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Philadelphia football: Comparing Union players to Eagles players

Photo: Earl Gardner

It’s the column you’ve all been waiting for.

I’ve heard your clamors and pleas, and no longer will they go unanswered.

“When will PSP write the definitive comparison of the Union and the Eagles?”

Well, today is that day. As the Union season reaches its unsatisfying end, the Eagles are beginning a new journey. Unfortunately, they still call Philadelphia home so heartbreak is inevitable.

Now, without further ado, I give you the conclusive, decisive, absolutely unambiguous article matching the Boys in Blue with those in midnight green. Don’t bother questioning these choices in the comments.

It’s football versus football.


Jim Curtin: Doug Pederson

Perhaps the easiest choice, it’s a good thing this piece wasn’t written while Andy Reid or Chip Kelly coached the team. Both Curtin and Pederson are likeable guys, former players and have their players’ support. Both, though, may be in over their head, tactically.

Brendan Burke: John DeFilippo

Bethlehem Steel head coach Brendan Burke and Eagles’ quarterback coach John DeFilippo are impressive young coaches. While owner Jeffrey Lurie denied DeFilippo a chance to interview with the Jets, it’s likely it only delayed the inevitable. Burke, who is doing wonders with the Steel, should have the opportunity to move on to greater things as well.

Earnie Stewart: Joe Douglas

Sure the like-for-like would be Howie Roseman, but we all know he isn’t a “football guy.” Plus, both these men look like a teenage boy’s worst nightmare: a stern father who answers the door with a scowl before letting their daughter slip away on a date.

Jay Sugarman: Norman Braman

Former Eagles’ owner Norman Braman is the only name used who is no longer with the team, but it was a comparison too good to pass up. One is a penny-pinching owner, despised by the fans. The other let Reggie White walk away.


C.J. Sapong: Brandon Graham

While neither will be an MVP or Defensive Player of the Year in their respective sports, both combine exceptional talent with an extraordinary motor. Sure, more goals or more sacks would be nice, but a lot of their hard work goes unnoticed.

Jay Simpson: LaGarrette Blount

The Union needed a genuine striker and signed…Jay Simpson. The Eagles needed a legit running back and signed…LeGarrette Blount. Would anyone be surprised if Blount is bypassed on the depth chart after the first few games?

Charlie Davies: Philadelphia’s 2018 2nd round pick (currently owned by the Cleveland Browns)

(insert joke here)

Fafà Picault: Torrey Smith

Both Picault and wide receiver Torrey Smith are new players with elite speed brought in to help the offense from wide positions. Can either offer more danger than running fast?

Chris Pontius: Alshon Jeffery

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is going to win a lot of 50/50 balls just by jumping over helpless cornerbacks. You know who else wins a lot of aerial duels? Chris Pontius.

Marcus Epps: Mack Hollins

Marcus Epps and wide receiver Mack Hollins are both rookies who offer a lot of potential. While this season’s production may be minimal, they may be the future at their respective positions.

Fabian Herbers: Sydney Jones

Not quite a perfect match, but cornerback Sydney Jones is a promising talent who will lose his rookie season due to injury. Fabian Herbers is a promising talent who lost his sophomore season due to injury.

No. 10s

Ilsinho: Darren Sproles

Ilsinho and running back Darren Sproles are nightmares to defend in 1v1 situations. They are possibly the most electric players on their respective teams when at their best. Unfortunately, Sproles can’t handle the burden of being the primary ball carrier, while Ilsinho is too inconsistent to be the Union’s No. 10.

Roland Alberg: Zach Ertz

God, if Jason Babin or Chris Carter still played for the Eagles. Can’t you picture Curtin complaining, “All Alberg does is score goals.” And those goals are as hollow as Babin’s sacks. Unfortunately for my sake, I’m stuck pigeonholing tight end Zach Ertz, an actually likeable player, into this role. He is a player oozing with potential, but is very one-dimensional. A lot of his stats come in meaningless late season matches. Here’s hoping this comparison makes no sense in a few weeks.

Adam Najem: Wendell Smallwood

Adam Najem looks likely to leapfrog Ilsinho and Alberg in future. Running back Wendell Smallwood may jump ahead of Blount and Sproles this season. It wouldn’t be surprising, however, if the long term answer for both teams is not currently on the roster.

Anthony Fontana: Carson Wentz

As of publication, Christian Pulisic has yet to force his transfer to his hometown Philadelphia Union. Thus, the club’s greatest hope for the future is 17-year-old Anthony Fontana. The youngster is supremely talented, and may be Philadelphia’s long term answer at the game’s most important position. Is this an unfair comparison to quarterback Carson Wentz? Maybe, but he’s not knocking on Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady’s door…yet.

Defensive midfielders

Alejandro Bedoya: Malcolm Jenkins

Alejandro Bedoya and Malcolm Jenkins both epitomize what it means to be a captain, leading on the field and in the locker room. Also, neither is afraid to take a stance away from the field or help their community. Thankfully, neither “sticks to sports.”

Derrick Jones: Derek Barnett

Oh, you need an explanation outside of there first names? How about both are future game-changers. Both will be/were eased into the starting lineup and groomed by talented veterans. Their jerseys will be popular in Philadelphia for a long time.

Haris Medunjanin: Jason Kelce

Cerebral. It applies to both Haris Medunjanin’s passing acumen and center Jason’s Kelce’s pre-snap deciphering of a defense. They’re leaders, and both have unique abilities in respect to their positions. They also struggle to do some of the simple things required of said positions. Medunjanin is a defensive midfielder who struggles to defend, and Jason Kelce is a center who struggles to block monstrous defensive tackles.

Maurice Edu: Jason Peters

Maurice Edu and offensive tackle Jason Peters were often the most talented players on their teams. Yet the physical demands of each sport is taking their toll on both. This may be the final season for each.

Brian Carroll: Donnie Jones

They’re both old and kick balls?

Warren Creavalle: Stefen Wisniewski

There is something to be said about dependable backups with versatility. Unfortunately, a climbing word count prevents me from doing so.


Fabinho: Jalen Mills

I’ve never seen Fabinho wag his finger at a would-be attacker, but both players are a little too confident in their abilities. I wonder what cornerback Jalen Mills’ rocket would be…

Raymon Gaddis: Brent Celek

It kind of feels like Raymon Gaddis is a wily veteran on this team, but he’s only 27. Still, both Gaddis and tight end Brent Celek are class acts who’ve earned roster spots.  They’ll both see the field because the younger talents can’t do some of the simple things: like defend or block, respectively.

Keegan Rosenberry: Nick Foles

Remember when Keegan Rosenberry was a rookie-of-the-year candidate and earned a call-up to the U.S. National Team? Remember when quarterback Nick Foles threw 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions?

Giliano Wijnaldum: Mychal Kendricks

Wrong brother.

Aaron Jones: Joe Walker

Not only would most fail at picking either out of a police lineup,  but I’m pretty sure both are in the witness protection program with obviously fake names.


Oguchi Onyewu: Chris Long

Oguchi Onyewu was thought to be a veteran signed for depth. Instead, he became a rock at the back, displaying some of the form that saw him shine in Europe. Eagles’ defensive end Chris Long is also solid, once-dominant veteran signed to a one-year deal. Could be be the same bargain Onyewu was for the Union?

Jack Elliott: Jordan Hicks

Teams are built through the draft, right? The Union and the Eagles got absolute steals in the later rounds, nabbing Jack Elliott and linebacker Jordan Hicks, respectively. The two will soon attract national attention and will lead their defenses for years to come.

Joshua Yaro: Nelson Agholor

Shh…don’t say the “B” word. Let’s just say both Joshua Yaro and wide receiver Nelson Agholor have failed to live up to their first round selection. Maybe year three will be better. Maybe not.

Richie Marquez: Beau Allen

They are both reliable backups who are probably good enough to start. They also have beards.

Auston Trusty: Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Did you think I could go this entire piece without squeezing in the best name in Philadelphia sports? Auston Trusty has a way higher upside than offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, but both look like eventual starters currently blocked by quality players.

Ken Tribbett: Jaylen Watkins

If either have to come into a game, you’re screwed.


Andre Blake: Fletcher Cox

Andre Blake and Fletcher Cox are the best players on their teams. Having your goalkeeper/defensive tackle are your top performers, however, is less than ideal. Both teams are better with them than without, but would it really change anything if they weren’t around?

John McCarthy: Caleb Sturgis

Goalkeeper John McCarthy wears a helmet. So does placekicker Caleb Sturgis. Neither really needs one, but you never know.




  1. comparing rosenberry to foles… that is some rough business

  2. Ha, I know even less about American football and the Igles than I did before reading.

  3. I’d really like to know more about that 2006 World Cup. Did you end up marrying your Italian teacher?

  4. Brilliant! A few others from the past…
    Chip Kelly = Piotr Nowak
    Le Toux = Brian Dawkins
    Freddy Adu = Nnamdi Asomugha

  5. Atomic Spartan says:

    Wrong Sugarman/Braman analogy – one is a penny pinching owner despised by the fans. The other is a despised penny pinching owner who let LeToux and Nogs get away

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