Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Repeated pratfalls by the NFL and it would seem some fans believe a less than forthright apology by Roger Goodell now rectified the idiotic decisions the commissioner made in light of the league’s handling of the Ray Rice “affair”. Escalating acts of misconduct by the NFL’s players over the years and it would seem that neither league hierarchy , the commissioner or many of the NFL’s apathetic and lame ass fans have learned a damn thing about the league, much less the fact the commissioner is so damn clueless. Theirs seems to be the belief as long as the NFL trudges along providing the fans with a banal on the field product , with a group of pompous and asinine on air prognosticators, the league can survive in its present guise.

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The players and their union (NFLPA) continue to hide behind privacy rights and the issue of due process , but at a time where the league has seen a rise in misconduct , the Players’ Union has done little to discuss the issue, much less player representatives or union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have done little to rein in the misbehavior of their players or sought to discuss the issue publicly.

With news coming to light, where certain executives within the Baltimore Ravens organization might well have been privee’ to the taped incident of Ray Rice assaulting Jenay Parker , it begs the question, if the franchise was indeed in receipt of this information , then why was it not passed on to the league head office ? The NFL and the Ravens have been complicit in another unsavory cover-up and an episode which further suggest the ongoing incompetency of the league during Roger Goodell’s disastrous tenure. If to make matters worse, the commissioner is now of the belief in bringing in former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and Louis Freeh , it adds credibility in his seeking to rectify the problems he has long ignored concerning player misconduct. Nothing could be further from the truth , as we have seen in the lackadaisical way , with which the commissioner has failed to show consistency in how he metes out punishment to players guilty of misconduct.

Freeh and Mueller are essentially bureaucrats being brought in as the commissioner suggests in assisting the league to formulate a code of conduct and policy to be followed by all of the NFL’s thirty-two teams . If such a provision was never properly enacted or there was never a firm policy in place , then Roger Goodell is being a mere fool , if he now believes such a policy will be willingly accepted by the union and the players , when there has been a continued mistrust between the two parties all along.

Week three in the NFL offered the fans very little respite with the usual amount of anomalies one would now come to expect , with several teams giving the type of performances they and their fans would rather forget. This was highlighted by the inept display of the league’s worst team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , who were on the wrong side of a lopsided loss , in their 56-14 defeat suffered at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Lovie Smith , his coaching staff are now coaching a roster with the worst record in the NFL , with the Buccaneers now 0-3 , having posted this record for the third time in the last six seasons in a start to a regular sixteen game NFL schedule. Where Tampa now goes from here is anyone’s question, with the team showing little signs of life , in terms of competitiveness or any real leadership from the players. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which will be a Sunday afternoon game for the two teams in question, part of the week four schedule for the NFL.

A 2-0 start to the season may well have had everyone believing the Buffalo Bills were off to very good start , but they were quickly brought back down to earth as they fell 22-10 to the San Diego Chargers at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York. For the Bills’ new owner , billionaire developer Terry Pegula , this was definitely not the way he wanted to start off his reign as the franchise’s and the NFL’s newest owner. The defeat , brings the Bills back to the pack as they share the lead in the AFC East with the New England Patriots , whose hard-fought victory over the Oakland Raiders was one of the less memorable games in the NFL over this past weekend . New England will look to follow-up with a second consecutive victory , when they face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City, Missouri in week four.

It is still early days yet in the NFL season, but I believe not until after week five can we really have a real insight how good the teams are , and the likely direction they will be heading. Granted, one or two teams are already showing signs they are likely to be uncompetitive as witnessed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Yet, there is every reason to believe the likes of the Buccaneers , Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders will likely struggle over the remainder of the season given their lack of competitive play at this point of their respective schedules.

Kirk Cousins is now providing something of a lovely headache for Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins’ coaching staff. The Redskins’ backup quarterback is proving to be a more than adept substitute for the usual starter Robert Griffin III , whose first two years in the NFL have proven to be somewhat erratic. Griffin however, is seen as the face and future of the franchise without delving into the financial investment made in the player, who was taken as the number two overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , where he was drafted behind Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.

While Washington is rooted at the bottom of the always overrated NFC East , it has to be said other than the Philadelphia Eagles , who have found a way to distance themselves from the rest of the pack within the division, the other three inhabitants are pretty much the best of a rotten bunch of apples.

Jay Gruden will take the Washington Redskins will be at home in week four where they will meet up against divisional rivals the New York Giants who will be led by Eli Manning , as the Giants’ quarterback will be looking to resurrect what was a very disappointing season in 2013 for the player. If the New York Giants fail to gain a postseason berth this season , then there are likely to questions raised, concerning the long-term future of Tom Coughlin , his coaching staff and the ten-year veteran quarterback of the NFL.

With a week to go before the end of the MLB season , several of the divisional races have all been sewn up. The Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East over a very disappointing Atlanta Braves team which did not provide much of the competitive race or competition for the Nationals over the course of the season. Now there seem to be rumors surfacing that GM Frank Wren will be shown the door by Braves’ organization. My own beliefs are , he front office should also be assessing the failings of Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff , as well as certain members of the team who failed miserably . At the end of the season, a decision is likely to be made concerning Frank Wren , but it is not likely to be the only changes made concerning the internal makeup of the front office , managerial staff and playing roster going into next season .

Elsewhere, there has to be a great deal of adulation within the state of California , with the knowledge both baseball clubs in the greater Los Angeles area have made the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers swept through to an easy defense of their NL West title and now look to make up for last season’s failings in the MLB postseason. The Dodgers’ AL counterparts the Los Angeles Angels made light work within the AL West dethroning the two-time defending divisional titlists the Oakland Athletics , bringing the Angels their first divisional title in five years , their last coming in 2009.

With there now being talk of a possible all Californian World Series’ finale, with the Los Angeles Angels facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers . I would dare say this would be the sort of showcase finale baseball requires and needs, in light of the failure of the New York Yankees not being part of baseball’s postseason fare. Derek Jeter bows out of baseball after two decades of a career, which can be best summed as being exemplary. By contrast, it has to be said the AL East new divisional champions the Baltimore Orioles come into the postseason , with several notable achievements for the team , but a major blemish to their image, with Chris Davis having been suspended for failing the league’s steroid policy , all of this , from a player who swore blindly he had never once used a banned substance. Personally, if Davis can afford to be tutored by Brady Anderson , whose career was always suspect, given one standout year in an otherwise under-achieving career. There isn’t much else that really needs to be said concerning the accomplishments of both players and the apathy of the Orioles’ fans who believe Chris Davis and Brady Anderson, can be considered genuinely great players for the franchise .

Buck Showalter will take the Baltimore Orioles on the road where they will be the guests of the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium in New York City, New York , on Monday evening. On the mound for the visiting team will be Bruce Chen as he faces off against Michael Pineda of the Yankees.

In the space of fifteen days the Kansas City Royals have gone from a sure thing, to a team intent on self-imploding as the final month of their season seems to be falling apart at the seams. The Royals are now 1 1/2 games behind of the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central , with only eight games left to salvage their year or otherwise , become part of the wildcard foray, where they are likely to face the Oakland Athletics in the wildcard round of the MLB postseason, In what is simply a one and done contest , such a game between the two teams is not likely to favor the Royals , who would have to face the A’s at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California , with the winners going on to the divisional round (ALDS) of baseball’s postseason fare. Kansas City may well be leading their season series in 2014 , having won five of their seven meetings , but it would take a real betting man to believe Bob Melvin and his staff will allow his players to let the Kansas City Royals run over them , given the A’s recent postseason experiences, for which the last visit for the visiting team their last such foray came two decades ago. Kansas City has been in meltdown mode and their last ten games (4-6) have been ample evidence of that very fact.

The Kansas City Royals will take on the Cleveland Indians as they look to make inroads into the lead of the Detroit Tigers . Brad Ausmus and the Tigers will be remain at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan where their guests will be the lowly Chicago White Sox . That particular match-up should prove to be a lopsided contest if their season series is anything to go by , with the game favoring the home team.

The Boston Red Sox as the reigning World Series’ champions were expected to contend this season not only within the AL East, but also in the American League (AL). Unfortunately. for John Farrell and his managerial staff this was to be a season of more lows than highs , with the team showing no signs of competitiveness or leadership from anyone on the roster. A far cry from last season, when the team swept through the postseason with the utmost of ease and they were barely challenged within the division of having out-gunnned their divisional rivals.

David Ortiz may well have been the World Series’ MVP last season and while his stats for this year have been far from impressive , but the real issue has been , why the falloff from a ball-club which was so competitive and decisive in 2013? One could possibly point to the issue of GM Ben Cherington choosing to assemble a roster which failed to live up to expectations . with several players nowhere near as good as was first thought. How and why AJ Pierzinski was ever thought to be a player with the ability to lead , much less provide the type of productivity sought has to be as bewildering as the acquisition itself by the ball-club. Boston has not only fallen out of contention, but will finish with its worst divisional placing in several years. With no game scheduled for Monday 22nd September, the Red Sox will resume their schedule on Tuesday 23rd September when they play host to the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts , in a contest between two AL East teams heading in the wrong direction . direction.

If the NFL is said to be rife with incompetence and utter stupidity, then NBA cannot be all that far behind ! It took the utter audacity and bigotry of Donald Sterling to in some ways show what is now going on behind the closed doors of this old boys’ fraternity made of up buffoons among the league’s hierarchy and owners , without delving further into the stewardship of former NBA Commissioner David Stern or his neophyte successor Adam Silver . Having to deal with the damage to its image, caused by the racial insensitivity of the tirade of Donald Sterling , which in some circles was simply being treated rather apathetically by fans ,as merely an owner having the right to freely express himself .

The NBA has since had to deal with the rather nonsensical uttering of two Atlanta Hawks’ executives further reiterating how bigoted and racially intolerant this league just happens to be. And for the idiots trying to suggest because of the makeup of the NBA is largely ethnic based, with a preponderance of the players being minority in their background. It simply cannot hide the fact, Bruce Levenson and Danny Ferry were showing a now obvious side to the league , which both Stern and his successor have failed to address over the years. If both Levenson and Ferry can be allowed to get away with such behavior and then one adds the depraved rants of Rich DeVos into the mix , while trying to negate DeVos’ idiocy with the fact, he might well have donated thousands of dollars to the transgendered and gay causes, it simply cannot detract from the statements made by the Orlando Magic owner concerning a specific demographic within society. This is not a not fictional drama being played out , but real life events , and in many ways , fools are now seeking to excuse such behavior as being acceptable within society , without ever mentioning the words , “ common decency and the respect of others “ .

You have to hand it to Glenn Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves who continues to bitch and whine about having to trade All Star power forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Things would not have become so farcical for the Timberwolves had either Taylor or Flip Saunders sought to build a roster competitive enough which would have persuaded Love to remain with the franchise . Instead , both executives have continued to take parting shots at the now departed star. As if to further exacerbate the situation, the front office now has to deal with a disgruntled Ricky Rubio,perhaps the only valuable asset left on the roster. The Spaniard has let it be known he is not entirely happy with the direction the franchise is now heading in , with even head coach Flip Saunders seemingly unsure about what his best lineup is likely to be during the exhibition season as well as starting the Timberwolves’ regular season schedule which sees the team with an opening against the Memphis Grizzlies. Saunders as the de-facto GM and head coach will have to make a decision before the start of the season or seek persuade Ricky Rubio to remain with the team , while he seeks to bolster the roster. Easier said than done , as I believe Rubio no longer has any desire to be with the Timberwolves . It certainly will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the start of the season, as the Minnesota Timberwolves seek to placate another disgruntled star.

Rex Chapman come down and take a bow. Having earned over $22 million over the course of your professional career in the NBA , you took it upon yourself in retirement to prove you were nowhere as intelligent as many believed you be . As a former Kentucky Wildcat may well have achieved some semblance of collegiate success , but in the aftermath of that career and the nondescript years in the NBA , you have now brought some unwanted attention upon yourself , being accused and then being charged with nine counts of theft of $14,000 worth of items from an Apple Store and then seeking to pawn those very same items in a pawn shop in Scottsdale , Arizona. Pardon me for saying this , but , how much of an asshole is Rex Chapman and are certain collegiate alumni from Kentucky that frigging dumb ?

While Rex Chapman is no longer a part of the NBA fraternity, the ex-player’s behavior is somewhat typical of the ongoing idiocy one continues to see within the league and player misbehavior. If left to the general managers , owners and league hierarchy to deal with such issues , more often than not the NBA tends to treat the players with kid gloves” . As to those who prescribe to the fact the Justice System has a way with dealing the misdeeds . State Attorney Generals at the state level and then at the county level , tend to seek a plea deal from the offenders who are then offered rather lenient sentences in such instances or if a case should go trial, you tend to have a jury not often aware of the law, even when under the advice being given to them by a presiding judge. Justice for all ? No , justice tends to be given to those who can afford the privilege of being treated with leniency, while the victims have no real rights of recourse.

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In light of baseball’s season now almost reaching its culmination, what do you believe have been some of the major highlights of the season ? Secondly, the NFL season is becoming more known for the off-the field issues , rather than for the play on the field . Do you believe the league has been able to deal with these issues appropriately ? Finally , how do you see the NBA season panning out and do you believe Ricky Rubio will be a player for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the start of the season or will he be traded ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topics raised in this article.

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(1) From left to right , Baltimore Ravens’ executives, team President Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome and team owner Steve Bisciotti . Bisciotti has been critical of the claims being made by ESPN that the franchise had been receipt of the taped evidence showing Ray Rice assaulting his then fiancée Jenay Parker . The Ravens’ owner refutes the allegations but does state he wished he had approached the league earlier to decide whether not the franchise could take action against the player directly, rather than leaving the matter in the hands of the league hierarchy to deal with. AP Photo / Richard Walker …

(2) Tight end Levine Toilolo (80) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America/ Kevin C Cox …

(3) Running back Antone Smith(35) of the Atlanta Falcons gets tangled with corner-back Johnathan Banks (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a fumble during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …

(4) Buffalo Bills’ quarterback EJ Manuel looks to make a play in the game against the San Diego Chargers this past Sunday. San Diego would end up being the victors the in this contest defeating the Bills 22-10 . AP Photo / Paul McGee …. ….

(5) Oakland Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley (58) puts pressure on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass. AP Photo/Elise Amendola … ….

(6) Deposed GM Frank Wren who o summarily fired by the Atlanta Braves with a six games left in the regular season . Braves’ team President John Scheurholz made the decision in consultation with senior executives within the organization. John Hart will assume the role as interim-general manager until a permanent successor can be found. About the only real bright spot to the season has been the productivity of Braves’ outfielder Justin Upton who led the team in a number offensive categories in 2014 . AP Photo/ Gerry Parsons …

(7) Ricky Rubio (9) is seen here alongside his former teammate Kevin Love (42) . The pair led the Minnesota Timberwolves in a number of offensive categories last season but it was simply not enough for the team to get into the postseason. Love has since been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers leaving the Timberwolves without a proven scorer on the current roster. Rubio has voiced his displeasure in the trading of his former teammate and it is believed he too will seek a trade away from the franchise. Getty Images/ Adam Harris …

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Stupid is as stupid does and no one does it better than the NFL now , with the exception of the Federal Government …

Stupid is as stupid does and no one does it better than the NFL now, with the exception of the Federal Government …

Take nothing away from the incompetency of the NFL but Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice ” affair” and the actions of the Baltimore Ravens’ front office has left a great deal to be desired , along with the lack of a response from the hierarchy of the NFLPA and many of their most senior members . It seems rather idiotic, certain team owners are coming to defense of the NFL Commissioner , one of whom is Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones , who finds himself as a defendant n a civil suit, in a complaint filed by a female, who claims she was sexually harassed by the high-profiled publicity seeking owner. Jones and his legal representatives deny the claims of the plaintiff, dismissing them as nothing more than a nuisance suit and annoyance from someone seeking monetary compensation in a frivolous claim. Of late, there have been far too many negative stories encapsulating the NFL concerning the misdeeds of players , league executives and owners. Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay in a plea deal with State Attorney General’s Office in Carmel , California, had his DUI case pled down to a misdemeanor , with his serving no jail time, simply paying a fine and accepting to do community service.

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The San Francisco Forty Niners are now having to deal with the negative publicity surrounding defensive player Ray McDonald , his attacking his pregnant fiancee’, and punching her in the face and head. McDonald has admitted his guilt, hitting his fiancée and with the case now under investigation, it seems staggering that Niners’ CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke believe that the legal path of the issue has precedence over many punishment the franchise might deem appropriate in leveling against the player. The public outcry against the Forty Niners has been widespread, with the print and television media pointing to the hypocrisy of the statements made by Baalke , York and head coach Jim Harbaugh concerning the matter. Needless to say, other than the few curt words by McDonald, it has been left to his legal representatives to plead the case for their client.

Over the past eighteen months Roger Goodell’s decisions have become as equally baffling, as has his tenure since succeeding Paul Tagliabue as the NFL Commissioner. Needless to say, the calls for his being asked to step down have been growing but he has the clear support of many of the NFL’s most high-profiled owners including Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft , Steve Bisciotti , Woody Johnson , Daniel Snyder , Steve Ross , Dean Spanos and Pat Bowlen . I can only surmise the owners feel Goodell in spite of his mistakes can and will learn something from this episode while seeking to be more communicative and providing more leadership as the league’s highest-ranking executive. Based on his current and past record , I do not believe we are likely to see a vast improvement in how the commissioner handles such issues and that includes the NFL’s ongoing legal issues with current and older veterans and the issue of head trauma cases and their continued action of seeking legal recourse.

The league and Players’ Union (NFLPA) behind a closed door deal with the plaintiffs’ attorneys , were not only audacious, but smacked of greed, with many of the plaintiffs not being made aware of the negotiations at the time when the case was being litigated in the US Federal Court . Yet, at the end of it all, there was Goodell suggesting the case and the settlement in question was a just one. Thankfully, a US Appellate Court Judge threw out the settlement , issuing a statement that the final compensation figure was in fact far too low , asking that the league furnish him with more details as to their financial records and detailing an in-depth breakdown of how the NFL’s revenues are derived .

As the Roger Goodell tries to explain his latest pratfall, with the league hierarchy rallying behind to show their support for the beleaguered league executive, one has to ask how much more can the NFL actually handle before Goodell’s own position comes under scrutiny? Another catastrophe on such a scale and quite possibly not only will the owners be questioning the commissioner’s stewardship but also many of the NFL’s corporate endorsers but also their broadcast partners as well. There may well the analogy of there being no such thing as bad publicity , but bear in mind , the league now has almost broad base of female supporters who are now showing their disgust and disdain in Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice affair , without the idiocy of the various league spokespersons suggesting the NFL does not condone domestic violence.

Repeatedly, over the last several years a litany of players have fallen afoul of the law concerning domestic abuse , with many being merely given a slap on the wrist by the league hierarchy or the justice system itself , has been an abject failure in treating such crimes , by meting out a fitting sentence for the defendants concerned , thereby leaving the victims to feel the system has further let them down and having not given them any legal recourse. It should be noted, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has remained remarkably silent on this issue of domestic violence, but has maintained , where he feels his members are being railroaded by the league , they will be rigorously defended. Somehow , I do not believe Smith fully comprehends the gravity of the situation and the outrage there happens to be concerning a social plague among his members, in terms of their behavior , of which the fans themselves are also showing their apathy concerning this matter. Then again, it seems to be nothing new and simply the norm when it comes such an issue , as it may well take the murder of a female victim , before the matter is actually taken seriously by the league , union or then fans .

Week one in the NFL did not really tell us a great deal , but I do believe there was an indication that the NFC East still remains highly overrated , and the results were clearly there for all to see . The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants opened their season with inexplicable losses , with Tony Romo leading the way for the Cowboys with another mediocre performance in Dallas’ 28-17 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback’s NFC East counterpart with the New York Giants, Eli Manning did not fare much better in his team’s mauling at the hands of the Detroit Lions , succumbing the NFC North based franchise losing 35-14 . Jay Gruden’s inauspicious start as head coach of the Washington Redskins , was signaled in with a mediocre performance in his team’s loss , a 17-6 defeat to the Houston Texans. If this is a sign of things to come this season within the division, then fans of the teams in question will be in for a dire year. It may well be too early a call, but Robert Griffin III in spite of his performance for the Redskins was far from inspiring in terms of his leadership in the team’s loss to the Texans, but yet he remains Washington’s best chance of winning when a game is said to be on the line. Kirk Cousins may well be waiting in the wings but in this contest , Gruden’s and the team’s woes were typified by a <a href=”http://nfl.com/teams/depthchart?team=WAS”&gt; secondary which was extraordinarily inept in just about every facet of the game .

I was never impressed with the NFC East even with the praise being heaped on the teams and the belief that Nick Foles , Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo and Eli Manning being thought as being among the elite of the league’s quarterbacks . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and nothing as of yet suggests to me either of the quartet can be considered among the league’s best at the position. Manning has not been able to reproduce the form which guided the Giants to two Superbowl victories, in six years . Tony Romo as we all know, his postseason forays have not been a thing of beauty and his excuses for those poor performances are beginning to wear thin. Nick Foles was able catch everyone by surprise last season , but head coach Chip Kelly has yet to learn his defense has to be able to contribute to his team’s victories. The same can be said of the Washington Redskins and it remains to be seen whether or not Jay Gruden and his coaching staff can get the team to perform more stoutly on defense, but also be more competitive on offense.

Bill Belichick, forever the head coach everyone loves to hate and with just cause, cannot exorcise the demons of his egotistical behavior. It is either his way or the highway, even when failing to admit he might be in the wrong. A monumental mistake in allowing the departure of Wes Welker , caused some uproar among the fans , angered his franchise quarterback Tom Brady , but it has been his failure draft players who have been productive on the team’s defense over the past five seasons which has led to the Patriots’ failings in the postseason during the time-span in question. As if to start the year off with even more drama, Bill Belichick made the decision to trade Pro Bowl offensive guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the start of the season . Again drawing the ire of Tom Brady, but with GM Nick Caserio and Belichick stating Mankins’ reluctance to take a pay cut was the primary reason for the team’s decision to make the trade . In 2013 , Brady made available an additional $12 million to the franchise to assist in keeping Wes Welker , only for the head coach and general manager to bungle the entire negotiation process , which saw Welker sign with the Denver Broncos , adding another lethal weapon to Peyton Manning’s arsenal for the season. . It begs the question, if Brady’s largesse was not good enough to broker a deal , then how was it this time around, they could fail so miserably in not being able to persuade the lineman to stay, knowing full well what he meant to the organization by way of his leadership and productivity ? The excuses proffered up, comes across as lame and without merit.

New England began its season with an away game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami , Florida. It was seen as very much as an easy win , if the team simply played at a competent level . It was definitely not the case, with Tom Brady being outshone by the opposing quarterback on the day , as Miami were allowed to stroll through this contest barely breaking sweat. The Patriots’ woes , once again was the secondary , with the offense itself, being equally abysmal . Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins played like a Pro Bowl caliber player ,while Brady was languid , seemingly disinterested in the outcome of the game.

This 33-20 loss by the New England Patriots was pretty much systematic and endemic of what this staff has been about , with Bill Belichick showing very little passion, Complacency sets in , with their being little signs of urgency from a number of the players on the team. Darelle Revis is proving at this stage of his career, his best years have passed him by and Rob Gronkowski is far from being game fit, much less being at his very best in spite of his claims.

In week two the New England Patriots will be the guests of the Minnesota Vikings(1-0) as the visiting team hopes to get back to winning ways. Minnesota for its part will be looking to prove their week one result was no mere fluke and finally the team might have a starting quarterback capable of actually getting the job done after the .inconsistency shown by the often injured and under-achieving Christian Ponder. Matt Cassel may well have the starting quarterback position , but he has become a journeyman and it will be only matter of time before Mike Zimmer makes the decision to insert Teddy Bridgewater in the starting role . Cassel has yet to show the level of consistency needed to make the Vikings a credible challenger within the NFC North , let alone within the NFC .

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints put on an exhibition this past Sunday that may well have had fans excited as the two NFC South teams went about trying to blow each other out of the water . Now while the NFL might believe this was the type of game the fans love to see, what was clearly apparent, was the fact, both teams were simply mediocre in terms of their respective defenses . With over one thousand yards of offense amassed during the game both defenses were simply nondescript if not mediocre throughout the entire contest.

Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in recent years may well have been two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL and their prowess while unquestioned to a degree , yet it begs the question , if the two players are going to be asked to air the ball the majority of the time of the time for the Saints and Falcons it is likely to lead to the teams having to play a great deal more cautiously in terms of the pass offense , because any mistake by the quarterbacks could prove to be costly . With Sean Payton and Mike Smith looking to take the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons to the postseason this upcoming year , the NFC South is likely to become one of the more competitive divisions within the the league this season.

In week two the New Orleans Saints will take their show on the road to face the Cleveland Browns , while the Atlanta Falcons will also be in the state of Ohio to meet the Browns’ instate , divisional and AFC rivals the Cincinnati Bengals in what is likely to be two of the day’s more intriguing games .

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In light of the issues now providing major problems for the NFL in terms of the commissioner’s haphazard handling of the Ray Rice affair , do you feel that Roger Goodell should step down from his current position and hand in his resignation to the league hierarchy ? Or you of the opinion his judgment at the time concerning the matter and the punishment rendered initially was correct? Also if there is any action to be taken against Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers with the player having admitted his actions publicly , then what do you feel ought to be the appropriate action to be taken by the league? Your thoughts on this and anything else you feel relevant to the subject matter is welcomed.

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who is now facing mounting criticism to re-sign after the league’s poor handling of the Ray Rice affair. The Baltimore Ravens’ running back has since been banned indefinitely by the league , with Goodell suggesting there is a a possibility for the player to return to the NFL at some point in the future . To further compound the statement the commissioner went on to suggest that the league office was not in possession of the taped incident showing Rice assaulting his then fiancee’ Jenay Parker , whom he has since married . The tape in question was sent to the NFL by an unnamed source thought to be a member of law enforcement in Las Vegas , Nevada. However, it has been noted that the source had an in-depth conversation with a league employee who had seen the tape upon its arrival . The original airing of the incident was aired by entertainment news’ website TMZ.com . AP Photo/ Mick Charles …

(2) Indianapolis Colts’ team owner Jim Iray who recently ran afoul of the law for a DUI and the possession of a controlled substance This was not Irsay’s first legal entanglement for such an infraction and it has been repeated pattern of behavior with the team owner . Irsay has seen been suspended by the league with a six-game ban and $500,000 fine , with a warning of any further misdeed on his part will be met with a much sterner punishment and possible sanctions . Getty Images/ Chris Russell …

(3) Jerry Jones , owner of the Dallas Cowboys is seen here with his son , Stephen Jones , a senior front office executive with the franchise . The elder patriarch , a long time supporter of Roger Goodell now finds himself entangled in a rather unsavory legal wrangle where an exotic dancer is claiming sexual harassment by the team owner . The plaintiff is seeking a legal and financial recourse from Jones for his alleged actions which he and his legal representatives denied ever took place. AP Photo/ Paul Bishop

(4) From left to right San Francisco 49ers’ CEO Jed Yorke , team head coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke . The three individuals are now having to deal with issues of Ray McDonald and his actions in having attacked and beaten his pregnant fiancee’. The franchise believes the matter can be best dealt with by law enforcement before any action can be taken by the organization . McDonald has admitted his actions in an interview with the local press but it is not known what his plea might be when and there is said to be any legal action taken against the player. Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle ….

(5) DeMaurice Smith , executive director of the NFL Players Association, talks with the media after negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke down without an agreement on Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington. Smith has remained somewhat passive when it comes to the issue of player misconduct concerning the players within the NFL and it has only been in light of the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice where has chosen to speak out publicly on the matter . AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots hands off to teammate Stevan Ridley (22) in the first quarter during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 7, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 33-20 in the contest. Getty Images North America / Mike Ehrmann …

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Is she (September Carrino) making you feel giddy all over ?

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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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Blood In Blood , Blood Out ……..

Blood In , Blood Out ………….

By tophatal

We’re constantly being told that the NFL is more a business than anything else and the brand itself as a form of entertainment is solely a way for the respective parties to derive their revenues and a profit . The league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners and union (NFLPA) in conjunction with one another , all have a common interest in making sure that the league is a smooth running , viable and profitable business concern . This being a $ 7 billion a year industry that has now seen its tentacles spread not just across North America but now into burgeoning markets within Europe , the continent of Africa and the Pan Pacific basin . And with the league now scheduling not only preseason games but also regular season games abroad , I would dare say that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is now seeking world domination , in line with the sport of soccer !

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Now while the NFL has returned to full action after a near five month layoff due to the hierarchy enforced stoppage not all of the major problems that we were seemingly told had met with an equitable agreement has been mutually beneficial for all. For the retired veterans of the league in particual those who retired during the late eighties and prior are now having a hard time dealing with many of the issues that the league itself and the union tried to suggest was always on their radar. It is clear when veterans such as Dave Duerson and Mike Webster die under such needless circumstances wherein they have had to go into debt merely to pay for their medical necessities it is a clear indication that the NFL and union have and are still letting their players down . But then again anyone who would profess to the fact that the league or union has actually cared for the retired veterans would be naive . It is the furthest thing from the truth and it this can be candidly proven by the statements attributed directly former NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw who once had the temerity to suggest ….. that his only concern at the time was with the well being of the players now currently playing in the league rather than those who had retired years before . A clear slap in the face to many of the former NFL great’s peers . Upshaw’s successor DeMaurice Smith has said little about what he and his executive committee’s intentions are concerning many of the issues raised by retired veterans such as Carl Eller and other who are being denied certain benefits rightfully due to them . But the very fact that in the waning moments of the collective bargaining agreement deliberations and negotiation somehow $1 billion was set aside in a now sealed document as part of the deal has me now wondering what the league and union are not only hiding from the fans but also from the retired veterans , themselves !

US Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan who presided over the hearings between the NFL and NFLPA sided with the league rather than the retired veterans on the issue of the details being sealed but somehow the so called NFL writers who cover the league saw nothing dubious or surreptitious in this arrangement . But such has been the machinations of all of the parties concerned it is only reasonable to presume that the league would rather not only continue to keep the fans in the dark but also many of the very individuals from the past who in essence made the NFL what it is today . Perhaps the league , the union and owners aren’t overly concerned as to the plight of these former NFL veterans ?

Monday night will pit the Chicago Bears (4-3) against the slowly resurgent Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) in a game that could very well in part ultimately give us an indication as to the direction that both teams appear to be heading in . The Bears and Eagles now find themselves adrift within their respective divisions with the Green Bay Packers (7-0) running away with the NFC North , while the New York Giants (5-2) are having one of their better seasonal starts under their coach Tom Coughlin within the NFC East .

Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania will be the setting for this clash between these two NFC teams . At this juncture it would be safe to say that after the Eagles’ annihilation of the Dallas Cowboys —- 34-7 the fans are perhaps no longer calling for the head of coach , Andy Reid . The players and the coaching staff still know that they have a steep hill to climb if they are to fare well over the remainder of their season . And it goes without saying that all eyes will be upon the team’s quarterback Michael Vick , because as he goes , then so does this team .

For the Chicago Bears their season has been engulfed with the continued deliberations as to whether or not the team’s running back Matt Forte is due a big payday . He has been the team’s most productive offensive weapon since being drafted by the team in 2008 . And this season has proven to be no different for the young running back as he looks to make himself invaluable to the team and the organization as a whole . Certainly , GM Jerry Angelo and senior managing partner Ted Phillips know that they can ill afford to mistreat the team’s most prized asset and not run the risk of making the player feel aggrieved and perhaps demand a trade. For the moment Forte has simply stated that he’s there to be a team player but I am now beginning to wonder how long that will last ! Especially in light of the fact he’s now seeing players such as Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson being richly rewarded for their productivity . And needless to say with the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy simply running amok around the league it’d be safe to say also , that he too will be looking for a contract that is commensurate with his talent .

It is clear that if the Bears are to be successful they will need to be at their very best if they’re to have any chance within their division but much of the team’s aspirations will rest squarely on the shoulders of Jay Cutler . We know that the defense of this Bears’ team can be very good when they set their minds to the task at hand . And I am thoroughly convinced that Andy Reid’s offense will be looking to test that much vaunted defense of the Chicago Bears . .

As I alluded to earlier it will be interesting to see what moves may well be made by the Bears’ front office as it concerns Matt Forte . Does Jerry Angelo reward the player or simply look to use the franchise tag once again simply to underscore Forte’s undoubted talent , and at the same time deny him market value in terms of his true worth ? Clearly, this use of the ” tag “, simply as a ploy that benefits the teams rather than it simply being about being a bargaining chip that has some altruistic benefit for a player .

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What thoughts if any do you as it concerns Matt Forte and his impending contract negotiations ? And how do you view Chicago Bears as quite possibly a legitimate NFC contender this postseason ? As to the NFL lockout as a fan are you wholly satisfied by the negotiations that took place and the way that both the league and unions conducted themselves during their deliberations ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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(1) Lovie Smith head coach of Chicago Bears talks to officials during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. The Bears defeated the Buccaneers 24-18 . Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images …

(2) Johnny Knox (13) of the Chicago Bears is tackled by Corey Lynch (41) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Aqib Talib (25) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images ….

(3) A general view of play during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images …..

(4) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears attempts to gain ground during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(5) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(6) LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Jay Cutler(6) of the Chicago Bears in action during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images ……

(7) DeSean Jackson (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles stiff arms Orlando Scandrick (32) the Dallas Cowboys during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7 . Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images ……

(8) LeSean McCoy (25) of the Philadelphia Eagles crosses the goal line as he scores a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images ….

(9) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles shakes hands with head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys after the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7 at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images …..
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News , Views & Other Tidbits …..

News , Views & Other Tidbits …..

If the rumors are to believed then whatever takes place over the ensuing days could very well determine the future of the Boston Red Sox . With manager Terry Francona’s future now seems in doubt , it is being speculated that the front office will not choose to exercise the option on his contract for 2012. Along with that there’s the growing belief that wunderkind GM Theo Epstein could very well be lured away from the organization by beleaguered Chicago Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts who has said that he wishes to sign a high profiled front office executive and give them free rein to bolster the ball club’s personnel . Given the unbelievable meltdown by the Red Sox on the final day of the regular season and there being talk that the duo of collapses are reminiscent of those from a bygone age within the game .

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There’s no denying that with Terry Francona having succeeded Grady Little the turnaround in the ball-club’s wasn’t immediate but the very fact that the players began to buy into his management style was a sign that Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino were astute in their hire. Guiding the organization to their first World Series in 2004 a second title would follow in 2007 but what was clearly self evident was the mere fact that the Red Sox were still free wheeling spenders . Keeping up with the Joneses may well be OK given the financial treasure chest at the organization’s disposal . But herein lies the caveat when you’re simply acquiring players simply because they are allegedly big named free agents it simply means nothing if you are not getting value for the money spent. As of now in all likelihood senior managing partner John Henry along with co-owners Tom Werner , Theodore ” Ted” Alfond , Thomas R DiBenedetto and the other senior partners will have to take a serious look at the organization and how it goes about in handling the baseball operations from top to bottom .

The acquisitions made by Boston Red Sox simply did not pay the dividend presumed with perhaps that of Adrian Gonzalez . Perhaps the organization’s most productive player offensively for the team . The team’s payroll for the 2011 season was in excess of $166.8 million and there are those who are beginning to question whether or not the organization got value for money in terms of that payroll and the acquisition of Carl Crawford and John Lackey but it was the apparent meltdown of the bullpen led by Daniel Bard and Johnathan Papelbon . It certainly hasn’t helped that pitching ace Josh Beckett and the team were woefully inept going 7-20 over the final month of the season . It is so insidious to think that this team could have performed so ineptly and still believe that they worthy of being the AL wildcard representative .

Now while flagship radio station WEEI and their variety of on air analysts will continue to harangue and lambast the Boston Red Sox organization there is no doubt in my mind they will also make some very pointed references at Terry Francona’s handling of the roster as well as many of the now apparent bankrupt personnel decisions of Lucchino and Espten , jointly. The Boston Red Sox’s own broadcast outlet NESN has not openly issued a formal statement about either Theo Epstein’s future and that of their now beleaguered manager. The chances are that Francona may well not be retained by the ball-club with an even more remote possibility that the general manager could choose to live to pursue other professional opportunities within the game. Given the clarity of Tom Ricketts’ wish and the un-growing certainty as to the future of Ned Colletti with the Los Angeles Dodgers almost anything is possible . I certainly don’t believe that Epstein would have the slightest interest in an organization that is still in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings and with the league hierarchy now trying to force team owner Frank McCourt out . With that situation now becoming so comical that it no longer bears talking about anything that now befalls the organization that forces to cease to exist would be for the best !

With the baseball season now over there’s no denying the fallout from teams simply failing to show their competitiveness over the course of the year . The Los Angeles Angeles under Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff never seemed able to get this team over the hump when it mattered most . Team owner Arte Moreno saw the Angels fall by the wayside as the Texas Rangers were able to make a successful defense of their AL West divisional title . With that apparent failure team GM Tony Reagins has resigned from the front office of the organization and thereby leading to another unhappy executive forced out by the lack of recent success .

A lackluster season where a team under-performs tends to lead to a number of things could seemingly have gone awry. And clearly with the Angels it was simply one where this team with the talent in place never lived up the presumed expectations of the owner , that of the front office and their loyal fans . Should there be any blamed apportioned upon Tony Reagins for the team’s lack of success ? Well it’s hard to say but he along with the coaching staff and scouting department put this roster together in order to make a run at the division and the postseason . Clearly the efforts put forth just weren’t good enough as can be adjudged by the team’s standing and the lack of productivity from the pitching and offense .

There is no denying that the public at large is now so tired with the members of Congress and the Senate that any talk of them doing something productive has to be treated with a sense of comedic value. Now comes word that the House Oversight & Reform Committee has called upon NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to address them over the now contentious of issue of HGH testing . Both executives are set to meet with the members of the committee within the next five to six days dependent on the scheduling of the hearings . In what was said to be an agreed upon within the collective bargaining agreement for game day testing of players now seems to have caused something of impasse between the league and union. The idiocy of this situation is that the executive committee signed unto this and Smith exalting the fact that the two sides’ views on the issue were one. This is all bullshit when it has now become even more apparent that neither side was truly happy with the accord agreed under the auspices of Federal Judge Arthur Boylan .

Courtesy of USA Today

Lawmakers want NFL, players union to solve HGH testing issue

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today

Although the federal budget is the most significant hot-button issue currently on Capitol Hill, the standoff between the NFL and the league’s players union over the implementation of human growth hormone (HGH) testing is drawing increasing attention from lawmakers.

Commissioner Roger Goodell could meet soon with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

When the NFL and players ratified their new labor pact in August, they announced an agreement to test for HGH — with the aim to begin at the start of the regular season.

Yet details of the testing are unresolved.

In the letters, obtained by USA TODAY, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote, “By making use of the latest technology, the NFL and its players appear poised to be leaders in the effort to ensure that competition is not tainted by banned substances.”

While short of calling for hearings as it did in 2005 to scrutinize Major League Baseball’s problems with steroids, the committee hopes the meetings are an impetus for a resolution. Issa and Cummings wrote that their concern for young athletes — and the message that can be sent that performance-enhancing drugs won’t be tolerated at the highest levels — fuels their action.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, was also invited to provide assistance and expertise. It is unknown when such a meeting will occur.

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If Congress now wants to be seen as being proactive and actually going about conducting the nation’s business then they stay hell out of how the NFL conducts its business . It is not as if they have been able to resolve the current budget and debt crisis that seems to be a never ending story . Perhaps it is just me but I would rather see the idiot owners their team executives and the league hierarchy continue to bicker like children . Because it would sure as hell beat anything that the House Oversight Committee would be able to offer up as advice or seemingly threaten the status of the NFL.

OK so it would appear that David Stern and the league hierarchy are no closer to resolving the NBA lockout . Billy Hunter , NBPA President Derek Fisher and VP Roger Mason Jr still remain steadfast in their resolve in not acquiescing to any of the demands from the league. Stern has offered very little by way of anything palpable for the union to even be merely amenable to accepting but it seems to be pissing contest between the two parties that continue to remain so far apart on the pertinent issues .

Guns don’t kill people it’s people who kill people , rather stupid people with guns who’ve actually nothing at at better to do . Detroit Pistons’ center Ben Wallace has become the latest NBA player to have fallen foul of the law . In what was a lawful traffic stop Wallace cited for DUI (driving under the influence) and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. If convicted the player faces up to five years in prison on a felony gun charge and three months for the DUI misdemeanor . The player stated the law enforcement officer at the time he did not have a concealed weapons’ permit but traveled with the gun in his backpack as a way of protecting himself and his vehicle . The incident took place in the Broomfield Township , a suburb of Michigan , Detroit . Wallace at the time was traveling up from Virginia to visit friends in the area ___ having also undergone a field sobriety test , later a blood alcohol and breath test , Wallace’s blood alcohol level was 0.14% , almost twice the legal limit of .08. The Pistons’ center now has a court hearing scheduled for next Monday and that hearing could very well determine the player’s immediate future. Now pardon for me saying this but how stupid are some of the players within the NBA ? Clearly Wallace and the other idiot members of the gun toting fraternity haven’t learned a fucking thing !

Gilbert Arenas the ” poster child “ for errant gun play may well have ,mended his ways but let’s just say he has offered very little to the Orlando Magic since he was acquired by the organization . GM Otis Smith may well now look to off-load the ” dead weight” on this roster and when one bears in mind that the players he acquired to make this team a legitimate contender for an NBA title offered little to that legitimacy . Bob Vanderweide and team owner Rich De Vos clearly have some decisions to make about this team , paring down the salary . The front office’s and Otis Smith’s biggest decision will be in persuading Dwight Howard to remain with the and that the Magic as an organization is where his future lies .

While not wanting to lambast the Magic organization I do feel that Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy were exceptionally naive to think that Dwight Howard solely by himself could lead this team to the NBA Finals . He had little if any real assistance from his teammates throughout much of the regular season and the for Smith to laden this organization with the absurd salaries of Arenas , Hedo Turkoglu , and Quentin Richarson simply show that there was not much thought placed into the acquisition of the players in question much less the fact as to what this would do the franchise financially . The Orlando Magic for the upcoming year has a financial salary commitment of approximately $74.8 million and for the 2012-2013 season that figure rises to $75.66 million . Bear in mind that figure exceeds the soft salary cap of $57 million that the league hierarchy feels all of their franchises could work with but clearly it has meant nothing at all to this particular franchise and those others who simply eschewed the idea and went over that figure. The salary commitment for the Magic for the 2010-2011 season was approximately $92 million . This sort of innate stupidity by the front office executives has been mirrored across the NBA for the past few years and I sincerely doubt that it is likely to change even if there should be some kind of an accord reached between the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA .

With the ongoing impasse of the lockout I do feel that the league and union have nowhere to go but to try and resolve this situation as quickly as possible . Without doing so it clearly casts doubt on a preseason or for that matter a regular 2011-2012 schedule. A number of high profiled players were in attendance at the latest meeting between the union and league hierarchy . Amongst those attending were LeBron James , Dywane Wade , Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant . All of whom expressed solidarity with the union’s executive committee and their handling of the situation.

What may be so befuddling for the fans to understand is that the NBA and players cannot agree how best to split the $4.5 billion in revenues …. derived by the league at present . The split is now a 53/47 % ratio in favor of the players but the league hierarchy seeks something that is more equitable in its disbursement and a hard salary cap . It should come as no surprise that the soft salary cap of $57 million is ignored by a number of the basketball teams within the NBA . And with the sheer stupidity shown by the general managers with their capricious spending it is easy to understand why owners such as Dan Gilbert , Gavin Maloof and Commissioner David Stern have pled poverty with regard to the fortunes of a number of franchises around the league . They have foisted figures of projected losses of $350 million to $450 million but there has been little evidence to show that those figures do in fact have any veracity to them. The hierarchy’s books have never been opened to public scrutiny and it is very clear that David Stern would prefer it that way. Much like his MLB counterpart Bud Selig the duo have a great deal in common and it is ….. that their business acumen are vastly overrated !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Do take time to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to pertinent in that regard . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated . Have a great weekend and do stay safe over the period . That way we can resume or discussions over the coming week !

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

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Boston Red Sox owner Tom Werner, left, and general manager Theo Epstein leave the podium after addressing the media during a news conference on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on manager Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) Boston Red Sox owners Tom Werner, left, and Larry Lucchino, right, listen as general manager Theo Epstein, center, speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye …..

(3) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract for a ninth year in the wake of the team’s September collapse in which they blew a nine-game lead in the American League wild-card race. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ……

(4) Four years ago when he took over as general manager, Tony Reagins, right, had the backing of Angels owner Arte Moreno. After consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, the two had a parting of ways. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times ……

(5) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures during the Beyond Sport Summit Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The summit brings together more than 80 domestic and international sports teams to address their role in triggering positive social change in the communities they serve. Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director are under request by ranking committee members of the House & Oversight Government Reform Committee Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) & Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md,.) to explain why there now seems to be an impasse between the union and the league as to HGH testing within the NFL . AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….. ……..

(6) In this booking mugshot released by the Bloomfield Township, Mich., Police Department, Detroit Pistons basketball player Ben Wallace is shown Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Authorities in suburban Detroit say Wallace has been charged with drunken driving and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon after a traffic stop. Bloomfield Township police said Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 that the 37-year-old Wallace was arrested about 3 a.m. Saturday after officers observed a Cadillac Escalade being driven erratically. Police said they found an unloaded pistol in a backpack. AP Photo/Bloomfield Township Police Department ……..

(7) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Magic would go on to lose the series to the Hawks . Getty Images/ Kevin Cox ……

(8) Gilbert Arenas of the Orlando Magic who had one of his least productive seasons in the NBA while donning the Magic uniform . Courtesy of TSN.ca …… ….

(9) Dwight Howard is seen here with Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith . The player is holding the Honda NBA Defensive Player of the Year Trophy . Howard is a three time winner of the prestigious award having won it for the past three consecutive seasons . Courtesy of AP/Photo / Kenneth Parker ……..
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MLB news

NFL news

NBA news

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Hungarian model and Playboy siren Victoria Metzker

We Are Doing This Now Because It’s The Right Thing To Do ….. Or At Least We Think So ….. !

We Are Doing This Now Because It’s The Right Thing To Do ….. Or At Least We Think So ….. !

Well now that the NFL preseason will be in full flight as of the 11th August, I think it interesting that the league will now subject the players to game day testing for HGH as well as other PED’s ( performance enhancing drugs) in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. The league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his opposite number within the NFLPA , Executive Director DeMaurice Smith knew that this would be a sticking point amongst the members of the union but it was obvious that concessions were made by both sides so that this rule could be enacted .

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The NFL will now become the first of the four major sports to actually test its members at the highest echelons of the sport for HGH on game day and it remains to be seen how such a rule will be looked upon by the fans. Baseball (MLB) tests merely at the minor league level for HGH and for other prohibitive substances . They do not however test at the top tier of the game with completely comprehensive testing for anything beyond steroids. That in part is due to the power of Michael Weiner as executive director of the MLPA and the fact that the union holds away over the league hierarchy and the team owners themselves . And that is in spite of the claims made by Bud Selig that professional baseball now has in place the most comprehensive testing program in all of professional sports . The commissioner knows that is sheer bunkum but in his eyes merely looking and playing the fool appears to be nothing new at all .

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Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (11) and wide receiver Austin Collie (17) walk out for the start of the NFL football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

It is clear that the NFL would like be seen as being proactive with its image having been sullied throughout the whole period of their mandated lockout of the players. And it is in this aspect that the hierarchy wishes to show the fans that they have now taken on with a renewed sense of purpose of righting several of the issues that were part of their deliberations ___ that became highly contentious between themselves and the union. Leading the way in terms of getting this message across to the fans and public in general will be Adolpho Birch one the NFL’s highest ranking executives and amongst their chief lead legal advisers . He played a major part in seeking that this rule was mandated and enacted by the league which could very well be seen as a blue print for the other major professional sports governing bodies. But given the stance taken by the NBPA , MLBPA and NHLPA it is very difficult to see those three unions allowing their respective hierarchies to have that much power and acquiesce to such an agreement.

Courtesy of USA Today

NFL exec on HGH: ‘I don’t believe it’s prevalent’ in league

By Nate Davis , USA Today

Even as the NFL prepares to take the unprecedented step of administering blood tests to screen its players for human growth hormone, the league doesn’t necessarily believe its product is chemically fueled from sideline to sideline.

“I will say, based on my judgment and experience, I don’t believe it’s prevalent,” said NFL Senior Vice President of Law and Labor Policy Adolpho Birch when asked about the concerns expressed by Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez that HGH use occurs in the league and a recent CBSSports.com report which speculated 10-20% of NFL players are juicing .

Added Birch: “Those estimates are why it’s critical we have testing.”

And Birch expects those tests will be in place by the start of the regular season as the NFL and NFLPA work out the final details of the system, which was a component of the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement both sides seemed to desire.

“How many guys are on it, that’s hard to say,” Gonzalez told The Indianapolis Star on Tuesday. “It could be 10, it could be a hundred or more; either way, it’s too much. But around the league, you see guys on Sunday, and things don’t add up; they don’t look right. I see guys I saw in college, now they’re in the NFL and they look totally different.

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Claims that as many as 20% of the NFL players within the league are “juicing” might seem somewhat conservative but one can’t really be sure to what extent the use of prohibitive substances are prevalent within the sport. It would be remiss however to suggest that such an instance is not in fact taking place . We know that players have been suspended for abusing the league’s drug policy whereby the initial suspension is for a mandatory four games and the athlete undergoes counseling. But the fans have yet to be publicly advised as to what the penalties will be should a player having been tested , found positive for the use of HGH what punishment would be meted out . Not one to speculate on such a point I can only surmise that whatever form of penalty is dealt to a player it will be one in line with the CBA as agreed upon between the league and union.

Indianapolis Colts’ player Anthony Gonzalez has offered his own thoughts on the issue of players ‘juicing’, stating that he believes it takes place within the NFL but doesn’t care to suggest how prevalent it is or whom he believes to be using anything prohibitive. Clearly this may well be something that doesn’t sit well with a number of players within the NFL but it now gives credence to what many of us may well have already believed to begin with . And that is the NFL much like their counterparts within MLB are not averse to breaking the law never mind the perception of cheating. Granted, there’s a case to be made that the use of certain substances to avert or assist in a quick recuperation from an injury aids a player. When would one suggest that an abuse of steroids or any other prohibitive PED isn’t in the best interest of the game never mind the overall health issues as it relates to the player ?

I have always maintained that we can look upon the use of steroids from both sides ! But herein lies my own train of thought on the matter , not once have I ever read anything by anyone within this medium address the issue concerning the apparent dangers of steroid abuse and the harm it undoubtedly does to a player’s well being . Instead it has been the thinking ………. if it makes them (players) perform better then so be it , which if anything is somewhat of a naive stance to take . Herein lies to caveat to this all , if the gain is actual financial wealth and some semblance of success then it appears that absolutely nothing is off the table . But at what point should we then say enough is enough ? One simply now has to look at what has happened within the game of baseball as answer to the folly that has taken place there and the very fact that the arguments now arise as to who is now worthy of being enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Over a decade as such has come into question because of the sheer weight of the malfeasance that took place there concerning the abuse of steroids within the game. Are we , or have we as such already witnessed that now in the NFL ? Maybe we have , or quite possibly we have not ____ no one actually knows and it’s unlikely that anyone within the league hierarchy , union or amongst the NFL team owners are willing to discuss the issue as to the possibility that there has been rampant use of illicit substances within the game.

We have seen the sheer and utter stupidity and naivete’ shown with the game of baseball the mere fact that Bud Selig and the union had to be dragged kicking into the twenty first century , merely adopt some form of drug testing within the game. The NFL for its part has taken an approach but it could now very well open up a Pandora’s box that once ajar , cannot be closed as quickly as they would actually like . As to the implications for the players within the NFL , while no doubt agreeing to this all , I’d hate to think what could very well happen should the situation arises where one of them tests positive for HGH during this new era of labor peace between the two parties of the league !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the new rule how do you as an NFL fan view this change and do you believe it ultimately be of benefit to the league ? Simply leave a comment as to your thought and anything else you believe to be pertinent on this matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

Contact tophatal ……… rapptu@gmail.com ….

http://facebook.com/tophata2

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details below for your perusal .

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(1) Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (11) and wide receiver Austin Collie (17) walk out for the start of the NFL football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(2) Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark, left, and wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez stretch out during the NFL team’s football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy…..

(3) Adolpho Birch III (J.D.) NFL Senior VP of Labor Policy & Labor Relations seen here speaking with ESPN on the league enacting their new drug testing policy for illicit substances but primarily HGH. AP Photos/ P Velazquez

(4) Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell and Director of the National Football League Players’ Association, DeMaurice Smith pose with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 5, 2011 in Canton, Ohio. Getty Images North America/ Michael Loccisano …….

(5) Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell and Director of the National Football League Players’ Association, DeMaurice Smith sign the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 5, 2011 in Canton, Ohio. Getty Images North America / Michael Loccasino ……
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NFL news

NFL Preseason schedule commences Thursday 11th August 2011

Preseason Week 1
Thu, Aug 11 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
BAL @ PHI Lincoln Financial Field 7:30 PM Tickets
JAC @ NE Gillette Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
SEA @ SD Qualcomm Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
DEN @ DAL Cowboys Stadium 8:30 PM Tickets
ARI @ OAK O.co Coliseum 10:00 PM Tickets
Fri, Aug 12 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CIN @ DET Ford Field 7:30 PM Tickets
MIA @ ATL Georgia Dome 7:30 PM Tickets
PIT @ WAS FedExField 7:30 PM Tickets
SF @ NO Superdome 8:00 PM Tickets
TB @ KC Arrowhead Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets FOX
Sat, Aug 13 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
GB @ CLE Cleveland Browns Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets NFLN
BUF @ CHI Soldier Field 8:00 PM Tickets
IND @ STL Edward Jones Dome 8:00 PM Tickets
MIN @ TEN LP Field 8:00 PM Tickets
NYG @ CAR Bank of America Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets
Mon, Aug 15 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NYJ @ HOU Reliant Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
Byes: None
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Preseason Week 2
Thu, Aug 18 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NE @ TB Raymond James Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
PHI @ PIT Heinz Field 8:00 PM Tickets FOX
Fri, Aug 19 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
WAS @ IND Lucas Oil Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
CAR @ MIA Sun Life Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
DET @ CLE Cleveland Browns Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
KC @ BAL M&T Bank Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
ARI @ GB Lambeau Field 8:00 PM Tickets
ATL @ JAC EverBank Field 8:00 PM Tickets FOX
Sat, Aug 20 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NO @ HOU Reliant Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets NFLN
OAK @ SF Candlestick Park 8:00 PM Tickets
TEN @ STL Edward Jones Dome 8:00 PM Tickets
BUF @ DEN INVESCO Field at Mile High 8:30 PM Tickets
MIN @ SEA CenturyLink Field 10:00 PM Tickets
Sun, Aug 21 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CIN @ NYJ New Meadowlands Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
SD @ DAL Cowboys Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets NBC
Mon, Aug 22 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CHI @ NYG New Meadowlands Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
Byes: None
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Preseason Week 3
Thu, Aug 25 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
CAR @ CIN Paul Brown Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
CLE @ PHI Lincoln Financial Field 7:30 PM Tickets
WAS @ BAL M&T Bank Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets ESPN
Fri, Aug 26 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
STL @ KC Arrowhead Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets
GB @ IND Lucas Oil Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets CBS
Sat, Aug 27 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
JAC @ BUF Ralph Wilson Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
NYJ @ NYG New Meadowlands Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets
ATL @ PIT Heinz Field 7:30 PM Tickets
MIA @ TB Raymond James Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
CHI @ TEN LP Field 8:00 PM Tickets
DAL @ MIN Mall of America Field 8:00 PM Tickets
HOU @ SF Candlestick Park 8:00 PM Tickets
NE @ DET Ford Field 8:00 PM Tickets CBS
SEA @ DEN INVESCO Field at Mile High 9:00 PM Tickets
SD @ ARI University of Phoenix Stadium 10:00 PM Tickets
Sun, Aug 28 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
NO @ OAK O.co Coliseum 8:00 PM Tickets NBC
Byes: None
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Preseason Week 4
Thu, Sep 01 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
DET @ BUF Ralph Wilson Stadium 6:30 PM Tickets
IND @ CIN Paul Brown Stadium 7:00 PM Tickets NFLN
BAL @ ATL Georgia Dome 7:30 PM Tickets
NYG @ NE Gillette Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
STL @ JAC EverBank Field 7:30 PM Tickets
TB @ WAS FedExField 7:30 PM Tickets
PHI @ NYJ New Meadowlands Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
DAL @ MIA Sun Life Stadium 7:30 PM Tickets
KC @ GB Lambeau Field 8:00 PM Tickets
CLE @ CHI Soldier Field 8:00 PM Tickets
HOU @ MIN Mall of America Field 8:00 PM Tickets
TEN @ NO Superdome 8:00 PM Tickets
PIT @ CAR Bank of America Stadium 8:00 PM Tickets
DEN @ ARI University of Phoenix Stadium 10:00 PM Tickets NFLN
SF @ SD Qualcomm Stadium 10:00 PM Tickets
Fri, Sep 02 Stadium Time (ET) Tickets Network DIRECTV SIRIUS Westwood One
OAK @ SEA CenturyLink Field 10:30 PM Tickets NFLN

NFL Regular season schedule commences 8-12th September 2011

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .

We’re Back ………. !

We’re Back !

Well it appears all is back to the norm within the NFL with the lockout apparently ended , the league hierarchy, owners and union reaching an accord that allows for a decade of peace , goodwill amongst all the parties concerned . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell comes off smelling of something but I’m not quite sure it’s of roses ! More in line with some form of fecal matter and the same could be said of the NFLPA as they now seek to re-certify and once again become a fully fledged union. I can’t help but wonder how the retired veterans feel about this all being that they were in essence shut out for the most part during the course of the deliberations. But ah well it simply takes the death of a number of aged NFL players before both the NFL and union actually show some form compassion as to their grievances all along !

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Now with many of the owners simply glad to have their teams back at work there’s a great deal of money to be made ! And made it will be by hook or by crook as they simply have done their best to portray themselves as the wronged party and the victim ! The players for their part are no doubt happy in particular union President Kevin Mawae who having retired from the league will leave his position as president once his term is over . Mawae along the union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith may well have gotten all that they wanted and perhaps a great deal more but now comes the hard part for a number of players returning back to the team facilities . The bloodletting is about to begin as coaches and general managers make the unkindest cut of all and that’s the shedding of talent they believe to be obsolete to their needs . Granted , there are a number of players who became free agents over the course of this four month standoff and it is to be expected many of them may well be resigned by their respective teams but in large the vast majority will be kicked to the curb. Let’s put it this way the carnage is about to become a feast and famine for some players.

In the midst of this all stand the agents who will be looking to secure the best possible deal for their clients . Drew Rosenhaus , Eugene Parker , Tom Condon who heads the Football division of sports agency CAA Sports , Mark Bartelstein and Leigh Steinberg will be handsomely rewarded for their endeavors , as too will some of their clients . Especially those thought to be amongst the marquee free agents thought to be the prime recipients of the contracts that will be on offer for their very special skillset. That being said there are bound to be several players who will be in receipt of contracts that simply do not measure up to the presumed expectations .

With there being varying rumors that the Washington Redskins’ much maligned quarterback Donovan McNabb said to be interested in leaving the team to ply his trade elsewhere and it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Minnesota Vikings are said to be interested in the player . Call me naive but after the Brett Favre debacle this past season why go down that road once again with McNabb whose best years are in his rear view mirror ? At the same time Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan , himself , has been about as productive a coach in his tenure with the organization as the seated members of the 112th Congress since they returned to session after the midterm elections . And that’s saying a fu_king lot considering that they have not produced one meaningful piece of legislation over that entire period !

Now inasmuch I welcome the return of the NFL my problem with the whole scenario that now arises is seeing the number of teams simply shedding players in order to acquire replacements quite possibly cheaper or in some cases simply overpaying even if we’re led to believe it’s at market related prices . Somehow if Peyton Manning is on the way to becoming the league’s first salaried player at $20 million a season then for all sense and purpose the NFL hierarchy has simply lost their god damn mind ! Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay , GM & Vice Chairman Bill Polian and the team’s coach Jim Caldwell may well feel that the player is well worth such a deal and the very fact that he’s coming off an offseason surgery I can’t say that such a decision would be a prudent one . But I think that it’s not necessarily the player determining this deal but more so the sway and power held by his agent Tom Condon who is amongst the most powerful men in all of sports .

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FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2010, file photo, Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning, left, talks with then-offensive coordinator Tom Moore during practice in Davie, Fla,. The Jets have hired Moore as a consultant, according to a person familiar with the situation. Moore, credited for helping Manning develop into a four-time NFL MVP, will work during the season from his home in South Carolina, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced the hiring. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

It would be be remiss to suggest that the Colts won’t be amongst the contenders for the Superbowl this upcoming season . But until we see Manning in full flight , displaying his vast array of skills then many of us will be wondering whether or not the $20 million was actually worth it ! And as of now the jury is still out on the matter .

With all of the expectations coming this season it will be interesting to see how Cam Newton steers his way through the professional ranks of the NFL , given the fact that he was coddled for much of his career with Auburn . The Carolina Panthers coming off a disastrous 2010 schedule , great deal of discontent amongst the coaching staff and front office saw the departure of John Fox . Team owner Jerry Richardson and GM Marty Hurney brought in Fox’s successor Ron Rivera and an upheaval in the assistant coaching staff with a view turning things around for a team that posted a 2-14 record last season.

There’s not said to be a quarterback controversy brewing but I am sure that Jimmy Clausen knows that if he’s not able to prove himself worthy of the starting position then for all sense and purpose he will be spending the greater part of the season holding a clip board , showing his support for his teammates and Cam Newton , as the latter is given his baptism of fire within the NFL . The player has a great deal to prove not just to the fans in general but also to himself because if he fails to any signs of maturity and ability to play within the NFL then much of that perceived hype about him will be considered to be just that ………. nothing but hype !

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Picture gallery for your perusal and by clicking on an individual frame you can entity in its original formatted size .

It took four months of mayhem , madness for the NFL and union to reach an accord . Over the next 72 hours the events that will take place will make the league’s deliberations seem somewhat miniscule by comparison . Was it really all said to be worth it in the end ? The NFL at this juncture should be careful what it actually wished for because if this is what they had to do to reach a peaceful accord I would hate to think what they may well seek to do when they realize that their own perception of tranquility was nothing but a fairy tale !

With all of the upheaval that will now undoubtedly take place with the teams around the NFL how do you think that things will pan out for the franchises as they embark on the upcoming season ? Simply chime in with a comment .

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth catches a pass during warmups before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …..

(2) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 21: Santonio Holmes (10) of the New York Jets scores a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the third quarter of their game on November 21, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) …..

(3) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Washington Redskins passes the ball against the New York Giants apply pressure during their game on December 5, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jersey. According to reports July 27, 2011, there is an preliminary agreement in place for the Washington Redskins to trade McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …….

(4) Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after a score in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. According to reports July 28, 2011, Hasselbeck reached an agreement with the Titans for a multiyear contract. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) ……

(5) In this Sept. 2, 2010 file photo, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson throws a pass during an NFL pre-season football game against the Denver Broncos in Minneapolis. A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday, July 26, 2011, that Jackson has agreed to terms with the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to sign a contract Friday. AP Photo/Andy King …….

(6) FILE – This Sept. 19, 2010, file photo shows Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (21) at an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif. The challenge: taking more than 1,000 players and sorting them onto 32 rosters , working out contracts that must be signed and then processed by the league office , with every deal from rookies to free agents fitting under the salary cap and falling within the other boundaries of the new, still-being-understood labor agreement _ and getting all this done in time for the start of the preseason , preferably by the start of training camp. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma …. ………

(7) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2010, file photo, Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning, left, talks with then-offensive coordinator Tom Moore during practice in Davie, Fla.,. The Jets have hired Moore as a consultant, according to a person familiar with the situation. Moore, credited for helping Manning develop into a four-time NFL MVP, will work during the season from his home in South Carolina, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced the hiring. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File …….

(8) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: Cam Newton receives a hug from his mother Jackie on stage after he was round selected #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(9) Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney (left) is seen here with team owner Jerry Richardson and team president Danny Morrison , far right . AP Photo /Chuck Barton …..

(10) Former San Diego Chargers’ assistant Ron Rivera is introduced to the convened press as the Carolina Panthers new head coach by team owner Jerry Richardson . Charlotte Observer/ Jeff Shiner …..

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NFL News

Top NFL free agents thought to be amongst the most desired coming to the market

NFL transactions

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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NFL news

It’s Never Too Late ……………

It’s Never Too Late ……..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arizona Cardinals news

Pop Goes The Weasel ……………..

Pop Goes The Weasel …..

Well it is now being widely reported that the NFL in conjunction with the NFLPA have gotten an accord wherein an agreement has been reached between the two sides. From what I’ve been led to believe it will be that the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf the team owners have suddenly had their wits about them. It took the two sides just over 100 days to suddenly realize that neither side can do without the other . At the same time I do believe that Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan simply made both sides an offer that neither could refuse ! Either they reached a compromise or Boylan would render a decision that would most certainly have some serious repercussions for both sides.

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If the teams now get back to full practice mode with them all returning to their training facilities then quite possibly a preseason and some form of a regular season will proceed as planned . From my own perspective I think it is more liable that we will see a preseason of 2 games with regular season of 16 games as planned, kicking off on time on the 8th September . As to what this says about the NFL and in particular for the players of the NFLPA , it may well all come down to wanting to save face rather than being forced into a situation where they may have to come off on the wrong side of a legal verdict .

DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA Executive Director now knows that he and his members face something of an uphill battle in assuring the player representatives that this is now all in their best interest. Other the flip side of this coin , Goodell’s legacy may well appear to be in tact knowing that he dodged a bullet . And for the fans of the NFL well let’s just say that there are some amongst us who feel that it’s great that the league will be back in action . I simply hope that the news that is now coming down the pike concerning the NFL has some real veracity to it and that the new CBA is equitable and amenable to all of the parties concerned !

If the actions of the NFL doesn’t have a bearing on the NBA and their own situation then quite possibly we could very well see the two sides there reach some sort of a compromise. But herein lies the caveat , NBA Commissioner David Stern as the league’s highest ranking official has ruled the NBA as if it were his own personal fiefdom . Stern’s autocratic rule would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud of their own accomplishments and achievements. In the case of David Stern he now appears to be fighting his toughest battle yet . The NBPA in all likelihood will most certainly be against making any concessions that has them appearing weak and at the same they are not prepared to lessen their grip on the league revenues which sees them receiving a 53/47 split of the $3.95 billion that comes into the league’s coffers each season .

One wonders how it is that repeatedly when such instances arise in the wake of a hierarchy induced stoppage how it is that no foresight is shown wherein a collective bargaining agreement that the two sides prior to that expiration the two sides don’t start negotiating in advance ? That was most certainly the case with the NFL and also once again here with the NBA ! It would appear reasonable to suggest that they ought to have done that in the first place ____ starting off in good faith rather than the intense , sometimes rather animated and infantile exchanges that are said to have taken place during these negotiations between the NFL , NFLPA and now between the NBA and NBPA. Kind of makes one wonder who actually is the child here and who if anything is the adult overseeing this all ? It may well be that things will indeed have to take a real turn for the worse before any semblance of common sense is actually shown. I’m sure that Stern or his union counterpart Billy Hunter surely are not willing to have the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) or the US Federal Court intervene in this matter because should that occur then no party comes out in the end looking like a winner under any circumstance.

Now there’s a great deal to be said about the utter stupidity that has shown by the team owners , league hierarchy and in particular the general managers of the teams in the NBA . And now with a number of players now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere knowing that while a lockout remains in force they know that they are not covered in terms of insurance coverage during a league enforced lockout. Salaries , well it’s obvious that those won’t be paid at all so for the players who choose to play in Europe or elsewhere so that they can then earn a sizable sum in the midst of the stoppage and at the same time remain relatively fit is of benefit to themselves and their financial well being .

I find it somewhat naive of the fans are of the opinion feel that the league isn’t losing money but then again it all boils down the league showing very little by the way of transparency . They certainly are averse to opening their books for public scrutiny and it certainly has made David Stern look the complete idiot , when he , himself has sold the golden goose as a brand that simply was all in good standing. In the last two years Stern has made sure that teams around the league have been the financial recipients of over $600 million in loans , all of which the commissioner stated wasn’t to be viewed as a bailout . Somehow in the midst of this all David Stern is now finding out that all that glitters simply isn’t gold . Admittedly the ratings for this past season’s NBA Finals were a bonanza for ABC but the attendance for scheduled regular season games around the league saw a marked decline . Much of which has led to part of the financial instability for a number of teams. Owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Dan Gilbert , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber vastly overpaid for the respective franchises purchased but herein lies the caveat as in the case of Gilbert he’s amongst a number of team owners who are now cash strapped in more ways than they would actually care to admit . Nowhere is this more self evident than in the case of the Sacramento Kings and the ownership group led by Joe and Gavin_Maloof as they’ve simply looked to seek financial aid courtesy of the league hierarchy and advantageous tax exemptions from the city of Sacramento .

The plight of the Kings is by no means clear albeit that they will remain in Sacramento for one more year . Do not be surprised were the Maloofs to take off like thieves into the night with their bags packed and the city of Sacramento is left without an NBA franchise . One simply has to remember what took place with the Seattle Supersonics and their move from that city to Oklahoma City and the lies that permeated through the decision to move all orchestrated by David Stern and the Thunder ownership group led by Clay Bennett . Money may well have exchanged hands to finally facilitate the move but the city (Seattle) remains without a franchise and that simple feeling that they had been duped all along by the NBA . That once again is liable to happen with the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings when it’s all said and done .

Falling attendances in an economic downturn is one thing but when the teams choose not to rein in their expenses and Stern seems to be adverse to actually initiating a hard salary cap rather than insisting that a soft cap now works for the teams. This has proven to be misplaced and even more so given the fact the commissioner has admitted that teams are hemorrhaging red ink like a corpse exsanguinate blood after receiving a nasty abdomen wound from a shotgun. I personally believe that the league hierarchy , the general managers and owners around the NBA have simply lost touched with reality . And the union and its executive committee are not that far behind in this whole asinine charade as they each look to one up each other. The league hierarchy wants to hold on to what little power it still has whereas the union simply wants the status quo to remain as is or perhaps get an even slightly larger slice of that pie.

This stoppage may well be the wake up call that this image enriched league needs to bring it back to reality. And the case can be made that much of this was simply brought about by the ambition of David Stern as he viewed that the best way to market the league was through its stars rather than the marketing of the teams . This scenario worked well when the league was in need of real vibrancy and they found it in a marketing and basketball phenom in Michael Jordan . And the rest as we say is history as the league and Jordan had some rich and wonderful years that have benefited both financially beyond their wildest dreams. Since the six time championship winning player retired from the game it has to be said that the NBA hit some lean years from a fan and attendance standpoint. Competitively the NBA is has had its ups and downs but the teams we expect to see make the NBA playoffs usually do , with there being one or two surprises along the way.

As I have alluded to earlier the league hierarchy simply are averse to any real transparency as to the their business practices and how they actually conduct their operations . The asinine situation remains is the very fact that there are fans out there who simply believe that the league can’t hit upon hard times. If they believe that to be so then simply look at the problems we now see befalling such teams as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are not mere hiccups . If only these fans would care to look beyond what takes place on the field of play and look to what is actually going on in the boardrooms of the teams then they would actually understand what is happening. Many of the thought processes I’ve heard _____ “we have a horrible owner and he needs to sell the team then we’d be much better off “ .

Given the situation with the economy and the asinine belief of some fans that billionaires such as Mark Cuban , Larry Ellison , Carlos Slim Helu and Eli Broad would even be interested in overpaying for a franchise that simply has seen its profits decline and many of its streams begin to dry up with the seller seemingly seeking prices that are inflated and not based on being anywhere near being realistic . Buyers simply don’t buy a sports’ franchise on a whim, they look to make sure that the purchase will be of benefit to them and that there is most certainly a chance of success before they would even consider plowing their money into such a venture . But then again that may not have been the case with the purchase made by Frank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the sheer ineptitude shown by the team owners and baseball hierarchy in approving the deal to begin with for the sale of the team. Most certainly due diligence can’t have been used by the league hierarchy and anyone who simply believes that to have been the case has to be an idiot to begin with ! This very same hierarchy and owners voted against McCourt when he originally sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox but a mere three years later they saw fit to vote him in amongst the team owners’ fraternity by approving his purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Somehow words escape me as to the mere ineptitude that has been shown by Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and in fact the team owners of Major League Baseball !

Dan Gilbert though a multi millionaire is now finding out the hard way having seen the marked decline in the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers but at the same time he’s having to pay down the principal and interest having purchased the team by way of a loan from a major financial institution. This could very well be one of the numerous reasons why we are now seeing a number of owners beginning to voice their disapproval with the way that Stern has handled the matter but somehow they remain steadfast in their support of the commissioner and league hierarchy for now. Long time owners having bought their teams relatively cheap simply haven’t that much to worry about in large part but there are those recently new team owners that have spent hundreds of millions in their purchase that have yet to see anything tangible from that purchase by way of success or in the form of a profitability standpoint.

So apparently as one door closes another is still left ajar as the NBA continues with its own form of infighting . It will be interesting to see what now permeates between the two sides and how each looks to make their presentation of their case for the public’s consumption. I doubt that the vast majority of the league’s fans actually favor one side or another but they would simply be rather content to see both sides reach an agreement rather than what could turn out to be a rather bitter dispute between the two parties . It’s bad enough that the public has to endure that same sort of stupidity with the members of the House and Senate up on Capitol Hill without it now having to be shown of all places within the domain of big time professional sports . But this simply has become a microcosm of our society and when greed rather than common sense gets in the way of a real issue then for all sense and purpose stupidity sets in and ‘pop goes the weasel ‘.

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If the related news is said to be true are you happy that the NFL will be back in full swing with a scheduled formatted season of games to be played ? And what are your own thoughts on the NBA’s self imposed lockout and how do you see that scenario ending ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support .

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

NB : At the time of writing this piece the news concerning an agreement having been reached between the NFL and NFLPA _ no formal statement had yet to be issued , so as of now things still remain as they are .

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(1) Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert talks with the media at a press availability at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …..

(2) Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., talks about his company during an interview Monday, May 8, 2000, in Dallas. Ellison, who unveiled a $199 Internet machine before an audience of students at a performing arts high school, said Oracle will donate more than 1,100 of the machines to 23 Dallas schools. The machine, which lacks a hard drive, is targeted at the education and consumer markets. Ellison the founder of Oracle is an ardent basketball fan who lost out in trying to acquire the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. AP Photo/Tim Sharp ……

(3) Billionaire real estate mogul and philanthropist Eli Broad . Courtesy of Forbes Magazine / Joe Puglise @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(4) David Stern (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder principal managing partner Clay Bennett are seen here at an NBA game in Oklahoma City , OK. AP Photo / Gabriel Barnes …….

(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(6) (L-R) Brothers George Maloof, Gavin Maloof and Joe Maloof watch a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95 . Getty Images North America /Ethan Miller ……

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Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

If there’s something troubling to me at present it has been the NFL lockout and what we’re now seeing is the very same prescribed idiocy from the NBA hierarchy and owners , general managers and the NBPA . I’ve said all along that I felt that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t the wisest of individuals in terms of being the leading official of a governing professional sport’s body . Whereas , his NBA counterpart David Stern rules with a rod of iron and an autocratic rule that would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud . It has been this asinine notion of that both hierarchies that they can simply plead poverty without showing any signs of clear transparency when it comes to conducting their business practices . If there’s one thing that I believe that the fans need to learn is that neither party in the case of the NFL owners and the NBA owners can’t be trusted to tell the truth !

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The NFL stoppage is now well into its third month and the two sides appear to be no closer in reaching an accord and that is in spite of the joint statement forthcoming from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . The charade has simply become a complete pissing contest as each side looks to outdo each other rather than simply showing some common sense . And the same thing now appears to be happening as the NBA and union are on a path of actual self destruction . Billy Hunter the union executive director and Derek Fisher the NBPA president and the executive committee have stood steadfast in the belief that the league have been less than truthful as to the league’s financial problems . David Stern has stated that the league is on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2010. And while I do not dispute that figure what I do dispute is the mere fact that the owners felt that they could simply get by on being gregarious in their spending as they chased after success. The league has a soft salary cap of $57 million but here lies the sheer stupidity of the teams’ actions and that of the general managers as they sought to simply go way beyond that limit (2010-11 team salaries ) . [( 2009-10 NBA team salaries ) ]

Now as the drama plays itself out for all to see I seriously doubt that the fans really can really align themselves with either party in the ongoing negotiations with the NBA , NFL and the respective unions that they are currently dealing with.

This upcoming NFL season should there be one , will prove to be very interesting with Jim Harbaugh and John Fox now taking over the helm of the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos . Both teams had their highs and lows in terms of last season and their respective records within the AFC West and NFC West left a great deal to be desired by their fans. So much so that if anything their schedules and play may well be met with some optimism as well as a sense pragmatism. Inconsistency and an overall lack of accountability and leadership led to both teams’ failings and misfires throughout much of their respective seasons .

Josh McDaniels as Fox’s predecessor simply couldn’t get the Broncos play with any passion and much of that had to do with the incompetency shown by the team over the coach’s tenure. And it should not come as a surprise that the McDaniels was abruptly fired by team owner Pat Bowlen , with the owner having to endure the coach’s lies and his complicity in an episode that simply dragged the Broncos’ season into further despair. Needless to say that the fans were happy with the coach’s firing and John Elway now coming on board as a consultant with the organization as the team’s de-facto general manager . The team with Tim Tebow now on board as its quarterback will certainly have a great deal to live up as they seek to make their presence felt within the league .

In light of the problems had by the Broncos over last season one now has to ask what John Fox can simply do to make this team better ? Certainly with the team’s draft choices from this NFL Draft and that of past seasons one can see that Fox has a stern task ahead of him . If nothing else if Tebow is now viewed as the starting quarterback then his leadership skills and play will most certainly have to come to the fore if the Denver Broncos are to have any chance of having a successful season at all this year.

I am not about to suggest that the Broncos are capable of winning the AFC West but I do certainly feel that they are good enough perhaps make some noise within a division where consistency has always been a problem for the teams there. The Oakland Raiders with new coach Hu Jackson in tow will always be looking over his shoulder as the front office and team owner Al Davis will continue to scrutinize his every move and decision made . This team has become a conundrum and enigma all rolled into one as you never simply know what to expect from this team from one moment to the next . With the talent on show with the Raiders you simply have to believe that there has to be a turnaround sooner or later . The revolving door mentality that seems to have been in place for the Raiders hasn’t bared fruit for the organization . Since the departure of Jon Gruden you have only but to look at the problems that seem to have manifested themselves for the Oakland Raiders . One would have to be in complete denial to think otherwise , as the organization has simply struggled to make their presence felt . I am sure that the fans believe that with Hu Jackson having succeeded Tom Cable they can only make great strides this upcoming season . I am of the opinion that the team will finally begin to show the signs that we saw throughout much of last season as the team at times showed their offensive capabilities . From a defensive standpoint the struggles were there for all to see .

If there’s one team in the AFC that I continue to be beguiled by then it has to be the Baltimore Ravens ! When this team is at its very best I do believe that they’re capable of being and competing amongst the very best in the NFL . In Joe Flacco they have a quarterback who is amongst the very best amongst at the position in the league and a player whose confidence continues to grow each season . But to solely think it has been Flacco that has been the main reason for the turnaround and consistency shown by the Ravens then one ought to look at the coaching qualities of John Harbaugh , his coaching staff and in particular the play of ageless wonders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed .

The Ravens this past postseason wilted when it mattered most but that seemingly came down to the fact that they were complacent . The loss if anything indicated that while they appear to be on the right path the Ravens are still one or two players away from being a truly perennial contender for the Superbowl . The draft and the continued prowess shown in making the prudent choices that have been of benefit to the organization surely will make them quite possibly a presumptive favorite the upcoming Superbowl to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indiana , Indianapolis . I know that amongst some circles teams such as the New England Patriots , New York Jets , Indianapolis Colts , San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers have to be considered the preeminent contenders within the AFC .

This upcoming season may well tell us a great deal about the direction that this team could very well be heading should there be a schedule to be played. One hundred and six days in and with neither side actually inching towards seeking a quick resolution to this ongoing debacle I for one have become completely resolved to the fact that the season could very well be a shortened one , with there being the usual postseason schedule remaining in tact. The fans are annoyed with the usual statements coming from the respective hierarchies with little evidence to be shown that either side is actually prepared to reach an accord . Simply put , whether or not there is any football to be had then in large part the fans will no longer care either way , as they’ve lost complete faith with the NFL hierarchy and the union.

In the runup to this season’s All Star Game I am beginning to think the teams in with their divisional titles are now focusing on positioning themselves that final onslaught over the ensuing months . Certainly once the events of the All Star Weekend are over and done with , we will see those division leaders simply look to separate themselves from their rivals and those to be in with a chance of attaining a wildcard berth .

I certainly don’t believe that speculating beyond the statements made thus far it’s worthwhile trying to disseminate the information that is now out there to be surveyed . We know the teams are giving it their all with players all seeking to place themselves in a position for the game’s individual awards . As to the postseason itself there’s still a great deal of baseball to be played and it will be interesting to see how things play out over the regular season we before we can begin to think about baseball’s showcase event.

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What points raised within this piece have been of interest to you ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

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(1) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban walks out of the NBA owners meeting without commenting to waiting media, in Dallas on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(2) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter is seen here alongside Commissioner David Stern . AP Photo/ Rafael Montalvez ….

(3) In this undated photo released by the United States District Court , U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan poses for a photograph. Critical thinking and an ability to relate to others plays a big role in the courtroom for Boylan, who is no doubt having those skills tested as he tries to diffuse the tension in the NFL lockout, no more than 100 days long. AP Photo/United States District Court ……

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …….

(5) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 20: NFL player Tim Tebow speaks onstage at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at The Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011 in Atlanta City. The show airs on GMC on Sunday April 24th 2011. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA ……

(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 6-0 at the half. Larry French / Getty Images North America …..

(7) Ray Lewis (52) of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6 . Getty Images North America / Larry French ….

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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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The More You Know ……….. In Reality It’s The Less You Know

The More You Know ……….. In Reality It’s The Less You Know

As the NFL lockout looks as if it’s running its prolonged course I find it all the laughable when I hear fans stipulate that there’s nothing that’ll be lost for some of the teams from a financial and economic standpoint. Well as things now progress we’re now learning that a number of teams are gravely struggling to even sell preseason game tickets much less season tickets for the upcoming season . Amongst the teams looking to stave off the problems now besetting them are the Oakland Raiders . In light of the fact that during the 2010 season the Raiders in terms of their attendance for their home games were amongst the lowest in the NFL . Team owner Al Davis as an added incentive to his staff at all levels within the organization has requested that they each try sell no less than 10% of their salary in terms of ticket sales . This is something that he’s not only asking of the sales staff but all employees within the Raiders’ organization. If the front office is on board in terms of this then it can only benefit the Raiders’ organization as a whole .

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Slide show for your perusal .

There’s a feeling that as the lockout shows no signs of an accord being met between the parties concerned in terms of the damage done to the NFL’s image is now beyond irreparable . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team owners now find themselves trying to how best spin this situation wherein in order the premise of the situation is in their favor.
The fans however don’t actually see it that way and if anything they do feel alienated by this whole situation. The NFLPA for its part along with its members are looking to challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status within the Federal Court System . Signees to this civil suit are some of the most prominent players in the NFL , each are Superbowl winning quarterbacks Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Peyton Manning . The trial itself is still ongoing and it looks as if it will be a while before the judge renders a verdict in this particular case.

We all can look back on the fact that the 2010 season was quite an enthralling one with the Superbowl itself turning out to be quite an exciting spectacle with the Geen Bay Packers finally hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in their defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers . Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers stood tall in the saddle and has pretty much eradicated the memory of Brett Favre amongst the Packers’ fans at Lambeau Field . And given Favre’s antics in the past few years with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings I feel that it’s a great thing that the player has since walked away from the game under his own steam !

In light of Favre’s retirement I must say that in the latter years of his storied career I found the player to be self serving and an ingrate ! If nothing else I have to admit the longer Brett Favre stayed in the game thinking that he could in fact bring a championship to any franchise willing to meet his asking price like a mercenary for hire simply showed what a narcissistic asshole …… Brett Favre had become ! What might be even more comical was the mere fact that the idiot analysts covering the game within ESPN and Fox Sports clung unto Favre’s every word as if he were a deity rendering his thoughts on the NFL and his own aspirations. Statistics asides it’s almost certain that Favre will become a first ballot Hall of Famer having met the criteria for his induction .

I’m not so sure that the Western Conference Finals of the NBA postseason is all that enticing . Granted , we have two offensively minded teams in the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder . Defense seems to have gone out the window as both teams are intent in merely showing us their offensive prowess . In this series we also have two of the most prominent scorers in the game with Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki .

With the series tied at 1-1 , game three’s resumption of this series in Oklahoma City with the Mavericks looking to take the upper hand in the series by taking a 2-1 lead in this best of seven playoff match-up. For Scott Brooks as the coach of the Thunder can ill afford to go down to 2-1 at home in this series knowing full well that they will have dug themselves int a hole. Brooks will have to emphasize to his players that they need to step up their game and be fully aware as to the dangers that this series brings if they continue to remain complacent. Durant in conjunction with Russell Westbrook will have to be weary of what their contributions must be throughout this series . Anything short of their regular season performances and this series will end up being beyond the Thunder’s retrieval .

Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle has in large part instilled a workman like commitment from his players in doing what’s best for the team from a collective standpoint and we’ve seen that in the contributions from a number of players on this roster . Asides from Nowitzki we’ve seen aging veterans Jason Kidd , Jason Terry show their guile . But if anything it has been the play of the bench players such as J J Barea , Tyson Chandler , Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood that have played their part in the Mavericks’ success this season and in the playoffs. Now that the success is now being replicated in this series it augurs well for the Mavericks and their ambition to win their first NBA title .

Mark Cuban as owner of this franchise has long sought to bring success to the organization. Now it may well be finally be within his grasp . The fact that in the organization’s sole appearance in the NBA Finals they came up short to an enlivened Miami Heat team that simply outplayed them in every facet of that particular series . A humbling 4-2 series loss was enough to send the Mavericks packing their bags home and back to the Lone Star State.

I’d like to think that the Dallas Mavericks in their endeavor to make it to the NBA’s showcase event can actually redeem themselves. In the aftermath of that NBA Finals series’ loss I felt that the window of opportunity may well have closed on this organization. But now I know that to be oh so false as the Mavericks have shown me that they finally possess some grit and determination . As this series plays itself out it will be interesting to see how both teams will acquit themselves knowing that there’s a great deal on the line for both of these organizations.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In terms of the NFL’s continued lockout what remedies do you feel would best bring the two sides together in reaching an amicable accord ? And as you observe the NBA Playoff series has there been anything that has come a complete surprise to you as it’s about to reach its latter stages ? Simply chime in with your own thoughts on the points raised within this piece and as always thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal …….

Picture and slide show details below .

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

(2) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 with his family at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL) ….

(3) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre leaves the field after warmups at Ford Field before their their NFL football game against the New York Giants in Detroit, Monday, Dec. 13, 2010. Favre is inactive for the game with the New York Giants, ending his record consecutive starts streak at 297, dating back to 1992. The Giants would defeat the Vikings 24-3 AP Photo/Paul Sancya …..

(4) James Harden (13) of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a shot against Jason Kidd(2) of the Dallas Mavericks in the second half in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 21, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Mavericks would go on to defeat the Thunder 93-87 to take 2-1 lead in the best of seven Western Conference Finals . Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ……

(5) OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 21: (L-R) Jason Terry(31) , Peja Stojakovic (16) , Brendan Haywood(33), Dirk Nowitzki(41) and Jose Juan Barea (11) of the Dallas Mavericks celebrate on the court in the second quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 21, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ………

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For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

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With the NBA postseason set to commence in the second week or third week of April (April 16th), it’s easy to understand why these teams contending for a playoff berth would want to hit form of consistency that sets them on the right track as the playoffs approach . My own thoughts are that the teams looking to make a postseason berth are going to have to raise the level of their game as the playoffs approach.

A work colleague of mine brought up the subject of the NFL labor dispute and the lockout and made the statement that how is that all of a sudden the league now sets to paint the NFLPA in a dark light bearing in mind that they were the ones who sought instigate the lockout because the Executive Committee of the union were unwilling to acquiesce to a number of conditions that league proposed ? With Neil being a labor relation’s lawyer I found it somewhat surprising that he raised that point ! One of the sticking points now appears to be the league’s wish to have a comprehensive drug testing policy as it relates to PED’s and in particular HGH . For some reason I was under the impression that the league already had what they’d deemed to be a comprehensive drug testing policy but obviously it’s no better than the policy that MLB hierarchy has in place . Now if this is one of the real sticking points said to be many that the league and the union are said to be far apart on then it this lockout suddenly becomes not merely about money but a great deal more.

I know that the league (NFL) does test for certain prohibitive substances , namely marijuana , anabolic steroids and certain other illicit opiates but if they weren’t already testing for HGH then this is the question I’ve got to ask what the hell is going on within the NFL and their own credibility as it relates to the use of HGH ? Given the fact that we’ve all seen the dangers of abusing steroids and in particular a number of these opiates how is it that they’ve continued to not address the issue of HGH being used by the players . I know that it’s use has to be closely scrutinized by a medical professional. But herein lies the caveat if it’s only now that the league hierarchy under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to address this issue then clearly there’s something that the NFL and owners weren’t prepared to make public unless they’re prepared to use it as leverage against the union. At the same time in the midst of this all Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams issued a public statement saying that it is his belief that a 2011-12 season will commence on time . Unless Bud Adams is actually fully aware of some upcoming turn of events then clearly the league feels that they now hold the upper hand in any proposed return to the table concerning resolving the labor negotiations.. I’m not so sure that now appears to the case as I do believe that Goodell and the owners have been out-maneuvered by the NFLPA headed by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith .

Courtesy of NFL.com

NFL wants its players tested for human growth hormone

By Steve Wyche of NFL.com

The NFL believes now is the time to include human growth hormone testing in its banned substances policy and is pushing players to add it to a collective bargaining agreement — whenever one is reached.

The NFL and NFL Players Association discussed the policy before the union decertified March 11 and league owners imposed a lockout March 12, but no details were provided regarding where things stood.

News of the league’s insistence on HGH testing being part of the new CBA was first reported Thursday by FoxSports.com.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president of law and labor policy, said Friday that the league has pushed for HGH testing since 2008, but with the opportunity to re-cast terms of a labor deal, it has become a priority. The NFLPA had resisted it in the past because of HGH testing methods and the reliability of results.

Blood testing remains the most reliable means to detect the presence of HGH, and that has been the sticking point — not both sides’ desire for fair play, Birch said.

“In terms of the policy, we’ve always been in lockstep with the players,” Birch said. “It’s an important tool in deterring — that’s maybe the most important part — and detecting those who are using (HGH). It helps the public understand what they are seeing is legitimate and that it’s not the result of artificial means. It’s equally important to players to know that someone hasn’t gained an artificial advantage over them.”

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Click on the link shown to read the article in its entirety.

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At this juncture the whole labor dispute nonsensical and personally with each passing day with the damage being done to the image of both parties , I now feel that the fans couldn’t give a sh_t how things turn out. It’s not as if the league or players have ever had the fans’ best interests at heart any time during their deliberations !

With the trial of Barry Bonds now hitting its stride it’s amazing to see to read or hear about the testimony now be given by the number of witnesses subpoenad to appear at the trial by the prosecution in this case the US Justice Department and the attorneys representing the People of the US. With Jason Giambi having testified that he was a recipient of steroids from Bonds’ former personal trainer Greg Anderson and Bonds’ former mistress Kimberly Bell testifying that in her time spent with the MLB slugger over the course of their relationship the player got considerably bigger. I can only surmise that apart from Bonds’ rigorous training regimen that she was trying to allude to the fact the player was using something illicit to spurt his growth or could it be that she was also taking about the size of his member ? And as absurd as this case has become I do believe that we’re going to hear a great deal more than goes from the sublime to the ridiculous !

The longer this charade goes on as to the money being spent on this case the more I continue to question the asinine stance of the MLB hierarchy under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , in particular the owners within the game , managers and the MLBPA under then Executive Director Donald Fehr who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA . If the NHL and the sport of hockey hasn’t gone through enouhh problems as it is ther Players’ Union hires Fehr to become their Executive Director ? Are they fu_king mad ? The game is still in a financially tenuous position and it’s not as if Gary Bettman as the NHL Commissioner has actually got them now heading in the right direction as of now is it ?

As it now stands the legacy of the game throughout the nineties and into the early part of this decade has been irrevocably damaged and harmed ! With the advent of the regular season about to start as of tomorrow I can’t help but wonder what the teams , owners , union , fans and the game’s hierarchy hope to see when in large part the fans are still being reminded of the inane stupidity of the league hierarchy’s lackadaisical approach to the steroid issue . Bud Selig and his then counterpart Donald Fehr and the union as a whole were complicit in perpetrating this fraud upon the public and wherein the teams and players had a financial windfall. Were this a white collar crime committed I can assure you that the FBI , Justice Department and dare I say it the idiots within both Congress and the Senate would be asking that there be indictments of all of the guilty parties concerned ! But instead those blowholes have remained mind numbingly silent , even with those odious and sleep inducing Congressional hearings that took place and was overseen by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on Energy & Commerce . What was achieved by those hearings dependent upon one’ s views ranged somewhere between the idiotic with the grandstanding by those congressional committee members and the idiotic statements and testimony given by the league hierarchy and the players subpoenad to testify !

The one thing I for one question now is given what we may or may not know to be true is how the public view the records attained by players during the steroid era and how they ought to be viewed by the fans and public in general ? God knows the single season home run record as well as the home run record ought to have an asterisk placed at their side . I don’t state this as a damning indictment of Bonds alone . But I do feel if that he’s now to be viewed as the face of the steroid era along with Jose Canseco and several other players whom we all know to be associated with the illicit use of steroids amongst other substances banned by the game then we also ought to question silence maintained by players such as Derek Jeter , Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine who’ve often been viewed as what’s right within the game but with their avowed silence on the issue , has to have the fans thinking up to a point whether or not they condoned the actions by their fellow players ? I mean even the most menial and lowly of the low within the union (MLBPA) as well as the marquee names have profited greatly from the era having seen their salaries rise not merely based on potential alone but from the stats that were achieved during the era . And with the idiot general managers then willing to pay exorbitant salaries to players while being lassoed in by uber-agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem and Leigh Steinberg making the players immeasurably wealthy beyond their wildest dreams . It now begs the question what credibility does the game of baseball really have as to its legitimacy in being viewed as the nation’s favorite pastime as well as the integrity of its players , managers and the league hierarchy itself ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the NFL labor dispute continues to meander along whatever route it presumably takes how do you as such view the situation as a discerning fan of the game ? Do you also feel that the league’s stance with regard to them wanting to instigate a test for HGH via blood testing is the proactive thing to do by the NFL ? Or do you feel that a the federal laws in place as it relates to the use of steroids is enough of a deterrent to the players as a whole ? And what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the recently commenced federal trial of former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds ? Simply leave a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter as you’d deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalists Nnamdi Asomugha (R) of the Oakland Raiders and Israel Idonije (2ndR) of the Chicago Bears pose with the Peyton family, Connie Payton (2ndL), wife of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, and her children Brittney (3rdL), Jarrett (3rdR) and Adolpho Birch (L) during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America Inc / Doug Pensinger ……..

(2) Birch (center) seen here with officials of the NFL and local dignitaries in Arlington , Texas prior to this past season’s Superbowl played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers . AP Photo Chris Morgan ………

(3) DeMaurice Smith (R), NFLPA executive director, arrives with NFL Players Association Spokesman George Atallah (L) and Kansas City Chiefs player Brian Waters (C) for an extra day of negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners during a 24 hour extension in negotiations. Brian Smialowski / Getty Images North America …..

(4) Former TN. Govenor Phil Bredesen, Honoree/Owner NFL TN. Titans Bud Adams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and current TN. Governor Bill Haslam present Bud Adams with the “Lifetime Humanitarian Award” at the 2011 T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala at the Hutton Hotel on March 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rick Diamond / Getty Images ……

(5) Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court at the end of the day on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images ……..

(6) Major League Baseball player Jason Giambi leaves federal court after testifying during Barry Bonds’ perjury trial on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images North America ….

(7) Kimberly Bell the former mistress of Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the US Federal Courthouse in San Francisco , California, having given her testimony in the player’s obstruction of Justice and perjury trial . AP Photo / Phil Montgomery …

(8) Former Major League All Star Jose Canseco known steroid user whose revelations of widespread steroid and PED use amongst his peers in the league led to widespread outrage along with the watered down Mitchell Report and MLB ‘s inane drug policy . AP/Reuters / Keith Pettigrew ……….

(9) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (L) is pictured alongside then Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Donald Fehr during testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime . Andy Krupp /Reuters ……

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Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Bubba Sparxxx ………………………….”Ugly ” .

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Dre Dre ……. feat’g ……… Snoop Dogg …………………… ” Let Me Ride ”

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TI ………… feat’g ………. Christina Aguilera ……….” Castle Walls ”

Could this better describe the situation now facing both the MLB and NFL and their respective images as they each perceive it to be ?
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