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Points by Suns’ Devin Booker during 130-120 loss to Celtics

Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary career was remembered Wednesday with a stamp dedication ceremony at his alma mater, Overbrook High School.

After complaining about Heel Turns not appearing on PhillyPhanatics.com last week, the Greek God of Wrestling examines the fallout from the Royal Rumble. Achilles Heel also examines the lack of promotion for TNA’s Lockdown, upcoming events in Norristown and the 2300 Arena, and the promise of the upcoming NXT special on WWE Network.

With Villanova, Temple, La Salle and Saint Joseph’s involved in four Big Five games this upcoming week, we take a look at the City Six teams thus far and assess how well they’ll do the rest of the season. Villanova and La Salle are off to good starts, Temple looks better than last season, Saint joseph’s is walking a thin line between victory and defeat, and Drexel and Penn are struggling to get into the win column.

Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Going Gaga over halftime show

Posted by Eric Fisher On February - 6 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Despite Joe Buck repeatedly hyping the halftime show the most important music event of the year, or something like that, I generally don’t care for the Super Bowl halftime show.

The halftime show is more about spectacle than music. Many acts don’t sing live or have their singing “enhanced” with prerecorded cuts. Because of that, I have stopped evaluating the halftime show as a concert. It’s a show. I get it.

From that perspective, Lady Gaga put on quite a show Sunday during halftime of Super Bowl LI. She was a striking figure in her metallic outfit, but the first visual impression was quickly overcome by her choice to begin her show with sections of “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is My Land,” followed immediately by the Pledge of Allegiance.

The choreographed dances were reminiscent of Madonna’s shows. My untrained musical ear even thought there were similarities to Madonna’s “Vogue.” This isn’t my cup of tea, but it worked for Lady Gaga.

She ran through a medley of some of her biggest hits: “Just Dance, “Poker Face,” “Telephone,” “Born This Way” and “Bad Romance.” The emphasis appeared to be as much on the show as the music.

There even was a political message during the halftime show. Instead of hitting the audience over the head with it, however, Lady Gaga was relatively subtle in delivering a message of inclusion. From her patriotic opening to “Born This Way,” she made her point without detracting from the performance.

The Super Bowl halftime show isn’t my cup of tea.

For Lady Gaga, though, the halftime show fit her to a “t.”

*****

NOT SO BEAUTIFUL: Adding “sisterhood” after “brotherhood” in the midst of “America the Beautiful” during the Super Bowl LI pregame has garnered a lot of attention for Hamilton cast members Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, but, from a musical perspective, their stylish vocal flairs didn’t work for me.

*****

BAND NOT ON THE RUN: Mixing in a little football with the entertainment, why didn’t the Falcons run the ball after Julio Jones made an unbelievable catch at the Patriots 22-yard line late in the fourth quarter? Instead, Matt Ryan was sacked on third down, taking the ball out to the 35. A holding call during the next play, another pass play, pushed the Falcons out of field goal range.

The Falcons were leading by eight points at the time. Barring a turnover, two runs for no gain would have set up a 40-yard field goal by the reliable Matt Bryant. A field goal would have extended the Falcons’ lead to 11 points, which would have required two Patriots scores during the last 3½ minutes. Instead, the punt gave the Patriots the ball at their own 9, but needing just a touchdown and 2-point conversion.

Running the ball on third down would have avoided putting Ryan in a situation where he could be sacked. (Ryan should have thrown the ball away.) The Falcons compounded their mistake by also throwing on the next play, which resulted in a holding penalty that pushed them back to the 45, beyond safe field goal range.

*****

AVERAGE JOE: I’m not a Joe Buck hater. But I don’t love him, either. I thought he was pretty good during the Super Bowl, although there were times when he annoyed me. Buck sound like a know-it-all sometimes, even in situations when he’s being Captain Obvious. For example, when the Patriots were two scores down, Buck speculated that if they don’t make the first down on third down, it might be four-down territory. No kidding.

I think Troy Aikman is a terrific analyst, but he was a bit off his game Sunday. Not bad, but not the best I’ve ever heard from Aikman.

*****

SOLID ANTHEM: Luke Bryan did a solid job with a relatively straightforward version of the national anthem.

*****

COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: Picking the Top 10 Super Bowl commercials was more subjective this year than in most other years. The reason is because there weren’t many slam-dunk choices.

Not as many companies took chances. That means there weren’t enough truly bad commercial to make a bottom 10 list – or even a bottom five. But there also weren’t many that clearly deserved to be in the Top 10.

There were numerous futuristic commercials with cool graphics or action. But none of them were that good, either.

10. Kia Niro: This ad featured Melissa McCarthy as an eco hero –rhymes with Niro – around the globe. This commercial wasn’t nearly as funny as McCarthy’s “Saturday Night Live” appearance as White House press secretary Sean Spicer, but it was funny enough to make this top 10 list.

9. TurboTax: This commercial featured Humpty Dumpty in the hospital after taking a big fall while doing his taxes on a wall. Humpty wanted to know if he could deduct his medical expenses.

8. Avocados: It seems as if Avocados from Mexico always pulls off a terrific Super Bowl ad. The “secret society” commercial from Super Bowl LI isn’t my favorite avocados commercial, but it stood out among this year’s mediocre crop.

7. Bai Brand: I’ll admit – make that proudly admit – that I didn’t realize that Christopher Walken, dressed in a 3-piece suit, was quoting NSYNC lyrics (“Bye, Bye, Bye”) until someone explained it to me, but, with Walken’s classic delivery, the commercial worked. The commercial ended with a nice kicker, with Walking looking toward the other end of the couch, with the camera revealing Justin Timberlake sitting there in regal attire.

6. T-Mobile: The “50 Shades of Gray” references, with “punishment” being dished out in the form of a Verizon bill, was funny. There was a follow-up commercial in which actress Kristen Schaal seems to enjoy the Verizon representative going over taxes, fines and fees on her bill. (Verizon also took it on the chin from Sprint, which showed a man faking his own death in order to get out of his Verizon account.)

5. Take the Cure: I usually don’t include commercials for movies, television shows or video games in these rankings, but it was a weak field this year. “A Cure for Wellness” featured a fake pharmaceutical commercial, which included a long list of side effects.

4. National Geographic’s “Genius:” As I just said, I don’t usually don’t include commercials for movies, television shows or video games in these rankings, but it was a weak field this year. Also, National Geographic’s “Genius” commercial, featuring Einstein playing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” on a violin was excellent.

3. Budweiser: This tale of the immigration of Budweiser founder Busch was a well-done commercial with an important message about immigration. By contrast, 84 Lumber’s tale of a mother and daughter traveling to the United States seems to glorify people breaking the law, which takes some of the shine off an emotional story.

2. Mr. Clean: A woman fantasizes Mr. Clean as he cleans the house. Clearly smitten with Mr. Clean, the woman hugs him and kisses him, even as he turns out to be her out-of-shape husband cleaning the house. This wasn’t particularly clever, but it’s the only commercial that made me laugh out loud.

1. Tide: Terry Bradshaw has a stain on his shirt. The broadcaster runs across the field, with his stained shirt trending, and drives in a golf cart. He ends up at a private residence, where Jeffrey Tambor gets the stain out with Tide … but won’t switch channels to the Super Bowl.  

 

The Greatest!

Posted by Eric Fisher On February - 5 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Tom Brady cemented his legacy in style.

The greatest quarterback in NFL history won his fifth Super Bowl ring, breaking a tie with quarterbacks Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl victories, by leading the Patriots to the greatest comeback in NFL postseason history, a 34-28 overtime triumph over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

By the way, it was the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.

Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns. For his efforts, Brady won his fourth Super Bowl MVP Award, also a record.

But Brady, who was suspended for the first four games this season due to DeflateGate, wasn’t the only hero. Running back James White set a Super Bowl record with 14 receptions. He gained 110 yards on receptions, but also scored two touchdowns and ran in a two-point conversion during the second half. In overtime, White capped the greatest postseason comeback in history with a 2-yard run, fighting his way to the goal line for the winning score.

Another hero was Julian Edelman whose amazing catch on the Patriots’ final scoring drive during the fourth quarter picked up 23 yards and seemed to indicate that destiny was on the Patriots’ side.

Falcons build big lead

It didn’t appear as if destiny was on the Patriots’ side during the first half. After a scoreless first quarter, the Falcons opened up a 21-0 lead during the second quarter. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was efficient, the Falcons took advantage of a rare Patriots fumble, and Robert Alford took advantage of an even rarer Brady interception, racing 82 yards to increase the Falcons’ lead to 21-0 with 2:21 remaining before halftime. That was the first time in Brady’s career that he had an interception returned for a touchdown during the postseason.

The Patriots’ finally got on the scoreboard on Stephen Gostkowski’s 41-yard field with 2 seconds remaining in the first half, but the situation still looked bleak. The largest deficit overcome to win a game in Super Bowl history was 10 points.

The Patriots seemed like unlikely candidates to make a historic comeback whtn eh Falcons pushed their lead to 28-3 on a 6-yard pass from Ryan (17 of 23, 284 yards, 2 TDs) to Tevin Coleman midway through the third quarter.

Never say die

But the Patriots, who hadn’t trailed in a game since Week 12, were undeterred by the huge deficit. A 5-yard pass from Brady to White with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter started the comeback, although Gostkowski bounced the extra point attempt off the right upright.

The deficit was still 28-9 with 10 minutes remaining in regulation. The Patriots reached the 13-yard line, but had to settle for a 30-yard Gostkowski with 9:44 remaining, reducing the deficit to 28-12, a two-score game.

The Patriots defense came up with the next big play. Dont’a Hightower blew in from Ryan’s right side virtually untouched. He jarred the ball loose, and Alan Branch recovered it at the 25-yard line.

Brady was sacked on first down by veteran Dwight Freeney, but that couldn’t stop the Patriots’ momentum. After picking up a first down at the 14, Brady threw consecutive passes to Danny Amendola, with the second one covering 6 yards for a touchdown. On the two-point conversion, the Patriots snapped the ball directly to White – while Brady pretending the ball was snapped over his head – who ran up the middle and into the end zone, cutting the deficit to 28-20.

It only took the Falcons one play on their next possession to move from their 10 to their 49-yard line. Two plays later, it appeared the game was over.

Ryan escaped pressure and fired a pass on the run down the right sideline. Perhaps no receiver other than Julio Jones could have made this catch. The pass barely cleared cornerback Eric Rowe’s outstretched arm. Jones stretched out, caught the ball and somehow got both feet down inbounds at the Patriots 22.

The Falcons were within field goal range. A field goal would extend their lead to double digits. But a sack and a holding call pushed the Falcons back to the 45, forcing them to punt.

Brady took over at the Patriots 9. It hardly seemed fair – to the Falcons.

‘The Catch’

The Patriots quickly moved out to the 36, and then Edelman provided his version of The Catch. Brady’s pass down the middle of the field was deflected up in the air by Alford. Several Falcons defenders and Edelman grasped for the ball. Instead of hitting the ground, though, the ball hit Alford’s foot and ankle. A diving Edelman got his hands under the ball after it bounced off Alford, and just before it hit the ground.

The 23-yard pass to Edelman gave the Patriots possession at the 41. A pass to Amendola advanced the ball to the 21. A 13-yard pass to White advanced the Patriots to the 8. Anotehr pass to White took them to the 1, and then White ran in from the 1 to pull the Patriots within 28-26.

On the ensuing 2-point conversion, Brady connected with Amendola, who barely got across the goal line to tie the game.

The Patriots, with all the momentum on their side, won the toss in overtime.

Once again, it hardly seemed fair.

Brady carved up the Falcons defense with ease. It took just 3:58 for the Patriots to move 75 yards for the winning touchdown, a 2-yard run by White.

The Patriots, with 31 unanswered points, completed the greatest comeback in postseason history.

The victory came in, arguably, the greatest game in Super Bowl history.

And the comeback was engineered by the greatest quarterback in NFL history – and there isn’t much debate about that topic. Not after Super Bowl LI.

Jenkins' 3-pointer wins national title