Squawkers and gawkers …..

Squawkers and gawkers

Just when we all thought to be a great sports’ weekend, across the panacea of that landscape , one or two oddities , idiocies and great moments are witnessed. In the NFL , week twelve provided us with some scintillating play from the players and one or two moments of dubious firsts . Chris Long and his brother Kyle Long appear to get into what was said to be a shoving match on-field , in a game played between the Chicago Bears and St Louis Rams . Brotherly love in the NFL, may well have a new face to it, beyond the typical loves-fest between perhaps the league’s two most active and famous siblings , Peyton Manning and Eli Manning . That asides , Peyton and the Denver Broncos may well have provided us with the best game played on Sunday afternoon , as the team surrendered a twenty point lead to the New England Patriots , as Tom Brady led the Patriots in a rousing come from behind win in overtime .

A minor incident this past weekend in the NFL between Chris and Kyle Long , that in some cases set the NFL world abuzz .

With losses now suffered by the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs , the AFC has now become a wide open race with four games left to the regular season and the top two berths in the conference still up for grabs . It certainly sets the stage, for an interesting race to finish line over the four remaining games of the regular season schedule.

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Somehow, both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are now having something of an astonishing turnaround to their respective seasons. Both teams have now sauntered to a one and three-win streak respectively, suddenly lifting themselves both, out of a position of mediocrity within their respective divisions . As to what this might suggest about the quality of the opponents faced on Sunday has to be also tempered by the quality of lack thereof now being witnessed in the NFL . No amount of enthusiasm a by a group of former NFL players , now on air analysts , singing the praises of the league’s teams , can now excuse the fact that the league has now become a rather bland product !

The Buccaneers’ 24-21 victory over a very overrated Detroit Lions’ team, says as much about the two combatants and the very fact that this Greg Schiano coached team along with their three-game win streak have now become the focus of attention , with their being a great deal of speculation as to whether or not the beleaguered head coach would in fact survive the season . As Matt Stafford continues to put up impressive annual stats , one has to now question the fact, that Jim Schwartz seems to have forgotten that defense is also very much a prerequisite in today’s NFL game.

Speaking of teams, who appear to show no desire to actually play with a model of consistency , beyond now losing with alarming regularity . Are there any remaining fantasy geeks out there, still willing to put their trust in Matt Ryan , much less the Atlanta Falcons as a team? The Falcons in their divisional contest with the New Orleans Saints , sank to a new level of mediocrity , with their fifth successive loss of the season , dropping the team to league low 2-9 record and at the bottom of the NFC South and the NFC , respectively . Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season for a team coming off a league-high 13-3 record in 2012 , along with a divisional title and having made it into the postseason ? Injuries asides , beyond the loss of Julio Jones , the Falcons are now indicating why this suggestion of their being ” parity in the NFL ” is simply nothing more than an urban legend . It comes down to coaching , but above all , talent on the field of play . Yet the hyperbole created and the notion of parity , it begs the question is this merely a matter of creating a ” water cooler topic ” to discuss all season long ? I will leave you, to be the judge of all that !

Last season’s NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers , are proving to be human after-all. Colin Kaepernick in particular , no longer impervious, has shown himself susceptible to being inconsistent in terms of his play , and what was said to be one of the league’s most stymieing secondary’s are also proving hype doesn’t necessarily allude to greatness .

. A two-game losing streak has placed the Niners in somewhat of a precarious position as the league enters the final quarter of the regular season schedule . Tonight’s , Monday night contest at Fedex Field against the Washington Redskins could to prove to be a very interesting game between these NFC rivals . A victory, is a necessity, for both teams, as each seeks to add their legitimacy as a playoff contender . To think that the Redskins, with their record of 4-7 , are not completely out of their divisional race , does seem to be mind-boggling . Yet consider the fact, that NFC East joint divisional leaders the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) and Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) are barely above.500 adds even more credibility behind the rationale , that not only has the play this season been abysmal , but the quartet of teams within this particular division are just not that good .

The return of Derrick Rose , this season to the NBA and the Chicago Bulls , was seen as a tremendous positive not only for the franchise , but also for the league itself. Barely a month , into the NBA season and the fans have witnessed the loss of the point guard to what first appeared to have been an innocuous injury. News’ updates, have suggested that Rose has a torn the meniscus cruciate ligament (MCL) in his right knee and is now likely out, for the remainder of the season. Having not appeared at all, in any games during the 2012 season , Derrick Rose , now being sidelined , is as big a blow to the Chicago Bulls as it will be for the rest of the NBA , without fans being able to witness one of the best point guards in the game , as well as one of the best players overall in the entire league. The team’s chances of making the postseason, will have diminished, but not to the extent where they are likely to be written off as a non-contender as an Eastern Conference titlist .

Rose’s loss for the season , came in the team’s lopsided defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers . While fans and analysts alike, continue to gauge that loss , it is the points guard’s injury and the possible long-term effect on his blossoming career that now comes into question . The Bulls as an organization has a large monetary investment in the player and how they now deal with that issue will be now be predicated upon the decisions that are likely to be made jointly by Tom Thibodeau , owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman . The team will now have to refocus their efforts and rally behind the play of Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , Kirk Hinrich , Jimmy Butler , Gibson and Joakim Noah . If the players can exhibit the type of effort and resilience shown during the 2011 postseason , then any doubts that some observers are likely to have , could be overlooked .

Chicago will get their first opportunity to perform without their All Star point guard , when they face the Utah Jazz , as these two teams meet on Monday night in an infra-conference match-up. How the Bulls perform in that contest might not be enough of a guide to indicate how they are likely to fare over the remainder of their season , but might clue us in, as to the temperament of the team as a whole , as they seek to go on without Derrick Rose .

The Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban , self-styled narcissist and publicity seeking hound , the majority of the time, can also be a pompous ass ! Granted , with the Mavericks having won their lone NBA title in 2011 , he may well feel that gives him the luxury of pointing out the woes of NBA Commissioner David Stern as well as criticizing that executive , as to what he still believes to be wrong with the game . Certainly , I cannot question Cuban’s wealth , but the so-called business acumen that many seem to be under the impression that he currently possesses , should be tempered by the fact he recently ran afoul of the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) and US Justice Department for ‘ insider trading’. Cuban’s premise, that he was a victim of a political witch-hunt , was about as asinine as his latest comments , attributed to the Mavericks’ owner ” that performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) should now be allowed in the NBA” , with its use being strictly monitored by the league hierarchy . Educated or not , Mark Cuban’s continued stupidity and outlandish persona, is simply another reason why a great deal of the time why he has never been taken seriously by a number of his peers in and outside of the game. As to this latest statement by Cuban , it begs the question, since when was it appropriate to counteract and violate league rules in order to make a diluted product , even less attractive than it already happens to be ? Cuban may well have been acquitted of the charges , and once again , the incompetency of the prosecution (US Attorney’s Office) in the presentation of the government’s case allowed the defendant to walk .

Mark Cuban’s belief that by using performance enhancing drugs to strictly aid with a player’s recovery from an injury , would be of benefit to the league . Perhaps, the Mavericks’ owner has yet to view the pandemic created by the misuse of PED’S in baseball, and the very fact that the MLBPA (union) , much like the NBPA (Players’ Union) , have both been completely disingenuous in dealing with the issue. Cuban’s concerns, if anything, should be about the long-term future of the Dallas Mavericks and where they are likely to be, upon the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki , the franchise’s leading scorer in their history . It is not as if this team , is now likely to get any better , as Nowiztki’s career has now plateaued , and where he is no longer a force to be reckoned with, as he was during his prime.

Currently at 9-5 , fourteen games into the season the Dallas Mavericks sit in second place behind instate rivals the San Antonio Spurs (12-1) within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . That mark is good enough for fifth place within the conference overall and sixth place within for the NBA as a whole . The Mavericks led by aging veterans , Nowitzki and Shawn Marion , could very well struggle during the latter part of their season , when health and attrition will play a great deal in what this team is likely to achieve . Coming off a two-point loss to the Denver Nuggets , the two teams will meet again on Monday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver , Colorado.

Now losers of five straight and eight of their last ten games , it is becoming extremely difficult to justify the hire of Jason Kidd , to coach the Brooklyn Nets . Furthermore, Kidd now at his worst by way of his coaching record, appears to be is no better than when Avery Johnson coached this franchise, but was summarily dismissed because of a player revolt. Nets’ GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov , I believe will soon see the error of their ways , with this asinine and ridiculous hire. Take into account the team’s payroll and the rather asinine belief by anal retentive fans, that the Nets can spend their way out of trouble will actually make them a credible force within the NBA, this season . The Nets as a team, have no defensive presence and the contributory efforts of Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry , has bordered on being anemic to say he very least.

As if to further emphasize how bad the Brooklyn Nets just happens to be , only the lamentable Milwaukee Bucks (2-10) have a worst record in the entire Eastern Conference . Sunday’s twelve point home loss by Brooklyn to the Detroit Pistons , should be seen as a reverberating wake-up call for entire Nets’ front office , but with the recent announcement that both Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov will continue to back their embattled head coach to the hilt . I guess, it will be only a matter of time , before we will either see Kidd fall on his sword and summarily re-sign or at the behest of the fans, King makes the decision to relieve the coach of his duties . No use , dressing up a pig and trying to suggest that it is a sow , because that in essence , is what the fans were asked to believe when Jason Kidd was hired to coach this team . His playing credentials were never in question , but his lack of coaching acumen has been on full show , a lack of discipline , and his not being able to communicate with his players, effectively shows this to have been an extremely poor hiring choice to begin with .

This baseball off- season, has been, one of a great deal of speculation and some rather surprising moves. The ongoing “dramedy ” of the Alex Rodriguez hearings , have taken on a life of their own and as a fan of the game , I do believe that this whole process, will not change a damn thing , as it pertains to the landscape within baseball ! The league hierarchy remains incompetent , the union simply overpowering , the owners greedy , and the vast majority of the players are simply disingenuous and under the impression that they still uphold a wonderful tradition , and nothing could be further from the truth .

In one of the more surprising moves , the Detroit Tigers sent Prince Fielder and the remainder of his gargantuan contract off to the Texas Rangers , in exchange for Ian Kinsler . Two under-achieving AL teams simply swapping juju beans, while Jack is still climbing to the top of the Beanstalk. From my own perspective, the Tigers have now reached their zenith, and their recent postseason forays under former manager Jim Leyland , suggests that this team, has nothing left to offer beyond, being very good during the regular season. While this move can be simply seen, as GM Dave Dombrowski seeking to get Fielder’s contract off the books , in order for the team’s pursuance of pitcher Max Scherzer and a contract extension , now seems one that might not be that costly , but it is still likely to leave Detroit with one of the highest team payrolls in all of baseball .

With no one being able to explain the financial mindset within the game of baseball, I believe that during this off-season , we are likely to see the game’s first $300 million player by way of long-term contract ! Some might deem this to be ludicrous, but consider the following, Alex Rodriguez is still on track to have career earnings from the game of $ 500 million , having signed two contracts exceeding $250 million apiece . No one has yet faulted the rationale behind any of the deals in question , but now with Robinson Cano and Clayton Kershaw being the two off-season marquee free agents , although the pitcher’s situation comes by way of his arbitration status . It would appear, that the Los Angeles Dodgers are eager to res-sign the pitcher and have all but promised to make him the highest paid pitcher in the game.

For Robinson Cano and his ubiquitous agent, Jay-z , it is his desire to be seen, as a legitimate conduit, able to “seal a deal” for his client. The New York Yankees can ill-afford to lose a player of Cano’s caliber, but at the same time with Hal Steinbrenner seeking to reduce the team’s payroll below his desired $200 million threshold , it will be a daunting task for GM Brian Cashman to re-sign the slugger and not actually “ break the bank “ .

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Picture gallery.

From the outside looking in , this past sporting weekend has been an interesting but strange paradigm as a number of events have played themselves out on a very public scale for the sports’ fans in general . I cannot help but wonder, what now waits at the very next turn! What observations have you witnessed or would hope to see in the coming weeks within the world of sports ?

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands off to running back Stevan Ridley (22) of the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Brady would engineer a fourth quarter comeback for the Patriots , with the team defeating the Broncos 34-31 to win the game in overtime . Getty Images North America / Jared Wickerham ….

(2) Running back Montee Ball (28) of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball in the third quarter against the New England Patriots during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jared Wickerham …..

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is pressured by outside linebacker Paul Worrilow (55) of the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Georgia Dome on November 21, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ….

(4) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose , who for the second time in three years has seen his NBA career curtailed by an injury . The player will be lost to the team for the entire season having torn an MCL in his right knee . The diagnosis , as we now know it to be , will be his having to receive arthroscopic surgery and then a long recuperation and rehabilitation process of possibly between twelve to fourteen months . AP Photo / Kerry Anderson ….

(5) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban seen here on the set of the ABC reality show ” Shark Tank” . Cuban in a recent statement believes that the NBA should allow the use of performance enhancing drugs within the game, to aid a player in the recuperative process after having suffered an injury . Failing to acknowledge the ongoing issues now facing baseball (MLB) , the gregarious owner still stands by his statement. courtesy of ABC/Disney Television …..

(6) Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw seen here in the team’s dugout from a game earlier this season will be seeking a healthy pay increase . All signs are pointing to the fact that the player who is in an arbitration year will see his salary increase considerably , with the front office also offering the player a long-term deal , likely to make him the highest paid player on the team’s roster . AP Photo / Mark Todd …………

(7) Brooklyn Nets’ GM Billy King (left) is seen here alongside the team’s head coach Jason Kidd. With the team off to a horrendous start to the season , the front office has issued a public statement backing the beleaguered rookie head coach. NY Daily News / AP Photo/ Jose Figueroa ……
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For whom the bell tolls , it tolls for thee …..

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And when the dust settles there will be a number of casualties laying prostrate on the ground as part of the debris of this NFL season . Week thirteen will come to a close after Monday night’s game between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins to be played at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland ,. That match-up will pit Eli Manning of the Giants against the dynamic rookie sensation , Robert Griffin III of the Redskins.

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And the game between the two NFC East contenders, should prove to be one of the highlights of the weekend’s slew of games . With three games left to the regular season , it must be said there’s still a great deal to be played for in terms of the divisional and playoff berths still up for grabs .

Meanwhile , within the NFC East , another potentially telling divisional match-up , is that of the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Philadelphia Eagles . A win, for the struggling Dallas Cowboys is imperative , if they are to have any hopes of making the postseason . For the Philadelphia Eagles, and their beleaguered coach , Andy Reid , and quarterback, Michael Vick , this might just be the lead-up to the beginning of the end for both of these individuals . Reid has steadfastly, stood behind his veteran quarterback , in spite of the player’s poor play throughout the majority of the games in which he has played this season. Backup quarterback , Nick Foles hasn’t yet showed that he has a great command of the offense, but given his productivity in comparison’s to Vick’s , it has to be said that the younger player has shown a great deal more than his much vaunted , and more experienced counterpart .

With the Cowboys coming away with a 38-33 victory , which leaves Jason Garrett’s team with a mark of 5-6 within the NFC East , and dropping the Eagles to 3-8 in the division. From my own perspective , I believe that the Dallas Cowboys will be hard pressed to beat any of the top contenders within the NFC , much less the entire NFL . In spite of what team owner, Jerry Jones , may well believe about this team, they are simply not good enough to be taken seriously as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl . There are far too many flaws on this team , beyond the nonsensical game plans and decisions being made by an overrated coach , in , Jason Garrett .

It’s not “easy being cheesy “ but someone has to do it , and who else is better , than the much maligned Chicago Bears ? For a team that is 8-4 , and sitting second within the NFC North , the Bears are simply showing that a record doesn’t accurately represent a team, and who they say they are . The Bears in their last five a games , are a hapless 2-3 , but yet the constant throng of support thrown the team’s way , simply isn’t justified . That is unless you’re more focused on the fact that Jay Cutler, is now said to be playing at a higher level than most of his counterparts within the NFC . Clearly , there’s a misrepresentation not only about Cutler , but also apparently , on how good the Chicago Bears , are said to be. The Bears might just be one of the weakest teams in the NFL to hold a record of 8-4 within the league , and that is with due respect to the aspirants with a similar mark . Yet when it’s all said and done, you’re either what your record says you are , or you are not ! Which is it to be , for Lovie Smith’s , Bears ?

I’ll say this only once but the AFC West and its counterpart , the NFC West, in my honest opinion , are the two worst divisions in the entire NFL ! From a competitive standpoint , the brand of football being played by the occupants there , borders on being farcical, and at times, a complete embarrassment to the league. Yet this is what the NFL has been selling the fans and consumers as entertainment for the past several years. Could it simply come down to bad coaching ? Of which there just happens to be great deal of, within the NFL at present ! So much so, that at the end of the postseason , if not before there are likely to be several coaching changes around the NFL .

The highly touted Chicago Bears , somehow came up short, against a rookie quarterback , in the Seattle Seahawks’ —- Russell Wilson , a possible candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year. Inexplicably , on their home ground at Soldier Field , in Chicago, Illinois, the Bears somehow managed to embarrass themselves in a game played against the Seattle Seahawks , but also further point out the fact, of why it is Jay Cutler is simply overrated . Arm strength asides, what if anything , has Cutler proven to the Bears’ since his acquisition by the franchise in a trade several years ago ? He has yet to win a meaningful game in the postseason , and it has to be said that when faced with real adversity , the quarterback simply doesn’t have what it takes face such an incident head on , especially in light of the NFC championship game from the 2010 season . Doubt my word , then simply look at Cutler’s postseason record as evidence of that fact ? Sunday night , for want of a better word . the Bears simply pissed away their chance of taking a stranglehold within the NFC North, by succumbing to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, 23-17 . And as for that much vaunted defense of the Bears , well let’s just say their greatness lies somewhere in between the aspirations of Mitt Romney’s failed Presidential campaign and the “wonderment” of the idiots , who believe Jay Cutler to be one of the “ better or “ elite quarterbacks” now playing in the NFL ! In other words , repeated failure, is a damn option , for both Cutler and Romney ! How’d you like them apples ?

It wasn’t meant to be , and off course there’s no quarterback controversy , as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach , Jim Harbaugh went with the “ hot hand” and you somehow knew that Colin Kaepernick’s recent heroics would find a way of bringing him back to earth , and teach something of a lesson in humility. As to the fans and bloggers , out there , looking to make something out of nothing , the case is now closed . Kaepernick , has played well in his first three professional games for the Niners , but this being the NFL , the great players , as well as the rookies, can have their good days, as well as some extraordinarily bad days. And Sunday, was no exception for the young rookie quarterback , in which Harbaugh showed his faith in, Kapernick may well have come up short, but in no way should he bear the sole responsibility for the team’s 16-13 overtime loss the St Louis Rams.

The loss itself, doesn’t place the 49ers out of the running for the NFC West divisional title ,as it merely brings the team back closer amongst the pack of the only other real aspirant within the division , which just happens to be the 7-5 Seattle Seahawks. Up next for Jim Harbaugh’s team will be a home game against the Miami Dolphins , in week fourteen. For Seattle, they face something of a less sterner test, when they take on the lowly Arizona Cardinals at Q West Field , in Seattle , Washington,.

I for one do not know what it may well take for either Roger Goodell , or those seated on the board of the NFL’s Fair Play and Rules’ Committee to wake up ,and smell the coffee , when it comes to premeditated actions and the play of the Detroit Lions’ —- Ndamokung Suh ! Fresh off last week’s act of raising his feet while he was on the ground , and deliberately kicking the Houston Texans’ quarterback, Matt Schaub , in the groin. It would appear , that even with the referee’s report and all of the visual evidence , NFL Commissioner Goodell , has yet to render a verdict as to whether not what sort of penalty , if any, Suh will face for that despicable and unsportsmanlike conduct. And for all of the inane stupidity we have come to expect from the bumbling , fumbling Roger Goodell , can someone answer me this , has Goodell got a backbone or has he simply become a complete moron, in wake of the continued embarrassment that he’s suffered because he has been made to look the complete asshole in his handling of the New Orleans’ Saints’ scandal ? The commissioner’s office , has yet to issue any type of penalty to the player , but only to offer a public statement , stating that a full and in-depth investigation will be needed , before any verdict can be rendered , which will be based upon Ndamokung Suh’s prior acts.

Courtesy of NFL.com

Ndamukong Suh’s dance upsets Colts’ Mike McGlynn

By Gregg Rosenthal , NFL.com

It wouldn’t be a Detroit Lions game without a fresh story of someone being upset with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
After Lions corner-back Don Carey made an interception with 6:40 left in Sunday’s 35-33 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Suh hammered right tackle Winston Justice. Suh and his teammates reportedly stood over Justice, laughed and danced. Justice left the game with a concussion.

Colts right guard Mike McGlynn was furious after the game. He was seen jawing with Suh after the Colts’ game-winning touchdown.

“Totally ignorant on their part,” McGlynn told Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star. “Just childish stuff. We’re all battling out there; I don’t know if the hit was legal or not, but clearly he was hurt, and they’re out there dancing and pointing at him and laughing. Just blatant disrespect. They’re good players, but there’s no room for that. It’s disgusting, really.”
Suh wasn’t flagged on the play, and the broadcast of the game didn’t highlight what happened, but we’re sure the NFL will look at what happened.

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What might be even more intolerable, is the mere fact that Lions’ head coach , Jim Schwartz or any senior executive from within the Lions’ front office have seen fit to issue a public statement on the incident , much less the organization suspending the player for conduct unbecoming of the NFL and bringing the Lions’ franchise into disrepute. Well , if ever there was a case for the NFL to act swiftly , then Ndamokung Suh’s actions in the Lions’ loss (33-35) to the Indianapolis Colts , should now be enough of an indicator that something has to and should be done to disbar and suspend the Lions’ defensive player without pay for a minimum of three games. As for the mother fucking ass wipes out there who carry on, with this asinine premise that “football is a man’s game and the players should play with reckless abandonment” . When I last looked , kicking a player in the groin, wasn’t a part of the game , nor were Suh’s alleged actions in Sunday’s game when the player and several of his Lions’ teammates danced around and laughed over the concussed body of Colts’ player Winston Justice , after Suh delivered a “ vicious hit “ to the downed player during a play. If Suh’s intent is to prove that he’s not a dirty player , then , he sure has a fucking unintelligent way of showing it ! Justice had to be carried off the field of play , with a mild concussion and was not able to return to the game.

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Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) walks off the field after the Lions lose 35-33 to the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

Inside the space of a week , the Detroit Lions have gone from the bumbling oafs of the NFL after their Thanksgiving Day loss , suffered at the hands of the Houston Texans , to “persona-non-grata” and perhaps now , the “ dirtiest team “ within the league. Never-mind , the fact that , Matt Stafford now appears to be a caricature of the player , who last season was amongst the best quarterbacks in the NFL. This season , as he has continued to disappoint , and so too , has the team under , head coach , Jim Schwartz .

At 4-8 , lying at the bottom of the NFC North , to describe the Detroit Lions as a major disappointment this season , would be akin to stating that their play was simply an aberration , and that they are capable of doing better. In this I don’t believe that they can , as they have simply played down to the level of their opponents , rather than playing at a higher standard . The talents of wide receiver, Calvin Johnson , have been wasted this season , and the team’s defense is not as good as was being first advertised and lauded over , by several NFL analysts and fans alike . It’s now safe to say , that the Lions are back to ways of old , as evidenced , by the mess served up by franchise on Thanksgiving Day.

Some coaches in the NFL , are on to a good thing , while others having had a sampling of success , believe that they’re untouchable , because who they are , and that their sheer persona , as it towers over the franchise they just happen to coach . It’s pretty much safe to say that those traits, mirror the New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan . Now consider the season that Ryan’s team is said to be having that the asinine premise behind what can be the best described as the biggest side of sports’ failure this side of Michael Jordan trying his hand at professional baseball, was to have to Tim Tebow was to acquire the player via a trade ,merely to put same additional faces in the stands at MetLife Stadium . And while the Heisman Trophy winner has his supporters, let’s be real, Tebow now has more detractors, in terms of his footballing talent , that’s said to equal those now rallying against amongst the Jets’ coaching staff and front office staff who suborned this idiocy ! Tim Tebow is nothing more than affable guy , who is now , simply out of his depth as an NFL professional football player. He does not possess the football IQ , under which he is capable of learning in order for his game to improve . And the statements attributed to head coach Rex Ryan that the young backup quarterback is one of the hardest working players he has had under his tutelage , doesn’t really say a great deal when you consider the fact that in 2011 and now in , 2012 his teams have failed miserably . And perhaps , none more so than the team’s starting quarterback , Mark Sanchez , whose game has steadily declined over the past two seasons , but yet the coaching staff ,led by offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , head coach Rex Ryan and quarterbacks’ coach , Matt Cavanaugh have been pretty much adamant and insistent , all season long that Sanchez was “their man “ , to be the signal caller for the hapless Jets. Well now that the tires have become deflated on this motionless New York Jets’ vehicle , it would appear that the coaching staff and GM Mike Tannenbaum are firmly in line behind , a change at the quarterback position. And no , it is not going to be Tim Tebow taking the snaps under center, it will be the third-string starter , Greg McElroy.

In what can be best described as a game between two mediocre teams , certainly lived up to that expectation , with both the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets serving a main course for national broadcast viewing that if anything should have run the wrath of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) . I know that this governmental agency is meant to monitor the public broadcast airwaves , paying close attention and monitoring for the use of explicit language and graphic gratuitous violence and explicit sexual acts . but hell, what about saving the consumer from the events that took place at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey, as both the Cardinals and Jets simply struggled to put points on the board ? Goddamn it, it is not as of both teams offered much of making the game a defensive chess match to begin with ! Ken Whisenhunt and the Arizona Cardinals are taking on water faster than the Titanic in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean , having hit an iceberg and the Jets are not that far behind.

Greg McElroy may well have been the starter for the Jets on Sunday , but nothing he did , would have given you the impression, that he was ready assume a starting role as the quarterback for the Jets’ franchise , and the very fact that Rex Ryan had to revert back to the hapless , Mark Sanchez , whose game stats (10/21, 97 yards , 0 TD’s & 3 INT’s ) read like a failing test score, was scary enough to now make you wonder , where the Jets now go from here ? Tebow has two fractured ribs that sidelined him from the game , and if , as it has been stated , his participation would affect have affected throwing motion and running motion. , then the team is simply up a creek , without a paddle. No pun intended , but Tebow’s throwing motion to begin with , was always suspect , so a rib injury wouldn’t made a difference at all, where he available to suit up for the team. The end result for this monstrosity of a game , was 7-6 Jets’ victory

, and to go into depth , to merely describe a worthwhile play during this crap , would be akin to listening to either , Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin during a debate . You simply know that nothing at all productive would come out of such an event , and therein , now lies the story of the New York Jets’ season , nothing , anywhere near productive or positive, has come out of the team’s season at all ! Certainly , not on the field of play , or anything that can be vaguely described as being intelligent from the coaching staff or front office, has taken place off the field , for that matter ! At the end of the season , there has to be some major upheavals within the organization , from the front office , down to the coaching staff , and player personnel. This is simply a franchise that has been mismanaged and whose head coach , has his head so far up in the clouds , that back on earth , the Jets’ fans have to be wondering how much of a clueless asshole, is Rex Ryan to begin with .

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Picture gallery .

Were you at all happy, with any of the NFL games that were broadcast this past weekend ? And which specific game do you believe provided the most excitement during the week thirteen schedule ? Chime in with your thoughts , as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) watches his team play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants would go on to defeat the Packers 38-10 in a lopsided match-up of these two NFC teams. Monday night Eli will lead the New York Giants when they face the Washington Redskins in an NFC East divisional …. game . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(2) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Green Bay Packers’ Dezman Moses (54) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(3) Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Redskins won 38-31 . In what is seen as a highly anticipated match-up Robert Griffin III leads the Redskins on Monday night at Fedex Field , in Landover , Maryland , against the New York Giants . Griffin and the Colts’ Andrew Luck are seen as the two front-runners for the NFL Rookie of The Year . The pair of quarterbacks were taken as the top two players and quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft , and have led their respective teams to great records in the NFL this season , and have been amongst the most productive rookies and quarterbacks in the NFL this season. AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau ….

(4) Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) greet each other after their NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Redskins won 38-31. AP Photo/Matt Strasen …..

(5) Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) scores a touchdown from a pass by quarterback Tony Romo during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Romo set a Cowboys record with his 166th touchdown pass , breaking a tie with Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champion Troy Aikman . AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(6) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) adjusts his helmet after being tackled in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Philadelphia. The veteran quarterback has since began to question the front office’s intent to have him removed from injured reserve list having suffered a concussion in week 12 . Vick is due a roster bonus of $3 million , due in 2012 based on the player being 77.5 % of the team’s offensive plays as detailed in his contract. However, it is being rumored that the front office may well seek to trade the player in the off-season , if at all possible . The player is due $45.5 million through to 2016 , upon which be becomes a free agent in 2017 . Vick had signed a 5 year $80 million contract prior to the start of the 2011 season with the Philadelphia Eagles , but in light of his troubled 2012 season . it seems unlikely that those contractual obligations will be met by the franchise . AP Photo/Michael Perez ….

(7) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is sacked for a 7-yard loss by St. Louis Rams outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (58) and defensive end William Hayes, right, during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in St. Louis. The Rams defeated the 49ers 16-13 . AP Photo/Seth Perlman …

(8) New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals corner-back William Gay (22) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets’ lone touchdown in the game came by way of a touchdown pass from backup quarterback , Greg McElroy , in the team’s 7-6 triumph over the Cardinals Rams . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(9) Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener (80) , defended by Detroit Lions free safety Louis Delmas (26) and linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) , falls into the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. The Colts would come back from a double-digit deficit to defeat the Lions 35-33 late in the fourth quarter of the game played at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan . AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(10) Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) walks off the field after the Lions lose 35-33 to the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

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Cowboys beat Eagles, to stay alive in playoff race

Sanchez laments benching as New York Jets’ quarterback

Ndamukong Suh’s dance upsets Colts’ Mike McGlyn

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NFL news and news from around the league

NFL schedule week 13

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A Game For The Ages Or Not !

A Game For The Ages Or Not !

By tophatal …………

At this time of the NFL season everyone can subscribe to the fact a number of teams are simply playing for dear life while others are seeking to separate themselves from the pretenders and be seen as legitimate contenders . And while there were a litany of games that had a great deal of appeal there were a number that simply were an abomination not only as an exhibit but aslo so compelling in their mediocrity were they that I have to believe that the NFL hierarchy had to have been embarrassed by it all !

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Slide show for your perusal .

One game which has to stand out to my mind had to have been the match-up between AFC West participants the Denver Broncos (4-5) and Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) staged at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri . I doubt that in terms of the spectacle which unfolded the fans will see a much more insipid and vapid teams that are simply going nowhere ! Never mind that the two quarterbacks involved in this display may well have given their worst performances of the season. The fans of the Denver Broncos may well have been calling for the name of Tim Tebow when teammate Kyle Orton simply wasn’t delivering . But the insertion of the former Florida Gators’ quarterback simply having given the team the spark it sought the player’s performances have become ever more mind boggling and bordering on near mediocrity . Granted, at the end of the day it is the end result that matters but Tebow’s performances have become simply inept at its worst or barely average at best . Nowhere was this more self evident than in yesterday’s game against the Chiefs as his statistics ( 2/8 att’s, 69 yds, 1TD ) simply stuck out like a throbbing sore thumb . And though he also had one rushing touchdown in amassing 43 yards on nine rushes , it begs the question can the player matriculate to become the quarterback that coach John Fox needs if this team is to become successful ?

Tim Tebow’s counterpart Matt Cassel was not that much better 13/28 att, 93yds, 1TD) and when one considers the offensive weapons at the quarterback’s disposal you have to wonder what the hell went on during this game . Dwayne Bowe , Steve Breaston , Jamaal Charles , Jon Baldwin and Jackie Battle are not slouches but the team’s quarterback offered them little by way of overall productivity that would enable them to be in with a signifant chance of being in this game.

The end result may well have been a 17-10 victory for the Denver Broncos away from home which if anything would have been a god-send for their long suffering fans . God knows , both the Broncos and Chiefs have been a blight on the NFL this season . And it is beginning to make a complete mockery of the AFC West overall in terms of the consistency of the teams. The Oakland Raiders (5-4) lead the division followed by the Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers all jointly tied with a record of 4-5 within the division . At this juncture it is anyone’s bet who is likely to come out of the AFC West given the play of the teams at present. As to the play quarterbacks and where they rank within the conference and division , well let’s just say that they leave a great deal to be desired .

I don’t know that there can be any real excuses that ought to be made for the sundry of mediocre games that have taken place this season within the NFL . The labor stoppage initially I would have suggest may well have played a role in it all but we are now past the midway point of the season and yet there once again the fans are being served a up plethora of terrible games with even more exacerbating results . I would hate to think that during the postseason we are liable to see more of the game ! God forbid , that should even happen because if anything , I truly believe that the fans of the NFL would become increasingly disenchanted with brand and the game , given the prices that they are being asked to pay for the apparent privilege of watching the events in question.

The once high flying Detroit Lions (6-3) have suddenly fallen back down to earth and that should not come as a surprise anyone . Granted, they had Matt Stafford playing some of the best football of his career this year , you suddenly became aware that sooner or later the wheels on this particular bus would start to wobble . Well yesterday when the Lions faced their divisional rivals the Chicago Bears (6-3) not only did the wheels come off but the damn bus essentially fell over the damn cliff. Jay Cutler and his teammates simply played the best game of the season thus far in completely annihilating the Detroit Lions 37-13 . Bears’ coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff had to have been encouraged by what he saw from his players as they completely outplayed and out-coached Jim Schwartz’s team .

I for one know that there were a number of fans within this domain simply regaling as to how good the Detroit Lions are and that they should be thought of as legitimate contenders for the postseason . That being said , they are playing within a division (NFC North) where the Green Bay Packers (8-0) at present are simply laying waste to anyone placed in-front of them . That loss may well have been as demoralizing a defeat that Jim Schwartz’s players have suffered this season , perhaps with the exception of the 25-19 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in week 6 which the team suffered at Ford Field , Detroit , Michigan. That loss and in the aftermath of the events that took place when Jim Schwartz and his opposite number Jim Harbaugh had a minor on-field melee` . Schwartz may well have lost his cool but in doing so it clearly showed that the pressure was certainly getting to the coach.

The Detroit Lions now have to regain their composure and prepare themselves for their next game against the lowly Carolina Panthers (2-7) . It remains to be seen how Cam Newton and his teammates can contend with their NFC opponent in spite of their somewhat disappointing season .

Can someone actually explain to me how it is, that one moment the Baltimore Ravens (6-3) can look like all worldly contenders and then the next, perhaps are one of the most inept teams in the NFL ? I know that the Seattle Seahawks cannot really be looked upon as being one of the elite teams within the NFC much less the NFL . But for some reason on Sunday afternoon , somehow Peter Caroll’s Seahawks’ team were able to make the Ravens seem like that they were the boys playing amongst men. Let’s get real here , but no one would willingly subscribe to the fact the Seattle Seahawks are in fact world beaters but herein lies the truth ……..the adage that “within the NFL anyone on any given day can be beaten ” doesn’t necessarily hold true . Because to my mind a team is either prepared to play or they are not ! And clearly this was the case when the Ravens played the Seahawks at QWest Field in Seattle , Washington .

The Baltimore Ravens managed to dig themselves into a hole that they simply couldn’t extricate themselves from . Far be it for me to suggest but the team’s victory (23-20) over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , had to have been an apparition . Bear in mind also that the Baltimore Ravens have swept their divisional (AFC North) rivals in their series this season . Yet somehow the Ravens can manage to lose to a team that ranks 28th out of the 32 teams in the NFL when it comes to total offense . Am I actually missing something here ? Either the defense of the Baltimore Ravens is that bad or the Seattle Seahawks had an inspired game against the Joe Flacco and his teammates . I am inclined to believe that it might have been the latter but I could very well be wrong ! God knows , there have been some really inexplicable results within the NFL this season . In losing this game 22-17 to the lowly Seattle Seahawks ( 3-6) of the NFC West there has to be some sort of explanation for this all .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

I know that there’s still a great deal to play for this NFL season but I would genuinely like to think that we will definitely see an upswing in the in the performances of the teams between now and the end of the regular season . If not then we could very well be in for something of an underwhelming run between now and the season finales . In week ten’s schedule which games in particular proved to be of a major disappointment to you ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) is sacked by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(2) KANSAS CITY, MO – NOVEMBER 13: Defensive tackle Marcus Thomas (79) of the Denver Broncos pressures quarterback Matt Cassel (7) of the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half on November 13, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Denver defeated Kansas City 17-10 . Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images …

(3) (3) Quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos hands off to Lance Ball during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 13, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images … …..

(4) Quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos rushes to the outside against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 13, 2011 during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images …

(5) D.J. Moore (30) of the Chicago Bears just misses an interception against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 37-13 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(6) CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 13: Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions throws a pass against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 37-13. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(7) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears rolls out to look for a receiver against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 37-13. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(8) Head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens walks the sidelines during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink (QWest Field) Field on November 13, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Stephen Brashear /Getty Images …

(9) Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks gestures during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at CenturyLink Field on November 13, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Ravens 22-17 . Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ….

(10) Quarterback Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens drops back to pass during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 13, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 22-17. Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images ……

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Care To Take A Bite Out Of This Apple …. ?

Care To Take A Bite Out of This Apple ?

No time to linger on week 5 of the NFL with week 6 comes teams positioning themselves for the long haul. With only two unbeaten teams both residing in the NFC North the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers could very well be the lone teams vying for the postseason from within the division. Matt Stafford and Aaron Rodgers are showing their mettle for the Lions and Packers respectively , in proving to be amongst the best quarterbacks not solely within the NFC but also the NFL as a whole.

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Slide show for your perusal .

When a team has aspirations to be better than they claim to I’d like to feel that the coach or manager can actually back up that claim. Last season (10-6) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming off a great year , albeit that they narrowly failed to make the playoffs . Head coach Raheem Morris bitterly disappointed by the team’s free-fall made it his sole purpose to see an improvement from his team this year. He has seen his players flourish but I doubt that he could have envisaged this Bucs’ team would prove to such disappointment in their last regular schedule outing against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park , in San Francisco , California . Jim Harbaugh’s team simply laid waste to the Buccaneers’ defense on their way a lopsided 48-3 win .

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff now have to get this team amped up and prepared to meet divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints as they play hosts to Sean Payton’s team at Raymond James Stadium , Tampa , in front of what is sure to to be a raucous and vociferous home crowd . No slip ups here for the Buccaneers and in particular from their young quarterback Josh Freeman . His play if anything has to be clear and indicative of the team’s aspirations .

Forty Niners’ quarterback Alex Smith and the offense looked like the Niners’ offenses of old that simply were as efficient and as devastating as one could imagine. The San Francisco 49ers at 4-1 lead the NFC West and given their performances this season it would be fair to presume that they are now to be viewed as the presumptive favorites for the division and a playoff berth.

The Forty Niners are guests of the high flying Detroit Lions (5-0) at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan this upcoming Sunday. Matt Stafford , Calvin Johnson , Jahvid Best and Ndamokung Suh are the talk of the town at present as the rest of the NFL are now taking notice of Jim Schwartz’s young and confident team .

I am not so sure that if I were Steve Spagnuolo’s footsteps , that I would relish the thought of playing the Green Bay Packers in front of a raucous home crowd at Lambeau Field , Green Bay , Wisconsin. The St Louis Rams’ coach has a winless team , lacking in confidence and playing without any real passion . And season given the strengths of this Packers’ team I view this match-up as a train wreck waiting to happen because the Rams are on a collision course with a locomotive traveling at a very high rate of speed.

Two teams with supposedly taking diverging paths but somehow within the AFC East the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets at present seem to be having a multitude of problems . Both Tony Sparano and Rex Ryan are coaches desperately seeking solutions to the malaise of their teams. At 0-4 Sparano must now realize that his very future is on the line if he cannot begin to turn things around and the coach has a Dolphins’ team that simply hasn’t a competent quarterback on their roster. Chad Henne in what universe can this player be viewed as a leader , much less a competent enough starter at the position ?

The New York Jets for their part seem to have a problem with their offense most notably running the ball . And it hasn’t helped that there now seems to be off the field problems concerning one of their more experienced players on the roster with Derek Mason . Clearly things are not all a bed of roses within that Jets’ locker room and now Rex Ryan has to show that for all of the false bravado and sound bytes , he will now have to once again prove that he can become the toast of the ‘Big Apple’ along with his team . Monday night when these two teams collide at the New Meadowlands/ Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey .

This contest between two teams within the AFC East with stark contrast as to the apparent directions that their respective seasons could be heading in , may well determine the fate of one coach and most certainly a number of players on his team. Rex Ryan , himself, is definitely not out of the woods , as he and this Jets’ team can ill afford to lose a conference and divisional game , only to fall further behind the Buffalo Bills (4-1) and New England Patriots (4-1) within the division.

Either Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Wayne Weaver loves to endure constant pain or he’s simply enamored with Jack Del Rio and the coaching staff . There has to be a reason why Weaver and the entire front office seem adamant on retaining their coach ? Personally , after the record of the team over the past five years , I cannot think of one ! Del Rio has been an absolute bust and the malaise of the team’s woes can be firmly laid to rest upon his shoulders . He’s simply wasting the talents of Maurice Jones-Drew and even with the organization jettisoning David Garrard they now have to thrust Blaine Gabbert —- given him his baptism of fire within the league .

The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) are the guests of the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-0) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania , this upcoming Sunday. And while Mike Tomlinson’s team have had their issues this season this game could very well be viewed as a “gimme ” if they play up to their full potential . Overall defensively the Jaguars are struggling as a cohesive unit and it has been one of the telling signs as to why they have continued to struggle . As an effective offensive unit with Garrard as the signal caller you simply never knew what to expect of the team or the player and that may well have been the primary reason why the decision was made to jettison the veteran and his $9 million salary .

Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts should be the scene of some real fun and games this Sunday , as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots entertain the Dallas Cowboys . And for those aspirants who continue to make their continued claims as to the “greatness ” of Tony Romo can they please take him down off that damn pedestal ? The player has yet to lead or win a meaningful game in the postseason for the team but yet he’s being placed amongst the throng of great quarterbacks in Cowboys’ history . Isn’t that like saying the “hot chick” in high school gave ” good head “ even though her lips and mouth were covered in blisters ? Ouch ! You’ll either get momentary flashes of brilliance from the player but he simply cannot string together consecutive games where he has played at a consistently high level .

Now I would contend that for Jerry Jones and the entire front office of the Dallas Cowboys this has to be a make or break season for the organization and team . A number of players on this roster are playing for their very livelihood this season . Anyone who believes that to be the contrary had better wake up and smell the coffee at this juncture ! Jerry Jones has been known to tolerate a great deal and through his own sheer ignorance and stupidity the franchise has been something of a laughing stock over the last decade. The organization may well be one of the most profitable sports franchises in North America but when it comes to recent success , well let’s just say for the Dallas Cowboys there has been little to actually rejoice about much less hang one’s hat unto in terms tangible on-field success .

Tony Romo knows that the jury is now in session as to his abilities and leadership skills . He may well be statisically be one of the franchise’s most successful quarterbacks in terms of regular season wins but that simply counts for absolutely nothing if you can’t lead the team to the “Promised Land” . It’s a Superbowl win or bust because that’s how Romo’s legacy will be adjudged amongst his more successful predecessors within the Dallas Cowboys’ fraternity of quarterbacks . Nothing less will be acceptable for the fans or for that matter for those within the front office of the franchise . They may well not voice that opinion openly in public but there’s a reason they tied the player long term , to a very generous and lucrative contract .

As to the game itself between the Cowboys and Patriots it should be an event of contrasting styles . The New England Patriots’ defense ought to be able to contain and contend with whatever Jason Garrett and his coaching staff have prepared for Bill Belichick’s players . With that being said nothing can be taken for granted by the Patriots’ coach . Brady and the plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal should be able to show why it is that they are a high octane offense and amongst the very best in the NFL at present .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The the NFL season is not yet at its halfway point what thoughts if any do you have on the schedule so far ? And which teams if any have been a major disappointment to you in general as a fan ? Of the coaches at present whose future appears to be in the greatest jeopardy and which one if any could very well be the first managerial casualty of the season ? Chime in with a comment as you deem fit on this and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……….

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Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets separated from the ball by Dashon Goldson(38) of the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(2) Tim Hightower (25) of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the St. Louis Rams October 2, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Redskins defeated the Rams 17-10 . Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images …….

(3) Quarterback Chad Henne (7) of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ………

(4) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots hands the ball off to teammate BenJarvius Green-Ellis (42) in the first half against the New York Jets on October 9, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …….

(5) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys calls a play in the huddle against the Detroit Lions during the second half at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

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Teams with byes : Arizona Cardinals , Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers , Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans

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Michelle McCurry …….. she definitely makes me feel like plucking her strings !

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Worth plucking her strings don’t you think ?

Have You Heard The One About The Lion That Roared Loudly ? There Were Also Several Mice In The Background Scurrying , Looking For Safety ………..

Have You Heard The One About The Lion That Roared Loudly ? There Were Also Several Mice In The Background Scurrying , Looking For Safety ………..

I have to admit that I have become completely enamored with the sporting landscape here in the US ! That being said I readily admit that NASCAR , NHL and MLS (Soccer) has about as much interest for me as hearing another story about the latest Kardashian entrepreneurship adventure ! The NFL , NBA , MLB and the UFC in effect has my undivided attention . Granted , within this domain I rarely touch on the sport of MMA as I feel that there isn’t enough followers who may even have an idea as basis of what the UFC has been about over the last decade and half. Other than to suggest , that it has placed the sport of boxing in its rear view mirror because it now offers far more excitement and competitive bouts , of what has now become an archaic sport on the sporting landscape !

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now that the NFL season encountered and passed with the events of week 5 I am beginning to wonder whether or not I underestimated the wherewithal of the Detroit Lions ! At 5-0 this is a team playing with a great deal of vitality and Matt Stafford is now slowly making a believer out of me ! Yes , I did say he’s slowly making a believer because until he is able endure an entire regular season schedule he’ll continue to be suspect in my mind .

Well on Monday night the Lions slayed (24-13) the Chicago Bears and further emphasized to my mind why I feel Jay Culter is overrated as a quarterback in this league ! I’m not saying he’s terrible but given a choice between himself and Peyton Manning playing at a mere 20 % of his capability …. I would rather take Manning hands down ! And though the early stages of the game weren’t at all pretty to watch with numerous penalties there would be plenty admire about this Detroit Lions’ team . Ndamokung Suh is proving to be a man playing amongst boys and the Lions’ posture is that of a unit that is beginning to realize how good they can really become .

Now while the praise being heaped upon both Stafford and Suh can be justified for me it has simply been about watching Calvin Johnson simply shred to pieces the defenses he’s faced this season. Watching Johnson go about his work is like seeing a surgeon perform intricate and painstaking surgery without missing a beat . If there is a better wide receiver playing in the NFL at present purely based on current form then I have yet to witness that player at work.

Now while the month October has yet to reach its halfway stage weeks 6 ( home against the Niners ) and 7 (@ home against the Falcons) in terms of their schedule should tell us a great deal about the Detroit Lions and whether or not they can maintain their momentum . If by then the team remains unbeaten then there is no reason why the cannot prove to be a serious challenge to the Green Bay Packers within their division (NFC North) , the conference and NFL as a whole . But to my mind what may well truly determine the merits and progression of the team will be their Thanksgiving Day meeting against Mike McCarthy’s Packers team whom they will host at home at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan,.

The Detroit Lions in the past few years have to be patient as they have drafted prudently and much of this can be put down to the insight of Jim Schwartz , his coaching staff and the front office led by GM Martin Mayhew . The team’s picks from the 2011 NFL Draft also proved to be fortuitous , albeit that their top pick Nick Fairley has yet to suit up for the Lions having suffered what appears to be a lingering injury . But the coaching staff hopes to have the player up and ready at some point in their season . It bodes well for the Detroit Lions with the drafting of Fairley alongside Titus Young , Mikel Leshoure , Douglas Hogue and Johnny Culbreath . If these players can produce the form that they undoubtedly showed in college then the Detroit Lions could very well be set for years to come .

Now of all the results of this past NFL weekend by enlarge this may well have been the most surprising . We had two NFC teams whom I felt were evenly matched . But the end result certainly didn’t create that impression as somehow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered what was their most embarrassing and lopsided loss ( 48-3) during the tenure of their coach Raheem Morris . The Buccaneers traveled to the West Coast to take on the vastly improved San Francisco 49ers under first year coach Jim Harbaugh and what appears to be a rejuvenated Alex Smith .

Personally I don’t believe anyone saw this massacre coming , certainly not the Buccaneers’ fans and I definitely don’t believe that even the Niners’ fans could have envisaged that they would have laid down such an emphatic performance against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team that was said to be forceful on defense but now had a growing offensive game by way of their running attack led by LeGarrette Blount . Raheeem Morris may well have felt that Blount’s bruising style would somehow negate the efficiency of the Niners’ defense but during the game the Buccaneers’ running attack was held to a measly eighty yards of run offense and 204 yards in receptions . The San Francisco 49ers defense has not had a 100yard rusher against them in thirteen regular season games and it easy to understand the reason why. Ahmad Brooks , Patrick Willis , Parys Haralson , Donte Whitner and Tarell Brown are proving to be a very cohesive unit on defense . The credit for this must go to Harbaugh and in particular defensive coordinator Vic Fangio .

Now while Jim Harbaugh can be happy with the performance his team and the fact that they now stand atop of the NFC West with a 4-1 record there is nothing at all that Raheem Morris and his coaching staff can take away from this as a positive . The Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman quite possibly had one of the worst performances of his career as a player throwing for two interceptions in the game without a touchdown of any kind by way of productivity . Without a fluid and competitive Freeman this Buccaneers’ team does tend to struggle and that was indicative throughout this entire game. Jim Harbaugh’s team were able to have their way with the Buccaneers’ secondary and simply made them look extraordinarily mediocre in every facet of their game .

With the 48-3 loss the Buccaneers now fall to 3-2 in what is already a very competitive NFC South division. And with the New Orleans Saints (4-1) now coming into their own and finding a rhythm the Buccaneers now find themselves firmly seated behind the divisional leader . With the two teams set to meet at Raymond James Stadium this upcoming Sunday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers know that playing host to Sean Payton’s Saints team they can ill afford to suffer a second consecutive loss . In doing so it would certainly do irreparable harm to the team’s chances of quite possibly making the postseason , given the the uncertainty within the NFC and the performances of the teams within the conference . And that is certainly something that Raheem Morris in spite of his proselytizing that the Buccaneers should be viewed as one of the best teams within the NFC , at this juncture nothing could be further from the truth .

Sean Payton as coach of the New Orleans Saints knows he that he cannot take this game as a “gimme” and any type of complacency by his players will be seen as a clear sign by their opposition that they are thinking ahead towards their match-up against the Indianapolis Colts at the Mercedez Benz / New Orleans Superdome in New Orleans , Louisiana ,. That thought should be the farthest thing away from the mind of Drew Brees and his teammates as they first have to get past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

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As a fan of the NFL which of the results that took place during week five were of the biggest surprise to you ? Do you also believe that given the surprising start to the season by the Detroit Lions they can now be taken seriously as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl ? Or do you somehow believe that it is still too early in the season tell ? Take time to leave comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent with regard to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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E-mail rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola (51) and guard Stephen Peterman (66) celebrate running back Jahvid Best’s 88-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter of NFL football game in Detroit, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. The Lions won 24-13 . The Lions are undefeated through five games for the first time since 1956, the year before their last NFL title. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(2) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears reacts during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bears 24-13. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(3) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions makes a short pass to Jahvid Best (44) during the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bears 24-13. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ……

(4) Ndamukong Suh (90) of the Detroit Lions tries to get around the block of Lance Louis (60) of the Chicago Bears to get to Jay Cutler (6) at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 24-13. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images …….

(5) Josh Morgan (84) of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Corey Lynch (44) and Anthony Gaitor (24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Morgan was injured on the play. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty ……

(6) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers runs past a diving Mason Foster (59) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Forty Niners would defeat the Buccaneers 48-3 . Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) ……

(7) Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets separated from the ball by Dashon Goldson (38) of the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….

(8) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws the ball while pressured by Ahmad Brooks (55) of the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …….

(9) Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

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Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out

Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out …….

Well week five of the NFL schedule awaits and we shall see which teams are set to make a move in order to stave off what appears to be a mediocre season . Clearly for the likes of the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins at 0-4 there now seems to be a real belief that these two teams are in the midst of abyss that neither seem able to retrieve themselves from .

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In large part we all knew that once the decision was made by the Colts’ front office to curtail Peyton Manning’s season this team would be in for a rough time . The four time league MVP winner having yet to fully recover from off season surgery has since been told that he will have to undergo further surgery for nerve damage in his neck . The injuries that have befallen the roster makes the Colts’ chances of even being in with a remote chance of winning the AFC South seem with all the more unlikely . Kerry Collins’ performances have left a great deal to desired and with backup Curtis Painter having been installed as the incumbent quarterback it now seems things will remain with regard to the anemic performances we have seen from the team.

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff knows that they are in for an arduous season ahead if this team is to have any chance of turning things around . Though there are a number of fans who state it would in the organization’s interest to “tank their season” in order to be the prime contender for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes who’s viewed as the consensus number one overall pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. Should that scenario arise then it would be very interesting to see how team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian will choose to address the matter. With Peyton Manning having signed a 5 year contract extension that has been widely publicized ___ the player is due a roster bonus of $28 million including incentives due in April 2012 . Chances are Irsay and Polian will have a number of tough decisions to make concerning their Pro Bowl quarterback .

If the Indianapolis Colts’ season is said to be on the verge of going up in smoke then for Tony Sparano and the Miami Dolphins theirs’ is a season that is instantly being flushed down the toilet with such speed that the fecal matter that one could as the team’s performances have already begun to stink up the entire NFL . GM Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen M Ross now have ti gauge not only the performance of their beleaguered head coach but also his staff but the entire roster. Starting quarterback Chad Henne is now injured having left Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers . That 26-16 loss mirrored much of the malaise that has become the core of the Miami Dolphins’ numerous problems and seemingly Tony Sparano doesn’t seem to possess any answers for his team’s anemic performances.

Acquiring Reggie Bush as via a free agent acquisition does not seem to have added one iota of real assertiveness to this team and they seek to make their presence felt within the AFC East . Winless and it does not appear that the Miami Dolphins’ fans can continue to endure this madness. Chad Henne has shown that he is simply no more than adequate backup quarterback at best but given what we have seen by a number players at the lower echelons of the quarterback rankings .

The Miami Dolphins’ draftees for the 2011 season seem to be a work in progress and it clearly shows that the coaching staff has a great deal of work on their hands. Vontae Davis perhaps one of the team’s best young players has been one of the omnipresent reasons why this ball club has been so slow out of the gate . But it certainly hasn’t helped also that there does not seem to be anyone that you could simply as a vocal leader on this franchise. Reggie Bush still remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one. With a bye week coming up for the team it will give the injured players on the roster time further to recuperate.

Well the Minnesota Vikings remain a team that you can no longer make excuses for . All this talk about Donovan McNabb looking to prolong his career and at the same time viewed as still being productive . Coach Leslie Frazier in conjunction with his coaching staff have yet to indicate he has this team heading in the right direction. Clearly not , when one considers the travails of this team last season and their subsequent free fall within the NFC North . Even with this 22-17 loss to a listless Kansas City Chiefs’ team I have to wonder what we are now seeing from the large majority of these ball clubs from the inaction caused by the NFL lockout or simply from the fact that the brand of football we have been seeing is unduly bad ! Off-season training amongst the players at a neutral site doesn’t seem to have added anything for a number of franchises and as we know there’s so little that we can gauge from the preseason .

John Fox succeeded Josh McDaniels as the coach of the Denver Broncos but I seriously doubt that he would have thought that this team would be so inept . Analysts were of the opinion that incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton gave the franchise the best chance of winning and improving over the course of time. There has been little evidence if any of that to suggest that they are in fact even heading in the right direction. Orton if anything has been abysmal and his backup Tim Tebow considered a work in progress seems to be showing that he is still not ready to be considered an NFL ready quarterback . His game still more suited to his college playing career and certainly cannot matriculate to the NFL in its present form and it is clear that this draft choice made by McDaniels in 2010 could be considered a bust were it not for the fact that beyond Tebow the only alternative left to the coaching staff is to have Brady Quinn be thrown into the lion’s den. That option at present doesn’t seem to be the one which favors the fans or quite possibly the front office of the Broncos led by John Elway .

Clearly what would appear to be less than viable options for Elway are the only ones at his and the coach’s disposal. The franchise now faces a daunting task , do they stick with Orton in the hope he can regain some semblance of consistency or do they make the switch to Quinn or Tebow and see what the players makes of the opportunities given to them ? At this juncture there does not seem to be all that much to lose given the team’s woefully inept start to the season and their on field performances .

At 4-0 the two unbeaten teams this season now seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL . The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are off to very fast starts and appear to be viable candidates for the the postseason should they continue with their present form. Matthew Stafford as the starting quarterback for the Lions is healthy and playing with a great deal of authority and leadership. But it has been the productivity of the team as a whole that has been impressive but even more so from Calvin Johnson the team’s talented wide receiver. With the defensive prowess being shown by Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley it is now easy to see why this Lions’ squad has been so successful this season under Jim Schwartz and his staff .

As defending Superbowl champions it has been said …..”winning the title is easy defending it is even tougher ” . For the Green Bay Packers they are proving that it is their intention to make a successful defense of that title . Aaron Rodgers seems to have left from where he stood last season and quite possibly can be now held in the same esteem as the elite quarterbacks within the NFL . Certainly his play this season bears this out as he and the team make a mockery of the NFC North and conference .

It is now becoming abundantly clear that all roads to the Superbowl within the NFC will have go through the Green Bay Packers if they continue to maintain their present form . It has become so scary to see how good this team actually is , and that is with due credit to the performances of the Detroit Lions .

The Baltimore Ravens remains an an enigma for me ! Here is a very good regular season team led by a good young quarterback in Joe Flacco . But come the postseason when the franchise happens to be part of that ensemble they just don’t seem capable of proving themselves worthy of that privilege . John Harbaugh either has to get tough with his players or they have to hold themselves accountable . One would have thought that with such seasoned veterans as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis as a part of this roster that would not be a problem . Somehow it does seem that is the biggest obstacle that the team faces and that’s proving their worth as a legitimate contender . With the team’s offseason acquisitions in line with their draft choices of this year things now appear to be looking up for the franchise . Over the course of this season however , we shall see whether or not the Baltimore Ravens can finally be viewed as a perennial contender within the NFL .

Cautiously optimistic perhaps would be the best way to describe the play of the Buffalo Bills at present . At 3-1 within the AFC East the team shares the divisional lead with the New England Patriots . Bills’ coach Chan Gailey has to pleased with the play of his quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and in particular with the defense of the team . But it has been Fitzpatrick whose solid leadership , maturity and play that seems to be a real confidence booster for the Bills , that now seems to have their fans harkening back to the days of the Marve Levy led Bills’ teams that made their way to four consecutive Superbowls ( SBXXV, SBXXVI, SBXXVII & SBXXVIII ) . Are the Buffalo Bills in their present guise capable of even making the postseason much less a Superbowl appearance remains to be seen . Over the course of the season we shall no doubt find out .

If being conceited were a virtue then no other coach in the NFL would be clearly representative of that than Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots . Granted, we all know of his actions during the “Spygate Affair” and the rather lax disciplinary action taken against the coach by the NFL . As an avowed fan of the team I found it utterly reprehensible that the league hierarchy chose not implement a much harsher sentence for the Patriots’ head coach ! His actions were totally dishonest , disadainful and definitely harmful to the image of the league. But there again the very same actions that Belichick was reprimanded, for is still being practiced within the NFL ___ it was simply the fact that he got caught while others have gone unpunished .

Fast forward to today , and this Patriots’ team once again seems to playing up to the usual level we have come to expect from the organization. However, if they do have a flaw and that is the defense has been uneven and often sporadic in its play . I know that the likes of Albert Haynesworth brought in to add stability , depth and leadership for this young unit has yet show its strength in that department . For the coaching staff and in particular the defensive line coaches this will have to be a situation that needs to be addressed urgently if the Patriots are to have a season that has some semblance of normalcy much less success to it . .

Now while the New England Patriots have struggled defensively the offense has been sensational with Tom Brady leading the way for the team in that aspect with his productivity . With the weapons at Brady’s disposal such as Benjarvus Green-Ellis , Wes Welker , Danny Woodhead , Julian Edelman , Rob Gronkowski and Deion Branch it is understandable that the team would always be considered amongst the leading favorites to make it to the postseason.

The New England Patriots find themselves tied atop of the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills with a 3-1 mark within the division. Seated beneath both teams are the New York Jets (2-2) and Miami Dolphins . With Rex Ryan’s Jets off to an inauspicious start to their schedule I seriously doubt that he will allow his team to languish amongst the lower depths of the AFC . He’s (Ryan) far too irascible a character and no doubt will place his foot firmly up the ass of any player he feel that is not carrying their weight , including his young quarterback Mark Sanchez .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And which of the teams mentioned do you believe will have a successful season or quite possibly not live up to perceived expectations ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

E mail rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) Linebacker Jason Taylor (99) of the Miami Dolphins walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(2) Quarterback Chad Henne (7) of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(3) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers pats Von Miller (58) of the Denver Broncos on the chest after a game at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images ….

(4) Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos is sacked by Desmond Bishop (55) of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Broncos 49-23. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …….

(5) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) ……

(6) Sergio Kindle (94) of the Baltimore Ravens rushes Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17 . Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ……

(7) Oakland Raiders fans in the Black Hole cheer on their team during their game against the New England Patriots at Oakland Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(8) Tom Brady (12) hands off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) of the New England Patriots who ran in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …..

(9) Wes Welker (83) of the New England Patriots tries to run away from Chimdi Chekwa (35) of the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(10) Stevan Ridley (22) of the New England Patriots runs in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Patriots would go on to defeat the Raiders 31-19 . Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

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Teams with byes in week 5 : Baltimore Ravens , Cleveland Browns , Dallas Cowboys , Miami Dolphins , St Louis Rams & Washington Redskins

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

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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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All Time #1’s NFL Style ………. A Brief Glimpse Into Reality ……

All Time # 1’s NFL Style A Brief Glimpse Into Reality …..

Much has been made over the exemplary start to the professional career of Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton . And while impressive as those stats are by the player for his team it still has yet to lead to a win for the Panthers as they have started off the season 0-2 within the NFL .

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Taken number one overall in this past NFL Draft and it portends as to what we have unrealistically come to expect . That is for the players selected in that select spot to be an immediate success , especially in the situation where the position is said to be in the skilled positions such as wide receiver or quarterback . But herein lies my point , with the ever growing need for success within the NFL general managers , head coaches and team owners are under a great deal of pressure to make that prudent decision that that the player taken in that first round will be the one needed to complement their franchise. And as far as NFL glory is concerned the executives and team owners are looking to reap the dividends by way commercial as well as competitive success .

In the case of that number one overall pick over the years there has been a number hits and misses . Some might subscribe to the fact there have been simply been more misses than hits . Cam Newton is now a work in progress with the Carolina Panthers that Ron Rivera and his coaching staff will have to make this young player their top priority if the franchise is to have any semblance of success , albeit , with the added scrutiny and pressure that Newton will have to constantly endure .

Ryan Leaf for his part was thought to be the savior that the San Diego Chargers were said to be looking for when he was drafted by the organization . Drafted in 1998 which in a class that also included Peyton Manning , Charles Woodson , Kevin Dyson and Kyle Turley in that first round one wonders what might have been going through the minds of the executives within the Chargers’ front office. The San Diego Chargers would simply see a player who would become a boon for the franchise and who simply did not live up to the preconceived belief that he was all he was shown to be at the collegiate level . Leaf’s professional career within the NFL could only be described as a complete bust and even though GM AJ Smith along with the front office subsequently made the decision then to make Eli Manning their choice , only to have Manning and his father Archie Manning to refuse to have his son play for the team .

The San Diego Chargers for their part have been lucky enough to have found a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback in Philip Rivers whose success for the franchise speaks for itself . What might now be elusive and worrisome for the Chargers’ fans is the very fact that the team cannot seem to find a way to get pass the likes of the Indianapolis Colts or New England Patriots when the postseason beckons. Rivers has become the heart and soul of the San Diego Chargers, beloved by the fans and community alike but where I have an issue with this organization is the very fact that Norv Turner simply is not the coach to be leading this team on the journey they wish to embark upon. Turner has simply rid on the coat-tails derived of his being associated with Jimmy Johnson . Without that the success attained by Jones at the collegiate and at the professional level I seriously doubt that Norv Turner would be amongst the ranks of NFL coaches at present !

2003 brought us Carson Palmer being chosen number one overall by the Cincinnati Bengals . In Palmer’s subsequent years with the franchise he has seen share highs and season lows with little to show the fans and front office for their support . With the Bengals’ front office having sought to bring in Andy Dalton this past NFL Draft as Palmer sought to distance himself from his teammates and the organization as a whole . It has to be said that this simply has become what a number of these players and their demeanor appears to be about. In the last few months and in the offseason with Carson Palmer goading the Bengals’ executives in not meeting his demands for a trade . With his demands having not been met the player now has an option , reiterate his original statement and retire from the NFL or simply sit out the season , know that there might be a remote possibility that he could be called upon . With the front office having made a number of changes to the roster by way of the draft and free agency acquisitions it remains to be seen whether or not Andy Dalton can lead this franchise to some real semblance of success . For coach Marvin Lewis and his entire coaching staff this might just be the final season in which he can prove himself worthy of being looked upon as a coach in the NFL . Chances are if he cannot get this team into the postseason then it my belief that the Bengals’ front office will have no other option that to relieve Lewis of his duties .

It is easy to be critical of an organization when they are down on their luck it is another to repeatedly bear down on them when that franchise repeatedly seems to make the choices that not only seem befuddling to their fans and analysts alike but also the public en masse . There seems to be a kindred wish by the San Francisco 49 ers and the Oakland Raiders to merely show that they have an affinity for making some hideous personnel decisions . The Raiders under the auspice of Al Davis continues to make those personnel choices that no longer seem feasible . Having drafted JaMarcus Russell as their top choice in 2005 it did not take long for the fans and coaching staff to realize that a monumental mistak had been made in obtaining the player. And Russell did not disappoint in proving the naysayers right with his error proned plays , erratic leadership skills and a complete lack of quality in terms of his abilities to communicate with his teammates. But what might be even more prevalent and telling about Russell as a player was his inability to keep himself in good physical shape . Weight issues were a serious a problem and perhaps the main reason why the player was jettisoned by the organization.

Fresh start , new beginnings and with Hu Jackson installed to succeed Tom Cable it seems that the Raiders have hit their stride . And nowhere was that more telling than in their complete and tacit defeat of the New York Jets . And though the season for the Oakland Raiders is still in its infancy this may well have been the team’s best performance yet in besting a conference rival . Jason Campbell though not everyone’s choice to be a starter within this league but he has proven to be adequate to the needs of this team and the coaching staff .

At some point it should begin to dawn upon the San Francisco 49ers that Alex Smith is not the answer they seek to the team’s needs at the position . The franchise has been lucky enough to have had two Hall of Famers in Joe Montana and Steve Young helm this franchise to considerable success . The duo garnered five Superbowl titles between them , along the way cementing themselves and this franchise in the annals of NFL folklore .

Though the blame shouldn’t all be placed squarely on the shoulders of Smith alone because of his tenure there has been a revolving door of coordinators and coaches that would send the player to a mental facility. But here is my bone of contention with the player and it is simply that he has yet to show that his accomplishments during his collegiate career . I am not so sure that Smith will be a great success within the pro ranks albeit that Jim Harbaugh has placed his faith in the veteran quarterback.

I cannot yet jump on the train and regale the Detroit Lions , albeit that they now have a healthy Matthew Stafford . As the quarterback goes , then so does this team and for Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff this has to be something that he now relishes in seeing this roster perform . A healthy Matthew Stafford means a ball club ready to play and become one of the surprises not only within the NFC North but also within the conference . This is a team that could well be looked upon as one of the “dark horses” within NFC to quite possibly make the postseason. Now playing at a high level of competitiveness and with Calvin Johnson playing like an elite wide receiver this could well be the moment when I should reconsider my first thought about Stafford as well as this team . But as I alluded to earlier unless the quarterback can remain healthy over the course of this season then my options are liable to remain open at this juncture .

The NFC North this season could prove to be a very interesting division as it now appears we are seeing a resurgent Detriot Lions’ team . With that in mind the ball club will have to prove their mettle against the likes of the Green Bay Packers , Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears . And given the fact as to how thankless the Bears and Vikings now appear to be , this could prove to be something of a fortuitous season for the Detroit Lions and their fans .

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As an ardent fan of the game what thoughts if any do you have with regard to how the analysts and fans view the number one picks within the NFL down the years ? Do you feel it is justified in terms of the expectations one places upon these players ? Simply chime in with comments as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers would go on to defeat the Jaguars 16-10 . Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(2) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(3) Ryan Leaf seen here having been drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1998 NFL Draft . The player’s career was short-lived within the NFL due to his inability to play competitive and the mere fact talent on display at the college level simply wasn’t displayed upon entry amongst the professional ranks . AP Photo archives ……

(4) Quarterback Matt Cassel (7) of the Kansas City Chiefs greets quarterback Philip Rivers (12) of the San Diego Chargers after their game at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 20-17 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(5) CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 25: Andy Dalton (14) of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass during the game against the San Francisco 49ers on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8 . Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images …..

(6) Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by Jonathan Fanene (68) of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8. Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images ……

(7) SAN DIEGO – SEPTEMBER 25: the Kansas City Chiefs the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 20-17 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(8) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 25: Chad Greenway (52) of the Minnesota Vikings puts pressure on Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions in the third quarter at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 25, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lions would defeat the Vikings 26-23 . Stafford and the Detroit Lions are now off to the best start for the franchise in the past fifteen years at 3-0 to a joint lead ( Green Bay Packers) the NFC North . Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images ……

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All Time Number 1 Draft Picks
Year Player Position School Team Years Played Pro Bowls
2010 Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma St. Louis Rams 1 0
2009 Matthew Stafford QB Georgia Detroit Lions – –
2008 Jake Long OT Michigan Miami Dolphins 1 1
2007 JaMarcus Russell QB LSU Oakland Raiders 2 0
2006 Mario Williams DE N. Carolina State Houston Texans 3 1
2005 Alex Smith QB Utah San Francisco 49ers 4 0
2004 Eli Manning QB Mississippi San Diego Chargers 5 1
2003 Carson Palmer QB Southern Cal. Cincinnati Bengals 6 2
2002 David Carr QB Fresno State Houston Texans 7 0
2001 Michael Vick QB Virginia Tech Atlanta Falcons 6 3
2000 Courtney Brown DE Penn State Cleveland Browns 7 0
1999 Tim Couch QB Kentucky Cleveland Browns 6 0
1998 Peyton Manning QB Tennessee Indianapolis Colts 11 9
1997 Orlando Pace OT Ohio State St. Louis Rams 12 7
1996 Keyshawn Johnson WR Southern Cal. New York Jets 11 4
1995 Ki-Jana Carter RB Penn State Cincinnati Bengals 8 0
1994 Dan Wilkinson DT Ohio State Cincinnati Bengals 13 0
1993 Drew Bledsoe QB Washington State New England Patriots 14 4
1992 Steve Emtman DT Washington Indianapolis Colts 8 0
1991 Russell Maryland DT Miami, (Fla.) Dallas Cowboys 10 1
1990 Jeff George QB Illinois Indianapolis Colts 13 0

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If at all interested do take time to take part in the above mentioned poll .

What’s A Sure Fire Thing In The NFL Nowadays …….. ?

What’s A Sure Fire Thing In The NFL Nowadays …….. ?

Well the finale to the NFL postseason is almost upon us with the staging of Superbowl 45 (SB XLV) when the Pittsburgh Steelers hosts the Green Bay Packers in the Superbowl at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas.

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The postseason was an eventful one with a numbers of players stepping to the fore and doing what was asked of them by their various coaches and coaching staff . If nothing else it has been the talent that has dictated the ongoing heroics that we’ve seen throughout much of the postseason. Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger have simply been proof of that as they’ve led their teams through to their respective paths to the game’s showcase event.

I’ve already read a number of patrons’ site wheres they’re now trying to assess the talent that will be available in the upcoming NFL Draft that will take place this April . Now don’t get me wrong but there’s a premium on the talent that actually comes to the fore. And for the likes of ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay they’re there state their opinions as to who they think will be a worthwhile option for a number of teams . Valid or not I’ve never been totally enamored by the neatly coiffured rug of Kiper or his assessment of college talent on their way to the NFL. It galls me even more when it became known that he’s consulted with the agents of a number of college bound players and after having spoken with them he’s now stating a case can be made that the players in question are NFL ready. How’s that showing his knowledge much less impartiality ? Kiper is a joke and so has been numerous of his assessments over the years ! His assessment of the Carolina Panthers —– Jimmy Claussen had me wondering what the hell he’d been watching in college when it came to the player ? I’m still waiting for Kiper to acknowledge that Akili Smith , Ryan Leaf , Chris Weinke and Eric Crouch failed to live to his own lofty expectations ! But that’s Mel Kiper , ESPN’s answer to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck all rolled into one !

Now this upcoming NFL Draft I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a number of players who’ll stake a claim that they’re amongst the best that the collegiate level has to offer the NFL. Well with Andrew Luck the presumed number one draft pick now having chosen to remain in college for his senior year at Stanford the talent level may well have dropped off somewhat. Now there were those felt that Luck should’ve forgone his senior year in college and go after the big bucks but consider this for those who’d taken the time to do some research Luck comes from an extremely wealthy family and his father Norm is a self made multi millionaire. So why in hell’s name at this juncture would he want to make that jump to the NFL especially when if after the snap of a ball his NFL career could end in one fail swoop , signing bonus guarantee or not ?

With the mess that is now the NFL and the impasse between the league hierarchy and the NFLPA has become a complete joke ! There are many bones of contention to which the league and players are contesting , namely a ceiling on the rookies’ salaries . Who in this day and age is willing to pay an unproven athlete at times in excess of $40 million in guaranteed money based solely on potential alone ? That’s the idiocy that has now become the NFL and one of the main reasons why the league now finds itself in the mess that it is now in ! I thought the mess of MLB and the idiocy shown by Commissioner Bud Selig , baseball’s owners and their financial template was bad enough !

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There’s no denying that over the years there have been some boons and busts coming out of the NFL . This past two seasons alone for all sense and purpose we’ve seen prodigious college talents such as Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell all but play themselves out of the NFL . Collectively the two have received in excess of $ 65 million alone in guaranteed money from their former employers . And in return they’d contributed not a damn thing to the teams that they played for. A patron of mine once made the comment that he’d rather have Young play for him at the quarterback position rather than having an aging and experienced quarterback. Vince Young systematically drove himself out of a career in Tennessee with the Tennessee Titans . And it certainly didn’t help that Titans’ owner Bud Adams whose own recent behavior bordered on being repugnant and repulsive ! But what should we have come to expect from an owner whose about as cognizant of what’s happening around him as Charlie Sheen would be on a drunken binge ?

Sam Bradford of the St Louis Rams in his first season in the NFL almost led the team to the NFC West divisional title and on the cusp of the playoffs. Were it not for the team falling apart in the latter part of the season they may well have made to the playoffs instead of the Seattle Seahawks . Bradford proved himself to be the real deal and perhaps justify the faith shown in him by coach Steve Spagnuolo , his coaching staff and Bill Devaney the team’s general manager.

Over the years the NFL Draft has been kind and also elusive to a number of teams who’ve chosen to gamble by taking a prime pick in the first round of the draft . And while that may sometimes to be fortuitous for a team that has the number one overall pick that’s not necessarily always the case. The right player in the right environment can be prove to be a success when the choice has been a prudent one and where the assessment made by the scouts , coaching staff and general manager are all in unison. Then and only then even with the player’s alleged talent can one truly be able to assess how good they may or may not be.

For the Detroit Lions their season fell apart with the loss of their franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford and as now of the player having repeatedly shown that he hasn’t the physical attributes to withstand a long and arduous 16 game season , nevermind the fact that the league under Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to now lengthen the season to an eighteen game schedule. Given Stafford’s frailties and the fact that he seemingly can’t withstand a full season in the NFL I for one seriously doubt that he could lead Jim Schwartz’s —- team through an eighteen game schedule ! That $72 million contract signed by Stafford doesn’t seem to have been worth it now does it ? But then again is the jury still out at Ford Field on the quarterback ?

Ndamokung Suh whose impact as a defensive tackle for the Lions showed why he was the envy of a number of teams around the league upon declaring for the draft. He was viewed as an elite player at the position and he’s proven to be that and a great deal more. Now if only the rest of the team had been able to manifest themselves in the way that Suh has been able to do so over the past season .

This upcoming NFL Draft to my mind will have a good pedigree of players but I wouldn’t say that it’ll be one of the best in recent years . Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Jake Locker , Nick Fairley and with a slew of prospects to be assessed . Talent rarely takes off in the way that some feel that it can wherein a player in their rookie year at the professional level simply blows everyone away. It’s my own belief that if a player by their mid-second to third year hasn’t learned the nuances of the game then they’ll not about to make it in the NFL and contribute greatly to their respective teams. Hence the reason why I believe that the rookie salary contract as an inducement is simply and always will be a bad investment for a team . One only needs to look at the careers of Leaf, Smith , Russell and dare one say the Niners’ Alex Smith to prove what overpaying for average talent can do ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming NFL Draft and do you feel that the agents while inducing the general managers are actually more inclined to take hype up their clients far more than is needed ? Chime in with your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details .

(1) Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, left, and Aaron Rodgers joke around during practice, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Dallas. Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………

(2) Fort Worth Tx,. February 2nd 2011 Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with the media on February 2, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images ………

(3) Jeff Pash , NFL Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, discusses the collective bargaining agreement negotiations with members of the press at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 2, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

(4) ESPN College Football analysts Mel Kiper, left and Todd McShay. They continue to agree to disagree . Could there at all be a “Brokeback Mountain” kind of relationship between the two ? AP Photo ………….

(5) Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions sits on the sideline during the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 5, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bears defeated the Lions 24-20 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(6) Quarterback Sam Bradford (8) of the St. Louis Rams signals to his teammates during their game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on January 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images …..

(7) In this photo taken, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, South squad quarterback Andy Dalton of TCU is pictured during Senior Bowl NCAA college football practice in Mobile, Ala. AP Photo/Dave Martin ………..

(8)This Nov. 7, 2010, file photo shows Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh rushing the line during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, at Ford Field. Suh was the only rookie named to the AP All-Pro Team. AP Photo/ Carlos Osorio File ………

Continue reading “What’s A Sure Fire Thing In The NFL Nowadays …….. ?”

Thanksgiving Is Just Around The Corner And What’s The NFL Going To Serve Up ? Not The Detroit Lions……Again

OK I get it , I really do ! Customs are very quaint traditions that one tends to abide by. As it breeds satisfaction and a sense if nothing else , normalcy. Well , try telling that to the NFL this year ,who’ll once again serve up mayhem by providing us with another dollop of the hapless Detroit Lions (1-6-0) on Thanksgiving Day. Now pardon me for saying this, as I’m not from around these parts – I’m English by birth by way of parentage from the Caribbean – Jamaica to be precise. But enough of that – what is it that the NFL and their schedulers are failing to realize by serving up the Lions to us on a silver platter ?

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A somewhat downtrodden Lions' coach Jim Schwartz looks up at the scoreboard at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions would go on to lose to the St Louis Rams 17-10 in the game picture appears courtesy of ap/photo / Carlos Osorio ...................

A somewhat downtrodden Lions’ coach , Jim Schwartz , looks up at the scoreboard at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan. The Lions would go on to lose to the St Louis Rams 17-10 in the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Carlos Osorio …..

It’s bad enough that as a team this roster is only slightly better than the team went (0-16) last season. Much to the ridicule of the entire league and the fans of the game up down the country. Never mind the fact that the team then became the staple of the late night talk show hosts. Who, if they weren’t lambasting Sen. John McCain (R-Az) or former Governor Sarah Palin (R-Ak). Then the Detroit Lions were deemed to be seen as appropriate cannon fodder also for the butt of their jokes. But like the losers of the Presidential elections of last year the Lions can hold their heads high with dignity. Albeit, at the humor of others. But now it has to be said that enough is enough ! The NFL seriously needs to look at the schedule as it gears around the holiday period and serve up the fans with the best games possible. I know that they feel it’s best to stick with tradition. But by my way of thinking, that’s very much akin to walking with the same old worn out pair shoes for the last five years knowing full well that you can afford to buy a brand new pair of shoes. It may well have felt snug when you first bought them . But over the course of time the heel goes , as does the sole or instep of the shoe. Now would it be right to suggest that the NFL is just being downright ignorant by choosing not to replace Lions with a far better game on the day ? Well I’ve leave that for you to decide. But as you can see from the title of this piece , I’m no fan of the Lions and this team at present.

Barry  Sanders  of  the  Detroit  Lions  seen  here  shredding  the  defense of   the  Green Bay  Packers  as  he   makes  his  towards  the  end-zone .    picture appears  courtesy    of   ap/photo/  David  Rasche   .....................

Former Lions’ running running back seen here shredding the defense of the Green Bay Packers , as he makes his way towards the end-zone. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/David Rasche ……

Well the season at its midway point, the Lions as usual are on the ground looking up at everyone else within the NFC North. Leading the way are the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings (7-1), followed by the Green Bay Packers (4-3) and the Chicago Bears (4-3). And for a team with aspirations of improving upon last year. What has taken place under this Jim Schwartz coached Lions is pretty much like watching the movie Titanic over and over again. You know that the script and storyline won’t change. After all the incident was based on fact. But in your heart of hearts you’re inclined to believe that providence will send the Lions some respite. And their overall fate will change. But alas once again you’d be wrong and so too are the NFL hierarchy if they’re of the belief that the Lions will be able to entertain the most errant or erstwhile fan of the NFL this Thanksgiving Day. In essence nothing could be further from the truth.

Once again you’ve guessed it, as is customary on Thanksgiving Day. We will be served up with the Detroit Lions playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field in Detroit, Thursday 26th November. I wonder what film will be televised on TNT or HBO for that matter ? It’ll be either that or something intimate with the girlfriend to pass the time away. Pardon the pun here ! But if push comes to shove, I guess , I’ll still have my Thanksgiving Day’s meal and then devote some time to my better half. It’s safe to say that digesting the turkey and washing it down with several glasses of alcohol will safely do the trick in having to avoid watching the Lions play. Mind you that’s not to say that the other game being served up on the day will be any the more enticing. Again the usual staple of the Dallas Cowboys . However , we’ll get to see them play their very first Thanksgiving Day’s game at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington , Texas , against the always less than dependable Oakland Raiders. No clue as of yet, as to whether or not Raiders’ coach, Tom Cable will still be in a position of employment-given his proclivity for beating up on his ex-spouses or live in lover as the case maybe. A rather disturbing fact , which is just now coming to light concerning the embattled coach.

Rams Lions Football
Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith, right, avoids St. Louis Rams linebacker Paris Lenon to rush for a first down in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009 in Detroit. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Duane Burleson ...............

Tradition being what it is , I do now believe that it’s time for the NFL hierarchy to plainly take a look at the scheduling of many of their games on Thanksgiving Day. Granted, there are those who’ve become accustomed to seeing both the Cowboys and Lions display their zeal on this festive period. But how much longer must the fans have to contend with the diatribe that’s served up by the Detroit Lions. It’s not as if the team has been relevant over the past decade at all. Heavens , one would have to go back to the days when their Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders held sway over the NFL . Who could forget his every jink or weave as he cut his way and carved up a defense almost at will ? When , I for one think of the Lions , that’s literally brings back memories for me and how great they once were. Especially Sanders, who if anything was right to walk away from the game when he did. He served this team with a great deal of distinction . Only to have it thrown in his face by an ownership that in no way shape or form tried to place a winning team around him.

Former Lions’ great Barry Sanders seen here in a montage , displaying his greatness as a player for the Detroit Lions .

The fans themselves felt betrayed by Sanders’ apparent decision to end his career so soon. But one could well understand Sanders’ situation. Had the Lions sought to trade him , it’d be hard to say that they’d be able to get something in return of equal value for a player of Sanders’ caliber. And if even if they’d built around a premise of obtaining several draft picks in exchange for the trade of Sanders. Who’s to say that those picks would’ve amounted to much ? Needless to say we’ll never know as the situation failed to arise. It’s at times like this I wonder as to the so called business acumen of certain members of the Ford family and in particular the current ownership regime. They’ve shown about as much common sense as a drunk exposing himself in public. And then that same individual act as if this was a normal form of behavior him. But the way some would have them tell it they’re quite well aware as to the underlying problems that the franchise faces.

Did it not occur to Bill Ford Jr. that after almost 6 1/2 years of mayhem and ridicule with Matt Millen at the helm of the franchise as the GM, that something urgent needed to be done ? Or my guess was, that he felt that Millen was still quite capable of pulling the proverbial rabbit out of his hat , if not his own ass ! The chances are that it was more likely than not, it was the latter . God knows even with Matt Millen now behind the desk performing as an NFL analyst for NBC. It’s hard to take anything seriously that he might have to say as it concerns the game in today’s NFL. His assessment in talent borders on the choices made in men by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor . Both of whom have seen better days behind them , rather than ahead of them.

It’ll always be debatable as to who the ‘greatest running back of all-time in the NFL should be. But I honestly believe that you’d have insert Barry Sanders in there, amongst the top 10 ever ! Alongside the names of such NFL legends as Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown , O.J. Simpson , Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson . If you’re either in agreement or disagreement with the names mentioned . Then by all means do leave a comment expressing your thoughts on the topic for further discussion. As always your comments are more than welcomed and will be duly given a reply worthy in response !

So now as that fateful day approaches it’s easy to suggest that the NFL could somehow make a change in its scheduling and have another fixture in place, instead of the Lions taking on the Packers . I’d dare say that the majority of the NFL fans watching will want to be entertained. Rather than being put to sleep by seething-less, haphazard and underachieving Detroit Lions. But then again , things could be worse , a fight could break out at the family gathering on Thanksgiving Day . And then where would you be ? Need I ask ?

If there’s one thing I’m now definitely sure of at this juncture , it will be that I won’t be watching the Detroit Lions this Thanksgiving Day. There has to be far better uses for my time on the day. I’m now about to initiate and write a list of the things I could be doing. Needless to say , an act of the carnal kind is atop of the list ! What’s atop of yours, may I ask ?

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Top 10 Running Backs in NFL history – statistically by yardage attained.

Rank[1] Player Seasons by team Total carries Total yards gained[2] Overall yards per
carry average[3] Year of induction into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
1 Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys (1990–2002)
Arizona Cardinals (2003–2004) 4,409 18,355 4.2 Not eligible[4]
2 Walter Payton Chicago Bears (1975–1987) 3,838 16,726 4.4 1993
3 Barry Sanders Detroit Lions (1989–1998) 3,062 15,269 5.0 2004
4 Curtis Martin New England Patriots (1995–1997)
New York Jets (1998–2006) 3,518 14,101 4.0 Not eligible[4]
5 Jerome Bettis Los Angeles Rams (1993–1995[5])
Pittsburgh Steelers (1996–2005) 3,479 13,662 3.9 Not eligible[4]
6 Eric Dickerson Los Angeles Rams (1983–1987[6])
Indianapolis Colts (1987–1991)
Los Angeles Raiders (1992)
Atlanta Falcons (1993) 2,996 13,259 4.4 1999
7 Tony Dorsett Dallas Cowboys (1977–1987)
Denver Broncos (1988) 2,936 12,739 4.3 1994
8 Jim Brown Cleveland Browns (1957–1965) 2,359 12,312 5.2 1971
9 Marshall Faulk Indianapolis Colts (1994–1998)
St. Louis Rams (1999–2005) 2,836 12,279 4.3 Not eligible[4]
10 Edgerrin James Indianapolis Colts (1999–2005)
Arizona Cardinals (2006– 2008)
Seattle Seahawks (2009–present) 3,028 12,246 4.0 Not eligible[4]

=================================================

Top 10 Running backs in NFL history statistically-by touchdowns

Rank[1] Player Seasons by team Total rushing
touchdowns[2] Year of induction into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
1 Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys (1990–2002)
Arizona Cardinals (2003–2004) 164 Not applicable[3]
2 LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego Chargers (2001–2008) 129 Not applicable[3]
3 Marcus Allen Los Angeles Raiders (1982–1992)
Kansas City Chiefs (1993–1997) 123 2003
4 Walter Payton Chicago Bears (1975–1987) 110 1993
5 Jim Brown Cleveland Browns (1957–1965) 106 1971
6 John Riggins New York Jets (1971–1975)
Washington Redskins (1976–1985) 104 1992
7 (Tie) Shaun Alexander Seattle Seahawks (2000–2007)
Washington Redskins (2008) 100 Not applicable[3]
7 (Tie) Marshall Faulk Indianapolis Colts (1994–1998)
Saint Louis Rams (1999–2005) 100 Not applicable[3]
9 Barry Sanders Detroit Lions (1989–1998) 99 2004
10 (Tie) Jerome Bettis Los Angeles Rams (1993–1995[4])
Pittsburgh Steelers (1996–2005) 91 Not applicable[3]
10 (Tie) Franco Harris Pittsburgh Steelers (1972–1983)
Seattle Seahawks (1984) 91 1990

Pardon The Interruption But That’s Bull !

So Andre Agassi would have us all believe that he became so disinterested in the sport of tennis that he took to crystal meth ? Way to go Andre ! And oh by the way , why’d you pull a former friend under the bus with you ? I’m sure that the young children whom you no doubt benefit through your philanthropic efforts will be somewhat disheartened by this admission. But not to worry, as it was all being done in a good cause wasn’t it ? I mean if you’re going to write an autobiography, then what better way to publicize it all than with an admission that’s bound to cause a great deal of notoriety and add to the sale of the ode itself. It certainly won’t hurt the sales of the book and if nothing else it’ll create an avenue wherein you can appear on of the various talk shows and then be bored by none other than Larry King . As he fawns over you with the meaningless questions that he’s bound to ask.

Open   Andre  Agassi's   autobiography  written in  conjunction with  Pullitzer  prize  winning  author   J R Moehringer    picture appears courtesy  of   sports  illustrated /si.com .................

Open Agassi’s self titled autobiography written in conjunction with Pullitzer prize winning author J.R. Moehringer . The book scheduled for release this month is said to be filled with scintillating stories concerning the players career and his struggles as a professional tennis player. picture appears courtesy of /sportsillustrated/si.com

As for Agassi, the only reason he lied about his situation, was merely because he didn’t want the wrath of the ATP and the ITF brought down around his shoulders were he to admit at the time that he’s been using crystal methamphetamines. As he’d have ended up being banned and no doubt having to lose several multi million dollar lucrative corporate endorsements along the way. It’s as they say …..” once a cheat always a cheat ” !

A  tearful  Andre  Agassi  at his  final  US  Open  in  2006   staged  at  the  US  National  Tennis  Center  in  Flushing,  New York   City,  New York.     picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  Marcus  Coles ...............

A tearful Agassi at his final US Open in 2006 , staged at the US National Tennis Center in Flushing , New York City, New York. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Marcus Coles ………..

Courtesy of ESPN:

Crystal meth, hair weaves and majors

Andre Agassi knows how low he once sunk because of the grand view he has now

By Rick Reilly, ESPN The Magazine

If image really is everything, why would Andre Agassi admit in his new book that he used crystal meth? Not once but dozens of times? And why would he admit he lied about it to the Association of Tennis Professionals?

Why would a son admit how much he feared his Iranian father — feared him and hated him since the age of 7? And why — why! — would a man admit he wore perhaps the world’s only Mohawk toupee?

Why? Because this isn’t just any book.

This is Agassi’s mea culpa — “Open” (from Knopf, written with Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer) — and from the beginning, he and Moehringer set out to write the most revealing, literate and toes-stompingly honest sports autobiography in history. From the parts I’ve been allowed to read, they might have done it.

“I just tell people, this book is honest,” says Agassi, who worked with Moehringer for a full year, meeting nearly daily at the Las Vegas house Agassi once lived in with Brooke Shields. “It lives up to the title. It’s my life, for better or worse. Get ready, buckle up, and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.”

“Open” is the story of a flawed man who sees everybody’s imperfections, but none more than his own. It’s the tale of a man who knows how low he sunk if only because of the grand view he has now.

Agassi’s early life was not his, never his, not from the beginning, not from the time his Olympic boxer father built a backyard prison especially for him, a tennis court he was figuratively chained to day after day, while his father’s homemade ball machine — the dragon, Agassi called it — ceaselessly spit out balls faster, harder, forever.

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In order to read Rick Reilly’s article in its entirety just click on the text link shown
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Well folks , we’ve all but reached the mid-point of the NFL season and things basically haven’t changed all that much. And as one can see from the standings , we’re now seeing the contenders ever so slowly make their way from the pretenders. Is anyone really of the opinion that the Detroit Lions (1-6) have improved at all, with rookie first round draft pick Matthew Stafford at the helm ? I’m not trying to suggest that Stafford would be viewed as an earth shaker or world beater in his rookie season . But clearly there’s something awry with this Lions’ team !

Lions'  quarterback   Matthew  Stafford  is  tackled  by  the  St Louis Rams'  Leonard  Little  in  an NFL game  played  at   Ford  Field  in  Detroit  , Michigan ,.   picture  appears courtesy of  getty images/  Gregory  Shamus  ................

Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford is tackled by the St Louis Rams’ Leonard Little in an NFL game played at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan. The Lions would succumb to a 17-10 defeat, enabling the Rams to win their first game of the season. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Gregory Shamus …….

And the team’s pitiful display in their 17-10 loss to another downtrodden franchise in the St Louis Rams (1-7), would suggest that the NFL may well have reached an alltime low , in terms of the sheer ineptitude shown by many of its franchises. Anyone trying to state the claim that there’s still parity within the NFL . Then I’d suggest to them that they really need to take a long hard look at the product on the field of play. It’s now become about the teams who are very good and who can execute . And the teams that one can best describe as being downright atrocious. Which team is yours at this juncture ?

Phillies'  closer  Brad  Lidge  on  the  mound  in the  ninth  inning   of  game  4  of the   World   Series   against the New York  Yankees.  Lidge  would   give   up  three  runs   in  the  inning,  enabling  the  Yankees  to   earn a  7-4   victory  in  the  game   and  now   go  up   3-1   in the  series.   The Yankees   are now  but  one   win  away  from  winning  their   twenty  seventh   World Series  title.      picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo / Rob  Carr  ...................

Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge on the mound in the ninth inning of game 4 of the World Series against the New York Yankees. Lidge would give up three runs in the inning , enabling the Yankees to earn a 7-4 victory in the game and now go up 3-1 in the series. The Yankees are now but one game away from winning their twenty seventh World Series title. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rob Carr …………

I can’t help but wonder what or how one can best assist the plight of the Philadelphia Phillies. From a team that came into this postseason with a great deal of heart and playing with a great deal of aplomb. They’re now being beaten up on , much like an overseer would take to a slave with forty whips of the lash. In the World Series thus far , the New York Yankees now seem to have their number having taken a (3-1) lead in the best of seven game series. And poor old Charlie Manuel now has to play a psych and analyst for pitchers Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge. Never mind that the bat of the once dangerous Ryan Howard has about as much ‘pop’ in it , as a bottle as a bottle of soured champagne. Needless to say, if Howard isn’t firing on all cylinders then this team isn’t going to be going anywhere. And that essentially will open the door for the Yankees to lift their twenty seventh World Series title.

Coach John Wooden speaks about life and death and things in between that mean such a great deal to us all.

If there’s one thing that one would expect from a college coach at any level withing the collegiate ranks . It’s that they have character and if nothing else it’s also that they carry that trait of integrity and honesty. After all they’re ensured with the duty of not only coaching the young collegiate athlete but also teaching them life lessons along the way. Perhaps the best collegiate coach ever to do that and that’s to imbue those under their care with a sense of responsibility. Well, to my mind no one more embodied that , than former UCLA men’s basketball coach , John Wooden.

The former Bruins’ coach epitomized what it meant to be coach and a father figure to the players under his tutelage. People may harp on about the likes of Bobby Knight, Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden and Mike Krzyzewski. But it is Wooden, to whom they all pay homage to in the end. They haven’t been able to achieve the type of success not only on the field of play but also off it , when it comes to the athletes that he brought along. But most of all, it is how many of the athletes under his tutelage have fared, that one ought to admire with regard to his achievements. Were it , that they ended making a name for themselves at the professional level in the field sports. Or through another vocation outside the world of athletics. Wooden, the man and the coach has to be greatly admired.

Courtesy of the Associated Press:

Gillispie pleads guilty to DUI charge in Ky.

By Jeff McMurray , (AP)

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — Former University of Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie pleaded guilty Monday to driving under the influence of alcohol and apologized for what he called a mistake.

Gillispie, wearing a dark suit and yellow tie at the hearing in Anderson County District Court, accepted a plea bargain, which included fines and court costs of more than $1,000, a 30-day suspension of his driver’s license and an agreement to complete an Alcohol Drivers Education Program.

During the brief hearing, Gillispie gave one-word answers to questions from Judge Linda Armstrong about whether he understood his rights and the consequences of the plea.

Gillispie filled out paperwork in an undisclosed location in the courthouse, then made no comment to reporters as he darted out the side entrance and got into a car carrying his attorney, William Patrick.

Patrick said Gillispie had left the state by midday but otherwise declined to comment beyond a statement, which included Gillispie’s apology and pointed out the coach had received the maximum fine for a first-time DUI offender in Kentucky.

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Billy  Gillispie seen  here  in  court   in Lawrenceburg ,  Ky,.  Gillispie   pled   guilty  to  a  dui  charge  stemming   from  a  vehicular  stop  by  local  law enforcement   there  in  Lawrenceburg.  Gillispie was given the maximum penalty for a first-time offense in Anderson County, which included a fine of a little more than $1,000, a 30-day suspension of his license and orders to complete an Alcohol Drivers Education Program.   Gillespie's lawyer, William Patrick, is seen on right. (AP Photo/Ben Carlson, Pool)

Billy Gillispie seen here in court in Lawrenceburg , Ky,. Gillispie pled guilty to a dui charge stemming from a vehicular stop by local law enforcement there in Lawrenceburg. Gillispie was given the maximum penalty for a first-time offense in Anderson County, which included a fine of a little more than $1,000, a 30-day suspension of his license and orders to complete an Alcohol Drivers Education Program. Accompanying Gillispie in the courtroom is his lawyer William Patrick. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ben Carlson ………..

This now brings me to the point with regard to former Kentucky coach , Billy Gillespie . If ever there was a troubled individual within the college coaching ranks. Then a bust of Gillespie should be the landmark for such a person ! Here’s a guy, who had the world at his feet but he thought better , were he to eschew the values that he were to be passing on to the students under his care. He’s proven to be dishonest and a person of low moral standard. But yet he was seen as a fit for such coaching positions at the University of Kentucky , UTEP and Texas A & M amongst others . But perhaps Gillespie’s gravest error has been the fact of his failure to acknowledge his character trait of being an alcoholic and failing to address it. And then using it as a pretense for his misconduct. Hardly the thing that the parents of a potential recruit would want to see from a coach who’d have their son’s best interests at heart. But here he was , a man in a position of trust being accommodated by many parents, not knowing of Gillispie’s proclivity for alcohol and his past indiscretions. That asides , it’s my belief that in some cases his demeanor was overlooked by some of his employers . And this was done , merely because he was a college coach with a name and he’d brought about a modicum of success at several stops along his way.

Now having further tarnished his reputation , I’m not so sure that Gillispie ought to be deserving of a second , much less a third chance as a coach. His moral fiber and integrity has been shot to hell. Furthermore, what faculty or educational establishment would be willing to give him another chance at this moment in time ? It’s not as if he’s learned his lessons from past mistakes to begin with. Much like a repeat criminal offender. Gillispie is not different in this regard to his recidivism . I know that there are many out there who’ll be in support of him , thinking that he’s fully deserving of another chance. But I put this question to you – if you’re a parent and he entered into your home looking to recruit your son. Would you be willing to listen anything that he has to say ? Bearing in mind also that you’re fully aware of his background. To my mind a person of Gillispie’s character is bound to falter again, one way or another.

I Know Crap When I See It And I Don’t Need To Be Reminded Of It …………..

I Know Crap When I See  It  I   Don’t  Need  To  Be Reminded  Of  It 

Well  as  we all know  last  season  the  Detroit  Lions  went 0-16  and  brought  about an end  to a  season  of  complete  ineptitude for   the franchise.  That  being  said  many  felt  that  there may  well  have  been  something  that  could  be  learnt  from  all  of this. 

 

Coach  Jim  Schwartz of  the  Detroit Liosn  seen  here  at  the  team's initial   rookie  training  camp.
Jim Schwartz coach of the Detroit Lions seen here at the team's rookie training camp and OTA workouts. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Russell Thompson ...........

 

 I  personally   can’t  see  what   can  be  learned  from  such  an inept  display   in futility.  For  the last   six  years  at  least  the  franchise has  been  mired  in mediocrity.  And  the  ownership  of  the  franchise has  remained deafeningly  silent   whilst  much  of  this  has  all  played   out   for the  public’s and  fans’  attention  alike. 

 

Martin Mayhew (center) Lions' GM seen here alongside Team President Tom Lewand and team owner William Clay Ford Sr. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo / Tim Shaw ..............

What can  be  said  about the   franchise and  the  Ford  family  that  hasn’t   already  been  said  ?  I’d dare  that  a  number  of   us   would  have  a  few  choice  adjectives  that  can  best   describe  the  organization  as a  whole  ?  And it  certainly  hasn’t  helped  in  seeing  the  Ford  family  fortunes  taken  such  an  abrupt  turn  with regards  to the  family   business. It’s   not  exactly   a  whole   hearted  endorsement   for  the  NFL  franchise as a  whole  when   you  see  the  fortunes  of  the  Ford Motor  Company  itself  remain  somewhat  bleak.  Even  if  on  paper  it’d   suggest  that it’s  better  shape  than  that  of  its   counterparts  GM  and  Chrysler.

 

Lions'  offensive  coordinator  works  with young  recruit  and  overall #1  first  round  draft  pick  quarterback  Matthew  Stafford.  picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/ Tim  Westfield  ...............
Lions' offensive coordinator Scot Linehan works with #1 overall first round draft pick Matthew Stafford. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tim Piggott-Smith .................

 

Which  brings me  on to the point  of  this  piece   in particular.   Lions’ running back  Kevin Smith    who  at  best  can be  described as  a serviceable   sophomore  running  back   has  been  bold  enough  to  make  a statement….nay    a  prognostication  as to   how the  team  might  well  fare.   It  is Smith’s  belief that the  team  is  capable  of  making  the  playoffs  in the  upcoming  ’09   season.   On  the  face  of   it  the  announcement   alone   is  comical .   And   those  who’d   view  it  with   any  degree  of  respect  may  well  be  laughing  amongst  themselves  also.

 

Matthew Stafford the #1 overall  draft  in  this year's  draft  .
Matthew Stafford the #1 overall draft pick in this year's draft undergoes a rigrous workout the team's training facility. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tim Schwein ..........................

One  can only surmise  that  Smith  is  looking  as  this  as  a motivational   tool not  only  to  inspire  himself  and   his  teammates  as  well.  And what  with  the  recent  upheaval  within  the  franchise , with  the  firing   of  Rod  Marinelli as  coach.  It  can  be  said  this  season  alone  for the  Detroit  Lions  will  be  one  intrigue  ,  interest  and    a  great  deal of  mystery  all  wrapped  in  a  neat  parcel  waiting   for  anyone  part-take  of  its  no  doubt  unique  pleasures.   

 

It could well  be  that  with  the  acquisition  of  their  number  one  first  round draftee  Matthew Stafford  .  Smith   may  well  be  viewing  the  situation  that  with  the  signing  of  a  franchise  quarterback  that   things  are  about  to  change   for  the  better   for  the  organization  as   whole  on the field  and   within  the  halls  of the  franchise  itself.    With   the  departure  of  former   GM  Matt Millen  .   It  has  been  left  to  his  successor   Martin Mayhew   to   try  and  turn    around   the fortunes  of   the  franchise. 

 

Kevin  Smith (34) of  the Detroit  Lions  seen  here  at  the  team's  training  and  practice  facility  in  Allen  Park  ,  suburb  Detroit  , Michigan.  picture  appears  courtesy  of ap/photo / Lindsay Hough  ..........................
Lions' running back Kevin Smith (34) seen here at the team's practice and training facility in Allen Park , a surburb of the city of Detroit, Michigan. Smith was a member of the Lions' winless 0-16 team from last season. He's now entering his second season with the team. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Lindsay Hough .................

 

But  unless there’s  divine  intervention and  an  alignment  of  the  stars,  one  doubts  that  the  fortunes   of  the    franchise  would  be  regained   so  quickly.It’s  bad  enough  that an  inexperienced   player   such  as   Smith  has  opened  his  mouth  and  placed  even   more  pressure   upon   his   team  than  is  necessary. It’s  not  as if  they’re   equipped to   make  this  all  become  a  reality.  

 

The  fact  of  the  matter  is  that  the  Detroit  Lions   hasn’t  been  of  relevance  within  the  NFL  in  over  a  decade.  And  will it  as  we   all  may  things   are  unliable  to  change  all  that  profoundly  even  with  the  acquisition  of  Stafford  and  their  sampling  of  draft  picks   brought  into  bring  back   life  to   a  lethargic   and  quite  often   moribund  franchise.   Nothing  has  deifned  sheer  failure  and  ineptitude  than   what  we’ve  all   witnessed   from  this  franchise over  the  last  decade.   And  one  would’ve   hoped   that  before   Smith   opened   his   mouth  to make  such  an  asinine  statement   that  he  infact  would  have   remembered  this.  

 

Whatever  expectations   that  are  felt  by  the  Lions’  fans  in  general.  One  truly  doubts that  their   expectations   will   be  exceeded  with  Smith’s   wishes  coming   through.   So  often over the  years   they’ve   come  to    willingly accept   futility  as  a way  of  life.     Anything    beyond  that  as   of   now  can   only  be  viewed  as  a  gift   .   But  more  to  the   point     were    this  all  to  happen   how  would  the  fans   in Detroit  really    feel  ?   Winning  at  the  collegiate  level in   basket  and  football  has  been  one thing.   And  when  it  comes  to  their    professional  hockey  and  basketball  teams  they’ve   had  success  there  as  well.   But as   an  NFL  franchise   the  Lions  have    been  the  butt of  jokes   around  the  league  where   they’ve   joined   the  likes  of  the  Los  Angeles Raiders  as  cannon  fodder   when  it  comes  to recent    exhibitions   of   mediocrity  and   lack  of   reall  leadership   from  the  executive  office   on  down. 

 

 

You  don’t  have  to  be  an  officianado    to   know  crap when   you  see  it  .   But  it  does  help  when  the  level of   mediocrity   being  viewed  the  level  of  which  it’s  been  attained  is  often  attatched  to  one  particular  franchise  primarily.  And  that   franchise  is   ……………………….