Gonzo: Two words for the Eagles' soap opera: Stay tuned

Quarterback Jeff Garcia is a new cast member in the Eagles' soap opera, a long-running production whose recent stars have included the Andrews Brothers and Michael Vick.

The Eagles have a strange, undeniable hold on this town. The more they tweak and tinker, the bigger their spectacle, the more fascinating they become.

It was a typical scene at the NovaCare Complex the other day - and by that I mean there was more of the same media madness. The doors opened, and the TV, radio and print people rushed to the back of the locker room to talk to the other Andrews about his brother. Usain Bolt never moved so fast. The only things missing were a starting gun and a proper finish line.

We crowded around Stacy for a while, then migrated back to the front of the locker room when Jeff Garcia poked his head out. It's a good thing Garcia isn't claustrophobic. Even though it was his third day talking about the same old things (staying within himself, helping the team, blah, blah, blah), the poor guy was immediately engulfed. The reporters and cameras were three and four deep around him, and we spilled into the neighboring lockers.

Poor Jon Dorenbos, who has a small piece of real estate next to Garcia, had to wade through the masses after he got out of the shower, but he didn't seem to mind that NBC10's Jade McCarthy was standing on his chair so she could get the microphone closer to Garcia. I'd pay money to see John Clark try that move. (Seriously, Clark, I have $100 with your name on it.)

As I was standing there watching the controlled chaos, one of my peers, a relatively new guy in town, wandered over and said he couldn't figure out why everyone was making such a fuss about Garcia. I laughed so hard I almost spit.

The Phillies are the best team in this town, and they hold our attention because they play well. The Eagles captivate us for different reasons. Sundays are terrific for football, but random weekdays have become just as entertaining as any of our favorite guilty-pleasure TV programs.

The Eagles are our very own soap opera, and Garcia is the newest cast member. He was written into the show with a spicy story line: Former fan favorite and savior returns in an hour of need. Will he play a bit part, or might Garcia become a leading man once again? And will his presence aggravate the other stars, creating even more unrest behind the scenes of a set that has been dogged by drama for months now?

That's just the latest twist in a serial that grows more unbelievable by the day. We've already watched episodes featuring Donovan McNabb's contentious contract situation, Brian Dawkins' teary, unexpected departure from the program, and Juqua Parker's smoke-filled brush with the law. We've said goodbye to one Playboy Playmate and hello to another. We've listened to Michael Vick's desperate plea for forgiveness, and we've been treated to a mesmerizing musical number courtesy of Shawn Andrews - who, sadly, has exited stage left.

Melrose Place was never so saucy.

Only an alternative universe or the most daring of soaps could possibly conceive a situation where McNabb, Vick, Garcia and Kevin Kolb are all on the same team - and Kolb might have to serve as the starter. That's a sweeps-

week twist right there.

For today at least, Garcia is an understudy. But what happens if the guy in front of him flubs his lines, and the production screeches to a halt? What will the large, redheaded, mustachioed director do then?

Bet you can't wait to tune in and find out.

I'm beginning to worry about my fantasy addiction. I've started listening to fantasy football podcasts during my morning workout at the gym. I'm a pocket protector and corrective shoes away from being an utter geek now.



QB: Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Matt Hasselbeck.

RB: Cadillac Williams, Fred Jackson, Thomas Jones.

WR: Percy Harvin, Nate Burleson, Justin Gage.

TE: Zach Miller, Chris Cooley, Dustin Keller.



QB: Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger.

RB: Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Larry Johnson.

WR: Kevin Walter, Lance Moore, DeSean Jackson.

TE: Owen Daniels, Greg Olsen, Tony Scheffler.


Sunday Sixer

(Home team in caps)

Last week: 3-3

Matt Schaub and the Texans managed to sink me in fantasy football and the Sunday Sixer last week. They're dead to me now. Same goes for the Bengals and HBO. Hard Knocks is a propaganda machine; I should have sniffed out the lies. We'll do better this week.

Steelers -3 over BEARS: Every time Jay Cutler throws a pick, do you think Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels and owner Pat Bowlen high-five each other?

Vikings -10 over LIONS: Which happens first - Detroit wins a game, or ESPN gives omnipresent football reporter Adam Schefter five seconds of off-camera time to use the bathroom?

FALCONS -6 over Panthers: Jake Delhomme is still the Panthers' starting QB. In related news, the Falcons have already awarded him their game ball.

Seahawks + 11/2 over 49ERS: What's the over/under on people who don't live in San Francisco or Seattle who will watch this game? Five? Six?

JETS +4 over Pats: Buddy's boy has made me a believer.

Saints over EAGLES (Pick 'em): Two words: Kevin Kolb. Two more words: Uh oh.


Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com.