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.”
NFL playoffs divisional-round game picks, bracket schedule, odds, injuries, bold predictions and more
This weekend’s divisional round of the NFL playoffs is stacked with four more great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Chalk‘s Dave Bearman hands out helpful nuggets, and Matt Bowen points out a key matchup to watch as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL playoff football.
Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating: 82.8 | Spread: GB -6.5 (45.5)
What to watch for: The Packers were No. 1 in the NFL in scoring. The Rams were the No. 1-scoring defense. The Packers ranked first in both ESPN’s pass block win rate and run block win rate. The Rams’ defensive duo of Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd combined to create 90 pressures, the most of any pass-rushing pair. Throw in All-Pro Green Bay receiver Davante Adams against All-Pro L.A. cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and this is the ultimate battle of strength versus strength. — Rob Demovsky
Bold prediction: From 75 and sunny to the frozen tundra, the Rams’ defense isn’t afraid of cold temperatures. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers may have thrown only 89 picks in 6,587 passes over his career, but the Rams’ defense is on a takeaway roll. Watch for one of the Rams’ cornerbacks to pick off Rodgers and return it for their sixth defensive touchdown of the season. — Lindsey Thiry
Stat to know: The Packers’ Rodgers and Adams connected on 76.7% of their attempts this season, the second-highest rate among the 60 QB-WR duos with 150 attempts in the past 20 seasons. But will Ramsey be up to the task on the other side of the line of scrimmage? Pro Bowl receivers have caught 37% of their passes when Ramsey was the nearest defender this season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. That’s the lowest allowed by any defensive back. Ramsey also ranks in the top five in lowest completion percentage over expectation allowed (minus-9.3%), per NFL Next Gen Stats.
Bowen’s matchup key: Rookie Rams running back Cam Akers looked like a veteran in the wild-card win over the Seahawks. Now look for coach Sean McVay to mix his personnel with one- and two-tight-end sets, using inside/outside zone and gap schemes, to open clean lanes for Akers. Read more.
Betting nugget: The over has hit in each of Green Bay’s past five playoff games. But while the Rams’ wild-card upset win went over the total, under tickets cashed in on 11 of Los Angeles’ final 13 regular-season games. Read more.
Thiry’s pick: Rams 23, Packers 20
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 24, Rams 20
FPI prediction: GB, 65.1% (by an average of 5.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Floyd latest first-round pass-rusher to be revived by Rams … The good (cold) and bad (Donald) for Packers against Rams … Donald on rib injury: ‘Feel real good’ … Packers’ Rodgers has just 89 interceptions in 6,587 passes — and he hates every one of them … Wolford ruled out, Goff to start
Dan Orlovsky foresees the Rams’ defense causing offensive problems for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 94.3 | Spread: BUF -2.5 (50)
What to watch for: The Ravens blitzed their opponents more frequently than any other NFL team this season at 41% of opponent dropbacks — but Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen is ready for it. He faced more blitzes than any other quarterback during the regular season. And he did damage against them. Facing a blitz, he led the NFL in passing touchdowns with 17 (and had two more last week in the wild-card round), was second in QBR (93.4) and finished fourth in yards per dropback at 7.4. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bold prediction: The Ravens’ Lamar Jackson will become the first quarterback to rush for 100 yards in consecutive playoff games. He produced just the sixth 100-yard rushing game by a quarterback in the playoffs in last weekend’s wild-card round when he ran for 136 at Tennessee. The Bills haven’t allowed a quarterback to gain more than 61 yards rushing over the past two seasons, containing Kyler Murray, Cam Newton and even Jackson — who was held to 40 rushing yards in Buffalo 13 months ago. — Jamison Hensley
Stat to know: Bills receiver Stefon Diggs posted 128 receiving yards in last week’s win. The only players in Bills franchise history with two 100-yard receiving games in a single postseason are Hall of Famers James Lofton (1990) and Andre Reed (1992). Diggs led the entire NFL in receiving this season with 1,535 yards.
Bowen’s matchup key: Anticipating that we see more Cover 3 from the Bills this week, Baltimore has to get receiver Marquise Brown loose on defined concepts that allow Jackson to attack middle-of-the-field voids or hit on shot plays down the field. Read more.
Betting nugget: The Ravens have covered seven straight games. The only team with a longer streak this season? The Bills, from Weeks 9-17 (eight straight). Read more.
Hensley’s pick: Ravens 24, Bills 23
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 24, Ravens 21
FPI prediction: BAL, 51.4% (by an average of 0.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: From logo stomp to beer chug: Ravens’ Peters has unpredictable passion … Daboll went beyond X’s and O’s to revive the Bills’ offense and his career … Silencing their critics: Ravens’ Jackson has his MVP award, is Bills’ Allen next? … Allen’s growth on display in first playoff victory with Bills … Bills again to host limited fans for divisional-round game vs. Ravens
Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 62.4 | Spread: KC -10 (57.5)
What to watch for: The Chiefs have unsuccessfully fought a season-long battle to force opponents to kick more field goals and score fewer touchdowns when they are in the red zone. They allowed a TD on 77% of opponents’ trips inside the 20, which was the worst in the league. This game would be a good time to fix the problem. The Browns are efficient offensively inside the 20, scoring a touchdown 74% of the time. That was third best in the NFL. — Adam Teicher
Bold prediction: Reprising their 2016 college shootout, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and and Browns QB Baker Mayfield will combine for seven touchdown passes. But Mahomes gets the ball last this time and propels K.C. into the next round with a winning drive. — Jake Trotter
Stat to know: Browns running back Nick Chubb has scored a TD in seven straight games, the longest streak by a Browns player since 1970 (Bo Scott also went seven straight). The Browns are 10-3 when Chubb plays this season, scoring a rushing TD in 12 of those 13 games, averaging 163.0 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry as a team. Without Chubb? Cleveland is just 2-2 with 95.5 rushing yards per game, 3.9 yards per rush and zero scores on the ground.
Bowen’s matchup key: With a zone-heavy approach, out of two-deep shells, the Browns can “top” the Chiefs’ seams and outside verticals. That will force Mahomes to throw into underneath windows and contain the deep-ball game. Read more.
Dan Orlovsky advises the Browns to play explosively and focus on defense to have a chance to beat the Chiefs.
Betting nugget: The “Andy Reid off a bye” narrative gets plenty of attention, and his 8-3 record outright off of byes (regular season or playoffs) with the Chiefs is nice. But he is just 6-5 against the spread in those games, with unders going 6-4-1. Read more.
Trotter’s pick: Chiefs 35, Browns 34
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 27, Browns 22
FPI prediction: KC, 81.3% (by an average of 11.7 points)
Matchup must-reads: Ghostbuster Mayfield exorcising playoff demons, giving Browns confidence … Smoked Sausage, Black Pearl, Ferrari Right: How Chiefs creatively name their wild plays … The legend of Mayfield and Mahomes’ 2016 epic … Since releasing Hunt, Chiefs have had seven different backs lead them in rushing … Kingsbury gave Chiefs’ Mahomes and Browns’ Mayfield a chance when others passed
Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating: 97.0 | Spread: NO -3 (52)
What to watch for: You might have heard this game will feature a pair of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks named Tom Brady and Drew Brees. It’s their first playoff meeting, and it might be their last because Brees is contemplating retirement after the season. Brady is trying to reach a conference championship game for a staggering 14th time, while Brees is seeking his fourth appearance. They’re both flanked by top-six defenses, too. And while New Orleans dominated the regular-season series (winning 34-23 and 38-3), the Bucs have been one of the hottest teams in football during a current five-game win streak. — Mike Triplett
Bold prediction: Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown will score two touchdowns. He has been a difference-maker on offense, lining up all over the field and really picking it up since the Bucs last faced the Saints — when Brown still had just three practices with the team under his belt. Brown has scored in four straight games, including last week’s win. — Jenna Laine
Stat to know: New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore has lined up across from Bucs receiver Mike Evans on 72 routes over their past three games against each other, according to NFL Next Gen Stats data. Evans had zero receptions on six targets on those plays. But Tampa Bay has options even if Evans is again bottled up. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 12 receiving TDs in the playoffs, tied with John Stallworth for the second most all-time (Jerry Rice, 22). And receivers Brown and Chris Godwin each have five receiving TD catches since Week 14 (including playoffs), tied for the most in the NFL over that span with Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams.
Bowen’s matchup key: Pressure is a big part of the Tampa Bay defense’s identity. I think we will see sim pressures from Tampa, working to speed up the process for Brees. Todd Bowles’ defense had a blitz rate of 37.5% in the Week 9 matchup against the Saints. Read more.
Betting nugget: Think the Saints cover? If so, it’s worth noting that unders are 7-1 in the past eight New Orleans covers. Read more.
Domonique Foxworth breaks down the keys for the Buccaneers to beat the Saints, emphasizing the importance of Rob Gronkowski.
Laine’s pick: Saints 27, Buccaneers 24
Triplett’s pick: Saints 26, Buccaneers 23
FPI prediction: NO, 53.6% (by an average of 1.2 points)
Matchup must-reads: Brady’s Bucs an improved team since last facing the Saints … Latest round in Brees-Brady rivalry could be the most consequential … Brady’s Tampa timeline: Events that defined his first year as a Buc … A beautiful mind: How Saints’ Kamara stays ‘two moves ahead’
Sources — Atlanta Falcons offer head coaching job to Tennessee Titans OC Arthur Smith
The Atlanta Falcons have made an offer to Arthur Smith to become their next head coach, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Smith has served as the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans the past two seasons.
Smith, 38, would replace Dan Quinn, whom the Falcons fired along with general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Oct. 11 after an 0-5 start. Raheem Morris took over as interim head coach and led the Falcons to their only wins of the 2020 season en route to a 4-12 overall record.
The Titans ranked fourth in the league in scoring during the regular season, averaging 30.7 points per game under Smith. Tennessee finished the regular season averaging 396.4 total yards per game, good for third in the NFL. The Titans’ rushing attack posted 168.1 yards per game, second only to the Baltimore Ravens (191.9 yards).
Tennessee achieved rare balance under Smith. Running back Derrick Henry‘s 2,027 rushing yards were the fifth-best rushing total ever, and he became the eighth player to surpass the 2,000-yard plateau. Titans receiver A.J. Brown finished with 1,075 receiving yards, while teammate Corey Davis ended the season 16 yards short of the 1,000-yard plateau.
Smith joined the Titans in 2011 as a defensive quality control coach; he has since served multiple roles in Tennessee, including offensive quality control coach, offensive line assistant and tight ends coach.
Why Robert Saleh will be a re-Pete (Carroll), not a repeat, for New York Jets – New York Jets Blog
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets‘ decision to make Robert Saleh their head coach was predictable in that it followed a popular formula: He’s completely different in style and substance than the guy they just booted out of the building.
In other words, he’s the anti-Adam Gase.
That’s how it works in the NFL. If a team fails with one kind of coach, it usually goes in the opposite direction for his replacement — a hiring pendulum, so to speak. In this case, it works. It’s the right move.
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The former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator is a passionate, energetic coach who exudes positivity. He’s a lot like one of his mentors, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who, ironically, was run off by the Jets 26 years ago because his style was deemed too player-friendly.
For Pete’s sake, the feel-good vibe is back with the Jets. And they need it. Man, do they need it. After five straight losing seasons, including a 2-14 stinker under Gase, they need a coach whose glass is half full.
A coach who can galvanize the entire locker room, not just one side.
A coach who can motivate and inspire.
A coach who can connect with the fans.
None of which Gase did.
Saleh was a successful coordinator in his four-year run with the 49ers, highlighted by the NFC championship in 2019. The 49ers fell to 6-10 this season, but it might have been Saleh’s best coaching job. His unit was decimated by injuries, but the defense managed to finish fifth in total yards. He runs the Carroll scheme, meaning a 4-3 base front with a lot of Cover 3 zone.
The Jets need a face-lift on defense, but that’s not Saleh’s primary job. No, his assignment is to bring hope back to One Jets Drive, home of the NFL’s longest playoff drought (10 years). Saleh was an assistant linebackers coach for the Houston Texans the last time the Jets made the postseason. From there, he served a three-year apprenticeship as a quality-control coach in Seattle, where he rubbed elbows with the celebrated “Legion of Boom” defense that won the Super Bowl after the 2013 season.
Now it’s on Saleh to change the culture, to bring some of that Seattle swagger to the moribund Jets, who have a leadership void. This is a tough charge for any coach, let alone one with no head-coaching experience. That he has no previous working relationship with general manager Joe Douglas also adds to the risk, but there’s risk in every hire.
Rich Cimini breaks down the Jets reaching agreement with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their new head coach, and why he fits what the organization is looking for.
Saleh and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith were the Jets’ top two candidates; they also were coveted by just about every team looking for a coach. Smith would have been intriguing because of the Titans’ rise as an offensive power over the past two seasons, not to mention the rebirth of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In the end, the Jets opted for Saleh because of his leadership and communication skills.
His first order of business is to hire an offensive coordinator, and according to ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter’s sources, Saleh is expected to name 49ers passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur to that role. LaFleur is the brother of Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who was the best man in Saleh’s wedding. The families are close. Presumably, they would run the Kyle Shanahan system, which is quarterback-friendly — run-heavy, lots of motion and a moving pocket. It fits Sam Darnold‘s skill set; he actually played in a Shanahan-style scheme as a rookie.
Saleh will have significant input in the Jets’ quarterback decision. Does he want to ride with Darnold, who struggled in 2020, or will he endorse a new quarterback via the 2021 NFL draft? Before facing the Jets in Week 2, Saleh said Darnold “is getting a lot better. … He’s a very talented quarterback.” Then his 49ers’ defense, crippled by injuries that day, went out and held Darnold to 179 passing yards and a meaningless late touchdown pass in a 31-13 win.
Make no mistake, Saleh inherits a bad roster. He will rely on Douglas to fix that; his job as head coach is to change the attitude in the building, to make football fun again. The Jets have been laughed at for too long. It’s time for them to enjoy a few yuks.
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