If I had to pick someone to call Skip Bayless out to his face on his non-stop trolling of the Eagles and Carson Wentz, Seth Joyner would be near the top of my list (I’d avoid asking Charles Barkley, who is on record twice as saying he’d like to murder Bayless on national television).
On Friday’s Undisputed, that’s exactly what the former Eagles linebacker and FS1 NFL analyst did as part of a discussion about Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Eagles and the Vikings.
“I’ve got to ask you Skip – do you believe everything you tweet, or is it just for effect?” Joyner asked. It was the right sentiment from Joyner, but the wrong timing, because this week, Bayless has been uncharacteristically kind to the Birds.
“As a Cowboys fan growing up, I hated the Eagles … So I’m saying this from my heart. This is a good football team,” Bayless said, stopping short of picking the Eagles to win on Sunday.
You don’t often see anything Bayless says associated with the term “sensible take,” but that’s exactly what the FS1 host offered earlier this week when he made a pretty compelling argument in favor of Nick Foles, who Bayless said is “getting less respect than Blake Bortles.”
So real quick, let’s look at Nick Foles’ career so far. He has started 41 National Football League games. That’s quite a bit, right? And in those games he’s thrown 61 touchdowns to only 29 interceptions. Well, if I told you that about anybody else you’d be saying, ‘Hey, who doesn’t want this guy?’
And he’s played now in two playoff games, and in those two games he’s thrown two touchdown passes, but zero interceptions in either of the two games. Maybe the one against Atlanta should have been picked, but it wasn’t. So in the two playoff games, Nick Foles has gone 46 out of 63 – that’s a high percentage – for 441 yards. So he’s shown you under pressure. He got off to a little shaky start against the Falcons, but then once he locked in, he was pretty smooth, man.
Bayless also correctly pointed out that Foles was a top national recruit out of high school from Austin Westlake, where he followed Saints quarterback Drew Brees and was such a good basketball player that both Georgetown and Texas recruited him, according to a 2013 story by my colleague Zach Berman.
“So he’s got some ability, he’s not fast, but he can move around a little bit – and they run a pure West Coast offense,” Bayless added. “He’s shown you regularly, over time, he doesn’t choke. He doesn’t collapse. He doesn’t come apart. And yet, his team is a 3 and a 1/2 point underdog at home, just because of him? That’s just craziness.”
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) January 17, 2018
NFL apologizes for keeping Eagles out of Super Bowl
If the theme of the week for the underdog Eagles is disrespect, the NFL gave the Birds more bulletin board material by mistakenly releasing a Super Bowl LII ad featuring the Patriots and the Vikings.
“Your team is headed to Super Bowl LII” the ad copy on Facebook read, pasted above an image of Tom Brady and Case Keenum on either side of the Super Bowl Logo. The copy for the advertisement added that fans could win 2 club-level seats “to watch the PATRIOTS vs. the VIKINGS battle it out for the coveted Super Bowl title!”
— Brandon Longo (@brandonlongo) January 19, 2018
Needless to say, the ad angered both Eagles fans and several players, like defensive back Jaylen Watkins, who told NJ Advance Media: “I think it’s propaganda to cause a controversy around this game. It’s definitely another sign of disrespect.”
Defensive lineman Vinny Curry said: “Ask me about that at 10:00 on Sunday. Show me that on Sunday. What time do we play? We play at 6:40 on Sunday. Talk to me about that at 10:00.”
On Friday afternoon, the NFL admitted that the ad was a mistake and removed it from the league’s official Facebook page.
“It was a regrettable mistake,” an NFL spokesman said in a statement. “The ads were mocked up using all the [possible] combinations, but weren’t supposed to go until Monday when the matchup is known. Obviously, someone jumped the gun.”
If ESPN were looking to replace Gruden with another NFL coach…
With new head coach Jon Gruden in Oakland preparing the Raiders for the offseason, ESPN is going about the business of finding his replacement on Monday Night Football.
NFL analyst and former Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasslebeck appears to be something of a frontrunner. He’ll sit in the booth as a tryout alongside play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough during ESPN’s broadcast of the Pro Bowl on Jan. 28.
But if ESPN wanted to replace Gruden with another former NFL coach, Bruce Arians might be their man. The former Cardinals and Temple coach, who retired with a 49-30-1 record in the NFL after last year’s season, has already spoken to the NFL Network and Fox Sports about a possible TV role. On Friday, he made it clear he’d be interested in filling the spot vacated by Gruden’s departure.
There’s one problem — he doesn’t think ESPN is interested in him.
“Oh gosh, I’d be interested,” Arians told ESPN Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss. “I don’t think they’re interested in me. But that would be like the dream job, especially working with someone as good as Sean [McDonough]. That’d be fun. That’s obviously a home run.”
Arians, who called the Pennsylvania high school football championships in 1988 alongside legendary Philadelphia broadcaster Al Meltzer, told Weinfuss he’s always been intrigued by broadcasting, and indicated it would be a welcome change to the grind of being a head coach.
“When you’re doing games, you do a lot of traveling – good, bad, indifferent. You’re in the locker room, you’re doing production meetings with players and coaches,” Arians said. “In a studio, you get a broader perspective, maybe you can tell more stories. I’m probably a better storyteller.”