The Best Football Movies of All Time

August 27, 2018 – Excited for for the upcoming football season?

Here is a list of the 30 greatest football movies ever made courtesy of Fandango to wet your appetite.

My favorites are Invincible from 2006, Friday Night Lights from 2004 (although I enjoyed the series more), and Brian’s Song, the television tearjerker from 1971.

Go Eagles!

The True Confessions of the Misunderstood Philly Fan

January 29, 2018 — The Eagles left for Minneapolis yesterday to prepare for the big game next Sunday. To say I am thrilled about this fabulous team making it to the Super Bowl doesn’t fully describe what I’m feeling.

That’s because there is another side to the Super Bowl hoopla that has me upset … we are always described as the worst sports fans in the country any time we get close to winning. You’d think I’d be immune to that nonsense by now. If there is a possible chance that a Philly team will win, the lazy media digs up the same old stories about us, and now is no exception. So, bear with me while I get this off my chest:

Dear Ron Cook (of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette), Minnesota fans, and the rest of the fans around the country spewing garbage about us:

I won’t defend the behavior of a few idiotic fans who drank too much and acted like buffoons at the championship last week, but for you to call all of the Philadelphia fans subhuman is a bit dramatic, don’t you think? However, after listening to you and reading the articles through the years, I’ve learned that it is not the minority of Philly fans that cause trouble, it’s the majority. Apparently thousands and thousands of fans were drunk and abusive, had the gall to scream at Vikings fans and throw whatever they could find at them.

I wasn’t there but I’m sure that didn’t happen. The slams written against us include the tried and true incidents that are always brought to light when talking about Philly fans. We know Philly fans booed Santa Claus and threw snowballs at him. This event, which happened at an Eagles game in 1968, and has been so blown out of proportion. It also happened 50 years ago, so it’s time to let it go.

And we know Philly fans threw batteries at J.D. Drew. It doesn’t matter that there were 50,000 fans at the game that day, and two punk teens threw two batteries at J.D. Drew. The way it is written, it is as if the entire stadium stoned him with a barrage of batteries. Two kids, two batteries, 50,000 fans. Can you name any city in America that doesn’t have at least two stupid teenagers who would do the same thing? Sadly, every city has its share of losers.

Let’s not forget that Philly fans were so out of control that Veteran’s Stadium placed an Eagles’ court and a jail in the basement for fans that got unruly at football games. That’s true. Not our proudest moment, but it seemed like an efficient solution to a time-consuming problem. It reduced court backlogs, saved taxpayer’s money and served as a deterrent. Now that the Eagles have made the move to Lincoln Financial Field 10 years ago, the jail and court are out of session. Still, if you look at the Washington Post’s article on arrests at football games, it’s clear that the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the only ones with this problem; they’re not even among the top teams with a problem. However, the Chargers are, with 24.6 arrests per game, the Giants follow, with 22.5 arrests, the Jets, with  21.5 arrests, the Raiders with 17.8 arrests and the Steelers, Mr. Cook, have 16.8 arrests per game.

And, of course, Philly fans cheered when Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys lay on the field injured back in 1999. I can’t defend that and have to believe that fans didn’t believe he was as hurt as he was. Thankfully, I’ve never known that incident to be repeated, and just read that that Michael Irvin is rooting for the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Somehow he appears to have gotten over it. Why can’t sportswriters?

There are no words to defend any awful incidents committed by sports fans, whether professional or at the college level. How is Philly the one with the reputation when fans set fire to five police cars in Montreal, a father and son team attacked the umpire in Kansas City, riots and knife-fights broke out in Oakland, Calif., arson in West Virginia, state troopers were injured in Maryland, and some even threw glass beer bottles at a seven-year old in Wisconsin? All of these things are worse than throwing snowballs at a drunk Santa Claus, but you don’t hear about them constantly because they didn’t happen in Philly.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. Human nature is the same in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Boston, and even in Timbuktu.

To paraphrase W.C. Fields, all things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.

Sincerely,

A proud member of the most hated fan group in America

It’s Spring Training Charlie Brown!

b8748ed2149a2bf54a6c0d339d21b72eFebruary 13, 2017 – This week is the best week of the winter season because it’s the week that pitchers and catchers report to spring training camp.

Today is the actual day for the Phillies. The full team will report in a few days so team workouts can begin, followed by the spring game schedule.

Each year, I say I’m going to make it down to Clearwater, Florida, and one of these years I will. However, even if I only get to experience it from Southeastern Pennsylvania, it signals that spring is on the way and Opening Day is within our sights.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

The first place Phils?

downloadMay 20, 2016 – Yes, that is correct and the title doesn’t need a question mark. For a few hours on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Phillies tied the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East, surprising many baseball fans – including me.

After the Phillies’ abysmal record these past few years, and the prediction they’d come in last again this year, it is surprising. Yet, this talented young team believes they can win. According to Phillies.com, here are five reasons why the Phillies are playing so well.

By last night, the Phillies sat alone in second place after a day off yesterday and two Nationals wins, but only a respectable one game behind.

Philadelphia should be proud of this team; they have defied the odds and proved they are contenders, which is something they weren’t supposed to do until next year or the year after. Still, most fans don’t expect playoff baseball in Philadelphia this year, but we’d be thrilled if it happened.

My prediction for this summer – Phillies games will be heard again on the New Jersey beaches and front porches throughout the area announced by the greatest radio play-by-play and color duo ever, Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen. If that’s as good as it gets this year, I’m good. It’s a step in the right direction with the promise of a much brighter future ahead.

Baseball’s Best

October 29, 2015 – The Phillies may not have made the playoffs this year, but the team was voted the best in baseball … for their mascot.

The team at Good Morning America named the Phillie Phanatic the best team mascot and they were right on target. I hope this sets the record straight for the 2012 debacle, when Mr. Met pushed the Phanatic out of the top spot and claimed it for himself.

Who’s the best mascot? Isn’t it obvious?

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The pro sports edge

downloadJanuary 29, 2015 – With the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots in Arizona awaiting Sunday’s Super Bowl, it’s the perfect time for a sports-related top ten list that focuses on weird ways pro sports teams try to gain an edge over the competition.

Deflate-gate is sort of tied into this top ten list, highlighting that the Patriots are serial cheaters. No. 3 on the list suggests that the Philadelphia Eagles are more paranoid than other NFL teams about code breaking, which might have to do with the Patriots getting caught stealing plays against them in Super Bowl 10 years ago.

Sports ethics 101

bildeJune 3, 2013 – While the Phillies abysmal play has me seeing red, and I don’t mean of the pinstripe variety, should I be happy that they took the last game of the series off a Milwaukee team with the second worst record in the National League?

I’m not even going to argue that Saturday afternoon’s game may have been a win if not for the terrible blown call by the umpire who called Kyle Kendrick out at second after the Brewer’s Jean Segura clearly dropped the ball. At least not for winning the game, because at that point it didn’t matter. There were too many reasons prior to that situation that cost the Phillies this series.

I promised to swear off of the team and baseball, but what I discovered over the past few weeks is that ignorance is not bliss. Occasionally, when I check the score or dare to watch an inning, I still want to see the Phillies ahead, though I am often disappointed.

Enough about poor play; I planned to write about the ethics of the game – if they apply to sports at all – and the blown call in the ninth inning on Saturday. Not only did the ball roll away from Segura, which immediately meant that Kendrick returned successfully and safely to second base, but the Milwaukee second baseman picked up the ball after it rolled away and then back to him, and lifted it to show to the umpire that he had it all along. Is that an ethical play?

Perhaps any baseball player would have done the same, yet still it is cheating.

The umpire came clean after the game and admitted he blew the call. That’s fine; and I’m sure one game in the Phillies’ dreadful season isn’t going to matter much. Suppose, however, that this game was the deciding factor in a World Series. Would it still be OK? And would a team want to win that way and possibly have an asterisk next to that game forever?

In the ethical sense, this may be considered a small issue, but where to we draw the line? It also begs the question, should there be instant replay at baseball games?

Here’s something else to consider. Now that the umpire admitted his mistake and baseball fans everywhere have seen the replay, does Segura come off as a cheater, or is it just no big deal?

The true confessions of a frustrated Phillies fan

0926-help-wanted_full_380May 17, 2013 – Would you rather cheer blindly (and happily) for a team who has struggled for years with little or no success, or enjoy a great five-year run where they dominate the division, win a world championship, and then return to mediocre?

In other words, is it better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all?

I am probably not the only Phillies fan to ponder this age-old question. Their run from 2007 through 2011, and the 2008 championship is the dream of every baseball fan. Now, left with memories of greatness and a present and near future that looks bleak, I almost wish it never happened. Ignorance truly is bliss.

During the bad years, before 2007, I cheered for my flawed team. In 2008, when we finally made it to the ultimate goal, it didn’t satisfy my taste for winning, it made me greedy for more. How I long to return to the days when I did not know better, when I took each game for what it was and enjoyed it despite being out of first place by double digits, back when I was accustomed to mediocrity.

Say what you will about fan faithfulness or jumping off the bandwagon. It does not apply to me.  I once was one of those fans that balked when friends and family would say the Phillies stink, and I never counted them out of a playoff run until it was mathematically impossible. Now I am ready to admit defeat this early in the season, agree that they are a bad team, and that I am frustrated because I thought they are capable of more. Sure, they are aging, but I convinced myself at the beginning of the season they had enough gas in the tank to make one more run with this team in tact. Last year, in a season plagued with injuries, I could get away with the excuse that the lack of offense had to do with the absence of key players on the disabled list. They played better in the second half, when Chase Utley and Ryan Howard came back, so the theory seemed plausible. Nevertheless, this year is no better, even with a full team on the field.

I still have my moments of fantasy, and try to keep my momentum up for the team. I went to Wednesday’s terrible 10-4 loss against the Indians, and I look at the standings and realize that the NL East is still up for grabs. Atlanta or Washington is not running away with this division, as the experts predicted. Unfortunately, I do not have the faith the Phillies will take advantage of this situation and do something about it. They look defeated, as if they have given up themselves. That leaves me scratching my head wondering why I should care. There is nothing left to say except my beloved team is not doing their part to keep me interested, and that is a painful confession.

How can we fix this? Only one thought comes to mind. It is time to say goodbye to many core members of this team that I once loved, become sellers at the trade deadline, and hope we can get our competitive edge back quickly. My faith and passion for baseball and the Phillies depend on it.

Play ball!

021.openingday2013 2April 1, 2013 – We’ve waited since the final pitch of the 2012 season last October. We made it through a long, cold winter, and the excitement of the first day of Spring Training. At long last, it’s finally here. It’s Opening Day.

Today is the only day that all Major League Baseball teams sit equally in first place believing they can make it to post-season play and ultimately the World Series. While reality sets in quickly for many teams, their slate is clean and today is the fresh start that erases all the wrongs of last season.

The Philadelphia Phillies open with a rare Opening Day night game against the Braves in Atlanta. The teams are natural rivals in the National League East, a division the Braves controlled for 13 years, until 2007 when the Phillies took over and reigned for five years. Last year, the Washington Nationals took control, yet were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

The Phillies went 81-81 last year, in a season plagued with injuries. In 2013, with a healthy Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, their record will likely improve, but there is still a big question mark with once ace pitcher Roy Halladay, who has struggled with velocity and control issues all spring. Halladay insists he feels fine and is ready to go, and the Phillies have him slated as the number two starter in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Most baseball critics have Washington finishing first in the National League East again, the Braves finishing second and the Phillies third. Third might be enough to secure the second wild card spot but this blogger hopes for more. If the team stays healthy and its improved bullpen and pitching staff hold up to expectations, there’s no reason why we can’t take back the East or at least secure the first wild card spot. Only time and 162 baseball games will tell the complete story, so let’s play ball.

Go Phillies!