Category: Football

If You Say It Then You Had Better Have The Balls To Back That Sh#t Up !


If You Say It Then You Had Better Have The Balls To Back That Sh#t Up !

I’m always befuddled when I hear a player stand up and make bold statement even if it is meant to rally the troops as they say ! Well no sooner have we heard one statement made now we have the Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamokung Suh making the claim that the team is quite capable of going …… 16-0 this season . Unless I’m mistaken it wasn’t that long ago Lions went 0-16 ( 2008) to become the first NFL team in history to lose all of their regular season games since the league went to a 16 game schedule. Suh either believes that highly in this team or he is truly naive to think that a quarterback in Matt Stafford who at best is serviceable but has yet to play a full NFL season is actually capable of leading the team to an unbeaten season.

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Slide show for your perusal .

The Lions finished last year with a 6-10 record within the NFC North and actually struggled to make their presence felt within the league as a whole . Statistically as a team the Lions struggled in all facets of the game and from a defensive and offensive standpoint the struggles of the Detroit Lions manifested itself in a multiple of ways . I am not so sure that Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff having gotten a spark of life from this team is now capable actually boldly leading them to aware Suh believes that they can be ! As I’ve alluded to before , Matt Stafford is injury prone and from week to week you simply can’t be sure that he can play a full four quarters without getting a hang nail much less turf toe. For all of the hype that surrounded the player upon his entry into the NFL , there has been nothing that he has achieved that would suggest to me that he now is actually capable of leading this Lions’ team past the current Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers or the other occupants of the NFC North , namely the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears for that matter ! Most notably the Bears and Packers were two of the teams that made the postseason last year .

This season the Detroit Lions will have their hands full within the NFC and in particular over the course of their season as their schedule unfolds . It is incumbent on the Lions that they get off to good start in order to get some semblance of a rhythm going . The season could very well be shortened given the mere fact that the league hierarchy , team owners and NFLPA (union) are at an impasse in resolving the month long NFL lockout . And as cordial as some owners would like to have us believe that these negotiations are going there’s no real light at the end of the tunnel as of yet . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell whose statements on the existing negotiation process has been minimal at best . New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft believes that only through continuous negotiations between the parties concerned can there be some sort of accord be reached. From my own perspective this has simply been nothing more than an image exercise of which neither party has executed or handled this situation well at all. The NFLPA and league hierarchy (NFL) have simply forgotten that they have alienated the fans but moreover the apparent greed that has set in both on sides has clouded their judgment .

If Suh’s prognostications are to come true then he and in particular his new defensive partner Nick Fairley will have to be fulcrum that holds this defensive line together . The Detroit Lions’ defense as the season progressed were able to shown signs of improvement but their lack of cohesion and inconsistently proved costly when it mattered most. On offense we saw what wide receiver Calvin Johnson was actually capable of alongside his teammate running back Kevin Smith . The two provided a lot of the offense that was produced by the Lions over the course of the season .

Now it goes without saying the Lions will live and die dependent upon the health of Matt Stafford and his overall productivity . And while I’ve no doubt that the player will have his moments t hose moments are liable to be few and far between . The Detroit Lions have remained a conundrum and an engima all rolled into one but the history of the organization and the fact that each Thanksgiving the fans have to endure Lions playing in this traditional seasonal game. And given that this season (week 12) the NFL in its infinite wisdom will make sure that tradition continues in that pairing of the Lions playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field , Detroit , with the Dallas Cowboys playing the Miami Dolphins at Texas Stadium , Arlington, Texas . Now don’t get me wrong I am all for tradition where it is warranted but with the apparent idiocy of the NFL hierarcy and their belief that the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions playing their respective opponents on Thanksgiving is the best possible form of entertainment that they could possibly serve up for the fans is akin to asking a vegetarian to become a carnivore because the taste of meat is far better than eating vegetables alone. And that’s with due respect to carnivores and vegetarians out there ! The relevancy of these two teams playing on Thanksgiving each year has lost all meaning for me as an NFL fan as I’d rather view two talented teams actually playing competitive football ! And when I last looked neither the Cowboys or Lions were actually capable of doing that on a consistent basis over the course of a season .

The Lions’ front office led by GM Martin Mayhew has formulated a plan that he and the ownership group led by Bill Ford Jr , as they seek to make this franchise relevant once again. It seems unfortunate to see the Detroit Lions fall so far in the aftermath of the excitement provided by their Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders . And for those of us who have witnessed those lofty days when the Lions actually roared , now if anything they’re like a kitten looking to be fed a plate of milk . Meow , meow !

At this juncture I’d like to say that I hope that Ndamokung Suh isn’t made to eat his words ! It’s one thing to make those bold statements but if you’re simply unable to back it up and the team then becomes an embarrassment on the field of play then once can only hope that the player is prepared to proffer up some form of apology to the fans . God knows, the Detroit Lions simply have done nothing right to indicate they are actually on the road to success , not with the inconsistency of Matt Stafford and a defense that seems to be unsure of itself at any given moment . Suffice to say it will be interesting to see whether or not Suh is made to eat those words .

And speaking of eating words can there be anything more galling than to keep on hearing that the Dallas Cowboys can be viewed as perennial contenders for the Superbowl ? One postseason win in the last decade and an owner in Jerry Jones who still feels that he’s a better general manager than his peers within the league . Chances are Jones on his best day has about as much acumen for spotting college talent bound for the NFL as a blind man could tell you the measurements of aspiring actress Denise Milani . And for those of who’ve viewed the stunning Milani will know that this beauty has the curves in all the right places .

The Dallas Cowboys and Texas Stadium are gigantic as are the egos of half the players on the team . Tony Romo is viewed as a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback but if anything he possesses the spine of a gutless coward . I’ve always maintained that Romo was more a Hollywood ” wannabe” than a NFL player ! And until he applies himself and leads this team by example then the Cowboys will always be considered an also ran or average team at best . This season if anything we will either see Jason Garrett show his real strengths as a coach or we may well see the Cowboys flounder . The NFC East they say is up for grabs this season and if anything the Dallas Cowboys have a chance to prove their worth . Mile Austin , DeMarcus Ware , Jason Witten , Dez Bryant and Romo will certainly have to lay to rest once and for all that they are good enough not only to win the NFC East but also worthy of being viewed as a Superbowl contender . Year in and year out those moronic idiots who provide the NFL analysis at ESPN continue with the hyperbole about the greatness that seems to be the Dallas Cowboys . I sometimes wonder whether or not Jones actually has these as#holes on the Cowboys’ payroll ? Maybe that’s presumptuous of me but then again I may well be wrong !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

If there is an NFL season to be had how do you see both the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions faring ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, right, stands next to defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch during a break in practice drills at Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Mich., Friday, June 10, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ……….

(2) Detroit Lions quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, left, and Shaun Hill, second from right, talk with team president Tom Lewand, right, during the team’s annual golf fundraiser, Tuesday, June 7, 2011, in Dearborn, Mich. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …..

(3) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Nick Fairley(1) 13th pick overall pick by the Detriot Lions, during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(4) Jim Schwartz, center, head coach of the Detroit Lions poses with General Manager Martin Mayhew, left, and Tom Lewand team president after a press conference to introduce him as the Lions new head coach on January 16, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Gregory Shamus / Getty North America ……..

(5) Denise Milani and her ample 38″ DD’s . What’s not to like about the curvacious form of this Czech American beauty ?

(6) Care for a peek of Milani’s assets ? There’s always something to like isn’t there ?

(7) Get the feeling that there’s more that Denise has to offer us all ?

(8) Tyron Smith, 9th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……..

(9) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 19: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys arrive for court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 19, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images …….

(10) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 14-13. Getty Images / Jim McIsaac …..

(11) Miles Austin (19) of the Dallas Cowboys scores a third quarter touchdown on a 3 yard pass from Jon Kitna (3) as DeAndre Levy (54) of the Detroit Lions defends during the game at Dallas Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Lions 35-19 . Getty Images /Leon Halip ………
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Fool’s Gold And Then There Are The Fools Of The NFL …….


Fool’s Gold And Then There Are The Fools Of The NFL …….

The NFL Draft came and passed and in many respects to my mind it was something of a non-event. That being said in light of the fact that the draft took place seeing the ongoing litigation that is now between the league and the players’ union (NFLPA) it remains to be seen as to whether or not there will be an NFL season to be played at all. With the league having announced that there will be a schedule and that they also have a contingency plan in place I for one would like to know how it is that they intend to assure the NFL fans that a season will indeed take place . Given the fact that this September commemorates the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the Twin Towers (World Trade Center) , the Pentagon Building and the deaths of those on board United Flight 93 over Shanksville , Pennsylvania . In the aftermath of that event as the nation mourned the death of its citizens it looked to its biggest national sporting past-times to bring us all in unison . Both the MLB and NFL made sure that the nation would be seen as a nation undivided , strong in its will and purposeful in carrying on its way of life . Bud Selig and the baseball hierarchy did their utmost to make sure whatever was necessary to assure its fans the their games would go on , even if it meant a short postponement to commemorate the loss of the lives of the victims .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The NFL was steadfast in its resolve in making sure that scheduled games took place the following Sunday in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda . . With the recent death of Osama bin Laden and thankfully so , I’d like to think that both the NFL and NFLPA would come to an accord and actually say …..”look we are going back to work and the games will be played “. Instead the team owners , league hierarchy and players alike acutely aware of their image are in fact now playing a game of chicken . And by the second all parties are coming across looking like a group of infantile kindergarten children at play , who then get into an argument over a stuffed toy .

Were there not to be any semblance of a season this year within the NFL I for one feel that it would be disservice to those lost on September 11th 2001 . We see all the usual national acts of patriotism in praising the military and rightfully so but surely commemorating these victims in a way that we have all become accustomed to , now seems almost inconceivable . There may well be those amongst you who feel that not staging any sporting events would be the right thing to do as the solemn thing to do in commemorating the victims would be to have a day of some vigil as an act national of pride and unity. The mere fact that the NFL hasn’t publicly addressed this issue but I do believe that they stand to lose a great deal more than image because the animus of the fans once they feel betrayed will go a long way in showing whether or not the NFL will be welcomed back with open arms .

While both the NFL and NFLPA awaits another verdict to be rendered by the 8th District Court of Appeals in this ongoing saga I can’t help but wonder how it is that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith haven’t shown any common sense throughout this whole episode . At this juncture the longer the this debacle goes on the less relevant the NFL becomes in the eyes of its fans . The NFL Draft may well have heightened some interest as to how the teams fared but at the end of the day knowing the current premise and the idiocy we have all witnessed , it has to be said that perhaps in the overall scenario and how things continue to play out it might be best to do without the NFL season during the month of September.

So when it came to ineptitude last season in the NFL the Carolina Panthers stood head and shoulders abover everyone else in finishing with a 2-14 record . In doing so the Panthers were assured of the number one pick in the draft . The Panthers for their part followed protocol in acquiring Auburn’s 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton . Questions still remain unresolved concerning Newton’s actions while at Auburn but what cannot be denied he is indeed a player of extraordinary talent . That being said whether or Cam Newton’s game can be easily transferred to the NFL remains to be seen . And though the expectations are high for Newton and the Carolina Panthers their schedule may well dictate a situation wherein they will be a team that struggles over the course of the season .

Financially Cam Newton will be set for life and though the league has yet to come to a solid agreement as to how they will deal with the issue of rookie salaries and their underlying contracts . The Panthers’ fans will now pour over Newton’s every move in the ensuing months assesing his talents and how he carries himself. If Newton can have the the success attained by Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez as rookies within the NFL then the Carolina Panthers will go a long in knowing their choice was a prudent one . A five or six game improvement on last season’s showing would bode well for the future of the Panthers and if their picks from this draft and as recently as two years ago show signs in being productive then the Panthers could have quite a moderate season based on their own lofty standards.

For me the San Francisco 49ers remains an enigma as their front office continues to make personnel choices that simply make no sense . Denise York and her husband Dr John York continue to run this organization as if it were a personal bauble that’s on display but unfortunately the 49ers simply no longer commands the respect that it once had when Bill Walsh was leading them to unprecedented success . Now with Jim Harbaugh having assumed control as the successor to Mike Singletary as the team’s coach , it’s hoped that Harbaugh and his newly assembled coaching staff can lead the Niners to some semblance of success this upcoming season . Having left Stanford to coach the Niners it’s hoped that he can resurrect this organization and bring back some semblance to an organization that has been long starved of recent success .

I do believe that this season the NFC West could be as open a division as we’ve seen in a long time . The level of play there in recent years could be best described as rather average or mediocre at its worst. With teams such as the Seattle Seahawks , Arizona Cardinals and St Louis Rams it’s hard to envisage the type of football we may well see on display this upcoming season . Granted, a 7-9 record actually garnered the Seahawks a playoff berth last season but in reality it was simply an embarrassment to see such mediocrity on display albeit that they defeated the then reigning Superbowl (SBXLIV) champions the New Orleans Saints —- 41-36 in a game that if anything was indescribable as to the ineptitude shown by both teams .

Harbaugh in conjunction with GM Trent Baalke will now assess this roster to see where the real assets are and then seek make the necessary adjustments in the coaching strategy to meet the team’s greatest strengths . The one area where I do believe that Harbaugh will still have a problem is with the quarterback position . Having drafted Colin Kaepernick in the second round of this year’s draft they still have David Carr , Alex Smith and Troy Smith , who between them have been effective as an act of flatulence would be in a thunderstorm ! If Jim Harbaugh can quickly address that situation then there’s a possibility that the 49ers could actually have something of a decent season not just within the NFC West but within the conference and across the NFL as a whole .

Defensively they’ve been inconsistent but the offense when pressed into action has been capable of putting up points on the board. But we may well see a gradual advance of the San Francisco 49ers this season as Jim Harbaugh sets to stamp his own identity on this team and organization as they seek a resurgence of the organization as a competitive force once again within the NFL . Harbaugh is simply too good a coach , merely to have given up his gig at Stanford if he didn’t think that he could succeed within the professional ranks of the NFL . I for one hope that he’s successful but I also believe that much of that success will predicated upon the latitude he’s allowed in running this team as the York’s and their son Jed York , team President , allows him in resurrecting the 49ers’ fortunes !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as usual thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) WORLD TRADE CENTRE ATTACKS 2001: Hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 approaches and hits the World Trade Centre’s south tower, bursting into flames and raining a hail of debris on Manhattan. A gaping hole in the north tower can be seen following a similar attack earlier in the day. Courtesy of Reuters ….

(2) A jet airliner is lined up on one of the World Trade Center towers in New York Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In the most devastating terrorist onslaughts ever waged against the United States, knife-wielding hijackers crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center on Tuesday, toppling its twin 110-story towers. AP Photo/Carmen Taylor ……

(3) Ty Law returns an interception for a touchdown after Mike Vrabel pressured Rams QB Kurt Warner in Super Bowl XXXVI. At the culmination of the 2001 season we had Superbowl XXVI , a game played between the New England Patriots and St Louis Rams . The Patriots would go on to defeat the Ram 20-17 .Staff photo by Michael Seamans ……..

(4) Lonie Paxton was in on the kick heard ’round the world. Adam Vinatieri, above, kicks the winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI. Staff Photo by Kuni Takahashi …….

(5) Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton, right, gestures for a hand slap from Adam Smith of Make-A-Wish during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …..

(6) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Carolina Panthers #1 overall pick Cam Newton from the UNiversity of Auburn during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(7) Defensive end Aldon Smith , center, the first-round draft pick of San Francisco 49ers, holds up a jersey next to head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, and general manager Trent Baalke at a news conference at the team’s training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo / Jeff Chiu ……………

(8) Denise DeBartolo-York and her husband Dr John York – the owners of the San Francisco 49ers . photo appears courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle / Michael Macor ………………

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Better The Devil You Know Than The One You Don’t Or Is It ?


Better The Devil You Know Than The One You Don’t Or Is It ?

Better the devil you know than the one you don’t….. they say and in many ways that might just be true. Given the fact that we’re now seeing a great deal of unrest within the NFL and quite possibly the NBA in its imminent future . I’ve got say that I’m completely surprised with the ease at which MLB is now transitioning itself from Spring Training to the commencement of its regular season on the 31st March , 2011 . I suppose we’ve all got to grateful and thankful for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the somewhat smooth transition for the situation ?

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Slide show for your perusal.

We’ve all seen for ourselves the unrest now taking place between the NFL and the game’s players represented by the NFLPA . And with there now being a league enforced work stoppage and the impending litigation process to take place within the US Federal Court System it has me wondering where are the current leaders of tomorrow for the respective sports that we’ve all in some ways either come to love or hate ? NBA Commissioner David Stern has been in place the NBA’ commissioner for twenty five years and having come from a legal background as a lawyer it’d be only natural to think that any successor to Stern might from within the league’s own hierarchy or a prominent lawyer from inside the beltway with known connections to Stern and quite possibly members up on Capitol Hill. That was most certainly the case with Roger Goodell when he succeeded Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. Goodell and the league NFL President and present Chief legal counsel Jeff Pash are protege`s of Tagliabue while he was commissioner of the NFL and also when he was first a practicing lawyer with the law firm Covington &Burling LLP . Tagliabue a founding partner in the firm has since returned to his old stomping ground to practice law on a somewhat limited basis with the firm.

Goodell for his part after his initial first two years in office he now seems to have hit a brick wall in his dealings with the union and in doing so he’s coming across as something of a bumbling idiot whereas his opposite number with the NFLPA , Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has been able to articulate the union's points with clear clarification leaving no one with any doubt that they’re not the culprits here but it’s the league and the owners who are trying to paint a very different picture of the stance being taken by the players. Personally I’m not about to take sides on the issue , except to say that the childlike immaturity that has been shown by those sides during the negotiations borders on being downright infantile and totally below anything I’d have expected from either party ! But that’s what tends to happen when you have a bunch of multi-millionaire players and multi-billionaire owners fighting like rabid dogs over the scraps left at the dinner table. Only the scraps isn’t in fact leftovers from a meal but how to split $ 9 billion ($ 9,000,000,000) evenly amongst the two sides . Have you ever seen or heard anything so ridiculous in all of your life ?

Now when it comes to David Stern you either love him or hate him . He’s something of a chameleon as to the way he wants to be perceived by the fans and public alike and when it comes to the photo-op whereby he can even outshine the elite players within the NBA , let’s just say that is when the commissioner is at his very best it’s very difficult to actually ignore him . Twenty five years as commissioner of the league has seen expansion , as to the number of the teams within the NBA and the gross revenues of the league as business concern. And that could not have been done without the ascension of Michael Jordan and his becoming the face of the NBA globally and still being a marketing phenomenon to this day even after his retirement almost a decade ago . The league hierarchy under Stern’s tenure has shaped the league and its brand not just domestically but also on a global scale . And it might just be next to soccer the most popular sport on the planet and that is with due respect to baseball .

From a league whose revenues could be counted in the tens of millions each year____ the NBA is now a $4.5 billion —- $6 billion ($4,500,000,000 —- $6,000,000,000) a year enterprise that is still growing globally but if anything it may well have hit its saturation point within the North American market. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that even with introduction of the D League or Development League as it is more commonly known , David Stern has hinted that he’d some day like to see an expansion franchise outside North America , either in Europe or South America. Pardon me , for saying this but as popular as the sport may well be , and the fact that the league though headquartered in New York City , any thought of adding a franchise in either of the two regions mentioned would not only prove costly but somewhat of a gamble on the part of the NBA. Both Europe and South America already have an established presence of professional leagues and teams albeit that the players there see the NBA as their envy and a professional wish to play in the most competitive and athletic league on the planet. But the risks for them don’t outweigh the rewards whereas for the NBA that would clearly be the case in setting up a fledgling franchise anywhere around the globe. And what the NBA hierarchy may not have also taken into account is that soccer as such is very much the predominant pastime of many sport’s fans within the regions mentioned. As I alluded to earlier the risks outweigh the advantages and with there being a great deal at stake monetarily any plan put into operation would have to thought out and enacted.

We saw the death knell given to the NFL’s decade plus long experiment in Europe with NFL Europe, which is said to have cost the league in excess of $100 million and at the end of the day it simply had nothing at all tangible to show for it. Remarkably though the NBA hasn’t set its sights that high but what it has done is to have offices in Europe , the Far East , and in South America, working in conjunction with numerous partners in those regions to get the game more widely accepted and established. Is it any wonder during the Beijing Olympics Team USA was the talk and toast of the town as its litany of NBA stars were accepted by the masses and wherein audiences for their games during the tournament were in front of sold-out crowds ? Albeit that the NBA worked in conjunction with USA Basketball and the association’s director Jerry Colangelo to establish a real presence and resurrect the appeal of the team after their most recent disappointments on the international stage competitively.

Perhaps it’s too early to talk about David Stern stepping down as NBA Commissioner and though he hasn’t stated when he’s likely to step down from the position as the game’s highest ranking official. It has to be said that he hasn’t groomed an heir apparent nor has he suggested who he’d like to see succeed him in that office. I’d dare say that’d be a decision left to the owners within the league who will likely search for someone with a similar vain to succeed Stern at the time he chooses to step down. From my own perspective while I’ve admired David Stern’s business acumen I’ve got admit I do not admire his autocratic style of running the NBA . Granted , he’s made the league a great deal of money over the years but at the same time he’s made a number of mistakes that at one time or another have come back to bite the league in the proverbial ass, much to the annoyance of the fans and the journalists who cover the NBA. His adoption of a code of conduct and dress code was one of the many things he’s done right but at the same time he stooped to the lowest common denominator in trying to make the league on appearance seem ethnic in terms of marketing it to a wider demographic , particularly amongst young African American males and other ethnic minorities. It may well have been one of the biggest faux-pas on Stern’s part during his tenure. And his intransigence in not wanting to adopt a much sterner drug policy within the league while all the while trying to use the league’s selling point that at the time it had one of the sternest testing policies within all of major sports. Players weren’t being tested for marijuana , but were being tested for certain opiates, iliecit narcotics and steroids. Do I need to go any further with this ? Or is it plain to see who held the upper hand with regard to that specific issue ? It …… certainly wasn’t Stern or the owners ! The players obviously balked at that idea and may have made their feelings felt through the their union the NBPA and their Executive Director Billy Hunter

Then you also had the image policy as it related to the players’ conduct. The very fact that David Stern has been so inconsistent there as to the punishment at times meted out , that it certainly had me believing that not unlike the NCAA and its own idiotic policies as it relates to meting out what’s deemed appropriate punishment , here too the NBA picks and chooses who they necessarily want to make an example of as a deterrent to others. And perhaps another of Stern’s biggest flaw is the fact that he believes implicitly in the officials who officiate the games in the regular and NBA postseason. As we’ve all seen over the years their mistakes during and in the postseason have become not merely a talking point amongst the fans but a complete embarrassment to the league when it’s clear that they’ve done an abysmal job of officiating a game. Stern simply cannot accept that they are flawed individuals in terms of their on-court performances and any public criticism of the officials is often followed with a hefty financial punishment of the critic in question. .

Should the NBA commissioner choose to step down in the imminent future then I’d like for the person who succeeds him to use due diligence when it comes to all matters and simply not laud of the league as if it were their own personal fiefdom . That clearly has been the case with David Stern as he ruled the NBA , where from his early days of running the league , as he saw his influence grow and the money that was to be made he certainly made sure nothing stood in his way even if it meant having to turn a once trusted ally into an enemy. There may well be a number people around the league who’ve a great deal of admiration for the commissioner and many of them may well have some very flattering and reverential things to say about him . But I can only assume that neither Mark Cuban or Stan Van Gundy would be atop of that list in their view of Stern as an executive who’s said to be impartial.

Of all the high ranking officials within the four major sports I don’t know if anyone has alienated and has been more disliked by the fans than Bud Selig. From interim commissioner to now having held the position full time , Selig has managed to assume the role of class clown and idiot without ever having to bar an eyelid . It was if he were in character right from the start. And the very fact that he was once a team owner before succeeding Faye Vincent has me believing that the owners didn’t really cast their net all that far or wide in looking for a successor . All they seemingly wanted was someone who’d be at their beck and call as and when needed _ and who would try to put the Players’ Union (MLBPA) in its place. Which is akin to saying that we’ll hand a child a box of matches and see what happens next . You simply know that no good can from those actions.

As many of you know I think that Bud Selig is to baseball what the Congress , Senate and present administration are to the economic health of this country ……….. a complete and utter failure when it comes to dealing with its most inherent and acute issues. Selig for his part along with league hierarchy , owners and the union were complicit in covering up the steroid issue , and that’s even light of the statements made by Jose Canseco and the subsequent book published by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams (co authors of Book of Shadows) . As I said at the time when those 105 names came up on the list of then alleged steroid users and the fact that the union and hierarchy were under the impression that the list once in their possession would be destroyed as they were essentially were the ones who requested the testing of the players. Instead they chose to retain those records and when supoenaed by the Justice Department cried foul as the agency used that information to try and make its still ongoing case against Barry Bonds . At what point does the idiocy stop with Bud Selig and the game’s hierarchy and common sense begin to set in and prevail ?

Beyond the steroid issue and the very fact that as a financial concern the game of baseball has some major imbalances that it seemingly doesn’t know how to handle or that they may well choose not to out of sheer ignorance. It’s extremely hard to envisage how the MLB commissioner can repeatedly state that the game is in a very healthy state when for years it has had to assist many of its small market teams merely stay afloat from a financial standpoint . In his almost two decades of holding the game’s highest executive position Bud Selig has brought being a simpleton and an idiot to an art form that could be only admired by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton were they alive !

Not only content with that issue Selig also looks to enforce his will on a team such as the Tampa Bay Rays by suggesting that they will never be able to stage an MLB All Star Game unless they have a new stadium built . But at no time has he or anyone within the game’s hierarchy come to their assistance in dealing with the politicians within the community at the municipal or state level to provide any type of input that would be of benefit to the organization and its owner Stuart Sternberg . Not only that Selig has also made a point of now pushing the issue to where it has now become something of an all consuming battle between the city of St Petersburg where the team resides at Tropicana Field and the organization (front office) itself. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel on this issue but and Selig continues to keep fanning the flames that has provided the discontent between the two factions on the matter.

What might be even more surprising in the midst of this all , while many teams within the league are suffering financially , the commissioner has been so well compensated over the last four years that he’d prove to be the envy of any senior banking executive on Wall Street. From 2006 to 2009 , Bud Selig earned in excess of $65 million accumulative in that span and it begs the question if he’s earning that much then why all the furor by St Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa belly aching over the team’s slugger Albert Pujols wanting to be well compensated for his productivity and what he means to the team and organization ?

It’s from the sublime to the ridiculous in all things related to Bud Selig and the game of baseball . Many have suggested that by initiating the wildcard system within the game it made it all the more suspenseful in terms of the postseason. And with the added incentive that whomever won the All Star Game between the AL and NL would gain home-field advantage throughout the postseason . True enough , that has been the case but all of that pales into comparison with Bud Selig’s inconsistencies and decision making on so many levels in terms where has gone wrong with many issues concerning the game . The negatives have far outweighed the positives in my belief and will continue to do so until he actually steps down from his role as commissioner.

The decision making as and when it starts prior to Bud Selig’s departure as to the list of candidates quite possibly interviewing for the position and then assuming the role may well be not necessarily a large one . But I’d like to think that whoever is chosen will be a vast improvement upon the present incumbent .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

At the time of either Bud Selig and David Stern stepping down from their respective positions do you believe that of their legacies will be well respected in terms of their overall achievements ? Or do you feel that the sooner their departure the better off both sports will be , no matter who assumes their roles as the respective commissioners of MLB and the NBA ? Merely leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topics raised in this piece.

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Picture and slide show details .
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(1) Commissioners Of Major Sport Leagues Attend Hearing On Capitol Hill L-R) National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, National Football League Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw,(now deceased – succeeded by DeMaurice Smith) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, Major League Baseball Player Association Executive Director Donald Fehr (who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA ) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig testify before the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports on Capitol Hill February 27, 2008 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee also heard testimony from officials from the US Olympic Committee, National Thoroughbred Racing and the US Anti-Doping Agency. Chip Smodoville /Getty Images North America ……….

(2) Team representative Tommy Losorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speak during the MLB First Year Player Draft on June 7, 2010 held in Studio 42 at the MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. Mike Stobe /Getty Images North America ……

(3) John Wall of Kentucky stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being drafted with the first pick by the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden on June 24, 2010 in New York City. Al Bello /Getty Images ………..

(4) (L-R) Sports Illustrated Group Editor Terry McDonell, Sports Illustrated Writer Tom Verducci and Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig attend the 2009 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Celebration at The IAC Building on December 1, 2009 in New York City. Theo Wargo / Getty Images North America ……………

(5) Stern presents Michael Jordan with the 1991-92 MVP award in Chicago, MJ’s third of the five league MVP awards he’d win over the course of his career . Nathaniel S Butler Getty Images ……….

(6) Jeff Pash (background), NFL Executive Vice President and General Counsel, left, and Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, leave after negotiations with the NFL Players Association involving a federal mediator in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. AP Photo/ Alex Brandon …..

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Eye candy ……………. Sally Ferreira

Milani Rose

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I Am A Lion Hear Me Roar ……………


I Am A Lion Hear Me Roar ……………

Each season the NFL brings us some highs and lows and as usual it’s the fans of their respective teams that ends up asking questions and simply looking for answers as to what went wrong. As an avid New England Patriots’ fan I saw the team rise to unparalleled heights by posting the best record in the NFL last season only to flame out like a damp squib in their postseason loss in the divisional rounds of the playoffs to the New York Jets . I’ve longed maintained that Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick can be conceited and complacent and clearly once again this pretty much summed up the season for the Patriots .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now for me the one team I’ve looked at from afar and wondered how it is that from season to season their fate never really seems to change . And for me that team is the Detroit Lions coached by Jim Schwartz and an experienced team of assistants . You could say that the curse of Matt Millen has essentially led the Lions to where they’re now at a team said to be heading in no direction in particular. Millen’s tenure as GM of the Lions can be best described as an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess because he simply didn’t know how to assess talent much less get the best out the players he actually drafted. I truly believe that Matt Millen may well have been the worse front office executive to have ever held a general managers’ position in the NFL ! His decisions have bordered on being insane and led many believing that the Lions were in fact doomed for hell. Well it appears that not only having been snake bitten the Detroit Lions simply can’t get out of their own way no matter how hard they try !

Since being drafted by the team quarterback Matt Stafford has yet to play a complete season with the team. So much so , that one has to question the wisdom behind him being drafted number one overall in the 2009 NFL Draft . The $72 million contract of which $48 million was guaranteed money doesn’t now seem to be worthwhile, much less worth the lack of productivity and leadership skills shown by Stafford. The NFL in part as well as the owners ought to blamed for the absolute stupidity shown when it comes to the compensation of rookies entering the NFL. And even if now NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners are now pressing for that to be a part of a renewed and revamped collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA . I can’t help but wonder what concessions that they’re prepared to make with DeMaurice Smith and his Executive Committee should this actually come into being.

What might be now troubling other than the lack of productivity from Stafford is the team has a Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver in Calvin Johnson , running back Kevin Smith and Ndamukong Suh all of whom are being wasted on a team that struggles increasingly to stay in games and play competitively. The talents of Johnson , Smith and Suh I believe are simply being wasted because until this team actually has a quarterback that can play a full season without health concerns then there’s not much a real chance of the Detroit Lions being considered a legitimate contender within their division (NFC North) much less the rest of the NFL .

Granted Johnson , Smith and Suh have proven to a blessing for the Lions but Ford Field has become an elephant’s graveyard but I simply think that the real failure of this team is the fact that Stafford can’t be trusted to lead with any kind of authority. The offensive line of this team still leaves a lot to be desired and the defense itself struggles to show any type of consistency throughout much of the season. Schwartz for his part knows that if the Detroit Lions are to viewed as a contender then this team will have to bolster its roster by way of free agency and through the upcoming NFL Draft . At this juncture it’s hard to really say in what direction the team will go as it looks to fortify its roster but it’s clear that the this team’s needs are many. On both sides of the ball the Lions need to obtain players that are able to contribute immediately rather than simply remaining an ongoing project. It’d be true to say that the long suffering Detroit Lions’ fans have had to endure a great deal over the last few seasons and it’s not as if they were under the impression that their fortunes were about to turn around.

It took the abrupt departure of their Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders for many to realize how far this team had fallen . There were outcries when Sanders walked away from the Lions , many felt he betrayed them and the organization but much of that came down to the fact that the running back clearly didn’t feel that the organization was doing enough improve the roster Marty Mohrninweg who at the time was the coach of the Lions while Millen’s tenure was in place diligently tried to coach this team to some semblance of success. And as we know the coach’s tenure wasn’t that great to begin with given his proclivity for the ridiculous and making many outrageous whilst coach of the team.

If anything given the failure of the team and the fact that the Ford family as owners simply showed about as much interest in the team as they’d done with the family business and their failure there. Now one might opine that the Ford Motor Company is back as a profitable concern but given the fact that they’re more likely to drop the ball before reaching the endzone as given their recent history. But here’s something that you should consider the company though now profitable still remains a cause for concern as it is still leveraged to the hilt __________ the motor company in order to stave off financial ruin sought financing from a consortium of financial institutions . Fifty billion dollars ($50 billion [$50,000,000,000]) and Ford President & CEO Alan Mulally might just be considered to be a hero within the company but I seriously doubt that the same can be said about William Clay Ford Jr and his tenure as owner of the Detroit Lions ! I’d like to think that Ford and the executives of the Lions are completely focused getting the Detroit Lions back to being a competitive and legitimate contender within the NFL but given their form as of late I’m not so sure that they’re capable of actually doing that !

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The Detroit Lions’ history over the years isn’t one that’s filled with a great deal of historical highlights and at the same time in terms of the Superbowl’s history they’ve yet to make that their stomping ground. I’d like to say that I can envisage seeing that as part of their immediate future but in reality that’s something that’s not about to happen anytime soon . The NFC North with the Green Bay Packers , Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears along with the Lions has been a division that has become a three horse race in recent years . And within the division the Lions haven’t yet been able to even show that they’re even the equal of the participants there . It’s going to be a long time coming if they’re to prove their worth within the division much less the rest of the league .

The future of the Detroit Lions could very well hold a great deal of expectations for the organization but much of that will be predicated upon not only the coaching staff , players but primarily the mindset of the ownership and the zeal with which they appear to want success and until that’s clearly defined , then we’re liable to see the same continued failures we’ve become accustomed to.

What thoughts if any do you have on the Detroit Lions and what changes if any do you see them having to make in order to get better ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter and any other pertinent issue concerning the NFL .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Then GM Matt Millen introduces Marty Mohrninweg to the the convened press at Ford Field in Detroit as the team’s new coach. His tenure came to be known as the “wonder years” as everyone simply wondered where the team’s next w in would be coming from . Deroit Free Press /Craig Sergeant …………….

(2) Barry Sanders (20) seen here in full flight in a game against the Chicago Bears . Inset is Bears’ defender Mike Singletary (50) giving chase to Sanders . AFP/ Chris Chandler …………..

(3) Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, left, quarterback Matthew Stafford , of Georgia, safety Louis Delmas of Western Michigan and tight end Brandon Pettigrew , of Oklahoma St., pose for a photographs during a news conference where they were introduced to the media and public on Sunday, April 26, 2009 in Allen Park, Mich. The Lions drafted Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza ……

(4) Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally (L) and Executive Chairman William Clay Ford (right) unveil a new 2011 Ford Focus during the press preview of the North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center on January 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The show opened for media previews today and is open to the general public January 15-23. Getty Images North America / Scott Olson ……

(5) DALLAS, TX – FEBRUARY 03: Ndamukong Suh (90) of the Detroit Lions speaks during a press conference where he accepted Pepsi’s 2010 NFL Rookie of the Year Award at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images …………

(6) Calvin Johnson (81), right, and Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions watch the clock run down during the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 5, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bears defeated the Lions 24-20 . Leon Halip/ Getty Images North America ………

(7) Perhaps the greatest player ever in Detroit Lions’ history Barry Sanders is seen here with former NFL player Daryl Hobbs as they’re about to compete in DIRECT Tv’s fifth annual Celebrity Beach Bowl in Victory Park , Dallas , Tx in February over the festivities covering Superbowl (SBXLV) weekend. Getty Images North America / Michael Buckner …….

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

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Eye candy …………….. Christine Bax

A lil’ more of Ms Bax . Just the way I like it !

Something to rev up one’s engine ….. more of Christine .
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Marvin Gaye ……………….. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine ”

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Who Let The Cat Out Of The Bag ? Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) Is Now Here !


Who Let The Cat Out Of The Bag ? Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) Is Now Here !

Well the AFC and NFC Championship games have essentially brought us to the conclusion that the two best teams remaining after the smoke has cleared are indeed worthy participants for Superbowl (SB XLV). The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers duly dispatched their opposition with relative ease . The New York Jets found themselves on the wrong side of a thoroughly convincing 24-19 win by the Steelers . And anyone of the opinion that Mark Sanchez isn’t being asked to go above and beyond the call of duty ought to view this as a case study of a player still learning the ropes . Though much of the blame can’t be laid at his feet but ufortunately the duo of running backs on this team couldn’t rush their way out of a wet paper bag much less bust a condom with their show of athleticism and masculinity. I’m not saying LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene were bad but if your ass can’t break the plane from a one yard stand out in a goal line stance by the Steelers then you ought not to be on a football field.

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And for Rex Ryan and his coaching staff this had to be a profound disappointment on what had been a rather successful season . Now twice having made the AFC championship game in successive seasons ___ last year they would fall at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts . Alas this postseason it wasn’t to be as the Jets would succumb to a much better team that rose to the occasion with the authoritative leadership coming from their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and some great coaching by Mike Tomlin and his staff .

Without a doubt the fans in attendance at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh got their money’s worth as both teams gave it their all. Now the Pittsburgh Steelers will try and attempt to become the first NFL franchise. to have won seven Superbowls in the modern day era of the NFL . As to whether or not that they attain that feat remains to be seen when they meet the Green Bay Packers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington , Texas on the 4th February 2011. Do you get the feeling that Jerry Jones will be missing out somewhat on the festivities given the fact his Dallas Cowboys won’t be a participant in the league’s showcase event ?

I’ll say it once and I won’t say it again I simply didn’t trust Jay Cutler to lead this Bears’ team at all ! To my mind he is this generation’s Brett Favre in terms of cavalier play and self absorbed personality. And anyone who has witnessed Favre’s play in recent years will know that he’s become more of a liability to a team rather than an asset . The Packers for their part led by Aaron Rodgers put on a clinical showcase on both sides of the ball with unsung heroes such as B J Raji and his teammates simply followed the lead set by their quarterback. Now when it’s all said and done the game wasn’t without its moments but what might be more telling were the circumstances under which Cutler left the game having injured his knee. Once that came about and the very fact that appeared that the player seemed to be unwilling to return to the game to aid his teammates , you simply knew that the writing was on the wall. Not that the Bears had done anything of note in the game from a statistical standpoint . Cutler was replaced by Todd Collins a seasoned NFL veteran but his composure could be best described as being a deer caught in headlights as the Packers’ defense simply laid him out after a couple of plays. Bears’ coach Lovie Smith quickly replaced the sixteen year veteran with third stringer Caleb Hanie who would show some poise during the game but at the same time his inexperience would lead to the player throwing two interceptions and touchdown pass on the way to his team’s 21-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

For the Packers , coach Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers in particular this might seem a long time coming given the fact that the organization had to put up with the self aggrandizing and somewhat infantile behavior of Brett Favre before his tumultuous departure from the Packers’ organization , Lambeau Field and the long suffering Packers’ fans. Now if anything it’s Brett who ………..? And look we’ve got Aaron Rodgers and we’re glad that he’s here !

The upcoming game itself with all of the glory to be attained will pit two of the NFL’s most storied and respected franchises against one another . And if anything this may well the game that the vast majority of the fans coveted. And that’s with due respect to the Chicago Bears and New York Jets , not that they aren’t as such noteworthy. But given the postseason play of both victorious teams in the conference championship games , I for one am totally convinced that these two teams are by far the best of the teams that were part of the 2010 postseason . Never let it be said that the teams competing weren’t worthy but in all honesty you come out to play and you had better damn well play to win , rather than carrying pretensions of grandeur , which in large part was what happened with a number of teams who fell by the wayside in the postseason !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the conference championship games and how do you see the Superbowl game itself playing out ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

NB: Picture and slide show details .

(1)New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan reacts to a question during a press conference at the team’s training facility, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 in Florham Park, N.J. A day earlier, the Jets ended their season with a 24-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ……

(2)New York Jets linebacker Lance Laury cleans out his locker at the team’s training facility, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 in Florham Park, N.J. A day earlier, the Jets ended their season with a 24-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game. AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(3) New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez talks to reporters before cleaning out his locker, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 in Florham Park, N.J. The Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-19 in the AFC championship a day earlier. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ……

(4) Pittsburgh, Pa,. Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushes for a first down against the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images …….

(5) Rashard Mendenhall (34) of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs down field against the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Jets 24 to 19. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ………

(6) LaDainian Tomlinson (21) of the New York Jets is brought down by LaMarr Woodley (56) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …….

(7) Jerricho Cotchery (89) of the New York Jets walks off of the field injured in second quarter play against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …….

[8] In this Jan. 23, 2011, file photo, Green Bay Packers’ B.J. Raji (90) returns an interception to score the game-winning touchdown during the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago. Raji might not get quite as much attention as fellow 2009 first-round draft pick Clay Matthews, but he’s turning out to be just as critical to the Packers’ defense. AP Photo/Jim Prisching …..

(9) Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers celebrates after the NFC Championship NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in Chicago. The Packers won 21-14 . AP Photo/Jim Prisching ………

(10) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith speaks during a press conference at Halas Hall Monday, Jan. 24, 2011, in Lake Forest, Ill. The Green Bay Packers ended the Chicago Bears season with a 21-14 victory in the NFC Championship game. AP Photo/Jim Prisching …..

(11) Sam Shields (37) of the Green Bay Packers intercepts the game’s final pass and runs for 32-yards to seal the 21-14 victory for the Packers against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ………

(12) Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers and head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears shake hands after the Packers 21-14 victory in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

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Tigers Have Stripes ………….. The Bengals Simply Have Nothing At All To Make People Fear Them ……..


Tigers Have Stripes ………….. The Bengals Simply Have Nothing At All To Make People Fear Them ……..

So here we go , it appears that the storm clouds have arrived in Cincinnati as the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is said to be on the cusp of demanding a trade from the team and away from the organization completely. Well considering how bad the season went for the team and Palmer in particular one shouldn’t really view this as a surprise. The former Pro Bowl quarterback hasn’t been anywhere near consistent this past season and if anything the team itself was something a great disappointment last season. And for coach Marvin Lewis and his coaching staff even with the changes set to be taking place it seems highly unlikely that the player will still want to remain with a team that was so haphazard and if anything so mediocre !

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Statistically this team simply didn’t measure up even coming off a season where they were the AFC North champions in 2009. However this season has anything but that where the Bengals simply were monstrous posting a 4-12 record within the AFC North . And even with the questionable play of Palmer you can’t but question also the lackadaisical effort forthcoming from Chad Ochocinco a player who if anything simply was nowhere to be seen for much of the season and in part it may well play its own part in not only the decision from Palmer but also with the front office also looking to possibly cut Ochocinco or quite possibly deal him during the upcoming NFL Draft in April.

Courtesy of NFL.com

Brown: Bengals won’t trade QB Palmer or hire coach Childress

The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t willing to trade Carson Palmer , who wants to leave one of the NFL’s least-successful franchises while he’s still in his prime.

Bengals owner Mike Brown said Monday that the 31-year-old quarterback asked for a trade a little more than a week ago. Brown told Palmer that the team wouldn’t trade him because he’s central to its plans.

“He was told that, and that we count on him going forward,” Brown told The Cincinnati Enquirer and the team’s website Monday. “He was told that we are not in a position to trade him.”

The franchise quarterback evidently decided it’s time to leave his mess of a team.

Palmer hasn’t talked to the media since making his trade request. A text message seeking comment wasn’t returned.

Palmer’s agent, David Dunn, issued a statement Monday about the meeting between his client and Brown:

“Carson met with Bengals owner Mike Brown recently. They both expressed profound disappointment in how the team fared last season, and in how it has generally performed during Carson’s tenure with the team. Because of the lack of success that Carson and the Bengals have experienced together, Carson strongly feels that a separation between him and the Bengals would be in the best interest of both parties. Carson could not respect the Brown family any more than he does or be more appreciative of what the Browns have done for him and his wife Shaelyn and his family.”

Palmer was the franchise’s building block when it made him the first overall draft pick in 2003, Marvin Lewis’ first season as coach. Palmer led the Bengals to the playoffs in 2005 and 2009 — their only winning records in the last 20 years — and rebounded from severe knee and elbow injuries along the way.

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For all of the disappointment of the Bengals it can’t have been to pleasing for the fans to see their divisional rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers make it to Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) where they’ll face the Green Bay Packers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington , Texas . Whatever lies ahead in the future for the Bengals it appears that Palmer wants no part of it and considering that it was said to be touch and go as to whether or not Marvin Lewis would return for next season it was something of a surprise when it was announced that he’d return and would also be in receipt of a contract extension also. It was clear that the Bengals’ front office felt it was a necessity to retain their coach even under the cloud of suspicion that this might well have been his last season with the team. Instead he’ll be given the chance to see if he can resurrect their fortunes and somehow turn things around.

Perhaps the one bright spot in the season for the Bengals was the play of Terrell Owens and the fact that he was the team’s leading offensive weapon during the year. And with Owens now being a free agent this offseason he may well have played himself back into contention and within the good graces of a number of teams around the NFL who might well be looking for a wide receiver to complement a young receiving corps in need of some veteran experience and leadership. Owens was the consummate professional through much of the season and played with a great deal of eagerness in order to prove himself not only to the fans in Cincinnati but also to general fans across the NFL.

Within the AFC North not only will the Bengals have to contend with the Pittsburgh Steelers , but also the ever consistent Baltimore Ravens and in state rivals the Cleveland Browns who after their own horrendous season have made changes within their coaching staff with the firing of former coach Eric Mangini by team President Mike Holmgren . For their part the Browns are now work in progress as Holmgren and the front office look to reassess the playing staff and the direction that the team is going in. This much we do know the only way is up for the Cleveland Browns after a disastrous season in 2010.

As to what the future now holds for Carson Palmer this much is most certainly clear should the Bengals entertain the idea of perhaps acquiescing to the player’s request then they can certainly look to use the player as a pawn in the upcoming NFL Draft with a view to moving higher and obtaining prized asset that would most certainly complement the team . Palmer’s career if anything has proven that he’s a good player in the right type of environment and situation. Within Bengals’ organization if anything, the environment there certainly wasn’t conducive to him being able to produce and it certainly hadn’t helped that Marvin Lewis had lost sight of his objectives and lost complete control of the team both on and off the field . That’s why from my perspective I thought it something of a shock that the front office had sought to retain him, while offering him an additional one year contract extension !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The Cincinnati Bengals no one can deny have been utter and complete mess over the last few years even with a divisional title under their belt last year. This much is true however, an organization is only as good as the leadership provided from the executive level on down. And in the case of the Bengals there’s been little if any leadership from anyone with the authority to lead. Certainly not from Palmer , himself, who’d been often described as the face of the franchise , and there had been even less leadership from Marvin Lewis , who if anything just seemed to be going through the motions of being a coach and at the same time being so nonchalant. As to the Bengals’ ownership led by Mike Brown , and GM Jim Lippincott and Pete Pete Brown , VP of Player Personnel Operations . Well let’s just say that in terms of leadership there , it’s not akin to the rather somewhat asinine and tactless leadership we now see being conveyed by Congress , Senate and the President’s ——- administration combined. Where the option has been to try and put out fires when they themselves were the very same idiots who lit the match that caused the fire to begin with. That’s not leadership but mere stupidity and naivete being shown and it has become something that seems to be spreading across the league and political landscape ! Simply look at the teams at the bottom rung of the league , how they’ve fared this past season and ask yourself what indeed went wrong within those organizations ? Much of it may well have had to do with poor play on the field but I bet that you will also find that there was a complete lack of accountability and leadership where it mattered most , and that’s from within the front offices on down to the coaching staff and players !

What thoughts if any do you have on the impending future of the Bengals and that of their starting quarterback Carson Palmer ? Do you feel that the team will entertain the player’s idea of trading him or will they retain the player by your way of thinking ? Simply chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and any other topic as it relates to the NFL.

Picture and slide show details .

(1) This Dec.26, 2010 file photo shows Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer (9) smiling in the closing seconds of their 34-20 win over the San Diego Chargers in an NFL football game in Cincinnati. Bengals owner Mike Brown says he won’t trade Palmer. Brown said on Monday that Palmer met with him a little more than a week ago and asked to be traded. Brown told Palmer that he wouldn’t consider it because the quarterback is central to the team’s plans. He plans to talk to Palmer again to try to smooth over their differences. AP Photo/David Kohl ……..

Baltimore , Md ,. January 2nd 2011 . Carson Palmer (9) of the Cincinnati Bengals fumbles the ball with less than two minutes to go in the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ………

(3) Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals coaches against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6 . Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ……….

(4) Ray Rice (27) of the Baltimore Ravens scores his team’s only touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6. Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ……….

(5) Carson Palmer (9) of the Cincinnati Bengals passes against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 6-0 at the half. Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ………

(6) Terrell Owens (81) of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Paul Brown Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Saints won 34-30. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

(7) Chad Ochocinco (85) of the Cincinnati Bengals is tackled by Tracy Porter (22)of the New Orleans Saints during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Saints won 34-30. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ……

[8] Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, right, listens to Bengals owner Mike Brown speak at a news conference where it was announced Lewis had signed a contract extension with the NFL football team, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman ………..

NB: NFL News …..

Cincinnati Bengals’ team news ……

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

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Miss Meenah
Eye candy ………………………… Tehmeena Afzal aka ‘Miss Meena’

Tehmeena

Push it up baby !

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Are Bucking A Trend ………..


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Are Bucking A Trend ………..

Week 17 and to my mind the achievements of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the team’s coaching staff cannot be overlooked or underestimated this season. Coach Raheem Morris in just his second season as a head coach in the NFL has the team playing with a great deal of resolve and much to the amazement of the fans who convene at Raymond James Stadium Tampa , Florida this season to watch a spirited Bucs’ team play.

What many thought to be would take at least three years in its creation, in turning around this team in one year by prudent coaching but with even more astute assessment of the talent necessary in making this team better. Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik have made the Buccaneers and the entire organization the envy of the league. And in spite of this all , consider this , the Buccaneers have the youngest team in the NFL in terms of average age and are the first team in league history to start an NFL game with twelve rookies on its roster . And while there have been growing pains while the Buccaneers learn how to be competitive what might be even more surprising has been the maturation of quarterback Josh Freeman who could very well be on his way to earning a Pro Bowl berth for the NFC as a player in the Pro Bowl. Along the way the player has had a stellar season and led his team with a great deal of authority.

Aiding Freeman in all of this has been a slew of young draftees that could be destined for greatness should their learning curve remain consistent and improve as Dominik and Morris would no doubt expect. This year’s top draft pick taken by the Buccaneers was DT Gerald McCoy taken in the first round , third overall out of the University of Texas and the coaching staff would make sure to supplement the current roster with integral pieces that would be of benefit to the team . And amongst this all has been an unsung hero LeGarrette Blount the undrafted rookie free agent who has has now become the catalyst for this Buccaneers’ offense and who essentially the running back starter’s position his own. Not to be left out of the conversation has to be the contributions made this season by other draftees Cody Grimm , Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams who’ve made the jump with a great deal of self assuredness. And while many might choose to say that it’s far too early to say how good this Bucs’ team can become all the signs seem to state that they’re indeed heading in the right During Jon Gruden’s tenure as coach I can’t remember him ever having this much success with any player that he drafted over the course of his reign. As a matter of fact as a coach when it came to nurturing talent especially amongst rookies, Gruden’s methods left a great deal to be desired. And I think that it’s pretty safe to suggest that assessing talent and nurturing it was never ever one of Jon Gruden’s greatest strengths. But he’ll be forever thought of as the coach who came into Tampa and brought the city a Superbowl (SB XXXVII). Since those lofty years up until his abrupt firing his record with the team had been spotty at best.

Head coach Raheem Morris talks with Ronde Barber (20) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 23-13. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images .......

Head coach Raheem Morris talks with Ronde Barber (20) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Buccaneers defeated the Saints 23-13. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …….

Succeeding Gruden , Raheem Morris wasn’t thought of as the obvious choice but given the financial frugality being shown by the Glazer family and their propensity for not wanting overspend on anything, it went without saying that the hiring of a rookie coach was the option that they felt was best for the organization. PR nightmare or not team owner Malclom Glazier could only have held out for a modicum of hope that there would be any dividends to be reaped from this hiring . Going 3-13 in his first full season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Morris had the fans , local beat writers, sports columnists seething with rage and baying for his blood. Not content with that the fallout would have its financial reverberations within the community as there was an immediate decline in the attendance for games at the stadium. It has impacted the team’s support this season and with all but one the team’s scheduled home games being blacked for coverage within the local market. And while things might appear to be now looking on the up for the organization much of that will be predicated upon the continued success of this team under its coach.

Now riding on the crest of a wave the team now faces their sternest test of the season as they face the reigning Superbowl champions the New Orleans Saints in a game that will have playoff implications for the Buccaneers . A win and a loss by either the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants and the Buccaneers would be assured of a playoff berth. A loss and they’d have to make do with something of an eventful but yet unexpected season that has been filled with highs and lows .

With all that the Buccaneers’ fans have had to endure this season and the spirited effort that has been shown by this team it augurs well for next year. And even if they should fail to make the postseason which on appearance would now appear to be a certainty one can’t help but wonder what might have been had one or two of the earlier results during the season had gone their way. Many of those downfalls fell to the overall lack of experience shown by the team and coaching staff but as the saying goes ……….. what doesn’t hurt will make you stronger . And for the Buccaneers this has been a season fraught with dangers but at the same time it has also been filled with the angst of watching a group of players learn to how to player together and be moulded into a team. And that will indeed be of benefit not only to the Buccaneers’ organization but also the fans.

Whatever their frailties have been , be it on the defensive or offensive side of the ball Morris’ players have learned from it and the improvements are now being seen. As I alluded to earlier, it will augur well for their immediate future. And for players such as Josh Freeman , Mike Williams , Arrelious Benn , Kellen Winslow , Cody Grimm and Davin Joseph their time will come and they will no doubt challenge the likes of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints within the NFC South for divisional supremacy as well as the rest of the NFL . Their continued progress it’s hoped will quite possibly lead to a Superbowl appearance and victory . How sweet would that be given the travails of this organization over the last few years ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the success attained by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season ? And what if any has been a major surprise to you in terms of the NFL as we now head into the postseason . Simply chime in with a comment.

With all that the Bucanneers' fans have had to endure this season and the spirited effort that has been shown by this team it augurs well for next year. And even if they should fail to make the postseason which on appearance would now appear to be a certainty one can't help but wonder what might have been had one or two of the earlier results during the season had gone their way. Many of those downfals fell to the overall lack of experience shown by the team and coaching staff but as the saying goes ……….. what doesn’t hurt will make you stronger . And for the Buccaneers this has been a season fraught with dangers but at the same time it has also been filled with the angst of watching a group of players learn to how to player together and be moulded into a team. And that will indeed be of benefit not only to the Buccaneers’ organization but also the fans.

Whatever their frailties have been , be it on the defensive or offensive side of the ball Morris’ players have learned from it and the improvements are now being seen. As I alluded to earlier, it will augur well for their immediate future. And for players such as Josh Freeman , Mike Williams , Arrelious Benn , Kellen Winslow, Cody Grimm and Davin Joseph their time will come and they will no doubt challenge the likes of the Atlanta Falcons , and New Orleans Saints within the NFC South for divisional supremacy as well as the rest of the NFL . Their continued progression it’s hoped will quite possibly lead to a Superbowl appearance and victory . How sweet would that be given the travails of this organization over the last few years ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the success attained by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season ? And what if any has been a major surprise to you in terms of the NFL as we now head into the postseason . Simply chime in with a comment.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Roster & Depth Chart

Head coach Raheem Morris

Buccaneers coaching staff

Buccaneers front office

Team statistics

NB By clicking on the links provided below you can obtain the latest concerning the NFL .

NFL Divisional Standings

NFL Conference Standings

NFL Standings by League

NFL Week 17 results

NFL News ……………

NFL Divisional playoff games

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

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Eye candy Ice T’s main squeeze Nicole ‘Coco’ Austin.
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Anne  & Kate

Anne and Kate , somehow I wouldn’t mind being the meat in between those two layers of a sandwich !

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