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NFL season drawing near

American Football has always been my passion ahead of other team sports – I guess that is down to the way I was ‘taught’ PE at school. {In order I follow American Football (Philadelphia Eagles, Shropshire Revolution ), Cricket (England & Lancashire), Rugby Union (England & Leicester) and Football (predominantly England – as a kid I followed Liverpool but I now ‘casually’ follow Wolves). Even thought Rugby League is closer to American Football than Union, I can’t stand it. I digress…}.

I have been a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles since 1986 making this year my 21st as an Eagle fan and 23rd watching the NFL. I started watching American Football in the UK in the golden era when Channel 4 did the coverage. At the same time following the London Ravens {Victor Ebubedike was my favourite player at the time} watching the Birmingham Bulls and some of the internationals at Perry Bar. 1989 was a highlight when I watched the Eagles play the Cleveland Browns at Wembley in the American Bowl. However, in 1991 the turmoil in the British game soon put me off, with my interest petering out completely by around 1993. Not even the advent of the World League could fill the void of my favourite team the London Ravens folding, the Budweiser withdrawing their sponsorship of the top league in the UK and the British game going into a tail spin. 

I only started to follow the game in the UK again this year. I have followed the fortunes of Shropshire Revolution in their first full competitive season. Alas due to my impending wedding I have been unable to attend any of the games. But after a successful start I am looking forward to next season already. They may have finished with only 2 wins in 10 games but the signs are there that they will be a force in the years to come. The players and the coaches are to be congratulated for their effort.

This next season for the Eagles looks once again to be promising with all pundits predicting them to be the class team of the NFC East. The Quarterback position looks great; Donovan McNabb is healthy, A J Feeley is a safe pair of hands at backup and this years first draft pick, Kevin Kolb, looks like a fine prospect. This all meant that there was no room for Kelly Holcomb who was traded yesterday to the Minnesota Vikings for a reported 6th round pick in 2009. The combination of MacNabb at QB with Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Hank Basket and Greg Lewis at Wide Receiver, along with Tight Ends L J Smith and Matt Schobel, as well as Running Backs Brian Westbrook, Corell Buckhalter and Tony Hunt looks HOT! I really like what Tony Hunt brings to the team. I think we will see a more balanced and very productive attack this year. The Defence has made strides but they need to put a lot more pressure on opposing QBs this year. I hope Broderick Bunkley lives up to expectations this year.

For the first time in 6 years I won’t be doing a fantasy American Football team this year. Other events previously mentioned will be too much of a distraction. Of the eight teams I have run during this period, only 1 has failed to make the playoffs and another lost in the final. All the others have won the title.