Big game , no shame ….

Big game, no shame …..

As the big game is merely four days away and with the countdown clock clicking down hours, minutes and seconds to the NFL’s postseason showcase event of the Superbowl . The two teams in preparation have been the center of attention for an event through the usual media thrust, which has attracted the world’s press as well journalists not normally associated or known to cover the NFL and specifically the Superbowl. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks will be viewed as the home team when they take to the field fend off the quest of the New England Patriots seeking to gain their fourth Superbowl victory in fourteen years and their sixth appearance in the event , all coached by Bill Belichick , who alongside quarterback Tom Brady will be seeking their fourth postseason victory and the raising of the Lombardi Trophy.

===========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===========================================

Slideshow.

The NFL will know that their showcase event will be the most watched televised program nationally, with an estimated viewership exceeding 105 million viewers and a global audience in excess 1.4 billion watching this sport’s spectacle. With advertizing revenues exceeding $4 billion and major corporations willing to pay $4 million for a thirty-second slot , this averages $130,000 per second and most televised ads for the Superbowl are no longer than two minutes, it easy to understand why the Superbowl has become so lucrative for the league , as well as an economic impact worth tens of millions of dollars, national and worldwide exposure for the city staging the event. The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale , Arizona will be the venue staging Sunday’s game , with Pete Carroll seeking to win the Seattle Seahawks’ second Superbowl and making a successful defense of the title they won with a great deal of ease last season in defeating the languid Denver Broncos with a lopsided 43-8 victory. last season

This season’s Superbowl provides us with two evenly matched teams, where both their defenses and offenses have proven to be extremely resilient. The opposing running backs LeGarrette Blount and Marshawn Lynch have had their fair share of success during this postseason, postseason with Blount being spectacular in New England’s 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts where the running back claimed three touchdowns in the game.

For team owners Paul Allen, billionaire entrepreneur owner of the Seahawks and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots this gives both of these high-profiled individuals a chance to make themselves visible to not only fans of the NFL but also the global recognition perhaps they would not be usually accustomed to , but it should be noted, Allen was one of the main driving forces behind the inception of software giant Microsoft , whereas Kraft, is the owner of The Kraft Group of Companies , a privately owned and held conglomerate. Bragging rights are on the line for both of these NFL franchise and where for the second time in two seasons we have the two best teams contesting the right to be called a Superbowl champion. With the word ” dynasty” being so often being thrown about to describe teams who have aspire to attaining success winning multiple titles within a specific time-frame, it must be said the Patriots and Seahawks are genuinely seeking to have their names placed among the elite of the NFL’s most successful franchises during the Superbowl era .

With Russell Wilson, now seeking to achieve what no other NFL quarterback with less than sixteen postseason games to their resume’ has been able to do, in winning a second Superbowl. It could be said the 2012 third round drafted quarterback is now well on his way to NFL immortality. Tom Brady for his part, his regular season and postseason resume’ speaks volumes as to what he has been able to achieve. A fourth Superbowl victory would place the famed Patriots’ quarterback alongside Hall of Fame inductees Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana , with four Lombardi Trophy wins to their name . With both of these quarterbacks likely to be at their very best, I believe this game could be one of the very best in recent NFL Playoff and Superbowl history !

Richard Sherman and his opposing counterpart Darrelle Revis will also be center-stage, as the Seahawks’ corner-back looks to justify his claim of being the best in the NFL, whereas the Patriots’ Revis, after his great season will simply be looking to aid his teammates in their historic quest.

The 2015 NFL Combine will provide teams and their coaching staffs with the opportunity to assess the college players who have declared their eligibility and looking to be a high draft prospect for the 2015 NFL Draft. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) who have the top draft pick in this upcoming draft will be hard pressed to overlook the talents of Oregon (Ducks) quarterback Marcus Mariota the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner . The Buccaneers had a slew of woes, which cast a giant shadow of the course of the team’s regular season and obviously explained their dismal regular season record. Head coach Lovie Smith, his coaching staff and GM Jason Licht will be facing a tough decision, do they forgo Mariota, trade down and gain several additional picks or take a player who many believed to be the most dynamic in College Football during 2014 ? With neither Mike Glennon or Josh McCown being able to provide the Buccaneers will a passing game competitive enough to compete within the league and a defense which was simply mediocre at best , it has to be said the NFC South based franchise is caught between a rock and hard place .

Where the Buccaneers seek to go in terms of their draft choices will be based upon the needs Lovie Smith and Jason Licht best fits the needs of the franchise. Several free agent players on the team’s roster will likely be jettisoned , as both the head coach and general manager seek to avail themselves of even more cap space for the upcoming season. With their being several marquee free agents looking for a big payday , Tampa may well seek to obtain to make a big splash in the free agency market by way of an acquisition. From this point forward , it will be interesting to see what rumors are likely to emanate from within the organization as they they seek to position themselves for the NFL Draft.

Jerry Jones may well have been satisfied with the fact the Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East and made the postseason for the first time since 2009. Yet, for all of the bravura by the lugubrious owner, this team still failed miserably. I can only surmise apathy remains the norm for a franchise and a fan-base, who believe it preordained that beyond a rite of passage, they are meant to be in the postseason each season. Tony Romo’s playoff record is simply one of the many reasons why the Cowboys are unlikely to win a Superbowl in the near future beyond the fact Jason Garrett is simply a lousy big-game head coach, especially during the postseason , never mind the regular season, when all is said to be on the line. Other than the Philadelphia Eagles’ , a team whose head coach Chip Kelly remains clueless when it comes to the fact that defense is needed when it actually comes to winning games. The the Cowboys were never seriously challenged within the division throughout the season, with the Eagles simply throwing away the opportunity to win the NFC East outright.

This off-season the biggest obstacle face Jerry Jones as the general manager of Dallas Cowboys , will be decision of retaining either DeMarco Murray or Dez Bryant , two of the primary reasons why the franchise was so successful this season by way of their record . Bryant and Murray as highly prized free agents at the running back and wide receiver positions will certainly be looking to be offered contracts commensurate with their standing in the NFL .

Having to make the decision between the choice of Bryant and Murray , will not be tough, even with the salary cap likely to exceed $156 million for 2015, it does not leave the Cowboys with a great deal of wiggle room, unless Tony Romo is willing to redo his contract and lower the sum of $27.7 million he is due in 2015 . It remains the only way Jerry Jones can retain both players, unless he is willing to jettison several members of the current roster he believes to be superfluous to the Cowboys’ needs. I would hazard a guess, Jones will keep his cards close to his chest , rather than letting on what his final decision is likely to be !

The fallout this off-season, with the customary managerial firings witnessed, should not have really come as a big surprise. Marc Trestman , Rex Ryan and Mike Smith were either complacent or simply did not do enough to motivate their respective teams . Just looking at the poor performances of the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons provided us with enough of an indication how poor a season all three teams had during 2014.

The fallout this off-season, with the customary managerial firings witnessed, should not have really come as a big surprise. Marc Trestman , Rex Ryan and Mike Smith were either complacent or simply did not do enough to motivate their respective teams . Just looking at the poor performances of the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons provided us with enough of an indication how poor a season all three teams had during 2014. Jay Cutler , Geno Smith and Matt Ryan , it could be said they led the NFL by way of their inconsistency over the course of the season.

While it seems highly unlikely the Bears , Falcons and Jets will pursue a quarterback in the NFL Draft or via free agency , one way or another these teams will have to address the issue and the reasons why, all three players failed so miserably, beyond looking at their respective salaries and value of their contracts . Former Bears’ GM Phil Emery must have been in a drunken stupor or was he was actually cajoled into making Jay Cutler among the highest paid players in the NFL with his seven-year $126.7 million deal ?

The more things are said to change , the more they tend to remain the same. Not much has changed for the Oakland Raiders over the past three seasons in terms of their play or seeking to improve their divisional record . Another season and yet another coaching change, with Jack Del Rio succeeding the departures of Tony Sparano and Dennis Allen who were at some point during 2014 season the head coaches of the Raiders. If the situation , which unraveled leading to a 4-12 season was not enough of a disaster , then consider the fact some fans of the franchise tried to suggest Derek Carr was the future of the Raiders in terms of having a quarterback who could lead this team. The Raiders proved to be no more of a challenge for their opponents during their season than their record would suggest. Those four victories if nothing else, simply suggested how mediocre this season just happened to be , without delving into the fact that neither Tony Sparano or Dennis Allen brought anything new to the table by way of their coaching acumen.

Del Rio will assemble his own coaching staff , while having to deal with GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis have shown a propensity to make the most asinine of decisions concerning the player personnel for the franchise. There is likely to be another rash of “in-house cleaning” as McKenzie seeks to cut away the “dead weight” from the roster. There are more pieces to be found on the Raiders , than a patch-work quilt, but at least a quilt , is likely to have its uses . In the case of the Oakland Raiders, they were about as useful as a bucket filled with holes and used as a receptacle to hold water.

This NFL postseason has seen its fair share of controversy , highs and lows . Yet for all of the drama which has unfolded, we will still be drawn to the spectacle of the Superbowl. Whatever the outcome might be, the best the league can now hope for is a competitive game, rather than another blowout, as was the case in 2014.

.

============================================

=============================================

Picture gallery.

Of the two teams participating in this season’s NFL showcase event, which franchise do you believe will prevail on Sunday evening ?

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery.

================================================
(1) Russell Wilson (3) greets Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots after a game which took place at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington , on 14th October , 2012 . Wilson engineered a come from behind win defeating the Patriots 24-23 on the day. The two teams will meet again this Sunday in Superbowl 49 , where the Seahawks will be looking to make a successful defense of the title they won in Superbowl 48 , defeating the Denver Broncos with ease in a lopsided victory . Seattle Times / Dean Ruiz .

(2) Tom Brady , left and Russell Wilson . The two quarterbacks will both be seeking a another win of the Superbowl, while possibly looking to add their name to the Superbowl MVP . Something of which Brady has done before as a player for the New England Patriots . Wilson was among the Seahawks’ nominees when his team won Superbowl 48 . AP Photo / Paul Brooks

(3) The opposing head coaches of Sunday’s big game are Bill Belichick , left, of the New England Patriots and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks . Carroll preceded Belichick as the head coach of the Patriots where he spent three years in his capacity at the position of head coach of the AFC East based franchise. USA Today Sports/ Joe Nicholson

(4) Robert Kraft , billionaire and team owner of the New England Patriots. Kraft will be looking for the franchise to win their fourth Superbowl this upcoming Sunday , becoming only the third ownership group with such a distinction . The Rooney family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Bartolo’s of the San Francisco 49ers are the others with the honor of achieving the feat in question. AP Photo / David Murray

(5) Paul Allen , owner of the Seattle Seahawks and one of the wealthiest individuals in America and among the richest people in the world . Allen is often seen at the home games of the Seahawks played at Century Link Field in Seattle , Washington , where he is known to be extremely passionate about the franchise he owns . Getty Images North America / Bill Patterson

(6) Darrelle Revis (24) and Richard Sherman (25) , considered to be among the two best corner-backs currently playing in the NFL today , with both players being outstanding defensive players for their respective teams . Sherman will be looking to add a second Superbowl ring to his list of accomplishments , while Revis seeks the first of his career. Courtesy of ESPN .

(7) Teammates , Dez Bryant (88) and DeMarco Murray (29) of the Dallas Cowboys , had outstanding seasons for the franchise breaking single season records , while leading the Cowboys to their first playoff appearance since 2009 . Bryant and Murrary are free agents during the off-season and it is not known if Jerry Jones will be able to retain both players , signing them both to long-term contracts. The only possible way for the situation to work in the Cowboys’ favor would be a restructuring of Tony Romo’s contract where the player is due to receive $27.7 million for 2015 or the franchise cutting several other players from the roster thought to be superfluous to the team’s needs. A decision is likely to be made in the run-up to the NFL Draft . AP Photo / Chris Jones

(8) Jan 16, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Jack Del Rio (center) with Oakland Raiders’ general manager Reggie McKenzie (left) and owner Mark Davis at press conference to announce his hiring as Raiders’ head coach at the Raiders practice facility. Del-Rio becomes the franchise’s ninth head coach in the last eleven seasons . USA TODAY Sports/ Kirby Lee

(9) Dec 13, 2014; New York, NY, USA; (left to right) Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon and Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota pose with the Heisman Trophy during the pre-announcement Heisman finalists press conference at the New York Marriott Marquis . All three collegiate players are likely to be first round draft picks in the 2015 NFL Draft . The question remains to be seen , who will become the number one overall pick in the first round. USA Today Sports / Brad Penner

=================================================

🙂

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal

http://wp.me/poxLH-a7E

———————

NFL

NFL news

Superbowl 49 (SBLVIX)

Road to the Superbowl

2013 NFL postseason

New England Patriots’ profile

Seattle Seahawks’ profile

NFL Transactions (March 2014)

NFL team cap 2015

NFL free agents (2015)

Top ranking capped players (2015)

2014 NFL Draft

2015 NFL Draft overview

NFL player stats (postseason)

NFL team stats postseason

List of NFL franchise owners

This month in NFL history

On this date in NFL history

===========================

The Lombardi Trophy .

Deficits, balanced budgets and the world of sports …….LOL,LOL !!

Deficits, balanced budgets and the world of sports …….LOL,LOL !!

Well, having seen his party (Democratic Party) decimated in the midterm elections , Barack Obama in his second term of what will likely be recorded in history as a lame-duck Presidency , will set about with his own strategy for the final two years of his tenure. His administration along with the Congress have failed the electorate miserably , with partisan politics and the constant bickering being the sole achievement of both legislative chambers of the Congress during that time. The President’s foreign policy remains a constant joke, with John Kerry providing about as much insight and confidence in the country’s stance, as a blind man walking a tightrope , one-hundred feet above the ground without any formal aid. Granted, there is said to be light at the end of the tunnel, with the economy said to taking positive traction , unemployment declining, but with so few high-end jobs being created, it is hard to suggest where there have been major positive signs the country is back on track and on an even keel.

The country’s debt-crisis remains unresolved, the raising of the debt-ceiling solves nothing of any note, in facilitating a balanced budget. Barack Obama will be giving his sixth State of the Union Address of his Presidency on Tuesday evening and I doubt he will provide us with anything new in terms of a domestic or foreign policy !

==========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=========================================

Slideshow.

In the world of sports , this past weekend provided us with several surprising results within the NFL and the NBA . Superbowl 49 (SBXLIV) will provide us with the two teams seeking to become this season’s Superbowl champion. The Seattle Seahawks will be looking to make a successful defense of the championship they won with such ease in 2013. Their opponents will be the New England Patriots , in many circles the franchise has been viewed as the best team of this past decade, having made six appearances in the Superbowl since 2002. Seattle got by the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game with a come from behind victory that will become an instant classic.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers fell short of their aim, having with the game within their grasp, only to let things slip out of their hands, as Russell Wilson regained his composure leading his team to a well-deserved victory. Now as the world awaits the league’s postseason finale, fans continue debate where, when and why things went so horribly wrong for the visiting team in Seattle, Washington this past Sunday.

The AFC Championship Game pitted Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts against the New England Patriots . Clearly, seen as the underdogs, the Colts were riding on the arm of a young quarterback who has shown a great deal of growth and maturity over the course of this season. However, a great deal was being asked Andrew Luck in this game, as he was seeking his first professional victory against the Patriots. No easy task, when you consider in four previous tries the 2012 NFL top-draft pick, has never been able steer the team past their conference rivals. What unfolded in this contest was a prime example why the postseason can be such a misnomer . No could have guessed that Indianapolis would be on the wrong side of a lopsided 45-7 loss , the biggest postseason victory in Patriots’ history and most certainly the largest margin of defeat ever inflicted on the Colts during their postseason forays. The ensuing story coming out of this all, have been claims that the New England Patriots knowingly deflated the game balls to give themselves an advantage over the Colts. Spy-gate and now Deflate-Gate ? What will they think of next ? Furthermore, would it not be in the best interests of the NFL to have the game officials inspect the game balls being used for a game prior to kick-off ? Just my way of thinking, rather than another asinine notion and claims of cheating within a sport where sportsmanship at times has been something of a rarity.

With fans now having to wait two weeks before the “Big Game ” , the NFL will serve up their customary postseason staple of the Pro Bowl Game, where the two opposing captains are Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin. Imagine that, Team Carter versus Team Irvin in a meaningless contest ? Where the incentives are not so much a competitive game, but merely players actually turning up, because they know the financial inducement has been laid out in their contracts apart, from the perceived notion, fans actually care about this game. NFL fans have shown about as much interest in this event, as they would in a political debate between two tongue-tied Congressmen unsure how best to put across eloquently their political views on array of subjects.

The NBA this season has been rife with competency on so many levels . Phil Jackson is still cutting his teeth as NBA executive and it simply doesn’t pain to me to say this, all of the awe and shine surrounding Jackson’s accomplishments as a coach , are now the only things, that do not place his legacy beyond doubt. In his first season Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks his decision-making has come into question and it clearly has shown with the team’s play and exceedingly poor results.

Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher and his coaching staff were just able to steer the team to their first win after a sixteen-game losing streak . While the victory against the New Orleans Pelicans might well provide the New York Knicks with some respite , it clearly points to a bigger picture and issues concerning the very fact Derek Fisher was the wrong choice to be the head coach of this team. Experience was clearly needed , rather than this idiocy of Fisher being brought in to impart Phil Jackson’s coaching philosophy and the use of the ‘ The Triangle ‘ . When you have a roster whose Basketball IQ might be considered among the worst in the NBA, there can no clear use of the scheme and its effectiveness under the Knicks’ current guise .

Quick fixes or not, with the trade deadline on the horizon, Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills will certainly have to make some changes to the roster, even if it is meant to provide the franchise with some much-needed cap relief . If the Knicks are to play themselves into either divisional or conference contention , then the front office will have to consider further changes beyond those already made . Next up for the New York Knicks will be a road game against the Philadelphia 76ers in a contest to be played at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 21st January , 2015. What better way to decide which of these two Eastern Conference franchises might just be one of the worst teams in the entire NBA ?

There is no denying the league (NBA) remains a profitable concern for the franchise owners around the league. The Los Angeles Clippers was purchased for a record sum of $2 billion , with the price paid by billionaire, Steve Ballmer, hardly making a dent in his reputed $22 billion fortune. Ballmer has been welcomed by his fellow owners and the league hierarchy with open arms. For his part , the first order of business for the new owner , was to issue an emphatic statement of his wish to see the franchise become one of the most popular and highly visible teams within the league as well as striving to bring an NBA title title to the city of Los Angeles , and not having to play “second fiddle ” to their co-tenants at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California , the Los Angeles Lakers . With the Lakers having such a torrid time in the league and seemingly as a loss , in how to go about winning on the road or at home , it has been left to the Clippers to the lead the way and be the “standard bearer” for the city of Los Angeles this season within the NBA .

With both of the Los Angeles’ franchises taking to the court on Monday night and having differing results , it must be said, the change in fortunes for both of these teams, is now said to be having a drastic effect on how one looks at the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Doc Rivers is proving to be an inspirational coach, motivating his players to get the job done, whereas , the struggles for Byron Scott and the Lakers have been well-chronicled over the course of this season. Undoubtedly, injuries have played a part in how both teams have fared , but cannot be continually be used as an excuse for poor play , especially where it concerns the the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe Bryant and his teammates coming off a fifteen-point loss (115-100) to the Phoenix Suns must now be wondering , where do they now go from here. The veteran guard hopes to return to the franchise next season , but at what price to the organization ? Now in the last year of his two-year , $48.5 million deal, I am not inclined to believe he would be willing to give the Lakers a hometown discount entering into the 2015-16 season. Other than in baseball, I am not so sure you can find more players earning in excess of $20 million annually , while showing paltry production for their respective teams , than within the NBA . Granted, the NFL also has a number of players earning considerably more , but a great deal of that comes down the structuring of the contracts of an NFL athlete.

The Los Angeles Clippers summarily dismissed the Boston Celtics in a home victory , with the win being all-round effort from the Clippers’ players , in their most recent contest. While I believe the Los Angeles Clippers to be one of the teams to be watched over the remainder of the season in what is proving to be an extremely competitive Western Conference . It remains to be seen, whether or not Doc Rivers’ players can prove themselves worthy of being considered a legitimate contender within the conference as well as for the NBA title.

” Long Live the Beard” and if you are unsure to who I am referring to, then simply look at the statistics of James Harden . I am not about to suggest he is the sole reason for the Houston Rockets’ success this season , but his contributions cannot be overlooked. Kevin McHale and the members of the Rockets’ coaching staff have to be extremely happy with what they have witnessed from the team over the course their schedule at this point of the year .

I firmly believe Harden is now one of the elite players in the the NBA , since his acquisition by the Houston Rockets as a free agent. He has done more than enough to justify my belief in his abilities ! Dwight Howard is now riding on the coat-tails of his teammate and it has to be said, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is now Robin to the James Harden persona of Batman . Houston’s record of 29-12 places them as the fourth seed within the Western Conference , but second place within the Southwest Division , a mere half-game behind the Memphis Grizzlies (29-13).

Kevin McHale’s team are 7-3 in their last ten games games and it bodes well, as they head into a match-up against the high-flying Golden State Warriors , when the two teams face off </ on Wednesday 21st January, 2015 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California,. The match-up of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson against James Harden and Dwight Howard should prove to be more than intriguing, as two of the NBA’s most explosive offenses meet in this showdown.

Defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs may well have started off their season slowly, but the return of Finals’ MVP , Kawhi Leonard has been more than welcomed by Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff. Leonard’s addition to the lineup after missing several games due to injury has re-energized the team .

Five NBA titles and seventeen successive seasons in the NBA Playoffs doesn’t seemed to have quenched the franchise’s appetite for success. Add in the fact they currently have three future Hall of Fame candidates on the current roster and you can well understand why the Spurs are considered on of the few NBA dynasties to have truly reigned supreme during their era . Elder statesmen Tim Duncan , Manu Giniobli and Tony Parker have formed one of the most successful trios in league, combining together to have notched up collectively, over five-hundred (500) regular season wins , along with a slew of individual regular and postseason awards . Gregg Popovich for his part , with his distinguished coaching career, is one of a handful of coaches with more than three NBA coaching titles to his name , along with what must be considered a slight of only three NBA Coach of The Year Awards . Begs the question, in the years the San Antonio Spurs did not possess the best record in the NBA , which coach was said to be actually a noteworthy recipient ?

Currently, sitting as the seventh seed in the Western Conference, were the NBA season to end today , the San Antonio Spurs would have a first round draw against the Portland Trailblazers , who presently hold a 2-1 regular season series’ lead over the Spurs. On a current eight-game winning streak, San Antonio must make greater inroads into the divisional lead of the Memphis Grizzlies , whose three-game margin is not too great a deficit for the defending champions to make up over the coming weeks. A three-point victory over the Denver Nuggets was clearly a step in the right direction . A nationally televised match-up against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center, in Chicago , Illinois, on Thursday night will provide the San Antonio Spurs with a chance to gauge themselves against one of the better performing teams within the Eastern Conference.

Of the ten highest paid players now playing in the NBA only LeBron James figures high enough in each of the main statistical categories, which tends to determine the best player in the the league (NBA). As a four-time winner of the League MVP , it could be said James is having something of an indifferent season with the Cleveland Cavaliers . Granted, he leads the team in the customary statistical categories, but in of-itself , that might not be enough why it is in some circles many believe Cleveland have been definitely under-achieving this season and it has been reflected in their record . Team owner Dan Gilbert’s decision to give the go-head for GM David Griffin to hire rookie head coach David Blatt, can either be see as naivete’ on the part of the front office or sheer bravado, in wanting to make a big splash. James’ return should have been enough to signal the organization was indeed serious in making a serious challenge to win their first NBA title.

Alongside Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love , Anderson Varejao , Lebron James and the supporting crew , there should have been enough pieces in place for this team to be far more competitive. Two games over .500 and you can well understand why the Cavaliers have struggled this season . Two upcoming home games against the Utah Jazz and Charlotte Hornets on the 21st and 23rd of January should tell us a great deal more about the Cleveland Cavaliers and the direction they are said to be heading in .

Hype can mean nothing and in some circles it can mean a great deal , yet in the NBA, more is placed sensationalizing a player and team , rather than more often that not the substance of their achievements? How else can one explain the catastrophic seasons of the Brooklyn Nets , New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz ?

============================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can see that picture in a reformatted size.

=============================================

Picture gallery .

During the NFL postseason which results , do you believe were of the biggest surprise and which team will ultimately prevail in the Superbowl ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter are more than welcome .

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery.

==============================================

(1) President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington, as Vice President Joe Biden applauds and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, listens. This was the President’s sixth State of the Union Speech during his tenure. AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool

(2) Head coach Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrate after the Seahawks 28-22 victory in overtime against the Green Bay Packers during the 2015 NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on January 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Tom Pennington / Getty Images North America

(3) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates as Letroy Guion (98) of the Green Bay Packers is in anguish after Wilson threw a game winning touchdown pass in overtime of the 2015 NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on January 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez

(4) New England Patriots’ owner , Robert Kraft celebrates with Tom Brady (12) after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7 .

(5) Tom Brady(12) of the New England Patriots and Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts shake hands after the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7 . Getty Images / Maddie Meyer

(6) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks takes a shot against the New Orleans Pelicans on January 19, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.Getty Imagres / Nathaniel S Butler

(7) Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers handles the ball against the Boston Celtics on January 19, 2015 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. NBAE/ Getty Images / Andrew D Bernstein .

(8) LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers smiles during the game against the Chicago Bulls on January 19, 2015 at The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

(9) HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 19 : James Harden (13) of the Houston Rockets before the game against the Indiana Pacers on January 19, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.NBAE/ Getty Images / Bill Baptiste

(10) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Utah Jazz at the AT&T Center on January 18, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images / D Clarke Evans
==============================================

😀

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Sports’ related articles on this site

http://wp.me/poxLH-a4R

🙂

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

o_O

===================================

NBA

NBA news

NBA results 18th January

NBA results 19th January

NBA schedule 20th January

NBA schedule 21st January

NBA schedule 22nd January

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA statistics (offense)

NBA statistics (defense)

NBA player statistics

NBA transactions

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

😀

NFL

NFL news

NFL news archived stories

NFL postseason schedule

AFC & NFC Championship Game results

NFL Superbowl 49 (SBXLIV)

NFL player stats (week twenty)

NFL team stats

This month in NFL history

On this date in NFL history

==============================================

USA Today Sports

Pitiful ……….. Well It Happens In The NFL And MLB & Other Sports As Well …….. ‘nough said !

Pitiful ……….. Well It Happens In The NFL And MLB & Other Sports As Well …….. ‘nough said !

Does it really now be to be said but the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seawhawks just might be the two worse teams in the NFL . There has nothing that has simply indicated to me how either of the teams made the postseason last year but then again they duo do play in what might two divisions that simply are not that good to begin with ! Anyone who simply believes that either the AFC West or NFC West are simply worthy of watching had better begin to rethink that thought ! .

========================================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=========================================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

I am not about to lambast the Oakland Raiders as of yet but their pass defense has become as porous as a used feminine hygiene product . I am sorry but Raiders’ head coach Hue Jackson has some major problems with the defense and if they are not able to shore up the play then over the course of this season they will simply be seen as a complete fraud . Much of this was borne out by the ineptitude shown in the team’s
loss to the Buffalo Bills .

Needless to say but the Indianapolis Colts’ sorrowful season continues and it is clear to see that the loss of Peyton Manning cannot be quantified . It has to be said that whatever the coaching staff and front office may have thought in bringing in Kerry Collins as Manning’s replacement just doesn’t seem to working out for the team . And when adjudged when against the NFL it’s clear to see the problems for the Colts may well go way beyond the loss of Peyton Manning. For coach Jim Caldwell this will be a season to test his will and intestinal fortitude as they seek to embark upon what might describe as a battle of us against the world . It is plain to see at no point had this organization really planned ahead for the day that would be without Peyton Manning as the team’s signal caller . This certainly has been borne out by their draft history and even one does point to Curtis Painter as a peek into the future , let’s just say that the player simply hasn’t the size to fit into Manning’s shoes !

Now while the season is still in its infancy it is becoming increasingly a clear that a number of teams have already fallen by the wayside . There is a chance that a number of these ball-clubs could play themselves back into contention but at this juncture it’s hard to see how that that can be unless they are capable of playing themselves back into some semblance of consistency .

So the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers have essentially played themselves into the postseason having won their respective divisions. The Phillies have simply strolled through the NL East with some semblance of ease and now await an opponent in the divisional round of the playoffs . And looks if Charlie Manuel’s team . Suffice to say the organization is looking to make a quick return to the World Series and prove that the team’s triumph in 2008 simply wasn’t an aberration.

If there was a point where you simply thought that the Cleveland Indians had a chance to be competitive within the AL Central then this simply wasn’t going to be it . This team simply wasn’t consistent enough over the course of their season and for Manny Acta this had to be profoundly disappointing for the organization and their fans .

Dave Dombrowski could very well be viewed as one of the primary reasons behind the team’s resurgence this season. He gave manager Jim Leyland free rein to get this team playing with a great deal of conviction. If there’s a real reason to point to the team’s success this season then it would largely have to come down to the contributions of Justin Verlander for the Detroit Tigers accompanied by a rotation that has simply been too good to be believed .

While Verlander can be complimented on having an excellent season his teammate Miguel Cabrera has been the tip of the spear that has made the offense of the Detroit Tigers so potent. Now the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees are in all likelihood seen as the presumptive favorites to be playing for the ALCS I would like to think that the Tigers cannot be overlooked in this conversation !

Now while there are fans out there bitching and whining about their teams or in some cases making excuses for their poor play over the course of this baseball season with comments such as ………. you’re saying harsh things about my team “ …….. I’d say shut the hell up and simply grow a pair and stop acting like an infantile child ! The year within baseball has been filled with highs and lows but to my mind more highs than lows .

The NFL thus far , has indicated to me that the lockout has simply done more harm than anyone within the league hierarchy would care to admit. But you would hardly think it worthy of an admittance from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or the team owners themselves . As for NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith coming to the aid of the NBPA and giving the players’ union of the NBA advice on whether or not it is worthwhile in the union decertifying . In doing so it would give the NBPA the legal recourse they might seek in challenging the NBA hierarchy in this now two month plus long lockout . The NBA under the leadership of David Stern now seems to be fighting for the hearts and mind of their fans while team owners for the present seems to be backing the commissioner . But now one has to wonder …….. for how long ?

The time has now come for the sport of boxing to simply deemed outmoded and completely irrelevant ! . Anyone who believes that Floyd Mayweather can take pleasure in depriving then WBC welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz of his title . This fight was simply an affront for very poor sportsmanship and showed how the fans having been duped to pay an exorbitant price for witnessing this fiasco at the venue with an even bigger injustice in having to pay $69-95 for the privilege of watching this fight via HBO PPV.

To witness the events that took place between Ortiz and Mayweather and their ignorant behavior does the sport of boxing and the fans a great disservice. Victor Ortiz showed that he has no class having deliberately head butted the challenger but Mayweather’s subsequent behavior in sucker punching his opponent , when Ortiz approached him to apologize for the head butt took place earlier in the bout. With the challenger having won the bout via a TKO , Mayweather now looks to pursue a big money fight against his biggest nemesis Manny Pacquaio in what’s sure to be a real barn-burner . But that issue could very well be derailed by the WBC hierarchy and the Nevada State Athletic Commission given the behavior of both fighters. For the hosts at the MGM Grand Resort & Casino in Las Vegas , Nevada I am not so sure this is the type of event that they could have wished for with the controversy that surrounded this title fight.

And if you thought that the fight itself was the only reason to take an affront then the post bout interview between the new title holder and HBO boxing analyst and commentator Larry Merchant may well have given a fan even greater cause as that episode further shed light on how low this sport has indeed fallen. Mayweather would chide both Merchant and HBO for showing him the lack of respect he feels he’s due . Larry Merchant retorted …. ” if I were fifty years younger I’d be ready to whup your ass ” ! Now that would be a fight I would gladly wish to see only if it were being televised by HBO rather than being sprung upon the fans as a PPV event . But alas , boxing needs something far more than that to peek the interests of the discerning fan .

==============================================================================================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .
==============================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Contact tophatal ……. http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details .

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

(1) Tyler Palko (4) of the Kansas City Chiefs gets ready to hand the off the football to teammate Thomas Jones (20) during a NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 18, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 48-3 . Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images …..

(2) Jahvid Best (44) of the Detroit Lions leaps into the end zone for a touch down against the Kansas City Chiefs during a NFL game at Ford Field on September 18, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 48-3 . Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images ……..

(3) Pittsburgh Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley covers Seattle Seahawks receiver Zach Miller (86) on an incomplete pass from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. The Steelers won 24-0 . Getty Images / Gene J. Puskar …..

(4) Hines Ward (86) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is flipped over Walter Thurmond (28) of the Seattle Seahawks after catching a pass in the first half during the game on September 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……

(5) BUFFALO, NY – SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills would go on to defeat the Raiders 38-35 . Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images ……

(6) Michael Bush (29) of the Oakland Raiders is tackles after rushing for a gain during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images …….

(7) Chase Utley (26) of the Philadelphia Phillies gets a base hit against the St Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park on September 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 5-0 , however the Phillies having clinched the AL East is now assured a berth in the playoffs . Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images …..

(8) Detroit Tigers’ Ramon Santiago, left, tags out the Oakland Athletics’ Scott Sizemore on a steal-attempt in the first inning of an MLB baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. The Tigers would go on to defeat the A’s 3-0 AP Photo/Dino Vournas ……

(9) Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum on September 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Tony Medina/Getty Images ……

(10) Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated after the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 3-0 at Oakland Coliseum on September 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Tony Medina/Getty Images …….

(11) Floyd Mayweather (R) slams a left to the head of WBC Welterweight champion Victor Ortiz in the 3rd round during their fight on September 17, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz in the fourth round to win the WBC Welterweight title. AFP PHOTO/ JOHN GURZINSKI / Getty Images …….

(12) WBC Welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (L) falls towards the canvas after being hit with a right from Floyd Mayweather in the 4th ending the fight on September 17, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz to win the WBC Welterweight title. Referee Joe Cortez looks on as the knockdown takes place . TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO/JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images ……

(13) Referee Joe Cortez counts out WBC Welterweight champion Victor Ortiz as he tries to get up from the canvas after being knocked out in the fourth round after being hit with a right from Floyd Mayweather in the 4th ending the fight on September 17, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz to win the WBC Welterweight title. TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO/JOHN GURZINSKI ……

(14) Argument: Mayweather with HBO anchor Larry Merchant, who hit out over the boxer’s dirty tactics. HBO boxing commentator and analyst is seen here alongside newly crowned WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather. The two individuals had a very heated and profanity laced exchange during their televised post fight interview . courtesy of Youtube & Daily Mail UK . ……..
————————————————————————————————————————————————–

NFL news

NFL week 2 results

NFL Standings divisional

NFL standings league

Week 2 team stats

Week 2 player stats

NFL transactions

NFL team injuries

MLB news

MLB standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB results 18th September 2011

MLB team stats

MLB transactions

MLB awards 2010

Sports news

Boxing news

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

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

=============================================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

============================================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

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

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

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

6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

============================================================================================================

=============================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show details below .

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

NFL news

NFL week 1 results

NFL stats players

NFL stats teams

NFL week 2 schedule

NFL Standings divisional

NFL team injuries

He’s Not In It For The Money Simply For The Glory But With Pete Carroll Which Is It ?

He’s Not In It For The Money Simply For The Glory But With Pete Carroll Which Is It ?

If ever there was a coach the in NFL that truly needs to prove their worth with their salary at $7 million a year then the Seattle Seahawks’ Peter Carroll has to be that candidate. Having left USC under a cloud of suspicion , the coach quickly made that return to the NFL , with that exorbitant contract , much to the delight team owner and billionaire mogul Paul Allen , co-founder of Microsoft .

===================================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=====================================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

With Matt Hasselbeck leaving as a free agent to join the Tennessee Titans the first major task at hand for Carroll was seek a replacement for the player. The individual chosen was former Minnesota Vikings’ backup Tarvaris Jackson . Though not deemed amongst the elite players at the position but he’s deemed capable enough to lead this team . From my own perspective Pete Carroll and his coaching staff will have a tough season ahead of them within the NFC West .

It would be naive to think that based on last season’s standings and results within the division the Seattle Seahawks can be considered the favorites once again to successfully defend their title . All of the teams within the NFC West appear to be better and with the NFL Draft having taken place it goes without saying that each of the teams in question will seek to profit greatly by the choices that they have made. The Arizona Cardinals , St Louis Rams , San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks will seek divisional supremacy over the course of the season. I am not so sure that the division is as competitive as many might claim it to be . But we shall see over the course of schedule how each of the teams acquit themselves on the field of play.

Given Pete Carroll’s successes at the collegiate level and dare one say those are now coming into question ? I am not so sure that given that this will be his second bite of the apple as an NFL coach , I do believe he will be in for a rough ride . Last season with the team having made the postseason once beyond the wildcard round the Seattle Seahawks never seemed to be capable to prove that they belonged in the NFL playoffs . It seems ridiculous to think that with a 7-9 record within the monstrous NFC West that the Seattle Seahawks won the division and made the postseason as a divisional winner . But yet there teams within the conference who had won more games but failed to granted a berth for the right to be part of the NFL’s gala .

I cannot believe that fans are entirely happy with such a scenario where a team having won a division with a sub .500 record can be viewed as worthy of a playoff berth but as such one has to make do with the rules of the game as it stands. From my own standpoint in such a case I do believe seeding system that actually rewards the teams not just solely on the winning of a division as I also believe that a team that has a better record than that of a divisional winner ought be considered for a berth . But such are the rules of the game and at the end of the one simply has to make do with what is offered .

The NFC West I believe is up for the taking and given the performances of Sam Bradford this past season I do believe that the St Louis Rams might just be the team to beat within the division ! Pete Carroll for his part with the players taken in the NFL Draft and the offseason moves by the Seahawks , we will get the chance to see if he can make this team a legitimate contender for the Superbowl . Much of that however will be based on the play of Tavaris Jackson and whether or not he had the leadership skills and the belief of his teammates in leading the Seattle Seahawks. The jury is still out on both Jackson and the Seahawks given their performances during the preseason .

With teams making the mandated cuts of their rosters this Saturday it will be interesting to see the player finally making the team’s roster and those failing to make the grade. The veterans on the Seattle Seahawks will be looking to make the rookies feel welcomed and at the same assist them in being productive . The preseason gives precedence to that fact but it will be the regular season that really matters !

Not exactly overly impressed with the Seahawks from a competitive standpoint , I do believe that the team is simply there merely to make up the numbers within the NFL ! The rookies taken in the NFL Draft , it is hoped that they can be productive for organization . Certainly the coach , his staff and with the ambitions of the front office led by GM John Schneider one could arguably understand why it is that the organization feels there’s an urgence to attain some success for their fans. This is a team that has seen its fair share of highs lows but in reality previously suggested the Seattle Seahawks while vocally being well supported they’re merely viewed as a franchise within the NFL , there to make up the numbers .

James Carpenter , John Moffitt , K J Wright , Kris Durham , Richard Sherman , Mark Legree , Byron Maxwell , Lazarius Levingston and Malcolm Smith will no doubt hope that their baptism of fire within the NFL is a successful one . For these draftees after their collegiate careers the league will prove to be a real eye opener . And I am sure that at team’s season opener (11th August 2011) , that will be when realization for them that their journey has really begun ! The opening game against divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park will prove to be very interesting as it should be an indicator of as to the apparent direction that both teams believe themselves to be heading in.

I certainly don’t prescribe to the fact that the NFC West is said to be that competitive a division within the NFL ! If anything judged by the play of the teams there this might be one of weakest divisions in the NFC if not the entire league . But is plain to see that the teams will try as best as they can to compete , even if it means more often than not they’re viewed as an afterthought within the NFL .

One things that’s sure to be on the minds of the Seahawks’ fans as the team embarks on this season , will be whether or Tarvaris Jackson is the player capable of leading this team ? If not , then his backup Charlie Whitehurst will be entrusted to takeover and prove himself worthy of the starting position . Certainly from an offensive standpoint Pete Carroll has put the weapons in place for a half decent quarterback to lead the team to some semblance of success . But would anyone be of the opinion that either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst could be described as being moderately decent ? It’d be remiss however to suggest that the team’s frailties are simply only about the effectiveness of the quarterback play as from a defensive standpoint the Seattle Seahawks have had their struggles as well.

=======================================================================================================

=========================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details below .

————————————————————————————————————————————————

(1) Running back Thomas Clayton (45) of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by Bani Gbadyu (48) and Jamie Cumbie (73) of the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on September 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images …..

(2) SEATTLE – SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks calls instruction during the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on September 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks would go on to defeat the Raiders 20-3 . Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ….

(3) Wide receiver Golden Tate (81) of the Seattle Seahawks is greeted by head coach Pete Carroll during the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on September 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ….. …….

(4) SEATTLE – SEPTEMBER 02: Running back Thomas Clayton (45) of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on September 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ….

(5) Quarterback Kyle Boller (7) of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by Pep Levingston (93) (R) of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ……

(6) Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson , right, is greeted by Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll after a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-3 . AP Photo/Elaine Thompson …..

(7) Seahawks’ owner Paul Allen (left) talks with coach Pete Carroll after a recent practice at the team’s VMAC facility in Renton, Washington ,. Elaine Thompson/AP photo ……

(8) Running back Thomas Clayton (45) of the Seattle Seahawks scores a touchdown in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on September 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images …… ……
———————————————————————————————————————————————-

NFL news

Week 4 preseason results

2011 NFL Draft order

NFL Standings preseason

NFL player stats preseason

NFL teams stats preseason

Seattle Seahawks’ news

Seattle Seahawks’ front office

Seattle Seahawks’ roster

Seattle Seahawks 2011 draft picks

Seattle Seahawks team transactions

Seahawks’ preseason stats

Head coach Pete Carroll

Assistant coaches

Seattle Seahawks’ regular season schedule

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

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

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

=============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=============================================================================

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

===================================================================================

===================================================================================

Picture gallery by clicking on each individual frame you can a picture in its originally
formatted size.

What thoughts if any do have with regard to the wildcard round of the playoffs and which game do you anticipate will be the most entertaining to watch ? Simply chime in with a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

NB : Click on the link shown to view the latest news in the NFL .

NFL News

Teams receiving a bye are the New England Patriots , Pittsburgh Steelers , Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………….

=======================================================================

Continue reading “It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !”

What In The Wild World of Sports ?

What In The Wild World of Sports ?

It’s been such a misnomer to see the start of the college football season and the thinking in the first few games we’ll see the major programs that are part of the BCS simply come out and dominate. Considering that before they undertake their divisional schedules they’re essentially playing a number of powder puff teams merely to get of the curve in the rankings. Personally I find the whole college makeup a complete farce to begin with ! Essentially it comes down to the fact that the major BCS conferences and the criteria set by those who set the rules have made it nigh on impossible for none BCS schools to be considered for a shot of playing for the national championship.

And considering the asinine notion that this ultimately is the best step forward in determining a national champion is such a farce ! The only way to have a national champion, is to make the whole championship makeup all inclusive to BCS programs as well as none inclusive programs and the divisions thereof.

OK so the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres are having a meltdown that could end up being so cataclysmic that it could prove to be scary for their fans and for those who are now witnessing the fallout from this all. Both teams had sizable leads within their respective divisions. And it says a great deal that both Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants are now making the divisional races within NL East and NL West so exciting. Who’d have thought that we would be now seeing the two teams who have in essence have been two of the biggest surprises of the baseball season ? Should both the Braves and Padres fall out of contention for a postseason berth then we can say that much of his came about from their own inconsistencies down the stretch runs of their respective seasons.

And for Bobby Cox of the Braves and Bud Black of the Padres they can rest assured that with this season having been filled with surprises.It has to be said that for the raves and Padres should their season fall apart the window of opportunity will most certainly haven’t left either organization. Both teams seem to be building for the future and that has to be a refreshing theme for both ballclubs.

=================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===========================================================================

Slide-show gallery for your perusal .


Before the NFL season has even began it’d appear that the silly season has started. Matt Leinart has been cut by the Arizona Cardinals. And for the former first round draft pick his fall from grace has been truly amazing. But then again for a player who’d set out to show his worth he’s been a failure in the NFL. Now Leinart having been cut he has signed a one year contract with the Houston Texans where he’ll be a backup to the incumbent number one quarterback Matt Schaub . And for Leinart this just might the last chance for the player to actually prove himself . And if you thought Leinart’s situation was bad well consider the situation concerning the Seattle Seahawks’ T J Houshmanzadeh ? The player having signed a five year $45 million contract contract with the team in 2008 Houshmanzadeh now finds himself without a team having been cut by Seattle’s coach Pete Carroll .

The Seahawks are now looking for a new direction as Carroll seeks to give this team an identity.And for a team that has seen its window of opportunity slowly close over the past few years from inconsistent play and the lack of a real coaching pedigree since the departure of Mike Holmgren from the organization. The departure of Houshmanzadeh from this team may not be the only thing that’s needed to resurrect its fortune as Carroll has certainly got to prove himself upon his return to the NFL where lack of success left him beaten and a lost soul within the NFL ranks. His sojourn within the collegiate ranks has proven to be cathartic and an unprecedented success with the USC Trojans . But now we’re finding out that the real truth as to what was taking place inside of the program and to an extent the part ultimately played in it all by Carroll. His departure from the program was akin to a thief fleeing in the night from the scene of his most recent crime. And for those Trojans’ fans still smarting out there and who’ve blinded by the successes , merely look at what has transpired under his regime and ask yourself has it all been worth it ? And one has to ask what was the part of the athletics department in all of this ? Surely a number of those there were aware as to what was going on ? Or are we to believe that this all was solely down to the behavior of the athletes involved in the subterfuge ? Somehow those within the athletics department and the faculty new about this but would rather turn a blind eye to it all essentially because of the money that there was to be made. And made money they did ……..millions if not tens of millions of dollars.

What to make of the constant whining within the NFL at present and the mere fact that both Commissioner Roger Goodell and his union representative counterpart DeMaurice Smith seem intent on wrecking any chance of coming to an agreement with regard to the ongoing collective bargaining agreement. Allegedly this has all become about who ought to have the biggest slice of the pie and how each side seems to be pleading poverty ? Nothing says bullshit than that of a bunch of multi-millionaire owners and players acting like a bunch of primadonas ! But to make things even appear all so much worse is the mere fact that neither side seems to be taking into account that goodwill that has now been lost with the fans. If both Goodell and Smith think that they can now win back the fans after all the idiocy that has been taking place between both parties. Then these two now make the partisanship between the Democrats and Republicans seem like the congregation of a church gathering where everyone seems to be enamored with everyone. In the case of both the NFL and NFLPA we’re seeing both parties act like the ongoing feuding between the Israelis and Palestinians. And as we now all know there’s been no love lost between the feuding groups over the decades. Similarly here, there has been little trust between the league (NFL) and the union(NFLPA). And while there has been no major labor unrest in over a decade this all could all very well change within the next few months should things not change and an impasse remain.

==============================================================

=================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything has you wondering about the situation within the NFL as well as that of the two races mention within the NL East and NL West as they now proceed down to the closing stretch of the season ? Chime on in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s appreciated !

NB: Having been cut T J Houshmanzadeh signed a one year $850,000 contract to play in Baltimore this upcoming season with the Baltimore Ravens .

🙂

Alan aka tophatal ………………… 🙂

===========================================

UB 40 …… “Rat In My Kitchen “

===============================

Kelly Brook

Lingerie model Kelly Brook

Who’s On First ………….?

Who’s On First ?

Well it appears to be a certainty that the USC Trojans’ long time coach , Pete Carroll will be leaving the storied program to take another shot at the NFL . And it appears the lure has been billionaire owner , Paul Allen’s wish to have Carroll coach the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll will be given autonomous control over all player personnel decision making and no doubt as in line with the control given to Washington Redskins’ coach, Mike Shanahan , the soon to be installed coach will be paid commensurate on a scale befitting his worth.

In this Sept. 5, 2009 file phot, Southern California coach Pete Carroll watches his team warm up before a NCAA college football game with San Jose State in Los Angeles. The Seattle Seahawks fired head coach Jim Mora after just one season on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke flew to California this week to interview USC coach Pete Carroll for the job. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris  Carlson  .........
In this Sept. 5, 2009 file phot, Southern California coach Pete Carroll watches his team warm up before a NCAA college football game with San Jose State in Los Angeles. The Seattle Seahawks fired head coach Jim Mora after just one season on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke flew to California this week to interview USC coach Pete Carroll for the job. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris Carlson .........

Chris Mortensen initially broke the news , as he’s a close personal friend of Pete Carroll and their relationship goes back to the days when Carroll was a coach of the New York Jets. That being said stories such as this, more often than not when broken from this outlet tends to be filled with ‘truths’ and ‘half truths’. How many times before have we heard the likes of Mortensen and his cabal of colleagues come to the fore with a ‘ breaking story’ only in the end to find out that there was no substantive evidence that the story was in fact true ? Nor in the end does the outlet have the decency to apologize for the faux -pas. But then, we now live in the age where the news cycle of stories isn’t about bringing you a story. It has in essence become about sensationalism and the gravitas of seemingly making a story up only to garner attention .

For the Seattle Seahawks to describe this season as a disappointment would be to greatly underscore the fact that the team and its coaching staff were extremely poor in every facet of preparation when it came to this NFL season. Jim Mora Jr, is no more an average NFL coach than Sarah Palin can be considered to be a great politician. In essence both play the part but there’s no quality or substance behind the persona’s in question. Mora has been abject failure in Seattle and it’s not due to the fact that there injury problems with the team. In terms of real coaching ability his skills are line with that of a drunk being asked to handle high end explosives. You know for a fact that ‘no good ‘ can come from it all ! As to why Mora’s predecessor, Mike Holmgren named Jim Mora his successor, is as perplexing to some as the mathematical equation when asked to list pi beyond fifteen places. Mora’s success as a coach is tempered by the fact that as a coach in Atlanta , he had Michael Vick as the centerpiece to a team. But in terms of success and leadership the Atlanta Falcons had little, if anything tangible to show for it all in the end. And Vick’s own off the field troubles were certainly of no help to the organization. But what might be even more exacerbating was Mora’s own demeanor prior to , during and after the whole debacle went down. At no time did he show any type leadership or the qualities therein that would lead you to believe that he could handle any type of adversity thrown his way. So it should come as no surprise when he was fired Falcons’ GM Rich McKay.

This Jan. 13, 2009, file photo shows Seattle Seahawks head football coach Jim Mora, left, talking to reporters as Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke, right, looks on during a news conference at Seahawks headquarters in Renton, Wash.  The Seattle Seahawks fired Jim Mora after just one season, leaving the former NFC West champs without a coach, general manager and president less than four years after they appeared in the Super Bowl.  picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/  Ted  S Warren ..........
This Jan. 13, 2009, file photo shows Seattle Seahawks head football coach Jim Mora, left, talking to reporters as Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke, right, looks on during a news conference at Seahawks headquarters in Renton, Wash. The Seattle Seahawks fired Jim Mora after just one season, leaving the former NFC West champs without a coach, general manager and president less than four years after they appeared in the Super Bowl. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ted S Warren ..........

Mora’s handling of the Seahawks this past season has been about as exhilarating to watch as having several teeth pulled without the use of a relaxant . Painful is one word that comes to mind , so too are several others. But the use of those words aren’t such permitted or appropriate for such a forum.

Courtesy of The News Tribune

Carroll hire done deal, report says

Seahawks: Pete Carroll reportedly quits at USC, accepts Seattle job; his role, beyond coaching team, remains undetermined

By Eric D Williams , The News Tribune

Pete Carroll is headed to Seattle.

The University of Southern California head coach submitted his resignation Sunday evening and accepted an offer to become the eighth coach of the Seattle Seahawks, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.USC players and coaches learned the news from a text message sent out by an assistant coach, according to the report.

Although the Seahawks have not said the deal is final, an announcement could come as soon as today.
Carroll built an impressive résumé during his nine seasons at USC, winning 84 percent of his games, seven Pacific-10 Conference titles in a row and two national championships. But Carroll reportedly longed to return to the NFL to prove he could win at the highest level.

He compiled a 33-31 record as a head coach in the league, including one season with the New York Jets and three with the New England Patriots, making the playoffs twice in four seasons.However, Carroll’s tenure in the pros, which ended in 1999, is viewed as mixed at best.

The Seahawks created a head coaching opening by firing Jim Mora on Friday after he finished with a 5-11 record in his first and only season in charge in Seattle.

The Seahawks may be calling for Carroll at the right time, with the Trojans facing the possibility of NCAA sanctions and Carroll’s relationship with USC athletic director Mike Garrett becoming strained.

The Trojans reportedly were interested in bringing back former USC assistant Steve Sarkisian, now the head coach at Washington, but Sarkisian said he’s not interested and that Washington is his dream job.USC has another target in Oregon State coach Mike Riley, according to reports in Los Angeles-area papers.

========================================
In order to read Eric D Williams’ article in its entirety
just click on the text link shown within
========================================

As to whether or not Pete Carroll can resurrect this Seahawks’ organization would be based on whether not you believe that coaching philosophy and style can be converted from the college game and transplanted into the NFL. Particularly the traits that there were part of the success that led to USC Trojans’ dominance of college football. If you believe that, then there’s no reason to think that he cannot have success with the team. If on the other hand you’re of the opinion that the format used by him can’t work in the NFL, then you’d have a valid argument to think that he’ll have as difficult time readjusting to the environment we know as the NFL. Carroll’s foray as an NFL coach could hardly be described as a success , with stops in New England with the Patriots and in New York with the Jets. There was barely any success attained and one easily understood why after having to relinquish both positions, he became disenchanted with the NFL. That being said his return to the NFL must have something to do with Carroll now believing that he’s now capable of attaining success at the highest level possible.

Personally, I’m treating it all with great deal of skepticism. I merely see this all, as Paul Allen merely throwing his millions around, in order to try and solve a problem that neither he or the Seahawks’ executives actually have an answer for. What a number of people seem to forget is that at the height of his success is that Carroll had former assistants Norm Chow and Steve Sarkisian. In Seattle, he won’t have that luxury at all , simply put, Carroll will have to establish a complete staff of his own and then work in conjunction with a new general manager. Easier said than done, don’t you think ?

The biggest problem here for the Seahawks might not be whether or not this is a successful maneuver but what should happen at the first sign of adversity, the disenchantment of the fans should things not live up to everyone’s expectations. This is exactly the same scenario that came about with both Nick Saban’s move from LSU to the Miami Dolphins and Steve Spurrier’s move from Florida to the Washington Redskins. Can we now say that in both cases those moves were abject failures and an unmitigated disasters of the ‘highest order’ ?

Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks’ owner , Paul Allen seen here at an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played at the Seahawks’ home venue of Qwest Field in Seattle , Washington. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ted S. Warren ……..

Seahawks’ fans and no doubt Paul Allen may well feel that this gives the franchise some legitimacy as a contender for the upcoming season. But he ought to contend with the fact that the franchise over the past five years have been little more than cannon fodder for the rest of the NFC and NFL as a whole. Much like with the Emperor who has new clothes. Dressing up the Seattle Seahawks and adorning them with a ‘big named coach’ does not make them look all the more alluring as a contender in the NFL. All that it will essentially do, is to garner a great deal of attention for the franchise and the publicity that comes with it in tow. What Pete Carroll will have to do and must do , is to reassess the whole organization from top to bottom … deciding who’s on first , who’ s on second and who the hell needs to be thrown out. An aging roster , lacking in leadership, lacking in competitiveness and most of all they were lacking ‘a coach who could actually coach’ ! If Carroll can turn things around with some immediacy then it augurs well for the franchise but if there’s nothing to show for it within two years, then don’t expect to see him still a coach of this team. More likely than not, either he’ll once again become disenchanted or he will in fact meet the same fate as his predecessor. Which is it to be ?

A Tale of Two Teams ……….

A Tale of Two Teams

As with the Dickens’ novel ‘ A Tale of Two Cities’ , here we have two teams in the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who seemingly are going in opposite directions. But we are talking about quite possibly two of the worst teams in all of the NFC and the entire league.

Bucs'  fans  in the  hope  of an  early  Christmas  wish  and gift  in the  team's  game  against the  Seattle Seahawks  on   Sunday  afternoon  played  at  QWest  Field  in Seattle , Washington,.    picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Ted S.  Warren  ............
Bucs' fans in the hope of an early Christmas wish and gift in the team's game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon played at QWest Field in Seattle , Washington,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ted S. Warren ............

On the one side, you have the inexperience of Raheem Morris as the first year coach of the Buccaneers and the more experienced but less consistent coach, in Jim Mora Jr. of the Seahawks. Both teams this season have definitely had their problems. Much of it has been self inflicted, in terms of both teams’ level of play and their inconsistency. But beyond that, it is now their immediate future that may well be the guide that will indicate the ultimate direction that both organizations are said to be heading in. Seattle is now without a general manager, as Tim Ruskell has now left the organization. And from what we’ve been led to believe,overtures were made to former coach, Mike Holmgren to return to ‘the fold’ and become the President of Operations for the Seattle Seahawks. Holmgren refused the offer and is now set to take a similar position with the Cleveland Browns.

Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture  appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr,. ........
Seattle -December 20th ,2009. Running back Carnell Williams (#24) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr,. ........

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their best football of the season in defeating the Seahawks 24-7, in a thoroughly lopsided display and victory. The Seahawks are a team lacking in confidence and ability. The play of the team’s quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck is showing his age, as he now looks more like an octogenarian in need of multi-vitamins, instead of a player who at his peak was one of the better and more reliable players at the position. But if you think that this was the only problem that Jim Mora and his team faces, then you’d be sadly mistaken. They’ve now seen a resurgent San Francisco 49ers within the division (NFC West), without having to see the triumvirate of Boldin , Fitzgerald and Warner, of the Arizona Cardinals now start to lay waste to the division with an alarming amount of ease. For Mora and the Seahawks this is a time for contemplation and regrouping. But one seriously doubts if Mora and his coaches actually know what it is they’re striving for. My own thoughts are that Holmgren wasn’t the person to be making the decision as to who his successor ought to have been. There were far more noteworthy candidates who could’ve assumed the vacancy. No ’Rooney Rule’ was followed here. Only the fact that the organization somehow acquiesced to Holmgren’s demands.

Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr .........
Place holder Jon Ryan #9 of the Seattle Seahawks fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr .........

Courtesy of News Chief

Buccaneers prey on struggling Seattle for second win of the year

Seattle-Washington ,. Josh Freeman walked over to Tampa Bay’s sideline after his ninth interception in just over two games. The 21-year-old rookie looked first-year coach Raheem Morris in the eye and calmly said: “I got it.”

Morris’ reply: “Go get it.”

He did.

Freeman threw two touchdown passes in the second half, Tampa Bay’s battered defense forced five turnovers from Seattle’s reckless Matt Hasselbeck, and the Buccaneers rallied to a 24-7 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.

Tampa Bay (2-12) won for just the second time in 17 games, and won on the West Coast for the first time since beating Oakland in the Super Bowl on Jan. 26, 2003, in San Diego.

With maybe 500 angry Seattle fans watching by the end, the young Bucs smiled triumphantly pointed to the sky after the team’s first win away from Tampa in 10 tries, since Nov. 23, 2008, at Detroit.

==================================================
In order to read this article in its entirety just click on the link provided
==================================================

Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks.  The  young  rookie quarterback  would  lead  his team with  authority  on their  way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory  over the  Seattle  Seahawks  in an  NFC match up  between the  two teams.   picture  appears   courtesy of  Getty Images/  Otto Greule Jr  ..................
Quarterback Josh Freeman (#5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks downfield as he scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks. The young rookie quarterback would lead his team with authority on their way to a rather lopsided 24-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC match up between the two teams. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ..................

With this win, the Buccaneers had finally stemmed the tide of losses, albeit that this was a game that was won away from home, away from their long suffering fans. For Raheem Morris and his Bucs’ team this was the best that they’ve played this season. Josh Freeman, the team’s starting quarterback showed a great deal of poise and he led this team with authority. Also following suit by example, was the play of Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward who ran with a great deal of gusto. Something that we’ve not often from Williams over the course of his career, so far. But most surprising of all ,may well have been the play of the Buccaneers’ defense as they stifled anything that the Seahawks tried to achieve during the game. Having attained just their second win of the season, this may well be something that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can build upon over the remainder of the season and show their fans that the tides may well be changing for the better. Certainly, it’s a great deal better than many of their woes that we’ve witnessed over the course of this season.

 Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.   picture appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/  Otto  Greule Jr ................
Linebacker Geno Hayes (#54) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Otto Greule Jr ................

This will be something that they (Buccaneers) can build upon and take into the off-season and into the next. With the upcoming draft in April, we’ll have to see the decisions that’ll be made by team GM, Mark Dominik, as to their needs. And mark my words their needs are many. On both sides of the ball the Buccaneers are in need of a playmaker and on appearance alone this roster is lacking a player in the assumed role. It certainly hasn’t come from either Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant or Michael Clayton. But from the start of his reign as the coach of this team, Raheem Morris has let it be known that he was happy with the players he had at his disposal. But at the halfway point of the season it became increasingly clear that not only had he misjudged the talent on the roster but also the players’ resolve to play as a cohesive and competitive unit. However, what was even more asinine was his outspokenness as to the merits of the team. Shamelessly making an ass of himself, he continued with the mantra that the team was merely lacking in the opportunities. What was that ‘lacking the opportunities’ ? No, in the NFL you aren’t afforded opportunities , you play to the best of your abilities. And if anything the Buccaneers’ record (2-12) reflects that. So whatever it is that Morris presumed it was that he saw in the team wasn’t forthcoming until late into the season.

Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to  show their disgust  at the  team's  effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........
Seattle Seahawks fans wear bags over their heads to show their disgust at the team's effort in the final minutes of Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Seattle. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Froschauer .........

The 2010-11 NFL season will bring a great deal of turmoil to the league, if the game’s hierarchy and the players’ union (NFLPA) can’t come to some agreement as to the collective bargaining agreement. In all likelihood, if both sides can’t come to some sort of resolve in sorting out their issues, then the turmoil of an uncapped season awaits the league. Certainly not something that the vast majority of the teams would even contemplate, given the present economic climate. And though the NFL salary cap, at $112 million is at its highest it has ever been. The thought that next season could become all askew without the salary cap keeping everyone’s budget in ’check’. We will end up seeing the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins spending money like drunken sailors on a weekend furlough.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  AP/photo/  Ted  S Warren  ....................
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 in an NFL football game. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Ted S Warren ....................

And now comes the hard part for everyone to think about. What happens next ? As to the fortunes of both the Buccaneers and Seahawks and the paths that they’re now said to be on. Well this has all been about the tale of two teams and their travels. Where do you see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks, as to their impending future ?

Worlds Apart, Then There’s The AFC West And The NFC West ……..

I think that it ought to be abundantly clear and plain for all to see that the NFL’s two western divisions might just be the worst that there is, in all of football. If you can categorically state to me what other divisions in the NFL are worst than that of the AFC West and NFC West. Then I’d be quite happy to listen to the arguments that you’re prepared to put forth to justify your claim or claims, as the case maybe.

Arlington, Tx,. December  13th, 2009.Chargers' offensive lineman Larry English (#52) gives  chase to Cowboys'  quarterback, Tony Romo (#9) in a  game played at   Texas Stadium  in  Arlington  , Texas.  The  San  Diego  Chargers  would  go on to  defeat  the   Dallas Cowboys  20-17 .picture appears   courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald  Martinez .....
Arlington, Tx,. December 13th, 2009.Chargers' offensive lineman Larry English (#52) gives chase to Cowboys' quarterback, Tony Romo (#9) in a game played at Texas Stadium in Arlington , Texas. The San Diego Chargers would go on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 .picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez .....

While on the face of it, one can allude to the fact that within those divisions the standout teams are perhaps , the Arizona Cardinals (NFC West) and the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos (AFC West). One could perhaps attest to the fact also that the other teams that make up those respective divisions are essentially at best, no more than average , given the lack of quality and inconsistency of their play.

Broncos’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall seen here playing against the Indianapolis Colts , on his way to an NFL career record. The player would complete 21 receptions during the game , while attaining 200 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a losing effort against the Colts. The single game reception record had been previously held by Terrell Owens, as a San Francisco 49er. Indianapolis remained unbeaten with their 28-16 defeat of the Denver Broncos. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Andy Lyons ……

The same ‘old mantra’ is still being used that there’s ‘parity within the NFL’ and that on any given day, an extremely good team can be beaten by a bad team. That may well be the case, but based on the evidence of this season . It has been something of a rarity , albeit that we’ve also seen the likes of Pittsburgh Steelers get upended by the woefully inept Cleveland Browns. That being said , I’m of the opinion that much of the malaise we’re now seeing within the AFC West and NFC West, comes from the utterly poor coaching from within those divisions. The long suffering Oakland Raiders and their fans have had to put up with the continued ridicule of the franchise. Never mind that this time around one can’t really solely apportion blame upon their owner, Al Davis. This time around the brunt of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Raiders’ coach Tom Cable and that of his entire coaching staff. One could also argue that the team’s quarterback, JaMarcus Russell has led to a great many of the team’s woes from the outset. Whoever , was behind the scouting of Russell and the final decision to draft the player, clearly needs to have their head examined. And it appears that might come back down to Al Davis, again intervening and make a decision that has set the franchise back at least two three years. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Well , here the Raiders have gained one monumental headache in Russell, whose football IQ might just be slightly lower than that of Paris Hilton’s actual intelligence quotient.

The troubling thing for the Oakland Raiders now , is that with an injury to the newly installed starter at quarterback,Bruce Gradkowski. The team and Cable will now have to reinstall Russell back into the starter’s role. Gradkowski , has done everything asked of him in leading this team with due diligence and not making the mistakes that came with Russell’s nondescript and haphazard game. Cable for his part, seems to be at a loss for words in describing the franchise’s malaise. But therein, he was thrust into the position that he was ill equipped to handle from the very beginning.

The Kansas City Chiefs under coach, Todd Haley continues to struggle and much that comes down to sheer youth and inexperience on this team. And with former Patriots’ GM, Scott Pioli, now overseeing the personnel and development of recruitment for the franchise. It’d be safe to say that their future appears to be in safe hands. But for now, it is the immediacy of winning, learning how to acquire those traits and put them into practice in a competitive form. And for a team that is now 3-10 within the AFC West. Every win that they attain, is something to pin their hopes on and to the very fact that they’re learning something along the way.

San Francisco, December 14th, 2009. Running back Frank Gore (#21) of the San Francisco 49ers rushes with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.   picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/  Ezra  Shaw  ................
San Francisco, December 14th, 2009. Running back Frank Gore (#21) of the San Francisco 49ers rushes with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ................

In the NFC West where the Arizona Cardinals seemingly now have the division to themselves. The likes of the San Francisco 49ers , Seattle Seahawks and St Louis Rams, while eager to put up something of a challenge. They have either been all too inconsistent in their overall play or just exceptionally mediocre to begin with.

Last year’s NFC representative in the Superbowl , has played with a great sense of urgency. But more often than not, there have been slip ups made by Ken Whisenhunt’s Arizona Cardinals’ team. Monday night’s 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, leads us to believe that the margin between the top team within the division and that of its other domiciled teams might not be as large, as first thought. Somehow, the Cardinals were inexplicably outplayed by a resurgent and resilient team, coached by Mike Singletary. You’d have been hard pressed to guess which was the team had an 8-5 record and a 6-7 record. Such may have been the disparity in terms of their overall play on the night.

Houston , December 13th, 2009.  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (#8) of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by linebacker Brian Cushing (#56) of the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 34-7.   picture appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Bob Levey .......
Houston , December 13th, 2009. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (#8) of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by linebacker Brian Cushing (#56) of the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 34-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Bob Levey .......

Make of it what you will but I’m of the opinion that Mike Holmgren should not have been allowed to name his successor in waiting while he was the coach of the Seattle Seahawks. As great as a coach, as he has been over the years. Over the latter part his career with the Seahawks , the game essentially had begun to pass him by and personnel choices with regard to the Seahawks’ roster hadn’t paid any real dividends. Upon his retirement from the team, the reins were handed over to Jim Mora Jr.. To my mind they might as well have handed the reins over to Attila The Hun , for all of the good that it has done. Jim Mora Jr, is no more an NFL coach than Britney Spears can be considered to be a great singer. But yet somehow Mora has been entrusted with coaching this team ? Far be it for me to suggest but in Mora’s foray as an NFL coach , once he met with real adversity there in Atlanta with the Michael Vick saga. His apportioned blame elsewhere faster than a typhoon hits land. And when it was all said and done he still saw fit to denigrate the organization for the apparent way that he’d been treated. But then again, this was the same individual who when asked by Falcons’ owner , Arthur Blank, whether or not he’d been looking elsewhere for another coaching vacancy, he had the temerity to lie to the owner’s face.

Seattle Seahawks' coach, Jim Mora reacts to a play during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Houston. picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  David J. Phillip .........
Seattle Seahawks' coach, Jim Mora reacts to a play during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Houston. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David J. Phillip .........

Mora , now in position as the Seahawk’s coach. He has shown about as much perception and keenness for the position as a blind man being requested to play hop-scotch in a minefield. He has brought absolutely nothing at all to the table. And the Seahawks have fallen faster from grace than a meteor falling from the sky. No excuses ought to be made about the team being replete with injuries and the apparent loss of Pro Bowl quarterback , Matt Hasselbeck , due to prolonged injuries. Had Holmgren to begin with and then Mora seen fit to attain a backup for the aging quarterback. Then in some ways their problems would not be as acute as they now are.

Steven Jackson (#39) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room while running with the football against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7.  picture appears  courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins  ............
Steven Jackson (#39) of the St. Louis Rams looks for room while running with the football against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins ............

From being anointed ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’, to now being bogged down in quicksand and their own mediocrity. The St Louis Rams have become a team that is about as welcoming to watch as catching a strain of the H1N1 virus. Let’s just say that the scary thought is that, there’s still no cure for the virus or what ails the Rams as an organization. In spite of it all Rams’ coach, Steve Spagnuolo tries his level best to coach this team to some level of competency and competitiveness. He’d better of coaching ‘Pop Warner’ football at this juncture. This is a team that has no real guidance or any semblance of leadership on the field of play. And the talents of the team’s running back , Steven Jackson, are being sadly wasted on a franchise that has no apparent guts for a fight or the will to win.

Nashville, Tn,  December 13th, 2009.  Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams looks on against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7.   picture  appears courtesy of  Getty Images/  Joe Robbins   ............
Nashville, Tn, December 13th, 2009. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams looks on against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Robbins ............

With each passing effort of an NFL game , one can slowly see how moribund that the Rams’ organization and the team has become. And there appears to be no end in sight as to the malaise that the team is now within. They, alongside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fighting for the record in futility for this NFL season. Both teams have a record of 1-12 as they both seek to at least attain one more win before the regular season reaches its climax. But that might allude to the fact that both teams don’t want to eschew the fact of missing out on taking the number one overall pick in next year’s NFL draft. The choices are a quarterback or a defensive player ? The Buccaneers have their needs, as do the St Louis Rams. But it’s safe to say that at this juncture none of us really knows what either of the two franchises will do in terms of a choice.

AFC West Divisional Standings

Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak
San Diego Chargers 10 3 0 .769 362 259 4-2-0 6-1-0 5-1-0 7-3-0 Won 8
Denver Broncos 8 5 0 .615 256 230 4-2-0 4-3-0 3-1-0 6-4-0 Lost 1
Oakland Raiders 4 9 0 .308 155 316 2-5-0 2-4-0 1-4-0 3-6-0 Lost 1
Kansas City Chiefs 3 10 0 .231 206 342 1-6-0 2-4-0 1-4-0 2-7-0 Lost 3

NFC West Divisional Standings

Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak
Arizona Cardinals 8 5 0 .615 306 258 3-3-0 5-2-0 3-2-0 6-3-0 Lost 1
San Francisco 49ers 6 7 0 .462 269 242 5-2-0 1-5-0 4-1-0 5-4-0 Won 1
Seattle Seahawks 5 8 0 .385 250 301 4-2-0 1-6-0 3-3-0 4-6-0 Lost 1
St. Louis Rams 1 12 0 .077 146 361 0-6-0 1-6-0 0-4-0 1-9-0 Lost 5

Free Agency ……It’s Never Been That Simple

Free Agency ………It’s Never That Simple

It’s remarkable to see that the NFL is nothing more than a business driven machine. But herein lies the problem for many of its players. How do you explain to them that it’s never that simple to simply pursue the money instead of the greater glory of winning ? Far too often that at the height of a player’s career after achieving a modicum of success with one club , he’s then saying that he wants out unless he gets paid. We often hear ‘I’ve been disrespected ‘ !. Or for some reason when the player becomes either a restricted or unrestricted free agent that the contract negotiations begin with a club. There seem s to be an impasse reached between the two vested parties over money. The club is willing to pay but not overpay for that player’s services.

Seahawks'   wide  receiver   T J Houshmanzadeh   shows   off  his   new  jersey   replete  with  his   name  and   number.  Pity   however  the  player  has   yet  to  show  the  form  for  his  new  team  that  made   such  a  highly  sought  after   free  agent  .    picture  appears  courtesy  of    ap/photo/  Kevin  P. Casey  .............

Seahawks’ wide receiver T. J Houshmanzadeh shows off his new jersey replete with his name and number.Pity however,the player has yet to show the form that made him such a highly sought after free agent. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Kevin P. Casey….

Fast forward and take a look at the situation that involved two of the most noted free agents to have hit the market within the NFL. First there was former Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver T.J Houshmanzadeh. A terrific player, who’d been productive with the Bengals and he alongside, Chad Ochocinco , were once viewed as one of the best receiving duos in the league. He simply made life easier for Bengals’ quarterback, Carson Palmer , with his electric speed , blocking ability and most exceptional were his catches and the yardage gained after the catch. Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis was visibly upset with the loss of the player ,when he left the team , to sign with the Seattle Seahawks.

Houshmanzadeh’s career seems to have taken a turn for the worse, as the Seahawks have tumbled out of relevance within the league. The excuses are made that the team declined with the injury bug that hit the roster , with the loss of quarterback , Matt Hasselbeck. Some have said that the departure of former coach, Mike Holmgren , upon his retirement -the team were never the same. Holmgren’s successor Jim Mora Jr. has seemingly been unable to maintain the success attained by Holmgren . And Houshmanzadeh ‘s play has just simply declined in the aftermath. While all of this has been happening , the Bengals as a team , is now on the rise. And the play of Palmer and Ochocinco has been exceptional. Marvin Lewis has the team playing with a great deal of passion and resolve . They’ve also become competitive within the AFC North and the NFL , as a whole.

For $ 100 million you’d be better bringing a lunch bucket to work , rather than a sandwich box. It’s simply amazing to hear of a player being paid such an excessive sum , only having simply produced , merely just one year’s body of work , having been in the league for a number of years going unnoticed.But simply put , the Washington Redskins have never been averse to overpaying for marginal talent. It’s been their coup de gras over the years. Think of it , as desiring a Maserati and you end up buying a hoopty. The Redskins sought and pursued former Tennessee Titans’ defensive player Albert Haynesworth with a great deal of zeal. Justified or not, the team to my mind had far greater needs in a variety of areas. And on another level , the team’s general manager, Vinny Cerrato at the behest of team owner , Daniel Snyder , simply has played fast and loose in spending money , on players who’ve never panned out with the Redskins. Just look down the list and it’s who’s of infamy- players who just haven’t lived up to the perceived hype about their abilities.

Haynesworth  seen  here  with   Redkins'  coach  Jim  Zorn

Haynesworth seen here with Redskins’ coach Jim Zorn just after formally agreeing to and signing a $100 million, 7 year contract offer with the team. Of which $45 million was in guaranteed money.Haynesworth’s form for the team has fallen far short of the contract’s worth. picture appears courtesy of getty images-north america/ Mitchell Layton…………

Haynesworth, having had a tremendous season with the Titans, was on the market as a free agent. And in essence, he was one of the most desirable of them all, out there. Far be it for me to suggest otherwise. But I do think that the play of Haynesworth’s former teammate , Kyle Van Den Bosch , played a great part in the player’s perceived importance and Albert’s belief in his own self worth. Haynesworth may well have been the fulcrum that held the team together . But to my mind Van Den Bosch played just as great a part in the team’s success last season under coach , Jeff Fisher and their 13-3 regular season of last year. Unfortunately, their loss in the playoffs was something of a surprise to many , who felt the team was destined for something better. But it wasn’t to be.

The Titans this season are (0-6) in the NFL ,soon to be quite possibly , (0-7) and further descending into depths of banality. But if anything , there’s more synergy and camaraderie within the Titans’ organization and the team’s respect for their coach.Their problem I believes is in the fact that the team’s quarterback ,Kerry Collins,has lost the confidence of his teammates and his leadership skills appears to be on the decline. As are Collins’ skills as a quarterback. Waiting in the wings, is said to be a rejuvenated Vince Young,who’s set to prove to the organization and its fans that he is the same player whose performance in the Texas Longhorns’ celebrated win over the USC Trojans, has been the highlight of his football career thus far. He’d like to show them that he’s regained that type of form. If Young can resurrect his career and play the Titans back into competitive contention. Then all will be forgiven in the eyes of many.

Haynesworth, for his part, now appears to be a character from the H G Welles’ classic novel ‘The Invisible Man’. If his name comes up any of the Redskins’ stats sheet, then can someone show it to me , please ! It was never about the money was it Albert ? Don’t bullshit me , please ! You say you wanted to play for a successful organization and build further upon their success ? What happened ? The fact of the matter is that the Washington Redskins under their coach, Jim Zorn ,have been totally abysmal . And the team and the organization has lost all confidence in the coaching abilities of Zorn. But what might be more damning ,may well be the fact of the lack of passion shown by the players on the field. Haynesworth ,quarterback, Jason Campbell are front and center. Obviously , they’re all are equally to blame for the abysmal showing of the team. There has no leadership shown from either and Zorn quite simply put, isn’t NFL coaching material. Plainly and simply, the organization has made another one of their several faux pas over the years. Think back to the Steve Spurrier era for the Redskins ? Was he bad or what ?

As I’ve alluded to earlier, it may well have not been about the money but simply wanting to build upon their legacy. But for Albert Haynesworth and T J Houshmanzadeh , the decision made to leave for pastures green, just hasn’t seemed to have worked out at all. It has been a complete and unadulterated mess for both. And it’s hard to see where both can go from here. Up you might say ? But that’d be predicated upon viewing both the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks getting a new lease on life and starting to win and perform better than they are now doing . And based on the evidence as the season has unfolded ,they appear to be a hell of a long way off from where they desire to be. Simply put ,Haynesworth and Houshmanzadeh made a decision about the careers that has been nothing short of being disastrous. Would you agree on that summation ?