Thanks to a lot of people, especially my cousin Joe Lawless and pals Anthony Verna and John McBride, here is my first blog. I’ll consider eventually making this much for design friendly, but for now, this is my first attempt. Hope you find it enjoyable. Full disclaimer: If you’re not a sports fan, you might want to consider stopping right here. You‘ve been officially warned. Okay, as my pal Dave Litwin would say, moving on.
I’m a huge believer in the concept of positive and negative energy, namely the debatable benefits of reverse psychology. As many on-line friends know, during key athletic contests that involve local professional franchises, I will sometimes say things like this game is over, no way we can overcome this, what in God’s name was he thinking just now, where the heck is the effort, etc.
Basically voicing what millions of others are thinking as well.
Since most of us, for better or worse, are connected by the blessing/curse of instant communication, there’s very little difference between typing a message on a cell phone/computer or uttering a gruff, instinctive response among buddies at a nearby tavern or house party.
So when I supply verbal invective, it’s primarily intended to relieve internal tension and serve as a preemptive blow for what appears to be an inevitably disappointing outcome. Some will take it seriously and become indignant, chastising me with a reminder to “keep the faith” or “be a real fan” or “hey, there’s so much time left.” All of that may be true, but it’s irrelevant because coping with competitive sports is a largely personal matter. If a person doesn’t appreciate an Internet post, then stop reading, or delete the conversation, or un-friend, etc.
Having been a lifetime resident/undergraduate educated/graduate school educated/employed Philadelphian (yes, suburbs are STILL Philadelphia for true-blue Philly supporters), I reserve the right to say what I want and how I want to say it as it pertains to the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, or Flyers. Such are the “benefits” when, beginning at about the age of nine, you devote precious time, money, and hopes into your sports teams. When you love someone and they love you, you’re allowed significant space to vent, regardless of its obnoxious content.
It’s like going to the casinos. You’re not going to win all the time; in fact, you’re most likely going to lose. But . . . maybe you’ll hit the jackpot, but if you don’t play, or in this case follow/watch/invest, you’ll never understand the heavenly experience of watching Bob Boone catch Strike Three on October 21, 1980, or Carlos Ruiz do the same 28 years and eight nights later, or Doctor J, Mo Cheeks, and the late Moses Malone sweep the Lakers in 1983, or lip-read Bobby Clark, looking beyond exquisite minus his front teeth, exclaim “Hey Bernie!” followed by a wink after the exquisite 1-0 win over the Bruins on May 19, 1974, and then a surreal repeat over the Buffalo Sabres the following spring.
Which brings us to our beloved Philadelphia Eagles and the injury gods that threaten our optimism.
When venerable Carson Wentz’s season ended on a tackle inside an end zone on a play that didn’t even count, doomsday suddenly overwhelmed the Delaware Valley. Even the most confident fans metaphorically destroyed their Super Bowl tickets, and their palpable despondency remained even after Birds turned a sure defeat into a epically vital win over the Rams.
Before Nick Foles, once considered an up and comin’ superstar in Eagles’ green, had even thrown a pass, very few gave the Eagles a chance to still do something astonishing in 2017 . . . or, dare we ponder it . . . February 4, 2018, in Minneapolis.
Which brings me back to energy.
While difficult to believe and logistically ridiculous, Carson Wentz’s injury may have given the Eagles a better chance at winning a Super Bowl. Before you scoff, give me a minute.
With Wentz behind center, the offensive line had developed a tendency to take some plays off, figuring that the Fred Astaire imitator would find a way to avoid a sack. The receivers intermittently lollygagged because, heck, Carson would buy enough time to deliver a strike to someone else or use his legs to move the sticks. Even the vaunted defense figured they could rely on a Wentz-orchestrated offense to outscore any opponent when they were having an off day. And Doug Pederson? Ah, abandon the running game and go for it on fourth down in risky situations, cause ol’ Number 11 would surely rise to the occasion.
Now? Any missed assignment by the offensive line will provide immediate fodder for a color analyst’s telestrator. The defense can no longer rest on its deserved laurels. And Pederson needs to be smarter. Feed the three-headed backfield monster a steady supply of handoffs, especially Jay Ajayi. Run some clock . . . lots of clock. And when it’s fourth and three inside the 35, kick the field goal.
The result, I believe, will be the two necessary wins to clinch home field all the way through the NFC. Next, two playoff victories, even if the foe hails from Seattle or New Orleans or Minnesota or Atlanta or Green Bay or Carolina or Los Angeles or, pass the Maalox, Dallas.
Then? All bets are off. If the Philadelphia Eagles find themselves playing the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, or Los Angeles Chargers (don’t laugh – they’re one of the best teams in the league right now), they will accrue so much positive energy from not only the local E.A.G.L.E.S. zealots, but from all across the country, that anything is possible.
Philadelphia Eagles 27, AFC Representative 23.
You heard it here first. Don’t believe it?
Think positively . . .