If familiarity does breed contempt, then the rage being felt toward Andy Reid is perfectly understandable. Thirteen years of stupid play-calls and the same insulting explanations are wearing thin on the most tolerant of fans.
But what happened at the home opener Sunday was extraordinary, even by his own harsh standards. Reid’s behavior both during the stunning 29-16 loss and after it has triggered a new level of anger, maybe even the final stage before a long overdue divorce.
The focus of the discontent was Reid’s decision to try for a first down while ahead 16-14 with 11:48 to play on 4th-and-1. Rather than attempt to pin New York back near its own end zone, Reid opted for the same kind of short-yardage run that had just failed four times near the goal line. Predictably, LeSean McCoy was stopped, and the revived Giants scored twice for the upset win.
In his typically smug way, Reid said he went for it because he thought the play would work. Of course, he never shared the reason for his optimism because then he would have to respect the people asking the questions, and the fans they represent.
Since Reid wouldn’t answer, let me take a stab at it. The Giants hadn’t scored in two full quarters, they were missing two of their top receivers, they were playing on the road, and they were facing supposedly the best cornerback troika in the NFL. There was no good reason to gamble there — not one.
But then, was there anything he did on Sunday that was logical? Did it make any sense to run Mike Vick into the line twice near the goal line while he was still recovering from a concussion and had just sustained a broken hand? How rational was it to keep rookie Casey Matthews in the lineup despite his embarrassing struggles? Did it make any sense that Mike Kafka’s first throw was a 50-yarder while the stronger-armed Vick was restricted to short passes?
No, none of it was logical, including Reid’s postgame attitude. His entire news conference consumed 3:23, and of the last seven questions, he answered six with one word. A day after, he offered more words but no plausible answers.
What Reid doesn’t know — and probably wouldn’t care if he did — is how the fans are receiving his latest efforts. Calls clogged our talk-show lines yesterday at WIP from 5:30 a.m., and the message was clear. The coach can’t act this way much longer.
Reid is losing his city, loss by loss, fan by fan. We have seen this tired act for too long. A few more like Sunday, and the Eagles may have no choice but to end his — and our — misery.
Racism won’t go away in hockey
My first instinct is to offer no response to the unimaginably stupid act that unfolded in a Flyers preseason game in Canada. Why empower some Neanderthal who found it necessary to throw a banana at black forward Wayne Simmonds?
But the flood of words that followed was so revealing, I feel a need to say something. The bottom line is, Simmonds handled the situation with commendable restraint and his teammates provided the proper support, but the Flyers’ organization came up small.
Simmonds said he was “above it” and then refused to pontificate about the racism he faces as a black player in a predominantly white sport. One of his teammates spoke for all of us when he said: “I would have kicked that fan’s a—. That’s just not right.”
For some reason, Flyers COO Peter Luukko — whose Comcast-Spectacor firm also manages the London facility — ignored the racial implications and then gushed about the team’s relationship with Ontario. The Flyers needed to say something much more powerful than “a player could be seriously injured” by a projectile.
The saddest lesson was that there are some sick and ignorant people out there. How we react to them is what matters.
Ordinary Utley killing Phils
No one wants to say it, even while the truth is screaming in our ears. What’s wrong with the Phillies?
It’s apathy, injuries and the drudgery of a regular season with nothing left to prove. But there is something else — something too painful to mention. Chase Utley is killing this team. That’s right, the poster boy for Phillies baseball in their most successful era is ordinary right now, nothing more.
Entering last night’s action, the stoic second baseman was hitting .256 for the entire season. He had 10 home runs and 42 RBIs. How many No. 3 hitters in baseball have numbers that low? Even worse, Utley is batting below .200 in September, at a time when runs have become an endangered species.
And yet, as his yearly averages have dropped from .332 to .292 to .282 to .275 and even lower, the only sign of change was Charlie Manuel’s decision to move him up to No. 2 in the order. This came right after the top three hitters in the lineup went a combined 0-for-37 in the sweep by the Nationals.
Hey, no one has ever accused me of being politically correct, so let me offer the hard, cold truth.
Chase Utley is not the baseball hero that we recall so fondly from 2006, 2007 and 2008. Today, he is a declining, brittle shadow of his former self. And right now he is killing the Phillies.
– Angelo Cataldi is the host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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