Saturday, March 31, 2012

Daz: 'I like our personnel'

No truth to the rumor that was Holy Water poured on Chuck Heater last year.
There's a lot of uncertainty upon entering the Big East season for Temple's football team.
Lack of talent is not one of them, though.
On Friday, after the 13th practice of the season, head coach Steve Addazio made clear that "I like our personnel" and that there is plenty of talent to sustain and build upon the level of success of the last three years.
I agree.
Chuck Heater won't have to be a miracle-worker with this group of Owls.

While there are significant losses in the areas of offensive line, the team is pretty well set at most other positions.
Even talented tailback Bernard Pierce, who figures to go now lower than the third round of this year's NFL draft, finished second on the team in all-purpose yards to his replacement, Matty "Rock" Brown. In the true spread that Addazio plans to run with talented (and unbeaten) quarterback Chris Coyer at the helm, you can make a pretty good argument that Rock is a more effective college back.
The credit for much of this talent still goes to former head coach Al Golden, who made a practice of stockpiling prospects by redshirting most of his incoming freshmen. That was part of Golden's "core values" of building a "house of brick, not straw."
In each of his final two seasons, Golden redshirted no less than 16 of his 25 incoming signees.
Many of those guys will play significant roles with the 2012 Owls.
"The reason I redshirted at Temple so much," Golden told a Miami-area newspaper recently, "was that I was committed to building a program. That's the way the so-called powerhouse programs do it. We weren't able to do that the first couple of years, but we were able to do it by the time I left. I want to do the same thing [at Miami]."
Addazio doesn't believe in redshirting as much as Golden did, but that doesn't mean he won't benefit from it.
In many positions, even ones where high-profile starters left, there could be a talent upgrade from last year.
Take the case of tight Alex Jackson.
Jackson, another redshirt, split starting time with Evan Rodriguez two years ago.
"I think of our all tight ends last year he had the highest end [talent]," Addazio said. "He wasn't ready to play last year, but now he is and that's going to show."
Even on the offensive line, if you count Jackson's starts from two years ago and Sean Boyle's starts from two years ago and Martin Wallace starting all last year, that's three returning offensive line starting caliber players and that's pretty good. Also, Big 33 recruit Adam Metz benefited from a redshirt year (thanks, Al Golden) and is ready to compete for his spot. These are quality offensive linemen.
On defense, there is plenty of talent along the line with John Youboty, Levi Brown, Kadeem Custis, Kamal Johnson, Marcus Green and Sean Daniels all returning. All have started games in the past. Two starting linebackers, Blaze Caponegro and Ahkeem Smith, return, as does Olaniyi Adewole, who got considerable playing time last year as a sub. Starting strong safety Justin Gildea returns, as does his backup, Chris Hutton. Starting free safety Kevin Kroboth is gone, but one-time five-star recruit Vaughn Carraway was his backup last year and should slide right into that spot without a drop in production.
At the corners, last year's true freshman, Anthony Robey, was a lock-down cover specialist and starter until he got hurt midway into the season but is looking in top form in practice. Zamel Johnson also started at corner, but he is being pushed by Rutgers' transfer Abdul Smith. Maurice Jones, who got plenty of playing time, is also in the corner mix.
Temple defensive coordinator Chuck Heater was called "Mother Teresa" by no less an authority than Urban Meyer for his work as DC of the Florida defense two years ago.
Addazio could have called Heater the same thing last year the way he pieced together a Temple defense  that lost seven starters from 2010 into the third-best defense in the nation (behind only Alabama and LSU) in 2011.
Heater won't have to work a miracle for Temple's defense this year because he's got more capable parts already in place to have a defense that keeps the Owls in every game.
The same can be said for the rest of the team as well and that's doesn't even count the reinforcements from the calvary who arrive (hello, Kevin Newsome, Jamie Gilmore and company) in July.
Aug. 31 can't come soon enough.
To borrow a phrase from Mr. T, I pity the fool called Villanova.
Hopefully, a blowout there starts an avalanche of similar good results for Temple fans the rest of the fall.

The League of Blogs

Left-click for preview, then select 'Save as...'
to save full-size version

As mentioned yesterday here at The Football Attic, we're proud to announce a new feature to promote peace and harmony amongst the football blogging community - The League of Blogs.

In essence, we thought it would be a cracking idea to create an e-wallchart (tipping our hat specifically in the direction of those previously sold by Subbuteo) featuring team strips created specifically to represent football blogsites.

The Football Attic's Rich J got the ball rolling by delving into the realms of fantasy to create a fictional home and away shirt for us, and now we invite you to do the same for your own football blog.

All you need to do is download our template, design a kit or kits that graphically represents your football blog perfectly, and send it back to us. We'll put your designs on our e-wallchart (see above) and forever more your blog will be immortalised shoulder-to-shoulder with your peers in the blogging community.

Step 1

Choose a template to download by clicking on the JPG or GIF images below. When the full-size version opens up on your screen, save it to your computer.

If you'd like a template in Adobe Illustrator (.AI) format, drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com and we'll send one out to you.

.GIF template
.JPG template

Step 2

Get colouring! You can design your strip digitally with a graphics package like Adobe Photoshop or you could print the template out, colour it in with your felt-tip pens and scan the finished article. Either way, you should have a .JPG or .GIF file at the end of the process for each strip you're designing.

Step 3

Send your .JPGs or .GIFs to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com along with your website's name and URL. Once we've got your design(s), we'll add it/them to our e-wallchart shown at the top of the page and that's that. Job done!

Oh and if you're not much of a designer or you don't own any felt-tip pens, why not tell us what you'd like your kit to look like? Email us at the address shown above with as much detail as possible and we'll try to turn your ideas into reality!

Thanks for taking part, and if you enjoyed designing your kit, why not tell your friends to take part too!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fun with Mega Millions and Temple football

"You won't believe this, but we just got a donation of $231 million" Bill Bradshaw
tells a puzzled Steve Addazio.

My Mega Millions' ticket Stephen Colbert's both have something in common, No. 6 as the all-important Mega Ball number tonight.
Colbert got to his number a little bit differently than I did, picking 1-2-3-4-5 as his first five and six as his Mega Ball number.
Heck, I know both Colbert and I have the same chance of winning (zero) but it is fun to think about so I made it a game with two lines based on "some" (not all) of my favorite Temple football players.
I went with No. 6 because it was the number worn by Paul Palmer, the Temple football player who came closest to winning the Heisman Trophy (second, 1986).
Palmer's line: 12 (Brian Broomell), 26 (Anthony Young), 43 (Adrian Robinson), 52 (Stephen Johnson) and 55 (Steve Conjar). 12-26-43-52-55 (6).
Steve Conjar
Then I went with a line featuring Maxwell Award winner Steve Joachim (9) that includes Matt Brown (2),  New Mexico Bowl MVP Chris Coyer (10), Brandon McManus (19), Ahkeem Smith (24) and Bernard Pierce and Garden State Bowl MVP  Mark Bright (30). That line reads 2-10-19-24-30 (9).
I'm only spending $2 to win $640 million because you don't have to be a mathematician to figure out that purchasing $4 worth of tickets doesn't double your chance of winning.
If I'm the only winner, I'll "settle" for the cash payout of $462 million and give half to Temple football via the Xtra Point Club. The only condition is that Temple spend it on a new stadium and name it "Temple University Stadium" or, at the very least, purchase the naming rights to Lincoln Financial Field and call it "Temple University Stadium."
(Hey, if Akron can build a beautiful stadium for $61.6 million five years ago, Temple can build something slightly better for $231 million. It already has the land, 15th Street and Norris to 15th and Montgomery.)
That's it.  I'll scrape by on the other $231 million.
Matt Brown will be wearing No. 2 this year.

I'm serious, too. Temple's lawyers can consider this post a promisory note.
Once they get the money, it is theirs to spend under no further conditions and no further suggestions from me. (It would be nice, though, if it gave Temple fans the security of knowing another program won't be able to poach their coach at the end of every season.)
I'll give the money to Bill Bradshaw and Steve Addazio at halftime of the spring game on April 14 with one of those oversized white checks with Cherry writing.
I don't have kids and only one living relative so I can afford to do this.
In addition to the tangible cash contribution, an ancillary benefit is that Temple football becomes the No. 1 story in the Philadelphia media. I'm sure the cynical professional sports media will be calling me crazy but it will be crazy like a fox because any publicity is good publicity when it comes to putting Temple TUFF front and center of Philly sports talk.
Heck, with a jackpot like this, maybe the talk of the nation as well.
It would be fun to find out.
No Mercedes or Porches, strippers, mansions, like that guy from West Virginia who besmirched an otherwise great sports broadcasting name  (Jack Whitaker) for me. Maybe a Hurricane-proof six-month-a-year snowbird getaway house near Tampa, Fla., an HDTV and a new Chevy and I'm good to go.
Now comes the hard part. Getting those numbers to come up.

Football Attic FC & The League of Blogs Wallchart

Football Attic FC?  Have Chris and Rich decided to unhang their boots and get back out on the field?  Of course not!

Following on from Chris' excellent article about his days as a teenage kit designer, we decided we ought to have an official Football Attic FC strip. To that end, I got out my crayons (OK, a graphics package) and put together the home shirt.

FAFC 'Home'

Obviously, there may come a time that FAFC will be drawn against another team in... er... brown... maybe St Pauli? This would of course necessitate a change strip. We at the Football Attic are firm believers in using reverse colours for the away kit and our first choice was for a straight reversal of the home design, but, ever the perfectionists, it just seemed a bit too simple. And so, the away kit you see here was born.

FAFC 'Away'

That's all very stylish and suave I hear you say, but what is this League of Blogs Wallchart thing you also mentioned?

Well, it's a natural train of thought that leaves Football Attic Central and journeys across the blogosphere stopping at other football blogs to see what their kits would be like. Given the Football Attic thought train never stays on a straight path for very long, it was only natural to arrive at the decision to create a Football Blog Kit Wallchart.

Here's the deal... We'll shortly be putting up a Subbuteo-style template. Download it, design your blog's kit, send it back to us and we'll compile them all into an awesome wallchart for you to cut out and keep.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Schedule: Sugar for hiccups

The 2012 Temple Football schedule released today.

One of the favorite household remedies for a hiccup is spoonful of  sugar.
Temple University's football team had a few hiccups last year (Toledo and Bowling Green come to mind) and, if the 2012 football schedule released today is any indication, the Owls got an intravenous injection of sugar today that could inoculate them against future similar spasms.
It's a sweet schedule, with the only hint of bitterness that is is one game short.
As far as I know, the college football preseason magazines come out too late to include a classified section.
However, if Temple was to place an ad, it would look something like this:

HELP WANTED: Large urban university, close to major airport and within easy driving distance of 46 percent of the nation's population, seeks football opponent for fall of 2012, but not necessarily for a home game. School has been bowl eligible for three straight seasons and has posted record-setting TV numbers for college football in the nation's fourth-largest market. Have fan base, will travel. Fan base traveled 20,000 to D.C. for 2009 bowl and 6,000 to New Mexico for 2011 bowl. Open dates are Saturday, Sept. 15 or 29th or Saturday, Dec. 1. FCS foes need not apply. If interested, please contact Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw at

The "official" word out of Temple is that the Owls are quite satisfied to play 11 games this season after the release of the schedule today.
The "unofficial" word out of Temple is that there is still time (albeit not much) to add another opponent.
The trick is finding someone with an open date on either Sept. 15, Sept. 29 or Dec. 1.
Not much luck there, but there are FBS and BCS schools out there who would like to drop an FCS foe for Temple, so there is some wiggle room involved. Selfishly, as a fan who plans my fall Saturdays around Temple football, I'd like to see another game added.
Realistically, though, going with 11 just for this year could turn out for the better.
Whether or not they can find another suitable game for an FCS school is the tricky problem.
That's what Temple AD Bill Bradshaw will be working on today and into the weeks ahead.
Still, whether this is an 11-game or a 12-game schedule, it is undoubtedly the most exciting schedule of my lifetime.
Even in the Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians years, when the Owls were playing the 10th-toughest schedule in the country, there was no league title on the line.
When the Owls did finally join a league, the Big East, they weren't competitive.
Now they have the best of both worlds: Attractive foes week-in and week-out and a good chance to win every week.
They have six locked in home games and bring a competitive team to the Big East right away.
It could be the best Temple football season ever if the Owls focus every week like they did against Penn State and Maryland last year.
No time for hiccups this year.

Dunlop boots ad (featuring Trevor Brooking), 1980

An additional item from the recently featured match-day programme of the 1980 FA Cup Final.

For the record, Trev didn't wear the boots shown in the picture at Wembley - he wore plain black ones - but for all we know they may have been Dunlop anyway. Either way, a quick phone call to Kevin Keegan's agent would have got him a better boot deal, to say nothing of an England shirt with a proper badge on it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I was a teenage kit designer...

Yes, I admit it. Rather than doing the decent thing of going out and hanging around with girls during my younger years, I found peace and contentment by designing football kits. It probably accounts for something, but my wife’s probably the best person to say it.

Felt-tip creations: Arsenal,Liverpool (away),
generic and Leeds United.
I didn’t do it all the time, of course. When I was very young, up to the age of 11, for instance, I liked nothing more than to play football with my school friends and watch football on TV. When football kits started to get flashy however (I’m sorry – the word ‘sexy’ just doesn’t work for me on that level), I then found my imagination was well and truly engaged. I wanted to see if my own creativity matched those of the kit manufacturers, and the best way to do that was with some paper, felt tip pens and a glass of orange Quosh to sustain me.

Actually, it wasn’t always felt tip pens. Though they added strong, bold colours to the page, that same boldness could be inconsistent if you overlapped an area you’d already covered. That’s why pencils were sometimes my medium of choice, although it was slightly harder to scrub the colour onto the page.

In water-colour: Ipswich
(home and away)
I even tried using water colour paints in my early-20’s, mainly because it would allow me to quickly apply the colour to the page while retaining some pathetic semblance of artistic integrity. The results weren’t bad, but it was never going to be easy creating a design with any high level of detail. When decent home computers arrived around the same time, I tried designing kits on them, but though the output was neat, it lacked any kind of soul.

Before you even designed a kit, you had to draw an outline template which would go on to be coloured in. Though some of my peers would have gone for the simple shirt-shorts-socks approach (latterly showed in its finest possible light by John Devlin), I always favoured an action shot of a real player. The trouble was you had to find exactly the right pose to show off all the important details the kit you wanted to draw. Having found one, however, you could then trace it onto one page after another to provide you with a consistent template for future drawings.

Computer-designed generic kits
That was rather tedious, though. Who wanted to waste time drawing templates when the real joy was to be had colouring in the kits?  The answer could be found in the form of a piece of technology that was growing massively in popularity back in the mid-80’s. It was called a ‘photocopier,’ yet even that had its drawbacks - the main one being the expense of getting your copies made. If your local newsagent seemed to be charging too much at 5p a copy, you could always try the local library but either way you felt a bit embarrassed not to be duplicating passages from something altogether more academic in subject matter.

Once you were armed with a large stack of outline templates, however, you were all set for a heavy session of kit designing heaven. The big question was always “Which team’s kit shall I design?” and for me that was answered by focusing on the top teams of the day, both at club level and on the international scene. All well and good, but that virtually blank sheet of paper could either inspire you with potential or strike you rigid with the absence of detail staring back at you. What you needed was a device to help you get started, and for me, that was always the branding used by specific manufacturers.

More felt-tip kits:
Derby and Man United
By simply drawing three Adidas stripes down the sleeves of a shirt or scribbling in an Umbro-esque collar, you could diminish the blankness of the page and instigate the seed of an idea at the same time. You could even take the strip of one team known for wearing, say, Adidas and create another similar one styled by a different manufacturer. Such cheap thrills gave exponential rewards to the young designer, let alone those gained from designing an all-white Brazilian away strip or a retro-style Liverpool kit (for instance).

Sensing that the enormous number of teams I could potentially design kits for was somehow not enough, I even managed to extend the range by creating a whole new realm for my imagination to embrace. In the pre-internet days of the late 1980’s I proposed to a friend of mine that we create a play-by-mail football game, the like of which were very popular back then (as the back pages of World Soccer will verify).

My idea was to create a championship competition whereby entrants could ‘manage’ one of many teams around the world with the intention of winning a World Cup of sorts. In my game, however, those teams would be entirely fictional and would represent well-known cities from around the globe. To make the game more real, my friend and I set about the task of designing kits for all of them and this is where the fun began.

My world championship:
Auckland and Tokyo kits
What colour should Auckland wear? Would striped shirts suit Bogota? What would the well-dressed fan of Stockholm be seen proudly wearing? The colours, the styles and the teams were wrapped up in a billion possibilities, all of which seemed to purge the drabness of my juvenile life from the brain of my 16-year-old self.

And what now, as a man just turned 40? Do I still design football kits? Do I yearn to explore every avenue of my creativity?  Truth be known, the need to retire to a world of imagination is nowhere near as strong for me as it was. Nowadays, when I use my computer to illustrate a football kit, it’s to bring an existing design to the attention of an unknowing world. This is the thinking behind Kitbliss, a pet project of mine I created some time ago to occasionally showcase kits chosen virtually at random. It’s very much a work in progress and will one day, I hope, be an online catalogue showing thousands of diverse designs covering many decades of football history.

Generic felt-tip kit designs
Thankfully, though I have lost my instinct to draw imaginary kits, others are showing theirs to be much stronger. There are many websites catering for fantasy kit design enthusiasts such as Football Shirt Culture and Design Football and a quick browse of the examples uploaded never fails to be an uplifting and rewarding experience. If, like me, you appreciate good design in the real football world, your starting place should always be John Devlin’s excellent True Colours website before visiting the multitude of others dedicated to the subject.

Here on The Football Attic, we aim to bring you lots of our favourite kit designs from down the years, and we look forward to hearing about your own design efforts, either via a comment on this post or by emailing us at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Matty Ice Rock

Matty Brown talks to Bill Evans about his 2012 role.

I never knew what that meant until about two years ago when Muhammad Wilkerson found my Facebook page, sent me a "friend request" message and I was only too happy to accept.
Heck, when I know the name and respect the person, I usually accept.
That goes for Muhammad "Highly Praised" Wilkerson and anybody else.
Temple's all-purpose yards leaders, 2011 season.

Well, after the 8-4 Temple team that beat the Big East champion UConn team was refused a bowl bid, I saw Wilkerson's message on his Facebook page that fateful Sunday morning.
"Coach told us we're done. Smh."
"What's smh mean?" I asked.
"Shakin' my head, Mr. Gibson," he said.
Now a lot of Big East fans think Temple is done because Bernard "The Franchise" Pierce is gone and I have a three-letter response.
They don't know Matty "Rock" Brown.
They soon will.
Brown, as a backup to Pierce, has posted nine 100-yard-plus games in his career.
Think about that.
It's remarkable that a STARTING back posts nine 100-yard games. It's unheard of that a backup accomplishes this.
In fact, there are a lot of fans sitting around me that think Brown is better than Pierce as a college back.
Not me.
"I know you are a Pierce guy," my friend, Cyrus, turned to me and said during one game. "I'm a Brown guy."
There were Brown guys and Pierce guys all over the stadium last year.
Now we're all Brown guys.
He will be the rock upon which Temple's formidable running game will be built in 2012.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My invitation must have been lost in the mail

This is where Pitt is playing its spring game.
The Cherry and White scrimmage has been canceled.
Now that I've got your attention with that opening sentence, I want to clarify it.
The Cherry and White scrimmage has NOT been canceled officially.
In reality for many (most) of us, though, it has.
I received a letter in the mail yesterday from "Temple athletics" and eagerly ripped it open, hoping that it was my "few invited guests" invitation to this year's Cherry and White game.
Instead, it was a form letter signed by Steve Addazio and Bill Bradshaw saying that "due to safety concerns and space limitations at our facility, it is necessary to limit the number of spectators at this year's final scrimmage to recruits, families, and a few invited guests of the football program."
I guess my invitation has been lost in the mail.
This is where Temple should play its spring game.

Which means I will probably miss my first Cherry and White game in 32 years as it stands now.
Really, this means that if you are a member of the Owl Club or a big booster, you are in the door.
If you are a "regular season ticket-holder" _ even a 30-year one like me _ tough luck.
Talk about class warfare in an election year. ....
Let me go on record as saying if I don't get an invitation, that offer of $365 million dollars to Temple football is officially off the table. If you didn't like me when I was poor, I don't want you coming to me when I'm rich. Since the Mega Millions is $290 million this Friday night, that could be very soon.
It didn't have to be this way.
Actually, it still doesn't.
Temple tried to get Lincoln Financial Field, but Jeff Lurie made the price so high that it was cost prohibitive.
Temple's Ambler Campus Field was determined unsafe (don't know why because it was safe enough for Al Golden to take the team there five years ago).
High school fields were determined out of the question because of the "small-time" perception involved.
I'm not buying that last excuse.
Pitt is playing its spring game at North Hills High because, like the Linc, Heinz Field is unavailable or cost prohibitive on that date. Pitt wants its fans to have a full spring game experience and damned with what everybody else's small-time perception is.
Temple should do the same for its fans.
North Hills seats 5,000 people and has a brand new sprint turf field.
Northeast High in Philadelphia, less than five miles from the Edberg-Olsen Complex, seats 9,000 people and has a brand new sprint turf field. Northeast is a great venue for both football and tailgating, with many Temple grads as teachers, and would welcome the Owls with open arms.
Pitt doesn't give a damn about perception.
Neither should Temple.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Get interactive!

It goes without saying that we love writing about all the wonderful things in The Football Attic, but we also want you to share in the joy we feel...

That's why we're offering you the chance to get involved and make a part of the Attic your own! Perhaps you'd like to write an article for us? No problem - write about whatever you like, but if you're not sure where to start, what about contributing a 'Favourite 5'?

The name says it all, really: it's our new feature where we aim to look at our top five things in a football nostalgia category. We've already written about our Favourite 5 Subbuteo items, but you could write about your Favourite 5 football commentators, sticker books, match-day programmes or any number of other things. Let your imagination go wild! Just drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com and we'll take it from there.

If you don't fancy writing an article, why not send us a question for our upcoming interview with John Devlin?  John's been something of a football kit design aficionado for some time now and has produced two fine books chronicling the last 30 years for all the top clubs in the Premier League and Football League. As if that wasn't enough, he also runs the True Colours website where he continues all the good work found in his books.

If you're a fan of football kit design too, why not put a question to John? Maybe you'd like to know which shirts he once owned or how he designed all the magnificent illustrations in his books and website? If so, drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com and we'll do our best to include them in our interview.

Failing that, you might want to confess to that most guilty of sins - getting rid of a piece of football nostalgia as a child that now wish you'd kept. Do you yearn for that Panini album from 1979 which would now be worth a fortune on eBay? Did you own a huge pile of Match magazines that your Mum told you to get rid of? If so, we want to hear from you. Talk to someone that understands and can provide expert support in your hour of need - leave us a comment at our Football Attic Confessional and all will be well...

Now there's no excuse not to get involved in The Football Attic!  Your ideas, contributions and suggestions are always welcome, so please drop us a line and say 'Hello'!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Big East quarterbacks: Coyer may be the best

Case Keenum and RGIII have nothing on Chris Coyer in this comparison.

Back in 1979, a tremendous athlete by the name of Brian Broomell led the nation in the then new category of passing efficiency while playing quarterback for Temple University.
Probably not coincidentally, Broomell led Temple to a 10-2 record, the most wins in the history of Temple football.
Since then, passing efficiency has been my most favorite statistic.
Where there is a quarterback who has a good passing efficiency rating, you'll usually find a tremendous won/loss record in his favor as well.
Last year's BE quarterback ratings.

Fortunately, the Owls will enter Big East play this fall with a big known in that area as another tremendous athlete, Chris Coyer, is not only the No. 1 returning in the nation in the terms of passing efficiency, he is also No. 1 in terms of a new category called "yards per play."
A respected California blogger, football fan and math whiz came up with the statistical data and it is intriguing. In fact, yards per play might be a better indicator of a quarterback's overall worth than passing efficiency.
Admittedly, Coyer provides a small sample but it is large enough in my mind to rate him the No. 1 returning quarterback in the Big East by a wide margin.
He has a passing efficiency rating of 177.4.
Compare that to returning South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels (126.7), Louisville's Terry Bridgewater (132.4), Rutgers' Chris Dodds (118.5) and Gary Nova (116.6), Cincinnati's Zach Collaros (131.6), Pitt's Tino Sunseri (124.1) and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib (129.9).
Even with a statistical allowance for strength of conference (and let's face it, there wasn't that much difference between the Big East and MAC last year), Coyer comes out pretty far ahead.
Coyer accepts New Mexico Bowl MVP Award.

Plus, he's unbeaten as a Temple starter and put up 31 points as a relief pitcher to the woefully ineffective Chester Stewart in the Ohio game. Had Coyer started against Ohio, I believe the Owls would have won that one, too. Heck, had he started against Penn State I think the Owls would have won that also.
Those hypotheticals will be decided on the field this year, fortunately.
I'm a little concerned about Coyer's backup and Matty Brown's backup, but I'm not concerned at all with the starting offensive personnel.
With Coyer, Brown, Malcolm Eugene, C.J. Hammond, Deon Miller, Ryan Alderman, Alex Jackson, Cody Booth and company (not even mentioning the incoming freshmen), the Owls could turn the Lincoln Financial Field scoreboard into an adding machine this fall.
And it all starts with the trigger man.
Just from the eye test, I think Coyer will be the best quarterback in the Big East this fall.
He throws a nice ball, makes great decisions (nine touchdown passes to zero interceptions), is elusive and has the "it" factor Temple has been looking for in a quarterback since Adam DiMichele sadly departed in 2007.
The two Rutgers' kids, Dodds and Nova, can't even carry his jock strap (nor would Chris want them to). I saw a few RU games and both those quarterbacks struggled.
If he's as efficient as Broomell was some 30 years ago, the all-important stat of 10 wins might be in jeopardy as well.
That's the only stat I really care about.
For the first time since 2007, I'm not going into a season worrying about the most important position on the field.
That's both comforting and exciting.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

FA Cup Final Programme, 1980

A quick skim through the Official Souvenir Programme of the 1980 FA Cup Final shows that it was a mixed bag of trivia, some of it dry, some of it brilliantly evocative.

Inside, we first see the Timetable and Programme of Events for May 10th 1980. The running order for the biggest afternoon in English football had a familiar feel; marching regimental bands at 1.10pm, the marching band of Kansas State University at 1.35, more from the regimental bands of the Guards' Division at 2.30 and again at half time, Abide With Me at 2.45 and The Duke of Duchess of Kent shaking hands with the players at 2.50. So far, so regimented.

On page 5, we get a word from Ted Croker, FA Secretary, who speaks of the growing trend for Second Division clubs to do well in the FA Cup Final (Sunderland and Southampton being recent examples at the time). This was a good omen for West Ham although, as Croker said, Arsenal "seemed to have reserved a permanent place at Wembley. This will be the club's third Wembley Final in succession – a record…" He signed off by telling readers that the Final would "be seen on TV in over 60 countries" and by hundreds of millions of people. It would probably have been more were it not for all those regimental marching bands showing up every five minutes.

Further inside the programme, there are detailed club profiles on Arsenal and West Ham along with full colour pictures of the two teams, in case you'd forgotten what they looked like. Furthermore, there are double-page profiles of the two teams to give some detail on the playing staff in each case. We're told that "in August 1977, [Pat Jennings] joined Arsenal from neighbours Tottenham Hotspur. Would Spurs have let him go for £45,000 if they had known he would play for their greatest rivals at Wembley in 1978, 1979 and 1980?" Probably not, but there again if my aunt had balls, would she be my uncle? The answer to both questions is likely to be the same.

The FA Cup Final programme of 1980 serves as much as a condensed reference book as any kind of souvenir. There are pages devoted to previous Cup Final results, Cup Facts ('compiled by Jack Rollin') and Goals Galore ('Scoring feats from past FA Cup Finals') but aside from the statistics and the plentiful colour action photos of both teams, the real charm can found in the filler material. Here, we get a perfect snapshot of the era through the adverts dotted willy-nilly throughout.

There's one for the Sunday Mirror featuring "Kevin Keegan of England and Hamburg – soon Southampton" who was writing a column for the weekend tabloid at the time. Keegan also cropped up in a small advert for Mitre Sports, alongside another for Adidas bearing a tiny caption telling us that Umbro International (Footwear) Ltd were "the sole UK distributors of Adidas products." Quite a sporting gesture on the part of the future England kit suppliers in more ways than one.

Elsewhere, there's an advert for the Victor range of men's toiletries - a useful reference for anyone wondering whether Brut 33 was the low point in male grooming products at the start of the 1980's. Another advertises Skol, surely as ubiquitous in pubs back then as pictures of topless models on Big D peanut dispensers and a predilection for cirrhosis of the liver and lung cancer among the regulars.

But for those wanting a lasting memory of a wonderful day at the FA Cup Final, page 48 of the programme was where it was all happening. There it was possible to choose your commemorative gift to remind you of the big day from a range of Wembley branded products. Blue and white wrist band? Certainly – that'll be 90p. How about a "slide card" as a pocket size-record of all FA Cup Final matches since 1872? No problem – 55p.

And if the 'Italian-made sports bag' didn't take your fancy (despite being made from 'durable nylon - £4.99') there was always the opposite page featuring 8mm soccer home movies. Two hundred feet of celluloid bliss – some even with sound – from just £8.30. What more could a football fan want? Perhaps a ticket to the upcoming Harlem Globetrotters game, but for that you'd need to contact the Wembley Box Office.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Villanova: Never forgive, never forget

With Temple in the BE, Villanova  basketball now becomes as irrelevant as DePaul.
The definition of  charade is an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.
I've never seen a more apt word describing the press conference to introduce Temple as the newest Big East member a couple of weeks ago.
Don't let Villanova being at the table confuse you.
The part of the press conference (really, too much) that promoted Villanova's involvement in this was a complete charade.
And Temple should never forget that.
Villanova resident Andy Reid will be rooting for the Owls.

Villanova fought tooth and nail to keep Temple out of the Big East in football, basketball and hop-scotch (if the BE offered hop-scotch).
In early October, the Owls were all set to be introduced as a new member but, as Lenn Robbins of the New York Post reported, the "conference call deteriorated into 'Nova bashing Temple" and the Wildcats were able to form a voting block of Big East Catholic schools (St. John's, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Providence, DePaul) that denied Temple a spot at the Big East table.
According to our sources, Seton Hall and St. John's decided to break away from that block a little over a month ago and the writing was on the wall. Villanova no longer had the votes to block Temple.
Villanova already had taken a huge public relations' hit in the Philadelphia area over the last five months for blocking Temple and decided to show up at the press conference and call this its own idea.
Although BOT trustees' member Lewis Katz was effusive in his praise of Villanova, you could see at times the look of utter amazement on his face at some of the things coming out of the mouth of Villanova president, the Rev. Peter Donahue.
If I was Monangai (No. 26) ,I'd keep my head on a swivel 8/31

I like being in the Big East, but I'm not buying the charade.
Nor should any Temple person. Villanova fans took great pride at coming over to and delighting in the demise of the Temple basketball Owls and taking swipes at Fran Dunphy, a guy I consider a great coach, man and representative of Temple University. I've met Dunph only once and that was for a brief period of five seconds or so in the concourse of Lincoln Financial Field, but there is no bigger fan of the man and the coach out there than I am. Temple is blessed to have Fran Dunphy and Steve Addazio as coaches of its two flagship sports programs.
The loss to South Florida was no more his fault than it was Al Golden's (and I'm pretty sure Al Golden had nothing to do with it). Dunphy can't make Ramone Moore take it to the basket when Moore seemed totally disinterested to beat an overmatched defender. He can't make Juan Fernandez shoot. He had nothing to do with Khalif Wyatt  being called for an ill-timed technical foul.
But Villanova's days of delight are a precious few now.
"I want you to come out to (Lincoln Financial Field) and see us kick Villanova's butt again," said Katz, who came out of that press conference as a star in my mind.
Daz, consider that an order, not a request. The only knees the Owls should take in that game should be the post-game prayer, thankful for an 88-0 win.
When it comes to Villanova, never forgive and never forget.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today: Greatest day of sports calendar

If you were in Times Square last Wednesday night, this is what you saw, courtesy of the Big East Conference.

By now, you can pretty much tell I'm a football fan first, everything else a distant second.
Yet I've been saying this for the last 30 years or so and I believe it today more strongly than ever:
Yes, better than Super Bowl Sunday.
Better than the seventh game of the World Series.
Better than any game of the Stanley Cup.
Better than the NBA finals.
Temple football in the news today
UConn coach Paul Pasquoloni welcomes the Owls to Big East play
Mike Jensen talks about Peter Liacouras' dream for Temple sports finally being realized
Better than the National Championship game in football (unless Temple is in it and then I reserve my right to change my mind).
Sports, to me, is about the fairness of competition and no sport provides that like the NCAA.
Sixty-eight teams start out and have to win their way to the next level.
Today is the day 64 of those teams have hope to win it all. No other day will match it.
Sixty-four teams have that hope and millions of fans fill out brackets on sites like, Foxsports and ESPN hoping for a perfect bracket that would turn them from middle-class citizens into millionaires in less than one month.

All over America, offices are holding their own pools for some major coin. I won the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News major pool last year, beating out hundreds of employees in both the main building on North Broad Street and the new one in Conshohocken. It took me 15 years to win that pool. If I had only won it 15 years ago, I would have pocketed $2,000. Since then, though, with massive layoffs over that time period, I got roughly one-tenth of that last year.
Still, a source of great pride to know I came out on top despite my competition included those of the college basketball "experts" working both both newspapers.
If only NCAA football could build an interest vehicle like that for their fans, we'd have something. (They could easily do that. Have the three BCS bowl game winners play the best at-large team and you'd have a four-game, two week playoff after the bowl games. Have the top four bowl games rotate home sites. It's a win-win for everyone.)
But NCAA football doesn't, so NCAA basketball holds my attention for this month, something to hold me over until Cherry and White day.
My Final Four this year includes Syracuse (despite the Melo injury), Kentucky, Missouri and Georgetown. I don't get the love for Michigan State. I think Missouri will knock off the Spartans in an Elite Eight game. The Hoyas are my sleeper team. I think they upset a disinterested Kansas team in St. Louis in the Elite Eight.
I also have North Carolina knocking off our beloved Owls in an Elite Eight game, but Temple can beat anyone on any given night if the Owls stay out of foul trouble, particularly along the interior.
Imagine, if you will, what a national championship in basketball would do for Temple as a whole and football specifically.
I'll leave you with that thought for today and hope that remains a delicious possibility for at least a few more weeks.
Go Owls.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Big picture looks good at practice

Steve Addazio talks about the new additions on the staff.

Much has changed about Temple football spring practice in one year.
That big ugly project in the background has been replaced by beautiful buildings on one side.
On the other side, a $10 million addition to a 12-year-old $7 million football facility is going up (and will be done by fall practice).
Not only is the scenery looking good, Al Golden's "core value" of stockpiling talent at the redshirt level is kicking in for the good of the team.
Expect many of the "true freshmen" who Golden redshirted (16 of them) two years ago to make an immediate impact. We'll talk about those redshirts in the coming days.
So while the scenery around the practice field improves, so will the talent level on the field, despite whatever losses to graduation and NFL the Owls experience in April and May.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Football Attic Confessional

One of the joys of writing this blog is going through all the things I have collected over the years.

The Football Attic Confessional - Now Open
One of the not so joyous aspects is facing the fact that there are some things I used to own which I now don't...for I have sinned.

We all reach a point in life where we look over our childhood ephemera and in a moment of insanity, convince ourselves that the journey into adulthood can only be completed by turning our back on our youthful pursuits.  This my friends, was a lie!

The burden of guilt weighs heavy on me as I know it must do you for your own misdemeanours. To this end, The Football Attic Confessional is now open, ready to absolve you of your previous mistakes.

To make you all feel at home, I hereby confess to the following crime:

Throwing away every single copy* of Shoot! magazine from June 1986 to somewhere around 1991!

And let's not forget that at the same time I also disposed of every single copy* of Match from somewhere in 1987 to around 1991.

And now my fellow sinners, it's over to you. Share here your idiocy and let the world know all you have cast aside in the name of 'growing up'

* OK so I kept some special editions, World Cup issues etc...

Videoblog 1: 'World Cup '90'

Chris O brings you the first Football Attic Videoblog, the subject of which is the 20-part football folder, World Cup '90 by Orbis Publishing.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Selection Monday: TU practice begins

Despite what this looks like, Daz is not thinking basketball these days.

While many, including me, fill out their NCAA brackets this selection Sunday, Temple head football coach Steve Addazio is making a list and checking it twice, scratching out some ideas and coming up with other ones.
Spring practice begins on Monday and this is Addazio's most intriguing one because, unlike last year, he's fully aware of all the moving parts he has on the team.
Last year's spring was a "get to know" process while this year's spring is fitting the right round pegs into the round holes and the square ones firmly into the square receptacles.
The results on the field this fall should demonstrate that knowledge for the good of the Owls.
I won the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News "for amusement only" basketball pool last year, but Addazio's pool is more fascinating to me because he's bracketing the best athletes into the best slots to help the Owls win in a BCS conference.
And it's way more important.
This spring's priorities, in order, as I see it:
Two of these OL guys return to open holes for Matty Rock.
REBUILDING THE OFFENSIVE LINE _  Even though Temple returns only two starters (Sean Boyle and  Martin Wallace), this area is not  as  in bad a shape as some opposing fans think. If I read one more time "Temple loses its entire offensive line" I'm going to go crazy. Temple does NOT lose its entire offensive line. Boyle and Wallace, starters throughout last season, are back. An oft-time starting tight end from two years ago, Alex Jackson, returns. Adam Metz, a Big 33 player from two years ago, is ready to make an impact somewhere only the offensive line. Daz is an offensive line guy and Justin Frye proved himself as a top-notch offensive line coach last year. Still, it should be interesting who emerges in a tight fight for a couple of positions there. Whoever emerges as "Temple TUFF" will earn a starting spot. (On a side note, I'd check with Steve Caputo to see if his knee as improved to playing shape. Nobody was more Temple TUFF than that guy and he still has eligibility left.)
The last time Nate Smith was a feature back: 32 TDs, 2,734 yards
(in one senior year of high school )

GETTING A BACKUP FOR MATTY BROWN _ They don't come any tougher and more elusive than Matty "Rock" (ice is already taken) Brown, who had over 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards and six touchdowns last year in part-time duty. Let's face it, though. He's 5-5 and 150 pounds. I don't like the current alternatives. Daz seems set on giving Kenny Harper a chance but he typically does not make a first defender miss and is, at best, a 2-3 ypc back. He was an out-and-out stud, though, as a safety in high school on the other side of the ball. I see Harper as a future NFL player and Jacquaiwn Jarrett clone on the defensive side of the ball.  Jalen Fitzpatrick, while being elusive, is a small "slot receiver" type. On other hand, Nate Smith (currently a fullback) has the entire package. Speed, size, elusiveness, a nose for the end zone. I hope Daz uses this spring to give him an extended look at tailback. If not, hope someone from the gang of three (Brandon Peoples, Jamie Gilmore or Khalif Herbin) transforms from a high school star to a BCS one when they get here in July. Hope is never a good plan, though.
REPLACING ADRIAN ROBINSON _ Arob was the chief pass-rusher, but the Owls should be in good shape there. Sean Daniels showed Arob-type playmaking ability when forced to play extensively in 2010.  Still, Arob had a motor like nobody's business and installing  that motor in talented bodies like  Daniels' becomes a priority. It would be nice to collapse the pocket with two guys meeting at the quarterback in every third-down passing situation.
Matt Falcone (15) sprung James Nixon with a great block for 6 on this
KO return in the 2009 season. Falcone is rehabbing his knee now.
REMAKING THE SPECIAL TEAMS _ Brandon McManus, in my mind, is the 2012 most valuable player. He's the one player TU cannot afford to lose. Even though he was one of the best punters in the countryin 2011, it makes me nervous every time I see an NFL placekicking leg back in punt formation. The nervousness was unfounded last season but I still hope Daz finds a serviceable backup punter. The special teams has a new coach. I hope he does as well as Zack Smith did.
GETTING JUICE UP TO SPEED _ Now that Mike Gerardi is gone, I'd like to see Clinton "Juice" Granger brought up to speed as Chris Coyer's backup. I'm hoping by the end of the day on April 14, we'll be saying that Juice is significantly better than Gerardi and I thought Gerardi was serviceable. The best thing Kevin Newsome can do when he arrives is to volunteer to help out the team in any way he can and if that means defense, so be it. Nothing will demonstrate to Daz and the staff that Newsome is a team-first, me-second, guy than volunteering to play defense. If Coyer keeps the job, and I suspect he will, Newsome needs to get on the field in some capacity and he was an all-timer on the defensive side of the ball in high school.
Maybe he can take a few reps at QB each practice just in case Coyer goes down but he's too good of an athlete to sit on the sideline wearing a headset and holding a clipboard for the 2012 season.
That'll be determined, though, in July.
There will be enough work to do starting tomorrow.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rich J's Favourite 5... Subbuteo Items

Following Chris' excellent trip down memory lane, I ventured into my garage today to drag out the box that contains most of my childhood Subbuteo stuff. As you can see below, it wasn't exactly being looked after.

 Thankfully, the contents seemed to have survived.

Memorabilia secured, it now passes to me to list my favourite subbuteo items. I have to say that these are not necessarily my top 5 - I've left a few things out in order to look at some of the minutiae that made my Subbuteo days all the better. This is why my favourtite goals (Mundial World Cup style - huge box type goals with bright yellow nets) do not get an outing here... they can wait.

1. Player Numbers (61206)

The smallest details can make or break an experience and for me, realism is very important. Naturally, with Subbuteo, there's already quite a large amount of 'suspension of disbelief' going on. Your team may well be resplendent in finely detailed kit, albeit more often than not without sponsor, but one simply can't ignore the fact that you are in effect fielding a team comprised of ten clones and one other who looks like the answer to the question 'What happens if you mix carbonite with a Mexican wave?' Added to this, your clone army are all flying around on something resembling flying saucers, so as I say, we're already having to use a lot of imagination. With that in mind, anything that adds that extra touch of realism is surely a good thing? That's where player numbers come in.

As these were a relatively cheap accessory (relative to other Subbuteo products that is, not to my pocket money alas), they were a no brainer. There were, however, two things you needed to get the most out of these... an almost infinite amount of patience and fingers the size of a baby vole. Separating the small numbers from the backing was the first challenge. Often, the machine which made the cuts in the plastic sheet had gone a bit too far and the backing came with it. Then there was the swear-inducing moment when you realised the near invisible circle was no longer attached to the tip of your finger, but instead nestling among the fibres of the carpet/stuck to your clothes/floating merrily away on an errant breeze. Eventually, player and number came together. Then began a game of cat and mouse as you chased the bloody thing round the clone's back, desperately trying to get it to place in the middle and not at some obscure angle. Finally it was done. Perfect alignment, perfect angle. Just need to press it home to fix it securely... which it your bloody thumb!!!

Did I say these were one of my favourite things? Well they are, for despite all the hassle of actually affixing them, once attached they did look the business. Just look at them. No longer ten clones, these players now had a role to play. No more would the centre forward of matches past be expected to play sweeper. Of course, the goalie already knew his place. He needed no number to affirm his role. He'd probably have killed for some muscle rub, though.

2. Scoreboard (61158)

One of the many joys of finding stuff from many years ago is the little things you'd fortgotten. Seemingly unimportant events you had no need to remember at the time, but years later providing an insight into a distant time. So it was as I prepared to open the box to my scoreboard, I couldn't wait to see which team names were in place. Who had taken part in the last ever Subbuteo match of my childhood? I slid the black plastic out of the box and there it was... nothing! I'd taken the team names out. Even the score was set at 0-0. Ah well.

Even in 1988, it was still all about Italy v West Germany

The scoreboard itself was a slab of black plastic with rotary dials to set the score (so long as no-one scored more than nine) and three slots in which to insert the competing team names as well as the event taking place. Several sheets of black card were supplied with reams of team names, written in a pseudo-light bulb font. The options available seemed to cover pretty much every European team going and almost all known competitions, as well as more specific ones such as 'Quarter Final' and 'Group Two'. While I may not have been able to see who I'd last played with, I could at least see who had taken part in previous outings by those team names I had cut out. Unsurprisingly these were just the teams I owned along with 'World Cup 86'.

Come on you Wels!
Oddly enough, despite being able to take part in such exotic competitions as the Subbuteo League, where you could witness the top of the table clash between 'Ards' and 'Simmering', there doesn't seem to have been an option to play a 'Friendly' as I'd taken one of the blank strips and pencilled it in myself. An odd exclusion I think you'll agree. Maybe in Subbuteo world it was all or nothing. No time for pleasantries and all that. Could explain why the 'Players Handshake' accessory pack (C1923) never sold all that well. It may also have been because it never existed, but that's not what's important.

Even the great Winterthur were there...

Overall, with its plethora of options and imposing nature, dominating the touchline as it did (also meaning it got in the way a lot), the scoreboard was a very special addition to the Subbuteo experience.

3. Coventry City 86/87 Home (Team No. 652)

An FA Cup Winner
I never actually owned that many Subbuteo teams - about ten in total. 20% of these were naturally my home team. The two versions I had of Coventry were the FA Cup winning kit of 86/87 and the following year's Hummel one, my favourite CCFC kit of all time. It would therefore be safe to assume that my favourite is the latter of the two then? Well, no. While I loved the kit itself, both in actual and Subbuteo form, my favourite is the 86/87 version... and not because it's the FA Cup winning one (did I mention we won the FA Cup? - Still the last Midlands club to do so).

In Pescara, the phrase 'Coventry who?' is often heard
Why? Because it meant that for the first time, my Subbuteo matches could feature my home side in the kit they actually played in, rather than the one from last season - Subbuteo were not exactly quick in updating their teams at that time so if I wanted Coventry to play, they'd have to wear the Umbro, Glazepta sponsored outfit from 85/86 and that was just not going to happen. So when the new version appeared, I snapped it up for the princely sum of £2.35 from Barnby's. That very afternoon, Coventry took to the field and ground out a 1-0 victory over Brazil. Due to Subbuteo's clever way of using similar looking kits for several different teams, both Colchester and Pescara (?) have also tried to claim this result as their own, but for me, it was a proud moment... just a shame the player who got that crucial winning goal ended up in defence for their next game.

4. Adidas Tango balls - Orange (61209)

The Adidas Tango... is there a more iconic football design in the history of the game? No, is the simple answer. Sure, others may claim the classic black and white 32-panel ball (Telstar) got there first and the orange ball from the 66 World Cup final might cause more dewey eyes (maybe not in Scotland perhaps), but it matters not. The Adidas Tango IS simply the best ball design ever conceived. It goes without saying then that the Subbuteo version is clearly the best in the table top world too. My personal favourite however, is the orange variant. While the classic white version may be more well known, the orange one in play usually meant only one thing... SNOW! You see, back in the pre-premiership days, before under soil heating that actually worked, the arrival of snow was not greeted by a cancellation and rearranged fixture. Lord no, all that was required was a few volunteers to clear the pitch markings and a bright orange ball. The match may have looked as though it was being shown in negative, but we just got on with it.

All very well for the real world, but snow never really fell on the hallowed green baize, unless your older brother decided to accessorise the pitch with some shaving foam. As we've already seen however, pretending is a big part of Subbuteo so if I say it's a snow covered pitch, then it's a snow covered pitch and we need an orange ball!

Later, a luminous yellow/green Tango was released and it also graced many a match, but deep down, it just seemed a gimic too far.

So there you have it. The Adidas Tango... iconic, versatile and a metaphor for the excess of the late 80s.

5. Astropitch (61178)

It is with a degree of smugness that I write that I owned the Astropitch as it was about three times the price of the standard pitch. Contrasting nicely with the view on 'artificial' pitches in real football, the Astropitch is rightly considered the king of surfaces on which to 'flick to kick'. Before I owned it, I had assumed it was a surface similar to that used in the cricket game Test Match, which flattened out well as it was made from polyester, but on purchase (in fact, on first picking it up, stored as it was, rolled up in in its poster tube) I realised this was not the case. It was a heavy thing and on unfurling, flattened out perfectly every single time. Not ony that, but the flock covering and heavy vinyl backing gave an almost damping effect which meant the ball didn't skim around as much, but instead, moved in a graceful, flowing and controlled manner.

When I first bought it, I wondered if it would prove to be an extravagance too far at £14.95, but after the first few flicks, it was obvious this was the future! From that point, my regular pitch, complete with its creases that just never fully went away, never saw action again.