John McMullen. 18th August, 2005 - 3:28 pm
?Philadelphia is the only place you can experience the joy of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.? - Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt.
Times change and Philadelphia is no different.
The City?s sports scribes were legendary for hurling their acidic barbs at anyone and everyone. Even legends like Mike Schmidt weren?t immune. Heck.... Santa Claus was booed in the City of Brotherly Love and the locals took an almost perverse pleasure in how ?hard? Philadelphia was viewed.
But times are changing. Now Philly is just another town caught up in the political correctness that is American society.
Most current Philly writers treat Andy Reid and Donavan McNabb gentler than their own children. It?s the kid glove treatment Schmidt would have paid dearly to receive.
Some of the fanatical adulation Reid and McNabb receive is understandable. I mean, this is not exactly a franchise steeped in winning tradition and McNabb, with Reid as his general, are the two lynchpins that have turned the Eagles from NFC retread to the ?Gold Standard? of the conference.
But, they have handled the Terrell Owens situation horribly.
Before anyone gets irate and starts firing off e-mails insinuating that I am defending Owens, understand you couldn?t be further from the truth. No one here is questioning Owens? ability but he is the single most immature and selfish athlete in professional sports. While it?s very true the Eagles can?t replace Owens? production, it?s also true they can?t afford his circus like sideshow.
There has been a lot of talk about hypocrites in Philadelphia after Owens branded McNabb one in his nonsensical ramblings on ESPN. As Chris Berman fawned over T.O. calling him a ?hero,? (way to devalue that concept Boomer), I wondered if Owens even knew what the word meant.
In truth, the one true hypocrite at NovaCare is the head coach. Reid often talked about the type of players he brought into his ?system.? Good, hard working, character guys but when the time came, he sold his NFL soul to bring in the league?s worst teammate.
Well, Andy..... it almost worked but now that is a distant memory. When Reid let Owens back on his practice field on Wednesday, August 17, he sealed his fate; the Eagles run is over and his time in Philadelphia is nearing an end.
It will not be a quick slide, the team is still the class of a weak division but forget about any Super Bowl dreams. Reid and his leader have let a cancer eat through their team without much of a fight.
The Philly area practically genuflected in front of McNabb after his ?classy? press conference saying he could work with Owens while ignoring him at the same time. My response was simple.....Has everyone gone loopy? Doesn?t anyone realize how absurd that is?
The Eagles ?leader? will remain an elite playmaker but despite the Philly Press? incessant fawning over him, McNabb?s refusal to castigate the impudent Owens, head on, eats away and cripples his team. That doesn?t sound like a leader to me.
And yet...in Philly.....the home of ?Rocky?...the ultimate blue-collar town, Reid and McNabb are getting a the free pass.
John Welbourne, a former Eagle, recently leveled that the only thing bigger than Reid?s waist was his ego. Sour grapes?......Perhaps....But much like Jose Canseco?s steroid tell-all, another self-serving venture spurred by revenge, it?s the truth.
?The Gold Standard? has become ?The Double Standard.? Even if Philadelphia hasn?t realized it yet.
-You can reach John McMullen at JMcmullen1@comcast.net.