Today in Philly Sports History: O'Brien-Led Eagles Lose First Ever Televised Pro Football Game

Today in Philly Sports History: O'Brien-Led Eagles Lose First Ever Televised Pro Football Game

The Eagles are off this week, hopefully figuring out a way to make the post-bye portion of the season resemble what we were all hoping for in 2011. As a result of the bye, it's a pretty slow weekend in Philly sports, with the Flyers the only team in action when they face-off against the Blues later tonight. More on that and the day in college football later, but for now, a look waaaay back at some Eagles, pro football, and television history.

It was on this date, October 22, in 1939, that a pro football game was first televised. The Eagles played (and lost to) the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 23-14. More on the game and the 'back' who threw a touchdown for the Birds below.

This post at the official site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has some pretty cool stuff on the first televised game, including that only about 500 people in New York likely saw it, given that most people didn't have TVs at the time. This Football Digest article, archived at ProFootballResearchers, has that number at 1,000 sets. Others watched it on monitors at the World's Fair in New York (which has a whole new meaning to me after reading Devil In The White City).

Parts of the telecast had to be dumped to radio due to lighting issues—natural lighting issues—obscuring the picture. Considering I'll be spending at least some of my bye week Sunday watching every scoring play around the league, as it happens, on NFL Red Zone in HD, I'd say the telecasts have in some respects come along way. Then, of course, there's the Fox robot still being around, now complete with its own twitter account. Sometimes I think I'd prefer blinding sunlight and a radio broadcast to a robot with its body parts highlighted to illustrate where Michael Vick has sustained injuries this season, as if "hand" and "finger" are some obscure medical terms best explained to Americans using glowing pink on a robot model.

To the game itself, the Football Digest article is worth a read, if for no other reason than to wish we still had players named Pug, Ace, and Bruiser on the field. That and there was a guy smaller than me throwing passes for the Eagles, and he was exceptionally good. Davey O'Brien, listed at 5-7, 150 lbs, threw a touchdown pass for the Birds that day. O'Brien, the namesake of college football's Davey O'Brien Award, was drafted by the Eagles earlier that year after winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, and Walter Camp Award at TCU. He went on to break a passing record and be named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. In another sign of very different times and the relative prestige of football stardom, O'Brien left the game after the 1940 season to join the FBI.

Here's a look at O'Brien in action, not in that first televised game, but in his final day as an Eagle in 1940:

Vince Young won the O'Brien Award in 2005, and Cam Newton won it in 2010.

You can read more about O'Brien and the first televised game in Les Bowen's new Eagles Illustrated History book, reviewed by Kulp here.

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

ap-josh-hart-steal.jpg
The Associated Press

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Back at No. 1, Villanova looked every bit like the best team in the country.

The Wildcats — who earlier in the day regained their top spot in the rankings after a week at No. 3 — demolished Seton Hall, 76-46, in a Big East matchup Monday night at the Pavilion.

The win was the fourth straight for Villanova (18-1, 6-1), the 1,700th in program history, and the 47th straight at the Pavilion, setting an all-time record. The previous mark of 46 was established between January 2007 and 2011. 

Leading by 13 at halftime, Villanova put its foot on the gas to start the second half, jumping out to a 53-26 advantage on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer followed by a baseline slam from Donte DiVincenzo.

The hot-shooting Wildcats continued to pour it on from there, with Jenkins hitting a couple of more tough threes to put Villanova up by a whopping 65-31 margin with 10:33 left.

Seton Hall (12-6, 2-4) closed a three-game road trip with losses in all three games.

Big men on campus
Jenkins led the way with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from behind the arc. He joined Jalen Brunson (13 points), Josh Hart (11 points), Eric Paschall (10 points) and DiVincenzo (10 points) in double figures.

All seven of the players in head coach Jay Wright’s seven-man rotation finished with at least eight points as Darryl Reynolds had eight points and nine rebounds and Mikal Bridges had eight points and seven rebounds.

Desi Rodriguez was the only Seton Hall player to hit double figures with 15 points.

By the numbers
• Villanova shot 47.4 percent from the field and 46.2 percent (12 for 26) from three-point range, while Seton Hall shot 29.1 and 25 percent.

• The Wildcats had nine steals and scored 27 points off 16 Seton Hall turnovers. 

• Villanova only missed one of its 11 free throw attempts.

First half
Seton Hall led 5-4 before Villanova went on a 13-0 run to take control, capped by a fantastic one-handed putback slam from Reynolds. 

The Wildcats extended their lead to 25-7 as Seton Hall struggled to make anything. Consecutive threes from Rodriguez gave the Pirates a glimmer of life late in the first half, but the Wildcats still took a comfortable 36-23 lead into halftime.

Hall trouble
The Pirates have more victories over Villanova than any Big East team since the new version of the league was launched in 2013, beating the Wildcats three times. One of those wins was in last year’s Big East Tournament title game at Madison Square Garden, Villanova’s final loss in 2015-16 before its magical run to the national title.

Seton Hall has had far less success at the Pavilion, however, with their last win there coming all the way back in 1994. 

Simmons in the house
Sixers rookie Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, was on hand to see the No. 1 team in the country. He sat courtside and took photos with fans at halftime. 

Up next
Villanova returns to action Saturday afternoon vs. Providence at the Wells Fargo Center.

Seton Hall goes home to welcome St. John’s on Sunday. 

Dario Saric: Joel Embiid 'has changed the sport in Philly,' deserves to be All-Star

Dario Saric: Joel Embiid 'has changed the sport in Philly,' deserves to be All-Star

Even Dario Saric is getting in on the Joel Embiid All-Star Game craze.

After the Sixers' 113-104 win over the Bucks Monday, Saric made the case for Embiid in a postgame interview with CSN's Molly Sullivan. 

"Joel, for sure, he deserves to be in All-Star Game ... he's the guy who changed the sport in Philly," Saric said.

"And if we get Ben [Simmons] to him, we got good couples for so many years."

Saric definitely trusts The Process.

"He deserve everything ... he's maybe the best big man in the league."

We'll find out if the fans like him as much as Saric does Monday at midnight when fan voting ends. 

Catch the full interview above for more.