Football, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Sports, Sports Commentary, Stephen Ross, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Uncategorized

Running On Empty …………..


Running On Empty

I’m finally beginning to calm down given the situation concerning the NFL lockout as it pans out and the fact that over a prolonged period we have the team owners now saying that they are closer to a compromise. The season starts on the 3rd September and I fully believe that it will not start as the NFL believes as planned . The situation now stands where the players are having to plan their own workouts as there have been no preseason OTA’s and the new draftees aren’t able to be meet with the coaches and their respective trainers . To further emphasize the situation those very same draftees have yet to sign their contracts with their respective teams .

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Slideshow for your perusal .

With the owners , NFL hierarchy now meeting with their union counterparts led by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae the grandstanding by both sides continues unabated and at the same time this only further exacerbates the whole situation . Now as many of you are aware I reside in the central Florida area where the three NFL teams within the state are the Jacksonville Jaguars , Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . This past season all three teams in their own determinable way had what one might deem a modicum amount of success . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed the postseason having missed the playoffs having fell by the wayside in posting a 10-6 record within the NFC South and failing to dislodge the New Orleans Saints who finished ahead of them within the division. For coach Raheem Morris this was a splendid sophomore season as he and GM Mark Dominik were able to make great strides as this team made the type of improvements one wouldn’t associate with such a young team.

The foundations were laid in Buccaneers’ bright season because of the exhilirating play of quarterback Josh Freeman who simply showed that he’s now becoming one of the more dependable and young reliable players at the position within the league. And one only has to look at the strides made by Sam Bradford , Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan . Morris and his assistant coaches have simply gotten the players to buy into a simple system and that’s to play hard , enjoy the game but above all be held accountable for executing the play. Freeman for his part is seen as the leader on this team where he’s also ably abetted by a veterans such as Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber . On offense the play of running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receiver Mike Williams have made this Buccaneers so much more of a talented team to watch for their fans. If nothing else this upcoming season for the Tampa Bay Buccaners should be something special . And it bodes well for the organization as a whole as they look to become a contender within the conference and for the Superbowl . From a defensive standpoint the traits instilled into the Buccaneers still remain but simply with more aggression and finesse not seen before . Granted , there have been those inconsistent displays but the players have learned from that and it bodes well for their immediate future.

If anything I was somewhat surprised that Jaguars’ coach Jack del Rio simply was allowed to keep his job ! Given the mediocre season had by the team and the mere fact the coach and his staff simply did a lousy job . And simply put , I not so sure that the upcoming season we’re liable to see any type of improvement the team compared to last season .

In the AFC South where the Jacksonville Jaguars reside they have to contend with the Indianapolis Colts as well as the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans . I now firmly believe that if Del Rio cannot leaf this team into the playoffs this season then team owner Wayne Weaver in conjunction GM Gene Smith will have no other course but relieve the coach of his duties . Some may well feel that it is all too little , too late , and they would obviously be right but because of the NFL hierarchy enforced lockout I believe that a number of teams around the league seeking to make a managerial change sought not to because of the financial ramifications involved . Having to pay a coach that you have just fired when he still has a year or more left on his existing contract and then having hire and formulate a new multi year deal for a new coach can end up costing an organization countless millions. Simply ask the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about that ? They are still paying former coach Jon Gruden two years after his abrupt firing and Gruden is now being handsomely paid by ABC/ESPN to provide both networks with on air college , NFL analysis and commentary . Not bad eh ?

If there’s one thing I learned from last season within the NFL it is that there’s a tremendous falloff from the top tier of quarterbacks and those at bottom tier of the ladder ! And anyone who witnessed the play of the quarterbacks on the Dolphins’ roster will know exactly what I am talking about . Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen at best are moderate backups within this league but somehow coach Tony Sparano believed that one if not both were reliable enough to lead this beleaguered team .Given the frailties of this team on both sides of the ball the Miami Dolphins simply did their utmost to disappoint their fans as well as their celebrity investors who are led by principal owner managing partner Stephen M. Ross . The owner in conjunction with GM Jeff Ireland have seen the promise first shown when Bill Parcells was brought in as a consultant , simply disappear as the team has struggled to find an identity . Parcells is no longer involved with the organization at all , having chosen to retire to a much calmer environment, where the rigors of the NFL would be the last thing on his mind. Now it is left to Sparano and his assistants to guide this team back into some semblance of competitiveness .

With the ongoing lockout showing no signs of dissipating a shortened season now may well become a reality . And in many respects it may well benefit a number of teams around the league . For the Miami Dolphins this may well prove to be fruitful but on the other hand given the fact that players aren’t allowed on team facilities for any sort of organized training activities because of the work stoppage , there’s no doubt in my mind that all of the NFL teams will be impeded and we may well have to endure some really bad football during what might be league induced shortened season. And for the Miami Dolphins their opening schedule for the 2011-12 season starts off with an divisional rival game against their AFC opponent the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium in Miami , Florida , on the 12th September 2011 .

Tony Sparano may well be in for a season where he and the coaching staff will come under a great deal of scrutiny. The Dolphins have essentially become a “one trick pony” with little to show other than their ” shot gun offense” . And even then, once they were found out by the opposing teams they were found wanting in showing any form of creativity on either side of the ball . That if anything out to be enough of an indicator as what one might expect from this team over the course of the season. There’s a great deal of expected of the team throughout this season and their task won’t be made any easier given the fact that within the division apart of from New England Patriots you also have a hungry New York Jets’ organization wanting to prove that they ought to viewed as perennial contenders within the NFL . The Buffalo Bills will simply want to hang tough while Chan Gailey and his staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses on the roster as he looks to make them a resurgent force within the division and league as a whole .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you view that picture in its original formatted size .

Though the reverberations of this lockout has yet to be felt but we already know that a number of teams around the league are having some form of hardship though it hasn’t been well publicized . In a number of cases it has been noted that a number of teams have taken to actually cutting the salaries of their coaching staffs which has led to throng of opposition by the NFL Coaches Association as the coaches as such are caught in the midst of this saga. The idiocy of this lockout hasn’t been lost on the fans and the vast majority feel that that both owners , league hierarchy and the players are equally to blame . And now while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his opposite number DeMaurice Smith seek some common ground and accord you simply get the feeling that this pissing contest is actually far from over . Both sides are actually out of gas , running on empty and simply looking for the other as such to cave in first .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, right, throws a football as teammates watch during an unofficial workout at Bergen Catholic High School, Friday, June 10, 2011 in Oradell, N.J. The workout gives the players an opportunity to practice together during the NFL labor lockout. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ……

(2) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) greets Adrian Clayborn, 20 th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(3) Buccaneers’ number one draft pick Adam Clayborn (center) is seen here alongside Bucs’ team coach Raheem Morris (left) and GM Mark Dominik (right) at the team’s headquarters at One Buc Place. Dominik and the coach have made sure to fill the Bucs’ roster with players they deem that will be able to add quality and productivity to the team . Courtesy of St Petersburg Times .

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Blaine Gabbert ,, 11th overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(5) Head coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches his team play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America …

(6) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Mike Pouncey, 15th overall pick by the Miami Dolphins, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(7) Miami Dolphins’ coach Tony Sparano (left) is seen here with the team’s owner billionaire real estate mogul Stephen M Ross at the team’s headquarters at Sun Life Stadium , Miami , Florida. Sparano will have a great deal to prove this season if he’s to retain his position with the Miami Dolphins . Miami Herald / Walter Michot ….

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

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


 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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