The college basketball seasonhasbeganand there are agreatmanythings tolookforward to.Iforoneamlookingtosee ifStephenCurry cancarry onwhere he left offlastseason.Thoughit canbesaidthatDavidson may not belookeduponasapowerhousewithinthecollegebasketballworld.Theydidinfactgiveanumberofteamsa scarelastseasoninthe NCAAtournament.
Stephen Curry of Davidson tries to evade the defensive presence of Duke’s Greg Paulus in game played in Durham , NC. The Blue Devils would go on to win the game 79-67.picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Sara Davis …………………….
Davidson’s Andrew Lovedale and Duke’s Jon Scheyer tussle over a loose ball during the game in the second quarter . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Sara D Davis ……………..
A lot hasbeensaidofhisprowessas ascorerbutalsooflatehe’sshownthathecanleadbyexample.Albeitthatwedon’toftenget toseetheDavidsonWildcats’ games beingnationallytelevised.He can scorewiththebest ofthemandthoughtit’softenpointedout thathehasa tendencyto besomewhathesitantdefensively.Hemorethanmakesupforthiswithhisprowessontheoffensivesideof theball.And onecanwellunderstandthereasonwhywe’reunlikelytoseetheteamonaregularbasisonthenetworkswhenit cometo thetelevising of thegame.TheSouthernConferenceisn’tbuiltaroundblockbusternamesthat weallcanrecognizeatwill.The likes ofFurman , Chattanooga ,Elon, Citadel and Appalachian Statedon’t exactlyleapout atyouimmediately. But thenagainwe’remerelytalkingaboutwhatsomemightdeemthealsoranswithinthecollegebasketballworld.
Andwiththisteamgettingofftoanicestatto theirseason . It’s hopedthatthey canmakeitallthe waytotheNCCA tournamentwithoutmuchfuss.It’salwayswelcomingtoseea team that’sdeemedaminnowsetabouttakingon andthentakingdownoneof theGoliathsofthecollegegame.Everyyearcometournamenttimethat’scertainlywhatanumberoffansare lookingforwardto. Should itcome to thefactthatwe’reliable toseeoneof thetitansgetknockeddownapeg ortwothensobe it.Itmakesthetournamentall themoreexcitingfor usall.
Curry reacts to his foul in the second quarter of the game played in Cameron Indoor Arena in Durham, NC,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Sara D Davis ………………
MuchasIlike the NBAit’s thecollegegamethatIthinkinitspurestformthatcanbejustas excitingasanythingserved up in theprofessionalgame. But there are thoseamongstuswhomaywellfeeltheopposite.Teams suchasDavidsonandotherswithin the NCAAaren’tspoiltintermsof theathletesthatareonshow.Andif anythinginpursuingtheircrafttheplayersarequiteprepared to do thingstherightway.That’snotsaythatthetalentonshowisas greatas whatwehaveonviewin theNBA.But foreveryKobeBryant ,LeBronJames ,AmareStoudemireandTyson Chandlerwhochose toforegocollege.Wehavethe likesofHansborough,MeeksandCurry. Manyoftheplayersmentionedwithin the professionalrankshadtheirshortcomingswhentheyfirststartedout.And intimetheyovercamethose flaws. Buthowmuchbetteroffwouldtheyhavebeenhadtheypursued atleast oneortwoyearswithin the collegeranks ?Sucharethemachinationsof thegameandthepursuit offinancialsecurity.
As much as I like sports there are times when I’m completely at a loss to explain how and why it is that the executives act the way that they do ? In hiring a GM a franchise looks to have an executive to oversee the behind the closed door operations of a sports entity. We’ve seen some successful ones from the likes of Scott Pioli of the New England Patriots, Dave Dombrowski of the Detroit Tigers, Ken Williams of the Chicago White Sox and Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees. What these executives have in common are that they’ve each had success in their chosen field.
Scott Pioli GM of the New England Patriots alongside the team’s coach Bill Belicheck. Pioli and Belicheck are the architects behind the team’s success. Though as of late it’s been widely rumored that Pioli will be leaving the franchise for pastures green. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Dan Foster …………………..
In reality however who’d really want to be the point man for a franchise ? Where at every press conference you’re the one who becomes the voice and reason when the franchise may well be in trouble . Be it a player , a coach or even the owner themselves. These are the guys who become the face of the franchise at these most sensitive of times.
Dave Dombrowski the GM of the Detroit Tigers and the team’s coach Jim Leyland. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Todd Boumann ……………….
Recently however we saw where then coach Romeo Crennel was fired by the Cleveland Browns. Prior to Crennel’s loss of employment the GM in place Phil Savage was let go by the team. Merely done one would believe because of the sheer lack of success by the team. And when it comes to success a franchise is judged by its team first and then the coach, manager and lastly the General Manager. These men and in some cases women are recently a hot commodity when they’re at a premium.
Boston Celtics’ GM and President of Operations congratulates his head coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers after the team’s triumph in last season’s NBA Finals. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Elsa Burke ………..
A good GM can earn in excess of $5m a year and upwards . And it’s not unheard in some cases it can be an astronomical sum. Suffice to say these guys aren’t exactly crying and asking where their next meal will be coming from. But to those who aspire to hold such a position within a franchise they’re very much the Chief ExecutiveOfficer and they hold sway over the owner. PR has to be part of their DNA when dealing with the press and public alike. And it says a lot as to their communication skills when they’re able to have the press eating out of their hands even when the subject matter is indeed a sensitive one.
Former Brown’ GM Phil Savage(foreground) and former coach Romeo Crennel at each other’s side during a press conference. Both men have since been fired by the organization after a lackluster and disappointing NFL season. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Tony Dejak …….
When a sensitive matter come to light where it becomes a staple of the tabloids then it’s very much up to the GM to keep the press at bay while the franchise has to deal with the problem from within. For the New York Giants this had to be the case when the Plaxico Burress episode came to light and was very much the press’ raison de etre’. And as litigious as society has now become. It can only be said that it also helps if they’ve also got a legal background behind them. It may well be one of the most desired positions within a sport’s franchise. But I for one wouldn’t relish being the focus of such unwanted attention even if only briefly.
So for now let’s just see how these individuals will suffice over their tenure at the top of the food chain. Much like the execs at the top of a multi billion dollar enterprise these men are placed under a great deal of pressure to make the right sort of decisions that’ll go a long way in defining a franchise and the ultimate direction that it heads in.
The wiles of the NFL are a strange game to me. The game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos whilst meaning a great deal toboth teams. It had me thinking how are those two teams with such established stars can proceed to play so unevenly throughout much of the regular season?And while San Diego obliterated the Broncos, ended their Superbowl aspirations that led to the firing of Mike Shanahan.Wherein the AFC West division as we know it has become to be known has as its content some of perhaps some of the worst teams in all of the NFL.
lLaDanian Tomlinson(21) is congratulated by teammate Vincent Jackson(83) after Tomlinson’s touchdown during the game against the Denver Broncos played at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Ca,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Mark Talbot ……………..
The Chargers notwithstanding the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders have hardly shown that the division possesses a team of merit based on their play this season.As winners of the division with an 8-8 record they scraped their way into the playoffs. Albeit that they won their last four games of the season. Now the Chargers will have to face the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the postseason playoffs as wildcard entrants. The Colts as with a record of 12-4 made their way into the postseason upon the resurrection and play of their Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning.
Marvin Harrison(88) of the Indianapolis Colts is congratulated by teammates prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Victor Matthews ………………………..
The San Diego Chargers by way of their own play this season has been erratic and uneven.But for the resolute play of quarterback Phillip Rivers one doubts that the team would’vegot as far as they did. LaDainian Tomlinson their much heralded running back has had a down year and even with regard to injuries. It can be saidthat the player’s overall performances havebeen somewhat sub par.The loss of defensive stalwart Shawn Merriman also played a part in the downside to the team’s overall record. Merriman when on the field has been a player who has brought a great deal of forthright resolve to the team’s play as well as on the field leadership.Other than Rivers who has been vocal as to the on field leadership, the team has been labored its way throughout the season and into the playoffs. Norv Turner if anything has been extremely lucky to be in theposition where he still holds a coaching job in the NFL.The feeling was that should the Chargers fail to make the postseason he may well have been one of the casualties as to the firings that’ve proceeded to take place since season’s end.
Well it certainly goes without saying that the bloodlust andbloodletting that’s known to take place within the boardroom is no different from that within the field of sports.We’ve seen it already happen within the NBA this season. Albeit that the season there is over a much longer season. However the season that is built around the NFL is one seventeen weeks give or take. And then you have the postseason itself where the success there is very much predicated on the immediate results. For the likes of fallen coaches Eric Mangini,Romeo Crennel and Rod Marinelli they’ll never come to know what it is to equate success in the postseason. Well at least not this season anyway !
Lavernues Coles of the New York Jets addresses members of the convened press to answer questions as to the firing of the team’s coach Eric Mangini. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Rich Schultz …………….
Each of the above mentioned individuals were placed under the scrutiny of expectful wishes. And they failed miserably though in some respects much of it was not of their own making. But at the end of the day it is the coach who has to take blame for the lack of success on the field of play. With the firing of all three coaches by their respective franchises the New York Jets,Cleveland Brown and Detroit Lions. All three men became casualties of the merry-go-round we’ve come to know as the coaching carousel. Albeit that it’s not expected that either if any of the three will ever find themselves back as a candidate for a mangerial position within the NFL. Crennel’s own boss GM Phil Savage also found himself out of a position when he too was let go by Browns’ owner Randy Lerner. The axe does tend to swing both ways then ?
Romeo Crennel the now former coach of the Cleveland Browns looks up at the scoreboard in a game played between the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Crennel’s team would go on to lose the game 31-0 and post a 4-12 record for the regular season. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Tony Dejak …..
But as much as we see with each passing season coaches let go because of the undue pressure that’s placed upon them to succeed. What does that tell us about the state of the game itself whereby a single mistake by a player or official may well be all that it takes to sink the career of a coach ? However it can also be said that a coach should be able to instill into those whom he leads what it is that is expected of them. And that he ought to be able to communicate with them effectively. If the players themselves aren’t willing to buy into what it is that the coach is srtiving to achieve. Then how will they go about achieving the success that they all strive for ? If those teams aren’t prepared on the day to meet an opponent then the result endured is all too appropriate. Seventy percent of the game may well be physical but the remaining thirty percent being said to be psychological, is just as important, if not more so.
Martin Mayhew,foreground, is the General Manager of the Detroit Lions. Seated alongside Mayhew at the convened press conference is team President Tom Lewand. The announcement being made was that the franchise’s coach Rod Marinelli as well as several members of his coaching staff wouldn’t be returning next season. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Paul Sancya ………………..
As to the travails of those coaches who escaped the axe,guillotine or whatever rudimentary instrument one might like to imagine being swung above their head. Is it fair to believe that they’re lucky to survive this most gruesome of rituals, given the evidence that come next season they too will be under even more scrutiny not just from their owners and fans alike ? If anything the quartet of NFL coaches who’ve succumbed to the perfunctory ritual of being shown the door this season are the one who ought to be thought of as being lucky. Granted expectations were heaped upon their shoulders and albeit that they failed. But who amongst us would want to be placed in that sort of a situation from the outset ? And less I’m not mistaken unless you’re Jesus Christ himself you’re indeed being asked to perform a miracle. And last I looked the coaches within the NFL aren’t being viewed as the Messiah but yet the situation for which they of their own volition choose to be placed within are looked upon as deities when they succeed. But are either viewed as oafs or buffoons when they falter.
Wade Phillips wraps up his press conference with the members of the press at the team’s facility in Irving, Texas. Phillips and his much heralded team failed to make the playoffs this year having posted a 9-7 record this season. They sufferered a humiliating season ending loss to their divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles 44-6. Thereby depriving themselves of a postseason berth in the playoffs. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Tony Gutierrez …..
We know that they’re highly paid individuals and they come at a premium. But are they infact any different from a titan of industry who’s asked to lead a multi-billion dollar conglomerate ? By their decisions made on and in some cases off the field can lead tothe success that’s envisioned by the hierarchy of a franchise as well as that of the fans themselves. And be that as it may one can only summize that the coaches who aspire be amongst the professional ranks of the NFL have not only belief in their own abilities. But also in that of the people who hire them to undertake such a demonstrative task. Failure at any price isn’t an option but what ought to matter are the strategies and the acceptable risks that are part of that endeavor. So much of what’s predicated as success within the NFL nowadays isn’t just about the results on the field. But it also has a lot to do with the business side of the issue off the field. A languishing and less than what’s deemed successful franchise can cost a team and its owners tens of millions of dollars each year in revenues. And the bottom line at the end of the day may well be all that matters to a number of owners no matter what their own wealth constitutes. Though many of them will have you know that certainly isn’t always the case. But when have you ever known a wealthy individual not to want just a bit more money lining their pockets or bank accounts looking considerably fatter ?
Herm Edwards of the Kansas City Chiefs strolls the sidelines having to endure his team’s 16-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in his team’s final regular season game. The game played in Cincinnati ensured that the Chiefs ended the season with a 2-14 regular season record. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Al Behrman ………………
I won’t begrudge those who make the decisions to fire an individual if they fail to offer a succinct reason as to why they ought not to be. I do know that there are also some who were more deserving of the fate than others. But I’d also preface this with a caveat.Becareful of what you wish for as you aspire on down the road to find the person who you deem fit enough to lead your franchise up from the depths which they now find themselves within. Because at the end of the day it’s not only the fans who you may also be answerable to but also to your own lust for untold wealth and the greed therein that goes along with it. But also your own conscience whatever persona, form or guise it may well take. Afterall this may well may be a business first but in large part it is nothing more than a rudimentary form or entertainment for us all.
Well without much of a fanfare the days of renowned ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose came and went without much of a furore in Tampa Bay. Such was the consequential hiring and then all too abrupt firing. That as a sound byte it didn’t really create that much of a seismic wave within the sport. Melrose brought in to replace John Tortorella was seen more of as a figurehead who’d garner the respect of his players and at the same time bring back some of the luster and pizzaz to a franchise that’d fallen somewhat on hard times. Their home base of the St Pete Times Forum wasn’t the same place that it once was when they were indeed the Stanley Cup champions and held sway over all of the NHL.
Avalanche goaltender makes a glove save against the Lightning’s Martin St Louis in the penalty shootout between the two teams. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Chris O’Meara ………………..
But then again as we all know the aftermath of the Lightning’s triumph was shortlived as the NHL and its players spiralled out of control all by their sheer inability to see what was happening to the game , the greed therein and the naivete’ of NHL governor Gary Bettman. Such as things are now for the franchise those heady days are now long gone and they’re now mired in mediocrity with Rick Tocchet now charged with leading them back to some semblance of respectability.
Mike Smith(41) the Lightning’s goaltender disputes the linesman’s assertion that he intentionally threw his stick at the Avalanche’s Milan Hejduk during the penalty shootout. The game was won 2-1 by the Colorado Avalanche which was played at the St Pete Times’ Forum in Tampa, Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris O’Meara …………………..
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s season so far can be best described as abysmal to say the least. And though I’ve never been much of a hockey fan , to my mind a competitive and combative sport is still a sport no less. Tampay Bay Lightning for all of its vagaries has been playing as if it lacks on confidence on the ice and has at this moment in time no real leadership on it. The hyperbole and furore surrounding the new owner Oren Koules led one to believe that after his purchase of the the from the Davidson family. The franchise would be on the rise to even bigger and better things. But then again when it comes to Hollywood hype Koules knows a thing or two about the whole transiency of the system therein. As a producer of the low budget movie Saw, the series that has become a blockbuster as well as being an accredited producer for the CBS sitcom Two And A Half Men. It can be said that Koules knows how sell make and sell a good product. Even when it happens to be mediocre in value. That being said Koules’ penchant for the game is unquenchable and it’s his passion for it and the franchise that may well also in some way determine its success on and off the rink.
Backup goaltender Peter Budaj of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates with teammates after the team’s O/T victory 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Doug Benc ………………
It has to be said that it is never good to see a professional sport’s franchise mired in mediocrity. But then again it’s never good to see anyone be in such a predicament. Be it self inflicted or not which in many ways this whole situation for the Lightning wasof their own making. They served up a platter of delicacies to the fans by shedding players who’d served the franchise well. And brought in players whom in many respects didn’t fit the mould of what the franchise had been about to begin with and what had originally brought about its success. Now as the season has got under way and with no real identity to speak of this team struggles to even show some semblance of success. No leadership from the likes of Vincent ‘Vinny’ Lecalier and from even his teammate Martin St Louis. But yet the fans are led to believe that all will be right once they find their footing. And even with their young rookie Steve Stamkos now realizing the rigors of playing in the NHL isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. One can summize that this team’ll be in for a hard time as the season progresses.
Adam Foote on defense handles the puck as teammate and goaltender Andrew Raycroft looks on as the Lightning’s Martin St Louis on offense tries to make his presence felt. picture appears couertesy of getty images/ Doug Benc ……………………
If there’s one thing that has become apparent for both Tocchet and Koules with regard to the team is that it’s certainly not playing with any confidence at all. And as it sits at the bottom of the Southeast Division with just 22 pts , just two points adrift of the Atlanta Thrashers and some 19 points out of first place where the Washington Capitals who hold the lead. Much as many feel that it’s not out of the realms of possibility for the franchise to make a run at a playoff berth. I’m inclined to believe that unless they can catch lightning in a bottle and play out of their skins. The only thing that this team has to play for now is pride and self respect. And no matter what assurances and rhetoric that’s forthcoming from interim coach Rick Tocchet. The fact of the matter is that this team just isn’t good enough to hang with the big dawgs of the NHL at present. Nor are they likely to be until they get a backbone. Defensively they’re abysmal and on the offensive side of things at times they’re all somewhat gunshy. A far cry from those halcyon days of being called champions and their bravado on the ice went unquestioned.
Say what you will about defending a championship as there’s often the belief that once having won one it’s extremely difficult to come back to try and defend and retain the said championship. But it’d appear that’s what the Boston Celtics are setting out to do this year. So much so that the start and stats that they’ve proceeded to put up are even more staggering than last seasons. They’re now on pace to exceed last season’s tally of 66 wins. Infact that they’re now on pace for 74 wins that’d best the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 tally at the height of when Michael Jordan reigned supreme.
Paul Pierece grabs his left knee in pain having injured it during the game played against the Utah Jazz. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Paul Matthews ………..
That being said this team with their triumvirate of stars in the guise of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce now seem to have added an even greater swagger to their role as champions. The team’s play is one of confidence night in and night out since this season has started. And the fact that they now sit atop of their division with a commanding 10 game lead over their nearest rival the New Jersey Nets within the Atlantic Division. It’d suggest that the team hasn’t missed a beat since its defeat of the Los Angeles Lakers in last season’s NBA Finals. At 23-2 the team as alluded to before is playing with a great deal of confidence and it has to be said has come with the improvement in the play of sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo. As of late the player has been on a tear that has impressed not only his coach Glenn Doc’ Rivers but also his more studious and experienced teammates as well.
Rajon Rondo of the Celtics and Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz contest a loose ball during the game played on Monday night. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Paul Matthews ………………..
Rondo commands the floor with a great deal of presence and no longer would it appear that the leadership role on the floor has to go through Garnett or Pierce with everyone else having to defer to them both in terms of the team’s offense. Rondo now has the confidence in his own ability and that of his teammates around him that he makes the right decisions when it comes to the distribution of the ball and the aspects of the team’s offensive strategies. Rivers,himself has expressed his pleasure in the player’s seemingly progress and maturity shown not just on the basketball court but also off it as well. So much so that the feeling is that the player can become the lynch pin of the team’s success for years to come and that the franchise can also profit from it all. Say nothing of which in repeating as champions they would become to the toast of the New England area.
Well the Premiership is living up to everything that one would come to expect of the world’s best soccer league. Albeit that those who play within Serie’ A and La Liga may well be of a differing opinion. And the ever too discerning fan no matter who might be will cling to the teams that they are devoted to. That being said it can be of great importance to those who may well view the turbulent economic times that the world is now in. A crisis that’d seem unimaginable a few years ago will no doubt envelope a great many teams far and wide. Corporate governance asides the wealthy teams can no longer afford to be audacious when it comes to purchasing a major star player.
Dimitry Berbatov of Manchester United is booed by resentful Spurs’ fans in a game played between the two teams at White Hart Lane, London. picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters ……………………..
The financial constraints will be felt wholeheartedly amongst many of the top teams even if their owners happen to be multi-billionaires or corporate behemoths. That being said the purpose of this piece is to look at what is happening now with the game in England. Where in particular this season it is felt that the race for the Premiership title won’t be as one sided as many had come to believe. The perennial powerhouses such as Manchester United , Chelsea , Arsenal and Liverpool are all fighting for league supremacy and the benefits thereof financially. Winning the Premiership means almost immediate financial benefits to a team as it presents them with an automatic berth into the Champions League tournament. However domestic supremacy and the bragging rights certainly does mean a great deal to the teams as well.
Dimitry Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand question the referee’s decision in a second booking of a United player during the game . picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters ………………….
The Premiership table as it now stands has Liverpool , Chelsea , Manchester United ,Aston Villa and Arsenal leading the pack. And though it can be said that if one had to choose which team would be in with a chance of winning the division outright. One would be hard pressed as a betting man which team overall would be favored. The once mighty Manchester United hasn’t been anywhere near as invincible as some would believe. And even their most feared of enemies Chelsea, seemingly a team whose largesse knows no bounds when it comes to their billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, has been playing well. But not as consistently as many believe that they can. The fact of the matter is that this season we could very well see a very tight race for the Premiership title with it quite possibly going right down to the end of the season. And as laborious as the season is with multiple domestic as well as European competition. All of the top contenders had better be on notice that they cannot fail or even for one moment take their eyes of the prize.
Villa manager Martin O’Neill celebrates his team’s 4-2 triumph over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters …………
For the most discerning fans they feel that they’d like to see their teams prevail. The teams themselves know that some semblance of success is all that they can strive for. Much has been made of the fact that the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool , Manchester United and Arsenal have seen this all before. But there’s an ever so remote a possibility that neither of these teams could prevail in the end. But those chances seemingly are ever so remote. One of these titans of the game will end up winning the title another time. The quartet in question have won the domestic championship between them in excess of thirty times. And whilst United are traveling off to the other side of the world to face Gamba Osaka,of Japan the champions of Asia in the World Club Championship. Another some might feel contrived and meaningless tournament. But the very fact of the matter it’s the financial rewards and what little prestige that one summizes goes with being anointed champions of the world goes a long way in gaining further worldwide notoriety for the game.
Jermain Defoe slots home the winner slots home the winner for Portsmouth against Barnsley in a Premiership game played on Saturday. picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters ………………………..
The Premiership League as I’ve alluded to earlier is the most eagerly contested soccer league in the world. It has a vast array of superstars from all corners of the globe. And if anything this is what makes the game and the league itself all the more appealing for fans across the world. It can’t be truly expressed as to how popular the game itself is right across the globe. Tens of millions of people each week tune in to watch the games of the Premiership League. And the entertainment provided is a justification of what the fans really appreciate. And that’s certainly not just in the United Kingdom but worldwide. The game has become a multi billion dollar industry and the revenues seemingly are on the rise.