March is upon us, and you know what that means.
It’s time for everybody under the sun to come up with their field of 64 for the topic of their choosing. Maybe it’s the March Madness of breakfast cereals, or Sopranos characters. Perhaps we’re doing a bracket of rock bands, in which case ZZ Top is definitely going to be underseeded. There’s not enough respect for Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard.
In times past, we’ve done the “Worst of Philadelphia” and the “Best of Philadelphia” brackets, both of which resulted in the Pulitzer Prize. This year, we’re gonna switch it up and proudly present to you the “Eagles Media Field of 64,” presented by Joe Cordell, of the domestic litigation law firm Cordell and Cordell (not really).
This should be a fantastic exercise to determine who becomes the national champion of Eagles journalism, which is intense, competitive, and territorial. In the past we’ve had a writer punch a colleague in the face, so being a local football scribe is not for the weak.
Our criteria for inclusion? It’s kind of loose, but you have to be currently involved with the Birds. That was the only hard and fast rule. Beyond that, there are a lot of people who talk and write about the Eagles who aren’t ‘beat reporters.’ They may be television folks, or internet personalities, or popular podcasters. Maybe they’re jack-of-all-trades columnists without a specific focus. As such, we seeded those people lower, not necessarily because their work isn’t good, but because they aren’t as involved on a daily basis as, say, somebody like Les Bowen or Jeff McLane. For instance, Sheil Kapadia is more of a national guy these days, due to a shift in duties at The Athletic, and therefore he’s gonna be seeded lower than what he would have been if he was a full-time Eagles beat. Same with the general columnists at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
As for radio folks, we mostly just included the guys who talk strictly Eagles, or played the game. That’s why Ike Reese is included in the bracket but Mike Missanelli is not. Similarly, we kept it to editorial and commentary people, so Merrill Reese is out, but Mike Quick is in, because one does play by play and the other does color (the committee ruled that Rickie Ricardo gets in because he also does 94 WIP).
The seeding was determined by Crossing Broad staff with input from a half dozen respected local media members who do not write about the Birds. It was truly an independent commission that compiled this list. If you’re bothered by your seeding, or would like to lodge an official complaint, email the committee at it’email@example.com, or call 215-867-5309 and ask for ‘Jenny.’
Without further ado, your seeds:
- #1 seeds: Ray Didinger (94 WIP/NBCSP), Jeff McLane (Philadelphia Inquirer), Tim McManus (ESPN), Zach Berman (The Athletic)
- #2 seeds: Reuben Frank (NBCSP), Dave Zangaro (NBCSP), Derrick Gunn (unattached, for whatever reason), John Clark (NBC 10)
- #3 seeds: Paul Domowitch (Philadelphia Inquirer), Les Bowen (Philadelphia Inquirer), Jimmy Kempski (PhillyVoice), Geoff Mosher (Inside the Birds)
- #4 seeds: John McMullen (JAKIB Media), Adam Caplan (Inside the Birds), Mike Kaye (NJ.com), Bo Wulf (The Athletic)
- #5 seeds: Brandon Lee Gowton (Bleeding Green), Rob Maaddi (AP/97.5), Howard ‘The King’ Eskin (Eagles/94 WIP), Benjamin Solak (Bleeding Green)
- #6 seeds: Eliot Shorr-Parks (94 WIP), Martin Frank (Delaware News Journal), Ike Reese (94 WIP), Barrett Brooks (NBCSP/Voice)
- #7 seeds: Sheil Kapadia (The Athletic), Joe Santoliquito (PhillyVoice/etc), Bob Grotz (Delco Times), Nick Fierro (Morning Call)
- #8 seeds: Mike Quick (radio broadcast), Chris Franklin (NJ.com), Jon Ritchie (94 WIP), Rickie Ricardo (Spanish radio broadcast/94 WIP)
- #9 seeds: Kristen Rodgers (FOX 29), Ed Kracz (Sports Illustrated), Thomas Petersen (the Danish video guy), E Rock (4th and Jawn)
- #10 seeds: Fran Duffy (Eagles website), Dave Spadaro (Eagles website), Brian Westbrook (97.5 the Fanatic), Brian Baldinger (everywhere)
- #11 seeds: Mike Sielski (Philadelphia Inquirer), James Seltzer (Go Birds Radio), Green Legion Radio (the entire crew), Ross Tucker (preseason/WIP)
- #12 seeds: Marcus Hayes (Philadelphia Inquirer), Jack McCaffery (Delco Times), Sal Paolantonio (ESPN), Seth Joyner (NBCSP)
- #13 seeds: Shamus Clancy (Bleeding Green/etc), Ed Rendell (NBCSP), Alexis Chassen (Bleeding Green), Jamie Apody (6 ABC)
- #14 seeds: David Murphy (Philadelphia Inquirer), Jeff Skversky (6 ABC), Roy Burton (Birds Outsiders/Broad Street Line), Michael Kist (Bleeding Green)
- #15 seeds: Michael Barkann (NBCSP), Ron Jaworski (97.5/etc), Victor Williams (FOX Sports the Gambler), Conor Myles (SI)
- #16 seeds: Liam Jenkins (Philly Sports Network), Sam Wilson and Jessica Towne (Babes on Broad), Chris McPherson (Eagles website) , Gayle Saunders (4th and Jawn)
Among the folks that were not included, we found that a lot of small, independent podcasts and Youtube shows were just on the fringes. This excites the committee, and they have promised to pay more attention to these shows for possible inclusion in future lists.
And now, the bracket, with analysis:
Chris Gocong regional
Can anybody in this regional defeat the overall #1 seed, Ray Didinger? It’s going to be a monumental task.
There are a couple of intriguing first round matchups here. The #6 seed, Eliot Shorr-Parks, faces a stiff test from Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski. Kristen Rodgers vs. Mike Quick is a CLASSIC 8/9 scrap, with no clear betting favorite. It’s a pick ’em. And at the bottom of the bracket we’ve got a heavyweight bout between Kapadia and Fran Duffy. Crazy. Just absolutely insane.
There are no easy wins in March Madness.
Izel Jenkins regional
Jeff McLane takes the top honors in the Izel Jenkins regional, named in honor of our beloved “toast.”
Interestingly enough, there are some solid matchups between established veterans in this corner of the bracket. I’ve got my eye on that Joe Santoliquito/Dave Spadaro matchup, which pits a team employee against perhaps one of the region’s biggest media villains! What a contest that’s gonna be. I’m also curious to see if we get that Rob Maaddi/Adam Caplan second round matchup, which could go either way.
Reno Mahe regional
When you’ve got Seth Joyner taking on Benjamin Solak in the very first round, you know the Reno Mahe regional is going to be competitive. I’m keeping tabs on that Geoff Mosher/John Clark second weekend possibility, but don’t sleep on Zach Berman to run through the first two weekends. He’s a quiet killer on the Eagles beat.
Bobby Hoying regional
This region is absolutely loaded. Just look at the names.
Howard Eskin. Gunner. T Mac. Ike Reese. Sal Pal. Mike Kaye. The committee did these men and women no favors by placing them in the Bobby Hoying regional, which is going to feature some knock down, drag-em-out fights. And then Jimmy Kempski can use stick figures to illustrate the carnage.
Voting will take place right here on Crossing Broad, before the first round of the actual basketball tournament begins. May the best media member win!