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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Picture and slide show details below

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of CBCSports.ca

Goodell says bargaining with players ‘beneficial’

Sunday session was first formal talk since November

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of USA Today


Madoff lawsuit: Mets owners owe victims $300 million

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

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

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

PICARD vs Mets : Read the complaint

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details .

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

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

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

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

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

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

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……….

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C Black

Eye candy ……………………. Courtney Black

Courtney 2

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

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Ashanti ……….. ‘Rain On Me’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………..
01/28/11

NB: Suggested links below for your perusal

NFL news …………………

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers’ front office ….

Steelers’ team roster

Steelers’ 2010 schedule

Head coach Mike Tomlin

Assistant coaches

Team stats ………

Steelers’ news

Green Bay Packers

Packers’ front office …..

Packers’ team roster

Packers’ 2010 schedule ..

Head coach Mike McCarthy

Assistant coaches

Team stats ……….

Packers’ news …

Superbowl history

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Dania R

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

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Hailie comes courtesy of King Magazine

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T- Pain ………………… “I’m In Love With A Stripper”

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