Philadelphia – Father Anthony of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Essington, Pa., admitted at 8 a.m. Mass he’d been depressed by the Phillies’ loss last night. But the folks outside Lincoln Financial Field — the Linc, in local parlance — this morning didn’t seem too devastated. Indeed, today offers a case study in the sporting dynamics of a city. To ask a question often asked: Who owns Philly — the Phillies or the Eagles?
The Eagles play the Falcons at the Linc today. The Phillies play the Giants in Game 2 of the NLCS at Citizens Bank Park, which is just across the street, at 8 p.m. tonight. (Traffic alert!) And the Phillies have become the hottest Philly team at the moment — 134 consecutive sellouts at CBP. But the Eagles were Philly’s team way before the Phanatic was hatched from his egg. (Or his pod. Not sure about the gestation process of Phanatics as a species.)
The Eagles are the team of Bednarik and Retzlaff and Jaworski and White and Cunningham, meaning their tradition goes back a ways. (And the Phillies, for all their recent winning, were the first club in the history of baseball to lose 10,000 games.) The Phillies are chic, but the Eagles have roots.
Doubtless you’ve heard about the fluctuations involving Eagles quarterbacks: Donovan McNabb was the quarterback last year, but he got traded; Kevin Kolb (pronounced “Cobb”) was the No. 1 quarterback on Opening Day, and then Michael Vick, of whom you’ve heard, got promoted after Kolb got hurt. Then Vick got hurt, and Kolb will start today. But there’s a chance Vick will play.
UPDATE: There’s less chance now. Vick has been designated as the Eagles’ emergency quarterback, which means he can’t play unless the first two get hurt.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reports that Vick will be late arriving at the stadium.
And there are some who work for the Falcons who believe Andy Reid went beyond the call last Dec. 6, when he inserted Vick as a backup in the Georgia Dome and called more exotic plays than might have been necessitated by the game. (The Eagles won 34-7. Matt Ryan, who’s from Philly, didn’t play due to turf toe. Weird, these connections.)
More connections: Both Vick’s playoff runs as a Falcon ended in Philly, the second one on a snowy Sunday here in January 2005. Vick’s last start as a Falcon — and Jim Mora’s last game as Falcons coach — came in the Linc on Dec. 31, 2006. (Happy new year, Jimmy!)
By winning today, the Falcons could stamp themselves as the best team in their conference. They’re the highest ranked NFC club in the various online power ratings, but they’ve beaten only one opponent of consequence. (New Orleans, duh.) The Eagles are a team of consequence. They might not be as good as the Phillies at the moment, but they’re still pretty stout.
And with that, the figurative floor is again open for comments, questions and Installment 315 of the Ryan-Vick debate. And I should warn you that I’m in a pretty good mood this morning: The Linc press box has an entire cooler full of free Snapple. It is, for that reason alone, the greatest press box ever.