US Airways Philadelphia Eagles plane
Remember the Washington Redskins? They are the NFL team that plays around here. When we last saw them 15 days ago, head coach Mike Shannahan had just pulled QB Donovan McNabb from the game with 2 minutes left in Detroit because Rex Grossman was “better prepared” for the final drive of the game. That Grossman fumbled on his first play is irrelevant to the story. Wasn’t it great the everybody understood the first, second and third explanations and moved on?

Anyway, this week’s opponent is the Philadelphia Eagles and since it is a divisional foe, finding a guest prognosticator isn’t hard. This time, Penn State alumnus Chris from (formerly of There’s Something About Hazleton, PSU Playbook, Run Up the Score, Black Shoe Diaries, Scrappled, he will probably quite before Thanksgiving) is answering questions and picking the score. Born in Philadelphia, Chris is a recovering professional student. He found me because I had a Web page that made fun of his home town, called me a bad name and then pointed me to his web page that made fun of his hometown. Its been downhill ever since. We have never met in person despite several attempts and definitely won’t on Saturday at the Penn State game at FedEx Field either.

In retrospect, I should have gone the Bernard Shaw route and started off with a Kitty Dukakis question about Michael Vick and Chris’ dogs.

How did you feel about the Donovan McNabb trade when it happened? What about now half way through the season?

At the time, it seemed like something that just needed to be done. Kevin Kolb was rotting on the bench and had shown decent promise the previous season. Michael Vick was obviously improving as he spent more and more time in the Eagles’ offense? And McNabb? The fans, the city, and even the coaching staff seemed to have reached the ends of their respective psychological leashes with Donovan. Given his salary, he wasn’t really giving the team much more, if anything, than Kolb or Vick was capable of. It was time.

Now, the move looks downright brilliant, even despite the Eagles’ earlier loss to McNabb’s Redskins. McNabb pranced and preened like an idiot in the locker room after the game, apparently forgetting that he had just gone 8-for-19 for a whopping 125 yards against a mediocre Philly defense. His current passer rating of 76.0 is below Jason Campbell, Shaun Hill, Ryan Fitzpatrick…and yes, both Kevin Kolb (85.3) and Michael Vick (#1 in the NFL at 105.3). Glad he’s Shanahan’s problem now.

Andy Reid has been the Eagles coach since the Clinton administration and has appeared in only 1 Super Bowl which he lost. Let’s not even talk about NFC Championship games. Where does he fall on a scale of “coach for life” to “he needs to go”?

Eagles fans complain about Andy Reid because, well, he’s the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and that’s just part of the deal. Does he remotely understand the officiating challenge process? No. Does he butcher time management? He sure as hell does. His press conference are unbearably boring and frustrating, but really, he’s better than 80% of the other coaches out there.

The guy’s been in Philly since 1999 and has missed the playoffs only three times in that span: 1999 (5-11), 2005 (6-10), and 2007 (8-8). His first season featured the comic stylings of Doug Pederson quarterbacking a team that went 3-13 the previous year. In 2005, Terrell Owens essentially sabotaged the team, McNabb was lost for the season in Week 10, and Mike McMahon finished the year at quarterback. In 2007, they lost five games by four points or less and finished one game out of a Wild Card spot. That’s “coach for life” stuff.

How much do you miss Buddy Ryan?

A lot, from an entertainment perspective. His teams were ruthless, but extremely frustrating once the playoffs rolled around. I’ve never quite gotten over the Fog Bowl game.

The two consecutive stops of the Cowboys on 4 and 1 in ’95, rather than the NFC Championship, is actually the high point of the last 25 years Eagles fans, isn’t it?

Stopping the Cowboys and Barry Switzer — and don’t underestimate the hateful synergy of that for an Eagles and Penn State fan — was immensely gratifying, but in the end, it was still a regular season game. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl that year, after all. Finally winning the NFC Championship was the culmination of immense, high-profile choking for the Eagles. Hard to underestimate that feeling for those of us living in Philly at the time.

Kelly green sounds like the name of a good looking young actress, while midnight green just sounds stupid. Defend the current Eagles uniforms over previous versions.

Despite being a Penn State styled traditionalist when it comes to uniform matters, I have to admit that the newer green has grown on me. I didn’t like them for a long time. The kelly greens are amazing from a nostalgic standpoint — I have a kelly green Eagles parka that I wear proudly during the central Pennsylvania winter — but they look very dated when the Eagles are in one of those throwback uniform games. The midnight green is more versatile, as evidenced by the occasional black/green/white combo the Eagles break out on occasion. Can’t do that with the kelly green.

My theory about Philly fans, especially Eagles fans, is that they hate their own team more than they hate mine.

Well, they’ve experienced a lot of disappointment with the Eagles. And the Flyers, Sixers, and (until recently) the Phillies, for that matter. No Super Bowl victories in a city as football-crazy as Philadelphia takes its toll after a while.

Who makes the best cheesesteak in Philly?

I hate the South Philly tourist trap known as Cheesesteak Vegas, where Pat’s and Gino’s reside. I’ve always liked the atmosphere in Jim’s, and Dalesandro’s does a very good job, too. It’s all in the bread — that’s the secret. The rest of the cheesesteak is composed of ingredients a step above dog food. Delicious, hangover-curing dog food.

There is a statue of a Philadelphia heavyweight champion from the movies, Rocky Balboa, but not one of the guy who actually came from Philly? Why isn’t there a Joe Frazier statue in the City of Brotherly Love?

No excuse for it at all, really. Frazier was raised in South Carolina, but fought out of Philly throughout his career. He was Rocky. He was the guy at the slaughterhouse punching beef carcasses. He was the guy running up the Art Museum steps. And if you believe Frazier’s story, Sly Stallone ripped off those iconic scenes from Frazier’s past and didn’t pay him a dime for them.

Final score prediction:

Eagles 34, Redskins 14. The Skins are a collective joke right now, and Philly’s fate will ultimately be determined by its two remaining games against the Giants, beginning at the Linc next weekend.

I think Chris is right that the Eagles will win, but I expect a much closer, more agonizing score.

Eagles 24

Author: WFY

Yet another Washingtonian pushing the ubiquitous Nats/DC sports, Penn State, commuting, bicycling, kayaking, broomball, skiing, gin & tonic agenda.