In a column on Feb. 3, Bob Ford wrote: "There are many things you can say about Andy Reid's decision to make Juan Castillo, the team's offensive line coach since 1998, the new defensive coordinator. . . . You can say that it is another example of Reid's being too infatuated with the football organization he has built and its schemes. . . . You can also say that Reid led a whole bunch of defensive coaches around the NFL on a merry chase for the last few weeks, and some of them have the right to feel used by the process. . . . You can say that Reid, who only promoted Castillo when he was also able to hire legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd, might have his football priorities a little out of order. . . . You can say all of that, and maybe a few things more, but you cannot say it is the wrong move, and you cannot say it won't work just because it looks different."
As a matter of fact, The Inquirer can say exactly that.
In a June 4 column on the NFL labor situation, Bob Ford wrote: "The NFL and its players took in another performance of The Incredible Dancing Lawyers on Friday in St. Louis, which might have been the best entertainment in town, assuming you've already spit in the Mississippi and been up in the Arch."
The Inquirer does not hold with expectoration in public and is afraid of heights. It does, however, enjoy a good dancing lawyer now and then.
In a Dec. 11 column on baseball, Bob Ford wrote: "Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, as represented by agent Dan Lozano, and the Phillies, as represented by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., have done the traditional dance of a free agent and his team when both know closing time is approaching and no better partners are out there. Not too close, not too distant, but there's no sense peering surreptitiously over the other's shoulder to scan the dance floor for an upgrade, either. They'll be going home together, and that's that."
The Inquirer has never noticed how fond Mr. Ford is of the damn dancing metaphors.
In a May 6 column on the Kentucky Derby, Bob Ford wrote: "If you want to take a shot at the office pool, or a flier at the windows, and if the track is wet, consider Brilliant Speed, a Dynaformer colt, or Soldat. On a fast track - and if the price is appealing - Midnight Interlude, the Santa Anita Derby winner, is worth a look, as are Nehro and Mucho Macho Man. Dialed In and Uncle Mo will get a lot of action, but the odds probably won't be very enticing. Wish I could make a case for the fabulously named Pants On Fire, but couldn't do it."
The Inquirer regrets that Mr. Ford never mentioned Animal Kingdom, who actually won the race.
In a Dec. 3 column on football, Bob Ford wrote: "As the Eagles have changed lanes this season - drifting across traffic, falling ever farther behind the other teams cruising past - neither the coaching staff nor the players have distinguished themselves. They finally piled into the guard rail on Thursday night in Seattle with a loss that proved their eyes are no longer on the road."
The Inquirer is surprised that Mr. Ford didn't have them dancing while they were driving.
In a May 15 column on rowing, Bob Ford wrote: "The single sculls were back on the water in the Dad Vail Regatta this year after quite an absence, and the most solitary event in rowing made a very impressive return."
The Inquirer regrets it did not really get through all of this one.
In a Feb. 6 column on the hiring of Ed Rendell as a Daily News sports columnist, Bob Ford wrote: "As most of you know by now, our sister publication - that spunky, sassy, anything-for-a-laugh Daily News kid sister - has a new sports columnist. . . . That's right, the Daily News jumped up and hired Ed Rendell to write a once-a-week sports column, which is perhaps the most interesting local journalism experiment since the Journal went out of business and Killer Kowalski lost his print platform."
The Inquirer always preferred the journalistic stylings of Mr. Haystacks Calhoun.
In a July 28 column on the Eagles, Bob Ford wrote: "Andy Reid officially opened Eagles training camp late Wednesday afternoon with a state-of-the-nothing address during which he was eager to candidly discuss everything but free-agent signings, possible trades, and contract issues. Otherwise, it was Katy bar the door."
The Inquirer does not regard this as news and regrets the mileage allowance Mr. Ford received for the trip to Lehigh.
In a Sept. 13 column on the NFL, Bob Ford wrote: "Welcome to the NFC East. Motto: If You Don't Absolutely Stink, We Have a Name for You - Division Champ. . . . The Eagles could hardly find themselves, in this season of high expectation, in a better spot to pick the low-hanging fruit of six division wins. . . . There have been years in which merely being good, or even bordering on great, wasn't necessarily going to be good enough in the NFC East. This isn't one of those years."
The Inquirer is still stunned the Eagles couldn't win this dog of a division.
In a Nov. 6 column, Bob Ford wrote: "Joe Paterno is done. The 84-year-old Penn State head coach, whose eventual retirement is the subject of annual speculation, will no longer be the one making that decision. Paterno cannot and should not survive the mess that has engulfed his football program and cast doubt on the ethical underpinnings of a university administration that has always claimed higher moral ground than other schools."
The Inquirer regrets that these stories had to be written, but has no problem with how they were written.
In an Oct. 20 column on college basketball, Bob Ford wrote: "The Big East Conference got some more bad news on Wednesday. Word arrived from Paris that the Sorbonne has declined an invitation to become a jeu de paume-only member beginning with the 2012-13 season and will instead accept an all-sports offer from the Asian Twelve Conference, which just signed a multibillion-dollar broadcast deal with Comcast Bangkok."
The Inquirer thinks this is a little over the top, but doesn't understand the college conference stuff, either.
In an Oct. 9 column on the Phillies, Bob Ford wrote: "Baseball saves its sharpest rebukes for those with the hubris to believe they have solved its mysteries and finally cornered the most elusive game of all. That's an easy moral to draw from Game 5 of the Phillies' opening and closing playoff round, when the greatest pitching rotation ever assembled proved it could, indeed, overcome anything - with the exception of giving up one run, of course."
The Inquirer still can't believe Cliff Lee blew that four-run lead in Game 2.
In a Dec. 6 column on football, Bob Ford wrote: "Here's one for you: If the Philadelphia Eagles actually believe the final four games of this season might mean something, they should release Vince Young immediately and sign Donovan McNabb."
The Inquirer has one for you, Mr. Ford: Just say no.
In a Nov. 25 column on the 76ers, Bob Ford wrote: "Hip-Hop was a lot more consistent than most of the 76ers' teams during his tenure. There is little love for the bouncing bunny as he exits the Philadelphia sports scene, but as mascots go, he was far from the worst. And you have to admit that, with his doo-rag and shades and rapper image, the mascot's double-entendre name was inspired."
The Inquirer has always retained an irrational affection for Big Shot.
Well, once again, I feel better now. The slate has been wiped clean for the new year, and there will be no repeat of the same mistakes, the same hiding of corrections. As always, trust is our bond.
Contact columnist Bob Ford at email@example.com. Read his blog, "Post Patterns," at www.philly.com/postpatterns Read his past columns at www.philly.com/bobford