What Would Buddy Do?
Put a BOUNTY on the Kevin Kolb jersey
Posted on December 17th, 2008 at 12:08 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

And now for the Kevin Kolb post.  Or at least the post about his jersey.

Initial disclaimer: we do not know nearly enough about Kevin Kolb to evaluate his talent/ potential as a future starting quarterback for the Eagles.  A couple pick-sixes notwithstanding, we’re going to need to see a lot more from him before we can either (a) hand him the keys to the car or (b) blow him out the airlock (not to mix metaphors).  He could be fantastic, he could be a failure, we just don’t know.  We hope (obviously) that he can play.

Today I just want to talk about the misanthropic malcontents who wear a Kevin Kolb jersey to Lincoln Financial Field in 2008 (note that I saw two (2) of said jerseys Monday night).  While I’m certainly open to alternate explanations, this is how I imagine the decision to first purchase and then wear the Kevin Kolb shirt plays out in the mind of the owner:

I really, really, really hate Donovan McNabb.  A lot.  It isn’t that McNabb isn’t my favorite player, or that I admire another player (say, Brian Dawkins or Brian Westbrook) more than McNabb, it’s that I really detest number 5.  Like, a lot.  It’s his fault we lost the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh was right, and this team will never win anything until he’s run out of town.

As a result, I’ve decided to pick up this nifty Kevin Kolb jersey.  I mean, sure, unless I’m a member of Kolb’s immediate family or a big Conference USA football fan (unlikely), I’ve never seen Kevin Kolb play a full game of football.  No matter.  So concentrated and focused is my loathing for Donovan McNabb that I’ve chosen to sport his ostensible replacement’s jersey (custom made for about US$300 as it’s not currently available for sale the Eagles store, though you can find them other places for a little cheaper).

Someone suggested that I was cleverly getting in early on the Kolb shirt, but it doesn’t really work like that — it’s not this is a hot start-up and you get a discount for buying guys on the bench.  Nope.  I just wanted to be sure that folks knew where I stood on Donovan McNabb, and if it costs me a few bucks, so be it.

In fact, I’m so eager for folks to know where I stand on McNabb that I actually buy tickets to the games and wear my Kevin Kolb jersey as an act of passive-aggressive protest: “I hate you, Donovan, I hate you, and I want everyone in this stadium to know how much I hate you.”

Never mind that he’s the starting quarterback for my favorite team and the success of the starting quarterback tends to correlate pretty highly with the success of the team.  That’s not my concern.  My concern is letting the world know that Donovan McNabb is a big loser and that I am the sort of discerning football fan who has recognized that fact.

Go Birds (except, of course, for the full avoidance of doubt, Donovan McNabb — he can go suck a phat one).

Thus shall I declare that we PUT A BOUNTY on the Kevin Kolb jersey.

Okay, 37 readers of BountyBowl.  Someone explain this to me.  I’m willing to listen.  Why wear the Kevin Kolb jersey?  Note that I’ve left the topic of race out of the discussion to date, but don’t be afraid to go there (BountyBowl is not afraid to acknowledge the role that race plays in the Philly fans’ relationship with Donovan McNabb).

At this point, why would we boo McNabb Thursday?
Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 11:43 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

I was admittedly a little baffled by the question at the end of Andy Reid’s Monday presser regarding the potential fan reaction to Donovan McNabb on Thursday night:

On whether it concerns him that McNabb might not be well-received by the fans Thursday: “You can’t worry about all that, man. You take care of what you can control and you get rid of the ‘if’s’ and you play.”

Seriously, though, why would we boo McNabb?  I mean, beyond the standard he-threw-an-incompletion-on-third-down sort of thing.  Even if the guy is done in Philly (and he is), isn’t our anger better directed at the general manager and architect of this failing offense?  Booing the quarterback won’t make the offensive line any younger/ better, it won’t make a healthy running back or a real fullback materialize on the roster, and it won’t improve the playcalling.

I dunno, call me naive, but I actually think Philly might just skip past Donovan as a whipping boy for this ongoing disaster.  This is not to say they/ we won’t boo on Thursday night — we will — but I think we’re bright enough as a group to realize that the whole team deserves our scorn, not just the quarterback.

(I’m being naive, aren’t I.)

Monday Eagles hangover: I need something greasy
Posted on November 10th, 2008 at 11:53 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

teamprayer.JPG

Okay, we’ve all had the chance to sleep off last night’s loss to the Giants. And…yeah, it still isn’t sitting well. The response to the game has justifiably focused on some of the Eagles’ decision-making in the second half, but hey, let’s not be stingy with the blame — there was plenty to frustrate fans in last night’s game.

Some additional subheads from the Giants’ game:

So much for the post-World Series afterglow.  Baseball?  World Series?  Chase Utley?  Cole Hamels?  That’s all well and good, but ANDY REID WASTED HIS CHALLENGES!  THE MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD EAGLES LOST TO THE DEFENDING-CHAMP GIANTS!  PANIC!  DESPAIR!

What did Dunavin think about the coach’s play-calling at the end of the game? The first words out of McNabb’s mouth in his post-game presser were “I want the ball.” Couldn’t agree with you more, big fella. It was surprisingly impolitic from Big Five, but hey, they can write that sort of comment off as “All competitors want the ball in big situations, yadda yadda yadda.”

More Dunavin, pukey edition. I assume everyone else cracked wise as the Eagles let the clock tick down to the two-minute warning as Dunavin was visibly panting on screen? Something along the lines of “At least he didn’t puke”? I think Michaels and Madden even joined in.

Final Dunavin comment (the “It wasn’t all his fault” division). McNabb was not excellent last night, but I actually had a little bit of hope in the fourth quarter that he might pull something together. Silly me! That hasn’t happened in YEARS! Still, as much as we can get down on McNabb, I thought the Matt Mosley piece on ESPN was a bit wrongheaded:

On this night, even the most ardent McNabb apologists were sent scrambling for higher ground. He was 17 of 36 for 194 yards and three touchdowns, but don’t let that last number fool you. His interception in the second quarter was as bad as you’ll see in the NFL, a league that Brad Johnson and J.T. O’Sullivan still call home. McNabb rallied his team late, but it only served to highlight how poorly he’d played the rest of the game.

At this point, McNabb is the fourth-best quarterback in the NFC East. With all of his experience, he’ll still take a delay of game in the red zone or botch a handoff at crucial moments. As usual, Eagles coach Andy Reid stood by his man, saying McNabb simply has to “keep firing, and he’ll be fine.”

Yeah, tough night for McNabb.  But he wasn’t the headline, and it strikes me as a bit lazy to write the blame-the-QB piece after a loss (note: the Eagles did score 31 points in said game).   Especially when the defensive line was humiliated and the offensive line couldn’t push forward for a yard when they had to.  Note also that there was nary a word of criticism of Big Red in that piece — I guess Mosley is planning for the long term with his blame allocation strategy!  Better not piss off the big guy!

Saying the unsayable.  Was Westbrook a little dinged up last night?  Are we allowed to suggest that maybe the 2008 Westbrook isn’t as impressive as the 2006 and 2007 editions?  Also, are we allowed to write columns about how he couldn’t get two yards when he needed to?  To his credit, he owned up to it in his post-game comments, but no one in the press really bit.  Also, it’s worth checking out those comments to see that he also semi-distanced himself from the play call at the end of the game.

Boneheaded plays aren’t reserved for coach, QB.  Greg Lewis.  Dude.  Running into the punt returner?  It’s a tenuous hold on a roster spot as it is.  You don’t need to be handing the Giants 15 free yards.  Also, the Tank Daniels encroachment call (that could have ended the game) was the moment were I actually lost my temper a bit.  Horrible.

Yeah, still stewing on this end.  I’ll come up with something positive later today.  For now I’m content to wallow a bit more.

(Take that, post-World Series afterglow!)

Noted puppy-killer and kitten-mauler L.J. Smith responds to imagined criticism
Posted on October 3rd, 2008 at 4:32 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Must have been a slow news day at the NovaCare center yesterday (which it kind of was; I watched the coordinator pressers and they weren’t terribly interesting or lengthy), because there were about three different versions of “L.J. Smith responds to critics” in the local papers today.  Not that the L.J. Smith angle isn’t interesting, but jeez, there are certainly bigger fish for breadings and frying, no? 

Implicit in the content of the articles is the suggestion that L.J. Smith has somehow drawn the ire of the fanbase, which I sort of get, but not really.  I mean, sure, some folks in the philly.com comments and the Birds’ message boards are down on L.J., but I’ve never really felt the anti-L.J. rage.  Strike that – I’ve been pretty chill with him ever since he stopped holding the ball with one hand like a loaf of bread; that totally used to cheese me off. 

Could it just be that the normal targets of rage are out of focus these days?  I mean, they finally benched Considine, McNabb is playing well, and DeSean Jackson has made us forget that we hate the wideouts.  Hating on the kicker is too obviously fickle.  Is L.J. just the last guy standing? 

Personally, I could use slightly more anti-Lorenzo Booker vitriol from the fanbase.  That guy almost got Dunavin killed against Pittsburgh and looked mostly useless against the Bears. 

Let me know if I’m missing anyone on the list above; specifically, whom should I be hating on more?        

McNabb ovation legit, not quite Willis Reed
Posted on September 24th, 2008 at 10:51 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

After reading a couple accounts from the press box of the ovation that Donovan McNabb received when he emerged from the tunnel in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, I decided to do a little “reporting” of my own (They still call it that?  Reporting?  When you ask someone what they saw?).  The always reliable Les Bowen was pretty even-keeled in his description of it,

The cheering started in the part of the Linc closest to I-95, right above the locker room passageway from which the quarterback emerged. It quickly spread through the stadium.

It wasn’t a foot-stomping, seat-pounding standing ovation, but it was loud. And heartfelt.   

Still, I felt like I needed to go straight to the source.  Since I didn’t get to attend Sunday’s game (sniff sniff), I had to go on the word of a buddy.  And he pretty much confirmed what Les told us: the peoples were psyched for Dunavin!  I quote:

I’d call it pretty hearty. They definitely noticed. 6.5 on a 10 scale, 10 being 4 and 26.  Sent from my iPhone.

Not bad for the third quarter of Week 3!  And don’t think that sort of thing doesn’t warm Dunavin’s little feelings — it should and I’m sure it does.  See, not everyone out there hates you and wants you to leave.  The vast majority of us get the part where you’re the best quarterback to play for this team that we’ll likely ever see. 

Let’s all have a hug.

Big Sexy crushes it on Vince Young
Posted on September 11th, 2008 at 1:09 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

I was planning to dump some serious Haterade on the Vince Young story from this week with a post that said, roughly, “I can’t believe this dude’s mom is crying to the media because her underperforming son got booed once in a wimpy media town like Nashville.” 

I would have then continued by saying, “Yeah, imagine that Donovan McNabb (and Eli Manning, and Rex Grossman) have to deal with about 100x that level of criticism in every edition of the morning paper and on talk radio, and somehow they manage to not have a breakdown about it.”

Essentially, I was going to make the point that Dunavin has it orders of magnitude worse than Vince Young, and has (sometimes remarkably) pushed through all that bullsh*t, but Big Sexy (Jason Whitlock) already nailed the McNabb angle, and then some:

Everyone told Vince Young and Michael Vick the NFL would be easy. They’d revolutionize the QB position with their legs, and they could pop bottles, roll with a posse and pretend to be Jay-Z in their spare time.

It just doesn’t work. Not for Young or Vick. Not for Matt Leinart. Not for anyone who wants to star at the position and avoid the boo-birds.

No one revolutionizes the starting quarterback position. The position revolutionizes the person playing it. Just ask Donovan McNabb. He figured it out and changed his game. Over the objection of idiots, McNabb developed his skills as a pocket passer. He concentrated on becoming a student of the game. If he can stay healthy over the next three or four years, McNabb will surpass Warren Moon as the best black quarterback ever to play the game.

Unfortunately, there are still people, especially black people, who don’t appreciate McNabb. They think he let “us” down by de-emphasizing his athleticism, and they criticize him for being cozy with his organization the way Peyton Manning is with the Colts and Brady is with the Patriots.

McNabb doesn’t get to enjoy the luxury of being a company man the way other franchise QBs in their prime do.

But McNabb has never threatened to quit or asked out of a game because the Philly fans were too rough. McNabb understands that in some instances the scrutiny of a black quarterback might be a tad more intense than that of a white one. He also understands that the best way to combat it isn’t whining. It’s performance. It’s work ethic. It’s professionalism.

Dude.  Dead on. 

Also, in case you still wanted to challenge the point that race has nothing to do with the attitude toward McNabb in the Illadelph, I might recommend this charmer (shaking head, staring at floor in shame). 

Matt Mosley stays on Philly’s good side (barely)
Posted on August 30th, 2008 at 12:00 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

I’ve been following Matt Mosley’s NFC East blog at ESPN with some trepidation.  Whilst I certainly have appreciated a handy roundup of NFC-East-focused news stories, I of course have been routinely offended by the lack of relative attention/ respect paid to the Eagles in said blog.  And it isn’t just because Mosley is a Dallas guy; he ran a mailbag column the other day that contained one sentence on the Birds and didn’t even mention Philly as a contender for Anquan Boldin (he focused his Boldin talk on the Cowboys).  Ew.

Still, his decision to rank the Illadelph faithful fourth (4th) amongst NFL fans (and tops in the NFC East) shows that he is at least capable of comporting himself like a gentleman if need be. He notes that the season-ticket waiting list is 70,000 people strong (on which I’m apparently number 898, if an e-mail from the Birds is to be believed!) and that we do an excellent job with loyalty and tailgating.  The excerpt:

No other team dictates a city’s mood like the Eagles. It’s a loyal group of fans, but don’t confuse it with blind loyalty. When the Eagles play poorly, they face the wrath of the fans. That rattles some guys, but players such as Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins have thrived on that tough love. Fans of opposing teams should tread lightly in the Linc.

Mosley also includes some generic quotes about Philly fans, which has only solidified my belief that I’m completely bored/ tired of reading hypotheses regarding why we like the Eagles so durn much; to be honest, I’m a bit bored with the “Philly fans are CRAZY” trope amongst the national blatherati:

“You could drop a Martian into Philly the day after a game, and within three minutes, he’d know if the Eagles had won or lost,” said Glen Macnow, a sports radio talk show host for the wildly popular WIP and co-author of “The Great Philadelphia Fan Book.” “When they win, you’ll meet the friendliest cab drivers, CPAs and newspaper sellers. Whey they lose, it’s like a five-day hangover.”

Unlike places such as Dallas and Miami, Philadelphia isn’t home to a lot of transplants. People aren’t trying to leave, and potential newcomers aren’t arriving any time soon. It sort of creates this bunker mentality that seems to fuel passion for local teams — but mainly the Eagles.

No transplants?  Bunker mentality?  Sure.  Your bullshit is just as valid as my bullshit on this topic.  But we appreciate the theorizing!  Maybe next week we can make the mailbag.

Iggles Blog Vs. BountyBowl Blogstravaganza (#6)
Posted on July 11th, 2008 at 12:17 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

And the dialectic continues.  I think today’s the day I start calling Derek names.  It’s what Buddy would do.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

—–

Derek,

So the missus told you that we’ve been a little too needs-and-feelings so far?  (Note that Jason also dinged us for sucking up to each other over at BGN.)  She give you a little a pat on the butt and tell you that as long as you try harder everything will be better next time?

WELL I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE WRITING LIVE FROM THE SPORTS GUY MANSION.  Maybe now you’re going to tell me about your dog and your latest trip to Peet’s coffee and how TOTALLY CRAZY things can get in Vegas and how you tended bar in the late 90s and kept it real with some hardcore/ straight-from-the-streets sports knowledge.  Maybe you can have the missus do a guest column with HER Eagles analysis!  That’d be adorable!

(Everyone feel better now?)

In re: your thoughts on the wide receiver position, let me summarize my response by saying: it’s nice to see that you actually have a soul.  That is, it’s comforting to realize that behind your very rational web site and tons of cogent analysis, you believe in magic too.

And by “magic,” I mean “swagger.”  That is, there’s something out there that we can’t measure, but it really matters in re: who’s winning and who’s losing, and we know it when we see it.  It’s the confidence that the team will exert its will over the opponent, and will be the ones who make the plays in the last few minutes to win the game.  With T.O., the Eagles definitely had swagger.  No doubt.

Which makes the current iteration of the Birds so frustrating — because it’s so obvious the swagger is gone.  Are the Giants really that much better than the Eagles?  Hell no.  But they’re convinced that they are.  For example, put a BOUNTY on Antonio Pierce and his big effing mouth for blabbing about how the Giants owned the Eagles last year (even though the Birds had knocked them out of the playoffs the year before).  I fully believe that the Giants have a huge swagger edge over the Birds coming into this season, and that it’s going to take a serious bump in confidence for the Eagles to reclaim that. (Read the rest of this story.)

Comparative Sports-Talk Radio Studies
Posted on April 26th, 2008 at 5:46 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

ExitI spent the better part of the first round of the draft in the car driving down to the Illadelph from New York.  As fate would have it, pick #19 coincided with a dark zone on the AM radio spectrum.  That is, I was just about to lose The Fan and ESPN 1050 out of New York and I wasn’t quite picking up WIP and ESPN 950 out of Philly.  We’ll estimate my position at that point to be circa Exit 8A.

Anyhoo, I got word of the Birds’ trade at #19 from the New York media (Mike and the Mad Dog, to be precise). They thought it was an amazing deal for the Birds — total steal with the three picks (including the number one next year) for the 19. I tended to agree (though I had hoped some larger scheme was in the works all along, hopefully involving blue chip WRs coming to Philadelphia).

A few minutes later we switched over to the Philly stations and, predictably, the natives were aghast: (Read the rest of this story.)

Ultimately, I’m just a hater from Negadelphia…
Posted on February 5th, 2008 at 3:06 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

this is a legal tackle

…and I demand justice, or at least vengeful retribution.

So the dust has settled, the G-Men had their parade, plaudits have been offered to the Giants (including too much praise for “The Play” which seems to discount the part where this was a Favre-style heave into the middle of the field that, while amazing, is not something you’d like to do too many more times; AMAZING catch by Tyree, though, no doubt, and the defensive line was spectacular), and scorn has been heaped on the Patriots and Bill Belichick.

I’m terribly disappointed by how this all worked out; here’s why:

My dream scenario was that the G-Men would lose the game badly (and be properly humilaited for the hot-at-the-right-time-with-some-lucky-breaks-thrown-in frauds that I had hoped they were), while the Patriots would have their victory immediately sullied by some shocking new revelations in Spygate that would call into question the entire Patriots machine (maybe even on the same day as their victory parade?). We’re talking details that would force the NFL to demand that Lombardi trophies be turned over to their rightful owners (Juve style from 2006 — don’t think this is unprecedented).

That is, I was hoping that the Super Bowl could somehow produce two (2) losers. Note well that a straight loss wasn’t actually sufficient in the example above — I wanted them both to be humiliated (the Giants beaten badly on the field, the Patriots’ entire run of success discredited).
(Read the rest of this story.)



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