Time to dust off the Eagles’ Who’s Nuts special teams award
Looks like I wasn’t the only who had NFL Fever last weekend as over 108 million fanatics tuned in to see their teams -- or fantasy players -- in action. I hope all of this pigskin exposure doesn’t turn into a swine flu epidemic! I was at my Hawk Brother Jamie Moyer’s book signing Monday night, and even though I had the game DVR’d I couldn’t wait to get home to catch the action.
I swore I wasn’t going to turn on the radio on the way home so I could go to my tape from the beginning. Well don’t make promises you can’t keep, especially to yourself, because I flipped the game on the radio and Merrill and Mike were out of their minds with the frenetic pace and success of the first drive until a lousy call ruined the picnic. My palms were so sweaty I couldn't hold on to the steering wheel of my car and my heart was pounding out of my chest.
It stayed that way, even when I got home, all the way to the recovery of the on-sides kick that I swear that Jon Gruden was jinxing us on. And, oh, yeah, yelling at the screen and the officials (like they hear you) and high-fiving and hugging the guys who came by my house every time we scored or made a big play. You’ve been there, right? In the end I was as exhausted as a Redskin defensive player and as hoarse as a coach.
The game has been dissected every which way possible by all of the “insiders” and I have my thoughts but thought I would focus on the teams I love the most, special teams: the bomb squads … suicide squads … kamikaze units … whatever you want to call them.
Monday night against the ‘Skins they were downright special. There are a lot of reasons for that but it starts at the top and with the attitude of Chip Kelly towards the “Teams.”
"It's about special teams," Kelly says. "There's three ways to make this football team: special teams, special teams, special teams."
Hmmm ... sounds like a guy I played for -- the first full-time special teams coach in the NFL with the L.A. Rams under George Allen: Yep, Dick Vermeil. No entitlement on his roster, nor on Chip’s. We had starters out there and they have starters out there on the “Teams,” regardless of the increased risk of injury. It’s all about attitude and a desire to help the team.
Chip’s skill guys, kicker & punter, are as good as it gets in the NFL but it's the willingness of some guys to run recklessly downfield to make a play that make them unique. The field was tilted in our favor with the play of these coverage guys and momentum sustained.
We had a cool thing back in the day called “Who’s Nuts” for us special teams crazies. Game balls were savored by the offensive and defensive guys for excellence. You got one -- only if the game was won. Well, for us, it was the tee shirt that had the words “WHO’S NUTS” emblazoned on the front that we coveted.
It was a tradition that was started by our late and great Head Nut -- coach Kenny Iman -- and I’d like to keep it alive each week by giving out a WHO’S NUTS award to the top special teamer of the week ... only with a win, though.
This week it goes to the new Eagles special teams coach, Dave Fipp, for bringing the passion back.
Who’s Nuts, baby?