Sunday, December 10, 2017

Eagles GIF revealed

A Bleeding Green Nation user by the name of ThereAreThoseWhoCallMeNorm created an Eagles gif based on a famous gif of 50 Cent laughing as he drives away. Norm is celebrated as the "gif Lord" of BGN for his funny and unique Eagles-themed gifs—indeed, Norm's gif game is on fire, as this gif page shows!

The gif goes by awfully fast, so people often wonder who is in the back of 50 Cent's car. Well, folks, here's your answer:











See if you can figure out who all these people are! :)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Should Pete Morelli be fired?

#PHIvsCAR+Refs

Anybody who watched the Eagles-Panthers game in Week 6 of the 2017 season could see that the refereeing crew did a terrible job!

There were numerous questionable penalties against the Eagles. But there are questionable penalties against every team, in every week of the season, so that fact alone wouldn't have been so bad...IF the same questionable penalties had been called against the Panthers as well.

But they weren't.

The game ended with this obscene penalty stat line:

  • Eagles: 10 penalties for 126 yards 
  • Panthers: 1 penalty for 1 yard 
Now, if the Eagles were playing sloppy, undisciplined football while the Panthers were playing a tight, clean game, that difference would be entirely acceptable. But that simply wasn't the case:


Watch the tight end who's blocking Brandon Graham, #55 on the Eagles. Near the end of the play, the TE is bear-hugging Graham from the side. You're not allowed to do that. That's holding, and should have backed the Panthers up by 10 yards.

No call.

Watch the same tight end, #82 (Chris Manhertz, according to the Panthers' roster) getting a little "chippy" with Eagles' LB Nigel Bradham (#53, at the bottom of the GIF) after this play is over:


The Panthers player shoved Bradham, right in front of the ref.

No call.

I used these GIFs from an article about how dominant the Eagles' run defense was in that game, simply because I could use those GIFs to demonstrate what I'm talking about. I can't find GIFs of any of the numerous plays from the 4th quarter of that game, where the Panthers' right tackle was false starting on EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY! and never getting called for it, or where LeGarrette Blount was (wrongfully) penalized for blocking up to the whistle whereas the Panthers later tackled Blount well after the whistle blew (but, of course, weren't called for it). Or Alshon Jeffrey failing to haul in a downfield pass because the Panthers' corner had his left arm pinned. And yes, it was a catchable pass--the ball hit Alshon in his free hand! Anybody with functioning eyes throws that flag every time!

I also couldn't find GIFs of questionable pass interference calls against the Eagles (especially Jalen Mills), while similar play from the Panthers' cornerbacks was allowed to slide, over and over and over again.

UPDATE: Guess what I found?... [Do yourself a favor and mute the audio, though]


This clip is far from exhaustive, but it serves as a clear illustration of a couple of the bad calls (and the bad no-call on the pass-interference against Alshon) in that game.

***
Now, I watch a lot of football. Not just the Eagles, but NFL football in general. I see no-calls, such as those depicted in the above GIFs, in literally every single game! I'm okay with that, as long as the refs are consistent in letting these things slide for both teams. After all, I watch these games because I want to see the players play, not because I want to see the referees throw flags every time someone makes a small mistake.

In fact, there's an old saying that holding could technically be called on nearly every play. But even referees admit that they shouldn't call it on every play! When you're running around at full speed, you can't help but break rules sometimes; it would ruin the flow of the game to have a flag interrupting things for every minor infraction.

As long as the calls about fouls (and about no-fouls) are consistent, then the refs are doing their job--which is to make sure that no one is breaking the rules to gain an advantage.

But on Thursday, October 12, 2017, Pete Morelli and his crew were NOT consistent. The Eagles were called numerous times for questionable penalties, while the Panthers committed infractions that were just as egregious--or worse--without any flags. It's like the refs were closely scrutinizing the Eagles, while not even looking at the Panthers!

The unfairness made the game immensely frustrating to watch--not just as an Eagles fan, but as a football fan! I would be just as unhappy with the officiating if the shoe were on the other foot instead, and the Eagles were getting away with undisciplined play while the Panthers were getting nitpicked.

Let's examine some objections to this narrative, though, before we call for Morelli's job. After all, we wouldn't want to ruin someone's career over a single bad day at work!

PLAY CLEANER
Maybe it's really not that big a deal, and Philly fans are just being the kind of 
crybabies who boo their own players and once threw snowballs at Santa
Maybe the Eagles should just stop committing so many penalties...

Nope. Everyone--from Tony Romo in the broadcasting booth, to threads on Reddit, to Eagles beat writers like Bleeding Green Nation's Brandon Gowton, NBC Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro, and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice--all noticed the terrible officiating.

In fact, as Andrew Parent of Philly Voice notes, there was even a fan-started petition for a ban on Pete Morelli and his crew from ever officiating an Eagles' game again! That petition has gotten over 70,000 signatures, too!


IT'S JUST ONE GAME
Let's not cry foul about the penalty discrepancy in a single game. Hey, it's 
possible that the Eagles committed many more penalties than the Panthers, 
or perhaps their penalties were more obvious than those committed by the Panthers. 

If you watched the game, you know that's not true in this case--but it's possible, so you can't just point out a discrepancy in the numbers and use that to make a case that the refs are biased.

Given that Pete Morelli and his crew exhibited a similar bias in calling penalties against the Eagles in their game against the Lions last year (as acknowledged by a writer on Pride of Detroit, after his team squeaked out a win)...well, maybe this wasn't just a one-time problem!

Also consider that, over the last 4 Eagles games called by Morelli's crews (including the Panthers and Lions games), they've called a whopping 40 penalties for just shy of 400 yards against the Eagles, compared to only 8 penalties for 72 yards on the Eagles' opponents.

If Morelli and his officials are calling games fairly, THAT level of disparity is...unlikely. Especially since holding can be called at literally any point in the game, as mentioned above!

QUIT WITH THE PERSECUTION COMPLEX
Stop whining; every team's fans believe that the refs hate their team! 
This is just another false 'persecution complex!'

A summary of the penalty stats in Eagles games called by Morelli since 2004 reveals a shift from an apparently evenhanded approach through November of 2012, to a whoppingly lopsided pattern beginning in September of 2013.

So who pissed in Morelli's Cheerios after the 2012 season?

On Bleeding Green Nation, I've seen a number of calls for a statistical comparison of Morelli's crew to other officiating crews. Fans want to know how the penalty discrepancy in Eagles games called by Morelli's crews over the past few years compares to the penalty discrepancy of all the other crews over the same span.

I set out to do that, but I couldn't find that data. So, I went with the easiest way to statistically examine whether the refs were justified in calling such a lopsided penalty margin: I examined what happened in the first 4 weeks of the season.
  1. If the Eagles committed an entire order of magnitude more penalties than the Panthers, then the Eagles should have been one of the most-penalized teams in the NFL, and the Panthers should have been one of the least-penalized teams.

    And, indeed, part of that prediction holds true: as of October 11, the day before the Thursday night game in question, the Panthers were the least-penalized team in the league. But the Eagles were right in the middle of the pack. Before the game on October 12, the Panthers averaged just under 5 penalties per game; the Eagles averaged exactly 7 (tied with 5 other teams who also averaged 7 penalties per game).

    The Eagles' figure is right in line with the average number of penalties called per game across the entire NFL (7.02 penalties per game through Week 4), so it's not like the Eagles have committed an unusually high number of penalties this year.

    Similarly, Carolina ranked near the bottom of the league in penalty yardage per game with only 43.6 penalty yards per game, while Philadelphia ranked 8th-most with 65.4. So it seems that when the Eagles get called for a penalty, it tends to be for a longer penalty, on average. Think pass interference--spot of the foul, whether 5 yards or 35 yards downfield--vs. false start, for which the penalty is a standard 5 yards.

    This shouldn't surprise anyone who's aware of the fact that the Eagles' starting outside CBs are Jalen Mills, a feisty 2nd-year player who was picked in the 7th round of the draft, and Rasul Douglas, a rookie. Both players are very high-quality backups, but in an ideal world, neither would be starting for this team. Pass interference penalties are going to happen sometimes with such young, physical (and, in some cases, athletically overmatched) players as your starters.

    So, based on both teams' performance up to October 12, we'd expect roughly 6 penalties to have been called on each team, and we'd expect the Eagles' penalties to go for about 50% more yardage than the Panthers' penalties. Nothing terribly shocking.
     
  2. So far, we don't have a good basis for expecting such a wide gap in penalties. But maybe teams play cleaner against the Eagles, for some reason?

    So, I did a little analysis of my own. Here's what I found:


    Do teams play cleaner than average against the Eagles? Not really; the league average through Week 5 was 7.02 penalties for 58.97 yards. My analysis demonstrates that the Eagles' 7 penalties for 65.4 yards is pretty much in line with the league average to that date, while the Eagles' opponents averaged 6.6 penalties for 58.4 yards--both figures are just a hair below the league average.

    My training in statistics tells me that there's clearly nothing unusual here, though anyone is welcome to run a more sophisticated analysis to double-check my instinct. I've provided a downloadable copy of my spreadsheet here for your nerdy statistical amusement, if you're so inclined.

    But my training in statistics ALSO tells me that something is horribly, horribly wrong in the red-highlighted Week 6.

    You can simply look at each week to observe that the only real outlier is Washington's 2 penalties for 15 yards in Week 1. In the Week 3 game against the Giants, both teams were penalized fairly heavily; otherwise, the 2-15 line is the only thing that really sticks out as unusual.

    And nobody complained about the penalty differential in that game, except maybe the usual grousing among friends, and/or on Twitter. Certainly no complaining of the magnitude that people are figuratively calling for the head of the lead referee, as they are now!
     
  3. My statistically-based conclusion is that the 2017 #PHIvsCAR game was officiated in an unusual way.

    But the stats can't tell us whether the Eagles just played a lousy, undisciplined game, or whether the refs were horrible. The game film, however, can shed light on the matter. And the GIFs and video included above demonstrate that the refs made some pretty serious errors.

    Also think back to the reaction of Philadelphia fans to the disparity in the Week 1 game against Washington. Did anybody really comment on biased officiating? No, they didn't. The penalties in that game (which I also watched) were pretty much called fairly. So, no, Eagles fans aren't just reacting like this to getting called for more penalties than the opposing team; people are reacting like this because it was plain to see that the game was clearly called unfairly.

    So, having watched the Philadelphia vs. Carolina game and having scrutinized the stats, I'd say that the refs really blew it! And they picked the wrong fan base to screw over (again!), because we're not letting it go. And neither are the roughly 75,000 people who have signed the petition.

    Just look at the top comment on that petition: Cliff Wilson signed despite being a Patriots fan, since he knows bad refereeing when he sees it. Cliff doesn't have an apparent reason to sign the petition, aside from wanting to see games officiated fairly.

GOOD REF WITH A BAD VENDETTA
OK, so maybe Pete Morelli has a bad history like the Eagles. But he's an otherwise competent ref, right? So just keep him away from Eagles games, like the petition says...

I wish it were as simple as Morelli having a random vendetta against the Eagles, or being on the take

But I doubt it. I think he's just colossally bad at his job. 
  1. Remember the 2014 playoffs, when the Cowboys beat the Lions in part because the refs made the head-scratchingly stupid decision to pick up the flag on an obvious pass interference call on Anthony Hitchens? Guess who the head ref was...

    Yep. You guessed correctly.

    Mike Pereira, former Director of Officiating for the NFL, agrees with everybody who isn't a total Cowboys homer and argues that the flag should not have been picked up. Oh, and he also pointed out that the crew missed Hitchens holding Pettigrew earlier on the same play!
     
  2. Morelli and his crew made several high-profile screw-ups in 2015, leading the NFL to break up Morelli's officiating crew before the 2016 season. Apparently, that's the most damning thing the NFL can do to a ref without firing him.

    By the way, according to this article by a lawyer, it appears that the NFL did not "maintain the right to bench under performing [sic] referees." She argues that the NFL's negotiated ability to hire full-time referees and to train and develop additional refs puts pressure on current referees to perform well since they can be replaced.

    Evidently not...
     
  3. Did Morelli's new officiating crew stop the screw-ups? No, it didn't. Steelers fans hate him, and Vikings fans really hate him for stuff like this, as well as the Vikings going 1-6 in the last 7 games that Morelli officiated.

    Even an anonymous "league source" said that penalties could be called on every play, and that the Eagles-Panthers game "can't be this much out of balance." The same article notes that the commonality appears to be that Morelli tends to call penalties disproportionately against the road team in any given game. 
And now the NFL Referees' Association (wait...the what?) and the NFL itself claim that there's no evidence that the calls were biased against the Eagles?

Yes, NFL. Yes, there is evidence. In fact, there's a mountain of evidence, as shown above. If this were a court of law, we'd be well past the standard of a preponderance of the evidence and arguably at the point of beyond reasonable doubt

Morelli and his crew did not call a fair game. And they have a history of failing to call fair games against a variety of teams, stretching back over multiple years--to the point that the NFL actually punished him in 2015 by breaking up his crew!

And they want to tell us that Morelli did, in fact, call a fair game? 

Bull

Despite what Morelli, the NFLRA, and the NFL may think, fans are not stupid. There's some evidence to suggest that people are pretty good at detecting unfairness, and we tend to react strongly to obvious injustice, particularly when it affects us personally in some way. Hence, the strong reaction to this preposterously biased job of officiating (not to mention the reactions to certain pre-game activities that seems to be hot news). 

And, to make matters worse, these refs are apparently getting paid close to $200,000 per year, plus benefits. That's quite a bit of money for part-time work; far more than many NFL fans earn in an entire year! For that kind of compensation, refs can put up with some boos from the home fans. And if they can't stand the heat, then they better get out of the kitchen!

Pete Morelli, do the right thing: retire. Not in a couple years, not after this season ends. Retire now. The fans who have made this league successful deserve to see a fair game. 

And if Morelli won't retire, then it's up to the NFL to do the right thing. Buy out Morelli's contract and take him off the field entirely, or at least demote him and promote another referee to be the new head ref...preferably an official who isn't going to be scared to call penalties against the home team because the crowd might be upset. 

The evidence shows that Morelli should have been forced out years ago. Fans, let's not put up with this any longer.

Because games shouldn't be decided by unfair refereeing.

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Clever Fantasy Football Names

Clever Eagles-related Fantasy Football Team Names

It's that time of year! The dog days of summer are dwindling to an end, the air starts to become crisper and cooler, the leaves begin to change colors and fall from their homes among the branches...

You know what I'm talking about: time for your fantasy football drafts!
Before I begin, I will note that sharing your team allegiance BEFORE beginning your fantasy draft is a bad idea, as it may prompt other people to snatch promising fantasy players from your favorite team before you get a chance to draft them. So, it is wise to refrain from using any of these names until your draft is over, lest you tip your hand.
So, here are the Eagles-themed names I'm using for my fantasy football teams: 
  • King Wentz-eslas
  • From Wentz We Came
  • The Birds and the Bees
Can you tell I'm a fan of Carson Wentz?...



We Are All Witnesses Nike

Got some clever Eagles-themed names of your own? Share them below, if you'd like!

*Cross-posted at Bleeding Green Nation*


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Be sure to get your Carson Wentz jersey!
Need a new TV so you can watch the Eagles dominate? 
Check out this top-rated TCL Smart LED TV!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

New Eagles Wallpaper

New Eagles Wallpaper

Need a new Eagles wallpaper? Excited about the team's new rookies? Here you go, free for your enjoyment:


I got this Rasul Douglas quote from a Bleeding Green Nation article about the final Eagles-Dolphins joint training camp practice before Week 3 of the 2017 preseason. Here's the link, credit to writer John Barchard and Bleeding Green Nation.

Reportedly, this lighthearted quote came from Rasul as he was running stride-for-stride down the field with a young Dolphins receiver named Jakeem Grant.

They both laughed about it afterward; so it was all in good fun!

As I imagined it, this made a pretty funny scene—gotta find a way to break up the monotony of training camp! Plus, your opponent can't outrun you if he's laughing :)

And, in honor of the namesake of this blog, here are a few wallpapers featuring Brian Dawkins, who is always a relevant Eagles picture to feature on your computer:








Friday, April 28, 2017

Did the Eagles make a mistake in Round 1?

Did the Eagles make a mistake in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft?

In short: No.

Former NFL defensive end Stephen White is very enthusiastic about Barnett:  http://www.sbnation.com/2017/4/5/15073514/derek-barnett-scouting-report-2017-nfl-draft

I also like what I see from his piece in the Players' Tribune, though that's mostly just a marketing opportunity for players and their agents. I do like the creativity and the good writing in the piece, though; these speak well to Barnett's intelligence, which certainly can't hurt as he tries to make a name for himself at the NFL level: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/derek-barnett-nfl-draft-cover-letter/

His production and game tape speak for themselves, and his Combine didn't show special athleticism...but he was sick with the flu during that week. Imagine running football drills while you have the flu!!! That tells me that he's a competitor and a grinder, and the game tape shows me that even Alabama respects his abilities as a run defender--and Barnett even got a sack against a mobile QB on the well-coached Alabama offense!

So, in short...the Eagles picked a productive player who is likely to excel after a couple of years. And, since pass-rushers are so valuable, this is a good pick at an important position. They can find good corners elsewhere in the draft, but they can't get such productive and impactful defensive ends later.

I'm confident that the Eagles did the right thing.

Welcome to Philly, Derek!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Should the Eagles pick Gareon Conley at #14 overall?

Contrary to Betteridge's Law of Headlines, I'm starting to think that the answer is "yes."
Some people would object that he's 'bad value' at 14 overall, since some "experts" are projecting that he'll be picked at the end of the first round or the beginning of the second. But check out this scout's take on Conley.