NFL What ? NFL Who ? Is this League being ran by fools ?

NFL What ? NFL Who ? Is this League being ran by fools ?

The NFL regular season wound down with its usual aplomb , with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seemingly, not wanting to apologize for his poor lack of judgment or the fact his league is still in disarray both on and off the field of play. Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toes back into the water , there is news emanating where St Louis Rams principle owner , Stanley Kroenke is seeking an executive board on possibly relocating the franchise to the greater Los Angeles area. What is it with this continued fascination, in bringing an NFL franchise back to the city of Angels, where the municipality itself has its ongoing financial woes, with their being no signs the city council can deal with its deficit or any of the other matters affecting the City of Los Angeles ?

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Stanley Kroenke with the exception of Seattle Seahawks’ owner Paul Allen might be the wealthiest owner in the NFL and his fortune far exceeds that of Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder . The St Louis Rams for their part, had a poor season barely offering any resolve and a fourth place finish in the NFC West was a clear reflection of the team just happened to represent under Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff.

Stanley Kroenke’s fixation might well have more to do with the fact he believes the Rams can no longer be self-sustainable in a mid to small-market such as the greater St Louis , Missouri ,area, and were it not for his wealth and the fact his marriage to Ann Walton-Kroenke (Walton family , daughter of the late patriarch , Sam Walton founder of Walmart) and all of the visibility her name provides, is in a position to perhaps persuade the league hierarchy might well be time have a franchise back in Los Angeles. However, there has to be a caveat in the midst of this all, if Kroenke believes he can pull of such a coup, without the assistance of the assistance of the city or Los Angeles County or at the state level. It has been one of Roger Goodell’s main goals to have an NFL franchise back in the nation’s second largest ad-market , purely from the economical standpoint and the income derived from such a move.

At a time when revenues are on the rise within the league, much of it coming by the television deals, with expiring contracts being renegotiated as well as several cable broadcasters entering the fray , it seems only feasible that the commissioner wants to not only maximize his league’s exposure, but also profit financially from that exposure. Of even greater importance has to be the funding for a stadium to house the St Louis Rams on a permanent basis , as repeatedly different entrepreneurs and investors have tried to formulate a plan for a stadium to be built with a mix of private and public funding. To date, nothing concrete has materialized with these efforts and the list of names involved in these endeavors have read like a who’s who of commercial real estate or venture capital world within the state of California , with their being political backing, but no real evidence of success or actually getting anything off the ground. Like I have always maintained the state of California remains a law unto itself without outsized egos and even greater stupidity to be found at just about every level of government and within their business world , in spite of claims to the contrary. Has anyone heard from Ed Roski lately and his ambitious plans to bring professional football back to the greater Los Angeles area ? I thought not !

The rapid fall from grace for the Pittsburgh Steelers was in evidence as they fell to the Baltimore Ravens. Now one could be forgiven into thinking Ben Roethlisberger , James Harrison and Troy Polamalu had the leadership and experience necessary to lead the team and their making a deep run in the postseason was all to no avail as the Ravens swept aside their divisional rivals with clinical ease. John Harbaugh could be unto something with his claims , the team’s quarterback Joe Flacco is the best passer in the NFL during the postseason. Granted, Flacco during the 2012 postseason was simply sensational as he led the Baltimore Ravens to their second Superbowl victory in the franchise’s history and the player’s playoff record record would even bring a smile to the face of Tony Romo , who has repeatedly become the face of postseason futility among the league’s more prominent active quarterbacks with playoff experience.

Flacco will get the chance to try and prove the claims of Jim Harbaugh are justified, when the Baltimore Ravens meet the New England Patriots in the divisional round of this season’s postseason schedule. With an AFC championship berth at stake for the winner, this game could prove to be be one of the highlights of the round if not the entire postseason, itself. For the Patriots this will be the first time the team led by Tom Brady enters the fray, as he seeks to win his fourth Superbowl. Brady in conjunction with head coach Bill Belichick are currently the most successful coaching quarterback active tandem in NFL history. If this is meant to the season, which offers the franchise its best chance to add to its tally , of three postseason triumphs, then this game could prove to be defining point of the Patriots’ season.

While there are mounting questions concerning the direction of the Washington Redskins their future and the travails of quarterbacks’ Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III. It must be said , beyond the removal of Bruce Allenas the general manager and the disappointment of the Redskins’ season , you simply cannot deny the ” writing was on the wall” was on the wall for the franchise and the futility shown over the past two seasons. Hard to imagine how Cousins and Griffin having been in the same draft class as Andrew Luck Andrew Luck , have seen their stock fall so far , while Luck’s ascent to becoming an elite quarterback has seen a rapid rise in the fortunes of the Indianapolis Colts after the departure of Peyton Manning from the AFC South South based team.

Indianapolis in their divisional round game played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, India, last weekend, summarily left no one in any doubt about their pedigree, as they took apart the Cincinnati Bengals and cast doubts on the Bengals’ long-term future concerning the makeup of their roster. Marvin Lewis must be at a loss for words having seen his team perform so poorly . It was not as if this were the first playoff run for Lewis’ team, led by quarterback Andy Dalton who has made consecutive playoff runs for the franchise in his still young career.

Andrew Luck will now avail himself another chance to match wits with his predecessor , Peyton Manning, as the ‘Master’ and Pupil take to the field .

As great a regular season as the Arizona Cardinals were able to put together, during their wildcard game against the Carolina Panthers, Bruce Arians’ team became a ” Paper Tiger” ripped to shreds by a Panthers’ team looking to make up for lost time. I am not sure Cam Newton will have as much ease in dealing with the Seattle Seahawks in their upcoming game at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington , on Sunday afternoon . As defending Superbowl champions the Seahawks will be looking to make a statement and cast any doubts they are the best team in the NFC and the entire NFL.

We’re ” America’s Team ” , we’re America’s Team and we aim to prove it. If that proclamation were not so asinine, it would be believable when applied to the Dallas Cowboys . Jerry Jones believes he has finally crafted a team capable of winning a Superbowl. Having engineered a come from behind victory over a complacent Detroit Lions’ team , Tony Romo will take his supporting cast on the road to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin,. It’s now or never for the Cowboys, because if this team fails , there will roars of laughter belittling the team and the organization for their ongoing ineptitude over the past decade. The Cowboys have a chance, but if they allow the Packers to take an early lead, I certainly cannot see the visitors pulling off another postseason victory behind the skill-set of Romo , it’s just not within him pull off back-to-back victories for Dallas. I may well be wrong,but I doubt it !

It will be interesting to see how the events unfold this weekend within the NFL and which teams will rise to the occassion.

Not quite the ” Last Man Standing” , but College Football’s long-awaited Playoff Format ,at last, has its final pairing. Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks after their trouncing of Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles , will now have the privilege of taking on Ohio State (Buckyes) , coached by two-time national championship winning head coach Urban Meyer . in the national championship game and the inaugural contest of the newly instigated system. Love it or hate , it is now here to stay, even though it is likely to be tinkered at some point in the future, as the empaneled body seeks to make this format more equitable for all. Meanwhile, what would the postseason format be, without its customary slate of meaningless postseason Bowl Games ? Let’s just say, tweaked or not, there was still plenty of food left on table, including the scraps left for the dog. In other words, everyone got a meal and hearty one at that, by way of the financial benefits of these Bowl Contests.

This is likely to be more about which team desires the win the most and whether not Buckeyes’ third-string quarterback Cardale Jones is ready once again step up to the plate after a solid game in defeating the number one ranked Alabama (Crimson Tide).

Mariota will be hoping to cement his legacy after a stellar career with the Ducks as well as being this year’s recipient of the Heisman Trophy . If he can bow out with a national championship to his resume’ then the sky is the limit for a player like to be taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. As to ESPN’s College Football analyst and draft guru , Mel Kiper and his assessment of Mariota, not being the prototypical NFL quarterback, with the required talent for the NFL, has about as much credence, as perhaps one of his most infamous claims ____ of which he stated, Akili Smith would go on to have a long successful NFL career while being a perennial Pro Bowl player. Smith’s career statistics/ a are paper thin and about as appealing as Kiper’s neatly coiffured hair . I can only surmise, Mel Kiper and Donald Trump might share the same hair stylist and barber ?

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Picture gallery .

Throughout the NFL season, which teams do you believe provided the fans with the least and most excitement ? Also , with the College Football national championship game set for Monday 12th January,2015 , do you believe Marcus Mariota can round out his season with a national championship title ? Or will Urban Meyer add a third national title to his coaching resume’ ?

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Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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(1) St Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher ,left, is seen here with team owner Stanely Kroenke center and GM Les Snead at the Edward Jones Dome Stadium in St Louis , Missouri, prior to a regular season game. Kroenke is said to be seriously contemplating the relocation of the NFL franchise back to the greater Los Angeles area , but he must first seek board approval for such a move . Kroenke is unwilling to discuss to discuss his plans his publicly , but he may well already have broad-based support for the move, without having to be totally reliant upon a vote from the executives within the organization . All that would be then required for the move, would be the seal of approval from the Board of Governors of the NFL and Roger Goodell’s blessing. AP Photo/ Phil Jones

(2) Billionaire commercial real estate developer Ed Roski whose plans for an NFL stadium to be built in the greater Los Angeles area never quite took of because of bureaucratic red-tape and a failure to obtain the financial backing and widespread support from interested parties from the city of Los Angeles, the city of Industry , Los Angeles County and at the state level. It is not known if Roski is now on board with Stanley Kroenke’s own ongoing effort to have a state of the art venue built for the St Louis Rams . Getty Images / Mike Cooper

(3) Head coach Mike Tomlin ,left , of the Pittsburgh Steelers meets head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens after the Ravens defeated the Steelers 30-17 in their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images North America / Gregory Shamus

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers meets Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens after the Ravens defeated the Steelers 30-17 in their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Justin K Aller

(5) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers scrambles against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(6) Tom Brady (12) hands off the ball to Shane Vereen (34) of the New England Patriots during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jared Wickenham

(7) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts begins his snap count during a game played against the Minnesota Vikings . Luck is widely considered to be the best quarterback drafted into the NFL since 2008 . The Colts’ quarterback was the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , considered to be one better quarterback draft classes of the past decade . AP Photo / Phil Carr

(8) Marcus Mariota (8) of Oregon and Cardale Jones (12) of Ohio State will square as the opposing quarterbacks in the national championship .game being played on the 12th January , 2015 at the AT&T Stadium , in Arlington, Texas . AP Photo / Phil Miller

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It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

All season long in the NFL , friends and fellow bloggers alike have been suggesting the league has entertaining with the results mirroring the competitive brand of football being played . Week sixteen provided us with a league-wide set of games which either sank to the levels of sheer ineptitude or the highest of highs, with some spectacular performances . Several teams have been “knocked out of the box” and have become “cannon fodder” for the media after their woefully inept showings over the course of this season.

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The hype which surrounded Johnny Manziel because of his incredible collegiate career with Texas A&M might well have been justified , but once you enter the NFL , you simply start with a clean slate and where the only intangible one possesses, is leadership and maturity. Unfortunately , Manziel has yet to show any of the traits in question, since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. Never was that more evident than with Manziel’s performance in the Browns’ week fifteen contest against their divisional and conference rivals the Cincinnati Bengals . Cleveland was “shut out” in a lopsided contest where head coach Mike Pettine had no explanation for his team’s sheer ineptitude . The finger-pointing has already began , with many question why Pettine chose to sit Cleveland’s incumbent starting quartertback Brian Hoyer , who had shown a great deal of leadership and competitiveness in placing the franchise in a position to actually win the AFC North, before . this erroneous decision by the head coach .

With Cleveland now out of the divisional race and a postseason berth , pride remains the only thing the franchise now has to play for , along with placing Johnny Manziel’s disastrous display behind them.

The Browns will have a tough game on Sunday 28th December , when they face the Baltimore Ravens . If John Harbaugh and his Ravens’ players can eke out a win over the Browns, they could most certainly place themselves back into the playoff race, where they would have the advantage over the San Diego Chargers(9-6).

Philip Rivers and the Chargers will face an eager Kansas City Chiefs’ (8-7) team looking to make up for a rather disappointing season where they expected to contend for the AFC West. Andy Reid has seen his team fall by the wayside , because of a lack urgency from the players but above all, there has not been the exceptional play seen from the Chiefs’ defense last season . Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith is having an indifferent season , with the offense spluttering over the course of the season , one could surmise the team’s woes were self-inflicted.

The fallout has begun and it seems almost certain the San Francisco 49ers’ (7-8) will relieve their head Jim Harbaugh of his duties at the end of the season . How things could have spiraled out of control so quickly is dependent upon which story you are willing to believe at this juncture . GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke will either retain the often criticized Harbaugh or see the coach hed off under his own steam to accept the vacant head coach’s position at Michigan (Wolverines) where there is said to be a multi-year $48 million offer awaiting John Harbaugh’s signature on the dotted line. Before that takes, place Harbaugh and his team of under-achievers have a divisional match-up against the Arizona Cardinals (11-3) . Having clinched a postseason berth, the Cardinals find themselves in an unenviable position, losing their most recent game ,the momentum seen at the start of the season now having completely vanished , leaving many questioning how good the Cardinals just happen to be.

Over the past five weeks, if there has been a better player in the NFL than Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks , then I would like to hear your nominations for such a mantel . A Superbowl victory has seen a growth in maturity of the quarterback as well as his play overall , along with a leadership ability, rarely seen from a player with less than five years experience though one could make a comparison with Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and the success he has achieved with the franchise since his being drafted by the organization.

Pete Caroll and his team have systematically cut a swath through the league, as they have risen up the ranks and might now be the best team in the NFC based on their record. The Seahawks have a rather interesting game on Sunday afternoon, when they play host to the St Louis Rams , in a match-up I believe likely to be one-sided with the visiting team being unable to deal with their hosts.

Jay Cutler has led the Chicago Bears (5-10) into another season of sheer ineptitude with the quarterback questioning why Marc Trestman and the Bears’ front office made the decision to sit him out for the remainder of the season. Clearly, the player has failed to live up to the expectations thought and what the Bears were said to be capable of in 2014, with many believing they would be in with a chance of making an assualt on the dominance of the Green Bay Packers and the unlikely resurgence of the Detroit Lions . Instead, Chicago has repeatedly faltered, showing very competitiveness as their season unfolded . A great deal of the blame has to lie with the inconsistency shown by Jay Cutler. GM Phil Emery signed Cutler to a seven-year $127 million deal , a deal which I believe was rather idiotic , with it being offered to a player whose achievements in the postseason have been miniscule .

Chicago has a less than enlightening contest when they are the guests of the Minnesota Vikings (6-9). A contest between the bottom-feeders of the NFC North elicits very little excitement or interest among the fans of these two teams. When one bears in mind the issues faced by the Vikings this season , both on and off the field of play , their woes have manifested themselves in a litany of ways . Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater typified the issues one could come to expect of a rookie quarterback playing in the NFL

Six straight divisional titles have epitomized the dominance of the New England Patriots(12-3) and their season was once again one where Tom Brady has led by example as the team made light of their divisional opponents within the AFC East.

A narrow one-point victory over the beleaguered New York Jets whose season has taken on comedic levels of ineptitude , while head coach Rex Ryan is at a loss for words as to his team’s repeated failures over the course of their schedule . The victory placed the Patriots into the postseason, where Bill Belichick and Brady will be seeking to win the franchise’s fourth Superbowl during Belichick’s illustrious tenure. The New England quarterback (Brady) hopes to join Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only other quarterbacks to have won four Superbowls during the modern era of the NFL. It would be fair to suggest , over the last decade-and-a-half Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been the ” face” of the NFL, providing the fans with the best the game has had to offer during that timespan. Inevitably, the comparisons will be made as to where Brady and Manning belong among the NFL greats and whether or not they can be considered among the greatest quarterbacks to ever have played the game. Conjecture and a protracted healthy debate may well be the only thing that can solve the issue, but to my mind the duo are Canton bound for the Hall of Fame !

In their final game of the regular season the New England Patriots will have as their guests at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’, Massachusetts , their divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills . Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone may well be looking to put a damper on the celebrations of the Patriots by inflicting a fourth defeat of the season for the AFC champions . I certainly believe New England will want to carry the momentum gained by notching their thirteenth victory of the season and sealing their advantage as the number one seed in the AFC while ending the season with the best record in the NFL . As to whether not they can be considered the best team in the league will remain a matter of long, heated arguments that will not solve the problem.

Each season in the NFL , there will always be a team where the analysts (pundits) and fans are astounded by the disappointment of one or perhaps two franchises. In 2014, the candidates I believe who best represent this case are the New Orleans Saints (6-9) and Washington Redskins 4-11) . The fact that both are NFC representatives should not be seen as a big surprise . Neither the Redskins or Saints have proven to be good enough within their respective divisions to be seen as competitive , and the delusions of grandeur exhibited by Jay Gruden and Sean Payton, an only be parodied by the repetitive and asinine behavior often with members of Congress.

From week to week Gruden is unsure as to what his starting lineup ought to be, without referencing his handling of the team’s quarterback situation and the consistency sought from his trio of alternatives, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy . The fact that it has been McCoy , the team’s third string quarterback , who has led the Redskins to two of their three victories on the season should tell you all you need to know. Jay Gruden may well be an accomplished coordinator, but he is proving to be absolutely clueless as a head coach in the NFL. On Sunday, Gruden’s Redskins will be looking to avoid the season series’ loss when they face the Dallas Cowboys (11-4) at FedEx Field in Landover , Maryland, in a less than thrilling prospect as an NFL game.

Sean Payton may well be considered an offensive guru with his teams over the years considered among the most explosive in the NFL. It still remains the case , but this season , as in year’s past the defense has been one of the constant reminders why the New Orleans Saints can never really hold unto lead . Once out in front, this becomes a team that needs to inflict pain on an opponent by O13 piling up the points and yards , while controlling the time of possession. A 6-9 season has pretty much epitomized what the Saints have been about over the course of the year. Drew Brees, arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the past eight years , still provides the New Orleans Saints with the best chance of winning on a weekly basis. He has been the franchise’s best player since being acquired by the Saints as a free agent trade from the San Diego Chargers.

Hoping to round-out their season with a victory, the New Orleans Saints will have the pleasure of making the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their customary whipping post. If Brees and the Saints’ offense are not able to put up at least thirty points on an incompetent Buccaneers’ defense , then I will be extremely surprised ! Lovie Smith was brought in to instill some semblance of discipline into a Buccaneers’ team, but instead, there has been abundance mediocrity on all levels , from the coaching staff on down , to the players. Meanwhile, the apathy remains among the Tampa fans who may well feel there is light at the end of the tunnel . More darkness than light, because neither coaching staff or front office actually have a damn clue , as to what the hell they are actually doing from one moment to the next .

Now comes the hard part for the teams and that will be for them to maintain their consistency as they enter the postseason . Chances are we will witness one or two upsets , as was the case last season throughout much of the league’s postseason foray.

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Picture gallery.

As the spectacle of the NFL regular season has unfolded, what if anything proved to be the biggest disappointment or buoyed your belief the NFL would be special ? Which player do you believe will likely win the league’s highest regular season award the League MVP ?

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Picture and slideshow details.

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(1) Cincinnati Bengals corner-back Adam Jones makes the Johnny Manziel “money” sign after the Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 30-0 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/David Richard ….

(2) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(3) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs off the field after a 30-0 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. Manziel’s performance in week fifteen was among the worst of any starting quarterback on the day and among the very worst witnessed this season. AP Photo/Tony Dejak …

(4) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, greets San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The Chargers won 38-35 in overtime. AP Photo/Ben Margot ..

(5) Seattle Seahawks fan smiles while holding a sign prior to the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images/ Norm Hall …

(6) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks prepares to snap the football in the first quarter during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images / Norm Hall …

(7) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is pressured by Dwight Lowery (20) of the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 21, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Chris Graythern ..
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There`s a reason it’s called the NFL , they play football or at least I was led to believe that they do ….

There`s a reason it’s called the NFL , they play football or at least I was led to believe that they do ….

Week one in the NFL did not really provide us with any overall surprises , as I believe that we all knew who the good teams were said to be in the league . Granted , no one expected the reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens to be so lackluster in their opening game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos . The margin of defeat , twenty-five points, told me a great deal about this Ravens` team and the experience of seasoned veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are sorely missed. Yet I do believe that the Baltimore Ravens can rebound from this loss and from the lessons learned , and that the younger players on the roster will have to step up to the plate as required . You simply cannot rest on your laurels, just because you have reached the summit once ,as the secret , is to remain there , once having reached that destination and peak.

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Monday night`s double-header featuring the Philadelphia Eagles playing the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Washington , DC and the subsequent showing featured the Houston Texans and their high-octane offense taking on the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California. Michael Vick and the Eagles , along with head coach Chip Kelly , sent a resounding message that is likely to heard loud and clear across the NFL . That message is , there is a new sheriff in town and he means business . The two NFC East combatants put on a terrific showing of offensive productivity , with Vick and is opposite number Robert Griffin III passing for in excess of a combined 500 yards of passing offense, , with and another 300 plus yards of rushing offense from the two teams combined . The bulk of the rush offense , the advantage laid with the visiting team, the Philadelphia Eagles. .

Philadelphia came away with an invaluable 33-27 victory, placing themselves jointly atop of the NFC East alongside the Dallas Cowboys . Next up for the Eagles will be a home game against the San Diego Chargers this upcoming Sunday . For Mike McCoy and the laboring Chargers , they need to get back to winning ways after Monday night`s debilitating loss to the Houston Texans , in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game . A twenty-one point lead , carried over into the late third quarter , would prove to be not as decisive as the home team`s fans might have felt , as Matt Schaub repeatedly marched the Texans down the field to erase that deficit and to come away victorious from Qualcomm Stadium . The less said about the Chargers` defense at this juncture would be perhaps the most prudent thing to do. .

Say what you will about the Jacksonville Jaguars and its owner Shahid Khan , but any belief that he might well have had in turning things around quickly for the franchise , is unlikely to happen this season. Gus Bradley , and this team entertained the Kansas City Chiefs in their season opener and to put it politely, they laid a goose egg in a lopsided 28-2 loss . I am not saying that the two points were a gift from Andy Reid`s team , but it is the kindest thing that I could perhaps say about the Jaguar` performance this past Sunday. The travails of Blaine Gabbert have been well chronicled as the Jaguars` quarterback has struggle since his entrance into the NFL in 2011 . Not a prodigious quarterback by any stretch of the imagination but he was ill-served by then head coach Jack del Rio and his staff at the time . And not much has actually changed since del Rio`s departure , with Jedd Fisch in as the team`s offensive coordinator and Frank Scelfo as quarterbacks` coach . As witnessed in Sunday`s loss the Chiefs , the Jaguars are struggling in every facet of their game and they are amongst the least productive teams in the NFL from a defensive and offensive standpoint this early in the season .

Two years into his career and we can begin to deduce that Blaine Gabbert is a bust as an NFL quarterback . With the Mizzou Tigers , Gabbert may well have been deemed a college success , but so much hype is placed and around college quarterbacks , that when they fail in the professional ranks , fingers are actually pointed at the players themselves , rather than in a great many cases, where the blame actually lies and that is with the coaches at the collegiate level and the in the professional ranks . Granted , there have been one or two quarterbacks in recent years where the hype simply was not justified , notably in the cases of JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow . To my mind, neither had the propensity to learn , in spite of notations stating that both were being tutored in their mechanics by well-respected quarterback coaches prior to their entry into the NFL Draft, in the years that both were drafted . Well , as we can see , their Russell or Tebow have proven to be a success in the NFL . So let us now close the chapter on both and move on . Time demands it , and in reality , does anyone really give a damn ?

Week two may well provide the Jacksonville Jaguars with a chance to put things back on, track when they are the guests of the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum , in Oakland , California , this upcoming Sunday . That conference game, is one of several that will pit a number struggling teams in several intriguing contests . . For the Raiders coming off their narrow four-point loss (21-17) to the Indianapolis Colts , the questions now being asked , is whether or not Terrelle Pryor is the player to be leading this team at quarterback position. Auditions during the preseason proved to be inconclusive and head coach Dennis Allen seems to be unsure what he has in the player , a future star or simply another one of a litany players that the franchised has used at the position over the past five years without any resounding success . And for the Raiders` head coach time may well not be on his side, considering the tenure of his three former predecessors on average, has lasted no much longer than two years.

Well the drama and comedic elements of the New York Jets` off-season continues with all of the idiocy one would come to expect from a franchise completely lacking in leadership both on and off the field of play . Head coach Rex Ryan now seems to be less rambunctious , knowing full well that this could very well be his last season with the organization after last season`s considerable failures . Mark Sanchez in 2012 was woefully inept and then there came all of the drama that surrounded Tim Tebow . Well with the former Broncos` starting quarterback, no longer with the Jets or with any NFL franchise , the issue became who would the front office seek to become the team`s new starting quarterback . That answer would be provided when GM John Idzik and the staff made the decision to draft Geno Smith . player a second round draft pick has shown that he may well have the skill-set but deep questions remain as to the player`s demeanor and his consistency at the position . That became a stark reality in his only meaningful action during the preseason , during the Jets` third preseason game against the New York Giants . That display was very unnerving , yet it proved to be a pointer as what fans could very well expect during the regular season from the rookie quarterback.

In Smith’s first professional regular season game he proved himself adequate but far from convincing as the heir-apparent to Mark Sanchez , but with his predecessor now out injured , the position now becomes Geno Smith` to lose . With the team also having acquired Brady Quinn as a backup , the stage I believe , is being set for the franchise to trade Sanchez at some during the season . The New York Jets have a divisional date , in what will be the first of two divisional meetings this season , when they meet the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts on Thursday night . With the Patriots coming off an opening day victory over another rookie quarterback , when Tom Brady and his teammates came away with a hard-fought victory over the Buffalo Bills and their rookie quarterback E J Manuel. Bill Belichick will look to start of this season with an early unbeaten run, as a way of bringing in a great deal of confidence on this revamped roster . Issues that still remain for the organization will certainly start with the team`s defense and whether or not they will be considerably better than last season . Also with the prevailing injury issues concerning Rob Gronkowski , the question will be , who will provide Tom Brady with the safe pair of hands he needs to get the Patriots’ offensive game going in 2013 ?

There seems to be this continued idiocy by the fans who are under the impression that the NFL cares about the well-being of their players . Nothing could be further from the truth and this was clearly evident in the recent settlement made between the league as defendants in a civil suit brought by 4,500 former NFL players seeking punitive damages from the NFL . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash may well now seek to create the perception that will see the league provide those players with a settlement figure of $765 million , far less than the $1.3 billion originally sought . In agreeing to settle, the league hierarchy avoids further public embarrassment , while not having to make public, a great deal of its somewhat surreptitious activity concerning research conducted by the league concerning the cause and effect , of blunt force head trauma , concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). For years the NFL suggested that there was no cause and effect , even in spite of their own research findings and that of independent studies carried out by world-renowned academic d institutions . Add in, the apathy of fans, who believe that the NFL has now become soft , and you can easily understand the machismo bullshit, that was sought by the literally uneducated . Veterans such as Bernie Kosar and Superbowl winning quarterback Jim McMahon are now having to live with the early onset of Alzheimer’s’ disease, chronic memory loss and a speech impediment , all due from injuries suffered from their playing careers.

Somehow I get the feeling that the NFL would like for its image and public persona to remain pristine and not vilified , as the tobacco industry was said to be for their own collusive activities concerning their product and how they misled the consumer . Well, the league is simply no different from the cigarette manufacturers. I certainly believe the league and the NFLPA (Players Union) have acted irresponsibly and now look absolve themselves of their responsibilities to their former members . Goodell and is union counterpart DeMaurice Smith would like to have you believe to the contrary . The apathy being shown by the fans on this issue is simply no different from the same fucking ignorance , they continue to show when it comes to the well-being of the members of the military , who far too often are being left to fend for themselves but yet all of the gung-ho patriotism one sees being exhibited is all for nothing in the end because they are no deeds being matched by all of that exuberance , definitely not from the public or the federal government for that matter ! .

As if to further indicate the gullibility and downright stupidity of the commissioner , consider his recent actions concerning Detroit Lions` defensive player Ndamukong Suh . In what now appears the fifth such incident concerning the player`s on field behavior concerning his play, for an illegal tackle , Suh was fined a mere $100,000 rather than face a multi-game a suspension for what appears to be ‘chop block` on Minnesota Vikings’ center John Sullivan . The fact that this is not the first time that Suh has not shown any restraint much less an act of contrition fort what does appear to be a premeditated act . It now is becoming apparently clear that neither the Lions` hierarchy , head coach Jim Schwartz or league is prepared to act prudently . A fine of this nature, is menial and a mere drop in a bucket for a player due to earn in excess of $10.3 million this season . So can someone now explain to me how this is meant to corral a player whose on-field actions and character have repeatedly come into question ever since he entered the NFL ?

Detroit came off their season opener, with a 34-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings, fellow NFC North rivals . The game itself , eventful, was filled with some exhilarating play and last season`s MVP , Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson looking to carry on where he left off from last season . This Sunday the Lions will be the guests of the Arizona Cardinals in Tempe, Arizona , in what should prove to be a highly entertaining game between these two teams . Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians will seek to gain his first victory as an NFL coach , while getting his team back on a winning track, as they seek to make inroads as a legitimate challenger within the NFC West this season . A remote possibility, should either the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks slip up over the course of their respective schedules .

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This NFL season while still in its infancy, but already controversies are amidst within the game . Consider also , that three years in and the league has yet to instigate , an in and out of season testing for human growth hormones and this is all being done under the subterfuge of the league and union reneging on a statement made to Congress on the matter, to have that policy in place by no later than the 2011 season . So for all of this excitement of what fans hope to be an exciting year in the NFL , the league still remains an archaic and outmoded bastion of incompetence and where there is absolutely no leadership to be found . Chime in, with your comments as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below . .

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(1) Broncos` quarterback Peyton Manning warms up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens in the team’s regular season opener . The quarterback would go on to throw for a career-high seven touchdowns on the team’s 49-25 runaway victory over the reigning Superbowl champions . AP/Photo/Jack Dempsey ….

(2) Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco (5) looks to make a pass before Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers (91) makes an attempt at a tackle . AP Photo / Jack Dempsey …

(3) Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a rushing touchdown in the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Monday night . Philadelphia came away with a well-earned victory over their divisional rivals . AP Photo / Nick Wass …..

(4) (4) Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs leaves the Jaguars’ Geno Hayes (55) in his wake after Hayes’ vain attempt to make a tackle . The Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-2 . AP Photo / Phelen Ehlenback …

Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by Dontari Poe (92) of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images North America / Sam Greenwood ….

(6) Geno Smith , background , looks on as teammate Mark Sanchez takes a couple of pass attempts at the Jets` training facility . With Sanchez’s injury in the New York Jets’ last preseason game , Geno Smith was the starter in the team’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . AP Photo / Anthony Knowles …

(7) Pensive , but are they realists ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , left , and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are seen here listening to a committee member from the House Government & Oversight Committee . That committee was convened to pose questions to both executives as to when the NFL would bring in a comprehensive testing policy for anabolic steroids and human growth hormones ., An agreement was reached . voted upon and ratified by the player representatives in 2010 . Three years later and the policy has yet to be initiated by the NFL , much to the annoyance of the committee in question , who may well seek to rescind parts of the NFL`s antitrust exemption status . Something which is said to be under serious consideration by several members of the aforementioned House Committee . Getty Images / Doug Pensinger …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hot chic pic of the day actress & model Melyssa Ford

Mine is not to reason why , only to ask the questions when needed

Mine is not to reason why , only to ask the questions when needed

Well the NFL Draft came and disappeared , leaving a great many fans , either overjoyed or extremely disappointed with the decisions made by their respective teams . And for the franchise with the ignominy of having that final pick for the last player to be taken . Let’s just say , for that player and others taken in the seventh and final round ,it is simply nothing to be ashamed of. If memory serves me correctly , a certain three-time Superbowl winning quarterback and future Hall of Fame inductee by the name of Tom Brady , dropped from the middle rounds , only to be taken as a sixth round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots . And as we know , the rest as they say “ is history “ , not just for Brady and his undoubted postseason exploits but also for that of the franchise .

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Cincinnati Bengals first-round draft pick Tyler Eifert (85), a tight end from Notre Dame, catches a pass during NFL football rookie mini-camp , Friday, May 10, 2013, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman …

As a die-hard Patriots’ fan , I must say that I was not overly enamored with a number of the picks made in this draft by the front office of the organization . However, in light of the team’s defensive woes over the past few seasons . I can only assume and hope that GM Nick Caserio , Bill Belichick and the coaching staff , will have firmly addressed the needs of the team . Certainly , in 2012 , this secondary of the New England Patriots were found to be wanting in the most explicable of moments , but specifically during the regular season . As to the postseason and the team’s exploits there . Well, the cupboard was laid bare, during the AFC championship game , against the eventual Superbowl champions , the Baltimore Ravens . Not only was that cupboard empty , but the anemic performances rendered by the Patiots’ players in that conference title game , led me to believe that they simply gave up before the second quarter, simply thinking that they could rest on their laurels , because of a 13-0 lead over a Ravens’ staff that at the time seemed ill-prepared .

The second half of the game would prove to be Belichick’s undoing , as the team was unable to muster a single point in the final two quarters of game . Someone perhaps, should have told Bill Belichick that the best performing quarterback during the postseason was in fact in fact a member of the Baltimore Ravens . Joe Flacco , simply excelled , out playing his counterpart , and further emphasizing why during this off-season the Ravens’ front office were simply prepared to “break the bank” in offering the four-year starter a whopping six-year …. $120 million contract , making one of the highest paid players in the NFL and certainly amongst the “ highest paid “ at the quarterback position . Needless to say, Ravens’ owner , Steve Bisciotti and GM Ozzie Newsome believe to be , money well spent .

The Baltimore Ravens’ off-season has been well chronicled , with their being a number of departures , from the players who were part of that Superbowl winning team . One might surmise that John Harbaugh and his coaching staff might well be despondent after the defections and retirement of certain players, but such has been the astuteness shown by Ozzie Newsome and his continued brilliance , concerning his this and previous draft classes . It would take a foolish individual to bet against the Baltimore Ravens making a quick return to the postseason .Simply consider Habraugh’s coaching record and the playoff appearances made by the franchise since he succeeded Brian Billick in 2008 .

In many respects, I do believe that there has been a disconnect between Belichick and what he believes to be are not his flaws as a head coach. Conceited , obnoxious and clearly, he is not willing to admit when he has definitely made a monumental mistake . Much of that has led to many of the on field coaching miscalculations, which now seem to be all too prevalent in the Patriots` play over the past two seasons. The AFC East this season will be filled with pratfalls for the Patriots as they go about seeking another divisional title and making the postseason .

Bill Belichick and his players , will open up their season with a quartet of preseason games beginning with a game against the Philadelphia Eagles and in many respects , I do believe that there has been a disconnect between Belichick and what he believes to be are not his flaws as a head coach. Conceited , obnoxious and clearly, he is not willing to admit when he has definitely made a monumental mistake . Much of that has led to many of the on field coaching miscalculations, which now seem to be all too prevalent in the Patriots` play over the past two seasons. The AFC East this season will be filled with pratfalls for the Patriots as they go about seeking another divisional title and making the postseason .

As I alluded to earlier , the Patriots will open up their season with a quartet of preseason games beginning with a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on the 9th August , 2013 , week one of the NFL`s preseason schedule . The team will open up their regular season with a game against divisional rivals , the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium , in Orchard Park , New York , which kicks off the NFL`s regular season schedule .

Now, while this off-season has been filled with stories , that the ever demanding NFL fans yearn for and a great deal more . Perhaps the biggest story may well be that of the New York Jets` drafting of quarterback Geno Smith and the player`s demeanor and rallying cry that he “ entered the NFL to win “ . Conceited, bellicose and full of bravura , Smith may well feel that he has something to offer the Jets , considering their disastrous 2012 season , where Rex Ryan could seem to get noting right and where the continued idiocy surrounding both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow became cannon fodder for print and television media alike . Never mind the anecdotes that the late night television talk show were graced with, in terms of never-ending comedic content ……. “how far can Tebow throw ? Obviously not far enough. “ How many Jets` players does it take turn on a light switch? None , they still live in the dark ages and no one on last season`s roster, is actually intelligent enough, to even know that Edison invented the incandescent light bulb.

GM John Idzik has been entrusted to rebuild the roster through the draft and via free agency . Given Idzik`s experience and is astuteness in the drafting of Seahawks` quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012 as a third round draft pick in last season`s draft by the Seattle Seahawks , when Idzik led the franchise`s front office . The Jets are hoping that he can work his magic for a second time in such an instance, by having a quarterback competition amongst the quarterbacks on the Jets` roster . It was under such a premise that Wilson won the starting spot on the Seahawks` roster . . Russell Wilson would show is maturity , leadership and dexterity in leading Seattle into the playoffs , where they would succumb (28-30) to the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round of the postseason .

It would be asking a great deal of Geno Smith to beat out Mark Sanchez for the starting role at the quarterback position , yet given Sanchez’s woes this past season , it would not come as a surprise , should that situation arise . Sanchez is under a great deal of pressure to prove that he is still a viable commodity as a quarterback in the NFL , after all the of plaudits and acclaim received in the first two years of his career .

The Jets will open their regular season with a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida , on the 8th September , 2013. It should be a game that will be a test for both sides as each seeks to resurrect their flagging franchise’s fortunes.

Speaking of a franchise with flagging fortunes , what chance is there for the Jacksonville Jaguars to turn things around ? First time head coach Gus Bradley will have a difficult season , along with new owner , Shahid Khan , having spent $773 million to purchase the franchise, and now seeking push a declining attendance level , and place it amongst the upper echelons of the NFL . For one of the NFL`s least profitable franchises , it must be said that the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a market, where it is barely self-sustaining . Yet for some reason , there is this continued belief that the franchise can maintain a presence in the Central Florida market place , while remaining part of the NFL .

The Jaguars` season in 2012 , started and ended with the ineffectiveness of quarterback Blaine Gabbert , and the problem that apart from not being able to put up points on the scoreboard , with both the defense and offense of team was simply anemic , if not mediocre overall ! ! The struggles of Jaguars will be littered with obstacles this season , which I do not believe that they will be able to overcome. The team in its present guise, simply is not good enough , in spite of the players drafted and their off-season maneuvers in terms of the acquisition of free agents . Call me naïve , but the Jaguars have not been of any relevance in the NFL in over a decade and to think that because an owner (Shahid Khan) , no matter what the success attained in the business world . It is by no means a dead-on certainty, that he will be able to replicate that success in the NFL , even with the professionals that make up the Jaguars` front office and tat of the coaching staff .

For Gabbert , this season will place the quarterback under a great deal of pressure , as he has seen many of his contemporaries from the 2011 NFL Draft have a considerable amount of success, while the player himself , has continually struggled throughout his entire two-year career in the league . Bear in mind also, the quarterback is amongst the highest paid players on the Jaguars` roster . Gus Bradley , has few alternatives , if his quarterback is unable to lead this team to even some moderate success in the AFC South , much less in the league over the course of the season.
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I am of the opinion that players ought to be rewarded , based upon their productivity and not solely upon potential or acclaim . Yet for some reason, this off-season Cowboys` general manager and team owner , Jerry Jones saw fit to reward the team`s starting quarterback , Tony Romo with a seven-year $119 million contract , that makes Romo amongst the highest paid players at the position in league . Consider the fact , that while many would consider Tony Romo a very good regular season quarterback . The player`s failings and continued failure in the postseason belies the fact, that Romo has yielded little in return for the franchise over the course of his ten-year career. One playoff win , and he gets rewarded with an exorbitant contract , for a player who lacks leadership skills and were he and his teammates continue make excuses, with alarming regularity for their recent postseason woes . For Romo , one win in four playoff postseason appearances would suggest to me, that there isn`t an ounce of goddamn common sense to be found inside the Cowboys` front office and even less amongst their ever under-achieving playing staff .

Sooner or later , Jerry Jones will begin to realize that Jason Garrett simply isn`t good enough a coach , to guide Cowboys to were think that they ought to be , much less realize the fact, that the team last season was not good enough to garner a playoff berth . Now the Dallas Cowboys, are now seeing their divisional rivals back amongst the upper echelons of the NFL.

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File- This Dec. 30, 2012 file photo shows Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) standing during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Romo and the Cowboys have agreed on a six-year contract extension worth $108 million, with about half of that guaranteed . The agreement was reported on the team’s website Friday March 29, 2013. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

Sooner or later Jerry Jones will begin to realize that Jason Garrett simply isn`t good enough a coach to guide Cowboys to were think that they ought to be , much less realize the fact, that the team last season was not good enough to garner a playoff berth . Now the Dallas Cowboys, are now seeing their divisional rivals back amongst the upper echelons of the NFL. Now the Dallas Cowboys, are now seeing their divisional rivals back amongst the upper echelons of the NFL . What better way for the Cowboys to begin their regular season than a match-up against New York Giants ? A franchise that in recent years under head coach Tom Coughlin , seems to have found a way to achieve what the Texas franchise has failed to do in almost two decades , and that is to win a Superbowl . In recent years the contests between these two teams have been highly competitive and all too physical . And the NFC East is all the better , when both the Cowboys and Giants are both playing at very best . Your thoughts on the matter ?

As usual, there is always a reason to heed each season cautiously , as the head coaches are going to be on “the hot seat“ . Much of that, boils down to the play of the teams , and how they fare over a sixteen-game schedule . It will be interesting to see which of the head coaches are, or will fall from grace !

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New Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen (L) greets Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie (c) and team owner Mark Davis , during a press conference on January 30, 2012 in Alameda, California. Dennis Allen was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Hue Jackson who was fired after one season . Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

! I may well be, rushing to a presumption of judgment , but having seen the customary merry-go-round as the usual plethora of firings take place amongst coaching staffs and front office executives . Given frequency with which the Oakland Raiders tend to fire their head coaches in recent seasons. I get the feeling that Dennis Allen`s tenure could very well be sort-lived ! Team owner , Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie , I believe are deeply distrusted by the vast majority of Raiders` fans . Yet , rarely do I ever hear them being critical of the front office in recent years and the confounding ways in which they have conducted personnel decisions. Needless to say , once again the Raiders` draft class and recent acquisitions will be questioned in many areas , and quite honestly , I would not expect it to be any other way !

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With the preseason a little more than three months away , but with a number of teams having brought in their rookies for their symposiums , organized training activities (OTA`s) and none roster invitees . It should be very interesting to see how a number of the first round draft picks will fare , in comparison to their predecessors of last season. Your thoughts on the upcoming season and in particular, which teams , do you believe will be a credible contender for the Superbowl ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Cincinnati Bengals first-round draft pick Tyler Eifert (85), a tight end from Notre Dame, catches a pass during NFL football rookie mini-camp , Friday, May 10, 2013, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman …

(2) New England Patriots NFL football head coach Bill Belichick speaks during a news conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Friday, May 3, 2013. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(3) FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2013, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to wide receiver Wes Welker (83) before the NFL football AFC Championship football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Foxborough, Mass. The Denver Broncos have found a new target for Peyton Manning , agreeing to a two-year deal with Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker . AP Photo/Elise Amendola, ….

(4) Broadcaster Jim Nantz interviews Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Superbowl MVP , Joe Flacco (5) after the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Bill Haber …

(5) File- This Dec. 30, 2012 file photo shows Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) standing during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Romo and the Cowboys have agreed on a six-year contract extension worth $108 million, with about half of that guaranteed . The agreement was reported on the team’s website Friday March 29, 2013. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(6) Rookie head coach, Gus Bradley , is seen here overseeing workouts with the Jacksonville Jaguars` first team squad . Bradley has an arduous season ahead with quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has failed to live up to expectations as a two-year starter with the Jaguars` franchise . Gabbert enters his third season , while under a great deal of pressure from his backups , Chad Henne , Jordan Rodgers , and Matt Scott . Florida Times Union / Mark Cready …..

(7) New Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen (L) greets Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie (c) and team owner Mark Davis , during a press conference on January 30, 2012 in Alameda, California. Dennis Allen was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Hue Jackson who was fired after one season . Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

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NFL related articles and links : Courtesy of NFL.com & Yahoo sports

Packers’ rookie running backs having friendly competition

Tannehill gushes over Wallace

Draft Fallout: Urlacher era is over

Raiders CEO Trask resigns after 25 years with organization

Giants sign 5, waive 6 after rookie mini-camp

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Tophtal 2013/05/10

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL transactions and for the month of April

NFL schedule (2013) , week one , two and three and four

NFL preseason schedule

2013 NFL Draft

2012 NFL standings (division) and by conference

2012 NFL regular season results and postseason results

2008 NFL regular season and postseason

2008 NFL divisional standings & conference standings from that season

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New England Patriots’ overview & profile

New England Patriots’ news and archived stories

New England Patriots’ schedule and their preseason schedule

New England Patriots’ 2013 draft class

Patriots’ off-season transactions (May) and for the month of April

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Hot chic pics of the day . Bar Refaeli (above), and actress Kerry Washington , below and Vanessa Minnillo ..

Bada-bing bada-boom ! Wow , she`s hot , is Kerry Washington , damn hot !

Minnillo , is she a naughty schoolgirl or what ? Your thoughts on the matter ?

Hell , you know me ! There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough!

Hell , you know me ! There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough!

By Tophatal

We are but a month away from the 2013 NFL Draft , and already there is a great deal of speculation unraveling, as to who that first player, to be taken, will be . In seasons past , that number one overall choice has either had an outstanding career, or somehow fallen into oblivion , never to be heard from again . From afar, as a fan of the NFL , this is the one time of the year that I choose not to take any notice as to how the draft unfolds ! I am of the belief that the players chosen , will either live up to the perceived expectations or they will simply fall by the wayside , because of their lack of physical ability and mental toughness .

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In 2012 , it was the year of the rookie quarterbacks , by way of the excellent play witnessed and the leadership qualities shown by quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck . Luck and Griffin, taken numbers one and two respectively , by the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins , would go on to lead their teams to respectable showings in the divisional standings , as well as garnering a playoff berth for each franchise . Unfortunately, during the playoffs , both teams would indeed have early exits , with the Redskins falling to the Seattle Seahawks , and the Indianapolis Colts succumbing to the Baltimore Ravens , the eventual Superbowl champions .

This upcoming Draft , inasmuch as there is said to be a great deal of talent among the players declaring their eligibility . I truly believe that the talent level that many believe there is said to be , is not actually there , in any great depth ! Granted, the so-called “draft geeks “ and analysts will espouse the virtues of Geno Smith , Matt Barkley , Luke Joeckel and Alec Ogletree . More often than not , there is rarely a sure-fire bet or hit , that will be that impactful . However, a case could be made that last season Luck and Griffin proved that the 2012 draft class , particularly for the quarterbacks , might well have been the best NFL has witnessed in the past fifteen years .

This upcoming Draft , inasmuch as there is said to be a great deal of talent among the players declaring their eligibility . I truly believe that the talent level that many believe there is said to be , is not actually there , in any great depth ! Granted, the so-called “draft geeks “ and analysts will espouse the virtues of Geno Smith , Matt Barkley , Luke Joeckel and Alec Ogletree . More often than not , there is rarely a sure-fire bet or hit , that will be that impactful . However, a case could be made that last season Luck and Griffin proved that the 2012 draft class , particularly for the quarterbacks , might well have been the best NFL has witnessed in the past fifteen years .

Of course, it will be interesting to see how both of these sophomores will progress as the 2013 regular season beckons and what we might expect from both quarterbacks , as they become further acclimatized to the rigors of playing in the NFL . I certainly believe that with the moves made by the Colts , in particular , they are likely to prove to be a major contender for the AFC South and quite possibly a major force to be reckoned with , within the conference overall !

With the NFC East always being something of a conundrum , merely because of the preponderance of idiocy that simply overwhelms those who espouse to the fact that the Dallas Cowboys will always be a force to be reckoned with . The truth of the matter remains , the team , while Jerry Jones sits atop of his throne , the franchise will be nothing more than a mere laughing-stock , lacking in leadership , accountability at an any level , on or off the field of play. And, with the team’s overrated quarterback , Tony Romo being overpaid , while continuing to make excuses for his and the team’s perennially poor play . It were as if , flies are being genuinely attracted to fecal matter , each and very time I read a piece subscribing to the fact, that Romo is a great regular season player , while clearly being unable to lead the team to the necessary heights in the regular and postseason . Tony Romo, is only great, in brief spurts , of two or three games at a time , beyond that , he is not a player that can be can be consistently be relied upon, to lead a team to any length , of real tangible achievement or success . A fact that , seems to be lost, on the vast majority of the analysts who cover the game , and who are paid handsomely, for their opinions . Unfortunately, we also have a clueless batch of individuals within this forum, who will continue to be of the same mindset ! Stupid is , as stupid does !

It goes without saying that Jason Garrett and his coaching staff will this season , remain the focus of attention from around the NFL. The Cowboys’ failings, in 2012 , was self-evident in a wide range of categories , from their defense to their sputtering offense . Pardon me for saying this , with the Cowboys’ firing of Rob Ryan as the team’s defensive coordinator , to be replaced by an aging Monte Kiffin , whose two years assisting his son Lane Kiffin in a similar capacity with the Pac 12’s USC Trojans , to my mind has to be considered an asinine decision , especially when you take into account , that during that time-span ! The Trojans were never ranked in the nation’s top twenty-five , in any meaningful defensive category. Clearly , a case of the blind , leading the blind within the Cowboys’ front office at the timing of that particular decision !

I believe that a case can be made that the winning of a Heisman Trophy , no matter how prestigious the award might be , can be a claim that as the nation’s best collegiate player , is by any measure a guarantee of success . Yes, last season, Robert Griffin III excelled for the Washington Redskins , but the 2011 Heisman Trophy claimant did have his issues in spite of the team’s extraordinary season. With 2012 winner , Johnny Manziel remaining in college quite possibly for one or two more seasons in order to hone his game with the Texas A&M (Aggies) . It has to be said that Manziel may well have made the best possible decision. Countering that , are the following two quarterbacks , who might now be viewed as perhaps under-achieving journeymen around the NFL. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart , now find themselves at a crossroads in their respective careers . Both achieved a great deal of success at the collegiate level , and each were afforded college football’s highest individual honor, by being named a Heisman Trophy recipient and award winner. Both, were players at USC (Trojans) , under what was thought to be the capable hands of then head coach , Pete Carroll and a program said to be above reproach. In the subsequent years, since their departure , and Carroll’s own jump to the professional ranks , I believe that we can attest to the fact that the coach’s tenure, was rife with sordid improprieties , that he and then AD , Mike Garrett simply chose to ignore and sweep under the carpet.

I believe that a case can be made that the winning of a Heisman Trophy , no matter how prestigious the award might be , can be a claim that as the nation’s best collegiate player , is by any measure a guarantee of success . Yes, last season, Robert Griffin III excelled for the Washington Redskins , but the 2011 Heisman Trophy claimant did have his issues in spite of the team’s extraordinary season. With 2012 winner , Johnny Manziel remaining in college quite possibly for one or two more seasons in order to hone his game with the Texas A&M (Aggies) . It has to be said that Manziel may well have made the best possible decision. Countering that , are the following two quarterbacks , who might now be viewed as perhaps under-achieving journeymen around the NFL. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart , now find themselves at a crossroads in their respective careers . Both achieved a great deal of success at the collegiate level , and each were afforded college football’s highest individual honor, by being named a Heisman Trophy recipient and award winner. Both, were players at USC (Trojans) , under what was thought to be the capable hands of then head coach , Pete Carroll and a program said to be above reproach. In the subsequent years, since their departure , and Carroll’s own jump to the professional ranks , I believe that we can attest to the fact that the coach’s tenure, was rife with sordid improprieties , that he and then AD , Mike Garrett simply chose to ignore and sweep under the carpet.

Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart spent 2012 , laboring with the rather mediocre and self-aggrandizing Oakland Raiders , who over the last decade , have become the poster child , in how not to run an NFL franchise , but how to systematically ruin one, on a competitive and economic front . Albeit , that even being close proximity to one of the nation’s largest media markets , somehow the Raiders’ front office led by team owner , Mark Davis and GM , Reggie McKenzie , continue to make complete fools of themselves , with their remarkable consistency for making some of the most unbelievably ridiculous personnel decisions encapsulating the franchise . With the revenue streams afforded the Oakland Raiders , theirs as a franchise , should not be one , that is said to be losing tens of millions of dollars annually . Yet , somehow the incompetency of the front office does bear this out . Needless to say , with the incompetence being shown off the field , last season and 2011 , simply mirrored “ how far this franchise “ has fallen over the past decade .

With it now being apparent, that Palmer was not the player whom McKenzie felt could lead the team , after a very sporadic 2012 season . There now seems to be little interest by the general manager and owner , to supplant 2002 Heisman Trophy recipient and number one overall pick from the 2003 NFL Draft , with either his backup , Matt Leinart , or another troubled enfant-terrible , in Terrell Pryor . Albeit , that there were signs of intuitive play on the part of the former Buckeye starting quarterback. Carson Palmer has refused to take a pay cut or simply reconstruct his contact favorably , affording the Raiders some cap space . Reggie McKenzie has not exactly gone out of his way to endorse Pryor as the team’s future , as the Raider’s starting quarterback. It now seems likely , that the ten-year veteran , Palmer , will be cut and tossed unto the scrap heap , or quite possibly McKenzie might well seek out any opportunistic franchise , seeking to make a trade for the seasoned veteran.

With the Raiders due to take the third overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft , it seems highly unlikely that there is a need to trade down or up for the franchise . However , what will be needed by Dennis Allen and the organization’s scouting staff , will due diligence being used as it relates to the choices to be made . I am not so sure a quarterback is of the utmost priority for the franchise , as there are gaping wholes that need to be addressed over the team’s entire lineup . How the staff deals with those adversities, will very much be an indicator , as to what we should expect in 2013 , from the organization as a whole .

From a national champion title holder , to an “ overnight bust” , this is certainly how one could best describe Vince Young’s career at the collegiate level and then within the NFL . Never mind that in the wake of it all , the player has squandered the millions earned , having filed for personal bankruptcy, and now in the midst of seeking to make a comeback to the professional ranks . Given the player’s proclivity for being immature , oafish , disdainful of his teammates and simply ignorant of the fact that a coach seeks to guide him , as to how best to fulfill his career goals . I am not so sure, that it would be in an NFL franchises’ best interest to even remotely entertain the idea of giving Young a tryout ! . That being said , it would not surprise me if that perfunctory asshole and Tennessee Titans’ owner , Ken “Bud” Adams , sought to welcome Young , back with open arms . It was Adams’ intransigence and downright stupidity that led to Jeff Fisher’s departure , after the owner sought to side with the often troublesome former NFL player , rather than his well-respected head coach . The aftermath of it all, Young would soon be jettisoned by the franchise , as his play simply deteriorated .

From a national champion title holder , to an “ overnight bust” , this is certainly how one could best describe Vince Young’s career at the collegiate level and then within the NFL . Never mind that in the wake of it all , the player has squandered the millions earned , having filed for personal bankruptcy, and now in the midst of seeking to make a comeback to the professional ranks . Given the player’s proclivity for being immature , oafish , disdainful of his teammates and simply ignorant of the fact that a coach seeks to guide him , as to how best to fulfill his career goals . I am not so sure, that it would be in an NFL franchises’ best interest to even remotely entertain the idea of giving Young a tryout ! . That being said , it would not surprise me if that perfunctory asshole and Tennessee Titans’ owner , Ken “Bud” Adams , sought to welcome Young , back with open arms . It was Adams’ intransigence and downright stupidity that led to Jeff Fisher’s departure , after the owner sought to side with the often troublesome former NFL player , rather than his well-respected head coach . The aftermath of it all, Young would soon be jettisoned by the franchise , as his play simply deteriorated .

With there soon to be an abundance of free agent quarterbacks on the “open market” , Vince Young’s task will become all the more difficult , even with his less than impressive workout at the Longhorns’ Pro Day on the university’s campus playing field . He may well catch on , with an NFL team , either as a third string starter or as part of a practice squad, because I no longer believe that he has the play-making ability or the mental psyche to be a successful quarterback in the NFL ! All of the promise shown at the collegiate level , seem all for nothing , given the years wasted by Young , as he simply became a boorish oaf ! Win some ,and you lose some ! Vince Young has been nothing but a loser , since his entry into the NFL !

The more things change , at times , it is in fact the more they remain the same . Sideshow , performing animals , comical clowns and a high wire and trapeze act could best sum up the New York Jets’ diabolical season . A clueless owner , in Woody Johnson , a coaching staff simply devoid of creativity and intelligence , all of which was led by the self-absorbed Rex Ryan . And the reason why I categorically state that the Jets’ owner is simply clueless ! When you seek to apportion blame upon others, when you have the final decision as an owner on all personnel decisions , and you were said to be indifferent to the signing of a player. It indicates to me , that you are either an idiot , or simply willing to listen to others when their own decision-making has repeatedly come into question.

During this off-season , Woody Johnson bitched and whined that he was pressured into giving the final OK , in the trade that brought Tim Tebow over from the Denver Broncos , to the New York Jets . Heralded by the print media within the “Big Apple ” as a thing of “genius” , the acquisition would prove to be the Jets’ undoing and hoisting even more ridicule not only on the franchise but also upon the now stunted shoulders of the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner . See where I am going with this all , as it relates to the aforementioned winners of this accolade who have simply done nothing of merit in the NFL ?

With the Jets’ front office, now seemingly more unsure than ever before , as to whom is best suited to lead the team at the quarterback position , speculation mounted during the off-season that the organization would simply jettison their starter, Mark Sanchez , after his rather dubious forays of 2012 . With the franchise now having acquired ten-year journeyman and veteran David Garrard . It kind of makes you wonder, what other rabbits Rex Ryan will now seek to pull out of his top hat , while seeking to create the illusion and perception that the Jets are now progressing in the right direction . Suffice to say, anyone who feels that Garrard can provide the roster of quarterbacks already on this team with further competition , having seen the veteran quarterback’s play in recent seasons , has either got to be on prescribed medication or under the delusions of grandeur.

With the tempering rumors, that the Jets may well use their Pro Bowl corner-back , Darrelle Revis , as a form of trade bait to move up in the NFL Draft order , a great many things are now certain to come into play , as it relates to the franchise and the player .

In the midst of this all, Tim Tebow’s future remains uncertain with the New York Jets . A homecoming of sorts , is already out of the question , with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ management categorically stating that they have no interest in acquiring the beleaguered quarterback. There now seems to be a quandary as to how Rex Ryan will seek to extricate himself from a mess he fashioned alongside the team’s former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano , an individual, whose NFL coaching experience , can be best summed up in two words “absolute bull#hit “ !

From my own personal standpoint , what Ryan was able to achieve in his first three seasons with the franchise was impressive . Yet, in the subsequent years , all of the ballyhooed and hype simply cannot hide the fact, that he has become a bloviated ass , who rested on his laurels , rather than seeking to improve New York Jets ,as a franchise . GM John Idzik may well use this upcoming season , not only to assess the roster , but also Rex Ryan and his entire coaching staff . Failure once again , and it is likely , that he will be summarily relieved of his duties as a head coach with the franchise. Ryan’s most pressing issue beyond dealing with the team’s cap issues will be how best to also address the team’s draft needs .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points raised within this article ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1)Quarterback Matt Barkley , center, talks to reporters during NFL football pro day at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(2) Safety , T.J. McDonald looks during Southern California’s NFL football pro day, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(3)Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is hit by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) , as he throws, during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. The Ravens would go on to defeat the Colts 24-9 . AP Photo/Nick Wass …

(4) In this Jan. 6, 2013, photo, Washington Redskins quarterback , Robert Griffin III (10) returns to the huddle after hurting his right knee as he fell awkwardly while throwing an incomplete pass during the first quarter of their NFL wild card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Landover, Md. An injury that sidelines Griffin well into next season is a very real possibility _ or at least it seemed that way Monday, Jan. 7, after head coach Mike Shanahan described the results of tests on the rookie’s right knee following a series of plays in their Sunday game that did additional damage to a knee that was just three games removed from suffering a sprained lateral collateral ligament. AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, L. Todd Spencer …

(5) Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine . Joeckel is being seen as a the consensus # 1 overall pick likely to be taken in this year’s NFL Draft . Yet the prevailing thought with the Kansas City Chiefs seeking a proven passer , Geno Smith of West Virginia could supplant Joeckel as that number one pick. AP Photo / Richard Sasser ….

(6) Geno Smith of West Virginia is seen here going through drills at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana , Indianapolis , earlier in the year. The quarterback is seen as the best passer in this year’s crop of eligible college quarterbacks with their sights set on the professional ranks of the NFL . AP Photo / Richard Sasser ……

(7) There’s always something to laugh about and seemingly find comical , if you just happen to be a member of the Dallas Cowboys . Pictured here , are the team’s under-achieving quarterback , Tony Romo and team owner , Jerry Jones , sharing a few laughs. I wonder what the 2013 season may well hold for the franchise within the NFC East and the conference as a whole . Certainly , it can’t be any worse than last season ? Perhaps it could ? Well , let’s hope so ! Getty Images North America / Christian Petersen …

(8) Raiders’ quarterbacks , from left to right , Terrell Pryor , Matt Leinart , Carson Palmer and Kyle Newhall-Caballero . Newhall-Caballero, no longer on the roster , remains a part of the Raiders’ practice squad. Rumors persist that with Palmer unwilling to restructure his contract for which he is due to receive $13 million for the 2013 season and the team seeking a cut , down to $10 million , he is likely to be cut by the organization . AP Photo/ Junii Kumagawa …

(9) Vince Young on the campus of the University of Texas (Longhorns’) campus , as he prepares for the Longhorns’ Pro Day . The former Tennessee Titans’ , Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills backup quarterback is hoping to make a last-ditch attempt to resurrect his somewhat understated NFL career . Of the NFL coaches in attendance on the day , only the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin was said to have shown any discerning interest. However, rumors now circling around the NFL , are that the Chicago Bears may well bring in Young for a tryout and as a backup to team starter , Jay Cutler . Getty Images North America / Ian Thompson ……

(10) Mark Sanchez(6) , listens in , as offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano confers with head coach Rex Ryan and starting quarterback Greg McElroy (14) , during a game played against the San Diego Chargers at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Also in picture , second string starter, Tim Tebow . The Chargers would go on to defeat the Jets 27-17 . To further exacerbate the franchise’s travails was their poor finish to the season and final standing within the AFC East , a third place finish with a 6-10 record . AP/Getty Images / David Shults ….

(11) From left to right , New York Jets’ owner , Woody Johnson , is seen here with newly installed general manager , John Idzik, who succeeded Mike Tannenbaum , and who was summarily fired by Johnson , after the team’s disastrous 2012 season . AP Photo/ Chris Douglas …….

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Highest paid NFL quarterbacks

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Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Well week one of the NFL season came about with a bang and in some cases something of a whimper given the rather morbid performances of some noted players. Anyone who witnessed the performance of Donovan McNabb in the Minnesota Vikings loss 24-17 to the San Diego Chargers . And though Chargers’ fans may well feel that they can take a great deal out this victory , in truth the team’s performance wasn’t really something to be desired . A seven point win but it was simply the woefully inept performance by Donovan McNabb that surely indicates that the player’s best years are behind him . Anyone who simply felt that McNabb would be the answer to the team’s woes has to be now rethinking that premise .

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From my own perspective , Zygi Wilf and the entire front office of Vikings clearly were sold a “bill of goods” in terms of the McNabb acquisition . As for Minnesota Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier if he has pinned his hopes on the veteran quarterback leading this team to unprecedented heights then he clearly hasn’t learned anything in the aftermath of the Brett Favre fiasco under his predecessor Brad Childress and then last season with himself at the helm as coach of the team. And with the team’s quarterback Adrian Peterson having signed a multi year multi million contract this looks as if it could be a season of discontent for the Minnesota Vikings . McNabb’s stats from this season opener might just be the most anemic a performance of any quarterback in the league over the past five seasons . 7/15 , for 35 yards 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s and you have to wonder what happens next for the now beleaguered player. .

For those of you out there who are intrigued as to who Leslie Frazier may well choose to step into McNabb’s shoes . If not Joe Webb or Christian Ponder then you might as well say that the Vikings’ goose has been cooked . Without an adept quarterback to lead this team then there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of the Minnesota Vikings having a legitimate chance doing anything meaningful within the NFL this season .

From winning the AFC West last season and then garnering a postseason berth the Kansas City Chiefs had sought to improve on their showing last season . Todd Haley and his coaching staff along with quarterback Matt Cassel were looking to bolster their claims that they could be viewed as a legitimate contender within the AFC . Offseason acquisitions and a draft class thought to be the best amongst the teams within the conference and there might have been every reason to believe the claims made by the staff. Well if you have ever seen an anvil being dropped from a great height then the Chiefs’ 41-7 bludgeoning by the Buffalo Bills . If anything we can all attest to the fact that the Bills might well have been one of the worse performing teams in the NFL last season.

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Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

In this game the Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had the type of performance that cast him as the second coming of Jim Kelly the Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame signal caller . There’s nothing to suggest that this Chiefs’ team possessed anything that was the equal of their conference opponents this past Sunday .

Care to suggest how the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to fare over the course the remainder of the season ? But simply base that thought upon the team’s woefully inept play against the Buffalo Bills . If you believe that the Chiefs are liable to improve then simply say “yes” , if not then obviously you’ll say ” no ” .

Mike Smith as coach of the Atlanta Falcons if he’s improve the goal of this organization . Smith over the past two seasons has seen gradual improvement not only in team’s play but also in the leadership qualities of his quarterback Matt Ryan . The player for his part is seen one of the bright young players at the position within the NFL . The Falcons for their part often regarded as a very good regular season team but come the postseason they simply floundered under the weight of great expectations .

In the Atlanta Falcons’ season opener against the Chicago Bears , wherein we saw an onslaught that the Falcons simply had no answer in a completely lopsided loss that not even most NFL fans would could have envisaged . Jay Cutler and his Bears’ teammates mauled the Atlanta Falcons 30-12 leaving the team in a complete daze. I have to admit that of all the games that took place this past weekend the result that I found to be the most surprising happened to be the lopsided defeat of the Atlanta Falcons .

One could surmise that the entrenched battle . between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers and the absolute bloodbath in terms of the adversarial demeanor between these two heated NFC North foes had to be seen to be believed . Seven turnovers and a slew of mistakes by Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger amongst others on what is usually well disciplined Steelers’ team coached by Mike Tomlinson .

To suggest that anyone could have foreseen the Baltimore Ravens laying waste to the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7 would simply be a complete lie . The margin of victory was one thing but for the Steelers to be so thoroughly outplayed had to have come as a complete surprise . Joe Flacco , Ray Rice , Terrell Suggs , Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin simply had a day at the office that they could all be pleased with . And for Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh this might be just the evidence needed to suggest that gutting of the roster from last season and the subsequent offseason moves that coincided with the draft picks was a vindication for the Ravens’ front office and coaching staff that the decisions made were simply the right ones at the time.

It is pretty much safe to say that the NFC West might just be the least competitive of all the divisions in the NFL . Anyone of the belief who simply belief that a team that wins its division with a sub .500 record should be viewed as a team with a legitimate chance of winning the Superbowl must be either satisfied with that type of mediocrity or they simply view those teams as viable within the NFL .

Each season the more I simply take in the events of the NFC West it is the more I feel that the appropriate action to take would be get a paper bag and simply begin to regurgitate the food I may well have ate earlier ! To describe the football being played within the division as mediocre would be to describe a painting by Van Gogh as average . Simply put , it’s diatribe being served up on a silver platter for the fans’ edification , not that the NFL fans should be subjected to this over the complete NFL regular season schedule by the teams within that division. But that’s ….. c’est la vie !

The Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll is amongst the highest paid NFL coaches in the league earning in excess of $7 million a year . Granted , team owner Paul Allen is amongst the wealthiest individuals on the planet but I’m sure that even he and GM John Schneider could have imagined wherein the team would simply have regressed rather than taking a step forward . I have never really thought Pete Carroll to be a very good NFL coach as his previous tenures has proven that coaching in the NFL isn’t within his wheelhouse . But this where the front office executives and team owners simply become at times too enamored with a college coach who’s said to have attained unprecedented success. Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier should have been a clear indication that ………. all that glitters isn’t clearly gold .

The Seahawks were hosted by the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend and the effort put forth by Pete Carroll’s team can be best described as being anemic and completely devoid of any aggression . Funny how a team who made the playoffs last season can now be looked upon as quite possibly one of the worst performing franchises in the NFL , on both sides of the ball. The Niners came away with the bragging rights in the divisional game clearly laying waste to their opponent 33-17 . With the loss of Matt Hasselbeck to the Tennessee Titans as a free agent somehow the coach felt that former Vikings’ quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could be seen as an adequate successor to the seasoned veteran . Given Jackson’s performance in that game I somehow think that Pete Carroll’s problems have now increased immeasurably ! The coach’s options at the position are not that great beyond Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis , so it is hard to view this team as a viable contender within the NFC much less the league as a whole .

It has to be said that there would be no doubt that the Indianapolis Colts would suffer this season with the long term loss of their celebrated quarterback Peyton Manning . You simply knew that this team wouldn’t be the same with his loss. GM Bill Polian and the front office may well have felt that acquiring seasoned veteran Kerry Collins would indeed make a difference but in reality the Colts are not a team that play on par with a nemesis when they simply haven’t got their best offensive weapon at the helm as the signal caller and in truth you cannot expect them to be .

Colts’ head coach Jim Caldwell and the coaching staff may well now have to keep the playbook simple for Collins and the team to have any semblance of success this season . Given the experience and the shock to the system of their season opener I am inclined to believe that the Indianapolis Colts are likely to struggle over the course of this year . The humiliating defeat the Colts suffered at the hands of the Houston Texans was enough to suggest that we might well be seeing the decline of a team who having the lost its leader has now become a rudderless vessel about to be capsized at sea. That 34-7 loss more than suggested how devoid of leadership this team becomes , without Peyton Manning but even more so , when you realize that there was no one willing to step up to the plate and assume the role as a leader . Say what you will , but if they are to fare well this season then someone has to be seen as the new leader on thus team .

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The NFL lockout may well have played its part in the rust we have seen from the teams in their performances in this first regular season scheduled game . But if anything it has to be said the coaches and their staffs had more than enough time to prepare their squads for expectations of what is always expected to be an arduous season . Simply put some of the teams in question may well have performed badly , much of it from their own doing and complete lack of preparation . If nothing else this could well be what we could very well expect over the next few games . But from my perspective these teams on the wrong side of these lopsided losses must have felt that they had been hit upside their heads ! What thoughts if any do you have from this first week of the NFL schedule ? Do you expect to see more of the same or could it be that this was merely a minor blip on the screen for many of the franchises in question ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings in the huddle with his teammates against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ….

(2) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings in action against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images …….

(3) Adrian Peterson (28) of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Donald Butler (56) and Takeo Spikes (51) of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ……….

(4) Quarterback Matt Cassel (7) of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a turnover during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …….

(5) Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills in action during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(6) Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(7) John Abraham (55) #55 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(8) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers scrambles while being pressured by defender Arthur Jones (97) of the Baltimore Ravens during second half of the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(9) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks the sidelines during their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …….

(10) Tarvaris Jackson (7) of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. the 49ers won the game 33-17 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(11) Quarterback Kerry Collins (5) of the Indianapolis Colts is blind sighted by linebacker Mario Williams (90) of the Houston Texans on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34-7 . Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images …

(12) Head coach Gary Kubiak talks with quarterback Matt Schaub (8) of the Houston Texans during a time out against the Indianapolis Colts on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34 -7 .(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images ……..

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Ricky Don’t Lose That Number ………….

Ricky Don’t Lose That Number ……….

Well week three of the NFL preseason is upon us and as of Wednesday night the Washington Redskins remained one of the unbeaten teams within league . No great surprise as not many of us tend not to place a great deal on these games to begin with . They’re merely there to test the consistency of the teams and their play making abilities .

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For Mike Shanahan and coaching staff this has to be something that he relishes in seeing this team play to the best of their abilities . With both John Beck and Rex Grossman seemingly in tune with the offense it’s hoped that the players can overcome their misfortunes of last season . In the offseason Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen saw fit to make the moves necessary to compliment their roster through the arrival of free agents and the NFL Draft .

The Washington Redskins may well find themselves in something of a dogfight within the NFC East should they be able to raise the level of their play and be highly competitive within the division against their foes the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles . Clearly Mike Shanahan believes that after the drama of last season with the inconsistency of Donovan McNabb the coach saw fit to jettison the veteran quarterback and look to both Grossman and Beck to secure the starting quarterback position .

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Ricky Williams answers questions posed to him by the convened press at M&T Bank Stadium after the player was formally announced as the latest free agent signed by the Baltimore Ravens . The eleven year NFL veteran still seeks an elusive piece of silverware to adorn his finger a Superbowl ring. AP Photo / Brian Cross ………

For John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens who hosted the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore , Maryland . This was a chance for the coach and his staff to assess the team after their own off-season moves sought by GM Ozzie Newsome .

One of the more surprising moves of the Ravens was to acquire former Miami Dolphins’ running back Ricky Williams to complement the offense led by Ray Rice . Certainly with all of the changes made on this roster apart from that of the coaching staff in particular with Cam Cameron now the offensive coordinator with Chuck Pagano now the defensive coordinator , both the defensive and offensive players now have a whole new premise as to their play-making. For quarterback Joe Flacco with the weapons he now has around him this season will be a true test of his abilities in set situations .

For the veteran Ricky Williams in what has been an up and down career filled with a great deal of controversy both on and off the field . I can only surmise that the player feels that he still has something to offer to the Baltimore Ravens and the organization’s front office feel that he would be of benefit to the team. Now there may well be many who would question the mindset of Ozzie Newsome’s decision and they may well be justified in their thinking. Granted, with the Miami Dolphins feeling that both Ronnie Brown and Williams were superfluous to their needs some may well have felt that this was a major mistake by GM Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano .

From my own standpoint this may well be the last hurrah for Ricky Williams as a player in the NFL . He may well be productive enough to indeed offer this team whatever it is they seek but I do feel that the Ravens’ best chance will lie in the productivity of Joe Flacco and that of his offense . This season the Ravens start off running right out of the gates with two conference games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and then the Tennessee Titans . We will definitely get to see the character of this team in both events and a great deal more about the Baltimore Ravens , in terms of their overall aspirations.

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From left to right Baltimore Ravens’ president Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome , team owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh. The quartet took questions posed by the convened press concerning the NFL Draft , their own thoughts on the event as well as the NFL lockout and what effect it would pose to their decision making. AP Photo Rob Carr …….

Last season for the team was reflective of what they felt could be achieved , having made the postseason . Their wildcard defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs with the demonstratively easy 30-7 win was met with a somewhat less exhilarating display , with a subsequent loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers —- 31-24 in the divisional playoffs and the chance of making the AFC Championship game. That letdown may well explain the decision by Ozzie Newsome to implode the roster and start afresh with the influx of youth and speed , while at the same time still relying on the traits that has given the organization that it has been known for over the years. A hard hitting defense that’s miserly with points allowed per game and a running game that’s used as and when needed . I’ve no doubt that Cam Cameron will refine the attributes of the offense to get the best possible results and the same must be said of the defense that is now under the tutelage of Chuck Logano . This should be a very interesting season indeed for the Baltimore Ravens and their legions of loyal fans.

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What if anything to your mind has been of real interest to you this preseason within the NFL ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming regular season for the Baltimore Ravens ? Are you of the opinion that this may well be the last hurrah for Ricky Willams as a player as he strives to obtain that elusive Superbowl ring ? Simply leave comment as to your thoughts .

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

Contact tophatal @ http://facebook.com/tophatal or

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(1) LaQuan Williams (15) of the Baltimore Ravens returns a punt against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(2) Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron (L),Jason Murphy (61) , and head coach John Harbaugh (R) celebrate scoring against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(3) Quarterback John Beck (12) of the Washington Redskins throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(4) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 25: Quarterback Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with Anquan Boldin (81) after the pair connected for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Redskins 34-31. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……….

(5) Ricky Williams answers questions posed to him by the convened press at M&T Bank Stadium after the player was formally announced as the latest free agent signed by the Baltimore Ravens . The eleven year NFL veteran still seeks an elusive piece of silverware to adorn his finger a Superbowl ring. AP Photo / Brian Cross ………

(6) Wide receiver Lee Evans (83) of the Baltimore Ravens catches a touchdown pass against defender DeAngelo Hall (23) of the Washington Redskins during the first half of a preason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …..

(7) Running back Ray Rice (27) of the Baltimore Ravens leaps into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Ryan Kerrigan (91) of the Washington Redskins during the first half of a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(8) Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman is sacked by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Baltimore, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……..

(9) DeAngelo Hall (23) of the Washington Redskins returns an interception for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of a preaseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(10) From left to right Baltimore Ravens’ president Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome , team owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh. The quartet took questions posed by the convened press concerning the NFL Draft , their own thoughts on the event as well as the NFL lockout and what effect it would pose to their decision making. AP Photo Rob Carr …….

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Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

If there’s something troubling to me at present it has been the NFL lockout and what we’re now seeing is the very same prescribed idiocy from the NBA hierarchy and owners , general managers and the NBPA . I’ve said all along that I felt that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t the wisest of individuals in terms of being the leading official of a governing professional sport’s body . Whereas , his NBA counterpart David Stern rules with a rod of iron and an autocratic rule that would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud . It has been this asinine notion of that both hierarchies that they can simply plead poverty without showing any signs of clear transparency when it comes to conducting their business practices . If there’s one thing that I believe that the fans need to learn is that neither party in the case of the NFL owners and the NBA owners can’t be trusted to tell the truth !

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The NFL stoppage is now well into its third month and the two sides appear to be no closer in reaching an accord and that is in spite of the joint statement forthcoming from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . The charade has simply become a complete pissing contest as each side looks to outdo each other rather than simply showing some common sense . And the same thing now appears to be happening as the NBA and union are on a path of actual self destruction . Billy Hunter the union executive director and Derek Fisher the NBPA president and the executive committee have stood steadfast in the belief that the league have been less than truthful as to the league’s financial problems . David Stern has stated that the league is on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2010. And while I do not dispute that figure what I do dispute is the mere fact that the owners felt that they could simply get by on being gregarious in their spending as they chased after success. The league has a soft salary cap of $57 million but here lies the sheer stupidity of the teams’ actions and that of the general managers as they sought to simply go way beyond that limit (2010-11 team salaries ) . [( 2009-10 NBA team salaries ) ]

Now as the drama plays itself out for all to see I seriously doubt that the fans really can really align themselves with either party in the ongoing negotiations with the NBA , NFL and the respective unions that they are currently dealing with.

This upcoming NFL season should there be one , will prove to be very interesting with Jim Harbaugh and John Fox now taking over the helm of the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos . Both teams had their highs and lows in terms of last season and their respective records within the AFC West and NFC West left a great deal to be desired by their fans. So much so that if anything their schedules and play may well be met with some optimism as well as a sense pragmatism. Inconsistency and an overall lack of accountability and leadership led to both teams’ failings and misfires throughout much of their respective seasons .

Josh McDaniels as Fox’s predecessor simply couldn’t get the Broncos play with any passion and much of that had to do with the incompetency shown by the team over the coach’s tenure. And it should not come as a surprise that the McDaniels was abruptly fired by team owner Pat Bowlen , with the owner having to endure the coach’s lies and his complicity in an episode that simply dragged the Broncos’ season into further despair. Needless to say that the fans were happy with the coach’s firing and John Elway now coming on board as a consultant with the organization as the team’s de-facto general manager . The team with Tim Tebow now on board as its quarterback will certainly have a great deal to live up as they seek to make their presence felt within the league .

In light of the problems had by the Broncos over last season one now has to ask what John Fox can simply do to make this team better ? Certainly with the team’s draft choices from this NFL Draft and that of past seasons one can see that Fox has a stern task ahead of him . If nothing else if Tebow is now viewed as the starting quarterback then his leadership skills and play will most certainly have to come to the fore if the Denver Broncos are to have any chance of having a successful season at all this year.

I am not about to suggest that the Broncos are capable of winning the AFC West but I do certainly feel that they are good enough perhaps make some noise within a division where consistency has always been a problem for the teams there. The Oakland Raiders with new coach Hu Jackson in tow will always be looking over his shoulder as the front office and team owner Al Davis will continue to scrutinize his every move and decision made . This team has become a conundrum and enigma all rolled into one as you never simply know what to expect from this team from one moment to the next . With the talent on show with the Raiders you simply have to believe that there has to be a turnaround sooner or later . The revolving door mentality that seems to have been in place for the Raiders hasn’t bared fruit for the organization . Since the departure of Jon Gruden you have only but to look at the problems that seem to have manifested themselves for the Oakland Raiders . One would have to be in complete denial to think otherwise , as the organization has simply struggled to make their presence felt . I am sure that the fans believe that with Hu Jackson having succeeded Tom Cable they can only make great strides this upcoming season . I am of the opinion that the team will finally begin to show the signs that we saw throughout much of last season as the team at times showed their offensive capabilities . From a defensive standpoint the struggles were there for all to see .

If there’s one team in the AFC that I continue to be beguiled by then it has to be the Baltimore Ravens ! When this team is at its very best I do believe that they’re capable of being and competing amongst the very best in the NFL . In Joe Flacco they have a quarterback who is amongst the very best amongst at the position in the league and a player whose confidence continues to grow each season . But to solely think it has been Flacco that has been the main reason for the turnaround and consistency shown by the Ravens then one ought to look at the coaching qualities of John Harbaugh , his coaching staff and in particular the play of ageless wonders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed .

The Ravens this past postseason wilted when it mattered most but that seemingly came down to the fact that they were complacent . The loss if anything indicated that while they appear to be on the right path the Ravens are still one or two players away from being a truly perennial contender for the Superbowl . The draft and the continued prowess shown in making the prudent choices that have been of benefit to the organization surely will make them quite possibly a presumptive favorite the upcoming Superbowl to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indiana , Indianapolis . I know that amongst some circles teams such as the New England Patriots , New York Jets , Indianapolis Colts , San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers have to be considered the preeminent contenders within the AFC .

This upcoming season may well tell us a great deal about the direction that this team could very well be heading should there be a schedule to be played. One hundred and six days in and with neither side actually inching towards seeking a quick resolution to this ongoing debacle I for one have become completely resolved to the fact that the season could very well be a shortened one , with there being the usual postseason schedule remaining in tact. The fans are annoyed with the usual statements coming from the respective hierarchies with little evidence to be shown that either side is actually prepared to reach an accord . Simply put , whether or not there is any football to be had then in large part the fans will no longer care either way , as they’ve lost complete faith with the NFL hierarchy and the union.

In the runup to this season’s All Star Game I am beginning to think the teams in with their divisional titles are now focusing on positioning themselves that final onslaught over the ensuing months . Certainly once the events of the All Star Weekend are over and done with , we will see those division leaders simply look to separate themselves from their rivals and those to be in with a chance of attaining a wildcard berth .

I certainly don’t believe that speculating beyond the statements made thus far it’s worthwhile trying to disseminate the information that is now out there to be surveyed . We know the teams are giving it their all with players all seeking to place themselves in a position for the game’s individual awards . As to the postseason itself there’s still a great deal of baseball to be played and it will be interesting to see how things play out over the regular season we before we can begin to think about baseball’s showcase event.

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What points raised within this piece have been of interest to you ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

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(1) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban walks out of the NBA owners meeting without commenting to waiting media, in Dallas on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(2) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter is seen here alongside Commissioner David Stern . AP Photo/ Rafael Montalvez ….

(3) In this undated photo released by the United States District Court , U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan poses for a photograph. Critical thinking and an ability to relate to others plays a big role in the courtroom for Boylan, who is no doubt having those skills tested as he tries to diffuse the tension in the NFL lockout, no more than 100 days long. AP Photo/United States District Court ……

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …….

(5) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 20: NFL player Tim Tebow speaks onstage at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at The Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011 in Atlanta City. The show airs on GMC on Sunday April 24th 2011. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA ……

(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 6-0 at the half. Larry French / Getty Images North America …..

(7) Ray Lewis (52) of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6 . Getty Images North America / Larry French ….

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It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

It’s Often Best To Be Seen And Not Heard ……………

Well with the ongoing NFL lockout you simply knew that ESPN couldn’t live without getting a sound byte no matter how inane it might be. And you can simply count on ESPN to sink to the lowest common denominator to make sure that scenario arises . Reporter Sal Palantonio  in an interview with the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Lewis had me chuckling when he correlated that the prolonged labor stoppage would lead to a rise in crime because the discerning NFL fan would have nothing to with there being no football. I simply wanted to say …” nig_a shut the fu_k up for God’s sake ” ! Ray Lewis knows about committing a crime and actually getting away with it because of the fact that the legal establishment simply obfuscated their responsibility as they often do , when taking a plea agreement or in this case, Lewis simply got off ” Scott free” in the manslaughter death of a victim in a deadly brawl during which two of Lewis’ accomplices actually committed this heinous act . ==================================================================================

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Slide show for your perusal .

Courtesy of USA Today

Ravens’ Ray Lewis warns of spike in crime if NFL season is lost By Nate Davis , USA Today Ravens star LB Ray Lewis believes if the players and owners don’t soon find a way to resolve the ongoing lockout that people outside the NFL’s family could suffer far more severely than the ones squabbling within it. “We really got to remove pride. Seriously,” he said in an interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “There’s no other reason the issue is going on. That’s why I don’t get into words and all that other stuff, because it takes away from life — itself. Man there are people who’s really struggling — for real. There’s real struggles out there. What we’re going through right now, we’re affecting way more than us. “There’s too many people (that) live through us, people live through us. Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.” Lewis goes on to suggest that the livelihoods of many fans and some of the NFL’s subsidiary employees — such as stadium workers — hang in the balance. “Do this research if we don’t have a season,” Lewis says. “Watch how much evil — which we call it crime — watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game. … There’s nothing else to do, Sal.” —————————————————————————————————Click on the link to read this article in its entirety . =================================================================================

Ray Lewis ought to recognize that crime usually goes up primarily because of the harsh realities of an economy goes into the tank ____ it’s now there for all to see. Without a doubt Lewis is either showing his ignorance or he’s merely looking for a way to show that he feels aggrieved because of the league’s actions in initiating the stoppage . And the very fact that the stoppage itself has been legally upheld by a judicial ruling by the 8th District Court of Appeals in Minneapolis , Minnesota he of all people should be concerned with his own union (NFLPA) body has been doing while all of this plays out . The NFLPA has simply been about its own image and self worth while painting the league hierarchy as the villains of the piece . It’s at times like this I’m simply happy that the idiots within the NFL and the NFLPA show that what they lack in common sense is only exhibited by the stupidity that either side has shown in trying to further play to the public’s sympathy by simply looking to blame the other for something that they collectively brought into being .

As respected as Lewis may well be by his peers within the league and some fans across the NFL panacea , I do believe that he could have expressed himself considerably better . Emotional as he may well be about this stoppage , he should remember also that the average fan out there isn’t as lucky to have been attributed with the Lewis’ God given talents and the fact that they would be able to earn a multi million dollar salary each year . And in spite of his image makeover after his legal issues in the aftermath of the trial that took place in the manslaughter death of that male victim by his two accomplices I still believe that Lewis is considerably lucky not to be behind bars ! Were this a mere civilian rather than a high profile athlete the outcome might well have been different. At this juncture there’s not much more that can be really said other than the words I’ve already directed at the Ravens’ player !

We all know the idiocy that has taken place concerning the New York Mets  and the fact that the organization as well two of the team’s most prominent owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon  as defendants are being sued in a Federal Court by the plaintiffs in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal . The plaintiffs are being represented by noted attorney Irving Picard . In light of this Katz and Wilpon have plead their innocence in any wrongdoing and have stated that they are if anything victims of Madoff’s malfeasance rather than being enablers that have profited financially wherein the duo have received in excess of 700 million over the decades that the scheme had been enacted.

Given the grave financial instability of of the New York Mets I found it quite comedic that Fred Wilpon was being critical of several players on this team most notably Jose Reyes , Carlos Beltran and David Wright . Wilpon stated that he felt that Reyes, in the process of seeking a contract extension isn’t good enough to be earning a Carl Crawford type of a contract (7 years / $140 million ) and that Beltran isn’t the same player they signed to a 7 year $119 million contract. Furthermore , he went on to state that the team’s All Star and team captain David Wright isn’t a star in the making or simply good enough to be compared to his cross-town counterpart Derek Jeter  . Strong words indeed for an owner who simply signed the checks on the say so, of then general manager Omar Minaya  . And during Minaya’s tenure it simply wasn’t about attaining players for the sake of it but merely gaining back page coverage in order to compete with the New York Yankees for that coverage on the sports’ pages within the nation’s largest ad market and also on the local television there within the Big Apple. I’ve got to say when you’re that envious, there’s got to be something that you can do better in order to obtain a higher profile rather than spending money so capriciously ! Keeping up with the Joneses ?

This season much like last season it would appear that the New York Mets are simply mediocre and I seriously doubt that things are liable to change anytime soon . And even though the organization sought to bring in Sandy Alderson , J P Riccardi  to head the front office as Exec VP, general manager , assistant EVP general manager it still has me wondering whether or not this will be enough to turn things around for a team that has been engulfed in such an abysmal situation where much of that has been self inflicted by the idiotic personnel decisions made . But it appears even with a new manager Terry Collins and coaching staff in tow it appears that things haven’t changed all that much from his predecessor Jerry Manuel was leading this team. Minaya and Manuel simply took this team to depths of mediocrity and beyond if that’s actually possible . And Minaya simply tried to justify the personnel decisions made that brought this club to where they became somewhat of a laughing stock . Never mind that uber-agent  Scott Boras  and many of his clients made off like thieves in the night as the Mets simply overpaid for mediocre talent .

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Mets owner Fred Wilpon sounds off on his beloved team’s troubles By Tom Verducci , Sports Illustrated New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, as profiled this week in Sports Illustrated, provided a blunt picture of the team’s finances: The team is “bleeding cash” at the rate of a possible $70 million loss this year and his ownership of the team could be jeopardized by the $1 billion lawsuit against him and his Sterling Equities partners. The suit was filed by the trustee of the liquidation of Bernie Madoff’s investments. What does it mean for the baseball operations? In the short term, the Mets likely will cut payroll next year by about 30 percent and give a voice to a new investor that Wilpon expects to introduce in about three weeks — an investor he will treat as a limited partner. Is Wilpon worried that the lawsuit — in which the trustee wants about $300 million in fictitious profits and another $700 million in principal the Sterling partners put into Madoff accounts — could cause him to lose the team? “Not right now, no,” he told SI in an exclusive interview last week. “Because I don’t think anybody thinks that 700 is realistic.” ————————————————————————————————————————-

Click on the link shown to read this article in its entirety .

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At present the New York Mets  6-4 in their last ten games coming off a two game losing streak but they’re already 4 1/2 games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies  (28-18) within the NL East . And as spirited a change as many well have thought might have taken place with the Mets this team continues to perform monstrously in the most inexplicably of ways . Injuries or not the explanation being given by Wilpon as to the team’s present woes while in part justifiable it simply doesn’t go anywhere in explaining how it is that he and the front office have simply let things get to where they are at present . Most team owners I would have thought would desire some real effort put forth by its players even in the face of real adversity . Instead all we have seen from this team is an exceptionally inept organization from top to bottom in terms of its performances both and off the field of play.

Now some might say it is still too early to judge Alderson , Riccardi and Collins at present but if things continue to get any worse I can assure you that the fans in attendance at Citi Field for the team’s home games can’t continue to endure the mediocrity that seems to be part of this organization’s current mantra. Er’go it’s akin to the laughable excuses I’ve heard being uttered when some patrons try to state that because a change are in the offing, it solicits that the changes being made even if they are incremental , will be for the better . Since when was the game of baseball not been about what you’re doing now but what you’ll be doing four to five years from now . And that's especially true when teams are struggling not only from a competitive standpoint but also financially as well ! If one is going to delve also into the business of sports at least one should show the acumen to understand that the game simply isn't just about winning but also being a profitable going concern. After all the owners are simply doing this all out of the goodness of their heart but some idiotic fans seem to be under the impression and that making money is the last thing that the team owners simply want to do !

Fred Wilpon and his partners within the Mets’ organization and at his company Sterling Equities of which Katz happens to be a co-founder have a lot to be concerned with given their reluctance to comply with many of the requests of the plantiffs’ attorney Irving Picard with regard to certain financial documents still in their possession concerning monetary movements between the New York Mets and the financial concern under their command. I get the feeling that Wilpon has made this statement simply to deflect the attention he feels that has been unwarranted concerning his actions and Saul Katz’s as it relates to the financial scandal that has engulfed the Mets and their company ! He may well be justified in calling out certain players but he also should be taking a close look at his own actions in all of this , as an owner , he too has a responsibility to voice his concerns but it was clear that was the furthest thing from his mind at the time when he , in conjunction with Minaya and Jerry Manuel decided to make many of the outrageous personnel decisions that have brought the New York Mets to where they presently are.

As this season plays itself out it will be very interesting to see how things pan out for the New York Mets and the steps that might well be taken by the front office come the trade deadline . Win or lose , as of now , the clock is ticking on this organization’s immediate future and the shape that it will ultimately take. The league hierarchy under Bud Selig may well be watching this all with a great deal of close scrutiny because simply put, in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ debacle , their financial woes and the assault of a San Francisco Giants’ fan, Brian Stow , at Dodgers Stadium . The last thing the game now needs is another black eye to further taint its already tarnished image .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And do you believe that the statements attributed to both Lewis and Wilpon in any way are somehow justified ? Chime in with your thoughts as see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………..

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Lewis seen here in his interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio speaks of what he sees as the ramifications of what he sees will embody and impact this lockout with regard to the NFL fan . ESPN/ Mark Gustaffson …….

(2) Linebackers Ray Lewis (52) and Terrell Suggs (55) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate a play during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America / Dilip Vishwanath …..

(3) From left to right Fred Wilpon , GM Sandy Alderson , team manager Terry Collins , Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon  and team President Saul Katz . Collins was being formally introduced to the public and New York press as the team’s new manager after the abrupt firing of his predecessor Jerry Manuel . Getty Images / Chris McGrath ……

(4) Mike Pelfrey (34) of the New York Mets reacts after giving up a first inning home run to Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  9-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(5) Chris Dickerson (27) of the New York Yankees hits a double in the seventh inning against the New York Mets on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

(6) Mike Pelfrey of the New York Mets is pulled in the seventh inning as teammates Daniel Murphy(28) , Willie Harris(22), and manager Terry Collins (10) look on against the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(7) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees and Jose Reyes (7) of the New York Mets share a laugh on May 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets  7-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ….

(8) David Wright(5) of the New York Mets who’s on the team’s DL sits on the bench during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Mets defeat the Yankees 2-1 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(9) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees (not pictured) hits a home run just over the leap of Carlos Beltran(15) of the New York Mets in the bottom of the third on May 20, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……..

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It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !

It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………….. Triumph Or Go Home !

The wildcard rounds of the playoffs begin this weekend and with a number of games set to get the fans salivating at their outcome . No game might be more intriguing than the NFC match-up that pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the Green Bay Packers . To my mind these are two evenly matched teams that are well coached by Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy respectively. Furthermore even with the advent of the play of Michael Vick I for one don’t believe this is by any means a foregone conclusion ! There’s enough here to suggest even with their records and play late in the season this game could go either way just like the flip of a coin.

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As good as Michael Vick has been playing, his counterpart Aaron Rodgers in spite of his injuries appears to be as tough as they come and willing to do battle in order for the Packers to win. And not only that it’d appear that the Lambeau faithful have taken Rodgers to their heart while onetime hero Brett Favre now remains a distant memory. He may well be still beloved in certain parts of Green Bay but I’m not so sure that holds through for the entire state of Wisconsin much less the rest of the country. This Packers’ team has shown a great deal of resiliency in spite of repeated adversity and when many may well have felt all was lost , they’ve risen to the challenge and this may well be one of the reasons why they could upset the apple cart as far as this match-up is concerned .

Defensively at times both teams have struggled but the Packers might well have the edge in that department . Where the advantage lies is in the fact that McCarthy’s coaching staff will have to deal with the mercurial and enigmatic play of Michael Vick . And as we know given his play this season a game can be turned at the drop of a hat. And I’ve no doubt that both defenses will be rigorously tested by the respective offenses at game time. This may well also become a game of attrition if neither side can find an opening but if it isn’t, then look for it to be something of a one sided affair with the winner showing the tenacity needed to seek out a win.

While many of us will have no doubt question the merits of a 7-9 team making the playoffs the Seattle Seahaws as winners of the NFC West are now there by right. And given what we’ve come to expect from that division within recent years I’m not entirely surprised. Sadly this is now what the league and to an essence the competitiveness of that division has now become where mediocrity is immediately rewarded rather than substance. How else can you explain when teams such as the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with better records but failed to make the playoffs ?

The Seahawks will have the privilege of hosting Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this weekend and it remains to be seen whether or not the reigning Superbowl champions have overcome their recent slump of late. Both teams come into the postseason with a great deal to prove …….. the Saints in proving that they’re worthy champions and looking to make a successful defense of their title . Whereas Pete Carrolls’ team is simply looking for respect and a chance to upset the apple cart .

This game will certainly down to as the stealth of the Saints’ potent offense and how good this Seahawks’ defense is presumed to be. And given what we’ve seen from that defense this season they will have to be at the very top of their game . Having been ranked in the lower echelons of all of the defensive categories this season it remains to be seen whether not they will be able to counter act whatever the New Orleans Saints will be able to throw at them . What the Seahawks will have to their distinct advantage will be a home crowd of raucous fans at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington who will essence become the team’s twelfth man. If Matt Hasselbeck can rise to the occasion and lead this Seahawks’ team with any semblance of competitive instinct then this game could be a great deal closer than most would expect it to be . Discerning a victor from the midst of this all will come down to who has the greater appetite for the win.

With all of the off the field antics and some might say the overbearing personality of the New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan one can’t help but wonder what the coach will do next. Apart from one time proclaiming the Jets the best team in the league this season Ryan has repeatedly put his foot in his mouth with some of his rather outrageous statements. Needless to say fans far and wide have either ridiculed the coach or supported his claims in part. Now comes crunch time for the team as they meet the Indianapolis Colts in a highly anticipated game that’s a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game .

Ryan and his team are certainly looking for redemption and the same can be said too for the Peyton Manning led Colts after their immense letdown in last season’s Superbowl against the New Orleans Saints . Many believed that the Indianapolis Colts would have the better of that Saints’ team on the day but that was clearly not the case as the defense of the Colts was exposed as flawed and extremely slow. Brees simply shredded that team almost at will and nothing could hide the disappointment from Manning’s face at the end of the day. To top it all off we then had the rather asinine claim by Colts’ GM Bill Polian that the reason for the team’s loss was the fact that the offensive line didn’t play well. This was a collective loss on all parts as the Colts were simply outplayed in every facet of the game and nothing can hide that fact not even the infantile rants of the team’s general manager.

It will be interesting to see how this Jets’ defense measures up against the Colts’ offense and how in fact they’re able to deal with Peyton Manning . One thing is sure this game won’t be short on drama whichever way you look at it and if Mark Sanchez is keen to prove that last season’s form was no fluke then now will be the time for him to prove that fact. As he goes so does this team and if he’s not performing at the highest caliber then the Jets’ postseason ambitions could come to an abrupt end once again at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.

In this season of surprises within the NFL perhaps none could have been more of a surprise than the turnaround initiated by Todd Haley and the coaching staff of the Kansas City Chiefs . Having handily won the AFC West where many had expected to make the San Diego Chargers to make their normal late season charge the Chiefs simply held on whereas the Chargers fell by the wayside . Can someone please remind the Chargers that the NFL season is one played of sixteen games and not eight or nine as they and their fans have now come to expect ? Sooner or later it had to catch up with them and it’s safe to say that even with the exploits of Philip Rivers this season way too much was being asked of the player to lead this team into the postseason.

The Chiefs will have the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Ravens and somehow I get the feeling that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed of this Ravens’ team will be baying for blood as they look to seperate Matt Cassel’s head from his shoulders . I’m not suggesting that this won’t be a baptism of fire for this Chiefs’ team but I just hope that there are several fire engines and marshals in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium once this game begins. There’s liable to so much heat brought to this party by the Ravens that I’m not too sure that the Chiefs might be able to withstand the onslaught.

On the flip side of this , the Chiefs offense led by Cassel has a number of offensive weapons that could waylay the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s team. Thomas Jones , Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are liable to give the Ravens’ defense all that they can handle if they’re left to their own devices as they’ve become the main threats on offense this season for the Kansas City Chiefs. And the trio are one the main reasons behind the success of the franchise this season in convergence with the team acquiring both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to take over the coaching responsibilities of the offense and defense respectively. If the Chiefs are to endure then it will come down to the coaching strategies put into place by Haley and his staff and how his team goes about executing that plan.

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Picture gallery by clicking on each individual frame you can a picture in its originally
formatted size.

What thoughts if any do have with regard to the wildcard round of the playoffs and which game do you anticipate will be the most entertaining to watch ? Simply chime in with a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

NB : Click on the link shown to view the latest news in the NFL .

NFL News

Teams receiving a bye are the New England Patriots , Pittsburgh Steelers , Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………….

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Continue reading “It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !”

The Game ……. The Games

The Game ……… The Games

Week 13 in the NFL and there are two prestigious games on this weekend's schedule . One game pits the Baltimore Ravens against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a match-up that will no doubt have grave consequences for both teams as they seek to attain some traction and postseason aspirations within the AFC . Meanwhile the New England Patriots play hosts to the New York Jets in a titanic AFC East battle for divisional supremacy and be viewed as the best team within the conference.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while I’m under no illusion that there are a slew of games that will grab the fans’ attention over the course of this weekend’s schedule and therein lies the dilemma facing fans around the NFL as to what’s on their menu as far as what games will be ultimately of interest to them. But looking beyond these two games I for one don’t really see a match-up that catches my attention . OK within the AFC West the resurgent San Diego Chargers take on their divisional rivals the always befuddling Oakland Raiders . For Tom Cable and this team it’s about a lack of intensity and consistency from game to game . Win one, lose two , win three straight, have the fans believing that they’re back on the right track and now they’re back to the same old routine wherein they are perplexed and somewhat disillusioned with the team’s performances this season . I can only surmise that sooner or later the fans will cotton on to the fact that this team is only willing to beguile their fans rather than delivering the goods. Is there really anything else to be said about the Oakland Raiders at this juncture ?

The San Diego Chargers for their part are looking to shoot down the aspirations of the division leading Kansas City Chiefs and making that division their domain as this season’s champion designate. If the Chargers can pull off this feat and parlay that into a successful postseason then it will augur well for this team and in particular their leader on the field Philip Rivers . The player has had an outstanding season and looks an almost odds on certainty to win the league MVP Award. Other leading candidates such as Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Roddy White though having outstanding seasons themselves their stats pale into comparison when measured against that of the Chargers’ quarterback.

The game between the Ravens and Steelers will no doubt be a physical battle of wills and brawn. And given the jawing back and forth between the players on both teams this could well turn out to be something of a bloodbath as well as a highly competitive game. James Harrison the Steelers’ defensive player who has caught the wrath of Roger Goodell’s office with an unprecedented sum of $125,000 in penalized fines may well add to that figure once this game has ended. He’s made it abundantly clear that his game will not change and that he’ll continue in a similar vein in terms of his play. For the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs , Ed Reed and Ray Lewis this is merely seen as a battle they must win and it’s going to take a brave individual to pick the outcome of this game. With the Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suited up ready to play even though he’s carrying an injury , this game will most definitely be one to watch and it could all come down to the decision making of the respective quarterbacks and that of how sucessful both defenses are on the day. This much is certain for Joe Flacco this will be another test of his progression as a quarterback within the NFL.

On the offensive side of the ball the Steelers and Rashard Mendenall will be tested and equally as well so too will Ray Rice and Todd Heap of the Baltimore Ravens as these two 8-3 teams battle it out at MT& Bank Stadium in Baltimore , Maryland this upcoming Sunday. Make no bones about it there’s a lot more at stake here than simply bragging rights amongst these two teams as there’s a great deal riding on the outcome as to their postseason ambitions.

Gillette Stadium stages what might be deemed the marquee matchup of the weekend as I alluded to earlier between the New England Patriots and New York Jets. As we all know the Jets’ coach Rex Ryan has made it clear that he feels that his team is now the equal of the three time winning Superbowl champions. Be that as it may given the fact that the Jets haven’t raised the Lombardi Trophy in over three decades I can only surmise when that’s all you have stake as your claim then you might as well swing for the fences. Bill Belichick and his team will look to avenge their early season loss (28-14) to their divisional rivals and this ought to dispel once and for all that there’s any love lost between these two teams. Tom Brady has reiterated his dislike for the Jets and I’d dare say that the feeling is mutual from the players on the Jets’ roster ! So the bye product of this all could be one hell of a war within the trenches as these two clash .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Patience and virtue will be of an essence if Brady and the Patriots are to defeat the New York Jets and the defense of the New England Patriots will have to be ready for the onslaught that will no doubt take place as Mark Sanchez , Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller take aim at knocking off their heated foe. The Pats high scoring offense led by Aaron Hernandez , Rob Gronkowski , Deion Branch , Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead this ought to be the chance they seek to put the Jets in what they believe to be is their rightful place and that’s looking up at the Patriots in the divisional standings. With both teams at 9-2 with not only the division up for grabs but also a playoff berth this is a must win game for both teams. And the deciding factor in this all may well come down to who wants the victory more and their unwillingness not to make mistakes in terms of the least amount of turnovers . That to my mind will be the determining factor with this game .

What games amongst this weekend’s schedule as such will have your undivided attention ? And which teams do you think will ultimately prevail in the games being played this weekend ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support .

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………. 🙂

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Erstwhile video vixen and eye candy Jessica Rabbit

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Kanye West …………. “Power”