Do You Believe In Miracles?

Nick Foles

In Philly, Nick Foles is a saint.  Nick may nay not nary be a saint in the eyes of the Catholic Church, but in Philly he was eligible for sainthood last year, because he was the MVP of the SUPER BOWL! And this year he’s just adding to own his lore and legend, because he works miracles on the football field.  A few weeks ago, the Eagles didn’t have a prayer of making the playoffs. Now, with Saint Nick doing his thing, all we need is faith in “The Process.”

Saint Nick just did it again.  “The Process” seems to be to trust in the Eagles as the underdog, and throw caution to the wind. Nick just came off of the bench at the end of the season and marched into the fray to stave off elimination from the playoffs in front of a rabid, ravenous crowd at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly.  

AND Nick just had the game of his life as he set a personal and FRANCHISE record for an Eagles QB.  In other words, Saint Nick just had a better game than Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb AND Carson Wentz ever had.  Saint Nick threw for 471 yards and four touchdowns with an interception that was not his fault (sounds like the Super Bowl!)  Nelson Agholor caught five passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, Zack Ertz caught 12 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns and Alshon Jeffery caught three passes for 82 yards. Wow!

But the Texans didn’t go down without a fight.  Houston QB Deshaun Watson went 29-of-40 for 339 yards and two touchdowns. He was the Texans’ offense, leading the team in rushing with 49 yards and two rushing touchdowns on eight carries The Texans rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take a one-point lead with 2:04 remaining. But Saint Nick did Watson one better.

Saint Nick drove the Eagles to a game-winning field goal on the final play, keeping his team’s playoff hopes alive with a 32-30 victory. Philadelphia needs a win next weekend at Washington plus a Vikings loss to clinch the No. 6 seed.

And let’s not forget about Jake Elliott, who missed an extra point earlier in the game but redeemed himself as he kicked a 35-yard field goal after Foles drove the Eagles 72 yards in 11 plays in the final 2:04.

And so the moral of the story is this: Saint Nick is absolutely playing better than Carson Wentz. There. I said it. All of Philly loves Carson Wentz , but right now, Saint Nick is the one with the marvelous, miracle, almost mysterious football mannerisms. Nick is my pick to kick start the Eagles right into the playoffs . . .

 . . . and beyond.

Hooray For Houston!

 Houston Astros Sports_Illustrated 2017

The Houston Astros just won their first ever World Series, the first and only in the 56 year history of the team. Good for them. They made it through a topsy, turvy seven game series with the LA Dodgers, and came out on top.  And the City of Houston made it through Hurricane Harvey, and it coming out on top of that tough time too. The Astros have many ties to Puerto Rico as well, beginning with Correa and Beltran, and World Series MVP George Springer is half Puerto Rican. So the Astros won not only Houston, but for Puerto Rico,  which was devastated by another powerful Hurricane, Irma. 

I’m not a Houston fan, but I’m glad for them. So I’m not going to hate. Yes I was rooting for the Dodgers, but the Astros won it fair and square.  And they won it for the City of Houston, and that’s pretty special. AND Sports Illustrated called it (albeit 3 years ago, but they called it! How about that!

Never mind Dodger pitcher Yu Darvish got chased out of) his second horrific World Series outing. Never mind Darvish shouldn’t even have been in the game (because of his poor previous play), much less start the Seventh Game of the World Series!  Never mind the game was lost in the dugout by the Dodgers Skipper, Dave Roberts who started Darvish. And never mind the Dodgers still had chance after chance to get back into the game, even after digging a five run hole for themselves. In the bottom of the second, they had the bases loaded with their hottest hitter, Joc Pederson, at the plate, but came up empty and left all three base runners stranded. Oh well.

So Houston won the World Series. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, there’s bad sports news coming out of Houston as well. Houston fans had to go from World Series celebration to losing their star QB, Deshaun Watson because of a torn ACL in practice. Michael Wilbon said “the feel good” from the Astros’ World Series title didn’t last as long as it should have because of Watson’s injury.

In sports and in life, we rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep, and mourn with them that mourn.

Fighting Is Not For Fun

Redskins and Texans

When we use the word “fight “ in connection with sports, we are usually speaking in figurative, and not literal language. Fighting for the win and fighting to the finish and fighting for your life are not literal terms; they are figurative and fictional, allegorical and metaphorical and NOT literal. At least most of the time. In other words, when a coach says, “get out there and fight,” he doesn’t mean go and pick a fight with the other team. At least not literally.

Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Peters, right, and Washington Redskins' Chris Baker, left, tussle after a fourth-quarter play as line judge Darryll Lewis tries to break it up during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. Both players were ejected. Philadelphia won 37-34. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, David Maialetti)
Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Peters, right, and Washington Redskins’ Chris Baker, left, tussle after a fourth-quarter play as line judge Darryll Lewis tries to break it up during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. Both players were ejected. Philadelphia won 37-34. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, David Maialetti)

Why then did the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans fight each other at a SCRIMMAGE? A.K.A., “Practice.” (Not a game … Not a game, but “Practice.” — where is Allen Iverson when you need him?) To be sure, only a few unfavored felons actually started the fight, but both teams seemed to get totally involved, much to the enjoyment of hundreds of faithful fans along the sidelines and thousands more who shared the viral video online.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:13399329

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:13399506

What have we come to? Are we more excited about bad news than good? Are we more entertained by fighting than good ole-fashioned smash mouth football? Apparently so. Sad to say, this was the No. 1 sports story of the day.

Other than boxing, fighting is not for amusement or merriment. In other words, fighting is not for fun or fanfare. In sports and in life, we fight for an ultimate goal and a supreme purpose. We fight the devil and his dastardly, dubious demons of defeat and despair, discouragement and dismay. Fight them. Fight them tooth and nail. Fight them hard; fight them fierce. And fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, because fighting is not for fun.

So let’s put the fight back where it belongs; in our hearts and souls. Let’s fight the temptation to flash and flare out at our opponent in an unsportsmanlike way. And our opponents may not be on the field. They may be an extraordinary antagonist or an everyday adversary. But don’t let them foil your focus or frustrate your fancy of winning; keep your eye on the prize, because fighting is not just for a scrimmage or a game; fighting is spiritual; fighting is not a game; fighting is real.