It’s Football The Gift That Keeps On Giving …. Dependent Upon What You Like ……………..

It’s Football The Gift That Keeps On Giving …. Dependent Upon What You Like ……………..

Week three of the NFL season and suffice to say the league is up and running with a number of teams all vying supremacy within their divisions and respective conferences . Already injuries seemed to played a dubious part to the start of the season for a a number of franchises and nowhere has this been more felt than with the Indianapolis Colts and St Louis Rams . The Colts have lost their quarterback Peyton Manning quite possibly for team’s entire season . In the case of the St Louis Rams it has been their losses though less acute but never the less with a team aspiring to take the next step up the ladder to be viewed as a legitimate Superbowl contender .


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The coaching staff and Colts’ front office are no doubt hoping that Manning can make a return at some point in the season but it would appear that the likelihood of that happening won’t happen until perhaps week 12 or 15 at the earliest . And that would be under the premise that the team is in with the chance of making the postseason . Manning’s replacement Kerry Collins having been signed by the organization has struggled to make his presence felt and that of this team playing with its usual aplomb. Having started the season at 0-2 within the AFC South the Colts find themselves rooted at the bottom of the division with the Houston Texans seeking to take advantage of the situation . As to whether or not Gary Kubiak’s team can prove themselves worthy of the gift placed within their midst remains to be seen at this juncture .

As an avid New England Patriots’ fan the team’s match-up against divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills promises to be one of the more riveting game within the NFL . And bear in mind this is a game between two unbeaten teams , one of this franchises will endure their first loss of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven to be the leader many felt that he might could not be but herein lies the caveat the Bills seem to be proving that last season was something of an aberation . The Bills’ quarterback and this team has proven to be one of the more pleasant surprises of the schedule so far with their aggressive play.

Chan Gailey may have done enough to secure his job for the present because as we all know the NFL season is a long an arduous one filled with highs and a great many lows . I am sure that the Bills’ coach , his staff and team will witness that as their season begins to unfold .

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are no doubt looking carry on where they left off after the team’s stellar display in their defeat of the Miami Dolphins . The Patriots will be without their one of their more potent offensive weapons with Aaron Hernandez having sustained an injury that will keep him out of this weekend’s game. The tight end just happens to be one of Brady’s favorite weapons in his arsenal of productive artillery and Hernandez has proven to be one of the most productive players at the position within the NFL at present .

It would be remiss to think that the New England Patriots have been solely about offense but the team has come flying out of the gates laying waste to their opponents . And as I alluded to earlier the season is a long one filled with potholes that can simply become an even bigger obstacles for the team who simply are not prepared for the long haul.

With the college football season having kicked off with its auspicious start week four promises the fans something special . For the UCLA Bruins under Rick Neuheisel this happens to be a season where everything might just be on the line for the coach . Certainly if he cannot make this team competitive over the course of their schedule and be viewed as a legitimate contender for the PAC 12 title then we may well see the beleaguered coach given his marching orders. Granted , the boasting and bragging by Neuheisel that there is just more than one collegiate team within the city of Los Angeles means nothing when you can’t dethrone that rival when called upon to do so. And that has clearly been the case for Rick Neuheisel’s team over the last few years . The playing field may well now have been leveled with the sanctions levied against the USC Trojans . But you may well be hard pressed to think that will be enough to derail Lane Kiffin’s team as they seek to show the world that in spite of the NCAA probation and punishment meted out this is a program the coach , his coaching staff and AD Pat Haden would like to see continue in a similar vein on the field of play.


UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, right, talks into his headset during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Texas won 49-20. (AP Photo/Bret Hartman)

Neuheisel’s career has been well chronicled and it goes without saying that controversy has followed the coach much of it of his own making . And when that comes into being then so does that coach’s integrity. Let us just say that Rick Neuheisel has been such a man albeit that he has tried to shed that persona in order to prove he is still a capable coach . I have never followed Bruins’ football with any great interest as it has been the mens’ basketball program that has brought about the success of this establishment under the achievements of John Wooden . His feats and that of the players under his tutelage are part of collegiate basketball folklore with multiple national championships and that now heralded consecutive win streak now surpassed by Geno Auriemma’s Lady U Conn Huskies .

UCLA for their part at 1-2 are not looking to good in being thought of as a contender within the PAC 12 and this weekend presents a tough task as they face Oregon State in Corvallis , Oregon in what’s surely to be viewed as a “must win” game for the Bruins . Rick Neuheisel and his coaching assistants know that they must have this team well prepared if they are to have any hope of winning . Oregon State are unlikely to treat this game lightly, as they have something to prove ins showing that they are worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as their instate rivals Oregon ( Ducks) . Whether or not the Beavers can be viewed as worthy challengers to the Ducks remains to be seen . Mike Riley is sure the have his team ready to face the challenge of whatever is thrown their way courtesy of the UCLA Bruins .


Joseph Fauria (8) of the UCLA Bruins fumbles the ball as he is hit by Adrian Phillips (17) and Jordan Hicks (3) of the Texas Longhorns during the fourth quarter at Rose Bowl on September 17, 2011 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

In suffering a humiliating 49-20 loss to the Texas Longhorns in Pasadena , California you could clearly see the many flaws on this Bruins’ team. It will be incumbent upon players such as Richard Brehaut , Johnathan Franklin , Derrick Coleman , Joseph Fauria , Sheldon Price , Tony Dye and the rest of this roster to prove their mettle against Oregon State in Corvallis this Saturday. As these players are looked upon as the likely leaders on this Bruins’ team. If they can acquit themselves by showing the leadership skills and maturity sought then this game is likely to be a close one , however , if that’s not the case then look for Oregon State to steamroll their way to a decisive victory .



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At this point of both seasons within College Football and the NFL the teams have their aspirations as to how they would like to see their year culminate . For the fans it is no different , as they throw their support behind the respective programs at the D1 Level and that of the franchises within the professional ranks . As an avowed fan of both disciplines I am merely hoping that the entertainment proffered up is exhilarating to say the very least . Anything beyond that would be viewed as an added bonus but who can say how things are likely to turn out ? Within the FBS and NFL , what if anything are you most looking forward to in terms of the match ups on offer ? Simply leave a comment on your thoughts on the salients points of this article and anything else you feel is of relevance . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …….

Picture and slide show details below.


(1) This Sept. 18, 2011 file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Kerry Collins making a call over center Jeff Saturday in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, in Indianapolis. Without Peyton Manning spending 30 seconds pointing and shouting at the line of scrimmage before each play, the Steelers say they should have plenty of time on their hands. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …..

(2) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – SEPTEMBER 18: Kerry Collins (5) of the Indianapolis Colts is sacked by Ahtyba Rubin (71) of the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ………

(3) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots looks for an open man against the San Diego Chargers in the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ……..

(4) FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 18: Julian Edelman (11) of the New England Patriots gains yardage during a game with the San Diego Chargers at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ……

(5) Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills throws a pass to Scott Chandler (84) against the Oakland Raiders at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 38-35 . Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images …….

(6) D.J. Grant (18) of the Texas Longhorns makes a catch and run in front of Tony Dye (6) and Sean Westgate ( 11) of the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter at Rose Bowl on September 17, 2011 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(7) Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho (18) attempts to block a pass by UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut (12) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Texas won 49-20 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman …….

(8) UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, right, talks into his headset during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Texas won 49-20. AP Photo/Bret Hartman …..

(9) Derrick Coleman (33) of the UCLA Bruins scores a touchdwon to trail 35-20 to the Texas Longhorns during the third quarter at Rose Bowl on September 17, 2011 in Pasadena, California. Texas won 49-20. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……

(10) Joseph Fauria (8) of the UCLA Bruins fumbles the ball as he is hit by Adrian Phillips (17) and Jordan Hicks (3) of the Texas Longhorns during the fourth quarter at Rose Bowl on September 17, 2011 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

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Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil ……….

Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil …….

No angst here , considering that the NBA lockout now shows no signs of abating and the team owners still solidly behind David Stern in their support I’m wondering how this mess will all be sorted out ? NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the members of the executive committee remain steadfast in not acquiescing to the demands of the league hierarchy and owners .
The longer this impasse remains the more tarnished the image of the NBA certainly becomes .


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Players are now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere it now seems more likely that there won’t be an NBA season to be had which will be to the lament of the fans who simply love the game. Economic strife or not this morass was simply one of the NBA’s own making and David Stern , the owners and general managers are reluctant to admit that very fact. It appears somewhat idiotic that while the league pleads poverty the teams themselves simply haven’t the temerity to rein in their spending especially in terms of the salaries . A soft salary cap of $57 million in place but somehow this all seems lost on those very same teams as they seek the game’s highest prize , an NBA title.

At this juncture with neither side reaching any type of accord it would appear that the union will seek to de-certify and file a legal action against the NBA hierarchy in the US Federal Court system . Mediation is also an option for both parties with a federally appointed judge to oversee those hearing under the auspices of the Federal Mediation & Conciliary Service , a governmental agency within the Department of Labor . The judge’s arbitrary decision would be binding but I seriously doubt that this would be the path that either the league or union will follow.

David Stern like his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell may well have misjudged the tenacity of the union’s demands and the voracity of Billy Hunter’s wish to see his members prevail. The claims of the owners and league appear to be overstated but at the same one has to question how it its that the claims are being made those very same team owners have spent capriciously , merely showing little by way of anything tangible in return.

If there’s a lesson to be learned then it is that the NBA hierarchy can take a lead from the NFL and look to reach a quick accord with the NBPA . David Stern and the union can ill afford to have this dispute be prolonged to the point where the season is irretrievably lost or that there’s a shortened season . In doing so it simply it devalue the game and in particular any type of schedule agreed upon . At some point we could well see one if not three or four of the more prominent owners of the NBA seeking to force the commissioner to take a more conciliatory stance with the union . Certainly team owner Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Jerry Buss , Mikhail Prokhorov, Peter Holt and Glen Taylor would like nothing more than to see this episode ended , much to everyone’s satisfaction. Whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen at this juncture .

With the NFL preseason now upon us , we are about to embark on three of the schedule , we can see that a number of teams have spluttered out of the gates. If there’s one team that I will be watching closely, it will be the Buffalo Bills and the coaching staff of Chan Gailey . Given the problems of this team last season and the inconsistency shown this could very well be the last chance for the coach to really prove his worth .

The moves made by the front office led by EVP& GM Buddy Nix and the draft picks made it’s clear that the Bills are seeking to make themselves heard this season within the AFC East . For and the members of this Bills’ team this will be a test of wills as I firmly believe that many of the veterans on the roster are playing for their very livelihoods and long term security !

Certainly given last season’s results and the final divisional standing for the Buffalo Bills , the fans are expecting something better from the organization as a whole . A 4-12 record was indeed a reflection as to how bad this team actually was and the poor effort shown by the players all-round. Much of the malaise from the team came from the fact that the defense simply didn’t stack up whereby they were in the bottom half amongst the franchises of the NFL . And a more stark contrast in terms of a statistic were the points allowed per game (26.6 ppg) which placed the Buffalo Bills sixth in the entire league . A clear indicator as to the real problems on this team , apart from the ineffectiveness of the offense overall.

Buddy Nix and the coaching staff have certainly made sure that the off-season moves as well the players are drafted will offer a sign of things to come in terms of the all-round improvement sought. Marcell Dareus , Aaron Williams , Kelvin Sheppard , Da’Norris Searcy , Chris Hairston , Johnny White , Chris White , Justin Rogers and Michael Jasper are all looking to acquit themselves during the preseason , as a way of proving to this organization that their faith in them has been justified. The team’s first two preseason games have resulted in losses to the Chicago Bears 10-3 and Denver Broncos 24-10 .

For the Buffalo Bills as an organization , these are simply growing pains as the core of this roster is exceptionally young . The veteran leadership will have to come from the likes of Brian Moorman , Nick Barnett , Andra Davis , Drayton Florence , David Martin and Ryan Fitzpatrick . It may well be Fitzpatrick who holds the key to this all, as the starting quarterback on the team. His play has to improve and be of a consistently high level if the team is to have any real chance of mounting a serious challenge within the AFC East against the likes of the Miami Dolphins , New York Jets and the New England Patriots . If he fails to do so then the problems for the Buffalo Bills over the course of this season could very well insurmountable .

Ralph Wilson the owner of the Buffalo Bills and an enshrinee in the Hall of Fame is perhaps one of the most respected of his peers within the NFL . Long thought to be one of the most knowledgeable of the owners in the league and often viewed as a voice of reason this bespectacled patriarch has now become totally disillusioned with the game and in particular the mindset with the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Wilson , though not voicing his opposition to the latest collective bargaining agreement wasn’t at all happy with the concessions made to the NFLPA and their members . However, having voted to ratify the agreement , the owner felt that this was the best way forward and to have a peaceful accord within the league.

The Buffalo Bills are a proud franchise with a great deal of history which encapsulates Ralph Wilson’s involvement as the founder of the franchise . Apart from the Hall of Famers associated with the team over the years , perhaps their most celebrated achievement were the four consecutive Superbowl appearances under then coach Marve Levy . Unfortunately , for the franchise each of those appearances ended in defeat but it still remains a feat unmatched by another other NFL franchise . There’s a great deal to be said for the accolades that have been lauded upon this organization but the inescapable fact is that the one thing more than anything else the fans would like to see most happen with their team , would be for them to proudly hold aloft the Lombardi Trophy. In reality , it may well be a while before we are able to witness such an event as this team in my honest opinion is still a long way off from where they really need to be , in order to be taken seriously as a Superbowl contender.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

Given the impasse between the NBA and union , do you foresee there being a season within the league ? Or are you of the opinion that the lockout will be a long and protracted event over the course of the NBA calendar year ? What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming regular season for the Buffalo Bills and how do you view Ralph Wilson as the franchise’s owner ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……………

Contact ………. tophatal …………. via the following social media services ………. ………….

Picture and slide show details below .

(1) Maurice Evans arrive at a mid town hotel for a meeting Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ….

(2) Tristan Thompson from the University of Texas greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was drafted #4 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Mike Stobe ……

(3) Mikhail Prokhorov for the moment , a bystander as the NBA hierarchy deals with the now contentious impasse between the league and the players’ union. The Russian billionaire like many of associates are firmly behind the NBA Commissioner David Stern for the present but it remains to be seen how much longer the league is prepared to hold its stance. Getty Images / Jesse D Garrabant ………

(4) DENVER, CO – AUGUST 20: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(5) Running back Knowshon Moreno (27) of the Denver Broncos splits the defense of safety Jairus Byrd (31) , Alex Carrington (92 )and linebacker Nick Barnett (50) of the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(6) Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey argues with referee Jim Mello in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ……

(7) Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Marcell Dareus, center, poses for a photo with Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr., left center, coach Chan Gailey, right, and general manager Buddy Nix, left, before an introductory NFL football news conference in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/David Duprey ……..

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Since When Did Mediocrity In The NFL Become Synonymous With The State of New York And In Particular New York City ?

Since When Did Mediocrity In The NFL Become Synonymous With The State of New York And In Particular New York City ?

I sat and watched three NFL games over this past weekend and in doing so I saw all three teams within New York State literally fall apart at the seams. The Buffalo Bills , New York Giants and New York Jets have respectively seen their seasons simultaneously come apart at the seams. The Bills were ripped apart like a hyena feasting on the carcass of a dead animal. So much so that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots weren’t at all tested by the lowly Bills in an AFC East divisional matchup. Suffice to say that by the second half the result of this game was a foregone conclusion .


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It’s hard to see how this Bills’ coaching staff can return to the organization next season as there’s little to really suggest that this team is actually heading in the right direction. Head coach Chan Gailey hasn’t really been able to gain the confidence of this team and there’s no reason to believe that the front office can truly believe that he’s the answer to what’s really needed for this team from a coaching standpoint. Gailey in all probability will be a coaching casualty in the offseason.

The New York Jets for all of the perceived hype surrounding this team have been literally in a downward spiral since their merciless beating ( 45-3)at the hands of the New England Patriots . And as a reminder to a somewhat opinionated patron of my site who suggested to me that Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez is a player who’s not restrained by the playbook of coach Rex Ryan . Anyone who witnessed what took place in the game against the Chicago Bears really needs to look intensely at the game between the two teams. Sanchez and his teammates were inept on both sides of the ball. And anyone who’s of the belief that this defense is good enough to even to stop the run much less the pass really needs to look at this team in great depth. Not only that but Sanchez when placed under a great deal of pressure becomes like a deer caught in headlights. I guess that patron really doesn’t know what the hell he’s actually talking about as he must simply watch these games through rose colored glasses ? The 38-34 loss to the Bears itself though not entirely surprising adds fuel to the fire that the Jets in recent weeks have become all too complacent and wrapped up in their own belief that they’re now amongst the elite within the NFL . Is it any wonder that Rex Ryan breathed a sigh of relief once he found out that the Jacksonville Jaguars had essentially foregone their chance of making the playoffs by losing to the
Washington Redskins ( 20-17 ) in overtime at Everbank Field (Alltel Stadium) , in Jacksonville,Florida.

Jay Cutler and the Bears’ offense were allowed to run wild all over the Jets and for any of the Jets’ fans out there they can’t be entirely happy with what they’re now witnessing from their team or the coaching staff on the whole. Rex Ryan has to be extremely disappointed with what he’s now witnessing from his team. And you’d be hard pressed to suggest that even with a favorable seeding as a wildcard in the playoffs that the New York Jets would be successful in the divisional rounds . There’s a great deal that needs to be addressed with this team on both sides of the ball.

I know that the New York Giants must be shellshocked after their shellacking by the Philadelphia Eagles . But what took place against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field where this Packers’ team led by Aaron Rodgers had several members of their roster team on the injured reserve list but they simply laid the wood to the Giants and made Tom Coughlin’s position with the team now look all the more precarious . It certainly didn’t help that the Giants turned the ball over eight times during the game with quarterback Eli Manning throwing four interceptions. I guess $100 million in this day and age doesn’t get you a great deal at all ! As to Manning being given a pass because he’s led the team to a Superbowl may well mean a lot but t the NFL nowadays has become more about what have you done for me lately and not what you did yesterday ! The Giants are now in so much of a tailspin that were they in a popularity contest their approval rating would be lower than that of the Democrats and the members of Congress and Senate . To say that the Giants are stinking up the joint would be an understatement as the team now makes fecal matter smell a great deal better than a bouquet of red roses .

The city of New York is a proud one that looks upon its professional sports franchises with a great deal of pride especially when it comes to their baseball and football teams. But in essence what those fans have been witnessing recently now seems to resemble mediocrity to the “nth degree” . As good as the teams mentioned are perceived to be it’s hard to believe that simply based on their form at present that they’re simply good enough to be even thought as being amongst the elite within the NFL at present ! And say what you will about the fans in New York but when their teams tend to play badly rarely at times do you simply hear those fans come out and be openly critical of their teams. Instead they remain obnoxious self opinionated and not always willing to accept criticism when it’s aimed their way.



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What thoughts if any do you have about how all three New York teams have played in Week 16 ? And how do you now see the future of the Giants and Jets as they embark on their postseason ambitions ?

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………..


Eye candy … Rosa Acosta does her bit to enhance this model courtesy of Lowrider


Nikki Lowri shows that she too is a fine figure of a woman !