Chip Kelly has been busy revolutionizing the Philadelphia Eagles. I think it was Lenin who said all revolutions have casualties. The first casualty in Chip Kelly's revolution was Mexican cuisine. Kelly banned "Taco Tuesdays," a staple of the Andy Reid regime (why are you laughing?). It's all protein shakes everything up in Philadelphia now. The second casualty was music. The whole thing. Music is dead. Chip killed it.
Sometimes there are terrible ideas, but you support them nonetheless. This is a safe place for you to defend those ideas.
This Is a Terrible Idea
Yesterday the Philadelphia Eagles announced they were re-signing Michael Vick to a one-year contract worth up to $10 million. Or maybe it's a three-year deal with a bunch of the money pushed into the second two years, structured so that the Eagles can pretty much shove the contract into a shredder after the first 12 months. A lot of the money is tied up in performance incentives — for instance it's been reported that Vick will make $900,000 if he participates in 70 percent of the snaps — which should make Vick and upstart second-year Napoleon Dynamite look-alike Nick Foles practically inseparable bowling buddies 4 life off the field.
The decision to bring Vick back seems to be all Chip Kelly's. The new head coach had a chance to part ways with the veteran quarterback/tackling dummy. And Vick's recent performances gave him all the reasons he needed: Vick has gone 10-13 in his last two seasons, with 30 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions. The organization had a chance to start fresh — be it with Foles or someone else — by cutting Vick before February 6, and decided not to. Kelly must have come to the conclusion that they'd rather have Vick, with the flexibility of trading him or releasing him down the line, rather than no Vick at all. "You have to look at the landscape for other quarterbacks," Kelly said on Monday. Hi, Alex Smith. Bye, Alex Smith. For Eagles fans, it doesn't exactly make your heart sing with hope.
In case you were busy fixating on that piece of popcorn stuck between your molars, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The San Antonio Spurs took down the Bulls in Chicago, 103-89, despite missing their trio of future Hall of Famers, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. When asked about the challenge his team faced, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "It doesn't matter; I could wring 40 wins in the NBA out of the San Antonio Silver Stars. Seriously, I started some French guy named Nando de Colo at the point today. None of our scouts had ever heard of him. Apparently, he's a friend of Tony's. They met at a Parisian falafel stand last winter, debated the nature of existence until 6 in the morning over a pack of Gauloises and three bottles of Malbec, before deciding that we're just shadows of an unforgiving god who vomited our spirits into this hellhole we call Earth. Whatever. Tony tells me to sign him up; guy's never even heard of basketball before, but apparently he's a hell of a freestyle walker, and in our system, he gets seven assists in his first start." Popovich then offered to play any of the reporters in the room at small forward against the Cavaliers to prove his point, but there were no takers.
The Charlotte Bobcats ended the Boston Celtics' seven-game winning streak with a 94-91 home win. Byron Mullens powered the Bobcats' upset with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Celtics forward Kevin Garnett was apoplectic after the game, saying, "Who let Nowitzki come down to Charlotte and wear some Mullens jersey so he could clown on KG? Y'all know I got the best sense of smell on this team, and something here was stinking to the high heavens." Garnett then broke into the Bobcats' locker room and started yelling "Sprechen sie Deutsch" at Mullens in a hapless effort to secure some sort of confession.
On a day with trade rumors swirling around the team, the Brooklyn Nets got a huge conference road win over Indiana in overtime, 89-84. "Everyone was a little on edge with all the speculation, but for some reason, I'm kind of used to it," said Nets forward Kris Humphries, who was ineffective in limited minutes and is rumored to be included in proposed deals with Atlanta and Charlotte. "Relatively speaking, this media attention seems pretty nice."
Marquette fell at Georgetown in a battle of soon-to-be Catholic 7 rivals. The game was decided late when all the players huddled at midcourt and deemed Georgetown the most prepared to be a communicative vessel for God. The referees then released a could of white smoke into the Verizon Center, which activated the sprinkler system and caused the game to be called with a final score of 63-55.
Kansas ended its three-game skid with an 83-62 win over in-state rival Kansas State. Ben McLemore had 30 points for the Jayhawks, and center Jeff Withey broke Greg Ostertag's school record for career blocks. "I view Greg as a bit of an idol," Withey said after the game. "I, too, wish to one day play center in the NBA, establish myself as a bona fide quality defensive player, sign a massive contract, and immediately stop trying. Also, I fully expect Glenn Robinson III to do something like this to me in the tournament this year."
Michael Vick renegotiated his deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, and will join new head coach Chip Kelly as the Eagles attempt to bounce back from a disappointing four-win season. Philadelphia fan Burt Gortowski reacted with uncharacteristic calm to the news, as he decided to only throw one rock through Kelly's window as a show of support for the new coach. "I think that Vick's game could work coming out of Kelly's blur offense," Gortowski said as he picked through the "throwing pile" of empty Yuengling bottles and rocks that he keeps in his backyard, "but just in case he doesn't, I don't want to be the one guy who didn't throw a rock through Chip's window. How would I be able to show my face around the Wawa?"
Liverpool squandered a number of scoring opportunities, including a Steven Gerrard penalty, before conceding twice to fall to West Bromwich Albion, 2-0, at Anfield. West Brom keeper Ben Foster, who had seven saves in the win, said after the match, "Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, and a real threat to get back into the Champions League, so you know you have to bring your top game …" before collapsing in a heap of laughter. "Oh man," Foster continued, "I almost kept it together for that one. No, but seriously, Stewart Downing wasn't nearly as bad as I expected, so I did have to try almost all match long."
Kobe Bryant took to Twitter to admonish one of his fans (@PacSmoove) for calling a fellow Lakers fan "gay." Kobe went on to say, "If you really want to hurt someone with words, you can't be homophobic. I learned that lesson the hard way; it's wrong and only makes you look ignorant. What you have to do is get personal, learn about your foe, what they care about, and what they're ashamed of. Then you'll be ready to hurt people the way your high school girlfriend Michelle hurt you when she made out with your best friend on the way to junior prom. The way it hurt you when your dog Patches got real sick and died after you accidentally let it eat a piece of your birthday cake and you cried and cried and cried. The way it hurt you when your mom said your sister Kelly was her favorite kid, and that you'd never amount to anything. Then and only then will you, @PacSmoove, or should I say, 17-year-old Michael McFarlane, be ready to play with the Mamba."
The final prize on the MLB free agent market, All-Star center fielder Michael Bourn signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Cleveland Indians. Bourn, a client of super-agent Scott Boras, said he chose the Indians because of "the wonderful town of Cleveland? Are you kidding me? It was the money! No one else was going over $30 million in this market. Do you know what you can buy with $18 million? Art, you dumbass. This painting by Gerhard Richter. Look at it! I own that now. Best $16 million I've ever spent. Plus, I'll still have two million "Boras dollars" left over to get this work by Richard Serra installed next to my hedge maze. Yeah, I have a hedge maze."
Every year, Forbes puts out a list of the 10 most disliked athletes in sports. Usually, that list is pretty much what you’d guess. A year ago, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, and Plaxico Burress stood (or sulked) at the top. In this year’s version, released yesterday, the top three again didn’t provide much of a surprise: Lance Armstrong (cheater, Oprah interviewee, all-around dickhead), Manti Te’o (fake dead girlfriend embellisher), and Woods.
The surprise, at least to me, comes at no. 4. With an approval rating of just 21 percent, Jay Cutler is the most disliked athlete in America who’s never given a nationally televised mea culpa. Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t see anything regarding Cutler with clear eyes, and that the guy kind of seems like an asshole. But is he really more of an asshole now than he used to be?
Chip Kelly is the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. This is more exciting than it probably should be; obviously, coaches change jobs all the time. But this feels different, somehow. Kelly is the best contemporary offensive mind in America (that’s an arguable designation, but it’s certainly the argument I would make if you put a gun to my head and started asking bizarre, subjective questions about football strategy). The Eagles are an elite NFL franchise in total disarray, habitually hounded by a fan base that despises everything (including themselves). There are landmines aplenty, all in the form of questions. Here are the main ones:
This popped up on the YouTubes right as I was beginning my several-week eggnog bender, so thank you to reader Brian from scenic Corvallis, Oregon, for bringing this to my attention. Now, last time we checked in on a great moment in local advertising, we were marveling at Joe Flacco's Pizza Hut jersey and wondering if the wearing of such a garment eliminated any chance the Ravens QB had at winning a Super Bowl. This time around, I'm on the other side of the predicting fence. Behold (above) Vince Wilfork, his adorable family, and his robot house cleaner Roomba, a work of commerce and art that will probably secure the Patriots the Vince Lombardi trophy.
In terms of athletes acting in local advertisements, this is basically A Few Good Men, and is up there with Michael Vick's Woodbury Nissan commercial as one of the greatest acted local ads I have ever seen. The only problem with this clip is how little Bianca Wilfork features. This is probably due to the notoriously opinionated lady needing more time to send withering text messages to Tom Brady about his on-field performances.
Could there be a more fitting final play in the 2012 NFL season than Tony Romo clinching defeat with a horrific interception? No, there could not. That super Romo-ish floating Christmas gift to the football fans of the beltway not only marked the end of the Cowboys' season, but the ends of both the BQBL season and 2012. Each year, December 31 provides us a moment to look back at what has passed and pay tribute to those who passed to the wrong team. So this year, at the end of this column, I'll be handing out the first set of BQBL Awards for lack of achievement at the quarterback position. But before we get to that, there’s plenty of carnage from Week 17 to address — namely, the work of Mr. Chad Steven Henne, who seemed eager on Sunday to secure the no. 2 overall pick for the Jags.
Three and Out
Jaguars (Chad Henne), 67 points: Chad Henne threw four touchdown passes against the Titans on Sunday: one to Justin Blackmon, one to Jordan Shipley and two to Zach Brown. The only problem is that Zach Brown is not on his football team. Details.
Clay Harbor, for whatever reason, does not have Wi-Fi. According to Robert Griffin III, Andy Reid met with him at the NFL Scouting Combine back in February and expressed interest in drafting him, which must be music to Michael Vick's ears, assuming he can hear the music over the ringing bells, since his concussion (suffered this past Sunday against the Cowboys) is now being described as "pretty significant." Cullen Jenkins feels like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and Jeremy Maclin is defending himself against criticism that he's pulling out of routes, which, seeing as how Maclin has been treated like a crash-test dummy by opposing defenses this season, seems totally reasonable. At least he can take heart in the fact that he is apparently replacing Justin Bartha in The Hangover 3. Ah. That feels not at all better [opens 22-ounce Yuengling].
With all the rookie quarterbacks going from dorm rooms to film rooms this season, there was so much potential for the marvelous missteps we have come to expect and celebrate here at BQBL headquarters. If you told me during the preseason that in Week 9, Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill would face off and combine for 723 passing yards, I would have corrected you: “I think you mean BQBL points.” The idea that neither of these men threw an interception baffles me to the point that I still have to check the box score even though I already know it as fact. With all these rookies playing unpredictably well (I have a spot waiting for you on the BQBL Summer Jam Screen, Brandon Weeden), it is nice to know that you can always rely on guys like Matt Cassel to turn the game over in the fourth quarter. Matt Cassel is the Kraft Mac and Cheese of BQBL quarterbacks — consistently horrible yet undeniably enjoyable.
Chiefs (Matt Cassel), 66 points: Cassel really filled the BQBL box score in Week 9. He threw for under 200 yards, he fumbled, he TAINTed, and he FARTed. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. Cassel’s day turned on two key plays in the fourth quarter separated by just two minutes of time on the clock. In those two minutes, Cassel went from “Hey they’re only down 11, maybe he can bring them back to win it” to “Hey, if he gets benched here, he will break 100 BQBL points.” Let’s take a closer look at these two plays:
It's not my goal to talk about the Eagles so frequently here at Grantland, but when they deliver a performance in prime time that is so distinctly, specifically Eagles (as they did last night), well, I feel like there's just too much to say about them to move onto other topics in Fourth-and-Short. They are car-crash football television, appointment viewing for fans motivated by Schadenfreude, and the ultimate viewing experience for your irritating uncle who watches the game and acts like he's an expert on passing mechanics and decision-making.
Each week, the Fantasy Island contestants will submit a preview for each of that weekend's games. The best preview from each game will be selected and combined with the others into one comprehensive guide, and points are awarded based on how many individual previews from each writer are selected. Get it? OK. We sorta do, too.
Ravens at Browns
214, 227, 181. Those are the allowed rushing yards for Baltimore over their last three games. Expect a big game from Trent Richardson both running and receiving this week. After a hot start, Joe Flacco has barely been better than Brandon Weeden, and both Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith have nearly disappeared. Don’t expect much from Smith with Joe Haden blanketing him all game, and expect even less from Pitta. The Browns have only allowed more than six points to a TE once all year.
This past August, with the blessing of the boss, I took Simmons's annual Trade Value Column and applied it to the NFL, a league that never has any trades and is subject to more career-altering injuries among its top players than any other sport. That sounds pretty stupid in hindsight, but the column (in two parts here and here) actually seemed to turn out OK.
Half a season later, things are different. Players like Darrelle Revis and Brian Orakpo are on the shelf with season-ending injuries that affect their future value, while some players left off the list have worked their way into contention. And there were some places where I just screwed up on the initial list and wished I had made changes before I even sent the thing over to Simmons to be mocked in the sidebar. This is my chance. It's time to review the first NFL Trade Value Column. Sans Simmons.
Each week, the Fantasy Island contestants will submit waiver wires detailing their recommended pickups. The best waiver column will be published and awarded points as part of Grantland's ongoing contest to select our fantasy football writer. Get it? OK. We sorta do, too.
When you get invited to Robert Griffin III’s costume party, you RSVP immediately. What better company to keep on Halloween than ESPN.com’s standard-league scoring leader? With a whopping 158 points, Griffin has even made a believer out of Osi Umenyiora. Fantasy royalty past and present was slated to attend; RG3’s costume party presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to mingle with dignitaries such as Priest Holmes (dressed as a rabbi) and Rob Gronkowski (dressed as a hulking member of the Breaking Amish cast), all while bobbing for apples and getting scared shitless by Mike Shanahan’s zombie mask. And it wasn’t even BYOB!
Of course it was a corporate affair — Dan Snyder signage was plastered on several walls, which had an unintentional chilling effect. Sporting a Waldo costume, Alfred Morris sat sullenly in an abandoned corner of the haunted house. I felt bad for him, so I moseyed over to make small talk. Morris explained his red-and-white-striped getup: He was in the midst of a stellar rookie season, yet no one seemed to notice because of The RG3 Show. “I’ve outscored flashier backs like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, but the average Redskins fan couldn’t recognize me if I was streaking down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he lamented.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
A near-perfect Alex Smith threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns as the 49ers dismantled the Cardinals 24-3 on Monday Night Football. As Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt approached midfield, he was pleasantly surprised when Jim Harbaugh's handshake was far less condescending than usual. It was almost humble, he thought to himself, and that's when he looked down and noticed that his hand was covered in Vaseline.