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Consecutive wins for Saints, who host Eagles on Sunday

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On August 13

Eagles enthusiasm is already at a fever pitch. Based on estimates, the average crowd at the Eagles’ two open practices was between 35,000 and 40,000.

In between the two open practices, an enthusiastic crowd turned out to watch the Eagles play their preseason opener at Lincoln Financial Field. Yes, the Eagles lost to the Steelers, 31-14, but it was obvious that the fans couldn’t wait to see the defending Super Bowl champions.

There should be plenty of additional hype this week as the Eagles prepare for a Super Bowl rematch with the Patriots. This might be one preseason game where the outcome matters – at least a little bit.

The bottom line is that, even with the Phillies battling for the division lead, the Eagles are the No. 1 story in local sports. As if we needed a reminder, Eagles fans are demonstrating that, although there’s enthusiasm for all of our sports teams, Philadelphia is a football town.

                             *****                               

SPECTACULAR SPEECH: Although I already wrote a column about it, I’ll reiterate that Brian Dawkins’ speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame was outstanding in every way. It was powerful, emotional and intense – just like Dawkins.

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HALL OF A DRAFT: Has a team ever made a better pair of late-round draft choices than the Eagles made in 1986? The Eagles selected linebacker Seth Joyner in the eighth round and defensive end Clyde Simmons in the ninth round. The Eagles announced last Thursday that Simmons and Joyner will be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame during halftime of the Sept. 23 game against the Colts.

Joyner played his first eight NFL seasons with the Eagles, registering 37 sacks and 17 interceptions. Furthermore, Joyner played a large role in establishing the attitude of the ferocious Eagles defense of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Simmons finished his career with 121½ sacks. Although there’s no question that Simmons benefited from having Reggie White lining up at the other defensive end spot, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that Simmons was a terrific player. It’s proper that the Eagles honor him with a pace in their hall of fame.

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OVERSHADOWED: Brooks Koepka is on top of the golfing world. His PGA Championship is his third triumph in the past six major tournaments. Yet his PGA victory was almost completely overshadowed by the runner-up.

The runner-up, of course, was Tiger Woods. The media coverage, from television to newspapers to the Internet, was primarily about Woods.

Woods hasn’t won a major championship since 2008. After a decade-long drought, fans and many media members were salivating at the prospect of Woods winning his 15th major title and resurrecting his run at Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. But that storyline was ruined by the best golfer in the world: Brooks Koepka.

I guess it’s better to have the PGA Championship than the bulk of the media attention.

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MAJOR UNION VICTORY: The Union picked up a huge victory Saturday, defeating New England, 3-2, to jump over the Revolution and into playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The top three spots in the conference are out of the Union’s reach, and even fourth-place Columbus has a nine-point edge. That leaves the Union (9-11-3) in a three-team battle with Montreal and New England for two playoff berths.

The Union are tied with Montreal, although the Impact have played two more games. New England is one point behind. The Union have two key upcoming home games, one Saturday (7 p.m.) against New York City FC and then the following Saturday in a rematch with the Revolution.

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NO UNDERSTANDING: I admit that I don’t understand soccer. No, not the game. I understand the game. But I don’t understand the sport.

The Union announced that they agreed to terms with an individual to become the club’s next sporting director a week before they announced that they hired Ernst Tanner to replace Earnie Stewart, who left to take charge of the United States Men’s National Team. Why make the first announcement if the contract isn’t finalized and you’re not ready to release the name of the person you’ve hired?

Can you imagine the Phillies announcing that they’ve selected a new general manager but they’re not ready to say who it is? These things don’t happen in “normal” sports in the United States.

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FREEDOMS COME UP SHORT: After dominating the World Team Tennis scene all season, the Freedoms lost to Springfield, 19-18, in the championship match at Drexel University. The Freedoms won all three regular-season matches with the Lasers, who captured their first WTT title after losing the first five championship matches in franchise history. That’s a disappointing ending for a terrific season.

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CHASE BREAKS THROUGH: Prior to the Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway two weeks ago, I pointed out that the once-dominant Hendrick Motorsports team had yet to win a race this year. Chase Elliott changed that the following week with a victory at Watkins Glen, virtually assuring himself a place in NASCAR’s playoffs. With three races left before the playoffs, Hendrick’s Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman are still holding down the final two playoff spots.

Eric Fisher, who has been writing about sports for nearly 30 years, has won as many major championships as Tiger Woods during the past decade.

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