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 .

The Determining Factor ……………………..

The Determining Factor

It’s crazy but with the end of the NFL Draft and we already have the analysts and draft geeks assessing which team actually had the best draft class from this most recent endeavor . Now don’t get me wrong but the draft has its merits but in reality until those players actually have played down in a regular season game within the NFL we will never truly know what these players are or will be actually capable of. Can’t miss players are merely speculation and conjecture . And now where a first round draft pick especially one that is picked in the upper echelons of the first round, the financial cost and commitment for a player to a team can be well into tens of millions of dollars over the course of an initial contract. Do you think that the Oakland Raiders regret making that initial $ 65 million commitment to JaMarcus Russell right about now ? One simply has to look to their front office of the Raiders to see the cause of their demise . To put it more succinctly Al Davis no longer knows how to assess talent in spite of the continued idiocy that’s misplaced by an overbearing oaf such as radio personality and employee of the organization the nationally syndicated sports talk radio host J T The Brick . Here’s a guy who when it comes to showing any form of impartiality to an issue concerning the Raiders , well let’s just say he’d make a Klan member feel proud !

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In reality success has been fleeting for the Raiders over the last decade and half and that is in spite of the organization’s rich history within the NFL . But as with a number of teams and in particular with each generation of fans it’s not merely about those by gone years but what you have you done for me lately by way of success ? And to my mind the determining factor and in relation to the success that any organization wishes to attain be it within MLB , NBA , NBA , or the NFL itself .. It is predicated upon the front office of each organization ,from the ownership on down to the executives and coaching staff. Consider this , think of the most successful franchises within each of the four major sports and what has each got in common apart from winning ? It is the fact that each has had an owner who has remained consistent with what works for it as an entity . The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils within the NHL , the Pittsburgh Steelers , New York Yankees , the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have simply stuck to that tried and tested method of having sound fiscal policies , as well as competent coaches and executives within their respective organizations.

During the NBA Playoffs without a doubt the most disappointing display to my mind was that of the Orlando Magic and their lopsided 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks . Anyone who was witness to the sheer ineptitude of the Magic’s performances throughout this series would realize that without Dwight Howard this team simply isn’t worth a damn . What might be even more perplexing was the sheer idiocy and the belief shown by GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy that the mid-season trades made would in fact improve the team . If anything the team simply became even more inconsistent , lackluster and completely devoid of creativity on either end of the floor . Not only that but they were simply those who labored under the fact Dwight Howard because of his stats made a viable MVP candidate while his teammates simply were mediocre .

Anyone who actually has an ounce of common sense would know from the very fact that the vast majority of the winners of the league’s regular season trophy to the individual recipient has in fact made those around him considerably better as their respective teams statistically have shown signs progress during that season. Case in point , was this season’s runaway winner of the league MVP trophy , Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and the 21 game turnaround engineered by Tom Thibodeau from last season to this where the team became a 62 game winner and the top seed within the Eastern Conference never mind the fact that they’ve now made the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they face the Atlanta Hawks who as I explained earlier dethroned the Magic with effortless ease.

The Orlando Magic and its front office in conjunction with Otis Smith I feel were capricious. Smith and Bob Vander Weide team President & CEO made a gamble that simply didn’t pay off . Not only that but in acquiring Jason Richardson , Hedo Turoglu and Gilbert Arenas the organization is financially on the hook for $65 million in salary for the players in question over the remaining years of those contracts. Call me naive but the productivity by the players during the regular season as well as the postseason has been minuscule and not deserving of the Magic’s fans undoubted expectations. And with this loss the Magic and its management have a great deal of contemplating to do as it regards the moves that need to be made in order to make this team better. Dwight Howard whose contract expires at the end of 2012 can actually opt out of the contract prior to its culmination rather than seeking to start the whole negotiation process. Clearly Van Gundy and Otis Smith will have to be very persuasive in convincing Howard that he ought to remain with the organization. And at this juncture that scenario isn’t as clear cut as some would believe or would like it to be.

In baseball we have all seen the idiocy of the team owners there and their ostentatious spending. Is it any wonder Los Angeles Dodgers and in particular the New York Mets are in a mess financially with regard to their own existence and financial viability ? Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt seems to be under the misapprehension that he will be successful regaining control of the team he bought in 2003 from the local > News Corp through their wholly owned Fox Inc subsidiary. Since then, even though the team has averaged 3 million attendees per season the organization has struggled to remain financially a viable concern . Now with collateralized and none- subordinated debt in excess of $ 1.2 billion McCourt feels that the team and organization still remains a viable concern. He must feel that the his creditors will continue remain lukewarm to his overtures should they feel that he’s having problems paying down that debt. In this sort of economic climate there tends not to that type willingness from many of the nation’s major financiers and their respective institutions. And even with the league hierarchy having assumed control of the Dodgers I would like to think that Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation as it now unfolds with Mets , in particular with co-owners —- Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon !

Success for both the Dodgers and Mets seems to have been fleeting over the past decade and it remains to be seen whether or not their aspirations remains the same and that is to win a World Series title . And as ambitious as those front offices appears to be it seems that they have lost sight of their ultimate goal . Much of that malaise has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of McCourt and his executives within the organization . Ned Colletti may well be enjoying the prestige of running the personnel side of the organization but he too like McCourt may well have lost site of the organization’s goals. It certainly most telling that when questioned by the press as to who now controls the Dodgers and its day to day running Colletti’s response was one that seems to be an individual who just doesn’t care either way . If that is indicative of how this organization is being ran then it shows that they’re completing deserving of their fate.

The New York Mets face a civil suit that at present is being determined through a mediator appointed by the US Federal Courts and at the heart of it all appears to be whether or not the organization knowlingly gain financially from the monies received as profits from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of which several thousands of investors were defrauded of $59 billion. Irving Picard the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in this suit has filed a motion seeking to recoup some $750 million from both Katz, Wilpon their Sterling Equities as well as the New York Mets. The lead defendants Katz and Wilpon deny any wrongdoing on their part but have stated that they are victims of the fraud perpetrated by Madoff and his associates. However , it has been the Mets unwillingness to open their books up for public scrutiny that casts a doubt upon the veracity of the argument now being put forth by the Mets as the defendants and in particular by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon . A federal subpoena has a way of making the truth be known in the end and hopefully several of those will be put to use in the course of this case. And inasmuch the Mets once again are having a mediocre season one can’t help but feel that through the connivance and mismanagement from the executives and managerial level over the past few years that this organization is thoroughly deserving of its present predicament.

I’ve long maintained that the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns as teams within the NFL clearly have some way to go before they can be thought of as serious contenders within the league and as a legitimate team to win the Superbowl . Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and team coach Marvin Lewis are now having to deal with Carson Palmer’s petulant behavior and his wanting to be traded to a contender . If this is what is indicative of what was now being produced by USC as to quarterbacks from the Pete Carroll era then clearly there are some questions that really do need to be asked . I think that things are now likely to get a great deal murkier with the team’s drafting of Andy Dalton as the de-facto successor to Palmer as his reign is about to come to an abrupt end with the Bengals . From AFC North champions in 2009 to a team with a lackluster 6-10 record last season .

The Browns for their part have been in more of a tailspin having dumped Romeo Crennel and hired Eric Mangini only too see the team fail miserably under Mangini’s tenure . And given Mangini’s coaching record in the NFL I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was Mike Holmgren thinking as the team’s President ? Last season this team competed gallantly but in large part they faced an uphill battle trying to usurp the dominance of both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers within their division (AFC North ). Now with Pat Shurmur as the team’s head coach and there being a revamped assistant coaching staff it remains to be seen what this upcoming season may well have in store for the Browns. The team had a breakout star in Peyton Hillis and as always the dependable Josh Cribbs was at his very best and it would appear that team now has a quarterback in Colt McCoy who can actually commands the respect of his teammates.

In stark contrast to the teams that have been consistent and have attained success, much of that can be put down to the fact that apart from making the right personnel decisions . It has been the continuity not only from within their coaching regime but primarily through the fact that at the executive levels as with regards to the general manager that is in place , there has been little , if any , real turnover in that staff. It’s not always been about the coaches because that in essence comes down to the coach’s resume’ and his ability to communicate with the players and if anything above all with his general manager. Simply look at the success attained by the Steelers and New England Patriots over the years and the one constant there has been the ownership , the fact that the general managers there have been tenured with those respective organizations for a number of years and the actual willingness of the owner to defer to subordinates within the organization. And even though Scott Pioli has since left the Patriots to assume a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs we’ve seen that even there also once Pioli was allowed to show his acumen in assessing talent the team has progressed showing a marked display last season in winning the AFC West (10-6) and making the playoffs where they would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens —- 30-7 in the wildcard round. And for head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff though the loss had been been a tremendous disappointment , it also points to the fact that the organization has to be now heading in the right direction after so many barren years in the wilderness .

The Patriots for their part having seen their postseason woes continue with their lackluster performance in losing to their divisional rivals the New York Jets —- 28-21 in a game that pretty much summed up the team’s season. In light of that however they’ve gone about things in their usual business like manner garnering picks for future drafts and at the same time picking up the usual talent they’ve been accustomed to down the years . Much of that by design as Bill Belichick has worked in conjunction with Floyd Reese the team’s senior consultant charged with the task of dealing with personnel matters for the team.

We may well feel that in large part that success is actually achieved on the field of play because of the performances of the players. But it does essentially start with the eager willingness of the owners and their front office executives actually having the right staff in place being able assess the talent that is there to be had and as necessary spend prudently in order to get the best possible player available . How often have we seen a situation where in fact a team that simply looks good on paper just tends to implode because of the undue pressure and the very fact that the coach simply hasn’t done their job adequately ? At times we can blame the players for their lackluster performances but doesn’t that also have something to do with the coach not being able to get his point across as to what needs to be done at a given moment ?

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In coming to this conclusion I do firmly believe that any professional sports organization has to have all integral parts on the same page working in cohesion . If that isn’t evident within an organization then by the very evidence we tend to see the vast majority of the time that team does tend fail in its endeavors. We’ve seen it this postseason within the NBA , NHL , also within the NFL and MLB as well . What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that I may well have missed some pertinent factor that should have been included ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (L) looks on as Raiders owner Al Davis (R) speaks to reporters after introducing Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(2) JaMarcus Russell (2) of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images ……

(3) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic questions a call by the official during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia . Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) In this photo taken on April 14, 2010, from left, Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide, chief operating officer Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith chat prior to an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla. Smith, by his own admission, is a risk-taker. He’s the general manager who traded three starters from an NBA finals team, moves that either will show Smith’s brilliance or become a symbol of a gamble gone wrong for the Magic in the playoffs. AP Photo/John Raoux …….

(5) Andre Ethier (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings and loses his bat in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-1 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(6) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……..

(8) Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren watches from the back of the room as first-round draft pick Phillip Taylor holds a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, right, presents a jersey to first round-draft pick Phillip Taylor during an NFL football news confernce at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. The Browns took the Baylor defensive tackle with the 21st overall pick Thursday night. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(10) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2009, file photo : Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, left, talks with general manager Scott Pioli before a news conference announcing Haley’s hiring in Kansas City, Mo. Pioli and Haley are deservedly drawing praise for taking the Chiefs from 10 wins in three years to 10 wins in 16 weeks. But they don’t deny they were blessed with a core of solidly talented young players when they got to Kansas City after a 2-14 2008 season. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……

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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 …….. ?”

Nepotism Can Be A Double Edged Sword ….. That Bitch Can Cut Both Ways And It Hurts !

Nepotism Can Be A Double Edged Sword ….. That Bitch Can Cut Both Ways And It Hurts !

I don’t know about you but as a youngster I had no real interest in following of the footsteps of my father professionally. He worked for almost three decades in factory as a machine operator for a company that made office furniture. Not that there was anything wrong with that as a profession and the relationship between he and myself wasn’t one that was close to begin with. He left the family home recusing himself of all responsibilty of being a father first and then a man. But that asides he had his moments in the lives of myself and my two younger siblings , my brother and sister. Over the remaining years prior to his leaving the UK to return to the Caribbean our paths crossed but not always on the most amicable of terms.

As I grew up I simply knew that I had no intention of following in my father’s footsteps professionally as I sought to make my own way in the world. Having graduated from high school I joined the military and for the nex eight years I saw a great deal of Europe and North Africa serving in the British Royal Marines . Fulfilling my obligations there , I was lucky enough to be hired by large financial concern and over the next decade I spent working in the world of high finance. Along the way I was lucky enough to be the proud beneficiary of my employer’s in house educational program , wherein they paid for my entire college education. I put that education to good use in the world finance which was mutually beneficial for both parties at the time.

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Slide show for your perusal .

In the NFL rarely has it worked with great success where a father and son have achieved success at the highest order. Especially when it comes to the field of coaching albeit that we’ve seen where the likes of Buddy Ryan and Mike Shanahan have achieved a great deal of notoriety and success. In the case of Ryan he has seen his son Rex follow in his footsteps first becoming a coordinator before being entrusted to take over the helm of the New York Jets as their head coach. Kyle Shanahan eager to follow in his father’s foosteps also is now the offensive coordinator and assistant coach alongside his father Mike Shanahan with the Washington Redskins . Now one can surmise that it’s never easy to try and succeed much less outdo the acvhievements of one’s parents. But there is a case to be made that when that comes about a parent never ceases to be proud of that very moment and the fact of the matter is those moments are a lasting legacy of the very achievement itself.

Ryan in his first season with the Jets he got the team to the AFC championship game where they would fall short in their loss to the Indianapolis Colts with the result being a 30-17 defeat . This season within the AFC East the Jets are off to a 5-2 start and it would appear are comfortably placed to make the postseason . For all of the bravado comming from Ryan and his team and the belief that they’re capable of winning the Superbowl . There is a widespread belief that Rex Ryan is merely amping up the rhetoric and hype in order to deflect any attention and undue pressure upon the New York Jets. At times actions such as this can do more harm than good to his team . And within the cauldron that is New York City where the fans and press can merciless and unflattering , either Ryan will be able to put up or he’ll have to simply shut the hell up. This much we do know if he’s unable to guide this team to the promise land it won’t be long before the fans there in New York start to clamor for his head on a platter and his blood to be spilled all over the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. Granted, while this is a very talented Jets’ team there’s no denying that their humbling 9-0 loss at home to the Green Bay Packers having come off a bye week showed not only how unpredictable the NFL is but also that there’s way too much hype placed on a team that simply hasn’t achieved anything in the past three decades that is of any real note.

Often thought as one of the elite division of the of the NFL the NFC East has been anything but that this season . Mired in mediocrity for much of early half of the season I sincerely doubt that we’ll see a clear cut and dominant team within the conference as a whole. Many of the top tiered teams within the NFC as viewed by the press and tv analysts alike have performed like they’ve been hampered by some unseen obstacle. Based on what I’ve seen of the teams in question namely the Dallas Cowboys , Minnesota Vikings , New York Giants and New Orleans Saints a case can be made that hype , complacency and the mere fact that a number of these teams simply aren’t that good.

Redskins work out ex-Oakland QB JaMarcus Russell

Ashburn , Va. (AP) —Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell worked out with the Washington Redskins on Tuesday, just three days after Donovan McNabb was benched in the closing minutes of a loss to Detroit.

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Russell was one of many players, including a few other quarterbacks, who were getting a look from the team.

“We’ll evaluate him and everyone else out there,” Shanahan said.

The Redskins routinely invite out-of-work players for workouts on Tuesdays, but the timing of Russell’s visit only added to the team’s quarterback drama of the last few days. McNabb’s benching raised questions about the six-time Pro Bowl player’s future with the team, and coach Mike Shanahan added to the confusion by offering varying explanations for the decision.

Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, was released in May after three disappointing seasons with the Raiders. He regressed on the field, was fined for being overweight and was criticized by the coaching staff for his work ethic.

Kyle Shanahan praised Russell’s talents, but said the other factors do come into consideration when evaluating a player.

“I don’t think you consider anyone just based off of talent,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Everyone in the NFL’s pretty talented. (It’s) other stuff that really separates you. He is very talented, so I think he can overcome some of the stuff that he struggled with. I don’t really know that personally, but if he looks like he’s in good shape out here and he’s working, and that’s all you can evaluate. Sometimes when guys do get a second opportunity, they can change their stripes.”

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We’ve seen the unraveling of the season for the Cowboys and Vikings and there’s a great possibility that one if not both teams will most certainly miss the playoffs . And who’s now prepared to lay odds that Brad Childress and Wade Phillips aren’t on the proverbial “hot seat” as far as their NFL coaching positions are concerned ? This is much is certain with the tumultuous maelstrom and storm said to be surrounding both organizations at present nothing short of divine intervention will actually save either Childress or Phillips by season’s end. Jerry Jones and Zygi Wilf are now backed into a corner and as owners, they have to be completely embarrassed by the very circumstances that their respective teams are now in. Unrest amongst the respective coaching staffs and what could amount to be a certain amount of dissention has effectively cacaded out of control. And while this has all been going on we’ve seen some rather asinine displays of immaturity being shown not only by some of the player on these respective team but also by the coaches. Childress has waived wide receiver Randy Moss after a mere four games played having acquired the player via a trade from the New England Patriots. And less we forget he still has to deal with the now injured “primadona” Brett Favre whose play this season has bordered on being mediocre at best. It’s obvious that the $20 million spent this year on Favre won’t be getting this piece of crap anywhere at all !

Jerry Jones has a dilemma on his hands does he jettison Wade Phillips now or at the end of the season ? In doing so, knowing that in hiring a coach and complementary staff there is a good chance that next season will see the possibility of a labor stoppage. Why waste paying upwards of between $8 million to $12 million needlessly when there’s said to be a great deal of uncertainty as to what next season holds ? A slumping team and what appears to be a lame duck coach and owner whose ego knows no boundaries. Could Hollywood have scripted this any better ? All that now awaits is the self combustion of Jones’ brain matter all over the executive suite of his office inside Cowboys Stadium . A fitting end no doubt to the Cowboys’ comical and disastrous season don’t you think ?

While I’m under no illusion as to how average the Washington Redskins are , at best , I do know that this team simply isn’t capable of playing with any degree of consistency throughout the season . Now we have the idiocy of the coach and his son , Mike and Kyle Shanahan trying making contrary statements as to the fitness and play of starting quarterback Donovan McNabb . Furthermore, given the deficiencies of the Washington Redskins at present I’d say that their worries over McNabb are being exaggerated and without basis. Their real concern ought to be how best get this team playing with a great deal more consistency. Now the duo are trying downplay their statements and in doing so they’ve made themselves a complete laughing stock and have no doubt loss the immediate respect of the player. If they now had these concerns then why trade for him in the first place ? Clearly Mike Shanahan and his son are either unsure of what they want or they simply now have misgivings and are too afraid to admit to the fact that they made a monumental mistake in aquiring the player. What might now be even more ludicrous is the fact that the team’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has brought in former NFL players JaMarcus Russell and J P Losman for quarterback tryouts. Is there a reclamation project now being put in place as they seek to perhaps replace McNabb ? Never mind the fact that the team has another “washout” in Rex Grossman as its backup . What are the Redskins’ fans to make of this latest turn of events ?

Given the mediocrity of the play now taking place within the NFC and specifically within the NFC East at present. We could very well see an 8-8 or 9-7 team make the playoffs this season from within the conference. How bad on appearance would that be ? No doubt what the fans have been served up within the conference would considered to be mediocre at best. But such are the vagaries of the game and the fact from week to week within the NFL one simply never knows what’s about to be served up next. It would be remiss to think that NFC is the only conference where the fans are getting a drab brand of football on display each week. As within the AFC at the lower rungs of the conference the teams there might be just as bad as those now in the middle and lower end of the NFC.

From my own perspective the mediocrity of the play this season isn’t merely about the teams but also about the apparent lack of real quality coaching and some of the asinine decisions that the fans have witnessed throughout much of the season as it has progressed. The remaining 8 weeks and the postseason has a great deal in store for the NFL fan and one would hope that it’ll be an improvement on what we’ve witnessed so far this season. As to the futures of Rex Ryan and Kyle Shanahan they will be judged by the decisions they make and the success achieved by their respective teams. This much I do know it’s clear at present given what’s going on they can’t really do much worse than many of the other head coaches around the NFL at present.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What are your own feelings concerning the current situations that have befallen the Redskins, Cowboys and Vikings ? And do you feel that in the cases of Mike and Kyle Shanahan they’ve made themselves something of a laughing stock around the league and in the eyes of the fans ? And what are your thoughts concerning familial ties within the league and how it plays out concerning the individuals mentioned within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

NB List of NFL coaches including their 2010 record .

List of NFL teams’ coaching staffs including assistants .

NFL Week 9 schedule

Team with byes Broncos, Titans , Jaguars , Resdkins , Rams & 49ers

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😦

Alan aka tophatal …… 🙂

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Azzareya-Crystal-Curtis

Eye candy …….. Azzareya Crystal Curtis (left) & friends
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Sly & The Family Stone …… “Family Affair” (Remix)

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News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

We can all agree that at this time of the year there’s not much news out there that one would deem newsworthy in the world of sports. As of now there’s not really much to opine about as it now stands. Well that’s unless you’re an aggrieved USC Trojans’ fan then you can’t take solace in the fact that the SEC or NCAA won’t as of yet be investigating the allegations into the fact that former Gators’ player Maurkice Pouncey may well have improperly accepted $100,000 whilst attending the University of Florida while on his athletic football scholarship. Well nothing new there given the fact that Gators’ football coach Urban Meyer is bout as strict with his players as the Los Angeles County Court System are on their treatment of Hollywood celebrities . But then again what else should one expect ? It has become the norm to see athletes and celebrities be treated as nothing more than Pre-K children each time they ran afoul of the law or knowingly break the rules of an educational institution and that of the NCAA .

Knowing what we already know about collegiate athletics when stories such as this come to the public’s attention we can either choose to ignore them or we can choose to discuss them like mature adults. But then again when discussing collegiate sports and in particular football it can border upon sectarianism in its resolve in trying to garner anything intelligent or enlightening as part of any type of debate or discussion. The NCAA > for its part can come across as a rather toothless organization whose bark more often than not is worse than its bite !

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Below I’ve either provided links or in part piece of an ongoing story for you to peruse that we might discuss. So by all means having read the links provided then do chime in with a comment.

Courtesy of USA Today & Sean Leahy

Report: Steelers rookie C Maurkice Pouncey tied to improprieties at Florida

C/G Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick, may be facing some uncomfortable questions once he signs his first NFL contract later this summer.

According to ESPN, the University of Florida is investing claims that Pouncey received a $100,000 payment from the representative of an agent prior to playing in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl win over the University of Cincinnati in January.

“We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC,” Gators AD Jeremy Foley said in a statement released Monday morning. “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”

Pouncey entered the 2010 NFL draft after his junior season, but his twin brother Mike, a potential first-round pick in the 2011 draft, remained in Gainesville, Fla., for his senior season. He is also an offensive lineman.

If found guilty of improprieties, Florida could have to vacate its Sugar Bowl victory over the Bearcats.

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Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Russell pleads not guilty not guilty in Alabama case


Ex-Raider Russell pleads not guilty in Ala. case

MOBILE, Ala. (AP)—Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell(notes) pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegal drug possession Tuesday in Alabama.

Russell, 24, is a former LSU star who was released by Oakland after being the No. 1 draft choice in 2007. He entered the plea in court in Mobile. He is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, codeine syrup.

Authorities have said that he did not have a prescription for the drug and that he was arrested July 5 at his home as part of an undercover investigation.

His attorney, Donald Briskman, said in a phone interview that there were about nine or 10 people in the house and that he believes once all the evidence is known, Russell will be exonerated.

Russell, a prep star in Mobile, had no comment after his court appearance. He has been free on $2,500 bond.

Briskman said he asked for an early hearing in order for Russell to get the case behind him and renew his effort to play professional football. A hearing in his case is set for Aug. 11 to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.

One of the NFL’s biggest No. 1 draft busts, Russell completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career, with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and 15 lost fumbles. He won only seven of 25 starts.

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Someone explain to me what it was that Al Davis and the rest of the Raiders’ front office saw in JaMarcus Russell to begin with ? I’ve heard it said that temperament and maturity doesn’t matter when it comes to being professional athlete . Without either then an athlete will fail to show presence of mind to become a success to begin with ! Well the idiot who made that summary and asinine remark is too dumb to realize what’s needed to compete at the professional level ! Russell had none of the attributes required to make it at the next level !

Fedrigo denies Armstrong Tour de France stage win

OK so tell me who the hell is actually interested in the Tour de France to begin with ? Lance Armstrong may well be the nom-de-plume for the moment. But he’s not going to win the event nor was he ever like to add to his tally of seven consecutive wins. Lance’s time has come and gone ! nd besides the sport itself is rife with cheating nd prolific steroid use. Never mind the fact that the sports’ governing body UCI has about as much presence in dealing with the matter as the US government’s stance has been on immigration reform and that of the US economy. Both have become those respective legislative bodies’ Waterloo. The former seven time champion currently sits in twenty fifth place some 34 minutes behind the current leader Alberto Contador of Spain ,a winner of the race in 2007 and 2009 .

Sorry Lance you’re no longer worthy of being lauded as some hero , not when the sport of cycling is rife with as much cheating that’s alleged to have gone on within the sport over the past decade. Now you’re in the midst of an ongoing battle of words with one of your fellow compatriots in Greg Lemond , himself former winner of the event. Why don’t you boys just kiss and make up instead of coming across like pair of Ru Paul’s drag queen cast offs from the drag queen’s reality show ?

Cubs manager Piniella retiring after season

Right so this should come as a surprise to whom ? Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella announces that he’ll retire at the end of the season . Low and behold after all of the torture that lovable Lou has suffered at the hands of this team and organization I’d like to commend him on his decision to begin with ! It’s not as if the team was ever capable of winning a World Series title to begin with ! Instead there’ll just be another year added to over a century of infamy and sheer ineptitude. As for those endearing fans who attend Wrigley Field religiously each season I for one just hope that they can continue to endure the suffering that they’ve had to withstand ! At some point in the future things my well change but who know when that might be ? Even the purists nd pundits can’t decide when that will be but somehow they’re holding out hope for change in the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs . How about you ? Do you ever see things turning around for the baseball club ?

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Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka …. tophatal ………. 🙂

Nas ………………..” Made You Look”

Carrie Prejean Says I Don’t Want To Talk About It !

Give some pseudo-celebrity their fifteen minutes of fame and I can guarantee you that you’ll end up being bored shi_less with whatever they’ve got to say on any variety of subjects. And more often than not they’ll either be hawking their book or the possibility of a reality show. Where the f_ck has quality television gone nowadays ? I know there’s meant to be an economic downturn and all that. But hell, can’t the Hollywood writers, producers and broadcast outlets come up with something more imaginative than the putrid crap that they’re now putting out on television ? The only safe haven at present might just be the cable outlets. Save for the exception of anything produced by the questionable tastes of Ryan Seacrest.

Hey Richard , I to am appalled that you’re a parent ! But then again
you’re as dumb as you look ! At least you weren’t pimpin’ the kid out for sex. Or will that be your next attempt at glory ? And your poor wife and kids have to be subjected to your vain attempt at notoriety,fame and fortune. Thankfully, Wolf Blitzer’s interview opened up this can of worms and showed us all the underbelly of a society and particular a familial environment gone amok. You need a license to get married. But somehow one can’t prevail upon certain individuals not to have kids and then to try and live through them vicariously.

And of late, the public has had their fill of individuals out there seeking their moment of fame and fortune. From the Heene family in Colorado with their air balloon fiasco. Is it me or should that couple be placed inside of a lion’s cage and their fate should be left to that of the occupant ? Did it not occur to Richard and Mayumi Heene that in trying to create the subterfuge, that their son had been carried off in an air balloon, that once it was clear that their child wasn’t inside the capsule the authorities would question the veracity of their claims ? Parenting 101 – don’t lie to law enforcement or the press at any costs, as in the end you’re bound to be found out.

The ubiquitous Carrie Prejean, as stupid as she looks and wholeheartedly supports the stereotype that blondes are as dumb as they appear to be. Conservative in her beliefs, Prejean is then flabbergasted when we the public, find out that she’s made several sex tapes, with her indulged in sexual acts with multiple partners. And we’re to believe that this female embodies her self avowed beliefs ? What a joke !

Of late the two most annoying individuals who’ve come within our midst, have got to be Carrie Prejean and Sarah Palin.The latter , who’s of the opinion that she can make a difference as a spokesperson for the conservative’s point of view on a wide variety of topics. Here’s a person who basically obfuscated her responsibilities to the electorate in the state of Alaska, by not fulfilling her obligation as that state’s governor. Meanwhile,there’s a book to be hawked, public appearances to be made across the country. And blame to be apportioned elsewhere for her own sheer naivete’ and complete lack of intelligence. Add to that , we’ve still got that endless trite saga of Jon & Kate Gossellin. And you can well understand why the world feels aggrieved with the plight of not only television at present but also the world of the print media.Our only respite may well be, what we can attain from the world of sports. And as of late,that’s not necessarily been a good thing at all.

Ah ! The NFL weekend , where we were meant to see the big boys of the league separate themselves from the pack. The game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots certainly didn’t disappoint. And if anything, it lived up to all of the perceived hyped that we’ve come to expect from these two colossuses of the NFL. And with the game’s two best quarterbacks holding center stage , in Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Well, the stage was set for a Sunday night extravaganza. We should be reminded that these two teams are the winningest NFL franchises of this decade.

I’m sure that there are those out there who find Hung just as hilarious as watching the Oakland Raiders. I’m sure that the likes of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson would welcome the Raiders auditioning for their reality show. They’d be equally as abysmal as Hung was, with his particular appearance. What modicum of talent that the Raiders have ,is wasted. And I for one, am sure that players with the abilities of Michael Bush and Darren McFadden must wish they’d been drafted by someone else, other than the Oakland Raiders. Or quite possibly were they still eligible, they’d have remained in college ?

Raiders' quarterback  JaMarcus  Russell  center  is  sacked by  Chiefs' defensive  ends   Wallace Gilberry and  Tamba   Hali in  the  second  quarter  of the  game Raiders' quarterback  JaMarcus  Russell  center  is  sacked by Chiefs' defensive  ends   Wallace Gilberry and  Tamba   Hali in  the  second  quarter  of the  game played at  the  Oakland Alameda  County Coliseum,Oakland ,California. The  Kansas City Chiefs would go on to  defeat the Oakland  Raiders 16-10. picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Ben Margot ........
Raiders' quarterback JaMarcus Russell center is sacked by Chiefs' defensive ends Wallace Gilberry and Tamba Hali in the second quarter of the game played at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California. The Kansas City Chiefs would go on to defeat the Oakland Raiders 16-10 . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Ben Margot.....

And as enjoyable as some games were. One had the feeling that there would be one or two clunkers amongst the bunch. Can we now all agree, that the Oakland Raiders‘ quarterback, JaMarcus Russell is not cut out to be a quarterback in the NFL ? Much like, Paris Hilton has about much as credence to be named the US Ambassador to the United Nations. For want of a better analogy, the less seen of both, the better off the world would be ! Anyone with the undoubted privilege of witnessing the diatribe served by this Tom Cable coached team , has got to be wondering how the hell can he continue to name Russell as the team’s starter ? Watching Russell lead this team is akin to being impaled on a spike, after enduring Chinese water torture. If it can get any worse under Cable and the Raiders,then the fate being suffered by the long time Raiders’ fans , just simply isn’t worth it anymore! I don’t know which was more embarrassing , the Oakland Raiders losing ? Or the fact that the Oakland Raiders lost to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs 16-10. That was a real bravura performance by both teams in terms of their offensive output. It ranks up there with William Hung‘s performance on American Idol, in terms of its sheer competency ! Or should that be incompetency ? I’ll let you be the judge of that !

The Broncos'  Elvis  Dumervil  sacks  Washington  Redskins'  quarterback,  Jason Campbell,  in the second  quarter  of  Sunday's  NFL  game  played   at Fedex  Field ,  Landover ,  Maryland .   The  Broncos  would  suffer their  third  successive defeat   ,  losing   27-17   to  the  struggling  Redskins.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Rob  Carr  .................
The Broncos' Elvis Dumervil sacks Washington Redskins' quarterback, Jason Campbell , in the second quarter of Sunday's NFL game played at Fedex Field , Landover , Maryland . The Broncos would suffer their third successive defeat , losing 27-17 to the struggling Redskins. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rob Carr .................

There has to be something wrong , right ? Weren’t the Denver Broncos meant to be running away with the AFC West division ? Or does it appear to be that Josh McDaniels has been doing it all with smoking mirrors ? The Broncos having been sticking with the script as they’ve now succumbed to their third straight loss and now sit tied atop of the division ,alongside the fast streaking San Diego Chargers (6-3). And this is a Broncos’ team that should indeed be worried. If the wheels on this particular vehicle has suddenly become stuck whereby they can’t gain any traction over the rest of their rivals within the division. Then,their season could come to a cursory and abrupt end , from the one that had started out
with such a great deal of promise. The Broncos’ 27-17 loss to the Washington Redskins may well have been the surprise result of the day, in the NFL.

Washington Redskins' cheerleaders  and  you though the only  reason to   go  to Fedex  Field  was  because of the  ambiance ?  picture  appears  courtesy of   ap/photo/ Nick Wass  ...................
Washington Redskins' cheerleaders and you though the only reason to go to Fedex Field was because of the ambiance ? picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nick Wass ...................

And if as such, McDaniels is said to be consulting with either David Copperfield , David Blaine or quite possibly Penn & Teller. Well, now is the time either to be asking for a refund or more effective lessons from the esteemed illusionists in question. One way or another , seemingly a fourth consecutive loss would prove to be crushing blow for this team. Now much of the blame could be placed squarely on the shoulders of the team’s backup quarterback, Chris Simms. He performed about as adroitly, as a circus trying to walk a tightrope. To suggest Simms was rusty, would be an understatement. But even if he were given an assist with some WD-40 as a lubricant , I sincerely doubt that it would’ve made a blind bit of difference in the team’s somewhat lackluster display. This result if anything,might just give Jim Zorn a stay of execution from the impending chopping block. But that no doubt would be predicated upon the willingness of GM, Vinny Cerrato to rethink his options at this juncture. And at present the scenario looks extremely grim for Zorn. As it’s looking rather unlikely that he’ll be returning as the coach of the Redskins next season. At least for now, the Washington Redskins’ fans have this victory to provide them with some sort of solace, from what has been something of a moribund season, so far.

OK , so now we know that NFL officials are above reproach ? And can Shannon Sharpe please shut the fu_k up ! Since when were you ever concerned about the integrity of the NFL and the perception of fairness within the game ? You bitched and whined , berated the officiating just as much as anyone when you were in a Broncos’ and a Ravens’ uniform. And now you’re upset that the NFL didn’t penalize Chad Ochocinco with a much stiffer penalty in what was meant to be a joke ? When the player stated that he’d offer the officials $1-00 to actually be impartial on the field of play. Now don’t get me wrong, while it was meant to be a joke. I do believe that the NFL handled the situation appropriately!

Cedric Benson #32  of the Cincinnati Bengals runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Bengals won 18-12.  picture appears courtesy of  getty images/ Rick  Stewart .........
Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Bengals won 18-12. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Rick Stewart .........

In the NFL it’s extremely hard to successfully defend a Superbowl title. And the fact that it hasn’t since SB XXXVIII and SB XXXIX by the New England Patriots in the 2003-04 and the 2005-06 seasons. It just goes to show how difficult this endeavor really is. And for the reigning Super Bowl champions,the Pittsburgh Steelers, that scenario is looking somewhat shaky at this present moment in time. Sunday’s game against their divisional rivals in the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals. A game which lived up to all of the perceived hype.

It’d be remiss to the suggest however, that with the Steerlers’ loss to their AFC North rivals , that they won’t be in the thick of things, once the playoffs comes around. But in some respects,the Steelers may well have played themselves into a situation that they could’ve avoided, had they played with a great deal more intensity. The allowed the Benals’ stifling defense to negate their running game. And the resultant 18-12 loss to the now, resurgent Bengals. Well, it would now suggest that this Marvin Lewis’ coached team is back to where many had envisaged that they ought to have been. And if you thought that Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco were the only reasons behind the team’s resurgence. Then, think again ! Who knew that Cedric Bensoncould play with such un-abandoned passion ? Never mind that Benson was seen as a malcontent and cast off from the Chicago Bears. He’s been one of the primary reasons that this team is now seen as a real threat in the AFC and with the presence of a defense that’s as now as fierce as they come. Anyone who writes this team off as just a regular season fad. Well, they’re doing so at their peril !

Well, my New England Patriots played their hearts out but yet once again when you throw a dog a bone and you’re not liable to be able to retrieve it. Much as the same way, an idiot would want to play Russian roulette with more than one bullet in the chamber of the revolver. You know that the outcome won’t be good. You will always end up paying the price of making a stupid mistake. Or in the case of Bill Belchick, an asinine last minute gamble.

Watching Manning and Brady trying to out-duel each other , is like watching to professional gunslingers make that one last attempt to prove that one is better than the other. These two players between them. with multiple MVP awards in the Superbowl as well as the NFL regular season. In essence, they sit atop of the pecking order when it comes to who may well be the pre-eminent player at the position in the NFL. All due respect to Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. But until you’ve got that Superbowl win notched on your belt , you’re essentially out of the conversation. The regular season is all well and good but it’s now how you arrive at the dance. It’s how you perform at the the dance and who you got to make out with. And as of yet, Drew hasn’t received an invite, nor has he got the chance to make out with the best looking chic’ in the hall. Need one say anymore on the subject ?

Colts' wide  receiver  Reggie Wayne  makes  a  catch   while  Pats'  defender  Johnathan  Wilhite  is  unable to  negate the play  in a  game  played  at the  RCA  Dome in Indianapolis , Indiana .   The  Colts   would  go on to  defeat the  Patriots  35-34 in  a  highly  competitive  and  entertaining  game.    picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Darron  Cummings ....................
Colts' wide receiver Reggie Wayne makes a catch while Pats' defender Johnathan Wilhite is unable to negate the play in a game played at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis , Indiana . The Colts would go on to defeat the Patriots 35-34 in a highly competitive and entertaining game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Darron Cummings ....................

The game itself pit two of the better teams within the NFL and in terms of sheer talent on display. Well, their respective rosters spoke for themselves. And as intriguing as it now may seem , it’s just come to my attention how much rebuilding has been done by both organizations in terms of their teams. Both New England and Indianapolis have rebuilt around youth ,experience and with just a smattering of veteran experience and leadership.

And though at the end of the day , being an avowed Pats’ fans. To say that I’m not disappointed with their 35-34 loss to the hands of the Colts, would be an understatement. But at the same time, I know that this team will most definitely be in the thick of things,come the postseason. And hopefully the pragmatist in me, can’t see Belichick making a similar sort of mistake again in the waning moments of a game. Especially, one that the team had well within its grasp and should’ve won.

Well, unlike Carrie Prejean, I’ve not made a sex tape. However, I do participate in having copious amounts of sex on a much needed basis. It’s the only thing that I thoroughly enjoy doing , next to opining about sports. So what’s your excuse ?

Week 10 results in the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers 10-6 Chicago Bears

Atlanta Falcons 19-28 Carolina Panthers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-25 Miami Dolphins

Detroit Lions 10-27 Minnesota Vikings

Cincinnati Bengals 18-12 Pittsburgh Steelers

Buffalo Bill 17-41 Tennessee Titans

Denver Broncos 17-27 Washington Redskins

New Orleans Saints 28-23 St Louis Rams

Jacksonville Jaguars 24-22 New York Jets

Kansas City Chiefs 16-10 Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks 20-31 Arizona Cardinals

Philadelphia Eagles 23-31 San Diego Chargers

Dallas Cowboys 7-17 Green Bay Packers

New England Patriots 34-35 Indianapolis Colts

When Is The Wildcat Offense Not A Wildcat At All ? Pardon Me But You’ve Been Punk’d …………….!

When Is The Wildcat Offense Not A Wildcat At All ? Pardon Me But You’ve Been Punk’d ……..!

For all of the hype and ballyhoo concerning the Miami Dolphins and their offensive presence and the ‘wildcat offense’ . It’d appear that when you live and die by the sword and there’s not much creativity beyond that one offensive strategy . Then the cupboard becomes bare . All of a sudden the Miami Dolphins are beginning to look very ordinary. Much of what we’d witnessed from the team last year was surprising. But this year the teams around the NFL have seen this team for what they really are. What’s even more surprising are the analysts who are still buying into the idiocy that this is still competitive. And in large part, they were against the New Orleans before their sails were caught in the bluster of the winds of Drew Brees and the offensive presence and play of the Saints.

New Orleans  Saints'  cornerback  Tracy  Porter (22)  runs for  the  score  in the   fourth  quarter   against  the  Miami  Dolphins   in a  game  played  at  Land  Shark  Stadium   in  Miami,  Florida.   The  Dolphins   would  give  up  a   24-3  lead  to the  Saints  and    ended  up   losing  46-34   .      picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Jeffrey   M.  Boan      .......................
New Orleans Saints' cornerback Tracy Porter (22) runs for the score in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins in a game played at Land Shark Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins would give up a 24-3 lead to the Saints and ended up losing 46-34 . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Jeffrey M. Boan .......................

The New Orleans Saints started off as if they were asleep at the wheel . And it wasn’t just midway through the game that they suddenly realized that they were in with a good chance of being one of the unbeatens within the NFL who could be in for a fall. From being 24-3 down, Brees and the Saints rallied back to defeat the Dolphins 46-34 . For Sean Payton and this Saints’ team , they now move to 6-0 within the NFL and sit atop of the NFC South. And with the fall of the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre , who fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers,27-17.

Dolphins'  wide   receiver   Ted Ginn Jr.(right)  can't  hang  on  to  the  ball   causing an   interception  that   would  be   returned   for  a  touchdown    by the  Saints'  cornerback    Tracy  Porter  (22) .      picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Jeffrey  M.  Boan   ................
Dolphins' wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr.(right) can't hang on to the ball causing an interception that would be returned for a touchdown by the Saints' cornerback Tracy Porter (22) . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Jeffrey M. Boan ................

Well, can we now stop with the hoorah, as to the indomitable play of the veteran quarterback ? It’s become an irritant, much like a pain in one’s rear end ! And at this moment in time, it’s very much how I feel about Favre and his traveling circus. Clown school must be out, and one would expect the likes of Mark Schlereth , Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski must be declaring their profound disappointment with the Vikings’ loss. I trust they’ll be replacing their Brett Favre posters with pictures now, of Clay Aiken ?

Vikings'  quarterback  Brett  Favre (4)  watches  as the   Pittsburgh  Steelers'  Keyaron  Fox  (57)  returns  a TD  interception   for   82 yards   in  the  fourth    quarter   of  the   game  played  at  Heinz  Field    in  Pittsburgh   Pennsylvania,.     The  Steelers   would    go  on  to   defeat  the  Vikings   27-17   inflicting them  with  their    first   loss  of the  season.        picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/Star Tribune/   Jerry   Holt   ........................
Vikings' quarterback Brett Favre (4) watches as the Pittsburgh Steelers' Keyaron Fox (57) returns a TD interception for 82 yards in the fourth quarter of the game played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania,. The Steelers would go on to defeat the Vikings 27-17 inflicting them with their first loss of the season. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Star Tribune/ Jerry Holt ........................

For the Miami Dolphins and their coach, Tony Sparano , they now have to show their fans and those of the NFL in general. That they can play with a great deal more than what they’ve shown us. But what else , can we now expect from a team that has fallen short of expectations to begin with ? So much was promised but so little has been delivered by this team. The AFC East is now back to the way it ought to be ! Cream always rises to the top and so it has done so, once again. Need one say anymore on the subject ?

Buccaneers'   quarterback  Josh  Johnson  (11)  is   sacked  by   Patriots'  safety  Pat  Chung  (25) and  linebacker   Tully  Banta-Cain  (95)   in   an   NFL   game   played   at   Wembley   Stadium  ,  London  ,  England .,   The   New England  Patriots   would  hand the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers  a   demoralizing   35-7  loss   .  Leaving  the  Buccaneers  still  winless  at   0-6   within  the  NFL.    picture  appears  courtesy  of    ap/photo/ Matt  Dunham   ....................
Buccaneers' quarterback Josh Johnson (11) is sacked by Patriots' safety Pat Chung (25) and linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (95) in an NFL game played at Wembley Stadium , London , England ., The New England Patriots would hand the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a demoralizing 35-7 loss . Leaving the Buccaneers still winless at 0-6 within the NFL. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matt Dunham ....................

Well is there anything else that needs to be said when the St Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders still are mired in so much putrid mediocrity ? If there has ever been a triumvirate of teams to have played so badly within the NFL ? And their fans don’t appear to be indifferent as to the sheer ineptitude being displayed by these teams. Personally, when I see fecal matter in the street , I tend to avoid it. There’s no way I’d want to intentionally step in it. Which essentially is what we’re seeing from a number of these teams and their fans. They’re quite prepared to keep on supporting the team through thick and thin , without questioning the ineptitude being shown by the team. I’ve even had a Raiders’ fan try to tell me that this team was disciplined. Well , if that’s dependent upon how one defines the word discipline ? In the Raiders’ case, under the tenure of Tom Cable, it’s akin to playing with the aplomb of a bunch of effeminate transgendered males. And if this is an affront to the transgendered males out there . Then, please accept my apologies as it’s not meant to offend at all. Merely, to make you feel that there are guys out there who are beneath you in the social pecking order. So for Raiders’ fans out there, get your players to man up and act like they’ve got a pair ! And the same applies to Tom Cable as well. Acting tough and assaulting an assistant coordinator is one thing , but it only proves what a fool you really are to begin with. Now, the question that one needs to ask …..is Al Davis still cognizant of what’s going on- on the field of play, as well as off it ?

Oakland  Raiders' quarterback   JaMarcus  Russell (2)   sits  on  the  bench  in  the  waning  moments  of  the  team's   38-0    loss  to  the  New  York   Jets  in  game  played  in  Oakland  Alameda  County  Stadium,  Oakland   , California,.      picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Tony  Avelar    .........................
Oakland Raiders' quarterback JaMarcus Russell (2) sits on the bench in the waning moments of the team's 38-0 loss to the New York Jets in game played in Oakland Alameda County Stadium, Oakland , California,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tony Avelar .........................

NFL Scores Week 7 ….

Green Bay Packers 31-3 Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers 21-24 Houston Texans
San Diego Chargers 37-7 Kansas City Chiefs
Indianapolis Colts 42-6 St Louis Rams
New England Patriots 35-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings 17-27 Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills 20-9 Carolina Panthers
New York Jets 38-0 Oakland Raiders
Chicago Bears 10-45 Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons 21-37 Dallas Cowboys
New Orleans Saints 46-34 Miami Dolphins
Arizona Cardinals 24-17 New York Giants

Raiders'  backup  quarterback  Bruce  Gradkowski  (5) is  about  to  be  brought  down   for the  sack by   Jets'   linebacker  Calvin  Pace    in  the   third   quarter  of the  game.   picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Ben  Margot  .....................
Raiders' backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (5) is about to be brought down for the sack by Jets' linebacker Calvin Pace in the third quarter of the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ben Margot .....................

Monday Night Football encapsulates the game being played between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. This NFC East match-up pits the beleaguered Redskins and a somewhat pedantic Eagles’ team looking to rebound to from last week’s stunning 13-9 defeat at the hands of the Oakland Raiders. The Eagles’ , Donovan McNabb was doing his level best to make the statements made by Rush Limbaugh, seem to have some veracity to it. His play was so inept that he made his Raiders’ counterpart JaMarcus Russell seem like a Pro Bowl caliber player. Which in essence, if it were possible then I’m sure that the Raiders’ quarterback coach, Paul Hackett would have Russell enrolled in such a program, were it available to begin with. Because Russell has yet to prove that his game has matured to the level where one would deem him even an NFL ready quarterback. And most certainly, it would provide Hackett with something of a respite at this juncture.

I’ve stated this already but in the sixteen plus years that I’ve been following the NFL . Since I emigrated to this country , I can’t remember having witnessed such an abundance of horrendous NFL teams. I know there’s always been talk of parity -whatever they allege it to mean. But at this juncture in time, you can tell , when which teams are good, which are marginal and the ones who are infinitely bad . It’s not rocket science and I certainly don’t need Ashton Kutcher to be about to provide me with a playful prank to begin with ! Seven weeks into the NFL season and I’ve been already provided with enough of them to make a scrapbook of it all. Have you been watching the NFL lately ? How much worse it is liable to get ?