The Life You Lead and the Road Less Traveled

The Life You Lead and The Road Less Traveled ….

With the NFL Postseason having come to an and with it being a glorious celebration with the Kansas City Chiefs wining Superbowl LIV . Patrick Mahomes joined a select group of players to have won the Superbowl MVP and League MVP , though not in the same season within a three-year span of having entered the league. Mahomes excelled during the regular season with his play and he truly stepped up to the plate during the postseason .

Patrick Mahomes and his teammates were truly invigorating in their defeat of the San Francisco 49ers . For Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid , this was a tremendous achievement , after his years of trying to reach the pinnacle of the NFL. Reid has now taken two teams to the Superbowl , won two conference titles and multiple division titles with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. From my own perspective , Reid can now take this Chiefs’ franchise to even greater heights than any of his predecessors including the venerable Hank Stram .

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During this off-season , it will be interesting to see how the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office will deal with the free agents on the roster as well as positioning themselves with regard to the upcoming NFL Draft as well as their positioning with the salary cap . Leigh Steinberg , agent for Patrick Mahomes knows that he can negotiate a revamped deal for his budding NFL superstar , with the chance that Mahomes could very well become among
the highest paid players in the league.

There were several teams who failed miserably over the course of the NFL season , with perhaps none more so than the Cincinnati Bengals . Though some might say the Cleveland Browns were equally abysmal with Baker Mayfield proving how over-hyped the quarterback has been , albeit that he could share the same ignominy of Jamies Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his erratic play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . One thing that is clear , several franchises will be in need of a quarterback for the upcoming season and the likelihood with several veteran free agents on the market , notably Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Philip Rivers , there could be some major changes on the way. Joe Burrow appears to be overall consensus number one overall pick in this upcoming Draft and I seriously doubt that the Bengals’ front office will pass on a player of his caliber , given his play on the national championship winning team of LSU (Tigers) .

In the aftermath of the fallout from the Houston Astros and their spectacular fall from grace , it has to be said that the MLB hierarchy’s handling of the situation was swift and exact . Furthermore , team owner Jim Crane immediately fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow . Crane has moved ahead with the hiring of Dusty Baker to succeed Hinch and the hire of James Click , a former front office executive with the Tampa Bay Rays to succeed Jeff Luhnow . It would appear that the Astros are now in a position to embark on a new chapter within the franchise’s history .

The world of baseball is still in shock , with some of the game’s most prominent players not said to be completely satisfied with the punishment meted out to the Houston Astros’ organization. From my own perspective , I feel that the steps taken by MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred , were more than justified and it sets an example for the rest of the teams within the league as to the dangers of cheating .

If you’ve provided a great deal of success for a team that you have played for ever since your very first game for the franchise , then you would expect to be compensated accordingly. That doesn’t appear to be the case for Mookie Betts , an All Star player for the Boston Red Sox and the ball-club’s most recent recipient of an ALMVP Award . Betts and the Red Sox front office seem to be miles apart in the renegotiation his existing contract which has a year to run and with the player due $27 million for the upcoming 2020 MLB season .

There are said to be at least two interested parties wishing to acquire Mookie Betts , with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres said to be those two leading ball-clubs vying for his services. The Dodgers for their part can offer up several players, while committing themselves to adding Betts’ final year to their already burgeoning payroll and likelihood of committing themselves of being penalized by way of the luxury tax threshold of $200 million if necessary. . It will be interested to see what the Dodgers can achieve with Mookie Betts and David Price , with the news now emanating that the Red Sox have relented and sent these two players westwards to Los Angeles . The Dodgers with these two acquisitions would have to be considered for the NLCS in 2020. with the depth of their roster overall .

With the Opening Day for the MLB season beginning on 26th March , 2020 and it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare through the first month of the season . The Los Angeles Dodgers’ regular season opener will see the team face the San Francisco Giants , their NL West divisional rivals .

It will be hard to suggest which team in the AL can be seen as a viable favorite for the ALCS in 2020. The New York Yankees , Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins were the only three teams to have notched over 100 wins this past season . All three were divisional champions and it will be interesting to see if either can repeat that feat , given the changes made to the respective rosters and payrolls . For the Yankees , their continued to pursuit of a twenty-eighth World Series’ title remains ever present in the minds of their fans as well as the Steinbrenner family as the owners of baseball’s most revered franchise . New York’s last victory in the World Series came by way of the managerial talents of Joe Girardi , as he led them to victory over the Philadelphia Phillies . New York’s manager Aaron Boone and this largely talented team will be looking to guide the franchise to another postseason berth with another title in mind. Their season will begin with a game the Baltimore Orioles , in a contest being played on the road against their AL East divisional rivals.

Aaron Boone will undoubtedly be tested over the course of the season , with the continued impatience among the fans of the New York Yankees. With the team having several All Stars on the roster , these players will have to play to the best of their abilities over the course of this season . The likes of Giancarlo Stanton , among the highest paid player on the team alongside Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge will be looking to have a great season in 2020. Gerrit Cole , the starting pitcher acquired during this off-season will debut for the Yankees , likely leading their starting roster of pitchers. . If Cole is the Opening Day Starter against the Orioles , it will be interesting to see how the player fares against Baltimore .

Is there any chance that Derek Jeter as the newest New York Yankees ‘ Hall of Fame inductee will be able to see the Miami Marlins actually compete this season within the NL East ? It has been several years since the ball-club last played in the postseason and several years since the finished either as a runner-up or division winner within the division.

The Miami Marlins have gone from being franchise with a great farm system to an after-thought and laughing stock around the game of baseball. Not even under the managerial acumen of Don Mattingly and his staff , has the ball-club to achieve anything of note. Suffice to say another sub-par year now awaits the Marlins after their 57-105 record of last season . . This season if nothing else , Jeter and team managing partner , Bruce Sherman will be expecting a great deal out of this team heading into the season. . On assessing the team’s roster and the fact the payroll is among the lowest in the league , something of a trait the ball-club has followed for a number of years . This continues to be the mantra that they’ve followed for several years heading into 2020 . The Marlins’ regular season opener will see the team face the Philadelphia Phillies at home .

We’re heading into the NBA All Star Game which takes place this upcoming week and with the teams having not fared too well at this juncture in the lead-up to this big mid-season event. The Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the league , and the team is the only franchise to have hit the forty victory mark . Current League MVP and captain of the World Stars , when they face the domestic NBA Stars of the league as Giannis Antetokoumnpou will lead that roster of World Stars . Antetokounmpou once again leads the Brewers in offense and has been the focal point of a franchise once again looking to meet expectations . Milwaukee has a mere handful games before the All Star Break , with their next game being against the Philadelphia 76ers , a team which is clearly over-matched in this contest to my mind with their players being nowhere as talented as the Bucks.

With the aftermath and the death of Kobe Bryant , there has been a giant shadow cast over the NBA and specifically the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise , with the organization as well as the fans players alike in a complete state of shock. For Lakers’ premiere players LeBron James and Anthony Davis , it has been a devastating for both All Stars. While I believe that the franchise can overcome this tragedy , it remains to be seen how the players will acquit themselves in the coming months . They are clearly the best team within the Western Conference by a wide margin , but the regular season being what it is . It’s a playoff run which really determines great champions and the players themselves . LeBron James knows this to be true given his playoff record in the NBA. Over their next ten games , it will be interesting to see how the Lakers will fare in those upcoming contests . Their upcoming game against the Golden State Warriors on the 8th February .

If the Los Angeles Lakers are said to be having problems, then one equate the continued problems of the New York Knicks as one of their very own making over the past ten years at least. . The fact that the franchise’s last appearance in the NBA Playoffs took place during the 2012-13 season should tell you all you need to know about the Knicks and their continued dire straits . The team’s roster as it now stands isn’t overly impressive and when compared to the other franchises in the conference and league overall , there’s the feeling that the front office under GM Scott Perry , team owner James L Dolan and the coaching staff of Mike Miller have completely lost their way . Up next for the New York Knicks will be a game against the Detroit Pistons on the road against an Eastern Conference rival . The New York Knicks remains the most valuable franchise in the NBA and among its most profitable , purely based from the fact they’re in the nation’s largest ad-market . Beyond that, there’s nothing remotely significant about the organization and its current destination at this juncture.

What if anything, would you like to see happen in the coming weeks within the world of sports and which recent stories have held your attention the most ?

Tophatal 02/07/2020………….

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NFL news …

NFL free agents …

NFL Draft …

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NBA news ….

NBA standings division ..

NBA schedule ..

NBA transactions …

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MLB news ….

MLB schedule 26th March Opening Day …

MLB transactions ..

MLB team payrolls (2020) ..

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Picture gallery alongside narrative.

It’s not Football ‘til you hear the crunch of that first hit

It’s not Football ‘til you hear the crunch of that first hit

by tophatal

NFL posts within this site

The NFL preseason began with a game between two NFC teams with aspirations towards this season’s Superbowl . The Arizona Cardinals faced the New Orleans Saints, with the Saints coming away with a 17-10 victory over their opponent . And in reality , though this was a preseason game , we learned nothing new beyond the fact that Cardinals’ quarterback Kevin Kolb simply isn’t as good as advertised , and it is becoming questionable if the front office were justified in signing the player to a lucrative contract .

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Slide show.

Kolb was replaced early in this game , having suffered a rib injury , to be replaced by back-up quarterback John Skelton . Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Ken Whisenhunt must now have reservations as to whether or not Kevin Kolb is the player he wants to be the “signal caller” , calling the shots for this team . Personally , I have never been impressed with Kolb as a quarterback , even during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles ! His inconsistency has been a plague and a liability , that has followed him over the course of his career. Given the issues that the Cardinals now have on both sides of the ball , it does have me wondering how Whisenhunt and his coaching staff will remedy the problems that his team now has .

The Arizona Cardinals’ preseason schedule will undoubtedly give the coach a chance to assess the draftees acquired from this season’s NFL Draft . In the off-season also the Cardinals were quite active as they sought to bolster their roster , in order to a make full onslaught on the NFC West . What we evidenced throughout much of last season , there is no doubt in my mind that the San Francisco 49ers will be the team to beat within the division ! What awaits the fans is open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation as it relates to the division.

The New Orleans Saints for their part , as they seek to rebuild their image after the fallout of the scandal . It would appear that the NFL is now prepared to offer an olive branch to Jonathan Vilma , in order to stop the procedure of the litigation by way of the player’s defamation lawsuit against the league and commissioner Roger Goodell . Having filed his suit in the US Federal Court (5th Circuit) in New Orleans , Louisiana , for which a date has yet to be set for a trial . Goodell has not spoken publicly on this matter but it would appear that Jeff Pash , legal counsel to the NFL, has been the individual seeking out a response from Vilma and his legal representatives . If the suit is dropped , the league would then reduce the player’s year-long suspension to one encompassing eight games of the regular season. Image is everything , and here , the NFL’s , the Saints and that of Vilma’s has seen irrefutable damage, beyond repair .

With interim-coach Joe Vitt , now being entrusted to lead the coaching staff through the first half of the Saints’ regular season schedule , it will be interesting to see how team acquits itself , once they embark upon regular season play . Drew Brees , will seek to surpass the record-breaking efforts of last season while leading a new-look Saints’ roster . There were a number of departures from last from the team through free agency and players simply thought to be superfluous to the organization’s needs. However, a large part of the core remains in-tact , with the names of Jimmy Graham , Brodrick Bunkley , Marques Colston , Mark Ingram , Chris Ivory , Pierre Thomas and Lance Moore remains at the heart of the team. In the NFL Draft, GM Micky Loomis sought to address the Saints’ needs by picking judiciously in taking five players , through rounds three to seven , in order to fulfill their requirements .

Coming off a 13-3 season in 2011 , which saw the Saints come away with the NFC South division with considerable ease. This season however , with the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers , each having what has been said to be exceptional drafts . One has to believe that the division will become all the more contentious in 2012 , with the Saints having to fend off the challenges of their divisional rivals during their upcoming regular season schedule .

You somehow knew it had to happen , Chad Ochocinco , readopt the name Chad Johnson , legally . All this , is being done, to further explain and gain exposure , having been signed by the Miami Dolphins . Johnson, recently married tv- reality show star, Evelyn Lozado , and the two have seen their profile and popularity raised with their show on the VH1 Network . Don’t ask me why but I can never understand why such individuals would seek to embarrass themselves on television for the whole world to see ! Furthermore, with Johnson’s career now on the decline , does anyone truly believe that he will be able to make a difference to an already questionable Miami Dolphins’ offense ?

While Johnson is not being handsomely rewarded by NFL standards , the salary afforded the player , should keep him from running afoul of his new spouse . As to the Dolphins under their new head coach Joe Philbin , I would hazard a guess that this will be a season that will truly test his mettle as a rookie NFL coach ! The franchise embarks upon its preseason schedule with a game —- against instate rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , this upcoming Friday at Sun Life Stadium , in Miami , Florida.

Philbin and his coaching staff have a number of decisions to make , most notably, who will be the starting quarterback on this team . The choices are not that enlightening , given the fact the players in question have no proven pedigree . . The choices are not that enlightening , given the fact the players in question have no proven pedigree . David Garrard , Matt Moore , a seasoned NFL veteran and the team’s 2012 first round draft pick , eighth overall , Ryan Tannehill are the duo in question, from which, Philbin will make his choice . Given what was exhibited last year by way or the team’s passing game , I get the distinct feeling that neither player will be able to add much to the Miami Dolphins’ cause this season !

Miami’s issues are widespread and the belief is , they and the Buffalo Bills could very well be vying for last place within AFC East this upcoming season. I certainly cannot see the Dolphins challenging the “ might” of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots , under any circumstance ! Whereas the NFL’s answer to the Ringling Bros’ traveling circus act , will be encompassed around the “ freak-show “ in the making , with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow trying to lead the New York Jets back to NFL prominence .

While much of the Jets’ talk during the off-season has been about how the team’s new offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , will try to incorporate Tebow’s strengths into the Jets’ offense . I have to ask, when and where did Sparano become an offensive minded guru ? Certainly , while he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins , they had their moments but they were few and far between any major triumph. He rode his “one trick pony” come unicycle known as the “wildcat offense” into the ground . Once, the Miami Dolphins were exposed , as an offensive and defensive challenged team , during Sparano’s tenure . Well, the rest as they say…. is history , and not long after , the head coach was shown the door by GM Jeff Ireland .

Two years removed from his last game while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals , Terrell Owens now seems to be back in the good graces of the league . What the f#ck is that all about ? In what I believe to be an act of desperation by the Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks , the NFC West franchise has signed the player to a one-year $ 1 million deal ! The Seahawks cut the under-achieving Mike Williams whose erratic and inconsistent performances were only outdone by his complete lack of preparation as an NFL wide receiver . It is hard to believe how this once prolific player at USC (Trojans) could have fallen so out of favor with his former college coach. Well, once you are considered a “bust” in the NFL , the only direction to go is down . See the likes of Ryan Leaf , Akili Smith and Heath Shuler as evidence of that and you are quite right , there are others who could be added to this short list of considerable failures !

I will not dare to comprehend or try to explain what it is that Peter Carroll hopes to gain out of this maneuver but I can only surmise that he was duped into this move by Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus . Who may well have pointed to the fact that the Seahawks’ divisional rivals the San Francisco 49ers —– signed fellow veteran wide receiver Randy Moss to a one-year $2.5 million deal . So now we can start to compare apples to oranges and Moss to Owens ? I think not ! Whatever Owens brings to the table for the Seahawks , I certainly don’t believe that it will be enough to derail the ambitions of the 49ers , as they seek to make a successful defense of their NFC West divisional crown ! Are the Seahawks capable of upending the San Francisco 49ers this season ?

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Picture gallery .

What plot-lines do you believe will be the biggest <b of the NFL preseason that may well carry over into the regular season itself ? And of the teams, to have made the postseason in 2011 , which do you believe has the best chance of making a return and which franchise will not ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt walks the sidelines during the preseason match-up in the Hall of Fame exhibition football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin ….

(2) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) pass the ball under pressure from Arizona Cardinals’ Calais Campbell (93) during the first quarter of the Hall of Fame NFL exhibition football game, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin

(3) New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (28) turns the corner past Arizona Cardinals’ William Gay (23) during the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. AP Photo/Scott Galvin …

(4) Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) of the New Orleans Saints tackles quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals during first quarter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium on August 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. Kolb was injured on the play and left the game. Jason Miller / Getty Images North America …

(5) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) is helped by a team trainer after being hit by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) during the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition football game, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. Photo: Scott Galvin / AP ….

(6) DAVIE, FL – MAY 4: Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins talks to the media after the rookie mini-camp on May 4, 2012 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images ….

(7) June 14, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) listen to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano during mini-camp at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE….

(8) FILE – In this June 5, 2011, file photo, Terrell Owens watches the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. Owens is coming back to the NFL, hoping the Seattle Seahawks’ search for another veteran wide receiver will get him off the sidelines. The 38-year-old Owens had a tryout with the Seahawks on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, and hours later the team announced it had agreed to terms with the former star receiver. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….

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NFL Preseason schedule 2012-13 ….. Week 1 preseason 2012-13

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NFL preseason results

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