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.

Savon Goodman transfers to La Salle for 2016-17 season

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USA Today Images

Savon Goodman transfers to La Salle for 2016-17 season

Forward Savon Goodman has enrolled in graduate classes at La Salle and will play the 2016-17 season with the Explorers.

“Savon is the perfect addition to our team next year,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini said. “He shoots a great percentage and rebounds and defends with a tough, athletic style of play. He was a key part of an Arizona State NIT team and has had big games against great competition.”

Goodman, a Philadelphia native, graduated from Arizona State and is not subject to transfer rules. 

Goodman averaged 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 28 contests as a junior in 2015-16. He shot 55 percent from the field overall.

In leading Constitution High School to the PIAA State Championship as well as the Philadelphia Public League title during his senior year, Goodman earned Public League MVP honors.

Jackie Robinson's historic Dodgers contract on display in Philadelphia

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Jackie Robinson's historic Dodgers contract on display in Philadelphia

A piece of modern baseball history will be on display in Philadelphia for the next couple of weeks.

The original contract Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947 that allowed him to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball will be featured at the National Constitution Center from May 26 until June 5.

Mikalai Kontilia, CEO of Collectors Cafe, the company loaning the contract to the Constitution Center, brought both the Dodgers' document and the contract Robinson signed with the minor league Montreal Royals in October 1945 to The Comcast Network's Breakfast on Broad show on Tuesday morning.

"What's amazing is, these contracts, finally, after 60-some odd years, have been unearthed, discovered and the American people can finally see the Jackie Robinson contracts," Kontilia said.

The Dodgers' contract plays an important role in American history, and not just in terms of sport. Many people point to then-Dodgers owner Branch Rickey's signing Robinson as a starting point in the American civil rights movement.

Kontilia said a historic documentarian appraised the contracts at a value of $36 million.

For more on the contracts, check out the segment from Breakfast on Broad.

Photo credit of Robinson signing contract: DodgersNation.com.

Jim Schwartz on missing Fletcher Cox: 'He’ll catch up'

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Jim Schwartz on missing Fletcher Cox: 'He’ll catch up'

As the Eagles kicked off their second round of voluntary OTAs on Tuesday morning at the NovaCare Complex, the team’s best player was still MIA.
 
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is staying away from the team as he awaits a long-term contract extension for big money. He hasn’t been at any of the team’s voluntary workouts this spring and the first mandatory date isn’t until June 7.
 
As the Eagles install a new defense, how much is Cox missing?
 
“It’s voluntary, so you can only do so much,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said on Tuesday afternoon in a near-30-minute press conference. “Fletch was drafted in a scheme similar to this. He’ll catch up. But I’m sure there will be some carryover for him. I assume he’s a fast learner and I assume he’ll pick things up quickly.”
 
Without Cox on Tuesday, veteran free agent pickup Mike Martin worked with the first-team defense at tackle next to Bennie Logan. Last week, at the first open OTA practice, Taylor Hart filled in for Cox.
 
When asked if he has spoken with Cox since taking the job, Schwartz declined to comment, saying he prefers to keep private conversations with players private.
 
And by the third consecutive Cox question – this one about how Cox will eventually fit into his defense – the veteran NFL coach was ready to move on.
 
“Why don’t we do this: that’s probably enough Fletcher Cox speak,” Schwartz said. “Let’s just talk about the guys that are here. I really can’t comment on the guys that aren’t here. I haven’t had any experience with those guys. So anything I’d say would really be hypothetical, to tell you the truth.
 
“I did look, as the whole defensive staff did, we evaluated last year, what guys did. And he certainly had an impressive year last year. And we think that scheme-wise and technique-wise, what we’re going to do is going to fit him very well.”