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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.

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