The Eagles Fan’s Rooting Guide to Super Bowl XLVIII

The Eagles Fan’s Rooting Guide to Super Bowl XLVIII

By and large, football fans across the country are picking the Denver Broncos to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. This is what I could gather from offhand conversations with friends and associates over the past two weeks as well as this super scientific poll on ESPN.com.

Two-thirds of the country apparently believes this is the Broncos’ Super Bowl to win, and it’s probably higher if we remove the opinions of people hailing from the states of Washington and Oregon—also Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for some reason. Then again, who is going to win and who you’re rooting for is not necessarily the same thing.

Most of you have probably made up your mind by now as to who you’ll be pulling for in the big game, but that’s a mistake, a hugely horrible mistake without first consulting this handy guide.

That’s right, I’m going to tell you who you’re rooting for, and you’re going to like it.

Okay, not exactly. You can still choose your own rooting interest (though I’m going to advise Denver), but I’ve listed some very pertinent data below. Some of it may change your mind. Most of it will not. What’s important is that you consider all the necessary criteria before figuratively or literally putting on another team’s hat on Sunday night.

 

Root for the Seahawks because…

You want to use it as a reason to loathe the Eagles’ organization for not drafting Seattle safety Earl Thomas in 2010. Never mind the person that was most responsible for selecting Brandon Graham is in Kansas City. Never forget.

LeSean McCoy thinks Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno sucks.

You don’t want to see Denver cornerback Dominiqiue Rodgers-Cromartie pick up a ring. DRC has all the talent in the world, but he quit on the Eagles in 2012. Hard to respect a guy like that, and Philadelphia is very justified in rooting against him.

You’re a big Chris Clemons fan. Somebody out there has his Eagles No. 91 in their closet. Signed as a free agent in 2008, Clemons spent two seasons with the Birds, but for various reasons it didn’t work out, as the defensive end registered just seven sacks. He then posted three straight seasons with double-digit sacks for Seattle, although he finally seems to be slowing down with just 4.5 in 2013.

Broncos head coach John Fox was the Carolina Panthers's chief when they defeated the Eagles in the NFC Championship in 2003-04. Jerk.

Seattle fullback Michael Robinson. We are.

You like Richard Sherman. You should like Richard Sherman, even if you aren’t rooting for the Seahawks.

 

Root for the Broncos because…

You don’t like Richard Sherman. But there’s really no reason not to like Richard Sherman.

LeSean McCoy finds Richard Sherman annoying.

Legendary Eagles safety Brian Dawkins will be rooting for the Broncos. Dawk spent his last three seasons in the NFL in Denver, so naturally he’s pulling for the Mile High City. It’s as good a reason as any.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson will get too much of the credit for a Seahawks championship. That in turn would make him come out on top of Nick Foles in head-to-head comparisons, and nobody wants that! (Okay, I’m probably trolling a bit with that one.)

You’re a big Winston Justice fan. Somebody was probably holding out hope he’d develop into a great left tackle for Philadelphia, even after he let Donovan McNabb get sacked eighty-billion times in his first career start back in 2007. Justice was serviceable for the Birds for two seasons, but the former second-round pick was demoted and later traded for pennies on the dollar. He is only depth at this stage of his career.

Temple’s own Terrance Knighton, aka “Pot Roast,” plays defensive tackle for the Broncos.

You don’t want Eli Manning to own more Super Bowl rings than Peyton. I think this is the most compelling argument for Eagles fans because it’s the simplest. Anything that knocks the quarterback of the New York Giants down a peg can’t be a bad thing, otherwise whenever Eli is compared to Peyton throughout history, everybody will remark how much better big brother was, only to point out look who won more Super Bowls. The very thought should be revolting.

NHL Playoffs: Penguins beat Senators in 2OT of Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final

NHL Playoffs: Penguins beat Senators in 2OT of Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Chris Kunitz beat Craig Anderson 5:09 into the second overtime to give the defending champions a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday night.

Kunitz scored twice, his first two of the playoffs. Justin Schultz added the other in his return from an upper-body injury, and Matt Murray stopped 28 shots on his 23rd birthday.

The Penguins are trying to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 to win back-to-back titles. They will host Western Conference champion Nashville in Game 1 on Monday night.

Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel scored for Ottawa. The Senators rallied twice to tie it, with Dzingel making it 2-2 with 5:19 left in regulation.

Craig Anderson made 39 saves, but couldn't get a handle on Kunitz's shot from just outside the left circle. The Senators are 0-6 in Game 7s in franchise history.

The Senators forced a return trip to Pittsburgh -- where they lost 7-0 loss in Game 5 on Sunday -- by leaning heavily on Anderson in a 2-1 Game 6 victory, putting both teams at odds with history.

Ottawa came in 0-for-25 years in winner-take-all games, while the Penguins were 0-7 in Game 7s at home in series in which they also dropped Game 6.

Ottawa coach Guy Boucher told his resilient team to not get caught up in the big picture but instead focus on the small ones, a recipe that carried the Senators throughout a bumpy transition under their first-year head coach to the brink of the franchise's second Cup appearance.

The Penguins, trying to become the first defending champion to return to the finals since Detroit in 2009, came in confident they would advance if they could replicate their dominant Game 6, when they were undone only by Anderson's brilliance.

Pittsburgh has been nearly unflappable in the face of adversity under Mike Sullivan, going 12-2 in playoff games following a loss over the last two springs. He encouraged his team to "just play," code for fighting through Ottawa's neutral zone-clogging style and the bumping, grabbing and pulling that comes along with it.

A chance to play for their sport's ultimate prize on the line, the sheets of open ice the Penguins found so easily in Games 4-6 closed up. For most of the first 30 minutes, loose pucks hopped over sticks to spoil some scoring opportunities while Anderson and Murray gobbled up the rest.

Kunitz, relegated to the fourth line since returning from injury in the second round, picked up his first postseason goal in a calendar year when he completed a two-on-one with Conor Sheary -- a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 -- by slipping the puck by Anderson 9:55 into the second period.

The momentum lasted all of 20 seconds. Ottawa responded immediately with Stone -- who stretched his left skate to stay onside -- fired a wrist shot that handcuffed Murray.

Pittsburgh kept coming. Schultz, returning after missing four games with an upper-body injury, zipped a shot from the point through Kunitz's screen and into the net with 8:16 left in the third.

Once again, the Penguins could not hold the lead. Dzingel set up at the right post and banged home a rebound off Erik Karlsson's shot that hit the left post and caromed off Murray's back right to Dzingel's stick.

Notes
The home team is 21-20 in overtime Game 7s in NHL playoff history. ... Pittsburgh F Patric Hornqvist skated during warmups, but was held out of the lineup for a sixth straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Karlsson had 16 assists in the playoffs to set a team record. ... The Penguins are 10-7 in Game 7s. ... It was the fifth one-goal game of the series.

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick experienced a painful rehab start on Thursday night.

Rehabbing with Triple A Lehigh Valley, Kendrick was hit by a pitch twice before being removed after the sixth inning of the IronPigs' 8-4 loss to Indianapolis at Coca-Cola Park.

Both times Kendrick was plunked in the upper left arm, according to Tom Housenick of the Morning Call.

There was no update on if Kendrick was injured or taken out for precautionary reasons. Thursday marked Kendrick's second rehab start as he recovers from an oblique strain that has sidelined him since April 15.

The Phillies' leftfielder started at third base Thursday. At the beginning of his rehab assignment, Kendrick was expected to play four games and see time at third and first base, as well as in left field.

Kendrick made a throwing error at third on Thursday and finished 0 for 1 with a run scored. In his two games, he's 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Kendrick hit .333 with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs in 10 games with the Phillies prior to landing on the DL.

When he returns, he could see time at third base instead of left field if Maikel Franco continues to struggle (see story).