Improving the NBA Fan Experience


“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’ 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.

What’s Left of Peyton Manning?

peyton-manningFirst all time in passing yards, first all time in touchdowns, 5 MVPs, two Super Bowls with two different teams. Peyton Manning was America’s golden boy. The do-no-wrong quarterback was the perfect story of grit and smarts and hard work.

Yet he’ll still be an afterthought.

Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, will forever be a footnote in history. The collapse of the empire to a greater superpower. Tom Brady has won the game, the set, the match, the battle, the war, the era. It’s all his. Brady will start next season at age 40 while being considered the best to ever play the game and the incumbent Super Bowl favorite. Meanwhile Manning is eating mud.

A story came out the other day from Deion Sanders insisting that the Colts regularly stole teams signals–the same crime as the Patriots–but without the use of cameras. This almost exactly a year after stories emerged of Manning committing inappropriate sexual acts against a trainer while attending college at Tennessee. Usually players grow sweeter with age. The time away romanticizes their glory days. Instead, the great Peyton Manning has soured.

That isn’t to say he won’t be a first ballot Hall of Famer, whatever the hell that’s worth, but when you think of Manning’s legacy it’s surprising how the most adored star in America’s most popular sport has been reduced to mashed potatoes next to a filet mignon in the span of a year.

If I were him, I’d hope Brady’s next season is his last.

Gronk Makes Me Question the Sixers

Rob Gronkowski is great. He’s an other worldly football player that, if he could, would get implants in his legs so that he’d always stand at 6’9″.  What’s not to love?

gronkWell I don’t love that Joel Embiid is basically the same guy. Ridiculously talented, goofy, likable, and injury prone. It’s a cloud that’s going to hang over him the entirely of his career. Even the most devout Process Trusters will whisper to each other over PBR’s the next few years that everything is going perfectly “assuming Embiid stays healthy”.

Which brings me back to the Pats. As I write this they’re parading in Boston and Gronk has been an unsurprisingly visible figure. He also hasn’t played a game since November 27th–week 11 of the NFL season–yet the Pats still took home the Lombardi. They won without a generational talent and their second biggest star.

So seeing that I realize I can’t rely on Embiid to be fully healthy throughout his career. There’s no precedent for it. If he wants to take this team over the top Bryan Colangelo is going to have to work significantly harder. He has to build a team that can win without Joel Embiid because there’s no assurance to the contrary. The Sixers need to be good enough to win a title without their superstar.

Think about it. Do you bet on Embiid’s over the next year? Sure. You’ll get enough out of him. How do you feel about him 3 years from now when they’re hopefully competing? What about 7 or 8 years from now as his max contract expires? I’m not paying that insurance plan.

Maybe Ben Simmonds proves he can lead a title team when he returns. At least, I certainly hope so.

We’re Back!

You know, someone once told me that time is a flat circle. Maybe they were right.

After spending the last two and a half years working solely in sports radio I’ve decided to go back to the roots that got me there in the first place. As a result, I’m proud to announce that The Wooder Cooler is officially back in business! Hooray!

In terms of what to expect from us during this revival, the goal is simple. I want this site to be fun. I want it to be informative. I want it to push the conversation forward. That’s it.

Now while we’ll primarily be talking about sports don’t be surprised when we stray from that lane. I like shit that has nothing to do with sports. You like shit that has nothing to do with sports. Let’s talk about it! Will we disagree sometimes? Sure. But that’s what wooder cooler talk is all about.

Looking forward to it!

Vince Quinn

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