One Reason Why You Must Watch the NFL Playoffs


Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin. He’s the answer. Now here’s the question.

Football in January. The last day of the season for football is kind of and almost like Opening Day in Baseball. Almost. Excitement fills the air as hope springs eternal. It seems like every team (or at least a lot of teams) have a shot at winning it all. And it’s the time the big boys play their best and the also rans play their worst.

The Pittsburg Steelers are in the Playoffs. Again. Thanks to the coaching of their leader, Mike Tomlin, and the choking of their rivals, the New York Jets, who lost a must win game on the last day of the regular season to the Buffalo Bills. All the Jets had to do was win and they were in. And against the so-so Bills, you figure that wasn’t a tough task to tackle. But muff the punt they did,
and the Jets are going home after making plans to make a deep run in the playoffs (playoffs, are you kiddin’ me?) Go figure.

So right off the bat, we learn that life is about coaching and teaching and education and instruction. And the great teachers and trainers and instructors and tutors know how to get the best out of their students and the best students know how to get and glean and gather and garner the most from the best teachers. And Mike Tomlin is a masterful motivator and a credible communicator. And that’s why Pittsburg won and the Jets lost.

We also learn that there must be a connection and correlation between player and coach. And that’s why Chip Kelly is out a job! (But let’s not go there.) Anyway, the players have to play but the coaches have to coach. It’s that simple. And the Pittsburg Steelers kept playing and Mike Tomlin kept coaching his guys right into the second season.

Mike Tomlin was named the 16th head coach in Pittsburgh Steelers history on January 22, 2007. Hired at the age of 34, Tomlin became only the third head coach hired by the Steelers since 1969.

Tomlin became the youngest head coach in NFL history to both coach in and win a Super Bowl when he led the Steelers to a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. By winning the Super Bowl in only his second season as a head coach, he also became the fastest to win a Super Bowl title in Steelers history.

In his eight years as head coach of the Steelers, Tomlin has led Pittsburgh to four AFC North titles (including 2014) and has guided the Steelers to the playoffs five times, including two trips to the Super Bowl (XLIII and XLV). Tomlin has won at least five home games in each of his first eight years, including six at Heinz Field in 2014.

So here’s to Mike Tomlin and the Steelers. My home town team Eagles are going home (but we’re getting a new coach – Yay!), so I need a team to root and clap and cheer for, and now, that includes the “other” team from PA.

Start The New Year Right: Can Your Contemptible Coach

Kelly Fired

It’s official.  (and I’m NOT going to say I told you so!)

Kelly is kaput. He’s wrecked and ruined, finished and finaled out in Philly. And if you are a fan, you’re a fan of mine. Thanks for reading. Whether you’ve read a little or a lot about Kelly, you know where I stand. You know that I’m not a Kelly supporter or defender, not by any stretch of the imagination. In a fitting and an apropos way, before the last game of the season, Kelly got what he deserved: the boot in the butt.

But lest we rush to judgement, we must acknowledge Jeff Lurie’s role in all of this. It’s his team, and Kelly was his hire. But it didn’t work. Thankfully, before things got any worse, Lurie stood up and manned up and planned to ban and can his man who fanned on getting Philly a respectable and perennial power of a football team.

 It’s near the end of the year and it’s the end of our fear that we would be stuck with Kelly for another season. It’s the end of a once hopeful and likeable and readable chapter in Philly sports history. It was a firing no one predicted but everyone wanted and expected. Thankfully, the Eagles can move on and go on and hire a coach who connects with the players and the team and the City that’s ready for a championship, yesterday.

So let’s move on. Some things (and people) need to be left behind.  You know it and I know it. So let’s leave what needs to be left behind in 2015. Let’s move Kelly out and move a new coach in. And let’s start 2016 right.

“N.F.L.” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

I told you! (Chip is gone, but I wrote this before he was canned, so let me feel vindicated, then I’ll write about the chump called Chip who has lost his ship)

I told you that the Eagles game wasn’t worth watching! In a must win, loser go home, late December game, the Eagles got beat up and beat down and beat left and beat right out of the playoffs. (Playoffs, are you kiddin’ me?) Anyway, the NFL no longer means National Football League in Philly. In the City of Brotherly Love, N.F.L. now means that Chip Kelly has “No Friends Left.”

Today, Kelly may be the head coach and General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, but “Not For Long!” Kelly’s coaching and handling of the loss to the Redskins IN PHILLY on national television was unforgivable. YES the team played poorly and NO the dropped passes and missed opportunities were not all Chip’s fault, and YES the Redskins are red hot and NO the Eagles did not play well, but as all coaches know, if you can coach, you can coach. And Chip has proven that he can’t coach and he can’t GM. At least not consistently in the NFL, which is not for losers.

It is Not Frickin’ Likely that Eagles owner Jeff Lurie will fire Kelly at the end of the season. Rats. That’s a bummer. Because the Philly faithful have a N.F.L. – negative feedback loop (whatever that really is) when it comes to Kelly and his recent rough road as the head of our beloved Birds.

N.F.L. also stands for “new found love,” and Eagles fans everywhere are looking for a new coach we can fall for so that we can then mail their pic to Lurie in hopes that he’ll fall for them too. The honeymoon is long over, and now it’s time Chip comes to grip and stops giving fans lip because in his trip to Philly has caused him to slip and now his ship needs to set sail on a trip anywhere outside of South Philly. In other words, Chip needs to come to grip with the fact that there are no free lunches in the NFL.

So what can we learn from the multiple “NFL’s” of life? NFL also can mean “negatives foster life.” That’s right. All of the bad and the sad and the maddening things that happen to us actually work together for our good, if we love God, to build character and integrity and veracity and sincerity.

The old saying “wait until next year” has a whole new meaning – again. A new lease on life is an opportunity to be successful or happy after having experienced a series of difficulties. So, as we leave 2015 behind and get ready and get set and get started on 2016, remember that everybody, and that means everybody (including Chip Kelly) gets at least one more chance. And If Chip Kelly can have another chance and a new lease on life in the toughest sports town there is, then you can too.


Remember the Sears Christmas Wish Book Catalog?


Who remembers the Sears Christmas Wish Book Catalog? The Sears Christmas Wish Book was and is a holiday tradition. The very first Sears Wish Book came out in 1933. Featured items in this first catalog included the “Miss Pigtails” doll, an electric (battery powered) toy automobile, a Mickey Mouse watch, fruitcakes, Lionel electric trains, a five pound box of chocolates, and live singing canaries.

I loved the Sears Wish Book! Growing up, my sisters and I would literally fight each other over who got to see the catalog first, because we got to pick which toys we wanted from this annual registry of toys and trinkets and trifles. This was all to the chagrin of my parents, who outwardly groaned and moaned; but inwardly, I’m sure that way, deep, down, they loved to buy toys for their children, because they loved to see us glow and giggle after they gave us what we wanted. But that was then. This is now.

Now, we’ve matured and realize that we don’t always get what we want. But what I want is what most – if not all – of what Philly wants, and that’s Chip Kelly out of town. He needs to be flayed and then fired, sacked and then canned, discharged and unilaterally dismissed. He’s caput in Philly; the only problem is, he doesn’t know it, at least not yet.

So it’s official: Chip Kelly has GOT to go. Go where, you say? Anywhere but in South Philly. His team is disappointing and disconcerting, depressing and distressing, and if there is one coach in the NFL who needs to take a hike, it’s Chip Kelly.

And for Christmas this year, I wish that all Philly fans everywhere will sign my petition to have Kelly kicked to the curb and ditched to the dump. So why am I so steamed and so reamed and so stumped and so stymied? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Kelly’s system IS NOT working. Case in point, in last night’s awful, dreadful and dismal display of a game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles were down just 17-10 but yet they were driving down the field, within reach of a tying touchdown. Then the inexplicable happened.

DeMarco Murray is an All Pro running back and was last year’s League leading rusher. Kelly traded Shady McCoy and then brought in Murray from Dallas to run up the gut and gain critical first downs on short yardage plays in critical 3rd down, or dare I say 4th and inches situations. Murray was on the BENCH, err – sidelines in football, when we had a 4th and inches situation in the Red Zone! Seriously!? And the end result? You guessed it – we didn’t get the first down. We turned the ball over on downs and went on to lose 40-17.

So the silver lining may be this: As much as I want Kelly gone, Kelly can redeem himself. He can win the NFC East and give Philly a playoff game and- dare I say, a playoff win? Because Christmas is more about giving than getting. Christmas is all about redemption. Mankind was lost and God sent his Son to buy back and get back the lost souls that he made. Thank God for Christmas.

Sears Wish Book

I’m sure many tiny tots everywhere still look forward to fawning over the Sears Wish Book. It was fun then and I’m sure it’s still fun now. Because Christmas is all about the joy of giving what is really needed, and getting what is really wanted.

Does Anybody Wanna Win? (The NFC EAST)


The NFC East, now and afore time affectionately called the “NFC Least,” is chock full of half hyping, partial playing, semi saying and totally teasing teams that just don’t seem like they want to win. I mean, it’s almost unbelievable. So let’s just go down the list:

The bottom feeders, the Dallas Cowboys, are 4-8, because (they say) they lost their quintessential quarterback, Tony Romo to injury, twice! But wait!  This just in – Dallas beat the Redskins in Washington 19-16 on Monday Night Football! In a game that those same ‘Skins said they just had to have in order to separate themselves from the pack, they came up short and ran on empty.

The New York “Football” Giants lost a game to the Jets that they should have won (again) and their coach, Tom Coughlin, looks like he shouldn’t be coaching anymore, or at least not for pay.  Anyway, the Giants, who looked like they were going to run away with the Division earlier in the season, just can’t win for losing.  Now the Giants will have to beat Miami, Carolina, Minnesota and Philly, so “winning out” is an unlikely proposition, at best.

The aforementioned Washington Redskins weren’t given a snowball’s chance in you know what by anybody when they were 2-4. Now, at 5-7, they have an outside chance to win out, or a barnyard chance to back in, but both scenarios are dicey and distant destinations, at best. With four games remaining, the ‘Skins, will have to beat the Bears, the Bills, Philly and Dallas.  And I count at least two loses in that stretch. That would leave them at 7-9. At best.

And that leaves my Eagles (pronounced Iggles). In the home stretch of the season, we have Buffalo, Arizona, the Redskins and the Giants, and the only contest that gives me any concern is the Arizona game. But then again, we just beat the Brady Bunch, a.k.a., the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, in New England. And as bad as the Eagles have played, and despite how badly Chip Kelly has prayed, anything, and I do mean ANYTHING, is still possible.

So there you have it.  If you want to win, anything is possible. ANYTHING. Spiritually speaking, we call that believing and perceiving and achieving. We call that leaving the past and cleaving to the future. We call it trust because the just shall live by faith. We call it desire diced with determination which will equal our destination, which is a destiny destined by God from before the dawn of time. Because God saw in us that we desperately want to win.

There is a three-way tie for the best record in the NFC East and a two-way tie for first, between my Eagles and the Washington Redskins. Really?  So who ya got? Who do the bookies and the bettors and gamers and gamblers have to win this once proud and persnickety Division?  It all comes down to who wants to win.

So who wants to win? Who wants to step up and ramp up and gear up to play their best football in December, the month when the big boys come out to play for keeps? Not one of us knows for sure, and that’s why they play the games, and keep score.

Kelly’s “Chip” Wreck

Chip Kelly
Chip Kelly, the Philadelphia Eagles ever infamous but never ingenious head coach, has got to go. That’s it. Period. End of discussion.  The loss to the 3-7 Detroit dandeLions was the last straw.   Not only has the team been an embarrassment to the City of Brotherly Love, they have lost the respect and regard of the rest of the football world.  The way the Eagles looked and played on Thanksgiving Day was an altogether abject abomination to all who love and respect the game.

Chip cannot right the ship. At this point, no one, and I do mean NO ONE in Philly wants to utter his name; instead we mutter all the blame and shudder at the shame and wonder why he even came from Oregon for all of this. Now it appears an utter impossibility for Kelly to keep his job. And standing on the sideline stoically while his team gave up 90 points to two — count ’em — two non-playoff teams in five days is utterly unacceptable.  

Chip has made a hot mess of things in South Philly. And it’s so bad, we confess that we  don’t even want him to stay around to clean it up. Harsh? Yes, it’s harsh, but this is Philly.  And it’s a Chip wreck. It’s not just bad, it’s REALLY  BAD. But if we’re all honest, at one point or another, we’ve all made a mess of a few things along the way. For Chip,  the best thing to do is to acknowledge the flub and admit the snub. Denying and decrying the mistakes and outakes would only lead to more heartaches and make matters even worse.

So, let’s learn the lesson here. When things go wrong and when things go bad and when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would or should, don’t be like the emperor with his new clothes. When we deny and defend and are determined to be right when we’re really wrong, we only prolong the agony and protract the misery. 

So Don’t trip like Chip.  Do yourself a favor and right the ship, because confession is good for the soul. 

Winning In Spite of Yourself

Sam Bradford Head Down

The Eagles are winning in spite of Sam Bradford. And Sam Bradford is winning in spite of himself. And that goes for you and me too. But first, let’s deal with the Eagles sorry excuse for a quarterback. 

By all accounts, the Philadelphia Eagles could be a great NFL Team and Sam Bradford should be and could be a great NFL quarterback. Not a good one, a GREAT one. And he would be a great QB if he stopped throwing to players on the wrong team. He doesn’t seem to get in gear until the third quarter, and the last time I checked, the game had 4, count ‘em, FOUR quarters; so getting a good start is not a bad thing. In fact, getting a first down in the first quarter would be a really good thing.

Confidence is contagious. And Bradford looks anything but confident, on or off the field. Maybe it’s me, but Bradford looks leery and loopy, distant and dubious, hazy and hesitant all at the same time. And that’s not a good thing. It’s like he’s playing in a fog (remember that Thanksgiving Day Game in Philly a few years back when the fog rolled in and you couldn’t see the field?) But surely I digress.

So, lest we bury Bradford (and many would like to), there are times when we all win in spite of ourselves. We don’t warrant a win but we do. We’re not worthy or worthwhile but someone else says we are. We couldn’t do it on our own, but we’re virtually virtuous and victorious anyway. Theologically, we call that grace. Because our confidence is only and wholly and solely in Him.

Sometimes we can’t get out of our own way, and yet somehow we make it across the goal line to score the winning touchdown. We take missteps and make mistakes and yet and still we win. We whiffle and waffle, play bad and play awful, and we still come out with a “W.” Thank God for grace.

Yes thank God for grace. Thank God for mercy and favor and leniency and clemency and every other reprieve we can find. And as for Bradford, let’s just hope he gets rid of that “deer caught in a pair of high-beams look” sooner than later.