Bamboozled but it’s being done for your own good

Bamboozled but it’s being done for your own good

By Tophatal

Do we really need to be reminded why it is that the NFL this season has become a constant running joke? In light of last night’s debacle and the sheer ineptitude shown by the replacement referees in officiating the game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks at Q West Field , in Seattle , Washington. I am now inclined to believe that the team owners , coaches and front office executives (general managers) cannot be entirely happy with the situation of replacement referees adjudicating the regular season games . We are now three weeks into the 2012-13 season and already the blunders made by these officials have been magnified greatly. Never-mind, the fact that there are claims being made, that at a similar point of last season , the amount of missed calls were significantly higher .What was not brought up as part of this argument, was the very fact that referees in 2011 were in fact certified game officials of the NFL , whereas, the replacement officials now being used are from the Collegiate Level of football , from the D2 and D 3 level of the ranks within FBS Subdivision , where the game is played at a considerably slower pace .

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NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell , still remains under the misapprehension that these officials have served the NFL well , three weeks into the season. There’s a great deal of outrage not just amongst the fans but also with the coaches , their staffs and most certainly among the players , who seemingly befuddled by the calls , blown or misinterpretations of the rules . If that isn’t a damning indictment of what we have witnessed this season, then consider the fact that within the past forty-eight hours, Bill Belichick, John Fox , John Harbaugh and Mike Shanahan have been fined by the league for what they interpret to be the coaches’ unprofessional conduct, of being in physical contact with the game officials and the verbal abuse of those very same referees. Further exacerbating this all , one should note that in each case where the coaches in question were involved with apparent conflicts , these situations arose from the very fact that the coaches felt that the referees had made graves errors in their interpretations of a play and the calls they rendered .Repeatedly, the fans have witnessed this throughout the season but yet the league hierarchy has failed to address this situation and the growing anger it has brought around the league.

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Green Bay Packers fan Mike LePak holds a sign Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 on Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay, Wisc., in protest of a controversial call in the Packers 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Monday night in Seattle. Just when it seemed that NFL coaches, players and fans couldn’t get any angrier, along came a fiasco that trumped any of the complaints from the weekend. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Lukas Keapproth ….

Roger Goodell , stated that by week five , he felt that the league hierarchy and the NFLRA (referees’ union)< would be close to an agreement , wherein we would see a return of the NFL certified referees. Instead, the two sides remain at impasse, with no clear resolution in sight. The sticking point appears to be over the 401K’s for the officials and the willingness of the league to acquiesce to the union’s demands . The NFL insists upon the officials becoming full-time employees of the league but it would appear that they are not prepared to reward the referees, accordingly. As to what this would suggest about the NFL , when one considers only recently did the commissioner make it public that the league had renegotiated an existing television contract that would net the NFL, an additional $2.5 billion in revenues , for the next three years . Somehow, I get the feeling that the league is not exactly strapped for cash when it comes to their $7.5 billion-a-year ($7,500,000,000) industry ! What are your precise thoughts on the matter? The growing tension between the NFL and the NFLPA hasn’t diminished one iota , and with the ongoing saga of the “Bounty Scandal” and the wholehearted support now being thrown behind Jonathan Vilma by the players’ union . It leads me to believe that the current CBA (collective bargaining agreement) simply isn’t worth the paper it is written on ! . A mere six months after, what we were led to believe would be a decade long peace accord , Roger Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith are once again, squabbling like children in a sandbox .

From my own perspective, the longer this asinine charade goes on, the less credibility that the NFL will continue to have ! Not that the league at present has a great deal of credibility or the implicit trust of the fans. Goodell remains embroiled in the mess of the New Orleans Saints’ saga , which has now become more of a soap opera, with the two main protagonists being the commissioner and Saints’ defensive player Jonathan Vilma. Isn’t there a cage match, that could be organized and sanctioned by the UFC , that would pit these two , in battle, in an octagon ? Would that really be too much to ask at this juncture ? As the longer this plays out in the court of public opinion , never-mind the fact that Vilma still intends to press ahead with his defamation lawsuit against the commissioner as well as the NFL, as it begs the question who is in fact winning this particular pissing contest , between these two egotistical morons ?

If you can’t beat them , then join them and by god , the NHL and Gary Bettman have proven to be intent on ruining the sport of hockey , alienating the fan-base it has , while driving off their star players to now pursue their careers abroad while being richly rewarded. The saying is … a fool and his money are easily parted “ .Well, no one ever sought to consult with the idiots who run the NHL or the executive members of NHL hierarchy as well as the NHLPA (players’ union). With a league enforced lockout of their players , there doesn’t appear to be a 2012-13 NHL season on the horizon, and with the mere fact that this just happens to be the fourth such stoppage initiated by the hierarchy in the last two decades, simply indicates to me how devoid of intelligence the NHL and the Players’ Union just happens to be .Four god-damn work stoppages in twenty years ? Fuck , not even the automotive unions (UAW) at the height of their once dominant powers were as fucking dumb as the NHLPA ( union) , much less the lame the NHL hierarchy. Yet here we are, with the sport now inflicting itself with another gunshot wound to the abdomen. Bleed, mother-f##ker bleed , and die, a slow and embarrassing death ! NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr , once held the similar role within the MLBPA (union), so all that can be conjured up that led to the last labor stoppage within the game of baseball , can be best summed up, when I say, that Fehr and the equally ubiquitous Bud Selig , presided over that goddamn mess as well ! Now you have Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr jousting for the now dwindling popularity of a sport that has seen better days ..

I have never been much of a hockey fan to begin with , however, what I do find admirable about the sport, is the athleticism of the players ! Last season with the Los Angeles Kings having won the Stanley Cup , one could attest to the fact that this would lead to a rich, upcoming chapter for the sport. Instead , all of the antagonism shown between the two parties has now led to this impasse where neither side can be entirely happy with the present situation. NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr , once held a similar role with the MLBPA (union) , when the game of baseball had their last labor stoppage , when Fehr and the equally ubiquitous Bud Selig sought to have their own antagonistic relationship. Now, we have Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, choosing to have their own personal standoff. There are no winners here, simply losers, the fans and the sport itself , which is now bound to lose several million dollars with any prolonged work stoppage. Good for business? Hell no ! Bad for hockey, what the hell do you think? With their being no clear signs of an amicable and speedy resolution to this now ongoing mess it would be interesting to hear the opposing sides of this argument and the reasons behind this impasse. Squabbling, over a revenue pie of $3.3 billion, of which the NHLPA seeks a division of 57% of the revenues , now makes you wonder how the teams can simply exist within this economic template , especially when one bears in mind the struggles of the small market teams within the NHL and the unevenness in gate attendances for the games in the last several years for those NHL franchises .

Hockey’s most profitable and valuable franchise, the Toronto Maple Leafs remains a constant reminder how to manage a sports’ hockey franchise , while maintaining stability . The same cannot be said for the vast majority of the teams within the NHL but yet there are those who would try to suggest otherwise. Especially, those with a limited background in business and finance but yet here they are trying to suggest that the current economic climate the game operates under has led to a healthy environment for the sport. That would not be so bad, until you take a look at the current mess that Gary Bettman has presided over while not seeking to work closely with union. Bill Daly , Deputy Commissioner of the NHL, now seeks to meet with the NHLPA’s Special Counsel , Stephen Fehr, to open up other channels and lines of communication , beyond that of Bettman’s own dealing . Herein, lies the caveat to this all, if the union is not prepared to acquiesce from their current demands having let them be known to Gary Bettman. Then, why in hell’s name would Daly be of the opinion , that he can somehow change the mindset of the players , when even Stephen Fehr has stated that the hierarchy has mistreated his members. The NHL has simply become impotent, devoid of intelligence and leadership !

Don’t hate the player , hate the game ! And the game today friends, the sport of baseball is front and center . As the season now winds down, with a mere dozen or so games left on theteams’ schedules. We are now seeing a number of ball-clubs simply scramble for their dear lives , as they chase after a divisional title or a wildcard playoff berth. A patron of this site tried to suggest that MLB has parity amongst its teams , nothing could be further from the truth , as he tried to suggest that this has become so , because of the change in format for the playoffs . All this has really done, is to add a layer to what has already become a convoluted season, without taking into account baseball’s end of season showcase finale .

Well here in the Tampa Bay area, the fans are resting their hopes on the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays can make a late season surge , as they seek one of the two available AL berths for the ALDS . Joe Maddon’s players as of late have become maddeningly inconsistent , to the point that where you simply do not know what to expect from one moment to the next. Now while I don’t begrudge the Rays’ fans their wish to see the team make the postseason for only the fourth time in the franchise’s history. There can be nothing but praise for Joe Maddon, who has guided the ball-club to its greatest successes in recent years but at the same time , the mere thought of knowing that this team can contend , yet they continue to fall short of their ambitions. It has been this premise, that now seems to be constantly casting a giant shadow over the AL East team. The Boston Red Sox has a down year, while the New York Yankees remain a perennial presence, in seeking postseason honors. Maddon and the team, were supposed to take advantage of the situation and be the outright challengers to the “Bronx Bombers” within the division. Instead, the upstart Baltimore Orioles , led by the ingenuity of their manager Buck Showalter , has kept the Rays at bay, while actually challenging the Yankees for divisional supremacy. Hey look, I didn’t call this one at the start of the season , so make of it , what you will !

The Rays’ season in terms of their head to head series with their divisional rivals does in large part point to where many of the team’s problems have stemmed from over the course of 2012. Losses in games that should have been sewn up because of the lack of timely hitting in terms of run support for the pitching staff , has led the team into its present predicament. Say it isn’t so Joe? The boys of Summer, are now proving to be a profound disappointment , no matter how you try to spin the story as the team’s woes !

Currently sitting three games out of the wildcard berth , behind the Orioles, Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels , the team’s fate rests in its own hands as well as seeking the teams ahead of them to simply implode. Well this is not September of 2011 , where the Red Sox simply folded like “a cheap suit” as they ______ Maddon and the guys got into the postseason via the back door .This time around I get the feeling that the team will fall short , and the fans will all the more disappointed , in spite of the team’s valiant effort ! What thoughts if any do you have on that particular premise?

In light of the points raised within this piece , where do you see the faults that may well lay in terms of the premise set out with regard to last night’s NFL game , the NHL and the plight of the Tampa Bay Rays ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

Slide show details below .

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(1) Crystal Deicher , front, and Alicia Schadrie hold signs Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 on Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay, Wisc., in protest of a controversial call in the Packers 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Monday night in Seattle. Just when it seemed that NFL coaches, players and fans couldn’t get any angrier, along came a fiasco that trumped any of the complaints from the weekend. The Seahawks’ victory featured one of the most bizarre finishes in recent memory, and was certain to reignite frustrations over the locked-out officials. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Lukas Keapproth …..

(2) Officials signal after Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pulled in a last-second pass for a touchdown from quarterback Russell Wilson to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Seattle. The touchdown call stood after review. AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo ….

(3) Officials try to sort out the final play of an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks as players and coaches swarm the field, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Seattle. After a period of confusion, a Seahawks touchdown by wide receiver Golden Tate was allowed to stand for a 14-12 win . AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ….

(4) Green Bay Packers fan Mike LePak holds a sign Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 on Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay, Wisc., in protest of a controversial call in the Packers 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Monday night in Seattle. Just when it seemed that NFL coaches, players and fans couldn’t get any angrier, along came a fiasco that trumped any of the complaints from the weekend. AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Lukas Keapproth ….

(5) New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma says he has “eight or nine” affidavits that would contradict allegations made in one affidavit by former coach Gregg Williams. The player recently filed a lawsuit seeking the evidence in the NFL’s possession that refutes his claims that he was not involved in the Saints’ bounty scandal. The preponderance of the evidence in the league’s retention was supplied in the sworn affidavit testimony given by former Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. AP Photo / Louis Lanzano …..

(6) NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman , left, is seen here with Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly. The two are now trying to reconvene talks with senior members of the executive committee of the NHLPA (players’ union). This will be the fourth league enforced labor stoppage within the NHL in the past eighteen years . And you wonder why there has in a marked decline in attendance , revenues and the television audience ? AP Photo Jay Brewer ….

(7) Donald Fehr , center, executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, stands with NHL hockey players, from left,Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos , Montreal Canadiens’ P.K Subban , Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby , New York Islanders’ John Tavares and Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin as they speak to reporters following collective bargaining talks with the NHL Players’ Association, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in Toronto. Photo: The Canadian Press, Chris Young / AP …

(8) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 23: Manager Joe Maddon (70) of the Tampa Bay Rays makes a pitching change against the Toronto Blue Jays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 23, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

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