This week, one of my favorite features, the guest prognosticator series returns! The Philadelphia Eagles are coming down I-95 to take on the Washington Redskins in a big NFC East matchup. Joining me this week is Kevin McGuire, a Philly sports fan who you may know from Examiner.com’s Penn State coverage and The Nittany Lions Den.
WFY: I guess you are finding out what Washingtonians already know — heavy is the head that wears the crown of “OFFSEASON CHAMPIONS.” What’s going on with “the Dream Team” right now? Also, was this past weekend the “worst weekend ever” (as suggested by the Philly Daily News) for Philly sports fans?
KM: Quite simply, the Eagles can’t tackle to save their lives right now, and Vince Young’s premature statement after signing with the team has unfortunately caught on everywhere even though everybody else on the team has tried to silence that idea, even as early as the day it was said. Andy Reid is under the hottest fire he has ever been in with fans and if things don’t start to turn around in a hurry it will only get uglier.
As for last weekend, yes, it was one of the worst weekends Philly has seen in sports in a long time. The way the Phillies went out was pitiful, and that’s being kind. There was no reason the Phillies should have lost to the Cardinals in a five game series, and ironically it was Cliff Lee, who signed with the team to win a World Series, who is most to blame for losing the series in my opinion. You can’t give up a 4-0 lead at home in game two. Enough said.
Forget the offensive woes for now. The Phillies lost games started by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt in a five game series. That just is not acceptable for the standards this team established.
WFY: Is it still uncomfortable having Michael Vick as the starting QB on account of puppy killing past? Or his present being 1-4?
KM: I have long moved on from Vick’s past, but I won’t blame others for not. To me, he has paid his time according to the law and thus he has earned a right to doing what he is best at again. I honestly feel Vick is a much different person than he used to be, at least in the media and the public eye. He really has grown and matured and become the leader of this team the way he never did in Atlanta.
The Eagles being 1-4 generally pins a lot of blame on the quarterback, but Andy Reid is absorbing the brunt of any negativity surrounding this team right now for more critical reasons.
WFY: Andy Reid is one of the deans of NFL coaches, arriving in Philly in 1999. He’s got 5 NFC title game appearances and 1 championship, but no Super Bowl victories. Is the fanbase tired of the team never breaking through or is he on strong footing with the fans? Would your answer have been different a month ago?
KM: Yes, and they have been since that run of NFC championship game appearances when the team had Donovan McNabb in his prime, Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook on offense and Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter on defense. And Reid’s press conferences have long infuriated fans because you know exactly what he is going to say every single time.
“I have to do a better job and put this team in a better position to win.”
“I take full responsibility for that.”
Well Andy, if you want to take full responsibility and put this franchise in a better position to win, that position may be seeing you no longer on the sideline. I’m the one who wanted to see Reid go before McNabb left, so I don’t think my answer would have been any different a month ago. I think after 12 years, we know exactly what Reid is capable of. He’ll turn around a team, but he won’t win you the big prize.
WFY: How is the Lincoln Financial Field Eagles gameday experience? How available are tickets to the general public? Why does that stadium have a complete lack of symmetry between sections and tiers? It looks silly. What’s so great about Crab Fries? Aren’t they just regular fries with an Old Bay-like seasoning? Seems like something you’d get in Baltimore.
KM: I’ll be honest, I have been to Lincoln Financial Field about 20 times now and have yet to see an Eagles game. Yes, it’s true. I have seen plenty of temple games and a couple soccer matches, and even a World Series parade but I have never seen an Eagles game. The stadium is kind of quirky in a sense and once they get the wind turbines on the roof (supposing that’s still in the works) it will look even funnier. Honestly, I don’t think the Linc is all that great. It was nice when it opened, but there isn’t too much to it if you ask me.
As for the crab fries, yes the formula seems rather simple but it is the cheese that makes the crab fries a game day necessity. I have been known to sneak out of a press box or two to grab an order. Chickie’s & Pete’s has made a business out of crab fries over the past few years and I think it combines a Baltimore flavor with that Philly cheese blend. Maybe it should be an I-95 thing.
WFY: Who is the greatest Philadelphia Eagle of all time, your lifetime or both?
KM: Without a doubt, Reggie White. The Minister of Defense played his last days as an Eagle just when I started to really follow the team, when I was still naive to understand the influence of free agency, but every time I get a chance to watch some old film of White and Jerome Brown on that defensive line I have to make sure to stop anything else I may be doing. If you have not seen it yet, make sure to catch that NFL Network special on White and Brown. It’s a shame they didn’t get to play together longer.
WFY: Do you watch Eagles games with the sound turned down and the radio turned up?
KM: Nope. Many Eagles fans love Merrill Reese. I can take him or leave him. And I’m no fan of Mike Quick as an analyst.
WFY: Who are the standouts for Eagles media coverage?
KM: I think Les Bowen (Philly Daily News) is one of the better guys following the team on a regular basis but any time Ray Didinger (CSN Philly) chimes in on the team I feel ten times smarter after hearing what he has to say.
WFY: Oh the 4 major Philly teams, which one winning a championship would mean more to you? To the city/region?
KM: To me, it will always be the Phillies. But if the Eagles ever win a Super Bowl the celebration would be pretty epic. They have the longest championship drought going in the city right now (1960) and while a Flyers Stanley Cup parade would be much warmer, the Eagles parade would be quite the event.
WFY: Midnight green?! That’s a stupid concept, much less color. Do you want the Eagles to return to their kelly green look? How about my mock-up?
KM: It took a while for me to warm up to the midnight green, but I kind of like it now. After seeing your mock-up and reminding me of the classic styles in this division, I find it hard to argue against what you’ve come up with. I’m on board. Make it happen! (It will never happen though because Mrs. Lurie is apparently not a fan of kelly green). I always prefer kelly green over midnight green though.
WFY: What Eagles jerseys do you have? If I were a Philly fan, I’d wear one of those green Phillies hats with my Iggles jersey.
KM: I have a midnight green McNabb which I bought on clearance after the Super Bowl loss a few years ago, and I have a 1960-style Brent Celek jersey scheduled to be delivered next week. Other than that, nothing. I can usually be found on Sundays wearing my Matt Schaub jersey actually. He graduated from my high school, a year in front of me so I kind of designated myself president of the Schaub fan club early on, when he played for Virginia.
WFY: There is a Rocky Balboa statue in Philly, but not a Joe Fraizer one. Why does a celluloid Philly heavyweight champion get a statue while the real one doesn’t?
KM: Because Rocky embodies the true spirit of the Philadelphia. Not well respected, hard worker, determined. We also have a statue of Kate Smith.
KM: Tony Luke’s is tops, followed by Jim’s and I have recently gotten on board the Primo’s bandwagon. Pat’s and Geno’s are for tourists. skip them and go to Tony Luke’s.
WFY: Who wins on Sunday and why?
KM: I think the Eagles somehow manage to win one this weekend. I just can’t see them going to 1-5 and after everything that has gone on in the past few weeks they know what’s going on. Forget last year’s massacre of the Redskins in FedEx Field (and I’m sure Redskins fans remember that the teams happened to split meetings last year, Eagles fans should be reminded of that too). This is going to be much closer but if this Eagles secondary can’t stop Rex Grossman from beating them, then Andy Reid should have to take a taxi home.
WFY: I think the Eagles have too much talent and Redskins QB Rex Grossman is too suspect, so I’m going to say that hungry, desperate Eagles team wins this one. The Redskins just have a way of losing these kinds of games that would really help them.
Philadelphia Eagles 20
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 16