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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week-in-Review: Reid Trickery, Phil Jackson, Tweet of the Week, and More

I’m posting the Week-in-Review just a little early so readers can kick back with some eggnog and get a jump on the Christmas holiday (because I just know you were waiting until this post to wrap up the week). Here’s a look back at some of the sports stories – and tweets – that caught my attention in the last seven . . . err, six . . . days:

• If you miss the “swashbuckler” days of Andy Reid, when he would do things like start a game in Dallas with an onside kick, there may have been a glimpse of that spirit on Sunday. Philly Sports Daily reported that the Eagles only had 10 men on the field for the play, having rushed a player off as if they had too many men on the field. The story quotes Giants special teams captain Chase Blackburn as saying, “They did something good. . . . They ran a guy off right in front of everybody and they’re all looking at each other saying, ‘We’ve (only) got 10.’ So we’re doing the same thing, trying to recount. And then you forget about that ‘alert’ a little bit. That’s kind of what happened.” I’m guessing this is just the first of many stories that will enhance the legend of the comeback.

• It’s rare that I agree with something Lakers coach Phil Jackson said, but he had a great comment about his team having to play on Christmas. Multiple outlets, including the Detroit Free Press, quoted Jackson saying, “I don’t think anybody should play on Christmas Day. . . . I don’t understand it. . . . It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to them anymore.”

• This week ESPN PR spokesman Bill Hofheimer tweeted, “People talk about [Brett Favre] fatigue but ESPN’s top 3 overnight [ratings] for Mon Night Countdown pregame are Vikings [games] the past 2 [seasons].” Fair point, and surprising fact.

• Devin Hester actually choked up in the post-game press conference after setting the NFL record for punt/kick returns in just his fifth season, and he consistently talked about the accomplishment in terms of the team. Awesome.

• This opinion from Ken Rosenthal was mildly surprising to me: “Teams looking for starting pitching could do worse than Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton. In fact, Blanton isn’t all that dissimilar from free-agent right-hander Carl Pavano - but at 30, he is almost five years younger.” Speculation is that the Phillies, with the best first four pitchers in a rotation imaginable, want to trade Blanton and his $17 million salary over the next two years. Rosenthal added, “Blanton rates a slight edge in career ERA and strikeout ratio, Pavano a slight edge in career WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Trade interest in Blanton could intensify once Pavano chooses his next team, most likely the Twins. The Nationals, one of the teams interested in Pavano, could attempt to obtain Blanton, and so might other clubs.”

• From ProFootballTalk.com, “On the same weekend that the Redskins benched Donovan McNabb and apologized for selling his jersey at a discount, the team used his name to sell 2011 Redskins tickets in a letter sent out to prospective buyers.” I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t delight in this guy’s demise, but after hearing so much garbage from the national media about Philadelphia not appreciating how great McNabb was, I can’t resist.

ProFootballTalk.com made a great point surrounding Andy Reid’s failure to challenge the DeSean Jackson fumble in Sunday’s game. Reid said that they weren’t getting replays fast enough. PFT pointed out that as the visiting team, the Eagles weren’t going to see replays of the questionable call on the jumbo screen at the new Meadowlands stadium. “The question of whether and to what extent the coaching staff — especially of the visiting team — has access to prompt replay evidence represents one of the biggest flaws with the entire [replay] system.”

• Can someone please explain the fascination with recreating big plays in the NFL on TecMo Bowl? I saw one for a Michael Vick play earlier in the year, and now the Jackson punt return has been recreated. I don’t know how it’s done, but if the game is that easy to manipulate, doesn’t it suck? Even if it’s done without actually playing the nostalgic video game, just remember – Intellivision was way better!

• Deion Sanders tweeted on Saturday, “Two blocks of free bikes brand new http://twitpic.com/3h4lnc” and “How does media hear [about] ignorance athlete/entertainer does but ain’t [to be] found when he does right. Where art thou now?” Sanders does deserve tons of credit for giving away all of those bikes for kids, and he certainly has a point about the media not giving enough attention to positive stories about athletes. But there’s just something about calling attention to your own good deed that seems odd, especially from a guy who regularly tweets about God. Didn’t God teach humility?

• Tweet of the Week? From NBC10’s John Clark, “ ‘@howardeskin: Jayson [Werth] said today with me on 610 WIP that he will miss Philadelphia.’ Doesn’t Ike Reese co-host that show?” Shhh. Don’t remind Howard!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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