21 February 2011

Final Thoughts on the 2010 Season

It's now two weeks post-Super Bowl, three post-Pro Bowl (Not that I watched the Pro Bowl. The only thing that would induce me to sit through the Pro Bowl is if I were actually Hawaii. Which is a thought. But I digress...) - seems like a good time to reflect on the Eagles season that was. Particularly since everyone else seems to be, too.

To me, the major story is that our Eagles totally outperformed. I was not alone in expecting them to go 6-10 or 7-9. They fooled us all and went 10-6 on their way to the playoffs, which they proceeded to exit in the first round, and let's hope this is not a new trend, but at least it was to eventual Super Bowl winners the Green Bay Packers.

Another big story: the emergence of Michael Vick as a complete QB. African-American quarterbacks hate the "he's a great athlete, but..." stereotype, and justly so, but Vick really was just a gifted athlete when he was in Atlanta (if one can even use the term "just" in regards to his athletic gifts). It took the Eagles coaching, culture, and the team around him, plus the maturity to understand what he nearly threw away due to his illegal actions, to help him develop into the work ethic and the skills to begin realizing his potential.

Much like Steelers Transplant has a type (blonde, skinny, neurotic), Andy Reid clearly also has a type in QBs: Superman. Fortunately, he also seems exceptionally good at recognizing these guys when they come along, or at least constructing them out of the available materials. (And what would unassembled Superman parts look like, anyway?)

McNabb took the Eagles to playoffs his first year as a full time starter. So did Vick. Let's see if he can continue to follow in Big 5's footsteps, with some NFC Championship games, and maybe another Super Bowl. Only I hope it doesn't take another four years to get there, because I'm not sure Vick's going to make it another four years with the risks he takes.

Another should've been a big story: LeSean McCoy. He seriously is Brian Westbrook 2.0, new and improved and ready to make some noise. He also seems like a really nice guy, just like West36.

I'm not going to weigh in on coaching situation too much, since I really don't have the necessary knowledge, other than to observe that Andy Reid cleaned house on the defensive coaching side, which he's never done in 12 years. He's more about "nurture the little birdies until they can fly:" Harbaugh, Chilly, Spags, Ron Rivera, and I'm sure I'm missing some. Of course, Big Red is still doing that pace Juan Castillo, but apparently, he decided Sean McDermott had had enough time and wasn't going to turn into JJ2. Ever.

This move, to me, also says Andy thinks the time to win is now. Of course, in order for that to happen, the Eagles need a secondary that can cover and a red zone defense that, you know, exists.

Finally, a word about the collective bargaining agreement. An 18 game season is BS. The 16 game season is already a war of attrition - look at what happened to the Packers this year. Yeah, they overcame, but that shouldn't be taken as a sign that it's OK, but rather that they were exceptional this year.

And I happen to think the owners make enough money. And aren't at risk of their career ending at any moment. But that's just me.

10 February 2011

Goes Together Like...

Beer and watching sports!

Sports fan who lives outside your team's media market? Frequent traveler?

There's a new site for you - BarChannels.

So far they only cover NYC, but they're working on expanding to other cities.

So Eagles fans who don't live in Philly, where do you go to watch our boys play? BarChannels wants to know.

And eventually, they'll be able to help you find where to bleed green from anywhere.

07 February 2011

Super Bowl XLV Recap

Packers over Steelers, Sunday, February 6, 2011

Well, at least if the Pack was going to knock my Eagles out in the wildcard round, it wasn't in vain.

Random observations:

A red carpet? At the Super Bowl? Dear Fox: Are you f-ing kidding me? Thank God for NFL Network and ESPN.

I realize Jennifer Anniston was flacking a movie, but who cares what she thinks about, well, anything? But particularly about football?

I love football, and even I think that 9 1/2 hours of pre-game coverage is too much.

I know it's mean, but I still think it's hilarious that Xtina forgot the words to the national anthem. Also, it's really not a singable tune. Put me down in the "in favor of switching to America the Beautiful" column.

I don't think I've ever heard ANYTHING as bad as the Black Eyed Peas halftime show. And I grew up in a church where that sappy faux-karaoke "music" is considered acceptable, so I know from teh suck.


Why were those poor anonymous dancers wearing lit up file boxes on their heads? As my friend Em said: File under #FAIL.

The commercials mostly left me yawning other than this one:

That cute kid? A patient of one of my organization's member hospitals.


Oh? The game?

The story of the game was turnovers. As in, the Steelers committed a lot (two Big Ben picks and a Rashard Mendenall fumble), the Packers committed none, and the Packers turned every single Steelers miscue into points.

The other story was that the Packers seriously almost ran out of players. Again. Why should the playoffs be any different than their whole season was, though?

The only reason Mike McCarthy didn't buy Jordy Nelson a one-way ticket to Carolina straight from Dallas was the TD and the great catch & run that led to what turned out to be the field goal that put the game away, because I ran out of fingers to count how many passes he dropped.

At my place we were mostly pulling for the Pack, so when the Steelers cut their lead to 4 and Charles Woodson went out, we were all like, "Oh man, here we go."

Only we didn't.

Can we finally put Brett Favre to rest now? Please? Pretty please?

So the #6 team pulls it off for, I think, only the second time. The only other #6 to win it all? The Steelers. Who have enough rings. Maybe we can get one for the east side of the state after the 2011 season. If there is a 2011 season.

03 February 2011

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, February 6, 2011

In case you've been living under a rock, this Sunday the Packers and the Steelers meet up at Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV.

If you're reading this and know where I live and my phone number, you're invited to my Super Bowl party. But please email or call to let me know to expect you, so Chef Spouse and I make enough food.

Party starts at 5 pm.

Kick off is at 6:30 pm.

Living room seating is reserved for those who are serious about watching the game.

The kitchen is for those who at least want to know what's going on with the game while they eat and socialize.

The dining room is for those who are just here for the food and conversation.

Speaking of, we'll be preparing our usual Tex-Mex bacchanal, with burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas, plus Chef Spouse's fab homemade guacamole. Bring something to share. What? Pre-game snacks, beverages, and desserts are all good ideas.

Children are welcome, but remember that I tend to swear like a sailor around football, even when my team's not playing, so if they learn colorful new expressions at my house, you've been warned.

02 February 2011

Super Bowl XLV Preview

Confession: it's just not as fun to preview the Super Bowl when your team's not in it. But you knew that.

The Packers go into the Super Bowl smokin' hot. Aaron Rodgers has had inhumanly good QB ratings pretty much since he came back from the concussion. Clay Matthews was right behind another guy who'll be playing Sunday for defensive player of the year. James Starks came out of nowhere to buck up the Packers decimated RB core. And they have some pretty decent receivers - you might've heard of them? Donald Drive and Greg Jennings? The Packers have a better claim than that team from Dallas on the title "America's Team" - hey, it's called the LOMBARDI trophy.

And I'm conflicted about the Steelers. They have, for a long time, been my AFC team, but I have a really hard time rooting for them as long as Ben Roethliseberger's still under center. Bust magazine explains it far better than I could. But to all the people who continue to ding Mike Vick, just remember: he hurt dogs. And served his time. Big Ben is a sexual predator who hurts women. I love dogs, I really do, but they aren't people.

So my heart is with the Packers. Who, you might remember, were the NFC's sixth seed. The only sixth seed team ever to win a Super Bowl? The Steelers.

Which I'm pretty sure is what's going to happen again on Sunday, extending their lead as the Super Bowl winningest team in the NFL.

Steelers. And it should be a good game.