King Kong Ain’t Got Nothing On Me ….

King Kong Ain’t Got Nothing On Me ….

It wasn’t the best Superbowl in NFL history , but it will certainly rank up there as one of the most entertaining games in the event’s history. With more an one thousand all-purpose yards of offense and with two teams whose defensive mindset was nowhere to be seen , this game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles , was simply one, where whichever team held onto the ball at the end of sixty minutes , would come out the eventual winner. That was the case, as Nick Foles led the Eagles to their very first Superbowl title in franchise history.   Foles would be named Superbowl MVP in what has been a career season for the backup quarterback of this team . It augurs well for the franchise moving forward, especially if they can keep many of their front-line starters as free agency beckons .

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For Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this was most certainly a game of missed opportunities and while Brady set a postseason record for the number of yards passed in a Superbowl , what cannot be denied was that the three-time Superbowl MVP was somewhat off his mark in spite of a record-setting day. However, I do believe much of New England’s woes stemmed from the fact that neither Bill Belichick or Matt Patricia , the Patriots’ defensive coordinator sought to make any real adjustments to negate the effectiveness of Nick Foles during the Superbowl. Patricia now moves on to become the new Head Coach of the Detroit Lions while it has been reported that Josh McDaniels has shunned overtures to become the successor to Chuck Pagano as the new Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts .

I’ve no doubt in mind that there will be some major changes to the New England Patriots’ lineup during this off-season as the NFL Draft beckons along with free agency. New England’s secondary will have to be addressed and it also remains to be seen if Bill Belichick will promote from within or go outside in search of a new defensive coordinator. . Tom Brady has already etched his mark on the game but , his returning for a seventeenth season in 2018, will be a formidable one for the player, who was named the 2017 League MVP and with good reason, considering his accomplishments during the regular season.

Did the sky fall or was there a thought that the Washington Redskins’ front office felt that they were unable to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract , it would then be in their best interest to acquire a seasoned veteran albeit, they would still have to pay handsomely for the services of that player. Cousins was released and Alex Smith was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in a surprise trade. For the Chiefs they now begin a new chapter with Patrick Mahomes . If he’s the future of the franchise then the Kansas City Chiefs are in good hands. For Andy Reid , this could very well be an interesting season as he and the Chiefs seek to acquit themselves in 2018. Mahomes will have a great deal to prove as the successor to Alex Smith , but I feel that Reid , his coaching staff and the front office have a great deal of faith in the young player.

Not content with another season where they were completely embarrassed both on and off the field of play. The Oakland Raiders saw fit to fire Jack Del Rio and apparently sign his successor Jon Gruden to a ten-year $100 million deal . The contract makes Gruden the highest paid coach in the NFL and his salary was compared to players around the NFL , then many would certainly believe the deal to be completely asinine to say the very least .

Derek Carr remains the main hope for the Oakland Raiders moving forward and that he might be saving grace for Jon Gruden. I don’t believe him to be a great coach , but merely a coach when placed in the right environment can take advantage of the best he has to his availability. Injuries might well have been a problem for Oakland last season, but overall
this team
failed miserably,because of the lack of commitment and passion by the players. Jack Del Rio after a successful season in 2016 , the feeling was the Raiders would be unto something special , but as I alluded to earlier, they failed miserably. Gruden for his part will inherit a team filled with promise but I’m not so sure that will be enough when judged against the best of the AFC West and in particular the
. It’s now anyone’s ball game within the division, but with several of the quarterbacks having reached the apex of their careers and it will be interesting to see what it is likely to take place in 2018.

For all sense and purpose Josh McDaniels had the head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts . Yet there appears to be discord between the Patriots’ offensive coordinator and his agent Bob LaMonte . The agent has since resigned , no longer wishing to represent the coach after what appears to be McDaniels possibly reneging on taking the position , after it was revealed that the coach spoke with his mentor Bill Belichick , seeking his advice. In most cases , it is a coach’s dream to take the next step and become a Head Coach in the NFL. Josh McDaniels does have that experience , but as we all know his years in Denver with the Denver Broncos was not a monumental success. Having Tim Tebow under his tutelage proved a number of things , Tebow was never an NFL quarterback and that McDaniels’ biggest claim to fame, was the very fact that he’s been nothing more than a sounding board for Tom Brady as a quarterback. That being said, McDaniels clearly placed his former agent in an untenable position. It seemed all but clear, that an agreement had been reached in principle with Chris Ballard , general manager of the Indianapolis Colts. Ballard has now come out and said that McDaniels is a disingenuous and dishonorable individual .

Josh McDaniel might well believe that he is the heir-apparent to Bill Belichick , should the current Patriots’ head coach seek to retire within the next two years. Belichick record speaks for itself and he is Canton bound as the greatest coach in NFL history. I also believe with Tom Brady’s playing career is slowly winding down. It is unlikely that he will be playing in the league on his forty-fifth birthday in spite his intentions. His football mind is as sharp as ever , but without an offensive line there to protect him and a defense capable of protecting leads , Brady might as well be playing all by himself.

The Indianapolis Colts can now pursue a coach they believe will complement their needs , while also possibly looking to upgrade their roster overall. Injuries wreaked havoc on the Colts this past season with Andrew Luck barely being on the field for the team. Chuck Pagano’s failings can be laid squarely on the shoulders of Ryan Grigson and his lack of drafting players who could contribute for the franchise over the past five years. . The Colts barely competing
within the AFC South was something of a shock this past season. We all witnessed the ascent of the Jacksonville Jaguars to the top of the food chain within the division. . Jacksonville’s foray in the postseason was short-lived and with good reason as way too much was being expected of Blake Bortles , the Jaguars’ quarterback. . This upcoming season should prove to an eventful one for both teams as they seek to reposition themselves within the AFC.

We have all seen the fallout from the Colin Kaepernick affair, which led to the player declaring free agency at the beginning of last season , only to remain unsigned by an NFL franchise for the entire 2017 schedule. Call it what you will, but anyone believing Kaepernick wasn’t being black-balled by the NFL , even with the rather idiotic and at times insensitive remarks being made by the President , Donald Trump as well by several owners , clearly doesn’t understand what it was that the former San Francisco 49ers player was championing, as was his right as a citizen as well as an athlete. At one point during the season, it had looked as if the Forty Niners would go their entire schedule without winning a game. However that dubious distinction would be attained by the woefully inept Cleveland Browns (0-16) as they put together an astonishing loss streak . Suffice to say, the Browns now join the 2008 Detroit Lions as they only other team in NFL history to have lost all sixteen of their games on the regular season schedule , an infamous mantel within the league.

When the New England Patriots decided to send Jimmy Garopollo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for some secondary draft picks, it was felt that Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio had lost their combined senses. There wasn’t an actual backup for Tom Brady until they signed journeyman Brian Hoyer , who will likely be jettisoned during the off-season , as Belichick seeks to work wonders once again with his upcoming Draft Class . Garopollo and the Niners were the hottest team in the NFL as they reeled off five straight wins to end the regular season and providing something of a bright light to their long-term future with their newly acquired quarterback. . San Francisco’s front office has seen fit to reward Jimmy Garopollo with a new five-year $137.5 million contract and the likelihood that the player could be on other incentives if he meets certain those goals. It’s pretty much safe to say, the former Patriots’ quarterback has landed firmly on his feet with a truly bright future ahead of him.

Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff can now focus on
this San Francisco 49ers’ team a great deal better. In terms of the cap they should be well-positioned to acquire at least two marquee players while likely losing one or two players of their through the attrition of free agency . . From my own standpoint , I firmly believe that the NFC West might well be one of the most competitive divisions this upcoming season, especially when you consider the caliber of the quarterbacks now playing there.

This upcoming NFL Draft will make or break several teams and there’s no doubt in my mind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a make or break season in 2018. There remains a cloud hanging over the future of their quarterback Jameis Winston . This player has never been able to play at a consistently high level, whileputting together a wins’ sequence of more than five games at any one time over the course of his career. Winston is still under investigation by the NFL hierarchy , for another alleged incident of sexual assault and at a time when the country in uproar over the behavior of prominent Hollywood celebrities , powerful political dignitaries and businessmen. It begs the question, what is now an acceptable form of behavior, while idiots continue with their bullshit about political correctness and freedom of expression ? America now lacks morals and cannot believe itself to be any type leader for the rest of the world from a moral standpoint. Built upon Christian principles, my ass !!!!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will always remain an afterthought, because this franchise over the past five years has simply become an ongoing non-factor. Last season was another clear indicator of how bad the Buccaneers continue to be and are likely to be. Their three main divisional rivals , the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints , all fared better than Tampa did over course the regular season. I’m no admirer of the Buccaneers’ coaching staff and I believe Dirk Koetter’s days are numbered as the Head Coach of the team . The best performers on the roster this past season were Mike Evans and Cameron Brate . It will be interesting to see what Tampa will be capable of doing in terms of the free agency off-season and the upcoming NFL Draft.

I firmly believe if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are to be successful this upcoming season, they will have to play more to their strengths while being consistent.

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Continue reading “King Kong Ain’t Got Nothing On Me ….”

Too late the hero …

They came they saw and thought they would conquer , instead the heavily favored Carolina Panthers laid a monumental goose-egg as they were outplayed , outcoached and made to look ordinary in their loss to the Denver Broncos. For their part, the Broncos avenged their horrendous loss of two years ago, when they fell asleep at the wheel in their embarrassingly lopsided defeat to the Seattle Seahawks. Panthers’ quarterback , Cam Newton the presumptive League MVP was harassed all game-long by the Broncos’ defense, with Vonn Miller having an exceptional game , while being named Superbowl MVP.

Too late the hero

They came they saw and thought they would conquer , instead the heavily favored Carolina Panthers laid a monumental goose-egg as they were outplayed , out-coached and made to look ordinary in their loss to the Denver Broncos . For their part, the Broncos avenged their horrendous loss of two years ago, when they fell asleep at the wheel in their embarrassingly lopsided defeat to the Seattle Seahawks . Panthers’ quarterback , Cam Newton the presumptive League MVP was harassed all game-long by the Broncos’ defense, with Vonn Miller having an exceptional game , while being named Superbowl MVP. The resulting 24-10 win by the Denver Broncos, brings to an end one of the best seasons seen from an NFL franchise in terms of their defensive capabilities seen during the regular and postseason . Denver’s defense was exceptional and their play-making ability exhibited in the Superbowl was nothing short of spectacular.

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For Peyton Manning , the question remains, does he now bow out on a career-high , having won his second Superbowl or does he return for one more year with the Denver Broncos ? Certainly, he will be getting advice from his family and closest friends but I believe Manning also seek advice from Broncos’ Head of Operations and former quarterback John Elway , whose career with the franchise have been etched in Denver Broncos’ folklore. Denver came into this game as the overwhelming underdogs , but when it mattered the most, it was the defense who stepped up to the plate to make this victory all the more satisfying for their fans and the organization.

This off-season , I have no doubt John Elway , the front office and the coaching staff of Gary Kubiak will go about assessing the team’s needs in the run-up to the 2016 NFL Draft . With notable free agents on the roster who will undoubtedly be looking to get paid , one could reason , Elway will not be rushed into things concerning the Broncos’ roster and their off-season dealings. Having been the architect of this team , drafting and acquiring free agents to bolster the roster , adding depth to the team overall. It could be said , Elway should be taking as much credit for this success , as the players on the team.

There was a solemn note to this Superbowl with John Elway acknowledging words of appreciation for team owner Pat Bowlen who was unable to attend Sunday’s event. Bowlen has been the ever-present figure presiding over the franchise almost from its very start. Ill-health has taken its toll on this much revered owner and it seems only fitting that the Denver Broncos’ greatest player was the person offering Bowlen , his best wishes.

Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera , obviously disappointed with his team’s loss , was the first to acknowledge this was a learning experience for his players . In his post-game interview the coach praised his opponents while stating his team will get better and they have learned something from this loss. The disappointment on the faces of the Panthers’ players was there for every one to see and the gut-wrenching way with which they discombobulated, was all the more unbelievable. Mistimed efforts by the receivers , Cam Newton being harassed and pressured played a part in the Carolina Panthers’ downfall. Furthermore, with Ron Rivera’s coaching staff not adapting the to Wade Phillips’ defensive strategies have me wondering , did this have more to do with Panthers not figuring out they were going up against the NFL’s best defensive team during the postseason ? As good as the Denver Broncos were said to be defensively, Carolina through their sheer desperation simply had no real answer , their world came crashing down because they lacked composure and an unwillingness to change or battle their opponent head on.

With the result of the Superbowl now known , we will see how the NFL Draft pans out as the teams make their choices on Draft Day. The Tennessee Titans will have the privilege of making the first pick in the upcoming draft and it will be interesting to see the decision made by the Titans’ front office as they seek to fortify a roster around the skill-set of Marcus Mariota . The only way is up for the Titans after another disastrous season in the NFL and while Mariota was able to show signs of leadership and composure , when the surrounding cast appears to be nothing more than mediocre , then there is not a great which can be done and that was clearly the case for Mike Mularkey and his coaching staff . Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt who had been fired earlier in the season after the Titans’ inauspicious start to their schedule . There are a litany of issues which needed to be addressed by the Tennessee Titans during the off-season and while one can only hope to see some signs of improvement from the AFC South based franchise, I am of the opinion they are likely to struggle again this upcoming season !

Over the last ten years the Dallas Cowboys have sought ride into the postseason on the shoulder of Tony Romo . Suffice to say, I believe Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones has spent way too much time hyping up the franchise while making a great deal of money over-charging fans for a rather mediocre product ! Romo’s postseason malaise have been well-chronicled along with his continuous excuses and the very fact he is no longer able to play a regular sixteen-game schedule . During this off-season the quarterback will once again be undergoing surgery, having re-injured his shoulder. Can we just say , if Romo were a race horse who repeatedly suffered the same injury , he would have been euthanized ? Head coach Jason Garrett , continually the ‘pet poodle’ of Jerry Jones , is simply proving whether or not he has on-field talent, slight or genuinely very good , he cannot get the best out of those players , much less truly indicate he has a modicum of coaching acumen. The losses suffered by the Cowboys this past season were as just as much the players’ fault as it was Garrett’s and his ill-prepared coaching staff’s .

I have never really been enamored with the Dallas Cowboys and this constant belief they are ‘ America’s Team’ . It is said , if you tend to spread the message long and loud enough , then people are likely to believe it. Well, I do believe the Cowboys alongside the New England Patriots are the most despised teams in the NFL , while also being the most hated in North American professional sports !

It would be a safe bet to suggest , when Tony Romo was lost the Dallas Cowboys during the season, their year was essentially over. Neither Matt Cassel or Brandon Weeden as Romo’s under-studies were able to get the job done as the team’s starting quarterback, replacing the Pro Bowl player . Cassel was never consistent enough and Weeden was simply out of his depth.

The losses suffered by the Cowboys this past season were as just as much the players’ fault as it was Garrett’s and his ill-prepared coaching staff’s. Dallas having finished their season with a 4-12 record will have the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. If their first round draft based on the team’s needs are anything to go by, then there is a very distinct possibility Jerry Jones will likely take a quarterback , but this purely based on speculation from my own perspective ! The Cowboys’ needs are vast and varied and given Jones’ inclinations , just about anything is possible. One can only hope this upcoming season the Dallas Cowboys will have their game faces on , rather than being dressed in clown costumes and performing like the NFL’s answer for ‘comedic relief’.

Not one to pour salt into the wounds ,but in the aftermath of another deplorable season if all the fans of the St Louis Rams can feel excited about is their imminent return to the greater Los Angeles area , then it is to their shame. Rams’ owner and eponymous billionaire and husband of Ann Walton-Kroenke , of the Walton family fortune . Stanley Kroenke , as the owner of the NFL franchise has presided over a disaster since he acquired the team and this move can and should be seen as nothing more than to take away your attention away from what has been another year of just incompetence from the top on down . Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff appeared lost and the players seemed to be lost all season long. There was but one bright spot to this team and it was the play of their rookie running back Todd Gurley . While others might be calling for the names of Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston for the NFL Offensive Rookie of The Year . To my mind , Gurley made enough of an impact to have outshone his contemporaries from the 2015 NFL Draft class ! Whether or not the Rams’ running back wins the award remains to be seen.

Jeff Fisher and the St Louis Rams never seemed to be in control of their own destiny from the start of the season , right until its very end and their 7-9 record was reflective of that very fact . Poorly led on the field of play, their quarterback play it has to be said , neither Nick Foles and Case Keenum were up to the task of leading this team.

Stanley Kroenke having bought a large parcel of land outside the town of Industry , California will now seek to build a stadium which will in all likelihood will be publicly financed, while the surrounding area for the stadium will be for commercial and residential use , all under the umbrella of one of Kroenke’s commercial enterprises. While the Rams’ fans in Los Angeles might not seem perturbed with the use of public funds to aid one of the richest men in the country with one of his whims, it plainly speaks to the ignorance of the fans of the NFL in general and their lack of economics. As to the NFL hierarchy , well with the move having been approved, this is one more feather in the cap for Roger Goodell , whose own image is in need of something positive . His leadership of the NFL has been one of the poorest in living memory and perhaps among those of his contemporaries within MLB (Bud Selig and Rob Manfred) , NHL (Gary Bettman), NBA (David Stern) and NASCAR (Mike Helton).

If the St Louis Rams’ season was said so monstrous , then for the Oakland Raiders theirs was simply dire and one where there was little of note to take seriously. Jack Del-Rio did all he could without their being anything to show for it at the end of the day. Now with team owner Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie having met with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson , CEO of Sands Corporation the entertainment and gaming conglomerate with a major presence in Las Vegas , Nevada as well as throughout much of the Far East . Adelson proposes the building of a vast stadium for the Raiders , along with a mix of commercial and residential real estate . As to what the NFL will make of this all , given their given wish not to be closely involved with the gaming industry , is somewhat hypocritical , when one considers professional football is a major source of revenue for the industry. Something the league hierarchy is well aware of and lately, several influential owners have been pressing Roger Goodell to loosen his stance with regard to their being no association.

Personally, I believe the league and the gaming industry to be hypocritical , as are the laws which prohibit wagering on sports’ events around the country ! The US Justice System and the States Attorneys’ General have bigger fish to fry , than seeking to punish with impunity , the gaming industry and those who make a living from it.

Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie’s meeting with Sheldon Adelson also took in the local political dignitaries, along with senior members of the Las Vegas City Council . If their weight is thrown behind such a proposal , it will be interesting to witness how the NFL will seek to dissuade its members from allowing the relocation of the Oakland Raiders. While I have no problem with NFL franchises seeking to move , I do have a problem with team owners believing it best for municipalities , county or state governments to be at the beck and call when it comes to the financing of stadiums ! Less we forget , the NFL remains a tax-exempt organization , where only the teams , and the league’s employees are taxed. Bear in mind also, in 2014 , Roger Goodell’s salary exceeded $25 million dollars , and were he a player in the league that year, he would have been among the highest paid in the NFL . I am sure when the next CBA (collective bargaining agreement) meeting is due to take place between the union (NLFPA) and league hierarchy , the issue is likely to be raised by its leadership and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . I mean is there any way Goodell can truly try and justify his salary ?


Tophatal …….. 02/08/2016

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Picture gallery .

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


Picture and slideshow gallery.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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We love our records ! Not vinyl, but sports’ records

We love our records ! Not vinyl, but sports’ records

In light of Peyton Manning’s demise alongside his teammates of the Denver Broncos in their now historic loss , in which they suffered defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks . It is now my belief, that was the last appearance that we will see of Manning in a Superbowl contest! One victory in three Superbowl appearances and one could surmise that the window of opportunity for the quarterback to join a select few of his peers with at least two Superbowl victories and rings to their name, has now actually closed . This kind of makes me wonder if there is a sibling rivalry between Peyton and his younger brother Eli Manning , who has captured two victories in the NFL’s postseason finale, along with an Superbowl MVP award to adorn his trophy cabinet .


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As the quarterback of the Denver Broncos , Peyton Manning had an extraordinary year, having smashed the single season passing yards’ record, as well as the single season passing touchdowns’ mark. As spectacular as those feats were , the disappointment of that Superbowl loss , has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Broncos’ players and leaving the front office of the organization completely bewildered as to the magnitude of the defeat. Let’s just say, that team owner, Pat Bowlen and John Elway , President of Football Operations, himself being no stranger to the postseason disappointment of a Superbowl appearance. Elway, as a member of the Denver Broncos , made five appearances in the Superbowl, but rode out on a career-high, having won the last two , on his way to a Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, at the culmination of his career.

Now we could start to prognosticate as to where Peyton Manning ranks amongst the best quarterbacks to have ever played the game, but with his career, yet to come to an end . Would it be remiss to suggest, that he no longer has what it takes to win at the highest level? With the right weapons around him, Manning was able to achieve success this past season , in the regular and postseason , but we all saw , that the Superbowl contest , clearly showed that the Denver Broncos were not ready to play and they were simply overwhelmed by the Seattle Seahawks . This off-season could prove to be an eventful one for the Broncos’ front office with John Elway , Matt Russell , Tom Heckert in conjunction with John Fox assessing the player personnel needs, with the likelihood of several players on the roster not likely to return for next season .

Peyton Manning within the next two years , should he make the decision to return for the 2014 season , is likely to make a full assault on the career touchdowns’ passing mark of 508 held by Brett Favre as well as the career yards’ passing record also held by the former .. Green Bay Packers’ quarterback. At present the Broncos’ quarterback leads all active players in terms of passing yards, passing touchdowns , pass attempts , completions , career comeback wins , and interceptions , Manning I believe having been on the wrong end of two defeats in the Superbowl, would like nothing better than to redeem himself and that of Broncos’ teammates in making one last attempt to win a second title . As I alluded to earlier, I do believe that Superbowl 48 was indeed the last time we will have seen the five-time league MVP having appeared in the NFL’s postseason finale.

Elway and John Fox will likely spend part of this off-season with behind the scenes closed-door discussions with their heralded quarterback, seeking his input on the weapons he feels best needed, in order for the Broncos to take that next step to a Superbowl victory . Contemplating the future of free agents, such as Knowshon Moreno, Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eric Decker, Dan Koppen, Zane Beadles, Trindon Holliday , Michael Huff and others may well prove to be difficult . Yet the likelihood will be , the team will have to forsake a number of these free agents in order again to their advantage , while also preparing for the NFL Draft and the prospective litany of free agents that will hit the market during this off-season . The Broncos will be in a significantly advantageous position, as their cap figure will not be to their detriment , where they will have in excess of $11 million of cap room available the front office make deals as they see fit.

As talented as Dez Bryant is said to be, his career is still in its infancy , and with his off-the field behavioral issues beyond team owner , Jerry Jones coddling him like a child . I find the player to be an ingrate and someone with a lack of respect of others as well as for the game ! Bryant, a wide receiver with continually overrated Dallas Cowboys , during this past season, made the claim that he was good enough to be placed alongside both Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald , two of the best wide receivers to have entered the NFL over the past eight years. . Johnson has already cemented his legacy in NFL history having surpassed the single season receiving yards’ mark of Hall of Fame legend Jerry Rice , the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and perhaps one of the top-five players to have played the game at any position within the NFL . Fitzgerald has consistently proven to be a top-ten at the wide receiver, since his entrance into the league , having played his entire career with the Arizona Cardinals , a team who this past season proved to be possible future threat to the f supremacy within the now all so competitive NFC West , which over the past seasons seems to have been a two-horse race between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco Giants.

The Cardinals’ wide receiver now ranks fifth amongst active players in terms of receiving yards, with 11,367 yards on his career resumes’. In terms of career yardage , he has a considerable way to go before surpassing Jerry Rice’s mark of mark of 22,985 yards. The one NFL record , which I believe is unlikely to be surpassed , because of the consistency and longevity needed ! If both Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald continue at their present pace , both are likely to be a “lock “ for induction into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio , upon the end of their respective NFL careers. If Dez Bryant truly wants to be seen as one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL , then beyond the ongoing woeful ineptitude that exists with the Dallas Cowboys , he will have to prove also that he can be a game changer and lead by example , not just from a playing standing point, but also as a vocal leader on the team. Because in reality , the presumed leadership skills or qualities, have never been shown by Tony Romo or perhaps the best player on the roster , tight end Jason Witten , who has carved out an exceptional career playing career for the franchise, without having a Superbowl ring to show for his stellar efforts.

I have written with depth and at great length, concerning the woes of the Dallas Cowboys and do not wish to add much more to that content within this site ! Except that, if you so wish , you are welcomed to peruse the articles in question and add your input on the points raised.

Say what you will for this past NFL season, in terms of the season highlights , the game reigns supreme, as it still resonates with the masses . The events of the Superbowl notwithstanding, the fans will now await to see further stories are likely come to the fore , with the upcoming NFL Draft .

Another supreme career within baseball is about to come to an end , once the regular season reaches its finality . With Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, making it known that this season will be his last in Yankees’ Pinstripes. One can perhaps now begin to ask where the player ranks amongst the all-time greats to have adorned the team’s uniform as well as gauging his contributions to the franchise . A five-time World Series’ champion , Series’ MVP , AL Rookie of the Year but having never won the AL MVP , as well as a multiple time All Star , the player’s resume` is littered accolades and accomplishments , that his departure from the ball-club , will be the last vestiges of the corps of players who alongside then manager Joe Torre , won four World Series , having made six appearances in baseball’s postseason finale between 1996 through to 2005. The short-stop’s last championship game in 2009 , with Joe Girardi helming the team as the manager , with the Yankees’ win over the hapless Philadelphia Phillies in a 4-2 series’ win.

With noted Hall of Famers from the New York Yankees’ rich baseball history , such as Lou Gehrig , Babe Ruth , Reggie Jackson , Micky Mantle , Wade Boggs , Dave Winfield, Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter , Joe DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto. In trying to assess where Derek Jeter would rank amongst those players would take a great deal of deliberation . The game has undoubted changed over the course of the last eight decades plus. Yet, the statistics cannot lie when trying make a case for the soon to be retired Yankees shortstop. If there is one thing that truly stands out concerning Jeter’s stature in terms of personal statistics , it may well be his on-base and slugging percentage (OPS) .

With all of the acquisitions made by the New York Yankees during the off-season , which is likely to push the team’s payroll slightly northwards of $200 million . I cannot now help but wonder, how the organization will seek to market the farewell of one the franchise’s and baseball’s most beloved figures over the past two decades. Former teammates, Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera bowed out last season , in what was jointly their last years with the franchise. Rivera, the all-time career saves’ leader, for the New York Yankees, as well as in Major League Baseball, that may well stand the test of time given the present environment within the game. Pettite’s career can simply summed with the words, most postseason wins in baseball history as a starting pitcher, and five World Series’ titles tend to bolster a career resumes’ as well. A great deal will now be expected of this New York Yankees’ lineup , given the fact that Derek Jeter will start his farewell tour in 2014 and no doubt the team’s season series against the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays , the franchise’s most celebrated rivalries in recent years, will likely take on a whole new meaning. As visitors to the venues of the Red Sox and Rays, Fenway Park and Tropicana Field are likely to be sold out for each of those series’ games.

Issues asides , brought on by the Alex Rodriguez saga , with the player now having to sit out the entire 2014 schedule. How the Yankees now acquit themselves under the guidance of Joe Girardi and his staff will tell us a great deal about the mindset of this team and also whether or not Derek Jeter will be back to his very best after a season, in which, 2013 saw him sidelined and limited a handful of games as the team missed the postseason foray . As I alluded to earlier , with this announcement of the player’s departure the expectations are likely to be high , with the view that the Yankees are to be viewed as a favorite for the World Series. What better way, for the heralded shortstop to bow out, than his winning a sixth World Series’ title. Fourteen other teams, within the AL, are likely to have a different perspective on the issue , no doubt.

With the NBA season having reached its halfway point and about to have their annual All Star Game break . It will be interesting to see what behind the scenes moves are made as teams seek to make use of the break to engineer trades that will likely make or break their seasons , when the regular season calendar schedule resumes. From my own perspective , the first half of the NBA schedule was something of a blur , with the Eastern Conference in particular, offering the fans , the usual incompetent displays , with the actual play, now beyond mediocre . The top two teams within the conference , the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat , seem bound for another conference finals’ series match-up. One that could clearly go in favor of the Pacers , if Frank Vogel’s players continue at the present pace in terms their play and perform as a cohesive unit.

It may not feel like a lifetime ago, since Carmelo Anthony almost single-handed, exploited a bad Charlotte Bobcats team on his way to a career-high sixty-two points in the New York Knicks’ win over their conference rivals within the East. Subsequently , the Knicks have continued to throw in some rather tawdry performances , and yet their fans continue to make all types of excuses for the team’s mundane play . If at this juncture , Carmelo Anthony , still remains unconvinced that his best options lay elsewhere , concerning his ambitions to win an NBA title , then to my mind he is not deserving of the opportunity to move on elsewhere ! He is being asked to carry way too much a burden, night in and night out , while his teammates simply look on , without rarely coming to his aid and contributing positively . Head coach, Mike Woodson for his part, now seems completely out of his depth , along with an unimaginative coaching staff .

Coming off two consecutive losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings , respectively , it is becoming increasingly easy to understand why the Knicks remain a moribund franchise , ran by an unimaginative front office and owned by James Dolan , who remains simply clueless, as to what it takes, to run a successful sports’ franchise. Madison Square Garden , one of the NBA’s most venerable venues , might as well be an elephants’ graveyard , because in terms of competitive and entertaining basketball , it is definitely not on view there by , way of the performances of the New York Knicks . The press within that New York media market, may well try to spin the idiocy of what takes place with the franchise , but in reality , mediocrity cannot be disguised for anything else , than for what it really just happens to be. Steve Mills , general manager of the Knicks , may well be have to consult with James Dolan and Mike Woodson concerning Carmelo Anthony’s immediate future, because should he make the decision to opt out of his contract and seek to test the free agency market , the Knicks could up with nothing in return . They can either, seek to trade the player or gamble, that he might seek to return and re-sign with the team.

Through the first half of this season, the two most dominant players in the NBA , have been , Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron James of the Miami Heat , currently the reigning NBA champions. One might seek to add, the Indiana Pacers’ swing-man, Paul George , as stock has risen , along with that of the Pacers and their conference leading mark within the East. In terms of the NBA Most Valuable Player race, James with his four titles , joins a select group of players to have won the award more than twice . Durant, seeks to add that piece of silverware to his trophy cabinet, having already won multiple NBA scoring titles . Yet this season, Durant , is driven , I believe, by the fact that last season , but even more so, the team’s efforts of the 2012-13 season , were to end so disappointingly, with a series’ loss in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. That I believe, has been the driving force behind Kevin Durant’s year and that of his teammates , as led by head coach Scott Brooks and his coaching staff .

If Durant and the supporting cast of the Thunder, are to prevail this season, which I believe that they are quite capable of doing! Then a possible match-up in this season’s NBA Finals, against either the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat could very well a postseason finale well worth watching. What better way for incoming Commissioner Adam Silver to celebrate his elevation to the league’s highest ranking executive position !



Picture gallery .

Do you believe that records long revered within professional sports , still mean something to this day , even with the growing trend within some areas , for athletes to circumvent the rules and cheat ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.


Picture and slideshow details below .


(1) Five-time NFL League MVP , Peyton Manning leaves the field after the Denver Broncos’ humiliating loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl . The defeat was one of the largest margins of victory (48-3) in a the NFL’s postseason finale. For Manning , it was his third appearance the even and his second loss in an NFL title game. AP Photo / Reed Martin ….

(2) Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen , left, gather for a photo during an NFL football news conference at the team’s headquarters Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, in Englewood, Colo., where Elway was named the team’s executive vice president of football operations. The former Broncos’ quarterback made five appearances in the Superbowl all with the franchise , having won two titles in his five visits to postseason event. AP Photo/ Ed Andrieski ….

(3) Brett Favre , now retired is the NFL all-time leader in career passing touchdowns as well as career passing yards . Should Peyton Manning return for the 2014-15 NFL season, then the career passing touchdowns’ mark is likely to be broken at some point during the regular season . Favre’s career passing yards’ mark of 71,838 yards ranks first all-time , leading the second placed Manning by over 6,874 yards . Peyton Manning’s career yardage total of 64,964 ranks first amongst all active quarterbacks now playing in the NFL . Getty Images North America / Richard Hart …..

(4) Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is seen here with teammate Tony Romo (9) prior to the start of an NFL game. Bryant, believes himself to be the equal of experienced receivers Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and the St Louis Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald . A first round draft pick by the Cowboys in the 2010 NFL Draft , the player has proven to be talented , but also something of a malcontent when things do no got go his way . AP Photo / Marc Carson …

(5) Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald (11) right , are seen here meeting on-field at the end of NFL game between the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals . The two players represent a new breed of athletic and speedy wide receivers to have entered the NFL over the past eight seasons . Matt Farmer / Engle Inc archives ….

(6) Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees is seen here addressing the convened press . The player has made it known that this will be his final season in baseball , after a two-decade career which has seen him win just about every individual honor that the game has to offer with the exception of the AL MVP award. Jeter will leave the game ranked in the upper echelons in a number of offensive and defensive categories with the baseball franchise.

(7) LeBron James of the Miami Heat is seen here alongside Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both players are currently seen as the frontrunners for this season’s NBA MVP Award with their being no other serious contenders for the game’s highest individual regular season award. Durant and James are respectively the leading scorers for the Heat and Thunder as well as being amongst the leading scorers within the NBA this season . Both players also , have each won an NBA scoring title . A Finals’ title and Finals Series’ MVP award are the only things currently missing from Durant’s already extraordinary NBA career . AP Photo / Matthew Clarke ….



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I will paint you a picture and you can tell me how you would like the story to end …

I will paint you a picture and you can tell me how you would like the story to end

Training camps are now underway in the NFL , with a number of teams now in full swing as to mandatory workouts with rookies and seasoned veterans already in camp. Headlines around the league have been bleak, with players now becoming part on law enforcement blotters for all of the wrong reasons .


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Slideshow .

Not to be left out of it all, there have also been two high-ranking Denver Broncos` executives who fell afoul of law enforcement for two DUI misdemeanors and who now await some sort of action to be taken. The matter was dealt with rather swiftly by the Broncos` Head of Football Operations , with John Elway placing the two individuals in question on administrative leave without pay, pending the outcome of the law enforcement investigations. Unlike the rather laughable actions taken by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has simply sat back and watched the NFL placed into further disarray by his lack of authority and complete inaction . The league might well be able to rebound from this latest mea-culpa , but with the likelihood of a media circus surrounding the upcoming homicide trial of New England Patriots tight-end Aaron Hernandez . I am not so sure that this is the staple that the league wants to be part of any time during part of its regular season schedule .

Away from the menagerie of player misbehavior, there have been one or two notable moments. Reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens saw the retirement of defensive stalwart Ray Lewis , the departures of Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin as well as other roster changes that could either lead to the Ravens again being a contender to successfully defend their title or perhaps, simply fall from grace, as we have been accustomed to seeing of recent champions over the past few years . In all likelihood, it all makes for a great premise to be rolled out within the AFC North this season .

As to the expectations for the Baltimore Ravens , the questions likely to be raised are. Can Joe Flacco show the form witnessed during the postseason , as he guided the team to the franchise’s second Superbowl triumph in its young history . The quarterback, having excelled in postseason play , was able to garner a lucrative contract that in terms of guaranteed money is the fourth highest NFL history. Also, with the departures of such seasoned veterans, are the team`s young rookies and sophomore players able to step up to the plate for head coach John Harbaugh and his staff ? The Ravens` exhilarating Superbowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers and the fact that team owner Steve Biscotti and GM Ozzie Newsome can feel vindicated in assembling a roster and building a franchise , that is now amongst the most well-respected organizations in the NFL .

The preseason for the Ravens will be a situation where John Harbaugh can get to acclimatize himself with his new look roster in light of the off-season player-personnel upheavals . Games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week one of the exhibition schedule to be followed by the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and St Louis Rams will act as a precursor for the rigors of what should prove to a fairly tough regular season schedule for the reigning Superbowl champions .

As an ardent fan of the NFL I am not expecting a great deal out of the preseason , as I find the whole exercise a futile effort on the part of the league hierarchy and team owners to excoriate even more money out of the fans for meaningless games, that simply plays no part in the makeup of the regular season . Rising ticket and concession prices, to go along with what at times has come to be rather bland product, does now seem to be alienating some fans , without us having to delve into the behavioral issues of the players and the total lack of urgency being shown by Roger Goodell and the NFLPA (Players` Union) to address the situation head on .

Call me naïve, but every time I hear the Dallas Cowboys` owner Jerry Jones talking about the expectations for his franchise each upcoming season. I tend to wait with bated breath, just to see if he will suddenly fall down from having drank far too much alcohol in giving his State of the Cowboys` speech on an annual basis . Each season for the past decade the expectations have been continually high. And repeatedly the Cowboys have never failed to disappoint with their continued ineptitude . Could this season be any different for the franchise, often described as America`s Team ? I will leave it for you all, to be the judge of that !

The off-season for the Dallas Cowboys saw the departure for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan , who was ultimately being blamed for the team`s defensive woes last season . Ryan`s replacement is the aging Monte Kiffin whose prior place of employment upon his return to the NFL was to aid his son, Lane Kiffin in turning the USC Trojans into a lackluster and perennially defensively mediocre program for a number of seasons during his foray back amongst the collegiate ranks .

One of the more comical aspects as to the Cowboys` off-season was the very fact that Jerry Jones sought to extend the contract of the often overrated Tony Romo , whose playoff career reads like a horror story from a Bram Stoker novel . One playoff-win was somehow enough to garner Romo a seven-year $119.5 million deal , of which $40 million is guaranteed , inclusive of a $25 million signing bonus . Which begs the question, is Jerry Jones now printing his own money , beyond the lucrative and extortionate deals he has been able negotiate with various sponsors ? As profitable and valuable as the Dallas Cowboys` franchise is said to be . There has to come a time when common sense must prevail from within this particular organization . Alas, there seems to be no signs of that even with the rather asinine insistence and notion of some fans and NFL analysts alike, who seem to be under the impression that Romo is an elite, if not a top-ten quarterback in the NFL .

Tony Romo has continued to spend more time making excuses for team losses racked up during his tenure than he has shown in is continued lack of effort in terms of all-round leadership ability . Other than the Chicago Bears` …. Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals , could there be a more overrated and under-achieving quarterback currently playing in the NFL ?

A tepid 8-8 season in the NFC East , once again summed up the plight of the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 , in spite of the coaching indecision of Jason Garrett , who continues to flounder under the weight of expectation and the ongoing implicit faith being shown in him by the league`s most self-absorbed and rambunctious owner .

The front office of the Cowboys having parted ways with a number of players that the coaching staff and Jones in particular, felt were superfluous to the team`s needs . This year`s draft and a number of free agent acquisitions were the basis for bolstering the roster for the upcoming season. Inasmuch, as I believe that Jason Garrett will have his eyes on the divisional games within the NFC East . His first priority must be the preparation of is players on what will be a do or die season for many of these players and I believe undoubtedly for the head coach himself ! Jerry Jones has been known to tolerate a great deal as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Yet I seriously doubt that he finds the bitter taste of losing as harmonious as he would be in winning, and winning on a consistent basis . The franchise’s last playoff win came in the wildcard round of the 2009 postseason . And since then, the cupboard has been essentially bare .

I am not one to point to conspiracy theories behind a franchise’s high s and lows . One is, either to make your own luck , or if you are unable to do so, simply fly by the seat of your pants. In the case of the Dallas Cowboys over the past decade, it has been the singular-minded belief of Jerry Jones , that as team President and general manager , he can do no wrong in either role . What has become abundantly clear however , is that Jones` mistakes have been paramount in the failure of the franchise to be successful in terms of the on-field product of the Cowboys . More misses than hits in recent years, concerning the draft and overpaying for players who have been somewhat unproductive for the team in recent years , are glaring examples reasons why the team has failed abysmally. With the preseason being no indicator of what is likely to place during the regular season . All that is left to do , will be for Jason Garrett and his staff to assess the merits of a revamped roster and how best to equip themselves for the upcoming season .

A week one opening regular season schedule for the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants, could prove prophetic for both franchises, as each looks to regain their swagger. For Eli Manning and the Giants, after last season`s 9-7 divisional second place finish and squandering numerous chances to make the postseason . This divisional match-up might just be the test to they need to gauge themselves against an opponent where their contests have always proven to be very competitive .

So to avoid indictment and further embarrassment to himself the franchise he purchased and the NFL as a whole. Cleveland Browns` owner, Jimmy Haslam has agreed in principle that his company Pilot Flying J Inc will pay the rebates (several million dollars) due to clients , rather than facing a federal indictment and a trial . The fact that Haslam agreed to this all , after at first, denying any culpability on his part , even in the advent of several Pilot J executives and mid-level managers being fired , among those , several who suggested that Jimmy Haslam was privy to the fraud being perpetrated . It would appear all along, the Pilot Flying J proprietor, did indeed have something to hide . What might be even more unpalatable over the course of this whole sordid mess ? The NFL hierarchy and its Board of Governors approved the sale of the Cleveland Browns` franchise while the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department was conducting an investigation into the business dealings of Haslam`s company . Suffice to say, not a great deal of due diligence was being used by Roger Goodell and the in-house investigators and financial experts used in such instances . It begs the question, if the NFL can be so lax in such procedures, and then what else are they also incapable of doing so incompetently?

What also has come out of this , is a class action lawsuit filed in the US District Court by twenty-five national trucking companies , seeking punitive damages from Jimmy Haslam and Pilot Flying J Inc . It would appear that this will not be the last that we will hear on the matter should there be a trial. The Browns` owner insists that the franchise is not for sale . Yet , it is my belief that should this situation become even dire , there will be calls amongst the NFL`s Board of Governors to force Haslam into an unwanted sale or in all likelihood the league itself, taking over the day-to-day operations of the franchise . Even with this action by the Browns` owner , it does appear likely that the US Attorney overseeing the case for the US government will press ahead, seek an indictment and then proceed on to a trial . This paints another bleak picture for the image of the NFL and specifically amongst the team owners . Far too often they old themselves up as captains of industry , yet in reality, their business practices in and outside of the NFL ranks, are akin to that of a racketeer or Mafioso Boss. Il Capo dei Capi (Boss of Bosses) .

The Cleveland Browns, coming off a 5-11 season (2012) and a last place finish in the AFC North , will be looking to rebound from last season . A great deal of that will be predicated upon the play of quarterback Brandon Weeden and how the player seeks make up for a rookie season filled that was with highs and lows . A chance of a sophomore breakout year could be expected , but it will be predicated upon the weapons available for the quarterback . For second-year head coach Rob Chudzinski and his staff , this year might well be the opportunity they seek to prove that 2012 was something of an aberration .

On both sides of the ball , last season proved to be an immense struggle for the Cleveland Browns. There is no doubt in my mind that Chudzinski has sought the upgrades he believes necessary by way of the NFL Draft and free agent acquisitions to improve both the offense and defense . If those solutions are dealt with adequately, then there is no reason to believe why the Browns cannot create some sort of competitive edge for themselves within the AFC North and AFC in particular


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The off-season of the NFL has proven to be rather unsavory for a number of reasons , without their being any type of proven leadership being shown by anyone within the league hierarchy or from the union (NFLPA) for that matter . Yet, we are now to believe that the league can continue to withstand the continued type of adverse publicity without any type of criticism being leveled at the brand , its leadership and all that is said to represent ? By all means, do leave a comment as you see fit concerning anything you believe pertinent to the subject matter .


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(1) FILE – In this June 27, 2013, file photo, former New England Patriots NFL football tight end Aaron Hernandez stands during a bail hearing in Fall River Superior Court in Fall River, Mass. The legal problems of current and former SEC players _ from ex-Florida and NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez to LSU’s Jeremy Hill _ has cast a negative light on the league that has won seven consecutive national championships. Coaches in the conference say they have to weigh a player’s talent vs. trouble in or out of the locker room. AP Photo/Boston Herald, Ted Fitzgerald …

(2) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco warms up during practice at the NFL football team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Tuesday, July 23, 2013. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh speaks during a news conference after practice at the NFL football team’s facility in Owings Mills, Md., Tuesday, July 23, 2013. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(4) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo throws a pass during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Oxnard, Calif. AP Photo/Gus Ruelas …

(5) Dallas Cowboys` head coach Jason Garrett , left is seen here with team President & general manager Jerry Jones at the team`s practice facility in Arlington , Texas . Jones believes that the team will be rebound from a rather lackluster season in 2012 , during which the franchise missed the postseason for the third consecutive year , having finished third within the NFC East , behind the high-flying Washington Redskins (10-6) , eventual divisional champions . Getty Images / Chris Walker …

(6) Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is one of the NFL`s newest owners having bought the Cleveland based franchise in 2012 . In recent months, Haslam and is company Pilot J Flying Inc have been under investigation by the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department for failure to pay trucking company clients nationwide rebates amounting to millions of dollars . Haslam denies any wrongdoing on his part , but several senior executives fired by the owner have stated that Jimmy Haslam was party to the massive fraud perpetrated against the clients . Those clients have since filed a civil suit against Pilot J Flying , in US District Court in Tennessee , seeking unspecified and punitive damages . For his part, the Cleveland Browns owner has stated categorically that the franchise will not be put up for sale , in spite of this latest controversy . AP Photo / Matt Carr ……..

(7) Browns` quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is shown leaving the field after an off-season workout in Berea, Ohio, has been working to improve his footwork. Weeden leads Browns` quarterback depth chart made up of himself , veteran Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer . The Browns will be looking to make a serious challenge within the AFC North this upcoming season . They start their regular season, with an opening home game against the Miami Dolphins in all an all conference AFC duel . AP Photo / Brendan Sykes ………



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Do The Bears Still Suck And Is A Roll of Charmin Really As Soft As We’re Led To Believe ?

Do The Bears Still Suck And Is A Roll of Charmin Really As Soft As We’re Led To Believe ?

There’s no denying that after Jay Cutler’s mea culpa in the postseason a great deal of questions arose about the player’s credibility and mindset . Chicago Bears’ fans and a number of his teammates sprung to the player’s defense in suggesting that the NFC Championship game loss to the Green Bay Packers and Cutler leaving the game simply wasn’t the prime reason for that defeat. I’ve long held the contention that Jay Cutler while being a good player simply isn’t a great player ! Well , not the player I think is capable of leading a team to a Superbowl victory !


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Jay Cutler’s talents are undeniable but there seems to be something lacking from within , as to what that might be I can’t be totally be sure . He may well have the arm to launch the ball 60 yards at the drop of a hat but that if anything is the primary flaw in his arsenal . That pass is just as liable to be intercepted by the opposing defense as it is to end up in the arms of one of his receivers . Head coach Lovie Smith a staunch supporter of his beleaguered Pro Bowl quarterback has even suggested that Cutler was the main reason for having a successful 2010 season. That in ofitself may well be true but few if any truly believed that the Chicago Bears would be deemed one of the best teams in the NFC last season . Granted , we saw a number of teams within the conference fall by the wayside due to inconsistency and in part more so through injuries but that becomes a mute point because isn’t that why teams have depth to their rosters ?

The challenge for the Chicago Bears isn’t one of not being good but simply playing well on a consistent basis and that to my mind has always been the knock against the team. You simply cannot trust the Chicago Bears to go out and play four consecutive quarters of high quality football much less two but yet somehow there are fans out there who believe that because of Jay Cutler , this team should now be viewed as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl ? Granted , the team now has a solid blend of veterans and youth with Brian Urlacher leading the charge . And it should be remembered it was Urlacher amongst the players who leapt to the quarterback’s defense when it was suggested that Cutler simply bailed on his teammates to hide from his own insecurities and somewhat lackadaisical performance during the NFC championship game. That asides , it once again all boiled down to the fact that this teams lacks resolve to close out a game when they have it within their grasp.

Head coach Lovie Smith’s philosophy has been to build his team around a miserly defense that allows the opposing team almost nothing. If anything that was taught to him by Tony Dungy from who he gained much of his knowledge as a coordinator , which he now puts to good use. But you should not discount the offense of the Chicago Bears where their primary running back Matt Forte can be counted on to be productive when given the means to do so. Certainly the Bears’ offense is more than capable of putting points on the board but with that also comes the expectations of wins , divisional titles , conference championships but most of all the Superbowl victory. And it is these expectations that cast a giant shadow over this whole organization and the fact that there are some who have questioned whether or not Lovie Smith is the right man for the job and above all whether or not Jay Cutler is the quarterback is the guy to lead this team to that ultimate goal.

Beyond Matt Forte the complementary pieces for the offense seem to be in place with Devin Hester , Johnny Knox , Chester Taylor , Earl Bennett and the newly acquired Marion Barber . And with the defensive presence of Brian Urlacher alongside Julius Peppers , Lance Briggs , Charles Tillman and Danieal Manning there is a belief that the team could very well be favored to do something special this upcoming season .

As I alluded to earlier if the Chicago Bears are to be successful then Jay Cutler to my mind will have to show me a great deal more than I witnesed last season and in particular after his performance in the NFC championship game . There are those who suggested that his injury was indeed far more serious than it was as first presumed to be. Others will detract from that by saying that the player simply opted to bail on his team when he realized he had nothing to offer. I’m of the opinion that it was little of both , Cutler was injured but I doubt injured enough to the point where it warranted him sitting out the vast majority of the game. It may well have sat well with some of his teammates on the day but I do believe that many of the Bears’ fans at Soldier Field saw an unacceptable side of a player whose maturity level isn’t where it needs to be. And as for Brian Urlacher’s assertion that Jay Cutler is a warrior , well we know that the defensive stalwart has been known to play through pain when his team needed him most . But this falsehood that he now lives under that his quarterback is a player he’d run through a wall for seems all so laughable given Urlacher’s own displays of courage and bravado on the field.

The NFC North apart from being home to the reigning Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers also has residing there the Minnesota Vikings , Detroit Lions as well as the Chicago Bears . And for the respective coaches Mike McCarthy , Leslie Frazier , Jim Schwartz and Lovie Smith , they are all looking for their teams to acquit themselves well this year. I personally believe that of the cadre of coaches mentioned Smith may well be the one with the most to lose . If his team should fail to make the postseason at best then I certainly believe that in spite of the contract extension granted he could be shown the door by either team GM Jerry Angelo or Tim Ruskell the Head of Football Operations for the Bears’ organization. There can only be so much that the fans can be be subjected to and be asked to endure . To be repeatedly asked to witness a team come up short is not one of them and at this juncture it’s pretty safe that’s what the fans of the Chicago Bears have actually beared witness to.

The Minnesota Vikings have their own issues and with the team’s acquisition of Donovan McNabb it may arguably be seen as something of an upgrade from the quarterbacks on the team’s roster of last season. When one bears in mind that the throngs of Brett Favre fans were simply wiling their time away as the self aggrandizing veteran was showing his age , with his best days are so far behind him that it couldn’t be seen from a rear view mirror. Now the Vikings’ fans will be subjected to the travails of Donovon McNabb over the coming season . Let’s put this way McNabb didn’t help his cause any last season with a number of horrendous displays but at the same time one has to remember he was playing for the Washington Redskins which has Mike Shanahan as the head coach with his son , Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator . There hasn’t been such an inept duo front and center e for the public to view since Ross Perot and Vice Admiral James Stockdale were running as independents , seeking to win the US Presidential election . The less said about that event and likewise with the Redskins’ 2010 season the better !

I believe that the Detroit Lions are still a work in progress but how much longer will the fans be patient with the often injured Matt Stafford ? I am not saying that he’s brittle but there are leukemia patients with more moxie and strength than the player is said to possess . Alas , the Lions will live and die by the play of their quarterback . For the Green Bay Packers it’s all about looking to make a successful defense of their title . Quiet in the offseason no doubt obviously due to the lockout the team stood pat not making any serious moves in looking to add to the roster . However , you can be sure that the team of last season along with their draftees will be looking to make some waves and show that their triumph of last season wasn’t an aberration. And Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers will most certainly be out to show that he’s now rightfully assumed the mantel once held by his predecessor Brett Favre . And for those who’d suggested that the team couldn’t win without the legendary quarterback ___ how’s that dose of crow tasting right about now ?



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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the upcoming season for the Chicago Bears and in particular for their quarterback Jay Cutler ? And also do you see the Green Bay Packers quite possibly making a successful defense of their Superbowl title ? Chime in with any pertinent thoughts you might have on the points raised within this piece and as always thanks for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal …..

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Picture and slide show details .


(1) Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester stretches during NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …..

(2) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, right, looks to a throw as offensive coordinator Mike Martz looks on during NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(3) Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher watches his teammates practice during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(4) Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler wipes his face during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(5) Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith watches his team during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(6) Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo watches his team during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(7) Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, center, talks with quarterbacks Jay Cutler, left, and Caleb Hanie during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …….

(8) Jan 23, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji (90) returns an interception for a touchdown past Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie (12) during the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC championship game at Soldier Field. Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE ……..

(9) Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (85) is tackled by Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) during the first half of the NFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………

(10) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers dives into the corner of the endzone for a one-yard touchdown run against Danieal Manning (38) of the Chicago Bears in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images / Jamie Squire ……..

(11) Quarterback Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears attempts to avoid a sack by Cullen Jenkins (77) of the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images North America / Jamie Squire ……

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