Push or pull ?

Push or pull ?

The NFL pre-season began with the Hall of Fame game between the Miami Dolphins and the erstwhile Dallas Cowboys . That game along with the series of games that were presented as part of the week one schedule of the preseason , gave the fans a chance to look at the rookies and newly acquired free agents on the various teams around the NFL . From my own perspective , I have never placed much store in the exhibition games that act as a precursor to the regular season . Granted , for a number of players now under a great deal of pressure , it now becomes a matter of making the grade now , or losing their starting role to a young rookie or a seasoned veteran .

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While much of this off-season has been encompassed by the disturbing news with the arrest of former New England Patriots` tight end Aaron Hernandez for murder, and with further news now suggesting that the player`s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins may well have aided Hernandez and his two accomplices by disposing of the weapon used to murder the victim , Odin Lloyd , a former acquaintance of the couple . It does now beg the question , what more can now unfold as far as this tragedy is concerned ? The real tragedy in all of this beyond Hernandez’s alleged guilt or innocence. It is the very fact that neither the NFL hierarchy or the NFLPA (Players` Union) seems to be prepared to address the situation of player misconduct .

At a time when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should be seeking input not simply from the coaches , but also from the team owners and the union itself . It would appear, that the commissioner`s mindset is elsewhere. Adding to the whole unsavory issue , is the recent announcement by NFLPA President Dominique Foxworth of his wish to see the voting process for the NFL Pro Bowl changed , in order that there is more of an input from the fans and with the whole process itself, to be worked out in the form of a fantasy draft . If this is what Foxworth, now believes will elicit the fans` attention and at the same time add to the allure of the end of season event. Then clearly, it is time to do away with the game, which seemingly has no meaning whatsoever , other than to add monetary gain for the players, in terms of their contract incentives. The game itself, by way of television viewership, is almost a non-starter , and in terms of game attendance. Well, let`s just say, other than the scenic value of Honolulu , Hawaii. I seriously doubt that the opulence of the event outweighs a meaningful regular season game! Yet, this is now what the fans have come to expect from the NFL and its avowed greed .

With the return of Sean Payton to the coaching fraternity of the NFL and with all of the drama that surrounded the New Orleans Saints` Bounty-gate scandal . It would appear that the franchise is now back on an even keel . That being said , Payton knows that he and his coaching staff will remain under the watchful eye of the league hierarchy and its officials . The players embroiled in the saga have either retired or returned to the game, looking to aid their respective teams. For Saints` quarterback Drew Brees , this will be a season of redemption for himself, his teammates , but above all, for the Saints` organization and a way of renewing the faith of club`s fans as well as that of the NFL fans in general .

Now one could subscribe to the fact that the punishment meted out by the league for the heinous infractions , were somewhat laughable, when one has to consider that the Saints might not well have been the only team practicing such a scheme . It is just the fact that they were the ones to be caught and punished , for what in essence, was a sheer act of stupidity and something that could have proven to be extremely dangerous and reckless on the part of the players who were willing participants in this all . As I have previously mentioned in an earlier article within this site . Were one of the league`s marquee players, the victim of one of the hits executed by a Saints` defensive lineman . Would the rest of the NFL have been so quiet and noncommittal in voicing feint disapproval ? For a team that has much as $ 100 million invested in .a player and that franchise’s success . The risk to reward ratio would simply have gone up in smoke . Yet the utter ridicule, shown by a number of fans over the whole saga of Bounty-gate, was almost incredulous and beyond belief .

Payton`s return to the Saints` franchise along with that of GM Micky Loomis , after their suspensions , now gives team owner Tom Benson the satisfaction of seeing several key pieces back in place. The hard part for the organization, is now rebuilding its tarnished image , albeit , that fans in the Crescent City never lost faith in the New Orleans Saints , but their disdain for Roger Goodell was clearly evident . The commissioner, was seen as a villainous scourge who sought to do harm to the franchise . It has to be said, that those fans do have a point , when one considers that the accusations concerning the scandal were known the league hierarchy as far back as the 2010 NFL season , but had been in execution by the Saints franchise in 2009 . Which begs the question, if this was known to the commissioner and his fellow executives at the time . . Then why not immediately conduct an investigation into those allegations, rather than leaving the issue untouched for almost three years ? To date , no one from inside the NFL`s headquarters has answered a question, as to the reasons why they failed take immediate action concerning into the allegations, and deal with the matter at the time. . Is there really anyone, who truly believes that Roger Goodell has performed competently as the NFL commissioner ? Your answers, please?

The New Orleans Saints kicked off their preseason schedule with a 17-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , in a game that was symptomatic of what we have all come to expect of the NFL preseason as a whole . Starters were in for a few series and then it was left to the backups to simply fill in , and to try and make a name for themselves. As for those who have now become a part of the Saints` supporting cast by way of the draft and free agent acquisitions . Sean Payton and his staff are going to be well-served by a number of those players . Yet perhaps, their biggest concern, will be how good the offense is likely to be . Pierre Tomas and Mark Ingram will be asked to shoulder the load jointly in terms of the rushing offense . With Brees` potency as a prolific passer . There too, the team is once again likely to make great strides based on last season`s performances and the likelihood that the quarterback will be looking to surpass many of last season`s personal accomplishments, as he looks to further cement his name in the franchise’s record books .

If there is one thing that we have come to know concerning the New Orleans Saints , it is that the team is best happy when it as a lead and then seeks to protect it. However, a frailty of the Saints, has been the very fact that the defense has not always been proficient enough to always meet the needs of Sean Payton. Kenny Vaccaro , John Jenkins and Rufus Johnson were the defensive players drafted by the franchise , with a view to bolstering the NFL`s most porous defense in 2012. It will also be interesting to see whether or not seasoned veterans such as Darren Sproles , Marques Colston , Broderick Bunkley , Kenyon Coleman , Patrick Crayton , Jabari Greer and Zach Strief can provide the added leadership already shown by Drew Brees , as the Saints seek to challenge for NFC South divisional supremacy, as well as the ultimate goal of winning a second Superbowl to add to the franchise’s lone success in 2010. For Saints` tight end Jimmy Graham this also could very well be the season where we see the player make even greater strides, as he also looks to supplant himself atop of the list as one of the game`s best young players at the position in the NFL.

Coming off that victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Saints` next preseason game will be against Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana , on Friday , during which , there will be four games scheduled on each of the following days , Thursday, Friday and six on Saturday , as part of the week two schedule of the preseason . That match-up against what remains a beleaguered Raiders` franchise should prove to be a rather interesting contest .

The NFC South this season, I believe will be a truly competitive division . Seeking to make a successful defense of their divisional title will be the Atlanta Falcons . Mike Smith’s Falcons, after their abrupt dismissal from the postseason will be looking to rebound in 2013. Against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game as a highly favored favorite , as Matt Ryan and his teammates would succumb to Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers in an epic match-up of two very good young quarterbacks.

Ryan may well be able to rebound from last season , but it the continued knock against the Falcons, has been that they have been unable to get the job done when it matters most , and that is during the postseason . The week one regular season contest between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints could prove to be very enticing and amongst the very best of the regular season during the opening week`s schedule for 2013. The series between these two franchises have always proven to be highly competitive and will remain so, while they possess two very good quarterbacks calling the plays for their respective teams . And in Drew Brees and Matt Ryan , we do have two of the very best currently playing today .

It would be fair to suggest that Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers have proven to be a major disappointment of the past four seasons . During the off-season with the dismissal of Norv Turner and A J Smith . Managing partner and owner Dean Spanos sought to reset the Chargers organization. The departure of Smith and Turner were not seen as a major surprise . Yet, Norv Turner sought to vent his frustration with how he felt that he had been mistreated and led to believe that he would be returning for the 2012-13 season . Turner`s firing and the hiring of rookie head coach Mike McCoy , resets the scales and of course the situation now becomes about how much time will the new incumbent be allowed to get things back on track .

Things remain acute for this franchise and the very fact that there remains constant rumors as to whether or not the Chargers will seek to relocate from their present location to the greater Los Angeles area . And clearly with overtures having been made , there is no doubt in my mind that the Spanos family will consider every option available to them as it relates to the San Diego Chargers` long-term viability and profitability . Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California , remains an archaic and outmoded relic not really suitable to host an NFL franchise. The city of San Diego has sought to retain the NFL team within its locale, but even with a number of upgrades and minor renovations to the stadium . I do not believe that those maneuvers alone, will be enough to secure Chargers` retention for the long-term. Los Angeles remains a viable proposition, with a much larger demographic and a more of a disposable income amongst the populace in comparison to San Diego.

Spoiler alert for this season concerning the ambitions of the San Diego Chargers and their possibly derailing the hopes of the Denver Broncos in making a successful defense of their AFC West title ? There is a chance that premise could arise , but on paper alone the Chargers as a team, I do not believe that they are a good enough to match to bring about a synopsis where that would now arise during this season . The two scheduled divisional meetings between these two teams for this year may well prove me wrong , but I seriously doubt it ! Weeks ten and fifteen are the due dates when the Colts and Chargers will resume their divisional rivalry for the year.

The San Diego Chargers will begin their regular season schedule against the Houston Texans and their high-powered and prolific offense led by Matt Schaub , running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson . If the Chargers are able to get off to a good enough start against their conference rivals , this could prove to be a very competitive contest between the two teams.

Chargers` GM Tom Telesco and the . coaching staff have gone about revamping the roster during the off-season , with bring what they believe to be capable and athletic rookies to complement a team , along with the customary platoon of free agent acquisitions . Philip Rivers remains the San Diego Chargers` best player and their best hope to win under the current climate . Yet for some reason over the years since being drafted in the 2004 NFL Draft . The player has struggled not because of his own deficiencies , but from the mere fact that the front office has never truly gone about complementing his skill-set with the players necessary to fulfill Rivers` ambitions and that of the organization as a whole . Your thoughts on this all and anything you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter as it relates to this article . By all means, feel free to leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Frisco, Texas, mayor Maher Maso , left, presents a street sign to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones , center, and his son, Stephen Jones , after a new conference announcing the new home of the Dallas Cowboys headquarters Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in Frisco, Texas. Frisco officials overwhelming approved a $115 million deal to build the team headquarters and a practice facility in the Dallas suburb. The agreement will end the Cowboys’ four-decade relationship with Irving, most likely in 2016. AP Photo/LM Otero …

(2) Shayanna Jenkins , middle, fiancée of former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez, is escorted by attorney Janice Bassil , left, and an unidentified attorney after a bail hearing in Fall River Superior Court Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Fall River, Mass. Hernandez, charged with murdering Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player, was denied bail. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ……

(3) DeMaurice Smith (L) executive director of the National Football League Players’ Association laughs at a comment made by Baltimore Ravens corner-back Dominique Foxworth (C) during a news conference July 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFL players and owners are set to agree on a labor deal and end the current lockout. Getty Images / Rob Carr …

(4) Head coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints on the sidelines during play against the Carolina Panthers at the Louisiana Superdome on November 8, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ronald Martinez / Getty Images …

(5) Chargers` CEO Dean Spanos , left, is seen here with team head coach Mike McCoy, center and starting quarterback Philip Rivers . McCoy succeeded is predecessor , fired former coach Norv Turner in January 2013 . Also departing , was former general manager A J Smith. Tom Telesco , takes over from Smith with a view to bringing new-found success to an impoverished franchise . AP Photo / Carl Roberts …..

(6) Tom Telesco(left) is seen here with San Diego Chargers` owner Dean Spanos . The newly appointed general manager is seeking to restore the Chargers` image and making them a success this upcoming season . Getty Images / Keith Montrose …..
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Here Comes the NFL and Not a Moment Too Soon ……

Here Comes the NFL and Not a Moment Too Soon

by tophatal ……….. NFL pieces within this site

With the NFL preseason , a little less than three weeks away and the first slew of games due, as a precursor to the regular season beginning the 5th September , 2012. Team are getting ready in their preparations before they report for training camps. The off-season still found to be fascinating provides with all of the round-the-clock , of the 24-hour coverage we have now come to expect . So much so , that with the launch of NBCSports Network . ESPN now has a competitor with in its midst and mix to provide the NFL fan with even more news for their already insatiable , and ravenous appetite .

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The off-season itself , has not been without incident , or suspense , with the news that New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has joined a select group of NFL players to become a member of the $100 million club . Brees having finally agreed to a 5 year $100 million contract , of which $60 million comes by way of guaranteed money . In addition, the quarterback will undoubtedly end his career with the organization that he successfully brought a Superbowl (SBXLIV) .

Now with all of the tumult that has surrounded the Saints this off-season with the countless suits being issued within the US Federal Court System , there are about to be a number lawyers who are about to be well compensated . Saints’ defensive player , Jonathan Vilma has filed two separate suits in the state of Louisiana against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell , that seeks his reinstatement , injunction overturning his year-long suspension and a defamation lawsuit singularly at the commissioner for defamation of character. Needless to say , the league itself has filed their own suit and grievance against the player , seeking to have his legal action overturned . Do you get the feeling that the acrimony between the NFL and the players , specifically the union (NFLPA) has got a great deal wider , even in light of the recent renewed collective bargaining agreement ? We were told that this agreement would bring us a decade of peace and unison between both sides . It his has been this idiocy and an agreement , simply based on greed and mistrust that has now led us to a point that even the fans now feel betrayed . Albeit , that the alleged actions by the New Orleans Saints cannot simply be overlooked , as there has been a constant slew of misleading statements from the accused and the accusers . Where is Ben Matlock or Perry Mason when you need them the most ?

The embattled New Orleans Saints will start the their season without the services of Sean Payton , as he sits out a year-long suspension . In his role as interim coach , in comes Joe Vitt , who himself will also cede to the league’s edict in having to miss eight games of the Saints’ regular season schedule . Boy , what an absolute cluster fu#k this has been concerning the New Orleans as an organization ! Never mind the fact , that team GM Micky Loomis , also under suspension is now being investigated by the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office for illegal wire-tapping . Attorney General James ‘Buddy’ Caldwell , has already been called to task by Loomis for overstepping his boundaries by stating that there is no case or cause for Caldwell’s office to be intervening in this matter . I beg to differ , as there is clear evidence to suggest that Loomis has not only broken state laws but also Federal laws as well !

The New Orleans Saints I do not believe are the preseason favorites within the NFC ! The two teams I believe ahead of the them , are the defending Superbowl champions , the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers . In addition, all three teams as we know have Superbowl MVP’s are at the helm of their respective offenses . With Brees coming off a stellar year , which saw the prolific quarterback surpass Dan Marino’s single season passing yardage mark of 5,084 yards , dating back to 1984 . However, the Saints’ 2011 schedule (13-3) would see the team qualify as the third seed in the NFC in 2011. The team led by Brees would make the postseason where they would succumb to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round in a highly competitive game 36-32 .

The 2012 NFL Draft proved to be fortuitous for the Saints , with the coaching staff taking Akiem Hicks , Nick Toon , Corey White , Andrew Tiller and Marcel Jones in rounds three through six . The preseason will present the Saints with a number of issues . Joe Vitt , apart from having to insert his rookies , he will also have to assess the franchise’s free agent acquisitions and insert those players into the side.

The biggest hindrance for the New Orleans Saints winning another Superbowl if their ambitions are to be upheld . Then it will be for the coaching staff to overcome the obstacles that have already been place within their path beyond having to overcome what appears to be a rigorous regular season schedule . It will be incumbent , on the Saints getting off to a fast start , if they are to fare well over the course of the regular season , especially in light of what is expected to be a highly competitive …. NFC South division . A re-engaged Carolina Panthers , along with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers gives us a quartet of combative franchises within the division . Brees , along with a trio of young quarterbacks , Josh Freeman , Matt Ryan and Cam Newton will no doubt be looking to improve upon last season’s performances , as each seeks to guide their respective teams deep into the postseason .

Week one will see the Saints take on the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Dome , in New Orleans , Louisiana . Mike Shanahan will proudly introduce Robert Griffin III , upon whose shoulders the Redskins’ season will ride . The Saints trail the Redskins (8-15) in their head-to-head series tracing back September 1967. . I’m in no doubt that Robert Griffin III will be a success but I doubt that he will be able to have the success seen last season with Cam Newton , as the rookie quarterback and number one overall pick of 2011 simply set the NFL alight .

The Carolina Panthers are no “hard luck story” and but for the lack of a real defense , I firmly believe that the team would have had a great deal more success in 2011 . Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera , one year the wiser , will now see how this team acquits itself during their 2012 sojourn . The Panthers are firmly in place to take advantage of any missteps made by the likes of the Buccaneers , Falcons and Saints . Moreover , with the feeling that the New Orleans Saints will have their issues in the aftermath of the upheavals within the organization , I do not believe that we will see the sort of consistency often seen from this team over the past few seasons .

The NFC South could very well be a series of cat-and-mouse match-ups that will be dependent upon the divisional games and how the teams fare against each other during 2012 . Greg Schiano , the newly installed head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers strives to make this franchise relevant again . Raheem Morris’ era came and went in the blink of an eye from a coach whose inexperience was glaringly obvious for everyone to see . However, with Morris’ firing there were many who felt that GM Mark Dominik should have asked to relinquish his position. Raheem Morris’ failings were also Dominik’s as well , as both reconstructed the Buccaneers in their own image . Unfortunately , the success they strived for was nowhere to be seen , even in light of going 10-6 in 2010. That aberration along with the inconsistency shown by Josh Freeman , and you have to wonder where the Buccaneers are now heading .

In 2012 the Buccaneers will have a great deal to prove , not only to themselves but also their long-suffering fans as the fan-base of the franchise has dipped along with the television ratings in their home market . That will be the true test for Mark Dominik and the Buccaneers’ Marketing & Sales Department , beyond what the team will seek to achieve this year. The Glazer family as owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have parlayed their notoriety beyond the NFL franchise , to assume control of the EPL soccer team Manchester United , where they have devoted a great deal of the time to not only burdening that franchise with a great deal of debt ($2 billion [$2,000,000,000]) but also seeing a considerable amount of success , since they assumed full control of the team in 2005. It has been that sort of indifference shown , that has drawn the ire and anger of the Buccaneers’ fans since that acquisition . Now , Malcolm , Avram and Joel Glazer will have to reaffirm their attention back to the NFL franchise and in a consummate business manner deal with the issues that have placed Buccaneers in their current predicament .

Matt Ryan has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL over the past four seasons. His maturation process has seen him improve but the “ knock against” the player has been the fact that he has been unable to lead the Atlanta Falcons deep into the postseason . Head coach Mike Smith and his young quarterback will seek to address those doubts as they embark on their preseason and regular season schedule . The Falcons possess a consistent offense but it has been the productivity of Michael Turner and the rushing offense that makes the Falcons a repeated threat as they enter the season . Whatever awaits the Falcons and their fans this season , it will be interesting see how Matt Ryan and his teammates fare .

Far be it for me to suggest but the continued hyperbole over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles continues to grate on my nerves ! Both teams in recent years have done little to suggest that they are actually capable of winning a Superbowl . In addition , while the NFC East continues to be looked upon as one of the most desirable divisions in the NFL. In truth nothing else , other than the success of the New York Giants , the rest of occupants have offered the fans of the NFL a mere morsel by way of anything tangible in terms of success . There is no doubt in my mind that Jason Garrett and Andy Reid will be under close scrutiny of not only the fans , NFL analysts but also the respective front offices of the Cowboys and Eagles . If it has yet to sink into the pea sized brains of Jerry Jones and Jeff Lurie that their respective coaches have failed miserably in their respective capacities in 2011, then nothing ever will . Excuses abound from all corners of each of the organizations in question but yet Tony Romo and Michael Vick are continually lauded over as being amongst the very best at their profession within the NFL .

Vick while being a terrific athlete , is still in the midst of re-imaging his career and becoming much more “family friendly” . Tony Romo for his part , continues to make excuses for what is already abundantly clear for those who are willing to say it . He is a good regular season quarterback but but one who is incapable of showing the necessary traits required to lead a team deep into the postseason . This season may well hold a great deal more than great games in the NFL as it is my firm belief that there will be several coaches whose heads will be on the “chopping block” if they fail to attain some semblance of success . The suspense will unfold but quite possibly , by week six or seven we could very well be seeing the first managerial casualty of the season . Then , it could well be sooner , rather than later .

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Picture gallery .

As a fan of the NFL what are you most looking forward to , as the preseason and regular season is set in motion ? Do leave a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass and breaking the NFL single-season record for passing yardage, held by Dan Marino, in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans. Brees has agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract with the Saints, with $60 million guaranteed, on Friday, July 13, 2012, a person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press. AP Photo/Rusty Costanza ….

(2) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, right, shares a laugh with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as they recognize Soldier Field as the only NFL stadium to become a LEED-certified green building during a news conference, Thursday, May 31 2012, in Chicago. Goodell and the NFL have filed a lawsuit against Saints’ defensive player Jonathan Vilma in seeking to overturn his defamation lawsuit against the league and the commissioner . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast ….

(3) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys greets Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles after a game at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Romo suffered a hand injury during the first quarter of play against the Eagles. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez …..

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NB : A follow-up piece with regard to the AFC will be in place , in due course .

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Justice By Any Means Necessary But Not Necessarily So In The NFL ……….


Justice By Any Means Necessary But Not Necessarily So In The NFL ……….

By tophatal ….. Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:38:56 AM

Well for all of the idiotic posturing of the New Orleans Saints as an organization and the fact that head coach Sean Payton , GM Mickey Loomis , assistant coach and coordinator Joe Vitt sought to have their suspensions overturned . It would appear that Roger Goodell showed after-all that he does posses some intelligence even if it appears to be less than an ounce overall ! As to his mindset , and the very fact that to date the league hierarchy has shown little by way of their wish to aid their seasoned veterans now facing a great deal of uncertainty as to their health and well-being . Goodell , much like his predecessor Paul Tagliabue and the NFLPA and its hierarchy have for years ignored the plea of these players . And now because of this latest smear upon the game the fans are to believe the NFL actually cares about the players most notably those at present currently in the league ?

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The commissioner was judge and jury in rendering his decision not to overturn his original ruling . But here’s my thought to this all , the monetary fine levied upon the Saints ($500,000) if anything was insult to the fans when one considers the millions of dollars in revenues that the New Orleans Saints reaps annually in terms of receipts ! As for the Saints’ owner Tom Benson , it would appear that in spite of his anguish he still retains some sense of dignity , albeit that almost as quick as this original was rendered he all too quick to seek the advice of his now disgraced coach and general manager as to who should be Payton’s interim successor for the upcoming season. At the same time Benson made the statement that Pete Carmichael would to his mind provide the team with the stability needed while the organization undergoes this controversy . Not so fast Pete , it would appear that those statements were taken out of context and your ambition to be a head coach in the NFL may well have to wait a few more years .

Courtesy of Associated Press & ABC News

Goodell Upholds Penalties in Saints Bounty Case


By Brett Martell , AP Sports Writer
NEW Orleans , 10th April 2012

If the Saints become the first NFL team to play a Super Bowl on their home field next season, they’ll do it with an interim coach and some new faces on defense.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell rejected on Monday an appeal of coach Sean Payton’s season-long suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty system, clearing the way for New Orleans to turn its focus on who should take Payton’s place.

The replacement coach could come from the Saints’ experienced staff, or he could be someone from outside the organization such as Bill Parcells, Payton’s mentor since their days together in Dallas.

The Saints did not immediately indicate how long they’ll take to make a decision on a coach, but they already have made roster moves that could potentially soften the blow if Goodell also decides to suspend players who participated in a program that paid improper cash bonuses for hits that knocked players out of games or left them needing help off the field.

The Saints have signed four defensive players in free agency, three of whom could step into starting roles right away: linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne , and defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley . New Orleans also signed former Rams linebacker Chris Chamberlain .

The NFL’s investigation found that as many as 27 Saints defenders from the past three seasons may have taken part in the club’s pay-for-pain bounty system. Some of those being investigated could include former Saints who have signed elsewhere.

Given recent history, penalties for at least some players are likely to be tough, too .

While NFL veterans say off-the-books incentives have been around for years, and some current players claim tough talk about hitting opponents so they are injured happens in locker rooms throughout the league, Goodell responded to the Saints case by handing out unprecedented penalties.

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Now while the search begins , with the likelihood that Bill Parcells , the two-time Superbowl winning head coach of the New York Giants would entertain the idea of succeeding his protege` for one year. The monetary fines notwithstanding and the loss of NFL Draft picks for 2012 and 2013 , it would appear that not all of the team owners and front office executives were entirely happy with the decision of Roger Goodell’s original decision . Many felt that the punishment simply didn’t go far enough but it begs the question , what type of verdict would have been to their satisfaction ? At the same I am of the opinion that the New Orleans Saints are not the only NFL franchise conducting such a practice now known as the “Bounty Scandal” ! . Good God , this practice has been part and parcel of the NFL and was notably practiced by Buddy Ryan whilst in the NFL , albeit that we may not know whether or not his players were said to have been financially rewarded for their excess . Your thoughts ? The fact of the matter is , the Saints were the idiots who got caught and it may not be enough to stop what we have to view as a malicious and obviously dangerous practice .

As to Roger Goodell and his face-saving and image makeover exercise for the NFL . He is now beginning to make his MLB counterpart Bud Selig seem like an insightful individual . And as we all know nothing could be further from the truth as it relates to Selig showing insight much less having an ounce of intelligence ! Simply look at his outrage after the overturning of the 50 game mandated suspension for Ryan Braun ? Knowing full well that the fault lay with the very fact that the testing laboratory failed to follow its own protocols in safe guarding the player’s test specimens , baseball’s commissioner voiced his displeasure at the verdict rendered by the arbitrator Shyam Das . If that doesn’t indicate to you how much of an ass Bud Selig just happens to be, then I certainly don’t know what will !

And with Parcells having second thoughts on taking the interim position with the New Orleans Saints , one wonders what the next step to be taken will be by Tom Benson . Personally , as this whole controversy entered the public domain I have become acutely aware as to the stance that would be taken by the team owner . Benson has been disingenuous as a franchisee within the NFL and prior to Hurricane Katrina was all too ready to uproot the Saints and relocate almost anywhere , just as long as that municipality would willingly favor his NFL franchise with some favorable financial inducements . Tom Benson , Robert Kraft , Jerry Jones , Dr John York & Denise De-Bartolo-York and Woody Johnson were steadfast in their supporting Roger Goodell as the successor to Paul Tagliabue and that was resoundingly reflected by the votes that took place amongst the league’s team owners . At some point these owners have to be aware that the unfolding controversies have been poorly handled by the league hierarchy but most notably by the commissioner , himself .

Courtesy of NFL news

Parcells tells Saints he won’t unretire to coach team in 2012

By Jason La Canofora , NFL

Bill Parcells has informed the New Orleans Saints the he will not replace suspended coach Sean Payton and is staying retired, according to a league source.

The Saints will now look to hire from within the organization. By promoting an assistant on the team, the Saints will not have to interview a minority candidate in accordance with the league’s Rooney Rule.

Assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who has been suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are among the internal candidates who could fill in for Payton.

On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Payton’s suspension for the 2012 season along with an eight-game suspension for general manager Mickey Loomis, and Vitt’s six-game suspension.

Payton and Parcells spoke in March about a possible role with the Saints for the retired coach. Parcells said he felt “an obligation” to assist Payton, but he remained coy about if he’d fill in for his longtime friend.

Payton’s season-long suspension without pay will begin April 16. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL Network’s Albert Breer that Payton “cannot be involved in any coaching activities, he can’t be at the facility, or with the team at games.”

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As this all now takes on a life of its own , it will be interesting to see how Roger Goodell and the league looks to deflect much of the negative publicity that has come its way in a rather pointed fashion. At the same time the New Orleans Saints now have to look at its own image and how it is has been irreparably damaged by this whole episode . Granted , the league may well have upheld their decision but what might be even more unpalatable was the very fact that Tom Benson would still seek advice from both Sean Payton and Micky Loomis as to an interim successor for the disgraced head coach . Of the stories I have read within this domain , none have specifically addressed the fact that Loomis and Payton repeatedly lied to the league’s investigators , the NFL commissioner , the team owner and the public at large . And Payton while recently in West Palm Beach , Florida at the league hierarchy and owners off-season meeting , chose not to apologize for his actions having met with a number of the league’s hierarchy . His less than contrite public offering , when the allegations were first revealed showed Sean Payton , as a man with little integrity ! One has to question why the punishment rendered by Goodell wasn’t more severe ? Had one of the league’s more high profiled players such as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Eli Manning or Adrian Peterson suddenly see their careers come to an abrupt end , had they each been on the receiving end of these actions . What type of outrage would there now be from the public , much less from the owners themselves ? Instead , it has been the apathy of the fans simply waxing on lyrically about the Saints and the mere fact that this has been much ado about nothing . Really ? Much ado about nothing when we now have seasoned NFL veterans in some cases drooling , urinating and defecating on themselves because they simply do not have the mental or physical capacity to take care of themselves . If you believe this last sentence to be false , then consider the plight of Hall of Fame player Mike Webster at the time of his death and the circumstances under which he died ? A harsh reality should now begin to set in !

In reality as proactive as the NFL now tries to be in terms the actions now being taken by Roger Goodell as the league’s highest ranking executive . The commissioner has been poorly served by his subordinates , the team owners and most notably by the NFLPA , its executive committee and definitely by both DeMaurice Smith and his predecessor Gene Upshaw as then , Executive Director of the union (NFLPA) .

In reality as proactive as the NFL now tries to be in terms the actions now being taken by Roger Goodell as the league’s highest ranking executive . The commissioner has been poorly served by his subordinates , the team owners and most notably by the NFLPA , its executive committee and definitely by both DeMaurice Smith and his predecessor Gene Upshaw as then , Executive Director of the union (NFLPA) . To my mind the NFL in terms of the assistance now being provided to its retired veterans seems to be no different than that of the less than appropriate aid provided to war veterans by the Veterans Administration (VA) ! But yet we have our , oh so patriotic politicians saluting the troops at each and every moment that they can when they’re on the political stump . In reality however , those very same politicians are simply banging the drum all too loudly with their jingoism and rhetoric ! And in doing so , they’re simply giving the electorate something that they believe they want to hear . Unfortunately , those young men and women of the military are provided with about as much care and assistance as that can be found in the squalor of a disease ridden city of third world nation . Ask yourself this , if the federal government in all of its earnest to bring democracy to such far-flung places as Afghanistan and Iraq while barely moving heaven and earth to assist its men and women in uniform in their time of need . It is no different now with the NFL and its handling of the situation and that of its veterans . Anyone care to guess why it is that you now have former players being denied their benefits that in many cases is rightfully due to them ?

The NFLPA has sought the legal counsel of Fulbright & Jaworski LLC to represent its members in any upcoming proceeding against the Saints’ players current and former embroiled in this affair . But herein lies the caveat to this all , because undoubtedly there will be those who are of the opinion that this is a matter where the players in question should be honest enough to tell the truth rather than hide behind the charade of what is already a skewered form of justice within the NFL . You had players being blatantly being order to cause undue harm and damage to an opponent and many of those players willing sought to do so for the financial reward being used as an incentive . Yet , where there is a clear case as an act of criminality this whole scenario would indeed take on a whole new light . Instead , the idiocy here is that there are those who do not feel any undue harm has been done by this at all ! Only apathy and naivete` is being shown by those who see this nothing more than being part and parcel of the day-to-day inner workings within the sanctum of the NFL . In reality , the league has become outlandish ________________ and one of avarice rather than it being simply about doing what happens to be in the best interests of the game ! .

And while the league (NFL) now finds itself as the defendants in two separate civil suits brought at the US District Court and US Federal Court , clearly the NFL seeking to makeover its image as an uncaring and unwilling entity seeking to assist the most desperate amongst its members who just happen to be in urgent need . I certainly would like to see how Goodell and the owners now address each of the cases in question ! At the end of the 2011-12 season Roger Goodell was quick to point to the fact that the league hadn’t lost any major corporate sponsors while stating that the NFL as a business entity had negotiated deals worth in excess $1.6 billion by way of additional revenues from a number broadcast outlets , very little was made of the fact that when questioned about the legal proceedings faced as he sought to deflect their importance and simply view them as meaningless . In reality NFL Chief legal counsel Jeff Pash may well see it all from a different perspective should the league as defendants be on the wrong end of either of the judicial proceedings in question .

Roger Goodell seeks to be all things to all people and it is clear while appearing to be like the consummate politician it has to be said that for all sense and purpose the electorate now appear to be sick and tired of the whole spiel being put forth by both political parties and it is the very much the same thing with the NFL commissioner at present . He’s shown himself ineffective when he needs to be effective and someone who is unwilling to stick with a tough decision even when he knows it to be right . The stupidity of it all , has been the very fact that from the outset he needn’t have adjudicated an appeal when there was already an admittance of guilt from Sean Payton , Micky Loomis and Joe Vitt . Now what ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the latest developments concerning the New Orleans Saints what if anything would you now like to see happen with regard to the franchise ? And also do you believe that Roger Goodell has handled this situation to the best of his abilities ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This April 2, 2012 file photo shows NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell framed by New Orleans Saints hats during an interview before the grand opening of the NFL Shop at Draft store in New York. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has rejected the appeals of coach Sean Payton and other New Orleans Saints officials stemming from the league’s probe into the club’s bounty system. After hearing from Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt last week, Goodell decided Monday, April 9, 2012, to uphold his initial sanctions, which include Payton’s suspension for the entire 2012 season. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …

(2) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton during his season-ending news conference at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has rejected the appeals of coach Sean Payton and other New Orleans Saints officials stemming from the league’s probe into the club’s bounty system. After hearing from Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt last week, Goodell decided Monday, April 9, 2012, to uphold his initial sanctions, which include Payton’s suspension for the entire 2012 season. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

(3) FILE – This Jan. 14, 2012 file photo shows San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) passing against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of an NFL divisional playoff football game , in San Francisco. A newly released recording purports to capture former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams telling players to “put a lick” on San Francisco’s Kyle Williams to see if the receiver has lingering effects from an earlier concussion. In the recording from a meeting before the Saints played the 49ers in a playoff game in January, Williams urges players to beat running back Frank Gore’s head, “lay out” quarterback Alex Smith and go after receiver Michael Crabtree’s knee. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma …..

(4) New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, left, is followed by media as he arrives for a meeting at NFL headquarters in New York, Thursday, April 5, 2012. AP Photo/Seth Wenig ….

(5) New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt, right, arrives with attorney David Cornwell for a meeting at NFL headquarters in New York, Thursday, April 5, 2012. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

(6) NEW ORLEANS – JANUARY 18: Owner of the New Orleans Saints Tom Benson (L) tries to put a hat on Sean Payton’s head after announcing him as the new head coach of the Saints at the New Orleans Saints Practice facility on January 18, 2006 in Metairie, Louisiana. Payton has been an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys for the past three seasons. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images … …..

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F_#k You And The Horse You Rode In On You Scumbag ….. !

F_#k You And The Horse You Rode In On You Scumbag ….. !

By tophatal …………………..

I don’t know but this whole NFL “Bounty Scandal” while taking on a life of its own if anything it has shown me what a sniveling wimp Roger Goodell just happens to be ! The penalties notwithstanding are still something of a joke , as monetarily $500,000 is a mere pittance for the New Orleans Saints to pay . It’s pretty much a sum that they can easily recoup merely from perhaps general admission ticket and concession sales from a preseason game . Granted, the suspensions handed down to Joe Vitt , Sean Payton , Micky Loomis and former Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams , may or may not have gone far enough in a number of fans’ eyes . But I now find it incredulous to know that both Payton and Loomis have now been in consultation with team owner Tom Benson in his seeking out Bill Parcells to come in and succeed Payton as the interim head coach for the franchise , this upcoming season ! .

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Now unless I’m mistaken I was under the impression the suspension meant that neither Payton , Vitt or Loomis could be involved in any decision-making that concerns the Saints’ franchise . At the same time Sean Payton at his own insistence has yet to lodge an appeal of his suspension with the league hierarchy but somehow he’s still in consultation with Tom Benson as to whom the owner should hire . From the outset after the edict was made known upon Roger Goodell’s announcement of the fines and suspension , Benson had made the statement that the team’s offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr would be the de-facto head coach . So unless there has been a change of mind within the front office and specifically by the owner , I cannot see how the now disgraced coach could even have the temerity to be suggesting who should succeed him at this juncture ! What might be even more unbelievable from this whole damning episode , has been the very fact that both Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis ,lied to the Saints’ owner as to what they did or did not know as to this whole scandal , engineered by Gregg Williams and readily supported by the then head coach and general manager. To my mind , if Tom Benson had any damn integrity or honor , he would completely ignore the input from both individuals at this moment in time ! It speaks volumes as to his (Benson’s) now own ambiguity if he is even considering anything that either Loomis or Payton has to say as who should actually be New Orleans Saints’ interim coach !

I am now personally of the opinion that Benson , himself may well have something to hide but as to what it might be , remains to be seen . I still feel that , were it not for the events of Hurricane Katrina and its harrowing effect upon the city of New Orleans and its surrounding parishes . Then Tom Benson would have certainly sought to uproot and relocate the franchise altogether and I do believe that he would have been eagerly supported in this endeavor by Roger Goodell ! And it would appear that the commissioner might allow the now beleaguered coach to return to coaching pending his appeal . If the commissioner isn’t prepared to stand his ground even after the repeated lies by Sean Payton during this investigation , then what does it suggest about Goodell as the commissioner and the National Football League as an entity ? The commissioner has punished players over the course of his tenure for bringing the game into disrepute and “conduct “ said to be unbecoming “ . But he would now be prepared to allow the Saints’ coach to return to the NFL pending appeal ? And even then, would he be the one presiding as judge and jury in such a hearing or would an outside adjudicator be brought in to hear this case ? This has now become the hypocrisy of the NFL , whose commissioner just happens to be weak knee’d lilly-livered individual without a god-damn backbone !

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Goodell might let Payton coach during appeal

By Brett Martell , AP Sports Writer

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might allow Sean Payton to coach the Saints while he appeals his season-long suspension for his role in the team’s bounties program.

“I said in a letter they have to appeal by April 2, I believe,” Goodell said Monday at the owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. “If he decides to appeal, I probably will allow him to continue and I would expedite the hearing and I would expedite my decision.

“We did meet twice and went through the information. If he has something else for me to consider, I will.”

Payton’s agent, Donald Yee, said “no decisions have been made about an appeal” by his client.

“Sean fully supports the league’s player safety goals,” Yee said. “Given this, he probably won’t address the entire league” when he arrives at the owners meetings.

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said Payton was expected to speak later this week at the meetings. NFC coaches are scheduled to meet the media Wednesday morning. Payton has not addressed the media since the suspension, but has issued two written statements apologizing for the bounty system.

Goodell also is waiting for recommendations from the players’ union before punishing any players for participating in the three-year bounty system that targeted opponents for big hits. He has discussed the bounties with NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith.

Goodell added the league approached the Saints before their playoff game with the Lions in January and warned them to make sure the bounties had ceased. He sent Jeff Pash, the NFL’s lead counsel, and Jeffrey Miller, its director of security, to speak with owner Tom Benson.

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As to Roger Goodell’s own stance on the matter , if he thinks that this case is now closed merely because of the verdicts rendered then he’s a bigger fool than I have already taken him for ! For his part as stern as his message sent was meant to be does anyone really feel that at the end of the day this will be indeed the last chapter in this whole sordid affair ? I find the commissioner to be no different to the 535 bumbling assholes now seated within the House of Representatives and Senate who constantly bicker , waffle and whine amongst themselves ! However, in this case Roger Goodell simply waffles to the press , merely alluding to things that he simply thinks that the fans and journalists alike wish to here ! So much so , that the vast majority of the NFL writers and on air personalities who cover the league would rather drink and from the porcelain pot that the commissioner defecates and urinates in , than question at times many of his edicts as the game’s highest ranking executive ! And it should come as no surprise that broadcast outlets while make this story a tour-de-force and part of their 24 hour news cycle simply haven’t gone about reporting many of the salient details of this drama , choosing instead to “water down” in part much of what was said to be have been done by Sean Payton , Mickey Loomis and Gregg Williams . Is it any wonder why no one can take the likes of ABC/ESPN , Fox Sports , NBC Sports and CBS Sports as a reliable source of informative and responsible sports’ journalism ? That’s like entrusting the federal legislators within both chambers of Congress to actually come up with a legislative statute that makes any god-damn sense !

Now should Sean Payton seek to to appeal his suspension then he has to file his grievance and appeal to the league hierarchy no later than the 2nd April, 2012 . And I would dare say that should he seek to file that appeal then I would also expect Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt to follow suit . It simply makes sense that all three would file , looking for a quick and expedited hearing as soon as possible . Payton’s attorney and agent , Donald Yee may well be seeking to expedite such a scenario in order to perhaps get his client back behind the reins in time for the upcoming NFL Draft . That in of-itself would still allow the coach to be part of the organization’s war-room for the upcoming event in April. The forfeiture of two draft picks in 2012 and 2013 overall, may not have that great a bearing on the Saints’ draft status . But I’d dare say that there may well be a number of NFL franchise owners and front office executives that will be none too happy with such a circumstance , wherein Sean Payton is allowed to return to the NFL under such a premise . The penalty may not fit the crime but what might be even more unpalatable have been his actions , egregious and deceitful lies that simply belies the fact that one would still think that he remains a man of integrity or much less has an ounce of decency ! One wonders if Drew Brees , who jumped to his coach’s support is now still of the same opinion ? And also , would indeed any of his teammates who’ve been at his side over the course of this past season be like-minded with their own opinion ? Your thoughts on the matter , just chime on in with a comment as you would deem fit . The premise from the Saints’ players are that they’re being maligned , victimized and that their reputations are now being trashed and tarnished . But clearly , Roger Goodell believes that there was a veracity behind the course of his actions in meting out this unprecedented punishment to the New Orleans Saints .

For the players of the New Orleans Saints who are said to be still under investigation as to their own actions . One now has to wonder whether or not they will seek counsel from the NFLPA (union) and their newly elected President Dominique Foxworth ? Certainly , DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA Executive Committee and the Players’ Representatives will have to weigh their options as to how best to represent their members in this all ? And there are bound to be supporters and opposition within the union to any form of punishment that might be rendered by the NFL league hierarchy against their members , who Roger Goodell may have felt were guilty in participating in the “said actions ” . God knows, with the union themselves being perhaps unwilling participants in what was said to be an ongoing 2 1/2 year investigation you have to now wonder how this all sits with the union itself . The NFLPA has longed tried to suggest that they have the safety of their members at heart but now you have players from within their own fraternity having been receipt of a large financial incentives , merely for looking to take out an opposing player. Great ! That’s all we now need , a bunch of overpaid psychologically imbalanced lunatics now looking to lay waste to each other ! And here was I thinking that the $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) set aside to aid the old-time veterans who had been often overlooked as to their medical needs and benefits now have seen their own plight now placed on the back-burner as the union faces a barrage of calls as to its image and that of the NFL , itself .

I would find it an insult , if Roger Goodell were to offer a “stay ” of Sean Payton’s suspension while hearing a case that certainly has no merit !. Not when it has been proven that he colluded with members of his coaching staff to subvert the league’s own form of justice . More to the point he lied repeatedly to the league’s investigators as well as the commissioner but more inconceivable is the very fact that both he and Mickey Loomis lied to the franchise’s owner Tom Benson as to their actions. At this juncture it’s hard to envisage how the commissioner should he preside over the hearing , reversing his original edict . Furthermore, given the premise that Benson , Loomis and Payton have been in contact with Bill Parcells after the Payton’s initial approach . I am now beginning to wonder or not the Saints’ owner Tom Benson can now be truly taken at his word , . that he was unaware as to the actions of his head coach and general manager ! I mean was the commissioner able to look deep into Benson’s eyes and ” see his soul ” as former President George W . Bush was said to have done with Vladimir Putin , all this was a mere six month before the then Russian President launched a brazen attack on what was believed the Chechnyan rebels only to then kill hundreds of civilians , many of whom were young children and the elderly . Ah “Dubya” where would we be without him ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the possibility that Roger Goodell may well back-track and allow Sean Payton to return to the NFL , while an appeal is undertaken on the coach’s behalf ? Do you feel it justified in light of the preponderance of evidence and the veracity of the league’s case against Payton ? Do take time to leave a comment as you see fit and thanks once again for the continued support of the site as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1)New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, left, is escorted as he leaves the NFL owners meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Facing a season-long suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounties program, Payton planned to meet with Bill Parcells, his former boss, on Tuesday, a conversation that will include who will coach New Orleans this coming season. AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez ..

(2) FILE – In this March 11, 2011 file photo, Bill Parcells watches a spring training baseball game in Jupiter, Fla. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton says he will meet Tuesday, March 27, 2012, with Bill Parcells, and part of that discussion will include who will coach the Saints this coming season. Payton says he will decide in the next “two to three” days whether he will appeal the suspension that would keep him off the sideline this season because of his role in the Saints’ bounty system. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …

(3) In these recent file photos, New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr , left, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer , center, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are shown. A person familiar with the situation says Spagnuolo, Carmichael, and Kormer are three strong candidates on the Saints staff to step in as interim coach. The Saints are trying to regroup from penalties handed down by the NFL for running a bounty program. The league suspended head coach Sean Payton for a year, general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six. AP Photo/ Kent Cunningham …….

(4) Sean Payton is seen here being hugged by Saints’ owner Tom Benson after a victory at the Superdome in New Orleans , Louisiana . Getty Images /Gitesh Rahman …

(5) DeMaurice Smith (L) executive director of the National Football League Players’ Association laughs at a comment made by Baltimore Ravens’ corner-back Domonique Foxworth (C) during a news conference July 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFL players and owners are set to agree on a labor deal and end the current lockout. Rob Carr /Getty Images North America ….

(6) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who’s now said to be contemplating New Orleans Saints’ coach Sean Payton being allowed to return to coaching the team pending an appeal . As yet , the coach has not filed his appeal with the league hierarchy , for which the deadline is no later than the 2nd April , 2012 3 pm EST . AP Photo / Richard Carpenter …
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If you would like to read my original piece on the New Orleans Saints “Bounty Scandal” . Simply click unto the links provided herein . One Crime Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All ……. But Then Again It Might !

One Crime Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All ……. But Then Again It Might !

One Crime Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All …….But Then Again It Might !

By tophatal …..

Well NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has publicly issued the penalties to be handed down to the New Orleans Saints . And harsh as it may seem there are many who feel that it simply wasn’t enough in terms actual crimes as we now know them to be . Saints’ head coach Sean Payton been suspended for the entire 2012 season , and in conjunction with that suspension assistant coach Joe Vitt also has been suspended for 6 games . GM Micky Loomis was handed down a penalty of suspension without pay and no contact whatsoever with anyone within the Saints’ hierarchy . Former Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams now with the St Louis Rams in a similar capacity has been suspended indefinitely and it could lead to his actual firing by the Rams’ organization , with cause . Also as part of this action , the league hierarchy has penalized the Saints $500,0000 and the organization will also forfeit two future NFL Draft picks in …… a 1st round pick in 2012 and a second round pick in 2013 .

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Commissioner Goodell having been in contact with Saints’ owner Tom Benson throughout the entire length of this investigation , and the franchise’s owner was made aware of the league’s findings forty-eight hours before it was made public. Benson is said to happy with the manner in which the investigation was conducted but said to be shocked at the severity of the penalties . With the Saints’ reputation now impugned , it’s hard to view the franchise as having any integrity whatsoever ! Sean Payton not only lied to the owner concerning the allegations when they first arose but also had his coaching staff also lie to the press , league hierarchy and public alike concerning the claims leveled against the team but the head coach also lied to league investigators at each of the interviews conducted by the league . Is it me but I can only surmise that the Saints’ head coach is simply a moronic asshole of the highest order ! And given the controversies and allegations that surfaced as to the use of illicit substances by certain members of Payton’s coaching staff as well as the head coach , himself. It begs the question , was there a case to actually conduct an investigation into those allegations which we told at the time were unfounded ? I bet they were ! Payton, we can now see is a man who lacks integrity as well as having a preponderance to avoid telling the truth . The irrevocable damage done to his reputation and that of the New Orleans Saints and lays the NFL wide open to any other multitude of sins from hereon-in .

At the heart of this all , has been the actions of the coaches in this saga and the temerity of current and former players to deny that there was ever surreptitious deal as an incentive for defensive players to go out cause harm to an opponent . Between 2008 and 2011 is primarily when Williams’ plan was put into place and carried out rather effectively over that period of time . Now we could look upon the results over that time and argue their veracity but it would be too little
, too late at this juncture . And although former Saints’ defensive player Darren Sharper has categorically stated that at no time did he or any of his teammates enact any of the strategies called for by either Gregg Williams , Joe Vitt or Sean Payton . One has to ask, is Sharper in complete denial or does he have something to hide ? With Jabari Greer now coming forward to suggest that the Saints’ integrity and that of the team has been smeared when he and other have done nothing wrong , smacks of sheer idiocy and lunacy on the part of the player ! But then again how can anyone not look at the organization and now look at this team with any integrity whatsoever !

The Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees in his first interview after the findings were made public stated Sean Payton was man of high praise and as being of someone with deep-rooted honesty and integrity . Now don’t get me wrong as much as I admire Brees as a player , at this moment in time any type of statement forthcoming from a player within this organization has to be treated with a sense of disbelief ! That being said, this story and the severity of the punishment should serve as a warning for all of the NFL’s 32 franchises . Let me pose this question to you all , when the “Spygate” fiasco came to the fore there were many amongst you who were of the impression that Bill Belichick and the fine imposed against the organization was justified because they were the only ones said to be involved in such an act . Did anyone truly believe that the New England Patriots was the only NFL team involved this whole charade ? If yes, then raise your hand like a kid in a classroom ? Less we forget , Josh McDaniels as the former head coach of the Denver Broncos enacted the same idiocy as his now mentor and head coach with the Patriots , where he now serves and the team’s offensive coordinator . Would it be remiss to suggest that there might be one or quite possibly two teams in the league now seeking to review their strategies from a defensive standpoint ? Think about at depth before proffering up an answer .

Roger Goodell has been in contact with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and it appears that the union leader along with the union’s executive committee are conducting their own investigation into the Saints’ deeds at the center of this major NFL controversy . As to what the union’s own investigation can find, is merely now mute and redundant . What is it that the union now hopes to achieve when it is clear that many of their members were apparently acting with malice a-forethought in seeking out an opponent and looking to cause harm ? And for the purists out there still espousing the idea that the game comes with many dangers . The dangers , yes , are many but they should not come about where an opponent is seeking to cause you irreparable harm and possible long-term injury . Can you imagine the public outcry that there would be had one of the league leading figures , such as recognizable names Tom Brady , Eli Manning , Peyton Manning and Matt Stafford or quite possibly running backs Adrian Peterson , LaDainian Tomlinson had suffered long-term injuries ? Consider the monies vested in the players and the very fact that monetarily the loss to a team would be catastrophic for any organization ?

Goodell has made it clear that the players involved in this scandal will face some form of punishment as deemed necessary by the NFL hierarchy . The ramifications for the New Orleans Saints will be ongoing and will certainly have an effect on their season . I would dare say also , that any former player of theirs during the time in question involved in this “mea-culpa “ now with another franchise may well be looking over their shoulder , waiting to see what the league may well have in store for them by way of a penalty .

Seeing the league now become so proactive seems somewhat like an image makeover when you now consider that the NFL is now defendant two separate civil suits one at the Federal level and one at one at the state level , Cook County Court , Chicago , Illinois . Each of the plaintiffs seek monetary damages for what they believe to negligence and fraud on the part of the league (NFL) in hiding what was said to be information within the league’s possession as it relates to the cause and effect of blunt force head trauma and concussions suffered by players during the course of their professional careers in the NFL . Given the fact that the union itself , has been just as negligent and asinine as the league hierarchy , first under Paul Tagliabue and his successor ( Goodell ) as well as DeMaurice Smith’s predecessor that bumbling and somewhat dimwitted oaf , the late Gene Upshaw ! And even though the league has set aside $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) to assist league veterans with their medical needs , it does look as if both the league and union now seem to be looking save face , after this latest controversy and debacle to hit the NFL square in the face . As to this asinine notion that the NFL really cares about their seasoned veterans , consider the plight of former Bears’ quarterback Jim McMahon . The former NFL great is now a shell of himself , now suffering from long and short-term memory loss . McMahon is part of the suit now filed US Federal Court in , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . The trial date though not yet set as both sides are going through their preliminary hearings . Chances are , we’re about to see some the league’s dirty laundry being aired for the whole world to see .

The other case I mentioned , is a civil suit filed in Cook County by the family of the late Dave Duerson , who also just happened to be a teammate and close personal friend of Jim McMahon and a member of the Bears’ Superbowl championship winning team in 1986. Duerson , as you may well be aware died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound , having played his entire career in the NFL . Upon his retirement , the player suffered a number of hardships , a failed marriage , personal as well corporate bankruptcy for a number of businesses he had set up prior to and after his retirement from the NFL . Unbeknown to many was that, Dave Duerson during this time had been suffering severe concussions and epileptic fits . All this mind you, and we’re led to believe that a player of Duerson’s caliber was never in danger given the physicality of the game . Who’s laughing now ? Certainly not Dave Duerson , or any member of his immediate family !

Fans have always seen the league first in a competitive light with its teams vying for the NFL’s highest honor . This past season was self-evident of that . The postseason however , offered us so much more by way of the games that were on display. Who could forget the Superbowl itself and the competitiveness of the game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants ? The events as they unfolded served up a plethora of excitement that led to Giants winning their second Superbowl in five years , with Tom Coughlin pretty much being assured a place in Canton , Ohio upon his retirement . The Hall of Fame is a revered institution and I now get the feeling that a number of players on the Saints’ current and past rosters during the time these incidents are said to have occurred , may well have seen their chances of entrance being waylaid , simply for the reason that they were willing and some might even suggest unwilling participants in the schemes of Sean Payton and Gregg Williams . Chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

This upcoming season with the NFL and in particular the NFC South we may well see distinct change within the mindset of the New Orleans Saints . Certainly the other residents within the division such as the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers this might well be the season where competitiveness within the division now sees some real equity between the quartet of teams . Not that the NFC South wasn’t said to be already competitive to begin with and most certainly from an offensive standpoint with . Certainly , coaches Greg Schiano , Mike Smith and Ron Rivera view the Saints in a new light . And I would dare say that Pete Carmichael Jr as the interim head coach of the New Orleans Saints may well use the season as a stepping stone to prove himself as a credible candidate for any future NFL position that may well come about .

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(1) In this Jan. 7, 2012, photo, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton yells from the sideline during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans. The NFL has suspended Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/The Shreveport Times, Jim Hudelson ….

(2) St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher discuss the indefinite suspension of Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. Williams was banned indefinitely on Wednesday because the New Orleans Saints defensive players were paid bounties for big hits on opponents from 2008-11 when Williams was with the team. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …….

(3) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is seen on the television as Saints fans Bryce Powers, left, and Jonathan Hebert watch news reports of the NFL’s punishment of the New Orleans Saints football team at Walk On’s sports pub in New Orleans,Wednesday, March 21, 2012. The NFL suspended New Orleans coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

(4) In this Sept. 18, 2011 file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton yells on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. he NFL has suspended Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Bill Haber …. ….

(5) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2011, file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson looks on before the first half of an NFL football game between Saints and the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. The NFL has suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Rich Addicks ……..

(6) FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2011 file photo, New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt walks the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans. The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman …..

(7) FILE – In this Dec. 19, 2012, file photo, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis watches from the sidelines before the start of the Saints-Dallas Cowboys NFL football game in New Orleans. The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Bill Haber ..

(8) FILE – In this Sept. 26, 2010, file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talk during an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team’s bounty program that targeted opposing players. Also Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, ….

(9) Former Bears’ quarterback Jim McMahon seen here giving a rare interview on the ESPN magazine program “Outside The Lines” . The player is part of a contingency of players in a civil suit filed against the NFL in the US Federal Court in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania that seeks punitive damages against the league . McMahon was a member of the Chicago Bears Superbowl winning team in 1986 and a teammate of the late Dave Duerson . Source ESPN / espn.go.com ….

(10) Dave Duerson seen here in front of a Congressional Committee that looked into the matter of head trauma and concussions suffered by current and former NFL players . The player would die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February 2011 . Dave Duerson’s family claims he suffered at least 10 concussions during his 11-year career . AP Photo / Susan Walsh ……

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In The Military We Just Love To Blow Sh#t Up ! In The NFL It’s Simply The Norm …….. So What’s New ?

In The Military We Just Love To Blow Sh#t Up ! In The NFL It’s Simply The Norm …….. So What’s New ?

By tophatal ….

Either he was cajoled or he’s simply looking to avert the gaze and attention away from New Orleans Saints …. organization . Somehow GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton probably at the behest of team owner Tom Benson have sought to allay the fears of their most ardent fans in light of the allegations now fomenting within the NFL as to the program initiated by the team’s former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams . As an assistant coach with the team from 2008-11 , Williams serving under Sean Payton had a bounty that was used a financial incentive for defensive players on the Saints’ roster . This situation has now come to the fore with the NFL hierarchy conducting an investigation into the actions of Williams , while an assistant not only with the New Orleans but also while serving in the same capacity with the Washington Redskins under then head coach Joe Gibbs .

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If there’s any veracity to these claims , albeit that Saints’ defensive player .Darren Sharper has denied any culpability or wrongdoing by himself and his teammates during the period that these alleged incidents took place . Should this be proven , based upon any statements or concrete evidence that is uncovered through this investigation then the ramifications for the Saints could be very serious . However, much of this will be predicated upon whether or not NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shows that he is indeed prepared to punish the Saints and in particular Gregg Williams for his actions. A monetary fine , suspension and forfeiture of future NFL Draft picks could very well cause irreparable damage to the image of Saints as an organization . Even with the joint statement and public apology to the fans and organization alike and with the duo of Loomis and Payton acknowledging that the franchise’s owner was unaware of the of the general manager and coach acted in unison with their former defensive coordinator , in enacting this rather dubious and distasteful act .

Can someone explain to me what would we now be discussing had one the league’s elite quarterback been incapacitated by one of these stupid acts ? With the apparent bounties said to be as high as $10,000 for taking out an offensive player be it a quarterback , wide receiver or running back . My question is , what the f#ck were Payton and Williams thinking to begin with ? Did it not occur to either the possible serious ramifications that their actions and decisions might have ?

Goodell , if he’s to prove that as the league’s highest ranking executive that he has a tight rein on the league that he has now been the custodian of since assuming the role as commissioner from Paul Tagliabue . I’ve never been totally convinced that the incumbent was the right man for the job in succeeding Tagliabue ! Roger Goodell is a mindless dimwit who was completely bamboozled by the NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee during the deliberations in the renegotiating of CBA (collective bargaining agreement) . Were it not for Robert Kraft and senior union negotiating representative Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts I seriously doubt that there would have been some semblance of peace within the NFL as it currently stands ! Goodell and Smith jointly, may well be obtaining all of the praise but in all honesty does anyone believe that Roger Goodell was actually smart enough to deal with a former federal litigator for the US Justice Department as well as being a corporate attorney with noted DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC ? Simply put , DeMaurice Smith out-smarted his NFL counterpart in so many ways that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about !

Goodell either has to show he has some credibility or actually none at all . And at this juncture I’m inclined to believe that the commissioner hasn’t actually got a frigging backbone ! Anyone who can prove me to the contrary , then please let them do so succinctly ?

Now the big news of the day within the NFL is the fact that the Indianapolis Colts and their storied quarterback Peyton Manning have parted ways . After fourteen years with the same franchise when he was drafted by the Colts as the number one overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft . It has now all come down to this , with the decision no doubt being made by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay in conjunction with GM Ryan Grigson made the this choice rather than having to pay the roster bonus of $28 million due on the 8th March , 2012. The consensus now appears to be that the Colts will take Stanford Cardinals’ quarterback Andrew Luck in the upcoming NFL Draft in April , 2012.

As one chapter ends , so another begins , as Manning now becomes an unrestricted free agent and perhaps the most sought after free agent quarterback that will be available this off-season . And now the scurrying begins for the teams now said to be in need of a quarterback . Let’s just now say that there will be more than a handful of teams now chasing after the services of Peyton Manning . Tom Condon as the player’s agent will no doubt pursue the most feasible and best possible destination for his client . Care to suggest where the quarterback may well end up ? Manning as one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL over the past decade will obviously want to play for a credible contender within the NFL . I’d say that this juncture , of the 32 NFL teams in the league perhaps there are four who are at least satisfied with their incumbent quarterback . So that would leave the remaining 28 franchises at least vying for the player’s skill-set . If you’re Woody Johnson , Mike Holmgren , Jerry Jones , Stanley Kroenke , Jeff Ireland , : Dan Snyder and Paul Allen are you quite possibly willing to pursue Peyton Manning ? Hell yeah ! I bet either of the aforementioned front office executives would give up their first-born , perhaps and donate the organ of a family member as a willing sacrifice , just to have Manning don their team’s uniform for a season ! Who wouldn’t be ?
Only a moron would seek not to do so !

” We love to blow s#it up ” . So someone please explain to me how it is that the Spanos family haven’t blown out A J Smith and Norv Turner as the general manager and head coach of the San Diego Chargers ? Did I miss something ? As this team simply stumbled out of the gate and simply pissed away the opportunity to be dominant within the AFC West and in my honest opinion the weakest division in the entire NFL !

Now with Philip Rivers having something of a down year by even his own lofty standards . But herein lies the caveat , if Rivers and this team were said to be inept then what does that say about Norv Turner and his entire coaching staff ? Far be it for me to suggest that a group of chimpanzees could have performed better in the roles as coaching and assistant coaching staff in such a premise but as a betting man I’d go with the damn chimps ! Because Turner has shown me f#ck all as a coach since he became the head coach of this franchise !.

With free agents …. Stephen Cooper , Luis Castillo , Patrick Crayton , Na’il Diggs , Jared Gaither , Antonio Garay , Steve Gregory , Nick Hardwick , Tommy Harris , Jacob Hester , Bob Sanders and Mike Tolbert and it appears that the Chargers apart from seeking cap space may well seek to build through the draft . Lord have mercy upon the souls of the Chargers’ fans with one more damn season of Norv Turner being in charge with a do-fuss such as A J Smith ! The infamous duo , have now become the Laurel & Hardy of the NFL and they sure as hell have made me laugh over the years , as to the positions that they hold within the Chargers’ organization ! That’s another skit to put to rest , in terms of the comedy of ” errors” that was on display with the San Diego Chargers in 2011 . Care to think why they won’t be anymore , in the 2012-13 season ? This organization’s window closed long ago and anyone who now believes to the contrary must be self medicating on Propofol or the opiates that may well be found in Whitney Houston’s system . ‘nough said on the matter I do believe !

If the Chargers have a real issue then it would have to be on both sides of the ball specifically their defense and their pass offense . As good as the receiving corp of the Chargers is said to be it became abundantly clear that the productivity sought simply wasn’t there. And with the organization also not seeking to “franchise tag” the wide receiver Vincent Jackson and thereby seeking cap relief .

With Norv Turner being retained by the Chargers in what many believe was a surprising decision by the front office . I have to admit that I was extremely surprised by this choice ! Much of this came down to the fact with the Denver Broncos’ surprising win of the AFC West , albeit with a sub-standard record . But then again when fans were simply in awe of the season had by the team’s quarterback Tim Tebow it goes to the issue as to how weak the division just happened to be and the lack of real quality of the teams within the AFC West ! Whether or not the problems with the Chargers has to do with the choices made in terms of their draft picks over the years or the jettisoning of players whom they thought to be no longer capable of playing for the organization . Then clearly the blame for the apparent mishaps lay squarely on the shoulders of A J Smith and Norv Turner , jointly ! Were Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson really past their prime ? Apparently not , but then again what do I know ?

As of now what the future truly holds for the San Diego Chargers who really knows ? But clearly the window of opportunity has closed for this organization and the task of rebuilding for the future has to start now rather than later . In my honest opinion, I firmly believe that this upcoming season will be Philip Rivers’ last with the organization as it now must come down to the ambition of the player and whether or not he’s viewed as this era’s version of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino . Financially secure in some respects , I bet Rivers would give up half of his salary to be even within a whisker of raising the Lombardi Trophy as a triumphant Superbowl champion , on a championship caliber team ! The Chargers have never had that luxury and given the optimism of their long-suffering fans I am not so sure that they ever will . Definitely not with Norv Turner , in his current role as the head coach of this team working in conjunction with GM A J Smith .

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(1) Seen from left to right are Mickey Loomis , general manager of the New Orleans Saints alongside the team’s former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and head coach Sean Payton . Williams has publicly apologized for his actions in the scandal that has now embroiled the franchise as well as the Washington Redskins. Loomis and Payton , jointly have issued a public statement and apology of their own taking sole responsibility for the actions of Gregg Williams . With there now being harsh calls for severe punishment to be brought against the franchise as well Williams we now await a decision from the NFL hierarchy headed by Roger Goodell. Several owners are said to be angered by the actions of Williams and the Saints’ franchise. It remains to be seen what actions will possibly taken by Rams whose employment Williams is now in. With his reputation now tarnished it’s hard to envisage how St Louis Rams can continue to retain his services . AP Photo / Chris Cousins ……..

(2) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with team owner Tom Benson after defeating the Chicago Bears 30-13 at the Louisiana Superdome on September 18, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images North America /Chris Graythern ……

(3) ” I love you man ” ! Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, front, hugs quarterback Peyton Manning after announcing that the NFL football team will release Manning during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(4) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, right, listens as quarterback Peyton Manning speaks during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Manning’s record-breaking run as a quarterback for the Colts ended Wednesday, when Irsay announced the team would release its best player. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ….

(5) Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano , right, and general manager Ryan Grigson listen as quarterback Peyton Manning speaks about being released by the team during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. AP Photo/AJ Mast …. ……

(6) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers talks about lineman Kris Dielman , rear, during a news conference in which Dielman announced his retirement from NFL football, Thursday, March 1, 2012 in San Diego. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi ……….

(7) Phillip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers looks away after arguing with Norv Turner during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Boehm/ Getty Images ……..

(8) Wide receiver …. Vincent Jackson (83) of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball on a 59 yard pass play in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on August 25, 2008 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, setting up a Chargers touchdown. …..

(9) San Diego Chargers’ head coach Norv Turner and GM A J Smith are seen here assessing roster personnel at the team’s training facility . AP Photo / Brett Thompson …

(10) It’s not quite who’s in charge of the lunatic asylum now known as the San Diego Chargers . But do take time to your own choice . From left to right , team President & COO Dean Spanos , head coach Norv Turner and general manager A J Smith . AFP/ Cullen Williams
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Dr Dre ….. feat’g Kurupt , Nate Dogg & Six Two …………. “Xxplosive ”

It’s A Man’s World But In The NFL …. Money And Its Image Is Are The Only Things That Actually Count And Matter …….. !

It’s A Man’s World But In The NFL …. Money And Its Image Is Are The Only Things That Actually Count And Matter …….. !

By tophatal ………….

It’s said to be a man’s game but somehow it may well have been lost on the staff of Sean Payton , the head coach of the New Orleans Saints . The NFL hierarchy is said to be conducting an ongoing investigation that would suggest that bounty scheme orchestrated by the team’s then defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that would reward defensive players on the roster monetary rewards either maiming of incapacitating an opposing player during a regular season game . Such has been the uproar and palpable of the suggestion that a coach would be actually rewarding his players to harm the members on an opposing roster.

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Payton is said to be unaware of this all but I somehow find that to be a complete lie ! There’s no way in hell that a head coach could be made unaware of such a scheme unless he chose to ignore what has been blatantly obvious for even the naked eye to witness . Williams was the defensive coordinator for the Saints from 2008 to 2011 before accepting a similar role with the St Louis Rams at the culmination of the 2011 season . Gregg Williams has since apologized to the NFL and the Saints hierarchy for his ill-advised scheme and the ramifications of this outrageous act . Now for those who took umbrage with the fallout of Bill Belichick’s actions that led to the “Spygate scandal “ and then Spygate II . If they felt that the Patriots coach’s actions were egregious then I would seriously like to know how they must feel about the actions of the Saints and specifically the actions of Greg Williams while he was a member of the organization’s coaching staff ?

One such incident was a game that involved the New Orleans and Rams in a regular season scheduled match-up that would see then Ram’s quarterback Kurt Warner knocked from the game as the player would suffer a grade 2 concussion which would leave him dazed and confused for several days of what Warner , himself would later suggest in a public interview the hits it was a legitimate one by Saints’ defensive player Darren Sharper . Warner suffered a concussion in that game but would later have post-game headaches and was sought medical supervision by the Rams . The Saints’ defensive player was quick to deny that anything done or perceived to be committed by his teammates was anything but legitimate during the time period suggested and he remains adamant in that fact . But that in of-itself doesn’t speak well , when one considers the actions and the formal apology issued by Greg Williams . So either the player is looking to placate himself from any actions by way any punishment that is expected to be meted out by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell .

Commissioner Goodell hasn’t issued a formal statement beyond claiming that the hierarchy is said to be investigating these claims . However , it is believed that heavily penalized sanctions will be levied against the New Orleans Saints and their former assistant defensive coordinator. Williams could face possible suspension and a monetary fine , while being an employee with the St Louis Rams . His former team , the New Orleans Saints could face even stiffer penalties which may include a forfeiture of draft picks , stiff monetary penalties as well as a formal reprimand by the league hierarchy in terms of the franchise bringing the game into disrepute. This all speaks boldly as to the seriousness of the issue at hand and how it is being viewed by the NFL .

I’ve always maintained that the NFL (league hierarchy) itself has done little to protect the safety and well-being of the players until recently . Much of this has come down to the fact that the hierarchy has never looked upon the issue of injuries such as concussions , blunt force trauma as anything more than a small bye product of the game . Bear in mind that such seasoned veterans who have served the game ____ many current and former players have been seriously injured by such incidents . Hall of Famer ….. Troy Aikman’s career was cut short by repeated concussions which caused the player to have short-term memory lapses . Consider also in 2011 the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Colt McCoy and the injury that he suffered during a regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the lack of action by the organization’s training staff in treating the player in the appropriate fashion . And do we really need to be reminded the circumstances under which Dave Duerson and Mike Webster died when one bears in mind their ongoing health issues at the time of their death ? Needless to say the idiots who continue to suggest that this is a game for men are so ignorant to ignore the facts that are there to be seen . Try to now placate that as nothing more than an over reaction if you can ?

The denials by the league hierarchy smacks of the stupidity shown by the NFL over the years even in light of the in-depth of the clear medical evidence from the studies conducted by NIMH , AMA , Harvard School of Medicine and & Neuro Sciences , Yale School of Medicine , Harvard School of Medicine , American Academy & Fellowship of Neurology & Medicine and the Stanford School of Medicine & Neurological Sciences . What might be even more egregious is the very fact that the league’s own in-house studies by conducted by paid medical professionals questioned the veracity of the evidence provided by these esteemed places of academia . Furthermore , with the idiocy also shown by the NFLPA under the then leadership of Gene Upshaw , you can simply understand how and why neither the league or union (NFLPA) cannot be trusted to act with any degree of integrity .

Even now , Roger Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith only pay this issue lip service , albeit that during their much disputed labor lockout , surreptitiously $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) was set aside to aid retired NFL veterans with assistance in denied medical benefits that were long overdue . And it should be noted that for league veterans who were members of the NFLPA prior to 1974 they were only guaranteed medical benefits only in their careers in the NFL covered continuously three years . That somehow doesn’t equate adequately when you considered how much of an effort was contributed to the game by such veterans , only for the contributions to have been denounced by the late Upshaw as not of being his concern at the time , while he was the union’s executive director. Goodell for his and that of his predecessor Paul Tagliabue sided with the evidence provided by the medical professionals hired by the league as to the cause and effect of blunt force trauma and concussions as to having no bearing upon the injuries suffered by NFL players . Have you ever heard anything so asinine in all of your life ? And we’re led to believe that these individuals still have the best interests t of the game and the players’ safety at heart ? That’s utter bullshit !

If it is Roger Goodell’s intent to send a shot across the bow of the NFL and specifically to the teams , their coaches and coaching assistants that such egregious acts will not be tolerated . Then he had better make sure that the punishment meted out cannot be seen as a slap on the wrist as was the case in terms of actions levied against Bill Belichick in the aftermath of the “Spygate Scandal “ . Nothing more than a $ 250,000 fine for the coach and a $500,000 monetary penalty for the franchise seems paltry when one considers the tens of million of dollars in revenues derived by the New England Patriots annually ! But then again the team’s owner Robert Kraft along with Jerry Jones and Tom Benson were three of the main protagonists who supported and put Goodell’s name forward as the successor to Paul Tagliabue as the NFL Commissioner . And the league hierarchy made of the NFL team owners simply went along with that proposal and the rest as they say is history . Needless to say , you can read into the decision rendered by Roger Goodell as it related to “Spygate” whatever way you like but at the end of the day you can’t help but wonder whether or not this was simply the commissioner’s way of telling Belichick ….” don’t let this happen again ” .

The NFL’s investigation has now expanded to cover Williams’ tenure with the Washington Redskins where in that capacity he held the defensive coordinator’s position from 2004-07 and where several defensive players have spoken openly as to the fact that a similar reward incentive had been put into place by the coach . Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs was in his second tenure as the head coach of the franchise , where he won multiple Superbowls . Gibbs in a candidate statement has gone on the record in a public address maintaining that he was unaware as to any bounty (head-hunter) system by the players on the roster at the time . I suppose when you’re winning or showing signs and some semblance of being consistent then things such as this tends to be ignored . But then again , I may well be wrong or I might not ? Like I said , I hardly believe that Williams has been the only coach to adopt such a policy with an NFL franchise ! It all comes down to not being caught but when things about and the franchise is revealed things are seen in a whole new light .

As to Gregg Williams and his now less than what appears to be a contrite apology seems to be meaningless after the fact ! Especially when one considers the events that are said to have taken place and how we ought to determine the number of players that may well have been injured over the course of time that the practice was in place and being adhered by the players on the New Orleans Saints’ roster . Now it’d be remiss to suggest also that the Saints might be the only franchise in the NFL that may well have put this sort of practice into place as an incentive for their players . I mean it simply didn’t take all that long for Belichick protege` Josh McDaniels to follow in the footsteps of his mentor and repeat the very same actions while a head coach of the Denver Broncos . His subsequent denials and lying to Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen about the incident summarily led to his dismissal along with the abysmal season that the franchise had in 2010 . There’s not much left to be said after that is there ?

From my own perspective I feel that the NFL has been mute and redundant in clearly showing that it cares about the health and well-being of their players current and past ! It speaks volumes to the fact when it has been only recently that they sought to be proactive after the years of evidence that was there for the league hierarchy to view . And I am now to believe that the league much less the commissioner now actually has a damn backbone ? I mean you tell me after their lack of inaction over the years only now be dragged kicking and in screaming in order for them to actually stand up and take a stance . As of yet the league itself and the union having agreed upon the proposal of testing for steroids and other PED’s have yet to put this mandate into practice after it was agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement . Now with two select House Committees ( Energy and Commerce & House Oversight & Gov’t Reform Committee ) now once again questioning the NFL’s intent it makes you wonder what the hell is now actually going on during the tenure of Roger Goodell ?

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the salient points raised within this piece and what actions if any do you believe should be taken against Gregg Williams and the New Orleans Saints ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

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(1) Gregg Williams ,left, and Saints’ head coach Sean Payton are seen here during a team workout . The former Saints’ assistant has now come under a cloud of suspicion with a “player bounty system” wherein defensive players on the team’s roster were rewarded with financial incentives to take apparently “take out” opposing offensive players during a game . The New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins are now under investigation for the apparent scheme said to have been initiated by Williams . Penalties are said to be adjudged by Roger Goodell should there be any veracity to the claims. Gregg Williams has indeed apologized to the league and his former organizations where was employed . He now holds the defensive coordinator’s position with the St Louis Rams . AP Photo /Chris Hendricks ….

(2) Williams (background) is seen here with then head coach Joe Gibbs at the Washington Redskins’ training facility in Ashburn , Virginia . The NFL hierarchy is currently conducting an investigation of both the Redskins and Saints concerning the allegations that have risen from a scheme initiated by Gregg Williams. Getty Images/ Elise Amendola ….

(3) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs for a 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as Darren Sharper (42) of the New Orleans Saints misses a tackle during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images North America / Johnathan Ferrey …..

(4) The CBA is it really worth the paper it’s written on ? Your thoughts ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFLPA Executive Director Demaurice Smith hold up the NFL’s new 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement at the Pro Football Hall of Fame August 5, 2011 in Canton, Ohio. Getty Images / Jason Miller ….
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What To Make of It All …………………

What To Make of It All …

Well the berths have been set for the 2011 World Series with the St Louis Cardinals representing the National League and last season’s AL pennant winners the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance in MLB’s showcase event. From my own perspective this may well be the best possible scenario with which to end the postseason with the two best teams in the league playing in this series. It should come as no surprise to see that the Ron Washington’s team in the World Series as their play over the course of the season was of a consistently high level amongst their peers within the AL and most certainly in the league as a whole .

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The Texas Rangers made light work of defeating the Detroit Tigers 15-5 to win the ALCS outright 4-2 . For team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels their faith has been more than justified in keeping together a team that was bitterly disappointed after last season’s crushing defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in 2010 . And the asinine belief that Michael Young should have been jettisoned by the organization showed clearly that the fans who claim that the maneuever should have been made had no damn idea what the hell they were talking . Ron Washington and his coaching staff knew that the player alongside Josh Hamilton , Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz are the “heart and soul” of the team . It’s simply asinine to be making these type of statements without having anything to back it all up .

For Tony La Russa and this Cardinals’ team with their achievements from the regular season , it should have come as no surprise what they were able to achieve during with the postseason with their defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS . You simply knew that during the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals once Ron Roenicke’s team failed to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way during the series there wasn’t much doubt that Albert Pujols and his teammates would find a way to make the Brewers pay for those mistakes.

Having won their most recent World Series in 2006 defeating the Detroit Tigers decisively 4-1 in that lopsided series . The St Louis Cardinals face perhaps an even more daunting task this time around when they open this year’s series at Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri on Wednesday in what is sure to be a raucous and staunch Cardinals’ following . On the mound for La Russa’s team will be their starting ace Chris Carpenter . A decision has yet to be made by Ron Washington and his coaching staff as to who the Texas Rangers’ starter is likely to be .

Say what you will the expectations may well be high for this series given what is at stake for both teams. The St Louis Cardinals will be seeking eleventh World Series title , while the Texas Rangers will be seeking their very first . The month of October during the postseason is littered with great feats of absolute amazement that make the game what it is and one of the major reasons why baseball still resonates with the fans . Unfortunately , however , the postseason television viewership for the series isn’t what it once was . And this year will certainly be no different in spite of the fact of the legacies of the two teams competing .

As the rapper Lupe Fiasco says in his hit song ” Words I Never Said “ would suggest Glen Beck is a ‘racist’ and Rush Limbaugh is a racist “. Well who am I to disagree ? But I never thought I would to live to see the day where I am now in almost complete agreement with the Conservative right winger Limbaugh as to the merits of Donovan McNabb as a player in the NFL ! McNabb’s struggles over the past two seasons have been well chronicled most notably with the Washington Redskins and this season with the Minnesota Vikings .

The Vikings this season are a team adrift in the midst of despair and without direction or leadership from anyone on this roster . And that is with due respect to Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson because neither at this point has shown that they possess any of the qualities mentioned . And it is now becoming abundantly clear that head coach Leslie Frazier , his coaching staff and the front office led by GM Rick Spielman made a monumental mistake in acquiring the veteran quarterback . His productivity this season ranks amongst the worst in the league at the position and especially with regard to the team’s offense in the red zone and on “third downs “.

Sunday’s game between two divisional (NFC North) foes in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings , bore out everythin one has come to expect of a Vikings’ team completely lacking confidence and amongst the very worst within the NFC in total defense . The Vikings’ offensive line is abysmal and an aging McNabb is simply doing himself no favors by rushing around like a headless chicken unable to find anyone amongst his arsenal of offensive weapons . The only praise that can be placed upon this team is that Percy Harvin when given the chance can be electrifying to watch . Beyond that, there certainly isn’t enough lavish praise that can be heaped upon this team . Well not from my perspective I believe !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC . As to what the rest of the regular season holds now for the Minnesota Vikings I am not so sure that their long suffering fans are quite prepared to endure the maelstrom of uncertainty and continued ineptitude in terms of the team’s performances !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC .

Well one wheel has now dropped off the wagon that carried the hopes of the Detroit Lions this season . In what was an exciting game between the Jim Schwartz’s —- team and a surprisingly effective San Francisco 49ers led by a rejuvenated Alex Smith . Playing with a great deal of aplomb Jim Harbaugh’s players may well be the surprise of the NFC and no doubt the league this season .

In what was a highly entertaining game between the then unbeaten Detroit Lions would see the team suffer their first loss ( 25-19) of the season at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan , to the 49ers as Smith would rally his team and lead them back to what many may well have viewed as an improbable win . But the game would be remembered for its postgame antics with the apparent now unusual melee between the two opposing head coaches. I say let the two coaches decide their issues in the gladiator’s arena rather than Schwartz talking about a lack of class shown by Jim Harbaugh ! And at present if there’s a more under-rated running back in the league than Frank Gore , then can someone let me know who that might be ? With the ball in his hand and on the move , Gore is a devastating weapon to have on your team . .

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(What could Schwartz be saying to Harbaugh at that moment in time ?) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

It has long been the contention that the NFC East should be viewed as the glamor division of the league . I now feel that the notion can no longer be justified in spite of the apparent legacies of such teams as the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins . If anything the division that could well lay those claims to rest is that of the NFC South and the teams who reside there . Can there now be any doubt that the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are far more competitive than their rivals within the other divisions of the NFL ? Not only that but bear this in mind Matt Ryan , Cam Newton , Drew Brees and Josh Freeman are four of the most competitive and gifted quarterbacks within the NFC and league as a whole .

Granted , at 1-5 the Carolina Panthers are a work in progress under Ron Rivera and his coaching staff . But the competitive nature and athleticism brought by Cam Newton cannot be denied , albeit that they have lost some very close games this season . As this team gradually improves and their confidence grows there is no reason not to believe why they cannot be competitive not just merely within their own division but within the NFL as a whole . I am not so sure that beyond what we have witnessed from the team thus far we will see a team ready to compete for the upper echelons within the NFL.

OK, so we know what the New Orleans Saints are capable from an offensive standpoint and the prolific career of the team’s quarterback Drew Brees. But if there’s a knock against Sean Payton’s players it is the very the fact that on defense they become incredibly complacent and lackadaisical .

This past Sunday the New Orleans Saints were the guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . The game itself was one that pitted two aforementioned quarterbacks in Josh Freeman and Drew Brees . Freeman in his young career within the NFL is proving to be a very efficient quarterback in his own right , with many of his heroics coming late in the games . Josh Freeman has already amassed 8 come from behind wins for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he looks to lead Raheem Morris’ young team on their way to further glory .

This was a game of oddities where the Buccaneers’ much vaulted defense had to stand firm against Saints’ prolific offense . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would systematically deal with the New Orleans Saints in a game littered with multiple mistakes made by Sean Payton’s players . The resultant 26-20 win by the Buccaneers places them atop of the NFC South sharing the divisional lead with this past Sunday’s opponents.

As I alluded to earlier , the NFC South is a highly competitive division and with two teams placed firmly atop of the standings , each with a 4-2 record . Care to guess which team is liable to come out ahead within this division with the exception of the lowly Carolina Panthers ?

Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has been able to work wonders since he assumed the role of head coach from then disgraced Bobby Petrino , who departed from the franchise like a thief in the night . Arthur Blank , the team’s owner had seen the club sink to an all-time low with the subsequent derailing of Michael Vick’s career due to his own criminal misdeeds . Those lean years left the franchise without any direction and signs of any real leadership from within the organization or on the playing field ! With Matt Ryan’s drafting by the team in 2008 , the organization’s route seem to be directly on the path of gradual progression as some semblance of success was on its way. And in the subsequent years since, the coaching staff of the Atlanta Falcons under Smith’s guidance and that of general manager Rich McKay have assembled a roster that now seems intent on winning a Superbowl .

For three quarters on Sunday the Carolina Panthers held their own against the Atlanta Falcons . But as the game progressed it was clear that Cam Newton and his teammates had no answer for what the Saints were able to throw at Ron Rivera’s team . The Falcons at 3-3 face an arduous task over the remainder of their season if they seek to contend with their fellow cohabitants within the NFC South. The Falcons came away with a 31-17 victory over their beleaguered divisional rivals .

It should be interesting to see what transpires within the division (NFC South) over the course of this season and how each team will presumably fare .

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Picture gallery for your perusal. ( By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .)

Over the course this past weekend and the NFL schedule what thoughts if any do you have on the events that took place ? Do you also view the NFC South as perhaps the most competitive division at present within the NFL ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and any other salient points you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

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(1) A smiling Adrian Beltre walks out of the batting cage as the Texas Rangers practice on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play the opening game of baseball’s World Series on Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(2) Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus , left, and Michael Young, right, laugh as the joke with teammates during practice Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers will play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that begins Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(3) Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington responds to a question during a news conference Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball’s World Series starting Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(4) The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after Game 6 of baseball’s National League championship series against the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Cardinals won 12-6 to win the series and advance to the World Series. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(5) Manager Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after they won 12-6 against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(6) David Freese (23) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores against Jonathan Lucroy (20) #20 of the Milwaukee Brewers on a sacrifice fly hit by Adron Chambers (56) in the top of the fifth inning during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) …..

(7) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Amobi Okoye (91) of the Chicago Bears during the game on October 16, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(8) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb watches from the sidelines the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Chicago. The Bears won 39-10 . McNabb threw for 177 yards, completing 19 of 24 passes. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …..

(9) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to reporters at a news conference at the NFL football team’s facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….

(10) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) …..

(11) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, right, shout at each other after an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The 49ers won 25-19. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ….

(12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tanard Jackson (36) runs with an interception by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) fires a pass as New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) pressures him during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers won 26-20. Freeman threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(14) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints directs play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(15) Quarterback Josh Freeman(5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just gets this pass off against the New Orleans Saints during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

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Texas Rangers @ —- St Louis Cardinals , Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri

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Thanks But No Thanks ! It’s The NFL For Me !

Thanks But No Thanks ! It’s The NFL For Me !

The NFL season kicks off tonight with a lively NFC game between the last two Superbowl champions , with the Green Bay Packers hosting the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field in Green Bay , Wisconsin . All of the hoopla , pomp and pride expected , will be regaled upon the nation and fans in attendance . With the tenth anniversary of the “9/11” about to be commemorated this apart from being a sporting event will also be a somber and reflective point of time for the nation at large .

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It seems hard to believe that a decade has come and gone in the blink of an eye with the coalition forces still fighting a war on two fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq but if we are to live in a much safer world then the nation’s enemies must be defeated !

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In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, workers set up the stage for NFL Kickoff concert at S. Oneida Street and Armed Forces Drive in Green Bay. Wis. The Packers open the 2011 NFL football season on Thursday, when they host the New Orleans Saints. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson …

I certainly believe that this game will give us a pointer as to the desires of both teams . There’s no denying that both Aaron Rodgers and his opposite counterpart Drew Brees will be yearning to lead their respective rosters in seeking that initial first season win. Certainly Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff having prepared the team during their preseason wants to come flying out of the gate and showing the rest of the league that the Green Bay Packers are looking to successfully defend their crown. Sean Payton for that matter is likely to feel the same way about the ambitions of his New Orleans Saints’ team as they look place themselves amongst the viable NFC contenders this season .

In what’s sure to be a raucous crowd at Lambeau Field cheering on the Green Bay Packers and the game being televised on prime-time television by NBC this is perhaps a great way to open up the season. Mike McCarthy during the offeseaon made the moves sought to bolster the organization’s ambitions through the draft and via free agency . Though based on the team’s performances of last season it’s hard to see how they could be faltered for even wanting to make what they believe are necessary changes. And even the Packers’ foray into the postseason was simply one of a team believing in itself , adapting to the environment and the challenges placed in front of them .

That justification for the Packers was borne out in their defeat (31-25) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Superbowl XLV (SB 45 ) . Aaron Rodgers was named the MVP of the game and therein laid waste to the claim that he was simply not good enough to succeed his predecessor Brett Favre or to lead the team to a Superbowl triumph . It wouldn’t be remiss to suggest that Favre the long beloved hero in Green Bay may well be now something of a distant memory for the fans within the city. But such are the vagaries of the NFL then even when you’ve reached the ultimate heights within the game you can easily be forgotten when your last moments with an organization is to seemingly act like a petulant child who has been rebuked for behaving badly .

For Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints after being unceremoniously dumped out of the playoffs last season it has to be said that I started to consider this team to be one and done ! As prolific as the offense was said to be over the course of the regular season you simply had the feeling that somehow they would come up short . And that was sorely pointed out when they fell by the wayside in their wildcard round —- loss (41-36) to the Seattle Seahawks .

The roster some might say was purged with the loss of Reggie Bush and others . The running back was traded to the Miami Dolphins —— some might feel that it wasn’t that big of a loss considering the player’s proclivities off the field and the fact he may well have lost the respect of some of his former teammates . But GM Mickey Loomis in line with the thinking of the coach saw fit to draft players whom he felt would be able to contribute to this team . Amongst the players drafted by the New Orleans Saints were Mark Ingram , Heisman Trophy winning running back out of Alabama . Joining Ingram also , are Jordan Cameron , Martez Wilson , Johnny Patrick , Greg Romeus and Nate Bussey . All viewed as players who’ll no doubt be able to offer something to the organization .

As I alluded to earlier within this piece the Saints’ offense is as potent as any within the NFL . The team’s depth within that category says a great deal and the figures put up by the players says a great deal as mindset of Sean Payton and in particular offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr . Most certainly the team will be looking for another productive season from Marques Colston , Lance Moore , Robert Meachem amongst the team’s receving corps to complement the running game that will be provided by Ingram , Chris Taylor and Darren Sproles amongst others .

It is hoped tonight that this game showcases the very best that the NFL has to offer the fans and public at large . If nothing else , going into the weekend’s scheduled series of games we can only feast on the delights of the match-ups games themselves and at the same time solemnly remember those lost in the senseless events of 9/11. My sincerest hope is to commemorate this anniversary with the utmost respect that it deserves but also for all of the fans to celebrate the return of the NFL after a needless drawn-out and protracted stoppage .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything will you be looking forward to from tonight’s game and also with regard to the weekend’s NFL schedule ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you feel may well be pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always , for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !.

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

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(1) Packers’ fan Dean Haberle is seen before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ……

(2) David Bowman, right, and James McNally are seen before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ….

(3) (L – R) David Asman and Emmitt Smith visit FOX Studios on September 7, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images …..

(4) In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green (3) works with kids while participating in the NFL PLAY 60 Youth Football Festival inside the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon, Wis. The Packers open the 2011 NFL football season on Thursday, when they host the New Orleans Saints. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Evan Siegle …….

(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 26: Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers calls a play at the line during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(6) In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, workers set up the stage for NFL Kickoff concert at S. Oneida Street and Armed Forces Drive in Green Bay. Wis. The Packers open the 2011 NFL football season on Thursday, when they host the New Orleans Saints. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson ……

(7) Head Coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on as his team plays the Tennessee Titans during their pre season game at Louisiana Superdome on September 1, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana Photo by Sean Gardner/ Getty Images …….

(8) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left, and quarterback Drew Brees (9) watch from the sidelines in the third quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ……..

(9) Marques Colston (12) of the New Orleans Saints is dragged down at the one yard line by Tyvon Branch (33) of the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….
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I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

Well week four is finally over and the NFL teams and their respective staffs have to deliberate which players will be cut in order for the rosters to have the league mandated 53 members per franchise. As this process takes place at the same time a number of players have been richly rewarded by their respective ball-clubs. Michael Vick has now become the latest member join the tier of those in the $100 million contract fraternity . Few players within the NFL are as athletic as the quarterback or as electrifying, and it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office feels justified in rewarding the player so handsomely , albeit that $40 million is said to be guaranteed money. That simply won’t matter because the residual effect will be for Vick and his agent to negotiate what’s hoped will be several multi-year multi million dollar endorsement contracts that will leave the Eagles’ player set for life .

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Perhaps I was simply mistaken but the team owners of the NFL simply pled poverty as to their financial plight during the alleged labor stoppage that lasted some 145 days . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , chief legal counsel Jeff Pash and the hierarchy’s chief labor negotiator Adolphus Birch all led the way in the league’s negotiations with the NFLPA and its executive committee . The union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stood firm but only acquiesced after the league gave up several concessions but perhaps the one concession that the fans did not expect was the very fact that during the regular season the league will be allowed to test the players for HGH ( human growth horomone) during regular season . Invasion privacy or not , the union knew that it had to fall into line and not be seen as the sport where their muscle bound specimens might misjudged for all of the wrong reasons . Granted , Major League Baseball still seems to be in denial as it relates to this issue and the fact that the MLBPA (union) has the game’s hierarchy cowering in a corner like a cat with its tail on fire . But in reality the less said about this topic within the realms of the sport it’s simply better abruptly end discussing the matter as neither the league or its players would clearly want to broach this topic.

If there was one thing that was clear Michael Vick simply proved himself last season for the Eagles and the team was simply better for it during the regular season . Now even with the additions made to the roster by way of the draft and off-season moves the Philadelphia Eagles may well be seen as the presumptive favorites within the NFC to make it to the Superbowl . That may well change over the course of the season for Andy Reid and his coaching staff as the team will almost certainly go through its version of highs and lows .

The next quarterback presumed to be joining the ranks of the $100 million club could very well be the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees . No one can deny that Brees at his very best should not be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers . All Superbowl winning quarterbacks , Superbowl MVP’s and at some after the end of their careers , all may well headed on their way to the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio. .

Brees and the Saints’ owner Tom Benson are fully aware as to what each party means to the other. The player is seen as the face of the franchise and the quarterback is beloved by the fans in the Crescent City and that feeling is reciprocated by the player. Sean Payton knows that this will be a testing schedule for his players and that if they are to prevail in what is clearly a very competitive NFC South division , we could very well be in for some very entertaining football from all of the residents there.

Calmer heads prevailed , as Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson got what he wanted , which was an extended contract . Either Bud Adams is that much of an idiot by initially insisting that the player would have to honor his existing contract or he was of the opinion that Johnson would not somehow not make idile of his threat to sit out the entire Titans’ regular season schedule . It is clear that this was the resolution that all parties had hoped for Chris Johnson being handsomely rewarded with a four year contract extenstion worth $53 million of which $30 million is guaranteed . The NFL players’ salaries become all the more baffling as the players and their agents simply are laughing all the way to the bank. I am not so at this juncture it’s still plausible for the team owners or general managers or for that matter Roger Goodell to continue with their original stance ! Nothing says ……… we’re so full of it than to continue to plead poverty while teams are said to be ignorant of that first relayed facade.

With Chris Johnson having received his contract extension now comes the thought that Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson will seek an increase in salary . And as productive as he has been over the past five seasons for the Vikings who can fault the player with whatever demands he may well seek . Certainly the Minnesota Vikings’ front office led by team owner Zygi Wilf may well feel that for all of the pandering and statements forthcoming from the league office , nothing at all has actually changed prior to NFL lockout . The negotiations that took place may well have led to a rookie salary cap and other concessions from both parties but when you get right down to it , we’re back to square one _____ the players chasing after the almighty buck with the league hierarchy still decrying their current fate and looking to apportion blame elsewhere.

With Donovan McNabb newly acquired by the Vikings along with their draft picks it remains to be seen how this team will fare over the course of the upcoming season . In the aftermath of the Brett Favre era with the organization it has to be said has to got to prove that they are capable of being thought of a legitimate contender within the NFC North and the conference as a whole . The preseason for the Vikings has not given us much to go on but it appears that McNabb seems to finding a rhythm with his offense .
Head coach Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff know that the expectations will continue to be high and this season no less will be seen as a determining factor as to how this team will fare .

So next season the Florida Marlins will move into their new ballpark in downtown Miami the site of the old Old Orange Bowl . The team seated at the bottom of the NL East are barely averaging 18,000 fans per home at Land Shark /Sun Life Stadium also home to the Miami Dolphins . Team owner Jeffrey Loria and the entire front office sold the city of Miami a can of goods in leading the city commission to believe that a new purpose venue , capacity of approximately 40,000 would be to the organization’s benefit. The only thing of benefit that is pertinent here is to know that Jeffrey Loria has not had to dip into his multi million dollar fortune in facilitating the building of this new stadium but you’d be hard pressed to believe that when you here the owner gushing about the stadium and what has been the very fact Loria has been less than truthful in his dealings with the city of Miami and other governmental agencies .

The cost of the facility is upwards of $450 million and much of that will be at the taxpayers’ expense though you’d be hard pressed to believe otherwise when the Loria , team President David Sansom and general manager Michael Hill are trying to convince the public otherwise. The team owner like many of his peers within the game seem to be of the opinion that the public’s coffers are there for their expense. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the MLB hierarchy has lobbyists working on their behalf not only at the state level but also at the federal level . This is one of the underbelly’s within the game that even Bud Selig would not care to discuss , along with the league’s stance on the financial solvency of its ball clubs .

While baseball is a multi billion dollar enterprise of which the teams at the top rungs of the financial ladder are immensely profitable , the minnows at the foot of that apparatus are barely able to get by. The Florida Marlins having pared down team salary but it has been Loria’s blatant use of the press to forge ahead with his belief the ball club needs a new stadium while the team owner seeks to benefit from the public’s largesse. Miami city mayor Tomas P. Regalado even with his demeanor and the love of the limelight has seen fit to praise the Marlins during the negotiating process in developing and building the of the new venue. If this franchise can barely fill their present facility, it stands to reason it will be the curiosity value that first brings the fans out but after a while that novelty will surely wear off ! A bad economic climate or not baseball within the state of Florida has always been a hard sell , especially given the attendance woes of the Tampa Bay Rays .

Tropicana Field home to the AL team has struggled even with the advent of the team’s success in recent years , albeit in the first decade years of their existence , this organization was one of abject futility . Team owner Stuart Sternberg along with his partners are vying for state and local governments’ attention in bringing about their own wish for an all purpose venue to be built in either Hillsborough or Pinellas County , in central Florida. And once again the burden in terms of the cost will be placed firmly on the shoulders of the public , the governmental agencies in question will in large part have to finance the building of that facility. Be it through a bond issue at some point there always tend to be , some indirect cost that is added to the public’s expense in terms of the services that they are asked to pay either for their municipal services or increased state services.

It would be remiss to suggest that baseball and football are the only major sports where the fans are asked to bear the burden of up-keeping a sport’s venue but would it be too much to ask if the franchise owners would for once step up to the plate say……” I’m here to do the right thing “ ? Somehow , I seriously doubt that is liable to happen as the franchise owners seeks to keep as much money in their pockets , rather than give the impression that they are able to for once able to fend for themselves without preying on the fans ! Is that too much to ask ?

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as to your opinion and anything else you believe to be pertinent as it relates to the subject matter .

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

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(1) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the Oakland Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

(2) Head coach of the New Orleans Saints Sean Payton (L) acknowledges the crowd as he and owner Tom Benson (R) wait for the beginning of a reception for the 2010 National Football League Super Bowl champions in the East Room of the White House August 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. The New Orleans Saints, lead by head coach Sean Payton, finished the 2009-2010 season with a winning record of 13-3 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts to take the championship . Getty Images/ Chris Rodgers ……

(3) FILE – In this file photo taken Sept. 20, 2009, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson runs for a 57-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans in an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, signed his four-year contract extension worth $53 million and the $30 million guaranteed he wanted, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011. He agreed to the deal Thursday and flew into Nashville from his Orlando, Fla., home Friday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …. ……

(4) Owner Bud Adams (R) of the Tennessee Titans greets family members of quarterback Jake Locker (10) before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. …….

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans and head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings speak after the game on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0 . Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….. …..

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings throws his hat to fans after the win against the Houston Texans on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Lopez (11) of the Florida Marlins is congratulated after hitting a solo home run by Emilio Bonifacio (1) during a game against the New York Mets at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Marlins would go on to defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(8) Emilio Bonifacio (1) of the Florida Marlins scores on a wild pitch avoiding Chris Capuano (38) and Josh Thole (30) of the New York Mets during a game at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(9) Jack McKeon (25) of the Florida Marlins walks away from Fieldin Culbreth (25) , Crew Chief of the umpires, after losing an argument in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images /Chris Pasiateri ……

(10) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by Ben Zobrist (18) after his home run against the Texas Rangers during the game at Tropicana Field on September 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays would defeat the Rangers 5-1 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields , center, reacts with teammates Sam Fuld , left, and David Price (14) after pitching a complete baseball game against the Texas Rangers Monday, Sept. 5, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. the Rays won the game 5-1. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …….

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Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Can Cam Newton Step Up To The Plate This Season ?

Week 3 of the NFL preseason and one doubts that there’s anymore that can be learned from the teams within the league . Certainly from a statistical standpoint as impressive as some teams appear to be there’s a great deal to be said for the fact that your starters will get their accustomed workouts but it will be the rookies who will look to acclimatize themselves with the rigors of the NFL.

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And perhaps nowhere will the spotlight be than upon more , than , the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton as he looks justify the faith shown in him by the Panthers’ front office , and the team’s coaching staff led by Ron Rivera . And though Newton has showed his guile and athleticism there has been nothing yet to suggest that he may well be the answer to the team’s needs at the position . The player and his presumed backup Jimmy Claussen now have one more game to prove to the fans and staff in particular that they are ready to embark upon the regular season in with the right frame of mind and the ability sought , in order for the Carolina Panthers to be successful.

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CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

After a rather lackluster and disappointing 2010 season where the Carolina Panthers finished with a 2-14 record much to the disdain of their fans , it was felt the organization would embark upon a major personnel upheaval on both front within the playing and coaching staff. Jon Fox was seemingly allowed to depart along with several members of the coaching staff and this offseason the purge began amongst the playing personnel along with the players acquired through the NFL Draft .

As with any number one player taken in the draft a great deal is placed upon the shoulders of that athlete . They’re often seen as the presumed savior and future face of a franchise and for Cam Newton it will undoubtedly be no different. If the player can have half the success during his final year at Auburn then one could deem it a success for Cam Newton and his new teammates . Now it would be true to surmise that for any rookie quarterback starting in the NFL success isn’t expected to immediate but for the Panthers who have so much riding on the player , that anything short of an 8 win season would as such be deemed a failure for the organization . Granted , as with any team said to be going through this type of transition there will always be growing pains and a great deal of uncertainty not only about the team as a whole but also upon the expectations of the coaching staff , as well. Ron Rivera , it has to be said a rookie coach in the NFL will have his work cut out for him but with his credentials and insight into the game , one would expect the coach to fare well this upcoming season.

Unfortunately , for the Carolina Panthers they find themselves in a tough NFC South division where three of last year’s most promising teams within the conference reside . The Atlanta Falcons , New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot be overlooked as teams that are not capable of holding their own and being competitive in what can be best described as one of the better divisions within the NFL.

It might be at this juncture however that one now begins to question whether or not this team might be capable of usurping the dominance of their neighbors within the NFC South. I do believe that with that even with the changes on the roster , the team will be in for an arduous season ! The six games played within the division will be tough enough without considering the typical conference schedule overall for the Carolina Panthers. And ccertainly the team’s celebrated wide receiver Steve Smith will be looking to regain the form that made one of the more prolific players at the position .

It would be remiss to think that an offense led by Newton and Smith alone will be enough or for the Carolina Panthers to garner any semblance of success if this team is to show any semblance of progress beyond the mediocrity shown last season , then the team will have put forth a collective effort that is of their very best . There’s no denying that last season injuries had beset the 2010 team and as with any organization the coaching staff underestimated those losses to the roster as a whole . And it’s clear as a result of that the franchise ation believes it best to have players complemental and befitting a team that seeks the game’s ultimate prize _______ the Superbowl .

Noted veterans on this Carolina Panthers’ roster such as Steve Smith , Jeremy Shockey , Chris Gamble , DeAngelo Williams , Jordan Gross , Chris Massey and Jason Baker will have to step up if this team is to have any semblance of success over the course of this season.

By way of production shown in the preseason by the team’s young rookies the fans can expect something of note . Cam Newton , much like the players drafted alongside him by the Carolina Panthers have something to prove Albeit , that the quarterback’s own baptism of fire has been somewhat unspectacular . His rookie classmates Terrell McClain , Sione Fua , Brandon Hogan , Kealoha Pilares , Lawrence Wilson , Zachary Williams and Lee Ziemba are hoping that they too can offer something to this beleaguered franchise. If nothing else , it certainly will be interesting to see what transpires for this team as to their overall play.

For this season’s rookies in their first within the NFL this could very well prove to be an interesting year. Undoubtedly, even for the the players taken in the supplemental draft they too have something to prove . Terrelle Pryor in spite of his off field problems will have to justify the faith shown in him by the Oakland Raiders’ front office . I’d dare say that this is one gamble Al Davis might truly believe in, given his past forays with regard to over-hyped talent that simply didn’t measure up to much . With Pryor at this juncture who knows what he may well be able to offer the team ? Their travails of last season were well documented.

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

Certainly with the moves made by the organization and through the draft it has to be said the Oakland Raiders are positioning themselves to have a successful run within the AFC West and conference as a whole this season . The team certainly has the offensive capabilities to be amongst the best within the NFL and certainly within the AFC . If the team is able to reproduce that sort of form over the course the season then the Raiders’ fans could very well be for not only a wild ride but perhaps a shot of making the postseason .

Hue Jackson and his coaching staff must be hoping to get the very best out of this team . There’s enough veteran experience on the roster to suggest that Jason Campbell and his contemporaries are capable of providing enough leadership for the rookies on this team . But if there’s said to be a problem for the Raiders it has the consistent lapses by the defense in particular that of the pass defense that has let them down repeatedly over the course of last season . These are the things that John Marshall as the defensive coordinator will be lookin g to tweak over the preseason while Al Saunders will be looking to fine tune the skill-set of the team’s quarterbacks and that of the offense .

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What traits do you believe Cam Newton has that may well convince you that he is capable of being a success in the NFL ? Or do you believe that he will essentially be a work in progress over the next couple of years ? And are you of the opinion that the Oakland Raiders can be a legitimate contender within the AFC West and conference this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and as usual thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

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(1) New York Jets’ David Harris intercepts a pass by New York Giants’ Eli Manning during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 17-3 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(2) Brandon Jacobs (27) of the New York Giants greets Plaxico Burress (17) of the New York Jets after their pre season game on August 29, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ……..

(3) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Gibril Wilson (27) of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a tackle against DeAngelo Williams (34) of the Carolina Panthers during an NFL preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera looks on during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ………

(5) Jimmy Clausen (2) of the Carolina Panthers runs away from pressure while trying to pass during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13 . Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(6) CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 25: Cam Newton (1) and Jordan Gross (69) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Newton’s 16-yard touchdown run during an NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 24-13. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images …….

(7) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) meet after the Bengals defeated the Panthers 24-13 in an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Tony Tribble ……

(8) Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson walks off the field after the Raiders lost to the New Orleans Saints 40-20 in a preseason NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ) …….

(9) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Taiwan Jones (36) of the Oakland Raiders runs twenty two yards for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ….

(10) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(11) Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, left, listens to instruction from head coach Hue Jackson, right, during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

(12) Jason Campbell (8) of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the O.co Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ………
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The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

One year removed from having won the Superbowl the New Orleans Saints had the inauspicious privilege of being hoisted on their own petards during the wildcard round of last season’s NFL playoffs by the Seattle Seahawks . That untimely exit left many wondering whether or not the New Orleans Saints had in fact become complacent in light of their triumph . The loss in of-itself was simply one where what you see is what you get as complacency simply had set in with this organization .

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Heroes in the wake of the post ‘Hurricane Katrina’ disaster the Saints set out to bring pride back to the Crescent City and its residents . The 2010 regular season for the team showed that while they still possessed that offensive prowess there was something lacking in Sean Payton’s team. It was never properly addressed by the coach and his assistants in spite of the belief that this organization was looking to be once again a part of the postseason. Team owner Tom Benson loved being the center of attention after the years of ridicule being portrayed as disinterested NFL franchisee . But the tide turned after the team was able to secure the trade that would bring Drew Brees from the San Diego Chargers to join the New Orleans Saints . And the rest as they say is history as things gradually progressed to the point were the quarterback would simply bring about changes in the fortunes of the organization.

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

This season however , with changes made by the front office led my general manager Mickey Loomis the loss of Reggie Bush notwithstanding the organization sought to make the necessary moves through the draft and via free agency make this team considerably better and a serious challenger within the NFC South , the conference as a whole and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl once again.

With the former Heisman Trophy winner now making his home with the Miami Dolphins like a former Saints’ predecessor , Ricky Williams ___ it has to be said that Bush’s undistinguished career with the Saints was simply one of ups and downs. Never truly acclimatizing or living up to the hype the player will now try to prove himself worthy of Dolphins’ trust in him. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross , general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano may well be going out on a limb in acquiring the player but given Dolphins’ woes of last season within the AFC East of this organization leads me to believe that not only is this an act of desperation but Sparano’s very future will rely upon Reggie Bush leading this team with some authority on the field of play.

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Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) ………

The New Orleans Saints at this point through attrition and the moves made via free agency and the draft should be considerably better. The team added Alex Barron , Aubrayo Franklin , Olin Kreutz , Will Herring , Darren Sproles , Fabian Washington and Shaun Rogers . Players one would still deem that they have something to offer the organization and will ultimately be of benefit to the team. The defense needed to be shored up and it should now bode well for the Saints over the course of the regular season. The Saints having drafted Mark Ingram to complement a receiving corp that might just one of the most potent weaponry of any team within the NFC and league as a whole .

As I alluded to earlier the season could very well give a great insight into how the New Orleans may well acquit themselves . And given the competitiveness within the NFC South , a trio teams in the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers ___ each of whom will be looking to prove their dominance within the division. From my own perspective I believe that the Carolina Panthers will have their struggles as Cam Newton looks to acquaint himself to the rigors of the NFL as rookie coach Ron Rivera also has his own baptism of fire within the league.

The Falcons with their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and Mike Smith the team’s coach will also be looking to gauge their own competitiveness within the NFL this upcoming season . I can’t say that the Atlanta Falcons are not a team to be feared but given the inconsistency shown by the team they may well struggle to prove themselves truly worthy consideration as a Superbowl contender .

For what is now a resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization led by coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik . This will be a team looking to make even further strides than beyond what was achieved last season . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly missed the postseason by failing to notch an eleventh win which would have secured them a berth in playoffs. That lone misstep pretty much summed up a lost opportunity for the team which was gallantly led by their quarterback Josh Freeman .

Coming off a stellar season Josh Freeman will be out to prove to his doubters that he’s quite capable of taking this current roster to the next level. Certainly those who have witnessed the play of the young quarterback will know that he has a great deal of poise about him and that his maturity level is way beyond what many believed capable of a the third year starter. Raheem Morris, his coaching staff have a great deal of faith in the player and under the tutelage of quarterbacks’ coach Alex Van Pelt one can see the strides taken to improve Freeman’s play.

Ever resourceful , this organization will be looking to usurp the perceived supremacy of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints as their season unfolds. Their first task will be gauge themselves during their first outing of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs . Rookies and some starters will play a number of series as Raheem Morris and the coaching staff get the chance to assess the players under a game scenario , albeit that is merely a preseason game. It will be interesting to see how the fans will view the chances of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the course of the season and whether or not they are in fact credible contenders within the NFL. The disappointment of last season may well still linger but if this team can put that behind them , then there’s no reason not to believe why they cannot have a chance to prove themselves worthy opponents over of this NFL calendar .

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….

The NFC South is not often considered one of the glamor divisions of the NFL . But when one considers that a sole loss was all that deprived the Buccaneers of finishing with a 11-5 mark and making the postseason as a wildcard entrant leads me to believe that this team won’t be making the same sort of mistake again. They have learned their lesson and most certainly that seems to be now showing during which we are now seeing Freeman taking much more of a leadership role on this team alongside seasoned veterans Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the New Orleans Saints and in your opinion are they viable contenders within their division and perhaps the Superbowl ? Or do you in fact see either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Atlanta Falcons proving to be a better team this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

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(1) New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc . AP Photo/Gerald Herbert ….

(2) Head coach Sean Payton talks with Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with center Olin Kreutz (50) of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ……

(4) METAIRIE, LA – AUGUST 05: Mark Ingram (28) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(5) Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ………

(6) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Quarterback Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signs an autograph during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(8) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Tight end Kellen Winslow (82) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs up-field with a pass during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….
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Out Of The Chaos Now Comes The Bedlam ……… And A Great Deal More

Out Of The Chaos Now Comes The Bedlam ………. And A Great Deal More

So out of the chaos even more bedlam will be created as the NFL seemingly returns to work. The NFL team owners of have voted with a majority decision to approve the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA ) which will by all accounts if we’re led to believe there will be peace for the next decade between the league hierarchy and the new soon be re-certified NLFPA . That being said in the midst of the vote there just happened to be one abstention in the voting by the team owners. Suffice to say with those very same owners glad handing and patting themselves on the back but it remains to be seen whether or not the player representatives and their members will vote to ratify the agreement from their end.

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Team facilities will now be open for the players to conduct training activities , meet with the coaches and their respective staff members to discuss their own fitness level and no doubt other issues that should arise . To my mind now comes the hard part not only for the teams but also general managers because there will now be a plethora of free agents that will come to the market . Imagine if you will an abundance players and the very fact that the coaches and the GM’s will now act like kids in a candy store looking to pick out the best out of a selective assortment of edible confectionery . I am not so sure that the carnage that will no doubt take place because of this whole scenario is exactly what the league would like to see ! But such has been the idiocy shown by both sides throughout this whole episode that as a fan you can have absolutely no sympathy for either side . And as much as this now appears to be all over bar the shouting the one thing I find somewhat suspicious has been the league’s wish to have the details sealed as to the $1 billion set aside to aid the retired veterans of the NFL. Somehow all of the hard work of Carl Eller could well be for nothing even in light of the fact that he has been part to some of the deliberations that have taken place between the two sides . My question is if the league is now open to such transparency then why the facade with regard to the agreement as it relates to the veterans ? What have they to hide and what is it that they simply don’t want the public to know ?

And though Roger Goodell and his chief aide Jeff Pash will try and sell this all as the best deal possible and the owners such as Jerry Jones , Jerry Richardson and Jim Irsay have to be entirely happy with this all . I can’t help but wonder if say five or six years down the road their might well be disruptive to the peace . It is not out of the realms of possibility even if this is meant to be a ten year deal. Wars have been have been fought over less and it only takes one skirmish and disquiet to the accord and the ramifications could be once felt again _ litigation ensuing or not there is now a lot hanging on this agreement being a long lasting one over the next decade.

For coaches such as Marvin Lewis , .Tom Coughlan , Jon Fox , Gary Kubiak and Chan Gailey it will be very interesting what they seek to do to improve their teams during this period of free agency . There’s a great deal that the league has made public about the agreement and one of the most salient points seems to be the salary cap which we are informed will be in the area of $120 million for the 2011-12 season. A sizable figure to say the least and one that will not be lost the teams or the players for that matter . But I am sure that agents such as Drew Rosenhaus , Tom Condon , Eugene Parker and Mark Bartelstein to name but a few will be amongst a throng of movers and shakers chomping at the bit to get their clients signed to a lucrative deal. It’s now open season and the NFL teams are the prey in question .

If this off-season is anything to actually go by then the upcoming regular season itself and what will now be a shortened preseason will become a comedy of errors. There is no way in hell that teams will be game ready when the season commences on the 8th September as I feel that in large part that the vast majority of the teams won’t be anywhere near where they need to be in terms of preparation . And that is even with many of the players meeting amongst themselves and carrying out their conditioning and training regimen . What may well be a season of redemption in the eyes of the league could very well turn out to be initially one monstrous eyesore for the fans who choose to attend the first two or three games of the schedule .

For certain finesse teams such as the Indianapolis Colts , New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints where timing is certainly everything ____ I do believe that Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Drew Brees may well struggle initially with finding their receivers so we could well see a great deal more of a ground attack with the running backs bearing the brunt of their teams’ burden .

Inasmuch as this whole spectacle has all been put to rest with the both now sides seemingly back on the same page I can’t help but wonder what might have happened had the league hierarchy , team owners and the NFLPA been more cordial with one another during their deliberations. Instead it all came down to each trying side trying to outdo each other with Judge Arthur J Boylan having to sit in the midst of this all cajoling and scolding the individuals like prepubescent schoolboys to merely sit down and break bread together . So much of this could have been avoided had calmer and cooler heads prevailed in the first place . But then again we are discussing the NFL are we not ? You could not ask these idiots to show common sense unless their very lives depended on it !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a fan of the NFL are you happy that the stoppage is now over ? And how do you see the season unfolding ? Simply chime in with your thoughts as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, on Thursday, July 21, 2011, in College Park, Ga. Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson looks on in the background. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….

(2) Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney speaks during a news conference where it was announced that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, in College Park, Ga., on Thursday, July 21, 2011. In the background is Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. AP Photo/John Bazemore …..

(3) NFL general counsel Jeff Pash listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference where it was announced that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, in College Park, Ga., on Thursday, July 21, 2011. AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

(4) Agent Tom Condon (center), counts Eli Manning , left, and Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning ,right , amongst his NFL clients . Getty Images / Chris Trotman …….

(5) Chan Gailey, head coach of the Buffalo Bills readies to to call a timeout against the Cleveland Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Getty Images / Rick Stewart ……..

(6) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints warms-up before taking on the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images North America / Johnathan Ferrey …….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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