by Mark Mullany

December is almost here. For many of us, this means we get to start indulging in our materialistic side. We go to Target, Best Buy or the King of Prussia Mall to buy gifts for all of our friends and family. While shopping, we discover that we don’t know our relatives or friends as well as we thought and now buying a gift seems harder than getting A’s on all of our finals. However, there is an easy part to the holiday season: making a wish list.

This year, I have no desire for the latest iPhone and I am not interested in an Andrew Bynum jersey, especially because he has played as many NBA games this season as I have. This Christmas, I have made a wish list of all the things I would like to see happen in sports before the year ends. Because I am in the giving spirit, I will share my list with you all:


1) Andy Reid Resigning

I’ve always liked Andy Reid. Even though he lives and dies by the pass, he amassed more regular season and playoff wins than any other Eagles head coach. He led the Eagles to five NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl game. Every year, Reid kept Eagles fans thinking they were one or two moves away from winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl.

It’s been a good run, but everything has to come to an end. In his 14th season, Reid has still not come through on winning the “Big One.” Most NFL head coaches do not last 14 years, especially when they come up short every season. Also, the Eagles finished 8-8 in the 2011 season, and this year does not look as if it will end much better. All signs point to the end of the Andy Reid era.

Since his days are numbered, he might as well resign at the end of the season. Reid has had a tough last couple of years in Philadelphia. In his work life, the Eagles underperformed and in his personal life, his son passed away last summer. Unfortunately, things are not looking up.

I would prefer Reid to resign gracefully, rather than have Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie fire him for never achieving what we Eagles fans always expected: a Super Bowl.


2) The Return of the NHL

There is nothing worse for a sports fan than a lockout. It’s one thing when your team loses, but it’s even worse when you can’t even watch your team play because the league has been shut down.

Fans hate when the owners and players get into battles of salary caps and collective bargaining agreements. People watch sports for many reasons, one of them being that people like to get away from the real world and be lost in watching athletes excel at the highest level. Millionaires and billionaires fighting over money is not much of an escape.

I’ll admit that I don’t closely follow the NHL as I do with other sports, but I do love the Flyers. On a cold night when the Sixers are off, there is nothing nicer than curling up in bed to watch a night of Flyers action. No more. For the third time in 20 years, the NHL is in a lockout. With the Winter Classic already cancelled, the chances of a season happening are very slim. If the NHL doesn’t fix this, people will find something else to watch. The NBA has been growing popularity over the last few years.


3) Trade Mark Sanchez 

Shaking my head. Mark Sanchez is so bad that I have to write out the whole Internet slang. The Jets are 4-7 and have lost four out of their last five games. He has a passer rating of 75.6, which ranks him 29th out of the 32 starting NFL quarterbacks. Either way, I guess this must be a good year for him because his career passer rating is a miserable 73.7.

Besides, the Jets have Tim Tebow on the bench. Now, I don’t think Tebow is an amazing quarterback right now, but he has never had a true off-season where he was named the starting QB and benefitted from getting reps in training camp that come with being at the top of the depth chart.

Last year, Tebow finished 9-7 in 14 regular season starts and two postseason starts. Imagine how well he would do if he went through a full off-season as the proclaimed starter.

The guy has to work on his spiral, but he knows how to make the comeback. Teammates like playing with Tebow.

He has the intangibles that only a few great players, such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, can boast. A coach can’t teach how to lead a team and how to keep fighting when all hope is lost.

The same cannot be said for  Sanchez. He is not known for coming up big in the fourth quarter, or any quarter for that matter, and he is not known for rallying his teammates. Remember, Santonio Holmes—Sanchez is not a leader.

I’m not even a Jets fan. I’m just disgusted by the hype behind Sanchez because he played in two consecutive AFC Championships. (Which was the biggest fluke since the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, but that’s neither here nor there.)

What I really want is for Sanchez to be banished from the NFL. I will settle for him getting traded to Jacksonville, so that I am no longer able to watch any of his games in the Philadelphia area.


4) A full Sixers lineup

The Philadelphia 76ers are an incomplete roster. When fans watch them play, the team looks as if it is missing something. That’s because center Andrew Bynum is chilling on the bench with two busted up knees. To make matters worse, he’s out bowling on a Saturday night, causing more pain and problems with his fragile body.

Who goes bowling on a Saturday night?

I’m grateful that the Sixers aren’t 0-12 after trading their “star” player (I use that term extremely loosely) Andre Iguodala away and actually giving Kwame Brown playing time. Bynum has to return soon and play as the Beast of the East that he can be.

The Sixers were able to take the Oklahoma City Thunder into overtime last Saturday night. Imagine the outcome of the game if Bynum had been on the floor dominating Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka.

If Bynum plays like he did with the Lakers and Jrue Holiday continues progressing into a high-caliber point guard, Philadelphia may be having a championship parade sooner rather than later. Wouldn’t that be the best Christmas gift a Sixers fan could ask for?


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