It’s Never Too Late ……………

It’s Never Too Late ……..

There’s been a lull on the sports horizon and very little of late that has been happening . It was however sad to hear and read about the death of Hall of Famer John Mackey . The 69 year old died in his sleep at an assisted living facility during which he suffered many ailments such as dementia , epileptic seizures and the early stages of Alzheimers but the troubling thing related to Mackey’s untimely demise is the mere fact that this former NFLPA President saw that the NFL has done little to assist former players with aid benefits . John Mackey a prodigious and productive player over the course of his career but the sadness in his passing should be something that the NFL can perhaps learn from.

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And as saddening as it was to heat of John Mackey’s passing , consider this concerning what can be described as part of the former of NFL player’s last moments on the earth . He had to have constant around the clock assistance as he has lost many of motor neuron skills , a colostomy bag was part of the player’s regimen as he was unable use a restroom under his own volition . Unable to care for himself with a sense of dignity this was how this former NFL player spent his final days on this earth , not quite in a place of degradation but it was simply has to be humiliating to know that this simply is an untold story that seems to another episode that the NFL would rather not let the world actually have an eye on . The underbelly and the dark side of what happens to many of the players that sacrificed so much for their love of the game and with a view to finding success and fame. In retirement we are under the impression that many of the players from Mackey’s generation and prior have all the means where they will be able to take care of themselves with all of the amenities one would deem available to them . But that was certainly not the case and it would now appear for many of his contemporaries from the era he played in a similar position .

We are constantly bombarded with the message that the NFL cares about its own but in reality how true is that to begin with ? Far too many players are actually falling through the cracks when it comes to the so called care that’s said to be provided by the NFL and in particular by the players’ own union the NFLPA . And inasmuch as the alleged assistance that was being provided to the player at the time of his death in terms of benefits to assist him in his time of need , so much more could have been done to assist Mackey and many of his kind who are suffering

The sad part to this all is that while the NFL labor stoppage now in its 116th day very little has been mentioned as what the league’s intent will be with regard to retired veterans and how they will be assisted . More we have been led to believe as part of these labor negotiations has been to do with how the league heirarchy and the NFLPA will split their $9 billion revenue stream . DeMaurice Smith as Executive Director of the NFLPA much like his predecessor Gene Upshaw has said little about the issue of current veterans as to their benefits . And though Mackey died in an assisting living facility what might be even more surprising was the mere fact that the former NFL great’s benefits were actually cut to such an extent that it seems inconceivable that the league now feels that is doing more now than ever before in providing assistance for their former now retired members . If that is the case then perhaps they can somehow explain why it was that former Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Webster and Dave Duerson died under such degrading circumstances ? This player part of the Steelers’ Iron Curtain and was a man of honor but his death was in such a stark contrast to what his career was said to be all about. We know that his story has been well chronicled , bouts of alcoholism , depression but again Smith suffered from chronic headaches all due to his career in the NFL .

Throughout the course of his career Mike Webster is said to have suffered as many as a dozen game concussions over the course of his career through much of which the medical observations and advice given to the player was extremely poor. And granted the NFL has progressed a great deal in the years since Webster retired from the game with regard to information and research that the medical establishment has provided from their research into the cause and effect of concussions and head traumas. It hasn’t been the NFL that has actually laid the groundwork in this research but academia and in particular such noted colleges of medicine such Boston University School of Medicine & Neuro Sciences , Harvard School of Medicine & Neurology , Stanford School of Medicine & Neurology as well as the AMA’s own conclusive and incisive research. That being said it has been the NFL’s reluctance even with their own medical counsel who have simply said to the contrary that there was no discerning cause and effect with regard head trauma , concussions and the debiliatating maladies suffered by the players in the aftermath of their retirement from the NFL . Dave Duerson suffered from extreme bouts of depression having suffered multiple concussions over the course of his career but the sadness under circumstances that led to the player taking his own life cannot simply be misplaced as another act of another suicide. There has to be a real reason behind these cases and much of that can be related to the mere fact that the NFL itself has not been there to meet the needs of the retired players.

As I alluded to earlier with Mike Webster’s death came as a shock to many but the conditions surrounding his death are so inconceivable and beyond belief. We know that the player had fallen on hard times that he sought help but little had been forthcoming from the NFLPA and was beyond comprehension to believe that here was a real giant of the game who at the time of his death lived in squalor , suffered with dementia , bouts of severe depression. But what could be even more troubling was the fact that Mike Webster with his medical issues died under such dire circumstances where at times he would defecate and urinate on himself while trying to hold a normal conversation with family members or friends.I am not so sure that in the midst of this all the NFL fully understands the serious ramifications from the course of action that it has failed to take over the years.

I find it rather ironic however that players such as NFLPA President Kevin Mawae and Drew Brees now suggest that this lockout has more to do with asssisting the retired and veteran players than it has to do with dealing with a mere labor issue. Perhaps I’m mistaken but this discussion rarely comes up over the course of their negotiations or the formal statements made to the print and television media . It could well now be that the NFLPA much like the league hierarchy are now seeking to curry favor by seeking the public’s sympathy in the ongoing charade. This has never been a labor dispute in the true sense of the word because it has been in fact merely been about money and how best each side can try to outdo each other while simply not losing face in the eyes of the onlooking public ! It may well be too little too late at the end of the day as it appears that now more than ever before so many former NFL players are living in suffering in such dire circumstances and many of whom may well die in such in such abject squalor or perhaps in other such conditions beyond their control .

In the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement from the Arizona Cardinals it was apparent that the organization would face an uphill battle trying to remain relevant within the league . And for head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his coaches this past season”> season was a trying time for the fans , the team and in particular the Bidwill family as owners of the team.

Given the fact that the team having drafted Matt Leinart his lack of candor and command in learning the nuances of being a quarterback in the NFL . It is extremely understandable to see the reason why this team has failed so miserably in the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement . Leinart with having a heralded career with USC at the collegiate level he has completely failed to live up to the percieved hype that would suggest that he had the makings of a NFL caliber quarterback. His career in the NFL so far can be best described as mediocre for want of a better word !

Coming off a 5-11 season within the NFC West season where the team simply underperformed . Much of that came down to the fact that there simply wasn’t a quarterback on this roster that good enough to command with the respect of the team much less play with any degree of consistency. You cannot imply to me that the likes of Max Hall , Derek Anderson , John Skelton or Richard Bartel are what the coaches of this organization now have the belief in guiding them to the promise land less and a legitimate shot at the Superbowl ! There’s more chance to be had with Andre Bocelli spending a night of passionate unadulterated sex with several porn stars than the premise of seeing that trio of quarterbacks actually leading the Cardinals to a winning season much less raising the Lombardi Trophy in triumph !

From an offensive standpoint the Cardinals are quite an attractive team but without a signal caller of confidence and the ability to lead they will continue to come up short . It would be pretty safe to say that Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the league and certainly noteworthy enough to be considered amongst the top five overall ! But the real problem has that has simply bedeviled this team over the past season has simply been not being able to close out games with authority when they have their opponents on the ropes . This above anything else has to have been truly worrisome for Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff .

This upcoming season it will be very interesting to see whether or not the Arizona Cardinals can acquit themselves with any real degree of authority and simply be considered contenders within the NFC West and the conference overall . They’ve shown signs defensively that they’ve made some progression but clearly there has to be a great deal more consistency on both sides of the ball from this team !

One of the most pressing issues for the Cardinals also will be to quell the rise in discontent with Larry Fitzgerald as the player is now said to be genuinely dissatisfied with the direction that the organization is said to be apparently going in. It is abundantly clear that this organization can ill afford to lose a player of Fitzgerald’s caliber and simply become an also ran amongst the ranks of the NFC . And that is something that clearly Rod Graves as the team’s general manager or members of the Bidwill family would like to see isa disgruntled star player looking for a trade . But let’s face facts here if this team can’t take care of business this season then in all certainty Fitzgerald will want out ………. no matter what !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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(1) John Mackey, left, and Ralph Wenzel were both on the San Diego Chargers in 1972, but have no memory of playing together. Courtesy of The New York Times /Brendan Smialowski ….

(2) John Mackey, left, seen here some five years prior to his death with his rings from Super Bowl V and the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and Ralph Wenzel at the Annapolitan Assisted Living Community in Annapolis Maryland. Mr. Mackey, 65, and Mr. Wenzel, 64, both have dementia. Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times ……..

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

(4) Webster and Bradsahaw seen here in Cantion , Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame . AP Photo/archives …

(5) First round draft pick, Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals speaks during a press conference at the team’s training center auditorium on April 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. Getty Images / Christian Petersen ……

(6) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) catches an 11-yard touchdown in front of San Francisco 49ers safety Reggie Smith (30) in the second quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Cardinals would go on to lose the game 38-7 to the San Francisco 49ers . AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

(7) San Francisco 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson (99) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton in the first quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. San Francisco 49ers corner-back Shawntae Spencer was also credited on the sack. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(8) (L-R) Quarterbacks Matt Leinart (7) left and Kurt Warner (13) of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after winning the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 32-25 to advance to the Super Bowl. Getty Images North America /Jamie Squires ……
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NFL News

Arizona Cardinals news

The BCS Stands For What ……….. ? ? ?

The BCS Stands For What ………… ? ? ?

It’s here, it’s now for all the marbles and I though I must say it I’ve not been overly enamored with what I’ve seen throughout the Bowl Series within collegiate football. Perhaps from a standpoint that I’m amongst a growing group I believe who would desire to see a playoff system within college football. Having the coaches , the press and a back room filled with computer geeks summarily in part make the decision as to who may end up playing in the national championship game does smack of idiocy to begin with. Never mind that the lesser games with their rather superfluous names make about as much sense as having the choice being made by a group of blind people simply using a pin and having the teams’ names being listed on a piece of paper. The whole BCS Championship series is simply nothing more than a money making exercise and that’s simply it. The six major conferences ( ACC , Big 10 , Big 12 , Big East , Pac 10 and SEC) that in essence oversees this rather corrupt system if anything ought to be thankful that they’re allowed to keep up this charade.

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While there’s been repeated criticism by members of Congress as to the way that teams are determined and the template put in motion is something of a joke. Any member of Congress wishing to address this situation given the fact that the BCS system has its supporters and detractors within that body smacks of idiocy to begin . Were you aware that the BCS Championship series has its own body of lobbyists up on Capitol Hill in Washington DC in order to safeguard its very existence ? The tax advantages to be attained by the NCAA as well as the BCS as a body and one can see why there’s billions of dollars to be made by both of these bodies who as such state that the interests of the student athletes at heart. Yeah I’ve heard it said also that’s the same belief held by the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia as they simply flood this country with their drugs. So what’s the difference between the BCS , NCAA and the drug cartels of Colombia ? Oh so it’s illegal to smuggle narcotics into this country for ill gotten gains while supplying that ever increasing band of drug users dependent on these narcotics. It’s not exactly stopped the big pharmaceutical companies in acting the way that they’ve been allowed even with the FDA as a conduit . Merely look at the billions made by these companies and the financial windfall it creates for the federal government by way of the taxes ? That’s simply the only difference between the two entities in question and the way that the government views their activities by way of its legality.

The championship game sponsored by Tostitos and to be played between the SEC’s —– Auburn (Tigers) led by Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and coached by Gene Chizik hope to convey why it is that they’re favored to win this matchup against the Oregon (Ducks). Both teams will have their slew of vociferous supporters up and down the country. And I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a certain East Coast – West Coast bias to this matchup and the feelings to be had between the fans and perhaps the nation at large. If anything these matchups are essentially driven by the appeal of the what the nation’s programmers’ wish to see , in order that they can attain the best returns possible by way of a televised audience.

Oregon for its part coached by Chip Kelly and led by Darron Thomas at quarterback with running back LaMichael James are sure to make this game a competitive one. We may well have been spoiled in recent years by the exploits of the Florida Gators , Texas Longhorns and that of USC but this game could very well match that classic of between the Trojans and Longhorns when they were led by Matt Leinart and Vince Young respectively . Both players in question were able to parlay those feats into careers within the NFL . Young for his part may not be long with the Tennessee Titans where his career has plummeted as fast as a meteorite falling from the sky. Leinart has yet to show his true guile for the NFL and if anything his being coddled while at USC may well have something to do with the fact that he’s yet to meet the expectations that many felt he was capable of.

This game will come down to one of two things how capable both defenses are at stopping the potent offensive threats that either side can display in terms of their respective pass and running attacks. If neither can actually stymie the other in that respect then we could end up with a high scoring game and one wherein yardage could be off the charts. Will it be what the fans want to see at the end of the day ………..who can say ? The national championship games haven’t always been entertaining but they seem to fill that void in airtime that the programmer has no other product at their disposal to display , so make of it what you will.

The Tigers’ Cam Newton despite his off the field issues will be looking to put an emphatic stamp on this season having led his team to the SEC championship game (56-17) and winning the Heisman Trophy with ease. It’d be indicative of the player at this juncture of the season to simply stamp his authority on it by showing why he’s the best college player in the game. Given the recent exploits of Stanford’s Andrew Luck there may well be a great deal more on the line with the perception that Newton could enter the NFL Draft for the untold riches that can be garnered there. Whether or Newton can and will be allowed exploit the weaknesses of the Oregon Ducks will be largely dependent upon the skill-set of that Ducks’ defense.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Oregon I’ve no doubt will come into this game being viewed as the underdogs by the press , public and no doubt the oddsmakers in Vegas. But I’d dare say that they’re keen to pull off the upset and show the nation what they’re truly capable of. Throughout much of the season Oregon has systematically played uptempo and they’ve literally destroyed some of their opponents almost at will. When tested at times they’ve risen to the occasion in more ways than one, showing their deftness in all phases of the game. This game will be a battle of wills and the coaching staff of both teams had better have their battle plans drawn and ready . If not, then one of these teams will find itself in the midst of an incessant onslaught and the ensuing battle could very well be viewed as being one sided and something of bore for the fans watching.

With the $17,500,000 at stake for the winner apart from the privilege of raising the the crystal trophy to signify that they’ve been crowned national champions. Along with it all comes the bragging rights and a great deal of prestige for the winning team and its program. Recruits will no doubt be watching with a great deal of interest and given the exposure that such a game brings they can’t help but feel that’s where they’re going to want to be ……….. on collegiate football’s grandest stage playing for a national title. The end goal being to showcase their talents for the watchful eyes for the NFL general managers and scouts also who are watching. It’s every young kids’ dream as well as that of the players who will be on display this upcoming Monday were the game is scheduled to be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium , Glendale , Arizona ,.

How have you viewed the games that have taken place during this Bowl season and what if anything to your mind has been the bright spot so far ? And are you as such entirely interested in the outcome of the national championship game ? Furthermore , what are your feelings on how the BCS system works and why they’re unwilling to adopt a playoff system ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

NB: Auburn Tigers’ roster

Head coach Gene Chizik

Tigers’ coaching staff

Oregon Ducks’ roster

Head coach Chip Kelly

Oregon Ducks’ coaching staff

BCS National rankings as of 12/05/10

Click here to get the latest college football news.

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………………

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Leonie Nicole

Eye candy for you all . Leoni Nicole and a small montage of this beauty.

Hello and good morning ! It’s a hell of a day don’t you think ?

Leonie Nicole 2

Naughty but simply nice !

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John Legend feat’g Common & The Roots ……..”Wake Up Everybody”

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What In The Wild World of Sports ?

What In The Wild World of Sports ?

It’s been such a misnomer to see the start of the college football season and the thinking in the first few games we’ll see the major programs that are part of the BCS simply come out and dominate. Considering that before they undertake their divisional schedules they’re essentially playing a number of powder puff teams merely to get of the curve in the rankings. Personally I find the whole college makeup a complete farce to begin with ! Essentially it comes down to the fact that the major BCS conferences and the criteria set by those who set the rules have made it nigh on impossible for none BCS schools to be considered for a shot of playing for the national championship.

And considering the asinine notion that this ultimately is the best step forward in determining a national champion is such a farce ! The only way to have a national champion, is to make the whole championship makeup all inclusive to BCS programs as well as none inclusive programs and the divisions thereof.

OK so the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres are having a meltdown that could end up being so cataclysmic that it could prove to be scary for their fans and for those who are now witnessing the fallout from this all. Both teams had sizable leads within their respective divisions. And it says a great deal that both Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants are now making the divisional races within NL East and NL West so exciting. Who’d have thought that we would be now seeing the two teams who have in essence have been two of the biggest surprises of the baseball season ? Should both the Braves and Padres fall out of contention for a postseason berth then we can say that much of his came about from their own inconsistencies down the stretch runs of their respective seasons.

And for Bobby Cox of the Braves and Bud Black of the Padres they can rest assured that with this season having been filled with surprises.It has to be said that for the raves and Padres should their season fall apart the window of opportunity will most certainly haven’t left either organization. Both teams seem to be building for the future and that has to be a refreshing theme for both ballclubs.

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Before the NFL season has even began it’d appear that the silly season has started. Matt Leinart has been cut by the Arizona Cardinals. And for the former first round draft pick his fall from grace has been truly amazing. But then again for a player who’d set out to show his worth he’s been a failure in the NFL. Now Leinart having been cut he has signed a one year contract with the Houston Texans where he’ll be a backup to the incumbent number one quarterback Matt Schaub . And for Leinart this just might the last chance for the player to actually prove himself . And if you thought Leinart’s situation was bad well consider the situation concerning the Seattle Seahawks’ T J Houshmanzadeh ? The player having signed a five year $45 million contract contract with the team in 2008 Houshmanzadeh now finds himself without a team having been cut by Seattle’s coach Pete Carroll .

The Seahawks are now looking for a new direction as Carroll seeks to give this team an identity.And for a team that has seen its window of opportunity slowly close over the past few years from inconsistent play and the lack of a real coaching pedigree since the departure of Mike Holmgren from the organization. The departure of Houshmanzadeh from this team may not be the only thing that’s needed to resurrect its fortune as Carroll has certainly got to prove himself upon his return to the NFL where lack of success left him beaten and a lost soul within the NFL ranks. His sojourn within the collegiate ranks has proven to be cathartic and an unprecedented success with the USC Trojans . But now we’re finding out that the real truth as to what was taking place inside of the program and to an extent the part ultimately played in it all by Carroll. His departure from the program was akin to a thief fleeing in the night from the scene of his most recent crime. And for those Trojans’ fans still smarting out there and who’ve blinded by the successes , merely look at what has transpired under his regime and ask yourself has it all been worth it ? And one has to ask what was the part of the athletics department in all of this ? Surely a number of those there were aware as to what was going on ? Or are we to believe that this all was solely down to the behavior of the athletes involved in the subterfuge ? Somehow those within the athletics department and the faculty new about this but would rather turn a blind eye to it all essentially because of the money that there was to be made. And made money they did ……..millions if not tens of millions of dollars.

What to make of the constant whining within the NFL at present and the mere fact that both Commissioner Roger Goodell and his union representative counterpart DeMaurice Smith seem intent on wrecking any chance of coming to an agreement with regard to the ongoing collective bargaining agreement. Allegedly this has all become about who ought to have the biggest slice of the pie and how each side seems to be pleading poverty ? Nothing says bullshit than that of a bunch of multi-millionaire owners and players acting like a bunch of primadonas ! But to make things even appear all so much worse is the mere fact that neither side seems to be taking into account that goodwill that has now been lost with the fans. If both Goodell and Smith think that they can now win back the fans after all the idiocy that has been taking place between both parties. Then these two now make the partisanship between the Democrats and Republicans seem like the congregation of a church gathering where everyone seems to be enamored with everyone. In the case of both the NFL and NFLPA we’re seeing both parties act like the ongoing feuding between the Israelis and Palestinians. And as we now all know there’s been no love lost between the feuding groups over the decades. Similarly here, there has been little trust between the league (NFL) and the union(NFLPA). And while there has been no major labor unrest in over a decade this all could all very well change within the next few months should things not change and an impasse remain.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything has you wondering about the situation within the NFL as well as that of the two races mention within the NL East and NL West as they now proceed down to the closing stretch of the season ? Chime on in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s appreciated !

NB: Having been cut T J Houshmanzadeh signed a one year $850,000 contract to play in Baltimore this upcoming season with the Baltimore Ravens .

🙂

Alan aka tophatal ………………… 🙂

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UB 40 …… “Rat In My Kitchen “

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Kelly Brook

Lingerie model Kelly Brook

Intriguing Questions That Need To Be Asked And Answered In The World of Sports ………….

Intriguing Questions That Need To Be Asked And Answered In The World of Sports ………….

If LeBron James as he’s now stating , having been interviewed by that elder statesman of menial tv journalism, Larry King . Wherein , James stated that the Cavaliers’ organization stands a better than even chance that he’ll remain with the team . The question I for one would like to ask did his mother force him to make such a statement , bearing in mind that it’s been alleged that she (Gloria James) has been having a sexual relationship with James’ teammate Delonte’ West . Could it be that Gloria James will miss Cleveland more than LeBron will ? And two, what does that say about the players of some of the potential teams that are said to be interested in luring James to their organizations ?

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

In the Bible we’re led to believe that it took God six days to create the Earth and on the seventh day he rested . The question I’d like to ask if it can the “Supreme Being” such a short time to create this world . Then how is it that it has now taken the NCAA in “excess of three years” to conduct their investigation into the basketball and football program of USC ? I mean with all of the evidence that has come to light and the fact that the likes of Reggie Bush , Matt Leinart , O J Mayo , Pete Carroll , Tim Floyd and the US Trojans’ AD Mike Garrett have been less than forthright in answering any questions as to any transgressions concerning the program. Is it a matter of mere perception and we’re completely misjudging what has gone on within the school’s athletics program ? I guess that $1,000-00 paid to Mayo by Floyd , was a mere oversight at the time ? And the fact that Bush’s parents were living in a residence that at the time was way beyond their means was a mere faux-pas and nothing untoward was happening between Bush and an interloper acting on his behalf at the time.

Well the 2010 NBA Finals are upon us and the series commences on the 3rd June , 2010 . The game’s two most storied franchises are set to meet for the the eleventh time in the game’s showcase event. Between them the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have won 32 NBA titles and have made a combined 51 appearances in the NBA Finals. It’d be remiss to suggest that it does make the other teams within the NBA irrelevant because that’s most certainly not the case. But in this era where we’re always being told that there’s parity in sports . The dominance of the Celtics and Lakers of the NBA does make the case for that argument seem somewhat mute. But in reality when either of these two teams are making an appearance in the finals , then it augurs well for the viewing figures for the event and it most definitely brings a smile to the face of David Stern and the entire NBA hierarchy .

As a more than avid fan of the NBA I just hope to see a very entertaining series. But above all I’m hoping that the officials don’t interject themselves into each and every game and event when there’s a tinge of controversy. More than often than not the real reason why a series can be bad or becomes bad isn’t necessarily because of the poor play. But more so, it has to do with the poor officiating. I know that David Stern says that he trusts these officials implicitly . But would he actually trust them with his life or perhaps to be in the accompaniment of his wife or daughters ? I mean if he trusts them that much then he shouldn’t have a problem with a referee spending a night with his wife I would’ve thought ! Squash that , Tim Donaghy suddenly springs to mind .

Apart from seeing future Hall of Famers , in , Kobe Bryant , Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett . We’ll also get to see the burgeoning talents of such young players as Rajon Rondo, Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar . As to whether or not the careers of these players will aspire to be as great as that of their peers mentioned , it remains to be seen over the course of time.

Ben Roethlisberger has returned to the fold and is now allowed once again allowed to undertake team activities with the Pittsburgh Steelers . I for one still feel that the player got off lightly ! But given the fact that he’s said to be on a tight leash and he’s still under a six game suspension that can be lowered to four games should NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell see fit. The scrutiny under which Roethlisberger will be followed will most certainly make him feel as if he’s rat on a wheel undergoing a watchful social behavorial experiment. I just hope that the player understands the implications should he screw up again . There have been players within the NFL who haven’t been afforded a second chance that has been given Roethlisberger. So the slightest inappropriate act on or off the field and he can essentially kiss his career goodbye.

My buddy Sportschump suggested that many of the problems that came to the fore under Goodell’s watch were inherited after his assuming the position of his predecessor Paul Tagliabue . But that was most certainly not the case. From the Plaxico Burress affair , to Donte’ Stallworth to Ben Roethlisberger . All of this has happened under Goodell’s watch and the commissioner hasn’t necessarily always been proactive in his handling of these matters. He at times placates the situation by saying that many of the cases in question should be dealt with after legal ramifications are sorted out. However , under the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA , he has the power to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the sport and that includes any matter that might also tarnish the image of the NFL.

My question to Goodell and Sportschump , should “Big Ben” be caught once again, whereby a 20 year old female college co-ed should suddenly find her lips around a certain part of the player’s genitalia. Can we believe Ben if he states ……………” she tripped and fell and her mouth suddenly found itself around my member ” ? More to the point how is it that it is always the fault of the other person in the incident ? Isn’t Roethlisberger mature enough to be now held accountable for his own actions ? Or is this what a football college scholarship now gets you at Miami of Ohio ?

Still no word as of yet but with Terrell Owens seeing his buddy , Chad Ochocinco appear on Dancing With The Stars . Is there now a possibility that “TO” will lean more towards retirement as he remains an unsigned free agent within the NFL ? That’s not to say that his agent Drew Rosenhaus won’t be making overtures on the player’s behalf to see if he can be signed by none other than the Minnesota Vikings. That way the organization and the the team can then have “two of the biggest and most self absorbed narcissists” ever to have set foot within the NFL. Don’t forget now boys and girls , Brett Favre still hasn’t made us privy to the impending decision as to his NFL future and that perceived comeback , “yet again” !

If you think it not audacious situation for Rosenhaus to approach Brad Childress and his coaching staff to quite possibly gauge their interest in the veteran wide receiver. Not so long ago the thinking was that Favre would be the player to put the team over the top and guide them to a Superbpowl . Well one year on and one year older and the Vikings were about as close to the Superbpowl as Sen. John McCain (R-Az) was, in gaining entrance into the White House as the 44th President of the United States. C’mon now , please don’t use the excuse that Brett got ’em to the NFC championship game. Brett also cost ’em an appearance in the Superbowl with his capricious play in the closing stretch of the loss to the eventual Superbowl champions __ New Orleans Saints .

So what do you think is there a remote possibility that we could see that Favre Owens’ tandem gracing us within the NFL as part of the Vikings’ team looking to be not only dominant within the NFC North but also within the entire NFL ? Or will me merely see the return of Favre to the Vikings with Owens toiling away elsewhere within the NFL with some none descript team ?

Well now that we’ve more than got a quarter of the way through the baseball season . A number of teams are trying to jockey themselves into position for the mid-stretch of the season. To my mind this is the one part of the season that will go a long way in telling us the resolve and determination of a team. You simply have to look at the standings to see which teams can be taken for real and which cannot. Sorry Baltimore and Houston but there’s always next year I hope !

I can’t for the life of me understand how two teams such as the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers of the AL Central tend to under achieve. As good as both teams appear to be on paper , up close and personal once they begin to play it’s like looking at an abstract painting and trying to understand what the subject matter is all about. The White Sox are simply are simply an embarrassment and for Jim Leyland and Tigers , I’m not about to suggest that the team is spiraling out of control. But were they an airplane, I’d be looking for the nearest emergency exit just as a precaution.

GM’s Dave Dombrowski of the Tigers and Kenny Williams of the White Sox know that in Leyland and Ozzie Guillen they have two very good managers. But the problems now facing both managers are that their respective teams either aren’t listening as to what they and the coaching staff are trying to instill. Or quite possibly the teams just aren’t as good as first thought. By my way of thinking it has to be the latter but if things don’t change as to both teams’ fortunes . Then quite possibly before at the culmination of the season both managers could very well be fired by their respective organizations. I’m not about to suggest that they should both be deserving of such a fate. But as a last resort that’s always how the executives and owners tend to alleviate the problem to quieten the angst of the fans.

I’m not a big NASCAR or IRL fan but I’ve got to admit that I made the rare peek to watch snippets of the Coca Cola 600 and parts of the Indy 500 . The latter race I’ve been led to believe is said to be “the best auto race in the world” . Someone must be friggin’ kidding if they’ve never witnessed the Monaco Grand Prix from Monte Carlo and the nuance of F1 Grand Prix Racing. OK , so Indy Car has female drivers Danica Patrick and Milka Duno . But unless they’re about to let those ladies race in nothing more than two piece bathing suit , then quite frankly I’m simply not interested ! However, with Dario Franchitti happening to be the victor of the Indy 500 , we all got to see that rather “hot wife” of his Ashley Judd . But good God almighty, was it me but what the hell was she wearing ? I thought it was Franchitti’s mother at first until the cameras drew in for a close up shot . Then I realized she still looks as hot as ever ! ‘nough said !

Ashley Judd please don’t give the legions of male fans around the world such a scare again ! We all love it when you look exceedingly hot and chique`. We’d prefer for you to not to look so dowdy as it belies your sensational looks . As to Franchitti , I can only surmise that once he and his wife returned home all bets were off as to how they’d end up celebrating his second victory of America’s most prestigious race. A great deal of intimacy was no doubt called for I’d dare say ! So we know that Ashley Judd is hot but can someone answer me this, when will Danica Patrick win her next race ? And two, are we ever liable to see her adorning a stripper’s pole ? Because by my way of thinking the circus has but left town with regard to her alleged ambitions within both NASCAR and IRL. Making excuses for Danica Patrick now is very much in a similar vein in excusing why it is that Dale Earnhardt Jr can’t find the winner’s podium but yet he’s being paid an exorbitant amount of money for merely being average at best. Can I get an amen here ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Well these are but a few of the questions that I think in some ways we can find amusing and in some cases serious in the world of sports. What questions if any would you want to pose concerning a certain are of the sporting landscape. It doesn’t necessarily have to be serious at all. So feel free to chime on in with a question and perhaps we can all debate it in the appropriate manner ? Thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………

David Bowie ……………..“Heroes”

I Did It My Way ………………

I Did It My Way ……………

I’ve always felt a great admiration for an athlete who walks away from the game on their own terms , rather than in the end for them having to be shown the door unceremoniously . It happens far too often with regard to the latter. And I know there’ll be those out there who will say that it’s their right to go on as long it’s humanly possible. But consider this , in the real world there’s a mandatory retirement age. And granted, we see people in all walks of working late into their years in a variety of fields. We’re not going to see someone in their late forties still playing in the NFL . Well , not unless your name happens to be Brett Favre. I can only surmise, that he wants to play ‘til he’s as old as Methuselah ? And for those of you who aren’t religious or perhaps have never read the Bible. Methuselah happened to be the oldest recorded person from that venerable book.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announces his retirement from football with his family Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy  of  Associated  Press / Matt  York ........
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announces his retirement from football with his family Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Matt York ........

Well after 12 years in the NFL, Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback, Kurt Warner , has to decided to call it a day. He goes out on his own terms having had a story book career . A two time league MVP, Superbowl (SB XXXIV) winner and Supebowl winning MVP. Amongst other accolades , Warner has three of the top five performances ever as a quart back in the Superbowl. If that’s enough to book him a place in Canton , Ohio, then they might as well shut the frigging place down once and for all ! Never mind the regular season stats that’ve littered his career. Kurt Warner has been an exemplary player, teammate and an outstanding human being. And there are not too many sport’s individuals that one can say that about in this day and age. I don’t care in what sporting endeavor you might care to name. There has never been any controversy surrounding Warner on or off the field. And his peers past and present consider him to be amongst the very best not only as competitor , teammate or opponent. But also in terms of his character and his compassion for other less well of than him. That will be the measure of Warner’s legacy upon the NFL.

Now having said this, I must admit that his retirement hasn’t taken me by complete surprise. I understand why he now feels it’s time to bow out from a stage he graced so successfully. He’s a family man but also someone who has devoted a great time in the pursuance of helping others. And his beliefs , as he’s a devout Christian , wills Warner now to a higher calling . In this case it’s not solely about spreading the world of Christ but also to as I’d previously stated is to help those in need. It’s the same approach that was taken by former Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Tony Dungy. And it is now the same path that Warner will now follow . Both men , their accomplishments and their calling are commendable traits !

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner holds his daughter Sierra Warner, 4, as he stands with his family from left, Kade Warner, 11, Jada Warner, 8, Elijah Warner, 6, Sienna Warner, 4, wife Brenda Warner, Zack Warner, 20, and Jesse Warner, 18. after he announced his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo  appears  courtesy  of Associated  Press/ Matt York  .....
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner holds his daughter Sierra Warner, 4, as he stands with his family from left, Kade Warner, 11, Jada Warner, 8, Elijah Warner, 6, Sienna Warner, 4, wife Brenda Warner, Zack Warner, 20, and Jesse Warner, 18. after he announced his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Matt York .....

Now looking at the Cardinals going forward, I think that they have a solid foundation, from which to build upon. That being said , I’m not quite sure as of yet that Matt Leinart possesses the temperament to lead this team. It’s all well and good that he had things essentially handed to him on a silver platter with USC. But since his arrival in the NFL , he’s yet to show that he has the capacity for learning the game , much less show signs of maturity. How else can one explain the petulance shown by him when he was replaced as the starter on the Cardinals’ team by coach, Ken Whisenhunt ? If that doesn’t indicate that Leinart, when at USC was all about self entitlement, rather than doing what is best for the team. Then it’s easy to understand the reason why he’s struggled to make his presence felt in the NFL. With Warner , having been given the starter’s role on the team they haven’t looked back since.

It will definitely be strange, next season to see this Cardinals’ team take the field and no longer see Warner there , with his name emblazoned on the back of his jersey. But as I alluded to earlier , he walks away from this game under his own steam , in good health , knowing that he’s accomplished a great many feats that perhaps none of us could ever have dreamed him doing . Warner did things his way and for that I for am grateful to say that it has been indeed a privilege to see him play. Anything beyond that is now just an after thought.

I don’t think anyone could’ve said it better than ol’ “Blue Eyes”… Frank Sinatra. ‘I Did It My Way’

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The  delectable Vida  Guerra
The delectable Vida Guerra

tophatal ……:)