The Life You Lead and the Road Less Traveled

The Life You Lead and The Road Less Traveled ….

With the NFL Postseason having come to an and with it being a glorious celebration with the Kansas City Chiefs wining Superbowl LIV . Patrick Mahomes joined a select group of players to have won the Superbowl MVP and League MVP , though not in the same season within a three-year span of having entered the league. Mahomes excelled during the regular season with his play and he truly stepped up to the plate during the postseason .

Patrick Mahomes and his teammates were truly invigorating in their defeat of the San Francisco 49ers . For Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid , this was a tremendous achievement , after his years of trying to reach the pinnacle of the NFL. Reid has now taken two teams to the Superbowl , won two conference titles and multiple division titles with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. From my own perspective , Reid can now take this Chiefs’ franchise to even greater heights than any of his predecessors including the venerable Hank Stram .


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


During this off-season , it will be interesting to see how the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office will deal with the free agents on the roster as well as positioning themselves with regard to the upcoming NFL Draft as well as their positioning with the salary cap . Leigh Steinberg , agent for Patrick Mahomes knows that he can negotiate a revamped deal for his budding NFL superstar , with the chance that Mahomes could very well become among
the highest paid players in the league.

There were several teams who failed miserably over the course of the NFL season , with perhaps none more so than the Cincinnati Bengals . Though some might say the Cleveland Browns were equally abysmal with Baker Mayfield proving how over-hyped the quarterback has been , albeit that he could share the same ignominy of Jamies Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his erratic play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . One thing that is clear , several franchises will be in need of a quarterback for the upcoming season and the likelihood with several veteran free agents on the market , notably Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Philip Rivers , there could be some major changes on the way. Joe Burrow appears to be overall consensus number one overall pick in this upcoming Draft and I seriously doubt that the Bengals’ front office will pass on a player of his caliber , given his play on the national championship winning team of LSU (Tigers) .

In the aftermath of the fallout from the Houston Astros and their spectacular fall from grace , it has to be said that the MLB hierarchy’s handling of the situation was swift and exact . Furthermore , team owner Jim Crane immediately fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow . Crane has moved ahead with the hiring of Dusty Baker to succeed Hinch and the hire of James Click , a former front office executive with the Tampa Bay Rays to succeed Jeff Luhnow . It would appear that the Astros are now in a position to embark on a new chapter within the franchise’s history .

The world of baseball is still in shock , with some of the game’s most prominent players not said to be completely satisfied with the punishment meted out to the Houston Astros’ organization. From my own perspective , I feel that the steps taken by MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred , were more than justified and it sets an example for the rest of the teams within the league as to the dangers of cheating .

If you’ve provided a great deal of success for a team that you have played for ever since your very first game for the franchise , then you would expect to be compensated accordingly. That doesn’t appear to be the case for Mookie Betts , an All Star player for the Boston Red Sox and the ball-club’s most recent recipient of an ALMVP Award . Betts and the Red Sox front office seem to be miles apart in the renegotiation his existing contract which has a year to run and with the player due $27 million for the upcoming 2020 MLB season .

There are said to be at least two interested parties wishing to acquire Mookie Betts , with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres said to be those two leading ball-clubs vying for his services. The Dodgers for their part can offer up several players, while committing themselves to adding Betts’ final year to their already burgeoning payroll and likelihood of committing themselves of being penalized by way of the luxury tax threshold of $200 million if necessary. . It will be interested to see what the Dodgers can achieve with Mookie Betts and David Price , with the news now emanating that the Red Sox have relented and sent these two players westwards to Los Angeles . The Dodgers with these two acquisitions would have to be considered for the NLCS in 2020. with the depth of their roster overall .

With the Opening Day for the MLB season beginning on 26th March , 2020 and it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare through the first month of the season . The Los Angeles Dodgers’ regular season opener will see the team face the San Francisco Giants , their NL West divisional rivals .

It will be hard to suggest which team in the AL can be seen as a viable favorite for the ALCS in 2020. The New York Yankees , Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins were the only three teams to have notched over 100 wins this past season . All three were divisional champions and it will be interesting to see if either can repeat that feat , given the changes made to the respective rosters and payrolls . For the Yankees , their continued to pursuit of a twenty-eighth World Series’ title remains ever present in the minds of their fans as well as the Steinbrenner family as the owners of baseball’s most revered franchise . New York’s last victory in the World Series came by way of the managerial talents of Joe Girardi , as he led them to victory over the Philadelphia Phillies . New York’s manager Aaron Boone and this largely talented team will be looking to guide the franchise to another postseason berth with another title in mind. Their season will begin with a game the Baltimore Orioles , in a contest being played on the road against their AL East divisional rivals.

Aaron Boone will undoubtedly be tested over the course of the season , with the continued impatience among the fans of the New York Yankees. With the team having several All Stars on the roster , these players will have to play to the best of their abilities over the course of this season . The likes of Giancarlo Stanton , among the highest paid player on the team alongside Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge will be looking to have a great season in 2020. Gerrit Cole , the starting pitcher acquired during this off-season will debut for the Yankees , likely leading their starting roster of pitchers. . If Cole is the Opening Day Starter against the Orioles , it will be interesting to see how the player fares against Baltimore .

Is there any chance that Derek Jeter as the newest New York Yankees ‘ Hall of Fame inductee will be able to see the Miami Marlins actually compete this season within the NL East ? It has been several years since the ball-club last played in the postseason and several years since the finished either as a runner-up or division winner within the division.

The Miami Marlins have gone from being franchise with a great farm system to an after-thought and laughing stock around the game of baseball. Not even under the managerial acumen of Don Mattingly and his staff , has the ball-club to achieve anything of note. Suffice to say another sub-par year now awaits the Marlins after their 57-105 record of last season . . This season if nothing else , Jeter and team managing partner , Bruce Sherman will be expecting a great deal out of this team heading into the season. . On assessing the team’s roster and the fact the payroll is among the lowest in the league , something of a trait the ball-club has followed for a number of years . This continues to be the mantra that they’ve followed for several years heading into 2020 . The Marlins’ regular season opener will see the team face the Philadelphia Phillies at home .

We’re heading into the NBA All Star Game which takes place this upcoming week and with the teams having not fared too well at this juncture in the lead-up to this big mid-season event. The Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the league , and the team is the only franchise to have hit the forty victory mark . Current League MVP and captain of the World Stars , when they face the domestic NBA Stars of the league as Giannis Antetokoumnpou will lead that roster of World Stars . Antetokounmpou once again leads the Brewers in offense and has been the focal point of a franchise once again looking to meet expectations . Milwaukee has a mere handful games before the All Star Break , with their next game being against the Philadelphia 76ers , a team which is clearly over-matched in this contest to my mind with their players being nowhere as talented as the Bucks.

With the aftermath and the death of Kobe Bryant , there has been a giant shadow cast over the NBA and specifically the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise , with the organization as well as the fans players alike in a complete state of shock. For Lakers’ premiere players LeBron James and Anthony Davis , it has been a devastating for both All Stars. While I believe that the franchise can overcome this tragedy , it remains to be seen how the players will acquit themselves in the coming months . They are clearly the best team within the Western Conference by a wide margin , but the regular season being what it is . It’s a playoff run which really determines great champions and the players themselves . LeBron James knows this to be true given his playoff record in the NBA. Over their next ten games , it will be interesting to see how the Lakers will fare in those upcoming contests . Their upcoming game against the Golden State Warriors on the 8th February .

If the Los Angeles Lakers are said to be having problems, then one equate the continued problems of the New York Knicks as one of their very own making over the past ten years at least. . The fact that the franchise’s last appearance in the NBA Playoffs took place during the 2012-13 season should tell you all you need to know about the Knicks and their continued dire straits . The team’s roster as it now stands isn’t overly impressive and when compared to the other franchises in the conference and league overall , there’s the feeling that the front office under GM Scott Perry , team owner James L Dolan and the coaching staff of Mike Miller have completely lost their way . Up next for the New York Knicks will be a game against the Detroit Pistons on the road against an Eastern Conference rival . The New York Knicks remains the most valuable franchise in the NBA and among its most profitable , purely based from the fact they’re in the nation’s largest ad-market . Beyond that, there’s nothing remotely significant about the organization and its current destination at this juncture.

What if anything, would you like to see happen in the coming weeks within the world of sports and which recent stories have held your attention the most ?

Tophatal 02/07/2020………….


NFL news …

NFL free agents …

NFL Draft …


NBA news ….

NBA standings division ..

NBA schedule ..

NBA transactions …

MLB news ….

MLB schedule 26th March Opening Day …

MLB transactions ..

MLB team payrolls (2020) ..



Picture gallery alongside narrative.

Tedium, even in the world of sports … no real stories to be found, unless it meets an agenda

Tedium, even in the world of sports … no real stories to be found, unless it meets an agenda

Something of an uneventful weekend in the world of sports , albeit, that the Winter Olympics are being staged in Sochi , Russia , with the US Olympic Team likely to come away from the events’ staging with a slightly less medal haul than anticipated . From my own standpoint the USOC faces a hard time trying the sell the event as something worthwhile for the nation to be engrossed in . Other than the NHL’s hockey stars on parade , no one in particular , is likely to be interested in a number of events being staged, Granted, for “athletes” such as Shani Davis , Shaun White , Lolo Jones , Ted Ligety , Julia Mancuso and Bode Miller their life-long devotion and preparation for these Olympics are to be commended , but five months from now , are we as a whole , really going to remember who won the country’s first gold medal ?


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slideshow .

For NBC , as the sole broadcast partner for the event in the US and their continued ties to the IOC , with such largess , has me asking the question , is the network able to garner any type of meaningful profit the entire broadcast of the Winter Olympics ? I have no doubt, that for the Summer Games , it does become a formidable success for the network , but is now becoming abundantly clear that NBC may well have to look at how it televised the games and the current arrangement they have with the IOC and fees paid to the institution for the broadcast rights . With a mere five days to go before the staging of the games comes to a close , it will certainly be interesting to see how Team USA acquits itself over the remainder of the games’ schedule .

The NFL postseason came to an end with something of a whimper , as the Seattle Seahawks waylaid the ambitions of the Denver Broncos , on their way to a lopsided 43-8 victory over the AFC based franchise. For five-time winning, league MVP , Peyton Manning , this may well have been the quarterback’s last appearance in the NFL’s postseason finale. It is my own believe however , Manning will make return in , as he and his teammates seek to redeem themselves after their embarrassing loss to the Seahawks.

This off-season and we are likely to see Broncos’ team President John Elway , head coach John Fox and the coaching staff seeking to assess the needs of the team before coming to a decision as to the impending status of a number of the roster’s free agents , and their cap-hit to the franchise . It is my opinion in spite of the depreciation in his productivity , running back, Knowshon Moreno is likely to be retained, to give the team that one-two punch we have seen throughout the NFL this past season , as teams around the league seek to bolster the alternatives for their rushing game.

In the buildup to the 2014 NFL Draft , where already there has been a great deal of speculation as to whether or not Jadeveon Clowney , Johnny Manziel , Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater will be taken as the number one pick overall . Clearly a case can be made for either of the four players mentioned , but the decision will be left with Rick Smith , head coach Bill O’Brien and the coaching staff of the Houston Texans . After the team’s struggles this past season, with their injuries and the startling regression in the play of Matt Schaub , it is clear that the franchise needs a new option at the position once and for all , rather than relying on a veteran, whose best years are behind him and certainly not ahead of him, as far as his future is concerned.

Though Matt Schaub is not a free agent until 2017 , his cap hit to the Texans for this upcoming season will be $14.125 million , leaving the team a little more than $2.52 million at this juncture , but his being released would save the franchise a considerable amount , in order to bolster the franchise by way of free agency and the Draft itself. I believe, like another seasoned veteran quarterback, Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles will be amongst a litany of free agent quarterbacks are likely to hit the free agency market , with many of these players likely to find a team as a backup , rather than being a starter. Vick for his part, may well believe that he is still capable to contribute to a team as a starting quarterback , but from my own perspective , he no longer possesses the skill-set to fulfill that role and it was a clear reason why Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly felt that Nick Foles was a far better option at the position , during this past season.

With Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama , as well as Roger Goodell , DeMaurice Smith , actress and gay rights’ activist Ellen Page coming out in support of Michael Sam’s openness as to his sexuality as being a gay athlete. The prospective second or third round draft pick and defensive lineman with the Missouri Tigers is on the cusp of making NFL history as the league’s first openly gay and active player. Social advances being what they are, the NFL still remains in the dark ages , in spite of the ongoing plaudits . As befitting a league, that hides behind veils of secrecy with regards to its business practices the NFL is and will remain homophobic , misogynistic and where racism is seen as a comedic part of its environment ,rather than being frowned upon with disdain. As to it, being part of the locker room workplace , is that not a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of the NFL , that allegedly tries to portray racial diversity as a positive within its league ? Consider the fact that the NFL itself , while its player personnel is made up of more than 73% of its players being of a minority background , the league itself does not have one African-American owner , other than minority stakeholder Reggie Fowler of the Minnesota Vikings. Shahid Khan , owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars , born in Pakistan , but now a naturalized American citizen , is the only other owner of color within the NFL . We already know the makeup of the coaching staffs , with just about every franchise in the league with a minority on their coaching staff , with general managers such Rick Smith , Ozzie Newsome , Ray Farmer , Reggie McKenzie and Martin Mayhew being of color in those executive positions. Amongst the league’s hierarchy working directly under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the only person of note , who appears publicly by way of any issue is Adolpho Birch III , Legal Counsel and a senior adviser to Goodell on labor related issues .

With the findings of Ted Lewis’ alleged in-depth investigation of the Miami Dolphins and the behavior of Richie Incognito and three of his teammates in what was deemed unacceptable and conduct detrimental to the league . It begs the question, of those who are suggesting that this is simply locker room humor and not much more than that . Then can someone explain to me, what is said to comedic about misogyny and being sexually explicit in nature, in wanting to sodomize a teammate’s mother and sister ? Never mind the fact, that Incognito and teammate Mike Pouncey are said to have not only directed sexually offensive barbs at Jonathan Martin , but also to an assistant coach on the Dolphins’ roster . How this all could have escaped Joe Philbin’s attention is either an indication of the lax environment within the Miami Dolphins’ organization and the ongoing incompetence that has been shown by the franchise and the initial idiotic response from team owner , Stephen Ross . As to the fans , somehow trying to excuse this type of behavior, as mere school-boyish behavior , it is time for their dumb ass to grow the ##ck up, use common sense and show some intelligence for once !

Both Incognito , John Jerry and Mike Pouncey have been cut by the franchise , but there are rumblings that newly appointed general manager Dennis Hickey would like to reinstate and retain Pouncey as he is said to have provided the franchise with a great deal of productivity this past season . It simply now begs the question , is Hickey not intelligent enough by even proposing such an action , does he not realize that , this will not resolve the matter and places the franchise within the midst of another maelstrom of ongoing idiocy and incompetency ?

As if the image of the league could not be tarnished any further , Darren Sharper , former player in the NFL , a Superbowl champion with the New Orleans Saints and until recently , an on-air analyst with the NFL Network . Sharper, has since been suspended indefinitely, without pay by the league owned broadcast outlet, until the legal ramifications of his case have been resolved . Darren Sharper has been indicted on three accounts of sexual assault , but it would appear that there are as many as eight other incidents, that are now said to be under investigation , in which the former NFL player is said to be primary suspect in each of the alleged sexual attacks. As to what this says about Sharper’s sexual proclivities , predilection and behavior , once again points to the league’s own ongoing policy in dealing with player misconduct . One of the allegations in question dates back to Sharper’s days as a player in the NFL , and how this all could have escaped the league, may well have been predicated upon pressure being exerted by the player against his victim. The lines have been blurred, with regard to this matter, wherein these incidents, though reported, were never dealt with expeditiously by the law enforcement agencies, when first brought to their attention.

As and when a trial date is set concerning Darren Sharper , one can expect the usual “circus “ to come into being , with the national media , print and television, covering this legal process in its entirety.

The NBA this past weekend, scheduled its festivities, that encapsulates the All Star Weekend . Suffice to say, with outgoing commissioner David Stern stepping down to be succeeded by Adam Silver , a new chapter is about to begin within the league. With some still trying suggest the spectacle as being a fan friendly atmosphere, where the fans and players can mingle, can be viewed with a great deal of credulity . For the players themselves , the segue simply provides them with the opportunity to take a break from a long and arduous eighty-two game regular season schedule , while being handsomely being rewarded by way of bonuses and incentives for simply making the roster within either East or Western Conference. As to the thought that the games themselves are actually competitively or even remotely entertaining , can be viewed by the exertion shown by the participants over the course of the weekend in its entirety . In reality , the All Star Game festivities for the NBA , is no better or worse than the NFL’s self-styled Pro Bowl Game . Need I really say anymore on the matter , other than the fact that this particular NBA All Star game that ended in victory for the Eastern Conference and provided the fans with nothing of any tangible value ?

The trade deadline within the NBA is on the 20th February , with the deadline being 4.00 PM (EST) on Thursday afternoon. It certainly will be interesting to see whether or not the teams vying for a divisional title or playoff berth will seek to bolster their fortunes and that of their rosters , as they seek to play themselves into contention over the remainder of the regular season schedule. One of the more intriguing stories may well be that, of the willingness of New York Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony and his true intentions, as to whether or not he wishes to remain a life-long Knicks’ player or once again seek to move on elsewhere . Such has been the indifference of the team’s season , going from victory to defeat , without ever really being able to out together series of rousing results that would simply be of benefit to the franchise . One can either seek to blame the coaching staff of Mike Woodson , or place the burden of the responsibility of their lackluster season , squarely upon the shoulders of the players .

Whether or not Carmelo Anthony has sought assurances from the Knicks’ hierarchy that they will seek to acquire players in order to make a concerted effort at a playoff berth , is solely dependent upon the communiques emanating from the front office . This much is clear , Mike Woodson is just as much as clueless as the fans of the franchise , as to what the outcome of this saga is likely to be . Neither GM Steve Mills or team owner, James Dolan are prepared to issue a statement at this time . Yet , I cannot help but wonder , how the fans might view this all should the All Star player be traded at the deadline or make it public of his intent to opt out of the final year of his contract ! The only likely winner, in this outcome , will be Carmelo Anthony , himself . The team will resume the second half of their schedule with a game on Wednesday night when they are the guests of the Memphis Grizzlies , who lead their season series 1-0.

As monstrous as the play has been within the Eastern Conference , there are very few positive that one can take out of the season, thus far or at its culmination. We are likely to see seven of the conference’s fifteen teams end the year with a sub . 500 record . It that is not a damning indictment of the state of play not only within East, but also, as it relates to the brand of basketball being played . Then I would like to know what is at this juncture and how the league hierarchy , general managers , owners , coaches and the players themselves consider this to be acceptable to the paying fans who either attend the games or watching from the comfort of their home !

We are, but a week away from the beginning of Spring Training and the beginning of the baseball season . As a die-hard baseball fan , it is the one time of the year I begin to circle dates on my calendar, seeking out which of the Atlanta Braves’ games I am likely to attend on their exhibition schedule . The joy of the regular season in 2013 and the team’s triumph in winning the NL East with effortless ease which had to be tempered by their dismal failure in the wildcard round of the postseason , with their lopsided series’ (3-1) defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers .

Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez and the managerial staff were far too laid back with regard to their approach in the postseason , leading to the team’s abrupt demise. That being said, there are lessons to be learned by the veterans and youngsters on the team as well as the entire coaching staff and organization itself. Complacency leads to mistakes and those mistakes were highlighted in the team’s play, as exhibited in the postseason. Jason Heyward , Evan Gattis , Craig Kimbrell , Justin Upton and elder sibling BJ Upton will now have to lead by example if this team in its current guise is to succeed and make further inroads within regard to their postseason play.

Brian McCann’s departure to join the New York Yankees and the team’s five-year $85 million offer was too good to refuse . It now creates a situation where Gattis, Ryan Doumit , Gerald Laird and Christian Bethancourt , the chance to vie for the catcher’s spot on the roster. A contest, that I believe will be very competitive on all fronts concerning the players in question ! Atlanta will begin their exhibition schedule , with a game against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday 26th February in Lake Buena Vista, Florida . This will be one of the seven contests being staged on the day of what will be the second day of the Spring Training Schedule around Major League Baseball .

In baseball there are few players as greatly appreciated , beloved and celebrated as Hank Aaron , the Hall of Fame great and perhaps the most revered player in Atlanta Braves’ history . Other than, Jackie Robinson , perhaps no other African-American player is more renowned and well-respected within baseball . The octogenarian recently suffered a fall while walking on some slippery ice, breaking his right hip and will undergo hip replacement surgery , in the aftermath of the incident . Aaron now a special consultant with the Braves, as well as being a Senior Vice President could be seen regularly walking in around the offices of the organization, simply showing his appreciation of the work being done by the employees from the senior executives on down, to those working within the clubhouse . The thought that he is unlikely to be at the team’s opening game of their Spring Season schedule, might be somewhat of a disappointment , but hopefully , having undergone the initial part of his physical therapy , he will be available for the Atlanta Braves’ opening home game as part of the regular season opener, which will be played against the Milwaukee Brewers on the 31st March , 2014 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia .

Baseball needs its heroes from the past , because the current generation of players currently within the game , have been a poor example of sportsmanship , much less showing respect for the game , with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, with the league hierarchy being weakened by the unrivaled power of the MLBPA (union) , anything bordering on meaningful legislation being proposed by the league , has been often pushed back , if not completely “watered down “ or negated altogether . Bud Selig and his cast of minions within the league’s headquarters have become cartoon caricatures , with their being little real leadership being shown by the MLB Commissioner or any of his subordinates . With his prolonging the length of stay as the game’s highest ranking executive , it begs the question who is likely to want fill what will still remain a vacuum , in terms of the ongoing leadership hierarchy within the game ? Baseball’s team owners are only interested in reaping the financial rewards that are available , while seeing value of their ball-clubs appreciate substantially over the past few years . Something I believe , was brought on by the sales of both the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers , whose sales combined purchase price , saw the buyers pay out an astonishing $2.924 billion for the two franchises in question !

The expectations will be high this season within baseball , with several teams seen as likely divisional contenders as well for the respective pennants within the AL and NL . For myself , personally, I would like nothing better than to see a competitive season , without their being the continued controversies that have eclipsed the fans’ enjoyment of the game with the ongoing claims of cheating as associated with the use of PED’s . The fans deserve a great deal better from the players , owners , front office executives , but most of all from the custodians of MLB , who remain led by a bumbling stumbling imbecile in Bud Selig , whose departure from the game , cannot come around soon enough ! A February 2014 , retirement now seems to be a thing of the past , as the incumbent led us to originally believe , that he would be stepping aside roughly at the same time as his close friend David Stern . Rumors abound that the commissioner’s departure, might not now, take place, until mid to late 2016. Really, isn’t it enough , that a Presidential electoral cycle will be in full swing without the fans of baseball having to concede , that the search for Selig’s successor may well take precedence over the next buffoon likely to lead the country ?



Picture gallery .

Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter as you see fit .


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(1) Shani Davis of the United States competes during the Men’s 1000m Speed Skating event during day 5 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Adler Arena Skating Center on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images Europe / Quinn Rooney ….

(2) Bobsledder Lolo Jones of the United States visits the set of The Today Show ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Olympic Park on February 3, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. . Getty Images / Scott Halleran …

(3) Snowboarder Shaun White (L) enters the stadium with the United States Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images ….

(4) Denver Broncos’ head coach John Fox is seen here alongside the team’s wide receiver Eric Decker (87) as the Broncos enter unto the field at MetLife Stadium prior to the start of the Superbowl contest against the Seattle Seahawks . Denver would go on to lose that game in a lopsided loss 43-8 . Getty Images/ Stephen Dunn …..

(5) (L-R) Houston Texans Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Cal McNair , head coach Bill O’Brien , General Manager Rick Smith and owner , Bob McNair pose together at a press conference at Reliant Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Scott Halleran ….

(6) Four college players all with the aspiration to be the number one pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft . From left to right , Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel , Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney . In some circles Clowney out of South Carolina is seen as the consensus #1 overall pick and is favored by a number of coaches and NFL scouting analysts . AP Photo / Keith Farmer ……

(7) Mike Sam of the Missouri Tigers , who recently revealed that he is a gay college athlete, has been commended on his stance and his proclamation . Commended by his peers within the college game and within the NFL . It remains to be seen whether or not the player is likely to be drafted as a potential first or second round pick as most believe the defensive lineman will be taken . With the NFL in the midst of a great deal of controversy , encapsulating racism , misogyny and homophobia without the continued hypocrisy of league officials and players themselves, all adding into the mix. The NFL currently has an image problem, socially , that it has no idea how deal with or fix with any degree of success . Matthew Garvey / UPI Inc….

(8) 1/8/14 Owings Mills, Md. — Pictured are from left to right , Baltimore Ravens’ General Manager Ozzie Newsome , team owner Steve Bisciotti’s and head coach John Harbaugh , who were present for the 2012 end of the season review news conference. Newsome is one of six general managers within the NFL of a minority background . Photo by Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun Staff ….

(9) Ignorance can be bliss but being an @sshole might well best suited to pictured duo, Miami Dolphins’ teammates , Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey (61) . Both players have since been released by the organization , with their now being persistent rumors that GM Dennis Hickey may well seek to bring back Pouncey for the upcoming season 2014-15 NFL season . Getty Images / Michael Anderson …..

(10) Darren Sharper is seen here with his attorney Blair Berk of noted Los Angeles’ law firm Tarlow & Berk LLC at the scene of his arraignment having been charged in the rape of three females . @ copyrighted material TMZ Sports all rights reserved

(11) New York Knicks’ team owner , James Dolan , right, is seen where with head coach Mike Woodson . Bearing a record of 20-32 the Knicks currently lay third within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference and 2 1/2 games out of the eighth and final spot within the conference , where the Charlotte Bobcats (23-30) currently hold that final qualifying berth . With Carmelo Anthony being somewhat ambivalent , as to his long-term future and their being no apparent intent from the front office to bolster the team’s roster , there very well could be a major trade in the offing with the departure of the All Star forward . AP Photo / Peter Patterson …..

(12) Feb. 28, 2012- LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez , right, talks with catcher prospect Evan Gattis , left, during the fourth full squad workout at Champion Stadium in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Tuesday morning in Lake Buena Vista, Fl., Feb. 28, 2012. Gattis is seen as the likely successor to Brian McCann as the team’s regular season catcher for the 2014 season , but Gonzalez also has other options at the position. Atlanta Journal Constitution / Jason Getz ….

(13) From left to right BJ Upton . Jason Heyward and Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves . All three players will have to contribute greatly on both sides of the game in terms of offense and defense if the Braves are to fare well over the course of their season as they seek to repeat as NL East divisional champions and make an even deeper run in the postseason . AP Photo Mark Hurst ………

ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 31: Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron looks on prior to the Texas Rangers playing against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Aaron who suffered fracturing his hip , had to undergo hip replacement surgery in the aftermath of the fall and is likely to miss the ball-club’s opening game of their exhibition season as well their regular season home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field , in Atlanta , Georgia ,. Aaron remembered as the player who broke the career home runs’ record held by Babe Ruth , has since seen that mark surpassed by the now retired Barry Bonds , who was passed over this year for induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Photo by Elsa Martinez / Getty Images ….




Like Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook : Tophatal’s Blog


Official Winter Olympics’ website

Team USA


NFL news

NFL transactions

NFL Draft 2014 and mock draft scenarios

NFL transactions (March 2013)

NFL free agents


NBA news and news archived news

NBA schedule important dates

NBA All Star weekend news

NBA schedule

NBA standings by division and by conference

NBA transactions

This month in NBA history


MLB news

MLB schedule important dates

MLB transactions (February)

MLB scheduled games 26th February 2014

This month in MLB history

This day in MLB history 18th February

Which best, suits a crazed professional sports’ franchise owner?

Which best, suits a crazed professional sports’ franchise owner?

I don’t know whether it’s the stupidity of some individuals, but I once read a comment on a sports’ blog website by a patron who suggested that Republicans and specifically Republican leaning businessmen make for better professionals in the world of business . Clearly, this was someone with an axe to grind and an individual who simply overlooked George Bush’s two terms as the President of the United States and his overseeing of the ruination of the US economy . Bush’s successor Barack Obama , has proven to be just as incompetent in that same resolve and seeking to now take credit for initiatives that ere no part of his own creation. That being said, both of these Presidents hold degrees from prestigious academic establishments, probably much to their own disdain as things now stand.

George Bush’s business failings are well chronicled and Barack Obama , shall we say , would rather let his own deeds speak for themselves, by way if his ties to some of the largest financial institutions in the nation, as well as having the support in some circles of several Fortune 500 companies . Yet, this is the very same President, who in his first election cycle, suggested that “fat cat bankers and businessman would be no part of his campaign finance structure” . One only has to look at the makeup of the two administrative cabinets that this President has presided over to see that his statements, are simply a crock of shit.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slideshow .

In the world of professional sports the highest ranking executive of a franchise just happens to be the CEO & Chairman and more often than not the team owner. As the NFL season winds down , we have seen failure of the Houston Texans , with the firing of head coach Gary Kubiak. Team owner , Robert ‘Bob’ McNair thought it best for the fans of the franchise to endure eleven consecutive losses by the team before requesting GM Rick Smith to remove Kubiak from his position as the head. For the remainder of the season , the reins are passed on to Wade Philips who as the interim head coach will guide the Houston Texans through the two remaining games on their schedule. Amongst the leading candidates for the vacancy are said to be former Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith , and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden a , though it remains my firm belief that Gruden is likely to show interest in the vacant coaching position with the Texas Longhorns after Mack Brown’s abrupt resignation , a program that Brown has revamped during his tenure bringing them back to national prominence along with a multi-billion dollar windfall, by way of their joint programming alliance with ESPN.

Personally, I have never been that high on these so-called business entrepreneurs , who are simply attracted to owning a professional sports’ franchise, then treats that entity as a bauble for show , and then loses all sight and the relevant fact, that the entity as such, is about competition and then a consumer brand , and a commodity. The fact that the Texans’ season has spiraled out of control has more to do with Gary Kubiak’s complete lack of addressing the team’s secondary , even with the claims as to the prowess of JJ Watt . Overblown, if the truth be known, given Watt’s tenure in the NFL and the hyperbole created about the player. And while the fans are baying for blood, by way of the lack of leadership and playing ability shown by Matt Schaub this season . Is there really anyone completely surprised with the Texans’ demise , given the fact that in each of the last two seasons , the team has come up short in each of the postseasons in question? Like a deer caught in headlights, the Houston Texans remain their own worst enemy.

On Sunday, in the Texans’ penultimate game of the regular season, they are due to meet their AFC South divisional rivals the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indianapolis, Indiana, in a contest that now becomes pivotal for both teams. The Colts are coming off a rather embarrassing loss, that head coach Chuck Pagano believes was one of the team’s own making. It has to be said, that a victory is now paramount to the Indianapolis Colts’ divisional and postseason aspirations.

In the aftermath of the turmoil within the Texans’ organization, it is becoming a abundantly clear that the shakeup now underway will become even more dramatic, once the postseason has ended . Several notable players on the team’s roster, are likely to be jettisoned, with the franchise likely to rebuild by way of the NFL Draft and through free agency acquisitions. A number of the rookies on the Texans’ roster failed to meet expectations, but in all likelihood , a great deal of that had to do with the poor coaching acumen shown by Gary Kubiak and his staff .

Three of the more prominent owners within the NFL this season, have seen their teams simply perform badly. There is not much more that can be said about the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) , New York Jets (7-7) and the dire Washington Redskins (3-10). Owners Jerry Jones , Woody Johnson and Daniel Snyder , all had envisaged their respective franchises being in a much better position than they currently are. Needless to say, what one presumes and what is reality, are two different things. “America’s Team” , as the Cowboys have been anointed, are no better and no worse than they record currently suggests , but yet the franchise remains the most profitable > and most valuable in the NFL . Much of this has more to do with the business acumen of Jerry Jones and his zeal for making money. Which is a great deal more than what he has striven to achieve on field, by way of the franchise’s lack of success over the past decade.

. Coming off a defeat , that was so harsh and ill-disciplined , in terms of the Cowboys play against the Chicago Bears. The question I have to ask, is why the owner still believes that Jason Garrett remains a competent head coach? At each and every turn where a loss has come to this Dallas’ franchise , Garrett has simply been out-coached by his opposing number and it has to be said that his coaching assistants have not provided much comfort , by way of their lack of coaching aptitude. Not to be left out of this equation either, should be the fact that quarterback, Tony Romo , whose current contract is likely to be more of a lead weight than it is likely to be a worthy reward, given the fact that he remains one of the most overrated players in the NFL and amongst his current peers at the position . Each loss and the sound bite continues to remain the same in terms of the player’s response, which to my mind has always indicated his lack of leadership pedigree. Unfortunately, the owner and Hall of Fame inductee Roger Staubach still believe Romo can lead this team to a Superbowl victory. Romo’s postseason forays would suggest otherwise. With Dallas playing host to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon, that contest is likely to have a bearing on both of the franchises’ respective seasons.

Would it be correct, to suggest that New York Jets’ GM John Idzik is giving head coach Rex Ryan just about enough rope to hang himself with this season? The Jets’ ineptitude this year has been far more unbelievable than anything that actually transpired during 2012 , concerning the Tim Tebow drama and whether or not Mark Sanchez was still able to play at the highest caliber . With rookie Geno Smith supplanting Sanchez in the starting quarterback position , the rookie for the most part has simply shown that he is not yet an NFL caliber starting quarterback . Errant plays and a propensity to throw interceptions and fumbles have epitomized Smith’s play for much of the season. Never mind the fact, defensively , the Jets remain an eyesore that not everyone would like to see. If you thought that was the only issue to befall this team, then think again , as the offense has in large part become just as incompetent as the secondary.

When the New York Jets travel to North Carolina to take on the Carolina Panthers , a team who will be chomping at the bit after being dissected with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel in their loss to the New York Saints in week fourteen. I get the impression that the retribution that the Panthers are hoping to lay on their AFC opponent is likely to be swift and exact, if Cam Newton is back to on track with the form that he has displayed throughout much of this season ! At this juncture , I do believe that Rex Ryan’s time with the Jets’ franchise is about to come to a close ! It would make no sense, for the organization to retain a coach who last control of a team, and one in, where the players themselves, actually show no confidence their coach’s ability.

Jets’ owner Woody Johnson has remained circumspect , but for all of the fallout that has taken place , his behavior last season was that of a petulant child looking to apportion blame elsewhere because he says he was forced into acquiring Tim Tebow. Last I looked , Johnson was the owner of this franchise, and he in conjunction with then GM Mike Tannenbaum agreed to a trade, that simply blew up in the franchise’s face, because neither Rex Ryan or his offensive coordinator Tony Sparano , knew how best to utilize a player who was simply of limited ability.

The furor now surrounding what has now become an improbable and lamentable season for the Washington Redskins, can be best summed up by what appears to be the deteriorating relationship between Mike Shanahan and his quarterback Robert Griffin III and what is now likely to be Shanahan’s own coziness the Redskins’ billionaire owner Dan Snyder. The fans have now grown tired of the coach’s week to week indecisiveness and lack direction for the franchise from a competitive standpoint. The coach’s demotion of Griffin to become the third string backup behind Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman , is either meant to be a slap in the face for the sophomore quarterback , or simply Shanahan’s way of forcing both GM Bruce Allen and Snyder to terminate his contract and buy him out for the remaining $7 million salary due in 2014. If Mike Shanahan is now trying to convince the fans in general, that he believes that Rex Grossman gives the Redskins the best opportunity to win, were Cousins to be injured during the team’s upcoming game against the lamentable Atlanta Falcons . Then clearly, there has to be off kilter, with the head coach’s thinking . Grossman’s last game as a starter in the NFL, was more than fourteen months ago, which resulted in a loss for the franchise .

Dan Snyder, his considerable wealth could probably “write off” a $7 million loss and think nothing off it , given the franchise’s value and profitability . Yet, what does that indicate about this owner , whose penchant for overspending on vastly inferior talent as well as coaches has made him one of the more comical and perhaps the most ridiculed NFL owner, with the exception of Jerry Jones . It would be perhaps in the franchise’s best interest, to have a turnstile placed instead of a door, leading to the office of the next head coach , because in all likelihood his tenure is likely to be short-lived.

James Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks continues to preside over a franchise that simply has under-achieved over the past decade , even with a battalion of head coaches having come and gone during that time-span. Who can forget those wondrous years of ineptitude as Isiah Thomas presided over the franchise as Head of Basketball Operations and also as a head coach ? If that was not bad enough , having made the postseason in 2012, the Knicks led by Carmelo Anthony simply fell short , which in many respects should not have come as a surprise given the team’s unwillingness to play an iota of defense. Knicks’ fans remain delusional and as usual, their observations concerning the team , bears upon whose the next marquee talent that they are able to sign to complement the talents of Carmelo Anthony. If as first reported, that Anthony was indeed considering opting out of his contract to test the “free agency market” in 2014 . One could imagine, the jolt that this would be for what in effect has been a languid franchise.

A four point 86-90 loss to a revamped Boston Celtic’ ….. roster indicates further how much the New York Knicks have regressed, to the point where it has become extremely difficult to see what opportunities are likely to arise, where the team is likely to play itself into playoff contention . A languid defense and with only Carmelo Anthony, providing any type real offense for the franchise this season , troubles definitely lay ahead for the ball-club. You simply get the feeling that this Mike Woodson coached team is going through the motions just for the sake of it. Next up for the Knicks will be their hosting of the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden , in New York City, New York , on Saturday night in an Eastern Conference contest match-up.

At 6-16 , this record has the New York Knicks firmly rooted at the bottom of the conference and they are in exactly the same position within the Atlantic Division . Needless to say, Knicks’ fans will argue, that it is still early in the season and in no way actually represents what it is likely to happen by late January . My question for those fans, if the team is now playing so badly , what indications are there that things are liable to get better , or who on the roster is a worthy trade bait , that is likely to induce worthwhile trade of equal value ? Amare Stoudemire’s contract, makes such a move mute, because no team has a wish to burden itself with an unproductive center/ power forward . The Knicks penchant to simply overpay for mediocre talent is emblematic of everything that is wrong with the NBA , but it has been this franchise and its New York neighbor the Brooklyn Nets , that has now become the personification of this idiocy ! David Stern has no solution for this mind-boggling stupidity and fans suggesting that a team willing to overpay in order to put the best product available on the floor, have yet to grasp the fact that teams now exceeding the league’s salary cap ($58.679 million) are now being penalized more than ever before.

Nets’ GM Billy King and Steve Mills have been entrusted to sort a mess of their respective franchises’ own making. Meanwhile, Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan are still being lauded as astute businessmen and professional sports’ owners. The sad fact is, both of these NBA franchise owners actually represent what is actually wrong with the NBA in terms of its financial template and David Stern’s never-ending web of deceit and lies, that the league’s franchises are in a healthy position .

No bad blood really , as the New York Yankees simply allowed Robinson Cano to depart as a free agent , with his agent Jay-z being able to negotiate a multi-year deal that will pay Cano $240 million over the next ten years . As the recipient of the Seattle Mariners’ largess , this now has me wondering what the player hopes to achieve with a franchise that this past season was barely competitive within its own division the AL West , much less within MLB as a whole !

Whatever transactions are now being made by GM Jack Zduriencik to fortify the Mariners’ roster will not be not enough to make the team competitive enough to compete within its division much less the rest of baseball. That was clearly evident last season with Seattle’s 71-91 record within the AL which was good enough for third place within the division and amongst the naysayers within the AL this past season . Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge can only hope that Cano provides the Seattle Mariners the type of offense it so seeks, in order to challenge the likes of the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics within the AL West. Senior Managing partner Howard Lincoln and the rest of the Mariners’ Board of Directors have simply been negligent in their custodianship of this ball-club. The franchise’s record over the past eight years reflects that fact and their lack of postseason activity during that time-frame.

Robinson Cano may well have felt slighted in the fact that the New York Yankees did not resign him to the long-term deal sought and the reputed $300 million said to have been requested via his agent. Yet , in many respects the moves since made by Cano’s former team now smacks of desperation , flights of fancy , but above all the real fact that GM Brian Cashman knows that the cupboard is bare in terms of the farm system and there is not a player that he or Joe Girardi believes is ready and capable of supplanting the players that have since departed from the roster during the off-season. New York remains in a circling pattern, hovering in the clouds, while the Steinbrenner family under the auspices of Hal Steinbrenner seeks to resolve many of the franchise’s off the field issues. The biggest most pressing of which, remains the unresolved situation concerning third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Weakness within the Yankees’ front office and a complete lack of leadership is now one of the numerous things that have now befallen this franchise and I sincerely believe that it is likely to get a great deal worse, before we see a gradual turnaround in the fortunes of the franchise !



Picture gallery .

Your thoughts, as to the points raised within this ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site!


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(1) Presidents Barack Obama , left and his predecessor George W Bush . History is likely to treat both of these statesmen differently, in terms of their legacies and accomplishments. Yet it cannot be denied, that each had a profound effect on this country for several reasons . AP Photo / Angus Frye …..

(2) Former Houston Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak speaks to quarterback Matt Schaub (8) during a game . The Houston Texans (2-11) have lost eleven consecutive games this season and are likely to end up with the worst record in the NFL this year , putting them in a position to take the number one pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft . Matt Schaub is unlikely to return to the franchise where he made his debut for the franchise in 2007 in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs . The quarterback was drafted in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Getty Images / Harry How …

(3) ASHBURN VA-JANUARY 13: L to R: Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder chats with his new head coach Mike Shanahan after watching offensive line coach Joe Bugel announced his retirement from 32 years in NFL football today at Redskins Park in Ashburn VA January 13, 2010. Shanahan after an indifferent season finds himself in the midst of a maelstrom of criticism for his decision to sit starting quarterback Robert Griffin as the team prepares to face the Atlanta Falcons. Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images …

(4) New York Knicks owner James Dolan, right, is seen here with the team’s head coach Mike Woodson . With the team faltering , the rumors have began to swirl that the owner will seek some drastic changes and has ordered GM Steve Mills to assess the underlying problems now facing the franchise. AP Photo/ Michael Walsh ….

(5) The Seattle Mariners’ newest acquisition , first baseman Robinson Cano who signed a ten-year $240 million deal with the Seattle-based franchise . Meanwhile, Cano’s former team the New York Yankees have been quick to seek a replacement, with the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year $153 million contract . Leaving the podium with the player is Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik. AP Photo / Tip Wills …..



tophatal ….


NFL news

NFL schedule week fifteen

NFL team injuries

NFL standings divisional

NFL standings (conference)

NFL Playoff picture

This date in NFL history


NBA news

NBA transactions

NBA standings (record)

NBA standing (conference)

NBA results (13th December)

NBA schedule 14th December 2013

NBA schedule 15th December

This date in NBA history


MLB press releases

MLB transactions

This week in MLB history

This date in MLB history ( 14th December & 15th December)


They’re just swapping saliva that’s all .


“Rehab “

By Tophatal

I don’t like to lend money to friends , or family , unless it’s of the utmost urgency ! However , with that in mind I find it less than sobering to see that once again the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season home opener will be unable to sell out their game against divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers . With a new head coach , coaching staff and several free agents signed in the off-season to coincide with the franchise’s draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft . One would have thought that this would have piqued the interest of the fans within the locale . Instead , it has been a hard sell , ineffectively being marketed by the Buccaneers’ Sales and Marketing Department . The television ads have been mundane, without creativity and likewise within the print and radio areas, as well . I’m sorry , but whoever is leading this exercise on behalf of the Buccaneers needs to be relinquished of that position , immediately , and done so , without any compensation !


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show.

Greg Schiano , in his first season as a head coach has an arduous and bold task ahead of him . All of the bravado cannot hide the fact that he will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed. His situation might may well have been impeded by the fact that with the franchise such a big splash in the off-season signing Vincent Jackson , one of most desired and sought after free agents in 2012 . Team GM Mark Dominik for his part , has been quick to sell the attributes of his new head coach and the fact that he brings the much-needed discipline not witnessed from this team in 2011. It remains to be seen what is brought to the table by Schiano and the team in its current guise prior to the their season unfolding .

Now one could be decidedly critical of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and specifically , of the Glazer family . However, to my mind , we have repeatedly seen such instances where the ownership have simply stood pat , rather than trying to lure the fans to attend games at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . Of the Buccaneers’ last seventeen regular season home games , 15 have been blacked out , due to the fact that franchise has been unable to sell the required allotment of tickets in avoid a league mandated blackout within the local television market. Also herein, we have had the idiocy of a member of the Florida state legislature trying to force the NFL to change its policy concerning this issue . I have always maintained that when you have a governmental agency intruding upon the commercial activity of any corporate enterprise , when their actions are not warranted , then no good can come from it all . This is not a legal matter but yet a state legislator with far more acute to deal within the state makes an ass himself within this area. Then again, this is Florida, where common sense simply and intelligence amongst its state legislature do not go hand in hand.

The Buccaneers for the present has a cordial relationship with the Tampa Sports Authority , owners of Raymond James Stadium, and the lessor of the venue to the franchise for their scheduled home games. That agency is a conduit for the Hillsborough County Government .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the only NFL franchise to find themselves in such a position but unfortunately their situation is unlike any other , merely because of the longevity relating to the number of regular season blacked out games . And if I were to tell you that this Central Florida franchise is one of the most valuable teams within the league , then I believe it certainly makes this scenario all the more improbable . It would be remiss to suggest that Avram Glazer , COO, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be magnanimous and philanthropic by offering several thousand tickets at a discounted price to the fans but this exercise has been executed before . One could point to the fact that Central Florida is in the midst of an economic downturn not seen in over seven years. High unemployment, a malaise within the community, and not much ingenuity being shown by the local politicians by way of creating an environment that invigorates the business environment, and leads to an upswing in employment.

As to the divisional match-up , this game has the makings of what will be something of an offensive minded collision of two teams . Throw in the fact that the two opposing quarterbacks in Cam Newton fresh off his record-breaking season , and Josh Freeman , who will be looking to improve their statistical marks of 2011 .

Coming off a 4-12 season in 2011, it is easy to understand why the front office decided to head in a new direction , with the firing of Raheem Morris as the as the Buccaneers’ head coach. The team was decidedly lackluster and we witnessed the regression of Josh Freeman throughout the entire Buccaneers’ schedule and that of the team as a whole . Ill-disciplined , a lack of accountability , and no leadership from any of the veterans on the roster , clearly indicated that the team was heading in the wrong direction. A great deal more is expected of Freeman this season , with the player being given an array of options offense , with Vincent Jackson , LeGarrette Blount and rookie full-back —- Doug Wilson . However, Greg Schiano will undoubtedly, be looking to see more from his revamped defense . Mason Foster, Gerald McCoy and Mark Barron will be asked to make sizeable contributions to a defense that ranked amongst the worst in the NFC and the league as a whole last season.

Of all the games in week one of the NFL season openers , perhaps the most eagerly anticipated, might be the return of Peyton Manning as he leads the Denver Broncos in their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers . In the aftermath of last season’s wildcard round of the NFL Playoffs , when the Steelers were subjected to a rather humiliating loss to the Broncos , who were led at the time by Tim Tebow . It has to be said, that the defeat left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Steelers’ players and the abrupt end to their postseason foray in 2011 .

In what was a career defining moment for Tebow, in many ways was also a sign that the player while undoubtedly not lacking in heart , as he left a lot to be desired as a quarterback in the NFL . In the off-season , John Elway , Head of Operations for the Denver Broncos, made the decision that the franchise needed a veteran quarterback to lead the team. With four-time league MVP Peyton Manning available, after being cut by the Indianapolis Colts , it seemed only natural that Elway would pursue the former Colts’ quarterback. With Manning now firmly entrenched as part of head coach’s John Fox’s offense , the player also becomes a quasi on-field offensive coordinator , thereby further assisting the offensive mindset of Fox’s coaching staff.

Manning’s acquisition made for a great story during the off-season and then when you add in the fact , that his younger sibling Eli Manning led the New York Giants to their second —- Superbowl in five years . Then you can understand the numerous reasons why Peyton Manning seeks to reassert himself as the top quarterback in the NFL. In what amounts to be a division that a number of fans believe to be a foregone conclusion , there is the belief that the Broncos will stroll through the AFC West with consummate ease . The Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, would like nothing better than to rewrite the script, to add their own ending to the plot-line that’s said to have been scripted. An 8-8 mark in 2011, garnered the Broncos the division and a berth in the postseason of 2011. I don’t believe that such a mark will be conclusive enough to repeat that feat but I could very well be wrong in that assumption ! The Broncos’ regular season meetings against the Chargers , Chiefs and Raiders , could very well provide us with the premise that we seek.

The opposing quarterback in this game will be two-time Superbowl winner Ben Roethlisberger . Coming off a 12-4 season in 2011 , having finished second within the AFC North to the Baltimore Ravens . Mike Tomlin and his players will this season seek to reassert themselves not only within the AFC but also within the NFL. With several nicked up players, the injury bug seems to have caught up to the Steelers’ aging core of veterans on the roster. However, with the departures and free agency acquisitions , alongside what has been determined to be a very good Steelers’ draft class of 2012. The thinking has to be, that Tomlin and the coaching staff will be well served by this unit, as they march forward this season.

the loss of Bruce Arians as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator has led to some discord between Roethlisberger and Arians’ successor Todd Haley . Haley has sought more of a run-first offense , whereas the quarterback was quite happy with Arians’ playbook of the passing option for the majority of the Steelers’ plays. This season and it remains a work in progress for Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates in adapting to Todd Haley’s offensive playbook. Mike Tomlin has made it clear he wants his offense clicking on all cylinders as the their season takes shape. The first signs where he will be able to gauge its success will be the game against the Indianapolis Colts’ defense.



Picture gallery .

Week one of the regular season , which games of the regular season do you believe will be the most anticipated ? Also in light of the repeated problems facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being unable to sellout a number of their regular season home games , is it your opinion that the team ownership should bear the burden of making sure that those unsold tickets be purchased by club ? Or do you believe that the NFL should be doing more to assist the franchises in meeting that goal ? Do take this opportunity to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter.


Picture and slide show details below.

(1) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson looks for yardage during their NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(2) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano watches from the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Josh Freeman (5) throws for a first down in the first half against the New England Patriots during their NFL preseason football game in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin …

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik in his third year as the front office executive of the organization is presiding over the revamping of the team , with a new head coach acquisitions and draft picks by franchise in 2012. AP/ Getty Images / Nolan Turner …

(5) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) avoids a tackle by New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin (51) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game , Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(6) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, left, reacts to a call against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(7) Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) goes over plays with teammates Adam Weber (2) and Brock Osweiler during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(8) FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2012, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Denver. No need to ask Steelers coach Mike Tomlin if Peyton Manning is back. As far as Tomlin is concerned, the Broncos quarterback never left. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …..

(9) Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) rushes as Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams (92) and Daryl Washington (58) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Matt York …..

(10) Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger throws under pressure from Buffalo Bills’ Nick Barnett (50) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ………


NB : Read more NFL pieces within this site @ Tophatal’s Blog category NFL


NFL news and news from around the league

NFL schedule week 1 & NFL results week 1

NFL standings by division & NFL standings by conference

2012 NFL Draft


Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ news

Tampa Bay Buccaneers profile

Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster

Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 draft picks

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

Rihanna …. Feat’g Justin Timberlake …… Rehab “


A unique perspective into the EPL and Flamenguista Futebol

The LR Zone

News and the Best Hidden gems of the internet

Sports Chump

It's This Brit's Wit That Counts ......Sports & Other Topics ...Take It Or Leave It .............

Blended Entertainment

Your Source For All Entertainment: Your Questions...Their Answers

Following Brielle Around Town


Tophatal's Blog

It's This Brit's Wit That Counts ......Sports & Other Topics ...Take It Or Leave It .............

Baseball Bliss

If you hella love baseball, you've found your bliss!

The Wife Hates Sports

Dedicated to Those Armchair Quarterbacks Whose Wife Has the Remote


NBA and College Basketball News


sports, sarcasm, scotch

According to Megan

Megan Elizabeth News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: