Alex Smith Instead Of Kirk Cousins? Seriously?

Wow. Look at that pic. Two of the most recent Washington Redskins’ quarterbacks who are long gone or are about ready to go. Too bad.

The Washington Redskins just signed Alex Smith. Well, they signed him last week but it wasn’t important enough to pull me away from all of the Super Bowl hype. Now that my Philadelphia Eagles have won the Big One and are World Champions (man that sounds so good!) we can turn our attention to other more trivial NFL matters. Like where Kirk Cousins will be playing next year.

First of all, what was Andy Reid thinking? Are they mad at Smith for tanking this season after starting out so well? After all, the Chiefs started off 5-0, and their first two wins were against, wait for it, the Patriots and the Eagles! So what happened? What had happened was . . . Anyway, the Chiefs cooled off and couldn’t sustain their fast start and got booted from the playoffs in the wildcard round.

Which brings us to Smith’s sudden and unexpected departure from KC and his coming to DC. Statistically speaking, Kirk Cousins is better than Alex Smith. And he’s younger. So remind me again why the Redskins don’t want Cousins? Oh yeah, we haven’t answered that question, and we don’t have an answer, and probably never will.

Oh well; so much for the Redskins getting better this offseason. That’s one less team in the NFC East my Eagles will have to worry about next year.

Big Ben Says “Don’t Count Me Out!”

Ben Pointing

Ben Roethlisberger had the game from hell last week. He had the worst game of his illustrious, all-pro career.  He had a career-high five – count ‘em – FIVE INTs. That’s five interceptions in one game. And that’s not good.

But Ben Ben’s not done yet.  Today Ben bounced back and beat the previously undefeated Kansas Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. 

Last week, Ben threw too many interceptions and was ready to throw in the towel. Two of those INTs Jacksonville returned for touchdowns in a 30-9 loss to the Jaguars. The bitter, biting, baneful loss left the Steelers frustrated and the most prolific passer in franchise history struggling to put a finger on how things went so wrong, so quickly for a group that was expected to be among the league’s best.

Last week, just five weeks in, Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers were (3-2) and decidedly average. And then there came this from Big Ben himself:

 “Maybe I don’t have it anymore,” Roethlisberger said.

The 35-year-old was kidding. Mostly. While he tried to chalk it up as simply a bad day at the office, in reality this one was different than most. No Steelers quarterback had thrown it to the other team five times in a game since Mark Malone did it against Cleveland 30 years ago. 

https://apnews.com/79913b5d9488456bb21494f36aa1b17c/Roethlisberger%27s-rough-day-paves-way-for-Steelers%27-loss

 That was last week.  And as they say, that was then, and this is now.

Now is a 19-13 win over previously undefeated Kansas City. And this week Ben had help; big help. Pittsburg’s Steel Curtain defense regained its former, famed glory and held Alex Smith and the high powered, league leading offense to six first half yards. That would be six, as in comes after five and right before seven. And KC had one first down in the first half. Just one.  It was total domination by the Pittsburg “D” for 3 ½ quarters.

Now the Steelers are 4-2 and looking one hundred and eighty degrees better than they did in last week’s loss. That’s quite the bounce back. That’s quite the turnaround. That’s quite the statement game. And this is why we love sports. And this is why sports and faith are not foreign; nay, sports and faith are famously familiar BFFs and bosom buddies. 

Everything we do is spiritual.  Everything. Including what happens on the field, on the court, on the ice, on the track, in the pool and in the gym.   And once again, Big Ben gives us a reason to believe, a reason to hope, and another reason to get back up and get back going, again.

So take it from Big Ben. Don’t count yourself out.  Say it over and over and over again.  You can make it. And tell your enemies and your foes the same thing. Tell the naysayers and the bogus soothsayers to take a hike too. Tell them emphatically, “Don’t count me out!”

All Things Are Possible; a.k.a., Tom Brady is 40!

Brady after loss to Chiefs

If you read my blog, https://godandsports.net/2017/09/07/can-anybody-beat-brady/ that question has now been asked and answered.  The Chiefs took the mantle as the AFC favorite from the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots by winning at Gillette Stadium 42-27 on Thursday night. The Chiefs accomplished the improbable by beating Brady and Bill Belichick  at their own game in their own back yard.

All things seem possible now for the Chiefs after their most impressive victory in four seasons with Andy Reid as their coach. Thursday night’s win came at the expense of the defending Super Bowl champions in FOXBORO! Meaning, the Chiefs pulled a big early season win on the road against the presumptive AFC favorite.

The Chiefs tried to downplay the significance of their victory.

“It’s a win,’’ quarterback Alex Smith said. “It’s a big win. But you’ve got to be able to handle it the right way. We’ve got to be resilient and turn our attention to next week. “You can’t forget that it’s one of 16. You’ve got to keep that same mentality, that same week-in, week-out, attention-to-detail mentality.’’

Now, The Chiefs are out of excuses if they don’t maintain inside position for the AFC’s Super Bowl berth. For a team that for several seasons has been on the cusp but not quite elite, that’s a decidedly comfortable place to be.

Smith outplayed Patriots counterpart Tom Brady in every way, throwing four touchdown passes, including a 75-yarder to Tyreek Hill in the third quarter and a 78-yarder to rookie running back Kareem Hunt early in the fourth. Smith was 28-of-35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception. Brady was only 16-of-36 for 267 yards, without a TD or interception.

The Chiefs also got a big game from Hunt, who became only the third player since 1970 with 150 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in his NFL debut, joining Marshall Faulk (1994) and Billy Sims (1980). The Chiefs made the interesting decision to try to disrupt Brady with coverage rather than pressure. The Chiefs frequently dropped eight players into coverage and rushed Brady with three.

http://www.espn.com/blog/kansas-city-chiefs/post/_/id/22219/all-things-are-possible-for-the-chiefs-after-their-win-over-patriots

 

But it’s only one game, right?

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.

. . . It’s How You Finish

nick-foles-sports-illustrated-cover-philadelphia-eagles

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Ecclesiastes 7:8, KJV

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.  NLT

In 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles went 4-12 in Andy Reid’s final season as head coach. One year later, Charles “Chip” Kelly is the head coach and he totally turned the team around: the Eagles went from worst to first, and won the toughest division in the NFL.  The Eagles were like the eagle – in the end, they mounted up, and soared.

Eagle

The Eagles began the 2013 season 1-4, and lost Michael Vick, their mobile, franchise quarterback to injuries. The Eagles ended the season 7-1, and are much improved on defense AND can boast having the League’s rushing leader, Sean McCoy. In the end, the Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys, 24-22, and won the NFC East in the process. The turnaround happened in a year, in a blink. The reward is a home, wildcard playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field against the New Orleans Saints.

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.  “It was an outstanding coaching job,” said owner Jeff Lurie, speaking of the Eagles’ head coach. “But I think the main thing was outstanding leadership, outstanding handling of an NFL team coming in, in every way — showing leadership, motivation, class at all times, understanding where the players are coming from, instituting a new offense and defense, hiring great people.”

The ragged start and the rising finish of my Eagles this season epitomized the axiom, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” and gave further proof to the Biblical truth professed by the wise and noble Solomon, the son of David, the preacher who penned these words: “Better is the end of a thing. . . ” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). 

It’s not how you start. “The text expresses the general principle or doctrine, that by the condition of our existence here, if things go right, a conclusion is better than a beginning. The fruit is better than the blossom; the reaping is better than the sowing; the enjoyment than the reaping; the second stage of a journey to the happy home is better than the first; the home itself than all; the victory is better than the march and the battle; the reward is better than the course of service; the ending in the highest improvement of means is better than being put at first in possession of them. In all this we see is conditionally, and not absolutely, that “the end is better than the beginning.” (John Foster, The Bible Illustrator OT).

So it’s absolutely how you finish. Don’t worry about those who seem to be ahead of you financially, socially, professionally, politically, or even spiritually. God is the one who keeps score.  He is the “One great scorer” (See “How You Play the Game, July 15th Blog):

When the One great scorer comes

To write about your name

He writes not that you won or lost

But how you played the game…

In the final analysis, God, the “One Great Scorer” writes how you play the game and how you finish the game.  Because it’s not how, or even where, you start – it’s how you finish. Good starts are great, and great starts are good, but not everyone can start fast. So do as Nelson Mandela did (December 6th Blog); forget about your start; focus on your finish, and finish the year strong.