It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

It ain’t over ’til it’s over , but now it’s over, so deal with it ….

All season long in the NFL , friends and fellow bloggers alike have been suggesting the league has entertaining with the results mirroring the competitive brand of football being played . Week sixteen provided us with a league-wide set of games which either sank to the levels of sheer ineptitude or the highest of highs, with some spectacular performances . Several teams have been “knocked out of the box” and have become “cannon fodder” for the media after their woefully inept showings over the course of this season.

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Slideshow.

The hype which surrounded Johnny Manziel because of his incredible collegiate career with Texas A&M might well have been justified , but once you enter the NFL , you simply start with a clean slate and where the only intangible one possesses, is leadership and maturity. Unfortunately , Manziel has yet to show any of the traits in question, since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. Never was that more evident than with Manziel’s performance in the Browns’ week fifteen contest against their divisional and conference rivals the Cincinnati Bengals . Cleveland was “shut out” in a lopsided contest where head coach Mike Pettine had no explanation for his team’s sheer ineptitude . The finger-pointing has already began , with many question why Pettine chose to sit Cleveland’s incumbent starting quartertback Brian Hoyer , who had shown a great deal of leadership and competitiveness in placing the franchise in a position to actually win the AFC North, before . this erroneous decision by the head coach .

With Cleveland now out of the divisional race and a postseason berth , pride remains the only thing the franchise now has to play for , along with placing Johnny Manziel’s disastrous display behind them.

The Browns will have a tough game on Sunday 28th December , when they face the Baltimore Ravens . If John Harbaugh and his Ravens’ players can eke out a win over the Browns, they could most certainly place themselves back into the playoff race, where they would have the advantage over the San Diego Chargers(9-6).

Philip Rivers and the Chargers will face an eager Kansas City Chiefs’ (8-7) team looking to make up for a rather disappointing season where they expected to contend for the AFC West. Andy Reid has seen his team fall by the wayside , because of a lack urgency from the players but above all, there has not been the exceptional play seen from the Chiefs’ defense last season . Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith is having an indifferent season , with the offense spluttering over the course of the season , one could surmise the team’s woes were self-inflicted.

The fallout has begun and it seems almost certain the San Francisco 49ers’ (7-8) will relieve their head Jim Harbaugh of his duties at the end of the season . How things could have spiraled out of control so quickly is dependent upon which story you are willing to believe at this juncture . GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke will either retain the often criticized Harbaugh or see the coach hed off under his own steam to accept the vacant head coach’s position at Michigan (Wolverines) where there is said to be a multi-year $48 million offer awaiting John Harbaugh’s signature on the dotted line. Before that takes, place Harbaugh and his team of under-achievers have a divisional match-up against the Arizona Cardinals (11-3) . Having clinched a postseason berth, the Cardinals find themselves in an unenviable position, losing their most recent game ,the momentum seen at the start of the season now having completely vanished , leaving many questioning how good the Cardinals just happen to be.

Over the past five weeks, if there has been a better player in the NFL than Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks , then I would like to hear your nominations for such a mantel . A Superbowl victory has seen a growth in maturity of the quarterback as well as his play overall , along with a leadership ability, rarely seen from a player with less than five years experience though one could make a comparison with Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and the success he has achieved with the franchise since his being drafted by the organization.

Pete Caroll and his team have systematically cut a swath through the league, as they have risen up the ranks and might now be the best team in the NFC based on their record. The Seahawks have a rather interesting game on Sunday afternoon, when they play host to the St Louis Rams , in a match-up I believe likely to be one-sided with the visiting team being unable to deal with their hosts.

Jay Cutler has led the Chicago Bears (5-10) into another season of sheer ineptitude with the quarterback questioning why Marc Trestman and the Bears’ front office made the decision to sit him out for the remainder of the season. Clearly, the player has failed to live up to the expectations thought and what the Bears were said to be capable of in 2014, with many believing they would be in with a chance of making an assualt on the dominance of the Green Bay Packers and the unlikely resurgence of the Detroit Lions . Instead, Chicago has repeatedly faltered, showing very competitiveness as their season unfolded . A great deal of the blame has to lie with the inconsistency shown by Jay Cutler. GM Phil Emery signed Cutler to a seven-year $127 million deal , a deal which I believe was rather idiotic , with it being offered to a player whose achievements in the postseason have been miniscule .

Chicago has a less than enlightening contest when they are the guests of the Minnesota Vikings (6-9). A contest between the bottom-feeders of the NFC North elicits very little excitement or interest among the fans of these two teams. When one bears in mind the issues faced by the Vikings this season , both on and off the field of play , their woes have manifested themselves in a litany of ways . Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater typified the issues one could come to expect of a rookie quarterback playing in the NFL

Six straight divisional titles have epitomized the dominance of the New England Patriots(12-3) and their season was once again one where Tom Brady has led by example as the team made light of their divisional opponents within the AFC East.

A narrow one-point victory over the beleaguered New York Jets whose season has taken on comedic levels of ineptitude , while head coach Rex Ryan is at a loss for words as to his team’s repeated failures over the course of their schedule . The victory placed the Patriots into the postseason, where Bill Belichick and Brady will be seeking to win the franchise’s fourth Superbowl during Belichick’s illustrious tenure. The New England quarterback (Brady) hopes to join Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only other quarterbacks to have won four Superbowls during the modern era of the NFL. It would be fair to suggest , over the last decade-and-a-half Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been the ” face” of the NFL, providing the fans with the best the game has had to offer during that timespan. Inevitably, the comparisons will be made as to where Brady and Manning belong among the NFL greats and whether or not they can be considered among the greatest quarterbacks to ever have played the game. Conjecture and a protracted healthy debate may well be the only thing that can solve the issue, but to my mind the duo are Canton bound for the Hall of Fame !

In their final game of the regular season the New England Patriots will have as their guests at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’, Massachusetts , their divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills . Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone may well be looking to put a damper on the celebrations of the Patriots by inflicting a fourth defeat of the season for the AFC champions . I certainly believe New England will want to carry the momentum gained by notching their thirteenth victory of the season and sealing their advantage as the number one seed in the AFC while ending the season with the best record in the NFL . As to whether not they can be considered the best team in the league will remain a matter of long, heated arguments that will not solve the problem.

Each season in the NFL , there will always be a team where the analysts (pundits) and fans are astounded by the disappointment of one or perhaps two franchises. In 2014, the candidates I believe who best represent this case are the New Orleans Saints (6-9) and Washington Redskins 4-11) . The fact that both are NFC representatives should not be seen as a big surprise . Neither the Redskins or Saints have proven to be good enough within their respective divisions to be seen as competitive , and the delusions of grandeur exhibited by Jay Gruden and Sean Payton, an only be parodied by the repetitive and asinine behavior often with members of Congress.

From week to week Gruden is unsure as to what his starting lineup ought to be, without referencing his handling of the team’s quarterback situation and the consistency sought from his trio of alternatives, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy . The fact that it has been McCoy , the team’s third string quarterback , who has led the Redskins to two of their three victories on the season should tell you all you need to know. Jay Gruden may well be an accomplished coordinator, but he is proving to be absolutely clueless as a head coach in the NFL. On Sunday, Gruden’s Redskins will be looking to avoid the season series’ loss when they face the Dallas Cowboys (11-4) at FedEx Field in Landover , Maryland, in a less than thrilling prospect as an NFL game.

Sean Payton may well be considered an offensive guru with his teams over the years considered among the most explosive in the NFL. It still remains the case , but this season , as in year’s past the defense has been one of the constant reminders why the New Orleans Saints can never really hold unto lead . Once out in front, this becomes a team that needs to inflict pain on an opponent by O13 piling up the points and yards , while controlling the time of possession. A 6-9 season has pretty much epitomized what the Saints have been about over the course of the year. Drew Brees, arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the past eight years , still provides the New Orleans Saints with the best chance of winning on a weekly basis. He has been the franchise’s best player since being acquired by the Saints as a free agent trade from the San Diego Chargers.

Hoping to round-out their season with a victory, the New Orleans Saints will have the pleasure of making the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their customary whipping post. If Brees and the Saints’ offense are not able to put up at least thirty points on an incompetent Buccaneers’ defense , then I will be extremely surprised ! Lovie Smith was brought in to instill some semblance of discipline into a Buccaneers’ team, but instead, there has been abundance mediocrity on all levels , from the coaching staff on down , to the players. Meanwhile, the apathy remains among the Tampa fans who may well feel there is light at the end of the tunnel . More darkness than light, because neither coaching staff or front office actually have a damn clue , as to what the hell they are actually doing from one moment to the next .

Now comes the hard part for the teams and that will be for them to maintain their consistency as they enter the postseason . Chances are we will witness one or two upsets , as was the case last season throughout much of the league’s postseason foray.

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Picture gallery.

As the spectacle of the NFL regular season has unfolded, what if anything proved to be the biggest disappointment or buoyed your belief the NFL would be special ? Which player do you believe will likely win the league’s highest regular season award the League MVP ?

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Picture and slideshow details.

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(1) Cincinnati Bengals corner-back Adam Jones makes the Johnny Manziel “money” sign after the Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 30-0 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/David Richard ….

(2) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(3) Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs off the field after a 30-0 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. Manziel’s performance in week fifteen was among the worst of any starting quarterback on the day and among the very worst witnessed this season. AP Photo/Tony Dejak …

(4) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, greets San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The Chargers won 38-35 in overtime. AP Photo/Ben Margot ..

(5) Seattle Seahawks fan smiles while holding a sign prior to the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images/ Norm Hall …

(6) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks prepares to snap the football in the first quarter during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images / Norm Hall …

(7) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is pressured by Dwight Lowery (20) of the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 21, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Chris Graythern ..
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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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It is not always the journey that takes its toll, it is the failure then to cross the finish line ….

It is not always the journey that takes its toll, it is the failure then to cross the finish line ….

Anyone who has ever participated in any type of endurance contest, will know it is always about the preparation before the event and in the lead-up what you as a contestant, have done to prepare yourself for that specific competition. The NFL season is simply no different , with a sixteen-week regular season schedule , that at times can seem like an eternity, not only for the players, but also for the fans themselves who will have to endure the highs and lows , as they go about supporting their respective teams . As the league enters its eleventh week , teams are now beginning to distance themselves from their divisional rivals, gaining the victories needed to assure them a berth in the playoffs . This weekend , when the Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) take on the Denver Broncos (8-1) at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado, a great deal will be on the line for both teams , as a victory for franchise will most certainly assure them of a berth in the postseason . In the case of the Chiefs, as led by head coach Andy Reid , he knows a victory almost assures his team that they are in the driver’s seat in terms of seeking to unseat the Broncos as the AFC West champions for this season.

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Though I was not thoroughly convinced that the dismissal of Andy Reid by the Philadelphia Eagles was the right thing to do at the time. I fully understand the frustrations and reasoning behind the former head coach’s firing. Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman simply felt that Reid’s loyalty to the team’s quarterback Michael Vick was no longer worth the risk as the seasoned veteran had now become more of a liability , rather than an asset to the team. Vick’s stats over the past ten to fifteen games has simply borne this out , along with his inability to stay injury free,

While the Eagles continue their season of inconsistency , albeit that they are now in involved in a tight divisional race with the Dallas Cowboys (5-5) , in what I can best describe as being one of the worst divisional in the NFL simply by the records reflected of all four residents within the NFC East and the fact that all four are no better than .500 within the division . The fact that is quite possible , that the actual winner of NFC East could easily end up with an 8-8 record and make the postseason , not only adds insult to injury , but also once again shows how bad the division just happens to be , in terms of the quality of football being played. Now, the more docile of observers, may well choose to point out that injuries have played a part of what we the fans have observed within the NFC East this season . However, I would put it down to the ineptitude of the coaching on display and also the fact that a number of the players within the division are not as good as advertised.

As to this contest between the Chiefs and Broncos this game will be heightened by the health of Peyton Manning and his appearance, given his ongoing health issue by way of a high ankle sprain . Manning, long seen as one of the many faces of the NFL alongside perhaps his most famous peer and adversary , Tom Brady . Off to a tremendous start this season , Peyton Manning has simply set a pace not seen in the league in several years, as the player once again seems to be on a record pace for passing touchdowns in a season . It is my belief however, that the player would rather team success by way of a second Superbowl victory for Manning and a first for the Chiefs’ franchise, as well as, quite possibly adding to his mantelpiece of a fifth League MVP and a second Superbowl MVP award . By any measure, this contest will provide a spectacular ratings’ bonanza for the broadcast network .

It is extremely hard to discern, how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ (3-6) season has continued to spiral out of control. Although winners, of three of their last five games, the team sits at the bottom of the AFC North,where the divisional leader, is a still resurgent Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) . Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis , behind a young quarterback, in Andy Dalton and an offense that has proven to be resilient as they are explosive. Pittsburgh will face a stern test when they play host to the Detroit Lions (6-3) on Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon , in what is sure to be a highly competitive game . The Bengals meanwhile, will have as their guests, in-state and divisional rival the Cleveland Browns (4-5). Needless to say, Andy Dalton and his teammates will seek to further distance themselves from the Browns and Baltimore Ravens (4-5) within the division. Both contests, should prove to be very intriguing, with the outcome likely to predicated upon time of possession, and sound defense. Something that as of late, seems to be something a “lost art form “ , for a number of teams around the NFL, where there now seems to be an abundance childlike mistakes that have become profligate within the game.

To witness a Steelers’ team struggle as they have done on both sides of the ball, does seem to be troubling for a franchise, known to be stymieing on defense and one who has always sought to “pound the rock” and then use an efficient passing game to gain a positive result. This season , the plethora of problems seems to have been omnipresent beyond the team injuries and the complete lack understanding between the offense and defense. Never-mind, the fact, that Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin remains at his wit’s end, as to the lackluster performances of this team .

The Detroit Lions and Jim Schwartz will seek to take advantage of the fact that with the Chicago Bears without Jay Cutler once again, as the Bears’ signal caller seeks to recuperate from an injury . It will also be a similar case, for the Green Bay Packers and their loss of Aaron Rodgers , as these two players have always been the focal points of their respective teams’ offensive strategies . Detroit will hope to make this advantage count , in their contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When the Philadelphia Eagles play host the Washington Redskins (3-6) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, in a divisional game . This is likely to be one of those contests , where the game is likely to be extremely enthralling or a monotonous bore . I am inclined to be believed, that it will be the latter! The Redskins for their part, have simply regressed with neither Mike Shanahan or his son, defensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan being able to provide a succinct explanation as to why the team has been so pitiful this season . One could attribute that to the numerous injuries suffered by the team over the course their schedule , or as everyone seems to believe quarterback Robert Griffin III is not yet back to full fitness and playing at the level exhibited last season and during the playoffs . From my own standpoint, I believe that the Redskins and the coaching staff in particular, simply became lazy , complacent , over-confident and choosing to rest on their laurels , after the accomplishments of 2012.

With Robert Griffin III now suggesting that the last placed Redskins within the NFC East and their 3-6 record , are quite capable of still making the playoffs . I am beginning to wonder, if the second year player , is simply displaying a kind of false bravado on his part, to excuse his own poor play over the course of this season or is it, that he truly believes that over the remainder of the team’s seven games the Redskins are quite capable of winning five of the possible seven contests in question to achieve that feat ? Given the team’s play and the lack of commitment shown, I simply do not believe that they can attain that goal ! There has been no evidence, to suggest, that they have it within them collectively, to actually defeat the Eagles this upcoming Sunday.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Despite Robert Griffin III’s Confidence, Playoffs Are Long Shot for Washington Redskins

By Brian Skinnell , Yahoo Contributor

COMMENTARY | There is a big difference between being 3-6 in 2012 and being 3-6 in 2013. Last season, the Washington Redskins were in much better position to make a playoff run. Due to the current state of the team, they’ve got a lot more work to do to duplicate that magical run.
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This past weekend, star quarterback Robert Griffin III spoke with plenty of confidence to reporters regarding Washington’s playoff chances. He told The Washington Post that the team still believes and that they aren’t giving up. While that’s all fine and well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. The Redskins have their work cut out for them if they want to return to the playoffs.

The Special Teams Must Improve

All season long, it’s been one special teams headache after another. The coverage units have been poor and a few teams have defeated Washington thanks to the Redskins’ poor effort on special teams. Sav Rocca has had moments of brilliance as a punter, but he’s been somewhat inconsistent, as well.

There are three facets to the game of football: offense, defense and special teams. In order to be successful and win football games, you need to dominant in all three facets. For Washington, they certainly haven’t done that on special teams and that must get better if they want to make a playoff push.

The Defense Needs to Tighten Up

Much like the special teams, we have seen plenty of inconsistent play from the defense. Against the Denver Broncos, we saw them put together one of the best halves of the season only to throw it all away in the second half. The same can be said for their second-half debacle in Minnesota where Washington surrendered 20 unanswered points in their loss to the Vikings.

Statistically, Washington has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They rank 26th in pass yards allowed (274.8 per game) and are 18th in rush yards allowed (113.8 per game). They give up an average of 388.6 yards per game which ranks them at 27th.

Let’s return to our three facets of football. We’ve established Washington’s inability to take care of the special teams facet of the game, and it’s fair to say they are having trouble getting it done defensively. The offense has played well, but last time I checked, one-out-of-three equals roughly 33-percent, which is a failing grade. In the NFL, that’s nowhere near close enough to win a football game.

The Schedule Isn’t in Their Favor

It’s not a stretch to say that Washington needs to win-out in order to make the postseason, something that will be extremely difficult to do. In the final seven games of the season, the Redskins will have to face the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons and 49ers aren’t having great seasons, don’t underestimate their offensive prowess against a lackluster defense.

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The NFL now, no longer having a win-less team , the question now becomes which franchise is likely to have the dubious privilege of ending up with .the worst record in the league ? At present, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) both share that dubious distinction with a 1-8 record apiece.. Is either team better than their respective records suggests? Well, given the fact that it was not until week ten > before either team was able to notch their very first victory of the season should tell you a great deal about teams and how their schedules have over the course of this year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have as their guests , on Sunday, their divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons , who themselves are going through a season of missed opportunities and under-achievement . It is pretty much safe to say that this being a contest of utmost importance to both teams, with a great deal being at stake beyond quite possibly the long-term futures head coaches Mike Smith of the Falcons and Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Suddenly, with the Buccaneers’ defense playing a lot better after the team’s 22-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins , during which they held their woefully inept opponents to minus two yards of rushing offense and a meager two-hundred and thirteen yards of total offense for the AFC East based franchise. I am not so sure that Tampa will be able to repeat that type of performance against a Falcons’ team looking to rebound after being completely manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks in a lopsided 33-10 loss . As to what that says about a team, who last season was seen as one of the prohibitive favorites in the NFC, only to once again fall short with another understated performance by Matt Ryan in the postseason, in an NFC championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers . Ryan, who alongside Tony Romo , might now be the most ” overrated quarterback “ currently . playing in the NFL and certainly one of the most overpaid given the lack of postseason results from both players .

Needless to say , my own observations concerning the Dallas Cowboys will simply evolve around the continued idiotic statements of the team’s owner Jerry Jones , because in terms of taking the franchise and team seriously , they are about as heartwarming and welcomed as a pandemic outbreak of the Ebola virus. The Cowboys have simply found ways , each week over the past five years to p have killed the meaning of the word ” quality” and talent when it comes to their brand of football , along with a coaching staff that is simply bereft of creativity and talent !

The Jacksonville Jaguars will now seek to win their second consecutive game of the season and push their win total for the year season to two , when they meet the Arizona Cardinals . Personally, I believe that if the Jaguars can keep that figure below five, then in all likelihood, they will be favored to obtain the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft . With a plethora of talented said to be primed and ready amongst those who will undoubted declare their eligibility , I do not believe that there will be a need for Jaguars’ GM David Caldwell to be heeding any advice from either Mel Kiper or Todd McSDhay , as to whom they (Jaguars) should be taking as their first pick overall , much less their entire allotment of picks in 2014 .

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As the season ends enters the final quarter of the .regular season games’ schedule , what are you hoping to witness as the finals games and the scenarios are played out ? Also which teams do you believe will be a making serious surge down the final stretch of the season ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of the site !

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(1) Mike Munchak head coach of the Tennessee Titans is seen here walking the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL game played on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts in Nashville , Tennessee ,. Indiana would go on to defeat Tennessee 30-27 in what was a highly competitive game between the two AFC South teams. AP Photo / Wade Payne ……

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts rushes for a touchdown during the game played against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night , 14th November, 2013. The victory strengthened the Colts’ position at the top of the AFC South , with five games remaining in the regular season . AP Photo / Wade Payne …..

(3) Donald Brown (31) of the Indianapolis Colts evades Michael Griffin (33) of the Titans as he makes it into the end-zone after a six-yard touchdown run against the Tennessee Titans in a Thursday night game . AP Photo Wade Payne ….

(4) Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid is seen here on the sidelines talking to the team’s quarterback Alex Smith during a regular season game. Reid and the Chiefs will be taking on divisional rivals the Denver Broncos as the Kansas City Chiefs look to preserve their unbeaten record in a week eleven match-up between the two AFC West teams. Getty Images North America / Eric Patterson ……

(5) Robert Griffin III, quarterback of the Washington Redskins is seen here with head coach Mike Shanahan . Having made the postseason in 2012 , the Redskins are likely to miss the playoffs this season as they currently reside in the lower rung of the NFC East with a 3-6 record . Griffin believes that the team can make a spirited run and gain a playoff berth within the NFC at the climax of the 2013 NFL season . Getty Images / Mark Harris ……

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tophatal …………. 11/15/2013

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Chloe Vevrier . More tools in her “tool chest” than even she would care to admit. More of Vevrier below .

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Can she ride side-saddle ? Or does she prefer bareback ? As that is what I would like to know !

A sprinkling of pixie dust might just do the trick …..

A sprinkling of pixie dust might just do the trick …..

Just when I thought it was safe to dip my toe back in the water and have an enjoyable weekend by way of the sporting events that piqued my interest . Well, wouldn’t you know it, the whole world gets turned upside down . The New England Patriots after an exhilarating victory over the New Orleans Saints in week six , somehow find a way to make that result seem completely irrelevant by then giving one of their most inept performances of the season in a 30-27 loss to their divisional rivals the New York Jets . Far be it for me to suggest that the AFC East is now becoming as malignant a cancer as the NFC East in terms of the play of the teams to be witnessed there also . Yet in reality , this NFL season , I believe has now come down to some truly bad coaching and even worse an abundance of bad performances from players thought to be leaders.

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If postseason interviews, are a clear indication as to the mindset of a team and the coaching staff, in particular . Then a Bill Belichick interview, will either have you befuddled or simply irate in seeking an explanation as to the reasons why the team’s performance was so inadequate , and lacking passion . As a fan of the Patriots, I have always felt the head coach to be condescending , if not self-absorbed, as to his own importance. While I do not question his achievements as a coach , I do believe that he lacks humility and at times a great deal of etiquette in dealing with the press and public alike . Sunday, was simply another aspect of what makes up the psyche of Bill Belichick and how he conducts himself with the national media in a post-game interview .

Tom Brady for his part, had one of his less memorable games of the season , but in light of that, the Patriots’ defense remains a work in progress that at times can just as shaky as they can be impressive in a momentary instance . . The loss drops the New England to 5-2 within the AFC East, while sill leading the division over their nearest rivals the New York Jets (4-3) , followed by the Miami Dolphins (3-3) and the Buffalo Bills (3-4) . New England’s next game will be another divisional match-up in week eight where they will play host to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts , on Sunday, 27th October, 2013 . A second successive defeat and it will not matter , how the fans or press alike felt about the return of Rob Gronkowski in week seven , but more to do with the apparent direction that the team is said to heading in at this juncture .

The return of Peyton Manning to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Indiana , home to the Indianapolis Colts and where the revered quarterback had many of his greatest regular season successes . On Sunday , it became the site of where the player and his new team the Denver Broncos would see their unbeaten run to start the season come to an abrupt end . Manning and his successor Andrew Luck , are two players who have met many of the expectations analysts and fans alike expected of these two stars. If there are now any doubters, who believed that the Colts erred in drafting Luck in 2011 , well it now looks as if those doubts have been firmly cast aside . Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano , and his coaching staff , have blended a very young team at its core with some veteran leadership provided in the guise of wide receiver Reggie Wayne . The fact that the Indianapolis Colts now handily lead the AFC South should not come as a surprise in spite of the missteps made of the Houston Texans , a team to my mind that is very good during the regular season , but who tend to fall flat once the postseason comes into view.

A warm welcome was given to Peyton Manning as a “ returning prodigal son ” , but that was about the only act of generosity that was availed to the player on the day , as the Denver Broncos fell the Colts 39-33 , in one of the more exciting games to take place during week seven of the NFL schedule . Manning and Luck combined for over six hundred yards of passing offense , with a another one hundred and eighty-five yards of rushing offense from the two teams combined. . With that Broncos’ defeat , the NFL is now left with one unbeaten team , with the surprising Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) , who handily took care of the Houston Texans , albeit , that the result does not seem reflective of that fact. As to that this now might do for the psyche of Andy Reid’s players and the confidence that this victory has now emboldened the team . I can only surmise, that they will be looking to push that mark to 8-0 when they play host to the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri during week eight , the halfway point of the NFL season .

Hapless performances , with hapless teams , usually lead to coaching dismissals and the jettisoning of players at the end of a season . I think that at this juncture it is pretty much safe to suggest that Greg Schiano and several of the players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster are witnessing their season simply spiral further out of control . Schiano lacks discipline , which is simply reflective in the repeatedly abhorrent performances put up this season by the Buccaneers’ defense , never mind the woefully inept of play of the offensive altogether . Many of the patrons of this site , who I know to be ardent fans of this team , simply cannot point to one player , who they believe to be leader , much less the best player on the entire roster . As with everything else, that seems to encapsulate the professional sports’ franchises in the Tampa Bay area , theirs(fans) are lives, based on sheer optimism more than anything else . This season for the Buccaneers, has simply borne that fact out , as they once again succumbed to their sixth successive defeat of the season and pushing their record to 0-6 , leaving them firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South , and joining the New York Giants (0-6) as the worst team in the NFC this season.

The fact this latest loss (31-23) by the Buccaneers came at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons , a team with issues on both sides of the ball this season, beyond the injuries sustained. At several points during the contest , Schiano’s players had this game for the taking , but simply could not come up with anything of relevance, in terms of their play. Is that meant to be a damning indictment of Greg Schiano , his coaching staff and of the team in particular ? I will let you be the judge of that and simply ask you to reflect upon the team’s record at this point of the season and where they stood at the exact same point in 2012 . Tampa will not have that much time to regain its focus or composure , as this upcoming Thursday , they face divisional counterparts , the Carolina Panthers , who this season , look as if they are a team playing with a great deal more confidence , with signs of maturity also being shown by the team’s quarterback Cam Newton . Can Tampa overcome the Panthers, to obtain their first win of the season ? The more poignant question to ask, perhaps might be, is this team is simply good enough to break their current drought and play with a great deal more consistency ?

Well, we now know who the World Series’ aspirants will be in 2013 , with the St Louis Cardinals as the NL pennant winners , facing off against the Boston Red Sox in baseball’s showcase finale . Each team will be seeking to add their third World Series’ title in the last decade. An astonishing feat, but nonetheless not surprising, given the pedigrees of the franchises in question . Both managers, Mike Matheny of the Cardinals and John Farrell of the Red Sox , also will seeking their first managerial titles in this contest, and this series could give the fans of baseball the match-up they desire above all else . West Cost bias asides, the fact that the Cardinals made light work of the Los Angeles Dodgers , a team that was being touted as the outright favorites to win it all , was either a sign of disrespect to the other participants this postseason , or it simply came down to aura of the franchise as a whole and its legacy . Never mind the fact , that with a burgeoning $215 million payroll , this team had a great to prove , but it simply was not to be , as they succumbed to St Louis in a rather lopsided series’ defeat (4-2) .

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is proving to be a man of all seasons , during the regular and postseason play for this baseball franchise . When one considers the great players to have donned the uniform of this ball club over the years , he could very well become one of its most beloved . I certainly believe, that he is one the players to have played for the team over the past ten years . Given his productivity during that time , is there any reason to believe otherwise ? Ortiz was not the only factor , add in Shane Victorino’s heroics in the Red Sox’s dominating display in the ALCS , but he surely was one of the primary reasons why the team overcame the Detroit Tigers and put that series beyond a doubt .

Game one of the best of seven-game series begins on Wednesday at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts , as the series gets underway . With the starting lineups yet to be announced , it will be interesting to see which pitchers will be on the mound to get things rolling in this contest , between these two fabled teams. . If things are projected as I believe they will be, Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright is likely to face off against Clay Buchholz in the opening series’ starter .

When NBA player Jason Collins revealed to the world in a Sports Illustrated article that he was in fact a homosexual athlete in the very machismo and male driven world of the NBA . His public announcement was heartily welcomed from players and executives alike, as he became the first openly gay male athlete to declare his sexuality (preference) in one of the four major team sports . Yet having made that public declaration , the still unsigned free agent center remains in no man’s land , admired because his openness and honesty, but somehow now disavowed by the league and its ongoing hypocrisy. It seemed not so long ago that Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was being greatly admired for his making the public aware of the fact that he was HIV positive though yet to show full-blown symptoms of the AIDS’ virus . Granted , through his philanthropic foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars for AIDS’ research and education , it should still not hide the fact that both Collins and Johnson o were at first treated as pariahs , in this all male dominated fraternity . Yet in reality , it is unlikely that Collins is the only male player in the NBA that is likely to be homosexual , and it would appear that were there another instance , it is highly unlikely, that player would feel comfortable enough reveal himself to the public. For for all of this homogenized idiocy, that everyone is treated equally , what we now see , is a very clear evidence that the NBA wants to remain a bastion of testosterone driven athleticism , while creating a facade , that all are welcomed within its fraternity of players . It should be noted that after the public announcement , none other than former Utah Jazz and Los Angeles’ Lakers ‘ player Karl Malone showed his intense bigotry and ignorance , in publicly stating that he would not play on a court where Magic Johnson was on the opposing team .

Does anyone truly believe that Jason Collins poses a real threat to the existence of an NBA franchise in terms of the public’s view of the player and their view of that team , itself ? I mean what does it say about us as a society , where bigotry can still rear its ugly head in sports, even when the created perception within society is that there is equality and justice for all ? Furthermore , if players such as Darko Milic , Greg Oden , Hasheem Thabeet and Nazr Mohammed can still find themselves on an NBA roster , with the numbers derived in 2012 , then surely there is something wrong with the game or the NBA is showing its true colors .

It would be correct to suggest that at this stage of his career, Collins would be viewed as a journeyman within the league , and one could attest to the fact that numbers last season were far from stellar . Yet , it should be noted that on a bad …. Washington Wizards’ team anything type of stat put up last season would have to be comically viewed as a positive on an organization that simply seems to devoid of managerial as well coaching acumen .

As to why teams may seem, reluctant to sign Jason Collins , to any type, of an offer-sheet , be it a ten-day contract or a deal for the veterans’ minimum , remains a question that has yet to be answered by coaches , front office executives , team owners , players and the . union alike . No one wants to upset the apple cart , but yet it would appear , that the bigotry and ignorance prevails , albeit , that is being conducted somewhat under-handedly , without any apparent reason being given by the powers that be. David Stern and the league hierarchy but their actions have tended to reflect something totally different , but for all of the pretext , the only issue that has ever mattered to the NBA , is that it remains a league driven by profits , rather than at times seeking to ingratiate itself in dealing with a number of socially relevant issues .

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There are stories aplenty around the sports’ world at present , many of them heartwarming , while others are simply filled with a great deal of venal garbage , much of it that the media , in one way or another , will seek to skewer and spin to meet whatever need , they feel best meets the consumers’ appetite . I don’t sprinkle any pixie dust on the articles or news that may well pique my interest . I simply offer up a few pointers and then let you be the judge of the content . Take it or leave it , I am still OK with that , and I won’t whine on like an infant , whose pacifier has been taken away , because of an opposing view . So chime on in with your thoughts and views on anything else you feel may well be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Bill Belichick , left , shakes the hand of his opposing number Rex Ryan of the New York Jets after the Patriots’ 30-27 overtime loss to their AFC East divisional rivals . The Patriots’ head coach took responsibility for the team’s loss but failed to point the several coaching errors made by himself and the coaching staff during the closing minutes of the game during regulation . AP Photo / Seth Wenig ……

(2) New York Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith (7) celebrates with teammates Willie Colon (66) and Nick Mangold (74) after scoring a rushing touchdown in his team’s 30-27 overtime victory over the New England Patriots at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey on Sunday afternoon . AP Photo Seth Wenig ….

(3) Brandon Bolden (38) of the New England Patriots struggles for yardage between DeMario Davis and Quinton Coples (98) of the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 20, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Jeff Zelevansky ….

(4) Harry Douglas (83) of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this touchdown reception against Johnathan Banks (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on October 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ……

(5) David Ortiz (34) and manager John Farrell (53) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Detroit Tigers in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 19, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 5-2 to clinch the ALCS in six games . Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(6) Adam Wainwright (50) of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2013 National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 14, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunne …

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA player and Courage Award recipient , Jason Collins , center and GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard . GLSEN’s Respect Awards in Manhattan. Collins since his announcement earlier this year has spent a great deal of time speaking at public engagements , college campuses , middle and high schools nationwide by invitation to address individuals who face difficulties in declaring their sexuality . Photo Credit: Mariela Lombard for GLSEN. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …..

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tophatal ………………….

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It’s not always the journey , but the first step taken on the road to that destination

It’s not always the journey , but the first step taken on the road to that destination

Six weeks into the NFL season and what we have all witnessed within the league , just happens to be an abundance of bad coaching , with some inexplicable explanations being offered up by the players and coaches alike for their continued mediocrity. Far be it for me to suggest, but I have never impressed by claims that there is said to be parity in the league (NFL) . It is my belief , that there are good teams, moderately good coaches , but an abundance of talent , where in large part , a number of these players are overpaid and not particularly skilled or adept, much less be able to show signs of leadership . Unfortunately, a large part of the fan-base that tend to follow the sports’ scene, they would to rather discuss rather the more mundane topics in the world of sports rather than succinctly debate a topic of discussion .

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A recent visitor to my site made a comment that he could not have foreseen the impact made, where the Kansas City Chiefs would have started off the season at 6-0 , remain unbeaten and would now be challenging the Denver Broncos as the best team in the NFL. From my own perspective , I believe that the groundwork had already been laid , but the only things needed, were the right coaching staff , a good enough quarterback to helm the team , along with a front office , where the executives and coaches were all on the same page . Last season , none of the aforementioned criteria were in place , with Romeo Crennel as the head coach , along with his coaching staff and Matt Cassel as the team’s quarterback . The one saving grace for the franchise, might well have been , general manager John Dorsey , having replaced Scott Piolio , has seen fit to draft players who have been able to contribute immediately to the team , while acquiring players who were ready to play .

After the Chiefs’ clinical annihilation of the Oakland Raiders , the first of their two , now highly anticipated divisional match-ups against the Denver Broncos, are the games in question that the fans and the nation now awaits , with a great deal of excitement over the contests of note. Kansas will play host to the now troubled Houston Texans in week seven at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri, a chance to push their record to 7-0 and giving the team their best start in franchise history, now seems all the more possible, given the frailties of the Texans at present on both sides of the ball. It must be said that for a number of teams, they are now simply playing for self-respect or in a number of cases, the livelihood of the respective head coaches in question. The more things are now beginning to unravel for the Oakland Raiders , it is my belief that Dennis Allen’s days with the once venerable are numbered, with GM Reggie McKenzie now seeking to make the head coach , the sixth incumbent to be fired from his position with the organization since 2005 .

College Football heads into its eighth week with the Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) still riding high atop of the AP Poll , with the BCS rankings due to be announced later this month. Yet for some inexplicable reason , a number of analysts and outside observers or one might describe as antagonists, are now trying to suggest that Nick Saban’s team not deserving of being the top ranked team in the nation. Last I looked , Alabama remained unbeaten , albeit , that they have had a few scares along their schedule . In light of that however, their closest rivals in the rankings, the Oregon Ducks (6-0) in spite of their offensive prowess , have yet to show the nation that they are as equally adept on the defensive side of the ball . Granted, the Pac 12 has never been known as a conference where defense has been taught ,much less played to any degree , with the exception of perhaps one or two programs , most notably the Stanford Cardinals (5-1) . But in light of their recent slip up against the Utah Utes , defense , we can now surmise, is not now a prerequisite within the conference.

Alabama will play host to the Arkansas (Razorbacks) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama , this Saturday , as the Tide seeks to keep their unbeaten record intact , while further strengthening their position atop of the rankings and within the SEC Western Division . A J McCarron and his teammates will seek to use this game as a reminder why this team is still seen as a prohibitive favorite to win their second consecutive national title, Saban’s fifth , and the program’s fourth in the past seven seasons .

Living in the state of Florida where College Football is treated with such reverence , the choices will abundant with regard to the programs , yet the only ones that seemingly matter , are the Florida Gators (4-2) , Florida State Seminoles (5-0) and the Miami Hurricanes (5-0) . Having lived and worked professionally in the southern part of the state before moving northwards on 2003 , the program of choice , merely by way my association with several alumni who were students at the University of Miami . I was able to frequent a number of basketball and football games as their guests and rallying to their support in such instances . Granted, as of late, the Canes’ program has been mired in controversy , while it still awaits some form of punishment for multiple violations of the NCAA rules on recruiting , alleged , academic fraud and what are said to current and former students gaining monetarily from gifts in violation of NCAA edicts . University President Donna Shalala and recently installed AD Blake James are still trying to remove the smear and lingering stains of the school’s association with the incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro , whose statements led to the NCAA’s investigation of the athletics’ program by the NCAA’s Infraction Committee , as ordered by NCAA President Mark Emmert . That effort and investigation was mired with a great deal of incompetency, and it seems rather impulsive to believe how any reasonable verdict can be seen as just , in light of the ineptitude shown by collegiate athletics governing body .

With both Florida State (Seminoles) and Miami Hurricanes , riding on the crest of a wave, their SEC counterpart, the Florida Gators have found a way to simply throw a wrench into their season , with their recent loss to the LSU (Tigers) . That defeat has now left Wil Muschamp , his staff and the team asking why things have come apart when their intent was to be a major part of the SEC championship scene, if not the national championship landscape, itself ? Two losses , this season , and suddenly we have to question the direction Muschamp has the program heading in , and the quality of his recruits over the past two years . Florida now has the unenviable task of now having to go on the road to take on the Missouri (Tigers) this upcoming Saturday, in what can be best described as a make or break game for the team , this season . Another loss would further impact their year and all that they had hoped to achieve .

Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes ,with a top twenty-five ranking nationally, are also sitting pretty within the ACC standings , and are seen as one of the like candidates for the conference championship , with an at large bid for a BCS Bowl game, if their schedule pans out, along the lines of an unbeaten season , if nothing else . The team itself has been on a tear and certainly their best result of the season so far , had to have been their dismantling of Florida . It certainly was a telling statement and laid the foundation for what has been an extraordinary year for several players on the team , but most notably for quarterback Stephen Morris , whose growing confidence and maturity process has been highlighted with his play this season . Add in a robust offense and a tenacious defense that appears to be very athletics , and one can understand the reason why Al Golden and his staff have to be pleased by what he has witnessed this season .

From heir-apparent to now head coach , Jimbo Fisher has now been given keys to the vehicle and he is now beginning to steer it on a course of his own design , and not one set out for him by predecessor Bobby Bowden , who over the latter part of his coaching career with the FSU Seminoles , may well have been caught asleep at the wheel. Bowden suggests, that he left the program under his own steam , but in reality , when faced with the option of being unceremoniously being fired , he sought to leave , in what can be best described as a polite dismissal , but accorded , all the trappings of a celebrated head coach leaving of his own free will . The octogenarian may well have built the program into a national powerhouse, but in the final years of his coaching the Seminoles , his teams were lackluster , uncompetitive and simply not winning .

Recruiting and coaching has been one of Fisher’s greatest attributes, and with his coaching staff in tow , he is now proving how good a coach he can really be, when the right talent is in place . An unbeaten start to the season , with their being rave reviews over Jameis Winston , a quarterback , who has not been afforded the same attention given to the likes of Tajh Boyd , Johnny Manziel , Teddy Bridgewater , Aaron Murray , Zach Mettenberger and A J McCarron. Perhaps , that is not such a bad thing after-all , if he remains off the national radar , while racking up the statistics and leading an unbeaten program back to national prominence . Winston , however , has not been able to achieve this all by himself , as it has been a collective team effort along the way. The Seminoles may not be laying waste to their opponents with the mindset of Oregon Ducks’ coach Mark Helfrich . Yet , as a fan of the college game, I would rather see the ‘noles in full flight rather than witnessing Ducks’ program, whose primary forte’ is simply either an aerial or ground assault , without their being a presence of the team actually being able to play any defense . While my thoughts may not be shared by many , we simply do not how good Oregon is meant to be , because they have yet to be tested over the course of their somewhat “soft schedule” . And for this, , they are rewarded with a number two ranking in the nation and in some cases, there are claimants that they should be seated atop of the AP Poll . I guess only time will tell, what is likely to happen !

On Saturday Florida State will have a prime-time nationally broadcast game against Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium , in Clemson , South Carolina , in a contest of two unbeaten teams , top twenty ranked and with likewise BCS national championship aspirations . The winner of this game, is still likely to have inside track of being a top five ranked team, once the dust has settled on the week eight schedule within College Football, while the loser is likely to drop outside the fifteen .

College Football with all of its , niceties , oddities , corruption , the biggest farce remains the naïveté of the BCS Committee and the major conferences that its present format of determining a national champion now requires a little tweaking . Well that is akin to the present administration , House of Representatives and the Senate reaching a bilateral agreement on the debt-ceiling as well as the fiscal waywardness of the Congress altogether . Needless to say, with idiots such as , Ted Cruz , Eric Cantor , Rand Paul , John Boehner , Paul Ryan , Marco Rubio , Harry Reid , Nancy Pelosi , Chaka Fattah , Max Baucus , Bill Nelson , and Charles Schumer as well this weak-willed President, Barack Obama have created such a cluster ##ck , that now the finger-pointing and name calling carries on unabated, without either side having a goddamn clue, as how best to proceed. The same can now be said of the premise, behind the new format to adjudge and determine how a new national champion will be decided along the lines of a playoff format . If the news being released by the BCS is to be believed , a panel of twelve to eighteen individuals will be seated to discuss the issues and then come to an agreement , to have a format in place with a seeding system, all in place for the 2014 season.

Courtesy of USA Today

NEW YORK (AP) — A person with direct knowledge of the process tells The Associated Press that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to be part of the selection committee that will pick the teams for the College Football Playoff next year.

The person also said a former Air Force Academy superintendent and a former NCAA executive who worked with the basketball tournament, are expected to be part of the new 12-to-18 member football panel.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the selection process is still ongoing.

The committee is expected to be comprised of current athletic directors and former college athletic administrators and coaches.

Last year, Rice and business executive Darla Moore became the first two female members of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters.

GOOD FIT: Rice more than qualified for committee

The makeup of the College Football Playoff selection committee is expected to be set by the end of this season. Potential committee members have been asked to keep their involvement confidential until the announcement is made, but College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the names wouldn’t be a surprise to many.

“You’ll know almost all of them,” Hancock said recently.

Although Hancock and several commissioners have taken to referring to the selection committee as “the most prestigious committee in sports,” its business – and its members – will also be the subject of intense scrutiny.

“If they’re gonna be scrutinized the way they’re gonna be scrutinized, we’ve got to be ultimately careful and do every bit of due diligence,” Delany said recently. “You can expect that media – new media, old media – when someone says, ‘Oh, that guy voted that way for that reason,’ they’re gonna be under a fine-tooth comb. We’ve got to make sure, for everybody’s sake, that we’ve done everything we need to do to understand that.”

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Now while on paper, this all seems feasible, the nuances of this all , will be derived upon which individuals, are invited to be part of the process , provide their expertise and the experience that each will bring to the table. In the midst of this all, a public announcement was made that one of the committee members, will be none than former NSC member and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice . Her expertise on Soviet Bloc politics, while unquestioned , her scope on a great deal of international diplomacy, bordered on being inept , but it should be remembered that the Commander-in-Chief at the time her tenure, was none other than George W Bush , whose geographical , political , international diplomatic knowledge and business acumen could be written on the back of a first class stamp and sent to Timbuktu , for all of the use that it would do. Likewise, has to be the case, in naming Condoleezza Rice to be a part of this committee.

The BCS and the major conference commissioners, clearly lack intelligence if they believe that Rice adds legitimacy to the panel. Much like an idiot, once suggested to me that former Vice Admiral James Stockdale should be treated with reverence, because he was a war hero . At the time, our discussion took on the fact that Stockdale, whose war service record was impressive , his inclusion in the political arena was about as welcomed as a sexually transmitted disease . He simply was clueless on wide range of political subjects, including the country’s domestic and foreign policy, as well its economy . This came at a time, when Stockdale was asked to be the Vice Presidential running mate of then Reform Party candidate , Ross Perot , whose own rise to fame, had more to do with his connivance and being able to have the government to subsidize many of the corporate entities he would simply plunder, as a part of an asset stripping exercise. Yet, all of this was somehow overlooked by the individual, whose lips must have been at one time, firmly pressed on James Stockdale’s sphincter. Is this really the stupidity of the US electorate at work, or merely the ongoing apathy that has been the norm over the past three decades ?

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Picture gallery .

The BCS Committee and the major college football conferences had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century , very much in a similar vein as Major League Baseball had to drag its dumb ass along the way and adopt what Bud Selig still believes to this day, baseball has the toughest drug testing policy in all of professional team sports. Unfortunately, baseball’s commissioner , has never been looked upon as being one of the most intelligent individuals , never mind , in all of professional sports . The same can now be said of individuals such as John Swofford and Mike Slive , whose imprints are all over the current and sad state of affairs as it relates to this whole process , never mind the fact that final arbiter here will not be the panelists themselves but the major broadcast outlets , who now more than ever before, will be the ones with the real power , because if any part of this format is not to their liking, does anyone truly believe that this whole premise will ever see the light of day and actually be adopted in whole or in part ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topic at hand .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Wide receiver Justin Blackmon #14 of the Jacksonville Jaguars makes a reception as cornerback Champ Bailey #24 of the Denver Broncos makes the tackle at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 13, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Denver would defeat Jacksonville 35-19 , dropping the Jaguars to 0-6 , tying them with the New York Giants (0-6) for the worst record in the league this season . Getty Images North America / Doug Pensinger ….

(2) Jacksonville Jaguars new head football coach Gus Bradley , left, smiles as he answers questions from the media during an NFL football news conference on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla. Team owner Shad Kahn looks on. AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey ….

(3) Jan 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey (left), chairman & team owner Clark Hunt , and coach Andy Reid pose for photos during the press conference at The University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

(4) DeAndrew White (2) of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs with the ball while defended by Nate Willis (21) of the Kentucky Wildcats during the game at Commonwealth Stadium on October 12, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky. Getty Images / Andy Lyons ……..

(5) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators holds up one finger following a touchdown during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida. Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ……

(6) University of Miami President Donna Shalala is seen with here with the AD Blake James . In the aftermath of the Nevin Shapiro scandal, during which the now incarcerated felon , disclosed payments made to players on the program’s basketball and football teams. A number of coaching staff members were implicated in the allegations , including the current football coach Al Golden and a number of members of his coaching. However , the NCAA’s findings, are tainted , after it had been revealed , that evidence collected by the investigators from the Infractions’ Committee , were in fact of no use and littered with fabricated inaccuracies , after the original documents were either mislaid or inadvertently destroyed . Kyle Perry / Miami Herald …

(7) Head coach, Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles talks to head coach Randy Edsall of the Maryland Terrapins pre-game on October 5, 2013 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida John Gammons / Getty Images …..

(8) Republican legislators , from left to right Mitch McConnell , John Boehner and Eric Cantor are at the forefront of their party’s wish rescind the President’s healthcare initiative as well Barack Obama’s wish to raise the debt-ceiling limit . As contentious as the situation appears to be neither side seems intent in showing any bilateral compromise . AP Photo / Richard Carter

(9) Barack Obama is seen here alongside Harry Reid (center) , Nancy Pelosi and House Representative Jim Clyburn . AP / REUTERS / Tim Heller

(10) Ross Perot who twice sought the US Presidency as a third-party candidate is seen here with Vice Admiral James Stockdale (background) . A Medal of Honor recipient , Stockdale seemed to be out of touch with the political environment and many of the issues adversely affecting the country. Time Archive …

(11) Condoleezza Rice , a former NSC (National Security Council) member , adviser and Secretary of State during the second term of two term President George W Bush . Rice will amongst a group of panelists who will be adjudging the programs eligible for the new BCS playoff format that will be adopted in 2014 . As to whether not Condoleezza Rice’s inclusion adds legitimacy to the panel , can be adjudged in how one views the process in its entirety. AFP/ Photo / Peter Hamilton ……

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Ewa Sonnet

No praise can be gained from being this bad

No praise can be gained from being this bad

Of the slew of games played on Sunday afternoon , perhaps none could have been more disturbing to watch from a fan standpoint , than to see the Oakland Raiders in their divisional match-up against the surprise team of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs . With a new coaching staff and quarterback Alex Smith in tow , the Chiefs are off to a 6-0 start and are seriously challenging the Denver Broncos as not only the best team in the AFC West , but also the conference , as well the league (NFL) in its entirety. For the woefully inept Raiders, this appears to be just another season, where they are about to be another tremendous disappointment for their long-suffering fans. Incumbent starting quarterback, Terrelle Pryor just does not seem to have what it takes to lead this team , and with the recent decision to render Matt Flynn disposable by the front office , it leaves the franchise with very few options at the position , other than to use their backup , or once again bring in an unsigned a free agent or to trade for a player .

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Slideshow .

In what should have been a competitive game , the Oakland Raiders simply proved that the continued troubles that have befallen the franchise have yet to be clearly addressed on both sides of the ball , as well as from a coaching standpoint , with Dennis Allen , being in charge as the team’s head coach . As to whether or not he survives the remainder of the season, will be dependent upon whether or not he can turn around the fortunes of this team. GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis must be extremely troubled by what they both witnessed on Sunday afternoon , with another anemic display in the Raiders’ 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs . Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor was sacked ten times , threw three interceptions , harried all afternoon and gave one of the most uninspiring performances of his NFL career . It begs the question, how much longer will the fans have to be forced to bear this sort of ineptitude?

For Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs , the start to this season has been more than expected , with the leadership skills of Alex Smith coming to the fore alongside his play , as well as that of both the defense and offense . Both of which are highly ranked within the NFL, with the Chiefs’ secondary being seen as one of the most efficient and stymieing in the league. The first of the two divisional contests between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos could prove to be one of the highlights of the regular season as well as providing a broadcast for the television broadcast outlets. Both teams are unbeaten and are atop of the AFC West division , albeit , that Broncos are getting all of the major headlines , because of Peyton Manning’s extraordinary season in 2013 .

There are no positives to be taken away in this defeat for the Oakland Raiders , and I cannot help but wonder where this organization now goes from here ! It would appear that they can either start to think about next season now , or simply carry on with , and offer the fans a paltry return for money not well spent to witness a very poor on-field product , by of the team’s continued play and the extremely poor coaching by Dennis Allen and his coaching staff . I have to believe that Allen will be given every chance to ride out the storm and try to turn things around , rather than being fired , something that Mark Davis’ predecessor , Al Davis , was not averse to doing, if he felt that his head coach was not making the grade . The firing of Dennis Allen , were it to happen now or at the end of the season , would undoubtedly bring about a great deal of angst and turmoil , yet this has become the norm for this particular franchise over the past few seasons , with so many nonsensical moves being made by the front office in terms of coaching and personnel turnovers. I am not sure that the Oakland Raiders would be the ideal destination for any first time head coach in the NFL , let alone for an experienced coach with an established record of excellence , who has already seen his fair share of turmoil . There just seems to be no consistency to the Raiders either on or off the field of play , and it has been mirrored in a number of decisions concerning this franchise and many of the most recent business decisions made, that has the organization going from being amongst one of the most profitable in the NFL, to one of the league’s more beleaguered teams from an economic standpoint .

This may well prove to be the season where the Houston Texans (2-4) will either sink or swim by way of their on-field trials and tribulations . Matt Schaub through much of his NFL career year has proven to be be one the league’s more durable quarterbacks, but in 2013 , he has proven to be anything but , hampering his team with his all too errant plays and with the Texans’ defense proving to be decidedly shoddy , it is difficult to see how the ball club will make it into the postseason , in what is now proving to be an extremely competitive AFC South division. The Texans did themselves no favors on Sunday, as they lost their fourth consecutive game , thereby dropping their record to an anemic 2-4 within the division , falling further behind the divisional leaders the Indianapolis Colts (4-1) . Texas’ opponents on Sunday were the St Louis Rams (3-3) , who themselves are looking to make some sort of impact within their division and on the season as a whole . Houston’s 38-13 loss at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas, in front of a packed home crowd , with millions more , by way of a national television audience , was just as inexplicable as the play of Matt Schaub and his replacement during the game T J Yates . The incumbent starting quarterback’s departure, due to an injury, was met with a raucous chorus of boos and cat-calls from the home crowd , with the player having playing with a great deal of indecision . Yates, as Schaub’s replacement, did not fare any better, impeding whatever chance the Texans may well have had in getting back into this contest on Sunday afternoon . Houston’s 38-13 defeat , might well have been of a wider margin , had Sam Bradford and the Rams executed more stoutly on offense .

For Texans’ owner Robert McNair and general manager Rick Smith , a decision is likely to be made concerning not only the future of head coach Gary Kubiak , his coaching assistants and Matt Schaub, but also a number of players thought to be superfluous to the team .

In an earlier post entitled “You are only as good as your record reflects “ , I suggested that teams in the NFL by way of their record are what they appeared to be in spite of their head coaches . In week five , the Pittsburgh Steelers remained win-less and you simply knew that it would be only matter of time before Mike Tomlin had his team playing at a level , expected of not only himself but also the ever loyal Steelers’ fans . Well on Sunday , the ever perplexing New York Jets granted their AFC North visitor’s wish by giving them a gift that is likely to keep on giving . Not only did the Jets lay down , but their performance went a long way in reflecting what is so wrong with this team beyond the alleged improvement in the play of the team’s rookie quarterback Geno Smith . The rookie may well have his issues , but so does the rest of this roster and the entire coaching staff , who simply had the roster ill-prepared for this contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers .

The 19-6 victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers pushes their record to 1-4 and drops the New York Jets to 3-3 within the AFC East .

A marquee match-up between two of the league’s best quarterbacks and leave it all, to a bone headed decision by a head coach , that led to his team’s defeat (30-27) on Sunday afternoon. In this contest between Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints . A brain seizure on the part of Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , would be his undoing and the last-minute heroics we have come to witness from Brady all too often ,when he has been asked to lead his team from the brink of defeat in the dying moments of a game, was once again evident for all to see .

Instead joining a group of teams at 6-0 in the NFL , the New Orleans Saints having fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten , now find themselves at 5-1 , and with questions being asked of the normally aggressive coaching style of Sean Payton , who for once , that it prudent to be conservative in his game calling . I believe that the New Orleans Saints can rebound from this loss but that air of invincibility that the team was said to have had , is now non-existent and so too has the NFC’s last unbeaten team . With the league now left with two unbeaten teams , with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs and their respective records at 6-0 , it remain to see what will be in store for the fans week seven . Kansas City will play host to the Houston Texans next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri, whereas the Denver Broncos will be the guests of the Indianapolis Colts , as Peyton Manning will face his former team , and where he laid the foundation for his now record breaking career .

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the week six results in the NFL , and which of the three remaining win-less teams will at season’s end be the league’s worst performing franchise? By all means, chime with your thoughts on the subject matter .

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Linebacker Tamba Hali (91) of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) of the Oakland Raiders during the first half on October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. This was one of ten sacks inflicted upon Pryor during the game of which Hali ended up with two sacks for the game as the Chiefs’ defense simply manhandled the Raiders’ offensive line almost at will . Getty Images North America / Peter Aiken ….

(2) Jamaal Charles (25) of the Kansas City Chiefs attempt to avoid the outstretched arms of D.J. Hayden (25) of the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. . Kyle Rivas / Getty Images …

(3) Running back Jamaal Charles (25) of the Kansas City Chiefs dives into the end zone for a touchdown against defensive end Jack Crawford (91) of the Oakland Raiders during the second half on October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City won 24-7. Getty Images / Peter Aiken …..

(4) New Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen (L) greets Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie (C) and team owner Mark Davis during a press conference on January 30, 2012 in Alameda, California. Dennis Allen was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing Hue Jackson who was fired after one season. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

(5) Texans’ fans show their disgust with the team by donning paper bags during the game against the St Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas . The Rams would go on to defeat Houston 38-13 , with the Texans losing their fourth consecutive game of the season and dropping their record to 2-4 within the AFC South . AP Photo / Eric Gray ….

(6) Houston Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub (8) leaves the game , during the fourth quarter played against the St Louis Rams . Schaub was injured in the fourth quarter and left the field to a round of boos and cat-calls from the home fans . His replacement T J Yates fared no better in the contest, throwing in an interception that was returned for a touchdown . adding to the team’s burden , with five games , where a Texans’ quarterback has thrown for an INT this season . Getty Images / Patrick Schneider ….

(7) New Orleans Saints’ wide receiver Kenny Stills makes a catch in the end-zone during the fourth quarter of a game played at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts . The Patriots would come back to win the contest in the waning the moments of the match-up , after an earlier coaching blunder made by Sean Payton of the Saints , allowing Tom Brady enough time on the clock to engineer a fabulous come from behind win for the New England Patriots . Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(8) Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady (12) manages to evade Tom Johnson (96) of the New Orleans Saints during a game played on Sunday afternoon in Foxborough , Massachusetts . New England would defeat the Saints 30-27. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …..

(9) Saints’ head coach Sean Payton shakes hands with the Patriots’ Tom Brady after the game , in which the New Orleans Saints relinquished a three-point lead in the dying moments of the contest between the two teams. Getty Images / Rob Carr ….

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Stick with it, or move on

Stick with it, or move on

By Tophatal

With the NFL season coming to an exciting end with Superbowl XLVII (Superbowl 47) , and the triumph of the Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers . It has to be said, that this off-season could be just as climactic and riveting as much of the postseason just happened to be . Teams are now looking shed players they believe to be superfluous to their needs , with many of the individuals either being seasoned veterans or overpriced stars .

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Slideshow .

Now there is no denying , that there will be a major fallout this all , as teams will either seek to re-sign the very same players they let go , and simply move on ahead, by making use of the upcoming NFL Draft . The draft order for the majority of the teams in the NFL were decided by where they finished within the league and by way of the postseason . With the Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) finishing at the bottom of the ladder amongst the NFL’s 32 teams , it will certainly be interesting in seeing not only recently installed head coach, Andy Reid , his coaching staff overseeing this draft with another first time GM , John Dorsey .

Courtesy of NFL.com

2013 NFL Draft order: Kansas City Chiefs own No. 1 pick

The Kansas City Chiefs own the No. 1 pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, which will be held on April 25-27.

The NFL draft will kick off in primetime for the fourth consecutive year. The first round will be held on Thursday, April 25. The second and third rounds are set for Friday, April 26. Rounds four through seven will be held on Saturday, April 27.

The draft order is determined by the following procedures:

(A) The winner of the Super Bowl will select last and the other Super Bowl participant next-to-last, regardless of their regular-season record.

(B) The conference championship game participants not advancing to the Super Bowl will select picks No. 29 through 30, according to the reverse order of their standing.

(C) The divisional playoff participants not advancing to the championship games will select picks No. 25 through 28, according to the reverse order of their standing.

(D) The wild-card participants not advancing to the divisional playoffs will select picks No. 21 through 24, according to the reverse order of their standing.

(E) Non-playoff clubs will select No. 1 through 20, according to the reverse order of their standing.

If ties exist in any grouping except (A) above, they will be broken by strength of schedule (i.e., figuring the aggregate won-lost-tied percentage of each involved club's regular-season opponents and awarding preferential selection order to the club which faced the schedule of teams with the lowest aggregate won-lost-tied percentage).

If ties still exist after applying the strength of schedule tiebreaker, the divisional or conference tie-breakers are applied, if applicable. If the divisional or conference tie-breakers are not applicable, ties will be broken by a coin flip.

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The primary needs for the Chiefs undoubtedly will be on their defense and quite obviously with the vapid and under-achieving performances of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn , which literally sank the hopes of the franchise over the course of the season . Given the mediocrity, witnessed by fans, in seeing the Chiefs literally fall apart under then head coach Romeo Crennel , was to witness a team without leadership , zeal and passion , all of which did not go unnoticed by the team’s owner , Clark Hunt .

History has suggested that the Kansas City Chiefs have had a modicum of success with their draft history , but it has become abundantly clear after last season’s failing , something drastic had to be done. The firing of both Romeo Crennel and Dorsey’s predecessor , Scott Pioli , was only the first of the major upheavals , that Clark Hunt decided , that major changes would be needed , if the fortunes of this once proud franchise was to be turned around. With a payroll of $128, 051,400, the franchise may well seek to remain over the league’s salary cap, or start to pare down that figure. Beyond that , several issues also must be addressed , with regard to the team’s offense which was amongst one of the least productive in the NFL , in terms of points scored(211), beyond points’ differential , which played a large part into the numerous reasons why the team was so ineffective all-round, and ranked the offense at near bottom overall of the NFL’s 32 teams . Something that I believe, will be addressed by offensive coordinator Doug Pedersen , during the off-season , with his assessing the playing staff and by way of the upcoming draft. And with a number of analysts invariably making their own prognostication as to who will be taken number one overall , it could very well come down to what John Dorsey and Andy Reid believes will be in the best interests of the franchise overall . With their being a propensity to the choice of quarterback , Geno Smith , being taken as the number one overall pick on a number of draft boards of several analysts . The conjecture and speculation will continue as to the decision that will be made by the Chiefs’ front office , between now and the opening rounds of the NFL Draft.

As to the Chiefs quite possibly making Geno Smith their first choice in the NFL Draft, as acute as the team’s pass offense just happens to be , I believe it would be in their best interest to simply seek to bolster their defense , and then look to make a pick for a quarterback in the second or third round of the draft !

The changes first and foremost that undoubtedly will be made could come by way of the Chiefs addressing also their cap hit , wherein they may well seek to cut certain players , or simply look at various ways of restructuring their contracts to make them a great deal more “cap friendly” . From my own perspective, I believe that Andy Reid can turn things around for the Chiefs’ franchise , given his track record in Philadelphia , with the Philadelphia Eagles . The problem may well be , how patient or impatient are the fans in Kansas City , Missouri , in wanting to see a quick turnaround and almost immediate success ?

As a Florida resident , albeit , that I have lived in various parts of the country , this is now where I call my home . An expat Brit , who has become accustomed to the nuances of the game of football (NFL style) , and the mere fact , that the state has three professional franchises domiciled here . It is hard to imagine where the success will come from , in terms of the Jacksonville Jaguars , Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers >/a> . All three teams in 2012 , had distinctly indifferent seasons , and as many of you may well attest to this fact , the trio were amongst some of the worst performing franchises over the course of the year, in so many different aspects of the game . And in terms of the quarterback play exhibited by starters , Blaine Gabbert , Josh Freeman and Ryan Tannehill , I seriously doubt you would have witnessed such mediocre display by the trio over the course of one season. Suffice to say, their respective head coaches , can and should not be pleased by what they saw last year.

Head coaches , Gus Bradley , Greg Schiano and Joe Philbin , all will have their work cut out for them , coming into the off-season , with having to assess their respective playing staffs. And whether or not they will like it , they will come to several decisions that will either satisfy their the fans of those franchises , the Jaguars , Buccaneers and Dolphins , or simply draw their anger . Care to offer up your prognostication, as to how the fans in question may well feel?

For Jaguars’ head coach , Gus Bradley , thankfully, he will not have to put up with the idiocy of knowing or hearing that Jets’ backup quarterback , Tim Tebow , will be traded to the franchise , while looking to supplant Blaine Gabbert from his starting role. Is it not enough that , but for a flew fleeting moments in 2011 , the Heisman Trophy winner , has not shown the NFL fan that his game still has not progressed from beyond what can be best described as a moderately average quarterback ? Yet there seems to be a number of anally retentive individuals within this forum who believe that he is being denied the chance to show his overall skill-set. It should be noted, that playing in the NFL is not a “God given right “or a damn handout, as can be witnessed when one collects a welfare benefit . Yet, this just happens to be what so many fans seem to be calling for , when it comes to Tim Tebow . As affable an individual as he is , as an NFL head coach , would you want him as your starting quarterback in a decisive game , yet alone as a regular season starting quarterback within the NFL ? These are the questions one should be asking and not making asinine statements concerning the player’s alleged stellar abilities !

Jaguars’ GM , David Caldwell , should be commended for not caving into the idiocy of bringing Tebow to his home town , no matter how loud and clear the demands were from the fans . Clearly , as passionate as team owner, Shahid Khan , might just be about the former Florida Gators’ star , even he, must have known , he could not risk the same sort of ridicule that has engulfed the New York Jets’ franchise, while Tebow labored under the weight of expectation , with the sheer comedic volumes and turns that took place with that bereft and lackluster organization over the course of this past season . Suffice to say, Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez combined , were a “ ringing endorsement “ of what one should come to expect when one someone utters the word “ overrated “ ! Only, an idiot would wish to see a similar fate befall the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Miami Dolphins for their part , coming off an under-achieving season , borne out of a 7-9 mark within the AFC East , will have a great deal to prove , if they are to viewed as the equal of the New England Patriots , the dominant franchise within the division over the last over the last decade. Joe Philbin , having rode on the shoulders of his rookie quarterback , Ryan Tannehill , can only hope to see marked improvements from the player in his second season . This much we do know, the player could be effective when protected , with the right assortment of weapons to complement his skillset , but with the team being so inconsistent over the course of the season. What many of us witnessed from Tannehill , was a player being asked to do way too much , with too little support , being offered in return .

As to the other on-field issues faced by the Dolphins, by way of the defense and offense . Well, let’s just say Philbin and his coaching staff will need to assess those issues and address them expeditiously .

Now unless , I am mistaken , the Dallas Cowboys , Miami Dolphins and the Green Bay Packers of the NFL, are the only three franchises, where the venues that they are currently domiciled in, and play in, are wholly owned by those respective organizations. All of the other teams in question , their stadiums are either municipally owned or county owned . Dolphins’ owner , billionaire , real estate mogul , Stephen Ross, would like for the city of Miami in conjunction with the Miami Dade County government to pay for the $400 million proposed refurbishment and renovation costs to Sun Life Stadium in Miami , from its conception , known as Joe Robbie Stadium , named after, the franchise’s initial founder and owner. With his eye set, more on hosting Superbowl 50 (SB L) in 2016 , Ross knows that if the work can be completed now , it places the city of Miami in a very advantageous position to beat out possible suitors for the privilege of hosting the NFL’s and North America’s biggest sporting event. Caution here has to be warranted , as there is a great deal of reluctance on Stephen Ross’ part to even pay in part anything towards the cost of the proposed renovations. All of this, from an individual, who, is said to be amongst the 400 wealthiest individuals (ranked #83) —– (net worth $4.4 billion) in the United States. I can only surmise, that NFL , under the auspices of Roger Goodell, the commissioner , will use a great deal of arm twisting and coercing , in order to force for the governmental agencies concerned to “pony up “ the estimated $400 million cost , with the intent of using the staging of the Superbowl as a bargaining chip , rather than have one of his owners merely delve into his pocket or seeking private financing for the proposed project !

Given, the grave financial crisis that both city of Miami and Miami Dade government are now under . I find it somewhat disconcerting , and almost conceited that Ross would deem it fitting that the city and county’s residents should pay for the refurbishment of a venue which he owns outright . Pardon me for saying this, but given the level of ineptitude shown by the city of Miami and their dealings with the MLB hierarchy and the Miami Marlins’ owners , over the financing and building of the Marlins’ ballpark ____ the 34,500 seat venue built at the cost of $575 million using a mix of tax revenues and derivatives’ financing , is now in the midst of a sharp decline in attendance . Meanwhile, the city of Miami finds itself at the center of an investigative probe by the US Justice Department for their actions , in the financing of that venue , with their being allegations of bribery and corruption amongst city officials to ensure a favorable vote . There has to be cause for concern that things will not be totally above-board , as it now relates to the Miami Dolphins and their vested interests. Suffice to say, in a corrupt city such as Miami , just about anything goes , and will happen , just as long , as the money is spread around , to all of the vested parties concerned .

When Josh Freeman was drafted as the seventeenth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft , many felt it was something of a capricious and gregarious choice by then , Buccaneers’ head coach , Raheem Morris . In the subsequent years, since being chosen , Freeman has provided the fans with some highs , but more than not , so many lulls, that have descended into a crescendo of sheer ineptitude .

Team GM, Mark Dominik , remains convinced that the player he and Morris tied their masts and futures to , can still get the job done and lead this franchise to success . Raheem Morris’ successor , first year coach , Greg Schiano, after this past season remains thoroughly unconvinced that Josh Freeman can get the job done under any circumstance . Which begs the question, what does the future hold in store, for a player who believes he has all of the tools necessary to be a success , whereas, his coaches simply have bouts of trepidation each time he has been on the field of play during the 2012 season . Plain and simple , in spite of the weapons around him , for much of 2012 , Josh Freeman played some uninspired football , and no amount of excuses from the player , himself , from the head coach , can hide what is blatantly obvious to see. And those are , Freeman’s game and skill-set have deteriorated to such a low , that he cannot be trusted to implement the simplest of plays ! He may well have the steadfast support of his teammates , but in the end, those statements will not go a long way in convincing the head coach of any decision he may well choose to make.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were once a renowned franchise , built on a stealthy defense with players who were committed to the their art-form . However , in recent years and most certainly under both Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano , those traits were certainly missing . And while injuries may well have played a part in the Buccaneers’ miserable 7-9 season , that solely cannot be used as a primary excuse for the team’s woes during 2012 . Defensive players, such as , Lavonte David , Mason Foster , Mark Barron , Ahmad Black , Quincy Black , Gerald McCoy , Adam Hayward and Luke Stocker, are not names you would now hear being mentioned as preeminent Pro Bowl caliber type defensive players . And given the team’s propensity in recent seasons with their draft policy , it will be interesting to see how Mark Dominik and Greg Schiano address some of the most acute needs of the franchise , as they currently assess them to be.

With the team , now having in excess of $15 million available , in cap space , of which $ 10 million , is a rollover figure from the previous season , it should prove to be interesting, to see what moves will be pursued by the Buccaneers during this off-season. And given Schiano’s wish to have readily available competition at all positions on his depth chart . Could it be, the player most likely to feel pressured , will be his starting quarterback , Josh Freeman ? Your thoughts on this , as it relates to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ?

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With the NFL Draft still two months away, and with a number of teams already off-loading players superfluous to their needs in order of not having to meet contractual obligations have to be honored no later than the 31st March, we are now seeing teams scurrying to make avail themselves of all the cap space possible . Where do you see your team or teams making bold enough moves by way of the draft or through free agency ? And how do you believe that both Greg Schiano and Andy Reid will fare during this off-season ? By all means do take time to offer up comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.

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(1) One of the more comedic and asinine of moments in recent NFL history that still hasn’t been convincingly explained by either the Superbowl XLVII Organizing Committee or by anyone from within the NFL hierarchy . Fans and members of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers wait for power to return in the Superdome in a Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, file photo, during an outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, in New Orleans. Officials of Entergy New Orleans say the cause of the Super Bowl blackout was a faulty device called a relay that had been installed to prevent a failure of electric cables leading to the Superdome. They said the device has been removed and replacement equipment will be installed. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(2) “Eyes on the prize” . Baltimore Ravens president Dick Cass , from left, head coach ,John Harbaugh , general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome and owner , Steve Bisciotti speak alongside the Vince Lombardi Trophy at an NFL football news conference on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Owings Mills, Md. The Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII last Sunday. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(3) New Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey , left, poses with new head coach Andy Reid during an NFL football news conference announcing Dorsey’s hiring Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(4) New Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, left, poses with Chiefs’ Chairman & CEO ,Clark Hunt during an NFL football news conference Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(5) Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) makes a one-handed catch for a touchdown in front of Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Jalil Brown (30) in the second quarter of an NFL football game , Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …

(6) Matt Cassel (L) and Brady Quinn listen to ID Coach inventor Isaac Daniel at the launch of the Isaac Daniel, ID Coach at the Sheraton Riverwalk on January 31, 2009 in Tampa, Florida. The ID Coach system allows coaches to communicate plays to players without using hand signals or audio transmitters. Play calls are transmitted using a military grade encrypted wireless link from the coaches Personal Remote Terminal (PRT) to the assigned player on the field who receives the play on the ID Coach wristband. An ID system to assist the players ? It sure as hell hasn’t worked for either Cassel or Quinn this past season , has it, as evidenced by the team’s standing within the AFC West and the league as a whole ? Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images for EAG Sports Management ….

(7) Billionaire real estate mogul, Stephen Ross , center is seen here with between sisters , Serena (left) and Venus Williams . The two siblings and WTA tennis rivals , are minority stakeholders in Miami Dolphins’ franchise , amongst a slew of A-list celebrities that also include Marc Anthony , Jennifer Lopez, Gloria & Emilio Estefan and actor, Will Smith . Ross is positioning himself and the Dolphins’ franchise to host Superbowl 50 (SB L) in 2016. However , he and the city of Miami and the Miami Dade County government have failed to reach a compromise , as who should pay for the estimated $400 million in upgrades and refurbishment , sought for Sun Life Stadium , home to the Miami Dolphins’ franchise. It should be noted that the venue itself , is owned by Ross , with the only benefits going to the governmental agencies in question, being certain taxes and ancillary fees charged to the franchise for services rendered . The NFL franchise owner , worth an estimated $4.4 billion , Ross is unwilling to pay for any of the costs in question or pay in part , towards the aforementioned sum for the much-needed upgrade. . AP/Photo/ Pat Carter ….

(8) From left to right , Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, general manager Dave Caldwell , owner Shad Khan and president Mark Lamping , from left, flank the NFL football team’s new logo, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jaguars unveiled a new logo and a “Stand United” theme. AP Photo/Florida Times-Union, Bruce Lipsky …

(9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) hits the ground after being sacked by the Denver Broncos in the third quarter of an NFL football game , Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Denver. This was simply another game in which the Buccaneers’ quarterback failed to perform up to the standards expected of him by head coach , Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik . It would appear that Freeman’s position as the team’s starting quarterback have been greatly imperiled by his lackluster displays throughout much of the 2012 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . AP Photo/Joe Mahoney ….

(10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) throws a pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …

(11) Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik , left , is seen here with the team’s head coach Greg Schiano at the practice facility (One Buc Place) of the NFL franchise . The two management executives have some considerable deliberations to be made , as to the makeup of the roster going into the off-season , and in light of their issues on the defensive side of the ball where they failed miserably during 2012. There also seems to be an apparent lack of veteran leadership from the senior members on the roster . All of this played into the unremarkable season for franchise in 2012 , where they finished with a 7-9 record within the NFC South . The Tampa Bay Times / Scott Dreeson ……

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NFL news news from around the league

NFL news archived stories

NFL Draft 25th to 27th April , 2013 and the NFL Draft order

2012 NFL Draft

NFL free agents

NFL transactions

NFL team salaries and a salary cap of $120.6 million which is likely to increase for the 2013 season .

NFL head coaches and their record

NFL standings 2012-13 by division

NFL standings by conference

NFL regular season schedule and the postseason schedule

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Kansas City Chiefs’ news

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ news

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Please take time to participate in the above mentioned polls. Based upon you being an NFL head coach or general manager , how would you go about taking a first round draft pick based upon current needs ?

And clearly we’re about to agree, to disagree …

And clearly we’re about to agree, to disagree ….

By Tophatal

Call me naïve but all of the hype over the teams at the start of the season doesn’t bear out the claims being made by the pundits and fans alike . BCS / College Football anointed USC (Trojans) the number one ranked team in the nation, only to see that program fall from grace faster than a speeding bullet shot up into the air , and with that projectile swiftly falling . The fact that Lane Kiffin tried to play down his team’s woes as being nothing more than complacency and inexperience , clearly indicates that the coach , himself , didn’t believe the “ bull “ he was readily extolling , as he tries to hide behind the disappointment of what might have been .

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The Trojans were 7-5 in overall play and 5-4 within conference ( Pac 12) , in essence when you consider this team was highly-touted as the Pac 12 champions, as well as a bonafide contender for the BCS national title . Well the Trojans’ Bowl aspirations will be down to one of second-tiered Bowl games , and in this case , it will be the Hyundai , sponsored , Sun Bowl , in El Paso , Texas on the 31st December ,2012, when the USC (Trojans ) take on Georgia Tech (Yellow-jackets) . A nondescript game , with a $2 million payout for the winning program, on the day . And we wonder why the BCS in conjunction and the major conferences , have been so slow in dragging their feet and adopting a clear cut formatted playoff system that would be equitable for all? With these multi-million dollar payouts at thee bowl games , it’s better to “ keep the gravy train” rolling along as it is , rather than further having divide the spoils amongst many of the lesser programs who aspire to be playing amongst the big boys of the FBS . As Ohio State Buckeyes’ President , Dr E Gordon Gee once stated “ we’ve no need for programs who can’t play at a higher level and pay for the privilege of doing so “ . Need we be reminded of what was going on at the Buckeyes’ program between 2009 through to 2010, under then , head football coach , Jim Tressel ?

Let’s just say , the stench to be found on the college’s campus , could only be outdone by lies and deceit countenanced by Tressel , his coaching staff and numerous players with the football program at the time. Pay to play , pimp by ride , and I’ll one-up you with , I’ve got a bag a weed , a major drug dealer and gambler handling bets for the players , and a car dealer offering “free rides” (cars) for players to roll around in , with some of the finest ” bling-bling” and “honey dips” (females) available for sexual gratification. Yet somehow this all escaped the watchful eye of AD Gene Smith and the Athletics Department’s compliance officers ? Stevie Wonder could’ve detected that rancorous stench and told you , what , when , why and how ? Buckeyes’ Nation , more like, Fuck You Nation ! And if anyone believes that the installment of Urban Meyer , as the coach of the football program , will bring about a renewed search , for academic and athletic excellence , then , think again ! .

This past weekend within the NFL ,there were a number of results that may well have left you in sheer apoplexy . First off the bat , I will reiterate , there are no do-overs in the NFL , and the Arizona Cardinals cannot , and will not be allowed a second bite of the apple , after their 58-0 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks . I am English , and results such as this, normally takes place during a rugby match and not , in an NFL game ! At what point was Cardinals’ head coach Ken Whisenhunt going to press his secondary into making a serious attempt at playing some defense ? Last , I looked , Russell Wilson was not the second coming of Joe Montana , and Marshawn Lynch could not be mistaken for Barry Sanders . Yet somehow, the performances of the Seahawks’ offensive players in this game were somewhat reminiscent of the Forty-Niners at their very best . But let’s take a step back , this is the Arizona Cardinals we are talking about, a franchise that hasn’t been relevant since Kurt Warner was leading them to regular season victories with a great deal of aplomb , before choosing to ride off into the sunset and into the arms of a loving family . Do you get the feeling that the Cardinals’ front office < might not now contemplate giving Warner a call , to gauge his interest in returning to the NFL ? It’s not as if Kevin Kolb , John Skelton and Ryan Lindley , have been able to do that much at the quarterback position for the Arizona Cardinals this season. The trio are amongst the worst performing players at the position within the NFC , and not far off being amongst the worst of a terrible bunch within the NFL as a whole !

I know it’s not Groundhog Day , but the frequency of the losses for the Kansas City Chiefs , have become repetitive and damn monotonous . In the aftermath of the Jovan Belcher “ tragedy” , a rallying cry was heard and a victory came out of an unnecessary tragedy . That being said, it’s back to the ineptitude we’ve seen exhibited with ever-growing frequency from a team that apparently has lost its will to win , and whose coaching staff now seems to be out of their depth.

Sunday afternoon , the Chiefs were the guests of the Cleveland Browns , in a game that would have significant meaning for the Browns , as they sought to keep within striking distance of the Cincinnati Bengals , and avoid ending the season , as bottom feeder within the AFC North . Brandon Weeden was not asked to do a great deal , other than to be efficient , and not put his team at risk during the game. Cleveland came away with a 30-7 victory , which improves their record to 5-8 , while dropping the hapless Kansas City Chiefs to a mediocre 2-11, with only three games left , in order to end their schedule and not further subject their fans to this misery.

For team that was said to have a great deal of of aspiration for the postseason , the Houston Texans have proven to as elusive as they are thrilling . Everything about this team at the start of the season , suggested that they were ready to “ hit the big time” . Well, take into account their first postseason berth , and their displays in 2011 , all that was being asked of Gary Kubiak’s players on Monday night , would be , that they go out, and acquit themselves well . Instead , the Texans ran into the New England Patriots and their buzz-saw offense that simply laid waste to an apathetic and woefully inept Texans’ secondary , that on the day looked lackluster and did in fact play lethargically . I’m not a heavy gambler , but it would be a cold day in hell , before you would be able to entice me to bet on the Houston Texans in any type of a meaningful wager ! This team and franchise has no “ real body work” behind it, other than a exceptionally explosive offense , that plays well during the regular season , but seems to come up short , when it matters most .

We are all aware of what Tom Brady has been able to do over the course of his career , especially during the regular season . Monday , was not necessarily the exception to the rule , but it damn well near came close to it , as the quarterback put on an exhilarating aerial display , that was complemented by a solid rushing game led by Stevan Ridley , Danny Woodhead , Shane Vereen ,and Brandon Bolden making the Patriots’ offense was relentless on the ground. And as much we have seen the defense of the AFC East franchise play poorly during this season , we were able to finally see a game from where all the parts seem to come together . A secondary that on average , this season, has been giving up 376 yards and 21.1 points per game through the first thirteen games of 2012. Given the fact that Patriots’ head coach, Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia , simply put together a scheme and sets that stymied the Texans’ offense from the beginning to the end of the four quarters . And to see Matt Schaub , perhaps in his worst game of 2012 , it was enough an indicator , to suggest the quarterback is just capable of putting up great numbers , and little else beyond that. Schaub , has yet to win a playoff game in his career , and this is where I believe far too many people have bought into the idiocy that this is the team to beat in the AFC . Well , Monday night , was a clear indication that the Texans are not as good as advertised , because fans only saw what they wanted to see , rather than what was clearly there to be seen

Now while it appears the final verdict has been rendered , with presiding adjudicator , Paul Tagliabue’s decision to overturn Roger Goodell’s original suspensions of Wil Smith , Scott Fujita , Anthony Hargrove and Jonathan Vilma . Tagliabue’s verdict does not excuse the player’s actions but he believes that the preponderance of evidence gathered shows the actions of the New Orleans Saints in this “ Bounty Scandal “ was in fact initiated by the actions of Sean Payton , Gregg Williams , Joe Vitt and countenanced by GM Micky Loomis . This remains a damning indictment of the NFL franchise but of anything , it also indicates that the commissioner far exceeded his authority .

Goodell, has always maintained his actions followed the “letter of the law”. But at no time has the commissioner acted accordingly in his deliberations and interviews with the alleged defendants when they met in private. Much , much to the dismay of the fans , the public and those amongst the legal establishment , the actions of Roger Goodell were not tempered by any sound judgment and the impartiality sought from someone who has to assess the evidence based on the facts as they are known to be . And no matter what concessions that were made by the NFLPA (Players’ Union) , as it relates to their collective bargaining agreement with the NFL hierarchy , at times the commissioner’s actions bordered upon being those of individual who simply sought to make a scapegoat of the players , rather than the Saints’ franchise as a whole . Paul Tagliabue may well be seen as a reprieve for the four players , but in no way it should it be viewed that way. They are guilty , it is just that their guilt is mitigated by overwhelming proof that without the direct orders of the coaches , much of what we now know to have taken place would not have been executed without the “ say so” and implicit orders of Micky Loomis , Sean Payton and the head coach’s subordinates , Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt. Which now begs the question , how is it that Roger Goodell could not have come to this conclusion and have rendered a decision that would have been amenable to all of the parties concerned , and wherein a monetary fine that could have, and should been levied against the four players , rather than the continued idiocy we have witnessed ? Tagliabue, upheld the commissioner’s original suspensions of Payton , Vitt , Loomis and Williams , without making any recommendations that any further action be taken . Should we now consider the matter closed ? Well , that would be dependent upon whether or you believe Paul Tagliabue’s decision to be fair and impartial . From my own perspective , even with the union’s original decision to challenge the former commissioner’s impartiality to preside over such a matter , we did in fact get to see how a legal mind does work, when you have someone with a legal background presiding over such a case .

Appears Courtesy of the Washington Post

Paul Tagliabue vacates all discipline for players in Saints bounty case

By Mark Maske , Washington Post

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue on Tuesday overturned the suspensions of four current and former New Orleans Saints players and declined to fine them for their roles in the team’s alleged bounty scandal .

Tagliabue, appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the players’ appeals, agreed that New Orleans conducted a program that paid players for hits that injured opponents, and that three Saints — linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive linemen Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove — were guilty of conduct detrimental to pro football.

But because “this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints organization,” Tagliabue wrote that he would not impose fines either.

A fourth player, linebacker Scott Fujita, did not engage in conduct detrimental to the NFL, Tagliabue concluded in his 22-page decision.

“I affirm Commissioner Goodell’s factual findings as to the four players,” Tagliabue wrote in his 22-page ruling. “I conclude that Hargrove, Smith and Vilma — but not Fujita — engaged in ‘conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.’

“I fully considered but ultimately rejected reducing the suspensions to fines of varying degrees for Hargrove, Smith and Vilma,” Tagliabue added.

None of the players has missed a game because of suspensions. They have been allowed to play while appeals are pending, though Fujita is on injured reserve and Hargrove is not with a team.

A league official called Tagliabue’s ruling the end of the process under the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players’ union.

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Paul Tagliabue , whose legal background and experience as a corporate trial attorney and managing senior partner with law firm , Covington & Burling LLC , of which he was also a founding partner , gave him greater insight than any , that could have been found with his NFL successor , Roger Goodell. What this now further does in quite possibly lowering the public’s perception of the NFL , has to be tempered by one’s own opinion of Roger Goodell’s , as the hierarchy’s commissioner . There’s no denying that he has , and will continue to make decisions that far outreach the parameters of his responsibilities, and many of the verdicts rendered will be looked upon as being asinine in a number of cases , whereas in others, they will actually make some common sense . But in all honesty, in recent years, Roger Goodell’s decision-making has more to do with sheer buffoonery , rather than being sound in its reasoning ! He has been in large part, a simpleton on appearance , been someone who cannot be succinct or for that matter , and as an individual , his communicative skills border on that of someone, who has a considerably hard time of making sense of the English language, orally , as well as, in the written word ! .Your opinion on this ?

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What thoughts if any , do you have with regard to the NFL season so far , and which teams do you now feel have more to worry about with regard to their ongoing precarious plight ? And is there any one ball club that you feel over the past three weeks has stood out as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl , above everyone else ? Also are you in agreement with this verdict rendered by Paul Tagliabue and do you see it as an end to this long episode concerning the New Orleans Saints and Roger Goodell ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you feel may well be pertinent to the subject matter .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Head Coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans greets senior, Matt Barkley (7) before the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. USC would go on to lose the game 23-13 to the Fighting Irish. Harry How / Getty Images North America …

(2) Everett Golson (5) of the Notre Dame (Fighting Irish) runs an option as he is pursued by Leonard Williams (94) of the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Harry How …

(3) New England Patriots wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (19) catches a pass in front of Houston Texans defensive back Brandon Harris (26) before running it in for a touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. The Patriots would go on to defeat the Texans 42-14 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(4) Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) and head coach Gary Kubiak talk during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. AP Photo/Steven Senne …

(5) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates his 37-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (85) during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(6) (6) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left , is seen here alongside Paul Tagliabue , who at one time held the position as commissioner before choosing to step down and to be succeeded by Goodell. The incumbent was a protege` of Tagliabue who returned to private practice with the DC based law firm, Covington & Burling LLC . Roger Goodell , having recused himself from presiding over the appeals of the four Saints’ players embroiled in the “bounty scandal ” appealed to Paul Tagliabue to preside over that hearing . Paul Tagliabue’s decision was to overturn the originally rendered verdict of Roger Goodell , but he also cited that the players’ “actions while egregious “ they did not bear the greatest responsibility of the ensuing actions they were said to be involved in. Tagliabue pointed to the fact that an environment of contempt , deceit and greed was fostered and engineered by head coach Sean Payton, along with the compliance of Joe Vitt , former assistant , Gregg Williams , and general manager , Micky Loomis . Picture appears courtesy of CBS Sports @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(7) Saints’ defensive player Jonathan Vilma is seen here arriving at NFL headquarters in New York City , to answer questions by the league’s investigators into the Saints’ bounty scandal . Vilma refused to answer any of the questions asked, citing the league’s lack of evidence, and the very fact much of the evidence gathered was ” hearsay” with no tangible proof of his direct involvement . The player’s legal representation was provided by the NFLPA (Players’ Union) at the request of NFLPA Executive Director , DeMaurice Smith . Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times/ Alex Ortega ….

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It Is What It Is …. ! It’s The AFC West For God’s Sake Damn It !

It Is What It Is …. ! It’s The AFC West For God’s Sake Damn It !


By tophatal

OK so the fans of the Oakland Raiders were in awe with the organization’s acquistion of noted former USC quarterback and former Cincinnati Bengal’s starter Carson Palmer . Sunday was meant to be Palmer’s coming out party against the Raiders’ divisional rivals , the Kansas City Chiefs . And never let it be said that we should expect any thrilling displays of football from within the AFC West because this might just be the worst division in all of football .

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The four occupants of the AFC South , namely the Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs , Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are four teams that have become mind numbingly inconsistent over the years . And this season it has been no different for the four teams , as their results have been borne out this year . The collective records of the quartet is a combined 13-12 . In conference the teams have struggled to show a modicum of consistency this season.

With Hue Jackson making it a game time decision as to who the starter would be against Todd Haley’s Chiefs . This game was seen as view of what the fans were hoping to see from the renowned Carson Palmer . The former Heisman Trophy winner had a stellar collegiate career at USC before before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals . The player’s career with the organization has seen its highs and lows but over the past two seasons the Palmer has become disgruntled with the organization , coaches and former teammates . Having joined the Oakland Raiders , Palmer finds himself surrounded with a plethora of offensive weapons and a running attack that is amongst the best in the NFL .

Unfortunately for the Raiders’ fans seated at the Oakland Coliseum and a national television audience watching they witnessed an offense that was so out of sync and a collective performance from starting quarterback Kyle Boller and then his replacement Carson Palmer that left a great deal to be desired . Each quarterback threw three interceptions apiece and to make things so comical in the team’s overall performance . The end result with a 28-0 blanking of the Raiders , brought about an inauspicious start for Palmer and his tenure with the Oakland Raiders.

While Hue Jackson had to have been disappointed with his team’s performance he has to know this loss though did nothing to enhance the Raiders’ aspirations with regard to divisional honors. Though still atop of the AFC West with a 4-2 record the had some consolation in knowing that the San Diego Chargers somehow managed to lose to the New York Jets 27-21 . Not one , really wanting to lambast Norv Turner at present but when is Chargers’ general manager A J. Smith going to realize that the coach hasn’t got the wherewithal to get this team going when they face real adversity ? When you have a quarterback the caliber of Philip Rivers and . On a day when wide receiver Plaxico Burress made the announcement that he’s back in the NFL , he seemingly made the Chargers defense seem so damn awful that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about . The player’s reception yards might not have been all that impressive but his three touchdown catches were , as Rex Ryan’s team got themselves back on track .

Two of the worse teams in the AFC got together for a conference match-up that left little to desired unless you just happen to be a Tim Tebow and a Denver Broncos’ fan. John Fox and his coaching staff are still assessing the qualities of their now incumbent quarterback while at the same time we can now state categorically that Kyle Orton by no means gives this team the best opportunity to win ! If that were the case , then the Broncos’ record not be a pedantic 2-4 . I sometimes have to wonder what it is that these moronic NFL tv analysts on ABC/ESPN , CBS Sports , Fox and NBC might just be watching when they make their rather asinine prognostication ! If Orton is an NFL caliber quarterback then quite possibly we ought to have Richard Simmons playing in the NFL !

Tim Tebow played his part in guiding the Denver Broncos to a win over the Miami Dolphins but in reality it wasn’t that the team played that great . Simply put , the Dolphins as the opponents of the Broncos are a mediocre team at best . Tony Sparano’s season and that of his entire coaching staff might now be hanging on by a single thread . Billionaire team owner Stephen Ross and GM Jeff Ireland might as well place a call to all to each of the other 31 teams within the NFL seeking permission to interview their respective assistant coaches . If they are not successful there , then quite possibly they may week a prospective replacement from amongst the collegiate ranks .

And now that the former Gators’ quarterback has firmly placed himself amongst the current conversation as a water cooler topic water cooler for a vast array of NFL fans and fantasy geeks out there . John Fox and the team’s Head of Football Operations John Elway for the present may well be happy with the fact that they have a quarterback who can actually make the Broncos competitive for the present. But it remains to be seen how capable this team might well be as the rest of their schedule will ultimately determine that factor and their season’s end record. In eking out their 18-15 victory the Denver Broncos have placed the Miami Dolphins in another precarious position with a 0-6 record firmly now placing them alongside the Indianapolis Colts (0-6) and St Louis Rams (0-6) for the privilege in taking Stanford Cardinals’ quarterback Andrew Luck as the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft .

Now while we can bemoan the quality of the football being played in the NFL . I think that we can agree that the criticism of the AFC South is justified but at the same it’s scary to think that the NFC West , another division that struggles with some semblance of consistency and the combined records of the quartet of teams are 8-16 . Not exactly something that on paper looks at all that impressive but one could either surmise that this is cyclical within the NFL . That may well be the case but in reality this seems to be how the league tends to ebb and flow in terms of the consistency of the teams.

For now the fans will have to endure this morass of mediocre play from the teams within the division mentioned while taking solace that this hasn’t become widespread across the NFL . Well at least I’d like to think so ! But who knows as of now ?

Alas , just when I thought that Jack Del Rio couldn’t pull off another “Houdini Act” , somehow his Jacksonville Jaguars managed to derail the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s —- Baltimore Ravens . Disturbing as this might seem this was a game by its result ( 12-7) alone explain should be able explain how monstrously mediocre this Monday night match-up was . If only ESPN could have put us all out of our misery by having a technical issue during this game rather than having the tv audience endure this mess ! Then perhaps we could have forgiven the network and the two teams involved but somehow I think that’s now impossible to do .

Del Rio to my mind is merely treading water as he fights for his professional life ! GM Gene Smith and team owner Wayne Weaver by season’s end will have to make a decision concerning his beleaguered coach. My own thinking would be for Weaver to jettison not only his coach but the entire coaching staff as well as his general manager ! Smith and Del Rio combined have somehow managed to make this team something of a laughing stock , one way or another . Other than the drafting of Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert , the latter who appears to be a work in progress , I cannot think of one reason to retain the duo !

Though last night’s game was something of a mediocre effort offered up by both teams in no way was it the ” worst” NFL result to have taken place this past weekend . Anyone who had the dubious privilege of witnessing that monstrosity that took place between the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio , must’ve felt that they were being held prisoner and being tortured in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ! What the fu_k is going on with these two teams ? I’ve been told repeatedly that there’s no offense in soccer and that may well be the case with the MLS ! But I can guarantee you this , with the leagues in Europe ( EPL , Serie` A, La Liga ) and Latin America , at least the effort put fort there is far more exciting than the bulls_it exhibited by Pete Caroll’s and Pat Shurmur’s players . Good God almighty, the fans have to dole out their hard earned cash to watch this fecal matter but somehow Roger Goodell feels he can take pride in the NFL brand and product as a whole ? Well if a score of 6-3 is something that you can take pride in , no wonder the fans of the NFL are continued to be pissed and shat upon by the league hierarchy , franchise owners and NFLPA ! This is simply what the NFL has now become , owners , players and the league itself bilking the public , meanwhile they are laughing all the way to the bank and then some !

I am not one to normally disavow the NFL but please don’t insist that a number of the games we tend to witness repeatedly week in and week out can actually be described as the best that the NFL has to offer . That’s utter bullsh_t on the part of the apologists out there especially amongst the ranks of the NFL analysts and commentators , never mind some of the more anally retentive fans who might well subscribe to the analysis and give it credit !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have about the points raised within this piece ? Simply offer up a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Oakland Raiders line up to defend against center Casey Wiegmann (62) of the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0 . Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images …

(2) Starting quarterback Kyle Boller(7) of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines after being pulled out of the game in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images ….

(3) Carson Palmer(3) of the Oakland Raiders talks with Kyle Boller (7) against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum on October 23, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won the game 28-0. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images…

(4) Fullback Leonard Pope (44) of the Kansas City Chiefs scores a touchdown as the ball pops loose against linebacker Aaron Curry (51) of the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs lead 14-0 in the first half. However , they would end up blanking the Raiders 28-0 . Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images …..

(5) Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against Cameron Wake (91) of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(6) Wide receiver Golden Tate (81) of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by defensive back Buster Skrine (22) of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images …….

(7) Ray Lewis (52) and Terrell Suggs (55) of the Baltimore Ravens tackle Maurice Jones-Drew (32) of the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville Florida. The Jaguars would defeat the Ravens 12-7 . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …..

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AFC West ( 2010 ) Champions : Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

AFC West (2009) Champions : San Diego Chargers (13-3)

AFC West ( 2008) Champions : San Diego Chargers ( 8-8 )

AF West (2007) Champions : San Diego Chargers ( 11-5)

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Pitiful ……….. Well It Happens In The NFL And MLB & Other Sports As Well …….. ‘nough said !

Pitiful ……….. Well It Happens In The NFL And MLB & Other Sports As Well …….. ‘nough said !

Does it really now be to be said but the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seawhawks just might be the two worse teams in the NFL . There has nothing that has simply indicated to me how either of the teams made the postseason last year but then again they duo do play in what might two divisions that simply are not that good to begin with ! Anyone who simply believes that either the AFC West or NFC West are simply worthy of watching had better begin to rethink that thought ! .

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I am not about to lambast the Oakland Raiders as of yet but their pass defense has become as porous as a used feminine hygiene product . I am sorry but Raiders’ head coach Hue Jackson has some major problems with the defense and if they are not able to shore up the play then over the course of this season they will simply be seen as a complete fraud . Much of this was borne out by the ineptitude shown in the team’s
loss to the Buffalo Bills .

Needless to say but the Indianapolis Colts’ sorrowful season continues and it is clear to see that the loss of Peyton Manning cannot be quantified . It has to be said that whatever the coaching staff and front office may have thought in bringing in Kerry Collins as Manning’s replacement just doesn’t seem to working out for the team . And when adjudged when against the NFL it’s clear to see the problems for the Colts may well go way beyond the loss of Peyton Manning. For coach Jim Caldwell this will be a season to test his will and intestinal fortitude as they seek to embark upon what might describe as a battle of us against the world . It is plain to see at no point had this organization really planned ahead for the day that would be without Peyton Manning as the team’s signal caller . This certainly has been borne out by their draft history and even one does point to Curtis Painter as a peek into the future , let’s just say that the player simply hasn’t the size to fit into Manning’s shoes !

Now while the season is still in its infancy it is becoming increasingly a clear that a number of teams have already fallen by the wayside . There is a chance that a number of these ball-clubs could play themselves back into contention but at this juncture it’s hard to see how that that can be unless they are capable of playing themselves back into some semblance of consistency .

So the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers have essentially played themselves into the postseason having won their respective divisions. The Phillies have simply strolled through the NL East with some semblance of ease and now await an opponent in the divisional round of the playoffs . And looks if Charlie Manuel’s team . Suffice to say the organization is looking to make a quick return to the World Series and prove that the team’s triumph in 2008 simply wasn’t an aberration.

If there was a point where you simply thought that the Cleveland Indians had a chance to be competitive within the AL Central then this simply wasn’t going to be it . This team simply wasn’t consistent enough over the course of their season and for Manny Acta this had to be profoundly disappointing for the organization and their fans .

Dave Dombrowski could very well be viewed as one of the primary reasons behind the team’s resurgence this season. He gave manager Jim Leyland free rein to get this team playing with a great deal of conviction. If there’s a real reason to point to the team’s success this season then it would largely have to come down to the contributions of Justin Verlander for the Detroit Tigers accompanied by a rotation that has simply been too good to be believed .

While Verlander can be complimented on having an excellent season his teammate Miguel Cabrera has been the tip of the spear that has made the offense of the Detroit Tigers so potent. Now the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees are in all likelihood seen as the presumptive favorites to be playing for the ALCS I would like to think that the Tigers cannot be overlooked in this conversation !

Now while there are fans out there bitching and whining about their teams or in some cases making excuses for their poor play over the course of this baseball season with comments such as ………. you’re saying harsh things about my team “ …….. I’d say shut the hell up and simply grow a pair and stop acting like an infantile child ! The year within baseball has been filled with highs and lows but to my mind more highs than lows .

The NFL thus far , has indicated to me that the lockout has simply done more harm than anyone within the league hierarchy would care to admit. But you would hardly think it worthy of an admittance from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or the team owners themselves . As for NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith coming to the aid of the NBPA and giving the players’ union of the NBA advice on whether or not it is worthwhile in the union decertifying . In doing so it would give the NBPA the legal recourse they might seek in challenging the NBA hierarchy in this now two month plus long lockout . The NBA under the leadership of David Stern now seems to be fighting for the hearts and mind of their fans while team owners for the present seems to be backing the commissioner . But now one has to wonder …….. for how long ?

The time has now come for the sport of boxing to simply deemed outmoded and completely irrelevant ! . Anyone who believes that Floyd Mayweather can take pleasure in depriving then WBC welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz of his title . This fight was simply an affront for very poor sportsmanship and showed how the fans having been duped to pay an exorbitant price for witnessing this fiasco at the venue with an even bigger injustice in having to pay $69-95 for the privilege of watching this fight via HBO PPV.

To witness the events that took place between Ortiz and Mayweather and their ignorant behavior does the sport of boxing and the fans a great disservice. Victor Ortiz showed that he has no class having deliberately head butted the challenger but Mayweather’s subsequent behavior in sucker punching his opponent , when Ortiz approached him to apologize for the head butt took place earlier in the bout. With the challenger having won the bout via a TKO , Mayweather now looks to pursue a big money fight against his biggest nemesis Manny Pacquaio in what’s sure to be a real barn-burner . But that issue could very well be derailed by the WBC hierarchy and the Nevada State Athletic Commission given the behavior of both fighters. For the hosts at the MGM Grand Resort & Casino in Las Vegas , Nevada I am not so sure this is the type of event that they could have wished for with the controversy that surrounded this title fight.

And if you thought that the fight itself was the only reason to take an affront then the post bout interview between the new title holder and HBO boxing analyst and commentator Larry Merchant may well have given a fan even greater cause as that episode further shed light on how low this sport has indeed fallen. Mayweather would chide both Merchant and HBO for showing him the lack of respect he feels he’s due . Larry Merchant retorted …. ” if I were fifty years younger I’d be ready to whup your ass ” ! Now that would be a fight I would gladly wish to see only if it were being televised by HBO rather than being sprung upon the fans as a PPV event . But alas , boxing needs something far more than that to peek the interests of the discerning fan .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have to the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Contact tophatal ……. http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Tyler Palko (4) of the Kansas City Chiefs gets ready to hand the off the football to teammate Thomas Jones (20) during a NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 18, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 48-3 . Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images …..

(2) Jahvid Best (44) of the Detroit Lions leaps into the end zone for a touch down against the Kansas City Chiefs during a NFL game at Ford Field on September 18, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 48-3 . Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images ……..

(3) Pittsburgh Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley covers Seattle Seahawks receiver Zach Miller (86) on an incomplete pass from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. The Steelers won 24-0 . Getty Images / Gene J. Puskar …..

(4) Hines Ward (86) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is flipped over Walter Thurmond (28) of the Seattle Seahawks after catching a pass in the first half during the game on September 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……

(5) BUFFALO, NY – SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills would go on to defeat the Raiders 38-35 . Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images ……

(6) Michael Bush (29) of the Oakland Raiders is tackles after rushing for a gain during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images …….

(7) Chase Utley (26) of the Philadelphia Phillies gets a base hit against the St Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park on September 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 5-0 , however the Phillies having clinched the AL East is now assured a berth in the playoffs . Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images …..

(8) Detroit Tigers’ Ramon Santiago, left, tags out the Oakland Athletics’ Scott Sizemore on a steal-attempt in the first inning of an MLB baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. The Tigers would go on to defeat the A’s 3-0 AP Photo/Dino Vournas ……

(9) Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum on September 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Tony Medina/Getty Images ……

(10) Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated after the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 3-0 at Oakland Coliseum on September 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Tony Medina/Getty Images …….

(11) Floyd Mayweather (R) slams a left to the head of WBC Welterweight champion Victor Ortiz in the 3rd round during their fight on September 17, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz in the fourth round to win the WBC Welterweight title. AFP PHOTO/ JOHN GURZINSKI / Getty Images …….

(12) WBC Welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (L) falls towards the canvas after being hit with a right from Floyd Mayweather in the 4th ending the fight on September 17, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz to win the WBC Welterweight title. Referee Joe Cortez looks on as the knockdown takes place . TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO/JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images ……

(13) Referee Joe Cortez counts out WBC Welterweight champion Victor Ortiz as he tries to get up from the canvas after being knocked out in the fourth round after being hit with a right from Floyd Mayweather in the 4th ending the fight on September 17, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz to win the WBC Welterweight title. TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO/JOHN GURZINSKI ……

(14) Argument: Mayweather with HBO anchor Larry Merchant, who hit out over the boxer’s dirty tactics. HBO boxing commentator and analyst is seen here alongside newly crowned WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather. The two individuals had a very heated and profanity laced exchange during their televised post fight interview . courtesy of Youtube & Daily Mail UK . ……..
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Be Scared, Be Very Scared …. We’re Not Alone …….The NFL Is Now Very Much Alive And Kicking

Be Scared, Be Very Scared …. We’re Not Alone …….The NFL Is Now Very Much Alive And Kicking

Well now that the idiocy of the NFL labor dispute has ended not unlike the actions of the sitting Congress and Senate I am beginning to wonder what’s next on the agenda . As we have seen the moves made by the teams have left a number of fans with feeling bewildered and at the same time surprised . With Randy Moss not being picked up by a franchise the erstwhile veteran wide receiver announced his retirement from the NFL . The thirteen year pro now rides off into the sunset as one of the best wide receivers to have ever played the game . A bona fide certainty for the Hall of Fame will be adjudged by those who deem it fitting to have the player enshrined in Canton , Ohio.

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If anything Randy Moss will now devote most of his time to business ventures outside the game , from his charitable foundation to other entrepreneurial deals. The player an avid NASCAR fan has a truck operation running in the lower tiered NASCAR Truck Series under his Randy Moss Racing motif . Unlike his contemporary Brett Favre I do believe that the player has walked away from the game for good , albeit there are a number of analysts who believe that a team will somehow call the player to gauge his interest in returning to the game.

Now there’s no denying that the upcoming season will be an intriguing one in more ways than we can all imagine. League wise and certainly from a standpoint there are number of teams that will be looking to acquit themselves well . Perhaps none more so than the Carolina Panthers after their disastrous sojourn during 2010 and coming off a 2-14 record . With the departure of John Fox who’s now the coach of the Denver Broncos the organization hired Ron Rivera as Fox’s successor .

The Carolina Panthers come into the season having drafted Cam Newton as the overall number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft . The Panthers for their part have tried to retain the core of last year’s team but they have made moves in light of pursuing free agents and meeting their obligations to signing their draft picks . As to whether or not Cam Newton’s college game transfers itself well to the NFL remains to be seen . The knock against him may well be his maturity but there’s no denying that he has the athletic ability to make it in the professional ranks . But the caveat to my mind as an example will be the missteps of JaMarcus Russell and Vince Young . All the athletic ability in the world but their football IQ ranks alongside that of a mentally challenged individual .

If ever there was a organization whose window of opportunity over the last few years has diminished greatly then it would certainly have to be that of the San Diego Chargers . This team has lived solely on the shoulders of Philip Rivers alone and as good as he has been I certainly now believe that the team now has to step up to the plate and really make some noise . And for coach Norv Turner and his staff this may well be the last chance he has because I firmly believe that should the Chargers once again fall short then GM AJ Smith and team owner Dean Spanos will not have a choice but fire Turner and the entire coaching staff . For far too long Turner has simply been riding and living by achievements of Jimmy Johnson for whom he served as a coordinator during during the glory years of the Dallas Cowboys under Johnson’s tenure as the team’s coach. I have still yet to understand when a vacant position was up for grabs in the NFL somehow Norv Turner’s name would be mentioned as a viable candidate. Turner’s greatest strengths to my mind are that he has always been a very good offensive coordinator. As an NFL head coach I think that the praise heaped upon him has been needlessly exaggerated ! He’s good but not that good !

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San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner, left, smiles as he talks with quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during practice at their NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 30, 2011, in San Diego, Calif. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

The loss of LaDanian Tomlinson though thought not to be profound may well have been the one thing shaped the persona of the team but its free fall I firmly believe affected this organization far more than some are readily willing to admit . Last season Phillip Rivers put some stellar numbers that placed amongst the “> upper echelons of the NFL quarterbacks playing in the league. Last season’s top performing offense was exemplary and it simply showed why they were so prolific . In all facets of the offense the Chargers were up to the task but their passing and game was really in essence the thing that set them apart from their peers .

Now it goes without saying that a team that cannot overcome injuries and the very fact that its roster then the their failings will be manifested greatly . The Chargers suffered with these issues and many more during this past season and it’s thought with the draft picks made they should be able to overcome those worries . AJ Smith along with the coaching staff have been fortunate over the years that they have had their successes in the draft but also along with that have come some failures .

Inasmuch as this will be a make or break season for the San Diego Chargers it will be interesting to see how productive their young rookies and sophomore players will be interesting to see what contributions will be made by Corey Liguet , Marcus Gilchrist , Jonas Mouton and Vincent Brown amongst the players in this past NFL Draft.

The AFC West as a division should be very interesting with the likes of the Oakland Raiders , Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers all vying for supremacy within that particular standing. And for each of the coaches Hu Jackson , John Fox and Todd Haley along with Norv Turner , all looking to prove their worth amongst their peers as well as the fans. It may well be that the determining factor will be down to experience and the bravado shown by the coaches in question.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The past two seasons for the San Diego Chargers we’ve seen the team invariably come up short . And with there now being concerns to their impending future this has to be a make or break season for the organization. Anything short of playoff berth and at least the conference championship will have to be deemed a failure. To those who would suggest to the contrary obviously are not really aware of the mindset the real issues that Dean Spanos and the organization now faces off the field apart from the frailties shown by the team competitively on it . It’s now or never for the Chargers as it will be for the other 31 teams in the NFL . And interestingly enough I can’t help but wonder what is now going on inside the minds of the coaches and the respective general managers around the league as they embark on this season

What thoughts if any do you have on the various points raised within the piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your opinions and as always thanks for the continued support !

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – OCTOBER 7: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss answers questions from the media during a press conference at Winter Park on October 7, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images…

(2) Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera smiles during practice at the NFL football team’s training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ….

(3) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) talks to receivers Brandon LaFell (11) and Gary Barnidge (82) during practice at NFL football training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(4) In this July 30, 2011 photo Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton (1) walks to the field with teammate DeAngelo Williams (34) at the NFL football team’s training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. Williams saw something changing at Carolina that made him want to be part of the Panthers. “‘It is what it is,’ is n more,” said Williams, mimicking one of ex-coach John Fox’s favorite sayings. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(5) San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner talks to the team during NFL football training camp in San Diego, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …..

(6) San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner, left, smiles as he talks with quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during practice at their NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 30, 2011, in San Diego, Calif. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

(7) San Diego Chargers running back Isaac Odim (41) runs a play during the second day of the NFL football team’s training camp in San Diego, Friday, July 29, 2011. AP Photo/Denis Poroy ……

(8) San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky runs a drill during the second day of their NFL training camp in San Diego, Friday, July 29, 2011. AP Photo/Denis Poroy ……

(9) San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, foreground, works out during the first day of NFL football training camp in San Diego, Thursday, July 28, 2011. AP Photo/Chris Carlson ……

(10) From left, San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, president Dean Spanos, Liuget, first round draft choice Corey Liuget, from the University of Illinois, and coach Norv Turner. pose at a news conference Friday, April 29, 2011 in San Diego. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi ……
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It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !

It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………….. Triumph Or Go Home !

The wildcard rounds of the playoffs begin this weekend and with a number of games set to get the fans salivating at their outcome . No game might be more intriguing than the NFC match-up that pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the Green Bay Packers . To my mind these are two evenly matched teams that are well coached by Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy respectively. Furthermore even with the advent of the play of Michael Vick I for one don’t believe this is by any means a foregone conclusion ! There’s enough here to suggest even with their records and play late in the season this game could go either way just like the flip of a coin.

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As good as Michael Vick has been playing, his counterpart Aaron Rodgers in spite of his injuries appears to be as tough as they come and willing to do battle in order for the Packers to win. And not only that it’d appear that the Lambeau faithful have taken Rodgers to their heart while onetime hero Brett Favre now remains a distant memory. He may well be still beloved in certain parts of Green Bay but I’m not so sure that holds through for the entire state of Wisconsin much less the rest of the country. This Packers’ team has shown a great deal of resiliency in spite of repeated adversity and when many may well have felt all was lost , they’ve risen to the challenge and this may well be one of the reasons why they could upset the apple cart as far as this match-up is concerned .

Defensively at times both teams have struggled but the Packers might well have the edge in that department . Where the advantage lies is in the fact that McCarthy’s coaching staff will have to deal with the mercurial and enigmatic play of Michael Vick . And as we know given his play this season a game can be turned at the drop of a hat. And I’ve no doubt that both defenses will be rigorously tested by the respective offenses at game time. This may well also become a game of attrition if neither side can find an opening but if it isn’t, then look for it to be something of a one sided affair with the winner showing the tenacity needed to seek out a win.

While many of us will have no doubt question the merits of a 7-9 team making the playoffs the Seattle Seahaws as winners of the NFC West are now there by right. And given what we’ve come to expect from that division within recent years I’m not entirely surprised. Sadly this is now what the league and to an essence the competitiveness of that division has now become where mediocrity is immediately rewarded rather than substance. How else can you explain when teams such as the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with better records but failed to make the playoffs ?

The Seahawks will have the privilege of hosting Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this weekend and it remains to be seen whether or not the reigning Superbowl champions have overcome their recent slump of late. Both teams come into the postseason with a great deal to prove …….. the Saints in proving that they’re worthy champions and looking to make a successful defense of their title . Whereas Pete Carrolls’ team is simply looking for respect and a chance to upset the apple cart .

This game will certainly down to as the stealth of the Saints’ potent offense and how good this Seahawks’ defense is presumed to be. And given what we’ve seen from that defense this season they will have to be at the very top of their game . Having been ranked in the lower echelons of all of the defensive categories this season it remains to be seen whether not they will be able to counter act whatever the New Orleans Saints will be able to throw at them . What the Seahawks will have to their distinct advantage will be a home crowd of raucous fans at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington who will essence become the team’s twelfth man. If Matt Hasselbeck can rise to the occasion and lead this Seahawks’ team with any semblance of competitive instinct then this game could be a great deal closer than most would expect it to be . Discerning a victor from the midst of this all will come down to who has the greater appetite for the win.

With all of the off the field antics and some might say the overbearing personality of the New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan one can’t help but wonder what the coach will do next. Apart from one time proclaiming the Jets the best team in the league this season Ryan has repeatedly put his foot in his mouth with some of his rather outrageous statements. Needless to say fans far and wide have either ridiculed the coach or supported his claims in part. Now comes crunch time for the team as they meet the Indianapolis Colts in a highly anticipated game that’s a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game .

Ryan and his team are certainly looking for redemption and the same can be said too for the Peyton Manning led Colts after their immense letdown in last season’s Superbowl against the New Orleans Saints . Many believed that the Indianapolis Colts would have the better of that Saints’ team on the day but that was clearly not the case as the defense of the Colts was exposed as flawed and extremely slow. Brees simply shredded that team almost at will and nothing could hide the disappointment from Manning’s face at the end of the day. To top it all off we then had the rather asinine claim by Colts’ GM Bill Polian that the reason for the team’s loss was the fact that the offensive line didn’t play well. This was a collective loss on all parts as the Colts were simply outplayed in every facet of the game and nothing can hide that fact not even the infantile rants of the team’s general manager.

It will be interesting to see how this Jets’ defense measures up against the Colts’ offense and how in fact they’re able to deal with Peyton Manning . One thing is sure this game won’t be short on drama whichever way you look at it and if Mark Sanchez is keen to prove that last season’s form was no fluke then now will be the time for him to prove that fact. As he goes so does this team and if he’s not performing at the highest caliber then the Jets’ postseason ambitions could come to an abrupt end once again at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.

In this season of surprises within the NFL perhaps none could have been more of a surprise than the turnaround initiated by Todd Haley and the coaching staff of the Kansas City Chiefs . Having handily won the AFC West where many had expected to make the San Diego Chargers to make their normal late season charge the Chiefs simply held on whereas the Chargers fell by the wayside . Can someone please remind the Chargers that the NFL season is one played of sixteen games and not eight or nine as they and their fans have now come to expect ? Sooner or later it had to catch up with them and it’s safe to say that even with the exploits of Philip Rivers this season way too much was being asked of the player to lead this team into the postseason.

The Chiefs will have the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Ravens and somehow I get the feeling that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed of this Ravens’ team will be baying for blood as they look to seperate Matt Cassel’s head from his shoulders . I’m not suggesting that this won’t be a baptism of fire for this Chiefs’ team but I just hope that there are several fire engines and marshals in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium once this game begins. There’s liable to so much heat brought to this party by the Ravens that I’m not too sure that the Chiefs might be able to withstand the onslaught.

On the flip side of this , the Chiefs offense led by Cassel has a number of offensive weapons that could waylay the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s team. Thomas Jones , Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are liable to give the Ravens’ defense all that they can handle if they’re left to their own devices as they’ve become the main threats on offense this season for the Kansas City Chiefs. And the trio are one the main reasons behind the success of the franchise this season in convergence with the team acquiring both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to take over the coaching responsibilities of the offense and defense respectively. If the Chiefs are to endure then it will come down to the coaching strategies put into place by Haley and his staff and how his team goes about executing that plan.

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Picture gallery by clicking on each individual frame you can a picture in its originally
formatted size.

What thoughts if any do have with regard to the wildcard round of the playoffs and which game do you anticipate will be the most entertaining to watch ? Simply chime in with a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

NB : Click on the link shown to view the latest news in the NFL .

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Teams receiving a bye are the New England Patriots , Pittsburgh Steelers , Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………….

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Continue reading “It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !”

NFL Season At A Glance ……………….

NFL Season At A Glance ……………….

The NFL —– season has been one of surprises and a great deal of disappointment and if anything the off the field stories have been just as suspenseful as the intrigue on the field. Brett Favre’s downward spiral into mediocrity has been one big hoop-lah after the other. And it would appear that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would rather suborn the player’s behavior and hide behind the fact that quite possibly Favre’s imminent retirement will circumvent him having to suspend the player if his verdict is in fact a positive one that finds the player guilty any wrongdoing in his alleged sexual misconduct concerning a former New York Jets’ employee.

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Slide show for your perusal

On the field we’ve seen the fall from grace of the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys the presumptive favorites to make it to this season’s NFC championship game. And as much as I’d like to say that it all came as a surprise to me but in reality nothing pleased me more than seeing both of these over hyped and underachieving teams fall like a lead balloon. Foolhardy management, inadequate coaching and players who simply were complacent essentially played a part in the soap opera that has encapsulated both teams’ season. For owners Jerry Jones and Zygi Wilf they’ve seen their year fall apart and that of any ambition they had professionally as well as from a financial standpoint. In Wilf’s case it was also the prospect of having the upper hand in terms of persuading the state legislature in their upcoming vote for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. Jerry Jones’ ambition of not only hosting the Superbowl as the NFC representative has been shot to hell .

Coaching changes are abound with two firings have taken place Wade Philips , Brad Childress and it’s clear that with the Cincinnati Bengals —– Marvin Lewis choosing not to return to the team next season we may well be in for a slew of coaching upheavals with there being speculation as to whether or not the likes of Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy will be making a return to the NFL. They are viewed as the top three desirable coaching free agents on the market and it’d be asinine to think that a number of teams around the NFL won’t offer the trio an interview for any vacancy that may well arise.

Now while a number of teams are now in the mix for a playoff spot as well as those divisional titles that have yet to be settled . It goes without saying that for those teams who could end up playing spoiler and put an end of those postseason desirables. In the AFC West where I’ve always maintained that the football being played there borders on being mediocre, I’m still at a loss to understand the explanation and excitement that’s foisted upon the San Diego Chargers because they go on late regular season run as they strive to make the playoffs. For me if you simply can’t be consistent throughout the season then it simply doesn’t augur well for any ambition that they might have as the month of December and January approaches . As it is Norv Turner’s —- team is now in the fight of their life just to win their division and perhaps gain a postseason berth in the playoffs as a wild-card entrant. The division is now simply the Kansas City Chiefs to lose and as I alluded to earlier with the ineptitude being shown as to the form within the division just about anything can happen and actually has happened during the course of the season.

The NFC West has been no different as there we could well see a division winner with a sub .500 record make the playoffs. Clearly there are many fans in general, as well several team executives who feel that this is something that shows why many feel that they’re ought to be a change in the playoff format as it relates to the postseason seedings. But with there being no outwardly directly calls vocally as of yet other than the murmured rumblings for the moment the format is unlikely to change.

Steve Spagnuolo’s —- St Louis Rams appear to be in the driver’s seat with regard to the NFC West and their game against the San Francisco 49ers being a titanic matchup of two teams looking to make their bid. Guided by Sam Bradford , the Rams could be the surprise team of the playoffs as no one could’ve foreseen the strides taken not only by the team but also by Bradford in his rookie season . In terms of the 49ers this has been something of a tumultuous season as from one moment to the next Mike Singletary seems to have lost control of this team . And it would appear that he can’t make up his mind as which quarterback is his best option to lead this team. Alex Smith still remains an enigma despite his five years in the league and with Troy Smith this season has simply seen him placed into his cauldron for his baptism of fire with the 49ers .

The AFC and for all of the drama that has taken place there it seems that Bill Belichick has the New England Patriots riding high and Tom Brady would appear to be now the odds on favorite this season for league MVP. Brady’s year has been an exceptional one with this high scoring offense and a plethora of offensive weapons . But if there’s a cause for concern then it has to be this young defense that has been somewhat inconsistent but then at times they give you a snap as to what they might be potentially by showing their athleticism .

The AFC South now seems to be up for grabs and it appears that the Jacksonville Jaguars may well have played themselves out of contention for the division. A week ago you’d have been hard pressed to have bet against the Jaguars but it now appears that Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts led by Peyton Manning are is in a fight to make this division theirs once again. The Houston Texans who came out of the starting gates like a stallion seems to have fallen off the track and it now looks as if Gary Kubiak’s tenure as the team’s coach could very well be coming to an abrupt end. With that type of high powered offense it’s easy to see the appetite that the analysts may well have had for the team . But offense alone simply doesn’t win games the Texans’ defense this season has been as porous as a sponge giving up points like a child gives up his or her lunch money having been bullied by an elder child. Let’s just say that the Texans have been extremely philanthropic when it comes to losing.

The Jacksonville Jaguars should they fall at this obstacle it’s hard to see how these players and in particular Jack Del Rio can look the the fans in the eye and state they tried their best. Their best has never and was never good enough , enough it was marginally above average , if that at all !

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Now while many have made the comment that the Cleveland Browns have finally began to show some signs of life playing with a great deal of bravura it has to be said their divisional rivals the Cincinnati Bengals have been an immense disappointment . And despite the outward looking optimism shown by some team members Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer have shown little to suggest that they have what it takes to lead this team. The only positive to come out of this all may well have been the play of Terrell Owens who seems to have had a year that shows that he’s got a great deal to play for. Beyond that trying to salvage anything from this mess would be like shoveling manure and then suggesting that some real use can be made of it when you know that the flowers in a garden that have already blossomed.

As to what the remainder of the season portends for the NFL and these teams it remains to be seen what will transpire. But this much is certain with all of the drama that has taken place both on and off the field we do still have the intensity and the thrill of the postseason yet to avail itself to us. Make of it what you will . What thoughts if any do you have as to what you’ve witnessed this season within the NFL and what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the playoffs ?

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

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Laura-XXL Magazine

Eye candy …………….. Laura looking chivalrous, something to get your appetite up and running.

Dumb A_s ! Dumb A_s ! Dumb A_s !

The NFL evidently prides itself upon the image portrayed, in particular by its members. And that no doubt constitutes all of its staff. From its executives on down, through its owners and players. Which begs the question what sort of an a_shole must you be when you can act like a fool and denigrate not only the organization you’re employed by but also a certain group of individuals and think that you can get away with such behavior ? The reason I state this , is because of the recent incident concerning the Kansas City Chiefs’ Larry Johnson.

Chiefs'  running  back  Larry  Johnson  seen  here  in a  September  20th   picture   during  the    fourth  quarter of  an  NFL   game   played  against the  Oakland  Raiders   at  Arrowhead  Stadium  in   Kansas   City  , Mo.,   The  player   was   suspended   by   the   organization    after   his   criticism  of  them  as  well  as  some   disparaging   remarks   made   about  the   gay  community.   The   player  has  since  offered  an  apology  and   has  stated  that  he  will   contest   his  suspension  by  lodging   a  complaint with  the NFLPA  .   The   suspension  is   meted   out  by the  Chiefs  is  on  a  week  to   week  basis   at  the   franchise's    behest.   He's to  have   no   contact  with the  team   by  way  of   practice  or  other   activities  deemed   conducive   to  the   team  and   its  community obligations.    picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Charlie   Riedel   .......................

Chiefs’ running back Larry Johnson seen here on the sidelines in an NFL game played against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri,. The player was suspended by the organization after his criticism of them and some disparaging remarks made about the gay community. He has since apologized for those remarks but the franchise hasn’t not agreed to rescind the suspension. Johnson intends to lodge an appeal to the NFL and will seek representation through the NFLPA. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Charlie Riedel …………

The hapless Chiefs, under first year coach , Todd Haley, is going through a tough time in the NFL and in particular within the AFC West. Never mind the fact that at (1-6) within their conference, they stand at the bottom of their division looking up at the likes of the Oakland Raiders (2-5),San Diego Chargers (3-3) and the unbeaten Denver Broncos (6-0).

Beleaguered   first  year  coach ,  Todd Haley  of   the  Kansas City  Chiefs  seen  here  on  the   sidelines   of  a  game   against  their   divisional  rivals the  San Diego  Chargers.    The   Chiefs would   go  on  to  lose  the  game  in  a   lopsided   blowout  37-7   to  the  Chargers   .   The  team   has   a  record  of   (1-6)   in  the NFL  and  sit  afoot of   the  AFC  West  Division.     picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/ Ed  Zurga  .....................

Beleaguered first year coach , Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs seen here on the sidelines of a game against their divisional rivals the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs would go on to lose the game in a lopsided blowout 37-7 to the Chargers. The team has a record of (1-6) in the NFL and sits afoot of the AFC Western Division. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Ed Zurga ……………

Courtesy of NFL.com Wire Reports;

Chiefs give two-week suspension to RB Johnson, who plans appeal

From NFL.com Wire Reports

Running back Larry Johnson, who used a gay slur twice within a 24-hour period and has a history of poor behavior, received what amounts to a one-game suspension from the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday night.

In a three-sentence release, the Chiefs said Johnson would be suspended from the team until Monday, Nov. 9. The Chiefs are on their bye week and will not play again until traveling to Jacksonville for a Nov. 8 game against the Jaguars.

The Chiefs had been saying for three days that they were “investigating” the situation. Johnson was told to stay away from the team Tuesday.

Peter Schaffer, Johnson’s agent, told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora that he already has been in contact with union officials and will appeal the suspension. Schaffer is hoping for a ruling from an independent arbitrator in the matter before Johnson, who stands to lose two paychecks (or roughly $560,000), would miss any playing time.

Schaffer contends that this suspension is “unwarranted under the circumstances” and said Johnson doesn’t want to miss any playing time. Schaffer also noted that Johnson already had issued a public apology before the suspension was issued and said “we respect the Chiefs’ right” to impose discipline, but “we disagree that the Chiefs’ proposed penalty is warranted by Larry’s actions.”

Ultimately, the Chiefs could elect to release Johnson, who’s averaging just 2.7 yards per carry this season. His $4.5 million salary for this season is guaranteed, but he’s set to make $5 million next season, not including a $2 million roster bonus. That likely means Johnson isn’t in the Chiefs’ long-term plans.

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Here an ESPN profile on NFLPA Executive Director , DeMaurice Smith. The expose’ was seen on the network’s magazine program ‘Outside The Lines’.

To say that this team is like a ship adrift at sea, aimlessly heading nowhere, would be a vast understatement to say the very least. Almost at will, this team has no semblance of defense, or offense, on either side of the ball. And even though the form once of expected of quarterback, Matt Cassel , has yet to be seen and the team still continues to struggle. Johnson, for his part hasn’t proven to be productive and as alluded to earlier , he has derided the organization , the coach and seemingly made an antagonistic and needless remark about the gay community. And all under the pretense of supposedly as an act of anger ? Or if the truth be told , the player actually wants out of Kansas ? Well if this is what it takes , he may not get his wish but more likely than not a suspension awaits and quite possibly a league reprimand and further punishment at the behest of league commissioner , Roger Goodell.

It’s often at times like this I begin to wonder if the NFLPA under its Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith , is entirely at all concerned with the conduct or behavior of his members ? Or is his primary concern more to do with the renegotiating of the collective bargaining agreement and the amount of money that the union can attain from the NFL by way of that agreement ? He’s had very little say about his members’ behavior. Especially, in light of them having transgressed the laws of the land. Never mind the only time he has shown any concern , is when he believes that the commissioner has overstepped his boundaries with regard to meting out punishment that he deems fit to players – when they’re in clear dereliction of the NFL’s personal conduct rule as it applies not only to the game but also with to the image of the NFL.

NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell seen  here  addressing   members  of   the  press  at   a  news  conference   in  Tampa , Florida ,.    Both  Goodell  and   DeMaurice  Smith  of  the  NFLPA are   due  to  address    the   Senate   Judiciary  Committee  on health    related  issues  concerning   concussions  suffered   by    players  in  the  NFL .  There  may  well  be  a  great deal  of  posturing  and contentiousness   from   Goodell  and   Smith  when  they  address   the  Senate  Committee.    As  neither   party  wants  to  accept  any  responsibility   concerning  this   very   delicate   issue .       picture  appears  courtesy  of   reuters  / Jeffrey   Haynes   .....................

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seen here addressing members of the press at a news conference in Tampa , Florida ,. Both Goodell and DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA are due to address the Senate Judiciary Committee on health related issues concerning concussions suffered by players, current and former – in the NFL . There may well be a great deal of posturing and contentiousness from Goodell and Smith when they address the Senate Committee. As neither party wants to accept any responsibility concerning this very delicate issue . picture appears courtesy of reuters / Jeffrey Haynes …………

It’s obvious that the NFLPA and the game’s hierarchy are on a collision course in more ways than one. In the eyes of Smith it won’t be only about the collection bargaining agreement but also what he believes to be Goodell’s autocratic rule as he deems when it comes to dealing with player suspensions and the airing of their grievances by way of an appeal. Granted , some of Smith’s claims may well be justified but he, himself , has done very little to rein in the conduct of his players by way of meeting the situation head on and addressing the issue. It’s as if, his making a public statement merely adds window dressing to the issue by showing trite concern for the issue and the image of his members. What’s more it gives the appearance that he condones their very behavior by way of not acting in a proactive manner. Sadly enough, these players don’t want to be held accountable for their actions in any shape or form ! And they merely think that by offering a trite and meaningless apology , it will be enough to address the issue. As is the case now, with the Chiefs’ Larry Johnson , after his disparaging remarks about the gay community and the Chiefs’ organization.

Whatever is left to be said can be best summed up in six meaningful words to my mind ! And that is that is ” Larry Johnson is a dumb ass ” ! Dumb ass , dumb ass , dumb ass ! Need I say anything more on the subject ?