A piece that I wrote on a day spent behind the scenes at the 94 WIP Morning Show…Source: 215mag.com
This past Sunday afternoon, tens of thousands of Philadelphia Eagles fans sat at the Linc, in their living rooms, or in their neighborhood watering holes, rooting on their beloved football team.
And as we watched the Eagles slowly unravel in the fourth quarter yet again this season, the question that many of us have been trying to avoid for weeks slowly began to create a sense of doubt in the backs of our heads…
Are we going about this the wrong way?
It’s clear that something needs to change. When a team loaded with offensive talent adds Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a busy offseason, there is no reason that team should ever begin a year with a 3-6 record. None.
We all know what needs to happen. We also know that nothing is going to happen unless the wheels completely fall off of this debacle known as the 2011 season. And while it’s hard for many of us to reconcile the fact that losing games is a good thing in the long term, it may be the only way for our team to reclaim its past glory.
Because at this point, isn’t rooting for Andy Reid akin to embracing mediocrity?
For the better part of 13 years, Reid has been the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. And for the 13th year - barring a miracle from on high - Reid will not be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.
In just two short months, the mood surrounding this team has gone from excitement to concern to flat-out apathy. We’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to cheering for a squad that’s no better than mediocre, despite a roster filled with former Pro Bowlers.
Yet we continue to watch. Granted, it’s probably ingrained somehow in our double helixes, but we continue to hope and wish and pray that the Eagles win each week, even though that just means we’ll get more of the same out of Reid.
Andy Reid apologists will be quick to suggest that their beloved coach deserves a mulligan for 2011. After all, the Eagles haven’t had a losing season since 2005, and the team has won six division titles and an NFC Championship during his tenure.
But here’s the thing: Andy Reid doesn’t deserve anything. As those mutual fund commercials have taught us, past performance is not an indicator of future success. So if Andy Reid isn’t the best option to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl, then the team owes it to itself - and to us, by extension - to hire the best man for the job.
That isn’t to say that the team has quit on Reid this year. But there’s no excuse for losing to a 2-6 Arizona team at home, especially with the Cardinals missing the services of Kevin Kolb.
Sure, the Eagles were without one of their most potent weapons on offense (Desean Jackson) on Sunday. But with the best dual-threat RB in the NFL (Lesean McCoy), a Pro Bowl-caliber wideout (Jeremy Maclin), and a $100 million man at quarterback (Michael Vick), scoring 10 points on offense against the league’s fourth-worst pass defense is completely unacceptable.
Clearly, this isn’t as bad as 1998 - the final year of the Ray Rhodes era when the team went winless on the road and only scored 161 points for the entire season. Nor is it as dreadful as the 1994 campaign when the Eagles lost their last seven games, ushering in the end of the Rich Kotite era. But it isn’t far off.
This weekend, we saw the Eagles blow a 4th quarter lead for the fifth time in nine games - an NFL record. And yet after the game, Reid provided the same rote answers he always does when speaking to the media.
Not that we should have expected anything of substance. These days, Andy Reid press conferences are nothing more than the verbal equivalent of a paint-by-numbers exercise.
Let the record show that this is a man who was arrogant enough to name his offensive line coach his defensive coordinator, and then bristle at the suggestion that it wasn’t the most logical choice. Of course, this is also a man who has enjoyed carte blanche ever since he arrived in Philadelphia back in 1999.
But until that’s taken away from him, we are forced to deal with someone who - after more a decade at the helm - still struggles with the not-so-finer points of time management. A mediocre talent evaluator whose recent draft history leaves plenty to be desired. And a head coach who can make decisions without consequence until the one man who can effect a change finally comes to the realization that most of us have consented to long ago.
Jeffery Lurie? Time’s yours.
Former Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb is like that crazy ex-girlfriend who’ll never go away.
He’s like the kid who interrupts the spades game at the family reunion just to tell you that he made honor roll in the third marking period.
But during his latest plea for attention last week – a week in which he worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles and appeared in a video telling his doubters that he’ll no longer throw bounce passes like Bob Cousy – McNabb actually had a moment of clarity.
On Thursday, McNabb appeared on ESPN Chicago’s “Waddle and Silvy” radio show and offered the following: ”First of all, I’m not a fan of tweeting; I’m not a fan of Twitter. Nothing against their program or what they have, but as an athlete I think you need to get off of Twitter.”
In response to players who criticize their fellow athletes on the social networking site, McNabb said: ”I don’t believe that that’s the right deal… So I think for an athlete to be twittering is the wrong move. It’s one that leads to the fans and let them comment on certain things, but athletes need to get off Twitter.”
He’s absolutely right.
For most athletes, Twitter is a no-win situation.
Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Chris Douglas-Roberts (@cdouglasroberts) gains nothing by telling his followers about the linen shorts that he wears while relaxing on the Cayman Islands (shorts that happen to be embroidered with the self-granted nickname “Flyonel Ritchie”). Sixers’ center Marreese Speights won’t gain any fans with his jokes about overweight women who frequent IHOP, nor with his repeated pleas of “Free Lil’ Boosie.”
No one will deny that the service gives athletes an unprecedented way to reach out to their fans. Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) is only a laptop or a cell phone away from connecting with his 770,000-plus followers, whether it is to ask them for advice, or to promote one of his off-court initiatives.
The flip side is that Twitter also allows fans to communicate directly with their favorite (or not-so-favorite) players like never before. Previously, if someone wanted to rip an athlete, they would have to either call their local sports talk radio station, scream unpleasantries from their seat at the game, or sit down and compose a letter which wouldn’t likely be read.
Now, fans can tag their player of choice and fire off 140 characters of vitriol, a rant almost guaranteed to be viewed by its intended target the next time he (or she) logs into the social networking site.
New York Mets’ catcher Josh Thole (@josh_thole) shut down his Twitter account in May (calling it a “lose-lose situation”) after he was hammered with criticism during a hitting slump. Sixers’ swingman Andre Iguodala closed his account (@AI9) early last season – either he didn’t see the value in having it, or he wasn’t able to withstand the heat from Sixers’ fans that undoubtedly ripped him during the team’s 3-13 start.
It’s not all one-sided, however. Athletes have been known to start the fire themselves. The NFL lockout probably saved Steelers’ RB Rashard Mendenhall (@R_Mendenhall) from a suspension after his Osama bin Laden-related Twitter screed. LeBron James (@KingJames) caught heat for his infamous “Karma is a b****” tweet, and then was utterly destroyed after posting “Now or Never” prior to Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and then going out and scoring as many points that night as J.J. Barea.
For those in the public eye, social media can potentially be very dangerous, as former House Rep. Anthony Weiner (@RepWeiner) can personally attest to. But when understood and used correctly, it can also be a perfect way to engage with tens of thousands of people easily and effectively. In the sports world, however, we’ve seen far too many cases where athletes would have been better off if there was some sort of filter between them and their followers.
So while it may pain some Eagles fans to agree with him, McNabb is probably right. Unfortunately, the majority of players will likely dismiss his advice and continue posting as they always have. Hopefully, unlike former Rep. Weiner, they don’t get caught with their pants down.Source: warroomsports.com
Save for the hulking presence of Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive lineman Winston Justice, last night’s NFL Players Association One Team Tour event at Philadelphia’s Water Works restaurant could have easily been confused with your typical Teamsters’ rally.
Flanked by current and former NFL players, members of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, and other local labor leaders, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith made an impassioned plea in support of the players, as negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement with NFL owners - and commissioner Roger Goodell - may soon threaten the start of the 2011 season.
“I don’t think either Roger or I are out there to try to send any messages to each other,” said Smith. “It’s important for both of us to get a deal done as quickly as possible.”
One of the goals of last night’s event, whether stated or otherwise, was to gain support from fans across the country - many of whom dismiss the negotations as one group of millionaires doing battle against another.
“We’re all in this together,” said Eagles’ cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who is currently recovering from a career-threatening neck injury. “What I want to try to do is to show the fans that what you see on TV is not who we are. We’re just like you: we work hard, we play hard, and we just want the type of justice due to us.”
In the eyes of the NFLPA, that justice would come in the form of a new collective bargaining agreement that’s fair and equitable to both sides. In a sport where the average career is only three and a half years, it is hard to fault the players, who are simply seeking financial security for the impact that the game has on their bodies.
“We want to play games, but we’re the ones out there playing, and we just want a fair deal,” said Winston Justice, the Eagles’ NFLPA player representative. “We want to be out there more than the fans do, but we just want to be treated fairly.”
With less than 90 days remaining before the current CBA runs out on March 3, both sides are bracing themselves for the very real possibility of a labor stoppage.
In a one-page letter dated December 1, Smith advised players to save their last three game checks of the 2010 season in preparation for a lockout. “The deadline has now passed,” Smith wrote. “It is important that you protect yourself and your family.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded to the letter by saying: “It is disappointing and inexplicable, especially for fans… We are ready to meet and negotiate anytime and anywhere… One side can’t do it alone.”
One of the major points of contention is the owners’ desire to expand the regular season to 18 games by reducing the preseason from four games to two. However, with the recent spike in concussions and other serious injuries, the NFLPA is strongly opposed to any changes to the 16-game schedule as it stands now.
“Given our current system, two extra games means a shorter career… exposes us to more injuries,” said Smith. “That’s not moving forward - right now, that’s moving backward.”
“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Hobbs. “Me alone, to go through injuries time after time, day after day, the injury that I just suffered - now you’re adding two more games onto the end of that… I really don’t see it making sense.”
It’s been 23 years since the NFL last faced labor discord. Back in 1987, the NFLPA went on strike for 24 days, but nearly 90 players crossed the picket lines, and the union quickly lost any leverage it had against the owners. Now, almost a quarter of a century later, the players’ union realizes that they need to stand to together in order to achieve their ultimate goal.
“We’re facing a lockout,” said Smith. “Our players understand what the stakes are, and I’ve been brutal with them. If the players lack solidarity, we lose.”