Ford: Eagles about to take over the world

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The NFL regular season is still seven weeks away, but it is never too soon to begin the annual cycle of hope, anticipation and, almost always, something else entirely by the end.

There was a post the other day on Twitter - the most reliable source for news, information, and GIFs of swimming cats - that said a meteor would strike the earth this week and, assuming the two party conventions had not already done so, wipe out all intelligent life on the planet.

We can debate exactly how large a meteor would be required to end intelligent life - I'd say one no more than the size of a grapefruit might get the job done - but that would put a crimp in summer cookouts and probably play havoc with Shore traffic. All in all, if the meteor misses, it wouldn't be the worst thing.

For most of the Philadelphia sports scene, however, the sun is about to be blotted about, and there's absolutely nothing that can be done about it. The giant approaches. The ground shakes. Trees split and fall. Dogs howl in the night.

The Eagles begin training camp Monday.

Poll

Does Doug Pederson have what it takes to lead the Eagles to elite status?

Yes, the oxygen is about to become thin for the others, consumed in great gulps by the football team. There are big questions that must be answered. Will Doug Pederson's jaw line turn out to be the sharpest thing about him? Will Carson Wentz throw a football through the eye of a needle while square dancing? Are Rodney McLeod and Leodis McKelvin actually the same person?

To these and more, we need the answers. The NFL regular season is still seven weeks away - seven interminable weeks! - but it is never too soon to begin the annual cycle of hope, anticipation and, almost always, something else entirely by the end.

So, Ben Simmons, it's been fun. It isn't every day the top pick in the NBA draft comes along, and the summer games were a gas. You can really pass the ball against guys who will never make the league, and it's fun to think about how your game might mesh with real players like Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric.

Of course, the general manager is trying to trade away either Okafor or Noel, and Embiid could break down any minute, and Saric is not certain of making an impact at the NBA level. But it's interesting, much more interesting than tracing the rights to Cenk Akyol, and we promise to pay full attention sometime around January.

The Eagles will be about halfway through their schedule when the Sixers start the regular season, midway between road games at the Cowboys and at the Giants and, well, if the video of Wentz at practice isn't too compelling, you can count on us catching the fourth quarter of the opener.

While we're at it, see you in Clearwater, Phillies. It's been fun, or at least a pleasant diversion to watch players who might have more of a future than a past. Not that pleasant through late May and most of June, but there was a last hurrah before the all-star break and the inevitable slide toward the fire sale of the trade deadline.

Entering the weekend, the Phils had exited the break with a 2-5 skid that saw them score nine runs and record 18 hits in the five losses. Even by their standards, that's pretty awful and hard to watch. Fortunately for them, no one will be watching anymore.

Something could be said in the same regard about the Flyers and the Union, I suppose. The NHL regular season begins about the time the MLS regular season ends, in mid-October, just as the Eagles begin the truth portion of their schedule. The Flyers open with a Friday night game in Los Angeles, and the team should offer free tickets to anyone who stays up for the third period of that one. It's just two days before the Eagles are at Washington, and people will need to rest up.

That's what it looks like for the fall, and, make no mistake, despite the temperature, the fall season begins Monday when rookies, selected veterans, quarterbacks, and the collective attention of an entire city converges on South Philadelphia. People who wander to the corner of Broad and Pattison, hoping to catch a glance of Isaac Seumalo or Aziz Shittu through the bushes that shield the NovaCare fields, will wonder what's with all the security and hoopla at the Wells Fargo Center.

Not to worry. That's just another big rock falling from the sky, threatening civilization perhaps - and the second one to do so within a week - but having no effect on the power of the ruling body that really controls the United States. And that, of course, is the National Football League.

Welcome back, Eagles. You have no idea how lonely it's been here.

bford@phillynews.com

@bobfordsports