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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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 .



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 ……………………………

Picture and slide show details below .


(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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EPL, Football, Joel Glazer, Manchester United, Mark Dominik, NFL, Raheem Morris, Sports, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is a Straight Line

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is a Straight Line

It appears that when one embarks upon a journey there are numbers of ways that one can go about planning it . You can take the path of least resistance knowing that if you’ve mapped out a plan then the journey and effort itself won’t be too laborious . Or one can go about this journey without a plan and essentially trying to overcome whatever obstacles are thrown your way and then seek to overcome each one at each moment it is in your pathway.

Plain but simple these are also the decisions that one also may well have to make in life as we proceed along its path. However we’re told that in life we have to be able to face adversity look it stare it straight in the eye and do our very best in order to deal with it and then overcome it. What if the obstacles at times that are thrown in front of us are ones of our own making ? How should one deal with them? Work to overcome them? Deny that they are and look elsewhere for assistance or perhaps simply just give up? Tests such as this are things show character if we choose to face them head on. However when we choose to deny them then along the way we’re liable to meet more of these very same obstacles in life.


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In article in the online forum of there’s a piece that deals with the burgeoning debt and finances of the Glazer family and the very fact that their most prized sporting assets are very much facing financial difficulties. As owners of the NFL’s __ Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership soccer team Manchester United the Glazer family were thought to be the envy of the sport’s world. As the proud owners of Manchester United perhaps the most recognized sporting brand in the world , with its legions of fans the world over. This has given the semblance of respectability that the family may well have desired. But in their earnest rush to attain that respectability they have essentially “sold their souls to the Devil” and have little to in return to show for it all . Granted , United has won a Premier League title and have become a perennial contender on the European front. But in the midst of it all the sons of Malcolm Glazier have become financially irresponsible and have began to hide behind a whole line of false truths and misleading statements concerning their own financial stability and that of the two sporting franchises.

Courtesy of

Glazer family £1 billion plus debt threatens ownership of Manchester United

June 7 – The scale of debt held by the Glazer family, the owners of Manchester United, is even greater than first imagined after it emerged that their business empire owes £1.1 billion ($1.6 billion), which could threaten their ownership of the three-time European champions .

According to an investigation by BBC’s Panorama programme, to be broadcast tonight [Monday], the Americans are carrying £392 million ($568 million) of previously unknown debt relating to mortgages taken out on 63 of the 64 shopping malls owned by their company First Allied Corporation across the United States.

Four First Allied shopping centres have recently fallen insolvent due to low occupancy, while the report also suggests the malls do not make enough money to fund the mortgages.

They have also borrowed £66 milion ($96 million) against their American Football League team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The explosive findings suggest that the Glazers’ other business interests are unlikely to be able to pay off Manchester United’s £717 million ($1.03 billion) debts and cast further doubt on on whether the club will have funds to spend on transfers this summer.

United have always insisted Sir Alex Ferguson will be given cash in this transfer window but the Scot has suggested he will keep new arrivals to a minimum.

The research for the programme was carried out by Andy Green, a City analyst and United supporter who is a keen backer of the ‘Green and Gold’ campaign to oust the Grazers.

“The Glazers have called the US property market appallingly bad,” he said.

“They borrowed money at inflated valuations right at the top at the top of the cycle.

“In their core business in the USA they got is absolutely wrong.”

Panorama quotes Dave Whelan, the chairman of Wigan Athletic, as saying: “I don’t think anybody can be satisfied with how Manchester United are being run.

“They have got somewhere in the order of three-quarters of a billion pounds worth of debt.

“That has got to be eliminated and eliminated quickly.”

In March, United chief executive David Gill claimed the club’s debts were easily covered by the income.

He said then: “We have an element of the debt that is very easily serviced by the cashflows of Manchester United, we are in a sport that is getting bigger all the time and as one of the leading clubs we should benefit from that growth.

“We believe we have a much more appropriate and flexible financial structure in place.”


At present the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are close to $100 million in debt and the Manchester United soccer club has amassed debts totaling $1.56 billion and rising. In the midst of this all , the Glazers have sought to renegotiate the financial obligations owed on this debt to their various creditors without much success. And why should the banks in question acquiesce to their requests to begin with ? Many of these very same banks had to be bailed out via their various sovereign governments and it would be something of a folly if they were to now bail out Manchester United , while not actually making funds available to small businesses much less a home owner looking to refinance their mortgage.

As the Premiership season has ended with United having finished as runners-up to Chelsea who once again made off seriously with some domestic silverware , having won the Premiership title and FA Cup . And in doing so they joined a select few teams that’ve completed the “domestic double” in having won both the Premiership league title and FA Cup in the same year. And whereas , Chelsea doesn’t have to worry about its financial stability as it is owned by Russian billionaire tycoon Roman Abramovich . The same cannot be said of Manchester United and their owners, the Glazer family under their patriarch Malcolm Glazer. With each passing month things are becoming more acute not only for both sport’s franchises but also for the family and their business interests. Their primary business interests outside that of the two clubs is that of their commercial real estate and mall holdings in First Allied Corporation . The company is one of the pre-eminent companies in its field . But as we all know with these dire economic times the consumer hasn’t been always been willing to spend much of their disposable income in many of the big box stores that First Allied has as its tenants. That being said the Glazers would have us believe that they have a 90 % occupancy rate at all of their various commercial real estate properties across the nation. If only that were true to begin with. On average the industry as a whole has lost many of their retailers and occupancy rates are averaging at best no more than 72 % .Somewhat of a misleading figure to begin with don’t you think that was forthcoming from the Glazers ?

In the midst of this all , the sons of Malcolm Glazer who oversee the sports holdings of the family have been less than upfront as to their intentions concerning both teams. And given the fact that the Buccaneers at present still owes the Tampa Bay Sports Authority in excess of $1.2 million for which the city of Tampa has yet to collect on this debt, which is in excess of two years old. It has me wondering what else is going inside of the ornate boardrooms of the Buccaneers’ organization . In this day and age when a city is now obfuscating their responsibilities to their citizens by not collecting monies owed to them but would seek to cut much needed and vital services to the community. I’ve got to ask myself in whose service are the city and in particular is Mayor Pam Iorio beholding to ? If not its residents then surely it can’t be to the Glazers at this juncture can it ?

And as ambitious as the aspirations are for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this upcoming season . This Raheem Morris coached team will be hard pressed to surpass last season’s anemic record of a 3-13 in what was a horrendous display of football on all fronts. Morris , himself, had made the statement that ” throughout the season the team had improved it showed in their determination and play”. Now I’m not one to ridicule a coach in merely his second year on the job. But what the hell was he looking at throughout much of the season ? How the hell had the team improved when with each game they simply regressed and became worse over their entire regular sixteen game schedule ? In the midst of this all watching over this debacle were Avram , Joel, Bryan and Edward Glazer the sons of patriarch , Malcolm Glazer. The quartet are now entrusted in looking after the family business and its sporting interests. Let‘s just say that the job that they‘re now doing borders the mess that was orchestrated by Rick Wagner as he presided over GM and led the automotive giant into bankruptcy and looked to apportion blame elsewhere because of his rather asinine executive decisions as he presided over the company as its Chairman & CEO.

With the 2010 NFL Draft having come and gone , with the Buccaneers taking Gerald McCoy as their first round draft pick and third overall. It is hoped that McCoy along with the other picks taken by the Buccaneers in the draft will be enough to bolster what was been a very under achieving that team that was lacking in depth on all fronts !. No leadership, no play-maker but most of all no sense of urgency from either the team or coaching staff that seemed to be learning its trade whilst on the job. And this was meant to be a positive change of direction for the team and organization as a whole from the reign of Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden ? Truth be told they’re now further into an abyss than they ever were before and all of the rosy speeches being made by Morris and GM Mark Dominik cannot hide the fact that the Buccaneers as an organization are on a slippery slope to nowhere and that they’re heading there fast !

If things should get much worse financially for either of the two sporting interests or even for First Allied , then there’s very much the possibility that the Glazers may well have to sell one if not both of their sports’ holdings. Some fans may well feel that this would be for the better given the tact taken by the family in their business dealings and obvious misinformation to the public and fans alike. But then again what’s new ? As normally this is very much the way that we now have many of the owners acting with regard to their baubles as it concerns the ownership of a major professional sports franchise. Never mind what they do by way of conducting themselves as it concerns their business practices and businesses in general. Simply look at the actions of Goldman Sachs , the now defunct Merrill Lynch , Bank of America and you can easily understand why it is that the economic meltdown came about within the financial industry and spread like wildfire across the economic landscape. Honesty and integrity went out the window as these executives chased after the almighty dollar foregoing financial expediency and their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders and the public alike. It is no different now with the Glazers and how they’re now treating not only the Buccaneers and Manchester United fans but also the residents of the city of Tampa. They simply cannot be trusted to be upfront and tell the truth , instead they choose to be evasive and lie about their present predicament. Somehow this will end up costing someone a great deal of financial pain and the burden at the end of it all may well be placed upon the shoulders of the fans when it’s all said and done.



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Doubt my word on this all ? Then simply watch as everything now begins to unfold. One way or another there’ll be a lot that will come to the fore as this all begins to play itself out. Much of this could have been avoided had the Glazers shown the temerity to simply tell the truth right from the start. But as we know the “The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is a Straight Line “. And having the courage to tell the truth has never hurt anyone , if anything it shows character and honor when taking such a stance . At this juncture is that what we’re actually seeing from the Glazer family ? I’ll leave it for you to be the judge of that !.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………

Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac gives you an acoustic version of his self penned mega-hit “Trouble” .

Baseball, Football, Mark Dominik, MLB, NFL, Raheem Morris, Sports, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina ……..Or In This Case The Tampa Bay Rays ……….

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina ……..Or In This Case The Tampa Bay Rays ……….

The woes of the sporting landscape here within the Tampa Bay area has been well chronicled over the years. From the years of mired mediocrity of all three of the professional sports franchises in the area. Apparently it’s back though not quite yet with the same resonance as before . The pitiful Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their half a_sed fans have pinned their hopes on Raheem Morris as the team’s coach and that of Mark Dominik as their general manager. Nothing quite like throwing a half drowned child back into a swimming pool and telling them that they need to learn how to swim. And this is in essence is what the Bucs’ ownership has done with the inexperienced duo of Dominik and Morris.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris, left, and General Manager Mark Dominik talk to the media today about the release of five popular Buc players.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris, left, and General Manager Mark Dominik talk to the media today about the release of five popular Buc players. photo appears courtesy of St Pete' Times/ Skip O'Rourke ......

Now comes the hard part for the cash strapped organization they’ve got to in part lure the fans back to Raymond James Stadium to endure an inferior product and playing staff on the field of play this upcoming season. Never mind coming off a horrendous 3-13 this past season. The the coach was reveling in the fact, that the team had shown signs of life and improvement in their play as the season progressed. Call me naive but how is there improvement in a team, when they couldn’t even string together series of wins during the regular season ?. The coaching and entire coaching staff was completely out of its depth. And the less than knowledgeable fans in the area in their calls to the various local sports talk show hosts , were only too willing to subject themselves to complete ridicule with their so called observations on the Buccaneers. I’m not saying that the vast majority of the fans are clueless but when you start making asinine comments such as… ‘Sabby Piscitelli has the future makings of being Pro Bowl caliber player’. Then I’ve got to believe that some of these fans are chemically dependent on an illegal substance of some sort. Either that , or they’ve just escaped from the nearest mental facility within area ?

Former   hedge  fund  manager  and  venture  capitalist  Jeff  Vinik. The  multi-millionaire  businessman  recently  bought   the NHL's  Tampa  Bay  Lightning   from  Oren  Koules and   his  syndicate  partnership  group  for  the  bargain  basement   price  of  $170 million.  photo appears  courtesy  of  Associated  Press/  Charles Krupa ..........
Former hedge fund manager and venture capitalist Jeff Vinik. The multi-millionaire businessman recently bought the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning from Oren Koules and his syndicate partnership group for the bargain basement price of $170 million. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Charles Krupa ..........

The NHL hockey franchise in the area , the Tampa Bay Lightning has been mired in a similar decline of monumental proportions. So much so, that the ownership group that was once led by Hollywood movie producer Oren Koules and his syndication partnership have up and sold the franchise because of the sheer ineptitude shown on their part and the ongoing bickering that took place between Koules and senior partner , Len Barrie . If you’ve ever witnessed two five years old’s in a playground hurling barbs at each other. Then the idiocy of the behavior between Koules and Barrie bordered on that. The syndicate bought the NHL franchise for $240 million but off loaded it for the bargain basement sum of $170 million . But bear in mind that they still owe the previous owners of the franchise in excess of $75 million and they had also failed to keep up the installment payments to the owners , as this was the form of payment the original sale took. As to how this could ever been sanctioned by the league’s front office and its commissioner, Gary Bettman . Well, it clearly shows the idiocy of the game’s hierarchy and within its own head office. And so the travails of the sport remains ongoing . They’re but a heartbeat away from becoming completely extinct. I’d dare say that the vast majority of Canadians are pis_sed to see what has become of their national passtime in the hands of a US based and led hierarchy ?

The Lightning was sold to former hedge fund manager and multi-millionaire , Jeff Vinik . The new owner seems predisposed to spending whatever it takes to put the team back on track . And for the moment he’s placing his faith in Rick Tocchet and his coaching staff . And with a 26-24 (63 points) record and still something of a great deal to play for. The Lightning will have to play at an extremely high standard if they’re to harbor any hopes of garnering a playoff berth from within their division (Southeast) and the Eastern Conference as a whole.

Now the real problem for the franchise has been the been the dwindling attendance and hardcore support for the ‘the team’. And with their home arena filled to less than capacity. It’s easy to see why they now face an uphill task to lure fans back to the St Pete Times Forum . With barely nothing approaching 12,000 fans for a home game , the struggles for the franchise are mounting not just to maintain its competitiveness but also for its financial stability and viability within the area.

Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays.  photo  appears  courtesy of  New York Times/ Phillip   Diedrich  ..................
Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ..................

If things aren’t tough enough for the Tampa Bay Rays , as it is already. Now they have to contend with a rejuvenated New York Yankees’ team and a powerhouse that’s back to where they feel that they rightfully belong. And that’s atop of the baseball world as ‘World Series champion’. Never mind that they also have to contend with the Boston Red Sox , in what is an already competitive and contentious AL East division within major league baseball (MLB). But that doesn’t even describe many of the problems that the organization is now said to be facing. Some of it self inflicted , and some of it not. Its hardcore fan-base is barely above 14,000 at best and the team averages just over 23,000 per game (2009). Hardly what one would think viable to sustain a professional baseball franchise within the area. But this is how the Rays continues to survive while trying to eke out a profit for its syndicated partnership of owners headed by Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman . And then add this together with the fact that the Yankees’ spring training facility is domiciled in the city of Tampa at ‘Legends Field’ . And you begin to comprehend the vast problems that the Rays face in trying to attract fans to their home venue of Tropicana Field ,Tampa.

Courtesy of St Petersburg Times in conjunction with Tampa

Give Tampa Bay Rays a shot, and Bud Selig gets a stadium

By John Romano , Times Sports Columnist

St. Petersburg — Welcome to Tropicana Field, Mr. Commissioner.

Hope you didn’t have any trouble finding the place. I know it’s kind of out in the boondocks. And I’m sure that explains why you have been forced — regrettably, no doubt — to miss 963 of the 964 regular-season games played here the past dozen seasons.

But it was certainly gracious of you to accept an invitation to tonight’s Governor’s Baseball Dinner, and for that, we are oh so grateful. Because, and you may have heard about this, we’re having a bit of a fuss regarding this whole stadium viability issue.

On the one hand, we have Rays ownership and a blue-ribbon committee of local business leaders who say Tropicana Field is the wrong ballpark in the wrong location. On the other hand, we have a lease. All of which leaves some pretty nervous baseball fans stuck in the middle.

So I’m guessing someone might broach this topic with you tonight. And I’m also guessing you’re going to say you agree with Stuart Sternberg that the only way the Rays can remain competitive is with a more attractive stadium that provides better revenue possibilities.

That’s certainly a legitimate argument. Attendance here has not been strong, and a drab stadium in a gloomy part of town hasn’t helped. The goal is a team that can remain competitive, and a better stadium situation is a big part of that equation.

But a stadium is not the only factor at play. Baseball’s economic system has as much to do with the Rays’ payroll issues as anything else. If we’re being honest, it probably has a greater impact than Tropicana’s zip code. Folks in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, with their shiny new stadiums and tiny little payrolls, can probably relate.

So, if I may, I’d like to suggest a deal:

We’ll consider building a stadium if you consider fixing the competitive balance issue.

Oh, I know that’s a hot-button issue for you, Mr. Commissioner. I know you’re on record saying that competitive balance is greater than it’s ever been in baseball. I know you’re proud of the role you have played in creating revenue sharing and a payroll tax.
To read John Romano’s article in its entirety just
click on the link provided

 Evan Longoria hits a two-run homerun in the first inning to tie the game 2-2. Tampa Bay Rays vs Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALCS at Tropicana Field on Saturday.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  Associated  Press/  Scott  Mayhew ...........
Evan Longoria hits a two-run homerun in the first inning to tie the game 2-2. Tampa Bay Rays vs Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALCS at Tropicana Field on Saturday. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Scott Mayhew ...........

What the Rays have as an added advantage for them, is the young nucleus of a team that is tried and tested . A very good manager in Joe Maddon and some tremendously gifted players in Evan Longoria , Carl Crawford , Carlos Pena , Matt Garza, David Price , Ben Zobrist , B. J. Upton and a slew of other players that would be the envy of ‘any another team’ within the entire major league (MLB) . But unless the fans are willing to come out to see this team play. Then, in all likelihood the owner, Stuart Sternberg , will uproot the organization and relocate elsewhere. It’s as plain and simple as that ! There are a number of cities across the country that would quite gladly welcome the Rays’ organization and would be amenable to building them a stadium that would meet their needs.

Unfortunately , in these dire economic times the city of Tampa with its grandiose notions of being a major sporting player on the professional sports’ landscape , has the ideas of a large major city but the working expertize and knowledge of nothing more than a rural communal town. And if that’s not enough of an indication, then just look at the social behavior of the fans at large, when it comes to their ‘showing support for this team’ ? They’re as fair weather as they come and their lack of loyalty speaks volumes as to why baseball as a sport cannot, simply work within this community. Especially when given the fact that in large part the residents of the city and the surrounding locale aren’t willing to come out and support the Tampa Bay Rays wholeheartedly.
And needless past allegiances to other teams plays its part in this all. But in all sincerity the present ownership has done more than enough to deserve far more than it is now getting from the so-called fans of the sport, within this community !

Elaine Page gives you her rendition of the Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice written ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ from the musical ‘Evita’. Joining Page onstage , is noted actor and singer, Antonio Banderas.

Courtesy of Sporting

Rays’ payroll set to drop following 2010 season

Sporting News Staff reports

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg told Tampa radio station WDAE that the team’s payroll will decrease dramatically in 2011.

Referring to the team’s 2010 payroll, which will be more than $70 million, Sternberg said Monday, “(We’ve) completely have outspent ourselves this year.”

“There’s no $60 million payroll next year, either, let alone a $70 million payroll,” Sternberg added. “It’s going to be a tough transition, but it’s something that given the economics of the game and specifically the economics of what we are in Tampa Bay and in St. Petersburg, it makes it impossible to do it for more than a couple of years.”

Several key Rays, including left fielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Carlos Pena and closer Rafael Soriano, are in the final years of their contracts.

American League All-Star Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays robs a home run from National League All-Star Brad Hawpe of the Colorado Rockies during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri.
American League All-Star Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays robs a home run from National League All-Star Brad Hawpe of the Colorado Rockies during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Dilip Vishwanathi .............

Marketing pushes asides, the Rays’ sales office hasn’t done an acceptable job to begin with. Furthermore in an area , where the vast majority of baseball goers are either Red Sox, Yankees or Phillies’ fans. Then in large part, all that the club is left with are the scraps that’s left at the table that no one actually wants when it comes to the fans. The area is primarily made up of relocated fans from other areas of the country, whose allegiances are still with their home teams. Very few, if any, have either changed allegiance or steadfastly support the Rays wholeheartedly. If that were the case , then the average attendance at home games at the ‘Trop’ would be way above the 23,000 plus, that they’re said to be getting. If truth be told even on a fairly good night for a home game there’s hardly anymore than 14,000 fans in the stands, if that ? And no matter what the word coming down from up on high within the organization , be it from Sternberg , Silverman or even GM Andrew Friedman, himself. The baseball club will continue to struggle to lure fans and eke out an existence within the area.

Granted , even if the franchise has a state of the art stadium built to its exacting standards and specifications. There’s still no guarantee that the fans could come in droves to see the team play , no matter where the new venue happens to situated. For all of the studies undertaken by both the organization and that of the local government agencies within the locale . There’s no concrete evidence to even suggest that this would mean an uptick in attendance to the desired numbers that they would wish for. Essentially the options are for the Rays, stay and continue as is, or move to another part of the country where this is a greater wish for the game of baseball and where fans are actually willing to come and see a team play. At present that just doesn’t seem to be the case with the fans within the area. The continued excuses forthcoming from the fans have become monotonous and of no merit. Whereas, the ownership is hampered by a hierarchy (MLB-front office executives) within the game that simply doesn’t know what the hell it is that they’re doing ! Or how best to address the most acute needs of its members.
Can someone please explain to me how it is that an as_hole such as Bud Selig was voted into the office of commissioner and still remains there to this day ? I knew that the vast majority of owners within the game were stupid but I had no idea that it was this much !

I can tell you this much ,as a fan of the game I certainly won’t be shedding a tear for any major league franchise at this juncture ! Be they good , bad or indifferent. The truth is I love the game but I can neither stand the continued pomposity of the owners and in many cases the self serving attitude of many of the game’s players. It were as if many of them think that it is ‘we the fans’ who owe them something . When in fact it’s actually the other way around. I think the Lloyd – Webber composition best sums it all up !. Don’t you ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….


Outkast feat’g Killer Mike …..’The Whole World’ .


<strong>Melyssa  Ford <em> , Canadian  born  model,  actress </em>and   aspiring  singer</strong>.  There's no reason   why  she   can't  do  all  three ,   as  good , equally  .  And  judging  by <strong><em> those  hidden  assets</em>,  I'd   say  she's off  to  a  very   good  start !</strong>.  What  do   you  think  ?
Melyssa Ford , Canadian born model, actress and aspiring singer. There's no reason why she can't do all three , as good , equally . And judging by those hidden assets, I'd say she's off to a very good start !. What do you think ?

Cato June, Derrick Brooks, Football, Ike Hilliard, Joel Glazer, Joey Galloway, NFL, Raheem Morris, Sports, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Warrick Dunn

I Get It Then I Don’t ……………


I    Get  It  Then    I   Don’t   …………





Listening  to the  local  sport’s talk radio  shows   here  within  the   greater  Tampa  Bay  area.   I’m   finding  it  all  the  more  bewildering   to  see  the  bloodletting  that’s  now   taking   place   within  the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers  organization.   There   have  been   those   who   favor   the   moves  that’ve   taken  place. And   there  have   been   others   who   by  their   very   outrage   have   made    it  clear   that  it’ll  be  their   duty   to  call  out  the  organization  and   in  particular   the  Glazer  family   and  the   ineptitude  that  they’ve  shown   in   handling  this  all.




With the announcement that   came with the  very   fact  that  the  Buccaneers  had  made  the  decision  to  cut   defensive  stalwart   Derrick Brooks,  Joey  Galloway,  Warrick  Dunn,  Cato  June  and  Ike  Hilliard.   It  all  but   sent  a  message   as  to  how  messy  the  business  of the  NFL  really  is.     GM Mark   Dominik  along  with  coach   Raheem  Morris   all  but  made  it   clear  that    this   was   nothing    more   than a  business   decision  and  the  fact that  the  organization  was   now   moving   in a   new   direction.     Well that  new   direction  and  the   furor  that  these   maneuvers   have   created   has  led to an  outcry   not  heard  within   the  community    in a  long  while. 




Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers' coach  Raheem Morris  checks  an e-mail  message  following  a news conference  at the  NFL Scouting  Combine  in   Indianapolis , In.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Todd  Meyers  ............
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coach Raheem Morris checks an e-mail message received having just attended a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis , Indiana . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Todd Meyer .......................




This   may  well  be  nothing   more  than  a   business  decision  which  will  save  the  organization   money .   But  the  haphazard   way    in  which  management   went   about   in  dealing   with  this   smacks   of    stupidity  and  sheer   ineptitude.  It  may  well  have   not  been   the  decision  of   Dominik  and  Morris’  to  have  made.   But   the   thinking   is  that   this   came  down   from    up   on  high.    And  with  the  Glazer   family    in  the  guise   of   Joel  ,  Bryan and  Avram (Ari )   all   sharing   in  the  running   of   their   father’s   business  interests.  It   gives    credence  to  the   fact  that    the  Buccaneers  along   with  that   of   their   ownership    in   European   soccer   club   Manchester  United    has   placed  them  in  somewhat  of   an  unenviable    situation. 






 ving   bought  the  latter   through   privately   leveraging   the    club   for  a  sum  in   excess  of   $ 1.6bn   .  It  may   well   give   credence  to  the  fact  that  the   family  may  well  be  in  some   dire    financial   straits.    The  debt   has to  be  serviced  and   repaid. And  with  the  banks   clamoring   for  any  money   that  they’re  owed.   It  can  be  said   that   the   family   is   under   a  great  deal  of  pressure.  This  situation  was   handled   with  the  all  the  aplomb   of   a  nuclear   device    going   off.    The   explosion  was  loud   and  clear   and    felt    right  across   the  community.    Brooks   for   his   part   has  handled  this   all  with a  great   deal  of  class . As   too  have  his   former   teammates  who’ve    accepted   the   actions  of  the  organization. 




Derrick  Brooks  addresses  members  of  the  locally  convened press  at the  Buccaneers'   headquarters  in  Tampa, Florida.  The  Buccaners   had formerly  made  the announcement  that   Brooks  along  with  four  other  players  on  the   team's   roster  had  been   cut   from the  team.   picture  appears   courtesy  of  getty  images/ Frank   Eldridge ...................
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive lineman Derrick Brooks speaks to the locally convened press at the Buccaneers' headquarters in Tampa , Florida. Brooks was there to take questions from the press after it was formerly announced by the organization that Brooks along with four other players had been cut from the Buccaneers' team roster. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Todd Elridge ................




The  fallout   from  this  all   has  been  met   with   some dismay  and  nowhere   has   this  been  more    prevalent   than   within  the  news  media  and   in  particular    the   sport’s   talk   show  medium.    This  will  be  the   feature   story  for  the  ensuing   days  ,  if   not   weeks.   As   this   will  be   dissected  and   analyzed   as   much  any     media   story     out   there.   All  of   a  sudden  anything   concerning  the   Tampa   Bay   Rays   or     Tampa  Bay Lightning    will   become   almost   irrelevant.    





Well  it’s   now  too  late   for  a  do-over   and   if  anything   with   the   $62m  that  the  team  is   under   the  NFL salary   cap  will   go  a  long  way   in   determining   the   intentions  of  the  franchise.   With   free  agency    now   in  the  offing.  And   with  there    being  a  number   of  needs  that    have   to  be   addressed   by    the  team.   It   will   be   very   interesting   to  see  the   sort   of   decisions   that’ll  be   made   by     GM  Mark  Dominik  and    coach   Raheem  Morris.  And as  of  now  the   clock   is  now  ticking   on the  franchise ,  its  management  and  ownership  as  a  whole.






The   loss   of   Brooks  while    monumental,   it   is   very  hard   to  see  who’ll   now  be   viewed  as  the  inspirational  and   vocal  leader   of  this   team.    All  of  which   leads me  to  believe  that  the  franchise  will  be   in  for   some   very   rough and  turbulent   times   ahead.   Brooks    brought  to  the   game   a   desire   and   passion  to   play.   But    even   more   so    there  was    that  will  to  win   and   exert   himself    to  do  whatever   it’d   take.   Unfortunately   on  the   team   there  is   no   one    there   now   who    possesses    those    infinite   traits.    And  it’ll   definitely    be   some  time   before   we  can   truly  assess   where  the   team   stands  as  to  its   presence  as   a  contender or   pretender    amongst   the   franchises  within   the  NFL.





This   much  is   certain    where  they   now    are   and  where  they   envisage   that  they  want  to  be .   It  is    so  far   apart   that   it   doesn’t  warrant   thinking  about   at  this   juncture.   Talk  is    cheap   but   it’s   the   actions    of    a   franchise    that   goes   a   long   way  in  dispelling   any   apprehensions  that  the   fans   may  well   have   as to  supporting  the   franchise.

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.  

Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, Sports, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Well Mr Gruden The Ball Is Now In Your Court …………

It’s been  said  that   when  first   approached  concerning  a   rumor  the  first   thing   one   ought to  do  is   to   always   ……….deny   ,  deny  and  deny.  And   at  this   juncture   the  Tampa   Bay  Buccaneers  and   its   coach   Jon  Gruden   it’d  appear   is  under    a  great   deal  of  scrutiny .   Ever  since   it  was   first  made   public   that   the   Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers  along  with  the  New  York  Jets  that   they’re   both  said   to  be  in  the  running  for   the  services  of   Green Bay  Packers’   quarterback   Brett  Favre .   Both   teams  are   now  at  the  center   of    quarterbacks’  controversy. With  the  Buccaneers   it’s  the   incumbent      Jeff  Garcia     who   guided  the   Bucs  to  a  winning  season   within  the  NFC   South   where   they   were   champions  of  the  division.     A  9-7  season   garnered   a  postseason   berth   for  the  Bucs   in  the  playoffs.   Unfortunately   for   Garcia    and   his   teammates   they   were   readily   dispatched     by   the   eventual  Superbowl   champions  the  New York  Giants. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, right, jokes with cornerback Ronde Barber (20) prior to football training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Tuesday, July 29, 2008.

Buccaneers’  head  coach   Jon  Gruden  speaks  with   his  veteran   cornerback   Ronde Barber (20)   whilst  participaring   at  the  Bucs’  training  camp  in  Lake Buena Vista  , Fl.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/John  Raoux  ………………………..

The   New  York   Jets   under  the  auspices   of    quarterback    Chad  Pennington   as  only   what   one  can   clearly   deem  had  a    woefully   inept   season   in  the  AFC   East.  The   New  York  Jets  though  not   completely  out  of  the  equation   with   regard  to  the  obtaining  of   Favre.  It’s  favored  that   the   desired   destination   of   Favre   may   well  be   Tampa.     However    for   both   quarterbacks    at  this    juncture    it   could   well  lead   to   the   demise  of    their   careers   within     the   NFL    ,    even   if   it’s   only   momentarily.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia smiles on the sidelines at football training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Tuesday, July 29, 2008.

 Bucs’ starting   quarterback   Jeff  Garcia  at   the   team’s   training   camp   in  Lake   Buena  Vista , Fl.   Garcia    has  been    has   questioned    relentlessly   by   the  local   press  as  to   the  situation   surrounding   his   position   with  the  team   with  the  advent  that it’s  been  alleged   that  the   team   may   well  be   looking   to    trade   for    Favre   at  this   juncture.     picture  appears   courtesy of   ap/photo/John  Raoux  …………………

Favre   the  newly   reinstated    player    of  the   Packers,   having   earlier    retired     this   year,  has seen   fit   to  seek   his   reinstatement  with  the  possibility of   returning   to  the  team    that  he’s  led   and  played  for  , for   the  last sixteen  years.   Having   won   a  Superbowl ,  three league  MVP awards  ,  the   posessessor   of  countless   NFL   passing   records. And    most  certainly   he’ll  be  considered   a   first  ballot    Hall  of   Famer   for  enshrinement   in  Canton,  Ohio.    The   Green  Bay  Packers  at this    moment   are    considering    their    options    concerning    Favre.    Albeit   that   the    fans    in  Green   Bay    can’t  be   too   happy      with  the  present   predicament     that   the  franchises   now finds  itself   in.   There   are   those   fans   feel   that   Favre   still   ought  to  be  team’s  starting    quarterback  and    have   been   extremely   vocal    in    making   their   argument.  However     Packers’  GM  Ted  Thompson  and     coach   Mike McCarthy     have  made   it   abundantly   clear    that   they’re    going   in   another   direction    with    Aaron   Rodgers  being    the   newly   designated   signal   caller   for   the   franchise.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks Luke McCown (12), Jeff Garcia (7) and Brian Griese (8), take the field during football training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Monday, July 28, 2008.

Tampa Bay   Buccaneers   quarterbacks   Luke McCown(12),Jeff Garcia  (7) and   Brian  Griese (8)  take   the  field    during    Bucs   training   camp  at  Lake  Buena  Vista ,  Fl.  picture appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/John  Raoux …………

For   Gruden   and   his     GM  Bruce  Allen   it’d   appear   that   the  for   the  last   few   years    with   each   opening   season.    It’s   been  surrounded   with    controversy    as   to  the   neverending  talk   as  to  which   quarterback   will  be   leading   the   team  into   each   season.    There    never  has   been  a  continuity   with   regard  to    the  signal  caller   for  the  team.    With  the  following   players  on  the  roster  who  are  able   to play  the  position ,  Chris  Simms,  Brian  Griese  ,  Luke  McCown  and   Garcia himself   the   encumbent   in  the  position.  And   now  with  the  local  press   scurrying   around     for   any  tidbit   or    soundbyte   from    either    Gruden  or  Allen  as  to  what   direction  the  team   may   well  be  heading.   One    might   deem   it     only  appropriate   to   think   that   both    the  GM   coach     are   keeping   their    cards    close    to   their   chest,   before     coming  to and  making   a  decision.  And   though   on  appearance    it’d     that  the  Packers  may   well  be  contemplating   that   any   team   deemed   with  an  interested    in  trading   for    Favre   will  be  asked  to   pay   a   stiff   price     for    obtaining    the   services    of   Favre.   They’re  at  present    asking   for a  first    round    draft   pick    in  exchange    for   the  player.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' receiver Michael Clayton (80) runs with the ball as defender Eugene Wilson (38) tries to stop him during football training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Tuesday, July 29, 2008.

Buccaneers’ wide   receiver    Michael   Clayton(80)   beats  defender  Eugene  Wilson  (38)  during   a  training  camp  drill  at   Lake  Buena  Vista.    picture  appears  courtesy   of  ap/photo/John  Raoux ……

After   somewhat  of  a  disappointing   season   where   the   team   having   won  the  NFC  South   divisional  crown  with a   9-7     record.   The   postseason  itself  imploded   as  the   team  succumbed   to    the  play  of   a   determined   New  York   Giants’  squad.  Though    errant    play   led  to    the  Bucs’   demise   and   the  loss.  Many   felt   that   this   would  not  have   happened ,    had   Gruden  in  part   not   chosen   to  sit  several   of   the  players   prior   to   their    entrance   into  the  postseason  in  two  of  the  regular    season   end   games.   Gruden   for   his  part   has  been   known   to   obfuscate  his    responsibilities    whenever   the  team    faces  adversity  in   terms    of  a   loss.    Rarely  has   he  been   known   to   step    forward     and   state   he’s   responsible   for   the  team’s   loss.    Often  choosing     to   surreptitiously   castigate    his   players    with  a   quiet  innuendo’s  that  often  led    to    his    players speaking     out    in  public   as  to   their   differences   with  the  coach.    But  at  this   juncture   it’d    now   seem   that   Gruden    for   his  part  is   now  prepared    to  alienate     another    player    for   what   he   believes     will   be   someone  that’ll lead    the  franchise  to  the  Holy    Grail    in  the  form  of  the  Lombardi  Trophy.   

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ben Troupe, left, catches a pass in front of safety Will Allen during the first day of football training camp Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Saturday, July 26, 2008.

Ben  Troupe   tight end   of  the   Buccaneers   catches  a   pass    during   training   camp   whilst   being   defended  by  teammate,  safety   Will  Allen.   picture   courtesy  of  ap/photo/John  Raoux……  

As  stated   earlier    the  official  statement   from   the   franchise  is   that  at  this   juncture   there  isn’t  an   interest   in   Favre.  However   if  they’ve   been  allowed  to   approach   the    player  and   the  team  with   the  purpose  of   seeking   a  trade.  Then   what   is   there    to   hide    from   the   press and   public   alike  ?    Surely   at   this   juncture    they’re   heading   for  a  mighty   fall   and   placing    themselves    in   an   embarrassing   position.    If   nothing  else    this    is   a  PR  situation   that’s    being   handled   by   the     Bucs’    front   office    with  all   the   aplomb     of   a  child   learning    to  take   its   very   first   steps.    One   understands   that a  child  will   fall   from   time  to  time.    But    it  appears    that   whenever   a  situation  of    this   has   materialized  for   the   franchise.   They’ve   handled   it   haphazardly    and   we’re   left  to   wonder  what   the   hell  is   going   on   within  the   franchise ?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn runs for yardage during football training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Monday, July 28, 2008.

Bucs’  running  back   Warrick  Dunn   carries   the  ball  for   yardage   during   scrimmage   at  the   team’s  training   camp.     picture   appears   courtesy   of   ap/photo/John  Raoux……..

Gruden’s   record    with  the   Bucs    though   impressive   on  the  surface     does   leave   a  lot  to  be  desired.     Having  won  an  NFC  championship   ,  a   Superbowl  and   three  divisional   titles.   A   A    closer    look   will  tell      that a    .500    record   of   48-48   does   leave   a  lot   to  be  desired    from   a  coach    who’s   been   deemed   to  be  one   of    the  more   astute   and   brighter  coaching   minds    within  the  NFL.    Some   might   even  say   that   Gruden   himself   is    overrated  at   this   juncture.    As   to   what   the   team  has   in  store    for   itself   at  this   juncture    no   one    knows .  But   with    the    rumors    running   around  and    every   local   reporter    wanting    to  break   the  story  as  to  what’ll   materialize  in  terms   of    this   latest  tidbit  within   the  NFL.  It’s   becoming    increasingly  appearent    that   no  matter   what   decision    will  be  made    ,   there’ll   be  someone who’s     bound   to  be   disappointed   with   the   outcome   of  it  all. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' safety Sergey Ivanov, left, of Russia, tries to break up a pass intended for Maurice Stovall, right, during football training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Tuesday, July 29, 2008.

 Buccaneers’  safety  Sergey  Ivanov  of   Russia    tries   to   break  up  a  pass  intended    for    Maurice   Stovall    during    the    team’s   training   camp.    picture   appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/John  Raoux  ………….

 Within  its   own   division   it   may   well  be   considered   the   favorite   to   retain     the  divisional   crown.   But   with   team   that   at  best    still   has    some   issues   with  its   offense   where   by  its   most   potent   offensive   weapon    is   an   aging     wide    receiver   in  the  guise  of  Joey   Galloway.      This    team  and   its   coach     will   have   a  great   deal     to  live   up   to   and  at   the  same    it’ll    take   a   great    deal    of   persuading     Favre   that   Tampa  is  the   place   where  he  can   garner    further    success.  The   one  thing  that   has   remained    consistent    within    the    franchise   and   synonymous   with   the  team   is    the   stellar   defense   upon  which    their   foundation  was  built.     Beyond  that    it’s   been   their   inconsistency   that    has  left   some   bewildered,   and   wondering  what’s    in  store    for   the   fans   this   upcoming  season.      So   tell   us   Mr  Gruden   what’s   in   store    for   the   franchise   as  the   ball  is   now  in   your  court  ? 


abritishman  ………………….