Once the Superbowl (SBXLV) wraps it will be interesting to see what comes about once the postseason ends . I’ve never placed much stock in the Pro Bowl which once again was held in Honolulu , Hawaii after last year’s rather idiotic experiment in having the game a week before last season’s Superbowl .
This NFL ___ season wasn’t one without controversy as we saw the return of Michael Vick to the grandest of stages as the player had something of a reawakening in his career. For the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles it was something of a surprise . They saw the rebirth of a player who after his incarceration many believed that he’d struggle but instead the player had something of an exceptional season as he lead the team into the postseason. They would come up short but it gave coach Andy Reid something to think about as he now has to make a choice between Vick and Kevin Kolb , whom Reid initiated would be the team’s starter during the preseason . Now the only thing that will be of concern to Reid is whether or not Vick will be re-signed to a long term contract and whether or not Kolb will remain as a member of this team .
Kolb’s performances during the season if anything were unimpressive and to my mind I think that it won’t be for the lack of trying but Kolb may well be traded by the Eagles. If the Philadelphia Eagles are to prevail this upcoming season , should there actually be an NFL season then this team will most definitely have to raise the level of their play. As good as they appeared to be it’s easy to take note that without the play of Vick this team wouldn’t not be where they were at the end of the season. Consistency was the key that the Eagles lacked and if anything this will be the thing that Reid and his staff will have to work on.
If ever there was a team that during the season you simply knew that after the idiocy that transpired both on and off the field you couldn’t wait see the train wreck that would be the aftermath. Mike and Kyle Shanahan simply led the Washington Redskins from one abyss into another. And for the fans in attendance at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland what they saw throughout much of the season bordered on being a comedy of errors. Donovan McNabb the veteran quarterback was placed into an impossible situation with a team that was so poor and lacking in creativity on both sides of the ball.
At no time could anyone consider this Redskins’ team of being at all competitive and for Mike Shanahan who’s being paid a king’s ransom to resurrect the fortunes of the Washington Redskins it has to be said his first season was a poor one
by any stretch of the b imagination. And for Kyle Shanahan as the team’s offensive coordinator it has to be said that the experience he brought to the organization bore nothing on the field by way of the team’s competitiveness. Dan Snyder the team’s owner who’s not averse to spending money as a business owner has spent in excess of $70 million on managerial salaries since he assumed control of the Washington Redskins. And in that time he’s yet to see the fruits of that labor as the Redskins have simply been set adrift at sea in the midst of repeated tidal waves as they’ve floundered from season to season.
The failings in this Patriots’ team as such were too many to mention and it goes without saying that even with the post game apologies coming from Belichick and Tom Brady there was simply nothing there to truly indicate that the team and coaching staff went into the game with any real confidence against the New York Jets. From being the presumptive favorites to being kicked to the curb like a whimpering dog essentially summed up the Patriots’ season . Now it goes without saying that Belichick will no doubt look to strengthen the team by way of the upcoming NFL Draft . But herein lies the caveat are the Patriots still able to compete at the highest levels of the NFL ? Or is the team as such, one which now is one that’s simply now very good during the regular season but once the postseason
comes about they’re merely like a deer caught in headlights ? As of now I’m not so sure what the identity of the New England Patriots is meant to be ! I’m not totally at a loss for words but it has me wondering what’s next for the organization as a whole ?
I don’t think of it as being senseless but I’ve yet to see a real explanation as to why there has to be a franchise in the greater Los Angeles area . The city may well be the nation’s second largest advertising market but in reality if the calls from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others calling for a return of the NFL is a valid one then I for one would like to know what proposals does the mayor himself have in order to enable this return ? It’s all well and good to be making proclamations but in all honesty when your city is running a $3.5 billion deficit and the state itself is so burdened with debt I’d like to know how he intends to as such pay for this all if there’s going to be a partnership between the public and private enterprise to make this come into being ? That’s the real problem with politicians who merely like to hog the spotlight and then make the most asinine of statements and that’s something that Villaraigosa simply knows how to do with immense regularity .
If it is Roger Goodell’s wish to bring an NFL franchise back to Los Angeles and it clearly is , then it won’t be something that will be happening anytime soon. As much we’ve heard rumblings of an imminent return to the area it appears that though the team owners are behind such a move they’ve made no apparent public statement wherein we’re being led to believe that such a move is imminent. The relocation of a team is quite possible but with there apparent talk that either the Jacksonville Jaguars or San Diego Chargers would be those teams — it doesn’t appear that the owners of those respective franchises have been forthcoming with regard to making a public statement on the issue. Neither Wayne Weaver of the Jaguars or Dean Spanos of the Chargers have been privee in letting the public know what their intentions ultimately will be.
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he cost of bringing a completely new franchise to the area, with a franchise fee and then a stadium could set a potential new owner back at least $1 billion and that’s clearly an obstacle than any potential new owner would look to assess before contemplating such a move. And while there are said to a number of parties looking to bring a franchise to the Los Angeles area at the culmination of this all may well be what input if any there’d be from the city’s government from a financial standpoint by way of inducements in terms of tax allowances and their cooperation in being a partner to any potential franchise owner. If that’s not clear from the start then the possibility of there being a franchise in Los Angeles might just be nothing more than wishful thinking at this point.
For you as an NFL fan what was as such has the main highlight of the season and with regard to there being the possibility of a new franchise in Los Angeles do you believe it to be feasible to bring a team to the city ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter.
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(1) Honolul , Hi ,. Michael Vick (7) of the NFC Philadelphia Eagles looks for an open receiver during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. NFC won 55-41 over the AFC. Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images ….
(2) Kevin Kolb (4) of the Philadelphia Eagles tries to avoid a sack from Anthony Spencer (93) of the Dallas Cowboys on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 14-13. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ….
(3) Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (center) of the Washington Redskins works on the sideline with quarterbacks Rex Grossman (8) and John Beck (3 )in the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field on January 2, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Giants won the game 17-14 . Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images …….
(4) Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan makes a point with a referee in the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field on January 2, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Giants won the game 17-14. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images ……
(5) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots looks on near the end of their 28-21 loss to the New York Jets in their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa Martinez/Getty Images ……
(6) City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Vilaraigosa seen here with a number of his political supporters and aides having recently been returned to office by the electorate in the city of Los Angeles , California . Villaraigosa is one of the major political proponents for seeing the return of an NFL franchise to city . He’s been short the substance behind his call but says that having a franchise back in the city will reinvigorate it economically. Alas, he doesn’t seem to know however, how to deal with the most acute of issues facing his city and that is one of a multi billion dollar budget deficit . Picture courtesy of Richard Meyer _________ copyrighted material ……..@ all rights reserved
The NFL Cares Because… It’s Because We’re Told So …. Not Because It Is So ….. !
The NFLPA , NFL and team owners have been complicit in fostering an illicit drug habit amongst their players. And nowhere is it more prevalent than now with current and retired players using at an alarming rate higher than that amongst habitual drug users. And here I’m merely talking about prescription pain medication used by the players . ESPN’s Outside The Lines’ segment this past Sunday will make you aware as to how this has become a rampant epidemic.
The league now won’t even broach the subject when question once again leading us to believe that as usual they have something to hide. Now we have at least 73% retired of the retired players suffering debilitating pain and who are now taking prescription medication but in doing so they’re obtaining these drugs illegally . What’s even more startling is the very fact that many of these players are endangering their live in taking these drugs at above the medically advised prescription levels.
Do you get the impression that this simply is another episode that the NFL would want swept under the carpet ? I’ve read and heard many out there saying that this is a brutal sport and those who play it know what the dangers are . But this has become ridiculous to see this come to the fore and the league and its representatives hide behind the idiocy that the inherent dangers are what makes the sport so exciting and rewarding . However at no time do they ever consider the dangers that tend to be the aftermath from the injuries suffered by the players. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell more image conscious as to what he believes the league represents and the money made but his insistence that the league watches over its own with a great degree of conscientious objectivity has become a complete charade. One simply has to look at the way that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming merely to address the fact that there are related problems concerning head traumas , concussions and the early stages of Alzheimer’ disease and in some cases ALS .
Consider this also players now are more liable to be addicted to pain killing medication such as Percoset and Vicodin than they are to be hooked on cocaine or marijuana . Albeit that the league has their league mandated drug testing policy. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae won’t address this matter publicly but it appears that the collective bargaining agreement takes precedence and the money that they seek to retain is of the highest order in the ongoing labor negotiations. Brett Favre the former poster child for pain killer addiction was a major cause for concern in the early to mid stages of his career as he was openly abusing pain prescription medication. So pray do tell how is it that the league suborns this sort of behavior when the players are able to get the team’s doctors to prescribe them these medications and then they can also obtain these drugs illegally through members of the team’s coaching staff , family friends and even in some cases drug dealers . Is this now the the image the league wants portrayed to the fans and its numerous corporate sponsors ?
The NFL has now become more so about the image of its superstars and how best to promote them at any expense . The league loves this as do the fans but I doubt that they’d really care to see such former players as John Elway , Franco Harris , Gale Sayers and Kyle Turley merely struggle to stand or even take a step across a room without suffering from an ailment that was caused by a career injury. Current players now playing with reoccurring injuries , ailments such as chronic neuro encephalitis (swelling of the brain) , rheumatoid arthritis from never mind the abuses in their prevalent misuse of prescription but yet at the same time they’re told by team doctors or choosing to play of their own volition merely so that they can maintain their status and get paid. Is it a sacrifice worth taking given the aftermath as we now know it to be ?
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We fans tend to only choose to invariably see one side of the sport and that’s the blood, guts, glory of it all and the acclaim to be had. The NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse & Institute of Health– NIH ) for its part has conducted a well respected research in on this issue and should the NFL hierarchy choose to question this research and its findings then it goes to show how our of touch they really are not only on this issue but on others concerning the game as a whole !
Has there ever been any other time when the actions of the NFL to your mind has been so asinine and out of touch with reality ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter and where you see the NFL , Players’ Union now going and how best they can address this most acute of issues .
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(1) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell , Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports. Getty Images/ Brendan Hoffman ……….
(2) Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) with DeMaurice Smith, head of the players union. The two and their respective bodies seem to be at an impasse as to how best resolve the league’s collective bargaining agreement. AFP/Reuters ………
(3) Denver Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway (left), owner Pat Bowlen (center) and new head coach John Fox share a laugh before Fox addressed the media at Dove Valley on January 14, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Fox was named the 14th head coach in Broncos history yesterday after spending the last nine seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Dustin Edmonds/ Getty Images North America ……….
Care To Tell Me What The NCAA Can Do Next To Make Themselves Look The Complete Ass ?
Having lost both of his parents in the space of two years and now his maternal grandmother Kansas Jayhawks’ —– Thomas Robinson has been forced to take on the role of a parent in the care of his younger sibling , his nine year old sister. His grandmother was the child’s guardian and provided loving care and a home for the young girl .With no living immediate relative to take care of his younger sibling Robinson will now assume that control . Coach Bill Self , Robinson’s teammates and the University of Kansas will try to assist the player as best they can in making sure that this is a smooth transition for the Jayhawks’ player.
One moment Robinson is riding on the crest of a wave on this Jayhawks’ basketball team the next moment he’s now taking the responsibilities of a young man who sought education and athletics as the next step in his career. Now he may well have to forgo that if he can’t find a means of looking after his sister’s well being. The NCAA rather idiotically has come out and made the statement that Robinson cannot accept any monetary gifts that would in any way assist him in his collegiate career even with his present predicament . Are those disingenuous and unemotional idiots really kidding ? How can they view the player’s situation as being one ordinary and one that’s not deserving of some latitude in this instance ? The college itself has set up an educational foundation that will indeed pay for the player’s sister future education and a trust fund has also been set up to take donations that will facilitate the care of the player’s sister.
The NCAA for its part has suggested they cannot change the rules even given this instance where Thomas Robinson finds himself in such an unenviable role being the guardian to his young sister. Personally while I understand the NCAA’s stance this is merely one more reason to my mind why it is that I find collegiate athletics’ highest governing body totally corrupt and completely lacking in common sense ! If ever there was a time to completely dismantle the organization now would be it and then replace with an institution that would be held more accountable and with even more transparency than it is said to show. We’re often told how concerned the institution is with the well being of the student athlete and how it governs collegiate athletics. But in reality the NCAA has simply become another multi billion dollar money making institution where in some cases its revenues derived is greater than that of some third world countries.
What might be even more unconscionable is the mere fact that while the NCAA has become the production line for the professional level of sports namely the NBA , NFL , NHL and MLB it goes without saying that riches that there are to be had is nothing compared to what those teams will continue to make in perpetuity off the names of the athletes associated with these sports. Even at the college level where now the NCAA is in the midst what is a civil suit of which Ed O’Bannon and recently NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson has added his name to, in charging that the NCAA has used their likeness in marketing and promoting the sport without there being reward to the players . And though one might argue that there isn’t any veracity to this argument because as such the athletes are amateurs the NCAA still profits greatly in the use of an athletes’ likeness even after they’ve turned professional and long after their college and professional careers are over . Please tell me in what other endeavor such a thing is allowed to happen and at the same time where players themselves aren’t allowed to profit from that specific practice ?
And while both sides aren’t willing to address the issue in public it has to be said that the thought of the NCAA and the power it now wields over the collegiate sports’ landscape is staggering and without merit. It’s rare that the body is challenged in any form and even rarer for the institution to actually suffer a defeat . It hasn’t happened at the judicial level in years and even within its own realm rarely has the NCAA been challenged by an educational establishment to the fact they can actually say they’ve won an outright victory. The incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert having taken over from the late Dr Myles Brand has essentially not changed how they operate and it has to be said it’s not been actually for the better.
I’d like to think that the NCAA can show compassion when needed but it appears that the institution is merely driven by its pursuit of money and not much else beyond that . And when greed has solely been your whole mantra to exist rather than that of the well being of the athletes and institution you preside over then the whatever befalls that body tends not to be a good on appearance or image alone. Is anyone really of the opinion that the NCAA has served the college athlete with any real distinction much less with any integrity for that matter ? Merely look at the NCAA’s actions recently and the fact that they can’t seems to show any impartiality as to the way it conducts its business and how they go about dealing with many of the issues they face with ever increasing regularity ?
What thoughts if any do you have concerning the NCAA’s stance concerning Thomas Robinson and do you feel that they ought to make some sort of change to cover such an instance ? Merely offer up your own thoughts as how you best feel that this particular situation can be dealt with ?
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LAWRENCE, KS – January 29th 2011. (1) Brady Morningstar (12)of the Kansas Jayhawks is fouled as he passes to Markieff Morris (21) during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on January 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..
(2) Kansas forward Thomas Robinson (0) blows a kiss to the crowd after an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. Kansas won the game 90-66 . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……..
(3) Marcus Morris (22) of the Kansas Jayhawks and teammates cheer from the bench during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on January 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ………..
(4) Kansas coach Bill Self questions a call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …….
(5) Ranked #9 on the NBA’s list of all-time scorers Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson recently added his name to an ever increasing list of former college athletes charging that the NCAA has continued to use their likeness in a civil suit that seeks unspecified and punitive damages. No trial date hast been set for the trial for the trial to take place in the Federal Court System . Picture appears courtesy of Getty Images North America Inc/ Robert Moore …….
One of the stumbling blocks behind this has been the intransigence shown by the Nuggets’ front office headed by owner Stanley Kroenke and GM Masai Ujiri who seem set in upping the ante but at the same the player had yet to sign the contract extension $65 million three year deal that would have facilitated and completely sped up the process. And while Carmelo Anthony has publicly stated that he’d love to play in New York City at no time has he showed any desire to the fans of his willingness to remain in Denver as a Nuggets’ player .
I’ve read contributors trying to apportion the blame upon the Russian billionaire owner of the Nets it’d have helped if those actually trying to put their own spin on the situation sought out the real fact behind this issue. At the heart of this all remains the fact that the fans in attendance at the Pepsi Center in Denver , Colorado as they have to sit through this idiotic mess. Furthermore with Anthony having not signed the contract extension that’s still on the table makes the situation all the more intolerable. At the center of this all George Karl having overcome his illness is placed in the midst of this all as the team’s coach. As good as the team has been playing having posted a 24-17 record in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference . The team currently sits 2.5 games out of first place behind the division leading Oklahoma City Thunder (27-15) and there’s every reason to believe that they’ll be part of the contingency of teams gutting it out for a playoff berth at the end of the season .
I’m not so sure that this will be the last of the tom foolery exhibited by the Nuggets and to a lesser extent the Nets . Prokhorov has exhibited the wish to make the franchise one of the better teams in the NBA and seeks the Nets’ presence on a global scale in particular within Europe and the Eastern bloc. Russia with its growing economy a demographic of fans who are now seeing the NBA up close and personal . Many of Prokhorov’s contemporaries such as Roman Abramovich the multi-billionaire owner the Premiership soccer team Chelsea have similar ambitions to gain a wider notoriety for themselves and their various business and sporting interests. . Both of these owners have ambitions to see their brand global on a large scale and with few teams in the NBA that are global grands that are recognized. The Los Angeles Lakers might be just the only franchise other than the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets that one could assume to has a major worldwide following. With the Rockets that legacy is solely because of their one time center Yao Ming whose career now sits on a precipice given the fact that he’ll undergo yet another surgery on his right foot.
The Nets and their season has been one big roller coaster of ups and downs and with Devin Harris and Derrick Favors looking to add some cohesiveness to this team it’s now extremely hard to view how this team can no go forward in its present guise. The ambitions of the organization rested on the fact that they were looking to add a high profile name to the roster. And with the envisaged deal that would’ve landed both Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups heading to the team with Favors and Harris heading in the opposite direction with some additional pieces being thrown in via a third party by way of the Pistons also sending Richard Hamilton to the Nuggets.
I’ve always been under the impression that the business template of the league under Commissioner David Stern and the game’s hierarchy was a sound one . The team owners notwithstanding is simply flushed with buffoons who have more money than they know what to do with. With the league itself now in tentative talks with the NBPA and Executive Director Billy Hunter about the collective bargaining agreement these are the type of maneuvers that somehow will play in the charade that the league is trying to create. This fiasco has gone on long enough but at the same time the impasse created is one that can negotiated to an amicable solution that will be equitable for all parties.
This Nuggets , Nets’ episode is literally proof that the fans are now the farthest thing from the minds of the owners , league and players as they’re incessantly look to increase their coffers at the expense of the fans. Albeit that in large part, monies coming into the treasure chest of the NBA comes primarily from its merchandising , we should also remember the countless billions that the they receive courtesy of TNT ,—- ABC/ESPN through their expansive international broadcast affiliates who televise the games across the globe in conjunction with the NBA and its own in-house broadcast outlet NBA TV. Stern and the league may well now plead poverty but had the commissioner and the conduit within the league seen fit to look at the economic climate and in particular their budget they’d have seen that they couldn’t have continued to operate under their existing mandate. Common sense has never been one of the prevailing factors within the league hierarchy much less with the owners and union .
Oblivious to the ever changing environment the league and in particular Stern in obeyance of the owners saw fit to borrow $250 million last year that would be used to stave off several teams from financial disaster. Think of it as the league’s own financial bailout that was similar in the Obama initiated and led bailout of the financial and automotive sectors. While the $250 million is a mere pittance to the multi-billion dollars that both sectors were in receipt of at the taxpayers’ expense. It does now add to the fact the NBA as an organization is no different from what’s now a broken down relic that we call the US government . Both bodies are essentially completely devoid of creativity , common sense and intelligence but these are simply my thoughts on the matter ! Consider this fact also , over the last decade the NBA has borrowed in excess of $2.5 billion from various financial institutions that we’re now to believe was put to good use by the teams of the NBA ? Can pigs fly ?
(1) Al Harrington (7) of the Denver Nuggets welcomes Troy Tulowitzki (c) and Jason Giambi (l) of the Colorado Rockies as they watch from courtside seats as the Denver Nuggets host the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….
(2) Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol is guarded by Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. The Lakers won 107-97. AP Photo/Chris Schneider …….
George Karl, head coach of the Denver Nuggets, leads his team against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……
(4) Carmelo Anthony (15) of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …..
(5) A fan shows her lack of support of owner Stan Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets as they face the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….
(6) Carmelo Anthony (15) and Chauncey Billups (1) of the Denver Nuggets talk during a break in the action against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……
(7) Team President Josh Kroenke and team owner Stan Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets . Getty Images / Phil Matthews ……
 Nets general manager Billy King told WFAN radio this morning the team is moving away completely from the idea of acquiring Carmelo Anthony. New Jersey Star Ledger / Saed Hindash …………..
(9) New Jersey Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov addresses the media during a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on May 19, 2010 in New York City. Getty Images / Mike Stobe ……….
(10) Masai Ujiri former mid-level executive with the Toronto Raptors and now the GM of the Denver Nuggets . Getty Images North America / Camille Moiceaneau ………..
What thoughts if any do you have on what has transpired between the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets ? And do you as such believe that much of the blame lies with the Nets or the Nuggets or should it in part also be blamed on the player in the middle of this all Carmelo Anthony ? Simply chime in with your comment on this topic and the NBA as you see it at present.
Well holy Moses the impossible has happened and the Tampa Bay Rays are now able to make lemonade out of rat’s pi_s . How else can you explain the idiocy of many of the statements coming from GM Andrew Friedman senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg Granted we know that the organization and team have been beset with financial problems ever since they came into existence and it has been that way ever since . Friedman and Sternberg have continued to berate the fans but have little willingness to spend money but at the same time they’re looking to have a new stadium built at the taxpayers’ expense . And at no time have they actually shown a commitment that they’re prepared to step up to the plate and contribute in part to the building of the supposed new venue. Some solace for the fans eh _____ from two rather conniving individuals who have continued to talk out of both sides of their mouths.
Sternberg having made his fortune in the commodities’ market and on Wall St much like any other millionaire owner in the league has a bauble (Rays) that he can parade as his own personal jewel in his crown. And given the success that the organization has had in recent years having twice won the AL East divisional crown . Now having failed to make their presence felt in the MLB playoffs where they would succumb to the Texas Rangers the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason essentially had themselves a fire sale gutting the team in order to stave off financial ruin. To make matters worse their most storied and beloved player Carl Crawford was signed by the Boston Red Sox and several other players have followed in tow.
Now Friedman and Sternberg are trying to allay the fans’ fears that the team is heading in the right direction even with the moves that have been made. Simply put you can’t dress a sow up as a pig and call it a pig . Neither can you say that the Rays will be able to contend within the AL East especially when the likes of the Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays will have improved. It’s easy to understand the reason why the division has always been considered to be most competitive in all of baseball . It’s not liable to change at all this upcoming season and it remains to be seen whether or not the coaching staff of the Rays can still have this team playing competitively this upcoming season even with the changes made.
For the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field St Petersburg , Florida this could be a season where that venue will come to be even more so as an elephant’s graveyard where the attendance will if anything border on being bare to say the very least . Instead of that hardcore 15,000 that the organization has come to rely on we could very well see that figure drop below 10,000 . It gives even greater credence to the fact that baseball just doesn’t work in the city of Tampa and it never will. Spin it anyway you want but there comes a time when the fans and in particular Sternberg and Friedman will have to accept the fact that they’re fighting a losing battle. And it certainly hasn’t helped with the continued buffoonery being shown by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , his office and his idiotic impact of the stadium issue for the Tampa Bay Rays . Rather being of assistance to the organization’s plans Selig has been nothing but a hindrance with his nonsensical edicts and public statements on the issue. Telling the team that the only way that they can ever host an All Star Game is to have a purpose built new stadium is asinine, as it was to suggest that he was completely unaware of the whole steroid issue that has been simply rife within the game under his tenure as commissioner !
Now if to create something of a furor and perhaps lure fans into the belief that the good time are here again with them having signed both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez to one year contracts . As to whether not both of these players who are shall we say are past their prime can prove to be productive remains to be seen. But it’s clear that if anything in terms of character they’ll be bringing a great deal with them if not much in terms overall productivity to the Rays.
The two players had unprecedented success as players on the Boston Red Sox having won two World Series and then essentially were either ran out of town or left of their own volition from the organization. Since their departure let’s just say that the fortunes for the Red Sox where GM Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino rule the roost at the behest of principal managing partner John Henry . Can both players contribute to the Rays and make them a competitor within the AL East and throughout baseball will be of interest to the vast majority of fans the print media and broadcast networks who cover the game.
From my own perspective this may well be nothing more than a face saving publicity gimmick but at the same time with both players set to earn in excess of $7.5 million for their effort we could very well see them showing us that they’re not completely past their prime. I do believe however that this team will struggle to be competitive merely because from the standpoint that a great deal will be asked of Evan Longoria and David Price as they try to keep in tact that the momentum that had been created under Joe Maddon’s coaching philosophy. I’ve heard it said that the youth movement on this team will bode well for the Tampa Bay Rays but really given what’s happened in terms of the roster upheavals does anyone truly believe that to be the case ? The Rays may well have been tested over the last few seasons as they saw their glare shine brightly in the public’s presence and perception . But this is a whole new ball of wax and if the truth be told this is liable to be a season where we will see the fortunes of the organization and the team simply falter once again not only from a competitive standpoint but also from a financial one as well.
This upcoming season the team will be on a thread bare budget in terms of salary and once again they will be back in the bottom half of the league in terms of that very aspect. Suffice to say this is one more symbolic point that’s a sad indictment of what’s completely wrong with the game of baseball from an economic and business standpoint as it continues to be about the haves and have nots !
What thoughts if any do you have on both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez joining the Tampa Bay Rays ? And do you see the team being competitive this season not only within the AL East but across the entire baseball landscape ? Simply chime in with a comment on this topic and what you you envisage this season within baseball.
NB Picture and slide show details .
(1) This file photo taken Sept. 6, 2010, shows Chicago White Sox’s Manny Ramirez during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. A person familiar with negotiations tells The Associated Press that Ramirez and Detroit Tigers’ Johnny Damon have agreed to one-year contracts with the Tampa Bay Rays. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, because the agreements had not been announced. Getty Images / Drew Bishop ……….
(2) In this file photo taken Aug. 24, 2010, Detroit Tigers’ Johnny Damon watches from the dugout in the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Detroit. A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez have agreed to one-year contracts with the Tampa Bay Rays. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, because the agreements had not been announced. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ………..
(3) In this Oct. 9, 2010, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Rafael Soriano delivers the ball to the Texas Rangers during Game 3 of the American League Division Series baseball game in Arlington, Texas. A person familiar with negotiations tells The Associated Press that the New York Yankees have reached a three-year agreement with Soriano, last years AL saves leader. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……….
(4)Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon talks with pitcher Andy Sonnanstine (21) as catcher Gregg Zaub, left, third baseman Evan Longoria and first baseman Willy Aybar, right, look on during the third inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Monday, Sept. 7, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Yankees won 11-1. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……….
(5) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays of the New York Yankees during the game on April 15, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………
(6) Seen here in a role as a relief pitcher David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox in game seven of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 19, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Rays defeated the Red Sox 3-1 to win the series 4-3 . Getty Images North America / Doug Pensinger ………….
(7) Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, left, talks to left fielder Carl Crawford during baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays host the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ………..
 Matthew Silverman, tram President (left), GM Andrew Friedman (center) and principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg (right) are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………
The Cavaliers this season have become the team that literally no wants to see unless they’re being trampled by the likes of the Boston Celtics , Los Angeles Lakers or even LeBron James’ new team the Miami Heat . The team itself has now become the whipping post for the teams around the league other than those I’ve already mentioned . This season alone the Cavaliers have performed miserably and it has caused the fans in attendance and the Quicken Loans Arena question the direction of this team and where it’s said to be going. After James’ abrupt departure from the team it was understandable that he was viewed as a pariah around the league and by the fans in Cleveland . Dan Gilbert’s statement did nothing to make this whole situation any easier for all who observed this meltdown and whatever else has since transpired and it pales into comparison by what’s now taking place on the basketball court.
Even though they are 40 games into the season, Cavaliers coach Byron Scott has decided now is the time to be more accountable on defense.
Scott is laying down the law, largely because he probably can’t stand to watch his team get shredded on the defensive end any longer.
“I’m going to be a lot more demanding,” Scott said. “If you make a mistake, you should start walking over to the sideline.”
Scott had been lenient with the players, many of whom are trying to find their way in the NBA. But enough is enough.
The Cavs (8-32) are shockingly bad on defense. They are 26th in the NBA in points allowed (104.9), 28th in opponents’ field-goal percentage (48.1 percent) and 30th in opponents’ 3-point percentage (43.3 percent).
Scott and Cavs “defensive coordinator” Chris Jent have simplified their schemes.
“We’re going to keep it real simple,” he said. “The guys like that a whole lot better.
“They understand that I’m putting more pressure on them to be focused for 48 minutes on the defensive end. If you make a mistake in the coverage, on the next dead ball, you should just walk off. Just walk to the bench because I’m going to sub you any way.”
As I alluded to earlier the team can’t buy a win nor are they able play with any sense of cohesion . And as good as I believe Byron Scott to be I don’t believe that he’s capable of turning things around within this organization. The team lacks leadership and commitment to excellence and given what we’ve seen shown by Gilbert as an owner , his demeanor shown , that he’s not entirely a conduit for attracting major free agent talent to the organization . And herein lies the caveat concerning the Cavaliers they’re going nowhere and nowhere fast !
The Cleveland Cavaliers currently led by veteran Antawn Jamison may well be looking towards the future and for a team now at 8-32 within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference they are essentially struggling to make their presence felt . I know that over the course of the remainder of this NBA season they may well fight to prove to the fans and the general public at large that they can be competitive . From my own perspective I do believe that the Cavaliers are falling off a precipice and there’s no one there to catch them . It’s becoming more of a fact that Dan Gilbert or anyone within the organization (front office) simply knows how to bring this organization back from the edge of that very precipice .
I’d like to think that Dan Gilbert has simply learned a lesson from what’s now taking place with the Cleveland Cavaliers ! For a man who’s the founder of one the nation’s financial and mortgage concerns with Quicken Loans and the fact that he’s turned that company into a multi-billion concern Dan Gilbert as a sports owner has shown as much acumen for making the Cavaliers a relevant concern as Lindsay Lohan’s career could be described as being relevant within Hollywood ! He had to the goose that laid the golden egg and then summarily drove him out of town with his sheer idiocy and vocal commentary. Let me ask you this what owner do you having fired Byron Scott’s predecessor Mike Brown and then publicly make the statement that he doesn’t need to consult the best player on his team as to who that next coach should be ? Understandably this is basketball and the NBA that we’re talking about , it is a sport that’s star and player driven in terms of its exposure and anyone who simply believes differently simply needs to look around the sports’ landscape as a whole ?
Your thoughts on the NBA and in particular with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season and their travails this so far ? And what are you overall thoughts concerning what transpired with LeBron James in the offseason and the actions of Dan Gilbert, himself ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts on this topic and anything else pertaining to the NBA .
(1) Majority owner Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks to the media prior to playing the Boston Celtics in the Cavaliers 2010 home opener at Quicken Loans Arena on October 27, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ……….
James (23) is seen here court-side as a Cleveland Cavalier with then coach Mike Brown who was summarily dismissed by the Cavaliers’ front office at the end of last season. AP / Frank Warren ……………
(3) Denver Nuggets center Nene Hilario (31) shoots in between Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Antawn Jamison (4) and Alonzo Gee (33) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez ….
(4) Utah Jazz’s Andrei Kirilenko, left, fights for the ball with Cleveland Cavaliers’ Ramon Sessions during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. The Jazz beat the Cavaliers 121-99 . AP Photo/George Frey …..
(5) Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Bryon Scott calls a play during a game against the Utah Jazz during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. The Jazz beat the Cavaliers 121-99. AP photo/George Frey …….
(6) James is seen here with former team coach Mike Brown and team GM Danny Ferry as the player meets with the convened press having just won his first league MVP Award in 2009. The player would follow up that feat by repeating again 2010 joining a select few players to have won back to back NBA League MVP awards. Associated Press/ Mark Hall …………..
Money Makes The World Go Around …………… In MLB It’s Been The Sole Reason To Exist
So the season has yet to begin but before MLB has even come into being it appears that the St Louis Cardinals have been given an ultimatum . Negotiate a contract that meets everyone’s needs of Albert Pujols will test the free agency market this offseason. John Mozeliak team GM for the Cardinals knows that in losing Pujols to anyone of a multitude of teams within the league it be disaster for the organization on all fronts. From a financial standpoint it would prove to sheer idiocy on the part of the Cardinals and in all probability it would send the fans in attendance Busch Ballpark in complete uproar.
Tony La Russa knows full well that without Pujols the Cardinals as a team can’t compete within the NL Central much less the rest of baseball. For the Cardinals as an organization this all comes down to whether or not they’re prepared to break the bank in terms of offering the player what many may well believe will have to be one of the most lucrative contracts in MLB history . That privilege at present belongs to the New York Yankees’ —- Alex Rodriguez with his 10 year $300 million deal . Over the course of his career it is estimated that the Yankees’ third baseman will have earned in excess of half a billion dollars ( $500,000,000) without the inclusion of endorsements from corporate endorsers.
All this comes about not only with the help of A-Rod’s abilities on the field but the sheer added advantage of having Scott Boras as his agent. Boras has been able to cloud the judgment of general managers around baseball for over a decade and the idiocy they’ve shown in merely not looking after the financial wherewithal of their respective organizations. Much of this has been suborned also by the stupidity shown by MLB Commmisioner Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy . And as we all know intelligence has never been Bud Selig’s biggest attribute ! He’s still under the impression that the game and everything it stands for is good as it has ever been . At the same time what little backbone he shows has never been really there as he still cowers under the might of the MLBPA and it still hasn’t ceased.
Now while I’m under no impression that Pujols isn’t worthy of being richly rewarded for his exploits on the field but also his philanthropic efforts of it. If anything Albert Pujols is considered to be the best player in the game and if anything the fans and many of his peers may well be in agreement with this . It’s certainly in most fans’ minds that the game is in need of a clear overhaul when it comes to its financial blue print. The tax sharing scheme which benefits the small market teams around the league by way of revenues that’s shared amongst them by the league’s own mandate. Now it remains to be seen what type of long term contract that Pujols may well seek but it goes without saying that the starting point for those negotiations will have to be a minimum of 7 years and quite possibly in excess of $175 million . Comparable to Rodriguez’s annual salary of $30 million it would suggest that Pujols is still vastly underpaid. But that being said the question one has to ask is when will the over exubrance of the teams and their owners be reined in ? Clearly there are still at a point where they believe it’s in their best interest to carry on as if they’re printing money at will. I understand that’s how the <a href="http://usa.gov/" US government at present constitutes its business as it relates to the governance of the country and dealing with the stark economic issues facing the country but it’s become apparent that they’ve no idea to deal with this acute issue.
Do I believe that Albert Pujols should be the highest paid player in the game of baseball ? It’s a matter of opinion and a great deal of conjecture . Certainly over the course of his career he’s proven to be productive and having won three NL Player of the Year Awards . Pujols has been the consummate professional both on and off the field and he’s proven to be one of the main draws in the game ever since his entry into the major leagues. This has to be a decision that’s made by the front office , Mozelliak , the player’s agent and the player himself as to whether their most prized asset is worth the expense.
And if one thinks that this is only MLB team within the league that where their financial fortunes now lay in waste then consider the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig and team owners would still have us believe that the financial health of the game is a viable one where all of the teams are making money. That’s certainly not the case for those teams are at the bottom of the food chain and are merely fighting for the scraps being thrown its way . How’s that working out for those teams at this juncture ? And although many will throw out the statement recent winners of the World Series have been been varied in large part that may well be true but the vast majority of that period it has been more about the have and have nots as the big market teams have simply had the success that the smally teams simply have not. Skewer it anyway that you want but simply look at the list of champions over the last fifteen years ?
The game has come a long way from its stoic and social issues of the past but now it’s incumbent on Bud Selig , the game’s hierarchy , owners and players simply deal with the prevailing issues now hovering as a dark cloud over their sport. Have they actually done so ? I’ll let you all be the judge of that !
What thoughts if any do you have with regard to Albert Pujols’ request of the St Louis Cardinals to get a contract in place by season’s end or he’ll test the free agency market ? And in your honest opinion should he now become the highest paid player in the game today ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic and and the impending season within the game .
Picture and slide show details …..
(1) St. Louis Cardinals fans wish Albert Pujols a happy birthday as he signs autographs for fans at the Cardinals Winter Warm-up, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ……
(2) St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols horses around with former teammate Steve Kline as he signs autographs for fans at the Cardinals Winter Warm-up, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam …….
(3) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2009 in Jupiter, Florida. Getty Images /Doug Benc ………
(4) Manager Tony La Russa (10) and Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals stand in the duggout during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Roger Dean Stadium on March 29, 2010 in Jupiter, Florida. Getty Images / Marc Serota ……
(5) Uber-agent Scott Boras (left) seen here with former client Alex Rodriguez at the Yankees Spring Training facility Steinbrenner Field in Tampa , Florida. Boras negotiated in part contracts that will net the Yankees’ third baseman in excess of $500 million over the course of the player’s professional career and this doesn’t include off the field endorsement deals. Larry Goren SMI Inc ……..
For those of us who sat and watched what many may well have felt would be something of a lesson in how to close out this AFC divisional game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets . If anything what we saw was a gunshy and shell shocked Patriots’ team that simply had no answer for a thoroughly physical Jets’ team who simply came to the party fully ready to lay waste to the Patriots in their home venue Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts ,. And if you were under the impression that it was simply just the Patriots’ players who were ill prepared in this game then one had to wonder what was going on with the mindset of Bill Belichick and his coaching staff .
The game itself came down to a comedy of errors but more on the part of the Patriots and the sub standard play of Tom Brady and the offense . But to simply lay the blame soley on the offense would be remiss as the defense itself was simply left hanging in the wind as Jets’ offensive players , LaDainian Tomlinson , Shonn Greene , Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes had the best of their divisional rivals. Brady had what could be best described as the worse day of postseason career in the playoffs. He was laid bare by an offensive line who simply did nothing to protect him and to witness him being harried and hustled into making several mistakes in the game was like watching a rookie perform in his first postseason playoff game. Sacked five times during the game this was a day that Brady and the Pats’ fans like myself probably wished that there could be a do-over. But instead as we know when it comes to the postseason it’s simply one and done if you fail to make it the promise land .
This was to be the Jets’ day and rightfully so as Mark Sanchez led his team with authority and it augurs well for them now as they face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game . This 28-21 result if anything would give you the impression that this was a close game but in reality it simply was never that close to begin with . In large part it was simply one way traffic and that was evident throughout much of this game as New England was outplayed by the more eager Jets. And all of the smack talk over bragging rights that took place before the game now resonates even more and if anything it has cut like a dagger through the heart of the Patriots’ fans who may well have felt somewhat betrayed the team’s performance .
As to what the future holds for the Patriots after this devastating loss it remains to be seen what Belichick and in particular the front office may well decide to do. Having posted a league leading 14-2 record those performances during the season. The season itself for the Patriots was filled a great many highs as well as lows but if anything the regular season is one thing what really counts as we all know is the postsason and the the quest for the Superbowl . That’s what all 32 teams within the NFL start their season on that inimatable quest for one of professiobnal sports most illustrious team prize.
Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft the front office must now know that if this team is to be thought of as a perennial contender for the Superbowl and it has become abundantly clear that Belichick was if anything complacent in the team’s preparation in the postseason. The thinking is that the New England Patriots are the ever consummate team of professionals but herein lies the problem with the Patriots they’ve been the dog that has uncanny habit of being simply annoying that you’re tempted give it a whack with a bone. And this divisional game against the Jets the Patriots got beaten with that bone so profusely that I seriously doubt that they’ll make a quick recovery from this painful onslaught !
What thoughts if any do you have concerning the the divisional games this past weekend and what if any were your thoughts on the performances of both the New York Jets and New England Patriots ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and the upcoming games .
Alan aka tophatal …………………………
Picture gallery and slide show details
(1) New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty speaks with the media while cleaning out his locker at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Jan. 17, 2011. The New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots, 28-21 in the AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne …….
(2) New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez ties trash bags filled the belongings from his locker while cleaning it out Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots, 28-21 in the AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne ……
(3)Foxboro , Ma,. Drew Coleman (30) of the New York Jets tackles Wes Welker (83) of the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa Martinez /Getty Images ….
(4) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers questions from the media during a news conference Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The New York Jets defeated the Patriots 28-21 in an AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne ……..
(5) New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, center, reacts near the end of the Jets’ 28-21 win over the New England Patriots in NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Winslow Townson …….
(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots looks on near the end of their 28 to 21 loss to the New York Jets in their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa Martinez /Getty Images ………
(7) Braylon Edwards (17) and Santonio Holmes (10) of the New York Jets celebrate on their way to defeating the New England Patriots 28 to 21 victory over the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……
 Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots and Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets walk off the field after the Jets defeated the Patriots 28 to 21 their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ………
Well it comes as no surprise to me that the Oakland Raiders find themselves in a mess of idiotic proportions . Team owner Al Davis for some unfathomable reason felt it necessary to fire Tom Cable after the team having swept their division now find themselves without any semblance of continuity. Many of the fans of the team feel angered by this decision but at the same they know that Al Davis marches to a beat of a very different drum. Even if he can’t hear the damn drum to begin with and this is an individual who I feel is no longer cognitive of what’s happening around him !
In Cable’s place Hue Jackson will assume the position as head coach. This is a team that during the season had found a sense of purpose and direction but it’d appear that the inconsistency displayed by both Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski played its part in derailing the ambitions and hope for the Raiders this past season . Statistically the Raiders have been mid rank amongst the teams within the NFL in a number of categories but the real inherent problem has been the lack of leadership on this team. It certainly hasn’t come from the playmaking of either quarterback and even with a seasoned veteran such as Richard Seymour it would appear that his teammates weren’t always prepared to follow his example.
Nnamdi Asomugha perhaps the team’s best player on either side of the ball now finds himself perhaps on the outside looking in as the team now has rescinded all of the incentives on his record breaking contract ($45 million three year contract). Having failed to meet the incentives this season the organization has sought in part to renegotiate that deal but it appears that the player and management are now at an impasse. In failing to renegotiate the player’s deal the Raiders aren’t in a position to place the franchise tag on the player and at the same time should they seek to trade him the compensation sought by them could prove to be far too high for a number of teams around the league for the four time Pro Bowl cornerback . Oakland isn’t unlike a number of teams around the league that find themselves in something of a financial morass albeit that they fare well with the millions that they derive in revenues each season. With Asomugha being an unrestricted free agent the only alternatives that the Raiders now have will be either to seek a trade resign the cornerback to a long term contract which he and his agent will no doubt be seeking . The Raiders cannot place the franchise tag on the player in order to retain his services , so therein lies the dilemma that the Oakland Raiders now face at this juncture .
Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t under contract with the Oakland Raiders.
Asomugha didn’t reach certain incentives this season, voiding the last year of a three-year, $45.3 million contract and making the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback an unrestricted free agent, a source with knowledge of the deal said Sunday.
Raiders senior executive John Herrera later confirmed to The Associated Press that the contract had been voided. The 2011 option was worth either $16.8 million or the amount of the quarterback franchise tag, whichever is greater.
The Raiders now must decide whether to pay big money to keep Asomugha or use it to shore up other positions.
“We have to wait on the ramifications of the new CBA to be able to move on,” Herrera told The AP.
The Raiders could have many other key free agents this offseason, depending on the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour, safety Michael Huff, cornerback Stanford Routt, tight end Zach Miller, left guard Robert Gallery and running back Michael Bush are among the Raiders’ other potential free agents.
Entering this season, Asomugha had to participate in more plays or boost his interception, fumble recovery or sack totals from their 2009 levels to pick up the last year of the contract. But Asomugha played in just 14 games — two less than 2009 — because of an ankle injury, and he didn’t post an interception, a fumble recovery or a sack. He also had 19 tackles, 15 fewer than last season.
The Raiders can’t use their franchise tag on Asomugha, who will be 30 next season, because of another clause in the contract, which the cornerback signed in February of 2009. Asomugha was paid $28.5 million in the first two years of the deal.
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It remains to be seen how this situation will work itself between the player and the organization will come to a satisfactory conclusion. I’ve no doubt that Asomugha can still contribute to this team as he has done since his entry into the NFL some 7 years ago . Since then this perennial Prow Bowler has been one the main constants for this team and he has drawn the admiration of his peers and coaches alike around the NFL .
I’d repeatedly said at the time the moment that team President Mike Holmgren sought to retain Eric Mangini as the team’s coach until his firing this season I felt that the Cleveland Browns simply had no idea what the hell they were doing. For two mercilessly uninspiring seasons Mangini simply ran this team into the ground .
Now Holmgren has to constitute a wide ranging search for a candidate whom he feels can successfully resurrect the fortunes of this franchise. I’ve no doubt that the search will be widespread and will be amongst a number of candidates that Holmgren will look to interview . Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher and Mike Mularkey are names that come to mind and I’ve no doubt that with the recent hiring of Jim Harbaugh as coach of the San Francisco 49ers Mike Holmgren will look amongst the college ranks .And amongst those who may well gauged as to their interest may well be Les Miles of LSU , Chris Petersen of Boise State and Chip Kelly of Oregon . But the feeling is that many of these coaches mentioned within the college ranks might just be happy to remain with the programs that they’ve built up over the years.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey doesn’t know the Cleveland Browns’ time frame for hiring a new coach following his recent interview with the team.
That was about all Mularkey would acknowledge publicly about his candidacy in Cleveland. He interviewed Saturday with Browns team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert.
“I’m going to move on from commenting about that,” Mularkey said Sunday. “I’ll move on to anything else you want to talk about.”
Mularkey, who is helping the Falcons prepare for a home playoff game Saturday, hopes to become an NFL head coach for the second time. He had a 14-18 record with the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005.
Mularkey canceled an interview with the Denver Broncos last week. He isn’t sure if the Browns will request a second interview, but Mularkey was adamant that his primary focus is the Falcons’ next game.
“I just know this has been very important to me,” he said. “It’s important to our team. I’m not sure when a decision is coming down.”
NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi confirmed that St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, the first candidate to interview, is the Browns’ front-runner.
In his first three seasons with Atlanta, Mularkey has helped quarterback Matt Ryan become a burgeoning star. Ryan was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 after the Falcons drafted him No. 3 overall.
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There’s no denying that some pieces are in place for the Browns but in reality what they’ve lacked over the years has been leadership from the upper echelons within this famed franchise and the fact the coaching if anything has been mediocre at best ! Whoever assumes the reins of this team will have to go about their job with a great deal of expediency but at the same they will have realize that time is of the essence trying to achieve any modicum of success and that’s what will be asked of the successor to Eric Mangini. Chances are that the person assuming this position will now be put on a great of pressure to succeed.
What thoughts if any do you have with regards to the ongoing fallout that’s now taking place as to the managerial upheavals within the NFL ? Also what conclusions if any do you believe will come from the situation now involving the Oakland Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha ? Simply chime with a comment as to your thoughts on the topics raised and your and that of the NFL at present as you view it ?
As a bye note I’d just like to put this out there to the “idiot” who made the statement that Matt Cassel is the best quarterback in the NFL that has been produced by USC . Given Cassel’s display against in the team’s 30-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens let’s just say that Cassel much like his USC peers who are now playing the position in the NFL aren’t good enough to wear jock itch much less strap on a set of cleats and call themselves quarterbacks in the NFL . Matt Cassel , Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer collectively just aren’t that good by any stretch of the imagination. The trio are merely a bunch of over-hyped so called wannabe’s and ’til they prove that they’re good enough to be amongst the elite of the NFL please stop with dumb ass prognostications ?
No one start to ride on the Mel Kiper bandwagon but that guy has had more misses than hits over the years never mind the fact that much of the time he merely cites these players . because he’s suborned to do so by his association with the players’ agents rather than him gauging these players through his own observations. Plainly and succinctly what Kiper puts out there simply isn’t worth the time of day !
2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was An Unmitigated Disaster ….. Part Two !
The alphabet brigade still remains and the sport of boxing now is no better of than it was four years ago ! The pre-eminent fighter in the world isn’t a heavyweight nor does he happen to be North American. It is in fact a Filipino, Manny Pacquiao (52-38 KO’s 3-2) who is now a multiple world champion in eight different weight categories and quite rightly considered to be the best pound for pound fighter on the planet . He hasn’t been challenged mentally or physically by an opponent in years and it’s safe to say that without Pacquiao, the sport of boxing would become an elephant’s graveyard. Having made tens of millions financially from an immensely successful boxing career Manny Pacquiao’s skills show no signs of diminishing as evidenced in his ferocious beating of his last opponent Antonio Margarito in a fight that the referee Laurence Cole should have stopped to save the Mexican American fighter from further punishment. Margarito had welts over both eyes and a broken right orbital bone that had swollen to the size of a golf ball in their title fight that ended in a unanimous decision loss to the famed fighter.
With Pacquiao now perhaps leaning closer towards retirement , that one last big pay day that he’d hoped for in a super fight against arch rival Floyd Mayweather isn’t about to take place anytime soon. Especially not with Mayweather now facing legal troubles and the possibility of serving up to 35 years on a litany of felony charges ____ in prison courtesy of the Federal Court system within the Bureau of Prisons . Through his promoter and matchmaker Bob Arum , Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Shane Mosley in mid 2011 in a bout that will no doubt garner Pacquiao another lucrative payday but in all honesty at the end of the day the padding his fight resume’ against an over the hill Mosley is absolutely meaningless and an insult to boxing fans out there. But that’s now the state of the sport where the fans rarely get the fights they really want to see , instead we’re given that constant drivel of hapless and less than capable fighters and then we’re asked to pay at times in excess of $45-00 for the privilege of seeing such a spectacle even with an undercard of up of these upcoming bouts. Is it any wonder that the sport is now considered to be on its last legs ? So much so, that now mixed martial arts events by promoters such as Bellator , Strikeforce and UFC are now all the rage and capturing a larger slice of that once desired male demographic from within the sport of boxing. The sport itself is now finding a captive and receptive audience amongst female fans as well .
The boxing heavyweight scene has become a de-facto who’s who of rather marginal East European boxers who’ve essentially carved out a niche market for themselves . Atop of the heap are the Klitschko brothers , Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko who between them share four of the five recognized belts ratified out there. The lone none European heavyweight title holder is the Englishman David Haye who’s not really known on the North American continent, albeit that he was at one time the cruiserweight champion of the world . Another weight category created by the international governing bodies of the sport not only to create money but in large part to counteract that great divide from light heavyweight to heavyweight division where the fighters are now extremely larger.
If the sport is to remain prominent with its fans then the various promoters out there who control the dominant North American market will essentially have to be proactive making the most lucrative fights possible , rather than rehashing old fighters and serving them up as one big spectacle with a rather mundane story line as a prelude to what more often than not turns out to be a complete embarrassment. Consider this, an aging Evander Holyfield is still of the belief that he can regain the heavyweight title while slowly approaching his fifth decade. Given that the fighter now is merely fighting to stave off bankruptcy, legal entanglements concerning alimony and child support payments it’s easy to understand the reason behind this charade. In the meantime promoters such as Bob Arum ( Top Rank Inc ) , Don King ( Don King Productions ) and Oscar De La Hoya ( Golden Boy Promotions Inc ) continue to foist upon us fights that in large part don’t really capture the public’s imagination. If this situation continues then the sport will most definitely meet a slow and painful demise.
College Basketball saw the re-ascent of Duke (Blue Devils) to the top of men’s game having won their fourth NCAA National title with coach Mike Krzyzewski at the helm for all four . The program is now the most preeminent there is within the game and that’s with all due respect to the legacy achieved under the late John Wooden with the UCLA Bruins . The Blue Devils’ 61-59 victory over the Butler Bulldogs had the nation perhaps wanting the underdogs to win but that wasn’t to be the case as the team led by Kyle Singler would go on to a heart warming victory in the tournament. For Butler , coached by Brad Stevens , this placed his program firmly on the map and one that’s now admired nationwide. It’s safe to say that Stevens now hope that his team can repeat that feat this upcoming season .
For Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils’ program it’s pretty much safe to say that they’re now the pre-eminent college program in the country in terms Duke’s legacy under their esteemed coach. Krzyzewski to my mind would do the famed Wooden proud . Inasmuch as we can remember his feats over the years the lack of recent UCLA success would suggest that the Bruins while still remaining competitive still have something a mountain to climb to get back to the summit of the game they once ruled with such dominance. Duke now sits atop of the national rankings unbeaten at 11-0 while also leading the ACC .
In the women’s game the U Conn Huskies remain dominant under the tenure of their coach Geno Auriemma and having surpassed the astonishing feat of the UCLA Bruins’ 88 consecutive wins the Huskies are now sitting at 89 wins and counting . The unthinkable may well happen with this team reaching the century mark and perhaps along the way successfully defending their NCAA Women’s Basketball title this season . Stoutly led by standout players Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes it has to be said that there’s the belief that this team may not be seriously challenged in their quest in attaining both feats. And inasmuch as Auriemma has bemoaned the fact that his team and in particular the women’s game gets very little respect in the eyes of the public and press apart from the loyal Huskies’ fans up and down the country. I do believe that the coach ought to be simply thankful that he and the team are getting some ink in the print media and from the ever watchful eye of cable networks such as ESPN . Womens’ basketball doesn’t really resonate amongst the mainstream in the way that it does with the men’s game either at the collegiate or professional level. The NBA reigns supreme and meanwhile the WNBA struggles to capture a meaningful audience via its programming on either ABC or ESPN. Suffice to say that the Nielsen’s ratings barely garner a blip on the scale when the women’s basketball games are being televised .
It’s safe to say that soccer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup staged in South Africa captured the world’s attention and in particular that of the USA , with the team having qualified for the event. FIFA Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and the Executive Committee having chosen the country to stage the world’s most popular sport and second most watched televised sporting event behind that of the Summer Olympics sought to broaden the appeal of the game globally and within the continent of Africa itself. For the country itself, it meant a sense of pride given its most recent history of apartheid under successive white Afrikaan’s regimes until the the successful election of Nelson Mandela as President and then his thoughtful process of peaceful reconciliation amongst the masses.
With the country now being led by incumbent President Jacob Zuma there was much indeed to feel proud about but given the fact that Blatter and a number of his hierarchy remained naive , somewhat intolerably silent concerning the sexual assaults , and murders of several female soccer players in the years leading up to the staging of the event , I found it somewhat insidious in the fact Blatter chose to remain silent on this very issue while speaking out about racial bigotry and violence being espoused by fans in the direction of the male players who happen to be of ethnic minority. How is that any different and less heinous than a female being raped, attacked or murdered by males within their country merely because of their alleged sexuality if they happen to be a lesbian ? As unthinkable as this might have appeared to be it was an occurrence that happened with increasing regularity in South Africa albeit that during the staging of the event nothing was reported to any such event having taken place.
Long admired as the masters of the glorious game Brazil was viewed as one of the prohibitive favorites for the tournament alongside Spain , France , Italy and Argentina . The United States coached by Bob Bradley were seen as one the outsiders that very well have been in a position to pull off a major upset. Though not endowed with a world class outfielder they did however possess one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Tim Howard . The player himself makes his home in the rough and tumble world of the ultra competitive English Premier League (EPL) in England. Other than Howard the face of US soccer over the last decade has been their multi faceted and well respected striker Landon Donovan who played alongside former English international David Beckham for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS here in the United States.
Both England and the US were drawn in the grouping for the divisional round (Group C) of the tournament and I was of the opinion that while both countries qualified on merit I could see neither going beyond the quarter finals of the competition. Neither team was really endowed with a great deal of talent and that’s in spite of the jingoistic fervor being shown by the domiciled US fans whose broad base and knowledge of the game of soccer ranks up there alongside Sarah Palin’s geopolitical knowledge when it comes to world affairs. It’s safe to say that when a US fan is trying to tell you that the US’s offensive capabilities are vast based on the fact that other than Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan’s international experience , then I’ve truly got to ask the question why the interest ? It’s not as if the game itself has found a long term foothold amongst the masses. US Soccer President Sunil K Gulati and MLS Commissioner Don Garber are still struggling to get the game to resonate with the fans domestically. Broad based coverage of the MLS domestic league are as such scheduled around the wishes of ABC/ESPN to televise the games as and when they see fit and the appeal of the teams playing in the chosen fixtures. The talent is still developing and one would be naive to think that the US is now a major powerhouse on the international soccer stage. Gaining respect, albeit in small steps , nonetheless their showing in the tournament was filled with some success but it all ended too briefly merely from the fact that as a team they were lacking creativity on offense and in the midfield where much of the work needs to be done in order to be effective. they showed little signs of real creativity. Think of it as Brady marshaling his teammates as they seek a third or fourth down in the red zone .
The plight of the English team was certainly no better and the complacency showed in the true lack of effort by not only the players but also on the part team coach Fabio Capello and his coaching staff. To add insult to injury Capello left off his final squad the talented young striker and midfield player Theo Walcott who the coach described as ill equipped to deal with the rigors of international play. Bearing in mind that Walcott had been performing well for his club side (Arsenal) in the Premiership (EPL) I found the coach’s statement completely asinine and without merit ! But somehow he found time to include a veteran such as Peter Crouch whose best years were far behind him. It’s no wonder that once the wheels on the bus started to deflate no amount of excuse could be made for the poor showing of the team in the World Cup. Thankfully the woes of both England and the US team weren’t as embarrassing as that of the heavily favored French squad that argued vehemently with and against their coach leading to dissent after their lackluster effort in a game (2-1 loss) against South Africa . The internal turmoil would not end there with one player being sent home after his profanity laced attack against the coach. Overnight this became a PR disaster of seismic proportions for the French Soccer Federation as well as the French government whose Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot offered her sincere apologies to the South African government and to FIFA after the televised events that took placed involving coach Raymond Domeneche and several French players. The French squad would soon exit the tournament with their tails between their legs after their unmitigated disaster in failing to qualify for the latter rounds of the Word Cup.
Teams who were excelling as the tournament progressed , did so by sticking to a game plan and playing with a great deal of dexterity. The raucous crowds attending the games came from all corners of the globe and with many of them having found a new to toy for their accompaniment in creating a cacophony of noise …………..the vuvuzelas became the instrument that would create some uproar amongst the purists of the game. South African natives themselves are use to the noise created by the instrument and it has become a way of life with the regards to their use at sporting events be they small or large.
Holland , Germany , Spain and Brazil would excel over the course of the tournament but once it became clear that the Brazilian team wasn’t what many had come to expect, their fate was soon to be sealed. In large part that was due to complacency in taking lightly the challenge of opponents who they thought were beneath them. The World Cup Final itself pitted Spain , the number two ranked team in the world at the time against their European counterparts Holland . And after ninety excruciating painful minutes of regular play the game went into overtime. Rarely were there any really scintillating moments throughout the game and the thirty minutes of overtime proved to be fateful as Spain’s Andres Iniesta would prove to be his country’s hero in scoring the only goal ( 1-0 result) that would lead his side to winning their first World Cup title. A billion followers of the sport of soccer can’t be wrong but I do feel that this event while proving to be a success in terms of its staging on the African continent for the very first time , it somehow left little to suggest that the game itself can take a real foothold here in the United States. The final game itself while creating some suspense it was on the whole something of a boring event in of-itself. While no doubt Dutch and Spanish fans may well wholeheartedly disagree with my statement , I can’t help but wonder if they had it do all over again would they willingly sit and watch that events unfold in front of them given that they knew what the end result would be ?
It’d be safe to say that the events surrounding Tiger Woods’ fall from grace would play a significant part to his season on the PGA Tour in `2010. Woods for all of his sexual dalliances , inappropriate behavior and his then less than contrite apology simply dug himself a whole that not even Harry Houdini could’ve escaped from. Far be it for me to say but Tiger Woods’ performances on the PGA Tour circuit lacked all the drama we’d come to expect from the world’s top golfer. If anything there was more excitement to be had in listening to the ingenues who came forward to state that they had sex with the player. From escorts to , hostesses and porn stars , females came out of the woodwork like termites from a piece of rotting wood. And along the way many of them parlayed their notoriety to gain some financial well being . Rachel Uchitel and Jamie Jungers were but a few who made their stories public and if you just happen to curious enough and something of a voyeur then in due course there will be sexually explicit movie detailing Woods’ exploits that will be marketed by one of his paramours through the distributor and purveyor of adult entertainment _____ Vivid Entertainment . Curious to see whether not the actor portraying Woods will be using as much wood as he laid to those noted conquests ? ‘Four …….. nine iron being used ‘.
Fourteen Majors and some seventy plus wins worldwide and it’s easy to see why Woods has been the most dominant golfer over the last decade plus and of his generation. A career Grand Slam and all the acclaim in the world made him the marketer’s dream , and the titans of Madison Ave in conjunction with international sports management agency IMG made Woods the most marketable athlete on the planet , the first to earn $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) in endorsements and career earnings. And when you’ve made that sort of ‘bank’ you probably do feel impervious and would like to think that you can do anything possible. What Woods seemed to forget is that there’s a cause and effect , for every action there is a reaction. It was only a matter of time before the veil came down on the charade that has been Tiger Woods’ persona. And it’s asinine to think that Woods tried to apportion much of the blame on the media after the sordid allegations became public knowledge ! What the hell did he actually think was going to happen , he’d be given a free pass ? Nigga’ please ?
Tiger Woods would also lose his world number one ranking as he would be passed by Englishman , Lee Westwood atop of the World Rankings . Westwood has yet to win a Major but he’s been very consistent worldwide on the PGA and European Tour events.Woods’ goals no doubt for 2011 will be regain the form that saw him with regularity on the Tour and at the same time refocus his efforts on being a better human being and a parent. As to whether or not he can surpass his idol Jack Nicklaus , garner the four Majors needs to equal Jack’s feat and then add another to make it nineteen, remains to be seen. He’s still young enough to do it but it now all comes down to his will and composure as to whether or not he can achieve that feat.
The Ryder Cup notwithstanding Tiger Woods’ contributions on the PGA Tour in 2010 can be best described as being mediocre . But to others at the lower end of the totem pole on the Tour I bet at times they wouldn’t mind being in Woods’ position without the sexual pecadilos I might add and all of the intrusiveness of the paparazzi that comes along with it !
I’ve never been really much of NASCAR fan , way too many left turns ! And what the hell might I ask is boogity , boogity boogity ? Is that some sort of dumb ass ‘Redneck speak’ for I’ve got a hard on for Lil’ E ? Speaking of which can someone remember the last time that Dale Earnhardt Jr won a Sprint Cup Series race ? I guess not ! He’s way too overpaid for what modicum of talent he does have. For an unprecedented fifth consecutive year Jimmie Johnson has won the Sprint Cup Series Championship and along the way seemingly create an even greater divide between himself and his peers. The only drivers now ahead him with more titles on the sport’s pre-eminent circuit are Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr . Seven to be precise, is the total held by each of these all-time greats within the sport and it remains only a matter of time and the desire shown by Johnson if he chooses to emanate or even surpass those feats.
The unfortunate thing here is that the sport has now reached its maturation point and whereas viewership and attendances are on the decline , the fan appreciation of Johnson’s feat isn’t being appreciated by all. Other than his own following I truly doubt that the vast majority of NASCAR fans like the guy to begin with ! It’s been suggested that Johnson has no character , he’s not really affable or he’s simply not rambunctious enough. Screw that ., the guy simply wins and he’s begun to make a habit with an ever increasing consistency ! As to NASCAR’s own hierarchy led by Brian France and Mike Helton , though they’ve now got a dominant face for their sport they’re still all too reliant Dale Earnhardt Jr to be the face that arguably reigns over their sport. Far be it for me to suggest but when you simply have a guy who of late has shown marginal talent at best in the practice of his craft, then why the hell is there a need to have him as the face of your sport ? You’ve got the most dominant driver of this era now within your midst and he’s garnering about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield jokingly said he could attain being a comic. What’s up with that ?
This now ends part two of this two part series concerning my own sporting observations concerning some the events that took place across the landscape of sports during 2010 . What events if any caught your attention over this calendar year and what wishes if any would you like see take place in 2011 as an event ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !
NB: Pacaquiao’s scheduled bout against Mosley is due to take place at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada on the 7th May 2011 .