Celebrity Corner appears during the 2013 season, featuring Eagles fans who have gained fame in their careers of sports, entertainment and popular culture. This week: Radio sports talk show host John Kincade, who hosts a show for WCNN 680 "The Fan" in Atlanta and nationally on CBS Sports Radio which can be heard in Philadelphia on SportsRadio 610WIP. You can follow John on Twitter @JohnKincade*
From my childhood days growing up in Broomall, Pa, where after Mass on Sundays at St. Anastasia we would go pick up some cold cuts and go home and watch Eagles games, I was indoctrinated into life as an Eagles fan. My uncle Bernie was an usher at Veterans Stadium in Section 511 (if memory serves me correctly) and he used to take me to games when I was a kid and let me sit on the stairs in the aisle in his section. I was raised on Eagles football and I loved it and I've never lost it.
There are many in my profession who hide their preference for a team. They won't tell their listeners what teams they root for and that's always amazed me. Every person in our business has a favorite team. Why is it so difficult to be honest with the listeners? I've never been shy, whether it's been during my 19 years with my local audience in Atlanta or with ESPN radio previously and CBS radio now, to admit that I love the Philadelphia Eagles.
I'm not objective. I'm a fan, but I don't let that skew the conversation. Because I'm a fan, I'm perhaps even more critical of the teams that I love. I believe in telling the audience who I am, what I'm all about, and growing from that. It creates some friction for me at times in Atlanta because of the rivalries between the Braves and Phillies in baseball and the Falcons and Eagles in the NFL, but I've never been afraid of friction. I'm more of a guy who tends to promote friction.
Early in my career people like Howard Eskin and Angelo Cataldi in Philadelphia gave me the advice to be myself, and that's something that I took to heart and that I appreciated very much. It's what I've done in my career and it works very well for me.
So, we're in the Chip Kelly Era with the Eagles. I was an advocate for change from the Andy Reid regime, and I admit I was skeptical of the hire. That's where my conversation of the Eagles starts. I will always be a fan of Coach Reid, who was my favorite coach in any sport. I will always love what he did for me as an Eagles fan, because he entertained me for a long, long time. I truly believed though that change needed to be made.
Then Chip Kelly was hired and I was concerned because there have been so many college coaches who have jumped to the NFL and failed. But Chip has been very convincing to date. I love his candor, his belief in what he does and his ability to have confidence to change things as he sees fit. Whether it's how his team practices, or how he approaches the offense … Chip Kelly is his own man. That kind of confidence breeds confidence in his players and with the surrounding people in the organization. He really fits with Philadelphia!
I'm amazed that this team is in the playoff mix as December begins in his first season. I am firmly, feet entrenched, on the Chip Kelly Bandwagon. He has won me over.
It's another wonderful chapter that is underway for the Eagles and I'm embracing the stretch run and rapid growth of this football team. It's just another great moment as a fan, potentially joining my list of great Eagles moments.
For me, the top Eagles moment was the win over Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game. Being a radio talk show host in Atlanta, that week and that game served as a collision of two worlds. The Mayor of Atlanta voted me out of the community. I wore my Eagles gear all week and then I went to Philadelphia for the game, just ahead of the blizzard, and it was something I will always treasure.
As a high school kid, seeing Dick Vermeil's Eagles reach the Super Bowl was special. Brian Westbrook's punt return against the Giants in 2003 changed a season. The fourth-and-26 play was something I will always remember.
In 2010, I was sitting in the American Girl Café celebrating my daughter's seventh birthday and I missed the remarkable comeback against the Giants, after watching the first 3 quarters. I will always remember that one and I will always thank my wife for making me miss the greatest Eagles comeback ever!
What happens the rest of this season? I expect that the Eagles at Dallas game on December 29 will be flexed into prime time and that the game will determine the NFC East title. Either the Eagles will be tied with Dallas at that point or the Eagles will be one game ahead of Dallas. I don't see a scenario in which the Eagles will have already clinched the division by that date.
I've loved what Billy Davis has done with the defense and I refer back to what former NFL head coach Dan Reeves told me when Davis was hired. He endorsed the move and said, "John, I know what your knee-jerk reaction is going to be, but be patient. Billy is a really good coach." Well, here we are. The defense has improved so much this season. Just another thing I was wrong about this season!
I expect the Dallas game to be for all the marbles, and you know what? If I am entertained for 16 games, bravo. Bravo, Chip Kelly. Bravo, Eagles. That's all I ask. I want to see the team win a Super Bowl some day, but I'm a fan who keeps things in perspective and all I wanted in the first year of Chip Kelly was to be entertained. Right now, I am highly entertained. Once Eagles football is in your blood, there is no cure!