What Would Buddy Do?
Good to know that the Assyrians were rooting for the Eagles
Posted on September 15th, 2008 at 7:43 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

the-bevilacquas-go-to-london-055.JPG

Big announcement: BountyBowl is live on location this week. A trip to Dallas for the game? Well, not exactly. The day job has me in Merry Old Ingerland for the week, which is a lot like Dallas, only the accents aren’t as silly and the teeth are more attentively cared for.

It’s been a lovely trip so far, and has included a stop at the British Museum, where I learned that the Assyrians used carvings of scary Eagle gods to frighten off their enemies. Also, they have a Rosetta Stone. You have to hand to the Brits for bringing so many cool old antiquities back to London where they belong!

If there’s a downside to a week in the UK, it’s that Monday Night Football is actually Tuesday Morning Football. That is, kickoff is 1:30 in the a.m. In the interest of not being completely terrible at my job the following day, it looks like I’ll be watching on slight tape delay Tuesday morning rather than staying up all night for the game. Luckily the good folks at Yahoo have a deal where they stream the games online outside of North America.

Note that this is the second time in a year I’ll be watching MNF from London; had the same deal last year for the Redskins game. Funny that.

BountyBowl guest blathers on someone else’s site
Posted on September 15th, 2008 at 3:18 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

So I guess I’m hitting the big time!  Other sites are looking to fill IP packets with my blatherings!  Seriously! 

The Most Valuable Network (MVN) did a little Q&A thing with me and some guy from a blog called The Landry Hat.  Personally, I liked my answers better, but that’s mostly because my part picked the Eagles to win.  Also, I’m pretty psyched that I didn’t have to write about T.O. and his “comments” this week, though I would have relished dropping a “Next Question!” in that scenario.  

Answers recycled below:

1. The Eagles started the 2008 season in a big way last week with a 38-3 win over St. Louis. Many analysts, however, are hesitant to put much stock into the blowout victory, as it came on Philly’s home turf over a helpless opponent. Is there anything significant we can learn about the Eagles from last week’s game, even if their win did come against one of the worst teams in the NFL?

Aside from the fact that a 38-3 win is one of the more spectacularly awesome ways to open an NFL season, I’ve been trying to keep my enthusiasm in perspective since last Sunday. The Rams probably aren’t going to be very good, and quite a few things went well for the Eagles. Still, the guys over at Football Outsiders are fond of observing that an important characteristic of elite teams is that they dominate weaker opponents. If that’s the case, it’s hard not to be, um, “encouraged” by the Rams game.

In terms of what we learned, I’d say there were a few things:

  • Big 5 is back, especially when the opponent’s pass rush is less threatening than 7-on-7 drills. The Birds had a couple backup receivers go over 100 yards last week. That isn’t because those guys became Pro Bowlers in the offseason. It’s because McNabb had tons of time to throw and has the arm to power a very vertical passing game (that is, lots of balls fired 25 yards down the field). McNabb was so good that the Eagles didn’t even really have to unleash very many of Brian Westbrook’s super powers.
  • The Eagles were awful on special teams last year. Awful. They made it an organizational focus in the offseason, and it sure looked like it paid off in Game 1. The got a big return from DeSean Jackson and number of punts skillfully downed just outside the Rams goal line. The only disappointment on special teams is that we didn’t get to see much of rookie kickoff-returner Quintin Demps with the ball in his hands, but hey, if that’s the price of the Rams scoring three points, I think we can live with that.
  • The rookies really are going to play. Those of us in the imaginary football community have been panting over DeSean Jackson for months (I was actually shocked that he kept going so early in fantasy drafts), but he isn’t the only Eagles rookie who played last week. Quintin Demps was very involved on special teams and defensive tackle Trevor Laws also got a fair amount of snaps. For a team that’s traditionally nervous about putting rookies on the field, this counts as news.

2. Do you see the Eagles as being a potential sleeper in the NFC East?

Let’s start with the caveats: you’re asking someone who thinks that the Eagles are going to win Super Bowl EVERY SINGLE YEAR if the Eagles might be a “sleeper” in the NFC East. Yes, it’s the best division in football, and yes the Eagles finished last in said division last year. But the Eagles weren’t a mess of a team, and given the ambient levels of randomness in your average NFL season (the three or four games that could have gone either way for any team), well, there’s an alternate universe out there (one where the Eagles had a punt returner in Green Bay, played some two-minute defense against Chicago and hit the field goal against the Giants) where last year’s Eagles may have done very well for themselves.

Unfortunately, this is the only universe I’m aware of, and they finished last in it. I think the Eagles have enough talent on the field and the coaching staff to compete for the division. I don’t know if we can call them a sleeper, though; some dude over at that, what’s it called, Sports Illustrated thinks they’re going to the Super Bowl? That kind of blew their cover a bit.

3. What is the single biggest key to Monday night’s game for the Eagles, and what’s your predicted final score?

So if I had to go all Xs-and-Os on you, I’d give you two answers, one for offense and one for defense.

On offense, I think pass-protection will be the most important thing for the Eagles. I think Westbrook will do his thing (and expect that the Dallas defensive game plan is all about stopping the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook) and the receivers will look a lot more mortal this week. McNabb got hit a bunch in both Dallas games last year, and the Eagles weren’t challenged by the Rams’ defensive front last week. The Dallas defensive front is big and fast; let’s hope the Eagles’ offensive line (as well as inexperienced fullback Tony Hunt) comes to play.

On defense, I think they’ll handle T.O. with their surplus of quality corners and that Barber won’t hurt them running the ball. I’m pretty terrified of Jason Witten and Barber catching balls against the Eagles’ linebackers, though. Fingers crossed that Bradely, Gocong and Gaither can hang.

I think the difference in the game for the Eagles is coaching. I think the Birds schemed their way to a win at Dallas last December, and I think they have a file on the Cowboys now. Dallas probably is more talented on the field, but I think the Birds’ coaching staff will be bringing a suitcase full of clever with them to Texas Stadium. Add that to the pressure differential (the Cowboys are HBO darlings and seven-point favorites with ample Super Bowl hype), and I think that Eagles can/will win 23-20.

There. And I didn’t mention Jessica Simpson even once!

Tank Daniels skillfully panders to the locals
Posted on September 1st, 2008 at 10:26 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Welcome back Tank Daniels!  Whilst we’ll try not to begrudge you your odious Giants’ Super Bowl ring too too much, we can at least take some minor solace in the winning attitude you’ll be toting back to the Delaware Valley:  

As for going back and forth from the Eagles and Giants, Daniels said there is one thing he loves equally about both teams.

“They both hate Dallas,” he said. “Even though I’m from Arkansas, I grew up hating the Cowboys, and I’m fortunate that I can still hate them.”

Generally, I think, yes, you’ve got the gist of it.  Now just substitute “given the opportunity, would gouge an opposing fan’s eye out with a rusty spoon” for “hate” and I think it’s perfect.

How to spend your summer vacation: rooting for divisional rivals to get arrested, cause discord
Posted on June 23rd, 2008 at 5:59 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

bradshaw.jpgThings have been a little quiet on this end for the past week or so. Expect that to continue as we slowly approach the Long, Dark Teatime of the NFL Offseason. Not much going on right now for the Birds, and when we say not much, we don’t mean “not much” in a week-before-the-draft sort of way. This is the “not much” of the NFL-happenings-will-be-limited-to-mid-round-draft-pick-signings-and-occasional-arrests variety. Ain’t nothin’ doin’ in Birds land.

Still, the absence of actual news doesn’t mean we need to put away our Haterade for the next month. Oh no! There’s plenty to root for over the next month, specifically the ongoing mishaps, malfeasance and general discord of the Birds’ divisional opponents! While the goody-two-shoes Eagles don’t seem up to much this time of year (NOTE: said goody-two-shoes distinction does not apply to families of coaching staff), the G-Men and Cowboys seem happy to oblige will all sorts of pre-camp argy-bargy and nonsense.

(Read the rest of this story.)

Jerkface Roy Williams Horsecollar ™ video
Posted on December 18th, 2007 at 6:01 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Just in case you want to relive that special moment.

The fact that you see three (3) flags enter the frame immediately is especially charming.

If I knew how to edit videos and had a lot of free time…
Posted on December 18th, 2007 at 12:39 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

get em all roy
…I would recut this United Way ad so that instead of gently pushing each of those seven-year-olds on the swings, Roy Williams would instead make his way down the swingset yanking each of the children down to the ground by their little collars.   

Kind of like the Peyton Manning SNL spot, only significantly more mean-spirited. 

I never should have brought up Roy Williams and his Horsecollar ™ tackle
Posted on December 16th, 2007 at 8:06 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

evil this man is and his horsecollars are evil
Totally bad karma to bring up the Roy Williams thing earlier, as he nearly exploded Donovan McNabb’s other leg with a Horsecollar ™ effort in the first half.

Again, they invented the rule because of this guy, and yet this guy keeps getting called for the penalty that they named after him. Perhaps a stern conversation with him on the topic might be appropriate.

There is nothing non-awesome about wins over the Cowboys in Dallas (especially when a certain flamboyant wideout plays poorly)
Posted on December 16th, 2007 at 6:54 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

stay here dunavin
Thank you, Philadelphia Eagles! You made my favorite television show interesting for one more week.

Though it’s probably just a bump in the road for what is still the best team in the NFC (staring at ground in abject humiliation), it’s never disappointing to beat the Cowboys, especially in Texas Stadium. Some quick bulletpoints about the game this afternoon:

(Read the rest of this story.)

At halftime, Io Sognio!
Posted on December 16th, 2007 at 4:06 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Okay, I’m bought in. 

Despite some hideously boneheaded moments and a Dallas defense that is laser-focused on preventing Brian Westbrook from running the ball, umm, I think we’re in this thing.  Dunavin looks sharp, the defense seems to have Romo flustered, and T.O. is throwing little tantrums on the sidelines.  This is all goodness. 

Still, life isn’t exactly meadows.  Things that have made me shout at the TV:

  • What the crap was that effing Pam Oliver special report about how Dunavin thinks he’s getting shipped out of town.  That doesn’t fit with what Joe Banner had explained to me. 
  • I know that I think this every week, but the Birds do seem to have gotten the stiff end of a bunch of calls, not the least of which was the horrifying Ken Hamlin shot on Schoebel.  I can’t even begin to understand the A.J. Feeley call, nor the false start on Jackson near the end of the half.  Baffling.   
  • Show Jessica Simpson (who looks like she went to bed at 10 this morning) one more time.  I double-dog dare you.
  • The Mikell play was among the most terrible that the Eagles organization has made all season.  Bringing the ball out of the endzone instead of kneeling?  Bad.  Fumbling on the 15.  Worse.  Calling timeout to decide whether to challenge?  Ill-advised.  Actually challenging the obvious fumble?  Mind-blowingly terrible. 

Still, I’m dreaming, more than I was two hours ago.

Go Birds. 

Facci Sognare!
Posted on December 16th, 2007 at 1:49 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

dallas fans eat catsI really wish I was a little more excited about the game this afternoon. The Birds’ season is pretty much through, and I’m mostly concerned that the team has already quit — meaning that I’m going to watch them capitulate to the Cowboys this afternoon with little to no resistance.

That would not be sweet.

All I can think of as kickoff approaches is the opening lines from the very fabulous A Season With Verona by Tim Parks:

FACCI SOGNARE says the banner. Make us dream! Please!”

And really, that’s what I’m asking for this afternoon. I know there are no playoffs (much less a Super Bowl) in the Birds’ immediate future. I’m rational. That’s all done.

I just want something to get excited about. Something to convince me that these guys are worth rooting for and that next year might be better than this one. (Read the rest of this story.)



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