Author Archives: Mike Cloran

Eagles Writing The Script For Their Own Underdog Story

November 2nd, 2014 Week 8 of the season and the Eagles are 5-2. Season is looking promising. They are tied 7-7 with seven seconds left in the first quarter against the 4-4 Texans. It’s third and sixteen from the Texans 47 yard line. Nick Foles drops back and is scrambling looking for someone to get open. From behind comes Whitney Mercilus and drives Foles right in the turf.  Nine yard loss and now backed up to their own 44 yard line. It’s a tough loss for a once promising drive. The Eagles did not just lose nine yards on this play though; they also lost their starting Quarterback for the season. Nick Foles heads to the locker room and is diagnosed with a broken collarbone. Mark Sanchez replaces him and the Eagles miss the playoffs.  This was not just the end of Nick Foles season; it was supposed to be the end of his Eagles career. Not many people thought Foles would be the quarterback that would lead the Eagles to their first Lombardi trophy and former Eagles coach Chip Kelly was included in that. He would go on to trade Foles to the Rams for Sam Bradford that offseason. Fast forward to this week and Nick Foles is now the starting Quarterback for the Eagles in Super Bowl 52. Nick Foles’ journey back to the Eagles starting Quarterback is not just an underdog story; it resembles the storyline of a Hollywood blockbuster.  The crazy part is he is not the only one on this team with a story like this.

Let’s talk about Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Since the moment he got hired majority of people (myself included) doubted he would be the coach to take the Eagles back to the Super Bowl. Doug Pederson was not a name that had been mentioned by anyone as a rumored potential head coach. It came out of nowhere when they hired him. Add on the fact that Pederson was coming over from being Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator and now you got Eagles fans and the local media worried. Everyone jumped straight to the worst: “He is going to be a clone of Andy Reid”, “Andy never got the job done and Doug won’t either”, “He doesn’t have enough experience in the NFL to be a head coach”. Look when a city has never won a Super Bowl especially a city like Philadelphia everyone expects the worst. At the beginning of this season Michael Lombardi from the Ringer called Doug Pederson the least qualified coach to receive a head coaching job. Media outlets from all over had the Eagles around a measly 7-9 or 8-8 range and giving Doug no credit to get this team to be a contender in the NFC or even the NFC East. Also rumors surfaced during training camp that Jim Schwartz was gunning for his job. Doug has no shot of leading this team; except he has done that and more. Not only has he led this team to the Super Bowl, but he has done it having his players play selfless football. Everyone believing in the team and not in their own personal achievement is nothing short of incredible. This team has 53 men on the roster and to get every single one to check their egos at the door and play selfless football is a huge credit to Doug Pederson and the coach he is. He believes in his players and the next one stepping up if one goes down. Tell Eagles fans at the beginning of the season that Doug Pederson would lead a team that lost Jason peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks and MVP candidate Carson Wentz for the season to the Super Bowl and you would be labeled the village idiot. I mean how could you not react that way? It is insane to think the Eagles are one win away from their first Super Bowl with all that has gone against them, but here they are and Doug is the main reason for that. His journey these past two years is a true underdog story and fits right in with the city of Philadelphia. He is writing his own script and is just getting started.

Then there is Brandon Graham. Drafted with the 13th pick in the 2010 NFL draft and was immediately labeled a stretch pick. No one thought he should have gone that high. Eagles fans were especially mad they did not get Earl Thomas. Graham was already off to a bad start in Philly. His first few years he was a slow developer and meanwhile up in New York Jason Pierre-Paul who was drafted two picks after him was turning into a star. Graham was starting to get labeled a bust and being written off. Over the past few years Graham has done nothing but silence the doubters. He is one of the top pass rushers in the league now and is part of the best front four in football. Graham has now become a fan favorite here as well. He is constantly making appearances and interacting with the fans. He has embraced the city and in return they have embraced him. A guy who was about to be cast off is now one of the heroes for this team. He could have continued the narrative that everyone had already written for him, but he never gave up and is writing his own narrative that may end with him hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

So many players on this team are writing their own underdog story. Mychal Kendricks and Jason Kelce were almost traded and now are huge contributors for this team. Even the city of Philadelphia in general constantly feels like the underdog. Philly loves a good underdog story and if you go up and down this roster it is full of them. That’s what makes this team special. They continue to prove the doubters wrong and write their own script. Now this team is one win away from finishing this season’s underdog script with the proper ending for these players, this franchise and especially this city.

Written by Donald D’agostino

Image Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Preparing for the Worst

Playoff football is the greatest thing to walk into my life since 2013, and it’s always brought a high better than any drug you can consume at your unemployed drug dealers house. That being said, the extreme low is inevitable, and at the very bottom of our hearts, we know pain is going to surface eventually. The idea of Championship football has torn at our hearts the way Will Smith’s father in and out presence did in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  We know that he’s out there and obtainable, but he hasn’t been around often, and when he does arrive, we know it’s not for long. The end of the 2017-2018 NFL season will be right there waiting to walk in our door and end the buffalo chicken dip bangers, but don’t you worry because I’m here to help. With these tips, I will help you leading up to NFL Saturday, and I will help you use whatever anger to your advantage.

Watch Sad Movies All Week to Help Desensitize Yourself From Pain

I’m talking Titanic, Schindler’s List, Manchester by the Sea, Mystic River. Watch movies that give you no faith in humanity. Or just watch a lot of happy movies, but turn them off before the happy ending. Get yourself as depressed as possible for several reasons. This will soften the potential blow of any Nick Foles pick six, and the idea of the Eagles getting a better draft pick will seem like a win. At night, walk over to your nearest Nursing home and just sit there for an hour. This will probably suck more than an Eagles loss. Don’t let the Eagles loss on Saturday be your rock bottom.

Hit Rock Bottom

Yes, this was at the end of the last step, but it’s very important we as Eagles fans make sure we hit rock bottom before the game. Don’t think your job is as secure as you’d like? Give a couple of unexcused absences a shot and see where it takes you. Don’t let pain and suffering bring the game to you, bring the game TO THEM.

As for game day, keep up with the obvious activities. The 4 O’Clock start gives you about three more hours of drinking time, so make sure to manage your time wisely. Get to the tailgate or house party extremely early, make sure your girlfriends make plenty of jello shots, and make the switch from light beer to non-light beer. It’s playoff football, so make sure you drink accordingly.

During the Game

Who knows how this game goes. We could get off to a great start, or Nick Foles could stumble around like your drunk uncle at a family reunion and fail to complete any meaningful passes. If we are down the entire game, do the obvious and blame it all on Nick Foles. That’s the easy one. Now if we are getting blown out at any point, like three touchdowns worth, it’s a good idea to say some very nice things about Donald Trump out loud. We all know wasting your time arguing about sports is stupid and pointless, so make sure you find yourself in a never ending, and unwinnable argument about politics. This is almost guaranteed to make everyone feel better, and distracted about the Eagles losing.

If the Eagles win, that’s great! Just repeat these steps for the next week again.

But..

If the Eagles Lose

Smash someones car:

This could be really fun. I don’t know how I would go about doing this, but angry ex girlfriends do this all the time, so it must be worth it. This would certainly occupy my mind with extreme guilt and shame, so it would work in terms of taking my mind off of the Eagles. Maybe get a couple of bricks and go to town. Get your friends and family to join in and make this an exciting group effort. If the police ask you about it, just deny the whole thing and hope no cameras are around.

Whatever happens Saturday night, just remember that Carson Wentz is still breathing clean air and he’s only 25 years old of age.

Go Birds, and for the love of god, please prepare for the worst my friends.

Written by Mike Cloran

 

 

 

Tempered Expectations: A Terse Review of the Sixers Thus Far

Quick side note- FUCK Enes Kanter.

 

Going into the season my guess for playoff rankings was this; Cavs, Wizards, Celtics, Raptors, Sixers, Miami. The order is clearly wrong but, when healthy, there’s a clear disparity between the top 6 and rest of the east. I think if we enter playoffs healthy we’re in that top 6.

The Knicks have surprised but have had one of, if not THE most favorable schedule in the NBA. 16 of their 20 next games are away, and to be blunt, they are about to get fucked. Our schedule has been slightly on the tougher and recent shitty play can be attributed to JJ, RoCo, and Embiid being out or not 100%, creating little cause for concern. I think we end up at 6 or 7 playing the Cavs or Wizards.

To review, it’s been as expected. That’s crazy to say because like half our team hasn’t hit puberty yet, but a lot of play has not exceeded potential. Embiid is obviously capable of being one of the best bigs to ever touch a basketball. We’re a vastly different team when he’s on the floor.

Ben has been… fucking I don’t know. He’s one of if not the best rookies the league has seen in a decade. He clearly has the talent, confidence, and work ethic to be phenomenal. But sometimes we get a little precum. He’s a new player, playing a position he has never tried before. He’s leaf we ding every major statistical category but we still want more from him? I guess we can just sense what he’s capable from within his glimpses of basketball genius.

JJ and RoCo have made me borderline genocidal. They shine and dim to such extremes I think about killing puppies. When they’re low they look like Andre Roberson and Jimmer Fredette. When they’re high they look like Shawn Kemp and Steve Kerr. Their floor spacing and defense will need to be on if we want to be successful.

TJ has been TJ. Love that guy. Never goes particularly cold, and like once a month he will drop 12 straight points for you and win you a game. Complete anomaly.

The rest- Booker has been the scrappy and hardworking, but turnover prone guy we expected. A great addition. Bayless has been par for the course but seems to fuck up consistently at the worst of worst times. I miss Nik and hope Jahlil gets run over by a bus. Amir has been a decent bench man, adding some post plays when we need. Markelle please come back I need you.

This is not an analytical article, more of a general review. We’re clearly poised for an exceptional future, but unless everyone is playing their absolute best basketball come April then I don’t see us moving past the 2nd round. If you read this whole blog, you’re a bigger idiot than me, but if you did I’ll end on this. mmmmmmGGOooooooooooOOOOoooOOoooOo Birds

 

Written by Chuckie

Image credit- sports.yahoo.com

 

Time for the Inevitable

If you have looked through any of my Flyers pieces, I would hope that you would have retracted information that helped you remember how strongly I support Ron Hextall running this team in his smart looking glasses. I understand this year, and even past this year isn’t going to go as smoothly as we all hope and dream it will. We aren’t paying any free agents, we aren’t trading for any proven veterans, and we are relying on the majority of team growth to come in house. In the NHL, that’s the right way to do it, but no doubt one of the tougher ways to go about building your hockey team. In the past, we would make a trade to shake up the lineup and send a message, but for far too long, management abused this tactic and left us empty on the farm, having to survive with scraps and whatever the good, not contending great nucleus could give us. What else can we do to right the ship? It’s obvious you idiot, we fire Dave Hakstol!

Last year, I was almost too patient. I knew making the playoffs would have been like finding a date with a solid 8. As a solid 4, I’m sure it’s possible to land that, but I know a lot of things need to happen for things to go right. This year, the Flyers aren’t as ugly. They are younger, and stronger at every position. I understand there is going to a rough patch here and there, but I don’t want my head coach to justify them by counting how many points we got when we lost.

I am the one who’s supposed to be counting points, not you Dave. I don’t want my hockey coach telling his players it’s okay to lose in overtime, I want him making threats on his life.

Last year, I let Hakstol sitting Konecny for several games slide. This year, he still hasn’t figured out how to use his players effectively. Sam Morin has only played one game. He has put Brandon Manning and Valtteri Filppula on the ice at the same time in overtime. Knowing we were playing a fast paced team in Pittsburgh, Hakstol decided to sit Jordan Weal, and add Jori Lehtera and Dale Weise to the lineup. Our top guys do their job, but once their duty is done, there is no spark throughout the rest of the lineup and we have blown wayyy too many third period leads. By the time the game is in overtime, forget it. It’s like watching Remember the Titans, only in the end we completely forget about the titans and we lose.

If Dave Hakstol is going to continue to sit some of the better, younger players instead of helping them see through their slumps, fail to succeed in challenging calls, and fail to put the best guys on the ice, I don’t want him. I haven’t seen any signs of him changing, so it’s time to approach the inevitable and let him go.

Written by Mike Cloran

College Basketball Preview

College Basketball is right around the corner and nobody really will give a shit until March hits. If you aren’t one of those people and love watching from day 1, thank god. You probably aren’t reading this though. Anyways, November 10th we get to start another journey of the craziest sports league out there. As they say “College Basketball: Where the unexpected becomes the ordinary”. So I can’t wait to see what we have in store and on the shelves this year. Who makes the jump this season? Who takes the dump this season? Go ahead and take a look.

Top 25:

  1. Duke– Five potential All-Americans on the floor for Duke this year. All about if Coach K can get them to gel together. Should be fun until they need to substitute.
  2. Arizona– Returning potential Wooden Award winner Allonzo Trier, along with maybe the best recruiting class this year, this should be the year Sean Miller gets his first Final Four appearance.
  3. Wichita State– Led by head coach Gregg Marshall, and returning everybody, Wichita State looks to own the state of Kansas in college basketball this year.
  4. Kansas– Devonte Graham looks to have a major breakout year and give Kansas their 156th Big 12 Championship.
  5. Villanova– With the loss of Hart and Jenkins, Villanova looks to Jay Wright to develop his senior-less team (besides the white bench dudes).
  6. Michigan State– As Tom Izzo actually tried to get Bridges out of college, he for some reason chose to stay which I love. Obviously a dumb decision, but he might just want to enjoy the college basketball (best league) days.
  7. Saint Mary’s– If you liked basketball in the 1930’s, this team is for you. Emmett Narr and Jock Landale attempt to run the West this year and bring back Delly’s Gaels.
  8. Cincinnati– Bringing in the best transfer in college basketball, Cane Broome, Cincy expects to make a jump and bring entertainment to the offensive side.
  9. North Carolina– Maybe if Joel Berry never lost in 2k, I would have them ranked a little higher. Expect Roy to throw his jacket a couple times this year as it will be difficult to find his team this year. 
  10. Notre Dame– Big Bonzie in the frontcourt will cause bad matchups for opposing teams. Watch out for the Irish.
  11. West Virginia– Press Virginia brings back their backcourt and that’s all they need with Huggins in charge.
  12. USC– I really wanted to rank this team higher as they bring in a Duke transfer (Thornton) this year and return stars Metu, Melton, and McLaughlin but I like them right where they are.
  13. Florida– Injuries in the frontcourt may slow down Florida this year but fired up Mike White coaching will keep this team on the radar.
  14. Oklahoma– Oklahoma brings in the 23rd (best) recruit this year in Trae Young as he will make the splash this year. Potentially the best shooter we will see on a college basketball floor… ever.
  15. Kentucky– Calipari will struggle with this team as he didn’t land six top ten recruits this year.
  16. Seton Hall– Returning three star players, Seton Hall will be really good this year. Not much else to say.
  17. Virginia– With the best coach in college basketball, no way this team falls out of the top 25. Expect a Kyle Guy breakout season.
  18. SMU– Bringing in high-scoring transfer McMurray, SMU looks to repeat being a good team season after season in the American conference.
  19. Northwestern– Bryant McIntosh will steal the show this year and bring them to their 2nd tourney appearance.
  20. Minnesota– With the non-cheating Pitino coaching, Minnesota brings back a solid portion of the team this season and looks to make a leap.
  21. Gonzaga– They don’t have the best looking team this year but it just doesn’t feel right if Gonzaga wasn’t good. Expect Tillie and Hachimura to breakout this year.
  22. Purdue– The big Haas looks to tower over all big men this season and fill in for Biggie Swanigan.
  23. Texas A&M– Robert Williams returning makes this team worth watching this year.
  24. Xavier– Bluiett looks to make his name and get buckets for the Musketeers this year
  25. Miami– Larranaga looks to hype up his great, great grandchildren this year and make another tourney push.

Still good: TCU, Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, Missouri, Baylor

Teams to watch out for: Rhode Island, Temple, Marquette, Alabama, St. Bonaventure

Not there year: Louisville, UCLA, Michigan

Deep Sleepers: Oakland, Middle Tennessee, UT Arlington, Harvard

 

All-American Teams

All-American First Team: Allonzo Trier (Arizona), Devonte Graham (Kansas), Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Jock Landale (Saint Mary’s)

All-American Second Team: Trae Young (Oklahoma), Joel Berry (North Carolina), Grayson Allen (Duke), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Robert Williams (Texas A&M)

All-American Third Team: Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Landry Shamet (Wichita State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Marvin Bagley (Duke), Michael Porter (Missouri)

 

All-Conference Teams

ACC First Team: Joel Berry* (UNC), Kyle Guy (Virginia), Grayson Allen (Duke), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Marvin Bagley (Duke)

Pac 12 First Team: Jordan McLaughlin (USC), Allonzo Trier* (Arizona), DeAnthony Melton (USC), Reid Travis (Stanford), DeAndre Ayton (Arizona)

Big 12 First Team: Devonte Graham* (Kansas), Trae Young (Oklahoma), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Vladimir Brodziansky (TCU), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas)

Big 10 First Team: Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern), Anthony Cowan (Maryland), Miles Bridges* (Michigan State), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin) Isaac Haas (Purdue)

Big East First Team: Jalen Brunson* (Villanova), Marcus Howard (Marquette), Kelan Martin (Butler), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)

American First Team: Cane Broome (Cincinnati), Landry Shamet* (Wichita State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Obi Enechionyia (Temple), Tacko Fall (UCF)

Atlantic 10 First Team: Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure), Shavar Newkirk (Saint Joe’s), E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island), Justin Tillman (VCU), Peyton Aldridge* (Davidson)

SEC First Team: Chris Chiozza (Florida), Colin Sexton (Alabama), Kevin Knox (Kentucky), Michael Porter (Missouri), Robert Williams* (Texas A&M)

Mid-Major First Team: Emmett Naar (Saint Mary’s), Giddy Potts (Middle Tennessee), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Jock Landale (Saint Mary’s), Mike Daum (South Dakota State)

Wooden Award Winner: Allonzo Trier

Coach of the Year: Gregg Marshall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Pat Cloran

Remembering the Doc

It’s so weird feeling pain about a man you never knew, but the truth is Roy Halladay meant more to us than we could have possibly thought. Seeing the news on twitter today just flat out sucked. Just like Cory Lidle, Roy Halladay died in a plane just after getting his pilots license. Cole Hamels was a great Phillie, but Roy Halladay is without a doubt the most dominant pitcher I have ever seen. Other than the 2008 World Series, Roy Halladay accounted for just about every other important milestone attached to the Phillies in the best era of baseball we probably ever had. The Four Aces..I mean he was the clear #1 on one of the best pitching staffs of all time.

As sports fans, we like talented players, but we love guys with swagger, confidence, and grit. The Doc had that, and it was almost a guaranteed dub when he walked out onto the mound.

I mentioned grit, and yeah…this dude is first ballot in the grit hall of fame. Even when the guy started to decline in his mid thirties, you could just tell he was doing absolutely everything he could to try and contribute. In that rough 2013 season, he scratched and crawled his way back to the mound after shoulder surgeries and a tough battle with the flu, even pitching one day when he had a fever high enough worthy of hospitalization. He left no stone untouched with whatever he did. Throughout his entire career he kept in contact with a sports psychologist, and he worked out a lot.

“I can still remember the first day we met. It was 5:45am on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said “No I just finished my workout” I knew right then- he was the real deal”  – Chase Utley

I’ll never forget where I was for both his perfect game and the no hitter against the Reds in the playoffs. The perfect game came out of nowhere. I was hosting a viewing party for game 1 of the 2010 Cup Finals in my backyard and just remember my dad coming outside and giving me updates by the inning. By the time it was the 6th, it became a constant back and forth of both games. Even though the Flyers lost, it was one of the nights I will always remember vividly.

The worst part about all of this is the family. I mean everything you hear about him as a father, friend, coach, and human being just make this so much harder. I just hope his family knows Roy lived life as close to perfect that you can live it. I mean even right now, and tonight, he’s bringing back so many good times and goosebumps to Philadelphia fans who are watching his highlights over and over again on social media and the news. He is one of the best baseball players to wear the pinstripes, and the Docs legend will live on.

R.I.P Doc.

Written by Mike Cloran

GAMETIME

For the first time since the birth of Jesus, Thursday night football is putting on a game worthy of my time. Carson “Perfect Human Being” Wentz vs. Cam “I Hate Female Reporters” Newton should be a good one guys. Cam might have gotten them some bad PR, and possibly some bad karma thrown his way from the football goddesses, but Christian McCaffrey got them that good karma to balance it out. So leave both teams at even strength on the karma board.

Damnit..could you imagine putting Christian McCaffrey and Carson Wentz in a film room? Oh well.

Anyway, Bovada has us at +3 on the road.  While I like those odds, I still feel like 5-1 is way too good to be true. With Lane Johnson and his BADass goatee out of the game, other aspects of this team are going to have to step up. I need a Jordan Hicks pick 6 tonight, maybe a safety or two, and a couple long bombs from Jake Elliot. That should do it for me. Oh, and if Nelson Agholor scores a touchdown he HAS to dab all over Carolina. Maybe even run over to the Carolina bench and do it right in Cam’s face.

Whatever happens tonight, I like where this team is positioned. 5-1 would be (borat voice) very nicce, but going home 4-2 with Lane back, and Darby getting close would still have us right on track. Football is so fun man.

It’s now time to go cook some body parts of dead animals and drink a lot of light beer.

Speaking of beer, pop on the Eagles power hour before kickoff to add some volume to your shouts toward the T.V

Go Birds baby!

Written by Mike Cloran

Dandy Andy (AGAIN)

“Whew.” That was the text my mother sent me just minutes after the Eagles squeaked by in their 26-24 shootout victory against the Chargers this evening. My mother has always been an Eagles fan, and I have spent many a Sunday afternoon screaming at the T.V. with her. But this time she was definitely right. Despite our awesome record, there are still plenty of things to be worried about.
The defense looked incredibly sloppy. Crippled with injuries, they were exposed once again by a staunch receiving core. I really can’t fathom how Keenan Allen has made it this far without hurting himself, but I am happy for him.

When healthy, he is a coverage nightmare. He had 138 yards receiving paired with 114 and a TD from Tyrell Williams. This is going to continue to be a theme until Darby comes back, and this is inherently putting pressure on the offense to score, but this week the offense answered the call.
This run game is freakin great. The Chargers are ranked 31st in the league when it comes to run defense, and the Eagles broke them down. Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood are providing great depth at running back, and watching Blount run over people is exactly what the fan base had hoped for. When he rumbled, bumbled and stumbled and then stiff-armed that guy into the depths of the turf, I was awestruck. This ground pound opens up opportunities for Carson, and this offense looked great on the first four drives. We managed to run 6 whole minutes off the clock, with just a two- point lead. This is the most dangerous weapon our team has, and say a prayer that we continue to use it in this way.
Torrey Smith really seems to suck at football, or so I thought. He came out with a tweet today expressing his frustrations, and I don’t hate him nearly as much for it now. The guy wants to be great, and Carson will continue to give him opportunities. Four drops in four games are still kind of brutal though. Nelson continues to prove his worth, and those like three targets he gets each game are almost always receptions in crucial moments, and it is wonderful to see how he has grown.

The offense stalled about midway into the third quarter, and we scored like a million field goals. I know this guy Elliott is a legend, but damn can we stop riding him this hard. We don’t want his leg to fall off.
The Eagles are still working out the kinks with game management, and this defense will continue to keep opponents in games. But if we are able to use the run game to our advantage, and Fletcher Cox comes back on defense, we will be fine. The Cardinals are a team with a decimated offensive line and no David Johnson. I hope we pound them into the dirt.
 

Written by Andrew Masterson