The700Level

A message to runners everywhere: shutttttt uppppppp

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A message to runners everywhere: shutttttt uppppppp

Oh, you're running a 10-miler this weekend? That's sooooooooo interesting. Can't wait to see you bing-bonging down Broad Street with your rock-hard jawline, pressing the buttons on your digital watch: beep beep boop boop beep beep beep! Tell us again what kind of yogurt you eat. Tell us again how we’re all going to die from congestive heart failure. Oh holy runner who art thou, oh ye who wears lightweight Brooks™ running sneaks, please, please, please tell us more about your breathable mesh socks. Because it’s hard to hear you over the sound of all these Grandma Utzs crunching in my mouth.  

I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but runners have recently cemented their place as the fourth most nauseating people on the planet, right behind ISIS, The Money Team and any person who ever attended the University of Maryland. It wasn't always this way. Running used to be called “jogging," and jogging was just a thing that bozos did when they were training to fight Apollo Creed. But now, running is a #WAY #OF #LYFE. And is singlehandedly responsible for keeping Saucony sneaks in business. And Saucony sneaks suck shit. 

I recently went to the New Balance store on Walnut Street expecting to find some dope neon-colored sneaks that would make the ladies I work with swoooooooon. Instead, the store was filled with wall-to-wall running gear, like actual running gear, including shin sleeves. An employee tried to talk to me about arch support. I don’t care about arch support. I care about lunch. 

Everything about running is stupid. The running. The running part. The running! And then there’s the whole part with the running. I don’t even like having to do that slow fake jog when someone’s holding the door for me. Just let the door close! It’s not that nice of a gesture anyway. And marathons. Geez Louize, what is the point of that? To accomplish some sort of goal? Shut up. There’s way too much emphasis on goals these days. That’s the problem with humans. We have too much ambition. Just be happy that you have feet. 

There is literally nothing impressive about running a marathon. It's just running. There's no skill. You're not dribbling a ball. Or playing an oboe. You're just slamming your feet against the hard pavement for five straight hours. There’s a crazy guy who lives outside the 7-11 at 12th and Chestnut who slams his head against the pavement all day every day. You don’t see anyone giving him a medal. You know that dude who who runs marathons while juggling? I used to think that guy was an idiot, but now, I get it. Of course he juggles! Because running is boring. Remember folks, the whole marathon thing started because some Yes Man was forced to run 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver a message. Probably a good time to remind you that the jerk, Prometheus, dropped dead the second he arrived. So yeah, maybe it is a good thing to have goals. Mine’s to not die like an asshole. 

I know, I know, running helps you stay fit. And live longer. And not have a double chin that you’re forced to cover up by growing a beard. But fast forward to 2053 when you’ll be forced to attend your grandson’s high school graduation. I’ll be dead. And that sounds way better than sitting through some lame-o valedictorian’s speech about “the journey.”   

Don't get it twisted, people. Runners will tell you they work out for physical wellness. But we all know it’s just to tighten up their bods so people will want to have sex with them. Sure, being in good shape makes sense, and it’s nice when people want to have sex with you, but there’s plenty of other ways to stay fit: like, play basketball, or play soccer, or, well, that’s pretty much it. There’s two ways. I guess Zumba seems pretty cool too. So three ways. But those are three much better ways! 

The worst part about runners is that they’re constantly reminding us that they’re runners. Ordering salad. Wearing fitbits. JOGGING IN PLACE at every red light. Ohhhhhhhhh, I can’t possibly stop my knees from bouncing up and down! They're so bouncy! How’s my heartrate?!? Beep beep boop boop beep beep beep! 

Some of my co-workers have spent the last few months getting ready for this Sunday’s Broad Street Run. They’ve trained together after work. They’ve raised money for charity (ugh). They’ve taken over our shared refrigerator with so much lite salad dressing. 

There’s literally only one lite dressing in there.

WHAT KIND OF WAY IS THAT TO LIVE?!

But runners be runnin’. And on Sunday, 40,000 weirdos will take over Broad Street with their ear-to-ear smiles and beaming zest for life. It’s disgusting. Not to mention the band-aids covering their nips. This weekend could be the greatest sports weekend ever -- the NFL Draft, NBA and NHL Playoffs, the Kentucky Derb, #MayPac! -- and yet 40,000 people have decided to run a race?!?! I'm 38 years old, have no children and no responsibilities, and I’m going to spend my entire weekend wallowing in my own filth. I plan on spending all day Sunday recovering from watching sports all day Saturday. Unless my wife is ovulating, then I might have to spend four (or five?) minutes trying to shoot a human life form inside of her. But other than that, I'm golden.

Look, the bottom line is, I don't care what you do in this world. Shave your pits. Have sex in a dungeon. Run ‘til your precious heart explodes. But do me a favor. Shut up about your stupid shin splints for once and for all.

Unless you got ‘em by having dungeon sex. 

Then I’d love to hear more about it. 

Thank you. 

Jerry Jones goes after Roger Goodell over Ezekiel Elliott suspension

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Jerry Jones goes after Roger Goodell over Ezekiel Elliott suspension

Jerry Jones, the NFL's most outspoken troll, just wants to watch the world burn.

After weeks of talk and escalation, the Cowboys' owner is ready to go to war with Roger Goodell and the league's other owners over Ezekiel Elliott's suspension.

According to an ESPN report, Jones threatened the commissioner on a conference call after Elliott's suspension was announced, saying, "I'm gonna come after you with everything I have. If you think (Patriots owner) Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p---y compared to what I'm going to do."

For weeks now, Jones has tried to disrupt talks of a contract extension for Goodell, promoted objectively bad pizza in the name of football, and landed himself in hot water with the other owners. So much so that there has reportedly been talk about removing Jones as the Cowboys' owner.

It's hard to pick a side here. Jones — the long-lost twin of Emperor Palpatine — and Goodell — a man with rulings more inconsistent than Pete Morelli. You don't really want to root for either of them, but it is fun to think about the extremely unlikely chance that Jones loses the Cowboys. 

Cowboys just another inferior opponent to Eagles

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Cowboys just another inferior opponent to Eagles

It was only a few weeks ago when it appeared this first meeting between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys was shaping up to be a battle for NFC East supremacy. Now that we’re here, the Cowboys are just trying to save their season, and the Eagles just want to take care of business against an inferior opponent.

That’s not a stretch. Are the Cowboys a good team? Well, they’re not bad, at least based on their 5-4 record. They certainly would be a lot better were it not for injuries and suspensions. But as the team is currently constructed right now, Dallas is not on the Eagles’ level.

Name one thing the Cowboys do better than the Eagles in 2017? That’s going to be a struggle, because aside from maybe punting, or maybe having a marginally superior pass rush, or maybe running the football before Ezekiel Elliott was sent packing, there’s really nowhere Dallas possesses an edge at this point.

Doesn’t mean the Cowboys won’t pose a threat to the Eagles or even win on Sunday night. It’s simply a difficult scenario to envision when we break down the matchup on paper.

QUARTERBACKS

We’re probably going to be having this debate for many years. One-and-a-half seasons certainly isn’t enough to settle it. That being said, there’s no question who’s playing better right now, as in ‘17. Carson Wentz might be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player through 10 weeks. Wentz has thrown for more yards (2,262 to 1,994), a higher yards per attempt (7.8 to 6.9), and found the end zone with greater frequency (23 to 21) – including rushing touchdowns – compared to Dak Prescott. The Eagles’ signal caller also has just one more turnover (7 to 6) and 26 fewer yards rushing (211 to 237). Ultimately, the stats are all pretty close, but Wentz also has the more important number over Prescott right now: Wins, eight to five.

Slight advantage: Eagles

RUNNING BACKS

It’s safe to say that any combination of Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith (not to be confused with Broncos great Rod Smith) is a massive drop-off from Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys simply can’t replace the explosive element Elliott brought to their offense, not with this collection of has-beens and one nobody, anyway. Not one of those ball carriers has the pure ability of a Jay Ajayi at this stage of their careers, and the Eagles wouldn’t swap LeGarrette Blount or Corey Clement with Dallas, either. Fun fact about the Cowboys backfield: The unit’s leading receiver is Smith with 38 yards.

Clear advantage: Eagles

WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS

Zach Ertz is leads both teams with 43 receptions, 528 yards receiving and six touchdowns, and he even missed the Eagles’ last game. Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor are second and fourth, respectively, with 500 and 428 yards receiving, and tied for second with five touchdowns each. The Cowboys’ top receivers haven’t been as effective at getting down the field or in the red zone, though it’s a deep group. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Cole Beasley are essentially possession receivers at this point, and even speedy Terrance Newman is averaging a career-worst 11.8 yards per catch. Dallas’ best deep threat has been Brice Butler this season with 10 receptions for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Otherwise, the vertical game has been nonexistent.

Advantage: Eagles

OFFENSIVE LINE

In retrospect, the Cowboys’ issues this season were easy to see coming. The retirement of right tackle Doug Free started a game of musical chairs up front, while the departure of guard Ronald Leary in free agency hurt the unit’s depth. Going from guard to tackle has been an adjustment for La’el Collins, and whether at left guard or left tackle, Chaz Green has been an abject failure. Dallas needs Tyron Smith healthy and covering Prescott’s blind side for this to even have a prayer of working. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ O-line keeps on ticking despite losing Jason Peters, which is a credit to Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s development. Peters or no, this continues to look like the best unit in the league.

Advantage: Eagles

DEFENSIVE LINE AND LINEBACKERS

The Eagles may have the best front four in the NFL, or one of them at least, but don’t discount the Cowboys here. Dallas is tied for fifth with 29 sacks, and Demarcus Lawrence leads the league with 11.5. The defense isn’t great against the run – 4.3 yards per carry allowed is tied for 23rd – but Lawrence, David Irving and Tyrone Crawford can all get after the quarterback. Of course, it’s not as if the Eagles aren’t scary rushing the passer, with just four fewer sacks, plus Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and company boast the No. 1 run defense as well. Even if the lines are considered even, there’s going to be some separation at linebacker, as the Cowboys are without the heart soul of their defense, Sean Lee (hamstring).

Slight advantage: Eagles

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Despite a solid pass rush, teams have thrown on the Cowboys’ secondary. In terms of opponents’ quarterback rating, Dallas ranks 23rd (96.4). It’s a young backfield, with rookies Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie – the latter returning from a hamstring injury – in outsized roles. The Eagles are young at corner themselves, with Ronald Darby finally back from an ankle and rejoining Jalen Mills, but have seasoned safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod over the top. The unit will give up some ground, coming in at 26th in terms of yards per game (249.4), yet is ninth in quarterback efficiency (81.2). Teams throw against this group because they have to, not because they want to.

Advantage: Eagles

SPECIAL TEAMS

At one point, Dan Bailey may have been the best kicker in the league, but he’s coming off his worst season as a pro and is now sidelined by a groin injury. That was the Cowboys’ primary strength on special teams. Now unreliable Mike Nugent is handling the kicking duties. Dallas punter Chris Jones has been pretty good at pinning opponents deep, which is nice, because he’s getting a lot more opportunities this year. The Eagles routinely grade among the top units in all phases, and will get the nod over most opponents, even if there is a Pro Bowl kicker.

Advantage: Eagles

COACHING

Jason Garrett is the reigning NFL Coach of the Year. He doesn’t call the plays. He doesn’t run the defense. Heck, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones probably decides when to call a timeout or throw the challenge flag. Yet, Garrett has hardware saying he’s the best. To his credit, there is a good staff in place around him, particularly defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. But as of now, Doug Pederson is well on his way to winning Coach of the Year in ’17, and will do it while actually running a team, nor are there any weak links on his staff. With an unconvincing 62-49 record, including playoffs, we’ll go ahead and chalk up Garrett’s 2016 campaign as an anomaly.

Advantage: Eagles

OVERALL

The Cowboys went 13-3 in the regular season in ‘16 on the strength of a dominant offensive line, punishing ground attack and well-coached defense. While the latter is still in place, even that aspect of the equation benefitted from ball-control offense. But Dallas’ line is an injury away from being in shambles, and the NFL’s reigning rushing champion is suspended. That leaves a young quarterback with aging weapons and adequate protection at best, and a defense that can rush the quarterback but does little else. Meanwhile, the Eagles have the best record in the league right now at 8-1, and they were firing on all cylinders heading into their bye. This is a week-to-week sport, so everything can change in the blink of an eye on Sunday night. Going in, however, there’s no denying which side is superior.

Distinct advantage: Eagles