Sports predictions for the new year are like Phillies memorabilia from 2008: Everybody’s got some and most of it ain’t worth much (though you can’t put a price on the crappy bootleg pennant I bought from a guy on Broad Street the night they won the World Series). Prognosticating for a monthly magazine is especially tricky, considering deadlines mean one’s Magic 8-Ball is at least a few weeks behind. In the time since my January column was sent to press [READ: "11 Philadelphia Sports Predictions for 2013"], some ground has shifted in the local sports landscape. Still, I’m sticking to my guns. Maybe that’s unwise, journalistically, but as a Philadelphia fan, being stubborn is in my DNA.
For proof of how quickly sports news breaks—and of the dubious line between facts and what’s on Twitter or the ESPN crawl—look at the week Andy Reid is having. I’m not taking any credit for declaring the end of the Andy Reid era in my column. But if I had guessed where he’d end up, I would have picked San Diego, the early favorite for where he’d land. Yet less than a day after being fired from the Eagles, reports said Reid was a virtual lock for the Arizona job. Now he’s rumored to be on the verge of joining the Chiefs. By the time you read this, who knows—he might be the new head coach of the Chicago Bears.
What I did try to predict was who would eventually replace Reid: former Eagles offensive coordinator and homicidal-doll look-alike Jon Gruden. When I initially wrote that, Gruden had already gone from the heavy fan favorite to a long shot. First, there’s his gig with Monday Night Football. It’s a lucrative, relatively stress-free way to stay close to the game, and he still has a few years left on his contract. Now we’re hearing reports that Jeff Lurie is crushing hard on a few college coaches, namely Oregon’s Chip Kelly. All along, at least publicly, Gruden has said he’s staying on television. Chucky prowling the sidelines at the Linc began to look like a pipe dream.
Then this week, reports surfaced that Gruden or his reps had already told teams he’d talk about a return to coaching once the regular season ended. Maybe Gruden’s camp is simply stirring up publicity. Maybe reporting to general manager Howie Roseman would be a deal-breaker for him. Or maybe I’m like Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber, when Lauren Holly says he’s got a one-in-a-million shot with her.
As long as Gruden is in the mix, he’s still my guy, for all the reasons I explain in this month’s issue. Drop me a line and let me know if you’re on board with Chucky and the rest of my predictions for 2013. And let’s take comfort in a final thought: This year can’t be any worse than the last one.