Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Food on My Mind

As I'm sure you are all aware, unless you live in Russia or something, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is pretty much the perfect holiday because it centers completely around eating and football, two of my favorite things on the planet earth.

And seeing as Thanksgiving is mainly about food, and I have that sweet, sweet Thanksgiving feast on my mind, I've decided to display the greatest food commercial in the history of mankind, even if it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

Try getting that out of your head the rest of the year.

Stephen Curry Took 3 Shots, Scored 0 Points

Last night, as I watching UNC play, I saw that Stephen Curry was being held in check by Loyola (Md.), scoring no points in the first half. I thought nothing of it because Davidson was still up big.

When I heard he was shut out for the game, I was surprised. I mean, the kid can score with the best of them. Then I saw he only had 3 shots, and I was puzzled. Now I know why:

So, here’s an approach to stop super-duper Davidson star Stephen Curry: Just put two defenders on him. And not just put two defenders on him for a few possessions, double-teaming when you see fit. Put two dudes on him. The entire game.

Why, that’s what Loyola (Md.) tried last night against him. And it worked quite well, as they limited him to zero points on 0-of-3 shooting. Um yeah, they also lost by 30.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop told shortly after the victory. “From the time the ball entered the court, there were two guys on him and they didn’t leave him the entire game.”

“I felt like I was dreaming,” Curry added. “It was the weirdest thing ever.”

[ ... ]

Most players would have called it a nightmare instead of a dream. Not Curry.

Instead of trying to force shots and get his numbers, Curry decided to stand in the corner and take the two defenders with him, allowing his teammates to play four-on-three the entire game.

“I had the best seat in the house,” Curry said.

So is that a Block and an Assist?

Skeets has some LeBron love today and for good reason. Check out this block by King James.

Seriously, does he get a block and an assist on that? He should. That's just crazy.

Oh, and Skeets also offers up the latest LeBron commercial, which is pretty cool.

A Lot to be Thankful For

Now that the Phillies have ended the drought and reversed the curse, I'm taking a new approach this holiday season. I'm shedding the Negadelphia approach and taking a positive outlook. Instead of using this holiday season as a distraction from my sports-related frustration and disappointment like I typically would, I'll use it to reflect on, appreciate, and celebrate that which is good in our lives.

Sure, we still have a lot to bitch about. Our beloved Eagles are in shambles, an absolute mess. They are on the borderline of being a laughing stock. Literally. I spent last Sunday afternoon with the Reverend and some other friends watching yet another pitiful performance by our Birds, and there were moments where we actually broke out laughing at what we were seeing. Beyond that, the Sixers and Flyers are wildly inconsistent, and performing somewhat under expectations that were heightened by the surprising playoff runs made by both teams last year. But enough of that stuff.

Let's count our blessings. The Phillies are world champions. World Fucking Champions, some might say. For the first time in a generation, we are home to a world champion. Just take a moment to take that in. That in itself is enough to cover up all the frustrations of the year.

But it doesn't stop there. Penn State just completed a phenomenal regular season, going 11-1, winning the Big Ten, and earning a spot in the Rose Bowl. They were a field goal away from playing in the national championship game. Beyond the great season, their second 11-1 season in the last 4 years, we also can appreciate the resurgence of the program and the fact that it was done on Joe Pa's watch and we can flip the bird to all them Joe Pa haters out there.

And there's more. I mentioned the Sixers and the Flyers and their struggles earlier in the post. Despite the struggles they are going through right now, they are both young, exciting teams that appear to be on the right track. Perhaps they will be giving us more to be thankful for in the near future.

One more team to mention, a team I have to mention or my dad would be greatly disappointed with me. And that is the basketball team from out on the Main Line. Coach Jay Wright has been building a strong program at Villanova. They have been consistently making the Sweet 16 and have been bringing in strong recruiting classes year after year. I don't know how good they will be, but there will be some good basketball getting played on the Main Line for the foreseeable future.

So sit back, reflect on the Phillies, dream about the potential of the Flyers and Sixers, appreciate that which we have to be thankful for, and enjoy your turkey. Oh yeah, and pray for the Eagles.

Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery are Out of Control

Last night was a fantastic night for college basketball. The Maui Invitational set the stage for a tremendous matchup between No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Notre Dame in the first game. If you didn't watch it, at least the end of it, you missed a hell of a show.

First off, I'd like to state that Luke Harangody is the ugliest human being alive. If you root for him, you should be shot. I mean, just look at the guy. He looks a little … slow. But I'll tell you what, the kid can ball. Even if it is extremely ugly to look at it, just like his face. I really hate Notre Dame more and more every day. I blame Charlie Weis.

Oh hey, how'd that Syracuse game work for you, Charlie? Yeah, fuck you!

But I digress. Notre Dame showed it is deserving of its high ranking, and Texas put up on heck of a fight. The Irish couldn't make any free throws, and A.J. Abrams took advantage. Abrams had been awful all game long, just not able to knock down his shot. But then, with time running out, he got hot. Real hot. And he brought Texas within 1.

Jay Bilas, who is about the only Dukie on earth I can stand, was going wild trying to figure out why Notre Dame wasn't fouling Abrams before he could shoot, seeing as ND had two fouls to give. It was an extremely logical question, and the only answer is that Mike Brey forgot to tell his team they had fouls to give. That oversight almost cost the Irish.

After Harangody missed two free throws that would have made it a 3-point game with 3 seconds left, Abrams launched a three-quarter court shot that came up just short. It looked good out of his hands, and honestly, everyone, including Abrams, thought it went in. But it didn't. Notre Dame escaped to move on to the final.

As entertaining as that game was, and trust me, it was very entertaining, the banter between Jay Bilas, Bill Raftery, Sean McDonough and Jimmy Dykes—and especially between Bilas and Raftery—was equally as entertaining.

Those two were having a great time, making fun of each other and arguing all game. It was a very fun broadcast.

And lucky for me, they were pulling double duty for the second game between North Carolina and Oregon.

Now, let me get this out of the way. I'm a UNC fan. I love virtually all the players who go there, and I love watching them on national television. But I have to say, even as a Tar Heels fan, the praise of Tyler Hansbrough is so over the top it's maddening. In the pregame, Bilas and Raftery were drooling all over him. I get it. He's the reigning National Player of the Year. He works hard. He's bright. He's a great teammate. Blah, blah, blah.

But man, do they love to drive that point home. "Look at his face!" "Look how intense he is!" And at one point, Raftery actually said, "How does Mark Gottfried (Alabama's coach) tell his guys they're going to get outworked by Tyler Hansbrough? They won't believe it until they see it." How about this? He won't tell them that, because that is the most insanely idiotic statement ever uttered. I know Hanbrough is relentless, but is he really going to work harder than the kids he's playing? That's an insult to those other kids. Plus, what coach on earth would say, "Well, no use in trying tonight, fellas, because Tyler's going to work harder than you." Bullshit. Get off the guy's jock for two seconds. Oh yeah, and does UNC even play Alabama? No.

Anyway, other than that, this crew is great. It's just the national media as a whole. Give the Tyler love a break. Just for a second. Thanks.

Now on to the "game." See, I put it in quotes because this wasn't a game at all. UNC dismantled Oregon, just like they have dismantled everyone up until this point.

And while Hansbrough was back out on the court and impressive (16 points, 12-14 from the line), two guys stood out above the rest: Danny Green and Ed Davis.

Danny Green is just a beast. He's my favorite player on this squad—Mr. Do It All. Last night, he was on fire in the first half, nailing three after three, and the man can block shots as well as anyone in the nation, despite being essentially a small forward. Some of his blocks where just ridiculous last night.

He finished with a game-high 21 points on 8 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 8 from three, and he added 8 boards, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Simply put, he was the best player on the floor. I love me some Danny Green.

And while Green is my favorite player and I have tons of love for Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson and Deon Thompson, the freshman Ed Davis is quickly becoming my second favorite Tar Heel. With Tyler Zeller going down for the year, Davis was already going to be asked to see more minutes. And last night, Deon Thompson got himself in some foul trouble, meaning the frosh had to play more than usual.

Boy did he respond. Davis was all over the court, running like a gazelle, defending the rim and scoring consistently. He crashed the boards hard, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds, and added a steal, a block and 11 points. He looked like a grizzled veteran out there, not a first-year college player. Ed Davis is no joke.

And neither are the Tar Heels. Essentially, they run the break better than most NBA teams, and with good reason—they have a roster full of NBA-caliber players. Between Thompson, Hansbrough and Davis up front, Green, Ellington, Lawson, Bobby Frasor, Larry Drew and Will Graves, they go nine deep, meaning they can run full speed the entire game. If their defense keeps up the way it has early on, this team will be tough for anyone to beat. And that's all without their top recruit, Tyler Zeller.

Basically, watch out for the Tar Heels. It should be a great game taking on the Irish in the final.

quick recommendation

Go pick up the Phillies World Series DVD. I assume anyone reading this blog would be thinking about making this purchase anyway, but the DVD exceeded my expectations. The DVD does a great job of capturing the tone of the season as well as hitting on key moments. There is individual coverage of each postseason game. It contains great interviews, behind the scenes coverage, and extras. And most importantly, it captures the emotions of the sweet, sweet October we all just had the joy of experiencing. Go pick it up and relive this great season whenever you want. And enjoy it. After all, we deserve it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stinking Linking

I gotta be honest with you people, I've completely checked out for the week. I'm ready for the Thanksgiving holiday, and there's still another whole day of work. Man, this is the slowest three-day week ever. Wait, what? I have to work on Friday? What the fuck is that shit? Where am I, communist China? Cocky-pop.

Anyway, yesterday on my ride home on the subway, I saw a bunch of black kids sprinting down the platform and up the stairs at the Race-Vine stop. A few seconds later, a middle-aged white guy started "sprinting" after them. I would really like to know what happened there. Unfortunately, I don't know the outcome. Now, onto the links …

-Les Bowen puts in his two cents on the whole Donovan benching business and brings the funny in his notes:

* Good to see Greg Lewis activated again for another stupid special-teams penalty, instead of Lorenzo Booker, which would have allowed Brian Westbrook to rest a little down the stretch. Hey, it's not like Westbrook is going to have to play again in a few days or anything.

* Shawn Andrews must be fighting extradition from California. The latest word is a return sometime this week, more than a month after back surgery. Yet the Birds aren't about to put Andrews on IR and use that roster spot for, say, a running back. Why would you do that?

-Domo does another fabulous job deciphering Andy Reid:

On whether the short week between games played into his decision to start McNabb against Arizona:
What Andy said: ``No.’’
What Andy meant: ``Yes.’’

-Ed Reed thinks Andy is out of his mind for benching McNabb:

“After the game I asked [Donovan] because I couldn’t believe it,” Reed said. “You know I was like, ‘Are you hurt?’ And he was like, ‘No.’ So for them to take a quarterback of his caliber and what he’s done for that organization . . . you know that’s a hell of a move.

“That’s like taking Tom Brady out without having knee surgery. He’s been to the Super Bowl, he’s been to NFC championships. You can’t put one particular game on one particular player, I mean even if he’s in a drought it’s tough to say, but he’s throwing the ball 50, almost 60 times a game. You’re asking him to produce, now come on, you’ve got to have a running game in this league, you have to have some sort of running game to help your passing game and vice versa. So you know he might be going through a little slump, but that’s no reason, after all the years he’s put in to just give up on a guy.”

It didn't hurt that Reed did this to the guy who replaced McNabb:

-Happy birthday, Donovan. While you will surely get killed by all the haters for your subpar season, I will always remember you fondly. You are the greatest quarterback in franchise history, and that will become painfully obvious next year when you are wearing another uniform. Go get yourself a Super Bowl ring, wherever that may be. You've earned it.

-Are the Sixers dancers the hottest of them all?

I don't know, but they sure are hot enough.

-Finally, Big Daddy Balls Drew tackles those insufferable Giants fans:

Fuck you, Giant fans. You iceball-throwing, chest-painting, mouth-breathing pizza slice folders. Die.

It's truly brilliant writing. Go check it out.

-An update on Flyers 2007 first round draft pick James vanRiemsdyk.


-Ron Artest is video blogging.

-I'm no fan of Michigan State, but this is funny:

Sports By Brooks found audio of Michigan State's Mark Dantonio ripping the Wolverines after his Spartans were drilled at Penn State:

"Dantonio quickly brushed off questions about being embarrassed with his team with the retort, '… embarrassing would have been to come into this game at 3-9.' "

And now, back to work. For a minute anyway.

Leave the computers out of it

BCS? BS is more like it. With ESPN's new deal to broadcast the BCS games minus the Rose Bowl through at least 2014 there won't be any sort of playoff in college football in the near future, which causes me to feel all the more need to rant about it. I just don't get it. The coaches hate it. The fans hate it. Does anyone know how the thing really even works? I mean can anyone find me someone to explain to me how it works and why it works that way? USC beat Washington 56-0 and DROPPED 2 spots. How does that make sense?

"Its unfortunate. No one likes to do it. I think that's why more and more of us say, 'Hey, let's find a way to get a playoff in place so that we don't have to do that.'" That is Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops in reference to the campaigning that coaches of the top teams feel the need to do at this time of year in the current system.

"The feeling you have to campaign like that just doesn't feel right with me at all. I don't like it. It just plays to the nature of the whole system. You're trying to influence people on their choice as opposed to going out and playing." That is USC coach Pete Carroll, an advocate for a playoff system, despite the fact that his Trojans have had a great deal of success in the current system. Joe Paterno, who four times has coached the Nittany Lions to an undefeated season without a national championship to show for it (all in the old system), doesn't care for the new way of doing things. He joked a few weeks ago that he doesn't even know what it's called.

The current system leaves at least a handful of teams feeling cheated at the end of the season. It leaves coaches spending the last few weeks of the season acting more like a politician than a coach. It takes the attention away from the field. Granted, the old system of using the human polls to determine the champion was incompetent itself (see 1994 and undefeated Penn State failing to receive even a share of the title), so the current BCS system may have been a step in the right direction, but it's time to take that next step. Year after year of confusion, contention, and disappointment have left college football fans wanting more. Let the champion be determined on the field, not by a bunch of computers somewhere. The fans and the game of college football deserve better. The BCS gives us A champion, but how often has it given us THE champion?

The Balls on the Dude

I have to tell you, it's great having a Philadelphia boy running the largest sports blog in the world, because he always seems to be interested in entertaining the Philadelphia faithful when he can.

The Balls stumbled across another Lenny Dykstra interview, this time after a court hearing.

Yesterday, Dykstra appeared in a Manhattan courtroom to fight over $139,000 owed to him by a Manhattan accounting firm. Luckily, some one stuck a tape recorder in his face after it ended:

• [They] folded like Mitch Williams in the ninth," Dykstra said about the firm that sued him as he made reference to a former Phillie teammate who served the winning homer to the Blue Jays' Joe Carter in the '93 World Series. "There was no case. There was nothing."

Making fun of Mitch Williams, just another reason I love Lenny.

The 81-Year-Old Coach of the Year

Joe Paterno was named Big 10 Coach of the Year last night, becoming just the third three-time winner in league history.

Ten Penn Staters made first team: Daryll Clark, Derrick Williams, A.Q. Shipley, Rich Ohrnberger, Gerald Cadogen and Kevin Kelly on offense; Aaron Maybin, Jared Odrick, Navorro Bowman and Anthony Scirrotto on defense.

Not bad for a team and a coach that people keep expecting to fail. Oh yes, and ESPN's Adam Rittenberg says Ohio State's James Laurinitis didn't deserve Big 10 Defensive Player of the year:

James Laurinaitis is a future College Football Hall of Famer and a sure-fire first-round NFL draft pick. He's an excellent football player. He should not have been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. That award should have gone to Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin. No one else is really in the discussion. Maybin was flat-out dominant this season. I don't care if he's just a sophomore. Base the award on merit, not on reputation or name recognition or having a nice back story.

Don't go Aaron. Don't go.

Jeff Carter, So Hot Right Now

Don't look now, but the Philadelphia Flyers are officially one of the hottest teams in the league. Last night, they outlasted the Dallas Stars to win their 5th straight game and currently sit at 10-6-4 on the season. Not too shabby considering the rash of injuries the Flyers have suffered early on.

Certainly, this team is coming around thanks to a little more stability on defense, better play in the net by Martin Biron, the fast start from Simon Gagne and the all-around play of Mike Richards, among others. But the main reason the Flyers are as dangerous as ever right now is because of Jeff Carter.

No player in the NHL has been more lethal with the puck than Carter. Last night, he scored his 15th goal of the young season, placing him tied for the NHL lead along with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek. Right now, there is no one hotter than Jeff Carter.

When Mike Richards went down last season to injury, the Flyers desperately needed someone to step up. That's when Carter stepped his game up and became the player the Flyers always knew he would become. The question was, when Richards returns, will Carter keep this up? He answered that with an emphatic yes down the stretch and into the postseason.

The Flyers made resigning Carter their No. 1 priority this offseason with good reason, but the question still remained as to whether or not he could carry over his success from the second half of last year. Question answered. This season, Carter has been quite possibly the best player on the Flyers. Certainly, Richards and Gagne are in the equation there, and a guy like Mike Knuble (who scored twice last night including the game winner) is key, but Carter has been doing it on both ends all year.

He kills penalties. He often goes against the other team's top forwards. And, oh yeah, he can shoot the puck like nobody's business. It is truly a marvel to watch Carter with the puck. He'll shoot it from anywhere, any time, and usually put it in a damn good spot. His release is lightning quick and his wrist shot heavy.

And this year, he's risen his game to join the elite status of players in the NHL. All season long, no matter who John Stevens has put on his line, the Carter line has been the most consistent for Philadelphia. He makes others around him better, whether it's Scottie Upshall, Andreas Nodl or Scott Hartnell. If you haven't had a chance to really watch Carter play, do yourself a favor and do so. The way he's playing right now, there isn't a more impressive hockey player in the world. That's why he's tops in the league in goals and destined for his first All-Star birth.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Even Merril Hoge Knows Andy Is Bad at Coaching

Believe me, I'm as surprised as anyone that Merril Hoge actually makes sense in this video, but the guy hit the nail on the head. When you have a struggling quarterback, or a young quarterback playing against a stingy defense, why don't even try to establish the run at all? Certainly, only having two running backs active doesn't help, especially when one gets hurt and lost for the game and the other is already severely banged up. But again, that's on the coach, too.

Ugh. Who would have guessed the Eagles could be this discouragingly hard to watch? But keep on berating organizations that actually win Super Bowls while you just continue to talk about winning them, Joe Banner. This entire management team makes me sick.

Daryll Clark, Your Big 10 POW

It wasn't long ago that I was calling for Daryll Clark's head. After all, Penn State's senior junior (Clark was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA) quarterback played horrible against Ohio State before getting concussed and played equally shitty against Iowa.

Truth be told, Clark had a phenomenal year for a first-year starter, and Saturday was his best game yet. His efforts did not go unnoticed, as Clark was named Big 10 Player of the Week for his 341-yard, 5 touchdown day (4 passing, 1 rushing).

Clark finished the regular season with 2,319 yards through the air, 17 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. He completed 60 percent of his passes and added the running dimension that was absent the last two years with Anthony Morelli under center. He finished third on the team in rushing with 362 yards behind Evan Royster (1,202) and Stephfon Green (521). He also added nine rushing touchdowns, second on the team only to Royster's 12.

When Clark was the named the starter back in August, I was not happy. I thought with this team, three talented senior wide receivers not to mention the receiving talent of Andrew Quarless (bust), Pat Devlin should have been the guy. He's a pocket passer known for his accuracy and his arm. Daryll Clark's passing acumen was unknown to fans, seeing as he was rarely asked to do anything but run when he spelled Morelli. Turns out, I was dead wrong. Even when I got on Clark for his pitiful games at OSU and Iowa, it was clear Daryll Clark was the right choice. He had a great year, brought the Nittany Lions within a game of playing for the National Championship.

Just imagine if Clark had been given the opportunity to win the starting job last season, when it was evident heading in that Anthony Morelli was nothing more than a big-armed ball of suck. With a full year under his belt heading into this season, perhaps the Nittany Lions would be getting ready to take on Florida. Or Oklahoma. Or Texas. Or Alabama. Or whoever the computers deem worthy.

Alas, that wasn't the case. But what should not be overlooked, especially by assholes like myself who like to complain about bad games, is that Penn State won the Big 10 for the third time ever due in large part to the play of Daryll Clark. They are playing in the Rose Bowl thanks in large part to Daryll Clark. And Penn State will be considered a favorite in the Big 10 next year—even with the departure of its three top wide receivers, four of its five starting offensive linemen, its fullback, its starting safeties, a starting corner, a starting linebacker and a (formerly) starting defensive end—because of Daryll Clark.

Congrats on the POW, Daryll. Now get ready to destroy some PAC-10 ass in Pasadena.


I love Vince Carter. I really do. People bash the guy for being moody, only playing when he wants and the list goes on and on. Whatever. Vince is a freak of nature and has had quite a few clutch performances in his life. Plus, he's a dunking machine.

On Saturday, Vince showed he still has some game taking on his former team north of the border.

Do your thing, Vince.

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

Just watch this:

Coming Up Roses and Pushing Up Daisies

Friday night, the journey began. Arkansas Fred and I embarked on our final trip out to State College for the 2008 season, and let's just say the night ended with Arkansas Fred puking on my car. I'm not really sure what type of omen that was, but one thing was for certain, it was colder than a witch's tit on Saturday.

We entered Beaver Stadium an hour before kickoff, in time to watch the seniors warm up one final time. And with Penn State controlling its own destiny for the Big Ten title, with only Michigan State in its way, the captain, the leader, the man who put Penn State back on the map, Derrick Williams, was fired up. During the team stretch, Williams was going nuts, yelling, screaming, firing up his teammates, knowing this was his final time playing in Beaver Stadium, in front of his fans, with a chance to win his second Big 10 championship.

Upon laying my eyes on D-Will, one thing was for certain: Penn State was going to win. There would be no letdown, no hanging of heads. These Nittany Lions were headed to the Rose Bowl, and there was nothing the Spartans could do about it. In the freezing cold, in the snow, with fans unable to feel their feet, Penn State made all 110,000-plus in attendance feel warm inside.

Daryll Clark returned to his early season form. And the seniors had big days in their final home game. After underclassman Graham Zug opened the scoring on a 5-yard TD pass from Clark, Dan Lawlor got the seniors rolling with a 4-yard TD run. The triplets, Jordan Norwood, Derrick Williams and Deon Butler, had huge days. Norwood led them all in receptions with 5 for 127 yards. Butler was amazing, catching three balls for three touchdowns and 133 yards, including a 70-yarder and 59-yarder. And D-Will, as fired up as ever, caught 4 balls for 51 yards including a 32-yard touchdown.

Daryll Clark had his most impressive game to date, torching the MSU defense for 341 yards and 4 scores. And the defense was dominant, holding Javon Ringer in check all game long. Everyone got in on the act. Lydell Sargeant picked off a pass in his final home game, as Navorro Bowman lit up Brian Hoyer on a gadget play by Michigan State that did not work one bit. I thought Hoyer was dead.

Ånd there were some really great moments in the game, from the seniors chanting, "We want Paul," and getting their wish as senior quarterback Paul Cianciolo entered the game late, to Penn State continuing to roll up the points, throwing bombs even as Pat Devlin entered in the second half, to the timeouts for Penn State to take out its seniors, who received tremendous ovations from the fans, to Michigan State showing its class by using all of its timeouts at the end of a blowout game in the freezing cold just to make everyone suffer a little more. You stay class, Michigan State.

It was a glorious day. Penn State is heading to Pasadena. Joe Paterno isn't going anywhere. Penn State is back. And we can thank all the seniors for that, especially Derrick Williams. Now let's hope Oregon State can find a way to lose, so we can see the Lions topple USC in their own backyard.

After a victory celebration that consisted of food rather than alcohol, Arkansas Fred and I drove back to Philadelphia in time to watch the Eagles on Sunday. With a bunch of friends and the two of us headed to the Sixers game at 5, we all watched the Eagles lay another egg, this time in Baltimore, at my house.

Really, there isn't much I can say about that game. It was comically bad. McNabb was comically bad. Kolb was comically bad. Andy Reid was comically bad. There was a blocked punt, 5 turnovers, and a 108-yard interception return for a touchdown. There was no offense, really, and the Eagles officially were left for dead. And the worst part about the entire thing is that Andy Reid looked more lost than he did even last week.

He benched a pitiful McNabb without even having the guts to tell him himself. He dressed just two actual running backs, one of which got hurt, the other who is playing hurt. Basically, every decision Andy Reid has made since the Super Bowl year, except signing Jeff Garcia as a backup, has been wrong. Every personnel decision, every game time decision, hell, even every clock management decision.

Two things have become entirely too clear this season: the Donovan McNabb era in Philadelphia is over (he'll probably go win a Super Bowl in his native Chicago), and Andy Reid has lost his ability to lead. You can point to his record, his playoff births, his division championships, and they all have merit. They surely do. Andy Reid has done a masterful job over the years, reviving a franchise that was brutally beaten and left for dead by Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes. But that run is over.

Since 2005, the Eagles have been mediocre at best. They have been regressing while the teams around them have caught up and surpassed them. This year, they look incompetent, Reid looks incompetent. That's not to say Andy couldn't go somewhere else and be successful. But it won't happen here, where he has become stale and delusional. The NFL is a league based around what have you done for me lately, and lately, the Eagles under Reid's coaching and personnel decisions have done jack shit. They're awful. And I think a 3 or 4 year window to get back is more than enough time to determine that it just isn't working anymore. It's about winning now, or the very near future, and Reid just hasn't been able to give this team enough of a chance to win for a few seasons now. Time is up.

Unfortunately for us, time probably isn't up in Jeff Lurie's mind.

But luckily for me, I had a chance to get my mind off the Birds as we attended the Sixers. Thanks to Joltin Joe's boss, we scored some pretty sweet seats to see the 76ers take on Golden State. And it was a fun game to watch.

Sammy Dalembert came out hustling his ass off in the first quarter, crashing the boards and blocking shots. And that set the tone.

Andre Iguodala wasn't forcing shots, Andre Miller was doing his thing, and Elton Brand was earning his paycheck. The Sixers were having their way with the Warriors and built up a 57-35 lead at halftime. Meanwhile, we had a great view of the Sixers dancers and the upgrade couch, and let me tell you something, those young ladies are all right.

In the second half, the Sixers couldn't score at all much of the way, and Golden State made run. Thankfully, Thaddeus Young hit a couple big shots, and the Sixers played some strong defense down the stretch to hold on. It was a nice win.

But the most entertaining part of the night, besides the sweet Iguodala dunks and the freakish athleticism of Anthony Randolph, was this thug-wannabe jackass trying to pick fights with everyone. His friend did not have his back at all. This guy was wearing a Rowan sweatshirt and a winter hat (indoors, mind you), was drunk out of his mind, and was inexplicably rooting for Golden State when the Warriors made their comeback, while his friend was wearing an Eagles hat. Odd.

Either way, this clown seemed to have no idea what basketball was about. He kept signaling, in an odd fashion, what seemed to be a first down sign each time Golden State did something positive. He also stood up a lot and turned around. It was curious to say the least.

Thankfully, the Sixers pulled it out, otherwise someone may have actually jumped the moron, instead of just laughing at him. Fun times. Fun times.

Anyway, it was overall a pretty good weekend. I couldn't have really asked for anything more out of Penn State against Michigan State, and watching the Sixers play pretty well in person was fun as always. I expected the Eagles to lose, so it didn't hurt as bad as it could have. And tonight, we can get right back at it with the Flyers and Sixers in action.

Sunday, November 23, 2008



Please continue your boneheaded decisions for the next 5 weeks, and then leave town never to return. You are a disgrace. You threw in the towel during halftime of a 10-7 game, and didn't have the balls to tell your quarterback to his face. This isn't benching T.O, this is benching the QB that you personally chose to lead your team 10 years ago and have stuck by (frustratingly so) regardless of his play. I think he has sucked, but you did nothing for your team nor Donovan by doing it when you did. The postgame press conference afterwards was high comedy- your usual non-answers took special meaning, as today you truly didn't have any. You had no clue what had just happened on the field, Andy. NO fucking clue. Hopefully Jeff Lurie will have the balls (I doubt it) to tell you to your face that you're fired, because if you are in the organization in any capacity next year, I will find it very hard to support it.

Thanks for the NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl appearance and all, but it is now time for you to go. Out of respect for the fact that you are also a human being, I wish you and Donovan luck in your future endeavors. This may be physically impossible, but try not to let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Let's go Phils

Friday, November 21, 2008

Brandon Jennings: Adjusting to Life Abroad

By now, you should be well aware that I'm a HUGE fan of Brandon Jennings. (Don't believe me, check out my posts on him here, here, here, here and here.)

Well, Chris Broussard has a story over at ESPN on Jennings adjusting to live overseas. It's a great read with some really cool things in it that make me love Jennings even more, like being mentored by Villanova star Allan Ray and watching Allen Iverson clips:

After practice, Allan Ray, the former Villanova star who is in his second year with Virtus Roma, gave Jennings a pep talk. Ray got kicked out of several practices last season. "When you're The Man in high school, you can do whatever you want," Jennings says despondently. "This is something new for me, especially playing for a coach who's real controlling and doesn't take no stuff."


His idea of a good time is playing PS3 with Terrence, texting friends on his iPhone, watching He Got Game or Madea on his new Mac or studying idol Allen Iverson's 48-point performance in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals on YouTube, which—no joke—he does at least once a day.

And the kid is getting love all over the place:

Jennings is already measuring up to Europe's best. Says Serb Filip Covic, who has also faced 18-year-old Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio: "Ricky's a great player, but Brandon is better."


"Playing in Europe with grown men who are better than him is going to help him mature as a player," says an NBA GM who is being kept apprised about Jennings by overseas scouts. "And I can tell you this already: He's a definite lottery pick in '09."

Sure, It's No NCAA Championship, but the Rose Bowl Would Be Nice

Coming into the season, who honestly believed Penn State had a real shot at being a contender for the National Championship? The answer—no one. Not you. Not me. And certainly not the BCS. But, as they say, that's why they play the games.

The media did its best to knock Joe Paterno down, but the old coach went out and had his team shock the world … for a few weeks anyway.

He got up from the turf, and his Nittany Lions went out to steamroll everyone in their path in the early season. And after walking into the Horseshoe and coming away as victors, Penn State climbed the national ranks, getting as high as third. Suddenly, Penn State was crashing the BCS. And while a misstep in Iowa cost Paterno, and Derrick Williams and company, for that matter, a chance to shove it up ESPN's ass, this has been a heck of a good year.

Going into tomorrow's game, Penn State controls its own fate as to whether or not it finishes the season at the Big 10 champs. A victory at home against Michigan State would secure Penn State a trip to the Rose Bowl, and provide the Nittany Lions their second Big 10 title in four years.

Not bad for a team and a coach that were left for dead by the media and (some) fans not too long ago. After all, Penn State had gone 5-6 in 2001 to start a tumultuous slide. Sure, the Lions finished 9-4 in 2002 (my freshman year), led by Larry Johnson rushing for 2,000 yards and the team having a wealth of NFL players—Jimmy Kennedy, Anthony Adams, Bryant Johnson, Brian Scott, LJ to name just a few—but that team was embarrassed in its bowl game, and the slide continued.

During my sophomore year, Penn State went 3-9. It was the worst season ever, or so I thought. The following year, Penn State finished 4-7, but played the most horrible game in the history of sports, losing at home to Iowa 6-4. Sure, Penn State had a tremendous player in Paul Posluszny, but all hope seemed lost for this program.

And then, something funny happened. The top recruit in the nation, Derrick Williams, decided to come to Penn State. He wanted to restore the tradition at a once-vaunted program. And his decision to come to Penn State, to change the culture of Penn State football, was the single biggest thing to resurrect Joe Paterno's career.

D-Will hit the recruiting trail himself, taking it upon himself to convince more top recruits to call State College home. He got Justin King to commit. And from the moment he stepped foot on campus, the aura around the program changed. No longer were players hanging their heads. They were confident. They were excited. They were determined.

Derrick Williams brought the excitement back, and his presence, along with the anointing of Michael Robinson as the team's quarterback, helped Penn State regain its place in college football. Williams was the dynamic sparkplug that Penn State had waited so long to get, completely blowing the doors off of any freshman in the country before a broken arm ended his freshman season.

And with the help of Williams igniting a dormant offensive scheme, opening up the playcalling, Michael Robinson showed the maturity and leadership that just simply cannot be taught. It's just something that some guys have. Michael Robinson was a born leader. A freakish athlete, he did whatever the coaches asked of him. With Zack Mills (rightfully or wrongfully) as the team's quarterback, Robinson played wide receiver. And running back. And yes, even quarterback, biding his time for his turn.

When he finally got it, he took the excitement that D-Will had brought in and came one second within an undefeated season. Nonetheless, with the help of Tamba Hali, Poz and Dan Connor on defense, and yes, Derrick Williams and fellow freshmen wide receivers Jordan Norwood and Deon Butler, M-Rob, with quite a helping hand from Tony Hunt, led Penn State to the Big 10 title.

Three years later, Derrick Williams and company have accomplished a lot. Deon Butler became Penn State's all-time leader in catches. Jordan Norwood showed that size really doesn't matter. And Derrick Williams not only scored more kick/punt return touchdowns than any Nittany Lion ever, but he saw his dream come to fruition. Almost. You see, Williams wanted nothing more than to deliver a national title back to Penn State, but, just as he had as a freshman, the senior saw his team fall just short. One stumble, and the dream was over.

But the importance of Derrick Williams' decision to come to Penn State cannot be overstated. Yes, he had a slump of sorts his sophomore year, and people expected much more out of him last year. But this season, Derrick Williams has played like the guy we all expected, and, just as importantly, he grew into the leader of this team. And tomorrow, he and his fellow seniors have a chance to do something that has never been done for any class at Penn State—win its second Big 10 title.

And while that may not be the ultimate goal, it's not to bad either.

It's Friday, Time to Dance

The Eagles are playing the Ravens this weekend in Baltimore, and most likely, they will lose. But whether the Birds can come out victorious or not, one thing is for certain: Ray Lewis will dance.

Now, your moment of zen.

UNC, Nova Among Best Recruiting Classes of 2009

At least according to ESPN.

The Tar Heels are ranked as having the top recruiting class for 2009, headlined by 6-foot-10 power forward John Henson from Tampa.

Villanova, who has just had some stellar recruiting classes under Jay Wright, is ranked 7th, headlined by Roman Catholic point guard Maalik Wayns.

I'm real excited to head to some Roman games this year and check out Maalik in person.

At Least Someone is Reading

Yesterday, I mentioned in my links post "… the addition of Dan Levy has really taken away from the good writing over there, in my humble opinion. Levy is great doing his podcast, but I really am not a fan of his writing."

Then last night, I got an e-mail from Dan Levy, proprietor of On the DL, a very good podcast blog. To make a long story short, Levy was forwarded my post from someone, and he contacted me to discuss things. He really seems like a genuinely good guy, even for a Broncos fan.

Anyway, he gave me a shoutout in the Morning Extras, and I figured I'd do the same. And for the record, I don't think Dan is a bad writer, which I explained to him. I just haven't really been too keen on his posts. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I don't even have a hundredth of the readers The 700 Level has, so he's doing something right. And I'll certainly keep reading. Anyway, Dan Levy, good dude.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Norristown's Wyatt Signs With Temple

In a former life, I was a sportswriter that covered many of the suburban high schools in the Philadelphia area. One of the schools I came across regularly was Norristown, and I covered a good number of the Eagles' basketball games last season.

And there was one player, who sometimes didn't even start on a loaded Norristown squad, that really stood out. He was a rangy shooting guard who often looked like he was just wandering out there, not physically exerting himself whatsoever, but in a matter of minutes, the kid would score 15 points, seemingly without trying. His name was Khalif Wyatt.

Yesterday, Khalif signed his letter of intent to play college basketball at Temple. And let me tell you something, if coach Fran Dunphy can reign him in, he's getting an impressive, explosive player, and I'll certainly be rooting for him.

I personally know someone directly involved in Norristown basketball who said to me the first time I watched him play, "Take a look at this kid. He's just unbelievable. He doesn't look like he's trying, and he's just unbelievable." And he wasn't joking.

When he wants to, Wyatt can score from just about any spot on the floor and get pretty much anywhere he wants. The kid can fill it up. And at times, when he was focused and determined, he could play some nasty defense as well, particularly impressive at jumping passing lanes to get steals.

I'm happy to see him go to Temple to hopefully fill the shoes of Dionte Christmas as a scoring machine for the Owls in 2009-10.

Hip to the Links

All right, I've finally caught up on my work for the day, so why not attempt to catch up on some reading around the Internet?

-First and foremost, everyone suspected something was up with Chase Utley after his power production dropped significantly after the All-Star break. Rumors of a hip problem surfaced, and today, they were confirmed. Chase Utley will undergo hip surgey and be shelved for 4-6 months.

-I love The 700 Level. I really do. But the addition of Dan Levy has really taken away from the good writing over there, in my humble opinion. Levy is great doing his podcast, but I really am not a fan of his writing. Maybe it's because Levy is a Broncos fan even though he grew up in the Philadelphia area.

-I think Pacman may be back. At least that's what I think he said.

-Via Deadspin, a place to get your Big 5 basketball fix, Big Five Post.

-Via The Big Lead, the best dunks of the Tip-Off Marathon.

-Yeah, this left me speechless too.

-Why Spence hates Michigan. It's long as hell, but it's good. Read it all. Here's a taste:

From an outsider’s perspective, Ohio and Michigan aren’t that different. Both states are pretty equally depressed, have similar weather and have their fair share of nastiness, both in population and scene. So why is it that somehow I’ve found the absolute, seething disgust to everything inside that fucking bonerholstering state? We have so much in common, and both suck so bad, shouldn’t I be able to form some kind of common bond?

No. Because Michigan sucks, that’s why.

-Sheed discusses the FreeDarko book, which my mailman refuses to leave in my mailbox, so I have to go pick it up some day. Except I work when the post office is open. And I won't be around on Saturday. Fuck the post office.

-Penn State players think they aren't running the ball enough. I agree, seeing as Royster has been tearing shit up this year.

-And finally, how about a Will Bynum dunk from the 10-man rotation.

Sleep Deprivation Can Catch Up to You

So the three of you that actually visit this site may be wondering, "What the deal?" I mean, surely you'd expect a short rant about how the Sixers have no business losing to the Timberwolves. And you would be absolutely correct.

Without question, the Sixers should be killed for this loss. If they want to be a good team, they better start acting like it. But you see, I don't have much to say on the topic because for the past, oh, I don't know, since the Phillies won the World Series really, I haven't gotten much sleep. At all. So last night, when I returned from work, I fell asleep. However, I was smart enough to set my phone alarm for 8 p.m. to wake up in time for the game. And I did, for about 15 minutes, in which time the Sixers built up a 21-10 lead or something.

Next thing I knew, it was well past 9:30 and the Sixers were losing at halftime. Then I went downstairs and ate some ridiculous thing called basketball pizza, watched "Entourage" with my roommates, and then watched the final 30 seconds of the Sixers, seeing the final score.

So the moral of the story is, the Sixers kind of stink right now, but my lack of sleep combined with another rare day of a lot of work has prevented me from analyzing and demeaning the 76ers—which is really a shame. Because I really like demeaning successful athletes that make way more money than I'll ever make, have much better lives and could give two shits about what I have to say.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just a Reminder

Hey, Philadelphia. How you doing? Me? I'm fine. A little bummed out by the Eagles, as I'm sure you are. And the Flyers and Sixers haven't quite lived up to expectations in the early going, but they both look to be getting better. Oh, yeah, I was pretty pissed at Penn State, but you know what always seems to cheer me up? Take a guess. Yep, that's right, your Philadelphia Phillies are still WORLD FUCKING CHAMPIONS!!!!!!

Yeah, that feels good.

The Fallout from Sean Taylor's Death: A Year Later

Typically, I get royally pissed off when I hear athletes complaining about their lives. People bother you. You have no privacy. Blah, blah, blah. To that, I usually say, you get paid a shitload of money to play a game. I'd kill to do that.

And while I still feel some of my sentiments are true, the reality of the situation is that athletes carry a lot of burden that your average person simply does not. Their livelihood depends solely on their physical skills, which can be taken away on any given play. That has to be tough. And they get publicly scrutinized for everything they do, on and off the field. Every time I misspell a word, I don't think I'd like the whole world to know.

Even more frightening, athletes are targets. Targets of women looking to get impregnated unbeknownst to them. Targets for people looking to start a fight and lawsuit. And targets to rob and maybe even kill. That's something the average fan doesn't think about, but on the heels of the one year anniversary of Sean Taylor's death, ESPN touched on the subject of athletes, specifically in the NFL, living in fear off the field.

It's a chilling read that really shares with the world what it's like to walk out of the stadium in an athlete's shoes, with perspective from Taylor's former teammate and close friend Clinton Portis, Ben Roethlisberger, Kevin Mawae, Dunta Robinson, Fred Taylor, Derrick Brooks, Brandon Albert and Broncos security coordinator Dave Abrams.

Check it out.

New York Papers, Smart

Or not. In honor of the late FJM, I offer up this tidbit, passed along by one of those insufferable Rangers fans (aka my brother-in-law, who isn't so bad for a New Yorker—he hates the Mets and doesn't like the Giants):

this is an article about marcus naslund finding a new start in new york. This is all well and good, but the picture in the article isn't even close to him. it's actually Paul Mara. What asshole can't tell the difference. God we have some fuckin morons working at some papers around here

And the picture in question (drum roll please) …

Hmmm … Google search "Markus Naslund" …

Well that doesn't look right. How about "Markus Naslund Rangers" …

Huh. All right, well surely it's him right, and not Paul Mara?

Ahh, New York Daily News, good for you.