King Kong Ain’t Got Nothing On Me ….

King Kong Ain’t Got Nothing On Me ….

It wasn’t the best Superbowl in NFL history , but it will certainly rank up there as one of the most entertaining games in the event’s history. With more an one thousand all-purpose yards of offense and with two teams whose defensive mindset was nowhere to be seen , this game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles , was simply one, where whichever team held onto the ball at the end of sixty minutes , would come out the eventual winner. That was the case, as Nick Foles led the Eagles to their very first Superbowl title in franchise history.   Foles would be named Superbowl MVP in what has been a career season for the backup quarterback of this team . It augurs well for the franchise moving forward, especially if they can keep many of their front-line starters as free agency beckons .


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For Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this was most certainly a game of missed opportunities and while Brady set a postseason record for the number of yards passed in a Superbowl , what cannot be denied was that the three-time Superbowl MVP was somewhat off his mark in spite of a record-setting day. However, I do believe much of New England’s woes stemmed from the fact that neither Bill Belichick or Matt Patricia , the Patriots’ defensive coordinator sought to make any real adjustments to negate the effectiveness of Nick Foles during the Superbowl. Patricia now moves on to become the new Head Coach of the Detroit Lions while it has been reported that Josh McDaniels has shunned overtures to become the successor to Chuck Pagano as the new Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts .

I’ve no doubt in mind that there will be some major changes to the New England Patriots’ lineup during this off-season as the NFL Draft beckons along with free agency. New England’s secondary will have to be addressed and it also remains to be seen if Bill Belichick will promote from within or go outside in search of a new defensive coordinator. . Tom Brady has already etched his mark on the game but , his returning for a seventeenth season in 2018, will be a formidable one for the player, who was named the 2017 League MVP and with good reason, considering his accomplishments during the regular season.

Did the sky fall or was there a thought that the Washington Redskins’ front office felt that they were unable to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract , it would then be in their best interest to acquire a seasoned veteran albeit, they would still have to pay handsomely for the services of that player. Cousins was released and Alex Smith was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in a surprise trade. For the Chiefs they now begin a new chapter with Patrick Mahomes . If he’s the future of the franchise then the Kansas City Chiefs are in good hands. For Andy Reid , this could very well be an interesting season as he and the Chiefs seek to acquit themselves in 2018. Mahomes will have a great deal to prove as the successor to Alex Smith , but I feel that Reid , his coaching staff and the front office have a great deal of faith in the young player.

Not content with another season where they were completely embarrassed both on and off the field of play. The Oakland Raiders saw fit to fire Jack Del Rio and apparently sign his successor Jon Gruden to a ten-year $100 million deal . The contract makes Gruden the highest paid coach in the NFL and his salary was compared to players around the NFL , then many would certainly believe the deal to be completely asinine to say the very least .

Derek Carr remains the main hope for the Oakland Raiders moving forward and that he might be saving grace for Jon Gruden. I don’t believe him to be a great coach , but merely a coach when placed in the right environment can take advantage of the best he has to his availability. Injuries might well have been a problem for Oakland last season, but overall
this team
failed miserably,because of the lack of commitment and passion by the players. Jack Del Rio after a successful season in 2016 , the feeling was the Raiders would be unto something special , but as I alluded to earlier, they failed miserably. Gruden for his part will inherit a team filled with promise but I’m not so sure that will be enough when judged against the best of the AFC West and in particular the
AFC
. It’s now anyone’s ball game within the division, but with several of the quarterbacks having reached the apex of their careers and it will be interesting to see what it is likely to take place in 2018.

For all sense and purpose Josh McDaniels had the head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts . Yet there appears to be discord between the Patriots’ offensive coordinator and his agent Bob LaMonte . The agent has since resigned , no longer wishing to represent the coach after what appears to be McDaniels possibly reneging on taking the position , after it was revealed that the coach spoke with his mentor Bill Belichick , seeking his advice. In most cases , it is a coach’s dream to take the next step and become a Head Coach in the NFL. Josh McDaniels does have that experience , but as we all know his years in Denver with the Denver Broncos was not a monumental success. Having Tim Tebow under his tutelage proved a number of things , Tebow was never an NFL quarterback and that McDaniels’ biggest claim to fame, was the very fact that he’s been nothing more than a sounding board for Tom Brady as a quarterback. That being said, McDaniels clearly placed his former agent in an untenable position. It seemed all but clear, that an agreement had been reached in principle with Chris Ballard , general manager of the Indianapolis Colts. Ballard has now come out and said that McDaniels is a disingenuous and dishonorable individual .

Josh McDaniel might well believe that he is the heir-apparent to Bill Belichick , should the current Patriots’ head coach seek to retire within the next two years. Belichick record speaks for itself and he is Canton bound as the greatest coach in NFL history. I also believe with Tom Brady’s playing career is slowly winding down. It is unlikely that he will be playing in the league on his forty-fifth birthday in spite his intentions. His football mind is as sharp as ever , but without an offensive line there to protect him and a defense capable of protecting leads , Brady might as well be playing all by himself.

The Indianapolis Colts can now pursue a coach they believe will complement their needs , while also possibly looking to upgrade their roster overall. Injuries wreaked havoc on the Colts this past season with Andrew Luck barely being on the field for the team. Chuck Pagano’s failings can be laid squarely on the shoulders of Ryan Grigson and his lack of drafting players who could contribute for the franchise over the past five years. . The Colts barely competing
within the AFC South was something of a shock this past season. We all witnessed the ascent of the Jacksonville Jaguars to the top of the food chain within the division. . Jacksonville’s foray in the postseason was short-lived and with good reason as way too much was being expected of Blake Bortles , the Jaguars’ quarterback. . This upcoming season should prove to an eventful one for both teams as they seek to reposition themselves within the AFC.

We have all seen the fallout from the Colin Kaepernick affair, which led to the player declaring free agency at the beginning of last season , only to remain unsigned by an NFL franchise for the entire 2017 schedule. Call it what you will, but anyone believing Kaepernick wasn’t being black-balled by the NFL , even with the rather idiotic and at times insensitive remarks being made by the President , Donald Trump as well by several owners , clearly doesn’t understand what it was that the former San Francisco 49ers player was championing, as was his right as a citizen as well as an athlete. At one point during the season, it had looked as if the Forty Niners would go their entire schedule without winning a game. However that dubious distinction would be attained by the woefully inept Cleveland Browns (0-16) as they put together an astonishing loss streak . Suffice to say, the Browns now join the 2008 Detroit Lions as they only other team in NFL history to have lost all sixteen of their games on the regular season schedule , an infamous mantel within the league.

When the New England Patriots decided to send Jimmy Garopollo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for some secondary draft picks, it was felt that Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio had lost their combined senses. There wasn’t an actual backup for Tom Brady until they signed journeyman Brian Hoyer , who will likely be jettisoned during the off-season , as Belichick seeks to work wonders once again with his upcoming Draft Class . Garopollo and the Niners were the hottest team in the NFL as they reeled off five straight wins to end the regular season and providing something of a bright light to their long-term future with their newly acquired quarterback. . San Francisco’s front office has seen fit to reward Jimmy Garopollo with a new five-year $137.5 million contract and the likelihood that the player could be on other incentives if he meets certain those goals. It’s pretty much safe to say, the former Patriots’ quarterback has landed firmly on his feet with a truly bright future ahead of him.

Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff can now focus on
making
this San Francisco 49ers’ team a great deal better. In terms of the cap they should be well-positioned to acquire at least two marquee players while likely losing one or two players of their through the attrition of free agency . . From my own standpoint , I firmly believe that the NFC West might well be one of the most competitive divisions this upcoming season, especially when you consider the caliber of the quarterbacks now playing there.

This upcoming NFL Draft will make or break several teams and there’s no doubt in my mind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a make or break season in 2018. There remains a cloud hanging over the future of their quarterback Jameis Winston . This player has never been able to play at a consistently high level, whileputting together a wins’ sequence of more than five games at any one time over the course of his career. Winston is still under investigation by the NFL hierarchy , for another alleged incident of sexual assault and at a time when the country in uproar over the behavior of prominent Hollywood celebrities , powerful political dignitaries and businessmen. It begs the question, what is now an acceptable form of behavior, while idiots continue with their bullshit about political correctness and freedom of expression ? America now lacks morals and cannot believe itself to be any type leader for the rest of the world from a moral standpoint. Built upon Christian principles, my ass !!!!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will always remain an afterthought, because this franchise over the past five years has simply become an ongoing non-factor. Last season was another clear indicator of how bad the Buccaneers continue to be and are likely to be. Their three main divisional rivals , the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints , all fared better than Tampa did over course the regular season. I’m no admirer of the Buccaneers’ coaching staff and I believe Dirk Koetter’s days are numbered as the Head Coach of the team . The best performers on the roster this past season were Mike Evans and Cameron Brate . It will be interesting to see what Tampa will be capable of doing in terms of the free agency off-season and the upcoming NFL Draft.

I firmly believe if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are to be successful this upcoming season, they will have to play more to their strengths while being consistent.



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Continue reading “King Kong Ain’t Got Nothing On Me ….”

Preach , preacher __ preach

The NBA postseason is underway and there is a great deal to be said of the expectations of the participants this postseason. Sixteen teams vying to be this season’s NBA champions and to succeed the San Antonio Spurs . The defending champions face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of their best of five-game series, with the Clippers holding a one-game lead as the two teams head into game two to be played on Wednesday night at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles, California. Chris Paul led the team to their convincing victory with a very commanding performance , leading all scorers with thirty-two points.

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This Western Conference Quarter Finals series is far from over , but I get the impression, should the Spurs falter in tonight’s game, then the Los Angeles Clippers would be placed firmly in the driver’s seat. Doc Rivers is not about to let his team become complacent and his opposing number , Gregg Popovich will ask his players to become more resolute on defense while playing to their strengths . The Spurs’ veteran trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker are battle-tested, having witnessed the triumphs and tribulation of postseason play for the franchise . Likelihood remains, the defending champions will square the series , by looking to stymie the productivity of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford .

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LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 22: Tim Duncan ( 21) of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Duncan was among the leading scorers for the Spurs as they beat the Clippers in overtime , 110-107 in the second game of their Western Conference Quarter Finals’ Series. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Mike Budenholzer was rewarded by being named NBA Coach of The Year having led the Atlanta Hawks to the best record in the Eastern Conference this season. While many might well have expected to see the Cleveland Cavaliers romp their way to the best record in the conference solely because of the return of LeBron James to the franchise where he began his career. This season, it has been the Hawks who proved themselves to be the “class of the East” .

Atlanta for its part as the number one seed, have yet to be tested in their series’ match-up this postseason as they take on the Brooklyn Nets. Game two on Wednesday evening will see the Hawks seek to further extend their lead over their conference rivals in a contest, that is pivotal to the Nets’ hope to prolong their stay in the playoffs. For the Brooklyn Nets and in particular team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov with the tens of millions vested in the franchise , beyond his being a majority stakeholder in the Barclays Center and its surrounding development . It is imperative for the Nets to advance deep into this NBA Playoffs’ season. The franchise beyond having moved from New Jersey back to New York and the city of Brooklyn , this organization has been hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate over the past four years. Prokhorov might well be among the wealthiest owners in the league , but one seriously doubts the Russian billionaire can continue to plow money into the franchise without seeing anything tangible in return.

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year, led to the Broncos

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year, led to the Broncos being brutalized against the New England Patriots and an indication that Tebow does not possess the skill-set to play in the NFL. The fact he was later acquired by the Patriots only to be subsequently shown the door, may well have been done out of pity, rather than anything else.

Tim Tebow’s lackluster years of unproductive play with the New York Jets emphasized what many knew all along, he is not good enough to play in the NFL. The fact he’s now being provided another chance by Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ organization , I believe now has more to do with Kelly’s ego and the fact the NFC East based franchise now under even more pressure to succeed might well have seen this type of publicity as a way of averting eyes away from the team’s deficiencies. If anything , it will now place the Eagles more under the microscope with Tebow and the Eagles’ head coach receiving the biggest scrutiny of all. GM Howie Roseman and team owner, Jeff Lurie could very well have blundered with this move as much as there now seems to be doubters of Kelly’s abilities as a head coach and his recent decision making with the player turnover and the departures of Nick Foles , LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson , among the players let go by the franchise.

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year , led to the Broncos being brutalized by the New England Patriots and an indication that Tebow does not possess the skill-set to play in the NFL. The fact he was later acquired by the Patriots only to be subsequently shown the door, may well have been done out of pity, rather than anything else.

Tim Tebow’s lackluster years of unproductive play with the New York Jets emphasized what many knew all along, he is not good enough to play in the NFL. The fact he’s now being provided another chance by Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ organization , I believe now has more to do with Kelly’s ego and the fact the NFC East based franchise now under even more pressure to succeed, might well have seen this type of publicity as a way of averting eyes away from the team’s deficiencies. If anything , it will now place the Eagles more under the microscope with Tebow and the Eagles’ head coach receiving the biggest scrutiny of all. GM Howie Roseman and team owner, Jeff Lurie could very well have blundered with this move as much as there now seems to be doubters of Kelly’s abilities as a head coach and his recent decision making with the player turnover and the departures of Nick Foles , LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson , among the players let go by the franchise.

With Mark Sanchez and the recently acquired Sam Bradford as the only players on the Eagles’ roster with any real depth of playing experience, it is hard to suggest how Tim Tebow fits into any type of role on the team. Matt Barkley , as a fourth quarterback on the depth chart, I can only surmise , any type off or preseason competition for the starter’s role will have to be looked upon with a great deal of ridicule. Bradford with limited experience in a starting role has been ineffective , but beyond that issue , he is also injury prone.

Mark Sanchez for his part, at best, is no more than an average quarterback, whose two and a half years of initial success with the New York Jets was then followed up with what can be best described as mediocrity, heightened by the infamous ” butt-fumble” incident . However, the biggest issue for the Eagles will remain the fact, Chip Kelly has no propensity for his teams to play defense . It has been their Achilles’ Heel and is likely remain so during this upcoming season , even if defensive coordinator Bill Davis has an epiphany. The Eagles are sorely in need of defensive talent, based upon their lackluster play since Kelly assumed his role as their head coach. Last season made that abundantly clear also , where they were among the lower rung of the NFL’s franchises with an inadequate secondary. NFL Draft or not, I doubt things are likely to change this upcoming season !

An eight-game winning streak seems to have sent New York Mets’ fans into an extreme flight of fantasy. Yet considering the streak, the best thing which can be said about these recent turn of events for the NL East based franchise, might be well be the fact , it has been the only tangible success the ball-club might well have had in the past seasons . As good as the Mets appear to be , I do not believe this team is capable enough of sustaining their level of play over the course of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule !

Terry Collins and his managerial staff may well have gotten the Mets off to a fast start, but for Collins this is likely to be the season where he either sinks or swims with regard to his managerial acumen. The jury is still out on the manager and I dare say front office executives, Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi still remain under a great deal of pressure to steer the franchise back on the path of success. Whether or not Collins remains a part of their strategic plans is a matter of conjecture and debate, but this much we do know, failure by this team and the likelihood will be the manager is shown the door along with the managerial staff.

A 3-2 victory over divisional rivals the Atlanta Braves where the Mets simply outplayed the visiting team to Citi-Field in Flushing, New York . The two teams will meet again on Thursday with Julio Teheran on the mound for the Braves facing the veteran Bartolo Colon of the Mets. The match-up should prove to be highly entertaining between these two pitchers. .

An MLB team is said to be only as good as their current win streak might suggest. For the Philadelphia Phillies, having gone 2-8 in their last ten games, , only the Milwaukee Brewers’ current mark of ineptitude over a similar ten-game span (1-9) is deserving of even more ridicule. Phillies’ manager Ryne Sandberg is suddenly finding out his playing career by comparison is nowhere as difficult as his managerial career is now turning out to be. A 6-1 homeloss suffered at the hands of the Miami Marlins emphasized several of the issues that this Phillies’ team is having to face. Age, declining productivity from several players , who are overpaid , beyond a front office continually spinning their wheels, in search of answer to what ails this organization.

How and why Reuben Amaro still remains the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is a question that many seem to have no answer for . Other than their 2008 success in the World Seriesand a subsequent appearance in the “Fall Classic” , pickings have remained stark for this franchise. Ryan Howard , once a productive player for the Phillies, has now become more of a liability, rather than an asset to this team. Howard’s teammate , Cole Hamels , a former World Series’ MVP winner has not shown the form that once made him one of the most feared pitchers in the NL, let alone the rest of baseball.

Hamels’ $25 million salary might well appear cheap in comparison to his peers within the game, but given today’s ambivalence and the preponderance of the ball-clubs to overpay for talent. Some might well believe the Phillies are getting a bargain with the services of Cole Hamels. Sandberg and his beleaguered Phillies will face the Miami Marlins once again at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, with David Phelps of the Marlins facing off against Dustin McGowan of the Phillies.

Five years too late , but the press junket has already began, with world titlists , Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao . doing their nationwide appearances to conjure up enough excitement for their upcoming welterweight title fight on 2nd May, 2015 at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada. The fight is set to break all gate receipts and PPV records for a title and non-title bout. If the reported purse splits are anything to go by, the estimated take home pay for Mayweather will also be record-breaking , with the undefeated boxer receiving a gargantuan pay-day exceeding $125 million. Gross revenues are expected to top $300 million , with the possibility , the figure could very well exceed $450 million to $500 million u>, when taking into account residuals and the merchandizing revenues.(7)

Manny Pacquiao ,left, is seen here with Floyd Mayweather at an NBA game played at AA Arena in Miami , Florida , earlier this season. The two welterweight title holders will meet on the 2nd May, 2015 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , Nevada , in what is likely to be the most lucrative fight in the sport’s history . Getty Images North America / Paul Evans

For Manny Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum , this offers the pairing a chance to prove Pacquiao’s recent losses over the past three years were simply an aberration. This might well be the bout which will either seal his legacy or hasten his retirement , leading him to fulfill his obligations as a Filipino Congressman.

Once an avid fan of the sport boxing , I now find it tedious , boring , lacking depth in terms of truly talented boxers and where fights more often than not have conjured far more controversy, than than expectations of a thrilling bout ! How else can you explain the sport’s rapid decline into mediocrity ? Inasmuch , as its supporters still believe boxing has something to offer their most avid fans, there is more excitement and competitiveness to be found in five rounds of Mixed Martial Arts’ bout.

The international governing bodies for this sport (IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC , WBO & WBU) are so far behind their combat counterparts, that the image from the MMA rear-view mirror has become a complete embarrassment. For those who seem to be under the belief , MMA has no place in the world of combative or professional sports , they should consider the fact , the IOC might well be considering to dropping the sport of boxing from the Summer Olympics due to its declining popularity on the global stage.

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Which recent events in the world of sports have highlighted what you believe to be either the more comedic or fascinating incidents to have taken place ?

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They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

It tells you a great deal about a franchise, when it just happens to be the team owner making many of the personnel decisions , rather than the coaching or front office staff of a team. We have all witnessed the machinations of Al Davis , former owner of the Oakland Raiders and how he continued to ruin the franchise during the latter years of his tenure. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has still not seen his beloved team win a Superbowl in over a decade . Now, while having the customary setback after their loss to the Arizona Cardinals in week nine , with Tony Romo now on the team’s injury reserve list and their being mounting speculation as to if he will be suited up for the Cowboys’ game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars . If Romo is unable to play , a game time decision is likely to be made by head coach Jason Garrett but with a great deal of input coming from Jerry Jones. It remains to be seen whether the incumbent starter will be replaced by his backup Brandon Weeden.

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With their defeat the Dallas Cowboys lost their grip on the NFC East , with the Philadelphia Eagles now leading the division over their arch rival . For the Eagles their worries have now manifested with the loss of starting quarterback Nick Foles for as many as three weeks. Foles’ loss will likely provide the opportunity for Mark Sanchez to resurrect his career in the NFL . Sanchez will get the start when the Philadelphia Eagles play host to the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, in the Monday night game on the 10th November ,2014.

Mark Sanchez will be asked to be conservative in his play, with the likely propensity for Chip Kelly to use the ground game against the Panthers in this all NFC contest . There is no denying the Eagles will need this win, if only maintain their lead over the Dallas Cowboys. These two NFC East adversaries still have to meet in their seasonal match-ups, which will take place during week twelve at AT&Stadium in Arlington, Texas and with the second of the two contests reverting to Philadelphia in week fifteen.

If Jerry Jones is said to have a high opinion of his own managerial acumen, then his peer, Daniel Snyder , owner of the Washington Redskins , who it is believed insisted Robert Griffin III , be given the start in week nine against the Minnesota Vikings. Griffin returning from an injury was less than stellar in the game where the Vikings came away with the victory. Ill-timed pass attempts and failure to connect with a number of his receivers played a part in the Redskins’ defeat and Robert Griffin’s poor play.

With their depth chart simply thin on experienced quarterbacks, Jay Gruden and his coaching staff have brought in Terrell Pryor with a view to assessing the player’s attributes and whether or not he would be a good fit for the Washington Redskins’ team. Pryor’s career in the NFL can be best described as lackluster and very much understated. This could be considered the desperate act of a head coach at his wit’s end , whose faith in the quarterbacks now on the roster, is are less than he expected to see , given the experience of Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III .

The Redskins are now in a dire position and great deal of the blame for their situation can be placed firmly on the shoulders of GM Bruce Allen, Gruden’s predecessor , Mike Shanahan , his former assistant , the team’s former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan . Shanahan and his son, were simply bereft of creativity and the relationship with Daniel Snyder was less then commendable , during the latter part of their tenure with the Washington Redskins.

Ben Roethlisbeger seems to be back at his very best, with the Pittsburgh Steelers now riding high within the AFC North and the two-time winning Superbowl quarterback now showing the poise and play with the performances, likely to put the Steelers back in the postseason for the first time in three years , when their last appearance came in 2011 as a wildcard entrant , where they fell to the Denver Broncos in a narrow six-point loss. The Steelers are winners of four of their last five regular season games, with their last defeat coming in a 31-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in week six. Roehtlisberger in those five contests, has simply been unbelievable , passing for over 1664 yards , fourteen touchdowns , one interception , with a 112.55 quarterback rating. Rarefied air , but nothing, coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t seen from the player since becoming the head coach.

Pittsburgh, with their lead in a very competitive AFC North, now down to a one-game margin, there remains a great deal to play for, with each of the four teams all in with a shot of claiming the divisional crown , barring any mishaps or major injuries . The Steelers’ passing game has always been based on the efficiency of their quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger has been resplendent in showing his prowess during the season , where he has been among the most successful quarterbacks in the the league up to this point of the NFL schedule. A week ten match-up against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey, will see the Pittsburgh Steelers take on their AFC East conference rivals . To describe the Jets’ seasonas dire would be an understatement , where there has been a convergence of ineptitude witnessed in the poor play of Geno Smith as well as the entire team under head coach Rex Ryan. Many are now wondering, if the head coach can survive the rest of the season or will he simply be allowed to coach the team until the end of their regular season schedule. Jets’ GM John Idzik has not been candid about the coach’s position , with criticism also being leveled at the front office executive for his decision making and handling of the organization.

An eight-game losing streak has seen the New York Jets’ pratfalls take on comical implications for the team and their fans in attendance for their home games. If there was decision to be made about “eating crow” or eating dog crap by the fans of the New York Jets, I get the feeling they would take delight in eating both , and then take aim at Geno Smith and Rex Ryan , showing their displeasure at the duo. If Smith’s backup Michael Vick is made the starter for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers , I am not so sure the veteran quarterback can lead the team to a victory. Vick still believes he can be productive for an NFL franchise at this stage of his career, but those grandiose ideas should now be placed on a back-burner for a player who has failed to live up to expectations. Geno Smith , Michael Vick and Rex Ryan’s career have now become intertwined and it is extremely difficult to see how the Jets as a franchise, can move forward, with all three still being a part of this organization.

Five straight games of passing for three-hundred yards or more , have placed the credentials of Andrew Luck under even more scrutiny as the top pick from the 2012 NFL Draft has seen his stature rise since he entered the NFL. There were doubts , as to whether or not he could succeed Peyton Manning and then lead the Indianapolis Colts to any semblance of success. Two consecutive postseason appearances have a way of bolstering a young player’s credentials and clearly that has been achieved by Andrew Luck. Now the question becomes, can he lead the franchise to a Superbowl victory ?

Though the Colts have not fallen short short in their last two games . In week eight they were on the wrong side of an entertaining and high-scoring contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, during which Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger combined for over eight-hundred yards of passing offense , nine touchdowns and a single interception . Chuck Pagano must like what he is now seeing from his young quarterback , with his only concern being the number of interceptions thrown by the player. Indiana’s victory over to the New York Giants was a timely booster , wasn’t perplexing , a great deal of which can be put down to the fact the Giants’ defense has performed inconsistently over the course of the season, rather than suggesting Eli Manning is now back at his very best . Manning , his teammates and the coaching staff are still trying figure out the conundrum that has become their season .

A bye-week in week ten, will Chuck Pagano’s players the chance to recuperate , study the playbook and then prepare for their week eleven contest agains the New England Patriots , their quarterback Tom Brady who once again is having an exceptional season.

Confounding critics, who may well have written them off , after their embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots are back on track and raring to go. The second half of the team’s schedule is a daunting one , with several difficult games on their agenda. Their week nine annihilation of the Denver Broncos was clinical , where the highlight , was meant to be the chance to witness another Tom Brady Peyton Manning match-up, didn’t quite live up to expectation, with the Broncos’ defense simply being in tatters after being shredded by Brady. If John Fox is said to have a concern , then it has to be the fact the Denver Broncos’ secondary even with the acquisitions made are no better than their lineup of last season. Struggled as they have, if the Denver Broncos are to rekindle their hopes of making the postseason and and completely eradicate the memories of the loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl, then their defense will have to be far more efficient , than we have seen this season.

Peyton Manning remains one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history having broken several of league’s most revered records as he certainly goes on to become future inductee to the Hall of Fame. There is no denying the Denver Broncos are only as good as their quarterback is said to be on game-day , and granted, there are likely to be times where Manning will have an exceptional game , but the team will end up losing the contest , but more than not , it tends to be something of a rarity with this high-caliber player

Johnny Manziel might not have been the first quarterback taken in this most recent NFL Draft, even with their being proponents of the player to be taken higher, with many believing him to be a consensus top-five pick , if not the number one overall pick. The Cleveland Browns drafted the former Texas AM quarterback and he has become an integral part of the team , while being offered a number of opportunities to show his skill-set.

For the moment, Brian Hoyer has the starting role for the Browns and with the team being in contention for the AFC North , there can be no justification to have Manzel inserted into the lineup, as the starting quarterback , in spite of the clamor for him to be on the field. Mike Pettine knows there may well come a time at some point in the season where Johnny Manziel will be called on to take the reins , but for the time being I am inclined to believe he will will continue to ride on the ” hot hand ” of his current starting quarterback.

Cleveland’s defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added to the Buccaneers’ woes and has sparked the belief with the Cleveland Browns’ fans , this could be the season, where they challenge the Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals for divisional supremacy and a postseason berth. The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals will meet in a Thursday night contest at Paul Brown Stadium, in Cincinnati , Ohio,.

A case could be made where the Jacksonville Jaguars’ faith in Blake Bortles might well have been over-reaching with the belief if made a starter , the rookie quarterback could ignite this fading franchise. Hard to believe the last quarterback of note for the organization was Mark Brunell. Considering Brunell’s last game for the Jaguars was during the 2003 NFL season and that his last professional game as a quarterback came in week fourteen of the regular season schedule in 2011 , when he played for the New York Jets as a veteran forty-one year old. The fact that the Jets were on the wrong side of a demoralizing loss suffered at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, should not come as a big surprise.

Gus Bradley and his coaching staff will now seek to guide Bortles through the landmines and trappings of being a rookie quarterback , the front office sought to be the future of the franchise. A 1-8 record is not at all inspiring and though Blake Bortles cannot be blamed for the team’s mediocre statistics , yet it does beg the question , if his baptism of fire can be so bad, what are the alternatives if any for the organization to take at this juncture ?

Jacksonsville will have the Dallas Cowboys as their guests this upcoming Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England , where the Cowboys will be hoping for Tony Romo to make his return after being sidelined in week nine due to an injury. Both teams are in need of a victory , but the signs point to a road win for the visiting team , in what is likely to turn out to be a lopsided contest.

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Picture gallery.

In the age of the quarterback , where NFL has now become systematically about the passing game and defenses being asked to slow down and actually negate that facet of the game. There is no denying the passers in today’s game are seen as the on field generals, with their salaries and contracts being among the highest offered in the league. How do you see the NFL manifesting itself in terms of how the game is perceived and the appreciation of the quarterbacks ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article .

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(1) From left to right , Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett , defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and the team’s quarterback Tony Romo. The trio arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game to be played at Wembley Stadium . AP Photo / Eric Barton …

(2) Brandon Weeden (3) of the Dallas Cowboys passes against the San Diego Chargers during a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 7, 2014 in San Diego, California. If Tony Romo is declared unfit for the Cowboys’ game against the Jaguars then Weeden is likely to get the start. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ….

(3) Mark Sanchez (3) of the Philadelphia Eagles is seen here during a game played against the St Louis Rams . With the unavailability of starting quarterback Nick Foles , Sanchez as the backup, will now be inserted into the starting role by head coach Chip Kelly. AP Photo / Howard Jones ..

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is congratulated by Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts after Pittsburgh’s 51-34 win at Heinz Field on October 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The duo of AFC quarterbacks put on an exhilarating display in providing the fans of the NFL with the highest scoring game of the day during week eight . Getty Images / Stephen Dunn …

(5) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) looks to make an offensive play on the ground in a game against the Minnesota Vikings . The Redskins lost the game and pretty much any chance of making a legitimate run to win their division or gain a postseason berth. AP Photo/ Michael Parsons

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos exchange post-game salutations . Brady and the Patriots defeated the Broncos in their AFC clash , which was somewhat , a lopsided affair , ending with New England’s victory over their arch rivals. Getty Images / Andreas Matsos ..

(7) Blake Bortles left , of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns , are two of this season’s NFL rookie quarterbacks looking to gain some playing experience in the NFL this year. The Cleveland Browns are looking to make a serious push to win the AFC North, where they currently sit in a Isecond place tie with the Cincinnati Bengals , one game behind division leaders the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) . AP Photo/ Tracey Atwater …..
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It is not always the journey that takes its toll, it is the failure then to cross the finish line ….

It is not always the journey that takes its toll, it is the failure then to cross the finish line ….

Anyone who has ever participated in any type of endurance contest, will know it is always about the preparation before the event and in the lead-up what you as a contestant, have done to prepare yourself for that specific competition. The NFL season is simply no different , with a sixteen-week regular season schedule , that at times can seem like an eternity, not only for the players, but also for the fans themselves who will have to endure the highs and lows , as they go about supporting their respective teams . As the league enters its eleventh week , teams are now beginning to distance themselves from their divisional rivals, gaining the victories needed to assure them a berth in the playoffs . This weekend , when the Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) take on the Denver Broncos (8-1) at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado, a great deal will be on the line for both teams , as a victory for franchise will most certainly assure them of a berth in the postseason . In the case of the Chiefs, as led by head coach Andy Reid , he knows a victory almost assures his team that they are in the driver’s seat in terms of seeking to unseat the Broncos as the AFC West champions for this season.

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Though I was not thoroughly convinced that the dismissal of Andy Reid by the Philadelphia Eagles was the right thing to do at the time. I fully understand the frustrations and reasoning behind the former head coach’s firing. Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman simply felt that Reid’s loyalty to the team’s quarterback Michael Vick was no longer worth the risk as the seasoned veteran had now become more of a liability , rather than an asset to the team. Vick’s stats over the past ten to fifteen games has simply borne this out , along with his inability to stay injury free,

While the Eagles continue their season of inconsistency , albeit that they are now in involved in a tight divisional race with the Dallas Cowboys (5-5) , in what I can best describe as being one of the worst divisional in the NFL simply by the records reflected of all four residents within the NFC East and the fact that all four are no better than .500 within the division . The fact that is quite possible , that the actual winner of NFC East could easily end up with an 8-8 record and make the postseason , not only adds insult to injury , but also once again shows how bad the division just happens to be , in terms of the quality of football being played. Now, the more docile of observers, may well choose to point out that injuries have played a part of what we the fans have observed within the NFC East this season . However, I would put it down to the ineptitude of the coaching on display and also the fact that a number of the players within the division are not as good as advertised.

As to this contest between the Chiefs and Broncos this game will be heightened by the health of Peyton Manning and his appearance, given his ongoing health issue by way of a high ankle sprain . Manning, long seen as one of the many faces of the NFL alongside perhaps his most famous peer and adversary , Tom Brady . Off to a tremendous start this season , Peyton Manning has simply set a pace not seen in the league in several years, as the player once again seems to be on a record pace for passing touchdowns in a season . It is my belief however, that the player would rather team success by way of a second Superbowl victory for Manning and a first for the Chiefs’ franchise, as well as, quite possibly adding to his mantelpiece of a fifth League MVP and a second Superbowl MVP award . By any measure, this contest will provide a spectacular ratings’ bonanza for the broadcast network .

It is extremely hard to discern, how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ (3-6) season has continued to spiral out of control. Although winners, of three of their last five games, the team sits at the bottom of the AFC North,where the divisional leader, is a still resurgent Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) . Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis , behind a young quarterback, in Andy Dalton and an offense that has proven to be resilient as they are explosive. Pittsburgh will face a stern test when they play host to the Detroit Lions (6-3) on Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon , in what is sure to be a highly competitive game . The Bengals meanwhile, will have as their guests, in-state and divisional rival the Cleveland Browns (4-5). Needless to say, Andy Dalton and his teammates will seek to further distance themselves from the Browns and Baltimore Ravens (4-5) within the division. Both contests, should prove to be very intriguing, with the outcome likely to predicated upon time of possession, and sound defense. Something that as of late, seems to be something a “lost art form “ , for a number of teams around the NFL, where there now seems to be an abundance childlike mistakes that have become profligate within the game.

To witness a Steelers’ team struggle as they have done on both sides of the ball, does seem to be troubling for a franchise, known to be stymieing on defense and one who has always sought to “pound the rock” and then use an efficient passing game to gain a positive result. This season , the plethora of problems seems to have been omnipresent beyond the team injuries and the complete lack understanding between the offense and defense. Never-mind, the fact, that Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin remains at his wit’s end, as to the lackluster performances of this team .

The Detroit Lions and Jim Schwartz will seek to take advantage of the fact that with the Chicago Bears without Jay Cutler once again, as the Bears’ signal caller seeks to recuperate from an injury . It will also be a similar case, for the Green Bay Packers and their loss of Aaron Rodgers , as these two players have always been the focal points of their respective teams’ offensive strategies . Detroit will hope to make this advantage count , in their contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When the Philadelphia Eagles play host the Washington Redskins (3-6) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, in a divisional game . This is likely to be one of those contests , where the game is likely to be extremely enthralling or a monotonous bore . I am inclined to be believed, that it will be the latter! The Redskins for their part, have simply regressed with neither Mike Shanahan or his son, defensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan being able to provide a succinct explanation as to why the team has been so pitiful this season . One could attribute that to the numerous injuries suffered by the team over the course their schedule , or as everyone seems to believe quarterback Robert Griffin III is not yet back to full fitness and playing at the level exhibited last season and during the playoffs . From my own standpoint, I believe that the Redskins and the coaching staff in particular, simply became lazy , complacent , over-confident and choosing to rest on their laurels , after the accomplishments of 2012.

With Robert Griffin III now suggesting that the last placed Redskins within the NFC East and their 3-6 record , are quite capable of still making the playoffs . I am beginning to wonder, if the second year player , is simply displaying a kind of false bravado on his part, to excuse his own poor play over the course of this season or is it, that he truly believes that over the remainder of the team’s seven games the Redskins are quite capable of winning five of the possible seven contests in question to achieve that feat ? Given the team’s play and the lack of commitment shown, I simply do not believe that they can attain that goal ! There has been no evidence, to suggest, that they have it within them collectively, to actually defeat the Eagles this upcoming Sunday.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Despite Robert Griffin III’s Confidence, Playoffs Are Long Shot for Washington Redskins

By Brian Skinnell , Yahoo Contributor

COMMENTARY | There is a big difference between being 3-6 in 2012 and being 3-6 in 2013. Last season, the Washington Redskins were in much better position to make a playoff run. Due to the current state of the team, they’ve got a lot more work to do to duplicate that magical run.
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This past weekend, star quarterback Robert Griffin III spoke with plenty of confidence to reporters regarding Washington’s playoff chances. He told The Washington Post that the team still believes and that they aren’t giving up. While that’s all fine and well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. The Redskins have their work cut out for them if they want to return to the playoffs.

The Special Teams Must Improve

All season long, it’s been one special teams headache after another. The coverage units have been poor and a few teams have defeated Washington thanks to the Redskins’ poor effort on special teams. Sav Rocca has had moments of brilliance as a punter, but he’s been somewhat inconsistent, as well.

There are three facets to the game of football: offense, defense and special teams. In order to be successful and win football games, you need to dominant in all three facets. For Washington, they certainly haven’t done that on special teams and that must get better if they want to make a playoff push.

The Defense Needs to Tighten Up

Much like the special teams, we have seen plenty of inconsistent play from the defense. Against the Denver Broncos, we saw them put together one of the best halves of the season only to throw it all away in the second half. The same can be said for their second-half debacle in Minnesota where Washington surrendered 20 unanswered points in their loss to the Vikings.

Statistically, Washington has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They rank 26th in pass yards allowed (274.8 per game) and are 18th in rush yards allowed (113.8 per game). They give up an average of 388.6 yards per game which ranks them at 27th.

Let’s return to our three facets of football. We’ve established Washington’s inability to take care of the special teams facet of the game, and it’s fair to say they are having trouble getting it done defensively. The offense has played well, but last time I checked, one-out-of-three equals roughly 33-percent, which is a failing grade. In the NFL, that’s nowhere near close enough to win a football game.

The Schedule Isn’t in Their Favor

It’s not a stretch to say that Washington needs to win-out in order to make the postseason, something that will be extremely difficult to do. In the final seven games of the season, the Redskins will have to face the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons and 49ers aren’t having great seasons, don’t underestimate their offensive prowess against a lackluster defense.

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The NFL now, no longer having a win-less team , the question now becomes which franchise is likely to have the dubious privilege of ending up with .the worst record in the league ? At present, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) both share that dubious distinction with a 1-8 record apiece.. Is either team better than their respective records suggests? Well, given the fact that it was not until week ten > before either team was able to notch their very first victory of the season should tell you a great deal about teams and how their schedules have over the course of this year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have as their guests , on Sunday, their divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons , who themselves are going through a season of missed opportunities and under-achievement . It is pretty much safe to say that this being a contest of utmost importance to both teams, with a great deal being at stake beyond quite possibly the long-term futures head coaches Mike Smith of the Falcons and Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Suddenly, with the Buccaneers’ defense playing a lot better after the team’s 22-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins , during which they held their woefully inept opponents to minus two yards of rushing offense and a meager two-hundred and thirteen yards of total offense for the AFC East based franchise. I am not so sure that Tampa will be able to repeat that type of performance against a Falcons’ team looking to rebound after being completely manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks in a lopsided 33-10 loss . As to what that says about a team, who last season was seen as one of the prohibitive favorites in the NFC, only to once again fall short with another understated performance by Matt Ryan in the postseason, in an NFC championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers . Ryan, who alongside Tony Romo , might now be the most ” overrated quarterback “ currently . playing in the NFL and certainly one of the most overpaid given the lack of postseason results from both players .

Needless to say , my own observations concerning the Dallas Cowboys will simply evolve around the continued idiotic statements of the team’s owner Jerry Jones , because in terms of taking the franchise and team seriously , they are about as heartwarming and welcomed as a pandemic outbreak of the Ebola virus. The Cowboys have simply found ways , each week over the past five years to p have killed the meaning of the word ” quality” and talent when it comes to their brand of football , along with a coaching staff that is simply bereft of creativity and talent !

The Jacksonville Jaguars will now seek to win their second consecutive game of the season and push their win total for the year season to two , when they meet the Arizona Cardinals . Personally, I believe that if the Jaguars can keep that figure below five, then in all likelihood, they will be favored to obtain the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft . With a plethora of talented said to be primed and ready amongst those who will undoubted declare their eligibility , I do not believe that there will be a need for Jaguars’ GM David Caldwell to be heeding any advice from either Mel Kiper or Todd McSDhay , as to whom they (Jaguars) should be taking as their first pick overall , much less their entire allotment of picks in 2014 .

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As the season ends enters the final quarter of the .regular season games’ schedule , what are you hoping to witness as the finals games and the scenarios are played out ? Also which teams do you believe will be a making serious surge down the final stretch of the season ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of the site !

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(1) Mike Munchak head coach of the Tennessee Titans is seen here walking the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL game played on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts in Nashville , Tennessee ,. Indiana would go on to defeat Tennessee 30-27 in what was a highly competitive game between the two AFC South teams. AP Photo / Wade Payne ……

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts rushes for a touchdown during the game played against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night , 14th November, 2013. The victory strengthened the Colts’ position at the top of the AFC South , with five games remaining in the regular season . AP Photo / Wade Payne …..

(3) Donald Brown (31) of the Indianapolis Colts evades Michael Griffin (33) of the Titans as he makes it into the end-zone after a six-yard touchdown run against the Tennessee Titans in a Thursday night game . AP Photo Wade Payne ….

(4) Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid is seen here on the sidelines talking to the team’s quarterback Alex Smith during a regular season game. Reid and the Chiefs will be taking on divisional rivals the Denver Broncos as the Kansas City Chiefs look to preserve their unbeaten record in a week eleven match-up between the two AFC West teams. Getty Images North America / Eric Patterson ……

(5) Robert Griffin III, quarterback of the Washington Redskins is seen here with head coach Mike Shanahan . Having made the postseason in 2012 , the Redskins are likely to miss the playoffs this season as they currently reside in the lower rung of the NFC East with a 3-6 record . Griffin believes that the team can make a spirited run and gain a playoff berth within the NFC at the climax of the 2013 NFL season . Getty Images / Mark Harris ……

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tophatal …………. 11/15/2013

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Chloe Vevrier . More tools in her “tool chest” than even she would care to admit. More of Vevrier below .

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Can she ride side-saddle ? Or does she prefer bareback ? As that is what I would like to know !

No sleep ’til Brooklyn …………

No sleep ‘til Brooklyn

Week nine in the NFL offered few surprises , unless you just happen to be buying into the fact that Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles might now be the second coming of Joe Montana and Steve Young all rolled into one ? The fact of the matter is , when your opponent just happens to the Oakland Raiders , the opposition with all due candor , that is unlikely to prove to be a stern test . Let us just say at present , the Raiders’ season is already over , bar the shouting and Mark Davis , along with GM Reggie McKenzie are likely to bring about to an end , the tenure of Dennis Allen as the team’s head coach . The talent level on this Raiders’ team might just be at its lowest in several years , with the franchise likely to miss the postseason , as well as posting a sub .500 record or worse for the eleventh consecutive season . Consider, the fact also , that the Oakland Raiders’ last postseason appearance, came during the 2002 postseason . The franchise has now become historically woeful, with only the “Raider Nation ” faithful, standing by the team. As to what may well happen next, is now a matter of conjecture and speculation , as the Raiders prepare for their week ten opponent the New York Giants who they will face at the Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey , this upcoming Sunday .

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The Raiders’ rather lopsided 49-20 defeat suffered at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles , should come as no surprise for those who bore witness the spectacle via the national broadcast . However , what has to be treated with a great deal of skepticism has to be the performance of Foles , who matched an NFL record for the most touchdown passes during a regular season game , with seven scores against a poorly coached and hapless Raiders’ team and secondary . As good as the Eagles’ performance just happens to be, at the midway point of the season, this Chip Kelly coached team has a sub .500 record (4-5) within a division , the NFC East , that at present, might the worst in the entire NFL .

In a season , where the Houston Texans were seen as the presumptive favorites to win the AFC South , with an explosive offense led by Matt Schaub , Arian Foster and Andre Johnson . This season , the Texans have proven to be all too inconsistent with starting quarterback , Schaub having a year on that he would undoubtedly like to see in a rear view mirror. Currently sidelined with an ankle injury , it appears unlikely that he will return this season in his former role . Inconsistency has plagued the veteran starter , with the Texans’ fans showing their pleasure, in seeing Matt Schaub sidelined for the present. Beleaguered head coach Gary Kubiak can for the moment take pleasure that he might well have found the answer to his prayers with the emergence of Case Keenum , and his play during the Texans’ game against the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday. Unfortunately, for the home team , this contest ended in a defeat, that should have been a decisive victory against their divisional rivals . The heroics of the day once again belonged to the Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck who showed a great deal of composure in bringing his team back for this unexpected victory .

If you thought all of the drama simply took place on the field at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas on Sunday afternoon. Then seeing Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak fall to the ground from what appeared to be a fainting spell or quite possibly cardiac arrest . The coach was immediately taken to a hospital, having first been provided with immediate medical attention on the field and then in the locker room. It is likely, that Kubiak will be held at the medical facility, where he will undergo a battery of tests, before being released. No pubic statement has yet been made, as to the cause of the head coach’s condition , which is likely to kept private at the request of the family and the team , itself. Matt Schaub’s immediate and long-term future is now under a great deal more scrutiny than at any time during his nine-year career in the NFL , having been drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft . . Schaub who becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2017 , signed a five-year $66.15 million deal in 2012 , of which $29.15 million was guaranteed money . His base salary for this season is $ 7,250,000 with a further $3.500,000 due in part as a bonus . Whether or not the franchise will seek to retain the veteran, is now likely to be open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation , but I do believe that a great deal of that will be prefaced upon the progress shown by Case Keenum. If GM Rick Smith believes that Keenum is the future of the Texans as they proceed forward , then in all likelihood , Schaub will be supplanted in the starting quarterback position by his younger teammate , with the franchise seeking a trade of the veteran signal caller

In week ten, the Texans are the guests of the Arizona Cardinals , for whom week nine, was a bye for the NFC West based franchise . Coming off a decisive week eight 27-13 victory over the fast slumping Atlanta Falcons , there is every reason to believe that this contest will prove to be a stern test for Houston, as they seek to rebound from a heartbreaking loss to the Colts .

The struggles of the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be an ongoing issue that now seems to have not only the Steelers’ fans worried but also a great many observers around the NFL . It has been considerably long time, since we have seen this franchise sink to such lows, where one now has to question the heart of this team as well as the play calling of offensive coordinator Todd Haley . From my own perspective, I do believe that the Steelers’ issues stem from some poor draft picks over the past three seasons , with the players in question having not shown the progress sought by head coach Mike Tomlin and the GM Kevin Colbert .

Sunday afternoon, the Steelers came to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ , Massachusetts , seeking to inflict a loss on the New England Patriots. Instead, the Patriots simply used all of the offensive weapons available to Tom Brady , who simply raised the level of his game to give one of his : best performances of the season as the Patriots annihilated the Pittsburgh Steelers in game that became beyond the Steelers’ reach in the final quarter as England rattled of twenty-eight points on their way to a thoroughly convincing 55-31 victory . Where this now leaves players such as , Ben Roethlisberger , Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu , Will Allen , Ryan Clark , Jerricho Cotchery .a , Lawrence Timmons and several other of these experienced players on the roster have shown no heart , as this team has now slumped to a 2-6 record within the AFC North . The fact, that the Steelers were lambasted in a lopsided hammering by the New England for the Steelers’ worst loss of the season , now leaves a number of fans wondering where the franchise now goes from here .

The Kansas City Chiefs remain the league’s lone unbeaten team and at 9-0 , with and two more wins, guarantees the Chiefs a playoff berth . A further loss by the Denver Broncos and the AFC West , the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to become the divisional champions for this season . The Chiefs have a potential game of the season awaiting them in week eleven , when they meet at the Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado, on Sunday, 17th October , in a conference and divisional contest . That game will certainly have a bearing on the seedings for the AFC at season’s end, but for now the fans should take heart in the very fact that division and conference does not remain a forgone conclusion

Still early days yet, in the NBA season and the defending champions have shown a few chinks in their undoubted armor . The Miami Heat are seeking to rewrite history, cast their own legacy in the annals of NBA history, as they seek to win a third consecutive NBA title . New additions to the roster , Michael Beasley , Roger Mason Jr and Greg Oden are seeking to contribute to this Erik Spoelstra coached team . At 2-2, the Heat sit jointly atop of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference , alongside the Orlando Magic , whose quick start out of the gate has not exactly caught everyone off-balance . From my own perspective this , Magic team will be in for a rough ride over the course of the season as they seek to rebound from a rather lackluster year in 2012 . One which saw the departure of Dwight Howard , whose last season with the team was mired in a great deal of controversy that in the end , led to the dismissal of Stan Van Gundy .

. Miami’s next scheduled game, will see them head north of the border to play the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario , . That match-up should prove to be very interesting contest , as the Raptors seek to gauge themselves against the best team in the Eastern Conference over the past two seasons .

Four-time league MVP LeBron James , also a two- time Finals’ MVP will seek to add to his own legacy , as he seeks to join the ranks of the greats of the game. At this juncture , if James adds another NBA title as well as league MVP to his already distinguished resume` , then I would have to rethink my view as to whether or not he has been the best player to grace the NBA over the past fifteen years . Granted, James’ idol Michael Jordan , will be considered the greatest player to have played the game , but quite possibly , at the point at which LeBron James chooses to retire from the NBA , he may well have surpassed many of Jordan’s greatest personal achievements as a player in the NBA. James has yet to reach his maturation point as a player and over the past four season , we have seen the growth of his all-round game . In terms of a rival to match James’ play and skill-set , the analysts agree that the rivalry may well come from the Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant , a three-time league scoring champion and again a three-time runner-up in the League MVP voting .

Scott Brooks head coach of the Thunder must be greatly enthused by the fact that Kevin Durant has returned to the league this season with the mindset that the team has unfinished business . The postseason of 2012 something of nightmare for the team as they were swept aside in the NBA Finals by LeBron James and the Miami Heat , where the match-up between Durant and the Heat superstar failed to live up to the perceived hype , as the Thunder were brushed over in a lopsided 4-1 series’ victory . Last year’s postseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder was one of more heartache with the loss of the team’s point guard Russell Westbrook , as he suffered an injury in the team’s first round series against the Houston Rockets . Westbrook was injured in a collision with the Rockets’ Patrick Beverley , which would require orthopedic surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee. The point guard’s loss would prove to be impactful for the Thunder, as Russell Westbrook and the team would be unceremoniously dumped in the first round, with a 4-2 series’ loss. All season long, the point guard would prove to be one the most productive players on the roster, alongside teammate Kevin Durant.

A new season beckons, it will be interesting to see what type of mindset will be shown by Russell Westbrook when he makes his first appearance for the Thunder . His return would suggest that the player has not missed a step after the team’s 103-96 defeat of the Phoenix Suns , during which he scored twenty-one points , dished out seven assists , with four rebounds and a steal . Yet there were signs of rustiness displayed with some momentary lapses that led to four turnovers and 1 personal foul. As he begins to find his rhythm, we are likely to see Westbrook regain the form that has made him one of the most explosive point guards in the NBA over the past four seasons . I strongly believe that the Oklahoma City Thunder will be one of at least four teams in the Western Conference seeking to be dominant within the conference this season, as well as within their respective divisions . The other teams I see playing a part within this whole year-long scenario, are the Los Angeles Clippers , Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs . In the Clippers’ case , that is solely based on the mindset brought in by Doc Rivers and whether or not , he can get this team to actually play a modicum of defense . We are aware as to what they are capable of from an offensive mindset , as we all bore witness to that last season .

The Clippers now seeing a resurgence in not only their play but also fan-base , and now of the belief that they’re on an equal footing with their in-house residents at the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Lakers . This season, will be a test for both franchises , as they each seek to carve out a niche for themselves within the NBA landscape. As I alluded to earlier, while the Clippers are a robustly talented team on offense , their issues remain on the defensive side of the ball. With the mindset of Chris Paul , now a determining factor, things are likely to change after the point guard’s first season with the team in 2012 . Alongside , Blake Griffin , DeAndre Jordan , Darren Collison , J J Redick , Antawn Jamison , Ryan Hollins the rest of this cast , we will be able to gauge whether or not there is any justification for there to be a presumption that they are legitimate contenders for the NBA title this season . Evidence of that may well have been on hand last night, as they completely manhandled the Houston Rockets on their way to a 137-118 victory for the highest scoring game in the infancy of this NBA season . Houston with the off-season acquisition of Dwight Howard , were also being looked upon as a championship caliber team . To my mind , beyond James Harden , there is little to suggest that the addition of Howard will factor into the Rockets chances of lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of this postseason . Dwight Howard has yet to prove himself when it matters the most , and that is during the postseason and he certainly cannot be considered a player readily and willing to assume the mantle of leadership , should James Harden be otherwise indisposed due to a prolonged injury .

During last season within the NBA schedule , one of the more idiotic comments I read concerning the NBA, was that of a patron, who suggested that New York sports’ fans tend not to expect a great deal from or off their teams , even when the rosters assembled are considered to be that of a championship caliber team . Personally, I felt the statement, was lacking in intelligence and obviously from an individual, who simply does not spend a great deal of time informing themselves of what is routinely happening in the nation’s largest sports environment, where all four of the major professional team sports are well represented alongside having perhaps having some of the most gregarious and often most acerbic and volatile sports’ journalists in the country . With, both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks , having made the postseason in 2012, as the fourth and second seeds respectively, in the Eastern Conference standings . A great deal was expected of both teams, as each sought to make a respectable showing in the league’s showcase event of the postseason .

The New York Knicks led by Carmelo Anthony and an assortment of ill-fitting parts , made light work of the Boston Celtics in the first round of a highly competitive and volatile series . Meanwhile , the Nets, with their wildly exorbitant payroll of underachieving players , suffered the ignominy of bowing out in their opening round series to the Chicago Bulls , who were at the time without their best player , Derrick Rose . As to what that might suggest about a team , whose owner Mikhail Prokhorov , who remains of the mindset , that the best way to solve a problem is to simply to throw money at the issue and then let things fall where they may. Somewhat like this present White House administration , and that of the US Congress , and their omnipresent ideas , as how best to deal with an ongoing and still ailing economy. Print money, borrow money , spend money , on just about any damn idiotic idea that you think might fly or curry favor , not with the constituents , but their financial backers , by way of the funneling of monies by lobbyists and the special interest groups they represent .

Prokhorov as the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, has simply sought to play second fiddle to no one , not even to their in conference rivals the New York Knicks. The fact that these two teams have now created an intense rivalry , with both sets of fans now foaming at the mouth , while showing not quite utter disdain for their foe . I am not so sure , what this will amount to , even with the addition of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to a Nets’ roster whose team payroll of just over $70 million in 2012 , will balloon to over $102.6 million for this upcoming season and creating a liability for the Nets franchise where they will be paying in excess of forty-three million dollars for exceeding the league’s soft salary cap ($58.648 million) .

While, I believe that both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks to be very good teams , I simply do not believe, that either, are the equal of the Miami Heat, in terms of being able to mount a serious enough challenge to dethrone the defending NBA champions .

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Picture gallery . (By clicking on an individual frame , you can see that picture in its original formatted size)

With the NFL now its midway point , what are you hoping to see in the second half of the season by way of the play from the teams in the NFL ? Also with the NBA still in its infancy this season , have there been any teams , team , player or players that you believe will have a successful year within the league itself ? Leave a comment, as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it has always been greatly appreciated first and foremost !

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(1) Nick Foles (9)/ is seen here attempting a pass during the game played between the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders played at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland , California on the 3rd November , 2013 . The Eagles would go on to defeat Oakland 49-20 , with Foles equaling an NFL single game record in passing for seven touchdowns during the contest. Getty Images / Brian Bahr …

(2) Tight end Zach Ertz (86 ) of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Nick Foles (9) against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter on November 3, 2013 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. Getty Images North America/ Brian Bahr …

(3) Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is loaded on a stretcher after he collapsed on the field as the team left for halftime against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(4) Case Keenum (7) of the Houston Texans breaks the tackle of Ricky Jean Francois (99) of the Indianapolis Colts as he rushes in the second quarter at Reliant Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(5) Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin and team GM Kevin Colbert are seen here at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania . The franchise this season within the AFC North is having a horrendous year , bearing a 2-6 record which has them firmly placed at the foot of the division . The Steelers’ draft picks over the past four seasons has proven to be unfruitful , with several of the players failing to live up to the perceived hype . AP Photo / Carl Rogers …

(6) Michael Beasley of the Miami Heat is seen here in his official team photo for the franchise . Beasley is seeking to resurrect his often troubled NBA career in his second stop with NBA franchise . Beasley , along with Greg Oden and Roger Mason Jr are the newest members of the team , which has seen the retirement of Juwan Howard , who has since become a member of the coaching staff . AP Photo / Hector Hernandez ….

(7) From left to right , Brooklyn Nets’ GM Billy King , team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov , head coach Jason Kidd , Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . This season the Nets will have one of the league’s highest team payrolls which will exceed $102.6 million , with guard Joe Johnson being the highest paid player on the roster this season . It remains to be seen whether not franchise can be seen as a legitimate title threat to the Miami Heat as well as the rest of the NBA this season . The addition of the three former Boston Celtics’ players should add some vitality to the franchise . AP Photo / Gerry Thomas ….

(8) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks is seen here with teammates , J R Smith , center and Iman Shumpert . Anthony during the preseason stated that he was prepared opt put of the final year of his contract to test the free agency market in 2014 . Yet , is highly unlikely , that Carmelo Anthony will seek to go elsewhere, knowing that can get a max six-year contract that cumulatively earning $129 million six years averaging , $21.5 million per year while remaining with the New York Knicks. . AP Photo / Paul Hamilton …….

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No fool like an old fool …….. this is the NFL

No fool like an old fool …….. this is the NFL

Well the NFL begins its season with the Hall of Fame enshrinement game this weekend , that will then lead into the preseason and then lead into a string of games , formally opening up the NFL preseason . I do not put a great deal of store into the preseason, albeit , that coaches and executives will be assessing their new draftees as well as their respective acquired free agents . And while much of this off-season has been encompassed by the arrest and detainment of Aaron Hernandez , on the murder charge of a former close acquaintance , Odin Lloyd . It must be said , that the NFL as a year-round source of entertainment and information, remains the abject scene of incompetency we have known it to be for several years now , ever since the ascent of Roger Goodell into the commissioner`s role , as the league`s highest ranking executive.

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As if to further exacerbate the league`s already tarnished image. It now has to deal with the rather inexcusable and inexplicable behavior of Philadelphia Eagles` wide receiver, Riley Cooper`s racial tirade against an alleged antagonist, during an altercation at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cooper was said to have been behaving belligerently when approached by a security official at the venue during a Kenny Chesney concert . The player and the security professional exchanged words, before Riley Cooper went on his racial barrage threatening to fight every ni#ger there at the venue .

In what appears to be a less tan contrite apology, “ tweeted “ some forty-eight hours later. Cooper explained , that his actions and behavior were due to the fact that he had been drinking and was at the time, extremely intoxicated . To my mind it is a poor excuse from the player and if anything, his actions were truly indicative of his feelings at the time of this rather unsavory and unfortunate incident . With over seventy-two percent (72%) of the NFL`s makeup being African American and many of Cooper`s teammates on the Eagles roster , also being of the same ethnicity . I have to ask myself , first off , what the hell was the player thinking ? And secondly, is he simply that naive and stupid, to think that he could have got away with that type of behavior without it going unnoticed ? Do bear in mind also, that the scene of the incident, also happens to the home venue of the Philadelphia Eagles. So now , not only has Cooper caused a great deal of embarrassment to himself , but he has also heaped a great deal of unwanted publicity to a franchise going through transition , while at the same time their being a great many questions not only about the team , but also its first year head coach Chip Kelly . Suffice to say , GM Howie Roseman and team owner Jeffrey Lurie will have a great deal to contemplate concerning Riley Cooper as well as the ambitions of the franchise for this upcoming season .

The Eagles` front office looking to save themselves further embarrassment, have since fined Riley Cooper an undisclosed sum and have also sent the player into to a sensitivity training course . Pardon me for saying this , but a mere monetary fine and a psyche course , encompassing sensitivity and allegedly teaching a person about etiquette , is too little , too late . If Riley Cooper, is simply not intelligent enough of an individual, to realize that his actions were indeed stupid and infantile. Then, it now sends a clear message as to the type of unintelligent individuals now in the NFL , never-mind that the player just happens to be another one of the products from the University of Florida (Gators) football program where Cooper and Aaron Hernandez were teammates and who played under the head coach, Urban Meyer . It now seems ironic that both players drafted in 2010 , now find themselves at the forefront of unwanted publicity , for all of the wrong reasons .

Cooper`s recent act of contrition, seems to be falling on deaf ears as to its sincerity. Meanwhile, several of his Eagles` teammates have come out openly in support of the now beleaguered and troubled wide receiver. How this must all sit with several of the player who happen to be of African American descent, may well be best represented by comments of the Eagles` quarterback Michael Vick , who stated “ it was time to move on and turn over a new leaf in this chapter “ . Vick`s younger sibling , Marcus Vick , took the opposite view, by going on notice , issuing a $1,000-00 bounty for anyone prepared to take out Riley Cooper on the field of play during the season .

I guess for Marcus Vick , he is unable to escape is own foibles and peccadilloes, in terms of his own career as a collegiate athlete? The younger Vick sibling`s past as a college player, was littered with controversy and went and in and also in terms of the troubles of his now elder and more widely known sibling, and his less than dignified past as it relates to his troubles with law enforcement .

With the resurgence of the Washington Redskins and the expected return to competitiveness of the New York Giants after an understated season in 2012 . It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly`s Eagles will fare in 2013 , especially against their noted divisional rivals. Add into this all , the never-ending drama that always surrounds the Dallas Cowboys , and the NFC East could either prove to be a season of a comedy of errors or a season for fans to truly relish. Given the propensity of Cowboys` owner Jerry Jones to make bold predictions and the propensity of Tony Romo to simply implode in moments of undue pressure . I am inclined to believe that the fans are likely to be treated to a little of both over the entire regular season schedule !

The Eagles will start their season with an away game against Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins to be played at FedEx Field in Landover , Maryland . Last season`s two eventful divisional games between these two stalwarts of the NFC , with the Redskins coming away victorious in both divisional encounters were endemic of the division as a whole . Both losses signaled the turning point and the end of Andy Reid`s reign in Philadelphia, as the Eagles` longest serving head coach. Reid`s blinding loyalty to Vick and the very fact that the veteran quarterback`s declining skill-set did not seem to deter the much maligned coach that was indeed time for a change at the position. A 4-12 season and three straight losses to end the year, pretty much summed up 2012 for the Philadelphia Eagles and the firing of Andy Reid . To state that this came as a surprise , would have to be looked upon as comical . Yet, it seemed a sad way for the coach to depart after all of the success attained by the franchise during his reign . As to what the future holds for Eagles under Chip Kelly remains to be seen and whether or not Vick can recover from a disastrous season in 2012 .

The Minnesota Vikings and their running back Adrian Peterson provided the league last season with an astonishing experience . Peterson single-handed made us all, as NFL fans sit up and take note , as he sought to break the single season rushing record (2,105 yards) . The fact that the player came within eight yards of breaking Eric Dickerson`s mark recorded in the 1984 season , is enough to remind us all how astonishing the feat remains and that it has taken almost three decades for anyone to come remotely close to surpassing the feat . This season however, I believe that Peterson`s concentration will be set more on casing after team glory , rather than the sole purpose of singular personal achievement . Granted , should the player get off to an extremely fast start and is able to average just over 131.5 yards per game over the Vikings` first six games , then all bets could very well be off , as the reigning league MVP sets out once again an improbable journey of trying to break one of the league`s most cherished and recognized records .

The NFC North this season could prove to be logjam , with all four teams , the Chicago Bears , Detroit Lions , Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings , all looking to be in the thick of things , in what should prove to a very competitive division . In spite of the departures from the Packers` roster during the off season, and what I believe to be some prudent acquisitions as well as a very good draft class . This division, once again , will be the Packers for the taking and to do with as they please. If Mike McCarthy and his coaching assistants can remedy the woes of the defense , then there is every reason to believe that they can repeat as the divisional champions .

Weeks eight and twelve will see the two divisional meetings between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in 2013. Yet , I believe the most attractive match-up on the Packers` schedule is likely to be their opening game of the year against the reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers , which will be played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco , California on the 8t September, 2013. It could very well be the most attractive of the regular season games to be played on the opening weekend of this NFL season . This game will pit the Niners` young and mercurial quarterback , Colin Kapernick against one of the league`s very best passers , in Aaron Rodgers of the Packers . While I believe San Francisco to have a slight edge, as on paper, they do appear to be the better balanced team . As we know, this is a new season, with teams seemingly focused on putting last year in their rear view mirror, as they seek to start anew .

I will say this for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers` GM Mark Dominik , he is certainly looking to make a name for himself amongst his peers within the NFL. Last season was a compendium major mistakes in terms of draft picks , personnel decisions as it related to free agent acquisitions . Yet above all, the one constant remains the lack of progress made in the game of quarterback Josh Freeman . Four years in and Freeman has yet to have a truly standard bearing game or string of games , that Buccaneers` fans can point to and say “ wow “! Josh Freeman knows that this season may well be the last chance for him to prove himself to be good enough to be thought of as a starting quarterback in the NFL . The doubts have definitely begun to set in concerning the player and I firmly believe that Greg Schiano`s patience is growing thin with the young signal caller and passer .

There is no doubt in my mind, that if Freeman shows any signs in the lack of confidence in is game and the belief of his teammates that he is the player to lead this unit. Then it is quite clear, that the decision will be made to trust rookie quarterback Mike Glennon into to the role, as the starter on this team . The saving grace for the Buccaneers in 2012, was the growth and maturity shown by Doug Martin , who simply exploded onto the scene in his rookie season for the franchise . Freeman will be given his chance during the preseason to show the fans that he is game ready and ready for the rigors of the regular season. He is likely to play several series in each of the four exhibition games . The first of the quartet of those games will be against the reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens . As I alluded to earlier, I do not put a great deal of emphasis on the preseason, but I do believe that for Josh Freeman , this game be a make or break for him , based upon his performance and the confidence shown .

For the Buccaneers , a great deal will be predicated upon their season and how they are likely to fare against divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints . At best , I can see the team going no better than 3-3 within the NFC South , before taking aim against the remainder of the opponents on their 2013 regular season itinerary . The first of those games will be against the ongoing troubled and thought to be newsworthy New York Jets in game to be played at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Encounters between the two teams are not often memorable , with the last three meetings , being something of a none event for the parties concerned . If fully fit , then Buccaneers` defensive player Darrelle Revis will get the first chance to meet his former team, since being acquired in a highly publicized trade , as Mark Dominik opened up the vault and made a big splash to obtain the Pro Bowl caliber corner-back.

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In light of the recent behavior of NFL players , do you believe that the league hierarchy bears a certain a certain amount of responsibility in how those players conduct themselves on and off the field of play ? And do you believe that the Players` Union (NFLPA) should be working in conjunction more closely with the NFL in such matters ? Also, what if anything, are you most hoping to see from the preseason ? Finally, which team or teams do you believe could provide the biggest surprise of the regular and quite possibly the postseason ? Do leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) In this Sunday, July 28, 2013, photo, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper pauses during the NFL football team’s training camp in Philadelphia. Cooper has been fined by the team for making a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert that was caught on video, leading him to say he’s “ashamed and disgusted” with himself. The video of Cooper making the slur surfaced Wednesday, July 31, on the Internet. AP Photo/Michael Perez ….

(2) Eagles` wide receiver Riley Cooper receivers speaks to the convened press , while seeking to offer his apologies in what he claims was an altercation that took place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , between himself and an African American male at a Kenny Chesney concert . The player who claims he was intoxicated at the time, when he used several derogatory racial epithets in his encounter in what turned out to be a security personnel member at the venue . Cooper first `tweeted` an apology on Twitter before the viral altercation went live over the internet , having been seen by several hundred thousand viewers in the past few days . The Philadelphia Eagles seeking to distance themselves from the player have fined him and undisclosed sum and he as since been sent into a sensitivity training seminar . Teammates are said to be rallying around Cooper , offering him their support. As to how this will be viewed by other players around the NFL remains to be seen . AP Photo / Paul Castellano …

(3) Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick (7) is seen here alongside is younger sibling Marcus Vick , himself a former college quarterback who had somewhat of an undistinguished career while at Virgina Tech , where he was dismissed from the program in 2006 . In the aftermath of the Riley Cooper incident , Marcus Vick has offered a $1,000-00 bounty for any NFL player willing to take out Cooper during an NFL game preseason or otherwise. The elder Vick , sibling , has been quick to distance himself from is brother`s ridiculous statement , coming out instead, to offer his own support of his now besieged teammate , Riley Cooper . Getty Images / Mark Frasier …..

(4) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson hands a football to his son Adrian Jr. at the end of practice at NFL football training camp, Monday, July 29, 2013, in Mankato, Minn. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall ….

(5) There is no quarterback controversy , but the embers are beginning to reheat as Tampa Bay Buccaneers` quarterback Josh Freeman once again comes under a great deal of criticism after a lackluster 2012 season . The player is seen here alongside head coach Greg Schiano during a game played against the Carolina Panthers at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte , North Carolina , in a 2012 regular season meeting game between the two teams. The Buccaneers would go on to defeat Carolina 27-21 . Getty Images / Paul Ammon …..

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As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake , keep the f##king door shut !

As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake keep the f##king door shut !

Well the idiocy of the NFL Draft has come and gone , in spite of this high-profiled event , nothing will really be learned until many of these rookies get their first taste of the NFL , during week one of the upcoming season . And to hear many of these draft geeks and on air personalities speculate and prognosticate , you would’ve thought that all thirty-two teams in the NFL were in sheer dire straits . In reality this draft had more to do with personalities , lack of real talent in a vast array of areas , in spite of the recommendations being made by members of the media .

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Now Tim Tebow having been cut from the organization at the behest of GM John Idzik , speculation still remains as to the future of the team’s beleaguered quarterback , Mark Sanchez whose performances in 2012 , were amongst the worst in the AFC and NFL throughout much of last season .

Courtesy of Pro Footballtalk.com

Testaverde disappointed Tebow didn’t get a chance

By Darin Gantt

While just-released quarterback Tim Tebow hasn’t had much support today, at least one former Jet is disappointed he didn’t get a chance to stay.

Former quarterback Vinny Testaverde had worked with Tebow recently in Florida, and he said he saw significant mechanical improvement.

“I was kind of disappointed because I was hoping he’d get a chance to show the coaches what we worked on,” Testaverde told Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “I think they would’ve been impressed if they had compared this year to last year ” .

Testaverde spent a week with Tebow, concentrating on his footwork. In layman’s terms, Testaverde said Tebow “was stepping in the wrong direction when he was throwing the football.”

Testaverde also consulted with IMG instructor Chris Weinke, saying they “speak the same quarterback language” because they both played under Dan Henning.

“Chris and I looked at Tim careful and we were both amazed,” Testaverde said. “Everybody has been focusing on his throwing motion, trying to fix that, but nobody had picked up his footwork. His footwork was all screwed up. Chris and I looked at each other after about four or five throws, and we saw the same thing. We got his footwork fixed. His throwing motion is now a non-issue.

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Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 ,

It seems that fans , agents and analysts alike were simply surprised that a quarterback was not taken in the top ten of the first round of this NFL Draft . The fact that it was the Buffalo Bills , with the sixteenth pick in the first round taking EJ Manuel , made that whole premise all the more surprising . That being said , now consider the franchise’s options at the position , when you consider that Kevin Kolb is meant to be the Bills’ starter for the upcoming season . Shit , I’d rather walk on hot coals , rather than seeing Kolb quarterback any franchise within the NFL , as he simply does not possess the talent needed to be a starter in the NFL . Yet somehow, Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone and the front office believe the veteran to be their man . It is my belief , that sooner , rather than later , Manuel will be a starter in the league , quite possibly this season , if Kolb’s recent performances are anything to go by.

The AFC East , if nothing else , should prove to be a great deal fun , considering the antics of the teams from within the division and their performances from last season . Among the teams seeking redemption from last season’s nightmare , just happens to be the New York Jets , whose head coach , Rex Ryan barely escaped from the franchise’s purge of a mediocre coaching staff from 2012 . Out went , offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , whose ides of team offense bordered on being absurd . And the very fact , that he has now joined the coaching staff of the Oakland Raiders , further enhances the notion , that coaching in the NFL , is no longer about creativity in terms of coaching talent but simply the “ rehashing” of “ mediocre coaches” “ , whose ideas are in essence , from a bygone age “ ! How else can one simply explain the fact that Sparano and Ryan were simply so how out of touch reality , while being allowed to ruin the franchise , and with asinine belief that Tim Tebow would be able to contribute to a team that was lacking in talent and creativity , never-mind poor coaching from every layer , within a considerably inept organization. Yet boneheaded individuals swayed by their emotions, continued to call for Tebow’s inclusion either as a starter or in some other capacity for the franchise . Fantasy geeks were either that blasé or simply that goddamn stupid, throughout much of 2012.

Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 .

With this draft I expected the New England Patriots to do a great deal more than they did , but once again I believe they have failed miserably with this particular draft class . To try and suggest that Jamie Collin s , Aaron Dobson , Logan Ryan , Duron Harmon , Josh Boyce , Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais . These are the players drafted by the organization with view redeeming itself after a monstrous postseason foray , which was best summed up in the team’s embarrassing loss to the eventual Superbowl champions , the Baltimore Ravens , in the AFC championship game . Given the team’s malaise during the game itself and the very fact that Bill Belichick was out-smarted and outmatched by his opposite number John Harbaugh .

I firmly believe that Belichick failed to address the concerns of this team on defense , albeit , that they made a few off-season deals that would suggest that he , GM Nick Caserio and the coaching staff have addressed the team’s failings over the past three seasons. ( 2012 , 2011 & 2010 ). This season if this team in its present guise is unable to address those woes , then the Patriots’ 2013 regular season foray is likely to be an extremely tough one . While fans and analysts alike will point to the potency of the team’s offense over the past few seasons . One should also remember , defense wins championships , and the offense is simply there , as the mainstay of the regular season .

With the NBA postseason now in full swing with the opening round series in some instances , all but established . It seems somewhat unbelievable to believe that the league’s two most renowned franchises are about to be or have been eliminated the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Boston Celtics have fought back from the cusp of being eliminated in game four , but still find themselves with an almost insurmountable issue in having to still erase a 3-1 deficit in their first round series against the highly regarded New York Knicks .

Having watched this series unfold , to say that I am disappointed in the lack of commitment being shown by the Celtics , would be a tremendous understatement . The core of this roster simply is not good enough , nor has there been any leadership shown by seasoned veterans such as, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett . Granted , while Doc Rivers does not have the privilege of having the team’s best player on the court , It must be said , that as surely as Rajon Rondo is missed, it should not be made or seen as the primary excuse for the team’s poor play in this series . Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson has simply instilled into this team a real “killer instinct” , not often witnessed with the Knicks’ teams from the franchise’s recent past .

It would be fair to suggest that the Boston Celtics and the franchise’s front office will have to reassess the makeup of this roster and look to build around either Rondo or seek to bring in a marquee free agent during the off-season . Certainly , GM Danny Ainge and senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck will have to come to a decision , sooner , rather than later as it relates to the immediate and long-term future of this renowned franchise .

This series may well be far from over in the eyes of the Celtics’ fans and players, and it does seem highly unlikely that the team will be derail what now appears to be a focused Knicks’ team obviously looking towards that perceived showdown with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals . Alas , it is my belief that after all of the in-fighting within the Boston Celtics’ locker room and the animosity that allegedly lingered between Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen wasn’t quashed by the coaching staff , head coach or by the Kevin Garnett , the perceived leader of this roster . Instead , Garnett chose to show his immaturity , by berating his former teammate , haranguing him , after his departure , but even more so , when it was announced that Allen had signed with the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat.

These are certainly the twilight years in the careers of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce , certainly , two players that are likely to be enshrined in the Naismith (Basketball) Hall of Fame , having met the eligibility requirements upon their retirement .

Despite their value and profitability , it would be fair to say that the Los Angeles Lakers are the most storied franchise in NBA history alongside their most heated rivals the Boston Celtics . With the two franchises accounting for over thirty of the NBA Finals competed for in NBA history .

In what wasn’t seen as a strange turn of events, when the Bryant-less Lakers met the San Antonio Spurs in their opening round series , expectation were high. Instead lackluster … performances , an injury riddled roster and the growing immaturity of Dwight Howard shone through , in what can be best described as piss poor performances all-round from every participant on this Los Angeles Lakers roster during the series. And you simply know things are bad for the franchise when one of the Lakers’ most celebrated fans , actor , Jack Nicholson offers his congratulations to Gregg Popovich and the entire Spurs’ roster , while ignoring several members of the Los Angeles Lakers’ playing staff.

With the Lakers being swept 4-0 in the series , it was the franchise’s earliest exit in the postseason , where the Lakers has a lost series , in such an embarrassing fashion , with that coming in the 1967 Western Conference Semi-Finals to the San Francisco Warriors (Golden State Warriors) .

Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss now have the unenviable task of assessing the roster and making a number of far-reaching decisions as it relates to the makeup of this team . In my m honest opinion , the general manager and team owner have erred in so many decisions as it relates to this franchise in recent years , that it has been a constant comedy of errors , watching the Lakers as their season came to an abrupt end. Suffice to say , with Dwight Howard showing a real lack of commitment and his getting into foul trouble in the third quarter of game four (103-82) , the fate of this team was sealed as the Spurs came away with a rather lopsided victory , as they now await the victor of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies .

The Los Angeles Lakers, are now left on the outside looking in , as their season has simply gone up in flames . In all likelihood, with the Lakers’ bloated payroll ($100.1 million) , and no semblance of financial rationale for the never-ending stupidity to simply overpay for marginal talent , much as it would appear to be for a number teams around the NBA , while David Stern inexcusably tries to make the claim that the franchises of the NBA are financially responsible . Perhaps the NBA Commissioner could indicate the transparency of the claims he continually makes ? Once a boneheaded asshole , always a boneheaded asshole ! Nothing more , nothing less as it relates to David Stern !

ESPN’s David Aldridge is reporting that there will be a stay of execution as it relates to the sale of Sacramento Kings by the Maloof family to a consortium led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . In what is said to be a last-ditch attempt by the city of Sacramento mayor , Kevin Johnson , it appears that the NBA hierarchy and its Board of Governors have vetoed the sale of the franchise , and the consortium’s bid of almost $600 million is now likely to be overruled ,with the commissioner having been left with egg on his face , as initially he welcomed the pursuant bid of Hansen and Ballmer .

Courtesy of ESPN

In shocking twist, the Kings will likely stay in Sacramento

By David Aldridge

The NBA has all but officially decided to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.

In a unanimous vote of the league’s combined Relocation and Finance committees Monday afternoon, 12 NBA owners recommended that the league’s Board of Governors vote to deny the relocation of the Kings to Seattle — and, in doing so, deny the sale of the team from the Maloof Family to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The recommendation will be taken up by the full Board for a formal vote the week of May 13. But it is almost certain that the full Board will go along with the recommendation and vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento, at least for another year.

Relocating a team requires a majority, or 16 of the league’s 30 teams to vote yes. As 12 teams have already voted no, that means the Seattle group would have to get 16 of the league’s remaining 18 teams to vote yes, a near-impossibility. And once relocation is voted down, the sale of the team to Hansen’s group would follow, for Hansen has consistently said he was only interested in buying the Kings if he could move them to Seattle.

“I’ve never been prouder of this city,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Tweeted Monday afternoon. “I thank the ownership group, city leaders, but most of all the BEST FANS IN THE NBA!!!”

While the Maloofs are not obligated to sell the Kings, they will now be under incredible pressure to do so, after Sacramento put together a group led by software magnate Vivek Ranadive, who would be the first majority NBA owner of Indian descent. Ranadive’s group submitted a formal bid to the NBA earlier this month that NBA Commissioner David Stern said was comparable to the Seattle bid, and which the league considered binding.

It is not clear what steps the league could take if the Maloofs opt not to negotiate with the Ranadive group or sell to it. Stern reiterated earlier this month that the league does generally allow owners to sell to whomever they want, provided the new owners’ finances are in place, even though the league decides whether teams will be allowed to move.

The league also knew that its owners’ decision would rip the heart out of one city or the other. There was no solution that could make both happy.

“It’s not exactly comparing two cities,” a source with knowledge of the discussions said Monday. “It’s been hard to leave a place that’s been good to the NBA. Leaving a team, leaving a city, leaving a bunch of fans when they stepped up. That’s what it is.”

The decision caps an incredible comeback by the city of Sacramento, which looked doomed to lose its team after Hansen and the Maloofs announced in January they had reached a binding deal for the Maloofs to sell 65 percent of the team to Hansen, or $341 million, on a franchise valuation of $525 million. Hansen gave the Maloofs a non-refundable $30 million deposit as part of the agreement.

Ranadive’s group, according to an April 17 letter from the Maloof Family to the league that was leaked to the media, agreed to match the $525 million valuation for the team, but wanted to give the Maloofs a $15 million non-refundable deposit instead of $30 million. The Maloofs claimed that entering into an agreement with the Sacramento group would constitute a breach of contract with the Hansen group and would reduce the family’s leverage to negotiate in case the league vetoed the sale to the Hansen group.

Hansen had meticulously put together a plan over two years, purchasing land near Major League Baseball’s Safeco Field on which he wanted to build a new arena for an NBA and National Hockey League team. He reached an agreement with the city of Seattle for construction of a $491 building with up to $200 million in public funds.

But Sacramento, led by Johnson, came roaring back, putting together its own arena deal and ownership group, first led by supermarket mogul Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. But Burkle had to drop out of the team and arena plans after a conflict of interest with one of his businesses, which represents NBA players, was discovered.

Burkle was replaced by Ranadive, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, who quickly became the face of the Sacramento group. The city and the Ranadive Group reached agreement on construction of a $447 million arena, with Sacramento contributing $258 million toward the costs.

The Board of Governors postponed a final vote on whether to accept the Seattle or Sacramento plans when it met earlier this month, with NBA Commissioner David Stern citing the incredibly complex issues the league faced. Could it vote to leave a city whose fans had been incredibly loyal over the years, and who had reached agreement with the Maloofs last year on a new arena deal, only to see the family walk away?

On the other hand, Seattle had famously lost its team, which became the Oklahoma City Thunder, in 2008, and the NBA had lost a potentially dynamic market. The Hansen bid for the Kings wildly inflated the value of all other NBA teams, and the potential revenues from a regional sports network and other corporate dollars made Seattle an enticing city. In addition, Hansen’s group went about its business quietly, as the NBA prefers.

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For the last eight years the Sacramento Kings have been one of the least supported franchises in the NBA , along with being one of the least profitable of the NBA’s thirty teams . Why in the world Johnson would seek retain a loss making concern that is barely supported with anemic attendance level seems somewhat idiotic , but for the life of me I cannot understand the reasoning behind the mayor’s madness when his city has its very own budgetary woes to deal with . As with any asinine politician, who ill-serves his electorate, and the citizens who have entrusted him to lead. It does beg the question , will he now seek to use public resources to aid millionaire software magnate Vivek Ranadive and his last-minute bid for the Western Conference franchise ? Ranadive stepped into the fray , the moment this consortium hastily put together by Kevin Johnson , when billionaire real estate magnate , Ron Burkle dropped out the syndicate citing personal and professional reasons . In reality, Burkle’s concerns lay elsewhere , as he is one of the lead developers of the downtown Los Angeles area, seeking build a commercial and private real estate development , that will potentially house a 85,000 to 100,000 seat stadium with the view of luring a relocating or a new NFL franchise into the nation’s second largest ad market and its second most populated city. Be that as it may , my question for commissioner , if he is now prepared be mindful of the Board of Governors’ wish in such an instance . Then what in essence is now so different here from the same situation that arose when the Seattle Supersonics’ sale to Clay Bennett , when that franchise was then relocated to Oklahoma City ? Clearly , the league hierarchy , in this instance, has never acted with any real transparency , as it relates to their decision-making .

Many of you will know by now, that there were allegations made that the NBA acted with a great deal of subterfuge as they simply sought to relocate the Sonics’ franchise because of the advantage tax breaks that would be received by the Oklahoma City Thunder , from the municipality of Oklahoma City . Over the first five years of the residency within their new home (Chesapeake Energy Center) , the franchise was able to receive in excess of $65 million in tax breaks and other lucrative benefits for the state of Oklahoma’s only professional NBA franchise , much less its only professional sport’s franchise. It now begs the question what benefits will the city of Sacramento offer to the new ownership group of the Kings and their wish to remain in the California state capitol ? Is this really how Kevin Johnson and his fellow city commissioners wish to spend the goodwill and the resources of the city, while the NBA once again profits from this all. Most of all, the biggest benefactors from this all will remain the Maloof Family , and the lead siblings, Joe and Gavin Maloof , who preside over the sports’ interests of the familial holdings .

If Vivek Ranadive’s bid is now approved , and the Maloofs walk away with their newfound cash haul of $600 million to aid them in now ailing business interests as it relates to the family’s beverage , hospitality and transportation interests , their departure from the ranks of owners within the NBA fraternity , cannot come around quick enough in some circles . Joe and Gavin Maloof’s alleged business acumen as it relates to the Kings , has been at best , mediocre and a complete farce . The very fact that GM Geoff Petrie has also presided in and over this fu#king mess , makes it all the more asinine , that David Stern continues to make these dubious claims as to the league’s continued financial health and well-being. Meanwhile, anally retentive fans, continue to buy into the commissioner’s continued bull$hit ! The sooner the commissioner departs from his post , the better off NBA will be ! Unfortunately, Stern’s heir-apparent , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will assume his role in February 2014 and will follow in the same vein, as his predecessor. What else could the NBA ask for, at this juncture ? Simply one more reason to see the NBA for what it has simply become , a brand and business template completely devoid of character , integrity but above all , real leadership from anyone with a position of authority. Does anyone actually believe that David Stern has always acted in the best interest of the league?

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit , concerning the subject matter and anything else that you believe to be pertinent .

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Tophatal ……….. 2013/04/29

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) In this Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 photo, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) warms up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. The New York Jets say, Monday, April 29, 2013, they have waived Tebow. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ….

(2) Tim Tebow (15) is seen here alongside his now former teammate, Mark Sanchez(6) , after the former Heisman Trophy winner was waived by the franchise . The New York Jets still have 5 quarterbacks remaining on the roster . There now seems to be mounting speculation that Sanchez is likely to be traded by the Jets , should they be able to find a suitable trade partner willing to undertake the remainder of the player’s sizable contract . GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan have refused to speculate on Mark Sanchez’s immediate future at this juncture . AP Photo / Richard Carter ….

(3) Jets’ front office executive John Idzik, left, sits next to New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan while waiting to be introduced as the Jets new general manager on the Jan 24th, 2013 . AP Photo / Mark Ruffo …..

(4) West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is seen here making his first public appearance as a member of the New York Jets . The quarterback was drafted as in the second round by the AFC East franchise . Smith hopes to make an immediate impact and contribution for the Jets this upcoming season . Yet it appears unlikely that he will be the starter in week one , as the common belief is , that veteran quarterback David Garrard will be the starting quarterback in that game , their season opener , against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Getty Images North America / Paul Windham …..

(5) Veteran quarterback David Garrard, pictured inset , is likely to be the team’s starting quarterback during the regular season , but he is likely to face stiff competition from newly drafted rookie Geno Smith , as well as the other passers on the roster seeking to become the primary quarterback in the team’s depth chart . AFP / Ricardo Marchiallo ….

(6) New York Knicks’ Raymond Felton (2) gets a high-five from a teammate as Boston Celtics’ Doc River s walks onto the court after calling a time out during the second quarter of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Friday, April 26, 2013. AP Photo/Winslow Townson ….

(7) New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert (21) tries to control the ball as Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce (34) struggles with Knicks’ Kenyon Martin , far right, during the second half in Game 4 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Sunday, April 28, 2013. The Celtics won 97-90 in overtime. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …..

(8) Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) , of Spain, knocks the ball out of the hands of San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan during the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series , Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 103-82 and swept the Lakers in four games to bring the Los Angeles’ franchise’s season to an abrupt end . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(9) Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard , right, looks on along with San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal , left, after receiving a technical foul during the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Howard scored seven points before getting ejected early in the third quarter for arguing . The Spurs won 103-82 . What we have seen from Dwight Howard in recent years has been the player’s growing immaturity and complete lack of leadership skills , but there are those who stand by the claim that he remains the best center in the NBA , and that may well be the case from a defensive and offensive standpoint , but it has to be said that he lacks the leadership qualities as such revered centers as Shaquille O’Neal , David Robinson , Hakeem Olajuwon , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(10) Indian-American software mogul Vivek Ranadive who is now showing an interest in purchasing the beleaguered Sacramento Kings . In the aftermath of 12 of the NBA’s thirty owners voting against the sale and relocation of the franchise , it now leaves the road clear for Ranadive’s bid to be accepted by the league hierarchy and Board of Governors . Getty Images North America / Bill Parker ……….

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NFL news and news from around the league

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NFL Draft (2013)

NFL quarterbacks taken in this season’s draft

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NBA news and archived stories

2012-13 NBA Postseason summary & news

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Hot chic pic of the day Jordan Carver .

More of Carver on the move , just as you may well like it , or not .

Take it from me , those puppies of Carvers’ need to be sucked and played with a great deal , if only in fun !

It’s Spinning Out of Control And Heading For The Edge of A Cliff ……

It’s Spinning Out of Control And Heading For The Edge of A Cliff ……

tophatal …..

It’s extremely difficult not to have a wry smile seeing the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) get their comeuppance as their season unravels in front of the eyes of their fans and all of the NFL analysts who made them the prohibitive favorites for not only the NFC East but also the Superbowl . Somehow Andy Reid’s so called “Dream Team” and I’ll use that connotation loosely because the only thing only remotely akin to a dream team here is the mere fact the players got way ahead of themselves . The only baubles these Eagles’ players on the team will end up seeing is the fecal matter that describes their season !

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There’s a lackadaisical approach not only to this team but also on the part of Reid and his coaching staff and it seems to have manifested itself in the team’s play throughout much of this season . Michael Vick the team’s newly minted $100 million quarterback has is having an inconsistent year by his own lofty standards . That being said the team’s overall productivity is down in comparison to last season . But what might be even more worrisome Andy Reid has been the inexplicable poor showing of the team’s much vaunted defense and the error prone play of cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha , Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the anguished Asante Samuels . And clearly with that sort of inconsistency from three Pro Bowl caliber players that does tend to effect the play of the entire team. And it would appear that the front office of the Philadelphia Eagles left no stone unturned when it came to expense with regard to the roster.

Monday night as the Eagles hosted the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania. The NFC East is built on the premise that it is the “glamor” division of the NFL but in reality nothing could be further from the truth . This season if anything as good as the division appears to the combined record of quartet of teams within the division is a mediocre 15-15 (.500). Leading the crescendo amongst the division are the New York Giants (6-2) , Dallas Cowboys (4-4) , Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) and the Washington Redskins (3-5). The Giants appear to be the presumptive favorites at this point given the form of the team and their play . But herein , lies the caveat with the New York Giants over the last two seasons at the midpoint of 2009 and 2010 they have posted marks of 5-3 and 6-2 only fall by the wayside . Another demise along those lines and the calls haranguing Tom Coughlin and the calling for his ouster could reach an octave not heard in the Big Apple in a number of years .

The aspirations of the New York Giants rest squarely upon the shoulders of Eli Manning , and he goes the so does this team , albeit that Osi Umenyiora and the Giants’ defense have been playing with a heightened sense of purpose .

If ever Jerry Jones was at a point to consider redoing some cosmetic surgery to reduce the stress and aging caused by how inept the Dallas Cowboys have been , especially in the light of the praise thrown upon Tony Romo . Praise him if you must but please don’t anoint him as the second coming of Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman for that matter. The Cowboys’ incumbent starting quarterback has been anything but average and the questions are now being asked as to how long before the front office and in particular Jones pulls the trigger on the player . Now while in recent weeks analysts have been awe of the performance by running back DeMarco Murray and his breaking the team’s single game rushing record [23 carries , 253yds , 1TD] by a running back . Beyond that feat there has little for the Dallas Cowboys’ fans to be happy about either at Cowboys Stadium or away from home .

There is little to be candid about concerning the Washington Redskins given their tepid displays this season. I am not so sure that $7.million a year Daniel Snyder is getting value for money from his coach Mike Shanahan . The ups and downs of the team and the very fact there’s no consistency in their play means simply that the Redskins are once again on the decline and their way to another season of mediocrity !

Going back to the Philadelphia Eagles , as I alluded to earlier their Monday night matchup against the Chicago Bears . This was a game that the Eagles need to win but once again they came up short and this so called star laden roster is simply proving that all that glitters is not gold ! The significance of this 30-24 loss by Andy Reid’s team leaves them in something of an unenviable position .

Looking at the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) and it is hard to envisage how the team can play themselves back into contention within the the conference but more convincingly within the division . Another missed opportunity this season and much like the Miami Heat and their fall from grace last season within the NBA , the Eagles looks as if they are like a favored thoroughbred that has simply run out of speed before having reached the halfway mark of a horse race . And we all know what they tend to do lame horses in the end don’t we ? They shoot don’t horses they ? .

Of their last nineteen home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida sixteen have been blacked out due to the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not been able to sell the league mandated ratio of tickets to avoid the game not being shown in the local area market. This scenario has to be a worrying scenario for the Buccaneers’ organization and the surrounding businesses within the locale. For Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik it is not for the lack of trying as the coach and general manager have assembled a team that they believe can compete at the highest level of the NFL . So far this season the Buccaneers have hit a few major bumps along the way with a 4-4 record and their task won’t be getting any easier when they face the Houston Texans and their high octane rushing offense led by Arian Foster and Ben Tate .

As a sign of desperation I believe rather than of need the Buccaneers acquired Albert Haynesworth off waivers . The much traveled and under-performing Haynesworth can best be described as being thought of as a bust within the league . He has yet to live up to any part of the $100 million contract signed with the Washington Redskins . And far be it for me to suggest being an avid New England Patriots’ but when the team acquired him earlier on this season I simply started to question the mental state of Bill Belichick . Not only did the Patriots’ coach acquire Albert Haynesworth but also obtained the self ordained “FOH” (Future Hall of Famer) Chad Ochocinco . And Ochoinco much like his teammate can categorized in the same position this season in terms of his anemic performances for the Patriots . It would not surprise me if Bill Belichick were to also jettison the veteran wide receiver because here too , has been another experiment that simply hasn’t worked out ! Calling Randy Moss , calling Randy Moss ……….. your services are needed .

As to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it is imperative that they obtain a victory over Gary Kubiaks’ Texans . Anything short of that , and the aspirations of the team and organization simply go up in smoke . And when one bears in mind that they were simply one victory away last year from making the playoffs , you can understand what a tremendous disappointment this would be for the fans were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to miss the postseason for a second consecutive year . From my own standpoint even if these are indeed hard economic times , I simply feel that team owner Malcolm Glazier , his sons Edward , Brian and Joel Glazier as the omnipresent executive faces of the organization merely treat this franchise as a bauble to show off to their close circle of friends . The family and the rather naive local beat writers for the print media and tv journalists simply hang their hats unto the franchise’s lone Superbowl (SBXXXVII)– win defeating the Oakland Raiders under then coach Jon Gruden . Beyond that there’s really nothing tangible that the Buccaneers have achieved since then .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

I would like to think that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can recoup something of their season but with a record of 4-4 things are now beginning to look extremely remote for the franchise at this juncture , in perhaps making something credible of what so far appears to an under-achieving year on all counts . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit .

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Contact me via e-mail … rapptu@gmail.com if you have any suggestions in terms of content .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 7 : LeSean McCoy (25) of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by Lance Briggs (55) , Charles Tillman (33) , and Nick Roach (53) of the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bears would defeat the Eagles 30-24 Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ….

(2) A fan of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts to a play during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(3) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ….

(4) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) is hit by Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije (71) as he throws a pass in the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Bears won 30-24 . AP Photo/Michael Perez …..

(5) Head Coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles congratulates Head Coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears after the game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. The Saints won 27-16 . AP Photo/Bill Haber …..

(7) Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 6, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

(8) Teammates Leigh Torrence (24) of the New Orleans Saints and Jabari Greer (33) make a tackle on Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 6, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(9) Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik is seen here alongside head coach Raheem Morris . courtesy of St Petersburg Times …

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(10) Joel Glazer, left, Bryan Glazer, center, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers team owner and president Malcolm Glazer, right, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, Wednesday, May 25, 2005. Malcolm Glazer appointed his three sons Joel, Bryan and Avram , to the board of English Premier league soccer team Manchester United , on Tuesday, June 7, 2005, extending his control over the world’s richest soccer club. Malcolm Glazer, became majority shareholder of Man United on May 16, 2005. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Philadephia Eagles draft 2011

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As tribute to the military servicemen and women everywhere who’ve their country their country with pride . From one military veteran to another I salute you all and your service of distinction ! Have a great Veterans’ Day ! Petey Pablo …………“Raise Up USA Remix ”

Take It For What It’s Worth It’s Simply A Game But In The End What’s At Stake ?

http://wp.me/poxLH-31t

Take It For What It’s Worth It’s Simply A Game But In The End What’s At Stake ?

By tophatal

So while the MLB postseason is now in full swing with the postponed game six being played tonight at Busch Stadium , in St Louis Missouri ,. The St Louis Cardinals find themselves down 3-2 in a pivotal game that could either end their postseason foray or prolong it dependent upon whether or not they can overcome that deficit to the Texas Rangers . Colby Lewis takes the mound : for the Rangers while Jaime Garcia of the St Louis Cardinals will be his adversary.

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In light of the monumental gaffe made by Tony La Russa in game five for which he’s fully accepted the blame . Somehow the the micromanaging by the Cardinals’ manager and the miscommunication between he , his coaches and the bullpen could well cost the team this series . Now inasmuch as I have enjoyed the World Series I have to admit that I do find something missing from this extravaganza ! Perhaps although we have a fabled ball club in this event with the St Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance as the AL pennant winners in baseball’s showcase finale . There still seems to be something missing from the series , be it the drama , suspense, I can’t quite place my finger on it at all.

With the World Series now tied at three games apiece (3-3) in light of last night’s come from behind extra innings’ win (10-9) for the St Louis Cardinals , a great deal will rest on tonight’s series ending finale . On the mound for the Cardinals will be Chris Carpenter who will be facing Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers . All of the unnerving suspense built up as the series has unfolded will all now come to what one would hope to be a thrilling end . A fitting way to end what has been an improbable and exciting MLB season .

Whatever takes place tonight at Busch Stadium there is one thing to be sure , baseball is looking to make its play as they are witnessing the NBA simply shoot themselves in the foot with the idiotic stance of the league hierarchy and that of the NBPA . MLB will now look to make its play in being viewed as the alternative behind the NBA and all of its drama. Unless I’m mistaken either David Stern being the bombastic and self aggrandizing idiot that he is , and he now seems to be leading hierarchy and owners into antagonistic battle that they simply cannot win without harming the league irreparably. As if that hasn’t been done as it is already ! Opposing him representing the union are Executive Director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher .

Repeated meetings between the league , union in front a mediator from the FMCS leads me to believe that the likelihood of either side reaching an accord is unlikely to happen. George Cohen presiding over these hearings must now be feeling like a kindergarten principal trying to get the pupils under their custodianship to be quiet and simply play nice . That hasn’t happened and things are unlikely to change unless calmer heads prevail .

So here we go again and all of the idiocy now happens to encircle the NFC matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . Both teams’ seasons are at stake because a loss for either , places them each into an abyss that they’re unlikely to extricate themselves from. Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo has had an uneven season even by Jerry Jones’ own lofty standards but at the same there idiots such as Skip Bayless suggesting that the player simply has nothing to prove because the travails and woes of the team have more to do with the decisions made by the team owner , rather than the displays of the players this season. If this is the sort of in depth analysis and insight that Bayless brings to ESPN then it clearly shows that the journalist wasn’t hired by the broadcast outlet for his intelligence or for that matter his journalistic credentials ! Skip Bayless is to sports’ journalism as …(insert words here ) ………… .

I have long maintained that this myth that the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team is like one of the Brothers’ Grimm Fairy tales ! Fun to read but after a whole deal of repetition in reading , it is simply a bore and that is exactly what the Cowboys have become . Repetitive and completely unoriginal and that is even with what we’re led to be believe is an offensive minded coach in Jason Garrett . And as proficient as this team is said to be on offense the real issue I believe is the mere fact that the Dallas Cowboys through their complacency simply do not close out games when they have it within their will to do so. Whether or not that is down to Jason Garrett and that of his assistants led by Rob Ryan as the team’s defensive coordinator.

The talk at the start of this season was simply that with the acquisitions made by the Philadelphia Eagles along with their draft picks they would be viewed as the presumptive favorites within the NFC . Well, let’s just say with the Green Bay Packers at 7-0 within the conference and the woefully inept Eagles rooted at the bottom of the NFC East bearing a record of 2-4 are on diverging paths . All the talk of this Eagles’ team being legitimate contenders have now gone eerily awry. Much of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Andy Reid and the front office led by team president Joe Banner .

If the on field issues are a problem then the sudden outburst by Asante Samuels and his criticism of the organization and the fact that they simply have made his life a living nightmare might just be fueling a great deal of discontent within the locker room. With Pro Bowl caliber players such as Michael Vick , LeSean McCoy , Nnamdi Asomugha , DeSean Jackson , Jeremy Maclin , Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Riley Cooper . I would hasten to ask the question who the hell is now driving this bus ?

Anyone who is not of the belief that both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles do not have a lot riding on this game is clearly need in some form of medication ! This match-up dependent upon which team is one the losing end of a result will at some point begin to realize that in essence will have gone up in smoke .

If the Eagles and Cowboys’ event can or could be described as one of the premiere games within the NFC , then surely the meeting between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers within the AFC has to be considered the marquee game of the day within the NFL . The Steelers will play > hosts to the Patriots at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , in front of what is sure to be tens of thousands of ravenous New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans.

Both the Patriots and Steelers are atop of their respective divisions , with the New England Patriots (5-1) leading the AFC East and the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) leading the AFC North . For both teams this certainly give them a chance to gauge their progress against each other as legitimate contender for the postseason . Certainly given the form of both , over the course of the season thus far , this ought to be a really intriguing match-up between two highly respected franchises.

Coaches Mike Tomlinson and Bill Belichick are at the top of their games when these the two teams seem to meet in the regular season . And there’s a healthy respect by the teams for their adversary , as should be the case when they meet . Though we have all been enthralled with the play of Tom Brady this season , his counterpart Ben Roethlisberger now seems to be finding his customary rhythm after a somewhat tedious start to this season .

These two teams are making credible cases for them to be viewed as the presumptive favorites to meet in the AFC Championship game . But I would dare say that the likes of the Buffalo Bills , San Diego Chargers and New York Jets see themselves within the mix ! For now I think it would be pretty much safe to say that we can gauge Patriots and Steelers as a measure of the teams in AFC and how good they really are .

If the New England Patriots are to have any success against a determined Steelers’ team then the defense of Belichick’s team will have to play at an intensely high level . From an offensive standpoint there is not much to choose between the franchises when they are actually each in full swing .

As prolific as the New England Patriots’ offense is said to be you can’t help but feel that Dick LeBeau as the defensive coordinator of the Steelers will have something up his sleeve which his team will use to negate that combustible threat posed by the Patriots .

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Alan aka tophatal ….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A fan of the St. Louis Cardinals holds up a sign reading “Weather Forecast in St. Louis Deep Freese” after Game Six of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(2) Teammates swarm St. Louis Cardinals’ David Freese at home after he hit a walk-off home run during the 11th inning of Game 6 of baseball’s World Series against the Texas Rangers Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won the game 10-9 to tie the series 3-3. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(3) David Freese (23) and the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate at home plate after hitting a walk off solo home run in the 11th inning to win Game Six of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals won 10-9 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(4) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, left, throws a pass as Vince Young looks on during a practice at their NFL football training facility Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(5) Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid speaks during a media availability at their NFL football training facility, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Philadelphia. The Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday night, Oct. 30. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …..

(6) Quarterback Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys passes to teammate Jason Witten (82) the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images ….

(7) Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (90) of the Dallas Cowboys applies pressure to quarterback A.J. Feeley (4) of the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys would go on to defeat the Rams 34-7 . Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images …..

(8) Coach Bill Belichick chats with Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during a review of a play against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)…

(9) FILE – In this Sept. 1, 2011 file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin gestures before an NFL preseason game against then Carolina Panthers, in Charlotte, N.C. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …..

(10) Wide receivers Hines Ward (86) and Mike Wallace (17) of the Pittsburgh Steelers run out onto the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 32-20 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(11) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a pass during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images …..

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Hot chic pic’ of the day . Maliah Michel

They Say You Can’t Take It With You Or Ever Return Home …………

They Say You Can’t Take It With You Or Ever Return Home …………

Week two of the NFL season is now upon us and there are one or two intriguing match-ups . That being said perhaps the game that may draw the greatest attention could very well be Michael Vicks’ return to Atlanta where his high flying Philadelphia Eagles’ team are the guests of the Atlanta Falcons , his former team.

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For Vick this will be his first game against against the Falcons who got off to an inasupicious start with an overwhelming 30-12 loss to the Chicago Bears in their season opener . We all have read of Vick’s problems off the field and the fact that he was incarcerated for his crimes , served his sentence and now seems to have accepted back into the NFL with open arms by his peers and the league hierarchy alike . The player himself has gone out of his way in atoning for his misdeeds by working in conjunction with PETA in a number of PSA’s with regard to animal cruelty .

For the Falcons’ fans who may still feel aggrieved at the player’s actions and the very fact that he had if anything lied to them and the organization as to his misdeeds may still not sit well with many of them. But at the end of the day with the player no longer being a part of their staff they have moved and seemed to have found a successor to Michael Vick in Matt Ryan . If nothing else the quarterback knows that he will have to perform at his very best if he is to outduel his predecessor . And given his somewhat error filled and average performance against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field you have to know that he and his teammates will have take their game up a notch or two at least against a hungry Philadelphia Eagles’ team .

Eagles’ coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff they have to be pleased with what they have seen from this team this early in their season . And the coach obviously has to be pleased with his quarterback’s performance , maturity but no doubt his growing leadership skills as well . With the Philadelphia Eagles being viewed as the presumptive favorites not merely for the NFC East but also the conference and Superbowl the bullseye has firmly been placed on their backs as a target . Whether or not this is justified remains to be seen .

Michael Vick seems to have acclimatized himself well with his teammates and there is growing mutual respect between the player , the veterans and even the new draftees on the roster . The player’s breakout return last season may well have provided the Eagles’ fans with a sign of things to come not merely for this season but quite possibly for the future . Clearly the organization’s sights are set on the Superbowl (SBXLVII) and raising the Lombardi Trophy in February 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana .

With a plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal Michael Vick will be given every chance to show his prowess and further enhance his reputation as being perhaps the best quarterback playing in the league today. Certainly no expense has been spared with regard to Andy Reid setting about acquiring players for this team as they seek to improve and justify their new found position atop of the NFL. That being said the defending Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers are not about to give up their crown without a fight. And an anticipated match-up in the postseason should there be one would be seen as one of the highlights of the NFL calendar .

While Vick seems to be excelling this season with the Philadelphia Eagles his two former teammates Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb seem to be having their own struggles as they seek to acclimatize themselves with their respective teams. To say that McNabb underachieved with the Minnesota Vikings in their season opener would be to suggest that Van Gogh could paint a masterpiece with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back . Suffice to say that the Vikings front office , coaching staff and their fans cannot be entirely happy with what they witnessed from the veteran so far . Is there room for improvement you may ask ? The jury is still out on that I guess ! Kevin Kolb for his part the newly acquired starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals not only has to prove himself worthy of the faith shown in him by Ken Whisenhunt , the front office but also in the fact he’s signed a lucrative multi year contract with the team . His play this season may well prove to us whether or not this was a prudent decision made by GM Rod Graves .

It is clear that the Philadelphia Eagles will want to send a clear and resounding message to the NFC as well to the rest of the NFL that they ready to take on all comers . And the best way to do that would be to defeat the Atlanta Falcons decisively on their home turf at Fulton County Stadium / Georgia Dome in , Atlanta , Georgia . I expect this game to be a highly competitive one with both defenses being tested . But it may well come down to the offensive prowess shown by the Eagles that could be the determining factor in this match-up in what is sure to be an emotionally charged game.

If you are a Boston Red Sox fan you cannot be entirely happy with what you’re now seeing from this team . Losers in eight of their last ten games the Red Sox’s season appears to be spiraling out of control and with the Tampa Bay Rays now bearing down on them in their rear view mirror there now has to be cause for concern. If last night’s game [9-2] ( loss to the Rays) at Fenway Park against their divisional foes was anything to go by then the Boston Red Sox had better get this show back on the road , rather than now being subjected to a great deal of ridicule . These two teams are now battling it out for the wildcard berth within the AL and it has to be said that at this stage of the season this might just the most suspenseful event happening in baseball at present .

For Carl Crawford the former Rays’ player this has to be one of those situations as to what might have been . But circumstances being what they are the player signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent when it became apparent that his former team could simply not afford him. He was signed to a lucrative 7 year $154 million deal that placed him alongside stars such as David Ortiz , Josh Beckett , Dustin Pedroia , Jon Lester and all of the other highly paid players on the Red Sox roster .

For Terry Francona and his coaching staff it cannot be pleasing to the eye to witness his team fail so miserably through the month of September , thus far. And I am sure under the watchful eye of GM Theo Epstein and the rest of the front office questions are now raised as to why this roster is now wilting under pressure . Suffice to say that when the pressure is brought to bear there are some who can and withstand it and there are others who cannot . At this moment in time deliberations are now taking place as to what guise this takes in the case of the Boston Red Sox. And for Carl Crawford this has been a season where he simply hasn’t delivered the goods as expected when adjudged by that of his teammates from an offensive standpoint .

To simply apportion blame solely one player would be remiss , as it has been a collective effort this has placed the Boston Red Sox in the predicament that they now find themselves in. The team has simply struggled and been errant through their last six or seven series that in that time they have seen their lead amongst the wildcard aspirants simply being whittled down by the Joe Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Now while everyone watches this race between these two teams unfold there’s a lot to be said for who could now be viewed as a favorite and who ought to be deemed the underdog. From my own standpoint I am in apoplexy merely watching the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays play. One minute we are seeming one team find a semblance of consistency only for the next to completely succumb and do the inexplicable . Granted , one could say that this simply mirrors the form of the Red Sox as of late but given the importance of the next three games to be played in their current series now unfolding at Fenway Park , who’s to say what the likely outcome will be in the end ? I am sure that Carl Crawford would not be able to answer such a question succinctly and neither would anyone else from the opposition for that fact .

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With regards to the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter in question . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick throws a pass during practice at their NFL football training facility, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ..

(2) Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid speaks during a media availability at their NFL football training facility Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ……

(3) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles prays with teammates and St. Louis Rams players after a game at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Eagles defeated the Rams 31-15 . Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images ……

(4) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles as Chris Long (91) of the St. Louis Rams dives for him at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Eagles defeated the Rams 31-15. Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images ……..

(5) Mike Aviles (3) of the Boston Red Sox kicks the dirt in the ninth inning during a game with Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park September 15, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox lost 9-2. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) …..

(6) Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays and B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a 9-2 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park September 15, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ….

(7) As rain falls, Boston Red Sox’s Carl Crawford heads back to the dugout after popping out against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ……

(8) Carl Crawford (13) of the Boston Red Sox fouls off a pitch in the second inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on September 14, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images …..

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A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

Perhaps no one should be surprised by this at all but NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens while recuperating from knee surgery has seen fit to proffer up some advice to Philadelphia Eagles’ player DeSean Jackson . The Eagles’ running back is in the midst of a contractual dispute with the organization but he has chosen not to become a holdout but herein lies the caveat with regard to the issue . Owens has stated that he believes the Eagles are demeaning Jackson by not meeting the player’s demands. For Terrell Owens , choosing to intercede in this matter simply stirs up emotions long held by the player who felt he was mistreated by the Philadelphia Eagles. If one recollects , the player had a short tenure with the team that made a Superbowl appearance eventually losing (SBXXXIX) to the New England Patriots in the league’s showcase event.

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Owens has always sought to be the center of attention and it certainly goes without saying even with his eponymous VH1 reality show entitled “The TO Show” . Now sorely missing that center stage and no doubt aggrieved that after last season the Cincinnati Bengals chose not to offer the retain the player for this season . The more Owens offers an opinion on any topic with regard to the NFL , the more of an ingrate he’s thought to be by the fans. And the player himself represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus , who still believes that a roster spot will open up for his client . Somehow , given the gravity of his injury , a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right and the time needed to recuperate , it remains a remote possibility that Owens would simply be healthy enough to given be available for an NFL team in the need of a productive veteran wide receiver . Owens’ best years are indeed behind him and at this point of his career even though he craves that final bid to obtain that elusive Superbowl ring , one can’t help but feel that his last shot has gone !

From my own perspective I do believe that Terrell Owens simply cannot stand to be left out in the cold , standing on the sidelines watching many of his peers being productive. No longer considered to amongst the elite at the wide receivers in the league , albeit that the hunger is still there does anyone truly now believe that he has anything else left to offer ? It’s now time for Owens to take his show off the road hang up the cleats and perhaps do something else that gets him the attention he craves ! As to what that might be ……… who the hell knows or simply cares ?

Before the NFL season has even started the biggest story of the year has to be the very fact that Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback Peyton Manning while recuperating from neck surgery may well have undergo a further operation that could very well put the player out for team’s lineup for at least three months . Hardly the situation envisaged by the coaching staff or front office of the Colts’ organization with the loss of the four time league MVP .

The Indianapolis Colts have signed Kerry Collins to be the team’s starting quarterback and with good reason as neither of presumed backups to Peyton Manning have proven to at all productive during the Colts’ preseason schedule . Curtis Painter if anything, has proven that he’s simply not yet ready for the rigors of the NFL or to be viewed as the heir apparent to Manning.

With the loss of Peyton Manning, this now throws the AFC South wide open as to the aspirations for the teams within that division. Certainly the Jacksonville Jaguars , Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans all now feel that they can vie for supremacy and usurp the Colts as the division’s new champion this upcoming season . A loss of this magnitude for the Indianapolis Colts cannot simply be quantified but if you really want to deem a player’s value to a team then look no further than what Manning has meant to this team since he entered the NFL . His record start of 227 consecutive games apart from being a four time league MVP and the active leader in TD’s thrown (399) and yardage amassed ( 54,828) and you can well understand his value to this organization. For team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian this has to be gut wrenching for both executives but no more so than what it must now mean to the
beleaguered Colts’ fans.

One could subscribe to the fact that with all the talk of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft there’s bound to be talk what we should expect from these players this upcoming season . We may well get to learn a great deal about the aspiration of Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert , Christian Ponder and Terrelle Pryor as they seek to make a name for themselves in the NFL .

I don’t know about you , but I feel that of all the federal government agencies within President Barack Obama’s administration have shown clear ineptitude but it has been the sheer idiocy shown by the Justice Department overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder that has me perturbed ! His office presented the government’s case against Barry Bonds that over its elongated time-frame swallowed up some $25 million of taxpayers’ money , countless hours of investigative man-hours all to prove that the player committed perjury and was found guilty in the obstruction of justice . Pardon for saying this , but when the government can burn through $25 million like it’s “Monopoly money” it begs the question ……. what type of idiots are there now seated within highest positions of power not just within this administration but also within the Senate and House of Representatives ?

Having been found guilty and then seeking a US Federal Appellate Court ruling to overturn to his verdict which was denied and Barry Bonds now awaits sentencing by the judge who presided over his case. That phase will take place early next year but it is felt that the player may not face any jail time but he could well be placed on probation .

At what point did Roger Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin deem it appropriate for one of his subordinates to confer with the jurors after the player’s trial , that ended with the judge declaring a mistrial ? It has come to our attention that although reasons behind the judge’s decision stemmed from a US Attorney discussing the case with a congress member on camera , we are now finding out that upon that judicial verdict a an defense attorney/ investigator , part of Hardin’s defense team saw fit to question a juror to discern their thoughts on whether or not they thought Clemens guilty of the charges he faced . Amongst the litany of charges faced by the seven time Cy Young winner faced were the obstruction of justice , perjury in lying to a congress member having been sworn under oath to be tell the truth.

The judicial facade of the Clemens’ case has rested upon the player’s staunch belief that he has done nothing wrong . But with the sworn testimony given to the House Oversight Committee by Roger Clemens as well his former teammate Andy Pettite and personal trainer Brian McNamee —— questions still abound as to the player’s veracity and his claims that both McNamee and Pettite have misconstrued his statements. Brian McNamee whose own integrity and character has come into question and his own claims that he supplied his then client as a personal trainer with steroids including HGH as well as numerous prohibitive substances. That asides , this idiotic episode seems to be far from over as countless thousand of dollars of taxpayers’ money will be wasted on a judicial procedure that has made a mockery of the system which has shown the public that ……… justice as we know it , is not equitable for all !

Though I have felt all along had the hierarchy of Major League Baseball (MLB) had the backbone to stand up to the MLBPA (union) we would not be at a point where we still question the integrity of the game itself and the ongoing accomplishments of the players. Instead we’re now having to listen to Commissioner Bud Selig talk about his initiative in seeking divisional realignment and adding to the premise of the playoff system with two extra teams per league for the wildcard berths . At this point , I would like to pose the question to the commissioner at what point will he pull his finger out of his own ass and address the real issues that the game faces in terms of the teams’ financial stability ? Somehow , I don’t believe that Bud Selig or any senior league executive within the MLB head office would be willing to provide us all with the answers we seek .

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Do you have any thoughts on the points raised within this piece ? By all means do take the time to leave a comment on these and any other that you may well are pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Terrell Owens (81) of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off of the field following the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-17 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …….

(2) DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before playing against the Baltimore Ravens during their pre season game on August 11, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(3) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning (L) and Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens put on his jacket as he arrives at the U.S. District Court, on August 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Clemens was charged with making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee on his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Getty Images / Mark Wilson …..

(5) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens (R), walks with his attorney Rusty Hardin (L) as he arrives at the U.S. District Court for the start of his perjury trial July 12, 2011 in Washington, DC. Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens is on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. The proceedings itself would become null and void after the judge declared a mistrial . Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson …….

(6) Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (4th L) leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs . Getty Images / Mark Wilson ……….
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I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact tophatal via these social media services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Make Hay While The Sun Shines …………..

Make Hay While The Sun Shines ….

Well now that the mandatory cuts have to be made for NFL teams seeking to reduce their rosters from 90 to 53 players it will be interesting to see what transpires and which members are thought to superfluous to the needs of those franchises. Certainly when this happens players themselves know it’s being done from a business standpoint but more often than it happens because those very same athletes simply have underperformed and not met the expectations of their respective coaches and that of the general managers in question . Now while one can assume that these players are likely to be picked up by a team either to fill a practice roster squad vacancy , most are hoping to make it unto a team where they can contribute and be productive overall for that particular franchise .

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A number of players may well be viewed as now having reached the crossroads of their careers , given the rigors of playing in the NFL . Life expectancy for a player in the league on average is said to be no more than five years at best, given the position played on the field . Granted , for the multiple players that are cut , a number are signed by teams to contract extensions or in some cases multiple year deals . It should come as no surprise that the Philadelphia Eagles sought to resign their quarterback Michael Vick and reward him with a very generous contract ( 6 years __ $100 million cumulative $40 million guaranteed ) . It seems justified given the player’s accomplishments this past season for the team . The faith shown in Vick by coach Andy Reid , his coaching staff , GM Joe Banner and team owner Jeffrey Lurie .

The Eagles’ own offseason moves along with their draft choices shows the organization’s intent that this season they intend to make a full on attack with a view of reaching the Superbowl with the undoubted result of raising the Lombardi Trophy as victors.

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Vince Young (9) of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown against the Cleveland Browns with teammate Michael Vick (7) during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

It would be fair to assume that the Philadelphia Eagles can be looked upon as one of the presumptive favorites within the NFC this upcoming season . I certainly believe that to be the case with this team , along with the defending champions , Green Bay Packers , Atlanta Falcons , New Orleans Saints and quite possibly the Dallas Cowboys . Though I am not yet truly ready to proclaim Tony Romo capable of leading this team to the “promised land ” ! Jason Garrett and his coaching staff first , has to get these players ___ playing with consistency and at the same time simply hope that Romo himself can get through the season without any major ailments as it regards his health. If they are capable of doing that then the postseason itself should become very interesting indeed should the Cowboys be participants in that fair . But Garrett’s greatest predicament may well lie in the fact that team owner Jerry Jones and the front office will maintain a watchful eye on the coach’s progress as well the team’s over the course of this season .

Inasmuch as I view the preseason as something of a precursor , usually of what to expect during the regular season with regard to the starters , I must admit to an extent I have been quietly surprised by the play of several of the rookies taken in this past NFL Draft . One of the players in question that has impressed me the most and someone who I believe can contribute to his team is Julio Jones . Amongst all rookie receivers he has been one of the most impressive along with the Stevan Ridley of the New England Patriots . There’s a reason why Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons and team GM Rich McKay saw fit to make the player the sixth overall pick in the first round of this past draft . Jones’ prodigous talent was on display for all to see while he attended Alabama and it was one of the primary reasons behind the team’s success within the SEC Western Division in posting a 10-3 record overall last season .

Julio Jones brings with him a great deal of speed , agility and the fact that’s he an immediate game changer who can spread the field and add to the offensive weaponry at the disposal of Matt Ryan as the team’s quarterback. And given the prodigious talents of Roddy White , Michael Turner , Jason Snelling and Tony Gonzalez , it has to be said that this team along with the prerequisite draft picks taken , this franchise does now have a legitimate view to be take much more seriously as a bona-fide contender. And that is in light of their postseason meltdown last year against (48-21 ) the eventual champions , the Green Bay Packers .

Within the AFC it has to be said for the San Diego Chargers this might well be the last opportunity for them to have that shot at the “brass ring ” . Norv Turner as the team’s coach has repeatedly found ways to inexplicably coach the franchise to moderate depths of what one deem to be acceptable failure . But if you happen to be a die-hard Chargers’ fans can you honestly say that you find the coach’s missteps as being appropriate , given the talent at his disposal ? The excuses have been continually made about injuries sustained by the team over the course of a season but I believe it comes more from the fact that Norv Turner is essentially out of his depth as a head coach ! If you can’t win with Philip Rivers and that offense , then that’s a clear sign that this team won’t be winning anything at all , anytime soon !

The San Diego Chargers’ GM AJ Smith along with Turner’s coaching staff made the moves that they believed to be in the best interests of the organization as they move forward . Certainly , from a player personnel standpoint ,the roster needed to have more depth in the roster from an offense , defensive and on special team’s . This task would be undertaken with the usual diligence one would come to expect from an organization that seeks turn itself around after a lackluster season that simply further enhanced the fact that the Chargers failed miserably within the AFC West .

For the San Diego Chargers this NFL Draft proved to be a fortuitous one by way of the players acquired . Corey Liuget , Marcus Gilchrist , Jonas Mouton , Vincent Brown , Shareece Wright , Jordan Todman , Steve Schilling and Andrew Gachkar can be productive for this team , given the opportunity to do so. But much of that however will be predicated upon what each brings to the table and how Norv Turner chooses to get the best out these draftees.

The regular season itself starts out with two games that should tell us a great deal about the San Diego Chargers . Their season opener at home against the Minnesota Vikings at Qualcomm Stadium before taking on conference rivals the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough , Massachusetts . Right out of the gate this Chargers’ team has to be ready to play at a high level of consistency as they can ill afford to make any un-necessary slip-ups . All too often we have seen the team play half heartedly over the past two seasons only to somehow fail , much of that being of their own doing . Norv Turner may well be on “the hot seat” in terms of the coaches said to be close , to losing their current positions . Should the Chargers’ coach fail at this juncture , then I for one feel that there’s no justification for him at all to retain his position with the organization !

Interestingly enough , the one player I felt would be ready for the season , will now quite possibly sit out the first six or seven games of the regular NFL schedule. Terrell Owens whose productivity with the Cincinnati Bengals couldn’t be questioned , is now recuperating , having had off season surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in right his knee. The player believe he’s still quite capable of offering something to a contending team in the NFL but I for one now believe that these are the waning days of a player whose career has been littered with controversy as well as some great highs and lows . A Hall of Famer ? Should he choose to retire and meet the criteria set , then Owens would seem to be an automatic choice to be inducted .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Week 4 of the preseason now beckons as the teams look to get themselves into a set rhythm before they embark upon their regular season schedule. A great deal will be made over how the franchises acquit themselves through those initial first couple of games , as I believe we may well be seeing number of teams simply struggle to overcome their inadequacies as they would normally have to. This NFL stoppage if anything has opened our eyes as to a number of reasons why this whole facade was completely unnecessary but you’d be hard pressed to convince the NFL league hierarchy or the NFLPA . What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming season and with regard to any of the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

Contact tophatal via these social media devices

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(1) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick smiles during a news conference about his new contract with the NFL football team, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(2) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles against the Cleveland Browns during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles would go on to defeat the Browns 24-14 Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ……

(3) Vince Young (9) of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown against the Cleveland Browns with teammate Michael Vick (7) during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

(4) PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 27: Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons runs after the catch against Keenan Lewis (23) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during a pre-season game on August 27, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

(5) Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) avoids Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu after making a catch for first down in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …….

(6) Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith , left, stands with team owner Arthur Blank , center, who shakes hands with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin , right, during warmup before the preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …….

(7) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) drops back to pass in the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …..

(8) Wide receiver Malcom Floyd(80) of the San Diego Chargers celebrates with Kris Dielman (68) after scoring a 3 yard touchdown reception past cornerback A.J. Jefferson (20) of the Arizona Cardinals during the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(9) Quarterback Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers watches from the sidelines during the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(10) Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers watches from the sidelines during the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……
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Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

I’m not so sure that over the last 48 hours things could have gotten any better for the city of Philadelphia from a sporting standpoint . As baseball slowly approaches the trade deadline it was being widely reported that the Philadelphia Phillies under the direction of GM Reuben Amaro Jr had acquired Houston Astros’ outfielder Hunter Pense . The team’s needs were viewed that they needed some added offense beyond the arsenal within the organization at large .

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With the Philadelphia Phillies amongst one of the more high salaried teams within baseball and the organization on the cusp of the league mandated luxury tax thresh-hold . The fact that the team was able to acquire Pense without having to give up that much in return , while adding to payroll makes their ambition all too clear and that is to place themselves amongst the favorites for the World Series . The Philadelphia Phillies now have what appears to be an insurmountable lead within the NL East over their closest rivals the Atlanta Braves .
In what now appears to be a race that all but theirs for the taking it’s clear to see that Charlie Manuel and his assistants along with Amaro felt that it was in the team’s best interests to prepare themselves for the postseason in terms of a roster fully capable of acquitting themselves down the line.

And amongst the NL representatives for the NLCS one would be remiss to deny the fact that the Phillies shouldn’t be viewed as the presumptive favorites . The team does stand head and shoulders above their peers within the NL and although the defending champions the San Francisco Giants made their very own pursuit into the free agent waiver deadline market with their acquisition of Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets it has to be said that the build up between the vying contenders in the months leading up to the end of the regular season should prove to be very interesting .

And while we can attest to the fact that the Philadelphia Phillies might just have the best pitching rotation in the game but that in of itself will not necessarily be the determining factor as to the fate of the team’s postseason ambitions. It is clear that Charlie Manuel and Reuben Amaro believe that if they are to be triumphant then this roster has to be one that is well balanced and with all of the prerequisites needed for success. I’ve no doubt that Hunter Pense will be a valuable asset to this team given his play and productivity and with the youthful zeal of the player one can only expect to see great things from him and this team.

Nnamdi Asomugha may well have been the most desirable free agent of the players in light of the NFL lockout and the league’s resumption of their operations. With the subsequent bloodletting and the mayhem we have all witnessed it was that the teams said to be gauging the interest in Asomugha ranged from the New York Jets , New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers but no one absolutely no one could have suspected that it would be the Philadelphia Eagles with Andy Reid , team President Joe Banner and GM Howie Roseman swooping down to acquire the player , signing him to a five year $60 million deal of which $25 million was guaranteed money . It had been thought that the Forty Niners may well have had the best hope of acquiring the player and keeping him in the Bay area given the fact that his career in the NFL had been with the Oakland Raiders .

Asomugha’s stellar credentials only adds to the luster of this Eagles’ team and it has to be said they now have to be seen as the favorites not just within the NFC East but also the entire conference . The Eagles depth and the fact that Andy Reid has a litany of offensive weapons at his disposal with the now resurgent Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson , Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy leading the charge has me believing they have to be considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl .

The secondary of the Eagles with the cornerback tandem of Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel must rival if not surpass that of any duo in the league . And it is clear that Reid saw that the acquisition would immediately make this defense a great deal better from the get go.

There’s no denying that the Philadelphia Eagles as a team will flourish this upcoming season . From my own perspective I do believe that the likelihood of the New York Giants , Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins mounting a serious challenge within the division ( NFC East ) isn’t as great as one would presume. The Dallas Cowboys with Jason Garrett now firmly entrenched as the team’s coach now has to look over his shoulders each and every moment as Jerry Jones gauges his every move . With the fact that the team owner has seen fit to purge the roster of players such as Marion Barber and Roy Williams to name but a few the pressure still remains for the Dallas Cowboys to perform.

Now much has been made that Tony Romo is a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback but the issues for him has been that the Cowboys have never really surrounded him with the talent needed . Unless I’m mistaken but Jerry Jones has simply gone out and done whatever he felt necessary in bolstering the Cowboys , albeit that at times the players acquired simply have never measured up. Jones has finally admitted that mistakes were made last season but to my mind the one flaw in this remains and always has been the suspect play of Tony Romo. As good as many believe him to be there’s no denying that when placed under extreme pressure he tends to wilt when asked to go above and beyond what he’s been asked to do. For Jason Garrett and his coaching staff their task will be lead this team to some semblance of success and that has to viewed as the Dallas Cowboys making the postseason at a minimum.

The other residents within the NFC East ___ the New York Giants and Washington Redskins will vie for the task of trying to mount a serious challenge to the division’s prohibitive favorites the Philadelphia Eagles . It would be remiss to suggest that the Giants were not a monumental disappointment last season . The team simply underperformed and one has to now question the ability of the team’s quarterback Eli Manning . All this in the aftermath of having signed a bloated 6 year $96 million contract for which he’s failed to live up to even though he led the team to a Superbowl (SB XLII) victory.

The daggers were out for Giants’ coach Tom Coughlan last season and I found it somewhat surprising that the organization sought to retain the coach after the failures of last year. But such are the vagaries of the game that it’s always best to expect the unexpected even when it no longer really comes as a surprise .

For the life of me after the debacle of this past year I cannot see how Dan Snyder continues to think that overpaying for talent as well as coaches can be considered a measure of success by any means possible ! The Washington Redskins having hired Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle Shanahan have yet to show any measure of coaching pedigree much less that this team is on the way of achieving some semblance of success . We all witness the frailties of the players and in particular the woes of Donovan McNabb as the team fell from grace having been a complete embarrassment throughout much of last year .

Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s handling of McNabb led many to believe that the player’s days with the organization were numbered . And that was proven to be a fact when the quarterback was traded to the Minnesota Vikings where he will now become that team’s starting quarterback . Given the Vikings’ own woes last season with Brett Favre at the helm I am not so sure that McNabb at this stage of his career is that much of an upgrade over Favre ! But it is , what it is and we will simply have to wait and see what transpires both the player and the team over the course of the season .

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In light of the moves made by both the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies how do you see both teams faring this season ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning Donovan McNabb and his move to the Minnesota Vikings ? Do you believe that he will have a measure of success or simply flounder ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within the piece .

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

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies Hunter Pence reacts after scoring on a double by Raul Ibanez in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. The Phillies won 4-3 in the tenth inning. AP Photo/Chris Schneider ….

(2) Huston Street (16) of the Colorado Rockies returns to the mound as John Mayberry Jr. (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds he bases on his pinch hit two run home-run to tie the score 3-3 in the ninth inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Street was credited with a blown save as the Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(3) Shane Victorino (8) of the Philadelphia Phillies scores the game winning run in front of catcher Chris Iannetta (20) of the Colorado Rockies on his solo home-run off of Rex Brothers (49) of the Colorado Rockies in the 10th inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3 in 10 innings. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(4) Manager Charlie Manuel (right) of the Philadelphia Phillies is seen here with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as they celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 in game five of the NLCS MLB Playoffs to advance to the World Series . Getty Images North America / Jeff Zelevansky ……

(5) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) talks with head coach Andy Reid during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. on Monday, August 1, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz …….

(6) Philadelphia Eagles’ Nnamdi Asomugha walks onto the practice field for the first time during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sunday, July 31, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz ……..

(7) Chased by Washington Redskins safety Chris Horton, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) scores a touchdown during the second quarter of the NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Monday in Landover, Md. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP …….

(8) Minnesota Vikings new quarterback Donovan McNabb, left, jokes around with first round draft pick, quarterback Christian Ponder , out of Florida State, during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Mankato, Minn. Under league rules, McNabb cannot practice until Thursday. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(9) Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, left, talks with Tony Romo (9) during NFL football training camp, Friday, July 29, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………

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Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Well for myself the sporting weekend transitioned itself around Rory McIlroy simply decimating a world class field at the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda , Maryland . The margin of victory not withstanding a resounding 8 stroke victory by McIlroy over his closest rival Jason Day . Now the whole world will want to know what awaits McIlroy and how would he have fared had Tiger Woods been in the field ? From my own perspective given Woods’ recent run of form I doubt that the result would have been any different ! Suffice to say while Woods remains the yardstick against which the current contemporaries are to be adjudged , in reality the Tiger of old isn’t currently around .

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Things are now beginning to look rather bleak for the Florida Marlins . In the month of June this team has won only one of their last eighteen games and the fact that manager Edwin Rodriguez simply walked away from the organization and team having tendered his resignation simply indicates how dire things had become for the NL East franchise . Now with eighty year old Jack McKeon being asked by GM Larry Beinfest to assume control of this beleaguered team I am not so sure that things can be drastically turned around .

Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress soon have his freedom having been incarcerated at the taxpayers’ expense . And for the player who now looks to resurrect his NFL career it will be interesting to see what teams if any take an open interest in the former Pro Bowl wideout . Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made it his desire to have Burress become a teammate of his with the Eagles . But I doubt that either team coach Andy Reid or GM Joe Banner are seeking to make another reclamation project out of another troubled NFL player . Vick in spite of his successes last season still has a long way to go to prove to everyone that he’s actually back to his very best as a player but even more so as a leader .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Burress still has something to offer to a team but given the player’s predilection to self implode , if I were a general manager much less an NFL team owner his joining my organization would have to be based upon his demeanor and actual acknowledgement that he has now changed for the better as a human being . Beyond that not much else would really matter other than him being productive on the field of play .

There’s no doubt in my mind that the rules of the NFL are there for a reason especially where it involves the players concerning gambling. It is now being widely reported that as many twenty five NFL players are known to be investors in a gaming concern in Alabama . The owner of the casino Country Crossing —- Ron Gilley is under indictment by the Justice Department along with two lobbyists for offering state legislator millions of dollars in bribes in order to facilitate the approval and building of the casino in Dothan , Alabama .

The NFL’s rules are very clear on this matter wherein it states that current NFL players are barred from being involved in any type of gaming concern from a business standpoint . In doing so it creates the perception that in some way that there could be a conflict of interest and any type of impropriety that a player or players whilst on the field of play could effect the outcome of game . Well given the fact that the league as such welcomes to the actions of gamblers betting on their games I can’t see how they feel that an NFL player hasn’t been wagering on the games where they are already participants ! It would be naïve to think otherwise , albeit that no one has been caught but I think it is pretty safe to say that the players around the NFL have their own proclivities when it comes to games of chance . Tens of millions of dollars are wagered each year on the Superbowl and I am quite sure that there have been a number of players around the NFL that have profited directly or indirectly from placing a bet on the game . The NFL hierarchy if they do decide to conduct an investigation into this matter than the ramifications could well be very serious for the players involved at the center of this drama .

I’ve never been one to get completely enamored over the glare of the limelight or the very fact that some athletes tend to think of themselves as being bigger than the game. But in light of the recent meltdown of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and the mere fact that the team’s All Star LeBron James has began to chastise the fans for his and his team’s own shortcoming has me now believing more so than ever before that this is the monster that David Stern has created ! Instead of the NBA being a team sport it has now become a heartless ego driven endeavor where upon it is the stars/ marquee players that we are meant to be enthralled by rather than the teams themselves .

If James’ behavior and that of his teammate Dwyane Wade wasn’t enough of an indicator of that then I for one don’t know what is ! ! Self aggrandizement and the mocking of an opponent who at the time was said to be ill shows the lack of class in the two aforementioned players . But yet team President Pat Riley continued to bitch and whine when any criticism was being leveled at the team or his famous duo of stars . In the end nothing could have been much sweeter than seeing the Miami Heat juggernaut being derailed by the Dallas Mavericks and Finals’ MVP Dirk Nowitzki . When all said and done the better and far more deserving team proved to be victorious and laying to rest the myth that having a trio of superstars elicits a win of a title . Teams win titles , where the endeavor is meant to about showing cohesiveness and a genuine will to win and nothing resembling that was ever on display by the Miami Heat throughout the NBA Finals and their series loss to the Dallas Mavericks !

I was never enamored with the NHL and I don’t think I ever will be ! In light of the Boston Bruins having won the Stanley Cup in defeating the Vancouver Canucks . The display by Canucks’ fans in the aftermath of the team’s game seven loss was enough of an indicator that it simply doesn’t matter where the fans are from their baser instincts are always the same ! Act like a Neanderthal and you’ll viewed as such ! The fans went on a postgame riot , looting , burning cars and damaging businesses in the city of Vancouver that in the could run into several million dollars worth of damages . But what might be even more ludicrous may well have been the public statement issued by the city’s police chief , Jim Chu in stating that the incidents and acts of violence resulting in over 100 arrests and 150 people injured were merely the acts of the criminal element with nothing better to do . I wonder if Chu’s mindset would still have been the same had there been far more serious injuries resulting with someone’s death ? Isn’t it bad enough that his city was shown in a thoroughly bad light after these riots , never mind the fact that the game’s image has been tarnished by the events that took place ?

Granted, no sport is ever without its bad elements but the mere fact that Chu chooses to write this off as a criminal element choosing to take advantage of a sporting events smacks of sheer stupidity on his part . If anything it furthermore paints a poor picture of his city and the fact that those involved are nothing more than a marauding bunch of hooligans . That asides , if the hockey fan out there becomes this disgruntled because their team loses in the game’s showcase event then it simply shows another reason why the game continues to flounder in more ways than one from a commercial and professional endeavor .

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