Archive: January, 2012
The legend of the 1948 "Blizzard Bowl" -- when the Eagles won their first-ever NFL championship over the Chicago Cardinals, 7-0, in a raging snowstorm at even-then-aging Shibe Park on North Philly -- has only grown in the 63 years since, especially since the Birds have only won two more titles ('49, '60). The drama of actually staging the game in the storm -- players from both teams had to help remove the snow and the tarp from the field, and the Eagles' superstar Steve Van Buren almost missed the kickoff as he raced on trolleys, the Broad Street subway and through the drifts of Lehigh Avenue to make it to Shibe -- is almost as great as the tension of the game itself, won on Van Buren's iconic 4th-quarter touchdown plunge. It was a turning point for pro sports in America and here in Philly -- the last NFL championship game in leather helmets, and the first shown nationally on the newfangled television. In an era of a Roman-numeraled spectacle known as a Super Bowl and the NFL postponing a game (in Philly, no less!) based merely on a forecast of snow, the '48 Eagles bring us back to an era of blue-collar, smashmouth football played by a World War II-hardened "Greatest Generation" who made football America's new pastime.
Incredibly, the saga of this iconic football game -- and moment in Philadelphia history -- never had a book of its own.
It's typical that in the sorry state of American journalism that finally, now that Mitt Romney's about to be annointed as GOP nominee in waiting and maybe the 45th president (if this prediction about unemployment is correct) that we're finally getting around to asking who this guy is and what does he really want.
The cavalry -- in the form of senior officers Frank Rich and Eugene Robinson -- is making a belated charge here. First here's Rich -- who reminds us why the Times Sunday Week in Review section has been so lame since he bolted for New York Magazine:
It's too late, Christie (and Rubio and Ryan and Daniels), now it's too late, though they really did try to break it
If you've been paying any attention to the GOP primary race and now President Obama's ever-improving poll numbers against the weak Republican field, you've probably asked yourself, is it too late for somebody to jump in the race (picture a Chris Christie cannonball into the pool of candidates, if you must)?
The short answer is...yes, it probably is too late.
It was 30 years ago yesterday (in a great piece by my friend and colleague, Jack Morrison):
“Through everything that has happened since September, from Occupy to the acceleration of “Bills” — NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA — never have I felt so helpless and enraged as I do tonight. These kids are heroes, and the rest of the country needs to open its collective eyes and grab what remains of its civil rights, because they are evaporating, quickly. Do you want to know what a police state looks like? Well, you sure as hell still do not know unless you were watching our citizen journalists.”
Good grief -- what next? Locusts? Black Death? Those of you wishing for the demise of this blog -- and of me -- may get your wish sooner than I wished.
Welcome any and all WIP listeners!
Outsourcing this to my friend Eric Boehlert, who does a better job than I probably would of showing how a cable TV news channel hijacked a major American political party -- with disastrous consequences:
In terms of whipping up bouts of anti-Obama hysteria, the crass Fox approach enjoyed some short-term success. However, that same media movement is now three long and rhetorically repetitive years into its Obama crusade and trying to nominate a presidential candidate via an extended national campaign. According to more and more worried conservatives, the results on display are disastrous.
Seconds before the most iconic touchdown in the 79-year history of the Philadelphia Eagles, fans across Shibe Park were yelling one thing -- "Give it to Steve! Give it to Steve!" Now that's the title of my new Amazon Kindle Single -- a kind of a short e-book that's available to readers through Amazon.com -- that is slated to go on sale Monday afternoon. It tells the remarkable story behind the "Bizzard Bowl" of Dec. 19, 1948, when the Eagles won the first of only three NFL titles, in a raging snowstorm, as well as the remarkable star of that team, Steve Van Buren, and the life and times of pro football's "Greatest Generation." There's a poignant epilogue about life after football for Van Buren and other Eagles legends.
Here is an exclusive excerpt about Van Buren -- "The Greatest Eagle" -- that's in the Daily News Sports Week on sale right now.
A couple of years ago, when I wrote the book "Tear Down This Myth" about Ronald Reagan, I noted that a lot of the conservatives who today venerate the Gipper today were highly critical of him when he was president -- especially over the idea that he was racing to "appease" Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet Union. I mentioned that one of those critics was a young firebrand in the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich.
Here's some more about that: