Author Archives: John Renzi (@Broadway_Johnny)

The Power of Belief

The Average Joes vs Globo Gym. Charlie Kelly vs. the rats. Me vs. gravity. Moses vs. the Pharaohs. I think you get the picture.

I could talk about X’s and O’s or the Brady-Belichick Axis of Evil taking an elephant sized dump on our collective dream a decade ago. Sprinkle in something about how the entire Chip Kelly era felt like being on the business end of a level 10 case of blue balls. Maybe even the fact that I didn’t realize until yesterday that the plane tickets I drunkenly bought to Minneapolis after we took the Cowboys behind the shed in November have 10 hours of layovers in the exact opposite direction of Minnesota.

Consider this: fuck all of that stuff. I’m not going to tell you what you already know, I’m going to tell you what you already forgot. We’ve been written off at every single turn this season and have defied the odds at every step toward the Lombardi. Do the power of belief and thinking things into existence actually work? I don’t know, that’s a question better suited to your weird aunt. What I do know is that the alcohol-fueled irrational belief that’s been behind every Philly playoff run is on steroids, we all feel like human hurricanes, and that last Sunday night Broad Street looked a green-dyed Purge sequel.

In December I said it was time to dig in and believe in something.

Tempered Expectations and Why God Isn’t Dead

Well guess what you simpletons, here we fuckin are. It’s no longer time to temper expectations and hedge against disappointment. It’s time to double down on that divined belief and get in people’s faces about it. Be the asshole in the Eagles jersey every other fanbase so desperately wants you to be. This is the Philadelphia sports tradition, and it’s precisely why Xfinity Live and McGillins are going to look like a Jameson truck crashed into a new AA chapter’s inaugural meeting regardless of what the scoreboard says when the clock hits zero.

You might be asking yourself if you should make the trek into the city for the game. The parking, drink prices, crowds… is it worth it? While we’re asking questions, let me ask you: should Christ have refused the cross? Should Rocky have stayed on the canvas? In 20 years when your kids ask where you were when we won this thing, make sure you’ll be able to say you were absolutely tanked on the art museum steps with 100,000 of your best friends. Make sure you did your imaginary part. One more game. One more time. #BelieveInSomething

Written by John Renzi

Tempered Expectations and Why God Isn’t Dead

 

You can best understand me if we start on Saturday night. I attended a Christmas party with friends, one thing lead to another, and all of a sudden I was the drunkest guy in the zip code. Being as that was, I left my phone at said party and had to drive back on Sunday morning. Someone thought it was a good idea to get a brunch crew together and soon I was once again one of tri-state area’s biggest disappointments.

You say “I don’t give a shit about any of this” and I say it’s important because I blacked the hell out and forgot anything even tangentially related to the Eagles game. That being true, I could still feel in my balls that something wasn’t right. This feeling was given credence after I woke up on a couch at 11pm, ordered an Uber after I found my car parked in, and had my driver offhandedly mention that our sweet sweet boy “busted his got damn leg”. Memories flooded back into my skull like I was a vet back in a Vietnamese jungle surrounded by Charlie.

Here’s the reality: the best we can hope for Wentz is that he makes a full physical and psychological recovery before next September. I think I can speak for most of the fan base when I say that he’s almost permanently won us over with his play and personality. Who knows how many washed up Delco football players were ready to offer up their ACL to this guy. For better or worse, he’s our messiah. It’s totally subjective, but football fans can feel in their gut whether they’re watching a good or great team. On a 3rd and 12 when he impossibly slips a collapsed pocket and zips the ball through coverage, you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Wentz was that difference. It’s undeniable that the kid has the kind of magic in him that makes an impact on every drive and can animate a whole team.

Some among us are choosing to forget this because “Big Dick” Foles has had some truly special moments as an NFL quarterback. This has led a lot of fans to act like he’s going to be the second coming of 2006 Jeff Garcia with a full head of hair and without the erectile dysfunction. The four stages of Philly fandom are apathy, a glimmer of hope, belief in the possibility of something special happening, and then soul-crushing failure. That’s what that kind of unwarranted optimism sets us up for and there’s a good reason that Foles couldn’t beat out Trevor Siemian or Brett Hundley for a job. I’ve been quoted saying as saying other not so great stuff about Nick Foles in midnight green, but here we are.

 

I’m forgetting I ever said any of that, and you’re forgetting about the four stages of fandom that always end up with you face down at Mummers mumbling “maybe next year”. I often say “believe in something”, and it’s one of those phrases I use just for the sake of making words with my mouth. I never think it means anything, but I remember in times like these that it does. A French songwriter who I don’t care to Google once said that she had two loves, her country and Paris. My two loves are this city and these fucking birds. The playoffs are next month. Time to dig in and believe in something.

Written by John Renzi

State of the Union Address on the Philadelphia Eagles

As someone who pretends to have their finger on the pulse of Eagles Nation, I have to say the past few years have been a roller coaster. Between the Dream Team, Chip “Please Fire Me” Kelly, and the seemingly rocky drafts, the fanbase’s heartbeat has felt like that coked up geriatric Miami coach’s. Today, I can confidently state it actually still feels like that, but in a way that is somehow good.

I vaguely remember a story, either from a middle school field trip or a half-watched National Treasure rerun on AMC, about Ben Franklin and whether the sun he saw was rising or setting. Everyone not named Skip Bayless knows in their bones that we’re on the way up. What I’m here to tell you isn’t just that it’s rising, it’s that no matter where you look it should be melting your goddamn face off.

On the side of the ball that wins championships, we have a different young guy step up in our secondary weekly and a linebacking corps that consistently outperforms through injuries. Any of our D-Linemen could hitch a wagon with an Irish Catholic family in it to their backs and walk the Oregon Trail, and they’re all signed until The Rock takes office in 2020.

When my pants aren’t moving at the thought of Cox or Graham sending Eli on his personalized short bus to retirement, it’s because I’m occupied with our receiver depth-chart looking more like a Belmont Stakes lineup than what last year seemed like a half dozen Vince Papaple knockoffs. As tremendously disappointing as Peters going down was, its shown the quality of an offensive line that’s still a top 10 unit. There were some gripes about a lack of identity at running back… and then Papa Howie goes shopping and gets us a Pro-Bowl caliber back for 8 new footballs and a value pack of athletic tape from Modells. We have so many guys running the ball when we’re closing out games that Michael Nutter could get a few carries and I wouldn’t notice.

All of the above is overshadowed by the six foot four inch god-fearing angel otherwise known as Carson Wentz. In a way, he’s everything our previous signal callers weren’t. Where Bradford couldn’t drive the ball down the field, Wentz will fearlessly throw it over that mountain range you’re pointing to. Where Foles stumbled around the pocket like a drunk arthritic sloth, this guy is making missed sacks look like a Harry Houdini highlight reel. And where I can’t think of a reason but am sure that Mark Sanchez is going to hell, Carson Wentz has unquestioned line cutting privileges at the pearly gates. Barely a year removed from his first NFL start in the middle of what we thought was a rebuild and he’s a handful of downfield dimes away from having the keys to the city.

When the Birds are winning, there’s a certain air around Philly on the weekends. So go to the games, get kicked out of Xfinity Live, and fall asleep on the SEPTA line you somehow made it back to. Get your free Dunkin’ coffee on Monday and sit on the toilet for 20 minutes. Maybe even secure the receipts for those dress shirts your Aunt Denise bought you on Black Friday for those job interviews you don’t have, because they “might not fit” and plane tickets to Minneapolis on February 4th aren’t getting any cheaper.

Written by John Renzi