So you think you know sports ?

So you think you know sports ?


Well, with the Superbowl slowly approaching and the two participants from the AFC and NFC now in preparation for the NFL’s showcase event. Away from these preparations , we have a litany of news surfacing concerning a number of the league’s franchises. Outside , what appears to be an idiotic remark by Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton interjecting the issue race into the mix, with his stating being a ‘ black quarterback’ in the NFL makes him a target for criticism. I beg to differ Cam, what will make you a target for criticism for the NFL and analysts in general , would be the issue of the Panthers performing poorly and the team not winning. The fact of the matter has been , the Carolina Panthers reeled off fourteen consecutive wins during the regular season , with the team’s only loss coming at the hands of their divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons.

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Cam Newton for his part through much of the season played at a consistently high level and had several career firsts during the season as well as career records . Head coach Ron Rivera has to be entirely happy with what he saw from his team as they ended the regular season posting a 15-1 record, best in the NFL. Carolina’s opponent for the Superbowl game on the 7th February will be the Denver Broncos , who will be led by their veteran quarterback Peyton Manning. For those questioning Manning’s ability this season , they should consider the fact for much of the year the player was playing injured , something his critics obviously overlooked with their rather asinine prognostication and claiming Manning player was past his prime and his playing days were in fact over. Peyton Manning simply does what he does best and that is to answer those critics by leading the team into the postseason and unto another Superbowl appearance, the third of his career and the second for the Broncos in the last five seasons .

This game is the match-up the fans and analysts undoubtedly wanted to see, with the two best teams in the league vying for the Lombardi Trophy. Carolina are likely to be viewed as slight favorites in the game by the odds-makers in Las Vegas. Gambling on the’ big game’ should run into several hundred million dollars , if not at least one billion or more.

The fiftieth edition of the Superbowl and this is the game the NFL wants to be seen as the event which takes them into the latter half of the decade , with the fans expecting a great deal more. The league and its’ major corporate sponsors will be looking to this game to be a tremendous success competitively and from a commercial standpoint.

The NFL hierarchy has granted permission to the St Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers to relocate to the greater Los Angeles area. Rams’ owner , billionaire real estate and sports’ mogul Stanley Kroenke having bought a vast track of real estate in the town of Industry , California , will now be looking to both municipalities , Industry and the city of Los Angeles to finance a stadium, which will house a proposed new venue for the NFL franchise . While fans of the Rams rejoice about the return of the NFL to the city of Los Angeles , I seriously doubt they are intelligent enough to realize that ramifications involved , both cities proposing the use of taxpayers’ funds for the building of a new stadium for a billionaire who is among the four hundred richest people in America as well as being among the list of billionaires with a net worth exceeding $5 billion . The cities of Industry and Los Angeles still have their fiscal budgetary woes and the league hierarchy likely pressing both cities to facilitate their financing of a new stadium for the St Louis Rams. Stanley Kroenke has not been totally upfront on his proposals , other than to state stadium and the surrounding area will see an aesthetic use of the land with a mixture of commercial and residential use surrounding the $1 billion stadium.

The Spanos family, owners of the San Diego Chargers have not stated categorically, they will relocate the Chargers’ franchise, but all signs seems to be the pointing to the fact , with their negotiations with the city of San Diego at an impasse , their only alternative would be the move to Los Angeles.

The Oakland Raiders after another unfulfilling season in the league , have now sought to make themselves part of the NFL news’ cycle , with front office having met with officials from the city of Las Vegas to discuss their moving the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas. Over the past two-and-a-half decades the Raiders have long felt the city of Los Angeles has been theirs by territorial right, albeit the franchise has remained noncompetitive since 2004 and have not made a postseason appearance since their loss in the Superbowl to the Tamp Bay Buccaneers . In the ensuing years the Raiders have been a joke and through a string of head coaches since Bill Callahan took the team to their last Superbowl appearance.

Mark Davis as the owner of the Oakland Raiders has remained impervious to the criticism leveled at him by the fans and analysts alike and with each passing season of abject failure , there appears to be no real signs of improvement from any member of the team. Derek Carr was seen as something of a savior for the franchise , but in reality , he cannot do it all by himself and as a quarterback , as he has yet to attain the leadership skills sought to lead the Raiders where they need to be. Carr and the Oakland Raiders were not competitive enough to be viewed as a significant contender within the AFC West or AFC throughout much of this past season. Davis’ reasons for wanting to relocate the Raiders stems from greed and the fact the league hierarchy under Roger Goodell , have never looked favorably on his wish to have the sole territorial rights for the greater Los Angeles area , going unchallenged as the sole NFL franchise within Los Angeles. The NFL would have to grant their blessing for a proposed move by the Oakland Raiders and that is unlikely to happen in time for the upcoming 2016-17 season and so in all likelihood, such a move might not take place for at least another two years .

As baseball enters its silly off-season of movers and shakers among the executives , owners and agents negotiating contracts for free agents and players in arbitration , an interesting morsel of baseball historical news was revealed . Trades and free agent acquisitions have taken place at a fairly rapid pace , with several players signing lucrative deals during this off-season. Yet I believe the biggest news to hit the cycle to hit the world of baseball was the announcement that Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza were to be the two players inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame for the class of 2016. Both players I believe were thoroughly deserving of this illustrious privilege , the highest honor possible for a player outside their winning a World Series’ ring. Future Hall of Fame eligible players for 2017 and 2018 are those who have met the eligibility requirements or those from the past, who will be appearing on ballot as a repeat eligible player .

With each passing year baseball seems to find itself dealing with some form of controversy or this never-ending idiocy of either the MLB hierarchy dumb-founded fans talking about Major League Baseball expansion. Were it not for the fact the hierarchy continues to be so damn clueless , along with the vast majority of the game’s fans and their not realizing the vast majority of the teams are barely financially viable , but yet the talk of expansion continues to raise its ugly head. For the Tampa Bay Rays having seen their hopes dashed repeatedly for a chance to build a new stadium within the city of St Petersburg or the greater Tampa area , as the franchise now appears to be on the verge of leaving the state altogether. Clearly the powers that be , among the civic dignitaries for cities of St Petersburg and Tampa cannot justify or explain to their residents, a thoroughly good reason why public funding should be used to build a stadium for a franchise whose attendance levels have continued to sit among the bottom half of baseball’s thirty teams.

At no time during the Rays’ two decade plus existence has the franchise ever seen those figures be ranked among the top-ten clubs within baseball’s attendance levels . The game is barely viable as a sport during the regular season for the two professional teams within the state of Florida , with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins struggling to remain competitive as well as seeing an upswing in attendance. The game of baseball is barely viable as a sport during the regular season for the two professional teams within the state of Florida , with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins struggling to remain competitive as well as seeing an upswing in attendance.

Baseball only remains relevant within the state of Florida during the Spring Training schedule , because of the abundance of teams who make use of the state for their Spring Training habitat and schedule.

So as the NBA season meanders along we are beginning to see the continued mediocrity of the teams , who are simply fighting to play themselves into contention for a Draft Lottery pick. The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers continue to vie for the worst record in the entire league and with good reason, given the mediocrity seen with their continued play. The Eastern Conference remains abundant with its ineptitude and far be it for me to suggest , but anyone who still believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are even remotely capable beating the top five teams in the West Conference over a seven-game series , then those fans of the Cavaliers had better think long and hard as to how good they believe Cleveland to be.

LeBron James might not have played a part in David Blatt’s firing, but after it was revealed his relationship with Blatt’s successor Tyronn Lue went beyond a head coach , player relationship , one has to wonder what were the behind the scene maneuvers which led to David Blatt’s downfall and his firing by GM David Griffin . The Cleveland Cavaliers will be back on court when they take on the Detroit Pistons on Friday evening , 29th January , 2016.

I have never been convinced the NBA has ever sought to be truly tough on their players, when it comes to reprehensible behavior ! Granted, David Stern might well point to the fact , Latrell Sprewell was fined and suspended for his now well chronicled altercation with P J Carlessimo and then we have the idiocy of Gilbert Arenas and his former teammate Javaris Crittenton trying to prove their manhood , by drawing their guns in the locker rooms of the Washington Wizards as a way of resolving an argument over a gambling debt. Suffice to say beyond that idiocy , we also have to deal with the widespread homophobia and misogyny constantly at play within the NBA . Need we forget also, the league hierarchy’s poor response to Donald Sterling’s ignorant racial rants which took time for the league to deal with in a timely manner. What else would you expect of a hierarchy ran by a group of predominantly aging Caucasian males who preside over the upper echelons of the NBA ?

There are teams we know in the NBA who are seen as perennial contenders within this league and among them one might consider the Los Angeles Clippers to be among the elite teams . However, in light of the news Blake Griffin will be missing from the team’s lineup for the next five weeks , one has to wonder what the player was thinking when he got into an altercation with Mathias Testa , an equipment manager with the Clippers’ organization. Griffin has since issued an apology on Twitter apologizing to his fans and the Los Angeles Clippers for his conduct. This is not the first time Griffin’s temper has gotten the better of him and the player’s lack of maturity must now come into question and what his loss may well mean to the team in the coming weeks.

Doc Rivers , as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers appears to be more concerned with the loss of the player . rather than Griffin’s conduct and the fact neither he, the Clippers or the league have seen fit to take action against the player. What this suggests about the NBA and perhaps the Clippers to lesser extent , is the feeling unless a player has committed and charged with a a felony , then he should be treated with ‘kid gloves’ and the presumption of innocence. However, when one takes into account a repeat offender as is the case with Blake Griffin, then you have consider the hypocrisy of the league and the Los Angeles Clippers at this juncture.

With the All Star Game a little over two weeks away it will be interesting to see how the teams position themselves for the second half of the season and their continued ambitions over the remainder of the schedule.

With the first Grand Slam Tournament of ATP Tour and WTA entering its final phase it has been interesting to note the speed with which the ATP hierarchy has shrugged off the claims of their being widespread gambling within the world of Men’s Tennis and that certain players had been paid to “ throw matches” . In a report actually commissioned by Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) which governs the men’s sport , they went on to state that the evidence was inconclusive but they would take it under advisement pending a meeting of their Executive Committee before issuing a formal statement. The fact that sixteen of the world’s top fifty players were named in this report, should be a cause for concern, not only among the fans of the game but also for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) but also the IOC (International Olympic Committee) .

Novak Djokovic the world number one among the Men’s Rankings has seen his name associated with this report and the player has acknowledged the fact that early in his career he had been approached to throw a game , which in the end he refused to do.

The Australian Open has always been the first official Grand Slam Tournament on the tennis schedule for the game’s calendar year. Many of the world’s top-ranked men and women will be competing at the event in Melbourne , Australia , with the Men’s Finals taking place on Sunday and the Women’s Finals on Saturday afternoon. This two-week event takes its toll on the players both mentally and physically because of the humidity and heat which remains constant throughout the tournament . Serena Williams will be looking to make a successful start to the season as she once again looks to possibly rewrite tennis history.

Serbian. Novak Djokovic a five-time champion at the Australian Open will simply be looking to solidify his position atop of the Men’s Rankings and win his sixth title at this particular event. The story itself concerning gambling within the sport of tennis is nothing new , but what might be considered unnerving has been the fact the ATP hierarchy has not taken the claims of the investigation seriously, albeit , in the past , at least three players within the rankings have either been fined or suspended after allegations were proven that they had thrown matches for financial gain , to the benefit of the illegal bookmakers bribing the players in the match fixing.

Tennis alongside , professional soccer on the continent of Europe, has long been a target of not only organized crime and their involvement with gambling on sports , but there are claims now being made , many of these criminal enterprises and syndicates would like to ultimately make their way across the Atlantic, get a firm foothold in North America and a piece of the multi-billion dollar gambling industry which takes place here, covering the entire gamut of sports at the collegiate and professional level. We know from years past, illegal wagering and the shaving of points , have taken place within the world of College Basketball . Within College Football and the NFL , one could make allegations , there too , such activity might well have been widespread , but as we know , it is not something the NCAA or the NFL would like to discuss openly in public.

From my own perspective with their being so much money awash within the world collegiate sports and at the professional level , claims of match fixing . corruption and bribery will always be common place and no matter how much oversight is said to be taking place , somewhere and somehow those involved will always be able to find a way to elude the very people said to be overseeing the sport. Does anyone truly believe the sport of boxing remains clean and is still above reproach given the lack of oversight by the numerous international governing bodies now presiding over the sport ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on the points raised within this article.

Tophatal ….. 01/29/2016

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Cronyism , alive , kicking and damn well doing well in the NFL and in being part of our daily lives

Cronyism , alive , kicking and damn well-doing, well in the NFL and in being part of our daily lives …

After yesterday’s rather embarrassing display in the NFL , I am beginning to wonder how the league hierarchy and in particular NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will try to suggest that the game itself was a rousing success , as a branding and marketing of the NFL for a global audience . An expectant worldwide audience of over 1.3 billion people were in fact subjected to one of the most lopsided Superbowl games in NFL history , from what were we informed were two of the best teams in the league all season long . Perhaps , we ought to have really read more in the week two preseason meeting between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks , as Russell Wilson and his teammates subjected the Denver Broncos to a 40-10 mauling . Rightly or wrongly, we are told that we should never read much into the preseason and whatever takes place there, as the games are meaningless . If that appears to be the case, then can someone explain to me , how in the most important game of the season , the Superbowl , an experienced quarterback such as Peyton Manning and his accompanying teammates can once again manage to lay a goose egg with another inept performance of such gigantic proportions ?


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Sunday’s thirty-five point margin of victory in Seattle’s staggering pounding of the Denver Broncos , where the Seahawks’ defense simply steamrolled and outplayed the Broncos’ offense , was not the largest winning margin in Superbowl history ,but by all means it may well have been the most embarrassing , when one considers that we were led to believe that the two combatants were the best that the NFL had to offer all season long in 2013. Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, in their 43-8 victory , gained the NFC West based franchise their first Superbowl victory of their existence. For owner , Paul Allen this was indeed vindication in hiring the former USC Trojans’ head coach .

Pete Carroll can now go off into the off-season , knowing that his previous experiences within the NFL can now be cast aside as he joins growing throng of head coaches to have won a Superbowl. For opposing head coach , John Fox , this was once again a season of missed opportunities and questions will certainly abound as to what went wrong, and why things went wrong and so abysmally for the Denver Broncos and their presumed to be, high-octane offense. Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen and the team’s President & Head Football Operations John Elway , have now seen the team falter two years in succession , after a great deal of anticipation in both 2012 and then again this past postseason . It is pretty much safe to say, that the two lead executives will go about reassessing the roster and the team’s needs overall , as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft.

What seems eerily strange throughout this contest between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks , was the very fact that John Fox and his coaching staff appeared be at a loss in how counter Seahawks’ every move . Perhaps , it was me , in expecting far more out of Fox as a head coach , given his pedigree in that role !

For a team that might not have been seen as an odds on favorite over the Seattle Seahawks in this Superbowl title match-up , the Denver Broncos were certainly expected to make this game a competitive one. Instead, it became a lopsided affair, with only one team , seemingly eager to display their all-round talents. Something that was effectively done and continually on display thought the game by the Seattle Seahawks , in particular from a defense that was hell-bent on showing why they were the best defensive unit in the entire NFL over the course of the regular season . Russell Wilson, in only his fifth postseason start , can now be called a Superbowl champion. His teammates, Richard Sherman and Superbowl MVP winner Malcolm Smith , are not likely to rest on their laurels , as they seek to make a successful defense of their title at the start of next season. . Seahawks’ GM John Schneider having succeeded John Idzik , has assembled a roster of veterans , as well as a group of young and versatile players at several positions amongst the team’s depth chart . It bodes well for the Seahawks, if they are able to keep the greater part of the team’s roster, as they seek to embark on the defense of Superbowl 48. Granted, they are likely to lose a number of players through free agency and attrition , but with . the salary cap possibly kept in line with the 2013 figure of $124.8 million. It could well lead to the front office being a significant player during the off-season , in seeking retain players , as well as signing a couple free agents to meet the team’s needs.

With the postseason having come to a close within the NFL and stories having been written , with differing plot-lines having been envisaged at the start of the preseason as well as the regular season. It must be said, that the arrogance shown by Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy has simply been nothing short of astounding. Several teams as we know, failed to live up to expectations and with a postseason finale that bordered on being so abysmal, by way of the lack of competitiveness. Any type of postscript to be made by the commissioner that concerns the Superbowl and his selling the game as being a tremendous success cannot be seen in any type of positive light .

The economic impact of a Superbowl can lead to anywhere between $2 and $3 billion being infused into a local economy , and it is understandable that the state of New Jersey harbored the ambition to host this event at the NFL’s newest venue , at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey, which just happens to be home to the New York Giants and New York Jets . John K Mara , President & CEO of the Giants went so far as to suggest that no matter what the outcome of the event , it was his belief that MetLife Stadium should now be placed on the list of venues that should be hosting future Superbowl games. Mara, off course, is quite within his right, to make such a suggestion, as is his wish. Yet, were it not for what we know to be the fact that the league and specifically owners such as himself, making outlandish demands of the governmental agencies repeatedly , while a great deal of the time offering them little in return, other than the so-called privilege of stating that they have an NFL franchise within their locale.

Roger Goodell professes his wish to see the NFL grow on a global basis and for the past several years , the fans have seen preseason and regular season games being staged in Mexico City , Toronto and London , England. Yet, for all of that un-abashed gimmickry by the league, in selling the game in spite of annual revenues exceeding $8 billion , the NFL still faces an uphill battle to compete against the likes of the NBA and soccer on the global stage. One factor that hinders the league’s process, comes down to the fact that the NFL’s most highly visible players are not known on a worldwide basis as of yet, in spite of the league’s slow but growing profile in Europe , the Far East and on the African continent.

It will be interesting to see the direction taken by the Cleveland Browns after another inauspicious season , with the firing of Rob Chudzinski and his being succeeded by the newly appointed Mike Pettine , a first time head coach in the NFL. Team owner , Jimmy Haslam , having narrowly escaped being imprisoned , for what he now tries to suggest were actions by subordinates within his company , that were completely unknown to him , now has to convince the fans and players that he is indeed an owner , who will take a great deal of interest in the franchise and its future ambitions . The singular biggest issue for the franchise, may well be, whether or not they can keep faith with Brandon Weeden as the team’s starting quarterback . The player, since his elevation to the role, has been wildly erratic , in not being able put together consistently efficient performances , leading many to now believe that the front office will likely draft a quarterback , while also possibly acquiring a free agent during the off-season.

Having finished with a 4-12 record , afoot of the AFC North and barely being competitive throughout this past season . It is easy to understand why the Browns are now said to be seeking a new direction. If nothing else , it may well give the fans hope, but in reality , it just about creating the perception that the organization is seen to be trying in earnest , in seeking some semblance of success. If Weeden is not the answer for the Browns at the quarterback position, then I expect Mike Pettine to seek out an alternative , for that specific role !

Well, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the decision to cut short Greg Schiano’s reign as the head coach of the team. A lackluster season and the idiocy of claimants that with the players putting together a three-game winning streak , it meant that Schiano’s position was safe, because of that streak . What, they seemingly failed to realize, the very fact the head coach was ill-disciplined in terms of his coaching style and defensively the team was simply bust . Finishing just ahead of the bottom of the table Atlanta Falcons within the NFC South was a further sign of a lack of progress made under Greg Schiano , after all of the pageantry at his being made the head coach.

Schiano and ousted former GM Mark Dominik simply failed to acquire the players needed, to foster some semblance competitiveness over the course of the season. Add in the fact, that amongst the playing staff, there were few memorable moments for the fans to feed off , as well as their being a complete lack of leadership from anyone on the roster over the course of the year. The apathy of the fans of the franchise, remains , with some trying to point to the fact that this is still a very young team. I guess, having seasoned veterans such as Vincent Jackson and Darrell Revis , simply counts for nothing in their eyes ? And it remains a constant , amongst the fan-base of this franchise.

The hiring of Lovie Smith , a disciple of the Tony Dungy coaching philosophy, it will be very interesting to see the type of dialogue that takes place between Smith and Mark Dominik’s successor , Jason Licht , a former front office executive within the Arizona Cardinals’ organization. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are to have any semblance of success , then both Licht and Lovie Smith will have to be on the same page and off the same mindset as to what is needed to improve the team and make them competitive and a perennial contender within the division and NFC. No use crying over spilt milk, as the Josh Freeman era with the Buccaneers has now ceased to exist. As serviceable as Freeman was said to be , he simply did not appear to be a player who had honed his craft or learned from his numerous and repeated mistakes over the course of his reign with the franchise. The drafting of Mike Glennon and the ability of the young rookie to make plays while being efficient with the “rock” impressed Schiano during last season. Alas, where Glennon succeeded , his offense at times, simply let him down and was repeatedly the source of many of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ woes this past season.

During the off-season, as Jason Licht and Lovie Smith prepare for the NFL Draft , the team’s will be predominantly on offense, where at least one or two productive wide receivers are needed along with a tail-back and a tight-end. Seeking out that type offensive weaponry via free agency could prove to be expensive dependent upon how Licht views the market in terms of the aforementioned positions ( wide receivers, running back , tight-end).

In the aftermath of what has been a tumultuous season for the Glazer family as owners of two professional sports’ franchises in Manchester United of the English Premiership League and their floundering fortunes within the Premiership (EPL) , to be concluded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ infamous soiree in 2013. I must now ask the question, are the sons of Malcolm Glazer, completely clued in as to what is needed to either create or simply continue the success of a professional sports’ team? As the patriarch of the family , the now rarely seen Glazer must be shuddering to think that both of these franchises are likely to sink or swim , with the decisions made by his offspring .

As if to emphasize and further reiterate, why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now appears to be a franchise. without a clue . It is being widely reported that the franchise , are keenly interested in acquiring seasoned veteran quarterback, Michael Vick. With the exclusion of an twenty-two month incarceration at a federal penitentiary, for his involvement in an illegal gambling and dog-fighting ring that he presided over through a company that he was directly involved (Bad Newz Kennels) with . While, the player has served his sentence, for the crimes committed and his league mandated suspension for his conduct. It has been the gradual decline of the Michael game since his return to the NFL in 2010 , that have many wondering, if he is still capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL . Andy Reid’s implicit and undying loyalty to the then Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback proved to be fateful for the head coach in 2012 , leading to his dismissal at the end of the season, with fans also calling for the release of the player. Last season, while it proved to be a success for the Eagles, Vick played no major role in the franchise’s resurgence under Chip Kelly . Nick Foles proved to be effective throughout much of the season , leading the team to the NFC East divisional title and playoff berth in the postseason.

If the Buccaneers are interested in signing Michael Vick , who becomes an unrestricted free agent this off-season , it simply makes no sense to have a player , who over the last two seasons has not been productive or provided any type of leadership skills , where necessary. Even if merely acquired, as a backup to Mike Glennon, there are far better options than Vick , amongst the quarterbacks who will become free agents during this protracted break before the 2014 NFL season comes into being. This has me wondering, what are the apparent motives behind a possible move like this ! Desperate times, may well call for desperate measures , but this is not one of them, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If anything, it can be seen, as an act of utter idiocy, from a franchise still seeking some semblance of consistency! .

This past Superbowl may well go down as the most watched and the highest rated in NFL history, as well as being the most watched program in US history, by way of the official figures revealed by the league hierarchy and Fox Television. Yet, the question that has to be asked , how many of those viewers nationally , switched channels , once it became inevitable that this contest was simply going to be a “blowout”, rather than a compelling and gripping game , between what was said to be the two best teams in the NFL?



Picture gallery.

With the NFL season having reached a conclusion with the determining of a Superbowl champion for the year . Which event during the regular or postseason, in your opinion do you believe to be the most memorable? Also, with John Mara deeming the staging of Superbowl SBLVIII a monumental success, do you think it right, that another postseason finale contest should be staged MetLife Stadium within five years, at the omission of another venue ahead of the scheduled return that proposed stadium ? The NFL hierarchy we know , tends to pander to the more powerful of the owners within the league at the cost of less vocal of the franchise owners. What thoughts, if any, do you have with regard New York Giants owner’s suggestion? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.


Picture and slideshow details below .


Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos is caught off-guard, as the ball sails over his head during the first quarter of the game of the Superbowl contest between the Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks . That play was a sign of things to come as the Seahawks won this lopsided contest in a rout 43-8. The game would prove to be one of Manning’s worst in his postseason career. AP Photo/ Mark Cameron …

(2) An aerial view of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey as clouds hang over the venue that was the scene for Superbowl 48. In the stadium filled 80,000 fans , this was the first Superbowl to be played in an outdoor stadium in a cold weather city. Getty Images / John Moore ….

(3) Seattle Seahawks’ wide receiver Percy Harvin (11) returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the second half of the game against the Denver Broncos during the Superbowl played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey. The televised event broadcasted by Fox ,was the most watched sports’ program and non-sports’ televised event in US broadcast history , from the figures released by the NFL . AP Photo/ Matt York ….

(4) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seahawks looks to evade the Denver Broncos’ Danny Trevathan (59) while making a playing during the first half of the Superbowl contest played between the two teams on the 2nd February , 2014, at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford , New Jersey. In only his fifth postseason start , Wilson can now be called a Superbowl winning quarterback. The player was selected by the Seattle Seahawks as part of the rich crop of quarterbacks that were part of the 2012 NFL Draft class. AP Photo Paul Sancya ….

(5) To the victor belongs the spoils. Russell Wilson is seen here with the Lombardi Trophy after the Seattle Seahawks’ triumph over the Denver Broncos . It was the franchise’s first victory in only their second appearance in the NFL’s most prestigious game. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez …..

(6) Superbowl MVP Malcolm Smith celebrates the Seattle Seahawks’ victory by laying on the ground amongst the confetti while creating a snow angel . REUTERS/ Shannon Stapleton …..

(7) New York Giants’ owner John K Mara having seen MetLife Stadium host the Superbowl would like to see the event return to the venue within the next five years. Whether or not this will be amenable to the league hierarchy and many of the other NFL owners remains to be seen. AP Photo / Paul Harris …..

(8)New Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, right, smiles as he poses for a photo with new head coach Lovie Smith during an NFL football news conference Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Licht becomes the fifth general manager in team history. He takes over a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007 . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …




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



tophatal …….. 02/03/2014

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Why are you bringing a knife to a gunfight?

Why are you bringing a knife to a gunfight?

If there has been one thing that I have learned about this NFL season as it begins to wind down , with but one game to go on the sixteen week schedule . It has been that a number of teams came into the year, with a great deal of high aspirations, as well as being ill-prepared. That was clearly the case, with teams such as the Atlanta Falcons , Buffalo Bills , Dallas Cowboys , New York Jets , Houston Texans , the ‘ always putrid’ Oakland Raiders , Washington Redskins , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings . A great deal of what fans have witnessed this season , has been extremely poor coaching , highly overrated players, but above all, a watering down of an NFL product that has become so bland .


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In a season that has provided few memorable highlights , Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning remains on a quest to rewrite the history books. This year was no exception with the player, as he surpassed the mark for touchdown passes in a season and could very well come within close proximity for breaking the single season yardage mark for passing yards. Such as been the play of the four-time league MVP , that it seems asinine to suggest that there has been another player in the league in 2013, who is even remotely close to be seen as a legitimate challenger in stopping Manning from winning what would be an unprecedented fifth league MVP award.

The Denver Broncos, having secured their postseason berth, in winning the AFC West with considerable ease , as the challenge from Kansas City Chiefs , simply petered out , after the Chiefs’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts . Peyton Manning and the Broncos, simply wrapped up the division, with their 37-13 rout of the now determinedly incompetent Houston Texans. Mindful of that must now be expected of what now must be expected of the team, as they are likely to be viewed as the AFC’s top ranked contender for the Superbowl . Anything short of an appearance in the league’s showcase event will undoubtedly be seen as a tremendous disappointment not only for the players but also for the organization , led by owner Pat Bowlen and Head of Football Operations John Elway . The former Broncos’ great has a fashioned a team in his own guise, that was simply reminiscent of his playing days and his having led this particular franchise to back to back Superbowl appearances and victories .

The Broncos’ final game of the season , will be against the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Alameda County Stadium ( O Coliseum) , in Oakland , California . Having gained 5211 passing yards for the season, along with fifty-one touchdown passes , Peyton Manning needs only 266 yards to erase Drew Brees’ mark of 5476 yards from 2011 . I believe that Manning will be able to break that mark with ease , against a Raiders’ secondary that simply has been ineffective all season long !

Disappointment of the fans, cannot be made up for, by the blatant stupidity of a coach , general manager or an NFL team owner . Nowhere has this been more well-chronicled and demonstrated than with the respective seasons of the Atlanta Falcons , Dallas Cowboys And Washington Redskins . As to this idiocy , façade that has been rationalized and far too often subscribed to by analysts and fans alike, that shrewd businessmen make for great professional sports’ owners . Well , it has been abundantly clear that this season Arthur Blank , Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder are and have been about as dumb as they come , in terms of their collective custodianship of the franchises they own. Collectively, these three individuals have a combined wealth exceeding $8.5 billion , but the collective and singular IQ of a comatose and neurologically challenged traffic accident victim. . The three teams combined, are 17-30 over the course of this season and one could surmise that the respective records of all three , is a true reflection of where each franchise ought to be . Mike Smith , head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and his staff , have a team that seemingly does not possess the heart or will to succeed , much less eke out a win of any sort . All of this from a franchise that last season was seen as a legitimate contender within the NFC for the Superbowl, only for the Falcons to once again fall short of their target , while an overpaid and over-hyped quarterback in Matt Ryan continues to flounder and disappoint .

A 4-10 season sums up the trials and tribulations of the Atlanta Falcons’ year and their task will not get any easier when they are the guests of the San Francisco 49ers , tonight in an NFC game of utmost importance for both teams . The Forty Niners , who will be seeking secure themselves a high seeding within the NFC, for the postseason, having failed to make a successful defense of their 2012 NFC West divisional title . It is highly unlikely that the Falcons will be able to stop the Forty Niners at any point during this game , given Atlanta’s own predilection to just self-implode at the most inopportune of moments , with a defense that simply is bereft of talent along with a less than potent offense .

I guess, if there were several words, that could be used the describe the Washington Redskins’ season . Then the adjectives. one would be looking for would be an unmitigated disaster , wherein Mike Shanahan and his coaching staff have simply become lost in the idiocy , whereby there seems to be rhyme or reasoning behind many of the in game decisions being made by the head coach. With what, now appears to be a simmering and soured relationship between Shanahan and last season’s number two overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft . It has to be said, that Robert Griffin III and his head coach have now reached “the point of no return” , as to their relationship and the cordiality between the two. Dan Snyder, the franchise’s flamboyant and outgoing owner, has presided over a decade of under-achievement, coaching and managerial stupidity. Never mind, the fact , that GM Bruce Allen continues to remain silent on the ever-widening chasm within the organization and the very fact this season has become one of the worst in recent franchise history, beyond the excuses being made concerning Griffin’s form and health in 2013.

As if to further emphasize, how inept the Redskins have now become . In a contest between two struggling divisional teams , Washington faltered against divisional rivals the Dallas Cowboys in a rather uninspiring game , where the Cowboys themselves showed , that , were they to make the postseason , they are likely to be summarily dismissed by their wildcard round opponent . It would not be outrageous to suggest that this season in particular the NFC East is simply devoid of inspirational play , much less a team that could be thought as a threat to anyone within the NFL. As to the bloviate morons, calling the coaching mindset of Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly as being outstanding , clearly, those who have fallen into that trap, are just as devoid of intelligence as the members of the US House and Senate !

The more I continue to hear Jerry Jones try to sing the praises of the Dallas Cowboys each season , the more I believe him , devoid of reality and anything he purports to be his knowledge of late, in assembling a championship caliber team . That clearly, has not been the case, with the franchise in close to a decade, in spite of the numerous coaching changes made during that time-span. The fait-accompli, now appears to be Jones’ unbridled passion for head coach Jason Garrett , who in many respects has been as clueless as the Cowboys’ owner on a wide variety of issues as it relates to the coaching of the team and his actually being able to communicate with his players on a competitive level . The Dallas Cowboys lack leadership both on and off the field of play. With no one willing to challenge the authority of Jerry Jones , and his never-ending micromanaging every facet of the franchise , from their personnel decisions even the play calling in some instances . It easy to understand why, in recent seasons, the franchise has become more known as a theater of comedic errors , than for being a competitive NFL team. I could continue to lambast Tony Romo , who from season to season , simply shows us that at best , he is nothing more than a good regular season quarterback. A championship caliber quarterback, he clearly is not , and only an idiot would countenance anything along those lines .

It’s no use having a highly explosive offense in today’s NFL , when your defense is simply unable to keep you in a tightly contested game or where the coaching acumen of the staff in recent weeks has continually come into question . Over the past five weeks to see the Detroit Lions’ fall from grace , where the team itself seemed on the verge of perhaps tying up the NFC North . Head coach Jim Schwartz is now trying to suggest that he doesn’t see the team’s failing in that time-frame a failure , but merely the players losing direction and focus. My question, is there a damn difference between failure , losing focus, losing three straight and four of your last five games ? Schwartz is either an idiot, seeking to blow smoke up everyone’s ass or the very same coach who in having succeeded Rod Marinelli’s hapless 0-16 , 2008 roster , then proceeded to chalk up a 2-14 record , in his first full season as head coach in 2009.

With the makeup of this team on offense in particular , with quarterback Matt Stafford , wide receivers Calvin Johnson , Nate Burleson , running backs Joique Bell and Reggie Bush . It is hard to comprehend how this roster can simply fall apart in the way that it has done , until you realize that the defense remains susceptible and as inept as any other in the NFL that seems insistent in not exhibiting that trait of being a competent secondary. Schwartz, often a rambunctious individual, likes not to be pointed out of his flaws and that of his coaching staff , concerning the Lions’ play. Yet somehow, his demeanor during these post-game interviews and all too abrupt behavior , beyond being a sign of weakness has never been met with a fine of any sort , when he has sought to respond to the convened press with a flurry of expletives .

The Chicago Bears now appear to be in the driver’s seat within the NFC North as they lead the division with an 8-7 , followed by the Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) , Lions (7-8) , and lastly the anemic Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1). Detroit’s three-point loss to the New York Giants this past Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan , may well have sealed the team’s fate and their now minute chance of making the postseason . Their final game of the season, against the Minnesota Vikings will go a long in way in quite possibly determining the fate of Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff. . Team EVP Tom Lewand and GM Martin Mayhew beyond having to gauge this roster and making the decisions as to how they enter next season , will have to address what now appears to be the fans’ growing discontent with the team, the head coach , and Schwartz’s long-term future with the franchise.

I do not know if you can describe the bravado now being shown by Rex Ryan as “true grit” , or someone who now realizes that the writing is now on the wall , in terms of his tenure as the head coach of the New York Jets . An indifferent season , a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith who was thrown in at the deep end, and whose performances , while admirable in some cases , underscores the fact that the player was simply not ready for the NFL. The options for the Jets at the position were indeed limited , with the coaching staff and front office having very little faith in former incumbent starter , Mark Sanchez. Needless to say, with Sanchez surprisingly, remaining on the roster , you kind of get the feeling that the franchise is likely to return to something old, while something new gets placed on the sidelines , while he learns the nuances of the game and the position as a whole. Throughout much of this season , Smith’s weaknesses were exhibited repeatedly in several games , and a great deal of that responsibility has to be borne by Rex Ryan and quarterbacks’ coach David Lee .

Rex Ryan’s fate and future, does not now lie in his own hands, but in the hands of GM John Idzik , who is likely to deliberate in great depth, with team owner Woody Johnson , as to the beleaguered head coach’s tenure and whether or not he remains the Jets’ most viable option moving forward .

If the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins were meant to be seen as serious challengers to the New England Patriots , as Bill Belichick and his players sought to make a successful defense of their AFC East title. Then this season, has to be seen as a profound disappointment for the Jets as well as the Dolphins. Neither team seemed to be able to sustain a worthwhile challenge throughout the year and questions are likely to be asked about Joe Philbin and the staff, albeit , that there were growing signs in the maturity and in the play of Ryan Tannehill . Unfortunately, the season for Miami will be more renowned for the fact that Richie Incognito’s infamous off-field antics , the franchise’s handling of the situation and the blatant apathy and stupidity of the fans who somehow feel that racially sensitive and sexually derogatory remarks somehow belong in the workplace and can be easily excused by hiding behind the idiom of “freedom of expression” . How fucking pathetic do you have to be, to countenance such behavior ?

The Miami Dolphins will play host to the New York Jets in their final games of the season, when the two teams meet at Landshark Stadium , in Miami this upcoming Sunday , in what is sure to be a competitive divisional contest. New England meanwhile, having secured the AFC East , will now seek to close out their season on a competitive high when they face the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro , Massachusetts, while also seeking to reinforce their status as a legitimate contender within the AFC as the number two seed and a contender for the Superbowl .



Picture gallery .

With but a week to go, in the NFL regular season , I believe that this has simply reiterated, that while the league remains extremely popular , the coaching and the play of the teams have now tedious and monstrously boring for a wide variety of reasons , that while too numerous to mention , can essentially be summed up by stating that the league hierarchy has made the game far too generic and without creativity . What if anything do you believe to be has been the most exciting event to take place during the year within the NFL ? By all means, leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(1) Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass during the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America / Scott Halleran …

(2) Eric Decker (87) of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball against the Houston Texans during the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Scott Halleran …

(3) New Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds up his Broncos jersey as team owner Pat Bowlen , left, and John Elway, vice president of football operations, look on during an NFL football news conference at the Broncos headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. The player was acquired by the Broncos in March of 2012 , having spent the majority of his career with the Indianapolis Colts. AP Photo/David Zalubowski ….

(4) Kirk Cousins(12) of the Washington Redskins chats with Robert Griffin III after throwing a 4th quarter interception against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 15, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. The continued souring relationship between the head coach and Robert Griffin III now seems that with a growing certainty Mike Shanahan is likely to be relieved of his duties during the off-season . Should that be the case, then the franchise would have to honor the final year of his contract , paying Shanahan the remaining $7 million due in 2014. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham …

(5) Aug 21, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) with head coach Jason Garrett during a timeout against the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium. Matthew Emmons US PRESSWIRE …

(6) Head Coach Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions disagrees with a call against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. Arizona won 38-10 . The loss was the Lions’ most lopsided defeat of the season , with fans now questioning the competitiveness and lack of coaching acumen being shown by Schwartz and his staff. In 2013, the Detroit Lions have been losers of four of their last five games , yet it has been the coaching staff looking elsewhere for faults , much to the chagrin of the front office . Jim Schwartz has sought to apportion blame elsewhere questioning the officiating , but never the fact that his teams have either been ill-prepared or simply complacent. Getty Images / Norm Hall …

(7) Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets walk off together at the end of the game against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium on December 22, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets would defeat the Browns 24-13 in the AFC contest . Getty Images / Ron Antonelli



tophatal ………. 2013/12/23

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You don’t want to be the guy who replaces a legend , you want to be the guy comes in after the legend’s successor is said to have failed miserably

You don’t want to be the guy who replaces a legend , you want to be the guy comes in after the legend’s successor is said to have failed miserably

Over the past two decades within professional team sports , we have seen the departures great players from the game , either through retirement or their trade to another franchise. Though not thought to be earth shattering at the time , the feeling was that Peyton Manning’s departure from the Indianapolis Colts and the organization’s handling of the matter was haphazard , incompetent and somewhat disrespectful , given Manning’s contribution and resurgence of that particular franchise. The famed quarterback’s success along with Tony Dungy’s coaching acumen brought about that success , the added profitability of the Colts and to the overall wealth of the team’s owner Jim Irsay .


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With the Indianapolis Colts having traded Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos , the team was lucky enough to have drafted Andrew Luck out of Stanford as the number one overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft . Luck’s success as a rookie and subsequent play has simply been a revelation , having led the team into the postseason in 2012 , along with his peer Robert Griffin III , who was able to achieve a similar feat with the Washington Redskins .

This season , both the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins have followed different paths, with the defending NFC East champions are likely to miss the postseason , after an erratic season of missed opportunities and a great deal of finger-pointing around the organization , with the actual coaching acumen of Mike Shanahan and his coaching acumen now coming into question, along with that of his coaching staff . At the same time, Robert Griffin’s play this season has been far from scintillating , somewhat of a surprise to many, given his growth and maturity shown over the first two years of his NFL career. This season , much like the team’s, Griffin’s performances , along with the other quarterbacks within the NFC East , have been understated and amongst the most erratic in the entire NFL . Yet , if there is blame to be apportioned , then a great deal of that must be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Redskins’ secondary and the poor play exhibited over the course of the season . With the team now in preparation for their week twelve scheduled Monday night match-up against the high-flying San Francisco 49ers , in an NFC contest to be played at Fedex Field in Landover, Maryland . It will be interesting to see what steps will be taken by the Washington Redskins as they take on the NFC West divisional antagonists.

There is no denying that Andrew Luck’s success has been contagious and that it has affected the organization throughout , with the fans coming in droves to see a newly revamped team play at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indiana , Indianapolis , all under the watchful eye of head coach Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff . Having replaced an icon and legend in Peyton Manning, it would appear that the young quarterback , Andrew Luck is prepared to lead the Colts’ into a new chapter of their history . That next phase, will begin on Sunday , when the Colts are guests of the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe , Arizona, where former Colts’ assistant Bruce Arians is now the head coach of the host team . Arians and the Cardinals will be looking to see if they can secure a win , in order to leapfrog the second placed San Francisco 49ers within the NFC West , in a division that is now blossoming into a thoroughly enthralling contest between the top three teams , by way of its competitiveness .

Robert Griffin’s path of succession in following in a long line of shall we say lackluster Redskins’ quarterbacks over the past eight seasons , has been one of the numerous reasons why the franchise has failed so miserably . Reading off those list of names of nondescript individuals , would be akin to reading the recipe of ingredients from a can of soup , produced as a generic brand to be stocked on the shelves of your local supermarket. The list of Rex Grossman , a past his prime , Donovan McNabb , Jason Campbell , Mark Brunell , and Patrick Ramsey have all got something in common . They have played for a franchise, where the team owner , Dan Snyder , has spared no expense , in carrying on with the Redskins’ ineptitude, since he took the helm of the Washington Redskins in 1999, as its main proprietor .

At 3-7 within the NFC East , the record of the Washington Redskins has proven to be a monumental disappointment . In a division , where the only team above .500 in terms of a winning record are the Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) . It is a damning indictment, as to how bad the teams are said to be, in what has been repeatedly described as the “glamor division “ . of the NFL , with the brand and product having become so diluted . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there has been absolutely nothing glamorous about the quartet of teams much less their play over the course of this season . As I alluded to earlier , the quarterback play also has been something of an abomination and it is also, another clear indicator as to how bad things now appear to be, even in spite of a number of analysts now salivating over the play of Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles , who may well be on the verge bringing about the abrupt end of Michael Vick’s career with the franchise . If former, Philly head coach, Andy Reid could not see it for himself, that Vick is now past his prime . Then surely Reid’s successor , Chip Kelly must now realize that fact for himself , given the rather innocuous performances from the veteran player player this season , in spite of his health issues .

One could perhaps attest to the fact that where would be something of a misnomer with regard to the title of this piece and how it relates to the NFL , may well have been the passing on of the baton from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and Joe Montana to Steve Young . Though not necessarily controversial at the time, Favre’s unwillingness to take a back seat to a younger and most certainly a more receptive player in Rodgers, led to the veteran being looked upon as a rather petulant individual . Brett Favre’s departure from the Green Bay Packers had its supporters and detractors. Yet, it should be noted, the all-time career touchdowns’ passing as well as career passing yardage leader , never showed the form that made him such a treat to watch after his departure from the Packers. After a fifteen career in Green Bay , the subsequent stops in New York with the New York Jets ( one year) and two years with the Minnesota Vikings were as eventful , as they were somber. No doubt, upon meeting the eligibility requirements, Brett Favre will become a first year ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

Aaron Rodgers, has all but erased the memory of Brett Favre ever existing and playing at Lambeau Field for one the league’s most revered and venerable NFL franchises . Now considered to be amongst the elite of the NFL quarterbacks, now playing in the NFL , his career has been a personification of dedication to his craft , as well as having the respect of his peers and teammates alike. Other than, Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Drew Brees , I seriously doubt that there is a more well-liked or respected quarterback in the entire NFL !

Five Superbowl victories for an NFL franchise, tends to tell you a great deal about an organization and what they have been able to achieve over the course of their existence . The transition from Joe Montana to Steve Young did a have a few bumps in the road , but who can deny the fact that these two quarterbacks along with Jerry Rice , Roger Craig , Ronnie Lott , Dwight Clark , Jesse Sapolu and the franchise’s legendary head coach Bill Walsh may well have done more to put the San Francisco 49ers on the map , beyond Walsh’s influence on the game , through his play-calling . Montana and Young between them, account for all five of those Superbowl triumphs, with their names being etched in postseason history in terms of their respective performances in the postseason and the “big game ” itself .

After a spectacular 2012 , during which we witnessed the San Francisco 49ers make their sixth Superbowl appearance. The team would not fare as well , as in their previous forays , as Colin Kaepernick and his teammates would fall to their AFC opponents the Baltimore Ravens 34-31 in a game blighted by the incompetence of not only the NFL hierarchy , utility’s company Entergy , but also the host site, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , home to the New Orleans Saints , operated by SMG and a venue owned by the Louisiana Expo & Sports Authority . The explanations forthcoming, as to why a power outage interrupted the NFL’s biggest spectacle were as ludicrous, as Roger Goodell’s comments that the stoppage, did nothing to take away from the event , nor did it have an effect on the end result. One more reason, why the incumbent NFL commissioner cannot be taken seriously as the league’s highest ranking executive. His communicative and leadership skills , beyond being remarkably poor, are in fact a complete embarrassment to the NFL and the teams he presides over .

I have been reading with a great deal of interest , where Hakeem Olajuwon , a Hall of Fame inductee , whose playing career with the Houston Rockets was unprecedented , has now taken it upon himself along with fellow inductee and Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale , to assist in improving and “polishing ” the game of Dwight Howard . These two great players from a bygone era of excellence within the NBA , may well be taking on a great deal than either would care or be willing to admit . Howard may well have been, a Defensive Player of the Year within the league on multiple occasions , but his offensive prowess , as well as leadership skills and lack of maturity, has repeatedly come into question . It was self-evident and there for all to see, as the player struggled to show any signs of leadership, much less being able, to impose his will on a game , while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers last season .

The fact that Dwight Howard was acquired by the Lakers’ franchise as a long-term investment and seen as heir-apparent to Kobe Bryant , as the vocal leader of the Los Angeles Lakers, came and went as swiftly , as Howard’s decision to bolt from the Lakers , taking less money , to sign with the Rockets . If that was not indicative of the fact, that the center simply could not handle any form of adversity , then his now constant moaning , as to why he has been criticized by many of the elder statesmen of the game , is clear evidence that Dwight Howard will never be viewed as one of the best players at the position to have ever played the game. The NBA in terms of the play of the centers now within the game, are a far cry from what many of the fans have witnessed during the heydays of David Robinson . , Hakeem Olajuwon , Shaquille O’Neal , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul Jabbar , Nate Thurmond , Patrick Ewing , Willis Reed and Moses Malone . All of whom were known to be ferocious competitors . Can the same be even remotely said about Dwight Howard , even as many now regard him as the best center , currently now playing in the NBA ?

Dwight Howard’s acquisition by the Rockets, in some circles was seen as the missing piece for a franchise with a legitimate shot of making the NBA Playoffs this upcoming season. In bolstering a roster , led by the presence of James Harden , Jeremy Lin , Ronnie Brewer , Patrick Beverley , Chandler Parsons and Aaron Brooks . The team was seen as a solid enough of a competitor to challenge the presence of the San Antonio Spurs (10-1) within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . Coming off a narrow three-point 123-120 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night , the Rockets will face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas on Saturday evening , in what is likely to be a very lively contest between these two Western Conference foes.

Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander and GM Daryl Morey, made a bold move, that will either prove to be a success or simply backfire for the organization. While, I believe Dwight Howard will be of some benefit to the Houston Rockets, I just cannot see the player as the person who will now get the team “ over the hump” that will make them a legitimate threat to the more prominent teams within the conference , such as the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and what now appears to be a very talented and well-coached Golden State Warriors’ roster. I may well be wrong, but at this juncture, my observations are based on what I have seen from Dwight Howard , and the fact that he’s now being asked to fill the shoes of predecessors before him on the Rockets, who made significant progress in making the franchise more widely recognized . Hakeem Olajuwon and to an extent , Yao Ming made you aware of the franchise in terms of what they brought to the Houston Rockets . Has Dwight Howard actually been able to do that any point of his career, beyond his goofy off the court antics and winning a meaningless Slam Dunk Contest ?



Picture gallery .

Do you believe it easy, for a professional sport’s franchise to replace an iconic legend that has been associated with a team over a long period of time? Or as teams would always like to suggest “ it’s time to move on” , more often than not, because of monetary issues , rather than the athlete’s possible declining production ? Your comments are most certainly welcomed on this and anything else you believe to be of value to the premise stated this moderated piece.


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(1) Mar 7, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning speaks and Jim Irsay stands beside him to announce during a press conference at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center that Peyton Manning will become a free agent. Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE ….

(2) Andrew Luck, left of the Indianapolis Colts is seen here with team owner Jim Irsay. . The quarterback, who was drafted out of Stanford as the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , proved to be an immediate success with the franchise having taken the team into the postseason and the Colts now seem to be set , in terms of their long-term future with a quarterback who has proven to productive , with an immediate impact for the Indianapolis Colts from a competitive and financial standpoint. AP Photo / Garry Moss …

(3) Washington Redskins` starting quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with the team’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins . The team as defending champions within of the NFC East , now find themselves in almost untenable position of being at the bottom of the division and likely to miss the playoffs , having rode into the 2012 postseason riding on a sea of optimism and at the same time , projected long-term success. Instead, this season has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster , with a defense performing poorly , with alarming regularity and the same could be said of the offense . GM Bruce Allen and team owner Dan Snyder are likely to make a number of sweeping changes during the off-season concerning the player personnel and quite possibly amongst the coaching staff. Getty Images / Lance Jones …..

(4) Green Bay Packers’ teammates Brett Favre (4) and Aaron Rodgers (12) are seen here seated on the sidelines looking up at the scoreboard . The two players who have been described as not being extremely close , with Favre having been critical of the organization when Rodgers was drafted by team as a late first round draft pick in the 2005 NFL Draft . The backup would not become a regular season starter until 2008 . Brett Favre would later depart from the franchise under a cloud of controversy , with fans and detractors of the veteran , voicing their thoughts publicly , in print, via the airwaves and on television . Getty Images/ Mark Parsons …….

(5) Former 49ers Steve Young (L), Roger Craig (C) and Joe Montana (R) wait to go onto the field for a half time presentation during home opener as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park September 20, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images North America / David Paul Morris ….

(6) Hall of Fame inductee Hakeem Olajuwon foreground , shows the Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard a few on-court drills and moves . Howard , since his arrival with the franchise has performed moderately , but the team now evolves around the play of point guard Jeremy Lin and James Harden . Olajuwon , GM Daryl Morey and head coach Kevin McHale see Howard as a vital part of the team’s offense , as they seek to make their presence felt within the Western Conference this season . AP Photo / Matt Shields ….

(7) Newly acquired center Dwight Howard , left foreground , is seen here with Houston Rockets’ great Hakeem Olajuwon and the team’s head coach Kevin McHale in the background at the team’s venue the Toyota Center in Houston Texas . Signed as a free agent in the off-season , the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is seeking establish himself as the premiere center in the NBA , after a somewhat lackluster year in 2012 , with Howard being unable to assist the Los Angeles Lakers during the postseason in any great depth . AP Photo / Keith Miller ….

(8) Two legendary giants of the game and some might agree a pair of centers who at the height of their careers were the most dominant players of their generation as centers . Bill Russell , left , whose career with the Boston Celtics is littered with accolades too numerous to mention , shakes hands with Kareem Abdul Jabbar , whose own career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are synonymous as Russell’s with the Boston Celtics . AP Photo / Roger Pettigrew …. …….


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



Picture and slideshow details’ gallery below .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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There`s a reason it’s called the NFL , they play football or at least I was led to believe that they do ….

There`s a reason it’s called the NFL , they play football or at least I was led to believe that they do ….

Week one in the NFL did not really provide us with any overall surprises , as I believe that we all knew who the good teams were said to be in the league . Granted , no one expected the reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens to be so lackluster in their opening game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos . The margin of defeat , twenty-five points, told me a great deal about this Ravens` team and the experience of seasoned veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are sorely missed. Yet I do believe that the Baltimore Ravens can rebound from this loss and from the lessons learned , and that the younger players on the roster will have to step up to the plate as required . You simply cannot rest on your laurels, just because you have reached the summit once ,as the secret , is to remain there , once having reached that destination and peak.


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Monday night`s double-header featuring the Philadelphia Eagles playing the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Washington , DC and the subsequent showing featured the Houston Texans and their high-octane offense taking on the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California. Michael Vick and the Eagles , along with head coach Chip Kelly , sent a resounding message that is likely to heard loud and clear across the NFL . That message is , there is a new sheriff in town and he means business . The two NFC East combatants put on a terrific showing of offensive productivity , with Vick and is opposite number Robert Griffin III passing for in excess of a combined 500 yards of passing offense, , with and another 300 plus yards of rushing offense from the two teams combined . The bulk of the rush offense , the advantage laid with the visiting team, the Philadelphia Eagles. .

Philadelphia came away with an invaluable 33-27 victory, placing themselves jointly atop of the NFC East alongside the Dallas Cowboys . Next up for the Eagles will be a home game against the San Diego Chargers this upcoming Sunday . For Mike McCoy and the laboring Chargers , they need to get back to winning ways after Monday night`s debilitating loss to the Houston Texans , in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game . A twenty-one point lead , carried over into the late third quarter , would prove to be not as decisive as the home team`s fans might have felt , as Matt Schaub repeatedly marched the Texans down the field to erase that deficit and to come away victorious from Qualcomm Stadium . The less said about the Chargers` defense at this juncture would be perhaps the most prudent thing to do. .

Say what you will about the Jacksonville Jaguars and its owner Shahid Khan , but any belief that he might well have had in turning things around quickly for the franchise , is unlikely to happen this season. Gus Bradley , and this team entertained the Kansas City Chiefs in their season opener and to put it politely, they laid a goose egg in a lopsided 28-2 loss . I am not saying that the two points were a gift from Andy Reid`s team , but it is the kindest thing that I could perhaps say about the Jaguar` performance this past Sunday. The travails of Blaine Gabbert have been well chronicled as the Jaguars` quarterback has struggle since his entrance into the NFL in 2011 . Not a prodigious quarterback by any stretch of the imagination but he was ill-served by then head coach Jack del Rio and his staff at the time . And not much has actually changed since del Rio`s departure , with Jedd Fisch in as the team`s offensive coordinator and Frank Scelfo as quarterbacks` coach . As witnessed in Sunday`s loss the Chiefs , the Jaguars are struggling in every facet of their game and they are amongst the least productive teams in the NFL from a defensive and offensive standpoint this early in the season .

Two years into his career and we can begin to deduce that Blaine Gabbert is a bust as an NFL quarterback . With the Mizzou Tigers , Gabbert may well have been deemed a college success , but so much hype is placed and around college quarterbacks , that when they fail in the professional ranks , fingers are actually pointed at the players themselves , rather than in a great many cases, where the blame actually lies and that is with the coaches at the collegiate level and the in the professional ranks . Granted , there have been one or two quarterbacks in recent years where the hype simply was not justified , notably in the cases of JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow . To my mind, neither had the propensity to learn , in spite of notations stating that both were being tutored in their mechanics by well-respected quarterback coaches prior to their entry into the NFL Draft, in the years that both were drafted . Well , as we can see , their Russell or Tebow have proven to be a success in the NFL . So let us now close the chapter on both and move on . Time demands it , and in reality , does anyone really give a damn ?

Week two may well provide the Jacksonville Jaguars with a chance to put things back on, track when they are the guests of the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum , in Oakland , California , this upcoming Sunday . That conference game, is one of several that will pit a number struggling teams in several intriguing contests . . For the Raiders coming off their narrow four-point loss (21-17) to the Indianapolis Colts , the questions now being asked , is whether or not Terrelle Pryor is the player to be leading this team at quarterback position. Auditions during the preseason proved to be inconclusive and head coach Dennis Allen seems to be unsure what he has in the player , a future star or simply another one of a litany players that the franchised has used at the position over the past five years without any resounding success . And for the Raiders` head coach time may well not be on his side, considering the tenure of his three former predecessors on average, has lasted no much longer than two years.

Well the drama and comedic elements of the New York Jets` off-season continues with all of the idiocy one would come to expect from a franchise completely lacking in leadership both on and off the field of play . Head coach Rex Ryan now seems to be less rambunctious , knowing full well that this could very well be his last season with the organization after last season`s considerable failures . Mark Sanchez in 2012 was woefully inept and then there came all of the drama that surrounded Tim Tebow . Well with the former Broncos` starting quarterback, no longer with the Jets or with any NFL franchise , the issue became who would the front office seek to become the team`s new starting quarterback . That answer would be provided when GM John Idzik and the staff made the decision to draft Geno Smith . player a second round draft pick has shown that he may well have the skill-set but deep questions remain as to the player`s demeanor and his consistency at the position . That became a stark reality in his only meaningful action during the preseason , during the Jets` third preseason game against the New York Giants . That display was very unnerving , yet it proved to be a pointer as what fans could very well expect during the regular season from the rookie quarterback.

In Smith’s first professional regular season game he proved himself adequate but far from convincing as the heir-apparent to Mark Sanchez , but with his predecessor now out injured , the position now becomes Geno Smith` to lose . With the team also having acquired Brady Quinn as a backup , the stage I believe , is being set for the franchise to trade Sanchez at some during the season . The New York Jets have a divisional date , in what will be the first of two divisional meetings this season , when they meet the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts on Thursday night . With the Patriots coming off an opening day victory over another rookie quarterback , when Tom Brady and his teammates came away with a hard-fought victory over the Buffalo Bills and their rookie quarterback E J Manuel. Bill Belichick will look to start of this season with an early unbeaten run, as a way of bringing in a great deal of confidence on this revamped roster . Issues that still remain for the organization will certainly start with the team`s defense and whether or not they will be considerably better than last season . Also with the prevailing injury issues concerning Rob Gronkowski , the question will be , who will provide Tom Brady with the safe pair of hands he needs to get the Patriots’ offensive game going in 2013 ?

There seems to be this continued idiocy by the fans who are under the impression that the NFL cares about the well-being of their players . Nothing could be further from the truth and this was clearly evident in the recent settlement made between the league as defendants in a civil suit brought by 4,500 former NFL players seeking punitive damages from the NFL . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash may well now seek to create the perception that will see the league provide those players with a settlement figure of $765 million , far less than the $1.3 billion originally sought . In agreeing to settle, the league hierarchy avoids further public embarrassment , while not having to make public, a great deal of its somewhat surreptitious activity concerning research conducted by the league concerning the cause and effect , of blunt force head trauma , concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). For years the NFL suggested that there was no cause and effect , even in spite of their own research findings and that of independent studies carried out by world-renowned academic d institutions . Add in, the apathy of fans, who believe that the NFL has now become soft , and you can easily understand the machismo bullshit, that was sought by the literally uneducated . Veterans such as Bernie Kosar and Superbowl winning quarterback Jim McMahon are now having to live with the early onset of Alzheimer’s’ disease, chronic memory loss and a speech impediment , all due from injuries suffered from their playing careers.

Somehow I get the feeling that the NFL would like for its image and public persona to remain pristine and not vilified , as the tobacco industry was said to be for their own collusive activities concerning their product and how they misled the consumer . Well, the league is simply no different from the cigarette manufacturers. I certainly believe the league and the NFLPA (Players Union) have acted irresponsibly and now look absolve themselves of their responsibilities to their former members . Goodell and is union counterpart DeMaurice Smith would like to have you believe to the contrary . The apathy being shown by the fans on this issue is simply no different from the same fucking ignorance , they continue to show when it comes to the well-being of the members of the military , who far too often are being left to fend for themselves but yet all of the gung-ho patriotism one sees being exhibited is all for nothing in the end because they are no deeds being matched by all of that exuberance , definitely not from the public or the federal government for that matter ! .

As if to further indicate the gullibility and downright stupidity of the commissioner , consider his recent actions concerning Detroit Lions` defensive player Ndamukong Suh . In what now appears the fifth such incident concerning the player`s on field behavior concerning his play, for an illegal tackle , Suh was fined a mere $100,000 rather than face a multi-game a suspension for what appears to be ‘chop block` on Minnesota Vikings’ center John Sullivan . The fact that this is not the first time that Suh has not shown any restraint much less an act of contrition fort what does appear to be a premeditated act . It now is becoming apparently clear that neither the Lions` hierarchy , head coach Jim Schwartz or league is prepared to act prudently . A fine of this nature, is menial and a mere drop in a bucket for a player due to earn in excess of $10.3 million this season . So can someone now explain to me how this is meant to corral a player whose on-field actions and character have repeatedly come into question ever since he entered the NFL ?

Detroit came off their season opener, with a 34-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings, fellow NFC North rivals . The game itself , eventful, was filled with some exhilarating play and last season`s MVP , Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson looking to carry on where he left off from last season . This Sunday the Lions will be the guests of the Arizona Cardinals in Tempe, Arizona , in what should prove to be a highly entertaining game between these two teams . Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians will seek to gain his first victory as an NFL coach , while getting his team back on a winning track, as they seek to make inroads as a legitimate challenger within the NFC West this season . A remote possibility, should either the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks slip up over the course of their respective schedules .



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This NFL season while still in its infancy, but already controversies are amidst within the game . Consider also , that three years in and the league has yet to instigate , an in and out of season testing for human growth hormones and this is all being done under the subterfuge of the league and union reneging on a statement made to Congress on the matter, to have that policy in place by no later than the 2011 season . So for all of this excitement of what fans hope to be an exciting year in the NFL , the league still remains an archaic and outmoded bastion of incompetence and where there is absolutely no leadership to be found . Chime in, with your comments as you see fit .


Picture and slideshow details below . .


(1) Broncos` quarterback Peyton Manning warms up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens in the team’s regular season opener . The quarterback would go on to throw for a career-high seven touchdowns on the team’s 49-25 runaway victory over the reigning Superbowl champions . AP/Photo/Jack Dempsey ….

(2) Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco (5) looks to make a pass before Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers (91) makes an attempt at a tackle . AP Photo / Jack Dempsey …

(3) Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a rushing touchdown in the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Monday night . Philadelphia came away with a well-earned victory over their divisional rivals . AP Photo / Nick Wass …..

(4) (4) Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs leaves the Jaguars’ Geno Hayes (55) in his wake after Hayes’ vain attempt to make a tackle . The Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-2 . AP Photo / Phelen Ehlenback …

Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by Dontari Poe (92) of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images North America / Sam Greenwood ….

(6) Geno Smith , background , looks on as teammate Mark Sanchez takes a couple of pass attempts at the Jets` training facility . With Sanchez’s injury in the New York Jets’ last preseason game , Geno Smith was the starter in the team’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . AP Photo / Anthony Knowles …

(7) Pensive , but are they realists ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , left , and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are seen here listening to a committee member from the House Government & Oversight Committee . That committee was convened to pose questions to both executives as to when the NFL would bring in a comprehensive testing policy for anabolic steroids and human growth hormones ., An agreement was reached . voted upon and ratified by the player representatives in 2010 . Three years later and the policy has yet to be initiated by the NFL , much to the annoyance of the committee in question , who may well seek to rescind parts of the NFL`s antitrust exemption status . Something which is said to be under serious consideration by several members of the aforementioned House Committee . Getty Images / Doug Pensinger …..



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Meet Kenya

It is the season to be jolly ……. or maybe not

It is the season to be jolly ……….. or maybe not

Well, on Thursday night , the NFL officially kicks off its season for 2013, where the reigning Superbowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens are the guests of the Denver Broncos at the Sports Authority Stadium /Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. Reigning Superbowl MVP Joe Flacco brings with him a newly revamped roster to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos . The four-time league MVP is now on the cusp of further adding to his already illustrious career . Manning now sits a mere five hundred and thirteen yards from hitting the 60,000 yards` career plateau . A mark that has only been surpassed, by Hall of Fame inductee Dan Marino and the all-time career yards` leader Brett Favre , as Manning now seeks to join that illustrious list .


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Last season, the fans saw the rise of rookie quarterbacks , Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson , not only have extremely productive years , in also having each led their respective teams into the postseason . Yet, it can be said, seasoned veterans such as Peyton Manning , Drew Brees , Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were also one of the primary reasons why the NFL was such a success. And beyond the Superbowl itself , with the Ravens winning the second title of its proud heritage, one could attest to the fact that the expectations are high are for this season for not only that organization, but also for the other thirty-one teams around the league , with each expecting a chance of getting their shot to raise the Lombardi Trophy. .

This opening game of the regular season schedule places John Fox and John Harbaugh under the spotlight, as they each seek to get their teams off to a winning start . For Peyton Manning the highlight of the Broncos` off-season may well have been the choice to make that decisive decision to obtain former New England Patriots` wide receiver Wes Welker . That player`s addition to what was already a highly explosive offense, now becomes considerably better , and one in which Manning gets to be a teammate of Welker, who has averaged over one hundred receptions a season for the past five years .

Both of these teams, the Broncos and Ravens are expected to defend their divisional titles and come away with a considerable amount of success in that particular endeavor. In the case of the Denver Broncos, within the AFC West , I certainly do not see a credible challenge coming from the Kansas City Chiefs , Oakland Raiders or the San Diego Chargers , as the Broncos seek to further enhance their dominance of that particular division . John Fox`s team is by far the best of the quartet within the AFC West and it certainly denotes the belief why a number of analysts and fans around the NFL believe why they should be considered a prime contender for the Superbowl within the AFC . I do believe that the Ravens are likely to face a much stiffer challenge however , within the AFC North , merely because of the growing confidence of Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals . A team that I believe to be one of the most dangerous in the conference altogether !

Bengals` head coach Marvin Lewis has to believe that the growth and maturity shown by his team over the past two seasons , has to be a sign that the franchise is on the right track . Coupled with another very good draft class and a number of free agent acquisitions , it will be interesting to see how the Bengals fare over the course of this season. Dalton and his teammates will open their regular season schedule on the road at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois against the Chicago Bears .

For the Bears` Jay Cutler now in a contract year and unrestricted free agent at the end of the season , he now must prove himself to be resolute enough after all of the major upheavals during the off-season . The retirement of Brian Urlacher was one thing, but the inexplicable firing of Lovie Smith , still does not sit well with a number of individuals around the NFL. The front office explanation for Smith`s dismissal remains idiotic and most definitely bewildering. Smith`s successor, Marc Trestmann now has to get this team into a mindset where they have to perform at the highest level possible. Yet, the biggest questions that will remain is whether or not Jay Cutler can fulfill his potential or simply remain at best, a moderately average NFL quarterback.

If Cutler is said to be under a great deal of pressure to succeed then is conference peer Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys are also in a similar position. The ten-year veteran not drafted in the 2003 NFL Draft , but was signed by the franchise and has become one of the league`s more dependable regular season quarterbacks, but a deer caught in headlights once the postseason rolls into being. Either because they are in a drug induced haze but repeatedly each season the Cowboys are viewed as a favorite for postseason play and the Superbowl itself . Unfortunately, since Romo has been the team`s quarterback , one postseason win during a decade of play for the franchise , has been all that the player has to show for his mediocre efforts. Tony Romo has his supporters, of which his biggest supporter, remains the team`s owner Jerry Jones . Yet for all of Jones` continued support and the recent decision to sign the player to a seven-year $119 million contract of which $40 million is guaranteed. It begs the question; upon what are Jones` expectations based, in offering such a lucrative deal to the quarterback? As I alluded to earlier , Romo does have his supporters, but he also has a great many detractors , many of whom are very vocal in ridiculing Tony Romo`s alleged skill-set. Personally, I find Romo to be overrated , lacking in leadership and one someone who continues to make excuses for his and his team`s own shortcomings !

The NFC East has now become a division once again where the most discerning of NFL fans can now take a real interest. The Washington Redskins came out of nowhere to surprise a number of individuals to capture the division and many , who expected if anything the division to be a three-horse race between the Cowboys , New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles . Well, the three aforementioned teams all fell by the wayside in 2012, through some lackluster play and poor coaching. If Tony Romo are to prove themselves this season to be amongst the elite within the conference and the division itself , then their play will have to be of the highest quality possible .

For Tony Romo and the Cowboys, the regular season begins with a divisional game against their erstwhile rivals the New York Giants. That contest will be played at the palatial Cowboys Stadium in Arlington , Texas , on Sunday night , in-front of a television audience of millions, between two of the NFL`s more celebrated franchises. Eli Manning will once again pit wits against a team where in recent years , he has had a considerable amount of success . Jason Garrett and his opposite number Tom Coughlin , a two-time winning …. Superbowl coach, will be looking to add to his already impressive record. . Inasmuch as Jerry Jones and his son, EVP Stephen Jones have sworn to stick by Garrett as the Cowboys head coach through thick and thin , I truly believe that this season their patience will be severely tested , if in any way the Dallas Cowboys are unable to acquit themselves on the field of play . Considering the tenures of several of the incumbent`s predecessors have been in a number of cases, considerably less than is own. I am actually now surprised that Jason Garrett has lasted as long as he as in his present position ! The likes of Dave Campo , Chan Gailey , Wade Philips and Barry Switzer have come and gone, along with their infamy and granted, Switzer was the only one of the quartet to actually guide the Cowboys to a Superbowl victory . It should be noted that the team in question was essentially built around the pieces put in place by Jimmy Johnson . Barry Switzer, may well be given a great deal of the credit , but in reality, his input when sought, may well have been minimal at best .

After what might well feel and seem like an eternity , the New York Jets have made the decision to name Geno Smith , their second round draft pick as the team`s opening day starting quarterback for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Add in the fact, that the franchise also acquired Brady Quinn and signed him to one-year deal worth $715,000. It now seems only a matter of time before the decision is made to jettison Mark Sanchez , after what many might now feel , has been four years of highs and lows . Consider that to be now, more lows than highs , for another lackluster quarterback from the University of Southern California . I should not really say this , but isn`t that where a number of overrated quarterbacks tend to make their exit from , to enter into the NFL , only to then disappoint ? Matt Cassel, Matt Leinart , Carson Palmer and now Mark Sanchez. On paper, their college stats are impressive, but their NFL careers to date, have been about as eye-popping as Lindsay Lohan`s acting career and Miley Cyrus` somewhat bile inducing performance at the VMA`s . Now that’s a white girl that has no ass and should not be singing or `twerking` !

With Sanchez injured in the Jets` final preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles , in a contest also marking Geno Smith`s unbelievably poor play . It now has me wondering whether or not the former West Virginia Mountaineer is as good as advertised ? And was he really the best option available of the quarterbacks available in the second round of the NFL Draft ? Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik , I believe if they had it to do all over again, would have either drafted up or simply taken another position player and then acquired a free agent quarterback . I simply do not believe that Geno Smith is yet ready to play in the NFL ! Granted, this outing against the Buccaneers could prove to be trouble-free, given that team`s still unresolved problems in their secondary and the doubts concerning the unevenness of Josh Freeman`s continually lackluster displays. A home victory would appear to be on the cards for the Jets , but it will be dependent upon which Geno Smith the New York Jets` fans will be privileged to witness on Sunday afternoon . The player many saw at the collegiate level or the player many witnessed performed so ineptly against the Eagles ? Chances are that during the game we will actually witness both.

As to Tampa`s own ongoing issues , well, let us just say that Greg Schiano has some sort of plan, which he and his current staff are currently carrying out. For all of the team`s off-season maneuvers , we are likely to see a team much like last season , where the players who lined up to be part of what was an essence an extraordinarily bad roster. Considering that for now, almost three straight years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been unable to sell out a regular season home game. I believe that streak is likely to be continued this season , for a franchise whose preseason performances and record were woefully lackluster and inept . Also what remains in doubt, is whether or not defensive back Darrelle Revis is likely to see any type of action in the team`s regular season opener against his former team. Having missed the entire preseason schedule , clearly Greg Schiano must be aware, that it is now time to have Darrelle Revis ready to resume his NFL career and justify that six-year $96 million deal , the player was signed to in the off-season. GM Mark Dominik , by his reluctance to address the media on this one fact, has now become someone whose judgment must come into question .

At best , in a division , the NFC South , where the quarterback play is likely to be of an extremely high standard , I cannot see the Buccaneers coming through their divisional games unscathed and where their conference play is likely to be just as daunting a task. A 6-10 or 7-9 record is what I envision for the team , and that is likely to be generous, given what I believe will be another difficult year for Josh Freeman ! With the Buccaneers` quarterback due to become an unrestricted free agent this off-season , it is paramount that he puts himself into a situation where he is likely to be rewarded and that is by having a solid and very productive season . Is that beyond the scope of Josh Freeman? I will let you be the judge of that ! My own thoughts on the matter are that I did not feel he was a worthy first round draft pick in 2009 by then Buccaneers` head coach Raheem Morris . Four seasons later and the player is still acclimatizing to the environment of the NFL. A steep price to pay for an organization that has not seen a quarterback of note perform for the franchise at a consistently high level in its entire existence .

The Kansas City Chiefs may well have ended the season in 2012, as the team with the worst record in the NFL . In 2013 , I believe that with the addition of Alex Smith to helm the roster at the quarterback position, along with a new head coach in Andy Reid , we are likely to see a competitive club that will certainly be looking to meet the challenge of stopping the Denver Broncos` recent dominance of the AFC West. That in of-itself may well not be enough , but given Reid`s vast experience and GM John Dorsey has seen fit to revamp the lineup , seeking a number of changes that should see the Chiefs making inroads within the NFL this season.

Andy Reid`s team will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ever Bank Stadium in Jacksonville , Florida. And for the Jaguars coming off another disappointing season and having yet to see any real signs of progress in the game of Blaine Gabbert . It will be interesting to see what Gus Bradley and his coaching staff are likely to do , in order to get the best out of what was one of the league`s more inept offenses and defenses of last season . Jaguars` owner Shahid Khan , as ambitious as he is, as the franchise’s self-effacing proprietor , must know that he faces an extremely daunting task in turning around the fortunes of this team . They are likely to face an uphill battle, in competing within the AFC South against the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts , two teams thought to have the best chance of taking divisional honors this season.



Picture gallery .

Certainly the build-up up to this season has seen some rather sensational stories within the NFL. Yet I can`t help but wonder what will unfold over the course of the year , as teams lay siege within their conference and divisions , with the hope of making the postseason . At the same time several head coaches within the league will be placed under the usual scrutiny one would come to expect, with the likelihood of their livelihood actually being at stake. It all makes for an intriguing and suspenseful year of anticipation within the NFL . What , if anything are you most looking forward to, as the season unfolds and which games in particular, in week one and throughout the first four weeks of the regular season do you believe will be the most appealing ? Just simply chime in with a comment as you see fit.

Picture and slideshow details below .

(1) John Fox and Peyton Manning are seen on the sidelines during a postseason game from 2012 . The Denver Broncos vs Baltimore Ravens AFC Divisional playoff game at Sports Authority Field Saturday January 12, 2013. Fox and Manning will be looking to avenge that loss in their home regular season opener against the reigning Superbowl champions . Denver is seen as the prohibitive favorite to win the AFC West this season . Photo by Tim Rasmussen,/The Denver Post …….

(2) From left to right , Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson . All three rookie quarterbacks from last season took their respective teams into the playoffs at the first time of asking , with all three being highly effective in the postseason. Getty Images / Mark Parsons …..

(3) Cincinnati Bengals` quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is seen here during a team practice session alongside head coach Marvin Lewis . Dalton has led the team into the postseason for two consecutive seasons starting in 2011 and then again 2012 . The franchise`s head coach will be looking for further progress from this team , in which we have seen the growing maturity of Dalton and teammates , Jermaine Gresham and A J Green . Getty Images / Michael Carpenter ………..

(4) Jun 11, 2013; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestmann and quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during mini-camp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

(5) Tony Romo and Jason Garrett are seen here on the sidelines during a game from last season . After a disappointing 2012 foray , the Dallas Cowboys well be looking to rebound this season by making a serious challenge within the NFC East , where the Washington Redskins will be looking to make a successful defense of their divisional title . Gerry Matthews / AP Photo …..

(6) New York Jets` quarterbacks Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez are seen at the team`s training facility . Smith, the team`s second round draft pick from 2013 will be the opening day starter for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . A bye-line to this contest will be the return of Darrelle Revis, when he suits up for the Buccaneers to face his old team for the first time on the field of play. With Mark Sanchez now sidelined with a shoulder injury , GM John Idzik signed Brady Quinn to a one-year $715,000 deal . There now seems to be growing speculation that the Jets will seek to trade Sanchez, while taking his $8.25 million salary off the books . The former USC Trojans` quarterback signed a five-year $52.5 million deal in 2012 , of which $20.5 million was guaranteed . USA Today / Scott Patterson ….. `

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers` head coach Greg Schiano is seen here with the team`s defensive back Darrelle Revis . The player did not see any playing time during the Buccaneers entire preseason schedule and is likely to see limited time during the team`s regular season opener against the New York Jets at Met-Life Stadium ,in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Mark Palmer / AP Photo ….

(8) Buccaneers` starting quarterback Josh Freeman is seen here after a regular season game from 2012 . Freeman`s play has been inconsistent over the past two seasons . An unrestricted free agent in 2014 , the quarterback will be seeking a new long-term contract . GM Mark Dominik is not prepared to address the situation until the end of the regular season. Paul Dominguez / Miami Herald ….

(9) Where the white women at , with the `big junk` in the trunk ? Temptress, Miley Cyrus seen here performing with R&B crooner Robin Thicke at the VMA`s (Video Music Awards) . The untalented Cyrus now seems to be courting controversy rather than trying to enhance her talent as a singer and dancer . Talent is not something that seems to run in the Cyrus family . Courtesy of MTV/Viacom Inc .



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


tophatal ……………. 09/04/2013


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Pic of the day , Denise Milani

This wasn’t the way it was meant to be , but I’ll take it

This wasn’t the way it was meant to be , but I’ll take it

By Tophatal ….. 01/08/2013

There’s something to be said for teams playing themselves into contention as the postseason approaches , and one could also attest to the fact that a team without a veteran presence on it , will tend to come up short in the initial round of the NFL playoffs . Clearly, that was the case, when the Baltimore Ravens played hosts to the Indianapolis Colts , led by their rookie sensation , Andrew Luck . And against the backdrop of the stories that surrounded the franchise over the course of the season , it seemed that nothing was about to go right for the team.


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Slideshow .

it was revealed before the Sunday afternoon kickoff, that Colts’ assistant head coach, Bruce Arians had suddenly taken ill , having collapsed in his hotel room , suffering from dizziness and nausea . Considering, the health issues that befell Chuck Pagano earlier on , with his recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma , having undergone several rounds of debilitating chemotherapy .One has to wonder, if this was simply a rather unjust way of getting back at the Colts after their on-field success this season?

From 2-14 in 2011 , to double-digit wins and a postseason berth in 2012 , to alongside the exhilarating play of Andrew Luck and his teammates . What no one would be in doubt with , was that Ravens’ veteran linebacker , Ray Lewis was not about to let this game be his final swan song with the Baltimore Ravens . Over his illustrious career, Lewis has racked up accolades, the way, Warren Buffett has seen his wealth grow immensely . Lewis has the respect of his peers, past and present , as well a great many number of fans across the NFL landscape. And while he made the formal announcement stating that this would be his last season in the NFL , I seriously doubt that Ray Lewis’ wish was to ride off into the sunset, with a postseason loss to the upstart Indianapolis Colts .

The Colts did their leveled best to keep this game close , but errant plays , missed opportunities , and as I alluded to , the lack postseason experience , with only a few such veterans on the roster who could provide a minutiae of what was sought , Indianapolis would in the end come up short , on the wrong side of a 24-9 loss to their AFC counterparts .

As a New England Patriots’ (12-4) fan, simply knowing that they had garnered a top two seeding in the AFC was enough of respite knowing that the team’s defense still remains a work in progress, this late into the season . Now, far be it, for me to suggest, that Bill Belichick , a defensive “guru” , simply does know what he is doing , but at times there does seem to be a reason to his madness and that of his coaching staff . As to what that might be , only the venerable head coach and his staff would clearly know what that might be .

All season long , the deficiencies in the Patriots’ defense were highlighted , with their inconsistent play , albeit that came away victorious in many of those games . Charged with making the defense a great deal stealthier , well that has been placed in the hands of Matt Patricia , while the offense is left in the hands of Josh McDaniels. While the defense has its ongoing woes, the offense of the Patriot has simply been clicking on all cylinders . Leading the way for the Patriots is the franchise’s three-time winning Superbowl quarterback and league MVP , Tom Brady , who simply goes through the motions during the regular season, but once the postseason comes around , he simply becomes a cold-hearted assassin .

The Patriots will host the Houston Texans . This will be the second successive season, in which the Texans have made the postseason . For Texans’ quarterback, Matt Schaub , he will be given the chance to redeem himself after the team’s lopsided 42-14 defeat in week fourteen to their venerable AFC East counterparts. And much of the hype that surrounded the Texans during the early part of the season wasn’t at all justified , as the team came into the final five games of the regular season , going 2-3 in those scheduled match-ups . Hardly, what one consider to be noteworthy for a franchise with Superbowl aspirations. And though one can’t really put much store in one game , I do feel however, if you gauge that by looking at the series between the two combatants , it can at times provide us with something of an indicator , as to how these games can go !

The Houston Texans have proven to be a formidable force this season , and as one of the three best teams </u in the AFC from a record and offensive standpoint , it is easy to understand why the team was seen and remains as such, one of the favorites within the conference for the Superbowl. Running backs , Arian Foster , Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead , should be able to provide the fans in attendance at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts with a great spectacle in terms of a running game . A stern test of both defenses will be part of the recipe , in what is hoped to be a scintillating game . If there is a victor to come out of this match-up , then it will be all predicated upon time of possession , and whomever controls the ball in that specific category will come away the winner , in this divisional round duel.

I don’t know that there will be a more highly anticipated game this upcoming weekend , than the prospective match-up between the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons ! For a seventh round draft pick (2012 NFL Draft) , Russell Wilson might just prove to be the invaluable and prophetic player taken that late in the NFL Draft over the past decade , since Tom Brady as was drafted by the Patriots a sixth rounder in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots . As we know Brady’s career has been illuminated by his on-field accomplishments , his career earnings , estimated wealth , conservatively said to be between $75 million to $120 million , and the fact that he and Peyton Manning might just be the most marketable players in the NFL, and that is with the idiocy that surrounds the “marketing” of Tim Tebow , as one of the “up and coming faces “ within the NFL ! Affability as a sales’ tool when it comes to consumer branding and marketing amongst heterosexual males , might just rank up there alongside using Clay Aiken as the next spokesperson for Louis Vuitton. It just doesn’t work .

In a game that will see Matt Ryan , of the Atlanta Falcons , once again try to get off the “Schneid” in terms of garnering his first postseason victory in what will be his fourth attempt indicates the struggles the player has in terms of his postseason performances . Ryan , forever the consummate professional is a great regular season performer , yet all of his troubles tend to arise in the postseason. As to whether or not he will be able to lead the Atlanta Falcons past a self-confident and driven Seahawks’ team , well that remains to be seen .

Russell Wilson’s accomplishments this season have simply been extraordinary, and the very fact that he joined Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin as the only rookies to have taken their respective franchises into the playoffs in their very first season, speaks volumes as their play. What cannot be denied in 2012 , and it is that we may well have seen the best year amongst NFL rookie quarterbacks in well over a decade .

Whether or not he wins Comeback Player of the Year or adds to his tally of four League MVP’s , there is no denying that Peyton Manning had an astonishing season in 2012 . He led the Denver Broncos to a conference best 13-3 record , and the fact that they steamrolled their way to the AFC West divisional title , simply indicates to me that the , Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders , and San Diego Chargers , are in all likelihood , going to be playing catch-up to the Broncos for quite a few years to come !

And for the Broncos they now have a home date with the Baltimore Ravens , to be played at Sports Authority Field , in Denver , Colorado ,. The two teams met earlier in the season , in week fifteen , with the Colts coming away with a 34-17 victory over their conference rivals . It was very much a game , that pivoted around the proficiency of both offenses and defenses during a great deal of the scheduled match-up between these two teams. For quarterbacks Peyton Manning and the Ravens’ Joe Flacco , this should be an event , that will provide us with an aerial assault , as well as , a great deal of productivity on the ground , by way of a running game from both the Colts and the Ravens.

Getting beyond the travails of Alex Smith , for whom consistency has been worrisome , considering over the course of his career, it wasn’t until 2011 that we saw some growth , maturity and leadership from the seven-year veteran quarterback, drafted out of Utah State as the # overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. With Smith’s regression in 2012 , it has been his backup Colin Kaepernick , who has stepped to the fore to take this Niners’ team into the postseason. Head coach Jim Harbaugh , had shown all the faith he had in Smith , but once the player became injured , he was left with the backup , Colin Kaepernick. He has grasped that opportunity and relished being the incumbent starting quarterback . On Saturday , we will get the chance to see Kaepernick make his first postseason start and assuage his progress as player within the ranks ranks of the NFL .

The prospective match-up between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers , in a game to be played at Candlestick Park , in San Francisco , California, should prove to be eventful , with an all too weary Packers’ team seeking not to be duped into that false sense of security . And with Packers’ quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, looking to further cement his legacy , after another exemplary season . This game has all the makings of becoming an instantaneous classic, in more ways than one .



Picture gallery.

What , if anything , has been the most surprising to you , in terms of the playoff games that have taken place ? And in the divisional round of the postseason , what do you hope to see from the teams participating at that juncture? Chime in, on this, and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .


Picture and slideshow details below .

(1) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates after an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. Lewis has said he will retire at the end of the season, and the Ravens won 24-9 . AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(2) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) runs with the ball and gets away from Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) , for a 47 yard gain , during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(3) New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski faces reporters in the team’s locker room at Gillette Stadium following NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. The Patriots host the Houston Texans on Sunday in an AFC divisional playoff game . AP Photo/Steven Senne …

(4) Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) reacts to throwing an interception to Cincinnati Bengals’ Leon Hall during the second quarter of an NFL wild card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Houston. Left is Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins . AP Photo/Dave Einsel …

(5) Denver Broncos coach John Fox , left, and quarterback Peyton Manning (18) watch from the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Denver. Denver won 38-3 . AP Photo/Joe Mahoney ….

(6) Head coach Jim Harbaugh talks to Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Candlestick Park on November 19, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images North America / Thomas W Henderson …

(7) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson waves as he leaves the field after an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(8) Five quarterbacks who failed to deliver in 2012 by way of a playoff berth for their respective teams . From left to right , Eli Manning , Tony Romo , Ben Roethlisberger , Philip Rivers , and Jay Cutler . All are hoping to rebound in 2013 . …. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …



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And On The Eighth Day God Said To Peyton Manning I Just Don’t Like Ugly !

And On The Eighth Day God Said To Peyton Manning I Just Don’t Like Ugly !

By tophatal ……………

And it came to past that on the eighth day God looked down upon the city of Denver and he like Peyton Manning came to a decision . That decision was I don’t like ugly ! The big news in the NFL is that the four-time league MVP joins the Denver Broncos and this now leaves the incumbent starter at the position in something of a limbo . Tim Tebow’s heroics for the team in the latter part of the season was something to behold but it now appears to be the former Florida Gator quite possibly could be on the way out . John Elway , GM Brian Xander and team owner Pat Bowlen have to be extremely happy with their coup-de-gras. ========================================================================================================================

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Slide show for your perusal .

There’s no denying that while the Tim Tebow had his detractors and his fair share of supporters . The reality is that the player is still very much a work in progress as a quarterback . His flaws are numerous but the thing that the player has going for him is heart which undoubtedly is large . However , what the coaching staff and front office sought from Tebow was simply accuracy and efficiency . Neither of which was on display throughout the course of the player’s schedule in 2011.

Undoubtedly , Manning will be a tremendous draw for the Broncos’ fans at Invesco Field in Denver , Colorado , and for the teams within the ; AFC West who will get the chance to face this newly constructed Denver Broncos’ team , they will see this as an added fortune . At the same in all likelihood the Oakland Raiders , San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs they have to now also raise the level of their respective game , especially from a defensive standpoint .

All that now remains are for the contract details to be worked out by the mutual parties involved . John Elway will no doubt seek to indemnify the organization from any issues should Manning have a recurrence of his neck injury . At the same time Tom Condon acting on the player’s behalf will no doubt seek a contract that will reward his client and make him one of the highest paid players at the position within the NFL . Figures being bandied about would suggest a 5 year deal that pays Peyton Manning $19 million a year as a base salary (cumulative figure of $95 million over the life of the contract) .

It’d be remiss to ask what Peyton Manning brings to the table but simply look at his career stats and it’s all there for everyone to see . This to my mind makes the Broncos an early prohibitive favorite within the AFC to be that conference’s representative in the Superbowl . Now comes the hard part where does this leave the Broncos’ offensive coordinator and how will he work in conjunction with Peyton Manning ? Now for Adam Gase , quarterbacks’ coach , his task now has to be tutor Tebow , should he remain as the team’s backup , or as is being widely speculated upon the player will be traded .

Manning will have a credible offensive line to protect him and it is now being widely speculated upon , the Broncos may not stop with making the quarterback the only Colt on their roster . Free agent center Jeff Saturday could very well be joining his former teammate should a contract be negotiated that is amenable to all of the parties concerned . Certainly, for running back Willis McGahee this gives the player perfect opportunity to showcase his skills .

For the other two teams who missed out on obtaining Manning , now it’s now back to the drawing board for Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke of the San Francisco 49ers . I dare say that Alex Smith might well feel somewhat peeved that his coach sought to bring in Peyton Manning , after his having taken the Niners to the postseason where they fell to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game . From thereon-in , it was the Giants all the way, as they triumphed over the New England Patriots for the second time in five years .

For John Fox , with what appears to be a newly constructed team a great deal will be expected of the coach and his coaching staff . Should he fail to deliver, r then there are liable to be so many questions asked as , to why the failure ? It’s my firm belief that Peyton Manning is looking to play perhaps no more than another four years . At which time upon the culmination of his career he will have surpassed every statistic that matters most with regard to being a quarterback in the NFL . Already a league MVP , Superbowl MVP and multiple Pro Bowl appearance by the now former Colts’ player.

Now there may well be those who will question the following statement but it is my firm belief that the AFC West and the NFC West are by far the two worst divisions in the NFL . Simply look at the performances of the teams in question within those divisions over the course of 2011 ? I’m not saying they were bad but it gives credence as to why both divisions are the bane of the NFL ! Please, in all honesty who in hell gets excited in watching the actual Broncos play much less the Seattle Seahawks , St Louis Rams , Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. I mean before the Niners’ exploits of last season who in all honesty saw that team coming out of nowhere to become the surprise franchise within the conference ? The Niners if they can replicate the success of 2011 has to viewed as one of the presumptive favorites within the NFC . With eleven defensive starters returning from last season Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff have to be extremely happy with the future. And even though the franchise lost out on acquiring Peyton Manning , they can rest assured that the team is still in safe hands with Alex Smith at the quarterback position . Of the quarterbacks on display within the NFC West within the division it has to be said that the veteran stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries over the course of 2011.

Having one of the most efficient defenses within the NFL as well as the NFC , the Forty Niners I don’t believe can be counted out of the equation this upcoming season and their schedule does seem favorable during the 2012-2013 NFL calendar looks to be rather appealing and favoring the franchise . .

Now in returning the Denver Broncos it seems inevitable that the franchise may well seek to trade Tim Tebow , the player , drafted 25th overall (first round) in the 2010 NFL Draft . Other players taken at the position that year have had some semblance of success in some capacity but none having reached the level of praise and at the same time , ridicule by the fans and NFL analysts alike . From my own perspective , the player’s issues stems from so many areas , much of that due to the lack of the insight shown by Broncos’ quarterback coach , Adam Gase but also from the player’s college coach Urban Meyer , who simply rode the coat-tails of Tim Tebow . In large part however , we saw the frailties and lack of real progression from the player and that was on evidence for all to see in the team’s defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots during the postseason . If that loss wasn’t enough to suggest how far Tim Tebow has to go in order to progress as a top flight quarterback in the NFL , then I certainly don’t know what is ! Being completely apathetic as to what is self-evident , then it clearly shows how out of touch the vast majority of fans just happen to be in allowing their emotions to steer them …… rather than reality .

Personally , I wish Tim Tebow all the best in his future endeavors wherever it may well be ! . But at the end of the day in the current NFL it has become win today , and do whatever it takes within reason . For the Denver Broncos it meant John Elway , doing , what he felt was best for the future of the franchise , . even if it now means Tebow has become expendable . Chances are , if the young quarterback is traded he will end up with a team that fully fits his needs and theirs his . As to where that may well be , who knows at this juncture ? Your thoughts ?


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In your view mind if anyone is said to be at fault in this whole saga concerning Tim Tebow , where do believe that apportioned mea-culpa should lay ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .


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It’s All In The Details ………..

It’s All In The Details ………..

By tophatal ….. To read other articles within this site simply click on the link provided

Well the decision was made Indianaplolis Colts to cut Peyton Manning . and a slew of other players that have been part of the organization’s run to a Superbowl . Along with Manning in the past 24 hours , out goes Gary Brackett and Joseph Addai . Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson , head coach Chuck Pagano and team owner Jim Irsay now embark upon rebuilding this team . Now the consensus seem to be that front office will seek to draft Andrew Luck but there also seems to be a growing belief that Grigson might hedge his options and gauge the interest in Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III . Is there really a safe bet concerning the intangibles between the two quarterbacks who finished first and second in the 2011 Heisman Trophy voting .


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In the aftermath of this all with the public statement coming from both the player and owner the end of a chapter closes and beginning seems apparent for Peyton Manning. In the past 24 hours Manning and his agent Tom Condon have met with Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder , GM Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan , which was all to no avail . The agent and player have also met with Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross and GM Jeff Ireland and it now seems the meeting was just a cursory measure by Condon and Manning.

Do you now get the feeling that with Peyton Manning being the most visible and high profile of all the restricted and unrestricted free agents , a crap-shoot now begins amongst the teams now vying for the player’s services ? Certainly the franchise that now acquires the player and signs him to a long term contract basically guarantees that just about every offensive player who’s currently on the market will be looking to join Manning at whatever destination he will currently end up . Needless to say that a number of fans will be hoping that their team will be the ultimate destination of the four-time league MVP .

Now as surprising as this may seem it would appear that John Elway the Head of Operations for the Denver Broncos and the team’s general manager Brian Xanders flew Peyton Manning via Broncos’ private plane from Miami along with Manning’s agent Tom Condon to Denver , Colorado . Now comes the hard part where does this now leave the incumbent starting quarterback for the Broncos ? At the end of last season for the Denver Broncos it was Tim Tebow and his heroics that led the team into the postseason . And given what has been on evidence not just from the player but also from his counterparts within the AFC West it is understandable that Elway and Xanders might seek to acquire the renowned quarterback .

Certainly , Manning would be deemed a considerable upgrade over Tim Tebow in spite of the player’s perceived injury issues. . Peyton Manning at even 50% has to be a far better option than Tim Tebow at 100% of his somewhat limited abilities , and yes I did say of limited ability ! If the Broncos’ coaching staff led by John Fox and quarterback’s coach Adam Gase don't even seem to be remotely interested in getting the player to hone his craft . Then what you see is indeed what you get ! I’ve always maintained that the real lack of progress in terms of Tebow’s style of play stems from his four years at the University of Florida during the tenure of Urban Meyer . The coach just seemed to be intent on riding on the coat-tails of a player whose style was much more suited to the college game. Meyer may well have won two national titles with the Gators’ program but beyond that has he really developed any players who have had a major impact within the NFL ? Think about it before you answer ?

In the off-season after the Broncos’ lopsided defeat in the divisional round of the playoffs to the New England Patriots . John Elway made the statement that Tim Tebow would be the player upon which Broncos’ future would be aligned . Well , that now seems like light years ago , as it now appears that the franchise seems intent on a hard push to acquire Peyton Manning . This now means that the two year starter will now move back to being number two on the team’s depth chart alongside former Notre Dame starter Brady Quinn . Get the feeling that Quinn after his statements about his teammate getting being unwarranted praise for his heroics might now be biting his tongue after those remarks ? The Denver Broncos for their part will look to bolster the roster this off-season through attrition as well as building through the upcoming draft and seeking to acquire free agents , if it appears that they cannot re-sign their own restricted free agents .

Elway , the consummate professional as a player and an enshrinee in the Hall of Fame . Having been the victor in two consecutive Superbowls with the franchise he now oversees on behalf of team owner Pat Bowlen . It is clear that this NFL great is intent on resurrecting this once proud franchise . The former player made a considerable fortune outside of the game in building a car dealership chain across the state of Colorado , which he would later sell for an astonishing $475 million . Away from the game and being an executive and business owner may well have not been enough for the player , who was eager to return to the game in some capacity . That call came from Pat Bowlen after the disastrous season that the Denver Broncos had with Josh McDaniel’s as the team’s head coach in 2010 .

Hired in 2009, McDaniel’s tenure became mired in controversy and there many who questioned the coach’s then choice to draft Tim Tebow and make the player their pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft . All the bravado in the world could not hide the fact that the Broncos were a poorly coached team during McDaniel’s tenure . And all of that was heightened in light of the franchise’s own chapter of “Spyate Part-deux” , coming courtesy of Josh McDaniels and a team video technician who saw fit to videotape the training sessions of a number Broncos’ opponents during the 2010 season. And there were those who felt at the time that this was merely an isolated incident ? Well I guess not !

To think that the NFL is now further embroiled in another controversy , coming courtesy of the New Orleans Saints initiated by former team defensive coordinator Gregg Williams , Saints’ head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis . The “Saints’ Bounty Scandal” , not only has it taken on a life of its own but it has drawn the ire of current and former players as well as team owners around the NFL . And if now retired former New Orleans Saints’ defensive player Darren Sharper insists that he and his former teammates were never part of any alleged financial reward incentive for inflicting game ending hits on opposing players , then I’d now suggest that he consults with a criminal attorney before he makes his next public statement ! Sharper should be aware that both the head coach , general manager and the team’s former defensive coordinator have each issued a formal apology to the Saints’ organization , to the NFL and public at large . So unless Darren Sharper has suddenly become anally retentive and only open to selective memory , I can only surmise that the player is in complete denial of his actions and that of his coaches in question !

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell now has to show his authority as the league’s highest ranking executive ! . He’s going to be called upon by the hierarchy to mete out some sort of punishment with impunity that is befitting of the alleged actions of the New Orleans Saints’ organization . Certainly Jerry Jones , Robert Kraft , Mike Brown , Stephen Ross , Stanley Kroenke and Pat Bowlen are expecting some form of punishment that is commensurate with what they believe to be an egregious course of action by the Saints. Each of the owners in question were vocal supporters of Roger Goodell , who succeeded his predecessor Paul Tagliabue . Let’s say , that there now has to be some form of reciprocity by way of their support . Can you blame them in light of this unsavory episode ? There are many who believe that the punishment meted out to Bill Belichick in the aftermath of Spygate” was too lenient . Myself included , and I am a die-hard New England Patriots fan !

DeMaurice Smith and the executive committee members are now intent on conducting their own investigation concerning these recent improprieties . If you ask me it is far too little , too late ! This being the very same union who in conjunction with the league hierarchy have been complicit in their complete denial as to any connection between blunt head force trauma that have caused concussions in varying forms in regular and postseason games . The utter audacity now , by the union (NFLPA) can only be seen as a PR gimmick and image saving exercise strictly to allay the fears of the public , who have been severely critical of the New Orleans Saints’ organization. Many might now see this as simply fitting for the franchise , whose owner Tom Benson prior to 2005 was intent on fleeing the Crescent City (New Orleans) like a thief in the night , seeking to relocate the franchise , when he simply couldn’t get either the city of New Orleans or the state legislature to refurbish the Superdome , in New Orleans , Louisiana . Hurricane Katrina proved to be fortuitous for Tom Benson and the Saints as an organization and it clear that they profited greatly from that disaster in more ways than one could have initially imagined . In light of that natural disaster the NFL in conjunction with FEMA and the state legislature assisted in a make-over of the severely damaged venue that was home to the New Orleans Saints . And somehow in the midst of all much needed aid to the citizens of that state was simply botched because of the mountain of bureaucracy at all levels of government , municipal , statewide and at the federal level .

As things now stand with the Denver Broncos , should things prove to be fruitful in Elway’s attempt to acquire Peyton Manning it may well prove lucrative for the franchise from an economic standpoint to be competitive within the AFC West , the AFC and league as a whole . Manning’s last complete season in the was in 2010 where his accomplishments are there for the public to scrutinize . And when judged against that of contingent of quarterbacks within the AFC over the past two seasons ( 2009 & 2010 ) it would suggest that the Broncos would be in far safer hands than that of Tebow , or his predecessor Kyle Orton .

If the Broncos should fail in their pursuit of Peyton Manning then there is a remote possibility that the player may well seek to pursue joining a team within the NFC other than the Washington Redskins . As to the possible suitors , well that is now open to a great deal of speculation and conjecture . It will be interesting to see what now transpires over the ensuing weeks and months as the ongoing saga that is now the travails of Peyton Manning ______ in search of a new home . It is going to be hard to envisage see this renowned player not being in a Colts’ uniform for the first time in what will almost fifteen years . His career in the NFL speaks volumes as to the esteem in which he has been held but you get the impression that if this saga is prolonged then it could very well be to the detriment of the player’s image . Personally , I believe that within the next three weeks at best the player will not only find himself a new home but also will have a number of other free agents in tow looking sign with that very same franchise merely to align themselves alongside perhaps the best quarterback the NFL has seen in the past decade and half ! Your thoughts ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the salient points raised within this piece ? By all means do take time to leave a comment on anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .


NB: It is now being widely reported that the Washington Redskins have trade up to take the second pick overall (forfeited by the St Louis Rams for 4 draft picks [1st rd pick 2012, 1st pick 2013, 1st rd pick 2014 &2nd pick 2015]) starting with the upcoming NFL Draft . Thereby signifying their intent of taking a quarterback . All indications point that choice will Robert Griffin III appears to their choice.



Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Denver Broncos general manager John Elway speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(2) Peyton Manning in the company of John Elway and John Fox tour the Denver Broncos Dove Valley training facility. Now the conjecture and speculation begins as to whether or not Manning joins the AFC West team . Also what appears to be unfolding is where this now places Tim Tebow and his own impending future . The Denver Post / John Leyba …….

(3) FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 14: Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos looks on against the New England Patriots during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Broncos would go on the lose the game in a lopsided defeat 45-10 . Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ….

(4) (4) Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos looks on against the New England Patriots during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images … …….

(5) Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball against Mark Anderson (95) and Brandon Deaderick (71) of the New England Patriots during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ……..



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Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Well week one of the NFL season came about with a bang and in some cases something of a whimper given the rather morbid performances of some noted players. Anyone who witnessed the performance of Donovan McNabb in the Minnesota Vikings loss 24-17 to the San Diego Chargers . And though Chargers’ fans may well feel that they can take a great deal out this victory , in truth the team’s performance wasn’t really something to be desired . A seven point win but it was simply the woefully inept performance by Donovan McNabb that surely indicates that the player’s best years are behind him . Anyone who simply felt that McNabb would be the answer to the team’s woes has to be now rethinking that premise .


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From my own perspective , Zygi Wilf and the entire front office of Vikings clearly were sold a “bill of goods” in terms of the McNabb acquisition . As for Minnesota Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier if he has pinned his hopes on the veteran quarterback leading this team to unprecedented heights then he clearly hasn’t learned anything in the aftermath of the Brett Favre fiasco under his predecessor Brad Childress and then last season with himself at the helm as coach of the team. And with the team’s quarterback Adrian Peterson having signed a multi year multi million contract this looks as if it could be a season of discontent for the Minnesota Vikings . McNabb’s stats from this season opener might just be the most anemic a performance of any quarterback in the league over the past five seasons . 7/15 , for 35 yards 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s and you have to wonder what happens next for the now beleaguered player. .

For those of you out there who are intrigued as to who Leslie Frazier may well choose to step into McNabb’s shoes . If not Joe Webb or Christian Ponder then you might as well say that the Vikings’ goose has been cooked . Without an adept quarterback to lead this team then there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of the Minnesota Vikings having a legitimate chance doing anything meaningful within the NFL this season .

From winning the AFC West last season and then garnering a postseason berth the Kansas City Chiefs had sought to improve on their showing last season . Todd Haley and his coaching staff along with quarterback Matt Cassel were looking to bolster their claims that they could be viewed as a legitimate contender within the AFC . Offseason acquisitions and a draft class thought to be the best amongst the teams within the conference and there might have been every reason to believe the claims made by the staff. Well if you have ever seen an anvil being dropped from a great height then the Chiefs’ 41-7 bludgeoning by the Buffalo Bills . If anything we can all attest to the fact that the Bills might well have been one of the worse performing teams in the NFL last season.


Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

In this game the Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had the type of performance that cast him as the second coming of Jim Kelly the Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame signal caller . There’s nothing to suggest that this Chiefs’ team possessed anything that was the equal of their conference opponents this past Sunday .

Care to suggest how the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to fare over the course the remainder of the season ? But simply base that thought upon the team’s woefully inept play against the Buffalo Bills . If you believe that the Chiefs are liable to improve then simply say “yes” , if not then obviously you’ll say ” no ” .

Mike Smith as coach of the Atlanta Falcons if he’s improve the goal of this organization . Smith over the past two seasons has seen gradual improvement not only in team’s play but also in the leadership qualities of his quarterback Matt Ryan . The player for his part is seen one of the bright young players at the position within the NFL . The Falcons for their part often regarded as a very good regular season team but come the postseason they simply floundered under the weight of great expectations .

In the Atlanta Falcons’ season opener against the Chicago Bears , wherein we saw an onslaught that the Falcons simply had no answer in a completely lopsided loss that not even most NFL fans would could have envisaged . Jay Cutler and his Bears’ teammates mauled the Atlanta Falcons 30-12 leaving the team in a complete daze. I have to admit that of all the games that took place this past weekend the result that I found to be the most surprising happened to be the lopsided defeat of the Atlanta Falcons .

One could surmise that the entrenched battle . between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers and the absolute bloodbath in terms of the adversarial demeanor between these two heated NFC North foes had to be seen to be believed . Seven turnovers and a slew of mistakes by Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger amongst others on what is usually well disciplined Steelers’ team coached by Mike Tomlinson .

To suggest that anyone could have foreseen the Baltimore Ravens laying waste to the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7 would simply be a complete lie . The margin of victory was one thing but for the Steelers to be so thoroughly outplayed had to have come as a complete surprise . Joe Flacco , Ray Rice , Terrell Suggs , Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin simply had a day at the office that they could all be pleased with . And for Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh this might be just the evidence needed to suggest that gutting of the roster from last season and the subsequent offseason moves that coincided with the draft picks was a vindication for the Ravens’ front office and coaching staff that the decisions made were simply the right ones at the time.

It is pretty much safe to say that the NFC West might just be the least competitive of all the divisions in the NFL . Anyone of the belief who simply belief that a team that wins its division with a sub .500 record should be viewed as a team with a legitimate chance of winning the Superbowl must be either satisfied with that type of mediocrity or they simply view those teams as viable within the NFL .

Each season the more I simply take in the events of the NFC West it is the more I feel that the appropriate action to take would be get a paper bag and simply begin to regurgitate the food I may well have ate earlier ! To describe the football being played within the division as mediocre would be to describe a painting by Van Gogh as average . Simply put , it’s diatribe being served up on a silver platter for the fans’ edification , not that the NFL fans should be subjected to this over the complete NFL regular season schedule by the teams within that division. But that’s ….. c’est la vie !

The Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll is amongst the highest paid NFL coaches in the league earning in excess of $7 million a year . Granted , team owner Paul Allen is amongst the wealthiest individuals on the planet but I’m sure that even he and GM John Schneider could have imagined wherein the team would simply have regressed rather than taking a step forward . I have never really thought Pete Carroll to be a very good NFL coach as his previous tenures has proven that coaching in the NFL isn’t within his wheelhouse . But this where the front office executives and team owners simply become at times too enamored with a college coach who’s said to have attained unprecedented success. Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier should have been a clear indication that ………. all that glitters isn’t clearly gold .

The Seahawks were hosted by the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend and the effort put forth by Pete Carroll’s team can be best described as being anemic and completely devoid of any aggression . Funny how a team who made the playoffs last season can now be looked upon as quite possibly one of the worst performing franchises in the NFL , on both sides of the ball. The Niners came away with the bragging rights in the divisional game clearly laying waste to their opponent 33-17 . With the loss of Matt Hasselbeck to the Tennessee Titans as a free agent somehow the coach felt that former Vikings’ quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could be seen as an adequate successor to the seasoned veteran . Given Jackson’s performance in that game I somehow think that Pete Carroll’s problems have now increased immeasurably ! The coach’s options at the position are not that great beyond Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis , so it is hard to view this team as a viable contender within the NFC much less the league as a whole .

It has to be said that there would be no doubt that the Indianapolis Colts would suffer this season with the long term loss of their celebrated quarterback Peyton Manning . You simply knew that this team wouldn’t be the same with his loss. GM Bill Polian and the front office may well have felt that acquiring seasoned veteran Kerry Collins would indeed make a difference but in reality the Colts are not a team that play on par with a nemesis when they simply haven’t got their best offensive weapon at the helm as the signal caller and in truth you cannot expect them to be .

Colts’ head coach Jim Caldwell and the coaching staff may well now have to keep the playbook simple for Collins and the team to have any semblance of success this season . Given the experience and the shock to the system of their season opener I am inclined to believe that the Indianapolis Colts are likely to struggle over the course of this year . The humiliating defeat the Colts suffered at the hands of the Houston Texans was enough to suggest that we might well be seeing the decline of a team who having the lost its leader has now become a rudderless vessel about to be capsized at sea. That 34-7 loss more than suggested how devoid of leadership this team becomes , without Peyton Manning but even more so , when you realize that there was no one willing to step up to the plate and assume the role as a leader . Say what you will , but if they are to fare well this season then someone has to be seen as the new leader on thus team .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NFL lockout may well have played its part in the rust we have seen from the teams in their performances in this first regular season scheduled game . But if anything it has to be said the coaches and their staffs had more than enough time to prepare their squads for expectations of what is always expected to be an arduous season . Simply put some of the teams in question may well have performed badly , much of it from their own doing and complete lack of preparation . If nothing else this could well be what we could very well expect over the next few games . But from my perspective these teams on the wrong side of these lopsided losses must have felt that they had been hit upside their heads ! What thoughts if any do you have from this first week of the NFL schedule ? Do you expect to see more of the same or could it be that this was merely a minor blip on the screen for many of the franchises in question ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……..

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings in the huddle with his teammates against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ….

(2) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings in action against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images …….

(3) Adrian Peterson (28) of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Donald Butler (56) and Takeo Spikes (51) of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ……….

(4) Quarterback Matt Cassel (7) of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a turnover during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …….

(5) Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills in action during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(6) Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(7) John Abraham (55) #55 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(8) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers scrambles while being pressured by defender Arthur Jones (97) of the Baltimore Ravens during second half of the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(9) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks the sidelines during their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …….

(10) Tarvaris Jackson (7) of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. the 49ers won the game 33-17 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(11) Quarterback Kerry Collins (5) of the Indianapolis Colts is blind sighted by linebacker Mario Williams (90) of the Houston Texans on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34-7 . Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images …

(12) Head coach Gary Kubiak talks with quarterback Matt Schaub (8) of the Houston Texans during a time out against the Indianapolis Colts on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34 -7 .(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images ……..


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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 ……

Picture and slide show details below .


(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 …….


NFL news

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

Well now that the MLB season is slowly progressing towards its halfway point and with the league’s midseason showcase event due in July with the All Star Game being hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona. It well be interesting to see how the teams come into the break in terms of their overall form .


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Slide show for your perusal .

The standings at present reflect that Philadelphia Phillies seem to be intent on running away with the NL East . They currently hold a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the division and though it’s way too early to suggest that they will be playing for the NLCS during the postseason but it would appear that the only thing that can derail the Phillies’ season would be their own complacency . Within the NL Central and NL West it would appear the races there are too close to call between the top two teams within each division . Tight races tend to add a great deal more excitement to the season and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what the fans really yearn . And that is liable to be the case at present within both of the divisions in question .

Within the AL it’s business as usual within the AL East where the Boston Red Sox are now prepared to show that their recent form isn’t merely an aberration. On a two game winning streak and winners of nine of their last ten games the Red Sox now look as if they’re look distance themselves from the rest of the division. Their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was certainly a hard fought win but that’s simply the mindset of what now is the most competitive division within baseball. This division to my mind will most certainly provide the wildcard entrant for AL without a doubt unless there’s a monumental meltdown by the runner up to the winner of the AL East.

As was the premise with the NL Central and NL West well once again here too the races may well be too close to call within the AL Central and AL West . What we can be certain of within both divisions is that the teams won’t be giving up until the divisions are mathematically out of their reach in terms of winning or possibly attaining that lone wildcard berth .

Now as much as I know that Commissioner Bud Selig the league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners have proposed expanding the playoffs’ format by adding two more teams within each league . I certainly believe that the hierarchy’s biggest issue is to deal with the financial problems now engulfing a number of teams within the league rather than adding to the playoffs and further elongating the season far more than it needs to be. I mean it’s not as if Selig has actually shown the propensity for being proactive on any issue unless he’s dragged kicking and screaming , then being forced to make a decision. Simply look at the morass created by Frank McCourt with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? If that’s not enough of an indication to show mind numbingly slow Selig was in acting , given the fact that it had been widely reported that the franchise was financially troubled . Then clearly Bud Selig along with the owners and league hierarchy were in fact so naive but perhaps even more so , too damn stupid for their own good .

I’m not about to try understand the fascination with Ricky Rubio and the fact that the player now says he’s ready to play in the NBA . Granted , having been drafted in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves , the player sought to forgo joining the organization and play an additional two years in Europe where the financial inducement there was far greater than the front office could have offered with a rookie contract. Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn now feel that the player having made the decision to join the team can provide them with the form and maturity that simply belies his age.

In the aftermath of a horrendous season the Timberwolves now have to deal with the disatisfaction of their incumbent coach Kurt Rambis and the mere fact that neither Glen Taylor or David Kahn have assured their beleaguered coach that he’ll be asked to return next season. With there not being a plethora of viable candidates out there to succeed Rambis should he be relieved of his duties . I would have thought that the the general manager and team owner would want to reassure the coach that his job is safe. Furthermore , with the NBA Draft due to take place on 23rd June I certainly would have thought that a coaching upheaval would be the last things that this franchise now needs . But herein lies the idiocy of how the Timberwolves have simply acted , as if in a vacuum and perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve simply had little success over the last five years. Beset by rather asinine personnel decisions made not only by Kahn but also his predecessor Kevin McHale this organization has never gained any traction in terms of success .

With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the number # 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft it will be interesting to see the decision made by the organization. As such there isn’t a genuine consensus number one pick but the thought is that the two most desirable players could well be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams . From there , it’s anyone’s guess as to what format will be then taken in terms of the players taken in this Draft .

As the NFL work stoppage has already entered its ninetieth day I can’t help but wonder what the optimism amongst the team owners , league hierarchy and players appears to be about ! Hell, both sides have already alienated the vast majority of fans to begin with . And no amount of public statements coming from both sides concerning the progress now being made can simply hide the fact that what we have are two groups of greedy fucking bastards ! The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million per year with the median salary $770,000 and the average career span being approximately three and a half years . I understand that the players are entitled the highest possible salary available to them given the inherent risks of the game . But herein lies my question do they try and identify themselves with the fan out there ? I’ve heard a number of players during this stoppage state their issues are no different from that of any employee in the work place . Personally, I seriously doubt that the working fan who attends an NFL game can actually identify with the likes of Tom Brady , Peyton Manning or even Reggie Bush for that matter when their salaries run into the millions each season . Whereas as the average salary nationwide is approximately $44,000 per year , one can well understand that fan can hardly identify with a player who’s compensation package , endorsements notwithstanding can easily exceed $15 million a year.

From a fan’s standpoint , at this moment in time I couldn’t really care if the NFL starts on schedule as planned on the 8th September 2011 . Once this dispute came into being with a stoppage the NFL simply lost me and many others as long term fans . I’m of no doubt that they will however do their utmost to lure us all back with some form of inducement that we might too unbelievable to turn down . It has already began with a number of teams around the NFL in many cases offering deep discounts on for the purchase of season tickets and game day tickets in a number of instances .

So the US Open golf tournament is underway and all of this without the game’s biggest draw in Tiger Woods . The stage is set at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda , Maryland for any one of a number of players to step into Woods’ shoes and show the fans they can become the main draw for the event . From my own standpoint the moment made the announcement that he wouldn’t be participating in the second Major of the season I simply knew that the tournament could either become a monumental disaster from spectators yearning for excitement . As it now stands the leaderboard for the tournament midway through two rounds isn’t exactly awe inspiring . Rory McIlroy leads the event with an eight stroke lead at -11 (11 under par). And to think that a patron stated that the player’s meltdown in the year’s first Major The Masters was simply because he wasn’t good enough . I guess when your knowledge of the game borders on the level of Palin’s knowledge of jurisprudence and the number of members seated on the US Supreme Court I guess you simply have to take that for all it’s worth ? Sitting solely in second place is Y. E. Yang at -3 , in third place is Robert Garrigus at .-2.

There is still two more rounds to be played in this tournament but if McIlroy is able to keep his composure with the pressure bearing down on him then it is my belief that he can win this tournament and cement his credentials as one of the best young players on the PGA Tour . Having already established himself on the European Tour as well as a member of a winning European Ryder Cup team the future bodes well for the young Irishman . In an earlier article I had intimated that I firmly believe that the US Open could be won by a foreigner as I felt that the US born players have now simply become too disinterested in their national championship and in large , the Majors themselves . With there being vast sums at stake on the Tour schedule and total prize money in excess of $ 225 million it begs the question are they actually interested in winning or merely cashing a check for a top twenty finish ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal …………..

Picture and slide show for your perusal .


(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-0 . AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(2) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: during the game against the at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 3-0. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images ….

(3) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second base as shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) of the Boston Red Sox is late with the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(4) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher David Price (14) during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the Rays 4-2 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(5) Spanish basketball player Ricky Rubio gives a press conference on June 17, 2011, at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, to announce that he was leaving the Catalan team to make his debut in the NBA next season at Minnesota Timberwolves.
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO /Getty Images …

(6) Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images …

(7) T’wolves’ GM David Kahn (foreground) and the team’s owner Glen Taylor answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ……………….

(8) Tom Brady and Peyton Manning shake hands after an NFL game . The two celebrated quarterbacks are amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Getty Images/ Jim Rogash ……

(9) BETHESDA, MD – JUNE 17: The handwritten scores of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the press room during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images ……

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland swings from the bunker on the ninth hole during the second round of the 111th US Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON ….

(11) Y. E. Yang, of South Korea, watches his drive from the fourth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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