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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Three times in four games, the Eagles have won with late fourth-quarter scoring


When, then, will it be safe to acknowledge that this is a different team than so many of the recent others?

Now, that's when.

In a 19-17 victory over the New York Giants Sunday, the Eagles showed why they are so difficult to stop when it matters. They are versatile. They can soften a defense with LeSean McCoy, among the best running backs in the game. They can threaten one with Brent Celek. They can torment one with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

And just when a defense commits to any of those trouble spots, there is Michael Vick, able to run out of trouble.

"I like the personality of the team," Andy Reid said. "I like their grit. They are willing to fight. And tonight, we battled right to the end."

Check out my column on what the Birds learned about themselves Sunday --- and it was plenty --- in the Daily Times Monday and, as always, on

Friday, September 28, 2012

Retire the number, then retire the trend

Let me guess, let me guess, let me guess ... no hints, please.

The Eagles are going to honor Brian Dawkins Sunday, aren't they?

Am I right or am I right?

Who would have known? He only had two retirement press conferences already. And that was before similar made-for-whatever press extravaganzas to honor Brian Westbrook and Tra Thomas.

Combined, the former players have 30 this-space-available fingers, but the Eagles apparently are not going to allow an almost-successful era to pass without a Broadway show.

Hey, have fun Sunday. BDawk was a fine man and a fine player. But, please, no more tributes to a championship-free Eagles era.

Because at this rate, they are destined to honor ... you know who.

Check out my column on the NHL, Eagles and other things I don't get in the Daily Times Saturday and, as always, on   And don't be surprised if William Tell his own self is caught in the crossfire.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Widener defeated Wilkes, 90-0, in a football game last Saturday, gaining some national media attention and at least some grumbling about running up the score.

Before practice Tuesday at Quick Stadium, Widener coach Isaac Collins explained how it happened. This is a transcript of the interview with the Daily Times:

How did it happen that you would win, 90-to-0?

“Well, I think it was a combination. Our kids played really well. It was a hot day. I think they wore down a little bit. I can't even describe it. We only had the ball for 24 minutes. We had four freshmen score touchdowns in the fourth quarter. So it was just shocking to us to even go through it. But it was just one of those things that you kind of live and learn from. And certainly for our kids, I am very proud of the fact that they came out and played hard for four quarters.”

Have you received heightened national attention in the aftermath?

“Not really. I think there has been a couple phone calls to our SID (sports information director Derek Crudele), but nothing major to the point where we are concerned with it. We're kind of just focused on Lebanon Valley right now.”

You have had a lengthy coaching career with several stops. Have you ever been involved with a game like that?

“There has been a couple opportunities on our side where we got up pretty good on some teams. In 2008 (as an assistant at The Citadel) we played against the eventual national champion Florida Gators and Urban Meyer put up 70 on us. So I was on the other side that day. So certainly I can relate to what those guys were going through where you just can't get it right. Things are just not going your way on that particular day and the other team has got it rolling as well as being talented.”

A Citadel-Florida gap is understandable. This was interesting because it was two essentially level college programs.

“They beat us last year. That's why I was so shocked. I would have never thought in a million years that that would have occurred, because we watched them on film and we thought, 'They are a good football team and we are going to have our hands full.' Our kids came out and they were focused. They played hard for four quarters. Our young kids were tied in. So they did a great job. So I think it was a combination of just us playing really well and kind of hitting some plays early that kind of got them down a little bit.”

Was it necessary to have won by 90? Could you have won by 70? Was there anything that could have been done to limit such a score?

“I think there are a lot of people out there who are saying, 'Hey, he ran the score up,' because you go back to the '80s and the '90s and that's what they did to kind of get their rankings up. From our standpoint, here's what I would share with those guys. And having played Division III football and been on the other side of it, there's a lot of kids who don't get to play. Your backups are backups for a reason. Your starters are better than them. So they don't get an opportunity to play. So when you put them in a game, it's kind of hard to tell them not go and play hard and not to do your best. Because they are hoping, 'Maybe if I do something in this game, Coach will put me in a game and play me more.' I think from that perspective it is awful hard to tell kids, 'Hey, we've got to lay off.'

“From our perspective, here's what we did in the fourth quarter: We ran the football. And our kids did a good job with that. We had a fifth-string tailback score a touchdown. How many times does that happen? I think there were a lot of things that contributed to it. But ultimately, from our standpoint, our intention wasn't to score 90. We weren't saying, 'Hey, we've got some points, let's keep going.' We kept putting younger and younger kids in. And when you have the number of freshmen --- and we had some sophomores --- score touchdowns, that doesn't normally happen.

“And another thing that was missed was that we had a lot of guys who didn't dress because they were playing in our 'B' team game the following day and the NCAA doesn't allow them to play two games. So you can't play deeper into your depth chart. I've heard that: 'Why didn't you play some of your fours and fives?' Well, if we did that, then we would have had to cancel the 'B' team game and instead of playing four quarters against good competition, they get a couple plays in a game.

“We kind of really addressed it the best we could with our kids because that was the most important thing. Our standpoint was, 'We are proud of what you did. You worked hard. There was no taunting. There was no finger-pointing. It was a good, clean football game.' And my hope is that is not overshadowed because of the score. You've got to give those kids some credit.”

Your starting quarterback (Chris Haupt) was in the game when you were ahead by 60 points (his sixth TD mass made it 62-0). Reason?

“He came out with seven minutes left in the third quarter. So after his last touchdown, we pulled him at that point. The thing that is missed in that is that a year ago around this same point, we were up by pretty much the same score against another MAC opponent and almost lost the game --- we only won by three. What people don't understand is that when we came out of the locker room (at halftime) we had that on our minds --- 'We've got to put it away.' That was the Lycoming game last year here. Lycoming battled their way back and we wound up winning, 31-28. Our kids that day felt the game was over. And guess what: It wasn't. And I think if there was another minute left on the clock, we would have lost the game because they had the ball and they were driving. They just ran out of time.

“So a lot of things get missed. Well, 'Your starting quarterback played.' He played seven minutes into the third quarter and at that point the game was secure. You don't know what is going to happen. If you come out in the second half and you are up, 35-0, and you put your backup in and he throws two picks, the next thing you know you are in a dogfight. And to me, that would be the wrong approach to take with our football team because we are working to win a MAC title and you can't drop any games along the way. And certainly from our standpoint, we wanted to close the game out the right way.”

Will lopsided wins help in the national ratings?

“You know what? I don't think so. I can honestly tell you --- I'll speak from just my perspective --- that I don't think coaches look at that. They look at your schedule. From our perspective, I think we have a good ballclub. But we won't know for another few weeks how good we are because we have our first team coming up with Lebanon Valley that has a winning record. So we are going to find out: Can we match up with those guys? We've still got Albright. We've still got Lycoming. We've still got Del Val, the defending conference champ. So we are just trying to make our way so that when we start playing those teams that are having winning records that we are in a position where we can hopefully compete and win a MAC title. And Day 1, that's what this has been about. It's not about our scores. We have been fortunate that our offense has been able to move the football and put some points on the board. But ultimately, if we can win by one, that's all we care about. And that's the approach we take.”

Does Widener have a target on its back now?

“I think we always have a target on our back here. Look at our tradition --- 18 conference titles, two national championships. I think for a long time, prior to my arrival, when we kind of slipped a little bit and weren't winning as many games --- and even my first year --- there weren't a lot of people that were taking it easy on us. So from our perspective, we can't concern ourselves with anything other than what we do out here on the practice field and what we do in the classroom, what we do across campus, what we do at community service. We have some great kids in our program. We've got great coaches. We have a great administration that supports us. And I think for some reason that is getting lost in the translation. These kids work their tails off. They work really, really hard in the offseason, through the winter months. So they are putting their time in. And I think the only reward they get --- because they are not on scholarships and most of these guys are never gong to see the NFL --- is what they get on Saturdays. And I think, this week in particular, I want to make sure that we understand that we don't want to take that away from those guys.”
Check out my column on Widener's rout in the Daily Times Thursday and, as always, on

Monday, September 24, 2012



PHILADELPHIA --- Ever challenged to avoid contact, Eagles quarterback Michel Vick eventually may be forced to scramble for his starting job.

A day after Vick was sacked five times in a 27-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Andy Reid was asked when, if ever, he would consider a quarterback change. Though Reid technically committed to Vick, the confidence-vote was less than sturdy.

“Right now, right now, we're with Michael,” Andy Reid said at his Monday press conference. “And that's where we'll go and and see. We will evaluate as we go.”

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Charlie Manuel's strength as a manager is his ability to make his positions clear to his players.

He can make them clear, too, to the public --- which is what he did Sunday after a 2-1 Phillies loss to the Braves.

Though the manager refused to admit the Phillies were out of playoff chances, he hinted strongly at what they will need to contend for a world championship during a longer-than-usual postgame press conference.

"I'm talking about prototype players who are definitely going to provide enough run production and stuff like that,” Manuel said, “to actually give you a chance to win a division and a World Series.”

Since the Phillies have scored three of fewer runs 69 times this season --- continuing a three-season trend --- that's a reasonable offseason starting point. And that offseason is arriving in a hurry.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Monday and, as always, on

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Roy Halladay says that doctors told him he has no structural damage in his throwing-arm shoulder blade.

That leaves the alternative explanation for his diminished velocity and the spasms that caused him to pitch uncomfortably and ineffectively Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

He's 35.

And there is no surgery for that.

Halladay is a pro and insists he will find new ways to prepare his body to pitch at an All-Star level. Believe that he will try.

The Phillies --- if not this year, then definitely next --- cannot afford their $20 million pitcher to fail.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Sunday and, as always, on

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Turn the ball over five times and survive against a rookie quarterback in Cleveland, and a team might be asked to apologize.

Turn it over four times, smother Joe Flacco and win a one-point game against the Baltimore Ravens, defending AFC finalists, and that same team ought to be asked to bow.

That's where the Eagles were by Sunday night, at 2-0, with a 24-23 victory over the Ravens added to a one-point victory over the Browns.

They were at a point where they could be believed, for they were resilient, deep, aggressive and the better team.

“Everybody said we couldn't do it and that we couldn't play with these type of teams,” Jackson said. “Now, what do you say?”

It's not certain exactly who said the Eagles couldn't compete with anyone in the NFL. But the triumph over Baltimore was proof that they can.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Monday, along with a spotlight story on Michael Vick and the complete Eagles coverage from Bob Grotz and Rob Parent. And as always, it will be all there --- videos, too --- on

Friday, September 14, 2012


CHESTER --- Jesse Hart, the son of former middleweight contender Eugene "Cyclone" Hart needed all of 28 seconds Friday to knock out Lekan Beyfield of Yonkers, N.Y., in a highly anticipated fight at Harrah's.

Hart threw only two punches, the second a blasting right uppercut that sent Beyfield (2-2-1) down. As Bayfield tried to rise, he staggered back again to the canvas. Hart, a super middleweight with Top Rank connections, improved to 3-0 as a professional --- with three first-round knockouts.

In the main event, Naim Nelson of Philadelphia (8-0) won a 10-round unanimous decision over Victor Vasquez (15-7-1) of Philadelphia, good for the Pennsylvania State lightweight championship.

In the semi-windup Chester light welterweight Julio DeJesus (6-3-2) won a majority decision over Gabriel Diaz (1-2-1) of Philadelphia.

Earlier, Edson Soto of Hackensack, N.J. stopped Philly junior lightweight Joshua Rivera at 2:52 of the first. Each was making his pro debut.

Also, Philadelphia heavyweight Mark Rideout improved to 3-0 with a majority decision over Lonnie Kornegay (1-7-1) of Baltimore. In a bantamweight match, Philly's Alex Barbosa went to 4-0 with a majority decision over Arthur Parker (1-8) of Lancaster.

Todd Unthank-May (5-0) of Philadelphia took a unanimous decision over Philly light heavyweight Teneal Goyco (4-4-1).

Thursday, September 13, 2012


My column on "Hard Work" Hart:

This is from the Promoters about the card:


CHESTER, PA (August 13, 2012)—On Friday night September 14th at Harrahs in Chester, PA, Victor Vasquez will headline a monster night of boxing when he takes on undefeated Naim Nelson in a ten round bout for the Pennsylvania State Lightweight championship.

The card is promoted by Joey Eye Boxing Promotions & David Feldman.

Vasquez of Philadelphia has a record of 15-6-1 with seven knockouts.
Vasquez of Philadelphia has built up one of the biggest fan bases in Philadelphia due to his exciting style which always has him in the fight of the night whenever he steps into the ring.
In his last bout, Vasquez scored a six round unanimous decision over Paul Fernandez in a rematch that took place on May 4th at Harrahs in Chester
Vasquez was impressive in disposing of Gustavo Dailey (4-11) in round four to headline ROUND 3 at Harrahs in Chester on June 3rd, 2011
Vasquez waged a terrific back and forth war with Osnel Charles before dropping a six round majority decision as part as ROUND 1 at Harrah's in Chester.
He holds victories over undefeated Thomas McCuiston (1-0); Tyric Robinson (9-4-1) as well as an exciting six round split decision over Bryne Green (5-3) on October 8th in Philadelphia.

Nelson of Philadelphia has a record of 7-0 with one knockout.

The twenty-two year old Nelson turned pro in 2011 and has been very active by fighting seven times in thirteen months.

Nelson has solid wins over Korey Sloane (1-0) and his last bout when he scored six round unanimous decision over Esteban Rodriguez (5-1-1) on July 7th in Atlantic City, NJ.

In the six round co-feature, Tony Ferrante (12-4, 7 KO’s) of Philadelphia takes on Taneal Goyco (4-3-1, 2 KO’s) of Philadelphia.

In a six round Jr. Welterweight bout, Julio DeJesus (5-3-2, 3 KO’s) of Chester, PA via Millville, NJ will take on an opponent to be named.

In a sox round Jr. Welterweight bout, Emanuel Taylor (14-1, 10 KO’s) of Edgewood Arsenal, MD battles Dillet Frederick (8-6-3, 5 KO’s) of Fort Myers, FL

In a four round Lightweight bout, Joey Tiberi (7-1, 5 KO’s) will take on an opponent to be named.

The big boys will be in action as John Mercurio (5-0, 4 KO’s) will battle Lonnie Kornegay (1-6-2) of Baltimore in a four round Heavyweight bout.

Todd Unthank-May (4-0, 2 KO’s) of Philadelphia battles Ahmad Mickens (1-2-1) of Stamford, CT in a four round Light Heavyweight bout.

Wahid Raheem (3-0, 1 KO) of Philadelphia takes on an opponent to named in a four round Light Heavyweight bout.

U.S. Olympic team member Jesse Hart (2-0, 2 KO’s) of fights Lekan Byfield (2-1-1) of Yonkers, NY in a four round Super Middleweight affair

Heavyweight Mark Rideout (1-0) of Philadelphia boxes Calbert Lewis (0-1) of Gary, Indiana in a four round bout.

Dan Grafton (1-0, 1KO) of Philadelphia returns to the ring when he takes on Aaron Braxton (pro debut) of Maryland in a four round Heavyweight bout.

Mario Carosella of Philadelphia will make his debut when he fights Arthur Parker (1-7) of Lancaster, PA in a four round Bantamweight bout.

Rounding out the card will be a battle of pro debuting Welterweights Edson Soto of Dover, NJ and Joshua El Guerrero of Philadelphia

Tickets are now on sale for $100 (VIP); $65 (Ringside) and $45 (General Admission) and can be purchased at the Harrahs Chester Gift Shop; By calling Joey Eye (267-304-9399); David Feldman (610-291-0806); 800-480-8020 or on "

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, one quarterback threw a touchdown pass at the end of the first half and the game-winning touchdown with 1:18 left.

The other quarterback? He put up a 5.1 QB rating.

One was a veteran, four times in the Pro Bowl.

The other was a rookie.

So why is it again that Andy Reid should play Nick Foles, not Michael Vick, who led the Eagles to a 17-16 victory over the Cleveland Browns?

Not to say that Foles would be as bad as Browns rookie Brandon Weeden was Sunday. That takes a special level of ineptitude. But if that game didn't show why the Birds need Vick --- not why they need to replace him --- then nothing will.

And that was even as Vick was being intercepted four times.

Check out my column on the topic, along with a sidebar on Vick and complete Eagles coverage from Bob Grotz, with videos, in the Daily Times Monday and, as usual, on

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Most players are thrilled to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

But Fletcher Cox sounded more excited than usual when the Eagles made him the 12th overall selection in the 2012 draft after just three seasons at Mississippi State.

"I'm excited," he said at the time. "Very excited."

Indeed, a mini celebration had broken out at his Mississippi home, for he wanted to be an Eagle ... and nothing other than an Eagle.

Sunday in Cleveland, he will get that chance. Though he did not practice fully Thursday due to a swollen knee, the defensive tackle will be in the mix, defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said.

Cox is confident that he has learned everything necessary about the Birds' defensive line requirements and has been imagining running onto a field in an Eagles uniform for a regular-season game.
“The preseason is the preseason,” he said. “The season opens Sunday. It's going to be loud. Everybody is going to be hyped. I know I just have to be ready to go.”
Check out the complete Eagles coverage, including videos, in the Daily Times Friday and, as always, on


Sunday, September 2, 2012


Stop by Chickie's and Pete's in Drexel Hill Monday at 6.

That's where I will be joining the legendary Dan Baker and the Bull, Greg Luzinski, for a live broadcast about the Phillies on WBCB 1490 AM.

Plenty --- plenty --- to discuss.

Check it out!