Tuesday, February 08, 2005
A book I was supposed to read in high school but never did (because I was too busy exploring the wondrous world of self-love) began with the line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Well, that line doesn't really apply here, because everything is pretty fucking bad.
Actually, there is one silver-lining for many of you: this will probably be my last sports-related post for some time. Although I'm a big Phillies fan, I don't hold up much hope for them this season, as all the other teams in the NL East made big acquisitions (Pedro, Beltran, Delgado, Hudson, etc), while the Phils picked up Jon Leiber, Kenny "I Can't Believe I'm Getting A Chance To Lead-Off At 54 Years Old" Lofton, and myself, who will have some spot infield duty.
But back to the matter at hand: the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.
I'm not entirely sure how to start this, because there are many things that I want to say.
First, in the name of sportsmanship, I have to tip my hat to the Patriots. They won their third Super Bowl in four years, and in the age of the salary cap, that's saying something.
Second, now that that crap is out of the way - WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT AWFUL CLOCK MANAGEMENT ALL ABOUT! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? DOWN TWO SCORES WITH FIVE MINUTES LEFT AND WE'RE WALTZING DOWN THE FIELD LIKE WE'RE UP BY TWO SCORES? I WANT MURDER! DEATH! PAIN! FUCK!
Sorry - enough with the caps lock. Some things about the game, which I watched again last night because apparently I like hurt:
- Like I alluded to above, there were two egregious examples of clock mismanagement. The first came at the end of the first half. With the scored tied at 7 and 1:10 left in the half, the Eagles had the ball and all three timeouts. They eventually reached their 41 yard-line, where the drive stalled, and the Eagles had two unused timeouts.
I'm not sure if Andy Reid thought he could carry over those timeouts, but to not take a shot to get into field goal range so that your team can go in with a lead at the half is preposterous. This is a no-brainer. When my buddy Steve's fiancée, who god bless her, knows a little more about football than most women but isn't going to be guest-starring on "Pardon The Interruption" any time soon says, "Why aren't they trying to score before time runs out?", you know there's a problem.
When asked about this in the post-game conference, Reid responded, "I don't remember that at all, to be honest with you." Well, that's ok Andy, because about 10 million Eagles fans will remind you for a long time.
The second example of mismanagement is more obvious and painful. Down by 10 points with 5:40 left in the game, the Eagles took their sweet time marching down the field, refusing to go no huddle, and didn't score until 1:55 left in the game. My memory of this drive is hazy, because the third time they went into a huddle I collapsed, knocking over a table full of sausage, shrimp, kielbasa, and cakes.
I can't even write about this, because there is no logical explanation. I, nor does anyone else, have no idea why the Eagles didn't go no huddle to get the ball at least within field goal range. The facts speak for themselves - there is no other way to view them except to say it was a major mistake at the most crucial time in recent Philadelphia sports history. It is indefensible - an open and shut case. And we lose.
[I got an email this morning from said buddy Steve who wrote: "(Eagles offensive linemen) Runyan and Fraley told Angel Cataldi (a popular sports talk-show host in Philly) last night that the reason behind the piss-poor clock management was due to McNabb's inability to run the hurry up. Apparently he was throwing up and exhausted from the blazing 50 degree 'heat'". I don't even know how to feel anymore.]
- Oh, Donovan. You had come so far to shed the mantle of the QB who can't come through in the big game. You finally got the monkey off your back and won an NFC Championship. Yay.
And now this.
There have traditionally been four knocks against McNabb: 1) He can't win the big game; 2) He's inaccurate as a passer; 3) He often doesn't have the best field vision and misses open receivers; and 4) He doesn't use his God-given ability to run the ball.
I know he's getting murdered in the Philly press right now, so I'll try to go easy on him (especially since I know he's probably reading this). But the bottom line is, he fucked up. He threw four pics, one was overturned (as was a fumble). It's easy for me to say in hindsight that he missed some open receivers - which he did - but what was more disconcerting was that some of his throws were way, way off. Think about it: this guy threw 8 interceptions in sixteen games all season, and threw essentially 4 in this one game. And he didn't run. At all.
Chalk it up to a learning experience, but damn Donovan - I was hoping for a little more.
- Terrell Owens is a warrior, and will forever have that designation in Philadelphia sports history. He could never play another down for the Eagles, and the fans of Philadelphia would love him forever (in as much as they are capable of loving an athlete).
- The Pats offensive line picked up nearly every blitz. Conversely, the Pats defensive line caused enough ruckus to limit the Eagles running game to basically 23 yards on 16 carries (less Westbrook's 22-yard run on the last play before halftime that didn't matter). Kudos to them.
- Tom Brady is a hell of a QB. Cool, calm, collected. He dealt with the Eagles blitz fairly well and was able to establish a rhythm. I still am not comfortable with the Montana comparison, because those 49er teams were off the hook (winning their SB's 38-16, 20-16, and 55-10), but there aren't many QB's I'd take over him.
- New England's celebration of the victory was very lame, and thus very painful to me. I mean, come on - you just won the Super Bowl! Get up for it! Christ - I've shown more emotion when biting off a good bit of fingernail or getting a new legal pad at work.
Because I'm from Philly and we are perennial losers, I think of championships not in terms of "I hope the best team wins", but rather "I hope that the city that deserves it most wins". For example, going into the AFC Playoffs, I would have much rather lost to the Steelers or the Jets than the Pats, Colts, Chargers, or Broncos, by virtue of the fact that those last four teams have either enjoyed a championship recently or have crappy fans, while Pittsburgh and the greater New York area would explode if their home team won.
Instead, New England gets another championship. Excuse me while a yawn and listen to another chowdah head rant about his beloved Sahx and Pahts. Assholes.
(And yes, I am jealous)
Speaking of assholes, a few words to those Pats fans who sent me bragging/rub it in emails after the game:
- If you have a blog, please remember that mine is much better than yours and gets anywhere from 100 to 10,000 times more hits a day than yours does. Sending me emails rubbing your team's victory in my face and signing the emails "Bob Smith--douchebag.blogspot.com" will not get me to use your email and put a link to your site, because no one wants to read what you have to say anyway.
- For those Pats fans who sent me "rubbing it in" emails who do not have a blog, well, if you were to create one, mine would still be better. Assholes. Also, I hope one of your loved ones dies. Soon.
- To those who were brave enough to send me anonymous emails bragging about the Pats' victory, well kudos to you my friends. There's nothing more manly than shit talking over email, except when you do so anonymously. I bet in real life you are a bad mother fucker.
- Remember, there is a 75% chance that I can beat you up (the number jumps to around 95% if you have a blog), something I will do if I ever see you and I've had three beers.
- Though I don't respond to any of them, I save all negative emails into a special folder called "People I Am Going To Fuck". This is so when in about two years time when I am rich, famous, and powerful, I will know who to murder first. I only hold three things well: hoagies, titties, and grudges, and I promise you that some day you will pay.
To those of you who sent emails of support or condolences, thank you very kindly. Your well wishes are needed at this difficult time. I am happy to report that I am still alive, and I don't think I'll hurt myself any time soon, that is as long as my neighborhood Gristede's keeps a fresh supply of Country Crock macaroni and cheese on the shelf.
As for now, I'm just gonna have to keep on keepin' on. I don't feel comfortable quoting myself, but rather than risk repeating myself, I refer to what I wrote after Philly-bred Smarty Jones lost the Triple Crown (and that was a fucking horse!):
But still, I (and all of my compatriots) carry on, because that's what being a real sports fan is all about, and because, even though it may hurt at times, and may cause us to get so drunk after a loss that we may pass out on our dad's front steps because we were too drunk to work our keys, we wouldn't change a thing.Well, I might change some things, but for the most part, I agree.
Now let the healing begin.