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Friday, September 30, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Sports: Eagles Dominate Steelers; Wentz Rolls On; Sixers Relevant Again; more

Forget the Wentz Wagon. Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz needs a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Here’s the latest Rob’s Rants:

  • Wentz is doing the unheard of, and, after Philadelphia destroyed the Steelers, no one is questioning who they have played. According to, he’s the first rookie to throw zero interceptions in his first 100 pass attempts, one of only two rookies to ever start and win the first 3 games in his team’s season (Mark Sanchez is the other, tempering excitement?), and the “first rookie quarterback since 1960 to throw 30+ passes and win in each of his first 3 career starts.” And, I’ll keep repeating it, he barely played in the preseason.

  • Are we headed for a PA Super Bowl? I doubt it, but here’s two fun facts. The same article mentioned above reports that the last time the Birds won their first 3 games by 15+ points, as they have this year, was at the start of their 1980 Super Bowl run. Last time they beat the Steelers at home? The Steelers won the Super Bowl in the 2008 season. (I first read the note on the Steelers in a tweet by @BlueDudeSports; confirmed by checking the Steelers’ schedules starting with 2008.)

  • Philadelphia might want to start working on a float for head coach Doug Pederson while they’re expanding the Wentz Wagon. He’s the first coach in Eagles history to start 3-0, and, I don’t think it can be said enough, Pederson has done it with a rookie quarterback.

  • What the hell? Don’t forget defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz while erecting these rides. Through three games the Eagles “D” has given up 20 points.

  • I confessed in my re-entry to sports blogging that I gave up on the Birds and became a Steelers fan when I turned 40. (Have your fun; just remember, it’s September.) The point is that I watched the first two Steelers games, and just the “eye ball test” made it clear how dominating the Eagles defense was on Sunday. But the numbers really show it. The Steelers rushed for 29 yards in the game, after totaling 147 and 124 in their first two games. Their longest rush on Sunday was 21 yards. That’s 8 yards rushing the rest of the game! (That’s slightly skewed by of tackles-for-loss, but the point remains.)

  • The Sixers opened training camp, which was always another reason to love the fall for me before the seemingly endless tanking began. (I once had a guy take a knee at me because I wore a Sixers coat during Fred Carter’s head coaching stint.) I’m thrilled basketball is relevant in this town again. I wasn’t sports blogging during the mistake that was the Sam Hinkie tenure as general manager. But check social media. I was never on-board. One of many reasons was that I knew today’s players were never going to wait for Hinkie’s never-arriving future. Hinkie is gone, but the stank from his job as a GM remains. Nerlens Noel made my point last weekend, saying, “I think it’s just silly . . . this situation that we are in now with three starting centers. . . . With the departure of . . . Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer.” I can’t imagine how ugly this situation would have gotten under Hinkie, who never had a plan to actually put a winning team on the court. He had already burned out former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, and he was clearly on his way to grinding more players into the ground.

  • In Wednesday’s Inquirer, I read that Joel Embiid was scheduled to be limited to 20 minutes of work in Tuesday night’s practice. It wasn’t clear (even after some googling) if the curtailed minutes were due to illness or previously mentioned restrictions due to his foot problems. He actually showed up for the morning workout despite being sick. And that’s great. But I’m wondering just how limited he’ll be throughout camp. I want to get so excited about this guy, and I completely understand taking it slow with him. He’s missed two full seasons with injury, which, by the way, is exactly why the Sixers did the right thing in not trading Noel or Jahlil Okafor. I’m just hoping Embiid finally getting on the court isn’t a big tease.

  • Ryan Howard is likely wrapping up his career with the Phillies this weekend. Regardless of the last several years, Howard deserves a good send-off from fans. Without him, there’s no 2008 World Series Championship in Philadelphia.

  • I first noticed this from a tweet by @JoeGiglioSports—The only two undefeated teams in the NFC are quarterbacked by Carson Wentz and Sam Bradford. (Shaun Hill started for Minnesota in the opener.) Go figure. It’s kind of sad, too, as in pathetic. After three weeks, only two NFC teams are undefeated. There are three undefeated teams in the AFC—Denver, Baltimore, and the friggin’ Patriots. (Are you kiddin’ me? The New England Patriots, who had to play their 3rd string quarterback in last week’s Thursday night game, are undefeated? Maybe they’ll stop crying about Tom Brady being suspended for cheating. I’m kidding, of course. They’ll never stop.)

  • Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre. They’re just a few names I’ve heard Carson Wentz compared to. Can we please pump the brakes just a little? For his sake. As Aaron Rodgers once said, “R-E-L-A-X.” I understand most of this—though not all*—has come from fans. And, I get it, this is what fans do. Remember people who wanted to make Bobby Hoying’s last name reverberate around the stadium? Fans delighting in Koy Detmer’s TD celebration, which I believe he referred to as spanking it? No? That’s the point. Don’t get me wrong, I think Wentz looks like the real deal. If you’re under 30, knock yourself out. Everybody else should know to be on guard. Just a little.

*Found link via Philly Football Talk

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Review of Chad Millman’s and Shawn Coyne’s The Ones Who Hit the Hardest

Here’s my review of Chad Millman’s and Shawn Coyne’s The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the ‘70s, and the Fight for America’s Heart. Read it on or right here:

The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for Americas Soul by Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne

I’m not a big fan of sports books. That might sound strange if you know me, as I love sports. But it just rarely works for me to read about sports in book form for whatever reason. Yet, my brother bought me The Ones Who Hit the Hardest after I gave in to my Steelers envy a while back. The book offered some decent behind-the-scenes stories about the Steelers and football from the 1970s. Ironically, the most interesting part of the book was about Tony Dorsett, who grew up in Pittsburgh, but became a great player for the Dallas Cowboys—a big rival of the Steelers years ago. It was also interesting to read that Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw really wasn’t that highly regarded early on in the “Steel City.” And it was good to get some in-depth knowledge of the Steelers history. But the book just never quite grabbed me. I actually did something I never tried before—switching back-and-forth between two books—just to get through it. (The second book was the Bill O’Reilly book that I reviewed in my previous review, which I read much more quickly.) The Ones Who Hit the Hardest was just very dry, and never lived up to its subtitle, The Steelers, the Cowboys, the ‘70s, and the Fight for America’s Heart. Now, I put the book down for a year or two after reading about 50-75 pages, so I may not recall some stuff. But I don’t remember much at all in the book on the Steelers-Cowboys rivalry outside of their Super Bowl battles. There wasn’t any in-depth look at why Dallas was dubbed “America’s Team” and not Pittsburgh. Plus, the look at the steel industry in Pittsburgh, complete with details about the steelworkers union, was unexpected and very difficult to get through. I read the book because I thought it was about football; I just didn’t care about the steel industry. Except for a few references to steelworkers rooting for the Steelers, the two subjects were never brought together. I felt like I was reading two different books, and I can’t recommend either one.

No starred review here because it just wasn’t my type of book, so I don’t think it would be fair to rank it. Pittsburgh natives may love it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Sports: The 2-0 Eagles; Questioning Pederson; Phillies Halt Potential Free Fall; Flyers Get Started

While you look for a comfortable spot on the “Wentz Wagon,” take a minute to read my latest sports rants:
  • At some point, the Eagles opponent can’t be an excuse for their success. I’m not sure that point came last week, but the Eagles looked good on Monday Night Football. In a somewhat dull game, Philadelphia and Carson Wentz went to 2-0 with a 29-14 victory over the Bears. The most notable thing about Wentz’s performance might have been that he certainly doesn’t shy away from contact. He was sent into an almost a complete summersault on one hit. He’ll need to learn to avoid some hits if he’s going to survive as a quarterback. But fans have to love his effort so far. More importantly, he’s not making any big mistakes. He has zero turnovers in two games. His other numbers weren’t stellar, as he was 21 of 34 for 194 yards passing with a touchdown. Those numbers might have been better, but his receivers dropped a couple passes, including what seemed like a potential touchdown to Jordan Matthews.

  • I didn’t love Doug Pederson’s play calling this week. Obviously, it worked out, but I thought he had the rookie quarterback throwing too much early in the game. The Eagles first six offensive plays were (short) passes. Maybe a little of Andy Reid’s influence showing? It’s hard to argue with a coach who is a former quarterback, especially when the Eagles win. I just think he should protect the rookie by running the ball early in the game.

  • I also didn’t agree with Pederson either time he “went for it” on fourth down. Let’s start with second time. The Eagles were up 22-7 late in the fourth quarter with the ball on the Bears 1-yard line. Kick the field goal and it’s a three-possession game. Again, it’s tough to argue because the Eagles scored a touchdown and sealed the win. I get it. Maybe Pederson can be given credit—he felt like he could put the game away, he was confident the defense could hold the Bears deep in their end to keep good field position if the offense was stopped (especially with Jay Cutler out of the game at that point), and he had sniffed out by then (or much sooner) that the Bears stink. Plus, Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis was injured as he missed the extra-point after the Eagles previous touchdown. Although, Sturgis ended up kicking the extra-point after the touchdown on the fourth down play anyway, which was longer than what the field goal attempt would have been. Let’s go back to the first time the Eagles went for it on fourth down. The Eagles were at the Bears 28-yard line on their first possession of the game. What’s Pederson doing? A 45-yard field goal attempt isn’t exactly “no man’s land.” I know Eagles fans are ready to send Wentz to Canton—the Hall of Fame—but I think you have to help out your young quarterback and take the points. They ended up kicking a field goal later in the possession. Again, both possessions resulted in points, so it’s tough to criticize the decisions. I just think they were a couple “red flags” on the head coach that might come into play against better teams.

  • According to Matt Lombardo of, Jordan Matthews “has at least three dropped passes through the first two games of the season” and had five last year. Matthews is the best receiver on the team—granted, that’s not high praise—and seems like a very good slot receiver in the league. But he’s got to stop dropping balls.

  • Remember the Phillies? They are still playing (for another 10 days). Give Pete Mackanin some credit as they put the brakes on what was becoming a late season swoon. On September 4, the Phils dropped to 16 games under .500. They’re only a game over .500 in the stretch of games since then through last night, but I thought there was some potential for a free fall. It’s disappointing Jeanmar Gomez is struggling, with an 11.2 ERA in his last 17 appearances. (Stat from Matt Gelb of the Inquirer.) But even if the Phillies don’t make a single move in the off-season, I’m excited to watch this young team next year. I’d like to see a veteran starting pitcher and some more power added to the lineup—every team wants that—but I think there’s reason for optimism.

  • The Flyers start training camp today, and they have seven players coming off something called the World Cup of Hockey. I welcome feedback from Flyers fans to help me understand how that makes sense. Presumably, teams didn’t have much say in the matter, but it seems odd to have players starting a long hockey season—one of the toughest, physically, in pro sports—coming off another competition. It’s just another thing about the sport that makes non-hockey fans scratch their heads. If readers are like me, looking to get into the Flyers, check out Sam Carchidi’s rundown of the team.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Looking Forward to Speechless, Designated Survivor; Three Good Reads; Three Good Messages on Disability

Here’s some of what grabbed my attention while the sun set on a really good summer and fall rolls in:

  • Consider this a public service announcement since the new shows I end up liking often get cancelled. I’m eagerly awaiting Speechless, which features a kid living with cerebral palsy. The preview suggests producers “get it,” meaning that we might actually be able to watch a show that includes a disabled character without a weekly dose of “oh my God, it’s so wonderful that he goes outside.” Designated Survivor looks interesting, though I already have doubts. The President and Congress are lost in a terrorist attack during the State of the Union. I’m just wondering where it can go after a few weeks of hysteria. I don’t think it can leave the devastation behind and become the next West Wing. Hopefully, it’ll be fun finding out.

  • I recently read a great article by Michael Smerconish on the decision by to stop allowing comments on their stories. He suggested more sites should follow NPR’s lead. The statistics he quotes reveal, not surprisingly, that a few obnoxious people generally dominate comments sections. He argues that people hide behind the anonymity that sites offer commenters to say things they very likely wouldn’t say in person. Despite adding a commenting system to this site, I agree wholeheartedly with Smerconish. I think perusing a comments section on a major news website can often ruin the experience of reading a good article. My guess is that publications allow comments because it increases hits to their site, but in some ways they end up giving Joe Public as much of a forum as they give to their staff writers. Ultimately, I think the bigger problem is that people are becoming desensitized to the type of outlandish things that are said online, and they are more and more willing to say the same types of things in person and find them acceptable from others. See television news and our current presidential election as evidence.

  • I caught another article worth reading on Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, an actor living—and working—with a disability. He became paralyzed from an accident and now uses a wheelchair. With a major role in NCIS: New Orleans, Mitchell might be the most recognizable actor with a disability currently on television. The writing in the article gets a touch hokey in places, but I think Mitchell delivers a great and somewhat unique message. He talks about going into auditions ultra-prepared, knowing he must get casting people to focus on him—and not his disability—almost instantly. There’s a great, albeit brief, story about Mitchell showing up for an audition that was being held in a room that was only accessible by going up a flight of stairs. He ended up reading for the part in his car, instead of ranting and raving about inaccessibility. It’s a very tough balance to find sometimes—pursuing the right to access versus keeping an eye on the goal at hand. I’ve struggled with it many times, and it was good to read a perspective different from the typical message of raising hell about every slight to people with disabilities. Mitchell does fit the main image society projects of someone with a disability—a person with a “normal” upper body who uses a manual wheelchair quite well—but his character on NCIS: New Orleans offers a positive image of disability on prime time television. I’m not a huge fan of this particular version of NCIS, but I did watch the first season. I think Mitchell’s character is a good step in the right direction to having more images of disability in mainstream media.

  • The Paralympics recently wrapped up. A late-summer vacation precluded me from judging the type of coverage they received. But I started to wonder why they aren’t just combined with the Olympics, even before I read this excellent article by Mik Scarlet (which I originally found here). He put it well when he wrote on the U.K. Huffington Post, “I doubt that fans would take their seats for a day of their favourite sports only to jump up and leave every time disabled competitors readied to take compete.” I don’t agree with those who, at times, try to fit a square peg into a round hole in the name of inclusion, but this is a natural. There are numerous categories within Olympic competition. What’s the difference when they are related to disability? As Scarlet points out, no one’s suggesting that able-bodied runners and wheelchair racers compete in the same 100-meter dash. But having a track event for able-bodied athletes followed by an event for disabled athletes would be awesome. My only question would be logistics—is there enough room in the Olympic village for all the athletes, enough time for the events, etc.? In fact, if there’s not, they should find it.

  • I loved seeing this image (below) of a Coke can featuring Paralympian Tatyana McFadden in her racing wheelchair. Getting strong, non-patronizing images of disability into mainstream media is key to changing the often misguided portrayals of people with disabilities that are seen too frequently.

(Above image is from the Facebook page of Life After Spinal Cord Injury [SCI] using the embed code provided on the image.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Revvin’ Up the Blog

After a summer of dipping my toe back into the blogging waters and “tinkering under the hood” of the site, I’m looking forward to revving up the blog this fall.

I thought I’d left blogging on my own site behind when I decided to self-publish my first book. I started this blog as a promotional tool, intending to let readers know about all of the exciting things I was doing around the book and how the next one was coming along. I think I’ve learned a lot in the last few years, especially just how hard it is to not only write a book, but to publicize it. In that time, I self-published a second book, my first novel, which offered even more lessons.

I continue to look for ways to promote those books. But I recently started thinking about what to do next. Writing a second novel didn’t make much sense, as I’m still working on getting the first one some attention. However, I knew I wanted to continue writing.

My mom was the one who suggested getting back to blogging. It wasn’t a bad idea. Moms never have bad ideas, do they? I hadn’t completely abandoned blogging, anyway. I’ve written numerous posts for various sites in an effort to bring some more exposure to the books. Most, if not all, of them focused on disability.

Yet, I wondered what the point would be to blogging on my site. Was it really going to attract people who might read my books? Does it really help my “brand” to blog? (OK, I probably don’t have a brand, but you get the idea.) And would it make any sense to have a blog writing about subjects I want to write about—including disability and sports—which potentially attract very different audiences?

Then Huffington Post, the site I was writing on the most, changed their platform for bloggers. To make a long story short, the process became completely automated, as far as I could tell, and the sense of accomplishment that came with getting a piece on HP was gone. So, I began thinking more seriously about changing things up, and the itch to write about sports again started to grow. Recently, I’ve also been considering trying to write about personal experiences in a more complete way than I have in the past. (I’m still working on how exactly to do that.)

Ultimately, I realized I just felt like giving blogging regularly another shot. It keeps me busy, I’m going to try to have some fun with it, and, besides, writers write. I still want to write another book someday, but I thought it might make sense to have a regular “gig” along the way.

So, hopefully, a few people have noticed that I’ve been writing on the blog a bit more. And I hope readers didn’t notice any of the technical glitches during my attempts to upgrade the site with better hit counters, subscriptions, and a commenting system. A webmaster I’m not!

I’ve also been trying a couple things to make my posts more readable—as if they weren’t already perfect! The blog has a slightly new look intended to be easier on the eyes and lets readers get right to the posts. I’m also employing a strict 1,000 word limit for posts, and often using a rapid-fire format that I used on my old sports blog. I enjoy writing in that mode. I’m eager to learn whether or not people enjoy reading the result.

With summer coming to a close, I’m happy to let readers know that it’s now possible to follow my blog via e-mail subscriptions. I’ve been testing the system for weeks, and it does not create spam! However, it will allow subscribers to get a link to my posts e-mailed directly to their inbox.

The blog now has two main “subject labels” or types of posts—Rob’s Rants and Rob’s Rants on Sports. Since they cover very different subject areas, I’ve setup subscriptions for each of these labels, along with a couple others, for people who might want to follow some posts and not others.

Rob’s Rants will cover multiple topics, almost always in different subject areas, in rapid-fire fashion. I’ll write about anything that catches my attention, including TV, movies, general news, disability topics, even politics, and more. Posts may occasionally include a sports topic that has become enough of a news story to receive attention beyond SportsCenter. I plan to write a Rob’s Rants once or twice a month.

Rob’s Rants on Sports will feed part of my sports addiction as I focus on the major Philadelphia teams—Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and even those Eagles—as well as some national or just plain interesting sports stories. I tend to look at media coverage from time to time as well. I plan to do a weekly sports rant.

Of course, I will still be writing about disability topics. I’ll generally do this within the Rants format. But I may occasionally write an article on a disability topic—or any topic, especially Philadelphia sports—outside of the Rob’s Rants format. Check out the available subscriptions for more information.

With my posts now running exclusively on my blog, your support is even more appreciated. Though I still have the ability to post on HP—and to submit to The Mighty–I’ll be working to enhance my own site for now. In the meantime, I will continue looking for more opportunities to gain exposure.

As I try to rev things up, I hope you’ll give the blog a read now and then. My goals are to make it worth reading, have fun, and keep doing what writers do—write.


Readers can now follow my blog via e-mail. The automated system sends a link to new posts right to your inbox. Here are the subscriptions that are available with details about what they cover:

Rob J. Quinn’s Blog: Subscribers will get an e-mail for every post. This will include posts with any news about my books or future writing efforts. Going forward, I don’t expect to post much outside of my “Rants,” and I haven’t re-posted tweets or Facebook posts on the blog in quite a while. So, I don’t think subscribers would get more than one or two e-mails a week, but no guarantees. (If the Phillies have another World Series run some day, blog tweeting may return!) Subscribe here.

Rob’s Rants: These posts will cover multiple topics, almost always in various subject areas, in rapid-fire fashion. I’ll write about anything that catches my attention, including TV, movies, general news, disability topics, even politics, and more. Posts may even include a sports topic that has become enough of a news story to receive attention beyond SportsCenter. I plan to write a Rob’s Rants once or twice a month. Subscribe here.

Rob’s Rants on Sports: My sports rants will focus on the major Philadelphia teams—Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and even those Eagles—as well as some national or just plain interesting sports stories. I tend to look at media coverage from time to time as well. I plan to do a weekly sports rant. Subscribe here.

Disability: These posts will include my thoughts on a particular topic regarding disability. Subscribing to Disability *and* Rob’s Rants may cause readers to get two e-mails for the same post at times. However, I may write the occasional article on a disability topic outside of the Rants. Subscribe here.

Please note that each subscription will only produce one e-mail on days that I post in the subject area of the label. If I post twice in one day—very unlikely—subscribers will still only receive one e-mail with links to each post for that day. If I don’t post in the subject area on a particular day, subscribers won’t receive a message. E-mails are set to arrive between 4 PM and 6 PM.

I will be able to see e-mail addresses of subscribers, but e-mails will not come from me. So, remember to adjust your spam filters or check your Junk Mail, especially for the initial verification of your subscription.

Finally, as I mentioned with Disability subscriptions, I may occasionally write an article on Philadelphia sports outside of the Rob’s Sports Rants format. These articles are not part of the Sports Rants subscription, but readers can always check out the Philadelphia Sports label when visiting the site to see any additional articles.

Of course, please don’t forget to look around the blog a bit when you read a post from a subscription link. You’ll see more labels to check out, and I may add subscriptions as things progress. The whole point is to make it easy for you to read what you want! In fact, if you notice a subject label that you’d like to read via a subscription, just let me know and I’ll add it.

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions, about subscriptions, feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail me. (See Contact Rob.) However, please remember that the system is automated through FeedBurner, so I can’t do much to help readers setup a subscription. But it’s easy if you follow the simple instructions.


I’ve added the Disqus commenting system to the blog to allow for reader feedback. For more information on the system, go to the Disqus site. The system allows readers to comment using various social media accounts or an account with their site. Besides their rules, I have a few of my own:

  • Rob J. Quinn reserves the right to delete comments and/or block individuals from commenting for any reason.

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These rules are meant to be basic guidelines to cover me from any legal problems. The above list is not meant to be comprehensive and can change at any time. I’ve added the commenting system in an attempt to have a more fun, engaging site. I know comments can get heated at times. Please just use common sense and be courteous. Thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Sports: Wentz, Pederson Good in Opener; Considering McNabb, Dawkins for Hall of Fame; Hinkie Tweets

It’s a Friday Rob’s Rants as I play catch-up after a late-summer vacation.

  • I was not quite as impressed with Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz as I thought I’d be when I got to watch the opener against Cleveland on DVR. I heard the first quarter on radio, and saw the second and fourth quarters around checking into a hotel. That said, Eagles fans should be excited by what they saw. The opening drive was obviously pretty sweet. And Wentz made two excellent passes on each of his TDs. He also made a couple other very nice passes in the game. His numbers are impossible to argue with—22 of 37 for 278 yards—and, maybe most importantly, he didn’t have any major mistakes, including zero turnovers. Seeing the game the way I did initially, I wasn’t focused on the lulls between the touchdowns. Plus, the Cleveland Browns looked every bit as bad as people said they are. I believe Ron Jaworski called them the perfect first opponent for the Eagles. When they lined up their new quarterback, Robert Griffin III, as a wideout early in the game, I thought it showed a sense of desperation. He threw for less than 200 yards, yet, with 3 sacks and an interception, it didn’t feel like a dominating defensive performance by the Birds. So, did the Eagles play really well in a 29-10 win, or do the Browns stink? I’d say it was a little bit of both.

  • I was quite impressed by Doug Pederson’s play calling with a rookie quarterback, especially early. He gave Wentz time to get into the game, calling running plays and roll outs. It sounds simplistic, but we haven’t seen it in this town much in recent years.

  • I was surprised to hear the Eagles have won 7 of their last 9 openers. I’ll admit that I was thinking this game lined up as a potential bad loss for the Birds against weak opponent. Even heading into the half with the Eagles up 13-7, I thought RGIII might find his legs and pull off a mild upset. Give Pederson and the Eagles credit for not letting that happen.

  • Donovan McNabb and Brian Dawkins are on the ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’m not a big HOF guy. I think debates about who should and shouldn’t be in deteriorate into statistical analysis. If that’s how people want to decide the issue, fine. Make the Hall of Fame a mythical entity with an ever changing list of inductees based on statistics. I prefer the eye test. People say McNabb was the greatest quarterback in Eagles franchise history. OK, but franchise history isn’t bubbling over with great quarterbacks. I think McNabb was a very good quarterback, but he was incredibly immature and he was never a leader. And those characteristics specifically affected him on the field. He still hasn’t gotten over being booed at the draft—a stupid radio stunt by WIP’s Angelo Cataldi. He eventually put his biggest asset, the ability to run, on the shelf because he didn’t want to be labeled as a running quarterback. But his greatest failure—besides choking in a couple NFC Championships and never winning a Super Bowl (it matters, especially for quarterbacks)—was his failure to deal with Terrell Owens. People always say McNabb didn’t have anyone around him, which is a weak defense of anyone. But when McNabb had T.O., he had his best year ever (at least by the eye test), and took the team to the Super Bowl even after Owens broke his leg. We all know what happened next. T.O. cried, literally, about his contract, and destroyed his career in Philadelphia. It’s still mind boggling to me that he only played one year here. The guy became a total pain in the ass. And maybe the situation was unrecoverable. But somehow, someway, the quarterback had to step-in and say, I need this guy, pay him. McNabb sat on the sidelines by all accounts. Other people failed in that situation as well, including Andy Reid, Jeff Lurie, and, obviously, Owens. But in a discussion about McNabb, the fact that he never really tried to deal with the temperament of by far the best receiver he ever had is damning.

  • I’m not about to evaluate HOF safeties. It’s a step away from fans who think they can evaluate offensive lineman. But I basically think Brian Dawkins was a great player, and probably belongs in the Hall. He absolutely impacted games in obvious ways from the safety position. I think fans get too into his pre-game rituals, and the fact is that he was the opposite of McNabb in terms of dealing with the media. He always took the blame when necessary, and sometimes even when he didn’t need to do so. It’s a knock against him that he never won a Super Bowl, but it’s just not the same as it is for a quarterback. He was definitely part of some of the same issues I mentioned above. We all remember Joe Jurevicius breaking the hearts of Eagles fans in the NFC Championship in the final game at Veterans Stadium. But that’s why it’s difficult for fans to evaluate a safety for the Hall of Fame. Most people, myself included, don’t remember or even know if that was a play Dawkins blew. We just remember the play. With Dawkins, and other safeties and some other positions, we really only remember what players did right.

  • Sam Hinkie is now on Twitter. The mind reels at the thought of the man who never said anything as the Sixers general manager being on social media. And in classic arrogant . . . I mean, Hinkie . . . fashion, his first tweet was a 10-parter. I’d like to offer what I think is the obvious answer to his request for reading material in tweet number 10—and, yes, he numbered them—with How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Sports: Early Super Bowl Pick; Tebow Time Not Over; Bradford Traded; Iverson to the Hall; NFL Lockout Worries . . . in 2021

I had planned to post a game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles schedule this week. I had them going 6-10 (after originally throwing out 8-8 in my “State of the Eagles” post) due to a pretty rough schedule. But with Howie Roseman trading away Sam Bradford and handing the reigns to Carson Wentz, those pre-season predictions have become even more meaningless than usual. So, here’s a Rob’s Rants with a national look at sports that still has a Philadelphia slant:

  • The NFL will kickoff its season tonight, so most sports talkers are giving their soon-to-be-forgotten Super Bowl picks. Why not? I’ll take the favorite based on the odds where I look, the Green Bay Packers, over the next favorite, New England Patriots. Yes, I’m tempted to put the Steelers in there, but their secondary scares me. I had no intention of taking the Pats, but the other options don’t excite me at all. Minutes of preparation went into this pick, and it’s still as good as any other. 

  • The Mets signed former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow to a minor league contract. After rolling my eyes like everyone else when I first heard about Tebow trying to play baseball, I began to wonder why we react that way. No one forced almost every team in the Majors to go to his workout or ESPN and other networks to hype up the story. If he can use his notoriety to get attention for what he wants to do, good for him. I think it’s silly, but no more so than all the people who say he’s disrespecting the game.

  • The Eagles trading their quarterback just before the start of the season did make national sports headlines. In the long-term, I like the trade for the Eagles, who picked up a first round-pick in 2017 and a conditional pick in 2018 from the Vikings. It was extremely opportunistic. Minnesota lost Teddy Bridgewater to injury right before the season, and the Eagles pounced. I still think the Eagles needed to do this type of deal around the draft when they traded up to get Wentz. Sure, they may have maximized the price for Bradford. But making the move now seems questionable. Wentz was injured in the first preseason game, and hasn’t played nor practiced much since then. I wonder how Wentz could really be prepared. Add in that the Eagles offensive line could look fairly bad if (when?) Lane Johnson gets suspended, and it might get pretty tough for the rookie quarterback. If the Eagles had made a move with Bradford when they acquired Wentz, the rookie QB could have gotten a lot more practice with Bradford out of the way. Overall, it’s still the right move.

  • Sam Bradford has to be doing backflips. He’s going to a team that finished 11-5 last season after he was hosed every step of the way by the Eagles. He was coming off back-to-back ACL knee injuries in his only season in Philadelphia, which cost him about a season-and-a-half, and his numbers went up in the second half of 2015. He also had a lot of slop around him because Chip Kelly gutted the team. Bradford’s reward was essentially a 1-year, make-good contract, and the chance to watch his team take another quarterback with the second pick in the draft. He’ll only be 29 this season, the 7th since he was drafted first in 2010. I’m not getting carried away. But it’s very possible that Bradford had some fluke injuries, instead of being injury prone. And the Eagles traded him away, counting on a rookie from North Dakota State who has played about a half in preseason. Granted, everybody seemed high on Wentz. I’m not saying the Eagles reached for him. But fans act like Bradford sucks and was in the way of the next franchise quarterback.

  • A random thought—this trade happened days after it was announced that Philadelphia would host the 2017 draft, in which the Eagles didn’t have a first round draft pick. Owner Jeff Lurie has often been accused of chasing headlines in the past, making big moves to knock the Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers, off the front of the sports page. Is it possible Lurie couldn’t bear the thought of not being involved in the first round while the draft went on in his town?

  • More national news from the Philly sports department—Allen Iverson is going into the Hall of Fame. I love Iverson, but I wince when he says stuff like this recent comment: “‘In Philadelphia? You better give it everything you’ve got,’ Iverson said when asked what advice he’s give [Ben] Simmons. ‘Play every game like it’s your last, and they will love you. They will love you to death. That’s all they want. These are the greatest fans ever. And they just want you to give maximum effort, that’s it.’” Call me a hater, but this is the guy who Larry Brown (one of his three presenters at the induction ceremony, I’ve heard) said showed up within an hour or so of tip-off of an NBA Finals game. Again, I was a huge fan, and he’s one of the best Sixers ever. But enough with his frequent refrain about “playing every game like it was my last” that he’s alluding to. If he cared that much, he would have warmed up a bit. Maybe even practiced. Yes, “we talkin’ ‘bout practice.”

  • This is flying under the radar a bit, but I’ve seen a couple stories on NFL players being told to prepare for a lockout . . . in 2021. See here and here (video which seems to come up in the sidebar). I don’t get this at all. It’s 2016 and the average career in the NFL is frequently reported as 3.5 years. Do the math.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

#TBT from my Inquirer Experience

I dug out some of my old newspaper clips as I recently considered applying for a job or two. I also found a couple Blog Zone’s from the paper that included my old sports blog. I thought I’d share some of them on a “Throwback Thursday.”

Article cut out of newspaper
This was my first professional work as a writer. The main story covered some of the difficulty my alma mater was facing in the early going of the football season. I got a major assist from someone—I’m guessing Joe Juliano, who wrote the Area Colleges / Small Colleges notebook before me, and was a great help to me as I was getting started—who obtained the quote in the story. Get quotes—the first of many lessons learned! I actually thought this was the only article on which “Rob Quinn” was my byline, but not so. Mom told me that I needed more to my name—even though she’s not a fan of “Robert.” I eventually added the “J.” in “Rob J. Quinn” in her honor.

Article cut out of newspaper
I thought this was one of my best stories. It was on Jason Brader, a running back from Muhlenberg who lost both his parents in high school, yet persevered to continue his education and football career. I also like seeing the “This and That” item, which always meant there was plenty of information for the week.

Article printed from website
Page 2 of the article printed for a website
Years after working for the paper, I loved when my old sports blog made it in the Inquirer’s Blog Zone. I felt like it meant I’d done something right. This was one of the longer excerpts “Rob Q. Ink” ever got in. Of course, I’m ripping the Eagles!

I should note that a bunch of Sports Information Directors from colleges and universities in the area were instrumental in making the Area Colleges / Small Colleges notebook possible. Besides Juliano, there were many people at the Inquirer who made it possible for some guy writing from home to work. One editor in particular, Bill Eichenberger (I’m guessing at the spelling), was incredible. He called me every single week while he was there to tell me what I did right, what I did wrong, and where I needed to do better.

Unfortunately, I can’t find any of my clips from the articles I did on the disability community for the Chester County section of the newspaper.

Please note: I hesitate to copy the text of the articles here due to potential copyright issues. They are all dated material anyway, and the point was to have some fun sharing the old clips, which are scanned in here as pictures. The captions give a summary of the main part of the article. The first two show the articles cut out from the newspaper. The third, which can actually be found in the archives, is a two-page printout from the version of the Blog Zone. The others are no longer available from what I found.
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