To sound like somebody who pays attention to Philadelphia sports the next few weeks, you need utter only one word: TEBOW.
You must say it all-caps loud. And you must say it over and over and over again: TEBOW. TEBOW. TEBOW. TEBOW.
TEBOW will be all that matters in this sports-crazed city.
But just to keep you informed in this August guide for Philadelphians who don’t pay attention to sports, the Phillies also got less terrible after trading away their two best pitchers and the battle for Pennsylvania football supremacy is coming up in a couple of weeks when Penn State faces Temple at the Linc.
Explaining TEBOW: Quarterback Tim Tebow entered the Eagles’ first preseason game Sunday about midway through the third quarter to a standing ovation. Fans generally don’t give one of those unless an athlete is retiring or did something crazy, like rush for 250 yards. They gave one to Tebow because he is alive? And single? And Christian? We dunno. But their cheers were so loud Tebow had to signal them to quiet down. They obeyed because he is Tebow and his hand motions can also reportedly part the Red Sea.
And that wasn’t even the highlight of the game. In the fourth quarter, Tebow scored a touchdown. As tends to happen with Tebow, the internet caught fire. His touchdown became the No. 1 trending topic on the Twitters.
So where does all this new hype place him in terms of possibly making the roster or getting to play this year? Uh, about that. He’s still the team’s fourth-ish string quarterback, battling Matt Barkley for the third position behind starter Sam Bradford and backup Mark Sanchez. So it’s still not a guarantee he will make the team.
But Tebow has already done enough to silence any doubter who doesn’t consider him to be part deity: He’s pulled off the miracle of making preseason football relevant.
Reason to be excited: Bradford is looking pretty good so far. He’s thrown accurately in practice but didn’t play in the first preseason game. That’s probably a good decision because Bradford should be playing as little as possible in the meaningless games to reduce the chances of him getting injured. Speaking of which, if only the pope would just bless his damn knees.
Reason to be depressed: Rookie defensive back Jacorey Shepherd tore his ACL. He’ll probably miss the whole season. This isn’t good because the Eagles traded away pretty much their entire group of defensive backs in the offseason.
Learn something cool about a player: Nobody exists on the Eagles except for TEBOW. Kidding! Preseason football allows for young players from all over the country to get a shot at making the regular season roster. And in some cases from all over the world. Brett Boyko, who is 6-6 and weighs 301 pounds, is trying to make the Eagles roster as a tackle. He’s from grew up in Saskatoon, Canada, before moving to the U.S. to play college football at UNLV.
Saskatoon is located in the middle of Saskatchewan, aka close to the middle of nowhere. Even though Boyko is a giant, he played quarterback for his high school team.
Sandwich time: Center Jason Kelce has a sandwich named after him. It made its first appearance at the pop-up beer garden on South Street.
Progress: The Phillies are still the worst team in baseball, but they’re not as bad as they used to be. And they’ve done much of this winning after trading top pitchers Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. After the All Star Break, they won 16 of 21 games. The success brought them out of last place in the NL East for a little while. But now they’re back in last, not only in the NL East but the entire league. They’ve lost six of their last seven games. Still, that makes them 17-11 since the break.
Utley out: Goodbye 2008 Phillies. The World Series title of seven years ago felt like enough of a distant memory. And now almost everyone is gone. Wednesday, the Phillies traded second baseman Chase Utley to the Dodgers. He’ll join his 2008 teammate Jimmy Rollins there. Hamels, Utley, Rollins, all gone since the offseason.
Try not to remember the last couple years with Utley. Remember him for this:
Reaction: Not everything has been a disaster for the Phillies this summer. Their fans have priceless reactions to some of the especially disappointing losses. A couple of weeks ago, there were plenty of tragicomic looks from fans when closer Jonathan Papelbon blew the game in the ninth.
It was excellent and provided a bookend to another priceless reaction from earlier in the year. During that game, fans watched the Braves hit a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning in what Deadspin christened the most compelling sports video of the year.
(Sort of) rivalry time: Penn State fans think Temple fans matter so little that they’d probably say they don’t even think about them. And Temple fans think Penn State fans are elitist cult members. It’s a totally healthy relationship! And it should make for a fun atmosphere come September 5 at the Linc in the teams’ first football game of the season.
Temple has not defeated Penn State in football since 1941, and experts say Penn State is the superior team heading into this season. But the last time Penn State played Temple in Philly, Temple only lost by four points. And Temple returns all the starters of its stingy defense from last year. So….what was all that one in a million talk about?
Tailgating: This is a tough time of the year for people who don’t pay attention to sports. But the games don’t have to be boring for you. You can always tailgate outside Temple, Penn State or Rutgers football games while eschewing the actual game. Especially at Temple, where the average attendance last year was about 23,000, a total that probably included a lot of invisible people. In college football, nobody judges you for not going into the game. Most people don’t even expect you to go into the game.