Change Is Good, Being Willing To Adapt , Not Necessarily So …

Change Is Good, Being Willing To Adapt , Not Necessarily So …

There’s a growing suspicion within the NFL teams , that within the league this season have failed because of a wide variety of reasons . From my own perspective , it usually comes down the same things , injuries and the unwillingness of some coaches adapting to change and the changes which come with the game . In the end it tends to cost someone their job. Clearly, that was the case with the dismissal of Ron Rivera as the Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers . Several games this season were lost by a few meager points while their injury woes continued . The team has been without their starting quarterback of the past few seasons, Cam Newton. In his place, Kyle Allen has stepped up to the plate and played admirably in spells , but at the end of the day , when the team fails , someone had to be blamed and in this case the blame was placed on the shoulders of Ron Rivera . Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney and the team’s billionaire owner David A Tepper will undoubtedly have Norv Turner takeover as the Head Coach for the remainder of the Carolina Panthers’ regular season schedule .

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In week thirteen the Carolina Panthers will be in action against the Atlanta Falcons in a divisional match-up of two failing NFC conference teams. This game will take place on Sunday afternoon.

Ron Rivera might not be the only Head Coach to lose their job by season’s end and the clock is now ticking as to the fate of Dallas Cowboys’ Head Coach , Jason Garrett . If Garrett cannot lead this team to at least the NFC Championship Game , then in all likelihood Jerry Jones will call for his dismissal . Garrett and his game-time decision making has been an absolute nightmare for the Cowboys this season. Other than Dak Prescott , Ezekiel Elliott and a somewhat slower version of Jason Witten , this roster is simply not good enough to play consistent football at the highest levels expected. The NFC East division in which the Cowboys plays, remains the laughing stock of the NFL. A loss this weekend when the Dallas Cowboys are set to face the Chicago Bears , could set the tone for the calling of the head of Jason Garrett.

With the off-season of Major League Baseball now not quite in full swing , the teams are now lining up to ink the names of the marquee free agents now on the market, signing them to new big-time deals . Zack Wheeler was let go by the New York Mets , as the starting pitcher joined the Philadelphia Phillies , whose 2019 season was one of sheer woes all along the way. It will be interesting to see what Wheeler can provide for the Phillies this upcoming season. Seasoned veteran pitcher Cole Hamels is now off to pastures new , having joined the Atlanta Braves after his spell with the Chicago Cubs . Atlanta having won the NL East this past season and advancing the MLB Postseason , where they fell to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS , brought about an abrupt end to their postseason foray . This will be the season where the Atlanta Braves are to be judged by the team assembled under the managerial staff of Brian Snitker .

It has been over a decade since the New York Yankees last won the World Series and with the likely induction of Derek Jeter as the latest Yankee into the Hall of Fame in 2020. You would have to believe that the front office and owners would like to see this team succeed once again. . With a team payroll just shy of $200 million , principal owner Hal Steinbrenner is looking to keep that figure below MLB’s luxury tax threshold . . Aaron Boone as the team manager has yet to make any major personnel decisions adding to the player-roster to date . Their Spring Training Schedule will likely provide the managerial staff time to assess some players who will be invitees and those newly acquired.

The failure of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB Postseason signifies that you can’t continue to over spend and then have nothing to show for it by way of anything tangible. . It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers enter what could turn out to be a wild free agency market of available players. . With Gerrit Cole being among the biggest of the free agents still available , the Dodgers could make a play for the AL starting pitcher who still remains an interesting option for his current team the Houston Astros . It has been over three decades since the Dodgers won the World Series and their postseason sojourns since then have been abysmal . . This year will tell us a great deal about this team it’s mindset as well as that of the managerial staff .

Veteran forward Carmelo Anthony who’s return to the NBA , saw him joining the Portland Trailblazers , where he has been one of the major highlights of the team’s season to date . Over his last six games Anthony is proving that his sea-legs still have a long way to go. As a member of the 2003 NBA Draft Class , considered to be one of the best over the past two decades. It’s still hard to imagine that this player has never won an NBA title . It will be interesting to see how the Trailblazers fare through the month of December and over the rest of their regular season schedule. Their next two games , will see the Blazers in action against the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma Thunder in two consecutive home games at the Moda Center in Portland Oregon.

As the season enters it’s Christmas Schedule , the teams vying for the best records will undoubtedly be looking to prove a point. . There will be five games being played, highlighted by the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Los Angeles Clippers , as two of the league’s best players face off against each other with LeBron James of the Lakers facing Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers.

Well , so much for the New York Knicks and their season to date , with the team among the worst in the league and their record being so bad . It is hard to find a compliment that befits the Knicks , other than to suggest they have some real issues. There is nothing to suggest the Knicks can win their division much less compete within the Eastern Conference. Up next for the Knicks will be a game against the Indiana Pacers at their home court of Madison Square Gardens , New York City , New York.. The team’s Head Coach David Fizdale has struggled to get the best out of his players while the front office is clearly already bereft of ideas. There are rumors now amidst that Fizdale will be fired after the Knicks’ dreadful start . His replacement is likely to someone currently on the coaching staff or Knicks’ President Steve Mills may well seek to hire a former coach, who’s now currently on the staff of another NBA team .

It was meant to be a rematch, with the fans there in attendance for the Heavyweight Title bout between Anthony Joshua and champion Andy Ruiz was meant to be something competitive , Instead , the defending champion , Ruiz put up a poor display , losing the title he won convincingly in their first fight . With Joshua reclaiming the belts , he can now look forward to a possible about against the winner of the upcoming bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder . If the anticipation is what it is , then the potential unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder could be the biggest fight in recent boxing Heavyweight history. I fully expect Wilder to get the better of Tyson Fury in their rematch which is scheduled for the 22nd February , 2020 , though the venue has yet to be set. . In all likelihood the venue could very well be the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vega, Nevada,.

Chime in with your thoughts concerning the subject matter raised.

Tophatal …. 12/06/2019

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Pick your poison …..

Pick your poison …

The NFL season has proven to be a great deal more than many would be willing to admit and now the consensus and debate is whether or not Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton is a deserving winner of this year’s NFL League MVP. From my standpoint , with Newton having led the Panthers to an unbeaten 14-0 season , with two games left to be played . It would take an idiot to bet against the player and his possibly leading them as only the second franchise in NFL history to go unbeaten during the NFL’s sixteen-game regular season schedule. There might well be a sense of foreboding , with the fact the last team do so, the New England , having gone 16-0 , would then fall to the New York Giants in the Superbowl .

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Ron Rivera and his coaching staff have the team playing some explosive football, with Carolina being impressive all season-long with their statistics bearing this out. Yet, this has all been a collective effort from just about every player on the roster. From the rookies to the seasoned veterans , everyone has somehow played a part in what has become a historic run for the Panthers. With two games left to the regular season schedule, it will be very interesting to see how Carolina continues to navigate their season. Singular glory asides, I believe Cam Newton would rather lead the Panthers to their first appearance and victory in the Superbowl ! Newton has performed admirably throughout the season , having set career-bests and now placing himself as a dual-threat and not what one would deem to be the NFL prototypical quarterback .

Passing league or not , the NFL is in need of a player to assume the mantel soon to be relinquished by the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees . Granted , Aaron Rodgers to my mind , has been the best quarterback in the league over the past six seasons has proven himself to be among the elite players at the position and is slowly carving out a career which will likely see him inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio upon his being eligible.

Having gotten the better of the New York Giants in their most recent game , the Panthers defeated the Giants in a close and highly contested contest . The two NFC stalwarts gladiatorial in the contest with it being highly physical. Though Carolina Panthers were victorious , the game will certainly be remembered for the thug-like antics of Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr , whose infantile behavior and lack of maturity , is showing him in a negative light. Throughout much of the game , Beckham was constantly under pressure from Panther’s defensive player Josh Norman and with the receiver having dropped a number of passes thrown his way by teammate Eli Manning, it was easy to understand Beckham’s frustration. However, what was totally abhorrent, was Odell Beckham’s attempt in trying to decapitate the Panther’s defensive back during the game.

While we all know taunting is prevalent during games between opposing players during NFL games , what is now becoming a regular occurrence. is the continued taunting and unsportsmanlike conduct. Beckham was given one-game suspension for his conduct , while Norman went unpunished for his conduct. If the league hierarchy cannot deal with such issues aggressively and adequately, then the type of behavior shown will continue to be a pattern within the game.

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will seek to keep their fourteen-game winning streak intact when they face the Atlanta Falcons in a divisional road game on Sunday evening . This is a game, which I believe will a lopsided contest favoring the road team , one which could end up rather embarrassingly for the Falcons. Though the Atlanta Falcons leads the series 27-14 with the two teams having met forty-one times over the two decades during which the contests have taken place. In their most recent meetings , it was Carolina winning both games in 2014, with Cam Newton prevailing over his divisional rival.

Matt Ryan , the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback will be expected to lead his team with authority. Something, I now believe he is incapable of doing with any degree of certainty , given Atlanta’s rapid decline this season. Thomas Dimitroff’s position as the general manager is certainly being scrutinized by team owner Arthur Blank and I also believe Ryan’s own long-term future with the franchise is in jeopardy. Granted , the Falcons have a considerable sum invested in their quarterback, who has failed to deliver when it has mattered the most and his dismal season , has only further emphasized the issues which continue to dog Matt Ryan as a player.

If there is a “ call to arms “ , which players are most likely to meet the call and lead by example ? It’s said to be the quarterbacks’ duty to lead and his teammates will likely to follow. Of late , I have a great deal of idiocy surrounding, how Brock Osweiler was meant to be the face and future of the Denver Broncos , much of this having been based one game , where Osweiler led the Broncos to a victory over a disheveled New England Patriots’ team. In the past two weeks Peyton Manning’s understudy has shown the NFL he is not yet ready to actually take over the reins from the future Hall of Fame bound player. Denver for its part , has been struggling in recent games , though their postseason aspirations are not necessarily in jeopardy. One has to wonder , if Brock Osweiler has the temperament to lead the Denver Broncos on a deep playoff run, much less Gary Kubiak being able to show real signs of coaching acumen. Kubiak’s postseason record can be best described as mediocre .

This weekend with the teams lining up for their penultimate game of the regular season schedule , it will be interesting to see the end results will be . The San Diego Chargers will kick off this part of the schedule with a divisional game against the Oakland Raiders , in a contest during which both teams will be looking for some form of salvation. Brock Osweiler and the Denver Broncos will have a tough game on their and quite possibly be in for a rude awakening, when they meet the Cincinnati Bengals a formidable conference foe . Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be the guests of the New York Jets in what is likely to be seen as a “ must-win game” for the Jets. There is a very meaningful game taking place on Sunday afternoon, when the Washington Redskins take on the Philadelphia Eagles , with the victor likely in the driver’s seat concerning the destination of the NFC East divisional title. All that you might well need to concerning the division, is that it remains one of the worst in the entire NFL.

Chip Kelly as the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach has presided over the steady decline of the franchise since his being introduced as its head coach . A lone postseason appearance coming in 2013, saw the Eagles fall in the wildcard round of the NFL postseason in a game against the New Orleans Saints led by their quarterback Drew Brees.

A Philadelphia Eagles’ loss and we might as well begin to ask how long before team owner Jeff Lurie makes the decision to fire both Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman ? Clearly, the two inspire about as much confidence as a blind man playing hopscotch in the middle of a mine-field. We know stuff gets blown up , but Roseman has countenanced every dumb move made by Kelly , allowing the head coach unparalleled latitude with his decision-making concerning the team’s roster . Chip Kelly on his best day couldn’t spot NFL talent , much less coach it , if he were given the proper tools to do so. Kelly’s teams in the NFL have lacked finesse and they certainly have no propensity to play defense , but yet there are moronic fools repeatedly jumping to defense, believing him to be a very good NFL head coach. That is about as inspiring as suggesting Roger Goodell has been a great asset to the NFL as its top executive. Goodell has presided over a popular league , but he remains weak and indifferent when dealing with a litany of issues facing the NFL.

Among the top contenders of candidates for this season’s NFL Rookie of The Year , the consensus appears to be Todd Gurley , Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are the best of a really bad bunch of NFL rookies in 2015. All three have had their moments this season in the NFL, but the trio also play on very bad teams who are not even in contention for even their divisional titles much less a postseason berth . I would also throw in Amari Cooper of the Oakland Raiders , but again as before, he is playing on an exceptionally bad team. While I get the fact the award to reward a player for their season-long contributions achievements within the league during their rookie season. I can’t help but feel, rewarding so-called excellence when your team just happens to be bad , is nothing more than giving a child a lollipop after they have finished in the bottom-half of a Spelling Bee Competition !

Would you also like to have some cheese with your wine and continued whining ? There has to be something said when three NFL quarterbacks, having signed multi-million dollar deals have put together a string of performances this season that have you feeling depressed and the thought beyond their being overpaid, you could actually do better. Joe Flacco , Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler are three such quarterbacks, where the blame can be in part be laid for the abysmal seasons of the Baltimore Ravens , San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears . Obviously , all three teams will be in action during week sixteen with the Ravens taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers , the Forty Niners facing the Detroit Lions and the Bears taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. All of these games given their status, should prove to be eventful and at the samepoint last season teams were in the waning moments of their respective schedules.

Head coaches in some cases are coaching with job-survival being on the line and there is no doubt in my mind , we are likely to see several coaching turnovers during the off-season. Jim Caldwell is likely on the “outs “ with the Detroit Lions and similar fates could also await Mike Pettine, Bill O’Brien , Chip Kelly , Jim Tomsula and Sean Payton . It remains to be seen whether or not , Jerry Jones will finally admit the Jason Garrett era must finally come to an abrupt end after another disastrous season by the Dallas Cowboys .

Jason Garrett will prepare the team for their road game against the Buffalo Bills , where Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan is facing an internal mutiny among his players after their lackluster season and not understanding Ryan’s often blurred coaching strategies. It seems almost nonsensical to suggest the number of stories written concerning the calls for Jason Garrett’s dismissal or calls simply for Jerry Jones to relinquish his position as the Cowboys’ general manager. The loss of Tony Romo due to injury , simply added to the Dallas’ woes for the season and essentially place the team on their current path to one of their worst finishes in franchise history in recent seasons. . Jerry Jones is unlikely to be forced to heed the calls for Garrett’s firing , as it would simply prove his mistake in hiring the incumbent head coach as the successor to Bill Parcells .

For Sean Payton and the complacency shown by the New Orleans Saints, is slowly emphasizing what we already knew , having won a Superbowl and the aftermath of ‘ Bounty-gate Scandal’ , there was nothing left in the tank and Payton’s coaching acumen was indeed slipping. Take into account the departure of several key players over the last three seasons and you now have to wonder where the Saints can now go from here . The New Orleans Saints are no longer a match for the Carolina Panthers’ and Cam Newton has to be considered the best quarterback in the NFC South , not just based on this season , but also over the past three years. His ascent while Drew Brees’ steady decline seems to be providing us with a stark reality of what is now happening within the division. Sorry Matt Ryan , but you were never going to be part of this equation as you are soft , softer than a baby’s ass a matter of fact ! Brees and the Saints will seek to redeem themselves when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend, as the two teams meet at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in New Orleans , Louisiana , on Sunday afternoon.

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As the regular season comes to a close, which teams do you feel have been a failure and which teams do you believe will be in the hunt for the Superbowl ?

Tophatal …………

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Death, taxes and other certainties in life and sports

Death, taxes and other certainties in life and sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12) From left to right , John Smoltz , Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling . Quite possibly seen as the three leading candidates to be inducted in Baseball’s Hall of Fame . Randy Johnson a former teammate of Schilling , when the two combined to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to their sole Word Series’ triumph, is also considered a contender for the esteemed honor. AP Photo / John Marshall
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The late Stuart Scott , who died at the age of forty-nine , due to complications from cancer.

A higher standard of what ? More bullshit and then some ? …

A higher standard of what ? More bullshit and then some ? …

.Nothing good can now be obtained from the indifference and lack of consistency being shown by the NFL hierarchy and several of their franchises as they come under persistent attack from the media and women’s groups alike , for their lack of dealing with the issue of domestic violence and spousal abuse. Take into account this has been an ongoing situation , which the league and union (NFLPA) have failed to discuss in spite of repeated incidents involving a number of the league’s players. Commissioner Roger Goodell has remained steadfast in his opinion the league is doing enough to deal with this acute issue , having brought in several women to recommend and in working with former FBI Director Louis Freeh to come up with a credible plan to deal with the matter and further deflect the continued criticism the league has received from almost every corner of the public’s attention and view.

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Unfortunately , this is all too little , too late , when the NFL itself has repeatedly failed to punish players for their egregious behavior , while apathetic fans are calling for the matter to be dealt with purely by the justice system. In large part the US Justice System has far too often failed the victims of such crimes , especially in the numerous cases of sexual assault , where far too often , it has been left for a State Attorney General’s Office to obtain a plea deal from a defendant simply to obtain a guilty plea without having to go to trial , or when there is a judicial case , more often than not , the leniency of sentences applied to such crimes , do lead many to wonder how is justice being served ? Anger management classes and the chance the league itself will actually welcome you back , after having beaten a spouse does make this issue seem to meaningless, when it comes to the case of domestic violence.

These cases have now been highlighted by the incidents surrounding Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens who is now taking legal advice about whether or not he can appeal his indefinite suspension by the NFL. The player will be provided a lawyer by the union , as is customary in such cases, where a player seeks to appeal a suspension . The Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson now finds himself in the midst of a firestorm after his being charged with child abuse charges and his lawyer , Rusty Hardin now seeking to quell the latest allegations that this was not the first such incident of Peterson abusing a child . Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (Rep- MN) has called on the Vikings to suspend the player pending the outcome of the investigation now being conducted in the state of Texas by the state’s Department of Child Welfare working in conjunction with the Texas State Attorney General’s Office . Minnesota Vikings’ owners, Zygi and Mark Wilf reinstated Peterson , having conferred with the team’s Chief Legal Counsel , but have stated the matter remains under review pending the outcome of the investigation ongoing in the state of Texas.

Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers having been charged with domestic violence was still allowed to take part in the Panthers’ most recent game , albeit , head coach Ron Rivera stated he felt the player warranted still being a member of the team. It is clear the league hierarchy have not given teams any indication as to how they should treat such matters and there seems to be no consistency in terms of how the league treats these incidents . To further heighten the ongoing absurdity , Jed Yorke and Trent Baalke of the San Francisco 49ers have seen fit to have Ray McDonald on the team’s roster even after the player recently acknowledged in a press interview with members of the local press in San Francisco , he had in fact been involved in an argument with his pregnant fiancée, where he is said to have physically assaulted her. Whatever else might be needed for the Niners to take some form of action after his admittance, has to leave everyone in a state of bewilderment about the sheer absurdity in the reasoning of Yorke and Baalke . I would suffice to say , the league itself has to be wondering when and where the next incident will come from, to further blacken the eye and image of the league , while apathetic fans continue to gesticulate and make prognosis as to what is still said to right about the NFL.

In trying to now justify the NFL’s stance would be in a similar vein of suggesting the Congress has been prudent in how they have dealt with the economy and pieces of cumbersome legislation passed which has left the country still in a quagmire. The Federal Reserve for all of its prudent gauging of the economy, has created a false premise under which on a daily they are selling billions of dollars in Treasury Bonds, merely to keep the government and the economy afloat while suggesting the country itself is on an even keel. Nothing could be further from the truth , as now being witnessed in the jobs’ marketplace . Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen has to sleepwalk us through the subterfuge her agency creates . The league , likewise , has created its own charade of being able to deal with its own underlying issues , when in fact it is lacking credibility , leadership and where the owners are simply looking for their lapdog , Roger Goodell to steer a course , where the only thing that matters are rising revenues , profits and to take one or two knocks to its image, while what they deem to be an image makeover is nothing more than window dressing.

Week two in the NFL brought about some highs and lows . The Seattle Seahawks were quickly brought back down to earth , suffering their first regular season loss and loss of any kind since December , 2013 . Last season’s Superbowl champions seemed almost invincible in their week one victory over the Green Bay Packers , but somehow the Philip Rivers’ led San Diego Chargers got the better of Richard Sherman and his teammates. Sherman for his part, had little to say after the team’s loss , which might suggest his bravado has been quelled for the moment. How the Seahawks recover from the defeat will tell us a great deal about the team and whether or not there is still justification for them to be viewed as a legitimate candidate to make a successful defense of their title. Seattle will play host to the Denver Broncos this upcoming Sunday in a rematch of their Superbowl duel with the AFC West based franchise.

Far be it for me to suggest , but when a head coach makes the statement , ” we need to get and play better ” . I feel it is very much a warning sign , things are very much in danger of getting worse , with the likelihood the coach’s job might be in danger ! Dennis Allen of the Oakland Raiders has seen his team get off to an 0-2 start and there seem to be no signs of life from anyone of the roster. There were great hopes that they had a player in Derek Carr capable of leading the Raiders as the franchise’s starting quarterback , but the being placed into the lion’s den as a rookie has shown that the player still has a great deal to learn , with the alternatives at the position being exceedingly thin. Veteran quarterback Matt Schaub is certainly not the answer with his best years now in a rear view mirror , rather than being ahead of him.

The Raiders’ two opening season losses have been by margins of five and sixteen points and with the team’s defense being among the worst in the NFL. If those defensive issues cannot be addressed by Dennis Allen and his coaching staff , the possibility of the Raiders being remotely competitive within their division will not be a reality at all. Never mind the fact the head coach’s position is likely to be in jeopardy. Oakland will need to find some semblance of life if they are to avoid going 0-3 through the first three games of their schedule. Dennis Allen will take the Raiders on the road in week three , where his team will face the New England Patriots (1-1) in an all AFC clash at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts ,.

Terry Pegula seems destined to become new owner of the Buffalo Bills, who are surprisingly are off to a 2-0 start within the NFL , with the team responding to Doug Marrone’s apparent coaching philosophy for this season. Whether or not these changes have come about by way of the draft or through free agent acquisitions. There now seems to be a new resolve about the team and the organization in general. Buffalo leads the AFC East , though it is still early in the season, the Bills will seek to make further inroads into the year when they play their next scheduled game , a match-up against match-up against the San Diego Charges on Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York,.

A home win for the Bills would push their record to 3-0 and place them with a very good lead within the division. It would certainly place pressure on the New England Patriots , reigning divisional champions whose own regular season start has been underwhelming even with taking into account their lopsided victory over the Minnesota Vikings in week two. What this might now suggest about the Patriots will be put to the test for Bill Belichick and his players over the course of this season . For Tom Brady , as he approaches the twilight of his career , it has to be said the quarterback remains as hungry as ever for another postseason appearance with a Superbowl victory being the ultimate goal , for the three-time winning Superbowl player. New England’s contest against the Oakland Raiders will give more of an idea as whether not this team is capable of making another postseason ,for which many NFL prognosticators believe the Patriots are once again capable of achieving.

The Carolina Panthers are the only unbeaten team in the NFC South , both the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not looking anything like serious contenders within the division. I have long-held the contention that neither the Saints or Buccaneers can play consistently and both defenses on the pair of teams in question are at best , average , if not worse . Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons continue to disappoint , even if they are now 1-1 within the division. Mike Smith’s job is likely to be on the line this season if the Falcons fail to compete , a divisional title or a playoff berth has to be the goal for the team . Anything short of those goals and team owner Arthur Blank is likely to make the call for the firing of Smith along with several members of the coaching staff . GM Thom Dimitroff may well find his job will also be in jeopardy if Atlanta fails , as he and Smith have been the primary architects of the current roster through the draft and most recent free agent acquisitions .

With Cam Newton being sidelined in week one , the Panthers won convincingly and then followed up with an emphatic victory over the vastly overrated Detroit Lions . From my own perspective , I believe with the disastrous starts by the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers they will be hard pressed to make a real battle of the division and the NFC overall. In week three Carolina will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers , while the Falcons will play hosts o the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans will entertain the beleaguered Minnesota Vikings .

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This NFL season has been nothing short of ridiculous with the audacity of the league hierarchy as led by Roger Goodell and their belief by simply making a number late proactive moves the adverse publicity can be turned around. Having hired Louis Freeh to oversee an investigation and seeking advice from number of women’s groups has been nothing short of idiotic on the part of the NFL. Goodell and the owners have simply lost sight of the mere fact they have done little to truly address prior bad acts of the players , as well as dealing with numerous issues which have affected the league over the years. Do you believe the NFL can recover from the adverse publicity it is now receiving and has the league done enough to deflect the negativity it is now engulfed in ?

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(1) Roger Goodell , beleaguered NFL Commissioner , who has s to deal with the news that two major corporate endorsers are disatisfied with the league’s recent handling several scandals which has engulfed the nation’s most beloved pastime . Billion dollar commercial behemoths McDonalds and Inbev SA (makers of Budweierser Beer and several other global brands) have been extremely critical of the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice affair and other recent headline making news deemed negative for the NFL. AP Photo / Paul Cross …

(2) Prime Vikings owners Mark Wilf ,left and Zygi Wilf see fans lining a second-floor railing Monday in the Minnesota Capitol. Having won the state legislature’s approval for new stadium the franchise now find itself beset by the episode now surrounding the guilt or innocence of Adrian Peterson and allegations of child abuse. Both Mark and Zygi Wilf have made the decision to have Peterson sit out the Vikings’ regular season schedule pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation of the allegations . The player is being represented by famed Texas attorney Rusty Hardin . Getty Images / Peter Marsh …

(3) Carolina Panthers’ defensive end Greg Hardy , who has been charged with domestic abuse and violence , and is now awaiting trial on the charges . The player meanwhile has to deal with negative publicity surrounding his actions as well as the criticism aimed at the Panthers’ franchise. AP Photo / Carol Harris ….

(4) Dennis Allen head coach of the Oakland Raiders is off to another disastrous season with his team playing haphazard football and lying at the bottom of the AFC West division. AP Photo/ Paul McGregor ….

(5) Terry Pegula , the new owner owner of the Buffalo Bills and also owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres . UPI / Tim Matthews ….

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith watches as the team’s quarterback Josh McCown makes a pass during a team practice session. The Buccaneers are win-less and struggling to make sense of their season under their new head coach. Tampa Bay Times / all rights reserved ….

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tophatal ….

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

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What To Make of It All …………………

What To Make of It All …

Well the berths have been set for the 2011 World Series with the St Louis Cardinals representing the National League and last season’s AL pennant winners the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance in MLB’s showcase event. From my own perspective this may well be the best possible scenario with which to end the postseason with the two best teams in the league playing in this series. It should come as no surprise to see that the Ron Washington’s team in the World Series as their play over the course of the season was of a consistently high level amongst their peers within the AL and most certainly in the league as a whole .

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The Texas Rangers made light work of defeating the Detroit Tigers 15-5 to win the ALCS outright 4-2 . For team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels their faith has been more than justified in keeping together a team that was bitterly disappointed after last season’s crushing defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in 2010 . And the asinine belief that Michael Young should have been jettisoned by the organization showed clearly that the fans who claim that the maneuever should have been made had no damn idea what the hell they were talking . Ron Washington and his coaching staff knew that the player alongside Josh Hamilton , Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz are the “heart and soul” of the team . It’s simply asinine to be making these type of statements without having anything to back it all up .

For Tony La Russa and this Cardinals’ team with their achievements from the regular season , it should have come as no surprise what they were able to achieve during with the postseason with their defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS . You simply knew that during the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals once Ron Roenicke’s team failed to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way during the series there wasn’t much doubt that Albert Pujols and his teammates would find a way to make the Brewers pay for those mistakes.

Having won their most recent World Series in 2006 defeating the Detroit Tigers decisively 4-1 in that lopsided series . The St Louis Cardinals face perhaps an even more daunting task this time around when they open this year’s series at Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri on Wednesday in what is sure to be a raucous and staunch Cardinals’ following . On the mound for La Russa’s team will be their starting ace Chris Carpenter . A decision has yet to be made by Ron Washington and his coaching staff as to who the Texas Rangers’ starter is likely to be .

Say what you will the expectations may well be high for this series given what is at stake for both teams. The St Louis Cardinals will be seeking eleventh World Series title , while the Texas Rangers will be seeking their very first . The month of October during the postseason is littered with great feats of absolute amazement that make the game what it is and one of the major reasons why baseball still resonates with the fans . Unfortunately , however , the postseason television viewership for the series isn’t what it once was . And this year will certainly be no different in spite of the fact of the legacies of the two teams competing .

As the rapper Lupe Fiasco says in his hit song ” Words I Never Said “ would suggest Glen Beck is a ‘racist’ and Rush Limbaugh is a racist “. Well who am I to disagree ? But I never thought I would to live to see the day where I am now in almost complete agreement with the Conservative right winger Limbaugh as to the merits of Donovan McNabb as a player in the NFL ! McNabb’s struggles over the past two seasons have been well chronicled most notably with the Washington Redskins and this season with the Minnesota Vikings .

The Vikings this season are a team adrift in the midst of despair and without direction or leadership from anyone on this roster . And that is with due respect to Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson because neither at this point has shown that they possess any of the qualities mentioned . And it is now becoming abundantly clear that head coach Leslie Frazier , his coaching staff and the front office led by GM Rick Spielman made a monumental mistake in acquiring the veteran quarterback . His productivity this season ranks amongst the worst in the league at the position and especially with regard to the team’s offense in the red zone and on “third downs “.

Sunday’s game between two divisional (NFC North) foes in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings , bore out everythin one has come to expect of a Vikings’ team completely lacking confidence and amongst the very worst within the NFC in total defense . The Vikings’ offensive line is abysmal and an aging McNabb is simply doing himself no favors by rushing around like a headless chicken unable to find anyone amongst his arsenal of offensive weapons . The only praise that can be placed upon this team is that Percy Harvin when given the chance can be electrifying to watch . Beyond that, there certainly isn’t enough lavish praise that can be heaped upon this team . Well not from my perspective I believe !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC . As to what the rest of the regular season holds now for the Minnesota Vikings I am not so sure that their long suffering fans are quite prepared to endure the maelstrom of uncertainty and continued ineptitude in terms of the team’s performances !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC .

Well one wheel has now dropped off the wagon that carried the hopes of the Detroit Lions this season . In what was an exciting game between the Jim Schwartz’s —- team and a surprisingly effective San Francisco 49ers led by a rejuvenated Alex Smith . Playing with a great deal of aplomb Jim Harbaugh’s players may well be the surprise of the NFC and no doubt the league this season .

In what was a highly entertaining game between the then unbeaten Detroit Lions would see the team suffer their first loss ( 25-19) of the season at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan , to the 49ers as Smith would rally his team and lead them back to what many may well have viewed as an improbable win . But the game would be remembered for its postgame antics with the apparent now unusual melee between the two opposing head coaches. I say let the two coaches decide their issues in the gladiator’s arena rather than Schwartz talking about a lack of class shown by Jim Harbaugh ! And at present if there’s a more under-rated running back in the league than Frank Gore , then can someone let me know who that might be ? With the ball in his hand and on the move , Gore is a devastating weapon to have on your team . .

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(What could Schwartz be saying to Harbaugh at that moment in time ?) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

It has long been the contention that the NFC East should be viewed as the glamor division of the league . I now feel that the notion can no longer be justified in spite of the apparent legacies of such teams as the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins . If anything the division that could well lay those claims to rest is that of the NFC South and the teams who reside there . Can there now be any doubt that the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are far more competitive than their rivals within the other divisions of the NFL ? Not only that but bear this in mind Matt Ryan , Cam Newton , Drew Brees and Josh Freeman are four of the most competitive and gifted quarterbacks within the NFC and league as a whole .

Granted , at 1-5 the Carolina Panthers are a work in progress under Ron Rivera and his coaching staff . But the competitive nature and athleticism brought by Cam Newton cannot be denied , albeit that they have lost some very close games this season . As this team gradually improves and their confidence grows there is no reason not to believe why they cannot be competitive not just merely within their own division but within the NFL as a whole . I am not so sure that beyond what we have witnessed from the team thus far we will see a team ready to compete for the upper echelons within the NFL.

OK, so we know what the New Orleans Saints are capable from an offensive standpoint and the prolific career of the team’s quarterback Drew Brees. But if there’s a knock against Sean Payton’s players it is the very the fact that on defense they become incredibly complacent and lackadaisical .

This past Sunday the New Orleans Saints were the guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . The game itself was one that pitted two aforementioned quarterbacks in Josh Freeman and Drew Brees . Freeman in his young career within the NFL is proving to be a very efficient quarterback in his own right , with many of his heroics coming late in the games . Josh Freeman has already amassed 8 come from behind wins for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he looks to lead Raheem Morris’ young team on their way to further glory .

This was a game of oddities where the Buccaneers’ much vaulted defense had to stand firm against Saints’ prolific offense . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would systematically deal with the New Orleans Saints in a game littered with multiple mistakes made by Sean Payton’s players . The resultant 26-20 win by the Buccaneers places them atop of the NFC South sharing the divisional lead with this past Sunday’s opponents.

As I alluded to earlier , the NFC South is a highly competitive division and with two teams placed firmly atop of the standings , each with a 4-2 record . Care to guess which team is liable to come out ahead within this division with the exception of the lowly Carolina Panthers ?

Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has been able to work wonders since he assumed the role of head coach from then disgraced Bobby Petrino , who departed from the franchise like a thief in the night . Arthur Blank , the team’s owner had seen the club sink to an all-time low with the subsequent derailing of Michael Vick’s career due to his own criminal misdeeds . Those lean years left the franchise without any direction and signs of any real leadership from within the organization or on the playing field ! With Matt Ryan’s drafting by the team in 2008 , the organization’s route seem to be directly on the path of gradual progression as some semblance of success was on its way. And in the subsequent years since, the coaching staff of the Atlanta Falcons under Smith’s guidance and that of general manager Rich McKay have assembled a roster that now seems intent on winning a Superbowl .

For three quarters on Sunday the Carolina Panthers held their own against the Atlanta Falcons . But as the game progressed it was clear that Cam Newton and his teammates had no answer for what the Saints were able to throw at Ron Rivera’s team . The Falcons at 3-3 face an arduous task over the remainder of their season if they seek to contend with their fellow cohabitants within the NFC South. The Falcons came away with a 31-17 victory over their beleaguered divisional rivals .

It should be interesting to see what transpires within the division (NFC South) over the course of this season and how each team will presumably fare .

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Picture gallery for your perusal. ( By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .)

Over the course this past weekend and the NFL schedule what thoughts if any do you have on the events that took place ? Do you also view the NFC South as perhaps the most competitive division at present within the NFL ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and any other salient points you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A smiling Adrian Beltre walks out of the batting cage as the Texas Rangers practice on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play the opening game of baseball’s World Series on Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(2) Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus , left, and Michael Young, right, laugh as the joke with teammates during practice Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers will play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that begins Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(3) Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington responds to a question during a news conference Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball’s World Series starting Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(4) The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after Game 6 of baseball’s National League championship series against the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Cardinals won 12-6 to win the series and advance to the World Series. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(5) Manager Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after they won 12-6 against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(6) David Freese (23) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores against Jonathan Lucroy (20) #20 of the Milwaukee Brewers on a sacrifice fly hit by Adron Chambers (56) in the top of the fifth inning during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) …..

(7) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Amobi Okoye (91) of the Chicago Bears during the game on October 16, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(8) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb watches from the sidelines the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Chicago. The Bears won 39-10 . McNabb threw for 177 yards, completing 19 of 24 passes. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …..

(9) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to reporters at a news conference at the NFL football team’s facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….

(10) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) …..

(11) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, right, shout at each other after an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The 49ers won 25-19. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ….

(12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tanard Jackson (36) runs with an interception by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) fires a pass as New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) pressures him during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers won 26-20. Freeman threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(14) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints directs play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(15) Quarterback Josh Freeman(5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just gets this pass off against the New Orleans Saints during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

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I Don’t Drink The Kool Aid Simply Because I Don’t Like It !

I Don’t Drink The Kool Aid Simply Because I Don’t Like It !

I’ve never been one for hyperbole myself but it appears that the analysts of ESPN would rather come out with some of the most asinine statements imaginable simply to create that furor media frenzy needlessly . The Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton is off to a tremendous start as a rookie for the team throwing for over 850 yards in his first two games as a professional . Granted, the number one pick overall in this past NFL Draft has been lauded as the best player available of the talent to be had . Opinions being what they are , there is no denying the player is something special but it’s one thing to show that prowess in the college game , within the NFL it becomes a whole new ball-game altogether .

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Now as much as I respect the analysis provided by these individuals simply brought in to host these shows on ESPN but there comes a time when Chris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson make the statement that Newton should be seen as the “Chosen One “ amongst the players that were recently taken in this past draft . As talented as many believe Cam Newton to be , there is a growing belief that until he becomes more attuned to the NFL and his teammates then there’s no way in hell the Carolina Panthers will be viewed as a success in the NFL . Coach Ron Rivera and his coaching staff are in for an arduous season and though playing as well as can be expected the team has yet to register its first win in the NFL . At 0-2 there is a belief that once having notched that first victory the Carolina Panthers might just be able of acquitting themselves well in enough within their division (NFC South) and the league as a whole .

There’s no doubt that expectations were high for Cam Newton coming out of college given the success attained by the player while attending at Auburn . And now that player has to take his talents to the NFL he’s now being viewed as “The Messiah” and ” Prodigal Son” all rolled into one as the Carolina Panthers seek to become relevant in the NFL once again. Rivera and his staff sought to obtain the best possible talent available in the draft to complement an already experienced roster which has a mix of youth and seasoned veterans .

The Carolina Panthers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in week three that is bound to be of real interest to the Panthers’ fans. Jacksonville at 1-1 look to be a staunch test with coach Jack Del Rio and his team facing the challenge of taking advantage of the problems that have beset the Indianapolis Colts and make an outright challenge to the now presumed favorites within the division to win the AFC South the Houston Texans (2-0). As to whether or not those teams within the division can actually take advantage of the woes of the Colts remains to be seen .

From my own perspective , I do believe that Cam Newton can be a success within this league but he’s still a work in progress , as too is his Tim Tebow whose current status with the Denver Broncos seems to come into question with each passing week in the league. It simply has become idiotic to witness the sheer ineptitude shown by the front office of the organization led by EVP John Elway . Team owner Pat Bowlem and newly installed coach John Fox have certainly got to address this issue before it gets completely out of hand and sinks this organization to even lower depths than could be imagined . It is bad enough that the team’s incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton has performed miserably for the Broncos during the first two games of their season schedule .

Certainly for Tim Tebow , he has done himself no favors with his alleged poor performances during team practices but it seems somewhat hard to be believed . Either that’s simply due to poor coaching by John Fox’s coaching staff and in particular from quarterback’s coach Adam Gase or quite possibly due to the fact Tebow was simply coddled as a player by his former college coach Urban Meyer while the player attended Florida . Now while the fans’ calls seem to be for Tebow to be on the field , one simply cannot be sure that the player is a sure fire guarantee to be the presumed savior of this organization . Draft choices asides and the organization’s history in that field , it has been troubling to see the Denver Broncos struggle to make their presence felt within the NFL .

The Denver Broncos for their part have had something of an inauspicious start to the season with a 1-1 record within the AFC West where they sit jointly atop of the division alongside the Oakland Raiders , San Diego Chargers with the winless Kansas City Chiefs seated as the cellar dweller in a hapless division. Kyle Orton and the Broncos next play a conference game against the Tennessee Titans in a match-up that should tell us a great deal about the temperament of this Broncos’ team under the leadership of John Fox and his coaching staff.

Perhaps it’s me but with the NCAA —- football season now up and running is now filled with more scandal than collegiate athletics would willingly care to admit . With Butch Davis having been fired the school ( UNC[ Tar Heels]) is now having to endure multiple sanctions for violating NCAA rules with regard to recruitment violations and several other transgressions that the school’s now former AD Dick Baddour has seen fit to address before stepping down in his role . I am not about to suggest that this will be the last time that we will hear or bear witness to such indiscretions across the collegiate sports landscape . Suffice to say …… where there’s smoke there is fire and there are several schools at present in college sports either fanning the flames or simply looking to put out those flames because of their incendiary nature . Think Ohio State , Miami Hurricanes , Oregon and Boise State and USC (Trojans) ? Let’s just say that until the landscape is cleaned up with any sense of urgency we will continue to see such malfeasance on the part of these schools . Never mind that we have the idiocy of college football conferences simply looking to become bigger by luring teams from one conference to another , simply through sheer financial greed . It has absolutely nothing to do with bringing about a competitive balance because as we all know the system is skewered to favor the teams within the major BCS conferences in terms of college football . Anyone who believes otherwise obviously is living in complete denial !

Now while the various polls are now out there ranking the teams within D1 football , I am of the opinion that until we are at the midpoint of the season we will not truly get a true glimpse of how things are about to pan out over the course of the year ! Certainly the rankings seem to bear out what we have longed felt about a number of teams . Oklahoma ( Sooners) , LSU , Alabama , Boise State and Stanford seem to be the standouts this early in the season . And that is with good reason as each of the teams remain unbeaten but as they get into the meat of their schedule I would preface this by saying that one or two of those very same programs are likely to slip up . Whether it this upcoming week or down the line it remains to be seen .

For myself the college football season only becomes really interesting down the stretch of the schedule when everyone seems to be aggrieved once the BCS rankings simply skewers what many of feel to be to be a brokens system and what is wrong with college football to begin with . We know that the minnows of the game will never truly be given the chance to go up against the big boys within college football . Oh , once in a while when the beat writers and fans alike show their resentment , we may well see the subterfuge take place with a proposed match-up of one of those teams on the outside looking in , as they’re given the privilege of playing in one of the lesser tiered Bowl games or BCS games . But God forbid ….. we will ever see the day of seeing the likes of Boise State perhaps taking on Auburn or perhaps Florida for the BCS national championship . What do you think would happen then amongst the likes of conference commissioners or even an idiot such as Ohio State universtity President Dr E Gordon Gee who still believes that a program outside any of the major bowl conferences is not entitled to play for the national title ? I feel that Gee should simply stick to cleaning up what we now know to be an utterly corrupt athletics program , with both he and AD Gene Smith then stepping down in shame ! I mean only these two assholes could still maintain that they were completely unaware as to the deceit , lies and subterfuge that was taking place that was being orchestrated by the program’s former football coach Jim Tressel ! Imagine that ….. ?

Amongst the presumed Heisman Trophy candidates this season the names of Andrew Luck , Landry Jones , Marcus Lattimore , Kellen Moore , Robert Griffin , Trent Richardson and Chris Rainey are being bandied about . And though there may well be justification for those names to be mentioned let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet . It’s still too early in the season to be making these type of prognostications , so give it a while and let things simply play themselves out as the season progresses .

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I know that Kool Aid can be viewed as a great elixir but in reality it’s all down to one’s preference . Do you like it sweet and mixed in with something else or do you simply drink it , as is ? It’s the same with the opinions that tend to be proffered up by the analysts on tv , so simply make of it what you will ? For myself , I tend to like my drinks shaken (preferably with alcohol) and not stirred much as in the same way as that fictional character James Bond does ! Which are you in that context ? Chime in with a comment as you deem fit with regard to the subject matter and anything else you deem to be pertinent .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Seen here from left to right are ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman joined by analysts Mike Ditka , Keyshawn Johnson , Cris Carter and Tom Jackson . courtesy of ESPN …..

(2) CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers takes the field for play against the Green Bay Packers September 18, 2011 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Packers would go on to defeat Carolina 30-23 . Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(3) Quarterback Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs for a gain against the Green Bay Packers September 18, 2011 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(4) Fans wear jerseys in support of Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos face the Cincinnati Bengals at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(5) Fans dispaly a sign in support of quarterback Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-22 at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……..

(6) Something of an ambiguous sign by fans in support of Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos face the Cincinnati Bengals at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(7) DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos watches a video replay during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(8) Quarterback Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball and as he is sacked by Michael Johnson (93) of the Cincinnati Bengals in the third quarter at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The fumble was recovered by Domata Peko (94) of the Cincinnati Bengals as the Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(9) Wide receiver Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos tries to avoid cornerback Leon Hall (29) of the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(10) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12) of the Stanford Cardinal scrambles to pass during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 37-10 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ………

(11) Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones (12) fires a first quarter pass during an NCAA college football game against the Florida State Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in Tallahassee, Fla. Oklahoma would go on to defeat FSU Seminoles 23-13 Getty Images / Ahmad Kilyan ……

(12) Running back Trent Richardson (3) of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks away from defensive back Ryan Downing (22) of the North Texas Mean Green and defensive back Royce Hill (21) of the North Texas Mean Green for a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter on September 17, 2011 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama would defeat North Texas 41-0 . Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images …..

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Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Week 3 of the NFL preseason and one doubts that there’s anymore that can be learned from the teams within the league . Certainly from a statistical standpoint as impressive as some teams appear to be there’s a great deal to be said for the fact that your starters will get their accustomed workouts but it will be the rookies who will look to acclimatize themselves with the rigors of the NFL.

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And perhaps nowhere will the spotlight be than upon more , than , the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton as he looks justify the faith shown in him by the Panthers’ front office , and the team’s coaching staff led by Ron Rivera . And though Newton has showed his guile and athleticism there has been nothing yet to suggest that he may well be the answer to the team’s needs at the position . The player and his presumed backup Jimmy Claussen now have one more game to prove to the fans and staff in particular that they are ready to embark upon the regular season in with the right frame of mind and the ability sought , in order for the Carolina Panthers to be successful.

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CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

After a rather lackluster and disappointing 2010 season where the Carolina Panthers finished with a 2-14 record much to the disdain of their fans , it was felt the organization would embark upon a major personnel upheaval on both front within the playing and coaching staff. Jon Fox was seemingly allowed to depart along with several members of the coaching staff and this offseason the purge began amongst the playing personnel along with the players acquired through the NFL Draft .

As with any number one player taken in the draft a great deal is placed upon the shoulders of that athlete . They’re often seen as the presumed savior and future face of a franchise and for Cam Newton it will undoubtedly be no different. If the player can have half the success during his final year at Auburn then one could deem it a success for Cam Newton and his new teammates . Now it would be true to surmise that for any rookie quarterback starting in the NFL success isn’t expected to immediate but for the Panthers who have so much riding on the player , that anything short of an 8 win season would as such be deemed a failure for the organization . Granted , as with any team said to be going through this type of transition there will always be growing pains and a great deal of uncertainty not only about the team as a whole but also upon the expectations of the coaching staff , as well. Ron Rivera , it has to be said a rookie coach in the NFL will have his work cut out for him but with his credentials and insight into the game , one would expect the coach to fare well this upcoming season.

Unfortunately , for the Carolina Panthers they find themselves in a tough NFC South division where three of last year’s most promising teams within the conference reside . The Atlanta Falcons , New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot be overlooked as teams that are not capable of holding their own and being competitive in what can be best described as one of the better divisions within the NFL.

It might be at this juncture however that one now begins to question whether or not this team might be capable of usurping the dominance of their neighbors within the NFC South. I do believe that with that even with the changes on the roster , the team will be in for an arduous season ! The six games played within the division will be tough enough without considering the typical conference schedule overall for the Carolina Panthers. And ccertainly the team’s celebrated wide receiver Steve Smith will be looking to regain the form that made one of the more prolific players at the position .

It would be remiss to think that an offense led by Newton and Smith alone will be enough or for the Carolina Panthers to garner any semblance of success if this team is to show any semblance of progress beyond the mediocrity shown last season , then the team will have put forth a collective effort that is of their very best . There’s no denying that last season injuries had beset the 2010 team and as with any organization the coaching staff underestimated those losses to the roster as a whole . And it’s clear as a result of that the franchise ation believes it best to have players complemental and befitting a team that seeks the game’s ultimate prize _______ the Superbowl .

Noted veterans on this Carolina Panthers’ roster such as Steve Smith , Jeremy Shockey , Chris Gamble , DeAngelo Williams , Jordan Gross , Chris Massey and Jason Baker will have to step up if this team is to have any semblance of success over the course of this season.

By way of production shown in the preseason by the team’s young rookies the fans can expect something of note . Cam Newton , much like the players drafted alongside him by the Carolina Panthers have something to prove Albeit , that the quarterback’s own baptism of fire has been somewhat unspectacular . His rookie classmates Terrell McClain , Sione Fua , Brandon Hogan , Kealoha Pilares , Lawrence Wilson , Zachary Williams and Lee Ziemba are hoping that they too can offer something to this beleaguered franchise. If nothing else , it certainly will be interesting to see what transpires for this team as to their overall play.

For this season’s rookies in their first within the NFL this could very well prove to be an interesting year. Undoubtedly, even for the the players taken in the supplemental draft they too have something to prove . Terrelle Pryor in spite of his off field problems will have to justify the faith shown in him by the Oakland Raiders’ front office . I’d dare say that this is one gamble Al Davis might truly believe in, given his past forays with regard to over-hyped talent that simply didn’t measure up to much . With Pryor at this juncture who knows what he may well be able to offer the team ? Their travails of last season were well documented.

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

Certainly with the moves made by the organization and through the draft it has to be said the Oakland Raiders are positioning themselves to have a successful run within the AFC West and conference as a whole this season . The team certainly has the offensive capabilities to be amongst the best within the NFL and certainly within the AFC . If the team is able to reproduce that sort of form over the course the season then the Raiders’ fans could very well be for not only a wild ride but perhaps a shot of making the postseason .

Hue Jackson and his coaching staff must be hoping to get the very best out of this team . There’s enough veteran experience on the roster to suggest that Jason Campbell and his contemporaries are capable of providing enough leadership for the rookies on this team . But if there’s said to be a problem for the Raiders it has the consistent lapses by the defense in particular that of the pass defense that has let them down repeatedly over the course of last season . These are the things that John Marshall as the defensive coordinator will be lookin g to tweak over the preseason while Al Saunders will be looking to fine tune the skill-set of the team’s quarterbacks and that of the offense .

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What traits do you believe Cam Newton has that may well convince you that he is capable of being a success in the NFL ? Or do you believe that he will essentially be a work in progress over the next couple of years ? And are you of the opinion that the Oakland Raiders can be a legitimate contender within the AFC West and conference this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and as usual thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

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Picture and slide show details .
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(1) New York Jets’ David Harris intercepts a pass by New York Giants’ Eli Manning during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 17-3 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(2) Brandon Jacobs (27) of the New York Giants greets Plaxico Burress (17) of the New York Jets after their pre season game on August 29, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ……..

(3) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Gibril Wilson (27) of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a tackle against DeAngelo Williams (34) of the Carolina Panthers during an NFL preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera looks on during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ………

(5) Jimmy Clausen (2) of the Carolina Panthers runs away from pressure while trying to pass during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(6) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

(7) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) meet after the Bengals defeated the Panthers 24-13 in an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Tony Tribble ……

(8) Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson walks off the field after the Raiders lost to the New Orleans Saints 40-20 in a preseason NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ) …….

(9) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Taiwan Jones (36) of the Oakland Raiders runs twenty two yards for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ….

(10) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(11) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

(12) Jason Campbell (8) of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ………
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What In The Wide Wild Of Sports Is Going On Here ?

What In The Wide Wild Of Sports Is Going On Here ?

Well a week from this Saturday the NFL Draft will take center stage and the talent of FBS D1 college football will take center stage. To my mind given the fact that the NFL still finds itself in the midst of mediation being president over by Federal Court Judge Susan Nelson only adds to the stupidity and the naivete of not only the league but also the NFL owners in thinking it’s business as usual . And I know that even with players still making their rounds visiting the teams I can only surmise that the league believes that there’s a remote chance there’s about to the resurrection of an off season with OTA’s , strength and conditioning as well as the current players being able to visit their respective team facilities in order to rehabilitate season injuries . That being one of the situations that has arisen with the fact that the league instigated this lockout.

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The dispute has taken on a life of its own with the fans now feeling disenfranchised and aggrieved and angry with both parties. I hasten to add that at this juncture both Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith might now be two of the most despised invididuals in all of professional sports . If you though that former big league slugger Barry Bonds was disliked then how unpopular do you feel Goodell and Smith are at this juncture ? And with Bonds now having been found guilty on one of the six charges he faced in his trial all that we now await is the sentencing recommendation of the judge in that case , Judge Susan Ilston . All signs point to the fact that the recommendation won’t be the maximum penalty of ten years but something of a narrower sentence that could be nothing more than 18 months or two years at best with the player quite possibly serving the sentence under house arrest with him electronically monitored under surveillance by the Justice Department courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons . From once being one of the most beloved players in the sport to a now a guilty major felon. Could things have got much worse for Bonds over the latter stage of his now infamous career ?

My own thoughts w ith regards to the case of Barry Bonds and the very fact that the Justice Department has spent in excess of $15 million over the course of their investigation and trial all at the taxpayers’ expense leads to me to believe that the subordinates of Attorney General Eric Holder had nothing better to do with their time ! Consider this fact the government saw fit to bail out major US financial institutions and insurance companies to the tune of US$ 1.35 trillion ( US$ 1,350,000,000,000) after their malfeasance in the almost near destruction of the economy from which we’ve yet to still recover . And with there being a projected 2 million home foreclosures due to take place in 2011 alone , do you get the simple feeling that there’s still a long way to go before we see any real signs a real recovery in the economy ? In the midst of this idiocy we now have rumblings as to the fact that US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner may well have done the rounds in speaking with various states’ Attorneys Generals asking them not to prosecute any of the major banks and their executives , in light that , those actions could destabilize the economy . Excuse me ? But since when was defrauding the US taxpayer not a major felony , wherein it doesn’t warrant the arrests , indictment , trials of the perpetrators involved in the crimes in question ? And I do mean that a litany of crimes were committed here by not only these executives, in hiding the facts as to what their banks were doing but also falsifying records and misapropriating funds in the committing of those said crimes. I’ve now got to ask the question at what point is it that the electorate now feels that they can no longer trust this administration its President or the members of both legislative chambers of the US Congress , or more appropriately the House of Representatives and Senate ?. God knows if these assholes can’t even act to do what’s legally right , how the hell can we even trust them act with any sense of being morally right , more to the point have the nation’s best interests at heart ?

As to the NFL Draft itself I’ve about as much interest in this event as I’d have in a lion devouring its prey and deciding how that incident will actually end . Clearly about the only people interested in the event will be the various NFL sports agents out there who’ll be looking to represent their clients . Players such as Cam Newton projected to be taken number one overall in this draft. Whether or not the Carolina Panthers in spite of their numerous problems over the course of last season , it remains to be seen whether or not they will cast their lot with the Heisman Trophy winner and make him their franchise player of the future. I’m not about to suggest that Cam Newton can’t make it in the NFL but given what I’ve seen of former first round draft picks such as JaMarcus Russell whose ascent and fall from grace within the NFL was pretty like a meteorite falling from the sky . Could I have put it anymore succinctly than that ? I think not !

OK so we all know the NBA playoffs are about to start this weekend with the 16 teams now taking part in the postseason. And already there are rumblings as to a number of coaches being relieved of their positions . I’m not about to say I’m not surprised but given what I’ve seen of teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons the likelihood that Kurt Rambis and Jon Kuester will remain coaches in the NBA would come as a total shock should there be a vote of confidence to retain both. GM’s Dave Kahn and Joe Dumars have got to be disappointed with the seasons that their respective teams had but I think it even more of the general managers themselves under achieved with their performances in terms their roster decisions. You simply look at the Pistons and Timberwolves and wonder how bad they’ve performed over the course of the season .

Discontent amongst those within the locker room of the Pistons and you simply got the impression that from last season to this season the Detroit Pistions have experienced two years that they’d simply rather forget. As to the Timberwolves at what point did many of us feel that apart from watching Kevin Love’s performances over the course of the season and record setting season of double doubles . Please don’t tell me that fans were interested with anything beyond those feats of Love and the fact he was an NBA All Star this past season ? Suffice to say the Timberwolves can only hope that they’re in with a clear shot of acquiring the Huskies’ Kember Walker in the upcoming NBA Draft and perhaps their future hopes will be raised somewhat ?
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And here we are and it should it really surprise anyone that the Philadelphia Phillies are 9-3 within the NL East with Cliff Lee recently having posted 12K’s and the twenty first shutout of his career in the team’s 4-0 win over the Washington Nationals ? I’m not about to suggest that the World Series is the Phillies to lose but with the expectations being so high for the team this season if they fail to make it to the NLCS game at least their year will be viewed as a profound failure , damning indictment of the big market teams and their ostentatious spending on marquee talent .

While I know that the baseball team owners and the league hierarchy have no intentions of imposing a hard salary cap . But sooner or later the MLBPA and its Executive Director Michael Weiner will come realize that the game cannot continue down this road without there being several teams being brought to the brink of financial bankruptcy. It’s already beginning to dawn upon owners such as Stuart Sternberg , Bob Nutting and Frank McCourt whose Los Angeles Dodgers have amassed a cumulative $1.2 billion debt and have their creditors now banging at their doors looking for the Dodgers to keep up the installment payments on that debt . Is it any wonder that Dodgers’ fans are baying for the blood of Frank McCourt and the team’s front office executives ?

McCourt’s belief that the team is to do with as he pleases is more akin to a drug pusher user being allowed to sell his product to school children on school property without there being any conceivable repercussions. You simply know that sooner or later the fans will have had enough of Frank McCourt and his antics . And with the very fact that in a recent incident that led to the assault of a San Francisco Giants’ fan at Chavez Revine leads me to believe that the fans will become mutinous . The very fact that the Dodgers have issued something of a less than contrite apology for this incident and that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig or anyone from within his office has issued any form of a public statement on this incident other than to say that complete and thorough investigation will be conducted. Well if that investigation is conducted anywhere with the ineptitude shown with regard to the Mitchell Report then I conclude that the league and its hierarchy will have learned nothing from this incident ! Given the whitewash of that report without there being any blame being apportioned only on the players themselves shows me the naivete’ of Bud Selig , his subordinates , that of the players themselves and these asinine team owners !

The rest of this MLB season ought to be really interesting as it unfolds and from my perspective having not yet found a team that I’ve yet an affinity for . I’ll do my utmost to follow teams around the league with a great deal of interest .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have on the topics raised within this piece ? And if anything what has your blood boling either in the world of sports or on the domestic scene at present ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slideshow details below

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(1) Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds (4th R) arrives at federal court on April 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The jury is deliberating for the fourth day in the Barry Bonds perjury trial, where the former baseball player is accused of lying to a grand jury about the use of performance enhancing drugs. The player has since been found guilty on one charge of obstruction of justice that could carry a sentence of up to 10 years as a maximum under the Federal statutes. Getty Images North America / Justin Sullivan ………..

(2) Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address To Joint Session Of Congress Members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Cabinet (L-R), Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attend the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill January 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. During his speech Obama was expected to focus on the U.S. economy and increasing education and infrastructure funding while proposing a three-year partial freeze of domestic programs and $78 billion in military spending cuts. Pool Images/ Getty Images North America ……..

(3) Cam Newton (right) is seen here with his father (Pastor) Cecil Newton . The elder Newton was caught up in much of the furor concerning whether or not his son was involved in a pay to play scheme instigated by himself with an intermediary and a number of schools within the SEC . AP Photo / Maurice Clarke ……………

(4) Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen (2) looks for a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Panthers would go on to lose 31-10 in the game . AP Photo/John Bazemore ………..

(5) AUBURN HILLS, MI – APRIL 11: Detroit Pistons head coach John Kuester draws up a play during a timeout against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 11, 2011 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NBAE /Getty Images/ John Dennis ….

(6) A fan wears a paper bag on his head during the second half of the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Minneapolis where the Timberwolves ended the season with the worst record in the NBA as they were defeated by the Rockets won 121-102 . AP Photo/Jim Mone ……..

(7) Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis directs his team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Rockets won 121-102 and the Timberwolves ended their season with the worst record in the NBA 17-65 . AP Photo/Jim Mone ………… …

(8) Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee, throws a pitch during a baseball game at Nationals Park with the Washington Nationals on Thursday, April 14, 2011 in Washington. The Phillies won 4-0, with Lee allowing three hits. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ………..

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(9) Catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) of the Philadelphia Phillies holds the ball after Rick Ankiel(43) of the Washington Nationals strikes out during the seventh inning at Nationals Park on April 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ………….

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MLB News

MLB Results from 16th April 2011

Scheduled games for Sunday 17th April

NBA News

NBA results from Saturday

NBA Scheduled games Sunday 17th April 2011

NFL News

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Trick Daddy ……………… ” In Da Wind ”
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Free Fall …….. In The NFL It’s Seen As Mediocrity

Free Fall …….. In The NFL It’s Seen As Mediocrity …

The sad thing is that when you see the free fall from grace of an NFL team it must leave the fans wondering what all went on during that time. To put it plainly, when it comes to no longer being efficient and then losing sight of what your objectives tend to be is to see what tends to happen when there’s little leadership within that team. If you want to make a comparison then simply look at the way the government goes about its business ? From the President’s Office office through his cabinet on down to the House and Senate it’s been indecision and some rather asinine comments as to the country’s direction. Is it any wonder there’s so much partisanship across both aisles and the fact that the country no longer has any real faith in the government and its decision making ?

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Slide-show for your perusal .

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