Every year, as baseball's steroid era - or, at least, the most obvious one - becomes a little smaller in the rearview mirror, the most blatant of the cheaters inch a little closer to the Hall of Fame.
Four teams in the NFL had great regular seasons in 2016, at least as defined by Howie Roseman, the Eagles' executive vice president of football operations, during his wrap-up press conference two weeks ago.
It is January, and Andy Reid is still coaching football, something he has done in 12 of his 18 seasons as a head coach. Consistency like that is what keeps NFL coaches employed - and what gets them jobs when they eventually need one - and no one is as fond of consistency as Andy Reid.
One by one, they struggled in from the cold of the parking lot carrying a large duffel bag of equipment and with a hockey stick or two tucked under an arm. The former Flyers who will play an alumni game on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center against a team of Pittsburgh Penguins alumni have to haul their own stuff these days and they move a bit slower than before, but they are Flyers forever and the fans never forget.
Brett Brown, the head coach of the 76ers, has looked ahead, and he is convinced. Not everyone can see the same thing. Brown doesn't care. He is coaching a game that is getting smaller and faster each year, and his best player, a player whose gifts are given only to the very few, is very large and possesses just moderate quickness. How can he be sure?
Howie Roseman is a careful dispenser of information. Of all the news that came out of his season-ending, state-of-the-team news conference Wednesday - and there wasn't much - his reticence was the least surprising. ATM's hand out stray $20 bills more freely than the Eagles' executive vice president of football operations divulges the inner thoughts of the organization.
Near the front of the long, narrow locker room at the NovaCare Complex, there was the traditional pile of cardboard boxes and supply of black, industrial-strength trash bags. It was moving day, and the players packed up equipment to be shipped back home for the offseason or merely stuffed what they wanted into a bag and tossed it into the back of their cars.
They have accumulated again, like old traffic tickets stuffed into the glove compartment. Despite the best intentions and resolutions of each new year, a large number of corrections and clarifications that should have been published throughout 2016 did not appear because of the diligent effort of the author.
Sometimes the smallest tack in the road is the one that flattens the tire, and while the Eagles haven't been much of a hazard for most of the season, they were sharp enough to stall the New York Giants on Thursday night.
Rick Lovato and his father were at the artificial field in Normandy Park near Lincroft, N.J., on Sunday afternoon, just north of where the Garden State Parkway cleaves through Monmouth County, and it was cold.
If Allen Barbre's hamstring holds up this week, and if Brandon Brooks is available on Sunday - neither of which is a certainty - then the Eagles will have a reasonable facsimile of their offensive line available in Baltimore against the Ravens.
The Eagles lost another football game on Sunday they could have easily won, at least from the standpoint of having had the opportunity to win it. Nothing is really easily done for this team, particularly when it comes to winning close games, even ones in which the Eagles hold fourth-quarter leads.
When Jeffrey Lurie brought an end to the Chip Kelly smug-a-thon with one game remaining in its third season, the Eagles owner said being a successful head coach in the NFL isn't just about "winning the press conference."
CINCINNATI - The Eagles didn't just lose a game or whatever hope lingered for their season on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. They lost, or should have, the organization's belief that better days are right around the corner.
It didn't take long - the time between the end of Monday's loss to Green Bay and when Doug Pederson arrived at the podium to explain it - for the rookie head coach to switch perceptibly from the present tense to the future tense when talking about his team.
Bob Ford is an award-winning sports columnist for the Inquirer. He is a four-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year, as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. His work has been cited numerous times by Associated Press Sports Editors judges, and he won an Eclipse Award for outstanding coverage of horse racing. Prior to becoming a columnist at the Inquirer, Ford was the 76ers beat writer for six seasons and then a general assignment feature writer with a specialty in Olympic sports. In 1995, he was designated a fellow of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. Ford has written sports in the Philadelphia area since 1981, when he served as the Phillies beat writer and later as a general sports columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times.