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Setting odds on Eagles' 2018 nominees for the Hall of Fame

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Setting odds on Eagles' 2018 nominees for the Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of 108 nominees for induction in 2018, and the list has a very Eagles flare.
 
Fifteen players and one coach who spent at least one season with the Eagles are up for enshrinement this year, although some naturally have better odds than others. There are a handful that many feel should be a lock to have their bust immortalized in Canton, Ohio, and there is at least one player who is literally on the list by mistake. Otherwise, it's usually an honor just to be nominated.
 
The process certainly could be exciting for Eagles fans, as two former club members have an excellent shot to get in, and two or three more might be knocking on the door. We handicapped the group and took a closer look at each candidate's specific situation.
 
Brian Dawkins: 3/2
 
If Dawkins doesn't make it this year, he may have to wait awhile. There's about to be a logjam at safety. Ed Reed becomes eligible in 2019, Troy Polamalu in 2020, and for whatever reason, those two guys are higher-profile players. That certainly isn't reflected in the numbers. Dawkins is the only player in NFL history to record at least 25 interceptions (37), forced fumbles (36) and sacks (26), and leads both players in every major statistical category except interceptions, where Reed has the edge (64). What's more, Dawkins did it first. Voters will recognize the situation, which should result in a strong push -- and Dawkins slipping in the door before his peers.
 
Terrell Owens: 5/2
 
As much as Owens probably deserves to be in the Hall, he has only himself to blame for this plight. At first glance, the path doesn't appear to get any clearer in 2018 now that Randy Moss is eligible. Then again, Moss was no saint, either, and Owens has his fellow wide receiver beat in receptions (1,078 to 982), yards (15,934 to 15,292) and is only beaten only narrowly in touchdown catches (156 to 153). Plus, this is not the most loaded class we've seen, with Ray Lewis seemingly the only mortal lock to get in. Production should win out over politics, although Owens continues to hurt his own cause, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the voters pass once again.
 
Donovan McNabb: 8/1
 
We've officially entered McNabb's very small window for the Hall. There are only five quarterbacks among the nominees, and McNabb's 37,276 yards and 234 touchdowns through the air has the other four beat by a mile. Those numbers are only good for 22nd and 29th all-time, respectively, and will continue falling down the list, but it just seems like a signal caller gets in every year. McNabb has an additional 3,459 yards and 29 touchdowns rushing, not to mention seven trips to the playoffs in a 10-year span. It's now or never, though. If McNabb doesn't get in this year or next, he'll likely wind up forever lost in the mix of more prolific passers.
 
Dick Vermeil: 10/1
 
Vermeil's resume doesn't scream Hall of Fame. He has the one Super Bowl championship with the Rams, and another appearance in the big game with the Eagles. That being said, Vermeil only has a 120-109 record with three division championships and eight trips to the playoffs in his 15-year NFL coaching career. He has the fame part going for him, being at the helm for two of the league's most famous underdog stories -- Vince Papale and Kurt Warner -- and is a renowned nice guy who has always stayed around the game. Vermeil absolutely could sneak in on reputation in a thin class.
 
Brian Mitchell: 12/1
 
If this were any other year in any other period in history, a return specialist might not be in the conversation. Yet, the voters have been making it a point to include some specialists in the Hall, electing punter Ray Guy and kicker Morten Anderson in recent years. The depth of this class is also creating opportunities for some fringe candidates. For what it's worth, many feel Mitchell is deserving on merit. He's second all-time in all-purpose yards with 23,330 -- only 246 back of Jerry Rice, so it's not at all difficult to envision somebody championing Mitchell's cause, especially at this point in time.
 
Randall Cunningham: 20/1
 
If you want to talk about a player who revolutionized a position, paving the way for guys like McNabb, like Michael Vick, like Cam Newton today, Cunningham is the guy. Cunningham was the first weaponized mobile quarterback of the modern era, which that alone qualifies him for the discussion based on fame. His numbers weren't bad either, with 29,979 yards and 207 touchdowns through the air, and 4,928 yards and 35 touchdowns on the ground. But if Cunningham made it this long without ever garnering serious consideration, don't expect a sudden groundswell of support to emerge.
 
Seth Joyner: 25/1
 
Some would say it's criminal that Seth Joyner isn't in already. Joyner was one interception away from becoming the first player ever to record at least 25 picks (24), forced fumbles (26) and sacks (52.0), long before Dawkins accomplished the feat. He also picked up his Super Bowl ring in his final season with Denver, something Dawkins, Owens and McNabb all lack on this list. Yet, Joyner never really racked up the individual accolades, earning an invitation to just three Pro Bowls over 13 seasons. The weak class of '18 gives an otherwise overlooked great a remote chance, but it's just that -- remote.
 
Eric Allen: 40/1
 
Allen is in a similar boat with Joyner. When you see cornerbacks like Aeneas Williams get in a few years back, you wonder why Allen's name never comes up. Nothing against Williams, but Allen had one less interception (54) in the same span of 14 NFL seasons. Regardless, his time appears to have come and gone without any meaningful consideration. It's a shame, but Allen is a serious long shot.
 
Greg Townsend: 50/1
 
Ricky Watters: 50/1
 
Mark Bavaro: 75/1
 
Keith Millard: 75/1
 
Herschel Walker: 75/1
 
Gary Anderson: 250/1
 
Sean Landeta: 250/1
 
Steve Smith: 1,000,000/1

 
Whoops! There were once two NFL wide receivers named Steve Smith. The good one, Steve Smith Sr. of Panthers and Ravens fame, finished his career with 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns -- but is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame. The other Steve Smith wound up with 2,641 yards and 12 touchdowns, his career shortened by injury. Yet, that is the Steve Smith who's eligible for the Hall and was mistakenly voted one of the 108 nominees in for enshrinement in 2018. We have to assume the voters will sort this out, and bad Steve Smith will not be inducted by accident. Smith spent one season with the Eagles in 2011, recording 124 yards and a touchdown.

A look at Sixers' championship odds after round 1 win over Heat

A look at Sixers' championship odds after round 1 win over Heat

The Philadelphia 76ers and their fans absolutely relished the round 1 series victory over the Miami Heat. But enjoy it for a day or so and then it's time to look ahead.

The Sixers' round 2 opponent has yet to be determined. If the Celtics defeat the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, the Sixers would play in Boston on Saturday night at 8:00 pm to kick off the second round. If the Bucks keep the series alive tomorrow, the Sixers' first game of round 2 is TBD.

As JJ Redick said last night, this team has kept achieving its goals and setting new ones. 

"This group won 10 games two years ago, 28 games last year, we were 25-25 with 5 games to go before the All-Star break, so this is new to us as a group," Redick said. "The interesting thing that has happened is we've changed our goals now like four times. It was make the playoffs, it was win 50 games, it was home-court [advantage], then it was third seed. We don't feel any sense of complacency. This group is still hungry. We want more."

So how about an NBA title... this season? Of remarkable note: the Sixers opened up the season at +15000 to win the NBA championship and are now +850. That's wild.

Oddsmakers have the Sixers as the third-favorite, as of this morning, to win the 2018 NBA championship behind the Golden State Warriors (+105) and Houston Rockets (+160), according to both Bovada. Cleveland (+1000) and Toronto (+1100) aren't super far behind.

As for the Sixers' odds to win the East? How about a slight favorite, according to VegasInsider. Philly (8/5) is just a tiny bit ahead of Toronto (17/10) with Cleveland (3/1) being the only other team with a shot better than 20/1.

"We've got more to do," Brett Brown said last night.

An Eagles draft with less despair than usual

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AP

An Eagles draft with less despair than usual

The NFL Draft is an important time for every team, every year. There’s also no denying it’s less consequential for the Eagles in 2018 than any other point in franchise history – or at least feels that way.

That’s obviously not an attitude the front office was taking while preparing for this draft, nor is it the approach decision makers will use when they’re on the clock. There’s always room for improvement, and the Eagles perpetually have one eye on the future.

But outside the secret underground bunkers deep beneath the NovaCare Complex where the Eagles’ draft boards are set, not everybody views this year’s class with the same sense of urgency.

How can you? The Eagles currently own just one pick in the first three rounds, which means they will largely be bystanders during the first and second rounds of the draft. And the one selection they are schedule to make is the 32nd and final pick in the first round, greatly reducing the odds it will be an impact player.

Trades are inevitable as the Eagles try to add more choices – that perhaps more than the names of the players chosen might be the main source of intrigue. Still, there’s only so much the club can hope to accomplish with such limited firepower to start with.

There aren’t many areas a rookie would be expected to come in and produce immediately on this squad, anyway. I’m not sure if you heard, but the Eagles just won the Super Bowl and are set to return starters or regular contributors at every position.

Even from the simple standpoint the Eagles are finally world champions, the pressure is off compared to previous years.

None of which is intended to imply the draft isn’t of immense value to the Eagles since they lack picks, or holes, or because the fanbase is temporarily placated. Clearly, it would be a huge help if the front office hits on No. 32, or any of their five picks between rounds four through seven.

The Eagles can’t possibly depend on that happening, either. The prospects are already a lot more hit or miss by the end of the first round, after you’ve waited four hours. By the fourth, only the true draftniks or serious college football fans will recognize many of the names.

And that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. For the first time since NFL draft coverage became a thing, there’s no need to obsess or despair over what the Eagles are going to do.

Partly because the Eagles can’t do much – partly because they’ve already done what they needed to do.