Note to Eagles Fans: “There’s Always Last Year”

Carson Wentz-philadelphia-eagles-loss to-dallas-cowboys
Carson Wentz dejected after loss to Dallas at home drops Eagles to 4-5

 

The phrase is actually meant to read like this: “there’s always NEXT year.”  That’s what sports fans say when their team is lousy and lazy and dismal and dreadful. When the season is lost, the hope is that the team will be better and the future brighter next year. And so we say “there’s always next year.” And for the Philadelphia Eagles, technically, that’s still true.

But we’re still in THIS year. And after taking a good hard look at this year, it’s hard not to be tempted to look at last year. This year, the most recent Sunday Night loss to Dallas at home, leaving the Birds with a record of 4-5, leaves every Eagle fan in a lurch. In our heart of hearts, we still have and hold onto last year’s Super Bowl victory. Someway, somehow that colossal win was supposed to convert into a repeat Super Bowl victory this year. But not so. 

LAST year, the Eagles had a great team. In fact, we weren’t just great, we were awesome.  Last year, the Eagles had great chemistry. The coaching staff, the offensive line, the running backs, and the defensive line, all were top notch.  Not so much this year. The Eagles lost their Offensive Coordinator and their Quarterbacks Coaches to other teams.  The running backs we had for all or most of last year are mostly gone: LeGarrette Blount was allowed to walk in free agency, and Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproules are injured. Corey Clement has not panned out like everyone hoped he would, and so that leaves the team with Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams.  Needless to say, the chemistry we have this year is not the  same as last year.

And so the bottom line is this: they call it the Super Bowl Slump.  Teams that win the Super Bowl hardly repeat as champions and win another the next year (it hasn’t happened since the Patriots did it in 2005), and a good number of Super Bowl Champions don’t even MAKE IT to the playoffs after the big win.

Generraly speakintg, we’re not supposed to look backwards; we’re supposed to look forward.  God put two eyes in the front of our heads for a reason.  Biblically speaking, the only time we are encouraged to look back is to be grateful for yesterday’s victory’s and yesteryear’s triumphs.  

And at this point in this season, that’s pretty much all we’ve got.

“The Eagles’ Super Bowl championship was viewed as the greatest moment in Philadelphia sports history. That team will be beloved forever, and the players and coaches spent all offseason hearing how they fulfilled every Philly fan’s lifelong dream.”

 https://sports.yahoo.com/super-bowl-hung-eagles-danger-missing-playoffs-loss-cowboys-042711745.html

Note to Jason Garret: Go For It!

Jason Garrett Jason Garret, the current (emphasis on “current”) coach of the Dallas Cowboys, decided to punt the ball back to the Texans in OT instead of going for it on 4th and 1. Seriously.  And it cost his team the game.  The lesson is crystal clear: there are times to play it safe and there are times to take a chance, or a risk, or more pointedly, a leap of faith.   The only problem is, you need to know in your knower which time is the right time, and which time is the wrong time, to go for it. But you absolutely have to know.

Winning is all about faith. It’s about believing in yourself and in your teammates and having the courage to move forward when the odds are against you.  To get touchdowns you first need to get first downs, and Dallas failed on both counts last night against the Texans. And it was a bad decision by the coach that lead to the latest Dallas debacle.  

Here’s how one sports writer put it:

“I’m going to say something that folks who cover the NFL haven’t have reason to say in a long time — Jerry Jones was right.

In overtime of Sunday night’s loss to the Texans, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett opted to punt on fourth-and-1 from Houston’s 42-yard line on the first possession of the extra frame. That needlessly cautious decision gave Houston the ball back, and they drove 72 yards down the field to kick the game-winning goal.

After the game, Jones called out his coach. ‘We were being outplayed. It’s time for risks at that particular time.’

He’s right.” Jerry Jones, for once, was absolutely right. This time. https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2018/10/8/17950526/cowboys-texans-fourth-down-punt-overtime-jerry-jones-criticism-jason-garrett-hot-seat

So let’s learn the lesson; when everything is on the line, don’t play it safe . . . GO FOR IT!

Why Dallas Dumped Dez

dez-bryant-getty-4

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why the Cowboys dumped their ALL TIME leading receiver, Dez Bryant. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. Since he came into the League and made a home in Dallas, Dez has been a brew of venomousness that is frighteningly viral. His actions, on and off of the field, have been radical (to say the least) and ultimately lethal to his team and fatal to his career.  In other words, Dez is a hot mess.

Dez may be talented, but he’s also toxic. What Dez did not realize is that no stand out statistics or ridiculous records can take the place of a player who is reliable and dependable and stalwart and not unpredictable. In other words, character still counts.

Bryant was the Cowboys’ first-round pick in 2010. He amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving, with double-digit touchdowns, for three straight seasons from 2012 to 2014. He finishes his time with the Cowboys with a team-record 73 touchdown receptions to go with 531 catches for 7,459 yards in 113 games. And yet, the Cowboys were all too eager to say “Bye Felicia” to their golden boy of a receiver. In other words, see ya, don’t want ta’ be ya.

Dez is done in Dallas because he did not think he was a distraction to the team. It just goes to show; you can’t do what you want or say what you want and still get what you want. It just doesn’t work that way. Dues must be paid.  And in order to play in the NFL, or on any other reputable sports team, you need to do as mom taught us all, and that is to mind your manners. Here’s what the Dallas Cowboys had to say about cutting Dez:

“The other thing that we all see, and it is certainly visible to anyone who watches our games, watches our sideline, is Dez is certainly a fiery guy who plays with a lot of emotion both on and off the field,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on the team’s podcast. “Sometimes that can be a distraction. It can be a distraction for Dez, it can be a distraction for other teammates. And we just have to really get our hands around when you put all the full body of work together where that’s headed.” http://www.espn.com/blog/dallas-cowboys/post/_/id/4766019/cowboys-cut-dez-bryant-due-to-lack-of-production-attitude

Once again, the lesson is crystal clear; your central core is more important than all of your shiny outer trimmings combined.   People might say that they like the attitude and all of the antics, but at the end of the day, we want to cheer for someone we want our daughters to marry. And Dez just doesn’t deliver. He may be able to catch a football, but lately, he can’t catch a hint. Owners and managers and coaches are only willing to put up with so much. So let this be another lesson for every and all other “characters” out there. Character still counts.

You can’t have it both ways. At the end of the day, careless, callous and reckless, abandoned living gets you nowhere fast.  The end of the line for loud mouth, undisciplined, show-boat behemoth players (and people) who can think no farther than their last antic or antagonistic tweet is a life of regret.  The sad part of the story is that Dez will land with some team somewhere but will go no farther than he’s gone before, unless he decides to mend his ways. 

It was said that the only person that can stop Dez Bryant, is Dez Bryant.  Because people, like owners and coaches, are only willing to put up with so much.

Why Philly Fans Are So Excited!

Ben Simmons Dribbling

Giddy and giggly, exuberant and expectant can’t come close to describing the state of Philly fans everywhere, but these descriptive words are the best we can do. Philly fans are currently in a near state of euphoria.  And you know why.

Sports in Philly has gotten superciliously silly.  First, our Eagles won the NFC Championship Game in grand fashion and are going to the Super Bowl! Not the Cowboys, nor the Falcons and not the Vikings. The Eagles, baby!

Sports Fans in Philly are over the moon.  And for good reason.  The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. Did I say that already?  The Super Bowl!  The defense looks great and Foles has never played better. So all systems are go and all hopes are riding on the faith that Foles and the “D” can do it again, and against the vaunted, New England Patriots, at that.

And, to make matters even better, our beloved Sixers are the hottest team in the NBA, next to the Golden State Warriors.  Both teams are 8-2 in January. Eight and Two! Ben Simmons, everyone’s favoirte for Rookie of the Year, is playing lights out and racking up triple doubles night after night. AND, the cherry on top of it all is that Joel Embiid is an NBA All Star Game starter!  Wow. 

Now, we just need the Flyers and the Phillies to step up to the plate and hit home runs, too.

So here’s a message to all Philly fans everywhere; let’s learn another life lesson. Let’s learn to be moderate and temperate, even keeled and steady handed at all times and in every circumstance. Let’s learn to endure the hard times (we have) and enjoy the good times (we are) and not get too excited or overly extended in our behavior.

Oops – too late!

When Bad Teams Play

Redskins.Dallas

The 5-6 Dallas Cowboys are hosting the 5-6 Washington Redskins in prime time. So why bother? 

The fans on each side are saying that this is a “must win” game for each team. Oh brother. Again I ask, “Why bother watching?”  It’s been called the best rivalry in sports. Normally, at least Yankees/Red Sox fans and Michigan/Ohio State fans would beg to differ, but the entire sports world is begging to differ tonight. Tonight when they play on Thursday Night Football, each team will be a shell of their old selves. Dak Prescott is not the Dak Prescott of last year; not by far. And Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, well, let’s just say that they always think they’re in contention.  Poor things.

You know what happens when bad teams play? You get poor play because of poor performers which leads to a poor performance. Essentially, it’s garbage in and garbage out. And who wants to waste precious time watching two lame ducks duke it out to the death?

Dallas has its share of problems: “Now in the middle of what will ultimately be a six-game suspension on their star RB, Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys’ offense is in shambles. After averaging a stout 28.25 points per game over the first eight contests, they’ve now failed to score 10 points in three consecutive games — the worse stretch in franchise history. That precipitous nose dive also includes a ‘frustrated’ Prescott admittedly playing some of his worst football, delivering only 500 total passing yards and no touchdowns, but five interceptions. He had only four all of last season.

It’s a long fall from the MVP-caliber numbers Dak Prescott was delivering only one month ago, and the correlation to the absence of Elliott can no longer be denied even if it’s not the sole reason for the downturn. Play calling certainly hasn’t helped his cause, as the Cowboys have also been attempting to overcompensate for the loss of Elliott versus riding impressive outings from Alfred Morris.” https://247sports.com/nfl/dallas-cowboys/Bolt/Dallas-Cowboys-coaches-weigh-in-on-if-absence-of-Ezekiel-Elliott-is-reason-for-poor-Dak-Prescott-play-111288651

And the Redskins have had their share of woes this season too.  So what’s one to do?  Can either team pull out a winning season and make the playoffs?  It’s doubtful, but then again that’s where it all starts. Doubt is the devil that destroys destiny. So since one team has to win (barring a tie, which would be laughable), one team has an outside chance at righting the ship and saving the season.

And therein lies the lesson: there’s always hope. You have to believe that there’s always a chance, a likelihood, a probability and a possibility that things can and will turn around. But first you have to believe that there’s hope, and that there’s hope for you, and that hope will help you too.  

Good, Better, Best

Eagles INT

 

Good, better best,

Never let it rest,

Till your good is better,

And your better best.

           Author unknown

I love this little rhyme, because this short, small chime is actually sublime. It preaches a poignant point that cannot be overemphasized but is largely understated. Good is ok, but it’s not the best you can do. There is an enemy out there called average. 

The Philly faithful are NOT satisfied with beating the Dallas Cowboys – in Dallas, mind you — even as bad as we beat them. In fact, for the Cowboys, it was their worst home loss since AT&T Stadium opened in 2009. But that was NOT our Super Bowl.

The Eagles are now 9-1, and the last two times we were this good and this much better than most other teams in the NFL we went on to try our best to win the Super Bowl. Both times we failed.

But all of Philly hopes and prays that this time is different. This time, we seem to have something special going on and it’s a love fest of epic proportions. So, this time, we are not that excited about beating a deflated, depleted Dallas team. We’re not overly excited (but we are giddy!) about being 9-1, owning the best record in football. Good is good, but it’s not great. We want to go from good to great. We want to be better, and to play our best.

And that is what we all should strive to do. For the Eagles, this year, winning the Division would be good, but winning the NFC Championship Game would be better. And a Super Bowl win with a parade down Broad Street to boot would be best.

So don’t stop at good. Go for broke; get better, and then be the best. Never let it rest. Your good can be better, and your better can be best. Because God wants us to do our best and be our best; anything less is settling.

 

As Good As It Gets: Jay Ajayi’s Flying High As An Eagle In Philly

 Jay Ajayi

Jay Ajayi’s debut in Philly was as good as it gets.  He’s off and running, or flying, in Philly and opening day couldn’t have been better for the Eagles and Ajayi, as they steamrolled the Denver Broncos in front of a racous, rockin’ and rolling Lincoln Financial Field crowd. Ajayi was traded to the Eagles for next to nothing (a 4th round draft pick?) and was seemingly dumped and his impact was downplayed because he’s “a problem child” that’s a distraction. But the Eagles said “come to Philly.” And come to Philly he did.

So all of Philly is singing in the rain and dancing in the streets. The Iggles are now 8-1, are in first place in the NFC East with the best record in football and their best start since the Super Bowl Year of ’04.  So go Birds, and atta’ boy Ajayi.  Next Stop: Arlington Texas and the Dallas Cowboys.  And they don’t scare me.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about my Eagles:

“The Philadelphia Eagles went from very good to downright scary with the addition of running back Jay Ajayi. Just ask the Denver Broncos.

Acquired from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, Ajayi made an instant impact in his Philly debut, breaking off a 46-yard touchdown run as part of an eight-carry, 77-yard performance that helped the Eagles cruise past Denver, 51-23.

‘It was special,’ Ajayi said afterwards. ‘First off, it’s my first touchdown of the season, and it’s exciting for it to have been in Philly in my first game as an Eagle. I don’t think it could have been written any better than that.’

The Eagles, now 8-1, entered the game as the third-ranked offense in the NFL. Still, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stayed aggressive at the trade deadline and worked up a deal with old friend Mike Tannenbaum, who holds the same title with the Dolphins, sending a 2018 fourth-round pick to Miami for the 24-year-old Ajayi.

While there were reported concerns about the long-term health of Ajayi’s knee and his effect on Miami’s locker room, the Eagles believed Ajayi could be a system and identity fit based on joint practices with the Dolphins this summer. They were willing to take a risk in hopes he would regain his 2016 Pro Bowl form when he rushed for close to 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns.  Ajayi’s longest run this season with the Dolphins was 21 yards, but he found his home run swing in his first game> with his new team.http://www.espn.com/blog/philadelphia-eagles/post/_/id/22824/with-jay-ajayi-added-to-mix-eagles-look-unstoppable-against-broncos