What Would Buddy Do?
Unambiguous? Overwhelmingly the view of the fans, huh?
Posted on January 27th, 2009 at 12:46 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Amidst the curiously significant volume of non-news in re: the Eagles, including a few pieces that I would have considered too much of a stretch for even a blog (that the players don’t care because they partied hard after a tough loss; an odd comparison of Eagles and Steelers fans), we have some fresh remarks from team president Joe Banner.

While the full interview won’t go public until tonight, CSN has released some excerpts, and it sure sounds like certain people who play certain positions are in the good graces of the senior leadership team these days:

“I thought and still think my answer was unambiguous. We thought that was important to clarify it because you don’t want those things to take on a life,” Banner said. “The reality is, my view and our view is unambiguous, that we can win a championship with those people, and they will be back. We believe we’re very lucky to have them. The good news is, that’s overwhelmingly the view of our fans. I know it doesn’t always come out that way, but Andy is a heck of a coach.”

To summarize, not only do we think Andy and Dunavin are doing a bang-up job, but we’ve also spoken to some of the customers, and they seem to be cool with these guys being the core features of the 2009 edition as well.

I actually think it’s kind of interesting that Banner was so confident regarding the view of the customers.  Do they poll?  Focus groups?  Or just check out the message boards and listen a bit to WIP and call it a day?  “Overwhelmingly” is a strong word.


By the way, we personally can’t get enough of Paul Domowitch’s ongoing class rage in re: NFL ownership and layoffs in various front offices.  Stick it to the man, Domo!  We can’t help but wonder how much of this rage is motivated by the precariousness of your own profession.

Knowledge of overtime rules: F; PR/ Spin strategy: D+
Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 11:46 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

For the most part, we tend to be Super Duper Donovan McNabb Fans here at BountyBowl, and believe that history will actually remember Big 5 a lot more kindly than current circumstances (or Warren Sapp) suggest. But man, did Dunavin ever blow this not-knowing-the-rules thing.

He flubbed his way through his presser yesterday, offering a ton of excuses about how no one else knew the rule either, and that they change the rules all the time, and how some of the officials don’t know all the rules, etc etc.:

On how he feels now that there has been so much discussion about his lack of knowledge of the overtime rule: “It doesn’t make me feel bad at all. I was truly being honest. The thing about it is that now other people are starting to say that they didn’t know it either. Am I wrong for that? No. Should I have known that rule? There are a lot of rules that coaches, officials, players, they don’t know. Any time an official goes out on the field and then you see (NFL vice president of officiating) Mike Pereira trying to correct that mistake, that shows that officials don’t even know everything in the rule book. (Neither do) coaches (or) players. What people may say about me, it doesn’t bother me. As you can see, every time something happens that I have been a part of, more and more things have come out and people begin to sit back and say, ‘Oh, maybe he was right.’ Should I have know that rule? Yes. But, there are a lot of rules in that rulebook that a lot of us don’t know, and we ask questions.”

On the fact that ties have been around since 1970: “The rule has been adjusted. I know that there is a tie. I was expecting to at least go to another overtime, maybe with less minutes. The last time it happened was Pittsburgh, I believe, in 2002. From what I understand (Steelers WR) Hines Ward was a part of that and didn’t even know it was still in there. So, I guess I’m not the only one.”

It was pretty awkward, and not very accountable. Mentioning Hines Ward? Huh? John Smallwood beat him up for it in the paper this morning, and Smallwood was right to do so. That’s because the correct answer was “I made a mistake, I should have known the rules. My bad.” Repeat after me: “I made a mistake, I should have known the rules. My bad.” And again: “I made a mistake, I should have known the rules. My bad.”

McNabb then followed it up with a post on Yardbarker that essentially offered the same story, and not the simple answer that would have ended this nonsense:

Everybody wants to know about the overtime situation. Whatever happened had no bearing on the outcome of the game. That’s all that matters. We all know the rules now. There is no need to waste any more time on the subject.

No “I made a mistake.” No “I should have known that.” He’s essentially asking us to forget about it and move on. And we’d love to. But bungling the PR makes it harder to move on.

My opinion in re: what he should have done: go with the blog first, ahead of the presser. On his blog, he gets to control every word of the message. People could have taken a look at it (like his PR guy, Rich Burg, or a friend or family member) and he could have made sure his message was completely clear before he posted it. Then, when he walks into the Wednesday presser, he can acknowledge that he already addressed the issue on his blog, that he should have known the rule, and then play the “we need to talk about the Ravens” card. I thought that’s what the blog was for — for direct communication with the public in media kerfuffles like this one.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. And not very accountable. This was not a proud moment for the Donovan McNabb marketing team.

BountyBowl just got a new KPI
Posted on November 12th, 2008 at 2:40 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

We don’t have too too many success metrics here at BountyBowl beyond “acquire readers outside of my immediate circle of friends,” but I think that’s going to have to change.

According to a piece in this morning’s Inky, the Eagles actually use an internet filter to block web sites from the press box at Lincoln Financial Field:

Unlike many organizations, the Eagles apparently don’t trust the media to make responsible decisions with the Internet service provided in the Linc’s press box. Perhaps to save us from ourselves, they employ a filter that precludes journalists from viewing a shocking assortment of Web sites. How Orwellian of them.

Naturally, all gambling and pornography pages are barred. No surprise there (though it’s a touch disappointing). Curiously, the media are also prevented from accessing a staggering number of entirely reputable or innocuous sites.

Slate, Politico and The Nation are prohibited. Deadspin, Kissing Suzy Kolber and The Big Lead are all banned. Bleeding Green Nation is forbidden, and Top 100 Bloggers (which merely links to a number of blogs) is also off-limits. A few other sites that have been deemed verboten by the Eagles’ manipulation machine: Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Google Finance, Gawker and AOL Instant Messenger.

Strangely, The 700 Level - one of the most critical, well-read local blogs - has not been blacklisted by the Eagles. That’s a little like locking up your house before going to sleep but forgetting to retrieve the spare key from under the mat.

WHUH?????  They’re blocking sites and I didn’t make the list?  What, they don’t FEAR THE BOUNTY and his 87 page views?  Eagles Internet Filter, you will RUE THE DAY you spurned BOUNTY!  I MUST MAKE THIS LIST!  I MUST!

(A theory here: I would guess that the Linc is maybe on the same local network as the NovaCare Complex, and that the Eagles block those sites so that employees — including players? — don’t screw around at work.  We’ll even give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the rules for the marketing department are different, and that they have unfiltered access to the web.  Even so, BountyBowl does not approve of these sorts of filters in the workplace, especially one that’s this dependent on the web (for marketing, for community building, for PR, etc.).  I actually thought that the Eagles were pretty clever and forward-thinking on the business end of things.  Huh.  Maybe they were.  In 2002.)

Sheldon Brown convinces us we’re not actually crazy
Posted on October 13th, 2008 at 11:14 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie


When the 49ers blocked the field goal at the end of the first half and returned it for a TD — a swing of at least 7 points, since it would be presumptuous to believe that Akers would have made it from that distance — my buddy and and I turned to each other and admitted that we weren’t even shocked.  We didn’t freak out, or start complaining about how unlucky the Eagles were, none of that.  We just turned to each other and admitted that we kind of expected things like this to happen to the Birds — after the last couple years, how could we not?

Or, more succinctly, as a middle-of-the-road NFL team, you’re naive if you think crazy mistakes won’t doom your team to at least a couple losses over the course of the season.

Then, as the second half began and the Niners started methodically moving the ball on the Birds’ defense, well, it started to smell a lot like last week. And the week before. And probably the rest of the season.

(Of course, it all ended up working out beautifully, but there were some twists along the way.)

You’d think that the anxiety we were feeling as fans wasn’t shared by the players — that, being involved in the actual game, they see more than the sports-page cliches and storylines during the course of the game. Ummm, according the Sheldon Brown, that’s exactly what they saw:

“The adversity we had before the half, everybody in the locker room said, ‘Never again,’ ” cornerback Sheldon Brown said. “Then they came out and drove it right down our throats.”


“We were panicking,” Brown said. “This is a team that’s supposed to get turnovers and we weren’t getting any. We’re saying, ‘What’s going on?’ Then they started to come. That’s what happens.”

Huh.  Glad to know we’re not the only ones that were worried!

Of course, this is the sort of unfiltered honesty that we’ve come to expect from #24, and it’s what makes him our favorite Eagle quote (more on this topic later in the week, I swear).  Brown is the one who, in describing the Eagles’ win over the Redskins last year, said, “Normally, we’d find a way to lose that football game.”

Go Birds. 

Might I suggest a new juvenile motivational tactic?
Posted on October 8th, 2008 at 12:45 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

From a rhetorical style perspective, the Eagles have long since pursued the confidence-with-class angle: certainly comfortable with the quality of their team and optimistic about their chances, but always deferential to opponents and quietly patient in the face of criticism.  Thus do we hear about the “gold standard” and “pedal to the metal” for the Super Bowl, about “looking forward to the challenge of playing the ____” and Andy Reid insisting that it’s all his fault and they just need to iron out a few things (even as the sky is falling).

For an organization and city that once embraced the assholishly charming bluster of Buddy Ryan (we miss ya, Buddy!), the current Eagles are, well, a bit bland.  Successful, yes, but bland.  And I think we can admit that the tone of the PR messaging coming out of the NovaCare complex is starting to feel a bit old, if not entirely hollow, especially when the Eagles are telling us that they’re a better team than the two teams that just beat them. 

The creepy thing about the external messaging strategy is what it suggests about the internal messaging.  That is, do these guys really think that they’re that sweet?  That they should expect to dominate teams each week?  Has the quiet confidence thing mutated into a smug complacency? 

Who knows — I don’t work there/ hang out with these guys.  BUT, I think it’s time for the Birds to dust off an oldie-but-goodie in the motivation department.  That is, why don’t the Birds start playing the “Nobody respects us” card!  Sure, it’s completely cliched at this point, but it actually seems to be a proven solution for motivating otherwise comfortable millionaires.  It worked for the Giants last year — sh*t, it even worked for the Pats!  As they were blowing people out by 30 points, Tom Brady was talking about how no one was taking them seriously, etc etc! 

Why not the Birds?  They should walk into the Wednesday pressers and announce that they’re the last-placed team in the best division in football.  People are calling them a losers, repeats of the 2007 edition, and the national blathertariat are dropping them in the various power rankings — it’s time to embrace the void!  Dunavin and Dawk should get up there and admit that the team is no good, and then start the locker-room whisper campaign about not getting any respect, and being abandoned by the fans (who are suddenly flocking to the stinkin Phillies!), and aren’t we going to show everyone who ever doubbted us!

(Yeah, it’s a stretch, but these are proud men.  Calling them cowards and challenging them might yield some results.  Certainly a change of tone probably wouldn’t hurt.)     

Soviet Central Media agrees: this was lame, we’re right to be bummed
Posted on October 6th, 2008 at 1:47 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Yikes: you know it’s a bad loss when even Soviet Central Media is beating up on the Birds! 

Typically head apparatchik Dave Spadaro is measured in his criticisms of the team, even after a tough loss, focusing on those things that cannot be factually disputed (stats about red-zone offense, red-zone defense, etc.).  But I was a bit taken aback when I heard Spuds start to lose his temper a bit and exclaim on PE.com that the Eagles’ problems were about manning up and ”having the balls to win.”

(I don’t think he meant footballs.)   

A close runner-up: “It makes me want to poke my eyes with my pens.”

(I think he did mean pens.)

Attaguy, Dave.  If your job is to reflect the voice/ passion of the fans, well, those comments about sum it up.  And given the most recent volley of horrible Westbrook news (fractured ribs), um, some frustration feels appropriate.

No word yet on whether the Birds’ malaise is responsible for today’s round of casualties in the global economic collapse

(Birds lose, Westbrook hurt again, the global economic collapse continues, and Sarah Palin is a couple heartbeats away from being the Supreme Leader Of The Known Universe.  The sun may be shining, but it suddenly feels very dark outside.)   

These aren’t the droids we’re looking for (the lowest-key $57 million the Birds have ever spent)
Posted on September 6th, 2008 at 3:29 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

pay no attention to number 22

So we’re less than 24 hours from kickoff of Week One. Whew. Long offseason. Many words written, many friends bored by my long-winded monologues in re: the Birds. Yet as we approach the end of the offseason and the start of the actual season, the guy who was the most important part of the Eagles’ offseason — at least in terms of team resource allocation, which is a pretty honest metric — is barely a storyline.

Asante Samuel, take a bow. You sir, are a PR and marketing genius!

How else to explain the complete absence of Samuel storylines and associated Pressures heading into Week One? You’d think that $57 million would get your name in the papers a bit more, but what with the wideout drama, Donovan McNabb’s tenth anniversary in Philly, and even the drama that Samuel himself indirectly caused (Litogate), Asante Samuel is pretty low-profile.

Shouldn’t we be demanding a certain number of interceptions, if not touchdowns, from this high-priced addition?  And wasn’t Samuel supposed to be doing weekly pressers with the other expensive veterans?  How has he managed to distract us so?

Well I’m not distracted.  This dude’s getting paid a ton of cash, his presence has gotten Drew Rosenhaus some extra attention, and the Birds’ defense needs to cause some turnovers this year.  Consider me the peanut gallery of one on Samuel.  Let’s see it, Asante.  You may be under the radar with the media, but nothing escapes the all-seeing eyes of the Philly fans.  And remember, the boos are NEVER that far away.

Posted on August 26th, 2008 at 7:10 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

no no no no

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  The national press (or at least Dr. Z) likes the Birds!  Nothing to see here, national cadre of blathermonkeys!  Look, over there, the COWBOYS!  They’re on HBO!  Also, to the right, the Giants!  They play in The Capital Of The Known Universe and are supported by a gutless and poorly mannered fanbase!  Pay attention to them!   

(I don’t care if this is only a regional cover — this does not bode well.  We care not for your adulation and praise, national blathertariat.  Kindly leave us be.)

Coming clean with Shawn Andrews
Posted on August 17th, 2008 at 12:45 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

shawn comes clean

After watching Shawn Andrews’ soul-searching press conference yesterday and the attendant coverage thereof, I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a few moments of reflection myself.  Not just about Shawn and what he’s been dealing with, but also my role in the whole affair.  Still, if Shawn can man up and talk about his issues, then certainly I can as well. 

With apologies to the very excellent Bleeding Green Nation, I’d like to step forward and admit my role in this little drama.  Those leaks to the press and the blogs that Shawn was talking about?  The outrageous rumors coming from Shawn himself?  Yeah, that was me.  The Bounty.  And it’s time to own up to it.

I guess I first knew something wasn’t right with Shawn about a month and a half ago.  We were playing Scrabulous (as an aside, Shawn really enjoyed him some Scrabulous, and we can’t discount the impact of its removal on Shawn’s mental state) and he sent me a Scrabulous chat message indicating that he’d been spending a lot of time thinking lately.  I didn’t think much of it, but resigned to keep an extra-careful eye out on Shawn’s status updates in the coming weeks.

If only I knew how bad it would get!  Shawn was updating his Facebook status two, three times a day.  Sure, it started innocently (”Shawn is feeling tired this afternoon,” “Shawn is wondering what he wants to do with himself”), but pretty soon things started to get a little scarier (”Shawn can’t believe the things they’re saying on talk radio,” “Shawn is sorry he isn’t picking up his phone, but he really doesn’t want to talk about football or see any of you ever again”).

After leaving a few unanswered messages on his Wall, I decided that I need to be more direct.  So I tried winking at him on SuperPoke.  No response.  Then I bought him a margarita.  Nothing.  Finally, I threw a sheep at him.  Full stop.  If he didn’t have time to defenestrate or fling a thong at me in reply, I knew we had some real issues.  But no, crickets.  And he’d almost totally stopped updating his Twitter! 

After a few more unreturned SuperPokes, I was close to giving up when I caught Shawn lurking on Google Chat.  Now I knew I had him, so I reached out directly.  Was he feeling good?  Not so much.  Did the team know the story?  Not really.  Was there anything I could do to help?  And that’s when I agreed to be his uncredited voice to the media.  Seeding wild rumors didn’t seem like the most prudent or mature way to deal with some tough times, but hey, who among us would say no to a friend?  

And so it began.  The anonymous message board posts.  The awkward comments on obscure blogs.  The late-night calls to WIP.  The threatening letters to Tom Coughlin (seemed a bit off-topic, but if Shawn wanted it, I couldn’t say no?).  And finally my own “mock” Shawn Andrews post a few weeks back.  In retrospect, I may have tipped my hand a bit with that one, but we thought it would be a clever way to throw suspicious parties off the case. 

I wouldn’t say I felt good about any of this, but I’ve never been one to ignore a friend in need.  So you can imagine my relief when Shawn finally spoke to the press yesterday and shared the details of his struggles — dirty laundry and all.  And now that he’s shared his story, I think we can all move forward together.  Sure, it’ll be a little tougher without Scrabulous, I always thought Shawn was cheating anyway.   

So this is “personal reasons” (talkin bout guns like I ain’t got none)
Posted on August 13th, 2008 at 9:14 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

guns.jpgI guess we know what the “personal reasons” were that got Eagles’ DT Broderick Bunkley excused from practice earlier this week: his house got burgled.

As capers go, it makes sense.  If you know where a pro athlete without a companion/ family lives and you know he’s got an away game, well, you have a pretty good shot at finding an unoccupied house full of fancy stuff.  It’s kind of like Die Hard, only significantly more petty and low-level. 

Among other details, the Daily News did a nice job detailing the arsenal of guns removed from Bunkley’s joint:

Also gone was his collection of firearms: two Desert Eagle .50-caliber handguns, an Armalite rifle, a custom-made .223-caliber rifle, a .45-caliber Glock handgun and ammunition for all of the weapons, the records show.

I count a Reid-household-esque five (5) weapons on that list.  Certainly it’s a collection that any sportsman would appreciate; he probably just bought them so that he could go hunting with Trent Cole.

Not to say I told you so (I never say it, and I don’t like people who do), but this is the sort of thing that doesn’t happen if Broderick would have just focused a bit more on building his entourage.  Bunk, no one will rob you if four of your boys from high school had been sitting on the couch sipping Miller Lites and playing XBox.  Think, man.  Think.

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