Monday, February 28, 2011

The Philadelphia Flyers PR Staff Is Quite Gullible

At 12:44 today, Down Goes Brown tweeted the following: "Let's make our own entertainment. At 12:50, everyone tweet @JLupul at the same time with some variation of "Good luck in Long Island!"

What followed was quite possibly the prank of the day. Not only did some beat writers, real and fake, report it as real on Twitter, but the Philadelphia Flyers PR staff got duped by hundreds of people wishing Joffrey Lupul "good luck in Long Island!"

"Joffrey Lupul is on the move and heading to his third team this season and sixth overall in his career.  He is reportedly heading to the New York Islanders.  Further details to come..."

The Flyers quickly took that down from their site, but it does not make it any less funny. I just hope they at least made this mistake while sober.

If you are not reading Down Goes Brown and following him on Twitter @DownGoesBrown, you are missing out on a great number of laughs, especially if you are a hockey fan.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Villanova Is In A World Of Trouble

I am the type of person who likes to relax and step away from the panic button in times of crisis for my sports teams. Well, consider the Villanova panic button pressed.

They are in a world of trouble. Villanova are a team that are real solid defensively, but their offense has been anywhere between meh to terrible over this stretch of the Big East schedule. Villanova currently sit in 8th place in the Big East and things are not looking to get any easier for the Wildcats, who play at 2nd place Notre Dame and 1st place Pittsburgh to close out the Big East regular season.

From then on, Villanova will go to the Big East tournament. If Villanova can so much as find their way to the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament, I will be amazed. If they can advance further, I will wonder what players suddenly injected themselves with steroids.

I am one who is optimistic, but I will also be amazed if Villanova can make it out of the 1st weekend of the NCAA Tournament. They have fallen so fast, it is unbelievable. They have lost four of their last six games, with the two wins being against Seton Hall and DePaul. Not only that, but Villanova had to hold their breath as Seton Hall missed what would have been a game-tying 3 at the buzzer, AND they needed overtime to beat last place and Big East laughing stock DePaul. Getting Kemba'd at the buzzer like what happened at the start of the Big East is one thing, losing to Rutgers, Providence, St. John's, and Syracuse is another, especially for a team that is supposed to be a Final Four contender.

Corey Fisher has been inconsistent, Pena is afraid to use his size, Yarou going at a rebound half-assed cemented the game for St. John's today, Corey Stokes just came back from injury a few days ago but his offense has not been enough right now.

Honestly, the Fisher/Stokes/Pena era can't end soon enough. They were a 1st round tournament ouster this year, and it is looking like they will suffer the same fate this year. What is really a shame is that there have been times where Fisher has really looked poised and completely taken over games and carried the team on his back, but there are times like the Syracuse game on Monday and the St. John's game today where he is just invisible offensively. And if Villanova has any chance of winning games in March, the offensive invisibility can't happen anymore. This team has potential, but sadly, I think that is all they have. They have been playing poor basketball for a few weeks now, and with the competition only getting tougher, they need a turnaround or else they are doomed.

So yeah, consider the Villanova panic button pushed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eff You, Logan Couture

If the Penguins come back and take the Atlantic Division, the Flyers will have but one man to blame: Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks. Coming into the game 7 points behind the Flyers, the Penguins needed to salvage anything they could against the visiting San Jose Sharks. Just getting one point out of the game would be a huge improvement to the Penguins situation as being 6 points behind the Flyers (3 games) with is much better than being 7 points out (4 games). With just over a minute left, and up by a goal, Logan Couture had a chance to put the game out of reach with an empty net goal. Only instead of scoring, this happened.

The Sharks could not win it in the last minute and the game went to overtime. It does not matter that the Sharks would go on to win the game in awesome fashion in said overtime. The fact of the matter is the Penguins got a crucial Bettman point. The Penguins are now three games behind the Flyers instead of four because of Couture's inability to perform simple tasks to skate up to an empty net and put the puck in. So if it comes down to it, and the Penguins win the Atlantic Division by 1 point, there will be only one man worthy of your scorn in the NHL. Your potential 2010-2011 Philadelphia Flyers goat: Logan Couture, ladies and gentlemen!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Carlos Ruiz To The Union A Done Deal, Per Jonathan Tannenwald

(Originally published at The Brotherly Game)

Last week, reports surfaced that the Philadelphia Union were rumored to bring him Guatemalan forward Carlos Ruiz.  Now it appears as if it it is more than just a rumor.  Per's Jonathan Tannenwald, Carlos Ruiz to the Union a done deal.

I was told to expect an official announcement of the [Carlos] Ruiz deal tomorrow or Tuesday. I was not given any details about whether there will be a formal introduction, the way there was for Faryd Mondragón and Carlos Valdés.

While some may be hesitant to bring in Carlos Ruiz, nicknamed El Pescadito, because of his known penchant for diving, he figures to directly replace the role of the departed Alejandro Moreno.

After a 7-year run in MLS which saw him play 164 games and score 90 goals for Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Dallas, and Toronto F.C., Carlos Ruiz spent 2009 with Olimipa in Paraguay before spending 2009-2010 in Mexico with Puebla and Aris Thessaloniki F.C. in Greece in 2011. 

Carlos Ruiz would be an interesting fit for Piotr Nowak and the Union as Ruiz is a known diver as mentioned above, and Nowak frequently takes a no nonsense approach with his players.  But the good may outweigh the bad as El Pescarito has a penchant for being able to put the ball in the back of the net.


2/20 Hockey Day In America Live Blog

Feel free to comment on college basketball games and the NBA All-Star game as well.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Philadelphia Union To Play Pre-Season Friendlies In Greece

(originally published at The Brotherly Game)

Soon after their friendly later tonight against USL Pro team Orlando City, the Philadelphia Union will pack their bags and head to the Greek isle of Crete, where they will train and play two more pre-season friendlies.

The first of those two pre-season games will be played on February 28 against Hersonissos*, a Greece Football League 2 side.  In Greece, League 2 is the third tier of football, behind Football League (League 1) and Superleague Greece.   Hersonissos (full name Olympiakos Chersonissos F.C.), are currently in a relegation battle in League 2 with a record of five wins, six draws, and nine losses, good for 21 points. Out of sixteen teams, they are in 14th, with the last three teams getting relegated to Delta Ethniki, a multi-group semi-professional league in Greece. Hersonissos are based in the small town of Hersonissos in northern Crete.

The second of these two pre-season games will come against Ergotelis F.C.  Ergotelis are a Superleague Greece side.  It goes without say they are a much more formidable squad than Hersonissos.  Ergotelis are currently in 6th place in Superleague Greece with a record of nine wins, four draws, and nine losses, good for 31 points.  If Ergotelis can end the season in 5th place, they will qualify for a 4-team finish playoffs where if they finish 3rd or better, they will qualify for the UEFA Champions League in 2011-2012.  While Ergotelis do not currently contain any American soccer players or players Americans would be familiar with through other endeavors, Clint Mathis spent one year with Ergotelis in 2008.  Ergotelis are based in the capital and largest of city of Crete Heraklion.  Like Hersonissos, Haraklion is located in the northern part of the island.

Both fixtures will be played at played at Pancretan Stadium (also seen as Pankritio Stadium).  Pancretan Stadium is located in Haraklion and is the home stadium of Ergotelis F.C.  Times of both fixtures are TBD.

* - The Philadelphia Union's schedule link has Ergotelis as the February 28 fixture Hersonissos as the March 2 fixture.  However all other sources, including the above linked press release from indicate that Hersonissos is the February 28 fixture and March 2 as the Ergotelis fixture.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Peter Laviolette: Master Of The Punch

The Flyers got off to a slow start tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, and before anyone could blink, the Canes had a 2-0 lead. Angry, Peter Laviolette called one of his patented timeouts. Only, Peter Laviolette did not just call timeout. During the timeout, he let his hands get the best of him and he ended up punching Ville Leino in the noggin. Seriously.

Ouch. The good news for Leino is he seems to have quite the ability to take a punch and shrug it off. Even better news is it has given us a hilarious .GIF that will surely be revisited over and over again.

2/20 Hockey Day In America Schedule

NBC is trying something new this Sunday with its Hockey Day In America. Obviously, there will be visible parallels to CBC's Hockey Night In Canada, which probably is not the best of things. But NBC is making an attempt to pay hockey more attention and give it the type of coverage on a national network it has not seen in quite some time in the USA. And this is a good thing. I will have a live blog for the festivities on Sunday (which will include the Heritage Classic later that night on Versus), but for now, here is your schedule of games, with the first window being regional coverage. (all times ET; regional game I get is in bold)

Map of who gets what regional game.

Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres 12:35 (NBC - Jim Jackson, ItG: Ray Ferraro)
Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers 12:40 (NBC - Ken Daniels, ItG: Joe Micheletti)
Detroit Red Wings vs. Minnesota Wild 12:45 (NBC - Pat Foley, ItG: Darren Pang)

NBC National TV game

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks 3:30 (NBC - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, ItG: Pierre McGuire)

Heritage Classic

Montreal Canadiens vs. Calgary Flames 6:00 (Versus - Dave Strader and Andy Brickley, ItG: Brian Engblom)

The Return Of The Washington Natinals

After the embarrassing failure two years ago by the Washington Nationals two years ago where they left the "o" of Nationals out of their jersey, so that Nationals read "Natinals," you would have thought that the Nationals would have learned their lesson. Well, not quite. You can now buy special Washington Natinals merchandise!

Yikes.  Is it safe to say that MASN will be throwing up "Jason Worth" graphics some time during the course of the season?

Wakey Wakey Eric Snow

In his first year as 76ers color commentator for CSN, Eric Snow has grown to be everything I detest in an analyst. He very frequently refers to the Sixers as "we" and "us" (yeah I know I do that to sometimes, but I am not getting paid any money here), his analysis very frequently makes very little sense. And basically he just acts like a cheerleader for the team. But this video takes the cake. The already unprofessional Eric Snow took his unprofessionalism to a brand new level when he thought the middle of a Sixers broadcast was a good time to doze off.

I love how Marc Zumoff had no idea how to react ("are you meditating?"). I guess if I were in Marc's shoes, I would have had the same reaction. I am not a huge fan of the guy, but he has had his current job as Sixers play-by-play man for 17 years, worked with the Sixers for an even longer period of time, and the best CSN has gotten him for a color analyst is a guy who dozed off while they were on the air. Aye yi yi.

And The Winner For Most Nonsensical Quote Of The Year Goes To......Ian Kinsler!

Baseball players have had a strange habit of trash talking the Philadelphia Eagles this week. I have purposefully ignored the Mark Buehrle's hateful and ignorant comments for the obvious reasons, but Ian Kinsler's latest jab at the Eagles is just completely nonsensical. It's one thing to not like Vick, I get that (though I do not agree with it), but forgive me for not seeing the parallel between Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson of the Eagles and Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. Yes, Ian Kinsler actually tried to make this connection when speaking about Michael Young's current situation.

"This isn't DeSean Jackson or Michael Vick or Manny Ramirez," Kinsler said. "Michael Young is a professional. It would be completely out of his personality not to be here."
I hate to break it to you Ian, but DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick never held out of the Eagles' training camp or skipped practice because of their contract situation. Never. Not once this year. DeSean Jackson wants a new deal, but when it came time for Jackson to show up at training camp, he did just that and said nary a peep about his contract all year.

But bashing Eagles is currently trendy for baseball players right now. My prediction: Tomorrow Prince Fielder will say Shawn Andrews' weight was the reason the Eagles offensive line performed poorly down the stretch this season.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Former Stanley Cup Finals Rival Kris Versteeg Now A Flyer

I was walking to a nearby campus restaurant during a short break of my evening class when I check my phone. As it turns out, my brother tried to call me 10 minutes earlier. I call back.

"The Flyers traded their 1st and 3rd round draft picks for Kris Versteeg."

"WHAT?!?!?!?" could be my own reply. Versteeg for a first and 3rd rounder. Homer is out of his mind. Again.

I hung up, grabbed my food, and went back to class. My first thoughts on the trade was that of an obvious overpay. A 1st round draft pick and a 3rd round draft pick? Never mind that Versteeg is a solid, young 2-way forward whose prime is still ahead, a 1st and a 3rd rounder seemed like a little much. But then I got back from class, went online, and learned a thing or two about this year's upcoming draft class. As it turns out, it basically sucks. Suffice to say, I am much happier about this trade now than I was a few hours ago. It is still a bit of an overpayment, but given that the Flyers draft picks are going to be picking near the bottom in this very weak class and that Holmgren is clearly bracing the Flyers for "win now" mode, and this trade is not as bad as it initially seemed.

The Flyers can easily slot Versteeg on the line with Richards and JVR, while bumping Andreas Nodl down to the 4th line and benching two of Nikolay Zherdev, Dan Carcillo, and Jody Shelley. It is likely that the Flyers are not done making moves as they have 15 forwards on their roster, 14 if you exclude Ian Laperriere who is on LTIR. It is very likely that Dan Carcillo and/or Nikolay Zherdev will be shipped off before the deadline. While an enigma, Zherdev has been able to light the lamp when given the opportunity by Peter Laviolette. The problem is, Laviolette has this thing where he is not willing to give Zherdev a lot of meaningful ice time and frequently lists him as a healthy scratch for games. And with Jody Shelley signed to a 3 year, $3.3M contract, it is unlikely that he is movable. I will be very surprised if Dan Carcillo is a Philadelphia Flyer once the trade deadline surpasses.

If you are having problems getting excited about Kris Versteeg in a Flyers uniform, allow this to change your mind set. Though I must insist for multiple reasons, watch this video with the sound off.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Live From The Nassau Coliseum, It's Friday Night Fights!

Flyers-Senators Version 2.0? Bruins-Habs earlier this week? Before today, those games were considered the fight games of the year. Not anymore. Remember 9 days ago when Brent Johnson KO'd Rick DiPietro in 1 punch, fracturing some of DP's bones and knocking him out for 4-6 weeks?

Well for the Islanders tonight was all about revenge, and boy oh boy did they ever get it. Admittedly, a lot of the stunts the Isles pulled tonight were dirty, but I have a hard time gathering any sympathy for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that employs Matt Cooke. While there were many more scrums than this, here are the big fights courtesy of

And if all those fights were not enough, the Islanders won the game 9-3. Here are the highlights.

Oof. Now that's what I call a revenge game. Currently, the number is 351 PIMs, but the number has continued to rise as the night as gone on. It is unlikely that this will ultimately surpass the 2004 Senators-Flyers game which featured 419 combined penalty minutes thanks to 5 end of game fights/brawls in the span of a minute, but over 300 is closer than I ever thought anyone would ever get to touching that record.

This Penguins loss means the Flyers remain 3 points ahead of the Penguins in the Atlantic Division and with some Penguin players sure to be suspended because of this fiasco on top of their semmingly endlessly mounting injuries. The Flyers have to feel they are in a good position right now as long as they continue playing at the high level they have been playing at and to continue to successfully avoid the injury bug that has plagued the Penguins.

Update: Here is a video with the Islanders announcers calling every fight/skirmish in the 1st period. Here is a video with the Islanders announcers calling every fight/skirmish in the 2nd period. Here is a video with the Islanders announcers calling every fight/skirmish in the 3rd period. I can assure you these are much easier on the ears.

The New March Madness Schedule Is.....AWESOME!

I grew a few inches when I first saw this.

The exact times that games will be broadcast during this year's NCAA Tournament have been released, and I am officially pumped for March Madness. Not only are all games going to be on national TV, but the start times have been spread out (especially in the 2nd round 3rd round, meaning you won't be constantly pressing buttons on your remote as much as you initially thought you would. Here is how the times break down for you, from SI's Richard Deitsch.

First Four

Tuesday, March 15
6:30 (truTV)
approx. 9:00 (truTV)

Wednesday, March 16
6:30 (truTV)
approx. 9:00 (truTV)

Second Round

Thursday, March 17

1st Set
12:00 (CBS)
12:30 (truTV)
1:30 (TBS)
2:00 (TNT)

2nd Set
approx. 2:30 (CBS)
approx. 3:00 (truTV)
approx. 4:00 (TBS)
approx. 4:30 (TNT)

3rd set
6:45 (TBS)
7:00 (CBS)
7:15 (TNT)
7:15 (truTV)

4th set
approx. 9:15 (TBS)
approx. 9:30 (CBS)
approx. 9:45 (TNT)
approx. 9:55 (truTV)

Friday, March 18

1st Set
12:00 (CBS)
12:30 (truTV)
1:30 (TBS)
2:00 (TNT)

2nd Set
approx. 2:30 (CBS)
approx. 3:00 (truTV)
approx. 4:00 (TBS)
approx. 4:30 (TNT)

3rd set
6:45 (TBS)
7:00 (CBS)
7:15 (TNT)
7:15 (truTV)

4th set
approx. 9:15 (TBS)
approx. 9:30 (CBS)
approx. 9:45 (TNT)
approx. 9:55 (truTV)

Third Round

Saturday, March 19

12:00 (CBS)
approx. 2:30 (CBS)
5:00 (CBS)
6:00 (TNT)
7:00 (TBS)
approx. 7:30 (CBS)
approx. 8:00 (TNT)
approx. 9:30 (TBS)

Sunday, March 20

12:00 (CBS)
approx. 2:30 (CBS)
5:00 (CBS)
6:00 (TNT)
7:00 (TBS)
approx. 7:30 (truTV)
approx. 8:00 (TNT)
approx. 9:30 (TBS)

Sweet Sixteen

Thursday, March 24

1st Set
7:00 (CBS)
7:15 (TBS)

2nd Set
approx. 9:30 (CBS)
approx. 9:55 (TBS)

Friday, March 25

1st Set
7:00 (CBS)
7:15 (TBS)

2nd Set
approx. 9:30 (CBS)
approx. 9:55 (TBS)

Elite 8

Saturday, March 26
4:20 (CBS)
6:55 (CBS)

Sunday, March 27
2:10 (CBS)
4:55 (CBS)

Final 4

Saturday, April 2
6:00 (CBS)
approx. 8:30 (CBS)

National Championship Game

Monday, April 1
9:00 (CBS)

Of course, chances are these are not the precise tip-off times, but rather the scheduled (or approximately scheduled), but rather the time Jim Nantz says "Hello friends" and whatever it is other announcers use to sign on to broadcasts with. Also, I know right at noon on the Thursday and Friday of what was then known as the first round (now known as the second round) of the NCAA Tournament, a 10-minute local news clip aired before we got sent to the studios with Greg Gumbel. Who knows if they will do that again. So yeah, there are a lot of variables going on and some of these times could be changed by a few minutes or so. But yeah, I love what the NCAA is doing with the staggered start times. If you want a different opinion of this from me, get back to me next year this time when I am student teaching.

(For a break down of the announcers for the tournament, click here)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gone In 165 Seconds

24 hours after it happened, and I still can't believe this. I am really beginning to not like Mike Rice at all. If you remember, he was the coach of the Robert Morris team that took Villanova to OT in the 1st round of last year's NCAA Tournament. Now he is the man behind this. It is one thing if you are Maryland blowing a 10-point lead to Duke in the last minute of the game. It is a whole different thing if you are Villanova blowing a 10-point lead to lowly Rutgers in the final 2:45 seconds of the game. This video saves some of the pain and starts at a 9-point game with 2 minutes left. I don't know why.

3 things of note here. First of all, I have not counted the exact amount of time that should have elapsed, but when Rutgers inbounded with 6.3 seconds left, the clock took a very long time to start. Michigan State approves of Rutgers's timekeeper.

Secondly, how was that a foul on Fisher on Mitchell's game-tying 3-pointer? I am begging someone to show me where contact was made at all, let alone enough contact to draw a foul on the last play of the game. There was no contact. There was no foul. Terrible, terrible call by the Big East refs. And to think that it was 3 days before the 3-year anniversary of this atrocity.

Thirdly, there is no excuse for blowing a 10-point lead with 2:45 left in the game to Rutgers. Absolutely none. And it was all Rutgers capitalizing on stupid Villanova mistakes. That is probably the worst part about it. If Villanova advances past the 1st weekend of the NCAA tournament this year, I'll be shocked. They can beat Syracuse and will probably play real well against Pittsburgh, but there just seems to be something about facing weaker competition away from home that this team can't handle. Providence stormed the court on them earlier a few weeks ago, and now Rutgers. Unacceptable.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Should I Be Paying More Attention To The 76ers?

As far as winter sports go, I am a hockey and a college basketball fan well before I am an NBA fan. I will never pretend otherwise. And with that, I pay much more attention to the Flyers and college basketball (in particular Villanova), than I do the 76ers. But even if it does not equal the attention I give the first two, should I at least pay more attention to the Philadelphia 76ers?

After a rough start, the Philadelphia 76ers have climbed back in the standings and currently sit at 7th place in the Eastern Conference with a 24-27 record, and are just 2.5 games behind the New York Knicks for 6th place in the East. 5th place right now would seem like a stretch with the Magic currently being 8 games ahead of the Sixers, but I guess anything is possible.

The exciting part about the 76ers though is that after the 1-year Eddie Jordan era that can only be described as a complete and utter debacle, they are beginning to develop a young core of players. Jrue Holiday has the potential to be one of the game's real top point guards, and Evan Turner is beginning to play better after a rough spot. Andre Iguadala, though it is likely that he will be traded before the trade deadline, has improved his game and has been having a real good season when not injured. Elton Brand has also been having a solid season.

All year long the 76ers this year have been the epitome of a bad luck team. They have lost many, many close games this year and sheer dumb luck would dictate that they are due to win some down the line. Many blown leads and last second buckets have done the 76ers in this year, so they are likely a better team than their record indicates. The fact they are playing in a watered-down Eastern Conference aids them tremendously as their faults are not as costly in terms of just qualifying for the playoffs. The 76ers's 24-27 record would be good for 11th place if they played in the Western Conference.

All in all, the Philadelphia 76ers are likely a playoff team, but how far they get in the playoffs, who can say for sure. Even though they are likely better than their record indicates, I don't think anyone is going to confuse them with the Celtics or the Heat. If the 76ers can turn their luck around, then potentially they can get into a good 1st round playoff series if they can end up with at least a 6 seed, perhaps even resulting in a win, but outside of that, the 76ers best hope moving forward is to stumble upon another gem in the draft.

So should I be paying more attention to the Sixers? Well, they are trying to build a young team and fairly early on into that building process, they have assembled interesting talent that could be very dangerous in a few years. This is not their year, but with the right moves and the right trades, who knows what could happen in a few years. I will rarely watch the 76ers if a good college basketball game or Flyers game is on at the same time, but maybe on nights when there is nothing else on, they probably deserve a little more attention than what I have been giving them this year.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Well Here's An Interesting Story

Jon Gruden allegedly spent Sunday Night meeting with Andy Reid.

Well, that's more of where we are at now. Where have we been the past day? Well for the past 24 hours, the questions has been more of where haven't we been. Sometime during the Super Bowl last night, a story that I was only made aware of after the Big Game broke. That story? Jon Gruden is replacing Andy Reid as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. After being taken somewhat seriously for the night, it got shot down quicker than a MLB video on YouTube by every Eagles beat writer and even national outlets like Adam Schefter and Pro Football Talk. And the Eagles themselves issued a formal denial.

That was 11 hours ago. Why is this still a story then, you ask? First of all, the Eagles have also told us this year that Kevin Kolb was their starter as late as the conclusion of the Week 2 win against Detroit, the Eagles have also told us that Sean McDermott was staying as defensive coordinator after the season ended, and the Eagles said they had no plans on trading McNabb last off-season. And that's all been in the past year. Suffice to say, they are not a primary, go to source for information at this point.

The real answer may seem unbelievable, but one journalist and blog writer, Cody Benjamin, has been in contact with sources he trusts and have steered him in the right direction in the past (Cody knew Dawkins was leaving for Denver 4 days before it actually happened), remain confident that after working the ESPN Pre-game show, Gruden flew up to Philadelphia where he ultimately spent the night. In the morning, shortly before every denial in the world, he was spotted at the Eagles' NovaCare Complex.

Two things two consider here. First of all, Cody allegedly got in contact with Gruden's people. Instead of issuing a flat out denial, instead of saying "what? You thought Gruden was in Philly? Nah, Jon's at home in Tampa," and ending this once and for all, Gruden's agent gave no comment. If this were the complete fabrication and joke everyone is saying it is, wouldn't Gruden's agent have said so?

Then, around an hour ago, the report from Cody that I started this post with came out. There was an initial thought that Andy Reid is unwell and needs to step down for off-the-field reasons. If Reid is unwell, he is not so unwell that he can't spend a night at Ruth Chris's Steakhouse. It could be two friends having dinner one night, but the sightings at the NovaCare Complex and the fact that common sense would dictate that Gruden flying to Philadelphia on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon to meet with Reid is aloof enough in it of itself to warrant speculation that something bigger is going on. For what it is worth, Reid and Gruden were sighted at said steakhouse a couple hours after they had closed to the public. As I have verified with my own research, you can book a private reservation their past the hour the restaurant closes to the public (9:00 PM on Sunday). Hell, you can book them as late as 12:45 if you want.

Is Reid stepping down? Is Reid stepping up into a front office role? If so, is Gruden the replacement? Is Cody, an aspiring journalist who is currently employed to two newspapers, has his own blog, and contributes to another being lied to? Just how crazy is former Eagles fullback Kyle Eckel, who fueled the rumor last night, said it was a joke this morning, said he was just being careless this afternoon and shouldn't have said anything, and told Cody to not pursue this any farther tonight? Are Adam Schefter, PFT, Les Bowen, Jeff McLane, Reuben Frank, and other Eagles beat writers about to be out-scooped?

I don't know for sure if Cody is right or not, but I can't wait to see how this ends.

Update, February 8, 2011, 4:25 PM: Here is a statement released by Cody on the report.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Karma: Packers Win Super Bowl XLV, Steelers Fans Whine About Referees

For starters, that was not pass interference as you can clearly tell by watching the video. Secondly, even if it was a missed call (which it wasn't; refs got it right), then maybe, just maybe, this is a little thing called karma. Remember Super Bowl XL? These things have a way of rearing their ugly head again, and for the Steelers and their, this is just a small dose of their own medicine.

Unfortunately, the 2005 Seahawks fans will never have what some would argue is rightfully theirs. But possibly five years and 1 day after the controversy in Detroit, there is perhaps a sense of payback to the Steelers.

But I digress. Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Official Super Bowl XLV Prediction

A lot of people more football intelligence than me have weighed on this one and have come to different conclusions on who is going to win. But regardless, here is my two cents.

This game features two real good defenses. And frequently in Super Bowls, one, if not both teams, come out jittery to start the game. Based on those two factors alone, I think we will have a low scoring game in Arlington. The O/U is 45. I'm taking the under in my prop bets.

Las Vegas has Green Bay winning by 3.5. I'm taking the Packers and the points on this one. For me, I think Green Bay is the all-round better football team, even if they have no run game to speak of. Pittsburgh thrives on luck, they have this year and they have done so in year's past. Eventually that luck is going to run out. And that luck will run out this Sunday. Steelers 14, Packers 24.

Live blog tomorrow will be at Keith's Sports Journal. Depending on what side of the bed I wake up on and whether or not Fernando Torres is starting, I may open it as early as Chelsea-Liverpool tomorrow at 11:00 AM ET. But regardless, this is the last NFL game we see for quite some time, so enjoy it. GO PACKERS!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Schedule

Super Bowl Sunday is always the day of the big football game. But this year, there are two. Hours before Green Bay and Pittsburgh even arrive at Cowboys Stadium, another football game on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, one that very well may get more international press attention than the Super Bowl. Obviously, I am talking about the Chelsea-Liverpool "Torres Bowl," that will air at 11 AM ET on Fox Soccer Channel.

For those that do not follow soccer, 26-year old superstar forward Fernando Torres started the season with Liverpool. Then days before the January transfer window closed (comparable to an American trade deadline), Chelsea put in a bid for Fernando Torres, Torres then put in a formal transfer request. Then hours before the transfer window closed, the move was finalized. Liverpool agreed to send Torres to Chelsea for 50 million pounds (Liverpool would go on to send 35 million of those pounds Newcastle's way for young, unproven striker Andy Carroll). Think of this game as the English edition of Favre Bowl, only with no sexting and the center of the controversy is 14-years younger. Now being a Chelsea fan, I hope they pummel Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. For the much longer version of how this while Torres thing went down, check this out from SI.

But enough about English football, here is Fox's schedule for Super Bowl XLV Sunday.

Road To The Super Bowl 12:00 (Fox)
Inside The Rings with Troy Aikman 1:00 (Fox)
Fox NFL Sunday Super Bowl Pregame Show 2:00 (Fox)
Super Bowl XLV: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers 6:00 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, SR: Pam Oliver and Chris Myers)

For a preview of Fox's Super Bowl pregame show, check this out from TV By The Numbers.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Transcripts Of The Eagles' Defensive Coordinator Interviews Revealed

I am he as you are he as you are me
and we are all together
Yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles made a stunning announcement when they promote now former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to the position of defensive coordinator. Juan Castillo is someone who has not coached a defense in over 20 years.  In fact, the last defense Juan Castillo was a high school defense back in 1989. And he was not even the coordinator.

This has left many Eagles fans wondering what could the Eagles have possibly been thinking over the past three weeks. More to the point, what were the interviews like? Was everyone else so bad that the Eagles had no choice but to promote from within? Well fortunately for all, I know people with ties to the Eagles organization, and they have generously provided me with transcripts of the interviews that I have taken liberties of posting below. And honestly, after reading them, I am not sure if they give us answers as much as they create more questions.

Andy Reid: Well fellas, it's time we find our next coordinator. Who's ready?

Howie Roseman: I am.

Joe Banner: Yeah, sure, whatever.

Jeffrey Lurie: This isn't going to cost me a lot of money, is it?

Reid: Before we get started, can someone get me a deep dish pizza?

Banner: But sir, you just had two cheesesteaks and a large fry.

Reid: Get me the pizza now!

Banner: I'll order it right away. My question of "who's your all-time favorite Eagle?" can wait.

Reid: Let's bring in our first candidate!

Jim Mora, Jr: Yes! Let's do this! I am ready to be the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles! Man, am I pumped.

Roseman: You do realize you are the only one in the room wearing shorts, don't you?

Mora, Jr.: Have I told you how excited I am about this opportunity?

(large deep dish pizza arrives)

Reid: Thank you very much, Joe.

Mora, Jr.: Is that all for you?


Mora, Jr. (audibly whispers) Fat pig.

Banner: Heh.

Reid: You think that's funny? I've been trying real hard to lose weight, and you think jokes like that are funny?

Banner: Sorry sir.

Reid: Not you. I know you were just snickering at how someone could be so audacious to show up to an interview wearing a tank top and shorts and call the person interviewing them a "fat pig." Next!

Mora, Jr.: Bu....but......I was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons! And the 2009 Seattle Seahawks! I have experience!

Roseman: Leave.

Lurie: Would he have been an cheap to afford?

Roseman: No. Now who's next?

Billy Davis: Good afternoon, gentlemen.

Reid: I don't believe I had you scheduled for an interview. You are?

Davis: Billy Davis.

Reid: Funny, your name does not sound familiar. What was your job last year?

Davis: Defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals.

Reid: Next!

Lurie: Would he have been cheap?

Roseman: Probably.

Lurie: Damnit. He's a cheap coordinator with experience, you guys are making a mistake here!

Banner: Can we get on to the next interview? I am tired and want to get home to my cat Lizzy.

Roseman: Yes, yes, we can call our next witness to the stand.

Banner: What?

Reid: He means bring in the next interviewee.

Banner: It's like you two share a brain.

Reid: But before we start, I want dessert. You mind bringing me a whole box of Chocolate Juniors?

Banner: Yeah fine whatever.

Roseman: We have someone anxiously waiting. Come on in!

Dean Pees: Good day all.

Reid: Name?

Pees: Pees. Dean Pees.

Banner: I am sure that Dean does not like having that kind of information divulged in this setting.

Pees: No. Really. My name is Dean Pees.

Roseman: Very well then. Your coaching experience?

Pees: After floating the college ranks for 24 years, I joined the New England Patriots where I served as linebackers coach from 2004-2005 and defensive coordinator from 2009. I then served as the Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach last season.

Lurie: Wait a minute? The New England Patriots? 2004? You were a part of that team? The same Patriots team whose cheap and cowardly cheating ways screwed me out of millions of dollars and even more national fame?

Pees: Uh....yeah.

Lurie: You sir, are the only kind of cheap I do not like. Get out of this office!

Roseman: Calm down, Jeffie. This is the most qualified candidate we have interviewed thus far.

Lurie: I don't care if he has the credentials of Dick LeBeau.......god I am jealous of that winning fucker........get this cheating disgrace of humanity out of my office! GET OUT!

Pees: You're strange. I'm leaving.

Reid: Mmmmm, these Chocolate Juniors are delicious. Who's next?

Juan Castillo: Hey guys!

Roseman: Hey Juan, what's up?

Castillo: I'm not quite sure how to put this, but I am here to interview for your defensive coordinator opening.

Banner: Ha! Oh, wait a minute, you are actually serious?

Castillo: Yes sir, I am. Look, this was probably a bad idea and I should not have come in here.....

Lurie: No, no, please stay. You are not going to cost me a lot of money. Let's hear what you've got.

Reid: Okay. Let's start with the basics. Can you name any players on our defense?

Castillo: Nick Cole.

Reid: What?

Castillo: Trent Cole. Trent Cole. Trent Cole. I'm so sorry I meant Trent Cole, I swear

Roseman: Very well then. Anything else you can tell us about yourself and your defense experience?

Castillo: I was an assistant at Texas A&M-Kingsville and at Kingsville A&M High School in the 1980s.

Banner: Where?

Roseman: Excellent! Those defenses were real vaunted back during your time period.

Castillo: Absolutely. We were Lone Star Conference Champions back in 1985.

Reid: Do you bring any other experience on the defensive side of the bar?

Castillo: Why yes, I do. Jim Johnson would always talk to me to make sure we were sound in terms of our pressure and blitzes. I have always considered myself very versatile. Even though I have been working with offense since 1990, I have always considered myself a defensive guy at heart.

Reid: Did you just say you would talk to Jim Johnson about defensive schemes.

Castillo: Yes, I did say that.

Reid: Congratulations. You've got the job!

Castillo: Wait a minute? Seriously? Thank you so much! You won't be disappointed I swear.

Lurie: Neither will I!

Roseman: Even though I am excited about this hire, you can't say that for sure.

Lurie: Yes, I can. He won't be costing me a lot of money.

Reid: Well now that we got that taken care of, we can sort out the minor contractual details over dinner. Who's hungry?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What The Fuck Just Happened?

I wish this was one of those funny "find the typo" posts.

Your new Eagles defensive coordinator.............former Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo. Really, this is what everyone waited three weeks for.

Juan Castillo's past experience with defense:
San Antonio Gunslingers linebacker (1984-1985)
Texas A&M-Kingsville linebackers/defensive line coach (1982-1985)
Kingsville High School linebackers/defensive line coach (1986-1989)

Uh......yeah. That's it. This guy is now defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Castillo said in a press conference today that he always considered himself a defensive guy in an offensive body, and, uh, his offensive line would always go up against Jim Johnson in practice, and yeah, this is the Eagles new defensive coordinator.

I've never seen anything like this in my life. The Eagles offensive coordinator of 12 years has just been named defensive coordinator. That's the befuddling news. The good news is Juan Castillo's replacement as offensive line coach is Howard Mudd, who is one of the best in the business. He was a consultant for the Saints last year after coordinating the Colts offensive line from the time Peyton Manning entered the league to 2009. During that time, the Colts allowed a league-low 227 sacks (Titans are the next lowest at 337 sacks in that time frame).

The Eagles have one of the best special teams coaches in football: Bobby April.
The Eagles have one of the best defensive line coaches in football: Jim Washburn
The Eagles have one of the best offensive line coaches in football: Howard Mudd

Their defensive coordinator is the former o-line coach who claims he is a defensive guy stuck with an offensive coordinator position. Like Sheil Kapadia of said today, "At some point in the last 12 years, the Eagles became one of the most unpredictable franchises in the NFL."

Even though the hiring of Mudd is going to be buried under the Castillo news, it is rather significant not only because Mudd is very good at what he does, but because him and Jim Washburn, though they spent years coaching against each other in the AFC South, are best friends who will now be coaching against each other every day in practice. I challenge you to watch this video and not like Washburn and Mudd.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Has A Philadelphia Sports Blogger Solved A Mystery The FBI Have Not Yet Solved?

I think I put this up on Twitter yesterday (I am too lazy to go back and check, especially since I tweeted so damn much yesterday), but I know I put this up on Monday's Morning Fly By at Broad Street Hockey, so any of you creepily stalk my postings on other sites, you recognize the story I am about to talk about.

It's the Mystery Of The Missing 2010 Stanley Cup Winning Puck, and the FBI have yet to solve yet, despite their best "efforts." No seriously. Looking for this hockey puck has become a matter of federal importance. Your tax dollars, ladies and gents!

I know what everyone is thinking, "why does not someone speak to Chris Pronger?" And while it is a right thought to have considering what went down last June, I can assure you that Chris Pronger does not have this puck. You can read his denial by clicking the above link, or you can watch the fantastic video compiled in the following video by Crossing Broad, who thinks he has the mystery solved. The list of prime suspects may astonish a few.

So.......has anyone ever thought about contacting Steve Miller? He may not know where it is, but I bet you can tell you who he gave it to.