Michael Vick divides a city

vickprotestersThe old saying goes that you don’t discuss politics or religion in polite company – you can add Michael Vick to that list.

As soon as the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick, Philadelphia lit up. Tweets, Facebook statues, blog postings, radio talk shows, etc. People who didn’t even care about football were moved to take sides. There are bars that have pledged to turn off the Eagles games on Sundays – that’s like a bar saying it will stop selling alcohol on Fridays. That’s how passionate people feel about this issue, and can you blame them? Here’s a man that beat, tortured, maimed, and killed dogs in the name of sport; he is the Hitler of dogs. How do you redeem yourself for that behavior? If Hitler hadn’t committed suicide, could he have redeemed himself to Jews? No.

This past Thursday I responded to a  a friend’s Facebook  status update, more than 50 comments later, after that friend told me to buzz off (ok, he didn’t say that, but that’s what he wanted). Philadelphia has found its abortion issue. This issue has so divided the city, that it pits friends and family against each other. Sides are entrenched and both sides are getting testy. There are protesters on each side outside the Novacare Center in South Philly. Philly.com ran a poll this week simply asking if fans were for or against the Vick signing – the results were 51% against to 49% for the signing; the city wasn’t that divided over the Presidential election this past year.

This of course is not the most important issue in the world. It’s amazing that at a time when we’re trying to figure out how to fix our flawed healthcare system, that this issue has taken the headlines in this city.

It’s only football, and this doesn’t reflect on a whole city, just on the people that run the Philadelphia Eagles. Even though people will continue to discuss Vick, the games will go on and I am going to go out on a limb and say Michael Vick won’t be dog fighting ever again, so at the end of the proverbial day, all Vick’s signing will do is strain relationships for a few days before we move on to something else.

Can’t wait.

Eagles sign Vick. Fans revolt.

Michael Vick signed with the Eagles. Why? Let me start here – if I were an NFL owner, I would not have hired Michael Vick to my team. That would be my right. I think what he did was reprehensible, and I wouldn’t want to associate him with my team and my brand. It seems that year after year the Eagles give me more reasons to like them less and less. They don’t seem to like their fans and and they treat their employees like shit (see Brian Dawkins).

Thank goodness the Phillies have come back to their rightful spot as #1 in my sports heart.

That said.

There’s a lot of talk about how he shouldn’t be allowed back in the NFL, that he was given his chance and he blew it. Well that isn’t how this country works. I can see preventing him from taking jobs that are related to his offense – so he can’t work at a kennel or at a pet store, but the NFL is a sports league, and I think a lot of people forget that. Each NFL team is their own company and makes the decision on their own. It seems somehow un-American for people to be saying that the NFL should have prevented the teams from making this hiring decision. I don’t know if that is a country I want to be part of.

People want him to pay and pay and pay again. That again is not how this country works. If you want that type of legal system, move to Iran – I think we all see how people are treated there.

I do wish someone else had signed him – I don’t want my team associated with a thug like him. We now have the most hated man in all of sports. It kind of sickens me, but that said – he’s done his time, I see no need to punish him further.

Reposted from Orangeliners.com

Philadelphia Eagles Draft Advice

This is more for the fans than the Eagles.  I’ve been hearing all the fans and media talk about trading our last remaining 1st round pick for Anquan Boldin.  While I would love for Boldin to play for the Eagles, everyone needs to realize there are more pressing concerns.  Brian Westbrook has never been the picture of durability, and he’s turning 30.  If the Eagles have a chance to find a back that can replace him, they absolutely need to do that.  If that means they need to trade up to get Knowshon Moreno or Chris “Beanie” Wells, they need to do that.  If this means they can’t trade for Boldin, then so be it.

Listen to me here: wide receiver is the least important offensive position on the field.  The offensive line, quarterback, and running back are much important to an offense in that order.  I’m including the tight end in the O-line, but if you want to separate it, then yes – WR is more important than TE. Having a top notch WR is gravy and if you’re deficient in any of the other positions, fix those first.  The Eagles can boldly address a huge problem at the RB position, and a Ryan Moats type 2nd round pick ain’t going to do it.

Thank goodness the Eagles rarely listen to the fans and press, don’t start now.

I’ll miss you Brian Dawkins, but…

71465315DH0164_eagle_packYesterday the Philadelphia Eagles lost their heart and soul in Brian Dawkins.   Dawkins was more than a player –   he was a coach on the field.   I remember in a game last year when former Eagles’ rookie Matt McCoy made a boneheaded penalty, it was Dawkins that dressed him down on the sidelines. I think Dawkins would make a great head coach one day. That’s how much I thought of him.

As much as loved Dawkins as a player, I’m not going to blame the Eagles for allowing him to walk away. He got more money than he’s worth at 36.   I didn’t want him to leave, but it wasn’t stay at all costs.   I now hope that the Eagles will spend the money on a stud safety 10 years younger.   I hate to say it, but the Eagles are running a football team, not the hall of fame.   The worse thing you can do as a team is to allow nostalgia to blind you to reality. It happened to the Philadelphia Phillies after 1993 when they decided to spend a lot of money on a bunch of past their prime players.   It ruined their team for years after that.

When the season starts in September, all that we’ll care about is whether it will end with the Eagles hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. You think I’m wrong?   How many people mentioned Aaron Rowand’s name after the Phils won the series?   Not many.   Winning cures all.   But for those games in October, we’re going to miss B-Dawk.

And we’re going to miss him now.   Wish you well B-Dawk.

An open letter to Andy Reid

mcnabbThe Super Bowl this past weekend was the culmination of two weeks of jealousy.   It started with the Eagles losing to the Arizona Cardinals but that wasn’t bad enough.  The Super Bowl made me realize what the Eagles don’t have.   It was like the game was there just to remind me how my Eagles are lacking.

First Larry Fitzgerald taking a catch 70 yards for a touchdown and the lead with under 3 minutes to go.   Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver in the league – at the start of this season, some might have argued he wasn’t the best on the team.   Fitzgerald was held to nothing and with one catch nearly won this game for the Cardinals.    That was only the beginning.

Ben Roethlisberger told his team “It’s now or later.”   He then drove his team 78 yards masterfully to win the game with seconds to go. It was a thing of beauty. Roethlisberger has grit and the determination of a winner.  He probably had no doubt that he would win the game.   Let’s not forget the catch that Santana Holmes made – for all of the grit that Big Ben showed, the catch by Holmes was that of an all-star.

Unfortunately I look at the Cardinals and Steelers and see my team lacking in ways that we are either unable to change or unwilling to. Donovan McNabb is one of the best quarterbacks that has played the game, but he is not what I would ever call a “winner”.   At the beginning of that drive, I don’t think even McNabb would have believed he could do it.   I try and remember McNabb winning a big game in the final minutes and I can’t.   But the Eagles won’t and shouldn’t change quarterbacks – because he is still good enough to win. What the Eagles need to do is improve the other areas of this team to make up for the deficiencies of their quarterback – but they’re unwilling. They will not get a wide receiver of Fitzgerald’s quality. And they won’t get a running back to supplement Brian Westbrook.

The Eagles don’t have to be the next coming of Vince Lombardi’s Packers to win the Super Bowl.  They do need to accurately identify their faults and address them.   For the years that I have watched Andy Reid’s version of the Philadelphia Eagles, that is  their fatal flaw.   That we’ve been saying the same thing for most of Andy Reid’s tenure is an indictment of this administration.

Regardless of  Donovan McNabb’s faults, he should be credited with bringing this flawed team as far as  he has.   Now it’s time for Andy Reid to step in and do the rest.

Hurry because the days are slipping by.

Bowl season: College entertainment, nothing more

I have never been a fan of college “sports”. They take money away from education, and basketball and football have become professional development leagues with the players making millions of dollars for fat university administrators and boosters while the players are not paid by the universities. Yes they get an education (wink). Some of these “educated” men can’t even read much less earn a college degree. I don’t even believe that college football is a sport. I believe that there is no subjectivity is sport – a voting system to determine your champion? Well you might as well have The Rock break up the game with a chair shot to the head. (That’s a professional wrestling reference for the uninformed).

My big issue with college sports is that they continue to be run by racist boosters. In 2009 we will have a black President, but a black head coach in Division II football? Well that’s rare. Out of the 119 division II teams there are 7 black head coaches (of which 3 were hired in December). By comparison, the NFL’s 32 teams also have 7 black head coaches. Progress is being made, but after reading that Charlie Strong has been told repeatedly that Strong has been passed over because his wife is white, I realize that the NCAA remains stuck in the 40’s.

The history of major college sports has always been sordid. The treatment of black players in the 50’s through the 70’s was horrible, but they’ve barely gotten much better. They’re willing to use these players as indentured servants, but nothing more. Until that changes, we should all turn our head away.

Reversal of fortunes for the Phillies and Eagles

For most of my life I have been a Phillies fan first and Eagles fan second. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the Phillies at my father’s feet. The switch began in the late 80’s as I learned about football, the Eagles got better, and the Phils became atrocious. I had always felt that the Phillies had surrendered this city to the Eagles because this city was first and foremost a baseball town. The Eagles owned this town as recent as two years ago. What a difference two years makes.

Flash to Winter of 2008, the Phillies are World Champs and the Eagles have become a team that has underperformed just as the Phillies had done for most of this decade. I had often said that the Phils need to look at how the Eagles are run and learn a lesson. I don’t see lessons for the Eagles to learn from these Phillies, but they should be disappointed that they haven’t been able to turn all that savviness into a title. And now they’ve lost this town; at least for now.

These things are fleeting. If the Eagles turn this around next year, they could be the toast of the town. That will require Jeffery Lurie to instigate the changes that Andy Reid is unable to. Otherwise this team will suffer the fate of the Phillies of the 90’s: they will become a ridiculed and forgotten team in a city they owned.

(Sorry for any typos. This post was written on an iPhone.)