Friday, November 28, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Nov. 28

The Daily Numbers: 33-10 romp for the Birds on Thanksgiving over the hated Cowboys.

9-3 mark for the Eagles, as Dallas falls to 8-4

159 yards and a TD on 25 carries for LeSean McCoy.

4 100 yard games for McCoy in his last 7.

4th 1,00 yard rushing season for Shady since 2010.

73 yards for Dallas star running back DeMarco Murray.

20 of 29 passing for Mark Sanchez.

0 turnovers. Probably the more important number for the Eagles QB.

18 of 29 for 199 yards for a beleaguered Tony Romo.

2
interceptions tossed by Romo.

38 game streak in which he has thrown a touchdown pass snapped for Romo, who spent most of the day under siege.

80 yard drive after the opening kickoff as the Eagles wasted no time in taking control.

88 yard drive that followed that one as the Cowboys looked like they didn’t know what hit them.

23-7 Eagles lead at halftime, and that with 2 missed opportunities in the red zone when they settled for field goals.

108 yards receiving for Jeremy Maclin, pushing his season total over 1,000 yards.

4 field goals for Cody Parkey.

1 sack and 4 tackles for Fletcher Cox, who was a standout on Eagles defensive line.

464 total yards for Eagles, to just 267 for the ‘Boys.

256 yards rushing for the Eagles, whose offensive line dominated Dallas.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

What the hell happened to Tony Romo? He looks like a guy who is playing hurt. Almost felt bad for the guy. Almost.

I Don’t Get It: Still don’t get Jerry Jones.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Fletcher Cox, who made a statement yesterday and announced himself as one of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL.

Quote Box: “I don’t really compare myself.

- Eagles RB LeSean McCoy, on comparisons to Dallas back DeMarco Murrary, who he still trails in the NFC rushing race.

The Eagles make another statement

Two weeks ago the Eagles faced a statement game in Green Bay. What played out on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field was not what the Birds had in mind.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Birds again were looking to make a statement, facing another potential playoff team on the road as they invaded Dallas for their annual Thanksgiving Day shindig.

Eagles fans have plenty to be thankful for this Black Friday.

After losing in agonizing fashion on the road in both Arizona and San Francisco, then getting blown out in Green Bay, the Eagles were looking to make a statement in Dallas.

They did that, dominating the Cowboys in front of their home fans.

The 'Boys seemed more interested in fighting each other than in battling the Birds.

This one was decided from the opening snap, when the Eagles marched 80 yards with their rapid-fire offense that at times had the Cowboys gasping for air.

There were a lot of statements made on this day.

LeSean McCoy made a statement on the same field with the guy he trails in the NFC rushing race. DeMarco Murray managed just 73 yards and the Cowboys only TD on 20 carries. Meanwhile, McCoy was again reminding people he is in fact the same back as last year, exploding for 159 yards and a touchdown.

The Birds' initial drive was quickly followed up by a similar 88-yard scoring drive, and the rout was on.

It was telling just before halftime to see the Cowboys' defenders literally down on one knee sucking air in the wake of Chip Kelly's relentless attack.

Mark Sanchez again looked supremely confident in leading the Eagles' attack. More importantly, he did not commit any of his telltale turnovers, on the holiday that many still remember his infamous "butt fumble" with the Jets.

On defense, the Eagles did exactly what they needed to do, that being harass Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo into a miserable day. Romo clearly is not the same player he once was, still nursing a bad back that leaves him more than a little gun shy and not especially mobile.

Led by a standout performance by Fletcher Cox, the Eagles defense hounded Romo all day, leaving him heaving the ball up late in the game rather than face any more punishment from the Birds.

The win moves the Eagles to 9-4, alone in first place in the NFC East, a game better than the Cowboys.

Super Bowl champion Seattle, who beat the 49ers last night, comes to the Linc on Sunday.

Columnist Jack McCaffery notes that while they may not be the best team in football, this Eagles team now has to be seriously considered as a Super Bowl contender.

I didn't think so before the game. I picked the Cowboys. I was wrong.

Chip Kelly outcoached the 'Boys brass by a mile.

So disheartened were the Cowboys they were left to point fingers at each other, constantly being captured on camera bickering either with themselves or their coaches.

They looked like a team once again about to come apart at the seams.

And the Eagles?

They looked like a team making a statement.

A very different one than they offered in Green Bay.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick (Special Thanksgiving Edition)

Attention Eagles fans. Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast. I don’t think you’re going to like dessert.

The Eagles invade Jerry’s World for a special holiday clash with the hated Cowboys. Nothing quite gets Philly fans revved up as the sight of those guys with the star on their helmet.

Chip Kelly has constructed an 8-3 mark by beating the teams they are supposed to beat. Today they take a step up in class in playing the team with an identical mark that is tied with them atop the NFC East.

The key to this game will be the Eagles defense vs. Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense. If they can pressure Romo, knock his increasingly brittle body off his game a bit, they have a shot. The Eagles will score points. I’m just not sure they can stop Romo, DeMarcus Murray and Dez Bryant.

Throw in the mandatory couple of turnovers from Mark Sanchez and that’s a lot to overcome.

Also not working in the Eagles favor is their road record this year against three other solid NFL teams. Trips to Arizona, San Francisco and Green Bay all went into the ‘L’ column, the fiasco against the Packers including an exclamation point.

If the Eagles have an advantage, it might be on special teams. Another return touchdown would be huge in Dallas. The Birds’ best bet is to feed LeSean McCoy and try to keep Romo et all off the field, at the same time limiting the chance that Mark Sanchez would throw a pick. But Shady has been kind of spotty so far this year. Maybe the stars will bring out the best in him.

Then again, maybe Romo will once again revert to his old self, and turn the ball over in a crucial situation late in the game.

This one likely will be a shootout, but I think the Cowboys have more weapons.

The Pick: Make it Cowboys 29, Eagles 26. I hate to ruin your Thanksgiving, but I don’t see the Birds beating the ‘Boys on a day when we all feast on bird. I hope I’m wrong. The challenge for Chip Kelly and the Eagles now will be trying to figure out a way to rally and make the playoffs.

Season Record: I had a feeling a team like the Titans was going to struggle on the road coming off a short week following their appearance on Monday Night Football. They didn’t disappoint. Things get a lot tougher for the Eagles the next three weeks, at Dallas, home for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, and a home rematch with the Cowboys. The blowout win over the Titans raised the Eagles mark to 8-3, pretty amazing in light of the injuries they’ve had to overcome. I jumped on the Birds to push my season mark to 8-3 as well. One of us is going to fall today in Dallas.

Game by Game: Eagles 43, Titans 24 (My Pick: Eagles 34, Titans 23)

Packers 53, Eagles 20, 21 (My Pick: Packers 33, Eagles 24)

Eagles 45, Panthers 21 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Panthers 17)

Eagles 31, Texans 21 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Texans 19)

Cardinals 24, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 23)

Eagles 27, Giants 0 (My Pick: Giants 31, Eagles 26)

Eagles 34, Rams 28 (My Pick: Eagles 35, Rams 19)

49ers 26, Eagles 21 (My Pick: 49ers 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Eagles 37, Redskins 34 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Nov. 26

The Daily Numbers: 2-4 inches of snow possible across the western suburbs. I’ll believe it when I see it.

6 inches possible up in the Poconos. At least the ski resort operators are happy.

8 p.m., when the snow is expected to move out of the region.

500,000 people expected to be traveling today.

3 home invaders who terrorized a Parkside couple.

1 person fatally shot in Chester.

41 homicides so far this year in the county.

26 of those in Chester. Those numbers likely will go to 42 and 27 later today with ruling in latest shooting.

290,000 dollars being put up by Wawa for traffic improvements for their proposed new store at intersection of Baltimore Pike and Providence Road in Media.

75,000 dollar grant for Ridley to study how to improve the look of MacDade Boulevard.

2 straight months that Rose Tree Media teachers have aired their complaints about the lack of a contract to the school board.

100 members of the teachers union were at the recent board meeting.

14, age of girl who was being held captive by sex trafficking ring in Philly. A 56-year-old Main Line lawyer has been charged with having sex with the girl.

98 jobs coming to the Wharf in Chester with the arrival of Day & Zimmerman, an engineering and construction firm now based in Philly.

17,500 square feet the firm will occupy at the refurbished former Peco power plant.

4:30 kickoff tomorrow for Eagles in Dallas.

4 traditional high school gridiron clashes on tap Thursday in Delco.

60-55 win for No. 12 Villanova over No. 19 Michigan. Nice win.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Have you moved your holiday feast to accommodate the 4:30 start of the Eagles game? Have to have your priorities.

I Don’t Get It: TV Weather. Again. Call me on Memorial Day.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who protested peacefully in the wake of the grand jury decision in Ferguson. And serious jeers who simply used it as an opportunity to cause havoc.

Quote Box: “You can look at what the officer did in this case and be upset about it but when are we going to be upset with the killings we perpetuate against one another every day?”

- William ‘Rocky’ Brown III, longtime Chester pastor on the Ferguson shooting.

No thanks for this weather

Here's something else NOT to be thankful for this year.

TV Weather.

In case you were blissfully preparing tomorrow's feast and have not yet turned on the TV, there is nothing else happening today but the weather. And its possible effect on the busiest travel day of the year.

Of course, right now it's only raining. But it's what's coming that has our TV friends hyperventilating.

Yes, we stand a chance of seeing a coating of snow.

It is not going to paralyze the region.

But it will not stop all-day frenzy whipped up on your local TV station. Reporters have already been dispatched to the western suburbs to talk to people in the rain. Go figure.

Here's what most of the forecasters expect.

It will continue raining this morning, and gradually turn over to snow. Around here the ground might get a coating, streets likely will remain just wet or a tad slushy.

Of course, that could be different if you live in the infamous "northern and western suburbs." Just where those are, however, is a bit cloudy. When exactly did the Poconos become "suburbs." They are going to get snow up there. I'm sure the ski resort operators are thrilled.

At some point this morning the rain is expected to change over to snow. At the top end we're looking at 2-4 inches. A Winter Weather Advisory goes into effect at 9 a.m.

Don't panic, this is not a major storm.

The roads are going to be packed anyhow, so make sure you pack your patience.

The airport and trains will be mobbed, but then you knew that was going to be the cast before the forecast took a turn for the worse.

Here's how Accuweather sees the day playing out. Want to be thankful? Hey, we don't live in Buffalo.

The key to beating the Cowboys

Yes, there will be a 'Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick, even though the Birds are playing on Thanksgiving in Dallas.

I hope the game does not disrupt your holiday dinner.

I fear it may give you indigestion, however.

Here's the deal, at least as I see it.

This game comes down to the Eagles defense vs. Tony Romo.

If they can put pressure on him, make him uncomfortable in the pocket, bang his increasingly brittle body around a little, I like their chances. I'm just not sure they will be able to do that.

In addition, the Cowboys just might try to make Romo less of a factor by pounding away at the Birds with the league's leading rusher, DeMarco Murray.

We might as well resign ourselves to the fact that Mark Sanchez is going to turn the ball over a couple of times. That was his M.O. with the Jets, and not much has changed since he's opted for a different shade of green.

This game will be up to the Eagles defense.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Nov. 25

The Daily Numbers: 400 police vehicles in 42 departments across Delaware County that will be equipped with the overdose-reversing drug Nalaxone starting on Saturday.

1st law enforcement officers in the state that will be able to save lives by administering the drug.

320 percent increase in heroin deaths in Delco over the past 5 years.

325 people lost to ODs since 2007.

22, age of Aimee Willard when she was killed by Arthur Bomar in 1996. The state high court has rejected the latest appeal from Bomar, who faces the death penalty.

4-3 vote in Brookhaven to OK the proposed development of a tract on Edgmont Avenue and Coebourn Boulevard.

25 acres of the 55-acre tract that will be developed.

22 conditions slapped on the site.

0 tax increase in the preliminary budget for Media Borough.

0 tax increase in the preliminary budget for Ridley Park.

63, age of woman from Elkins Park killed in an accident on I-95 in rainy conditions early Monday.

5 hours, how long the northbound lanes were shut down.

4 inches of snow a possibility across the region on Wednesday.

72, record-setting high temperature that we hit on Monday.

17,817.90 close for the Dow yesterday, another record high.

0 wins so far for the Sixers this season.

0 goals scored by the Flyers last night in loss to Isles.

14 straight losses for Sixers, who fell to Portland last night, 114-104.

24 points for Michael Carter-Williams.

33 points for LaMarcus Aldridge to lead the Blazers

46 shots stopped by Flyers goalie Steve Mason, who finally allowed 1 to get by him in shootout.

5 losses in last 6 games for Flyers.

5 straight losses on road.

2-6-1 road mark this year for Flyers.

2 more days until Eagles-Cowboys.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Is the turkey done yet? It’s almost time for a Thanksgiving treat. No, not the holiday dinner. Eagles vs. Cowboys at 4:30.

I Don’t Get It: Still trying to figure out this weather. Record warmth followed by 4 inches of snow. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who took part in press conference yesterday with D.A. Jack Whelan to announce use of Naloxone by county police officers. It will save lives.

Quote Box: “David’s in heaven smiling down on us at what a good thing we did.”

- Lynne Massi, on her nephew David, for whom David’s Law is named. It will be crucial link in fight vs. heroin overdoses.

A win for Lynne Massi & Tricia Stouch, and the battle vs. heroin

Lynne Massi was smiling.

So was Tricia Stouch.

It's something that comes easily for both women, despite being scarred by the heroin scourge that is taking a horrific toll on Delaware County and the region.

We were all in the Media Courthouse for a press conference at which District Attorney Jack Whelan announced the implementation of several crucial aspects of "David's Law."

That is the measure passed by the Legislatire this fall and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett. It will do two very important things: Offer limited immunity to a person who alerts authorities to a possible heroin overdose of a friend or acquaintance; and put the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone in every police car in Delaware County.

Lynne Massi had taken on the crusade for David's Law, named for her nephew, who died of a heroin overdose in 2013. She believes his life could have been saved if an acquaintance had been able to report it without fear of facing charges.

Tricia Stouch lost her daughter to heroin, and has been in the forefront of raising awareness to this dangerous new surge of opioid and heroin abuse. She founded a group that is going into school to tell young people of the dangers that are out there.

District Attorney Jack Whelan announced that this Saturday, Nov. 29, when the 'David's Law' goes into effect, 400 patrol cars across Delaware County will be equipped with a kit containing Naloxone.

I was invited to the press conference by the D.A.'s office. Whelan graciously noted our coverage of this issue over the past year. Reporter Rose Quinn did a series of stories based on the experience of the Massi family.

It is what community newspapering is all about.

I was proud to be a part of it.

I am even more proud of Lynne Massi and Tricia Stouch.

Here's our editorial in support of yesterday's rollout

An early snow job

Here's one reason not to be thankful.

We were in the 70s yesterday, record-setting warmth. Today it's expected to push close to 60.

And tomorrow - on the busiest travel day of the year - we're going to get socked with a storm that could dump several inches of snow on the region and cause travel mayhem.

Here are all the details. Brave yourself for a blizzard of TV coverage.

How long until Memorial Day?

The fallout from Ferguson

I don't make any claim to know what is behind the outburst of violence that hit Ferguson, Mo., last night in the wake of a grand jury ruling that a police officer will not be charged in the shooting of an unarmed teen last summer.

The ruling touched off a wave of violence in the town, as well as more peaceful protests across the country.

What I do know is that I still wonder exactly how far this country has come in terms of race relations.

I am guessing that white people believe we have made great strides. I would think that many black people are not nearly as sure.

And it tells us - or it should - that we still need to have a serious conversation about race in this country.

Anyone else agree with me?

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Heron's Nest: The Daily Numbers for Monday, Nov. 24 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 8-3 record for both the Eagles and Cowboys as they head into Thanksiving Day showdown.

43-24 win for the Birds yesterday as they bashed the Titans at the Linc.

130 yards on 21 carries for LeSean McCoy.

107 yard return for TD by Josh Huff with the opening kickoff.

17-0 Eagles lead at end of 1st quarter.

307 yards passing for Mark Sanchez.

2 more interceptions for the Birds QB.

6 in 4 games for Sanchez since replacing the injured Nick Foles.

345 yards passing for Titans rookie QB Zach Mettenberger against the Eagles’ defense.

12.5 sacks this year for Connor Barwin after he recorded 2.5 more yesterday.

5 sacks overall for the Eagles.

3 hours, 34 minutes, how long it took to play the game

9 return TD for the Eagles so far this year. That ties NFL record.

17 straight field goals for Cody Parkey, before he doinked one off the uprights.

4:25 kickoff Thursday in Dallas. Plan your Thanksgiving Day meal accordingly.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

If Mark Sanchez continues to turn the ball over, the Eagles will not beat either the Cowboys or the Seahawks.

I Don’t Get It: How Sanchez can look so good on one plan, then make a horrendous decision on the next series.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Chip Kelly and his staff for not allowing the Eagles to look past the lowly Titans.

Quote Box: “There’s no time to worry about it. There’s time to fix it this week.”

- Mark Sanchez on his interceptions.

A big step in the war on heroin ODs

Delaware County this morning will take a huge step in the war on the deadly uptick in heroin overdose deaths.

District Attorney Jack Whelan will hold a press conference to announce implementation of a key feature of "David's Law," which was passed by the Legislature earlier this fall and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett.

Whelan will be joined by law enforcement officials from across the region in laying out plans to put nasal naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, in the hands of Delaware County police officer.

Naloxone reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid oversose.

The other aspect of the law is a a stipulation that provides limited immunity for someone who alerts authorities to a person suffering from an OD.

Rose Quinn reported all the details of the new law in the Sunday Times. The law is referred to as David’s Law, named in memory of David John Massi II of Upper Chichester who died on Jan. 27, 2013, at the age of 27 of a heroin overdose.

Whelan will be joined by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, who pushed the David's Law through the Legislature; Delaware County Council, Lynne Massi, aunt of David, who started the push for the law; Delaware County Police Chiefs and EMS, Gary Tennis, secretary of the state Department of Drug and Alcohol, and members of the Delaware County Heroin Task Force. I also have been invited to the press conference because of the work the Daily Times did in highlighting the new heroin problem in the county, as well as the push for David's Law.

I've never been prouder of anything we've done.

This law, and putting this drug in the hands of first responders, will save lives.

It comes too late for David Massi, but through the tireless work of those who knew and loved him, it likely will prevent another family from suffering a similar heartache.

Bring on the 'Boys

Give the Eagles credit. While everyone else was looking ahead to the Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Cowboys, they took care of business yesterday, easily dispatching the Titans, 43-24.

But raise your hand if you were less than impressed by the Birds' effort? I thought so.

The Eagles continue to be buoyed above their bountiful mistakes by superb special teams play. Yesterday Josh Huff staked them to a 7-0 lead by taking the opening kickoff 107 yards to set a new Eagles record. It was 17-0 at the end of the 1st quarter, then the Eagles went to sleep and allowed Tennessee to claw back to within one score.

At the heart of the problem is the same problem the Birds have been bedeviled with all year. Turnovers.

Mark Sanchez again had an up-and-down day. He threw a TD pass to backup tight end James Casey off a bootleg and rollout that was a thing of beauty.

But he followed that up with an unexplainable heave into the middle of the field, which sailed over his receiver's head, right into the arms of a Titans' defender.

The Eagles' defense also did not set the world on fire. They still give up too many big plays.

As expected, the game featured the return to form of LeSean McCoy, who went off against a Titans' defense that has struggled to stop the run all year.

The Birds' season basically will come down to the next three weeks. They of course have the Turkey Day showdown in Dallas, Seattle at the Linc, then welcome the Cowboys for a rematch the following week.

The Eagles and Cowboys head into this stretch dead even at 8-3, atop the NFC East.

Right now nothing is certain. The Eagles could run the board and storm into the playoffs, or they could sputter and not make the post-season at all.

One thing is certain. They cannot continue to turn the ball over the way they are now.

They can get away with that vs. teams like the Titans. It would be fatal to continue that patter vs. the Cowboys and Seahawks.

A depressing look at casino biz

I've never been much of a casino fan. I find them to be overwhelmingly depressing.

Too often the people I see frequenting them are the last people who should be.

The casino business in this region also can be depressing for another reason, at least for the folks behind Harrah's in Chester. Last week they learned they were getting new competition, with a second casino license granted to a group that wants to put a casino in the South Philly sports complex, just a stone's throw up I-95.

Could Pennsylvania's casino biz be getting ready to mimic what is happening in Atlantic City, where four gaming halls have closed their doors in recent months.

It's not out of the question.

Delaware County and Chester has a huge interest in Harrah's. That doesn't mean it won't fail.

As I said, it's depressing.

It's in my weekly print column.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Chip Kelly is still picking up the pieces of his Eagles team that were littered all over the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

The question now is can Kelly put this wounded squad back together, shake off the effects of a thoroughly demoralizing beatdown by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, and be ready to roll Sunday vs. the Titans at the Linc.

The answer, of course, is yes. Don’t forget that the Eagles went to Denver last year, got shellacked by Peyton Manning and the Broncos by almost the exact same score, 52-20, then righted the ship and sprinted to the NFC East crown and into the playoffs.

They have something else working for them this week, the exact same thing that worked against them last week. This time it’s the Titans who are going on the road after a Monday night game. That’s always a toxic combination.

Plus, this just might be the week Kelly decides to feed the beast, and unleash LeSean McCoy on the Titans, who don’t defend the run very well. McCoy has been on the verge of a meltdown all week, at one point walking out on reporters when asked if he thinks he’s the same back as he was last year.

Kelly needs McCoy to get on track if the Birds are to fare well in the following three weeks - two games with the Cowboys sandwiched around a visit from the Seahawks.

A couple notes of caution, coach. The Titans do one thing really well. That is put heat on the quarterback. They made Ben Roethlisberger’s life miserable Monday night. This isn’t the time to have Mark Sanchez dropping back 40 times, unless you happen to enjoy seeing your QB continue to turn the ball over.

And rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger has a big-league arm and nerves of steel in the pocket.

The Eagles need to climb on LeSean McCoy’s back and ride him to a win.

Lose this game, or struggle mightily against another sub-.500 team, and the phone lines will be overheating on Monday.

I think Shady goes off - and not on reporters - with his first huge day of the season.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 34, Titans 23. Mettenberger will have a good day, but the Eagles should be in control behind McCoy, and his partners in grime Darren Sproles and Chris Polk.

Season Record: I didn’t think the Eagles were going on the road to Lambeau off a Monday night game on the short week and beating the hottest quarterback in the league. But I was taken aback at the way Aaron Rodgers toyed with the Birds. It was a statement game, just not the one the Eagles had in mind. Any more efforts like that one, and serious questions about this squad will start bubbling to the surface. That ugly mess they left on the frozen tundra left the Eagles at 7-3, while I reluctantly pocketed the win to match their mark.

Game by Game: Packers 53, Eagles 20, 21 (My Pick: Packers 33, Eagles 24)

Eagles 45, Panthers 21 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Panthers 17)

Eagles 31, Texans 21 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Texans 19)

Cardinals 24, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 23)

Eagles 27, Giants 0 (My Pick: Giants 31, Eagles 26)

Eagles 34, Rams 28 (My Pick: Eagles 35, Rams 19)

49ers 26, Eagles 21 (My Pick: 49ers 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Eagles 37, Redskins 34 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Nov. 21

The Daily Numbers: 10, age of boy missing in Sharon Hill since last night.

15 years, how long a Chester church has been honoring police and firefighters with an early Thanksgiving dinner.

9 months in prison for an Aston woman who entered a plea deal in the middle of her trial on charges she ripped off $600,000 from the business where she was a trusted employee.

13, age of youth who allegedly received pornographic images from a 29-year-old teacher’s aide.

1.6 percent cost-of-living pay hike for elected Pa. officials and some judges.

191,000 dollars a year, the salary for our governor.

3,000 dollar hike for appellate judges.

209,329 for the Supreme Court chief justice.

2 dead, 2 wounded in shooting inside home in Tabernacle, in South Jersey.

7 feet of snow in Buffalo that is causing roofs to collapse. Now they are expected rain over the weekend and fear widespread flooding.

21 years, how long it’s been since the Philly Fed recorded the kind of growth it reported this week.

4 straight losses for the Flyers.

45.4 seconds left when the Wild netted the game winner.

37 shots stopped by Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper.

27 saves for Ray Emery in goal for the Flyers.

72-65 win for Villanova hoops over feisty Bucknell squad.

16-game losing streak snapped by the Raiders, and they did it at the expense of Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.

12-0 record for Springfield as they tangle with 11-1 Great Valley for the District 1 AAA football crown.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Nice to see Eric Lindros back in the Wells Fargo Center last night as he was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame, along with Legion of Doom linemate John LeClair.

I Don’t Get It: Another family tragedy, this time in South Jersey. No, we don’t have too many guns.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Lindros and LeClair, throwbacks to a time when the Flyers challenged for the Stanley Cup every year.

Quote Box: “I think it’s an easy case.”

John LeClair, arguing for why linemate Eric Lindros should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

A new magazine in Chester - and the young people producing it

I got some new competition last night.

We took our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom,' to the campus of Widener University in Chester to meet some young journalists.

They are the driving force behind a brand new magazine focusing on Chester.

It's part of the Magazine Writing course offered at Widener by adjunct professor Sam Starnes.

The kids were terrific.

They did all the writing, editing, photos and layout involved with this slick new mag. I was impressed.

My thanks to Professor Starnes, and in particular to the three students who joined us last night, Khlalil Williams of Chester; Maria Klcecko of Aston, and Devon Fiore, who hails from Lancaster.

Williams was especially impressive as he talked about what he hopes to accomplish with the magazine, shining a light on a side of the city where he grew up that does not often garner headlines.

Williams talked about the city's thriving arts community and what he sees as a bright future. He penned a column in the mag dealing with his belief in the city.

Klecko featured one of the great secrets of the city. That would be the Chester Children's Chorus.

Fiore wrote of one of the city's true icons, Crozer-Chester Medical Center and a very special fertility program that is helping young couples have children.

If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

Journalism is in good hands with young people like this dynamite trio entering the field.

Thanks for a great night.

Deer me - they're everywhere!

I've gotten pretty adept over the years at dodging my four-legged friends on my early-morning commute.

But this morning I saw something I have never seen before.

I know most of the trouble spots. Driving Providence Road from West Chester Pike to the Media Bypass can literally be like a slalom course many mornings, with deer seeming around every bend.

Thankfully there are a few tips I can offer. Your headlights are your best friend. When they hit the eyes of an animal - they can be seen far off in the distance.

Most important, remember this. If you see one deer dart across the road in front of you, by all means slow down or ever stop. Guaranteed there are several coming right behind the lead Bambi.

But none of that prepared me for what I saw this morning - on Bishop Avenue of all places.

I don't usually go down Bishop, from Baltimore Pike to Providence Road, but for some reason Oak Avenue, my normal route, was closed off by PECO trucks this a.m. So I had to circle back to Bishop. I was making my way down the hill and approaching the Media-Elwyn railroad tracks when what wanders out into the road? Yep, a full-grown deer, with a couple of pals in tow. They strolled across Bishop and ambled through a yard along the railroad tracks. Maybe they were headed for North Park nearby in Springfield. But I have never seen deer in this area of Upper Darby before.

If they were looking for the Bazaar of All Nations, they were a few years late.

Be careful out there.

The return of Eric Lindros

I was just getting over the idea of playing second fiddle.

Last night it all came rushing back again.

That's what happens when you're married to the world's biggest Eric Lindros fan.

The Big E was back in town last night, along with his Flyers' Legion of Doom buddy John LeClair. They were inducted together into the Flyers Hall of Fame.

By every appearance - with the possible exception being the notable absence of Lindros' mother and father - the long, twisted tale of separation that led to one of the ugliest breakups in Philly sports history is just that - history.

Lindros spent the day doing interviews and TV spots, and then he and LeClair soaked up the adulation in an hour-long pre-game celebration.

Lindros suffered the same mythic fate as so many titans of lore, seemingly invincible, but with a fatal flaw.

Lindros possessed a rare combination of brute strength, finesse and skill, a mix rarely if ever seen in a superstar.

He was at times a bull in a china shop, and at others the deft, skilled passer who set up LeClair again and again as they tortured opponents.

But the bull in the china shop shared another tragic fate, a vulnerability to breaking.

Lindros became the early poster boy for the problem of concussion in sports.

The vision of him being laid out at mid-ice in a playoff game by Scott Stevens of the Devils haunts still.

Then there were the bitter accusations between Lindros, his parents, and the Flyers' organization, including the belief that his injuries had been mishandled.

Eventually he was banished to New York, of all places, to the Rangers.

But last night Lindros was back where he belonged.

So was my wife.

She never missed a minute of his games. And she has not watched a minute since he left. The bitterness was not carried just by the Lindros family.

I'm not sure my wife will ever forgive her one-time hero, the guy who Lindros so emulated, Bobby Clarke. She also has no great feelings for Flyers owner Ed Snider.

But she has remained true to Lindros.

Last night she was smiling as he watched her hero return to the building that was built largely on his shoulders.

Welcome back, Eric.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Nov. 20

The Daily Numbers: 90 pounds of pot delivered to a business address in Upper Darby. Police are investigating who sent it and who it was supposed to go to, because the business owner doesn’t know anything about it.

90,000 dollar streel value of the high-grade pot that was shipped from California.

18, age of man facing rape charge in connection with the rape of a 5-year-old girl. He also is alleged to have given the girl a sexually transmitted disease.

20, age of man in Upper Darby who faces charges for ripping off a delivery from the front porch of a neighborhood house. 2nd DUI charge for a woman who is facing trial in a fatal DUI incident.

2 deer hunts set for Ridley Creek State Park on Dec. 4 and 11.

20, age of Villanova student facing a sex assault charge connected to an incident that a woman reported happened last summer in Milwaukee, Wis.

2 more Dem names seeking to be next mayor of Philly. Those would be former D.A. Lynne Abraham, and Sen. Anthony Williams, D-8, who represents a part of Delco.

125 baggage handlers at Philadelphia International Airport who walked off job in 1-day protest this morning.

5.5 feet of snow that has paralyzed the Buffalo area.

8 deaths being blamed on the epic early snow storm.

110 million dollar deal to buy the Revel Casino in Atlantic City that looks like it has fallen through.

200,000 dollar fine against Valley Forge Casino for series of violations including allowing underage gamblers.

83, age of famed movie director Mike Nichols, who has died.

11 straight losses for the Sixers.

101-90 win for the Celtics, who raise their mark to 4-6.

2-0 loss for the Flyers, who got blanked by the Rangers’ backup goalie.

31 shots by Flyers that failed to find the net.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

The Sixers continue to be perfect - a perfect 0-11 that is. I Don’t Get It: Let me see if I understand this. You are facing trial for a DUI crash and police say you have been involved in another DUI event. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids at St. Francis of Assisi in Springfield, who are celebrating their connection to the visit next year by Pope Francis.

Quote Box: “I did it.”

- suspect in theft of items delivered to front porch of home in Upper Darby.

Chester has a new magazine!

The city of Chester has something new to read - besides of course its daily dose of the Daily Times.

The city has a new magazine, aptly named Chester, the work of students at Widener University.

They are taking the wraps off the glossy new mag this afternoon. Tonight, we will be on the Widener campus to do our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom,' and we'll meet the people behind this new literary effort.

Before tonight's show, the Chester community will celebrate the debut issue of the mag, which is both an online and print publication about the city produced by Widener University students, during a public reception at Widener University’s Freedom Hall at 4 p.m.

Stories in the magazine include a photo essay about the city, profiles of the Chester Children’s Chorus, the Laran Bronze Inc. foundry, a fertility doctor at the Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Phatso’s Bakery and other Chester eateries, and a story about the city’s plans for a cultural corridor.

All of the stories were planned, reported, written, edited and illustrated by five Widener communication studies majors: Jason Bishop of Delran, N.J.; Devon Fiore of Lancaster, Pa.; Brittany Kade of Quakertown, Pa.; Maria Klecko of Aston, Pa. (double majoring in English); and Khalil Williams of Chester, Pa.

The students were all enrolled in Magazine Journalism, a spring 2014 class taught by Sam Starnes, editor of Widener Magazine, marketing writer for the university, and adjunct professor of the Magazine Journalism course.

Williams, who was born and raised in Chester, said the experience of working on the magazine gave him a new perspective on his home town. “I feel that Chester has the potential to grow, because there are people who are passionate and interested in seeing the city be better,” he wrote in a column for the magazine. “Between the opportunities that this city has to what’s available now, I feel that it can be full of life again.”

The project earned the support of Chester Mayor John Linder, who led the students on a tour of the city at the beginning of the project. Linder said Chester magazine can serve as a valuable marketing tool to attract businesses and investment in the city.

“The Widener students did an excellent job bringing to life some of outstanding businesses, organizations and culture that Chester has to offer,” Linder said. “We are excited about the future of the city, and this magazine helps us tell that story. This is a great example of the growth of Chester’s public private partnerships with our prestigious anchor institutions, such as Widener University.”

Over the summer, Autumn Heisler, a senior English and creative writing major, edited the copy for the magazine. Nathalie Franzini-Hidalgo, a senior communication studies and psychology major who studied graphic design with senior lecturer Tim Scepansky, designed the magazine under the guidance of Melanie Franz, a senior graphic designer at Widener.

The university awarded the class a $1,000 Schmutz Student Engagement Mini Grant to produce the magazine. The grant is distributed annually to support undergraduate student-led projects that focus on Ches­ter and are developed in collaboration with a Chester community partner to address the city’s needs. John F. Schmutz, Esquire, donor of the grant, serves on Widener’s Board of Trustees and is a retired senior vice president and general counsel for E. I. DuPont Nemours and Company.

The magazine is being printed in limited numbers, but it can also be viewed online at www.widener.edu/chestermagazine.

Klecko, Williams, Fiore, and Starnes will join us for tonight's show.

Join the conversation tonight at 7.

A classic Ray Didinger-Daily Times story

I was in the presence of greatness yesterday.

There are not many people in this business I respect more than Ray Didinger.

First, I'm a die-hard Eagles fan. I can admit that as soon as the Eagles game is over I turn on "Eagles Post-Game Live" on Comcast SportsNet. I don't do that to hear Michael Barkann, although I admire the way he runs the show. I don't do it to hear former Gov. Ed Rendell, the voice of the fans. I don't do it to hear the insight of Brian Westbrook, a fairly adroit former player.

I do it to hear Ray Didinger break down the game.

No one knows more about the Eagles, or football in general.

I was a guest speaker at the monthly luncheon of the Delaware County Press Club. Actually I was second fiddle. I'm sure most of the people in the packed room came to hear Ray.

As I mentioned in the blog yesterday, Ray and I have one thing in common. We're both Daily Times veterans. That's right, Ray started what would be a Hall of Fame career at the Daily Times.

Yesterday he kicked off his comments with a great anecdote about his year at the Daily Times that kickstarted a career that would take him to the Evening Bulletin, Daily News, NFL Films and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ray, just out of Temple, actually was hired by Art Mayhew for an opening on the news side. That didn't dull his dream of being a sports writer, so he would cover high school football games on the weekends.

As Ray explained it, he was covering some of the lesser games of the weekend for a few weeks when he thought he would push his luck and seek a bit more high-profile game.

He approached then sports editor Ed Gebhart (who still pens a Sunday column for the Daily Times) and asked if he might not be assigned a Ridley game, one of the best teams in the county.

Gebhart peered up and in his best crusty editor's voice intoned, "You're not ready for Ridley."

Some four decades later, after he entered the sports writer's wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he got home to a stack of congratulatory mail. The first letter he saw caught his attention because it had a Chester postmark.

Inside the card was this quote: "OK, I guess you're ready for Ridley."

It was from Ed Gebhart.

Thanks for a great afternoon, Ray.

The Daily Times is immensely proud of one of our finest alums.

CLICK HERE to get a piece of Ray's analysis of last week's Eagles fiasco vs. the Packers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Nov. 19

The Daily Numbers: 415 million dollar project at 9th and Packer that snagged the prized 2nd casino license in Philly yesterday.

2,000 slot machines and 125 table games at the facility, across the street from the stadium complex at the old Holiday Inn site.

300 room hotel, 2,600 parking spaces included.

12 miles up I-95 from Harrah’s in Chester, which opposed the move.

19 percent dip in table games revenue at Harrah’s in October.

4.9 million dollars today, down from $6 million a year ago.

15 months, how long officials believe it will take Live! to be open for business once the shovels hit the ground.

44,000 dollars, how much police believe a Prospect Park woman swindled from an 84-year-old man. She didn’t show up in court yesterday. Her attorney says she has been hospitalized.

5 to 15 years in state prison for the leader of the Preppie Pot Ring on the Main Line.

11 people involved in the ring, which dubbed itself the Main Line Take Over. They all entered pleas in the case.

135 dollars, value of package stolen from an Upper Darby porch by a man carrying a child. It’s that time of year, and police are warning of thieves that follow delivery trucks into neighborhoods to steal packages left on doorsteps.

55, age of woman on trial this week for allegedly stealing more than $600,000 from her employer in Aston.

2 people facing charges in a gunfight in Chester Township.

22 degrees, our low this morning.

20, the record, set back in 1936.

43, expected high later today.

70, what we might hit on Monday.

4 feet of snow that has buried some parts of western New York.

6 people believed dead in the storm.

2 more feet of snow that could fall before the storm clears.

50 news stores coming to the King of Prussia Mall.

4 people killed in an attack on synagogue in Jerusalem.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The Sixers actually might get a win tonight, when they play the Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center. Boston is 3-6. The Sixers are 0-10. How far these two fabled franchises have fallen.

I Don’t Get It: The porn scandal in the attorney general’s office just got uglier, if that’s possible. Attorney General Kathleen Kane now says some of the images swapped by her employees involved children. Nice.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the people of Buffalo, N.Y. I have no idea how they survive winter.

Quote Box: “This is the least desirable application for Harrah’s.”

- County Councilman John McBlain, reacting to news that a second casino license in the city had been awarded for a spot at the South Philly sports complex.

A losing bet for Delco & Harrah's

A couple of years ago, Harrah's, the people who run the casino in Chester, decided to drop the city's name from its moniker.

They're now known as Harrah's Philadelphia, even though I take every opportunity to point out they are still located in Chester, even if they are within spitting distance of the Eddystone line.

This morning Harrah's probably is not all that enamored of its Philly ties.

That's because they have new competition.

Despite a full-court press by Chester city and county officials, the state Gaming Control Board yesterday awarded the second gaming license for Philadelphia to a group that wants to build a casino near the South Philly sports complex.

Live! Hotel & Casino is ticketed for the site of the Holiday Inn and Packer and Darien Street, basically across the street from the stadiums.

And just a short, 12-mile ride up I-95 from Harrah's.

It is being backed by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc., which runs Parx Casino in Bucks County, and the Cordish Group.

Delaware County Council urged the Gaming Control Board to delay their decision. It also was opposed by Chester Mayor John Linder and state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, of Chester. Harrah's, which has seen revenue in a steady decline, said the addition of another casino that close would be ominous.

Well, it just got ominous.

County Councilman John McBLain, who has become the voice of County Council in this battle, was at the Convention Center downtown for yesterday's announcement.

That's him on today's Page One, right under the headline, "Snake Eyes."

That's not a reference to McBlain, rather the fact that the county was dealt a losing hand.

The economic effect will reverberate through Chester and the county.

Harrah's and local officials argued that the region had reached the "saturation point," in terms of gaming, and the addition of another casino would simply amount to "cannibalizing" the existing gaming meccas. In other word, instead of creating new customers, the new spot would simply attract existing ones from other gaming halls.

I guess the folks at SugarHouse, the city's existing casino, which is just a little farther up I-95, feel the same way.

Will yesterday's ruling be appealed, and eventually wind up in court.

I think you can bet on it.

Ray Didinger & me

You probably would not guess that Ray Didinger and I share a very important bond.

No, it's not our football expertise.

Ray is widely acknowledged as one of the region's bona fide authorities on the NFL and the Eagles.

Me? I'm just a frustrated sports writer at heart. I usually manage to include my sports rants in my blog, The Heron's Nest, including my Saturday prediction for the Birds, which I have coined "The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick."

None of that is what links Ray and I.

What you may not know is that Didinger, the guy you tune to on Comcast as soon as the Eagles game is over for his analysis on "Post-Game Live," has Delco in his blood.

He's a St. James grad who went on to write for the Evening Bulletin and the Daily News.

But Ray started his career at the Daily Times, covering high school football.

He's been named Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year five times by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. In 1995, he won the Dick McCann Award for long and distinguished coverage of pro football, and his name was added to the writers' honor roll in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Didinger won six Emmy Awards as a producer and writer with NFL Films. He is the author of ten books on sports, including his three most recent bestsellers: "The New Eagles Encyclopedia," "One Last Read," and "The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies."

These days you can hear his analysis on on SportsRadio 94-WIP sports, KYW news radio, and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, where he is a regular panelist on the television shows Eagles Post-Game Live, Eagles Extra, and Philly Sports Talk.

Today Ray will be the guest speaker at the monthly luncheon of the Delaware County Press Club.

I will be sharing the dais with him. They invited me to talk about the recent redesign of the newspaper. Gee, and I thought they wanted me to explain what the hell happened to the Eagles in Green Bay.

I guess that is best left to Ray.

If you want stop by, feel free. It's at noon at the Towne House in Media.

A cold slap in the face

I hate cold weather.

That's not exactly a secret. I grit my teeth every year as the leaves start to change color, because as beautiful as it is, I know what it portends.

It means mornings like this morning.

Of the many new gizmos that are part of today's cars is a temperature gauge built into most dashboards.

This morning when I slid behind the wheel it was reading 18 degrees. Once I pulled out onto the road it dipped to 16.

We are in the midst of a record-challenging cold snap - and winter does not arrive officially for another month.

The record low for today is 20 degrees, set back in 1936. They apparently have matched that at the airport. So far the official Philly temperature is 22 degrees.

How cold was it this morning? Apparently too cold even for Bambi.

I have gotten used to dodging the deer that insist on sharing the roads with me on my early-morning commute. I usually see four or five of them each day, in particular along Providence Road as it ambles from West Chester Pike to the the Media Bypass. It's a notorious stretch.

This morning I did not have a single sighting. I guess that shows deer are a hell of a lot smarter than a newspaper editor.

Then again, in my line of work, you caution yourself that things could always be worse.

Think Buffalo, N.Y.

They are being buried in feet - not inches - of lake-effect snow. Some areas are getting as much as 4 feet or more of snow, with more on the way.

When I die, if the powers that be decide I need some time in purgatory, I know where they are going to send me. There is another change on the way, of course.

Temperatures are expected to moderate as we head toward the weekend. We could be in the 60s by Sunday and a chance of actually cracking 70 on Monday, with rain.

Maybe it's global warming.

I hope so. It's way too early for the conditions out there this morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Nov. 18

The Daily Numbers: 417 million dollar economic impact coming to Philly along with Pope Francis when he visits for World Meeting on Families next September.

45 million dollar cost to put it on. Half of that has already been raised.

11,500 hotel rooms in the city.

40,000 in the region. They’re all expected to be booked solid.

2 million people that could attend outdoor Mass to close out the conference.

10,000 Catholic schoolchildren in the Philly area who wrote the pontiff letters urging him to attend.

2nd casino license for Philadelphia could be awarded today.

4 finalists, including the favorite, which would put the new gambling mecca near the South Philly sports complex.

12 miles up I-95 from Harrah’s in Chester to the 9th and Packer site. That’s one of the reason why Harrah’s is opposing the move.

20 pounds, what an abused pit bull weighed when she was rescued from yard in Chester. She’s been nursed back to health by the Delco SPCA and is now ready to be adopted.

600,000 dollars at the heart of charges filed against an Aston woman believed to have ripped off the company she worked for.

0 tax hike in the preliminary budget for Trainer Borough.

40 applications for charter schools received by Philadelphia School District.

27 degrees, the low overnight.

32, the expected high today.

20, expected low overnight and into tomorrow morning. That would tie the record for the date.

10 straight losses to open the season for the Sixers.

25 point loss last night as they fall 100-75 to Spurs.

27-24 loss for the Titans, who the Eagles play on Sunday at the Linc, to the Steelers in Monday Night Football.

52-27 win for Delco Christian as they capture District One/12 Class A football crown.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

How games can the Sixers lose in a row to start the season. The 1972-73 Sixers, who set the mark for futility with their epic 9-73 season, lost their first 15 games. That mark looks to be in serious jeopardy.

I Don’t Get It: Kathleen Kane. The state’s attorney general is in the headlines again. This time she says her office is the target of a grand jury investigation, but that she is the real victim in this case. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Delco Christian for capturing the District One/12 Class A football crown.

Quote Box: “Even if the pope weren’t coming, it would be a huge event that week. With the pole coming, it kind of puts it in the stratosphere.”

- Rev. James Olson, president of Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast High School, on word Pope Francis is coming for the World Meeting on Families in September.

Sure bet: Controversy to follow today's casino announcement

It's crunch time for the region's gambling meccas.

The state Gaming Control Board will convene at 1 o'clock in Philadelphia, at which time they are expected to announce their decision in awarding the city's second casino license.

Every indication is that it will go to the group boosting the Live! Hotel & Casino at 9th and Packer in South Philly, near the sports complex.

That's exactly 12 miles up I-95 from Harrah's in Chester.

And that is just one of the reasons why Harrah's, as well as officials in both Chester and Delaware County believe it's a bad idea. They all want the board to delay the decision.

So do residents in South Philly who are not thrilled with the idea of having a casino as a neighbor.

Then there's the city's existing casino. That would be SugarHouse. As you can guess, they don't want any more competition either.

Without question the entity most in danger is Harrah's in Chester.

Their revenue has been declining as more and more casinos joined the fray. They got hurt when Parx opened in Bucks County, and again when a smaller casino opened in King of Prussia.

Slots play at Harrah's has been going in reverse for years. Now a similar trend is hitting their table games action. The Gaming Control Board yesterday reported that table games revenue at Harrah's was down 19 percent from a year ago, from $6 million to $4.9 million this year.

Harrah's provides a big chunk of revenue for the city of Chester. It's also one of the city's bigger employers.

In other words, there will be a lot of nervous people around 1 o'clock this afternoon.

You might say it's a sure bet.

Pope's visit will be economic blockbuster

Have you heard? The pope is coming.

Pope Francis made it official in the middle of the night early Monday, confirming that he will come to Philadelphia in September for the World Meeting of Families.

Part of the festivities will be an outdoor Mass on Logan Circle on the Ben Franklin Parkway, reminiscent of the glorious sight of Pope John Paul II celebrating Mass with more than a million of his closest friends back in 1979.

This time conference leaders are saying the throng could hit the two million mark.

The conference will be an economic blockbuster for the region. Expect hotel rooms for that week to start disappearing fast. The guess here is that hotel rooms in Delco also will be sold out.

To find out how Delco reacted to the news, click here.

Even though it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the pontiff would attend, it's still big news, for a lot of reasons. The eyes of the world will focus on Philly for the World Meeting of Families, set for Sept. 22-27. The pope is, after all, a head of state, that being the Vatican.

He's also leader of the world's millions of Catholics and will draw people from across the globe to Philly.

Then there is the economic jolt the pope will provide. As well as the cost. The confab is expected to cost $45 million, including some seriously beef-ed up security. Half of that already has been raised, according to the organizing committee.

But that's nothing when compared to the economic benefits. The weeklong event will have an economic impact in the neighborhood of $417 million, according to Jack Ferguson, CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Hotels will be packed. There are 11,500 hotels rooms in the city and about 40,000 across the region, including Delaware County. It's likely they all will be booked solid. Committee members yesterday indicated they likely will be looking for "host families" to house some people who can't find rooms.

The host families were stressed by Donna Farrell, who is serving as executive director for the World Meeting of Families. She's a Delco girl, who lives in Springfield.

"Without that (the host families), we cannot accommodate all of our visitors coming from all over the world," Farrell said.

The Sixers are a perfect 10 - uh, never mind

The Sixers remain perfect.

A perfect 0-10 that is.

Last night they got blown out again, this time by the Spurs in San Antonio. The final was 100-75.

Once again Michael Carter Williams and Nerlins Noel did not start the game. I'm not quite sure I understand this, if it's possible to understand anything the Sixers do as they tank a second consecutive season as a means to gain the kind of high draft picks they believe they need to become a championship contender.

In case you're wondering, that infamous 9-73 Sixers team that set the mark for losing in 1972-73 lost their first 15 games of the season. I'd say that mark is in serious jeopardy from this bunch.

It's clear the owners don't care about winning, at least not this year. They want people to be patient, to see the bigger picture. Unfortunately, the bigger picture does not come with a guarantee.

Nerlins Noel is offering scant evidence that he is going to be a difference-maker.

Joel Embiid is not playing.

How are those high draft picks working out for you so far?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Nov. 17 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 53-20 demolition of the Eagles by the Packers at Lambeau Field. It wasn’t that close.

17-0 at end of 1st quarter.

30-6 at halftime.

22 of 36 for packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

26 of 44 for 346 yards for Eagles QB Mark Sanchez.

2 interceptions also tossed by Sanchez, 1 of which was returned for a TD.

23 carries for 88 yards for LeSean McCoy.

2 carries for Darren Sproles.

75 yard punt return for TD by Packers Micah Hyde.

0-3 mark for the Eagles this year in 4 o’clock games.

4 straight wins at Lambeau by more than 21 points for the Pack.

288 straight passes at home with an interception, Tom Brady’s record that was broken by Rodgers yesterday. The streak now sits at 322.

9 catches for Jeremy Maclin.

10 catches for Rndall Cobb to lead the Pack.

27 yard TD for Jordy Nelson, 1 of his 4 catches for 109 yards.

2nd start for Sanchez, who looked more like the Jets version.

6 turnovers for Sanchez in his 2 games as an Eagle.

28 degree temperature at kickoff for the game, with snow flurries. And a cold slap in the face for Eagles.

138.1 passer rating for Rodgers in 5 games at Lambeau this year.

22 TD passes surrendered by Eagles defense so far this year.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

It was a statement game, just not the one the Eagles probably had in mind.

I Don’t Get It: The only shot the Eagles had was to try to control the clock with their running game, keeping Rodgers off the field. Didn’t happen.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rodgers. Right now he’s the best in the business.

Quote Box: “None of us played where we needed to play against this team.”

- Coach Chip Kelly

Eagles exposed in Lambeau

I mentioned in my Saturday blog, which I refer to during the football season as 'The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick' that the Eagles were looking at a statement game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Sunday.

They made a statement, alright. Just not the one I think they envisioned.

I did not expect the Eagles to win. In fact, I picked the Packers. But I did expect the Eagles to be competitive. They were not.

Not at any point in a 53-20 demolition on the "frozen tundra" were the Eagles in the game.

Kicker Cody Parkey lost his balance on the opening kickoff. It went downhill from there.

The Eagles had no answer for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers attack. This one was over early. It was 17-0 at the end of the 1st quarter and 3-6 at halftime.

You might remember that last year when the Eagles visited Lambeau, Rodgers was on the sideline as the Eagles escaped with a win.

They were not nearly as lucky Sunday. Rodgers picked the Eagles defense apart. They got zero pressure on him and Rodgers methodically carved up the Birds.

Rodgers went 22 of 36 for 341 yards before giving way to his backup. He could have been lifted at halftime. The final was 53-20, and it wasn't that close.

Of offense, the Eagles never got anything going, and Mark Sanchez reverted to the turnover machine he developed a reputation for with the Jets. Of course, he was under siege most of the afternoon, including taking a couple of vicious helmet-to-helmet shots that for some reason did not draw a penalty.

The Eagles had one shot to win this game. They needed to control the game with their rushing attack, keeping Rodgers and the Packers off the field. It didn't happen. The results were predictable.

The loss drops the Eagles to 7-3, still tied with the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC East. Dallas did not play yesterday, and the first of their two dates looms on Thanksgiving Day.

In the meantime, the Eagles will lick their wounds and prepare for the Titans, who come to the Linc Sunday at 1.

But the more troubling aspect of yesterday's debacle is this: This was more than just one loss. It leaves you with a question of just how good this Eagles team is, and how they stack up against the other potential playoff teams.

The ugly answer is this. They're just not that good.Especially on defense. If they can't get pressure on a good quarterback, this team's secondary will be exposed, just as they were yesterday.

After yesterday's shellacking, it's entirely possible this team might not make the playoffs.

And realistically, even if they do, how far can they go.

The answer is not very far.

They went to Lambeau Field and faced the best quarterback playing in the league right now.

It was not pretty.

It's probably not the last time they will be overmatched this year.

Pope Francis is coming to Philly

These people take this 24-hour news cycle pretty seriously.

I awoke at the ungodly hour I get up each morning expecting to be besieged by manic Eagles fans lamenting the Birds' dismal showing in Green Bay.

That will be addressed in another blog item.

As usual, the news had other ideas.

Just as I was making the coffee, I heard the familiar "alert" that accompanies breaking news on KYW Newsradio.

While it had been widely reported and expected for months, it was now official.

Pope Francis formally announced that will be coming to Philadelphia in September next year for the World Meeting on Families. He is expected to offer an outdoor Mass at Logan Square on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The last time that happened, when Pope John Paul II visted in October 1979, more than a million people gathered to see and hear the pontiff.

This time that number is expected to balloon to maybe two million people.

You can read all the details here.

And click here for information on the World Meeting of Families.

Delaware County has a big connection to the papal visit. Donna Farrell, of Springfield, who used to head communications for the archdiocese, is heading the committee charged with the massive undertaking of planning the conference and the pope's visit here to the City of Brotherly Love. We'll talk to her later today. Make sure you check back to DelcoTimes.com for updates.

A visit to Upper Darby High

Some of the kids, parents and staff at Upper Darby High School believe they get a bad rap.

I recently paid a visit to the school at the invitation of the Home and School Association. I met a lot of great young people who prove what almost every school administrator can tell you. It's always the 1 percent making trouble whose stories make the newspaper.

That's another part of what we talked about.

It's in my Monday print column.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Now comes the hard part.

Throttling a one-legged Cam Newton in front of a national TV audience was nice, doing the same to Mr. Double-Check himself Aaron Rodgers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field is something else altogether.

This is a statement game.

Unfortunately for the Birds, I think it will be Rodgers making the statement.

The Eagles best chance is something that Chip Kelly and their offense has not really done consistently this year.

That is run the ball, in the process keep Rodgers on the sidelines. Kelly has been pretty much pass-happy. That too often leads to turnovers, something first-time starter Mark Sanchez avoided last week.

I like Sanchez, although I would like him a lot more if he was under center rather than in the shotgun. I think the run game suffers for some reason in the shotgun.

This should be a day for LeSean McCoy and his partners in grime, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk. The Packers are susceptible to the run, but Kelly has to commit to it early, and stick with it even if he doesn’t have initial success. Unfortunately, in the meantime Rodgers likely will be putting points on the board. The Eagles’ defense has played better than accepted this year, shutting down some teams entirely, while showing a weakness for the big play.

That could prove deadly vs. Rodgers.

I’d love to pick the Birds here, and I’m not saying it’s impossible, but still fairly improbable. There is also the matter of the Pack likely smarting just a bit from last year, when the Eagles beat them on that same field while Rodgers was on the shelf.

I’ll go with Rodgers.

But if the Eagles go into Lambeau and come away with a win, brace yourself for a serious case of Super Bowl Fever.

The Pick: Make it Packers 33, Eagles 24. Mark Sanchez is a very good guy to have around when your starter goes down. He is not Aaron Rodgers.

Season Record: I loved Mark Sanchez in his debut vs. the Panthers. He didn’t disappoint and the win made lifted the Birds to a lofty 7-2 on the season. I was on board and managed to lift my record to 6-3. We’re parting ways again this week.

Game by Game: Eagles 45, Panthers 21 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Panthers 17)

Eagles 31, Texans 21 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Texans 19)

Cardinals 24, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 23)

Eagles 27, Giants 0 (My Pick: Giants 31, Eagles 26)

Eagles 34, Rams 28 (My Pick: Eagles 35, Rams 19)

49ers 26, Eagles 21 (My Pick: 49ers 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Eagles 37, Redskins 34 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Nov. 14

The Daily Numbers: 5 people facing charges in a horrific case of child abuse in Darby Borough.

9-23 months in prison for the athletic director at Sun Valley High School, who entered a plea on child porn charges.

850,000 dollars allegedly ripped off by an Aston bookkeeper from company she worked for over period of 6 years. She’s now on trial.

17, age of Ridley volunteer firefighter Joe Chambers, who was honored by Philadelphia City Council along with others who helped rescue a city police officer from his burning cruiser.

1 vacancy coming up on County Council. Tom McGarrigle plans to resign his seat once he is sworn in as the new state senator from the 26th District.

27 of February, that’s when Concord will next take up the controversy surrounding development of the Beaver Valley. A meeting set for next week has been cancelled.

0 tax increase set in the proposed Brookhaven budget, which holds the tax rate at 4.35 mills.

5.41 million dollar spending plan. It will still cost the average home owner $652.50

100 people who packed another town hall meeting last night on the proposals being bandied about for a new high school in Springfield School District.

7,000 dollars raised during the Panther Pajama Breakfast at Wallingford-Swarthmore.

10 million dollar gift for Haverford College.

2 billion dollar deficit staring at Tom Wolf as he takes over as governor of Pa.

17,652.79 close for the Dow after 40.59 point gain yesterday. That’s a new record high again.

4.01 percent average rate for 30-year mortgage.

53 point loss for the Sixers last night to the Dallas Mavs as they fell, 123-70

8 straight losses for the Sixers to start the season.

38-10 Mavs after 1st quarter.

73-29 at the half. That’s 3 more points than the Sixers scored in the game.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

You almost have to laugh at what the Sixers are doing. If only we could stop crying.

I Don’t Get It: Another horrific case of child abuse, this one coming here in Delco in Darby Borough. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Joe Chambers, who is getting more kudos for taking quick action to save the life of a Philly policeman in a burning vehicle. The Ridley High senior and volunteer from Leedom Fire Co. was one of those who got him out. He was honored by Philly Council yesterday.

Quote Box: “When you read the affidavits, you just start shaking your head.”

- D.A. Jack Whelan, on abuse case in Darby Borough.

Delco to state Gaming Control Board: Don't bet on it

That drumbeat you hear is the growing din in opposition to a second casino license being granted in Philadelphia.

Next week the state Gaming Control Board is expected to award a second license in the city, joining the existing SugarHouse Casino. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea.

Count Delaware County Council among them?

Why would leaders in Delco be upset by a second license in Philly?

Because they have an investment in Harrah's, located in Chester. Revenue, in particular from slots, is down. Putting another casino minutes away up I-95 at the South Philly sports complex, where most people think the new license is going to wind up, will not help. County Council will hold a press conference this morning at 10:45 at the Ridley Township Police Department to lay out their case against another casino in the city.

They are urging the Gaming Control Board not to award the license.

They're not the only ones. State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, who represents Chester, is on record as opposing the move. So is a group of residents in South Philly who already deal with the headaches caused by the sports complex, and who are less than thrilled about the idea of another casino coming to the neighborhood.

We'll be at this morning's press conference by County Council.

Tomorrow's headline?

Delco to State Gaming Board: Don't Bet on It!

Celebrating Champions of Adult Literacy

You might say I have a built-in bias when it comes to reading.

People don't read, I don't eat. Of course, some people say I never eat anyhow. They may be right.

Still, as a newspaper editor, I have a vested interest in literacy.

That's why I am proud to be a big booster of the Delaware County Literacy Council.

I was honored again last night to attend their annual celebration of Champions of Adult Literacy at Harrah's Casino in Chester.

I was lucky enough to be one of those honored last year. This year they picked three more citizens for laurels. They made some terrific choices.

Each winner is introduced by a student who is working with the Literacy Council. It's pretty inspiring to hear Maria Van Buskirk, a native of Venezuela, talk about the difference the Literacy Council has made in her life. Onnica Gaglio talked about making some bad decisions in her young life and how the Literacy Council got her back on the right track. And Denise King spoke openly about her battle to achieve her GED.

The crowd was inspired by the first winner of the night, Kristin Ball Motley, founded Health Care Solutions Delaware Valley to help adults become more literate and cost-conscious about their medications. The Chester High grad spoke passionately about how she was headed in the wrong direction in life, and how her parents and the Literacy Council helped her change her course.

Patricia Hasson, president of Clarifi, which helps adults obtain financial literacy and works with people to avoid foreclosures, was honored for her firm's work, and state Rep. Joe Hackett, R-161, was lauded for pushing hard to get changes in state law to help GED students.

I add my salute to this year's winners, and one of the true unsung agencies doing critically important work.

If you would like to find out how you can help the Delaware County Literacy Council, reach out to them at their website, www.delcoliteracy.org.

Say it ain't snow

Did you survive the snow?

Yes, many areas got their first coating of snow yesterday afternoon.

Delco was not spared. This pic from Tom Kelly IV shows snow falling outside Springfield Mall Thursday afternoon.

I'm trying to figure out what's worse, the fact that it actually snowed on Nov. 13, or the breathless TV coverage of our first winter event.

As usual, it sent the local TV stations into a frothing state of hyperventilation. Some stations actually raced out to Berks County to note the arrival of the first flakes, several weeks before the official start of winter.

I was driving home from an event in Chester last night. Yes, it was snowing pretty good as I made my way up the Blue Route around 8 p.m. No, it didn't seem to have any effect on traffic. The roads were wet. Same this morning. If there were slick spots, I must have missed them.

Of course, that won't stop the local TV stations from dramatically reporting on our initial foray into winter.

Probably more important, it will be followed by a nasty cold snap that is expected to stick around all weekend.

This morning there are TV reporters hanging out at the Wawa in Thorndale, outside Coatesville, to show us that some cars still have a slight coating of snow. I'm not making this up.

Call me in May. I think I might just go into hibernation.

The Sixers hit a new low - blown out by 53 points

Here's something for Philly sports fans to ponder on a very cold Friday morning.

Who do you think will win more games in November, the Eagles or the Sixers?

The Eagles already have a head start, having beaten both the Texans and Panthers for a perfect 2-0 mark as they head into the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday.

Then there's the Sixers.

This isn't funny anymore.

In case you missed, the Sixers lost again last night, stretching their futility so far this year to 0-8.

But they didn't just lose.

They got blown out. They weren't even in the same zip code as the Dallas Mavs as they got bludgeoned, 123-70. If this was a fight, they would have stopped it.

Forget the 53-point margin. This one was over early.

It was 38-10 at the end of the first quarter.

It was 73-29 at the half, meaning if the Mavs had not scored a single point in the second half, they still would have won.

What the Sixers are doing, tanking a second straight season in the hopes of gaining the top draft pick as they rebuild the team, is an insult to the proud tradition of hoops in Philly.

Back to my original question.

If the Eagles don't win another game this month, I still think they win more than this putrid Sixers team.

The 1972-73 Sixers gained some measure of infamy by posting a 9-73 mark, a record.

That mark is in serious jeopardy.

That's how bad this team is.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Nov. 13

The Daily Numbers: 6-12 years in prison for Staci Dawson of Chester, in conection with a straw gun purchase.

1st person in the state to be sentenced under Brad Fox Law, which mandates 5 years minimum for such illegal transactions. Fox was a police officer in Montgomery County killed by a man who got his gun in a straw transaction.

27, age of Montco woman who also was convicted for a similar offense.

80, age of man who fired several shots at police during a standoff at his apartment in Upper Darby last night.

8-12 shots fired during the standoff. No injuries were reported

2 hours of discussion in Brookhaven centered on a retail development plan.

25 of 55 acres at Edgmont and Coebourn boulevards that could be developed.

5,700 square foot convenience store with 16 gas pumps being proposed for a busy intersection in Upper Chichester that is drawing opposition from neighbors.

5 homes in Swarthmore recently hit during a rash of burglaries.

50 years of working in the lunch room at Interboro high noted for Mary Jane Cherubini. Well done!

12 miles from Harrah’s in Chester, where a 2nd casino in Philadelphia could be located, at the South Philly sports complex.

1,000 people showed up at meeting in South Philly to protest the possible new gaming addition to their community.

8 years, how long Sen. Dominic Pileggi served as Senate Majority Leader. He was ousted by his own caucus yesterday.

12 years in Senate concluded yesterday for Sen. Ted Erickson, who made his final floor speech. He’s retiring.

4 employees fired, 11 suspended without pay by Attorney General Kathleen Kane in that porn email probe.

70 stories up on the new 1 World Trade Center tower, where two dangling window washers were rescued yesterday.

5,000 deaths in the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

2.94 a gallon, what the experts predict the average price at the pump will be next year.

45 cents lower than what we paid on average this year.

2.70 dip for Dow Jones yesterday, closing at 17,612.20, off the record highs.

0-7 record on the line as the Sixers hit Dallas in search of win No. 1 on the year.

9 wins, the all-time worst mark set by the Sixers back in 1972-73.

0 games played so far by star guard Michael Carter-Williams. He’s expected back in the lineup tonight.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Let’s talk over-under. The 1972-73 Sixers team set an all-time record for futility by posting just 9 wins. This Sixers team could make a serious run at that mark. When do you think they might record their first win? How many games will they lose before getting into the win column. This is what pro hoops fans have been reduced to in this town. Sad.

I Don’t Get It: Staci Dawson had no criminal record. Now she is facing 6-12 years in state prison for taking part in a straw gun purchase. If that doesn’t deliver a message to others considering such dangerous actions, I don’t know what will.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to for Springfield High and NBA star Geoff Petrie, who enters the Philly Sports Hall of Fame tonight.

Quote Box: “We don’t have many good days anymore, but I guess I have to consider this one a good one.”

Kathy Fox, mother of slain Officer Brad Fox, after sentencing of Chester woman for straw gun purchase, the first since a tough new law was passed in her son’s memory.

A stunning fall for Sen. Dominic Pileggi

There was a time when I thought Sen. Dominic Pileggi might be the governor of Pennsylvania some day.

I think he still might.

But right now, he's not even the Senate Majority Leader.

In a stunning GOP power struggle that came to a vote yesterday, Pileggi, R-9, the former mayor of Chester, was dumped from his leadership position by his own party.

His GOP brethren instead hitched their wagon to Sen. Jake Corman, R-34, of Centre County.

Pileggi, whose quiet exterior masks a political heavyweight, had managed to work his way into the crosshairs of the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

Several senators from the middle of the state have gone public in their attacks against him in recent days, including Sen. Scott Wagner of York County. Some went so far as to accuse Pileggi of undermining the agenda of Gov. Tom Corbett. Wagner called him "the number one obstacle in the Senate."

That probably comes as news to a lot of people who also consider him one of the smartest people in that chamber. And no less a figure than former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell branded Pileggi as the most powerful man in Harrisburg.

Not anymore.

Pileggi always did something I admired. Every time I ask him a question, he pauses and clearly thinks about his response. He doesn't offer the meaningless, rote responses regurgitated by so many politicians.

Yesterday he was conciliatory in what must have been a bitter defeat.

"It has been an honor to serve the Senate Republican Caucus as leader for the past eight years and I'm proud of our many accomplishments," Pileggi said in a statement. "I wish the new Republican leadership team the best."

Make no mistake, this is a big hit for Delaware County, and the southeastern Pennsylvania region on the whole. There is a lot of anti-Philadelphia region sentiment bubbling to the surface in Harrisburg. Yesterday that problem just got a little louder.

Over in the House, things went better for another Delco legislative leader. Rep. Bill Adolph, R-165 of Springfield, was re-elected as majority chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

But he lost a key leadership ally in the Senate.

So did Delaware County.