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Union finally working on a new addition this offseason: A mascot (yes, seriously)

Union finally working on a new addition this offseason: A mascot (yes, seriously)

The only soccer mascot we could think of is Manchester United's "Fred The Red" (he's on the right).

Philadelphia Union fans are getting punchy this offseason waiting for the team to do SOMETHING to improve for 2014.

Well, apparently there is a pulse at PPL Park, and some research being done about a new acquisition. Problem is, it's not a left back, an attacking midfielder, or anything else the team really needs.

It's a mascot.

According to The Brotherly Game -- an SBNation blog focusing on the Union -- a researcher from St. Joseph's University sent out an invitation Thursday to some season ticket holders.

Hello Season Ticket Holders,

Philadelphia Union would like to invite you to a focus group on January 9th, 2013 at 6PM. The Philadelphia Union has partnered with the Survey Research Center at Saint Joseph's University to conduct preliminary fact finding on concepts for a team mascot. We would like to include your opinions, if you are available to participate.

There are not strong enough words for me to describe how much I hate this idea.

Up to this point, the Union have stayed away from the superfluous crap that takes away from the action on the field.

Matchday at PPL Park is a blast, not because of cheerleaders, or a marching band, or "MAKE SOME NOISE" pleas on the video board, or the world's largest T-shirt cannon. The team has gone out of its way to make the live experience all about what happens between the lines. Heck, even the halftime entertainment is usually quick soccer games between youth teams, which is awesome. It's something many people LOVE about Union games at PPL.

I'm not saying a mascot would cause fans to ditch their season tickets, but it's the first step down a road that most wouldn't like. Build a winning team and you don't need a mascot.

[Editor's note: Enrico disagrees! Check out his counterpoint post: The Union mascot is a great idea (as long as it's a moose!)]

While mascots are commonplace in American sports (and apparently common in Europe, even in the English Premier League), they are not ubiquitous in the soccer world. And as much as I hate the fans who insist MLS should be more like the rest of the soccer world and less like basketball, football, etc., this is one case where I wish the league would stop feeling a need to appeal to the "average" sports fan.

Fortunately, this just seems to be a survey to see what fan reaction would be like, and no decisions have been made just yet. Let's hope that the right season ticket holders respond, and the team shifts its focus to players who actually wear uniforms.

More than some of the Union- and MLS-centric websites (which will likely despise this idea), the Level here is geared more toward Joe Philly Fan who sort of follows the Union on the fringes, or watches a game or two each season. I'm genuinely curious, would a mascot make you more interested in attending a game? Would it make you more excited to take your kids to PPL Park?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Finally, if there is a mascot in our future, I demand that team CEO Nick Sakiewicz is the one inside the suit.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

The Giants are a bad football team

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The Giants are a bad football team

It sounds like Giants coach Ben McAdoo is growing tired of Eli Manning doing Eli Manning things.

Manning’s season is off to a horrendous start, and by extension, the Giants are, too. New York’s record fell to 0-2 on Monday night, as the franchise’s two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback was responsible for blunder after blunder in a 24-10 loss to the Lions.

Manning only threw one interception, but it was so bad, anybody could plainly see it was destined to get picked off the moment the ball left his hand. With 10 minutes remaining and down by 14, Manning decided to look short of the sticks on 4th-and-3, which resulted in a turnover on downs.

But the play that seemed to grate on McAdoo the most after the defeat was a penalty for delay of game in the third quarter. Trailing 17-7 in the third quarter, the Giants lined up to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Somehow, Manning didn’t get the snap off in time, New York was penalized five yards, and the team wound up settling for the field goal anyway.

"Sloppy quarterback play," McAdoo said via Jordan Raanan for ESPN.com. "Quarterback and center need to be on the same page there. We need to get the ball snapped."

It’s not very often you hear an NFL coach be so bluntly and specifically critical of one of his players. Then again, most NFL coaches don’t know the joys of coaching Eli Manning, who does this kind of stuff all the time.

"Because we have a veteran quarterback who has played a lot of football and I expect us to get the ball snapped," McAdoo said, explaining why he didn’t call a timeout with the play clock winding.

Translation: That was entirely, 100 percent on Manning.

Granted, Manning isn’t to blame for all of the Giants’ problems. Not unlike the Eagles, the offense can’t/won’t run the football, averaging 3.4 yards on 18 attempts against the Lions. The pass protection isn’t any better, either, allowing Manning to take 5 sacks and 8 quarterback hits – also reminiscent of the Eagles.

Yet, unlike the Eagles, people were strangely afraid of the Giants coming into the 2017 season. A lot of people had this team pegged as a contender for an NFC East championship, and while it’s too early to rule it out, I’ve never quite been sure why.

Manning and the Giants’ offensive struggles date back to last season, as the team hasn’t eclipsed 20 points in its last eight regular and postseason games – since November. All the only real upgrade the front office made in the offseason was to sign 33-year-old wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Sure, New York’s defense is excellent. This isn’t 2007 though. It’s not good enough to overcome this level of offensive ineptitude.

Barring a sudden and dramatic turnaround, the Giants are a bad football team. The offensive line stinks. They have no ground attack to speak of whatsoever. Odell Beckham is the offense’s only viable threat, and he probably isn’t 100 percent. And Eli Manning is as mistake-prone as ever, except he’s 36 years old now and almost certainly is not putting the same mustard on the ball like he used to.

The Eagles host the Giants on a short week this Sunday. Make of that what you will.