It’s as ol’ Blue Eyes once said “I Left My heart in San Francisco” . Well what else is there that can be said about the Forty Niners because I sincerely doubt that the city now wants its name associated with this team !. Storied as the franchise may well be its lackluster and thoroughly underwhelming performance must have many now wondering what’s next for this Mike Singletary coached team. Alex Smith the team’s quarterback after five years in the NFL still looks as if he’s ill equipped to play a game and in terms of leadership qualities he’s severely lacking on all fronts . And that much heralded defense of theirs was found wanting as they succumbed to the Kansas City Chiefs __ 31-10. Any doubts that one had concerning the fact that the San Francisco 49ers would be challenging for honors within the NFC West this __ season were clearly answered by this anemic display.
And while this may not have been the worse performance of the day it certainly ranks up there as being amongst the worse by an NFL team. You also had the Jacksonville Jaguars post in a horrendous display against the Philadelphia Eagles in losing 28-3 and any thoughts that Eagles’ coach Andy Reid may well still have in recalling Kevin Kolb to the starter’s position as the quarterback for this team may well have been slammed completely shut after this overwhelming performance by Michael Vick. The player was able to command his team with confidence and led by example throwing for four touchdowns and then rushing for one himself. There’s not so much of a dilemma facing Reid as all he now has to do is to ride Vick into this journey until things start to change course. Any thought of starting Kolb might just be met with a great deal of disapproval.
If you’re a kicker how difficult really can it be to place the ball in between the uprights from distances of 30 – 45 yards ? There’s a saying that kickers aren’t necessarily at a premium but it does pay to have a very good one on your team. Unfortunately for the likes of Sebastian Janikowski and Garret Hartley of the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints when called upon to merely place the ball between the uprights they showed about as much aplomb for achieving that feat as Lindsay Lohan would show for trying stay dry and away from alcohol or drugs for a period of no more than 24 hours. Both players were contributing factors in their teams respective losses to the Arizona Cardinals __ (24-23) and Atlanta Falcons __(27-24 [overtime]). Janikowski the much celebrated first round draft pick is clearly showing that being the league’s highest paid kicker doesn’t have all of the privileges one would come to expect. That being said collectively the team lost in part because of the capriciousness of the defense in giving up big plays at the most unexpected of moments and in doing so negated the performance of the team’s leading rusher on the day Darren McFadden.
In the Saints’ loss this was a game of two quarterbacks and the errant play of the Saints’ secondary who were harried by the aerial play of Matt Ryan who found his receivers with a great deal of consistency. But that’s not to say that the New Orleans Saints didn’t have their moments with Drew Brees leading his team in this rather grueling divisional rivalry. And now with both teams sitting atop of the NFC South having posted 2-1 record this could well be a season wherein the division will give us a great deal more than we bargained for.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come back down to earth after their totally inept display against the Philadelphia Steelers. The defense was woefully inept and any thoughts that this team can play itself into contention when it has to come back from a deficit can be put to rest. When emboldened with such a task it’s clear to see that the inexperience of this team on all fronts is glaringly obvious. Josh Freeman is still learning the nuances of the game and what it takes to become a leader but unfortunately however, the so called veterans on this team don’t seem to want to step up to the plate. The idiocy of the Bucs’ fans who were under the impression that the Steelers didn’t have a defense much less a potent offense was put to rest as backup quarterback Charlie Batch led his team to a rather rousing and lopsided 38-13 victory. I’ve to sometimes wonder how retarded the fans are within the Tampa Bay area are when it comes to their actual knowledge of the game and in particular the professional sports franchises within the local community ? They tend to talk a good talk but when it comes to showing clear common sense it tends to rank up there along with the knowledge shown by members of Congress when they start to talk about domestic policy or anything relating to the country’s standing in the world. Pie in the sky and sheer idiocy for want of a better word ……..Bucs’ fans simply shut the hell up and watch the games as the team is nowhere as good as you believe them to be !
My own impression, this early in the season is that there are a number of teams whose seasons are effectively over if they can’t find a way to play with more resolve and cohesion. Clearly the New York Giants under Tom Coughlin have more than their fair share of problems and Eli Manning and that $100 million contract is being made to look rather asinine at present ! If this team can’t rally around a quarterback whose mental traits as it revolves around the game comes into question then clearly not only does Manning’s decision making need to be looked at but also the plays being called by Coughlin and his coaching staff.
And as grateful as many of the fans of the game are for what has happened so far in the season one can only hope that there’s more entertainment to be had as the year progresses ! If not then we could be in a for a year of discontent and one of very little promise when it’s all said and done.
We Run Things Here …………. The NFL and All of Its Guises …..
The NFL preseason schedule isn’t yet upon us but the hierarchy of the league are merely looking for another way to have their patrons, the fans , part with their money with ever increasing and gregarious ways. The latest proposal from the league is the decrease the number of preseason games from four to two and increase the regular season schedule by two games . This is merely an end run around the “collective bargaining agreement” by the league as they look to increase their already burgeoning coffers.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reiterated that this will make the NFL brand more popular amongst its fans and at the same gain some additional revenues for the teams around the league. Isn’t enough already , that with the preseason games some teams are asking their fans for a full blown commitment from them in purchasing a preseason ticket if they’re also a season ticket holder,? In some cases they will have to pay in full there and then. And where they do make a deposit for that preseason ticket if they’re not paying in full then the deposit becomes non-refundable. Thanks very much Commissioner Goodell but no thanks ! In trying to facilitate this, you’re simply conning the fans out of their hard earned cash merely to further laden the pockets of already wealthy multi millionaire and billionaire owners around the league. Suffice to say that other than BP’sTony Hayward and President Barack Obama you might be approaching the status where you’re one of the most despised men in America !
In all honesty what use is an additional two games to an already crowded NFL season with its month long playoff schedule in the postseason ?. If anything Goodell and the game’s hierarchy should be dealing with more acute issues such as the players’ behavior off the field and that of their ever decreasing wish to address the issue of head trauma injuries to the players and that of benefits to retired veteran players of the NFL. The hierarchy in conjunction with the NFLPA (union) have tip-toed around this issue long enough to give one the impression that they were in the midst of a mine field . Never mind the fact that Goodell and his union counterpart Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have made numerous pledges to Congress if not to the families of the players and to the players directly that something would be done.
More to the point , Goodell and his own medical counsel of advisers have repeatedly disagreed with numerous medical studies that have been carried out by trained professionals in academia studying such incidents of head trauma and concussion amongst current and retired players. Smith for his part, pays this all lip service like the consummate legal professional he is, having been a corporate litigator for noted DC law firm and lobbyists Patton Boggs LLP . Now if this proposal does take place and that is by no means a certainty given the fact that the NFLPA seems to be dead set against this unless there’s a bargaining chip thrown in that is amenable to Smith and his members. High profiled players such as Tom Brady and Ray Lewis have come out in opposition to the proposal citing the fact of injuries to a player during the season without them now having to encumber an additional two games to an already long enough regular season , not taking into account the playoff schedule for teams. In all , for teams with the additional two regular season games bringing the schedule eighteen games , you would then have the possibility of a team having to play the additional four games needed to get to a Superbowl if that team doesn’t obtain a bye. That would be an arduous schedule of twenty two game not including the preseason of two games. Never mind that you have the off-season workouts for the teams, some of which are mandated and some which are merely voluntary. Somehow I think that this is just another misguided effort by Goodell to prop up his PR image and make him all the more likeable amongst the fans ! Truth be known , Goodell would be much more well liked if he didn’t come across as being such a wimp in cow towing to the owners and players , rather than being his own man ! But these are just merely my observations and no one else’s.
Perennial Pro Bowlers Tom Brady and Ray Lewis expressed skepticism over the potential for an expanded NFL season on Wednesday as the NFL met with the NFLPA to discuss logistics of extending the regular season to as many as 18 games.
Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy expressed support for the change, which would involve adding 1-2 regular-season games and decreasing the preseason by a corresponding amount.
“This is an idea that is really gaining momentum,” Murphy said.
Murphy echoed comments voiced several times by commissioner Roger Goodell that four preseason games — tickets for which cost as much as regular-season games — are too much and short-change fans.
“There really isn’t the same value there,” Murphy said. “… I think there’s a real issue we need to address…. I think it’s very clear to many of us the players and teams don’t need four (preseason) games to get ready for the regular season.”
The NFL and NFLPA met on Wednesday in negotiations for a new CBA. The current deal expires after the 2010 season. Murphy said any changes to the schedule would be done in concert with the CBA and wouldn’t come until 2012 at the earliest.
Brady, the three-time Super Bowl winning QB of the New England Patriots, and Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens LB who was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, said in statements to the NFLPA that they had major concerns about the effect a change would have on player safety.
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Nothing could be more indicative of that last issue than the speed at which the votes were obtained in order to publicize the fact that there would be a Superbowl , a cold weather one in fact, that would be awarded to the recipients jointly __ the New York Jets and New York Giants at their newly proposed $1.6 billion stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Superbowl XLVIII (48) will be held the stadium in 2014 , much to the joy of the residents and legislative members if the municipality and the state. New Yorkers however , view it as a Superbowl that will be in their fair city, rather than being in the Garden State. Now I can only surmise that there were a great many opponents to this proposal but it appears that their wishes didn’t hold sway with such powerful NFL figures as Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, Steve Tisch of the Giants or Woody Johnson of the Jets. All three individuals were behind Goodell obtaining the job as NFL Commissioner in succession to Paul Tagliabue . This must’ve been payback on the part of Goodell for the assistance provided by those three noted owners. I’d very much like to see what owners such as Jerry Jones , Daniel Snyder and Al Davis might have to say about this ! But then again we the fans aren’t party or privee` to backroom deals that are hammered out within the hallowed headquarters of the NFL. All we’re led to believe is that the hierarchy has our best interests at hand. If only that were true?
One can understand that the NFL wants to derive as much money as it can from its product being on display. But it’s becoming more and more apparent the league, in this case the hierarchy and the owners aren’t overly concerned with the concerns of the players much less the financial well being of the fans. It’s not as if the teams have actually gone out of their way to make the NFL experience of attending a game be one of great entertainment at a reasonable cost. Instead the cost of attending a game has risen up exponentially higher than the actual rate of inflation. So what’s new from the NFL next ? Sooner or later it will come down to the fact that viewing public may well end up paying not only via their cable subscribers but also via PPV for certain games as the NFL deems fit. Never mind the fact that attending the game en masse` has become beyond the reach of an ever growing number of fans.
Picture gallery for your perusal. In order to the frame in its original format just click unto the desired picture in question.
The NFL runs things along the lines the way Al Capone ran his business concerns during the era of Prohibition . Only then , it was illegal sell liquor for public consumption. In the case of the NFL what they’re now doing hasn’t yet contravened any federally mandated laws that we know of. But I’m sure they’re sailing as close to the wind in that context as to the way they conduct many of their business practices. The NFL are running things and they’re running things all so well , that it’s becoming hard to see how they can be stopped in their tracks before they run rough shod and ruin the fabric of the game. If they continue to do that the viewing and attending experience for the fans will no longer be a very pleasing one !
Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………………….
Da Bush Babees ………………… “We Run Things (It’s Like Dat)”
Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside
As a young child were you ever told by a parent or an elder …..” never play with matches and never touch anything that doesn’t belong to you ” ? Well it’s something that I believe that in the cases of both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and David Stern they’ve failed to heed those very warnings. Goodell seems to be delighted with the fact that the 2014 Superbowl will be held at the new $1.6 billion stadium that will be home to both the New York Jets and New York Giants in East Rutherford , New Jersey. The fact that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be clamoring over this like a young boy who’s discovered his first copy of Playboy has me even more worried. Bloomberg’s craving for the public spotlight borders if not surpasses that of the NBA Commissioner David Stern. But consider this , Bloomberg’s city will have a budget deficit approaching $1.67 billion for the fiscal year of 2011. However, he and the city’s comptroller John C. Liu hope to have the now projected shortfall reined in by 2014. However, by then it’s projected to be in excess of $4 billion . Is it any wonder Bloomberg won an unprecedented third term in office ? He’ll be creating more havoc than the pimps and drug cartel leaders could ever have wished to. You can always rely on a politician to get things done by essentially fu_king things up to begin with !
While the NFL owners are now patting themselves on the back about this latest development. have to ask why now and why the Giants and Jets ? Merely because they’ve a spanking new edifice ? OK , so we know that the economic impact of staging a Superbpowl does mean a great deal of business for the host city and that it can garner it more publicity than it could wish , had they spent the money on marketing their city. The economic impact of staging the Superbowl can mean as much $2billion to the host city over a period of six months prior to and after the event itself. And one can well understand the reason why the cities who’ve staged the event fall over themselves and clamor to re-stage the event when given the chance. But prior to this , did you realize that NFL championship games were hosted by the team who had “the best record” from the previous year ? In the era of the Superbowl all of that went right out of the window. If anything, wouldn’t that have been more of an incentive to teams than what we’ve now witnessed ?
For Jets’ owner Woody Johnson the Jets’ organization along with his counterpart from the Giants , Steve Tisch and his organization . This has to be a more than welcoming occurrence. As it immediately gives both organizations the credibility that they seek .
Now the NFL hierarchy under Goodell’s guidance merely looks at its calendar of cities that’ve successfully staged the event and then announces the winner as they would deem fit. Surreptitiously we’re told that ballots are cast to in order to create the perception of fairness. If fairness is deemed having the owners in a room locking horns and the most influential amongst them simply holding sway , then I guess you could consider it as being fair wouldn’t you Now the ramifications of which will be that all 32 teams in the NFL will feel that they too ought to be given the chance to stage a Superbowl. If the truth be told that scenario will never see the light of day under any circumstance whatsoever ! This is a Pandora’s Box that should never have been open to begin with. But you know what frankly I hope this sh_t rains down on Goodell and the rest of these damn greedy owners to begin with ! The Superbowl whenever it has been staged has never been about the fans but more so to do with the patronage of the NFL’s many corporate sponsors and major partners. Try purchasing a ticket for the very event itself better yet try purchasing a series of tickets for a group of five or six people and see how much the cost sets you back ? Goodell and the owners aren’t and never will be the least bit concerned as to what the fans may well think or how they might feel !
Pardon me for say this but I wasn’t aware that LeBron James’ father was David Stern . For some reason the NBA commissioner is now ready to levy fines upon anyone who apparently says anything as it regards the player’s impending free agency. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban found this out to his cost and is now $100,000 lighter in his wallet. Considering a fine of that nature, is like a ripple across a pond to someone of Cuban’s wealth. I fail to see what imposing such a fine does in the first place. Cuban, in giving a statement did not go out or seek to influence James, as to making a decision about his future. But from Stern’s mere decision and candor he thought that the owner was bringing undue influence to bear upon the player. David Stern is acting like an autocratic despotic leader whose very command must be obeyed. He’s protecting James as if he were his child. I think LeBron can defend himself as and when needs be ! And in referring to David Stern , we call the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il maniacal in terms of their authority and power ? Stern makes those two despotic leaders seem like mere children at play when it comes to undue use of power !
Tonight the Eastern Conference Final ___ series resumes between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic . With the Magic still steering elimination in the face being down 3-1 in the series . It will be interesting to see the resolve being shown by this Stan Van Gundy coached team . Their play through much of this series has been un-inspirational and lackluster to say the very least. And the fact that there’s not been much of a sighting of Dwight Howard in the series until game four’s explosive output of 32 points and 16 rebounds on the way to the team’s 96-92 victory over the Celtics. You had the impression that the team would bow inauspiciously out the conference finals , making history as the first team that swept their opponents in the opening two rounds of the playoffs and were then swept themselves. In staving off that scenario they still have to force a game five if they’re to at least have a chance of erasing the deficit and playing themselves back into contention.
The one thing we do know is that the Celtics led by Rajon Rondo and their veteran coach Doc Rivers aren’t going to let a one game slide get to them either mentally or physically. And if anything they’ll be looking to close out the series in front of their home crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston , Massachusetts.
If the Magic were the presumptive favorites to win their match-up against the Celtics. Then the Los Angeles Lakers had to have been considered the overwhelming favorites against their opponents , the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals . Now with the series tied at two games apiece. This contest has now become one of intrigue and suspense. And any thought it would be the Lakers now dictating the pace and structure of the contest. Well, let’s just say the most ardent of Lakers’ fans are by no means certain their team” will come out of this series unscathed. This is becoming a dog-fight that I’ve got to believe that the Lakers’ players and their fans want no part of ! Do you think that Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson has Michael Vick’s number on speed dial ?
So the rallying cry has begun to support the US men’s national soccer team as they begin their buildup to the World Cup . Unfortunately, the cry was lost on the players as they got off to an inauspicious start by being completely outplayed and trounced by the Czech Republic team 4-2 . What one ought to consider however , is that the Czechs failed to qualify for the upcoming event to held in South Africa. If this display is a sign of things to come then there’s a distinct possibility that the US team mightn’t make it out of the opening round of the competition.
Coached by Bob Bradley the roster of the squad set to open up their tournament play against fellow qualifiers in Group C ____ England on June 12th ,the day after the opening day ceremony. And that game is being met with a great deal of anticipation as whomever comes out of it with a victory will essence be in the driver’s seat within Group C. A great deal is expecte of the team but I think it best to be realist as it concerns the US team. Ranked 14th in the FIFA World Rankings their play of late has hardly exhibited that. And Bradley knows if they are to indeed to prevail then they’ll have to raise the level of their play on all fronts.
“Respect” is what US soccer says it is looking for . Well , before you get respect you’ve got to go out and earn it and at the same respect others on the same foreboding journey as yourselves. Thus far Bradley hasn’t instilled that into his team and the players have shown very little of that from the outset. Which doesn’t augur well for this team and its fortunes in South Africa. Suffice to say that they had better get it together before they fall at the very first obstacle placed in front of them.
Sooner or later you knew it just had to happen. And for the Tampa Bay Rays all of a sudden that streak that they were on has suddenly become yolk around their neck. Having lost their series to the Boston Red Sox . They look to take the third and final leg of the contest and put themselves back on a winning roll. Now don’t get me wrong when you’re still able to maintain a 5 game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East , that is certainly no mean feat. The thing is , maintaining the consistency of play will be what really matters at this juncture. Any slip ups and it could prove to be costly for the team and in particular the coaching staff of Joe Maddon .
As good as this Rays’ team has been playing and they’ve been playing exceptionally well that their record (32-14) clearly bears this out and why many consider them to be the best team in the majors this season . I get the feeling that if they start to lose their rhythm and concentration then things could suddenly begin to spin out of control. Maddon and his coaching staff certainly has got the players to believe in themselves and each other. And that may well be the sole reason why we’ve not really seen the team go on a prolonged losing streak as of yet. Certainly when this happens to a number of teams we see them inexplicably wilt under the pressure. Not so as of yet for this team and I’m not so sure that we’re liable to see that scenario rear its ugly head. But for the moment we just ought to merely appreciate and relish what it is that they’re doing at present.
Opening up Pandora’s Box can fill you with either a few surprises , things to savor or things that you simply loathe. Here I’ve placed a few scenarios for you to discuss or perhaps you could suggest one or two yourself ? Either way simply chime in with a comment as to what you think as to what’s now happening in the realms of sports as you view it .
The sound you heararethoseof theEagles andGiants’ fans lookingtohold swaythisweekend as to thetwo teamsmeet inthedivisional roundsoftheplayoffs.It’dappear tobe the marquee matchupoftheround.Albeitthat thefansoftheArizonaCardinalsandCarolina Panthersmight beofa differentopinionaltogether.
Eli Manning attempts a pass while being tackled by the Eagles’ Trent Cole and Darren Howard in an earlier regular season meeting between the two teams. The Philadelphia Ealges would go on to defeat the New York Giants 20-14 in the game played in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Thom Brennan…………..
And whilstwecan all agreethatthese areof thebetterteams within theNFC . One cannot overlook the seasonthatboth theCardinalsandPanthers havehad.Painstakingly Kurt Warnerhas guidedhisteam intotheplayoffs . Andtheir defeatofthe AtlantaFalcons wasa welcome andpleasantsurpriseto many.The Panthers for their part not to be outdonehaveplayedata highlevel .And their quarterback Jake Delhommeseems to bebackathislevel best.He’s beingably supported bythe duo ofreceiversSteve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad.Lessweforgetalsotheypossess a very potentrunningbacktandem.
The game however between theNew York Giantsand the Philadelphia Eagleswill nodoubtgoa longwaylettingusknow who’slikely to be the presumptivefavorite tomakeout of theNFC.And that’s with no disrespecttoeitherCardinalsor Panthers.Asgood astheyboth are , theEaglesandGiantsonpaper wouldappear tohavea muchbalancedroster.Donovan McNabbof theEaglesandEli Manninghavebothraisedthelevel oftheirplayandat thesame time havetheirteammatesbelievingthatthey’rereadytotakeit upa level ortwoasneed be.
Jared Alen of the Minnesota Vikings forces a fumble as the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb attempts a pass during their wildcard berth game . The Eagles would go on to win the game 26-14. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Adrian Ward ……………
Both teams defensivelyarenonovicesandifanythingthat’sbeenoneoftheirstrengths.We’veseen thisevidenceasto thewaythatbothhaveplayed thusfarin thepostseason.They’vebeenstaunchandmiserlyas and whennecessary.Thegame itself maywellcomedown to theplayofbothquarterbacksand theprotectionthatthey’llreceivefrom theiroffensivelines.That may well behowthe battleinthetrenches willbewon.BrianWestbrookwillhaveto be keptincheckalsoiftheGiantsareto prevail.Theycannot allowhim to haveanyroomin the backfieldoratthe same timeallow himtocatchtheball and gainyardage.He’squiteable to dothatandpunish the opposingteam’sdefensequiteably.
The Giantsare notwithouttheir ownoffensiveweaponsand they toowillbe looking totakewhateveradvantagethat they can ofthe Eagles’defense.So it’ll be very intriguingto seewhatbothteamswillhave instorefor oneanother.Both AndyReidandhis counterpartTom Coughlin know what’satstakefor both teams.And fortheEaglesin particularthis may well bethe lastchancefor McNabb asaplayertoproveonce andforallthathecanleadateamtotheNFCchampionship,havingwonit.But thistimeleadthem toanotherappearancein theSuperbowlandperhaps thistimearoundacquit himselfwell.Theacrimony oftheteam’slastappearance andtheirloss to NewEnglandstill nodoubt lingersfreshin hismind atthatofthefans.Nevermindthefact thathiscourageandmanhood came into questionbyhisformer teammateTerrellOwens.Who’snow sittingathomealongsidehisteammateson the Dallas Cowboys’team.So muchfor thefactthateveryoneassuchfeltthat theCowboys were thepresumptive favoritesto win itall.Theirlusteris now beginning to looklikethat of an oldfamily heirloom that’sgatheringagreatdealofdust.Butthethoughtisthat it’sstillgoodto take outandhavealook atwhenvisitorscome tovisit.
MuchasIlike thelook ofbothteamsand how farthey’vebothcome.I’m oftheopinion that thismaywell betheonegame thatwhen it’s all saidanddone.Itcould proveto bethedecisivecompetitivegamethat’splayedthispostseason.The Superbowl itself notwithstandinghas a wayof eitherexcitingusorlettingusdown when itcomes tothe overall standard ofplay andexcitement.OKso lastyearwe hadtheDavid Tyree catch.But beyondthatwastherereallyanythingelse thatgotyourjuicesflowing other than seeingtheNew England Patriots beingupendedthe waythat they were ?Eli Manningended beingthegameMVP andPlaxicoBurressproved tousthat hedoeshavehisuseswhenhe’s notidly spendingthetimeeither makingan assofhimselforshootinghimselfaccidentallyin the foot, allegedly.
So comegametimeit’llbeall or nothingforbothteamsandabsolutelynothingcan be left to chance.Eachteam hassetitssightson theNFCchampionshipgame. But thereal goalwillbeaberthin Superbowl XLIII andthechancetoraisetheLombardi Trophyaloft.Sothat’ll bethesoundthatyouhearas thefansofbothteams look tolayclaimthatthey’re ontheir wayto givingit thebestthatthey’vegot , withtheirfans in unisonplayingtheirpart as well.