2006 in Philly Sports

2006 in Philly Sports

We thought we'd take a look back at some of the Philly sports highlights from 2006 as well as some of our favorite posts from The 700 Level.  I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.

January

09 - You can buy options on Super Bowl tickets.
10 - The 700 Level was the featured blog at Philly Future.
11 - Caught a Flyers game in East Rutherford, NJ.
14 - Villanova's basketball squad was starting to get praise as a legit contender.
15 - Terrell Owens and his "Get your popcorn ready" first enter our vernacular.  What was Boost Mobile thinking?
17 - The Phillies franchise was voted to be among the most miserable in baseball.
20 - We wished for Freddie Mitchell's safe return to Philadelphia as a member of the Philadelphia Soul.  Our dreams have not come true, yet.
21 - We had Rocky fever way before any sane individual.
24 - Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders and Poon.
25 - Remember Lee Nailon?  He was on the Sixers.  He also got arrested.
26 - Frank Stallone was in town.
30 - Mike Bartrum got a free vacation to Hawaii to play in the Pro Bowl.
31 - Bode Miller and skiing drunk was all the rage.  We interviewed the Birdman, our local expert on both skiing and boozing, to get his take on the topic.

February

01 - We kind of live blogged the Duke/Boston College game where BC gave Duke a scare.
02 - Donovan McNabb comes out with the whole black-on-black crime thing regarding Terrell Owens.  We're just glad all that is over.
03 - We attended our first ever Wing Bowl.  It lived up to the drunken hype.
04 - We kind of live blogged Super Bowl XL.  The wings were the highlight of the day.
07 - Former Flyer Rick Tochett gets busted for Operation Slapshot, a gambling ring.  That was a fun story.
10 - It's no surprise really that one of the most popular search results that brings people to The 700 Level is Tyra Banks and Chris Webber.
10 - We caught Olympic fever and were ready for the Flying Tomato.
11 - Pictures from the final scenes of Rocky Balboa at the top of the Art Museum.
13 - I proclaim that Kyle Korver sucks and add in some fine photoshop work I did.
13 - McNabb doesn't need to wait in security lines.
14 - Delonte West is a love machine and Allen Iverson is from Uranus.
16 - One of our great discoveries this past year was a video of Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir shopping in Turino, Italy with Philadelphia's own Vai Sikahema.
19 - Andre Iguodala puts down one of the sickest off the backboard dunks at the All Star game but is robbed of the title.
28 - Iverson got shafted from the Olympic team and Philly fans were pretty upset about it.

March

02 - Stephen A. Smith couldn't get anybody to come see his show so somebody in his staff emails me to encourage people to go.
03 - After watching Allen Iverson drop 47 on Gilbert Arenas I write my Internet famous post titled, "Don't Trade Allen Iverson, Ever."  Complete with sick Allen Iverson crossover.
06 - We bet you click on the next link because it had Oscars content but more importantly a picture of Selma Hayek.
08 - World Baseball Classic!
10 - Perhaps the most visited page ever at The 700 Level.  Video of Villanova star Allan Ray in what looked like his eye getting popped out.  He ended up okay, but Yahoo picked this up on their buzz list.
14 - Terrell Owens finally is officially released from the Philadelphia Eagles.
16 - And days after Terrell Owens departs, enter the guy who turned the Eagles season into a success.  Jeff Garcia signed on as backup QB for the Birds.
17 - Jeff Garcia's wife-to-be is a Playboy Playmate.
17 - The first move in to glorious Eagles victories against the Cowboys this season.  Much to the dismay of the Big Tuna, Terrell Owens signs with Dallas.  He also debuted a horrible rap song on his website dissing Philly.
20 - We booked our tickets to the Sweet 16 and loved ourselves some Craig Smith.  Our trip to Minneapolis didn't turn out as well as we would have liked with Villanova beating my Boston College squad.
22 - Mike Missanelli getting fired from 610 WIP turned into the most commented on post here at the level.
28 - The Phillie Phanatic gets painted red.
29 - Geno's cheesesteaks gets officially booted from the ball park in Philly.

April

02 - We started the Rollins Watch 2006 with Jimmy Rollins chasing Joe DiMaggio's record.  We made our first ever opening day appearance to see Jimmy reach 37 games.
06 - I was interviewed and a nice little post about The 700 Level appeared in the Philadelphia METRO.
06 - Rollins streak was ended at 38.
08 - Ryan Howard has a big stick.
10 - Perhaps one of the wackier stories of the year; Darren Daulton proves that baseball players are a strange bunch with his metaphysical mumbojumbo.
12 - Nothing like a toddler learning how to do an Eagles chant... at a Phillies game no less.
17 - The Phanatic shows that big can be sexy.
18 - The Sixers ended their season with little to show for it.  I wondered if it marked the end of Allen in Philly?
22 - Our love affair with Sal Fasano started and wouldn't stop... until he got traded of course.
23 - Our love affair with Ryan Howard, which we hope lasts a life time, kept on trucking with a 496 foot bomb.

24 - Sal's Pals speak out and give the rest of the world a look into their cult.

May

01 - Remember the Eagles drafted that skier Jeremy Bloom?  That was fun, right?  And man, we thought Bunkley was going to be a beast.
02 - We thought Barry Bonds coming to Philly would be our moment to shine.  We had a good view of his ass, but the signage to our left was truly spectacular.  More on Bonds trip to Philly.
10 - Billy Wagner returned to Philly as a Met, but didn't get into the game.
11 - Iverson got deposed.  He wasn't happy.
11 - Perhaps the single most memorable play of the year: Aaron Rowand with "The Catch" video.  He ended up looking like he went the distance with Apollo Creed.
14 - Jeremy Bloom met President Bush and tried to give him a McNabb jersey.  Didn't work so well.
18 - Phillies road trips are fun.  I caught them play the Brewers in Milwaukee.
23 - Alex Gonzalez retired! Thank goodness.
24 - After 5 hours and 22 minutes the Phillies couldn't pull out a 16 inning game against the Mets.
25  - 'Area Athlete Named to Advisory Board of New Indoor Swim Park:' Mike Mamula!
29 - The New York Post does a feature on Sal Fasano and Alex Rodriguez.  I get interviewed by the Post for some Philly perspective.

June

01 - I catch World Cup fever.

Sixers-Pelicans 5 things: Joel Embiid takes on dominating Anthony Davis

Sixers-Pelicans 5 things: Joel Embiid takes on dominating Anthony Davis

76ers (4-18) vs. Pelicans (7-15)
8 p.m. on TCN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live starts at 7:30

The Sixers will try to snap their eight-game losing skid when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on Thursday night.

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Walking wounded, part II
After the Sixers were limited to nine available players in Tuesday's loss to the beat-up Memphis Grizzlies, things won't be much better in the health department in New Orleans.

Sure, Joel Embiid's expected return after sitting out the second half of a back-to-back set for rest will be a welcome boost. However, the Sixers are still dealing with a host of other ailments that will likely limit them to just 10 healthy bodies on Thursday night.

The Pelicans surely won't shed a tear for the Sixers because they have their own injury issues. New Orleans could have as many as five players sidelined, including former Sixer Jrue Holiday with turf toe.

2. The next big thing
All of the injuries won't decrease the game's intrigue, mainly because of the matchup at center between Embiid and Anthony Davis.

Embiid is coming off a subpar performance in his last outing against the Denver Nuggets, but the big man has still been as advertised this season. The rookie is putting up 18.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 23.3 minutes a game. Embiid is also shooting 46.8 percent from the field and an even 50.0 percent from three-point range.

On the other side, Davis has been an absolute monster for the Pelicans this season, even if it hasn't translated into many wins. 

The three-time All-Star leads the NBA in scoring with 31.6 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting. While carrying the scoring load, Davis has still been able to average a career-high 11.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals a night.

This should be the first of many meetings between two big men that look to dominate the future of the league.

3. Glass repair
With Embiid out on Tuesday, the Sixers were dominated 69-54 in the rebounding battle against the Grizzlies.

They should find things a little easier in that department against the Pelicans. Despite Davis' best efforts on the boards, New Orleans has allowed a league-high 48.9 rebounds to opponents this season. 

With Embiid back in the lineup, Ersan Ilyasova coming off a 17-rebound game and Richaun Holmes always active, the Sixers should be able to control the rebounding category.

4. Injuries
Jahlil Okafor (illness) is questionable. Robert Covington (knee/illness), Jerryd Bayless (wrist), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

Holiday (toe) and E'Twaun Moore (toe) are questionable. Tyreke Evans (knee), Dante Cunningham (knee) and Quincy Pondexter (knee) are out for the Pelicans.

5. This and that
•  The Sixers are trying to avoid a franchise-record 24th straight road loss.

•  The Sixers and Pelicans split the season series in 2015-16 with each team winning at home.

•  Ilyasova is averaging 16.2 points and 8.2 boards so far in December.

Eagles repeating pattern of digging first-quarter hole in defeats

Eagles repeating pattern of digging first-quarter hole in defeats

It’s a pattern that keeps repeating itself. And it’s not a winning pattern.

Week after week, the Eagles are digging themselves a first-quarter hole. And week after week, they’re too far behind to catch up.

They trailed the Lions 14-0 in the first quarter. They trailed the Redskins 14-0 a minute into the second quarter. They fell behind the Cowboys 10-3 early in the second. The Giants jumped up on them 14-0 just six minutes in. And on Sunday, the Bengals led 10-0 before the first quarter was over.

If football games began at the start of the second quarter? This would be a different season. The Eagles would be 7-4-1.

The Eagles has actually outscored their opponents in the second, third and fourth quarters.

But the first quarter has been fatal.

The Eagles have been outscored by 32 points in the first quarter – 65 to 33. That’s their fourth-worst first-quarter scoring margin in the last 25 years, behind only three other nightmarish seasons – 1998 (minus-52), 2005 (minus-51) and 2012 (minus-75).

It’s also fourth-worst of any NFL team this year, ahead of only the Jets (minus-36), Broncos (minus-37) and Dolphins (minus-56).

Some teams – like the Broncos and Dolphins – have enough firepower to fight from behind.

The Eagles don’t.

They’re 4-0 when leading after the first quarter, 1-1 when tied after the first quarter and 0-6 when trailing after the first quarter.

At 0-6, they share the second-worst record in the NFL when trailing after 15 minutes with the Jaguars and 49ers. The Browns are 0-8 when trailing after the first quarter.

Last time the Eagles didn’t win a game all year when trailing after the first quarter was 1998. Before that 1977.

“It’s tough, especially in this league, to dig yourself a hole,” Carson Wentz said. “Whether the defense is struggling or the offense giving them points with turnovers and different things, it’s been a variation of a lot of those things. 

“It’s tough to dig yourself a hole against anybody, especially against good teams. So we’ve got to avoid that and we’ve got to come out swinging a little better early in games.”

The last time the Eagles won after trailing following the first quarter was the Dallas game last year, when they trailed 7-0 and won 33-27 in overtime.

What does it say about a team when it’s allowed twice as many points as it’s scored in the first quarter?

It sure seems like the Eagles several times this year simply haven’t been ready to play.

“The start to games, it's a mindset,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “It's truly a mindset. It's one of those things where as a team you want to come out and you want to kind of make the first punch, so to speak, or swing first. 

“We did it against Green Bay. We went down and scored, we matched touchdown for touchdown there. And we've done it throughout the course of the season. We've got to be a little more consistent offensively, too. That can also help. And then defensively it's just a matter of working to get off the field.

“It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the game if you can do that early in a football game.”

The Eagles have scored just three first-quarter touchdowns all year (only the Broncos have fewer) and haven’t scored more than seven points in any of their 12 first quarters.

They’ve allowed nine first-quarter touchdowns, and only one team has allowed more – the Dolphins with 10.

Wentz has completed 67 percent of his first-quarter passes but with just one TD pass and four interceptions.

Incredibly, the Eagles have only five plays all year of more than 20 yards in the first quarter – just one in the last four games. Only the Saints, Jaguars and Broncos have fewer.

Why are the Eagles so bad early in games?

“There is no other answer than to execute one play at a time,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “There's no magic formula. I think we've had good energy at practice. I like the way we practice. I feel like we are putting together good plans.

“We're showing flashes of being a good football team. We need to be more consistent. We need to make more big plays. It's hard to sustain 14-play drives. We've missed a few plays here and there. We just all – coaches, players together – need to make it work one play at a time.”

The only teams to outscore the Eagles in the second half are the Cowboys (13-10), Seahawks (10-8) and Packers (13-3).

When a team has outscored its opponents by 61 points in the second, third and fourth quarters combined and it’s 5-7, the focus has to be on the first quarter.

That means preparation. That means being mentally and physically ready. 

“Yeah, I do look at all of that, and that's part of my job is the (pregame) schedule and all,” Pederson said. “But these guys are in a great frame of mind on game day. They're loose; they're energetic; they're ready to go. They're focused. 

“You see it in pregame. It's been unfortunate, but it's something we've got to focus in on a little bit more … and try to strike first.”

The Eagles will try to end their three-game losing streak at 1 p.m. Sunday when they face the Redskins at the Linc.

The Redskins, 6-5-1 but with a two-game losing streak, beat the Eagles 27-20 in Landover, Md., in October.

“I think it just comes down to being focus and locking in,” Wentz said. “You’ve seen us. There’ve been games where we’ve come out and we’re rolling right away.

"We just have to find a way to maintain that and be consistent with that. The goal is to come out swinging right away.”