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Savor The Moment …………….


Savor The Moment ……….

Well as baseball enters the run into the midseason break for MLB’s All Star Game I look over the scene of the standings and I feel that between now and season’s end in September we could be in for one or two surprises . A number of teams are jockeying for the positions that could prove to be fruitful and for myself I’ve simply been looking forward to the play of the Atlanta Braves and their assault on taking down the rampant and division leading Philadelphia Phillies within the NL East .

If the Atlanta Braves are to chase down and pass the Phillies then their play will have to be at a phenomenally high level . And for manager Fredi Gonzalez and his coaches will no doubt have to get this team playing with a rhythm and passion that is the equal to that of their rivals within division . It is my belief that the wildcard entrant for the National League (NL) will actually come from within the division as I do not believe that any of the apparent contenders within the NL Central or NL West will be there when it really matters !

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The team has a two game home schedule against the Colorado Rockies before facing off against their divisional rivals the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia on Friday . And though there’s a four game margin between the two teams in the standings anything that the Braves can do to cut that deficit makes the scenario all the more enviable for the Atlanta Braves’ fans and the belief that they could quite possibly win the NL East.

With Chipper Jones being the elder statesman on this team he leads by example . And for what may well be the player’s penultimate season his crowning achievement would be to lead this team into the playoffs and quite possibly winning the World Series would be a wonderful way to end what may well be a Hall of Fame career .

Alex Gonzalez (2) of the Atlanta Braves fields a grounder against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

From an offensive standpoint this team has all the prerequisites in place with Dan Uggla , Jones , Jayson Heyward , Brian McCann and Alex Gonzalez supplying much of the needed offense to make this team a contender . The team’s pitching and its depth in particular has to be admired with seasoned veterans Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson being the primary starters but they are also ably assisted by Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens who is having an extraordinary season and is considered to be amongst the front runners for the NL Cy Young Award for this season.

With the events of the All Star Game being a fan favorite it will be very interesting to see how this all plays itself out there at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona , this upcoming weekend . As to the immediacy of the games now taking place as I alluded to earlier it certainly will be interesting to see how the teams acquit themselves over the ensuing days .

NFL season or not I’m at my wit’s end with the never ending fumbling and bumbling that seems to be going on between the two sides. The NFL and NFLPA along with the coterie of lawyers representing both sides, this whole episode now resembles a crime procedural drama that we often now see as part of the usual litany of programs that now seems to stagnate the landscape of broadcast and cable television. Could things get any worse at this juncture as the two sides look to reach an accord ? Too many lawyers in one room to my mind usually spells danger or some apocalyptic catastrophe that is bound to take place. The paeans and NFL analysts of ESPN and Foxsports seem to salivating like prepubescent schoolboys who’ve just witnessed viewing their very first Playboy centerfold spread as rumors abound that the league is said to close to reaching a binding agreement as to a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement).

As an avid fan of the New England Patriots I certainly am looking forward to the differences of this team from this season and my impressions of them from last year ! From what can only be described as a disappointing postseason foray watching the team wilt under pressure against the New York Jets simply was like a reoccurring nightmare of watching a child being scolded for wetting its bed having just been put to bed .

Bill Belichick and his coaching staff will have their work cut out for them this season as the Patriots seek once again to be a resurgent force not just within the AFC East but across the whole NFL .

A 14-2 record within the AFC from last season gave the impression that the team was on its way to something impressive and perhaps a fourth Superbowl in twelve years . But the Patriots fell short through their own complacency and lackadaisical approach of several players on the team . Belichick often viewed as a mad scientist or some might even say a narcissist now realizes that he can no longer ride on the coat-tails of his previous triumphs.

And for players such as Tom Brady , Wes Welker , Danny Woodhead and to my mind the defense will now have to step up their play and simply prove to the fans that last season’s faux pas were just an aberration and nothing less . If not , then the presumed belief that this team can be viewed as a perennial contender for postseason play will prove to be nothing more than a myth.

The team’s upcoming season schedule should prove to be intriguing with a number of their inter divisional games against conference foes a lot more intriguing . Their main nemesis now appears to be the New York Jets within the AFC East and any defeat of that team in light of last year’s postseason effort would prove to be rather welcoming. And I would dare to say that for Wes Welker after his jab at the Jets and their coach Rex Ryan he would wish to atone for that rather infantile gesture and those remarks. If you’re going to trash talk you had better have the balls to back that shit up to begin with rather than ending up falling flat on your ass ! As was the case in that now infamous postseason game .

Consistency during the regular season is one thing but it has and will always be the postseason where it all matters the most . And in the preceding two years up until last year the Patriots have been one of those teams who have shown that they are capable of winning when it matters most .

The NFL Draft saw Belichick along with GM /Consultant Floyd Reese and Nick Caserio decide to make some prudent choices that should complement this roster and to bode well for the future of the organization. If there’s one thing we can all tend to agree on it is that the Patriots rarely make mistakes when it comes to the NFL Draft . Over the years especially under the tenure of Scott Pioli who’s now with the Kansas City Chiefs in his capacity as that organization’s general manager the New England Patriots were able place themselves amongst the elite of the NFL

I am looking forward to what I believe will be an exhilarating year within the NFL given the uncertainties that have and are still taking place ! There now seems to be some common sense prevailing but I have always been of the opinion when you have too many legal minds in a room scrutinizing all of the legalese placed within what will be a binding legal document there’s also a tendency to miss many of the really salient points that do need to be addressed ! We were being informed that this was all to with labor issues that needed to be addressed but in reality it was all to do with one side wanting to derail the others’ wish to have an even bigger slice of the pie . Hell, if this were really about a real issue such as player’s benefits and in particular those of the recently and long retired players within the NFL , then I firmly believe that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith representing the NFLPA would have been more sincere in dealing with situation ! Instead it really has been a pissing contest between the two sides as they let the vitriol and utter stupidity get the better of them !

The season could be a preamble of what we could expect because before it even starts there’s bound to be a great deal of uncertainty with there being so many problems that will undoubtedly crop up. It is being rumored that one of the issues is that of restricted and unrestricted free agents and how best to use the franchise tag . Furthermore , the owners it is being reported have discussed having a roster of up 90 players (inclusive of the practice squad) which would be whittled down to the customary 53 players . The stage is set now for what may well be a season of comedic proportions wherein practices as conducted away from the usual facilities with rookies and first teamers could well have the fans wondering whether or not it wouldn’t have been better to abandon the season altogether . From my own perspective the first three to four games of this upcoming season could be one where we will see football being played at a rather dull level in terms of execution from the teams ! But in reality a season of sorts in the NFL is far better than having no season at all . And that’s even with Baltimore Ravens’ player Ray Lewis being of the belief that the NFL fan will be running wild in the streets committing all sorts of crime . But then again Lewis of all people should know a thing or two about committing a crime !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Alan aka tophatal …. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show gallery details .
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(1) Alex Gonzalez (2) of the Atlanta Braves fields a grounder against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(2) Mark Ellis (14) of the Colorado Rockies scores on a wild pitch against Eric O’Flaherty (34) of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(3) ATLANTA – JULY 7: Manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) of the Atlanta Braves discusses a call with Umpire Scott Barry during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(4) Chipper Jones (10) of the Atlanta Braves hits a 3rd inning home run against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(5) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick takes notes after a touchdown by Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …..

(6) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to throw as his offensive line holds back Miami Dolphins defenisve tackle Randy Starks (94) and linebacker Cameron Wake (91) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ……

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AFC East, Amar'e Stoudemire, Baseball, Basketball, Football, Miami Dolphins, MLB, NBA, New Jersey Nets, New York Jets, New York Knicks, NFL, Ricky Williams, Roger Goodell, Ronnie Brown, Sports

Read All About It ……..


Read All About It ……..

It’s something of a down time for me in terms of writing on a topic with regard to the sport’s world at present. There’s not really a great deal going on albeit that Spring Training has arrived and teams preparing for the 2011 season . Remarkably though this time of the season as it relates to baseball doesn’t particularly interest me though I may well be in tow with friends to see perhaps one or two games . The Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are a precursor for the fans to see their favorite teams but in reality you can’t really take anything away from the performances by the teams during Spring Training . One thing for certain though, this season will be unlike any other because for once I do not believe that there is a clear cut favorite for the World Series . Albeit that the talk was of the moves made respectively by the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies we all know that all it takes is one major injury or a player not performing up to par and the ambitions of a team can essentially go up in smoke .

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Slide show for your perusal.

As defending champions the San Francisco Giants will be a somewhat team from the one that simply made light work of the Texas Rangers in the game’s showcase event. For the Giants’ fans they’ll have something to appreciate but now comes the hard part for Bruce Bochy and his assistants as they look to have that right frame of mind and attitude as they look to make a successful regular and postseason run.

Now while the advent of baseball there’s still the giant shadow that’s cast by the NFL and a season that essentially has now become a year round business. There’s no two ways about it but even in the offseason the print media, major broadcast and cable networks as well as the radio talk show hosts out there will continue to make the NFL a topic of choice. There’s no denying that the ongoing labor negotiations mediated over by a Federally appointed abritrator George Cohen . The mediator has stated that there has been progress made between the two sides but I’m not so sure that’s all so clear as neither Roger Goodell on behalf of the NFL and owners have issued a public statement to that effect . The commissioner’s counterpart NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , Executive Committee member and President Kevin Mawae have been equally silent with very little on appearance in outright candor on the issues .

At this juncture I’m not about to suggest what the outcome of this will be but I do know this , the goodwill built up between the NFL and fans is about to disappear up in a puff of smoke. And with there being a very distinct possibility that a possible labor stoppage we could no football for the entire 2011-12 season and one should also consider that there won’t be a Superbowl (SBXLVI) either , which would be staged at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana , home to the Indianapolis Colts .

Well it goes without saying that the NBA trade deadline was awash with trades that essentially set a number of teams up for the remainder of the season . I’m not about to think that this will make the New York Knicks a real standout amongst the contenders with Donnie Walsh , James Dolan and Mike D’Antoni have maneuvered a three team, thirteen player deal , that saw both Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups make their way to the Big Apple . To the Knicks’ benefit from a competitive and financial standpoint the deal makes sense but at the same time you simply don’t get the impression that even with these additions this team will be able to take on the likes of the Miami Heat , Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls . To my mind those three teams are far better equipped for a playoff run than within the Eastern Conference .

Amongst the trades that took place we also had the arrival of Deron Williams in New Jersey to the benefit of a New Jersey Nets’ —- team that was actually precipated by the moves of team owner Mikhail Prokhorov who feels that the arrival of the former Utah Jazz star sets them up for the future . Given the upheaval that has taken place within the Jazz organization since the abrupt resignation of former coach Jerry Sloan , you simply can’t help but wonder what’s now in the immediate for the Jazz. As to the Jazz and the tumult that took place with the resignation of Sloan and the installing of Ty Corbin as his successor , who’d have thought that the history of the organization would be a topic of conversation and the unprecedented notoriety they had under Jerry Sloan ?

And back to the NFL , given the undistinguished season had by the Denver Broncos in which we saw the firing of Josh McDaniel , the interim tag given to Eric Studesville before Jon Fox was hired in the offseason by their now Head of Football Operations John Elway . The question now being asked is this now where we see the era of Tim Tebow and their organization’s hopes ? Incumbent quarterback Kyle Orton has let be known publicly and through his agent that he wants out if he’s not the team’s starting quarterback next season . Now given the unevenness of Orton’s play over the season and the mere fact Tebow seems to have won over the fans at Invesco Field and therein lies the dilemma that’ll no doubt face Fox and his coaching staff . Stay with the college star and rookie quarterback or rely completely upon the presumed journeyman veteran ? My bet would be on Tebow , given the fact that the Broncos need a fresh start and way of keeping the fans interested with what’s happening in Denver !

Miami Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland has stated that for the moment that Chad Henne will remain the starting quarterback of the team but has stressed that he won’t hesitate to take a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft . Now unless I’m mistaken Henne had a season that one would rather forget and so have the Dolphins over the last two years . For me the failings of the Dolphins really has come down to the fact that they’d become a one trick pony with the wildcat scheme and essentially not being a well balanced attack and a team where defense was essentially hazardous to their health !

Dolphins’ coach Tony Sparano and his coaching staff if anything has failed this team and so too has Ireland as the general manager. At some point the Dolphins as a team lost focus last season and it showed in their play throughout much of the year . Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown as the team’s most potent offensive players but that simply explain the failings of this team as they fell out of contention not only within the division (AFC East) but also the league as a whole . At no time would have got the impression that they were actually capable of contending within the conference much less within the division.

Given that the Dolphins had to contend with the New York Jets , New England Patriots and shall we say the wayward Buffalo Bills ? As we know the postseason for both the Patriots and Jets came to something of an abrupt finality with their eventual woes. If anything the AFC East and its competitiveness during the regular season one thing but it appears that the teams and their ambitions fell well short of what they and their fans were expecting . And now we have Jets’ coach Rex Ryan once against stating that the New York Jets will be the team to beat for the Superbowl next season . I’ll take Ryan at his word but now having come up twice when it matters the most I’m beginning to think that New York Jets have been snake bit when it comes to postseason play.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NFL will have us engulfed in its coming and goings while the NBA’s season heightens up but we now await the opening of Spring Training and then the regular season . There’ll be a great deal on the line within baseball and I for am hope that it’ll meet all of our expectations . As to what lies ahead within regard to the NBA , well to be to sure the postseason there will be an eventful one . The NFL however still has to deal with its own misfortunes as it relates to the ongoing negotiations between the two sides . We simply just be sure where the whole situation stands because there still seems to be no case to lead the fans to believe that there’s liable to 2011-12 season.

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the topics raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as how you see things panning out and as always thanks for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details

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(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a spring training baseball game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick near Scottsdale, Ariz. Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ……

(2) An usher watches as San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Steve Edlefsen throws to Arizona Diamondbacks’ Xavier Nady during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick near Scottsdale, Ariz. Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …….

(3) Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(4) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Jake Locker of Washington runs a passing drill during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……..

(5) Eric Berry (R) from the Tennessee Volunteers is greeted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Kansas City Chiefs selected Berry (5) overall in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City. Goodell and the league’s hierarchy have met with his union counterpart NFLPA Exec Director DeMaurice Smith through a court appointed mediator George Cohen. The two sides are still somewhat apart as to the negotiations and quite possibly if an agreement isn’t reached by March 3rd then we could quite possibly see the first mandated stoppage in the league since 1987. Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images North America . …………

(6) Miami Heat’s Mike Miller (13) drives as teammate Chris Bosh, right, looks on and New York Knicks’ Chauncey Billups (8) defends in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. The Knicks would go on to defeat the Heat 91-86 .AP Photo/Alan Diaz ……….

(7) MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 27: Amar’e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks takes a charge against Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on February 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(8) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox responds to a question during a news conference during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ………..

(9) Englewood , Co,. Denver Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway (L), owner Pat Bowlen and new head coach John Fox share a laugh before Fox addressed the media at Dove Valley on January 14, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Fox was named the 14th head coach in Broncos history yesterday after spending the last nine seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(10) Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins is brought down in the first half by Jerod Mayo #51 and Landon Cohen #66 of the New England Patriots on January 2, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Elsa Martinez / Getty Images North America ……….

(11) Miami Dolphins’ general manager Jeff Ireland, left, poses with Tony Sparano, the newly named Dolphins’ coach after a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008 at the Dolphins’ Training Facility in Davie, Fla. Sparano, who had been the Dallas Cowboys’ assistant head coach, accepted a job offer Wednesday from new Miami boss Bill Parcells. They worked together with the Cowboys when Parcells was head coach from 2003-06. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ……

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Q Tip ………………… “Breathe And Stop ”

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Give A Dog A Bone ………………….. But You Don’t Have To Beat The Dog With It


Give A Dog A Bone ………………….. But You Don’t Have To Beat The Dog With It

Well it had to happen ‘Chowder fans’ are now in mourning having seen the New England Patriots lay down like a dog that’s just been beaten half to death by Michael Vick . Only in this case it wasn’t Michael Vick doing the bludgeoning but the New York Jets led by Mark Sanchez and that fiery coach Rex Ryan .

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For those of us who sat and watched what many may well have felt would be something of a lesson in how to close out this AFC divisional game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets . If anything what we saw was a gunshy and shell shocked Patriots’ team that simply had no answer for a thoroughly physical Jets’ team who simply came to the party fully ready to lay waste to the Patriots in their home venue Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts ,. And if you were under the impression that it was simply just the Patriots’ players who were ill prepared in this game then one had to wonder what was going on with the mindset of Bill Belichick and his coaching staff .

The game itself came down to a comedy of errors but more on the part of the Patriots and the sub standard play of Tom Brady and the offense . But to simply lay the blame soley on the offense would be remiss as the defense itself was simply left hanging in the wind as Jets’ offensive players , LaDainian Tomlinson , Shonn Greene , Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes had the best of their divisional rivals. Brady had what could be best described as the worse day of postseason career in the playoffs. He was laid bare by an offensive line who simply did nothing to protect him and to witness him being harried and hustled into making several mistakes in the game was like watching a rookie perform in his first postseason playoff game. Sacked five times during the game this was a day that Brady and the Pats’ fans like myself probably wished that there could be a do-over. But instead as we know when it comes to the postseason it’s simply one and done if you fail to make it the promise land .

This was to be the Jets’ day and rightfully so as Mark Sanchez led his team with authority and it augurs well for them now as they face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game . This 28-21 result if anything would give you the impression that this was a close game but in reality it simply was never that close to begin with . In large part it was simply one way traffic and that was evident throughout much of this game as New England was outplayed by the more eager Jets. And all of the smack talk over bragging rights that took place before the game now resonates even more and if anything it has cut like a dagger through the heart of the Patriots’ fans who may well have felt somewhat betrayed the team’s performance .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

As to what the future holds for the Patriots after this devastating loss it remains to be seen what Belichick and in particular the front office may well decide to do. Having posted a league leading 14-2 record those performances during the season. The season itself for the Patriots was filled a great many highs as well as lows but if anything the regular season is one thing what really counts as we all know is the postsason and the the quest for the Superbowl . That’s what all 32 teams within the NFL start their season on that inimatable quest for one of professiobnal sports most illustrious team prize.

Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft the front office must now know that if this team is to be thought of as a perennial contender for the Superbowl and it has become abundantly clear that Belichick was if anything complacent in the team’s preparation in the postseason. The thinking is that the New England Patriots are the ever consummate team of professionals but herein lies the problem with the Patriots they’ve been the dog that has uncanny habit of being simply annoying that you’re tempted give it a whack with a bone. And this divisional game against the Jets the Patriots got beaten with that bone so profusely that I seriously doubt that they’ll make a quick recovery from this painful onslaught !

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For the remaining teams the Chicago Bears , Green Bay Packers , New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers this postseason could be one to savor . So far we’ve been given a great deal of intrigue , suspense and thrills. There’s been surprises and shall we say one or two shocks ? Now all that’s left is to determine which team will be raising the Lombardi Trophy at Cowboys Stadium in early February .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the the divisional games this past weekend and what if any were your thoughts on the performances of both the New York Jets and New England Patriots ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and the upcoming games .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………

Picture gallery and slide show details

(1) New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty speaks with the media while cleaning out his locker at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, Jan. 17, 2011. The New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots, 28-21 in the AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne …….

(2) New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez ties trash bags filled the belongings from his locker while cleaning it out Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots, 28-21 in the AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne ……

(3)Foxboro , Ma,. Drew Coleman (30) of the New York Jets tackles Wes Welker (83) of the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa Martinez /Getty Images ….

(4) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers questions from the media during a news conference Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The New York Jets defeated the Patriots 28-21 in an AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. AP Photo/Stew Milne ……..

(5) New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, center, reacts near the end of the Jets’ 28-21 win over the New England Patriots in NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Winslow Townson …….

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots looks on near the end of their 28 to 21 loss to the New York Jets in their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa Martinez /Getty Images ………

(7) Braylon Edwards (17) and Santonio Holmes (10) of the New York Jets celebrate on their way to defeating the New England Patriots 28 to 21 victory over the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

[8] Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots and Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets walk off the field after the Jets defeated the Patriots 28 to 21 their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ………

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Jazz ingenue Esperanza Spalding ……. “She Got To You”

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We Run Things Here …………. The NFL and All of Its Guises …..


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’s Tony Hayward and President Barack Obama you might be approaching the status where you’re one of the most despised men in America !

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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.

Courtesy of USA Today

Tom Brady, Ray Lewis offer caution as NFL trumpets potential change to 18-game regular season

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.


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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)”

Baseball, Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, NFL, Soccer, Sports, World Cup 2010

Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside


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 !

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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.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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 .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………………

Aaliyah ……………”Rock The Boat”

ESPN, Football, NFL, Sports

Let Me Tell You A Story ……………..


Let Me Tell You A Story ?

Now don’t get me wrong while I admire much of the responsible journalism that ESPN at time does. It does grate on me when they sugary coat the subject matter and try to make them into something they are clearly not. In many ways it’s like trying to reinvent the wheel . It can’t really be done at all !

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AFC East, Buffalo Bills, Dick Jauron, Football, NFL, Ralph Wilson, Sports, Terrell Owens, Trent Edwards

There Are Things That One Tends To Question ………………


 
 

There   Are   Things  That  One   Tends  To   Question  ………….

 

 

 

When  informed  that   Terrell  Owens   was  now  a  free   agent  one   has  to  wonder   what   was   going  on  within  the  minds  of  Buffalo  Bills’ owner  Ralph  Wilson  and   the  team’s   coach  Dick  Jauron.      Whatever  the   conversation   that  took   place   I’m   inclined  to  believe  that  there   can’t   have   been  much   sense   made  of  it  .  Especially   as  far  as  Wilson  is   concerned.  The   octogenarian    either   thought   that   he  may   have   been   told   that   there   was   a   prized   piece   of   art  coming  on  the  market   or   infact   that    there   was  a    erectile   dysfunctional   product   that  was better  than   anything  else   out   there. 

 

Terrell  Owens   makes  the  announcement  to  the  convened  press  that  he's  now  Buffalo  Bills'  player.  Owens  signed  a  one  year  $6.5m contract  with the  team .    picture  appears  courtesy  of  buffalonews.com/ James  P  McCoy ........................
Terrell Owens makes the announcement to the convened press that he's now a Buffalo Bills' player . Owens signed a one year $6.5m contract with incentives. picture appears courtesy of buffalonews.com/ James P McCoy ..................

 

 

 

 

Now  the  Bills  have   landed  the  erstwhile   player  and  the   baggage  that  he   brings   with   him.    The   question   one   has  to   ask   is    what   are  the  Bills   thinking  ?   It’s   not  as   if  they   hadn’t   witnessed  what’d  taken   place   at  the   player’s    previous   stops.   Much   like   Hurricane    Katrina    the   devastation   left   by  Owens     at  his  previous   professional   domiciles   were  about  as  welcoming   as    a  case   of  the  bubonic  plague.   That   being   said   if   a  pandemic     were   to  set   foot   within  the  Bills’  organization.  It’s   hard  to    see  how   they  can   recover    from   something  as   acute   as   what   can   all  envisage  may  well  happen.    Owens   is   most  definitely   like    a  cancer  that   tends  to  be  malignant  and  then  metastasizes  to  say   the   very   least.  

 

 

 

 

 

Far   be  it   for  me   to  wish   anyone   the   worst   but   at  this   juncture  I  can  offer   no   sympathy    to  the  Bills .   This   is  very   much  an  ill   conceived   idea.   And   if  it   should  all   implode   within  their   midst    then  they’ll  only   have   themselves   to    blame.    The  offer   to   Owens  is  believed  to  be  a  one  year   contract    that’s   said  to  be  in  the  region  of   $6.5m   with   incentives.    It’s   indeed  to   now   believe   Drew  Rosenhaus,  Owens’   agent  when  he  stated  that  there   were   a   number  of   teams  that  were   said  to  be  interested  in   his  client.   I   think  that  it  had  to  have   been  more   chutzpah  than   anything  else.  Rosenhaus  much  like   counterpart  Scott  Boras  within  Major  League  Baseball  certainly    knows  the  art  of  the   deal.    He’s  able  to   lure   a   potential   bidder   in   much    like  a  snake   charmer   or   black   widow   spider  that   tends  to   lure  its  mate  and  then   devours  it.      However  the  only  thing  here  that’ll  be   devoured   will   be  that  of   Ralph  Wilson’s   money  at  the   end  of the   day.  

 

 

Bills'  quarterback  Trent  Edwards  attempts  a  pass   during  an  NFL   game .    picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Todd  Shaughnessy ..................
Bills' quarterback Trent Edwards attempts a pass during an NFL game . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Todd Shaugnessy ..............

 

 

 

The  Bills (7-9)  as  dwellers  within  the  AFC  East   started   out   last   season   well.   But their   season   fell  about   their   feet    once    quarterback   Trent  Edwards   was   lost  to   injury    for  an  indeterminable  period.   That  being   said   they’ve   a  young   nucleus  in  place.  And   in  coach   Dick   Jauron   they’ve  a  person   who  though    not     always   open   to  discipline   will   now  have    to  change    that   structure   wholeheartedly  with  a  player    like  Owens   within  his  midst.  He’ll   have   to   rein  in  the   antics   of  the  player   who   basically  marches  to  beat  of  his  own   drum  and   no  one   else’s .  So   anyone   who’s  of  the   opinion  that   this   is   basically  a  can’t   lose   situation   for  the  Bills .  They’ll   have    to  seriously    reconsider  that    thought   process   altogether.   The   upside to   this   while   on  paper   looks.   The  downside  to   it  all   far   outweighs   the   positives.    The  carnage   that  could   be  caused    could   set  the  franchise   back    at   least    two   years   if  not  more.  It’s   not  as   if  the   Bills   has     a  lot   going   for  it   at   present.    They’re    having  to   play   catch   up  with  the  likes  of   the  Miami  Dolphins  (11-5), New York  Jets (9-7), and  New  England  Patriots (11-5)  within  their    division.   And  in   light  of  the  progress  made   by   both.  It   could   well  be   the  distance   between  the    Dolphins  , Pats  and Bills has   become   even    greater.

 

Owens  pictured  left  and  Lee  Evans wide  receiver  of  the  Buffalo Bills.   It's hoped  that  the  tandem  will  prove  to  be  potent   for  the   team.   picture  appears   courtesy  of  uspresswire/getty images ..................
Owens pictured left and Lee Evans wide receiver of the Buffalo Bills. It's hoped that the two will make a potent and formidable receiving tandem for the franchise. picture appears courtesy of uspresswire/getty images ........................

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As  for  the   intangibles  that  Owens   brings  to  this   team while   immense.  With   him  also   comes  the    soap   opera  drama  and   the  player’s  own   desire  to  be   front  and   center    in  the  midst  of  it all .    Much   like  the   narcissist   one     believes   him  to  be.  Hell  if  it  weren’t   for  the   fact  that he’s   derided  his   teammates  wherever  he’s  been.   I’d   be  of  the   opinion  that   he’s   looking   at   this   stop   in  Buffalo  as  a  way  of   refining   his   technique.   I  can   only   hope  that   Edwards   and   others   on  the  Bills’   roster   can   stomach  it  all.  Because  if  not   then   it   could  all  make   for  a   real  harrowing   experience   for  the  players   who’ll   now  be   Owens’   new  teammates.   So   at   this   juncture   let    the   festivities  begin.   It’ll  all   be   well   worth  watching  to  say  the  very  least.