Why This Princeton Football Team Won’t Be Suiting Up Next Season

Princeton vs. Chestnut Hill College. Photo | Chestnut Hill College

Two Princeton sprint football players tackle a member of the Chestnut Hill College team. Photo | Chestnut Hill College

Back in 2010, Stephen Bednar, a former Princeton sprint football player (class of 1960), ignited a firestorm by penning a letter to the editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly after Penn’s sprint team beat the Tigers by a score of 91 to 13. “Ninety-one is a basketball score,” Bednar noted. “Because of its dismal performance over the years, it appears that Princeton cannot compete effectively in the sprint-football league against the likes of Army, Navy, etc.” He went on to suggest that the sprint program be discontinued — a mercy killing, if you will.

Among those who sprang to defend the sport was Joe Salerno, also a former player (class of ’84), who countered with a stirring paean to the program: “Sprint is for those who were told their whole lives that they were too small to play football but still strapped on the pads for the love of the game. … Instead of glory, sprint footballers get a few moments of on-field exhilaration and lessons about discipline, dedication, and teamwork that last a lifetime. … ” Last week, Princeton finally, belatedly acquiesced to the now-deceased Bednar’s proposal and announced the end of its sprint football team.

Joe Salerno is still worked up about that. He’s worked up even though in all the years since Bednar wrote his letter, Princeton’s sprint football team hasn’t won a game. It hasn’t won a game, in fact, since long before that, in an amazing losing streak that dates back to 1999. (Or thereabouts; nobody’s really sure.) A 2005 article in the Daily Princetonian cited 35 straight losses over the prior five years — “A men’s Division 1 record — for any sport — of dubious distinction.” Sports Illustrated and SB Nation have written about the streak. The annual joke edition of the Daily Princetonian regularly skewers the team.

But where some see relentless humiliation, Joe Salerno sees only the promise of vindication. “I look at this as the biggest opportunity in the world!” he says, just about hyperventilating in his outrage. “No one’s ever lost that much! I can’t believe this is the university’s decision!”  Read more »

After Drexel Broadside, Temple Prez Defends College Football

Neil Theobald won’t let John Fry rain on his parade.

Just a few days after Fry, Drexel’s president, wrote a critique of college football’s effect on, well, college, Temple’s Theobald has responded. His argument: Good football teams make great universities even better.

“A well-run football program can create innumerable benefits to a national university,” Theobald, Temple’s president, wrote in a letter shared with Philadelphia Business Journal. Read more »

Philly’s Imhotep Charter Is First Public League School to Win State Title

The 2015 Imhotep Panthers. Photo | Courtesy Imhotep Charter School

The 2015 Imhotep Panthers. Photo | Courtesy Imhotep Charter School

It was not even close.

After spotting Erie Cathedral Prep a 3-0 lead, Imhotep Charter scored 40 unanswered points to capture the PIAA Class AAA state championship. The win was the first for a team from the Philadelphia Public League.

(Pub teams only began playing in state playoffs in 2008.)

Mike Waters ran for 201 yards in Imhotep’s 40-3 win. He had three touchdown runs, while Aamir Brown ran for two scores. The Panthers had 383 rushing yards on 41 carries, an eye-popping 9.3 yards per carry. Highlights from the game show a completely dominating performance. Read more »

Philly’s Imhotep Charter in Football State Title Game Friday

The 2015 Imhotep Panthers. Photo | Courtesy Imhotep Charter School

The 2015 Imhotep Panthers. Photo | Courtesy Imhotep Charter School

A Philadelphia public school has a chance to make history tomorrow.

The Imhotep Charter Panthers will play Erie’s Cathedral Prep at 7 in Hershey Friday in the PIAA Class AAA state football championship. Imhotep is 14-0 this season; no Philadelphia public league school has ever won a state football title. (Philly Pub schools began playing in state football playoffs in 2008.) Read more »

Sam Bradford Isn’t a Championship Quarterback

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in a quagmire of an NFL season with two directions: With several wins in a row they hey can re-establish their pre-season status as one of the better teams in the NFC, or they could go down the drain faster than a dropped Advil in the sink.

(Think about it, have you dropped an aspirin and saved it from sliding down the black hole?)

As I look out unto the football landscape, I see more bad things going on with the Eagles from this point than good. The bad deals mostly with the quarterback Sam Bradford. There are two schools of thought with Bradford. One, he is a quarterback still on the mend, both physically and mentally. Coming off of two ACL surgeries, Bradford is said to need more time to find his groove playing the most trying position in the NFL. The other theory, the one I believe most, is that Bradford has lost his edge as a professional player, that battled by injuries and inconsistencies in his pro career, he no longer possesses the requite competitive instinct needed to succeed at the championship level. Read more »

Tom Brady Fights For His Legacy

NFL: Divisional Round-Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

If reports are true, then Tom Brady might find himself on the losing end of a legal case: The supposed divorce proceedings with his wife, supermodel Giselle Bunchen.

Certainly I don’t see Brady losing in his legal case against the NFL, and I have said that from the jump, even when some of the sports legal experts —uh, Lester Munson, are you listening? — were kowtowing to the NFL and the mastery of the league’s “commissioner powers.”

I am a lawyer – currently non-practicing due to some other current profession that takes up most of my time – who teaches a class in Sports Law to college undergraduates. We spend a lot of time in this class on the subject of professional sports leagues, their collective bargaining agreements, and how they interact with the federal anti-trust laws of this country.

Think of it this way: Most EVERYTHING you see in professional sports – drafts, trades, dress codes, salary caps – on its face and without a collective bargaining agreement – would be violations of anti-trust. Anti-trust laws exist to prevent price fixing and economic monopolies. The theory behind a collective bargaining agreement is that both sides – management and employee – have had a fair chance to agree to certain provisions with arms-length bargaining at the same bargaining table. Fair, right?

Yes it is. Except when some provisions of a collective bargaining agreement go way over the line and they are thus challenged legally. Which brings us to the case of Tom Brady. Read more »

Philly Police Solve Mystery of Super Bowl XXXIX

You may have seen all the hullabaloo about the really awful Tom Brady courtroom sketch that emerged from the quarterback’s challenge to his suspension in the “Deflategate” case. But the weird art apparently helped Philadelphia Police solve one mystery — why the Eagles lost Super Bowl XXXIX: Read more »

The Trouble With Tom Brady

NFL: Divisional Round-Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

With one, swift, arbitrary NFL commissioner’s office decision, Tom Brady went from perhaps the best quarterback in league history to the game’s biggest pariah. And the sporting world seems to be ecstatic over the ruling.

That, my friends, is an interesting dynamic and defines so much about the players we like and don’t like.

Brady is too perfect. He’s tall, handsome, has a Brazilian supermodel wife, and is secure enough to rip up his man card and wear Ugg boots, the brand created primarily for women. And, he plays for a team that, outside of New England, is universally despised because they win, they cheat, they have a curmudgeon coach who’s about as likeable as a lizard, and an owner who flaunts perfectly coiffed, $500 pocket silks on his five-thousand dollar suits.

So when we can chip away at the perfect man’s statue and stuff flakes off, we are very content. Read more »

Philly’s Ibraheim Campbell on Being Drafted by the Browns

IBRAHEIM-CAMPBELL-JERRY-LAI-USA-TODAY-SPORTS-940X540

Ibraheim Campbell grew up in Germantown, went to Chestnut Hill Academy and still has a huge family in the area. And in the weeks leading up to the NFL draft, Campbell heard the rumblings that the Eagles — whose secondary struggled last season — might be interested in drafting the prospect out of Northwestern who looked good at the Senior Bowl. But he said he never really saw himself getting drafted by his hometown team: “I didn’t think they were all that interested.”

In contrast, he had several visits with the Cleveland Browns, the team that took him in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft. He met with them three times at the Senior Bowl and twice at the NFL Combine, an event where the only physical activity he did was bench press due to a nagging hamstring injury. Read more »

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