What we Learned from Super Bowl 43

So, what did we learn from Sunday’s Super Bowl 43? Was there anything gleaned from that magnificent and furious finish in which the lead changed hands twice in the final two-and-a-half minutes? Is there anything we can learn about the Eagles from watching Big Ben, Kurt Warner, Santonio Holmes and Larry Fitzgerald?

Why yes. Yes there was.

First, we learned that the devastated economy is all encompassing and has even affected the quality of the television commercials broadcast during the game. C’mon, was anyone really impressed? Does anyone remember any ad that really stood out? There are people who write/blog about the cultural relevancy of the whole Super Bowl show and nobody really dived in to the commercial aspect of it.

And this is a good thing. Maybe it means advertisers are finished treating the audience like they are idiots. Besides, we’re all broke. We can’t buy what they’re selling anyway.

Continue reading this story…

Hold on DeSean, hold on

We are big fans of showboating here at Finger Food central. Oh sure, it’s self-indulgent, silly and all of that other stuff that boils up the blood of fans and certain elements of the knee-jerk media. But at least it gets people talking.

And if people talk about it, guys like me can write about it, too.

Sometimes showboating slips past the thin line of creativity and into the realm of the absurd. For instance, Chad Johnson doing the river dance after a touchdown is creative. But Chad Johnson changing his name to Chad Ocho Cinco is ridiculous.

At the same time, Terrell Owens borrowing a cheerleader’s pom-poms to celebrate a TD is funny, but T.O. pulling a Sharpie out of his sock or dashing out to the star at midfield is the ultimate in jack-assery.

I mean really… who keeps a Sharpie in their sock? Even if you lived in a nudist colony in which you wore only long white tube socks and only had a fist full of markers to write with, you still wouldn’t stash them in your sock. Not even if you were playing nude football in the colony league.

Money is OK to store in a sock, not a Sharpie.

In the case of Eagles rookie DeSean Jackson, a little bit of showboating turned into embarrassment. That’s especially the case when the game is televised to the largest cable network audience to ever watch a football game. So when Jackson streaked away for what looked like a 61-yard TD reception only to ruin it by flippantly spiking the ball on the one-yard line, it turned into one of those plays everyone will remember forever.

And Jackson was only playing in his second NFL game.

Fortunately, Jackson’s gaffe did not cost the Eagles much more than some nervous laughter and red faces. Afterwards it seemed as if it was OK to laugh about the fact that the kid intentionally fumbled the ball before reaching the end zone. After all, who doesn’t want to keep the ball from their first ever touchdown? Instead Jackson got rid of it as if it was on fire and then moved to the back of the end zone to do a little humpty dance or something.

Talk about embarrassing.

But then again everyone who has ever played sports has done something really stupid. Sometimes those acts of stupidity are burned into the memory banks forever. Like the time I scored a goal for the other team in the final quarter of the semifinal playoff soccer game in one of my first years of playing the sport.

After the ball slipped past our goalie and nestled into the back of the net, my teammates and I fell into a state of shock. Most kids just stood at their positions on the weather-worn field and cried big crocodile tears, while a couple of others crumbled to their knees as if they had been shot by snipers.

It was a bad, dark day for a bunch of kids who took our little soccer league very seriously.

Anyway, what happened was I lightly kicked the ball to our goalie so that he could pick it up and then boot it as far as possible to the other end of the field. It’s a pretty mundane and everyday soccer tactic that even we used as little kids. Rather than play back on our heels on the defensive end, we could just the pressure a bit by kicking it far.

Simple, right?


Instead of the goalie scooping up the light little kick, the ball rolled through his legs and into the goal. The whole thing happened as if it was in slow motion and as soon as I kicked it I knew something bad was about to happen. Who would have known that the one seemingly simple play would have resulted in the only goal of the game?

So that year we didn’t get to the championship that season and we didn’t take home a trophy. Instead, all I got was this lousy story.

On another note, during a seventh grade basketball game in our ultra-competitive CYO league, my friend Paul once buried the most magnificent long-range hook shot I have ever seen. It was a shot right out of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar school of the sky hook. Paul must have been at least 20-feet from the basket when he turned without hesitation and just nailed it as cleanly as any shot ever.

The problem was it went into the wrong hoop. It was two points for the other team.

How awesome is that?

Finally, our old pal Doug Glanville penned another op-ed piece for The New York Times. This time Doug wrote about an event I remember well and attended with great apprehension and excitement.

Certainly anyone who was there that night will never forget the Phillies’ first game after the Sept. 11 attacks. Check out Doug Glanville’s remembrances here.

Next up: J.A. Happ, Marty Bystrom and Ryan Howard

photo from  Bryan Graham‘s “For the Record.”

Third inning: Shhhhh! Don’t jinx it

I often wonder what went on in big-league press boxes before there was a such a thing as the Internet. From what I’m told the press box was a lot more animated and adversarial.

As if that’s not the case now.

Perhaps without the Internet, the public relations staff would be busier looking up stats and trends and that kind of stuff, but these days it’s all a mouse click away. So with a second weekend of day-night action, the scribes are about to visit their Facebook pages while simultaneously keeping an eye on their Fantasy Football matchups.

It should be noted that my team is beating all that is holy out of the team owned by Marcus Hayes. However, Marcus has DeSean Jackson and Wes Parker remaining in order to make up the 40-point deficit. I’m fresh out of players after benefitting from a stellar outing by a guy named E. Graham of Tampa Bay.

Nope, I don’t pretend to be an expert.

Meanwhile, bulldog scribe Mike Radano of the Courier Post just handed out the cards for the no-hitter pool. What happens is whenever a pitcher carries a no-no past the third inning, Mike hands out specific cards to 10 people for $5 apiece. If a card matches with the corresponding spot in the lineup of the player who busts up the no-hitter, the card holder takes home the loot.

If a pitcher goes on to toss the no-hitter, the person holding the King is the big winner.

For the record, Ken Mandel of Phillies.com won when Kevin Millwood threw his no-hitter.

OK… here comes the jinx – Brett Myers has a no-hitter through three innings. In the third he walked Craig Counsell to start the inning, but quickly erased him by coaxing a 6-4-3 double play. Jeff Suppan grounded out to end the inning.

Myers has thrown 30 pitches without a strikeout to get his goose eggs.

Soeaking of goose eggs, the Phillies just posted their first one of the game in the third. However, Ryan Howard kept the grounded-into-double-play streak alive for a third inning in a row.

Phillies 4, Brewers 0

Monday clips

During the winter when there wasn’t much going on and I was fighting to come up with mainstream sports-related ideas to write about for this site, I did a little morning clips or “clicks” feature. Guess what? As a regular feature we’re going to get busy on that again, only we’re going to focus on what people are writing and saying about us from outside of the so-called Delaware Valley.

This will be baseball-centric for now, so just deal with it. Though I’ll admit that between attempting to squeeze in everything in order to entertain the kids and catch some of the doubleheader from Shea (more on that coming up), I actually saw some of the Eagles in the opener. Yeah, on a sunny Sunday I was actually inside for a bit – how about that?

Nevertheless, from what I saw – and the post-game numbers bear it out – the Eagles looked good in the opener. Most notably, rookie DeSean Jackson  made a nice catch for his first NFL reception and went on to pile on 106 yards.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Now do it again.

Anyway, it was an eventual weekend for the Phillies, who gained ground on the Mets in the NL East. The thing about that is it wasn’t quite good enough. Despite strong pitching performances from Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer as well as a pair of clutch homers from Greg Dobbs in the first two games of the series, mixed in with a call-to-arms e-mail from Mike Schmidt, Cole Hamels came up small.

With a chance to pitch the Phillies into a tie for first place with 19 games to go, Hamels gave up two home runs to Carlos Delgado in the last visit to Shea Stadium that were rather Strawberry-esque in distance and flight.

All was not lost for the Phillies, however. Still just two games behind the Mets, the Phillies chances were greatly improved when word came out that Billy Wagner likely will not return this season.

Remember when Phillies’ GM Pat Gillick chose not to re-sign Wagner because he said the medical reports didn’t look good? And now the Phillies have Wagner’s replacement from Houston closing games for the Phillies.

The circle of life…

Speaking of the Mets, it didn’t seem as if they were too impressed with the e-mail Mike Schmidt sent to the Phillies. Never mind that early reports indicated that the players didn’t really take the time to move their lips as they fought through those nine sentences from the Hall of Famer.

Regardless, back when everything was bad and falling apart and it looked as if there was going to be fights and mutiny in the Mets’ clubhouse, someone stepped up and delivered the rallying cry that restored order.

But instead of an e-mail sent from Jupiter, a player sat down with a pen and paper to rally the team and bear his soul.

Would you believe it was Marlon Anderson?

Yeah, that Marlon Anderson… the guy who was the stop-gap starting second baseman for the Phillies between the Mark Lewis and Chase Utley eras.

Since leaving the Phillies, Anderson has pinballed to the Devil Rays to the Cardinals, to the Mets, over to the Nationals and Dodgers in one season, and then back to the Mets. In every stop, which included a World Series appearance with the Cardinals in 2004, Anderson has provided clubhouse leadership, the ability to play a bunch of positions and a solid bat off the bench.

Interestingly, Anderson led the National League with 17 pinch hits in 2004 and though he was developed as a second baseman since being drafted by the Phillies, Anderson has played just 92 games at the position since 2003 and just once in the past two years.

Rather than his bat or glove, it has been Anderson’s writing that has made the most impact with the Mets this season. According to The New York Times:

The Mets seem to have righted their ship just in time. Back in the hideous month of June, they came back from San Diego with a 30-32 record. They held a union meeting before the first home game June 10, when Anderson distributed a sheet of paper with some numbers on it.

It was as if a certified public accountant were writing the Declaration of Independence – mostly about statistical curves and the like. But it forced the Mets to face their accruing mathematical mediocrity.

Anderson, a 34-year-old utility player in his second tour of duty with the Mets, had the clubhouse status to issue a few slogans as well as the notation that the Mets needed to play .667 ball the rest of the season. According to his study of the first 12 years of the wild card, the Mets needed a record of 92-70 to qualify for the postseason, which meant they needed to win 62 of their final 100 games, actually a .620 pace.

So how about those former Phillies and their writing? Not bad, huh?

Speaking of ex-Phillies, Scott Rolen has been hitting eighth in the lineup for the Blue Jays over the past month. Usually, Rod Barajas hits seventh.


Ailing Wagner Might Not ReturnThe New York Times 

Phillies Still Chasing MetsBats Blog

Mets Rise Began After Some Simple AccountingThe New York Times