Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ….

” Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ” Quote by William Shakespeare

As the NFL regular season meets its timely demise, the one thing we can take out of these scheduled l games was the fact , like in seasons past ….what you see is what you get. None of this asinine insinuation of their being parity in the NFL has any foundation at all . It comes down to hard work , effort , talent and coaching. This season there was very little of that to be witnessed by the majority of the teams. Even franchises thought to be major contenders at the start of the year , simply flamed out like a damp squib, while but a few surprised , perhaps none more so than the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) who made the NFC West something of a competitive division throughout much of the season , but failing in the end to follow up their fast start , by closing out the deal with a divisional win . Bruce Arians’ Cardinals enter into the postseason as a wildcard entrant with a very competitive game on their hands this upcoming weekend.

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Slideshow.

The Arizona Cardinals will travel cross-country to face an over-achieving Carolina Panthers’ (7-8-1) team who somehow fought and then systematically clawed their way to an undeserving NFC South divisional title . Ron Rivera and his players made a successful defense of their title, but it was far from being impressive considering the fact , in 2013 the team had double-digit wins while also claiming one of the best records in the NFC for the year. This season proved to be a complete anathema with all four teams finishing within the division with sub.500 records and the Panthers being privileged to be the divisional representative in the postseason . Say what you will, but mediocrity still plays a vital part in the NFL today and always will in spite of claims to the contrary and the ongoing idiotic suggestion of parity .

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers make welcome return to the postseason , but these are not the Steelers’ teams of old , albeit , Ben Roethliseberger is playing well , but nowhere near the level when he led the franchise to their most recent postseason triumphs . In knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals , Pittsburgh booked their ticket to the postseason, while also capturing the AFC North title. Roethlisberger will be looking to make this Steelers’ team competitive, even if they are looked upon as under-dogs within the conference and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl . If Pittsburgh can find any semblance of consistency then they are likely give any AFC team considerable problems during the postseason foray.

With all three teams from the state of California failing to make the NFL’s end of the regular season showcase. One has to ask, what now becomes of the Oakland Raiders (3-13), San Diego Chargers(9-7) and the San Francisco 49ers (8-8)? Niners’ head coach Jim Harbaugh is most certainly out, with the beleaguered head coach having agreed in principle to part ways with the franchise. There were every growing signs Harbaugh had lost control of the team and the players’ confidence in him, never mind the organization’s lack of accountability in dealing with several off the field issues during the season. It has all led up to this crisis and placed CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke in a position, where they were either going fire the coach , but with his choosing to part ways of his own volition , it now leaves them to pursue a candidate to their liking and hopefully someone who can regain the stature they feel is befitting of their franchise.

A meaningless win for the Forty Niners over the Arizona Cardinals was simply more salt in the wound for the organization , knowing this was a season which went unfulfilled. There were few positives on this team and the likelihood will be, some drastic changes will be made to the roster during the off-season. I am not so sure what needs to be said about the San Diego Chargers and the travails of Philip Rivers . Since his entry into the NFL he has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league, but yet he has been unable to give the franchise or should I say, this organization has failed to supply him with the complementary weaponry to get the job done of availing themselves a Superbowl victory. All that was needed in the Chargers’ final game of the season, was a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , but instead, the visitors chose to give their worst performance of the season with Rivers contributing to the Chargers’ defeat and their being abruptly thrown out of the postseason.

It has never pained me to say this but ” the Oakland Raiders are simply sh#t and not worth the time of day ., much less being mentioned as an NFL franchise ! I don’t believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that at this juncture . As for this idiotic belief , Jon Gruden is likely to return to the organization for a second go-around, is almost absurd as believing Donald Trump has the wherewithal to become the GOP candidate for the Presidency in 2016. Then again, if a smooth-talking Senator from Chicago , Illinois can twice (2008 and 2012) pull the wool over the eyes of a befuddled electorate, then just about anything is possible within reason, wouldn’t you agree ? Gruden signed a lucrative contract extension with ESPN to fill us in with his customary useless diatribe and insights into the NFL. Personally. the less I see of the NFL analyst on the air, the better off I feel about the the league in general, as I believe his insight on the game, offers me no more meaningful information than can be found in a piece of legislative statute, drawn up by a lobbyist, that one of the Congress’s lame @ss legislators, will place their signature on, calling it their own and a meaningful piece of legislation. The Raiders were in the hunt to have the worst record in the NFL this season , until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to enter the fray and exhibit the type of incompetence often seen from silent era of movie making and those comedic classics produced by Max Sennett that evolved around ” The Keystone Cops” .

Genuine pratfalls or not , the Buccaneers have now defined and refined incompetence to a new “art form” within the NFL , with their apathetic fans as usual at a loss with anything meaningful to say about the continuing woes of the team and organization in general. Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht remains as clueless in person as he does when first introduced as the lead front office executive in charge of player personnel decisions for the franchise. Lovie Smith has brought in and instilled the type of home-grown stupidity into the Buccaneers’ roster that you would perhaps more associate with an episode of the the ” Jerry Springer ” Show . ” Who’s my baby Daddy ” ? The Buccaneers were just about everybody”s bit#h during the regular season and their record was a clear reflection of that fact.

The fact the Oakland and Tampa will be in the top-five of the 2015 NFL Draft order shouldn’t really come as surprise to anyone . What may well come as a surprise , is the fact the Raiders are seriously contemplating Tony Sparano remain as the team’s head coach and making it a permanent position . Damn , here was I thinking the revolving door and turn-style of either recycled head coaches or less than qualified candidates would be part of the Raiders’ off-season as they began their interviewing process , but at the end of the day, we are dealing with the Oakland Raiders and nothing they seem to do has anything to do with logic let alone acual common sense. I hear, there is even talk of building the franchise around the talents of Derek Carr ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! If Carr hopes to be a resounding success in the NFL, then here are a few pointers for the player , play a great deal better than you have been and for Christ’s sake take no advice from an elder sibling, David Carr , whose career in the NFL and the fact he was an overall number one draft pick is a sound reason why you cannot always base an assessment of a player on what others might think or the fact Mel Kiper’s lips have been firmly pressed against an agents’ sphincter or the players’ butt-hole as an insightful premise as what we ought to expect from a player.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is once again back to the drawing board, as the franchise seeks to regain some semblance of respectability , if not success. The lone bright spot on the roster from the season which has just ended was the play of their rookie wide receiver Mike Evans who excelled for for the franchise in his first professional season in the league. It’s safe to suggest the Buccaneers have a solid receiver in Evans and a very good talent with running back Doug Martin who had himself a career-day in the team’s narrow three-point loss to the New Orleans Saints (7-9).

Unfortunately, there are no leaders to be found on this current Buccaneers’ roster, and in large part, that has not been the case since the days, when Tony Dungy was the head coach of this franchise. Players such as Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Jon Lynch played with a great deal of pride and honor , when they took to the field for the team. I do not believe that to be the case with this current lineup and that is strange, when you consider, Lovie Smith is a disciple of the Dungy approach to coaching and the players being held accountable. Then again I shouldn’t be at all surprised by the morass and incompetence shown by team, when I consider the fact , Smith coached the Chicago Bears where during his final two years with the franchise, we all witnessed the less than favorable playing traits of Jay Cutler . If Smith could not corral and handle a prima-donna such as Cutler, why would anyone be of the belief he would be able to instill any type of discipline into a roster where Gerald McCoy and Vincent Jackson have practically been “no shows ” this season and as alleged veterans in the NFL, have shown about as much propensity to lead by example as a shy child being asked to read in font of the class by a teacher , on their first day at school.

McCoy and Jackson are among the highest paid players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have have been stealing money under false pretense by way of their respective salaries . Whatever changes are likely to be made during the off-season you can be assured there will be upheavals made as the front office decides to rebuild the roster and several elements of the coaching staff . It has been part of the Buccaneers’ procedural process during each year of undoubted failure , in a season which allegedly, promised a great deal of hope.

OK, so the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) are back in the postseason for the first time since 2009 where the team’s showing ended with a divisional round loss to the Minnesota Vikings . Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones finally has something to shout out loud about, as the team far exceeded expectations which may have been set at the start of the season. The Cowboys won the <a href=http://nfl.com/standings?sort=por won the NFC East, because the Philadelphia Eagles(10-6) under the coaching acumen of Chip Kelly, has no compunction to play defense , something often witnessed during his years with Oregon as the program’s head coach. Prolific offenses seems to be the only thing known to Kelly and within his playbook.

Philadelphia for its part, was simply hoping the Cowboys would falter in their game against the hapless Washington Redskins(4-12) , whose season has been one repeated disaster after the other, with Jay Gruden unsure what to make of his starting quarterbacks this season. Dallas simply blew the Redskins out of the water with a 44-17 victory in a contest where Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murrayshattered the franchise’s single season records for receiving touchdowns , for rushing yardsrespectively and all-purpose yards. Though the Eagles came away with a somewhat easy victory over the New York Giants (6-10) .

It is stunning to face the fact, the Philadelphia Eagles failed to make the postseason when they had the division and postseason berth within their grasp. Questions need to be asked and answered, as to whether or not this team possesses the competitive or mental mindset to get the job done . The answer , based on the occurrences of this season would have to be a resounding …….. no , because clearly, Chip Kelly feels there is no need to change the way the team plays , specifically with their defense being so inconsistent, bordering on ineptitude.

As great a season as the Dallas Cowboys had for the year,I am far from convinced the team will be good enough to make deep run in the postseason ! Add in the fact Tony Romo’s playoff- record leaves a great deal to be desired. A wildcard contest against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington , Texas on the 4th January , 2015 will provide the Cowboys’ fans their first chance to see the team in playoff game in five years. Whether or not the players can get past this first hurdle will greatly be dependent upon on the preparation of Jason Garrett and his coaching staff. The winner will then have the privilege of facing the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the postseason.

The New York Jets'(4-12) failures thisseason have been well-chronicled and the mere fact that the front office seems to on the cusp of firing head coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik should come as no great surprise. At no point during their regular season schedule were the Jets able to muster back-to-back wins. It’s safe to say, as Ryan continually backed his incumbent starting quarterback , Geno Smith , the greater the pressure became for him to revert to the use of the team’s veteran and backup Michael Vick when Smith’s play came into question during 2014. Not that Vick’s play was any more convincing, leading many to now believe his days in the NFL are likely numbered. Strong arm and a great running threat? Well, those days are long gone and his play overall, never led to any meaningful victories for either the Atlanta Falcons Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets over the course of his career. As for Smith, work in progress or not, momentary flashes of glimpses of brilliance are not what the Jets require, it his consistently winning games and showing leadership than his propensity for fumbling the ball and throwing interceptions.

It will be interesting to see what now transpires within the Jets’ organization, as they gauge where and when their season began to spiral completely out of control. My question remains , if John Idzik was the architect behind the building of a Superbowl winning roster, with last season’s champions the Seattle Seahawks , then how is it he and Ryan’s coaching staffwere not able to assemble a competitive roster for this season ?

Credible candidates for the regular season League MVP ? Cast your net wide, but to my mind there are but four strong nominees for the league’s highest invdividual regular season honor ! Granted, everyone seems to be jumping on the JJ Watt bandwagon, but how can anyone feel Watt is so deserving of the award when the Houston Texans (9-7)barely above.500 never really challenged the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) for divisional supremacy within the AFC South or the very fact the team failed to make it into the postseason ? Granted , Watt did have an exceptional year as a defensive player and rightfully or wrongfully he can be considered for the award , but to my mind he has been the best Defensive Player in the league this season , but being the best player in the NFL this year ? There are are other candidates far more worthy than Watt !

I believe the Texans’ defensive end (Watt) to be the best player on the roster this season. Yet , that in-of-itself should be by no means the sole requirement for him to be simply be handed the prize unanimously in a number of adjudicators’ eyes. Has he been the best player in the NFL this season ? Consistency might suggest Watt has been, but I consider the play of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, DeMarco Murray and Tom Brady to have been just as credible. When these awards are handed out during the NFL’s annual awards’ ceremony , it will be interesting to see who the recipient award will be and whether not it a unanimous or majority vote balloted in the player’s favor. Your thoughts on this specific matter ?

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Picture gallery .

With the NFL postseason about to get underway this weekend, what event during the regular season caught your attention and which teams during the league’s postseason foray do you believe will rise to the occasion and win it all ? Chime in with a comment on the subject matter as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has been greatly appreciated ! With the New Year beckoning, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and Prosperous New Year !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers avoids the tackle from Calais Campbell (93) of the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The Forty Niners would go on to defeat the Cardinals 20-17 , with the contest being Jim Harbaugh’s last game in charge as the head coach of the team. Getty Images Ezra Shaw …

(2) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw ….

(3) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers and owner Jed York talk at midfield during warm ups against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images /Don Feria …

(4) Head coach Rex Ryan , left, of the New York Jets speaks with head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins during pregame workouts before the Jets met the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. It was announced today that Ryan and GM John Idzik had been fired by team owner Woody Johnson as the franchise seeks to move on after a thoroughly disappointing season. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …

(5) Mike Evans (13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs after a reception in the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. The Saints defeated the Bucs 23-20 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …

(6) Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(7) J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans celebrates sacking Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images /Bob Levey …

(8) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Century-Link Field on December 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Johnathan Ferrey …

(9) Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback , Russell Wilson is seen here raising the Lombardi Trophy after the team’s lopsided victory over the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl . The Seahawks enter the postseason as the number one seed in the NFC and a strong contender to repeat as the defending champions . Wilson is also considered a leading contender for League MVP after a stellar season for the team. Also pictured are Michael Strahan to the left of the quarterback, with Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll to Wilson’s rear . AP Photo/ Mike Thomas …
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Tophatal ….

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It’s Not Your Grandfather’s , Father’s Or Even Your Uncle’s Football … But It’s Still The NFL ….

It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Or Uncle’s Football But It’s Still The NFL ….

Well week eight of the NFL has brought about a season where there has been some great games played and a number of horrendous events that we’re led to believe were NFL regular season events. To my mind there are several good teams an abundance of bad teams and several of which are simply mediocre at best . The Green Bay Packers (7-0) are the runaway leaders of the NFC North and by far in a way the best team in the NFL . It would be prudent to suggest that Mike McCarthy has this team playing at a higher level of efficiency than we all witnessed last year during the regular and postseason . As we all know the Packers went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl .

It’s Not Your Grandfather’s , Father’s Or Even Your Uncle’s Football ….But It’s Still The NFL ….

Well week eight of the NFL has brought about a season where there has been some great games played and a number of horrendous events that we’re led to believe were NFL regular season events. To my mind there are several good teams an abundance of bad teams and several of which are simply mediocre at best . The Green Bay Packers (7-0) are the runaway leaders of the NFC North and by far in a way the best team in the NFL . It would be prudent to suggest that Mike McCarthy has this team playing at a higher level of efficiency than we all witnessed last year during the regular and postseason . As we all know the Packers went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl .

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Slide show for your perusal .

If there’s a surprise of the season so far then to my mind it would have to be the San Francisco 49ers (6-1) , who apart from the one blemish on their record would be 7-0 and joining the Packers atop of the NFL food chain . The Niners’ quarterback Alex Smith has truly excelled this season under John Harbaugh’s tutelage and the mere fact that teammates Frank Gore , Patrick Willis and Michael Crabtree all seem to have thrown their support behind Smith , makes his job all the much easier. Amongst the NFC quarterbacks Alex Smith has certainly made a name that could very well see him be considered a consensus Pro Bowl team member for the NFC .

Now while the Detroit Lions (5-2) got off to a fast start to their season , I have always felt that the real issues with this team would evolve around the health and play of Matt Stafford . So far this season the player has yet to miss a game due to injury and his play has been very good indeed . Coach Jim Schwartz having gotten the Lions playing with a great deal of confidence and resolve is now simply forget the 2008 season and the team’s 0-16 record .

Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions they are in a division that pits them against the defending Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers alongside the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings . The NFC North which appears to have three very combative and competitive teams all vying for divisional supremacy. Now let me preface this by saying that from what I’ve seen of the Minnesota Vikings this season it would be prudent to suggest the team under Leslie Frazier’s tutelage won’t be going anywhere , not with Donovan McNabb or dare I say Christian Ponder at the helm ! And thought the team came off an impressive win defeating the Cam Newton led Carolina Panthers we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves concerning the victory . In reality both would be hard pressed to be considered viable contenders for the postseason. But yet this is what the NFL has now come to in terms of the quality of the teams and rather insipid and idiotic analysis provided by so called experts within four major broadcast networks alongside HBO , ESPN and the NFL Network .

After the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 25-17 victory over the New England Patriots I think that it’s pretty safe to assume that the Steelers are now the best team in the AFC . Their record (6-2) alone bears this out and the defeat of the Tom Brady led Patriots gives credence to the fact that Mike Tomlin’s team will be a force to be reckoned not just only the course of the season but should they inevitably make it to the postseason.

If there’s one controversy to the NFL season that will continue to linger on , then it has to be future of Tim Tebow and the success he’s able to attain with the Denver Broncos . The Broncos have been placed in an almost impossible situation because the player simply has been thrust into an environment where he’s going to be doomed for failure . Much of this comes from the complete ineptitude shown by the Broncos’ front office led by John Elway and the team’s head coach John Fox . Now I have a heard a great deal as to how Tim Tebow doesn’t have the prerequisite skills to make it in the NFL and while those claims have a great deal of veracity to them . I would argue that the close claims while valid there are also misnomers to this all, because plainly put , neither the coaching staff of the Broncos or that of the Florida Gators under then coach Urban Meyer simply prepared the player at the collegiate level for the step up to the NFL . Instead the player has been left adrift alone to fend for himself and clearly he’s struggling and things are not looking pretty for Tim Tebow or the Broncos. But it’d be remiss to simply suggest that the quarterback is the sole problem that this organization faces as they’re a poorly coached and certainly one of the worst franchises currently playing in the NFL ! And as a quarterback Tebow isn’t faring any better amongst his peers within the league . Suffice to say , that in spite of his eagerness to succeed at the position he’s simply on his way to becoming a bust ! His stats bore this out in the team’s lopsided loss ( 45-10) to the Detroit Lions .

Can things be turned around for the player ? The more pertinent question might just be , are the Broncos willing to place their faith in Tim Tebow and groom him appropriately for the position as an NFL quarterback ? Clearly no one from within the front office are publicly willing to address the matter ! Certainly not John Fox , Quarterbacks’ coach Adam Gase , John Elway , GM Brian Xanders or for that matter team owner Pat Bowlem .

Now while the league and in particular the league hierarchy , franchise owners and the NFLPA are now said to be happy with their lot. The money still rolls in and the $7 billion a year industry we’re led to believe is still in a very healthy financial state . If there’s one grievance that I had with their deliberations during their so called labor stoppage was indeed the secretive negotiations that took place behind closed doors . Retired NFL veterans were represented but in the end they merely got a small morsel in terms of what they wanted . When you have players dying in squalor and all the league has been prepared to do , has been to issue an impromptu statement stating their sadness over the deaths of Dave Duerson and others, it simply speaks to the egregious behavior of not only the NFL but also the union that’s said to represent the best interests of the players. Psychological , physical and neurological health issues have plagued these retired veterans and the criteria set in order for them to even obtain benefits , were that they had to be in the league and playing for not less than two consecutive years . However , when you hear uttered statements by the union’s former executive director Gene Upshaw prior to his demise ……… ” my concern is not with the players of the past but those who are on the field playing today and making money “ ______ you either have to look at this league and understand what it really stands for . Never mind the fact that the NFL continues to rob the consumer , various municipal and state governmental agencies —- blind with their surreptitious dealings ! But I’ve yet to hear a fan question this but instead they merely act like lambs to the slaughter , completely oblivious to what’s happening within their midst !

Apart from the league’s (NFL) willingness to now have HGH and steroid testing as a protocol , something of which was agreed to by the union (NFLPA) led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , the union’s executive committee and ratified by both parties as part of their new collective bargaining agreement . We now have the union reneging on the deal , stating they’re not completely satisfied with the testing procedures and protocols that will be in place . Have you ever heard such bullshit from a labor group after having agreed upon an issue , especially when having voting overwhelmingly to adopt that proposal ? Perhaps it’s me but I find the mendacity of the union odious and even more so when the league hierarchy and owners are now caving and not proceeding ahead with the policy ! I’ve always maintained that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was never that bright to begin with ! He cowers like the bitch that he is and he’s not unlike his NBA counterpart David Stern who’d simply do almost anything to save face in the public’s eyes !

Now with the federal government seeking to intervene by way of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee headed by chairman Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) and his co-chair Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md,.) we are now bound to hear a number of excuses coming not only from the NFL and union as to why the policy is not in place and being enacted . From my own perspective I would rather see the government dealing with the issues that ail the nation rather than interceding in this matter , then only to fawn over these idiots within the NFL ! Is it not bad enough that we have both legislative chambers , whose schedule over this last calendar year has seen it only seated within the House and Senate for less than 250 days ? And they’re meant to know what’s best for the country ? Never mind the imbecilic attitude of the President’s administration and all it allegedly represents because I am still at a loss to witness where the change we can believe in has actually come from !

The NFL may well have come a long way from its humble beginnings but it is still very much in a way a brand and sport while growing , it still smacks of incredulity and a great deal of conceit and corruption ! Don’t believe me ? Simply look at the case that can be made as to their so called labor negotiations and ask yourself why it is that federal court Judge Arthur Boylan chose to seal the details of a deal that was meant to aid the retired veterans of the NFL ? It certainly wasn’t done in the best interests of the retired veteran players but more so for the league hierarchy and union . There you have it , hook line and sinker .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And how do you now view the NFL as an entity ? Simply leave a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it is always appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 23: Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter on October 23, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Packers defeated the Vikings 33-27 . Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(2) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 23: Howard Green (95) and Erik Walden (93) of the Green Bay Packers put pressure on Christian Ponder (7) of the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter on October 23, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Packers defeated the Vikings 33-27. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(3) Michael Crabtree (15) of the San Francisco 49ers catches this pass for forty one yards against the Cleveland Browns at Candlestick Park on October 30, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 20-10 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ….

(4) Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers gets his pass off over the out-stretched arms of Jayme Mitchell (92) of the Cleveland Browns at Candlestick Park on October 30, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(5) Linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) of the Detroit Lions reacts by “Tebowing” after making a sack on quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 30th , 2011 . The Lions would defeat the Broncos 45-10 . Getty Images / Justin Edmonds …

(6) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is seen here alongside NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith in Canton, Ohio home to Pro Football Hall of Fame . The union chief is seen holding the document that elicits the league’s and union’s compliance in reaching what was thought to be a peaceful accord as their labor stoppage . Now in light of their having agreed to the protocol of HGH testing the NFLPA are seeking to renege on the deal . That stance by the union has drawn the ire and wrath of the federal government in particular representatives Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md,.) who are the chair and leading Democrat chairing the House Oversight & Gov’t Reform Committee . Both Goodell and Smith have been asked to appear before the committee for a second time since their CBA was signed to answer questions why testing has yet to take place within the NFL as agreed upon and ratified by both parties . AP Photo / Martin Thompson …..

(7) Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) who chairs the House Oversight & Gov’t Reform Committee . The Californian congressman is the senior ranking Republican on that committee . AFP/Photo/ Isaac J Thorne ……..

(8) Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md,.) the ranking Democrat on the House Gov’t & Oversight Reform Committee . Both Cummings and Issa have formally requested that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith face the committee in hearings to answer question as to why the league’s drug policy on HGH testing has yet to be enacted . Getty Images North America / Anthony Riordan …..

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Yaris Sanchez ………. hot , but the hotter the better !
Wouldn’t you agree ?

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[youtube.com=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j_cOsgRY7w]

Bone Thugs – N-Harmony …….. “1st of the Month ”

Take Nothing For Granted ……….

Take Nothing For Granted ……

I’m not so sure that Bill Belichick can take away anything positive from the New England Patriots’ loss at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon against conference rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers . Mike Tomlin’s team simply knew that to have any chance of overcoming the his opponents, was to literally shut down the passing game of Tom Brady and this Patriots’ offense .

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With an always stout and aggressive defense you simply knew that this would definitely be a stern test for Brady and his teammates. Dick LeBeau as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator might just be the premiere defensive strategist in the NFL today. This Hall of Fame cornerback made a name for himself in the NFL but his involvement now with the Pittsburgh Steelers speaks volumes as to the faith placed in him by head coach Mike Tomlin and the defensive players of this Steelers’ unit. This game not only became a test of wills between the two teams but also a test of the two celebrated quarterbacks on opposite sides. Between them , Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have won 5 Superbowls over this past decade . The two franchises are two of the most celebrated within the NFL and their legacies speaks volumes as to the respect that they’re given .

There is no denying that the real issue for the Patriots for much of this season has been the inconsistency of the defense and the very fact it seems to be a work in progress. If Bill Belichick and the coaching staff believes that the approach now being taken concerning the defense will be a wholesale remedy as the season progresses then from my point of view he’s sadly underestimated the merits of this defensive corp. They’re amongst the worst in the NFL in pass and run defense never mind the fact that although team has an offense that is clicking on all cylinders there has to be a resolve about the defensive side the Patriots’ game. If not, then there’s no chance in hell that this team can comfortably survive within the environment of the postseason.

Heinz Field proved to be the twelfth man in this duel between two divisional leaders within the AFC . In front of a raucous crowd of some 68,000 fans this game became a battle of two teams seeking to make their presence felt within the NFL in the early part of the season . And clearly after this 25-17 loss it certainly gives credence to the fact that the New England Patriots are not as good as advertized . As an avid fan of the team I think it only worthwhile to be critical of the organization when I firmly believe that they are not playing up to their potential . And that clearly has been the case with Patriots over the course of this season as it has unfolded. The real dagger in the heart for the New England Patriots was Steelers’ tight end Heath Miller who repeatedly got the secondary of the Patriots so rattled that they had no answer for the player. Time and time again Miller got the better of whomever was meant to be covering him. And Roethlisberger repeatedly took advantage of the mismatches as the game unfolded to place the offense in a far competitive position strategically for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the loss it will be interesting to see how the New England Patriots regroup from the defeat. Clearly Bill Belichick and the coaching staff will have to go back to the drawing board and reassess the flaws on this team . It is one thing to be conceited and arrogant as has always been the case with the Patriots’ coach. But now it is getting to a stage where even I as an ardent fan of the team now have to question the lackadaisical approach and complacency often shown by the coach !

With all of the hyperbole placed upon the NFC East and the teams within its midst , I continue to find it so asinine when I continue to hear the rather idiotic analysis provided by ESPN contributors such as Merill Hoge and Skip Bayless as to what they view to be the superiority of teams such as the New York Giants (5-2) , Dallas Cowboys (3-4), Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) and Washington Redskins (3-4) ! The teams within the division are a combined 14-14 and from a conference and divisional standpoint their respective records can be best described as mediocre . But somehow the ” buffoons “of the four letter network would simply have you believe that the best football to be found within the NFL comes from that division. I can only surmise that both Bayless and Hoge similarly admire the stench of fecal matter when it’s placed within their midst !

The Philadelphia Eagles played host to the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania on Sunday , in what could be best described as a game that could well determine fate of their respective seasons .

If we were led to believe that it is Andy Reid’s immediate future that was said to be in jeopardy then the play of his team simply didn’t reflect that . Instead the Eagles simply laid waste to a Cowboys’ team that was ill prepared for the Philadelphia Eagles’ onslaught. Reid’s opposite number Jason Garrett may have for the moment the full support of Jerry Jones and the entire front office of the Dallas Cowboys. The complete ineptitude shown by the team under Tony Romo’s presumed leadership abilities left a great deal to be desired . Offensively and defensively , the players lacked composure and their execution in several facets of the game left you wondering whether or not you might well have been watching a varsity high school team. And the continued belief that Romo is one of the better quarterbacks in the league certainly wasn’t reflected in this game. The player had a less than 50 % completion rate and an interception which added to the Cowboys’ woes over the course of the game.

Being as Jerry Jones has always been the consummate businessman I wonder if he will seek out another corporate endorsement ? Perhaps with the vitamin supplement beverage company Red Bull I would surmise ! They can then call the line of assorted drinks in question Bullshit , because that’s all that has been served up by the organization over the last decade ! If you want proof of that seek the evidence of Sunday’s game and the end result 34-7 victory for the Philadelphia Eagles. I wonder what the spread offered up by the guys in Vegas might have been prior to the game ?

For Michael Vick and his Eagles’ teammates , they’re not quite out of the woods yet because anything short of a postseason berth in the playoffs at the end of this season and there’s bound to be a great deal of anger directed not just at the coaching staff but also the entire front office as well as the Philadelphia Eagles’ players themselves. The clock is ticking on this presumed Dream Team and to my mind they’re liable to meet the same fate as another over-hyped and conceited group from the NBA known as the Miami Heat who simply showed that a yellow streak ran down their spine !

So for some reason the St Louis Rams felt it prudent not to be involved in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes which is bound to take place at the 2012 NFL Draft . By defeating the New Orleans Saints 31-21 the Rams left the ranks of the win-less teams within the NFL . And now for some reason the fans are now left to speculate which of the remaining franchises will tank their season in order to gain that prospective number one pick .

If I’m Sean Payton along with that entire Saints’ organization and the playing personnel I would be completely embarrassed by such an inept display ! Never mind the fact that the thought to be always dependable Drew Brees had a game that he would rather forget . Conceitedness, much like complacency has always been a bitch and it has a proverbial way of always coming back to bite you in the ass ! Clearly that was the case for the New Orleans Saints as they took their opponents far too lightly .

Having allowed the St Louis Rams (1-6) to get off the schneid with their first win of the season we’re now left with the Indianapolis Colts (0-8) and Miami Dolphins (0-7) as the only win-less teams left in the NFL . And it would be safe to say that we could be on the cusp of seeing a second team go 0-16 for only the second time since the league went to a 16 game regular season schedule. The last NFL team who gave us that dubious distinction were the Detroit Lions from the 2008 —- season . I’m not quite yet ready to place a bet as to whether or not it will be the Colts or Dolphins who will join that inept Lions’ team from three years ago ! But it will be interesting to see what unfolds over the remainder of the NFL season as it regards both franchises .

For Steve Spagnuolo as coach of the St Louis Rams this victory gives the team a renewed confidence over the remainder of their season and a chance to seek some respectability in terms of their overall record and standing within the always woefully abysmal NFC West .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NFL schedule with regard to week 8 ? And do you feel this season we could very well see another franchise repeat the feat of the Detroit Lions in 2008 by going win-less ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady meet at mid-field after an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. Pittsburgh won 25-17 . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …

(2) Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked and stripped by Andre Carter (93) of the New England Patriots during the game on October 30, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …..

(3) Heath Miller (83) of the Pittsburgh Steelers dives over an attempted tackle by Patrick Chung (25) of the New England Patriots during the game on October 30, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……

(4) Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) reacts after his interception of a pass intended for Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett in the first half during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/The News Journal, Daniel Sato …

(5) Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles’ Cullen Jenkins (97) and Trent Cole (58) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/The News Journal, Daniel Sato …

(6) Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys questions a call with head linesman Wayne Mackie (106) as Laurent Robinson (81) of the Cowboys looks on during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7 . Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images …..

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: Lance Kendricks (88) of the St. Louis Rams is tackled by Tracy Porter (22) of the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Saints 31-21 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ….

(8) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is sacked by James Lariniatis (55) and Gary Gibson (71) of the St. Louis Rams on October 30, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …

(9) St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (39) celebrates his touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam …..

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NFL news

NFL results week 8

NFL standings by division

NFL team stats thru’ week 8

NFL player stats thru’ week 8

NFL injuries

NFL transactions

New England Patriots news

Pittsburgh Pirates news

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Actress Jaime Pressly

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL week 1 results

NFL stats players

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NFL Standings divisional

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Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

So just when you thought that all that would appear just when we had seen it all concerning the rabid stupidity that exists within collegiate athletics. It would appear that Auburn Tigers’ football coach Gene Chizik is extremely unhappy that the NCAA is still continuing its investigation of the school. Chizik had an impromptu conversation with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement Judie Loah Roach during which the officer informed the coach that the school and its recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was still under investigation. As we all know there said to be a number of improprieties concerning the player’s recruitment . The player’s father Cecil Newton is said to still be a person of interest in this ongoing investigation . It’s plain to see that there is a great deal at stake should the school be found to be in violation of any type of NCCA rules . The jury is out and the blow-back from this all could very well be another nail in the coffin of another very prestigious collegiate athletics’ program.

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So the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive player James Harrison is simply proving once again why players from the NFL are better to be seen on the field of play rather than being heard . The player fresh off last season’s numerous fines has become a bona-fide asshole of the highest order ! . In criticizing the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him “a crook” , “a devil “ , “a tyrant” and an ” autocratic despot “ whose power simply knows no bounds . At the same time the player was also critical of his teammate Ben Roethlisberger and the very fact that the player at times was simply not playing to the best of his abilities and was being reliant on the defense to bail out the team far too often over the course of last season . Pardon me for saying this , but shouldn’t Harrison be the one to voice these opinions behind closed doors amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as it relates to the team’s play ? As to his criticism of the commissioner , once it’s out there it becomes too late to take it all back . And that is now what the player now seems to be doing by stating that his statements were completely taken out of context. I certainly believe that when it’s all said and done if it is not Mike Tomlin who ends up speaking to James Harrison about his comments then quite possibly look a senior official from the front office to hold a private conversation with the player .

The Pittsburgh Steelers has always been an organization that chooses to conduct their problems behind closed doors and to try and make sure that the players as such are of the highest order in terms of their character. It is easy to undersstand why the are considered one of the most respected teams within the NFL and the success achieved in large part has come down to the fact here has been very little volatility within the organization and turnover in terms of the coaching staff. Unfortunately , with the antics of Santonio Holmes , Plaxico Burress and in particular Roethlisberger , his infantile and rather asinine antics over the last few years has led the Rooney family to once again scrutinize the players on the roster. Recently we had the team’s veteran wide receiver Hines Ward busted for DUI and with the player initially stating that wasn’t intoxicated, only for the police to later inform us that Ward was indeed driving over the legal limit . He would later offer an apology to his teammates and the organization for his behavior .

Shit we know rolls downhill but boy , oh boy the NBA and in particular the league hierarchy now looks as if they will try and do anything to shovel it uphill. The hierarchy feels aggrieved that the NBPA (union ) will be allowed to retain the larger part of $160 million from an escrow account that they funded based on the terms that should their cumulative salary exceed 57% of the basketball related income . Now with the teams owners and hierarchy now under siege with their position now looking all the more perilous David Stern seeks into increase their profile and take the upper hand in the ongoing lockout . It would appear that management would seek to impune the integrity of the union. The league feels that the funds in question should be placed back into a general fund rather than be at the players’ disposal . Somehow you simply knew that the league could not be trusted to show any type of integrity at all.

The NBA is still at odds with the players and the fact that they are still asserting that they are losing money. But many of the league’s problems can be traced back to the fact that Stern allowed the teams and in particular the general managers run amok with in terms of the team salaries as they seek success with apparent abandonment . David Stern has long maintained that the teams are on track to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for the fiscal year. Last season’s losses were in excess $300 million and this year it is projected to be considerably higher . It seems rather ridiculous to think that the league having set a soft salary cap in place would then seek to allow those very same teams to far exceed the figure of $57 million and then expect there not to be any serious ramifications for the league’s excessive spending .

It seems rather strange that many of the league’s high profiled owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , James Dolan , Peter Holt and Michael Heisley have all remained steadfast behind the commissioner . However , the longer this situation goes on there is the likelihood that we may well begin to see some dissent amongst the owners who may challenge the stance the league hierarchy is taking . From my own perspective , the lockout has become simply an issue of egos and which party feels that their stance appears to be the best option available. At some point this impasse has to be resolved because before we actually know it the preseason training schedule will be upon us. It’s pretty much safe to say that neither side wants to be in this for the long haul and now with a number of players envisioning that this dispute may well be for a prolonged period we are seeing a number of them considering the lucrative option of playing abroad. It certainly will be advantageous for New Jersey Nets’ point guard Deron Williams who has signed a one year $ 5 million contract with the Turkish side Beseitkas.

Unless I missed something which I am glad that I did but the MLB All Star Game had to be one of the most boring in recent memory. Never mind the 5-1 lopsided result and win for the National League but the game had one of the lowest ratings in almost a decade and this can’t have been what Fox actually wanted from the game’s midseason show case event. At the same time the question now being asked is how best the whole format of the All Star Game can be changed where it is more of an exhilarating event not only for the participants but also for the fans in attendance and those watching the broadcast. Given the actual idiocy of the whole damn format with the fans picking the actual players they want to see on the respective rosters makes this whole event all the more asinine to begin with.

Baseball is a sport that in large part looks to its past in terms of its legitimacy and legacy as the nation’s pass-time . But once Bud Selig assumed control as commissioner of the league his reign and the fact that the league hierarchy has essentially become clueless as the most acute needs of the game , it should not have surprised anyone at all as to the outcome of the spectacle. One listless team simply didn’t turn up at all but somehow they were assured of their respective team incentives. The NL simply dished out an ass whupping of the highest order leaving the AL with their tails hanging between their legs . At this point will there anyone at all interested in the fact that next season’s game will be held at the home of the Kansas City Royals ? Well , I guess not ! The league hierarchy much like the team owners have become totally bereft any ideas and creativity when it now comes to the marketing of the game , its brand in general and likewise as it relates to the All Star Game . Tuesday night was very much a clear indication of that and it was there for all to bear witness to !

Well at last someone had the foresight to hire Brian Shaw with the former Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach being overlooked for several of the offseason vacancies that came about . Indiana Pacers’ general manager Larry Bird having interviewed Shaw , hired the former player to be the assistant to Frank Vogel and his staff. Bird has made it clear the new assistant’s role will to teach the players on the Pacers’ roster how best to improve their all-round game . I’ve no doubt that Shaw will prove to be a valuable asset to the team and with being able to provide to a great deal of insight as to what it takes to be successful from a player’s standpoint . If anything this steadies a listless ship and all but assures the team of retaining their best player Danny Granger who could opt to become free agent after the upcoming season.

The Pacers’ organization is flushed with youthful talent but Vogel’s biggest problem has been to harness it all into one cohesive and effective unit. With the addition of Brian Shaw and the existing members of coaching staff we could very well see something of a resurgence from this team. Not since the days of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits have the Pacers been deemed worthy to be considered a legitimate force within the NBA . And granted over the years the organization has had its problems stemming from neglect and the fact that the team was seen as one of the back-water stop offs in players’ career when they’re said to be on the decline. If things are to change with the thought of a turnaround in mind then perhaps with Brian Shaw and Frank Vogel working in tandem there could very well be something beginning to foment within the organization.

On the outside looking in I am not so sure to make of the situation now encapsulating the furor of the US women’s soccer team having made it to the finals of the World Cup . As great an accomplishment as this has been and the fact that the country will be chasing its first Cup win since 1999 the game barely registers a blip on the consciousness of the masses domestically here at home . Granted , all of the patriotism comes to the foreground in the times of triumph but what one sees as a triumph then is simply eroded when you considers that attendances for games at the club level within the WPSL ( Womens Premier Soccer League) averages no more than 2,500 per game . Salaries for players at the club level where the median is approximately $25,000 per year offers the players little by way of comfort with many of them choosing to hold down a civilian position beyond playing or for many of the top stars , some choose to split their time playing overseas.

The 2011 World Cup has to be considered a success for FIFA and in particular for the entrants to this year’s competition. Some of the matches have been competitive while others have been what one might consider to be extremely boring. But the back-drop to this all has been the very fact that the US team has sought redemption and they now have a chance at that by defeating their upcoming opponent Japan in the final game of the tournament .

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition having defeated two teams in semi-finals thought to be their equal at the international level. Japan defeated Sweden in a thoroughly convincing fashion 3-1 and the US had their problems with Brazil having to overcome a deficit before defeating the team in a penalty shootout (5-3) after a 2-2 tie in regulation .

In the final itself , we should expect a highly competitive game between two evenly matched teams . Team USA brings along the experience and a more physical style of play but Japan has speed , exuberance and a technical aspect that one would not normally associate with a team from the Far East. But much of that may well come down to the fact that there are a number high quality European coaches at the club level within the country where fan support for the game reaches rabid proportions. Obviously something that the WPSL yearns for here in the US but it still lacks support of the fans in general and the willingness of the networks to give the game much or airtime than it is now obtaining . Coverage of the game has been primarily with ESPN where basically much of women’s sports now finds its support from a viewing standpoint not only at the professional level but also at the collegiate level. Somehow one can only imagine that Title IX (Title IX) was meant to create something of a level playing field but in reality the success attained by the enactment by this legislation has not really done enough to put women’s sport on the map in the true sense of the word.

Should the USA win Sunday’s final match then we may well see something of an advancement in the game here domestically but considering the missteps along the way previously in trying to create a professional league at the club level , I firmly believe that soccer at the women’s level here much like their male counterpart still has a long way to go before it gets any real level of respect that they feel they rightly deserve . The nation has yet to take the game into its heart , feel as if it is something it can truly appreciate and that is in spite of the fact that now the game is now being played by more children at the middle , high school level and by collegiate players than baseball and basketball combined . Something to think about don’t you think ? And while the game of soccer resonate around the globe with its throng of fans it remains a bewildering back-drop for most here simply because the NBA , NFL , MLB , NASCAR and NHL rule the roost when it comes fans wanting to see something a great deal more exhilarating than 22 players chasing a round ball up down a field .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Do leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Auburn coach Gene Chizik watches the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. AP Photo / Garry Finkel …..

(2) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2010 file photo, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) dunks coach Gene Chizik following a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Chizik wants Auburn fans to remember Newton “as a great individual,” not just a Heisman Trophy-winning player. The Tigers coach defends the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the upcoming book “All In” but says it is “really a story about football, family and faith.” Chizik discussed the book Wednesday, June 29, 2011, ahead of its July 5 release that will have him hit the road for a promotional tour with nine stops in four states. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(3) FILE – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., in this June 21, 2011 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(4) FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, in this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(5) NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. That meeting however would lead to the league mandated shutdown of the NBA . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(6) National League All-Star Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers and his sons Jaden (R) and Haven pose with the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award after the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jeff Gross ……

(7) National League All-Star Lance Berkman (12) of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at second base by American League All-Star Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix,Az . Getty Images North America/ Jeff Gross ….

(8) Indiana Pacers new assistant head coach Brian Shaw responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, .Wednesday, July 13, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Pia Sundhage (2nd L) coach of the U.S. laughs as she listens to striker Abby Wambach (2ndR) during a practice session for the upcoming final of the women’s soccer World Cup in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. The U.S. will play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach ….

(10) USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo is stretched during a training session on July 15, 2011 in Frankfurt/Main, two days before the final football match of the FIFA women’s football World Cup Japan vs USA at the FIFA Frauen-WM-Stadion in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE …..

(11) Members of Japan’s women’s soccer team pose with placards from Japanese children from Frankfurt’s International School prior to a practice session in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. Japan will play the U.S. in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach …….

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The Determining Factor ……………………..

The Determining Factor

It’s crazy but with the end of the NFL Draft and we already have the analysts and draft geeks assessing which team actually had the best draft class from this most recent endeavor . Now don’t get me wrong but the draft has its merits but in reality until those players actually have played down in a regular season game within the NFL we will never truly know what these players are or will be actually capable of. Can’t miss players are merely speculation and conjecture . And now where a first round draft pick especially one that is picked in the upper echelons of the first round, the financial cost and commitment for a player to a team can be well into tens of millions of dollars over the course of an initial contract. Do you think that the Oakland Raiders regret making that initial $ 65 million commitment to JaMarcus Russell right about now ? One simply has to look to their front office of the Raiders to see the cause of their demise . To put it more succinctly Al Davis no longer knows how to assess talent in spite of the continued idiocy that’s misplaced by an overbearing oaf such as radio personality and employee of the organization the nationally syndicated sports talk radio host J T The Brick . Here’s a guy who when it comes to showing any form of impartiality to an issue concerning the Raiders , well let’s just say he’d make a Klan member feel proud !

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In reality success has been fleeting for the Raiders over the last decade and half and that is in spite of the organization’s rich history within the NFL . But as with a number of teams and in particular with each generation of fans it’s not merely about those by gone years but what you have you done for me lately by way of success ? And to my mind the determining factor and in relation to the success that any organization wishes to attain be it within MLB , NBA , NBA , or the NFL itself .. It is predicated upon the front office of each organization ,from the ownership on down to the executives and coaching staff. Consider this , think of the most successful franchises within each of the four major sports and what has each got in common apart from winning ? It is the fact that each has had an owner who has remained consistent with what works for it as an entity . The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils within the NHL , the Pittsburgh Steelers , New York Yankees , the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have simply stuck to that tried and tested method of having sound fiscal policies , as well as competent coaches and executives within their respective organizations.

During the NBA Playoffs without a doubt the most disappointing display to my mind was that of the Orlando Magic and their lopsided 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks . Anyone who was witness to the sheer ineptitude of the Magic’s performances throughout this series would realize that without Dwight Howard this team simply isn’t worth a damn . What might be even more perplexing was the sheer idiocy and the belief shown by GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy that the mid-season trades made would in fact improve the team . If anything the team simply became even more inconsistent , lackluster and completely devoid of creativity on either end of the floor . Not only that but they were simply those who labored under the fact Dwight Howard because of his stats made a viable MVP candidate while his teammates simply were mediocre .

Anyone who actually has an ounce of common sense would know from the very fact that the vast majority of the winners of the league’s regular season trophy to the individual recipient has in fact made those around him considerably better as their respective teams statistically have shown signs progress during that season. Case in point , was this season’s runaway winner of the league MVP trophy , Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and the 21 game turnaround engineered by Tom Thibodeau from last season to this where the team became a 62 game winner and the top seed within the Eastern Conference never mind the fact that they’ve now made the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they face the Atlanta Hawks who as I explained earlier dethroned the Magic with effortless ease.

The Orlando Magic and its front office in conjunction with Otis Smith I feel were capricious. Smith and Bob Vander Weide team President & CEO made a gamble that simply didn’t pay off . Not only that but in acquiring Jason Richardson , Hedo Turoglu and Gilbert Arenas the organization is financially on the hook for $65 million in salary for the players in question over the remaining years of those contracts. Call me naive but the productivity by the players during the regular season as well as the postseason has been minuscule and not deserving of the Magic’s fans undoubted expectations. And with this loss the Magic and its management have a great deal of contemplating to do as it regards the moves that need to be made in order to make this team better. Dwight Howard whose contract expires at the end of 2012 can actually opt out of the contract prior to its culmination rather than seeking to start the whole negotiation process. Clearly Van Gundy and Otis Smith will have to be very persuasive in convincing Howard that he ought to remain with the organization. And at this juncture that scenario isn’t as clear cut as some would believe or would like it to be.

In baseball we have all seen the idiocy of the team owners there and their ostentatious spending. Is it any wonder Los Angeles Dodgers and in particular the New York Mets are in a mess financially with regard to their own existence and financial viability ? Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt seems to be under the misapprehension that he will be successful regaining control of the team he bought in 2003 from the local > News Corp through their wholly owned Fox Inc subsidiary. Since then, even though the team has averaged 3 million attendees per season the organization has struggled to remain financially a viable concern . Now with collateralized and none- subordinated debt in excess of $ 1.2 billion McCourt feels that the team and organization still remains a viable concern. He must feel that the his creditors will continue remain lukewarm to his overtures should they feel that he’s having problems paying down that debt. In this sort of economic climate there tends not to that type willingness from many of the nation’s major financiers and their respective institutions. And even with the league hierarchy having assumed control of the Dodgers I would like to think that Bud Selig is closely monitoring the situation as it now unfolds with Mets , in particular with co-owners —- Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon !

Success for both the Dodgers and Mets seems to have been fleeting over the past decade and it remains to be seen whether or not their aspirations remains the same and that is to win a World Series title . And as ambitious as those front offices appears to be it seems that they have lost sight of their ultimate goal . Much of that malaise has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of McCourt and his executives within the organization . Ned Colletti may well be enjoying the prestige of running the personnel side of the organization but he too like McCourt may well have lost site of the organization’s goals. It certainly most telling that when questioned by the press as to who now controls the Dodgers and its day to day running Colletti’s response was one that seems to be an individual who just doesn’t care either way . If that is indicative of how this organization is being ran then it shows that they’re completing deserving of their fate.

The New York Mets face a civil suit that at present is being determined through a mediator appointed by the US Federal Courts and at the heart of it all appears to be whether or not the organization knowlingly gain financially from the monies received as profits from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of which several thousands of investors were defrauded of $59 billion. Irving Picard the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in this suit has filed a motion seeking to recoup some $750 million from both Katz, Wilpon their Sterling Equities as well as the New York Mets. The lead defendants Katz and Wilpon deny any wrongdoing on their part but have stated that they are victims of the fraud perpetrated by Madoff and his associates. However , it has been the Mets unwillingness to open their books up for public scrutiny that casts a doubt upon the veracity of the argument now being put forth by the Mets as the defendants and in particular by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon . A federal subpoena has a way of making the truth be known in the end and hopefully several of those will be put to use in the course of this case. And inasmuch the Mets once again are having a mediocre season one can’t help but feel that through the connivance and mismanagement from the executives and managerial level over the past few years that this organization is thoroughly deserving of its present predicament.

I’ve long maintained that the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns as teams within the NFL clearly have some way to go before they can be thought of as serious contenders within the league and as a legitimate team to win the Superbowl . Bengals’ owner Mike Brown and team coach Marvin Lewis are now having to deal with Carson Palmer’s petulant behavior and his wanting to be traded to a contender . If this is what is indicative of what was now being produced by USC as to quarterbacks from the Pete Carroll era then clearly there are some questions that really do need to be asked . I think that things are now likely to get a great deal murkier with the team’s drafting of Andy Dalton as the de-facto successor to Palmer as his reign is about to come to an abrupt end with the Bengals . From AFC North champions in 2009 to a team with a lackluster 6-10 record last season .

The Browns for their part have been in more of a tailspin having dumped Romeo Crennel and hired Eric Mangini only too see the team fail miserably under Mangini’s tenure . And given Mangini’s coaching record in the NFL I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was Mike Holmgren thinking as the team’s President ? Last season this team competed gallantly but in large part they faced an uphill battle trying to usurp the dominance of both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers within their division (AFC North ). Now with Pat Shurmur as the team’s head coach and there being a revamped assistant coaching staff it remains to be seen what this upcoming season may well have in store for the Browns. The team had a breakout star in Peyton Hillis and as always the dependable Josh Cribbs was at his very best and it would appear that team now has a quarterback in Colt McCoy who can actually commands the respect of his teammates.

In stark contrast to the teams that have been consistent and have attained success, much of that can be put down to the fact that apart from making the right personnel decisions . It has been the continuity not only from within their coaching regime but primarily through the fact that at the executive levels as with regards to the general manager that is in place , there has been little , if any , real turnover in that staff. It’s not always been about the coaches because that in essence comes down to the coach’s resume’ and his ability to communicate with the players and if anything above all with his general manager. Simply look at the success attained by the Steelers and New England Patriots over the years and the one constant there has been the ownership , the fact that the general managers there have been tenured with those respective organizations for a number of years and the actual willingness of the owner to defer to subordinates within the organization. And even though Scott Pioli has since left the Patriots to assume a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs we’ve seen that even there also once Pioli was allowed to show his acumen in assessing talent the team has progressed showing a marked display last season in winning the AFC West (10-6) and making the playoffs where they would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens —- 30-7 in the wildcard round. And for head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff though the loss had been been a tremendous disappointment , it also points to the fact that the organization has to be now heading in the right direction after so many barren years in the wilderness .

The Patriots for their part having seen their postseason woes continue with their lackluster performance in losing to their divisional rivals the New York Jets —- 28-21 in a game that pretty much summed up the team’s season. In light of that however they’ve gone about things in their usual business like manner garnering picks for future drafts and at the same time picking up the usual talent they’ve been accustomed to down the years . Much of that by design as Bill Belichick has worked in conjunction with Floyd Reese the team’s senior consultant charged with the task of dealing with personnel matters for the team.

We may well feel that in large part that success is actually achieved on the field of play because of the performances of the players. But it does essentially start with the eager willingness of the owners and their front office executives actually having the right staff in place being able assess the talent that is there to be had and as necessary spend prudently in order to get the best possible player available . How often have we seen a situation where in fact a team that simply looks good on paper just tends to implode because of the undue pressure and the very fact that the coach simply hasn’t done their job adequately ? At times we can blame the players for their lackluster performances but doesn’t that also have something to do with the coach not being able to get his point across as to what needs to be done at a given moment ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In coming to this conclusion I do firmly believe that any professional sports organization has to have all integral parts on the same page working in cohesion . If that isn’t evident within an organization then by the very evidence we tend to see the vast majority of the time that team does tend fail in its endeavors. We’ve seen it this postseason within the NBA , NHL , also within the NFL and MLB as well . What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And as such do you feel that I may well have missed some pertinent factor that should have been included ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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

(2) JaMarcus Russell (2) of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images ……

(3) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic questions a call by the official during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia . Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) In this photo taken on April 14, 2010, from left, Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide, chief operating officer Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith chat prior to an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla. Smith, by his own admission, is a risk-taker. He’s the general manager who traded three starters from an NBA finals team, moves that either will show Smith’s brilliance or become a symbol of a gamble gone wrong for the Magic in the playoffs. AP Photo/John Raoux …….

(5) Andre Ethier (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings and loses his bat in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-1 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……

(6) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……..

(8) Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren watches from the back of the room as first-round draft pick Phillip Taylor holds a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, right, presents a jersey to first round-draft pick Phillip Taylor during an NFL football news confernce at the team’s headquarters in Berea, Ohio Friday, April 29, 2011. The Browns took the Baylor defensive tackle with the 21st overall pick Thursday night. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(10) FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2009, file photo : Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, left, talks with general manager Scott Pioli before a news conference announcing Haley’s hiring in Kansas City, Mo. Pioli and Haley are deservedly drawing praise for taking the Chiefs from 10 wins in three years to 10 wins in 16 weeks. But they don’t deny they were blessed with a core of solidly talented young players when they got to Kansas City after a 2-14 2008 season. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……

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I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

I Love My Sports …………… Hoo Hah ! And The Military Ain’t Bad Either !

Well the Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) was somewhat anticlimactic to my mind a game (31-25) which was essentially beset by the mistakes made by both teams . I think that much of that came down to the fact that both teams never really settled down to the cavernous atmosphere of the stadium and the expectations that many felt was there to be had. The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking to win their seventh Superbowl title and cement themselves in the annals of the game. The Green Bay Packers not without a legacy themselves were looking to win their fourth Superbowl in the team’s history .

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The respective coaches in this case Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy have been the epitome of class throughout much of the season . We’ve had the bombastic attitude of Rex Ryan and we all saw how quickly the bottom fell out of the New York Jets’ season and their and languid their performance was in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That game pretty much summed up the Jets’ season and how overrated they actually were. I even remember one patron trying to suggest that Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez wasn’t a player that was being asked to do too much by Ryan and his coaching staff . Those of us who witnessed that game saw a player who struggled in large part and a player that was simply let down by his teammates as well.

The Superbowl itself was a game which I watched with several of my work colleagues at a local VFW as a number of them are former military vets or members of the Florida National Guard . We all vary in age from 35 to 65 and having served in the British military as a member of the Royal Marines in various parts of the world for a nine year stint ( Northern Ireland , Eritrea , Cyprus and the Ivory Coast ) . Along with my cadre of colleagues it goes without saying that others in attendance were obviously former service members. The USMC, US Army , US Navy and Air Force were all well represented. Many of them there had their allegiances to the teams participating or one should say specifically to the conferences. I simply wanted to see a game that was competitive and in some ways it actually fell short of that . It may well have been that this was the highest rated Superbowl in television history with an estimated audience by all accounts of 115 million viewers domestically. For Fox and their advertising partners this was a ratings’ bonanza and with ad rates said to be in excess of $150,000 per second a thirty second spot during peak viewing time would garner the network $4,500,000 . It’s pretty safe to say that not only was the network making a great deal of money but so too was the NFL .

I’ve got to admit being around these guys and watching the game was very much in essence like being around some of my former military buddies I’d served with. Now don’t get me wrong attuning myself to the sports’ landscape here and aligning myself to many number of teams once this country became my permanent home. Two decades on and I can categorically say that my allegiances are with the San Antonio Spurs , New England Patriots , and Duke (Blue Devils) Basketball . Admittedly at one time I was also an avid fan of the Florida Marlins and the USC Trojans but that all fell apart one I saw that the front office of the Marlins led by owner Jeffrey Loria couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth as to the team’s financing and viability. Let’s just say that team’s plight and anything that’s now said to be coming from Loria publicly can’t be trusted as being factual.

The same can be said of the Trojans’ athletics program and the mere fact that the university’s former AD Mike Garrett took winning to heart even if it meant doing so by unscrupulous means as a way of gaining untold riches and notoriety . At the center of it all was the behavior by former coaches Pete Carroll , Tim Floyd , athletes Reggie Bush and O J Mayo . And as we now know what transpired there was enough to indict everything that’s wrong in collegiate athletics today and the mess that the NCAA itself has created and condoned in many respects with the idiocy of their actions.

In the UK I still follow religiously my two favorite soccer teams Manchester United and Chelsea of the Premiership (EPL) . And not a day goes by when I’m no online checking on both teams’ progress in their various competitive endeavors. As many of you know also I’m somewhat passionate about the sport of boxing and there my alltime favorite boxer is Marvin Hagler perhaps the most underestimated middleweight champion in history. But with the sport now becoming something of a misnomer and with there now being a complete lack of credibility in many of the weight categories I now find myself more interested in MMA and specifically the promotions of UFC . As a martial arts practitioner I’ve got to admit that watching these bouts unfold now gives me greater pleasure than what’s now being served up in the world of boxing by the sport’s most prominent promoters such as Top Rank Inc , Don King Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions Inc . That triumvirate in large part along with the multitude of boxing’s international governing bodies have brought the sport to depths it’s now at , completely lacking in any credibility at all !

While watching the game I couldn’t help but wonder where many of us might be were it not for the circumstances that’s led us to where we are at present. A number of the veterans in attendance were also young vets who’d served in both Afghanistan , Iraq , as well as older veterans who’d served in the the first Iraqi conflict , World War II , Vietnam and Korea . However it also pained me to see number of the vets who’d recently returned from both Afghanistan and Iraq , who having served their country gallantly are having difficulties acclimatizing themselves back to civilian life. The Dept of Veterans Affairs as well meaning as it is overwhelmed with way too much bureaucracy and the fact that in some cases the facilities at which some of these veterans are treated at can at times best described as deplorable and outrageous. Having worked in conjunction with a number of organizations such as the PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) and charities specifically that deal with the well being of former vets I have to say that the conditions I’ve witnessed first hand as well as through some of the work that some of my work colleagues have done as pro-bono work as lawyers , has simply indicated to me that the US government does treat their veterans deplorably ! A lot of the time the utterance coming from members of Congress and the Senate is simply a sound byte merely to be politically correct and to seek empathy from the electorate.

To see a military veteran who’s now confined to a wheelchair having because of an IED and the fact that in many cases these incidents could have been avoided had former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seen fit to plan with some insight and not utter the rather asinine sound bytes while the propaganda war being waged came to a grinding halt as repeatedly this conflict has become completely out of control. Two wars , $1.6 trillion ($1,600,000,000) has been spent and there’s no sign that there’s light at the end of the tunnel ! . We’re told that the US troops will be leaving Iraq in an orderly fashion once the Iraqi security forces are able to secure their borders and the civilian population. Unfortunately what President Obama , Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now seem to be forgetting is that the Iraqi government has become so corrupt where the rule of law has become non existent . The less said about Afghanistan and the government led by President Hamid Karzai the better as that’s another cluster fuck that’s getting worse by the minute , and the fact that coalition lives are being sacrificed for no other reason than the pomposity now being shown by the US government and its allies. Democracy as always , there’s a steep price to pay but when the cost is that of US men and service women’s lives with there being nothing tangible to show for it at the end of the day has me now asking what is the stance of the US and its diplomacy as it relates to the Middle East ?

Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers having led the Green Bay Packers to their first Superbowl win in almost fifteen years . It has to be said that this was a long time coming for the fans in Green Bay . Mike McCarthy had this team playing with a great deal of resolve and it showed throughout much of the preseason , regular season and into the playoffs . And statistically the team led by Rodgers simply more than a pleasant surprise . And it augurs well for the prospects of the organization as a whole . A chance of a successful defense isn’t out the realms of possibility if they’re able to show the same sort of attitude shown throughout the 2010 season. But as we all know winning is the easy part the hard part is to successfully defend a title as everyone places a target on your back aiming for that bullseye, with the intent of knocking that team off their pedestal.

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Spending time with my colleagues in such a way was nurturing on a number of levels merely because I felt at ease around many of these individuals with whom I had something in common with. We’ve shared stories about our experiences in the military but we’ve also formed a bond over love of sports and all that it brings . What else could one really ask for and how else would one want to spend a Superbowl Sunday ? Unfortunately the event itself from my own perspective had been something of a downfall with the fact that during the pregame ceremony you had 5 time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera butcher the National Anthem and then the halftime show headlined by The Black Eyed Peas was a complete cacaphony of noise that if anything sounded like lead singer Fergie was unsure what the hell she was doing on stage. I’ve got to wonder wasn’t there a sound check instituted before the group took stage and if anything was the original sound check conducted by Hellen Keller ? The game itself while entertaining in part did leave a lot to be desired but then again it met the expectations with the fact that it was once again a monumental and financial success for the NFL . And as we all know the NFL has simply about their image and the money because nothing else really matters to the hierarchy !

What impressions if any did you have on the event itself and how did you feel about the entertainment that was provided throughout ? Simply chime on in with a comment as you see fit .


Picture and slide show details below

(1) Green Bay Packers fan John Magnin celebrates after the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 . AP Photo/LM Otero ……

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

<p (3) Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) talks with the media after winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL ………

(4) Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson, right, celebrates with teammate Andrew Quarless after scoring a touchdown during the first half of NFL Super Bowl XLV football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(5) U.S. Army medic SGT Tyrone Jordan (top) of Charlotte, NC attached to Dustoff Task Force Shadow of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade works on Marine LCpl. Michael Staley aboard a MEDEVAC helicopter after Staley suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder September 18, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan. Task Force Shadow is responsible for evacuating wounded Afghani and Coalition forces as well as local nationals throughout southern Afghanistan. Scott Olson/Getty Images AsiaPac ……….

(6) Afghan President Hamid Karzai holds a press conference at the Presidential Palace on February 8, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Karzai called on his Western allies to close down civil-military provincial reconstruction projects (PRT’s) that have served their purpose, likening the PRT’s to a ‘plumber’ whose services were no longer required. Majid Saeedi/ Getty ImagesAsiaPac ……….

(7) US Air Force Senior Airman, Lisibeth Payano closes the door of a mortuary vehicle during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base on December 3, 2009 in Dover, Delaware. The dignified transfer was for US Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Taylor of Jacksonville, Florida and US Army Cpl. Kenneth R. Nichols, Jr. of Chrisman, Illinois, both killed in Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson ….

(8) Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) (L) thanks U.S. Army Specialist Eric Edmondson (C) and his father Ed Edmondson (top) during a news conference about Democratic efforts to pass an omnibus veterans? health bill at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2009 in Washington, DC. Specialist Edmondson, who suffered severe traumatic brain injury in an improvised explosive device attack in October 2005 while serving in Iraq, is cared for by his parents. Democrats indentified Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) as the sole Republican holding up the passage of the bill designed to help Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and family caregivers of the seriously wounded. However since this bill became law what many veterans are now finding out is that the VA (Veterans Administration) hasn’t been all that quick meeting their obligations in facilitating the expedition of the paperwork . The agency itself is undermanned and being mismanaged never mind the absence of well trained medical professionals needed . Getty Images North America / Chip Smodoville ……….

(9) A marine checks a weapon as eighty Royal Marines of Zulu company 45 Commando prepare to leave their base RM Condor for six months tour in Afghanistan on October 2, 2008 in Arbroath, Scotland. A total of 500 Royal Marines from 45 Commando are going to Afghanistan, Whiskey Company left last week, and the rest of the marines will leave in the next two weeks. Jeff Miller / Getty Images Europe ………….

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[ In my military active service I saw action while being on the front lines of the troubles in N Ireland as the troubles there and where the violence actions of the IRA who in essence were a para-military organization _____ a precursor for what we now see in Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Jeemah Islamiyah . ]

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

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John Legend ……………….feat’g Andre’ 3000 …….”Green Light” Music as it should be with actual instruments and vocals !

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What’s A Sure Fire Thing In The NFL Nowadays …….. ?

What’s A Sure Fire Thing In The NFL Nowadays …….. ?

Well the finale to the NFL postseason is almost upon us with the staging of Superbowl 45 (SB XLV) when the Pittsburgh Steelers hosts the Green Bay Packers in the Superbowl at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas.

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The postseason was an eventful one with a numbers of players stepping to the fore and doing what was asked of them by their various coaches and coaching staff . If nothing else it has been the talent that has dictated the ongoing heroics that we’ve seen throughout much of the postseason. Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger have simply been proof of that as they’ve led their teams through to their respective paths to the game’s showcase event.

I’ve already read a number of patrons’ site wheres they’re now trying to assess the talent that will be available in the upcoming NFL Draft that will take place this April . Now don’t get me wrong but there’s a premium on the talent that actually comes to the fore. And for the likes of ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay they’re there state their opinions as to who they think will be a worthwhile option for a number of teams . Valid or not I’ve never been totally enamored by the neatly coiffured rug of Kiper or his assessment of college talent on their way to the NFL. It galls me even more when it became known that he’s consulted with the agents of a number of college bound players and after having spoken with them he’s now stating a case can be made that the players in question are NFL ready. How’s that showing his knowledge much less impartiality ? Kiper is a joke and so has been numerous of his assessments over the years ! His assessment of the Carolina Panthers —– Jimmy Claussen had me wondering what the hell he’d been watching in college when it came to the player ? I’m still waiting for Kiper to acknowledge that Akili Smith , Ryan Leaf , Chris Weinke and Eric Crouch failed to live to his own lofty expectations ! But that’s Mel Kiper , ESPN’s answer to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck all rolled into one !

Now this upcoming NFL Draft I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a number of players who’ll stake a claim that they’re amongst the best that the collegiate level has to offer the NFL. Well with Andrew Luck the presumed number one draft pick now having chosen to remain in college for his senior year at Stanford the talent level may well have dropped off somewhat. Now there were those felt that Luck should’ve forgone his senior year in college and go after the big bucks but consider this for those who’d taken the time to do some research Luck comes from an extremely wealthy family and his father Norm is a self made multi millionaire. So why in hell’s name at this juncture would he want to make that jump to the NFL especially when if after the snap of a ball his NFL career could end in one fail swoop , signing bonus guarantee or not ?

With the mess that is now the NFL and the impasse between the league hierarchy and the NFLPA has become a complete joke ! There are many bones of contention to which the league and players are contesting , namely a ceiling on the rookies’ salaries . Who in this day and age is willing to pay an unproven athlete at times in excess of $40 million in guaranteed money based solely on potential alone ? That’s the idiocy that has now become the NFL and one of the main reasons why the league now finds itself in the mess that it is now in ! I thought the mess of MLB and the idiocy shown by Commissioner Bud Selig , baseball’s owners and their financial template was bad enough !

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There’s no denying that over the years there have been some boons and busts coming out of the NFL . This past two seasons alone for all sense and purpose we’ve seen prodigious college talents such as Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell all but play themselves out of the NFL . Collectively the two have received in excess of $ 65 million alone in guaranteed money from their former employers . And in return they’d contributed not a damn thing to the teams that they played for. A patron of mine once made the comment that he’d rather have Young play for him at the quarterback position rather than having an aging and experienced quarterback. Vince Young systematically drove himself out of a career in Tennessee with the Tennessee Titans . And it certainly didn’t help that Titans’ owner Bud Adams whose own recent behavior bordered on being repugnant and repulsive ! But what should we have come to expect from an owner whose about as cognizant of what’s happening around him as Charlie Sheen would be on a drunken binge ?

Sam Bradford of the St Louis Rams in his first season in the NFL almost led the team to the NFC West divisional title and on the cusp of the playoffs. Were it not for the team falling apart in the latter part of the season they may well have made to the playoffs instead of the Seattle Seahawks . Bradford proved himself to be the real deal and perhaps justify the faith shown in him by coach Steve Spagnuolo , his coaching staff and Bill Devaney the team’s general manager.

Over the years the NFL Draft has been kind and also elusive to a number of teams who’ve chosen to gamble by taking a prime pick in the first round of the draft . And while that may sometimes to be fortuitous for a team that has the number one overall pick that’s not necessarily always the case. The right player in the right environment can be prove to be a success when the choice has been a prudent one and where the assessment made by the scouts , coaching staff and general manager are all in unison. Then and only then even with the player’s alleged talent can one truly be able to assess how good they may or may not be.

For the Detroit Lions their season fell apart with the loss of their franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford and as now of the player having repeatedly shown that he hasn’t the physical attributes to withstand a long and arduous 16 game season , nevermind the fact that the league under Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to now lengthen the season to an eighteen game schedule. Given Stafford’s frailties and the fact that he seemingly can’t withstand a full season in the NFL I for one seriously doubt that he could lead Jim Schwartz’s —- team through an eighteen game schedule ! That $72 million contract signed by Stafford doesn’t seem to have been worth it now does it ? But then again is the jury still out at Ford Field on the quarterback ?

Ndamokung Suh whose impact as a defensive tackle for the Lions showed why he was the envy of a number of teams around the league upon declaring for the draft. He was viewed as an elite player at the position and he’s proven to be that and a great deal more. Now if only the rest of the team had been able to manifest themselves in the way that Suh has been able to do so over the past season .

This upcoming NFL Draft to my mind will have a good pedigree of players but I wouldn’t say that it’ll be one of the best in recent years . Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Jake Locker , Nick Fairley and with a slew of prospects to be assessed . Talent rarely takes off in the way that some feel that it can wherein a player in their rookie year at the professional level simply blows everyone away. It’s my own belief that if a player by their mid-second to third year hasn’t learned the nuances of the game then they’ll not about to make it in the NFL and contribute greatly to their respective teams. Hence the reason why I believe that the rookie salary contract as an inducement is simply and always will be a bad investment for a team . One only needs to look at the careers of Leaf, Smith , Russell and dare one say the Niners’ Alex Smith to prove what overpaying for average talent can do ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming NFL Draft and do you feel that the agents while inducing the general managers are actually more inclined to take hype up their clients far more than is needed ? Chime in with your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details .

(1) Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, left, and Aaron Rodgers joke around during practice, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Dallas. Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………

(2) Fort Worth Tx,. February 2nd 2011 Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with the media on February 2, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images ………

(3) Jeff Pash , NFL Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, discusses the collective bargaining agreement negotiations with members of the press at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 2, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

(4) ESPN College Football analysts Mel Kiper, left and Todd McShay. They continue to agree to disagree . Could there at all be a “Brokeback Mountain” kind of relationship between the two ? AP Photo ………….

(5) Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions sits on the sideline during the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 5, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bears defeated the Lions 24-20 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(6) Quarterback Sam Bradford (8) of the St. Louis Rams signals to his teammates during their game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on January 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images …..

(7) In this photo taken, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, South squad quarterback Andy Dalton of TCU is pictured during Senior Bowl NCAA college football practice in Mobile, Ala. AP Photo/Dave Martin ………..

(8)This Nov. 7, 2010, file photo shows Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh rushing the line during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, at Ford Field. Suh was the only rookie named to the AP All-Pro Team. AP Photo/ Carlos Osorio File ………

Continue reading “What’s A Sure Fire Thing In The NFL Nowadays …….. ?”

Packers , Steelers, Packers , Steelers , Packer , Steelers …. Who’ve You Got ?

Packers , Steelers , Packers , Steelers , Packer , Steelers …. Who’ve You Got ?

Well the NFL’s showcase event Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) is but a week away this Sunday and is set to take place at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas , Sunday 6th February, 2011. For coaches Mike Tomlin and his counterpart Mike McCarthy this is essentially the epitome of their professional career. Having your name mentioned in the same breath as such luminary NFL greats as Lombardi , Shula , Ditka , Knoll and Bill Walsh will no doubt resonate with both of these coaches and what they’ve meant to the NFL. Each having been enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio it’s easy to understand why having your name associated with the Lombardi Trophy and the adorning winner’s ring that signifies you’re a winner __ there’s not much else that really needs to be said.

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Well the Pittsburgh Steelers being the AFC representatives will be viewed as the home team having the better record of the two participants. The Green Bay Packers for their part coming off a rather impressive performance against the Chicago Bears it has to be said that if anything that was their finest effort put forth of the season . Everything seemed to click right for the Packers as Aaron Rodgers and this unlikely cast simply laid waste to Lovie Smith’s —- team . And while there’s been a great deal of criticism of Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler for his non-participation in the latter part of this game , to my mind it merely endorsed what I’ve always thought along about Cutler as a player and his character. He’s self absorbed , aloof and cares little about others , other than caring about himself !

Now while I’m under no illusions as to the pedigree of both teams there’s no doubt in my mind that these are the two best representatives that the AFC and NFC could have mustered for this showcase event. All of the hoopla over teams such as the Minnesota Vikings , Dallas Cowboys , New England Patriots , San Diego Chargers and reigning Superbowl champions the New Orleans Saints were all for naught as they simply fell by the wayside either during the regular season or during the playoffs itself.

For Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates this will be their chance to add to the Steelers’ already illustrious history by becoming the first NFL franchise to have won seven Superbowl titles . And it’s easy to comprehend why the Rooney family as owners of the team are revered and respected throughout the game. They’re often viewed as the class organization within the NFL and there’s indeed great deal of veracity to that claim. And in spite of the off the field issues of Roethlisberger this season it has to be said that how Tomlin and his coaching staff got his players to play with a great deal of zeal in all facets of the game while holding themselves accountable has to be admired.

If anything as the season progressed the better this Steelers’ team became and that was with the return of Roethlisberger after he’d served his league mandated four game suspension. At 3-1 few thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers would have been in that position and augured well for the fans in attendance at Heinz Field with the terrible towels showing their and unbridled and unrivaled passion for their team. Consistently playing to their strengths the second half of the season would have its ups and downs for the Steelers. But if anything it has been the play of Roethlisberger and the offense that simply showed why this team was on a mission. Not to be outdone Dick LeBeau’s defense simply turned it up a notch as and when needed. And if anyone is of the belief that LeBeau is not the best defensive coordinator in the NFL today, then they’re in need some psychiatric help !

Mike McCarthy has had to deal with a great deal over the past five years and it having survived the Brett Favre saga and all that it represented I’ve got to say that his psyche has got be as tough as hell ! And for those supporters of Jay Cutler who are of the opinion that he’s as tough as nails , I’ve heard that American Idol alum Clay Aiken has asked that Cutler turn in his man card . Rodgers this season has proven that by his play , leadership qualities and skills he’s the proven successor Brett Favre . I doubt that there’s a Packers’ fans in Green Bay who’s all that concerned or cares about Brett Favre any longer ! And whereas Favre has always showed some type great emotional well being towards the fans at Lambeau Field , Green Bay , when he’s been a player on an opposing team. Well let’s just say that the love hasn’t always been reciprocated towards the former Packer , not since his abrupt departure from the organization . There’s more chance that Hugo Chavez or some current members of Congress and the Senate would be more welcomed with open arms and signs of affection. But that’s just my take on the situation and I’ll stick with it !

If the Packers are to prevail in this game then it will take a concerted effort by the entire team if they’re to prevail . And for a seasoned veteran such as cornerback Charles Woodson this will be the chance to put a stamp on an illustrious career and an almost certainty as a future Hall of Famer . This game certainly won’t be just about the performances of both teams but I do believe that both coaching staffs will have their roles to play. And while McCarthy seeks his first Superbowl win this will Tomlin’s second appearance as a coach as he looks to add to his already impressive record as an NFL coach. He seeks to become only the second African American coach to have won a Superbowl and the youngest to have won two before the age of forty.

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As I alluded to earlier the game will be about the play not only of the two starting quarterbacks who’ve essentially now become the faces of their respective franchises. And if anything this adds further legitimacy that they’re amongst the elite within the league at the position . The Brady’s , Manning’s (Peyton) , Brees and Rivers of the world won’t be in the building just like Elvis , as they’ll be sitting at home while Elvis rests in his mausoleom.

Alas on a bye note it now appears that Tennessee Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher will not be returning to the team next season . It goes without saying that I feel that he’ll find a another position within the NFL at the drop of a hat. He’s too well respected around the league not to be given the opportunity. And for Titans’ owner Bud Adams all I can say is that you are the butt-hole I’ve always thought you to be ! With a miscreant and ass wipe like Vince Young on the team who customarily laid waste to any ambitions that the organization may well have had for the season with his errant play and infantile behavior. And for you to stick with him when common sense revealed that he was more of a detriment to the team than a case of bubonic plague or dengue fever. Well it would suggest that clear thought of mind was never a strong point of yours and heeding the genuine advice of others also was never ever something that you took into account !

Young , himself , has revealed that he still feels given the right opportunity that he can contribute to any team around the league and that the setbacks that have occurred can be turned around. Is it me but do I hear some laughter in the background after the player’s latest statement ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the Superbowl and how do you see things panning out between these two teams ? Also how do you view the decision of Jeff Fisher not to return to the Tennessee Titans next season ? As you can see I’ve my own distinct thoughts on the matter. Simply chime in with your comments as you see fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated ! Thanks !

Picture and slide show details for your perusal .

(1)Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) and defensive end C.J. Wilson stretch during NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ………..

(2) Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, left, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers look on during NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …..

(3) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers , right, and head coach Mike McCarthy talk during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. It now appears that budding relationship now exists between the player and coach which has blossomed into an outstanding season for both. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ……..

(4) Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, left, and safety Nick Collins enjoy a laugh during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …….

(5) Arlington, Tx,. A general interior view of Cowboys Stadium as the Dallas Cowboys play against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. An expected worldwide television audience of 1 billion people are expected to watch the broadcast live across the globe. Domestically the NFL is expecting the audience to top Superbowl 44’s (SBXLIV) . Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ………

(6) Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images ………….

(7) Tampa , Fl,. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy in the locker room after defeating the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Super Bowl XLV will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. The player will be seeking his third Superbowl title in six years and in his third Superbowl appearance . Some extraordinary feat wouldn’t you think ? Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……..

[8]Pittsburgh Steelers center Doug Legursky, left, and Kyle Jolly work on blocking drills during NFL football practice in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. The Steelers will be facing the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ……..

(9) Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin (left) is seen here with Dick LeBeau the team’s defensive coordinator . Speculation now surrounds the fact that there are a number of teams around the NFL looking to pry away the Hall of Fame player turned coach. LeBeau resolutely states if he remains in coaching then it will be with the Pittsburgh Steelers as he’s happy within the familial type environment of the organization. AP Photo/ Keith Srkaroic ……..

(10) Tennessee Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt, right, and former head coach Jeff Fisher, left, walk to an NFL football news conference at the team’s headquarters on Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced on Thursday that Jeff Fisher will not remain as head coach. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ……

(11) In this Sept. 2, 2010, file photo, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, right, talks with Titans owner Bud Adams prior to an NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, that Fisher will no longer be their coach. AP Photo/Dave Martin …………

(12) Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans talks with head coach Jeff Fisher, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and trainer Brad Brown after coming in the game in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions on November 27, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Young no longer with the team having been cut this postseason is now looking to return to the NFL . In a recent statement to the local press he offered his thoughts on why he wasn’t retained by the team but states categorically that he can contribute to a team and become a Pro Bowl caliber type of player. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ………..

Alan aka tophatal ……………..
01/28/11

NB: Suggested links below for your perusal

NFL news …………………

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers’ front office ….

Steelers’ team roster

Steelers’ 2010 schedule

Head coach Mike Tomlin

Assistant coaches

Team stats ………

Steelers’ news

Green Bay Packers

Packers’ front office …..

Packers’ team roster

Packers’ 2010 schedule ..

Head coach Mike McCarthy

Assistant coaches

Team stats ……….

Packers’ news …

Superbowl history

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Eye candy …………………… Latin beauty Dania Ramirez

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The Game ……. The Games

The Game ……… The Games

Week 13 in the NFL and there are two prestigious games on this weekend's schedule . One game pits the Baltimore Ravens against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a match-up that will no doubt have grave consequences for both teams as they seek to attain some traction and postseason aspirations within the AFC . Meanwhile the New England Patriots play hosts to the New York Jets in a titanic AFC East battle for divisional supremacy and be viewed as the best team within the conference.

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Now while I’m under no illusion that there are a slew of games that will grab the fans’ attention over the course of this weekend’s schedule and therein lies the dilemma facing fans around the NFL as to what’s on their menu as far as what games will be ultimately of interest to them. But looking beyond these two games I for one don’t really see a match-up that catches my attention . OK within the AFC West the resurgent San Diego Chargers take on their divisional rivals the always befuddling Oakland Raiders . For Tom Cable and this team it’s about a lack of intensity and consistency from game to game . Win one, lose two , win three straight, have the fans believing that they’re back on the right track and now they’re back to the same old routine wherein they are perplexed and somewhat disillusioned with the team’s performances this season . I can only surmise that sooner or later the fans will cotton on to the fact that this team is only willing to beguile their fans rather than delivering the goods. Is there really anything else to be said about the Oakland Raiders at this juncture ?

The San Diego Chargers for their part are looking to shoot down the aspirations of the division leading Kansas City Chiefs and making that division their domain as this season’s champion designate. If the Chargers can pull off this feat and parlay that into a successful postseason then it will augur well for this team and in particular their leader on the field Philip Rivers . The player has had an outstanding season and looks an almost odds on certainty to win the league MVP Award. Other leading candidates such as Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Roddy White though having outstanding seasons themselves their stats pale into comparison when measured against that of the Chargers’ quarterback.

The game between the Ravens and Steelers will no doubt be a physical battle of wills and brawn. And given the jawing back and forth between the players on both teams this could well turn out to be something of a bloodbath as well as a highly competitive game. James Harrison the Steelers’ defensive player who has caught the wrath of Roger Goodell’s office with an unprecedented sum of $125,000 in penalized fines may well add to that figure once this game has ended. He’s made it abundantly clear that his game will not change and that he’ll continue in a similar vein in terms of his play. For the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs , Ed Reed and Ray Lewis this is merely seen as a battle they must win and it’s going to take a brave individual to pick the outcome of this game. With the Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suited up ready to play even though he’s carrying an injury , this game will most definitely be one to watch and it could all come down to the decision making of the respective quarterbacks and that of how sucessful both defenses are on the day. This much is certain for Joe Flacco this will be another test of his progression as a quarterback within the NFL.

On the offensive side of the ball the Steelers and Rashard Mendenall will be tested and equally as well so too will Ray Rice and Todd Heap of the Baltimore Ravens as these two 8-3 teams battle it out at MT& Bank Stadium in Baltimore , Maryland this upcoming Sunday. Make no bones about it there’s a lot more at stake here than simply bragging rights amongst these two teams as there’s a great deal riding on the outcome as to their postseason ambitions.

Gillette Stadium stages what might be deemed the marquee matchup of the weekend as I alluded to earlier between the New England Patriots and New York Jets. As we all know the Jets’ coach Rex Ryan has made it clear that he feels that his team is now the equal of the three time winning Superbowl champions. Be that as it may given the fact that the Jets haven’t raised the Lombardi Trophy in over three decades I can only surmise when that’s all you have stake as your claim then you might as well swing for the fences. Bill Belichick and his team will look to avenge their early season loss (28-14) to their divisional rivals and this ought to dispel once and for all that there’s any love lost between these two teams. Tom Brady has reiterated his dislike for the Jets and I’d dare say that the feeling is mutual from the players on the Jets’ roster ! So the bye product of this all could be one hell of a war within the trenches as these two clash .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Patience and virtue will be of an essence if Brady and the Patriots are to defeat the New York Jets and the defense of the New England Patriots will have to be ready for the onslaught that will no doubt take place as Mark Sanchez , Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller take aim at knocking off their heated foe. The Pats high scoring offense led by Aaron Hernandez , Rob Gronkowski , Deion Branch , Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead this ought to be the chance they seek to put the Jets in what they believe to be is their rightful place and that’s looking up at the Patriots in the divisional standings. With both teams at 9-2 with not only the division up for grabs but also a playoff berth this is a must win game for both teams. And the deciding factor in this all may well come down to who wants the victory more and their unwillingness not to make mistakes in terms of the least amount of turnovers . That to my mind will be the determining factor with this game .

What games amongst this weekend’s schedule as such will have your undivided attention ? And which teams do you think will ultimately prevail in the games being played this weekend ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support .

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………. 🙂

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Erstwhile video vixen and eye candy Jessica Rabbit

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Kanye West …………. “Power”

Intriguing Questions That Need To Be Asked And Answered In The World of Sports ………….

Intriguing Questions That Need To Be Asked And Answered In The World of Sports ………….

If LeBron James as he’s now stating , having been interviewed by that elder statesman of menial tv journalism, Larry King . Wherein , James stated that the Cavaliers’ organization stands a better than even chance that he’ll remain with the team . The question I for one would like to ask did his mother force him to make such a statement , bearing in mind that it’s been alleged that she (Gloria James) has been having a sexual relationship with James’ teammate Delonte’ West . Could it be that Gloria James will miss Cleveland more than LeBron will ? And two, what does that say about the players of some of the potential teams that are said to be interested in luring James to their organizations ?

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

In the Bible we’re led to believe that it took God six days to create the Earth and on the seventh day he rested . The question I’d like to ask if it can the “Supreme Being” such a short time to create this world . Then how is it that it has now taken the NCAA in “excess of three years” to conduct their investigation into the basketball and football program of USC ? I mean with all of the evidence that has come to light and the fact that the likes of Reggie Bush , Matt Leinart , O J Mayo , Pete Carroll , Tim Floyd and the US Trojans’ AD Mike Garrett have been less than forthright in answering any questions as to any transgressions concerning the program. Is it a matter of mere perception and we’re completely misjudging what has gone on within the school’s athletics program ? I guess that $1,000-00 paid to Mayo by Floyd , was a mere oversight at the time ? And the fact that Bush’s parents were living in a residence that at the time was way beyond their means was a mere faux-pas and nothing untoward was happening between Bush and an interloper acting on his behalf at the time.

Well the 2010 NBA Finals are upon us and the series commences on the 3rd June , 2010 . The game’s two most storied franchises are set to meet for the the eleventh time in the game’s showcase event. Between them the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have won 32 NBA titles and have made a combined 51 appearances in the NBA Finals. It’d be remiss to suggest that it does make the other teams within the NBA irrelevant because that’s most certainly not the case. But in this era where we’re always being told that there’s parity in sports . The dominance of the Celtics and Lakers of the NBA does make the case for that argument seem somewhat mute. But in reality when either of these two teams are making an appearance in the finals , then it augurs well for the viewing figures for the event and it most definitely brings a smile to the face of David Stern and the entire NBA hierarchy .

As a more than avid fan of the NBA I just hope to see a very entertaining series. But above all I’m hoping that the officials don’t interject themselves into each and every game and event when there’s a tinge of controversy. More than often than not the real reason why a series can be bad or becomes bad isn’t necessarily because of the poor play. But more so, it has to do with the poor officiating. I know that David Stern says that he trusts these officials implicitly . But would he actually trust them with his life or perhaps to be in the accompaniment of his wife or daughters ? I mean if he trusts them that much then he shouldn’t have a problem with a referee spending a night with his wife I would’ve thought ! Squash that , Tim Donaghy suddenly springs to mind .

Apart from seeing future Hall of Famers , in , Kobe Bryant , Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett . We’ll also get to see the burgeoning talents of such young players as Rajon Rondo, Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar . As to whether or not the careers of these players will aspire to be as great as that of their peers mentioned , it remains to be seen over the course of time.

Ben Roethlisberger has returned to the fold and is now allowed once again allowed to undertake team activities with the Pittsburgh Steelers . I for one still feel that the player got off lightly ! But given the fact that he’s said to be on a tight leash and he’s still under a six game suspension that can be lowered to four games should NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell see fit. The scrutiny under which Roethlisberger will be followed will most certainly make him feel as if he’s rat on a wheel undergoing a watchful social behavorial experiment. I just hope that the player understands the implications should he screw up again . There have been players within the NFL who haven’t been afforded a second chance that has been given Roethlisberger. So the slightest inappropriate act on or off the field and he can essentially kiss his career goodbye.

My buddy Sportschump suggested that many of the problems that came to the fore under Goodell’s watch were inherited after his assuming the position of his predecessor Paul Tagliabue . But that was most certainly not the case. From the Plaxico Burress affair , to Donte’ Stallworth to Ben Roethlisberger . All of this has happened under Goodell’s watch and the commissioner hasn’t necessarily always been proactive in his handling of these matters. He at times placates the situation by saying that many of the cases in question should be dealt with after legal ramifications are sorted out. However , under the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA , he has the power to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the sport and that includes any matter that might also tarnish the image of the NFL.

My question to Goodell and Sportschump , should “Big Ben” be caught once again, whereby a 20 year old female college co-ed should suddenly find her lips around a certain part of the player’s genitalia. Can we believe Ben if he states ……………” she tripped and fell and her mouth suddenly found itself around my member ” ? More to the point how is it that it is always the fault of the other person in the incident ? Isn’t Roethlisberger mature enough to be now held accountable for his own actions ? Or is this what a football college scholarship now gets you at Miami of Ohio ?

Still no word as of yet but with Terrell Owens seeing his buddy , Chad Ochocinco appear on Dancing With The Stars . Is there now a possibility that “TO” will lean more towards retirement as he remains an unsigned free agent within the NFL ? That’s not to say that his agent Drew Rosenhaus won’t be making overtures on the player’s behalf to see if he can be signed by none other than the Minnesota Vikings. That way the organization and the the team can then have “two of the biggest and most self absorbed narcissists” ever to have set foot within the NFL. Don’t forget now boys and girls , Brett Favre still hasn’t made us privy to the impending decision as to his NFL future and that perceived comeback , “yet again” !

If you think it not audacious situation for Rosenhaus to approach Brad Childress and his coaching staff to quite possibly gauge their interest in the veteran wide receiver. Not so long ago the thinking was that Favre would be the player to put the team over the top and guide them to a Superbpowl . Well one year on and one year older and the Vikings were about as close to the Superbpowl as Sen. John McCain (R-Az) was, in gaining entrance into the White House as the 44th President of the United States. C’mon now , please don’t use the excuse that Brett got ’em to the NFC championship game. Brett also cost ’em an appearance in the Superbowl with his capricious play in the closing stretch of the loss to the eventual Superbowl champions __ New Orleans Saints .

So what do you think is there a remote possibility that we could see that Favre Owens’ tandem gracing us within the NFL as part of the Vikings’ team looking to be not only dominant within the NFC North but also within the entire NFL ? Or will me merely see the return of Favre to the Vikings with Owens toiling away elsewhere within the NFL with some none descript team ?

Well now that we’ve more than got a quarter of the way through the baseball season . A number of teams are trying to jockey themselves into position for the mid-stretch of the season. To my mind this is the one part of the season that will go a long way in telling us the resolve and determination of a team. You simply have to look at the standings to see which teams can be taken for real and which cannot. Sorry Baltimore and Houston but there’s always next year I hope !

I can’t for the life of me understand how two teams such as the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers of the AL Central tend to under achieve. As good as both teams appear to be on paper , up close and personal once they begin to play it’s like looking at an abstract painting and trying to understand what the subject matter is all about. The White Sox are simply are simply an embarrassment and for Jim Leyland and Tigers , I’m not about to suggest that the team is spiraling out of control. But were they an airplane, I’d be looking for the nearest emergency exit just as a precaution.

GM’s Dave Dombrowski of the Tigers and Kenny Williams of the White Sox know that in Leyland and Ozzie Guillen they have two very good managers. But the problems now facing both managers are that their respective teams either aren’t listening as to what they and the coaching staff are trying to instill. Or quite possibly the teams just aren’t as good as first thought. By my way of thinking it has to be the latter but if things don’t change as to both teams’ fortunes . Then quite possibly before at the culmination of the season both managers could very well be fired by their respective organizations. I’m not about to suggest that they should both be deserving of such a fate. But as a last resort that’s always how the executives and owners tend to alleviate the problem to quieten the angst of the fans.

I’m not a big NASCAR or IRL fan but I’ve got to admit that I made the rare peek to watch snippets of the Coca Cola 600 and parts of the Indy 500 . The latter race I’ve been led to believe is said to be “the best auto race in the world” . Someone must be friggin’ kidding if they’ve never witnessed the Monaco Grand Prix from Monte Carlo and the nuance of F1 Grand Prix Racing. OK , so Indy Car has female drivers Danica Patrick and Milka Duno . But unless they’re about to let those ladies race in nothing more than two piece bathing suit , then quite frankly I’m simply not interested ! However, with Dario Franchitti happening to be the victor of the Indy 500 , we all got to see that rather “hot wife” of his Ashley Judd . But good God almighty, was it me but what the hell was she wearing ? I thought it was Franchitti’s mother at first until the cameras drew in for a close up shot . Then I realized she still looks as hot as ever ! ‘nough said !

Ashley Judd please don’t give the legions of male fans around the world such a scare again ! We all love it when you look exceedingly hot and chique`. We’d prefer for you to not to look so dowdy as it belies your sensational looks . As to Franchitti , I can only surmise that once he and his wife returned home all bets were off as to how they’d end up celebrating his second victory of America’s most prestigious race. A great deal of intimacy was no doubt called for I’d dare say ! So we know that Ashley Judd is hot but can someone answer me this, when will Danica Patrick win her next race ? And two, are we ever liable to see her adorning a stripper’s pole ? Because by my way of thinking the circus has but left town with regard to her alleged ambitions within both NASCAR and IRL. Making excuses for Danica Patrick now is very much in a similar vein in excusing why it is that Dale Earnhardt Jr can’t find the winner’s podium but yet he’s being paid an exorbitant amount of money for merely being average at best. Can I get an amen here ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Well these are but a few of the questions that I think in some ways we can find amusing and in some cases serious in the world of sports. What questions if any would you want to pose concerning a certain are of the sporting landscape. It doesn’t necessarily have to be serious at all. So feel free to chime on in with a question and perhaps we can all debate it in the appropriate manner ? Thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………

David Bowie ……………..“Heroes”

Glib And Clueless As Usual ……………….

Glib And Clueless As Usual ……………….

I no longer question the alleged journalistic integrity of ESPN . Because to my mind they no longer have an iota of intelligence there with regard to many of their employees who purport to be journalists. If these ‘glib idiots’ aren’t fawning over many of their guests or interviewees as if they’re somehow awe struck. Then they’re asking the most asinine of questions. At least with Jayson Blair , you simply knew where he was coming from, as with regard to his journalistic pedigree.

Tom Rinaldi’s interview with Tiger Woods at the Isleworth Golf Golf & CC this past weekend , offered nothing new or insightful. And the player himself, was somewhat monotone in his responses to Rinaldi’s questions, when responding. For ESPN and the head of sports programming Mike Soltys , they must’ve seen the interview as some type of scoop ? . Given the fact that this was the player’s first such public interface with the press since his well scripted press conference from the TPC Course , Sawgrass , Ponte Vedra Beach , Florida. Could that particular spectacle have been more asinine from the get-go ?

Woods’ return to the PGA Tour will take place at Augusta , home the season’s first major Grand Slam tournament , The Masters . And the player will be under a great deal of scrutiny from the world press , those in attendance and no doubt the millions who’ll be watching worldwide. And for ESPN this should prove to be a ratings’ bonanza as they will be televising the first two rounds of the tournament live.

Rinaldi though not wanting to press the player merely allowed Woods to be evasive in his answers. But at the same time Woods kept on making the claim that he’s truly apologetic for the mistrust that the fans and children now have in him. And he stated that the only way for him to regain that trust is to do so by his deeds. Isn’t it strange that when Woods simply cavorting around and straying from his marital obligations that it never struck him as odd that his actions would indeed hurt the ones , whom, he claims to love so deeply ? That asides , the interview did nothing but confirm to me that the player will be entitled as long as the likes of ESPN treat him with reverence , rather than seeing Woods for what he really is. And that’s someone who is merely using the network to further try and clean up his tarnished image. But then again one shouldn’t be surprised by any of this at all as it’s merely ESPN and Woods using each other in a common goal and that’s to further heighten each others’ profile and visibility. Journalistic integrity had nothing to with this interview at all.

Oakland ,CA,.Amare Stoudamire (1) of the Phoenix Suns shoots against Anthony Tolliver (44) of the Golden State Warriors on March 22, 2010 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The  Suns would  go  on  to  defeat  the  Warriors  <strong><em> 133-131 </strong></em>  in  the  game.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/Getty  Images/  Rocky  Widner ...............
Oakland ,CA,.Amare Stoudamire (1) of the Phoenix Suns shoots against Anthony Tolliver (44) of the Golden State Warriors on March 22, 2010 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The Suns would go on to defeat the Warriors 133-131 in the game. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Rocky Widner ...............

What can only seem as a dream come true for Golden State Warriors’ fans , is that the hierarchy led majority stake holder Chris Cohan has decided to put the NBA franchise up for sale. What has been an organization that has been run like a cornershop establishment for the last fifteen years under Cohan’s ownership , has to be now a ringing approval to the fans , who see the possibility of an owner coming in and reversing the fortunes for the team and the organization as a whole.

Warriors' coach   Don  Nelson  seated   next  to   team  GM Larry Riley  at    Warriors  game played   at  Oracle  Arena  ,  Oakland ,  California .   photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Joe  Murphy  ...............
Warriors' coach Don Nelson seated next to team GM Larry Riley at Warriors game played at Oracle Arena , Oakland , California . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ...............


Cohan has sought out investment strategists and consultancy firm Galatioto Sports Partners LLC to handle all aspects of the proposed sale and finding a suitor to purchase the team. Rumored to be widely interested in purchasing the Warriors is avid sports enthusiast and Oracle’s billionaire founder Larry Ellison . If the self publicizing and power hungry Ellison is ambitious about the Warriors as he has been about his company. Then we may well see no stone left unturned as he chases NBA glory. And he might even give Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban a run for his money when it comes to being loud and obnoxious. And anyone who’s seen Cuban’s off court demeanor knows that’s no mean feat.

Golden  State  Warriors'   owner  Chris   Cohan  seated  alongside   Team  President    Robert  Rowell .   photo  appears   courtesy  of   Associated  Press  /  Drew   Maxwell .............
Golden State Warriors' owner Chris Cohan seated alongside Team President Robert Rowell . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Drew Maxwell .............

For far too long Cohan and Warriors’ GM Larry Riley have simply eschewed the custodianship of running the franchise with due diligence. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the team’s coach Don Nelson is merely being allowed to coach , simply to surpass the all-time wins’ total amassed by Lenny Wilkens .If that is what the hierarchy feels is expedient for the team and organization. Is it any wonder that they’ve not had a playoff appearance in over a decade ? Stupidity and glibness runs within this organization from the executives on down to the coaching staff. I’d apportion some blame upon the shoulders of the players but they’ve got enough to deal with in the home crowd fans who attend the Warriors’ games at Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California. And by all accounts they’ve not been too forgiving of either Cohan , Riley Nelson or the team for that matter. I wonder why ?

Oracle  founder   Larry   Ellison   ,  a  possible   pursuer  and  prospective   buyer  of   the Warriors'   franchise.   Oracle  founded  by  Ellison  in  1977   is one  of the   largest   software   companies  in  the world.   And  its   global  reach   stretches   across   every   continent  on  the   earth.    photo  appears   courtesy  of   businessdaily.com    @  copyrighted  material   ................
Oracle founder Larry Ellison , a possible pursuer and prospective buyer of the Warriors' franchise. Oracle founded by Ellison in 1977 is one of the largest software companies in the world. And its global reach stretches across every continent on the earth. photo appears courtesy of businessdaily.com @ copyrighted material ................

My buddy chappy 81 of doin-work.com , who’s a very vocal supporter of the team suggests that the franchise could be sold for as much as $400 million . Personally , I think he’s being overly optimistic in that regard. If the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks are viewed as the most valuable franchises in the NBA . The Warriors aren’t even considered to be amongst the top ten most valuable franchises at all. Estimated value of the Lakers $607 million and the Knicks are $586 million . So the idea of Warriors being worth in excess of 20 times their earnings at best , would seem laughable when one considers that they’re barely profitable as a going concern . And for a person of Larry Ellison’s business acumen , he’s hardly the person who can be duped into overpaying for a commercial venture. Anyone who simply knows how Ellison and the how the board members of Oracle operates, will know that the company’s founder is an astoundingly shrewd businessman. And if anything he’ll be the one who may well end up dictating the terms to Cohan and his intermediaries at Galatiaoto Sports Partners (GSP).

So as of now, we’ll merely have to wait and see what transpires and if there’ll be any other potential bidders entering into the fray to purchase the Warriors. Obviously the winning bid then has to meet the NBA hierarchy’s approval in terms of acceptance of the new owner. And it’d appear to be a formality, given the expediency of Michael Jordan’s acquiring the Charlotte Bobcats , recently from Robert L. Johnson . And Jordan as the NBA’s newest owner and only the second African American to have such a distinction.

Ellison should he prove to be successful in his bid may well choose to retain the present front office and coaching staff. But I feel that will somehow be unlikely. He will more likely than not look for a more insightful general manager and someone not so archaic in their coaching philosophy as Don Nelson appears to be. And given Nelson’s track record as an NBA coach , merely mounting up stats in terms of wins and losses . He’s hardly developed a player of any caliber over the course of his NBA career. We’re simply left to be in awe of the stats as he pursues Lenny Wilkens’ record.

It’d appear that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is showing that he actually has some cojones , after-all. He’s simply taken his time to allow time to pass concerning the ‘Roethlisberger affair’. Pity he wasn’t that laissez-faire in his attitude when it came to such players as Tank Johnson , Kevin Williams and Pat Williams . Now Goodell would have us believe that he uses the premise of the league’s conduct policy judiciously when it comes to suspending a player. If that were the case then how is it that he uses arbitrarily to make something of a point in terms of a deterrent . But yet when it’s needed to be used appropriately he chooses to obfuscate his responsibilities as the game’s highest ranking official ?

Recording artist Clifford Harris a/k/a "T.I" and his Attorney's Steven H. Sadow, Donald F. Sameul, Dwight L. Thomas, Ed Garland and Janice A. Singer address the press after being sentenced at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and United States Courthouse on March 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. Harris received a one year and one day prison sentence on federal firearms charges. Following Harris' prison sentence, he will have three years of supervised release, 365 days of home confinement and 1500 hours of community service, with credit for about 305 days of home confinement and 1030 hours of community service completed before sentencing

Recording artist Clifford Harris aka “T.I” and his Attorney’s Steven H. Sadow, Donald F. Sameul, Dwight L. Thomas, Ed Garland (Harris’ immediate left) and Janice A. Singer address the press after being sentenced at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and United States Courthouse on March 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. Harris received a one year and one day prison sentence on federal firearms charges. Following Harris’ prison sentence, he will have three years of supervised release, 365 days of home confinement and 1500 hours of community service, with credit for about 305 days of home confinement and 1030 hours of community service completed before sentencing . Garland’s law firm Garland , Samuel & Loeb , LLC will be representing Roethlisberger in the sexual assault allegations that have been made against the player. photo appears courtesy of Getty North America / Rick Diamond …….

Goodell and the front office of the Pittsburgh Steelers have sat idly by as the Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has simply ran amok and make a mockery of the league and his team’s image. What has to be done before the commissioner or any one of the Rooney’s simply gets of their ass and reprimands the player ? Goodell would be quite within his rights to suspend the player as of now . Especially given the player’s prior acts and this isn’t merely about the allegations made against him Lake Tahoe. His motorcycle accident and the fact that he’d lied not only to his coach but also to the ownership, should be enough of an indication as to the player’s demeanor and lack of honesty. But yet he continues to be coddled by the league and the Steelers’ organization as a whole. And we’re now finding out that Roethlisberger’s lawyer Ed Garland has been less than cooperative with the Milledgeville Police Dept and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) as they continue to conduct their ongoing investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a 20 year old college student in the town. Roethlisberger is said to be the primary and only suspect in the alleged assault.

NFL  Commissioner  seen  here   addressing  members  of  the  press  at  the  NFL  owners'  meeting  held  in  Orlando  ,  Florida.    Goodell  met  with  the  Steelers'   quarterback  to  discuss  his  legal  off  field   problems.    photo  appears  courtesy  of  Associated Press/  Richard  Thompson  ....................
NFL Commissioner seen here addressing members of the press at the NFL owners' meeting held in Orlando , Florida. Goodell met with the Steelers' quarterback to discuss his legal off field problems. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Richard Thompson ....................

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports


Goodell plans to meet with Roethlisberger

By Barry Wilner , AP Football Writer

Orlando , Fla. (AP)—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to meet with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about the star’s off-field problems.

Goodell already has spoken with team owners about Roethlisberger, who is accused of assaulting a 20-year-old college student in a Georgia nightclub on March 5. Roethlisberger’s attorney says the quarterback committed no crime. Roethlisberger has yet to be interviewed by police in Milledgeville, Ga., and charges have not been filed.

“We take this issue very seriously,” Goodell said Monday at the NFL meetings. “I am concerned that Ben continues to put himself in this position.

“I spoke with the Steelers and (team president) Art Rooney about it and, at some point, I will be meeting with Ben at the appropriate time.”

Roethlisberger also is being sued by a woman who claims he raped her in 2008 at a Lake Tahoe hotel. He denies those allegations and has asked for counter-damages.

His latest alleged incident came during a 28th birthday party for Roethlisberger, who has a home about 30 miles from Milledgeville.

The two-time Super Bowl champ’s lawyer, Ed Garland, said he has hired his own investigative team.

Rooney has said the Steelers are “in a situation we’re going to let this investigation play out and then go from there.”

Roethlisberger skipped voluntary workouts with the team last week.

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Now it may well be prudent not to put too much store into this but it may well be that with the investigating officers now wishing to interview Andrea McNulty , the alleged victim of a sexual assault that took place in a Tahoe hotel room, wherein , Roethlisberger was the alleged assailant. Garland may well think it prudent in delaying the request of GBI and the Milledgville PD in questioning his client. But any delaying tactic on the part of Garland further exacerbates the situation and paints a not too rosy picture of his client. The player has since acquiesced and met with the authorities to answer their questions.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to meet with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about the star's off-field problems. "We take this issue very seriously," Goodell said Monday, March 22, 2010, at the NFL meetings.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to meet with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about the star’s off-field problems. “We take this issue very seriously,” Goodell said Monday, March 22, 2010, at the NFL meetings. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press /Keith Srakocic ……….

Goodell for his part now feels that it is the right time to speak with the Steelers’ quarterback . By my way of thinking this is very much like now trying to close the stable doors after the your prized colt has simply fled from the stables. What can now be gained from this action when you chose not to speak to the player after the two earlier incidents ? Either Roger Goodell is the complete ass that I’ve always taken him for or merely he’s now trying to save face in terms of the continued and growing criticism by his and the Steelers’ lack of action. Both Goodell and the Steelers’ hierarchy have been far too smug and glib while this has all taken place. Far too often we’ve had reports of NFL players either battering their spouses or being involved in some sort of domestic dispute and in a number of cases there’s been allegations of sexual assault. The league has a conduct policy as I alluded to earlier that Goodell only appears to use sparingly concerning certain types of players. And the fact that one of the league’s more visible players and ‘the apparent face of the Steelers’ franchise’ now finds himself inexplicably involved another allegation of sexual assault should have no bearing on Goodell doing what is right ! But apparently he’ll seek legal counsel from within the league’s own quarters on such a matter but yet he suspended both Kevin and Pat Williams at the drop of the hat knowing full well at the time neither player knowingly had done anything wrong at the time concerning the league’s allegation that they’d both taken a prohibitive and banned substance. Their explanation was very clear from the start but yet Goodell chose to ignore it.

It’s all well and good, Goodell proselytizing about the league’s conduct policy. But there have been times that he’s yet to show that ‘he’s got the balls to practice what he preaches. And this is in fact one of those times. Either ‘he’s man enough to step up to the plate or he isn’t’ !

Marcus Thornton (5) of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo  appears  courtesy  of Getty Images/  Chris  Graythern  ........
Marcus Thornton (5) of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ........

People are still trying to suggest to me, that the Dallas Mavericks are a team to be reckoned with in the Western Conference . The Mavericks are no more a competitive team than the insight that was been shown by the Bush administration in dealing with the economy and other issues during the final days of George Bush’s reign as President. If that last night’s defeat 115-99 at the hands of New Orleans Hornets wasn’t enough to suggest how over-rated this Mavericks’ team is. Then I for one don’t know what else to suggest to those who are still on the bandwagon in supporting this team. They (Mavericks) lack guts and they show no leadership , even from veterans such as Dirk Nowitzki , Jason Kidd , Shawn Marion and Jason Terry . And what’s even becoming more apparent is that they’re being coached by a guy in Rick Carlisle , who has much stomach for a fight as a seasick stricken individual. And to think that the Mavericks’ front office chose to fire Avery Johnson , then to hire Carlisle ? The problem with the Mavericks wasn’t the coaching but the fact that their players just simply can’t play a lick of defense when it’s called for.

New Orleans, La,. Rodrigue Beaubois (3) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball over James Posey (41) of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Hornets defeated the Mavericks 115-99.  photo appears courtesy  of  Getty Images/  Chris  Graythern  ..............
New Orleans, La,. Rodrigue Beaubois (3) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball over James Posey (41) of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Hornets defeated the Mavericks 115-99. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ..............

Owner, Mark Cuban and team GM Donn Nelson are proving to be the NFL’s answer to Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen Jones . The two have ran the Dallas Cowboys as a business entity that has yet to produce a successful on-field product or brand in terms of its competitiveness over the last decade. And given the fact that the level of acceptance for Jones is nothing short of a Superbowl appearance but a win. You can see how the comparisons can be made between not only the two sporting entities but also to the duo who run the respective franchises.

People may well try to suggest that this is nothing more than a hiccup as it concerns the Mavericks and that they’ll be ready , come playoff time. Well with a dozen games to go in the regular season. If they’re unable to find a rhythm of consistency prior to the playoffs. Why would anyone be of the opinion that they’ll be good enough to challenge the likes of the Denver Nuggets or the Los Angeles Lakers for that matter ? There’s that glibness and smugness that’s continually expressed by Mark Cuban and to a lesser extent by his players. Unfortunately for the Mavericks and their fans those traits aren’t the things that end up winning championships. Someone should actually tell that to their fans ,Cuban and the Mavericks’ ‘front office’ for that matter. Because clearly, they’re clueless as to what it takes to win an NBA title !


NB: Figures concerning the NBA values of the franchises came courtesy of Forbes Magazine .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………….

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Wu Tang Clan ……….”Bring The Pain”

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Model & actress   Amber  Valetta  .   Well  worth  looking  at   don't   you  think  ?   Hell   yeah  !    Well   worth   nailn'  !
Model & actress Amber Valetta . Well worth looking at don't you think ? Hell yeah ! Well worth nailn' !

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Charmin’ Meet The Steelers And Cowboys ………. Two Of The Softer Teams In The NFL …………..

Well it goes without saying that the NFL weekend was an eventful one. We saw the two unbeaten teams in the Indianapolis Colts (13-0) and New Orleans Saints (13-0) both remain unbeaten. And in all certainty both teams have now garnered the respective # 1 seeded berths, in the AFC and NFC.

Mr Whipple  and  his  package of  Charmin  tissue  rolls
Mr Whipple and his package of Charmin tissue rolls. Are the Cowboys and Steelers after this weekend's display two of the more softer teams within the NFL ? Given the evidence of their poor season and their losses over the weekend . One could attain to the fact that they are .

And with the NFL as such, being such a finicky spectacle with regard to team performances on a week to week basis. It’s hard to what to make of the malaise , when one sees teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’d appear that for both of these teams their season now seems to be spiraling out of control. As defending Superbowl champions, Mike Tomlin’s team has all but thrown in the towel. And for Jerry Jones and his traveling circus of highly overrated and overpaid stars, this is just appears to be an ordinary ‘routine December’. Wherein, losing for the Cowboys seems to have become a customary habit. For both teams their losses on Sunday were as inexplicable as their somewhat mediocre performances on the field of play. No excuses can hide the fact that both of these teams have been thoroughly disappointing this season. Never mind the fact for Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett ,this may well prove to be ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ in terms of the sheer ineptitude of their team’s display. If you can’t ‘punch the ball in for a score’ of a touchdown from the one yard line. Then what the hell are you actually good for to begin with ?

There may well be the thought out there that other teams have performed just as poorly as both the Cowboys and Steelers, if not more so. But in reality, the expectations were high for both teams and the thought process was that they were the presumptive favorites to win their respective divisions(NFC East and AFC North) this season and garner a playoff berth. But that does in many ways now look to be though not impossible but in all likelihood something of a more difficult task , made more so, by these losses.

Tony  Romo (#9) of  the  Dallas Cowboys is  sacked  by the  Chargers'  linebacker  Brandon  Siler  (#55) during  the  game  played  at  the  Cowboys'  Texas Stadium  in  Arlington,  Texas.  The San Diego  Chargers  would  go  on  to  defeat the  Dallas Cowboys  20-17.    picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  Michael  Thomas  ................
Tony Romo (#9) of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by the Chargers' linebacker Brandon Siler (#55) during the game played at the Cowboys' Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The San Diego Chargers would go on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Michael Thomas ................

The Cowboys’ 20-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, if anything would suggest that the Cowboys’ resplendent monstrosity while it looks good on appearance. The unfortunate thing for the franchise and its fans , is that the team that plays within the stadium has a ‘yellow streak across its back’ that is a mile wide and a mile deep, in terms of its depth. There’s no leadership on the team and when faced with any form of adversity. It has shown that it doesn’t possess the resolve or temperament to deal with it adequately. And whether or not this comes down to the coaching of Wade Phillips and his coaching staff is the question that one also needs to be asking. At the same time , if the alleged Pro Bowl stars on this team such as Tony Romo, Marion Barber , Jason Witten , DeMarcus Ware and Roy Williams can’t be held accountable for their own play. One could surmise that this Cowboys team is ‘more style over substance’ ? It’s not as if either, Jones or Phillips are prepared to come out and be openly critical of the players to begin with for their overall lack of effort ! It’d give credence to the fact that they’re soft as a team as well as an organization !

Ben Roethlisberger (#7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is about to be tackled by the Cleveland Browns’ Matt Roth (#53) during an NFL game played Cleveland Browns’ Stadium, Cleveland ,Ohio. The Browns would go on to defeat their AFC North divisional rival 13-6. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Gregory Shamus …..

For Mike Tomlin this has to be a troubling aspect as to the unevenness of the Steelers’ play throughout the season. With the loss of Troy Polamalu , one could suggest that as a team they become a shell of themselves. With Polamalu, on the field of play, they become a fiercely staunch and more competitive team. However, the real problem for this Steeler’s team may well be the very fact that they’ve gone away from what they’re said to do best ? And that’s to ‘run the ball’ relentlessly down the throats of their opponents. It certainly hasn’t helped either that the team’s quarterback , Ben Roethlisberger , at times looks as if he has these momentary lapses in concentration and his play becomes errant and very erratic. And with there now being rumors of dissension within the locker room between a number of the players. One has to wonder whether or not Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff still controls the reins of the team ?

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin argues with field judge Jim Howey (37) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, in Cleveland. Pittsburgh lost their fifth straight, losing to the rival Browns 13-6
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin argues with field judge Jim Howey (37) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, in Cleveland. Pittsburgh lost their fifth straight, losing to the rival Browns 13-6. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Brown .................

The Steelers’ loss on Sunday to the much maligned Cleveland Browns 13-6 would suggest that the team either just didn’t come to play or that they had their minds elsewhere. And for coach, Eric Mangini’s, Cleveland Browns , this win might suggest that finally, there’s some resolve after-all behind this team. On the other hand this season for the Steelers has proven to be one of missed opportunities , poor play and seemingly players who just don’t seem to have the wherewithall to put forth an even more strenuous effort for their fans. Tomlin for his part has been critical of his players but nowhere near enough when it really matters the most. And who’d would have thought that a Pittsburgh Steelers’ team would be so thoroughly outplayed by a divisional rival in almost every facet of a game to such an extent ? ‘Soft’ as a word might just about now sum up the Pittsburgh Steelers as a team. If nothing else, from my own observations of this game , I wouldn’t describe them as being tough , far from it !

Thomas  Jones  and   teammates .
New York Jets running back Thomas Jones (20) celebrates with teammates Nick Mangold (74) and Dustin Keller (81) following his second touchdown of an NFL football game during the fourth quarter on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Blanco ............

Here within the Tampa Bay area, come the NFL football season ,everything revolves around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12). Now while I’m not a fan of the team , I do take an interest as to what goes on locally concerning the franchise. And while the team and organization continues to struggle both on and off the field. The conventional thinking concerning the Buccaneers, is that the organization will right itself over the course of time. Coach, Raheem Morris and his young and inexperienced team has shown that they’ve still have a long way to go before there’s any semblance of competitiveness and resolve shown by them as a cohesive unit. Many of the team’s struggles have come down the fact that they’ve entrusted their future to a very young and inexperienced quarterback, in Josh Freeman. And while there are those that say the player will grow and mature into his role as NFL quarterback and a leader of this team. Let’s just say that the evidence of that , has yet to be put forth. With each week, comes a new set of inexplicable plays and errors committed from the player. And while one can’t solely apportion blame on Freeman , alone. As this has to been a collective effort as to the poor play all around by the Buccaneers as a team. They’ve been unable to ‘run the ball’, ‘pass the ball’ or even ‘defend the run’ or ‘the pass’. And it’d be remiss to say that the players on the defensive unit can actually tackle. If anything they possess the athleticism in that aspect of coterie of female impersonators when it comes to the aggressiveness shown by this Raheem Morris’ coached unit. One wonders what the likes of RuPaul might think of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ?


New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) knocks the ball from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Brian Clark (87) during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) knocks the ball from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Brian Clark (87) during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris O'Meara .......

Sunday in front of a national tv audience, the nation once again got to see the Buccaneers at their very best , in terms of sheer mediocrity on the field of play. In a home game played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers did their leveled best to remind everyone now why it is that they’re now viewed as the worst franchise in the entire NFL. Their opponents were the Rex Ryan coached New York Jets , who happened to have backup quarterback, Kellen Clemmons at the helm of the team for the game. Starting quarterback , Matt Sanchez , was unable to play due to injury. One would’ve thought that might have made the Buccaneers’ objective somewhat easier ? But to their credit they found ways to seemingly play with their customary aplomb. And that was to make themselves look absolutely ridiculous in every aspect of their on the field performance.


New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, shakes hands with Tampa Bay buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, left, after the Jets defeated the Buccaneers 26-3 during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla.
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, shakes hands with Tampa Bay buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, left, after the Jets defeated the Buccaneers 26-3 during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris O'Meara ......

Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Tribune

Morris: Bucs’ coaches need to scale things back for Freeman

By Roy Cummings of The Tampa Bay Tribune

Tampa, Fl,. – Rookie quarterback Josh Freeman took the blame on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 26-3 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, but on Monday the blame shifted to the coaching staff.

“We were not ready to play and that’s on us as coaches,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. “We had no explosive plays, we had no third-down conversions, we just didn’t’ get anything going.”

The question now, is how can the Bucs get things going in the final three games of the season. Part of the answer, Morris said, is scaling things back for Freeman.

“We’ve got to calm him down a little bit,” Morris said. “We’ve got to establish our offensive identity as far as the run, get him some easy completions, get him back to his hard-core play-action passes.

“You know, we talked about it, talked about it as a staff. We asked ourselves, ‘When do you give him too much? When do you stop giving him too much?’ And we kind of found out. So, now we have to reel him in a little bit.

“You don’t want to overdo it and put him in remedial classes, but at the same time you want to take a little pressure off the young man and put it back on the coaches and the guys around him so he can get going faster, like when he started.”

Freeman started strong, beating the Packers in his first start. Since then, though, he has mixed good starts with bad and is coming off two clunkers. In the past two games, Freeman has thrown eight interceptions.

His passer rating against the Jets was 12.1, the worst of his six starts

The Buccaneers’ resultant 26-3 loss to the Jets had many of the home crowd fans leaving the stadium long before the game had even reached the third quarter. And if that’s not a sign as to how mediocre the team’s day was about to come. Then their game stats certainly mirrored that very fact. (First downs totals 6, third down efficiency 0/14 0%, fourth down efficiency 1/3 33 1/3 %, total rushing 56 yards, total yards offense 124 yds, quarterback sacked 3 times, Freeman’s qb rating 12.1 %) And no that wasn’t a misprint concerning Freeman’s rating for the game. His completion rate of 14/33 for 93 yards and being sacked three times leads us to believe that the learning curve for the young rookie is still an immense one. But then again, the Buccaneers ought to be consider themselves thankful that it is Freeman that they have at the helm of this team, instead of the Oakland Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell. The latter of whom has the propensity of playing as if the playbook of the Raiders’ something akin to applied calculus in terms of its difficulty. As simple as Raiders’ coach, Tom Cable has made it for the player. Russell’s cognitive skills just doesn’t seem to be able the grasp those simple concepts.

Josh  Freeman (#5) of the  Tampa  Bay Buccaneers  seen  here inset  along  with  teammate  tight end ,  Kellen  Winslow Jr. (#82)  in  the  game  against  the  New  York  Jets   played  at  Raymond James  Stadium  , Tampa ,Florida .  The  Buccaneers   would   go  on to  lose  the  game  26-3  against  the  New  York  Jets.  During  the  third  quarter  great  many  of the Buccaneers'   fans   had  already  departed  from  the  stadium  ,  perhaps   in  sheer  disgust  resulting   from  the  team's   inept  display.    picture appears   courtesy  of  Tampa Bay  Tribune  /  Cliff  McBride  .............
Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seen here inset along with teammate tight end , Kellen Winslow Jr. (#82) in the game against the New York Jets played at Raymond James Stadium , Tampa ,Florida . The Buccaneers would go on to lose the game 26-3 against the New York Jets. During the third quarter great many of the Buccaneers' fans had already departed from the stadium , perhaps in sheer disgust resulting from the team's inept display. picture appears courtesy of Tampa Bay Tribune / Cliff McBride .............

One may well argue that there have been other teams that have proven to be far more disappointing this season. I for one am of the opinion that the Cowboys and Steelers may well be atop of the list for a number of NFL fans around the league in terms of their overall season. What are your thoughts on the matter ? And by all means do take time to participate in the poll shown within this piece. As always thanks for the continued support shown !

NFL Week 14 results

Pittsburgh Steelers 6-13 Cleveland Browns

New Orleans Saint 26-23 Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions 3-48 Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers 21-14 Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos 16-28 Indianapolis Colts

Buffalo Bills 16-10 Kansas City Chiefs

Carolina Panthers 10-20 New England Patriots

New York Jets 26-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cincinnati Bengals 10-30 Minnesota Vikings

Miami Dolphins 14-10 Jacksonville Jaguars

Seattle Seahawks 7-34 Houston Texans

St Louis Rams 7-47 Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins 34-13 Oakland Raiders

San Diego Chargers 20-17 Dallas Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles 45-38 New York Giants

NFL Starting quartetbacks’ stats for the 2009-10 season

Passing (Qualified* | All) Rk Player Team Pos Comp Att Pct Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Int 1st 1st% Lng 20+ 40+ Sck Rate
1 Peyton Manning IND QB 342 502 68.1 38.6 3,905 7.8 300.4 29 14 204 40.6 80T 50 7 10 98.9
2 Drew Brees NO QB 302 432 69.9 33.2 3,832 8.9 294.8 32 10 180 41.7 75T 55 11 15 112.3
3 Tom Brady NE QB 320 490 65.3 37.7 3,830 7.8 294.6 23 11 183 37.3 81T 37 11 15 95.4
4 Matt Schaub HOU QB 324 473 68.5 36.4 3,814 8.1 293.4 24 13 183 38.7 72T 47 12 23 98.2
5 Philip Rivers SD QB 263 406 64.8 31.2 3,583 8.8 275.6 22 7 175 43.1 81T 51 12 22 103.7
6 Aaron Rodgers GB QB 291 444 65.5 34.2 3,579 8.1 275.3 25 7 161 36.3 74T 44 13 47 102.5
7 Tony Romo DAL QB 276 444 62.2 34.2 3,574 8.0 274.9 22 7 160 36.0 80T 49 14 28 97.4
8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 273 400 68.3 33.3 3,346 8.4 278.8 19 11 160 40.0 57 43 10 38 98.2
9 Brett Favre MIN QB 295 433 68.1 33.3 3,341 7.7 257.0 27 6 171 39.5 63 41 10 27 106.0
10 Eli Manning NYG QB 252 417 60.4 32.1 3,316 8.0 255.1 23 11 147 35.3 74T 49 11 21 93.0
11 Joe Flacco BAL QB 270 426 63.4 32.8 3,111 7.3 239.3 15 11 157 36.9 72T 37 8 26 86.3
12 Jay Cutler CHI QB 284 457 62.1 35.2 3,023 6.6 232.5 19 22 135 29.5 71 43 5 29 75.2

Click here to view in its entirety………..

Freeman and Russell sit at the bottom of the NFL’s quarterback statistical charts in terms of their performances throughout this season. The 12.1 quarterback rating posted by Freeman in the game against the New York Jets, was the lowest such stat posted by an NFL quarterback this season.

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