We'll start with the disclaimer that no one really cares all that much how Andy Reid treats the press. I sometimes feel a degree of empathy for the guys in the room, because no one likes to be reminded of where they sit in the food chain of cashflows (and hey, work would be a treat if it wasn't for all those pesky customers, etc), but I'd far rather support a winning team with a coach who was a jerk to the press than a losing team led by a charming quote-merchant.
I assume most of you feel the same way in this regard.
All that said, can Andy Reid stop acting so shocked when the local press corps dutifully asks him questions about who will start at quarterback for the Eagles? To review:
1. The quarterback controversy is the most venerable trope in American football media/ journalism. It's easy to write about and even easier for fans to follow and discuss -- and satisfies both the casual supporters who are just looking for something to chat about around the water cooler (as in, your mom might have something to say about it) as well as the more serious fans who want to talk YPA and sample sizes (Smile! That's you!).
2. The Eagles currently have two quarterbacks who are ranked in the top 6 in the NFL in QB rating. As everyone's favorite chubby head coach has remarked, this is something of a beautiful thing. If we had one who was stinking up the joint and one who was the shiznit, this would be a different conversation. But they both look pretty decent right now, at least sufficiently decent enough to support a debate on the topic.
3. Ahem, Andy Reid did already tell us all one thing about who his starting quarterback would be two weeks ago -- chiding the assembled press corps for daring to ask him about it twice -- and then do the exact opposite thing two days later. So we're not crazy for speculating that he might change his mind again.
In conclusion, I would say that Big Red needs to take some of his own advice and lighten up about all this. If the people want to talk and talk about who's going to play quarterback, well, it's probably not so bad for business, especially with those folks across the street playing so well right now. Enjoy the win, Andy!
And what a win it was -- that was easily the most shockingly dominant performance by the Birds since the Eagles smacked the Giants at home on Halloween weekend last year.
Your morning evening-after story lines and bullet points:
The Irony Of "Enjoy The Win." Seriously, you never would have been able to tell that the Eagles dominated a proposed NFC contender (and one which was reportedly out for vengeance no less!) by the tone of Andy Reid's post-game comments. Personally, I've been beaming since yesterday afternoon (save for the three hours of turnpike traffic on the drive home). If anyone should have been enjoying the win a bit more, I suspect it should have been Big Red. And in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, quote below:
On whether it is normal practice to have a player arrive at the stadium as late as Vick arrived prior to the game: "I told him to be here at 12:15 PM, and he showed up at 12:15 PM. That was it. Don't worry about it. Enjoy the win."
Seriously, if he wasn't already caffeine-and-tobacco-free, I'd assume that he was trying to quit something. Maybe Tammy put him on a diet and it's making him extra crabby?
A Stopped Clock. I tend to be the guy who takes care of the ads and widgets and whatnot in the sidebar 'round these parts (you now know where to route your complaints...), and I've been on the fence a bit about the WhatIfSports widget for a couple weeks now. It's not exactly occupying prime real estate, so it isn't the biggest deal, but I wondered what sort of value it was really offering. I wouldn't say that I've definitively answered that question, but we must issue a helping of mad props to said widget for getting yesterday's final score pretty close to correct. As in, 28-15 isn't far removed from 31-17. Call it credit where credit is due. Full details on the prediction here.
Sartorial Consultancy. The preferred uniform for yesterday afternoon's affair was clearly the Eagles jersey accessorized with the Phillies hat. This costume choice works in a couple dimensions; if you're on the "Grown men shouldn't wear jerseys" team, well, you can skip the rest of this item. Next you'll say that six-year-old girls shouldn't wear princess costumes at the Magic Kingdom! Anyhoo. (1) The football jersey is inherently a sharper and more flattering garment than the baseball jersey. Not that you can't look terrible in a football jersey, but it's tough to rock a baseball jersey without looking like a slob -- the buttons and untuckedness just doom it. (2) A baseball cap is a must-own item, is an essential part of the uniform itself, and is a polite way to show your support for the baseball team while attending the event for the football team. Some might even argue that the selection of Phils hats is superior to those available for the Eagles, but I think that this hypothesis still requires additional investigation.
Speaking Of Costumes. So does the League office go easy on DeSean Jackson with a uniform fine because of the serious brain trauma that he suffered yesterday afternoon? Officially, the Eagles wear black shoes (which tend to have white trim, though green also shows up). DeSean has rocked black and green in the past, but I can't imagine that straight silver is acceptable to the uniform Stasi. Perhaps there's some sort of papal dispensation during the Month Of Pink (check those laces)? Also, those look suspiciously like soccer shoes. Also DeSean appears to be aspiring to deploy only the legal minimum of white sock on his lower leg.
Reckless Challenges and Excessive Force. The Dunta Robinson hit on DeSean Jackson was absolutely horrifying in person, even from the upper deck and without an instant replay. The whole stadium knew it was atrocious. And it feels like something was extra-wrong about that play, even though Robinson took a 15-yard penalty. We can't say that he wanted to injure the CamelCased One, but, as Andy Reid noted, this isn't Tiddlywinks. Football is a violent game, and things like this hit have happened for some time. But still, it feels like football is missing the right sort of disciplinary framework for this offense. I would argue that we borrow a bit from soccer here. From the FIFA Rules Of The Game:
“Careless” means that the player has shown a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or that he acted without precaution. No further disciplinary sanction is needed if a foul is judged to be careless.
“Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent. A player who plays in a reckless manner must be cautioned.
“Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent. A player who uses excessive force must be sent off.
Essentially, if you do something that puts another guy in more danger than there needs to be, we can just throw you out of the game. I'm not even saying that the NFL should implement yellow and red cards. Not today. But ejections would appropriately punish folks for a crippling hit. Suspensions and fines can follow. And if they really wanted to make it stick, they could force you to play a man down for the remainder of the game (I kid! I kid!).
This Isn't Tiddlywinks. So if this isn't Tiddlywinks, what is? From Wikipedia:
Tiddlywinks is an indoor game played with sets of small discs called "winks" lying on a surface, usually a flat mat. Players use a larger disc called a "squidger" to pop a wink into flight by pressing down on one side of the wink. The objective of the game is to cause the winks to land either on top of opponents' winks, or ultimately inside a pot or cup.
To many, tiddlywinks is considered to be a simpleminded, frivolous children's game, rather than an adult game. The modern competitive adult game (now called tiddlywinks) made a strong comeback at the University of Cambridge in 1955. The modern game uses far more complex rules and a consistent set of high-grade equipment.
Just FYI. But seriously, Kolb was really flinging the squidger around yesterday, am I right?
I Guess I Might Do Things Like This If My Team Had Lost To The Giants Four (4) Times In A Row, Including At Home In The Playoffs. Tough to take the moral high ground with the legacy of the Michael Irvin neck injury thing, but we can both agree that we're all terrible people and just up the Haterade appropriately when the Eagles play the Giants later this year.
Things That We Hope Aren't True. Kevin Kolb was tearing up after a Week 6 game against a non-division opponent? Kevin, I know it's been a rough couple weeks for you, but trust me, this is not the last rough couple weeks you're going to have if you'd like your job to be "Starting Quarterback For The Philadelphia Eagles." There's a slight chance that this town can be a little tough on quarterbacks, even the most successful ones in franchise history. Again, just FYI. Also worth noting, Asante Samuel was handing out game balls, which is another subtle reminder that the volume of interactions with local media is not directly proportional to a player's stature among his teammates. Of course, I shall stand corrected if "tearing" is meant to suggest "Going out and partying a lot" and not "weeping."
Marcia Marcia Marcia! So Jeremy Maclin, the first-round draft pick otherwise known as the Eagles other receiver comes up with a monster game following DeSean Jackson's injury and guess what everyone is talking about on Monday: DeSean Jackson's injury! Even on Jeremy's big day, DeSean is the news. Perhaps this is best handled via some fan fiction, but I just don't see Maclin connecting with fans in the same way that DeSean does. Charisma is a real thing, and DeSean doesn't lack for it, whereas Maclin seems to struggle a bit more with the entertainment aspects of his job. This does not mean he isn't an excellent young player that I'm thrilled to have on the team. It just means he won't sell as many jerseys as the eSeans, D and L.
The Abortive Attempt At IgglesBlog Tailgating. In our defense, any attempt at actual organization of a meetup prior to the game was half-assed at best, but still, this wasn't our finest hour. Some tardy arrivals for tailgating [raising hand sheepishly] plus the failings of the AT&T mobile network caused Sam and I to miss each other. On the bright side, I got to meet @xtiandc and @joepetrizzi, which was appropriately excellent. Tragically, this meant that some cupcakes went uneaten.
IgglesBlog Suicide Pool Update. Impressive week for the remaining participants in the Suicide Pool, as only one person was eliminated this week (due to the failings of the pesky Chicago Bears and the triumph of the NerdBirds on the road). That leaves 41 folks left standing. The Steelers and Giants were popular picks this week, but let's send a second shout-out in a row to Nick Cole's Helium Voice, who followed last week's selection of the Lions with a very bold Niners pick. That's like going for it on fourth-and-7 on your own 18-yard line. Cheers to you, sir.