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Career goals for Flyers captain Claude Giroux

The Eagles were ahead by so much that even backup quarterback Nick Foles saw action during the Birds’ easy 33-10 victory over the winless 49ers, improving their NFL-best record to 7-1.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on the Soul trying to repeat as Arena Football League champions, the Mayweather-McGregor fight and a ridiculous decision by ESPN.

Now that all three of the Sixers’ young big men are healthy at the same time, the flaws of “The Process” have risen to the surface.

Archive for the ‘Fish ‘n Chips’ Category

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On February - 15 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On February - 7 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

People who think sports doesn’t matter should pay closer attention to what’s been going on since Super Bowl LII.

The Eagles’ 41-33 triumph over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII opened up the floodgates. Tears were shed by players. Tears were shed by fans.

The Eagles’ victory, whether because of the adversity they overcame this season or the 57 seasons since the franchise’s last championship, unleashed a torrent of emotions that stretched from the Delaware Valley to Minneapolis.

Players cried tears of joy after the game. They kissed the Lombardi Trophy as Darrell Green carried it toward the podium. Smiles and hugs were everywhere.

Smiles and hugs were also found in abundance on the streets of Philadelphia and beyond Sunday night. As the old song says, there was dancing in the streets. And plenty of tears.

On sports talk radio in the days since the Super Bowl victory, you can hear callers choke up as they try to hold back tears, often unsuccessfully.

But the impact of the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory went beyond sports. The victory also brought the community closer together. The community united in support of the Eagles. In a possibly blasphemous adaptation of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, and even hardcore fans and casual fans, have come together to celebrate the Eagles’ success.

Millions of fans will line the parade route on Thursday. The sea of humanity will be united in celebration. Hopefully, some of the sense of community and togetherness can carry over beyond football.

Some may think that the hope for togetherness is a pipe dream, but I have already seen evidence of the effect a Super Bowl victory can have on individuals. In his column for Phillyphanatics.com before the game, Gordon Glantz suggested that a Super Bowl victory would takes some of the edge off for him. He would become more tolerant and patient. Little things wouldn’t bother him as much.

As if to test Gordon’s theory, I was stuck behind vehicles moving 15-20 mph on streets with a 35 mph speed limit not once, but twice Tuesday morning. I didn’t even honk my horn. As soon as a I walked into work on Monday, I ran into an argumentative individual. I politely disagreed and then walked away rather than engage in an unnecessary argument.

Life just seems better with an Eagles championship. It’s been 57 years since the last championship, but, at least right now, it feels as if it was worth the wait.

*****

TEAM EFFORT: As was the case all season, the Eagles’ triumph in the Super Bowl was a team effort. The obvious heroes were quarterback Nick Foles, tight end Zach Ertz and head coach Doug Pederson. Brandon Graham knocked the ball out of Tom Brady’s hand on the only sack of the game, producing a crucial turnover. But the list of heroes is much longer.

Rookie running back Corey Clement, Nelson Agholor, every member of the offensive line and executive vice president in charge of personnel Howie Roseman are just a few of the other heroes of Sunday’s championship victory.

The signature play of Super Bowl LII, as well as of the Eagles’ season, was the fourth down “Philly Special just before halftime. Think about it. The Eagles’ third tight end took a handoff from an undrafted rookie running back and threw a touchdown pass to a backup quarterback who nearly quit football two years ago. That play capsulizes the Eagles’ success.

*****

PHILY FANS: Although many media outlets around the country relied on the lazy stereotype and tried to paint the Eagles fans as rioting hooligans, the spontaneous celebration Sunday night was relatively under control. There were a few stupid incidents to give Philly fans a black eye, but, if you were looking for rioting, you needed to look at the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts, not at Philadelphia.

In the Delaware Valley, enthusiasm ruled the day. The knuckleheads were the exception rather than the rule.

*****

FOLES’ CHOICE: With Carson Wentz attempting to come back from a torn ACL sustained in December, it would behoove the Eagles to keep Nick Foles around. On the other hand, if he wants to move to a team for which he would definitely be the starting quarterback, the Eagles should try to accommodate him. Foles has earned that right.

*****

HALL OF FAME EAGLES: The Eagles received a good omen the night before the Super Bowl when ex-Eagles Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens were selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Owens is unquestionably a Hall of Fame receiver. The only thing that kept him waiting until his third year of eligibility was his, at times, divisive personality. We saw the best and worst of Owns during his relatively short time with the Eagles. He had an amazing season in 2004, and then he had an amazing finish, starring in Super Bowl XXXIX before his broken leg had an opportunity to fully heal. The next season, however, he was a major disruption, demanding a new contract and, in a surreal scene, doing sit-ups in his driveway before a media throng.

Dawkins, on the other hand, is one of the most iconic Eagles. For many years, he set the emotional tone for the defense and, one could argue, the entire team. The effort Dawkins put in during his 12 seasons with the Eagles has made him one of the most beloved Eagles in franchise history. There will be a sea of green in Canton, Ohio, next summer for the Hall of Fame ceremony because of Dawkins. The presence of T.O. will make that day even sweeter for Eagles fans.

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COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: With the Eagles winning the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl commercials seem much less important. Instead of devoting an entire story to it, let me say that the Tide detergent ads, which spoofed past Super Bowl commercial, were the best commercials. The runner-up was the Australian Tourism Bureau commercial, which was set up to look like a movie trailer with actor Danny McBride as a Crocodile Dundee-type character.

The worst commercial was the Dodge Ram truck commercial that used a speech from Martin Luther King about the importance of serving others. I don’t blame Dodge for this travesty as much I blame the King family, which won’t make some of Dr. King’s speeches available for educational purposes or donate items to the Smithsonian, but is willing to sell his speeches to help sell pickup trucks.

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GAMBLE GONE: I’ll take a momentary break from football to offer condolences on the death of former Phillies outfielder Oscar Gamble. I was too young to appreciate Gamble’s level of play, but I remember thinking he was really cool while I was growing up.

*****

LACK OF SUPPORT: Because voting is concluded before the playoffs, I can understand how Eagles head coach Doug Pederson wasn’t voted NFL Coach of the Year. But I can’t understand how he only received one vote.

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TRIVIAL MATTER: Now that Alshon Jeffery caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII, Eagles fans don’t have to hear the trivia question about Greg Lewis being the only Eagles wide receiver to catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

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CRACKED CRYSTAL BALL: Before the season, I correctly predicted that the defending-champion Patriots would return to the Super Bowl, only to lose to an NFC East team. Unfortunately, much to my shame, the NFC East team I picked to raise the Lombardi Trophy was the Cowboys.

Eric Fisher, who has been covering sports for more than 29 years, will attend his first championship parade in nearly 35 years.

Chris Long, Lane Johnson lead E-A-G-L-E-S chant