Monday, January 12, 2009

The '08-'09 Eagles...They *Might* Be Giants


It's absolutely looking like our boys are taking a page out of the Giants storybook from last year and coming on strong at the end to take the league by surprise.

No one thought the Giants could win three road games in the playoffs and then go on to beat the invincible-looking 18-0 Patriots.

Well don't look now Eagles fans, but it looks like history might repeat itself - minus Tom Coughlin...who keeps looking more and more like that angry old guy who's always in McDonalds drinking senior discount coffee and reading the newspaper upside down.

Either that, or about to plot some evil plan to trap Dick Tracy.

Coughlin hard at work: "Myahh, see? We gotta stop that Westbrook, see?"

Some things to note about the Eagles as of late:

- The Eagles defense has allowed exactly four offensive touchdowns in the last six weeks, along with 12 takeaways. Defense wins championships, right?
- Minus the the somewhat questionable safety call on Sunday, McNabb and the offense has played great when backed up in their own territory, including converting a 3rd and 20 completion.
- Akers has been shaky for the past three regular seasons, but in the post-season he's now hit a record 18 straight. Thanks for that touchdown-saving push out of bounds too, David.
- While Westbrook is clearly not 100% right now, Andy Reid has shown impressive dedication to the run during the playoffs...23 attempts two weeks in a row, including early in the Giants game they had a ratio of 12/7. Showing teams they will keep running keeps the defense on its' heels.
- The play of the interior defensive line doesn't get a lot of respect, but you have to give it to them now after watching them break the Giants hearts in short yardage situations.
- Asante Samuel is showing to be worth all that money the Eagles gave him in the offseason, the interceptions and the returns he is getting from them are backbreakers in the postseason.

'80 and '08 for the Phillies...
'60 and '09 for the Eagles?

Let's hope.

Finally, let's play a little game of "caption that photo":

"Kurt? Yeah, the Giants say they miss you."
"Hello? Tampa Marriot? I'd like to make reservations for the first week in February."
"T.O!? No you can't come back!"
"Yeah, that's a size 13 ring. Those come in platinum, right?"
"Hey Leinart! What? Bring some Yuengling to Arizona with me?"
"Hey Delhomme, see you next week! ...wait, what? You LOST?"

See you this Sunday at three!

- Magnum

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

All Roads Lead to Tampa

In the early part of this decade, the word Tampa was akin to the dirtiest of words if you are a Philly sports fan. As we remember all too well, the Tampa Bay Bucs beat the Eagles in the final game at the Vet (the NFC Championship following the 2002 season). That was the game we thought we had in the bag. We had beaten Tampa 2 straight years in the playoffs and a couple of times in the regular season as well. Unlike the year before (against The Greatest Show on Turf), we had homefield advantage, and we weren't to be denied the ultimate prize. Then, Rhonde Barber happened.

In 2004, the Flyers made a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the conference finals, they faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. That Lightning team was very good, clearly more talented than the gritty, battle-tested Flyers. But the Flyers had a one-man wrecking crew going by the name Keith Primeau. He hit everything that moved, got into fights with the other team's best players, and scored ridiculously clutch goal after ridiculously clutch goal.

In game 6 (with the Flyers trailing in the series 3-2), Primeau scored the tying goal with 1:51 left in regulation, and set up the winning goal less than 2 minutes into overtime to stave off elimination. In game 7 though, the Flyers ran out of magic and just didn't have anything left in the tank.

For the second time, the city of Tampa had ruined our dreams of a title, and had prolonged our championship drought. Fast forward to October 2008, and the Phillies were making a long playoff run, which lead them all the way to the World Series against, you guessed it, the Tampa Bay Rays. Was this the time we could finally exorcise the demons of the last 25, title-less years? Was this where we would finally get our revenge for the 2 championships they won at our expense? In a word, hell yeah!

That wonderful team formed my 3 favorite words: World Champions!!! The drought was over, and maybe now, we could be positive instead of negative about our teams. Maybe we could expect the best instead of the worst from now on. Maybe, just maybe, everything would be different now.

All of which brings us to the unlikely playoff run the Eagles are in the midst of. While the Eagles won't play the Bucs in the upcoming weeks, the Bucs played a huge role in our even being in the postseason. If the Bucs didn't miraculously lose to the Oakland on the final day of the regular season, the Birds would've been home for the holidays.

The Eagles - Tampa parallels don't end there, either. If the Eagles win 2 more games, guess where they will be heading to play in the Super Bowl. That's right, the city of Tampa. The Phillies did it, why not the Eagles? It's finally our turn my friends, and maybe it's the optimism still bleeding over from the World Series victory still fresh in the mind, but I think the Eagles will run the table and bring the city its first ever Super Bowl victory. All roads lead to Tampa, all roads lead to victory.

- Murdock

Saturday, January 3, 2009

America's Creamed


As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, there are two major things you revel in.

1. An Eagles win.
2. A Cowboys loss.

When you get an Eagles blowout over the Cowboys to propel them into the playoffs and knock them out of it?

Absolutely euphoric.

One week after the offense looked completely impotent against the Redskins better than average defense, they came out this week and completely lit up one of the most dominant defenses of the 2nd half of the football season.

Coming into the game, I considered it Andy Reid's last straw - if we couldn't win this after losing a must win game against the Redskins, it would absolutely give me no confidence that he was the coach to take the Eagles into 2009 and beyond.

Rather than fold like a deuce-seven off-suit, the Eagles came out as if their season was actually on the line and proceeded to beat the Dallas-area Junior Varsity Cowgirls flag football team by thirty-eight points.

Now after the most improbable of scenarios, the Eagles are playoff-bound...and based on the play we witnessed last week as well as the Giants in week 14, you've got to say we've got a chance against anyone.


...lastly, I leave you with this wonderful video of the Cowboys fans reactions.

- Magnum

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can you PHEEL IT?

The time has come.

In about an hour from now, our hometown boys will be opening up in our first World Series since Mitch Williams broke our collective hearts. 

Fifteen years. 

Now, the stage is set ... Boston took the Rays to seven games in an exhausting series, while the Phillies wore out the Dodgers in only five. 

I went to the rally at City Hall and raised my voice along with thousands of other fans who are also clamoring, hoping, and praying for a championship for our beloved city.

Enjoy the video, (props to Philadude45) and root your hearts out for our team tonight.

Keep checking back for our coverage of this monumental event.

Go Phils. 

- Magnum

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's (half of) a beautiful day!

Brad Lidge raised his mighty arm in triumph, and the Phillies won a playoff series for only the 5th time in franchise's 125 year history. Now that's something to celebrate! That the Eagles didn't hold up their end of the bargain (again) was the only thing that could temper the celebration (but only slightly). Let's face it, a series-clinching win for the Phils and an Eagles loss is way better than vice versa.

Pat Burrell was the hero, going 3 for 4 with 4 rbi's and 2 home runs. After a one out double by Shane Victorino in the third inning, Chase Utley grounded out - moving Shane to third base. Brewers' skipper Dale Sveum elected to intentionally walk Ryan Howard, bringing up Pat "The Bat" with 2 men on. Burrell absolutely crushed Suppan's 2-2 offering, and with his homer he also effectively crushed the Brewers' spirit. After Jayson Werth finished off the back-to-back job with a 400+ ft home run, the Phils were well on their way to a closeout victory in game 4.

Considering that Pat was colder than Naomi Campbell going into the game (0 for 8 in the series' first three games), to break out of his slump like this, and help propel the Phillies into an NLCS showdown with the Dodgers, had to be a great feeling for him. These could be the last games free-agent-to-be Pat Burrell ever plays for the Phillies, and it was really cool to see him come through in such a big way, and in such a big game. He also added an insurance home run in the eighth inning for good measure.

Jimmy Rollins' contribution also can't be understated. He hit a leadoff home run on the sixth pitch of the game from veteran right-hander Jeff Suppan, and that really quieted what had been a raucous crowd up until that point.

More than that, though, it helped relax the Phillies entire team on a day where they needed their offense to score some runs, if for no other reason than to feel good about themselves going into the next round.

After all, with the exception of the Shane Victorino grand slam in game 2, and a misplay by Brewer's centerfielder Mike Cameron on a Chase Utley double in game 1, the Phillies bats had been very quiet. We all remember how anemic their offense was in last year's NLDS against the Rockies, so it's impossible to understate the importance of J Roll's second career playoff leadoff homerun.

There are, of course, other names that need to be mentioned here. Joe Blanton, who was making his second career playoff start, was brilliant in six innings of work and surrendered only one run on a monstrous home run by Prince "I could eat a left" Fielder to start the seventh inning.

Blanton was very smart in executing his game plan. He did just what he should, given a lead by the offense: pound the strike zone to a tune of 72 strikes in 107 pitches. He didn't walk a single batter, and really went right at the Brewers' lineup, forcing them to earn their way on base. Ryan Madson was great in his 2 innings of work, getting out of a couple of jams while only surrendering one run. Brad Lidge was his typical, lights-out self, working around a one-out single in the ninth inning. But this day belonged to the longest tenured Phillie (and most often criticized), Pat Burrell, who came up huge when it mattered most.

- Murdock

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A nice changeup

Feels good, doesn't it Philly?

Our first Phillies playoff win in 15 years.  FIFTEEN YEARS.

Do you realize how long that's been?

Let me put it in perspective:

You were still using Windows 3.1, playing Super Nintendo, and listening to "Whoomp! There it is!"

Cole Hamels was ten years old.

October 1, 2008 -
Cole Hamels makes the Brewers look like Little Leaguers

If you were lucky enough to watch the game(thanks for the 3:00pm start, TBS), you got to see King Cole pitch a very, very pretty game.

Seriously. I'm talking USC Cheerleader pretty.
Jessica Alba in your doorway wearing daisy dukes, carrying a pizza and a six pack - pretty.

By the numbers:

8 Innings, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 hits, 101 pitches, and 16 of 24 first-pitch strikes.

That's what you call an "Ace."

The other cornerstone of the franchise, (Mr. Utley) had the game-winning RBIs in the bottom of the third - doubling to deep center after Hamels laid down a perfect bunt and reached on an error. 

Of course, the Phillies didn't make it easy for us. 

Uncle Charlie sent Brad Lidge in to close the ninth, and after striking out Mike Cameron looking, he proceeds to give up a double and a single that Durham eventually scored on thanks to Chase slipping in the wet grass.

Uh oh. Here comes Prince Fielder, the poster boy for how vegetarians should NOT look is up to bat.

After about fifteen pitches, Lidge finally gets him swinging on an outside slider that probably would've been ball four. 

...and then a walk.

Philadelphia collectively held their the winning run is at the plate. 

...and then, a wild pitch.

Now the tying run is on second base, a solid base hit can knot it up.

But just as he has all year, he buckled down and got Corey Hart swinging.

Philadelphia exhaled.

...and hopefully exhumed its playoff demons simultaneously.

Tonight, we get a bigger test - Crazy Control Sabathia.

What? You expected me to look up what C.C stands for?

- Magnum

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reid 'em and weep.

Yesterday's loss made me feel sick to my stomach.

It also could've been those wings that have been in my refrigerator since the Cowboys game...and the blue cheese.

What? It's not supposed to be blue? It's bleu? Oops.

Anyway - while the team absolutely played down the Bears...who in actuality aren't a "bad" team, I place the blame for this loss squarely on Andy Reid's shoulders.

Two plays stand out that he should've challenged:

1. The first Bears touchdown - Greg Olsen did not get his 2nd foot down in the end zone.

2. The 4th-and-one at the end of the game - I paused my DVR showing the overhead cam view:

Sure looks like he broke the plane to me...where were the challenge flags?!? Did he use them for napkins during a halftime snack and forget to bring them out of the lunchroom locker room? So while Andy is the #1 culprit - let's look at some of the other LVP's for the game.

- David Akers is dead to me. If he had hit either one of those field goals, we wouldn't have had to go for the touchdown at the end.

- DeSean Jackson had another good game - but that muffed punt led to seven for the Bears. CATCH THE BALL FIRST DJ. He also needs to remember the rule I thought all returners knew - if the ball is beyond the 10 yard line, let it bounce...if it's past - either field it or fair catch it.

- The offensive line allowed way too much pressure on third downs. Shawn Andrews, come back soon.


A few highlights / other things I noted during the game:

- I'm going to start keeping note on how long it takes for Madden to talk about or show food during games. This game he started talking about food with three minutes left in the first quarter, and was showing food around 1:15.

...He needs a cooking show. Food network, get on it.

- The linebackers looked good again...I think I overheard that they're all 24. That's a pretty nice luxury, having three young quality linebackers. Gone are the days of Nate Wayne, Mark Simoneau, and Levon Kirkland.

- Hey refs, nice work on that Devin Hester touchdown. I haven't seen such an obvious non-call of offensive pass interference since Michael Irvin was playing.

- When and why did Juqua Thomas change his name to Juqua Parker? That throws me off more than calling "Tre" Thomas William.

- Hey, Reggie Brown is back! Looked okay...hopefully he'll continue to improve.

- With a healthy Westbrook playing, we blow them out. No doubt in my mind.

The best thing about this loss? It happened on a weekend where the Phillies clinched, the Mets choked, and the Cowboys played horribly.

That's a nice bit of aspirin for a hurting fan, I'd say.

Be good Philly, I'll see you on Wednesday.


- Magnum