What Would Buddy Do?
Proper Birds handle Nerdbirds; woe be unto sports fans of C@L
Posted on November 3rd, 2008 at 4:11 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

coaching em up

And we’re back.

Following a sometimes soggy but always glorious weekend in the Pacific Northwest, BountyBowl is back on Eastern (Standard) Time and ready to sign. Respect must be paid to our hosts out west as well as the benefactors who hooked us up with game tickets and other entertainments — it was a great trip. Mercifully, the Eagles pitched and made sure we also got a result. We wouldn’t say it was a barnburner of a game, but, well, 26-7 is a lot better than it otherwise could have been, especially coming out of a nervy first quarter. What we noticed at Qwest Field:

About the first five minutes. Whew. Ugly start for the Birds — both flavors. You know it’s an odd game when there have been five total possessions and there are still 10 minutes and 45 seconds left in the first quarter. That’s what a 90-yard touchdown and four three-and-outs will do to you. For the uninitiated — essentially, non-NFC West opponents — the opening quarter at Qwest Field is usually pretty dicey. The crowd is always on their feet and screaming for the better part of the first quarter; I liked that the Eagles kept their poise and didn’t panic. Then the crowd settles in a bit, the initial chaos clears, and things get a bit more balanced. Good on the Eagles for not freaking out.

Lito the ostensible starter. Sheldon Brown was initially on the field for the Birds’ first defensive play, but was replaced before the snap by Lito. So that means that Lito was the starter? I think I liked him better as a backup — he bit on the pump fake like a rookie on what was really the Birds’ only horrible defensive snap.

Evil Dunavin returns! I was making jokes to my Seattle crew before the game about how Evil Dunavin had shown up for the first quarter against the Falcons, and lo — he returned for the opening frame against the Nerdbirds! I guess Dunavin must not like seafood, because he looked just plain miserable on the Jumbotron all day. Mercifully he came around after the awkward start and made a couple sweet plays dodging traffic in the pocket. Those definitely looked cool in person.

Poor L.J. Smith. Andy Reid did a nice job standing up for L.J. today (by essentially claiming that Brent Celek’s big day was possible because he doesn’t command the sort of attention that L.J. does), and for this we admire Big Red. Thankfully, this sort of game didn’t happen at home. Also, the conspiracy theorists on the team (Lito, we’re looking at you), would likely point to Celek’s big day as some sort of contract-fueled scheme to highlight the backup guy at the expense of the potentially pricey vet. I don’t think so, though. Celek was great all day — I especially liked that tight-end screen they ran in the fourth quarter. Very classy.

David Akers lives! Good for increasingly beleaguered David Akers — it isn’t kicking at Qwest, and he was rock solid. You keep your job another week!

The heavens smiled on Seattle. I don’t know how or why it happened, but we got extremely lucky with the weather for the game. It was flat-out pouring just 30 minutes before kickoff, and we were sitting in an uncovered part of the stadium. That could have been horrible. Luckily the heavens cleared and — gasp! — it was even sunny for parts of the afternoon. Remarkable!

Things my homer brain was probably imagining. Did it seem like the Seahawks DBs were getting away with a lot of contact in the first half? Or are Kevin Curtis and the CamelCased One just on the small side? (We’ll also accept “a little from column A and a little from column B” here.) Also, The Seahawks PA guy kept exaggerating the Seahawks’ success on a play-to-play basis; he just seemed to be rounding up rather aggressively. Luckily, the refs are still in charge of awarding first downs.

More shaky stuff from Dawk. Because of our collective fondness for Brian Dawkins, let’s try to forget how he whiffed on the Koren Robinson TD and focus instead on the big hit he delivered on the sideline to force an incompletion later in the first quarter. Moving on….

Things that deserve their own post. I’m starting to have dark, lonely thoughts about the Eagles’ offensive line. They just don’t seem to be capable of lining up and pushing the other guys around. And they’ve got a BIG test coming up.

And, finally, a word for our hosts. Dude, I feel ya, Seattle. These are some dark times (literally and figuratively) for sports fans in the Northwest. The Sonics are gone, the Mariners were the worst team in baseball, the Huskies just lost 56-0, and the Seahawks are having a down year. Not a ton of goodness there. I’ve already heard some of the Philly press giving you grief about leaving early, but I can’t say I blame you. Your team didn’t have it yesterday, and it’s not like better days are coming soon.

For the most part (the exception being the drunk jackass in the row in front of us), the Seahawk fans were a chill bunch — folks in our row even leant us a towel to wipe down our seats. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t take any abuse, but it sure subsided after the first quarter. Thank you kindly for hosting us in your stadium and proving that we can all watch sports together without getting too upset about things.

BountyBowl on the road: your Pacific Northwest travel guide (Part 3) + game prediction
Posted on November 1st, 2008 at 9:26 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Geez, did I ever pick the wrong weekend to go on a roadtrip with the Birds.  The parade photos from the 2-1-5 looked appropriately glorious.  Sorry to have missed it.

In the interim, merry has been made in the Pacific Northwest.  I’m happy to say that my blogging has suffered due to travel — lots of fun to be had, not so much time at the puter.  I’ve barely even had time to stalk the Eagles at the team hotel!  And with an early start planned for tomorrow (PST gets you up early for football — especially if you’ve got elaborate pre-game plans), well, I can’t imagine that’s going to change (nor should it!).

With that in mind, I figured it’s probably best to file a game prediction this evening.  Before the season started, I assumed the Eagles would lose this game — long flight, traditionally tough opponent, and Holmgren seems to own his Paduwan (did I spell that right?) over the past few seasons.  Quite a bit has changed since then, mostly relating to the Nerdbirds getting hit by wave after wave of badness.  While I still haven’t gotten a good answer in re: “I get why the offense is crap this year, but shouldn’t the defense be better,” no one out here has insisted that this team is actually better than their record.  Lots of empty stares and shakes of heads.  This is a game and an opponent for the taking.  The Birds need to win this game if they expect to be taken seriously.  I don’t think it’ll be easy (it rarely is), but I think the Eagles can make this happen a long way from home: Eagles 24, Nerdbirds 13.

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.)

Presence of middle linebacker in Nerdbird lineup ends Philly QB controversy
Posted on December 3rd, 2007 at 7:04 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

throw them to the guys in green
Oh right, so I guess there won’t be a miracle division championship/ playoff berth this season. A week after throwing three picks and losing to the Pats on the road (but covering the outrageously generous spread), A.J. Feeley threw four picks and lost to the Nerdbirds at home. After braying for Feeley for the past few days, even the most devout Dunavivn haters will be begging 5 to come back for the Giants.

No matter, though. The Birds’ problems this season (and next) are bigger than the quarterback position. But that’s another post for another time. My take on the Nerdbirds - RIGHTEOUS BIRDS game:
(Read the rest of this story.)

Nerdbirds - Righteous Birds Preview
Posted on December 2nd, 2007 at 10:43 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Thanksgiving, Philly, NYC, London, Seattle 083
I find it completely and wholly remarkable that Week 13 will mark the first game all season that I will be able to watch live on my television at my house in Seattle. The absence of DirecTV here in Queen Anne plus my outrageous travel schedule has meant that even though I’ve actually attended four NFL games this season, I haven’t ever happened to be in C@L when the Birds played on of their national games.

I’m not unexcited about this morning’s affair.

I’m admittedly under the weather and have a bit of the Typhoid Mary thing going, but that hasn’t stopped me from assembling a couple giant oversized sandwiches and inviting some locals to the ranch to watch the game. Since I live out here, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on the Nerdbirds.

Some quick hits about the game (and the Nerdbirds more generally):
(Read the rest of this story.)

And what if Kevin Kolb is Alex Smith? WHAT THEN???
Posted on November 13th, 2007 at 3:07 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

he actually wears the clown hat in his press conferencesAttended a wholly unremarkable imitation NFL football game at Qwest Field last night. The hometown Nerdbirds prevailed, but all I noticed was just how absolutely terrible the 49ers were.

I suppose you can’t expect you’re going to play well just days after the coach’s Dad (and franchise icon) passes away, but the Niners just didn’t look like they had enough to compete. I suppose Nate Clements played okay, and Frank Gore had a couple nice runs, but past that, there just wasn’t much there. I kept an eye on Michael Lewis, but he was decent at best — certainly nothing extraordinary.

The biggest takeaway for me was just how hopeless Alex Smith looked at quarterback. You know things aren’t too rosy when your coach pulls you in favor of a wide receiver on third-and-four inside your own ten. They might call it an innovative strategy in a tight situation, but it sure looked like a desperation/ no-confidence-in-the-starter move to me.

(Read the rest of this story.)

Live from Qwest Field: For Who? For What?
Posted on October 17th, 2007 at 10:12 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

FOR WHO? FOR WHAT?

I may have been the only one in my section (and maybe the whole stadium) that knew to heap disdain on this fellow for sporting his Ricky Watters shirt. For who, Ricky? For what, misguided fan?

Still, it’d be disingenuous to pretend that we weren’t all super-excited when the Birds signed Watters way back when. We all thought we needed the Marquee Feature Back (this bled into the Ricky Williams obsession at the ‘99 draft). Wow. Did we not get it even a little bit. The lesson here (as always) is that you cannot trust the braying masses of Negadelphia. Just don’t listen to us. At all.

Also, I’d like partial credit for being a week ahead of the curve on the Nerdbirds (Seahawks) sucking. These guys are a mess; they make the Eagles look talented and composed by comparison. At least the fans on Sunday night had the good taste to actually boo the home team, though most of the vitriol seemed unfairly focused on Shaun Alexander.

(Read the rest of this story.)

Why things aren’t actually so bad after all (save for the lack of wins)
Posted on October 7th, 2007 at 9:10 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

hawks fans claim that the defense wasnt actually that badToday was the first day I’d been in C@L (pronounced, “Seattle”) for a football Sunday. (I was in Jersey getting engaged for week 1, in Europe at the airport for week 2, and actually in attendance at the Linc and Meadowlands, respectively, the past two weeks.)

Whilst I’m sure you’d all be thrilled to hear the details of my recent travel adventures (I slept in 10 different beds in four countries and four U.S. states in the month of September), the relevant details in re: my return to C@L are as follows: this is the first week that I actually saw what the rest of the NFL looks like. That is, this is the first week I watched football at a bar with 23 TVs (though since it’s Left Coast you have to be at said bar by quarter of ten at the latest). Let me tell you what I learned about the rest of the NFL, and especially the NFC:

(Read the rest of this story.)

And sometimes I go to random NFL games because I live in C@L
Posted on August 31st, 2007 at 12:09 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

the view from my extremely cushy box

Whilst most of my blogging efforts here on BountyBowl will be squarely focused on the goings-on surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles, the truth is that I don’t live in Philadelphia. Not even close. Thanks to the electric internets, you can actually follow the team pretty thoroughly from afar. But if you want to go see live action, you need to settle for the local (non-Eagle) teams.

Thus do I attend a couple C@L Nerdbird (Seattle Seahawks) games each season. I caught their final preseason game last night, against the Raiders. Not too too much to report, but I do have a couple quick hits:

(Read the rest of this story.)