Hell , you know me ! There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough!

Hell , you know me ! There comes a time when you have to say enough is enough!

By Tophatal

We are but a month away from the 2013 NFL Draft , and already there is a great deal of speculation unraveling, as to who that first player, to be taken, will be . In seasons past , that number one overall choice has either had an outstanding career, or somehow fallen into oblivion , never to be heard from again . From afar, as a fan of the NFL , this is the one time of the year that I choose not to take any notice as to how the draft unfolds ! I am of the belief that the players chosen , will either live up to the perceived expectations or they will simply fall by the wayside , because of their lack of physical ability and mental toughness .

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In 2012 , it was the year of the rookie quarterbacks , by way of the excellent play witnessed and the leadership qualities shown by quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck . Luck and Griffin, taken numbers one and two respectively , by the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins , would go on to lead their teams to respectable showings in the divisional standings , as well as garnering a playoff berth for each franchise . Unfortunately, during the playoffs , both teams would indeed have early exits , with the Redskins falling to the Seattle Seahawks , and the Indianapolis Colts succumbing to the Baltimore Ravens , the eventual Superbowl champions .

This upcoming Draft , inasmuch as there is said to be a great deal of talent among the players declaring their eligibility . I truly believe that the talent level that many believe there is said to be , is not actually there , in any great depth ! Granted, the so-called “draft geeks “ and analysts will espouse the virtues of Geno Smith , Matt Barkley , Luke Joeckel and Alec Ogletree . More often than not , there is rarely a sure-fire bet or hit , that will be that impactful . However, a case could be made that last season Luck and Griffin proved that the 2012 draft class , particularly for the quarterbacks , might well have been the best NFL has witnessed in the past fifteen years .

This upcoming Draft , inasmuch as there is said to be a great deal of talent among the players declaring their eligibility . I truly believe that the talent level that many believe there is said to be , is not actually there , in any great depth ! Granted, the so-called “draft geeks “ and analysts will espouse the virtues of Geno Smith , Matt Barkley , Luke Joeckel and Alec Ogletree . More often than not , there is rarely a sure-fire bet or hit , that will be that impactful . However, a case could be made that last season Luck and Griffin proved that the 2012 draft class , particularly for the quarterbacks , might well have been the best NFL has witnessed in the past fifteen years .

Of course, it will be interesting to see how both of these sophomores will progress as the 2013 regular season beckons and what we might expect from both quarterbacks , as they become further acclimatized to the rigors of playing in the NFL . I certainly believe that with the moves made by the Colts , in particular , they are likely to prove to be a major contender for the AFC South and quite possibly a major force to be reckoned with , within the conference overall !

With the NFC East always being something of a conundrum , merely because of the preponderance of idiocy that simply overwhelms those who espouse to the fact that the Dallas Cowboys will always be a force to be reckoned with . The truth of the matter remains , the team , while Jerry Jones sits atop of his throne , the franchise will be nothing more than a mere laughing-stock , lacking in leadership , accountability at an any level , on or off the field of play. And, with the team’s overrated quarterback , Tony Romo being overpaid , while continuing to make excuses for his and the team’s perennially poor play . It were as if , flies are being genuinely attracted to fecal matter , each and very time I read a piece subscribing to the fact, that Romo is a great regular season player , while clearly being unable to lead the team to the necessary heights in the regular and postseason . Tony Romo, is only great, in brief spurts , of two or three games at a time , beyond that , he is not a player that can be can be consistently be relied upon, to lead a team to any length , of real tangible achievement or success . A fact that , seems to be lost, on the vast majority of the analysts who cover the game , and who are paid handsomely, for their opinions . Unfortunately, we also have a clueless batch of individuals within this forum, who will continue to be of the same mindset ! Stupid is , as stupid does !

It goes without saying that Jason Garrett and his coaching staff will this season , remain the focus of attention from around the NFL. The Cowboys’ failings, in 2012 , was self-evident in a wide range of categories , from their defense to their sputtering offense . Pardon me for saying this , with the Cowboys’ firing of Rob Ryan as the team’s defensive coordinator , to be replaced by an aging Monte Kiffin , whose two years assisting his son Lane Kiffin in a similar capacity with the Pac 12’s USC Trojans , to my mind has to be considered an asinine decision , especially when you take into account , that during that time-span ! The Trojans were never ranked in the nation’s top twenty-five , in any meaningful defensive category. Clearly , a case of the blind , leading the blind within the Cowboys’ front office at the timing of that particular decision !

I believe that a case can be made that the winning of a Heisman Trophy , no matter how prestigious the award might be , can be a claim that as the nation’s best collegiate player , is by any measure a guarantee of success . Yes, last season, Robert Griffin III excelled for the Washington Redskins , but the 2011 Heisman Trophy claimant did have his issues in spite of the team’s extraordinary season. With 2012 winner , Johnny Manziel remaining in college quite possibly for one or two more seasons in order to hone his game with the Texas A&M (Aggies) . It has to be said that Manziel may well have made the best possible decision. Countering that , are the following two quarterbacks , who might now be viewed as perhaps under-achieving journeymen around the NFL. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart , now find themselves at a crossroads in their respective careers . Both achieved a great deal of success at the collegiate level , and each were afforded college football’s highest individual honor, by being named a Heisman Trophy recipient and award winner. Both, were players at USC (Trojans) , under what was thought to be the capable hands of then head coach , Pete Carroll and a program said to be above reproach. In the subsequent years, since their departure , and Carroll’s own jump to the professional ranks , I believe that we can attest to the fact that the coach’s tenure, was rife with sordid improprieties , that he and then AD , Mike Garrett simply chose to ignore and sweep under the carpet.

I believe that a case can be made that the winning of a Heisman Trophy , no matter how prestigious the award might be , can be a claim that as the nation’s best collegiate player , is by any measure a guarantee of success . Yes, last season, Robert Griffin III excelled for the Washington Redskins , but the 2011 Heisman Trophy claimant did have his issues in spite of the team’s extraordinary season. With 2012 winner , Johnny Manziel remaining in college quite possibly for one or two more seasons in order to hone his game with the Texas A&M (Aggies) . It has to be said that Manziel may well have made the best possible decision. Countering that , are the following two quarterbacks , who might now be viewed as perhaps under-achieving journeymen around the NFL. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart , now find themselves at a crossroads in their respective careers . Both achieved a great deal of success at the collegiate level , and each were afforded college football’s highest individual honor, by being named a Heisman Trophy recipient and award winner. Both, were players at USC (Trojans) , under what was thought to be the capable hands of then head coach , Pete Carroll and a program said to be above reproach. In the subsequent years, since their departure , and Carroll’s own jump to the professional ranks , I believe that we can attest to the fact that the coach’s tenure, was rife with sordid improprieties , that he and then AD , Mike Garrett simply chose to ignore and sweep under the carpet.

Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart spent 2012 , laboring with the rather mediocre and self-aggrandizing Oakland Raiders , who over the last decade , have become the poster child , in how not to run an NFL franchise , but how to systematically ruin one, on a competitive and economic front . Albeit , that even being close proximity to one of the nation’s largest media markets , somehow the Raiders’ front office led by team owner , Mark Davis and GM , Reggie McKenzie , continue to make complete fools of themselves , with their remarkable consistency for making some of the most unbelievably ridiculous personnel decisions encapsulating the franchise . With the revenue streams afforded the Oakland Raiders , theirs as a franchise , should not be one , that is said to be losing tens of millions of dollars annually . Yet , somehow the incompetency of the front office does bear this out . Needless to say , with the incompetence being shown off the field , last season and 2011 , simply mirrored “ how far this franchise “ has fallen over the past decade .

With it now being apparent, that Palmer was not the player whom McKenzie felt could lead the team , after a very sporadic 2012 season . There now seems to be little interest by the general manager and owner , to supplant 2002 Heisman Trophy recipient and number one overall pick from the 2003 NFL Draft , with either his backup , Matt Leinart , or another troubled enfant-terrible , in Terrell Pryor . Albeit , that there were signs of intuitive play on the part of the former Buckeye starting quarterback. Carson Palmer has refused to take a pay cut or simply reconstruct his contact favorably , affording the Raiders some cap space . Reggie McKenzie has not exactly gone out of his way to endorse Pryor as the team’s future , as the Raider’s starting quarterback. It now seems likely , that the ten-year veteran , Palmer , will be cut and tossed unto the scrap heap , or quite possibly McKenzie might well seek out any opportunistic franchise , seeking to make a trade for the seasoned veteran.

With the Raiders due to take the third overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft , it seems highly unlikely that there is a need to trade down or up for the franchise . However , what will be needed by Dennis Allen and the organization’s scouting staff , will due diligence being used as it relates to the choices to be made . I am not so sure a quarterback is of the utmost priority for the franchise , as there are gaping wholes that need to be addressed over the team’s entire lineup . How the staff deals with those adversities, will very much be an indicator , as to what we should expect in 2013 , from the organization as a whole .

From a national champion title holder , to an “ overnight bust” , this is certainly how one could best describe Vince Young’s career at the collegiate level and then within the NFL . Never mind that in the wake of it all , the player has squandered the millions earned , having filed for personal bankruptcy, and now in the midst of seeking to make a comeback to the professional ranks . Given the player’s proclivity for being immature , oafish , disdainful of his teammates and simply ignorant of the fact that a coach seeks to guide him , as to how best to fulfill his career goals . I am not so sure, that it would be in an NFL franchises’ best interest to even remotely entertain the idea of giving Young a tryout ! . That being said , it would not surprise me if that perfunctory asshole and Tennessee Titans’ owner , Ken “Bud” Adams , sought to welcome Young , back with open arms . It was Adams’ intransigence and downright stupidity that led to Jeff Fisher’s departure , after the owner sought to side with the often troublesome former NFL player , rather than his well-respected head coach . The aftermath of it all, Young would soon be jettisoned by the franchise , as his play simply deteriorated .

From a national champion title holder , to an “ overnight bust” , this is certainly how one could best describe Vince Young’s career at the collegiate level and then within the NFL . Never mind that in the wake of it all , the player has squandered the millions earned , having filed for personal bankruptcy, and now in the midst of seeking to make a comeback to the professional ranks . Given the player’s proclivity for being immature , oafish , disdainful of his teammates and simply ignorant of the fact that a coach seeks to guide him , as to how best to fulfill his career goals . I am not so sure, that it would be in an NFL franchises’ best interest to even remotely entertain the idea of giving Young a tryout ! . That being said , it would not surprise me if that perfunctory asshole and Tennessee Titans’ owner , Ken “Bud” Adams , sought to welcome Young , back with open arms . It was Adams’ intransigence and downright stupidity that led to Jeff Fisher’s departure , after the owner sought to side with the often troublesome former NFL player , rather than his well-respected head coach . The aftermath of it all, Young would soon be jettisoned by the franchise , as his play simply deteriorated .

With there soon to be an abundance of free agent quarterbacks on the “open market” , Vince Young’s task will become all the more difficult , even with his less than impressive workout at the Longhorns’ Pro Day on the university’s campus playing field . He may well catch on , with an NFL team , either as a third string starter or as part of a practice squad, because I no longer believe that he has the play-making ability or the mental psyche to be a successful quarterback in the NFL ! All of the promise shown at the collegiate level , seem all for nothing , given the years wasted by Young , as he simply became a boorish oaf ! Win some ,and you lose some ! Vince Young has been nothing but a loser , since his entry into the NFL !

The more things change , at times , it is in fact the more they remain the same . Sideshow , performing animals , comical clowns and a high wire and trapeze act could best sum up the New York Jets’ diabolical season . A clueless owner , in Woody Johnson , a coaching staff simply devoid of creativity and intelligence , all of which was led by the self-absorbed Rex Ryan . And the reason why I categorically state that the Jets’ owner is simply clueless ! When you seek to apportion blame upon others, when you have the final decision as an owner on all personnel decisions , and you were said to be indifferent to the signing of a player. It indicates to me , that you are either an idiot , or simply willing to listen to others when their own decision-making has repeatedly come into question.

During this off-season , Woody Johnson bitched and whined that he was pressured into giving the final OK , in the trade that brought Tim Tebow over from the Denver Broncos , to the New York Jets . Heralded by the print media within the “Big Apple ” as a thing of “genius” , the acquisition would prove to be the Jets’ undoing and hoisting even more ridicule not only on the franchise but also upon the now stunted shoulders of the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner . See where I am going with this all , as it relates to the aforementioned winners of this accolade who have simply done nothing of merit in the NFL ?

With the Jets’ front office, now seemingly more unsure than ever before , as to whom is best suited to lead the team at the quarterback position , speculation mounted during the off-season that the organization would simply jettison their starter, Mark Sanchez , after his rather dubious forays of 2012 . With the franchise now having acquired ten-year journeyman and veteran David Garrard . It kind of makes you wonder, what other rabbits Rex Ryan will now seek to pull out of his top hat , while seeking to create the illusion and perception that the Jets are now progressing in the right direction . Suffice to say, anyone who feels that Garrard can provide the roster of quarterbacks already on this team with further competition , having seen the veteran quarterback’s play in recent seasons , has either got to be on prescribed medication or under the delusions of grandeur.

With the tempering rumors, that the Jets may well use their Pro Bowl corner-back , Darrelle Revis , as a form of trade bait to move up in the NFL Draft order , a great many things are now certain to come into play , as it relates to the franchise and the player .

In the midst of this all, Tim Tebow’s future remains uncertain with the New York Jets . A homecoming of sorts , is already out of the question , with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ management categorically stating that they have no interest in acquiring the beleaguered quarterback. There now seems to be a quandary as to how Rex Ryan will seek to extricate himself from a mess he fashioned alongside the team’s former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano , an individual, whose NFL coaching experience , can be best summed up in two words “absolute bull#hit “ !

From my own personal standpoint , what Ryan was able to achieve in his first three seasons with the franchise was impressive . Yet, in the subsequent years , all of the ballyhooed and hype simply cannot hide the fact, that he has become a bloviated ass , who rested on his laurels , rather than seeking to improve New York Jets ,as a franchise . GM John Idzik may well use this upcoming season , not only to assess the roster , but also Rex Ryan and his entire coaching staff . Failure once again , and it is likely , that he will be summarily relieved of his duties as a head coach with the franchise. Ryan’s most pressing issue beyond dealing with the team’s cap issues will be how best to also address the team’s draft needs .

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(1)Quarterback Matt Barkley , center, talks to reporters during NFL football pro day at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(2) Safety , T.J. McDonald looks during Southern California’s NFL football pro day, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(3)Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is hit by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) , as he throws, during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. The Ravens would go on to defeat the Colts 24-9 . AP Photo/Nick Wass …

(4) In this Jan. 6, 2013, photo, Washington Redskins quarterback , Robert Griffin III (10) returns to the huddle after hurting his right knee as he fell awkwardly while throwing an incomplete pass during the first quarter of their NFL wild card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Landover, Md. An injury that sidelines Griffin well into next season is a very real possibility _ or at least it seemed that way Monday, Jan. 7, after head coach Mike Shanahan described the results of tests on the rookie’s right knee following a series of plays in their Sunday game that did additional damage to a knee that was just three games removed from suffering a sprained lateral collateral ligament. AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, L. Todd Spencer …

(5) Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine . Joeckel is being seen as a the consensus # 1 overall pick likely to be taken in this year’s NFL Draft . Yet the prevailing thought with the Kansas City Chiefs seeking a proven passer , Geno Smith of West Virginia could supplant Joeckel as that number one pick. AP Photo / Richard Sasser ….

(6) Geno Smith of West Virginia is seen here going through drills at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana , Indianapolis , earlier in the year. The quarterback is seen as the best passer in this year’s crop of eligible college quarterbacks with their sights set on the professional ranks of the NFL . AP Photo / Richard Sasser ……

(7) There’s always something to laugh about and seemingly find comical , if you just happen to be a member of the Dallas Cowboys . Pictured here , are the team’s under-achieving quarterback , Tony Romo and team owner , Jerry Jones , sharing a few laughs. I wonder what the 2013 season may well hold for the franchise within the NFC East and the conference as a whole . Certainly , it can’t be any worse than last season ? Perhaps it could ? Well , let’s hope so ! Getty Images North America / Christian Petersen …

(8) Raiders’ quarterbacks , from left to right , Terrell Pryor , Matt Leinart , Carson Palmer and Kyle Newhall-Caballero . Newhall-Caballero, no longer on the roster , remains a part of the Raiders’ practice squad. Rumors persist that with Palmer unwilling to restructure his contract for which he is due to receive $13 million for the 2013 season and the team seeking a cut , down to $10 million , he is likely to be cut by the organization . AP Photo/ Junii Kumagawa …

(9) Vince Young on the campus of the University of Texas (Longhorns’) campus , as he prepares for the Longhorns’ Pro Day . The former Tennessee Titans’ , Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills backup quarterback is hoping to make a last-ditch attempt to resurrect his somewhat understated NFL career . Of the NFL coaches in attendance on the day , only the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin was said to have shown any discerning interest. However, rumors now circling around the NFL , are that the Chicago Bears may well bring in Young for a tryout and as a backup to team starter , Jay Cutler . Getty Images North America / Ian Thompson ……

(10) Mark Sanchez(6) , listens in , as offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano confers with head coach Rex Ryan and starting quarterback Greg McElroy (14) , during a game played against the San Diego Chargers at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey . Also in picture , second string starter, Tim Tebow . The Chargers would go on to defeat the Jets 27-17 . To further exacerbate the franchise’s travails was their poor finish to the season and final standing within the AFC East , a third place finish with a 6-10 record . AP/Getty Images / David Shults ….

(11) From left to right , New York Jets’ owner , Woody Johnson , is seen here with newly installed general manager , John Idzik, who succeeded Mike Tannenbaum , and who was summarily fired by Johnson , after the team’s disastrous 2012 season . AP Photo/ Chris Douglas …….

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When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

By Tophatal

Well, the 2012-13 NFL season has come to close , with the Baltimore Ravens winning their second Superbowl since 2000. The “ Harbaugh Bowl” lived up to all of the hype and expectations , one have come to expect of the nation’s biggest sport’s event . The city of New Orleans were wonderful hosts, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Louisiana , was the perfect setting for the event.

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With Ray Lewis now riding off into the sunset as a retiring NFL player , happy with the knowledge of having won his second world title ring , whatever awaits defensive lineman , undoubtedly will be a great deal of wealth and adulation. The wealth, will come in the form of the monies that will obviously be offered to a player by a number of broadcast outlets seeking to have Lewis become an NFL analyst , and who might well be described greatest defense player of his era, and quite good enough to be placed amongst the top five players at the position to have played the game in the NFL . The Ravens came away with a moral and well deserved victory , in a thrilling 34-31 win over their NFC counterparts , the San Francisco 49ers . Opposing quarterbacks , Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick , for the most part , were excellent , and it would suggest that both of these players, should have long and successful careers for their respective teams. Flacco was named the MVP of Superbowl 47 , albeit , that I felt either Jacoby Jones or Ed Reed could have supplanted Flacco for the award, but at the end of the day, the recipient of the award , seemed just right.

For winning head coach , John Harbaugh , he now becomes the first coach in NFL history to have taken a team to the postseason in each of his first five seasons , and to have won a Superbowl in his very first attempt. Baltimore Ravens’ owner, Steve Biscotti , billionaire industrialist , and avid sport’s fan has worked tirelessly in making the franchise he now owns a source of pride in the greater Baltimore area . Both Bisciotti, and general manager, Ozzie Newsome , have built the Ravens into a formidable franchise both on and off the field of play. And this victory was a culmination of their efforts along with that of the entire coaching staff , the players and the fans , themselves . . Newsome drafted prudently , and acquired players , using due diligence , while not having to pay outlandish salaries , in assembling this current roster . Inasmuch, as we know that there is bound to be off-season upheavals amongst the playing staff, there simply can be no denying that the Ravens will be amongst the contenders and quite possibly be viewed as a prohibitive favorite for the Superbowl , for next season. . Your thoughts, on this ? Simply chime in with a comment.

At a time when the NBA should be content with its environment , the game is mired in mediocrity , and lo and behold the self-indulgent union, the NBPA (union) now finds itself mired in controversy , that can only be deemed as an embarrassment not only to the union , league but also the sport , and the brand itself. The now embattled union has seen its Executive Director, Billy Hunter , be forcibly asked to step down , but he states, he is in fact taking a voluntary leave of absence , while the union’s executive committee conducts an in-depth investigation into the misappropriation of league funds , and suggestions that Hunter , sought to transfer $ 7 million in NBPA funds , to be used as an investment to shore up the finances of a Cherry Hill , New Jersey based bank, where two of his children , just happened to be employees . What makes this latest mea-culpa so embarrassing, at the center of this all, is the very fact that Billy Hunter’s intent was have this transaction take place without having advised any senior executive member of the union hierarchy. And here was I thinking , the only such organizations who conducted themselves with such secrecy, were the Teamsters Union , UAW , AFL-CIO and the now inept US government .

It is hard at this juncture to feel any empathy towards the union , Billy Hunter , who is being paid a $ 3 million annual salary to provide the union with his expertise in labor laws, as well as a wide variety of union related issues concerning the NBA . Somehow, I now feel, that Hunter’s days with the union are numbered , with him being in all likelihood being fired. Only a formal announcement awaits , pending the outcome of the investigation , with union President , Derek Fisher , or his deputy , VP , Keyon Dooling , making the statement that Billy Hunter will be relieved of his duties, as the union’s Executive Director , to take effect , immediately .

At the start of the season , in the midst of the upheavals around the league with so many off-season moves . A great deal was made of the fact that the Brooklyn Nets would be seen as a viable candidate to challenge the perceived dominance of the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference . After an inauspicious start to their schedule , Nets’ GM Billy King summarily fired , beleaguered head coach , Avery Johnson and promoted , his assistant , PJ Carlesimo to the position of interim head coach , until the end of the regular season . And while the Nets under Carlesimo , have proven to be a great deal more energetic in their play , I am not so sure that this team , will be able to challenge the likes of the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks , were it to come down to a postseason seven game series !

At 28-19 , the Brooklyn Nets , currently sit in second place , three games behind the New York Knicks (30-15) within the Atlantic Division . In what might be seen, as one of the more competitive divisions within the NBA , it has to be said that the three teams in contention within the division , cannot now afford to make any major slip-ups between now and the end of the regular season , with so much being on the line , and where a drop in a conference position , can mean a life or death situation for those teams and their postseason aspirations. Personally , I am not convinced that the makeup of this current Nets’ roster is simply good enough or anywhere near talented enough to win an NBA title. The team led by Deron Williams , Joe Johnson , Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries have proven to be somewhat inconsistent , albeit , that since the installing of P J Carlesimo as the head coach , there has been a gradual overall improvement in the team’s play.

Are you beginning to wonder how good the Chicago Bulls(29-18) might be , were Derrick Rose fully fit and playing on that current roster ? Taking up the slack , in the absence of the point guard , have been Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , Joakim Noah , and Nate Robinson . And this has all been borne out , by having the third best record within the Eastern Conference ,while leading the Central Division over their closest rivals , the Indiana Pacers (28-19) . Bulls’ head coach , Tom Thibodeau , in spite of his postseason letdown in 2012 in the playoffs , which at the time , it was the scene of what precipitated to the loss of the Bulls’ point guard , in their first round series loss to the Philadelphia 76ers . Thoroughly outplayed in the entire series , the reverberations from that series’ defeat to suggest that beyond the inexperience shown by the team at the time , Thibodeau’s inexperience was glaringly transparent for all to see. With Rose, now on the mend , and thought to be almost nearing the end of his rehabilitation from his surgically repaired left knee . The anticipated timeline for his return, is said to be, after this year’s All Star Break (15th-17th February 2013) , which will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas , with the rosters of the East and Western Conference being made up of the game’s biggest stars.

The Bulls’ next game will be on Monday night , when they face the Indiana Pacers in a pivotal match-up , that should tell us a great deal about these two teams and where they currently now stand . However , with the anticipated return of Derrick Rose , Tom Thibodeau , has to be mindful , as to how the insertion will affect the rhythm, that the team currently now have. Winners of seven of their last ten games , which is amongst hottest streaks now going in the NBA . As I alluded to earlier , the expectations are high for the return of Derrick Rose , and the likelihood , his first game back could very well be either against the New Orleans Hornets on 19th February , or quite possibly against the Charlotte Bobcats on the 22nd February . There is an intervening game in between 19th and 22nd , on the 21st February , which would I believe would prove to be too stern a test for the player, in having to face the Miami Heat at home in the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois .

If Rose can recapture the form that won him the NBA league MVP , in 2011, then it would certainly bode well for the Chicago Bulls and their very ambitious point guard .

Call me naïve , but it may well take more than a kick in the a$s for David Stern to realize that the NBA brand is in the midst of a down year from a competitive standpoint in comparison to last season . And it would certainly help if the commissioner and the league hierarchy would acknowledge that fact, rather than continually extol the virtue of a league that is lacking in truly appealing stars. Granted , the likes of LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook , James Harden , Tony Parker , Chris Paul and Blake Griffin , are some of the most recognized names , and well-paid stars in the NBA at present . Yet, even that by itself, is no real guarantee concerning the success of the league. The revenues of the brand , will grow and decline exponentially , as the NBA finds itself in the midst of another economic downturn .

At a time when the NBA calls out for a rivalry to match the most famous of them all , that of the “ heated rivalry “ between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers during the regular season , but one which took on a life its own during the playoffs , but even more so during the NBA Finals . The budding embers of what could be this best era’s rivalry , that of the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder was on view last season during the 2011-12 NBA Finals. And we have seen growing stature and respect between the game’s two best players , in Kevin Durant and LeBron James . Their teams , which they represent , the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, are considered to be amongst the best in the NBA , but this season it is clear that the league is seeing some rather mediocre play being exhibited by the teams in the NBA .

For the Thunder’s head coach , Scott Brooks , his team’s play has been as resolute as ever , even in light of the departure of James Harden from last season’s roster in a stunning trade that sent Harden to the Houston Rockets , and one which literally took everyone by surprise. Currently, with the second best record in the Western Conference. At 36-12 , the Thunder sit two games behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (38-11) who are winners of ten consecutive games , currently the longest such winning streak in the NBA at present .

In their regular season meetings between the Heat and Thunder , since the inception of Western Conference franchise , these two teams have met a total of 54 times , when one takes into account the franchise’s former being as the Seattle Supersonics . The Miami Heat currently leads the series 30-19 during the regular season , and by a margin of 4-1 in the postseason , as reflected in their only series’ postseason meeting , which took place in last season’s NBA Finals.

In the 2012-13 season , and their only meeting thus far , the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 in the Heat’s regular season opener to start the defense of their NBA crown. Kevin Durant , and LeBron James, led all scorers , scoring 33 and 29 points respectively , for the Thunder and the Miami Heat, during the game. The next scheduled meeting between these two franchises will take place on the 14th February when they will meet at the Chesapeake Energy Center , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , in front of what is sure to be a rabid and vociferous crowd of primarily loyal Thunder supporters . It could be seen as a precursor, as to another possible encounter in the postseason , but much of that will be predicated upon how both teams acquit themselves over the remainder of their respective regular season schedules, and in the earlier rounds of the postseason.

Shrewd businessman and some might say perhaps , one of the ” most despised “ owners in the NBA . Yet somehow , Mark Cuban , owner of the Dallas Mavericks , and a constant thorn in claw of David Stern, has always found a way to either keep himself in the news , or that of the franchise that he owns. In the subsequent years, since the Mavericks won it all, in 2011 , when they defeated the Miami Heat in a surprisingly easy 4-2 series’ victory , with Dirk Nowitzki , being named Finals MVP. Since that triumph , the Mavericks have fallen on hard times, with Cuban and general manager , Donnie Nelson , having to shed burdensome contracts , or simply players who were under-achieving with the franchise. Head coach , Rick Carlisle , will be asked to work his magic once again , this time however , with something of a younger cast to complement the aging and declining skill-set of Nowitzki, who is now , in the twilight of an illustrious career.

Now playing for pride more than anything else , it is extremely difficult to see how the Mavericks can hope to play themselves into playoff contention , and currently playing with a sub .500 record at 20-28 ! The team lacks real scoring , and defensively , there remains a great deal to be desired , from unit that gives up on average 102.9 points per game and a staggering 33.7 defensive rebounds a game. Definitely, not the sort of statistics that is likely to win a franchise a championship. Away from the court , Donnie Nelson, is having a tumultuous time in dealing with troubled star , Delonte` West , a player , whose off the field troubles and well chronicled run-ins with law enforcement , have shone a light on West , far more than anything he has ever achieved on the field of play throughout his troubled career . His refusal to originally report for duty , with the Mavericks’ D League affiliate the Texas Legends , can only cast further doubt , on whether or not he has a role to play for this franchise , much less a have a future at all within the NBA . At this juncture , I would think it pretty safe to suggest that either by the trade deadline or at the end of this season , Delonte West will no longer be with the franchise ! I mean , why have a loose cannon , within your midst , when your coaching staff is trying to create some semblance of camaraderie and competitiveness amongst the players ?

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Picture gallery .(By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a larger formatted size)

During the Superbowl , which incident or incidents do you believe may well have been the focal and turning point of the game ? And do believe, the explanation of electrical the power outage was good enough, given the importance of the event? Last but not least , what do you believe to be the biggest disappointment behind such lackluster play season in the NBA at this point of season ? Chime on in with your thoughts as you see fit

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(1) A fan looks around the Superdome after half the lights went out during a power outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …

(2) Baltimore Ravens players look around the Superdome after the lights went out during the second half of NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. The game would resume after a 34 minute delay with the Ravens defeating the Forty Niners 34-31 , in the most watched Superbowl game in NFL history . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a news conference after NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with MVP Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco at a news conference after the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. The unassuming quarterback whose contract expires on the 31st March seeks a new deal with Ravens’ organization . Team owner , Steve Bisciotti , in conjunction with GM , Ozzie Newsome have stated that they will do whatever it takes to retain their Superbowl and MVP winning quarterback without having to resort to “breaking the bank” . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(5) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh , left, greets Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after the Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31 in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Dave Martin …

(6) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, left, and linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates their 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(7) Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome , who also happens to be the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager . Newsome became the franchise’s general manager in 2002 , having worked as a consultant with the Ravens prior to being promoted by owner Steve Bisciotti . In the subsequent years , it has been the executive’s keen eye for talent , which has drawn rave reviews from his peers. He now joins a select group of NFL individuals to have won a Superbowl as a player and in the role as a front office executive , but it should be noted that with the victory, he becomes the first African-American to have guided a franchise to a Superbowl victory , in his present capacity, as a general manager. Courtesy of USA Today /AP Photos / Mark Warren …

(8) NBPA President , Derek Fisher , left, is seen here with the union’s Executive Director , Billy Hunter , right , taking questions from the convened press , at a time when the union was at an impasse with the NBA hierarchy over the renegotiating of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Hunter , is now embroiled in tawdry scandal that involves the misappropriation of union funds by a subordinate in his employment who was in fact a family member (daughter – Alexis Hunter) . Further allegations. though not fully substantiated but showing a pattern of behavior suggesting that the union executive sought to transfer $7 million in union funds to a Cherry Hill's , New Jersey based bank , where his son just happened to be a mid-level executive . The intent was to use the funds to prop up the balance sheet of what was then a financially impoverished concern.

(9) Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries (43) shoots over defending Chicago Bulls players in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center , Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(10) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams ….

(10) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) drives past Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

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Actress , author , philanthropist and entrepreneur , Jaime Pressley .

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And as most would aspire to see Pressley !

Round up, round up, and then sound off !

Round up, round up, and then sound off !

By Tophatal

Well, with the NBA season, having reached its midway point the divisional and conference pictures provide a stark contrast for the fans and TV pundits alike . The Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards appear to be the two worst teams in the NBA at present, based simply upon their records , beyond the fact of their poor play and the fact that, they are each poorly coached . Add in bye-line of the ongoing woes of the Los Angeles Lakers and the league has itself a storyline that even the most appreciative of Hollywood moguls would be proud of .

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Slideshow .

With the pending approval of the Board of Governors , the fans will see the relocation of the Sacramento Kings from the California state capitol , to Seattle , Washington , after the Maloof family agreed in principle, to the sale of the franchise to a consortium of Seattle based investors , led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman , Steve Ballmer . The rumored sale price of the Kings’ franchise is believed to be $535 million. A tidy sum to be gained by Joe and Gavin Maloof , as the principal owners of the impoverished franchise. This whole episode paints a sorry picture of the NBA , and an even more embarrassing picture of the political scene within the state Capitol, especially when one considers the actions of the city’s mayor , Kevin Johnson and his begging for the NBA franchise to remain within his city’s locale. One would have thought that Johnson and the city council would have far more acute issues to deal with , rather than plead and be at the mercy of billionaire professional sports’ franchise owners . who are simply gaining a financial windfall from the municipality without ever really offering anything tangible by way of reciprocity , in return .

So we will have ourselves a “Harbaugh Bowl” , when the final game of the NFL 2012-13 season , gets underway. The AFC representative will be the Baltimore Ravens , coached by John Harbaugh , whose team will play the San Francisco 49ers , coached by Jim Harbaugh , in the NFL’s showcase event , the Superbowl (SB47) , which will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , on Sunday , 3rd February 2013.

The emotional bye-lines here , with regard to the Ravens , beyond the familial rivalry between the Harbaugh brothers , will be the end of a historic career , as win or lose , defensive lineman Ray Lewis will retire from the game as perhaps one of the best defensive players in the NFL history ? Lewis’ dynamics at the position has redefined the game , in many ways just as much as another heralded defensive player stamped his mark on the NFL , as Hall of Fame inductee Lawrence Taylor had done over the course of his famed career .

Now while the main storyline will be that of the John and Jim Harbaugh , with the Lewis subplot , thrown in for good measure . How cans anyone, simply ignore the astonishing success of Colin Kaepernick this season? The attributes shown by the player during the regular season was carried over into the postseason and it was essentially one of the primary reasons why the 49ers’ franchise now finds itself making a sixth Superbowl appearance , with the ball-club having won five , with their last appearance coming in 1994 , when they triumphed (49-26) over the San Diego Chargers in Superbowl XXIX . Superbowl MVP Steve Young would go on to have an historic game passing for a record six touchdowns in the 49ers’ rout of the San Diego Chargers . No one is expecting Kaepernick to emulate those feats , but I would dare say that this game could very well provide us with an aerial display from both quarterbacks , Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco.

It is my belief that with both teams being so evenly matched, this game will come down to who makes the most productive use of the ball , with the least amount of errors along the way !

As an Atlanta Braves’ fan Spring Training is just around the corner , but the common feeling is that if this team is to truly compete this upcoming season against their divisional rivals within the NL East . Then it is my belief that the front office will have to bolster their offense , beyond the acquisitions made during the off-season. GM Frank Wren pulled the trigger on the deal that brought B J Upton to the Braves , where it is hoped that the player can replace the productivity provided by Chipper Jones . In what was undoubtedly a Hall of Fame career , Jones left baseball , as one of the best hitters in the game from both sides of the plate. That asides , the real issue for the Braves this season , specifically for manager Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff will be to get his players in the right frame of mind , after the disappointment of the playoffs in 2012, when the team fell at the first hurdle in the wildcard round . . The team’s postseason in a lopsided 6-3 loss to the St Louis Cardinals .

The rumors now are circling , that the Braves’ front office are seeking to bring in the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton , the younger sibling of B J Upton . Should that deal come to fruition , it would certainly bode well for the aspirations of the organization this upcoming season. Another productive bat on the Braves’ offense would certainly add to the team’s potency when measured against their NL rivals . The Atlanta Braves are a fundamentally sound team , and if they are truly to prevail throughout much of this upcoming season , then, the team’s pitching will have to be at its very best . In 2012 with a team ERA of 3.42 , the Braves placed fourth amongst the National League’s sixteen teams . I believe that placement can be improved upon this season with what should be the improved play of Kris Medlen , Tim Hudson , Mark Minor , Paul Maholm , Brandon Beachy , Craig Kimbrell , coming out of the bullpen when the situation arises .

I’ll say it repeatedly , but it is now time for Stuart Sternberg to cut his losses and simply look to relocate the Tampa Bay Rays’ baseball franchise outside the state of Florida . There is no real sustainable fan-base, in the greater Tampa Bay area , and the organization can barely survive on the revenues it generates without the assist of the MLB hierarchy , never mind the repeated goddamn asinine statements forthcoming from the fans media pundits within the local market . Sternberg , the managing general partner in the Rays’ ownership group , today addressed the St Petersburg City Council , reiterating his position that he has no desire to move the baseball franchise from the only real home it has , known , that being, the now archaic Tropicana Field , in downtown St Petersburg. Florida.

Courtesy of Baseballnewssource.com

Rays Stuart Sternberg: MLB Does Not Believe In Tampa Bay Region

The Tampa Bay Rays has made it clear that they don’t expect to be playing at Tropicana Field through 2027 , when their current lease expires with the city of St. Petersburg. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg took a trip across the bay to Tampa to speak to the Hillsborough County Commission about the future of the team in the Tampa Bay area. The team is bound by an agreement that prohibits the Rays negotiating or even discussing other locations for new stadium.

Sternberg told officials that major league baseball is frustrated with the teams attendance despite producing a winning product on the field. ”Major League Baseball does not believe anymore in the Tampa Bay region,” Sternberg told the county commission during a session that ran beyond its scheduled 30 minutes.

To his credit, Sternberg said that he personally has not lost hope that the franchise could be successful in the Tampa Bay area. ”We do think about the future,” he said. “We have to take some time to plan a stadium. You don’t just snap your fingers.”

Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan simply stated, “it’s not a matter of whether the Rays will relocate but when and where it will happen.” St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster maintains that he plans to hold the Rays to the terms of their lease and the Rays should not discuss building a stadium outside of Pinellas County. Sternberg added, ”I’m not frustrated with Mayor Foster, I’m just frustrated,” Sternberg said afterward.

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One of the things that Stuart Sternberg reflected upon and made it abundantly clear to the city’s council members , was the very fact that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has no implicit faith in either the Rays’ organization or the city of St Petersburg , which has simply fortifies the belief that the commissioner sees no real value in the Tampa Bay Rays as a viable baseball concern, in spite of the franchise’s recent successes during the regular and postseason . Sheer frustration or not ,it is becoming apparently clear with the lease on Tropicana Field not due to expire until 2027 , the baseball franchise has no other option but to meet its contractual obligations with regard to the lease and to continue playing at ballpark for the foreseeable future. Sternberg and his partners clearly do not have the financial resources to break that lease and pay the financial penalties that would be incurred. And that is in spite of the asinine rants from the local media pundits and the anally retentive fans who feel that the organization can simply walk away and break that lease . Clearly , you now see the real reasons why the fans within this locale lack the intelligence to truly appreciate the real issues at hand , that baseball organization faces , when they come out with such ridiculous statements, that the baseball club can simply choose not to honor its lease agreement .

What should be telling but it appears that the ongoing intransigence of the Rays’ fans simply knows no boundaries as to their ongoing stupidity , if they believe that baseball’s hierarchy has any wish to assist the Tampa Bay Rays in their endeavors , in the pursuit of new baseball venue. Neither the city of St Petersburg , the county governments of Hillsborough County , Pinellas County’s neighboring county, and within whose domain the Rays reside , can afford to make the financial undertaking needed , when their own financial state remains somewhat precarious. And it is highly unlikely that the state legislature or Governor Rick Scott would favor any sort of deal using state revenues , even by way of the state’s hotel taxes.

My contention is that if Stuart Sternberg really wants to make the Tampa Bay Rays not only competitive and a financially viable concern , it may well be now time for him to seek either out a silent partner with ” deep pockets” , or sell the franchise to an interested investor.

With the College Football season , finishing with an emphatic thud , after that embarrassment, which had the audacity to be called the BCS National title game . Somehow , you simply knew that as we entered 2013 , the off-season within the game’s landscape had one or two more idiotic episodes to be offered up for the fans’ consumption. Beyond the idiocy of Manti Te`o’s imaginary girlfriend and his continued falsehoods , which now seem to be proving to be as embarrassing for Notre Dame and AD Jack Swarbrick , as it repeatedly has been for the player , himself . Well , now comes word that the NCAA’s investigation of the Miami Hurricanes’ football program has come into question , as there now seems to be a great deal of cause for concern in how the Infractions’ Committee conducted their investigation into the allegations and claims by Canes’ booster , the now incarcerated , Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro’s claims of monetary payments made to current and former players on team’s football roster has taken on more than a life of its own , with the US Justice Department Criminal Division actually conducting their own in-depth investigation, of which details in part were passed on to the NCAA . Collegiate athletics’ governing body, led by its President, Mark Emmert, promised an in-depth investigation which would be fully transparent. Well, those words now feel empty, in light of the latest revelations that the investigation was botched by the investigators of the NCAA.

Courtesy of the Huffington Post

NCAA Miami Investigation Botched by Investigators, Leads to External Review

By Michael Marot,

INDIANAPOLIS — The latest black eye for college sports belongs to the NCAA.

In an embarrassing blow to its watchdog image, the NCAA said Wednesday its enforcement staff had botched the high-profile investigation of the University of Miami by improperly conducting at least two depositions while working with an attorney for disgraced booster Nevin Shapiro. Miami has been under investigation since the convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind said he had provided improper benefits to Hurricanes recruits.

President Mark Emmert said he was disappointed and angry with the misstep, acknowledging he had not seen anything like this since taking the NCAA job 2 1/2 years ago. He said some “people” involved in this case were no longer working for the NCAA, though he declined to say who they were or whether they had been fired.

He said none of the evidence collected improperly would be used against Miami and that the long-awaited notice of allegations would be delayed until after an external review is completed in approximately two weeks.

It was an ugly stumble for the NCAA, coming less than a week after its annual convention resulted in another round of reforms intended to firm up recruiting rules and other guidelines. And it comes as the organization faces more than a half-dozen lawsuits that could reshape how it does business, including one challenging the $60 million in penalties levied against Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

“Of course it hurts, any nick to a public perception that’s not favorable to begin with is a problem,” said Jo Potuto, former chairwoman of the NCAA infractions committee and a constitutional law professor at Nebraska. “The public perception has never been really favorable to the process or the infractions committee and so this is another hit.”

Emmert tried to reassure schools that the principle of playing by the rules extends into NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

“We can’t just say it, we’ve got to do it,” Emmert said. “While I have great confidence in the vast majority of cases, when you have something as candidly dramatic as this, you can’t just offer words; you have to demonstrate that you’re getting this right. The reason I wanted to get this out is to make sure that this is right. We want to hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others to.”

What happens next is anybody’s guess.

The external review, which will be conducted by former Justice Department official Kenneth L. Wainstein, a Washington attorney perhaps best known in sports for representing Gilbert Arenas after he brought guns to the Wizards locker room and confronted a teammate.

Wainstein will focus on Miami’s case, but he will have the authority to investigate the NCAA’s actions in additional cases, too.

The potential list could include the suit brought by former Southern California assistant football coach Todd McNair, who claims the NCAA was “malicious” in its investigation into his role in the benefits scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller has already said he was convinced the actions of NCAA investigators were “over the top.”

Wainstein also could look into the UCLA case involving freshman Shabazz Muhammad. In December, The Los Angeles Times reported that NCAA investigator Abigail Grantstein had been fired after her boyfriend was allegedly overheard discussing the case on an airplane. The NCAA has not confirmed the firing. The outside review could have potential ramifications, too, in a lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in the Penn State case.

This is not unfamiliar ground for the NCAA, and it could be that Emmert fears a lawsuit from Miami no matter how the investigation turns out. Former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel won a $4.5 million settlement from the NCAA and university in 2005, saying he was wrongly fired for gambling in an NCAA basketball pool and failing to be forthright about it with NCAA investigators. Among other accusations, Neuheisel’s attorney said the NCAA failed to provide Neuheisel’s legal team with an updated version of its bylaws during discovery.

In this case, Emmert concluded something was wrong in the Miami case last fall when bills for an outside attorney showed up on an expense list, a hiring normally approved by the NCAA’s general counsel. Emmert said it was not, and that’s what initially caught the attention of those inside the Indy headquarters. He also said the person who had hired the lawyer was no longer working at the NCAA, making it more difficult to get information.

The fallout could lead to additional personnel moves, too, Emmert said.

Miami President Donna Shalala said she was “frustrated, disappointed and concerned” that the NCAA may have compromised the investigation. Potuto said she was surprised, describing the enforcement staff she dealt with as “open-minded” to investigations.

“I don’t know about a rogue one or two people, but it is not at all representative of my experience with the enforcement staff people who I dealt with over the years,” Potuto said. “Generally we found them (the enforcement staff) to be exceedingly fair to the point that we sometimes thought it impeded forceful investigations.”

Just last week, Emmert told The Associated Press he was pleased that the number of salacious and high-profile cases that dominated 2011 — a list that included the football programs at Miami, Ohio State and Penn State — had dissipated, though he was cautious about another big scandal popping. Within days, the hoax about Manti Te’o’s girlfriend broke, and Emmert was briefing two NCAA committees on the Miami case.

“The NCAA Executive Committee expects the enforcement program to operate within approved procedures and with the highest integrity,” said Lou Anna K. Simon, the NCAA’s executive committee chair and Michigan State president. “Although we are deeply disappointed in this turn of events, we strongly support the actions President Emmert is taking to address the problem.”

What Emmert wants now is answers about how this “severe issue of improper conduct.”

“My concern is that the policies and procedures are consistent with our values,” Emmert said. “Whether it produces good information or no information, there’s no way to cut corners on this. It’s a very difficult task, but you don’t do things inappropriately.”

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At some point someone has to ask what the hell is going on , and how incompetent is the NCAA , if as a governing body , it cannot conduct an investigation without showing this sort of incompetency , then how should the public view that collegiate body. I’ve long held the contention , that the organization presided over by Mark Emmert has become cumbersome archaic and all too self-absorbed , with their own importance, that they actually forget why they exist ! University President Donna Shalala, voiced her displeasure at this latest disclosure, that has cast a giant shadow over the university’s already tarnished reputation, which has embroiled the athletics’ program in its entirety , as well its AD Shawn Eichorst and head football coach Al Golden .

It seems completely asinine, with the mountains of evidence already at their disposal , much of it gathered by the Justice Department , it would then somehow, take the goddamn incompetency of the NCAA , to now make a complete ass of themselves , while throwing this whole investigation into a complete tailspin. This whole episode, has been playing itself out, over the past eighteen months, and the tardiness shown by the NCAA , now makes it unlikely that there will be a satisfactory outcome to this matter.

PGA Tour golfer, Phil Mickelson in a recent statement complained that he was entirely unhappy that he would be taxed at the rate of 62% on his 2012 earnings from golf and endorsement deals. The former #2 ranked golfer, on the Tour, earned $57 million last year , surpassing Tiger Woods , in total earnings on and endorsement deals on the PGA Tour . These taxes are not those specifically from federal income tax , that became in part retroactive , but the golfer’s concerns comes from California’s own state income tax , which is exorbitant , and amongst the highest in the nation.

Mickelson has since apologized for his statement , saying that it was somewhat insensitive , citing the plight of the unemployed and hard-working families, struggling to make ends meet . However, Mickelson’s, nonsensical response was asinine , when one considers that he failed to speak of California’s failed economic policies, that has left the state in a financial blight and with a burgeoning deficit and estimated $617 billion debt, and a $28 billion budget deficit. Governor, Gerry Brown , pointed to the fact that his office , and the state legislature are addressing this acute issue, but it is clear that Brown inherited a litany failed policies , and debt from his predecessor , Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve always felt it asinine , when I hear an athlete speak on an economic or social when issue , when it is abundantly clear that they have no fucking idea what they are actually talking about ! Unfortunately, you chalk this one up , to sheer stupidity on the part of the famed golfer.

Tennis tantrums now come, a dime, a dozen, and on the WTA circuit , it would appear to be no different . With the first Grand Slam tournament, underway , with the Australian Open now in full swing in Melbourne , Australia , . The preeminent female player on the women’s circuit over the past decade , Serena Williams , ranked #3 in the WTA rankings and seeking to make a gainful entrance to the semis of the Ladies Singles’ tournament , had an all too uncharacteristic mental breakdown in her match against fellow American , teenager , nineteen year old Sloane Stephens , in their quarter finals’ match. The normally physically imposing Williams, would prove to be, no match for her younger and more aggressive opponent . In a game, that was thrilling from start to finish , Sloane Stephens, simply let her battery of ground strokes and forehand volleys do “ her talking “ on the court , over three arduous and tantalizing sets of women’s tennis . Stephens won the match , coming back from one set down , to defeat Serena Williams, 3-6, 7-5, and 6-4 , in three sets , to earn a place in the semi-finals .

For Serena Williams , this was not so much the shock of defeat, but the way she handled herself during the match , showing a great deal of petulant anger during the match, albeit that she suffered a slight injury to her ankle during the game , but in no way should it excuse her childlike behavior as he violently smashed her racquet, repeatedly on the hard-court, while center stage in-front of an audience thousands watching and millions globally . “ Time they say waits for no one” , and at thirty-one years old , it looks as if, not only has time caught up to Serena Williams , but so too have some of her younger American protégé , in this case , a young teenager by the name of Sloane Stephens , who will move up several places in the rankings after this victory , before celebrating her twentieth birthday , in mid-March.

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the salient points within this article ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to subject matter .

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(1) Washington Wizards’ A.J. Price (12) defends against Utah Jazz’s Jamaal Tinsley (6) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game , Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Salt Lake City. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer …

(2) FILE- In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, Jackie and Jack Harbaugh, parents of San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, stand before an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks in San Francisco. The entire Harbaugh family already got its Super Bowl victory last Sunday, when each coach did his part to ensure a family reunion in New Orleans next week. The Ravens face off against the 49ers in the first Super Bowl coached by siblings on opposite sidelines. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ….

(3)FILE – In this Nov. 24, 2011 file photo, Jack Harbaugh, far left, and his wife Jackie, second from left, chat with sons Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, second from right, and San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh before an NFL football game in Baltimore. The entire Harbaugh family already got its Super Bowl victory last Sunday, when each coach did his part to ensure a family reunion in New Orleans next week. The Ravens face off against the 49ers in the first Super Bowl coached by siblings on opposite sidelines. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(4) FILE – In this Sept. 28, 2012, file photo, Arizona Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton waits on deck during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Phoenix. A person familiar with the situation says Arizona has traded Upton to the Atlanta Braves in a deal that sends All-Star third baseman Martin Prado to the Diamondbacks. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, because the trade has not officially been announced. AP Photo/Matt York …..

(5) Sternberg, right, said he does not expect the Rays to be playing at Tropicana Field through 2027, when the team’s contract with St. Petersburg ends. Jay Conner/ 2.tbo.com

(6) Sloane Stephens, foreground, is seen here looking to retrieve a forehand volley, made by her opponent , Serena Williams, background , during their quarter-finals’ match at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia . Stephens won the match 2 sets to 1, 3-6, 7-5,6-4. Getty Images /AFP/Reuters/ Thomas Kenzie ….

(7) Phil Mickelson drives on the fourth hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in San Diego. The golfer created something of a stir when he suggested that he wasn’t entirely happy to be taxed at the rate of 62% on his 2012 earnings of $57 million , also stating that he would be prepared to relocate to a more tax friendly locale . He would later recant that statement , by claiming his insensitivity in the plight of the unemployed and hard-working families striving to make ends meet. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

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Were you ever kept in detention by a schoolteacher , who looked liked this , and was offering that type of extra curricular activity ?