The Philadelphia Eagles are dead to me

It has been a few days since the Philadelphia Eagles — defying all sanity and logic — signed disgraced NFL quarterback, illegal drug user, alleged STD transmitter and, oh yes, dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick (aka Ron Mexico).

Upon learning of the signing during the Eagles’ preseason opener against New England, I immediately flipped the TV to another channel and proclaimed my full support to my usual “B team,” the New York Jets, by chanting “J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!”

All of this talk about giving Michael Vick a second chance is ridiculous. This is like his 10th chance. Just take a look at Vick’s Wikipedia entry under early incidents. Sure, there weren’t any convictions or arrests, but you know the saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”? Well, Vick seemed to be quite a hotspot.

And then the allegations and evidence began to mount that Vick ran a dogfighting ring out of one of his homes in Virginia, and that he personally took part in torturing and killing dogs in a variety of vicious ways, including hanging, drowning and electrocution.

Vick didn’t just make a mistake that he paid for by serving a prison sentence. He engaged in violent, sociopathic behavior and only stopped because he was caught, convicted and stripped of his livelihood and money. And just because he is now a free man does not mean he has proven himself to be rehabilitated.

Now, all of that being said…in no way would I deny any person redemption. I think the NFL could have reinstated Vick, but told him he had to sit out as a player for one more year. However, during that year, the league could have hired him to speak to NFL players about the horrors of animal cruelty and also work with the Humane Society, the SPCA and other animal rescue organizations. If Vick stayed out of trouble while also being a true asset to supporters of animal rights, it would have gone a long way in shedding the monster image he has bestowed upon himself.

But, no…the Eagles’ organization decided that Vick is a changed person already — despite not having done a damn thing for animal rights except for some minimal work he has done for the Humane Society of which I have yet to see proof.

And here is where my anger gets to the breaking point with the Eagles. Knowing that this signing was going to meet with controversy, the team should have been ready to communicate with local animal rights/rescue organizations (especially Utley All-Star Animals, the charity run by Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and his wife, Jennifer) and develop the framework of a strategy for using Vick as a force for good.

Basically, there were things the Eagles could have done right away to make the signing of Michael Vick a bit more palatable to animal lovers and fans like me who can’t stomach rooting for a team employing such a vile individual.

At the press conference announcing Vick’s signing, the Eagles should have done at least these three things:

  1. Announced the creation of a program that would raise funds for area animal shelters and rescue operations.
  2. Designated a number of these shelters and rescue operations and make a generous donation that would be split among these groups.
  3. Proposed the creation of an advisory panel that would include Vick, team officials, city and state officials, and leaders of area animal rights organizations with the purpose of communicating the evils of animal abuse to the general public and working with law enforcement in identifying and shutting down dogfighting rings.

In addition to announcing these plans, the Eagles would have needed to set a timeline for implementing these programs and ensure Vick’s full participation and cooperation. In addition, there should have been a clause in Vick’s contract stating that, upon the first instance of his non-compliance to these terms, he would be suspended without pay and released (yeah, I know…the NFL Players Association would get in a tizzy over that, but put it in anyway and let the arbiter figure it out later).

All of this, in my mind, would at least told me that the Eagles and Vick were serious about addressing the controversy the signing would bring.

But, no. The Eagles didn’t have any of that prepared.  In fact, the Eagles’ lack of interest in the animal cruelty issue was made very apparent when Jennifer Utley attempted to attend the press conference to start a dialogue with the Eagles and Vick. She was turned away at the entrance to the Eagles’ NovaCare practice facility. Instead, the press conference was all about this mythical “second” chance for Vick.

Well, what about the dogs that Vick brutally tortured and killed? They didn’t get a second chance.

The signing of Michael Vick represents a big F.U. to a good portion of Eagles fans — myself included. And until I see evidence that Vick and the Eagles are going to work with the community on the issue of animal rights, they will continue to be dead to me.

And if you are interested, you can sign an online petition to boycott the Philadelphia Eagles for signing Michael Vick.

Coach Wolf, you’re a legend…but please step aside now

So I am several days late with this, but I only found out about this from my dad a few days ago and hadn’t had a chance to put a post up…

Legendary Brick Township High School football coach Warren Wolf, who retired last December after compiling a 361-122-11 record in 51 seasons at the school, told the Brick Board of Education during its April 29 meeting that he wanted to rescind his retirement because of the board’s decision to hire former Allentown High School coach Patrick Dowling as Wolf’s replacement.

The 81-year-old Wolf, before an audience of 70-100 supporters wearing green “SAVE the TRADITION and PRIDE” t-shirts, told the board:

“I’m terribly concerned and disappointed that you would recommend someone other than a Brick Township boy…You’re doing this either because you hate Brick Township football, or you hate Warren Wolf.”

Yes, that’s right…Wolf apparently referred to himself in the third person.

Wolf, who said he talked to Dowling and told him he would not support his hiring (way to stay classy, Coach Wolf), then announced that he would rescind his retirement and return to coaching rather than see the program be turned over to an outsider.

Nice job of stepping aside gracefully, Warren.

Here is more from the Asbury Park Press:

Scott Lloyd, 39, called the football program an institution here.

John Barrett, 39, told the board it destroyed the tradition Wolf had built during his 51 years with their prospective decision.

“This is not what Mr. Wolf built,” Barrett said. “Now, no matter who gets this job, it’s been tarnished — this should have been the best job in the state and it can’t be that.”

Wolf, 81, has a record of 361-122-11 in 51 seasons. Brick won six on the field NJSIAA sectional championships and 25 Shore Conference divisional titles under him.

Brick actually won a share of the Shore Conference Constitution division title in Wolf’s last season, but they finished just 6-4 and tied with Colts Neck and Toms River East. And in Wolf’s final game, Brick beat cross-town rival — and eventual NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV champion — Brick Memorial.

But Brick was mediocre, at best…and they have been that way for many years now. I went to Brick’s home playoff game against Triton on November 15 and Brick was completely outcoached in a 28-7 loss. Also, I’m pretty sure it was the same 75-100 people at the Board of Education meeting who were the only ones in the Brick stands that game.

News flash to longtime Brick fans — and I am one of them: The Wolf Era is Over! Is mediocrity the TRADITION and PRIDE you want to SAVE? (Apparently, those three words must always be spelled with capital letters in Brick…at least, according to the t-shirts.)

When he announced his retirement, I remember talking to my dad and saying, “You know, I hope the powers that be don’t feel pressured to hire ‘a Brick guy’ to replace Wolf. I think after 51 seasons, it might be time for some new blood.”

And, in a very “non-Brick” move, the Board of Education did just that. The finalists for the coaching job were determined by a selection committee consisting of Brick Township principal Dennis Filippone, Brick Township athletic director Rick Handchen, Brick Memorial principal Richard Caldes and Brick Memorial athletic director Bill Bruno.

Filippone and Caldes were FORMER BRICK PLAYERS UNDER WOLF. If they felt it was so important for “a Brick boy” to get the job, then why did the panel recommend Dowling? Apparently, it wasn’t that much of an issue for them.

These four people interviewed nine candidates on Feb. 12-17 and recommended three finalists on April 1.

Now, according to the Asbury Park Press Pigskin Pundits blog, here is how the final decision was made:

Schools Superintendent Walter Hrycenko said that Dowling is the best candidate out of those who applied for the position. Hrycenko cited Dowling’s experience, his success as a coach and his credentials as a special education teacher as the main reasons for his selection.

“Of those who applied, Pat Dowling had the most coaching experience,” said Hrycenko. “He has an impressive resume and he gave the best interview.”

Hrycenko said the hiring process was the same employed when the district hired Walt Currie to become the Brick Memorial coach in 2007.

Currie won a Central Jersey Group IV championship in his second year at Brick Memorial, so maybe Wolf and Brick football fans should give the new coach a chance.

But back to Dowling…from what I have read, his coaching experience doesn’t appear all that impressive. But replacing the only coach BTHS has ever known is a difficult situation and he is definitely used to that. In his only season as Allentown (N.J.) head coach last year, Dowling went just 2-8, but the Redbirds had lost 29 straight games going into that season. In the third game of the 2008 season against Ewing, Dowling guided Allentown to victory, snapping a 31-game losing streak.

Prior to his year at Allentown, Dowling was head coach at Monroe High School for four years, winning 23 games and taking the team to the state playoffs in his final three seasons there. The school won its first-ever playoff game during Dowling’s tenure.

In 1994, Dowling took the reins of a Wood-Ridge High School program mired in a 31-game losing streak and coached the team to victory in his first game as head coach.

Now, another point the Wolf backers are making is that Dowling has had eight coaching jobs in 20 years. Uh, folks, the days of a coach staying put for 51 seasons are over. Actually, I’m pretty sure those days never began. It’s very rare for something like that to happen. But, seriously, if a coach stays at a school for 10 years, that’s pretty amazing in this day and age.

Dowling is 48 years old and has not been a head coach at any of New Jersey’s elite football schools. It is completely understandable that he would be using the Monroe and Allentown high schools of the world in order to eventually take over an elite high school program. Now, Brick used to be an elite program. Perhaps, he can build it up to that point again.

All I know is that Brick’s new football coach shouldn’t be criticized for not being “a Brick boy.” This should be an exciting time for the program…new coach, new blood, new direction. Sure, it may not work out. But there is a chance that it will.

Wolf is the winningest coach in New Jersey high school football history and his 51 seasons at Brick Township High School should be cherished and remembered fondly.

But it’s not like Wolf’s last years were anything spectacular. Back in Brick’s glory days, home playoff games would draw overflow crowds in the thousands. Like I mentioned earlier, only a couple hundred were at the one I attended in November. It’s not like there is a recent wave of success that needs to continue. Let’s face it, the Brick football program needs an overhaul.

It’s time for a change and I am more than willing to support Coach Dowling’s appointment as the next head coach of Brick Township High School’s football team.

And, really, the arrogance and complete lack of class shown by Warren Wolf in this situation makes me want to root for Coach Dowling even more. And it’s a shame I just had to type that last sentence.

Source: Tandem With the Random

Back in good ol’ Brick for H.S. football playoff action

I was in Toms River, NJ, this morning to get a routine service done on my car and found out my alma mater, Brick Twp. High School had a playoff football game at home in the afternoon…and that’s where I am now. And let me tell you…Brick, NJ, is my beloved hometown (even though I was born in Edison and lived in South Plainfield during my first year of life)..but I have to say…it is a strange, strange place.

Keeping the streak alive

I have been busy working on the latest Technology and the Arts podcast, so I haven’t posted here in a few days.

However, I have to keep something going. Since a few days before the Eagles’ 23-7 win at Dallas on Christmas, I have posted something related to the Eagles containing the E-A-G-L-E-S! EAGLES! cheer.

Well, my last post was a week ago today, which was before the Eagles’ last-second 23-20 victory over the Giants in the opening round of the playoffs. Hence, I haven’t done a pre-game post with the E-A-G-L-E-S! EAGLES!” cheer for tonight’s tough matchup between the Eagles and Saints in New Orleans.

So consider this my superstitious, hopefully-win-inspiring post for tonight’s game.

Now, once more…with feeling…


Happy New Year/NFC East Championship!

Well, thanks to the totally over-hyped Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys losing to the lowly Detroit Lions at home early Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles celebrated New Year’s Eve as NFC East champions for the fifth time in six years.

Because the Cowboys’ loss gave the title to Philadelphia, the Eagles were able to rest their starters for the playoff opener at home against the New York Giants next Sunday at 4:15 p.m. ET.

Oh yeah…the Eagles’ second and third teams still managed to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 24-17, to finish atop the NFC East at 10-6.

Fly Eagles Fly
On the road to victory
Fight Eagles Fight
Score a touchdown, 1-2-3
Hit ’em low, hit ’em high
And watch our Eagles fly
Fly Eagles Fly
On the road to victory


UPDATED 11:22 a.m. ET, 1/2/2007

I wrote the above post after watching one of the craziest college football games ever, No. 9 Boise State’s amazing 43-42 overtime win over No. 7 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Here is a YouTube video showing key highlights from the last couple of minutes of regulation and overtime…

(Photo of Center City Philadelphia taken from near main entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dec. 29, 2006.)

Congrats, Rutgers football on the Texas Bowl victory!

Sophomore running back Ray Rice (No. 27 above) rushed for 170 yards and a touchdown to help lead the No. 16 Rutgers to a dominating 37-10 win over Kansas State in the inaugural Texas Bowl held at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Freshman wide receiver Tim Brown, who was making his first collegiate start, caught a pair of touchdown passes, including a 49-yard scoring strike, for the Scarlet Knights (11-2), who won a bowl game for the first time in the program’s 137-season history. Rutgers also reached the 11-victory mark for the second time in team annals.

Tight end Clark Harris reeled in seven catches for 122 yards while Brown finished with 101 yards on four receptions in the victory. Mike Teel completed 16-of-28 passes for 268 yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception.

Brian Leonard (No. 23 above) capped off a brilliant career at Rutgers with 44 yards on 11 carries and a pair of catches for six yards. The three-time First Team All American fullback, who is Rutgers’ all-time leader in receptions with 207, made at least one catch in all 47 career games with the Knights.

On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Rutgers linebacker Quintero Frierson intercepted a pass thrown by Wildcats quarterback Josh Freeman and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.

Frierson’s play was the featured highlight for a Rutgers defense that held Kansas State (7-6) to a mere 162 yards of total offense–just 31 rushing yards–while registering three sacks and a pair of interceptions.

Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights racked up 479 yards of total offense, including 211 on the ground.

Rice, who ran for at least 100 yards for the 10th time during the season and the 15th time in 25 career games, was named Texas Bowl Most Valuable Player for his efforts.

Read the full story from

(Photo courtesy of

Fly Eagles Fly…on the road to victory! (The Christmas edition!)


Well, once again the jolly, fat man delivered on Christmas.

No, not Santa. I’m talking about Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who delivered to me and all Eagles fans a HUGE and impressive 23-7 win over the despised Dallas Cowboys today that clinched a playoff spot for the Birds.

The victory gave the Eagles a 9-6 record and pulled them into a tie with Dallas for the lead in the NFC East. However, since the Eagles swept the Cowboys this season, Philadelphia owns the tie-breaker and the No. 1 spot in the division.

The Eagles only need to beat the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve to wrap up their fifth NFC East title in six years.

(Photo: Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook carries the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the Eagles’ 23-7 Christmas day victory. Courtesy D. Hallowell/