It’s How You Finish: Eagles Win NFC East!

Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles
Fletcher Cox #91 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts to a sack. (Leff/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East after all. After being the pre-season favorite, and then falling off the map during the season, and then enduring multiple injuries along the way, the Eagles put together a late season march through their NFC East opponents and won four straight to finish 9-7.

It was improbable, and at more than one point it seemed impossible, but those plucky Birds pulled off a comeback for the ages. The Eagles turned their torrid season all the way around, and now they are in the playoffs for the third straight season. It took leadership and perseverance, and grit, and Fletcher Cox has all these, and some.

For many of us, 2019 was that kind of year. It began with high hopes and powerful promise, but along the way the wheels came off and I was left on the side of the road for dead. But that’s just when Heaven starts helping and God get’s going. God honors faith. God rewards faith. And God expects us to have strong faith to endure the tests and trials that face us.

So take it from me, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. So finish 2019 strong, and let’s begin 2020 with the faith to believe that we can conquer anything and everything that life may throw our way.

As for my Eagles, I pick them to go all the way! And why not, we’re underdogs again, just like 2017 when we won Super Bowl LII.

Fly Eagles fly!

Anybody Hate the Dallas Cowboys? Vol. 2

Eagles Cowboys Logos

Anybody hate, and I do mean HATE, the Dallas Cowboys! 

Today’s game is essentially for the Division, the NFC East, and the season is on the line for both teams.  Both teams are a mediocre 7 -7, both teams have marginal quarterbacks, and both teams have an equal change at victory. So what will determine the outcome? Preparation. 

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”  The key word in this age old adage is “preparation.”  Then the next most instructive word is “prior.” Let’s unpack them both.

According to one source, “apparently the saying came from the British army and is a shortcut of the original 7Ps which mean Proper Planning and Preparation Prevent P. . . Poor Performance.”

Preparation is “the activity of putting or setting in order in advance of some act or purpose.” Preparation is also “the activity leading to skilled behavior.”  And this one must do in ADVANCE.  In the moment mental muscle is great. However, for physical strength, you need to go to the gym and work out prior to showing off your agility and physicality in a game. Mental toughness is built the same way.

Today’s Eagles Dallas game is the biggest game in Eagles’ history since the Super Bowl LII win against the Patriots. And in order to win, hopefully Carson Wentz and the Eagles have prepared themselves. And hopefully this preparation will lead to skilled behavior on field, aka, a decisive victory.

This is a great life lesson. So let’s apply it and learn from past mistakes. Let’s prepare more, and prepare better. Let’s not rush to judgement or be in an unnecessary hurry for anything.  God prepares, so me should prepare. David said that the Lord “prepared a table before him in the presence of his enemies.” Anybody like that verse?   I do!  (And to be sure, the Dallas Cowboys are mortal enemies to all Eagles everywhere!)

Let’s prepare for victory. And that will take coherent, cognitive activity, including, perception and reasoning. For the Eagles to defeat Dallas today,  Wentz will have to be at his cognitive and coherent best. And then there’s the whole Christmas Miracle thing, but preparation sure won’t hurt the Eagles, and it certainly will help you and me too.

Note From Joe Burrow: Nice Guys Do Indeed Finish First

Joe Burrow Heisman
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow wins 2019 Heisman Trophy by record-setting margin

Joe Burrow just won the Heisman Trophy. Thereby, Burrow proved that nice guys can, and do, finish first.

In his epic, record setting season and his emotional and heartwarming acceptance speech, Joe Burrow proved and pronounced three things;

     First, you can beat the odds.

     Second, you can rise from obscurity; and

     Third, nice guys don’t have to finish last.

Burrow beat the odds. No one, and I mean NO ONE, had Joe Burrow as a Heisman Trophy finalist at the beginning of the 2019 season, much less the runaway winner. But Burrow led “LSU’s passing game that finished No. 116 in 2014, No. 106 in 2015, No. 101 in 2016, No. 84 in 2017 and No. 67 in 2018 sprang to No. 2 in 2019, largely through the mastery Burrow left strewn across storied American fields such as Texas, Alabama and Atlanta (against Georgia in the SEC championship game). Receiving yards went lavished on brilliant wideouts such as Ja’Marr Chase (1,498), Justin Jefferson (1,207) and Terrace Marshall Jr. (545).”  ESPN

Burrow rose from the obscurity of Athens, Ohio, an impoverished rural county, to the national stage of instant stardom.  Burrow was a backup quarterback at Ohio State, and then transferred to LSU, and now he’s the Heisman Trophy winner on the No. 1 Team in the nation favored to win the college national championship.  Burrow led LSU “from 2,894 passing yards in 13 games in 2018, then ascended to 4,715 in 13 games so far in 2019. He threw 48 touchdown passes against six interceptions.” Incredible.

Talk about a rags to riches, Cinderella, Rocky Balboa story.

So we say congratulations to Joe Burrow. Thanks for reminding us that nice guys can indeed finish first.

PS: Now watch Burrows Heisman Trophy acceptance speech and try to hold it together. I dare you not to shed a tear.

 

The Eagles Need A Christmas Miracle

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Do you believe in miracles?

The Eagles just got one, as they defeated the New York “Football” Giants, 23-17 in OT on Monday Night Football (in the rain, mind you!) at Lincoln Financial Field. After a dismal and tragic first half, the Eagles scored 20 unanswered points to pull out a thrilling, come from behind, turnaround, must win game.

Can a Christmas miracle come in four parts? If it can, the Philadelphia Eagles just got Act One. Shakespearean plays are divided into acts and scenes – and always have a Five Act structure, no exceptions. But for the Eagles, we’ll make an exception here, because they need just three more wins, or “Acts,” to win the Division.

Do you believe in miracles? After tonight’s win, you just have too. The Eagles season has been somewhat of a Shakespearean Tragedy, and the heartbreaking first three months of the 2019 season has felt like and has been full of calamity and catastrophe, just like Shakespeare would draw it up.

But that was then, and this is now. Now, with this win, the horrid and hideous opening of this season can now lead to a tremendous, comedic conclusion. The Eagles are now 6-7, a losing record not so far removed from their historic Super Bowl LII win.

For the Eagles to comeback from way back, you must believe in miracles. This season has had more than enough heartache and had looked like it will end in heartbreak before tonight’s miraculous and momentous end. If the Eagles win their remaining games, they win the NFC East and move on to the playoffs. But they will need a miracle to do it. And they just got part one, thanks to a touchdown from Wentz to Ertz in overtime

Do you believe in miracles? You must. Christmas is all about miracles. The miracle of the virgin birth paved the way for every other miracle, including the one we just got tonight.

Was I watching? No. I couldn’t bear to watch, so instead my wife and I had on a heartwarming miracle movie on the Hallmark Channel. Yes, the Hallmark Channel. After the Eagles were down 17-3 at the half, I tuned out and turned the game off. But they won without me. We got the miracle we needed to keep our playoff hopes alive.

Do you believe in miracles? Yes it takes faith and it requires hope. And you must love this Eagles team, warts and all. Yes, I believe in miracles. And if you’re an Eagles fan, you just have to.

Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz after the Super Bowl LII Miracle

The NBA: Not Bad Anymore

Lebron_James__The_King_.

If you’re not watching the NBA this season, you need to give me a good reason. Because I’ll give you three reasons you should be watching, NOW:

#1: There are at least ten teams who have a legitimate shot at winning the championship, and this is my list, in my rank order: 

  1. LA Lakers
  2. Milwaukee Bucks
  3. LA Clippers
  4. Philadelphia 76ers
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Boston Celtics
  7. Denver Nuggets
  8. Dallas Mavericks
  9. Houston Rockets
  10. Miami Heat

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the revamped Lakers are a blistering 17-3. The Lakers have a legitimate shot at shooting down the entire league en route to another ring for the King. However, there are a few teams (nine to be exact) who would gladly like to go head to head with the Lakers in a seven game series, and one of them plays in the same city and in the same building. Does the name Kawhi Leonard ring a bell, anyone? 

#2: The West is not the best. The Western Conference AND The Eastern Conference are offering up games that are literally much see TV in this early season. My Sixers seem to have righted the ship as they are now 15-6. The Boston Celtics are playing better than expected and the Raptors surprising everybody. And then there’s Giannis.

#3: The Season and the Playoffs are too long, and so the NBA is toying with the idea of changing the season schedule, whatever that means. So if you don’t watch now and don’t watch out, the NBA could tinker with the way things are, and there’s no guaranteed that things will be better.

 

So you better watch out, you better not cry, you may want to pout, and I’m telling you why —  you need to watch the NBA . . . now.

What’s the Deal with Dak?

Dak After Loss

Dak Prescott after the 26-15 loss to Buffalo on Thanksgiving Day

If there was ever a team destined for drama, it is the Dallas Cowboys.  They have a prima donna owner, a puppet of a coach, and players like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot that just keep the story line going. And they play in the world’s most bodacious stadium.

And that’s how some people are; full of hype but no hope, full of fluff but no real stuff. They’re just good on paper. And right now, the Dallas Cowboys (and my Eagles too!) are just good on paper.

According to NFL custom, yesterday the Cowboys played their annual Thanksgiving Day game.  The fans in the Jerry Dome (a.k.a. AT&T Stadium) were joined by a national television audience that watched in horror as the ‘Boys proceeded to lose to the Buffalo Bills, 26 -15, and it wasn’t that close. The Buffalo Bills entered their Thanksgiving Day matchup with an impressive 8-3 record, but most analysts didn’t give Buffalo much of a chance to contend in the playoffs, and they were 6.5-point underdogs in Dallas on Thursday. But after an impressive, opening first quarter drive that made the ‘Boys look invincible, they managed to literally fumble and bumble the game away.

Now let’s provide a little context. This was the game after the game that they lost to the World champion New England Patriots. After the loss to the Pats, their prima donna owner ripped Head Coach Jason Garrett and the coaching staff a new one. Jerry all but threatened to fire the entire coaching staff for the poor performance on the field.

But were taking about Dak here. Coaches can’t control performance and execution, and Dak hasn’t being playing well of late.  You would think that Dak would come out and play lights out like Lamar Jackson, especially AT HOME on Thanksgiving. Nope. Didn’t happen, at least not for the last 50 minutes of the game. You would think that Dak would dance his way back into the favor of Cowboy Nation and put some distance between them and Philly; strike two. And you would think that the entire Cowboys team would show up and show out if they wanted to save their coach.  Clang. That one bounced off the back of the rim. Game, set match, Buffalo Bills. 

Maybe Dak needs to do his pregame dance a little more? (Or is a little less?) Oh well. It all may come down to a Eagles/Dallas showdown in Philly in a few weeks.

Go Birds! 

 

Lamar Jackson For President! (or at least MVP)

 

lamarjackson
Lamar Jackson is the Baltimore Raven’s star quarterback and he’s destined for greatness. He should win the 2019 NFL MVP Award, and much more.

Lamar Jackson is the hottest thing since the iPhone 11; and LJ is hotter.  Last night on Monday Night Football, Jackson was the first quarterback to throw five, count ‘em – FIVE TD passes in his MNF debut, and he didn’t even play the entire game. What’s next for this MVP front runner?  The Super Bowl? The White House?  World Leader?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Lamar Jackson is a rare talent indeed. Let’s all hope that he’s stays healthy and injury free as he makes a run for 1600 PA Ave, err, I mean NFL MVP.

For those who don’t know him or haven’t seen him play yet (like me!- no I did NOT see the game last night. I was too busy watching the Sixers blow a late game lead and lose to the Toronto Raptors. Seriously?)

Anyway, for those who don’t know who Lamar Jackson is, here’s the skinny on him:

“Lamar Demeatrice Jackson Jr. is an American football quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He played college football at Louisville where Jackson won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award.” And he’s not finished collecting hardware. There’s certainly more to come. Did someone say Super Bowl?

“Jackson was selected with the 32nd overall pick by the Ravens in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Intended to serve as a backup in his rookie season, Jackson became the Ravens’ starting quarterback after starter Joe Flacco was injured in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He earned recognition during the year for his on-field success, which included helping the team clinch the AFC North division title and became the youngest starting quarterback in NFL playoff history.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamar_Jackson  

And here’s how one reporter compared Jackson to Michael Vick:

“As somebody who saw every play of 22-year-old Michael Vick for the Atlanta Falcons up close and personal in 2002 as a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, trust me on this.

Lamar Jackson is no Michael Vick.

Jackson is better. He’s more focused, more studious, more disciplined, more incredible, more everything than Vick at 22. It’s not even close.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/terencemoore/2019/11/26/when-it-comes-to-early-stardom-in-the-nfl-lamar-jackson-is-no-michael-vick/#36bded6e4e87