Detroit Lions, Football, NFL, Sports

The More Things Change The More Things Tend To Remain The Same ….. Well At Least For The Lions It Does


Coming into this NFL season , it was thought that there was room for hope and improvement as far as the Detroit Lions goes. And in the NFC North where the Lions reside , they’re at present 0-2 in a season still young in its infancy. Nevermind the fact that this team will have to contend with the likes of the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers within the division this season.

Detroit  Lions  first  round  draft   pick,  starting  quarterback   Matthew Stafford.   picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/  Carlos Osorio    ...............
Detroit Lions first round draft pick, starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Carlos Osorio ...............

What has further exacerbated the Lions’ plight is that with the two losses suffered this season. The team has now lost eighteen straight regular season games , taking into account last season. And there we all know what transpired as to their travails. They had the pleasure of posting the first winless season since the NFL went to a 16 game regular season schedule. The players and the Lions’ fans in particular of had to face the ignominy of the franchise going down in NFL history – having the dubious distinction of attainig that milestone. Now with these two losses at the start of the 2009-10 season. One can only ask this of the franchise … are things liable to get a whole lot worse before they get better ? I for one don’t think that this would be something that the Lions’ fans and the fans of the NFL in general would be contemplating this early in the season.

Lions' coach  Jim  Schwartz  and  the  team's  defensive tackle Lance  Cohen  (98)  look  on  from  the  sidelines as   the  waning  moments  die  down  in  an   NFL  game  played against   the Minnesota  Vikings  at  Ford  Field  in  Detroit  , Michigan.   The  Vikings  would  go  on to  defeat  the  Detroit Lions  27-13, forcing the    team  to   endure  its   19th  straight  loss  of  NFL game .  It  is  the  second  lonest mark  of  its  kind  NFL history.   picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Carlos Osorio  ........................
Lions' coach Jim Schwartz and the team's defensive tackle Lance Cohen (98) look on from the sidelines as the waning moments die down in an NFL game played against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan. The Vikings would go on to defeat the Detroit Lions 27-13, forcing the team to endure its 19th straight loss of NFL game . It is the second lonest mark of its kind NFL history. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Carlos Osorio ........................

Statistically for the Lions their season has become one of impending woes in every facet of their game. And if they’re at all to fare well , then there will have to be drastic improvements made on all fronts . The franchise took a great deal of pride in the fact that they drafted quarteraback, Matthew Stafford as the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. And it was thought that he would solidify the team’s offense with his play. And with veteran quarterback , Daunte Culpepper on the team’s roster. There too , it was felt that the elder statesman could provide his experience and leadership qualities in making Stafford’s introduction into the NFL an easy transition. So far thing haven’t seemed to have worked out as planned. Stafford’s baptism of fire has been a telling one to say the very least. He’ll no doubt learn from his mistakes but at what cost to his team and his very own psyche ?

Vikings'  wide  receiver Percy Harvin   (12) evades  Lions'  safety   Louis  Delmas   in  an  NFL game  at Ford  Field  ,  Detroit , Michigan.   picture appears courtesy  of getty  images/  Stephen  Dunn   ...............
Vikings' wide receiver Percy Harvin (12) evades Lions' safety Louis Delmas in an NFL game at Ford Field , Detroit , Michigan. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ...............

Week one , saw the Detroit Lions capitulate to the New Orleans Saints in losing 45-27 . And in that particular game we saw Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees eviscerate the Lions, throwing for 6 touchdowns in leading his team to victory. In week two , we saw the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings inflict more of the same in defeating the Detroit Lions 27-13. The Lions were lethargic and ineffective on both sides of the ball. And it’s hard to see what the team’s coach , Jim Schwartz can now do from here. Inasmuch , as we know that Schwartz is passionate about the game and his team. It can’t have escaped him that history now seems to be repeating itself. And for Lions’ fans having to resort back to wearing paper bags over their heads to hide their shame and disgust ,can’t be someting that they’d envisage having to do once again this season.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP :

Signs of life: Lions showing glimpse of promise ………….

By Larry Lage , AP Sports Writer

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Lions were down in their opener at New Orleans and refused to be out.

In their next game, the Lions stuffed Adrian Peterson more times than not and had some success running the ball against Minnesota’s vaunted defense.

Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford(notes) has connected with standout receiver Calvin Johnson(notes) on breathtaking plays and fellow rookie, Louis Delmas(notes), looked like a battering ram in a violent collisions with Peterson that jarred loose the running back’s helmet.

Detroit is off to an 0-2 start, extending its losing streak to 19 games, and yet coach Jim Schwartz is seeing signs of life.

“There’s tangible proof of what we can do—of what we’re going to be,” Schwartz said Wednesday.

The first-year coach and his players say a lack of consistency has kept them winless.

“We’ve put up two good quarters in both games,” linebacker Julian Peterson(notes) said. “Now, we’ve got to put it together for four quarters to win.”

Peterson insisted if Detroit can string together four quarters of sound football to win some games, earning a spot in the playoffs is possible.

Playoffs?!

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The strange thing is , on this Lions’ team there’s a nucleus of young players who can play the game. The problem however, may well lie in the fact that they’ve yet to acclimatize themselves to the schemes being taught to them by the coaching staff. It’s not that there isn’t effective communication going on between Schwartz’s staff and his players. It’s just the mere fact that they’ve been all to slow on its intake. And nowhere is this more evident than in the play itself of Matthew Stafford. His play at best, can be described as being tentative. And when you have offensive weapons such as Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith . You had better be sure that you’re not under utilizing them from the outset.

Lions'  receiver   Calvin  Johnson   (81)   goes in for  the touchdown  against   the Minnesota  Vikings .   Minnesota's   Chad  Greenways (52)   tries to   grab  the  legs of  Johnson  in  order   prevent  Johnson   from  scoring .    picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Carlos  Osorio     ..................
Lions' receiver Calvin Johnson (81) goes in for the touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings . Minnesota's Chad Greenways (52) tries to grab the legs of Johnson in order prevent Johnson from scoring . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Carlos Osorio ..................

The steps that are being taken are indeed baby steps and purposefully so at this juncture. Afterall , this franchise has had to live with the Matt Millen years. And those we know bordered on being manical in its very execution. Suffice to say, that with Millen’s departure from the franchise , sanity it was felt, was brought back to the inner sanctum of the franchise. Ownership, in the form of the Ford family, has been positive with the hiring of Jim Schwartz. And it is to the coach whom they now look to lead the team to success. And if success should found this season by way of an improvement upon last year. Then it can be thought of a resounding success by the organization.
If not then then they’ll just have to batten down the hatches and just get the job done in the best way possible.

I for one would like to think that this franchise after what it has had to endure . It can improve in such a way the fans and indeed the entire city of Detroit can feel a sense of pride in the organization. It’d indeed go a long way in suggesting that the bad times are now behind them. Rather than them having to endure unwanted notoriety and mockery from others. The history and legacy behind the franchise suggests that it’s capable of being and remaining a success in the true sense of the word. What one has to still ask at this juncture is, are the fans willing to wait for it all to materialize ?

As a fan of the NFL do you ultimately feel that the Detroit Lions can turn things around ? If so , how do you see them achieving this ? Will it take a year or longer ? And will the present coach be the one to guide this team back to respectability ?

I’d welcome your thoughts and comments on this matter and I’ll look forward to discussing them with you in great detail. As always, thanks for the incredible support shown. It’s gratefully appreciated !

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Baseball, Chicago Cubs, MLB, Sports

Winning Is Everything And The Only Thing …..So Can Someone Explain That To The Chicago Cubs ?


In the quaint old world of sports we all understand that the game itself has its foibles , history but above we’re led to believe its honesty, dignity and integrity.


And the venerable Vince Lombardi , a man known for his honesty and integrity but more so for his success and anecdotes. He states the following ……”Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Lou  Piniella  is  formally introduced  as   the  Chicago  Cubs'  manager.   Assisting  him  in  putting  on the  team  jersey  is   the  GM  Jim Hendry.     Piniella  took  over the   position  from the  fired   Dusty  Baker   .  He  assumed those  responsibilities  on   October of   2006.  He  signed a  three  year  conract  for   $10m    with a  1 year   option  extra as  an  incentive.   picture  appears  courtesy  of   upi/photo/  Brian  Kersey  .....................
Lou Piniella is formally introduced as the Chicago Cubs' manager. Assisting him in putting on the team jersey is the GM Jim Hendry. Piniella took over the position from the fired Dusty Baker . He assumed those responsibilities on October of 2006. He signed a three year conract for $10m with a 1 year option extra as an incentive. picture appears courtesy of upi/photo/ Brian Kersey .....................

So it’d explain a great deal at present with regard to the plight of the Chicago Cubs and their woes over the last century plus. And the fact that they’ve continued to be mired in the depths of ineptitude. Furthermore the fans have had to endure these debacles without much recourse. When on the outside looking in would say it’s the Cubs’ fans undying loyalty and willingness to accept the futility that they’re prepared to endure such pain.’ Personally , I feel it’s all a bunch of hog-wash and it lies with the fact that neither the Cubs’ management or ownership aren’t prepared to be ambitious and do what it takes to place a winning product on the field of play !

Courtesy of ESPN and Associated Press :

Hearing on Cubs sale set for Sept. 24

Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Monday approved Tribune Co.’s request for quick court action on the company’s planned sale of the Chicago Cubs.

The family of billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, has agreed to buy a 95 percent stake in the team and its Wrigley Field home for $845 million, but the deal must be approved by the bankruptcy court, as well as Major League Baseball.

Judge Kevin Carey approved Tribune attorneys’ proposals regarding notification to interested parties, including creditors of both the Tribune and the Cubs.

The process approved by the judge calls for any objections to be filed by Sept. 17, followed by a Sept. 24 court hearing on Tribune’s motion for court approval of the deal. Carey also approved break-up fees ranging from $5 million to $20 million to be paid if it falls through.

The plan filed by Tribune attorneys calls for a separate bankruptcy filing by Chicago National League Ball Club, a Tribune affiliate that is not involved in the company’s Chapter 11 case. That filing would come after Carey approves the sale as part of Tribune’s bankruptcy reorganization and escrow financing documents are in place.

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Milton Bradley is formally introduced as a Chicago Cubs’ player. Listen carefully, as the player waxes on lyrically about his emotions with regard to the team. My, how times have changed ?

And even though the franchise, having been sold by real estate mogul and developer Sam Zell to Tom Ricketts and the immediate members of his family. Tom Ricketts is one the founders of the online investment firm TD Ameritrade . The final selling price was said to be $845 million . Somewhat of an overly inflated price but clearly what Zell was after- considering that he’d placed the Cubs’ parent company -The Tribune Group into bankruptcy proceedings. And whilst MLB haven’t been all that forthcoming as to the ongoing situation. We’re led to believe that Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Chief Executive Officer Bob DuPuy were said to be closely monitoring the proceedings. This, I for one find to be totally preposterous. Considering the duo were about as cognizant of the issues with regard to the the steroid issue and its ramifications for the game as a blind man would be in the desert. You know it’s hot but you’re not prepared to do anything to safeguard yourself. Much as in the same they’ve both mishandled the issue. Albeit, that they’re now crediting themselves with what they believe to be the unparalleled success of the game’s steroid program.

In light of what has gone on with regard to Cubs . Isn’t it somewhat strange that a public comment hadn’t been forthcoming from the commissioner’s office or for that matter from anyone within the game’s hierarchy ? But then to MLB … silence is golden . Until there are serious ramifications for the health and financial well being of the game. But even then , they’ve failed to act appropriately and with due diligence. It is to be expected from an organization that has been as transparent as the members of Opus Dei . There’s a lot that they’d have us all believe divine as to their being. But there’s so much more that’s held from the prying eyes of the public. Much like the inner workings of the hierarchy of MLB

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP :

Cubs suspend Milton Bradley for rest of season

By R B Fallstrom AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP)—Milton Bradley’s(notes) season is finished. Perhaps his days with the Chicago Cubs are, too.

The Cubs suspended their volatile outfielder for the rest of the season Sunday, one day after he criticized the team in a newspaper interview.

Bradley was disciplined for conduct detrimental to the team. General manager Jim Hendry said he decided to send Bradley home after learning of the player’s remarks in the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald of Illinois. Bradley, scratched from Saturday’s lineup with a sore left knee, was quoted as saying “you understand why they haven’t won in 100 years here.”

Bradley has two years remaining on a three-year, $30 million contract that he signed as a free agent last offseason. Hendry said he doesn’t know if the relationship can be salvaged.

“The last few days became too much for me to tolerate,” Hendry said. “I just decided late last night that’s what I was going to do, and I didn’t give it a lot of thought what’s going to transpire moving forward.”

Cubs manager Lou Piniella agreed with Hendry’s move.

“Jim made the decision and I support it,” the manager said. “I really do.”

Chicago signed the switch-hitting Bradley to provide balance in the lineup, but he struggled throughout his first season with Chicago, batting .257 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs. He was booed vigorously by home fans at Wrigley Field.

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And if you thought that the present situation for the Cubs couldn’t at all get any worse. You’d be entirely wrong . As the team has taken the unusual step of suspending their outfielder Milton Bradley until the end of the season. The reason behind the suspension are for the statements made to the press with regard to the Cubs’ organization by the player. The Cubs for their part see Bradley’s actions as conduct detrimental to the sport and to the organization. Both GM Jim Hendry and the team’s coach , Lou Piniella are in complete agreement with the course of action taken.

And for the Chicago Cubs as a team who’ve underperformed throughout the entire season. Theirs is a situation that if anything , is viewed as irreparable. Piniella now seems to be out of his depth and unable to communicate with his players. Hendry as the team’s GM has been about as useful to the organization as a three legged horse trying to run an obstacle course. He’s fallen so many times that it has become laughable. Personnel decisions made under his tenure have proven to be disastrous, more often ,than not. And as a duo , Hendry and Piniella would make for some very fine comic relief.
It remains to be seen upon finalization of the sale of the franchise , whether not both the general manager and manager will be asked to remain with the organization.
If they’ve not been able to lead the team win anything of merit . Then in reality there’s no reason at all for them to remain with the Cubs’ organization.

The Chicago Cubs (76-72) remain 10 games behind the NL Central Division leading St Louis Cardinals (87-63) . As the season now winds down , it has to be said that for all sense and purpose the season just can’t end quick enough for the Cubs and their long suffering fans. They’ve been asked to endure far too much and more than any one fan can be asked to bear. And even though there are second , third and fourth generations of fans that still show their unwavering support to the organization. One has to ask the question ….’how much more are they all willing to bear’ ?

Bradley’s future with the club remains bleak and it’s enough of a suggestion to believe that the player won’t be back with the club for the 2010-11 season. And it wouldn’t be at all out of the question to suggest that the player’s professional career within baseball has reached its climax. One hardly feels that there’s still a major league team that’s willing to want the player- with the all the baggage that he’ll apparently bring with him. A worse case scenario, would be to see the volatile Bradley implode once again and seemingly bring down an organization with him. Best case scenario , he once again becomes a productive player and contributes to an organization. One of those is preferable but in actuality I’m inclined to believe that he won’t be around to contribute to a team. It’s as plain and simple as that !

For the Chicago Cubs and their long suffering fans. One empathizes with them. But at the same time how must they feel seeing the likes of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays all making it to a World Series . Two of those organizations winning the game’s most prestigious prize. But bear this mind, all three in question have been around a lot less longer than the Chicago Cubs, in terms of their tenure within the game of baseball. And it has been over 100 years since the Chicago Cubs won the last of their two World Series championships. And it could well be another century before they’re liable to achieve the feat again.

So what say you as to the impending fate of the Chicago Cubs ? The game’s lovable losers seemingly can’t win but for losing. It’s not been within their DNA for years ! Winning that is .


Boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Sports

I’ll Make It Rain …..I ‘ll Make It Rain ….So Says ‘Money’ Mayweather


Well let’s face facts, the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr (40-0, 25 KO’s) and Juan Manuel Marquez(50-5-1-37KO’s) in the end , turned out to be nothing more than a minor day at the office for Mayweather. He wasn’t at all tested by his Mexican opponent -who offered little more than being a minor bump in the road for Mayweather and his ultimate goal . And that’s to meet Manny Pacquiao in a highly anticipated mega-fight.

Mayweather  knocks   down  Marquez  in the  first  round  of   their  welterweight   bout   taking  place  at  the  MGM  Grand  Casino  Hotel  &  Resort  in    Las  Vegas,  Nevada .   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Larry   Bouchard  ......................
Mayweather knocks down Marquez in the first round of their welterweight bout taking place at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Larry Bouchard ......................


But first , Pacquiao will have to take care of his next opponent , Miguel Cotto. That fight is being viewed as an eliminator for the privilege of meeting Mayweather. The smart money at present is on Pacquaio to defeat Cotto. It’s viewed in boxing circles that a meeting between Mayweather and Pacquiao would offer the better fight in terms of commercial appeal and economic sense. It would definitely be something that the fans of the sport would crave.


Mayweather  on  the  attack  as  he   takes  the  fight  to  Marquez.   Mayweather   would   end  up winning  the  fight  decisively  with a  unanimous   verdict  over  his  Mexican   opponent  ,  Juan  Manuel  Marquez.      picture appears  courtesy  of   getty  images/  Eric  Jamison  .............
Mayweather on the attack as he takes the fight to Marquez. Mayweather would end up winning the fight decisively with a unanimous verdict over his Mexican opponent , Juan Manuel Marquez. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Eric Jamison .............


Courtesy of Yahoo Sports :

Mayweather pummels Marquez in return

By Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports

LAS VEGAS – Round-by-round coverage of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez in front of 13,116 fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Official judges scores: William Lerch 118-109; Bert Clements 120-107; Dave Moretti 119-108.

KEVIN IOLE’S UNOFFICIAL SCORECARD
Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Floyd Mayweather 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 120
Juan M. Marquez 9 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 107

Round 1: Mayweather opens with a jab to the head and one to the body. Marquez short with a jab. Hook by Mayweather lands. Mayweather lands a hook. Marquez not doing much at all. Jab by Marquez. Marquez misses wildly with a hook. Left-right by Marquez. Good left hook by Mayweather. Another hard left by Floyd.
Mayweather wins round, 10-9

Round 2: Mayweather lands a jab and Marquez lands a hook. Mayweather seems so much faster. Crowd chanting for Marquez, but he’s not landing much. Hard right by Marquez. Mayweather smiles. It definitely landed flush. Left uppercut by Mayweather puts Marquez down. Marquez is up. Hard right by Mayweather lands. Marquez misses three shots badly. Combination by Mayweather. Hard right by Mayweather.
Mayweather wins round, 10-8.

Round 3: Hard jab by Mayweather to open the round. Mayweather blocks a Marquez combination. Left-right by Mayweather. Straight right by Floyd. Short right inside by Juan. Mayweather lands a jab. Combination by Mayweather lands. Marquez gets in a right. Speed difference between the men is stark. Right over the top by Marquez. Mayweather smiles again.
Mayweather wins round, 10-9.

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In order to read Kevin Iole’s complete scorecard rundown then just click on the text link provided.

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And whilst the bout itself didn’t provide us with anything that we didn’t already know about Mayweather as to his boxing skills. It did tell us one thing most definitely – and that’s fighters such as Marquez despite their alleged skill-set. They’re in effect no real match for a fighter of Mayweather’s pedigree. And for the fans in attendance , although they may well have expected much more fluid performance from Marquez. It only provided us with further proof of what a wide margin there is between the likes of Mayeather , Pacquiao and when it comes to the other fighters within the welterweight division at this present moment in time. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao stand head and shoulders above the others within the division-that’s by a considerably wide margin.

Mayweather  and   Marquez  exchange   punches   while  on  the  ropes .    picture  appears   courtesy of  getty images/  Eric  Jamison................
Mayweather and Marquez exchange punches while on the ropes . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Eric Jamison................

The other thing that also is profound is that once leave the welterweight division . There’s very little to offer the sport by way of real talent and charisma in terms of the fighters now on display . In essence it has become a barren waste land of non-descript boxers with little talent and personality. Is it any wonder that many fans are now scurrying away from the sport in droves. And that seemingly idiots like once prominent boxing promoter Bob Arum is seemingly in denial, as to what’s wrong with the sport that he amongst others, has now turned into something of a sham , in terms of true entertainment.

Mayweather  lands  a  good  solid  right  to the  head  of  Marquez   during  their   welterweight  bout  .      picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/   Paul   Moran  ................
Mayweather lands a good solid right to the head of Marquez during their welterweight bout . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Moran ................

The bout was easily won by Mayweather and the judges had somewhat of an easy decision to make. He won the bout decisively and by a wide margin , scoring a unanimous decision in the end – over the course of twelve rounds.

The promotional tour for the upcoming Cotto vs. Pacquaio. The bout will be promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.

Now the boxing world will wait to see if a mega-fight will take place between Mayweather and Pacquiao. Which will no doubt will be predicated upon the events that first take place between Pacquiao and Cotto , when they meet. For myself , as a long time boxing fan , who as of late , I haven’t found much to be excited about when it comes to the sport. Needless to say my appetite is wetted when such fights are made. Wherein, we have the very best of best facing off against each other inside the ring.

Unfortunately for a sport , that claims it has the fans’ best interests at heart. Of late the sport has been doing a lousy job creating great entertainment for even its most avid fans. Is it any wonder that many of them are now finding more compelling form of entertainment that’s now being found within the world of mixed martial arts under the auspices of UFC ?

NB : In order to hear Arum’s reasons as to why he believes that UFC and the genre known as ‘ mixed martial arts’ is what he deems ‘trash’ . Just click on the link provided below. There you’ll be able to see an interview he gave describing the sport as one filled with Nazi skinheads adorned with tattoos. Clearly Arum is devoid of knowledge when it comes to the sport and its growing following.


A Sad State of Affairs …………..