AC Milan, David Beckham, EPL, La Liga, Los Angeles Galaxy, Manchester United, Philip Anschutz, Real Madrid, Serie A, Soccer, Sports

Just When You Thought There Was Sanity Within Sports Something Leads You To Believe Otherwise …………..


 
 

Now I know that  for  a  fact that there aren’t that  many soccer  fans  amongst the  throngs  who congregate  within  this  forum.   So I  won’t  prevail  upon  you my inherent  love of  the sport. Other than  to surmise that growing up  in the UK it played  a  great part  in my upbringing. That being  said  I  also  had  other  recreational  activities that I  pursued  with a  passion . Namely  the martial  arts  where  I  obtained  a  black  belt  in  karate.

 

 

 

 

 

On  however  to the  bare  bones  of this  article . As  many  of  you  know the  global  soccer icon   known  as  David  Beckham was  lured  here  to the  United  States  to increase the  profile  of the game of soccer(football).  Having  played  much  of his career in  the  United   Kingdom  for the  much  heralded  Manchester United  and  continent of  Europe  for  Real Madrid  of Spain.   Beckham  was  able  to  parlay  his  inimitable  skills  into a   formidable  fortune  and  worldwide  notoriety.  After a  somewhat  untenable  situation  with the  Spanish  soccer   giant  Real Madrid  came   to  a  head  he  came  to  the  United   States with all of  the  unabashed  publicity  one  would  expect of a  superstar. 

 

 

David  Beckham  and his wife  Victoria     picture appears courtesy  pf  afp/reuters/ Tim Keeley  ...........
David Beckham seen here accompanied by his wife Victoria inthe principality of Monaco picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters/Tim Keeley ...........

 

 

David  Beckham  and his  wife  Victoria  Beckham  seen here  in the  principality  of Monaco .   picture  appears  courtesy of  afp/reuters/Tim Keeley  ………..

 

 

 

 

 

Also  accompanying   him  were  his  publicity  seeking  wife  and  some time  pop  group  vignette  member   Victoria  Beckham and  their  three  children.  As  to her  own  actual claim  to fame that’s  something  I’m  still   trying  to   figure  out.   Well  Beckham  was  welcomed  with  open   arms   by  MLS (Major League Soccer)  and  offered  a  contract   befitting  of  a  king.   All   told  it’s   said  to  be  worth  upwards  of  $250m  over  a  period  of  ten  years.  The   vast majority  of  this  sum  would  be  earned  by  the  player   through  marketing and  branding  his   name  on almost  everything  associated  with  the   game  here  in the  US.   And  if that  wasn’t  enough  a  David  Beckham  Soccer  Academy  would  be  opened up  as well  on  both  coasts.

 

 

 

 

 

Now  it’d be  remiss  of  me  not to  opine on  this   further . But I  feel  that  it’s  best  not  to. Philip  Anschutz  the  multi billionaire  financial ,  media  mogul  and  owner  of  a  number  of  several soccer  franchises   within  the  MLS    would  be  the  main   architect  of this exercise.  And  it  would  be   the  Los  Angeles   Galaxy  where  Beckham  would  be  seen  and  hopefully  be  able  lure  the  more   curious  of  fans  to their   home  facility   at  the  Home  Depot  Center  in Carson, California. The hullaballoo which  followed  all  but  assured  us  that this  exercise  would  either  sink  or   swim  on  Beckham’s presence within  the  league.   The team  itself  was  marginal  at  best  and once  the  player got under  way   with  showing us all  his abilities. It  was  something  of  a  letdown. 

 

 

 

Beckham  shows his  fleet  of  foot  with an  intended pass  for a  teammate  for  his  new  club ............
Bekcham shows that he is fleet of foot with an intended pass for a teammate at his new club AC Milan . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Luciano Pozzolli ..................

 

 

Beckham shows  that he is fleet  of  foot  with  an  intended pass   for  a  teammate  at  his  new  club  AC  Milan.  picture appears courtesy  of  getty  images/Luciano  Pozzolli  ……………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granted  there  was  an  upswing   in  ticket   sales  across   the league   and  the  television  made  its presence   felt  in the  guise  of  ABC  and   cable  entity  ESPN.  But  it  became  short lived  once we   saw  that  the player   wouldn’t  be  on  the  field  on  a  regular basis  because of  recurring   injuries   suffered  prior  to  his  introduction   to the league.  That  of itself  was  enough    was enough  to suggest  that this  would  a  disaster  of  monumental  proportions. Especially   for  the  fans  who  may  well  have  felt  that  they  were  being   short  changed.    His  inauspicious   start  only led  to  further   ridicule  of  the  sport   and  the league itself.   And   much  of  it was  thoroughly  deserved.

 

 

Beckham  in a publicity  pose  after his  loan  agreement  is  confirmed .  The  player is  now  on  loan  to  Italian  soccer  giants  AC  Milan ............picture appears  courtesy of  getty  images  ..........
Beckham seen here in a publicity pose after his agreed loan to Italian soccer giants AC Mlian ..... picture appears courtesy of Luciano Pozzolli ...........

 

 

Beckham  in  a publicity  pose  after  his  loan agreement  is confirmed  to  Italian  soccer giants  AC  Milan.  picture appears  courtesy  of  getty images/Luciano  Pozzolli …………………..

 

 

 

 

 

Now  enjoying   something  of a  rejuvenated  career  with  Italian  soccer  giant   AC Milan  where  he’s now  on  loan  to  the  team.  The  player  is  now  said to  be  interested   remaining   with the  club and  making   the  move  a  permanent  one.  Albeit   denials   have  come thick  and  fast  from  all  parties  concerned  other  than  the  player  himself  directly with the  press. As to  what  this’d  mean  for  the  fans   of  the  Galaxy   much  less  the  domestic  league  here  in the  US remains  to  be  seen.  It  oughtn’t  to  come  as  a  surprise  to  anyone  at all.  The  league is  barely  surviving  now keeping  its  head  above  water with the  all  too   fiscal  conservatism  that’s to be   expected   in  these   dire   economic   times.   As  for  the  management  and  ownership    of  the  franchise   what   started   out   as  an  extravagant  publicity  gimmick . It  now  seems   that  everything  could  come  crashing  down  around  its  ears.  The  player   probably  relishes  the competitive  zeal  of playing   in  Italy in  one  of  the  best  soccer leagues  in the  world in  Serie’A.   When  compared   to  that  of  the Western  Conference of  Major League  Soccer  and  the  league  in its  entirety. The  difference  is  as  clear  as  day  is  to  night.  Why  eat a  rib  roast   when  you  can  have   filet-mignon  instead  ?   

 

 

 

Beckham  in action  for  AC  Milan  ..........
Beckham in action for AC Milan ..... picture appears courtesy of ap/Arturo Emigliano................

 

 

Beckham in  action for  AC Milan.  picture  courtesy  of  ap/Arturo Emigliano ………….

 

 

 

As  to what  may  transpire  between  all of  the   parties  concerned. In  this  case  the  Los Angeles Galaxy  , MLS  and  that  of  AC  Milan  itself. It  has  to be  said  that  it  will be  very interesting  to  see  how   things  will   unfold. Clearly the  loss of  the player  will  be  significant  to  the fortunes  of  not  only the league  but  also  the  Los  Angeles Galaxy itself.  Barely   two  years  into  this   ten  year  agreement  it  would seem that  there is  a  stark   reality   that  Beckham  feels  that  he’d  be  better  served elsewhere  playing in  Italy.  Rather than  suffering  the  ignominy  of   toiling   in  the  US even  though  for  a  large  sum  of  money.  But  nowhere  near the  recognition  and  notoriety   that  he’s  usually  accustomed  to  when  playing   in  other  parts  of  the  world.  It  appears  that  when   money  doesn’t  always   buy   you a great deal of  happiness . But  in  some  cases   it  doesn’t  hurt  to   try   your  hand   at  it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Beckham , Anschutz  and   all  concerned  in this  particular   fiasco  it has  been  all   about the  money  and  rarely  anything  else.  Who’d  have   thought it  ? For  $250m Beckham  was   brought  in   to make the   statement   that   the   exercise was a  worthwhile  endeavor    and  that  the  game  would  be   better  for  it  here  in  the  United States.   All   the  money   in  the  world  it appears  can’t   make  up   for  the  futility , stupidity  and  overall    just  downright  lack  of  common  sense.  

Affliction, Andrei Orlovski, Boxing, Brock Lesnar, Dana White CEO of UFC, Fedor Ermialanenko, MMA, Randy Couture, Sports, UFC, WBA world welterweight title

Well That Screwed Up My Weekend …………


 

This  weekend  being  the  boxing  fan  that  I  am .  I  felt  it’d  be worthwhile watching  Sugar  Shane  Mosley take  on  Antonio Margarito  for  his WBA world  welterweight  crown.   Now  based   on  what  I’d  previously   witnessed  when Margarito took care  of  Miguel  Cotto  and  relinquishing  him  of  the  title.   I  was  under  the   impression  that  this  time Margarito  would prove  himself  up to the  task of  defending  his title   adequately. 

 

 

Margarito  sits  in  his  corner  dazed  and  confused  having  lost  his  WBA welterweight title  to  Shane Mosley  in  ninth round by  a TKO ..................

 

 

Margarito dazed and  confused  aseat   on  his  stool  in  the corner  having just  lost his  WBA world  welterweight  title  to   Shane  Mosley  in a ninth round  with  a TKO. picture appears  courtesy  of  afp/ Mark  Ralston ……………………

 

 

 

 

 

Now  the  two  combatants   are  well  respected  in their   field   and  with  Mosley  considered  to  be  a fighter  who’s considered  to  have reached  the  zenith  of  his  career.  It  was  thought   that  he  was  merely here  as  a  stepping  stone  as  to  further  the  ambitions  of  Margarito.  Of  whom  it  can  be  said  after  his   dethroning  of  Cotto was   seen as  a  hero  in   his   homeland  of  Mexico.  Joining  such  heralded  heroes  as  Marco  Antonio  Barrera  and   Julio  Cesar  Chavez.

 

 

 

 

 

Both fighters  were  ready  to   make   put  on a  show   that’d   have   the  fans  wanting  more.   And  they  pleased  the  fans  with  a  very  spirited     display.   The  bout  was held  at  the  Staples   Center   ,  home  to  the  Los Angeles   Lakers  and  the  less   fortunate   Clippers.  Enough  said  on that   score !  The  bout   was  seen  as  a  possible   setup  for  the  winner  to  take  on  the  pound  for  pound  champion  Manny  Pacquiao.   Who  himself   accounted  for   the  complete   obliteration of  an  over  the  hill   Oscar  De  La Hoya.

 

 

 

 

 Margarito Mosley Boxing

 

Mosley conncets  to  the  head of  Margarito  during  the  eighth  round  of  their WBA world welterweight title  bout  held  at  the  Staples Center in Los Angeles,Ca. a    .picture appears courtesy of  afp /Mark  Ralston  …………………..

 

 

 

 

From  the  outset   Margarito  had  problems  dealing  with  his  older  opponent  and   Mosley   put  on  a  classic   display  of  boxing  with  skills.  Punching  and   counterpunching   effectively,   Mosley   had  Margarito  constantly  backpedaling.  And  if  that  were  not  enough  the  fans  in  attendance   were  ecstatic  with  what  they  were  seeing.   The  Pomona  born  and  based   fighter   in  front  of  his   home  crowd  had  many  of  the  fans  on  his   side.   But  we’d  be  remiss  in   stating  that  Margarito  didn’t   have  his  own  legion  of   fans.   As   there  was  also a  large   Hispanic   crowd  in  attendance   primarily  made  up   for   Mexicans.

 

 

Referee Raul  Caiz Sr stops  the fight in the  ninth round with  Mosley making  his way  to  a  neutral  corner ........................................

 

 

Mosley makes his   way  to  a  neutral  corner   as  referee  Raul  Caiz  Sr  stops  the  fight  in  the  ninth  round of  their  WBA world welterweigh title bout. picture appears courtesy  of  afp/  Mark  Ralston ………………

 

 

 

 

 

Now  as  the  fight  proceeded  it  was  becoming  clear   for  all  to  see  that  we  were   going  to  be  in  for  what  many  might  deem  a  stunning  upset.  The  more  Mosley  dictated  the  pace  of  the  bout  the  more  problems   could  be   foreseen  ahead   for  Margarito.   He  would  succumb  to   a  ninth  round  TKO  at  the  hands  of  the  37 year  old   ageless  wonder.  With  this  win   Mosley    cements   his   own  legacy  as  one  of  the  premiere  fighters   in   the   sport.   And  over  the  last   decade   one   can   decidedly   say  that  his   name   can  be  placed  alongside  that  of  De La  Hoya  ,  Hopkins ,  Pacquiao  and   Barrera  as  some  the  elite  fighters  of  the decade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boxing  as  we  know  comes  in  cycles   and   the  great   fighters  are the  one  who   have  a  lasting  legacy  on the  sport.  Mosley  for  his  part  has  shown us  all  now  that  he   ought  to  be  really  considered   one  of the  great  fighters  of  this  era.  And  even  if   there’s   been  some   controversy  and   allegations  of  steroid   use.  The fighter  himself  having   paid   the  price   has   shown  us  that   when  asked  to  step  up  to  the  plate  he’s  done   so  with  great   aplomb.

 

 

 

 

Now it  shouldn’t  come  to  you  all  that  I’m  also  a   big   MMA  fan.  And  with  that  being  said  the  idiocy of  what  we  see   going  on   within  UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)  only  leads  me   to  believe  that   CEO Dana  White  clearly thinks  of   himself  as  some  sort  of modern day PT Barnum.   His   brazen  attempt  to  sell  the  fact  that  in  Brock  Lesnar  as  the  world heavyweight  champion  is  the  best that  the  sport  has  to  offer.   In  many  ways  it’s    suggesting  that  the  acting   pedigree  of  Lindsay  Lohan  is   equal  to   that  of  Meryl  Streep.    Whilst   Lesnar   beat  an  aging  and   over  the  hill  Randy   Couture  to  win the  crown.    There  is  the  belief   that   the  best   fighter  within   the  genre   is   Fedor  Ermialanenko.

 

 

 

 

 

Fedor  is  not  a member of  the  UFC  stable.   And  any  envisaged  wish   to  see  him   take  on  Lesnar   won’t  be  forthcoming.  Especially  if   White  has  any  say  in the matter.  He’s  derided  the  fact  that   Ermialanenko   fights  for  an  opposing   organization  in  Affliction. And  being  the  consummate  showman  that  he  is ,  we know   that  White’ll  do  anything  that  will  make UFC  a viable  commodity  and  product.   

 

 

 

Ermialanenko  walks  away as referee  John  McCarthy calls the fight  over  with  Fedor  having  defeated  Andrei  Orlovski  ...........................

 

 

 

 Fedor  Ermialanenko  walks  away  as referee  referee  John McCarthy  declares   the  bout   over  between  Fedor  and   Andrei Orlovski.   The  bout  was  over  in  1:46 (minute/seconds)  in  a devastating  show of  power.  picture appears  courtesy of  combatzone.com/ Maggie  Thomas ………………..

 

 

 

 

 

Fedor  tonight   fought  Andrei  Orlovski  in  what  was   deemed    Day  of  Reckoning  on  one  of their  major   fight  cards  of the  season  thus   far.     Such  was  the  prowess  of   the  Russian   that it  took him  all  but  1:46  of  the  first   round  of  the   bout  to  dispatch  the  fighter.   One  can   assume   that   were   Lesnar  the  opponent   in  that   bout   the  outcome   would   be   the  same  ?   Lesnar   for  all  of his  experience  within  the  WWE   and  now  the  UFC can’t  be   taken  seriously  as  a  viable   titlist   and  competitor  within  the  genre.  But  such  is  the  inflated  ego  of   White   that   he  may well  be  using   the  fighter  merely   as  a  promotional  tool  , if   nothing  else.  Once  Lesnar   has   outlived  his   usefulness  in   terms   of  publicizing   the  sport   he  may  well  fall  by  the  wayside.

 

 

 

As  to  the  aspirations  of  White  it’s  completely   obvious  that   he’s   out  for   global  domination  as  to  the  supremacy  of   the  sport  under  his   leadership   of  UFC.  Affliction   for  what’s   deemed  its  flaws  of  being   the  new  kid  on  the  block   can’t   seem  to  get  any   respect.   But  in  my    mind  as  long  as  they   possess  the  best   fighter  within  genre.   That’s   all  the   publicity  that   they’ll  need   in  order  to  gain   the  legitimacy  that  they    require.   For   White    I   feel  that  he  ought  to  be   building   bridges   rather    than  choosing   to  deride  and  ignore  an   opponent.   Who   knows  when  he  might  be   in  need   of  some    assistance   from  the  likes  of  Affliction   ?

 
AFC West, Kansas City Chiefs, LaDainian Tomlinson, NFL, NFL Divisional playoffs, Norv Turner, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers

What Would Or Should LDT Do ?


 

Well  it   would  appear  that   San  Diego  Chargers  owner  Dean  Spanos  and   General  Manager  A J Smith  have  come  to  the conclusion   that  the  team’s Pro Bowl  running  back  LaDainian  Tomlinson is  no  longer  a prerequisite   to  the  team’s  needs.  Bearing  that  in  mind  the player’s  presence  in the postseason  was  negligible  at   best.  It  is   believed  to  be  the only  alternative   that  the  team  has  but   to   release   or   trade   him.

 

 

LaDainian  Tomlinson  on the  sidelines  during  the  team's  postseason  game  against the  Pittsburgh  Steelers  .........
LaDainian Tomlinson on the sidelines looking on in the postseason NFL game played between the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers...............

 

 

LaDainian  Tomlinson   on  the  sidelines  looking   on  in  the  game  between  the  San  Diego   Chargers  and  Pittsburgh  Steelers.   picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Tom  McCaffrey …………….

 

 

 

 

If  anything  it’d  be   in  their   best   interest  to   trade  or   release  the  player  if  that  is  their  conviction  at  this  juncture.    And  in  all   probability  they  would  still  be  able  to  garner  a  first  or  second  draft   pick   for the  player   if  not   more.   He’s  still  productive   albeit  that   he  may not  viewed  as  explosive   at  this   point  in   his   career.  Upon  his  introduction  and   entrance  to   the  NFL  the player   himself   has  been   one  of  the  most  productive  ,  if    not the best   running  back  to  have   graced  the   league  over  the  past decade.    LaDainian   has  let  it be  known   that   he’ll  abide   by  whatever   decision  is  made     by    management.  Tomlinson   has  also   stated   that   he  would  let  the   fans   know  of  the progress  being  made   via   his   personal   website.    So  with  baited   breath    the  football  world  awaits  the   outcome.

 

 

 

Dean  Spanos  (left)   seen here  with Arizona Cardinals' President  Michael  Bidwill  at  the  Cardinals'  training  facility ..............
Dean Spanos (left) seen here with Arizona Cardinals' President Michael Bidwill at the Cardinals' training facility ............

 

 

Dean  Spanos (left)  the   owner  of  the  San Diego  Chargers  seen  here with   Arizona  Cardinals  President   Michael   Bidwill  at the  Cardinals’  training   facility.  picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Tom  Bowyer ……………….. 

 

 

 

 

There’ll   no  doubt   be  a  number  of  teams  out there  vying  for  the  player’s   services  who  are in   need  of   someone  of   his   renowned  status.  But  the   caveat  here  is  that  he’s   no  longer  the  player  who   was once  considered  to be   the  most   explosive  and  prodigious   running  back  in  the league.  Injuries  as  of  late  have  hindered    his   productivity.  And   also   his  leadership   qualities   have  come  into  question.    There’ve  been  no  conflicts  between he  and  the  coach  Norv  Turner,  or   with   management   or   in  fact   his  teammates  at  large.  But  it may  well  be  that  Smith  and  Spanos  feel  that  it  is  now  time   in  another   direction  and  that they   don’t   need   Tomlinson  at  the   helm   to lead  the   team’s   ground   attack.

 

 

Cahrgers'  running   back  Darren  Sproles  tries  to evade the  tackle  of  the  Steelers'  linebacker  Patrick  Bailey  during  their  postseason  meeting.  ...................
Chargers' running back Darren Sproles tries to evade the tackle of Steelers' linebacker Patrick Bailey during their team's postseason meeting. ................

 

 

Chargers’ running  back  Darren  Sproles tries  to  evade  the  tackle  of   Steelers’  linebacker  Patrick Bailey  during  their  team’s postseason  meeting.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Tom  McCaffrey  ………………….

 

 

 

 

If  anything   they  may  well   feel   that   the  productivity   and  resourcefulness  shown  by Darren  Sproles  in  the  playoffs  . And   his   play   in  the  last game  of  the regular  season  against  the  Denver  Broncos  was    enough  of  an  indication   that  may   well   have   a  ready made     replacement .   As  to   the  Chargers’   fans this   may  not  be  something   that   they  want  to   hear   from  the  ownership  at this   juncture.    However  with  the  loss  of  defensive   stalwart   Shawne  Merriman    due   to   injury   early   in  the  season  things  went   downhill  for the  team.  They  were  able  to   regroup   and   were  it   not  for   the  sheer   incompetency   shown  and  the  meltdown   by  the  Denver  Broncos.  We  may   not  have  been  talking    of  the  San   Diego   Chargers   as the  winners  of the  AFC  West , much  less   them   making   the  playoffs.  But   such  was  the  ineptitude  shown   and  lack  of   quality  within  the  division   that    in  many  respects  one  can  view  that  they  won  it   by  default.   The  Oakland  Raiders  were   laughable  ,  the  Kansas  City Chiefs    struggled   to  show  some consistency .  And   as  alluded to   earlier    the  Denver  Broncos   in  the  end   cost   Mike  Shanahan   his   job  with  their   season   ending   meltdown.

 

 

 

Norv  Turner  looks  at the  playbook during  the  divisional  round  playoff  game  against   Pittsburgh  ................
Norv Turner looks down at the playbook during the divisional round playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers ......................

 

Norv  Turner   looks   down  at  the  playbook  during the  divisional round playoff  game against  Pittsburgh.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Tom McCaffrey ………………..

 

 

 

 

 

As   to  what  awaits  Tomlinson  is   now most   definitely   open  to conjecture  and   a  great  deal  of  debate.  But  if the  rumblings and   rumors  are  said   to  be   true   then  it  is quite  believable    that the  player  will  be  leaving  the  franchise   as  some  time   in  the  near   future.   His    destination   could  be  anywhere   in  the  league  and  there’ll  be  no  doubt    a  great  of    interest   shown   by  a  number   of  teams  around  the  NFL.     As   to  the  player’s   own  choices    that   is  something   that  we   know   nothing  of.    But   in  all   likelihood  he  may  well   prefer   to   remain   on   out   on  the  West  Coast.    But   I  for   one   believe  that  if  the  right  offer   came  along    he may   well   look   to   the   east   as  to   where   his   fortunes   may  lie.    So  let   the  chips   fall   where   they   may   and  let’s  see   what’ll    transpire   for    not   only   Tomlinson    but  also   for  the  San  Diego   Chargers   themselves.  If   nothing  else   this    off  season    could  well  be  a  very   interesting   one  leading   up    to   the   NFL  draft.

 

 

 

 

Eddie De Bartolo, Football, H D Wayne Huizenga, Joel Glazer, NFL, San Francisco Forty Niners, Sports, Stephen Ross, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s Never About The Money Is It …………?


 

A lot  ha s been  happening  within the  NFL  over  the last  few  weeks  as we’ve  seen  a slew  of  coaches   bite  the  dust. We all as  one  observes  the  debris  of this  all.  You  cannot  help   but  wonder  what  really  is  behind  this  all ?  In  the  case of  the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers   there’s  now   a great  deal  of  speculation  coming  into  being  that  the  Glazer  family  will  be  on  the  verge  of  selling  the  franchise. 

 

GM Mark  Dominik  ,  Executive  VP President Edward Glazer, VP Bryan  Glazer, new  team coach  Raheem Morris and  Cheif Executive and  Chairman  Joel Glazer  of the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers.........

 

 

 

GM Mark  Dominik ,Exective  VP Edward  Glazer, VP  Bryan  Glazer,  new coach  Raheem Morris   and  Chief Executive  and  Chairman Joel  Glazer of  the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers.   picture   appears   courtesy  of   getty   images/…………………

 

 

 

 

If  you are  aware  of  the situation  the  family  are  also   the  owners   of  the  prestigious  English  Premiership soccer  club  Manchester  United.  They paid in excess  of  $1.5bn  for  the  team much  of  it  through leveraged  sources  within  the  financial  community. Well  now  the  club  itself  is  laden  with  debt said  to  be  to  the tune  of  $850m. It begs  the  question  what are the  family  to do  next  ?    Much  of  this  debt  is  subordinated  and  will  have to  be  paid  off  to  the  financiers.  That being  said  it  may  well  be  the  maneuvers  set  forth  by  the  Glazers  in the  firing  of  Jon Gruden  and  the  team’s GM  Bruce  Allen is  setting  about   a  chain of  actions   that  was  their  original  intention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a  new   coach  in  place  in the  guise  of  Raheem  Morris  and  a  general manger  in Mark  Dominik.  Both  are   inexperienced  in terms  of  the  positions  that   they  now  assume.  It has  to be  said  that  on appearance  alone  ,  in  particular   Joel  Glazer  may well  be  laying  the  groundwork   for the  selling  of  the  franchise.  Albeit  that at this  time it’s  merely   speculative.  Manchester  United  if  anything   is  the more  prized  asset  within  their  sport’s  franchise kingdom.  And of  the  two  it’s  the  more   recognizable  .  It  has  a  worldwide  branding   recognition.   And  to  most  the  name  is  synonymous  with  all  that  is   prestigious  about  the  game  itself. 

 

 

Eddie Debartolo   the  former owner  of  the  San  Francisco  Forty  Niners  ..............
Eddie DeBartolo the former owner of the San Francisco Forty Niners ................

 

 

Eddie  DeBartolo   the  former  owner   of  the   San  Francisco   Forty Niners.    picture  appears  courtesy  of ap/photo/Mark  Freuerstein …………………

 

 

 

 

As  for  the  suitors  it  has  been  rumored  that  former  San  Francisco Forty  Niners’ owner Eddie DeBartolo  may  have  an  interest  in the  pursuance  and  purchase  of  the  franchise.  The  billionaire  commercial  real  estate  tycoon and  entrepreneur  who  has  a  home  in  the  Tampa Bay  are   and  who  does a  great  deal  of  philanthropic  work  within the  community.  For  him it would  be  a  return  to  a position   where  he  oversaw  a lot  of  success  as  an  owner.  And  though  we  know   that   DeBartolo  had  to  relinquish  control  of  the  Forty  Niners   due to  some  undue   business  dealings.  Were  the  transaction  to  take place  it  may well  be   welcomed  by  those  within   the  community.   But  that’d   be  also   predicated   upon  the  views  of  NFL Commissioner   Roger  Goodell  and  the  rest of  the  owners  within  the  NFL. It’s been often  felt  that the  Glazers  are  much  more  concerned  as  to  the  success of  Manchester   United . Rather  than  that of   the  Tampa  Bay Buccaneers.   But  those  views  of  late  have  been  dispelled  by  Malcom Glazer’s   son  Joel Glazer.  Whether  one  can  take  him  at  his   word  remains  to  be  seen.    But in  this  day and   age   when  the  economy  is  in  such   dire  straits one  has  to  ask  whether   or  not  the   family  can  be  believed ?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst  this  has  been  going  on  another   transaction   took  place   concerning  the  Miami  Dolphins. Owner  H D Wayne  Huizenga  has  relinquished  control  of the  franchise   by  selling  a  majority  stake  in  the franchise  to  New  York  real  estate  developer  and  multi-billionaire  Stephen Ross.   Huizenga  now  only  retains  a  5%   stake  in the  franchise   having  sold  Ross  the  majority   stake   for  an  undisclosed   sum.   Though it has  been   rumored the  figure  may well be  in  excess of  $1bn  for that  majority  stake.  The  deal  itself   was   finalized  yesterday.  Why all  of the  interest   you may  ask  ?   Well  in  light of  this  it  has  left  Bill  Parcells  the  man  behind  the  renaissance  of  the  franchise  in a  very  enviable   position.  Parcells   has   thirty    days  in  which   to  make  a  decision   as  to  whether   or  not he’ll  remain  with   the  franchise  or   walk  away.    And   in  walking  away  he’ll   take  with  him  the  sum  of  $12m   free  and  clear.  Now that’s  a service   contract   worth  having   now  isn’t  it  ?  

 

 

 

Billionaire  real estate  developer  and  now  principal  owner  of the  Miami  Dolphins  Stephen Ross (left)  seated  alongside  H D Wayne  Huizenga   who sold  a  majority  stake in the franchise  to  the  developer........
Billionaire reeal estate developer Stephen Ross (left) seated alongside H D Wayne Huizenga who sold a majority stake in the franchise to the developer ...................

 

 

Newly  minted  principal   owner  of  the  Miami Dolphins  billionaire real  estate developer  and  tycoon  Stephen  Ross  seated  alongside  H D  Wayne  Huizenga   the  former  owner  of  the franchise.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Gustavo  Matos ……………………

 

 

 

 

Parcells  is  in an  enviable   position  as he  knows  that  there  are  several  franchises  around  the  league  in need  of  a  good   architect   who  can  resurrect  their  fortunes.  No  longer   it’d  appear  interested   in  coaching   we  know   that   Parcells  is  capable  of   rebuilding  a  franchise  using  his  astute   knowledge  and  the  building   blocks  that may  well  be  already   be  in  place.. He’s   done  it   wherever  he’s been   and if  anything   the  most  impressive  piece  of  work  on  his   resume’  may  well be   the  resurrection  of   the  Miami  Dolphins.  He  turned  this   team  around   by  shrewdly  putting   in  place  a  good  coach  in  Tony Sparano.   And  then  bringing   in  former  New  York  Jets’   quarterback  Chad  Pennington.  Jettisoned   by   his  former   team  in  favor  of   Brett Favre.  Pennington  had  an exemplary  year  as   the   Dolphins  won  the  AFC  East  division  and  making  the  playoffs  after their   disastrous  1-15  record  from  the  previous  year.    If  ever  there   was  an  indication   as  to  Parcells’  genius    then  this   may  well  have   been  it.    If  anything   one  may  well   feel  that  Parcells’  former  employer  Jerry Jones  of the  Dallas  Cowboys  must  be   ruin  the  day   he  decided   that it  was  OK  for   him   to let   Parcells   leave   the  franchise.     But  then  again  Jones   has  always  been  his   own  man  marching to  the  beat   of  his   very   own   drum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These  moves  may not  seem   significant   on the  surface  of things   but  should   they  materialize. It’s   only a  mere   indication  as   to  what’s  now  happening  within  sports  as  a number  of  franchises  look  to  tighten  their   belts.  Be  it   for  the  short   term  or   long   term.  It won’t   be  often   that we’ll   see this  happen  but  when  it   does  ,  it  does  carry   some   serious  ramifications    for   sports   in  general.  

Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Gunfight At The OK Corral ………….


Well last  night  the  Los Angeles  Lakers and  the Cleveland  Cavaliers met  up for  what  was  meant  to  be  one  of  the  more  entertaining  NBA  games  taking place   on MLK Day.   The  two   teams  have  been  playing   so well  and  their  superstars  in the  guises  of   Kobe  Bryant and   LeBron  James   have  basically  been  dueling  as  to  their   supremacy  and  who  really  is   the  King  of  the  NBA.

 

 

 

 

LeBron James drives  for the basket  under the  defensive presence  of  Pau  Gasol of  the  Los Angeles  Lakers ............
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives for the basket under the defensive presence of the Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol ............

 

 

LeBron James of  the  Cleveland Cavaliers drives  for the  basket  under the  defensive  presence of  the  Los Angeles  Lakers’ Pau Gasol. picture  appears  courtesy of nbae/getty  images/ Noah  Graham  ………………. 

 

 

 

 

Absolutely  no  one  doubt  either players’ talents  as  they’re  both  supremely  gifted.   And  in  light  of that  there  now  seems  to  be  a  controversy  building  up  amongst  the  fans  as  to  who  really  is  the  better player.  We  all  saw to  great  effect  what  each  was  capable  of whilst  they   both   represented  the  country   during  the  Olympics  in Beijing.  Team  USA  triumphed and  both  were  pleased to  come  back  wearing their  gold  medal.  That  being   said   gold  medals  are   not  what  they  are  judged  by when  it’s  all  said  and  done.  It’s about winning  titles  and  the  indelible  legacy that  they  leave  on the  game.    That’s  what  legends are  made  of  and  usually   how  they’re  remembered .

 

 

 

 

Well  last  night  at the  Staples  Center   we  saw   the   good  and  the  bad in  both  players.  But  then again that’s  to  be  expected  when  a  game   is  hyped  into  something  in  reality  is  completely  meaningless.   There  was  nothing   really  on the  line  other  than  a  perceived bragging  right.  And  that’s about   it.  But the  way  many  of  the  fans  in question  would   describe  the  matchup. One   would’ve believed  that  the  Earps and  Clantons  were  meeting   in  Dodge City  to  sort out their  differences.

 

 

Bryant  and  Gasol  acknowledge  each other  after a well  executed  play against  the  Cavaliers  .................
Bryant and Gasol acknowledge each other after a well executed play against the Cleveland Cavaliers ...........

 

 

Bryant  and Gasol  acknowledge  each  other after a  well  executed  play  against  the  Cleveland   Cavaliers.  picture appears courtesy of  nbae/getty  images/ Noah Graham ………………

 

 

 

 

 

The game  itself  was  bedeviled  by  some   poor  shooting  by  both  teams.  And   Bryant and  James  were  a  part  of  that  equation  also.   So make  of  that  what   you  will.  I   know that  some  excuses   will be  made   for   their   poor    output  as  far  as  their   shooting   goes.  But  then   again we’re  all  entitled  to  a  bad  night  at the  office  aren’t  we  ?   It  was  somewhat  reflective  of the  night as  a whole  as  the game stats bear this  out.  But  some  would   have  still   have  you  believe  that  was   a  thoroughly   entertaining  game  and  that   both  stars   played  exceptionally  well.  In  reality  they   were   good   but  most  definitely  not  exceptional.

 

 

 

James' jump shot over  the  outstretched  arms  of  the Lakers' Kobe  Bryant  ..............
James' jump shot over the outstretched arms of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant ..............

 

 

James’  jump shot over  the  outstretched  arms  of the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant   during  the  game  played  in  which  their  Eastern  Conference nemesis  105-88. picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty  images/  Noah  Graham  ……………..

 

 

 

 

The   game itself  resulted  in  a  105-88   win  for  the  Los Angeles  Lakers  and  with  none  other  than  Pau  Gasol  in a  starring role  for  the  men  in purple  and  gold.  The  player  chipped  in  with  22  points  and  played   well  on  both  ends  of  the  floor.  That being   said  for the  Lakers’   fans  this   was the  chance  to  seek    revenge against  a  team  that  has  had the    better  of  them  as  of  late.  But  I’d  dare  that  a  matchup  of  this might   would  be  more  meaningful  were  it   in the  postseason, with  everything  on the  line to  play  for  ?  But as   with  all  regular  season  games  as  such  this  merely  may  have been  a  joust  more  than  anything  else.    It may  not  have  amounted   to much   in  some   eyes.    But  to  some  it  amounts  to  a  great  deal.   As   to what  that   might be   is  open  to  pure speculation  and  conjecture . 

 

 

Bryant drives the lane against the Cavaliers' Mo  Williams .............
Bryant drives the lane against the Cleveland Cavaliers' Mo Williams .............

 

Bryant drives  the lane against the  Cleveland Cavaliers’ Mo  Williams  during  the game.  picture  appears  courtesy of   nbae/getty images/ Noah Graham ……. 

 

 

 

Last  night  instead  of  being   served  up   a  feast   it  was  merely   nothing   more  than appetizer  of  the  most   unusual  of  kinds.  Those who  sought to prepare  the  meal   clearly  forgot  to make  sure  that  the  utensils  in  question   had  to  be meticulously   polished.   As  for  the  main   course   of  the  rivalry   between   Bryan  and  James  it was  much  ado  about  nothing  at  this   juncture.  In  the end  it   pointed  to   nothing  more than  two  players    trying  to   outdo  each  other   and   coming up badly   not  necessarily  when  it  mattered  most.  It  did  little   to prove  who   really  was the  better  player  on  the  night.  And if  anything  it  merely   proves  to  us  that   we’re   creating   something   out  of  nothing.    Afterall  were this  a  real   gunfight    they’d  have both   come  out  guns a blazing  instead  of  merely  shooting  blanks.

Andy Reid, Arizona Cardinals, Donovan McNabb, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports

Always The Bridesmaid Never The Bride …………….


Well the  Philadelphia  Eagles  have  once  again  fallen at  the  last  obstacle  they’ve  got to  face. Now  when  you  consider  that  over   the  Andy Reid  reign  as coach  of  the  franchise  the  team has  gone  to  5  NFC championship  games   in  ten  years .  And  have  only  once  been  to  the  Superbowl.  One  has to  ask  what   the  franchise   now   has to   do  to  in  order  to  show  their  fans  that  they’re   capable  of  winning  the  big  one. 

 

 

Terrelle  Smith and  Gabe Watson  of the  Arizona  Cardinals are  overwhelmed  with  emotion after  the  team's victory  over  the  Philadelphia  Eagles  in the  NFC  championship  game ....................
Terrelle Smith and Gabe Watson of the Arizona Cardinals are overwhelmed with emotion after the team's victory over the Philadlephia Eagles 32-25 .............

 

Terrelle Smith and  Gabe  Watson of  the  Arizona Cardinals  are  overwhelmed with  emotion after the  team’s victory  having  just  earned  a  berth in  the  NFC  championship  game with  a  32-25 defeat  of the  Philadelphia  Eagles.  picture  appears  courtesy of  getty images/Chris  Graythen ……….

 

 

 

 

 

And  you  know  what   took  place   during  that  infamous  game  against the  New  England  Patriots ?  We  saw  the  play of  Terrell  Owens  and   the  seemingly  meltdown  of  Donovan McNabb.  Owens’  calling  out  of  the  player  in the  aftermath  of  the  loss  was  about as  much  to  expect   from  Owens  himself.  Never  one  to  take  responsibility  for his  own  shortcomings.  But  then again  what  primadonna  player   out   there  ever  is  ?

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday’s  NFC  championship  game  against  this  year’s  Cinderella  story  in the  guise  of  the  Arizona  Cardinals,  was  one  for  the  ages.  Both  teams  played  at an  exceptionally  high  level.   McNabb  himself  was  out  there  to  set  himself  apart  and  to  answer  those  who  felt   that  he  was  past  his prime.  His   counterpart   for  the  Cardinals  was  the  ageless  wonder   Kurt  Warner.   And when  one  considers  that  Warner  has  all  but  placed  this   team  on  his  shoulders  and   guided   them  to  their   first   postseason  in  ages.  One  can  understand  the  reason  why  .this  story  more  than  any  other  this  postseason  has  been  the  one  that  everyone  has  been  talking   about.   

 

 

A somewhat  inconsolable  Donovan McNabb at  the  postgame press  interview  in  Glendale Arizona ..............................

 

 

A somewhat  inconsolable  Donovan  McNabb  as  the  postgame interview   in  Glendale,  Arizona .   picture appears  courtesy of   getty  images /Chris  Graythen ………………

 

 

 

 

The Arizona  Cardinals  all  but  thought  of  as  an  afterthought , the  franchise has played    with  abandonment and  passion  this  postseason.   In doing   so  they’ve   taken   care   of  the  Atlanta  Falcons and   Carolina  Panthers.    That  not  being   enough  to  prove their   prowess  this  postseason  they  then  had  to  face  Eagles.  Who for   if  anything   the  NFC championship  game  as  such    has  been a  home  away  from home   as  such  over  the  last  decade.   Ken  Whisenhunt  as  coach  of  the  Cardinals   has  placed  this  team  at  the  pinnacle  of  a season   that  was  totally  unexpected   to  many  within  the  NFL  and  their  fans.    With  their  offensive   potency  and  a  defense  that  has  been  playing  above  themselves   during  this   postseason.  It  was  expected  that  the  Arizona  Cardinals  would  be  the  cannon  fodder   for   the   physical   play  of  the  Philadelphia  Eagles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For  two  quarters   this   game   was  everything  that  the  Cardinals’ fan had  wished  for  and  more. Taking  a  24-6  lead  many   thought  the   game  to  be  all  but  over.  And  with  the  Eagles   facing   almost  certain  elimination   Donovan McNabb  took  it  upon  himself  to  lead  this  team  back  into  the  game.  Well  he  did  that   and  it  seemed  that  this  was  to  be  their   day. And  with  McNabb  we  know  that  he’ll either  succumb under  real  pressure  or   he’ll   just  fall  short  of  what’s expected.  Well  McNabb didn’t  disappoint  as  he led  the  Eagles  back  into  contention  with a  chance  to  win  the  game.  A 25-24  lead  with   two  and  a half  minutes  to  play  must’ve  seemed  a  godsend  to  the  Eagles’ fans  and  those  watching  live  on   broadcast  television.  What  then  transpired   was  enough  to  make  you  believe  that  there  is  such  a  thing as  fairy  tales.  

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinals' strength  coach  John Lott congratulates  Kurt  Warner  after  the  team's  victory over  the  Eagles ..........................
Cardinals' strength coach John Lott congratulates Kurt Warner after the team's victory over the Eagles in the NFC championship game played in Glendale, Arizona .......................

 

 

Cardinals’ strength coach  John Lott  congratulates  Kurt Warner  after  the  team’s  victory  over  the  Philadelphia  Eagles in  a  game  played  in  Glendale , Arizona.  picture appears  courtesy of  getty  images/ Chris   Graythen ………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kurt Warner  given  enough  time   can  and  has  shred  a  defense apart  with  his  play.  And  with  him   having   hooked  up  with   Larry  Fitzgerald   three  times  in the  first  half. It begs  the  question why  didn’t  the  Eagles   have  their   defense   keeping  a watchful   eye  on  Tim  Hightower  ?  But  then  again  these   sort  of  lapses   do  happen . And  it  all   but  led to  the  Eagles’  day  ending   in   sorrow.  Not  only  did  Hightower  score  the  winning  touchdown.  But  the  Cardinals  went  on  to score on  the  two  point  conversion   thereby  putting  the  game  beyond   the  Eagles’  reach.   If  nothing  else   for  Andy  Reid  and   Donovan   McNabb   this  may  well  have   been  their   last   chance  and   grasp  of  the  one   professional   prize  that  has  eluded  them  both   over  the  course   their  professional  careers  in  the NFL.   And  if  anything  one  can  assume  that  it  had  to  have  been  heartbreaking   for  not  only  their   fans   but  also  the  players  themselves.   

 

 

 

Edgerrin  James  of  the  Cardinals is  tackled  by  Eagles'  safety  Brian Dawkins  ................................
Edgerrin James of the Cardinals is tackled by the Eagles' safety Brian Dawkins ..............

 

Edgerrin James  of  the  Cardinals  is  tackled  by  Eagles’  safety Brian Dawkins .  picture  appears courtesy of  getty images/Phil  Dallhauser ……………………..

 
 
 

 

 

The result  32-25   now   guarantees   Whisenhunt’s   team   a  berth  as  the  NFC  representative  in  Superbowl  XLIII in  Tampa  on  the  1st February.  Their  opponents  there  will  be  the  Pittsburgh  Steelers.   The  Steelers   will  be  looking  to  raise  the  Lombardi  trophy  for  the  sixth time.  And   with  their  coach  Mike Tomlin  looking   to become  only  the  second   African  American  coach   to  win a  Superbowl  as  a coach.  Some  historic  precedences  will  be  set   whomever   raises  the  trophy.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been  a  long  time  coming   for  the   Arizona  Cardinals  but  it  may  well  be  a  long  time   before  we’ll  ever  see  the  Philadelphia  Eagles  again  in  this  sort of  a  scenario.   So  close   but   yet  so   far   away.

 

 

Commissioner Roger Goodell, Dallas Cowboys, Football, Jerry Jones, NFL, NFLP(Players' Union), Sports

To Be Capped Or Uncapped That Is The Question ………..


We’ve  lamented  the  woes  of  baseball and the   fact  that   the  game  in  terms  of  its  finances.  In some  ways  it’s  about  the  haves  and  have  nots.   The  game doesn’t  as such  possess a salary cap.  But  in light of  the  imbalances  between the  major market  and  small  market teams.   The  hierarchy of  baseball  saw   fit  to initiate a luxury   tax.   Thereby  enabling   the  smaller  market  teams  to  be  deemed  competitive  by  giving  them   a chance  to  compete  with  their  much  bigger   rivals. 

  

NFL  Commissioner  Roger  Goodell  addresses members  of  theb  convened  press
NFL Commissioner addresses members of the convened press ..............

 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  addresses  members  of the convened  press .  picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/ Matthew  Dibble  ………

 

 

 

 

Well  now  with  the   NFL  season  about  to  reach  its  culmination  in  early  February .  We’ll  be  heading  into  a season  of  uncertainty   as  there’s  talk  of  there  being  an  uncapped  season   in   terms of  the  salary  cap.  Such  is  the  acuteness  of  the  situation  that Commissioner  Roger  Goodell  is  looking  at the   situation  with  a  great  deal of  seriousness.  And if there’s  one  thing   that  we  know   about  the   NFL is  that it  loves  a  tightly  ran  ship  when  it  comes  to  the  financial  aspect    of  its  business.   And   that   includes  all  of  the   thirty  two  franchises   no  matter  what  their   size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the likes  of  a  colossus  such  as  the  Dallas  Cowboys  and  their  owner  Jerry Jones  this  may  well  give  him  the  sort  of  resources   that  he  was  denied.  Especially when  they  were  able  to  compete  with  abandonment   and  pursue  any  big  time  free  agent  that they  desired.  If this  situation  should  materialize  without  an  agreement   being  hammered  out   between the  league  and   the  Players’ Union (NFLPA).   The  situation   could  set  the   game   back financially for  years.   The  gravity of the  situation  hasn’t   gone  unnoticed   with  many  of  the   general managers   around  the  league.   And  the  players   themselves    realizing  that  they’re   going  to  be  the  ones  dictating   the   terms.  As  they’ll  most  certainly   will  in  the   driver’s  seat. 

 

 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  and  Cowboys' owner  Jerry Jones  at the  NFL owners'   meeting .............
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell(right) and Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones(left) in conversation at the NFL owners' meeting.................

 

NFL Commissioner  Roger  Goodell  and  Dallas Cowboys’  owner  Jerry  Jones  in conversation  at  the NFL’s owners’  meeting.  picture appears courtesy of  getty images/ Tim Short  ……………………

 

 

 

 

With  the  Players’  Union  yet  to elect  a  leader   to  take  over  from the  late  departed  Gene  Upshaw.  One  can  surmise  that  every  effort will  be   made  to  do  what’s  right  to  deal  with  the  situation  in  the  manner  that  will  be  equitable   for  all of  the  parties  involved.  Needless  to say  the  fans  of  the  NFL  will  be  watching  the  matter  very  closely.  As in the  end  it  may  well  be  costing   them  more  than  they   really   know.  And  in these  dire  economic  times   when  all  of  the  major  sports  are   facing  some sort  of  a  problem  financially.  Even  though   the  NFL  has  a  vast  number  of  corporate  sponsors  covering  a  gamut  business  entities.  But  then  again  the  template  that  the  NFL  has  put  in  place  has served  them   very  well.  A  multi billion  dollar  business  that  in  effect is  admired   by  its  peers    across  the  sport’s diaspora. 

 

 

 

 

 

It  has  been  the  salary  cap  that   has  in effect  kept  the  NFL  teams  in  check  over  the  years. And  were  the  situation  to  change   it  would  be   very  interesting   to see   how  the  competitive  balance  would  change   with  a  number  of  the  teams and  across  the league as a whole. Franchises  that  are   financially  sound  as  to  the  way  they’re  ran.  With  everything  as to  the  success  of  the   game  being  about  the  now .  It  can  be   said  the  pressure  will  be  on   many  of  the  teams   to  succeed  should  there  be  the  advent  of    a  season  without  a   salary  cap.  So  make  of  it   what   you   will  should  the  situation  arise  where   the  NFL  has  a  season  without  there  being  a  cap  in  effect.

 

Andy Reid, Arizona Cardinals, Donovan McNabb, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, New England Patriots, NFL, NFL Divisional playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles

The Feel Good Story Of The NFL Weekend ……………..


Well it has to go without saying  that  the Arizona  Cardinals’ play  this season has come as  a surprise to all.  Never  mind  the fact that  they won a woefully  lamentable division (NFC West) with a  9-7 record.  That in ofitself  should be  enough to suggest  to  us  all  how  bad  the  division really is.  Now some  of  you might say  well  what  about  the AFC  West ?   Well  that’s a  story for  another  day  at  this  juncture. 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach  Ken Whisenhunt  in but  his  second season with the franchise has  them  heading  in the right  direction.  And  who’d  have  thought that a journeyman  quarterback  who  many  had  left  for  dead  would be  leading the  team’s  resurrection.  Matt Leinart with  his  Hollywood looks  and  college  football pedigree  was  thought of  as being  the  franchise  quarterback  needed  to lead the  team.  But  instead  it’s  been  left to two-time league  MVP Kurt Warner  to  lead  and  lead  by  example.

 

 

 

Teammates Antonio Smith  Antrel Rolle  and   Roderick Hood  celebrate  Hood's  interception  in the game against  Carolina..................
Arizona Cardinals' teammates Antonio Smith, Roderick Hood and Antrel Rolle celebrate Hood's interception during the game against the Csrolina Panthers ........

 

  

Antonio Smith(94) and teammates Antrel Rolle (21) and Roderick Hood(26)  celebrate Hood’s  interception against the  Carolina Panthers.  The  Arizona  Cardinals would  go on to win the  33-13. picture appears  courtesy  ap/photo/Ken Hambleton ………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though not totally  unexpected by their own  fans  Arizona’s  complete and  utter dismantling  of  the  Carolina  Panthers,  was  about as  efficient  and  comprehensive  as anyone  could’ve  wished  to  have  seen from a  team.  And  the  play of  wide  receiver  Larry  Fitzgerald  was  outstanding.  If he’s  not  the  most  dynamic  player  at  his  position within the league  at  present.  Then  I’d  like  for someone  out there  to  tell  me  who  is ?

 

 

 

 

The Carolina  Panthers  guided  by  coach John Fox had  his  team ready  to  play  and  no doubt  ready  to  make  their way  to  the  NFC championship  game  without  too  much trouble  or  stress. What unfolded  during  the  game  gives  us  reason to believe  that  you  should never   count  all  of  your  eggs  before  they’re  hatched.  Panthers’  quarterback  Jake  Delhomme  had  one  of those days  at the   office  that  no  doubt he’d  rather   forget.  As  he  was  harassed  and  manhandled  by  the Cardinals’  defense. Cardinals’  defense ?   Now  there’s something  that  you don’t  often  see  or  hear.

 

 

 

Disheartened Steve Smith and  teammate Brad Hoover of the  Carolina Panthers seated on the sidelines  during the waning moments of  the game ..............
Disheartened Steve Smith seated on the sidelines along with teammate Brad Hoover in the waning moments of the game played against the Arizona Cardinals....................

 

Disheartened  Steve Smith and  teammate  Brad  Hoover  seated on the sidelines  during  the waning  moments  of  the  game.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Roger  Masterson …………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I, as an avid  fan  of  the NFL  was expecting  to see  Carolina  prevail  but  little did  I have  in mind  what  millions  of  fans  nationally  witnessed  in  watching   the  game  on network television.  Never  mind  the fact  that  fans  there  in the  Panthers’  home  stadium were  watching.  Perhaps a shock to their  system  ?  What  unfolded  was something  that  even the  most fervent  fan   couldn’t  have  expected. Arizona  set  about beating  the  Carolina Panthers  mercilessly  and  did  in  such a  way  that  you’d be  questioning  which of  the  team was infact  favored   to begin with.   The  oddsmakers  in Vegas  most  certainly  had  to  have  been  offering  favorable  odds  towards Carolina.  But then again  the guys  in Vegas  do  tend  to  know  that  they’re   doing  the  majority  of the  time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now  for me  to suggest  that  the  result  of this  game  would  end  up  being  33-13 in a  victory  for  Arizona.  I’d  dare  say  that  a number   of  you  would  have  felt  that  I’d  been some  top of the  line  narcotics.  But  since  I don’t  do  anything of  that  nature .  one  can  only  surmise  that  this  was just  one  of those  rarities  where  the  stars  had  to  have  aligned  for  the Cardinals  on the day. In  reality  however  they  just  completely outplayed  their  NFC counterpart in  almost every  facet of  the  game.   So  much  so  that  their  defense  was  simply  outstanding and  they  offered  the  Panthers  no  respite. It  was a rarity  on this  day  where  the  Cardinals   and  their  fans  learnt  what is  was  like  finally  to garner  and  gain the   respect  of  their   peers.  Over the  years  the  franchise  has  been often likened  to  a  bottom feeder  of  the  NFL.  And  the  Bidwell  family  as  the  franchise owners  were  viewed   as  nothing  more  than  vultures.   Funny  what  success  can  then  do  to  a  change  in attitude  as  to  how  an organization is  viewed.  Now  the  Cardinals  await the  Philadelphia  Eagles  in the NFC  championship  game  and  are just  one  game  away  from   gaining   a berth  in the  Superbowl.

 

 

 

 

Kurt Warner  of the Arizona Cardinals acknowledges  the  applause  of the crowd after the  team's  victory over the  Carolina Panthers  33-13 ..................
Kurt Warner acknowledges the applause of the crowd after the team's victory 33-13 over the Carolina Panthers ...................

 

Kurt Warner acknowledges the applause of the crowd after  the  team’s 33-13 victoryy over  the  Carolina Panthers.   picture appears courtesy  of  ap/photo/Ken Hambleton …………………………….

 

 

 

 

On this  day it  was  all  about the  Cardinals  and  what  they’ve  achieved  this  season  is  a  bye product  of  having  a  good  coach and  players  who  bought  into  his system. But  it’s only  that  but  the  fact  that  their  fans  after so  many  years  of  futility have  still  seen fit  to  show  their  faith  in the  team.  It  shouldn’t  come  as  any  surprise  that  as  hosts  of the  NFC championship  game  at  their  stadium  in Glendale, Arizona .  All  of the  tickets  have been  sold  out.  The fact  that  this  all happened  within   6  hours   only  leads me  to  believe  that the   fans   there  having  been starved  of  success  for  so long  are   hoping   for  something  special  to  happen  this   Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  task in  facing  the  Eagles  won’t  be an  easy  one.  As  the  Eagles  themselves  have  had  their  own  struggles  this  season.  They’ve  been  able  to overcome  them  and  play with  a  great  deal  of  resolve, as evidenced  by  their   postseason  displays.  They  made  short  work  of  the  New York  Giants   and  are looking  to  do the  same  with  the  Arizona  Cardinals.  But  I  doubt  Andy  Reid’s  team  will  be  looking  that  far  ahead  with  regard to the  Superbowl.  They  know  that they’re  facing  a  team  in the  Cardinals   that  after   some   long  mean and   meager  years   are on the threshold  of   doing  something  big.  And if  it  means  bursting  the  Eagles’  bubble  once again.  Then I’m  sure   that’s  what  they’ll  be  prepared to  do. And  in doing  so,  deprive  Donovan McNabb and  Andy Reid  the  one  major  prize that  has  eluded  them professionally  over the  years.  Five  visits  to  the  NFC  championship  notwithstanding  and  just  one  Superbowl  appearance  which  ended in  a  loss.   A  loss  now  would  for  all  sense  and  purpose be  deemed  a  tragedy  of  monumental  proportions.

 

 

 

Larry Fitzgerald makes  a leaping  catch during  the  game against the Carolina  Panthers  .................
Larry Fitzgerald hauls a catch during the game against the Panthers ..................

 

Larry Fitzgerald  hauls in a pass  from  Kurt Warner during the  game.  picture  appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matt Isselman …………… 

 

 

 

 

 

The loss to the New England Patriots was  enough  to damper  the  ardor  the  Eagles’ fans.  And as alluded to  previously  a  loss  the  Cardinals this  time  around  would  be  viewed  with  immense  displeasure to  the  fans and  something  of a failure  within  the organization.  If  this  meant to  be  the  Eagles’ year .  Then  they’re   going  to have to  deal  with  the  Cardinals  with  a great  deal  of  efficiency.  This  is certainly  not  a  team  to  be  taken  lightly as they’ve  proven  that they  can  play with  the  best  of  them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the  Arizona  Cardinals  and  their  fans  it   would  be  viewed  as  divine  intervention  from  up  above.  If  nothing  else  they’ve   languished for  long enough within the  depths of  mediocrity,  looking  at  long  last  to  be viewed as  a  credible  entity  within  the  NFL.  Scripted or  unscripted  stories  like  this  when  they come  along  are   often  viewed  as  heartfelt  and  warming  to  the  heart.

Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Divisional playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports

Well The Sound That You Hear ……….


The sound you hear  are  those  of the  Eagles and  Giants’ fans looking  to  hold sway  this  weekend as to the  two teams  meet in  the  divisional rounds  of  the  playoffs.  It’d   appear to  be the marquee matchup  of  the  round.  Albeit  that the  fans  of  the  Arizona  Cardinals  and  Carolina Panthers  might be  of  a different  opinion  altogether.

 

 

Manning throws an incomplete pass whilst being tackled by the  Eagles' Trent Cole  and  Darren Howard in a regular season  game won by the Eagles  20-14....................
Eli Manning attempts a pass whilst being tackled by the Eagles Trent Cole and Darren Howard in regular season game which was won by the Eagles 20-14 ...................

 

Eli Manning  attempts  a pass while  being tackled by  the  Eagles’ Trent Cole  and Darren Howard  in  an  earlier regular season  meeting  between the  two  teams. The Philadelphia Ealges would go on  to defeat the  New York Giants  20-14 in the  game played in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/ Thom  Brennan………….. 

 

 

 

 

 

And whilst  we  can all agree  that  these are  of the  better  teams within the  NFC . One cannot overlook the  season  that  both the  Cardinals  and  Panthers have  had.  Painstakingly Kurt Warner  has guided  his  team into  the  playoffs . And  their defeat  of  the Atlanta  Falcons was  a welcome and  pleasant  surprise  to many.   The Panthers for their part  not to be outdone  have  played  at  a high  level .  And their quarterback Jake Delhomme  seems to be  back  at  his  level best.  He’s being  ably supported by  the duo of  receivers  Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad.   Less  we  forget  also  they  possess a very potent  running  back  tandem. 

 

 

 

 

 

The game however between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles  will no  doubt  go  a long  way  letting  us  know who’s  likely to be the presumptive  favorite to  make  out of the  NFC.  And that’s with no disrespect  to  either  Cardinals  or Panthers.  As  good as  they  both are , the  Eagles  and  Giants  on  paper would  appear to  have  a much  balanced  roster. Donovan McNabb  of the  Eagles  and  Eli Manning  have  both  raised  the  level of  their  play  and  at the  same time have  their  teammates  believing  that  they’re  ready  to  take  it up  a level or  two  as  need be.

 

 

Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings  forces a fumble as Donovan McNabb attempts a pass in their wildcard game won by the Eagles 26-14..........................
Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings forces a fumbles as Donovan McNabb attempts a pass. The Eagles would go on to win the game 26-14 .................

 

Jared Alen of the Minnesota Vikings forces a fumble as the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb attempts  a pass during their wildcard berth  game .  The Eagles  would go on to win the game 26-14.  picture  appears courtesy of  getty  images/ Adrian Ward   ……………

 

 

 

 

Both teams defensively  are  no  novices  and  if  anything  that’s  been  one  of  their  strengths.  We’ve   seen this  evidence  as  to the  way  that  both  have  played thus  far  in the  postseason.  They’ve  been  staunch  and  miserly  as and when  necessary.  The  game itself may  well  come  down to the  play  of  both  quarterbacks  and the  protection  that  they’ll  receive  from their  offensive  lines.  That may well be  how  the battle  in  the  trenches will  be  won.  Brian  Westbrook  will  have  to be kept  in  check  also  if  the  Giants  are  to prevail.  They  cannot allow  him to have  any  room  in the backfield  or  at  the same time  allow him  to  catch  the  ball and gain  yardage.  He’s  quite  able to do  that  and  punish the opposing  team’s  defense  quite  ably. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Giants  are not  without  their own  offensive  weapons  and they too  will  be looking to  take  whatever  advantage  that they can of  the Eagles’  defense.  So it’ll be very intriguing  to see  what  both  teams  will  have in  store  for one  another.  Both Andy  Reid  and  his counterpart  Tom Coughlin know what’s  at  stake  for both  teams.  And for  the  Eagles  in particular  this may well be  the last  chance  for McNabb as  a  player  to  prove  once and  for  all  that  he  can  lead  a  team  to  the  NFC  championship,  having  won  it.  But this  time  lead  them to  another  appearance  in the  Superbowl  and  perhaps this  time  around   acquit himself  well.   The  acrimony of  the  team’s  last   appearance and  their  loss to New  England  still no  doubt  lingers  fresh  in his  mind at  that  of  the  fans.   Never  mind  the  fact that  his  courage  and  manhood  came into question  by  his  former teammate  Terrell  Owens.  Who’s  now sitting  at  home  alongside  his  teammates  on the Dallas Cowboys’  team.   So much  for the  fact  that  everyone  as  such  felt  that the  Cowboys were the  presumptive favorites  to win it  all.     Their  luster  is now beginning to look  like  that of an old  family heirloom that’s  gathering  a  great  deal  of  dust.  But  the  thought  is  that it’s  still  good  to take out  and  have  a  look at  when  visitors  come to  visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Much  as  I  like the  look of  both  teams  and how far  they’ve   both  come.  I’m of  the  opinion that this  may  well be  the  one  game that  when it’s all said  and  done.  It  could prove  to be  the  decisive  competitive  game  that’s  played  this  postseason.   The Superbowl itself notwithstanding  has a way  of either  exciting  us  or  letting  us  down when it  comes to  the overall standard of  play and  excitement.  OK  so last  year  we had  the  David Tyree catch.  But beyond  that   was  there  really  anything  else that   got   your  juices  flowing  other than seeing  the  New England Patriots being  upended  the way  that they were ?  Eli Manning  ended being  the  game  MVP and   Plaxico  Burress  proved to  us  that he  does  have  his  uses  when  he’s not  idly spending  the  time  either making  an ass  of  himself  or  shooting  himself  accidentally  in the foot, allegedly.

 

 

 

 

 

So come  game  time  it’ll  be  all or nothing  for  both  teams  and  absolutely  nothing  can be left to chance.  Each  team has  set  its  sights  on the  NFC  championship   game. But the  real goal  will  be   a  berth  in Superbowl XLIII and  the  chance  to  raise  the  Lombardi Trophy  aloft.   So  that’ll be  the  sound  that  you  hear  as the  fans  of  both  teams look to  lay  claim  that  they’re on  their way  to giving  it the  best  that  they’ve  got , with  their  fans in unison  playing  their  part as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Pettite ., Baseball, MLB, New York Yankees, Sports

You’re Either In Or You’re Out …………


 

Well it came to a parting of the ways.  Today after some consideration and a great deal of deliberating New York pitcher and a stalwart of their four consecutive World Series’ wins Andy Pettite wasn’t picked up by the team.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise  to anyone but it’d appear that the Yankees  and the organization are looking to start afresh.  

 

 

 

 

Perhaps this, an indication of what co-team chairman  Hal Steinbrenner states that this is a fresh but new start for the organization as a whole.  Allow me some latitude here but  I’d like to look at this whole situation with a fresh set of  eyes.  But over the years  the organization has never met  a  high priced free  agent that they didn’t like. Let’s look  at some of those individuals  in particular.  Namely  Randy Johnson ,  Carl Pavano,  Jason Giambi, Aaron Boone and  Hideki Irabu.  Now that’s an array of  stars  who are  about  as  welcoming  and  cerebral  as one could ever wish to come across. About the only thing  relevant about these  players  were  the fact  that  a  Brinks’ truck  no doubt  would have  to  be backed up in order  for  them to  get  paid. And  paid  they were  , vast sums  for  reasons  too numerous  to mention. Except to say  that the  vaults of  the  Federal Bank of New York would  be rendered meaningless.

 

Hank and Al Steinbrenner  Co-Chairmen of the New York Yankees.......

 

 Hal and Hank Steinbrenner co-chairmen of  the New York Yankees. Both are seen here observing members of their farm system. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark Schwartzmann………………….

 

 

 

And whilst we know that the Yankees possess a vast array of  resources  which is unmatched by any other professional sport’s organization  in or outside  Major League Baseball. The YES Network is the cash cow that keeps on giving, giving and keeps on giving.  With the team moving into a spanking  new  edifice  that costs  in excess  of  $1.9bn at last  count.  Granted  Mayor  Michael  Bloomberg may well  have  played a part  in  making  that  figure so excessive. And  for a structure  that was  originally meant  to be  a privately financed  structure. It goes a long way in stating  that  Bloomberg  was  out  of  line  within his  inane rant as  to  the  Federal government in bailing  out the financial behemoths of  Wall Street. Then again it ought to  against the  grain considering  that the Yankees’ new home was publically financed and all of  this  was at  the behest  of the incumbent mayor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now as  much as one ought to appreciate  the contributions of Pettite  over  the years.  And considering that he along  with Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera and  Jorge Posada  are  the only remnants  left  from those multi championship winning days. The franchise  has fallen somewhat on hard times in terms  of  their presence in the  postseason. Last year for the first time in fourteen years  was the  very first time  that they’d  missed the playoffs. And to say that it was viewed as a catastrophe would be an understatement.

 

 

 

 

Andy Pettite the now former Yankees who's turned  down  a $10m one year contract offer  from his former team .......................
Andy Pettite the now former Yankee who's said to have turned down a $10m one year contract offer from the organization ................

 

 

Andy Pettite the now former New York Yankee who’s turned down a $10m one year contract offer  from the  team .   picture appears  courtesy of getty images/  Paul  Roberts …………………..

 

 

 

 

 

Pettite was offered a one year contract said  to be in the region of  $10m . Nothing to be sneezed at mind you. But it’d appear  that  Andy  thought it beneath him to accept what he  might’ve viewed as a derisory offer. In these  tough economic times $10m may well not be viewed  as a great deal of money to some. But  to those New York Yankees’ fans who are  spending  thousands of dollars  a year to pay  for tickets  as  well  as concessions and souvenirs.  That’s the sort of money  that  would take care  of  several families’  dreams  for life  and  beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And while we ponder this latest of changes within the Yankees’ organization we ought to consider this.  In reality is the team any better off now with their newly gleaming  additions in the guise of  CC Sabbathia, A J Burnett  and Mark Teixeira ?  Chances  are  we’re likely to see an improvement of sorts.  But that’s not  the thing  that’s most  important to the franchise.  It’s about winning  and the winning of multiple World Series in particular. That’s what counts to the franchise and the business template that is in place.  Losing isn’t meant  to be an option  for the Steinbrenner family.  And when you see  Hank  Steinbrenner  wailing  on about the perceived  unfairness of the game  when  his team fails to make the playoffs because  they were others who did so  with a less than winning record. It oughtn’t not to pain us as to his whining.   After all  that’s what you tend to get  from a whining narcissistic individual with a verbose persona.

 

 

 

 

Pettite for all of his intentions is now on his way out of New York and whilst there’ll be some heartfelt wishes.  There’ll be some who think that the player has done himself and  the franchise a  great disservice  by refusing  the team’s offer. But it’s the player’s decision and he can either live with or he cannot. As to the Yankees and their ambitions for the upcoming season. It’s quite  clear that  they’re back in business and looking to win it all and no expense  will be spared.  Andy Pettite won’t be a part of the team’s strategy as this season beckons. But that’s not to say that the issue won’t be revisited  especially should the  team feel that the pitching isn’t  up  to standard. If there’s a choice to be made  between a player of his experience and  someone who knows the  ins and outs of  the  franchise. You can rest assured that more likely than not he may well  be  the  player  that  they’ll choose to turn to.  That’s if he’s not signed elsewhere  before  the  season starts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So say what you will about the franchise  they may well be  turning their back on the past. But hey they’ve been known to turn back the hands of time if only for a moment and it brings to mind Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite. No chance that they’d have both back within their realm but quite possibly one for sure. Any thoughts on who  that  might be  ?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upcoming baseball season ought to be one of  intrigue and suspense. If  nothing else we’ll see whether or not  the New  York Yankees can get back atop  of the pedestal where they and their  fans feel they rightfully belong.  We’ll  also see  if the Tampa Bay Rays can  remain amongst the contenders.  And as one would suppose a newly fledged member  of  what one would  deem  to be a contender, though yet  to  be  considered  a perennial contender. It will be interesting  to see what the year  ahead holds for the  team and its fans.    The New York Yankees  will always  be  considered contenders  merely because they  are the  Yankees.  And the fact  that everyone  wants  to see  them  back at  the  top.  Well  those of us  who  want  to see them back  there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tophatal …………………….