What Would Buddy Do?
Wow. It’s getting pretty meta in here. We’d better embrace soon!
Posted on January 17th, 2009 at 2:11 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Full slate of pressers on Friday, with Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Brian Dawkins joining Friday regular Andy Reid at the podium.  With, ahem, a lack of fresh material for another full round of interviews, the topic of conversation kept to turning to the players and coaches’ relationship with the media and the fans, specifically what it will take for the city of Philadelphia to finally hug Andy Reid’s fat belly.

Showing the form that’s made them the scourge of the local press detachment, Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb had little to offer on the topic of Reid “being embraced” by the media and fans.  From Reid,

On what it takes to be completely embraced by this town and how he and Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel are “text” buddies: “Honestly, I don’t think about all that.  That’s for you guys to take care of.  Charlie’s (Manuel) a heck of a guy and a great manager and I just think he did a tremendous job.  We were supporting him 110 percent, our football team, and their baseball team has been great.  Our players are close and Charlie and I communicate and he did a great job.  I’m not going to get into all the comparisons and embrace myself.”

And then McNabb:

On what it will take for head coach Andy Reid to be fully embraced by Philadelphia: “That’s a question that I need to ask you. If we had the answer, then it wouldn’t be a problem. But, you know what? The thing about it is winning cures everything. When you’re winning, nobody digs deeper into finding much of what’s going on. I can personally tell you that we don’t get affected by what people may say on the outside too much. You use whatever you want as motivation and you move on. You can’t impress everyone. Not everyone is going to like you, but you just go out and you do your job and you enjoy doing it. That’s something that I can definitely say that hasn’t wavered by any means from Andy and it trickles down to the rest of us. You can’t let what people may say on the outside become a distraction of what you do here at your job.”

Right right.  These guys pay attention to their media training, so you can’t expect much more than that.  But maybe we’ll get something more interesting from Brian Dawkins, right?

On what he thinks it will take for head coach Andy Reid to be completely embraced by the city of Philadelphia: “You have to understand where we are. Here in Philadelphia they love you to death but they are still going to criticize you. They are still going to get on you. They are still going to ask questions. You have to have thick skin to play here, to coach here. Everybody can’t coach, everybody can’t play here. So obviously Andy is doing something that a lot of coaches could not succeed in by having thick skin, holding fast to what he believes in, and continue to move on. They are still going to question you regardless of success. As soon as you have a string of failure they are still going to question you, so you understand that. You just go out and do what you do and that’s what Andy has done; he has stayed the course in what he believes.”

Nope.  Maybe Brian Westbrook?:

On what it will take for head coach Andy Reid to be completely embraced by the city of Philadelphia: “I think everybody knows that Coach is a good coach. He’s done a great job here and in his ten years I want to say he’s one of the top two or three winningest coaches in that tenure. He’s done a great job for this team, and I also feel that he’s been great to the players here as well. Different people are always going to have something negative to say, but I think his players respect him and the people that know football respect him around the NFL and as a coach. I think that’s all you really can ask for. I think the fans are going to go up and down sometimes with the wins and losses. But, the true mark is how do you follow up those losses, and he’s done a great job of bringing this team back this year and now we’re playing for the NFC Championship and a lot has to do because of him.”

Though, in Westbrook’s defense, he did let down the guard a bit when they asked him the meta-question about how it feels to answer questions about his knee every week:

On whether he gets tired of answering the same questions every week: “It gets a little repetitive. I appreciate you bringing that up. It definitely gets a little repetitive, but my knee’s fine. I think, it hasn’t been said, but a lot of times, throughout games when you have injuries, you’re going to tweak your injury no matter what injury it is. This wasn’t the only game that I tweaked my knee, but it happens throughout football games.”

To summarize, no one can really say why the public doesn’t “embrace” Andy Reid (perhaps it’s because we all know that our arms would never make it all the way around his generous mid-section?), but Brian Westbrook is just as sick of answering the same questions as the press are of asking them.

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.)

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.

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

reidshorts.jpg

“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.

In midst of sports-feelings-fueled endorphin bath, Brian Dawkins offers sobering helping of honesty
Posted on October 23rd, 2008 at 11:51 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

As phired up as we are in re: the Phightins, it would be ridiculous to pretend that we won’t be bent out of shape regarding Sunday’s football game. And as much as the Eagles might enjoy a week or two out of the spotlight, well, they’re not really convinced that anyone will forget about them; as B-Dawk explained in his mid-week presser:

I think anytime that the team that is further along in the season is doing a good job, that other team is going to take a backseat at that time. That’s just the way it is. I think it should be that way because we all should be rooting for the Phillies, and I think the majority of us are, I know I am anyway. So, that doesn’t take anything away from what we have to do.

And believe me, if we go out in the game, and I’m not saying we will, but if we stink it up, you think the papers and you think the fans will be a little quieter because the Phillies are doing well? No. They are going to be just as upset, just as T’d off, and just as opinionated as they always are, so that doesn’t take away our responsibility to do our job and to hold ourselves to a high standard because someone is doing good across the street over there.”

If only it weren’t completely true. Sigh.

Also, we’re going to need a special name for the apocalypse coming to South Philly on Sunday. Eagles at 1, Phils at 8? That’s going to mean Daytona 500 levels of urine and puke in the parking lots. Also, I can’t wait to hear/ read about the glorious tales of horror from those of you who manage to make make it a doubleheader. Usually the most we can hope for on that front is a Flyers/ Sixers-into-Eagles affair, but Birds + World Series is really another level of absurdity.

Anyone interested in talking me into spending way too much money on tickets, please do so in the comments. NOTE: I’m a total sucker for peer pressure.

Iggles Blog vs BountyBowl Bye Week Blogganza (#4)
Posted on October 17th, 2008 at 4:32 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

In which I defend Darren Howard’s honor (sort of) and make a bunch of random predictions of my own.

The story of the film so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

*****

Oh my heavens!  I think we might need an intervention here.  I’d like all the Iggles Blog readers to note that Derek just said that he’s only been to two Eagles games!  (I mean, there are legitimate reasons for this, but still.)  I bet more than a few of the fans of Iggles Blog have season tickets.  This is your hint to send Derek an e-mail and invite him to a game.  Think of all the joy (and charts, and graphs, and lengthy defenses of Donovan McNabb) he’s brought you over the years — don’t you think you owe it to him to bring him to a game?

At the very least, the Birds organization should comp you as some sort of blogger outreach program.  (NOTE WELL anyone from Birds HQ who might be reading this: I would also like to come to more games!  Right here!  The Bounty!)

Cheers to the SAWX for their big comeback last night.  Though I can’t help but note that there really isn’t a good answer in re: which city the Phils face in the World Series — it’s essentially the two cities respsonsible for the Worst Eagles Experiences of the last decade (being, of course, the 2002 NFC Championship/ Final Game at the Vet and Super Bowl XXXIX).  Depending on your inclination with these things, it’s either a win-win or a lose-lose.  I’d like to suggest some sort of Flyers-esque “Vengeance Now” value prop for the local marketing efforts, but I think the Phils are a little too PG for that.

On to the football, first with some comments on your replies to my questions.

WHOA.  Damn skippy you need to be careful what you’re saying in re: Darren Howard!  It certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility, but man, that’s quite a bit to suggest.  I mean, I obviously love an elaborate conspiracy theory as much as the next fellow, but the Occam’s Razor answer seems a bit more plausible; can’t we just assume he signed a big contract, loafed around and then finally got in shape when he was worried about his job?  I mean, that’s what I would have done….

But while we’re on the topic, were there ever rumblings when Dunavin showed up for work a couple years as Bulky Donovan?  Or was he just lifting too much?  I mean, McNabb is obviously a guy who’s going to need to be careful about the waistline once he’s done playing; maybe he’s just big-boned?  Also — and you’ll love this one — I’m sure you read the section in Pro Football Prospectus about how remarkably healthy the Cowboys have been over recent years…don’t tell me it didn’t lead you to wonder if there was a little something-something added to the salad bar at Valley Ranch.

Thus concludes the Unfounded Accusations portion of today’s post.

Also, you should really be more careful about what you say about David Akers.  You know he’s sitting on his couch right now sporting his fashionably rimless spectacles, catching up on Mad Men, and hitting F5 on Iggles Blog.  At the rate you’re going, you’ll never get another interview out of those Reebok people.

And now for your questions of me.

1.  Favorite / least favorite Eagles and why?  No cheating by picking old-timers, I’m talking current roster.

This is actually a pretty easy question.  It’s Sheldon Brown by about two touchdowns.  My reasons: (a) I’ve always had a fondness for big-hitting DBs, and he’s been the biggest-hitting DB for the past three seasons (with apologies to Dawk; the days of the Dawkplex are past); (b) he actually speaks honestly and intelligently to the press, and doesn’t appear to be completely full of sh*t — it’s like he skipped media training; (c) he plays every week.  That counts for a lot.  So yeah, I’m a big fan.  I’m actually staring at a framed copy of the SI cover photo of him drilling Reggie Bush (”Cardboard Box“) right now.

2.  Fill in the blanks: “The Phillies winning the World Series would feel like __________.  The Eagles winning the Super Bowl would feel like __________.”

You know, this is a really hard question to answer without sounding like a complete pervert, so apologies in advance for my answer (which draws upon the amount of time I spend on airplanes): “The Phillies winning the World Series would feel like getting a surprise upgrade to first class for a seventeen-hour flight to Australia. The Eagles winning the Super Bowl would feel like getting a surprise upgrade to my own private jet for a seventeen-hour flight to Australia, only we’re not going to Australia, we’re going to a special island in the South Pacific where cheesesteaks grow on trees, clothing has been outlawed, and I am about to be named emperor.”  (Too much?)

3.  You’re really not going to ask about Tony Hunt?

Okay, so tell me about Tony Hunt.  I just assume he’ll end up in Minnesota, right?  You can just ask him, right?  I assume he’s spending his time off chilling at your place?  He’s playing XBox right now?

4.  Over the past 10 months, the Eagles have been linked by rumor to approximately two dozen players not currently on their roster.  Of the guys who actually changed teams — yes, we all wanted Larry Fitzgerald — who are you most annoyed about not getting?  (NOTA is an acceptable answer if you show your work.)

Let me get the obvious and popular answers out the way first: the answer isn’t going to be a wideout, so we can cross off Randy Moss and Roy Williams.  My answer might have been different six months ago, but that was before young Master DeSean was dropped at our doorstep.  The Moss thing was especially tempting, more so than Roy Williams.  I’m just not as completely obsessed by this position as your average Birds fan.  I mean, I guess I could say Jared Allen because, well, he’s Jared Allen and it remains relatively difficult to find dominant defensive ends.  But I don’t know if that was actually ever in play.    (The Skins can have Jason Taylor, though.)

I actually would have been pretty psyched if the Birds could have nabbed Jeremy Shockey.  There.  I said it.  He’s better than L.J., and would have played like a complete psychopath against the Giants.  But my actual answer — and admittedly, this is very fresh — is Tony Gonzalez.  DOOOOOOOOOOOD.  That’s pretty much exactly what the Birds need.  A red-zone beast who’d be reinvigorated on a new team?  Plus he’s a veteran guy who’s a non-idiot and seems like he has the personality and temperament to handle the Illadelph?  Also, he comes with a lovely commitment partner.

Also it’s worth noting that I really like the guy they did get: Asante Samuel.  This is just the beginning of the Asante Samuel era in Philly.  This guy definitely counts as a playmaker, and he’s not going anywhere.  Seriously.  He’ll be a “real Eagle” soon enough.

5.  I cheated on your bonus question, but now I’m kind of interested in hearing your answer to it.  I’m rubber, you’re glue …

First off, I know I thought that the Eagles would lose to the Nerdbirds before the season began, but I herby update my opinion on this topic.  Seattle has to be the most disappointing team in the NFL right now.  The Eagles had better win that game.  Of course, none of us care about that because, well, no one cares about the Left Coast teams (nor should they — West Coast teams are, as well know, soft).    Let me throw a couple random ones out there:

a.  Shawn Andrews doesn’t play another game for the Eagles this year, and spends the off-season musing about retirement.

b.  Dallas misses the playoffs.  Wade Phillips is fired shortly thereafter.  Jason Garrett is named the head coach.  Wow.  That was awesome to type.

c.  Washington makes the playoffs.  I can’t believe I’m typing that, but playing solid defense and running the ball can get you pretty far in the NFL.  And for the life of me I’m not going to say nice things about the Giants.

d.  Brian Westbrook never really gets healthy and rushes for fewer than 900 yards on the season (he’s at 194 after six games, so I’m saying he doesn’t break 70 yards/ game over the remaining ten).

e.  Finally, at long last: Donovan McNabb starts 16 games, and, GASP, is welcomed back as the Eagles presumptive starter for 2009!

What say we to that?

Our wandering eye(s)
Posted on October 12th, 2008 at 10:18 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Since a bunch of other folks have already weighed in on this topic over the past week, and even though I don’t actually believe that the Eagles’ long-term hold over the sports feelings of the Delaware Value is at risk, I thought it might be an appropriate moment to dredge up a “prediction” from this past summer:

1. The Eagles own Philly.  I know we’re all nuts for the NFL, but, man, this Phillies team is puh-retty charming.  Can you imagine if Chase Utley played quarterback?  He’d be elected Emporer shortly thereafter.  And I can definitely imagine a couple things breaking right for the Phightins and then, BAM, the championship drought is over.  That might actually bump the Birds down a few pegs.  Not permanently, mind you, but long enough to reduce Sunday evening domestic violence in the Delaware Valley for a couple months/ sell a significant amount of Phillies Officially Licensed Products.

Again, I don’t want to risk being struck by lightning, but let me imagine a scenario: Birds struggle against SF and (cough cough) lost another close game.  Eagles head to bye week.  Sun continues to shine on Phillies.  That means two weeks until Atlanta whilst the Phightins charm the city with their can-do optimism.  Even I’ll be purposely avoiding the Birds for at least a week in that scenario.

It doesn’t mean that we’re divorcing the Birds, but at this point, battered and bruised as we are, no one’s going to be too judgmental if we treat ourselves to a bit of a fling with the Phightins.  It’s really for the best.

Off-Topic: Live from CBP, Let’s Go Phightins
Posted on October 10th, 2008 at 12:18 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

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Did I actually head down to the Illadelph for an unprecedented third sporting event in as many weeks (and three different sports no less!)? Yes. Yes I did. And it was…glorious.

The atmosphere at CBP last night was, how do you say, “the exact opposite of the pervasive malaise that attended the Birds game on Sunday.” Whoa. Very cleansing — I had forgotten that you could actually have fun at these game things! All it takes it a little effort from the hometown team.

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Three quick observations about the game:

1. The three-run home run offense is very popular. You gotta love that the Phils are defiantly anti-Sabermetrics. Walks? Putting the ball in play? Getting on base? Totally overrated. Just swing as hard as you can and the runs will come (especially in our wiffle-ball park). Cheers to the other number 5 for his continued redemption story in the playoffs. Maybe it’s just because he wants to get paid, but Burrell seems determined, and that’s a very good thing.

2. No Eagles jerseys last night. The message from the gear was unanimous — I just didn’t see any Eagles merch. At all. Just a million different variations on red with blue (and let us note that the Phils do an excellent job moving merch in that place).

3. The food remains the best ballpark food on Planet Earth. Who can challenge this statement? Who? Tell me where they have better ballpark food anywhere on the planet. I’ll go there and let you know. And I’m pretty sure they won’t be able to offer me a cheesesteak AND a roast pork sandwich (with the broccoli rabe).

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Go Phightins.

(Actual Eagles content forthcoming later today.)



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