(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Eagles 26 Colts 24: Observations from Lincoln Financial Field

I had great seats today at The Linc for the match-up between the Colts and the Eagles, and the following are my observations:

1. Many fans must get to the parking lots really early, in RVs no less, making a day at the football game. Some of these vehicles are really decked out, reminding me of a line by Judge Smails in Caddyshack. There was this one scene where Judge Smails walked by a bunch of golfers who were playing cards in the men's grill after their round. These were the regulars, the men who were at the club a lot. As he was walking by them, he asked emphatically, "Don't you people have homes?" Touche.

2. The Eagles' fans are perhaps the most desperate lot I've seen at a ball game, perhaps ever. You can see the hope, anticipation and anxiety on their faces from the moment you get on the Broad Street subway to when you leave the stadium. Every play, it seems, is like watching your closer try to get a four-out save to clinch the World Series. There, you hang your emotions on every pitch. Here, they hang their emotions on every play.

3. Andy Reid is now 12-0 coming off a bye week and now 1-3 against the Colts, a team that he (obviously) hadn't beaten until today. Say this for Reid -- his team comes out of the bye week smoking, at least in the first quarter, but old habits die hard. He wasn't great at making adjustments all game (although his offense to eat up the clock at the end of the game -- which involved end arounds by DeSean Jackson -- was creative), and his time management still leaves a lot to be desired.

4. The officials were horrid today. True, the Eagles' offensive line moved more like statues on roller skates than bulldozers, but the call on the hit on Austin Collie was bad, and the call on Trent Cole near the end of the game was unforgivable. Brush Peyton Manning and you'll get sentence to the NFL's version of the gas chamber. Trent Cole didn't commit a personal foul, and instead of the Eagles' celebrating a big stop near the end of the game, the Colts got a first down. Then there was a missed facemask call on a tackle of LeSean McCoy, and the back judge, who had an awful day and will realize it when he reviews the tape, failed to call a mugging on Eagles' WR Riley Cooper in the first quarter on the drive after the Birds scored their first touchdown.

5. The Eagles' running game was not good, and the Eagles' pass defense was almost absent. As for the former, give the Colts' defense credit, and, as for the latter, give Peyton Manning credit. He's Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and Merlin all wrapped up in one. He threaded a pass over Stewart Bradley's hands into the mitts of tight end Jacob Tamme that was a thing of beauty, and he threw a beautiful ball to many a wide receiver running a slant pattern all game. The guy is awesome.

6. Michael Vick saved the Eagles today. He didn't get much pass protection, spun out of trouble a few times, and had some big runs for first downs that changed the tenor of the game.

7. Saw all sorts of jerseys today -- Randall Cunningham, Wes Hopkins, Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb, Ron Jaworski, among others. No Chuck Bednarik, Norm Van Brocklin or Tommy MacDonald (so there's an idea for Mitchell & Ness to think about).

8. Walked by the old Spectrum today. Yesterday, for a small fee of $25, you could go in there and haul out a bunch of stuff they wanted to get rid of -- folding chairs, a popcorn machine, a goal net, and other such valuables that, no doubt, would cause the people you live with either to thank you for adorning your man cave of a basement or wonder if they should feature you on the TV show about hoarders. Saw many a great game there -- the 76ers-Celtics rivarly, Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup finals (where the Flyers clinched their first Stanley Cup), the 1976 and 1981 Final Fours, NCAA regionals, you name it. Still remember the great cadence of the public address announcer Dave Zinkoff and the cigar smoke rising to the rafters. Once more, another building that my father took me too will be torn down. Thankfully, good memories far outlast thes structures that helped create them.

9. A very grey Bill Bergey was signing autographs inside The Linc today and interacted wonderfully with my ten year-old. Big guy, big hitter, big personality, all for the good.

10. Being at the Linc made me wonder whether professional football is the (somewhat) socialized form of war or the human version of violent video games. Lots of bad language, especially for a ten year-old to hear. The harshest thing I yelled was to the back judge, where I suggested a) that he shouldn't quit his day job or b) that he and his crew mates were stealing money. All in the King's English, I might add. And yes, he was close enough that he could have heard something.

So, the Eagles and the Colts are both 5-3. The Colts had their moments, but overall the Eagles outplayed them. And yet, with 40 seconds to go they got the ball back, and for a moment, as a typical Philadelphia fan, I thought that Peyton Manning had yet another drive in him to get Adam Vinatieri close enough to kick another clutch field goal. But this time, the magic man didn't have that final spell to crush the spirits of the Eagles and their faithful. And a year or two from now most won't remember that it was close, that Austin Collie got hurt or that there were too many penalties. They'll remember just this -- the Eagles won.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey now ... down in New Orleans we can accept the Eagles smacking of our golden homeboy when the planets are in alignment (and his brother is doing so well anyway); but c'mon Sports Prof, where's the detailed coverage of the Ivy homeboys...? I'm talkin' bout the Penn Princeton game on Sat.?

UR prodigal thorn and fellow Ben Franklinophile... NS

5:31 PM  
Blogger Bomber Girl said...

Observation Number 2 is right on the money, for sure. Not that the others aren't!

4:58 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Makes for good theater, though, better than "Jersey Shore." You have to be there to experience it, though. Kind of like "Apocalypse Now" meets "Rocky."

8:13 PM  

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