Incredible Darren Sproles keeps outrunning Father Time

Incredible Darren Sproles keeps outrunning Father Time

Plenty of people counted Darren Sproles out this season. 

Why even bother bringing him back? Why doesn’t he just retire? Why keep him around? 

We’ve been getting our answers to those questions over the past few weeks. Sproles is 35, but he’s not playing like it. With fresh legs, he’s become a major contributor during the last few Eagles’ games and he did it again in a major way in Sunday’s 32-30 win over the Texans (see Roob's observations)

The crazy thing is, Sproles was actually one of those people who wondered if he’d be able to return this season. 

“(It means) a lot,” he said. “Because there was a time where I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to come back. But to have the role I had tonight, man, it felt great.” 

On Sunday afternoon, Sproles carried the ball nine times for 32 yards, including a huge 16-yarder to set up the game-winning field goal, and had three catches for 76 yards. 

At 35 years and 186 days old, Darren Sproles became the oldest Eagles player ever to go for over 100 yards from scrimmage in a game. 

“That guy is an incredible player, incredible teammate, one of the best guys I’ve ever played with,” Jason Kelce said. “I’m always happy whenever he’s out there. For him to continue to do things the way he’s doing them with the injuries he’s had over the last year and a half … awesome. I don’t think I’m more excited for any guy.”

It was actually Sproles who got the scoring started Sunday. Nick Foles hit him for a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter on 4th-and-2.

That play is such a good example of what makes Sproles special. He’s just impossible to cover and is so hard to bring down, even though he’s 5-foot-6. 

“S—, man, even at 35, 36, he’s a mismatch for linebackers, man,” Brandon Brooks said. “They just can’t cover him. Anything you ask him to do. Even as a smaller guy, dude can sit in there and block way bigger guys. He can do it all, even at 35, beating Father Time.”

Lane Johnson on Sunday night began to praise Sproles and the irony of what he was saying wasn’t lost on Johnson. He said Sproles is a true professional and someone “you can look up to.” The idea of his mammoth teammates looking up to one of the shortest guys in the NFL is funny, but not off. Johnson said Sproles always gives it his all during games, practice and even walkthroughs. 

Nothing Sproles does seems to surprise his teammates anymore. Johnson said that’s been the case for him since he saw Sproles bench press 405 pounds. 

But if you ask every player in that locker room for their favorite teammates, Sproles won’t be far down that list.  

Before this season, after rehabbing from a torn ACL, Sproles announced this would be his last in the NFL. But after missing much of this year with a serious hamstring injury, it’s time to wonder if he’s rethinking that position. He won’t say. 

“I’m just going to take it one game at a time,” Sproles said. “We have one more game left."

Selfishly, I hope he has a few more left in him. He’s just fun to watch.

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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