PHILADELPHIA — A man who goes by the name of “The Professor” answers the phone and, with some grit and attitude in his voice, confirms that, yes, the demand for Philadelphia Eagles tattoos is soaring.
“It’s the first time they won, brother,” said the owner of Philadelphia Eddie’s Tattoo. “Everybody that was a fan was getting them.”
Or at least it seems that way. On the day of the parade celebrating the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship, “people were coming in six feet deep” to Eddie’s. During the playoff run, the business did maybe a couple Eagles tattoos a week. But in the days surrounding the Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, the Professor said they were cranking out at least 20 a day.
The surge occurred in parlors across the area, including at Eastern Pass Tattoo in South Philly.
“We definitely had a very large influx of Eagles tattoos after [the title win],” said Weilan, a tattoo artist at Eastern Pass. “Definitely more than doubled.”
The fresh ink is all over social media. Many went the traditional route, getting tattoos of the team logo or the Lombardi Trophy with “LII” accompanying the image. Others went outside the box. There’s the “Philly Special” play design; an image of center Jason Kelce in his parade-day Mummer’s suit, eating pork roll and scrapple — two Philadelphia breakfast dishes; and, a personal favorite, quarterbacks Nick Foles and Carson Wentz in sweater vests doing their best “Step Brothers” impersonation.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 13, 2018
“I think the weirdest ones I did were two ’52 Champs’ with the Eagles logo two days before the Super Bowl,” Weilan said. “They were two dudes that grew up in Philly that flew [from Los Angeles] into Philadelphia to get tattooed by me before the Super Bowl to get that on them. I was like, ‘Man, don’t you guys worry about jinxing it?’ And their view was if they lost the Super Bowl after doing that, it would have been the most Philly thing possible — too overconfident before the big game.”
In their defense, some Eagles players were feeling equally sure of themselves. Days before the big game, running back Corey Clement, who came up with a huge 22-yard touchdown reception in Super Bowl LII, put his appointment with Dan Czar on the books.
“He hit me up before the ‘Bowl and said, ‘Let’s plan for Wednesday after the Super Bowl.’ And I was like, wow, this guy is really trying to get in because I knew how busy he would be,” said Czar, a tattoo artist at AC Ink in Somer Point, New Jersey, whose work is becoming increasingly popular in the sports and entertainment world. “He hit me up and was like, ‘It’s time for that Super Bowl tat. Let’s go.’ And once he told me it was an Eagle, I was wired. It was awesome.”
The only direction Clement gave Czar was that he wanted “an Eagle ripping out of my arm.” Czar laid down the design from there. Clement has proudly been showing off the final product in the days since.
Clement also got “SB LII” tattooed in small lettering down the side of his neck.
The ticket into this world for Czar was Johnny Manziel. A photographer he was friendly with called Czar up in February of 2017 and said that Manziel was looking to get the Eiffel Tower on the back of his forearm, STAT.
“He gave me two days’ notice: ‘Hey, I need you in Miami. Johnny wants to get some work.’ And this is probably the first time I did anyone of any importance as far as that realm … so I dropped everything and went right down and tattooed him maybe at 1 in the morning,” Czar said. “Two months later he proposed to his wife at the Eiffel Tower, so that was pretty cool.”
From there Czar’s NFL clientele list grew, and eventually included Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones, who got a “W” tattooed for his college, the University of Washington, as well as a rose for his mom. That’s how Clement found Czar.
So far, the recent ink he gave Clement is the only request he has had from an Eagles player for an Eagles-themed tattoo, but Czar doesn’t think it will be that way for long.
People all over the city are getting them. Some members of the military got leave so they could watch the game in their home city, and made sure to get inked while they were here. Same for some Philadelphia natives now living in other parts of the country — such as Boston — who wanted something to show off when they head back. According to the Professor, there were even out-of-towners with no real connection to the city or the Eagles who got caught up in the moment and decided to walk into the shop and have some work done.
“Stuff like that, the Eagles winning and all that, that’s what tattooing is based on: celebrating personal landmarks or family landmarks,” he said. “That’s really the basis of tattoo.”
Buffalo Bills GM — ‘No rush’ on extension for QB Josh Allen despite mutual interest
Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Beane said he had spoken with the NFL’s MVP runner-up from a season ago about extending his contract, which is entering the fourth year of Allen’s rookie deal. However, Beane said he doesn’t expect a deal to get done until at least after next week’s draft, and perhaps well into the spring or summer.
“There’s no rush, we’ll have some kind of conversation,” Beane said. “Listen, we would love to get Josh extended. No doubt. It has to be a number that works for him and works for us. That’s been my conversation with them and they know the same. We’re all on the same page. Josh wants to be here.”
Allen emerged as one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks last season, passing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2020, adding eight rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown while leading the Bills to an AFC championship game appearance.
The Wyoming product has made it clear that he wants to play out his career in Buffalo and didn’t seem deterred by
“When it happens, it happens,” Allen told NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt earlier this month. “They will iron out the details and if we can get to something soon, I’d obviously love to be locked down in Buffalo for a very long time. It’s a place that I call home, I love being there.”
Allen would represent Beane’s largest extension of his tenure with the Bills, after successfully extending left tackle Dion Dawkins and cornerback Tre’Davious White last offseason. The former Carolina Panthers assistant GM likened his current situation to the one he faced in Carolina with then-quarterback Cam Newton.
“We tried in Carolina to get Cam Newton done at this time and it didn’t work,” Beane said. “We just weren’t on the same page with his agent on where the value is to where we saw it. So we said, ‘Hey, no hard feelings, we’re all on the same page here.’ We pushed pause. He played that season and then after that season we got it done pretty quick that next offseason.
“We were all on the same page. I guess what I’m saying is you can’t force it. It happens when it happens.”
Beane previously said Allen’s extension will likely follow the same timeline as White, who was extended in early September 2020. Either way, it appears Allen’s next contract is not a matter of “if” but rather “when.”
“If it happens this year, great,” Beane said. “If it doesn’t, I’ll be very positive that we’ll get it done next year.”
Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd murder
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury Tuesday for his role in the murder of George Floyd last May outside of a local convenience store.
Floyd’s death, and the video which showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes, became a catalyst for the sports world’s racial and social justice movement last summer.
A jury of six white, four Black and two multi-racial jurors deliberated nine hours over two days — five hours on Monday; four hours Tuesday — before rendering a verdict. ABCNews.com has full coverage of the decision.
Chauvin faces a 40-year maximum sentence for the second-degree murder conviction, a 25-year sentence for third-degree murder and a 10-year sentence for second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death led to nationwide protests and prompted athletes throughout the sports world to speak out on social and racial injustice. Former NBA player Stephen Jackson traveled to Minnesota the week Floyd died and said “I’m hurt, I’m angry, but I ain’t scared” in an emotional speech alongside fellow NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie. Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics drove 15 hours to march at a protest in Atlanta.
NBA and WNBA players spoke out frequently, and both leagues resumed their seasons with “Black Lives Matter” painted on the court. “Through peaceful protest, we must demand strong leadership at all levels that is equally committed to achieving true social justice,” the Women’s National Basketball Players Association said in a statement the week of Floyd’s death.
As news of Floyd’s death spread, LeBron James posted a Twitter message with a photo of Floyd alongside an image of Colin Kaepernick and wrote “Do you understand NOW!!??!!??” Magic Johnson tweeted “How many times do we have to see Black men killed on national television?” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr tweeted “This is murder. Disgusting. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with US????”
A group of NFL players, including Patrick Mahomes, appeared in a Twitter video that started with “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered. How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players? What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?” and asking “What if I was George Floyd?”
When the NFL season opened in September, the Minnesota Vikings honored Floyd’s family at their opener with a moment of silence and silencing the team’s signature Gjallarhorn in his honor. The league had every team play “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” often called the Black national anthem, before season openers, and players wore the name of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black men and women killed by police on the back of their helmets.
Tennis player Naomi Osaka wore the names of seven Black people killed by police on her mask at every US Open match. When a reporter asked her what message she wanted to send, she said: “Well, what was the message that you got was more the question. I feel like the point is to make people start talking.”
Floyd was killed on May 25 after Minneapolis police officers responded to a call shortly after 8 p.m. about a possible forgery at a corner grocery. Floyd, saying he was claustrophobic as officers tried to put him in a squad car, ended up handcuffed and face-down in the street.
Chauvin used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck as bystanders shouted at him to stop. Bystander video shows Floyd crying “I can’t breathe” multiple times before going limp. He was pronounced dead at a hospital at age 46.
Police initially issued a statement saying Floyd died of a “medical incident.” Bystander video was posted online the next day, and in the face of growing protests in Minneapolis and nationwide, police said the FBI would investigate. Chauvin and three other officers were eventually fired as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for criminal charges against Chauvin.
Chauvin, age 45 and a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force, was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The charges were later upgraded to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
As protests in Minneapolis and around the country grew, the county medical examiner ruled on June 1 that Floyd’s heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck, noting Floyd had underlying health issue and listing fentanyl and methamphetamine use as “other significant conditions.”
At trial, prosecutors argued that Chauvin was responsible for Floyd’s death by keeping a knee on his neck. The defense argued he died because of drugs in his system and pre-existing health conditions.
Three other officers were also arrested and will stand trial together this summer.
NFL, Players Association approve first position-specific helmet design for OL, DL
The NFL and NFL Players Association have approved a position-specific helmet design for the first time since they began regulating equipment for players, representatives for both groups confirmed Tuesday.
The helmet, known as the VICIS ZERO2-R TRENCH, was built for offensive and defensive linemen and is ranked No. 2 on the league’s 2021 safety rankings. The helmets are equipped with bumpers on their front and upper sides, where NFL engineering studies showed are a common point of contact for linemen who absorb concussion-causing contact, according to Dr. Ann Good, a senior engineer at BioCore and a consultant to the NFL.
The league and union have been ranking helmets based on proprietary safety data since 2015, using lab tests designed by BioCore, and began banning the lowest-performing helmets in 2019. The primary goal was to drive down reported concussion totals among players, which peaked at 281 during the 2017 season. The 2021 ratings, distributed to teams Tuesday, added three models to the prohibited list and six to a category called “not recommended.”
Approximately 18% of players finished the 2020 season using one of those nine helmet models. But Dr. Kristy Arbogast, an engineering consultant for the NFLPA, said her expectation is that almost all of them will move to a better-performing helmet in 2021. In each of the past two seasons, 99% of NFL players have used a helmet recommended by the NFL/NFLPA ratings.
The NFL hasn’t publicized its complete concussion data from last season. But Jennifer Langton, the league’s senior vice president of health and safety innovation, said that reported concussion rates over the past three seasons (2018-20) are 25% lower than in the previous three seasons (2015-17).
“With these results,” Arbogast said, “we were able to demonstrate [to players] that the use of a lab test in ranking helmets and prohibiting helmets were relevant to [players’] game experience. We showed that by moving up the [ranking], players could really take an active role in their safety.”
It remains to be seen how many linemen will switch to the model built for them this season, but it is the first step in the NFL’s goal of spurring manufacturers to produce models for each position group. Dr. Jeff Crandall, the chair of the NFL engineering committee and the co-founder of BioCore, said there has been some “baseline testing” of models designed for quarterbacks. A model is likely to be finalized for future seasons, possibly in 2022, once an analysis is done of new technology the NFL is adopting for coach-to-quarterback communications.
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