Tag Archives: NFL

In 1902, the new Philadelphia baseball rivalry spilled over to pro football

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’8HlscPe3S7dUrHY8KHP5AA’,sig:’9A23Xss4MCpRXRoF_OYu5TrsLE8z4-XX63kT9swT6As=’,w:’594px’,h:’382px’,items:’73333786′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

The 1902 Philadelphia Athletics  (pic) rivalry with the Phillies spilled over to pro football

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, one of the biggest sporting days in the world. It is estimated that well over 100 million people worldwide will tune in to watch the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams battle to become this year’s champions of the National Football League at some point.

The game won’t hold the same edge-of-your-seat passionate interest that last year’s game did here in Philadelphia. A year ago, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated New England in a thrilling 41-33 contest to capture the first-ever Super Bowl crown in franchise history.
As soon as this year’s game ends and the last of the chicken wings, pizza, and beer has been consumed here in Philly, local sports fans will begin to much more seriously consider the upcoming Philadelphia Phillies baseball season.
The Phillies pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Clearwater, Florida exactly ten days from today for the official start of 2019 spring training camp. The position players will join later that week, and the first game of the Grapefruit League season is scheduled for Friday, February 22.
A fun fact that most Phillies fans are probably not aware of is that there was once a Philadelphia Phillies professional football team in town. In fact, there is a direct link, as the football team was actually owned by the baseball team.
In 1902 a first-ever attempt to form a pro football league took place right here in Pennsylvania. And in fact, that formation was a direct result of the beginning of the baseball wars the previous year with the formation of the new American League.
The Phillies had been in existence as members of the National League since the 1883 season, though they were often referred to as the ‘Philadelphia Quakers’ during their first seven seasons. The NL had been founded seven years earlier, on February 2, 1876.

Ben Shibe (2nd from left, front row) was the original owner of the Philadelphia Athletics – both the baseball and football versions. (Bain News Service/WikiCommons)
Founded on January 28, 1901 the American League set out to become an alternative “major league” and expand opportunities for both players and fans to participate in the game at the highest levels.
During the 1901-02 seasons there was outright war between the more established “Senior Circuit” of the NL and the new kids on the block, the “Junior Circuit” of the AL. The two would finally establish a ‘Pax baseball’ following the 1902 season, with establishment of rules regarding player contracts as well as a World Series between champions of the two leagues.
But while that initial war was still being fought, the idea of professional football was brought into the fray. Phillies owner John Rogers started a football team named after his baseball club. Ben Shibe, owner of the Philadelphia Athletics in the AL, decided to start one of his own in response.
Out in Pittsburgh, the Homestead Library & Athletic Club had what was considered the best football team in the nation made up of professional paid players. The team was funded by Pittsburgh Pirates minority owner William Chase Temple, and had not lost a game during either their 1900 or 1901 schedules.
Football promoter Dave Berry took many of those Homestead players and formed a pro team called the Pittsburgh Stars. The team is believed by many to have remained funded by either Temple or the Pirates majority owner, Barney Dreyfuss.
That was the extent of what became known as the National Football League in 1902: the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Athletics, and Pittsburgh Stars. And to avoid confusion for modern fans, that “NFL” was to have no relation to today’s league.
There were many players who were involved with both the football and baseball teams, and so this led to the football season not opening until early October in 1902. Due to Pennsylvania’s “Blue Laws“, which forbid most activities from being held on Sundays due to religious reasons, all of the 1902 NFL games took place on Saturdays.

The 1902 Philadelphia Athletics pro football club was owned by Connie Mack and the American League’s Philadelphia Athletics baseball club. (unknown/WikiCommons)
The official schedule was for each team to play the other two times, followed by a championship. At the season’s conclusion, the Athletics and Stars faced off in a match that was being billed as the championship in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day.
After a delay due to payment of the A’s players, the game finally got underway. The game was described as “an even match” where “both teams played their best”, but it settled nothing as the two teams battled to a scoreless tie.
A second game was quickly scheduled to see if a victor could be determined. In that rematch, the Stars came out on top by an 11-0 score. Thus, Pittsburgh would remain the champions of professional football.
The A’s would later defeat the Phillies in a game that was billed as the City Championship, but it was a bittersweet win after the defeat by Pittsburgh. The overall final records for the three teams along with the points for and against were as follows: Pittsburgh Stars (3-2-1, 39-22), Philadelphia Athletics (3-2-1, 34-44), Philadelphia Phillies (3-3, 41-34).
And that was that for the first-ever National Football League. With the settlement of disputes between the National and American Leagues in baseball, the attempt at carrying over the rivalry to pro football died off.
On the baseball diamond, the fledgling Athletics would prove far more successful than those early Phillies as the new century was dawning. The 1902 Phillies went 56-81 while the Athletics went 83-53 and won the second-ever AL pennant.

The actual American pro football league that we know today would not form until 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA), changing to the National Football League (NFL) for the 1922 season.
The Philadelphia Eagles have won the NFL title four times: 1948-49, 1960, and last year’s 2017 championship. The Philadelphia Athletics would win five World Series crowns: 1910-11, 1913, 1929-30. The Philadelphia Phillies have captured a pair of World Series titles: 1980, 2008.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Wait, there was once a Philadelphia Phillies – professional football team?

Can Eagles fly without Carson Wentz?

Embed from Getty Images
Nick Foles takes over as Eagles QB after injury to Carson Wentz

This afternoon for the first time since the 2013 season the Philadelphia Eagles will take part in an NFL playoff game.

For my fellow Eagles fans, if it seems that we’ve suffered through a long drought without a postseason appearance, that’s because we have.

In the last 30 years there has only been one other stretch, from 1997-99 prior to the Andy Reid-Donovan McNabb era, where the Eagles missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

The turnaround from the recent downturn for the franchise can easily be traced to one event, and basically to one person. That would be the selection of quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Wentz somewhat unexpectedly became the starting quarterback immediately. He led the Eagles to a 3-0 start as a rookie that fall, demonstrating the talent and leadership that had inspired team management to make him such a high draft selection.

After the defense collapsed during a five-game late season losing streak, Wentz orchestrated a pair of 2016 season-closing victories over the division rival New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

Those late wins and his overall play buoyed the hopes and dreams of the Eagles rabid fan base for the 2017 season. Wentz and the team did not disappoint. He passed for over 3,200 yards and 33 touchdowns in leading the team to an 11-2 record this fall.

But the 13th game would prove to be unlucky in the extreme. Wentz was matched up against the quarterback chosen ahead of him with the top pick in that 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff, as the Eagles visited the Los Angeles Rams.

Wentz would throw four touchdown passes to out-duel Goff at the Los Angeles Colosseum in a 43-35 thrilling shootout. With four minutes to go in the third quarter, Wentz was hit awkwardly as he tried to score on a keeper from the Rams two-yard line.

Four plays later, Wentz passed to Alshon Jeffery to put the Eagles up by 31-28. However, on that earlier keeper play, Wentz had injured his leg. He would leave the game following the TD pass, replaced by backup Nick Foles for the first time all season.

A rusty Foles would go just 6-10 for 42 yards, but the Eagles defense took over. The ‘D’ forced a pair of fumbles, one setting up a Jake Elliott field goal and another returned for a touchdown by Brandon Graham.

It was learned following the game that Wentz had suffered major injuries. He would require surgery to repair a torn ACL and a partially torn IT band, as well as some meniscus damage. Not only would Wentz miss the rest of the 2017 season, but he is likely to miss much of the 2018 season as well.

With their NFL MVP candidate leader out, the Eagles turned the reigns of a playoff team over to Foles. The team won their first two games with the backup under center, but those victories over the Giants and the LA Raiders were marked by inconsistent play against inferior opponents.

Those two victories did allow the Eagles to clinch the top overall record in the NFC, and thus home field advantage for however long they last in the playoffs.

A season-closing 6-0 loss to the hated rival Cowboys continued the inconsistent play, with Foles seeing just limited action. Coach Doug Pederson took the meaningless contest as a chance to rest his regulars and get some game action for the new backup quarterback, Nate Sudfeld.

As the Eagles have waited for an opponent to be determined and then began to prep for their NFC Divisional Playoff game, there has been a lot of tough talk.

But any honest fan of the team has to admit that without Wentz, this has simply not been the same team that built most of the record which put them in this position.

The playoff opponent turns out to be the Falcons, the defending NFC champions. Last February, Atlanta built a 25-3 lead in dominating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. But the Falcons then infamously collapsed, with Tom Brady orchestrating one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history for a 34-28 overtime Patriots victory.

This year, Atlanta suffered a roller-coast season early on. They were just 4-4 after an early November defeat at Carolina. The Falcons then went on a roll, winning six of their last eight. Their defense has led the way, allowing an average of just under 17 points per game over the last seven weeks.

A week ago, the Falcons shut down Goff and the Rams in a 26-13 road victory. They are a dangerous team once again. Led by a local boy quarterback, 32-year old Matt Ryan out of Penn Charter HS, the Falcons are a 2.5-point road betting line favorite over the Eagles on game day.

So the question is completely legitimate: can the Eagles win with Nick Foles as their quarterback? The simplest answer is that yes, of course they can win.

But now things are more complicated than they would have been had Wentz not gotten hurt. With Wentz leading the team, the uber-confident Eagles were on a roll. They were clearly a Super Bowl contender, the best team in the NFC.

The Eagles team that has been on display over the last month has not been a Super Bowl contender, and are clearly not the best team in the NFC.

In order to win in these playoffs, the Eagles are going to have to have three things happen. If any of the three fail to emerge, it will take something miraculous to fashion a victory.

First, the Eagles need their defense to play strong, emotional, inspired football. A half-dozen times this year, that ‘D’ has surrendered just 10 points or less. But for much of the year, the team won thanks to Wentz and an emerging high-octane offensive attack.

That leads to the second thing that must happen. In two stints with the Eagles, fans have found that there are two different versions of Nick Foles. There is the ‘Good Nick’, like the one who tossed four TD’s in beating the Giants. And there is the ‘Bad Nick’, represented by his horrible performance a week later against the Raiders.

For the Eagles to win against quality opponents in the playoffs, they need ‘Good Nick’ to show up. If ‘Good Nick’ shows up for three weeks, the Eagles can win the Super Bowl. If ‘Bad Nick’ makes even one appearance, they are likely done.

The final thing that must happen for the Eagles to win in these playoffs is that Pederson needs to emphasize his rushing attack, even more than he did in the regular season.

The Birds have three highly effective running backs in Jay Ajayi (5.8), LeGarrette Blount (4.4), and Corey Clement (4.3) who each averaged more than four yards per carry this season.

The Eagles must be able to run the ball successfully. This will keep the defense off the field, allowing that unit to remain fresh. It will also allow Foles to manage the game much more effectively, giving him time to find someone open among the vastly improved receiving corps of Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Torrey Smith, and Nelson Agholor.

One factor outside the control of the players is the weather. The extreme cold was obviously a factor for both the Birds and their opponents in the last two games. Against the Raiders and Cowboys, just 35 total points were scored, and a number of passes were dropped by each of the teams.

By game time this afternoon, the temperatures are again expected to be below freezing, with wind chills in the teens. Theoretically, this should benefit the Eagles. They have been playing games in the cold for weeks. The Falcons play their home games in a domed stadium, and have not played a single game in those kinds of conditions all season long.

“Fly Eagles, Fly!” is the team fight song and the fans rallying cry. But can the Eagles fly without Carson Wentz? Yes, they can. But it will take a strong defense, an effective running game, a well-managed game from Nick Foles, good play calling and time management from Pederson, and maybe even an assist from the weather.

That sounds like a lot of things that have to go right for the Eagles to win. That’s only because this is the NFL playoffs. Every team still playing is a quality team. You want to win, you have to bring your best. That goes as much for the Falcons, and any other opponent, as it does for the Eagles.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4:35pm at Lincoln Financial Field. The game will be televised by NBC nationally. Radio coverage is provided locally by SportsRadio WIP (94.1 FM) with national radio coverage via Westwood One.

NFL players and other athletes getting it wrong with anthem/flag protests

Embed from Getty Images

A major firestorm broke out in the American professional sports world this past week. That fire took the form of athletes protesting by kneeling, or not showing up at all, at the playing of the United States national anthem prior to games.

The protests were allegedly in response to comments made by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in regards to a small number of NFL players who had taken part in such protests during the league’s opening week.

Trump stated that NFL owners should fire any player who undertakes such a protest, which he (and many others) deemed disrespectful to our nation. Specifically, the President was quoted:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’

Various NFL teams responded by protesting the President’s comments in different ways. Some linked arms while the anthem was played. In some of those cases, team owners and other management personnel linked arms with their players in a show of solidarity.

In most cities, some of the players “took a knee”, knelt down in place, as “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played. In other cases, players simply sat on the bench.

In Oakland, rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first, and thus far only, player in Major League Baseball to kneel during the anthem. Maxwell is the son of a United States Army veteran.

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers refused to even take the field, choosing to remain in their locker room while the anthem was played.

That action was taken, rather than standing with arms together, after a team vote which was reportedly very close. So they all remained in the locker room. Well, all except one player.

Alejandro Villanueva, a 6’9″, 320-lb offensive tackle, came and stood alone outside the tunnel which leads under the stands to the locker room. He stood honorably, at attention, with his hand over his heart as the anthem was played.

You see, Villanueva is not just a football player. He is also a former U.S. Army Ranger, a Bronze Star recipient, who served three tours in Afghanistan.

Last year, Villanueva spoke publicly about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who set this anthem protest ball rolling when he knelt as it was played in San Francisco. Kaepernick was protesting what he feels is ongoing racial injustice in America.

Per Greg Norman of Fox News, Villanueva had been quoted by ESPN:

“I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year…when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year.”

Villanueva had it absolutely right in my opinion. And I’ll go a step further. Not only is kneeling or sitting during the anthem not “the most effective way” to protest, but it is utterly disrespectful to our nation, and to the men and women who, like Villanueva, have served to protect us all.

You can disagree with the President of the United States all you like. I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of NFL players did not support him to begin with, and did not vote for him. As a group, most are already biased in their opinions of him, his policies, and his opinions.

However, where they get it wrong is in thinking that the American flag and the national anthem somehow are symbolic of the Presidency. That protesting as the anthem is being played is a viable protest of the man and/or his office and statements.

If you want to protest the President, pick up a sign and go march outside the White House. If you don’t like something he said, get the leader of your labor organization to request a sit-down with the man, and express your views in that formal manner.

When you kneel at the game as the anthem is being played, you are disrespecting millions of fans around the country. Hundreds of thousands are standing in those NFL stadiums, many with their hands over the hearts, singing the song.

Many of those fans served their country in the armed forces, or their country and/or community in law enforcement. They put on a uniform and put their lives on the line so that our way of life can continue. So that people like those NFL players can enjoy the freedom to make millions of dollars a year playing a game.

Talk to fans who stand at sporting events as the national anthem is played, holding their hats and hands over their hearts. Ask them why they do it. You’ll get similar answers. Love of country. Respect for those who serve. Honor for having served themselves.

There are many problems in America, still the greatest nation in the history of this planet, as we begin to move through the 21st century. There will always be problems. And there will also always be political and social differences of opinion as to how to best address those problems.

But in the end, the bottom line for all of us should be love of our country. Appreciation of the beauty of our Constitution. Respect towards those who have in the past, and those who still do today, courageously battle on the front lines for the rest of us.

You show that love of country, that appreciation for American, and that respect for those who fight our battles in many ways. One small way is to stand respectfully to honor our flag as our anthem is played, whenever and wherever that happens, any time you are able to do so.

When you do anything other than that intentionally, you are doing nothing but showing disrespect. And you are doing nothing other than dishonoring yourself.

NFL players and any other athlete, entertainer, politician, or other U.S. citizen who doesn’t like something that is happening in this country, or something that someone says, should indeed feel welcome to passionately but peacefully protest – in appropriate ways, at appropriate venues.

While hundreds of thousands of fans “live” are being respectful to the flag and anthem, and millions more around the country are tuning in only to watch the athletes perform in their sport, that is not an appropriate time or venue.

To those who would argue “but this is the athlete’s platform, they have to take advantage”, I would say that is a cop out. Games are not an athlete’s platform. The game doesn’t belong to the players, it belongs to us all.

Those games are his or her stage, not their platform or podium. There is a difference. The paying public are their patrons. We should not be subjected to players personal social or political opinions.

If a player wishes to express his or her views in a pre- or post-game interview, and some writer, broadcaster, and publication wishes to give them that time, then that is an appropriate platform.

If a player, on their own time, wishes to pick up a picket sign and march in front of the White House, or their State House, that is fine. If a player wishes to call a press conference to speak on social issues, that is fine. Those are all forms of appropriate protest platforms.

Someone tried to argue to me today that when NFL or MLB players or other athletes wear pink to support the battle against cancer, or make other similar public gestures during games in support of charities, isn’t that them using their platform?

No, it is not. It is the player and organization using our platform to raise awareness, and possibly funding, to battle illness and disease. Are you trying to argue that there is someone out there who is offended by a battle against cancer? Ludicrous to even compare the two issues.

Now, if players believe that there is systemic racism in sports and American society, and wish to band together and all wear black bands, or patches, or whatever, then that is fine. It doesn’t offend any reasonable person.

But while you are wearing your pink wrist bands or cleats, or protesting with your black arm band, stand for your national anthem, and put your hand over your heart for your flag. Show America that we are all Americans, and no matter what issues may divide us, that bottom line will always remain the single most important thing that brings us together.

Honor America. Stand for the anthem. Put your hand and hat over your heart for the flag. If you can, sing the song. Those who want respect, give respect. It’s an idea that is as old as time, and one that we need to begin showing to one another, no matter who occupies the White House, or what they may say or what policies they may pursue.

My Experience at the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia

Working the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia

To say that the 2017 NFL Draft, held in my hometown of Philadelphia over the last three days, was a major success would be an understatement.

I got to experience this signature event of the National Football League up close and in person as a Sergeant with the Philadelphia Police Department. It was just the latest in a number of high profile events that I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy while on-duty during my career.

Assigned to take charge of a group of police officers, we spent both days on the south side of the 2400 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

It was a slight surprise to me when my group actually took that position and found that we were at the very front lines of the stage and seating arena area. It turned out to be an exciting and rewarding assignment.

The crowd was massive, but Philly-friendly and cooperative. As far as their interactions with myself and my officers, I couldn’t have asked for a more positive reception. Everyone was friendly to us and appreciative of our efforts, and quite a few let us know that fact.

One thing that none of us knew, from the top brass on down to rookie police officers, was exactly what kind of crowd we would be met with. It was the first time that the NFL had put on their annual Draft of college players in that big of a show.

Philly can be notorious at times for our fan reactions, especially where Eagles fans are concerned. You also had to add in the factor that this was a free event. Would the crowd turn surly at any point? Sometimes it only takes a few bad apples to spoil things for the whole bunch. If any officials held any concerns of a worst-case scenario, those never materialized. In fact, just the opposite.

Even when faced with moments involving the hated, rival Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, or Washington Redskins, the Philly faithful responded with spirited but controlled reactions.

The biggest target of the ‘Boo Birds’ over the first couple of days was easily the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. Yet even with the Commish, I witnessed first-hand a somewhat different reaction from the crowds.

On Thursday, before the actual player selection process got underway, Goodell came out and greeted fans along the very front of the crowd at the sturdy barricades which separated the street from the arena section. As he emerged, there were boisterous boos.

Goodell approached and then walked down the entirety of that front line. He reached across the barricades to shake hands, fist-bump, and even take selfies with those in front, all of whom looked star-struck. The crowd returned his outreach with smiles and handshakes. There were no boos at that point.

Yours truly with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

As the Commissioner made his way back towards the actual arena, he walked straight at me and shook my hand. I took the opportunity to ask if he minded a quick photo, and in a friendly tone he responded: “For you? Absolutely!” He then thanked me for the work we were doing. Great stuff!

As all cops do, I’ve worked many of these high profile details over the years. I’ve been within interaction distance of numerous famous folks including U.S. President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and South African President Nelson Mandela. I certainly could have tried to insinuate myself with any of them at some point, but always held off.

I’ve gotten to shake hands and exchange quick pleasantries with folks such as Flyers legend Bernie Parent and numerous other musicians, athletes, politicians, and celebrities. Goodell was the first time that I asked for a photo. Strange choice, no?

As the time came for the Draft ceremonies to begin, the event was kicked off with a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner“, by Chloe and Hallie Bailey.

Standing at attention, facing the stage and flag, I threw up the customary respectful salute. As I held my salute through the anthem and the girls wound towards the end, two cameramen suddenly charged me. Next thing I knew, there I was, flashing a salute (1:39 into below video) on national television for the NFL Network audience.

As the Draft itself unfolded, the crowd grew massive at the front of the stage area. They roared with approval whenever a local favorite such as Ron ‘Jaws’ Jaworski appeared, and booed lustily when some rival legend showed up. The best was former Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson, whose boisterous pro-Dallas rant was met by an equally vibrant reaction from Birds’ fans.

Early on Thursday, prior to starting my work assignment, I had visited the 2100 block of the Parkway. There I got to view some of the other attractions which I would end up missing while working up at the arena area.

I also ran into my cousin, Philly police officer Bob Veasey, who was working the daywork shift in that 2100 block of the Parkway. Bob told me that he had a great day, even getting a picture with the Vince Lombardi Trophy awarded to the Super Bowl winners.

Philadelphia looked fantastic. The mid-spring green colors in the trees were highlighted by unseasonably warm temperatures. It was as though three early-summer days had decided to invade the springtime, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time for the city.

Part of the crowd near the front of the general public staging area for the 2017 NFL Draft

A chilly rain had fallen for days prior to the start of the NFL Draft. With the event over now, Sunday is cloudy with a chance of rain. So it turned out that even Mother Nature was on Philadelphia’s side this week.

The Parkway itself was fully decorated in NFL Draft paraphernalia. Numerous tents and attractions drew fan participation and photo opportunities.

There was plenty of opportunity to purchase food and beverages. If you bought a bottle of water, you could refill it for free at a handful of kiosks scattered around the event. Porta Potty’s were aplenty.

From a concession stand set up next to the famed “Rocky” statue, I got to enjoy a delicious hot sausage on day one, a jumbo hotdog on day two, both washed down by a nice, cold bottle of H2O. The sausage, I waited in a short line and purchased by myself. The hotdog was a treat from a couple of my officers.

Speaking of those police officers, I couldn’t have asked for a better crew. I had the same group of cops under me on both days. Only one of the officers had any time on the job, the others were all rookies.

All of the officers comported themselves with professionalism. They basically held to my directives: “I need to see you around regularly, keep an eye out for problems while enjoying the event and the people, and don’t do anything to get yourselves on TV.” I was ribbed by a couple of them on that last one after my salute appearance.

While visiting with that Rocky statue, waiting on my first-day hot sausage, I ran into an old classmate from my Police Academy class 289. Newly minted Philly PD Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson has always been a great guy, and hasn’t let the new rank change him at all. My only problem with him? The man looks like he hasn’t aged a day in 27 years.

People in the area where I was assigned from outside of the Philadelphia Police Department were extremely cooperative and friendly. Fire Department paramedics on their Segways were everywhere. The event security personnel, federal law enforcement, the NFL staff, and employees of the various networks providing TV coverage all worked together well.

One member of that NFL staff gets particular thanks from me, and I’m sorry that I never got his name. The situation went like this: on Thursday night, after taking a few opportunities to capture some of the pageantry by taking a few pictures and videos, my cellphone died.

Still having a few hours to go on the work detail, I realized that I had left my portable charger back in my car. Overhearing me mention this in a conversation with my officers, a member of the NFL Network technical crew offered to charge my phone. I took him up on the offer, and a half hour later had a half-charge and was back in business.

Near the end of Thursday night’s first round, I got to meet and speak for a few minutes with the woman who was in charge of the actual arena structure. If you didn’t get to see it in person or on TV, the NFL Draft arena was an amazing piece of temporary architecture.

Flanked by Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders

She said that her company goes from town to town, event to event, pulling off similar amazing feats. For instance, this summer they will be handling the huge Lollapalooza concert in Chicago in August. Her folks did a phenomenal job putting that structure in place.

On Friday, newly-promoted Philly PD Deputy Commissioner Joe Sullivan stopped through my area and mentioned that “we haven’t even had to handle a fight.” We both knocked wood, hoping it would stay that way.

Stay that way it would. No fights, no major disputes. I saw one protest sign the entire time (“Investigate Pizzagate – it’s real!“) which garnered zero attention for the guy trying hard to get some. He left the front after about two minutes and no crowd response.

There were a couple of lost children, ultimately returned to their families. And there was one other incident that was handled by myself and my crew with the help of Chief Inspector Frank Vanore and the PPD Bomb Squad.

A non-thinking member of the stage crew had left a backpack leaning unattended against a tree for a length of time near a side stage entrance. The bag was reported to us as a concern by the NFL Network folks.

This was ultimately great work performed by the brave Bomb Squaders, who thankfully got to deal with a bag full of clothing this time. After the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, unattended backpacks are a no-no at major public events, people. Something to keep in mind.

It was this spirit of cooperation and friendship that was on display everywhere you looked this week which truly stood out. Whether it was with internal PPD ranks, or with security staff.

Especially with the crowds. Philly fans were outstanding, even from or towards rival Cowboys and Giants fans. A couple of Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders humored me with the above photo. Everyone was in it together, and in it for the right reasons – a peaceful good time.

Congratulations to everyone associated with bringing this showcase to Philly, and with organizing, managing, and running the event itself. The 2017 NFL Draft was a major success story, one of the nicest events that I’ve had the pleasure to work over a law enforcement career that is now in the middle of its 28th and final year.

Shady Tip-Gate

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’-iyvKz07S0tL9kj7fd7KXA’,sig:’j_GdGcWrihPADH7fD9WjuwtwXDelgCPoiITGq0oeUlo=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’135647617′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

McCoy during a December 2011 game with the Eagles

I’ve always operated by a credo that I heard Steve Martin use in the film “My Blue Heaven”:

It’s not tipping that I believe in: it’s over-tipping.

I almost always tip well. Check comes, I do the math out to 20%, and then usually round-up a bit. I realize this is how many servers make much of their real money.

But…and this is a key “but”…whether it’s me, or Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy, or you, or anyone else, a tip should always reflect what the customer feels is appropriate based on the service that they received in their given situation. 

I could care less if the server is a “great guy”, or if everyone else on earth had them before and the server was “great” to them. What matters is how you are treated/served in your specific encounter.


If Shady felt that he was treated poorly in his encounter at the PYT restaurant in Philly, then he would have been reasonable in leaving nothing at all. A “tip” is something one has to work in order to earn, it is not something to be assumed. It is a bonus, something placed by the customer on top of the check. But only if the customer feels they received good service.


Many sources that I have read report that Shady usually tips, and tips very well. This is the case with many pro athletes and others of means. I feel very secure saying that had Shady received good service at this local joint, that he would have again tipped well.


That he chose to make a specific point of his poor service by leaving a tip, but one that reflects his quite obvious poor opinion of the specific service that he received is entirely appropriate. 


Had he left no tip at all, it could perhaps have been speculated that he simply had forgotten. By leaving the .20 cents, he made a statement. There is nothing wrong with that statement.


In fact, the server here should have been happy. 


Happy? Yes. He got a tip. Sure it was just .20 cents. But guess what? He earned nothing as a tip. He simply earned his salary. It is the customer who determines tipping, not the server. So he got more than he earned…again, in THIS specific encounter.


Now if Charlie Sheen wants to send the server a $1,000 bucks, or others want to give the server their own money, that is those folks business. But to do it because the server was only given a .20 cent tip by Shady McCoy only shows that all of these folks are idiots. Period.

Work in a service industry and have a bad day, or a bad moment, or just don’t for some reason get along with and have a bad experience with one customer? Then don’t expect a tip at all. If you get a small one, even an embarrassing one, take it, learn from the encounter, and move along. Don’t blast your poor moment all across the internet and in the media.

Good for you in this particular instance, Shady McCoy. Shame on you, Charlie Sheen.