Today in sports: an iconic mop of hair is no more, two Philadelphia Eagles beat reporters go at it on Twitter and in the media workspace, and Art Howe hated Philip Seymour Hoffman's fair and nuanced portrayal of him.
- The Philadelphia Eagles local press gaggle has a reputation--well-deserved, based on this Atlantic Wire bloghand's brief experience covering the NFL--for being a prickly bunch. More than just their local environs Philadelphia, this comes from covering a team that's not particularly interested in building relationships with members of the local media (national media is another story, just like it is with the Saints, Chargers, Redskins, and Patriots). Also, as Dom Cosentino points out over at Deadspin, Philadelphia is "an unusual daily newspaper town, in that the broadsheet Inquirer and the tabloid Daily News compete against one another even though they're owned by the same company, Philadelphia Media Network" and also share space on the confusingly integrated Web site Philly.com. On Tuesday, Inquirer beat writer Jeff McLane (above, on the left) posted a story saying sources told him quarterback Michael Vick would start for the team this Sunday, despite suffering a right hand contusion. This prompted Daily News beat man Les Bowen (right) to fire off a tweet saying "nobody has any idea on Tuesday if Michael Vick is starting this week." That apparently touched a nerve with McLane, who fired back at Bown with three tweets that have since been deleted, but not before Philadelphia sports blog Crossing Board captured screengrabs. Strung together, McLane's message read: "Right, I made it up. How about if Vick starts Sunday you have to say on Daily News Live, 'I'm an old hack that hasn't broken a story in years, needs my editor to keep my blog fresh, and missed Vick on Monday because I was cluelessly tapping away on my computer and had to steal quotes from hard-working reporters who have a clue. If Vick doesn't start, I'll eat my pencil. Sound good?" It did not. A source tells Deadspin that just after 11 a.m. Wednesday, Bowen stormed into the media room at team headquarters and began swearing and screaming at McLane, who told Bowen they should have talked in private. At which point the source says Bowen told McLane he was going to "knock [his] fucking teeth down [his] throat" and then proceeded slugged him in the side of the head, though a different source characterized it as less of a punch and more of an "open-handed slap." Then Bowen and McLane stepped outside the work space and spent 10 minutes "talking closely," but not hitting each other. Then everyone went about the rest of their day. [Deadspin]
- The Boston Globe ran a touching gag obituary for the floppy, at times alarmingly greasy-looking long hair that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady favored for nearly two years before getting it chopped off on Monday. On the whole, it's a fitting tribute to one of pro football's most polarizing manes. Obituarist Christopher Muther stresses the good times, noting "Tom Brady’s Long Hair (known to family and friends as TBLH)" had a "spunky personality and ability to excite and incite fans of the Patriot" and sometimes looked like it had been dyed auburn. Muther doesn't ignore TBLH's fall from grace, which included a distasteful incident where Brady was "accused of impersonating Canadian teen heartthrob Justin Bieber" and the time star receiver Randy Moss allegedly told his quarterback that he "looked like a girl" right before he was traded to Minnesota. The hair will be missed. [The Boston Globe]
- In Moneyball, Philip Seymour Hoffman delivered a canny and fair performance in the role of Oakland Athletics manager Art Howe. He wasn't a stooge and unlike the rest of the movie's stock company of baseball creaky baseball lifers, never came across as somebody secretly afraid of math and eclipses. He just trusted his own, intuition-based of running a ballclub to the data-driven approach demanded by Brad Pitt's Billy Beane. None of which is any consolation to the real Howe. I think the book hurt me and now the movie [hurt me]," Howe tells the Houston Chronicle. "I want people who don’t know Art Howe... I’ve spent my whole career trying to build a good reputation and be a good baseball man and someone who people like to play for... Then in two hours, people who don’t know me – and Brad Pitt’s a big name, people are going to see his movies – and all these people across the country are going to go in and get this perception of me that’s totally unfair and untruthful." His biggest complaint? That they showed him trying to negotiate a contract extension with Beane in the team locker room. "I never negotiated with Billy," he declares, "especially not in the hallway of the clubhouse. Never happened." And frankly, he also wasn't crazy about having a great American actor like Philip Seymour Hoffman try and get inside his skin. "Philip Seymour Hoffman physically didn’t resemble me in any way," says Howe. "He was a little on the heavy side." [Houston Chronicle]