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February 8, 2005

Super Bowl Random Thoughts

I'm back.

What can I say? We lost. There isn't anything else that can be said, but here are my random thoughts on everything this weekend:

-The Eagles should have won. The Eagles could have won. The Eagles didn't win. The majority of blame must rest on DMac's shoulders. I'm sorry to say that, for whatever reasons - it was his performance which largely contributed to the loss. He had some crucial interceptions that were HIS FAULT, and not the tremendous skill of the Patriots secondary. The one he threw into double coverage towards Westbrook I could have intercepted.

-Jacksonville is an interesting dilemma. Its a second rate town, but it really tried to be first rate. The people of Jacksonville were wonderful - extremely friendly and accomodating. They have more "Waffle Houses" down there than we have pigeons in New York. It should be called Waffleville. Or JacksonHouse. Wacksonvilouse.

-But, on the other hand, the price gouging was sad. I went to eat with 3 friends at a Sabarro. We had about 10 slices of pizza ($4 each), and each got a beer ($8 each). Do the math.

-The taxi situation got better when taxi drivers started to come from out of the city & state (one I met was from Atlanta) to "help". They were absolutely raping customers with their prices. I paid $40 to get from Jax to my hotel room after the game, which was a 20 minute drive. I had no choice - it was 3am, I was drunk and there wasn't any public transportation I could have used. I figured, how many times have I paid $30-40 for a taxi ride from Manhattan to Hoboken?

-My hotel room was, on a scale of 1-10, about a 3. This was a dive of a motel that tried really, really hard to spruce itself up for the Super Bowl. They installed new carpet and new curtains - but that couldn't hide the fact that this place wasn't worth more than $100 a night. Super Bowl price? $300 a night (4 night minimum stay). I compared notes with everyone else in town and very few nice hotels exist in the city. Like I said before, this is a second rate town.

-My seats were ridiculously great. I was sitting field level, with a great view of the action. The (active) crowd was about 65% Eagle fans and 35% Patriot fans - the active crowd comprised about 70% of the people at the game. The "inactive crowd", the media types or old people who sit on their hands the entire game was about 30% of the people there. It kind of drove me nuts when you looked around and knew that there were some people here who really didn't appreciate what they were experiencing - those rich, old bastards who just sat there and didn't clap very much.

-Back to the Eagle to Patriot ratio - we owned that town. The night before the game Jacksonville landing had to be about 80% Eagle fans by my estimates. It was basically like being in Philly - we were razzing their fans the whole weekend. Of course they got to laugh last - after the game. I went to Jacksonville Landing after the game and got drunk with Eagle fans (we were all wearing our jerseys proudly in a sea of Pat fans). I looked around and watched the Pats fans party and just kept thinking - "They really didn't know how to party...." - I would guess that there were like 800-1,000 Pats fans at the Landing (near the main stage). If the Eagles won, I would guarantee that there would have been about 5,000-8,000 Eagle fans going bonkers.

-I got to meet Martin Brodeur at Twisted Martini near the Landing on Friday night. He was hanging out with some friends of Matt and he was very approachable and friendly. My first words were (I was smiling when I said it) "Martin - i'll admit i'm a huge Flyers fan and I hate you." He laughed and I added,"The Devils wouldn't be half the team they were in the last number of years if they didn't have you as a goalie." He thanked me back and I got a picture with him along with an autograph for Fireman Joe. I limited my ass kissing to that moment.

-Kathy emailed me this joke...McDonalds announced a new sandwich. It is called the "McNabb." After you pay for it, the clerk either throws it on the floor two feet away from you, or into the hands of the guy behind you in line.

-I let the majority of my anger go after the game. I'm bitter, but what fan from Philly isn't bitter? At first I was about to punch some Pats fans then I let it go and congratulated them. Everyone was cool to me except one jerkoff who mocked T.O. in front of me. We got into some words and I cracked a beer over his head. Just kidding.

-Everyone has a story in Jacksonville on how they got the tickets. If I was smart, which i'm not, I would have brought a tape recorder just to record all the different stories about how people scored, swiped, stole or begged for tickets. One guy, who was in the cab with me from the motel to airport - he was in sales. He went to Penn State Ogonz for 2 years, dropped out, worked for a company in California and won the tickets from a Champps fantasy football contest - his team was the best in the nation and he won the tickets. Of course my team, for the Hoboken Fantasy Football league, was the best, too. :)

-Matt put his money where his mouth was - bet $1000 on that 8 point spread and won nicely. All of the haters who gave me crap before the game - I want to know how many bet against the Eagles?

-The weather was crappy in Jax. High temps were around 60, but it was a cool 60. Low temps were 40-50. I was just glad I brought my winter coat with me. A lot of people didn't and ended up buying sweatshirts or jackets from vendors down there.

-I want to look into golfing in Jax, they have some nice courses down there.

-Watching the game, by halftime I was thinking "We may actually win this game." It wasn't until it was 14-24 that I started to think, "We aren't going to win". Up until that point, like when it was 14-21, I was still thinking we were in it and could win.

-My voice is shot. I was absolutely the loudest fan in my section. I was cheering the entire game, yelling at the Pats while they were in defense, and I had a few people tug at my shirt behind me to have me sit down. Oh, behind me was Andy Reid's cousin. He was a new Eagles fan, since he started rooting for them when Andy became coach. But he and I were slapping high-fives the whole game.

-When all is said and done - the entire experience was incredible. Win or lose I got to witness history. When I looked into the crowd of 72,000 people I was thinking back to how I would read the history of the days of the Roman Coliseum - the magnitude, pomp and circumstance of everything. This was something, that for the rest of American History, would be talked about. Even 30 years from now people will say, "Remember that Eagles 2005 game in Jacksonville?" - i'll still be able to say, "Yep, I was there. Pass the prune juice."

Posted by Furey at February 8, 2005 10:11 AM

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(1) Welcome back.

(2) No, the Eagles should not have won.

(3) Jacksonville is a town trying to pull itself up by its bootstraps. They're heavily into some major promotion right now, and the SuperBowl was part of that. The problem with trying to build up a town by relying on promo is exactly what you're seeing: everyone jacks up prices for mundane goods and services. (As opposed to slow-cooking a reputation and building up unique goods and services that, while similarly expensive, don't bring the same resentment.) The quick-fix route rarely works, as GoDaddy.com is about to learn. (They blew their ad budget on the SuperBowl.) The only way to quick-fix a town is for Disney or someone like that to build a theme park (and these have their drawbacks as well) or similar attraction. But if you're a politician, telling your constituents that you're going to spend the next few decades building a town from the foundation up is a ticket out of office. So instead, they opt for sports arenas (which never generate the cash they promise) or high-profile promos.

(4) Most fans make more noise than Patriot fans. I chalk that up to New England reserve (until I come up with a better theory).

(5) Gee, credit the Pats' defensive razzle-dazzle for McNabb's mistakes, why don't you. Compare his stats with the rest of the year, or even the playoffs. If he cracked under pressure it would have showed by now. There's a certain brilliance in the way the Pats can change schemes on a dime. It's a ballet, a hand of high-stakes poker, a Robin Williams routine, and a whack-a-mole game rolled into one.

(6) By halftime, I was thinking: The Pats are drawing a bead on these guys.

(7) Rich people pay others to clap for them.

Posted by: MisterSnitch at February 8, 2005 1:05 PM

Mr. Snitch-
It must be hard to be such a hater. You are wrong, we should have won. We did, in fact, beat ourselves. But no matter, next year when the Pats are 8-8 and we are over .800, we'll see about talent and lasting power.


And Furey - start posting more regularly.

Posted by: mel Author Profile Page at February 9, 2005 5:46 PM

I don't hate the Eagles or their fans, nor do I have reason to. Hate clouds judgement, causes fans to mutter things like how their team 'beat themselves' (because THOSE guys can't beat us) and of course leads to the inevitable 'wait til next year' refrain.

Logically, if the Eagles 'beat themselves' it is also true that the Pats did NOT beat themselves. If the superior team is the team that beats themselves less (and here Belichick might agree), the Pats are superior and should have won.

The team that 'deserves' to win is not the team where the fans have 'suffered more' or 'deserve it more' or where the fans are our buddies. I also doubt that the Eagles or Pats have any valid claim to moral or spiritual superiority in the aggregate. The team that deserves to win is simply the team that is best prepared to do so. The Eagles did not deserve to win, and did not win, simply on that basis.

As to what happens next year, no one knows. There are no guarantees for anyone. However, I am more inclined to have faith in a team or individual who admits and builds upon this than one who spends his time talking about his inevitable greatness and others' inevitable demise.

Wishing ill on another team is born of bitterness and hate, and merely perpetuates a culture of losing. An appreciation of excellence (three Super Bowls in four years is pretty excellent) is necessary for a consistent turnaround in the fortunes of any team or individual. Hate, bitterness, and envy merely get in the way.

From what I've heard in the postgame comments from those in the Eagle's organization, they didn't take anything away from this loss that they can build on. Reid noted they turned over the ball... OK, but WHY? This does not bode well for next year. The Pats will lose a significant slice of their brain trust, and must survive in a system designed to pull teams back from greatness. But they do have an outstanding approach to excelling in the system in which they find themselves. Eagles' fans can demand their team make some real and lasting changes in their institutional culture in order to emulate that approach... or they can stew and wish a better team ill. The latter approach is only GOOD for the Eagles' competitors, so stew away if you like.

Posted by: MisterSnitch at February 12, 2005 2:10 PM

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