Cataldi: I’m done rooting for lifeless Eagles
Let the record show that at 2:25 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2012, Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson shared a laugh on the sideline with the Eagles trailing, 24-7, in a pivotal game against Atlanta. It was at this precise moment that I ended my long tenure as an Eagles fan.
And I was not alone. In a matter of moments, the internet was abuzz with other Bird aficionados who had reached the breaking point with this team, and especially with this coach. If two of the highest-paid and highest-profile players didn’t give a damn about winning and losing, why should any of us?
In his 14th year as coach, Andy Reid has lost the Eagles. Never was that sad truth more obvious than Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Reid tried to revive his dying team with an old-fashioned pep talk before the first game in two weeks. His defense then allowed a 16-play, 9-minute opening drive into the wind that foreshadowed a lost afternoon.
As former Eagle Ike Reese said after the 30-17 defeat, this edition of the Eagles just doesn’t care. They are the softest team in the Andy Reid era, and the least likeable. When the going gets tough, they go home. And we have no one to blame for this travesty but Reid himself. He continues to assault the senses with stupid football decisions and then mindless explanations.
Well, I quit — and so does Vick. In the history of the NFL, has any quarterback said that “obviously” the coach was considering a change before the coach had said so himself? Or that he would support whatever decision the coach made, even before the coach had acknowledged the possibility of a change? Vick did those things, without hesitation.
It’s time for us to be brutally honest about Vick and his equally unappealing teammates. They are simply not worthy of our support. As expected, Vick has reverted to the petulant underachiever he was in his pre-prison days in Atlanta. And Jackson is no better, another me-first brat. The same goes for the invisible defensive ends, Jason Babin and Trent Cole, or the horrific offensive line.
The only Eagle who has stayed above the fray — and the criticism — is LeSean McCoy, the running back who continues to show character on a team that otherwise doesn’t have any. He said that he saw the Eagles as a team with “no pride, no heart” — although he erroneously included himself in that negative characterization.
None of this is my problem anymore because I no longer root for the Eagles, nor will I again until Andy Reid has packed his bag of tired clichés and left town for good. Everyone has a breaking point, and mine came on a rainy, windy afternoon in late October when two overpaid football players shared a chuckle while trailing by 17 points.
Hope springs eternal, or so the saying goes. Well, I have new hope for the 2012 season. I hope the Eagles lose every game.
Sixers living a lie
What it comes down to, as the Sixers open a new season, is that either they were conned or we were. Either the Lakers sent a damaged player named Andrew Bynum here last summer, or the Sixers knew what they were getting and chose not to tell their customers.
This is no way to start a new basketball season. So far, the team’s PR machine has overwhelmed the fan base with rosy remarks about the sharp-shooting Sixers, rejuvenated by an overhaul that addressed all of their major needs. And maybe there was some truth behind that blind optimism, but only while Bynum was plugging the middle of the lane with his intimidating presence.
Without Bynum, the Sixers aren’t as good as they were a season ago, when they made it to the second round of the playoffs behind defensive tenacity, some timely scoring and more than a little luck (the Derrick Rose injury).
As for Bynum, it is all but impossible to predict his availability this season because the source of information is the Sixers’ organization, which hasn’t spoken the truth since the day the 7-foot center got here. What we do know is that he has osteoarthritis, which contains the ominous word arthritis and suggests a chronic condition. Bynum turned 25 this past Saturday. He has not been on the court yet with his new team.
Against this backdrop of uncertainty, here are my predictions for the 2012-13 Sixers: They will win 50 games if Bynum plays at least 60. But they will finish under .500 if he doesn’t.
Good luck (and good health), Andrew Bynum.
Regrets, Phils fans have a few
If you watched the World Series without any pangs of regret, call a coroner immediately. You are dead.
Or at least Phillies fans should wish they were dead after having to endure the second championship in three years for San Francisco. The Giants have inferior hitting, inferior pitching and a far inferior fan base than the Phillies, but they also have Bruce Bochy, a manager who blends talents better than anyone in the game and who doesn’t squander victories with boneheaded strategy.
In the two years between World Series teams, Bochy has had to incorporate seven — seven! — new players into his everyday lineup. The only constant in his two stud teams has been catcher Buster Posey. Bochy just keeps on winning the big games, regardless of injuries, the wild spending sprees of his division rivals or bad luck.
Here’s the difference between Bochy and Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel: When ace Tim Lincecum faltered this season, Bochy didn’t care about previous Cy Young awards or even about Lincecum’s major role in their 2010 title. The manager moved the hippie pitcher to the bullpen. Would Manuel have done the same if something like that happened to Roy Halladay?
Not a chance. In fact, Manuel didn’t even have the backbone to shut down Halladay with a sore shoulder this season. Halladay pitched a meaningless game on the final weekend. Why? Because Halladay wanted to, that’s why.
Bruce Bochy manages his team. Charlie Manuel lets his team manage itself. That’s why they’re holding another parade in San Francisco. And why we’re not.
Idle thoughts …
» If the Sixers make a big deal out of Andre Iguodala’s return Wednesday night, they will regret it. The howls emanating from every corner of the Wells Fargo Center will be perfectly suited for the Halloween-night opener, but all they will prove is how clueless the new ownership is about its fans.
» Jason Babin really needs to shut his mouth. The sack-challenged defensive end actually said last week that the media should do its homework before it rips him for poor performances. The sad part is, we have been doing our homework, and the tape doesn’t lie. Babin has been awful this season.
» The Eagles had a weird quarterback controversy last week when Jeff Garcia said of Mike Vick: “I would have benched his ass already.” Donovan McNabb then questioned the accuracy of the quote, even though it was taped. Against all odds, McNabb is more boring as a broadcaster than he was as a player.
» Danny Watkins is suffering with a chronic ankle condition that he had before the Eagles drafted him two years ago. What a shame. Other than this health issue, the decision to use a first-round draft pick on the big offensive lineman was a stroke of genius, wasn’t it? Thank you, Howie Roseman.
» Flyers coach Peter Laviolette ran a 5K dressed as a referee last weekend. OK, that brings us up to date on all the breaking news from the NHL.