Bradley Cooper and Philadelpha have a thing together. It’s hard to deny.
The 2011 People’s Sexiest Man Alive was born and raised in the area, grew up in Jenkintown and filmed his Oscar-nominated Eagles-themed movie, “Silver Linings Playbook,” in the city.
But Cooper, whose support for the Eagles ranges from outspoken to vociferous, wavered a bit when it came to two of the most prominent assets of the club.
In an exclusive interview with Metro, the hearthrob hedged his bets when it came to coach Chip Kelly and quarterback Sam Bradford, offering a lukewarm show of support for the embattled duo.
“You know, we’ll see,” Cooper told Metro. “They had a good last weekend [a 39-17 win against the Saints], but you never know until the end of the season.”
The 40-year-old graduate of Germantown Academy is solid on one thing when it comes to the Eagles — never count your chickens.
“Well, I was happy with last week, and then we have the Giants on Monday night, so fingers crossed,” Cooper told Metro. “We’re two and three, and you know, I always try to stay positive.”
While he proudly wore the green and white in “Silver Linings,” the actor was able to spare a bit football love for the long-time rival Giants, who find themselves atop the division.
“I wouldn’t say I’m not the biggest fan of the Giants,” Cooper told Metro. “I actually like Eli Manning a lot, and I was a huge Michael Strahan fan. They were an incredible team, but I’m from Philly. What do you want me to do?”
That’s a big shift from last season when Cooper mocked Big Blue ahead of the Eagles 27-0 drubbing of the Giants, saying in a promotional video that aired before the matchup: “This is more than a mid-season matchup, this is a street fight — Wall Street against Broad Street...”
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Last season, the Birds were 9-3 and looking poised to make a deep playoff run. But then, of course, the Seahawks, Cowboys and Redskins dismantled Chip Kelly’s team, as the Eagles finished 1-3 and missed the playoffs in heart-breaking fashion.
A year ago the Giants and Eagles had a weird slate of games together.
In the aforementioned four-touchdown drubbing last October, the Eagles played arguably their best game of the year. In a season-ending victory (a meaningless one at that, costing the Eagles draft positioning), the Birds were able to win, but not thanks to a depleted secondary.
“I think we had our best defensive game and worst defensive game against the Giants in the two different games,” Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis told the media Wednesday.
“The last game they threw it over 50 times and over 400 yards of passing. If you can limit the number of times Eli, if he throws it is that many times — he’s going to put eight to 10 of them vertically on you, you have to make the plays that he goes vertical with.”
The Eagles have a new-look group of cornerbacks and safeties to combat the Giants bevy of vertical weapons, guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle, with only safety Malcolm Jenkins returning from last season. But the ball-hawks on Philly’s secondary might not be able to induce turnovers as easily as they have been thus far in their 2-3 campaign.
“You know where [Manning] is ranked in the NFL in getting the ball out of his hands? Third,” Davis said. “So once again, it’s a high efficiency, quick ballout-of-the-quarterback’s hand offense. And again, they have only had, I think, four sacks maybe and two interceptions, so Eli not only makes a quick read and gets it out of his hands, if there is any pressure, he throws it away.”
Whether the Eagles are able to rush the passer the way they’d like, or get to the ball after it leaves Mannning’s hands is yet to be seen.
But in order for this Giants squad to resemble the one Cooper remembers so fondly from their 2011 Super Bowl run, they’ll have to beat the Eagles. Something they didn’t do last year.
Philly has won seven of the last 10 match-ups between the two rivals, dating back to 2010. The all-time series edge lies in the Giants’ favor, 85–79–2.