Philly March Madness: (3) Donovan McNabb vs. (14) Bobby Jones

Philly March Madness: (3) Donovan McNabb vs. (14) Bobby Jones

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll       matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes     below, and cast your  vote at  the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next  round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.

 
(3) Donovan McNabb

When we look back at Donovan McNabb's career a decade or two for now, it  might seem totally ridiculous that he was as polarizing a figure as he  was during his playing days here. Booed from draft night by Eagles fans  who thought Ricky Williams was the way to go with the second pick,  McNabb went on to have a career far superior not only to Williams, but  to all the other quarterbacks taken in the vaunted '99 draft class (Tim  Couch, Akili Smith, Dante Caulpepper, Cade McNown). Leading the Eagles  back to the playoffs in just his second season behind center, Donovan  would eventually get the team to four consecutive NFC Championship  games, including an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Birds' first  appearance in the big game in a quarter century. By the time he was  traded, D-Mac had set most of the Eagles' quarterback records, including  completions, passing yards and touchdowns. But because he had not set  the team record for Super Bowls won--just one would've done it--and  because he had frequently frustrated fans with his inaccuracy and  occasionally perceived lack of intensity and toughness, many had  long-since called for him to be jettisoned by the time Andy Reid finally  traded him to conference-rival Washington in 2010. It appears now to  have been the right move for the time--Donovan's 2010 season was  mediocre at best, while his Philly replacement Michael Vick had a  near-MVP year--but there's no telling how miserable the beginning of the  21st century would have been for the Birds without McNabb, who rescued  the franchise from the likes of Koy Detmer and Doug Pederson and turned  it into a perennial contender for an entire decade. -Andrew


(14) Bobby Jones

The answer to the trivia question "Who was the first NBA player to win  the Sixth Man of the Year award?," Bobby Jones did a whole lot more than  that for the Philadelphia 76ers during his eight seasons in the City of  Brotherly Love. Starting out with the Denver Nuggets in the ABA, Jones  came over to the NBA in the '76 merger and was eventually traded to the  Sixers as part of a deal for unapologetic gunner George McGinnis. The  deal would prove to pay dividends, as the Sixers already had a surfeit  of scoring, but badly needed what Jones brought to the team--defense,  energy and toughness. Known for his devout Christian beliefs and values,  Jones rarely boasted gaudy stat lines during his days with the Sixers,  averaging just 9.0 ppg and 4.6 rpg in his Sixth-Man-winning season, but  he was lauded by teammates and beloved by fans for bringing his all to  every game, every night. “Bobby Jones gives you two hours of his blood,  showers and goes home,” said onetime GM Pat Williams of Jones's game.  “If I was going to ask a youngster to model after someone, I would pick  Bobby Jones.” The Sixers' key lockdown perimeter defender off the bench,  Jones helped Philly make the playoffs in every one of his eight seasons  there, including their legendary fo'-fi'-fo' championship run of 1983.  Bobby was recently ranked by SLAM magazine as the 159th best player of  all-time, callin him a "vital piece in the [Sixers]' success because of  his selfless play." -Andrew

    Who should advance to the next round?online survey

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon     Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%)     over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over   (13)   Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark     Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone   (48.9%)
(7)   Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2)   Chase   Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod     Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook    (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%)   over  (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11)   Clyde  Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk   (24.2%)
(7) Lenny Dykstra (51.9%) over (10) Dave Poulin (48.1%)
(2) Allen Iverson (83.1%) over (15) Jeremiah Trotter (16.9%)

West Bracket:

(1) Mike Schmidt (96.9%) over (16) Keith Byars (3.1%)
(9) Wilbert Montgomery (59.4%) over (8) Jeff Carter (40.6%)
(5) Ron Jaworski (83.5%) over (12) Bobby Abreu (16.5%)
(4) Ron Hextall (94.1%) over (13) Andre Iguodala (5.9%)
(6) Mike Quick (59.8%) over (11) Hugh Douglas (40.2%)
(3) Brian Dawkins (98.3%) over (14) Scott Rolen (1.7%)
(7) Maurice Cheeks (51.9%) over (10) Eric Desjardins (48.1%)
(15) Carlos Ruiz (58.9%) over (2) Tim Kerr (41.1%)

South Bracket:

(1) Reggie White (97.1%) over (16) Hersey Hawkins (2.9%)
(9) Troy Vincent (51.8%) over (8) Curt Schilling (48.2%)
(5) Pete Rose (85.2%) over (12) Peter Zezel (14.8%)
(4) Ryan Howard (86.3%) over (13) Jon Runyan (13.7%)

Jim Harbaugh takes blame for Jim Schwartz handshake feud

Jim Harbaugh takes blame for Jim Schwartz handshake feud

With one season in Philadelphia under Jim Schwartz’s belt, Eagles fans are well aware of the intensity the defensive coordinator brings to the sidelines. But before joining Doug Pederson's staff, Schwartz attracted plenty of attention during a five-year stint as head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2009-2013. A highlight of his tenure in the Motor City developed a new wrinkle this week.

Maybe the most memorable moment during his time in Detroit was the unnecessarily ugly midfield feud in 2011’s Week 6 with then-49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Schwartz marched to midfield for the postgame handshake after his Lions took their first loss of the season. Harbaugh, a usually-excited guy with cause for a little extra enthusiasm after a fourth straight win, came in too strong for Schwartz’s liking. Schwartz chased down Harbaugh as he ran for the tunnel and the two exchanged some choice words. Coaches and players flocked to the tussle. What started as standard postgame procedure became the national talking-point nobody needed for the ensuing week.

The six-year-old incident returned to the conversation this week with Harbaugh, now the head coach at the University of Michigan, admitting on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast (and as transcribed by ESPN) that he was to blame for things getting out of hand. 

"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake," Harbaugh said on the podcast. "We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. ... There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as a loser. You just, 'Nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong."

On top of discussing his gifting Pope Francis a pair of Jordan sneakers and his theory that bringing a glove to catch a foul ball is acceptable for fans, Harbaugh went on to explain the last time he got in a real fight, as opposed to the silly scrum that went down at Ford Field that fateful day. He was 39, at the end of his days as a player, and got into it with two men at a restaurant.

"I did not win," he said. "I cannot say I won. I didn't get crushed, either. I got some blows in."

Harbaugh has a reputation for his passion, and the handshake debacle with Schwartz was no exception. It’s just that his passion often translates to doing things in a non-traditional way. He’s the khaki’s guy, always sporting his trademark dad-pants on the sidelines — he even tucked an Allen Iverson jersey into them once. He’ll do anything to get a leg up in recruiting, for example, sleeping over at a recruit's house for some “Netflix and Chill.”

Schwartz, similarly, is frequently fired up, and that aggression bleeds into his defensive scheme. 

Harbaugh is in the college game now, so the development in this nearly forgotten exchange isn’t life-changing. But if he ever returns to the pros, it’s good to know a postgame handshake with Schwartz wouldn't revive any bad blood.

Phillies minor league affiliate to ban tacos for one night to demonstrate bacon superiority

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Phillies minor league affiliate to ban tacos for one night to demonstrate bacon superiority

Everybody loves bacon. Everybody loves tacos. So why can't we all just get along and eat bacon tacos?

That's not what will go down on Saturday night when the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are BANNING the sale of tacos at all concession stands at Coca-Cola park.

Brutal!

It's all part of the Bacon vs. Taco night as the IronPigs host the Fresno Tacos.

"It was an easy decision. Serving tacos on Saturday would be hypocritical," said Lehigh Valley IronPigs President and General Manager, Kurt Landes.  "Saturday is about proving once and for all that there is absolutely no substitute for bacon. Period."

Yeah, but like I said: BACON TACOS.

The IronPigs are at least trying to make up for their lack of tacos by making bacon bits available to add to any food item for the low price of 75 cents. Seems like a steal. And there's always the candied maple bacon on a stick at least.

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We're going to share some of the official press release for this event because it's just so juicy:

While the feud between Lehigh Valley and Fresno seemingly dates back to the beginning of mankind (or at least the beginning of Minor League Baseball), we should remind you that it was the IronPigs who first received national and international acclaim in 2014 for their "Smell the Change" rebrand that included the introduction of their now iconic bacon strip on-field cap and bacon-themed uniform. The IronPigs have doubled-down on bacon recently, embracing the "Bacon, USA" theme by doubling the amount of bacon sold at all games. The original bacon cap remains one of the top-selling lids in the history of Minor League Baseball. With widespread interest and publicity, the bacon logo quickly sold to each of the 50 states as well as Australia, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

It wasn't until a year later in 2015 that the Fresno Grizzlies announced a one-game name change to "Tacos" (we don't get it either) hoping to garner similar attention while claiming the Central Valley of California as the "Taco Capital of the World."

Regardless of your favorite team or food, there's little argument that these two clubs have distinguished themselves promotionally throughout Minor League Baseball and professional sports. In fact, the IronPigs have been awarded the most Golden Bobbleheads in the history of the award, honoring promotional excellence in Minor League Baseball across various categories. Recently, Fresno captured the top prize in 2015 and Lehigh Valley in 2016. The winner of this contest will have a leg up in the race for the 2017 Golden Bobblehead award.