Are we not amused ?

Are we not amused ?

Well the sports’ world is now abuzz after it was revealed New England Patriots’ quarterback , four time Superbowl winner and three-time Superbowl MVP , Tom Brady was uncooperative and unwilling to aid the NFL inquiry into Deflate-Gate . Further exacerbating the matter was the fact Brady is said to have destroyed his cellphone , rather than turn it over to the league’s investigators . Personally, I believe Brady to be an ass in such an instance,because surely he must have understood the league would still have been able to access his texts sent to certain individuals said to have involved in this whole sordid affair. His pleading his innocence all along, has fallen on deaf ears , with only his faithful and loyal followers still thronging to his support.

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The Ted Wells’ Report into Brady’s actions covering the events of the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts was said to be very in-depth , leaving no stone unturned as to the player’s actions. There has yet to be a formal statement made by anyone concerning the player’s four-game suspension and his possibility of appealing the suspension either through a tribunal or through Federal District Court of Appeals . The likelihood of that now happening does seem remote, but yet Tom Brady and his legal representation might not be willing to go down without a fight. The evidence against him is not vague and he actually risks a great deal more than his legacy, should be lose in this legal process.

Brady’s own teammates may well still come out in support of the player, but we have yet to hear from the likes of Chandler Jones, Rob Gronkowski , Julian Edelman , Malcolm Butler , Rob Ninkovich , Devin McCourty and the array of other players from the Patriots’ Superbowl winning roster. Bill Belichick, GM Nick Caserio and team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft will now seek to do some damage control, but it is hard to imagine how this organization can now seek to deflect any of the negative image done to the Patriots , as well as the NFL in general .

For his part, Roger Goodell, might well have come off as an executive finally exuding some intelligence and authority, but it has been his unwillingness to act proactively, which more often than not, has led to the continued negative image and view of the NFL by the fans as well among some of their major corporate sponsors. While the league does remain popular, the off and on the field antics of the players by way of their conduct continues to affect the brand and sport and adversely. Unfortunately, among the players and the leadership of the union (NFLPA), there has been no one willing to take a stance and address player misconduct and the lack of genuine sportsmanship among the fraternity of players. Inasmuch, as the fans continue to point to the popularity of the NFL and Roger Goodell’s insistence that the growing revenues of the league makes the brand more popular than ever , along with the ratings. One has to question the goals of the league and the direction it is said to be now heading in.

With the likelihood of Tom Brady missing the first four games of New England’s regular season schedule, it will be left to Jimmy Garoppolo to lead the team during the preseason and regular season as the second-year quarterback gets to prove his worth to the coaching staff of Bill Belichick. The head coach I believe has implicit faith in Brady’s understudy and it will be interesting to see how the player fares in his first professional in regular season game. His baptism of fire last season was relatively mild , and Garoppolo showed himself to be capable , though not spectacular. If he is unable to prove himself adept enough to lead the team , then problems will arise for the Patriots over the course of the preseason and regular season schedule. With only Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo on the quarterbacks’ depth chart, an injury to the understudy would prove to be alarming and a catastrophe for the team. There is the likelihood, Belichick will seek to secure himself a veteran free agent quarterback as insurance, should that premise arise.

The NFL kicks off the preseason with its annual Hall of Fame game and for 2015, the contestants will be the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Minnesota Vikings in a game to be played on 9th August, 2015 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio,. Ensuing games for week one of the preseason schedule will take place on 13th , 14th , 15th and 16th August and 16th August, encapsulating sixteen contests during the first of four consecutive weeks of exhibition games. New England will open its preseason schedule with a contest against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro’, Massachusetts, in what will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s first preseason start of 2015, where his backup will be Matt Flynn , signed during the off-season by the Patriots. Other games on the schedule, will offer fans the chance to see the Detroit Lions playing host to the New York Jets , the Dallas Cowboys on the road against the San Diego Chargers , Washington Redskins facing the AFC’s Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium , in Cleveland Ohio.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees among the players , will be Jerome Bettis , Tim Brown , Charles Haley , Junior Seau, Will Shields and Mick Tingelhoff . Granted, with the death of Seau, this season’s recipients of one of the game’s highest accolades will be tinged with a great deal of sadness.

With the revelation by the Hall of Fame and NFL jointly , whereby they will not allow or grant access to the members of Junior Seau’s family , permitting them to make an acceptance speech on the late player’s behalf, at his posthumous induction. It begs the question what it is that the league hierarchy and the Hall of Fame as an institution are seeking to do or hide? Seau’s death as tragic as the circumstances are known to be, it has been the league’s lack of being forthright in addressing the issue of chronic neurological injuries suffered from playing in the NFL , which has led to the ongoing controversy which surrounds the game. Add in the fact , Tony Dorsett, a Hall of Fame running back is now suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and one has to ask,what else is this league (NFL) still willing to hide from the fans at this juncture ?

Will Shields, third from right, and Mick Tingelhoff, second from right, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August. Other inductees, from left, are running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, defensive end and linebacker Charles Haley and executive Bill Polian . On the right is executive Ron Wolf . Also being inducted is the late Junior Seau, who was represented by son Tyler, center. A family member of Junior Seau will not be granted permission to speak at the late player’s induction into the Hall of Fame , in Canton, Ohio this weekend . Both representatives of the Hall and NFL , state this is policy and should not be viewed in anyway as a distraction or a rebuff of Seau’s family or his accomplishments as a player. Courtesy of the Associated Press .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , might well now suggest the league is doing more than ever before to address the issue chronic neurological injuries suffered by NFL players and pointing to the fact the league will be breaking ground on a retirement facility in Ocoee, Florida, which will provide and house retired NFL veterans in ailing health. This will be the first of several heath facilities to be built around the country over the next several years , which also have experienced medical staff on call to care for these retired players. These centers will also provide residence for a number of players in poor health and will all be funded by the NFL. As to the league’s appealing a judge’s verdict of their settlement with the plaintiffs (retired players) who sought damages against the NFL for brain injuries suffered during their careers. The $ 1 billion offer by the league , seems something of a mere pittance for a sports’ hierarchy whose revenues exceed $7.8 billion annually and has increased each year over the past decade .

When you’re good , you can be extremely good in the NFL , but if your front office continues to show poor judgment, then you can but only hope there is light at the end of the tunnel. Last season , both the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bays were simply atrocious all season long. With the teams finishing with regular season records of 2-14 , it begs the question how bad was the league this past season ? Suffice to say, the league hierarchy continues to sell the fans a bill of sale on goods and a brand , that from one season to the next swings back and forth like a pendulum. The hype remains utterly ridiculous, while the exploits of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham might well have been spectacular , the season for the New York Giants was simply a disaster. Eli Manning now appears to be on the downside of a career that seemed destined to be bound for the Hall of Fame.

Two Superbowl victories can add luster one’s career resume’ , but take away those two postseason victories in the big game and what are you actually left with concerning his regular season career ? Eli Manning and the Giants were a train wreck on and off the tracks in 2014. No leadership to be seen from the quarterback and even less from the coaching staff of Tom Coughlin . The off-season has seen some changes in the team’s roster alongside their influx of rookies and free agent acquisitions. Odell Beckham will likely remain a great part of the Giants’ offensive focus , as the sophomore wide receiver will be looking to improve upon last season’s performances. If that is to happen, then Eli Manning will have to be back at his very best if the New York Giants are to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NFC East divisional title. The difference remains something of a joke , with only the Dallas Cowboys showing z any real guts and resiliency during this past season.

Coming off a 6-10 season in 2014 it easy to understand why Giants’ fans might well still feel a sense of disappointment with a third place finish within the NFC East. The team lacked confidence , leadership and were simply woefully inept throughout much of last season. I am not so sure we are likely to see enough of an improvement to believe the team will be viewed as contenders within the division much less the conference or even the possibility of winning their fifth Superbowl title. Their preseason is unlikely to prove much of a pointer , as they enter into regular season when they open their schedule with a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas on 13th September, 2015. Eli Manning’s record against Dallas since his entrance into the NFL with the exception of his postseason contests against his divisional rivals. I am not about to suggest this will be Manning’s last season with the Giants, but anything short of a postseason berth and the likelihood, will be the organization must seek to move in another direction without the franchise’s career passing yards’ leader .

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Hackensack, New Jersey 8/28/14 quarterback Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants watches the game from the sidelines after being removed from the game in the first quarter of a preseason football game as head coach Tom Coughlin coaches at MetLife Stadium on August 28 , 2014. Paul J. Bereswill

In light of the reported evidence found by the league’s investigators, do you feel the punishment meted out against Tom Brady is just or do you believe it has been something of a witch-hunt against the player and the New England Patriots because of prior bad acts ? Also what are your expectations for this upcoming season in the NFL ? Feel free to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Tophatal …….

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I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

Well, the big story in the NFL at present is the league hierarchy’s apparent punishment of the New England Patriots and their Superbowl MVP winning quarterback Tom Brady . The player and the franchise were punished for their apparent actions during the AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts . As serious as the claims are said to be, with the league fining the Patriots $1 million , Brady being suspended for four games and having forfeit two future draft picks in the NFL Drafts of 2016 (first round) and 2017 (fourth round) . I am not so sure what this fine will or actually make a dent in the tens of millions of dollars in of revenues reaped annually by the New England Patriots ! If the findings in the Ted Wells’ report are anything to go by , then I believe the punishment should indeed fit the crime . Unfortunately, the scales of Justice within the NFL when meted out under the auspices of Roger Goodell , it often tends to be that of a parent merely scolding a child,by merely spanking them across their backside and then telling them not to do it again.

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Wells’ report finds that members of the Patriots’ staff were uncooperative and evasive during their investigation and in many instances are said to have refused any of the questions being asked of them by the league’s investigators. To my mind , the NFL now seeking to be arbiters of some form of justice, is somewhat like the investigations conducted by the Roman Catholic Church and the sexual abuse that rocked the church over the past ten years. Simply passing the buck, or obfuscating their own responsibility has become something of a widespread pattern of behavior and stupidity by the NFL.

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GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the podium following Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24 . Kraft was a main supporter of Roger Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner . Roger Goodell has yet to issue a public statement on the findings from the Wells’ Report , leading many to believe he is seeking to distance himself , as a way of seeking to be impartial. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Don’t look now, but some fans still believe this league can overcome this type of bad publicity, while remaining popular. During this past season, the league has found even more ways of shooting itself in the foot , without the apparent aid of anyone else helping them along the way. Goodell , as NFL Commissioner , has even admitted he made mistakes. Well Roger they’re piling up and I seriously doubt we will be seeing the last of your now comic and epic mistakes ! If there were to be an Oscar awarded for the portrayal of stupidity , then the commissioner would have the inside track and be the leading contender for the award.

Tom Brady is likely to challenge his suspension (four-games) with the backing of the NFLPA (union) and the likelihood , he will mount a defense , stating the league’s investigation was not only biased , but lacked credibility . Team owner

From my own standpoint , I find this whole spectacle to be one big charade , with the league simply looking to save face among its fans while seen to be doing the right thing . The media for their part seem intent with the fanning of flames and also showing their ongoing stupidity. Yet, what else would be expect from the cabal of buffoons , who cover the sport in print , on the radio and on television ? There remains a great deal more to this ongoing spectacle as it is likely to played out in the coming weeks , if not months.

For the Indianapolis Colts, in the aftermath of their lopsided loss , there has been nothing of note coming from within the organization by way of public statement . GM Ryan Grigson and team owner Jim Irsay have remained silent . Something of a shock from the Colts’ owner , given his penchant for making rather asinine statements . But I believe Irsay’s silence has more to do with the fact he was one of the more prominent owners who supported the hiring of Roger Goodell to succeed Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. Best not to show opposition to the beleaguered executive and simply have others outside the game voice their indifference as the league stands behind their man , even as his repeated pratfalls continue to make a mockery of the NFL .

Mandatory rookie camps are not yet officially in session , but already the unthinkable has happened with Jacksonville Jaguars’ draftee and line backer Dante’ Fowler , with the player being lost to the team for entire preseason and regular season . Given the plight of the Jaguars last year, Fowler’s loss will be seen as a disaster. For head coach Gus Bradley and his coaching staff this now provides them with the opportunity to assess their options within the team’s secondary. LaRoy Reynolds will now have to prove himself worthy partner to seasoned veteran, Geno Hayes as the Jaguars seek to bolster a defense which stumbled throughout much of last season.

Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles, this will be the season where will either see the progress in the player’s ability or has often been the case with so many second-year starting passers their regression . Bortles is expected to lead this Jacksonville team with the expectation of their being able to compete in what is likely to be a fairly competitive AFC South division.

Gus Bradley and his players will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 14th August , 2015 . This will be the first of Jaguars’ quartet of contests making up their exhibition season. With the regular season getting underway on 10th August when the Jaguars will have as their guests the NFC South based Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton . This game should tell us a great deal about both teams , especially with regard to the Panthers , their ascent , while there just happens to be the flagging fortunes of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan is proving that his contract and game are more a of a hindrance , with his being unable to lead the Falcons to any type of meaningful win during the postseason. ” Father Time ” has begun to catch up with Drew Brees and his teammates , while Sean Payton looks like a desperatel man searching for answers.

I will say this for Trent Baalke and Jed Yorke , they are certainly putting on a brave face after the departure of Jim Harbaugh to the Michigan Wolverines . Mutual consent or not , the one thing we now realize was the very fact the San Francisco 49ers’ front office had lost all respect for their once revered head coach . A disastrous sojourn around the league in 2014, and the . inconsistency of not only Colin Kaepernick as well as the team , without delving into the off-field antics of several of the players. It led many to believe Harbaugh had lost sight of discipline and respect among the roster. A fractured relationship between the Niners’ head coach and the franchise’s lead front office executives was certainly the “ writing on the wall” and for the imminent departure of Jim Harbaugh . His successor, Jim Tomsula has a tough act to follow ,given his predecessor’s success with the Niners.

A rookie head coach , an organization in transition , upheavals and in recent years their biggest divisional rival has now ascended to become one of the biggest teams in not only the NFC but the entire league . So much of the 49ers’ perceived dominance in recent years with the quick rise of the Seattle Seahawks . Their divisional contests this season should prove to be thoroughly entertaining as Jim Tomsula seeks to match wits with his counterpart Pete Carroll. It will be interesting to see if Colin Kaepernick can rebound after a disastrous season in 2014. If not, then the Forty Niners will be in for a dire time this upcoming season among their rivals and the league enlarge.

San Francisco will kick-off their schedule with a Monday Night contest against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi Strauss Stadium in San Francisco , California , on 14th September , 2015.

If ever there was a franchise in the NFL whose constant scrutiny causes endless debates , then other than the Dallas Cowboys , the organization in question would have to be the Washington Redskins. With due deference to the Oakland Raiders and their lackluster performances over the last ten years. The Redskins have been embroiled in the sort of incompetence not often seen in the league , even with the bankroll of team owner Dan Snyder.

Political correctness asides , issues with the franchise’s logo and name , the question remains when will the Redskins have some semblance of success? . Robert Griffin III leading the team to a divisional title and a postseason appearance in 2012 , only to be followed up by two years of abysmal inconsistency and failure , speaks volumes as to how overrated this franchise remains. Jay Gruden is still trying to find his footing and also having to deal with the egos of Griffin and his immediate backup Kirk Cousins . If that wasn’t enough, throw in the fact Dan Snyder’s ego is as large as FedEx Field itself. In some respects. the Redskins’ owner models himself after Jerry Jones , but without having the responsibilities of being the general manage . A task currently undertaken by Scot McGloughan , whose first draft class with the Redskins is considered to be a success and perhaps the franchise’s best in the past six years.

The main issue facing Washington for the upcoming season, will be how to get the best out of Robert Griffin and an offense which sputtered , while also seeing a great deal of improvement from the team’s secondary, which seemed to give up point and yards at the drop of a hat throughout much of last season. Their regular season will prove to be a tough one , with all four teams within the NFC East looking to gain a competitive edge over a rival. Dallas , the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants will be looking to make point as to their ambitions for the season.

For Washington , if they and Robert Griffin are to have any semblance of success, then their first four games to start the season will have to be a resounding success with at least a minimum of three wins if they are to have any sort of momentum. Their first regular season contest will be against the Miami Dolphins at FedEx Field , Landover , Maryland, on 13th September , 2015. Match-ups between these two teams have proven to be entertaining and it would be the very first time that Robert Griffin has faced the Miami Dolphins in a regular season game . Likewise also , for his opposing number Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins as he looks to prove himself to be one of the better young quarterbacks in the AFC.

It is not difficult to explain the reasons why San Diego Chargers have failed to make a deep postseason run during the NFL Postseason . The franchise has been ill-served by the numerous bad decisions made by a succession of head coaches down the years . From Mike Riley to Marty Schottenheimer , to Norv Turner and down to Mike McCoy, this franchise has simply stumbled from one season to the next. San Diego’s last postseason appearance came in 2013 , ending with a divisional round loss to the Denver Broncos with a 24-17 defeat. For Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers this was another heartbreak in an otherwise stellar playing career in the NFL and with the organization. It is hard to say how history will judge the ten-year veteran who stands second all-time in franchise’s career passing yardage , but who leads Hall of Fame legend Dan Fouts in career wins for the franchise.

With Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco contemplating the trading of Philip Rivers prior to the NFL Draft and with apparently no takers for the veteran . The team will start off their season with Rivers at the helm for the offense, as they begin their preseason exhibition games. Alternatives at the quarterback position for the Chargers are not encouraging, should Rivers come down with an injury. Prospective free agents at the position are there, but I am not so sure they would fit the system Mike McCoy has in place concerning the Chargers’ passing offense. San Diego will have Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions as their guests at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California on the 13th September ,2015. Relocation or not the Spanos family may well see this as the last season where Phillip Rivers will be in a position to lead the Chargers to a Superbowl appearance.

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Based on the suggested evidence in the Ted Wells’ report do you believe the punishment mandated by the NFL hierarchy is appropriate or is not severe enough given the extent of the charges leveled against the New England Patriots ? Also, with the NFL Draft having taken place which teams benefited the most from the exercise and which teams failed to meet your expectations ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site and the associated content !

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Tophatal …..

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