As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #9: Eagles at Texans

A loss on the road against a very good opponent in a hostile environment is something that most Eagles fans would have accepted.  But in last Sunday’s game in Arizona, the Cardinals basically placed a big, fat “W” in their end zone, walked to their sideline and told the Eagles “Take it…it’s yours”.  And the Birds tripped over their own two feet while trying to grab the W…

Even though the Eagles amassed over 500 yards on offense, it was the extra foot that they could not gain on their second to last drive which made all the difference in the game.  Add to that another safety gaffe by Nate Allen, who had played better over the last few weeks but was fooled by Cardinals receiver John Brown as he sped past him like a speeding locomotive.   Rumor has it that Allen could be heard singing the Geto Boys song “My Minds Playing Tricks on Me” on the way back to the sideline.

And what do we make of the quarterback?  A position that was one of strength suddenly has become an enigma as we near the halfway point of the season.

Over the last two weeks, Foles has looked amazing at times, but has also thrown two interceptions in each game as well.  No one expected the quarterback to repeat his Superman like two-interception performance of 2013.  But too often this year, Foles has failed to run into the phone booth and change into his superhero alter ego, instead looking quite ordinary and somewhat awkward as his mortal Clark Kent self.  Perhaps Nick’s excuse is that there are no longer any phone booths to actually change into…

Along with the quarterback, an offense that was running on all cylinders suddenly turns into the “Jersey Shore” offense when it enters the red zone, as if coming to a screeching halt on Rt. 42 during Friday rush hours in the summer.  On Sunday, the Birds entered the red zone (within 20 yards of the end zone) three times on Sunday, only to go without a touchdown.

Turnovers also continue to plague this team, as they are -7 in turnover differential after Sunday’s loss, ranking them 29th out of 32 teams, and one of only two to have a winning record with a negative give/take ratio (the Chiefs being the other at -2).  But through it all, they have still managed a 5-2 record and remain in the hunt for the NFC East title.

How do they do it?  By hanging around till the end and somehow managing to pull out the win. This team could easily be 7-0 with two close losses to San Francisco and Arizona, but they could just as easily have been 2-5 if not for close wins against the Colts, Redskins, and Rams, the last in which taking their foot off the pedal almost came back to haunt them.

This week, the Birds head to the lone star state to face the Houston Texans and their defensive stud, J.J Watt.  The Texans don’t scare anyone with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback, but Watt should prove to be a handful for the Eagles offensive line.  The Texans do have a good coach in former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, but not enough pieces to do any real damage in the AFC South, which is once again owned by the Indianapolis Colts.

Birds win 23-14 and get back on the winning track.

Amit’s Top 5 Power Rankings:

1. Broncos

2. 49ers

3. Chiefs

4. Cardinals

5. Seahawks

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless noted otherwise):

Cardinals at Cowboys 1:00 PM FOX

Chargers at Dolphins 1:00 PM CBS

Broncos at Patriots 4:25 PM CBS (Game of the Week)

Ravens at Steelers 8:30 PM NBC

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #8: Eagles at Cardinals

Now that the annual bye week has ended, the sight of Birds fans trembling and suffering through withdrawal symptoms due to the lack of an Eagles game this past Sunday should start to subside.  And with it, the anticipation of what could become another NFC East title and hopefully at least one playoff victory (or two or three) on the horizon.

But while we had to make do without Eagles football last week, there was more than enough exciting NFL action to go around.

The Panthers and Bengals continued to flounder, the Packers fans are now “relaxed” (as Aaron Rodgers requested), and the St. Louis Rams defeated the world champion Seahawks with more trickery and antics than either David Copperfield or the Barnum & Bailey circus could ever muster.

The Giants came up short in helping us out while Peyton Manning became one of the greatest quarterbacks statistically speaking (though I would still take Tom Brady over him in a big game).

While the Eagles are 5-1, their schedule is not very favorable as they have two consecutive tough road games against Arizona and Houston followed by a Monday night at home against Carolina, which then leads into facing the Packers and the Cowboys on the road two of the following three weeks, including a Turkey Day affair with the ‘Boys.  Suffice to say, if you have family members who don’t like football and want to discuss your personal life on Thanksgiving while waiting for dessert to be served, this is not the year to invite them over.

While the Eagles – Cardinals contest is not a Sunday night affair or the FOX game of the week this Sunday (CBS actually has the doubleheader this week and thus, has the “official” late afternoon game of the week), it is indeed a “marquee” matchup and the 2nd best game on the schedule this week (Chargers – Broncos being #1).

The Birds face another 5-1 team which has played surprisingly well since Bruce Arians took over as their coach last year.  Hard to believe he was the same guy who coached a woeful Temple team back in the 1980’s when Michael Jackson was creating music video masterpieces and A-Ha was singing “Take on Me” with cool synthesizers playing in the background.

Arians has also revived the career of quarterback Carson Palmer, who looked to be done after he was traded to the NFL “over the hill” retirement community known as the Oakland Raiders.

The Eagles should have starting linebacker Mychal Kendricks back from injury for this game, and the possibility of Darren Sproles playing would be huge, especially on punt returns.

Even so, I think the Birds lose this week on the road, 34-27.  But no worries…the season still looks bright.

Amit’s Top 5 Power Rankings:

1. Cowboys (don’t be hatin’)

2. Broncos

3. Seahawks

4. Chiefs

5. 49ers

I know my “Top 5” list is bound to create some controversy.  For starters, the Eagles are not on the list, while two teams with records of 3-3 are (Seahawks and Chiefs).  But both Kansas City and Seattle have played a murderous schedule to date, while the Eagles are 5-1 on a relatively easy schedule.  That should change over the next few weeks as the Eagles face some tough opponents, and some quality victories would help to get them more R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless noted otherwise):

Chargers at Broncos 8:25 PM (Thurs) CBS  (Game of the Week)  

Seahawks at Panthers 1:00 PM CBS

Ravens at Bengals 1:00 PM CBS

Eagles at Cardinals 4:05 PM FOX

Colts at Steelers 4:25 PM CBS

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #7: Eagles Bye Week

Eagles-Giants games at the Linc usually represent a tight fought, down to the wire contest that is never decided until the final gun sounds.  Last Sunday was not one of those games.

The Eagles took control from the start, playing their first complete game en route to a 27-0 spanking of the New York Giants.  It’s hard to fathom that a team that holds a 5-1 record could not have played a complete game up till now, but such is the case with the Birds, and with the NFL in general.  The days of dominating teams leading the league are behind us.

The only “hiccup” (if you could call it that) were two Nick Foles interceptions that looked awful from the moment the ball left his hand.  After six games, Foles leads the league with seven interceptions, and while no one thought he would match last year’s numbers (27 touchdowns, 2 interceptions), his tendency of throwing INT’s is a cause for concern.  In a playoff game in January, two throws like that could doom the Eagles season.

But I’ll save that for another time and be positive after a nice Eagles win against a division foe.   The Eagles will now enjoy their bye week and take some time to recharge, retreat, and relax, while this Sunday is also a good day for fans to catch up on the usual weekend chores like raking the leaves, cleaning out the garage, trips to Home Depot, etc.

In addition, if you (or your significant other) is planning on giving birth any day now, this Sunday is as good as any to do it.  At least that way, if the father of your child is yelling “Go! Go! Go!” in the delivery room, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that he’s doing it to give you moral support and not because an Eagles’ player is running into the endzone for a touchdown.

On second thought, even with an Eagles bye, there are a ton of good games to be watched starting from 1 PM eastern time and going all the way up to the conclusion of Sunday Night football.  So without further ado, here is a quick preview of this week’s marquee matchups (all games on Sunday):

Bengals at Colts 1:00 PM EST (CBS) – The Bengals always look like they are on the verge of greatness and then end up falling flat on their face.  The Colts have rebounded from an 0-2 start to win four straight and look primed to win the AFC South once again.  This will be a good test for the Bengals on the road.

Panthers at Packers 1:00 PM (FOX) – The Panthers seem to have lost their stout defense from a year ago and were lucky to get out of Cincinnati with a tie last week.  Carolina still leads the NFC South with a record of 3-2-1 (sounds more like a countdown instead of a record) but will be facing the Packers at Lambeau with Aaron Rodgers at the helm at quarterback.  The Panthers would be lucky to get another tie this week but don’t bet on it.

Chiefs at Chargers 4:05 PM (CBS) – Andy Reid’s teams are practically automatic after their bye week, but they face a tough road test against the Chargers who look to be a real threat to knock off Denver from the top of the AFC West.  Even if the Chiefs grab a big lead, Reid will probably not run the ball enough and the Chargers will come back to win it.

Giants at Cowboys 4:25 PM (FOX) – For Eagles fans, this game is the equivalent of choosing between two evils, sort of like when Darth Vader faced off against the Emperor in “Return of the Jedi”.  The Cowboys are 5-1, which no one expected, so I will be rooting for the Giants in this one (in a painful sort of way).

49ers at Broncos 8:30 PM (NBC) – This game takes the title of marquee matchup “Game of the Week” as the Niners head to the Rockies to face off against the Broncos in a rematch of Super Bowl XXIV (that’s 24 if you don’t recall your roman numerals).  In that contest, the Niners throttled the Broncos, 55-10, but not too likely that the same will occur this Sunday.

I’m betting on a 1) Broncos win and also that 2) Niners coach Jim Harbaugh will spend Saturday looking for coaching jobs at the 1) University of Colorado, 2) Colorado State, and 3) Anywhere else in the state of Colorado that will possibly hire him.  Who knows…if the Michigan job falls through, Harbaugh may even be selling marijuana at one of the state’s legal marijuana stores.  Seeing how intense and crazy he is on the field, he may need to use some as well…

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #6: Eagles vs Giants

For a while, it looked like I would fulfill my long lost dream of leaving an Eagles game early enough to get home in time to watch the postgame show in its entirety live (as you can see, I have very high aspirations).

But with the Birds up 34-7 late in the 3rd quarter, Eagles players must have decided to start making early plans for Sunday dinner, as the Rams rallied off 21 unanswered points to cut their deficit to 34-28 and make a laughable game into a nail-biter literally and figuratively.

Along the way, Nick Foles decided to do his best impression of a school kid attempting to do a half-hearted bellyflop on one of those “Slip-N-Slides” from back in the day, as his 4th quarter fumble turned what could have been a game-ending field goal into a turnover and another Rams score.  Anthony Gargano from WIP radio (1-6 PM during the weekdays) probably described it best, stating that Foles looked like a “drunken giraffe” trying to slide.

What can we make of this team after five games?  After three games, the consensus was that they had a powerful offense and an opportunistic defense that made plays when they had to.  But over the last two weeks, the offense has been sporadic while the special teams has been just plain AWESOME.

But regardless of how they got there, the Birds are 4-1, and as legendary coach Bill Parcells once said “You are what your record says you are”.  A record of 4-1 is not too shabby considering all the injuries this team has sustained and the inconsistent play from the quarterback spot.

This week, the Birds play host to the Giants on Sunday night football in a game that will indeed be a “marquee matchup” for Week 6.  The Giants started the season 0-2 and were playing more like ants, but over the last three weeks have built a three game winning streak in which their offense has really come to life. Eli Manning has dropped his “She-li” persona and has been on a hot streak which is never a good sign for the opponent.

A win would make the Eagles 5-1 and in great shape heading into their bye week while a loss would leave the Giants tied with the Birds and possibly give Dallas sole possession of first place based on the outcome of the Cowboys-Seahawks game, which will take place on Sunday afternoon.   It’s tough to predict this game and figure out which Eagles team will show up, but the games at home against the G-Men always seem to go down to the wire.

The Linc will be loud and in a “blackout” (as the Eagles have requested from an attire standpoint) as the Birds win 34-28 in another nail-biter.

The Last Word: 

R.I.P. Bill Campbell. Mr .Campbell, at some point in his life, did play-by-play for the Philadelphia Warriors (basketball), the Sixers, the Phillies and the Eagles.  His voice was a mainstay of the previous generation and with his passing, he joins others such as John Facenda, Harry Kalas, Richie Ashburn and Gene Hart in the halls of Philadelphia broadcasting icons who have left us.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless stated otherwise):

Colts at Texans 8:25 PM CBS (Thurs)

Patriots at Bills 1:00 PM FOX

Panthers at Bengals 1:00 PM FOX

Packers at Dolphins 1:00 PM FOX

Cowboys at Seahawks 4:25 PM FOX

Giants at Eagles 8:30 PM NBC

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #3: Eagles vs. Redskins

If old habits are hard to break, perhaps Eagles fans would be better off skipping the 1st half of their games altogether.

Through the first two weeks of the season, the Birds have scored a whopping six points combined in the 1st half, but have still managed to win both games while compiling, statistically, the #1 offense in the league.  One wonders what would happen if they actually played the whole four quarters for a change.

Things looked bleak for a while last week until Darren Sproles, who is undersized by NFL standards, performed his weekly “Popeye” act, turning into a 2nd half superhuman and propelling the Birds to victory.  One can only assume that he must have downed a can of spinach on the sidelines with the sailor man’s theme song playing in the background.

With the victory, the Birds also became the 1st team in NFL history to start the season 2-0 after being down by 14 points or more in the 2nd half of each game, a feat that speaks to their resiliency, their energy, and their ability to make adjustments on the fly.

On the negative side, the Eagles inability to soar in the 1st half is causing sales of Mylanta to soar in the Delaware Valley, as the number of fans suffering from indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux has increased considerably since Labor Day weekend.  Winning in this fashion gives a team a certain amount of confidence that they are never out of it, but can also result in a belief that the end result will always be a “W”, a thought process that is bound to come back to haunt the Birds at some point.

The Eagles were also lucky that against a good team and in a hostile atmosphere in Indianapolis, they had some calls go their way, most notably a non-call against them on a Malcolm Jenkins interception and a questionable horse collar call for pulling down LeSean McCoy.  These “lucky breaks” have a tendency to even out under the guise of the football gods sitting high above on an NFL shaped cloud somewhere, and the Birds will undoubtedly lose a game down the road due to some questionable calls going against them.   Let’s just hope that the bad karma doesn’t occur during a playoff game.

The humor of those two back-to-back calls was that while they actually got the Colts fans in arms enough to boo for an extended period of time, they did not need to result in the “covering of the ears” of any young children in attendance at the game.  One would probably not want to fathom what would have been shouted at the referees had those two calls gone against the home team here at the Linc.

This week, the Birds face the Redskins, who trashed the Jaguars last week after starting quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3) went down with what could possibly be a season ending ankle injury.  Enter Kirk Cousins, who did nothing more than operate the offense as if he had been the starter for the last three years.

Former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson also managed to injure his shoulder last week and will be a game time decision as to whether he will play against his former team.

The Birds won a game on the road last week that they probably should not have, and are coming off of a short week with perhaps a little bit of overconfidence.  It also doesn’t help the Birds cause that Kirk Cousins will be at the helm instead of Robert Griffin III.  While  RG3 may be DeSean’s “bro”, Kirk may turn out to be the capital’s favorite “cousin”, and give the Redskins a much better chance to win in the long run.

Sorry peeps, but I think the Eagles fall short this week, 31-27.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games in EST and on Sunday unless stated otherwise):

Chargers at Bills 1:00 PM CBS

49ers at Cardinals 4:05 PM FOX

Broncos at Seahawks 4:25 PM CBS

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #1: Eagles vs. Jaguars

We have HIGH Hopes, we have HIGH Hopes, we have, eye in the sky, apple pie hopes….

Somewhere, former Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas must be singing his favorite song, but not for his beloved Fightin’ Phils, who’s hopes for a successful 2014 season were in tatters even before July 4th had arrived…

Unlike the Phillies, who’ve been, and will continue to be, in rebuilding mode for the next few years, the Eagles took a detour on that path and turned a 4-12 season just two years ago into a ten win NFC East championship in 2013.

The start of football season in these parts always brings with it a sense of optimism and excitement, but that has been heightened considerably this year.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s first training camp was viewed almost like a circus act.  Most of us were curious to see what tricks he had up his sleeve, if only for the fact that he was considered a novelty, but an unproven novelty.

This year, there is a sense that not only does Chip know what he is doing, but that he has his team on board as well, no easy feat when you consider that he is dealing with athletes who are getting paid to do a job and are no longer college students as was the case at his previous job in Oregon.

On top of that, the NFC East is ripe for the taking just as it was in Andy Reid’s first few seasons at the helm in the early 2000’s.

The Giants seem to be an older team on the path to mediocrity.  The Cowboys needed to resort to signing Michael Sam just to get any publicity, since their season seems to be over before it even starts.  And the Redskins?  Can you say OVERRATED boys and girls?  And that goes for their quarterback (RG3) as well.  Look for Kirk Cousins to eventually take over that team.

Not only did the Eagles quick turnaround last year raise the fans hopes, but the sad truth is that they are the only game in town.

The Phillies treat their older veteran players as if they were professors with “tenure”, refusing to acknowledge even the thought that perhaps starting over with young and fresh blood is the best strategy.  And while some of the bad decisions fall at the feet of Phils GM Ruben Amaro, firing Amaro would be nothing more than a band-aid approach when cutting off the head of the dragon is really what is needed.

Phillies president David Montgomery, while a decent businessman and a model human being, seems to refuse to believe that he has a lousy scouting department, lousy farm system, etc., always implying that he’s happy with the people he has in place.  If Montgomery was the captain of the Titanic, he would probably tell you that the ship’s not sinking when half of it was already submerged under water.

Across the street, Flyers chairman Ed Snider, growing impatient with his team’s lack of a Stanley Cup since the 1970’s, has allowed his front office to sign players who, while not as “over the hill” as the Phillies current core, were a year away from being past their prime (can you say Vinny Lecavalier anyone?).  This misguided strategy has resulted in one too many first and second round playoff exits, and while the arrival of new general manager (and former Flyers goalie) Ron Hextall should change that, the rebuilding process could still take a few years.

While the Flyers Wells Fargo counterparts, the Sixers, aren’t looking to get older, they seem to be looking strictly for young and INJURED players, with the hope that one day all of them will exit the infirmary at the same time and start playing basketball together as if they were the second coming of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

This strategy is sadly, exactly what is required in a screwed-up NBA, and it unfortunately took the Sixers too long to figure this out, so now they, just like the Phillies, are light years away from contention.  Look for these two clubs to start contending just around the time that the first Walmart or McDonalds opens on Mars.

The fans in Philadelphia have been eagerly waiting for any sign of possible sports success, and this town is now the Eagles to lose.  The offense should still be a potent force even with the departure of DeSean Jackson, and the defense looks to be improved.  But the “elephant in the room”  for most of training camp was the field goal kicker…

Alex Henery, during his three years as the placekicker, became the “Bobby Abreu” of the Eagles – he had great stats, but never seemed to deliver in the clutch.  But with so few experienced kickers out there, his job seemed relatively safe until rookie Cody Parkey, who’s name sounds more like he’s the main character in an upcoming FOX show about the wild west, kicked two field goals from 50+ yards in the final preseason game, prompting the Eagles to send Henery out the door with a case of Tastykakes as a parting gift.

The message to Parkey from coach Chip Kelly basically was ‘Congrats kid, the job is yours.  We have Superbowl aspirations…no pressure though.’

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have this uneasy feeling that at some point in January/February 2015, the Eagles hopes of ending their 54-year-old championship drought will rest on Parkey’s right leg.  That could end up being his “Matt Stairs” moment…or his Scott Norwood/Bill Buckner moment, depending on the outcome.

So what happens this Sunday against Jacksonville?  This could be the first time in years where I’m leaving a game midway through the 4th quarter since the outcome is no longer in doubt.  The first time in years where I get to Broad & Pattison and the express trains haven’t started running since  the game is still not officially over.  The first time in years where I get to my car in center city and the coach’s postgame news conference hasn’t even started yet.

Birds win easily, 38-17, and get their season started on the right foot.  Whether they have the right “foot” for making clutch field goals still remains to be seen…

The Last Word:

Congrats to the Taney Dragons for a successful season.  While they did not win the Little League World Series, the fact that they made it to the tournament and went as far as they did is a testament in itself.  Even more impressive is the fact that they are actually from Philadelphia.  Not Bucks or Montgomery County, not Voorhees, Cherry Hill, or Moorestown, NJ but PHILADELPHIA.

The team as a whole seems quite humble, and their star pitcher, Mone Davis,  displays the maturity of one who is a veteran MLB pitcher and not a thirteen year old.

When the Phillies recently honored the Taney Dragons before one of their games, it was ironic that Mone’s designated “partner” to throw out the first pitch to was Phillies closer Jonathon Papelbon.  If Papelbon displayed even a quarter of the maturity that Mone Davis does, he might actually be considered likeable…

Amit’s Marquee Matchups for Week #1 (all times in EST and on Sunday unless stated otherwise):

Packers at Seahawks 8:30 PM NBC (Thurs)

Patriots at Dolphins 1:00 PM CBS

Colts at Broncos 8:30 PM NBC

Chargers at Cardinals 10:20 PM ESPN (Mon)

As Broad & Pattison Turns: Amit’s Farewell to Soccer

With NFL training camps just a few days away and the World Cup now behind us, I thought this would be the perfect time to post my “Farewell to Soccer”:

Thanks for the memories soccer!   Because of you, we were able to watch sports on TV without having to tune into 1) A woeful Phillies squad, 2) The NBA Summer League or 3) Reruns of the NFL’s Greatest Games on the NFL Network.   In addition, you helped to spur the local economy by increasing all of our bar tabs at our favorite watering holes all around the country.   And for that, we thank you.

But while we had an enjoyable “one-month stand”, complete with some good times and some laughs (albeit very little action), the time has come for me to say farewell for another four years.

You see soccer, to be perfectly honest, I never thought of you as much more than a “fling”.  Between your complete lack of scoring, your “extra time on a whim”, and your championship games which can potentially be decided entirely by luck in the form of a shootout, you’re just not attractive enough for me to keep you around for the long-term.

Sorry to be so harsh soccer, but I gotta “kick you to the curb”.   But I’m sure that you’ll end up back on your feet very soon in a place that appreciates you much more than I do – the rest of the world.

See you in 2018 soccer.  Hopefully the Phillies and Sixers will actually be worth watching by then as well.

 

As Broad & Pattison Turns: Superbowl XLVIII Wrapup

We’ve been lucky for the last six years.

Along with the usual pomp and circumstance of a Superbowl party, consisting of wings, beer, pizza, nacho dip, crab dip, etc. (all of which can sometimes lead to certain individuals taking part in another “dip” that starts with “skinny”), we’ve been lucky to have an entertaining Superbowl which has gone down to the wire for the last six consecutive years.

Starting in 2008 when the Giants shocked the then 18-0 Patriots, and going all the way to last year, when the Ravens defeated the Niners in the “Power Outage” bowl (which should have been sponsored by the Energizer bunny), the 2nd-half suspense of the big game consisted of more than just looking at one’s Superbowl block pool to see if any money was coming your way.

But that all changed this year.

This year’s Superbowl was a flashback to the majority of the games that took place in the 1980’s, when the AFC Champion would claw its way to the top of its conference, only to become easy fodder for the 49ers, Redskins, or Giants, the big three who ruled the NFC back then.  The “big game” was big only in name and hype then, and never quite lived up to its billing once the action on the field actually commenced.

Fast forward to this year’s game, where the Broncos played as if they were on a drinking binge for the last two weeks and woke up with a major hangover just moments before the national anthem played.  The Seahawks, meanwhile, were sharp and played with a purpose, and being one of the youngest Superbowl winners ever, they will probably be near the top of the mountain for years to come.

Seattle went from 7-9 just two years back to Superbowl champion due to drafting well the last few years, including in the later rounds, a strategy that other teams would do well to emulate.   Of course, everyone has the desire to draft well, but having the right people in place to do so is another story.

The Eagles were 4-12 in 2012 mostly due to awful drafts in 2010 & 2011.  But surprisingly good drafts the last two seasons helped them rebound to a 10-6 record in 2013, and another year or two of solid drafts will be needed if the Birds hope to win the first Superbowl in the team’s history.

As for the Superbowl “extras”, my  favorite commercial was the Audi “Doberhuahua”, featuring a hybrid dog which was part doberman and part chihuahua.  Aside from the dog’s humorous antics, the “huahua” part somehow got me hungry for a Wawa hoagie…even though it was acting more like a “hotdog”.

Coming in 2nd was the Geico gecko “cheesesteak shuffle”, if only for the fact that it centered around Philadelphia.  In the commercial, the Geico gecko is doing his own cheesesteak shuffle to celebrate the fact that a cheesesteak is available just as readily as Geico insurance.

While I would still take the “Ickey Shuffle” (courtesy of former Bengals running back Ickey Woods) over the cheesesteak shuffle, my question is – since the gecko is doing the dance across from Geno’s, does that mean that he’s really a Pat’s Steaks fan??

These are the questions that go through my mind during a one-sided Superbowl.   That, along with my commentary that the 2013 Eagles would have given the Seahawks  a much better game than the Broncos did (even though, technically, the Birds can never play the Seahawks in the Superbowl being that they’re both in the same conference).

The Last Word:  The end of another football season is upon us, and with it, the winter of our discontent has begun.  Sundays in February leave a void that is not filled for me until April, when the Phillies start their season and a possible Flyers playoff run may commence.  Add to that, a colder and snowier winter than usual and April cannot come fast enough (I know there is March madness, but last time I watched, and was interested in, college basketball was during the Clinton Administration).

The end of football season also usually coincides with me going into writing hibernation and not coming out of my hole till Eagles preseason has begun.   However, this year, I do plan to write at least once a month about the various goings on in the Philadelphia sports scene, as Broad & Pattison is still occupied even when the Eagles are not one of the inhabitants.   Until then, stay warm everyone…pitchers and catchers report in just under two weeks.

As Broad & Pattison Turns: Superbowl XLVIII Edition

Broncos vs Seahawks  6:30 PM (FOX) – For this one, they should bring back the Kingdome and Mile High Stadium.

Bring back Dave Krieg, Jim Zorn and Steve Largent.  Bring John Elway out of the executive box and Tom Jackson out of the ESPN booth.

Bring back Chuck Knox and former Penn State great Curt Warner.  And while you’re at it,  bring back Karl Mecklenburg, the “Three Amigos”, and the “Barrel Man” (RIP Barrel Man).  And for a goof, bring back Brian Bosworth…

While the Seattle Seahawks played in the NFC west in their inaugural season of 1976 (and reside there now), they were actually in the AFC West from 1977 till the start of the 2002 season, where they faced the Broncos twice on an annual basis as division foes.

Ironically, their first ever playoff appearance came at home against the Broncos in the 1983 AFC wildcard game when, leading by 10-7 at halftime, the Seahawks exploded for 21 unanswered points, leading to the franchise’s first playoff victory.  Did I know that info. by researching the internet?  No…I actually remember watching that game in my parents’ family room as a little tyke growing up in Northeast Philadelphia (while I frequently struggled just to get a C grade in elementary school due to lack of interest, I can recite where I was watching random NFL games from childhood with relative ease….go figure).

With all of the history then, this is, in essence, a “Back to the Future” sort of Superbowl.   And while Peyton Manning would do an admirable job of playing “Biff” the bully, it would be his brother Eli, instead of Seattle QB Russell Wilson, that would be a better fit to play the role of “Marty McFly”.

While the main focus in the NFL usually centers on the quarterbacks, the conference championship games showed us that football is still a team sport, and losing one piece of the puzzle on your team can lead to devastating consequences.

In the AFC Championship game, New England seemed to keep Peyton Manning in check until Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib went out with a knee injury.  After that, it was as if the border patrol went out to lunch and never returned, as Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas suddenly began to get open against a mismatched secondary, ending with seven receptions for 134 yards.

In the NFC title game, even with all the talk of Russell Wilson & Colin Kaepernick, it was Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman that made the defining play, followed by a defining rant that has gotten more played out than those annoying Progressive Insurance commercials with “Flo” (personally, I prefer “Jan” from the Toyota commercials).

So who wins this Sunday?  Peyton Manning was lucky to play in 63-degree weather at home in the AFC Championship, but it will most likely be much colder than that come kickoff Sunday night.   The Seahawks are used to playing in dreary weather in the Pacific Northwest so the conditions should suit them just fine.

The matchup pitting Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas against Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will be the most intriguing one to watch.  Unless the Broncos get lucky again by way of the opposing cornerback going out with an injury, think the Seahawks will take this one and win their first ever Superbowl.

Superbowl XLVIII will also be one of “firsts” – the first one where the price of admission gets you the sight of your own breath for three plus hours, plus a set of handwarmers and lip balm (as opposed to sunscreen given to attendees in Tampa a few years back).  Considering the price of the ticket, hope that it’s at least Chapstick brand…

The Last Word:   Superbowl XLVIII will be the first in 19 years featuring two teams that reside west of the Mississippi River, and the first in 14 years that will not have a participant from the Eastern Time Zone.

“As Broad & Pattison Turns”: 2013 Week #2 – Eagles vs. Chargers

The much-anticipated Chip Kelly “magical mystery” tour finally took off on Monday night, passing “GO” several times but not bothering to stop and collect $200 – it was going way too fast.

It didn’t bother to pick up any inexpensive properties on Mediterranean or Baltic Avenues, nor any high-end properties on Park Place or Boardwalk either.

Instead, much like the Acela Express rumbling down the Northeast Corridor, the Eagles offense rumbled through the Redskins defense as if they were a local DC Metro station that wasn’t equipped to handle them.

The Redskins tried to make a game of it in the 2nd half, but luckily for the Birds, the “rustoleum” didn’t peel off of RG3’s legs until it was too late, and the much maligned secondary, held together with some bobby pins and some scotch tape, managed to hold on just long enough.

So there you have it…a team that went 4-12 last season got off to a start like no one envisioned, but one that every “Iggles” fan will gladly take.  What does this all mean?   I have no clue…one game does not a season make, and before Eagles fans start making Superbowl proclamations on WIP & 97.5, there is still ample time for the opponent to figure out exactly what Chip Kelly is doing, and also ample time for the secondary to show their true colors.

An interesting observation from our seats during Monday night’s game was watching Chip Kelly on the field an hour before his first NFL game.  When his team was initially the only one practicing, he stood and watched as any other coach would.  But as soon as the Redskins took their side of the field to practice, Chip stood at the 50-yard line, arms folded, and stared stoically at the Redskins practice for the whole 30-45 minutes they were on the field, as if he was mentally taking in every play & every formation they were running through osmosis.

I have to give credit where credit is due – it wasn’t I who observed Chip’s intense focus on the Redskins but my father, who pointed it out and quickly remarked, as a distraught Eagles fan,  “you would NEVER see Andy Reid doing that”.  Sure, I was sitting right next to him the whole time, but I was focused on other important matters, such as whether my next adult beverage would be a Hefeweizen or the lower calorie Miller Lite (I chose the Hefeweizen).

Last week’s win was very reminiscent of the season opener in 2000, when the Eagles flew to Dallas and surprisingly spanked the Dallas Cowboys, 41-14 in the famous “pickle juice game”.  However, the following week, they looked lifeless and lost in their own home opener against the New York Giants, losing 33-18.

The G-Men were the eventual NFC representative in the Super Bowl that year, losing to the Baltimore Ravens.  And while no one expects the San Diego Chargers, this week’s opponent, to be as formidable a foe as the Giants were, it would be foolhardy for the Eagles to overlook this game and look ahead to Andy Reid and the Chiefs coming to town for a Thursday night clash on a short week.

Looking into my crystal bill this week, my “alter ego”, Nostrada-mit, sees an easy Eagles victory, with the Chargers scoring late to make it somewhat respectable, 35-21.  I just hope the Chargers batteries go out before my cellphone’s does…

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless otherwise noted):

Vikings at Bears 1:00 PM FOX – The Vikings play their 2nd straight on the road, trying to avoid going 0-2 on the young season.  The Bears play their 2nd straight at home, trying to go 2-0 (also on the young season).  Then again, the Bears always seem to get off to a fast start, only to falter in the 2nd half of the season, so maybe they should lose instead?

Broncos at Giants 4:25 PM CBS – Another edition of the “Manning Bowl”.  Should be a dandy.  If big bro Peyton beats ‘lil bro Eli, and the Birds beat the Chargers, we’ll have a two game lead on the Giants two weeks into the season.  SWEET!!!

Niners at Seahawks 8:30 PM NBC – The NFC West used to be known as the “NFC Worst”, but with these two powerhouse teams vying for the NFC crown, that has now changed.  The Seahawks will try to get a leg up in the battle for the NFC West, and their home field “12th man” will surely come into play.    Won’t be a shock if the Seahawks win, but will be a shock if the sun comes out in the depressing Pacific Northwest weather.

The Last Word – This week’s blog, boys and girls, is sponsored by the number “5″ due to the following:

1)  Since 2009, the Eagles opponent in their home opener (Saints, Packers, Giants, Ravens in chronological order) has gone on to win the Super Bowl that season.  That streak will end at 5 since the Chargers will not win the Super Bowl this year.

2) After the Eagles upset victory over the Redskins on Monday night, the Birds are now 5-0 in road games that my father has attended.  Go figure….