Career goals for Flyers captain Claude Giroux

The Greek God of Wrestling praises the decision to induct Kurt Angle into the WWE Hall of Fame. Achilles Heel also books the Wyatt Family breakup and the Goldberg-Brock Lesnar feud for the Royal Rumble, tells us when a dream tag team match will take place, and informs us when Raw returns to Philly.

Matt Rhule follows the path of other successful Temple coaches by leaving the Owls for greener pastures at higher-profile programs. Rhule, with double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons, is the new coach at Baylor.

Tight end Zach Ertz catches 13 passes for 139 yards as the Eagles post a 27-13 victory over the visiting Cowboys. But the Cowboys were resting many of their key players, and the Eagles (7-9) finish in last place in the NFC East.

Archive for the ‘Eagles’ Category

The view from Cloud 9

Posted by Gordon Glantz On February - 18 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

There is not much more I can say about the Philadelphia Eagles that Jason Kelce didn’t already say at the Super Bowl parade (just got chills typing that).

He spoke the truth, and he did it in the native tongue.

If others aren’t literate in Philadelphian, we can’t worry about that, can we?

They probably eat soft pretzels without mustard and a cheesesteak open face with a knife and fork.

They can babble for decades about us throwing snowballs at Santa Claus, but we – well, most of us – believed in St. Nick.

I won’t be going nuclear here and drop the F-bomb on you, but this was all about the redemption – from the maligned front office to the locker room to the fan in the street – that Kelce spoke so much from the drunken heart about.

I was on the record that I would be a changed man with a Super Bowl ring. (And I will be getting one for myself. I wasn’t lying).

And changed I am.

Doesn’t mean I won’t be prone to some road rage down the road (see what I did there?) or agonize over offseason moves, but not with as much of an edge.

If you know me, you know that I’m not much of a fan of organized religion. I’m not ruling out a higher power, but our futile attempts to understand – him or her or what or it – are so pathetic that it just isn’t worth the time, or the wars and division caused, to even go there.

It doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual, and my spirit was lifted. And – as Larry David would say – it feels pretty, pretty, pretty good!

So good that I broke my exclamation-point rule.

So good that I broke my rule decrying fans who called players by their first names. I always said they need to win me a title first.

And so they did – Nick, Zach, Jay, Brandon, Fletcher, Malcolm and all the rest.

I’m now like Ebenezer Scrooge waking up on Christmas morning.

But in order to make Cloud 9 a permanent residence for my soul, I still need to write my way through some post-Super Bowl 52 thoughts that need some perspective.

Best way to address it is to dust off a G2 favorite of yore with a little drill of “What Is And What Should Never Be.” Fasten your seat belts. We’re moving at breakneck speed …

What Is: There was some consternation across the Eagles Nation about Tom Brady leaving the field and not shaking Nick Foles’ hand.

And What Should Never Be: Needing some sort of validation from Tom Brady. I bet Foles didn’t give it a second thought, and neither should you.

I’m not quite sure why Brady didn’t do this, but he never has in all three Super Bowls he has lost. Peyton Manning had a similar policy and nobody said much about that.

After a usual game, shaking hands is expected. Super Bowl? A bit different. There is so much going on down on the field, and such a throng of media forms around the winning quarterback, that it would be kind of a lame move for anyone – Brady, Manning or Joe Blow – to insert themselves into the middle of it, stealing the thunder away and making themselves part of the story.

And when you are Tom Brady, you are always part of the story.

Even when you run off the field.

I know we all grew up taught to shake hands after a game. I notice, from Sofia’s own softball games, it gets quite generic. The word “good” sometimes gets dropped, and instead it turns to mumbled “game, game, game” as they go through line missing half the hands being half-heartedly offered. If she talked to some of the same girls online, the exchanges might be more personal. As she gets older, and gets to know other girls on other teams, this may be the way it goes.

Who is to say, in this day and age, that Brady didn’t text Foles?

And he didn’t play against Foles anyway. He faces the Eagles’ defense, and did exchange post-game pleasantries with both former teammate Chris Long and rookie Derek Barnett.

Not to play Freud here, but this all goes to the inferiority complex we should have shed the second Brady’s Hail Mary prayer – with Rob Gronkowski assaulting defenders downfield – went unanswered and the clock hit zero. Yo Philly, let it go. We have more things to be legitimately indignant about.

Such as?

What Is: Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels came under immediately scrutiny for seemingly being pro-Patriots during the national broadcast.

And What Should Never Be: Their bosses letting the outcry fade without a knock on the knuckles. An online petition with tens of thousands of names within 24-48 hours is nothing to ignore.

Where I watched the game, there was no decision. It was Merrill Reese and Mike Quick as soon as the ball was about to be kicked off. Other than being out of synch with the action by a few seconds, and not hearing the commercials (Why does a 3-13 team like the New York Giants get a commercial?), there was no other way to go than to fly the hometown-friendly skies.

Within hours, the venom about the national broadcast – especially toward Collinsworth – was all over social media.

I initially figured it was Philly people being Philly people, and feeling disrespected (see above entry about Brady).

But then I played the game back on DVR.

It was virtually unwatchable due to the broadcast, and I was really trying to keep an open mind.

I wrote the following on Facebook, and stand by every word:

“A complete disgrace. No other way to describe it. For me, it was only made tolerable knowing the outcome, but both Michaels and Collinsworth would have driven me nuts in real time. In addition to not reeling Collinsworth in on his rants on the two touchdowns (I am more convinced now than ever both were legit, by the way), there should be a separate petition to remove Michaels because he is unlistenable with his dentures. Dude, get implants or retire. I started to think Nick Foles changed his name to Nick “Folesh” and Nelson Agholor to “Nelshon” Agholor and Doug Pederson to Doug “Pedershon.” I don’t know if it was anti-Eagles bias as much as being preconditioned to expect a Patriots win (even when they needed a Hail Mary AND a 2-point conversion with 9 seconds left just to send the game to OT). Jeez! Or as Michaels would “shay” … “Jeesh” ….

And I wasn’t done. A few hours later, I wrote the following:

“Stick this up your boney ass, Collinsworth. What you and Mr. Dentures (Al Michaels) failed to realize that it takes conclusive evidence to overturn a call on the field. You can’t go frame by frame, hitting pause and play like it was the Zapruder film … That’s not why the rule is there. It is to correct a call that was blatantly and obviously incorrect (like a receiver stepping out of bounds before coming back in to catch a pass). Billions of people are watching. You owe it to them, and specifically to those most emotionally invested (the fans of both teams), to stick to the hard fact that there is clearly not enough there to overturn either TD. In actual fact, after re-watching the game, it is clear they got it right on the field. Clement had two feet down with possession before he shifted it a little in his arms while running out of the back of the end zone. Ertz took THREE FRIGGIN’ STEPS as a runner into the end zone and clearly crossed the goal line. Not gonna let you try to tarnish this. Don’t be showing your Icabod Crane face in our town again (and get those dentures tightened up, Al Michaels) …”

What Is: A lot of talk, maybe too much talk, about what now becomes of Nick Foles.

And What Should Never Be: Punching his ticket out of town too quickly.

Keep in mind that Foles has a year left on his contract. And while there is a $3 million bonus that kicks in next month, he is still at a manageable pay rate.

Some people in his cleats would insist on a trade, but Foles is a different kind of dude. His best football has been played in Eagle green and I don’t think he would want to go to a bad team just to be a stop-gap guy until a younger quarterback is groomed.

The Eagles will surely get some offers, but there is a question of his value. Alex Smith went for a third-round pick from Kansas City to Washington, and he was in the Pro Bowl this year. Foles is a bit younger, so he might be worth a second to someone. Maybe.

Does that make sense to the Eagles, with Carson Wentz possibly unable to start the season (or at least training camp)? They don’t have second- or third-round picks, but getting Sidney Jones back on the field after a full offseason will be like an extra mid-first. They could easily trade back from the last pick of the first round and get a mid-second and fourth. All this, while maintaining a more solvent quarterback situation, seems more prudent for a team that wants to remain as the kings of the hill.

Additionally, many of this year’s injured players – even Jason Peters and Darren Sproles – will be back. You add those on top of a roster that returns virtually intact after a Super Bowl, and it could be one year you could bite the bullet on draft picks.

It might be wishful thinking, but I think it is as likely the Eagles extend Foles beyond next season as it is that they trade him.

The reality is that Wentz checks every box to be the ultimate franchise quarterback, but he does have a history of injuries going back to North Dakota State. If Foles is kept around, he will play again. That as sure as Tom Brady not shaking hands after his loses the next Super Bowl.

What Is: I told you so.

And What Should Never Be: Not telling you I told you so.

When Wentz went down, I went to war with people on Facebook insisting that the Eagles had to sign Colin Kaepernick or the season was lost. I defended Foles – as I always have and always will – even after he played poorly at the end of the season, and the reasoning was simple.

And no, it’s not a man-crush.

He did it before – in 2013 – so he can do it again.

And he did.

I may not have put my neck as much on the line for Howie Roseman, the de facto general manager, but I always felt he got a bit of a raw deal. I won’t get into some of the reasons why. Let’s just say I felt the Howie Hate was ethnically motivated and leave it there. And no deal was more raw than when he was relinquished of all responsibilities – except maybe changing the water at the water cooler – to appease Chip Kelly, who proceeded to treat the roster like that of a fantasy football team.

Like Kelce said, Roseman came back a new man. He undid Kelly’s damage, identified and drafted Wentz, hired Pederson and put together a championship team.

Kelly is back in college football, where I wish him nothing but the worst.

That might sound harsh, but I could have put it the way Kelce did.

But it’s the new me – the dude I have been waiting to be since my first game at Franklin Field in 1970 – so I’ll be nice.

For now.

Journey adds to joy

Posted by Eric Fisher On February - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

The journey has come full circle. The 2017 season started with Eagles fans flocking to Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the NFL Draft, creating an atmosphere unmatched in draft history. And the season ended back on the Parkway with an emotional ceremony at the end of an epic championship parade.

But the journey actually started many years ago. For some Eagles fans, the journey started in 1960, which is the last time the Eagles won a championship.

For others, like me, the journey started later that decade, around the start of the Super Bowl era.

When I was 2 or 3 years old, my parents bought me an Eagles helmet. The only problem was that I wouldn’t take it off – even when it was time to go to bed. My parents would have to wait until I fell asleep to remove my Eagles helmet. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

What I didn’t have to be told is that I grew up an Eagles fan. My parents, in this case mostly my Dad, raised me right. The Eagles were pretty bad when I was younger, but I learned the importance of loyalty and sticking with my team.

My story is probably similar to many other Eagles fans around my age. I remember the thrill of the Eagles becoming contenders during the Dick Vermeil years. And I remember the agony of the Super Bowl XV loss to the Raiders, an event made even more painful because my high school basketball team had lost in the semifinals of an out-of-state tournament earlier that day. We had hoped that the Super Bowl would lift our downtrodden spirits. Instead, our Super Bowl “party” had the atmosphere of a funeral parlor.

I remember the thrill of the Eagles hiring Buddy Ryan, whom I had watched build a Super Bowl defense while I was in college in Chicago. And then I endured the pain of watching Ryan’s first Eagles team as I shared season tickets in 1986. In the home opener, which was Game 3 of the season, the Eagles fell into a 33-0 hole against the Broncos before avoiding the shutout in a 33-7 humiliation. It couldn’t get any worse than that, but it didn’t get much better. Among the lowlights of that dreadful season were a 13-11 loss to the Lions – the Eagles’ points came on three field goals and a safety – and a 10-10 tie with the Cardinals in which Eagles kicker Paul McFadden made 1 of 3 field-goal attempts and Cardinals kicker Eric Schubert made 1 of 4 field-goal attempts. (My recollection is that McFadden and Schubert both missed field goals in overtime.)

But 1986 was also the season in which the Eagles added linebacker Seth Joyner and defensive end Clyde Simmons, drafted in the eighth and ninth rounds, respectively, to a defense that already featured Reggie White. The Minister of Defense had 18 sacks that season, so the season wasn’t a total loss.

The Ryan years were entertaining, and the defense was incredible, but the Eagles didn’t experience any playoff success.

Some younger fans, approaching middle age by now, joined the rest of us for the Kotite years. Those seasons were entertaining for different reasons than the Ryan years, although Rich Kotite did something that Ryan couldn’t do with the Eagles – win a playoff game.

Ray Rhodes, who replaced Kotite, also won a playoff game. But his tenure featured fans arguing about which quarterback was the best, and the choices were Rodney Peete, Ty Detmer and Bobby Hoying.

Andy Reid restored the Eagles to respectability, if not greatness. But a new generation of fans joined us old-timers for the frustration of losing three straight NFC Championship games. The Eagles finally broke through the conference championship barrier the following season, but lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

The Eagles only returned to the NFC Championship Game one more time during the Reid era, losing a heartbreaker to the Cardinals at the end of the 2008 season. After that defeat, the Eagles didn’t win another playoff game until this season.

By the end of Reid’s tenure, some fans were so desperate for a winner that they placed all of their faith in a fast-talking con man named Chip Kelly. After a promising start, Kelly crashed and burned, leaving fans’ emotions tattered and scattered.

But that long journey, regardless of the station at which you jumped onboard, is what made this year’s Super Bowl triumph so much sweeter. Nick Foles spoke this week of his personal journey and how mistakes have helped him grow as a quarterback and as a person. It’s a similar situation for Eagles fans, whose thirst for victory has grown with each year in the championship-less desert. But Eagles fans spent 17 more years in that desert than the Children of Israel did after fleeing Egypt before they reached the Promised Land.

As center Jason Kelce said during his passionate (and profane) speech on the Art Museum steps Thursday, “hungry dogs run faster.” Eagles fans were hungry for a championship. And that’s why we witnessed the outpouring of emotion Thursday on the confetti-laden streets of Philadelphia.

The Eagles’ season came full circle Sunday on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. I didn’t get there in person, but, emotionally, I was right there with the crowd.

And when I go to bed tonight, I can look off to the side of the bed and see the Eagles helmet I refused to take off before I went to sleep 50 years ago.

No, I don’t wear the helmet to bed anymore. It hasn’t fit on my head for years. But that helmet will always signify the start of my journey with the Eagles. A journey that finally felt fulfilled with Super Bowl LII and a championship parade.

(click on logo above for 2012 season schedule and ticket opportunities)

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