Thursday, August 20, 2009

Colts Preview


My column is posted. I wrote about the key players to watch in the Colts game.

* Eagles at Colts *

I covered some of the guys on here yesterday, but went more in-depth in the column.


I'm curious about how many of you are watching Hard Knocks on HBO. For those who don't know, it is a weekly show done by NFL films on a Training Camp. This year they are following the Bengals. I've got some thoughts on the show, but I wanted to get your take first, just to see if we're all on the same page. Let me know what you think so far.


Don Hewitt, the creator and longtime producer of 60 Minutes, died yesterday. I was saddened to hear that.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s made me a big fan of the show. I didn't live in Philly so Sunday wasn't about watching the Eagles. I was an NFC fan so I watched CBS and that meant football followed by 60 Minutes. It was a great formula for fun Sundays in the Fall and Winter.

The football was obviously fun. Those were golden days for the NFC East. Dick Vermeil, Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, and Buddy Ryan were running teams and that meant good football.

Believe it or not, there were no highlights shows on Sunday night back then. Sunday night football was a rare commodity. So when the 4pm games were done you needed something to watch. Enter 60 Minutes.

I loved Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Harry Reasoner, Ed Bradley, and Andy Rooney. Those guys were the best in the business. I received quite an education from their reports. They covered all kinds of subjects, at a time when news and information weren't as readily available as today. One night the best report might be on a new phenomenon called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The next week the best report could be on Lamborghinis. And so on. 60 Minutes was very important for me. It helped to teach me about people and subjects I otherwise wouldn't have known about.

The other sad aspect of Hewitt's death is that he's one of the last great newsmen. The first 25-30 years of TV's history involved news as a service of the network. It was an honor to work in TV news. Your reported serious information and covered the stories that people needed to know about.

That all changed in the mid to late 1970s. Someone figured out news could make the networks a lot of money. Things haven't been the same since. Guys like Edward Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Don Hewitt were from the original generation that saw news as serious business. These days it is hard to tell what is news and what is entertainment. That's a shame. The legends created a powerful, important industry and it has morphed into a circus. I feel sorry for kids today. At least I got to experience part of the golden era of TV news.

Thanks Don.


Cliff said...

I agree about the news industry. I never got to see the "golden era," but I'm smart enough to know what I'm seeing on TV now is fluff. Blame whoever you want (Ted Turner or Murdoch), but the bottomline is the news industry - print and TV - are garbage. Jim Lehrer is the last good one out there.

There are other consequences of the news industry's demise, too, like when I get ridiculed by peers for my choice of news source. For example, I read the NY Times. All bias aside, it's the best daily in America and probably the world. But now that the news has become so polarized and fictionalized, the NY Times is seen by many as some sort of liberal rag. People, unfortunatley, can't separate the editorial department from the reporting anymore. I don't blame the readers, I blame the congolmerates who own the major networks and publishers.

But thanks for posting the game preview. I almost forgot the Birds were on tonight.

orangecrush007 said...

Are the Eagles giving up on Kolb? I guess Vick will be the 2nd QB due to the fact he can't come in the game if he is 3rd string.

orangecrush007 said...

The Newspapers are going down because of the the Internet and Unions. I read one of the papers tried to renegotiate with the Union but the Union wouldn't budge so they had to file Chapter 11. Another person told me that a union worker at NYT got his son a Union card for his 18th birthday and told him you are set for life.

Cliff said...

"Unions" and the "Internet" seem to be popular and convenient black sheep for a wide range of issues.

Tommy, tell me more about this Babin you speak of.

justrelax said...

Thank you for the post, Tommy. Of course, I'm old enough to "Mr. Ed" on Sunday nights.

I agree with Cliff. The unions have nothing to do with the demise of newspapers. It's the news cycle that does it. Why read about day-old news when you can get something approximating the news up to the minute? Of course, if you have standards, you might have to wait a little longer and, if you're willing to do that, the Times is still clearly the best. They still manage to see that bomb blasts in Baghdad that kill 100 people are more newsworthy than Barney Frank's crack about a "dining room table."

rick said...

Your reaction to Hewitt's passing is similar to the one I had for Walter Cronkite. I'm old enough to remember watching the JFK assasination news, the Vietnam war nightly in our living room, the moon landing/walk, and Watergate and Walter was the tough, human newsman covering it all. (I know Hewitt was in the background for all of that as well). All of those events were ground-shaking but in terms of journalism, Watergate was perhaps the biggest. Thanks to Woodward and Bernstein, investigative journalism became all the rage and spawned your beloved 60 Minutes.
As far as today's journalism is concerned, do you mean to tell me that 5 straight days of 24/7 coverage of Michael Jackson's death isn't news???

orangecrush007 said...

I read the Wall Street Journal. You get more in depth information the day after. Like the bombing in Iraq. The Liberal Cause got us to withdraw our troops and now it looks like we are going to lose everything we fought for. The closing of Gitmo. All Liberal Pie In the Sky coming to fruition and it is really messing things up. 150 Billion for Teachers Unions under the guise of Economic Stimulus. They rushed that through and we will pay for it in the end. The talk of Preventive Care saving us money while the President Smoke his Marlboro Reds and receives his diet plan from his overweight surgeon general. And at the bottom of it all is Unions. Screw the investors and debtors of GM while the Union suffers none whatsoever. They keep their overbloated health benefits and Pension plans.

rick said...

Hey 007 - I couldn't even begin to untangle the logic of your last post. But let me ask you a few questions: do you work a 40 hour week, do your young children work in a factory, do you get 2 weeks off each year, do you get health benefits from your employer? If you've answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you have those awful unions to thank. Besides, GM workers DID take cuts to their pay packages and you'd know that if you read the NYT. I guess it was the unions that convinced GM management to keep making those bloated, 8 cylinder gas guzzlers for twenty more years while Japanese cars were
stealing market share by building more efficient vehicles....

izzylangfan said...

I'm sorry to say that 60 minutes was not real journalism. To do a balanced and in depth story in 10 to 15 minutes is impossible. What 60 minutes was able to do was to whitewash over a complex situation while telling out their point of view and omitting information that would lead a viewer to be able to come to a contrary opinion. Mike Wallace was famous for this and there are countless stories of his film crews storming into a situation with preconceived notions as to the final conclusion and ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

The video and vocal taping style was so sterile as to suck all the life out of the room if you were watching.

Andy Rooney isn't funny either.

Tommy Lawlor said...

First the football stuff...

RE: Kolb

The Eagles haven't given up on him. He's hurt. We'll see where his game is when he gets in a preseason game.

RE: Jason Babin

He's the DE we signed as a camp body about 10-12 days ago. Jason is a former 1st round pick. He went to Lehigh and immediately let everyone know he was here to challenge for a roster spot. Jason played hard and had some really good moments. He played well in the Pats game.

Babin has now gone from camp body to roster possibility. They list him at 6'3, 270 or so, but I'm told he's a big guy and good fit at LDE. He's off to a good start. Let's see if he can keep it up.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Now for the other stuff...

RE: Newspapers

They are dying because they failed to figure out an effective business model when the internet was young. People don't expect to pay for news at this point and that means they have to rely on advertising. Right now that isn't working the way they want.

Also, JR's point about timeliness is absolutely true. Society now is based on speed as much as quality. We are truly a fast food society in just about every aspect.

RE: Michael Jackson

His death is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. It shouldn't have been news, beyond an initial report. That should have been fodder for Entertainment Tonight.

The news business went astray when they focused on giving the people what they want vs what they need.

RE: 60 Minutes / journalism

The show wasn't strictly news. It was storytelling. News should be as factual as possible. Storytelling is different. You're going to have an angle. I don't mind this as long as it is reasonable. I'm sure 60 Minutes has some stories they'd love to go back and change. No one is perfect.

RE: Cronkite

I should have written something about him, but never did for some reason. I remember watching his newscasts as a kid. I saw a lot of specials with him on the anniversary of the moonwalk. Walter was a great newsman.

RE: politics

This isn't about liberal vs conservative vs independent. FoxNews is guilty of replacing the news with entertainment just like MSNBC.

This is a problem due to society and the whole news industry. It goes back a long way. Watch the movie "Network" and you can see that this issue was coming up in the mid-70s.

rick said...

Cliff - I agree with most of your post and I also agree that the general tone of the Times' editorial page is progressive or liberal, but that's far from the whole story. Over the years I've read William F Buckley, George Will, famously Robert Novak, and more recently William Kristol and David Brooks all in the editorial pages of the NYT. Most recently, they've hired Ross Douthat who is 29 and considered one of the bright young lights of the Republican party. It's good to remember the next time one of your peers gives you some grief for reading the best daily in America.

re: politics - One of the things I love about this blog (and sports in general) is the relief it provides from the "real world". Politics, for me, is this real world. I don't think any of us will be changing any one else's opinions any time soon. Not that I mind a good political debate, I just don't come to Eagles Blitz for that.
Another thing I like about this blog, thanks to the tone Tommy sets, is that it is for the most part friendly, respectful and informative (unlike a lot I've read on the EMB). Thanks T.L.

mcud77 said...

The death of the newspaper has as much to do with Ebay and CraigsList as anything. Newspapers sell their product at a big loss, and ad revenue makes up for some of that, but the internet has somewhat ended the need for the classifieds, which are a huge part of any newspaper's bottomline.

Football Note -

Ike is not going to make this team.

orangecrush007 said...

booker's fate is sealed

I wasnt watching ike tonight but hobbs looked like ass

Stephen said...

I think the great american tragedy today is that we are so polarized as a population, between liberals conservatives and independents. I think its a shame that we pigeon hole ourselves into those categories and then proceed to fling poo at everyone who doesn't think the same way we do. The modern american seems to be painfully easily manipulated. I wasn't around to see the news coverage of yesteryear, but it sounds like a completely different era. Truly the line between news reporting and editorialising does not seem to exist anymore.

On to football, tonights game was painful, but there were a few silver linings. King Dunlap did give up the one sack/ff, but that was a *disgusting* spin move by freeney, I'm not sure theres a tackle in the NFL that could have handled that. Aside from that one play King seemed to have Freeney pretty well contained. Not a great showing but not a terrible one either.

Oddly enough Jason Babin looks like our best pass rusher at this point. Sad to say considering he's a guy we initially added as a camp body. I like the toughness and determination he plays with.

I don't understand why Donovan when rolling to his right and throwing that short comeback route always has his recievers falling down to catch the ball. If he could get that thing up where they don't have to hit the deck to catch it they have a chance to turn it back upfield for more yards. Not really a major gripe, but I swear to god every time he throws that pass the reciever has to fall down to catch it.

I'm revising my expectations for this season, we really have too many injuries and too many people playing marginal football at this point for me to be thinking we're the best in the NFC. Hopefully we'll get to that point but we're not there now.