After Week 1, it's time to hop aboard Eagles' souped-up bandwagon

September 15, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

THE FIRST WEEK of the NFL season is in the books, and I have only one thing to say:

This new Donovan McNabb jersey fits great.

Donovan is The Man. The guy even looked good eating soup with his mom during the commercial breaks on Sunday. Terrell Owens thinks he is The Man, but - as we established here a couple of weeks ago - only one guy can really be The Man, and they didn't have any XX-Large T.O. jerseys at The Sports Authority in Glen Burnie.

No, I didn't lose a bet. I just watched the Ravens on Sunday and did what any red-blooded American sports fan would have done after such an abomination. I switched favorite teams.

It wasn't a hard choice, really. The Redskins weren't an option - even though Dan Snyder offered me free tickets to Six Flags - and the Kansas City Chiefs (my real favorite team) got smoked by the Broncos on Sunday night. Not a good week.

The Eagles had a lot to offer. They are, after all, the only team in football to win the Super Bowl in early September three years in a row, and they have a veteran quarterback with the kind of mass appeal that gets you soup endorsements and frequent mentions on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

(If it's any consolation, the Ravens looked like Chunky Soup by the end of Sunday's game in Cleveland.)

But the best thing about being an Eagles fan is, well, being an Eagles fan. I'll be sloshed by 11 a.m. today - or is the Rolling Rock brunch only on weekends? -and if I don't want to shower until the playoffs, that's my prerogative.

I know I've been hard on the "Iggles," so I'm guessing that I won't exactly be accepted with open arms in tailgate alley at The Linc, but I doubt anyone will recognize me, since talented Sun photographer Gene Sweeney airbrushed a couple of my chins out of the column picture.

I'll be wearing my new McNabb jersey and I'll have five friends with me in case we need to beat up a Redskins fan, so I should fit right in.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the Montreal Expos have begun discussions with city officials in Montreal to work out a contingent 2005 rental agreement for Olympic Stadium.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Major League Baseball is going to put off its decision on a new home for the Expos for the umpteenth time, but I'm feeling like a pretty smart guy right now.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig still says he intends to move the Expos in time for the 2005 season, though a decision at this late date (or later) could turn the team's long-awaited relocation into a logistical nightmare.

Of course, if the Expos return to Montreal next year and the franchise remains in limbo, it will only heighten speculation that baseball will use the threat of contraction in 2006 to gain more concessions from the players union during the next collective bargaining period.

Don't know that much about tennis, but I'm not shocked that the U.S. Open final between Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt drew the lowest television rating ever for a men's final.

The ratings were down 29 percent from last year's final, which also experienced a sharp ratings decline despite the drawing power of popular American Andy Roddick. Maybe the Open might want to rethink scheduling the men's final on the first Sunday of the NFL season.

Time for the Jim Hunter Batting Tip of the Week: "Just keep doing what you're doing, Gibby. ... You're great."

My bad: I made a small error in Monday's column. The Web site for the Mark Belanger charity golf tournament on Oct. 11 is www.markbelangergolf- classic.org. I listed it as a .com.

Final thought: I'd love to help out fellow Sun columnist Kevin Cowherd and come up with a nickname for Michael Phelps, but all I could manage was a prospective name for the upcoming biography of the six-time gold medalist, who will earn about $1 million per year in endorsements through 2009.

"Butterflies aren't free."

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