The700Level

Union mascot hatches at Philadelphia Zoo

Union mascot hatches at Philadelphia Zoo

Hot take: Mascots are overrated. Especially the Phanatic. That green thing is just creepy. You can send your hate mail to @todougherty.

Anyways, the Union on Monday afternoon revealed their first mascot in franchise history, and it already has the coolest name in the city.

Meet Phang, a big blue snake that sports a gold mohawk.

The Union unveiled Phang during a ceremony at the Philadelphia Zoo. Phang hatched to the Union's goal song.

Phang already has swagger — something the Sixers' Franklin can take notes from. In terms of obscure Philly sports, Phang instantly has a leg up on the Soul Man in mascot rankings.

The Union are, well, actually pretty good. They're currently fifth in the Eastern Conference with 40 points and positioned to make the MLS playoffs for just the third time ever.

And now, the Union have an official mascot to pump up the home crowd at Talen Energy Stadium. I just hope Samuel L. Jackson doesn't encounter Phang on a plane. We don't need that movie sequel.

Around the NFC East: After gut-punch vs. Dallas, can Birds catch Washington?

usat_eli_manning.jpg
USA Today

Around the NFC East: After gut-punch vs. Dallas, can Birds catch Washington?

The Eagles woes this weekend weren’t just confined to Sunday night; everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong, at least as far as the NFC East is concerned. But hey… Jimmy Butler!

Here’s what happened, and what’s happening, this week in the NFC East… and get your popcorn ready, ‘cause this one is going to be salty.

New York Giants (2-7)

ICYMI: No one will blame you for opting-out of Monday Nights Giants/Niners Battle-for-the-Ages. 80-year-old Eli Manning led the Gmen on a game-winning touchdown drive (going 6-for-9 for 69 yards… double nice), giving the Giants their 5th win in 25 games. Meaningless production and an irrelevant result? Sounds like Vintage Eli to me.

Spin: Hooray for Giants fans who want to pretend like a win against Nick Mullens is some sort of significant accomplishment. The MNF crew was even scouting college quarterbacks for the Giants during the broadcast! This remains the final chapter in the odd and strangely-successful story of Eli’s career, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthy of your attention.

What’s Next: 162 days until the NFL Draft.

 

Washington (6-3)

ICYMI: After a flurry of significant injuries and with a tricky opponent on the dockett, Washington seemed set up for a trap game. Instead they completely shut down the perplexing FitzMagic, beating the Buccaneers 16-3. This game had nothing but field goals until the 4th quarter, but for Washington, it’s a quality win on the road that helped extend their lead in the division. So, that stinks.

Spin: With the easiest-schedule remaining of everyone in the NFC East, plus a two-game lead, Washington is the clear and obvious frontrunner to win the division and have the honor of being beaten at home by Carolina on Wild Card Weekend. It’s at the point now where, if Washington somehow doesn’t win the division, it should be considered a criminal choke job that should cost some dudes their employment.

Silver lining? This team is still owned by Dan Snyder, they have one of the oldest rosters in the league, and their offensive-minded head coach has built a yawn-inducing offense.

In short, their long-term prospects for growth and success are equivalent to that of the fidget-spinner.

What’s Next: Houston, Dallas, Philly. If a collapse is coming, it seems destined to start soon.

 

Dallas Cowboys (4-5)

ICYMI: C’mon… we all know you didn’t miss it.

Spin: The Sword of Damocles seemed set to drop on Dallas Sunday night, and the Iggles failed to cut the thread. As a result, the vultures circling around the jobs of both Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott will have to find a new target, at least for another week. 

And hey, maybe that’s a good thing for Birds fans. The Cowboys didn’t win Sunday because of the play of Dak or the offensive-creativity from Garrett. Neither is worthy of Eagles-fans fear. So if the short-term pain of Sunday night results in another five years of Garrett and Prescott, it may end up being worth it. Maybe.

Zeke is only 23 though. That isn’t great.

What’s Next: With Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and the Birds on the schedule the next four weeks, the Cowboys season should be decided within a month. Try not to read the tea leaves on Garrett or Prescott until then.

Dario Saric looks miserable in Minnesota

Dario Saric looks miserable in Minnesota

We all watched Jimmy Butler’s smile beam across his face as he was introduced as a member of the 76ers today.

But how did things go at the introductory press conference for the three former Sixers in Minnesota?

Just look at Dario’s face.

Yesterday, we learned about the teary-eyed goodbye Saric had with Brett Brown when the trade was made, and today, we get this photo from the press conference. He looks miserable. Also, it’s not like we hunted for a bad photo, only to see him smiling moments later. This is the photo the Timberwolves chose to tweet out on their main account.

Here’s another look.

We’ve seen this before with Jahlil Okafor dropping the jersey and with Joel Embiid’s face on draft night. Both of those turned out to be non-stories, but what if Dario is truly upset to go from Philadelphia, where he moved to from another country, to Minnesota? 

Also, Robert Covington is having a little trouble removing the word “process” from his vocabulary.

While we’re looking forward to seeing Jimmy Butler take the court for the Sixers, some fans will have an eye on Minnesota to see how the former Sixers are doing. 

Make sure to circle Jan. 15 on your calendar for Minnesota’s only game in Philadelphia this season to see how the fans welcome back the trio.

Who knows what will happen.

Click here to download the new 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 Sixers