Tag Archives: Sunday

Working on Sunday and Having to Watch the Eagles via Texts and Phone Apps

I got my first job when I was 16. I worked at Chuck E. Cheese as a game-room technician where I mostly slacked off, talked about how much I hated it there, and I even said the classic “this isn’t even going to be my career, so why take it seriously?” line. I did the same thing at Sears when I was 17 and 18.  I worked the majority of my weekends so I missed every football Sunday from 2006-2009.  It was then I got a job at a dialysis center and where I finally had Sundays off.  It was like a new world being introduced to me. To me the flowers petals were brighter on Sundays. My mom’s cooking smelled that much better and football was that much more enjoyable.  For the next two years I never missed a game, I was content and my mind’s highlight reel was full of plays and great moments during the season.  So why am I telling you all of this? Because all of that ended three weeks ago, I’m working weekends again.  It’s the reason I wasn’t able to give a post about week 2. I couldn’t get enough video to properly give an opinion. 

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” That’s the text I got from my friend John. It was 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon and I was on my break. The Eagles were playing the Giants. I started getting frantic; I opened up one of my sports apps to check the score, it was 14-0. The eagles were losing. I was so confused; Michael Vick had about 80 yards and an interception. That’s as in-depth as I could get. I called my cousin Mario to see what was going on, but he didn’t answer. I texted John back and sat at the break table doing the “I-have-to-go-pee-but-I’ll-wait-until-the-last-minute” dance impatiently waiting for John to text me back.

“The Eagles playing that badly or is it a misleading 14-0?” I asked. Experience taught me how to ask questions in that sense.  I wanted to see if the Eagles were playing that terribly (which they’re good for about once or twice a year) or did a few bad bounces go against them (like a tipped pass that was intercepted).  John eased me for a little and told me that the Eagles were moving the ball against the Giants, but they just couldn’t get score when they got into the red-zone.  Besides the offensive line the red zone offense was an area of concern because they had no big wide receiver to just throw the ball up to which was why Plaxico was such a hot commodity in the off-season.

“Misleading, they are moving the ball, they just can’t score.”  My break ended and I looked at my phone for one last time before my break ended and would take secret trips to the back room to check the score.  I picked up and put down the same screwdriver five or six times before I said to myself that I had to switch up what I was doing. It was terrible too because in the back you were alone, but there wasn’t much service so sites that would take seconds to load were now taking minutes.  I was in limbo and I didn’t like it.  It’s like going out and forgetting your phone at home and the whole day you’re disconnected from the world.  That if there was a disaster happening outside you wouldn’t know about because you didn’t get a text saying to panic. “Score Mobile” opened finally and the score was 14-13, the Eagles were making a comeback and they were in the red zone.  I perched up behind a stack of boxes and kept hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh.

Around 3:00 the Eagles took the lead 16-14 off of a field goal by Alex Henery.  I was excited because the offense was finally going and I thought this would be a turn-around even though it was still early in the season.  In one of the toughest divisions in football, a 2-1 start with a 1-0 division record three weeks into the season would be big.  But I didn’t know Vick was out with a broken right hand and that Mike Kafka was playing for the second straight week. I didn’t know that the Eagles were getting lit up through the middle of the field because their linebackers and safeties are horrible. I didn’t know that the Eagles changed the positions of their linebackers two weeks into the season; completely reshuffling the positions which could explain why Brandon Jacobs was so wide open on that touchdown. (I didn’t know that Brandon Jacobs was that wide open) I didn’t know that the other touchdown was a display of terrible tackling. I didn’t know that play made it look like Asante Samuel’s mantra of, “I don’t get paid to make tackles” was spreading throughout the locker room.  Nnamdi Asomugha played like his name was Dmitri Patterson and the stellar talent gene in the Matthews’ gene pool must’ve skipped Casey. 

The Eagles lost the game 29-16, sending shockwaves through my day and had my Cowboys-fan-friend BC talking about “how bout them Eagles?” Is this what happens when your offensive line coach becomes your defensive coordinator? You panic and reshuffle the defense?  The Eagles need to play man-coverage because they have the best cornerback core in the league, but Castillo played zone.  The tight end still kills the Eagles and it is so blatant and so common that if you closed your eyes and listen to the announcer say, it’s a pass, 85% of the time you can guess that it’s going to be thrown to the tight end.  Castillo looked desperate with changing the defense around like that and someone could argue that the pressure is getting to him.  Something needs to be done as soon as possible because there will be a lot of answers needed if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs this year.

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Reflection on 9/11 and the First Week of Football

Reflecting on 9/11/11 and the First Day of Football

When 9/11 happened I was in sixth grade. I was sitting in the back of Mrs. O’Brien’s class when my principal, Mr. Nardiello, walked in and told my class what happened. He said the World Trade Centers have just been attacked and since we were the oldest in the elementary school he felt that we should know.  After he told us what happened I raised my hand and asked if they were the Twin Towers because my dad took me past them a few months earlier.  That’s what he called them and the Twin Towers were about as much as I knew about New York at the time.  

Ten years later, after Saddam Hussein’s reign ended, the first black President was elected, Osama bin Laden had been killed, and the economy had been so disastrous that it was compared to the Great Depression, I sat with all my friends at a packed bar around noon on the anniversary.  The place was buzzing with breakfast and diner-goers on their way out and being replaced by those who have been waiting for this day since the Super Bowl ended.  Voices were loud, teams’ jerseys were worn, and drinks were being served while I continuously took my phone from my pocket to check the clock and waiting for 1:00.  Time wasn’t moving like I wanted to so instead of 12:30 it was 12:06 then 12:10 then 12:13 then 12:20 and so on.  After the eternity I waited, each of the 20-or-so TVs in the bar turned into the football paradise I have been waiting for.  It was then that the bar got silent.  The Bears, Steelers, Giants, Cowboys, 49ers, Patriots, and Eagles fans, active a moment earlier, fell silent as each TV played the same trumpet ballad. The images on each TV changed to 20 American flags stretched across the entire surface of the fields and each player from each team held a part of it. To say you could’ve heard a pin drop would be cliché, but true nonetheless.  To say we stopped being fans and started being Americans would be cliché, but true nonetheless. To say that all of our lives came into perspective, if only for a moment, would be cliché, but true nonetheless.  It was a moment you’ll remember where you were.

But, to get to the football side of it, I couldn’t wait to get to that bar.  I turned 21 in April and knowing that I would finally experience a “Sunday-Funday” had been on the top of my “I Can’t Wait for Another Reason to Hide the Fact That I May Be an Alcoholic” list.  I went to sleep early Saturday night (it was really 1:45, but who under the age of 30 has a respectable bedtime?) and woke up early on Sunday.  After calling multiple people I got a ride from a friend’s girlfriend. She said it was no problem because she “knows her place on a football Sunday,” her words, not mine (besides, that’s a whole different monster I don’t want to deal with).  Here are my observations on the first Sunday of the NFL weekend.

The Eagles Still Have Holes on Defense- That offense can score whenever it wants to.  Whether it’s Lesean McCoy running the ball or catching it out of the backfield or Michael Vick making plays with his feet or Desean Jackson exploding for an 80-yard touchdown (he dropped a guaranteed 90-yard touchdown pass that had the whole bar say OOOOOOOOOO-awwwwwwwww) or Jeremy Maclin scoring when Desean is double-covered or the other Steve Smith catching a pass across the middle. The offense is lethal.  Having said that (in my best Larry David voice), this team was awful against the run.  If Steven Jackson didn’t get hurt, he would’ve rushed for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. My friend JJ said to me about 30 times that the Eagles should get Lofa Tatupu and after the third time I was agreeing with him.  Casey Matthews isn’t ready for that role yet. And PLEASE PAY DESEAN JACKSON.

Goddamn the Packers are Good- When you have videos like this, you’ve made it. Is there any question that the best team in the NFL at this moment is Green Bay? That offense is as explosive as the Eagles and they can score on any play. Aaron Rodgers, who stole his people’s champ from Freddie Mitchell (but we’ll let that slide, I guess), has become a legitimate MVP candidate and is threatening to take Peyton Manning’s spot as the second best QB in the league. They are the most solid team offensively and one of the most solid teams defensively.  Now with Randall Cobb as a potential special teams threat, they are virtually unbeatable.  It’s amazing how great of a job Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers have done in Green Bay. Favorites to repeat? They have to be.

The Steelers Looked Terrible- I don’t know how much more Big Ben could’ve embarrassed me.  I took him as my starting QB in two of my fantasy leagues and bet on the Steelers going into Baltimore and bet on the Steelers carrying me to an overall solid weekend. Basically what Big Ben and the Steelers did was the equivalent to a kid throwing a tantrum in the middle of a Shop-Rite after I stressed that “Oh, little Chazz is great, he has never once acted up in public.” Feeling embarrassed I would tell my Steelers child that, “When we get into the car, I’m beating seven shades of shit out of you.”  (To be honest, I didn’t lose that much money on the Steelers, but as a broke college student you have to add two zeroes to every number to find out how much it truly costs.)

Calvin Johnson is a Grown Man- The man has the best nickname in sports just continues to prove that no matter where, who, when, or how the ball is thrown, he’ll go up and catch it.  He’s been doing it since he’s broken into the league. The only way to stop him is to make up a rule about how catching a ball is a process and it doesn’t end with two feet hitting the ground followed by his entire body hitting the ground. Honestly, if he can have a solid quarterback, he will eclipse Andre Johnson as the best wide receiver in the league.  Matthew Stafford looks like he can do it if he can stay healthy. Here’s how a huddle between Stafford and Calvin Johnson sounds like.

Stafford:  Megatron I want you to do a 10-and-out, I’ll hit you on the back shoulder.

Johnson: How about I just go deep and make you look like a superstar?

Stafford: I was the number one overall pick, Calvin.

Johnson: I made Drew Stanton and Shaun Hill look decent.

Stafford: Okay, deep pass to Calvin on two.

Is There Any Doubt That Tom Brady is Great?-  I don’t know how much more I should continue on this subject, but here it goes.  He has done more with less than any other QB in history.  Think about it, Montana had Rice. Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison.  John Elway had Terrelle Davis and Shannon Sharpe, the best tight-end ever.  Tom Brady’s receivers during his Super Bowl runs, Troy Brown, David Patten, and Deion Branch.  I’ll let his line from Monday Night Football talk for me; 32 for 48, 517 yards and 4 touchdowns.  And Peyton Manning can compete with him as best ever?

Tony Romo Does It Again- Nothing to say here, Tony Romo’s actions speak louder than my words.