One of the greatest days in Philadelphia sports media history was Monday, October 21st, 2019.
This was one day after the Eagles got clobbered by the Cowboys down in Dallas, and everybody was feeling a little itchy, a little stressed out and ready to butt heads on radio and social media.
So Howard Eskin went on Angelo Cataldi’s show and outed Alshon Jeffrey as Josina Anderson’s mystery source, which pissed her off. She responded by saying that Howard had “zero knowledge” of who her source is, which then resulted in Jeff McLane asking Doug Pederson if Eskin was leaking information on behalf of the team.
McLane: Doug there was a report that Alshon Jeffery was behind the anonymous quotes to ESPN. Number one, is that true?
Pederson: I think that was last week’s news, so I’m not gonna comment on that. I don’t know. I don’t know.
McLane: Number two, that person, the person who reported it doesn’t technically work for the Eagles but he’s on the sideline with the Eagles. He flies with the Eagles. He wears a Super Bowl ring given to him by the Eagles. Are we to assume that because he reported it that it’s something the Eagles wanted out there?
Apparently McLane and Eskin shared some words after the press conference, which later saw Mike Missanelli tear into Eskin, claiming that The King is a “water boy” for the Eagles and that he bought his own Super Bowl ring.
A Crossing Broad investigation later determined that Eskin did not purchase his own ring, but was instead given one by the team before separately purchasing a second ring to give as a gift.
Anyway, that topic is still a thing in Philly media circles, and Tuesday morning the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski went on WIP to talk about Alain Vigneault and Brett Brown, but was first asked to reveal the identity of the mystery player who reportedly confronted Alshon Jeffery in the locker room, which was reported by McLane last week.
That resulted in this:
Cataldi: Would you please divulge to us who that player was?
Sielski: (laughing) I have absolutely no idea. Jeff has not told me and knowing Jeff he would not divulge it even to his close friend and personal colleague like me.
Cataldi: Alright that’s fine. We had a feeling that might happen. At nine o’clock Howard Eskin is booked for this show. He’ll give up the person.
Sielski: (laughing) Well, Howard does have a Super Bowl ring and is far closer to the team then I am, so he would probably know.
Totally innocuous, that exchange.
There is, however, another Sielski reference to Howard’s ring dating back to February 27th, in a story titled “Alshon Jeffery was the perfect mercenary for the Eagles. He got what he wanted. You did, too.”
This has been a fulfilling and worthwhile relationship for all sides, regardless of when and how it ends.
It’s unlikely to end on warm and fuzzy terms, of course. When WIP radio host and Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin pointed his Super Bowl-ring-clad finger at Jeffery as the source of the anonymous anti-Wentz backbiting that seeped out of the locker room last season, it did more than confirm what everyone around the team already suspected.
I guess Eskin had heard enough of that, because he went on Joe Giglio’s show at 6 p.m. and bitched about both Inquirer writers, referring to McLane as “jealous” and claiming that he’s been “passed over four times” by ESPN.
That part starts around the 3:30 mark:
“If they wanna rip me, they rip me, but don’t make it personal. I got a ring. I’m proud that I do what I do. I’m not just skating by…. Don’t take away from what I try to do and I try to do the best job possible. I try to be sensitive to all the situations.”
This is an interesting conflict.
The McLane line from the Pederson press conference was savage, though it could certainly be construed as petty. Howard, of course, has a monstrous ego and made a career out of calling other people “morons” and “dopes,” so he shouldn’t be surprised at anything coming his way in 2020. I personally think it’s a little weird for a sideline reporter to wear a Super Bowl ring, but that’s just my opinion. Howard has had a long and successful career in a challenging media market, so of course I respect that.
I’ll let you pick sides in the McLane vs. Eskin conflict: