PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — The verbal barbs were flying, both personally and professionally, covering everything from purple sweater vests to where some of the 94WIP hosts pick up their clothes. But there was one central theme coursing through the eight participants at the Great Birds Debate Thursday afternoon at Chickie & Pete’s in South Philadelphia, and that was everyone on the dias were passionate about the Eagles.
Reigning and defending Great Debate champ Josh Innes came out wearing a championship belt, and proclaimed immediately, “To be the man, you have to beat the man!” and then proceded to attack Howard Eskin’s choice of attire, a purple sweater vest, using a Barney reference. Late substitute Hollis Thomas made some very salient points, with his agenda being a beefed up defense.
There were some on the Marcus Mariota bandwagon, like Michael Barkann and Al Morganti, and those vehemently against it, like Glen Macnow, Ike Reese, who wore a Nick Foles jersey, Eskin and Thomas. Innes, however, walked a fine line, hinting that the Mariota question is a great unknown, dependent on what the Eagles have to give up to get him.
The argument for those in favor was to take a chance, “Maybe I missed something, I missed a lot of parades here,” Morganti said. “Maybe I missed it, but they haven’t resigned Nick Foles; take a chance to win with a quarterback like Marcus Mariota. Take the risk.”
LISTEN: The 8th Annual Great Birds Debate
Barkann has gone all in with Chip Kelly, saying “There’s only one star on the Philadelphia Eagles and it’s Chip Kelly. He’s the star of the teamn; that’s the deal. As Chip goes the Eagles go.”
Others, like Macnow, broached important history when going all in for one player, “I believe in Foles,” he said. “The fools that want to risk taking Mariota must be Cowboys’ fans, selling out for an uncertain future. For the Mariota droolers, the Redskins traded the farm for Robert Griffin III and look where it got them.”
Everyone on the panel seemed to agree that demoting general manager Howie Roseman in favor of giving total control to Kelly was a wise choice. “I do think Howie got what he deserved, because the Eagles feel Chip Kelly can do a better job,” Innes said. Eskin chimed in and said Kelly was always making the decisions, though Eagles’ Insider Dave Spadaro said something that perked up more than a few antennas, when he said, “Howie Roseman ran the draft,” hinting that it was Roseman, not Kelly, who made what could turn out to be a disastrous choise in 2014 first-round pick Marcus Smith.
The Best Lines
Macnow: “Big Balls Kelly suffered some shrinkage” when it came to goal line plays.
Eskin to Innes: “Josh you don’t like my clothing, but I don’t have to stop at the Goodwill box every day and then steal the clothes out of the box and then go to the radio station. My clothes don’t come from a Goodwill bin which you steal from. I go out and dress like somebody with a little bit of class.”
Innes to Eskin: “You look like Barney the dinosaur in a peep co-created; you look like the Easter bunny threw up and I’m coming for you and I’m coming for the repeat.”
Innes to Eskin: “You make Kanye West seem self aware.”
Angelo Cataldi to Innes: “If you win this year we’ll get you a belt that actually fits around your big belly.”
Morganti to Innes: “Is there a limit to the number of times you can say you won the debate last year?”
Thomas: “It wasn’t the amount of points we were scoring—it was the amount of points we were giving up” as to why the Eagles should go defense instead of going after Mariota.
Innes: “Dallas was a better football team last year. They won the divison and they won a playoff game. I don’t live in fantasy land. I live in reality. The better team was the Dallas Cowboys.”