The Plight of Flight Night

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The Eagles denied, denied, denied that last year's inaugural Flight Night -- which turned into Fright Night when emerging star LB Stewart Bradley blew out his ACL -- would have any bearing on how hard they would scrimmage in this year's event.

Ha. In fact, they didn't even scrimmage. Despite what they said beforehand, they were clearly spooked.

Coaches and players are among the most superstitious people I know.  Former Giants and Cowboys coach Bill Parcells was known to go through extreme measures -- like having his team stay in the same hotel and star players stay in specific rooms because they won when they stayed in those places.

It turns out, Andy Reid is no different. He and his players, even Bradley himself, talked a big game of how last year's incident was simply bad luck and how all of that was in the past.  Turns out, they were very concerned about it because what they gave the fans tonight wasn't worth the $15 they charged in parking and the $15-35 they charged for admission.

I know, I know, it was for a good cause and all the money collected will go to the Eagles Youth Partnership. That's all well and good but in this economy -- even those who are philanthropic -- are more selective in where and how they spend their discretionary income.

If the Eagles try to pull this stunt next year, I wouldn't be surprised if they got booed.  If you market and promote to the fan base that you're going to have a scrimmage, then you owe them that.

Flight Night has been on the schedule for months. It doesn't take much to structure your practices so you can save your players for a good, hard scrimmage at an event where you're charging admission -- even if it's for charity.
But under the surface and behind the scenes, I think there's a reason why Andy Reid refused to have his players scrimmage for Flight Night.  He may have been making a statement.

Coaching staffs are loathed to participate in these marketing events in the middle of their preparation for a rigorous season. I know that in last year's event, the team had promoted an opportunity for a fan to call plays as an auction item and their sideline reporter Dave Spadaro, would have a live mic so he could do commentary directly from the sideline.

Andy Reid nixed all of it. He wasn't having any of that dog and pony show. I think Reid and his staff largely view Flight Night as an imposition on what they're trying to accomplish in camp.
I'm relatively certain of this: Flight Night isn't the coaching staff's idea. But it's important to the owner and the front office, so Reid plays along -- albeit reluctantly.
Still, there ought to be a compromise. I love the idea of auctioning the practice jersey right from a player's back, which he's obligated to autograph. Even better if the player takes a picture with the winning bidder so he has the photo to prove his bounty's authenticity.

Love the other giveaways, fireworks and creative ways they're raising money for the Eagles Youth Partnership. They really do good work in the community.
But the scrimmage is a BIG part of why they're able to sell tickets to 30,000 folks who ordinarily can't afford regular season games. They bring their kids. It doesn't take much to accommodate them -- even if it's just a controlled scrimmage. 
As we say here at NBC10, "Give The People What They Want."

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