Marcus Hayes: Give thanks for Rob Thomson, A.J. Brown, Howie Roseman (?), and, always, Jason Kelce

Marcus Hayes, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Baseball

However, his refusal to play a more aggressive brand of defense in 2021 was validated by the team’s collapse when he blitzed a lot. It is doubly validated now that he has a defensive backfield that can withstand blitzing, which he calls more frequently now. And now, with his defense ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 with 21 takeaways, Gannon is immensely popular.

Of course, if Aaron Rodgers, Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley, Justin Fields, and Dak Prescott roast Gannon’s defense in the next five games, he’ll be right back in Philly’s doghouse.

8. Tortorella comes to town, if only for the drama

The Flyers needed a strong hand and a distracting personality. John Tortorella, a fight-loving, analytics-hating hockey dinosaur who generally despises the media, was available for one last ride. For Flyers fans, it’s a match made in heaven.

OK; it’s good for us columnists, too.

9. Jay Wright retired on top

Can you name five big-time college basketball coaches with NCAA titles who constantly behave with class and decency? I can’t.


Not since John Wooden has the college game enjoyed an elite coach who is as fine a gentleman as Jay Wright. As the game deteriorated into a semi-pro bastardization of its former self, with NILs and transfer portals and minor leagues, Wright, 60, quit while he was far, far ahead.

We all should be so wise.

10. Union to the brink

While most of us had our noses up the Eagles’ and Sixers’ butts the last four years, coach Jim Curtin and sporting director (general manager) Ernst Tanner constructed the best team in town. It came within three minutes and a Gareth Bale header of its first MLS Cup title.

11. Jason Flippin’ Kelce

What? I mean, it’s Jason Kelce.

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