EAGLES TO FINISH 7-9???
MONEY in my pocket, my team is 3-0, free time and I’m out of the house. Sound good right?
After running some errands today I decided to show my face at the bar and have a screwdriver. Of course Rhodie was there holding court over why they will never get around to doing the part of the Broad Street Line that’s supposed to go from Broad and Erie, up the Boulevard and out to Grant. (Really. That’s actually a thing.)
Upon seeing me, discussions about city planning were shelved, and people started acting like I was Paul Domowich or somebody. Except I still had to pay for my booze.
People almost never get to stick it to Rhodie, because he’s usually right about sports, but I had to rib him on that whole “7-9 if we’re lucky” prediction. I started right in with “We’re 3-0, you flea covered coot!” Out of respect I didn’t take out my tape recorder because sticking it to him is one thing, but recording it would be too much like trying to embarrass him. Then he says: “Get your recorder out.”
I don’t even get a question in and he starts. “So you think 3-0 seals the deal? We’re 3-0 so everything is perfect? I seen what you wrote on your site about us playin’ shit teams, and the problems we got. I saw what you wrote about the practices and how the players feel like they’re being worked too damned hard. What do you think happens when they get a decent team, and they fall back by 20 early?”
He had me there. I’m glad for the 3-0 record, but I’m under no illusions about it and how we came by it. But 7-9? C’mon man. I offered him the chance to adjust his prediction.
“Adjust my prediction? What, are you doing me a favor? 7-9 like I said. I rooted for this team even before the coach was born, before the Linc, before the Vet, before any of the candy asses who read newspapers on a computer. I know a train wreck coming when I see one. Chip Kelly didn’t re-invent football, it just that fewer and fewer people know anything about it.”
I happen to TOTALLY agree with that by the way. Leave it to Rhodie to say in a sentence what most of us writers can’t say in a page. But a train wreck? I asked him about that.
“The players feel overworked. As long as they’re winning, everyone’s gonna talk about how good Kelly practice style is. Other teams are gonna try to duplicate it…You see where it goes? The players have to make Kelly see what he’s doing don’t work.”
He was suggesting that players would throw games to force Kelly to change. I told him he was nuts to think that.
“It don’t all have to be quit. That’s the thing. If he’s running them down, it’ll show up anyway, both in guys who bought in and guys who didn’t. Throw in just a few downs where some of ‘em give less than 100%, and people over his head are gonna ask him some tough questions, and tell him to make some changes. Something you left out in your other article there. These guys are multimillion dollar investments. Those bodies are investments. This ain’t college.”
I’d like to dismiss it, but I remember Rich Kotite’s last year here, when the team quit on him to finish (ironically) 7-9, primarily because they didn’t like how he was running things. Sometimes perspective is a gift. Other times it’s a curse. Especially when others lack it. Once again Rhodie had schooled the ‘young buck’. And this time he used my own words and convictions to do it.
I’ll be watching for signs of quit now. Funny, just a day ago it wasn’t even on my mind.