2011

Most recent year in which Phillies had winning record

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On February 15

Dressed in a green Mummers costume, Eagles center Jason Kelce delivered a speech that won’t be forgotten for a long time.

The opinions on Kelce’s speech at the conclusion of the championship parade range from dismissing the profanity as inconsequential to treating the profanity as a capital offense, with calls for the Eagles to fine Kelce or even release him.

I wish Kelce had left out the profanity. There were a lot of kids celebrating the Eagles’ championship at the parade and watching on television. One or two f-bombs wouldn’t have raised as much of a stink, but the cursing during the final stages of Kelce’s speech seemed excessive. More importantly, the profanity controversy seems to have distracted from his message.

The message in Kelce’s passionate speech has been overshadowed by the great profanity debate. Kelce’s speech did a wonderful job of emphasizing the link between the Eagles, who overcame so much adversity, and their fans, who had to wait 57 years between championships. Both were hungry for success, and, as Kelce said, hungry dogs run faster.

Kelce played up the anger factor and the lack of respect directed toward the Eagles and their fans. He listed players, including himself, who were counted out for a variety of reasons. And he explained how nobody seems to like Eagles fans.

The speech perfectly captured the attitude of the Eagles, their fans and the city of Philadelphia. Within sight of the Rocky statue, the Eagles and their fans celebrated their status as unappreciated underdogs.

One could argue that the profanity was appropriate in the context of the speech. The profanity conveyed the anger and passion dripping from every word of Kelce’s speech. In the end, however, the profanity was a distraction from what otherwise was a masterful speech.

*****

SIGNIFICANT LOSSES: One of the inevitable effects of winning a Super Bowl is that you lose assistant coaches. The Eagles lost offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. Reich became the head coach of the Colts. DeFilippo joined the Vikings as offensive coordinator, replacing former Eagles assistant coach Pat Shurmer, who became the Giants’ head coach.

With Doug Pederson remaining in charge of the offense, the loss or Reich and DeFilippo won’t sink the Eagles, but it’s foolish to think that these two men were expendable to the point that their absence won’t make a difference. There clearly was an excellent working relationship between Pederson, Reich and DeFilippo. It will take time to develop a similar relationship with two new people as part of the equation.

*****

CROWD NUMBERS: Was Philly.com trying to stir up controversy with its 700,000 crowd estimate? While driving into and out of Center City on the day of the parade, I saw people parked beyond the zoo. When I drove through Fern Rock in the morning, I saw Eagles fans parked a mile from the subway station. I can also attest that there were people wearing Eagles gear walking around Center City during the parade. Every store that was open contained people in Eagles uniforms.

Apparently, the Inquirer sent parade photos to a pinhead professor in England, and he and his assistants analyzed the photos to come up with a crowd total. To start with, the methodology is flawed. Photographs wouldn’t include the people in the hotels, offices and parking garages along the parade route. Nor would it include people who took a break from the parade to get something to eat or drink.

If there weren’t more than a million people at the Eagles parade, then there weren’t more than a million people at any parade in Philadelphia’s history.

*****

OVERLOOKED MOMENT: The Philly Special, with Trey Burton throwing a touchdown pass to Nick Foles, will live on in Philadelphia sports history forever, but there were a few big plays that were overlooked in the wake of the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

One of the most important plays was safety Malcolm Jenkins knocking Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks out of the game with a crushing hit during the first half. Without Cooks, who never returned to the game, the Patriots didn’t have their best deep threat to stretch the Eagles defense.

*****

OVERLOOKED STRATEGY: Malcolm Jenkins also was part of one of the most important strategic decisions during Super Bowl LII. Instead of having Jenkins cover tight end Rob Gronkowski, as many analysts (including me) expected, the Eagles decided to have Jenkins cover running back James White in passing situations. White, who set a Super Bowl record the previous year with 14 receptions, was held relatively in check. Gronkowski had just one reception for 9 yards during the first half before the Patriots figured out how to get him the ball during the second half.

*****

TRIBUTE TO PAST GREATS: In yet another example that this year’s Eagles “get it,” several Eagles wore the throwback jerseys of great players from the past who never got to celebrate a Super Bowl title. Among the players wearing throwing back jerseys were defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (Reggie White), left tackle Jason Peters (Brian Dawkins) and tight end Brent Celek (Harold Carmichael). White is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dawkins will be inducted this summer and an argument can be made that Carmichael belongs there as well.

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FOLES’ CHOICE: With Carson Wentz recovering from a major injury, the Eagles should keep Nick Foles. He could start the season or be an insurance policy in case Wentz reinjures his knee. However, if Foles wants to be traded to a team for which he definitely would start, the Eagles owe it to him to try to make a deal.

*****

TOUGH DECISIONS: In addition to losing assistant coaches, another dreaded consequence of winning the Super Bowl is getting rid of players from that championship team. It’s inevitable that the Eagles will have to part ways with players they would like to retain.

There are questions about bringing back left tackle Jason Peters and running back Darren Sproles, both of whom are approaching the end of their careers. The Eagles need to create room under the salary cap in order to re-sign some of their players, such as linebacker Nigel Bradham, who is slated to become a free agent.

Defensive end Vinny Curry seems a likely salary-cap casualty. And the Eagles might not have money under the cap to re-sign tight end Trey Burton or cornerback Patrick Robinson, who was one of the more pleasant surprises this season after being in danger of being cut during training camp. And will 11-year veteran Brent Celek return?

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NO OFFSEASON: While we’re still basking in the glory of the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory and the championship parade, the Phillies have opened spring training. The first workout for pitchers and catchers was Wednesday, but the bulk of the attention still is on the Eagles.

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SNOW JOB: The Winter Olympics have been overshadowed even more than the Phillies by all of the attention directed toward the Eagles. As far as the Delaware Valley is concerned, the Olympics barely register on the sports radar.

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RELIVE THE GLORY: For those who want to relive the thrill of the Eagles winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, WIP will replay its broadcast of the game on Sunday (2 p.m.). I won’t spoil it for you by giving away the ending.

Eric Fisher, who has been covering sports for more than 29 years, is absolutely thrilled to celebrate the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship.

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