The what if premise and what could or would, actually happen …

The what if premise and what could or would, actually happen …

By tophatal ………..

A friend and I, were recently discussing the state of the economy and as we know, figures normally offered up by so many of the federal agencies ( Commerce Department) tend to overstate , rather than giving a truly exact figure. Done more so to impress , more than anything else, while the politicians themselves ,seek to take credit for initiatives that they believe , they originally set into motion. Given that, individuals, such as House members Paul Ryan, Senator Rand Paul , Senator Mitch McConnell , John Boehner , Sen Charles E Schumer , Sen Robert Menendez , Harry Reid, Sen Ted Cruz and Pete Olsen , show a propensity for never-ending stupidity , as it relates to economic matters and that , they tend to now work under the premise of what ifs . I wonder, how they might feel , if the public were allowed to use the same premise, by suggesting, what if the US Congress were actually paid on performances by way of productivity and legislative measures passed , that actually prove to be of benefit , by actually truly creating growth in the economy ?

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Slideshow .

Far too many idiots , are under the mistaken belief, that the private sector alone can be the biggest producers of jobs and investment within the economy . Consider the following, US companies are now sitting on a cash-pile of over $3.26 trillion ($3,260,000,000,000) , representing over 20% of the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) , yet , when pressed to broach this subject, about why these corporations are not investing in jobs , infrastructure , much less capital investments , those who espouse a “conservative” opinion , are hard pressed to offer up a concise answer about the reasons why these companies are not investing. They may well point to the buoyancy of the stock market , with their being voluminous activity , by way either major business takeovers or increased profits , but that in of-itself, is not always considered to be a real indicator of a vibrant economy . Apathy on the part of the electorate and the very fact, that the members of the US Congress are not always clear speaking, when addressing the nuances and vagaries of macroeconomics , much less any type of governmental policy, be it, domestic or foreign, in nature. If you were informed, that for every dollar spent within the US economy, forty cents of that, was derived from government spending , one wonders how that might be addressed by those who seek to have massive reduction of spending without being able to suggest where they believe cuts should be made , other than to social welfare programs ?

Unfortunately, the country also possesses a leader , who has become something of a “dead weight” , not only in terms of a policy stance , but the indication is now here, to show that Barack Obama, flits from each issue, like a bee pollinating a flower , while in the hope, that the pollination will be a real success. His initiatives have been very much like that, without him being readily willing to admit to any failure during his tenure . With the mid-term elections now less than six months away , the nation is about to be “sold a bill of goods” , with each side pointing to the danger of electing or re-electing an opponent. It’s pretty much safe to say, no matter who gets elected or reelected , things are unlikely to change , as the status quo within both legislative chambers is likely to remain the same. The only thing, that actually separates a “Liberal” from a Conservative “ , just happens to be the depth of their deceit and corruptible practices . Altruism, simply goes out the door, once these officials have been elected to both chambers of the congress !

The NFL’s not so quiet off-season, has led to a stream of player movement , with veterans well as second and third year players, now finding a new home to display their skill-set. Granted, the contracts are not as steep, but , there have been cases, where some players have remained with their teams, having signed a contract extension . The Chicago Bears having rid themselves of Julius Peppers , somehow then saw fit to offer their veteran quarterback , Jay Cutler a seven-year $126 million contract , therein making Cutler the highest paid player in the NFL. Now take into account, that Jay Cutler’s playoff record has been far from stellar . In two playoff appearances, during the Bears 2010 playoff run , the player bears a 1-1 record, for which those performances, can best be described as being downright mediocre. GM Phil Emery and the Bears’ front office , were either of the opinion, that they can rally behind Cutler, with regard to the franchise’s future , with his being their best option to lead them to their goal of a Superbowl victory. Or they may well have felt that the player might well have been inclined to seek a trade ,with their being growing disillusionment among the fans of his not being able to lead the team deep into the postseason. A necessary trait that is desired, with any quarterback, seeking to lead a team to a Superbowl victory and Cutler, is no different from any of his peers within the game today.

The Chicago Bears, were far from convincing in 2013, having finished the season with an 8-8 record within the NFC North under head coach Marc Trestman . Many of their travails, stemmed from the inconsistency of the offense and their lackadaisical approach on defense . Yet, for those who remain stoic believers in Jay Cutler’s skill-set , I would suggest that at this stage of the eight year veteran’s career in the NFL, they begin to review the premise that he is indeed one of the better quarterbacks in the league.

Trestman I believe, will be able to correct the issues concerning his team, but with the off-season moves made by the organization, make the necessary room available via cap space available, to lure free agents and at the same time, be in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft. Chicago’s wants, are likely to encompass the need for a pass rusher, and one or two , defensive linemen. Yet, at the end of the day, that is by no means a certainty of where Marc Trestman, the coaching staff and front office are likely to discuss their primary focus in terms of the team’s requirements.

Last season’s dismal performance in the Superbowl , still looms large over not only Peyton Manning , but also over the remaining cast of teammates, still on the roster . The Broncos’ lopsided loss to the rampaging Seattle Seahawks, led by sophomore quarterback Russell Wilson , sent a somber reminder that just because, you are viewed as one of the all-time greats , it does not make you invincible . The fact that the two combatants in last season’s NFL finale, were deemed to be the two best teams , not solely based on their records alone , but also statistically, in terms of defense and offense. What the viewing fans were subjected to, via the live television broadcast , with tens of millions watching nationally and estimated 1.3 billion watching worldwide , might well have been the biggest ” black eye “ that the NFL has suffered in recent years , if it was the intention of the league hierarchy to sell that particular game as branded product” . If anything, it was simply an eyesore of unquantifiable magnitude . Suffice to say, Manning may well have given one of his worst postseason performances ever, but the action served up by his teammates was equally inept in terms of measure and substance . John Fox and his coaching staff may well need to look at the team’s secondary and assess the numerous areas, where they allowed the Seahawks tear through many of their flaws , warts and all.

The 2014 NFL season may well provide the fans of the league, the very last chance, to see the best both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, as they make one more tilt at adding to their respective postseason and Superbowl legacies . I do believe, that they are both capable of taking their teams back to the postseason, but the question remains, will they each, have enough in the tank, to actually get the job done ?

It does not pain me to say this, but there is a great deal of bull#hit, to be found within the blogging world , especially when it comes to the area of sports, and the very fact that many of the opinions being put down, are either half-baked, without merit or any common sense whatsoever ! With the recent acquisitions of wide receiver Eric Decker and running back Chris Johnson, one blogging contributor tried to suggest that overnight the New York Jets would immediately become a credible favorite to win the AFC East , because of the offensive firepower provided by both players. Now while I believe both Decker and Johnson, to be very good players at their respective positions, but I think that the contributor simply overlooked the fact about the Jets’ quarterback just happened to be last season. Anyone of the belief , that rookie Geno Smith had a very good year and was among the best of the rookie quarterbacks who saw action during 2013 , must be sadly mistaken, if they were under the impression that the AFC East signal caller was among the best of the rookies in question . Learning from one’s mistakes, actually shows signs of growth, but there was none to be seen from Smith over the course of the season.

Rex Ryan as head coach of the New York Jets, went through a tumultuous season in 2013, bedeviled by the fact, he had to deal with the issues of Mark Sanchez, .who has since departed from the Jets’ organization . Ryan failed to curtailed the exuberance and lack of understanding by his incumbent starting quarterback , and it was clear that beyond his own future being in jeopardy, along with that of his entire coaching staff , in particular quarterbacks’ coach David Lee , whose obvious tutelage of Smith left a great deal to be desired. How this all could be overlooked by the blogger who was seeking to show that the Jets’ quarterback was growing stature , leads me to believe that he simply lacked an original idea , much less the intelligence to see the obvious. Smith may have had a great college career, being among the very best, during his final year at West Virginia (Mountaineers) . But that in of-itself, has not been enough to remotely suggest that there is likely to be an improvement in his play during this upcoming season.

It would be fair to suggest, that since their appearance in the Superbowl in 2003 , with Bill Callahan , then as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders . In the aftermath of that loss, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things have simply spiraled out of control for the once venerable and well-respected franchise. The coaching turnovers instigated by then owner Al Davis , his later death, with the passing of ownership to his son, Mark Davis . Yet, things continue to be as mediocre as it has ever been on all fronts , within the front office , to the personnel decisions being as it relates the draft and their ongoing acquisitions. The era of Carson Palmer, came and went without anyone actually noticing a damn thing ! As to the belief that All Pro Defensive player Nnamdi Asomugha was to be that game-changer that Raiders’ fans claimed him to be, well, let us just say, that Asmougha’s retirement from the game after something of a lackluster career, can only be highlighted by the fact, he is now married to one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses , in Kerry Washington.

In 2013, Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen struggled to get his team playing with any measure of competitiveness , never-mind, that within the AFC West , with the now resurgent Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers to go alongside the dominant Denver Broncos made things all the more difficult within the division , for the beleaguered franchise. Defensively, the Raiders were nonplussed, performing with the modicum of mediocrity, one would come to expect of a franchise that has become one of the “major laughing stocks” of the NFL over the past decade . Not to be left out of the equation, was the absurdity of seeing the Raiders’ offense in motion. Coming off, a 4-12 season , it is easy to understand why the Oakland Raiders have continued to struggle over the past decade . There has been no form of leadership on the roster or from anyone on the coaching staff , along with the hyperbole over players such as Darren McFadden , Terrelle Pryor , Marcel Reese , Denarius Moore, Jeron Mastrud , Jason Hunter, LaMarr Houston , Nick Roach , Tracy Porter , Mike Jenkins and veteran Charles Woodson , whose best years are now behind him, that his best view , would come by use of rear view mirror !

For the hyperbole surrounding Terrelle Pryor, during his collegiate career at Ohio State (Buckeyes) , under the now disgraced former head coach , Jim Tressel . There is no denying the fact , that while the player is immensely talented , his lack of maturity and integrity , sullied his reputation and chance of being a high draft pick , had he declared for the NFL Draft under the usual circumstances. Instead , the quarterback was taken in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Oakland Raiders , with the thought that he would hone his craft , become a productive player in the NFL . If nothing else, there have been glimpses of brilliance from the player , but rarely anything, to really suggest that he is capable of leading a team at the highest level. Now after merely two years in the league, Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis, have made the decision that the Terrelle Pryor reign in Oakland , must now come to an immediate end. Pryor for his part, has landed on his feet, having been picked up by Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, where in all likelihood, Pryor is likely to be the third on the team’s depth chart behind Russell Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson . One cannot help but wonder, about what might have been, had Terrelle Pryor simply shown the promise seen at the collegiate level during his time with the Buckeyes. Instead, another overrated quarterback, falls by the wayside , though not yet on the scrap-heap , littered with passers, we have seen come and go over the past ten years within the NFL.

There has been a great deal written , in the lead-up the NFL Draft, as to whom , the prospective number one overall draft pick is likely to be. Now to my mind, in spite of the prestige that comes with such a choice for the team, said to be privileged with making that decision. The choice itself, does have its pratfalls, because a great deal , is not only made of that decision, but also of the financial outlay that is likely to be costly for a franchise, albeit, that there is now a rookie salary scale, now in place within the NFL , unlike from earlier years , past. In 2007, JaMarcus Russell , then the number one pick by the Oakland Raiders in the draft of that year , was afforded a rookie contract, that was nothing short of astonishing , as Al Davis made the decision to give the former LSU Tigers’ quarterback, a six-year $61 million deal , with $32 million in guaranteed money . Russell’s career began in a bluster and simply fizzled during the later years , with his offering nothing of substance during his stay in the NFL . Once again, the Raiders go out on a flier , taking a high risk player , without obtaining anything tangible in return, for the fruits of their labor. Due diligence and intelligence, is not something that is likely to be found in abundance within the Raiders’ organization and certainly not during the latter years of Al Davis’ reign or during that of his son , working with Reggie McKenzie.

The agents for Johnny Manziel , Jadeveon Clowney , Blake Bortles , Greg Robinson and Khalil Mack , are likely to be working frantically, to have their client be viewed as that desired number one pick , as well as being, the type of player, that a franchise can build around. Rarely, is that the case, with a number one pick in the NFL Draft, but there is always the exception to the rule. A case can be made that, Eli Manning in 2004 and Andrew Luck in 2012 , were the last two number one picks in the NFL Draft who can be looked upon as being picks, that have paid off hugely in terms of the dividends returned for their respective teams in the past eight years . Though this past season , Eli Manning and the New York Giants were an immense disappointment within the NFC East and the conference in its entirety . The thought, that the front office is now said to be considering demoting their two-time Superbowl winning quarterback and their drafting his heir-apparent, does seem nonsensical , when you consider the woes of the team were not solely Manning’s alone .

Nine years after the fallout, from Eli Manning’s refusal to go the San Diego Chargers, it does seem somewhat fortuitous , how the paths of Manning and Philip Rivers have remained intertwined , for right and wrong reasons, but one could also point to the fact, that their paths have also been exemplary , in terms of the success attained and the productivity of their respective careers .

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Picture gallery .

What do you expect to see during this off-season in the lead-up to the NFL Draft and do you believe that a number one pick is a likely guarantee of success for an NFL franchise ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be relevant to the topic, as you see fit?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) From left to right , Congress members , Sen Lamar Alexander , Eric Cantor , House Majority Leader , John Boehner , Sen Charles Schumer , Nancy Pelosi and Sen Harry Reid . Bilateral agreements now seem to be a thing of the past in Congress, but most certainly, a photo opportunity can never be missed by the members of the House and Senate . Getty Images North America/ Phil Thatcher …..

(2) Two of the NFL’s leading pass rushers and defensive linemen , left Julius Peppers , formerly of the Chicago Bears and now a member of the Green Bay Packers . Pictured with Peppers is Jared Allen (69) , whose departure from the Minnesota Vikings to remain in the NFC North , having signed with the Bears. The rivalry between these two players will continue as both seek to climb up the ladder , as each seeks to make a dent in the active sacks’ mark , where the all-time record is held by Hall of Famer …. Bruce Smith with 200 sacks . AP Photo/ Kevin Freeman ….

(3) Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is seen here on the sidelines during a game played against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania on the 22nd December , 2013. Also pictured is head coach Marc Trestman , whose team would suffer their biggest loss of the season , suffering a humiliating 54-11 defeat at the hands of the Chip Kelly coached Eagles. AP Photo / Phil Matthews …

(4) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks is congratulated by his opposite number , Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos, after the Seahawks’ surprisingly easy triumph in defeating the Broncos 48-3 in Superbowl 48 played at the MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey on the 2nd February , 2014 ., Manning had one his worst postseason performances of his illustrious NFL career. A shakeup has already began within the Broncos’ roster, with a number of notable departures during the off-season , led by Eric Decker and Champ Bailey , both seasoned veterans with the franchise. AP Photo / Chris Hall ……

(5) New York Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith is seen here with head coach Rex Ryan after the two celebrate a home victory during 2013 in a a game played at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford, New Jersey,. The player was somewhat unflattering with his displays , during the season , blowing hot and cold , where there was a preponderance throw interceptions at the most inopportune of moments , while leading the team to rather sub-par record within the AFC East . Excuses are now being made for the rookie quarterback , although he was said to be one of the most efficient passers entering the NFL Draft last season. Somehow that all seemed to be lost on his proponents, who continue to show their apathy . Smith’s play rarely improved during the latter half of the season , leading the franchise to now acquiring veteran Michael Vick as his backup for the upcoming season. Getty Images / Tom Clarke …..

(6) Terrelle Pryor (2) of the Oakland Raiders is seen here being congratulated by head coach Dennis Allen after a ninety-yard . twelve-play drive during the game played against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the O Coliseum in Oakland , California , last season . Pryor was traded by the franchise , having acquired Matt Schaub as a free agent during the off-season . Allen was said to be openly critical of Pryor’s agent, Jerome Stanley , who criticized the organization, for what he believes to be the mistreatment of his client, by the Oakland Raiders . Terrelle Pryor and Stanley , have since parted ways, without their said to being any acrimony between the player and his former agent. AP Photo / Rusty Shaw ……….

(7) Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants and Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers will be forever be joined at the hips after the events that were unfurled during the 2004 NFL Draft , after Manning and his father , Archie Manning refused to join the Chargers . After the hostilities wore off , Manning would join the Giants with Rivers ending up in San Diego. How different things might have been , had the Giants’ quarterback plied his trade in California , remains a bone of continued speculation , with the player having led the franchise to their two most recent Superbowl victories , both over the New England Patriots . AP/REUTERS/ Anthony Shaffer ………….

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So what? What have we really learned about the NFL this season ?

So what? What have we really learned about the NFL this season ?

With three weeks left to the end of the NFL regular season , we have one post-season qualifier , with the Seattle Seahawks having all but secured the NFC West divisional title . Meanwhile , the Houston Texans have fired head coach Gary Kubiak, after eight seasons of inconsistency and relatively little success. Mind you , if you believe that two playoff appearances where the team simply failed to show anything of a competitive nature is something that the franchise can actually take pride in . Then clearly , your thoughts about the organization might well be clouded on so many levels. The off-season for the Texans, will begin with an in-depth managerial search for a competent successor to Kubiak and I believe that team owner Robert McNair and GM Rick Smith , will take a look at the prospective teams , that are likely to make the post-season, and then seek to gauge the interest of any potential candidate amongst the assistant coaching staffs , of the teams in question .

One early and likely contender for the vacant Houston Texans’ coaching position , would appear to be Lovie Smith , formerly of the Chicago Bears whose firing from that position remains almost inexplicable as the asinine answer given by the front office , that the organization now needed to head in a new direction . The fact of the matter remains , as long as Jay Cutler remains in a Bears’ uniform the franchise is unlikely to win a Superbowl , no matter who head coach happens to be . Marc Trestman succeeded Smith, and has been able to do little of real note . Albeit, that the team, might appear to be on the cusp of gaining a playoff berth by default , after the Green Bay Packers lost Aaron Rodgers for a number of games, is simply one more pointer as to not only the weakness of the division , but also how dire, the play has been within the NFL this season. . On Monday night the Bears will get the chance to try and enhance their status and standing, when they play host to the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois in another of the games the NFL felt will likely entice the fans to watch . Given the unevenness, in the majority of those match-ups this season . This is a game , that I am likely to give a pass to , simply because of a contest between two highly overrated teams is simply one of the many idioms and idiocies of the proponents, who are still trying to suggest that “parity” has now become a part of the NFL. It’s not parity , but simply bad football and the vast majority would rather buy into what the NFL and their broadcast partners are selling, rather than coming to the conclusion that the NFL’s product is no longer an exciting brand .

Speaking of an unexciting brand and specifically the glamor that surrounded the game and a franchise having a one thousand yard rusher for the season . In an era, where a sixteen game schedule , means a running back simply has to average just over sixty yards a game to achieve that mark, that feat no longer seems at all relevant . Never mind the fact that the NFL has now become “a pass first league” , “pass happy league ” , where offense is simply predicated upon the yardage amassed and accuracy of a teams’ quarterback and that players’ propensity to amass the yardage needed in terms of a potent offense . Nothing more and nothing less!

The NFL has become an annual $7.55 billion industry and that business is presided over by perhaps the league’s most incompetent Chief Executive, since the league came me into existence. Don’t get me wrong , there may well be some admirable traits about Roger Goodell , but I have yet to see any of them exhibited during his tenure as the NFL Commissioner . To my mind , Goodell like his predecessor Paul Tagliabue are simply individuals too easily led and who have shown no intelligence whatsoever on a wide variety of issues that have affected the league over the past decade ! The primary concern of Goodell ,that of the team owners and union alike , are that of increased revenues leading to even bigger profits , and offering the fans little in return by way of a tangible on field product .

While the value of the franchises are now at all all-time high , and the owners are now corralling themselves to seek out even bigger revenue streams domestically as well as internationally . One now has to wonder the direction that the league will now seek to take, as it looks to compete on the global front . The North American market has now become saturated and with their being no real urgency by the NFL to have a franchise in the nation’s second largest advertising market , in spite of the continued overtures being made by several noted luminaries in the greater Los Angeles area. Before anything gets done, before an NFL franchise comes to that city, it will have to get its fiscal house in order . God knows , the state of California remains not only a mess from a financial standpoint , but also politically and it has become abundantly clear that its state legislature is simply a microcosm of the nation and the turmoil that still continues within Washington , DC , by way of the lack of political leadership and common sense being shown from either political party .

The Minnesota Vikings (3-8) are in a quagmire and I firmly believe that head coach , Leslie Frazier will be on his way out the door at the end of this season. As to the belief that the team’s quarterback Christian Ponder at any stage of his . NFL career was capable of leading this franchise to any semblance of success , has to be treated with a great deal of question . Ponder had moderate success while a player at Florida State , but even at his very best with that particular program , it was extremely difficult to view him as one of the top college quarterbacks in the nation upon his departure for the NFL. Minnesota has struggled this season and that has been reflected in one of the league’s poorer records this season . At best , all the franchise can simply hope for, is a respectable showing at the end of the season , with a year-end rousing string of positive results. . The first of those remaining five tests , will come when the Vikings are the guests of the defending Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday afternoon. For the Ravens, this is a last gasp attempt as the team seeks to play itself back into if not divisional contention , well at last a last ditch attempt at a playoff berth within the AFC , at this stage of the season.

Ponder, might not have been the best quarterback taken or available to Minnesota during 2011 NFL Draft as the twelfth overall pick . As to what, the Vikings fans may well have thought about the choice, I firmly believe, that they now regret the fact that the choice was ever made to begin with. Though the issues are not merely about Christian Ponder’s playing ability , there are also numerous other factors that have now brought the franchise to where they currently are . Namely, the team’s defense is poor and beyond Adrian Perterson , the offense remains at best , simply inept and the very fact that Leslie Frazier’s coaching staff have been repeatedly out of their depth during the head coach’s tenure , weigh further into this continued debacle . The longer Peterson remains with the franchise , the less likely , he is to fulfill his ambition of winning a Superbowl , as gauging the franchise on its current pace , they are at least three years away from a competitive enough team to be even remotely thought of as a legitimate contender within the conference, much less the NFL . With neither Jared Allen or Adrian Peterson traded at the trade deadline, I can only assume that it remains GM Rick Spielman’s wish to build a contender around the two seasoned veterans . If that is likely to be the case, then franchise will either seek a quarterback good enough to lead this franchise from the crop of free agents that will become available or from amongst the college quarterbacks likely to declare their eligibility for the 2014 NFL Draft .

One of the more pleasant stories to come out of this NFL season, has been the assured-ness shown by Peyton Manning during this year. The four-time league MVP is still on pace for a record-breaking season , if he continues on his current streak , which has been at a splintering pace . Through twelve games , Manning has thrown for over four thousand yards , an astonishing forty-one touchdowns, with only nine interceptions . Any thoughts, that there are any serious competitors or challengers to Manning for the league MVP this season , would be as asinine as suggesting that Usain Bolt , the men’s 100 meter Olympic champion , two-time world champion and record holder is likely to be challenged by Richard Simmons at the champion’s chosen event, with Simmons being given a thirty meter head start.

Manning and the Denver Broncos remain the clear favorites within the AFC to make a clear and distinctive run towards the franchise’s third Superbowl victory. As to whether or not this team is capable of emulating the teams that won back to back victories with team Executive Vice President John Elway leading his teammates in both triumphs. Could the same be ever said of Troy Aiken and Tony Romo , were Aiken to leave his current position in the commentators’ booth to take a similar role with the Dallas Cowboys ? I guess not , given Jerry Jones’ reluctance hand over the reins , but to continually micromanage every damn aspect of the Cowboys as an organization and with the franchise having not achieved anything of note in the last ten years .

It may well be deemed unkind, to make comparisons between organizations and what they have achieved over their respective historical legacies . Yet each season, I peruse the Dallas Cowboys and their list of accomplishments for that actual year, all I ever see , is the continued ineptitude of not only the team , but also the coaching staff and front office executives ! I would dare say, that if 2013 , ends with the Cowboys missing the playoffs or even making it for that matter . It is very unlikely that Tony Romo and his teammates will actually possess the mindset to defeat any of the contenders within the conference in spite of what has been a very mediocre season for the team within the NFC East by way of their overall record .

Dallas’ remaining schedule of four games , will begin with their Monday night clash with the Chicago Bears, which I earlier alluded to earlier , as being a contest of two highly overrated teams , looking to make headway this season within the NFL.

This season’s NFL rookies , have not been overly impressive , if measured against their predecessors in 2012 and 2011 . Yet, these observations, are merely my own and not from anyone’s observation on the issue . Your thoughts on this matter, are more than welcomed, as a healthy debate is better than no deb ate at all. The hype over Geno Smith as being one of the better quarterbacks in the college ranks of 2012 that was drafted and deemed good enough to succeed Mark Sanchez has bordered on being an unmitigated disaster beyond what now appears to be an even poorer season for Rex Ryan from a coaching standpoint. . This could very well prove to be the head coach’s last year with the franchise , unless he is able to pull off something extraordinary in terms of the New York Jets’ end of season run as it relates to their schedule . A welcomed triumph over the continually woeful Oakland Raiders , would be something of a genuine start , but not much more beyond than that .

Just when I thought, I could think no less of Bill Belichick and his continued antics as a head coach . He once again, proves me wrong with a coaching performance that defies all logic , as places the New England Patriots in a position to almost lose a game against the Cleveland Browns , that in essence would have killed their chances of gaining the number two seeding within the AFC at the end of the regular season. Belichick remains a self-absorbed individual who may well have the respect of his peers and his players , but he continues to viewed as an obnoxious and abrasive individual by the vast majority of fans , who have no binding allegiance to the Patriots. As a diehard fan of the franchise , I will continue heap praise on the team when necessary and when needed , be the first to also be one of the team’s biggest detractors, when I believe that they are simply not doing good enough , as adjudged by the franchise’s own lofty standards.

As the NFL season now winds down, having not reached its culmination by way of the regular season schedule. What to your mind has been the biggest surprise as well the biggest disappointment during this year? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of the site, as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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Meet Jordan Carver and just think what she could do for you .

Painstakingly refreshing , wouldn’t you agree ?

An Ill Wind Blows In The Windy City ..

An Ill Wind Blows In The Windy City ..

by tophatal …. Other NFL pieces within this site

I don’t know that things can or will get much worse but it appears that within the front office of the Chicago Bears there is little common sense being shown , as it relates to the contract negotiations for the team’s Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte . Inasmuch, as GM Phil Emery wants to be seen as being judicious in these deliberations the situation with each passing moment alienates the player and his ongoing relationship with the organization . The Bears state that they have some concerns as to player’s durability and those issues deal with Forte’s knees and the fact that he has suffered knee injuries in each of the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears . Matt Forte’s agent Adisa Bakari has taken the Bears’ front office to task , questioning their real intent and whether or not they wish to sign the player to a long-term contract.

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

At present , Matt Forte is not among the highest-paid running backs in the NFL but he has been amongst the most productive over the last four seasons . Head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff know that if the team is to have any chance of challenging the supremacy of the Green Bay Packers within the NFC North , then it will be incumbent upon the organization either signing the player to a new deal commensurate to his talent or they could seek to “ franchise tag” Matt Forte , signing him to a one-year qualifying deal . Forte , a four-year starter with the Bears was drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Tulane University . It did take some time for Matt Forte to establish himself in the NFL but it was apparent for all to see that he would indeed be a very productive player in this league . His most productive year was his rookie season of 2008 but the improvements have been made whereby his all-round game has flourished.

Last season with the Chicago Bears missing the playoffs , Forte was still able to prove his worth to the team by proving to be a major part of their offensive productivity . As I alluded to earlier , it will be extremely difficult for the Bears to be competitive enough to challenge the Packers within their own division , much less the entire league without Matt Forte’s skill-set . During the off-season the Bears acquired ….. Brandon Marshall to join former teammate Jay Cutler , with a view to providing the quarterback with another offensive target . However, it should be noted that in this year’s NFL Draft GM Phil Emery sought to bolster the team’s roster with a complement of picks that would benefit both the defensive and offensive side of the ball .

And during this off-season it has not been lost on Matt Forte that many of his peers have sought raise their salaries while seeking to either negotiate or renegotiate the terms of their contracts . The highest paid running back in the NFL at present , happens to be the Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson , whose 6 year deal for $55 million ( $30 million guaranteed – $10 million signing bonus) . The determining factor that could go a long way in assisting Matt Forte’s position are the current crop of free agents , restricted free agents and their endeavors in seeking out new deals . The Baltimore Ravens all-purpose running back Ray Rice is intent on seeing not only his “stock” being raised but also his bank balance by way of a new deal . . With the waters certainly being muddied at present , a number of players seeking to holdout or forego OTA’s and mandatory training camps merely to get their points across in terms of salary demands . Last season’s NFL rushing leader …. .. Maurice Jones-Drew is presently at logger-heads GM Gene Smith and the entire Jacksonville Jaguars organization .

Jones-Drew seeks a new long-term deal , albeit that he currently has two years left on his existing contract with the Jaguars . Set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 , the running back is due $17.2 million over the next two seasons . Team owner Shahid Khan and head coach Mike Mularkey have expressed their concerns but they are not prepared to acquiesce to the player’s demands , categorically stating that Maurice Jones-Drew must fulfill his contractual obligations to the franchise before they can set about negotiating a new deal for the player. As the relationship between the player and franchise now deepens becoming increasingly clear that neither side is about to budge from their original stance. We all know that first and foremost , the NFL is a business and that business just happens to be in the line making money _________ lots of it as a matter of fact . Team owners have always tried to paint the players as being greedy and likewise the players via their union (NFLPA) have sought to portray the league hierarchy and franchise owners as being less than honorable . What is undeniable , is the very fact that the NFL as an industry is a $ 7 to $8.5 billion-a-year financial behemoth whose hunger and lust for money knows no boundaries . Feeding into this all , just happens to the cable and major broadcast outlets and networks that carry the brand . Bear mind that the value of the franchises are at an all-time high and are as profitable as ever , and the owners are not about to come out of their cocoons , and suddenly plead poverty .

From a fan standpoint , it is hard to have any empathy towards a multimillionaire athlete or owner quibbling over figures that in large part the vast majority of fans cannot relate to . In the midst of this all the league hierarchy comes across to those very same supporters as in-compassionate , whose degree of honesty and integrity can be best described as than desirable . While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeks to create the perception that the NFL stands on solid ground , less we forget , his handling of the recent labor dispute as well as the fallout from the New Orleans Saints’ “ bounty scandal “ shows how inept his tenure has become and the very fact that , as he leads , like sheep the owners will follow .

Don’t look now but the Chicago Cubs still suck while sharing the worst record in baseball alongside the Colorado Rockies (30-49) . Far be it for me to suggest but team owner Tom Ricketts , even after the hiring of Theo Epstein to head the franchise’s Baseball Operations and Epstein’s own hand-picked general manager , Jed Hoyer , absolutely nothing has changed . . Team manager Dale Sveum and his coaching staff have struggled to get this team to perform even moderately in terms of being competitive .

Although the team is on a 4 four game winning streak , and winners of six of their last ten games . It has to be said that there have not been many highlights over the course of the season for the Chicago Cubs can actually feel proud . Granted , the play of Starling Castro , Jeff Samardzija , Brian La Hair and Anthony Rizzo have heightened that sense of anticipation , there is the belief that this team is still a long way from where it really needs to be .

Long thought of as being one baseball’s more heralded teams , in reality there has been of late to suggest that the ball-club is now heading in the right direction . Jed Hoyer’s predecessor Jim Hendry saddled the franchise with a number of exuberant and often dubious contracts and along the way the players in question have failed to produce . The mess has to be cleaned up and it may well take the hands of a skilled surgeon to “cull the dead weight” on this roster and simply jettison those pieces and start afresh . The Chicago Cubs , within their minor league system have a number of promising prospects , and the rationale now must be “ bring up them up now and simply see how they fare . To my mind those players cannot be any worse than those on display during this season !

Having defeated the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field , in Atlanta , Georgia , 4-1 , the team remains the guests of the NL East …… franchise for the remaining three games of their original four-game series . On the mound today for the Cubs will be Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) , as he squares off against Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07 ERA) of the Braves . No hard and fast rule here , as both pitchers will try to gain something for their respective teams , while also looking to bolster their beleaguered statistics .

It goes without saying anything short of a series’ win and the Cubs’ season will only resonate with those who have a love for the stench of rotting flesh or fecal matter . An appropriate analogy do you believe ?

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that the Chicago Bears are within their rights not to offer Matt Forte a contract extension ? Or do you believe that the player is justified in voicing his concerns ? Are of the opinion also that Maurice Jones-Drew should be treated differently , given his set of circumstances ? By all means leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears is hit by Donald Butler (56) of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20 . Jonathan Daniel /Getty Images North America ….

(2) Running back Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears takes in a game against between the Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center on January 3, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hawks 76-74 . Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images North America

FILE – This Dec. 24, 2011 file photo shows Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew before an NFL football game between the Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, in Nashville, Tenn. The Jaguars have no plans to renegotiate running back Jones-Drew’s current contract. General manager Gene Smith confirmed Monday, June 11, 2012 that Jones-Drew wants a new deal, but made it clear it’s not going to happen. AP Photo/Wade Payne …

(4) From left to right , Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan , head coach Mike Mularkey and GM Gene Smith . The trio is in agreement that they will not renegotiate the contract of Maurice Jones-Drew , who still has two years remaining on his existing deal before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2014 . AP Photo/ Brett Thompson ….

(5) GM Jed Hoyer (far left) is seen here alongside Chicago Cubs’ team manager Dale Sveum (center) and EVP & Head of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein (right). The team has gotten off to uneasy start this season and have not been able to gain any traction within the NL Central . AP Photo / Garrett Shaw ….

(6) Chicago Cubs’ Luis Valbuena gestures to the dugout while Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones watches after Valbuena’s three-run double , and a throwing error, advances him to third base in the seventh inning of their baseball game on Monday, July 2, 2012, at Turner Field in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Tulis …

(7) ATLANTA, GA – JULY 02: Darwin Barney (15) of the Chicago Cubs reacts after turning a double play over Jason Heyward (22) of the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Turner Field on July 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

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NFL news

2012-13 NFL regular season schedule

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Highest paid running backs in the NFL

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Amber Foxx aka …. Amber McNeil aka Brandi

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All …….. !

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All

Well it’s finally here as MLB’s showcase event for the 2011 season with the commencement of the World Series . The prospective seven game series will be televised nationally by Fox and their hope is that the games will be a major lure for the prospective audiences even they just happen to be a passing observer. The two rival teams are the AL pennant winner the Texas Rangers who will be the guests of the St Louis Cardinals who in defeating ( 4-2) the Milwaukee Brewers garnered their seventeenth NL pennant over the course of the franchise’s storied history .

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The Texas Rangers coming off their second consecutive ALCS pennant and return to the World Series hope that a return in light of their World Series disappointment of 2010 in losing to the San Francisco Giants will be one of redemption . With that loss the front office led by team president Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels looked to learn from the mistakes made and at the same time revamp the roster in order to make them more competitive this season . The Texas Rangers were the runaway winners of the AL West with there being little opposition in any coming their opponents within the division .

The opposition provided by their opponents during the ALDS and NLCS was futile for want of a better word . However, this match-up against the St Louis Cardinals could well prove to the test that the Rangers so desperately need . From my own standpoint I hope that this will one of the better postseason finales of recent years ! On the mound for the St Louis Cardinals will their starting ace Chris Carpenter who faces off against C J Wilson .

St Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa like his opposite number Ron Washington has been part of the postseason but unlike the Texas manager he has had the pleasure of winning a World Series title . In fact the Cardinals’ manager is one a select band of MLB managers to have won a world championship in both leagues. If anything the St Louis Cardinals may well be viewed as the underdogs in this series as the AL pennant winner seem to be the prohibitive favorites for the world championship. A win could very well play its part and perhaps be the determining factor as to whether or not the St Louis Cardinals will be able to retain their highly prized impending free agent Albert Pujols . GM John Mozeliak and principal managing partner William O DeWitt know that securing the player to a long term deal that isn’t exorbitant and beyond the means of the organization . There is no denying that both teams in MLB postseason are looking to make this series an exciting thrill packed event , as to whether or not it turns out that way remains to be seen.

As much I can understand the need for the NFL to expand the broad base and global of the sport of football , it is now becoming more ridiculous with the league hierarchy’s thinking that staging a regular season game now on annual basis is in the best interest of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team franchise owners heightens the game to even more astonishing peaks . This upcoming Sunday the Chicago Bears are guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the two teams meet at Wembley Stadium , in London , England .

With the NFL now having offices in Canada , South America , Europe , Far East Asia and an office in the United Kingdom , with the UK itself being one of the NFL’s most prominent consumer markets outside of North America. Herein lies the caveat , with the global economy now unstable it seems somewhat out of the norm to believe that the league still feels that they can continue down this path . Granted , the NFL is a multi billion dollar industry and though they recently returned to the workplace after their league imposed stoppage. The signs are that the league hierarchy and team owners feel that the North American consumer market has peaked , reached its maturation and saturation point.

This NFC matchup brings together two teams vying for divisional supremacy , albeit that the Chigaco Bears (3-3) are looking up at the Detroit Lions (5-1) and Green Bay Packers (6-0) who sit atop of the NFC North . Coach Lovie Smith’s team have to be of the opinion that if they are to contest the division , then a win against the Buccaners would place them in good standing . Jay Cutler , Brian Urlacher , Julius Peppers and Matt Forte as the season veterans on this team they ill be looking to show the form that had the Bears on the cusp of making their way to the Superbowl last season , only to be upended in the NFC championship game by the Green Bay Packers , the eventual winners of the Lombardi Trophy.

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff having rebounded from their 48-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers , in week 6 they rebounded in taking down the New Orleans in a highly competitive divisional game (26-20) during which the Buccaneers prevailed .

Josh Freeman of the Buccaneers is proving to be a real leader and one of the young up and coming quarterbacks within the NFL . He’s proving to be a hero in more ways than one and his last minute come from behind heroics are at times reminiscent in some ways of John Elway at his very best . The player’s stats in this one particular category already bears this out , much to the delight of his teammates and in particular to Raheem Morris and the coaching staff . In many ways this will be a game that will give even more credence as to whether or not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can improve on last season’s showing and mount a legitimate pedigree wherein one could view them as viable contenders for the this postseason and beyond .

GM Mark Dominik in conjunction with Raheem Morris , the scouting department and coaching staff have been prudent in their draft picks in recent years , making the team far more athletic and with the players being held accountable . Something that one couldn’t actually subscribe to when it came to Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden . And Raheem Morris’ predecessor was never one to be known as someone who’d actually developed talent over the course of NFL career . Now please don’t throw the name of Rich Gannon into the ring as some evidence of that as the player simply found himself in an environment where he could flourish with the Oakland Raiders at the time and it wasn’t as if he wasn’t already a known commodity to begin with ! But therein lies the myth concerning Gruden and his presumed prowess as a developer of NFL talent !

Both the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stout defenses but as of late that hasn’t necessarily been the case with both having seen their secondaries exposed . That being said both teams have to get that facet of their game back on track as well as being more efficient from an offensive standpoint .

The Buccaneers will be seeking to get their offense off and running when they take centerstage at Wembley Stadium against their NFC opponent . As to what the fans in London should expect , remains to be seen . But clearly the NFL league hierarchy believe that this annual staging of a regular season game abroad will further broaden the brand’s (NFL) appeal on a global basis . Get the feeling that no matter how much money the league will have in its coffers it well never be enough ?

Well now that the NBA finds itself in the midst of league hierarchy mandated lockout ____ the league itself along with the NBPA (union) sought to go through mediation via the FMCS a federal government agency . The mediator just happens to be George Cohen , who initially presided over the initial hearings of the NFL during their prolonged labor stoppage . Commissioner David Stern and union his counterpart Billy Hunter are still at an impasse . To furthermore emphasize the diverging stances being taken the union’s executive committee led by their president Derek Fisher have unequivocally stated that they are not prepared to acquiesce to any of the league’s demands without there first being concessions from the NBA, itself .

With the NBA preseason having been postponed and the regular season schedule set to start in November it is now becoming abundantly clear that the entire regular season schedule is now in jeopardy . The league has estimated that losses accumulated will be in excess of $35-$40 million per month . That does not include losses to local authorities and the business closely tied into the local communities once the season begins in the NBA . There are those who suggest that those figures are vastly overstated but when you consider that the league itself has lost in excess of $450 million cumulatively over the past two seasons it is easy to understand the concerns of the league hierarchy and the team owners . However, to my mind these very same owners and the league itself , in pleading poverty have overlooked one thing , and that is that they have continued to spend capriciously over the past five years while not looking to rein in their costs. At the same time the avarice of the union seems to know no boundaries with some outrageous demands on their part .

So contentious have been the deliberations that you have also had high profiled players such as Dywane Wade , LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in no large part questioning the character of the commissioner . It is now becoming increasingly clear that the league and union are not only on a collision course but in the aftermath of this wreckage there could very well be one , if not two franchises that could end up biting the dust should this lockout be a prolonged over several months , if not longer .

The mayor of Sacramento , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA professional is seeking to retain the Sacramento Kings within his city . But with a burgeoning municipal deficit , as well his having to reduce the city’s workforce it seems something of a futile exercise on Johnson’s path to try and keep the franchise within the city , while supposedly seeking assistance from businesses within the local community. Those very same businesses are feeling an economic crunch just like the rest of the country and it the population en mass . And the thought of the mayor seeking to use public funds in conjunction with private financing smacks of incompetence , given the issues he faces already within his city !

Owners such as Dan Gilbert , Mikhail Prokhorov , James Dolan and Jerry Buss for now may well be showing their support for the commissioner but I can’t help but wonder what happens when the league itself , now sees the stoppage entering into its second , fifth or six month !

The Sacramento Kings as a franchise has been hemorrhaging red ink incessantly over the past three years , with there being no real signs of abatement. The team is owned by the Maloof family with Joe and Gavin Maloof primarily overseeing the franchise’s business in conjunction with general manager and team president Geoff Petrie . And with the Kings’ ownership group merely playing a waiting game for the present with the city of Sacramento , while seeking out the opportunity to relocate the club . I for one , now feel that not unlike the acrimonious split that took place between the city of Seattle and the Seattle Supersonics we could very well see history simply repeat itself. I mean , David Stern was duplicitous in that instance with his backing of Clay Bennett and his partners leaving the city with the franchise to relocate in the city of Oklahoma , forming the Oklahoma City Thunder . The city of Seattle may well have felt that they got the better end of the deal with a $25 million payoff but they now have a white elephant on their hands with the venue which housed the Sonics at present now vacant .

The NBA lockout now has surpassed 100 days in its length but with no real sign of an accord in sight . However the cities of Memphis and Oklahoma are said to seeking a legal recourse against the league in light of potential financial losses they may well suffer if this stoppage goes on much longer . Oklahoma is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder where they’re housed in a multi million dollar facility owned ( Chesapeake Energy Center ) by the municipality . The Memphis Grizzlies are housed in the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee .

If either municipality should proceed ahead with any legal action action against the NBA , then in all likelihood they may well seek outside legal counsel in any prospective proceeding . My only personal thought on this matter would be for the two municipalities to proceed with that the proposed legal action jointly in US Federal Court in the state of Delaware ,. Given the fact that amongst the thirty NBA teams they are several multi billionaires amongst the throng of franchise owners within the NBA with now a number of them pleading poverty with regard to their respective franchises . Adam Silver the deputy commissioner of the league , one the mainstays of the NBA’s committee working on behalf of the hierarchy along with David Stern and Peter Holt , the owner of the San Antonio Spurs. representing the sport’s governing body in these deliberations . I have always maintained that no matter what the sport happens to be at the professional level municipal and state governmental agencies should not be held hostage by leagues such as the MLB , NBA , NFL , NHL , NASCAR or for that matter MLS (soccer) in assisting those governing bodies building state of the art facilities when rarely do they get anything tangible back in return . Does anyone truly believe that the city of New York is in a healthy financial state given that its mayor Michael Bloomberg fast-tracked the deals that benefited both the New York Mets and New York Yankees in aiding them to build their respective stadiums ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium ) ? Built at a joint cost of $2.355 billion with much of the funding coming by way a bond issue , multi faceted loans from a number major financial institutions and certain increases service fees levied upon residents and business within the locale .

For the Steinbrenner and Wilpon family as the proprietary owners Yankees , Mets and New York City government — _____ to say that they have screwed over the residents within the Bronx and Flushing would be an understatement to say the very least ! But at the same much of this can be easily laid to rest squarely upon the shoulders of US Congress and Senate , with regard to the statute (antitrust exemption & special tax privileges) that gives the governing sports’ bodies such latitude as a sport’s franchise .

With the Tampa Bay Rays’ demise in the postseason falling to the Texas Rangers it looks as if the apparent fallout that a number of Rays’ fans would fear to see could come into being . The team’s general manager Andrew Friedman has met publicly and privately with Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno . The Angels are without a general manager after the abrupt resignation of Tony Reagins at the culmination of the regular season after the team’s subpar year .

Andrew Friedman’s contract has expired and it doesn’t appear as yet that an agreement on a renewal had been reached between the Rays’ general manager and the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg . If the senior managing partner knows what is good for not only himself and baseball club then it would be to sign the organization’s architect of the most heralded successes of the past five years . Not only was Friedman behind the hiring of Joe Maddon as the successor to Lou Piniella but also for some the Tampa Bay Rays’ astounding successes in their draft choices since he assumed the team’s lead front office executive in charge of personnel matters.

Amongst the ranks of the general managers within the game Andrew Friedman would have to rank up there alongside the likes of Brian Cashman , Theo Epstein , Jon Daniels , Kenny Williams , John Mozeliak , Frank Wren and Dave Dombrowski as being amongst the best of the best of the GM’s in MLB .

With the growing uncertainty as to the impending future of the ballclub this could very well be one of the first few nails in the coffin leading to the upheaval of the Tampa Bay Rays if they cannot continue the momentum attained under Andrew Friedman , should the premise arise of with him leaving the this organization. The fans may well applaud the plays of Evan Longoria , Desmond Jennings , David Price and James Shields but were it not for Friedman I seriously doubt that the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field would have seen this team come to fruition , much less there being a ball-club to support . If the Rays’ most loyal and fervent supporters want this organization to remain viable then they ought to make their voices heard , and let Stuart Sternberg know he would be ill advised to allow his young general manager to leave .

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In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts do you have ? And are you of the opinion that sports’ franchise owners should not hold state and local city municipalities hostage when it concerns arena and stadium issues ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and once again thanks always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Rafael Furcal(15) and Matt Holliday (7) of the St. Louis Cardinals go after the hit by Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers would go on to defeat the Cardinals 2-1 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers celebrates in the dugout after hitting an RBI sacrifice fly ball to take a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers won 2-1. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(3) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith answers a question during a news conference at the Oval cricket ground, London, Friday Oct. 21, 2011. The Bears will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday. AP Photo / Tom Hevezi …..

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Kellen Winslow, left, shares a joke with coach Raheem Morris during a team training session, Bagshot, west of London, Thursday Oct. 20, 2011. The Buccaneers will face Chicago Bears at London’s Wembley stadium on Sunday. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi …..

(5) Peter Holt, the owner of San Antonio Spurs, speaks to members of the media after NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on October 20, 2011 in New York City. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that talks have broken down and no further meetings are scheduled. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …..

(6) Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman greets a fan at the front of the St Petersburg government center in downtonwn St Petersburg. Rumors are rife that the general manager could well leave the organization and accept the formal offer from the Los Angeles Angels’ team owner Arte Moreno to succeed Tony Reagins . St Petersburg Times / Ray Massey ….
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NB: This article was written on 20th October 2011 and published on the 10/21/2011 after game two had ended .

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Never Too Late To Apologize It’s All In How You Say It ………..

Never Too Late To Apologize It’s All In How You Say It ………..

You can either choose to be part of the news or simply read about but in no way do you want to be seen to be creating worthless tidbits , simply to have to recant a statement . We tend to see it all the time when it comes to celebrities further looking to parlay their fifteen minutes of fame . Albeit , that now with Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay I am not so sure that he knew by tweeting that Peyton Manning is out for the season be it inadvertently or not this seems to have created a furor that neither Irsay , Bill Polian or Jim Caldwell would really care to address publicly and with any degree of certainty.

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The Indianapolis Colts’ season has now taken on turn for the worse as this team seems to have lost all confidence when it comes to its play on the field . One patron had suggested to me that I was being completely overzealous in my statement when made the claim that the Colts’ season was over before it had began but I think that this patron was simply too naive to think that Peyton Manning would be back and playing under any circumstance for the Indianapolis Colts. The four time league MVP is the heart and soul of this team and has been so since he was drafted by the organization in 1998 as the number 2 overall pick behind Ryan Leaf .

The Indianapolis Colts for their part having brought in Kerry Collins have suffered three successive defeats to their start of the season which now has them firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC South . Inasmuch as I would like to think that there is hope for the Colts for this season with the play that the team has offered simply isn’t enough to convince me that they are able of containing and steering their own destiny. Now it would remiss to suggest that Peyton Manning’s career with this organization is over but sooner or later the fans and the front office may well have to realize that this era could very well be coming to a close .

All of this talk about a resurgent Chicago Bears’ team came to a quick and abrupt close when they were ceremoniously dragged across the turf by the Green Bay Packers in a decisive 27-17 victory for the defending Superbowl champions. It is pretty safe to say that this Bears’ team still has flashbacks nightmares from their NFC championship game loss (21-14) to the Packers . This time around the Bears’ defense simply couldn’t cope with the passing game of Aaron Rodgers and the play of tight end Jermichael Finley who accounted for the first three touchdown game of his career in the team’s 27-17 win .

Jay Cutler as the quarterback of the Chicago Bears has a lot to be answerable for , especially when one bears in mind his performance during that NFC championship game . There are those who genuinely believe that the player was hurt and that was the reason for his leaving the game. But I would suggest to the contrary because when your team needs you the most that is when as a presumed leader you have to step up to the plate and lead by example.

And as good as we’re led to believe this Bears’ defense is said to be they were clearly exposed by a Packers’ offense simply chomping at the bit. Aaron Rodgers simply carried on from where he left from last season . And it is easy to understand the reason why the team made the player their first round draft choice in 2005 (24th pick first round) by the Packers’ front office and coach Mike McCarthy . With the way that the Green Bay Packers now seem to be performing amongst their divisional and conference rivals . All the talk may well be about the surprising start of the Detroit Lions but until this team led by Matthew Stafford has played full season unscathed and have a winning season then perhaps we may well get to learn something about this organization as a whole . In spite of the added history of the franchise and the apparent direction that they now seem to be taking with Jim Schwartz as the coach working in conjunction with the front office led by GM Martin Mayhew .

The turnaround in the fortunes of the Detroit Lions has coincided with the recent draft choices made by the organization . And clearly with the additions of Nick Fairley , Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson this is a team capable of contending but as I have repeatedly stated until Matthew Stafford is able to play an entire season and at the same be protected by his offensive line then I will continue hold my reservations about the competitiveness of the team .

It is hard to believe that a month ago the Boston Red Sox led the AL East and held a seven and a half game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays within the division . Now as of the 27th September that divisional lead is no longer there with the New York Yankees having won the division and secured a berth in the postseason , we now have an almighty dog fight brewing as the Tampa Bay Rays look to chase down the Red Sox to gain the wildcard berth as the AL entrant into the playoffs. Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff have to be perturbed by what they are now seeing from his team that has lost eighteen of their last 22 games .

What might be even more distressing for the Boston Red Sox front office has been the very fact they have an outlay of an extortionate amount in salaries to pay for free agent acquisitions that in part have been productive but the overall expectations just wasn’t there . Clearly Theo Epstein , Larry Lucchino and the entire front office cannot be entirely happy with the thought that the team could once again miss the postseason . If ever there was a certainty as to why things started to spiral out of control for the Boston Red Sox then one would have place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the players and their lack of consistency .

As rabid as the Red Sox fans are said to be , I am not so sure that they are willing to tolerate the meltdown of their team especially when one bears in mind that their perpetual nemesis the New York Yankees has won the AL East and now await postseason play. It would certainly burn the fans even more also to know that the Tampa Bay Rays would once again be part of the playoffs.

The fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are all giddy with the very thought that they could be making a quick return to the playoffs when one considers their swift exit from the postseason last year . This time around I am sure that Joe Maddon would like to see his team perform to the best of their abilities with the advent of making the playoffs. The players have hit a rich vein of form that has seen them win five of their last 10 games but also on a two game win streak .

For the younger players on this roster such as Desmond Jennings , Sam Fulds , Alex Cobb , Matt Joyce and David Price this offers these teammates a further chance to show that this simply is not another aberration for the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans. Most certainly this may well have been the season that GM Andrew Friedman had envisaged alongside senior partners Stuart Sternberg and Matt Silverman .

It has been well chronicled as to the financial constraints that the Tampa Bay Rays now finds itself under and this is solely being done at the discretion of the front office as it is the only way for this organization to simply remain viable as a baseball franchise . And when adjudged against the rest of baseball one can see why it is that the ball club chooses take this route . Perhaps in light of the movie ” Moneyball” and the fact that the movie while now receiving critical acclaim it has to be said the box office (grossed slightly under $20 million opening weekend ) expectation doesn’t seem to have met with the expectations of the studio and one bears in mind that it placed second behind a fifteen year old animated classic “The Lion King” .

I am not so sure what to make of the Atlanta Braves’ meltdown within the NL East and the mere fact that they have allowed the St Louis Cardinals to simply erase their lead in the NL wildcard standings . Both Tony La Russa and Fredi Gonzalez are now vying to have their respective teams playing hard down the stretch as the waning days of the schedule winds down . With the St Louis Cardinals losing to the lowly Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves falling to the Philadelphia Phillies the margin between the two teams is now a mere half game as of Monday night. With two regular season games now left on the schedule it certainly will interesting and suspenseful to see how things play themselves out over the ensuing days .

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Given what we are now witnessing within the NFL and MLB are there further surprises that you feel could very well occur ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning the statements made by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay concerning Peyton Manning ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and any other points you believe to be pertinent .

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

http://facebook.com/tophatal

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(1) Indianapolis Colts football head coach Jim Caldwell talks about the quarterback situation and the 0-3 start in Indianapolis, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ….

(2) FILE – This Sept. 1, 2011 file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on the sidelines in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Cincinnati. At rear right is quarterback Kerry Collins. Colts owner Jim Irsay says there is an “outside chance” Manning might return in December. Irsay used Twitter on Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, to update Colts fans on Manning’s status after remarks he made during a private breakfast with Super Bowl donors. AP Photo/Tony Tribble ….

(3) CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 25: Jermichael Finley (88) of the Green Bay Packers catches a touchdown pass in front of Craig Steltz (20) of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 27-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(4) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers talks with Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears after a game at Soldier Field on September 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 27-17. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 25: Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings and Keiland Williams (34) of the Detroit Lions talk after the overtime win by the Lions at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 25, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images ……..

(6) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions is chased by Chad Greenway (52) of the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 25, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images …….

(7) Carl Crawford (13) of the Boston Red Sox (L) and teammates Jacoby Ellsbury (2) (C) and Josh Reddick (16) [(R)] leave the dugout after losing to the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 26, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(8) Infielder Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays congratulates Reid Brignac (15) after he scores against the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on September 26, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Tampa Bay Rays would defeat the Yankees 5-2 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(9) Matt Diaz (23) of the Atlanta Braves slides into second base safely under the tag of Jimmy Rollins (11) of the Philadelphia Phillies after hitting a double in the second inning at Turner Field on September 26, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies would defeat the Braves 4-2 . Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …….

(10) Chris Carpenter , right, of the St. Louis Cardinals high fives Matt Holliday (7) and Albert Pujols (5) after they scored in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 26, 2011 in Houston, Texas. The Cardinals would go on to lose the game 5-4 to the Astros . Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …….
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Do The Bears Still Suck And Is A Roll of Charmin Really As Soft As We’re Led To Believe ?

Do The Bears Still Suck And Is A Roll of Charmin Really As Soft As We’re Led To Believe ?

There’s no denying that after Jay Cutler’s mea culpa in the postseason a great deal of questions arose about the player’s credibility and mindset . Chicago Bears’ fans and a number of his teammates sprung to the player’s defense in suggesting that the NFC Championship game loss to the Green Bay Packers and Cutler leaving the game simply wasn’t the prime reason for that defeat. I’ve long held the contention that Jay Cutler while being a good player simply isn’t a great player ! Well , not the player I think is capable of leading a team to a Superbowl victory !

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Jay Cutler’s talents are undeniable but there seems to be something lacking from within , as to what that might be I can’t be totally be sure . He may well have the arm to launch the ball 60 yards at the drop of a hat but that if anything is the primary flaw in his arsenal . That pass is just as liable to be intercepted by the opposing defense as it is to end up in the arms of one of his receivers . Head coach Lovie Smith a staunch supporter of his beleaguered Pro Bowl quarterback has even suggested that Cutler was the main reason for having a successful 2010 season. That in ofitself may well be true but few if any truly believed that the Chicago Bears would be deemed one of the best teams in the NFC last season . Granted , we saw a number of teams within the conference fall by the wayside due to inconsistency and in part more so through injuries but that becomes a mute point because isn’t that why teams have depth to their rosters ?

The challenge for the Chicago Bears isn’t one of not being good but simply playing well on a consistent basis and that to my mind has always been the knock against the team. You simply cannot trust the Chicago Bears to go out and play four consecutive quarters of high quality football much less two but yet somehow there are fans out there who believe that because of Jay Cutler , this team should now be viewed as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl ? Granted , the team now has a solid blend of veterans and youth with Brian Urlacher leading the charge . And it should be remembered it was Urlacher amongst the players who leapt to the quarterback’s defense when it was suggested that Cutler simply bailed on his teammates to hide from his own insecurities and somewhat lackadaisical performance during the NFC championship game. That asides , it once again all boiled down to the fact that this teams lacks resolve to close out a game when they have it within their grasp.

Head coach Lovie Smith’s philosophy has been to build his team around a miserly defense that allows the opposing team almost nothing. If anything that was taught to him by Tony Dungy from who he gained much of his knowledge as a coordinator , which he now puts to good use. But you should not discount the offense of the Chicago Bears where their primary running back Matt Forte can be counted on to be productive when given the means to do so. Certainly the Bears’ offense is more than capable of putting points on the board but with that also comes the expectations of wins , divisional titles , conference championships but most of all the Superbowl victory. And it is these expectations that cast a giant shadow over this whole organization and the fact that there are some who have questioned whether or not Lovie Smith is the right man for the job and above all whether or not Jay Cutler is the quarterback is the guy to lead this team to that ultimate goal.

Beyond Matt Forte the complementary pieces for the offense seem to be in place with Devin Hester , Johnny Knox , Chester Taylor , Earl Bennett and the newly acquired Marion Barber . And with the defensive presence of Brian Urlacher alongside Julius Peppers , Lance Briggs , Charles Tillman and Danieal Manning there is a belief that the team could very well be favored to do something special this upcoming season .

As I alluded to earlier if the Chicago Bears are to be successful then Jay Cutler to my mind will have to show me a great deal more than I witnesed last season and in particular after his performance in the NFC championship game . There are those who suggested that his injury was indeed far more serious than it was as first presumed to be. Others will detract from that by saying that the player simply opted to bail on his team when he realized he had nothing to offer. I’m of the opinion that it was little of both , Cutler was injured but I doubt injured enough to the point where it warranted him sitting out the vast majority of the game. It may well have sat well with some of his teammates on the day but I do believe that many of the Bears’ fans at Soldier Field saw an unacceptable side of a player whose maturity level isn’t where it needs to be. And as for Brian Urlacher’s assertion that Jay Cutler is a warrior , well we know that the defensive stalwart has been known to play through pain when his team needed him most . But this falsehood that he now lives under that his quarterback is a player he’d run through a wall for seems all so laughable given Urlacher’s own displays of courage and bravado on the field.

The NFC North apart from being home to the reigning Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers also has residing there the Minnesota Vikings , Detroit Lions as well as the Chicago Bears . And for the respective coaches Mike McCarthy , Leslie Frazier , Jim Schwartz and Lovie Smith , they are all looking for their teams to acquit themselves well this year. I personally believe that of the cadre of coaches mentioned Smith may well be the one with the most to lose . If his team should fail to make the postseason at best then I certainly believe that in spite of the contract extension granted he could be shown the door by either team GM Jerry Angelo or Tim Ruskell the Head of Football Operations for the Bears’ organization. There can only be so much that the fans can be be subjected to and be asked to endure . To be repeatedly asked to witness a team come up short is not one of them and at this juncture it’s pretty safe that’s what the fans of the Chicago Bears have actually beared witness to.

The Minnesota Vikings have their own issues and with the team’s acquisition of Donovan McNabb it may arguably be seen as something of an upgrade from the quarterbacks on the team’s roster of last season. When one bears in mind that the throngs of Brett Favre fans were simply wiling their time away as the self aggrandizing veteran was showing his age , with his best days are so far behind him that it couldn’t be seen from a rear view mirror. Now the Vikings’ fans will be subjected to the travails of Donovon McNabb over the coming season . Let’s put this way McNabb didn’t help his cause any last season with a number of horrendous displays but at the same time one has to remember he was playing for the Washington Redskins which has Mike Shanahan as the head coach with his son , Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator . There hasn’t been such an inept duo front and center e for the public to view since Ross Perot and Vice Admiral James Stockdale were running as independents , seeking to win the US Presidential election . The less said about that event and likewise with the Redskins’ 2010 season the better !

I believe that the Detroit Lions are still a work in progress but how much longer will the fans be patient with the often injured Matt Stafford ? I am not saying that he’s brittle but there are leukemia patients with more moxie and strength than the player is said to possess . Alas , the Lions will live and die by the play of their quarterback . For the Green Bay Packers it’s all about looking to make a successful defense of their title . Quiet in the offseason no doubt obviously due to the lockout the team stood pat not making any serious moves in looking to add to the roster . However , you can be sure that the team of last season along with their draftees will be looking to make some waves and show that their triumph of last season wasn’t an aberration. And Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers will most certainly be out to show that he’s now rightfully assumed the mantel once held by his predecessor Brett Favre . And for those who’d suggested that the team couldn’t win without the legendary quarterback ___ how’s that dose of crow tasting right about now ?

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the upcoming season for the Chicago Bears and in particular for their quarterback Jay Cutler ? And also do you see the Green Bay Packers quite possibly making a successful defense of their Superbowl title ? Chime in with any pertinent thoughts you might have on the points raised within this piece and as always thanks for the continued support !

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

Contact tophatal @ rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester stretches during NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …..

(2) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, right, looks to a throw as offensive coordinator Mike Martz looks on during NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(3) Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher watches his teammates practice during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(4) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler wipes his face during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(5) Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith watches his team during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(6) Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo watches his team during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(7) Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, center, talks with quarterbacks Jay Cutler, left, and Caleb Hanie during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(8) Jan 23, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji (90) returns an interception for a touchdown past Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie (12) during the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC championship game at Soldier Field. Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE ……..

(9) Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (85) is tackled by Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) during the first half of the NFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………

(10) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers dives into the corner of the endzone for a one-yard touchdown run against Danieal Manning (38) of the Chicago Bears in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images / Jamie Squire ……..

(11) Quarterback Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears attempts to avoid a sack by Cullen Jenkins (77) of the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images North America / Jamie Squire ……
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Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

It’s been pretty much an offseason of discontent within the NFL with the owners , players and league hierarchy suddenly realizing that the start of the season is merely around the corner . Never mind the fact that teams haven’t really been able to conduct their OTA’s at their respective training facilities . In that respect the whole preseason and initial start of the regular season due to begin on the 8thd September could very well offer the fans a product that could be so bland and meaningless that it might have us wondering whether or not it wasn’t worth completely abandoning the season altogether . No one wants to see an on field product that by three or four three that could be so out of sync and mediocre that given the fact that the fans will be asked to pay a sizable sum to witness this all . And if as is being proposed we could very well see a preseason that will have to forgo two of the four scheduled games then any sort semblance of cohesiveness could very well be something that the fans are not liable to see at all .

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With that in mind of all the teams that I witnessed over the course of last season none more so than the Atlanta Falcons had me wondering how good could this team really be . Granted , their postseason foray ended somewhat abruptly but I put that down to more inexperience more than anything else . The team’s coach Mike Smith and his coaching staff seem to have found that semblance of cohesion and consistency that many teams yearn for in the league but so few are able to find it . Having won the NFC South rather comfortably, posting a 13-3 record within the league . Many felt that the team led my their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan could very well have pulled off a major surprise during the postseason. This season if anything a great deal is expected from this team and in particular by their erstwhile fans . The era of Michael Vick is long gone and but a distant and quickly fading memory . Team owner Arthur Blank and the front office headed by GM Rich McKay know that they were fortuitous not only in the hiring of Mike Smith as the team coach but also in their drafting of Matt Ryan .

I’ve no doubt that this season could very well see this team prove to be dominant but that being said I also believe that the NFC South could very well be a highly competitive division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers , alongside the New Orleans Saints should prove to be formidable and with the Carolina Panthers no doubt looking to their overall number one pick from this year’s draft Cam Newton to simply show the Panthers’ fans what he’s made of . Who knows where the season could very well take us ?

Rich McKay and the scouting department made some prudent choices in the NFL Draft that will prove to be productive for the Falcons’ organization as a whole . And with those selections being strategically rendered with there being an assortment of offense and defense to bolster the needs of the team . The prize pick was wide receiver Julio Jones who will no doubt compliment what is already a formidable offensive presence alongside Michael Turner , Roddy White , Tony Gonzalez and Brian Finneran . And from a defensive standpoint this team can only get better as they being to gel more as a cohesive unit . But in retrospect it does all come down to have a balance on both sides of the ball and here too the Falcons aren’t necessarily lacking as the offense when having found its rhythm can be as good as any within the league .

Now would it be remiss to suggest that the Atlanta Falcons are not good enough to be considered amongst the NFC favorites for the Superbowl ? I think that perhaps not given that no one could really have foreseen the Green Bay Packers coming out of the NFC as conference champions much less wining the title itself . If anything all eyes were perhaps on the New Orleans Saint or Chicago Bears from last year as it related to the postseason. I read with interest where a fellow blogger within this medium suggested that the next young quarterback within the league who is on the cusp of leading a team and actually winning the Superbowl will be the Bears’ Jay Cutler . Yes the that Jay Cutler who essentially baulked and walked away from his team when they needed him most . For all of Brian Urlacher’s traits , facing reality doesn’t seem to be one of those , especially in light of the player coming to his quarterback’s defense by saying that ‘…..Cutler was a warrior and one of the hardest working players in the league as well as one of the best players at the position in the entire NFL’ . Obviously Urlacher hadn’t been taking much note of what happened in the Bears’ meltdown and their subsequent 21-14 loss to the Packers much of which could be squarely placed on Jay Culter’s shoulders for the team’s demise in the NFC title game .

As to the ongoing impasse between the league and NLFPA I would certainly like to be optimistic with regard to what I have been hearing via the various news sources . But given the fact that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handled this situation with about as much precision as a one armed individual being asked to juggle an explosive device . I think that it’s pretty safe to say that this episode is far from over as it relates to the present work stoppage . For all of the pontificating , finger pointing and in the end so called accord that we are now seeing from all sides with Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA issuing a joint statement focusing on the two sides close to reaching an accord , I for one won’t believe it until I hear that an agreement has been reached , a binding contract signed and we are told the league will indeed begin its regular season schedule on time . Anything short of that I will still deem to be a complete failure !

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Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

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

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(1) FILE – This May 24, 2011, file photo shows Atlanta Falcons rookie receiver Julio Jones, left, greeting quarterback Matt Ryan before an informal football workout, in Buford, Ga. Ryan and Jones haven’t let the NFL lockout stop them from beginning a new friendship. AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(2) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(3) Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, rear, looks on as teammate Steve Smith, center, calls a play at his youth football camp in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, June 17, 2011. It was another bonding experience for what will be one of the most scrutinized quarterback-receiver combinations in the NFL _ if Smith stays in Carolina. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(4) Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, right, talks with Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, as they arrive for meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Owners gathered to discuss the status of negotiations with the players for a new collective bargaining agreement. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(5) Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy shows off his Super Bowl ring Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis., after the NFL football team’s ring ceremony at Lambeau Field. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …..

(6) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with team owners and legal counsel for the league . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ……

(7) Sam Shields (37_ of the Green Bay Packers intercepts the game’s final pass and runs for 32-yards to seal the 21-14 victory for the Packers against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America ….

(8) Quarterback Jay Cutler (6 ) of the Chicago Bears celebrates his six-yard touchdown run with Devin Hester (23) against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images …….

(9) After a failed coaching experiment four years ago, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, left, is thrilled with the job Mike Smith, right, has done with the team. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

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News , Views And What’s In Vogue Or Might Not Be !

News , Views And What’s In Vogue Or Might Not Be !

Well now that the idiocy continues still within the NFL I’m still trying to figure out how it is that two sides who still remain so far apart still manage to act as if they’re completely out of touch with reality. FMCS mediator George Cohen is caught in the middle of this all taking all of the pertinent information submitted and then trying to make sense of it all before rendering a binding decision that more likely than not will be a disappointment to one side . The NFL represented by Commissioner Roger Goodell with the team owners in tow are looking to seek major rollbacks from the NFLPA . I don’t know about you but I’m already sick and tired of the two sides seeking to ruin what little legitimacy that they might still have with the fans. I’ve read one patron state that he’d like to see a major stoppage within the game but I doubt that he fully realizes the repercussions of his statements . A labor stoppage would cost the league tens of millions of dollars but in the cities where the league has a presence the economic impact amongst the the businesses there would be significant . That being said it remains to be seen what else the two sides can continue to agree to disagree on . Having decided to extend their deliberations by another 24 hours they’ve now contend it would be better to extend the agreement for another week and deliberate further.

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I contend that by the time this is all over we could see peace within the NFL or an all out war between the two sides. Away from the game and with the NFL Combine having taken place many NFL analysts and the press in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis , Indiana will have assessed the talent on display and made their decisions as to who’s up and who’s down. The upcoming NFL Draft may well belie what was on display at the combine or could very well prove to be fruitful for the coaches , general managers and agents who were in attendance . I certainly know that the likes of Drew Rosenhaus and Leigh Steinberg , Tom Condon and Eugene Parker won’t be completely disappointed if their clients suddenly being talked about as a can’t miss in the NFL Draft.

An army buddy of mine, Paul , who’d just returned from his deployment in Iraq was so about what’s been happening within the world of sports rather than simply wanting let off steam from his time serving his country. I’ve got to admit I wasn’t aghast by that given my own experiences after I’d completed my own stint within the military . There are some things you want to remember and then there are some you just simply want to forget ! Paul simply wanted to know what’d been happening even though he had his laptop there with him while on deployment . Granted , his family was happy to see his return and the fact that he was back safely on home turf made his return all the more pleasing to them as well his closest friends . And Paul who’s a keen Miami Dolphins’ fan really was at a loss as to how things could’ve gone so wrong for the Dolphins over the past two seasons . One of his major concerns was how Ricky Williams had performed and it certainly hadn’t come as a surprise to me or Paul for that matter how the team’s season had spiraled out of control. At no time did you ever get the impression that this team was ever in control of its destiny as the season progressed.

In the case of Ricky Williams it’s hard to believe that this Heisman Trophy winner has been in the league for almost a decade . And who cannot forget his entrance into the NFL ? The 1999 NFL Draft was something that simply was memorable for the audacious move by then New Orleans Saints’ coach Mike Ditka who flushed away the team’s chances by giving up several picks to acquire Williams in the first round (5th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft out Texas . And as we know Williams’ career with the Longhorns was an extremely successful one . Probably based on that alone Ditka probably felt that the maneuver was simply worth the risk .

However Williams’ career in the NFL initially with the Saints wasn’t meant to be a memorable one and his two season’s with the team if anything, was a complete letdown and essentially ended Ditka’s reign as an NFL coach within the league . And that was in spite of Hall Fame coach’s promise to bring unprecedented success to the Saints’ fans in the Crescent City. Sadly it would be several years before that would all come to fruition before Sean Payton would lead the New Orleans to victory in Superbowl 44 (SBXLIV) .

From my own perspective I’m at a loss to explain the mindset of Ditka to the team and the very fact that he thought one player would have that much of an impact whereby they would be capable winning their division that season as well being a contender for the Superbowl . Either Mike Ditka had been in contact with Faust and made a deal with the Devil or he may well have seen something in his team that others had missed at the time. God knows, I personally didn’t believe that the New Orleans Saints would have achieved anything that season given how mediocre they were over its entirey. There are times when you know that you’re wrong but your ego fails to let you admit to the fact and that was clearly the case with the veteran coach. His success with the Chicago Bears having led that team to victory in Superbowl 20 (SBXX) was perhaps one of the great feats within the annals of NFL history given the dominance of the Bears that year .

If there was anything that you could take away from the disaster of this maneuver it was that Ditka and Williams did provide some comedic elements throughout that tenure of the duo in New Orleans . As to whether or not the fans in the Crescent City were enamored with the display , I really doubt that they were entirely happy with the team’s lack of success under Mike Ditka and the very fact that the team failed do deliver repeatedly over that time. Williams may well have had his social an anxiety disorders but let’s just any guy who’s prepared to don a wedding gown while his coach dresses in formal wear for a photo shoot for a prominent sport’s magazine cover, then any answers that you might well be looking for would be there for all to see in that particular picture and what it may well have been that the pair were trying to elicit from the fans.

Williams’ future with the Miami Dolphins now hinges on the coach Tony Sparano and his coaching staff and how they see the player as an asset to the team . Team GM Jeff Ireland knows that there are a great many flaws on this roster and it primarily starts with the inconsistency of the team’s starting quarterback Chad Henne . There’s no denying that with each passing failure of the player and the fact that he simply shows no leadership skills much less the ability to play with any semblance of confidence it leads me to believe that once again the team is need of a quarterback who can play and play with a great deal of heart !

The upcoming NFL Draft may well be an indicator as to the direction that Ireland and the coaching staff may well be prepared to go in if they’ve indeed lost faith in their quarterback but it may well the price that they’re willing to play in order to attain some success. But to think solely that it’s merely down to Henne would be remiss because on defense the Miami Dolphins are painfully mediocre ! They simply are a one trick pony and anyone who believes otherwise simply hasn’t watched this team play over the last two seasons.

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What thoughts if any do you have on the career of Ricky Williams within the NFL ? And what were your own impressions at the time when the New Orleans Saints under Mike Ditka made that audacious splash to acquire the player in the first round of the NFL Draft of 1999 ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

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(1) Running back Ricky Williams (34) of the Miami Dolphins breaks away from linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) of the Detroit Lions at Sun Life Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Lions defeated the Dolphins 34-27. Marc Serota / Getty Images ……….

(2) Running back Ricky Williams (34) of the Miami Dolphins is upended by cornerback Donte Whitner (20) of the Buffalo Bills during a game at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14. Marc Serota / Getty Images North America ………

(3) Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb poses with family and friends after being chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s first pick, second overall, in the NFL draft in New York Saturday, April 17, 1999. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan ……

(4) Ricky Williams, left, and New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka, donning shoulder-length dreadlocks, meet with the media Sunday, April 18, 1999 at the Saints camp in Kenner, La. Williams was drafted by the Saints Saturday, April 17 when they traded all of their 1999 draft picks for the Heisman Trophy winner. AP Photo/Judi Bottoni ………….

(6) Fro better or worse ………… every picture tends to tell a story and this one essentially told us all that we needed to know concerning this debacle with regard to both Williams and Ditka’s tenure in New Orleans . It was a bad marriage between two partners who had nothing in common at all . courtesy of ESPN ……….

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NB : NFL Draft of 1999

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

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The Game feat’g 50 cent ……….. ” Hate Or Love It “
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Eye candy ………… Katie Price aka Jordan

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Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

It’s often said ………’it takes a tragedy to happen before we truly understand or appreciate one’s mortality’ and truly that saying hits home every time. Sadly last night while having a drink in a bar with friends after work it was reported that former NFL star , two time winning Superbowl player and Pro Bowler Dave Duerson died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Unfortunately this tragedy doesn’t encapsulate the whole facet of the player’s life after his retirement from the NFL. The player had taken his life this past Thursday at his South Florida home in Sunny Isles .

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Duerson lost his wife to an acrimonious divorce and his post professional life saw him lose his business to financial mismanagement and bankruptcy. Dave Duerson was also a rights’ advocate for current and former NFL players , specifically those who’d suffered from mental health issues related to chronic head traumas . In his will the player left specific instructions that his brain be donated to science for research into blunt head trauma injuries and chronic traumatic encephalathopy ( CTE). Neuro surgeons and Research Fellows at Boston University will be the recipients of the player’s brain and it has been there within the university’s School of Medicine and Neuroscience where research will and has been conducted into head traumas and other neurological health related injuries and diseases as it relates to the NFL. Duane Duerson during his career had suffered repeatedly from chronic symptoms of concussions on the field of play which saw him win a Superbowl with that heralded Chicago Bears’ team coached by Mike Ditka. His second triumph was gained with the New York Giants coached by Bill Parcells .

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports

Ex-NFL safety Duerson found dead; police await word on cause

Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, has died. He was 50.

The Bears released a statement Friday saying they were “stunned and saddened” by the news and called Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.”

“Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave,” the team said. “We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”

Miami-Dade Police Detective Robert Williams said the body of a Dave Duerson was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Computer records show that the Duerson who lived at the address was born the same month and year as the player.

Investigators haven’t determined the cause of death. Williams said detectives are awaiting the medical examiner’s report.

Duerson’s ex-wife, Alicia Duerson, told NBC Chicago that the former player “loved and cherished his family” and was “extremely proud” of Notre Dame and the Bears.

A native of Muncie, Ind., Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on one of the greatest defenses ever assembled.

Who can forget the 1985 Chicago team mauling opponents while shuffling all the way to the championship with Hall of Famers such as Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent up front? With Todd Bell sitting out the entire season, Duerson played a big role in the backfield with five interceptions that year and made the first of four consecutive Pro Bowls.

“He was a great player for us,” former Bears coach Mike Ditka told The Associated Press. “He stepped in and did a great job. It’s very sad.”

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With all that’s now going on concerning the NFL , the NFLPA and their ongoing collective bargaining agreement . It goes without saying that this issue may not be a part of the two parties’ ongoing negotiations. And with the two parties now said to be hard at trying to eke out and reach an amicable agreement as both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae have met with a US Federal Court appointed and mandated mediator to mediate and address the issues brought up by both sides. In spite of the league’s and union’s appearance in front of the House Congressional Oversight Committee and their investigation into head traumas , their cause and effects with regard to the concussions and other neurological injuries. What we’ve now come to know is that the NFL and the union have never taken these issues seriously and that’ s in spite of the statements attributed to Goodell, Smith and members of the union’s Executive Committee .

Sadly, it may well have to take such tragedies as this , Duerson’s death, before the whole world wakes up the acute problems that players current and former face when they put their very health at risk all in the pursuit of excellence and wealth on the field of play. Granted, the life span of an NFL player on average is no more than six years at best but for those who’ve been involved in th game even longer the long terms effects of repeated injuries be they head trauma or some other inury, the aftermath at times can be catastrophic ! We now have players who’ve been retired no more than two years now suffering from early onsets of Alzheimers’ disease , debilitating and chronic head pains and other far more acute neurological disorders. Dave Duerson was a victim of repeated chronic head pains in the aftermath of the repeated concussions suffered over the course of his career. I’ve often heard the idiotic comments by fans and members of the public alike who state ….‘ let them play because this is a man’s game and they know the risks’ . Well one of the risks isn’t as such to end up in a damn wheelchair and then not knowing who members of your family are or what day of the week it is . This is the sort of asinine , idiotic statement that one would come to expect from someone who’s completely undeducated and without about as much common sense as an invertebrate !

If there’s to be an in depth study into these medical issues by independent as well the NFL’s own medical professionals then it ought to be a concerted effort by all of the parties concerned. Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue had repeatedly and it certainly hadn’t help that Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw were about as contrite in dealing with these issues as former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein had been before he decided to gas several hundred thousand Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq as a precursor to the first Iraqi war. In realiy it has only been in recent years that the NFL and NFLPA have been proactive in dealing with this issue. Goodell and the league’s own inhouse medical professionals have long held the view that injuries suffered by players within the game , many of them at times have been or were pre-existing . Now they’ve begun to change their tune and shown a change in their attitude but they haven’t yet been completely swayed. Goodell’s counterpart , DeMaurice Smith has merely given the public sound bytes but in reality his stance hasn’t been any different than that of Gene Upshaw.

And Upshaw as a player has been someone who I’ve admired but as a union representative he has my complete and utter contempt ! His primary concern has always been how much money came rolling into the NFLPA’s coffers by way of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. His concern , if any , was never for any of his peers or the retired players and there have been public statements that can be attributed to the late union chief executive. Meanwhile the fans out there continue to be completely in awe by what they see on the field of play but rarely do they show any real wish to view after the after life of an NFL player and many of the problems that they face. I liken it how the VA (Veterans’Administration), the government and public at large say that they stand behind the troops in their support but most days they wouldn’t give a soldier the time of day much less say hello . Doubt my word ? Then ask yourself this, when was the last time you offered some form of assistance to a returning veteran much less having spent some time with one either at a military facility such as a hospital or VFW lodge ? Go ahead give it a try and let me know what the experience was like ? It may well change your mindset as to how you actually view their plight. I mean the whole world felt aggrieved with the loss of former NFL star Pat Tillman even in the advent of his death being due to friendly fire but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone say what happened in the aftermath as to the coverup concerning his death by the Defense Department and the US Army itself ?

The NFL has long maintained that it cares about the players and their well being but you’d be hard pressed to actually believe that statement . And I do believe that the league as a whole as well as the owners as a fraternity are a bunch of conniving and greedy bastards ! Nothing that they’re liable to say as it relates to the health issues of current and former NFL players can be taken with any type of veracity and the NFLPA for their part will merely act as if their concern has always been that of their union members. What I find galling by this whole travesty has been the utter contempt shown by the league in treating this matter with the seriousness ad dignity it deserves. But instead it continues to sweep the matter under the carpet until the next crisis or incident catches the public’s and media’s attention and then it tends to act in something of a diplomatic manner.

I’d certainly like to think at this juncture some common ground can be found where both the NFL and union can work in conjunction with the medical community as well as academia in thoroughly investigating and looking to safeguard the well being of current and former NFL players not just neurological disorders but also all forms of life threatening injuries that can and are suffered over the course of a player’s career. Rather than then seeing a player being pushed aside then left to fend for themselves and more often than not being egregiously denied benefits that’s rightfully due to them. At present there’s a civil suit filed by current and former players against the NFL as the sole defendant that charges them with gross malpractice , fraud and grand larceny in the denial of benefits due to the plaintiffs , in this case a collective of seventy five current and former NFL players. The suit has been filed within the US Federal Court System in Los Angeles for which a trial date has yet to be set. The plaintffs seek unspecified as well as punitive damages . The NFL and owners for their part haven’t as such issued a public statement concerning the matter but I’ve no doubt that the league’s general counsel in all due time with gave that rather perfunctory statement saying that …..” the plaintiffs’ case is without merit”.

In light of Duane Duerson’s death and the health problems that the player is said to have sustained during his professional post NFL career do you firmly believe that the league and union has done enough with regard to safe guarding the well being and health of the players ? Or do you believe that they’ve simply obfuscated their responsibilities and would rather see the players simply deal with their own health concerns themselves ? Bear this in mind the rate of neurological health issues suffered by NFL players is far higher than the general population at large and when compared to the geriatrics (elderly) the actual rate is almost 33% higher . Cause for concern don’t you think when players in their late thirties and forties in some cases are suffering from the early onset of such afflictions as ALS , Alzheimers’ disease , Parkinson’s disease , epileptic seizures, or CTE or an abundance of other life threatening maladies ? Say what you will but at this juncture but this is no longer an issue that can be swept under the carpet as it has been repeatedly done by both the NFL and NFLPA over the years . It’s time for them to do what’s morally and legally right rather than hiding behind that veil of ignorance and complete stupidity !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter and any other issue you feel is pertinent as it relates to the NFL and this topic . Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

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

(2) Duerson seen here during an game for the Chicago Bears playing against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois . AFP/Reuters / Phil Pressman ………..

(3) Chicago Bears former safety Dave Duerson holds up his drivers’ license during a public tribute to his teammate Walter Payton at Chicago’s Soldier Field in this November 6, 1999 file photo. Duerson, a key member of the team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, has died, police said on Friday. Duerson, 50, was found dead this past Thursday night at his home in Miami, said detective Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Miami Dade Police Department. No immediate cause of death was given. REUTERS/Sue Ogrocki …..

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NFL news

Alan aka tophatal …………………

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DMX ………………. “Slippin”

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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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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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 ?

NB Week 17 schedule

NFL news

NFL Divisional Standings

NFL Team Statistics — Defense & Offense

NFL Players’ Stats …..

NFL Tie break procedures

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………..

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

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

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You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..

You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..

As much as I love the world sports and everything as such of interest that happens within it. I can’t but see the fun side of it all when I either see that the past and present meet head on in terms of a brooding controversy. Or even when it’s amongst the peers of today within a certain sports arena .

Having seen the ballyhoo made over the Chicago Bears acquiring Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos via a trade that sent Kyle Orton to the Broncos in the opposite direction. It was felt that the Bears would improve exponentially and become a serious threat to the apparent dominance of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North . By the way has Brett Favre come to a decision as of yet ? I mean I’ve not heard from those loyal band of followers of his, from ESPN report on anything concerning on him as of late , including his bowel movements throughout the day and the mere fact that his wife Deanna has apparently been refusing Brett his conjugal requests . But that’s another story for another day.

Coming off another disappointing season within the division and posting a record of 7-9 , can we essentially say that the Bears have been a profound disappointment to their fans and their owners alike ? Much was made that Cutler a “Pro Bowl caliber” would provide this team with the thing it was said to be missing. Personally , to me the Pro Bowl means absolute s_it in the greater order of things when you consider the game itself is essentially a bus-man’s holiday. I mean when has it meant anything to a player other than the fact that he can become “fat” in his wallet by way of his meeting certain productive targets on the field of play as part of his contract ? It’s not as if “his peers” actually vote him in to be part of the event itself. It’s left to a bunch of NFL writers casting their ballots , who for all sense and purpose show about as much common sense and intelligence as some members of Congress . And as we all know common sense , intelligence and ” Congress” shouldn’t necessarily be mentioned in the same sentence.


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This upcoming season Bears’ coach Lovie Smith will be on the “hot seat” and if he and his coaching staff fail to deliver then he’s bound to be shown the door ! Bears’ GM Jerry Angelo and Director of Player Personnel Tim Ruskell the architects of this “team” know full well that the fans will not tolerate much more from this team and the organization itself cannot think that they will. That’d show their complete and utter stupidity if they were to allow things to carry on as they are.

Three years removed from a Superbowl __(SB XLI ) appearance and their subsequent 29-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts . The reverberations from that loss can still be felt to this day. It was the sense of embarrassment to the fact that they severely underperformed and it certainly did not help that the one player on this team often thought of as their vocal leader was nowhere to be seen. Brian Urlacher over the years can either be described as a great player or quite possibly one of the best defensive players of his generation. That being said over the last few years , his play and skills have diminished to the point where one can no longer look at him as a real threat. Whereas, the ever present Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens still strikes fear into opposing players . Need I say anymore on the matter ?

Courtesy of ESPN.com in conjunction with ESPN Chicago

Ditka backs Sayers vs. Urlacher

Mike Ditka joined the chorus of Chicago Bears Hall of Famers who have come to the support of Gale Sayers in his controversy with linebacker Brian Urlacher.

The war of words started May 4, when Sayers criticized quarterback Jay Cutler’s performance in 2009, questioned the future of coach Lovie Smith if the Bears struggle again this season, and wondered how well Urlacher will come back from season-ending wrist surgery.

Urlacher responded in a Chicago Tribune article Thursday by ripping Sayers for criticizing the Bears and questioning Sayers’ credentials because the Hall of Fame running back never won a championship, or even a playoff game.

“I like Brian Urlacher a lot, I think he’s one heck of a football player,” Ditka said Friday on “Mike & Mike In The Morning ” on ESPN Radio. “It’s unfortunate to have this in the Bears family. I don’t like it.

“I don’t think Gale was being that critical, honestly. I think somebody asked him a question. They asked him about the state of the Chicago Bears. He answered very honestly what he thought about Cutler. He answered very honestly what he thought about the coach. Brian’s coming off an injury. Brian’s a great football player, he has to stay healthy, there’s no question about that. Nobody can play when they’re hurt.

“So I don’t know where it was so inflammatory. I didn’t see that. And I understand, your feathers get ruffled here and there. When somebody sees something they think is wrong, I don’t think it’s wrong to say it. Sometimes criticism pointed in the right direction can help you.”

Sayers played from 1965 to 1971, exclusively with the Bears. Ditka played from 1961 to 1966 with Chicago, and he said criticism that Sayers never won a championship is misguided.

“[Dick] Butkus never won a Super Bowl,” said Ditka, who coached the Bears to the Super Bowl XX title. “Was there a better linebacker? I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a better linebacker.

“Super Bowls are won by great teams, not necessarily by great individual players.”

Butkus backed Sayers, and he said he’s also been frustrated by the Bears, who haven’t made the playoffs since losing to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
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And there’s no denying that Cutler and the Bears failed to live up to expectations last season. From a results’ standpoint with each passing week it were as if we were witnessing the gradual regression of this team. Lovie Smith for his part seem to play this all down as if it were nothing more than a team having made one or two slip ups along the way. Clearly he’s overlooked the fact that the fans aren’t so patient with his or the players’ predicament. And now with Hall of Famers __ Dick Butkus , Gale Sayers and even the team’s former coach Mike Ditka now weighing on the team’s plight. The triumvirate in question at one point or another have contributed greatly to the history and legacy of the Bears. So anything that they ma well have to say on the matter cannot be overlooked or met with just another matter of an outsider looking in and just giving the press a proverbial sound byte. However, it appears that Urlacher takes umbrage with the fact that the team and Cutler in particular has come in for a great deal of criticism from Gale Sayers. And former Bears’ great has directed his criticisms squarely at the team’s quarterback. Some might say that the criticism is unjustified whereas others may well feel differently. One thing is clear however time is running short for the team , its coach and in particular for Urlacher. He has spent more time gaining headlines for his off the field sightings with socialites , catwalk models and actresses, rather than for his work ethic and play on the field. At the end of the day it has to be asked what profession does Urlacher , himself believe that he’s in ? Is he a professional athlete or a celebrity wannabe ? In doing so he becomes fodder for the press and paparazzi alike .


If Urlacher wants to prove the criticism to be without merit, then this season he and his teammates had better set out to prove those naysayers wrong. Otherwise he might as well shut the hell up and accept the fact that he and this team simply aren’t good enough to win a Superbowl or much else for that matter.

So after all of the denials and asinine excuses as how his tests came up positive for illicit banned substances. Now disgraced and former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has admitted what many of us had known all along. The disgraced former Tour winner who has since had his Tour victory rescinded has admitted that he has been using anabolic steroids and “HGH” as part of his regimen for years . He’s also reiterated that the sport of cycling is profligate with the abuse of both substances. Be that as it may , here are the facts as we know it, Landis is a liar and a cheat ! And for all of the xenophobic supporters of Landis at the time. How’s it now feel to find that this bastard lied like the p_ssy that he now comes across being ? Not fully content with accepting and being held accountable for his own actions. Landis now takes aim at 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong , claiming that the cyclist also has taken many of the substances in question. In making those claims also Landis states that he has no categoric proof that Armstrong took anything illicit other than mere rumors and conjecture . I guess when the sh_t rolls downhill and hits you right in the face the only thing you can do to fend off even more ridicule is to misdirect the public to look elsewhere.

Armstrong having overcome brain and testicular cancer was always bound to be the center of attention once he started to win cycling’s most prestigious event an unprecedented seven successive times. But the fact of the matter is , having been tested by WADA and by UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale _[sports international governing body]) there has never been any concrete proof that Armstrong has taken anything illicit , nor has he ever tested positive in or out of competition. So what if anything is Landis trying to prove ? He’s an even bigger ass than first thought ? Armstrong for his part has tried to stay above the fray concerning this. But given the fact that the sport of cycling has been rife with cheating for a number years and the fact that it was only until recently that the sport’s governing ( UCI ) body decided that they would be proactive and address the issue head on . We would still continue to look at and treat the sport with a great deal of disdain. The sad fact is , what we’re now seeing in the sport is no different than the multitude of sins that were being exhibited and perpetrated in the sport of baseball and the prolific use of both steroids and HGH by the players. And even now with the MLB ____ hierarchy and MLPA __(union) working in conjunction to have a strict , coherent and cohesive drug testing policy in place. We are still seeing a number of major league ballplayers testing positive for banned substances. Kind of makes one wonder what we now deem to be acceptable within the world of sports ?

As the NBA’s postseason unfold we could be on the verge of seeing both conference finals turn into uncomfortable blowouts. The Boston Celtics have a rather commanding 2-0 lead over the listless Orlando Magic . And in the Western Conference Finals the Los Angeles Lakers has kept its home-field advantage in tact by opening up also a 2-0 lead over the Phoenix Suns .

In the midst of this all the Suns’ Amar`e Stoudemire has seen fit act like a petulant child by stating that the Lakers’ Lamar Odom was simply lucky in playing the way he did in game one of the conference finals. Stoudemire fails to indicate that with Odom coming off the bench to ignite the Lakers with a double-double of 19 points, 19 rebounds , it has in essence all but doomed the Suns’ postseason ambitions. And we beg the question can the Suns save grace by at least trying to eke out one win in this series ?

It is becoming abundantly clear that the Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry is being outmatched and out-coached by his divisional counterpart Phil Jackson of the Lakers. And having shown some semblance of defense in the earlier rounds. Now for all sense and purpose the Phoenix Suns simply haven’t an answer for Kobe Bryant or anyone else on the Lakers’ roster who just happens to show their offensive capabilities during this series . To put it bluntly, this is like taking candy from a baby !

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Game two provided us with all the evidence we need to know that when the Lakers make the NBA Finals they will go into the series as an overwhelming favorite against the Easter Conference’s representative . The Lakers “dusted” the Suns in such a commanding way that it probably has most among us believing , are either the Celtics or Magic capable of stopping this Lakers’ juggernaut ? The Lakers’ 124-112 victory was about as emphatic as one would come to expect from such a dominant team.

Well those are just my thoughts as it concerns the subject matter in terms of the title ……..”You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..
. What specific sports issues that have caught your attention as of late has you thinking along these lines ? By all means chime on in with a comment and as usual I’ll look forward to responding in kind. Stay safe and have a great weekend !

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals was won by the Lakers 128-107 .


Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………

Joe Budden ……………….“Pump It Up”

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50 cent feat’g Lloyd Banks …………………..“On Fire”

The Sad Things Is The Chicago Bears Are What I Thought They’d Be Just Another Average Team Behind The Arm of A Much Overhyped QB ‘nough Said !

There comes a time when you’ve got to call a spade , a spade and a shovel , a shovel. And as the old adage goes “……….if it walks like a duck and quacks like duck . Then it has to be a duck. It can’t be anything else now, can it ” ?

So what are we to make of the much hyped Chicago Bears (4-4) and their equally over-hyped and their said to be talented star quarterback , Jay Cutler ? Much has been made as to what the Pro Bowl caliber quarterback would bring to the table for this Lovie Smith coached team. And the truth of the matter is, not one of those much heralded claims has yet to pan out for the Bears this season. If anything, Cutler and the Bears have been average at best. And for the likes of the talking dunder-heads and paeans within Bristol, Connecticut at ESPN , who hyped up the Bears after the acquisition was made for Cutler in exchange for Kyle Orton being shipped to the Denver Broncos (6-2). My question would be , who’s eating crow now ?

Arizona Cardinals' running back Chris Beanie Wells breaks away  from  the  Chicago  Bears'   Danieal  Manning  in  an  NFL  game played  at Soldier  Field , Chicago , Illinois,.  The Cardinals  would  romp to a   41-21 rout  of  the   Chicago Bears .   picture appears courtesy of  getty images/  Johnathan Daniel ...........

Arizona Cardinals’ running back Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells breaks away from the Chicago Bears’ Danieal Manning in an NFL game played at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois,. The Cardinals would romp to a 41-21 rout of the Chicago Bears. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel ……….

And when looks down the roster of the Chicago Bears , one can’t help but ask. Why is a team, said to be laden with so much alleged talent continue to struggle the way that it does ? It’s not as if Smith and his coaching staff are mediocre. Clearly the problem with the Chicago Bears, lies in the fact that this team has yet to find its rhythm and play with consistency. Furthermore , there appears to be an apparent lack of leadership on the field of play. And if Cutler, as has been often pointed out wants to be seen as an elite quarterback in the NFL. Then it doesn’t mean just being able to toss the ball like a gunslinger in a shootout. It also demands that he leads a team with presence and authority. And that’s something that he’s yet to do, despite his time spent in the league.

Bears' coach  Lovie Smith  watches as  his  defensive players  leave the  field late in the  game  against  the  Arizona  Cardinals.   picture appears courtesy  of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel .............

Bears’ coach Lovie Smith watches as his defensive players leave the field late in the game against the Arizona Cardinals. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel ……..

It is tough enough that the Bears have to go up against a rejuvenated Minnesota Vikings’ team led by that ageless wonder Brett Favre , with the league’s best running back Adrian Peterson in tow. And what with the lackluster performances by the Green Bay Packers and the underwhelming Detroit Lions. It was thought that the Bears would pose some sort of threat to the Vikings within the division. Well, that hasn’t been the case , nor is it likely to be ! The Chicago Bears have been so diabolically atrocious, that if the situation continues to get any worse, then Lovie Smith’s own future might be in danger. And this coming from a franchise ,barely three years removed from its appearance in SBXLI. Where the team would go on to lose to the Peyton Manning led Indianapolis Colts (29-17). Manning would go on to named the game’s MVP. And the Colts’ coach Tony Dungy would become the first African American to coach an NFL team to victory in the Super Bowl. From that historical high where the two coaches in Super Bowl XLI happened to be of African American ethnicity. We’ve seen the fate of the Bears , seemingly take a nose dive into the abyss of mediocrity.

And while the fates of Cutler and Kyle Orton seem to have gone in opposite directions. One can’t help but notice how the Bears’ fans must now be feeling. As much as they may well have derided their former player. To seem him go on to play for the Broncos in the way that he has. Well, it has to have led those very same fans to question who got the better end of the deal ? Broncos’ coach, Josh McDaniels has to be happy with the play of Orton and the fact that he commands the respect of his teammates, there in Denver. Can the same thing be said of Cutler at this present moment in time ?

Jay  Cutler of  the  Chicago Bears   as  he  scrambles in the  backfield  while  looking  for  a Bears'   receiver to  make a  pass  to.   In  the  game  played at Soldier  Field ,  the   Bears   would  suffer their  worse  loss  of the  season   being  completely  outplayed  and  annihilated    41-21 by the  Arizona  Cardinals .   picture  appears courtesy of getty images/  Johnathan  Daniel ..........

Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears as he scrambles in the backfield while looking for a Bears’ receiver to make a pass to. In the game played at Soldier Field , the Bears would suffer their worse loss of the season being completely outplayed and annihilated 41-21 by the Arizona Cardinals. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel ………

Statistically the Chicago Bears aren’t where they need to be as a team. On offense they rank 16th in (22.5pts-ppg),18th in total offense (332.4 yds-per game),11th in passing yds (241.9 per game), 28th in rushing (90.5 yds per game). On the defensive side of the ball things don’t actually get much better in the relevant categories either. They’re merely seem to be average at best ,with them allowing 23.9 pts per game(rank 22nd), 326 yds of total defense (rank 15th), passing yds allowed 206.5 yds per game (rank 12th), rushing yds allowed 119.5 per game (rank 21st). And overall as a team they barely register a blip on the charts as a mainstay in the pertinent categories.

One might question the coaching of Lovie Smith and that of his coaching staff . Wherein, he’s assisted by Defensive Coordinator, Bob Babich and on offense by Ron Turner , who oversees the offensive duties as the team’s Offensive Coordinator. There appears to be no real unison between the contingents on either side of the ball and how they apply themselves to the task at hand. And this may well be one of the inherent problems for the team, as a whole. As to how they’ll go about remedying the factors that have arisen. Well, that’s down Smith and his staff.

 Kurt Warner of  the  Arizona  Cardinals  makes  his way out of the  pocket as he's  pursued  by the   Bears  Anthony  Adams .  Also  assisting  on  the  play  for   the  Cardinals  is   Reggie  Wells  seen to the  left  of  Adams.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty  images/  Johnathan  Daniel  .............

Kurt Warner (13) of the Arizona Cardinals makes his way out of the pocket as he’s pursued by the Bears Anthony Adams (95). Also assisting on the play for the Cardinals is Reggie Wells, seen to the left of Adams. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel
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Courtesy of Associated Press and NFL.com

Bears’ Harris apologizes for punching defenseless player

Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Saying he was embarrassed and that he has to control himself, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris apologized Monday for throwing a punch at Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Deuce Lutui.

Harris was ejected on the fourth play from scrimmage of Sunday’s game after he and Lutui wound up on the ground on a run play. Harris apologized to teammates, Bears fans and to Lutui.

“I was embarrassed, especially for my actions,” Harris said. “I apologized to him yesterday, called Larry (Fitzgerald) and had a chance to apologize to him. I just wanted to apologize to my fans first off, and the little kids out there that saw that action. I shouldn’t have behaved in that manner, and I apologized to my teammates, and I’ll make up for it.”

The Bears’ defense has big problems following a 41-21 blowout loss to the Cardinals and they start with Harris. The three-time Pro Bowl player could be suspended by the league.

“No excuse,” coach Lovie Smith said. “Whenever you do something to get kicked out of a football game, a tough game like that where you need everyone, it’s never a good thing. Tommie realizes he screwed up.”

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The loss of middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher , who’s viewed as the heart and soul of the team. It has meant that the Chicago Bears have had to make use of players such as Hunter Hillenmeyer and Nick Roach to fill that immense gap, that Urlacher proceeded to fill on the Bears’ defense. And with the ten year veteran being lost to the team for the season. Well, filling that gap has proven to be something of an immense problem. It was felt that they might have pursued Derrick Brooks, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a stop gap , for the position. But it would appear that it wasn’t necessarily a direction that they wanted to pursue. A tell-tale sign, if ever there was one. Replacing an often injured veteran with another it’s known is on the downside of his career. It never seems to work out and that was the primary thinking behind not pursuing Brooks.

Ron Turner as the team’s offensive coordinator , has at his disposal, the talents of Devin Hester, Matt Forte , Garrett Wolfe , Earl Bennett and Greg Olsen. But either through the accompanying injuries or the mere fact , that there seems to be nothing going right for the Chicago Bears. As they labor under the pressure of having live up to expectations of the Bears’ fans and the community at large. These are some very trying times for the franchise,the fans and no doubt for Lovie Smith ! The team’s offense is anemic and Jay Cutler hasn’t shown anywhere near the perceived form that many believe that he has. And in Cutler’s case, when much of that hype, comes from the mere fact that you felt you were in the same class as former Broncos’ great, John Elway. You can well understand why it is now, that some are of the belief that the Bears have been sold down the river, in acquiring the player.

Much has been made, that Jay Cutler is a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback. And while that may be true , what in essence is the Pro Bowl anyway ? I mean, there’s nothing at all tangible in making an appearance there. The game itself is meaningless and the accolade, though thought to meaningful , isn’t really acknowledgment by one’s peers. It’s merely the NFL’s idea of throwing a party , once the regular season has ended and also rewarding the players . As if they’re not already well rewarded financially,to begin with ? Cutler , to my mind is everything that personifies what’s wrong with a player who believes that he’s capable of leading a team. But in essence, he has yet to show the qualities that are needed in achieving that success. Time and time again, he’s mentioned as being amongst the elite quarterbacks within the NFL. To my mind, that’s akin in trying to ascertain that Rosie O’Donnell shares the same beauty traits of Halle’ Berry or Megan Fox for that matter ! It just ain’t gonna happen ! And Jay Cutler is not amongst the elite quarterbacks within the NFL ! ‘nough said !

NFC North Divisional Standings :

NFC North Team W L T Pct PF PA Net Pts TD Home Road Div Pct Conf Pct Non-Conf Streak Last 5
Minnesota Vikings 7 1 0 .875 244 174 70 29 3-0 4-1 3-0 1.000 5-0 1.000 2-1 1W 4-1
Green Bay Packers 4 4 0 .500 215 172 43 25 2-2 2-2 2-2 .500 3-3 .500 1-1 2L 2-3
Chicago Bears 4 4 0 .500 180 191 -11 21 3-1 1-3 1-1 .500 2-3 .400 2-1 1L 2-3
Detroit Lions 1 7 0 .125 133 237 -104 14 1-3 0-4 0-3 .000 1-6 .143 0-1 5L 0-5

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Megan Fox

Megan Fox of ‘Transformers’ fame.

And given the choice between Megan Fox , Halle’ Berry and Rosie O’Donnell. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the majority of guys’ll go with Halle and Megan over Rosie !

The delightful  Halle' Berry

The delightful Halle’ Berry !