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The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe

The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.

Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM

Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role.
No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team.
Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.

Part 2: No stadium left behind

Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.

Part 3: Small place, big game!

As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league.
Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!

Epilogue: What's in the future?

As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say.
TL,DR
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
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I Read It So You Don't Have To: Secrets of the Southern Belle (by Phaedra Parks)

I hope the past few days have been restful and rejuvenating for you all, but -- as I'm sure you must have learned by this point -- the journey to personal betterment is an eternal endeavor. We haven't got a moment to waste, so let's bid adieu to the sunny serenity of the California coast and settle in down South with Real Housewives of Atlanta's Phaedra Parks, as she descends from her ivory porch swing and illuminates the esoteric in Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment.
True to the title's descriptive and straightforward sentiments, Phaedra begins the book with a concise synthesis of the worldview she hopes to present:
I believe every woman should be a Southern Belle or minimally aspire to being more ladylike, charming, and intelligent, because we should all be treated well.
As she continues, we get our first glimpse of the deep well of compassion that underlies Phaedra's mission to improve the lives of those around her.
Honestly, I sometimes feel sorry for women of northern persuasion. There they are rushing around in their baggy, drab clothes, doing everything for themselves and looking like they just rolled out of bed. They don't seem to understand there's a better way.
Thankfully, I no longer have to count myself among that witless horde. I feel like, until this fateful moment, I have been living like one of those people from the black-and-white "before" footage of an infomercial -- haphazardly bumbling through the most menial of daily tasks with no way of knowing how much brighter my world could be. Phaedra has freed me from Plato's Cave, and I have no choice but to follow her instruction and strive to shape myself in her image.
A true Southern Belle is known -- first and foremost -- for her fundamental kindness and compassion towards others, so it is only appropriate that the book's first section is succinctly titled, "Be Nice." However, even this simple directive has been trampled by the corrupting influence of the modern world. As Phaedra laments,
Unfortunately, as we see more migration from other parts of the world, we also see an increase of poor manners and rude behavior.
She elaborates, providing specific examples of the personal injuries incurred as a result of these unmannered interlopers.
I find it particularly odd in business, when the salespeople or tellers don't speak or thank you for your patronage. Don't they realize that without customers they would not have a job?
I, too, find it offensive when minimum-wage workers have the nerve to act like actual human beings rather than automatons at the mercy of my personal whims, and I appreciate that Phaedra is bold enough to ask the question that has undoubtedly been on the tip of our collective tongue. Yet somehow, she still remains humble enough to freely admit where she has room to learn; here, she lets the reader in on "something I've never quite understood about non-southerners:"
They're suspicious of basic southern warmth because they're worried it's insincere. But at the same time, they will tell you the most inappropriate things! They tell you stuff about their health that you don't want to know. They launch into crazy stories about their terrible childhoods and how misunderstood they are. They complain about what happened long ago, and they fret openly about the future. Then they tell you what they paid for things and you want to crawl under the table.
Frankly, that's not very attractive.
What is attractive, then, you may ask? Effusive compliments, for one thing -- "I don't know why some people are so concerned with being sincere, when being nice is so much more effective." We also learn to "never contradict anyone, even if you know they are wrong." Phaedra illustrates this particular lesson with the following example:
If someone tells you that your taxes are due on April 30 instead of April 15, you look puzzled and say, "Goodness, I had no idea. Did they change the date?"
And what happens after that? Either the person says yes and you're forced to play along with whatever bizarre delusion and/or power-play your companion is currently indulging, or they say no and you say -- what? "Right, of course, I knew that the whole time!" Or, "Gotcha! It's April 15th, you incompetent fraud!" Or maybe, "I don't even know what taxes are -- money is for menfolk!" I just can't imagine any of those scenarios playing out with less discomfort than a simple correction, but after four years living in New England, I can only assume that's just northern negativity clouding my vision.
We are next presented with a list of "compliments that come in handy," a few of which I've transcribed below for immediate incorporation into your own phrasal repertoire.
What an interesting way to think about it. (Good for a point on which you disagree with someone.)

You thought of every little detail; I love a meticulous lady!

Wow! That is so original. I would never have put it together like that. (In this South this might mean, "I hate it," but in a polite way.)
Boss Babe is out -- Meticulous Lady is in! Phaedra reminds us to keep health concerns -- "especially female issues" -- far from polite conversation, then shifts gears to a much-needed lesson in verbal comportment. It's not just their "attractive regional accents" that distinguish Southern Belles from their less-attractive northern counterparts; they also devote great attention to evoking grace through their cadence and tone.
Sometimes northern women can sound awfully abrupt. It's just a habit they have, poor things.
If you'd like to take your place amongst esteemed gentility, however, I urge you to change your ways! For one thing, when speaking, "slip in something affectionate so that a very harsh reality doesn't come across as rude or abrupt." For example, see how much unpleasant confrontation is avoided with the following turn of phrase:
Darling, don't you know you're too smart and pretty to be the town drunk?
Silly girl, haven't you heard? Addiction is for ugly people! You should also feel free to use these compliments liberally throughout conversation -- "You don't have to mean it, you know." As an example:
If you can tell that someone has put a lot of effort into a particular aspect of her outfit, just draw attention to it. Sparkly stars-and-stripes high heels could be terribly tacky, but you bet they're supposed to be noticed, so go ahead and do it. "Those are certainly patriotic shoes!"
Let me take a crack at it -- This book certainly has a lot of words in it! Writing a book is such an impressive achievement -- I'm sure it feels so rewarding to finally see it In print! And I love the way you occasionally use infinity signs as bullet points -- it's so evocative! I think I'm getting the hang of this!
"Another southern difference?" As Phaedra informs us, "we try not to make direct requests. It just sounds so forward and frankly unpleasant if someone comes right out and says what they want from you." Phaedra's Starbucks barista must really despise her -- If it isn't too much trouble, could I bother you for something to drink? No, anything's fine -- I wouldn't want to impose.
Almost like a modern-day Rosetta Stone, the next passage introduces us to the nuanced connotations that pervade a true Belle's vocabulary. For example, Phaedra tells the reader that "if I tell someone 'Goodness, you must have spent all day on your hair. I am so impressed!' it really means I hate it." Before I manage to convey how impressed I am by the book before me, I read on to learn that "when you're discussing a homely girl, you generally say, 'She's so smart!' The general thought is you can't be both ugly and dumb. God wouldn't be that cruel." Please excuse me while I take a few hours to re-analyze every compliment I've ever been given in my entire life.
Now that that's done, here are a few more translations to help you decipher the Belles in your life.
Belle-Speak: She's a nurse-in-training.
Unvarnished Truth: She dates only old men.

Belle-Speak: She's a butter face.
Unvarnished Truth: Everything looks good but her face.

Belle-Speak: Hope he's got money.
Unvarnished Truth: He's unattractive and pays for affection.
The second one is not even really a euphemism so much as Phaedra trying to demonstrate her knowledge of hip modern slang, but I digress. We transition into advice for conversation starters -- "don't throw them complicated or controversial subjects like politics, animal rights, or local zoning." Truly, I can't tell you how many times I've been approached at a party with an opener about municipal ordinances, and it just kills the mood like nothing else. Worried about how you'll ever find something to talk about under these restrictions?
Don't worry about sounding interesting. "Interesting" is an overrated notion. Just fill the empty air.
That…explains a lot, actually.
Our next lesson is in reference to dinner parties -- "don't make a fuss, unless you're complimenting the cook." In case you're confused as to how this guidance should be interpreted, Phaedra clarifies with some examples -- "'Is there meat in here? I'm a vegetarian' is the wrong kind of fuss." Since I typically ask this question while flailing my arms wildly and making intermittent whooping noises, I completely understand how it could be disruptive amongst refined company. Although I'm starting to get a bit nervous that I won't be able to keep track of these seemingly countless rules, Phaedra's next assurance puts my mind at ease: "If all else fails, remember the secret weapon of the Southern Belle is delicate helplessness."
In the next passage, we learn that, "if there's any characteristic that defines a Southern Belle, it's her habit of firing off little notes on any occasion." Just as with verbal compliments, these notes require little to no basis in factual reality -- "obviously it's perfectly all right to exaggerate." But while truthfulness is more or less dispensable, your choice of writing implement could have grave repercussions. As Phaedra exhorts, "Never, ever write a letter in pencil. You might as well not bother at all." Within the realm of pens, however, "blue and black are perfectly acceptable, even if they do lack panache."
We return once again to the topic of appropriate subjects for conversation, and are cautioned against asking anyone their age. Of course, wild speculation is encouraged, "as long as you're out of earshot." In the next tip, Phaedra declares: "Don't discuss the cost of anything. Any discussion of cost is just in poor taste." I just can't help picture how much of a nightmare this woman must be at a fast-food drive-through. Our final instruction?
Don't discuss hair color. Men always pretend they don't dye their hair, so you just have to go with it.
At first glance, this seems reasonable enough, especially in the context of the social graces espoused by the book so far. However, Phaedra's attempt at further explanation quickly begins to careen off-course.
For women, it's a little bit more complicated because you have the question of whether the drapes match the carpet, so to speak. And I do know some who dye the carpet to match -- that was the big thing in high school. Now with all this weird waxing, you don't have to do as much dyeing, but that's another thing you don't talk about either!
Let's see if I've got this straight: I should always believe a man about his purported hair color no matter what, but if a woman tries to lie about hers, she'll get caught…because I will inevitably be forced to confront the realities of her pubic hair? An intimate partner, sure, but I just can't imagine this situation arises with enough frequency to merit even the few lines its given in this text. And honestly, at this point, I don't even think I want to know what Phaedra means by "weird waxing."
This section of the book concludes with a final catalog of "the 'She did what?' mistakes." The list starts off strong with "wearing white to another woman's wedding." However, by the time we end on the most unimaginable of atrocities -- "drinking beer from a bottle" -- I'm beginning to wonder if this list was actually supposed to have been titled "things the sexy homewrecker does in a bro-country music video."
The following section is titled, "Work Hard," and I am immediately inspired to do exactly so by the implicit challenge thrown down in Phaedra's opening lines, in which she coquettishly asks, "Who always delivers a presentation on time, with the printed materials perfectly written and proofread?" I'm usually quite good at taming my most pedantic impulses, but contrarian passions I never knew I had are foaming at the mouth to find an upcoming typo and self-righteously call her bluff. Although perhaps I should find a more feminine way to phrase that; as Phaedra cautions, "we don't like to think of ourselves as driven, because that sounds so neurotic and unpleasant."
We next learn that "you cannot be a Southern Belle unless you understand what it is to be ladylike." But unfortunately, it is all too easy to be caught up in the ways of the world and lose sight of this primary calling.
A lot of women today enjoy being the feisty, brassy, foul-mouthed kind of gal who drinks with men and shows a lot of flesh. They think it's cool.
Phaedra continues and reflects that, "I've heard the argument that this is progress, from the feminist point of view, but I don't necessarily agree." I can never remember -- which wave of feminism was the one with all the feisty gals? But clearly, their agenda has gone too far! How, in contrast, does a delicate Southern Belle behave?
She looks as if she's heard of sex, probably has had sex, but has no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings.
I'm not sure exactly how to convey this highly specific sentiment in any other way than purchasing a t-shirt custom-printed with the phrase, "I have heard of sex, have probably had sex, but have no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings," so I hope that approach will suffice for now. Phaedra follows up by cautioning us that,
A lady never puts in the shop window what isn't for sale.
Personally, I like to think of myself as more of a museum than a gift shop, but to each their own! We next learn more about the delicate balance a Southern Belle must achieve in order to maintain her esteemed position. For example, while "she doesn't cuss and doesn't talk dirty," frigidity is similarly unbecoming -- "if somebody tells a good dirty joke in her vicinity, she'll laugh." I'm barely a third of the way through this book, and I'm already exhausted at the prospect of having to remember all of these hyper-specific edicts. It's no surprise that the Southern Belle has to remain consistently vigilant; as Phaedra intones, "coming from a Pentecostal family, I hate to see a woman down more than two drinks." It seems to me like the simplest way to avoid such emotional turmoil would be to simply refrain from compulsively tallying the beverage intake of strangers, but I soon learn there are far more perilous hazards lurking around every corner. Phaedra shares her personal strategy for avoiding the very implication of incivility in the following excerpt:
I don't ever go to the bar at a party; I think that just looks terrible. If I must have a glass of wine or crave a fruity adult libation, I'll ask a nearby man to procure it for me.
Sir! Procure me a fruity adult libation -- tout de suite! But I would hate to diminish the male gender by implying that they're only good for the acquisition of potables; no -- men can be leveraged in an increasingly broad array of day-to-day tasks. As Phaedra shares:
I have friends who have never in their lives pumped gas for their own cars. They will ask a complete stranger to do it for them. One of my besties from New Orleans will flag down a man, give him her credit card, and have him pump and pay for her gas.
Honestly, I can't help but wonder if this might actually be some kind of avantgarde performance art, in the tradition of Marina Abramović's Rhythm 0. Because the idea that this gambit has never gone horribly, horribly awry truly strains credulity. As I read on, however, I learn that my current train of thinking is sorely misguided.
Sometimes when I'm at a grocery store the fellow bagging the groceries will ask if he can take them out to my car. Why would you say no to this? But sometimes women do. And I look at them and sigh and think, "Poor thing. She has a lot to learn."
Thankfully for my personal development, the next chapter -- titled "A Crash Course in Being (Selectively) Helpless" promises exactly the sort of content that I so desperately need to understand. As Phaedra explains, a Southern Belle is "never intimidating, because some things she just can't do on her own." She goes on to offer concrete examples of how to incorporate this ethos into your life on beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.
Experts: assume help will arrive. Flat tire? Pull over to the curb, and don't sweat it. Can't figure out which wrench to buy at Home Depot? Or how to program your DVR? This is what former boyfriends and other gentlemen are for. Believe me, the age of chivalry is not dead.
Rent due? Don't sweat it -- a gallant gentleman likely already has a check in the mail. House burning to the ground around you? You should know a Belle doesn't walk down the hallway on her own two feet! Bear attack? I'm sure a male bear is just around the corner, ready to jump in and defend your honor!
Without a hint of irony, we transition to Phaedra's advice for the workplace. We learn that the quintessential gentlewoman is savvy, competent, and always at the top of her game. For instance, at her workplace, "she figures out how to work the coffee machine and the copy machine." With that kind of go-getting attitude, the Southern Belle will be bound for the C-suite in no time! Provided, of course,
She never does that thing I hear of in the North sometimes of telling you how little she paid for something. Why would you brag about bargains?
I can't hear the phrase that thing I hear of in the North in anything other than the voice of Tinsley's mother, Dale. Except she would probably use it in reference to something like "giving compliments to your daughter" or "weight gain." Regardless, a more appropriate question at this juncture might be, "Are you sure this book was proofread quite as judiciously as you claimed?" As I scan the page, my eyes happen upon the line:
10 percent for tithing, if your religion encourages tithing, which mines [sic] does.
Of course, it would be entirely uncouth for me to brag about my typographical superiority in this context, so now seems as good a time as any to exercise some of my newly acquired techniques. Oh, Phaedra -- bless her heart! I suppose we can't all be detail-oriented, can we? It must be nice to be so casual and carefree when you express yourself!
Without further ado, however, we move along to our next lesson -- "People don't know when you're hungry, because they can't hear your stomach growling, but they definitely know when you're homeless." To be honest, the more I think about this statement , the less sense it makes to me (people…can hear your stomach growling?). Luckily, with the jam-packed schedule of a Southern Belle, I simply don't have time to dwell on the issue for a moment longer!
Our next tutorial? " If you have one fabulous pair of shoes, you will wear them to church. It is the very least you can do for Jesus." As we all know, Jesus loves sweet kicks, so he loves nothing more than to see you rock the newest styles when you drop by on Sunday. And besides -- the higher the heel, the closer to heaven! Phaedra summarizes the Southern Belle's can-do attitude with the line: "We all may not be sitting around big ugly Formica boardroom tables, but we get things done." As someone who has only ever attended meetings held around moderately sized tables, I find this to be a validating sentiment.
When it comes to extracurricular pursuits, "beauty pageants are important." However, "as much as she loves performing, the Belle will not take to the stage: some of those theater people are just too peculiar, bless their hearts." Honestly, Phaedra and I come down on the same side on this one. But I will have to heartily disagree with her next passage -- with respect to traditions of stepping within Black Greek Life -- in which she states,
The traditionally white organizations don't have anything comparable.
Um, excuse me? Have you never seen this iconic video?! However, Phaedra does reassure us that she's far from ignorant in the ways of the world. As she states, "I have read about hookup culture and known a few easy women." Of course, easy men don't exist -- or at least, that's what I've read in all the most prominent textbooks regarding hookup culture. But don't mistake Phaedra's awareness for acceptance -- "that doesn't mean I like any of it." However, this sentiment is belied just a few paragraphs later, when our author recalls:
I offended the mother of one of my best friends once by booking some exotic entertainment at this friend's birthday party. My friend loved the anatomically exceptional dancer, but her mother was livid.
I'm sure that it was only your friend who loved the "anatomically exceptional" dancer, and I assume this must have been one of your aforementioned token "easy" friends, besides. A Southern Belle, in contrast, is interested in serious, long-term relationships. And for this purpose, "it would be much better to marry a young man that you can train. I have always said that I would rather be a babysitter than a geriatric nurse." Yet even these kinds of discrepancies seem trivial in comparison to the boundless passions of eternal love. As Phaedra shares,
I want Apollo and me to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, so I try to overlook momentary annoyances.
That aged well. Bless her heart.
We're soon treated to a cheeky list of "what her husband doesn't know," which echoes several key themes from earlier in the book -- most notably in its bizarre fixation with pubic grooming.
He doesn't know what her true hair color is, because the curtains always match the carpet.

He doesn't know how often she waxes, or exactly what waxing entails.

He doesn't know that she has her own credit card, her own savings account, and a safe-deposit box.
I've got to say, that last one hits just a little bit different with hindsight. Always timely, however, are Phaedra's views on the importance of the homemaking arts. In this evocative passage, she describes the primal horror of an encounter with a woman tainted by an unimaginable curse:
A nice lady from another part of the country recently confessed to me that she doesn't know how to do any crafts. In fact, she said, she gets all nervous and antsy in crafts stores, because they're so full of things she doesn't understand. I laughed like I thought she was joking, but really, I felt bad for her. Imagine not knowing how to make all those cute objects that brighten up lives in the South! I shudder to think what the inside of her house looks like!
With that fable still ringing in my ears, we transition to the next section of the book: "Look Pretty." Phaedra reflects, "I am always shocked when I leave the South and encounter the enormous number of women who don't seem to understand how their clothes should fit." Now feels like an appropriate time to draw attention to the book's back cover, in which an open-mouthed Phaedra swivels her torso in such a way as to create a bulging protuberance across one half of her chest. In awe of her commitment to inclusivity, I now realize this could only have been an intentional choice to make herself seem more approachable to us northern oafs, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Phaedra goes on to inform us that, "personally, I prefer skirts and dresses over pants." However, although "high-waisted pants and pants with visible hem cuffs are quite elegant and ladylike," one should take care never to forget that "minimalism and menswear looks are just puzzling and not appealing to a Belle." I, too, must admit that I find menswear looks puzzling -- a girl? in boy clothes? I just can't make heads or tails of it! And this is far from the only contemporary fad that baffles the true Southern Belle. As Phaedra continues:
I've never understood the appeal of the natural look. It's so easy to improve your appearance; why wouldn't you take advantage of the many beauty aids available to you?
In a frankly unexpected dig against the ceramic arts, Phaedra notes that "unless you are a professional potter (and I don't think Southern Belles generally are), your nails need to be clean and filed." More generally, your physical proportions should remain mild and inobtrusive:
Ever since voluminous behinds became fashionable, I often see these lumpy, huge derrieres on women with legs as thin as a chicken's, and I think God would never put a rump roast on toothpicks, so why did you do that?
That's why I always caution my friends to pair their butt implants with a battery of leg implants, in order to really round out the overall contour of the body and mimic that structurally stable, God-given look. After all, as Phaedra quips: "'Knowledge is power' -- that's my motto." But this knowledge doesn’t come without a price; being as world-wise as Phaedra often requires direct confrontation with the atrocities of today's world. As she recounts, for example: "I was astonished to find out that not every woman possesses a lint roller." It's truly a tragedy to learn how the other half lives!
We are next informed that, "you have to have your ears pierced, but only one hole in each ear." The consequences for an infraction of this critical edict are left unvoiced, from which I can only assume that they are swift and merciless. Any self-respecting Southern Belle has a taste for the finer things in life, and Phaedra is no exception. As she remarks:
I love diamonds; I'd have a diamond duvet if I could afford it.
Because I am less fiscally endowed, I have had to settle for stuffing my duvet with assorted Swarovski crystals, at least for the time being. However, I'm eager to upgrade -- I can only imagine that the extra hardness of the diamonds will add a satisfying acupuncture affect to my nighttime regimen!
Phaedra moves on to fashion advice, and cautions the well-heeled Belle to remain conservative in her fashion choices. But don't worry -- there is a time and a place to let loose and express your more artistic side. Or, as Phaedra says, "something a little funky or ethnic may even be appropriate from time to time." To further illustrate this principle, she explains: "If I were going out West, for example, I might wear some turquoise bracelets."
But some things are a bridge too far! Any woman with a modicum of dignity would know never to be caught dead in "polar fleece," "a naughty-nurse costume," or "footed pajamas." We are also encouraged to carry around a hand fan -- "the elegant way to stay cool" -- as well as a "small leather-bound notebook for jotting down inspirations." I lose my train of thought for a moment, caught up in a daydream about the ingenious wonderings that must be contained within Phaedra's hallowed journal. But I'm brought back to reality by a declaration of "what's not in my purse," beginning with the stern pronouncement: "any kind of contraband substance."
Our pilgrimage to polite society continues with a comprehensive exploration of the monogram's social gravitas. As Phaedra intones, "I've even seen cars with a very discreet monogram on the driver's door." But with light must come darkness, and the next chapter bravely confronts an issue many others would fear to face: "Looking Like a Tramp" ("There, I came right out and said it," Phaedra breathlessly gasps below the harsh text of the passage's title). She gathers herself together and courageously reports, "some women look downright sleazy."
Alas -- even more tragically -- couture catastrophes are not restricted to those of legal majority. Phaedra heroically pulls back the curtain on a nationwide epidemic of wardrobe misconduct being perpetrated against society's most vulnerable:
I saw a picture not long ago of some hippies or hipsters or whatever you call them from some remote city. The parents looked the way you'd expect them to look, a little bit bedraggled, but the worst thing was they had this adorable little baby all done up in a black onesie. And as far as I could tell, it wasn't even Halloween!
How to combat this terrifying trend? Phaedra offers words of wisdom: "Little Southern Belles always look sweet and appropriately girlish." Specifically, we are encouraged to incorporate design elements like "tasteful, conservative rickrack." By way of further explanation, she clarifies that, "what they don't do is dress like Lady Gaga in dresses made of butchers' best cuts of beef." I'm disappointed to learn that my idea for an Etsy store selling bespoke meat-based children's clothing might be a nonstarter, but I suppose I appreciate our author giving it to me straight.
Another childcare commandment?
No costumes outside the house. Of course every little girl loves to play dress-up. But I truly dislike seeing Snow White or a fairy princess trailing along behind her mother at the Piggly Wiggly.
As she sits in her living room, most likely waiting for a man to come to her aid for some reason or another, Phaedra is struck by a sharp, blazing pain. As the flash of blinding torment subsides, she catches her breath and shakes her head wearily -- another costumed child has gone into a grocery store. Forgive their guardians, for they know not the harm their actions have caused to our author's delicate and genteel sensibilities.
But it does us no good to dwell on the darker side of life! Rather, we'll move right along into the book's final section, "Have Fun." However, this does not seem to be exactly the same kind of "fun" colloquially mentioned in mainstream circles. Rather, the Southern Belle defines fun with the principle, "everybody needs to know that you made an effort." For example, "if you're pouring punch into paper cups for a gaggle of seven-year-olds, put a spring of mint in it." My previous experiences in the general vicinity of children lead me to believe that at least 75% of the seven-year-olds in this group would respond to this elegant enhancement by dumping the punch out on the ground because it has a gross plant in it. Maybe that's part of the fun?
No analysis of Southern culture would be complete without a discussion of that most hallowed of pastimes -- college football. And although "only a really unusual woman watches football alone," it is imperative that a Southern Belle attend the social events associated with the on-season. What's more, she should take care to do with impeccable style. As Phaedra laments:
Sometimes I see pictures of women in store-bought football jerseys and I feel sorry. A store-bought jersey does nothing to flatter the feminine body.
As for the game itself, minimal understanding is required -- "Naturally a Belle knows how much men enjoy telling her things, so she isn't shy about asking questions." True to her generous spirit, however, Phaedra nevertheless provides a basic primer in the rudiments of the sport:
Basically each team is trying to get the ball through the tall H-shaped goalposts at the end of the field. […] The problem is that the ball can look awfully little from pretty much anywhere in the stands. There's no shame in watching the video replay to see what really just happened.
As a final tip, Phaedra suggests that "belles whose husbands have season tickets might even invest in matching linens and china." Our next unit of instruction concerns the arrival of a newborn bundle of joy; as we learn, "the birth of a baby is a big deal in a southern family." It's so interesting to learn all of these unique cultural details! I don't know if I've ever heard of another culture that places such importance on birth -- I'd love to get an anthropologist's take! There are also strict guidelines to which one must adhere regarding the naming of a debutante-in-training:
A Southern Belle's name:
-- is obviously feminine.
-- is two syllables or more (names like Ann or Joan seem abrupt, like so many Yankees).
-- is a real name, not a geographic feature like Sierra.
-- means something. Preferably something nice.
Once born and appropriately christened, children should be painstakingly shielded from the contaminating influences of the world at large. Phaedra explains that "pop culture is full of children behaving disrespectfully." Without the slightest suggestion of self-reflection, she goes on to declare that "besides, we think TV characters are basically tacky."
Phaedra reiterates a few of the courtship commandments mentioned previously, most concisely in the adage, "Belles don't date losers." And, as any suitor worth his salt should know, "a date with a Belle is no time for a boy to experiment with 'alternative' clothes or grooming either." Instead, a Southern Gentleman takes care to keep his language clean from distasteful or offensive language -- "For instance, why say 'liquor' when you can say 'adult refreshment'?"
As we near the end of the book, it seems only fitting that we take a few pages to cover the traditions and rituals associated with life coming to a close. Buttressed by her extensive knowledge of mortuary science, Phaedra instructs us:
Postmortem is no time to experiment with cosmetics. No one wants their sweet aunt Gertrude looking like some ashy Jezebel when she meets Jesus.
The passage concludes with the brassy observation, "we don't usually cremate in the South; we figure if we wanted to burn we'd just live recklessly and go to hell."
Before the book closes in earnest, Phaedra shares a few of her special, meticulously developed recipes. The most evocative of her culinary optimizations is a recipe for sweet tea, in which she thoughtfully informs us, "sweetness can be personalized by adding more water or ice to the tea."
The book's final pages contain an instrument designed to measure the effect of the preceding 252 pages on one's essential courtesies, charmingly titled "The Belle-O-Meter Quiz." As Phaedra explains:
So, ladies, how are you doing? I'm sure you've all been very attentive to my suggestions and are amazed by the results. You're probably totally used to a steady diet of compliments and flirtation and invitations. But here's a little quiz in case you feel the need to measure how far you've come.
If you'd like to take the full quiz, you can do so here. But if your busy Belle schedule doesn't permit you to devote that much time to something so self-indulgent, a few example questions are provided below:
Your routine greeting when you meet a new person is:
a. A surly glare.
b. "Hi."
c. "Well, hello! How are you today?"

If your gentleman friend brought you a corsage to wear on a date you would:
a. Put it in the refrigerator. Nobody wears corsages nowadays!
b. Pin it to your coat collar and check your coat.
c. Pin it in an unusual spot like your waist or behind your ear, after extracting one little blossom to put in his lapel.
The answer key informs us that answering mostly C's means that "you are a genuine Southern Belle." As Phaedra goes on to suggest, "maybe it's time to share your new skills with a friend and pass along this book. I hope it's been helpful to you." As a book hoarder of the highest order, I will have to skip that suggestion, but I am nevertheless thankful to move one step closer to self-actualization with the help of another Real Housewife. Until next time!
Upcoming plans in comment below!
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[OC] An insight in the world of football kits - 454 teams that play in the most unusual colors

I would like to start with a humble warning, that this will be a longer than "usual" post. Hopefully, it will compensate with the amount of information you might deem as interesting. :)

After finishing my first journey into the world of colors in football, by counting which teams play in red & black color combination, I decided to pursue my next curiosity:
How many football teams in the world play in unusual colors?
By this, I was thinking of teams which have a “main” color that is rarely used (grey, brown, purple, pink, etc.) or use an uncommon color combination.
Because of this coronavirus madness that is going on, I was able to spend more hours for this project than I planned, so in the end I was able to go into almost every single league in the world. I checked teams from over 400 divisions, of different tiers, from all continents. Although it’s not an official list, I tried to include as many clubs as possible on it.
Now, you're probably asking yourself "How do you measure how rare or how common is in football a color / combination of colors?"
An exact answer is impossible to give, so I started the study using my own experience as a football supporter, finally finding an useful purpose for the thousands of hours spent on watching football games. Therefore, I used a subjective point of view and excluded the color combinations that I, personally, considered to be the most common in football teams, namely:

The selection criteria for the teams were as follows:
  1. The team should have their main kit in colors which are different than the ones enumerated above;
  2. The team must have played or been associated with the colors for several seasons;
  3. The team should be currently active (dissolved clubs were not included).

But enough introduction, let’s jump straight into the list of the most uncommon kit colors in the world of football:

CATEGORY I - Teams with 1 main color

1. Purple (includes purple+white or purple+black) - [73 clubs]
Notable teams: Fiorentina, Anderlecht, Toulouse, Austria Vienna, Real Valladolid.
Other teams (by conference):
UEFA (photo gallery here) - CE Carroi (Andorra), SV Austria Salzburg, Austria Klagenfurt (Austria), K Beerschot VA (Belgium), Etar Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria), NK Dubrava (Croatia), Daventry Town FC (England), Istres (France), VfL Osnabrück, Erzgebirge Aue (Germany), Ujpest, Békéscsaba 1912, Kecskemet TE (Hungary), ACD Legnano, AS Ostia Mare, Gioiese, Casoria Calcio 1979 (Italy), St. Andrews FC (Malta), FC Argeș, ASU Politehnica Timișoara, ACS Poli Timișoara (Romania), FK Graficar (Serbia), KFC Komarno (Slovakia), NK Maribor (Slovenia), Real Jaen, Alameda de Osuna EF, CD Becerril, Atletico Guadalajara, CD Guadalajara, CD Liendo, CD Santurtzi, CD Palencia, La Baneza (Spain) (Spain), Afjet Afyonspor, Hacettepe, Orduspor (Turkey).
Rest of the World (photo gallery here):

2. Burgundy (includes burgundy+white, or similar shades: maroon, claret, dark red, wine red) - [74 clubs]
Notable teams: AC Torino, Metz, Sparta Prague, CFR Cluj.
Other teams (by conference):
UEFA (photo gallery here) - FK Sarajevo (Bosnia), Chelmsford City, FC Northampton Town (England), JJK Jyväskylä (Finland), Dynamo Berlin (Germany), AEL Larissa (Greece), UM Selfoss (Iceland), Galway United (Ireland), Reggina, Cittadella, Salernitana, Trapani, Livorno, US Pontedera, Arezzo, Reggio Audace FC, Fano, US Capistrello, AC Morrone, AC Locri, ASD Bovalinese, Borgosesia Calcio, Milano City FC, Union Clodiense Chioggia, USD Breno, Olympia Agnonese, ASD Travestere Calcio, AC Nardo, ASD Citta di Acireale (Italy), FC Džiugas Telšiai (Lithuania), Nardo FK (Norway), CD Fatima, Clube Oriental de Lisboa (Portugal), Rapid Bucharest, Viitorul Ianca (Romania), AC Libertas (San Marino), Heart of Midlothian FC, Stenhousemuir FC (Scotland), NK Triglav Kranj (Slovenia), Independiente de Vallecas, CD Cenicero (Spain), Hatayspor, İnegölspor, Bandirmaspor, Elazigspor (Turkey), Cardiff Metropolitan University FC (Wales).
Rest of the World (photo gallery here):

3. Orange (includes orange+white) - [54 clubs]
--- full photo gallery here ---

4. Pink (includes pink+black) - [7 clubs]

5. Cream - [3 clubs]
Universitario, Universidad Tecnica Cajamarca, Leon de Huanuco (all from Peru).

6. Grey - [5 clubs]

7. Brown (includes brown+white) - [7 clubs]

CATEGORY II - Teams with 2 main colors

1. Green + Red [34 clubs]
Notable teams: Lokomotiv Moscow, Maritimo Funchal
Other teams (full photo galllery here):

2. Green + Blue [16 clubs]
Notable teams: Seattle Sounders
Other teams (full photo gallery here):

3. Blue + Azure (or any other combination of two shades of blue) [28 clubs]
Notable teams: Zenit St. Petersburg, Sydney FC
Other teams (full photo gallery here):

4. Orange + Blue [24 clubs]
Notable teams: Montpellier, Istanbul Bașakșehir
Other teams (full photo gallery here):

5. Orange + Green [5 clubs]

6. Orange + Grey [2 clubs]
AFC Odorheiu Secuiesc (Romania), Forge FC (Canada).

7. Orange + Purple [1 club] - FK Armavir (Russia)

8. Purple + Yellow [6 clubs]

9. Claret + Yellow / Amber [4 clubs]

10. Claret + Gold [2 clubs]
Deportes Tolima (Colombia), Stellenbosch FC (South Africa)

11. Claret + Blue [22 clubs]
Notable teams: Aston Villa, Burnley, West Ham United, Trabzonspor
Other teams (full photo gallery here):

12. Claret + Green [1 club] - Ciudad de Plasencia CF (Spain)

13. Pink + Blue [5 clubs]

14. Brown + Blue [1 club] - Al-Kawkab FC (Saudi Arabia)

15. Brown + Yellow [2 clubs]
Trujillanos FC (Venezuela), Ohod Club (Saudi Arabia)

16. Brown + Amber [1 club] - Sutton United (England)

17. Grey + Red [4 clubs]
UEFA - Cremonese (Italy), Pembroke Athleta FC (Malta), Strommen IF (Norway), Club Esportiu Jupiter (Spain).

18. Grey + Blue [2 club]

19. Lime Green + Black [10 clubs]

20. Lime Green + White [1 club] - Pirata FC (Peru)

CATEGORY III - Teams with 3 main colors

1. Blue + Yellow + Red [3 clubs]

2. Blue + Yellow + White [1 club] - CA Bella Vista (Uruguay)

3. Blue + Yellow + Black [1 club] - Real Sport Clube (Portugal)

4. Blue + Green + White [1 club] - St. Louis FC (USA)

5. Blue + Orange + White [2 clubs]

6. Orange + Green + Black [1 club] - Venezia (Italy)

7. Orange + Green + White [1 club] - Deportivo Masaya (Nicaragua)

8. Green + Yellow + Black [1 club] - GKS Jastrzębie (Poland)

9. Green + Yellow + Red [4 clubs]

10. Green + Red + White [13 clubs]
Notable teams: Fluminense
Other teams:

11. Green + Red + Black [11 clubs]

12. Green + Black + White [2 clubs]

13. Green + Burgundy + White [2 clubs]

14. Red + Orange + Black [1 club] - Nagoya Grampus (Japan)

15. Red + Yellow + Black [8 clubs]

16. Claret + Blue + Yellow [1 club] - Madureira EC (Brazil)

17. Pink + Blue + White [1 club] - Yangon United (Myanmar)

Category IV - Teams with 4 main colors

1. Red + Yellow + Green + White [4 clubs]

2. Red + Yellow + Blue + White [1 club] - ASDC Verbania (Italy)

3. Red + Yellow + Blue + Black [1 club] - Coras de Nayarit (Mexico)

Here they are. 454 teams from across the entire the world, from Feroe Island to Papua New Guinea or the 4th Italian league. This should be about it. However, if there are by any chance teams that I might have missed, please feel free to leave a comment and I will add them on the list.
Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed it!
submitted by MrRobert44 to soccer [link] [comments]

Only Trump could lose to a dead man - The Nation

https://www.opb.org/news/article/federal-law-enforcement-unmarked-vehicles-portland-protesters/

It’s July 2020 and I’m about to turn 76, which, as far as I’m concerned, officially makes me an old man. So put up with my aging, wandering brain here, since (I swear) I wasn’t going to start this piece with Donald J. Trump, no matter his latest wild claims or bizarre statements, increasingly white nationalist and pro-Confederate positions (right down to the saving of the rebel Stars and Bars), not to speak of the Covid-19 slaughter of Americans he’s helped facilitate. But then I read about his demand for a “National Garden of American Heroes,” described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live” and, honestly, though this piece is officially about something else, I just can’t help myself. I had to start there.
Yes, everyone undoubtedly understands why Gen. George Patton (a Trump obsession) is to be in that garden, not to speak—given the president’s reelection politics—of evangelist Billy Graham, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and former president Ronald Reagan. Still, my guess is that most of you won’t have the faintest idea why Davy Crockett is included. I’m talking about the frontiersman and Indian killer who died at the Alamo. Given my age, though, I get Trump on this one and it gave me a rare laugh in a distinctly grim moment. That’s why I can’t resist explaining it, even though I guarantee you that the real subject of this piece is Osama bin Laden’s revenge.
After all, The Donald and I grew up in the 1950s in different parts of the same bustling city, New York. We both had TVs, just then flooding into homes nationwide, and I guarantee you that we both were riveted by the same hit show), TV’s first miniseries, Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, starring the actor Fess Parker. Its pop theme song swept the country. (“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free… Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three… Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”) The show also launched a kids’ craze for coonskin caps. (Who among us didn’t have, or at least yearn, for one?) So how could a statue of Fess Parker not be in the Garden of American Heroes?
And since Donald Trump is himself the essence of a bad novel (though he’s also become our reality), I just wonder: What about the Lone Ranger and Tonto, especially since there are no plans for Native Americans in his garden-to-be? They were a crew obviously put on Earth to be wiped out by white colonists, cowboys, and the cavalry in the kinds of Westerns both of us trooped to local movie theaters to see back then.
Or how about Hopalong Cassidy (Hoppy!), that other TV cowboy hero of our childhood? Doesn’t he deserve to ride in that garden next to another Trump military fixation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur? After all, I know that Hoppy was real and this is how: When I was seven or eight, my father had a friend who worked for Pathé News and I rode in front of the tripod of his camera on the roof of that company’s station wagon in a Macy’s Day Parade in my hometown. (I still have the photos.) Somewhere along the route, Hoppy himself—I kid you not!—rode by on his white horse Topper and, since I was atop that station wagon and we were at about the same height, he shook my hand!
And here’s what makes Cassidy especially appropriate for The Donald’s garden landscape: In the 1950s, he was the only cowboy hero who dressed all in black right up to his hat (normally, a sign of the bad guy) and, in the process, created a kid’s craze for black shirts (his version of a coonskin cap), breaking its past association with either Italian fascism or mourning and bringing it back into the culture big time. Tell me honestly, then, don’t you think a garden of “heroes” in the age of Trump should have a few black shirts and an increasingly Mussolini-ish look to it?
AN AMERICAN GARDEN OF BLOOD
So Donald Trump and I both lived through the same TV world in our childhoods and youth. We also lived through 9/11, still in the same city, although unlike him, I wasn’t practically a “first responder” at the site of those two downed towers, nor did I see all the Muslims celebrating across the river in Jersey City (as he claimed he did). Still, of one thing I’m convinced: Donald Trump is Osama bin Laden’s revenge.
Of course, that was all so long ago. The new century had barely begun. I was only 57 and The Donald 55 when those two hijacked planes suddenly slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in our hometown, a third one plunged into the Pentagon in Washington, and a fourth (probably heading for the White House or the Capitol) crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers fought back. Ever since, all you have to do is write “9/11” and everyone knows (or thinks they know) what it stands for. But on 9/11, there was, of course, no 9/11.
It was a breathtakingly unexpected event (although, to be fair, the CIA had previously briefed President George W. Bush on Osama bin Laden’s desire to hijack commercial planes for possible terror operations… oh, and there was that FBI agent in Phoenix who urged headquarters “to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools”). Still, the downing of those towers and part of the headquarters of the singularly victorious military of the ultimate superpower of the Cold War, the one already being called “indispensable” and “exceptional” in 2001, was beyond shocking.
Admittedly, there’s history to be remembered here. After all, it wasn’t actually that military or that Pentagon that downed the Soviet Union. In fact, when the American military fought the Soviets in major proxy wars on a planet where nuclear catastrophe was always just around the corner, it found itself remarkably stalemated in Korea and dismally on the losing side in Vietnam.
No, if you want to give credit where it’s due, offer it to the CIA and Washington’s Saudi allies, who invested staggering effort from 1979 to 1989 in funding, supporting, and training the Taliban’s predecessors, groups of Afghan Islamic extremists, to take down the Red Army in their country. Supporting them as well (though, as far as is known, probably not actually funded by the United States) was a rich young Saudi militant named, believe it or not, Osama bin Laden who, before that war even ended, had founded a group called “the Base” or Al Qaeda, and would, in 1996, declare “war” on the United States. Oh yes, and though it’s seldom mentioned now, when charges are flying fast and furious about the possible recent Russian funding of Taliban militants to kill at most a few Americans in Afghanistan, in those years the United States poured billions of dollars into… well, not to put it too subtly, empowering Islamic extremists to kill the soldiers of that other superpower by the thousands in… yes, Afghanistan. How’s that for shocking?
In 1989, the defeated Red Army finally limped home from what the Soviet Union’s leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, had taken to calling “the bleeding wound.” Only two years later, his country imploded and the United States was left alone, officially victorious, on Planet Earth (despite future fantasies of a horrific “axis of evil” to be faced), the first country in endless centuries of imperial rivalry to find itself so.
And what exactly did that triumphantly indispensable, exceptional superpower do but, a decade later, get dive-bombed by 19—just 19!—largely Saudi hijackers in the service of tiny Al Qaeda and that wizard of terror Osama bin Laden, whose urge was then to provoke Washington into a genuine war in the Muslim world and so create yet more Islamic extremists. And did he succeed? You bet—and in a fashion even he undoubtedly hadn’t conceived of in his wildest dreams. Think of 9/11, in fact, as the greatest example of “shock and awe” in this century.
Here’s a feeling I still remember from the weeks after the 9/11 attacks when I saw where the administration of President George W. Bush was heading toward the invasion of Afghanistan and then, God save us, Iraq; when I watched our mainstream media narrow its focus to this country as the most victimized yet dominating and exceptional place on Earth and Osama bin Laden as the ultimate evil on this planet; when I watched the never-ending memorial ceremonies begin and what soon came to be called “the war on terror” be launched with up to 60 (count ’em: 60!) countries in its gunsights, even if I didn’t yet know that, on 9/11 in the damaged Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had turned to an aide and said, “Go Massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not,” with a future invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq clearly in mind, though the Iraqi autocrat had no relation whatsoever to Al Qaeda (something you wouldn’t have known from the top officials in that administration in those years)—when, in short (though I didn’t yet think of it that way), I watched my own country become a “bleeding wound” that has never stopped flowing and, in Donald Trump’s Covid-19 moment, has turned into an American Garden of Blood.
Back in late September 2001, despite having been deeply involved decades earlier in the nightmare of the Vietnam War (and opposition to it), I could already sense war coming, and it occurred to me that this was going to be the worst period I had ever experienced. Now that we’re in Donald Trump’s America, with hundreds of Americans dying daily of a disease that a reasonably responsible president and administration could have brought under control, the 3,000 deaths of 9/11 are beginning to look like a drop in the casualty bucket. (By the beginning of April 2020, Covid-19 deaths in New York City alone had already surpassed those of 9/11 by 1,000.)
And I wasn’t wrong in that hunch about this being the worst period, was I? Mind you, it was just a gut feeling then, no more—even though it would soon enough lead, almost inexorably, to the creation of my website, TomDispatch, and its focus on what turned out to be America’s never-ending wars of this century.
A PASSPORT TO NOWHERE
Let’s get one thing straight, though. If, at that moment, you had told me that this country was going to launch a series of forever wars across what would turn out to be a significant part of the planet and fight them hopelessly for almost two decades or that, the more success proved absent in those same years, the more one administration after another would pour taxpayer dollars into the US military, the 17 “intelligence” agencies, and the rest of the national security state; that what’s still known, with no accuracy whatsoever, as the “defense budget” would years ago have become larger than those of the next seven best-funded military powers on the planet combined and, by 2020, the next 10, and would still be rising; that domestic investment, from infrastructure to pandemic preparedness, would be starved for money in those same years, and that just about no one would protest any of this in the halls of Congress or the streets of America, I would have thought you a madman—or rather, the world’s best writer of dystopian fiction.
If you had told me that, in those very years, of the two great powers of this century, China and the United States—one rising, the other ever more clearly falling—the latter would lose approximately 7,000 military personnel (and at least another 8,000 military contractors) and many more wounded, not to speak of those who came home with PTSD or, under the pressure of repeated deployments to the sorriest of conflicts, committed suicide, while the former, as The New York Times reported recently in the wake of a bloody (but not weaponized) clash on China’s disputed Himalayan border with India, would have lost next to none, I wouldn’t have believed you. (“In four decades,” as the Times wrote, “the People’s Liberation Army had lost just three soldiers to fighting abroad—troops who were killed in United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mali and South Sudan in 2016.”)
If you had told me that, facing a devastating virus, the leader of one would largely suppress it—admittedly using the most authoritarian of methods—while, in his search for reelection, the leader of the other, officially still the greatest power on the planet, would ignore it, open the economy, churches, schools, and institutions of every sort and watch it run wild without a plan in sight; if you had told me that fewer than 5,000 people would die in the first of those countries and more than 134,000 (and still counting) in the other, leaving the American dead of 9/11 and the bloody wars of this century in the shade, and that it was all only getting worse, I wouldn’t have believed you. Not for a second.
And if, above all, you had told me that, deep into those years of bleeding abroad and increasingly at home, a near majority of Americans would vote to (as I wrote during election campaign 2016) send a suicide bomber into the White House, I would have told you that, though Osama bin Laden had been killed by SEAL Team Six in Pakistan and buried in the briny deep in 2011, Donald Trump was his living revenge, and that bin Laden had won twice—once thanks to those ludicrous, murderous forever wars across much of the Muslim world, and the second time thanks to the pandemic from hell and the president from the same place.
It’s July 2020 and I’m about to turn 76, which, as far as I’m concerned, officially makes me an old man. So put up with my aging, wandering brain here, since (I swear) I wasn’t going to start this piece with Donald J. Trump, no matter his latest wild claims or bizarre statements, increasingly white nationalist and pro-Confederate positions (right down to the saving of the rebel Stars and Bars), not to speak of the Covid-19 slaughter of Americans he’s helped facilitate. But then I read about his demand for a “National Garden of American Heroes,” described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live” and, honestly, though this piece is officially about something else, I just can’t help myself. I had to start there.
Yes, everyone undoubtedly understands why Gen. George Patton (a Trump obsession) is to be in that garden, not to speak—given the president’s reelection politics—of evangelist Billy Graham, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and former president Ronald Reagan. Still, my guess is that most of you won’t have the faintest idea why Davy Crockett is included. I’m talking about the frontiersman and Indian killer who died at the Alamo. Given my age, though, I get Trump on this one and it gave me a rare laugh in a distinctly grim moment. That’s why I can’t resist explaining it, even though I guarantee you that the real subject of this piece is Osama bin Laden’s revenge.
After all, The Donald and I grew up in the 1950s in different parts of the same bustling city, New York. We both had TVs, just then flooding into homes nationwide, and I guarantee you that we both were riveted by the same hit show), TV’s first miniseries, Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, starring the actor Fess Parker. Its pop theme song swept the country. (“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free… Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three… Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”) The show also launched a kids’ craze for coonskin caps. (Who among us didn’t have, or at least yearn, for one?) So how could a statue of Fess Parker not be in the Garden of American Heroes?
And since Donald Trump is himself the essence of a bad novel (though he’s also become our reality), I just wonder: What about the Lone Ranger and Tonto, especially since there are no plans for Native Americans in his garden-to-be? They were a crew obviously put on Earth to be wiped out by white colonists, cowboys, and the cavalry in the kinds of Westerns both of us trooped to local movie theaters to see back then.
Or how about Hopalong Cassidy (Hoppy!), that other TV cowboy hero of our childhood? Doesn’t he deserve to ride in that garden next to another Trump military fixation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur? After all, I know that Hoppy was real and this is how: When I was seven or eight, my father had a friend who worked for Pathé News and I rode in front of the tripod of his camera on the roof of that company’s station wagon in a Macy’s Day Parade in my hometown. (I still have the photos.) Somewhere along the route, Hoppy himself—I kid you not!—rode by on his white horse Topper and, since I was atop that station wagon and we were at about the same height, he shook my hand!
And here’s what makes Cassidy especially appropriate for The Donald’s garden landscape: In the 1950s, he was the only cowboy hero who dressed all in black right up to his hat (normally, a sign of the bad guy) and, in the process, created a kid’s craze for black shirts (his version of a coonskin cap), breaking its past association with either Italian fascism or mourning and bringing it back into the culture big time. Tell me honestly, then, don’t you think a garden of “heroes” in the age of Trump should have a few black shirts and an increasingly Mussolini-ish look to it?
AN AMERICAN GARDEN OF BLOOD
So Donald Trump and I both lived through the same TV world in our childhoods and youth. We also lived through 9/11, still in the same city, although unlike him, I wasn’t practically a “first responder” at the site of those two downed towers, nor did I see all the Muslims celebrating across the river in Jersey City (as he claimed he did). Still, of one thing I’m convinced: Donald Trump is Osama bin Laden’s revenge.
Of course, that was all so long ago. The new century had barely begun. I was only 57 and The Donald 55 when those two hijacked planes suddenly slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in our hometown, a third one plunged into the Pentagon in Washington, and a fourth (probably heading for the White House or the Capitol) crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers fought back. Ever since, all you have to do is write “9/11” and everyone knows (or thinks they know) what it stands for. But on 9/11, there was, of course, no 9/11.
It was a breathtakingly unexpected event (although, to be fair, the CIA had previously briefed President George W. Bush on Osama bin Laden’s desire to hijack commercial planes for possible terror operations… oh, and there was that FBI agent in Phoenix who urged headquarters “to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools”). Still, the downing of those towers and part of the headquarters of the singularly victorious military of the ultimate superpower of the Cold War, the one already being called “indispensable” and “exceptional” in 2001, was beyond shocking.
Admittedly, there’s history to be remembered here. After all, it wasn’t actually that military or that Pentagon that downed the Soviet Union. In fact, when the American military fought the Soviets in major proxy wars on a planet where nuclear catastrophe was always just around the corner, it found itself remarkably stalemated in Korea and dismally on the losing side in Vietnam.
No, if you want to give credit where it’s due, offer it to the CIA and Washington’s Saudi allies, who invested staggering effort from 1979 to 1989 in funding, supporting, and training the Taliban’s predecessors, groups of Afghan Islamic extremists, to take down the Red Army in their country. Supporting them as well (though, as far as is known, probably not actually funded by the United States) was a rich young Saudi militant named, believe it or not, Osama bin Laden who, before that war even ended, had founded a group called “the Base” or Al Qaeda, and would, in 1996, declare “war” on the United States. Oh yes, and though it’s seldom mentioned now, when charges are flying fast and furious about the possible recent Russian funding of Taliban militants to kill at most a few Americans in Afghanistan, in those years the United States poured billions of dollars into… well, not to put it too subtly, empowering Islamic extremists to kill the soldiers of that other superpower by the thousands in… yes, Afghanistan. How’s that for shocking?
In 1989, the defeated Red Army finally limped home from what the Soviet Union’s leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, had taken to calling “the bleeding wound.” Only two years later, his country imploded and the United States was left alone, officially victorious, on Planet Earth (despite future fantasies of a horrific “axis of evil” to be faced), the first country in endless centuries of imperial rivalry to find itself so.
And what exactly did that triumphantly indispensable, exceptional superpower do but, a decade later, get dive-bombed by 19—just 19!—largely Saudi hijackers in the service of tiny Al Qaeda and that wizard of terror Osama bin Laden, whose urge was then to provoke Washington into a genuine war in the Muslim world and so create yet more Islamic extremists. And did he succeed? You bet—and in a fashion even he undoubtedly hadn’t conceived of in his wildest dreams. Think of 9/11, in fact, as the greatest example of “shock and awe” in this century.
Here’s a feeling I still remember from the weeks after the 9/11 attacks when I saw where the administration of President George W. Bush was heading toward the invasion of Afghanistan and then, God save us, Iraq; when I watched our mainstream media narrow its focus to this country as the most victimized yet dominating and exceptional place on Earth and Osama bin Laden as the ultimate evil on this planet; when I watched the never-ending memorial ceremonies begin and what soon came to be called “the war on terror” be launched with up to 60 (count ’em: 60!) countries in its gunsights, even if I didn’t yet know that, on 9/11 in the damaged Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had turned to an aide and said, “Go Massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not,” with a future invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq clearly in mind, though the Iraqi autocrat had no relation whatsoever to Al Qaeda (something you wouldn’t have known from the top officials in that administration in those years)—when, in short (though I didn’t yet think of it that way), I watched my own country become a “bleeding wound” that has never stopped flowing and, in Donald Trump’s Covid-19 moment, has turned into an American Garden of Blood.
Back in late September 2001, despite having been deeply involved decades earlier in the nightmare of the Vietnam War (and opposition to it), I could already sense war coming, and it occurred to me that this was going to be the worst period I had ever experienced. Now that we’re in Donald Trump’s America, with hundreds of Americans dying daily of a disease that a reasonably responsible president and administration could have brought under control, the 3,000 deaths of 9/11 are beginning to look like a drop in the casualty bucket. (By the beginning of April 2020, Covid-19 deaths in New York City alone had already surpassed those of 9/11 by 1,000.)
And I wasn’t wrong in that hunch about this being the worst period, was I? Mind you, it was just a gut feeling then, no more—even though it would soon enough lead, almost inexorably, to the creation of my website, TomDispatch, and its focus on what turned out to be America’s never-ending wars of this century.
A PASSPORT TO NOWHERE
Let’s get one thing straight, though. If, at that moment, you had told me that this country was going to launch a series of forever wars across what would turn out to be a significant part of the planet and fight them hopelessly for almost two decades or that, the more success proved absent in those same years, the more one administration after another would pour taxpayer dollars into the US military, the 17 “intelligence” agencies, and the rest of the national security state; that what’s still known, with no accuracy whatsoever, as the “defense budget” would years ago have become larger than those of the next seven best-funded military powers on the planet combined and, by 2020, the next 10, and would still be rising; that domestic investment, from infrastructure to pandemic preparedness, would be starved for money in those same years, and that just about no one would protest any of this in the halls of Congress or the streets of America, I would have thought you a madman—or rather, the world’s best writer of dystopian fiction.
If you had told me that, in those very years, of the two great powers of this century, China and the United States—one rising, the other ever more clearly falling—the latter would lose approximately 7,000 military personnel (and at least another 8,000 military contractors) and many more wounded, not to speak of those who came home with PTSD or, under the pressure of repeated deployments to the sorriest of conflicts, committed suicide, while the former, as The New York Times reported recently in the wake of a bloody (but not weaponized) clash on China’s disputed Himalayan border with India, would have lost next to none, I wouldn’t have believed you. (“In four decades,” as the Times wrote, “the People’s Liberation Army had lost just three soldiers to fighting abroad—troops who were killed in United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mali and South Sudan in 2016.”)
If you had told me that, facing a devastating virus, the leader of one would largely suppress it—admittedly using the most authoritarian of methods—while, in his search for reelection, the leader of the other, officially still the greatest power on the planet, would ignore it, open the economy, churches, schools, and institutions of every sort and watch it run wild without a plan in sight; if you had told me that fewer than 5,000 people would die in the first of those countries and more than 134,000 (and still counting) in the other, leaving the American dead of 9/11 and the bloody wars of this century in the shade, and that it was all only getting worse, I wouldn’t have believed you. Not for a second.
And if, above all, you had told me that, deep into those years of bleeding abroad and increasingly at home, a near majority of Americans would vote to (as I wrote during election campaign 2016) send a suicide bomber into the White House, I would have told you that, though Osama bin Laden had been killed by SEAL Team Six in Pakistan and buried in the briny deep in 2011, Donald Trump was his living revenge, and that bin Laden had won twice—once thanks to those ludicrous, murderous forever wars across much of the Muslim world, and the second time thanks to the pandemic from hell and the president from the same place.
Imagine if, in 1991 when the Soviet Union imploded, I had told you that in 2020, not quite three decades distant, an American passport would be, more or less literally, a document for a trip to nowhere. Talk about a bleeding, or even hemorrhaging, wound! In the years to come, I think it will be ever more obvious that Donald Trump was, in fact, proof of Osama bin Laden’s success, of the fact that 9/11 and those 19 hijackers were all that was needed to produce the world of his dreams and the wounds that went with it.
And if, by the way, you wondered why I wrote this piece with the longest sentences I could possibly create, the answer is simple enough: two decades into the 21st century, I think it should be obvious that Americans have been given an exceptionally, perhaps even indispensably long sentence without parole on a planet already heating to the boiling point, 94,000,000 miles from the sun.
No, this truly won’t be “the American century,” but I doubt it will be the Chinese one either. By the time this crew is done, it may be nobody’s century. Thanks a heap, Osama! This is your bleeding wound, too.
submitted by beamin1 to UnmoderatedPolitics [link] [comments]

[Game Preview] Week 16 - Philadelphia Eagles(7-7) vs. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)

Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) vs Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
The Eagles welcome the Cowboys to the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field with the division on the line. A win for Eagles keeps their playoffs hopes alive for another week, while a win for the Cowboys would cliche the division. While it looked the Cowboys hit their stride last week against a tough Rams team, the Eagles struggled against the 3-11 Redskins. The Eagles will need to play better this week week especially on the defensive side of the ball where Jim Schwartz’s Cover-1 scheme has struggled in shutting down opponents passing attacks. If the Eagles can’t put together a complete game from the offense and defense, they could see themselves playing a meaningless game next week and some of the coaching staff could be looking for the jobs in the offseason. Go Birds!
General Information
Posting Rules and Guidelines
Remember to Join us on Discord during the game!
New to the Eagles? Take a look at our New Fan Page!
Date
Sunday, December 22nd, 2019
Game Time Game Location
4:25 PM - Eastern Lincoln Financial Field
3:25 PM - Central 1020 Pattison Ave
2:25 PM - Mountain Philadelphia, PA 19148
1:25 PM - Pacific Wikipedia - Map
Weather Forecast
Stadium Type: Open Air
Surface: Grass
Temperature: 42°F
Feels Like: 39°F
Forecast: Partly Cloudy. Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
Chance of Precipitation: 0%
Cloud Coverage: 32%
Wind: Southwest 4 MPH
Betting Odds
Oddsshark Information
Favorite/Opening Line: Dalaas -1.5
OveUnder: 49
Record VS. Spread: Eagles 5-9, Cowboys 8-6
Where to Watch on TV
FOX will broadcast Sunday’s game to a national audience. Joe Buck will handle the play-by-play duties and Troy Aikman will provide analysis. Erin Andrews will report from the sideline.
TV Map - Week 16 TV Coverage Map
Internet Streams
NFL Streams - Look here 30 minutes before the game for Streams
Radio Streams
Disclaimer: Subscription Based Official NFL Radio Streams available via TuneIn
List of Eagles Radio network member stations with internet broadcast availability
Radio.com 94.1 Desktop Streaming
Listen to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick
Calling the game on 94WIP and the Eagles Radio Network will be Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest-tenured play-by-play announcer (42nd season). Joining Reese in the radio booth will be former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick, while Howard Eskin will report from the sidelines.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA WIP-FM 94.1 FM and 610 AM
Allentown, PA WCTO-FM 96.1 FM
Atlantic City/South Jersey WENJ-FM 97.3 FM
Levittown, PA WBCB-AM 1490 AM
Northumberland, PA WEGH-FM 107.3 FM
Pottsville, PA WPPA-AM 1360 AM
Reading, PA WEEU-AM 830 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA WEJL-FM 96.1 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WEJL-AM 630 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WBAX-AM 1240 AM
Williamsport, PA WBZD-FM 93.3 FM
Wilmington, DE WDEL-FM/AM 101.7 FM
York/LancasteHarrisburg, PA WSOX-FM 96.1 FM
Philadelphia Spanish Radio
Rickie Ricardo, Macu Berral and Gus Salazar will handle the broadcast in Spanish on Mega 105.7 FM in Philadelphia and the Eagles Spanish Radio Network.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA LA MEGA 105.7 FM
Allentown, PA WSAN 1470 AM
Atlantic City, NJ WIBG 1020 AM; 101.3 FM
Dallas Radio
Dallas Cowboys Radio Network Brad Sham returns for his 41st season in the Dallas Cowboys radio booth. Beloved by Cowboys fans, Sham's award winning play-by-play has provided the soundtrack to many of the most memorable moments in Dallas Cowboys history. Babe Laufenberg returns as the Network's full-time color analyst. A fixture on the sideline, veteran reporter Kristi Scales provides instant updates from the field.
National Radio
SportsUSA will broadcast the game to a national audience with Josh Appel on play-by-play and Brandon Noble providing analysis.
Satellite Radio
Station Eagles Channel Cowboys Channel
Sirius Radio SIRI 83 (Internet 825) SIRI 121 (Internet 808)
XM Radio XM 226 (Internet 825) XM 226 (Internet 808)
Sirius XM Radio SXM 226 (Internet 825) SXM 381 (Internet 808)
Eagles Social Media Cowboys Social Media
Website Website
Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram
Snapchat: Eagles Snapchat: cowboys
NFC East Standings
NFC EAST Record PCT Home Road Div Conf PF PA Net Pts Streak
Eagles 7-7 .500 4-3 3-4 4-0 6-4 378 288 +90 1W
Cowboys 7-7 .500 4-3 3-4 3-1 5-5 334 328 +6 2W
Giants 3-11 .214 2-5 1-6 1-3 2-8 283 382 -99 W1
Redskins 3-11 .214 1-5 2-5 0-4 2-8 215 347 -132 2L
Series Information
The Dallas Cowboys lead the Philadelphia Eagles (69-52)
Series History
Head to Head Box Scores
First Game Played
September 30th, 1960 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. Dallas Cowboys 25 - Philadelphia Eagles 27
Points Leader
The Dallas Cowboys lead the Philadelphia Eagles (2641-2384)
Coaches Record
Doug Pederson: 2-5 against the Cowboys
Jason Garrett: 11-8 against Eagles
Coaches Head to Head
Doug Pederson vs Jason Garrett: Garrett leads 5-2
Quarterback Record
Carson Wentz: Against Cowboys: 2-4
Dak Prescott: Against Eagles: 5-2
Quarterbacks Head to Head
Carson Wentz vs Dak Prescott: Prescott leads 4-2
Records per Stadium
Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Cowboys lead the Eagles: 10-6
Record @ AT&T Stadium: Series tied: 6-6
Rankings and Last Meeting Information
AP Pro 32 Ranking
Eagles No. 12 - Cowboys No. 15
2019 Record
Eagles: 7-7
Cowboys 7-7
Last 10 Meetings
Date Winner Loser Score
10/20/2019 Cowboys Eagles 37-10
12/9/2018 Cowboys Eagles 29-23
11/11/2018 Cowboys Eagles 27-20
12/31/2017 Cowboys Eagles 6-0
11/19/2017 Eagles Cowboys 37-9
1/1/2017 Eagles Cowboys 27-13
10/30/2016 Cowboys Eagles 29-23
11/8/2015 Eagles Cowboys 33-27
9/20/2015 Cowboys Eagles 20-10
12/14/2014 Cowboys Eagles 38-27
Injury Reports Depth Charts
Eagles Eagles
Cowboys Cowboys
2019 “Expert” Picks
Week 16 - "Expert" Picks
2019 Team Stats
Eagles Season Stats
Cowboys Season Stats
2019 Stats (Starters/Leaders)
Passing
Name CMP ATT PCT YDS TD INT RAT
Wentz 334 527 63.4% 3421 25 7 92.3
Prescott 340 519 65.5% 4334 26 11 99.3
Rushing
Name ATT YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Sanders 150 687 49.1 4.6 2
Elliott 270 1188 84.9 4.4 11
Receiving
Name REC YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Ertz 84 888 63.4 10.1 6
Cooper 71 1073 76.6 15.1 8
Sacks
Name Sacks Team Total
Graham 7.5 37
Quinn 9.5 36
Tackles
Name Total Solo Assist Sacks
McLeod 71 42 29 1.0
Smith 125 78 47 2.5
Interceptions
Name Ints Team Total
Gerry/McLeod/Darby 2 10
Woods/Lewis 2 6
Punting
Name ATT YDS LONG AVG NET IN 20 TB BP
Johnston 22 1039 60 47.2 44.3 12 0 0
Jones 60 1780 61 47.1 42.9 24 4 0
Kicking
Name ATT MADE % LONG PAT
Elliot 21 19 90.5% 53 29/31
Forbath 3 3 100% 50 5/5
Kick Returns
Name ATT YDS AVG LONG TD
Sanders 14 314 22.4 67 0
Pollard 10 147 14.7 28 0
Punt Returns :-|:-:|:-:|:-:|:-:|:-:|:-: Name|RET|YDS|AVG|LONG|TD|FC Scott|6|44|7.2|13|0|4 Austin|14|79|5.6|15|0|9
League Rankings 2019
Offense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Cowboys Stat Cowboys Rank
Total Offense 352.9 15th(t) 434.0 1st
Rush Offense 121.4 11th 134.0 6th
Pass Offense 231.5 16th 300.0 2nd
Points Per Game 23.9 12th 27.0 5th(t)
3rd-Down Offense 47.0% 2nd 48.6% 1st
4th-Down Offense 33.3% 28th(t) 38.5% 23rd(t)
Red Zone Offense (TD%) 66.0% 5th 59.2% 13th
Defense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Cowboys Stat Cowboys Rank
Total Defense 329.2 11th 323.6 7th
Rush Defense 90.4 3rd 103.6 12th
Pass Defense 238.8 18th 220.0 8th
Points Per Game 23.4 16th 20.6 12th
3rd-Down Defense 35.4% 9th(t) 34.3% 4th
4th-Down Defense 66.7% 30th(t) 55.6% 22nd(t)
Red Zone Defense (TD%) 61.5% 24th 52.0% 9th(t)
Team
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Cowboys Stat Cowboys Rank
Turnover Diff. -6 12th(t) -1 16th
Penalty Per Game 6.4 8th(t) 6.9 17th(t)
Penalty Yards Per Game 53.6 8th 64.8 25th(t)
Connections
Eagles RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a native of Haltom, TX and went to Haltom High School. Vaitai played collegiately at TCU in Fort Worth, TX
Eagles S Jalen Mills was born in Dallas and grew up in DeSoto, TX and went to Desoto High School.
Cowboys Safeties Coach Greg Jackson played for the Eagles during the 1994-95 season.
Cowboys DT Justin Hamilton played one season for the Eagles in 2017.
Cowboys PS QB Clayton Thorston was drafted in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL draft, but was released during final cuts.
Cowboys Director of Pro Scouting Judd Garrett was selected in the 12th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles but was released before the season began.
Cowboys Assistant Director of Video Stephen Gagliardino began his NFL career in 1995 as a ball boy with the Philadelphia Eagles when he was 16 years old, working training camp and game days at Veterans Stadium. He did that for four seasons before moving over to the Eagles video department in 1999, where he worked full time as an intern for three seasons (1999-2001).
Many Cowboys fans were born and raised in the Greater Philadelphia Area, however have no ties to Dallas nor have ever been to the city.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was born in Abington, PA, located roughly 15 miles north of Philadelphia
Eagles DT Fletcher Cox and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott played together at Mississippi State University when Prescott was a red shirt freshman.
Eagles OT Lane Johnson is from Groveton, TX and has family who are Cowboys fans including his grandmother who was told “Shut up, if you want to see 75” while she was rooting for the Cowboys.
2020 Pro Bowlers
Eagles Cowboys
DT Fletcher Cox (Starter) OT Tyron Smith (starter)
OG Brandon Brooks (Starter) RB Ezekiel Elliott
TE Zach Ertz G Zack Martin (starter)
C Jason Kelce (Starter) C Travis Fredrick
LS Rick Lavato (Starter)
General
Referee: Tony Corrente
Since 2000, Philadelphia has produced a 21-18 regular-season record vs. Dallas, which marks the highest winning percentage (.538) by an NFC East team against the Cowboys in that span.
Since 2016 (under Doug Pederson), the Eagles are 8-3 (.727) at home against NFC East opponents.
Including playoffs, Philadelphia has the 4th-best home winning percentage (.727, 24-9) in the NFL since 2016, trailing only New England (.857, 30-5) and Minnesota (.774, 24-7).
The Eagles have won 7 of their last 10 contests (.700) at Lincoln Financial Field.
Miles Sanders holds the Eagles rookie records in single-season scrimmage yards (1,120), previously held by DeSean Jackson (1,008 in 2008) and single-season rushing yards (687), previously held by LeSean McCoy (637 in 2009).
Carson Wentz has thrown a TD in 17 consecutive regular-season games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL.
hiladelphia owns the 2nd-best third-down percentage, converting at a 47.0% clip, trailing only Dallas (48.6%).
The Eagles are allowing 90.4 rush yards per game, ranking 3rd in the NFL, behind Tampa Bay (73.3) and NYJ (88.8).
Philadelphia is tied with Houston for the 5th-best red zone percentage in the NFL (65.96%), trailing only Tennessee (73.17%), Green Bay (68.89%), Baltimore (68.42%) and Minnesota (66.00%). The Eagles have converted either a TD or FG on 95.74% (45/47) of their red zone drives this season, which is the highest percentage in the NFL.
The Eagles defense has forced a 3-and-out on 27.4% (45/164) of opponent possessions this season, which is tied with Chicago for the highest percentage in the league.
Among NFL TEs this season, Zach Ertz ranks 2nd in receptions (84), behind Travis Kelce (86) and 3rd in receiving yards (888), behind Kelce (1,131) and Darren Waller (1,001).
Brandon Graham has a team-leading 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss this season.
Since Week 13, Carson Wentz leads the NFL in both red zone passing TDs (8) and third-down passing TDs (5).
Draft Picks
Eagles Cowboys
OT Andre Dillard DT Trysten Hill
RB Miles Sanders OG Connor McGovern
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside RB Tony Pollard
WR Shareff Miller CB Michael Jackson
QB Clayton Thorson DE Joe Jackson
S Donovan Wilson
RB Mike Weber
DE Jalen Jelks
Notable Offseason Additions
Eagles Cowboys
WR Desean Jackson WR Randall Cobb
DT Malik Jackson DE Kerry Hyder
DE Vinny Curry TE Jason Witten
S Andrew Sendejo DT Christian Covington
LB Zach Brown DE Robert Quinn
DT Hassan Ridgeway
QB Josh McCown
RB Jay Ajayi
Notable Off-season Departures
Eagles Cowboys
QB “Big Dick” Nick Foles WR Cole Beasley
DE Michael Bennett WR Cole Beasley
DE Chris Long RB Rod Smith
S Chris Maragos WR Terrance Williams
RB Jay Ajayi DT David Irving
RB Josh Adams TE Geoff Swaim
RB Wendell Smallwood DE Taco Charlton
WR Jordan Matthews OLB Damien Wilson
DT Haloti Ngata
Milestones
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (30) needs 1 TD to move up to 11th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list all-time tying WR Jack Ferrante and Brent Celek and he needs two TDs to move up to 10th all-time tying WR Ben Hawkins.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (5193) needs 171 yards to most up to 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving yards list passing Eagles TE/HB Bobby Watson.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (34) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie for 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list tying Jeremy Maclin.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (6271) needs 194 yards to move up to 3rd on the Eagles all-time receiving yard list to moving ahead of Mike Quick.
Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins's (4) needs 1 more Interception for a TD to tie CB Eric Allen (5) for most Interceptions for a TD by an Eagles player.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (78) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie with Dallas QB Craig Morton for 6th on the Cowboys all-time passing TD list.
Pro Football Focus Matchup Charts courtesy of PFF Edge (join.profootballfocus.com/edge/)
WDB Matchups (CAPS = expected shadow coverage)
Stats to Know
Randall Cobb
Of all qualifying WRs, there is only one other receiver--including RBs and TEs--more exclusively utilized in the Slot than Dallas WR Randall Cobb (91.5% of snaps). There is also only one more purely Slot receiver with a lower target percentage than Cobb (16.0%). When looking at overall target share across Cowboys players, Cobb sits at about 14% target share, as compared to Cooper (21%), Gallup (19%), Witten (15%), Elliott (12%), and Jarwin (8%). Cobb is 2nd among Cowboys in Yards After Catch per Reception (6.0) to Zeke (8.1). He is also tied for 43rd among all qualifying WRs in PFF Receiving Grade (71.1).
Matchups to Watch
Cowboys Pass Defense vs Eagles Passing Attack
The Eagles patchwork passing offense is the key matchup for Philly in this contest. No one should expect the Eagles revolving door of suck in the secondary to hold up well against one of the most talented and efficient passing attacks in the NFL. Cooper, Cobb, and Gallup will be too much for Philadelphia to handle – and that doesn’t include Jarwin and Zeke. The most logical path for the Eagles to win this game is to keep pace and outscore Dallas in a shootout. Dallas will enter Sunday’s contest with the 22nd ranked defense by DVOA – 23rd passing, 18th against the run – which presents an opportunity for the beleaguered Eagles passing attack. Fumbles aside, Carson Wentz had a pretty good game against the Redskins and a good second half against the Giants to end the 3 game skid they were on previously. The Cowboys defense is better than their previous two opponents but not by much. This is a secondary that can be exploited, especially at safety. Additionally, the Cowboys will likely be without LVE again. Sean Lee is a capable back up now and shouldn’t be ignored, but that is a hit the Cowboys have had to deal with on the season. This receiving group is bottom of the barrel and isn’t improving any time soon. JJAW is still a limited receiver they need to lean on; maybe the Eagles should have given him reps early in the season so he could be more ready now? Greg Ward has been a decent contributor to the offense all things considered. Then what? Alshon is out. Agholor will probably be out, fortunately. Desean has been out. The receivers the Eagles have at their disposal is bleak. This is a passing attack that flows through the TEs and RBs. While they have had some success the last two games, they’ll need to be creative in their approach to avoid being predictable as it is not a sustainable path to victory. Teams have shown a willingness to do all they can to eliminate Philly’s best receiver, Ertz, and Dallas is no different. The Eagles need to leave everything out on the field from a coaching and execution standpoint to take back the East.
Cowboys Passing Offense vs. Eagles “Secondary”
Despite perception, the Eagles still have a very good pass rush despite challenges in that area this year. They just don’t have a secondary that can a) cover and b) cover enough to force QBs to hold onto the ball long enough for the pass rush to get home. What has been the theme against the Eagles secondary in their last 3 games? The answer would be a quick time to throw from the opposing QBs. The Eagles cannot play man coverage as they don’t have the personnel to do it. They struggle with single high coverage as they don’t really have good enough safeties to cover. The answer is, and always was, through against this substandard secondary quickly to defeat the rush… plays will be made. This doesn’t change on Sunday with the strong receiving group the Cowboys enter Sunday with, Dak shoulder injury be damned. Amari Cooper has done nothing but roast Philadelphia since he became a Cowboy. Cobb is a quality slot receiver and Gallup is a young receiver that is rapidly improving on a weekly basis. All 3 of these receivers get open against man and zone coverage. All 3 of these receivers are able to consistently make plays on the ball that Philly absolutely cannot. In addition to the 3 receivers, the Cowboys still have Zeke out of the backfield to go along with the plodding, but reliable Jason Witten. Blake Jarwin is growing into a good tight end that is a capable blocker and receiver. Simply put, the Cowboys have a pretty loaded offensive core for Dak to throw to. This is a matchup that leans strongly the Cowboys way. Any stops or turnovers generated by the secondary will go a long way to determining the winner of this contest. Lastly, in terms of Dak’s injury, his effectiveness will be key to Dallas’s success on Sunday. It’s just hard to project what they’ll look like at this point in time.
Cowboys Offensive Line vs Eagles Defensive Front
The Cowboys handily won in the trenches in this area in their first matchup this year. The Eagles defensive front is playing better at this point of the season than they were earlier in year which should help, but the pass rush isn’t as prolific as it once was. The first matchup had the Eagles missing Nigel Bradham and a few days removed from cutting Zach Brown; Dallas took every opportunity to pound the Eagles substandard linebacking room into the dirt. This is a strength v. strength matchup that each side will have wins, but the winner will likely help win the war. The good news is Nigel Bradham will be available Sunday. The bad news: KGH is done for the year and Derek Barnett is unlikely to play. Losing Barnett hurts the defensive line but they are deeper there than they are at LB. Nate Gerry is certainly a player, just not a good one. TJ Edwards is everyone’s favorite good player that’s actually bad. Bradham alone makes a big difference, but guys around him need to step up in a big way. The defensive line needs to control the line of scrimmage and keep Dallas out of favorable looks. This is a team that has proven they’ll turtle up in less than advantageous situations; they cannot make it easy for them. Last time, Zeke had his way on the Eagles. That can’t happen this week. There are already more favorable matchups for Dallas to exploit on the backend for the defensive line to get run over or fail to pressure Dak.
Special thanks to MikeTysonChicken and abenyishay for their help in creating this Game Preview.
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New Jersey soon followed, officially taking its first wager June 14. A total of seven states had legal sports betting markets by the end of 2018. That number climbed to 15 in 2019. Below we take a look at the monthly sports betting handle and hold for each, along with the key facts to know in each market. New Jersey Sports Betting: NJ Sportsbook Sites, Apps & Promos. If you are physically in New Jersey then you can legally bet online! There are a number of online sportsbooks you can join, so take a look at the list below and choose your favorite. NJ sports betting kicked off on June 14, 2018 with two retail sportsbooks in the state. That number quickly exploded and the market now boasts 17 sportsbook apps and 10 retail books at Atlantic City casinos and North Jersey racinos.. Monmouth Park was the first to open its betting windows, followed immediately by Borgata in Atlantic City.. DraftKings Sportsbook app launched statewide on Aug. 6 New Jersey, where Spanky has lived his entire life, was one of the first states to do so, and in less than a year it has experienced a gold rush. In the 1990s, sports betting was moving to the The impetus for New Jersey’s challenge of federal law is the money to be earned. “In the United States today, we have an estimated $150 billion being wagered on sports betting.

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