Tag Archives: Crossing Broad

The Eagles are CRUSHING it in the Second Half

Last week, I brought you a list of second half statistics that I thought were cool about the Eagles. Friend of the blog, Crossing Broad, later picked it up and expanded on some ideas.

To celebrate the Eagles epic Week 2 victory over the Colts, I am bringing you a chart.

Team First Half Points Second Half Points Total Points
Eagles 6 58 64
Saints 30 28 58
Seahawks 31 26 57
Broncos 45 13 55
Browns 19 34 53
Bills 26 26 52
Colts 24 27 51
Patriots 44 6 50
Bears 14 34 48
49ers 45 3 48
Redskins 27 20 47
Packers 26 21 47
Falcons 13 34 47
Bengals 25 22 47
Texans 31 16 47
Chargers 23 24 47
Panthers 16 28 44
Cowboys 19 24 43
Cardinals 16 27 43
Jets 31 12 43
Dolphins 10 33 43
Lions 14 28 42
Ravens 10 32 42
Vikings 17 24 41
Steelers 30 6 36
Titans 10 26 36
Bucs 7 24 31
Giants 14 14 28
Raiders 14 14 28
Jaguars 24 3 27
Chiefs 13 14 27
Rams 10 15 25

What the chart essentially shows is that the Eagles are really bad in the first half and insanely good in the second half through two games. They are the only team in the league without a first half touchdown, but more importantly, they have 24 more second half points than the next closest teams.

The 58 second half points are more than every team’s total points aside from the Saints who have exactly 58 on the dot.

The Eagles are being outscored 34-6 in the first half but outscoring opponents 58-10 in the second half, good for the fifth best point differential in the league at +20.

if you want to filter the numbers in different columns and such, you could copy the chart into a program like Excel and play around with it.

This is an extremely dangerous way to win, but it shows how explosive Chip Kelly’s offense can be once it gets rolling. Many of the first half mistakes that are keeping points off the board seem like self-inflected and thus correctable wounds.

Imagine what this offense could do if they figure out how to play a complete game.

I know, Chip. The chart tastes good to me too. That’s why I made it.

Chip GIF

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The First Round of the NFL Draft is Tonight, and that Brings Back Memories

Aside from brief infatuations with “American Idol,” “Survivor,” or “The Amazing Race” over a decade ago, reality television has never really been my thing.

Unless that is, you put the NFL Draft under that umbrella. In that case, I enjoy reality TV a whole lot.

It is an argument that can certainly be validated. For a league that branded itself partially on bone-crushing hits and physicality for decades, this event is about as dressed-up and soap opera esque as things get, completely driven by media consumption.

Still, for as much as its haters claim it’s dragged out and overhyped, there’s something uniquely special about a name scribbled on a card possibly determining the direction of a franchise and then hanging on every syllable of for years Paul Tagliabue and now Roger Goodell as the pick is read.

I love the NFL Draft. I’ve loved it since I was a young child. I could ramble about random draft memories all day, but no one cares. Here’s just two quick anecdotes to demonstrate what I’m talking about before I get in to why I am really writing this post.

It was April 29, 2006. This was back in the old-school format of the draft when the first round started at noon on a Saturday and took almost seven hours to complete (I kinda miss that style to be honest). Typically when I was in 9th grade, Saturday afternoons were spent playing wiffle ball, basketball, or capture the flag. We had a group of 10 or so people all pretty close in age who lived only a few minutes apart and would round everyone up and get a game going.

A few of my friends knocked on my door a little before noon on this particular morning, and the conversation went something like this.

“You wanna play something?”

“Can’t today, sorry guys. NFL Draft is on.” 

“Well, when will it be over? Can you play in a couple hours?”

“Nope, sorry. It goes all day.” 

“Wait, why are you wrapped in a blanket when it’s 65 degrees?” 

“Because you rang the bell and answering the door without pants on would have been weird.” 

“Why aren’t you wearing pants?”

“Because I’m gonna spend the next 12 hours in front of the TV watching the draft.” 

“Alright, cya in school on Monday. And you should probably put pants on.” 

“You got it, cya soon.” 

Now, fast forward to 2008. The weekend of the draft also coincided with my junior class trip. I had committed to going on the trip but hadn’t missed watching the draft live in years. This was before smartphones had gone really mainstream, so I set up a system with my friend Tarbell from home. He too loved the draft and said he would text every few picks to keep me updated.

“You ready to go?” I texted him about five minutes before the Dolphins were on the clock with the first pick.

“Been wearing Eagles shit all day and just flew through my neighborhood to get home. Let’s do it.”

Word had spread that I was doing this, and a few different times, kids who I went to school with but hardly ever spoke to asked me about the latest update. An assistant principal even wanted to know a few picks at one point. Later that night, as my friends and I were about to get on a roller coaster in Busch Gardens, the Eagles took DeSean Jackson in the second round. If that’s not some type of metaphor, I’m not sure what is.

I didn’t watch one pick on TV that weekend but still felt as if I was all caught up. Thanks, buddy. This also led to my family switching over to unlimited texting because I came close to exceeding the monthly limit in one day.

I had told myself many years prior that one day I would get to New York and see a draft in person, but that was obviously easier said than done.

It is now April 23, 2011. Another draft is less than a week away, and on a Philadelphia sports blog that regularly read, I stumbled upon a contest to win tickets.

Draft Contest

I submitted the form without thinking much of it and continued on with my weekend. The next part of this story might be about as #college as things get.

It was the final week of classes at Penn State, and I had to deliver a speech in my CAS 100 class that Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. Some people will do everything possible to avoid an 8 a.m. class, but I never minded getting up early too much and figured it’d be good practice for my summer job.

My next class wasn’t until 4 p.m., so typically I would stay up until 3 a.m. or so Monday night, wake up for class, and then I would have a few hours to nap if needed. This was before Onward State happened, and sleep was still an option most of the time.

Not on this Monday night though. On this Monday night, similar to my two other speeches earlier in the semester, it was 10:30 p.m. and I had yet to even really start. Part of it was natural procrastination, but I also enjoyed the adrenaline rush from writing and rehearsing a speech under a tight deadline.

Pulling an all-nighter for an assignment like this wasn’t the best plan, but I had essentially done it two times before and knew I could do it one final time. I wasn’t the best public speaker in the class — far from it — but I knew how to go about it and was pulling off A minuses while some kids were struggling just to stay above the C range.

My professor was a graduate student. She was cool and could relate to the busy lives that a lot of us lived, but she was also pretty demanding. On speech days, presenters were required to wear a suit. If you rolled out of bed and gave your speech in a hoodie and sweatpants, you were getting docked at least a letter grade and maybe more.

After being up all night, I showered, put on my suit, walked to class, and gave my speech. I killed it, but once I sat down, the second wind of energy began to wear off. I was ready to crash.

Back in my room once class ended, I did exactly that. I hung the suit jacket up, tossed the pants somewhere, and collapsed onto my bed with no intentions of waking up for at least four hours.

Two hours into what I hoped would be a prolonged nap, I stirred and decided to check my phone before trying to go back to sleep. There were a few run-of-the-mill text messages but nothing that seemed to warrant an immediate response.

The most recent one was from my friend Kevin who lived about 15 minutes from me back home. He attended a different high school, but we had become good friends in college through some mutual people. His text read:

“HOLY SHIT! YOU WON THE CROSSING BROAD CONTEST!”

That’s cool, I thought to myself while placing the phone down and subsequently my head a few seconds later. Probably won some T-shirt or something, too out of it to realize what he was actually talking about.

I thankfully woke up 20 minutes later and again saw the message. Wait a minute. Contest, I entered a contest the other day. I grabbed my laptop as fast as I could. Sure enough, there it was: 

Draft Winner

An email offering me free VIP NFL Draft tickets had been in my inbox for a few hours already, and I was passed out cold the entire time.

The tickets were mine, and a GMC representative would be waiting outside Radio City Music Hall Thursday night, but if I wasn’t able to attend, I had to let them know so they could offer them to someone else.

I touched base with Crossing Broad editor Kyle Scott, asking if he could give me until 4 p.m. to sort things out. He said that was fine, and now came the hard part of figuring out how to get from State College to New York. My car was four hours away at home, but I knew Kevin had a car and was as obsessed with the draft as me.

“DUDE, YOU GOT A CAR HERE. I HAVE TWO TICKETS. DO YOU WANT TO GO?”

“I HAVE AN [EXPLETIVE] EXAM FRIDAY MORNING AT 8 A.M.”

Dammit. My next plan was to ask my freshman year roommate Alex who I was also going to live with the coming fall. He initially said yes and then backed out a few minutes later after thinking about it more and looking at the rest of his week.

It’s not easy to get people to leave campus towards the end of the semester. Between studying for finals less than a week away and enjoying the last few days in State College, there’s a lot going on. In this instance though, none of that mattered to me. I’d prepare for finals when I was back on Saturday and Sunday. Movin’ On just wasn’t my thing. No disrespect to the people who work hard to make it happen, but I never went to one of them in my four years. (If that makes me a bad Penn Stater, someone let me know)

At that point, I began to worry a little and called my dad, half to tell him that I won the tickets, half to see if maybe he would want to go. My dad wasn’t a huge draft guy though aside from maybe tuning in when the Eagles were on the clock. He used to think I was nuts for watching as long as I did, jokingly calling it the “NFL Geek Show.”

He said that he really wasn’t interested but to call him back if I got real desperate. Before I had my license — and even after — my dad had taken me to so many baseball games. I couldn’t drag him to this if he didn’t want to go.

By that time, I had posted on social media about winning the tickets and received a congratulatory text from Ryan Beckler. Over the next two years, Ryan would become my best friend working together for Onward State, but at that time, we were more acquaintances who occasionally did homework together or texted about sports.

I honestly can’t remember if I called him or responded to the text but either way pretty much conveyed, Do you want to go? i have free tickets but need a way to get there. 

He told me he’d have an answer in half an hour. If he said no, I had no idea what my next move would be. Luckily, I didn’t need one. Ryan was in, and on Thursday around 1 p.m,, we were off.

Details about the ride are hazy for me. All I distinctively recall is rush hour traffic getting the better of us as we got close. Originally hoping to arrive around 5:15 p.m, it was well past 6:30 by the time we found a parking garage. Once we realized we would be way later than anticipated, we got in touch with the GMC person who would be waiting for us outside. Carrying nothing but the printed email saying we had won the tickets, we walked towards the entrance of Radio City Music Hall when a security person stopped us.

“Where you guys supposed to be?” he said. I showed him the email, and just as he glanced over it, some woman appeared and recognized us from the descriptions we previously gave.

“They’re good. They’re with me,” she said, whisking us away into some fancy elevator and handing us our credentials. We got out, walked through some sort of cocktail party, past a room where chefs were laying out food, and bam, there it was. After all that, we made it.

For the Eagles, the draft was a complete dumpster fire. Only Jason Kelce, Alex Henery, Casey Matthews, and Julian Vandervelde remain three years later, and you can make an argument that three of those players shouldn’t be on the current team. It was worse than 2010, which was pretty underwhelming itself, and one of the final nails in the coffin of the Andy Reid regime that ended 20 months later, but for someone who had never been, it was a blast.

What an unforgettable five hours. Upon returning to State College, I wrote about the experience which will be posted below.

I’m not a huge fan of the way I wrote this but other than one or two grammar tweaks, it appears just as it did a few years ago, and the message encouraging people to go to the draft hasn’t changed.

One caveat: Someone should slap me across the face for saying I didn’t like Cam Newton. What an exciting player to watch.

Merry Christmas, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.

Here’s the post as promised:

Ninety seven dollars, 24 hours, and 10 plates of free food later, I’m back from the first round of the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. I could use this space to give you my amateur analysis of the first 32 picks:

I don’t like Cam Newton.

Patrick Peterson will be a stud.

Christian Ponder was a major reach for the Vikings.

The Lions defensive line is flat out scary with Suh and Nick Fairley.

I wanted Prince Amukamara in midnight green, and the Giants stole him from me.

But I don’t think that’s what anyone really wants to read about, nor is that what last week was really about.

I have loved the NFL Draft since I was old enough to understand football. My first real draft memory is being a wide eyed 8- year old kid sitting in front of the television with my dad watching Eagles fans boo Donovan McNabb. When I was lucky enough to win these tickets through GMC, I knew that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Class on Friday? Three finals next week? $4.00 for a gallon of gas? Screw it. Nothing was stopping me from getting to New York City, and that is what I’ll most remember: Being there and seeing fans of 32 NFL teams (I think the Bills still have fans right?) come together.

I’ll remember watching in awe as my friend Ryan Beckler navigated NYC roads the way Roy Halladay goes through an opposing lineup making sure no amount of Lincoln Tunnel traffic or NYC taxi drivers were stopping us from picking up our VIP passes. “I don’t think we’re in State College anymore.”

I’ll remember meeting Von Miller’s father outside and the “Fuck You Maclin’s” I got from Giants fans walking up to the entrance. For the record, I was wearing a DeSean Jackson jersey, but I’ll give Giants fans the benefit of the doubt that they can indeed read, and were simply trying to forget this:

Or this

I’ll also remember the people who I spent the night around — A mix of hard core football fans and high-up GMC corporate people. From the gentleman to my left who knew exactly what teams were thinking and could break down Muhammad Wilkerson’s Temple career better than most Jets fans to the couple to my right who didn’t know the difference between Kevin Kolb and Kentucky prospect Randall Cobb but were two of the friendliest people anyone will ever meet.

In a GMC gift bag, a radio was provided to listen to the ESPN and NFL Network guys, but this was not a night to hear analysis. This was a night to soak everything in.

As any of my friends will tell you, I have a really good memory, so I may remember 10 years from now that the 49ers took Aldon Smith from Missouri with the 7th pick, but I’ll more remember sitting 20 feet away from the ESPN set and getting Jon Gruden to acknowledge us after chanting his name  (Mel wouldn’t budge).

I’ve watched football games at The Vet, The Linc, and Beaver Stadium which are three of the best atmospheres in the country to watch a game (If anyone wants to take me to an Eagles game next year I’m 5-1, and the only loss was the meaningless Week 17 game against the Cowboys last year — Just throwing it out there). I saw Peter Forsberg score his first goal as a Flyer, Allen Iverson win a game against the Wizards on a fast break steal, and several significant Phillies games, but Thursday night will always be one of my favorite memories as a sports fan.

If you’re young enough where you can still drop everything for a day, make sure to attend a draft. Forget the free steak kebabs and rolls.  Just find a way to go. If you’re older, take your kids and let them share the memory with you.

I’m not preaching being financially irresponsible, but this an event all NFL fans should experience even if it puts a slight dent in your wallet.

How Do You Internet?

For better or for worse, one of the most effective ways to learn a lot about someone in a quick matter of time these days might be to pose the question shown above.

I remember at my first Onward State meeting Davis had everyone introduce themselves by answering a short list of questions. It went something like: Name, Year, Major, Hometown, Job Title within OS, and Favorite Website.

I typically hate these ice breaker type of exercises. No one takes them too seriously and most don’t even remember what people say, but the last category was intriguing to me. I had never been asked that one before.

Unfortunately, I think I responded with something lame, probably “Twitter.” I love Twitter, but we all love Twitter. We might not all love Facebook, but most of us have those two social media websites open whenever they’re at a computer for a sustained period of time.

We all keep tabs up for Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, some service that plays music, and whatever sites we play fantasy sports through. What else do you do?

In my mind, Twitter serves as a way for news and information to be delivered to us on a silver platter. If I see the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, or some other outlet tweet a link to some feature I find interesting, click. While what I just mentioned is a somewhat regular exercise of mine, I don’t constantly reserve a precious tab for those sites.

There’s news like that where it’s brought to us, and then there’s news that we proactively seek. We make it a point to visit particular websites as part of our daily routine and spend some time once we get there, reading more than just one piece of content.

This past Thanksgiving, I was trying to explain my news consumption habits to my aunt who I see maybe once a year. “That’s lazy,” she said to me after I went over the basics. “I still read the newspaper.”

Now, my aunt is a pretty brilliant woman who works as an accountant in New York City, and the newspaper that she was specifically referring to is The Wall Street Journal so safe to say she’s getting some quality stuff. Her “that’s lazy” line, however, doesn’t hold much water.

At least not in my eyes when it comes to younger, more Internet savvy news consumers. If anything, I think it’s more efficient. I often feel like there’s too much information on the Internet. We need a way to filter it, otherwise you never get anything done and wander into a sea of mindless reading. No one wants that.

The screenshot above is what my tabs usually look like within five minutes of firing up the Internet. Gmail is the only thing not pictured. The tabs obviously increase from there, but it’s a good, not too messy nor overwhelming start.

Below is a list of the websites I most frequently visit — In other words, How I Internet:

Onward State — So this one is pretty obviously since I worked for the site for two years. Onward State gives you fresh Penn State news, features, and sports every day in an engaging student voice. One day they break the story about the next Penn State president and 72 hours later publish a hilarious video series. That’s how we roll.

Birds 24/7 — This blog is affiliated with Philadelphia Magazine and my personal favorite place to get my Eagles news. The reporters who cover the Eagles are all generally pretty good, but Sheil Kapadia and Tim McManus easily do the best job. They’re everything you want in a beat writer as a fan — Online savvy, not arrogant, respond to questions on Twitter. They have the perfect mix of news, features, statistical analysis, and All-22 film studies. They break news, but they’re not afraid to credit reports if someone gets it before them. College football All-22 breakdowns haven’t completely caught on yet as far as media goes, but I think it’s only a matter of time with sports becoming more visual.

I never found the time to attempt one when I covered Penn State, and it likely would have been a big work in progress, but Birds 24/7 is what I tried to model Onward State’s football coverage after during my time on the beat.

Quick aside: Last summer when I returned home, they posted that they were looking for an intern. I fired off a resume and cover letter as fast as I could. About an hour later, a Philly Mag editor responded to my email with something along the lines of You seem very qualified but unfortunately only current students are eligible for this, not recent graduates. I will keep your resume on file for the future. 

Damn. If I was a student at Drexel, Temple, St. Joe’s, etc, I would have been all over that.

Deadspin: What an amazing website. I love Deadspin. They do everything in terms of sports news from viral GIFs to compelling features, to holding mainstream experts and pundits accountable for their work. Deadspin is the site you wish you had thought of to create a decade ago but didn’t. I feel like a lot of places have tried to recreate the idea of Deadspin, but they can’t pull it off because there’s only one Deadspin.

FiveThirtyEight: I love Nate Silver’s site under ESPN ownership. Obviously I’m drawn to the sports articles,, specifically Neil Payne’s baseball content, but I try to read their politics and economics analysis too. If I’m being honest, the site occasionally makes me feel stupid. Some of the data and methods they used to collect it will go over my head, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to understand. If I was smart enough, I would try to produce similar stuff that they do on a regular basis.

Crossing Broad — Crossing Broad is branded as “Philly’s most irreverent sports blog.” Full disclosure: I was one of the blog’s early readers before it started to grow into what it is today. I once won NFL Draft tickets through a random contest on the site and have become Internet friends with Kyle Scott. He has his share of haters, but I’ve found that most people who dislike the site can’t really provide a concrete reason as to why. He definitely pushes some boundaries, and I don’t agree with all of his takes, but more often that not, he’s right. His trolling of Flyers beat writers is always on point.

FanGraphs — In this day and age, it’s tough to hold your own in a baseball conversation without acknowledging sabermetrics. I didn’t hop aboard the sabermetric train as early as some others and have some good friends who know more than I do, but it’s a vast, interesting world when you dive into it. Anyone who writes about baseball should know basic stuff such as WAR, FIP, and BABIP.

Arguments that center around traditional vs. advanced statistics in sports can be unbearable. Ultimately there’s room for both, and I think reporters have a point that they should use the access they’re afforded to ask questions as opposed to just relying on numbers. You’re not going to stick a chart of random data in a newspaper or the digital equivalent of one and call it a day, There’s still value in a traditional approach, but for too long, people heard the 4-syllable word “sabermetrics” and thought it was some scary term. Then, Moneyball came out and made some more people aware. You don’t have to hug and kiss the concept, but blatantly dismissing it at this point is a big mistake and just comes off as way out of touch.

A few more Penn State related sites:

Black Shoe Diaries — Black Shoe Diaries is Penn State’s SB Nation site. My two biggest haters write for the site in addition to a few good friends friends. There are times when I think some of BSD could do a better job embracing community management and less of a “you need me more than I need you, commenters suck and shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet” attitude.

Now, the past two and a half years have obviously been a volatile time for the Penn State fanbase and some opinions can be — for lack of a better adjective — crazy. I just think when SB Nation blogs as a whole are branded right on the front page as “a [insert team here] community,” they could be a little more patient. My slight bias aside though, it’s a good site for news on Penn State sports.

The Daily Collegian — So Onward State technically competes against the Collegian for news and readership, but we have vastly different approaches when it comes to social media and delivering content. This USA Today feature expands on this more. All that aside, I’m good friends with a number of people who either have written for the Collegian in the past or currently write for the paper. My friends do good work, and I make sure to check it out.

The School Philly — I probably read The School Philly more for their Philadelphia sports opinions than Penn State stuff. Some Onward State writers and a few of their writers have gotten into it in the past, and I don’t agree with all of their views on student life at Penn State, but I’ve become friends with their creator, Andrew Porter, who does good work. Some of their content isn’t always my cup of tea, but they definitely have a solid Penn State following.

Honorable Mention: BuzzFeed, Huffington Post

Vox is a site that I would like to get into, but I haven’t explored it a ton yet since the launch, so I can’t comment too much there.

If you didn’t know me and just looked at this list sans descriptions, you could make the inference that I’m a big Eagles fan who went to Penn State and enjoys football, baseball, and data journalism. That doesn’t cover all of my interests, but it hits on most of them, especially the primary ones.

With that, I give you the floor. How do you Internet? What would your screenshot of tabs look like and does it accurately portray you as a person? Let me know in the comments!