Pop Goes The Weasel ……………..

Pop Goes The Weasel …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

It’s been pretty much an offseason of discontent within the NFL with the owners , players and league hierarchy suddenly realizing that the start of the season is merely around the corner . Never mind the fact that teams haven’t really been able to conduct their OTA’s at their respective training facilities . In that respect the whole preseason and initial start of the regular season due to begin on the 8thd September could very well offer the fans a product that could be so bland and meaningless that it might have us wondering whether or not it wasn’t worth completely abandoning the season altogether . No one wants to see an on field product that by three or four three that could be so out of sync and mediocre that given the fact that the fans will be asked to pay a sizable sum to witness this all . And if as is being proposed we could very well see a preseason that will have to forgo two of the four scheduled games then any sort semblance of cohesiveness could very well be something that the fans are not liable to see at all .

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With that in mind of all the teams that I witnessed over the course of last season none more so than the Atlanta Falcons had me wondering how good could this team really be . Granted , their postseason foray ended somewhat abruptly but I put that down to more inexperience more than anything else . The team’s coach Mike Smith and his coaching staff seem to have found that semblance of cohesion and consistency that many teams yearn for in the league but so few are able to find it . Having won the NFC South rather comfortably, posting a 13-3 record within the league . Many felt that the team led my their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan could very well have pulled off a major surprise during the postseason. This season if anything a great deal is expected from this team and in particular by their erstwhile fans . The era of Michael Vick is long gone and but a distant and quickly fading memory . Team owner Arthur Blank and the front office headed by GM Rich McKay know that they were fortuitous not only in the hiring of Mike Smith as the team coach but also in their drafting of Matt Ryan .

I’ve no doubt that this season could very well see this team prove to be dominant but that being said I also believe that the NFC South could very well be a highly competitive division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers , alongside the New Orleans Saints should prove to be formidable and with the Carolina Panthers no doubt looking to their overall number one pick from this year’s draft Cam Newton to simply show the Panthers’ fans what he’s made of . Who knows where the season could very well take us ?

Rich McKay and the scouting department made some prudent choices in the NFL Draft that will prove to be productive for the Falcons’ organization as a whole . And with those selections being strategically rendered with there being an assortment of offense and defense to bolster the needs of the team . The prize pick was wide receiver Julio Jones who will no doubt compliment what is already a formidable offensive presence alongside Michael Turner , Roddy White , Tony Gonzalez and Brian Finneran . And from a defensive standpoint this team can only get better as they being to gel more as a cohesive unit . But in retrospect it does all come down to have a balance on both sides of the ball and here too the Falcons aren’t necessarily lacking as the offense when having found its rhythm can be as good as any within the league .

Now would it be remiss to suggest that the Atlanta Falcons are not good enough to be considered amongst the NFC favorites for the Superbowl ? I think that perhaps not given that no one could really have foreseen the Green Bay Packers coming out of the NFC as conference champions much less wining the title itself . If anything all eyes were perhaps on the New Orleans Saint or Chicago Bears from last year as it related to the postseason. I read with interest where a fellow blogger within this medium suggested that the next young quarterback within the league who is on the cusp of leading a team and actually winning the Superbowl will be the Bears’ Jay Cutler . Yes the that Jay Cutler who essentially baulked and walked away from his team when they needed him most . For all of Brian Urlacher’s traits , facing reality doesn’t seem to be one of those , especially in light of the player coming to his quarterback’s defense by saying that ‘…..Cutler was a warrior and one of the hardest working players in the league as well as one of the best players at the position in the entire NFL’ . Obviously Urlacher hadn’t been taking much note of what happened in the Bears’ meltdown and their subsequent 21-14 loss to the Packers much of which could be squarely placed on Jay Culter’s shoulders for the team’s demise in the NFC title game .

As to the ongoing impasse between the league and NLFPA I would certainly like to be optimistic with regard to what I have been hearing via the various news sources . But given the fact that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handled this situation with about as much precision as a one armed individual being asked to juggle an explosive device . I think that it’s pretty safe to say that this episode is far from over as it relates to the present work stoppage . For all of the pontificating , finger pointing and in the end so called accord that we are now seeing from all sides with Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA issuing a joint statement focusing on the two sides close to reaching an accord , I for one won’t believe it until I hear that an agreement has been reached , a binding contract signed and we are told the league will indeed begin its regular season schedule on time . Anything short of that I will still deem to be a complete failure !

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Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

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

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(1) FILE – This May 24, 2011, file photo shows Atlanta Falcons rookie receiver Julio Jones, left, greeting quarterback Matt Ryan before an informal football workout, in Buford, Ga. Ryan and Jones haven’t let the NFL lockout stop them from beginning a new friendship. AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(2) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(3) Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, rear, looks on as teammate Steve Smith, center, calls a play at his youth football camp in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, June 17, 2011. It was another bonding experience for what will be one of the most scrutinized quarterback-receiver combinations in the NFL _ if Smith stays in Carolina. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(4) Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, right, talks with Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, as they arrive for meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Owners gathered to discuss the status of negotiations with the players for a new collective bargaining agreement. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(5) Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy shows off his Super Bowl ring Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis., after the NFL football team’s ring ceremony at Lambeau Field. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …..

(6) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with team owners and legal counsel for the league . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ……

(7) Sam Shields (37_ of the Green Bay Packers intercepts the game’s final pass and runs for 32-yards to seal the 21-14 victory for the Packers against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America ….

(8) Quarterback Jay Cutler (6 ) of the Chicago Bears celebrates his six-yard touchdown run with Devin Hester (23) against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images …….

(9) After a failed coaching experiment four years ago, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, left, is thrilled with the job Mike Smith, right, has done with the team. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan aka tophatal …….

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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They Came , They Saw , They Conquered ………………..

They Came , They Saw , They Conquered …………….

Well they came, they saw they conquered and the post-game interview by San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich essentially was magnanimous in defeat but clearly couldn’t explain his team’s inauspicious departure from the NBA Playoffs in the first round . A 99-91 defeat on the Memphis Grizzlies’ home-court at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennesse left the home crowd fans ecstatic as their team will now make their first appearance in a conference semi finals where they will face the high flying Oklahoma City Thunder .

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Now for only the second time since expansion of the playoff format from a five game first round to the best of seven series’ format has a number one seed bowed out the of the NBA Playoffs in the first round. This 4-2 series loss will certainly have its ramifications and repercussions as the Spurs’ management assess and reassess why they failed so miserably . GM R C Burford and Popovich’s coaching staff will certainly have to look at this roster and note where their deficiencies are . Most certainly to my mind the contributions of Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess were minimal at best but what might be even more disturbing was the fact that the Grizzlies man-handled the Spurs with seasoned veteran Zach Randoplh being allowed to shred the defense almost at will . Randolph’s heroics was indicative of what has gone on throughout this series all along with him being allowed to roam free _____ but he was also ably abetted by Marc Gasol , Shane Batter and Mike Conley whose play at the point guard position has developed since his entrance into the NBA . It has been a profound disappointment to me in seeing the San Antonio Spurs bow out of the playoffs but I’ve seen the highs and lows of this organization. Remarkable as this might seem the Spurs have made the postseason for fourteen straight consecutive seasons and have averaged 55 wins per season over that time frame . As an avowed Spurs’ fan it goes without saying that in the aftermath of this series loss the organization will undoubtedly have to make some changes .

As to the Memphis Grizzlies their postseason is now in their own hands and they can essentially write their own story as to their aspirations . This much we do know their season has shown us all what to expect when you have no doubts as to your own will to win . That if anything to my mind was most definitely lacking in the persona of the San Antonio Spurs !

Just when I thought things simply couldn’t get anymore asinine with regard to the NFL lockout it has been reported that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals have rescinded Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s original verdict , which now allows the NFL owners and league enforce the lockout . Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy has gone ahead with the NFL Draft which is being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City and culminates with the seventh and final round of picks this Saturday 30th April , 2011. As contentious and litigious as this episode has become I can’t but help wonder why bother with all the facade being created by the league with the staging of the draft ?

I’ve always maintained that the league created this monster with the alleged labor relates issues and that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seriously underestimated the hierarchy of the NFLPA which has now become a trade association. That being said neither party is without fault here with the asinine stance that each party has taken in being unable to decide how to split the $ 9 billion in revenues that the league has coming into its coffers each season . And as ridiculous as it may sound , neither side wants to be viewed as being the culprit here but in essence this has simply been about sheer greed with little if anything really having to deal with any inherent labor issues ! Question if you can’t find a way to seriously deliberate how best find a solution sharing $ 9 billion amenably then what would that suggest to you about both of the parties involved ? Greed or merely that both the league hierarchy and union are simply too stupid for their own good ?

Andy Dalton welcome to the NFL and you now more likely than not will supplant Carson Palmer in the pecking order for the quarterback position with the Cincinnati Bengals . Given the Bengals’ disastrous 2010 season where Palmer and his teammates were an immense disappointment having been the AFC North divisional champions in 2009, 2010 simply showed how much the team had simply regressed.

Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis knows that his job is on the line this season and anything short of a divisional title and postseason berth and effectively his managerial career with the organization will come to an abrupt end . As for Andy Dalton this now becomes his team to lead in light of the continued displeasure of Carson Palmer and his wish to be traded . However with the player’s demands having not been met and the continued scenario within the NFL his only option appears to be to proceed with his original announcement that he would retire if his demands were not met . Personally, if this is indicative of quarterbacks coming out of USC and the fact that they have no heart or will a will to win once in the NFL then my advice to Palmer would be ………. “see ya wouldn’t want to be ya and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out ” !

Unequivocably the game of baseball is in a complete mess and this season has simply been indicative of that. If anything it hasn’t been the play of of the teams on the field that have made the headlines but namely the stories off it. Frank McCourt is now prepared to challenge the league’s hierarchy in providing an outside presence to deal with the day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers . McCourt as the team’s owner has if anything been a complete ass in thinking that he can place this organization in dire financial straits but at the same time fails to address the issue as to why he needed to borrow some $30 million from the local LA Fox affiliate to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month of April. Frank McCourt has also maintained that the league hierarchy has within their possession documents related to a possible television deal with Fox that woud pay the Dodgers $3 billion over the next two decades . At this juncture it simply means nothing if that document remains unsigned with the deal not physically in place awaiting league approval .

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for his part stated that his greatest concern were the dire consequences that McCourt had placed the organization in . But here’s the caveat, if as such the Dodgers met all of the league’s rules as it concerns the conduct of its business affairs then how is that they’ve allowed McCourt to systematically d to use the Dodgers repeatedly as collateral in many business deals with outside parties not related at all with the game ? Having installed former US Ambassador to Japan J Thomas Schieffer as the league’s representative while the Dodgers undergoes this period of intense scrutiny . I’ve now got to ask what now awaits the team and organization over the course of the their season ?

If anything this is what has been endemic within the game of baseball and the unwillingness of the team owners and the hierarchy itself to be openly transparent in the conduct of their business affairs . And it goes without saying that this conduct has been suborned by the fact that MLB’s antitrust exemption status allows it carte-blanche /free rein as to how they conducts themselves in almost every facet of their dealings both on and off the field of play . And I’m led to believe that the House Oversight & Gov’t Reform Committee weren’t aware as to the league’s conduct over the past decade and a half ? The league has become archaic , its leadership structure as are the team owners , the MLBPA are simply clueless and are a bunch of blithering idiots ! With the New York Mets’ episode yet to be addressed fully by the league do you get the feeling that MLB would rather the respective owners there Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon removed from their executive posts as well ? Where else could one find such mismanagement within the game but in essence the league hierarchy continues to act as if they’re rearranging the life boats on the Titanic thinking that they’re in no imminent danger .

I know that the MLB season is one of 162 games but the way that the Cleveland Indians have been playing as of late you’d be under the impression that they’re now on the cusp of making the postseason. Winners of five of their last seven games the Indians sit atop of the AL East . If anything they’ve been the surprise team within the division with their play and seems to be infectious amongst the younger members on this Cleveland Indians’ roster .

In their game against the struggling Detroit Tigers the Indians simply showed why they have been playing with the resolve that they have shown since the very start of their season . In a fitting way to end the game Indians’ slugger Carlos Santana hit a walk off grand slam to deny the Tigers victory on their way to a 9-5 win over their divisional rivals . And although it’s still early in the season it’s good to see that for now the Cleveland Indians appear to be relevant once again. With that win the Cleveland Indians now share the best record (17-8) in baseball alongside the Philadelphia Phillies . A nice resurgence for a franchise that seems to have been in the doldrums over the last decade but now appears to be back where they and their fans feel that they belong.

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Whether or not you’ve been watching the initial part of the NBA postseason unfold what to your mind has been the biggest surprise or disappointment from your own standpoint ? With regard to the NFL its Draft and everything that now seems to be unfolding how do you envisage this episode finally ending ? From your own perspective do you feel that there’s now time for a real drastic change within the hierarchy of MLB and also do you feel that the owners should be more transparent in their business dealing in and outside of the game when they are as such using their team as any part of a business transaction ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) MEMPHIS, TN – APRIL 29: Zach Randolph(50) of the Memphis Grizzlies talks with Greg Popovich after the Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs 99-91 in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …..

(2) San Antonio Spurs players watch the final moments of their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the second half of Game 6 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Friday, April 29, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 99-91 to win the series 4-2 . From left are Richard Jefferson, Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, Daniel Green, and Steve Novak. AP Photo/Lance Murphey ……….

(3) Cincinnati Bengals second round draft pick Andy Dalton, and his fiancee Jordan Jones, left, pose for a picture being taken by the Bengals third round draft pick Dontay Moch, right, after an NFL football news conference, Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/David Kohl ……….

(4) Cincinnati Bengals second round draft pick Andy Dalton, left, a quarterback from TCU, and third round draft pick Dontay Moch, a linebacker from Nevada, right, pose with their jerseys during an NFL football news conference, Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/David Kohl ………

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

(6) Gary Guyton (59) of the New England Patriots carries the ball in for a touchdown as Carson Palmer (9) of the Cincinnati Bengals tries to tackle during the NFL season opener on September 12, 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Guyton intercepted Palmer’s pass. Getty Images North America / Elsa Martinez …….

(7) LOS ANGELES – APRIL 29: the San Diego Padres the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …….

(8) Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Santana watches the flight of his game-winning grand slam off Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland on Friday, April 29, 2011. The Indians won the game 9-5. Tigers catcher Alex Avila, left, looks on. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …….

(9) Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana celebrates as he jumps to home plate after hitting a game winning three-run walk off home run off Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland on Friday, April 29, 2011. The Indians won the game 9-5 . AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ……..

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Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Broke, devoid of creativity and ideas , I guess that could best describe the Congress , Senate and Barack Obama’s first two years in office and the performance of his Cabinet overall ! But no this piece isn’t about but that but the continued mediocrity of the Minnesota Vikings and in part that of the New York Knicks . But before I delve further into the sporting topic of the day I’d like to continue on the path of idiocy of the nation’s politics at present . Is anyone of the opinion that both the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration) and Department of Transportation can be trusted to allay the fears of the public as it concerns air traffic safety when we’re being informed of air traffic controllers falling asleep in the control towers when there are flight departing arriving from the nation’s regional and major international departure airports ? Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says … ‘ the situation can no longer can be tolerated and that there will be much stricter enforcement as well as an adoption of new rules as it relates to working hours of the air traffic controllers on all shifts’ . Am I missing something here ? But in light of the volume of travellers that take to the air each year , that figure is approximately 500 million passengers flown domestically and internationally within US air space I find LaHood’s words of little comfort !

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As many of you may well have been aware several incidents have come to light in the past few weeks where there have been multiple mistakes due to fatigue and human error by air traffic controllers . Consider this also in a recent domestic travel of First Lady Michelle Obama’s flight into Andrews Air Force Base had a near miss with a military cargo transport plane as both were in close proximity of each other . The C 137 was less than three miles from that of the flight carrying the first lady which had to be delayed in its landing while allowing the military cargo transporter to land . Aviation rules call for planes of such size to be no more than no less than 5 miles apart when in flight and close proximity of each other during pre landing rules. This error concerning this incident wasn’t down to the military air traffic controllers but again due to the lax attitude shown by several controllers at a regional airport in Maryland who’d mistakenly allowed both planes into the same air traffic lane and space . Needless to say though there wasn’t a serious mishap the situation could have been much graver . Consider this also what might have been the domestic and international political fallout had the President been on board and Air Force One collided with that military transport plane ? Suffice to say that the country would be in turmoil and we’d be talking about this tragedy and questioning why it happened .

Given the season that the Minnesota Vikings had in 2010 and the ineptitude shown by the team with Brett Favre under the helm is it any wonder why that the team’s season flamed out the way that it did ? Having posted a mediocre 6-10 record within the NFC North any hopes that Brad Childress’ had of making the postseason before his abrupt firing went the way of Favre with a whimper . Childress was succeeded by Leslie Frazier but the team’s improvement as such can be best described as being marginal . With Favre being forced to sit out several games down the latter part of the season it was left to his backup Joe Webb to provide the team with any impetus that there was to be had .

In light of what Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff now has to work with in terms of the quarterbacks available to him on the Vikings’ roster , names such as Webb , Rhett Bomar , Tarvaris Jackson and Patrick Ramsey can either be viewed as journeymen or essentially players that can be relied upon to be good during practice but you simply wouldn’t want on an NFL field during a regular season game unless it was under dire circumstances . That being said if as is being rumored the Vikings front office led by Director of Player George Paton assisted by Rick Spielman are said to be seriously interested in seeing whether or not seasoned NFL veteran Donovan McNabb would indeed be a good fit for this team . Pardon me for saying this but McNabb’s best years are indeed behind him and even when he showed faint glimmers of his skillset at its best , it wasn’t as productive as one would have thought. OK, so he was playing on a Washington Redskins’ team that on a good day couldn’t sniff a out win in the NFL if they were handed a three touchdown lead with less than five minutes left in a game as they’d somehow find a way of fu_king things up , completely ! The fact that the team was coached by Mike Shanahan with his son Kyle as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator may well have a had a great deal to do with it . But in some respects much of the blame had to be laid at the feet of McNabb as well !

From my own perspective I think that Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf is caught between a rock and a hard place knowing that this team greatly underachieved over the past two seasons , each time when the team was considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl . Wilf’s will to win is only exceeded by the dire need for the Vikings’ organization to try and lure Minnesota State Legislature to pass a legislative proposal to pay for a new stadium for the organization replacing what Wilf and his co-executives feels is an archaic and out of date facility in the Metrodome (Mall of America Field) in Minneapolis , Minnesota. At an estimated cost of between $600- $800 million the proposed new venue for the team would be paid for largely in part through a bond issue and state funds at the state residents’ expense . Needless to say with the state now facing a budget deficit any such proposal within the legislature is now being placed on the backburner . Albeit that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy could assist the Vikings in their endeavor by loaning them part of the costs to aid in the building of such a facility . But as of now the NFL lockout very much takes precedence over any such problems that the Vikings are said to facing on or off the field.

I can’t possibly see what advantage that there would in the Vikings acquiring McNabb as a free agent when they already have four quarterbacks on the team’s depth chart . But it either shows us that the Vikings are in such dire straits and the fact that Leslie Frazier has no implicit faith any of the quartertabcks on the roster. That being said Joe Webb was able to show that under the right set of circumstances that he’s quite capable of <l leading this team. But herein lies the caveat as it relates to the Vikings , as potent an offense as they’re said to have their defense had become porous and indeed an aging one that had showed signs of deterioration throughout much of last season . If the team is show signs of improvement this upcoming season should there be one then there choices will have to reflect bolstering their defensive line and looking via free agency to add any other pieces that they deem suitable to their needs . I certainly don’t believe that adding McNabb to this roster would make them any better given what I’ve seen from this team over the last two seasons !

The upcoming NFL Draft set to take commence on the 28th April , 2011 , being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City , New York . And with the Vikings having the twelfth pick in the first round , eleventh pick in the second round (43rd overall) there’s bound to be an abundances of choices and picks that can be made I feel that can be envisaged being made by the Vikings organization ! I certainly don’t believe it prudent either for the team to take a quarterback in the first round no matter how good they’re presumed to be when it’s clear to see that the team’s immediate needs have more to do with its defense than anything else ! But whatever the choices that are to be made by the organization one can only presumed that it will be done in order to bolster their competitive needs and requirements .

So the New York Knicks are said to be relevant once again having made the postseason . And having to face the third seeded Boston Celtics , their task hasn’t now been made any easier with the fact that they now have to overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Celtics . That being said Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have stepped up to the plate in leading the team into the postseason . But as good as this team is no doubt perceived to be , there remains flaws that coach Mike DAntoni has failed to address or quite possibly he and his coaching staff are actually too ignorant and unwilling to address . And that is the very fact that the Knicks simply cannot play any form of resolute defense . It has been one of the many flaws on this Knicks’ team that has and will ultimately need to their downfall should they not come to the conclusion that this situation needs to be addressed !

Throughout much of the regular season the New York Knicks struggled to make their presence felt . And even having made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference you simply knew that they’d have their work cut out for them no matter which of the top four teams that they would have to face in the playoffs. If anything their 42-40 record reflected greatly where they sat in the pecking order of the Eastern Conference. Albeit that their fans undoubtedly feels that their record doesn’t justify their actually competitiveness as a team within the NBA . I do believe that most Knicks’ fans under the misapprehension that this team is far better than their regular season record reflects .

At this juncture when the series resumes at Madison Square Garden the Knicks will be hard pressed to not only try and derail Doc Rivers’ team but I believe that they would very well bow out of the first round of the playoffs in the most decisive of ways and that’s quite possibly being swept by the Boston Celtics . Game two saw the Celtics eke out a three point victory (96-93 ) even with the advent of with a 42 point offensive output coming from Carmelo Anthony who was ably assisted by Toney Douglas . But as I’ve alluded to earlier in this piece if you’re coach and his staff aren’t prepared to ingrain it into the players that they’ve got to play defense then you’re bound and will be doomed for failure !
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Game three and it’s all to play for and with that raucous home crowd to be found at MSG showing their support for the home team . One would expect for the Knicks to rise to the occasion with the fervent support of their fans . But I do know this , if they continue to allow the Celtics to dictate the pace and rhythm of this game and series then they will end up losing it all too decisively . They have to play defense and negate the perimeter shooting of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in particular . And needless to say it’d also help if they were able to put a damn body on Rajon Rondo , rather than allowing him to continue to run wild being the architecture of much of the Celtics’ play and offense . I kind of get the impression that these minute details seems to have escaped not only the Knicks’ players but also their dumb and lame assed coaching staff ! .
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

To your mind do you believe that the Minnesota Vikings would be making an immense mistake in acquiring Donovan McNabb as a free agent at this point of his career ? Or do you believe that he can still offer the team something by way of his veteran leadership and in some form still be productive ? Moreover which of the quarterbacks on the Vikings squad is best equipped to lead this team should they not sign McNabb ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the outcome of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks ? Simply leave a comments as to your thoughts on each of the topics raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House regarding support for infrastructure development October 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama was joined by members of his administration and members of local governments around the nation including (L-R) former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (far right). Getty Images / Win McNamee ……….

(2) Obama Departs White House For Columbus Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (L) talks with U.S. President Barack Obama as they walk across the South Lawn before departing the White House aboard Marine One June 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama is traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 10,000 road construction project paid for by the Recovery Act getting underway in downtown Columbus. Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images North America …….

(3) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (59) and defensive tackle Corey Williams (99) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Lions would go on to defeat the Vikings 20-3 AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …….

(4) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) comes out of the tunnel before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday , Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ………

(5) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb (14) looks downfield during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ……

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Washington Redskins greets DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles prior to their game on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jim McIsaac / Getty Images ……..

(7) Head Coach Mike Shanahan (R) of the Washington Redskins talks with his son Kyle Shanahan (L) offensive coordinator for the team during Redskins training camp on August 6, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. …

(8) In this photo taken Tuesdauy, April 19, 2011, Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal , far left, whistles from the bench during the first quarter against the New York Knicks in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers announced Wednesday, April 20, that O’Neal will miss his third straight playoff game with a right calf injury when they meet the Knicks on Friday night in Game 3. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ……….

(9) BOSTON, MA – APRIL 19: Ray Allen(20) of the Boston Celtics shoots a three point basket against the New York Knicks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93 Getty Images /Elsa Martinez ……..

(10) Carmelo Anthony(7) of the New York Knicks tries to shoot over Jermaine O’Neal (7) of the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez ……

(11) Toney Douglas (23) of the New York Knicks tries to pass as Rajon Rondo(9) of the Boston Celtics defends in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Elsa Martinez/ Getty Images ………

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NFL News

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings front office

Minnesota Vikings roster

Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff

Minnesota Vikings’ 2011 Draft order

Minnesota Vikings 2011 schedule

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Playoff Picture team draws

Boston Celtics — vs New York Knicks’ playoff series

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

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

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

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

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Slide show for your perusal

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

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

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

Courtesy of NFL.com

NFL wants its players tested for human growth hormone

By Steve Wyche of NFL.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

🙂

NBA News

NFL News

MLB News

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Bubba Sparxxx ………………………….”Ugly ” .

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

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

Could this better describe the situation now facing both the MLB and NFL and their respective images as they each perceive it to be ?
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Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

It’s often said ………’it takes a tragedy to happen before we truly understand or appreciate one’s mortality’ and truly that saying hits home every time. Sadly last night while having a drink in a bar with friends after work it was reported that former NFL star , two time winning Superbowl player and Pro Bowler Dave Duerson died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Unfortunately this tragedy doesn’t encapsulate the whole facet of the player’s life after his retirement from the NFL. The player had taken his life this past Thursday at his South Florida home in Sunny Isles .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Duerson lost his wife to an acrimonious divorce and his post professional life saw him lose his business to financial mismanagement and bankruptcy. Dave Duerson was also a rights’ advocate for current and former NFL players , specifically those who’d suffered from mental health issues related to chronic head traumas . In his will the player left specific instructions that his brain be donated to science for research into blunt head trauma injuries and chronic traumatic encephalathopy ( CTE). Neuro surgeons and Research Fellows at Boston University will be the recipients of the player’s brain and it has been there within the university’s School of Medicine and Neuroscience where research will and has been conducted into head traumas and other neurological health related injuries and diseases as it relates to the NFL. Duane Duerson during his career had suffered repeatedly from chronic symptoms of concussions on the field of play which saw him win a Superbowl with that heralded Chicago Bears’ team coached by Mike Ditka. His second triumph was gained with the New York Giants coached by Bill Parcells .

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports

Ex-NFL safety Duerson found dead; police await word on cause

Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, has died. He was 50.

The Bears released a statement Friday saying they were “stunned and saddened” by the news and called Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.”

“Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave,” the team said. “We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”

Miami-Dade Police Detective Robert Williams said the body of a Dave Duerson was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Computer records show that the Duerson who lived at the address was born the same month and year as the player.

Investigators haven’t determined the cause of death. Williams said detectives are awaiting the medical examiner’s report.

Duerson’s ex-wife, Alicia Duerson, told NBC Chicago that the former player “loved and cherished his family” and was “extremely proud” of Notre Dame and the Bears.

A native of Muncie, Ind., Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on one of the greatest defenses ever assembled.

Who can forget the 1985 Chicago team mauling opponents while shuffling all the way to the championship with Hall of Famers such as Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent up front? With Todd Bell sitting out the entire season, Duerson played a big role in the backfield with five interceptions that year and made the first of four consecutive Pro Bowls.

“He was a great player for us,” former Bears coach Mike Ditka told The Associated Press. “He stepped in and did a great job. It’s very sad.”

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Click on link to read article in its entirety .

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With all that’s now going on concerning the NFL , the NFLPA and their ongoing collective bargaining agreement . It goes without saying that this issue may not be a part of the two parties’ ongoing negotiations. And with the two parties now said to be hard at trying to eke out and reach an amicable agreement as both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae have met with a US Federal Court appointed and mandated mediator to mediate and address the issues brought up by both sides. In spite of the league’s and union’s appearance in front of the House Congressional Oversight Committee and their investigation into head traumas , their cause and effects with regard to the concussions and other neurological injuries. What we’ve now come to know is that the NFL and the union have never taken these issues seriously and that’ s in spite of the statements attributed to Goodell, Smith and members of the union’s Executive Committee .

Sadly, it may well have to take such tragedies as this , Duerson’s death, before the whole world wakes up the acute problems that players current and former face when they put their very health at risk all in the pursuit of excellence and wealth on the field of play. Granted, the life span of an NFL player on average is no more than six years at best but for those who’ve been involved in th game even longer the long terms effects of repeated injuries be they head trauma or some other inury, the aftermath at times can be catastrophic ! We now have players who’ve been retired no more than two years now suffering from early onsets of Alzheimers’ disease , debilitating and chronic head pains and other far more acute neurological disorders. Dave Duerson was a victim of repeated chronic head pains in the aftermath of the repeated concussions suffered over the course of his career. I’ve often heard the idiotic comments by fans and members of the public alike who state ….‘ let them play because this is a man’s game and they know the risks’ . Well one of the risks isn’t as such to end up in a damn wheelchair and then not knowing who members of your family are or what day of the week it is . This is the sort of asinine , idiotic statement that one would come to expect from someone who’s completely undeducated and without about as much common sense as an invertebrate !

If there’s to be an in depth study into these medical issues by independent as well the NFL’s own medical professionals then it ought to be a concerted effort by all of the parties concerned. Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue had repeatedly and it certainly hadn’t help that Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw were about as contrite in dealing with these issues as former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein had been before he decided to gas several hundred thousand Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq as a precursor to the first Iraqi war. In realiy it has only been in recent years that the NFL and NFLPA have been proactive in dealing with this issue. Goodell and the league’s own inhouse medical professionals have long held the view that injuries suffered by players within the game , many of them at times have been or were pre-existing . Now they’ve begun to change their tune and shown a change in their attitude but they haven’t yet been completely swayed. Goodell’s counterpart , DeMaurice Smith has merely given the public sound bytes but in reality his stance hasn’t been any different than that of Gene Upshaw.

And Upshaw as a player has been someone who I’ve admired but as a union representative he has my complete and utter contempt ! His primary concern has always been how much money came rolling into the NFLPA’s coffers by way of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. His concern , if any , was never for any of his peers or the retired players and there have been public statements that can be attributed to the late union chief executive. Meanwhile the fans out there continue to be completely in awe by what they see on the field of play but rarely do they show any real wish to view after the after life of an NFL player and many of the problems that they face. I liken it how the VA (Veterans’Administration), the government and public at large say that they stand behind the troops in their support but most days they wouldn’t give a soldier the time of day much less say hello . Doubt my word ? Then ask yourself this, when was the last time you offered some form of assistance to a returning veteran much less having spent some time with one either at a military facility such as a hospital or VFW lodge ? Go ahead give it a try and let me know what the experience was like ? It may well change your mindset as to how you actually view their plight. I mean the whole world felt aggrieved with the loss of former NFL star Pat Tillman even in the advent of his death being due to friendly fire but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone say what happened in the aftermath as to the coverup concerning his death by the Defense Department and the US Army itself ?

The NFL has long maintained that it cares about the players and their well being but you’d be hard pressed to actually believe that statement . And I do believe that the league as a whole as well as the owners as a fraternity are a bunch of conniving and greedy bastards ! Nothing that they’re liable to say as it relates to the health issues of current and former NFL players can be taken with any type of veracity and the NFLPA for their part will merely act as if their concern has always been that of their union members. What I find galling by this whole travesty has been the utter contempt shown by the league in treating this matter with the seriousness ad dignity it deserves. But instead it continues to sweep the matter under the carpet until the next crisis or incident catches the public’s and media’s attention and then it tends to act in something of a diplomatic manner.

I’d certainly like to think at this juncture some common ground can be found where both the NFL and union can work in conjunction with the medical community as well as academia in thoroughly investigating and looking to safeguard the well being of current and former NFL players not just neurological disorders but also all forms of life threatening injuries that can and are suffered over the course of a player’s career. Rather than then seeing a player being pushed aside then left to fend for themselves and more often than not being egregiously denied benefits that’s rightfully due to them. At present there’s a civil suit filed by current and former players against the NFL as the sole defendant that charges them with gross malpractice , fraud and grand larceny in the denial of benefits due to the plaintiffs , in this case a collective of seventy five current and former NFL players. The suit has been filed within the US Federal Court System in Los Angeles for which a trial date has yet to be set. The plaintffs seek unspecified as well as punitive damages . The NFL and owners for their part haven’t as such issued a public statement concerning the matter but I’ve no doubt that the league’s general counsel in all due time with gave that rather perfunctory statement saying that …..” the plaintiffs’ case is without merit”.

In light of Duane Duerson’s death and the health problems that the player is said to have sustained during his professional post NFL career do you firmly believe that the league and union has done enough with regard to safe guarding the well being and health of the players ? Or do you believe that they’ve simply obfuscated their responsibilities and would rather see the players simply deal with their own health concerns themselves ? Bear this in mind the rate of neurological health issues suffered by NFL players is far higher than the general population at large and when compared to the geriatrics (elderly) the actual rate is almost 33% higher . Cause for concern don’t you think when players in their late thirties and forties in some cases are suffering from the early onset of such afflictions as ALS , Alzheimers’ disease , Parkinson’s disease , epileptic seizures, or CTE or an abundance of other life threatening maladies ? Say what you will but at this juncture but this is no longer an issue that can be swept under the carpet as it has been repeatedly done by both the NFL and NFLPA over the years . It’s time for them to do what’s morally and legally right rather than hiding behind that veil of ignorance and complete stupidity !

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Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter and any other issue you feel is pertinent as it relates to the NFL and this topic . Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

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

(2) Duerson seen here during an game for the Chicago Bears playing against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois . AFP/Reuters / Phil Pressman ………..

(3) Chicago Bears former safety Dave Duerson holds up his drivers’ license during a public tribute to his teammate Walter Payton at Chicago’s Soldier Field in this November 6, 1999 file photo. Duerson, a key member of the team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, has died, police said on Friday. Duerson, 50, was found dead this past Thursday night at his home in Miami, said detective Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Miami Dade Police Department. No immediate cause of death was given. REUTERS/Sue Ogrocki …..

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NFL news

Alan aka tophatal …………………

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DMX ………………. “Slippin”

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Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Can answer be found for the utter stupidity now being shown by both the NFL , the owners and that of the NFLPA . It now appears the line that couldn’t be crossed has been as Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee seems to be now at a point where no one seems to be making any sense. Both sides claim that they want there to be a 2011-12 season but it’s becoming abundantly clear that scenario isn’t about to happen anytime soon. An NFL imposed lockout and labor stoppage will lead to a cataclysmic problem for the NFL from a financial standpoint and that of their major corporate sponsors. It has been estimated that each week of the regular season schedule of the NFL brings in an estimated $ 300 million in gross revenues for the league . And less we forget the postseason reaps an even bigger bonanza for all concerned .

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What might now be a cause for concern will be the fate of the unrestricted free agents that will come to the market in the offseason. Any lockout leaves those players in limbo without an existing contract and as such without a team . And while we know that the NFL Draft will still take place the contention of the league is that process goes ahead without any hindrance. At what point does the idiocy stop with regard to the demeanor of the league’s hierarchy and the union itself. Both parties seem to be self serving and completely oblivious to the image created for the fans . Each side has seen fit to produce their own ads portraying their situation from their own standpoints but in reality the discerning NFL fan out there isn’t concerned with what they want or think. All the fans want to know is that there will be an NFL season to be played rather than a league imposed lockout. And while the House Oversight Committee watches from afar you simply get the feeling that they’d like to wade into this issue and leave their own mark on it all.

Courtesy of ESPN

Roger Goodell: Latest talks ‘beneficial’

ESPN.com news service

Dallas — Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were among the star players who attended a negotiating session between the NFL and players’ union Saturday, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

While it is not unusual for players to occasionally sit in on negotiations, the presence of Manning was a surprise and is an early indication that the union is successfully getting the support of its superstar quarterbacks. During the 1987 players strike and subsequent labor strife, several of the league’s star passers broke union ranks by signing licensing rights with the NFL which weakened the union revenue pool.

Manning was also joined at Saturday’s meeting by Brees, who has been an activist as the team’s player representative. Sources did not reveal if any players spoke during the negotiating session but their presence was considered symbolic, at the very least. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was named the NFL’s MVP on Sunday for the 2010 season, also has been an outspoken pro-union player rep.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the two-hour meeting with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” Goodell said.

“My focus is on the next three or four weeks,” Goodell said. “I’ve often said, our agreement expires on March 4th. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that’s fair for the players, fair for the clubs, and allows our great game to grow for our fans.”

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks. Goodell also addressed the NFL’s labor issues on Sunday in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning”.

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Given Smith’s background and the fact that he worked in DC with the litigation firm Patton Boggs LLC , I’d say that the union’s Executive Director’s circle of friends within Washington could very well be in his corner . The NFL not to be outdone have their own supporters up on Capitol Hill and the very fact that they’ve their body of lobbyists pleading their case there within Congress and the Senate has me believing that the NFL’s hierarchy is in this for the long haul even with the financial mayhem that’s bound to follow. Words fail me at this juncture as to how the two sides can’t seem to find their way to come to an amicable resolution when a $9 billion a year industry is at risk ?

The broadcast networks ABC/ESPN , Fox , CBS and NBC aren’t going to be entirely happy with this outcome should the two sides not be able to come to an amicable solution. From their standpoint they clearly won’t be happy to the fact of the loss tv viewership ad revenue . And let’s not forget the NFL stadiums around the league that will stay empty around the NFL should there be a lockout ? And what might be even more telling would be the loss in terms of the economic impact each week brings to the cities concerned when an NFL game takes place. This situation has become so acute that it’s hard not see there not being a fallout on such a seismic scale that it won’t undercut the economic impact on those communities.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft , Jerry Jones and Woody Johnson of the New York Jets had all provided the public with statements stating they believed that a compromise could be reached . But obviously the league had forgotten to make the owners aware that their private thoughts and their public stance weren’t in line with this triumvirate. In terms of open transparency the NFL is not unlike of that of MLB , NASCAR , the NBA , NHL and MLS in the fact that they never choose to open their finances up for public scrutiny. And with each of these having been given antitrust exemption courtesy of Congress it’s clear to see why the league would rather not let that happen.

The league has sought concessions from the NFLPA requesting a give back initially of $1 billion annually from off the top of the gross revenues over the next seven years . But that’s just the topping for many of the other concessions sought by the owners and Goodell. And it’s easy to see why the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae have been averse to these and many of the other concessions sought by the NFL hierarchy. The league states one thing while the union has another idea as to what the NFL really wants and that’s specifically to add to their coffers while not acquiescing to any additional financial rewards sought by the players.

Courtesy of The Nation

DeMaurice Smith: On an NFL Lockout and Inspiration from Egypt

By Dave Zirin

There is no form of entertainment in this country more popular than football, and there is no one, save Barack Obama, being scrutinized more closely these days than DeMaurice Smith . Smith heads the National Football League’s Players Association—a union that’s being threatened with being locked out unless players give back substantial amounts in wages and agree to lengthen the season to 18 games. NFL players make large sums of money but risk a lifetime of physical debilitation and the average career lasts only 3.5 years. Owners are banking on the fact that players, with their short window to make money, will cave to every demand. Smith is banking on something bigger: a sense of history, sacrifice, and community that’s bigger than sports.

I spoke with Smith last Friday, the day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked away from the table during negotiations. I asked Smith, on a scale of one to ten, whether he felt there would be a lockout. “On a scale of one to ten, it’s still 14,” he said. “We’re preparing our guys for the worst, we’re hoping for the best. I’m going to keep negotiating. We’ve got our guys on standby right now to be virtually anywhere in the country whenever they want to talk. That’s the way we’re going to roll. I’ve told them that we’re going to negotiate day and night until we get it done, but it takes two.”

Smith is negotiating with—or trying to negotiate with—some of the most powerful, politically connected corporate actors in the United States. Their reach truly inspires awe. When the NFLPA produced a television ad in an effort to garner fan support, the networks first agreed and then refused to air it, presumably after pressure exerted by the league. DeMaurice Smith deemed the censorship “stunning.”

You might think, faced with such power, this would make him pessimistic about the prospects for players, but Smith finds himself inspired by events far removed from the world of football.

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If the NFL isn’t prepared to look at their own financial template on a regular basis then how will they be able to recognize the fact that along the way there has to adjustments made that can be dealt with by the interested parties in a manner befitting of each where they actually have trust in one another. And that’s clearly not the case here between the NFL and the NFLPA ! Neither side at this juncture have shown that they can either be trusted much less the fact that they can be openly honest with one another. Each side seeks the public’s empathy and I think that as of now the fans and general public aren’t overly interested in what either side has to say ….. other than perhaps them stating that there won’t be a lockout or labor stoppage .

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Now as an avid fan of the NFL I’ll say this, a lockout would to my mind be a mistake that won’t be of any help to either side . The goodwill that the league and union felt that they had amongst the fans is now hanging tenuously by a single thread . Their mistake is that they’re of the fans believe that they really care ………… the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the fans simply no longer care ! The league and the unions continue shoot themselves in the foot and will continue to do so now for the foreseeable future. The March 4th deadline for both sides to get a deal done before the current collective bargaining expires is not that far off but at the same time both Goodell and Smith act as if they have all the time in the world at their disposal , but it could in reality time is of the essence given the fact that the two sides only met for the second time twice in the last three months trying to work out a deal.

Should there be a lockout within the NFL what thoughts if any do you have and how do you envision this whole scenario panning out ? Simply proffer up your thoughts on the matter .

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has until March 3 to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association and executive director DeMaurice Smith.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt …….

(2) NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFL Players Association press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 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. Scott Halleran / Getty Images North America ……….

(3) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports. Getty Images North America / Brendan Hoffman ………..

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

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Eye candy ……….. Rosa Acosta . Doesn’t she make a slice of watermelon look ever so enticing ?

Rosa Acosta 1

What’s not to like about this side of Rosa Acosta ?

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Bones Thugs-N-Harmony …………… “First of The Month”

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The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ………. Long Live The New King ………

The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ………. Long Live The New King ………

Well OK then the ghost of Brett Favre has finally been exorcised from Lambeau Field . And Aaron Rodgers has been able to lead the Green Bay Packers to the ” Promised Land” and that of further notoriety as the team was able to overcome overwhelming odds in defeating the presumptive favorites the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl (SBXLV).

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From an entertainment standpoint this game (31-25) was filled mistakes by both teams as the event played itself out in front of a global audience of hundreds of millions and those entrenched at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas to watch the NFL’s showcase event. And for Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff this was their time to shine as they were able to keep the Steelers in check. For Rogers this has been a season to prove the doubters wrong as to show them that finally the wait as was worth it . The Lombardi Trophy comes home to Green Bay and the NFL has a worthy claimant of the trophy.

Rodgers and his teammates now know that their heroic efforts will be recognized and at the same time the fans there in Green Bay and nationwide know that Favre no longer needs to be the topic of conversation whenever it comes to associating the Superbowl to the organization’s history . And inasmuch as the former Packer is still revered across the NFL , I for one can’t help but feel that he burned some bridges in the way he departed from the Packers and his somewhat laissez-faire approach to the organization where he made his name. This much we do know, the fans in Green Bay now have a new working class hero to look up to, in Aaron Rodgers . But it’d be somewhat inappropriate to suggest that this merely about Rodgers alone as it has been more of a collective effort on the part of this team with such young studs as Clay Matthews , James Starks , Jordy Nelson and others simply stepping up to the plate throughout the regular season and into the postseason itself.

Rodgers stakes claim in Titletown lore with Super Bowl journey

By Albert Breer NFL Network

Dallas , Tx,. — This night wasn’t about Brett Favre.

The Packers said good-bye to the most decorated quarterback in franchise history 30 months prior to the day of Super Bowl XLV, and the Favre questions were really only coming up again for Aaron Rodgers in big moments like the one he had Sunday night. And all that stuff was really superficial anyway, since the shadow Favre casted hardly seemed to have any effect on the rising, young team he left.

But for a brief minute in Cowboys Stadium, still picking confetti out of their hair and with older brother Luke Rodgers toting Aaron’s trademark title belt, those closest to the newest Packers legend let the scars show.

I told both Luke and father Ed Rodgers that for all the things Brett Favre accomplished over his career, No. 4 never won Super Bowl MVP, like the kid from Chico, Calif. just had.

“He didn’t?” Ed said, grinning ear-to-ear. “Oh, I didn’t know that. OK, I like that, though. That’s awesome.”

“I didn’t know that,” Luke responded earlier. “That’s fantastic. Now Aaron’s got one up on Brett.”

If those words have a tinge of edge to them, well, then so be it.

That’s what happens when you see your son or little brother told, for the first six years of his career, more about what he isn’t than what he is. That’s what happens when the kid finally erases that last “isn’t,” leaving only room for what he’s become. And for Rodgers, that’s the biggest star on the game’s biggest stage.

Despite some uneven moments on Sunday night, particularly in the third quarter of the game, Rodgers was, to use his family’s words, awesome and fantastic.

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Throughout much of the season this Packers’ team had been beset by injuries and McCarthy had to literally look to many of the younger and inexperienced players on the roster to put forth their best . In doing so and continually showing faith in those players paid dividends for the Green Bay Packers. And while many had viewed the likes of postseason hopefuls the Atlanta Falcons , Chicago Bears as teams within the NFC that could perhaps have a chance of raising the Lombardi Trophy , the Packers simply played to their strengths never once doubting themselves or the fact that they were good enough not to win.

As an avid NFL fan I simply looked for this to be an entertaining game between two evenly matched teams. In reality however it was a game fraught with errors by both teams as they looked to stamp their identity on the game. Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin was looking to become the youngest coach in NFL history to have won two Superbowls before the age of forty and the organization’s seventh win of the title itself. What transpired was that the Steelers got somewhat complacent and it led to them being too reliant on an aerial attack and for their Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger quarterback having to lead the charge once they found themselves with an eighteen point deficit early in the game . The team responded heartily but you simply got the feeling that it might not be enough as they were never able to fully dictate the pace of the game for any prolonged stretch as the events played themselves out in front of the fans in attendance and the countless tens of millions watching globally.

Now while the NFL can feel proud that once again their brand is in a unique position as an event it has to be said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell now has a great deal on his hands now that the postseason has ended. The league and the NFLPA are no closer to reaching an amicable agreement in their labor negotiations and what might even more surprising to the fans out there is that this past Friday was only the second formal meeting between the two sides to discuss to impasse between the two parties. Don’t you think that the situation itself has become so insane if they’re only meeting as and when they choose to rather than actually getting together with some urgency and hammering out an agreement. Instead we have the various factions either through intermediaries or through their respective leaderships making public statements that give the impression the fans and public in general that an impending labor stoppage isn’t all that far off. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , NFLPA President Kevin Mawae have remained steely eyed and aren’t prepared to budge from their position unless the owners and league are prepared to make a number of concessions.

The collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight March 3rd and it remains to be seen whether or not the two sides will be able to resolve this matter . From the fans’ standpoint if in viewing this Superbowl they’d come to realize that this might just be the last NFL game that they might see in quite a while were there to be a labor stoppage , I’d dare that any goodwill that the the NFL and NFLPA thought it had amongst the fans would readily disappear at the drop of a hat . The sheer stupidity being shown by both sides borders on that of two kindergarten pupils fighting in the sandbox over a toy , only this case the toy in question just happens to be the tens of billions of dollars that are at stake. Multi-millionaire owners and players all fighting over who can have the largest slice of an ever diminishing slice of a pie. Nothing says stupidity than that what we’re now seeing being played out by both sides. The league’s showcase event is meant to be the celebration of the ultimate that the game has to offer but yet there’s still so much acrimony between the two sides !

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For the Green Bay Packers , their fans there in the city of Green Bay , across the state of Wisconsin and nationally this is a time for a great deal of pride and joy. The foundations upon which this organization was built under its first coach Vince Lombardi is still adhered to . And it goes without saying that being one of the NFL’s most storied franchises has given the Green Bay Packers that air of legitimacy and even the appreciation of fans nationwide and deservedly so !

Over the last five years since Rodgers’ introduction to the league it has to be said that he’s dealt with a great deal much of which could have been avoided were it not for the actions of Brett Favre and to a lesser extent that of the front office of the organization. In large part however I think that we can all agree that the primadonna attitude of Favre has been one of a petulant child who wasn’t simply allowed to get his way ! Now the Packers’ fans can appreciate what it is that they have within their midst and simply forget about the histrionics of Favre and all that he brought to the Packers in his latter years with the team. The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ….. Long Live The New King !

What observations if any did you have on this Superbowl ? And as such were you thoroughly entertained by the game itself or did you feel in part that it was something of a letdown ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter and thanks as always for the continued support !

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(1) Dallas , Tx,. February 7th 20011. Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers speaks to the media during a press conference at Super Bowl XLV Media Center on February 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …….

(2) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pose with the MVP trophy after speaking to the media during a press conference at Super Bowl XLV Media Center on February 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……..

(3) Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers celebrates with teammate Josh Sitton (71) after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(5) Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, right, is congratulated by his father Clay Matthews Jr after the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 31-25 . AP Photo/Paul Sancya ………

(6) The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie performs with Slash during halftime of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL …….

(7) The Vince Lombardi Trophy is delivered to the Green Bay Packers by Roger Staubach celebrate winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Perry Knotts/ NFL ……

(8) Green Bay Packers’ Tramon Williams, bottom, fights for the ball during a fumble as Pittsburgh Steelers’ Keenan Lewis and Green Bay Packers’ Sam Shields chases NFL Super Bowl XLV football game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/ Marcio Jose Sanchez …….

(9) Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) runs up field during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL ………

(10) Feb 6, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark (25) during the first half of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium. Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE ……….

(11) Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ……

(12) Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ………….

(13) Aaron Rodgers (12 )of the Green Bay Packers meets with Brett Favre (4) of the Minnesota Vikings after the Packers defeated the Vikings 28-24 at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A sure sign that the torch had been finally passed and the exorcism had began ! Getty Images / Jim Pirsching ……

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😛
Alan aka tophatal ………………………

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Eye candy ………. Veronica Vior . Giddy up now !

Rachel Havanna . Could she be looking for some rear end action ?

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Mint Condition ………….. “What Kind of A Man Would I Be ”
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Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

OK so the NFL and the NFLPA are about to have their set to and I’m thinking how is that a $ 9 billion a year industry cannot seem to deal within the parameters set by their template ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his state of the NFL address to the convened press at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas has reiterated his wish to hammer out a deal with the union’s Executive Committee led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae .

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The league hierarchy and the owners opted out of the league’s collective bargaining agreement which was due to expire on March 3rd 2011. Both sides knew exactly the impasse that this would create and at the same time they’re now looking for the empathy of the NFL fans. Personally I do believe that the NFL and the players had completely underestimated the resolve and tenacity of the fans who in essence will abandon the NFL and their support of their teams . The players see the league as the villains of the piece whereas the league’s view of the union is that they’re self serving and unwilling to acquiesce and make the concessions being asked by Goodell and the owners . The league seeks a give back of $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) a year for the next seven years and on the face of it that might not seem a great deal but when you consider that the figure merely accounts just over 11% of the league’s annual revenues. But also what I’d like to ask of Goodell and the league is given that when the NFL’s next television broadcast agreement comes up for renewal what are they prepared to seek from the networks in question ? I’m sure that NBC , ABC/ESPN , Fox and CBS Sports are closely monitoring these negotiations very closely. As too no doubt are league’s corporate sponsors as they’ve a lot to lose should there be a labor stoppage and a prolonged lockout.

Courtesy of CBCSports.ca

Goodell says bargaining with players ‘beneficial’

Sunday session was first formal talk since November

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says this weekend’s bargaining session with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

In an interview with Fox News Sunday that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labour talks.

Goodell said “a number of” individual players and owners participated in a two-hour meeting Saturday, the first formal bargaining session since November. The labour deal expires in March.

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” he said.

Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players, adding “We want to continue on with the integrity of the game, which is my No. 1 issue.”

He also spoke of “making sure we have the best drug program in sports.”

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As to the league’s showcase even this may well be the last chance the fans will get to see a Superbowl (SBXLV) for a while . Imagine there being no 2011-12 season and nothing but an uproar from the fans while the players themselves simply sit back and wait ? Blank television screens and stadiums across the league empty , never mind the economic impact the loss would create to the 32 league markets . These are the things that I believe that Goodell knows will hamper the league’s image and the brand itself. The last stoppage to affect the league was over decade and a half ago and the fans who witnessed this all left them aggrieved and angry at the NFL.

At this juncture I’m not so sure that this impasse will be quickly resolved as both sides are entrenched and don’t appear to want to budge from their current positions. Goodell in part and the owners are also looking to have an eighteen game schedule in place by either the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season . The NFLPA aren’t about accede to that request unless the league will make several concessions , one of which would be to decrease the number preseason games from four to two. Also as a bone of contention is that of the NFL rookies’ salary contract and the idiocy that simply goes on there. Agents such Drew Rosenhaus and Leigh Steinberg may not view this as acceptable but either way they should be thankful that their clients will still get paid.

I’ve read with interest that the Wilpon family will be looking to sell a minority stake in the New York Mets and this has come about because the family has a judgment against them seeking some $350 million that they were able to profit from in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal which defrauded several thousand clients to the tune of an estimated $59 billion ($59 ,000,000,000). This was as such the largest fraud perpetrated and whereby the SEC in conjunction with FBI and Justice Department were able to catch the felon , in the case Madoff and his co-conspirators. Madoff is now serving a 125 year jail sentence in in a Federal penitentiary
The Wilpon family it has been said also lost heavily which resulted in what is said to be losses of anywhere between $250 million to $ 500 million if the estimates are to be believed.

Amongst the interested parties is a syndicate of which Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s son Martin Luther King III will be part of the group seeking to become a minority stake owner in the team. Given the history and legacy of the game of baseball I find it rather ironic that it’s only now that we’ve actually seen a genuine attempt for there to be an African American owner in the sport. There’s only one other prominent minority owner in the sport and that is Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angeles . Albeit that the league can boast several general managers of ethnic persuasion there simply hasn’t been that ardent fervor you’d have come to expect from Commissioner Bud Selig and the baseball hierarchy for there to be a prominent African American owner within the game.

Martin Luther King III should he and his syndicate group to be successful this would most definitely be a first in MLB. It would also send a clear indication to the ethnic community at large that there is a place for them at the owner’s table should they seek to ascend to those levels. It certainly hasn’t hurt the image of the NBA where Michael Jordan still the face of the NBA is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats . And the franchise’s history has been well chronicled in its present guise and it’s hoped that Jordan during his tenure can lead this team some semblance of success.
This much we do know about the Mets in its present guise with the upheaval felt within the front office after the firings of Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya does portend that incoming Head of Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson and VP and Head of Scouting J P Ricciardi are the new brooms brought in by COO Jeff Wilpon to clean house and discard of the unwanted pieces in this underachieving team .

Courtesy of USA Today


Madoff lawsuit: Mets owners owe victims $300 million

New York — The owners of the New York Mets, along with their relatives and other businesses, were “collectively one of the largest beneficiaries” of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, receiving approximately $300 million in phantom profits that financed the team and other ventures, a newly unsealed lawsuit charged Friday.

The business empire of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz had 483 Madoff accounts — including 16 for the Mets, from which $90 million of burned investors’ money helped pay the National League baseball franchise’s “day-to-day operations” — according to the lawsuit filed by Irving Picard. Picard is the court-appointed trustee seeking Madoff assets to repay the fraud’s thousands of victims.

The action alleges Wilpon and Katz ignored “gathering clouds” of repeated warnings from financial experts and others that Madoff’s investment operation was in reality a scam, because the owners had come to rely on the uncannily steady profits to substantially support their Sterling Equities Associates empire for a quarter of a century.

PICARD vs Mets : Read the complaint

The owners realized they “were simply in too deep,” the lawsuit says.

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The Mets’ history has been a storied one of ups and downs more downs given their recent history as they’ve seen their crosstown rivals the New York Yankees have unprecedented success over the last decade and a half. And if the Mets are to succeed then it will have to come down the coaching staff , the prudency shown by the front office and the performances of the players. If they can’t get it done this upcoming season then the New York Mets might as well throw in the towel once and for all.

I’m sorry but given the horrid season the Minnesota Timberwolves are now having and perhaps the only reason to be joyful, as they’ve seen the team’s lone All Star —– Kevin Love have a truly astonishing season with his play. A constant threat now to throw up 20 and 10 with amazing regularity the player is now being viewed as a must see around the NBA .Both Love and the Los Angeles Clippers’ —- Blake Griffin are simply just letting it rip.And they’ve quite rightly both been rewarded with roster spots on Western Conference All Star team for 2011.

Now while on appearance the Timberwolves’ season has literally spun out of control the team , Kurt Rambis’ and his coaching staff have done their utmost to put on a good face as they’ve struggled to maintain some sense of consistency . And the situation hasn’t helped that O J Mayo has had to serve an NBA mandated 10 game suspension for abusing the game’s substance abuse policy. The player himself however contends that the reason for his positive test stems from the fact that he’s used a supplement which had DHEA . That particular substance is viewed as a PED (performance enhancing drug) by the league’s hierarchy .

Whatever the outcome of this season will be for the Minnesota Timberwolves it’s clear that as of now the organization can only hope for things to get a great deal better. If not then the continued malaise will have the fans deserting the organization and looking elsewhere for to heap noteworthy praise on a team .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the subjects raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment and I’ll do my utmost to respond expeditiously and clarity. Thanks as always for your continued support.

Picture and slide show details .

(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been front and center at the Super Bowl this week, dealing with questions about both this season and the possibly delayed one to come because of labor issues. David J. Phillip/Associated Press …..

(2) Center Kevin Mawae (68) of the Tennessee Titans and President of the NFL Player’s Association speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inset also if NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . Doug Benc / Getty Images North America Inc ……….

(3) DeMaurice Smith, NFL Player’s Association Executive Director, speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Getty Images / Doug Benc ……

(4) New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon (left) and team owner Fred Wilpon patriarch of the family. The front office of the Mets has been completely revamped and so too has the coaching staff . The organization now finds itself in an intensive lawsuit that could have some adverse effects on the team’s long term financial stability and viability as the family has been ordered to pay the victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme an estimated $350 million . AFP/ Reuters / Michael Findley ……..

(5) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, left, and Denver Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups battle for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Nuggets won 113-100 . Billups scored 21 points and had 13 assists while Love scored 18 and had 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(6) Martin Luther King III (R) and his sister Bernice release a dove from the balcony where their father, Martin Luther King Jr., was shot to death at the conclusion of a vigil in King’s honor at the Lorraine Hotel April 4, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee. King was killed by James Earl Ray 40 years ago today. Win McNamee / Getty Images ………

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……….

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C Black

Eye candy ……………………. Courtney Black

Courtney 2

Eight ball corner pocket, my balls and pen_s are feeling great ! Thanks Courtney !

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Ashanti ……….. ‘Rain On Me’

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They Shoot Horses Don’t They So Why Did Goodell Simply Not Put Us All Out Of Our Misery?

 

They Shoot Horses Don’t They So Why Did Goodell Simply Not Put Us All Out Of Our Misery?

Well by now you will have all heard the news that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has chosen to fine Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Brett Favre $50,000 after conducting what he says has been an arduous investigation into the allegations made concerning the player’s misconduct . In a public statement after handing down the fine to the player the commissioner made it known that Favre , his agent and legal counsel were non cooperative in assisting him in anyway whatsoever. Which to my mind is of great concern given the player’s behavior and also that of the league’s image as it relates to the players’ conduct not only on but also off the field of play. What sort of message is Goodell trying to send by fining a player who this year alone will make in excess of $12 million this season ? At the same time were this not Brett Favre and some lesser light in the midst of these allegations and that player’s response were the same as the future bound Hall of Famer , I think that player would be now looking at a greater financial penalty as well as some sort of suspension. It appears that Goodell simply like the rest of the drooling buffoons who are still enamored with Favre simply haven’t had enough of him . How else could you explain the commissioner’s actions ?

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I’ve always maintained that Goodell as a commissioner has never truly been balanced in the way that he treats players concerning acts of misconduct . Instead he merely waffles and shuffles the life jackets on board his vessel as he sees fit. Favre for his part still comes off looking like a complete buffoon, albeit that he alleges that this will indeed be his last season in the NFL . Where have I heard that before from this imbecile and ingrate ? Ah well one more game I hope and then he can ride off into the sunset and completely away from the NFL . As to the plight of his team ___ the Minnesota Vikings their season has been a clear effort in futility . What organization do you know who would operate under such conditions where they’re at the beck and call of a player whose passion for the game is like a candle blowing in the wind ? I’ve heard it often being said that because he knew the playbook and the offense of the Vikings he needn’t be there with his teammates prior to the start of the season, because he’d simply be in sync once he was back in his cleats and simply throwing the ball. Well there’s a vast difference between working up a sweat throwing a football to a bunch of high school kids and being hard at work getting your timing right during preseason workouts with your receiving corps <at the NFL level . Perhaps someone should have reminded Brett Favre of that ?

Courtesy of The Toronto Sun in conjunction with Reuters Tim Shaffer

NFL fines Favre in sexting case

NEW YORK — The NFL fined Brett Favre $50,000 on Wednesday, though it did not find the Vikings quarterback violated the league’s personal conduct policy.

The ruling ends the league’s investigation into allegations that Favre sent former Jets employee Jenn Sterger improper voice mails and several graphic pictures.

The NFL’s statement said the sole focus of the investigation was on whether Favre violated league policies regarding conduct in the workplace, which generally do not extend to private conduct or personal relationships.

But the league was not able to substantiate that Favre violated those rules, given the available information.

“On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct,” the statement said. “The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger.”

The statement said the NFL interviewed knowledgeable people — including Favre and Sterger — analyzed public reports, and reviewed available communications between Favre and Sterger as part of its investigation, which began in October. The league also employed an independent forensic analysis of electronically stored material.

However, because the actions occurred in 2008, when Favre played for the Jets, the league said the unavailability of some records and individuals limited the investigation.

Goodell did find that Favre did not cooperate in “a forthcoming manner,” resulting in a longer investigation and the $50,000 fine. The NFL’s statement said Goodell told Favre he would have imposed a “substantially” higher level of punishment if he found a violation of the league’s policies.

The league said it reviewed another media report about allegations involving other women working at the Jets’ facility in 2008, but could not substantiate any claim about Favre’s conduct because people who might have had relevant information did not cooperate.

Goodell reiterated the league’s stance on conduct in the workplace in a memo to teams on Wednesday, saying that Favre’s fine will help fund the league’s new training program.

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Clearly the ruse under which which Favre led this organization from team owner Zygi Wilf to the coaching staff on down and to many of his teammates was simply more to do with the money than him simply wanting to play football. He may well have wanted to play and win as he says but consider this ………. how has that situation now turned out ? Brad Childress the team’s former coach showed no backbone when dealing with Favre and many of the players who through much of the season questioned his authority . But then again once you hitch your wagon to a broken down old mule what else would you come to expect ?

With Childress’ firing , Leslie Frazier has become the interim head coach , a job I feel won’t be his for long given the prospective list of candidates who may well be interested once the season has ended. And inasmuch as Frazier insists that Favre will suit up for the final game of the season I can’t help but wonder how Joe Webb must now be feeling having engineered the team’s victory (24-14) over the high flying Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16 . Ah well Joe, welcome to big time where your dreams can be dashed in the blink of an eye especially in the case where everyone still seems to be kissing Brett Favre’s ass !

Vince Young may not yet have outlived his welcome in Tennessee but he’s sure as hell driven a wedge between himself and his coach Jeff Fisher . With his petulant behavior of simply calling out his coach and then leaving the stadium abruptly after a recent league game smacks sheer stupidity on his part and shows that he simply doesn’t have the mindset do what’s necessary in the interest of his team or teammates . As things now stand either Young goes or Fisher goes . The player’s so called apology for to his coach for his actions wasn’t done personally , instead Young sent a text message to Fisher in his less than tactful act of contrition. If Titans’ owner Ken ‘Bud’ Adams is as dumb as I believe him to be then his apparent fixation on Vince Young instinctively leads me to think that Fisher will be the one who’ll either be shown the door or he may well indeed resign from his position as coach of this team. Not only are the lunatics running this asylum but I do believe that Adams and Young now share the same straight jacket !

The Tennessee Titans’ season has been overwhelmingly disappointing and it’s pretty safe to say that a player such as Chris Johnson can’t be entirely happy with this situation. There are litany of problems on this team and it all starts with the fact that there’s no leadership on or off the field of play. Obviously Young can’t step forward as he’s simply not bright enough nor does he show that he’s mature enough. One good season in his tenure with the Titans simply proved that while there was a great deal of promise those jaw dropping moments in that BCS National Championship game for the Texas Longhorns against USC was simply nothing but a mere aberration. Truly what has Young really done to suggest that he can actually be the face of this franchise and actually lead them to the Superbowl ? Is there anyone out there with a simple answer to this question ? Or better yet does someone have <a href=”http://espn.go.com/melkiper/s/kiperbio.html&#8221; Mel Kiper’s number on speed dial ?

And while this Titans’ vessel runs adrift in this ocean of mediocrity what now become of Randy Moss ? Good God , how can someone literally waltz themselves off a playoff contender such as the New England Patriots , make their way to the Minnesota Vikings and within the mere blink of an eye for all sense and purpose where he’s now with a third team ___ has become a much maligned and is now thought of as nothing more than a festering cesspool of ongoing turmoil. Three NFL teams in one season and Moss’ productivity therein has been about as significant as that of a legislative session that’s held in the partisan cloisters of Congress . Neither of these two entities are doing enough to give anyone hope that there are better days ahead , as Moss can’t seem to do anything right at the moment for the Titans .and the members of Congress merely gesticulate while achieving nothing of great concern. If there was a time for the NFL postseason to start then that time would be now !

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Picture gallery for your perusal by clicking on individual frame you can view that
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What thoughts if any do have on the issues raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………


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Summer Walker
Eye candy for the patrons . Summer Walker a season worth waiting for don’t you think ?

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Image Is Everything And Then It Can Mean Absolutely Nothing ……….

Image Is Everything And Then It Can Mean Absolutely Nothing ……….

OK so when was it that Brett Favre thought it appropriate to be sending text messages to a female sideline reporter all as part of a sexual ruse ? Sadly this now becomes the norm in terms of the behavior of some NFL players . First we have Ben Roethlisberger in complete denial as to his behavior and to this day he still claims that nothing sexually inappropriate took place in his alleged assault of a female in Milledgville , Atlanta and that’s even after a sworn affidavit by the victim . And the only reason why the Steelers’ quarterback didn’t undergo a jury trial was for the mere fact that the victim did not want to press charges against the player in spite of the fact that the District Attorney’s Office felt that there was a very good chance that the player would be found guilty . Now as we all know the player served a four game suspension that was originally set at six games but was further reduced after the player agreed to counsel administered by the league’s own in-house medical staff.

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Roethlisberger is still trying to recuperate his image not only around the NFL but also with the fans there in Pittsburgh and amongst his teammates. What I find completely egregious is the mere fact that there never seems to be an outcry by any of the players within the NFL or for that matter from the NFLPA (union) when one of its own members behaves so egregiously. It’s almost as if the union condones this sort of action and they are prepared to see women be treated as chattel. Now let’s get one thing clear many of the players are either married or are in relationships where they are monogamous. But then again you also have players around the league who’ll clandestinely be involved in multiple relationships other than with that of their spouses. And in some cases players put themselves in situations where they are vulnerable to the wares of women who are seeking a big payday. But at the end of the day it ultimately comes down to personal accountability and responsibility. I was once told by a patron on my site that many of these women of whom some are be exotic dancers are simply ‘whores’ looking to get paid . My response to him was that he was an ‘illiterate ass’ whose education was marginally above that of a mentally challenged individual. What misogynistic fool believes that it’s OK for a female to be abused for whatever reason in terms of sexual gratification ?

Favre by all accounts thought it fit to send several text messages as well as multiple sexually graphic pictures of his lower extremities (sexual organ) to Jenn Sterger a reporter who also happens to be in the employment of the New York Jets. The incident or incidents as is now being reported itself took place in 2008 when Favre was a player with the New York Jets. The Jets’ front office we are told are now conducting an internal investigation into the matter and the player himself when questioned about the incident by the local press in Minnesota has refused to comply with any requests for an explanation. If the alleged incident is found to have any veracity to it, then the image of one of the NFL’s most beloved players could very well be tarnished irrevocably. Now from my own standpoint Brett Favre could very well be innocent but then again we’ve seen this type of behavior happen before , all too often concerning an NFL player who’ll then choose to hide behind the facade of the law and with mindset that he’s innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers. But perception being what it is and the incident as described it’s now playing into the hands as to what we know about Favre as a player , family man and the facade that’s all too often put up for public consumption to hide what appears to be the darker side of an athlete’s personality.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Favre, Moss, Brady turn NFL into three-ring circus

By Dan Wetzel Yahoo Sports

In the 90-year history of the National Football League it’s fairly certain that a team’s season has never been derailed because the star quarterback may have text-messaged inappropriate photos to a “media personality” who was originally discovered when a television camera captured her cowboy hat and cleavage attire in the stands of a Florida State game.

The improbability scale can be doubled by the fact that the team with that same QB had just picked up a future Hall of Fame receiver because the receiver had reportedly made fun of his former quarterback’s teenie-bopper haircut.

It’s the Real Housewives of the NFL, one bizarre situation piled on top of the other. This season is a Kardashian cameo away from needing to credit Ryan Seacrest as an executive producer.

Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre is under “review” by the league for potential sexual harassment of Jenn Sterger back in 2008, when Favre was with the New York Jets and Sterger was an in-stadium “reporter.”

Meanwhile, Randy Moss may have punched his ticket out of New England when he and Tom Brady(notes) had to be separated in the locker room, according to CBS’s Charley Casserly. Brady reportedly told Moss to trim his beard. Moss shot back that Brady needed to do something with his Justin Bieber-inspired hair.

“You need to get your haircut,” Moss said, according to Casserly. “You look like a girl.”

New England, which is 3-1 on the season, promptly shipped its deep threat to Minnesota, meaning it will either revamp its offense on the fly or concede a season that still held promise. Minnesota reportedly gave up a third-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft and 2012 seventh-rounder for Moss because Favre desperately needed a playmaker to turn around a 1-2 campaign. Only now, Favre is in hot water and considering Roger Goodell’s stringent personal conduct policy that could be serious.

There’s minimal fan outrage that Favre may have been practicing what generations of players before him did – trying to pick up women. Meetings of the Monogamous Quarterback Club are generally small affairs. Ideally it’s a private a matter between Favre, his family and Sterger, even after deadspin.com acquired voice-mails and pictures it purports to be of quarterback’s anatomy. Because of work place harassment laws, however, it isn’t.

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I’m not about to say that Favre is totally innocent of the charges that could be leveled against him but given what is being reported and there being factual evidence of these incidents which were retained by the victim Jenn Sterger . I’d certainly like to know what possible explanation can be offered up by the player over this particular incident ? There’s this belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt . But certainly that may well be true in a number cases but what happens when there’s evidence there to suggest that the player has committed a crime ? As of yet law enforcement hasn’t been brought in over the incident and I hazard a guess that the commissioner’s office may well be watching this all with a great deal of scrutiny.

Roger Goodell already has his hands filled in dealing with the NFLPA and his ongoing negotiations with his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith over the renegotiating of the league’s collective bargaining agreement while at an impasse has never once touched on the recent conduct of the players’ behavior. Now under what was the then existing agreement had mandated that it was in the commissioner’s right to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the image of the NFL. Goodell could very well use that edict given the findings of the Jets’ investigation should there be any proof that there was inappropriate behavior by the player. As I alluded to earlier, the player’s image as it is, has been sullied somewhat given his actions over the last few years but at the same time he’s still loved by a loyal following across the NFL landscape. As to the immediate groundswell of the fans and their thoughts, it may well be far too early to say what they may well think about it all and what the repercussions might be. What we do know is that Favre and his publicists will be looking to avert attention away from the player and unto that of the victim , in this case Jenn Sterger. It could be a risky move should they choose to go down this route and it has to be said that this now becomes cannon fodder for the sports’ pages across the nation. If nothing else this now could overshadow almost everything that Brett Favre had hoped to accomplish this season. It begs the question why did he choose to come back to the NFL if by week 5 we’d be discussing whether or not Favre >had been sending sexual explicit messages and pictures to a female who doesn’t happen to be his wife ?

The Minnesota Vikings and Brad Brad Childress are under a great deal of pressure to excel this season with a goal of winning the Superbowl . And even with the acquisition of Randy Moss via a trade from the New England Patriots for a third round draft pick their season isn’t as yet on the right course wherein one could still categorically say that they’re undoubted favorites within the NFC. That may well have been the case prior to the beginning of the season but given the fact the team’s play has been inconsistent as the season has progressed and at this juncture the only direction for the team to proceed is forward.That being said much of that will predicated upon the play of Favre and his teammates and with the NFC North literally now being up for grabs it’s incumbent on the Vikings having a successful regular season if they’re to make it to the postseason. This much is certain with this now alleged to be Favre’s final season in the NFL it’s all all or bust for the three time league MVP. The brass ring is there waiting to be caught and it’s down to this team to prove to us that their window of opportunity hasn’t faded or indeed has pass them by.

Strange as it may seem with this all circling around Brett Favre it’s hard to see how he’ll be able to handle the scrutiny with this not affecting his game. The accusations as serious as they are conjecture as to his guilt or innocence will leave many of us wondering what the hell is now going on not only with the player but also within the NFL hierarchy and how they deal with a player of Favre’s high profile when there’s alleged misconduct on the player’s part. It’s clear that there’ll be a great deal more about this story that’s yet to unfold and be heard.

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What thoughts if any do you have on this particular incident and whether or not there’s any veracity as to the allegation that has surfaced concerning the player ?

NB: It has now been reported that two females in the employ of the Jets as masseuses were propositioned by the player with some unwanted advances. Their claims also are now being investigated by the team for which we’ve now learned that the NFL front office is being kept abreast of the findings of the Jets.

Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

Kick Ass The NFL …………….

Kick Ass The NFL !

I’m in the hole at present as my girlfriend thought it appropriate to place me in the midst of a domestic situation that I thought I’d never be in the midst of after being divorced. For some inexplicable reason she felt that it was OK for her best friend to stay at my home while she’s in the midst of a separation from her boyfriend. Now in Britain we have a saying that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ . And my house is my castle where my labrador (dog) Buster and I reside. The girlfriend normally visits over the weekend and that’s usually when we spend our time together. On the other hand I’ll spend one or two days out of the week at her home in Orlando which is an amicable agreement for us both. It makes it easier for myself as I work in the city itself. That being said I’m not entirely enamored with the present situation and the fact my girlfriend’s best friend will now live in my home . I made it abundantly clear that by the end of this month she has to be out of my home. My main reason behind this comes from the fact that I do not want a raving lunatic, this female’s boyfriend acting belligerent outside my home and creating the impression amongst my neighbors that the ghetto has come to this rather rural community in Central Florida. God knows I’m not looking to kick anyone’s ass but should it come to that then I guess his ass will have to kicked.

Speaking of ass kickings the NFL season having kicked off this past Thursday with a rather lackluster game between the two finalists from last year’s NFC championship game. The New Orleans Saints readily dispatched of the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings. All of the hype over this team merely points to the fact that all the talent in the world doesn’t make up for the lack of cohesiveness between Favre and his teammates. And for those arrogant idiot analysts who believe that because Favre merely has to turn up just prior to the off-season , having not participated in the team’s OTA’s and that makes the Vikings relevant to the postseason. It leads to the fact that those who tend to blow smoke up your ass tend to actually be the ones who are actually dealing in the acts of flatulence.

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Slide-show for your perusal .

Sunday’s games were somewhat littered with one or two surprises as the Oakland Raiders effectively seem to be carrying on a tradition of looking mediocre. Raiders’ faithful have now got to extremely disappointed with the lack of commitment shown by this team . I was once told by a patron as to how stout their defense was and that they were going to make great strides . Well the strides that they’re said to be showing are those where this Tom Cable coached team seems to be regressing. That defense is nowhere near as good as my colleague anticipated and it showed in the Raiders’ first game of the season. The 38-13 defeat suffered at the hands of the Tennessee Titans was enough to suggest that the team faces an uphill battle for the remainder of the season . Jeff Fisher’s team duly dispatched the Raiders with the utmost of ease but at the same time it augurs well for the Titans and their season .

The continued asinine hype about the Dallas Cowboys being a talented team counts for diddly squat merely because they finally were able to win their first playoff game in over a decade. Having done so I still find it ridiculous that the feeling is the Cowboys still remain the team to beat within the NFC . In quarterback , Tony Romo they have a good signal caller but he’s no team leader. This team is also ill disciplined and the so called coaching talents of Wade Phillips and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has now come into question after a rather ridiculous congruence of events during their game (13-7) against the Washington Redskins at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland. Donovan McNabb is now the Redskins’ signal caller with Mike Shanahan now succeeding Jim Zorn as the team’s coach. Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder now has to see whether or not his team has finally turned the corner after their recent years in the doldrums.

Now as glamorous lavish as the NFC East has become the quality of the football being played there at times can be inconsistent . But much of the glamor has been due to the fact of the legacy of the teams within the division. But in the league where it’s about “the here and now and what have you done for me lately”. The truth is all of the hype and brouhaha counts for nothing when you’re simply dealing with all the hyperbole and there’s nothing of substance to show for it at all. The Cowboys have become the laughing stock of the league and for the crack addict analysts who are besotted with this team. Wake the fu_k up and try to make sense of what you’re witnessing in front of your eyes . Cowboys’ Stadium may well be playing host to Superbowl 45 (SB XLV) but I seriously doubt that the Cowboys will be NFC representatives for the NFL’s showcase event !

The AFC South has been the Indianapolis Colts’ fiefdom of choice for several years and this season it was thought to be no different. If there are to be challenged then it was felt that the challenge would be coming from the Tennessee Titans and the outside possibility that the Houston Texans might aspire to be worthy challengers to the Peyton Manning led Colts. Well on Sunday we saw that the Colts are susceptible when you throw the kitchen sink along with the baby and bath water at them.And the Texans’ Arian Foster showed why it is that the Colts aren’t always comfortable when that scenario is thrown up at them . I’ve read a number of posts written by discerning Colts’ fans and all that they tend to do is to wax on lyrically about this team where Manning is their vocal leader. And while no one is under any illusion that they have a great offense and receiving corps my question for these Colts’ fans is where the hell is their running game and that of a defense that actually comes to defend ? The Texans literally ripped though that team and its defense as if were the siege of Saigon ! Now I know that the Colts’ fans will make light of the game and simply say that it’s merely the first game of the season but when you’re blown out like that there’s got to be cause for concern for not Jim Caldwell but also his coaching staff . This team was outplayed in every facet of the game and it was very telling how lackluster the team’s performance was from start to finish. Don’t be fooled by 34-24 result as it the margin of victory could have been wider had the Texans taken advantage of all the chances that came their way.

The TO and Ochocinco roadshow hit the road in the Bengals’ first regular season game and low and behold the Cincinnati Bengals found out to their cost that the NFL’s answer to Laurel & Hardy were simply no match for a New England Patriots’ team that to many are flying under the radar as a presumptive favorite in the postseason. Tom Brady and his teammates literally laid waste to the coming out party for the duo. By the end of the third quarter the Patriots had what would prove to be an insurmountable margin with a 31-17 lead. The Bengals were anemic throughout much of the game and although Chad Ochocinco statistically contributed well to the team’s performance. The rest of the offense was mediocre and lethargic and it was very telling for Marvin Lewis and his coaching staff in-front of 68,000 fans at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. For the Bengals’ fans in attendance this can’t have been what they envisaged witnessing from their team . Not one to throw more kindling unto the fire but should the performances of the Bengals become even more mediocre and it could very well lead to Marvin Lewis becoming the first coaching casualty of the season before it reaches its midway point.

Well the season as it progress will still be under a cloud as it relates to the ongoing divergence of issues and the discord between the league and the players over the collective bargaining agreement. Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be taking a wait and see approach as to how to deal with the players’ wish to be given a bigger slice of what appears to be an ever decreasing slice of a multi-billion dollar pie. NFL revenues overall has slipped 2% over this past season and with the uncertainty of the economy bring about a fall in league attendance all-round. It has to be said that the game of cat and mouse between the two parties seems to be a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. And the very fact that the players are prepared for what could be an unprecedented work stoppage leading to an owner and league initiated lockout for the 2011-12 season. It has to be said the calmer heads that one thought to be amongst the hierarchy of the league and that of the NFLPA led by DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae seems to be nowhere to be seen. This is like looking for intelligent life amongst two parties and that of the Congress . And as we know within Congress common sense and intelligence has never been the norm on any level but yet you have a number of individuals calling for change. Change is good if it is said to be happening but that hasn’t been the case in terms of the merry go round we’ve had to undergo with each election cycle.

Whatever resolution that comes about should there be one between the NFL and NFLPA could be one where the fans will be the one who end up ultimately having to pay the price one way or another. If you don’t believe that to be the case then simply look for what transpires and the communiques that are forthcoming from either side ? It seems to that for image sake the two sides would rather have a pissing contest on display for public consumption. If that happens then it’s going to cost the league and the players all of the goodwill that they’ve built up over the years. It has been bad enough to see the idiocy that has taken place within baseball over the last decade and a half under the auspices of Bud Selig and Donald Fehr the former union (MLBPA) Executive Director. Now as Fehr is about to assume a similar position within the NHL it begs the question how much more irrelevant the sport now wishes to become ? Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that Fehr and Selig were complicit with the subterfuge that was perpetrated upon the fans. And it’s not as if the financial well being of the NHL is now back in a healthy state to begin with. We’re now seeing situations arise where teams are now looking to circumvent the league’s mandated salary cap. And to an extent this was the same idiocy that brought about the labor dispute that led to the NHL lockout between the league and the players’ union (NHLPA).

The NFL season we all hope will be an entertaining one but at the same time I can’t help but feel that the tumult and turmoil that seems to be brewing between the league and the players could very well lead to us witnessing the idiocy and indecision we’ve now come to expect from the Congress and the political leadership in the country.

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Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking on each frame you can see each picture in its original format.

With the first week of the NFL season having ended what if any was a big surprise in terms of the performances of the teams playing ? And how do you envisage the ongoing labor dispute between the league and the union ? Chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts .

NB: NFL results from week one . Click on the links provided to view.
Week 1 results .

Top performers .

Weekly leaders .

Alan aka tophata 🙂 _ 🙂 _ 😦

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Esther Baxter

Esther Baxter

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Janelle Stein

Video vixen and aspiring model Janelle Stein