Respect Romo

Houston Texans v Dallas Cowboys

Image via Vergecampus.com

Tony Romo was not a popular man in Philadelphia. His retirement is likely being celebrated across the Delaware Valley. Except by me.

Everyone wants to highlight the flaws. His PGA tour tryouts during minicamps, the dating of superstar girlfriends, his occasional lack of composure. They’re fair complaints, but they don’t properly encompass the man.

I like Tony Romo.  The guy was undrafted out of Eastern Illinois in 2003 and wound up being a top 10 NFL QB over the course of his 10 seasons as the Cowboy’s starter. It’s incredibly rare. He was mobile, had a plus arm, and wasn’t a shitty human being.

Here’s Romo by the numbers:

Record Comp % Yards TDs INT
78-49 65.3% 34,183 248 117

It’s a good career by any standards. For an undrafted quarterback it’s one of the best careers EVER behind only Kurt Warner. He took the Cowboys to the playoffs in a perennially tight division four times and went 2-4 in those appearances.

Here’s the other thing, Tony Romo was injured a lot, but he was tough. Literally all of the starts that Tony Romo missed during the course of his career were due to a broken collarbone or a broken back. They’re injuries you simply can’t play with. Also consider that prior to age 35 when Romo’s body finally broke down, he’d only missed 15 games in nine seasons. Ten of which were from a broken collarbone in 2010.

Say what you will, but Tony Romo was a guy that answered the bell for Dallas week in and week out for a decade. He was a source of stability in world run by Jerry Jones. He went 12-8 against the Eagles including a playoff win in 2009. Give the man his due.

The Eagles Should Look Ugly on Purpose

kelly-greenThe NFL won’t let the Eagles have kelly green alternate helmets. As a result, the Eagles have suggested they won’t wear kelly green uniforms. The logic is that kelly green uniforms with midnight green helmets would be an ugly sight. They’re right. It’s also exactly why they should wear it.

Wearing midnight green helmets with kelly green jerseys would be a chance for revolution against a tyrannical NFL. When the Eagles would stroll onto the field in the national spotlight even your most casual fans would take notice. “Why do the Eagles look like a vomit smoothie?” The league embarrassment and subsequent bad press would force the NFL to publicly debate the alternate helmet rules. I guarantee they would be changed for the 2018 season.

You might be thinking: are the helmet rules making players safer?

No. The science behind it is questionable at best. It’s basically founded on the idea that broken in helmets are safer. However, there’s many reports that state there’s no real difference between a new helmet and a used one.

The rule also implies something ridiculous: that alternate helmets couldn’t be broken in. If teams are wearing helmets from June through the entirety of the season, there’s no reason that the Eagles can’t practice in, and therefore break in, kelly green helmets by the time the season began.

Maybe this will catch the league’s attention: IT’S COSTING THEM MONEY!

And that’s what makes the whole thing so silly. When it comes to this case of kelly green in Philadelphia, the decision to not allow alternate uniforms is costing the NFL millions of dollars in merchandise. Millions. Over a dumb, outdated rule. I’d buy a kelly green Malcolm Jenkins tomorrow. The NFL prefer’s that never happen.

The Eagles have said that they hope to revist the issue again next year, but I don’t expect any progress to be made without radical measures. The Eagles submitted the rule change for alternate helmets this year it didn’t even reach the Competition Committee. The Eagles were essentially told in private that the rule would not pass under any circumstance. As a result, the Eagles withdrew the proposal.

Roger Goodell’s NFL is much like what I was taught as a kid. It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Jeffrey Lurie should do the same.

Make our beloved birds ugly as sin, Mr. Lurie. Parade them out on national television with midnight green helmets and kelly green uniforms. Force the NFL to change to change the rules and get us the kelly green we all crave.

The Time the Eagles Almost Moved

The Eagles had a shocking week in 1984 when owner Leonard Tose nearly moved the team to Arizona. The story is clouded with gambling, drama, lawsuits, and more. Listen below to get the full story of how the Eagles were days away from leaving the nest!

Improving the NBA Fan Experience

Band

“Silver, bro. I got this.”

Adam Silver put out an edict yesterday that slammed owners for allowing star players to sit. The idea being that games without good players provide a bad fan experience. Simple, true.

It got me thinking…..what would improve the NBA game experience for me? My answer is simple and I’m taking it directly from the NCAA tournament.

Can we get full bands at games? Give me striped shirts and trumpets. Give me tubas playing covers of Chainsmokers and funny foul shot rituals. Brining a college atmosphere to professional games would be an obvious step forward and something that everyone would enjoy.

Are dancers and hip hop (no not that one) at games fun? Sometimes. The environment is lively and the tempo seems fast and hip. It’s also…..boring. Especially when it’s 41 games a year, every year. I don’t need to hear Flo Rida’s “OOOOOOOOOO sometimes!” for the billionth time when I can get Archie and the Brass Bros bumping “24k Magic” by Bruno Mars.

From a Sixers perspective, give me it 6 games a year. Nova, Drexel, Temple, LaSalle, St. Joe’s, and Penn each send the band over for one night only during the season. Alums can use it an as excuse to get together, players and coaches bond over their college game days, and we can get a feeling that we all love in an environment where it’s never seen.

Hand, meet glove. Thanks!

How Do You Solve a Problem like Jordan?

Matthews

Matthews’ true from. Image From Reddit

For Howie Roseman, Jordan Matthews is good mannered problem child. He has the right size, an undisputed work ethic, and he’s the best player of what is a miserable receiving core. He also doesn’t fit anywhere in the modern NFL.

He has size and speed but isn’t trusted on the outside. He can get open in the slot, but can’t reliably catch. What do you do with him?

One path is to resign Matthews next year and hope that his hands improve. After all, he’s the best receiver the Eagles have and they need to build around Wentz.

The other path is to be realistic.

Roseman gets it. Jordan Matthews is a player that will not get substantially better. Hand-eye coordination is not something that improves at the NFL level so move him now. The fact is none of the receivers are part of the Eagle future. Replacing a misfit part now is worth it even if it means a step back.

There’s also the possibility that the Eagles could trade Matthews and still be better in 2017 than 2016 at wideout. Think about it. The Eagles are connected to free agents, draft prospects, and trade targets at WR. We could see a lineup of DeSean Jackson, Brandin Cooks, prospects X and Y, and Nelson Agholor. That’s a huge step forward WITHOUT Jordan Matthews.

So trade that young man, Howie! Just don’t ask Bryan Colangelo what he’s worth.

Antonio Brown Makes Fletcher Cox Look Silly

Did you see Antonio Brown signed a new deal with the Steelers? It’s a record breaker. A four year contract for $68 million dollars–a $17 million average. It’s a fair price for the best, most consistent receiver in the NFL. As an Eagles fan, it’s a punch in the gut.

Why? Fletcher Cox averages the same amount per year. Yes, the Eagles defensive tackle makes  just as much as the game’s best wide receiver in a pass happy league. It’s ludicrous.

When you turn the clock back a year to when Cox was signed to that gargantuan over-payment the argument was this:

“He’s a young star player. The market dictates that price, so that’s the price you pay.”

That’s true. Cox would have made a similar deal on the open market, but market value and actual value are completely different.

The market value in this case comes from Ndamukong Suh’s 2015 contract. The Dolphins, a terrible organization, paid him $114 million over six years. It was a record contract in number and futility. The Lions were average when Suh was there on a rookie deal and the Dolphins are…..floundering (I couldn’t help myself) with him currently. The top contract THE YEAR BEFORE was only five years for $55 million dollars. It was signed by Geno Atkins of the Bengals.

Nevertheless, Howie Roseman was “forced” to overpay Cox. I don’t think so. Since when are the Dolphins a role model? Roseman should have let Cox walk. Defensive tackle isn’t a premium position.

“But then you get nothing for him!”

You don’t get picks or players, but you get boatloads of money! Money that Roseman could have used for a whole host of players or a more valuable star. Josh Norman, for example, makes $2 million dollars less than Cox per year. I’d make that swap in a heart beat.

Or maybe Roseman can we trade Cox for Brown? They’re worth the same.

Goodell’s Combine Rule Will Ruin the NFL

smallwoodThe biggest story for tomorrow’s NFL Combine is who isn’t there–and rightfully so.

The problem begins with Joe Mixon. Mixon, a potential first round talent, will stay home because he punched a woman two and a half years ago. He’s the victim of Roger Goodell’s new policy, which excludes troubled prospects from attending the combine.
What Mixon did is criminal, but what Goodell’s doing is destructive too.
 
Bad people have a right to play football. I will say this until I die…unless, of course, the football dies first. That might be the case.
 
Dez Bryant, Marcus Peters, Janoris Jenkins, and now Mixon…troubled stars regularly slide because of red flags and riskier teams reap the talent. But not all troubled players are first round talents!
 
Just take a look at last year’s Eagles. Wendell Smallwood was charged with intimidating a witness in a murder trial. He was taken in the 5th round. Jalen Mills had a domestic violence incident and was drafted in the 7th round. Alex McCallister, who was unofficially kicked off of his college team, was drafted in the 7th as well. All of them worked out at the 2016 combine.
 
 The opportunity for troubled players to go to the combine is everything. It’s a chance for prospects to make their case to any team that will listen.
Goodell has recklessly taken that chance away. Now prospects like what the Eagles drafted last year may never see the league in ’17. 
 
Meanwhile, talent is getting harder and harder to find in the NFL. Stars like Calvin Johnson and Patrick Willis retired at age 30. Walter Thurmond turned a career year into community softball with free agency looming. The already short life of NFL players is shrinking and it gets worse. There’s no international development. Parents don’t let their kids play anymore. When the few talents you have a re retiring young and you deny the next talent you have, what’s left?
 
The fact is, the NFL needs these troubled players whether you like it or not. Get them back in the combine, Roger.

Hinkie’s Shadow Could Last Longer than Bryan Colangelo

 

hinkieBryan Colangelo has been failing spectacularly in every aspect of his job this past week. Meanwhile, Sam Hinkie is impressing from the dead. For Colangelo, it could mean his third stop as a GM ends in shame.

Here’s the problem: every general manager looks to make a mark on the organization early in their tenure, but Colangelo will have no such chance. Hinkie is too deeply embedded into the future of the franchise.

How so? As Hinkie built for the future Sixers, he compiled extra first round picks all the way out until 2019 and he will deserve some credit until then. Take a look!

Ben Simmons (Tanking): Hinkie
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (OKC pick): Hinkie
Furkan Korkmaz (Miami pick): Hinkie.
Kings pick swap in 2017: Hinkie.
The Lakers first round pick will convey by 2018: Hinkie
The Kings 2019 pick: Hinkie

That’s four seasons worth of Hinkie looming over Colangelo. Does Colangelo last four years? Not at this rate.

Long live The King.

 

Josh Harris Never Loved You

harrisIt’s been said many times that “sports is a business” but for Joshua Harris business is his business. He doesn’t give a damn about the 76ers or their fans.

We’ve known this all along, right? When Harris and his group of hedge fund managers bought the Sixers in 2011 there was never a sense of marriage between fans and ownership. It’s felt more like befriending a stranger on a plane. The bond brief and shallow with the sale of the team imminent.

We’re still waiting for the plane to land as Harris turns a once proud basketball franchise into a circus. It’s been putrid…depending on who you talk to.

Fans will talk of frustration and lies. They’ll talk of pricier tickets and false CT scans. Forbes will tell you about a new practice facility, a gigantic sales force, and $800 million dollars worth of value.

To Harris, the latter is what matters. Fobes doesn’t give a shit what the fans think as long as they pay money. So why should Harris care? If Harris DID give a damn about the fans he’d have pushed Bryan Colangelo to be more honest in regards to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ injuries. He writes the checks, therefore he writes the culture.

Instead we’re stuck with a regime that is cold, uncaring, and outright disrespectful to their paying customers. As a result, fans need to ask a new question. When will Harris finally sell?

Unfortunately, it may be a while. The Sixers are currently in a long contract with the Wells Fargo Center and the largest value for franchises comes from owning the building you play in. If Harris waits it out, which is more likely, Sixers fans will be in for some extended turbulence.

However, Harris and his group have already tripled their investment in the Sixers, which they initially bought for $280 million. Perhaps they cut bait now and invest their profits elsewhere instead of waiting for the WFC contract to expire.

Either way. It’s just business.

The Phillies Are Dead and Now I can Love Them

World Series Game 5

 

Winning the 2008 World Series was an inescapable cloud for the Phillies. Many fans said their expectations were low in recent years but their hearts said otherwise. It was like believing a loved one will snap out of dementia.

Consider the case of Ryan Howard. He goes from home run mashing  MVP darling to a haggard mess dodging beer bottles. 99.9% of people wouldn’t throw the bottle, but I bet they understand where the frustration came from.

This year no member of the 2008 World Series team reporting to Clearwater. Rollins, Utley, Howard and Hamels are replaced by Franco, Herrera, Nola and Joseph.

There is no history for the 2017 Phillies. There is no looming shadow. The organization is free to build their own identity again and for the first time in nearly 10 years fans can experience puppy love. Perhaps me more than most.

I never related to the recent greats much because the Phillies lost my interest when I was a very young. The departures of guys like Scott Rolen and Curt Schilling ruined my fandom. I was completely uncaring. So much so that I didn’t celebrate the ’08 World Series. Not a high five, a cheer, a smile. Nothing. As a result, talking about the Phillies had felt like watching the last 20 minutes of a movie. I appreciated the action, but had no connection to the characters.

Today I have a chance to truly embrace the Phillies for the first time in 17 years. I can watch the new era grow. I can love again.

%d bloggers like this: