Friday, December 31, 2010

A History Of The #3 Seed In The Current NFL Playoffs Format

(Originally posted at Bleeding Green Nation)

As everyone knows by now, the Eagles have won the NFC East and are now the 3-seed in the NFL Playoffs. In 1990, the NFL adopted its current format for the playoffs where the top 2 seeds get a bye while the remaining teams face off in a Wild Card round where the 3 seed faces the 6 seed and the 4 seed faces the 5 seed without any restrictions on not being able to play a divisional rival. Now it is important to note that in 2002 there was divisional re-alignment and each conference took a team away from a division and a 4th division in each conference was born, but for the past 20 years, the #3 seed was (record wise) the 3rd best division in each conference, their 1st opponent was the worst (record wise) non-division winner to make the playoffs, and their 2nd opponent should they advance has always been the #2 seed which (record wise) is the 2nd best division winner in the conference. So while division re-alignment happened, the path of the identity and path of the #3 seed have remained the same. So without further ado, here is a look at how both the NFC and AFC #3 seeds have fared since the adoption of this playoff format and what seed the eventual Super Bowl champions started out as! (FYI, I am going into this with no idea what I am going to discover or what the majority of the results will be)

America Can't Spell

Behold Twitter's Trending Topics hours after Stanford ended the UConn women's winning streak!

To make America feel better, the world had the same spelling. To make everyone feel worse, uh, this is kind of a big name college we are talking about here.....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NFL Week 17 Schedule

It's the most exciting week of the season! Playoff spots are on the line, including an NFC West championship to determine a playoff spot and a Top 10 draft pick, an AFC South title is on the line to determine a playoff spot and a middle of the round draft pick, and 3 1st round byes are still up for grabs. It promises to be a wild ride, so without further ado, here is your Week 17 schedule! (all times ET)

Map of who gets what Fox early game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints 1:00 (Fox - Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick)
Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons 1:00 (Fox - Dick Stockton and Charles Davis)
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions 1:00 (Fox - Ron Pitts and John Lynch)

Map of who gets what CBS early game.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns 1:00 (CBS - Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00 (CBS - Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets 1:00 (CBS - Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker)
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots 1:00 (CBS - Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon)
Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 (CBS - Spero Dedes and Randy Cross)

Map of who gets what Fox late game.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers 4:15 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles 4:15 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins 4:15 (Fox - Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan)
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers 4:15 (Fox - Chris Myers and Jim Mora, Jr.)

Map of who gets what CBS late game.

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts 4:15 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans 4:15 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos 4:15 (CBS - Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein)

Sunday Night Football

St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks 8:20 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)

Eagles Week 16 Recap: The Worst Possible Result For The Eagles?

In short, the answer is no. Here are the bullets
  • There is going to be a natural tendency to panic and say "OMG the Eagles lost to the Vikings starting Joe Webb this team is not worthy of the UFL!," but take a step back from the cliff for a second.  And even though I may highlight a few players who had a good game tonight (and there were), that does not and will not change the fact that this was a complete and utter turd of a football performance from the Eagles.  Absolutely lackluster.  Andy Reid's idiocy made things worse.  A turd is a turd and that was a turd and I will not pretend otherwise.  This was a shit show.  But, look at the big picture here.  If the Eagles were going to have a shit show, this was the week to do it.  And here's why.
  • I delineated the playoff scenarios earlier and while they are all moot now for the Eagles, there is something to be said.  Every scenario that involved the Eagles moving up included in some way, shape, or form, getting help from other teams.  You can say you like the odds of Green Bay beating Chicago, but many people liked the odds of the Eagles beating the Vikings by two touchdowns.  Yeah, that did not happen, now did it.  But there was no guarantee of the bye.  Thanks to the blizzard, this game was postponed two days and the Eagles were looking at the prospect at playing 3 games in 12 days if the Bears beat the Packers and the crazy 3-way tie scenario did not shake out.  For any team, that is a lot.  But for an Eagles team as banged up as this one is, that may have been the death nail.  Now the Eagles can rest Vick, Jackson, and Samuel, all of whom seem to be bothered by injury, and the rest all of their starters in preparation for the playoffs.  So essentially, the Eagles starters have a bye after all.  But the trade off is the Eagles have to field a team of bodies (hello starting safety Colt Anderson!) against the Cowboys and will have to play on wildcard weekend.  If given the option of losing this game, resting starters Week 17, and getting the 3 seed or going all out and winning the last 2 games, not getting the necessary help, end up with the 3 seed, and play a 3rd game in 12 days with this being an elimination game, I'd take the scenario that unfolded tonight.  Of course, a bye in the playoffs is the ultimate goal, but if you can't have that, this really is the next best thing.  3 seed in the playoffs and you can rest your starters Week 17.  Not entirely awful, folks.
  • The Eagles had 12 penalties against them tonight.  Yikes.
  • DeSean Jackson was a non-factor in this game.
  • Andy Reid made an awful decision to punt the ball on a 4th and 18 with 4:30 left, down by 10 points, and carrying only 2 timeouts.  Yeah, 4th and 18 is a longshot, but by punting the ball you essentially concede the game.  You can't expect incredibleness like that The Miracle At The New Meadowlands to happen every game.  It's a long shot, but the Eagles are a big play offense.  You have to be aggressive at some point when you are trailing, and Andy Reid showed no aggressiveness at all.  On the contrary, the Eagles were plenty aggressive against the Giants on Sunday.  But at the same token, the Eagles were not faced with one 4th down on their scoring drives in the 4th quarter of that game, so who knows how aggressive the Eagles would have been there.  But regardless, the onside kick when they that Cooper recovered was absolutely aggressive and going at it.  Same with the play-calling.  This performance, on the other hand, was lackadaisical.
  • The Eagles defense yielded only 17 points.  Even though it is not great against a team starting Joe Webb, it still should have been enough against the Vikings.  But too many offensive mistakes cost the Eagles in this one.
  • Joe Webb was not great, but he did not screw up, which given what happened Monday Night against the Bears, is quite the feat for him.
  • After all the delays and postponements the Vikings have faced this year, no one would have been surprised if they tucked their tail for this game, just wanting to get out of this season.  Credit to them, they played a darn good football game.  If Leslie Frazier is not hired as the Minnesota Vikings head coach, they are seriously very dumb. 
  • Eagles who had decent games:  Kurt Coleman (despite 1 missed tackle that set up the game-clinching drive), LeSean McCoy, Jamar Chaney (despite 1 missed coverage that hurt the Eagles, as a 7th round rookie and a back-up who has not played a lot until Bradley got hurt, I was impressed), Brent Celek.
  • Eagles who had bad games:  Everyone else.
  • Andy Reid just said at his press conference that his team did not deserve to rest against Dallas.  They may not deserve it, but they damn well need it.  If the 1st team offense (and defense for that matter) sees more than 2 series on Sunday against Dallas, it will be a crime against football. 
  • The Minnesota Vikings have just defeated the Eagles for the first time in the Andy Reid era.  A team with Brett Favre on it has defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia for the first time ever.  So there's those meaningless records we can be ashamed of losing.
  • Andy Reid is lashing out at a reporter, the Eagles played like shit (and angered fans) the Flyers played like shit (and angered fans), Jody Shelley is getting his goon on and cheap shotting people, commenters on Broad Street Hockey and Bleeding Green Nation are getting into fights and arguments.  I think what everyone needs is a night's sleep.  So with that, the win probability graph ( is posted below and on that note, I bid you good night.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Tuesday Night Football Open Thread

    IS OVER HERE. So go on, don't be shy, head on over to Keith's Sports Journal to discuss this Tuesday night clash between the Vikings and the Eagles.

    Read This Post If You Want A Headache!

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the scenarios for the Eagles to earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs!
    Q: Can the Eagles still earn the top seed in the NFC?

    A: Yes, but it's a longshot. There are two scenarios. The first one requires four things to happen:

    1. Eagles beat Vikings and Cowboys.
    2. Saints lose to Bucs in Week 17.
    3. Falcons lose to Panthers in Week 17.
    4. Bears lose to Packers in Week 17.

    In this scenario, the Eagles and Falcons both finish at 12-4, and the Eagles get the tiebreak since they beat Atlanta earlier this season.

    The second scenario plays out if the Bears beat the Packers and create a three-way tie of 12-4 teams (Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia). If that happens, the Eagles would FIRST need three things to happen:

    1. Eagles beat Vikings and Cowboys.
    2. Saints lose to Bucs in Week 17.
    3. Falcons lose to Panthers in Week 17.

    However, even if those three things happen, the Eagles ARE NOT guaranteed the top spot.

    The head-to-head tiebreak would be irrelevant because the Falcons and Bears didn't play each other. Conference win-loss percentage is the next step, but all three teams would be 9-3 against the NFC.

    Next up would be win-loss percentage in common games, but there needs to be a minimum of four common games between the three teams, which there are not.

    And so it would come down to strength of victory - a tiebreak that cannot yet be determined because Week 17 has to play out. In other words, you'd take the combined win-loss records of the teams that the Eagles, Bears and Falcons each beat this season. The team with lowest opponents' win-percentage gets bounced, and the other two teams run through the set of tiebreakers again.


    Basically, you want to root for teams the Eagles have beaten this season to win in Week 17. And you want to root for teams the Bears and Falcons have beaten this season to lose in Week 17.


    It's important to note here that if the Saints, Falcons, Eagles and Bears all finish 12-4, the Saints get the one-seed, the Bears get the two-seed, the Eagles get the three-seed and the Falcons get the fifth-seed (as the top wild card).
    I don't feel so good.

    Now to the simple scenarios that my feeble human mind can wrap it's head around. There is but one scenario for the Eagles to get the #2 seed. Eagles beat Minnesota and Dallas, and Green Bay beats Chicago in Week 17. If none of these scenarios happen and the Eagles do not get a bye, they will be a #3 seed where they will face either Green Bay, New York Giants, or Tampa Bay. Want another headache? Here are the Green Bay, New York, and Tampa Bay scenarios!
    Green Bay clinches a playoff spot:
    1) GB win
    2) GB tie + NYG loss or tie + TB loss or tie
    3) NYG loss + TB loss

    NY Giants clinch a playoff spot:
    1) NYG win + GB loss or tie
    2) NYG tie + GB loss + TB loss or tie

    Tampa Bay clinches a playoff spot:
    1) TB win + NYG loss or tie + GB loss or tie
    2) TB tie + NYG loss + GB loss
    Want to avoid these feelings of nausea, headaches, and weakness? Support a 2010 AFC team.

    One ESPN Graphic, So Much Fail

    This is without a doubt the most embarrassing graphic ESPN has put up since the Brett Favre 500th touchdown party graphic. How someone let this graphic get onto the ESPN broadcast will forever be a mystery.

    It is no secret that everyone at ESPN wants some time alone with Brett Favre for a few minutes of happy time, but just because Brett Favre is on the Vikings does not mean the Vikings are in playoff contention. They are mathematically eliminated. And they are not even 5-7. Their record coming into Tuesday Night's game with the Eagles is 5-9.

    But yet, my favorite part of this has to be that "Team Name" and "Team Name," both with records of 0-0 are still vying for a playoff spot. With players like "Quarterback," "Hard-Hitting Linebacker," and "Prima Donna Wide Receiver," "Team Name" is a threat to win the Super Bowl this year.

    (Hat tip to some random guy on Twitter I found by running a "team name twitpic" Twitter search.)

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Mwanga: "I'm Very Excited For Next Season"

    (Originally posted at The Brotherly Game)

    Danny Mwanga was the first pick the Philadelphia Union made in the 2010 Superdraft.  After having a solid rookie campaign, Mwanga is ready and excited to get back on the field for both his and the Union's sophomore season.  The following quotes from Mwanga come from
    "You know, it was tough because the MLS season is so much longer," said Mwanga, the Union’s dynamic forward who just completed a successful rookie season. "The training was harder, the games were more physical and it took a toll at times. The staff here did a great job preparing us for the long season. I feel like I’m going to be a better player next season because I’ll be that much more prepared."
    The adjustment from the college game to MLS is not always an easy one, but Danny Mwanga certainly impressed in his rookie year.  High expectations were set for him coming out of Oregon State, and while you can't measure a guy up to initial expectations after only 24 games, there is reason to be optimistic.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Your 2010 NFC East Champions, The Philadelphia Eagles!

    It was a strange day indeed for the Eagles. The Vikings-Eagles Sunday Night game was postponed to Tuesday night because of the snow storm that is yet to pack any significant punch to warrant a postponement from a league where snow games this time of the year are the norm. But the Eagles did not need to play to clinch a championship and subsequently a spot in the playoffs. They just needed the Giants to lose a game. And the Giants lost. To the Packers. In the kind of fashion you would expect after last Sunday's demoralizing loss. In a year that was supposed to be a re-building year with the Cowboys and Giants duked it out for the top spot, it is the Eagles who have emerged victorious to claim their first NFC Title since 2006.

    With the division clinched, the Eagles can focus solely on the Bears and the 1st round bye. If the Eagles win out against Minnesota and Dallas and the Bears lose next week at Green Bay, the Eagles will get the 1st round bye. If the Eagles lose any of their next two games or the Bears beat Green Bay, the Eagles will be locked into the 3-seed, where they will face either the Packers, Buccaneers, Giants, or Saints. If the above 1st round bye scenario comes to fruition on top of the Falcons losing their next two games, the Eagles not only will have a first round bye, they will also have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. For what it's worth, the Falcons next two opponents are the Saints and the lowly Carolina Panthers, both in the Georgia Dome. If the Eagles can't have the bye at all, I would prefer the Bucs, followed by the Giants, the Packers, and lastly the Saints, who I do not want to see at all in the wildcard round.

    2010 NFL Season Week 16 Live Blog

    The initial plan for me was to take the day off and not live blog this week. But things changed, namely, the weather. In a period of 24 hours, today's forecast for here went from dry weather to a foot of snow with blizzard like conditions starting in the morning and getting stronger throughout the day and going all the way into the night. Enjoy the games, leave comments, and don't be a troll or you will face the wrath of the banhammer!

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Top 10 Philadelphia Sports Games In 2010

    Now that everyone has annoyed me to death by airing out their grievances on this so-called holiday stemming from a TV show that has been canceled for 12 and a half years (I was forced to do this), I say it's time to celebrate the year that was! And by doing so, I will post after the jump my list of the Top 10 games Philadelphia sports teams played in 2010. Not that this needs to be re-stated, but this is just one man's opinion on how they should be ranked and this is by no means anything authoritative. Feel free to disagree in the comments.

    Honorable Mentions

    The Capital Mud Bowl: January 1. Playing on a football field that most high schools would call inadequate, Penn State battled the always entertaining Les Miles and his LSU Tigers on a New Years Day Bowl, winning it on a last minute field goal. Penn State 19, LSU 17. (click here for highlights)

    Michael Vick Starts His 1st Game Since Release From Prison; Throttles Lions: September 19. Even though it was the Lions, they have been more of a hard luck team not quite as bad as their record indicates. Regardless of that, Vick tore apart the Lions defense in this game, not really remarkable in anyway other than for the resurgence of Michael Vick's career as a starter. Eagles 35, Lions 32. (click here for highlights)

    Old Man Pitches Historic Gem: May 7. To Jamie Moyer, age is only this random annoying number. At the age of 47, the old man became the oldest pitcher to ever throw a shutout in MLB history when he allowed only two hits against the Atlanta Braves. Phillies 7, Braves 0. (click here for highlights)

    Follow the jump for the list of the Top 10 list.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    NFL Week 16 Schedule

    What better way to spend your Christmas weekend than by listening to Joe Theismann try to analyze two games instead of one! Isn't this the most exciting news you've heard since the announcement of The Marriage Ref? Onto the schedule now. (all times ET; no games are bolded because I am home with NFL Sunday Ticket and the Sunday Ticket RedZone Channel)

    Thursday Night Football

    Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 8:20 (NFL Network - Bob Papa, Matt Millen, and Joe Theismann)

    Christmas Night Special

    Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals 7:30 (NFL Network - Bob Papa, Matt Millen, and Joe Theismann)

    Map of who gets what CBS game.

    New York Jets vs. Chicago Bears 1:00 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
    Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns 1:00 (CBS - Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)
    New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills 1:00 (CBS - Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
    Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 (CBS - Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon)

    Indianapolis Colts vs. Oakland Raiders 4:05 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
    San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals 4:05 (CBS - Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker)
    Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos 4:05 (CBS - Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein)

    Map of who gets what Fox early game.

    San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
    Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins 1:00 (Fox - Dick Stockton and Charles Davis)
    Washington Redskins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 (Fox - Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan)

    Map of who gets what Fox late game.

    New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers 4:15 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
    Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4:15 (Fox - Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick)

    Monday Night Football

    New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons 8:30 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden)

    Tuesday Night Football

    Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles 8:00 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Did The Eagles Ensure The Giants Were Unprepared For The Onsides Kick?

    There have been lots of talk about how the Giants were seemingly unprepared for the onside kick recovered by Riley Cooper and how Tom Coughlin and Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn were completely unprepared. Even though they inexplicably did not have their hands team out, some credit has to go to the Eagles for distracting the Giants. Actually a lot. Much more than initially meets the eye. None of this was captured on TV by Fox, but reports from the game and footage of the actual onside kick verify this astounding genius coaching move by Bobby April: The Eagles had 10 men on the field for the onside kick. While some may see that and think the Eagles got lucky from a mistake, the reports seem to verify that what you see pictured above was in fact a ploy intended to distract the Giants. A ploy that however dumb it might sound at first, sparked the greatest comeback in Philadelphia Eagles history. Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News initially reported the details on what the Eagles did, how it worked, and how it caused the Giants to forget Tom Coughlin's warning of an onside kick.
    Just before the kickoff an Eagles player came running off the field, leaving them with only 10 men on the kickoff team. And that apparently caused some momentary confusion for the Giants, who then forgot that Coughlin had just warned them to watch for the onside kick.

    "They did something good," Blackburn said. "They ran a guy off right in front of everybody and they're all looking at each other saying, 'We've (only) got 10.' So we're doing the same thing, trying to recount. And then you forget about that 'alert' a little bit. That's kind of what happened."

    Coughlin admitted his players were caught looking by the "well-disguised" ploy, but he also said, "That should not have been any kind of distraction." But it was and the Eagles converted it into a touchdown that cut their deficit to 31-24, en route to their 38-31 come-from-behind win.
    You can say that no matter ho you do it, having 10-men on the field for an onside kick is dumb and that there is no way to smartly do it, but like Vacchiano did, the Eagles did it and it distracted the Giants. They forgot about the warning for a moment, and in that moment, Akers kicked the ball and Riley Cooper recovered it before the Giants had knew what hit them. Even though the Eagles had some questionable special teams play earlier in the season, there is a reason that you bring in Bobby April to coach your teams special teams, and this is exactly why. This simple ploy worked, ensured the Eagles recovered the onside kick, and the rest is history.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    VIDEO OF EPICNESS: Merrill Reese Calls The Miracle At The New Meadowlands

    Treat your ears to a piece of football heaven. Joe Buck had a real good call, but this is amazing.

    NFL Network will be re-airing this game in its entirety tomorrow night at 8 PM. You can bet your bottom dollar I'll be setting my DVR. This one's a keeper.

    Update: Courtesy of The 700 Level, you can now hear Merrill Reese and Mike Quick call the entire final 7:41 of the game. It's as awesome as it sounds.

    Eagles Week 15 Recap: Miracle At The New Meadowlands

    The perfect Christmas card for Giants fans.
    On to the bullet points of one of the greatest comebacks I've ever seen in football.
    • That just happened.
    • Joe Pisarcik/Herm Edwards.  Jeff Feagles/Brian Westbrook.  Matt Dodge/DeSean Jackson.  The last of the three may be the most improbable of all.
    • But for all the talk about the Jackson punt return, the Eagles were trailing 24-10 in the 4th quarter when DeSean Jackson caught a pass and took it to the 40 yard line.  After being touched by Goff, Jackson fell down, the ground caused a fumble, and the Giants recovered.  Clearly, Goff had touched Jackson and before he hit the ground and the ball came out after Jackson hit the ground, but for reasons of pure idiocy, Andy Reid did not challenge.  The Giants proceed to drive down the field for a touchdown.  8 minutes left, 31-10 Eagles.  Game over, right?
    • Wrong.  Next drive, Vick to Celek.  One of the best onside kicks ever executed.  Vick making plays with his legs.  QB draw.  QB touchdown.  Just like that it's 31-24 with the Giants having never touched the ball.  Giants get the ball.  Eagles get a stop.  With the ball at their own 88 yard line, Vick makes plays with his legs and his feet again.  Eventually, inside the Giants 20 Vick finds Maclin who breaks a tackle and scores a TD to incredibly tie the game with less than 2 minutes left.  Giants get the ball back.  They go 3 and out.  The last play of the drive was a sack.  Clock ticking.  Giants call timeout with 12 seconds left, right before the play clock expired.  Then Matt Dodge punted the ball.  DeSean Jackson bobbled it, picked it up, and the rest is history.
    • So, how did this happen?  How does a team that is completely dominated for 52 minutes, come back and win the game in 8 minutes?  And how does a team up 21 with 52 minutes left completely collapse in the last 8?  I'll give my take on the Jackson return in a second, but the comeback in general was started because of one man, Michael Vick.  All game long the Giants had been blitzing and getting to Vick, largely taken advantage of the astoundingly awful King Dunlap.  To counter said blitz, you need two things:  a).  a screen game.  Or b). an athletic QB who can run.  The Eagles opted for option b.  For the first 52 minutes, no QB draws were called and for the most part, Vick was not taking off and running with the ball.  In the final 8 minutes, that changed.  Vick eluded pressure and took off when he saw daylight in front of him.  Outside of make shift scrambles, QB draws were called as well.  Vick had 94 rushing yards in the 4th quarter!  There were other factors, but if you are searching for an anatomy of this comeback, it was Mike Vick running the ball.  That's what changed.  The Giants never adjusted.  And that's how the Eagles scored 21 points in 7 minutes.
    •  To the 8th minute and the final 7 points.  I may have a screen-by-screen breakdown later, but for now, I'll just describe what happened and what I saw.  Tom Coughin reportedly told Matt Dodge to punt it out of bounds, the smart move.  It would not kill all 12 seconds, but it would force either a hail mary attempt or the Eagles would just take a knee, satisfied to take it into overtime.  Instead, the snap was high, Dodge believed that because of that, he did not have enough time to angle his punt out of bounds as needed.  His hurried punt forced a line drive that went right to DeSean Jackson.  What happened next was the key to everything.  DeSean Jackson bobbled the punt.  While an accident, this allowed for two things to happen.  The Giants defense collapsed around Jackson and the Eagles special teams unit were given 1 or 2 more seconds to set up their blocks, including Omar Gaither blocking a Giant into two other Giants causing a domino effect taking them all out.  This allowed Jackson to find a seam up the middle.  A block from Jason Avant at the 45 cemented the return from the speedy Jackson.
    • Before Jackson crossed the goalline, he ran diagonal into the endzone, in what was a feeble effort to kill the clock.  I say feeble because the clock had already expired, but Jackson may not have been aware of it as he was reading the defense and running full speed on a game-winning punt return touchdown, the first ever in NFL history.  Because of the unnecessary nature of the extra running, many will see what DeSean Jackson did as show-boating.  But trust me, when DeSean Jackson showboats (a.k.a. last Sunday in Dallas), you know it.  That was intended as a heads-up football play that ultimately was not needed.
    • Most media outlets have already named this the "Miracle At The New Meadowlands."  Seeing as it's the last Sunday before Christmas, I was hoping someone would name it after the street New Meadowlands Stadium is on, a la Miracle On 34th Street.   But good luck with "Miracle On New Jersey Route 120" ever catching on.
    • Not to be a Debbie Downer now, but 52 other minutes were played in this game.  And during those minutes, the Eagles lost 2nd round draft pick Nate Allen to a petallar tendon injury, effectively ending his season.  And in the span of less than a week, the Eagles have lost their top 2 draft picks from the 2010 draft.  Your starting full safety will now be 7th round draft pick Kurt Coleman.
    • BREAKING NEWS:  King Dunlap is terrible.
    • Dimitri Patterson had a nightmare.  Eli Manning picked on him all game long.  The re-addition of Samuel was a boost, but it can only help so much if other QBs continually pick apart Patterson like Manning did today.
    • Enough negative nancy shit, that was one of the greatest comebacks in Philadelphia Eagles history, and perhaps even one of the top 10 in NFL history.  Seriously, amazing.  The Miracle At The New Meadowlands.  And Giant fans thought Herm Edwards and Brian Westbrook were bad.  And this was less than a week after the Phillies came out of nowhere to sign Cliff Lee out from under the noses of the New York Yankees, and a day removed from the Flyers putting a solid 4-1 beatdown of the New York Rangers.  Now not every Yankee fan is a Giants and/or Rangers fan, but to steal and modify a joke Grant from McCovery Chronicles made on Twitter a month or so ago when FC Dallas lost the MLS Cup off the heals of the Rangers losing the World Series:  there must be some guy in the New York metropolitan area who is a Yankees, Giants, and Rangers fan.  And he's in a dark, dark place right now.
    • At the end of the game, Tom Coughlin went haywire on his punter Matt Dodge.  While Dodge had no business ever kicking that to Jackson regardless of how high the snap was, Matt Dodge did not blow a 21-point lead with 8 minutes left.  That burden should belong to Perry Fewell and Tom Coughlin for not making adjustments, and for the Giants players for being out of position and/or whiffing while trying to tackle Vick.
    • I am working all day tomorrow, so either tomorrow night or Tuesday, I will have more on this game and this comeback.  
    • Lastly, the epic win probability graph. (

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    2010 NFL Season Week 15 Live Blog

    I'll be watching the Eagles game without my computer and with my family (yay winter break!), but that does not mean you shouldn't join the discussion!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Musings On The Players The Union Have Lost In The Off-Season

    (Originally posted at The Brotherly Game. Click the link if you want to see one of the absolute worst puns I have ever come up with.)

    With the Expansion Draft and the Re-Entry Draft coming in the past month, the Philadelphia Union lost four players from last year's inaugural team.  And while it is necessary to move on, it seems appropriate to give some final words and thoughts on their contributions (or lack thereof) to the inaugural season.

    Fred (taken by New England Revolution in re-entry draft):  There were things to like and dislike about Fred.  He was a veteran with soccer experience on an otherwise very young soccer team.  To some, he was a mentor.  The shortened version of his name (his full name is Helbert Frederidco Carreiro de Silva) is awesome.  But his play on the pitch left a lot to be desired.  In his Q&A with the Union earlier, Chris Vito summed up Fred perfectly.

    Where the Union will miss Fred is as a mentor to the younger, Spanish-speaking players. They considered him a father figure. Roger Torres, 18, looked up to Fred, 31. They lived down the hall from each other in a condo building. His on-field play, while noteworthy, wasn't something that will be all-together missed.

    Fred was an attacking midfielder who was not very great at attacking.  In 24 games, he managed 4 goals and only 1 assist.  The Philadelphia Union are currently very deep at the midfield position, so outside of some players losing a mentor, there really is not much that will be missed about Fred.  If Roger Torres can take on the minutes Fred had, the Union will be benefit greatly.

    Chris Seitz (taken by Seattle Sounders in re-entry traded, immediately traded to FC Dallas):  Take an 8-foot piece of string.  Tie it to the middle of the crossbar and let it hang.  Step away from the string.  Congratulations, you have a more effective goalkeeper than Chris Seitz.  Of the goalkeepers in Major League Soccer in the 2010 season who played over 1000 minutes, Chris Seitz was the only one not to record a clean sheet.  Furthermore, among that same list of goalies, the next lowest shutout total was three.  Chris Seitz's goals against average was 1.80, the highest amongst keepers with more than 1,000 minutes.  Out of 114 shots faced, Chris Seitz stopped only 68 of them, equating to an abysmal 59.65%.  The Union will not miss anything at all with Seitz, who still has a long way to go if he is ever going to be a regular starting goaltender in MLS. 

    Alejandro Moreno (taken by Vancouver Whitecaps in the Expansion Draft, immediately traded to ):  Alejandro Moreno was the team leader in assists this past season.  However, his goal total left a little more to be desired, scoring only 2 goals this past season, despite showing some promise with his previous team, the Columbus Crew.  Giving credit where credit is due, though, the contributions he made setting up goals were very valuable to the team, however, he occasionally struggled to find a rhythm.  With him off the team, the Union are now very short at forward depth on their roster, with only Jack McInerney, Sebastian Le Toux, and Danny Mwanga on the depth chart.  I would expect to see the Union address this issue in the Superdraft in a month.

    Shea Salinas (taken by Vancouver Whitecaps in the Expansion Draft):  After Piotr Nowak's controversial decision to not protect Shea Salinas for the expansion draft, Salinas found himself drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps.  It's been covered  here in great detail already at The Brotherly Game so I won't spend too much time on him, but to say the least, the decision to not protect Salinas was shocking.  Salinas's versatility and his ability to play on the wing, as a fullback, or on the outside of the midfield are valuable assets to any team who has him, right now Vancouver, and formerly, our beloved Union.  The leg injury he suffered in July and kept him out of two months of play is ultimately what doomed him in.  Of the four players the Union lost in thus far this year, Salinas is by far the one that stings the most.  The good news is the Philadelphia Union still have time to try and find a replacement, whether it be through the Superdraft or International transfer.

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    An Epic Win Streak Will Face A Tough Test Tonight

    On Saturday night, December 11, near the hour of 10:00, St. Joe's lost to Creighton. Why is that event in any way remarkable? It's the last time a Philadelphia team lost when facing a team outside of Philadelphia (that footnote is needed because on Sunday Villanova faced La Salle; that game is not counted in the series of events I am about to present.) Since that seemingly unremarkable moment, no Philadelphia sports team has lost. Professional, college, it does not matter. The city of Philadelphia is currently riding an 8-game win streak. Since Saint Joseph's lost to Creighton on December 11, all Philadelphia sports teams, including college basketball and college football, are a remarkable 8-0 in actual games with 1 epic Cliff Lee deal to boot. Here is a break down of what has happened since then, and what the future may hold tonight.

    Sunday, December 12
    Sixers 88, Hornets 70
    Villanova 84, La Salle 81 (a win for the team I support, though it does not count toward the streak as both teams are Philadelphia schools)
    Temple 82, Akron 47
    Eagles 30, Cowboys 27

    Monday, December 13, minutes before the stroke of midnight
    Clifton Phifer Lee

    Tuesday, December 14
    Flyers 3, Penguins 2
    Sixers 82, Nets 77
    Drexel 52, Louisville 46

    Wednesday, December 15
    Sixers 105, Clippers 91
    Flyers 5, Canadiens 3

    There were no games or big acquisitions on Thursday, but this epic streak will face one hell of a test tonight. Three teams are in action, and two of them are facing extremely tough competition. Here is tonight's schedule.

    Los Angeles Lakers vs. 76ERS 7:00
    Bucknell vs. LA SALLE 7:00
    FCS Semifinals: VILLANOVA vs. Eastern Washington 8:00

    If all 3 prevail, the Sixers will have beaten one of the best in basketball, La Salle will have added a win heading into A-10 conference play, and Villanova will be playing for a Division I football championship.

    (Hat tip to Philadelphia Sports Daily.)

    UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Schedule

    The Round of 16 draw for the Champions League was held today and Chelsea made away like bandits, drawing FC Copenhagen, arguably the weakest team in the entire field of 16. Meanwhile other English football clubs did not get so lucky. Manchester United got a decent draw with Marseilles, but Tottenham Hotspur is saddled with AC Milan, the best of the Group Stage runners-up, and Arsenal won the FC Barcelona sweepstakes.

    While this is single elimination, the format of this is different than most American knockout tournaments. Instead of 1 game being played, 2 games are played. Seeing as the draw matched a group winner with a group runner-up, the group runner-up gets home field in the first leg, while the group winner gets home field on the 2nd and final leg. The team that advances is the team that wins on aggregate score of both games. In the case of a tie in the aggregate, the team that advances is the team that scored the most away goals. If away goals are tied, then the game goes to 30 minutes of extra time, split into 2 15-minute halves. If no goals are scored during 30 minutes of extra time, a penalty shootout will determine the winner. If goals are scored during the extra time, but both teams score the same number of goals by the end of 30 minutes, the away team advances by default of having more away goals in the total aggregate. If one team scores more goals than the other during these 30 minutes of extra time, that team will advance.

    Now that I have thoroughly confused everyone reading this who is not a fan of soccer, let's get to the Round of 16 schedule (contrary to how it is done in America, the home teams are listed 1st; all times ET)

    Leg 1

    February 15
    AC Milan vs. Tottenham Hotspur 2:45
    Valencia vs. Schalke 04 2:45

    February 16
    AS Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk 2:45
    Arsenal vs. Barcelona 2:45

    February 22
    FC Copenhagen vs. Chelsea 2:45
    Lyon vs. Real Madrid 2:45

    February 23
    Marseille vs. Manchester United 2:45
    Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich 2:45

    Leg 2

    March 8
    Shakhtar Donetsk vs. AS Roma 2:45
    FC Barcelona vs. Arsenal 2:45

    March 9
    Tottenham Hotspur vs. AC Milan 2:45
    Schalke 04 vs. Valencia 2:45

    March 15
    Manchester United vs. Marseille 2:45
    Bayern Munich vs. Inter Milan 2:45

    March 16
    Chelsea vs. FC Copenhagen 2:45
    Real Madrid vs. Lyon 2:45

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    The Cliff Lee Signing Made For Some Pretty Awkward Interviews

    My sincerest apologies for the lack of posts this week. Finals kicked me in the ass this year like no year before. Even though the videos I am about to post are a couple days old now, I still believe they are worth the awkward hilarity.

    We all know that late Monday night, 4 minutes before Matt Schaub threw a game-ending pick 6 on Monday Night Football in overtime and 10 minutes before midnight, Cliff Lee agreed to take his talents to the city of Brotherly Love. That means that the late local news shows had to wait a whole 23 hours for them to cover this story. And when they did, it was showered with uncomfortable awkwardness. First up, NBC10 attempts to interview Cliff Lee who at the time was just arriving in Philadelphia International Airport. Needless to say, he was not really in the mood for a surprise interview.

    View more news videos at:

    The interview comes off a whole lot differently when you read the transcript. It's amazing what being interviewed after getting of an airplane can do to words.

    As awkward as that interview was, on the very same Tuesday night, the Fox29 10:00 news decided to get even awkward. Luckily for all involved, they strayed away from a surprise Cliff Lee interview. They decided to be awkward by sending a man on the street to interview fans. No, not Phillies fans excited to have their star of 2009 back. But Yankee fans in town, pissed that Cliff Lee spurned them to go to the Phillies. And oh by the way, this was the lead story of the evening.


    And this, my friends, is why 6ABC is the most watched local news station in Philadelphia. Wait a minute, on second thought, they are not perfect either.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    NFL Week 15 Schedule

    I'll be home for the holidays, nestled comfortable with my parents' DirecTV Sunday Ticket their version of the RedZone Channel. Sweet, sweet bliss. On the negative side, it means spending less time with you guys as I like to watch the Eagles with my parents when I am home and without a computer, but on the plus side, it means no more being stuck with boring Steelers games when there are better games to be played (all times ET; instead as I get all games for the rest of the season, there is no need to used the bold feature anymore this season.)

    Thursday Night Football

    San Francisco 49ers vs. San Diego Chargers 8:20 (NFL Network - Bob Papa, Matt Millen, and Joe Theismann)

    Map of who gets what Fox game.

    Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants 1:00 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
    Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys 1:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
    New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00 (Fox - Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick)
    Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 (Fox - Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, and Jim Mora, Jr.)
    Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers 1:00 (Fox - Ron Pitts and John Lynch)

    Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks 4:05 (Fox - Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan)

    Map of who gets what CBS early game.

    Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts 1:00 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
    Kansas City Chiefs vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 (CBS - Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)
    Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans 1:00 (CBS - Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
    Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins 1:00 (CBS - Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon)
    Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 (CBS - Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein)

    Map of who gets what CBS late game.

    New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 4:15 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
    Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders 4:15 (CBS - Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker)

    Sunday Night Football

    Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots 8:20 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)

    Monday Night Football

    Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings (game to be played at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN) 8:30 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden)

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Welcome Back To Philadelphia, Clifton Phifer Lee!

    Sunday night, the Cliff Lee suitors were known to be the Yankees, the Rangers, and some "mystery team." 24 hours later, that "mystery team," the Philadelphia Phillies, signs Cliff Lee to 5 year, $107.5M deal with a 6th year vesting option and a $12.5M buyout, for a guaranteed $120M. There's your mystery team, for you! All that matters now is that the Ruben Amaro, Jr. does not trade Cole Hamels, whose contract is up after the 2011 season, in a salary dump along with the inevitable Joe Blanton salary dump trade.

    The Yankees offered 6 years, $138M with a $16M player option for the 7th. The Rangers had offered 6 years, %138 with a $23M vesting option for the 7th. Instead, he took less money and less years to go to Philadelphia, spurning the Yankees and the Union in the process. And it's not just about the championships, either. Cliff Lee could have gone to New York and the Yankees would be instant World Series contender. Some may say they will be, regardless. But think of where the Phillies were 10 years ago. And now reflect on what happened today. A baseball player spurned the Yankees because he wanted to play in Philadelphia. How amazing is that.

    It is great to celebrate the addition of a 4th ace. And thee fact that we now have the Fantastic Four (or Phantastic Phour) and R2C2 instead of H2O. And the fact that the Phillies have now arguably the best starting rotation since the Braves of the 1990s with Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. But really, just think about what was mentioned above. It truly is the most amazing part about this whole thing.

    Yeah. Cliff Lee is once again a Philadelphia Phillie. That just happened.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Video Of Epicness: Down Goes The Metrodome Roof

    For all the criticism rightfully laid upon Fox Sports and their coverage of the NFL, this may be one of the most awesome things in the history of football journalism. Fox knew the situation that the Metrodome roof was collapsing, knew what could happen, stuck a video camera in the corner of the Metrodome, and gave us one of the most awesome pieces of raw video I have ever seen.

    It's been 28 hours now since this video first aired, and this URL alone has nearly 2,000,000 page views. The Giants-Vikings game that was originally scheduled to be played in the Metrodome has been moved to Ford Field in Detroit for convenience of Fox production purposes where apparently they have already sold out. Next week the Vikings are scheduled to play the Bears in the Metrodome on Monday Night Football. While officials remain confident the roof will be repaired in time for that game, it is a good idea to have a back up plan in place. In this game, it would be TCF Bank Stadium on campus at the University of Minnesota. Yes, it's an outdoor stadium. Yes, a Monday Night Football game in frigid temperatures between the Bears and the Vikings would be awesome to see.

    Eagles Week 14 Recap: DeSean/LeSean

    Onto the bullets!
    • There was a lot to like and dislike about that game against the Cowboys.  What there is to dislike:  Injuries.  What there is to like:  The Eagles beat the Cowboys!
    • The injuries:  Stewart Bradley suffered a gruesome elbow dislocation and is likely done for the year.  Brandon Graham suffered a knee injury and could potentially be done for the year, depending on the results of the MRI.
    • The Eagles have depth at defensive line so while Graham has played well this season, it is not a be all to end all loss.  On the other hand, Stewart Bradley has had a good year, especially in the last few weeks.  And his back-ups are the always dependably bad Omar Gaither and rookie 7th round draft pick Jamar Chaney.  I prefer Chaney.  He did not totally suck coming in for Bradley tonight, so there is hope.  Kinda.  Sorta.  Maybe.  
    • Get well soon, Asante Samuel, though the main culprit of defensive blunders this game was Dimitri Patterson with two critical penalties giving Dallas a 1st down on what appeared to be 3rd down stops.  And Dimitri Patterson is the Eagles starting CB anyway.  The combo of suck that is Hanson/Lindley was not particularly dreadful tonight, but getting Asante Samuel back will be a major upgrade regardless.
    • Get well soon, Winston Justice.  King Dunlap is just.....bad.
    • Offensive lineman Todd Herremans caught a TD pass tonight, the 2nd of his career.  That catch also gave him one more reception than the Eagles tight end Brent Celek, who spent most of the night compensating King Dunlap's awful blocking with some awful blocking of his own.
    • DeSean Jackson had perhaps one of the Eagles highlights of the year when he turned a short and simple out route into a 91-yard touchdown.  Much will be made about DJacc's celebration.  The cons:  It was unnecessary, inappropriate and drew a flag from the referees.  The pros:  It was hilarious to watch considering the opponent and venue, and it was not technically a penalty.  Excessive celebration only occurs after a play ends, and technically, the ball had not crossed the endzone at the time of DeSean Jackson's dive.  Therefore, by rule, what DeSean Jackson did is not a penalty.  As hilarious as it was, I am not going to pretend like it is the most respectful or appropriate thing to do in that situation, it most certainly was not, but by rule, that should not have been ruled a penalty.
    • That penalty ultimately did not cost the Eagles, as the ensuing kick was only returned to the 22.  Furthermore, the 1st play of the drive was an INT from Kitna to Dimitri Patterson.
    • DeSean Jackson had 210 receiving yards tonight, 3rd all time in Ealges history behind Tommy McDonald (237) and known physical specimen Kevin Curtis (221).
    • After an Akers field goal to make it 30-20, the Cowboys responded with a TD of their own with over 4 minutes left.  To top off the momentum, Jorrick Calvin got a dumb unnecessary roughness penalty on the ensuing kickoff to pin the Eagles at the 10.
    • The Cowboys would never touch the football again, thanks mostly to LeSean McCoy.  McCoy was outstanding, rushing for 63 yards on 9 carries to milk the clock and win the game for the Eagles.  Michael Vick, who still had 3 TDs despite this not being one of his better games, also had a carry for 9 yards.  Have I ever mentioned how awesome Shady McCoy is?
    • I am not sure I understand Andy Reid's fascination with using Chad Hall as a tailback in redzone situations.  The Eagles have 3 running backs, LeSean McCoy, Jerome Harrison, and Eldra Buckley, a fullback in Owen Schmitt, all of whom are healthy, and yet, the Eagles are lining up former Air Force WR Chad Hall out of the backfield.  To the unsurprise of most, none of these plays have resulted in touchdowns.
    • Michael Vick continues to get little protection from the referees.  After Reid explicitly complained to the League last week about the lack of late hit/unnecessary roughness calls on some questionable hits on Vick, Vick was violently shoved as he was going out of bounds and the refs stood idle not throwing a flag.  The answer to what it takes to draw a flag was answered later in the game when Vick received not one, but two helmet-to-helmet hits on a single play.
    • After the game, Tashard Choice approached Michael Vick and asked him for an autograph.  For some context, Tashard Choice is from Georgia, went to school at Georgia Tech, and presumably grew up a big Vick fan.  That may explain why he asked Vick to autograph his game gloves for Choice's 3-year old nephew.
    •  Win probability chart (  
    • Lastly, and most importantly of all, I would be remiss if I did not extend my well wishes to fellow live blog comrade James Craven who has been absent the past few weeks.  Saturday afternoon he sent me an e-mail saying he had undergone heart bypass surgery to remove a blood clot from his heart.  We have had our disagreements in the past, however, a person's health is above all petty disagreements.  The good news is he eventually plans on returning.  I wish him a speedy recovery and nothing but the best for his future health.  He titled his email "Zipper Club Member."  Glad to see his sense of humor is still with him.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Saturday College Sports Live Blog

    I'll be watching the Division II semifinals when they come on, but we've also got some college b-ball on top of Army vs. Navy in a battle of teams who run the option offense. Enjoy the day of college sports!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Toronto Maple Leafs Fans Have A Hunger For Wins

    The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a bit of a sticky situation right now. They are constantly trading draft picks while simultaneously placing in the bottom of the standings with no playoff appearances since this happened. Naturally, things have not been very sugary for the Maple Leafs or their fans. And last night may have been the whipped cream on top for some Leafs fans. After losing 4-1 to the Flyers, Leafs fans were determined to show their Toronto Maple Leafs that they had enough. Their means of voicing their displeasure: throwing waffles. No seriously. They threw waffles onto the ice.

    Chris Pronger's quote after the game sums it up best, "Who brings a waffle to a game?" Clearly, a fanbase that is starving for a winner.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    NFL Week 14 Schedule

    Week 14 already. Geez, this season has gone by fast. The playoff push is upon us although there will be no push for the Panthers, Lions, Bills, Bengals, and Broncos, as they are already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Also, this is one of the few times in a season where none of my affiliates are carrying the Fox/CBS marquee late game. Here is your week 14 schedule! (all times ET; games I get are in bold)

    Thursday Night Football

    Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans 8:20 (NFL Network - Bob Papa, Matt Millen, and Joe Theismann)

    Map of who gets what Fox game.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Redskins 1:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
    Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions 1:00 (Fox - Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan)
    Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers 1:00 (Fox - Ron Pitts and John Lynch)

    Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers 4:05 (Fox - Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick)
    St. Louis Rams vs. New Orleans Saints 4:05 (Fox - Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, and Jim Mora, Jr.)

    Map of who gets what CBS early game.

    Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
    Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 (CBS - Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
    Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills 1:00 (CBS - Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein)

    Map of who gets what CBS late game.

    New England Patriots vs. Chicago Bears 4:15 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
    Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets 4:15 (CBS - Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)
    Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers 4:15 (CBS - Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker)
    Denver Broncos vs. Arizona Cardinals 4:15 (CBS - Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon)

    Sunday Night Football

    Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys 8:20 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)

    Monday Night Football

    New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings (game to be played in Detroit, MI) 7:20 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
    Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans 8:30 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden)

    Qatar And The 2022 World Cup Bid

    (Originally published as my 1st post as author of The Brotherly Game.  Due to pure unadulterated laziness (and possible violations of copyright law), the captioned picture I posted at TBG is not posted here.  Click on the above TBG link if you want to see it)

    As soccer fans in the United States of America, we probably all remember where we were when we found out that after years of anticipation and hard work, the United States had lost their 2022 World Cup bid to a country smaller than the 48th largest state in the United States, Connecticut.  I also think we all remember how we felt when the announcement was made.  It probably is not far-fetched to say that some kind of combination of shock, anger, and disappointment dominated our feelings.  And with good reason too.

    Qatar is a nation that has known issues with Israel, a possible qualifier for the 2022 World Cup.  Qatar is a nation that prohibits the drinking of alcohol, something that may cause kind of a problem when dealing with the loads of soccer fans that are sure to swarm the country.

    Qatar may be a very wealthy country, but its location also has problems.  The average temperature high in Doha, Qatar, the capital and largest city of Qatar (large being a relative term, seeing as the population of the entire country is 840,926 according to the CIA World Factbook), in June is 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41 Celcius).  And with Doha being located near the coast, humidity is sure to kick in.  Now to combat this, Qatar plans on building air conditioned stadiums using technology that has not been invented yet.  For the health and safety of the players, hopefully that technology gets invented real soon.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010


    Who's excited for some bowl games? As always, there are some good looking bowl games (Utah vs. Boise State, Air Force-Georgia Tech, Miami (FL) vs. Notre Dame), with others that frankly I think we could all careless about (Ohio vs. Troy, Illinois vs. Baylor, Florida International vs. Toledo). With that being said, here is your schedule for all 35 bowl games arranged and ordered by day. (all times ET)

    December 18
    New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM): Brigham Young vs. Texas-El Paso 2:00 (ESPN - Bob Wischusen and Bob Griese, SR: Jenn Brown)
    Humanitarian Bowl (Boise, ID): Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State 5:30 (ESPN - Carter Blackburn, Mike Bellotti, and Brock Huard, SR: Shelley Smith)
    New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans, LA): Ohio vs. Troy 9:00 (ESPN - Mark Neely and Robert Smith, SR: Quint Kessenich)

    December 21
    Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl (St. Petersburg, FL): Southern Mississippi vs. Louisville 8:00 (ESPN - Rece Davis, Lou Holtz, and Mark May, SR: Rob Stone)

    December 22
    Las Vegas Bowl (Las Vegas, NV): Utah vs. Boise State 8:00 (ESPN - Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit, SR: Tom Rinaldi)

    December 23
    Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego, CA): San Diego State vs. Navy 8:00 (ESPN - Mike Patrick and Craig James, SR: Holly Rowe)

    December 24
    Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu, HI): Hawaii vs. Tulsa 8:00 (ESPN - Ron Franklin and Ed Cunningham, SR: Shelley Smith)

    December 26
    Little Caesars Bowl (Detroit, MI): Florida International vs. Toledo 8:30 (ESPN - Dave Lamont and JC Pearson, SR: Quint Kessenich)

    December 27
    Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA): Air Force vs. Georgia Tech 5:00 (ESPN2 - Mark Jones and Bob Davie, SR: Eamon McAnaney)

    December 28
    Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando, FL): North Carolina State vs. West Virginia 6:30 (ESPN - Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore, SR: Rob Stone)
    Insight Bowl (Tempe, AZ): Missouri vs. Iowa 10:00 (ESPN - Sean McDonough and Matt Millen, SR: Heather Cox)

    December 29
    Military Bowl (Washington, D.C.): East Carolina vs. Maryland 2:30 (ESPN - Pam Ward and Danny Kanell, SR: Quint Kessenich)
    Texas Bowl (Houston, TX): Illinois vs. Baylor 6:00 (ESPN - Dave Pasch, Bob Griese, and Chris Spielman, SR: Holly Rowe)
    Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, TX): Arizona vs. Oklahoma State 9:15 (ESPN - Rece Davis, Craig James, and Jesse Palmer, SR: Jenn Brown)

    December 30
    Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas, TX): Army vs. Southern Methodist 12:00 (ESPN - Beth Mowins and Ray Bentley, SR: Jon Berger)
    Pinstripe Bowl (New York, NY): Kansas State vs. Syracuse 3:20 (ESPN - Bob Wischusen and Brian Griese, SR: Eamon McAnaney)
    Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN): North Carolina vs. Tennessee 6:40 (ESPN - Mark Jones and Bob Davie, SR: Cara Capuano)
    Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA): Washington vs. Nebraska 10:00 (ESPN - Chris Fowler and Erin Andrews, SR: Erin Andrews)

    December 31
    Meineke Car Care Bowl (Charlotte, NC): South Florida vs. Clemson 12:00 (ESPN - Carter Blackburn, Mike Bellotti, and Brock Huard, SR: Shannon Spake)
    Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX): Miami (FL) vs. Notre Dame 2:00 (CBS - Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, SR: Tracy Wolfson)
    Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN): Central Florida vs. Georgia 3:30 (ESPN - Charlie Neal and Andre Ware, SR: Cara Capuano)
    Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta, GA): South Carolina vs. Florida State 7:30 (ESPN - Ron Franklin and Ed Cunningham, SR: Jeannine Edwards)

    January 1
    TicketCity Bowl (Dallas, TX): Northwestern vs. Texas Tech 12:00 (ESPNU - Dave Pasch, Bob Griese, and Chris Spielman, SR: Quint Kessenich)
    Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL): Florida vs. Penn State 1:00 (ABC - Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden, SR: Suzy Kolber)
    Capital One Bowl (Orlando, FL): Michigan State vs. Alabama 1:00 (ESPN - Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge, SR: Holly Rowe)
    Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL): Mississippi State vs. Michigan 1:30 (ESPN2 - Mike Patrick and Craig James, SR: Todd Harris)
    Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA): Wisconsin vs. Texas Christian 5:00 (ESPN - Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit, SR: Erin Andrews)
    Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ): Connecticut vs. Oklahoma 8:30 (ESPN - Sean McDonough and Matt Millen, SR: Heather Cox)

    January 3
    Orange Bowl (Miami, FL): Virginia Tech vs. Stanford 8:30 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden, SR: Michele Tafoya)

    January 4
    Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA): Ohio State vs. Arkansas 8:30 (ESPN - Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge, SR: Holly Rowe)

    January 6 Bowl (Mobile, AL): Middle Tennessee vs. Miami (OH) 8:00 (ESPN - Carter Blackburn, Mike Bellotti, and Brock Huard, SR: Eamon McAnaney)

    January 7
    Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX): Texas A&M vs. Louisiana State 8:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston)

    January 8
    BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, AL): Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky 12:00 (ESPN - Mike Gleason and John Congemi, SR: Cara Capuano)

    January 9
    Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (San Francisco, CA): Nevada vs. Boston College 9:00 (ESPN - Mark Jones, Bob Davie, and Rod Gilmore, SR: Quint Kessenich)

    January 10
    BCS National Championship Game (Glendale, AZ): Auburn vs. Oregon 8:30 (ESPN - Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit, SR: Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi)

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    RIP Dougie

    The Dougie is dead. Let us mourn.

    Rest in Peace, Dougie. April 12, 2010 - December 5, 2010.

    Jayson Werth: The $126 Million Man

    Congratulations to Jayson Werth. To start 2008, he was in a platoon with Geoff Jenkins. By the end of 2008, he had won a World Series ring. By 2009, he was a full time starter. By the end of 2009, he had another NLCS ring. Now, Jayson Werth has decided to cash in on the only chance he'll have to be a very wealthy man. And boy has he ever cashed in. 7 years and $126 million from the Washington Nationals.

    While some fans might be angry that he decided to sign with a division rival, I feel nothing but happiness for Werth. Werth has already won a championship, and has made it very clear that this off-season was about money for him, not trying to win another championship in Boston or New York. And money is what Werth got. He would have been stupid to turn down the Nationals offered as it is a pretty ridiculous overpay. To put it in perspective, the Phillies were offering Jason Bay money for Werth. If you are a Phillies thing, be very glad the Phillies did not match the Nationals offense. It may sting a bit now, but in year 6 and 7 of that deal and Werth is in his late 30s, it will be a huge burden on the Nationals. That being said, the Nationals could be scary good in a year or 2 if they make the right moves. Who knows what the future holds in terms of personnel moves, but Strasburg will return from injury at the end of the 2011 season and who knows when we will see Bryce Harper debut. I don't think 2012 is out of the question for him.

    As compensation, the Philadelphia Phillies receive the Nationals 2nd round draft pick in addition to a "sandwich round pick."

    And for those that ever wondered, this is exactly why baseball players hire Scott Boras to be their agent. Congratulations to Jayson Werth and I wish him nothing but the best with the Nationals. If there is not a standing ovation for him at Citizens Bank Park on May 3, 2011, I will be greatly disappointed.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    NCAA Division II Football Playoffs National Semifinal Schedule

    A Pennsylvania team has never won this tournament, and this year will not be the first. With Mercyhurst's loss to Shepherd, that eliminated the last hope the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference had. Shepherd is located near the Pennsylvania border in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, but close only counts in horse shoes, right? If the information becomes available and I can find it, I will list the TV announcers and I might even possibly type up some previews on Friday, depending on how I feel. Anyway, the games are this Saturday, December 5 played on the campus of the designated home teams (the team listed 2nd below), in this case, Delta State and Minnesota-Duluth, respectively. Here's your schedule for D2 football this Saturday! (all times ET; FBS bowl schedule will be up later today).

    Shepherd vs. Delta State 2:00 (CBS College Sports)
    Northwest Missouri State vs. Minnesota-Duluth 6:00 (CBS College Sports)

    2010 NFL Season Week 13 Live Blog

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Eagles Week 13 Recap: Cheek-y

    Big win for the Eagles, now on to the bullets!
    • On a key 3rd down with the Keagles up by 3 in the 3rd quarter, Vick found Brent Celek on a pass with Celek 5 yards short of the marker.  However, how he was being brought to the ground, he rolled over the defender, reached out, and by the time his left butt cheek hit the ground, he had gotten a first down.  Joe Theismann, in his infinite wisdom, encouraged to us to watch Brent Celek's left cheek (even though it is where the ball is when Celek's cheek hits the ground that counts; another thing: unless it is Riley Cooper and his infinite dreaminess we are talking about, I'd rather not watch a football player's butt cheeks).  Matt Millen then retorted by calling it a "one cheek sneak."  If you combine the 2 idiots' comments, a left cheek sneak set up the Eagles game-clinching touchdown, a short pass to Owen Schmitt.
    • Brent Celek had a very interesting game today.  The left cheek sneak may have been the biggest play in the game, but Celek dropped a sure-fire touchdown pass in the 2nd quarter in addition to committing a key penalty.  That being said, at least Celek is making some plays now, something he had not been doing earlier in the season.  Unfortunately for Celek, is blocking is very suspect, so when he is not making plays in the receiving game, he is pretty much useless.  2009 was a great year for Celek.  2010....not so much.
    • There is no way around it, the Eagles defense was terrible tonight.  The scoreboard says only 24 points, but it felt so much worse.  In part, that may be because the Texans had 2 long sustained drives for touchdowns in the 3rd quarter to take a 24-20 lead over the Eagles after the Eagles jumped out 17-3 early in the game.  But regardless, the Texans offense seemed to have their way with the Eagles secondary.  Dimitri Patterson who had been solid the past few games did not have one of his better performances.  The combination of Joselio Hanson and Trevard Lindley on the other side was once again gruesome to watch.  Asante Samuel can't return soon enough.  The good news is that despite not playing tonight, he did practice a bit this week, so December 12 at Dallas looks like a good possibility for Samuel to play.
    • The bright spot for the Eagles defense is that Arian Foster, who averages 5.1 yards a carry was held to 3.9 yards a carry this game.  Stewart Bradley was one of the few bright spots for the Eagles defensively in his tackling of Foster.
    • Opposing QBs have a QB rating of under 30 when throwing to a receiver that Asante Samuel is covering.  Think I am over-exaggerating the impact Samuel has on this Eagles secondary?  Think again.
    • The Eagles just finished a stretch of 4 games in 17 days, a stretch of games where they went 3-1.  Given that their opponents during said stretch was the Redskins, Giants, Bears, and Texans, 3-1 is quite good.
    • Michael Vick is a freakin' warrior.  He took shot after shot after shot after shot in this game, often coming up slowly or limping, and still hung in there and made plays.  The guy is good, the guy is tough, and the guy is a changed man, both on the field and off the field.  
    • It seems like every week some network has an "exclusive" interview with Michael Vick.  At what point are these interviews no longer exclusive, and just flat out redundant? 
    • Michael Vick on the set of NFL Network after the game:  "Coming to Philly has changed my entire life. I hate to even think about leaving here. Hopefully things will get worked out. When time is right hopefully I stay here."  At the very least, it seems like almost a sure thing that the Eagles will give him the franchise tag, if not a long-term deal.  The Kevin Kolb era will have to commence elsewhere.  Minnesota or Arizona, maybe?  Both will need a QB.  Badly.
    • Kevin Kolb is under contract for next season, so if he goes anywhere, it will have to be via trade.  That being said, Michael Vick is injury prone just by the way he plays the game and having Kolb on the sidelines is good re-assurance in case something happens.  That being said, I am not sure if that is the ideal situation for Kolb, a guy who seems ready to be a starting QB in this league.  As valuable as he can be to the Eagles as a back-up, I think they might be able to capitalize on a desperate team and get a 2nd rounder or even a 1st rounder for Kolb.  I'd approve of that deal in a heartbeat.
    • LeSean McCoy had a hell of a game.  12 rushes for 44 yards, but more importantly, 8 catches for 86 yards.  The Texans tried to employ a similar scheme to what the Bears ran last week by keeping their safeties deep.  One difference:  The Bears have the talent to be able to effectively employ that scheme.  The Texans do not.  The Eagles knew that coming in, and screened the high hell out of the Texans with McCoy being the big recipient of those screens.
    • For reasons I will never understand, the Eagles lined up Chad Hall, a wide receiver out of the Air Force, a running back in the 1st quarter for a play and in the wildcat down at the goalline in the 1st quarter.  For the first one, I am yet to figure out what Chad Hall brings to the table that Jerome Harrison and Eldra Buckley do not, you know, the 2nd and 3rd string running backs for the Eagles.  Secondly, the wildcat?  Hasn't that been ineffective enough for Reid the past year and a half?  Unsurprisingly, that Chad Hall wildcat play ran deep in the redzone on 2nd and goal did not pan out and Hall, who took the ball up the middle, was stopped short of the goalline.
    • The Eagles will have 9 days to rest up and prepare for their Sunday Night Football meeting at Dallas.  Despite its apparent lob-sidedness, NBC and the NFL sees the Eagles against their biggest rival, and in turn, sees ratings.  Look at the highest rated games this season.  5 of the top 15 highest rated games on all networks are Eagles games, with #1 being last Sunday's Eagles-Bears game.  It's not 13-1 vs. 2-12.  NBC and the NFL sees Eagles vs. Cowboys, the Eagles good ratings this year, and are sticking with the tentatively scheduled game of Eagles vs. Cowboys.
    • Lastly, the win probability graph. (

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    2010 NFL Season Week 13 Thursday Night Football Live Blog

    So Qatar'd: Qatar Wins 2022 FIFA World Cup Bid

    See that little thumb that's circled? 
    It's the country hosting the 2022 World Cup.  Really.

    As someone who is currently taking multiple courses on the Middle East and the Muslim World, I am less than giddy about FIFA's decision. Surprised about this decision? No. I saw this coming a mile away (don't believe me? I correctly called both bids last night on Twitter). Am I happy about this decision? Absolutely not. Qatar is far from an ideal country to host the World Cup.

    Not that this will come to many people as a surprise, but it is truly amazing what can happen to those who pad the pockets of Sepp Blatter the most.

    On the outside, it does seem like a progressive decision, but really, it's not. I wonder if FIFA has ever considered the problem that alcohol is an item that will be greatly consumed during World Cup games, but is also an item that is deeply frowned upon in Qatar. There will be some awkward moments for sure. Not to fear though. You can expect designated drinking zones during the World Cup time. Yay progressivism!

    Also, what happens if Israel qualifies for the World Cup? Qatar has a terrible relationship with Israel. There is a chance that Israel could be played be forced to play their games in the deserts of Oman.

    Aspeaking of the venues, this is no joke. Of the few stadiums that are currently erect in Qatar, all of them will be expanded. Of those that are not built, well, they will need building. And the cities. Currently, 5 of the 10 venues scheduled to host World Cup games are in Qatar's capital and largest city, Doha, a city which, by the way, has a population of less than a million. Qatar plans to put air conditioning in all the stadiums to prevent players from playing in the 111 degree heat of their summer time. For the sake of health of the players, I hope those air conditioners don't malfunction at any time.

    The country is roughly the same size of Connecticut; how on earth do they have the capacity to accommodate the massive influx of people they will see in 2022.

    I want to be happy for this Middle Eastern country, but really, there is too much working against it for me to be happy. Sepp Blatter has an agenda that most likely include rewarding people who make his pockets fatter immediately and winning a Nobel Peace Prize, both of which this could accomplish. What if the plans to build these facilities fall through?

    And lastly (and my personal favorite), homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years.

    So, uh, congrats to FIFA on this very progressive decision?