Eagles

Does Roob think the XFL is worth watching?

Does Roob think the XFL is worth watching?

I hope the XFL succeeds. I’m rooting for it. The more people who can live out their lifelong dream of playing pro football the better. I like the innovation, and I hope the NFL can learn from some of the things the XFL is doing.

I just wont watch it.

Now, I don’t begrudge anybody their obsessions with the Seattle Dragons, St. Louis Battlehawks or Houston Roughnecks.

Hopefully, people watch it and like it and support it.

Hopefully, the league survives and flourishes in ways the AAF, World League, USFL and the earlier XFL were unable to.

But for me, football is about more than just a few trick plays, cool team names and logos and some creative new rules. It’s more than just a way to pass the time between the Super Bowl and the start of training camp.

And when it’s not played at the highest level, it just doesn’t grab me.

NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro, who remembers even the most obscure players to come through Eagles OTAs for a day or two, compiled a list of former Eagles who are on the eight XFL rosters:

Donnel Pumphrey, Freddie Martino, Josh Hawkins, Asantay Brown, Winston Craig, DeAndre Thompkins, Joe Toth, Malcolm Bunche, Elijah Qualls, Trae Elston, Ajene Harris, De’Angelo Henderson, Toby Weathersby, Gabe Wright, Jerome Couplin, Quentin Gause, Luiz Perez, Matt McGloin, Ryan Mueller, Carlton Agudosi, Harold Jones-Quartey, Matt Jones, Godwin Igwebuike, Aaron Murray and Seantavius Jones.

The few the rest of us even remember — Pumphrey, McGloin, Hawkins — we remember because of how bad they were when they were here.

Why would I want to watch guys who failed so miserably in the NFL play football against a bunch of other guys who failed so miserably in the NFL?

The three-point PAT? The complete transparency on replay rulings? The revamped overtime? The 25-second play clock? The punting rules that encourage coaches to go for it on 4th down?

I like all these things. And if some or all of them can help the NFL present a better product, I’m all for it.

Doesn’t mean I want to watch.

There’s something special about NFL Sundays. The chance to see the best in the world go head-to-head.

Deandre Hopkins vs. Jalen Ramsey. Khalil Mack vs. Lane Johnson. Saquon Barkley vs. the Ravens’ rush defense.

Think about the thrill you got this year watching DeSean Jackson catching back-to-back 50-yard TDs from Carson Wentz. Miles Sanders exploding up the middle for a 38-yard run with less than a minute left to seal the win over the Cowboys. Greg Ward's first career TD giving the Eagles a season-saving last-second win over the Redskins.

And I’m supposed to pretend that watching Seantavious Jones, Ryan Mueller or Harold Jones-Quartey somehow gives me a similar thrill?

Honestly, I don’t even know who Ryan Mueller is, and if it hadnt been for Dave’s story I would have sworn he was never with the Eagles. Turns out he was on the roster from April 1 through May 3 of 2016.

If you spent your life watching the Stones, what would it be like if you all of a sudden started watching a Stones cover band instead?

It's OK. But obviously not even close to the same experience.

I need a reason to watch something. A good reason. And the XFL isn’t giving it to me. A bunch of former Eagles scrubs and a bunch of rules innovations isn’t enough.

Once the novelty wears off, then what? Just Toby Weathersby trying to block Winston Craig.

What makes the NFL the most popular sport in the U.S. is the world-class talent, the breathtaking level of competition, the unforgettable plays, the rivalries that in some cases date back a century.

Without all that? What’s the point?

If I have to try and come up with a reason to watch, they’ve already lost me.

More on the Eagles

Jason Kelce egregiously snubbed by NFL's all-decade voters

Jason Kelce egregiously snubbed by NFL's all-decade voters

Jason Kelce was the best center in the NFL over the last decade and no fraud all-decade team is going to change that.

The NFL on Monday announced its team of the decade, and it was good to see LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Fletcher Cox and Jason Peters named. All are deserving.

But the absence of Kelce is egregious. 

Not surprisingly, the same people who haven’t figured out that Eric Allen was one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game — the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters — are the same people who have decided that Kelce wasn’t one of the two best centers in the NFL from 2010 through 2019.

Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey were the centers named to the team of the decade, and guess what.

Kelce has made first-team all-pro more than both of them combined.

Kelce three times, Pouncey twice, Mack zip.

Pouncey deserves one of the two slots. He’s made eight Pro Bowls with the Steelers and played on six playoff teams and a Super Bowl loser. Hell of a career.

Mack? Ask any defensive tackle in the NFL if he’d rather face Kelce or Alex Mack. 

Mack’s been a really good player, and he does have more Pro Bowls than Kelce. But he was a 1st-round pick, and those guys tend to make Pro Bowls much earlier than 6th-round picks like Kelce. 

Kelce didn’t make his first Pro Bowl until his fourth season, and he was absurdly snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting in 2017 and 2018, when he was the best center in football, made first-team all-pro both times and didn’t get picked to the Pro Bowl team.

Kelce is the only active player in the NFL that’s had two all-pro seasons in which he didn’t make the Pro Bowl and one of only six in history.

It’s tough making up ground when you’re a 6th-round pick. You come into the league with no hype, and unless you see the guy play every Sunday you can’t imagine he’s really that good.

The rest of the country finally realized in 2017 what we already knew. Kelce guy is a beast. It took way too long. And judging by this NFL all-decade team people still haven’t figured out how good he is.

Kelce has added a dimension of athleticism to the center position that may be unprecedented. What he lacks in size and strength he makes up for in determination, intelligence and leverage. 

Kelce is one of six centers in NFL history to make first-team all-pro three straight years, the only one to do it in the last 20 years. All the others are Hall of Famers.

He’s also one of only seven centers in NFL history to be named all-pro three times AND to win a Super Bowl or NFL Championship. He’s the only one to do it in the last 35 years.

Kelce did make the Pro Football Writers Association all-decade team, so at least somebody got it right.

The thing that’s really disturbing is that Kelce is building a Hall of Fame resume, and the people that snubbed him for this honor could very well do the same when he’s in the Hall of Fame conversation. All-decade teams are one of the leading criteria Hall of Fame voters cite when justifying their picks.

All I know is Kelce is one of the smartest, toughest guys I’ve ever seen. He’s played through injuries that would have ended most guys’ seasons and some guys’ careers.

And he’s done it at a consistently high level since beating out Jamaal Jackson for the starting job in the summer of 2011.

Kelce probably doesn’t give a darn about all this. He’s never been one to take individual honors seriously. That’s not why he plays the game. 

He plays the game for moments like Feb. 4, 2018, and that’s something that none of the so-called experts can ever take away.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

NFL to reverse controversial pass interference rule for 2020 season: report

NFL to reverse controversial pass interference rule for 2020 season: report

After a one-year flirtation with pass interference challenges didn't really solve anything, the NFL is expected to end the experiment.

Pass interference replay "almost certainly will not be extended", according to a report Monday from NFL.com's Judy Battista:

This isn't terribly surprising. The rule was put in place largely because Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints complained very loudly after an enormous missed call in the 2018-19 postseason.

That crucial uncalled pass interference, you might recall, was committed by new Eagles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman:

The 2019 regular season allowed coaches to challenge pass interference calls, either called or uncalled, but the results were a mixture of underwhelming and frustrating.

Eagles fans probably remember this very obvious Avonte Maddox pass interference that wasn't called, was challenged by Packers coach Matt LaFleur, and then still wasn't called:

That was insane.

"The cumulative effect of the misses, plus the replay spotlight on these misses, has really taken its toll," former NFL ref and current NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay told the New York Times last November.

The line for what constitutes pass interference was shown - as football watchers already knew - to be an indistinct and ever-moving line, and the ability to challenge the calls just created one more layer of aggrivation.

If the league does indeed remove the rule, it will be a victory. Fans, players, and coaches will still yell about missed pass interference calls - but at least they won't have to do it twice.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles