Philly Cheesesteaks: Simply The Best

GenosLast night I  ate a Philly Cheesesteak and I was stuffed like a pig. Every time I’m in town I try to get a  hoagie or a cheesesteak and I’ve never been disappointed. As always, it was really good grub. And this is not a plug for Pat’s or Geno’s Steaks in South Philly. Growing up I NEVER went to either place, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have to. I could get a good steak from Pagonos or a dozen other places in my hood, if you get my drift. Now where were we?

Simply The Best. Philly Cheesesteaks  are simply the best. Period. Case closed.  End of discussion. There is no steak sandwich better. It doesn’t matter where in Philly I get my steak, it’s always good. Always. And that’s how we should live our lives. Especially if you profess to be a Christian.  Because Christ taught us that the best is what he expects of us.  And nothning less.

No one, and I mean no one outside of Philly, can make a hoagie or cheesesteak  like we make ’em here in the City of Brotherly Love.  So if you haven’t made the trip, do yourself a favor and plan the trek.

And speaking of the best, the Brady Bunch just did it again. Tom Brady and his favorite receivers, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, put in a very Patriot-like performance as they kicked KC clear out of the playoffs, 27-20, in a game that the Chiefs could’ve taken but the Pats just weren’t going to give away.

And that’s today’s lesson: there’s a nexus between God and sports and cheesesteaks. Philly cheesesteaks. It’s the same lesson that we learn in life day after day and in sports play after play. Give your best and nothing less.  And don’t make mistakes. At least not stupid ones. But if you do make a mistake or commit an error or get called for a foul you must overcome it, just like Martin Luther King, Jr.  taught us. We shall overcome – not necessarily overnight – but ostensibly overtime.

So come to Philly (you’ll thank me later).  Get yourself a real cheesesteak or hoagie and don’t settle for anything less than the best.

 

Someone Worth Cheering For

Andy-Reid

Andy Reid is worth Cheering for. He’s been given another chance. Another chance to coach a championship caliber team that’s playin’ their best ball in January. And that’s why I’m pulling and rooting and hoping for Andy and the Kansas City Chiefs to pull off an upset of sorts and beat the New England Patriots in Foxboro.

 For the first time in seven years, Reid has advanced his team in the playoffs. The Chiefs shut out the Texans, 30-0, in the first round last week and head to New England to face the Patriots on Saturday afternoon in the divisional round. And it should be a whale of a game. Tom Brady is dead set on proving that he’s still the best QB in the game, and the Patriots cannot be discounted, even with a patchwork Offensive line and piecemeal receiving corps that may or may not be healthy enough to play. But play they will and win they might.

Andy Reid and the Chiefs are worth cheering for because they began this season an abyssal 1-5, and no one, and I mean no one, had them going this far this season. But Andy found a way to charge and challenge his Chiefs to win 11 straight games and now, with a win, they’re on the verge of going to the AFC Championship game.

So Despite the 1-5 start that had some declaring Reid a relic, the 2015 Chiefs may be his strongest collection of players since the halcyon days of his Eagles tenure. In fact, they resemble the Eagles, circa 2000-2004. The defense is nasty, the offense is efficient and the coach is involved in every facet of the team.

All of Philly (or most) still like Andy Reid. He did good in Philly. He did. He had multiple winning seasons and he went to multiple NFC Championship games. He just couldn’t get the Eagles (pronounced Iggles) over the incline as the team could never get over the hump. Andy ran out of gas and needed a change. And that’s what happens to many of us. Sometimes you just run out of gas and need a change.

baby-andy-reid

So if that’s you, take a page from Andy Reid’s playbook. Even if you’re a little kid, you can look and live and learn the lessons Andy has taught us. Because sometimes you just need another chance.

The Remarkable Return of Peyton Manning! (Another Reason to Watch the NFL Playoffs)

Peyton-Manning (1)Wow! Talk about comebacks and turnarounds.

Peyton Manning led Denver to 20 second-half points in his first action since Week 10 as Denver wrapped up the top seed as the AFC West champions. Manning took over for Brock Osweiler as Broncos QB in the third quarter for his first appearance since he was removed in Denver’s November 15th loss to the Chiefs. Manning came into the game after starter Osweiler was involved in five, count em’ – five turnovers, and won the game for Denver.

What a significant and sensational, incredible and improbable comeback. It just goes to show that nothing in life is as moving and as mesmerizing as an unsuspected and unpredicted comeback. Nothing. Peyton was counted out and left for dead and yet he was ready to play, and play on in the playoffs he will.

Who said sports wasn’t spiritual! Who said you can’t learn lessons and gain insight and acquire understanding from sports? In Peyton’s return today, once again we see Providence at work on the playing field. And to top it all off, Peyton turned 40 in November. Forty! He’s no spring chicken and yet he ran the offence like he’s still got some juice left in the tank. My, my, my.

Peyton ran the scout team in practice this past week and now he will lead the No. 1 Denver Broncos into the playoffs. Peyton’s attitude and fortitude are enviable. How many of us would have had the demeanor and decency and integrity and respectability that Manning displayed during this test of his faith? Dare I say few. And that’s a lesson worth teaching on and off the field.

It’s Tim Tebow Time in Philly!

tebow-eagles

Timmy Tebow is an Eagle. A Philadelphia Eagle. As of this writing, he’s (apparently) made the team and now he’s the third string quarterback on the squad coached by Chip Kelly, a man who’s not afraid to make bold decisions (just ask DeSean Jackson and Shady McCoy).  Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah — Tim Tebow’s an Eagle!

Tebow has played well at times this preseason and finished well in the fourth preseason game against the New York Jets. It has been speculated that he could be a two-point conversion specialist, and Eagles coach Chip Kelly used him in that role early in the third preseason game.

Tebow’s history is an up and down and all around affair. He’s bounced from team to team and from town to town and he’s taken a lickin – but he keeps on tickin. If Tebow does make it back to the NFL, and apparently he has, it would be a remarkable, comeback story. 

Tebow played college football for the University of Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and appearing on BCS National Championship-winning teams during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. Tebow was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

As a member of the Denver Broncos, he started the last three games of his rookie season and became the team’s full-time starting quarterback beginning in the sixth game of 2011. The Broncos were 1–4 before he became the starter, but began winning with him on the field, often coming from behind late in the fourth quarter, until they won their first AFC West title and first playoff game since 2005, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime.

Tebow was traded to the New York Jets during the offseason after the Broncos acquired free agent quarterback Peyton Manning. Tebow received little playing time for the Jets and on April 29, 2013, the Jets released Tebow after drafting quarterback Geno Smith. He signed a two-year, non-guaranteed contract with the New England Patriots on June 11, 2013. But then he was cut by the New England Patriots at the end of the 2013 preseason. He was a free agent for a long time before the Patriots signed him, and spent the 2013 regular season out of football. That’s right, OUT OF FOOTBALL! (Hear that RGIII?) He joined ESPN’s SEC Network and it looked like his football career was over.

After two seasons away from the game, Tebow signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on April 20, 2015. The Eagles, with a coach who thinks differently about a lot of things, gave him a shot this year. Tebow played a significant amount through the preseason and Kelly defended mistakes he seemed to make. Reports indicated the Eagles wanted to keep Tebow on the roster. The news seemed positive on Tebow; it was just hard to figure out if they would keep him instead of Barkley, the presumptive third string QB on the team, who played ahead of him all preseason.

And this just in: The Eagles just TRADED Matt Barkley to Arizona. Go figure! Without Barkley around anymore, Tebow’s chances of making the roster and completing a really fun story got a lot better.

Tim-Tebow-Eagles

So the moral of the story is this: it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. And it ain’t over till God says it’s over. And that should encourage someone and anyone and everyone out there whose hopes have been hampered and whose dreams have been dampered and whose determination has been derailed. There’s still hope.

Tebow’s not what he used to be, but now, maybe now, he’ll be even better. Not just at football, but at the game of life.

I Believe In Luck 2.0

luck_cover

Colts 24 – Broncos 13

I believe in Luck. Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.  In October 2013, Luck and his team bested his predecessor, Peyton Manning and the previously undefeated Denver Broncos in Peyton’s return to Indy, the most anticipated game of last season.  And now, in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs, with Luck on their side, Indy bested Manning again.

Quarterback Andrew Luck has shown that he’s got skills before, as he was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in both 2010 and 2011, but now I’m really believer. I believe in Luck. Andrew Luck.

While I believe in Andrew Luck, as he has proven that he can “hang” with best of them, I know that there’s no such thing as luck. Luck or chance is an event which occurs beyond one’s control, without regard to one’s will, intention, or desired result. Saying it was luck or attributing anything to luck denies that God is in control.  We need to give credit where credit is due: the credit for everything that happens to us is God’s. There’s no such thing as luck, because God is alive and well. He cares about us, and is involved in our lives.

While I believe in Andrew Luck, I firmly believe, trust, rely and depend on and have faith in God. Not luck. Not fate nor flukes; not chance or coincidence; not happenstance or circumstance; I believe God.  God has blessed us, so we don’ t have to resort to luck.

Unfortunately, we don’t trust God like we should all of the time. We hope and we wish, but we don’t trust the Lord with all of our hearts. Instead we lean to our own understanding. Such was the case when it came time to choose a replacement for Judas; unfortunately Peter relied on chance, not God.

I believe that Andrew Luck may win a Super Bowl, but I also believe what the Bible says “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our step.”  and “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” (Proverbs 16:9 and 16:33, New Living Translation)

Let’s trust God to determine our steps.  Let’s trust God to determine how the chips will fall. He knows what’s best for us, and if we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6).

So, let’s root for the up and coming Andrew Luck OVER Tom Brady and the New England Patriots next week in the 2015 AFC Championship Game; and let’s NOT believe in Lady Luck, and leave it at that.

Make It Look Easy: Leave the “How” to Him

Brady Sitting Down

Tom Brady can win sitting down, because he makes winning look easy.

The New England Patriots are the New York Yankees of football. That statement in and of itself should raise rancor and rile the rank and file of sports fans everywhere. But it’s a true statement, nonetheless.

The New England Patriots are the team everyone loves to hate.  And Tom Brady, much like Derek Jeter of those hated New York Yankees, is one player who wants to win and hates to lose. And we love and hate that about him.  It seems that he will do anything, I mean ANYHTING, to secure a “W” — which brings us to yesterday’s game.

The Pats beat the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game, and in so doing they made it look easy. Twice they were down by 14 points, only to comeback both times and tie the game and then go on to win it.  And in so doing they made it look easy. How, you ask? While it didn’t look like it was going to happen at first, Brady wasn’t worried about the how. He just knew the what, and the what was this: they were wily wanton to win.

You may not like Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, but there’s no denying their place in football history. Under Belichick and Brady, the Pats have been to 5 Super Bowls; they’ve won 3 and lost 2.    Not too shabby. By comparison, 14 teams have never won a Super Bowl, and 4 teams, including the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans have never even been to a Super Bowl.

And so how does Brady make it look easy?  At one point, Joe Flacco, the Ravens QB was making it look easy. He marched his team right down the field on the opening drive of the game and made it look like a walk in the park. The Ravens scored on their very next possession and Patriots nation at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass was numbed dumb; you could hear a pin drop in that place. But that’s when Brady staged yet another comeback and in the process, made it look easy.

 So how can we as Christians live this Christian life and make it look easy? Not by being wily or wanton but by being the best at what we do. And that’s trusting in the Almighty God for everything. Granted sometimes it’s NOT easy, but we can make it look easy by doing the following things:

  1. Don’t panic
  2. Don’t stress
  3. Stay calm
  4. Stay focused
  5. And, to borrow a page from Aaron Rodgers’ playbook: RELAX!

So we can make it look easy. We can have peace in the midst of the storm. This means we need to understand the “how” of faith, because by faith we understand. If we trust and never doubt, He will surely bring us out. We need to trust God for what, and leave the how to Him.

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation