Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz fighting for scraps, like rest of NFL

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz fighting for scraps, like rest of NFL

There's Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and the rest of the NFL is just hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
 
We have a tendency to try to take away some sort of insight about the Eagles based on the events of a Super Bowl they neither participated in nor came particularly close to reaching. Yet the only information anybody could reasonably ascertain from watching the Patriots win their fifth world championship is this: The singular science behind success in the NFL in 2017 is Belichick and Brady. No other formula is proven to work with such astounding consistency. No other head coach or quarterback has enjoyed near the level of success.
 
While that knowledge isn't going to help the Eagles claim their first Lombardi Trophy, understanding just how random the NFL truly is might help to shape realistic expectations for Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz moving forward. Because **SPOILER ALERT** either man will be very fortunate if they simply make it to a Super Bowl once in the next five years.
 
That's not intended to be a slight against the head coach and quarterback of the Eagles, although they have plenty to prove entering year two at their respective positions. The harsh reality of the current NFL landscape is the Patriots play for pro football's top prize roughly every other year, while the rest of the league rises and falls sporadically and unpredictably. That doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.
 
The Patriots stand alone as the class of the NFL. Then there's whatever flavor of the year they happen to meet in the Super Bowl, and the occasional team that catches enough lucky breaks to knock off the Patriots along the way.
 
Consider this: Belichick and Brady have made seven Super Bowl appearances in the last 16 years for the Patriots. During that period, only five other head coaches and five other quarterbacks have gone to more than one, and only three of each went to multiple with the same team. Even then, zero coaches and just two quarterbacks have reached the big game more than twice over this span — four times for Peyton Manning and three for Ben Roethlisberger.
 
Tremendous coaches like Andy Reid, John Harbaugh, Gary Kubiak, Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton have guided franchises to the final game of the year only once. Great signal-callers like Donovan McNabb, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan have played on just a single Super Bowl Sunday. How many more have no trips at all? We're talking about people like Marvin Lewis and Philip Rivers.
 
The most comparable situations to New England at present are in Pittsburgh, where Roethlisberger has quarterbacked three Steelers squads to the championship game, with Mike Tomlin on the sidelines for two of them; and Seattle, where Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have taken the Seahawks to a pair together. Before Tom Coughlin retired from coaching, he led the Giants to two with Eli Manning under center for both. And still, all of their trips combined equal one less than Belichick and Brady.
 
The Eagles can only hope to become that lucky. Obviously, having a franchise quarterback and the right coach at the right time are a huge part of the equation. That being said, these aren't cure-alls. There is still a lot of luck involved, apparently for everybody except the Patriots.
 
Perhaps once Belichick and Brady finally call it quits, maybe five years from now, the increased opportunities that will lead to for other teams will result in more repeat appearances at the Super Bowl. Who knows, it might even open the door for a new dynasty.
 
Then again, Eagles fans who lived through the Reid-McNabb era ought to know how fleeting these opportunities are. Despite going to five conference title games together, the duo reached only the one Super Bowl, falling short against — who else — the New England Patriots. They were one of the most dominant franchises in the NFL over roughly a decade, and it still only resulted in one shot.
 
You can say what you want about the makeup of Reid and McNabb, but they certainly are not alone when it comes to demonstrating how amazingly difficult it is to make a return voyage, let alone win one. When their opportunity finally did arrive, they needed to capitalize.
 
McNabb retired before he could get back, while Reid is working on lucky number 13 seasons coaching since the Eagles' last run in 2004.
 
That doesn't mean Pederson and Wentz aren't the next Tomlin and Roethlisberger, Carroll and Wilson, Coughlin and Manning or even Belichick and Brady. But they could just as easily be McCarthy and Rodgers, Payton and Brees, Harbaugh and Flacco, or cruelly enough, Reid and McNabb. In all honesty, those might be best case scenarios. Pederson and Wentz might never get there, at least not together, or not as member of the Eagles.
 
In other words, the Eagles may have turned over a new leaf with a brand new coaching regime and franchise quarterback last year, but Belichick and Brady's message to the league is and has been "Don't get your hopes up" for the longest time. Dare to dream that Pederson and Wentz will be standing in the Super Bowl soon, but don't count on their being on the big stage year in and year out.
 
There's Belichick and Brady, and everybody else is left fighting for scraps.

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Magic never stops.

Not even on Jon Dorenbos' honeymoon.

The Eagles' long snapper and magic enthusiast is enjoying picturesque Bora Bora with his wife Annalise.

Still, fresh off his wedding and surrounded by water way too blue, Dorenbos wasn't about to stop entertaining us as he posted this crazy coin trick on his Instagram account.

Bora Bora Magic - I love this move. @apollorobbins showed me this 15 years ago. #honeymoon

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Pretty darn cool — and, seriously, how does he do it?

And don't worry, Dorenbos is clearly having a great time on the honeymoon, not just blowing our minds with cool magic.

Amazing. #honeymoon #paradise

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How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

If there's anyone in the world I could sit next to for hours and listen to talk about baseball it would be former Phillies manager and World Champion of baseball Charlie Manuel.

Charlie is still very involved in the Phillies organization to this day and we're lucky enough to have 45 minutes of his time talking ball with longtime Phillies scribe Jim Salisbury.

Those two know the Phillies just about as well as anybody, so there's plenty of meat on the bone to chew on. The duo chatted for a recent episode of Sully's "At The Yard" podcast.

The story that caught my ear the most was Charlie's telling of how Jim Thome came to have that somewhat-goofy stance before he hits. It was a timing mechanism that Manuel stumbled upon in the strangest of ways.

This was when both Charlie and Jim were working for a Cleveland Indians' affiliate in the minors. 

"We were playing in Scranton and it was a Phillies triple-A team at the time. I kept thinking of a timing mechanism of some kind, a waggle or something, what Thome could do with his bat where he wouldn't tense up, where it would help him to relax and everything."

"I came into our locker room early," Manuel said. "I didn't let my players turn the TV on after a certain time. I came through the clubhouse that day, they had 'The Natural' on. I told 'em to turn it off. Some of the players said, 'Hey, Charlie, we're watching The Natural can we watch the end of The Natural? I said, 'Not really, what's the rule?'

"I saw Robert Redford standing there pointing the bat with one hand, bringing it back. I looked over at Thome, I said, 'you can finish watching the movie. From now on that's going to be your load.' I took him down in the cage and worked with him. The game started and the Phillies had a left-handed pitcher named [Kyle] Abbott. He was pitching that day. I told Jimmy, 'From now on that's your stance.' He gets up there the first time up, Abbott throws him a breaking ball away and he hit a home run to left center... I mean a longways. He come up the next time he hit another one to right center. I think he had three hits that day."

"That's a true story," Manuel added.

It sounds to good to be true. So we did a little research and Thome has told the same tale on a television special out in Chicago last summer.

"We were in Scranton and I was a guy who held the bat still and would go from a standstill and swing," Thome explained. "(Charlie) was watching The Natural and he saw that (Hobbs) kind of had this little wiggle to his stance, and I remember the day. We went out the next day, we worked early and he said 'Do me a favor and try holding the bat out there (pointing towards the pitcher) and get a little rhythm with your swing.' And from that day I never looked back. The following day we played a doubleheader and I hit two home runs."

You can listen to the whole podcast with Jim Salisbury and Charlie Manuel right here.