The NFL in London could work with a little compromise

This coming Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars will play the third and final game of this NFL season’s International Series at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The series began as an experiment in 2007 by the National Football League to gauge interest of the sport in the European marketplace.

And although the second largest media market in this country – Los Angeles – is on the verge of landing not one but possibly two NFL teams as soon as maybe next season after being without a team for 20 years, the League is still hell-bent on putting a team across the pond in London by 2022.

Commissioned by the NFL and a London marketing agency, the accounting firm DeLoitte released its findings last week from their study that said an NFL franchise based in London could generate more than $255 million for Britain annually.

In British pounds, we’re talking 165 million.

Pounds. Dollars. No matter what currency you reference, that’s a whole lot of coin the 32 team owners can’t ignore.

So, what about the fans both in the States and the British Isles?

A majority of NFL fans here don’t like the idea of putting a team in London because of travel logistics and the idea that it would be similar to out-sourcing American jobs to foreign countries.

Tom Bateman, president of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots. courtesy: Tom Bateman
Tom Bateman, director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

As for the Brits, L.A. native Tom Bateman, the director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to merry old England for a week in October of 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams take on the New England Patriots.

While there, Bateman spoke with British fans he discovered enjoy American football immensely but think the idea of putting a team in London permanently is a silly one.

I agree with the Brits. If a team is moved or an expansion team is awarded to London, would the league’s name be changed to the International Football League?

“Part of the appeal to the Brits is that each (International Series) game showcases different teams” said Bateman who added, “The NFL in the UK is a spectacle as much as it is a sport. Probably more so.”

British tailgaters at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman
British tailgaters “dressed to kilt” at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

He also discovered an NFL game represents everything the British love about America.

According to Bateman the Brits love the fact that we’re a show off nation.

Really, no sport or league shows off more than the NFL.

“It’s flashy, spectacular, the uniforms, the helmets, the cheerleaders, the endzone celebrations, the sack dances, all of that.” Said Bateman continuing, “But as a sport, to the Brits it can’t hold a candle to soccer or as they refer to it, real football.”

Also on the NFL’s agenda, sooner rather than later, is reducing the pre-season schedule from four games to two while expanding the regular season from its current 16-game schedule to 18.

An 18-game schedule is something the Players’ Union isn’t too keen on for player safety and the extra two games don’t increase the players’ salaries.

What about a little compromise for all parties involved so the 32 team owners, the players and Britain’s annual economy can capitalize on the projected $255 million the NFL stands to generate should it have a permanent presence in London.

Since the Brits enjoy seeing different teams play each International Series game and the logistics of having a permanent team call London home seem a bit difficult to iron out, let’s give the Brits what they want.

America's Game - NFL Football - celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman
America’s Game – NFL Football – celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

At the same time, let’s expand the regular season from 16 to 17 regular season games with the extra game for each team played each week at Wembley Stadium in London.

So what if it’s an odd number schedule. Only thing affected is a team finishing .500 which isn’t a huge deal in the grand playoff scheme of things.

This way, only teams with winning records would qualify for the postseason.

Make the 17th game match ups interconference games – AFC vs. NFC – with the match ups chosen with ping pong ball machines much like the ones used to choose the World Cup soccer groups or the NBA Draft Lottery and do it during Super Bowl Week for games in the upcoming regular season. Cut the pre-season to just two games.

You’ve added a game while having an entire regular season schedule – 16 weeks – in London with the Brits seeing all 32 NFL teams in different match ups each game and year.

It becomes a “pseudo Super Bowl” each week in London because the logistics time wise of having the Super Bowl in London – which has been discussed – just won’t work for NFL fans in the States who want to see the biggest game and spectacle on U.S. soil and rightfully so.

After all, it is America’s Game. Somewhere all 32 teams need to always call home.

No Time To Panic For Me Or Favre!

ERIC’S NFL WEEK 6 PICKS

Remember, use my picks to wager $$$ at your own risk. If you lose, I had nothing to do with it. If you win beaucoup $$$, a 10% tip would be cool.  But, I’m realistic. This is just for your entertainment…or not, and for me to keep my sports “mojo” going until “I’m back in the saddle”. Remember the league’s unofficial motto…“ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, MONDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY OR SATURDAY“…………

Last Week:  3-11 (WHAT!?!?)  Season:  39-37

SEATTLE (2-2) +7 @ CHICAGO (4-1) O/U 37.5 pts
-Bears QB Jay Cutler back after concussion issues from being sacked nine times in one half by the Giants two weeks ago. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll continues to tinker with his roster trading for Bills RB Marshawn Lynch, waiving RB Julius Jones and sending WR Deion Branch back to the Patriots. It’s perpetual training camp for Seattle. BEARS (23-20, SEAHAWKS)

MIAMI (2-2) +3 @ GREEN BAY (3-2)  46 pts
-Packers look like a M*A*S*H Unit. QB Aaron Rodgers is questionable with the effects of a concussion. Expect him to play.  Out are RB Ryan Grant, LB’s Clay Matthews & Nick Barnett, TE’s Jermichael Finley & Donald Lee, DL Ryan Pickett,  Safeties Derrick Martin & Atari Bigby and CB Al Harris. Could be a bit too much to overcome even at Lambeau Field against a Dolphins team coming off of a bye week. At least reigning defensive player of the year, CB Charles Woodson’s healthy to blanket Miami WR Brandon Marshall. Expect Chad Henne to hand off to RB’s Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. If the Miami special teams doesn’t give up 21 points to the Packers like it did two weeks ago to the Patriots, Miami should be fine against Green Bay’s JV. DOLPHINS (23-20, DOLPHINS)

SAN DIEGO (2-3) -7.5  @ ST. LOUIS (2-3) 44 pts
-Everything’s going according to plan for the Chargers. They’re out of the shoot with a two and three record for the fourth consecutive season.  Remember, San Diego’s gone on to win the AFC West the previous three. Bolts have severed ties with former all-pro LB Shawn Merriman who’s been injury-plagued the last three seasons, this year being hampered by a badly strained left calf muscle. Bolts will trade him when he’s off the injury list with the Rams being one of the teams with some interest. Good news, WR Vincent Jackson will be back by Halloween. QB Phillip Rivers lighting up opposing defenses. Unfortunately, the Chargers special teams have been atrocious and responsible for two losses including last week’s to the Raiders causing this Chargers Fan much heartache!

OH, THE HUMANITY!! Anyway….Rams suffered their first bad loss of the season last week getting waxed by the Lions in Detroit, 44-6. Under rookie QB Sam Bradford and a solid young defense, Rams have been in every game except for last week. At two and three, they’re in the thick of the NFC West race. So many weapons for Rivers on offense and If that special teams unit doesn’t have another hick-up, the Chargers should be ready to get going. Expect the Rams to keep it close with Bradford handing off to RB Steven Jackson to set up the pass. CHARGERS (20-17, RAMS)

BALTIMORE (4-1) +3 @ NEW ENGLAND (3-1) 46 pts
-Patriots return from a bye week which saw them trade WR Randy Moss back to the Vikings and welcomed back WR Deion Branch from the Seahawks. Last time these two met in Foxboro was in January for an AFC playoff game with the Ravens embarrassing the Patriots, 33-14.  Ravens RB Ray Rice had a huge day as did the defense led by LB Ray Lewis. Baltimore’s back with added weapons for QB Joe Flacco in WR’s Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.  Without Moss, Pats QB Tom Brady will go to Wes Welker and a trio of pass-catching tight ends. He’ll need the ground game to keep his jersey clean. RAVENS (23-20, PATRIOTS)

DETROIT (1-4) +10.5 @ NY GIANTS of NEW JERSEY (3-2) 44 pts
-That’s more like it, G-Men! The defense bringing the pain during New York’s two-game win streak. First, sacking Chicago QB’s 10 times in a 17-3 win. Then, in last week’s 34-10 win at Houston only allowing a franchise-low 24 rushing yards to a Texans team ranked near the top in the league on the ground.  Much improved Detroit’s trying to end a 23-game road losing streak and is working some offensive MOJO after beating the Rams in the Motor City last week, 44-6. It was the first game the Lions were able to use the “Kneel-Down formation” at the end of the game since……Bobby Layne QB’d in Detroit (Google “Bobby Layne“)? Make it 24 straight road losses. GIANTS (28-20, GIANTS)

ATLANTA (4-1) +2.5 @ PHILADELPHIA (3-2) 43 pts
-It hasn’t been easy, but the Falcons are learning to win tough and ugly games. QB Matt Ryan and NFC South leading Atlanta are good at winning by wide margins, so, winning tough and ugly will serve the Falcons well come playoff time. The Eagles are in the thick of the NFC East race even with the revolving door at QB. Ex-Falcon Michael Vick is questionable to go up against his former team still nursing badly bruised ribs. Kevin Kolb gets the start completely recovered from that concussion from the opening game loss to Green Bay. FALCONS (31-17, EAGLES)

CLEVELAND (1-4) +13.5 @ PITTSBURGH (3-1) 37 pts
-The Steelers welcome back QB Ben Roethlisberger from suspension. Makes Pittsburgh quite the complete team. The Steelers are dead last in the league in passing without Big Ben and have relied on the run with Rashard Mendenhall working the bulk of the carries. Imagine what happens with Big Ben opening up the air attack. Poor Cleveland. While Pittsburgh welcomes back Roethlisberger, Texas rookie QB Colt McCoy will get his NFL Initiation against Troy Polamalu and the Steel Curtain Defense. Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are injured. So, have fun Colt! STEELERS (28-10, STEELERS)

NEW ORLEANS (3-2) -4 @ TAMPA BAY (3-1) 43 pts
-The world champion Saints are struggling. QB Drew Brees has to rely on his arm because New Orleans is lean at the running back position with RB’s Reggie Bush out and Pierre Thomas questionable. Makes the Saints very one-dimensional.  To help Brees, they signed RB Julius Jones just released by Seattle.  The Bucs have exceeded expectations equaling last season’s win total after just four games. They’re young and talented with QB Josh Freeman garnering the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award after leading Tampa to a 24-21 come-from-behind win at Cincinnati last week. The opportunistic Tampa defense has recorded 12 turnovers in four games, including nine interceptions. If the Bucs want to be taken seriously, a home win over the defending world champ opens some eyes. The Saints are hurt and desperate after losing two of the last three but need to be able to work the ground game. BUCCANEERS (31-6, SAINTS)

KANSAS CITY (3-1) +4 @ HOUSTON (3-2) 44.5 pts
-What happened to the Texans? Houston looked as if they’d make a serious run at the AFC South. Granted, all four teams are tied in the division with 3-2 records. Problem is the Texans are regressing. They’ve gotten pounded at home the last two weeks by Dallas and the New York Giants. Meanwhile, Kansas City’s atop the AFC West and playing consistently good defense and running the ball extremely well. The KC defense had Peyton Manning and the Colts frustrated in their last meeting not allowing a passing touchdown in the 19-9 Indy win. Had WR Dwayne Bowe not dropped a couple of on target Matt Cassel passes, the Chiefs would be 4-0.  The Texans need to get that ground game with Arian foster going as well as Matt Schaub finding a healthier Andre Johnson.  Kansas City can run the ball, but the Chiefs will have to take advantage of that weak and depleted Houston secondary. So, Bowe needs to hold on to the ball. CHIEFS (35-31, TEXANS)

NY JETS of NEW JERSEY (4-1) -3 @ DENVER (2-3) 41.5 pts
-Broncos have become a passing team with QB Kyle Orton averaging just under  350 yards passing per game.  Denver can’t run the ball to save its life. With the Jets stingy pass-defense featuring dynamic cornerback duo Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis, WHO ISN‘T 100%  because of hamstring issues, it looks pretty bleak for the Broncos. On offense, Jets QB Mark Sanchez can just hand the ball off to LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene because Denver can’t stop the run to save its life. That’ll open up passing lanes for Sanchez. This one’s going to be ugly. JETS (24-20, JETS)

OAKLAND (2-3) +6.5   @ SAN FRANCISCO (0-5) 41.5 pts
-If not for a botched field goal, the Raiders would be 3-2. So, how is it they’re almost a touchdown underdog to a winless 49ers team?  I don’t know. Oakland finally beat San Diego last week after seven years of futility. The main reason, the Raiders special teams was able to exploit a weak Chargers special teams. There’s much talent on offense especially at RB with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. Problem is the offensive line is dinged up, hence the issues at QB where Jason Campbell replaces Bruce Gradkowski who was knocked out of the Chargers game. The 49ers are 0-5 with severe issues at QB. Former first round pick Alex Smith’s looked terrible. But after confronted by head coach Mike Singletary, he looks really good. RB Frank Gore is the key. He needs to take pressure off Smith who needs to stop turning the ball over. Defensively, the Niners are solid with LB Patrick Willis running the show. Frisco’s gotta get off the schneid at some point. 49ERS (17-9, 49ERS)

DALLAS (1-3) +1.5 @ MINNESOTA (1-3) 44 pts
-This one’s dubbed “The Panic Bowl” because both these one and three teams had Super Bowl aspirations. Winner’s right back in the fold, the loser might as well fold. Vikings are the better team. They have a huge pass rush on defense. On offense, QB Brett Favre’s had issues both on and off the field. There’s that sexual harassment thing from two years ago involving another female reporter who seems to be looking for publicity. On the field, Favre’s dealing with some tendonitis in his throwing elbow and, now, an injured groin suffered in practice and caught on tape.

Some would say Poetic Justice for texting a photo of that “bad boy”. Keep that thing locked up, Brett!! Favre’s got as many turnovers now as he did all last season. That seemed to change in the second half of last week’s loss to the Jets. New toy WR Randy Moss and a healthy Percy Harvin have alleviated the passing issues the Vikes had to begin the season. Now, Sidney Rice is back to make it difficult on any secondary. The bread and butter is RB Adrian Peterson. He’s the focal point. He runs, makes it easier for Favre and the passing game. As for the Cowboys, only way they have a shot is if they can run the ball keeping the heat off the league’s most over-rated and over-hyped player QB Tony Romo. If the Cowboys abandon the run, Romo’s going to get acquainted with Jared Allen.  Bye-Bye Wade Phillips. VIKINGS (24-21, VIKINGS)

INDIANAPOLIS (3-2) -3 @ WASHINGTON (3-2) 44 pts (SNF)
-Redskins allow 410 passing yards per game. Colts QB Peyton Manning throwing for over 400 yards per game. Redskins QB Donovan McNabb’s going to have to keep up with Manning. It’ll be tough with DE Dwight Freeney in his grill most of the game. Redskins better hope they’re not behind too early and can try to keep the ball out of Manning’s hands with the running game. COLTS (27-24, COLTS)

TENNESSEE (3-2) -3 @ JACKSONVILLE (3-2) 45.5 pts (MNF)
-Both teams half of the four-way tie atop the AFC South.  It’ll be Titans RB Chris Johnson up against Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Advantage Tennessee because of that defensive line which is stingy against the run and murder against opposing QB’s. Doesn’t fare well for  the Jags David Garrard who’ll be forced out of the pocket. Titans QB Vince Young playing well because it helps having Johnson to hand off to. TITANS (30-3, TITANS)

BYE WEEK:

BUFFLO (0-5)
CINCINNATI (2-3)
ARIZONA (3-2)
CAROLINA (0-5)
LOS ANGELES (15 years, 6 weeks)

Another favorite 3 STOOGES short film called THREE LITTLE PIGSKINS (1935). Game footage shot at GILMORE STADIUM which stood near the corner of FAIRFAX & THIRD in Los Angeles. Lucille Ball is featured in this one. ENJOY!

Special Teams and Kickers Kicked My A&&!!

Eric’s NFL Week  4 Picks

Remember, use my picks to wager $$$ at your own risk. If you lose, I had nothing to do with it. If you win beaucoup $$$, a 10% tip would be cool.  But, I’m realistic. This is just for your entertainment…or not, and for me to keep my sports “mojo” going until “I’m back in the saddle”. Remember the league’s unofficial motto…“ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, MONDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY OR SATURDAY“…………

Last Week: 10-6 Season:  30-18

The Chargers Special Teams, Kicker Sebastian Janikowski of the Raiders & Saints kicker Garrett Hartley all played like “Huxley College”. Dedicated to them, one of my favorite “football comedy bits” provided by the Marx Brothers in HORSE FEATHERS.

SAN FRANCISCO +6.5 (0-3) @ ATLANTA (2-1) O/U 42.5 pts
-49ers were pre-season favorites to win the NFC West. Now, with a loss to Atlanta, the Mike Singletary watch will be on. The Falcons have the upper hand on the NFC South after beating the champion Saints in overtime last week in the Big Easy. “Tic-Toc, Samurai Mike.” FALCONS (16-14, FALCONS)

NY JETS OF NEW JERSEY +5.5 (2-1) @ BUFFALO (0-3) 37 pts
-Bills replaced starting QB Trent Edwards with back-up Ryan Fitzpatrick in last week’s 38-30 loss to New England. Fitzpatrick played so well, head coach Chan Gailey cut Edwards off the roster completely. Rex Ryan and the J-E-T-S! JETS, JETS< JETS! Can go 3-0 within the AFC East for the first time in 10 years. QB Mark Sanchez and that offense showing good balance since the loss in the opener to the Ravens. Could be an “ambush game” for the Jets. Watch out, Rex. It’ll be close. JETS (38-14, JETS)

CINCINNATI -3 (2-1) @ CLEVELAND (0-3) 37.5 pts
-The Battle of Ohio renewed on the shores of Lake Erie. Browns QB Jake Delhomme’s back from injury. Browns gave the Ravens a scare last week in their 24-17 loss. This one’s going to be close too. Bengals offense should FINALLY open up. Watch out for plenty of Carson Palmer to Ocho-Cinco and T.O. BENGALS (23-20, BROWNS)

DETROIT (0-3) +14.5 @ GREEN BAY (2-1) 45 pts
-Lions still without Matthew Stafford at QB. Detroit lost big at Minnesota last week. It’ll be worse Sunday especially since the Packers are coming off a loss in Chicago. Aaron Rodgers should unload a can of “whoop-a&&” in the “not yet frozen tundra.” PACKERS (28-26, PACKERS)

DENVER +6.5 (1-2) @ TENNESSEE (2-1) 43 pts
-QB Vince Young and the Titans rebounded well from an ugly home loss to Pittsburgh with an inspired win over the Giants in Gotham last week. QB Kyle Orton and the Broncos are putting up good stats but can’t get the pill in the end zone. Denver struggled mightily in last week’s 27-13 home loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts. Titans RB Chris Johnson’s going to have a big day. TITANS (26-20, BRONCOS)

SEATTLE (2-1) -1 @ ST. LOUIS (1-2) 40 pts
-Pete Carroll’s Seahawks were fortunate Leon Washington was able to return two kick-offs for touchdowns in last week’s 27-20 home win over San Diego. Bolts QB Phillip Rivers dissected the Seattle secondary for 455 yards. They better watch out because they’re in the Gateway City facing an improved Rams team with a gun-slinger at QB. How about the Rams and top overall pick Sam Bradford! They broke a 14-game losing streak taking care of Washington, 30-16 last week. RB Steven Jackson’s questionable because of a pulled groin. Kenneth Darby did well replacing the all-pro with 49 yards on 14 carries and a score. Seahawks have won nine straight against the Rams. The Rams could easily be 3-0 with their two losses by a combined five points. Let’s keep that MOJO going. Bradford’s going to have a big day. RAMS (20-3, RAMS)

CAROLINA (0-3) +13.5 @ NEW ORLEANS (2-1) 44 pts
-If it weren’t for Saints kicker Garrett Hartley’s missed 29 yard field goal in overtime, the Saints would be 3-0. New Orleans brought back 22-year veteran kicker John Carney who could replace Hartley as soon as Sunday. Both were on last season’s roster. Carolina’s working Notre Dame rookie QB Jimmy Clausen into the offense so this is an extended “pre-season” going into the next season. This could be ugly. SAINTS (16-14, SAINTS)

BALTIMORE (2-1) +1.5 @ PITTSBURGH (3-0) 34.5 pts
-This has got to be the game of the day. An AFC North Clash of Titans. Both with monster defenses. Without QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers have rediscovered the running game with Rashard Mendenhall moving the chains. That defense, led by Troy Palomalu, is awesome. Same with Baltimore’s led by Ray Lewis. QB Joe Flacco tossed three touchdowns to new toy Anquan Bouldin in last week‘s 24-17 win at Cleveland. Ravens, also, have a solid ground attack with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. This is a pick ’em game and I’d lean to the home team in this home-and-home series. I’m going to go with Flacco and the Birds in a close one only because this is where the Steelers will miss Big Ben. RAVENS (17-14, RAVENS)

HOUSTON (2-1) -3 @ OAKLAND (1-2) 43 pts
-Are you kidding me, Sebastian Janikowski!!!! If it weren’t for your three missed field goals, including a 32-yard “chippie” as time expired, you and the Raiders would be 2-1. Wasted effort by new starting QB Bruce Gradkowski and that third-ranked Raider Defense in that 24-23 loss at Arizona. Are you kidding me Texans!!! You had a 3-0 start in your sites and laid an egg at home to previously winless Dallas last week, 27-13. QB Matt Schaub and that number one offense stopped dead by the Dallas defense. Meanwhile, Dallas QB Tony Romo sliced and diced that worst passing defense in the league. Won’t get any easier for the Texans in the black hole, especially, with WR Andre Johnson still hobbled by the bad wheel. Gradkowki licking his chops to get at that Houston pass defense. Don’t let me down again, Janikowski!! RAIDERS (31-24, TEXANS)

Fitting Houston’s at Oakland.  Hall-of-Famer George Blanda played in both cities (Oilers & Raiders) as well as in Chicago with the Bears during his remarkable 26 year NFL/AFL career. Blanda passed away this past week at 83. Here’s a tribute to one of the most amazing players ever courtesy of the NFL Network. R.I.P  George Blanda.

INDIANAPOLIS (2-1) -7 @ JACKSONVILLE (1-2) 46 pts
-Only way Jacksonville has a shot against Indy is if RB Maurice Jones-Drew has a big day against that Colts defense, which he’s done in the past. Also, that Jags defense has to find a way to stop Peyton Manning. No way. COLTS (31-28, JAGUARS)

WASHINGTON (1-2) +5.5 @ PHILADELPHIA (2-1) 43 pts
-Welcome home, Donovan McNabb!! Redskins coming off a bad 30-16 loss at St. Louis. That defense is the worst in the league adjusting to that 3-4 scheme. “Big Dog” Michael Vick has thrown for 750 yards, six TD’s, no picks, 170 rushing yards and another score since taking over for Kevin Kolb in week one. McNabb was instrumental in bringing Vick to the Eagles last year. The thanks, McNabb’s going to get bitten hard by him in the City of Brotherly Love. EAGLES (17-12, REDSKINS)

ARIZONA (2-1) +8 @ SAN DIEGO (1-2) 45.5 pts
-Chargers are playing true to form giving games away in the first five weeks of the season. QB Phillip Rivers threw  for 455 yards in the loss at Seattle last week. Bolts special teams needs a wake-up call after giving up two kick-off returns for touchdowns. Cardinals should’ve given a game-ball to Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski last week, for missing three field goals including a 32-yard chippie as time ran out, gift-wrapping a 24-23 win for the Cards  in Arizona. Is that correct?? Derek Anderson’s the starting QB for the Cardinals?? STILL?!?!? CHARGERS (41-10, CHARGERS)

CHICAGO (3-0) +3.5 @ NY GIANTS OF NEW JERSEY (1-2) 43.5 pts (SNF)
-The Bears and QB Jay Cutler looking very strong and improved after Monday’s 20-17 win over Green Bay at Soldier Field. As for the Giants, head coach Tom Coughlin could be on the hot-seat if his team plays the way they’ve been playing. BAD. QB Eli Manning looking like his Dad Archie, trying to create something using his opposite hand to try and throw a touchdown. Instead, a pick by the Titans in the end zone. If the Giants can get any kind of running game……………oh, snap! It’s the Bears defense with Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers. BEARS (17-3, GIANTS)

NEW ENGLAND (2-1) -1 @ MIAMI (2-1) 46.5 pts
-Patriots with a close shave with the winless and hapless Buffalo Bills last week at The Razor, winning 38-30. QB Tom Brady is his old self throwing darts to his tight ends and selection of  WR’s. New England’s defense isn’t what it used to be. The Dolphins played it tough in a home loss to the Jets last week. QB Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall clicking as are running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams although the latter needs to hold on to the rock. Miami’s defense is better. A close division game. DOLPHINS (41-14, PATRIOTS)

BYE WEEK:

DALLAS (1-2)
MINNESOTA (1-2)
KANSAS CITY (3-0)
TAMPA BAY (2-1)
LOS ANGELES (15 years, 4 weeks)

Et Tu, LeBron?!?! We Are All WITNESS!

WOW! Fantasy Basketball League’s becoming reality right before our very eyes. LeBron, D’Wade and Chris Bosh all on the same team. Three of the top five picks in the 2003 NBA Draft wearing the same uniform and it doesn’t say “USA” across the chest.

THE TRIO IN THEIR PRIME, NO LESS! INKED FOR SIX YEARS AT $328 MILLION! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

Fitting that the Miami Heats’road uniform is black and Pat Riley sports that “Gordon Gekko” hair-do.

Greed is good.

C’mon! Who doesn’t love the 80s!?!

Seven years after Ohio native LeBron James, the anointed “chosen one” and lottery pick delivered to the hometown Cleveland Cavaliers after the “ping-pong ball gods” made it so, arrived with so much promise of a championship Clevelanders have been longing for since Jim Brown’s Browns won an NFL Championship in 1964.…………………………

He’s gone.

In his wake headed south to Miami, Bron-Bron leaves Cleveland with one Eastern Conference Title, two Most Valuable Player Awards and millions of broken hearts.

Like Cleveland sports fans aren’t used to that.

Reality is LeBron fulfilled his seven-year obligation to the Cleveland Cavaliers lifting them to “elite status” in the association.

No championship. But, you can‘t have everything.

LeBron earned his free agency status and the right to shop his services to find the best opportunity for him to win a championship and play alongside anyone he wants.

He tried to lure Bosh to Cleveland. Bosh wanted South Beach. So, you can’t lure ’em, join ’em.

LeBron didn’t do anything a pro sports team owner wouldn’t do. The King did what’s best for LeBron and his brand. He left for greener pastures and a much better chance of winning that championship he covets. That’s fine.

But, it’s the way he did it that’s not so fine. LeBron pulled a “Robert Irsay“.

In the wee hours of the night in the Spring of 1984 the late, former owner of the then Baltimore Colts brought in moving trucks driving his franchise out of Maryland to Indianapolis before anyone that bled Colts blue and white knew what in the name of Johnny Unitas happened.

No 18 wheeler needed for LeBron to drive the dagger home. Lebron humiliated and betrayed Cleveland sports fans on national television in a prime time, one-hour, self-absorbed ESPN “Decision Special” rendering all of us witness to their latest sports anguish.

Cleveland deserved much better from the local boy.

How gut-wrenching that reality show was for Cleveland sports fans. They understood five other teams had a shot at LeBron and probably would’ve reacted better to the news of the Kings departure had he made them aware prior to his “prime time fiasco”. Instead, Cleveland’s “chosen one” made his hometown fans “the shafted ones” once again.

“It’s a business decision.”

That’s what LeBron said during the fiasco after revealing the Heat was his choice. That’s fine.

That‘s what Irsay said after the contents of the moving trucks were unloaded in Indy and what Art Modell, the former owner of the old Cleveland Browns, said when he moved his team to Baltimore to become the Ravens.

What LeBron’s decision did is “put the shoe on the other foot.”

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert became one of those jilted sports fans evidence being the bitter message he fired off vilifying LeBron on the Cavaliers website after the King’s ready for prime-time knife stabbing.

Continuing the “rub the salt in the wound tour”, the hoops trinity was paraded at American Airlines Arena in Miami Friday night in their new Heat garb with D’Wade introducing the King and the Predator (I‘m sorry, that‘s who Bosh resembles)to Heat fans.

All three look good in those uniforms. We’ll see how it works out on the court this coming fall.

Remember Dan. Business is business.

The Cavaliers and new head coach Byron Scott, who‘s got to feel as if someone pulled the rug out from under his feet,

Cavs head coach Byron Scott

will march on. At this point, no longer championship contenders, most likely as an eight-seed in the eastern conference.

So will Lebron, D’Wade, Bosh and the Heat, most likely as the east’s top-seed with eventual trips to the finals and a championship or two at some point. But, not yet.

That would have the Heat and Cavs meeting in next Spring’s first round of the NBA Playoffs. If there’s any poetic justice at all for those jilted Cavalier fans, their team would take the Heat to a seventh game and win it with a buzzer-beater literally sending LeBron, D’Wade and Bosh to the beach.

Cleveland sports fans can only hope. At this point, that’s all they have.

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