Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ….

” Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well ” Quote by William Shakespeare

As the NFL regular season meets its timely demise, the one thing we can take out of these scheduled l games was the fact , like in seasons past ….what you see is what you get. None of this asinine insinuation of their being parity in the NFL has any foundation at all . It comes down to hard work , effort , talent and coaching. This season there was very little of that to be witnessed by the majority of the teams. Even franchises thought to be major contenders at the start of the year , simply flamed out like a damp squib, while but a few surprised , perhaps none more so than the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) who made the NFC West something of a competitive division throughout much of the season , but failing in the end to follow up their fast start , by closing out the deal with a divisional win . Bruce Arians’ Cardinals enter into the postseason as a wildcard entrant with a very competitive game on their hands this upcoming weekend.

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The Arizona Cardinals will travel cross-country to face an over-achieving Carolina Panthers’ (7-8-1) team who somehow fought and then systematically clawed their way to an undeserving NFC South divisional title . Ron Rivera and his players made a successful defense of their title, but it was far from being impressive considering the fact , in 2013 the team had double-digit wins while also claiming one of the best records in the NFC for the year. This season proved to be a complete anathema with all four teams finishing within the division with sub.500 records and the Panthers being privileged to be the divisional representative in the postseason . Say what you will, but mediocrity still plays a vital part in the NFL today and always will in spite of claims to the contrary and the ongoing idiotic suggestion of parity .

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers make welcome return to the postseason , but these are not the Steelers’ teams of old , albeit , Ben Roethliseberger is playing well , but nowhere near the level when he led the franchise to their most recent postseason triumphs . In knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals , Pittsburgh booked their ticket to the postseason, while also capturing the AFC North title. Roethlisberger will be looking to make this Steelers’ team competitive, even if they are looked upon as under-dogs within the conference and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl . If Pittsburgh can find any semblance of consistency then they are likely give any AFC team considerable problems during the postseason foray.

With all three teams from the state of California failing to make the NFL’s end of the regular season showcase. One has to ask, what now becomes of the Oakland Raiders (3-13), San Diego Chargers(9-7) and the San Francisco 49ers (8-8)? Niners’ head coach Jim Harbaugh is most certainly out, with the beleaguered head coach having agreed in principle to part ways with the franchise. There were every growing signs Harbaugh had lost control of the team and the players’ confidence in him, never mind the organization’s lack of accountability in dealing with several off the field issues during the season. It has all led up to this crisis and placed CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke in a position, where they were either going fire the coach , but with his choosing to part ways of his own volition , it now leaves them to pursue a candidate to their liking and hopefully someone who can regain the stature they feel is befitting of their franchise.

A meaningless win for the Forty Niners over the Arizona Cardinals was simply more salt in the wound for the organization , knowing this was a season which went unfulfilled. There were few positives on this team and the likelihood will be, some drastic changes will be made to the roster during the off-season. I am not so sure what needs to be said about the San Diego Chargers and the travails of Philip Rivers . Since his entry into the NFL he has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league, but yet he has been unable to give the franchise or should I say, this organization has failed to supply him with the complementary weaponry to get the job done of availing themselves a Superbowl victory. All that was needed in the Chargers’ final game of the season, was a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , but instead, the visitors chose to give their worst performance of the season with Rivers contributing to the Chargers’ defeat and their being abruptly thrown out of the postseason.

It has never pained me to say this but ” the Oakland Raiders are simply sh#t and not worth the time of day ., much less being mentioned as an NFL franchise ! I don’t believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that at this juncture . As for this idiotic belief , Jon Gruden is likely to return to the organization for a second go-around, is almost absurd as believing Donald Trump has the wherewithal to become the GOP candidate for the Presidency in 2016. Then again, if a smooth-talking Senator from Chicago , Illinois can twice (2008 and 2012) pull the wool over the eyes of a befuddled electorate, then just about anything is possible within reason, wouldn’t you agree ? Gruden signed a lucrative contract extension with ESPN to fill us in with his customary useless diatribe and insights into the NFL. Personally. the less I see of the NFL analyst on the air, the better off I feel about the the league in general, as I believe his insight on the game, offers me no more meaningful information than can be found in a piece of legislative statute, drawn up by a lobbyist, that one of the Congress’s lame @ss legislators, will place their signature on, calling it their own and a meaningful piece of legislation. The Raiders were in the hunt to have the worst record in the NFL this season , until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to enter the fray and exhibit the type of incompetence often seen from silent era of movie making and those comedic classics produced by Max Sennett that evolved around ” The Keystone Cops” .

Genuine pratfalls or not , the Buccaneers have now defined and refined incompetence to a new “art form” within the NFL , with their apathetic fans as usual at a loss with anything meaningful to say about the continuing woes of the team and organization in general. Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht remains as clueless in person as he does when first introduced as the lead front office executive in charge of player personnel decisions for the franchise. Lovie Smith has brought in and instilled the type of home-grown stupidity into the Buccaneers’ roster that you would perhaps more associate with an episode of the the ” Jerry Springer ” Show . ” Who’s my baby Daddy ” ? The Buccaneers were just about everybody”s bit#h during the regular season and their record was a clear reflection of that fact.

The fact the Oakland and Tampa will be in the top-five of the 2015 NFL Draft order shouldn’t really come as surprise to anyone . What may well come as a surprise , is the fact the Raiders are seriously contemplating Tony Sparano remain as the team’s head coach and making it a permanent position . Damn , here was I thinking the revolving door and turn-style of either recycled head coaches or less than qualified candidates would be part of the Raiders’ off-season as they began their interviewing process , but at the end of the day, we are dealing with the Oakland Raiders and nothing they seem to do has anything to do with logic let alone acual common sense. I hear, there is even talk of building the franchise around the talents of Derek Carr ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! If Carr hopes to be a resounding success in the NFL, then here are a few pointers for the player , play a great deal better than you have been and for Christ’s sake take no advice from an elder sibling, David Carr , whose career in the NFL and the fact he was an overall number one draft pick is a sound reason why you cannot always base an assessment of a player on what others might think or the fact Mel Kiper’s lips have been firmly pressed against an agents’ sphincter or the players’ butt-hole as an insightful premise as what we ought to expect from a player.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is once again back to the drawing board, as the franchise seeks to regain some semblance of respectability , if not success. The lone bright spot on the roster from the season which has just ended was the play of their rookie wide receiver Mike Evans who excelled for for the franchise in his first professional season in the league. It’s safe to suggest the Buccaneers have a solid receiver in Evans and a very good talent with running back Doug Martin who had himself a career-day in the team’s narrow three-point loss to the New Orleans Saints (7-9).

Unfortunately, there are no leaders to be found on this current Buccaneers’ roster, and in large part, that has not been the case since the days, when Tony Dungy was the head coach of this franchise. Players such as Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Jon Lynch played with a great deal of pride and honor , when they took to the field for the team. I do not believe that to be the case with this current lineup and that is strange, when you consider, Lovie Smith is a disciple of the Dungy approach to coaching and the players being held accountable. Then again I shouldn’t be at all surprised by the morass and incompetence shown by team, when I consider the fact , Smith coached the Chicago Bears where during his final two years with the franchise, we all witnessed the less than favorable playing traits of Jay Cutler . If Smith could not corral and handle a prima-donna such as Cutler, why would anyone be of the belief he would be able to instill any type of discipline into a roster where Gerald McCoy and Vincent Jackson have practically been “no shows ” this season and as alleged veterans in the NFL, have shown about as much propensity to lead by example as a shy child being asked to read in font of the class by a teacher , on their first day at school.

McCoy and Jackson are among the highest paid players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have have been stealing money under false pretense by way of their respective salaries . Whatever changes are likely to be made during the off-season you can be assured there will be upheavals made as the front office decides to rebuild the roster and several elements of the coaching staff . It has been part of the Buccaneers’ procedural process during each year of undoubted failure , in a season which allegedly, promised a great deal of hope.

OK, so the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) are back in the postseason for the first time since 2009 where the team’s showing ended with a divisional round loss to the Minnesota Vikings . Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones finally has something to shout out loud about, as the team far exceeded expectations which may have been set at the start of the season. The Cowboys won the <a href=http://nfl.com/standings?sort=por won the NFC East, because the Philadelphia Eagles(10-6) under the coaching acumen of Chip Kelly, has no compunction to play defense , something often witnessed during his years with Oregon as the program’s head coach. Prolific offenses seems to be the only thing known to Kelly and within his playbook.

Philadelphia for its part, was simply hoping the Cowboys would falter in their game against the hapless Washington Redskins(4-12) , whose season has been one repeated disaster after the other, with Jay Gruden unsure what to make of his starting quarterbacks this season. Dallas simply blew the Redskins out of the water with a 44-17 victory in a contest where Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murrayshattered the franchise’s single season records for receiving touchdowns , for rushing yardsrespectively and all-purpose yards. Though the Eagles came away with a somewhat easy victory over the New York Giants (6-10) .

It is stunning to face the fact, the Philadelphia Eagles failed to make the postseason when they had the division and postseason berth within their grasp. Questions need to be asked and answered, as to whether or not this team possesses the competitive or mental mindset to get the job done . The answer , based on the occurrences of this season would have to be a resounding …….. no , because clearly, Chip Kelly feels there is no need to change the way the team plays , specifically with their defense being so inconsistent, bordering on ineptitude.

As great a season as the Dallas Cowboys had for the year,I am far from convinced the team will be good enough to make deep run in the postseason ! Add in the fact Tony Romo’s playoff- record leaves a great deal to be desired. A wildcard contest against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington , Texas on the 4th January , 2015 will provide the Cowboys’ fans their first chance to see the team in playoff game in five years. Whether or not the players can get past this first hurdle will greatly be dependent upon on the preparation of Jason Garrett and his coaching staff. The winner will then have the privilege of facing the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the postseason.

The New York Jets'(4-12) failures thisseason have been well-chronicled and the mere fact that the front office seems to on the cusp of firing head coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik should come as no great surprise. At no point during their regular season schedule were the Jets able to muster back-to-back wins. It’s safe to say, as Ryan continually backed his incumbent starting quarterback , Geno Smith , the greater the pressure became for him to revert to the use of the team’s veteran and backup Michael Vick when Smith’s play came into question during 2014. Not that Vick’s play was any more convincing, leading many to now believe his days in the NFL are likely numbered. Strong arm and a great running threat? Well, those days are long gone and his play overall, never led to any meaningful victories for either the Atlanta Falcons Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets over the course of his career. As for Smith, work in progress or not, momentary flashes of glimpses of brilliance are not what the Jets require, it his consistently winning games and showing leadership than his propensity for fumbling the ball and throwing interceptions.

It will be interesting to see what now transpires within the Jets’ organization, as they gauge where and when their season began to spiral completely out of control. My question remains , if John Idzik was the architect behind the building of a Superbowl winning roster, with last season’s champions the Seattle Seahawks , then how is it he and Ryan’s coaching staffwere not able to assemble a competitive roster for this season ?

Credible candidates for the regular season League MVP ? Cast your net wide, but to my mind there are but four strong nominees for the league’s highest invdividual regular season honor ! Granted, everyone seems to be jumping on the JJ Watt bandwagon, but how can anyone feel Watt is so deserving of the award when the Houston Texans (9-7)barely above.500 never really challenged the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) for divisional supremacy within the AFC South or the very fact the team failed to make it into the postseason ? Granted , Watt did have an exceptional year as a defensive player and rightfully or wrongfully he can be considered for the award , but to my mind he has been the best Defensive Player in the league this season , but being the best player in the NFL this year ? There are are other candidates far more worthy than Watt !

I believe the Texans’ defensive end (Watt) to be the best player on the roster this season. Yet , that in-of-itself should be by no means the sole requirement for him to be simply be handed the prize unanimously in a number of adjudicators’ eyes. Has he been the best player in the NFL this season ? Consistency might suggest Watt has been, but I consider the play of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, DeMarco Murray and Tom Brady to have been just as credible. When these awards are handed out during the NFL’s annual awards’ ceremony , it will be interesting to see who the recipient award will be and whether not it a unanimous or majority vote balloted in the player’s favor. Your thoughts on this specific matter ?

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With the NFL postseason about to get underway this weekend, what event during the regular season caught your attention and which teams during the league’s postseason foray do you believe will rise to the occasion and win it all ? Chime in with a comment on the subject matter as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has been greatly appreciated ! With the New Year beckoning, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and Prosperous New Year !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers avoids the tackle from Calais Campbell (93) of the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The Forty Niners would go on to defeat the Cardinals 20-17 , with the contest being Jim Harbaugh’s last game in charge as the head coach of the team. Getty Images Ezra Shaw …

(2) Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw ….

(3) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers and owner Jed York talk at midfield during warm ups against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images /Don Feria …

(4) Head coach Rex Ryan , left, of the New York Jets speaks with head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins during pregame workouts before the Jets met the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. It was announced today that Ryan and GM John Idzik had been fired by team owner Woody Johnson as the franchise seeks to move on after a thoroughly disappointing season. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …

(5) Mike Evans (13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs after a reception in the first half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. The Saints defeated the Bucs 23-20 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …

(6) Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Bob Levey …

(7) J.J. Watt (99) of the Houston Texans celebrates sacking Blake Bortles (5) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Getty Images /Bob Levey …

(8) Quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Century-Link Field on December 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Johnathan Ferrey …

(9) Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback , Russell Wilson is seen here raising the Lombardi Trophy after the team’s lopsided victory over the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl . The Seahawks enter the postseason as the number one seed in the NFC and a strong contender to repeat as the defending champions . Wilson is also considered a leading contender for League MVP after a stellar season for the team. Also pictured are Michael Strahan to the left of the quarterback, with Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll to Wilson’s rear . AP Photo/ Mike Thomas …
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Looking for all of the right answers in all of the wrong places

Looking for all of the right answers in all of the wrong places

In all the fallout leading to the ongoing criticism of the NFL and its league hierarchy, it seems remarkably strange that not one owner has spoken out in criticising Roger Goodell for his handling of the Ray Rice affair . Baltimore Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti has been somewhat naive in his belief , he was misled in how the league would deal with the situation , albeit , he and GM Ozzie Newsome would have been within their right to suspend the running back , rather than leaving it to league to mete out its form of punishment . In light of the issue and the back and forth between the NFL and the beginning of an investigation by the NFLPA (Players’ Union) , the belief remains, the commissioner and many of his subordinates made a horrendous mistake in their handling of this affair. It also goes to the question, if the league can now ban Rice for his actions , but belief no such action is warranted after the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive player has readily admitted in an interview, he beat his pregnant girlfriend , it leads me to believe the NFL and Roger Goodell maintains a “double standard” in spite of the changes about to be made concerning player misconduct as it relates to domestic violence and spousal abuse.

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As a face-saving exercise and makeover the NFL has called upon two former federal civil servants , Robert S Mueller and Louis Freeh to conduct an investigation , start a policy to be adopted by the league and its teams , seeking to address the conduct of players and specifically the issue of domestic violence. Given the fact it has taken numerous incidents for the league to reluctantly pull their collective heads out of their own asses . I simply do not believe any measure now being taken will likely force a player to rethink their pattern of behavior . No deterrent set by the league has stopped players when it comes to misuse of a banned substance , and then collecting misdemeanor charges for DUI , or a felony for having an unlicensed firearm , but rather with a great deal of naiveté on the part of the NFL , the commissioner and a number of rather apathetic fans things are now about to change. Roger Goodell , has never looked himself in the mirror and simply address the fact he has been a poor leader and executive for the NFL , not unlike the poor stewardship seen during the final years of David Stern’s leadership of the NBA .

Three weeks into the NFL and there are few positives be taken away, as the league enters week four and then close out the first quarter of the season. The divisions have not yet provided us with a clear picture as to the likely contenders for the Superbowl , but there have been one or two surprises concerning the play of a number of players through the first three weeks of the season.

Rex Ryan head coach of the New York Jets has begun to mull over whether or not Geno Smith remains the team’s best option to win at this level within the NFL , with the quarterback already showing signs of the traits which plagued him for much of last season with his errant plays , fumbles and proclivity for throwing interceptions . Through three games for the Jets this season , Smith has now become more of a liability rather than an asset for the franchise.

A sloppy and indifferent performance against the Chicago Bears in a home loss has pretty much summed up why Rex Ryan may well seek to sit Geno Smith , given the team’s woes in terms of the offense and their passing game . Defensively , the issues for the Jets point the fact the average points per game being given up by the defense. The alternative for Rex Ryan would be to insert seasoned veteran Michael Vick into the starting lineup , but I seriously doubt at this stage of his career , Vick has very much to offer to the team , while simply seeking to enhance his status as one of the elder statesmen in the league currently playing the quarterback position.

On Sunday afternoon the New York Jets will play hosts to the Detroit Lions Lions and it will be interesting to see whether it will be Smith or Vick lined up to take the snap in the contest.

In the aftermath of the Miami Dolphins’ dour lack of competitiveness in 2013 and the franchise’s off the field issues . It seemed only natural to think the Dolphins would show signs of improvement in 2014 . Instead head coach Joe Philbin has been left wondering , how could things remains so awry , with the team still playing without any passion which is reflected in the Dolphins’ record (1-2) and their standing within the AFC East as well as the AFC .

Ryan Tannehill the starting quarterback for the Dolphins has been far from consistent for the team this season , and it places the head coach in something of a dilemma as to what he should do with the incumbent starter. Matt Moore is Tannehill’s backup , but Moore’s career in the NFL has simply been , one of not too many top-notch moments or what could be described as exhilarating plays. It has been several years since the Dolphins had an offense that would pose a threat to anyone in terms of passing or rushing game and it has to be said , neither Ryan Tannehill or Matt Moore would evoke such a memory or pose such a threat.

Dennis Allen’s …. Oakland Raiders will have the Miami Dolphins as their guests this Sunday in an all AFC clash which will both teams overlooking to overcome their very indifferent starts to the season . For the Raiders in particular , this might well be Allen’s last season as the head coach of a team which has underpeformed with their being barely any signs of life from this roster , even in spite of the spirited play of rookie quarterback Derek Carr . Team owner , Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie , this off-season will likely assess the merits in keeping Dennis Allen based upon how the season pans out as well the retention of certain players on the roster . I firmly believe , we will see another merry-go-round, as another head coach is sent packing from a franchise where their average tenure over the last decade and a half has been less than three seasons.

The expectations were high but the returns now being seen have been an extreme disappointment as Lovie Smith , his coaching staff and this Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team have performed poorly , getting off to an 0-3 start within the NFL , a record shared with the Oakland Raiders , making the two teams the worst in the league from a record standpoint . I believed Smith would have brought some discipline to a team sadly lacking in that last season , but it has become abundantly clear , the players lacked not only a great deal of discipline and there seems to be no vocal leader , much less a great player on the team willing to lead by example . Vincent Jackson no longer poses the offensive threat as one of the better tight ends in the NFL and the Buccaneers' pass attack can best described as simply mediocre. Neither Josh McCown or Mike Glennon have proven to be the answer this regular season and the signs were there to be observed during the preseason. The Buccaneers were a walking disaster in their 56-14 loss to divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons , and it was somewhat fortunate for Tampa the Falcons missed several opportunities to build a wider margin of victory in their big win .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a poor excuse for an NFL franchise and the issues which plague the team covers just about every facet of their game . I do not believe the team can become competitive enough where they are likely to be seen as a credible challenger within the NFC South . Tampa is certainly not good enough this moment to be defeat either the Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints and their return visit whereby they will play host to Atlanta Falcons in week ten could very well likely provide us with a similar result as I do not believe the Buccaneers can make that much of an improvement , given their dire situation at present.

Week four will see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pit their wits against the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , this upcoming Sunday. Pittsburgh for its part will be looking for the win and place themselves into contention for what has now become a tightly contested AFC North division where the Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) maintain a slender lead.

Ben Roethlisberger is not yet back at his very best , but as long as the Steelers have a great running game and a top-five defense then this team can be considered a legitimate contender within the AFC and quite possibly for a deep run in the postseason and to the Superbowl title, itself.

I don’t know what it will take for the Jacksonville Jaguars to be taken seriously as credible NFL franchise . Years of indifference, through poor coaching and needless to say an owner who did not seem to be all that ambitious when Wayne Weaver owned the team. Now with Shahid Khan owning the Jaguars the management has been put into place with a view to making this Jaguars’ organization a legitimate concern within the NFL. Other than the era of Tom Coughlin as the franchise’s head coach, there has been little to cheer about concerning the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mark Brunell and Tony Boselli became synonymous with the franchise but over the past eight seasons , things have been very lean for the organization . With Gus Bradley on board as the head coach and
several
changes
having
been made in terms of free agent acquisitions and the drafting of Blake Bortles , the belief seems to be, things are about to change for the better.

Chad Henne the Jaguars’ starting quarterback for 2014 has proven to be very ineffective and some might say a waste of space and cap money for the franchise. Bortles was seen as a project , and likely at some point to be the team’s starting quarterback next season . Off to a win-less start , with an 0-3 record shared alongside the Oakland Raiders , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it is now easy to understand why Bortles had his baptism of fire during the closing stages of Jacksonville’s week three game against the Indianapolis Colts , which ended in a 44-17 loss for the AFC South based franchise.

Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium this Sunday , where the Chargers will be seeking to prove their impressive start to the season was no mere fluke. Given what Rivers has been working with over the past few seasons , it has come as something of a surprise to see the Chargers off to such a very good start. In what will likely be a very competitive AFC West division , not including the woefully inept Oakland Raiders . I believe the division could very well become a three-horse race if Andy Reid and Alex Smith can actually figure out what is wrong with the Kansas City Chiefs . The Denver Broncos remain as competitive as ever , with Peyton Manning leading the way for the team .

With a bye-week in Week four , the Denver Broncos can rest their injured players while gauging what their divisional rivals are likely to do. Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs have a potentially tough game against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri on Monday night , part of the season of scheduled games for the Monday Night Football. A win is very much a must , for the Patriots after their labored and non-too too convincing victory over the Oakland Raiders in week three , where Tom Brady had one of his less memorable games against Oakland .

At the start of the 2014 season , many believed the New England Patriots were capable of having a thirteen win season. My only belief , was that the Patriots would not be severely challenged within the AFC East , where they have been the dominant force within the division of the past decade. I see no reason for the premise to change given the issues of the Buffalo Bills , Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. Bill Belichick remains the ” Mad Scientist” , self-absorbed, over-confident and often abrasive with the press and at times with his players with the exception of his renowned quarterback. Brady and Belichick are joined by an umbilical cord , but the cord will likely be severed in the next two or three years. The departures of Ryan Mallett and Logan Mankins shocked not only Tom Brady , but the fans of the New England Patriots and definitely members of the media . And as good as the team might seem to be , there still remains a number of deficiencies which Bill Belichick has clearly failed to address during the off-season . Jimmy Garoppolo might well be waiting in the wings to take over from the franchise’s all-time leader in a number of offensive passing categories, but I do not believe this rookie will have the type of impact seen with Brady over the past decade.

I have always maintained if you cannot provide the consumer or fan with anything insightful , then it is best to say nothing at all . ESPN /ABC has become a behemoth and monolithic sports’ broadcast entity that leaves it competitors in its wake . In terms of its content and on air presence, there are few if any real bright spots to the medium , but yet , there it is filling the airwaves and the television screens with a great deal of banality , while being hypocritical , misogynistic , sexist and without any real moral virtue. However, what makes the outlet simply tick is its economic clout as a billion dollar money-making entity for parent company , Walt Disney Company . The three other major network outlet pale into comparison as money-making entities and yes folks , that includes the upstart NBCSports Network and Fox’s almost redundant FS1 Fox Sports Network (FS1) , whose content might be just as mediocre and convoluted as its broadcast relative Fox News . CBS Sports remains something of an archaic and dated embodiment of the broadcast network in terms of its appeal and demographic skewered towards those aged fifty-five and over .

ESPN made the decision today , to suspend on air personality Bill Simmons for being critical of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Granted , the league remains one of the outlet’s primary broadcast partners with whom they have a multi-year, multi-billion dollar contract . Hate to say , but ESPN would rather not bite the hand that feeds it but would willingly kiss the ass of the NFL , even when the league is known to have acted egregiously and erroneously. In reality , some fans couldn’t give a #hit much less really care what Bill Simmons might have to say about anything, given his rather clown-like dexterity for making a complete @sshole of himself , when offering up commentary on issues concerning the world of sports. Simmons’ suspension is something of a non-story but in many ways it simply reflects the ongoing hypocrisy of a network and its willingness to cow-tow and remain in obeisance of a paymaster (NFL) which is just as complicit with its behavior and lack of morals . Unfortunately , there seems to be no one with the balls to say it about ESPN or the NFL , but I am ready to do so and will continue to do so without fear of being sought out by their blow-hard cronies or like-minded representatives.

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Where and when did you feel the league erred in dealing with the Ray Rice affair and do you believe the NFL can get its house back in order , much less regain the confidence of its fans and many of their commercial sponsors ? Three weeks into the NFL season and what has been the biggest surprise to you concerning the games and the teams ? Your comments as always are very welcomed and by all means do feel free to chime in with your own thoughts concerning not only the NFL but the world of sports in general .

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Steve Bisciotti troubled owner of the Baltimore Ravens, who in the past few days has faced mounting criticism of his and the franchise’s handling of the Ray Rice affair. Getty Images / Greg Parsons …

(2)Quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets speaks with head coach Rex Ryan before a game against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium on September 22, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Elsa Martinez …

(3) Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) whose record with the franchise as a starter is not impressive (16-19-0) , going into week four where the Dolphins will face the Oakland Raiders in an all AFC match-up at the O Coliseum in Oakland , California , on Sunday afternoon . Miami Herald / Hector Nunez …..

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith , center, watches his players stretch after returning from a lightning delay during NFL football training camp in Tampa, Fla., Friday, July 25, 2014. The Buccaneers have gotten off to an awful start to the season with Smith in his first year as the team’s head coach . AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(5) May 9, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Blake Bortles (Central Florida) poses with his family after addressing the media at the Upper West Touchdown Club at EverBank Field a day after being selected as the third overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars…. John David Mercer / USA Today Sports
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(6) Tom Brady , left , of the New England Patriots is seen here with his back-up , rookie Jimmy Garoppolo . The youngster has been learning all the tricks of the trade from the franchise’s career leader in passing statistics. As a college player, Jimmy Garoppolo had a distinguished career . AP Photo / Martin Kline

(7) Bill Simmons an editor in-Chief at Grantland.com , columnist and on air personality of with ESPN has been suspended (three weeks) by the broadcast outlet for his profanity laced rant , accusing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of being a liar . The San Francisco 49ers suspended their television broadcaster and analyst Ted Robinson for his rather idiotic criticism of Jenay Parker-Rice , wife of Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice . Robinson is his opinionated criticism of Parker-Rice suggested she was in part to blame for the abuse suffered at the hands of her then fiance. Clearly , Robinson has no clue or common sense when it comes to the issue of domestic abuse or domestic violence. UPI / Ross Mitchell …. …

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Squawkers and gawkers …..

Squawkers and gawkers

Just when we all thought to be a great sports’ weekend, across the panacea of that landscape , one or two oddities , idiocies and great moments are witnessed. In the NFL , week twelve provided us with some scintillating play from the players and one or two moments of dubious firsts . Chris Long and his brother Kyle Long appear to get into what was said to be a shoving match on-field , in a game played between the Chicago Bears and St Louis Rams . Brotherly love in the NFL, may well have a new face to it, beyond the typical loves-fest between perhaps the league’s two most active and famous siblings , Peyton Manning and Eli Manning . That asides , Peyton and the Denver Broncos may well have provided us with the best game played on Sunday afternoon , as the team surrendered a twenty point lead to the New England Patriots , as Tom Brady led the Patriots in a rousing come from behind win in overtime .

A minor incident this past weekend in the NFL between Chris and Kyle Long , that in some cases set the NFL world abuzz .

With losses now suffered by the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs , the AFC has now become a wide open race with four games left to the regular season and the top two berths in the conference still up for grabs . It certainly sets the stage, for an interesting race to finish line over the four remaining games of the regular season schedule.

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Somehow, both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are now having something of an astonishing turnaround to their respective seasons. Both teams have now sauntered to a one and three-win streak respectively, suddenly lifting themselves both, out of a position of mediocrity within their respective divisions . As to what this might suggest about the quality of the opponents faced on Sunday has to be also tempered by the quality of lack thereof now being witnessed in the NFL . No amount of enthusiasm a by a group of former NFL players , now on air analysts , singing the praises of the league’s teams , can now excuse the fact that the league has now become a rather bland product !

The Buccaneers’ 24-21 victory over a very overrated Detroit Lions’ team, says as much about the two combatants and the very fact that this Greg Schiano coached team along with their three-game win streak have now become the focus of attention , with their being a great deal of speculation as to whether or not the beleaguered head coach would in fact survive the season . As Matt Stafford continues to put up impressive annual stats , one has to now question the fact, that Jim Schwartz seems to have forgotten that defense is also very much a prerequisite in today’s NFL game.

Speaking of teams, who appear to show no desire to actually play with a model of consistency , beyond now losing with alarming regularity . Are there any remaining fantasy geeks out there, still willing to put their trust in Matt Ryan , much less the Atlanta Falcons as a team? The Falcons in their divisional contest with the New Orleans Saints , sank to a new level of mediocrity , with their fifth successive loss of the season , dropping the team to league low 2-9 record and at the bottom of the NFC South and the NFC , respectively . Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season for a team coming off a league-high 13-3 record in 2012 , along with a divisional title and having made it into the postseason ? Injuries asides , beyond the loss of Julio Jones , the Falcons are now indicating why this suggestion of their being ” parity in the NFL ” is simply nothing more than an urban legend . It comes down to coaching , but above all , talent on the field of play . Yet the hyperbole created and the notion of parity , it begs the question is this merely a matter of creating a ” water cooler topic ” to discuss all season long ? I will leave you, to be the judge of all that !

Last season’s NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers , are proving to be human after-all. Colin Kaepernick in particular , no longer impervious, has shown himself susceptible to being inconsistent in terms of his play , and what was said to be one of the league’s most stymieing secondary’s are also proving hype doesn’t necessarily allude to greatness .

. A two-game losing streak has placed the Niners in somewhat of a precarious position as the league enters the final quarter of the regular season schedule . Tonight’s , Monday night contest at Fedex Field against the Washington Redskins could to prove to be a very interesting game between these NFC rivals . A victory, is a necessity, for both teams, as each seeks to add their legitimacy as a playoff contender . To think that the Redskins, with their record of 4-7 , are not completely out of their divisional race , does seem to be mind-boggling . Yet consider the fact, that NFC East joint divisional leaders the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) and Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) are barely above.500 adds even more credibility behind the rationale , that not only has the play this season been abysmal , but the quartet of teams within this particular division are just not that good .

The return of Derrick Rose , this season to the NBA and the Chicago Bulls , was seen as a tremendous positive not only for the franchise , but also for the league itself. Barely a month , into the NBA season and the fans have witnessed the loss of the point guard to what first appeared to have been an innocuous injury. News’ updates, have suggested that Rose has a torn the meniscus cruciate ligament (MCL) in his right knee and is now likely out, for the remainder of the season. Having not appeared at all, in any games during the 2012 season , Derrick Rose , now being sidelined , is as big a blow to the Chicago Bulls as it will be for the rest of the NBA , without fans being able to witness one of the best point guards in the game , as well as one of the best players overall in the entire league. The team’s chances of making the postseason, will have diminished, but not to the extent where they are likely to be written off as a non-contender as an Eastern Conference titlist .

Rose’s loss for the season , came in the team’s lopsided defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers . While fans and analysts alike, continue to gauge that loss , it is the points guard’s injury and the possible long-term effect on his blossoming career that now comes into question . The Bulls as an organization has a large monetary investment in the player and how they now deal with that issue will be now be predicated upon the decisions that are likely to be made jointly by Tom Thibodeau , owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman . The team will now have to refocus their efforts and rally behind the play of Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , Kirk Hinrich , Jimmy Butler , Gibson and Joakim Noah . If the players can exhibit the type of effort and resilience shown during the 2011 postseason , then any doubts that some observers are likely to have , could be overlooked .

Chicago will get their first opportunity to perform without their All Star point guard , when they face the Utah Jazz , as these two teams meet on Monday night in an infra-conference match-up. How the Bulls perform in that contest might not be enough of a guide to indicate how they are likely to fare over the remainder of their season , but might clue us in, as to the temperament of the team as a whole , as they seek to go on without Derrick Rose .

The Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban , self-styled narcissist and publicity seeking hound , the majority of the time, can also be a pompous ass ! Granted , with the Mavericks having won their lone NBA title in 2011 , he may well feel that gives him the luxury of pointing out the woes of NBA Commissioner David Stern as well as criticizing that executive , as to what he still believes to be wrong with the game . Certainly , I cannot question Cuban’s wealth , but the so-called business acumen that many seem to be under the impression that he currently possesses , should be tempered by the fact he recently ran afoul of the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) and US Justice Department for ‘ insider trading’. Cuban’s premise, that he was a victim of a political witch-hunt , was about as asinine as his latest comments , attributed to the Mavericks’ owner ” that performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) should now be allowed in the NBA” , with its use being strictly monitored by the league hierarchy . Educated or not , Mark Cuban’s continued stupidity and outlandish persona, is simply another reason why a great deal of the time why he has never been taken seriously by a number of his peers in and outside of the game. As to this latest statement by Cuban , it begs the question, since when was it appropriate to counteract and violate league rules in order to make a diluted product , even less attractive than it already happens to be ? Cuban may well have been acquitted of the charges , and once again , the incompetency of the prosecution (US Attorney’s Office) in the presentation of the government’s case allowed the defendant to walk .

Mark Cuban’s belief that by using performance enhancing drugs to strictly aid with a player’s recovery from an injury , would be of benefit to the league . Perhaps, the Mavericks’ owner has yet to view the pandemic created by the misuse of PED’S in baseball, and the very fact that the MLBPA (union) , much like the NBPA (Players’ Union) , have both been completely disingenuous in dealing with the issue. Cuban’s concerns, if anything, should be about the long-term future of the Dallas Mavericks and where they are likely to be, upon the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki , the franchise’s leading scorer in their history . It is not as if this team , is now likely to get any better , as Nowiztki’s career has now plateaued , and where he is no longer a force to be reckoned with, as he was during his prime.

Currently at 9-5 , fourteen games into the season the Dallas Mavericks sit in second place behind instate rivals the San Antonio Spurs (12-1) within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . That mark is good enough for fifth place within the conference overall and sixth place within for the NBA as a whole . The Mavericks led by aging veterans , Nowitzki and Shawn Marion , could very well struggle during the latter part of their season , when health and attrition will play a great deal in what this team is likely to achieve . Coming off a two-point loss to the Denver Nuggets , the two teams will meet again on Monday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver , Colorado.

Now losers of five straight and eight of their last ten games , it is becoming extremely difficult to justify the hire of Jason Kidd , to coach the Brooklyn Nets . Furthermore, Kidd now at his worst by way of his coaching record, appears to be is no better than when Avery Johnson coached this franchise, but was summarily dismissed because of a player revolt. Nets’ GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov , I believe will soon see the error of their ways , with this asinine and ridiculous hire. Take into account the team’s payroll and the rather asinine belief by anal retentive fans, that the Nets can spend their way out of trouble will actually make them a credible force within the NBA, this season . The Nets as a team, have no defensive presence and the contributory efforts of Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry , has bordered on being anemic to say he very least.

As if to further emphasize how bad the Brooklyn Nets just happens to be , only the lamentable Milwaukee Bucks (2-10) have a worst record in the entire Eastern Conference . Sunday’s twelve point home loss by Brooklyn to the Detroit Pistons , should be seen as a reverberating wake-up call for entire Nets’ front office , but with the recent announcement that both Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov will continue to back their embattled head coach to the hilt . I guess, it will be only a matter of time , before we will either see Kidd fall on his sword and summarily re-sign or at the behest of the fans, King makes the decision to relieve the coach of his duties . No use , dressing up a pig and trying to suggest that it is a sow , because that in essence , is what the fans were asked to believe when Jason Kidd was hired to coach this team . His playing credentials were never in question , but his lack of coaching acumen has been on full show , a lack of discipline , and his not being able to communicate with his players, effectively shows this to have been an extremely poor hiring choice to begin with .

This baseball off- season, has been, one of a great deal of speculation and some rather surprising moves. The ongoing “dramedy ” of the Alex Rodriguez hearings , have taken on a life of their own and as a fan of the game , I do believe that this whole process, will not change a damn thing , as it pertains to the landscape within baseball ! The league hierarchy remains incompetent , the union simply overpowering , the owners greedy , and the vast majority of the players are simply disingenuous and under the impression that they still uphold a wonderful tradition , and nothing could be further from the truth .

In one of the more surprising moves , the Detroit Tigers sent Prince Fielder and the remainder of his gargantuan contract off to the Texas Rangers , in exchange for Ian Kinsler . Two under-achieving AL teams simply swapping juju beans, while Jack is still climbing to the top of the Beanstalk. From my own perspective, the Tigers have now reached their zenith, and their recent postseason forays under former manager Jim Leyland , suggests that this team, has nothing left to offer beyond, being very good during the regular season. While this move can be simply seen, as GM Dave Dombrowski seeking to get Fielder’s contract off the books , in order for the team’s pursuance of pitcher Max Scherzer and a contract extension , now seems one that might not be that costly , but it is still likely to leave Detroit with one of the highest team payrolls in all of baseball .

With no one being able to explain the financial mindset within the game of baseball, I believe that during this off-season , we are likely to see the game’s first $300 million player by way of long-term contract ! Some might deem this to be ludicrous, but consider the following, Alex Rodriguez is still on track to have career earnings from the game of $ 500 million , having signed two contracts exceeding $250 million apiece . No one has yet faulted the rationale behind any of the deals in question , but now with Robinson Cano and Clayton Kershaw being the two off-season marquee free agents , although the pitcher’s situation comes by way of his arbitration status . It would appear, that the Los Angeles Dodgers are eager to res-sign the pitcher and have all but promised to make him the highest paid pitcher in the game.

For Robinson Cano and his ubiquitous agent, Jay-z , it is his desire to be seen, as a legitimate conduit, able to “seal a deal” for his client. The New York Yankees can ill-afford to lose a player of Cano’s caliber, but at the same time with Hal Steinbrenner seeking to reduce the team’s payroll below his desired $200 million threshold , it will be a daunting task for GM Brian Cashman to re-sign the slugger and not actually “ break the bank “ .

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Picture gallery.

From the outside looking in , this past sporting weekend has been an interesting but strange paradigm as a number of events have played themselves out on a very public scale for the sports’ fans in general . I cannot help but wonder, what now waits at the very next turn! What observations have you witnessed or would hope to see in the coming weeks within the world of sports ?

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands off to running back Stevan Ridley (22) of the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Brady would engineer a fourth quarter comeback for the Patriots , with the team defeating the Broncos 34-31 to win the game in overtime . Getty Images North America / Jared Wickerham ….

(2) Running back Montee Ball (28) of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball in the third quarter against the New England Patriots during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jared Wickerham …..

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is pressured by outside linebacker Paul Worrilow (55) of the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Georgia Dome on November 21, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ….

(4) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose , who for the second time in three years has seen his NBA career curtailed by an injury . The player will be lost to the team for the entire season having torn an MCL in his right knee . The diagnosis , as we now know it to be , will be his having to receive arthroscopic surgery and then a long recuperation and rehabilitation process of possibly between twelve to fourteen months . AP Photo / Kerry Anderson ….

(5) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban seen here on the set of the ABC reality show ” Shark Tank” . Cuban in a recent statement believes that the NBA should allow the use of performance enhancing drugs within the game, to aid a player in the recuperative process after having suffered an injury . Failing to acknowledge the ongoing issues now facing baseball (MLB) , the gregarious owner still stands by his statement. courtesy of ABC/Disney Television …..

(6) Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw seen here in the team’s dugout from a game earlier this season will be seeking a healthy pay increase . All signs are pointing to the fact that the player who is in an arbitration year will see his salary increase considerably , with the front office also offering the player a long-term deal , likely to make him the highest paid player on the team’s roster . AP Photo / Mark Todd …………

(7) Brooklyn Nets’ GM Billy King (left) is seen here alongside the team’s head coach Jason Kidd. With the team off to a horrendous start to the season , the front office has issued a public statement backing the beleaguered rookie head coach. NY Daily News / AP Photo/ Jose Figueroa ……
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If you can’t stand the heat, then stay the hell out of the kitchen .

If you can’t stand the heat, then stay the hell out of the kitchen .

As the NBA season still is still til in its infancy , we are already seeing the struggles of several notable teams thought to be legitimate contenders for the NBA title . Last season, we saw both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks make somewhat spirited forays as part of the NBA Playoffs , only to subsequently fall in the first round and the conference semi-finals within the Eastern Conference. From my own standpoint , although their efforts were admirable , in no way could either team be seen as a real threat to derail the eventual champions , the Miami Heat , simply based on the performances of the Heat during the entire playoffs ! Unfortunately, for fans of the New York Knicks, as always, has been their want, theirs is a world built around their belief that sports’ world is encapsulated around everything that exists within the organization , the players , management and the coaching staff .

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Coming into this season, a great deal was expected of the New York Knicks and specifically , this team , led by Carmelo Anthony , Tyson Chandler , J R Smith , Metta World Peace , Amare` Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert . Head coach Mike Woodson , long seen as a very good coach of young players, has sought instill discipline into a roster that was simply lacking that trait in 2012 , and it would appear that the trait still remains , as the Knicks are off to an understated start , having posted a 3-7 record through their first ten games of the season . Good enough, to have them at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and amongst the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference .

Now losers of three straight , one could attest to the fact that the Knicks are still seeking a footing in terms of consistency , but the evidence would suggest otherwise , with erratic play both defensively and on offense . On Wednesday night , the team will play host to the Indiana Pacers (9-1) , the current pace setters within the Central Division , as well as the conference , in a game that will be played at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York , home to the New York Knicks. While I believe the Knicks to be merely a competent team , I simply do not believe that they have the depth or the mindset to be considered good enough to dethrone the Miami Heat in a seven-game playoff series . Granted , Knicks’ fans will always point to their defeat of the Heat during the regular season, but in essence that imply counts for nothing, when there is not a great deal at stake. It has always been the postseason , where legacies are made, and at this juncture, the New York fans have simply forgotten that very fact.

How the Knicks acquit themselves against the Pacers, could tell us a great deal about the team as they move forward. A loss , not while catastrophic, could start to raise questions about the makeup of this roster and whether not a number of roster moves might well need to be made at some point during the season . GM Steve Mills , might well need to take a look at his options, should he seek to improve the roster in order to strengthen the team’s chances of making the postseason

With the baseball season now over and a World Series’ champion having been crowned , with the Boston Red Sox claiming their title in the last ten years. One of the more unsavory aspects of this past season has now raised its ugly head, with the ongoing procedural hearing concerning Alex Rodriguez’s attempts to have his suspension overturned during arbitration , with special arbitrator Frederic Horowitz presiding over the entire appeal’s process. Ten days into this proceeding , the defendant , Rodriguez , has decided to show his disgust with this all, by leaving the MLB headquarters , showing his utter disdain for Horowitz, after the arbitrator made the decision not have MLB Commissioner Bud Selig take the stand to stand to fully explain the reasons for the league’s stance in taking their current action to have the New York Yankees’ third baseman for a record two-hundred and fourteen-game suspension.

The league’s position, has been that Rodriguez has been less than truthful in the testimony provided to the league’s investigators, as well as the evidence now in their possession , in some cases paid for , as part of their evidence gathering from the now defunct South Florida based supplements’ company Biogenesis . Company founder, Anthony “Tony” Bosch , now under federal indictment for a number of federal charges , concerning drug trafficking and the selling and distribution of prescription drugs , has agreed to testify on behalf of Major League Baseball. As to what bearing, this will have not only on this hearing, but also Bosch’s own liberty , as he awaits his federal trial , will most likely be dependent upon how damaging his testimony is likely to be against Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez and his high-priced legal team , headed by criminal attorneys David Cornwell and Joe Tacopina will have now have a hard time trying to disprove the case against their client , after his actions , and the alleged use of “foul language” by Alex Rodriguez , in describing the whole procedure as a ‘ ###king farce’ , as well as directing a great of his venom at the commissioner and the arbitrator. Were this a criminal case, I seriously doubt that the player’s actions would be so direct , and filled with such anger towards the aforementioned parties !

While I do believe in due process , it is very hard for me to now see how Rodriguez can see his action as being a positive ! His credibility has already come into question , with his repeated non refusal to address earlier claims that he had used performance enhancing drugs , prior to this latest allegation of ties to Biogenesis and the evidence of his having purchased a cache of different substances for his personal use , all in violation of the league’s policy. Bear in mind also , the player is also seeking legal recourse, with his own action against MLB as well as the lead medical physician of the New York Yankees , and what he feels has been a collusive act to have him driven out of baseball . As to why a team doctor would seek to work in conjunction with the league hierarchy to have a player thrown out of the game , simply defies logic , based on Rodriguez’s premise and that of the lawyers’ case in the civil suit filed in US District Court in Manhattan . Seeking punitive damages , emotional distress, loss of income, defamation and damage to his reputation ? Is Alex Rodriguez actually serious, with those claims ?

Rodriguez’s attempts to cast the league’s case as a witch-hunt I believe has more to do with the fact that he may well have felt that any suspension rendered against might well have been in line those meted out to the other twelve players named in the league’s investigative findings and then suspended . A maximum penalty of sixty-five games was handed down to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun , who has subsequently apologized for his actions , in lying not only to the fans the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization ,. but also to the league hierarchy for his misdeeds. A far cry, from his original denial in 2011, the year he won the NL MVP Award , while offering up a web of deceit and lies .

In March of 2010, Alex Rodriguez, himself, would apologize publicly for his steroid use, with the New York Yankees’ organization orchestrating much of the actual premise behind the player’s act of contrition. Yet less than eighteen months later , Rodriguez’s name would come up in association with that of Orlando medical professional , Dr Anthony Galea , who was said to be running a “pill mill” out of his offices in the Central Florida haven . Galea , now serving his time in a federal facility after a plea agreement with the U S Justice Department , was never questioned by the MLB’s investigators concerning links to Rodriguez and the player, himself when broached on the subject, simply deflected those questions with the usual baseball banter of wanting to see the team do well , and that he was not involved or did not know Galea , nor did he have any idea, how his name came to be associated with the now convicted felon. Come full circle, and it now appears, that Alex Rodriguez will seek to muddy with the waters, , with the actions taken , while also seeking to show that baseball’s hierarchy is in fact incompetent , disingenuous and cannot be trusted. The player may well be right , but at this juncture, who are you likely to give the benefit of the doubt to ? The player, or the MLB hierarchy in terms of their respective actions ?

The MLB hierarchy , as led by Bud Selig , along with the team owners and union, bear the brunt of the responsibility for this continued farce , even with Alex Rodriguez trying to dramatically play the victim , when his portrayal , if anything , has more to do with that of a villain with an amoral attitude. As to the player’s claim, that he has a deep respect for the game , his actions have shown that to be a falsehood in the past and now in the present after his less than civil behavior during an arbitration proceeding .

As the NFL enters the final five weeks of the regular season ,with the week twelve schedule giving us a taste of another Thursday night contest between NFC divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints (8-2) . I simply cannot help but wonder, how many of us would have thought that the Falcons’ season would have become so miserable and with their now being calls for the head of Mike Smith as well GM Thomas Dimitroff and a number of players on this roster ! There now seems to be nothing to play for, concerning the Falcons, other than pride and self-respect. Even that might not be enough to abate the wrath of their fans , who expected so much more out of the team this season , along with that of their Pro Bowl . quarterback Matt Ryan .

In a division where the Atlanta Falcons were expected to be challenging for divisional dominance over the New Orleans and a now resurgent ,a href=http://nfl.com/teams/profile?team=car> Carolina Panthers (7-3) . This Falcons’ team now finds itself firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South with a 2-8 record , which they jointly share with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) , a team that also this season , has been a major disappointment to their fans . There is a common belief that at the end of this season , both Mike Smith and his Buccaneers’ counterpart Greg Schiano are likely to get a reprieve from their respective front offices and are likely to retain their positions. Though, it would not surprise me, were either Thomas Dimitroff or Mark Dominik decided to ” pull the trigger” and simply fire both head coaches ! When all else fails and the players are not being held accountable, then the coach has to be fired. I mean, it’s the nature of the beast , kill or be killed.

Playing for pride and self-respect now appears to be the only thing left for the franchise, beyond their impending draft status. The Falcons’ draft classes in recent years , overall, have been unspectacular, with their being a lack of leadership coming from the “face of the franchise ” , in Matt Ryan. He may well be a very good player , but I have yet to hear anyone describe the player as someone with great leadership qualities . Instead, Ryan is a great regular season quarterback, but the doubts have begun to set in concerning his most recent postseason performances and the lack of recent postseason success by the franchise. . Going forward , it is unlikely that the front office is likely to do anything drastic concerning the quarterback, but there are likely to be several moves structured to improve the roster , in order to make it all the more competitive .

Matt Ryan, has the weight of a burdensome contract that he appears not to be able live up to. Unlike many of his peers at the top NFL “ quarterback food chain” , with the exception of , Sam Bradford , Philip Rivers and Tony Romo , all of the others have won a Superbowl . That if anything, has to be truly indicative of the pressure place upon a player who was drafted to replace the once beloved former Falcons’ icon Michael Vick , whose fall from grace while with the Atlanta Falcons has been well chronicled . As to what, now awaits the Atlanta Falcons over the remainder of their schedule will be predicated upon the effort given by a team , that this season , has been one of the major disappointments of this NFL calendar year. Matt Ryan has a great deal to prove, not only to himself, but also to the Falcons’ fans , as well as the NFL, in terms of his playing ability , and being able to lead the franchise to a Superbowl victory.

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Picture gallery .

In light of the issues raised within this piece , what thoughts if any do you have concerning this article and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the topic ? Simply leave a comment on this and by all means, if you have any suggestions as to future content you would like to see within the site , your thoughts are more than welcomed !

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Carmelo Anthony goes up for the dunk during a game played between the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Wednesday night , 20th November , 2013 . Indiana would go on to defeat the Knicks in overtime 103-96 , with Paul George of the Pacers leading all scorers with 35 points during the game. AP Photo / Kathy Willens ….

(2) Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers attempts a shot over the outstretched arms of the New York Knicks’ Beno Udrih (18) . The Pacers with the victory pushed their record to 10-1 , which is the best in the Eastern Conference and the top mark in the NBA alongside the San Antonio Spurs (10-1) . AP Photo / Kathy Willens ….

(3) Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is seen here leaving his limousine alongside his attorney Joseph ‘Joe’ Tacopina , as the two arrive at the MLB headquarters in New York City , where the player listened to the arbitration proceedings presided over by the league and union sanctioned arbitrator Frederic Horowitz . On the tenth day of the hearings, the player abruptly left the hearing in anger , slighting both the arbitrator and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for what he believes to be an unjust and flawed hearing . As to how Rodriguez’s action will impact any verdict rendered remains to be seen . For the moment, the player’s defense , in seeking the rescinding of his suspension will be plead by his two lead attorney Joe Tacopina and David Cornwell . Rodriguez also has a civil suit awaiting a trial date to be set in US Federal District Court in Lower Manhattan , New York . AP Photo / James Todd ……

(4) Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons attempts a pass during a game played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a divisional contest at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida , this past Sunday . The Buccaneers would go on to defeat Atlanta 41-28 in what turned to be one the Falcons’ worst performances of the season . On Thursday night they will face another divisional foe , the New Orleans Saints , when the two teams meet at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia ,. The Falcons’ quarterback has performed somewhat erratically through his team’s first ten games of the season , in leading them to a 2-8 record within the NFC South and NFC as a whole . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay ….

(5) Gerald McCoy (93) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacks Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan during the this past Sunday played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida . Tampa would go on to defeat Atlanta 41-28 in a lopsided victory for the home team . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay …..

(6) Buccaneers’ running back Bobby Rainey (43) scampers into the end-zone , after a forty-three yard touchdown run , that highlighted the team’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons 41-28, this past Sunday . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay ……….

(6) From left to right , Atlanta Falcons’ team owner , Arthur Blank , GM Thomas Dimitroff , head coach Mike Smith and the team’s quarterback , Matt Ryan . The quarterback who recently signed a six-year $113.75 million contract in 2013 , of which $42 million is in guaranteed money , will now have to live up the deal . The expectations are high not only for the player and his long-term future but also for that of the Falcons’ franchise who are seeking to move into a new venue , to be built at an estimated cost of $1.205 billion , during which the Atlanta Falcons are hoping to be ready for the 2014-15 season. A great deal of controversy has surrounded the proposed venue with the Falcons said to only putting up $200 million towards the $1.2 billion cost of the proposed structure, with the rest coming from public funding . AP Photo / Garrett Lang ……

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Wet-n-wild .

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“Alles , was du willst ” ? (See anything you like ? [German])

All hail the conquering hero ……..

All hail the conquering hero

Week eight of the NFL departed in a cloud of despair for a number of teams , with many having seen their season implode with a great deal of smoke . For the win-less Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) , we could very well be seeing the last remnants of both Gus Bradley and Greg Schiano as head coaches in the league . Albeit , it is my belief that the Buccaneers would rather not have to let their head coach go and then still have to fulfill the financial obligations of existing contract . As of 2012 they were still paying former head coach Jon Gruden , and they also owe Schiano’s predecessor Raheem Morris monies due from the final two seasons of his original deal . Which begs the question , Joel and Avram Glazer , as well as GM Mark Dominik , are they as smart, as some would try and suggest ? The Buccaneers remain one of the franchises within the NFL , that persistently has trouble attracting fans for regular season home games as well the preseason , but yet, all I tend to hear from their weary fans, are that due to harsh economic times this has been the norm . That is simply utter idiocy , as prior to the most recent downturn in the economy , the franchise still could not attract fans . It has become the norm in the Tampa Bay area market, where the fans are simply fair weather fans , only jumping unto the bandwagon, when things are good .

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In the Buccaneers rather lopsided 31-13 home loss to the Carolina Panthers , it was the franchise eleventh defeat in their last twelve regular season games dating back to 2012 . Anyone under the slightest impression that this Greg Schiano coached team had within the slightest chance of winning the game , either had to have been under prescribed medication or simply saw something that just was not there . Defensively , the team lacks a great deal of discipline and from an offensive standpoint they are as equally inept and just as awful as the word ” offensive” would suggest or con-notate in another vernacular. The real issue with this team and the coaching staff as well , is that there are no leaders and absolutely no one held is accountable in either juncture . And the opinions I have read by Buccaneers’ fans concerning the team simply glosses over that fact , as they look elsewhere for answers .

With the mid-season trade deadline set for 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday 29th October, it will be interesting to see whether or not Mark Dominik sees fit to make one or two moves that might suggest that the Buccaneers will seek to amass draft picks for the 2014 NFL Draft , while giving up on the remainder of this season . There certainly is not any point in them trying to make a run at the division given the fact that they are firmly rooted to the bottom of the NFC South with only the hapless Atlanta Falcons looking as equally abysmal a franchise, within the division . The Carolina Panthers have been the surprise team from within , while a resurgent New Orleans Saints’ team looks to make themselves a force to be reckoned this season , not just within the conference but also the NFL as a whole .

Week nine and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will head West , where they will take on the Seattle Seahawks (7-1) in an NFC match-up of two teams heading in opposite directions. The Seahawks will be looking to firmly tighten their grip on the NFC West , while distancing themselves from their closest divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers (6-2).

Greg Schiano was brought in as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach , under the belief, that what was needed was a stern , strict disciplinarian and someone with an eye for coaching and developing young talent . Unfortunately , if this season is anything judge by , then he has failed miserably on both fronts . It is hard to see where the franchise now goes from here and one also has to ask the question , is Mark Dominik the right person for the job as the team’s general manager ? Clearly , other than the drafting of Doug Martin in 2012 , the Buccaneers have little to show for their lack of any type of tangible success , and another season of setbacks , only profligates another year of discontent for their long suffering fans , who have not seen the franchise in the postseason since 2007 .

There seems to be a constant struggle between ” good ” and ” evil ” within the NFC East each season . Either the teams there, will serve up some great football , or it tends to be the kind that will have you yearning for days when there were said to be highly skilled players within the division . Granted , from season to season , what you see is what you get . Yet , in 2013 , beyond the plethora of bad performances without having to cite injuries , there can be no excuse for the fact that the Dallas Cowboys (4-4) , Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) , New York Giants (2-6) and Washington Redskins (2-5) are no better than . 500 in terms of their overall records . To say that the division sends a bad message about the football now being played in the NFL would be an understatement , but how else can you explain the woefully inept displays from a quartet of teams , that is said to house the best division in the entire NFL ? Personally , I believe the NFC East to be overrated , with a number of players , either past their prime or steadily on something of a downward spiral . As good as Tony Romo is said to during the regular season , we can agree can we not that when it comes to the postseason , the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback is simply like a deer caught in headlights. He may well be a fantasy geek’s dream during the regular season , because that is all he ever will be .

Someone will have to explain to me , how the Dallas Cowboys can somehow lapse into a complete breakdown , having led the Detroit Lions through three quarters with a 13-7 lead , only to then give up twenty four points in the final quarter and then succumb to the Lions 31-30 . Jason Garrett and his coaching staff either like to be far too conservative , or there appears to be a nonchalant attitude in how they view each opponent on a week to week basis . The Cowboys either choose to play up or down to the level of the opposition they face . More often than not , it has been beneath the level of the foe they have to face, during the course of this season .

I would dare say that when the Dallas Cowboys face the Minnesota Vikings (1-7) this upcoming Sunday , there is no likelihood of being able to clarify how that game is likely to turn out , if we base our knowledge on what is said to have taken place during week eight . All things should point to an easy win for the home team , but as I alluded to before , Dallas more often than not, has chosen to play down to the level of an opponent they have faced during this season . So make of it, what you will .

In what proved to be a pivotal game five of this season’s World Series , the Boston Red Sox pulled off a 3-1 victory over the St Louis Cardinals , to place themselves one win away from capturing their third World Series’ title in the past nine years. In what turned out to be a thoroughly thrilling contest , very much in the vein of this series , this game ebbed and flowed as both combatants tried to outwit each other over nine innings .

Jon Lester of the Red Sox out-pitched his opposing number Adam Wainwright but once , again as so often before , it was left to David Ortiz to provide the heroics for the team as he has often done before . Should Boston go on to take this series , then it is my firm belief that Ortiz is likely to be named the series’ MVP . Yet , with their being two games left of this current contest , it would be completely foolish to write-off the St Louis Cardinals at this juncture . The NL pennant winners are far too resolute a team to call it a day , and simply give up . It is certainly not within the players’ or coaching staff’s mindset that all is lost . And even if the final two games are being played in Boston at Fenway Park , all that is needed , is for a game six victory St Louis to even the contest and then, this series now becomes a one game sudden death , all or nothing sweepstakes .

With all the controversy that has plagued this baseball season , it is still good to know that the continued idiocy is not far away from the headlines ,even if the purists and apathetic would prefer to look the other way in spite of the irreparable damage done to the sport . As we all know at the end of this postseason soiree , the MLB hierarchy will seek to press ahead with their action against Alex Rodriguez in seeking a multi-game suspension of the player . Not to be outdone, Rodriguez in turn has sought to press ahead with a federal civil suit against baseball (MLB) citing slander , emotional distress and damage to his reputation , with the game’s hierarchy in seeking to suspend him from baseball , with a two hundred and fourteen game suspension . The hiring of two prominent New York City criminal attorneys in John Tacopina and David Cornwell to represent the player not only at the tribunal hearing, but also in his defamation lawsuit , has me wondering how much longer can this absolute farce be maintained ! No one seems intent on giving an inch , and it has become abundantly clear that this case is now taking on some rather unsavory racial overtones , quite possibly with a great deal of this being orchestrated by Rodriguez’s legal team , in some part .

Hordes of demonstrators in support of the New York Yankees’ third baseman have turned up outside the MLB headquarters, protesting the unfairness of baseball’s investigation and the fact that Alex Rodriguez is being made a scapegoat because of his ethnicity . Back in March of 2010 , I do not believe that was said to be the case when Alex Rodriguez , willingly chose to proffer up what was then an insipid act of contrition , in apologizing for his use of a banned substance . Yet , somehow four years later , when what is said to be tangible evidence of the player willingly having bought several illicit substances for his own personal use and with sworn subpoenaed testimony from Anthony Bosch (founder) of Biogenesis that Alex Rodriguez was indeed a client , who purchased products from his company . It would appear , that now would be the time to use race and ethnicity , as a way to sully what has already become a sordid affair . From my own perspective , baseball , specifically its hierarchy , owners and the union have never treated the issue of steroids with the seriousness it deserves . Yet , for the tens of millions dollars that have been made by the teams , players and the game as a whole during the era of steroids , in reality for all of the suspensions meted out by Bud Selig , not much has really changed to abate the rampant epidemic , that has further soiled the reputation of the game.

Once the World Series reaches its finale , baseball’s season will carry on at length , as it becomes a legal issue concerning Rodriguez’s appeals hearing in front of mediation specialist Fred Horowitz , and then onwards , dare I say downwards, with what is likely to be a rather comedic federal trial ?

Speaking of which , just when you thought you had heard the last of Barry Bonds , his name is amongst the list of eligible Hall of Fame candidates for 2014 . However , you will be pleased to know , that Bonds too , is seeking his own legal recourse in having his 2011 federal trial verdict of guilty be overturned in an appeals’ court hearing . The former San Francisco Giants’ slugger along with his attorneys have filed an appeal in the Ninth District Court of Appeals to have his case be re-heard by eleven Appeals’ Court judges , where their finding would hopefully overturn the original conviction and verdict of guilty on counts of obstruction of justice and perjury . If Bonds’ request were to be turned down then his only course of action left would have his case be heard by the US Supreme Court , in front of the Justice there. Which begs the question , will Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor be feigning or actually drooling over the player , upon his entrance into their hallowed chambers ?

For Bonds who believes that his testimony that he never knowingly took a banned substance and that because he is the son of a famous sports’ personality , it equated , whereby he was seen somewhat differently by a jury of his peers , doesn’t seem to quite wash with how the player was known to acquit himself on the field of play as some have stated , he often remained aloof from many of his teammates during the latter part of his career , as he sought after many of the game’s titular records from in terms offense and their notoriety. The seven-time NL MVP’s once meteoric star and his ascent to the top of the game, with its fall , came the distrust of many of the game’s most ardent fans . Though one cannot deny Bonds’ greatness prior to any of the alleged use of a banned substance , it has been the player’s reasoning and deniability that has continued to be a real cause for concern , as he often used his status for a number of noteworthy causes . I am not so sure that even in light of that fact , one can still look at Barry Bonds in a positive light and deem him to be a role model for anyone .

With the resignation of Jim Leyland , as the manager of the Detroit Tigers , . I believe that the organization should look for a successor from within their current coaching staff. It certainly has not hurt , that both of the managers in this season’s World Series were at one time assistants on the respective teams that they are now managing in baseball’s showcase finale . Continuity , I believe is at times, the best way to proceed , rather than seeking to go after a high-profiled name . That was clearly the case in 2012 when the Boston Red Sox made the horrendous mistake with the hiring of Bobby Valentine . GM Ben Cherington was against the hire , but team President & CEO Larry Lucchino somehow convinced the other senior partners along with majority stake holder John W Henry that Valentine was indeed the man for the job . Last season for the Red Sox , beyond the infamy of the sheer ineptitude and the last place finish within the AL East , was also memorable , equally comedic and utterly diabolical for the sound-bytes uttered by the then beleaguered Valentine , who sought to blame everyone else but himself , for the team’s miserable year in 2012. How quickly was Valentine’s successor John Farrell able to turn things around ? Well, the proof has been in witnessing where the team now just happens to be . Is it possible, that this type of situation can be replicated with the Tigers , if GM Dave Dombrowski makes the right decision by promoting from within ? The Tigers’ general manager is not keen to show his hand at present, but he is likely to weigh up all of the possible options available to him , while remaining in close contact with team owner Michael Ilitch .

Brad Ausmus , former catcher in the Big Leagues and now a special assistant within the San Diego Padres’ organization appears to be the front-runner to succeed Jim Leyland , after what are said to be an encouraging round of interviews with both Dave Dombrowski and Michael Ilitch. . Yet, amongst the Tigers’ coaching staff there are candidates such as Lloyd McClendon , Rafael Belliard , Gene Lamont and Tom Brookens . All of whom , if given the chance could quite possibly fill the vacancy left with the resignation of Jim Leyland . Players on the staff such as Justin Verlander , Miguel Cabrera , Prince Fielder and Max Scherzer are likely to be gauged as to their thoughts on the managerial vacancy , but off course the final say will rest with the general manager and team owner . Jim Leyland has served the game well and his departure from the game , though unexpected, came at the right time , for the now legendary manager , whose resume` is an accomplished one .

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Picture gallery .

Heroes within the world of sports can at times be characters with flawed personalities , or they can be someone , we can have a great deal of respect for . Yet somehow, there is a chance what we deemed to be a hero in one person’s view , can very much be the opposite for someone else . Do you believe that as a sports’ fan , there is room the modern-day hero within the world of sports ? Or do you best believe , that these athletes are simply nothing more than gifted individuals within their chosen professions , who are deservedly rewarded , for what they do ? By all means , do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars who as head coach of the team , has seen them fall to an 0-8 start and currently are at the bottom of the AFC South joining NFC compatriot the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for having the two worst records in the NFL . AP Photo / Martin Bucknell …

(2) Mike Glennon (8) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers calls a play in the huddle during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers would go on to lose the game , which is one of seven straight consecutive losses , for a franchise that has lost eleven of their last twelve regular season games dating back to 2012. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …..

(3) A Boston Red Sox fan holds up a sign for manager John Farrell (53) of the Boston Red Sox prior during Game Five of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. Rob Carr / Getty Images North America ….. Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(4) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox runs after hitting an RBI double scoring Dustin Pedroia (15) in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …. (5) Alex Rodriguez is seen here signing autographs for fans , having just left the MLB headquarters in New York City , where he and his attorneys met members of the MLB hierarchy and their investigators . Courtesy of ESPN / all rights reserved …

(6) Fans of Alex Rodriguez come out to show their support for the player as he departs from the league’s headquarters in lower Manhattan , New York City . Ed Marsh / NY Daily News …

(7) A small gathering of Rodriguez’s fans show their support for the beleaguered player . AP Photo / Tom Archer ….

(8) Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the 9th District Court of Appeals where he and his legal team are seeking to have his April 2011 guilty verdict appealed and overturned with a special trial in front of an empaneled court of Justices within the Appeals Court’s jurisdiction. If Bonds gains no recourse, then his only remaining alternative is for his case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court . AP Photo / Todd Hatcher ….

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tophatal …………….. 10/29/2013

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It wasn’t meant to be this way , as we had such high hopes ….


It wasn’t meant to be this way , as we had such high hopes ….

By Tophatal

So the final week of the NFL season is upon us and pretty much it all comes down to these final games , with a great deal still being up for grabs by way of divisional titles as well as a playoff berth for the postseason . And in the midst of this all the rancor within the New York Jets’ organization continues . Please , the team and the ongoing Tim Tebow , “ woe is me , you promised this , but instead I got that “ , is now beginning to wear thin and become a real pain in the ass ! Common sense, ought to now prevail , but fans are now literally _____ have been blinded by emotion , rather than using their sheer intelligence ! .

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The Jets’ season has spiraled out of control , and Rex Ryan is seeking to apportion blame elsewhere , but the “ mean-spirited “ Evil Queen , repeatedly uses the mirror, and magically places it , in front of Rex , in order for him to fully appreciate where the real blame really does lay . Personally , from the moment the trade was made for Tebow , with the organization acquiring the third year player from the Denver Broncos , I simply knew that a sideshow was about to begin ! The Jets’ coaching staff simply lacked the intelligence to know how best to use the young quarterback , and this continued idiocy , that he was good enough to be a starter in the NFL , merely because of a few fleeting moments in 2011 , was enough to indicate Tebow was a worthwhile backup to Mark Sanchez , was asinine and a real insult to those who claim to knowledgeable about the NFL . The Kool-Aid must now be the ” new elixir of life “ , either replacing 5 Hour-Energy or Viagra ? Fans , are now letting their emotions rule , rather than simply using common sense and logic in their decision-making . However, it doesn’t really come as a surprise when you read the statements being made by the fans . I wonder how many of them , with a game on the line , with their team needing a score would actually have Tim Tebow as their quarterback at such a crucial time or pivotal moment ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this .

If there’s a real story to be had in the NFL in 2012 , then it would have to encompass the play of three rookie quarterbacks this season , who have literally turned the NFL upside down, on its ear. Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson , have pretty much guaranteed their respective teams a postseason berth , whereas , Robert Griffin III , will seek to add the Washington Redskins in amongst the mix , by defeating the Dallas Cowboys in a crucial divisional game that will have a great deal more than the result riding on the outcome . A win for either for either team guarantees the NFC East divisional crown and a coveted playoff berth. Defeat , and it comes down to a season of missed opportunities , and questions arising as to where “ did we go wrong “ ?

The game itself, between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins , will be perhaps be the most eagerly anticipated of all the games taking place during the final week of the regular season schedule.

In the AFC , the picture is essentially clear, as to the makeup for the postseason , however, what still remains undecided , are the top two berths and descending order , as three teams are seeking at least to claim one of the two spots , that guarantees a bye in the first round of the postseason . At present the Houston Texans (12-3) , Denver Broncos (12-3) and the New England Patriots (11-4) , are each vying for the two berths in question. The Texans face a daunting task, as they meet divisional rivals the Indianapolis Colts , in what is a “must win “ situation for either team .

Denver will play host to the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field , in Denver , Colorado , and the Patriots host the fast-sliding Miami Dolphins . And as interesting as those games are likely , the buildup and the games themselves will provide a great deal suspense .

Disappointment also, can come in many guises , be it through a team’s record or the injuries sustained over the course of the season . Yet , nothing can hide the fact that in large , many of the problems suffered by the franchises , came by way of their inept play over the course of the 2012 schedule. Say what you will , but to my mind , while the jury may well still be out on the Chicago Bears (9-6), Detroit Lions (4-11), New Orleans Saints (7-8) , Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) , Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) , and last but not least the San Diego Chargers (6-9) . It now has me wondering which head coaches , and how many will be relieved of their duties this off-season ? There’s no denying that waiting in the wings are the likes of Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher , and amongst the college ranks , Brian Kelly , Chip Kelly and dare I say it, the ubiquitous Nick Saban ?

The return of Nick Saban to the ranks of the NFL wouldn’t necessarily be a shot in the arm , but given his experiences on his first go-around , is there anyone with of the belief that he would prove to be a success at the helm of a franchise as an NFL head coach ? The asking price would be considerably high, given the success attained by Saban at the college level , but therein lies the dilemma facing an organization who might care to pursue the Alabama head coach. There is however , the belief that the coach will be one of the names atop of the list of a number of teams that will undoubtedly cast their nets afar , as they seek a replacement for a beleaguered incumbent head coach .

There now seems to be conflicting rumors as to whether or not Norv Turner will asked to return to the Chargers’ franchise in 2013. Chairman & team President , Dean Spanos , seem to be sending out mix signals concerning the head coach, as well as the future of general manager , A J Smith . I’m of the opinion that both should be relieved of their positions , once the season is over , with the organization seeking to fill both positions , in the lead-up to the 2013 NFL Draft ! A disastrous season mixed in , with some rather unbelievable decision-making by Norv Turner during the Chargers’ season , pretty much summed up the ineptitude of the team’s play over the course of 2012. And as admirable, as Philip Rivers may well have performed , I now get the feeling that the veteran quarterback’s days with the franchise are now numbered ! I truly do not believe, that the player wishes to remain with the Chargers , but demanding a trade would prove to be futile , unless a team came in with a rather generous offer for the player.

For the Philadelphia Eagles the plight of their season has been well chronicled and it now seems all but certain , that this will be the last fans will undoubtedly see of head coach Andy Reid and the team’s veteran quarterback , Michael Vick. From Vick’s indifferent play this season to the injuries that have befallen the roster , things have simply spiraled out of control for Reid and his coaching staff . The veteran will replace Nick Foles , who having started his first game for the franchise , the rookie is now on the team’s injured reserve list , having suffered a broken hand. Vick will be asked to lead the team in when they face the New York Giants at Met-Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey. And for Eli Manning and the Giants , it is now time to put up , or shut up , as this now seems to be a team that has lost its sense of direction and purpose , Tom Coughlin’s players seek to make a late postseason charge , as they seek to claim a playoff berth. How many times must the Giants’ fans have to endure the late season antics of this franchise ?

So, what if Calvin Johnson has broken Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards’ mark ? Given the Lions’ record this season , is that that the sole reason to laud and applaud this team ? Jim Schwartz has lost control , and the roster of players have become ill-disciplined lackluster , never mind the antics of Lions’ defensive player Ndamukong Suh , who is being given every excuse possible by the NFL hierarchy to carry on with his disgusting on-field antics ! Anyone who believes to the contrary clearly has to watching the Lions through rose-tinted glasses. Matt Stafford may well be able to sling the ball all over the field , but when the team isn’t winning , those stats simply counts for nothing .

Mike Tomlins’ Steelers played themselves in and then out of contention, and now they’re on the outside looking in. Ben Roethlisberger , the two-time winning Superbowl quarterback has been erratic throughout much of 2012 , but the biggest issues concerning the roster has been the aging core of the team and the mere fact that the rookies from 2011 and 2012 have not proven to be productive enough to put the Pittsburgh Steelers in a position to win. And for franchise that built its reputation on having a staunch defense and a decisive running game , those two facets have been missing at times throughout much of this year.

Thankfully the asinine saga of the New Orleans Saints has come to pass and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s image is now lower than an invertebrate . Being such an asshole , Goodell can step back stage , rather than come up with another lame ass suggestion to curry favor with the fans and public at large . The commissioner’s latest notion, is to increase the number of playoff teams in the postseason . As if that’s really going to heighten the interest of the fans at large , a buffoon such as Roger Goodell really needs to make a cursory exit , stage left, and remain there ! Drew Brees and the Saints’ plight can be best summed up by stating …. “ the us against the world bullshit just didn’t cut it this season” , and the team was simply deserving of its fate this season !

The fact that, the best the NFL hierarchy could come up with in this rather disgusting episode was to state that there was an environment of deceit, lies and lack of overall accountability from within the Saints’ hierarchy , pretty much sums up how out of touch with reality the NFL just happens to be ! Never-mind , the fact that Paul Tagliabue , who rendered the verdict , overturning the suspensions of the four players ( Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Wil Smith & Scott Fujita) embroiled in the saga (Bounty scandal) , was very much a conduit for much of what we have witnessed in terms of a lack of real leadership within the NFL hierarchy. Not unlike the current President , his administration and the shoveling of shit , that he and the US Congress would rather pile into a hole of fecal matter , that they themselves , have dug and continue to fill with their platitudes rhetoric . The NFL at present , is simply bereft of any goddamn intelligence and common sense , and the owners and the union are not that far behind , in those aspects , either !

Tagliabue , Roger Goodell’s predecessor , has been a commissioner who showed little authority , and likewise , his successor in his current role, as commissioner , has shown himself to be a considerable ass , of the highest order !

While I live within the Central Florida area , it has to be said that the three NFL franchises within the state , have proven to be a profound disappointment . The always inconsistent Tampa Bay Buccaneers(6-9) , alongside the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) , and the equally abysmal Miami Dolphins(7-8) , has me wondering , if the state is meant to be such a “hotbed of superlative talent” , then how the hell is it , that we can never see any semblance of consistency , much less success from either of these three instate franchises ? Your thoughts, on this, by way of a response ?

I am not about to suggest that Greg Schiano , a first-year coach , or Mike Mularkey , and Joe Philbin should be relieved of their duties as head coaches for the franchises in question ! Yet the futility shown by all three teams must make you wonder , is the state of Florida really a place that’s amenable to the NFL , in spite of apparent fervor that is said to be shown for all three teams ? In terms of home attendance, the Jaguars rank thirteenth (519,872) , amongst the NFL’s thirty-two teams , Miami Dolphins (22nd) , with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25th- [440,819]) bringing up the rear. . Perhaps, those figures are not necessarily the best way to gauge the fan-base of the teams in question, but even if you judge by the average attendance per home game , these figures do remain paltry .

Granted , the Miami Dolphins , remains a work in progress , with a rookie helming the team at the quarterback position . Ryan Tannehill is being asked to accomplish a great deal in his first season with the Dolphins , and it is clear that while he appears to be a competent player , he is not going to set the world alight , in spite of some the idiotic prognostications that came by way of the NFL analysts and like-minded fans within this forum and at large .

The Jacksonville Jaguars are aimlessly heading nowhere , and the mildly amusing chatter , suggesting that the franchise acquire Tim Tebow , while being laudable , and trumpeted by a cacophony of “ Tebow supporters “ , this is all becoming so asinine that it is beyond belief ! Since when has the NFL become an entitlement league ? Is there a welfare check to be had ? Fuck , where is this idiocy coming from, amongst the fans ?

Josh Freeman , the Buccaneers’ first round pick (seventeenth overall) from the 2009 NFL Draft, has once again proven to be a profound disappointment in 2012. Whatever , is being taught to Freeman by Bucs’ quarterbacks coach , Ron Turner , just doesn’t seem to be sinking in with the three-year starter , as his in-game decisions have become wildly errant and bewildering to say the very least , and that is especially true with the Buccaneers this season , as evidenced by his play . If there’s said to be a bright spot with regard to the team’s play , then based upon the resounding evidence , rookie running back , Doug Martin , has proven himself to be one of the more pleasant surprises in the NFL this season . Amongst the cotillion of rookie running backs from this year’s draft , only the Redskins’ Alfred Morris , has statistically shown to be better than his NFC counterpart. Something for the Buccaneers’ fans to pin their hopes on , alas , the issues will still remain concerning the lack of a potent passing offense and a good enough defense, to be truly competitive in the NFL , for this particular franchise.

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Picture gallery

As the NFL season is about to come to a close , which team , teams or players to your mind has provided you with the best performances of 2012 ? And who in your honest opinion has proven to be the biggest letdown of the season , by way of a player or team ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit , and continued thanks, for the overwhelming support of this site throughout 2012 , and my heartfelt wishes to you all , for a prosperous and successful 2013 ! Thanks, as always !

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(1) New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy , bottom, is sacked by San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget , front left, during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Chargers won 27-17 . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(2) New York Jets quarterbacks Mark Sanchez , left, and Tim Tebow stand next to each other during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(3) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

(4) FILE – This Nov. 11, 2012 file photo shows New York Jets’ Tim Tebow on the field before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. Rex Ryan acknowledged Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 that he had higher expectations for the seldom-used Tebow in the Jets’ wildcat-style offense. And, so did the NFL’s most popular and maligned backup quarterback. Now when I last surveyed the NFL , I wasn’t made aware that the player was owed anything, much less that the NFL had become a ” welfare program” for the underprivileged and less talented ! . So unless Tebow is expecting a ” welfare check” , he should keep his damn mouth shut , and set about honing his goddamn game , and stop whining like a little bitch ! AP Photo/Elaine Thompson ….

(5) Far exceeding expectations, the three top performing rookie quarterbacks from the 2012 NFL Draft . From left to right , Andrew Luck , of the Indianapolis Colts , Robert Griffin III , of the Washington Redskins and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks . RGIII seeks to join his rookie counterparts in gaining postseason berth for the Redskins . Add into the mix, the play of Andy Dalton , sophomore quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals , who has now guided that franchise to their second successive postseason appearance in two years . Courtesy of the NY Daily News / Getty Images ….

(6) After making a field goal to win the game , New Orleans Saints kicker Garrett Hartley (5) joins teammates Chase Daniel (10) , Mike Higgins (81) and Jermon Bushrod (74) in celebration during overtime play at an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Saints won 34-31 in overtime . AP Photo/Sharon Ellman …

(7) NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell, left, is seen here with his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue , now a corporate lawyer, in private practice, with the nationally renowned law firm , Covington & Burling LLP,. of which Taglibue is a senior partner and co-founder of the D.C. based firm. Goodell , recently recused himself from hearing the appeals’ process for the four players embroiled in the Saints’ bounty scandal. Those suspensions of Jonathan Vilma , Scott Fujita , Anthony Hargrove and Wil Smith were overturned by Paul Tagliabue , who presided over the appeals’ hearing at the behest of Roger Goodell. The commissioner was not entirely happy with the verdicts rendered , as he felt the decision undermined his authority as the NFL’s highest ranking executive , which Goodell believes gives him unlimited powers , and a wide latitude to deal with regard to players’ behavioral conduct . AP Photo / Max Glover ….

(8) St. Louis Rams corner-back Janoris Jenkins (21) runs into Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) after intercepting Freeman’s pass and returning it 41 yards for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. Rams is Robert Quinn (94) blocks. AP Photo/Reinhold Matay ….

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NFL related links :

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Hits , misses and a bye your leave

The year of the young guns

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NFL week 17 schedule

NFL standings by division

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NFL weekly leaders week 16 & week sixteen results

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Jacksonville Jaguars news

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Hot chic pic of the day Draya Michelle . No bra , just panties , and a few droplets of water in running over all of the right places , simply leaves nothing to the imagination . Wouldn’t you agree ?

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Kickin’ it with some good ol’ R&B …. Miguel ……. “Adorn”

Class is spelled C-L-A-S-S now back the f##k up

Class is spelled C-L-A-S-S now back the f##k up

By Tophatal

Week two of the NFL season brought about one or two surprising results and let’s just say that there might indeed be some justice after-all, as the New Orleans Saints find themselves rooted at the bottom of the NFC South with an 0-2 record . Their 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers shows that for all of the still fomenting controversy that continues to embroil the franchise , let’s not forget there’s football to be played by this team. And as of now , there can be no excuses made for his latest defeat Drew Brees or anyone else on this team , be it from the coaching staff , led for at present by Aaron Kromer , while Joe Vitt and Sean Payton sit out their league mandated suspensions . Meanwhile , the four players embroiled in the scandal that has engulfed the franchise will be meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as they seek to reach an amicable agreement on some form of punishment. No one will be entirely happy with the situation no matter what form of a compromise is reached.

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What may well have been the most eventful game of the day , might be the events that unfolded between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Apart from being a thrilling spectacle, this game lived up to all of the expectations between these two NFC conference teams. The Giants’ front seven made sure that quarterback Eli Manning was adequately protected but at times you could clearly see that the Buccaneers’ players beyond their inexperience showed a complete lack in class, as they sought to make some exceptionally dubious and distasteful plays.If this is what Greg Schiano feels that he needs to imbue his team with , in order to make them better , then he had better take his dumb ass back to the college ranks with Rutgers and ply that trait there ! If your defense isn’t good enough, and in giving up over 600 yards of offense , as Eli Manning and the Giant’s offense simply shredded your “secondary” for 510 passing yards along with 94 rushing yards , simply indicates that the Buccaneers were not amenable to being embarrassed in-front of a national television audience. Schiano’s post-game interview and his reasons behind the last-minute actions of his players speaks highly to a coach looking to make a name for himself among his peers while not realizing those actions will have serious repercussions for his team. Tom Coughlin has made his sentiments known with regard to t

Courtesy of NFL news

Greg Schiano ‘nothing dirty’ about tactics vs. Giants

By Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin was furious with new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano after Tampa Bay tried to dislodge the football while Eli Manning was kneeling down to ice Sunday’s 41-34 win.

Eli Manning called it a “cheap shot.”

Several Giants called it bush-league. Schiano called it Buccaneers football.

“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s done in the National Football League,” Schiano said after the game, via the Tampa Bay Times. “What I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us game over. And there’s nothing dirty about it. There’s nothing illegal about it. If people watched Rutgers, they would know that’s what we do at the end of a game.”

Schiano started changing the culture in Tampa the minute he got there. He obsessed about keeping players’ toes on the line — literally. He got rid of players that didn’t fit in like tight end Kellen Winslow. The end of game strategy ties right into Schiano’s no holds barred approach.

“We do what we’re coached,” Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “Leave it at that.”

It will be telling to see if Schiano changes his approach when a similar situation comes up again. His quote above indicates that he’ll hold his ground and do things a little different.

It will be even more telling when the Bucs can hold on to a massive second half lead on the road.

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The game-officials once again made some questionable calls and if the fans are asked to endure this idiocy over the remainder of the season , then Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy will have a great deal of explaining to do. As the game’s highest-ranking, executive the commissioner insists that the replacement referees are performing exceptionally well. I seriously doubt that the vast majority of fans share Roger Goodell’s enthusiasm for the officials and the numerous mistakes that have been and will be made ! As the season unfolds it has become abundantly clear that the decision made by the commissioner to install the replacement referees was a sent as a message to be show across the bow of the NFLRA (referees’ union). The NFL hopes to reach an agreement with the union by week five but the impasse between the two parties, rather than converging now seems wider than ever , with the league seeking to the pain the referees’ union as the villains of the piece . It is becoming even more apparent that both parties are so far apart than any thought of a quick resolution now seems further away than ever.

It would be remiss to suggest that the New York Giants had this game entirely to themselves but as the Buccaneers sought to dominant and forceful , you simply got the feeling that their best simply would not be good enough. Josh Freeman, the young quarterback of the Buccaneers is seeking to reestablish himself as the sophomore quarterback we saw in 2010 . Unfortunately, as I alluded to earlier the Buccaneers’ defense was a step too slow and inexperienced to deal with the Giants’ offense. As the game ebbed and flowed, so too did the physicality and temperament of the match-up between these two teams . However, what may well have been a damning indictment was how during the waning moments the Buccaneers’ players began to show their frustration and complete lack of class .

Courtesy of NFL.com

Tom Coughlin, Greg Schiano argue after Giants’ win

By Dan Hanzus , NFL.com

Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz don’t meet again until Sunday night, but Tom Coughlin and Greg Schiano provided a nice undercard of squabbling coaches at the Meadowlands.

Fox cameras captured Coughlin jawing at Schiano seconds after the New York Giants’ 41-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. According to The Star-Ledger, Coughlin was upset that Bucs defenders attempted to tackle Giants quarterback Eli Manning during a kneel-down in the final seconds.

“I don’t think you do that,” Coughlin said, according to the New York Post. “You don’t do that in this league. Not only that, you jeopardize the offensive line, you jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn’t get anybody hurt — that I know of. A couple of linemen were late getting in.”

Manning told reporters after the game that he took “a little bit of a cheap shot” on the play, according to the Post. Wide receiver Victor Cruz made several mentions of a “cheap shot” during his time with reporters. Defensive lineman Justin Tuck said the play “won’t be forgotten.”

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said the players were just doing as they’re instructed, and Schiano confirmed that, saying it’s something his Rutgers teams always did.

“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s done in the National Football League,” the first-year Bucs coach said, according to the Post. “What I do with our football team is that we fight until they tell us game over. And there’s nothing dirty about it, there’s nothing illegal about it. We crowd the ball like a sneak defense and try to knock it loose. …

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On the wrong end of a 41-34 loss ,with the Giants in possession of the ball and Eli Manning about to take “a knee” to end the game , the defensive unit saw fit to rush the Giants’ offensive line looking to do some physical harm. In his post-game interview sought to downplay this by simply suggesting that his players played to the “whistle” . There is as such a code of conduct to the followed , and I believe sportsmanship and having the respect for an opponent should mean something ! It would appear that does not appear to be in the playbook of the Buccaneers’ young head coach. If he and his team continues with that mindset , he could very well find out that this will all come back to bite his team in the proverbial ass ! A number of the Bucs’ players could be seen apart from looking to clear a path the Giants’ quarterback were also seen to be throwing punches at their opponent. The end of game confrontation and the “heated” exchange of words between Greg Schiano and his counterpart , Tom Coughlin may well lead to an investigation of the events during the game and the conversation between the two head coaches on-field at the end of the game.

At 1-1 within the NFC East , I am not so sure that I can take the Dallas Cowboys seriously as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl (SBXLVII) . Team owner Jerry Jones may well feel that this team is built to win this season but clearly something is awry after the events of this past Sunday . Inexplicably, head coach , Jason Garrett and his much vaunted team failed to show up as they laid what can only described as a piece of fecal matter , in being wrong end of a 27-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks . Can someone please call me when Tony Romo is of the mindset to win a meaningful game over the course of his career , much less lead with authority . There is way too much deference that has been given to a player that has yet to deliver anything tangible to the Cowboys’ franchise .

Turnovers plagued the Cowboys during this game at Qwest Field in Seattle , Washington, and the biggest culprit was Tony Romo , with his erratic play during this match-up against the Seahawks .. Repeatedly , we’re told that Romo is a top-ten quarterback in the NFL and with due respect to Ron Jaworski , one year doesn’t career make . Statistically, 2011 was the best year yet for Cowboys’ incumbent starting quarterback but as I have suggested, the player has yet to win a meaningful game over the course of his eight-year career ! !. Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson , a rookie from this year’s NFL Draft and taken 75th overall in the third round by the Seahawks , came into only his second professional game and simply outshone his more seasoned opponent . It could now make for one hell of season in the NFC West , if the Seattle Seahawks can ride on the coat-tails of Russell Wilson. The young rookie, has shown the poise not often associated with a first year player and in beating out his more celebrated teammate Matt Flynn, whose contract was designed him to create the premise of Flynn being seen as the seasoned veteran . However , during the preseason would suggest that it was Wilson who was ready to be the signal-caller for the team at the behest of head coach , Pete Carroll .

It no longer makes any sense , to continue to lambast the Dallas Cowboys, as their record over the past ten years speaks volumes as to the ineptitude shown by the franchise in that time. Suffice to say, a pot of gold and a leprechaun still might not be enough for an under-achieving and what amounts to being a highly overpaid roster , albeit that they remain the NFL’s most valuable franchise . Jerry Jones may well love to make money but I would surmise, he would love to make even far more money with his club being anointed Superbowl champions, and with the Lombardi Trophy sitting in the midst of a trophy case festooned with the other 5 titles won by the NFL franchise, since their inception.

Quarterbacks coming out of USC (Trojans) should get their SAG cards (Screen Actors’ Guild) , as their performances this weekend bordered on being more dramatic , rather than being athletic. Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer and Matt Cassel have proven to me , all that glitters is not necessarily gold . The trios of quarterbacks’ respective teams were defeated, as the New York Jets fell 27-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers , the Oakland Raiders were their usual lackluster selves in being upended 35-13 0 by the Miami Dolphins . And does anyone actually believe that the Kansas City Chiefs are a real threat to anyone after their humiliation at the hands of the Buffalo Bills in losing 35-17 ? I think it is pretty safe to say the hype that has justified USC Trojans’ quarterbacks is only valid, when applicable at the college level , yet within the NFL beyond Sanchez’s two successive incursions in the postseason , the returns have been meager amongst the aforementioned players at the position . . Hype is one , yet there has been nothing tangible from the trio to suggest that they’re capable of leading their respective teams to where they desire to be.

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Picture gallery .

Of the results in week two , which do you believe was the most surprising of all ? Which team has been the most impressive in the two weeks of football that we have been exposed to ? Last but not least , are you of the belief that the behavior of the Buccaneers’ players was a premeditated act in the dying moment of the game when the result itself (41-34) was beyond doubt ? Do leave a comment as you see fit , and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees (9) reaches the ball over the goal line for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. The Panthers won 35-27 . AP Photo/Bob Leverone…

(2)New Orleans Saints acting head coach Aaron Kromer looks on during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …

(3) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) looks to pass as teammates Sean Locklear (75) and Kevin Boothe (77) block during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. Manning threw for 510 yards, second most for a Giants quarterback, and Andre Brown’s 2-yard run with 31 seconds left lifted New York to a wild 41-34 victory Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …..

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) celebrates with Erik Lorig (41) after rushing for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(5) Giants’ head Tom Coughlin , left , is seen here with his counterpart Greg Schiano after the Buccaneers’ loss 41-34 in an NFC —-game on Sunday 16th September , 2012 at MetLife Stadium , East Rutherford , New Jersey . The heightened animus between the two coaches had more to do with the behavior the Buccaneers’ defensive players in the waning moments of the game. AP Photo / Todd Andrews … ….

(6) Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) hands the ball to running back Darren McFadden (20) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Miami. The Dolphins would go on to defeat the Raiders 35-13 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(7) Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) celebrates a second touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(8) Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) talks with New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) after an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. The Steelers won 27-10 . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …..

(9) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel throws during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. Buffalo defeated their AFC opponents the Kansas City Chiefs 35-17 . AP Photo/Bill Wippert ……

(10) Buffalo Bills’ C.J. Spiller (28) runs against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. AP Photo/Bill Wippert ……

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“Rehab”

“Rehab “

By Tophatal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can only continue to kick the can so far down the street ….

You can only continue to kick the can so far down the street

By Tophatal

The NFL preseason is proving to be a great deal more than a profound embarrassment for the league hierarchy. While we have the replacement referees adjudicating the games , the fans and public alike have witnessed the repeated blown calls . Yet somehow the fans are being made to endure this fiasco because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ego seems to know no boundaries. Goodell’s power and its reach have gone beyond the usual parameter but the game’s highest-ranking official and the team owners march to the beat of their very own drum . And the cacophony of noise in question, just happens to be the billions of dollars that rolls into the NFL’s coffers on an annual basis .

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Slide show .

If the NFL is to continue to pander to the whims of the commissioner, then why can it not do so with a modicum of decency? Goodell has insisted that this league enforced lockout has been done because the officials of the NFLRA have not conducted these negotiations with any veracity , merely looking to circumvent at each and every turn in hindering any progress. The commissioner has been the one seeking an adversarial approach in these deliberations , while looking to paint the referees as the villains of the peace. Now three weeks into the preseason and we have seen a glut of blown calls , without any wherewithal from these college game-day officials , who made their mark at the D2 and D3 level of the collegiate ranks of the game.

The fans are having a hard time tolerating this fiasco , while the league hierarchy continues on their merry way with their subterfuge. At some point there will be an uproar and if this idiocy continues in its present guise , then the backlash against the NFL will be so vocal that not even Roger Goodell will be able to come up with a succinct enough answer for the ongoing problems. As we approach Week 4 of the preseason , it is becoming abundantly clear that the two parties are no closer to resolving this impasse , than they were at the beginning of these deliberations . The final glut of games begin this Wednesday , with the Washington Redskins (2-1) playing host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1).

Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan may well see the drafting of Robert Griffin III , as the “silver lining” sought, in order to make the Washington Redskins a resurgent force once again. Griffin alongside his fellow Redskins’ draftees Josh LeRibeus , Kirk Cousins, Keenan Robinson, Adam Gettis , Alfred Morris , Tom Compton, Richard Crawford and Jordan Bernstine, this has to be viewed as their chance to shine , as they seek to make their present felt in the NFL. And coming off their 30-17 annihilation of the Indianapolis Colts , in a match-up that pitted Robert Griffin III against Andrew Luck , the player who preceded him as the number one draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft . And so, far the rookies taken in this draft have slowly begun to acquit themselves to the rigors of the league and prove their worth to their respective teams.

Greg Schiano , head coach of the Buccaneers has seen his team perform inconsistently while at the same time he has lost one of the team’s defensive stalwarts in Davin Joseph . It is a significant loss for a defensive unit that prides itself on those specific capabilities but over the passed five seasons this is one of the areas where the franchise has been at their most inconsistent . This season if the Buccaneers are to fare well , then Schiano has to demand more out of his players and hold them more accountable . It was a lackadaisical effort and the very fact that Schiano’s predecessor , Raheem Morris’ failing to have the players more in line as a cohesive unit, that led to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having a rather poor 2011 outing, with season low 4-12 record in the NFC South. This season, a great deal more is expected more from the team when they begin their 2012 when they begin their regular season schedule with a home opener against the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton on the 9th September , 2012.

For the Buccaneers , specifically the front office led by GM Mark Dominik , the franchise has struggled this preseason and for much 2011 regular season, in filling —- Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida. Excuses could be made for the dire economic situation across the country but one can only use that premise for only so long. In the Buccaneers’ preseason schedule thus far, the Buccaneers have yet to sell out any of those preseason games. Now one could subscribe to the fact, even with the NFL changing the criteria set concerning the blacking-out of preseason and regular season games within a home television market. Chances are , for the better part of the franchise’s 2012 regular season schedule , at least 6 of the team’s eight games will be blacked out . Local radio and television talk show personalities in the area have sought best to overlook this situation that seems to be a troubling issue around the NFL . No explanation has been forthcoming from Mark Dominik , Brian Ford , VP Business Administration, Jason Dial , who heads the Buccaneers’ Marketing & Sales Department . As to what this may well suggest is open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation. To my mind, even with the financial outlay in the off-season with the organization acquiring free agent players such as Vincent Jackson , this simply has not proven to be a big enough lure for the fans to make that big enough gesture to come and witness the Buccaneers play.

As the impasse continues within the NFL between the league hierarchy and the NFLRA (referees’ union) , it should not surprise anyone that for the moment the commissioner seems to have the backing of the team owners . Sooner or later, they will have to realize that the longer these ongoing negotiations continue , the more harm will be done to the league’s image. That being said irreparable damage has been done already with regard to the hierarchy’s handling labor lockout , with the NFLPA (Players’ Union) and the subsequent poor handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal . We should also consider the fact that the NFL finds itself in the midst of 25 separate legal suits at various levels of the US legal system but yet we have contributors within this forum speaking as to the continued benevolent image of the NFL . It is at times like this, when one has to wonder if there is really any intelligence to be found amongst number of individuals who call themselves NFL fans ? I consider it , simply to be apathy on the part of those fans who simply are not intelligent enough to realize what is simply happening within their midst !

The NFL during Roger Goodell’s tenure has sought to create the perception that all is right with the league , when it is clearly not . Anyone currently buying into the nonsense that the issues that the NFL now faces is simply that of an enterprise undergoing growing pains as well as outside forces , had better rethink that premise altogether . A great deal of the problems that the league hierarchy now finds itself embroiled in , are in fact of the league’s own making . And that has come about the sheer ineptitude shown by Roger Goodell and wielding a wide range of powers that in most people’s eyes would be seen used by despotic or tyrannical dictator of a third-world country . Owners such as Jerry Jones , Robert Kraft , Steve Bisciotti ,John K Mara , Woody Johnson , Paul Allen and Malcolm Glazer , are only all too happy with the commissioner’s edicts , just as long as the billions of dollars that roll in annually into the NFL’s coffers shows no signs of abatement . Anything else , by way of a bye-product that is to the league’s advantage can merely be seen as icing on the cake . Care to have a slice of that cake at this juncture?

As I alluded to earlier, concerning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Greg Schiano will have a hard time getting this young roster in the place where it they need to be. The NFC South in recent years has proven to be a very competitive , with a now resurgent Carolina Panthers , an ever forceful Atlanta Falcons and the now beleaguered New Orleans Saints . The team’s head to head meetings with the Falcons , Panthers and Saints in recent years has not proven to completely advantageous for the Buccaneers . I can only surmise that Greg Schiano’s players will seek to re-address those problems. If they are unable to do so , then I cannot see the team in its present guise winning more than 7 games at best over the course of their 2012 regular season schedule ! At a minimum ten games will be the bare minimum for the Buccaneers to win the NFC South and by way of gaining a playoff berth that very same figure would have to come into play if the franchise are to succeed . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not been a part of the playoff scene since 2002 . And that was the year when the franchise would go on to win it all, in defeating (48-21) the Oakland Raiders in Superbowl (SBXXXVII). In the subsequent years things have not been necessarily been to the Buccaneers’ advantage.

Buccaneers’ starting quarterback Josh Freeman has to show that last season’s frustrations and regression were merely a minor blip in his aspirations, as he seeks to viewed as one of the better —– quarterbacks in the NFL. This preseason Freeman’s game has been pretty much understated with nothing in particular that stands out . The fans will expect a great deal from the team this season and with rookies Doug Martin, Mark Barron, David Lavonte, Najee Goode, Keith Tandy , Michael Smith and Drake Dunsmore . Each of the players in question will be hoping to contribute to the franchise in whatever they can this season. With the teams now having to cut their rosters down 73 players before the final cut to the season’s roster 54 players is made . Players taken in latter rounds of this year’s draft ( 5, 6 & 7) will undoubtedly be the ones under the greatest pressure to succeed . At the same time with a number of seasoned veterans recently being shown the door , one has to wonder what the future may have in store for the likes of Vince Young , Chad Johnson and Terrelle Owens at this juncture . In this case , talented players , who for one reason or another , simply were not able to find themselves in a position to contribute positively to the respective teams to which they were assigned . It is simply a “sign of the times” in today’s NFL , as the coaches are under to pressure “ win big , win now ” and that passed reputations of players no longer count because now it has essentially become about “ what can you do for me now “ ?

There is now a great deal at stake for a number of teams in the NFL this season beyond the competitive edge that becomes part and parcel of what the NFL has now become . Coaches will have their jobs stakes , a number of players will have a great deal prove beyond trying to justify their rather outrageous salaries , while at the same time these franchises seeking ingratiate themselves with their municipalities as they either seek upgrades or a new facility that will be financed by the cities in which they currently reside . With all of the billions of dollars in revenues derived by the NFL and the profitability of the franchises in question , it still remains mind-boggling that the team owners and the league hierarchy can justify their actions in such instances , while seeking to ignore so many other issues within their midst .

As a franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can consider themselves lucky enough that the Glazer family as the owners of the franchise have done just about everything necessary to make sure that the Buccaneers remains a viable concern . However, as of late, one would be hard pressed to believe that fact as the family seems to be once again devoting even more time to their other sporting interest , the world-renowned soccer team Manchester United of the English Premiership League (EPL). In recent weeks with the team having been re-listed on world bourses , such as on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) , London Stock Exchange (LSE) , Deutsche Borse and Hong Kong Stock Exchange . It is this sort of unique presence and the global familiarity of the brand that makes the franchise the most profitable and valuable sports’ brand in the world. Add into that the success of the franchises and the Glazer family are sitting on a venerable gold mine , with a license to print money almost at will. With the recent IPO (initial public offering) offering of shares, there have been very few takers , most notably because of the fallout from the Facebook “ fiasco “ and the very fact that the shares on offer (Class A) do not carry as much weight as the Class B’s retained by the family . The Class B shares are weighted shares that pay off a great deal more in dividends as well preserving the voting power of the retainers of those , for which patriarch Malcolm Glazer and his family retain 68% of the soccer club and the voting rights of 90% of the stock voting rights afforded them. It has seemingly been viewed as one the main deterrents, as to the reasons why the offer has remain lukewarm amongst investors. From my own standpoint , I believe investors seeking a long-term investment will see their investment appreciate over time but those seeking an overnight profit , well, much like those who dove into the Facebook fiasco without using due diligence . In the end , you tend to get what you pay for , and for those investors still sitting on their Facebook shares having seen the IPO tender price ($38-00) —– depreciate some 70% since that initial offer , there is not much that left to be said that hasn’t already been said. Perhaps, other than that usual cautionary tale “buyers beware” has now become “buyers’ remorse “.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article and do you believe that the NFL and the NFLRA will resolve their issues before the regular season begins ? By all means do take time to leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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

(2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, left, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shake hands in the center of the field following the Buccaneers’ 30-28 win over the Patriots at an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….

(3) General manager Mark Dominick, left, and coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watch a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt …..

(4) Damien Duff of Fulham celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on August 25, 2012 in Manchester, England. .

(5) Robin van Persie of Manchester United is congratulated by his team mates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on August 25, 2012 in Manchester, England. United would go on to defeat Fulham 3-2 in the Premiership league game . Getty Images /Shaun Botterill …..

(6) Mark Schwarzer of Fulham reacts after Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United scored his team’s second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on August 25, 2012 in Manchester, England. Getty Images /Shaun Botterill ….

(7) In this handout photo provided by the NYSE Euronext, Manchester United Executives David Gill (R), Joel Glazer (C, R) and Avram Glazer (C) prepare to ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on August 10, 2012 in New York City. Manchester United shares started trading at USD 14.05 at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange. Source / Getty Images …

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Ode to the NFL “Get Money ” …….. Junior M.A.F.I.A

Did I Do And Just Say That ….?

Did I Do And Just Say That ….?

By tophatal ………

Well with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having now filled their vacant coach’s position with their hiring of Greg Schiano it now remains to be seen whether or not the existing assistant coaching staff will be retained by the newly installed head coach. This rather long drawn morass came to a positive end when a formal acceptance was made by the Rutgers’ head coach accepted the organization’s offer. For GM Mark Dominik this long drawn out process has a successful resolution . My own thoughts on the matter, was that this was a long time coming and perhaps the best thing that could have for the Buccaneers. I found it so idiotic that the prevailing thought by Dominik and the owners was to dredge up a bunch of coaching retreads as a possible successor to Raheem Morris ! Unless I’m mistaken I wasn’t aware that Pep Boys was a chosen destination for an NFL franchise seeking to find a head football coach in this league ! But then again we are talking about the moribund Tampa Bay Buccaneers , whose fans are simply in large part devoid of intelligence and their mainstay in life is to simply to regale you with their proudest moment when the franchise won their lone Superbowl in 2003 (SBXXXVII [SB37]). That 48-26 victory by the Buccaneers over the Oakland Raiders became the symbol of the franchise’s success .

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Since then , it has been a whirlwind of highs and lows for this franchise. It makes you wonder what might be next around the corner the organization.

Indianapolis Colts’ .. owner …. Jim Irsay is now denouncing the team’s quarterback Peyton Manning by suggesting that the player should keeps his comments and thoughts to himself rather than making it public . Irsay and GM Keith Grigson’s handling of the most recent situations has the public and in particular Colts’ fans wondering what the hell must be going on within this organization. Jim Caldwell’s abrupt firing in light of the 2-14 season had by this team when in reality much of the failure seen was beyond the coach’s will to change it. Poor play and cotillerie of quarterbacks in Kerry Collins , Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky , who on their best days wouldn’t be good enough to sniff Manning’s jockstrap much less assist him in putting on his cleats but yet they were being asked to guide this organization through their regular season schedule. The levity of this whole situation could become a great deal graver when a decision has to be made as to whether or not Peyton Manning will be retained by the franchise as the player is due a $28 million roster bonus by the 8th March .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Colts owner wishes Manning kept comments in-house

By Michael Marot , AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—The NFL’s most watched offseason drama has turned stunningly ugly.

Two days after Peyton Manning complained about the dour atmosphere around the Colts’ complex, team owner Jim Irsay called his four-time league MVP a “politician” and said he didn’t appreciate Manning’s public campaign.

The comments upstaged the introduction of Irsay’s new coach, Chuck Pagano, and came six weeks before Irsay must decide whether to pay the still-recovering Manning a $28 million bonus. Manning missed the entire 2011 season after having his third neck surgery in September.

“I don’t think it’s in the best interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don’t,” Irsay told reporters following Pagano’s introduction. “The horseshoe always comes first, and I think one thing he’s always known, because he’s been around it so long, is that, you know, you keep it in the family. If you’ve got a problem you talk to each other, it’s not about campaigning or anything like that.”

Just a few hours after Irsay responded to questions from reporters, Manning tried to dial things back by telling The Indianapolis Star that he didn’t intend to create a public spat. Instead, Manning said he was speaking from the heart after watching so many of his friends lose their jobs.

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Jim Irsay has stated that the quarterback will be retained solely based on his health . In reality because of the financial implications of that possible payout and the belief that the Colts will make Andrew Luck the number one overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft . Rookie salary scale or not should the Stanford quarterback be taken his agent will expect his client to be well compensated by way of a generous contract that is comparable to to the quarterbacks taken in the most recent draft over the past two to three years . Certainly the expectations will be that Andrew Luck would expect to a contract that puts him on par with last year’s top pick Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers . Granted , based upon potential alone no one can really say whether not Luck will have a stupendous first season in comparison to Newton’s , where the Panthers’ quarterback set NFL rookie records in a number of areas . So much so that many of those statistics would rival some of the best produced not only in the NFC by many of his peers but also in the NFL as a whole . And those would be very tall orders indeed if Andrew Luck were able to match those feats .

Clearly there now seems to be some unresolved issues and tension between Peyton Manning and the Colts’ owner Jim Irsay and much of this may well have come down to the owner’s decision not only in the firing of head coach Jim Caldwell but also former front office executives Bill Polian and his son , Chris Polian , who between them jointly had over two decades of service within the Indianapolis Colts’ organization and architects of the organization’s prominence within the NFL over the past decade plus . It was the prudent decision by the Bill Polian , that saw Manning being drafted number one overall in the 1997 NFL Draft when many had question whether not Ryan Leaf would have been a far more prudent choice at the time. As we now know , Leaf would go on to be one of the ” biggest monumental busts ” in NFL history , while the Colts’ quarterback would go on to set many of the franchise’s records and be placed amongst some of the NFL’s most heralded feats for a quarterback in passing yardage and touchdowns thrown .

What may well lay ahead in terms of a decision to be made by Jim Irsay will set the tone and future for the Indianapolis Colts as an organization. Given , the team’s payroll and the complexities of possibly having to make that $28 million outlay as well as the resigning of free agents leaves Keith Grigson and Irsay a lot to deal with, apart from bringing on-board a highly sought after talent in Andrew Luck . With that all now comes what appears to be the growing tension between the Colts’ quarterback and the team owner. The thought of Peyton Manning either being cut or suiting up in another franchise uniform may well have seemed unthinkable prior to the start of this past season but it now looks as if it become a stark reality and most certainly one of the most stunning events to have taken place in the NFL since Joe Montana departed from the San Francisco 49ers to become a member of the Kansas City Chiefs .

Whatever comes out of the final decision made by the Indianapolis Colts will have reverberations around the NFL , most certainly amongst the teams quite possibly in need of a seasoned and experienced quarterback . None would meet the credentials than that of Peyton Manning , a bona-fide superstar in the NFL who has not only become the face of the Indianapolis Colts’ franchise but also one of the most recognized and most respected players in this league . Now there are doubters out there who say that Manning should retire , while others believe that he has at best , another two or three good years left in him. My thoughts on the matter ………. dependent upon his health , I see no reason why he cannot play for at least another two year or more but certainly no more than four at the most ! What are your feelings if any on the player’s immediate future ?

I have leveled a great deal of criticism at Roger Goodell over the years and will continue to do so , even in the advent of him succeeding Paul Tagliabue . It seems remarkably surprising that he would seek a contract extension and be granted that for a further two years , even after the dissent not only amongst the team owners , leading members of the league’s hierarchy in his handling of this past season’s labor dispute with the NFLPA (union) . . But here is my point to this latest disclosure why all the secrecy to this after what can be best described as one the biggest blunders and cases of misjudgment made by a leading member of the league . Goodell , obviously felt that he and the owners had the upper hand in these labor negotiations and went with guns a-blazing with demands from the union asking for concessions that clearly DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee were unwilling to acquiesce to but somehow Goodell is now rewarded with a seven year contract extension for a job that is thought to have been well done by the league’s hierarchy . We’re told that this new collective bargaining agreement guarantees the NFL a decade long continued peace and just about as much accord as anyone could expect between two sides who battled to get their way .

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times & Associated Press

NFL REPORT

NFL commissioner receives contract extension

Roger Goodell, who helped steer the league through one of its most contentious periods, is rewarded with a seven-year extension.

Now that the NFL has labor peace for the next decade, Commissioner Roger Goodell has job security through the 2018 season.

Not only did Goodell get through one of the league’s most contentious and troubling periods — a 4 1/2 -month lockout of the players — but he oversaw a highly successful season once a 10-year collective bargaining agreement was reached. On Wednesday, he reaped some rewards himself with a contract extension through March 2019.

“It is the only place I have ever wanted to work,” Goodell said after the league’s compensation committee approved the extension.

The 52-year-old Goodell took over for Paul Tagliabue in 2006. His original five-year contract was extended in 2009. He earned about $10 million, including bonuses, under that contract. During the lockout, he had a $1 salary.

No terms were disclosed for the new contract.

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Somehow , I feel that within the next five years these two sides will be once again be bickering like infantile kindergartners over a play toy in the middle of a sandbox . Who wins that fight next time around will be anyone’s guess but for the commissioner to granted a contract extension in light of what I felt was a blunder of his own making and is tantamount to now witnessing these financial executives on Wall St being rewarded for their clear errors in judgment , that in many respects brought about the financial and economic strife that has beleaguered this country ! Only here could you find an executive being rewarded for their sheer stupidity even when their business template is seemingly in tatters ! But then again one only has to look at the actions of the members of both federal legislative chambers ( House & Senate ) and the GOP candidates who are now seeking their party’s Presidential nomination to realize that it is merely business as usual ! No recourse , no oversight and clearly no prudent decision making but mere platitudes being served up for the public’s consumption , and that was clearly the case with this latest collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and union !

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Picture gallery for your perusal . (By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size )

With regard to the most recent hires within the NFL fraternity do you believe the decisions made by the Buccaneers and Colts to be sound ones ? Or do you believe that both Chuck Pagano and Greg Schiano’s tenures within the league will be short-lived ? Chime on this and any other points you believe to be pertinent with regard to this piece .

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(1) FILE – In this Nov. 25, 2006 file photo, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano leads his team onto the field before a football game against Syracuse in Piscataway, N.J. A person familiar with the negotiations says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in talks with Schiano to become the team’s next coach. The 46-year-old Schiano has been with the Scarlet Knights for 11 seasons, taking them from college football laughingstock to a program that has had winning records in six of the last seven years. AP Photo/Mel Evans ….

(2) TAMPA, FL – FILE: Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks at the scoreboard during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on December 17, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. According to reports January 2, 2012, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired head coach Raheem Morris. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(3) (Left to right) General manager Bill Polian, team owner Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning (18) of the Indianapolis Colts look on during Super Bowl XLIV Media Day at Sun Life Stadium on February 2, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. With Polian now out as a front office executive it would appear that the last remnants from the Colts’ era of success is but another decision away, with the growing rift between the quarterback and team owner. Photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Benc ……..

(4) Indianapolis Colts new head coach Chuck Pagano, left, and owner Jim Irsay greet each after Pagano was introduced during a news conference at the NFL football team’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ….

(5) In this Oct. 16, 2011, photo, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, left, speaks with inside linebacker Ray Lewis during an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Baltimore. The Indianapolis Colts hired Pagano as their new head coach on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. The team said Pagano will be introduced at a news conference on Thursday. AP Photo/Nick Wass ………

(6) GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 02: Andrew Luck (12) of the Stanford Cardinal walks off of the field after Stanford lost 41-38 in overtime against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ………

(7) Roger Goodell formally introduces himself to the press as the NFL commissioner having succeeded Paul Tagliabue (background) in June of 2005 . The commissioner having fulfilled his term has been given a new 7 year contract extension that will expire in 2019 . So much for Goodell and the league pleading league’s case as to being impoverished , with his now multi-year, multi-million dollar annual salary . AP Photo …..

(8) Roger Goodell is seen here alongside NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, during one of their numerous meeting this past off-season trying to reach an amicable accord concerning the NFL league dispute between their two parties . AP Photo / Nick Amundson ……..

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NFL news

Indianapolis Colts’ news

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Top paid quarterbacks in the NFL

Top NFL quarterbacks’ salaries by averages

NFL quarterbacks drafted over the past three decades

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As we Brits like to say ” bottoms up but get your top down “! If this beauty were so willing at the time .

The Walk Of Shame Or Walk Of Fame As The Case Maybe ……

The Walk Of Shame Or Walk Of Fame As The Case Maybe ……

By tophatal …..

Candidly over the remainder of this NFL season there are bound to be a number of coaches and their staffs whose jobs will no doubt be on the line . I’m not so sure that I would not be entirely at all surprised if the likes of Norv Turner , and quite possibly Raheem Morris are shown the door by their respective team owners .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Throughout much of this season the teams have simply labored with the exception of the . Green Bay Packers , New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers . Albeit , that fans might be of the opion that the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans are worthy of being mentioned amongst the so called “elite teams “ within the NFL this year . Given the uncertainty and displays we have seen from players has me wondering whether or not it has been the poor coaching within the NFL or the fact that the the league induced work stoppage has been one of the main culprits in somewhat of an average season . Of course there has been the injury bug that has seen the likes of Pro Bowl caliber players Peyton Manning , Matt Schaub , Adrian Peterson and several other notable players sidelined on the injured reserve list for much this regular season .

Drew Brees cast his names amongst the greats of the game with his assault on Dan Marino’s single season passing yards’ (5084 yds) record . The New Orleans Saints’ quarterback can add to that tally in his team’s final regular season scheduled game of the season against divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers whom they host at the Mercedes Benz Superdome , in New Orleans, Louisiana on New Year’s Day .

Sean Payton knows that should the Saints win and the San Francisco 49ers lose in their regular season finale against the St Louis Rams , whom Steve Spagnuolo’s team will host in St Louis , Missouri . Then the New Orleans Saints would wrap up the second seed berth within the NFC and obtain themselves a bye in the first round of the NFL playoffs .

The highly anticipated potential NFC championship game matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints would be an enviable event me that would obviously wet the appetite of the most ardent of offense minded fans , especially when one takes into account that these are two of the most explosive and potently efficient teams within the NFC and league as a whole in terms offense . Quarterbacks Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers rank at the top or near the top in practically all of the most important categories that matter within the NFL at the position . Simply put , Brees and Rodgers arguably have been the two best quarterbacks within the NFL this season , bar none ! OK , so the purists out there will argue that were Peyton Manning not injured , then perhaps we would have seen the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback putting up the usual numbers we are accustomed to seeing from the four time league MVP . Not to be outdone in the conversation perhaps, would be Tom Brady of the New England Patriots whose current consecutive game win streak now stands at seven games .

Now while it would be easy to regale you all with the why’s and where for’s as to the merits of the teams within the upper echelons of the NFL this season . It has to be said that the teams at the lower end of the scale have been extremely disappointing to say the very least . Perhaps , none more so than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Without a doubt this team led by head coach Raheem Morris and his coaching staff over achieved last season when the team came within a hair’s breath of making the playoffs .

This season however , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have simply been woefully inept in just about every major facet of the game . Josh Freeman the team’s quarterback is having a down year in comparison to last season when he led team with his last minute heroics in a number of games last season .

Team GM Mark Dominik of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has to be tremendously disappointed with the team’s displays throughout much of this season . And it certainly hasn’t helped that seasoned veterans such as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow Jr have simply remained silent , rather than leading by example , by being vocal with the younger players on this roster . All of the rhetoric forthcoming from Raheem Morris as to his own expectations are rather inane , when there seems to be no improvement whatsoever coming from this team over the course of the season . If LeGarette Blount cannot produce the form from last season that made him such a consistent threat , then there seems to be little hope for the Buccaneers’ offense . And one might add that the DNA that is said to personify this organization ______ ” team defense” is nowhere to be seen throughout much of this season . So much so , that in all probability the fans must yearn for the years when Tony Dungy whose coaching premise was …… ” defense , defense , defense and more defense ” but also more accountability amongst the players on his teams. Instead with this current Buccaneers’ roster , it is simply the players going through the motions while being compensated greatly , way beyond what they might rightfully deserve .

For a team with postseason aspirations at the start of the season the issues that the Buccaneers have faced far outweigh whatever Raheem Morris felt what he would actually achieve . All of the bravado cannot hide Morris’ inexperience and his having been thrust into the lion’s den by Mark Dominik and the Glazer family simply lent credence to the fact the owners are back to their ways of old by doing things on the cheap. If anything it’s my belief that the Malcolm Glazer as patriarch of the family is far more concerned and interested in his holdings within English Premiership (EPL) soccer team Manchester United whose ownership has been in his tenure since 2005 . The club bought at a cost of some $1.55 billion ($1,550,000,000) with a leveraged buyout in using the team primarily as collateral along with other derivative financing still has left a burgeoning hole within United’s coffers . The club is still debt laden , albeit , that the franchise is amongst the most popular and profitable sporting concerns in the world but by the wrath of the Red Devils’ fans were met met with muted silence when Cristiano Ronaldo was allowed to leave the team for a then world record price of $190 million as a transfer fee , the Portuguese payer would join Spanish giants Real Madrid of the Spanish first division ( La Liga) .

The English soccer team has a mounting debt which the executives of the club have sought to refinance without a great deal of success . But what might now be even more pertinent is that with UEFA set to bring in new regulations concerning teams participating in their competitions .specifically . in the Champions League , Europe’s top international club competition . It is imperative that Manchester United does as much as it it can, as expediently as it can to place its financial house in order . If not , then the monies that can be attained through this competition would be of no avail. It is estimated that entire participation for a team in the Champions League deep into the competition’s latter stages can net that club in excess of $50- $75 million per season . A bounty far too easy to overlook for a club of United’s prominence on the world’s soccer stage. With so many wealthy US owners now diving into owning an English Premiership soccer team you simply knew it was only a matter of time before their impudence and sheer stupidity would run amok and start to ruin “the beautiful game” ! Stanley Kroenke , Randy Lerner , LeBron James , John Henry , CEO of Fenway Sports Group [FSG] ( owners of the Boston Red Sox and co-owners of Roush Fenway Racing Inc ( NASCAR ” Sprint Cup Series”) to name but a few have now stepped into the fray as part of the cabal of Americans who have an outright or a majority stake in a Premiership soccer club. Need I say anymore on the matter at this juncture , given the state of a number of NFL and NBA franchises and their present financial state ? Rarely are those teams’ books opened up for public scrutiny and as we all know neither David Stern or Roger Goodell are prepared to do that , not without a major fight . >

I am of the opinion that Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ ownership group simply bought their way to the Superbowl , profited greatly from that experience but then simply ” dropped the ball” with regard to the organization’s then immediate future . . Let’s put this way , anyone expecting then head coach Jon Gruden to lead the organization to further success , clearly misjudged the credibility and credentials of the former head coach . Gruden’s successor Raheem Morris a mere novice , is now proving to be something of a dud , with the the intellectual mindset of a gnat !

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having lost nine straight games over their last ten regularly season scheduled , one can understand the plight of Morris , and his coaching staff as well as that of the team . Angst and anxiety doesn’t come close to describing how much of a mess this club has become . Lacking in confidence , lacking in talent but above all lacking a coach with the determination and will to win ! Instead as I alluded to earlier this season has one of being simple asinine sound bytes from the head coach and general manager , Mark Dominik . If nothing else the fans now have the ignominy of either witnessing a tenth straight loss or that improbable win when the Buccaneers face divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta , this upcoming Sunday afternoon on New Year’s Day . I’m sure that Falcons’ coach Mike Smith and his team have no wish make their hometown fans disappointed with a vapid display as they seek to further enmesh themselves within the playoff picture .

If this Buccaneers’ team is to have any chance of defeating the Falcons then they will have to give a display far more befitting of themselves rather than what their fans have been accustomed to seeing this season . At 4-11 this record clearly reflects a team that has lost much of the ground it attained last season when they were indeed a surprise to many of their peers around the NFL . That being said , 2011 has been one of missed opportunities for this organization and one again another relearning process begins . A number of players on this current roster will become superfluous to the team’s needs and it will most certainly mean that a number of them will not be re-signed .

Now whether or not Raheem Morris retains his position as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remains to be seen . What might well be the determining factor is whether not the Glazer family will risk further ridicule in firing the incumbent coach , knowing full well they are still paying Jon Gruden $4.5 million as part of the final year of his contract (expires at the end of 2012) having fired him back in 2009 . Should Bryan Glazer follow suit having conferred with Mark Dominik then it leaves this organization in a such a situation that would make it extremely improbable that any potential hire would be willing to become a possible candidate for as the successor to Raheem Morris . The front office would be left having to now pay two coaches no longer in their employ as well as a new head coach . From my own perspective, I believe that Morris will be given the chance to “right this ship “ but it is becoming increasingly clear that this could very well be his last chance to redeem his credibility as well as that of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

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In your opinion what if anything has been the most pleasant surprise or disappointment to you within the turmoil of the NFL this season ? Do take into account the league mandated stoppage which obviously derailed somewhat the effort of some teams in their preparedness for this all too normally rigorous schedule . Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) listens to coach Norv Turner in the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions , Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011, in Detroit. The Lions defeated the Chargers 38-10 to secure a playoff spot for the first time since 1999 . AP Photo/Duane Burleson ….

(2) Quarterback Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers throws under pressure from Chris Clemons (91) the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field December 24, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. San Francisco won 19-17 . Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images …. ….

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Falcons 45-16 . Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images …

(4) Members of the Carolina Panthers signal after recovering a fumble by Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina . The Panthers would go on to defeat the Buccaneers 48-16 . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……..

(5) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers scrambles against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ..

(6) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs for a 49 yard touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(7) CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 24: Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers calls a play during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(8) Clueless in Tampa ! Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches on during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(9) CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 24: Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches on during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …

(10) New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, second from right, poses for a photo with, from left, new general manager Mark Dominik, and executive vice presidents Edward Glazer, Bryan Glazer, and Joel Glazer during a news conference Saturday afternoon Jan. 17, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. Morris replaces Jon Gruden, who was fired on Friday. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ………

(11) Ji- Sung Park (left) and Dimitar Berbatov (9) are seen here during a Premiership (EPL) game between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic . United would go on to defeat their divisional rivals 5-0 . Courtesy of premierleague.com @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(12) Berbatov (9) nets the first of his three goals (“hat-trick”) in United’ 5-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic . Courtesy of premierleague.com ……

(13) Berbatov beats Wigan’s goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi during the game . Courtesy of uk.eurosport.yahoo.com ….@ copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(14) Former partners in crime Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden , formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are seen at One Buc Place in Tampa , Florida . Gruden the team’s then head coach and Allen the general manager at the time were relieved of their duties by the Glazers in early 2009. Raheem Morris would succeed Jon Gruden as the head coach , with Allen being selected to become the general manager of the Washington Redskins by team owner Dan Snyder . Allen’s responsibilities seem to be more confined to deal with cap related issues for the team rather than personnel matters as current head coach Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle Shanahan seem to handling those particular issues in conjunction with team owner , Dan Snyder . St Petersburg Times/ Mark Cornish ……

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NFL news

NFL week 17 schedule

2011 regular season results within the NFL .

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ news

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ front office

Buccaneers’ coaching staff

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team injuries

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster & Buccaneers’ depth chart

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team statistics 2011

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2011 regular season schedule

NFC South standings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ draft history .

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NFL standings divisional win percentage (record) won

NFL standings conference win percentage (record)

Home win record

Road win record

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Eva Mendes/

Hot chic pic of the day Eva Mendes also with a small montage of this heavenly and hot Latina actress !

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Eva could make just about any guy go cuckoo for Coco Pops and then some don’t you think ?

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The ”Thin White Duke” aka David Bowie …… “Fame ”

It’s Spinning Out of Control And Heading For The Edge of A Cliff ……

It’s Spinning Out of Control And Heading For The Edge of A Cliff ……

tophatal …..

It’s extremely difficult not to have a wry smile seeing the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) get their comeuppance as their season unravels in front of the eyes of their fans and all of the NFL analysts who made them the prohibitive favorites for not only the NFC East but also the Superbowl . Somehow Andy Reid’s so called “Dream Team” and I’ll use that connotation loosely because the only thing only remotely akin to a dream team here is the mere fact the players got way ahead of themselves . The only baubles these Eagles’ players on the team will end up seeing is the fecal matter that describes their season !

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There’s a lackadaisical approach not only to this team but also on the part of Reid and his coaching staff and it seems to have manifested itself in the team’s play throughout much of this season . Michael Vick the team’s newly minted $100 million quarterback has is having an inconsistent year by his own lofty standards . That being said the team’s overall productivity is down in comparison to last season . But what might be even more worrisome Andy Reid has been the inexplicable poor showing of the team’s much vaunted defense and the error prone play of cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha , Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the anguished Asante Samuels . And clearly with that sort of inconsistency from three Pro Bowl caliber players that does tend to effect the play of the entire team. And it would appear that the front office of the Philadelphia Eagles left no stone unturned when it came to expense with regard to the roster.

Monday night as the Eagles hosted the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania. The NFC East is built on the premise that it is the “glamor” division of the NFL but in reality nothing could be further from the truth . This season if anything as good as the division appears to the combined record of quartet of teams within the division is a mediocre 15-15 (.500). Leading the crescendo amongst the division are the New York Giants (6-2) , Dallas Cowboys (4-4) , Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) and the Washington Redskins (3-5). The Giants appear to be the presumptive favorites at this point given the form of the team and their play . But herein , lies the caveat with the New York Giants over the last two seasons at the midpoint of 2009 and 2010 they have posted marks of 5-3 and 6-2 only fall by the wayside . Another demise along those lines and the calls haranguing Tom Coughlin and the calling for his ouster could reach an octave not heard in the Big Apple in a number of years .

The aspirations of the New York Giants rest squarely upon the shoulders of Eli Manning , and he goes the so does this team , albeit that Osi Umenyiora and the Giants’ defense have been playing with a heightened sense of purpose .

If ever Jerry Jones was at a point to consider redoing some cosmetic surgery to reduce the stress and aging caused by how inept the Dallas Cowboys have been , especially in the light of the praise thrown upon Tony Romo . Praise him if you must but please don’t anoint him as the second coming of Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman for that matter. The Cowboys’ incumbent starting quarterback has been anything but average and the questions are now being asked as to how long before the front office and in particular Jones pulls the trigger on the player . Now while in recent weeks analysts have been awe of the performance by running back DeMarco Murray and his breaking the team’s single game rushing record [23 carries , 253yds , 1TD] by a running back . Beyond that feat there has little for the Dallas Cowboys’ fans to be happy about either at Cowboys Stadium or away from home .

There is little to be candid about concerning the Washington Redskins given their tepid displays this season. I am not so sure that $7.million a year Daniel Snyder is getting value for money from his coach Mike Shanahan . The ups and downs of the team and the very fact there’s no consistency in their play means simply that the Redskins are once again on the decline and their way to another season of mediocrity !

Going back to the Philadelphia Eagles , as I alluded to earlier their Monday night matchup against the Chicago Bears . This was a game that the Eagles need to win but once again they came up short and this so called star laden roster is simply proving that all that glitters is not gold ! The significance of this 30-24 loss by Andy Reid’s team leaves them in something of an unenviable position .

Looking at the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) and it is hard to envisage how the team can play themselves back into contention within the the conference but more convincingly within the division . Another missed opportunity this season and much like the Miami Heat and their fall from grace last season within the NBA , the Eagles looks as if they are like a favored thoroughbred that has simply run out of speed before having reached the halfway mark of a horse race . And we all know what they tend to do lame horses in the end don’t we ? They shoot don’t horses they ? .

Of their last nineteen home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida sixteen have been blacked out due to the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not been able to sell the league mandated ratio of tickets to avoid the game not being shown in the local area market. This scenario has to be a worrying scenario for the Buccaneers’ organization and the surrounding businesses within the locale. For Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik it is not for the lack of trying as the coach and general manager have assembled a team that they believe can compete at the highest level of the NFL . So far this season the Buccaneers have hit a few major bumps along the way with a 4-4 record and their task won’t be getting any easier when they face the Houston Texans and their high octane rushing offense led by Arian Foster and Ben Tate .

As a sign of desperation I believe rather than of need the Buccaneers acquired Albert Haynesworth off waivers . The much traveled and under-performing Haynesworth can best be described as being thought of as a bust within the league . He has yet to live up to any part of the $100 million contract signed with the Washington Redskins . And far be it for me to suggest being an avid New England Patriots’ but when the team acquired him earlier on this season I simply started to question the mental state of Bill Belichick . Not only did the Patriots’ coach acquire Albert Haynesworth but also obtained the self ordained “FOH” (Future Hall of Famer) Chad Ochocinco . And Ochoinco much like his teammate can categorized in the same position this season in terms of his anemic performances for the Patriots . It would not surprise me if Bill Belichick were to also jettison the veteran wide receiver because here too , has been another experiment that simply hasn’t worked out ! Calling Randy Moss , calling Randy Moss ……….. your services are needed .

As to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it is imperative that they obtain a victory over Gary Kubiaks’ Texans . Anything short of that , and the aspirations of the team and organization simply go up in smoke . And when one bears in mind that they were simply one victory away last year from making the playoffs , you can understand what a tremendous disappointment this would be for the fans were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to miss the postseason for a second consecutive year . From my own standpoint even if these are indeed hard economic times , I simply feel that team owner Malcolm Glazier , his sons Edward , Brian and Joel Glazier as the omnipresent executive faces of the organization merely treat this franchise as a bauble to show off to their close circle of friends . The family and the rather naive local beat writers for the print media and tv journalists simply hang their hats unto the franchise’s lone Superbowl (SBXXXVII)– win defeating the Oakland Raiders under then coach Jon Gruden . Beyond that there’s really nothing tangible that the Buccaneers have achieved since then .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

I would like to think that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can recoup something of their season but with a record of 4-4 things are now beginning to look extremely remote for the franchise at this juncture , in perhaps making something credible of what so far appears to an under-achieving year on all counts . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 7 : LeSean McCoy (25) of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by Lance Briggs (55) , Charles Tillman (33) , and Nick Roach (53) of the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bears would defeat the Eagles 30-24 Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ….

(2) A fan of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts to a play during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(3) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ….

(4) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) is hit by Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije (71) as he throws a pass in the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Bears won 30-24 . AP Photo/Michael Perez …..

(5) Head Coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles congratulates Head Coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears after the game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. The Saints won 27-16 . AP Photo/Bill Haber …..

(7) Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 6, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

(8) Teammates Leigh Torrence (24) of the New Orleans Saints and Jabari Greer (33) make a tackle on Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 6, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(9) Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik is seen here alongside head coach Raheem Morris . courtesy of St Petersburg Times …

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(10) Joel Glazer, left, Bryan Glazer, center, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers team owner and president Malcolm Glazer, right, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, Wednesday, May 25, 2005. Malcolm Glazer appointed his three sons Joel, Bryan and Avram , to the board of English Premier league soccer team Manchester United , on Tuesday, June 7, 2005, extending his control over the world’s richest soccer club. Malcolm Glazer, became majority shareholder of Man United on May 16, 2005. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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NFL news

NFL standings

Philadelphia Eagles news

Philadelphia Eagles’ front office

Philadelphia Eagles depth chart

Philadelphia Eagles’ team statistics

Philadelphia Eagles’ schedule

Philadephia Eagles draft 2011

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ news

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As tribute to the military servicemen and women everywhere who’ve their country their country with pride . From one military veteran to another I salute you all and your service of distinction ! Have a great Veterans’ Day ! Petey Pablo …………“Raise Up USA Remix ”

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All …….. !

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All

Well it’s finally here as MLB’s showcase event for the 2011 season with the commencement of the World Series . The prospective seven game series will be televised nationally by Fox and their hope is that the games will be a major lure for the prospective audiences even they just happen to be a passing observer. The two rival teams are the AL pennant winner the Texas Rangers who will be the guests of the St Louis Cardinals who in defeating ( 4-2) the Milwaukee Brewers garnered their seventeenth NL pennant over the course of the franchise’s storied history .

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The Texas Rangers coming off their second consecutive ALCS pennant and return to the World Series hope that a return in light of their World Series disappointment of 2010 in losing to the San Francisco Giants will be one of redemption . With that loss the front office led by team president Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels looked to learn from the mistakes made and at the same time revamp the roster in order to make them more competitive this season . The Texas Rangers were the runaway winners of the AL West with there being little opposition in any coming their opponents within the division .

The opposition provided by their opponents during the ALDS and NLCS was futile for want of a better word . However, this match-up against the St Louis Cardinals could well prove to the test that the Rangers so desperately need . From my own standpoint I hope that this will one of the better postseason finales of recent years ! On the mound for the St Louis Cardinals will their starting ace Chris Carpenter who faces off against C J Wilson .

St Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa like his opposite number Ron Washington has been part of the postseason but unlike the Texas manager he has had the pleasure of winning a World Series title . In fact the Cardinals’ manager is one a select band of MLB managers to have won a world championship in both leagues. If anything the St Louis Cardinals may well be viewed as the underdogs in this series as the AL pennant winner seem to be the prohibitive favorites for the world championship. A win could very well play its part and perhaps be the determining factor as to whether or not the St Louis Cardinals will be able to retain their highly prized impending free agent Albert Pujols . GM John Mozeliak and principal managing partner William O DeWitt know that securing the player to a long term deal that isn’t exorbitant and beyond the means of the organization . There is no denying that both teams in MLB postseason are looking to make this series an exciting thrill packed event , as to whether or not it turns out that way remains to be seen.

As much I can understand the need for the NFL to expand the broad base and global of the sport of football , it is now becoming more ridiculous with the league hierarchy’s thinking that staging a regular season game now on annual basis is in the best interest of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team franchise owners heightens the game to even more astonishing peaks . This upcoming Sunday the Chicago Bears are guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the two teams meet at Wembley Stadium , in London , England .

With the NFL now having offices in Canada , South America , Europe , Far East Asia and an office in the United Kingdom , with the UK itself being one of the NFL’s most prominent consumer markets outside of North America. Herein lies the caveat , with the global economy now unstable it seems somewhat out of the norm to believe that the league still feels that they can continue down this path . Granted , the NFL is a multi billion dollar industry and though they recently returned to the workplace after their league imposed stoppage. The signs are that the league hierarchy and team owners feel that the North American consumer market has peaked , reached its maturation and saturation point.

This NFC matchup brings together two teams vying for divisional supremacy , albeit that the Chigaco Bears (3-3) are looking up at the Detroit Lions (5-1) and Green Bay Packers (6-0) who sit atop of the NFC North . Coach Lovie Smith’s team have to be of the opinion that if they are to contest the division , then a win against the Buccaners would place them in good standing . Jay Cutler , Brian Urlacher , Julius Peppers and Matt Forte as the season veterans on this team they ill be looking to show the form that had the Bears on the cusp of making their way to the Superbowl last season , only to be upended in the NFC championship game by the Green Bay Packers , the eventual winners of the Lombardi Trophy.

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff having rebounded from their 48-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers , in week 6 they rebounded in taking down the New Orleans in a highly competitive divisional game (26-20) during which the Buccaneers prevailed .

Josh Freeman of the Buccaneers is proving to be a real leader and one of the young up and coming quarterbacks within the NFL . He’s proving to be a hero in more ways than one and his last minute come from behind heroics are at times reminiscent in some ways of John Elway at his very best . The player’s stats in this one particular category already bears this out , much to the delight of his teammates and in particular to Raheem Morris and the coaching staff . In many ways this will be a game that will give even more credence as to whether or not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can improve on last season’s showing and mount a legitimate pedigree wherein one could view them as viable contenders for the this postseason and beyond .

GM Mark Dominik in conjunction with Raheem Morris , the scouting department and coaching staff have been prudent in their draft picks in recent years , making the team far more athletic and with the players being held accountable . Something that one couldn’t actually subscribe to when it came to Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden . And Raheem Morris’ predecessor was never one to be known as someone who’d actually developed talent over the course of NFL career . Now please don’t throw the name of Rich Gannon into the ring as some evidence of that as the player simply found himself in an environment where he could flourish with the Oakland Raiders at the time and it wasn’t as if he wasn’t already a known commodity to begin with ! But therein lies the myth concerning Gruden and his presumed prowess as a developer of NFL talent !

Both the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stout defenses but as of late that hasn’t necessarily been the case with both having seen their secondaries exposed . That being said both teams have to get that facet of their game back on track as well as being more efficient from an offensive standpoint .

The Buccaneers will be seeking to get their offense off and running when they take centerstage at Wembley Stadium against their NFC opponent . As to what the fans in London should expect , remains to be seen . But clearly the NFL league hierarchy believe that this annual staging of a regular season game abroad will further broaden the brand’s (NFL) appeal on a global basis . Get the feeling that no matter how much money the league will have in its coffers it well never be enough ?

Well now that the NBA finds itself in the midst of league hierarchy mandated lockout ____ the league itself along with the NBPA (union) sought to go through mediation via the FMCS a federal government agency . The mediator just happens to be George Cohen , who initially presided over the initial hearings of the NFL during their prolonged labor stoppage . Commissioner David Stern and union his counterpart Billy Hunter are still at an impasse . To furthermore emphasize the diverging stances being taken the union’s executive committee led by their president Derek Fisher have unequivocally stated that they are not prepared to acquiesce to any of the league’s demands without there first being concessions from the NBA, itself .

With the NBA preseason having been postponed and the regular season schedule set to start in November it is now becoming abundantly clear that the entire regular season schedule is now in jeopardy . The league has estimated that losses accumulated will be in excess of $35-$40 million per month . That does not include losses to local authorities and the business closely tied into the local communities once the season begins in the NBA . There are those who suggest that those figures are vastly overstated but when you consider that the league itself has lost in excess of $450 million cumulatively over the past two seasons it is easy to understand the concerns of the league hierarchy and the team owners . However, to my mind these very same owners and the league itself , in pleading poverty have overlooked one thing , and that is that they have continued to spend capriciously over the past five years while not looking to rein in their costs. At the same time the avarice of the union seems to know no boundaries with some outrageous demands on their part .

So contentious have been the deliberations that you have also had high profiled players such as Dywane Wade , LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in no large part questioning the character of the commissioner . It is now becoming increasingly clear that the league and union are not only on a collision course but in the aftermath of this wreckage there could very well be one , if not two franchises that could end up biting the dust should this lockout be a prolonged over several months , if not longer .

The mayor of Sacramento , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA professional is seeking to retain the Sacramento Kings within his city . But with a burgeoning municipal deficit , as well his having to reduce the city’s workforce it seems something of a futile exercise on Johnson’s path to try and keep the franchise within the city , while supposedly seeking assistance from businesses within the local community. Those very same businesses are feeling an economic crunch just like the rest of the country and it the population en mass . And the thought of the mayor seeking to use public funds in conjunction with private financing smacks of incompetence , given the issues he faces already within his city !

Owners such as Dan Gilbert , Mikhail Prokhorov , James Dolan and Jerry Buss for now may well be showing their support for the commissioner but I can’t help but wonder what happens when the league itself , now sees the stoppage entering into its second , fifth or six month !

The Sacramento Kings as a franchise has been hemorrhaging red ink incessantly over the past three years , with there being no real signs of abatement. The team is owned by the Maloof family with Joe and Gavin Maloof primarily overseeing the franchise’s business in conjunction with general manager and team president Geoff Petrie . And with the Kings’ ownership group merely playing a waiting game for the present with the city of Sacramento , while seeking out the opportunity to relocate the club . I for one , now feel that not unlike the acrimonious split that took place between the city of Seattle and the Seattle Supersonics we could very well see history simply repeat itself. I mean , David Stern was duplicitous in that instance with his backing of Clay Bennett and his partners leaving the city with the franchise to relocate in the city of Oklahoma , forming the Oklahoma City Thunder . The city of Seattle may well have felt that they got the better end of the deal with a $25 million payoff but they now have a white elephant on their hands with the venue which housed the Sonics at present now vacant .

The NBA lockout now has surpassed 100 days in its length but with no real sign of an accord in sight . However the cities of Memphis and Oklahoma are said to seeking a legal recourse against the league in light of potential financial losses they may well suffer if this stoppage goes on much longer . Oklahoma is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder where they’re housed in a multi million dollar facility owned ( Chesapeake Energy Center ) by the municipality . The Memphis Grizzlies are housed in the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee .

If either municipality should proceed ahead with any legal action action against the NBA , then in all likelihood they may well seek outside legal counsel in any prospective proceeding . My only personal thought on this matter would be for the two municipalities to proceed with that the proposed legal action jointly in US Federal Court in the state of Delaware ,. Given the fact that amongst the thirty NBA teams they are several multi billionaires amongst the throng of franchise owners within the NBA with now a number of them pleading poverty with regard to their respective franchises . Adam Silver the deputy commissioner of the league , one the mainstays of the NBA’s committee working on behalf of the hierarchy along with David Stern and Peter Holt , the owner of the San Antonio Spurs. representing the sport’s governing body in these deliberations . I have always maintained that no matter what the sport happens to be at the professional level municipal and state governmental agencies should not be held hostage by leagues such as the MLB , NBA , NFL , NHL , NASCAR or for that matter MLS (soccer) in assisting those governing bodies building state of the art facilities when rarely do they get anything tangible back in return . Does anyone truly believe that the city of New York is in a healthy financial state given that its mayor Michael Bloomberg fast-tracked the deals that benefited both the New York Mets and New York Yankees in aiding them to build their respective stadiums ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium ) ? Built at a joint cost of $2.355 billion with much of the funding coming by way a bond issue , multi faceted loans from a number major financial institutions and certain increases service fees levied upon residents and business within the locale .

For the Steinbrenner and Wilpon family as the proprietary owners Yankees , Mets and New York City government — _____ to say that they have screwed over the residents within the Bronx and Flushing would be an understatement to say the very least ! But at the same much of this can be easily laid to rest squarely upon the shoulders of US Congress and Senate , with regard to the statute (antitrust exemption & special tax privileges) that gives the governing sports’ bodies such latitude as a sport’s franchise .

With the Tampa Bay Rays’ demise in the postseason falling to the Texas Rangers it looks as if the apparent fallout that a number of Rays’ fans would fear to see could come into being . The team’s general manager Andrew Friedman has met publicly and privately with Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno . The Angels are without a general manager after the abrupt resignation of Tony Reagins at the culmination of the regular season after the team’s subpar year .

Andrew Friedman’s contract has expired and it doesn’t appear as yet that an agreement on a renewal had been reached between the Rays’ general manager and the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg . If the senior managing partner knows what is good for not only himself and baseball club then it would be to sign the organization’s architect of the most heralded successes of the past five years . Not only was Friedman behind the hiring of Joe Maddon as the successor to Lou Piniella but also for some the Tampa Bay Rays’ astounding successes in their draft choices since he assumed the team’s lead front office executive in charge of personnel matters.

Amongst the ranks of the general managers within the game Andrew Friedman would have to rank up there alongside the likes of Brian Cashman , Theo Epstein , Jon Daniels , Kenny Williams , John Mozeliak , Frank Wren and Dave Dombrowski as being amongst the best of the best of the GM’s in MLB .

With the growing uncertainty as to the impending future of the ballclub this could very well be one of the first few nails in the coffin leading to the upheaval of the Tampa Bay Rays if they cannot continue the momentum attained under Andrew Friedman , should the premise arise of with him leaving the this organization. The fans may well applaud the plays of Evan Longoria , Desmond Jennings , David Price and James Shields but were it not for Friedman I seriously doubt that the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field would have seen this team come to fruition , much less there being a ball-club to support . If the Rays’ most loyal and fervent supporters want this organization to remain viable then they ought to make their voices heard , and let Stuart Sternberg know he would be ill advised to allow his young general manager to leave .

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In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts do you have ? And are you of the opinion that sports’ franchise owners should not hold state and local city municipalities hostage when it concerns arena and stadium issues ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and once again thanks always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Rafael Furcal(15) and Matt Holliday (7) of the St. Louis Cardinals go after the hit by Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers would go on to defeat the Cardinals 2-1 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers celebrates in the dugout after hitting an RBI sacrifice fly ball to take a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers won 2-1. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(3) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith answers a question during a news conference at the Oval cricket ground, London, Friday Oct. 21, 2011. The Bears will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday. AP Photo / Tom Hevezi …..

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Kellen Winslow, left, shares a joke with coach Raheem Morris during a team training session, Bagshot, west of London, Thursday Oct. 20, 2011. The Buccaneers will face Chicago Bears at London’s Wembley stadium on Sunday. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi …..

(5) Peter Holt, the owner of San Antonio Spurs, speaks to members of the media after NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on October 20, 2011 in New York City. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that talks have broken down and no further meetings are scheduled. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …..

(6) Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman greets a fan at the front of the St Petersburg government center in downtonwn St Petersburg. Rumors are rife that the general manager could well leave the organization and accept the formal offer from the Los Angeles Angels’ team owner Arte Moreno to succeed Tony Reagins . St Petersburg Times / Ray Massey ….
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MLB news

MLB postseason schedule …. World Series

Texas Rangers @ —- St Louis Rangers

C J Wilson —– vs —– Chris Carpenter

NFL news

Week 7 schedule

Week 6 results

Chicago Bears news

Tampa Bay Buccaneers news

NB: This article was written on 20th October 2011 and published on the 10/21/2011 after game two had ended .

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What To Make of It All …………………

What To Make of It All …

Well the berths have been set for the 2011 World Series with the St Louis Cardinals representing the National League and last season’s AL pennant winners the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance in MLB’s showcase event. From my own perspective this may well be the best possible scenario with which to end the postseason with the two best teams in the league playing in this series. It should come as no surprise to see that the Ron Washington’s team in the World Series as their play over the course of the season was of a consistently high level amongst their peers within the AL and most certainly in the league as a whole .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The Texas Rangers made light work of defeating the Detroit Tigers 15-5 to win the ALCS outright 4-2 . For team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels their faith has been more than justified in keeping together a team that was bitterly disappointed after last season’s crushing defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in 2010 . And the asinine belief that Michael Young should have been jettisoned by the organization showed clearly that the fans who claim that the maneuever should have been made had no damn idea what the hell they were talking . Ron Washington and his coaching staff knew that the player alongside Josh Hamilton , Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz are the “heart and soul” of the team . It’s simply asinine to be making these type of statements without having anything to back it all up .

For Tony La Russa and this Cardinals’ team with their achievements from the regular season , it should have come as no surprise what they were able to achieve during with the postseason with their defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS . You simply knew that during the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals once Ron Roenicke’s team failed to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way during the series there wasn’t much doubt that Albert Pujols and his teammates would find a way to make the Brewers pay for those mistakes.

Having won their most recent World Series in 2006 defeating the Detroit Tigers decisively 4-1 in that lopsided series . The St Louis Cardinals face perhaps an even more daunting task this time around when they open this year’s series at Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri on Wednesday in what is sure to be a raucous and staunch Cardinals’ following . On the mound for La Russa’s team will be their starting ace Chris Carpenter . A decision has yet to be made by Ron Washington and his coaching staff as to who the Texas Rangers’ starter is likely to be .

Say what you will the expectations may well be high for this series given what is at stake for both teams. The St Louis Cardinals will be seeking eleventh World Series title , while the Texas Rangers will be seeking their very first . The month of October during the postseason is littered with great feats of absolute amazement that make the game what it is and one of the major reasons why baseball still resonates with the fans . Unfortunately , however , the postseason television viewership for the series isn’t what it once was . And this year will certainly be no different in spite of the fact of the legacies of the two teams competing .

As the rapper Lupe Fiasco says in his hit song ” Words I Never Said “ would suggest Glen Beck is a ‘racist’ and Rush Limbaugh is a racist “. Well who am I to disagree ? But I never thought I would to live to see the day where I am now in almost complete agreement with the Conservative right winger Limbaugh as to the merits of Donovan McNabb as a player in the NFL ! McNabb’s struggles over the past two seasons have been well chronicled most notably with the Washington Redskins and this season with the Minnesota Vikings .

The Vikings this season are a team adrift in the midst of despair and without direction or leadership from anyone on this roster . And that is with due respect to Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson because neither at this point has shown that they possess any of the qualities mentioned . And it is now becoming abundantly clear that head coach Leslie Frazier , his coaching staff and the front office led by GM Rick Spielman made a monumental mistake in acquiring the veteran quarterback . His productivity this season ranks amongst the worst in the league at the position and especially with regard to the team’s offense in the red zone and on “third downs “.

Sunday’s game between two divisional (NFC North) foes in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings , bore out everythin one has come to expect of a Vikings’ team completely lacking confidence and amongst the very worst within the NFC in total defense . The Vikings’ offensive line is abysmal and an aging McNabb is simply doing himself no favors by rushing around like a headless chicken unable to find anyone amongst his arsenal of offensive weapons . The only praise that can be placed upon this team is that Percy Harvin when given the chance can be electrifying to watch . Beyond that, there certainly isn’t enough lavish praise that can be heaped upon this team . Well not from my perspective I believe !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC . As to what the rest of the regular season holds now for the Minnesota Vikings I am not so sure that their long suffering fans are quite prepared to endure the maelstrom of uncertainty and continued ineptitude in terms of the team’s performances !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC .

Well one wheel has now dropped off the wagon that carried the hopes of the Detroit Lions this season . In what was an exciting game between the Jim Schwartz’s —- team and a surprisingly effective San Francisco 49ers led by a rejuvenated Alex Smith . Playing with a great deal of aplomb Jim Harbaugh’s players may well be the surprise of the NFC and no doubt the league this season .

In what was a highly entertaining game between the then unbeaten Detroit Lions would see the team suffer their first loss ( 25-19) of the season at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan , to the 49ers as Smith would rally his team and lead them back to what many may well have viewed as an improbable win . But the game would be remembered for its postgame antics with the apparent now unusual melee between the two opposing head coaches. I say let the two coaches decide their issues in the gladiator’s arena rather than Schwartz talking about a lack of class shown by Jim Harbaugh ! And at present if there’s a more under-rated running back in the league than Frank Gore , then can someone let me know who that might be ? With the ball in his hand and on the move , Gore is a devastating weapon to have on your team . .

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(What could Schwartz be saying to Harbaugh at that moment in time ?) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

It has long been the contention that the NFC East should be viewed as the glamor division of the league . I now feel that the notion can no longer be justified in spite of the apparent legacies of such teams as the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins . If anything the division that could well lay those claims to rest is that of the NFC South and the teams who reside there . Can there now be any doubt that the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are far more competitive than their rivals within the other divisions of the NFL ? Not only that but bear this in mind Matt Ryan , Cam Newton , Drew Brees and Josh Freeman are four of the most competitive and gifted quarterbacks within the NFC and league as a whole .

Granted , at 1-5 the Carolina Panthers are a work in progress under Ron Rivera and his coaching staff . But the competitive nature and athleticism brought by Cam Newton cannot be denied , albeit that they have lost some very close games this season . As this team gradually improves and their confidence grows there is no reason not to believe why they cannot be competitive not just merely within their own division but within the NFL as a whole . I am not so sure that beyond what we have witnessed from the team thus far we will see a team ready to compete for the upper echelons within the NFL.

OK, so we know what the New Orleans Saints are capable from an offensive standpoint and the prolific career of the team’s quarterback Drew Brees. But if there’s a knock against Sean Payton’s players it is the very the fact that on defense they become incredibly complacent and lackadaisical .

This past Sunday the New Orleans Saints were the guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . The game itself was one that pitted two aforementioned quarterbacks in Josh Freeman and Drew Brees . Freeman in his young career within the NFL is proving to be a very efficient quarterback in his own right , with many of his heroics coming late in the games . Josh Freeman has already amassed 8 come from behind wins for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he looks to lead Raheem Morris’ young team on their way to further glory .

This was a game of oddities where the Buccaneers’ much vaulted defense had to stand firm against Saints’ prolific offense . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would systematically deal with the New Orleans Saints in a game littered with multiple mistakes made by Sean Payton’s players . The resultant 26-20 win by the Buccaneers places them atop of the NFC South sharing the divisional lead with this past Sunday’s opponents.

As I alluded to earlier , the NFC South is a highly competitive division and with two teams placed firmly atop of the standings , each with a 4-2 record . Care to guess which team is liable to come out ahead within this division with the exception of the lowly Carolina Panthers ?

Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has been able to work wonders since he assumed the role of head coach from then disgraced Bobby Petrino , who departed from the franchise like a thief in the night . Arthur Blank , the team’s owner had seen the club sink to an all-time low with the subsequent derailing of Michael Vick’s career due to his own criminal misdeeds . Those lean years left the franchise without any direction and signs of any real leadership from within the organization or on the playing field ! With Matt Ryan’s drafting by the team in 2008 , the organization’s route seem to be directly on the path of gradual progression as some semblance of success was on its way. And in the subsequent years since, the coaching staff of the Atlanta Falcons under Smith’s guidance and that of general manager Rich McKay have assembled a roster that now seems intent on winning a Superbowl .

For three quarters on Sunday the Carolina Panthers held their own against the Atlanta Falcons . But as the game progressed it was clear that Cam Newton and his teammates had no answer for what the Saints were able to throw at Ron Rivera’s team . The Falcons at 3-3 face an arduous task over the remainder of their season if they seek to contend with their fellow cohabitants within the NFC South. The Falcons came away with a 31-17 victory over their beleaguered divisional rivals .

It should be interesting to see what transpires within the division (NFC South) over the course of this season and how each team will presumably fare .

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