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

Down the Stretch Fantasy Take on the Eagles

In week 10 of the regular season, many people thought that LeSean McCoy was poised for a pretty big game. Philadelphia as a team looked nice, scoring a total of 45 points in a blowout win over the Carolina Panthers. However, McCoy was not exactly that sharp, as he finished with just 19 yards on the ground and 12 carries. He has not really been able to live up to expectations so far this year, but he could have a strong finish to the regular season starting with a favorable matchup with the Tennessee Titans. He is just one Philadelphia player on offense look for in the next few weeks.

We are starting to get to the end of the fantasy football regular season in most leagues, so people are hoping for McCoy to finally turn things around and provide a good amount of value. He was able to find the end zone last week, and that is going to be key for him in the next few weeks. Philadelphia has scored over 70 points in their prior 2 contests to Green Bay, so the opportunities are going to be there. McCoy just needs to be a little bit more dependable carrying the ball every time he gets a touch. It would also help if he becomes a little bit more involved in the passing game if at all possible.

Tennessee has one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, so that bodes well for him. Not only that, but Philadelphia is going to need to run the ball a bit more now that they have to start Mark Sanchez at quarterback.

Even though Sanchez is a little bit of a liability at quarterback, people are starting to really target Jordan Matthews as a nice pickup on the waiver wire. He is going to be big for them on offense down the stretch as well, especially if he is fully healthy. He will have the opportunity to become the top receiver in Philadelphia if he is a little bit more consistent in the next week or 2. He has outplayed Jeremy Maclin at times this year, so the rookie is really starting to become a fantasy football standout. He had far and away his best game of his career in the NFL in week 10, and I could be a sign of things to come as he is a nice target for the new quarterback to rely on.

Bill Gregory of the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Fund on 94WIP!

If you’ve checked in with the Cooler around Thanksgiving you know that we’re big supporters of the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Fund, which uses the spirit of rugby to provide swim lessons to inner city youth. Bill Gregory, who is the founder of the fund, was on SportsRadio 94WIP to talk about the upcoming events for the group!

Be Sure to Check Out The New Podcast!

Vince and Ray have been working n a new podcast called Sports Beyond Measure at CBS Philly! Make sure to check out the podcast and follow us on twitter @boydonsports and @itsVincequinn!

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Nick Foles is a Game Manager. Nothing more, Nothing Less.

folesFollowing a statistically incredible 2013 and with a full offseason as the starter Nick Foles was supposedly primed to break out. Instead, Foles chance to shine has removed some of his luster and we are left with what only the eye test could confirm last season. Nick Foles is a game-managing system quarterback. Nothing more, nothing less.

Depending on how you want to look at it, it could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Old school NFL tradition considers game managers and system quarterbacks to be dirty labels—the kind of language that isn’t suitable for the likes of Lambeau field. It means, simply, that your quarterback cannot play because he is by default not elite. This is wrong.

Read the rest of the article at CBSPhilly.com!

Flyers Begin Tonight!

Welcome back Hockey and Flyers fans alike! It’s Christmas day for us puck heads, as the puck drops on the 2014-2015 NHL season. The Flyers begin with a 7:30 puck drop against the mighty Boston Bruins.

This season will likely be a tough one for the Flyers. With an extremely thin blue line, with Kimmo Timmonen out indefinitely with blood clots the Flyers will need someone to step up as a leader on the blue line.

It’s difficult as a team to do serious damage without their top 2 defensemen (Pronger is still technically on the roster under the LTIR.) Put simply, it sucks. The Flyers leaned heavily on Timmonen last year as the anchor on the power play and without him they’ll likely look towards Andrew MacDonald.

On the offensive side of the puck it looks a little more bright. Claude Giroux will again be the catalyst coming off a slow start to the 2013-2014 season, he’ll need to come off quick this year to show last year’s early season struggles were a fluke.

Brayden Schenn is coming on with a nice “bridge” contract, 2 years/5million. He’ll look to prove his worth for his big money contract by working on the 2nd line and racking up the points.

"Dude... what the fuck are you talking about?"

Under the new leadership at the GM, Ron Hextall is working with a relatively young team and even younger team in the minor’s and rights in the juniors. This is a year of “what is the future” in my eyes.

Unfortunately , with these kind of years I don’t see much how the Flyers will be serious contenders. What works in their favor is the serious lack luster Eastern Conference, expect for the juggernaut in the Boston Bruins, it’s very open. Having said that, I don’t see the Flyers making the playoffs this year, narrowly on the outside looking in.

Enjoy the cold and vulcanized rubber puck heads!

Maclin Making Jackson Easy to Forget

MaclinOver the course of the offseason the question was a simple one for the Eagles: How do you replace DeSean Jackson’s production?

In the 2013 season Jackson had a career year with  82 catches for 1332 yards and 9 TD’s. He might have cured cancer and found the Lindbergh baby too for all I know–there was quite an uproar when he was cut and rule of thumb is that you can’t cut game-breaking, baby-saving talent like that. Meanwhile, Jeremy Maclin was a forgotten man as he recovered from a torn ACL during the madly scientific success of 2013. He was also Jackson’s perfect replacement.

Again, the question was always “how do we replace Jackson’s production” not “how do we replace that qualities that Jackson has?”

Read the rest of the article over at CBSPhilly.com!

Roger Goodell Thinks You’re Stupid

It has not been a banner few weeks for the National Football League. I should feel compelled to write about the Bills starting 2-0 after being purchased by a local owner, determined to keep the beloved small-market team in the market that loves it so. I should want to write about how dumb Lovie Smith was for thinking Josh McCown was a viable starting quarterback, or the Chargers beating the Seahawks, or how the Cowboys defense has been so much better than that collection of players has any business being. It isn’t as though these have been two boring weeks on the field. Even so, the first two weeks of the NFL’s 2014 season have been defined by stories of domestic abuse and the appropriateness of corporal punishment. I did not think it was possible for the return of America’s favorite sport to take a backseat to other stories in the sports scene, but that’s exactly what has happened.

Fortunately, Roger Goodell is on the job (said no one ever). And his solution to the NFL’s current image problem is to send every player to seminar programs on domestic violence, presumably during the upcoming offseason and possibly future offseasons: another completely empty gesture that accomplishes nothing, being done exclusively for appearances. Wonderful. Goodell’s inexcusable job performance over the last month is well-documented, perhaps overly so, so let’s focus on this particular course of action, unveiled at a press conference after a week of hiding, where every word was carefully selected and every question balletically tip-toed around. There is no argument to be made in favor of this seminar.

Why shouldn’t the players learn about domestic abuse?

By suspending Ray Rice for an incredibly lenient two games, Roger Goodell displayed a staggering lack of awareness with regard to everything about domestic violence. It seems like HE is the one who has a thing or two to learn on domestic violence. He’s sending the players to learn about it instead. What a message to send to the Union you’re going to be negotiating with in the future: If I fuck the dog, YOU are going to be the ones who end up making it right. “Why not?” is not a good enough reason when you’re starting from that position.

By learning about domestic violence,  players will be less likely to abuse their spouse/fiance/girlfriend.

This argument is complete bullshit that’s based on the premise that hitting your partner is a reasoned choice.

All couples argue. The Ray Rice incident in Atlantic City is an example of what happens when an argument becomes a fight. Not all couples fight, and whether or not they do is based on how violent either or both involved parties are. That doesn’t excuse or diminish anything he did. Nothing that happens in a domestic abuse seminar is going to curb anyone’s violent tendencies. That’s the type of thing that requires years of therapy.

I would guess that a large majority of NFL players would never escalate an argument with a loved one to the point of physical blows. For those players, this seminar is a complete waste of time and energy. And for those like Ray Rice who clearly would, this seminar is not going to stop them from doing it, making it a complete waste of time and energy for them as well. Let me explain.

When Ray Rice knocked his fiancé unconscious, I don’t think he was thinking clearly. I think that he has certain violent tendencies and that he snapped. In future tense moments, and they will happen, no person capable of domestic abuse is going to have the presence of mind to summon what they learned in a seminar. They’re going to see red and they’re going to lose it.

This seminar is not going to protect future victims. It’s just Goodell’s way of trying to make you believe that he “gets it,” or that the League is “getting its house in order.” Don’t buy it.

We’re bringing awareness to the issue:

Again, we are so aware of domestic violence that a suspended, past-his-peak running back on an average team has upstaged the first two weeks of the season.

A United States Women’s National Soccer Team friendly match against Mexico generated headlines because of Hope Solo and the domestic violence case  that was so un-talked about that everyone had to talk about it immediately.

Even casual fans now know the names of Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer.

One of the League’s marquee players is on indefinite suspension because “if hitting your spouse is so inexcusable, what makes hitting your child any different?”

Awareness has been brought. We have been made aware. All the NFL is hoping to do with this seminar is make you feel less aware of its own incompetence.

During Goodell’s tenure as Commissioner, my NFL fandom has changed. It has grown in scope thanks to fantasy football, and in passion as I’ve invested more time and energy into my team. As my fandom has grown, I have become more aware of this sport’s incredible ability to completely maim those who play it, and its League’s tendency to look the other way on performance-enhancing substances that exacerbate its potential to do so. I’ve seen the League stand by Daniel Snyder as he wages a campaign to insist that a catch-all term for a non-white race of people chosen by George Preston Marshall — a despicable pig of a man who was an openly racist, avowed supporter of segregation with an affinity for minstrel shows — was ever intended with honor or respect. I’ve seen Goodell mock sincerity by claiming to care about player safety. This, while John Abraham is being allowed to return to football after another concussion the season after essentially saying, “I am losing my memory. Pieces of my brain are GONE.”

I love football and I love following the NFL. Those 17 football sundays of the regular season are 17 of my favorite days of the year. And it is getting harder and harder to ignore the feeling that Roger Goodell’s continued status as Commissioner demands that I suspend my values to take enjoyment in watching. And now, by suggesting that Step 1 in “getting our house in order” is sending every player to a domestic abuse seminar, the Ginger Hammer is asking me to suspend my intelligence as well.

I hope no one falls for it. I hope no one believes that this in any way makes up for the Catastrofuck that has been his complete mismanagement of ALL of the League’s current image issues. This seminar is a non-idea from a non-idea, empty suit of a league commissioner. If Roger Goodell really cares about “protecting the shield” and “getting [the NFL’s] house in order” then his next course of action should be obvious: get as far away from the house as possible.

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