Death, taxes and other certainties in life and sports

Death, taxes and other certainties in life and sports

Well, this past weekend the NFL opened their postseason schedule and once again the league simply did not fail to disappoint. If you consider the result of the Arizona Cardinals going into Carolina to face the Carolina Panthers and the Cardinals’ loss to their NFC rivals an aberration, then consider that to be a real disappointment. All season long , Arizona found ways to win, withtheir offense or a resolute defense.

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On Saturday afternoon , Ryan Lindley as the starting quarterback for the visiting team was being asked to lead to the Cardinals in his first postseason contest to a victory, which would have been Arizona’s first in over five years. Their last coming in the 2009 postseason in a high-scoring contest against the Green Bay Packers .

Both Ryan Lindley and the opposing quarterback Cam Newton had their highs and lows in during the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Carolina Panthers. Yet you could not help but feel the Cardinals came into this contest as the prohibitive favorites but there was an even greater possibility they could come away from this contest with the defeat. Bruce Arians may well have placed a great deal of faith in his quarterback , but you simply got the feeling Lindley’s postseason inexperience would lead to his and the Cardinals’ own undoing.

You can either love or hate the Dallas Cowboys. America’s Team and the empathy some might have towards the franchise, can be either one of loathing or under-handed appreciation . I have never really been a great admirer of the Cowboys or the larger than life presence of team owner , Jerry Jones ! Sunday afternoon , Dallas had as their guests Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions in their wildcard match-up .

The Cowboys were seeking their first playoff win in almost six years and it should serve as a kindly reminder, why this franchise has been so overrated during the time-span in question, when each year inexplicably bumbling buffoons continually decide to make the Dallas Cowboys perennial favorites to win the Superbowl or at least be a contender within the NFC. In a season where the NFC was so mediocre and yes I am taking into account the Philadelphia Eagles managed to notch a double-digit tally by way of wins , but somehow as only Chip Kelly can , his propensity to believe that only offense can win games led to the Eagles’ chance and demise in winning the NFC East. I can only conclude the former Oregon head coach simply doesn’t know how to spell the world defense or comprehend its meaning as determined by their statistical standing in the category and their failure to make the postseason.

Dallas came away with their victory over the Detroit Lions and I can’t help but wonder beyond the errant misjudgement by the officials , I believe the Lions were simply overawed by the occasion . Matt Stafford and his teammates all but had this game sewn up and well within their grasp during the latter stages of the contest but they somehow found a way to screw things up without Ndamokung Suh actually contributing to the loss, with his never-ending stupidity. The Cowboys came away the victors and the Detroit Lions , just like the city, were bankrupt of creativity and ideas when it mattered the most. At least they can take heart in the fact their infamous 2008 season still remains intact when it comes to sheer ineptitude .

Dallas will certainly have to raise the level of their play when they face the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of their game to be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin, Sunday , 11th January, 2015. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will take their show on the road when they face a stern test by taking on the Seattle Seahawks . If that Seahawks’ offense gets going, then the Panthers are likely to be on the wrong end of a lopsided loss .

While some may well have their doubts about the Indianapolis Colts because of the inconsistency shown this season , but you simply cannot deny Andrew Luck’s play for the team has been the main reason why the Colts are now in the postseason for the third consecutive year , and the belief he might just be the best quarterback to have been drafted in the NFL since 2008. Now you may well disagree with the statement in question, but simply take a look at the facts as they stand and then decide for yourself.

Luck and his teammates clinically took apart with the ease of a surgeon performing a routine procedure . The Bengals were never remotely in this game and it begs the question, where do Marvin Lewis and the coaching staff now go from here concerning this team ?

In the day’s other AFC contest, the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco put an end to the quest of Ben Roethlisberger seeking a third Superbowl victory to add to his resume’ . The Pittsburgh Steelers may well have won the AFC North , but they were far from being the best team within the division . Statistics may well tend to create the illusion and perception of competitiveness , but when it came to determination , there was none to be found from anyone on the Steelers’ roster during this game . This is likely to be the game played in a Pittsburgh Steelers’ uniform by their defensive player Troy Polamalu after a distinguished career with the franchise.

With a great deal of bravura the signing of Phil Jackson and his being brought in to head the Basketball Operations of the New York Knicks , was meant to herald in a new chapter for the NBA franchise. The legendary NBA coach has a resume’ unmatched by no other coach in NBA history and the feeling was , if Jackson’s presence alone, was enough to reignite the Knicks, then all would be right with the world . Unfortunately, those behind this idiocy, failed to acknowledge there was not an experienced head coach leading the coaching staff and the very fact, beyond Carmelo Anthony the talent level on the roster was extremely poor if not threadbare . As to the feeling Iman Shumpert was an adequate foil to Anthony’s abilities on the team , well let’s just look the facts this season and how that all bears out . Shumpert’s offense and defense are at best , average and the player is not and never will be a game changer on any level .

I can only surmise the choice of Derek Fisher to coach this team was simply one of vanity by Phil Jackson and the fallacy that the ” Triangle Offense “ would still be be effective in today’s game. Jackson may well have not correctly assessed the basketball acumen and IQ of this roster , because plainly put , this Knicks’ team simply isn’t good enough to comprehend the concept, much less put it into effect with any semblance of success. Fisher’s players have already accomplished a season’s first, by being the first team to accumulate thirty or more losses on the season . This may well have not been part of the Knicks’ plans for the year , but clearly things have now gone terribly awry for the franchise and with the lack foresight from anyone within the front office led by Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills .

To understand how inept the New York Knicks have become , consider the fact they are now on an eleven-game losing streak and they seem incapable of winning at home or on the road . With Carmelo Anthony now sidelined by an injury , the chances of the New York Knicks being competitive, much less putting together a winning streak now seems more remote than ever. The team’s last victory, came in a road win over the Boston Celtics on the 12th December , 2014 with the six-point defeat of their conference rivals .

Sunday night, brought even more incompetence from the New York Knicks as they succumbed to the Milwaukee Bucks in a thirteen-point loss (95-82) at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York . Their task will not be any easier in their next game when they face the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum in Memphis , Tennessee ,.

At 5-31 the Knicks’ projected win total for the season will be 15-67 and it is hard to imagine how this organization can take away anything positive out of such a mediocre display and the ongoing optimism being shown by the fans . With the trade deadline due on the 19th February and you get the feeling some drastic moves are likely to be made as the Knicks look to salvage something out of the season while looking to the future . The only asset on the team is Carmelo Anthony and though there have been rumors the player had been approached by senior executives , requesting his waiving of the no-trade clause in his contract and such a move would suggest they are willing to abandon any future hope rebuilding the franchise with Anthony as the centerpiece for their future livelihood. Having signed a five-year $124 million deal , at the start of this year , one could imagine this would not sit well with the Knicks’ fans were the player traded and their being left with almost nothing in return , even if there were some pieces added to the roster seen as a positive sign . The rationale behind the maneuver would still come as a shock , but this has been a mess of the Knicks’ own making , one presided over by the lackadaisical and nonsensical approach to the franchise taken by owner James Dolan . Profitability seems to have been his only concern with regard to the organization rather than the on-court product. Come full circle , the Knicks seem to be back at square one and no real idea what approach they ought to be taking.

The death of ESPN sports’ anchor Stuart Scott at the age of forty-nine , was a reminder of one’s mortality . Scott’s untimely demise cast a giant shadow over the NBA this past weekend , as his association and love of the game was well-known . He befriended many of the game’s top players and his passing was known to be heartfelt not just within the player fraternity , but also among the league hierarchy , general managers and team owners . Anyone who witnessed his 2014 ESPY Award speech after his accepting the Jim Valvano Award had to be taken aback by his humility , eloquence , challenges he met , while undergoing chemotherapy and other medical treatment, as he and his family sought a cure for the diagnosis of his cancer ailment. Stuart Scott became the gold standard for many of the African-American journalists who would later join the broadcast outlet . Yet, his professionalism , personality and passion stood out, as he covered sports in such an unbridled way , leaving us with a number of catch-phrases , which will live on even after his passing.

[youtube.com=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl_0ieqSi7Q]

Keifer Sutherland presents Stuart Scott with the Jim Valvano Award at the 2014 ESPY’s . Scott’s full speech is seen here in its entirety.

The Winter Meetings are over within MLB (baseball) and teams won’t yet be making any major preparations concerning Spring Training , but a number of players sidelined due to injuries, still in the process of rehabilitation , while looking to the upcoming season . Trades came and went with a number of surprising moves . Nonetheless , baseball will likely enter this upcoming regular season with team payroll commitments topping $ 3 billion ($3,000,000,000) for the third successive season .

The San Francisco Giants coming off their World Series’ triumph , their third in the past five years ,will have a bulls’ eye as a target on their backs , as each of the league’s twenty-nine other teams will be looking take them down , in particular, anyone of the fifteen from the AL . A tough season ahead awaits the Giants, as baseball’s latest dynasty looks to add to its illustrious history . Bruce Bochy and his managerial staff will be looking to add to their legacy , while the team itself, must know the task ahead will be a difficult one . The NL West is likely to be competitive , with the main challenge coming from what will be a somewhat revamped Los Angeles Dodgers’ team.

Meetings between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season will have some added flavor to it all , as Don Mattingly and his staff would like to prove the defending World Series’ champions are not the only ” team in town” or the best in the state of California. Did I hear someone mention the Los Angeles Angels , Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres ought to be added into the mix ? That would be great were it not for the fact recent postseason success seems to be lacking for the teams mentioned.

Baseball’s Hall of Fame for 2015 have been announced , with the new additions as well as the hold-overs from years past are on the ballot for the BBWAA’s approval and final voting . The continued hypocrisy shown by the Baseball Writers Association , their ambivalence and dare I say it lack of transparency with their process indicates to me the continued farce of the institution and all it claims to represent. With their being no clear stance being taken by them concerning players associated with the ‘ steroid era’ which still casts a giant smear and shadow over the game indicates to me , much like baseball’s ambivalent and clueless hierarchy the sport definitely needs to be infused with creative ideas and leadership. You simply have to look at the makeup of the senior-most executives in the game’s upper ranks to realize that fact and their current length of tenure .

Several of the names on this season’s Hall of Fame Ballot are certainly credible , but several are tinged with more than controversy ,concerning their possible association and the use of steroids or other illicit substances . Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds , Gary Sheffield , Sammy Sosa , Curt Schilling and Mark McGwire to name but a few , put into perspective what we are likely to witness over the coming years , if their names are reappointed to the list, having failed to be inducted. Randy Johnson , Pedro Martinez , John Smoltz , Nomar Garciaparra , Carlos Delgado , Aaron Boone and Cliff Floyd lead the list of first-time nominees .

Of the newest nominees , I believe the John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez , Curt Schilling are the most likely to obtain seventy-five per-cent of the votes needed to gain their induction into Cooperstown ! Borderline , are Carlos Delgado , Nomar Garciapparra , with the remaining candidates being considered for induction at some point in the future. Now while many decry the fact Pete Rose has not been inducted into the game’s most prestigious fraternity , let us remember Rose failed to acknowledge his misdeeds , lying repeatedly to anyone willing to listen , stating he did not break one of baseball’s most ” cardinal sins” , betting on the game . OK , one can bring up the Black Sox ‘ scandal’ as one of the game’s most stained chapters , yet those directly involved , paid a price , which can never be forgotten , overlooked or wiped from the pages of baseball’s history. It remains an indelible mark and reminder of one of the game’s most sordid chapters and a reason why, the rules are in place to be obeyed and not to be broken , purely for financial gain.

From my own perspective , while I believe the Hall of Fame to be a noteworthy bastion where the greats of the game are eulogized and immortalized in print ! I am not so sure many of the game’s most recent candidates , are really worthy of the accolade of induction. Here is my issue with these individuals , why were they so silent and was the choice their own or mandated upon them by a union (MLBPA) who to this day ,in many ways were just as complicit in the fraud perpetrated on the fans by the steroid cheats. Less we forget also , Bud Selig’s handling of the affair , culpable or plausible deniability , lack of action from the league hierarchy and baseball’s team owners . If you are still looking for common sense and intelligence within this sport , there is none to be found at all , in spite of opinions to the contrary.

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Picture gallery.

Over the past seventy-two hours which of the most recent sporting events stands out the most ? Just state your reasons why and what outcome you would like to see in the future, concerning the points raised within this article.

o_O

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) Quarterback Cam Newton (1) and fullback Mike Tolbert (35) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Tolbert caught a second half touchdown pass against the Arizona Cardinals during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals to go on to the divisional round of the postseason where they will face the Seattle Seahawks . Getty Images/ Rob Carr

(2) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs to congratulate Fozzy Whittaker (43 ) after his 3rd quarter touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Getty Images / Robb Carr

(3) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers and Ryan Lindley (14) of the Arizona Cardinals exchange words after their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Getty Images North America / Streeter Lecka

(4) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts calls a play at the line against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half during their AFC Wild Card game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts annihilated the Bengals in contest which was not remotely competitive. Getty Images / Andy Lyons

(5) Owen Daniels (81) of the Baltimore Ravens tries to avoid a tackle by Troy Polamalu (43) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Jamie Squires

(6) Troy Polamalu (43) of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the bench against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers would fall to the Ravens in their postseason clash . Getty Images / Jamie Squires

(7) Tim Hardaway Jr(5) of the New York Knicks shoots against Beno Udrih of the Memphis Grizzlies on January 5, 2015 at the FedExForum in Memphis. The Grizzlies inflicted the Knicks’ with their twelfth consecutive loss and placing them among the bottom rung of teams with a sub.500 record . Getty Images / Joe Murphy

(8) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks , pictured in this montage with Phil Jackson Head Of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks . There is mounting speculation the organization might seek to trade the player with their season now asunder and no chance of making the NBA Playoffs . AP Photo / Chris Palmer

(9) San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy , left , celebrates with the team’s catcher Buster Posey after the Giants’ game seven triumph in the 2014 World Series in the series’ finale played against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City , Missouri,. This was the third postseason finale series’ win of the past five seasons for the San Francisco Giants . AP Photo/ Mark Powers .

(10) Barry Bonds , left and Roger Clemens , two players whose names have been routinely linked to the use of steroids within the game of baseball . Bonds a seven-time NL MVP and Clemens , himself a seven-time recipient of the Cy Young Award , are both on this season’s Hall of Fame Ballot List , as they were last season . It remains to be seen whether both will be looked upon favorably by the voters from the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) at the time of voting. AP Photo/ Tom Marsh

(11) Pete Rose the all-time hits’ leader in Major League Baseball is seen here with his fiancee’ Kassie (Kim). The former Cincinnati Reds’ player and manager yearns to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame and even after his act of contrition , apologizing for lying to the league hierarchy , he has yet to receive a reprieve , with his lifetime ban being lifted by MLB . UPI Archives @ all rights reserved

(12) From left to right , John Smoltz , Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling . Quite possibly seen as the three leading candidates to be inducted in Baseball’s Hall of Fame . Randy Johnson a former teammate of Schilling , when the two combined to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to their sole Word Series’ triumph, is also considered a contender for the esteemed honor. AP Photo / John Marshall
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Tophatal

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The late Stuart Scott , who died at the age of forty-nine , due to complications from cancer.

Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ….

” Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ” Quote by William Shakespeare

As the NFL regular season meets its timely demise, the one thing we can take out of these scheduled l games was the fact , like in seasons past ….what you see is what you get. None of this asinine insinuation of their being parity in the NFL has any foundation at all . It comes down to hard work , effort , talent and coaching. This season there was very little of that to be witnessed by the majority of the teams. Even franchises thought to be major contenders at the start of the year , simply flamed out like a damp squib, while but a few surprised , perhaps none more so than the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) who made the NFC West something of a competitive division throughout much of the season , but failing in the end to follow up their fast start , by closing out the deal with a divisional win . Bruce Arians’ Cardinals enter into the postseason as a wildcard entrant with a very competitive game on their hands this upcoming weekend.

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The Arizona Cardinals will travel cross-country to face an over-achieving Carolina Panthers’ (7-8-1) team who somehow fought and then systematically clawed their way to an undeserving NFC South divisional title . Ron Rivera and his players made a successful defense of their title, but it was far from being impressive considering the fact , in 2013 the team had double-digit wins while also claiming one of the best records in the NFC for the year. This season proved to be a complete anathema with all four teams finishing within the division with sub.500 records and the Panthers being privileged to be the divisional representative in the postseason . Say what you will, but mediocrity still plays a vital part in the NFL today and always will in spite of claims to the contrary and the ongoing idiotic suggestion of parity .

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers make welcome return to the postseason , but these are not the Steelers’ teams of old , albeit , Ben Roethliseberger is playing well , but nowhere near the level when he led the franchise to their most recent postseason triumphs . In knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals , Pittsburgh booked their ticket to the postseason, while also capturing the AFC North title. Roethlisberger will be looking to make this Steelers’ team competitive, even if they are looked upon as under-dogs within the conference and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl . If Pittsburgh can find any semblance of consistency then they are likely give any AFC team considerable problems during the postseason foray.

With all three teams from the state of California failing to make the NFL’s end of the regular season showcase. One has to ask, what now becomes of the Oakland Raiders (3-13), San Diego Chargers(9-7) and the San Francisco 49ers (8-8)? Niners’ head coach Jim Harbaugh is most certainly out, with the beleaguered head coach having agreed in principle to part ways with the franchise. There were every growing signs Harbaugh had lost control of the team and the players’ confidence in him, never mind the organization’s lack of accountability in dealing with several off the field issues during the season. It has all led up to this crisis and placed CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke in a position, where they were either going fire the coach , but with his choosing to part ways of his own volition , it now leaves them to pursue a candidate to their liking and hopefully someone who can regain the stature they feel is befitting of their franchise.

A meaningless win for the Forty Niners over the Arizona Cardinals was simply more salt in the wound for the organization , knowing this was a season which went unfulfilled. There were few positives on this team and the likelihood will be, some drastic changes will be made to the roster during the off-season. I am not so sure what needs to be said about the San Diego Chargers and the travails of Philip Rivers . Since his entry into the NFL he has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league, but yet he has been unable to give the franchise or should I say, this organization has failed to supply him with the complementary weaponry to get the job done of availing themselves a Superbowl victory. All that was needed in the Chargers’ final game of the season, was a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , but instead, the visitors chose to give their worst performance of the season with Rivers contributing to the Chargers’ defeat and their being abruptly thrown out of the postseason.

It has never pained me to say this but ” the Oakland Raiders are simply sh#t and not worth the time of day ., much less being mentioned as an NFL franchise ! I don’t believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that at this juncture . As for this idiotic belief , Jon Gruden is likely to return to the organization for a second go-around, is almost absurd as believing Donald Trump has the wherewithal to become the GOP candidate for the Presidency in 2016. Then again, if a smooth-talking Senator from Chicago , Illinois can twice (2008 and 2012) pull the wool over the eyes of a befuddled electorate, then just about anything is possible within reason, wouldn’t you agree ? Gruden signed a lucrative contract extension with ESPN to fill us in with his customary useless diatribe and insights into the NFL. Personally. the less I see of the NFL analyst on the air, the better off I feel about the the league in general, as I believe his insight on the game, offers me no more meaningful information than can be found in a piece of legislative statute, drawn up by a lobbyist, that one of the Congress’s lame @ss legislators, will place their signature on, calling it their own and a meaningful piece of legislation. The Raiders were in the hunt to have the worst record in the NFL this season , until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to enter the fray and exhibit the type of incompetence often seen from silent era of movie making and those comedic classics produced by Max Sennett that evolved around ” The Keystone Cops” .

Genuine pratfalls or not , the Buccaneers have now defined and refined incompetence to a new “art form” within the NFL , with their apathetic fans as usual at a loss with anything meaningful to say about the continuing woes of the team and organization in general. Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht remains as clueless in person as he does when first introduced as the lead front office executive in charge of player personnel decisions for the franchise. Lovie Smith has brought in and instilled the type of home-grown stupidity into the Buccaneers’ roster that you would perhaps more associate with an episode of the the ” Jerry Springer ” Show . ” Who’s my baby Daddy ” ? The Buccaneers were just about everybody”s bit#h during the regular season and their record was a clear reflection of that fact.

The fact the Oakland and Tampa will be in the top-five of the 2015 NFL Draft order shouldn’t really come as surprise to anyone . What may well come as a surprise , is the fact the Raiders are seriously contemplating Tony Sparano remain as the team’s head coach and making it a permanent position . Damn , here was I thinking the revolving door and turn-style of either recycled head coaches or less than qualified candidates would be part of the Raiders’ off-season as they began their interviewing process , but at the end of the day, we are dealing with the Oakland Raiders and nothing they seem to do has anything to do with logic let alone acual common sense. I hear, there is even talk of building the franchise around the talents of Derek Carr ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! If Carr hopes to be a resounding success in the NFL, then here are a few pointers for the player , play a great deal better than you have been and for Christ’s sake take no advice from an elder sibling, David Carr , whose career in the NFL and the fact he was an overall number one draft pick is a sound reason why you cannot always base an assessment of a player on what others might think or the fact Mel Kiper’s lips have been firmly pressed against an agents’ sphincter or the players’ butt-hole as an insightful premise as what we ought to expect from a player.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is once again back to the drawing board, as the franchise seeks to regain some semblance of respectability , if not success. The lone bright spot on the roster from the season which has just ended was the play of their rookie wide receiver Mike Evans who excelled for for the franchise in his first professional season in the league. It’s safe to suggest the Buccaneers have a solid receiver in Evans and a very good talent with running back Doug Martin who had himself a career-day in the team’s narrow three-point loss to the New Orleans Saints (7-9).

Unfortunately, there are no leaders to be found on this current Buccaneers’ roster, and in large part, that has not been the case since the days, when Tony Dungy was the head coach of this franchise. Players such as Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Jon Lynch played with a great deal of pride and honor , when they took to the field for the team. I do not believe that to be the case with this current lineup and that is strange, when you consider, Lovie Smith is a disciple of the Dungy approach to coaching and the players being held accountable. Then again I shouldn’t be at all surprised by the morass and incompetence shown by team, when I consider the fact , Smith coached the Chicago Bears where during his final two years with the franchise, we all witnessed the less than favorable playing traits of Jay Cutler . If Smith could not corral and handle a prima-donna such as Cutler, why would anyone be of the belief he would be able to instill any type of discipline into a roster where Gerald McCoy and Vincent Jackson have practically been “no shows ” this season and as alleged veterans in the NFL, have shown about as much propensity to lead by example as a shy child being asked to read in font of the class by a teacher , on their first day at school.

McCoy and Jackson are among the highest paid players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have have been stealing money under false pretense by way of their respective salaries . Whatever changes are likely to be made during the off-season you can be assured there will be upheavals made as the front office decides to rebuild the roster and several elements of the coaching staff . It has been part of the Buccaneers’ procedural process during each year of undoubted failure , in a season which allegedly, promised a great deal of hope.

OK, so the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) are back in the postseason for the first time since 2009 where the team’s showing ended with a divisional round loss to the Minnesota Vikings . Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones finally has something to shout out loud about, as the team far exceeded expectations which may have been set at the start of the season. The Cowboys won the <a href=http://nfl.com/standings?sort=por won the NFC East, because the Philadelphia Eagles(10-6) under the coaching acumen of Chip Kelly, has no compunction to play defense , something often witnessed during his years with Oregon as the program’s head coach. Prolific offenses seems to be the only thing known to Kelly and within his playbook.

Philadelphia for its part, was simply hoping the Cowboys would falter in their game against the hapless Washington Redskins(4-12) , whose season has been one repeated disaster after the other, with Jay Gruden unsure what to make of his starting quarterbacks this season. Dallas simply blew the Redskins out of the water with a 44-17 victory in a contest where Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murrayshattered the franchise’s single season records for receiving touchdowns , for rushing yardsrespectively and all-purpose yards. Though the Eagles came away with a somewhat easy victory over the New York Giants (6-10) .

It is stunning to face the fact, the Philadelphia Eagles failed to make the postseason when they had the division and postseason berth within their grasp. Questions need to be asked and answered, as to whether or not this team possesses the competitive or mental mindset to get the job done . The answer , based on the occurrences of this season would have to be a resounding …….. no , because clearly, Chip Kelly feels there is no need to change the way the team plays , specifically with their defense being so inconsistent, bordering on ineptitude.

As great a season as the Dallas Cowboys had for the year,I am far from convinced the team will be good enough to make deep run in the postseason ! Add in the fact Tony Romo’s playoff- record leaves a great deal to be desired. A wildcard contest against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington , Texas on the 4th January , 2015 will provide the Cowboys’ fans their first chance to see the team in playoff game in five years. Whether or not the players can get past this first hurdle will greatly be dependent upon on the preparation of Jason Garrett and his coaching staff. The winner will then have the privilege of facing the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the postseason.

The New York Jets'(4-12) failures thisseason have been well-chronicled and the mere fact that the front office seems to on the cusp of firing head coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik should come as no great surprise. At no point during their regular season schedule were the Jets able to muster back-to-back wins. It’s safe to say, as Ryan continually backed his incumbent starting quarterback , Geno Smith , the greater the pressure became for him to revert to the use of the team’s veteran and backup Michael Vick when Smith’s play came into question during 2014. Not that Vick’s play was any more convincing, leading many to now believe his days in the NFL are likely numbered. Strong arm and a great running threat? Well, those days are long gone and his play overall, never led to any meaningful victories for either the Atlanta Falcons Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets over the course of his career. As for Smith, work in progress or not, momentary flashes of glimpses of brilliance are not what the Jets require, it his consistently winning games and showing leadership than his propensity for fumbling the ball and throwing interceptions.

It will be interesting to see what now transpires within the Jets’ organization, as they gauge where and when their season began to spiral completely out of control. My question remains , if John Idzik was the architect behind the building of a Superbowl winning roster, with last season’s champions the Seattle Seahawks , then how is it he and Ryan’s coaching staffwere not able to assemble a competitive roster for this season ?

Credible candidates for the regular season League MVP ? Cast your net wide, but to my mind there are but four strong nominees for the league’s highest invdividual regular season honor ! Granted, everyone seems to be jumping on the JJ Watt bandwagon, but how can anyone feel Watt is so deserving of the award when the Houston Texans (9-7)barely above.500 never really challenged the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) for divisional supremacy within the AFC South or the very fact the team failed to make it into the postseason ? Granted , Watt did have an exceptional year as a defensive player and rightfully or wrongfully he can be considered for the award , but to my mind he has been the best Defensive Player in the league this season , but being the best player in the NFL this year ? There are are other candidates far more worthy than Watt !

I believe the Texans’ defensive end (Watt) to be the best player on the roster this season. Yet , that in-of-itself should be by no means the sole requirement for him to be simply be handed the prize unanimously in a number of adjudicators’ eyes. Has he been the best player in the NFL this season ? Consistency might suggest Watt has been, but I consider the play of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, DeMarco Murray and Tom Brady to have been just as credible. When these awards are handed out during the NFL’s annual awards’ ceremony , it will be interesting to see who the recipient award will be and whether not it a unanimous or majority vote balloted in the player’s favor. Your thoughts on this specific matter ?

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Picture gallery .

With the NFL postseason about to get underway this weekend, what event during the regular season caught your attention and which teams during the league’s postseason foray do you believe will rise to the occasion and win it all ? Chime in with a comment on the subject matter as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has been greatly appreciated ! With the New Year beckoning, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and Prosperous New Year !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers avoids the tackle from Calais Campbell (93) of the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The Forty Niners would go on to defeat the Cardinals 20-17 , with the contest being Jim Harbaugh’s last game in charge as the head coach of the team. Getty Images Ezra Shaw …

(2) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw ….

(3) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers and owner Jed York talk at midfield during warm ups against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images /Don Feria …

(4) Head coach Rex Ryan , left, of the New York Jets speaks with head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins during pregame workouts before the Jets met the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. It was announced today that Ryan and GM John Idzik had been fired by team owner Woody Johnson as the franchise seeks to move on after a thoroughly disappointing season. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …

(5) Mike Evans (13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs after a reception in the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. The Saints defeated the Bucs 23-20 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …

(6) Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(7) J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans celebrates sacking Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images /Bob Levey …

(8) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Century-Link Field on December 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Johnathan Ferrey …

(9) Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback , Russell Wilson is seen here raising the Lombardi Trophy after the team’s lopsided victory over the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl . The Seahawks enter the postseason as the number one seed in the NFC and a strong contender to repeat as the defending champions . Wilson is also considered a leading contender for League MVP after a stellar season for the team. Also pictured are Michael Strahan to the left of the quarterback, with Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll to Wilson’s rear . AP Photo/ Mike Thomas …
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News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …


News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …

Well once again as we approach a festive period , in this case, Christmas and all of the alleged joy it is meant to bring .Sports’ fans are left to ponder what is happening within the realms of professional sports. The NFL remains a complete farce and once again we had a Thursday Night Game which failed to live up to expectations. The Arizona Cardinals (11-3) found a way to eke out a victory over the rather inept St Louis Rams. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians , believes incumbent starting quarterback Drew Stanton has what it takes to lead the team all the way to the Superbowl . Based on the events of the last night’s contest , I believe the head coach is delusional and definitely jumping ahead of himself !

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For the present Arizona has the best record in the NFC and will be looking for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The NFC West, where Arizona has a comfortable lead over their closest rivals , is now a division, which is theirs to lose . As to the continued idiocy and buffoonery by some, who believe the San Francisco 49ers (7-6) were good enough to gain double-digit wins for the season , well their year has been completely turned upside down with the head coach Jim Harbaugh no longer being seen in a favorable light by the front office led by CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke. Whether not Harbaugh returns next season is now open to a great deal of debate and conjecture. The Niners have a divisional clash on Sunday afternoon against the defending Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks and that contest will certainly be a ” make or break game ” for the team.

Colin Kaepernick will certainly have to now prove his worth beyond his audacious contract , one which he now has to live up to in more ways than one.

With the Cleveland Browns (7-6) still in the thick of things within the AFC North and fighting for their very lives, looking to make the postseason for the first time in almost twelve years , it remains to be seen whether or not this team can make that premise a reality. Head coach Mike Pettine has decided to sit starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor the team’s draftee Johnny Manziel and so the era begins for a player, many believe lacks the maturity to play in the NFL. The Browns’ coaching staff may well live to regret this decision, should the team fall at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) when these two AFC North teams meet in a decisive and pivotal division game on Sunday afternoon. Manziel will get the chance to show what he is made of and perhaps persuade his doubters and actually prove to them , he is the future of this franchise.

The NBA season continues with a number of teams already in complete disarray. The Toronto Raptors (16-6) and Golden State Warriors (20-2) are the respective conference leaders within the league as we reach the first quarter of the NBA’s eighty-two game schedule. Undeniably , there is still a long way to go before the season reaches its climax , but already we are beginning to see the frustration among the fans as well as a number of players , because of the continued poor play of the teams. Needless to say , teams such as the New York Knicks (4-20) , Philadelphia 76ers (3-19), Detroit Pistons (3-19) , Charlotte Hornets (6-15) , Minnesota Timberwolves (5-16) and Los Angeles Lakers (6-16) are no longer having to prove why they are so inept . Just take my word for it they are and will remain so over the course of the season based on their current play. Neither of the teams mentioned, have shown any signs of real competitiveness and clearly that has been shown in the results seen this season.

For all of the praised heaped upon Phil Jackson as a head coach , it has to be said, the expectations and his being able to work a miracle by turning around the misfortunes of the New York Knicks have been way beyond his control. The team is in complete disarray , with no signs of life now being shown. The situation will not be helped with Carmelo Anthony being sidelined due to an injury and as the team’s best player and offensive threat , it becomes easy to understand how dire the situation has become for the franchise. Jackson was brought in to head up the Knicks’ operations and now as the Head of Basketball Operations as well as holding a position as a Senior Vice President, the former head coach is witnessing the fact , the job of an executive is not as easy as first thought. Add in the culture of the New York Knicks’ fans and fan-base who have been starved of success for years and weight of expectation from the perceived savior, may well be now in doubt.

The indignity now being suffered by the New York Knicks apart from their dire record and the fact they are on a ten-game losing streak adds to the ineptitude witnessed from this team. Their last victory came in defeating the lowly and even less effective Philadelphia 76ers in a 91-83 win , which took place on the 22nd November , 2014. Hard to say where there are meant to be any positives to be found concerning the Knicks without delving further into the fact, they have a rookie coach , Derek Fisher and a coaching staff who are clearly out of their depth . The team’s next game will be on the road when they face the Boston Celtics (7-13) at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston , Massachusetts on Friday evening .

To now understand how dire things have become for the New York Knicks , consider the fact at the start of the season the franchise did their utmost in getting Carmelo Anthony to re-sign with the team with the player signing a five-year $124 million deal , tying him to the Knicks for the next years. Now comes word, the front office is said to be contemplating trading the NBA All Star and former scoring champion , but the premise would be based on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause. Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 and his $ 22.5 million salary is not necessarily cap-friendly to a team wishing to acquire the player much less obligate themselves to the remaining four years on his current deal. Undoubtedly, Anthony would be a desired player by a franchise looking for offensive firepower , but it is my belief the forward’s desire would have wish to be traded to a credible contender. The New York Knicks for their part are obviously seeking pieces which would complement their roster while looking to the future , whatever that may well be. Though this current situation is by no means the fault of Phil Jackson, it is my belief his arrogance and sheer complacency in not seeking improve the roster during the off-season, has led to this current debacle. For years this franchise has stumbled with their repeated pratfalls and lack of sheer insight as to what what was needed to improve their plight , without delving into the fact team owner James Dolan remained negligent in his responsibilities as the senior executive within the Knicks’ hierarchy. Come full circle and the New York Knicks are now heading aimlessly nowhere and an organization without a clue as what to do next .

It becomes asinine when fans try compare the careers of players from one generation to the next , before one of the athletes in question has actually retired .Yet like the ever anal retentive idots within the sports’ world, there will always be the fan or pundit seeking make an argument as to the merits in such a case . With Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant recently passing the plateau of 30,000 career points , the lead among active players and placing him among the top-ten all-time scorers in NBA history. Now as Bryant inches closer to the career points’ total of the player the greatest in the game’s history , the comparisons are now being made between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan . The former Chicago Bulls’ great, his career being well-chronicled , as been littered with accolades at every level of the game and it should be noted Jordan won an NCAA title at the collegiate level , whereas, Bryant made the jump straight from high school directly to the professional ranks of the NBA, forgoing a college career. Both players have won multiple NBA titles , Jordan’s six to Bryant’s five. Each has been a recipient of the Finals’ MVP Award and League MVP Award. Yet, the comparison should end there , because Bryant has become an anathema and petulant child, now resorting to chastising his teammates and the Lakers’ organization , publicly . Something, Jordan chose not to do publicly , and it was only with the advent of the breakup of the championship winning team in the Bulls’ last triumph under the auspices of general manger Jerry Krause , where the player was critical of the Bulls’ organization. specifically of Krause and his wish to breakup the winning team from that season. The similarities can end there , in-as far as the players may well have been critical of their respective hierarchies .

Kobe Bryant now finds himself in something of a dilemma as he plays on an uncompetitive team short on talent and coaching prowess being brought to the table by Byron Scott and his coaching staff. One could go as far as to suggest, Scott might be doing an even worst job than his two previous predecessors, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown , two former Lakers’ coaches who simply struggled to lead the franchise to any type of meaningful success during their respective tenures. Steve Nash remains unavailable to the team and Jeremy Lin , has proven to be about as useful as a dish-cloth being used to mop up an oil spill in the middle of an ocean. Beyond Lin, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill , there is very little to suggest the Lakers can survive the long haul of an eighty-two game schedule , let alone remain being competitive.

With a 6-16 record the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 13 1/2 games behind the division leading Golden State Warriors . To put it mildly , the Lakers are no longer the best NBA franchise in the state of California , a mantel they have held for a number of years , in particular in recently history , up until the 2012-13 season .

The Los Angeles Lakers are equally abysmal at home as they are on the road , further enforcing the fact they cannot win anywhere , let alone provide an opponent with some meaningful competition . Coming off a 98-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings their next opponent will be defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs in a game to be played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The resilience shown by Los Angeles could go a long way in defining the remainder of their season and whether not drastic changes are likely to be made at the trade deadline by GM Mitch Kupchak .

You have to admire rapper, entrepreneur , budding media mogul and now owner of an upstart sports’ management empire , seeking to challenge the likes of CAA , Top Rank , IMG , Golden Boy Promotions Inc as the next big thing in sports’ management and promotions. Jay-z , having accomplished a great deal as a musical artist , has now set his sights on becoming not only a boxing promoter , but also the manager of a stable of fighters. His fledgling agency RocNationSpotrts under the umbrella of parent company RocNation has entered the field of boxing promotions and management. Having been granted a license by the New York State Athletic Commission , his company will now seek to sign up and coming fighters to his stable of established sports’ personalities and athletes. Nevermind his coterie of renowned musical talent within the RocNation empire. Anything, which furthers the profile of boxing and can drag it out of the depths of mediocrity has to be seen as a welcomed thing , but given the lack and dirth of talent , I am not so sure, Jay-z will be as successful in this endeavor as he has been with his other commercial enterprises . Far be it for me to suggest , with the likes of Victor Cruz , Geno Smith , CC Sabathia , ,James Young said to be having indifferent seasons within their respective sports. It has to be said, an upswing of sorts , is needed for the agency. The biggest high-profiled athletes within the agency remain , Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant , Ndamukong Suh and Dez Bryant .

Boxing needs a dose of fresh air and creativity, because the likes of Don King and Bob Arum have been about as beneficial for the sport as the US Congress can be likened to have been of benefit to the country over the past six years. Inactivity, continued partisan bickering and infantile behavior, have become synonymous on Capitol Hill , just as much as it can now be witnessed within the sport of boxing. Needless to say, there are those who might think otherwise , perhaps due to their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of intelligence.

MLB’s Winter Meetings are not yet in full swing , but there has been abundance of trade activity since the postseason came to an end. A newly crowned World Series’ champion in the San Francisco Giants , and the witnessing of the largest individual contract being signed in professional sports’ team history, when Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed an outrageous $325 million deal , far dwarfing the next biggest contract in baseball. Needless to say, there are those , now questioning the wherewithal within an organization , which has been just as quick to jettison high-salaried players , as it has been to feign poverty , while team owner and billionaire art dealer Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the Marlins’ fans as well as the league hierarchy , whom it appears have willingly let Loria get away with his unscrupulous behavior. Yet, baseball remains a law unto itself , with their being very little financial prudency being shown by the teams let alone with some of the most senior leaders within the league’s management .

Can anyone actually justify the $25 million salary paid to outgoing commissioner, Bud Selig , this past season or the fact , his successor Rob Manfred is likely to be paid in excess of that sum in 2015 ? All of this, coming at a time when a number of teams can barely survive on their gate revenues and still turn a profit even with endorsement deals from major corporate sponsors and that is without taking into account the ever growing payrolls around the league .

The Miami Marlins were far from convincing last season within an NL East division, which was sub-par and mediocre . One only has to understand that fact , in seeing how easily the the division’s winner , the Washington Nationals were brushed aside with the utmost ease during the postseason. Miami for its part, will continue to make good on its promise, to bolster their roster for the upcoming season with a number of deals, as they seek to make themselves competitive , in face of the alleged stiff competition within their division , the NL and the league. This might be just as good as it gets for the franchise, before they are back to ways of old , and the jettisoning of high salaried players.

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Picture gallery.

During 2014, which major sporting event has provided you with the greatest pleasure and which to your mind has been the most disappointing ? Chime in with a comments as you see fit on this and anything else you believe of merit concerning the subject matter.

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) St. Louis Rams’ Kenny Britt (81) sits on the field following an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam ..

(2) St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) reacts after the Rams turned the football over on late downs late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam …

(3)St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher left, talk with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians following an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles from Oakland Raiders linebacker Miles Burris (56) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. San Francisco would go on to lose the game 24-13 . to the Raiders. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ..

(5) Johnny Manziel will be making his first professional start in a regular season game when the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an all AFC North clash on Sunday afternoon , the 14th December during week fifteen of the NFL regular season schedule. AP Photo/ Reece Carr …

(6) New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony reacts after a foul in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 4, 2011. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 119-115 . There now seems to be mounting speculation the Knicks might be willing trade the player with their season now spiraling out of control , but it would take Anthony to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate such a deal, likely to involve multiple teams and several players. UPI/John Angelillo

(7) Michael Jordan, left and Kobe Bryant whose careers are not intertwined by a great many meetings on the court , but clearly Bryant’s game was modeled on Jordan’s iconic stature . UPI / Roger Powell ……

(8) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins having signed the most lucrative deal in baseball history hopes lead the franchise to greater glory this upcoming season . The organization has also signed their NL Rookie of the Year , pitcher , Jose Fernandez (16) to a long-term deal , using both players as marketing chips to lure fans back to Marlins Ballpark , in Miami , Florida . A venue, which in recent seasons has been sparsely attended . Miami Herald / Octavo Figueroa …

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You can’t squeeze those to make lemonade, but you can get a whole lot of milk and a great deal of pleasure from giving her an assist .

Being All They Can Be ……………….

Being All They Can Be

by tophatal

Well the first of the NFL teams have now began their preseason workouts with the preseason itself now less than a month away . The first of the franchises reporting just happens to be Arizona Cardinals reporting , with the team looking to redeem themselves after a lackluster season in 2011 . Having recorded an 8-8 mark last season in failing to qualify for the postseason . Head coach, Ken Whisenhunt will be under a great deal of pressure get this team heading in the right direction after a disappointing 2011 foray .

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Team owner , William “Bill” Bidwill and general manager Rod Graves have slowly sought to resurrect the fortunes of the Arizona Cardinals , after years sheer of mediocrity . The franchise in subsequent years upon the retirement of Kurt Warner , has struggled to find a suitable successor to the former league and Superbowl MVP . This season , Whisenhunt and his coaching staff will entrust the signal calling duties to Kevin Kolb . The former Philadelphia Eagles’ starter having signed a lucrative contract with the Cardinals , has yet to live up to or fulfill the obligations of that deal . Albeit, that Kolb’s backup John Skelton has a proven , and better track record as a Arizona Cardinals’ starter than the incumbent . This season , if Kevin Kolb is not able to perform up to par , then it is my belief that John Skelton will be installed as the permanent starter for this team .

Rod Graves , Ken Whisenhunt and team’s coaching staff were very judicious in 2012 NFL Draft and the choices that have been made over the years have proven to be fortuitous . The drafting of Michael Floyd , Jamell Fleming , Bobby Massie , Senio Kelemete` , Justin Bethel , Ryan Lindley and Nate Potter , are the pieces that the front office feels are complementary to meet the team’s needs , beyond that of their off-season acquisitions made via free agency . The Arizona Cardinals remains an efficient offense , with a potent receiving corps led by Larry Fitzgerald , Early Doucet , Andre Roberts and Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells makes for an explosive group of receivers . At the same time the team’s rushing offense should not be overlooked , with Wells leading the way for the team. However , as a resident within the NFC West , it should prove to be interesting to see whether or not the Cardinals can contend with a resurgent San Francisco 49 ers’ organization , a team intent on redeeming themselves after last season’s foray in the playoffs .

If anything , for Arizona Cardinals to be a success this season not only within the NFC West but the conference as a whole , then their play has to be at a heightened level and a great deal more competitive as well. Other combatants within the division are Seattle Seahawks , St Louis Rams and the Niners .

The struggles however , remain for the Cardinals , in terms of the team’s defense and the very fact that they remain one of the poorer defenses in the NFC as well as the NFL as a whole . Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Ray Horton has a great to do , in order to make this tier of players amongst , one of the better defensive units within the NFL . This much however , we do know , a great deal of the Arizona Cardinals’ success will be predicated upon the play of Kevin Kolb . As great as the claims were being made , that the player was one of the most sought after free agent quarterbacks in 2011 , I do believe that those claims were vastly overstated ! Kolb has struggled to gain the confidence of this Cardinals’ teammates and that has been pretty much indicative over the course of his NFL career . Offensive coordinator , Mike Miller and quarterbacks’ coach John McNulty will have to do their utmost in getting the very best out of Kevin Kolb as a quarterback . Based on the QB ratings (81.1) alone , Kolb would rank as the seventeenth best player at the position in the NFL over the course of last season , albeit that he only appeared in eight games for the beleaguered Arizona Cardinals . Throw out the QB ratings and simply concentrate on perhaps the one stat that is the most pertinent , and we can truly see Kolb’s worth as a quarterback in the NFL and more astutely within the NFC West in 2011 .

Defending NFC West champions , the San Francisco 49ers after the 13-3 season , which in essence , made believer s out of many , who longed for a return to the glory days of Jerry Rice , Steve Young and Joe Montana . This young and vibrant version of the team in 2011 left their fans clamoring for more . Perhaps no one person on that team of last season was more representative of that , than a rejuvenated Alex Smith . The Niners’ quarterback had the best season of his professional career , as he led this team with a great deal of authority . Now granted , during the off-season GM Trent Baalke , at the insistence of team CEO Jed York made overtures to Peyton Manning in seeking the four-time league MVP’s interest in signing with the organization . Manning , however , would parlay his worth by signing a lucrative multi-year deal with the Denver Broncos .

Alex Smith may well choose to use that slight in showing Jim Harbaugh that the front office’s overlooking his contributions will not go unnoticed . The player has seen “ his stock “ rise within the NFL , albeit the financial rewards are not on par with the “elite “ at the position or at the upper echelons of the NFL in terms of a salary . Smith however , for the moment is being handsomely rewarded by the San Francisco 49ers but undoubtedly he will seek to prove to Jim Harbaugh , Trent Baalke and Jed York , that he is an invaluable asset . As a free agent 2015 , the seven-year veteran and number one overall pick from 2005 knows that the expectations for this young team at its core , the window of opportunity is now here . They can either choose to break through or simply sit back , remain complacent or as they have been doing for the past few years , just being inept , until they laid sway to their opponents in 2011 .

At $7.5 million a year , I truly believe that Pete Carroll is being overpaid as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks . Team owner , Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen undoubtedly believes in hype over substance . Otherwise , why would he hire a coach who departed from USC (Trojans) under a cloud of suspicion and with his integrity not being fully in-tact ? Questions that remain answered , and ones which Pete Carroll , has chosen not to answer as it relates to the sullied football program of the USC Trojans . Not that Carroll’s successor Lane Kiffin has actually improved the situation with his own missteps , having succeeded Carroll .

If there is one thing abundantly clear and which was on display as it relates to this team , and it is that the Seahawks are vastly overrated , and that as an NFL coach , Pete Carroll still has a great deal to learn in spite of his success at the collegiate level . Not that his successes during his previous tenures within the NFL were a resounding success to begin with. If anything , abject mediocrity with Pete Carroll appears to “ be the norm” in terms of his coaching ability within the ranks of the NFL . Yeah baby , the NFL has long chosen to overpay for “mediocre coaching talent “ in the NFL , and it will continue to be that way for years to come .

Draft picks asides , upon perusing this Seahawks’ roster , there is little to suggest that the team will be a major factor within the NFC , much less within the division itself once their regular season schedule gets underway . The franchise ranked in the lower echelons in a number of meaningful statistics ( 23rd points scored per game , 28th in total offense , 22nd in passing yds[194.1 per game] and 21st in rushing [109.1 yds per game] that you simply know that this season Carroll and his coaching staff will need a major miracle , if they are to overcome many of their regular season opponents . And where the Seahawks are the most vulnerable , just happens to be defensively where in 2011 they allowed an ever of 332.2 yards per game in total defense , which ranked third highest within the NFC . . So much for the Seattle Seahawks and their ambitions for the upcoming season, if only there were as good as some actually believe them to be . But that is a story for another day ! .

The departure of Jeff Fisher though something of a tragedy , indicated to me more than anything else how much of an asshole , Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams just happens to be as an NFL franchisee ! Clueless , dumb and perhaps more than anything else , he thought to undermine his head coach , alienating him amongst the players but even more asinine was Adams’ choosing to side with a piece of fecal matter like Vince Young ! . The player , himself , not long with the Tennessee Titans will undoubtedly live out his professional career as a journeyman backup quarterback around the NFL . Think , Rodney Peete but with the IQ of a mentally challenged individual !

Jeff Fisher , having departed that hell hole known as the Tennessee Titans has landed on his feet but he now has a tough season ahead of him as he embarks on his first year with the St Louis Rams , as that franchise’s head coach , with a new coaching staff in tow . This franchise has been beset by problems with their being ever-growing uncertainty as whether or not Sam Bradford is indeed the quarterback to take the team to the next level . Fisher is an astute head coach who has the respect of his peers and the vast majority of players around the league . Herein , lies the caveat to this all , winning and respect go hand-in-hand but what gives the fans the greatest pleasure is to see their teams winning on a consistent basis while remaining a perennial contender . As of late that clearly has not been the case for the St Louis Rams , as team owner ….. Stanley Kroenke and the front office yearn for the days when the franchise was known as “ The Greatest Show on Turf “ were laying waste to the entire NFL .

The Rams’ team of 2001 went on to obliterate a number of NFL statistics that many thought could not be possibly surpassed . As we now know many of those records have subsequently fallen the NFL has now become more than a pass-happy form and brand of football being played to entertain the masses . Does anyone play defense anymore , within the NFL (No Fun League ) ?

From my own perspective, if Sam Bradford is not back to full strength , then his inability to lead this team will greatly impact the franchise . As Bradford goes , then so does this team , and it will be incumbent upon the young quarterback to prove to management and his teammates that he is back to his very best . In his rookie season (2010) , we saw the reasons why Bradford was made the number one overall pick from the NFL Draft of that year . The young quarterback showed a great deal of composure and leadership skills , not often seen in a rookie . That being said , 2011 and the history books were rewritten , as Cam Newton exploded unto the NFL arena . And I seriously doubt that we will see Newton’s exploits being matched during this season , by the likes of either Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III , Ryan Tannehill or by any of the other quarterbacks taken in this year’s NFL Draft who may become a starter in their rookie season ! .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a fan of the NFL , what if anything , are you most looking forward to witnessing this upcoming season ? And which rookie player do you believe will have the biggest impact in 2012 ? Of the points raised within this piece , simply leave a comment as to what you believe to be pertinent .

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(1) TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) of the Arizona Cardinals practices in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Tight end Todd Heap (86) of the Arizona Cardinals practices in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(3) TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals stands with Ryan Lindley (14) as they practice in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(4) TEMPE, AZ – JUNE 13: Quarterback John Skelton (19) of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass as he practices in the mini-camp at the team’s training center facility on June 13, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(5) Quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals talks with head coach Ken Whisenhunt after defeating the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime . Getty Images North America/ Christian Petersen ….

(6) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes in front of quarterback Colin Kaepernick , left, and Scott Tolzien , second from left, during NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, May 29, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ….

(7) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith prepares to pass as coach Jim Harbaugh watches during NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, May 23, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

(8) Former Tennessee Titans’ head coach , Jeff Fisher , and Vince Young are seen here at the funeral service of Steve McNair , the former Tennessee Titans’ quarterback , who Young called a “mentor ” and ” father-figure” . Unfortunately , none of the traits that McNair is said to have possessed rubbed off on his protege` Vince Young . The relationship between Young and the Titans’ head coach became fractured , leading to Fisher’s departure from the franchise after his authority was over-ridden by the imbecilic attitude of the team owner Kenneth “Bud” Adams , who sided with the player . Not long after , Young , himself would be waived by the Tennessee Titans . In 2011 the player was a backup to Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles . He was not re-signed by the team but was subsequently picked up as an understudy for Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Buffalo Bills . Associated Press / George Clark …..

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Who’s Your Daddy …. ?

Who’s Your Daddy ?

By tophatal

Week nine of the NFL season and all the furor concerning the sporting weekend seems to be the college game this weekend between LSU (Tigers ) and Alabama that has the two top collegiate teams in an SEC matchup . Coaches Les Miles and Nick Saban , two coaches who between them have three BCS national titles . That being said , there’s a great deal at stake for both teams with each looking to keep their unbeaten records in tact.

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Slide show for your perusal .

With this game being viewed as such a special event it’s hard to say how the fans should observe it , merely from the fact this won’t be for a national title . But herein lies the caveat , the loser may well have their hopes dash of quite possibly playing for the BCS championship . The pressures placed upon the college coach at the D1 level is unprecedented because apart from winning , a college football program and that deemed success, literally brings in tens of millions of dollars each year . And for the likes of Notre Dame , Ohio State , Texas Longhorns , Nebraska (Cornhuskers) , Penn State (Nittany Lions) , Michigan State (Spartans) , Oklahoma (Sooners) , Oklahoma State (Cowboys) , Michigan , Miami ( Hurricanes ), Florida State (Seminoles) , USC Trojans and Stanford .

Now with there being divisional realignment in the offing the college game now has more to do with money than ever before , rather than the competitiveness of games and the teams. Subverting this all has been the behind the scenes maneuvers specifically by ABC/ESPN and their commercial tie in with Texas in a joint venture to be known as the Longhorns Network . The purported revenues to be gained by the school will net the program an annual sum anywhere estimated in the region of $30- $55 million annually for the next two decades . Longhorns’ coach football Mack Brown and the school’s AD DeLoss Dodds are said to be the main architects behind the negotiation of this deal .

The Longhorns’ football program by itself nets the school in annual revenues, in excess of $120 million but the thought now the university will have its very own broadcast outlet televising all of the school’s athletics schedule has me wondering how they ( ESPN ) will be able to show any form of impartiality towards the school. Never mind that the fact that what the broadcast outlet purports to sports’ news journalism simply scours the bottom of the barrel in terms of integrity . The four letter network now appears to be giving MSNBC , CNN and Fox News a run for their money and that’s saying a damn lot at this juncture !

Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama should see a hybrid of activity this weekend with this game . Players such as Trent Richardson , John Baites , A J McCarron and their teammates will put their prowess on display in front of a national television audience. For their part the LSU Tigers’ players this match-up will determine whether or not the rankings (AP) are at present justified . Certainly , Tigers’ coach Les Miles know that players such as Jarrett Lee , Spencer Ware , Michael Ford , Rueben Randle , Brandon Taylor , Eric Reid and Ryan Baker will be looking to prove that not only are the equal of their SEC counterparts but if anything far superior than the perceived preconceptions might well be .

The talk has been , with the Alabama playing at home the team will have a distinct advantage . But it’d be remiss to think that Les Miles and his coaching staff will not have prepared his players for this intriguing match-up of two very offensive minded teams . This much I do know this should be a highly competitive game between what I believe are a duo that are fairly evenly matched . The hype has been over the proven offense of Nick Saban’s team and the play of Trent Richardson , a noted Heisman Trophy candidate for this season . And the candidates there are quite formidable when you simply view the list of the prospective hopefuls in question.

Whomever , amongst this cavalcade of players on display at Bryant Denny Stadium this Saturday has an exemplary performance will undoubtedly see their name being quietly discussed discussed amongst the candidates in question , if not see their names fly up the ladder of nominees . Never mind being viewed as a first round draft pick for the 2012 NFL Draft .

I have to admit that there have been a litany of damn awful games this season and this Sunday unfortunately the NFL will once again throw one or two of them by way of the television scheduling. In all honesty , does anyone really want to see two ( 1-6 ) teams face off against each other ? When the St Louis Rams take on the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale , Arizona . The fans will be asked to subject themselves to a game that in one form or another could take on a life of its own in terms the depths of mediocrity or highs of superlative performances . Given the fact that both of these two NFC teams rank in the conference and divisional standings I am not so sure that this game can actually live to any perceived expectation beyond being perhaps average at best !

Both the Arizona Cardinals and St Louis Rams are defensively challenged and rank near the bottom of the NFL in that specific category . Coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Steve Spagnuolo face a litany of problems concerning their respective teams . Injuries asides , it has more to do with getting their franchises to show some heart and play with a great deal more resolve . And that simply has not been evident with either team over the course of this season !

I am not so sure that the fans in attendance at Tempe Stadium can take pride in what they’re likely to witness but somehow there will be fervent support for the Arizona Cardinals by their fans . And no doubt the fans of the Rams are likely to make their presence felt . But herein lies the caveat for me this game with the two quarterbacks taking the stage could very well serve up a real clunker in terms of a performance . John Skelton and if healthy Sam Bradford are likely to suit up for the Cardinals and Rams , respectively. In the unlikely event that Bradford is likely to go then starter’s backup A J Feeley is like to take his place . For the St Louis Cardinals I found it somewhat unbelievable that the organization brought in Kevin Kolb and then signed him to what I truly believe to be a ridiculous contract (5 yrs $63 million [$21 million guaranteed]) ! GM Rod Graves may well have been under the mistaken belief that he was getting a bargain when obtained the player from the Philadelphia Eagles . But Kolb has shown little if anything this season that would have anyone believe that he is indeed to thought of as a very good starting quarterback .

In terms of this game being a contest between two equal teams of compared ability , it would appear that the Arizona Cardinals might have a slight edge over their divisional rivals . With the added fact that Whisenhunt’s team has Larry Fitzgerald lining up on offense would give any team a distinct advantage . But such has been the mediocrity of the play within the NFC West on both sides of the ball that I think that this game could be a harbinger of the real inherent problems that the fans have seen throughout much of the season , in terms of the poor play within the NFL, amongst many of the mediocre teams !

As an avid fan of the NFL , I prefer to see competitive games within the league as a whole ! Now there seems to be this misnomer that there is now parity within game , but I for simply do not view it that way ! In reality what we do have however are some very good teams , some ordinary teams and than those that could be best described , as simply stinking up the joint ! And nowhere is that more representative at present that within the NFC West . Albeit , that the San Francisco 49ers (6-1) are laying claim that they are in the midst of a resurgent revival under first year coach John Harbaugh . The other occupant within division beyond the Niners , Arizona Cardinals and St Louis Rams are the woefully inept —- Seattle Seahawks (2-5 ) . The front office of the organization for the present under GM John Schneider and billionaire owner Paul Allen are still of the belief that the five year $37.5 million contract offered to head coach Pete Carroll will ultimately lead to success . If the Seahawks’ season this year is representative of that under the coach and his staff is indeed a sign of things to come , then they’re grossly overpaying for the privilege in retaining the coach .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the scheduled college and NFL games taking place this weekend ? Are there any that you believe that truly stand out on either schedule ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Let’s get ready to rumble ! Alabama takes on LSU in Tuscaloosa , Alabama this weekend at Bryant Denny Stadium . AP Photo ….

(2) LSU fans arrive at the Tuscaloosa, Ala., train station on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, for Saturday’s NCAA college football game between No. 1 ranked LSU and No. 2 ranked Alabama. AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter ….

(3) FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2010, file photo, Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) rushes during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La. Second-ranked Alabama are slated to host No. 1 LSU on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File ….

(4) TUSCALOOSA, AL – OCTOBER 22: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after his defense stopped Tennessee Volunteers on fourth down at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …

(5) Justin Coleman (27) of the Tennessee Volunteers breaks up a pass intended for DeAndrew White (2) of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

(6) (6) FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2007 file photo , Alabama coach Nick Saban, front left, and LSU coach Les Miles, front right, shakes hands after LSU defeated Alabama 41-34 in an NCAA college football game in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Second-ranked Alabama are slated to host No. 1 LSU on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. AP Photo/Rob Carr, File …

(7) Kenny Hilliard (27) of the LSU Tigers scores a touchdown during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …

(8) BALTIMORE – OCTOBER 30: Beanie Wells (26) of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 30. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Cardinals 30-27 . Photo by Larry French/Getty Images …

(9) Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals fumbles the ball after being tackled by Haloti Ngata (92) of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 30. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Cardinals 30-27. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) …

(10) Steven Jackson (39) of the St. Louis Rams hurdles Tracy Porter (22) and Scott Shanle (58) both of the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Saints 31-21 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ….

(11) A.J. Feeley (4) of the St. Louis Rams fumbles the ball after being sacked by Malcolm Jenkins (27) of the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Saints 31-21. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …

(12) Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams directs his team during a timeout against the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Saints 31-21. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

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It’s All In The Numbers Stupid ……………..

It’s All In The Numbers Stupid ……..

Much is being made of the fact that Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is now what is reported to be the largest contract offered to a wide receiver in NFL history to a wide receiver . Cardinals’ GM Rod Graves at team owner Bill Bidwill’s behest gave this all his seal of approval in formally granting this deal. The player’s contract is said to be worth $120 million covering eight years , of which $50 million is guaranteed money.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now pardon me for saying this but at what point did Rod Graves and Bill Bidwill thought it appropriate to simply show their complete stupidity ? The NFL hierarchy , front office executives (general managers) and team owners have simply pled poverty as to their financial plight . Have NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the hierarchy been “juicing” ? This whole idiocy as to the lockout itself and the very fact that we simply have the owners themselves making the most asinine of decisions as it relates to financial matters ! At what point did it not occur to either Rod Graves and the Cardinals’ ownership that this wouldn’t have some serious ramification for the NFL ?

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In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2011, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) smiles in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif. The Cardinals and Fitzgerald have agreed to an eight-year deal that could pay the star receiver as much as $120 million, making it one of the richest deals in the NFL. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …..

There’s no denying that Fitzgerald isn’t one of the most productive and dynamic wide receivers in the NFL as can be proved by his career statistics . But herein lies the caveat , this now raises the bar as to the expectations of other high profiled offensive players looking for their payday. At the same this provides an incentive for agents such as Drew Rosenhaus and Mark Bartelstein to seek even bigger compensation for their clients .

In the midst of this all now stands the impasse between Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson and the Titans’ front office of which the team’s general manager Mike Reinfeldt has to deal with a dissatisfied running back who feels that he’s not being properly rewarded with regard to his perceived worth. And amongst the running backs in the league Johnson has been one of the most prolific in the past five years . Now with Titans’ owner Bud Adams mocking the player , calling him petulant , one wonders when and how that ongoing saga will now end ?

I’ve always maintained that this most recent stoppage in the NFL had more to do with greed than it had to do with being about a labor dispute ! The NFLPA led by DeMaurice Smith essentially ran over the league hierarchy and all that was left was the road-kill ! To suggest that the owners and the league hierarchy are entirely happy with the outcome of the NFL lockout and its aftermath would be suggest that the French were entirely happy with being invaded by Germany during WWII . In the wake of this all the team owners have are trying to paint a rosy picture as to the present setting but in reality the picture that has been painted on the canvas isn’t quite as impressive as Roger Goodell would have us believe.

If the Arizona Cardinals are to have a successful season then much of that will be predicated upon the play of their new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb acquired in an off-season trade from the Philadelphia Eagles . Now for those who might view Kolb as the answer to the Cardinals’ needs , given the inconsistency of the play last season from the team’s quarterbacks , I would say that while this move could viewed as an upgrade, it isn’t as great as one might perceive it to be on the surface. Kevin Kolb at best, is a moderately talented quarterback who doesn’t even place amongst the top 12 players at the position within the NFL . But such are the vagaries of the game that we have analysts simply lauding mediocrity for the sake of creating a sound byte that resonates with the fans . And nowhere is this more indicative than the rather asinine commentary that’s provided by the wide eyed analysts of ESPN .

Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff will be asked to get this team back on track and fighting for at least fighting for the division (NFC West) or at least a wildcard berth within the NFC . Whisenhunt saw fit to players that he feels will be complimentary to this roster . The veterans on this Arizona Cardinals’ team will be asked to lead this young roster as they embark on the season and it remains to be seen as to the challenge that will be mounted amongst their in-house rivals within NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers , St Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks while not being viewed amongst the elite within the conference it has to be said
these teams have their inconsistencies that we have all witnessed throughout the course of last season .

Defensively the Arizona Cardinals are a team that has its deficiencies within its secondary which essentially has become their Achilles Heel . Now while the bone of contention appears to be over the contract signed by Larry Fitzgerald , would we be actually discussing this all were it not a player , playing on a team that has struggled to make their presence felt , albeit that they made an appearance in the Superbowl that ended with a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers . That defeat and the subsequent retirement of Kurt Warner simply led to the Arizona Cardinals’ fall from grace that seemed all the more emblematic of an organization that no longer had a sense of purpose or direction.

I do believe with the additions of Patrick Peterson , Ryan Williams , Robert Housler , Sam Acho , Anthony Sherman , Quan Sturdivant , David Carter and Demarco Sampson we would see some great contributions from these rookies drafted by the organization. Granted, it will be up to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald , Kolb , and the seasoned veterans on this roster to lead by example if this team is to have any semblance of success over the course of this season. Hamza Abduallah , Clark Haggans , Darnell Dockett , Vonnie Holliday , Mike Leach , Todd Heap , Paris Lenon and Joey Porter will have to step up to the plate and contribute greatly . The prevailing thought however, will be that Kevin Kolb has to prove that Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt’s faith in his abilities are justified . From my own perspective I believe that the jury will be out until that first snap of the season is taken and then we will be able to see what the player is truly made of .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

From your own perspective do you believe the contract offered to Larry Fitzgerald was warranted ? Or do you feel that this further typifies the stupidity of the owners and general managers of the NFL , especially given the league hierarchy’s claims of the imbalance of the revenues shared between the league and union ? Simply chime in with a comment on the subject matter and any other points you feel pertinent to this article .

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) In this photo taken Aug. 11, 2011, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) smiles in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif. The Cardinals and Fitzgerald have agreed to an eight-year deal that could pay the star receiver as much as $120 million, making it one of the richest deals in the NFL. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(2) GREEN BAY, WI – AUGUST 19: Ken Wisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals looks on against the Green Bay Packers in a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …

(3) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) tries to avoid the rush of Green Bay Packers’ Howard Green (95) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …….

(4) Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals looks to hand off against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on August 11, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty ……..

(5) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) can’t come up with a pass while being defended by Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash …..

(6) Bill Bidwill (left) , Cardinals’ team owner is seen alongside Ken Whisenhunt (center) and Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Rod Graves . Getty Images / Nick Doan …….

(7) Chris Johnson (28) of the Tennessee Titans speaks to members of the media after being named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year at a press conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 3, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Getty Images North America/ Doug Benc ……

(8) Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak , left, and general manager Mike Reinfeldt, right, answer questions during a news conference on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. The NFL football team’s training camp begins Saturday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …….

(9) Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams who’s said to be aggrieved by the actions of the team’s running back Chris Johnson and his demands for a new contract. Adams has told GM Mike Reinfeldt to hold firm and not acquiesce to the player’s demands . However , further heating up the impasse has been the owner’s intent to resort to name calling and belittling the player . Hardly conducive to creating an environment under which an agreement can be worked out between the two parties . Courtesy of Forbes.com / Matt Holt ……..
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It’s Never Too Late ……………

It’s Never Too Late ……..

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

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Slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arizona Cardinals news

What In The Wild World of Sports ?

What In The Wild World of Sports ?

It’s been such a misnomer to see the start of the college football season and the thinking in the first few games we’ll see the major programs that are part of the BCS simply come out and dominate. Considering that before they undertake their divisional schedules they’re essentially playing a number of powder puff teams merely to get of the curve in the rankings. Personally I find the whole college makeup a complete farce to begin with ! Essentially it comes down to the fact that the major BCS conferences and the criteria set by those who set the rules have made it nigh on impossible for none BCS schools to be considered for a shot of playing for the national championship.

And considering the asinine notion that this ultimately is the best step forward in determining a national champion is such a farce ! The only way to have a national champion, is to make the whole championship makeup all inclusive to BCS programs as well as none inclusive programs and the divisions thereof.

OK so the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres are having a meltdown that could end up being so cataclysmic that it could prove to be scary for their fans and for those who are now witnessing the fallout from this all. Both teams had sizable leads within their respective divisions. And it says a great deal that both Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants are now making the divisional races within NL East and NL West so exciting. Who’d have thought that we would be now seeing the two teams who have in essence have been two of the biggest surprises of the baseball season ? Should both the Braves and Padres fall out of contention for a postseason berth then we can say that much of his came about from their own inconsistencies down the stretch runs of their respective seasons.

And for Bobby Cox of the Braves and Bud Black of the Padres they can rest assured that with this season having been filled with surprises.It has to be said that for the raves and Padres should their season fall apart the window of opportunity will most certainly haven’t left either organization. Both teams seem to be building for the future and that has to be a refreshing theme for both ballclubs.

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Slide-show gallery for your perusal .


Before the NFL season has even began it’d appear that the silly season has started. Matt Leinart has been cut by the Arizona Cardinals. And for the former first round draft pick his fall from grace has been truly amazing. But then again for a player who’d set out to show his worth he’s been a failure in the NFL. Now Leinart having been cut he has signed a one year contract with the Houston Texans where he’ll be a backup to the incumbent number one quarterback Matt Schaub . And for Leinart this just might the last chance for the player to actually prove himself . And if you thought Leinart’s situation was bad well consider the situation concerning the Seattle Seahawks’ T J Houshmanzadeh ? The player having signed a five year $45 million contract contract with the team in 2008 Houshmanzadeh now finds himself without a team having been cut by Seattle’s coach Pete Carroll .

The Seahawks are now looking for a new direction as Carroll seeks to give this team an identity.And for a team that has seen its window of opportunity slowly close over the past few years from inconsistent play and the lack of a real coaching pedigree since the departure of Mike Holmgren from the organization. The departure of Houshmanzadeh from this team may not be the only thing that’s needed to resurrect its fortune as Carroll has certainly got to prove himself upon his return to the NFL where lack of success left him beaten and a lost soul within the NFL ranks. His sojourn within the collegiate ranks has proven to be cathartic and an unprecedented success with the USC Trojans . But now we’re finding out that the real truth as to what was taking place inside of the program and to an extent the part ultimately played in it all by Carroll. His departure from the program was akin to a thief fleeing in the night from the scene of his most recent crime. And for those Trojans’ fans still smarting out there and who’ve blinded by the successes , merely look at what has transpired under his regime and ask yourself has it all been worth it ? And one has to ask what was the part of the athletics department in all of this ? Surely a number of those there were aware as to what was going on ? Or are we to believe that this all was solely down to the behavior of the athletes involved in the subterfuge ? Somehow those within the athletics department and the faculty new about this but would rather turn a blind eye to it all essentially because of the money that there was to be made. And made money they did ……..millions if not tens of millions of dollars.

What to make of the constant whining within the NFL at present and the mere fact that both Commissioner Roger Goodell and his union representative counterpart DeMaurice Smith seem intent on wrecking any chance of coming to an agreement with regard to the ongoing collective bargaining agreement. Allegedly this has all become about who ought to have the biggest slice of the pie and how each side seems to be pleading poverty ? Nothing says bullshit than that of a bunch of multi-millionaire owners and players acting like a bunch of primadonas ! But to make things even appear all so much worse is the mere fact that neither side seems to be taking into account that goodwill that has now been lost with the fans. If both Goodell and Smith think that they can now win back the fans after all the idiocy that has been taking place between both parties. Then these two now make the partisanship between the Democrats and Republicans seem like the congregation of a church gathering where everyone seems to be enamored with everyone. In the case of both the NFL and NFLPA we’re seeing both parties act like the ongoing feuding between the Israelis and Palestinians. And as we now all know there’s been no love lost between the feuding groups over the decades. Similarly here, there has been little trust between the league (NFL) and the union(NFLPA). And while there has been no major labor unrest in over a decade this all could all very well change within the next few months should things not change and an impasse remain.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything has you wondering about the situation within the NFL as well as that of the two races mention within the NL East and NL West as they now proceed down to the closing stretch of the season ? Chime on in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s appreciated !

NB: Having been cut T J Houshmanzadeh signed a one year $850,000 contract to play in Baltimore this upcoming season with the Baltimore Ravens .

🙂

Alan aka tophatal ………………… 🙂

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UB 40 …… “Rat In My Kitchen “

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Kelly Brook

Lingerie model Kelly Brook

I Did It My Way ………………

I Did It My Way ……………

I’ve always felt a great admiration for an athlete who walks away from the game on their own terms , rather than in the end for them having to be shown the door unceremoniously . It happens far too often with regard to the latter. And I know there’ll be those out there who will say that it’s their right to go on as long it’s humanly possible. But consider this , in the real world there’s a mandatory retirement age. And granted, we see people in all walks of working late into their years in a variety of fields. We’re not going to see someone in their late forties still playing in the NFL . Well , not unless your name happens to be Brett Favre. I can only surmise, that he wants to play ‘til he’s as old as Methuselah ? And for those of you who aren’t religious or perhaps have never read the Bible. Methuselah happened to be the oldest recorded person from that venerable book.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announces his retirement from football with his family Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy  of  Associated  Press / Matt  York ........
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announces his retirement from football with his family Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Matt York ........

Well after 12 years in the NFL, Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback, Kurt Warner , has to decided to call it a day. He goes out on his own terms having had a story book career . A two time league MVP, Superbowl (SB XXXIV) winner and Supebowl winning MVP. Amongst other accolades , Warner has three of the top five performances ever as a quart back in the Superbowl. If that’s enough to book him a place in Canton , Ohio, then they might as well shut the frigging place down once and for all ! Never mind the regular season stats that’ve littered his career. Kurt Warner has been an exemplary player, teammate and an outstanding human being. And there are not too many sport’s individuals that one can say that about in this day and age. I don’t care in what sporting endeavor you might care to name. There has never been any controversy surrounding Warner on or off the field. And his peers past and present consider him to be amongst the very best not only as competitor , teammate or opponent. But also in terms of his character and his compassion for other less well of than him. That will be the measure of Warner’s legacy upon the NFL.

Now having said this, I must admit that his retirement hasn’t taken me by complete surprise. I understand why he now feels it’s time to bow out from a stage he graced so successfully. He’s a family man but also someone who has devoted a great time in the pursuance of helping others. And his beliefs , as he’s a devout Christian , wills Warner now to a higher calling . In this case it’s not solely about spreading the world of Christ but also to as I’d previously stated is to help those in need. It’s the same approach that was taken by former Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Tony Dungy. And it is now the same path that Warner will now follow . Both men , their accomplishments and their calling are commendable traits !

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner holds his daughter Sierra Warner, 4, as he stands with his family from left, Kade Warner, 11, Jada Warner, 8, Elijah Warner, 6, Sienna Warner, 4, wife Brenda Warner, Zack Warner, 20, and Jesse Warner, 18. after he announced his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo  appears  courtesy  of Associated  Press/ Matt York  .....
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner holds his daughter Sierra Warner, 4, as he stands with his family from left, Kade Warner, 11, Jada Warner, 8, Elijah Warner, 6, Sienna Warner, 4, wife Brenda Warner, Zack Warner, 20, and Jesse Warner, 18. after he announced his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Matt York .....

Now looking at the Cardinals going forward, I think that they have a solid foundation, from which to build upon. That being said , I’m not quite sure as of yet that Matt Leinart possesses the temperament to lead this team. It’s all well and good that he had things essentially handed to him on a silver platter with USC. But since his arrival in the NFL , he’s yet to show that he has the capacity for learning the game , much less show signs of maturity. How else can one explain the petulance shown by him when he was replaced as the starter on the Cardinals’ team by coach, Ken Whisenhunt ? If that doesn’t indicate that Leinart, when at USC was all about self entitlement, rather than doing what is best for the team. Then it’s easy to understand the reason why he’s struggled to make his presence felt in the NFL. With Warner , having been given the starter’s role on the team they haven’t looked back since.

It will definitely be strange, next season to see this Cardinals’ team take the field and no longer see Warner there , with his name emblazoned on the back of his jersey. But as I alluded to earlier , he walks away from this game under his own steam , in good health , knowing that he’s accomplished a great many feats that perhaps none of us could ever have dreamed him doing . Warner did things his way and for that I for am grateful to say that it has been indeed a privilege to see him play. Anything beyond that is now just an after thought.

I don’t think anyone could’ve said it better than ol’ “Blue Eyes”… Frank Sinatra. ‘I Did It My Way’

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The  delectable Vida  Guerra
The delectable Vida Guerra

tophatal ……:)

Rumor Has It That Kim Kardashian Gave Reggie Bush A Little Somethin’ Somethin’ For Sho’

Rumor Has It That Kim Kardashian Gave Reggie Bush A Little Somethin’ Somethin’ For Sho’

I’ve spent much of Saturday keeping and remaining in touch with several of my Haitian American friends who reside in the South Florida area. And given the devastation of the earthquake that has seemingly left this tiny country in mess and taken in excess of 100,000 lives. It makes the spectacle of watching the divisional games of the NFL playoffs. To shed more light on this all in an too negative an approach, as only Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson can. It suddenly reminds me that this country isn’t as socially advanced as it claims itself to be. They say one oughtn’t to generalize the character of a nation by merely looking at a certain group within its citizenry. But here I think it’s an unfortunate when one has to look at the likes of Limbaugh and Robertson to see how mired in racial bigotry the country still is ! And it is boldly represented by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson . I’d even venture to say that there are some US citizens that are angered more by the fact that the President of the country is an African American, rather than the fact that he’s an alleged socialist ? What is it about caring for one’s citizenry that is so frightening for the some of the populace at large ? Hell it’s not as if the private sector or even the government for that matter has done enough to even look after its own. And when I see its own , I’m talking about its returning heroes from both fronts of the so called war on terror. As the Jack Nicholson character Col Nathan R. Jessep stated in the movie ‘A Few Good Men’ …… ’you can’t handle the truth’.

Reggie Bush (#25) of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against Jason Wright (#31) of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ......
Reggie Bush (#25) of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against Jason Wright (#31) of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ......

Well enough with the overt idiotic stance of both Limbaugh and Robertson as I’m sure that there’s a fu_king place in hell awaiting for them both and deservedly so ! The NFL match up between the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints has lived to the predetermined hype and more so. The struggles of the Saints have been well documented ever since Hurricane Katrina and for the citizens , its fans of the team have simply been exemplary.

Drew Brees (#9) of the New Orleans Saints is congratulated by head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals after the Siants won 45-14 during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears  courtesy  of   Getty Images/ Chris  Graythern  ...........
Drew Brees (#9) of the New Orleans Saints is congratulated by head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals after the Siants won 45-14 during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ...........

The Saints has put on a fantastic play of attacking none stop football and the team led by Drew Brees and their Heisman trophy winning running back, Reggie Bush simply put on a display that had to be viewed as redemption and somewhat serendipity for the team.

Darren Sharper (#42) and Roman Harper (#41) of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after Sharper broke up a pass play against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Chris  Graythern ...........
Darren Sharper (#42) and Roman Harper (#41) of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after Sharper broke up a pass play against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ...........

Arizona for its part came into this game riding on the crest of wave having defeated the Green Bay Packers in one of the highest scoring game in NFL postseason history. Ninety six points were amassed and over nine hundred total yards of offense. Can you say whatever defense that took place during that game may well have been when the opposing players were exchanging pleasantries prior to its start ?

Reggie  Bush (25)  of  the  New Orleans  Saints  looks to  hit a  seam  for a  run  against the   Cardianal  but  is denied  by  Cardinals  defensive tackle    Reggie  Walker  (55)  in  his  attempt.   Bush  would  end  up   with  205  all purpose  yards   during  the  game  .      picture  appears  courtesy  of Getty Images/  Ronald  Martinez  .......................
Reggie Bush (25) of the New Orleans Saints looks to hit a seam for a run against the Cardianal but is denied by Cardinals defensive tackle Reggie Walker (55) in his attempt. Bush would end up with 205 all purpose yards during the game . picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez .......................

Courtesy of The Houma Courier

Local fans help cheer Saints to victory

New Orleans — Finding words to describe the New Orleans Saints’ 45-14 win in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game was easy for Zachary P. Landrus.

Finding his voice, however, proved to be a challenge for the Houma resident. He lost it cheering as the Saints dominated the Arizona Cardinals in Saturday’s playoff at the Louisiana Superdome.

“It was electric,” he said. “Everybody was best friends. We were slapping hands, jumping up and down and hugging. At times, there were drinks flying all over. It was awesome.”

Saturday’s 45-14 win sends the Saints to their second NFC championship game in four seasons, this time at home in the Dome. This coming Sunday, the Saints will face the winner of today’s Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys game for the right to go to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.

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Darren Sharper (#42) of the New Orleans Saints leaps a teammate as he returns a recovered fumble for positive yards in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/  Ronald Martinez ............
Darren Sharper (#42) of the New Orleans Saints leaps a teammate as he returns a recovered fumble for positive yards in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez ............

With Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals having suffered a shoulder injury early in the game and the mere fact that his offensive line were about as protective as a roll of tissue paper might be against the H1N1 virus. They were nowhere to be seen throughout much of the game. The same cannot be said of Warner’s opposing number, as Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense simply ran roughshod over the Cardinals’ defense. And unfortunately ,Warner’s backup, Matt Leinart had about as much an answer for the Cardinals’ woes as Sarah Palin had in her series of interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric in their well discussed series of interviews. I’m not trying to suggest that Leinart hasn’t been befitting of a good education in college. But when one of your electives on your way to your degree was Ballroom Dancing , then what might that suggest to you on appearance ? I’m sorry Matt but your IQ and that of your football IQ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. USC is meant to be a bastion of academic education and achievement ? Since when ? More like a place where its’ student athletes and coaches are simply allowed to run amok and make a mockery of collegiate athletics altogether , whereby they’re ably assisted by their Athletic Director Mike Garrett and its faculty to perpetrate a massive fraud. Never mind the fact that the NCAA for all of its supposed virtue, merely has turned a blind eye to it all. And when questioned as to why it has taken so long to address the long held suspicions as to the USC Trojans’ seemingly never-ending transgressions and violations. Well let’s just say that the NCAA’s continued silence would do a mute proud.

Kurt Warner (#13) and Ben Graham (#5) of the Arizona Cardinals walk off the field dejected after their 45-14 win against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  picture appears   courtesy of  Getty Images/  Ronald Martinez ..........
Kurt Warner (#13) and Ben Graham (#5) of the Arizona Cardinals walk off the field dejected after their 45-14 win against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez ..........

If it was high scoring you were after, then this was the game to see . And finally Reggie Bush started to live up to the hype that’d been created from his days in college at USC. Now as to whether or not Reggie’s fiance, Kim Kardashian , put a ‘little somethin’-somethin’ on Reggie for good luck. I’ll let you form your own opinion on it all. Surmise to say , the only time I’ve ever moved that quickly is prior to earning a promise of getting copious amounts of sex as a good deed and then getting even more sex after performing that good a deed. As to what the deed was that Reggie performed ? Someone could perhaps ‘tweet’ Kim or Reggie to find out ? All joking asides though, let’s just say that the Arizona were never really ‘in this game’ after having scored the first seven points of the game. Everything seemingly went downhill thereafter for this Ken Whisenhunt coached team. And for Whisenhunt’s opposing number, Sean Payton , this was a game to be relished for the entire organization , the fans and the city of New Orleans.

The score of 45-14 might not be reflective of a game that was very entertaining but in essence if you’re a fan of the NFL. Then this was a game to be enjoyed and relished in all of its facets ! For the Saints with an NFC championship berth having been garnered , all that awaits them is a Superbowl berth in a meeting and the defeat of either victor of the Dallas Cowboys and the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings. Is there anyone of the opinion who feels that a ‘Favre envisioned Superbowl’ would be the ‘worse case scenario’ possible ? Or is it just me ?

Today’s pair of games pits the San Diego Chargers against the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings versus the Dallas Cowboys. As a fan I can only hope that both games will be able to live up to the perceived hype. And as for the New Orleans Saints and their prospective fortunes. Well let’s just say that should they end up raising the Lombardi trophy then I for one won’t at all feel aggrieved should they raise it as Superbowl champions. They’d be deserving of that fate and so too are their more than patient fans.

On an added bye note who knew that the Indianapolis Colts could play defense the way that they did against the Baltimore Ravens ? Not only did they shut down Ray Rice but they made Joe Flacco seemingly appear like a novice in the game. Kudos to Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts on a great game ! That 20-3 result didn’t tell half the story, as far as the game went. If they play like that in the AFC championship game , then they’ll be on their way to ‘SB XLIV’ in Miami for sure !

Well if this was indeed what Reggie was getting a piece of , then I can well understand his reasons for wanting to get home early from the game. Does anyone ‘now have a craving to eat absolutely anything’ from Car’s Jr ? Or is it just me ?

Kim  Kardashian  and  her  Carl's Jr  salad
Kim Kardashian and her Carl's Jr salad

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Wreckx-N-Effect ‘Rumpshaker’ ol’ school style . Get down with it y’all !

Worlds Apart, Then There’s The AFC West And The NFC West ……..

I think that it ought to be abundantly clear and plain for all to see that the NFL’s two western divisions might just be the worst that there is, in all of football. If you can categorically state to me what other divisions in the NFL are worst than that of the AFC West and NFC West. Then I’d be quite happy to listen to the arguments that you’re prepared to put forth to justify your claim or claims, as the case maybe.

Arlington, Tx,. December  13th, 2009.Chargers' offensive lineman Larry English (#52) gives  chase to Cowboys'  quarterback, Tony Romo (#9) in a  game played at   Texas Stadium  in  Arlington  , Texas.  The  San  Diego  Chargers  would  go on to  defeat  the   Dallas Cowboys  20-17 .picture appears   courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald  Martinez .....
Arlington, Tx,. December 13th, 2009.Chargers' offensive lineman Larry English (#52) gives chase to Cowboys' quarterback, Tony Romo (#9) in a game played at Texas Stadium in Arlington , Texas. The San Diego Chargers would go on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 .picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez .....

While on the face of it, one can allude to the fact that within those divisions the standout teams are perhaps , the Arizona Cardinals (NFC West) and the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos (AFC West). One could perhaps attest to the fact also that the other teams that make up those respective divisions are essentially at best, no more than average , given the lack of quality and inconsistency of their play.

Broncos’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall seen here playing against the Indianapolis Colts , on his way to an NFL career record. The player would complete 21 receptions during the game , while attaining 200 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a losing effort against the Colts. The single game reception record had been previously held by Terrell Owens, as a San Francisco 49er. Indianapolis remained unbeaten with their 28-16 defeat of the Denver Broncos. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Andy Lyons ……

The same ‘old mantra’ is still being used that there’s ‘parity within the NFL’ and that on any given day, an extremely good team can be beaten by a bad team. That may well be the case, but based on the evidence of this season . It has been something of a rarity , albeit that we’ve also seen the likes of Pittsburgh Steelers get upended by the woefully inept Cleveland Browns. That being said , I’m of the opinion that much of the malaise we’re now seeing within the AFC West and NFC West, comes from the utterly poor coaching from within those divisions. The long suffering Oakland Raiders and their fans have had to put up with the continued ridicule of the franchise. Never mind that this time around one can’t really solely apportion blame upon their owner, Al Davis. This time around the brunt of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Raiders’ coach Tom Cable and that of his entire coaching staff. One could also argue that the team’s quarterback, JaMarcus Russell has led to a great many of the team’s woes from the outset. Whoever , was behind the scouting of Russell and the final decision to draft the player, clearly needs to have their head examined. And it appears that might come back down to Al Davis, again intervening and make a decision that has set the franchise back at least two three years. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Well , here the Raiders have gained one monumental headache in Russell, whose football IQ might just be slightly lower than that of Paris Hilton’s actual intelligence quotient.

The troubling thing for the Oakland Raiders now , is that with an injury to the newly installed starter at quarterback,Bruce Gradkowski. The team and Cable will now have to reinstall Russell back into the starter’s role. Gradkowski , has done everything asked of him in leading this team with due diligence and not making the mistakes that came with Russell’s nondescript and haphazard game. Cable for his part, seems to be at a loss for words in describing the franchise’s malaise. But therein, he was thrust into the position that he was ill equipped to handle from the very beginning.

The Kansas City Chiefs under coach, Todd Haley continues to struggle and much that comes down to sheer youth and inexperience on this team. And with former Patriots’ GM, Scott Pioli, now overseeing the personnel and development of recruitment for the franchise. It’d be safe to say that their future appears to be in safe hands. But for now, it is the immediacy of winning, learning how to acquire those traits and put them into practice in a competitive form. And for a team that is now 3-10 within the AFC West. Every win that they attain, is something to pin their hopes on and to the very fact that they’re learning something along the way.

San Francisco, December 14th, 2009. Running back Frank Gore (#21) of the San Francisco 49ers rushes with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.   picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/  Ezra  Shaw  ................
San Francisco, December 14th, 2009. Running back Frank Gore (#21) of the San Francisco 49ers rushes with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ................

In the NFC West where the Arizona Cardinals seemingly now have the division to themselves. The likes of the San Francisco 49ers , Seattle Seahawks and St Louis Rams, while eager to put up something of a challenge. They have either been all too inconsistent in their overall play or just exceptionally mediocre to begin with.

Last year’s NFC representative in the Superbowl , has played with a great sense of urgency. But more often than not, there have been slip ups made by Ken Whisenhunt’s Arizona Cardinals’ team. Monday night’s 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, leads us to believe that the margin between the top team within the division and that of its other domiciled teams might not be as large, as first thought. Somehow, the Cardinals were inexplicably outplayed by a resurgent and resilient team, coached by Mike Singletary. You’d have been hard pressed to guess which was the team had an 8-5 record and a 6-7 record. Such may have been the disparity in terms of their overall play on the night.

Houston , December 13th, 2009.  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (#8) of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by linebacker Brian Cushing (#56) of the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 34-7.   picture appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Bob Levey .......
Houston , December 13th, 2009. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (#8) of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by linebacker Brian Cushing (#56) of the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 34-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Bob Levey .......

Make of it what you will but I’m of the opinion that Mike Holmgren should not have been allowed to name his successor in waiting while he was the coach of the Seattle Seahawks. As great as a coach, as he has been over the years. Over the latter part his career with the Seahawks , the game essentially had begun to pass him by and personnel choices with regard to the Seahawks’ roster hadn’t paid any real dividends. Upon his retirement from the team, the reins were handed over to Jim Mora Jr.. To my mind they might as well have handed the reins over to Attila The Hun , for all of the good that it has done. Jim Mora Jr, is no more an NFL coach than Britney Spears can be considered to be a great singer. But yet somehow Mora has been entrusted with coaching this team ? Far be it for me to suggest but in Mora’s foray as an NFL coach , once he met with real adversity there in Atlanta with the Michael Vick saga. His apportioned blame elsewhere faster than a typhoon hits land. And when it was all said and done he still saw fit to denigrate the organization for the apparent way that he’d been treated. But then again, this was the same individual who when asked by Falcons’ owner , Arthur Blank, whether or not he’d been looking elsewhere for another coaching vacancy, he had the temerity to lie to the owner’s face.

Seattle Seahawks' coach, Jim Mora reacts to a play during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Houston. picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  David J. Phillip .........
Seattle Seahawks' coach, Jim Mora reacts to a play during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Houston. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David J. Phillip .........

Mora , now in position as the Seahawk’s coach. He has shown about as much perception and keenness for the position as a blind man being requested to play hop-scotch in a minefield. He has brought absolutely nothing at all to the table. And the Seahawks have fallen faster from grace than a meteor falling from the sky. No excuses ought to be made about the team being replete with injuries and the apparent loss of Pro Bowl quarterback , Matt Hasselbeck , due to prolonged injuries. Had Holmgren to begin with and then Mora seen fit to attain a backup for the aging quarterback. Then in some ways their problems would not be as acute as they now are.

Steven Jackson (#39) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room while running with the football against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins  ............
Steven Jackson (#39) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room while running with the football against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins ............

From being anointed ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’, to now being bogged down in quicksand and their own mediocrity. The St Louis Rams have become a team that is about as welcoming to watch as catching a strain of the H1N1 virus. Let’s just say that the scary thought is that, there’s still no cure for the virus or what ails the Rams as an organization. In spite of it all Rams’ coach, Steve Spagnuolo tries his level best to coach this team to some level of competency and competitiveness. He’d better of coaching ‘Pop Warner’ football at this juncture. This is a team that has no real guidance or any semblance of leadership on the field of play. And the talents of the team’s running back , Steven Jackson, are being sadly wasted on a franchise that has no apparent guts for a fight or the will to win.

Nashville, Tn,  December 13th, 2009.  Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams looks on against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7.   picture  appears courtesy of  Getty Images/  Joe Robbins   ............
Nashville, Tn, December 13th, 2009. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams looks on against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins ............

With each passing effort of an NFL game , one can slowly see how moribund that the Rams’ organization and the team has become. And there appears to be no end in sight as to the malaise that the team is now within. They, alongside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fighting for the record in futility for this NFL season. Both teams have a record of 1-12 as they both seek to at least attain one more win before the regular season reaches its climax. But that might allude to the fact that both teams don’t want to eschew the fact of missing out on taking the number one overall pick in next year’s NFL draft. The choices are a quarterback or a defensive player ? The Buccaneers have their needs, as do the St Louis Rams. But it’s safe to say that at this juncture none of us really knows what either of the two franchises will do in terms of a choice.

AFC West Divisional Standings

Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak
San Diego Chargers 10 3 0 .769 362 259 4-2-0 6-1-0 5-1-0 7-3-0 Won 8
Denver Broncos 8 5 0 .615 256 230 4-2-0 4-3-0 3-1-0 6-4-0 Lost 1
Oakland Raiders 4 9 0 .308 155 316 2-5-0 2-4-0 1-4-0 3-6-0 Lost 1
Kansas City Chiefs 3 10 0 .231 206 342 1-6-0 2-4-0 1-4-0 2-7-0 Lost 3

NFC West Divisional Standings

Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak
Arizona Cardinals 8 5 0 .615 306 258 3-3-0 5-2-0 3-2-0 6-3-0 Lost 1
San Francisco 49ers 6 7 0 .462 269 242 5-2-0 1-5-0 4-1-0 5-4-0 Won 1
Seattle Seahawks 5 8 0 .385 250 301 4-2-0 1-6-0 3-3-0 4-6-0 Lost 1
St. Louis Rams 1 12 0 .077 146 361 0-6-0 1-6-0 0-4-0 1-9-0 Lost 5

Unresolved Issues Do You Want Me Or Not ?……Is This What Anquan Boldin Ought To Be Asking ?

Unresolved Issues Do You Want Me Or Not ? Is This What Anquan Boldin Ought To Be Asking ?

As much as he may well have bitched and whined last year, as a member of the Arizona Cardinals and their improbable run to last season’s Superbowl. You can’t but help but now wonder, if the Cardinals’ organization is doing the right thing in the stance that they’re taking with regard to Anquan Boldin and his contract negotiations.

From left to right , Arizona Cardinals' owner, Bill Bidwill, the team's coach, Ken Whisenhunt and  the General Manager,  Rod Graves.    picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Paul Talbot ................
From left to right , Arizona Cardinals' owner, Bill Bidwill, the team's coach, Ken Whisenhunt and the General Manager, Rod Graves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Talbot ................

This situation has dragged on over from last year and while there were cries that the team should’ve traded the player. Calmer heads and common sense prevailed in the end. One would like to think that coach, Ken Whisenhunt and team GM, Rod Graves, may well have thought long and hard mulling the situation over. But in essence, this team without Boldin isn’t near as good, as it could be ! With he , Larry Fitzgerald , Early Doucet , Sean Morey and Steve Breaston. The Arizona Cardinals may well have the best receiving corps in the entire NFL. You’d be hard pressed to find a better duo in all of the NFL , than Bolden and Fitzgerald, at present. And if you can name a team with a better receiving corp , then I’ll stack what the Cardinals have at present against your choice !

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Cards’ Boldin worthy of a pay rise

By Michael Silver, Yahoo Sports

Glendale , Arizona,. – Five minutes into Sunday night’s showdown between NFC contenders on the road to repeating as division champions, the Arizona Cardinals were in trouble.

The formidable Minnesota Vikings had already forced a fumble and taken a seven-point lead on a Brett Favre(notes) touchdown pass, and the 64,121 fans at University of Phoenix Stadium braced themselves for a replay of the Vikes’ blowout victory here a year ago. Having missed the previous game while recovering from a concussion, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner(notes) seemed a vulnerable target for All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen(notes) and the rest of Minnesota’s physical defense.

And then, with an inimitable mixture of blunt force and sublime skill, Anquan Boldin(notes) put the Cards on his back and carried them to their most impressive victory since last January’s NFC championship game.

After that historic triumph, which put Arizona in its first Super Bowl, Boldin threw a bizarrely timed tantrum over his lack of involvement in the offense and left the stadium as if he were auditioning for a role in “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

On Sunday, following the Cardinals’ 30-17 thumping of the Vikings, a far happier Boldin stuck around to talk about the message he and his team had just sent to the rest of the league: While most people have been fixated on the undefeated New Orleans Saints and the Vikings, who’d lost just once before Sunday, as the teams to beat in the NFC, the defending conference champs remain a force to be reckoned with as the stretch run commences.

“I definitely wanted to set a tone,” Boldin said. “When one of us starts out big like that, it puts pressure on a defense and opens it up for everybody, and people feed off each other.”

In this case, “us” was a reference to Boldin and fellow Pro Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald(notes), the NFL’s most dangerous receiving tandem.

Fitzgerald, 26, is in the second year of a four-year, $40 million contract befitting of his status as perhaps the NFL’s best receiver.

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As we all know, the 2010-11 NFL season will be an uncapped one and teams will either have to lavish their unrestricted and impending free agents with large sums of money as an incentive to remain with their teams. Or they’ll just have to turn them loose on the ‘open market’. And as to whether or not teams are willing to pay what no doubt will be escalating prices for those players. Well, it remains to be seen. One thing for sure however, is that the deep pocketed franchises, such as the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins will do their damned to secure the services of such players. The impending ‘free market frenzy’ that’s liable to take place could well have some serious ramifications, as to the future of the NFL and a number of its franchises.

Anquan Boldin (left) seen here with  teammate, Larry  Fitzgerald at the  Arizona Cardinals'  practice facility in  Tempe, Arizona.  The  two players  are  part  of the  'dynamic duo'  that has  been  often  described as  the  best  receiving  tandem in  the entire  NFL.  It certainly makes  life a great deal  easier  for  Cardinals' quarterback  Kurt Warner having  to  throw  to  either  of the  two  players.      picture  appears  courtesy of ap/photo/  Rob  Pearcey   ...................
Anquan Boldin (left) seen here with teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, at the Arizona Cardinals' practice facility in Tempe, Arizona. The two players are part of the 'dynamic duo' that has been often described as the best receiving tandem in the entire NFL. It certainly makes life a great deal easier for Cardinals' quarterback , Kurt Warner, having to throw to either of the two players. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rob Pearcey ...................

In terms of ‘elite receivers’ in the NFL at present , Boldin would most certainly stand up there alongside his teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, as well as the Houston Texans’, Andre’ Johnson , Randy Moss of the New England Patriots,his teammate, Wes Welker , Terrell Owens and the Indianapolis Colts’, Reggie Wayne.Each of whom, I view as consistent performers within the NFL on a week in, week out basis. And their body of work would suggest over that over the last five years, to say the very least. Currently one could add several players to that list merely by looking at their statistics for this year alone but it wouldn’t in any way justify the premise behind my claim.

Clearly, if Rod Graves is prepared to ‘roll the dice’ and gamble on the fact, that he can still work something out with Anquan Boldin. Then he may well have something up his sleeve or he’s prepared to call the player’s bluff. He could well be setting himself and the Cardinals’ organization up for a great fall should they not be able to negotiate an agreeable contract amenable to both parties.

While a great many people viewed Boldin as something of a malcontent, given the fact that he wanted his contract to be reconstructed so that he could be paid in line with that of premiere players at the position around the league. He’d seen his teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, resigned to a hefty contract and the team’s quarterback, Kurt Warner receive a two year, $ 24 million deal. Meanwhile , he (Boldin) was being left out in the cold, while management took care of others who they felt it was of an urgency to get something done. If that wasn’t met to be a slight by owner, Bill Bidwill. Then clearly the impression they wanted to create wasn’t met with any great conciliatory response by Anquan Boldin. If it wasn’t a slap in the face, then it may well have felt like a kick to the groin ?

Though the two sides still appear to be at an impasse and it’d be fair to say ,that the Cardinals would not be a better team without Boldin on the field of play. To suggest otherwise , would be to show sheer stupidity by anyone thinking along those lines. Can you hear me Mike Ditka ? At least have the temerity to make a case when putting forth your argument. Instead of just giving ridiculous sound bytes, merely because you’ve got nothing better to say. It just never ceases to amaze me as to the absolute lengths taken by the ‘on air personalities’ on many of the sports magazines and news’ programs. For guys, who are said to have been immersed in the game. They’ll repeatedly come up with something more asinine in the form of a statement, from one moment to the next. All the while, you as a viewer or listener begin to ask yourself ….’did he really just say that’ ?

Arizona Cardinals' Anquan Boldin (81) dives for a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings' E.J. Henderson runs in late to defend in the second quarter during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz. picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/ Ross D. Franklin .....
Arizona Cardinals' Anquan Boldin (81) dives for a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings' E.J. Henderson runs in late to defend in the second quarter during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ross D. Franklin .....

As the Arizona Cardinals (8-4) embark on garnering a postseason berth in the NFL playoffs. They’re comfortably leading the NFC West division with some ease. In all likelihood the chances are the team will give a good account of themselves in the playoffs. With them having defeated the high flying Minnesota Vikings with a great deal of ease , end result, 30-17 ,that clearly reflects this. I for one hope, that the team can show the same sort of resolve and attitude shown as last year.
Who’d have guessed that the long suffering fans of the Arizona Cardinals would live to see them make the Superbowl (SBXXXXIII)? Albeit, that they lost in the end, putting up a gallant effort against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The team needs Anquan Boldin, just as much as he needs them. He may well be allowed to leave for pastures green but I sincerely doubt that he’ll be to find the type of environment where his teammates and fans made him feel, all the more welcomed ! Money they say … ‘speaks all languages’ but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the success or happiness you’re said to be looking for. All it really does, is to provide you with the mere luxuries of life. It may well be something that has crossed the player’s mind. But in the end this will all come down to the desire of the parties concerned. As to what that final outcome might be, one can only speculate at this juncture.

It Was One Hell of A Coming Home Party But He’ll Take The Win Anyway …………..

The once much despised, Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles came to town to face off against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, in Atlanta, in a pivotal NFC match-up. Week 13 in the NFL brought about several story lines that might have been well worth paying attention to. But nonetheless, for the fans of Michael Vick and to a lesser extent the fans of the Atlanta Falcons, this was a chance to see their former idol return to the city and organization that he once lauded over but then brought so much shame and disgust to.

Atlanta, Ga,. December 6th 2009. Michael Vick (#7) of the Philadelphia Eagles passes for a completion against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .....
Atlanta, Ga,. December 6th 2009. Michael Vick (#7) of the Philadelphia Eagles passes for a completion against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .....

And for Falcons’ owner, Arthur Blank, this must’ve been a return as such that he’d rather have not be a part of. He’d vested a great deal of time, money and effort in the player , he once believed in and trusted greatly to steer his franchise to success and prosperity. Instead , Vick , seemingly treated Blank and the entire Falcons’ organization with so much disdain with his dishonesty and irrational behavior. That one feels hard pressed to see how he can be forgiven for those misdeeds.

The game itself was fraught with danger, as neither side could really afford to lose. In doing so, it’d make the likelihood of either gaining a playoff berth that more difficult. The Eagles at (8-4) were looking to stay in close proximity of the Dallas Cowboys (8-3) atop of the NFC East. While the Atlanta Falcons (6-6) just didn’t want to lose ground in the NFC South and the wildcard berth proceedings . Either way the game had to played and someone had to turn out to be a winner and no doubt there had to be a loser. The script for this particular wouldn’t be cliche ridden with angst or anything else besides. It was meant to be just your typical ‘run of the mill display’ by two teams with playoff ambitions.

Quintin Mikell (#27) of the Philadelphia Eagles tackles Roddy White (#84)) of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......
Quintin Mikell (#27) of the Philadelphia Eagles tackles Roddy White (#84)) of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Kevin C. Cox .......

What the game between the Eagles and Falcons ended up being however , was a chance for Vick to showcase his skills and remind the Falcons and their fans what they were missing. Never mind the fact, that the Falcons now had their own hero , in sophomore quarterback,Matt Ryan, who unfortunately wasn’t suited up for the team on the day. Ryan was unable to play for the team, due to an injury. In his place was backup quarterback , Chris Redman. An able understudy but he’s no Matt Ryan , by any stretch of the imagination.

The game itself was won decisively by the Eagles , with a rather lopsided resulting victory 34-7. Now the Eagles essentially hold their destiny in their own hands. Whereas, for the Atlanta Falcons theirs is a situation that now becomes even more increasingly difficult for the likelihood of them making the playoffs altogether. For Michael Vick on the other hand, the homecoming while celebratory in nature. I’d dare say he’d take the victory and quickly depart out of town !

So are there still many people riding on the coattails of the Brett Favre bandwagon at this present moment in time ? I know that ESPN’s , Mark Schlereth tends to prematurely ejaculate the moment Brett Favre’s name is mentioned, no matter in what context. So much so, that it’s probably a running joke between he and his fellow ESPN colleague,Chris Mortensen.

Glendale , Az,. December 6th 2009. Head coach Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings reacts as he walks the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Christian  Petersen .....
Glendale , Az,. December 6th 2009. Head coach Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings reacts as he walks the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen .....

For coach, Brad Childressand the Minnesota Vikings, there’s a great deal riding on this season. Albeit , that Favre was signed by the organization to a two year, $25 million contract. To say that anything short of winning the Superbowl this would be a great understatement for the team and its most devoted fans. This is the year that they believe that the stars are aligned for them to win it all. And if they should fail to do so, then all fingers will be pointed directly towards Childress and indirectly at Favre, as well.

 Quarterback Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after a first quarter touchdown during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17.  picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/ Christian  Petersen ............
Quarterback Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after a first quarter touchdown during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ............

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Warner, Cardinals dominate Favre, Vikings 30-17

By Bob Baum , AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)—That “kid” Kurt Warner got the best of old-timer Brett Favre on Sunday night.

Warner, a mere 38 to Favre’s 40, threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and the Arizona Cardinals’ defense stifled Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in a stunningly one-sided 30-17 victory.

“They played like they were in the Super Bowl last year,” Favre said, “and we obviously have to play better if we want to be the team that’s in the Super Bowl this year.”

Favre set an NFL record for consecutive appearances, but game No. 283 in a row was no night to remember for him or the rest of the Vikings (10-2). Favre, with just three interceptions in the first 11 games, was picked off twice and sacked three times.

“I made some decisions that I haven’t made up to this point,” he said, “and I’m disappointed about it.”

Even more startling, Arizona (8-4) held Adrian Peterson to a season-low 19 yards in 13 carries and outrushed Minnesota 113-62.

“It was just physical up front and making the tackle,” Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett(notes) said. “It was great team tackling.”

The victory, coupled with San Francisco’s loss at Seattle, gives Arizona a three-game lead in the NFC West. The Cardinals can clinch the division title with a victory at San Francisco a week from Monday night.

Favre had two touchdown passes, but the second, a 31-yarder to Percy Harvin(notes), came with 1:20 to go and the game out of reach. Favre was 30 of 45 for 275 yards.

“I’m pretty sure everybody is going to talk about what Brett Favre did wrong,” Dockett said, “how Brett did this wrong and that wrong, but not talk about how our defense stood up today. We’re going to stay humble, though, because we are going to play that team again.”

Things got worse for the Vikings when linebacker E.J. Henderson(notes) broke his leg late in the game. Coach Brad Childress said the injury would require surgery.

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Brad Childress and his coaching staff felt that Brett Favre was the missing piece to the puzzle that would enable the team to get over that proverbial hump and contend with ‘the elite’, within the NFL. And though there were considered ‘the class’ of the NFC and world beaters. Having started off fast out of the gate ripping of ten straight wins. The Vikings of late have been looking anything but the world beaters that the pundits and their fans believe them to be. And for the likes of Schlereth , Mortensen and it appears ESPN’s reigning ‘buffoon in waiting’, Jon Gruden. The continued ‘lovefest’ for Favre, goes unabated. Even with Gruden , himself, using the adjectives that the the Vikings are ‘the best and most balanced team in the NFL’. Anything that Gruden gives credence to , ought to be tempered by his so called success with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A lone Superbowl win and thereafter , abject failure and draft picks for the Buccaneers’ organization that are as worthless as the share price of Citigroup. (At close of business Friday, their share price $4-01 per share)

Well, on Sunday, we got to see how Favre and the Vikings would do against Ken Whisenhunt‘s Arizona Cardinals. Last year’s NFC representative in the Superbowl , has once again got the NFC West, all to themselves. The division has a moribund group of teams, with the Cardinals appearing to be the lone exception to the rule. And this is a team that is deep in talent and when on top of their game , there as good as anyone offensively and that’s with due credit to the New New Orleans Saints.

While the raves by Messr’s Gruden , Mortensen and Schlereth as to how good this Vikings’ team is and how versatile and well balanced they are. Sunday’s evidence did nothing to support that at all. One wonders if Gruden and his colleagues are looking at the Vikings through rose colored glasses or quite possibly the love-fest for Favre border on homo-erotic tendencies ? Because I’ve yet to hear them post one critical comment concerning this team even when they’ve played poorly. It’s as if it were all an aberration as far as they’re concerned. Now I understand why it is that the outlet is hard pressed to find decent on air talent. They tend to value style and gimmicks over actual substance !

Sunday night the Vikings were found wanting and were exposed a flawed team on both sides of the ball. Instead of them being able to ride rough-shod over the Arizona Cardinals. Instead it was the other way around. And with seemingly another ageless wonder in Cardinals’ quarterback,Kurt Warner, proving to be more than Brett Favre’s equal. As a matter of fact, he made Favre look ever so pedantic and way beyond his forty years of age ! And the Vikings as a whole were completely out of touch as they were man-handled by the Arizona Cardinals.

Kurt Warner (#13)) of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to snap the ball during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of  Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ....
Kurt Warner (#13)) of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to snap the ball during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Christian Petersen ....

The resultant 30-17 shellacking that the Viking suffered in defeat, at the hands of the Cardinals. Well, it may well have some wondering if at all it was worth the ordeal of bring in Favre ,should they fail to make it to the Superbowl. One thing for sure, if they Minnesota Vikings fails to do so . Then there’s no telling what Favre’s demeanor will be at the end of the day.Him ,then contemplating retirement once again would be about as welcoming to the Vikings’ organization as Paris Hilton entering medical school to study to become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. Stranger things have been known to have happened. And given Favre’s track record over the last few years. I wouldn’t for one minute doubt that he’d contemplate retirement once again. Especially in light of blame that’d be apportioned his way, with the impending failure of the Minnesota Vikings.

Say what you want about Brett Favre but no one, absolutely no one panders to the cameras and seeks the public’s empathy the way that he does ! He craves it more than life itself !