What Would Buddy Do?
BountyBowl on the road: your Pacific Northwest travel guide (Part 2)
Posted on October 31st, 2008 at 1:27 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

And we’re live from Seattle!  Shockingly, it’s raining, but spirits are high as we sit in a glorious coffee shop on Capitol Hill and get through the morning’s mail.  Good to be here!

I really don’t think we’re ready for the Eagles quite yet on the day of the Phillies’ parade, so in the interim  I’ll offer up some Seattle - Phillies details:

1. Beloved Phils senior citizen Jamie Moyer pitched in Seattle for years, and remains a fixture in the community out here.  His face remains on billboards for more than one local organization: Brown Bear Car Wash and the Jamie Moyer Foundation.  I imagine I’ll be able to chat up the locals about Moyer over the next couple days — I can only assume they’re proud of him.

2. Apparently Pat Gillick still owns a house out here.  According to this dude I played golf with last summer, it’s in Magnolia and Gillick “is a good guy.”  That’s right, BountyBowl is your one-of-a-kind source for random rumors from stranger on golf courses!

Enjoy the parade, and in the words of Mayer Nutter, “You can be joyous, but you can’t be a jackass.“  Seriously.  If only someone had told me that at age 19.

Phightins are 2008 World Series Champs
Posted on October 30th, 2008 at 1:08 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Liberty Bell

Very cool.

It’s a very memorable night to be from Philly.  All good.

The challenges of asset valuation in these wintry economic times
Posted on October 29th, 2008 at 11:27 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Great piece by Bob Brookover in this morning’s Inky about the Eagles’ likely approach to contract extensions and cap management in the face of an increasingly likely labor dispute in 2011. Brookover reports that the Eagles are not likely to hand out any extensions this year — exactly how he knows this is never explained, but he’s a reporter and he talks to plenty of folks who’d prefer not to be quoted down there (perhaps this is a topic for another post?). So I’ll take him at face value.

The interesting bits of the article are the compare-and-contrast views of faux starters Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown regarding the decision to take an extension early in your career versus risking injury for a bigger payday at a later date. Sheppard is a bit conspiracy-theory about the whole thing:

“That’s basically how it is right now. You can write a book about it. Talk to people around the league, they’re going to tell you if you don’t take the extensions, they’re going to get blackballed. You hate to say that about it, but that’s the way it is.”

And what did Sheppard mean by blackballed?

“If you’re on offense, they can limit your production and not let you do what you’ve been doing, and on defense, they can start finding fault,” Sheppard said. “Every little thing you do, they can use it against you.”

Sheldon Brown takes a different tack:

“You have to do what’s right for you and your family and not listen to anybody else,” he said. “Some people may say they are low-balling you, but if it’s enough for you and your family, then take it. If you don’t feel like it is, then don’t take it. Only you can make that decision.

“It’s definitely a tough choice, but it’s just like the lottery. You’re playing with fire because if you look at somebody like [ex-Eagles safety] Damon Moore, he . . . tore his knee up. I just think in the end, if it’s good enough you, go ahead and take it and don’t be too greedy. If you perform more after that, you’ll get more.”

I agree with Brookover that Brown has “the better perspective,” but for different reasons. (And yes, of course I don’t believe that Jim Johnson cares about contracts when he puts players on the field.) What I really liked was Sheldon’s approach to valuation and negotiation. That is, Sheldon seems to understand the fictions of valuation: (1) you’re worth what the market will bear at a given moment, (2) said market is subject to random fluctuations, (3) only you can make a determination of your own value/ BATNA, and, most importantly, (4) beware the hindsight bias! Sure, you can hold on for a couple more years and break the bank like Nate Clements, but you can also explode your knee. This talk of conspiracy theories and blackballing assumes that you’ll continue to perform.

(Also, given the seemingly increased level of uncertainty facing the League and the CBA (see here for Commissioner Goodell’s assessment of the NFL’s economic outlook in these wintry economic times), cash now feels like a good plan.)

Still, it’d be cruel to focus on football players as somehow being irrational economic actors. Lito may bemoan his decision to sign an early extension, but it’s not like he’s Jerry Yang. Lito left a few million on the table; by refusing Microsoft’s $31-per-share bid for Yahoo (now trading at $12), Yang left, oh, about $26 billion in value on the table. Yang insisted that YHOO’s prospects were strong and that the $31 bid undervalued his company. What he chose to ignore was the possibility that said bid overvalued his company — which is essentially what happened when the economy blew out its ACL and demand for banner ads, umm, dipped a bit.

Jerry, my man, next time give Sheldon Brown a call!

[Editor’s Note: Derek was kind enough to explain why I was an idiot over at Igglesblog in re: Joe Banner’s recent comments about extensions — while not referenced by Brookover, a more careful blogger might have figured this out — especially one who had saved it to his delicious!  I am not that more careful blogger. Mea culpa! Someone let me know if this counts as a retraction.]

BountyBowl on the road: your Pacific Northwest travel guide (Part 1)
Posted on October 28th, 2008 at 4:57 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

End of Days in Seattle 038

Many moons ago (actually, about seven months ago), yours truly was a proud resident of the Pacific Northwest. I was marooned in the NFL hinterlands, in a strange place where I typically had to be at a bar by 9:30 am if I wanted to get a seat for Birds games on Sundays. In a lot of ways, being so far away from Philly was what got me motivated to start doing BountyBowl, but hey, that’s for another time when we’re sharing lengthy stories about our needs and/ or feelings.

The important thing right now is preparing my fellow Eagles fans for a potential trip to Seattle. Given Birds’ fans’ propensity for field trips, I can only assume that more than a few of you will be in the 2-0-6 this weekend. Thanks to some good people on the ground in Seattle, I can look forward to seeing you there! Or at least hearing your rowdy exploits from afar!

See below for a quick guide to making the most of your upcoming trip to C@L; feel free to ping me with any questions you may have at hoagie at bountybowl.com — I’m more than happy to spread the good word about the Pacific Northwest!

Bring a coat. Misery season is just kicking off in Seattle. And by misery season I mean the “nine and a half months when it’s 50 degrees and raining.” Yes yes, you’ve heard the jokes about the weather in Seattle. Unfortunately, most of them are true. The upside of it all is that it never actually gets that cold and it doesn’t actually rain that hard — it just kind of mists and drizzles ALL THE TIME. For this the locals recommend “performance fleece” — now available in black, drab blue, AND drab green! For those of us accustomed to the change of seasons that we have in the Northeast, certain months — like May, when it’s still 50 degrees and raining — can be a bit disconcerting. That said, the period from July 15 through the end of September is off the charts.

Don’t bring an umbrella. Nothing makes you look like a newb in the Northwest like an umbrella. Ironically, for a place where it rains all the time, no one uses an umbrella. It actually isn’t worth it. I’d recommend a hat or a hood. Or both.

How to make friends, or at least exchange semi-friendly grunts with the locals. So perhaps due to the nine-and-a-half months of darkness, the locals can be a bit chilly w/r/t strangers. They tend to be pretty mellow, though, and if you pick your spots, you can make friends fast. A quick smattering of topics that tend to go over well: (a) “Clay Bennett is a mendacious hick” — will work especially well with young men in town; (b) “They really need to do something about that 520 bridge” — will work well with corporate types; (c) “I hate paying taxes, but support a broad array of foofy left-wing causes and think that anything corporate or related to improving vital infrastructure that’s sure to fail in the next earthquake is BAD” — what with it being election time and all.

The coffee thing, also real. Yup, we all know that Starbucks is from Seattle. And we’ve heard that they like their espresso in the Northwest. You might assume that this was just marketing blather and didn’t reflect the lifestyle of the average Seattle resident. Nope. The coffee thing is legit. They sell espresso at gas stations. And it’s good. I’m sure some of you will bristle at the throught of ordering “fancy” coffee; if you just want a plain ole cup of coffee, tell them you want a “drip.”

Left-coast cheesesteaks. If you’re one of those people that craves hometown comfort food on even the briefest of trips, you’re actually in luck: Tat’s Delicatessen does a respectable job with the cheesesteaks, and they’re in Pioneer Square, a short walk from Qwest Field.

Top Pot 7

All that said, you should eat local. Things you should make sure you eat while in town include: (a) salmon, either on the fancy side or the fast-food side; (b) local doughnut chain Top Pot (now supplying Starbucks nationwide, and above); and (c) Dick’s burgers — low-end but delightfully awesome (below, and soon to be in my belly).

Dick's Burger

So how’s the tailgate scene? This is actually a trick question as there actually isn’t much of a tailgate scene at the stadium (due to some annoying stadium rules). But, Qwest field is conveniently located across the street from a number of bustling bars and restaurants in the Pioneer Square area. Essentially, the bars are packed for the early games ahead of the Nerdbird kickoff. You shouldn’t struggle to find a place to have breakfast and a Bloody Mary or four.

Wait, what’s a Nerdbird? Why, it’s my ceremonial name for the Seattle football franchise! See here for details!

Hawks Nest

The basics of Qwest field. While not as fancy along the concourses as the Linc, Qwest Field is a proud NFL stadium. What you need to know…: (a) It’s loud. Like really really loud. You’ll be shocked how loud, actually. Loud. (b) They don’t serve Coke or Pepsi — you can only get locally made Jones Soda products, available in silly Nerdbird-themed colors! (c) They do this really cool thing with the Hawk’s eye on the scoreboard (below).

The Cool Seahawk Eye Thing on the Scoreboard

You’re not wrong, Walter. I’m going to try to say this as politely as possible. I know that we folks from the Illadelph like to roll into opposing towns and beat our chests a bit, accompanied by standard refrains that summarize how we “own” this or that town and “ruled” the stadium. I hear that. And I want everyone to have a good time. The thing you need to understand about the folks in the Northwest is that they’re not a feisty bunch. They’re good fans, mind you, and they’ll make a ton of noise in the stadium, but they’re just not, how do I say this, angry. They don’t really take it as personally as we do. Pending the result of the baseball thing, I’d hope that we aren’t angry either. But do not mistake the calm on their faces for peace in their hearts — folks up in the Northwest will be more than happy to pull some nasty sh*t, they’ll just do it in a sneaky way. But so long as we’re all polite, there shouldn’t be problems. We have no long-standing beef with this franchise — no reason we can’t all have a good time.

All that said, we all know WEST COAST IS SOFT AND THE NERDBIRDS ARE GOING DOWN (!!!!!).

(Again, feel free to hit me up with questions if you’re making the trip. I’d invite you to hang out, but, well, you know.)

Coming home
Posted on October 27th, 2008 at 5:44 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Ninth inning, NLCS Game 1

And at 5:37 pm, it was decided — even if the guy who “sold” us tickets backed out of the deal, we were still going to the Illadelph tonight. We don’t know where quite yet; somewhere in Center City, hopefully well clear of any car-burnings that may take place. Onwards!

Let’s go Phightins.

Andy Reid predicts Phils victory (!)
Posted on October 27th, 2008 at 12:28 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

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“They’re gonna win.  I’ll take the ‘if’ out of it for you, Les.”

–Andy Reid on the Phils’ chances tonight during his Monday presser.

Lots of love from Big Red for the Phils today during his Monday media appearance. Apparently Coach Reid was at the game last night and will be wearing red this evening. In re: a potential parade, he noted that he’d be able to watch from his office.

Of course, Ashley Fox seems to think that this attitude isn’t shared by the rest of the Eagles organization and that the Eagles are jealous of the Phillies. She has no tangible proof of this — past an analysis of scoreboard update frequency — but hey, that shouldn’t stop anyone from filing a column to that effect.

Also of note: Andy Reid wearing the short pants to the press conference (above). Take it from someone who works in the software business — we don’t need any more overweight guys wearing shorts during the winter months. Yes, I know they’re more comfortable, but that doesn’t make it any less awkward for the rest of us. Put those pins away, big fella.

Push coming to shove: the most dispiriting part of the Eagles right now
Posted on October 27th, 2008 at 12:00 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

trenches.jpg

Yes, the Eagles are 4-3, looking healthier than they have all season, and the gods of officiating looked upon them favorably yesterday. 4-3 is a lot better than 3-4, etc etc. Still, I’ve decided that I have a new overriding Eagles-related anxiety: that the offensive line has lost its confidence. That is, on third- or fourth-and-short, I don’t think they believe that they can get it done.

Obviously the Chicago game was the first — and most painful — data point for this hypothesis, but the Eagles also struggled inside the five-yard-line against the Redskins. And then this past week the Eagles had two chances to effectively seal the game in the fourth quarter, if only they could push forward for one yard:

2-1-ATL 1 (9:15) 5-D.McNabb pass short middle to 36-B.Westbrook to ATL 1 for no gain (56-K.Brooking).
3-1-ATL 1 (8:52) 5-D.McNabb up the middle to ATL 1 for no gain (94-K.Moorehead).
4-1-ATL 1 (7:59) 2-D.Akers 18 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-46-J.Dorenbos, Holder-6-S.Rocca.

and,

1-10-PHI 17 (3:42) 5-D.McNabb pass short right to 87-B.Celek to PHI 25 for 8 yards (24-D.Foxworth).
2-2-PHI 25 (3:01) 36-B.Westbrook up the middle to PHI 26 for 1 yard (59-M.Boley).
Timeout #2 by ATL at 02:54.
3-1-PHI 26 (2:54) 36-B.Westbrook left end to PHI 26 for no gain (92-C.Davis)

As Andy Reid is so fond of saying, it all starts up front. We like to get caught up in the fancy x-and-o-ifying, but ultimately football is about pushing people around. And right now, it sure doesn’t seem like our guys are confident that they can push the other guys around when it matters. It’s not like Andy Reid hasn’t noticed:

On whether he is disappointed the Eagles struggled offensively in short yardage situations: “These one-foot things, we have to change this. We’re going to keep working on it. We’ve been working on it, but we’re going to keep working on it.”

The thing is, pushing the other guys back a few feet probably isn’t about “working on it,” and Andy Reid knows that. It’s about an attitude and confidence regarding your ability to push. And the Birds don’t seem to have that right now.  Let us cross our fingers and hope they rediscover said confidence before it’s too late.

(And yes, SHAME ON ME for dropping negative energy in the midst of the glorious Phillies result from last night.)

Blown call denies Eagles opportunity to crush fans’ souls in win over Falcons
Posted on October 26th, 2008 at 5:21 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

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Bank error in our favor this afternoon, as a pretty hideous call on a seemingly muffed punt snuffed out any chance for a final Falcons comeback attempt. Certainly we can’t assume that the Falcons would have driven those 60 yards for the go-ahead score, especially with a rookie quarterback and no timeouts, but, well, as Eagles fans, we’re given to a certain glass-half-full worldview at the end of games. So it was lovely of the referees to hook us up on that.

Other thoughts and takeaways from the Eagles’ glorious victory this afternoon.

The Best Player On The Team. Welcome back, Brian Westbrook! That Eagles offense sure looks a lot more confident when the best player on the team is on the field. Westbrook looked limber and quick and didn’t seem to be feeling the effects of his recent rib injury. A buck-sixty-seven will do very well, thank you very much.

The long-awaited quarterback sneak. After weeks of braying from the blathertariat (yours truly included), we finally saw a Donovan McNabb quarterback keeper at the goal line. Which then touched off a Donovan McNabb touchdown celebration/ silly dance, which, quite frankly, we hadn’t seen in a while. The good folks at PE.com were kind enough to post the following ridiculous photos. We start with some Thriller…

dunavindance.JPG

…followed by dog-at-the-hydrant…

dunavindance1.JPG

…and finished with a groin-loosening flourish.

dunavindance2.JPG

David Akers quiets the haters. It wasn’t the most challenging afternoon for David Akers, but whatever. He made all of his tries, and spared us all the awkwardness of discussing his job security for at least another week.

“Best of the Eagles Playbook” on display this afternoon. As if the split-back set on the goal line leading to a shovel pass wasn’t enough, the Eagles managed to call the fake-dive-and-pitch-outside to Westbrook on third-and-short late in the fourth quarter. That particular call was especially galling, since the result was exactly what our table at the bar expected. That is, prior to the play we specifically discussed how the Eagles would call this exact play as well as the precise manner in which it would fail. We mention this not to beat our chests, but as a stern warning: if idiot fans can call the play, I’m assuming that opposing defensive coordinators can as well.

The redemption of Lito! Good for that number-twenty-six fellow…what’s his name again? The backup cornerback who took that bad PI call but then made the big pick in the end zone? If he keeps trying super hard in practice, maybe he’ll play a little bit more!

Speaking of DBs. We loved the pick from Samuel, but the first Roddy White TD seemed to be as much Asante’s fault as anyone’s — especially since it looked like he was trying to jump the route and go for another interception. Oops. Don’t know if they discussed that on the telecast — we didn’t have audio at the bar.

Another rough day for the officials. In addition to the horrific blown call on the muffed punt, there were a couple other head-scratchers from the zebras, most notably the personal foul on Trent Cole for what was a perfectly textbook hit on Matt Ryan. There was no helmet-to-helmet contact, he hit him as he was throwing…I didn’t really get it.

The CamelCased One shows his age (yet again). So we can understand how DeSean Jackson has convinced himself that he’s still in college and that he can just run faster than everyone else, even if it means running backwards on punt returns. It worked against the Skins, why not try it again? Ugh. Forward, DeSean. Forward. Though it’s worth noting that we’re still excited enough about Jackson that we’re willing to write off yet another brain fart as a “harmless part of his maturation.” Enjoy it whilst it lasts, young fella!

Can Philly go 4-0 for the weekend (the Flyboys won yesterday as well)? We sure hope so. Go Phightins.

The least interesting Eagles game since last December
Posted on October 26th, 2008 at 12:36 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

So which Philly sports fan isn’t hungover this morning?

After a crazy late-night ending for the Phightins, the Delaware Valley should be flooded with happy brain chemicals this morning.  I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but the Birds game this afternoon actually feels a bit inconsequential.  I mean, I’m going to leave the comfort of my home to watch it, and I’m sure I’ll get swept up in it once it starts, but, really, I’m definitely preoccupied by the baseball right now.  And I imagine I’m not the only one.

So. Eagles.  Sounds like you have something of a pass this week.  Try not to screw it up.

What I expect to shout about, abbreviated edition:

I hope the Eagles have a Pittsburgh-game-level commitment to defensing the run.  I hope the Birds are excited about  tackling Michael Turner, because they’re going to spend most of the afternoon doing it.  Turner is definitely a fantasy start this week.  The Falcons are silly if they don’t spend the afternoon handing off.

Similarly, I hope Andy Reid indulges himself.  Football Outsiders have the Falcons as 27th against the pass.  No one’s going to complain if McNabb throws the ball 35 times.

Welcome back, Kevin Curtis!  I hope it’s a big day for the Birds’ wideouts, Curtis included.  I hope they don’t just ease him back in — none of us would hate a deep ball to Curtis.

The ostensible best player on the team.  Very curious to see how many snaps Westbrook plays.  Will they take it light with B-West?  Surely his broken ribs plus a strong proof-of-concept from Buckhalter two weeks ago should be encouragement enough to share the carries, no?

Abiamiri watch. They said he was going to play a bit more, and I’m excited to see it.  If they thought this guy was better than Parker, then, well, I’m more than a bit curious.  Wasn’t he supposed to be the big end who could play the run?  The Birds will likely need that today.

It’s probably just the lingering Phillies endorphins talking, but I think the Eagles will win in a game that will feel a lot like the San Francisco game — the Falcons will hang around and create moments of darkness and despair for the good guys.  But I think the Birds will have another big fourth quarter and get it done.  Eagles 30, Falcons 20.

When ad targeting works…and that’s about it
Posted on October 24th, 2008 at 6:16 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

weatherreport.jpg

Snoozer of a news day w/r/t the Birds, though we can’t really disagree with that in the larger context of the Phightins. Apart from Reggie Brown’s lingering health issues (yawn) and the Shawn Andrews surgery, all we got out of today’s Andy Reid presser was that the Atlanta Falcons are a good young football team with explosive players on offense, defense and special teams.

About all I got for you at this hour is the comforting knowledge that Bud Light is targeting creative based on searches at weather.com. What else to explain this gorgeous ad shown to me when viewing their site from a New York IP address?  Also, nothing says “Drink more domestic light beer” quite like three (3) exclamation points.  They only use two (2) exclamation points and I’m reaching for a Miller Lite. 



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