in having his 2011 federal trial verdict of guilty be overturned in an appeals’ court hearing . The former San Francisco Giants’ slugger along with his attorneys have filed an appeal in the Ninth District Court of Appeals to have his case be re-heard by eleven Appeals’ Court judges , where their finding would hopefully overturn the original conviction and verdict of guilty on counts of obstruction of justice and perjury . If Bonds’ request were to be turned down then his only course of action left would have his case be heard by the US Supreme Court , in front of the Justice there. Which begs the question , will Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor be feigning or actually drooling over the player , upon his entrance into their hallowed chambers ?

For Bonds who believes that his testimony that he never knowingly took a banned substance and that because he is the son of a famous sports’ personality , it equated , whereby he was seen somewhat differently by a jury of his peers , doesn’t seem to quite wash with how the player was known to acquit himself on the field of play as some have stated , he often remained aloof from many of his teammates during the latter part of his career , as he sought after many of the game’s titular records from in terms offense and their notoriety. The seven-time NL MVP’s once meteoric star and his ascent to the top of the game, with its fall , came the distrust of many of the game’s most ardent fans . Though one cannot deny Bonds’ greatness prior to any of the alleged use of a banned substance , it has been the player’s reasoning and deniability that has continued to be a real cause for concern , as he often used his status for a number of noteworthy causes . I am not so sure that even in light of that fact , one can still look at Barry Bonds in a positive light and deem him to be a role model for anyone .

With the resignation of Jim Leyland , as the manager of the Detroit Tigers , . I believe that the organization should look for a successor from within their current coaching staff. It certainly has not hurt , that both of the managers in this season’s World Series were at one time assistants on the respective teams that they are now managing in baseball’s showcase finale . Continuity , I believe is at times, the best way to proceed , rather than seeking to go after a high-profiled name . That was clearly the case in 2012 when the Boston Red Sox made the horrendous mistake with the hiring of Bobby Valentine . GM Ben Cherington was against the hire , but team President & CEO Larry Lucchino somehow convinced the other senior partners along with majority stake holder John W Henry that Valentine was indeed the man for the job . Last season for the Red Sox , beyond the infamy of the sheer ineptitude and the last place finish within the AL East , was also memorable , equally comedic and utterly diabolical for the sound-bytes uttered by the then beleaguered Valentine , who sought to blame everyone else but himself , for the team’s miserable year in 2012. How quickly was Valentine’s successor John Farrell able to turn things around ? Well, the proof has been in witnessing where the team now just happens to be . Is it possible, that this type of situation can be replicated with the Tigers , if GM Dave Dombrowski makes the right decision by promoting from within ? The Tigers’ general manager is not keen to show his hand at present, but he is likely to weigh up all of the possible options available to him , while remaining in close contact with team owner Michael Ilitch .

Brad Ausmus , former catcher in the Big Leagues and now a special assistant within the San Diego Padres’ organization appears to be the front-runner to succeed Jim Leyland , after what are said to be an encouraging round of interviews with both Dave Dombrowski and Michael Ilitch. . Yet, amongst the Tigers’ coaching staff there are candidates such as Lloyd McClendon , Rafael Belliard , Gene Lamont and Tom Brookens . All of whom , if given the chance could quite possibly fill the vacancy left with the resignation of Jim Leyland . Players on the staff such as Justin Verlander , Miguel Cabrera , Prince Fielder and Max Scherzer are likely to be gauged as to their thoughts on the managerial vacancy , but off course the final say will rest with the general manager and team owner . Jim Leyland has served the game well and his departure from the game , though unexpected, came at the right time , for the now legendary manager , whose resume` is an accomplished one .

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Heroes within the world of sports can at times be characters with flawed personalities , or they can be someone , we can have a great deal of respect for . Yet somehow, there is a chance what we deemed to be a hero in one person’s view , can very much be the opposite for someone else . Do you believe that as a sports’ fan , there is room the modern-day hero within the world of sports ? Or do you best believe , that these athletes are simply nothing more than gifted individuals within their chosen professions , who are deservedly rewarded , for what they do ? By all means , do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars who as head coach of the team , has seen them fall to an 0-8 start and currently are at the bottom of the AFC South joining NFC compatriot the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for having the two worst records in the NFL . AP Photo / Martin Bucknell …

(2) Mike Glennon (8) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers calls a play in the huddle during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers would go on to lose the game , which is one of seven straight consecutive losses , for a franchise that has lost eleven of their last twelve regular season games dating back to 2012. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …..

(3) A Boston Red Sox fan holds up a sign for manager John Farrell (53) of the Boston Red Sox prior during Game Five of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. Rob Carr / Getty Images North America ….. Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(4) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox runs after hitting an RBI double scoring Dustin Pedroia (15) in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …. (5) Alex Rodriguez is seen here signing autographs for fans , having just left the MLB headquarters in New York City , where he and his attorneys met members of the MLB hierarchy and their investigators . Courtesy of ESPN / all rights reserved …

(6) Fans of Alex Rodriguez come out to show their support for the player as he departs from the league’s headquarters in lower Manhattan , New York City . Ed Marsh / NY Daily News …

(7) A small gathering of Rodriguez’s fans show their support for the beleaguered player . AP Photo / Tom Archer ….

(8) Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the 9th District Court of Appeals where he and his legal team are seeking to have his April 2011 guilty verdict appealed and overturned with a special trial in front of an empaneled court of Justices within the Appeals Court’s jurisdiction. If Bonds gains no recourse, then his only remaining alternative is for his case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court . AP Photo / Todd Hatcher ….

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tophatal …………….. 10/29/2013

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“Rehab”

“Rehab “

By Tophatal

I don’t like to lend money to friends , or family , unless it’s of the utmost urgency ! However , with that in mind I find it less than sobering to see that once again the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season home opener will be unable to sell out their game against divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers . With a new head coach , coaching staff and several free agents signed in the off-season to coincide with the franchise’s draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft . One would have thought that this would have piqued the interest of the fans within the locale . Instead , it has been a hard sell , ineffectively being marketed by the Buccaneers’ Sales and Marketing Department . The television ads have been mundane, without creativity and likewise within the print and radio areas, as well . I’m sorry , but whoever is leading this exercise on behalf of the Buccaneers needs to be relinquished of that position , immediately , and done so , without any compensation !

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Greg Schiano , in his first season as a head coach has an arduous and bold task ahead of him . All of the bravado cannot hide the fact that he will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed. His situation might may well have been impeded by the fact that with the franchise such a big splash in the off-season signing Vincent Jackson , one of most desired and sought after free agents in 2012 . Team GM Mark Dominik for his part , has been quick to sell the attributes of his new head coach and the fact that he brings the much-needed discipline not witnessed from this team in 2011. It remains to be seen what is brought to the table by Schiano and the team in its current guise prior to the their season unfolding .

Now one could be decidedly critical of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and specifically , of the Glazer family . However, to my mind , we have repeatedly seen such instances where the ownership have simply stood pat , rather than trying to lure the fans to attend games at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . Of the Buccaneers’ last seventeen regular season home games , 15 have been blacked out , due to the fact that franchise has been unable to sell the required allotment of tickets in avoid a league mandated blackout within the local television market. Also herein, we have had the idiocy of a member of the Florida state legislature trying to force the NFL to change its policy concerning this issue . I have always maintained that when you have a governmental agency intruding upon the commercial activity of any corporate enterprise , when their actions are not warranted , then no good can come from it all . This is not a legal matter but yet a state legislator with far more acute to deal within the state makes an ass himself within this area. Then again, this is Florida, where common sense simply and intelligence amongst its state legislature do not go hand in hand.

The Buccaneers for the present has a cordial relationship with the Tampa Sports Authority , owners of Raymond James Stadium, and the lessor of the venue to the franchise for their scheduled home games. That agency is a conduit for the Hillsborough County Government .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the only NFL franchise to find themselves in such a position but unfortunately their situation is unlike any other , merely because of the longevity relating to the number of regular season blacked out games . And if I were to tell you that this Central Florida franchise is one of the most valuable teams within the league , then I believe it certainly makes this scenario all the more improbable . It would be remiss to suggest that Avram Glazer , COO, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be magnanimous and philanthropic by offering several thousand tickets at a discounted price to the fans but this exercise has been executed before . One could point to the fact that Central Florida is in the midst of an economic downturn not seen in over seven years. High unemployment, a malaise within the community, and not much ingenuity being shown by the local politicians by way of creating an environment that invigorates the business environment, and leads to an upswing in employment.

As to the divisional match-up , this game has the makings of what will be something of an offensive minded collision of two teams . Throw in the fact that the two opposing quarterbacks in Cam Newton fresh off his record-breaking season , and Josh Freeman , who will be looking to improve their statistical marks of 2011 .

Coming off a 4-12 season in 2011, it is easy to understand why the front office decided to head in a new direction , with the firing of Raheem Morris as the as the Buccaneers’ head coach. The team was decidedly lackluster and we witnessed the regression of Josh Freeman throughout the entire Buccaneers’ schedule and that of the team as a whole . Ill-disciplined , a lack of accountability , and no leadership from any of the veterans on the roster , clearly indicated that the team was heading in the wrong direction. A great deal more is expected of Freeman this season , with the player being given an array of options offense , with Vincent Jackson , LeGarrette Blount and rookie full-back —- Doug Wilson . However, Greg Schiano will undoubtedly, be looking to see more from his revamped defense . Mason Foster, Gerald McCoy and Mark Barron will be asked to make sizeable contributions to a defense that ranked amongst the worst in the NFC and the league as a whole last season.

Of all the games in week one of the NFL season openers , perhaps the most eagerly anticipated, might be the return of Peyton Manning as he leads the Denver Broncos in their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers . In the aftermath of last season’s wildcard round of the NFL Playoffs , when the Steelers were subjected to a rather humiliating loss to the Broncos , who were led at the time by Tim Tebow . It has to be said, that the defeat left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Steelers’ players and the abrupt end to their postseason foray in 2011 .

In what was a career defining moment for Tebow, in many ways was also a sign that the player while undoubtedly not lacking in heart , as he left a lot to be desired as a quarterback in the NFL . In the off-season , John Elway , Head of Operations for the Denver Broncos, made the decision that the franchise needed a veteran quarterback to lead the team. With four-time league MVP Peyton Manning available, after being cut by the Indianapolis Colts , it seemed only natural that Elway would pursue the former Colts’ quarterback. With Manning now firmly entrenched as part of head coach’s John Fox’s offense , the player also becomes a quasi on-field offensive coordinator , thereby further assisting the offensive mindset of Fox’s coaching staff.

Manning’s acquisition made for a great story during the off-season and then when you add in the fact , that his younger sibling Eli Manning led the New York Giants to their second —- Superbowl in five years . Then you can understand the numerous reasons why Peyton Manning seeks to reassert himself as the top quarterback in the NFL. In what amounts to be a division that a number of fans believe to be a foregone conclusion , there is the belief that the Broncos will stroll through the AFC West with consummate ease . The Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, would like nothing better than to rewrite the script, to add their own ending to the plot-line that’s said to have been scripted. An 8-8 mark in 2011, garnered the Broncos the division and a berth in the postseason of 2011. I don’t believe that such a mark will be conclusive enough to repeat that feat but I could very well be wrong in that assumption ! The Broncos’ regular season meetings against the Chargers , Chiefs and Raiders , could very well provide us with the premise that we seek.

The opposing quarterback in this game will be two-time Superbowl winner Ben Roethlisberger . Coming off a 12-4 season in 2011 , having finished second within the AFC North to the Baltimore Ravens . Mike Tomlin and his players will this season seek to reassert themselves not only within the AFC but also within the NFL. With several nicked up players, the injury bug seems to have caught up to the Steelers’ aging core of veterans on the roster. However, with the departures and free agency acquisitions , alongside what has been determined to be a very good Steelers’ draft class of 2012. The thinking has to be, that Tomlin and the coaching staff will be well served by this unit, as they march forward this season.

the loss of Bruce Arians as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator has led to some discord between Roethlisberger and Arians’ successor Todd Haley . Haley has sought more of a run-first offense , whereas the quarterback was quite happy with Arians’ playbook of the passing option for the majority of the Steelers’ plays. This season and it remains a work in progress for Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates in adapting to Todd Haley’s offensive playbook. Mike Tomlin has made it clear he wants his offense clicking on all cylinders as the their season takes shape. The first signs where he will be able to gauge its success will be the game against the Indianapolis Colts’ defense.

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Week one of the regular season , which games of the regular season do you believe will be the most anticipated ? Also in light of the repeated problems facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being unable to sellout a number of their regular season home games , is it your opinion that the team ownership should bear the burden of making sure that those unsold tickets be purchased by club ? Or do you believe that the NFL should be doing more to assist the franchises in meeting that goal ? Do take this opportunity to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson looks for yardage during their NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(2) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano watches from the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Josh Freeman (5) throws for a first down in the first half against the New England Patriots during their NFL preseason football game in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin …

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik in his third year as the front office executive of the organization is presiding over the revamping of the team , with a new head coach acquisitions and draft picks by franchise in 2012. AP/ Getty Images / Nolan Turner …

(5) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) avoids a tackle by New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin (51) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game , Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(6) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, left, reacts to a call against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(7) Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) goes over plays with teammates Adam Weber (2) and Brock Osweiler during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(8) FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2012, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Denver. No need to ask Steelers coach Mike Tomlin if Peyton Manning is back. As far as Tomlin is concerned, the Broncos quarterback never left. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …..

(9) Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) rushes as Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams (92) and Daryl Washington (58) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Matt York …..

(10) Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger throws under pressure from Buffalo Bills’ Nick Barnett (50) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ………

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Rihanna …. Feat’g Justin Timberlake …… Rehab “

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 ………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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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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Do Not Pass Go Do Not Collect $200

Do Not Pass Go Do Not Collect $200

Well it goes without saying the eyes of the nation were simply upon the opening weekend of the NFL and the slew of games staged by the league. Apart from the league’s intent to eulogize and commemorate those fell on September 11th 2001 this was also a time for the nation to adjudge how far it has come from that fateful day . Though I can remember the events clearly it still all seems so surreal for myself and many of my closest friends. Perhaps none more so , than those who just happen to be first responders (firemen, police officers and EMT’s) , many of whom traveled up to New York city to offer their services for the next few months in light of the events that took place .

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Here within the Tampa Bay area the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium in a game that was far from being a sellout and which was blacked out locally for television coverage due to that fact. What might be even more disconcerting was the mere fact that the Buccaneers had recently lost (died due to complexities — having suffered a stroke) their most influential and famed player , Hall of Fame great Lee Roy Selmon . Anyone who knows of the player’s accomplishment at the collegiate and professional level will know that Selmon was one of a kind , magnanimous , respected and above all a man of genuine integrity !

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Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is greeted by teammates during the season opener against the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

With the game itself not being televised within the local community as is prefaced by the NFL rules , it was left for those outside that radius to witness the Buccaneers’ own eulogies to their former player and the fallen of 9/11 . Somehow as a fan of the NFL what I found disturbing was that there was no sign from anyone within the Tampa Buccaneers’ front office to take the lead and perhaps purchase the 7,500 that would have necessitated the game being a sellout . With there being MacDill Air Force Base in close proximity of Raymond James Stadium as well as a Veterans’ Administration medical facility as well as the local first responders within the community who have served the locale to the best of their ability . I found it something of a poor response from the organization and in particular the Glazer family as owners of the team ! One would have thought that this would have been such a wonderful way of bringing the community together , feting the contributions of Lee Roy Selmon within the community and commemorating the lives lost on 9/11 in a more effective way. But it would appear that Mark Dominik , Jason Dial , Malcolm , Bryan or Joel Glazer would appear to be insightful enough to realize that had they taken the opportunity of making such a magnanimous gesture in purchasing those 7,500 tickets and distributing them amongst the community , servicemen and first responders how it would be portrayed within the locale. But it is as I’ve always felt the Buccaneers’ ownership simply exists to bleed the community dry as and when needed !

Certainly for Schwartz and his coaching staff with the changes made during the off-season and the drafting of players to complement the existing roster . There may well have been reason enough for there to be a renewed belief in the team. And with the likes of Ndamukong Suh , Calvin Johnson , Nick Fairley , Titus Young and Jahvid Best all looking to show that this team has improved beyond its issues of last season .

For Buccaneers’ coach Raheem Morris coming into this season he knew that this team had something to prove . Their season ended abruptly in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers missing a playoff berth by failing to notch what would have been a season’s best 11th win in the NFC South . In what might be the most competitive division in all of the NFL the Buccaneers do facing a daunting task when one considers who the other residents are within the division. The New Orleans Saints , Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers will all will be looking to pre-empt and usurp any type of divisional supremacy that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may well be seeking within the NFC South. I do believe that the Panthers will be a work in progress with Cam Newton looking to acclimatize himself within the NFL and the very fact that the team has a first year coach in Ron Rivera makes what appears to be an arduous task ahead for the organization .

Raheem Morris knows that with the improvements seen in Josh Freeman and the team’s offensive line they are bound to get better . GM Mark Dominik and the scouting department certainly made sure that on both sides of the ball the roster would be adequately served via the draft and that of free agency acquisitions . But overall the organization did not make the type of splash that many believed they need to make move themselves amongst the pack of major contenders within the NFC .

One of the more pleasing aspects of seeing this Buccaneers’ team play has been the leadership and maturity shown by Josh Freeman . The player alongside such seasoned veterans as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow Jr have applied themselves to the task at hand . But if anything it has been the play of Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount that has given the real optimistic fans of the Buccaneers the greatest belief that this team is now ready to mount a serious challenge within the league . The defense of the Buccaneers has always maintained the team’s persona . And as and when needed they have continued to step up to the plate . But one should expect there to be problems that will arise when some of the players have missed assignments or simply have those momentary lapses in judgment . That was clearly the case as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came up short in a 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions that should simply have been avoided . The Buccaneers’ players know where the blame ought to be apportioned and I do believe that Raheem Morris and his coaching staff will hold those accountable when the players have their postgame analysis of the events that took place during their season opener !

Tampa Bay certainly did themselves no favors during the game but the lessons learned will be put into place when the team meets their next opponents the Minnesota Vikings this upcoming weekend at Mall of the Americas Stadium in Minneapolis , Minnesota in an NFC conference game.

In what I genuinely thought might be a couple of divisional races that might well have been over within baseball now look to be taking on a life of their very own . The wildcard races also now look to be more intriguing given the errant play of several of the teams that were ahead of the pack within those particular races . In the AL East the Tampa Bay Rays seem to be making a strong case that they might well be able to chase down the Boston Red Sox and gain that elusive wildcard berth within the AL. But I for one do believe that it may well be all too little , too late as the season for the team is now winding down .

For Joe Maddon and his coaching staff this has once again been a gallant effort on their part that simply ought to be admired given the lack of financial resources afforded this organization. The New York Yankees although they hold a 3.5 game lead over the second placed Red Sox and a seven game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays are not likely to take their feet off the gas pedal as they seek to win the division outright . Joe Girardi wants to take this Yankees’ team into the postseason playing at a consistently high level with many of the roster’s top players coming into their own and finding a rhythm.

No doubt for the Tampa Bay Rays this season could be judged as one as what might have been . Never one to find any real consistency for long stretches over the course of the year , missed after missed opportunity came for this Rays’ team to really stamp their authority within the division and across the landscape of the game as a whole . Sadly when those opportunities arise and you fail to take advantage of them , this is what tends to happen to an organization.

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Fans watch as a large U.S. flag is displayed prior to the Boston Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays baseball game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Terry Renna …..

What remains to be seen now for the Tampa Bay Rays as they move forward beyond this season will be the approach taken by the front office led by GM Andrew Friedman and senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg . We have all read repeatedly the problems that this organization has faced over the years and the very fact that the league hierarchy has provided very little assistance if any , to Sternberg and his partners, as they seek an accord in trying to get a new stadium built for the Tampa Bay Rays . But what else should one expect from an executive hierarchy that has simply shown little leadership under the guidance of Commissioner Bud Selig .

If there is anyone that I would on the Tampa Bay Rays’ roster as having had an outstanding season then it would have to be starting pitcher James Shields . He has simply stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pitchers on the team. But it would be remiss to suggest that he and the pitching staff have not been ably abetted by the defensive prowess shown by the members of this squad. At the end of the day however , we may well see the organization simply seek to further deplete this roster by trading away a number of the high salaried players on the team as they seek an influx of youth by way of their prospects , farm system , draft and the perfunctory use of low salaried players who they believe can still be productive for the organization . This now appears to be an a never-ending story that has now engulfed the game and something that Selig , the team owners and league hierarchy simply refuse to address .

In stark contrast while the Tampa Bay Rays simply struggles to remain relevant within the game considering the recent success of the organization it has to be said without the competitiveness shown by organizations such as the Rays , I seriously doubt that the fans of the game would really take a genuine an overall interest in the stories that unfold over the course of the season.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the MLB season winds down and the NFL season has began , fans of both sports will certainly have something to look forward to with a great deal of interest. From my own standpoint , I will be looking forward to the postseason within baseball with a great deal of fervor but my biggest disappointment without a doubt was in seeing the poor showing of the Glazer family with regard to the lack of support in trying to make that Buccaneers’ season opener more of a determined success by making tickets available to members of the local community . Would it have been to much to ask given the solemnity of the occasion ? What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And by way of the NFL week one results which game by your own estimation was the biggest surprise ? Simply chime in with a comment on this and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: A #63 logo honoring defensive end Lee Roy Selmon is painted on the field at Raymond James Stadium as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Detroit Lions in the season opener September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(2) Lee Roy Selmon seen here at Raymond James Stadium addresses the crowd at a celebration honoring the inductees into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor . The player who suffered a stroke died last week and his burial took place this past Friday . Selmon having retired from the game as a lifelong Buccaneer remained in the area to become a successful businessman , philanthropist and AD at the University of South Florida . St Petersburg Times / Chris Marshall …….. .

(3) Wide receiver Nate Burleson (13) of the Detroit Lions dives toward the endzone during the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …

(4) TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Kregg Lumpkin (28) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dives for a gain against the Detroit Lions September 11, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(5) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is greeted by teammates during the season opener against the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(6) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by Amari Spievey (42) of the Detroit Lions during the season opener at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(7) New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, second from right, poses for a photo with, from left, new general manager Mark Dominik, and executive vice presidents Edward Glazer, Bryan Glazer, and Joel Glazer during a news conference Saturday afternoon Jan. 17, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. Morris replaces Jon Gruden, who was fired on Friday. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..

(8) Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sunday, Sept.11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays won 9-1 . AP Photo/Terry Renna ….

(9) Tampa Bay Rays’ B.J. Upton rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays won 9-1. AP Photo/Terry Renna …

(10) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: Pitcher James Shields (33) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated after leaving the game in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

(11) Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate during the singing of “God Bless America” during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) …….

(12) Fans watch as a large U.S. flag is displayed prior to the Boston Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays baseball game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Terry Renna …..

(13) Pitcher James Shields (33) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

(14) Infielder Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays forces Carl Crawford (13) of the Boston Red Sox at second base during the game at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……
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The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

One year removed from having won the Superbowl the New Orleans Saints had the inauspicious privilege of being hoisted on their own petards during the wildcard round of last season’s NFL playoffs by the Seattle Seahawks . That untimely exit left many wondering whether or not the New Orleans Saints had in fact become complacent in light of their triumph . The loss in of-itself was simply one where what you see is what you get as complacency simply had set in with this organization .

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Heroes in the wake of the post ‘Hurricane Katrina’ disaster the Saints set out to bring pride back to the Crescent City and its residents . The 2010 regular season for the team showed that while they still possessed that offensive prowess there was something lacking in Sean Payton’s team. It was never properly addressed by the coach and his assistants in spite of the belief that this organization was looking to be once again a part of the postseason. Team owner Tom Benson loved being the center of attention after the years of ridicule being portrayed as disinterested NFL franchisee . But the tide turned after the team was able to secure the trade that would bring Drew Brees from the San Diego Chargers to join the New Orleans Saints . And the rest as they say is history as things gradually progressed to the point were the quarterback would simply bring about changes in the fortunes of the organization.

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

This season however , with changes made by the front office led my general manager Mickey Loomis the loss of Reggie Bush notwithstanding the organization sought to make the necessary moves through the draft and via free agency make this team considerably better and a serious challenger within the NFC South , the conference as a whole and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl once again.

With the former Heisman Trophy winner now making his home with the Miami Dolphins like a former Saints’ predecessor , Ricky Williams ___ it has to be said that Bush’s undistinguished career with the Saints was simply one of ups and downs. Never truly acclimatizing or living up to the hype the player will now try to prove himself worthy of Dolphins’ trust in him. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross , general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano may well be going out on a limb in acquiring the player but given Dolphins’ woes of last season within the AFC East of this organization leads me to believe that not only is this an act of desperation but Sparano’s very future will rely upon Reggie Bush leading this team with some authority on the field of play.

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Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) ………

The New Orleans Saints at this point through attrition and the moves made via free agency and the draft should be considerably better. The team added Alex Barron , Aubrayo Franklin , Olin Kreutz , Will Herring , Darren Sproles , Fabian Washington and Shaun Rogers . Players one would still deem that they have something to offer the organization and will ultimately be of benefit to the team. The defense needed to be shored up and it should now bode well for the Saints over the course of the regular season. The Saints having drafted Mark Ingram to complement a receiving corp that might just one of the most potent weaponry of any team within the NFC and league as a whole .

As I alluded to earlier the season could very well give a great insight into how the New Orleans may well acquit themselves . And given the competitiveness within the NFC South , a trio teams in the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers ___ each of whom will be looking to prove their dominance within the division. From my own perspective I believe that the Carolina Panthers will have their struggles as Cam Newton looks to acquaint himself to the rigors of the NFL as rookie coach Ron Rivera also has his own baptism of fire within the league.

The Falcons with their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and Mike Smith the team’s coach will also be looking to gauge their own competitiveness within the NFL this upcoming season . I can’t say that the Atlanta Falcons are not a team to be feared but given the inconsistency shown by the team they may well struggle to prove themselves truly worthy consideration as a Superbowl contender .

For what is now a resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization led by coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik . This will be a team looking to make even further strides than beyond what was achieved last season . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly missed the postseason by failing to notch an eleventh win which would have secured them a berth in playoffs. That lone misstep pretty much summed up a lost opportunity for the team which was gallantly led by their quarterback Josh Freeman .

Coming off a stellar season Josh Freeman will be out to prove to his doubters that he’s quite capable of taking this current roster to the next level. Certainly those who have witnessed the play of the young quarterback will know that he has a great deal of poise about him and that his maturity level is way beyond what many believed capable of a the third year starter. Raheem Morris, his coaching staff have a great deal of faith in the player and under the tutelage of quarterbacks’ coach Alex Van Pelt one can see the strides taken to improve Freeman’s play.

Ever resourceful , this organization will be looking to usurp the perceived supremacy of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints as their season unfolds. Their first task will be gauge themselves during their first outing of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs . Rookies and some starters will play a number of series as Raheem Morris and the coaching staff get the chance to assess the players under a game scenario , albeit that is merely a preseason game. It will be interesting to see how the fans will view the chances of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the course of the season and whether or not they are in fact credible contenders within the NFL. The disappointment of last season may well still linger but if this team can put that behind them , then there’s no reason not to believe why they cannot have a chance to prove themselves worthy opponents over of this NFL calendar .

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….

The NFC South is not often considered one of the glamor divisions of the NFL . But when one considers that a sole loss was all that deprived the Buccaneers of finishing with a 11-5 mark and making the postseason as a wildcard entrant leads me to believe that this team won’t be making the same sort of mistake again. They have learned their lesson and most certainly that seems to be now showing during which we are now seeing Freeman taking much more of a leadership role on this team alongside seasoned veterans Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the New Orleans Saints and in your opinion are they viable contenders within their division and perhaps the Superbowl ? Or do you in fact see either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Atlanta Falcons proving to be a better team this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

Contact tophatal ………. rapptu@gmail.com

http://twitter.com/tophatal

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(1) New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc . AP Photo/Gerald Herbert ….

(2) Head coach Sean Payton talks with Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with center Olin Kreutz (50) of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ……

(4) METAIRIE, LA – AUGUST 05: Mark Ingram (28) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(5) Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ………

(6) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Quarterback Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signs an autograph during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(8) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Tight end Kellen Winslow (82) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs up-field with a pass during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….
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I Don’t Do Politics …………… I Really Don’t !

I Don’t Do Politics …..I Really Don’t !

Crazy as this seems, having been part of a military (UN) peace keeping force (UNCyrpus, Ethiopia , Eritrea) in the military. I’m bewildered to see the devastating remnants of the earthquake in Haiti . The loss of an alleged ‘175,000 lives or more’ and the instantaneous making of quite possibly tens of thousands of orphaned children. And it’s almost impossible to encapsulate the complete despair and bewildering catastrophe in this tiny nation .

As the disaster is being reported on from around the world.

Thankfully, the caring heart of countless millions across the nation participated in a telethon that was shown on a number broadcast and cable outlets. This shows the caring side of a nation, that in the most acute of moments is always willing to ‘step up to the plate’. But then again there are insipid idiots such as Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson who’ve sank to the ‘lowest common denominator’ by showing what complete asses they are. What’s even more insidious is the fact that both of these oafs have supporters out there , who follow both Limbaugh and Robertson religiously. Have I missed something here ?

A Haitian child  suffering  in  pain   and  silence   have  lost the  entire members  of  his  immediate  family.   photo  appears courtesy  of guardian.co.uk/  AFP/ Getty  Images/  Logan  Abassi  ..................
A Haitian child suffering in pain and silence have lost the entire members of his immediate family. photo appears courtesy of guardian.co.uk/ AFP/ Getty Images/ Logan Abassi ..................

As a bye note on this , I’m just happy to know that the ‘political blowhole’ known as Bill O’Reilly, has decided this time around to shut the fu_k up and not opine on the fact, as to how much of the money raised by the telethon, in order to assist Haiti and its residence will be going directly to aid the afflicted there. This ‘pompous ass’ has about as much credibility, given his sexual proclivity in sexually harassing female interns in the employ of the Fox News cable outlet. The 250,000 lives lost in the Indonesian tsunami catastrophe, I’m sure that they welcomed your intent. But the more I think of those who survived that disaster, were more appreciative of the assistance given to them. For all of your political pontificating, at least have the humility to show that you care about those who are indeed in need of help and assistance ? Or is that too much to ask of your self absorbed pontificating ass ?

Hey Bill , a word of advice, if you want a piece of ass, don’t sexually harass the victim you desire over the phone. Better yet you oaf, make sure that if you’re going down that route, make sure that there’s a reciprocal wish on the part of the other person you want to lay down with. What another douche-bag, who offers up commentary but shows about as much common sense and intelligence as a gnat !

President Obama   seen  here  in  the  Oval  Office  with  former   Fed  Chairman  Paul  Volcker .   The   Obama  administration   with   Volcker  as  its  main   spearhead   will  initiate  a  number  of  reforms  meant  to  rein  in  the   financial   industry   strategically  aimed   at  the  banks  and   credit  card    companies  and  the  way  that they   go  about   conducting  their   business.  Volcker   also   sits  on  the  President's   Economic  Advisory  Board  and  offers   up   cursory  opinions   on  the   state  of  the   economy to the  President  and  Cabinet .  White  House Staff  photo/  Gerald  Martineau
President Obama seen here in the Oval Office with former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker . The Obama administration with Volcker as its main spearhead will initiate a number of reforms meant to rein in the financial industry strategically aimed at the banks and credit card companies and the way that they go about conducting their business. Volcker also sits on the President's Economic Advisory Board and offers up cursory opinions on the state of the economy to the President and Cabinet . White House Staff photo/ Gerald Martineau

I’ve been reading with interest that President Obama now intends to go after the banking industry with a venom . In what amounts to be what one cannot now consider to be a bluff. It is his administration’s as well the Congress’ wish to go after the banks and impose a $90 billion one time major tax hike on several of the banks , who were part the stimulus package that benefited the industry. Well that’s all well and good but since when did first rewarding these financial institutions in the first place and then wanting to punish them as an act of retribution is said to be a deterrent ? If I’m not mistaken, it was the President’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who pretty much in his prior position as an assistant Deputy Chairman at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York , New York City, oversaw that institution’s gross misconduct in the financial derivatives markets with some errant decision making that in large part assisted in the financial meltdown. Of which AIG was one of the main instigators through their London office, through a subsidiary known as AIG Financial Products (AIGFP). Total worldwide losses for major financial institutions and corporations are believed to have exceeded in excess of $2 trillion ($2,000,000,000,000) .

President Obama with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner , discussed the insurance company American International Group . The company would become the recipient of tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers' monies in completing a financial bailout of the US insurance and underwriting giant. Geithner would later be implicated in the fallout of insurance bonuses doled out to high ranking executives and employees of the company. Senate Banking & Finance Chairman , Sen Chris Dodd (D-Conn) would later deny that he had any knowledge of the committment to pay the bonuses. But some 48 hours prior to the announcemen he had met with Geithner to discuss the vary same topic and how to go about that it wihout creating an uprorar . picture appears courtesy of New York Times/ Doug Mills .........................

There mere fact that this precipitous , grossly egregious mishandling and capricious acts in an already volatile marketplace only adds to the craziness that’s now being instigated by the Obama administration and the Treasury. And if I’m not mistaken the Federal Reserve under Chairman Ben Bernanke’s custodianship, will essentially sit idly by and act like a docile mouse. The name calling and asinine notion that Barack Obama is now to blame for this calamity , is about as sound as listening to anything that the Republicans have to say about the subject. Pretty much consider this as a retort to the very fact that Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush was about as well versed in the domestic and economic issues as Paris Hilton would be in reciting Einstein’s Theory on Relativity . Wasn’t he (Bush) a graduate of Harvard with an MBA ? Holy sh_t ! The dumbing down of America wasn’t a myth after all then ?

Now in spite of this all, I’m supposed to think that these changes will change the mindset and the attitudes of the bankers on Wall St ? These are the same banks that were in receipt of in excess of $50 billion of taxpayers’ monies as part of the ‘TARP’ program . And with the $787 billion stimulus package and an additional$1.6 trillion ($ 1,600,000,000,000) to the national debt . Can I now ask how the administration intends to pay for the largess of the spending that has been undertaken ? I was under the impression that the stimulus package would be an investment in the nation’s infrastructure and as a way of creating jobs in the private and public sector ? But alas given the inner workings of the House Appropriation’s Committee , the Senate Finance Committee and the partisanship between the Democrats and Republicans. The administration would be better off throwing sh_t up against the wall to see what sticks !

Principal  partner   in  the  ownership  group  of  the  NHL's Tampa  Bay Lightning   ,  Oren  Koules  (seated left)  is   seen  here  with  one   time   partner   Len  Barrie.   photo  appaers  courtesy  of  Associated  Press / Chris  O'Meara .......................
Principal partner in the ownership group of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning , Oren Koules (seated left) is seen here with one time partner Len Barrie. photo appaers courtesy of Associated Press / Chris O'Meara .......................

Here in the Tampa area, the bottom seems to have fallen out of the professional sports franchises , as to their ongoing stability not only as a competitor but also financially. The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning under the ownership of Oren Koules, is struggling to maintain their competitiveness as well as financial viability. So acute is the situation for the franchise that this past month the organization had to make a request of the NHL for an advance of its residuals, in order that they could meet their financial obligations in paying the players’ salaries as well as that of their administrative staff. How fu_ked up is that situation ? It wouldn’t surprise me at all if at some time in the near future the organization either files for bankruptcy protection or Koules seeks to sell the team and try to recoup what no doubt will be some of his losses.

The ongoing rumor on the airwaves within the sports talk show market is the possible trade of the team’s most recognized playe , Vinny LeCavalier. Can we salary dump ? And then in the foreseeable, future ‘fire sale’ ?

Joel Glazer, left, Bryan Glazer, center, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers team owner and president Malcolm Glazer, right, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, Wednesday, May 25, 2005. Malcolm Glazer appointed his three sons Joel, Bryan and Avram, to the board of English Premier league soccer team Manchester United, on Tuesday, June 7, 2005, extending his control over the world's richest soccer club. Malcom Glazer, became majority shareholder of Man United on May 16, 2005. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press /J. Scott Applewhite ....................

The ongoing soap opera that is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is now beginning to read like a comedy of errors. The team’s coach, Raheem Morris is an inexperienced novice and the GM, Mark Dominik, while showing a great deal of insight, is showing that for all of the sound bytes given the print and tv media. They’re about as unencumbered in their present situation as a death row inmate awaiting execution. After a 3-13 season, Domini , Morris and the most ardent of Bucs’ fans are now beginning to find out how disingenuous the Glazer family are, as owners of the franchise. The organization was $60 million under the NFL mandated salary cap but somehow they weren’t active in the free agency market. What might be in ever more troubling however, is the fact the Glazers as owners of the Premiership soccer club Manchester United , are now facing a major financial obstacle in meeting their financial obligations to their bankers, as well as several of their creditors. The club is laden with a $1.15 billion debt.

Raheem  Morris  (second  from the  right )  and   Bucs'  General  Manager   Mark  Dominik  (left) are  seen  here  with  members  of  the  Glazer   family  , owners  of   both  the   Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers  as  well   English  Premier  League  soccer club  Manchester United  .     photo  appears courtesy  of  Getty Images  / Paul  Mason  ..............
Raheem Morris (second from the right ) and Bucs' General Manager Mark Dominik (left) are seen here with members of the Glazer family , owners of both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well English Premier League soccer club Manchester United . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Paul Mason ..............

Now in order to meet some of those obligations, the Glazers want to initiate a bond offering to raise between $150 million to $250 million. Herein lies the rub, they’re now trying to enlist the players on the team to buy the bonds as an act of good faith and also to entice not only the devoted United fans but also the general public and public institutions as well. The Glazers are pretty much what I would call wannabe sports owners, showing about as much business acumen as the former board of directors of Enron. Am I suggesting that they’re now fuc*king over the fans here in Tampa as well as in Manchester , England ? Well hell yeah and then some ! Joel , Avram , Edward and Malcolm Glazer now making the laughable assertion that they’re striving for success for both of their sports’ franchises , are about as credible as Congress’ intent to rein in the powers of the banking industry. Given the fact that the lobbyists representing the financial industry, are only third in line as to the sums paid out to members of the House of Representatives and Senate. The tens of millions of dollars doled out each year is only behind that of the defense and pharmaceutical industries. Give me fuc_ing change that I can believe in please !

Despite what could be viewed as a credible 2008-09 season. The Tampa Bay Rays fell back to the pack as they fell out of contention for a playoff berth last season. We saw the resurgence of the New York Yankees and the very fact that the Boston Red Sox are still viewed as perennial contenders in the AL East. It would suggest that the Rays are back to playing catch up once again, in pursuing the Red Sox and Yankees. A ‘three horse race’ they say is far better than that of a two horse race. But where does that now leave the Rays in the whole pecking order when you consider their financial stability ? They can’t seem to lure prime free agents to the area in spite of the fact that the team is considered to be a competitive one.

Joe Maddon  (left)  coach of  the  Tampa Bay  Rays  is  seen  here   with  Team  Snr  Vice  President  of  Operations  and  General  Manager   ,  Andrew  Friedman  .   The two  individuals   have   built  the  Rays  into a  formidable  and   competitive   organization  within the  AL   East .   picture  appears  courtesy  of  Sports   Illustrated / Associated  Press/  Tim  Dyson  ......................
Joe Maddon (left) coach of the Tampa Bay Rays is seen here with Team Snr Vice President of Operations and General Manager , Andrew Friedman . The two individuals have built the Rays into a formidable and competitive organization within the AL East . picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated / Associated Press/ Tim Dyson ......................

Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman and team manager, Joe Maddon now face something of a daunting task. Outfielder, B. J. Upton is now up for salary arbitration and it would appear that the Rays’ $4 million dollar to the player is viewed as derisory. Upton it has to be said, is one of better outfielders in MLB but at the same time his precocious talent is inconsistent. His offensive prowess can be exhilarating but more often than not, he can also prove to be an immense disappointment. Now if the Rays want to be viewed as a serious and perennial contender , is it best to let go one of the best all round players on their roster ? I’m not one to suggest that they they should retain Upton but given the organization’s struggles with their payroll. What else can they now do at this juncture ?

Rays’ principal owner, Stuart Sternberg is seen here receiving the William Harridge trophy after their defeat of the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS of 2008. The team would then go on to lose the World Series to the eventual winners , the Philadelphia Phillies .

Principal owner , Stuart Sternberg wants the team to be viewed as fan and family friendly organization and they’ve done their very best give the fans something to cheer about and appreciate. But with a hardcore fan base approaching no more than 12,000 to 14,000. It’s hard to see how much longer that the organization can continue to exist within a diverse market, where in large part the majority of the fans within the area are New York Yankees’ supporters. Uphill battle or what for the Rays in order to gain recognition ? All the image making in the world can’t change the fact that baseball in this town is about as wanted a ‘dengue fever’ pandemic. Can’t put it anymore succinctly than that ! Even with a winning product on the field of play, the Rays’ fans are about as appreciative of the team as if they were being told that their income tax rate was about to be raised.

We can opine about the fact that the organization wants a new state of the art venue built in Pinellas County , either in downtown St Petersburg or across county lines in Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa. It may or may not happen but for now the Rays’ organization will have to live with their present situation.

I’d made a suggestion to a fellow blogger, sportschump, a friend of mine who resides in the Tampa area and whose knowledge of the marketplace is well known. I asked him , who is his mind past or present , is the worst sports franchise owner that the city has known ? Amongst those up for consideration are Hugh Culverhouse , Vince Naimoli , Bill Davidson , Oren Koules, the Glazer family , headed their by patriarch , Malcolm Glazer and, Stuart Sternberg . Now he’s yet to leave me a response but I’m sure that he’s got a say as to he thinks it ought to be. As to my own thoughts on the situation, like the title says …….‘I Don’t Do Politics..I Really Don’t ‘!

Rihanna provides us with ‘Hard’ feat’g Jeezy . She’s a long cool glass of water that I’d certainly take a drink from and enjoy the extraordinary pleasure of doing it !

There's  nothing   like  seeing  a  woman  bending  over  suggestively   while  pretending  that  their  mind  is  elsewhere .  What  do   you   think  ?
There's nothing like seeing a woman bending over suggestively while pretending that their mind is elsewhere . What do you think ?

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of The New York Times

Mara cites lack of progress in talks

By Judy Battista , The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

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To read Judy Battista’s article in its entirety just click on
the link provided
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NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting  with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo  appears  courtesy  of ap/ Alex Brandon   ........
NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Alex Brandon ........

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of The Guardian UK

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

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

By David Conn , The Guardian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Tale of Two Teams ……….

A Tale of Two Teams

As with the Dickens’ novel ‘ A Tale of Two Cities’ , here we have two teams in the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who seemingly are going in opposite directions. But we are talking about quite possibly two of the worst teams in all of the NFC and the entire league.

Bucs'  fans  in the  hope  of an  early  Christmas  wish  and gift  in the  team's  game  against the  Seattle Seahawks  on   Sunday  afternoon  played  at  QWest  Field  in Seattle , Washington,.    picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Ted S.  Warren  ............
Bucs' fans in the hope of an early Christmas wish and gift in the team's game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon played at QWest Field in Seattle , Washington,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ted S. Warren ............

On the one side, you have the inexperience of Raheem Morris as the first year coach of the Buccaneers and the more experienced but less consistent coach, in Jim Mora Jr. of the Seahawks. Both teams this season have definitely had their problems. Much of it has been self inflicted, in terms of both teams’ level of play and their inconsistency. But beyond that, it is now their immediate future that may well be the guide that will indicate the ultimate direction that both organizations are said to be heading in. Seattle is now without a general manager, as Tim Ruskell has now left the organization. And from what we’ve been led to believe,overtures were made to former coach, Mike Holmgren to return to ‘the fold’ and become the President of Operations for the Seattle Seahawks. Holmgren refused the offer and is now set to take a similar position with the Cleveland Browns.

Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture  appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr,. ........
Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr,. ........

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their best football of the season in defeating the Seahawks 24-7, in a thoroughly lopsided display and victory. The Seahawks are a team lacking in confidence and ability. The play of the team’s quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck is showing his age, as he now looks more like an octogenarian in need of multi-vitamins, instead of a player who at his peak was one of the better and more reliable players at the position. But if you think that this was the only problem that Jim Mora and his team faces, then you’d be sadly mistaken. They’ve now seen a resurgent San Francisco 49ers within the division (NFC West), without having to see the triumvirate of Boldin , Fitzgerald and Warner, of the Arizona Cardinals now start to lay waste to the division with an alarming amount of ease. For Mora and the Seahawks this is a time for contemplation and regrouping. But one seriously doubts if Mora and his coaches actually know what it is they’re striving for. My own thoughts are that Holmgren wasn’t the person to be making the decision as to who his successor ought to have been. There were far more noteworthy candidates who could’ve assumed the vacancy. No ’Rooney Rule’ was followed here. Only the fact that the organization somehow acquiesced to Holmgren’s demands.

Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr .........
Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr .........

Courtesy of News Chief

Buccaneers prey on struggling Seattle for second win of the year

Seattle-Washington ,. Josh Freeman walked over to Tampa Bay’s sideline after his ninth interception in just over two games. The 21-year-old rookie looked first-year coach Raheem Morris in the eye and calmly said: “I got it.”

Morris’ reply: “Go get it.”

He did.

Freeman threw two touchdown passes in the second half, Tampa Bay’s battered defense forced five turnovers from Seattle’s reckless Matt Hasselbeck, and the Buccaneers rallied to a 24-7 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Tampa Bay (2-12) won for just the second time in 17 games, and won on the West Coast for the first time since beating Oakland in the Super Bowl on Jan. 26, 2003, in San Diego.

With maybe 500 angry Seattle fans watching by the end, the young Bucs smiled triumphantly pointed to the sky after the team’s first win away from Tampa in 10 tries, since Nov. 23, 2008, at Detroit.

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Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks.  The  young  rookie quarterback  would  lead  his team with  authority  on their  way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory  over the  Seattle  Seahawks  in an  NFC match up  between the  two teams.   picture  appears   courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr  ..................
Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks. The young rookie quarterback would lead his team with authority on their way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC match up between the two teams. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ..................

With this win, the Buccaneers had finally stemmed the tide of losses, albeit that this was a game that was won away from home, away from their long suffering fans. For Raheem Morris and his Bucs’ team this was the best that they’ve played this season. Josh Freeman, the team’s starting quarterback showed a great deal of poise and he led this team with authority. Also following suit by example, was the play of Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward who ran with a great deal of gusto. Something that we’ve not often from Williams over the course of his career, so far. But most surprising of all ,may well have been the play of the Buccaneers’ defense as they stifled anything that the Seahawks tried to achieve during the game. Having attained just their second win of the season, this may well be something that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can build upon over the remainder of the season and show their fans that the tides may well be changing for the better. Certainly, it’s a great deal better than many of their woes that we’ve witnessed over the course of this season.

 Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.   picture appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/  Otto  Greule Jr ................
Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ................

This will be something that they (Buccaneers) can build upon and take into the off-season and into the next. With the upcoming draft in April, we’ll have to see the decisions that’ll be made by team GM, Mark Dominik, as to their needs. And mark my words their needs are many. On both sides of the ball the Buccaneers are in need of a playmaker and on appearance alone this roster is lacking a player in the assumed role. It certainly hasn’t come from either Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant or Michael Clayton. But from the start of his reign as the coach of this team, Raheem Morris has let it be known that he was happy with the players he had at his disposal. But at the halfway point of the season it became increasingly clear that not only had he misjudged the talent on the roster but also the players’ resolve to play as a cohesive and competitive unit. However, what was even more asinine was his outspokenness as to the merits of the team. Shamelessly making an ass of himself, he continued with the mantra that the team was merely lacking in the opportunities. What was that ‘lacking the opportunities’ ? No, in the NFL you aren’t afforded opportunities , you play to the best of your abilities. And if anything the Buccaneers’ record (2-12) reflects that. So whatever it is that Morris presumed it was that he saw in the team wasn’t forthcoming until late into the season.

Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to  show their disgust  at the  team's  effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........
Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to show their disgust at the team's effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........

The 2010-11 NFL season will bring a great deal of turmoil to the league, if the game’s hierarchy and the players’ union (NFLPA) can’t come to some agreement as to the collective bargaining agreement. In all likelihood, if both sides can’t come to some sort of resolve in sorting out their issues, then the turmoil of an uncapped season awaits the league. Certainly not something that the vast majority of the teams would even contemplate, given the present economic climate. And though the NFL salary cap, at $112 million is at its highest it has ever been. The thought that next season could become all askew without the salary cap keeping everyone’s budget in ’check’. We will end up seeing the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins spending money like drunken sailors on a weekend furlough.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/  Ted  S Warren  ....................
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Ted S Warren ....................

And now comes the hard part for everyone to think about. What happens next ? As to the fortunes of both the Buccaneers and Seahawks and the paths that they’re now said to be on. Well this has all been about the tale of two teams and their travels. Where do you see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks, as to their impending future ?

Charmin’ Meet The Steelers And Cowboys ………. Two Of The Softer Teams In The NFL …………..

Well it goes without saying that the NFL weekend was an eventful one. We saw the two unbeaten teams in the Indianapolis Colts (13-0) and New Orleans Saints (13-0) both remain unbeaten. And in all certainty both teams have now garnered the respective # 1 seeded berths, in the AFC and NFC.

Mr Whipple  and  his  package of  Charmin  tissue  rolls
Mr Whipple and his package of Charmin tissue rolls. Are the Cowboys and Steelers after this weekend's display two of the more softer teams within the NFL ? Given the evidence of their poor season and their losses over the weekend . One could attain to the fact that they are .

And with the NFL as such, being such a finicky spectacle with regard to team performances on a week to week basis. It’s hard to what to make of the malaise , when one sees teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’d appear that for both of these teams their season now seems to be spiraling out of control. As defending Superbowl champions, Mike Tomlin’s team has all but thrown in the towel. And for Jerry Jones and his traveling circus of highly overrated and overpaid stars, this is just appears to be an ordinary ‘routine December’. Wherein, losing for the Cowboys seems to have become a customary habit. For both teams their losses on Sunday were as inexplicable as their somewhat mediocre performances on the field of play. No excuses can hide the fact that both of these teams have been thoroughly disappointing this season. Never mind the fact for Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett ,this may well prove to be ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ in terms of the sheer ineptitude of their team’s display. If you can’t ‘punch the ball in for a score’ of a touchdown from the one yard line. Then what the hell are you actually good for to begin with ?

There may well be the thought out there that other teams have performed just as poorly as both the Cowboys and Steelers, if not more so. But in reality, the expectations were high for both teams and the thought process was that they were the presumptive favorites to win their respective divisions(NFC East and AFC North) this season and garner a playoff berth. But that does in many ways now look to be though not impossible but in all likelihood something of a more difficult task , made more so, by these losses.

Tony  Romo (#9) of  the  Dallas Cowboys is  sacked  by the  Chargers'  linebacker  Brandon  Siler  (#55) during  the  game  played  at  the  Cowboys'  Texas Stadium  in  Arlington,  Texas.  The San Diego  Chargers  would  go  on  to  defeat the  Dallas Cowboys  20-17.    picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  Michael  Thomas  ................
Tony Romo (#9) of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by the Chargers' linebacker Brandon Siler (#55) during the game played at the Cowboys' Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The San Diego Chargers would go on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Michael Thomas ................

The Cowboys’ 20-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, if anything would suggest that the Cowboys’ resplendent monstrosity while it looks good on appearance. The unfortunate thing for the franchise and its fans , is that the team that plays within the stadium has a ‘yellow streak across its back’ that is a mile wide and a mile deep, in terms of its depth. There’s no leadership on the team and when faced with any form of adversity. It has shown that it doesn’t possess the resolve or temperament to deal with it adequately. And whether or not this comes down to the coaching of Wade Phillips and his coaching staff is the question that one also needs to be asking. At the same time , if the alleged Pro Bowl stars on this team such as Tony Romo, Marion Barber , Jason Witten , DeMarcus Ware and Roy Williams can’t be held accountable for their own play. One could surmise that this Cowboys team is ‘more style over substance’ ? It’s not as if either, Jones or Phillips are prepared to come out and be openly critical of the players to begin with for their overall lack of effort ! It’d give credence to the fact that they’re soft as a team as well as an organization !

Ben Roethlisberger (#7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is about to be tackled by the Cleveland Browns’ Matt Roth (#53) during an NFL game played Cleveland Browns’ Stadium, Cleveland ,Ohio. The Browns would go on to defeat their AFC North divisional rival 13-6. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Gregory Shamus …..

For Mike Tomlin this has to be a troubling aspect as to the unevenness of the Steelers’ play throughout the season. With the loss of Troy Polamalu , one could suggest that as a team they become a shell of themselves. With Polamalu, on the field of play, they become a fiercely staunch and more competitive team. However, the real problem for this Steeler’s team may well be the very fact that they’ve gone away from what they’re said to do best ? And that’s to ‘run the ball’ relentlessly down the throats of their opponents. It certainly hasn’t helped either that the team’s quarterback , Ben Roethlisberger , at times looks as if he has these momentary lapses in concentration and his play becomes errant and very erratic. And with there now being rumors of dissension within the locker room between a number of the players. One has to wonder whether or not Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff still controls the reins of the team ?

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin argues with field judge Jim Howey (37) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, in Cleveland. Pittsburgh lost their fifth straight, losing to the rival Browns 13-6
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin argues with field judge Jim Howey (37) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, in Cleveland. Pittsburgh lost their fifth straight, losing to the rival Browns 13-6. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Brown .................

The Steelers’ loss on Sunday to the much maligned Cleveland Browns 13-6 would suggest that the team either just didn’t come to play or that they had their minds elsewhere. And for coach, Eric Mangini’s, Cleveland Browns , this win might suggest that finally, there’s some resolve after-all behind this team. On the other hand this season for the Steelers has proven to be one of missed opportunities , poor play and seemingly players who just don’t seem to have the wherewithall to put forth an even more strenuous effort for their fans. Tomlin for his part has been critical of his players but nowhere near enough when it really matters the most. And who’d would have thought that a Pittsburgh Steelers’ team would be so thoroughly outplayed by a divisional rival in almost every facet of a game to such an extent ? ‘Soft’ as a word might just about now sum up the Pittsburgh Steelers as a team. If nothing else, from my own observations of this game , I wouldn’t describe them as being tough , far from it !

Thomas  Jones  and   teammates .
New York Jets running back Thomas Jones (20) celebrates with teammates Nick Mangold (74) and Dustin Keller (81) following his second touchdown of an NFL football game during the fourth quarter on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Blanco ............

Here within the Tampa Bay area, come the NFL football season ,everything revolves around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12). Now while I’m not a fan of the team , I do take an interest as to what goes on locally concerning the franchise. And while the team and organization continues to struggle both on and off the field. The conventional thinking concerning the Buccaneers, is that the organization will right itself over the course of time. Coach, Raheem Morris and his young and inexperienced team has shown that they’ve still have a long way to go before there’s any semblance of competitiveness and resolve shown by them as a cohesive unit. Many of the team’s struggles have come down the fact that they’ve entrusted their future to a very young and inexperienced quarterback, in Josh Freeman. And while there are those that say the player will grow and mature into his role as NFL quarterback and a leader of this team. Let’s just say that the evidence of that , has yet to be put forth. With each week, comes a new set of inexplicable plays and errors committed from the player. And while one can’t solely apportion blame on Freeman , alone. As this has to been a collective effort as to the poor play all around by the Buccaneers as a team. They’ve been unable to ‘run the ball’, ‘pass the ball’ or even ‘defend the run’ or ‘the pass’. And it’d be remiss to say that the players on the defensive unit can actually tackle. If anything they possess the athleticism in that aspect of coterie of female impersonators when it comes to the aggressiveness shown by this Raheem Morris’ coached unit. One wonders what the likes of RuPaul might think of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ?


New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) knocks the ball from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Brian Clark (87) during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) knocks the ball from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Brian Clark (87) during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris O'Meara .......

Sunday in front of a national tv audience, the nation once again got to see the Buccaneers at their very best , in terms of sheer mediocrity on the field of play. In a home game played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers did their leveled best to remind everyone now why it is that they’re now viewed as the worst franchise in the entire NFL. Their opponents were the Rex Ryan coached New York Jets , who happened to have backup quarterback, Kellen Clemmons at the helm of the team for the game. Starting quarterback , Matt Sanchez , was unable to play due to injury. One would’ve thought that might have made the Buccaneers’ objective somewhat easier ? But to their credit they found ways to seemingly play with their customary aplomb. And that was to make themselves look absolutely ridiculous in every aspect of their on the field performance.


New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, shakes hands with Tampa Bay buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, left, after the Jets defeated the Buccaneers 26-3 during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla.
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, shakes hands with Tampa Bay buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, left, after the Jets defeated the Buccaneers 26-3 during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris O'Meara ......

Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Tribune

Morris: Bucs’ coaches need to scale things back for Freeman

By Roy Cummings of The Tampa Bay Tribune

Tampa, Fl,. – Rookie quarterback Josh Freeman took the blame on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 26-3 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, but on Monday the blame shifted to the coaching staff.

“We were not ready to play and that’s on us as coaches,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. “We had no explosive plays, we had no third-down conversions, we just didn’t’ get anything going.”

The question now, is how can the Bucs get things going in the final three games of the season. Part of the answer, Morris said, is scaling things back for Freeman.

“We’ve got to calm him down a little bit,” Morris said. “We’ve got to establish our offensive identity as far as the run, get him some easy completions, get him back to his hard-core play-action passes.

“You know, we talked about it, talked about it as a staff. We asked ourselves, ‘When do you give him too much? When do you stop giving him too much?’ And we kind of found out. So, now we have to reel him in a little bit.

“You don’t want to overdo it and put him in remedial classes, but at the same time you want to take a little pressure off the young man and put it back on the coaches and the guys around him so he can get going faster, like when he started.”

Freeman started strong, beating the Packers in his first start. Since then, though, he has mixed good starts with bad and is coming off two clunkers. In the past two games, Freeman has thrown eight interceptions.

His passer rating against the Jets was 12.1, the worst of his six starts

The Buccaneers’ resultant 26-3 loss to the Jets had many of the home crowd fans leaving the stadium long before the game had even reached the third quarter. And if that’s not a sign as to how mediocre the team’s day was about to come. Then their game stats certainly mirrored that very fact. (First downs totals 6, third down efficiency 0/14 0%, fourth down efficiency 1/3 33 1/3 %, total rushing 56 yards, total yards offense 124 yds, quarterback sacked 3 times, Freeman’s qb rating 12.1 %) And no that wasn’t a misprint concerning Freeman’s rating for the game. His completion rate of 14/33 for 93 yards and being sacked three times leads us to believe that the learning curve for the young rookie is still an immense one. But then again, the Buccaneers ought to be consider themselves thankful that it is Freeman that they have at the helm of this team, instead of the Oakland Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell. The latter of whom has the propensity of playing as if the playbook of the Raiders’ something akin to applied calculus in terms of its difficulty. As simple as Raiders’ coach, Tom Cable has made it for the player. Russell’s cognitive skills just doesn’t seem to be able the grasp those simple concepts.

Josh  Freeman (#5) of the  Tampa  Bay Buccaneers  seen  here inset  along  with  teammate  tight end ,  Kellen  Winslow Jr. (#82)  in  the  game  against  the  New  York  Jets   played  at  Raymond James  Stadium  , Tampa ,Florida .  The  Buccaneers   would   go  on to  lose  the  game  26-3  against  the  New  York  Jets.  During  the  third  quarter  great  many  of the Buccaneers'   fans   had  already  departed  from  the  stadium  ,  perhaps   in  sheer  disgust  resulting   from  the  team's   inept  display.    picture appears   courtesy  of  Tampa Bay  Tribune  /  Cliff  McBride  .............
Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seen here inset along with teammate tight end , Kellen Winslow Jr. (#82) in the game against the New York Jets played at Raymond James Stadium , Tampa ,Florida . The Buccaneers would go on to lose the game 26-3 against the New York Jets. During the third quarter great many of the Buccaneers' fans had already departed from the stadium , perhaps in sheer disgust resulting from the team's inept display. picture appears courtesy of Tampa Bay Tribune / Cliff McBride .............

One may well argue that there have been other teams that have proven to be far more disappointing this season. I for one am of the opinion that the Cowboys and Steelers may well be atop of the list for a number of NFL fans around the league in terms of their overall season. What are your thoughts on the matter ? And by all means do take time to participate in the poll shown within this piece. As always thanks for the continued support shown !

NFL Week 14 results

Pittsburgh Steelers 6-13 Cleveland Browns

New Orleans Saint 26-23 Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions 3-48 Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers 21-14 Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos 16-28 Indianapolis Colts

Buffalo Bills 16-10 Kansas City Chiefs

Carolina Panthers 10-20 New England Patriots

New York Jets 26-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cincinnati Bengals 10-30 Minnesota Vikings

Miami Dolphins 14-10 Jacksonville Jaguars

Seattle Seahawks 7-34 Houston Texans

St Louis Rams 7-47 Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins 34-13 Oakland Raiders

San Diego Chargers 20-17 Dallas Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles 45-38 New York Giants

NFL Starting quartetbacks’ stats for the 2009-10 season

Passing (Qualified* | All) Rk Player Team Pos Comp Att Pct Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Int 1st 1st% Lng 20+ 40+ Sck Rate
1 Peyton Manning IND QB 342 502 68.1 38.6 3,905 7.8 300.4 29 14 204 40.6 80T 50 7 10 98.9
2 Drew Brees NO QB 302 432 69.9 33.2 3,832 8.9 294.8 32 10 180 41.7 75T 55 11 15 112.3
3 Tom Brady NE QB 320 490 65.3 37.7 3,830 7.8 294.6 23 11 183 37.3 81T 37 11 15 95.4
4 Matt Schaub HOU QB 324 473 68.5 36.4 3,814 8.1 293.4 24 13 183 38.7 72T 47 12 23 98.2
5 Philip Rivers SD QB 263 406 64.8 31.2 3,583 8.8 275.6 22 7 175 43.1 81T 51 12 22 103.7
6 Aaron Rodgers GB QB 291 444 65.5 34.2 3,579 8.1 275.3 25 7 161 36.3 74T 44 13 47 102.5
7 Tony Romo DAL QB 276 444 62.2 34.2 3,574 8.0 274.9 22 7 160 36.0 80T 49 14 28 97.4
8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 273 400 68.3 33.3 3,346 8.4 278.8 19 11 160 40.0 57 43 10 38 98.2
9 Brett Favre MIN QB 295 433 68.1 33.3 3,341 7.7 257.0 27 6 171 39.5 63 41 10 27 106.0
10 Eli Manning NYG QB 252 417 60.4 32.1 3,316 8.0 255.1 23 11 147 35.3 74T 49 11 21 93.0
11 Joe Flacco BAL QB 270 426 63.4 32.8 3,111 7.3 239.3 15 11 157 36.9 72T 37 8 26 86.3
12 Jay Cutler CHI QB 284 457 62.1 35.2 3,023 6.6 232.5 19 22 135 29.5 71 43 5 29 75.2

Click here to view in its entirety………..

Freeman and Russell sit at the bottom of the NFL’s quarterback statistical charts in terms of their performances throughout this season. The 12.1 quarterback rating posted by Freeman in the game against the New York Jets, was the lowest such stat posted by an NFL quarterback this season.

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Pardon Me For Saying This But What Happened And Who The Hell Cares ? I Might ! But Then Again I Might Not !

Pardon Me For Saying This But What Happened And Who The Hell Cares ? I Might ! But Then Again I Might Not !

It’s hard not to pick up the newspaper read and a heart rendering or somewhat disturbing story and not at times be concerned. But then again the sobering thought of gleaning through the sport’s pages tends to bring me back down to earth with some alarming jocular humor and respite.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, left scrambles past Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons for a first down in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game in Pittsburgh,  Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. The Raiders came from behind to win 27-24.  picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Keith Srakocic  ......
Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, left scrambles past Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons for a first down in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. The Raiders came from behind to win 27-24. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Keith Srakocic ......

So it’d appear that the Oakland Raiders have found themselves a quarterback who can perhaps win with regularity , more so than the chimes of a cuckoo clock ? Who knew ? Pardon me but where was Bruce Gradkowski all this time ? And how is that Raiders’ coach, Tom Cable continued to show blind and implicit faith in a completely mentally retarded oaf like, JaMarcus Russell ? The Raiders, starter’s IQ, must be somewhere, way below the MENSA national average ? And to think that the likes of ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr , Todd McShay and Chris Mortensen talked this kid up, prior to him entering the NFL Draft, as if he were ‘the hot chick’ that everyone seemingly gushes over. When last I looked, Russell possessed absolutely nothing that’d make you say, Wow ! Strong arm is one thing but having a football IQ far outweighs that and that’s something that Russell simply just doesn’t possess.

Charlotte, NC- December 6th :  Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Streeter  Lecka .......
Charlotte, NC- December 6th : Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Streeter Lecka .......

And this’d be the one and the same Bruce Gradkowski, that many within the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization simply had no faith in ? But then again I digress , as the present fate of the Buccaneers seems as hopeful at present, as the fate of John McCain simply wishing for a ‘do-over’ of the Presidential elections. Plainly put, neither scenario is about to happen anytime soon ! The Buccaneers for all of their resourcefulness and the unwavering belief of the Glazer family , that in not spending money to obtain the right talent will make the Buccaneers a better team ? Well, it’s plain to see, that they’d now prefer to blow smoke up everyone’s ass in the Tampa Bay area. And it’s further plain to see that those mindless buffoons of the Pewter Report would rather cow-tow in step with whatever happens to be the mindset of the organization, at present. Their nightly radio sport’s talk show in the local area market elicits about as much intelligence and excitement, as that of a member of the US Congress talking about the failures of the US economy. What they think they know, is about as much they’d like to think they know, as to how the populace of the country now feels at present. In other words,they’re absolutely clueless ! And so too, are the players on the Buccaneers’ team who appear on the show nightly on a regular basis. To hear them talk about their travails during an NFL game, is actually comedic ! ‘We tried hard to make the play but it just didn’t happen at all’ . Well my thoughts on it all. Fu_k you , try harder ! You’re being paid to play, not to whine as an afterthought, as to what might have been, you a_sholes !

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Freeman’s mistakes help Panthers beat Bucs 16-6

By Mike Cranston, AP Sports Writer

Charlotte, N.C. (AP)—Josh Freeman kept guiding Tampa Bay inside the 20-yard line and Carolina kept taking the ball away, no matter how improbable it all seemed.

Five turnovers later, the Buccaneers’ rookie quarterback was stunned and their miserable season took another ugly twist.

In a matchup of inexperienced quarterbacks entering with a combined seven career starts, Matt Moore(notes) and the Panthers (5-7) won despite being outgained 469-309.

The difference: Tampa Bay (1-11) was inside the Carolina 30 eight times and scored six points.

“That’s just completely unacceptable,” said Freeman, the first-round pick from Kansas State who took over as the starter a month ago. “I want to play in this league a long time. Guys that throw a lot of picks usually don’t last.”

It was a role reversal with Carolina’s struggling QB Jake Delhomme sidelined with a broken finger after throwing 18 interceptions in 11 games.

Moore made his fourth start and his first since the end of the 2007 season. He threw for 161 yards and one interception, but connected on a 66-yard pass to Steve Smith that set up John Kasay’s third field goal with 7:12 left that put it away.

“I had to come into this thing and I had to be right,” Moore said. “Not perfect, but I had to be right.”

That allowed the defense to win the game. Jon Beason had two interceptions during a stretch where Tampa Bay had four trips inside the 20 and didn’t score.

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Click on the inset link to read Mike Cranston’s article in its entirety
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Given the fact that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are (1-11) within the NFC South and is no closer to winning or being competitive. In comparison that’d be like saying, that one day Oprah Winfrey will be able to look all svelte, with a size 6 figure and a body that we guys, would like to ‘ride all night long’. Now, we all know that with Oprah’s yo-yo weight losses and gains, there’ll never be a time when we could ever say that, we were all able to witness that. And it’s the same with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at this present moment in time and perhaps for the foreseeable future. Who knows and who the hell cares at this juncture ? It’s not as if the Glazer family actually cares and they’re the god-damn owners of this team. It’s like the ghost of Hugh Culverhouse had returned to the organization and things are back to what they once were ! And one can well remember the mediocrity of those days , all too eerily can’t one ? What a damn nightmare those days had to have been ? And now for all sense and purpose the fans are having to endure and relive that all over again. Thanks , but no thanks !

Pardon me for saying this but who knew that Sebastian Telfair was still playing in the NBA ? And if anyone can guess what team he’s now actually playing for. Well, you would indeed be smarter than a fifth grader. Well, if in fact you were able to guess that he’s now playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, then bully for you ! Unfortunately, I’m unable to give out a prize,as there wasn’t one to begin with. My bad ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

Los Angeles - December 8th 2009: Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a shot against J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  picture  appears courtesy of NBAE/ getty images/ Noah  Graham  .............
Los Angeles - December 8th 2009: Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a shot against J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ getty images/ Noah Graham .............

What a comedown in the world for the young Telfair ! Seemingly this once ‘young phenom’ was set to set the NBA alight with his flare for the spectacular, his alleged prodigious athleticism and ball-handling skills. Well, that has been about as omnipresent as a sighting of Lindsay Lohan without a drink in her hand. Which one can surmise that with Lindsay continually falling ‘off the wagon’ and her love life said to be in disarray. Telfair’s seeming transition from blacktop legend to erstwhile NBA star, has been about as interesting as watching paint dry. This kid has yet to fully learn the nuances of the NBA game , much less show that he’s got the temperament to become a legitimate star within the league. And people wonder why we’re drawn to Chris Paul, instead of Telfair ? That’s like comparing a Picasso to a painting by a five year old. OK,so some of Picasso’s work may well look as if it had been painted by a five year old ! But look at this way, with people willing to spend in excess of $60 to $100 million for one of his pieces of art. What the hell ! At least, someone’s willing to buy it, Telfair being a star in the NBA ? Well, that’s not about to happen anytime soon !

In my erstwhile forays around the blogo-sphere where I’d written within Fox’s blog community, also at Lanaslines.com ,the basketballoracle.com and now here within a site within tophatal.wordpress.com. I’ve come to appreciate the nuances and the art of writing , making my points with due diligence and relevancy, as with regard the nature of the topic. That way, I hope to elicit meaningful responses and commentary from the reader or readers of my pieces. And hopefully the content of the work is comprehended and appreciated.

My experiences at Fox, while great , I felt that the community there had become ‘staid and stale’ ! Not only that ,it’d become more a place for stifling ‘free speech’ and effective communication. And even though it still had numerous followers and contributors. Its reputation , let’s just say has gone way down in my estimation and expectations as to what a sport’s blog domain site ought to be really about !

With that in mind and the fact that we’re as such I’m opining on the nature of Sebastian Telfair’s presence in the NBA. Herein, I’ll provide you to link of an earlier piece that I’d written about the player. You’ll note that a comment there concerning the player’s stature and the fact that he supposedly had a decent year with the Minnesota Timberwolves would suggest that he was a star on the rise. Well, given the fact that Telfair is no longer with the Timberwolves would suggest that his game hadn’t progressed as much as this one particular reader believed it might. Whether or not he was a fervent supporter of the player or just the mere fact
that he didn’t know what he was talking about . I’ll leave that for you to decide. Click here to read and then perhaps comment on the piece and then return here, to further respond on this article.

J.J. Redick (#7) of the Orlando Magic drives past Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.   picture appears  courtesy of  NBAE/ getty images / Noah  Graham  .........
J.J. Redick (#7) of the Orlando Magic drives past Sebastian Telfair (#3) of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ getty images / Noah Graham .........

As good as some thought Telfair might be , his game has simply not progressed to where it needs to be, in order for us to call him a bona-fide star within the NBA. He’s merely become just ‘your average run of the mill player’ , who just happened to have the words ‘star’ and ‘great’ assigned to him, more as a wish. Rather than it being attained by Telfair, as he builds a reputation within the NBA. That being said, he is playing for the Clippers , so that should tell you all you need to know as to where his impending future may now lay. Sorry Sebastian, but you’ve still got a hell of a long way to go before you can be mentioned in the same breath as Deron Williams, Tony Parker , Chris Paul and even Steve Nash, for that matter. Alas, you’ll just have to make do playing for those woefully inconsistent Los Angeles Clippers. And if their present (9-12) record in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference is anything to go by. Then their long sojourn as being the butt of the NBA jokes will continue for a long time into the future. So sad, too bad !

When is a gimmick not meant to be a gimmick at all ? Well, when it comes in the guise of the NASCAR’s impending announcement that IRL’s Danica Patrick will be making ‘her grand’ entrance into that particular form of automotive racing. And the mere fact that the now publicity starved genre needs all the fervent PR that it can get. Albeit, that she’ll be racing in the lower echelons of the Nationwide Series of the NASCAR discipline. Well the welcoming thought of seeing Danica go up against the wily guys of NASCAR ought to provide the purists of the sport some comfort. As for how ‘Billy Bob’ and ‘Bubba’ might feel, who knows ? Suffice to say , that unless Danica isn’t dressed in a fire retardant suit, then I’ll be watching. If she is, then all bets are off ! I’d rather see Danica dressed in nothing but a two piece bathing suit racing against the guys in the Nationwide Series ! I think that would bring a great many more viewers to the sport and most certainly larger audiences at the tracks. If nothing else, for the first time observer and the more curious amongst us that type of scenario ought to provide a great deal of joy. Well, it will for the testosterone driven males amongst us.

CORRECTS TO DEBUT TO ARCA RACE, NOT NATIONWIDE RACE   IndyCar driver Danica Patrick checks out her new GoDaddy.com No. 7 JR Motorsports stock car during an event announcing her intention to make her stock car racing debut in an ARCA race Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, in Phoenix. Patrick has signed with JR Motorsports team, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, and intends to start in her first in an ARCA Series race on Feb. 6 at Daytona International Speedway. picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Ross D.  Franklin .....
CORRECTS TO DEBUT TO ARCA RACE, NOT NATIONWIDE RACE IndyCar driver Danica Patrick checks out her new GoDaddy.com No. 7 JR Motorsports stock car during an event announcing her intention to make her stock car racing debut in an ARCA race Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, in Phoenix. Patrick has signed with JR Motorsports team, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, and intends to start in her first in an ARCA Series race on Feb. 6 at Daytona International Speedway. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ross D. Franklin .....

NASCAR and the competitive automotive circuit has been hit harder than most. What with it’s preponderance upon the patronage of the ‘Big Three’ domestic automotive manufacturers and their continuing problems. We can surmise, that both NASCAR and IRL have had to make tight budgetary constraints. And this has not been lost to the teams within each of these various disciplines. They’ve seen many of their major corporate sponsors withdraw from the sport. Teams have also either folded or merged with either larger teams or one of similar size. All this has been done in order to save millions of dollars and stave off the imminence of bankruptcy and financial failure. And the bloodletting still continues.
It’s not like either of the domestic manufacturers are out of the woods yet.

GM is now flying by the seat of its pants and Chrysler even with the intervention of the Federal government and then its merger with Fiat , still isn’t out of the woods as of yet. And though Ford has shown signs of improvement on certain fronts. Without the government’s rebate policy , one sincerely doubts that a profit would’ve been shown for the last quarter. Much of that was derived from its restructuring, in terms of layoffs, the shutting down of plants and sales of certain subsidiaries. Whatever profit gained was minimal at best but they’d have you believe that it all met with the board’s and Wall Street’s expectations. What , no slight of hand trick ?

Patrick’s 2009 SI Swimsuit model shoot. What’s not to like about it all ?

With Patrick having agreed in principle and signing with Dale Earnhardt Jrs’ J R Motorsports, a company that he co-owns with his elder sister Kelly Earnhardt and Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports. Any high profiled publicity that the sport can receive at this juncture is certainly more than welcomed. Having crowned its four time Sprint Cup Champion, in Jimmie Johnson. The lack of positivity from the fans in general, has been met with an almost deafening silence and glumness. It’s as if Johnson, himself, had become persona-non-grata for merely achieving the feat of having won the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship four consecutive years running. If that’s not something that the sport and in particular the sport’s hierarchy can use to its benefit. Then I guess, having Patrick in part, race half naked would definitely be their next best option ? Not that I’d mind to begin with ! It’s just that more often than not, I find far too many of their races monotonous and way too repetitive , in terms of on again off again racing !

My thoughts and my take on ….”Pardon Me For Saying This But What Happened And Who The Hell Cares ? I Might ! But Then Again I Might Not ” ! What do you think about it all ?

It’s Not About The Way You Start But How You Finish ……….

Well, we’re almost three quarters of the way through the NFL season and it’s pretty much safe to say that even the most ardent NFL fans have something to be pleased about. While others mightn’t be feeling all that happy about their team or teams as the case maybe. Suffice to say, that if you’re team isn’t in the midst of things with of aspirations of making a playoff push. Then you might as well call it a day.

The delectable  Taryn Manning  who  in Craig Brewer's  critically and commercially  acclaimed film  'Hustle & Flow' played the  hooker  with  a  'heart of gold'  .   She co-starred alongside  Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges  and  Anthony  Anderson .  For which  Howard  received  an  Oscar  nomination  nod  and went  on to 'leading man status'  after the role.  Given the Giants'  fortunes of as of late , this'd  be   the  Manning that  I'd prefer to  see  instead  of  their  quarterback , Eli  Manning.   picture appears courtesy  of  FHM / Chris Howard ............
The delectable Taryn Manning who in Craig Brewer's critically and commercially acclaimed film 'Hustle & Flow' played the hooker with a 'heart of gold' . She co-starred alongside Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges and Anthony Anderson . For which Howard received an Oscar nomination nod and went on to 'leading man status' after the role. Given the Giants' fortunes of as of late , this'd be the Manning that I'd prefer to see instead of their quarterback , Eli Manning. picture appears courtesy of FHM / Chris Howard ............

Suffice to say that while sitting with my notebook computer in my lap, watching ESPN’s Monday night broadcast of the game between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. I’ve come to a new found admiration for the undoubted talents of Saints’ quarterback, Drew Brees. To my mind, with his play as of late and as a matter of fact over the last three or four years. He has in essence, become one of the ‘elite quarterbacks’ in the league. And that is of course with due respect to Manning Brady and Favre. He ranks up there alongside that noted triumvirate. And just in case you’re wondering which of the Mannings, I’m talking about , it’s not Eli or that rather ‘fine actress’, Taryn Manning but Peyton Manning. Eli is just proving once again what I’ve always thought about him. He can’t string together, back to back, to back, a set of consistent performances in this league. In many ways it’s liking watching an Alcoholics Anonymous participant repeatedly fall off the wagon. $100 million certainly doesn’t buy much in the league nowadays, does it ? Albert Haynesworth, you need to call your accountant as Daniel Snyder is about to come a calling, asking for his money back, in order for him to actually reinvest that money into something that’d resemble a team ! Because at the moment, what you’ve actually brought to Washington Redskins bears nothing that of a player, who was said to be ‘one of the most feared defensive players’ in the entire NFL. There’s more ferocity shown by a bunch of pre-op male trans-sexuals, than you’ve shown on an NFL field this season !

New Orleans-November 30th ,2009. David Thomas (85) of the New Orleans Saints runs for yards after the catch the New England Patriots at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 38-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran ........
New Orleans-November 30th ,2009. David Thomas (85) of the New Orleans Saints runs for yards after the catch the New England Patriots at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 38-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran ........

Monday night’s game itself, proved if anything that the Saints , Indianapolis Colts and the Minnesota Vikings are ‘the cream of the crop’ and ‘the class of the NFL’ this season. With both the Colts and Saints being (11-0) and the Vikings at (10-1). One can start to feel why their fans are chomping at the bit to see their teams in the post-season. If nothing else they’re looking to make it their rallying call to bare arms and support their team.

Randy Moss (81) of the New England Patriots is tackled after he made a reception in the second half by Darren Sharper (42) of the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran .........
Randy Moss (81) of the New England Patriots is tackled after he made a reception in the second half by Darren Sharper (42) of the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Scott Halleran .........

Inasmuch, as I continue to support the Patriots and bearing mind, I felt that if Tom Brady could in some way hold his own against Drew Brees. I felt that the team was in with a very good shot to derail the Saints’ effort in going unbeaten on the night. Boy was I wrong in a very big way ! The Saints harassed and hurried Brady into making several mistakes and errant plays that you wouldn’t normally associate with the normally cool, calm and collected quarterback. And it certainly didn’t that the team’s pass defense was about as noticeable as the ‘Invisible Man’. Brees was allowed to shred the team with all too accurate passing , on an offense that on their might just be the very best in the NFL. So good were they on the night, that the end result of the Saints’ 38-17 victory could’ve been of a wider margin, by far. To say I wasn’t disappointed at the end result , would be an understatement. The Patriots may well have went down fighting . But by no means was it a gallant effort by Bill Belichick’s team. Belichick and his coaching staff have a great deal of work to do , if this team is indeed to make the playoffs. And no, I’m not of the opinion that Charlie Weis should be brought by back to the team , to reassume the defensive coordinator’s responsibilities.It has been bad enough with Weis, having literally singled handedly destroyed whatever remnants there was left of Notre Dame football, as we know it. And what’d make anyone think tha Belichick would want him back to begin with ? His (Belichick’s) demeanor at times has been less than complimentary towards many of his former coaches that have left his employ. And with Weis it’d be no different !

The once remarkable Jim Mora Sr and his singularly most famous sound byte ever. ‘Playoffs’ ? ‘ What playoffs’ ? Need one say anymore ?

With the meat of the season now out of the way. Teams are now jockeying for positions in terms of a playoff berth. It looks pretty safe to say that the divisional leaders have their fates in their own hands. However those seeking a wildcard berth , most definitely still have something to play for. And who’d have thought that the now improbable , Vince Young led, Tennessee Titans (5-6) could still be in with a shot of making the playoffs ? Where’s Jim Mora Sr., when you need him ?

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young (10) passes from his own end zone as Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) rushes him in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. Young led the Titans on a 99-yard drive to score the winning touchdown in the Titans' 20-17 win. picture appears courtesy of  AP/photo/ Mark  Goodwin   ...........
Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young (10) passes from his own end zone as Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) rushes him in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn. Young led the Titans on a 99-yard drive to score the winning touchdown in the Titans' 20-17 win. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Mark Goodwin ...........

Now I’m not about to waste my time denigrating teams that’ve played some less than inspiring football this season and who are languishing in the depths of ineptitude. As those teams and their fans know who they are and how god-damn awful they’ve now become. Suffice to say, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-10), Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, St Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns really do need to show some pride ,not wallow in self pity and most of all not have their coaches come and give the public and the fans some asinine excuse as to the inherent problems of their respective teams. At the end of the day it doesn’t amount to a ‘hill of beans’ and it makes them on appearance look like a complete buffoon and a clown to top it all of !

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris yells instructions to his team during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Dave Martin  .......................
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris yells instructions to his team during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Dave Martin .......................

A word of advice for the inexperienced Bucs’ coach, Raheem Morris. All the sound bytes and excuses in the world can’t hide the fact that this is ‘your team’ . It’s the one that you and general manager, Mark Dominik, hitched your wagons to. So get over it , shut the f_ck up and do your god-damn job ! You’re now sounding like a damn child with each additional interview that you give to the media. And for god’s sake be man enough and stand up and be held accountable for the choices you made. You and those blithering idiots from the Pewter Report,instead of clogging up the local radio airwaves in the local Tampa market with your inane drivel, in trying make lemonade out of rat’s urine. At least have the temerity to admit that ‘the team’, just isn’t that good, at all . It does a complete disservice to the public and the NFL fans in general. They’re not all children and by the way ‘fairy tales’ went out a long time ago. Unless you hadn’t noticed ? So stop hitching your wagons to one !

Atlanta-November 29th, 2009. Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates his game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Eric Weems (14) and quarterback, Chris Redman (8 )at the Georgia Dome in in Atlanta, Georgia.  picture  appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......
Atlanta-November 29th, 2009. Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates his game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Eric Weems (14) and quarterback, Chris Redman (8 )at the Georgia Dome in in Atlanta, Georgia. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......

So as of now,for the teams of the NFL, it’s not actually how you start but how you indeed finish that’ll dictate and create the mindset of how determined you’re going to be. A reminder to you all, and that includes the fans of the NFL , as well.

NB: NFL Week 13 Schedule- Dec 3rd to the 7th …… Click the link provided to review in full.

Thu, Dec 03 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NYJ @ BUF Rogers Centre 8:20 PM Tickets NFLN 212 126 (NYJ) 125 (BUF) Radio
Sun, Dec 06 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
STL @ CHI Soldier Field 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 710 151 (STL) 127 (CHI)
DEN @ KC Arrowhead Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 706 121 (DEN) 154 (KC)
TEN @ IND Lucas Oil Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 704 123 (IND)
PHI @ ATL Georgia Dome 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 708 129 (PHI) 126 (ATL)
NE @ MIA Land Shark Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 126 (NE) 127 (MIA)
NO @ WAS FedEx Field 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 712 123 (NO) 152 (WAS)
OAK @ PIT Heinz Field 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 707 157 (OAK) 122 (PIT)
TB @ CAR Bank of America Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 709 158 (TB) 130 (CAR)
HOU @ JAC Jacksonville Municipal Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets CBS 705 125 (HOU) 153 (JAC)
DET @ CIN Paul Brown Stadium 1:00 PM Tickets FOX 711 155 (DET) 91 (CIN)
SD @ CLE Cleveland Browns Stadium 4:05 PM Tickets CBS 713 121 (SD) 91 (CLE)
DAL @ NYG Giants Stadium 4:15 PM Tickets FOX 715 123 (DAL) 125 (NYG)
SF @ SEA Qwest Field 4:15 PM Tickets FOX 716 126 (SF) 130 (SEA)
MIN @ ARI University of Phoenix Stadium 8:20 PM Tickets NBC 714 122 (MIN) 127 (ARI) Radio
Mon, Dec 07 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
BAL @ GB Lambeau Field 8:30 PM Tickets ESPN 206 126 (BAL) 125 (GB) Radio
Byes: None

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Exuberance or just sheer stupidity on the part of the London Stock Exchange and that of the UK Takeover Panel. It could well be that they’ve not been made fully aware, as to the financial maneuvers of many of the prospective bidders for English Premiership League clubs ? And over the last five years there has been a swath of purchases made by prominent US businessman. Many of them viewed their purchases as a safe investment or just as a way of hiding taxable assets away from the prying eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff is seen here arriving at US Federal District Court in Manhattan. Madoff pled guilty and was duly sentenced to 150 years in prison for his Ponzi scheme which is said to have defrauded his clients to the tune of $50 billion ($50,000,000,000).

One hundred and fifty years seems too small a price to pay, considering the financial havoc reaped upon families and financial institutions across the globe. But then again, how is that the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) could be so unaware as to the extent of this massive financial fraud ? Especially when on numerous occasions it had been brought to their attention that something was indeed wrong with many of Madoff’s financial dealings in the markets. But it’s as I’ve always alluded to, when you have no one with any common sense or a comprehensive understanding of the financial market and its vagaries. Then the abuses and fraudulent acts will continue to be commissioned unabated !

Christopher Cox who at the time of the Madoff saga, as well as the Enron escapade , was the Chairman of the SEC.Cox seen here, addressing members of the Senate Banking Committee up on Capitol Hill,Washington D.C. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Martin Pressman ……..

And it certainly hasn’t elicited the public’s trust when you continually hear the excuse behind the SEC’s mishandling of this all came down to the fact that they were under undue pressure just to look at small transactions to see if anything was awry. But what also is even more preposterous is the excuse that they were under staffed. We can spend billions sending rockets into space but we can’t hire several financial accountants and corporate tax attorneys to the benefit ot this one particular government agency to safeguard the public’s financial health and interests ? If that isn’t asinine, then pardon me for saying this,but the SEC is deserving of the ridicule and the attention that it received .

And while I’m for the free movement of capital and the creation of jobs in order to strengthen an economy. What I’m dead set against are the creation of tax shelters and financial maneuverings that take place in order to circumvent the sovereign laws of the land. Time and time again I here many out there complaining about the government raising their taxes. But I hear, not one complaint when the likes of Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, Bernie Ebbers or Andrew Fastow and Kenneth Lay. All have essentially wreaked just as much havoc, if not more on the lives of millions of people. All that bellyaching, as if the government are the only fu_king bunch of crooks out there ? When essentially,you’ve got major corporate boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies littered with ne’r do wells and fraudsters up and down the country doing more harm than any apparent good. And it would now appear that many of them are moving out of the boardrooms and unto the playing fields of nation and beyond.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA , NASCAR, MLS and indeed the English Premiership League (EPL) in Britain, have fairly rigorous financial criteria that has to be met before a prospective buyer can purchase a team. Thereafter, once they’ve met that criteria and the board of governors is in agreement with the prospective sale of the team. Then the purchaser essentially becomes the new owner of a sports franchise. And it now becomes in some respects, nothing more than a petty bauble that they’ll show off to their like minded wealthy colleagues and social acquaintances.

In the United Kingdom (UK) , many of the soccer clubs in the Premiership are actually publicly listed companies. And the directors of those clubs have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to safeguard and act in their best interests. Something that’s not always been done by several of the owners in recent memory. And in order for a team that’s publicly listed to be taken over. The prospective bidder for those shares of the team, has to be in compliance with the act of the Takeover Panel. Wherein,upon purchasing 30% of the shares of a club they have to make the panel and the LSE fully aware, as to their intentions.

I bring this particular topic to the foreground , in light of the fact that a number of teams across a widening array of sports now seem to have found themselves in a severe financial crisis. Much of it brought about by themselves and in some cases, it has merely come down to the fact that the world is in an economic downturn. Which will affect how one spends their discretionary disposable income. It has began to hit home for a number of team in all sectors of the sports world. The NBA and many of it franchises face a severe financial crisis. Albeit, that the league’s commissioner, David Stern would have you believe otherwise. And that the health of the game has never been better in terms of its brand and marketing. That may well be all well and good. But the bottom line for many of the franchises of the NBA isn’t as healthy as they once were. Declining revenues by away smaller attendances for game and less money being spent on concessions and memorabilia at their games. And you have something of a ‘perfect storm’ within your midst.

If you thought that the NBA was only the sport where this was happening, then think again. In the case of NASCAR, supposedly the most fan and media friendly sport in North America. Attendance is down across the board by over 8% and the viewership on a year to year basis, has declined in excess of 23 % over the last four years alone. The NBA has had to delve into the capital markets to the tune of $250 million in the last fiscal year in order to ensure the financial well being of several of their franchises. And the extent of the situation is becoming even more acute by the minute.

Uber-agent Scott Boras  , seated left and  perhaps  his most  high profiled   major league client ,  Alex Rodriguez.  Over  the  course  of  his  career  Boras  negotiated  contracts  said  to  be  worth  in  excess  of  $ 4.8 billion .  And  he was at the  center  of the  most  acquisitions made by  the  Yankees in that  of Mark Teixiera  and  A J Burnett ,  two  more of his  clients.   Of the  ten highest  paid  players  in the  game ,  six of those are   clients  of  Scott Boras.     picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Hugh MacIntosh  ..............................................

Uber-agent Scott Boras, seated left and perhaps his most high profiled major league client, Alex Rodriguez. Over the course of his career Boras negotiated contracts said to be worth in excess of $ 4.8 billion. And he was at the center of the most recent acquisitions made by the New York Yankees ,in that of Mark Teixiera and A. J. Burnett, two more of his clients. Of the ten highest paid players in the game , six of those are clients of Scott Boras. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Hugh MacIntosh ………

Bud Selig and Major League Baseball suffer from the misbelief that because the New York Yankees lifted this year’s World Series crown, then the game of baseball happens to be in a healthy state ? What Selig still fails to get , is that the teams in the mid to smaller markets have to scrimp and save every last red cent, merely to make ends meet. Much less survive the ordeal of having to play a 162 game regular season schedule. Hey Bud, So Zach Greinke wins the AL Cy Young Award ? What’s the bet, two years from now he’s gone from the Kansas City Royals ? If not sooner ? Simply put, because of your intransigence and that vulture, Scott Boras. The game of baseball is in a quagmire and in the true sense of the word until you and your hierarchy sits down with the players and resolve the issue concerning the escalating salaries. Then there’ll continue to be distrust amongst the two vested parties. Never mind the fact that the fans of the game can’t trust you or anyone within the MLBPA, to begin with. You keep on blowing smoke up some people’s ass and clearly you and Scott Boras are out of touch with the harsh economic realities of the present. But just you keep on going as you are and you’ll be in for a very rude awakening !

In the UK, where the pre-eminent sport played , is that of soccer. The clubs now are slowly waking up to stark a reality and that essentially applies clubs within the Premiership (EPL). Giants such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have suddenly began to realize that you can no longer buy way your way to success. Especially when your revenues are declining because of economic and inflationary fears. Teams are now having to be frugal with regard to their budgets.

Tom Hicks (right) and  to his  business partner George Gillett Jr , owners  of the  Premiership  soccer club  Liverpool FC. The  co-owners  are  now  said  to be  feeling  the  brunt  of the  anger  from  Liverpool's  fans  as they're  said  to  be  considering  selling  the  team's best  player , Fernando Torres.  Much  to  the  chagrin  of the  team's   coach, Rafael  Benitez.  The coach  has let it  be  known  that  should  the  team  sell  Torres.  Then  he  too  will   quit  the  club  immediately.   Much  of this problem  has  been  created  by  the  financial  maneuvering  of the  owners  as   they've  laden  the  club  with  an  excessive  amount  of   debt.     picture  appears  courtesy  of  dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty  ..................
Tom Hicks (right) and to his business partner George Gillett Jr , owners of the Premiership soccer club Liverpool FC. The co-owners are now said to be feeling the brunt of the anger from Liverpool's fans as they're said to be considering selling the team's best player , Fernando Torres. Much to the chagrin of the team's coach, Rafael Benitez. The coach has let it be known that should the team sell Torres. Then he too will quit the club immediately. Much of this problem has been created by the financial maneuvering of the owners as they've laden the club with an excessive amount of debt. picture appears courtesy of dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty ..................

As I’d alluded to earlier a number of teams have seen their fortunes change for the better. While many others have not been as fortunate in that endeavor. Teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea , Manchester United and Liverpool to name but a few,have had a change in ownership over the past five years. They’ve either been bought outright , or used as an investment vehicle for their new owners. However, the financial maneuvers that led to a great many of those deal are now coming into question. And nowhere now is this more apparent now,than with what is transpiring in the hallways and boardrooms of both Liverpool and Manchester United.And the case of Liverpool it is now creating an impasse between the team’s coach, Rafael Benitez and the ownership group of Texas businessmen, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Fernando Torres  and   Liverpool  coach  Rafael  Benitez (right)  seen  here  at   Anfield  ,  home   of Liverpool FC  .  picture  appears courtesy   dailymail.co.uk/  Ian  Hodgson  ..............
Fernando Torres and Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez (right) seen here at Anfield , home of Liverpool FC . picture appears courtesy dailymail.co.uk/ Ian Hodgson ..............

The relationship between coach and owner has become strained as there have been rumblings that the owners who are desperately in need of cash to meet financial obligations to their financiers (bankers) – are seeking to sell one team’s best players in,Fernando Torres. And this has come much to the dismay of Benitez as well as the loyal fans of the team. But what is also becoming more apparent is the financial stability and viability of the club. It has been laden with a great deal of debt and even though Gillett and Hicks bought the club for in excess $900 million. Much of that money was raised through leveraging the assets of the team with a minimal cash infusion by Gillett and Hicks. Payments on that debt has to be made on time and invariably the owners haven’t been forthcoming as to the balance sheet of the club and its present status.

There are no sobering thought processes here, as to the financial mismanagement of a sports franchise. But invariably,whenever there’s said to be a problem. The fans are always the last to know and the first to find out, how much it may well invariably end up costing them.And it is no different,with the situation facing the Manchester United and that of its owners the Glazer family, headed by their patriarch, Malcolm Glazer. The family also owns the NFL franchise, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though the legacy of success with the soccer club hasn’t abated. For the NFL franchise , success has been few and far between. At present they may well be the worse ran and possibly the worst team in the NFL. Their futility alone this year, has many reminiscing about the early years of the franchise when they were woefully inept. And mere mention of the Buccaneers’ name more often than not was greeted with laughter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers had seen a great deal of upheaval in the offseason, with the firing of former coach, Jon Gruden and General Manager, Bruce Allen. Installed to replace them were first year coach, Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, as the new general manager. And the inexperience has shown with the duo Dominik and Morris, by way of the blunders made with the team’s roster , lack of experience,both on and off the field . And the mere fact that there’s no team leadership forthcoming from anyone on the team. And that includes such seasoned veterans as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow.

Patriarch  Malcolm  Glaze (center)  and   two of his  sons Joel  (right) and  Brian  , far  left  , seen here  attending   a  Premiership  league  game   at Old  Trafford ,   Manchester  United's  home   venue .   picture appears  courtesy  of    dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony  Hodgins  .................
Patriarch, Malcolm Glaze (center) and two of his sons Joel (right) and Brian , far left , seen here attending a Premiership league game at Old Trafford , Manchester United's home venue . picture appears courtesy of dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony Hodgins .................

When the family first bought the Premiership club , it was felt it would be of benefit to both organizations. The universal appeal of United , who are seen as the soccer world’s answer to the New York Yankees. As the success of both franchises is unrivaled and unparalleled . However , what has gone down within the inner workings of both franchise borders on either stupidity, or the mere fact that this is all being done with some sort of greater objective in mind. Manchester United having been bought for $1.5 billion dollars, though much of it was in the form of a leveraged buyout (LBO). It is still saddled with a debt of over $1.15 billion dollars, bearing in mind that there’s accruing interest and the slow amortization of the debt. The family has seen fit to act with a great deal of secrecy that when questioned on their financial situation. The answers have been either fleeting or mono-syllabic.

Things may very well change as UEFA,the governing body of soccer throughout Europe seeks to enact a strong set of rules governing the operational and financial viability of a team. But this will only pertain to teams participating or who in the future seek to participate in any of its club competitions. This may well change the face of soccer not only domestically in the UK but also across the continent of Europe.

As contrived as it might appear to be , I do feel that a number of franchise owners merely treat their teams as a bauble to be paraded as a way of showing off their wealth and ostentatiousness. Never mind the fact that if the franchises are part of a community, then its citizens ought not to feel shutout when they tend to show some interest in the team beyond the field of play. It’s as if some of these sports franchise owners are no different from many of the corporate wheelers and dealers that’ve brought the country to its knees. Almost as if it is crawling on all fours, begging like a homeless vagrant for a morsel of food.

Trust me I’m a doctor and the owners are merely all about the money and the chicks are just free !

Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ also featuring Sting. Lyrics by Mark Knopfler.

How Many QB’s Does It Take Indeed And Need To Change A Light Bulb ….?

 
 

How  Many  QB’s  Does It   Take   Indeed  And  Need To   Change  A  Light  Bulb  ? 

 

 

 

Well  the  NFL   Draft  has  come  and  gone.  And   no  doubt  many  of  the  fans  who  prognosticated  the  decisions  that  were  made  by  their    respective  teams  may  well  have   been  heartened   or   disgusted with   those   choices. 

 

 

Josh Freeman  seen  here  alongside NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell  on  Draft  Day.   The venue  for the  draft  was the  Radio  City  Music  Hall  in  New York  City , New York.
Josh Freeman seen here alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Draft Day. Freeman was taken as the seventeenth pick overall in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Stuart Burroughs .........

 

 

 

Well  the  butt  of  jokes  here   in  the  Tampa  Bay   area   is  alluded  to  in   the  title  of  this   piece.  How  Many  QB’s   Does It  Take   Indeed ,  And   Need  To  Change   A  Light  Bulb  ?  If   you  can   answer   that   question  ,  then  I  for  one   am  not  prepared  to  question   your    intelligence. 

 

 

Freeman   poses with  family  and  friends  at  the  Radio City  Music  Hall  in New York  City.
Josh Freeman seen here with family and friends at the Radio City Music Hall, New York City. Venue for the 2009 NFL Draft. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Stuart Rice ...........

 

 

  

 

Suffice  to  say  with   the  decision  made   by  the  Tampa  Bay   Buccaneers  hierarchy.  One   has to  be  now   questioning  the   direction  of  this  franchise  and  the   intent   of both   the  coach  Raheem  Morris  and  that  of  the  GM  Mark  Dominik.    

 

 

 

 

In  making    Josh  Freeman  the  quarterback  from   Kansas  State the   seventeenth  overall  pick  in  the  first  round  of  the  draft. I  can  only  surmise  that    Morris   might’ve  been  pressured   into  this  decision .  Or   primarily   from   his   knowledge   of  a  player  whom   he   knew   from   his  days  with  the  university  as a  defensive   coordinator.   His   love  of  the   player  can’t   have  gone   unnoticed   to  those of  us  in  the  locale.  It  quite    literally  bordered   on  unadulterated    lust.  And  that  if  anything   should   really  have  been   cause  for  concern.

 

 

The  Buccaneers   with  their  first  round draft pick  Josh  Freeman
Josh Freeman (center) is seen here alongside Buccaneers' coach Raheem Morris (left) and the franchise's GM Mark Dominik (right). The player was introduced to locally convened press at a conference held at the team's headquarters. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Brian Scovell ................

 

 

 

 

That being   said   with   there   being   so  many   deficiencies   on this   Buccaneers’  team  on  both  sides  of  the  ball.  I  for   one  feel   that both   Dominik  , Morris  and  the  Bucs’   coaching   staff  neglected  their   duties  in   getting   real   value  with  that   number   one  pick.   They  could’ve   chosen  to  have   traded   down  or   go  out  and   obtained  a  defensive   tackle  or   offensive   lineman.   But instead  they  chose  to  go  with   a  player who  shall  we   say   can   be   described   having  a  strong  arm   but   prone  to  making   mistakes.  And   whose   accuracy   is   less  than  can  be  desired.

 

 

 

 

Josh  Freeman
Bucs' first round draft pick Josh Freeman takes questions from the locally convened press after his arrival at the team's headquarters for a press conference inTampa. pictures appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rod Gilliam .............

 

  

Whatever    Morris  sees  in the   player  isn’t  apparent  to   us  all.  I’d  dare   say  that  it’s   not   completely   apparent  to  even   the   most   ardent   of  Bucs’  fans   at  this  juncture.   Many   of  them   summarily   booed  the   choice   when  it   was   announced  to   those  in  attendance     at the    franchise’s    annual      draft   day  turnout.   Suffice   to  say   they   felt   that  the   pick   could’ve   been  made  better   use  of  with   another  choice  completely.  Some   might   agree   while   others   will   disagree.     Though   not  a Bucs’  fan   ,  I   do   live  within  the  community  where  the   coverage   of the  team  is  almost  incessant  day  in  day  out   when  it comes to  the  local  sports’   talk   radio shows.   And  it’s  not  lost  on  the  local    tv  media  either.  As  everyone  wants  to  have  a   say   in the  fortunes of   the  team.

 

 

 

Continue reading “How Many QB’s Does It Take Indeed And Need To Change A Light Bulb ….?”

Well If It’s A Splash You Wanted Then This Wasn’t It ………

 

 

 

Well  If   It’s A Splash  You  Wanted  To  Make  Then  This Wasn’t It  ………

 

 

Fans  have  long labored  under the  belief  that  at  times the  fresh  influx of  talent   be  it on  the  field  or  in   management   can  really    turn  things  around  for   a franchise  that has been  perceived to  have fallen  on  hard times.    Well   nowhere is this  becoming   more   apparent than  with  the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers.

 

 

Raheem Morris   of the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers seen  here  with  Bucs' executive  Joel Glazer.
Newly appointed coach Raheem Morris is seen here with Bucs' executive Joel Glazer. The Glazer family own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as English Premier League soccer club Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Matthew McFadden .............

 

 

 

Well  with   the firing   of  Jon Gruden  and  that of  General  Manager  Bruce Allen  in  the  offseason and   the  promotion of   Raheem  Morris  to the position of  head coach. It can  be   said  the  change  direction  sought was  about   as  expedient  and  drastic  as  one  would  expect.   The explanation   coming   from   ownership  can’t  be  viewed  as   enthusiastic   for   the  most  fervent   of  Buccaneers’ fans.  But  then   again   throughout  much   the  Glazers’  ownership,   their  custodianship of  the franchise  has  been  executed  clandestinely.    Though  the   firings   of  Gruden and Allen   came    out   of the  blue.  It can  be  said  from  a  PR perspective  the way it was    handled  left  an  unsavory   taste  in  one’s  mouth. 

 

 

 

 

Added  to  that  fact  was   the  release   of   several long  established  players.  None  more  so  than   veteran  stalwart  and  defensive  player  Derrick  Brooks.  He  may well  be  viewed  as  the   face   of  the  franchise .  And  in  terms  of   his  loyalty   to the  franchise  it was  unquestioned.   He was the  epitome , heart  and   soul   of what  it  meant  to be   a  Buccaneers’  player.     And  to  say  that many  a  Bucs’  fans   weren’t     aggrieved  at   his  release  would  be  understatement.  Nevertheless   life  must  go  on  and   so does the  business  of  making  this   franchise  competitive.

 

 

Bucs' GM Mark Dominink  seen  here with  members  of  the  local  press in the Tampa  Bay  area .
Buccaneers' GM Mark Dominik seen here with members of the locally convened press from the Tampa Bay area. picture appears courtesy of pewterreport.com

 

 

 

Coming  off  a  disappointing   season  with  a  9-7  finish  within the  NFC  South   division. Where  the  team  were viewed  as a   favorite to  repeat   as  champions.  Their  season  fell  apart  literally   down  the  closing    stretch  of the  season.  As  they   succumbed to  four  consecutive  defeats.   So  close  but  yet  so  far.  One  can  attribute  these  losses   on  a  number  of  things.  But   the  ownership   obviously   felt  that   Gruden  bore   a  great  deal  of  responsibility   for the   team’s   failings  on the    field. But a  lot  of  that   responsibility can  be  also  attributed to  the  total   naiveté  on the path  of the   Buccaneers’  players  who  must’ve   felt  that   they’d   romping  off  into  the  playoffs before  the   season  was  over,  without   getting  the  job  done   on the field  first.    A  lack  of  professional   approach  on  the   field   and  perhaps  an  even  bigger  lack  of  professionalism   by  the coaching  staff ?

 

 

 

 

Well   now the  franchise   under the  auspices  of  Morris  along  with   Mark Dominik  as the   team’s  general manager   have  been   entrusted  in   giving  the   team  a  new  sense  of  purpose  and  identity.    A  task  that  has  been  made  even   tougher   given  the  fact that  both  men  are   viewed as   novices  in their   fledgling    positions.  And  with  the  upheaval  within  the  team’s   roster .  It’s  hard  now  to  view  this  team  as  being  anything  more  than  an  afterthought  at this  juncture.   

 

 

 

 

 

At  the   heart   of  this  is  all  is  the  fact   that   on  paper  this   is  now a  very   young   team. And  with  it  comes   no   veteran  leadership  which   every   good   team  needs.  One  might  point  to   Ronde Barber   as  one  of the  last  vestiges  of    the   Buccaneers  from  their  halcyon   days  as  Superbowl  champions.   But even  he  isn’t  the  player  that  he  once  was.   Suffice  to   say   this   team   may   well  struggle  to  acquit  themselves this   upcoming  season  even with  the   presence  of  players  such as  Chris  Hovan,  Jeff Faine  , Antonio Bryant , Derrick Ward , Kellen Winslow Jr and  Luke  McCown.    And   even  with   the  acquisition  of  Derrick  Ward  a  proven  commodity   at   the  running   back  position.   The Buccaneers’  deficiencies  on   offense  at  times   bordered   on  sheer   ineptitude.  Their    struggles  to  find   the   end  zone  when  in  the   red  zone   territory  was   comedic  at   best  and   some  times   tragic.   When   your  over  reliance   is  placed  on  your  kicker   to  garner   the   points  needed  . Then  there  has  to  be  cause   for  concern.    That  being   said that   wasn’t   only  the  major   cause  for  concern  on this   team.   The defense    that  was   once   lauded  around  the  league  as being  one  of  the  best  in the league.   It seemed  as  if   overnight    many  of  the  players  had  forgotten   how  to execute   a  tackle   much   less  cover  an   offensive player.

 

 

  Continue reading “Well If It’s A Splash You Wanted Then This Wasn’t It ………”

Into Someone’s Life A Drop of Rain Must Fall ……………………

Well  havoc  was  wreaked within  One  Buc  Place  as  the  Glazer family  saw  fit  to  fire  their  coach  Jon Gruden and  General Manager  Bruce  Allen.  The  abruptness  of  the  firing  and  the  expediency  of  it  was  not  lost on  some.   In  some  areas  it  was  completely  unexpected.  And for   some  it  was  a welcoming   wish  for   what  they  believe  was  Gruden’s   comeuppance. If  nothing  else  it  was  felt  he  was  deserving  of  the  fate.  

 

 

 

 

Much  was  expected  of  the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as  they  headed  down  the  final  stretch  of the  season in the  month  of  December.  Leading  the  NFC  South  with a 9-3  record  the  team  all  but  laid down  and  succumbed  to  the  unthinkable  losing  their  final  four  games,  failing  to  make  the  playoffs.  If that  wasn’t  enough  Gruden’s demeanor  if nothing else  was  that  of  a man  who  felt  he  wasn’t  at  fault. If  there’s   anything   that  perhaps  personifies  what this  team  has  been about. It  has  been the inconsistency  of  the  team  under  Gruden’s  tenure  since  their  Superbowl  win .   There  has  been   just  as  many  peaks  and   troughs  with  the  team   as  there  has  been  in  the  stock  market.  And  if anything   for  the   Glazer  family  that’s  certainly  not  what  they’d   envisaged   from the  coach  when  they  lured  him  away from the  Oakland  Raiders  for  a  slew  of draft picks  and  $8m in compensation  that  benefited  the  Raiders.    A  king’s  ransom  was  paid  and  though  it has  paid dividends.  After  time  the allure of  the  transaction definitely  lost its  luster.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Dominik far  left   along  with  Raheem Morris  the  new  coach of the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers    second from  right  ..............................

 

 

Mark Dominik(left) the  Buccaneers’  new general manager  is  seen  here  alongside  Bucs’  ownership executive  vice  presidents Edward and Bryan Glazer (center) new coach  Raheem Morris (second from the right) and  far  right  Joel  Glazer. picture  appears   courtesy of  getty  images/   Paul   Mason ………………….. 

 

 

 

 

 

For  vice-president  Joel  Glazer  and  his  father  Malcolm  the abruptness of  this  all came  about  with  a  seismic quake  that  took  the  NFL completely  by  surprise.  So  Gruden  now  becomes one  of   four  coaches  that’ve  won  the  Superbowl   and  have   either  retired  or  been  fired  this  season.  He  joins  Mike  Shanahan ,  Tony  Dungy and   Mike Holmgren   who all  have  one  thing  in common.  They’ve  seen  the  highs  and  lows  that   the  game  brings.  And  Dungy  if  one  remembers   was  the  person   replaced   by  Gruden.  Somewhat  ironic  one  might  think  that  Dungy  leaves  the  Indianapolis  Colts   under  his  own  steam   whilst   Gruden  is shown  the  door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though  there’d been speculation  as  to  who’d  take  over   from Gruden. The  likely  candidate  has come  from within, in-house.   The   Tampa Bay  Buccaneers  made  it  official  in the  naming  of  defensive  coordinator  Raheem  Morris  to  the  take  over from  Jon Gruden.    And  the  vacancy  of  the  general manager’s  position  would  also  be  filled   from  in-house by Mark Dominik.  Morris at  32  years  of  age  is  highly thought  of   within the  Bucs’ organization  and  learnt  his  craft under  the  watchful eye  of Monte   Kiffin.    Kiffin  departed  to  join  his  son  Laine  in  a similar  position  with  the  University  of Tennessee.   One  can assume  that  either   there was  a tumult   erupting   within  the  organization.  Or  in fact that  changes  had  to  be   made   from  within   because of the   failures  within   the  franchise  not   just  on  the  field   but  managerially  also.

 

 

 

Raheem Morris  introduced  to  the  convened  press  as  the  Buccaneers'  new  head  coach  ...................

 

 

Raheem  Morris  having  been  introduced as the  Buccaneers’  new  head  coach  takes   questions   from  the  convened  press.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Matthew  Gould  ………………… 

 

 

 

 

 

Recruitment  wise  the  team  has had  some  hits  and  misses   but  there’ve  been  more  misses  than  hits.   And  it did  not  augur well   when  there  was  a  great  deal  of  discontent  between  the  coach  and  his  Pro-Bowl  quarterback  Jeff  Garcia.  The  ongoing  saga  and the   denials   by  Gruden  as  to  whether  or  not  the  franchise  was  in  pursuit of  Brett  Favre  only   added  to  much  of the  confusion.   And  if  there’s  been  one  thing  indicative  of  the  franchise  it  has  been  the  failure  to  develop  a  quarterback  for  the  future.  Year  in  year   out   it  has  either  been  a   recycling  project  by  the coach.  Or  he’s  looked  from  within  to  see what’s  available.  And   one  states  that  the  cupboard   was  bare.   It  wasn’t  an  understatement  !  Not  only  was  it  bare   but  talent wise  it  lacked   credibility.    The  names  of  Luke  McCown, and Brian  Griese  aren’t  exactly  what  one   consider  to  be  world  beaters  let  alone  put fear  into the  hearts  of   opposing  teams.   But  that’s  what   Gruden  felt   would  save  the  day   for  the  franchise.  It  has  been  ever   dependent   over the  years   on  its   defense   to  keep  it  in  games.    But  on the  offensive  side  of  the  ball  where   Gruden  was viewed  as  somewhat  of  a  genius.    Rarely   had  we  seen  anything   that  placate   the   situation  in  terms  of  the  ineptitude shown  at   times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  complete  lack  of   a  running   game though  it  can  be   said  that   injuries  to  Carnell  Williams  and   Earnest  Graham played its  part.   We  also  saw very  little  from  the  likes  of   Michael  Clayton  of  whom  it  can  be  said  if  he wasn’t  catching  the  ball.  He  could  be  relied  upon  for  a  timely   block.  But  the  body  of  his  work  has  been  negligible   since   his  entry  into  the  NFL.   What  has  been  even  more  glaring  has  been  the   team’s   failure  to   convert  on   third   downs.  Statistically  the   team  was  in the  lower  half  of  the  league.   And   its  most  potent   offensive  weapon  for  much  of  the  season  has  been  the  play  of  wide   receiver  Antonio  Bryant   and kicker  Matt  Bryant.  And  though  some  will  throw  in  the  name  of  Clifton  Smith. If  we’re   to  believe  that  Gruden  is  such  a  genius   then  why  is  it   that  he  wasn’t able  to  work  with  the   tools  in  his  tool  bag ?    After  all  isn’t  a  master  craftsman  able  to  work  with  whatever  he  has  at  hand ?   This  may  well  be  one  the   reasons  why   the  Joel Glazer  sought  the  path  he  did  in  making  the  decision  to   relinquish  Gruden  of  his  position as   the  coach.    As  to Bruce  Allen  once the  decision  was  made  to  let  the   coach  go.  It   seemed   only   plausible  that  the  ownership  would  seek  to send  the  general manager  packing  as  well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As  to what  the  future  will   hold  for   Gruden  it  is  open  to  conjecture  and  speculation.  He  will in  all  probability  get another  coaching  position within  the  NFL.  But  we’ll   just  have  to wait  and  see  where  his  ultimate  destination   may  be.  Fans of  the  franchise  may  well  see  this  as  a sad  loss  for  the  organization as  voiced  by  the  Glazer family.  But  Gruden’s   time   at  the helm  was  enough  for  all  of   us  to  see  that  the  franchise   was  heading  nowhere.  The  inconsistency   was  one  thing   but  Gruden himself  in  no  way  sought  to  alleviate  the  problem  and take  accountability  for  his  faults  and  that  of  his  coaching  staff.  Rather  he’d  prefer  to  lay  the  blame  elsewhere.