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 .

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Flawed …….. A Diamond In The Rough or Cubic Zirconium ?


Flawed …….. A Diamond In The Rough or Cubic Zirconium ?

You simply knew that it’d be only a matter of time before the charges of fraud would be thrown up against a number of teams within the NFL after their fast starts to the season. We’ve now seen both the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs exposed as teams that are indeed flawed and who have if anything have over-achieved. Albeit that we are only five weeks into a sixteen week NFL schedule. Mindful of that however, I do believe that for these two teams it hasn’t been so much about them over achieving but more so about them catching lightning in a bottle and surprising their early season opponents that caught many of us by surprise.

Texans’ coach Gary Kubiak knows that if his team is to fully gain the respect and display the talent that an undoubted number of analysts around the NFL believe them to have , then they will have to step up not only their game physically but also mentally. The Texans’ coaching staff as well will have to instill a great deal more discipline into this team in each phase of their game. It’s all well and good having a potent offense when given the chance can put points up on the scoreboard with the regularity of the speed of a pendulum . But that simply counts for nothing when the defense is now liable to give up points as if they’re trapped in quicksand and simply can’t get out of their own way in repeatedly making mistakes and giving up the ‘big plays’. That seems to be the norm with the Texans and it is something that Kubiak will have to address if the team is to have any real success at all this season.

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Todd Haley and the Chiefs may well have surprised a great many people around the league with his team’s fast start to the season . But to my mind much of the success is derived from the fact that during the off-season Haley added to his coaching staff by hiring Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to become the offensive and defensive coordinators of the team. Reassembling a group who along with Haley and team GM Scott Pioli were responsible for the unprecedented success that was attained by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. It seems that the pupil has learned well from his Master? But with this being a very young team the Chiefs have had their growing pains and it has began to show after their first loss (19-9) this season to the Indianapolis Colts. Now with that being said given the fact that the Chiefs play in the none sensical division of the AFC West where from week to week you can never be sure what you’re going to witness by way of the football being played there. This type of start to the season where 4-0 makes your team appear to be world beaters does create the perception that there’s competitive football being played within that division. In essence nothing could be further from the truth as one simply has to bear witness to the hilarity of what took place between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers this past weekend. The Chargers simply threw away a game (35-27) that they very much had within their grasp and if anything for coach Norv Turner, here’s simply another example rearing its ugly head proving once again why it is he can never win a big game when it really matters .

The Oakland Raiders much like the rest of the teams within AFC West can never seem to run together a series of performances where one can really look at this team and say …. well this is a team that can actually play and win their division outright. Instead much like the other occupants within the division their goal at present is merely to proffer up games where they’re playing exceptionally well or in large part their game and that of the coaching staff is mind numbingly pitiful ! But as I’ve always state what’s purported to be football within that division is mind numbingly painful.

And speaking of mind numbingly boring isn’t it bad enough that the circus still meanders around the league and the talk still is about Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings ? Now with the arrival of Randy Moss the talk is everything is back on track but I preface this by saying that all the bravura of the player’s arrival certainly won’t alleviate the pressure on the Vikings. This team will only go as far as Favre can take them without imploding. The funny thing is having arrived home I thought I’d take in some of the pregame coverage of Vikings vs New York Jets’ game at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. With the latest faux pas on Favre and the allegations leveled at the player where he supposedly left several inappropriate sexually explicit messages and pictures which were to sent a sideline reporter in the employ of the New York Jets. Is it me but when you have a coeterie of aged misogynystic males together how is it that they cannot differentiate the inappropriate behavior of a fellow male ? The analysts on ESPN’s coverage were aware that the player had apologized for the distraction of the ongoing investigation and it’s been confirmed that as part of the apology he expressed his sadness in his behavior concerning the incident that involved Jets’ sideline reporter Jenn Sterger, while the player was still with the Jets. But here you had Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Chris Berman and Tom Jackson trying to excuse his behavior by simply glossing over this incident. Strange these very same individuals last year were questioning the actions of Donte’ Stallworth after he killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence. Now we have perhaps the NFL’s most high profiled player whose inappropriate behavior these analysts sought to gloss over by by acting that this was something that isn’t at all serious. Where’s the common decency and are these very same individuals simply out of the loop when it comes to the fact women are being sexually assaulted predators at a rate that statistically is quite scary ? One may not look at the actions as being a form of assault but given the fact that the player’s actions weren’t solicited by the victim and the actions itself are a crime then what else is there to question at this juncture ? Less we forget also there’s a second allegation that has arisen concerning the player’s sexual advances and inappropriate behavior concerning two female masseuses who at the time in the employment of the Jets organization. Pattern of behavior on Favre’s part or can we once again merely excuse this as simply being sophomoric behavior and the act of a player thinking that this is all desirable by a female because of who he is ?


Favre’s actions may not be viewed acutely dangerous but then again what the hell was the player thinking to begin with ? Was he under the impression that his victim would be happy with his idiotic behavior ? Granted until some action is taken by either the NFL or Jets’ front office makes their findings public much of what we know is open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation.

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Now one could gloss over this incident and deem it none cataclysmic but I view it this way were the female in question, your wife , sister or mother how would you view Favre’s actions and what has been alleged ? Clearly this isn’t simply about an error in judgment but a player who thought himself above the law and the fact that his actions were felonious and an act of pornography. Doubt my word then simply look at the statutes as it covers the act using of a cell phone for promoting pornography ? Favre and others out there may simply think that this was simply a joke but given where we are now at when it comes to technology and the use of social networks as a mean of criminal activity. Isn’t it about time common sense prevails and an individual actually uses their brain matter functionally ? And we should also remember that given the seriousness of the problems that recently arose concerning the behavior of several Jets’ players and their inappropriate behavior towards TvAzteca sports reporter Ines Sainz. The players and several assistant coaches were sexually overt and suggestive towards the reporter and it wasn’t until a formal complaint had been lodged with the NFL and the Jets’ front office that any action had been taken by the league hierarchy and the Jets . So those of you who merely gloss over the actions think carefully about what it is that you’re condoning.

From my own perspective I was never one to buy into the hype concerning Favre and the Vikings merely because I simply don’t view Brad Childress as a very good coach ! He seems incapable leading this team and in commanding respect from the players. And from what we’ve seen between he and Favre’s relationship , it has been tenuous at best. And this season it’s liable to get a great deal more heated should things become uncertain. The pressure on both as well as the team to succeed has become all consuming. The window of opportunity for the Vikings is now and it is imperative that they win if both Favre and Randy Moss are to ride off into the sunset with a Superbowl ring adorning their fingers and almost certain candidacy for the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Having seen some of the highlights of the game (24-21) between the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers I was at a loss to see why it was that Carson Palmer was being lauded over as one of the better quarterbacks within the NFL. Granted a Heisman Trophy gives a player some credibility when they come out of college and enter the NFL . But the bust itself isn’t the item on the field each Sunday afternoon , it’s actually the player them-self. Palmer and the Bengals were favored to defeat the Buccaneers handily. Instead we saw this team simply out-gain the Bucs on the ground with their running game but nothing tangible to show for it at the end of the day. The Bengals “bungled” their way and as they simply allowed the Buccaneers ease their way back into the game ____ and eventually ended up winning the game. Marvin Lewis and his coaching staff are either complete blithering idiots or they simply haven’t got the wherewithal to do what’s needed in a game plan. Merely needing to clock manage in the closing minutes of the game Lewis and Palmer felt that aerial onslaught would be enough to guide them to a win. In doing so Palmer would needlessly threw a pair interceptions and as they say the shit…… ‘merely hit the fan’.

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Surveying the NFL at present and on the face of it a number of teams simply haven’t lived up to the perceived hype that many were expecting. And though the thinking is that parity makes the game the league a great deal more competitive I look at the coaching pedigree of the coaches around the NFL . The players on the field may well be the ones gaining the glory but the truth of it all is the fact of the matter is without the right coach and front office in place a team can’t really attain success at any level. And in this day and age in professional sports where it’s about there here and now it’s so hard to determine the teams that are the diamonds in the rough that through polishing will become the finished and genuine article , and then of course there are the cubic zirconiums out there. Well those are the teams that aspire to be diamonds but the illusions are being created that they’re the real deal. And if the truth be known within the NFL at present there seems to be more cubic zirconiums than there are real diamonds.

What teams at present to your mind have come as a real surprise and specifically which teams do you feel can either turn their seasons around to rally back and perhaps become a legitimate contender within the NFL ?

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Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………… 🙂

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I Left My Heart And Balls In San Francisco


I Left My Heart And Balls In San Francisco …… !

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.

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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.

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What result if anything was something of a complete surprise to you in the NFL over the weekend ?

tophatal ……………

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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 ESPN.com 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 InsideWorldofFootball.com

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.”

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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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Picture gallery for your perusal

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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 Bay.com

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.
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To read John Romano’s article in its entirety just
click on the link provided
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 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 News.com

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 ……………….

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

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<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 ?

Football, NFL, Sports

The Emperor Has No New Clothes


Well the NFL‘s season has began and as much to the delight of the the fans , finally they’ve got something to rejoice about. They’ll be there in their throngs to support their teams wholeheartedly. And it’d appear that for the usual perfunctory of characters that there are-nothing much has changed.

New  Orleans  Saints'  quarterback  Drew Brees (9)  left,  and  Detroit  Lions'   backup  quarterback   Daunte  Culpepper  meet  after  the  game  to   discuss  the  day's  events.   The  Saints   defeated  the  Lions   45-27  and   Brees  would   throw  for   6  TD's   and  an  int,  during  the  game  played  in  New  Orleans,  Louisiana.   picture  appears  courtesy  of ap/photo/Bill  Feig  ..................
New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees (9) left, and Detroit Lions' backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper meet after the game to discuss the day's events. The Saints defeated the Lions 45-27 and Brees would throw for 6 TD's and an int, during the game played in New Orleans, Louisiana. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Bill Feig ..................

After a winless season , the Detroit Lions are back to where they left off, last season. Having lost a mind numbing 16 regular season games. Their first regular season game of the 2009-10 season , has left us in no doubt that they’re back to their usual ways. Wherein, ineptitude is likely to be the norm. And that’s even with the mindset that the acquisition of Matthew Stafford through the draft, as their # 1 draft pick , would be the savior of the franchise. Their 45-27 loss the New Orleans Saints. All but assured us , that in reality hasn’t been that much of a change with regard to mindset of the franchise. Winning breeds confidence -but for the Detroit Lions they’ve first got to learn how to win and all of the prerequisite things that goes along with winning.

Brees  throws  a  pass  during the  game  played  against  the  Detroit  Lions  played  in the  New  Orleans  Superdome  ,  New  Orleans  ,  Louisiana  on  Sunday.    picture  appears   courtesy  of  getty  images/ Chris  Graythen  .................
Brees throws a pass during the game played against the Detroit Lions played in the New Orleans Superdome , New Orleans , Louisiana on Sunday. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Chris Graythen .................

Not only was this a resounding loss for the team. But in essence , it lets the Lions’ fans know that this team faces a steep uphill battle if they’re to turn around their fortunes. Albeit, that this is only the first game of the season. It may prove to be indicative of what’s to come for this team under their coach, Jim Schwartz.
And the task that’s envisaged ahead for Schwartz and his coaching staff is by no means an easy feat at this juncture.
All things point to the fact that this’ll be an exceedingly trying time for the coach and the team as a whole.

Lions   starting   quarterback  Matthew  Stafford  makes  an  attempted  pass   during the  game   against  the  New  Orleans   Saints.   It's  was  Stafford's   baptism  of  fire  in  his  first   regular  season  game  for  the  Detroit  Lions'  franchise.      picture  appears  courtesy of   getty  images/  Chris  Graythen  ...................
Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford makes an attempted pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints. It's was Stafford's baptism of fire in his first regular season game for the Detroit Lions' franchise. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Chris Graythen ...................

In the case of the New Orleans Saints , it’d appear that their quarterback , Drews Brees , merely picked up from where left off, from last season. And he’s not just content with putting up the usual stats. Brees , in essence looks as if he wants to sends those stats into the stratosphere. He threw for 6 touchdowns in the Saints’ win over the Lions. And he served notice that a 5,000 yard season isn’t at all beyond him.

Box score : New Orleans Saints 45 Detroit Lions 27

Bucs' running  back  Carnell  Williams  (24)  gets  by  Cowboys'  defensive  players Anthony  Spencer  (93) and  lying on  the  ground   Steve  Octavien.     picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/ Brian  Blanco  .......................
Bucs' running back Carnell Williams (24) gets by Cowboys' defensive players Anthony Spencer (93) and lying on the ground Steve Octavien. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Blanco .......................

Something has seemingly gone awry with sports- within the Tampa Bay area. It may well be the grandiose delusions of the fans and that ever present belief that the teams within the area aren’t as good as advertised. And it certainly hasn’t helped with the asinine notions of the sport’s broadcasters on the radio , locally, giving their usual analysis. Much of the time it borders on being either sublime or downright ridiculous. Well that most certainly has to be the case with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cowboys'  quarterback  Tony  Romo  hands  the  ball  of  to  teammate,  running  back    ,  Felix   Jones.      picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty  images/   J   Meric   .........................
Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo hands the ball of to teammate, running back , Felix Jones. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ J Meric .........................

And for Buccaneers’ first year coach, Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik. They’ve the unenviable task of having to reshape this team and make them somewhat more competitive. And though it has to to be said that the abrupt departure of Morris’ predecessor , Jon Gruden wasn’t totally unexpected. What has taken place since Gruden’s departure , in many ways resembles something of a comedy of errors. Morris has seemingly given the fans what they want to hear. ‘We’ll be competitive and play with urgency and show athleticism’ .

Buccaneers' quarterback  Byron  Leftwich   manages  to  get  a  pass  off  before  the  Cowboys  defensive  player   Jason  Hatcher  (97)  manages   to  make  the  defensive  play.     picture  appears  courtesy  of   getty  images/  J Meric   .........................
Buccaneers' quarterback Byron Leftwich manages to get a pass off before the Cowboys defensive player Jason Hatcher (97) manages to make the defensive play. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ J Meric .........................

Well , based upon the evidence shown in their first home game of the season. The Buccaneers showed very little athleticism throughout the entire four quarters of play against the Dallas Cowboys -in their home opener at the Raymond James Stadium. They held their own against the Cowboys but seemingly they were unimaginative in their play, offensively. And once the Cowboys and in particular their quarterback , Tony Romo found his timing . The Buccaneers were playing catchup for the rest of the game. From the third quarter on, the Buccaneers’ defense was taken apart with precision of a surgeon . As Romo seemingly found his receivers almost at will. Several times the Buccaneers’ defense was torched for several aerial plays . Wherein, their defensive backs seemingly had no answer for the speed of Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton , Jason Witten or Roy Williams.

Cowboys'  wide   receiver   Roy  Williams   (11)  salutes  members  of  the  US  military  in  attendance  at  the  game.   Williams   would  be his  team's  most   potent  offensive   weapon  on the  day-hauling   4  receptions  for  135  yards  and  a  touchdown.   The   Cowboys  would   go  on to  defeat the  Buccaneers   34-21    in  the  game  played  at  Raymond  James   Stadium  ,  Tampa  ,  Fl,.   picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Reinhold  Matay  .................
Cowboys' wide receiver Roy Williams (11) salutes members of the US military in attendance at the game. Williams would be his team's most potent offensive weapon on the day-hauling in 4 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys would go on to defeat the Buccaneers 34-21 in the game played at Raymond James Stadium , Tampa , Fl,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Reinhold Matay .................

And though the 34-21 victory by the Cowboys. In the end the result may not reflect a wide margin of victory -but for the garbage points attained by the Bucs in the latter stages of the game. The end result could well have been a great deal wider in terms of the victory for the Cowboys.

As we all know , the Buccaneers have never been viewed as on offensive juggernaut. The team’s mantra has always been built around defense. And though this is still a very young team , in terms of its roster. The defensive schemes put into place by defensive coordinator, Jim Bates , were seemingly lost on the players. And nowhere was this more evident than with the lack of resolve shown when it came to making tackles and the man to man coverage. Coverages were blown and the talk of this team being built and predicated upon speed. I can only surmise that if the Bucs’ defensive players were racing a tortoise. My money would be, on the tortoise ! And unfortunately for the Bucs the veteran presence that it was felt that Ronde Barber would give to the team on the defensive side of things. Well it’d be easy to suggest at this juncture that Ronde ought to be thinking about applying for his AARP card . The player’s best days are certainly in the rear view mirror and not ahead of him- as many within the Bucs’ coaching ranks still seem to think.

Buccaneers  coach  Raheem  Morris  speaks  with  an  official  on the  sidelines   during  the  game.   The   first  year  head  coach   would  lose  his   first   game  in  the  NFL  as  a  coach   to  the  NFC's   Dallas  Cowboys   34-21.     picture  appears  courtesy  of   getty  images/   J  Meric  ......................
Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris speaks with an official on the sidelines during the game. The first year head coach would lose his first game in the NFL as a coach to the NFC's Dallas Cowboys 34-21. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ J Meric ......................

Whilst it may well be too early to read anything into this loss for the Buccaneers. It seemingly doesn’t at all bode well for the team. Bearing in mind that before the midway point of the fourth quarter, several of the Buccaneers’ fans were already making their way to the exits. Fair weather fans they say …’ come in all shapes and sizes’. But within the state of Florida and in particular the central part of the state. This is commonly what the fans are primarily known for when it comes to their home teams. Is it any wonder that as far as allegiances goes , the support for any team within the state if it doesn’t happen to about Gators’ football, Seminoles’ football or as a matter fact Canes’ football. It is seemingly about the college game. Rather than showing support for the non-descript NFL entertainment now being served up. And that’s about as worthwhile as having a tooth pulled without the use of novoacaine.

Box score: Dallas Cowboys 34 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21

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.