Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Reasons to Loathe the NFL

So on Sunday is the mother of all games - Philly at Dallas at 4:15 - the winner gets the vaunted NFC East and a possible first round bye; the loser may have to go on the road through the entire playoffs in order to reach the Super Bowl. Here in Baltimore, however, they have decided to show on WBFF Fox 45...

Redskins at Chargers.

I get both WTTG Fox 5 (DC) and 45 here in the Baltimore 'burbs, and I understand obviously why Fox 5 would show the Redskins - it is their team and all. But this brings me to this territorial nonsense in the NFL known as 'secondary markets'.

There has been this contrived malarkey going on about combining the DC and Baltimore markets. It always seems that DC shows Ravens so forth. I want to know why? A lot of people up here couldn't give two sh*ts about the Redskins, and yet the email I received back from the WBFF folks talked about how they 'needed' to show the game because of concerns of the fans.

What should be done is that if the market's team is not playing or there is a game going on while the team is playing, then the station should strive to air the *best game available*, secondary markets be damned. Dallas and Philly is compelling and yet we are stuck watching two teams that have zip, zilch, nada, and nothing for which to play. The Redskins are terrible, and San Diego cannot improve its own playoff status (first round bye, et cetera).

Before you tell me to find a bar or something - let me say that I shouldn't have to - this game should be on the air nationwide, save for the other 4:15 games in their respective local markets. I will repeat that I hope the NFL goes down in flames after the 2010 season - that they lockout and come back limping and having been taught a lesson.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Joining the Forces of Evil

Well, I have done it.

I have really, really done it.

I joined Facebook.


Part of me really thought I would be the last man standing in the war against social media. But think of this way - I have a Twitter account, and I never had a trashy MySpace account, so I should be somewhat absolved, right?

Before anyone calls me a hypocrite, just bear in mind that we throw that term around way too much. Call this more of a weak spot than hypocrisy. I succumbed to temptation here and figured it was a good way to keep in touch with people. So now I know the power of the Dark Side and to those who are disappointed in my joining, let me say that I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas To All!

The Traditional Christmas Proclamation:

Today, the twenty-fifth day of December,
unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth
and then formed man and woman in his own image.

Several thousand years after the flood,
when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.

Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;
thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.

Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;
one thousand years from the anointing of David as king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.

In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome.

The forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.

Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Go and tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born! Have a happy and blessed holiday CHRISTMAS! Enjoy the day with your family and loved ones.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Worst Philadelphia Eagles Memories

Below, I discussed the Top Ten Memories that I have of this decade from the Eagles, but now I turn my attention to something a little more somber - the ten worst memories of the decade. Some are familiar and predictable, but the order of some may surprise you. Here we go...

10) Giant Choke (9/17/2006) - The Eagles were completely dominating the Giants at the Linc on this particular day, leading 24-7 until all of a sudden the defense went quiet and the offense could not generate a single first down, allowing the Giants to tie the game at 24 and send it to overtime. In overtime, Eli Manning threw a jump ball and Plaxico Burress leaped over everyone and hauled it in to seal the 30-24 loss that still makes me want to vomit in my own mouth when I think about it.

9) Seahawk Slaughter (12/5/2005) - Ironically, one year to the day of what was perhaps the finest performance of the Andy Reid era, the Eagles found themselves down 35-0 at halftime at home on Monday Night Football to the eventual NFC champs. On the night when Reggie White's number was retired and an emotional crowd was on hand, the team laid what was perhaps its biggest egg of the Reid era, losing 42-0. Two interceptions returned for touchdowns and other general incompetence was on full display.

8) Donovan's injuries (11/14/2005 and 11/19/2006) - 2005 really was the 'lost year' of the decade. McNabb had been injured in the season opener with a sports hernia but it really ended against Dallas, when he threw an interception to Roy Williams who ran it back for a score and Donovan was hurt trying to tackle him. That play capped a Dallas comeback to win 21-20 and ended McNabb's, and by extension, the Eagles' season. The 2006 injury was the torn ACL as he tried to evade Kyle Vandenbosch of the Titans on the sideline. He was headed for what may have been his finest statistical season at that point. Luckily, 2006 was not a lost year as Jeff Garcia was able to assume duties in fine fashion.

7) When the Saints Go Marching In (1/13/2007) - A couple of things really stand out here. First, the Eagles were able to jump out to a 21-13 lead on the host Saints but blew it. Secondly, the officiating was terrible. Thirdly, and most importantly, Andy Reid decided to punt with under 2 minutes to go and the team down by 3. Much has been made of that particular decision, and all the Saints would need was one first down, which they got, holding off the Eagles 27-24. 2006 ended up being a classic 'what if' season, especially given the way it ended.

6) The Mike McMahon Era (November-December 2005) - somehow, the Eagles managed to win two games in the Lost Season out of the seven that McMahon started. His stats were pretty bad - a 45% completion rate, a 55 QB rating, and 5 TD's versus 8 interceptions. This was the one season in which the backups truly failed the team - unlike 2002, 2006, and 2009. The silver lining to this stormy season was the acquisition of Jeff Garcia to be Donovan's backup the next year.

5) NFC Title Loss #4 (1/18/2009) - This game had a bit of the feel from the first NFC Title Game loss from the 2001 season against the Rams - the Eagles were underdogs and they weren't supposed to win on the road. But this game makes the list and the 2001 game doesn't, mostly because the 2001 team was growing still and the 2008 team had the experience to make it, and they also blew a late lead after coming all the way back to go ahead. The 32-25 loss to the Cardinals left a bad taste because it wasn't like they were the Greatest Show on Turf. They were still the Cardinals, but the Eagles defense let the team down.

4) The Terrell Owens Saga (2005) - the nonsense started because T.O. got jealous over the fact that the Eagles actually won games in the playoffs without him and he wanted a new contract despite having signed a 7 year, $49 million contract. Between doing sit ups in his driveway, Drew Rosenhaus answering 'Next Question!', and Owens eventually being suspended and deactivated for conduct detrimental to the team, and a combo of Donovan's injuries and the Mike McMahon 'Era', 2005 is just a season to forget and is probably better off not being acknowledged at all. Lost Season, indeed.

3) NFC Title Loss #3 (1/18/2004) - This game made me cry. It didn't make me angry, and it didn't make me feel hopeful. It just made me cry. A horrible game, the receivers couldn't get anywhere, Donovan got cheap-shotted and injured after throwing three interceptions. Just an ugly, ugly 14-3 loss.

2) Super Bowl XXXIX (2/6/2005) - After finally getting over the hump, the Eagles played a decent game, but it just wasn't enough. 10 points was just too much to overcome against a New England team that was very good. This loss, however, took a while to sink in. It wasn't an immediate reaction. I had always wondered what it would be like for the Eagles to make the Super Bowl, and then I knew how bad it was to lose. 24-21 was the final, the third Patriots title of the decade, and the third by three points.

1) NFC Title Loss #2 (1/19/2003) - I have never been so pissed off in my life as the result of a sporting event. I was angry for literally weeks after this one. The Eagles 27-10 loss to Tampa Bay was the ultimate stomach-punch in my lifetime. This was the final football game in Veterans Stadium, a place where no one wanted to come and play. It was brutally cold and the Bucs had a horrible record in cold weather. In other words, conditions were perfect for a victory lap en route to the team's first Super Bowl appearance since 1980. It looked that way as Duce Staley had a quick strike 20 yard touchdown run. However, Tampa put it together and all of a sudden late in the 4th quarter the Eagles were losing 20-10. One last hope as they marched toward the goal line then the Interception happened - Ronde Barber picked a Donovan pass and took it 92 yards for the final margin of defeat. This is still to me the most bitter loss endured as an Eagles fan, even more so than the Super Bowl. The Birds were supposed to win, and win big. It just didn't work out that way, and it is still a sore spot to this day.

Top 10 Philadelphia Eagles Memories

As I said below, I was going to keep up with 'Remembrances of the Decade' meme. Here begins my top ten memories of the Eagles from 2000-09. Mind you that this is subjective - and I am sure that I am leaving something out here. Enjoy...

10) The Eagles begin the 2000 Season onside kick? (9/3/2000) - looking back on this game, in which the Eagles beat Dallas 41-14, it truly was the announcement that the Eagles would be a force with which to be reckoned. I had just started college and it was the first game I had watched apart from my family. Duce Staley had 201 yards rushing and also what made it famous was the searing heat in Dallas that day that caused the Eagles to drink pickle juice prior to the game.

9) An Offensive Killing of the Packers (12/5/20o4) - I remember driving home quickly from my cousin's Eagle Scout Court of Honor to be able to watch this game. The Eagles were 10-1 at the time en-route to the Super Bowl and the performance they put up that day has been unmatched in the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb era. By the late 2nd Quarter, it was already 35-0, with McNabb having 5 TD passes. By the time he was taken out of the game, it was 47-3 and McNabb had a career high 464 yards with the 5 TD's. Literally a game in which the Eagles did as they pleased.

8) A Defensive Killing of the Steelers (9/21/2008) - 9 sacks, an interception, 2 fumbles, and just utter mayhem as the Eagles beat the Steelers 15-6 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. Ben Roethlisberger just got battered time and time again in a game that was reminiscent of the Buddy Ryan-Gang Green era (Body Bag Game, House of Pain). Unfortunately, the Eagles didn't get the rematch chance that they should have gotten as a result of losing the NFC championship game while the Steelers went on to win their second title of the decade.

7) Donovan's 14 Second Scramble (11/15/2004) - this is one of the many highlights of Donovan McNabb's brilliant career. It came during a 49-21 victory over Dallas on Monday Night Football the week after the Eagles undefeated string was ended by Pittsburgh. McNabb threw for 349 yards and 4 TD's, but this highlight will always be remembered about this game as he threw to his left and across his body a SIXTY yard pass.

6) The 2006 Run to the Playoffs (December, 2006) - After Donovan went down with a torn ACL, the Eagles looked like their season would be over. Thankfully, the team had signed a good backup in Jeff Garcia after the debacle of 2005 when McNabb had his sports-hernia and *cough* Mike McMahon was the backup. The memorable stretch especially was winning three consecutive division games on the road (Thanks NFL!) to take control of the division, including a domination of Dallas on Christmas Day in their own building - a game my dad still talks about to this day like it just happened.

5) The Fire Drill at Pittsburgh (11/12/2000) - this was memorable personally because I was there to watch this. The Eagles were down by 10 with four minutes to go and Donovan led a wild comeback that included a touchdown pass, a recovered onside kick and the fire drill kick by Akers (41 or 42 yards, I think) to tie the game at 23 as regulation expired. The Eagles won the toss and drove to kick the game winner by David Akers. I was lucky to get out of Three Rivers Stadium alive and I received numerous threats of ass kickings if I bragged about the game to my dorm hallmates back in Wheeling.

4) Brian Westbrook Announces Himself (10/19/2003) - the Eagles were in danger of dropping to 2-4 for the season when they visited Giants Stadium. Instead, fellow DeMatha alumnus Westbrook (had to drop that in) took a Jeff Feagles punt on a hop and ran it 84 yards for a touchdown, giving the Eagles a 14-10 lead with just over a minute to go. It shell-shocked the Giants and started a nice run for the Eagles that took them deep into the playoffs that year.

3) Donovan McNabb and a Broken Leg (11/17/2002) - The Eagles were 6-3 when the Cardinals came to town, and looking to rebound after getting thumped by Indy the previous week. Early in the game, McNabb went down awkwardly and originally thought he had an ankle sprain. He stayed and played in obvious pain and went 20-25 for 255 and 4 TD's. For me, this game was the end of ever questioning Donovan's will or desire again, despite the short memories of my fellow fans.

2) 4th and 26 (1/11/2004) - an all time play, to be sure. The Eagles were backed up at their own 22 with over a minute to go and staring at an early playoff exit against Green Bay. McNabb threw a strike to Freddie Mitchell to get to the 50 yard line and eventually got the Eagles into field goal position to tie the game up. Brett Favre threw one of his many bad interceptions in the overtime and the Eagles went on to win 20-17. Also of note is that the Eagles had to overcome an early 14-0 hole.

1) Getting Over the Hump (1/23/2005) - After three straight NFC Title Game losses, the Eagles finally made it to the Super Bowl by defeating Atlanta 27-10. Chad Lewis, Donovan's favorite target for a long time, caught two TD passes (and then got injured) and the Eagles stifled Michael Vick. I think it was the first time I had ever cried in happiness watching a sporting event. When Lewis caught the 2nd TD and the Linc erupted, so did my home - my parents and brother were over and I think we were going to put a hole in the floor from all the jumping up and down. Too bad it ended badly a couple of weeks later, but man, what a ride that was.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Halladay Trade *UPDATED*

The word out is that Roy 'Doc' Halladay is in Philly to either seek an extension or get a physical as part of a potential three team trade (Philly, Seattle, Toronto) that would ultimately ship 2009 postseason stud Cliff Lee to Seattle and see a bunch of prospects change hands.

I don't know what to think of all this right now, but one thing is clear - the Phillies are trying to win NOW, and getting Halladay long-term is certainly a way to go about that. I will miss Clifton Phifer Lee, and I wish him the best. Problem is that my dad and I went in and bought my brother a Lee jersey after we convinced him to burn his Billy Wagner jersey and now it is all for naught. Boo to that! Anyway, I am sure he'll want a Doc jersey at some point. But he'll have to pay for his own. However, I don't think we will be trying to get him to burn his Lee jersey.

*UPDATE* The misinformation surrounding this deal is unbelievable, with certain funny guys on Twitter just making stuff up now, such as Michael Vick and the Phillie Phanatic being included in the trade.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Getting to the End of the Year

We are hitting exam week at school. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the shorter the time I have to spend at school during this particular week, the more work that I end up doing.

Anyways, to fall into the memes of the day, I will be doing some 'best of the Decade' posts over the next three weeks. Yes, I am well aware that the decade actually ends in 384 days, rather than 19. Still, how could we have a meme if we did the correct thing and waited until Dec. 31, 2010? So stay tuned!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another Car Blowout

The wife's car needs tranny work. Yuck. That stuff is expensive. Pray for us that we get through this difficulty - considering that it is the only car we have now - my car died out a couple of months ago. We shall see, and hopefully it works out. Luckily for us, my parents have let me borrow their 2nd car until we can get a replacement. For that I am eternally grateful.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Solving a Mystery

The question is - when Grandma got run over by the reindeer coming home from our house Christmas eve...did she die?

I say yes...the wife says no - on the basis of the silly cartoon of the same name as the famous song.

It is plainly obvious that Grandma is killed after being in a drunken stupor due to spiked eggnog. It speaks of a crime scene, the family being 'dressed in black', how well Grandpa was taking all of this, and how they speak if Grandma in the *past* tense when mentioning her wig and the candles.

Despite all of this evidence - the missus absolutely refuses to acknowledge what is plainly obvious - when Grandma got run over by a reindeer, she f*cking DIED! We need to convince her!

Presidential Assessment

A lot of people have taken time to assess Barack Obama's first 10 months as the President of the United States, and have found him wanting in a lot of places. Some have already labeled him a failure; others are disappointed - surely, the actions he has taken have not matched the soaring campaign rhetoric or the promises he made to his political base.

I take a slightly different tact - my belief is that Obama is an empty suit. He is a vessel upon which people project their hopes and desires. He desires to be all things to all people. He doesn't take a real stance on anything. He hems and haws, but the only real agenda he has is to further Barack Obama, whether it means furthering a war he promised he would end, gallivanting around the world 'apologizing' for America, or accepting a Nobel Peace Prize for all of 100 hours of work in the White House.

My contention is that he doesn't care who he pisses off, so long as he is in power and continues to do so. He says that if passing a monstrosity of a health-care bill means a one-term presidency then so be it. I call BS. I believe that if Obama were guaranteed a second term if he dropped the bill from existence, he would do it in one second. Why do you think he didn't come out at West Point on Tuesday night and say 'hey, we are going to evacuate all American forces from Afghanistan tomorrow'?

Cynical? Absolutely. It is the Chicago way. Bill Clinton had Obama pegged to a tee during primary season.