There was absolutely no mistaking which team had the fresher legs on the slick turf of Soldier Field. An Eagles team with the NFL's fastest skill-position players looked like it was running in quicksand. Ask anybody who makes his living surviving the equivalent of a 30-mph, head-on collision at least 20 times a season, counting exhibitions, what 3 extra days' rest will do for a man's body. And now these fine-happy bozos want to expand the regular season to 18 games, which would eliminate the final two exhibitions. The fourth is the one where veterans often play a quarter or less. Maybe the guys in the NFL office are the ones who have taken too many helmet-to-helmet hits. The quick-turnaround Eagles will play the Texans tonight in another NFL Network special. At least the porous Houston defense will have equally sore bodies and heavy legs.
If you're of the betting persuasion, carefully watch the line the Vegas guys establish for the Eagles' Dec. 12 game vs. the Cowboys in the Big Jerry. This time, the Eagles will be the team with 10 days to prepare. The Eagles minus 3.5 points in Chicago was one of the biggest trap lines in NFL history. The oddsmakers no doubt will be providing a very merry Christmas for their families after that Bears overlay.
When I'm King of the World . . .
Bruce Keidan will be remembered as one of the most talented and versatile newspapermen of the last half-century.
Bruce died at age 67 Tuesday night in Orlando after suffering a heart attack while enjoying one of his passions. In addition to his many accomplishments as one of the most brilliant men I have known, he was a Bridge Master. Keidan was attending a bridge tournament when stricken, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports columnist Gene Collier. Collier was a Phillies beat writer at the long-defunct Philadelphia Journal. Bruce covered the Phillies beat for the Inquirer in the early 1970s and later was Collier's sports editor at the Post-Gazette.
Keidan covered baseball with an unmatched thoroughness and integrity. His speed on deadline was legendary, putting him on a level with the two fastest at cranking out copy under the gun I have ever seen, Stan Hochman and Mark Whicker for this newspaper. His most famous exclusive had nothing to do with sports, however. While attending the 1975 Bermuda Bowl bridge world championship, Keidan noticed the renowned Italian pair of Gianfranco Facchini and Sergio Zucchelli illegally passing each other information about their hands via a series of foot taps under the table. The scandal rocked the bridge world and the controversy deepened when the Italians were not banned from a tournament they wound up winning. Keidan's revelation resulted in wood blocks being placed between teammates at future tournaments. The tapless Italian world champions soon faded to obscurity.
Keidan had a distinguished career as sports editor, of cultivating a stable of gifted Post-Gazette writers, including Collier and Bob Smizik. He branched into talk radio, where he followed the legendary Myron Cope as a popular voice on WTAE. Poor health forced Bruce into early retirement.
I still remember one line Keidan got off while covering the Phillies: "They don't root for me to write a good story, so why should I root for them to play good ball?" That was Bruce, brilliantly sardonic, brilliantly versatile.
When I'm King of the World . . .
Derek Jeter will sign with the Boston Red Sox . . . That is the day the earth will stand still, the Hudson River will run south to north and Charlie Manuel will deliver the University of Pennsylvania commencement address . . . While Ecogido's Dom Brown struggles in the Dominican Winter League, Phillies relievers David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo have been lighting it up for Gigantes. They have pitched a total of nine innings with an ERA of 0.00 . . . Brown raised his average to .077 Tuesday night, going 1-for-3 with an RBI single. The pitcher really tearing up the DWL is former Phillies left-hander Fabio Castro, who is 4-2 with a 1.10 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched.
Was that Yankees GM Brian Cashman who advised Jeter to shop himself around, or George Costanza? . . . I found a fly on the wall of the Eagles' locker room to reveal what Andy Reid said during what has been reported as a rare rant after the Bears loss. The fly said this: "Injuries . . . "
If you're in Clearwater for a post-Thanksgiving visit, be advised the Bright House Network does not carry the NFL Network or Red Zone. However, most sports bars have Direc- TV, which will carry the Eagles-Texans game.
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