Last Sunday was crazy - It was filled with blown assignments, untimely injuries, missed tackles, dropped passes and various other mistakes that contributed to an unimpressive performance.

The Eagles’ 27-10 loss to the New York Giants – their fifth defeat in six games – was almost as bad.

Sunday morning featured my wife, Karen, and I taking our three grandsons – Hampton (7), Graham (5) and Nixon (2) – to breakfast, something we try to do every weekend.

Our go-to spot, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Cape May, is closed for the season and the Flight Deck Diner at the Cape May County Airport was also closed, so we headed to another favorite: Uncle Bill’s in North Cape May.

Chaos ensued - Nixon insisted on dumping the creamers into Poppy’s coffee. A couple of drops found the cup while the rest splattered on the coloring sheet and crayons the nice, patient waitress had provided.

Ten minutes later, Mimi (my wife) and Poppy were cutting stacks of chocolate chip and Oreo pancakes and a waffle while applying butter and syrup. Some get syrup and butter, some get butter and no syrup, some get nothing. By the time we got to touch our own breakfasts, the eggs and coffee were as cold as the sidewalk.

Toward the end, fueled by chocolate chip flapjacks, Hampton slid over to Poppy and decided to see how far he could make my fingers bend. Nixon slid out of his booster seat and rolled on the floor under the booth before emerging between Graham and Mimi.

Then it was time for the entertainment portion of the morning.

Hampton: “What does a moose say when you’re in his way and he wants you to move?”

Me between bites of my eggs and turkey croquettes: “I give up.”

Hampton: “Va-Moose.”

There was nothing humorous about the afternoon.  The two hours before Eagles’ kickoff were spent putting away Christmas decorations.

That’s a detailed process that seems to get worse each year, starting with stripping countless strands of tinsel and ornaments from the tree, crawling under it to unscrew the stand while leftover water sloshes onto my sleeves, then lugging the tree out of the den and through the washroom and Florida room, leaving a trail of needles in my wake, to the curb.

Note to self: Next year, get a fake tree.

The next step entailed climbing the rickety ladder to the attic while hoisting boxes and cartons containing tree lights and the roughly 200 ornaments that dangle from every branch while deftly stepping around the boxes and cartons of decorations from Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Then came the hard part.

A Nativity scene made and given to my parents by Mrs. Maxwell in 1963,  30-40 Thomas Kincaid displays, and decades’ worth of holiday sweaters and assorted other knickknacks are stored in a cubby hole in the back of a closet.

Access is gained by unhooking a wooden cover while roughly 10 hangars stab me in the neck, then hoisting myself through an opening that has shrank considerably through the years.

The floor is now covered with plywood, the aftermath of when I pulled a Clark Griswold a couple of years ago and my foot went through the floor.

Once inside, I tried to ignore the pain shooting through my knees while crouching long enough to grab and store the decorations. Squatting was a necessity, lest my scalp come into contact with the nails jutting out from the ceiling.

Exiting meant wiggling backward through the opening and bracing on the edge while my wife guided my legs onto a step stool, knocking off more hangars in the process.

And you thought the Eagles had a tough day.

The Birds played badly enough to nearly cause me to lose my croquettes. Despite the setback, they are headed to the playoffs but have given little indication they will be able to advance beyond Monday’s first-round game at Tampa.

Longtime Philly fans are comparing it to the Phillies’ infamous collapse in 1964. This one is worse. At 10-1, they had everyone thinking about another trip to the Super Bowl.

Of course, a comeback is possible, but highly unlikely. I have a better chance of convincing Karen to get an artificial tree next Christmas.


Local NFL update

Two former local high school players will be facing each other in the first round of the NFL playoffs this weekend.

Dallas (12-5), the No. 2 seed in the NFC, will play host to No. 7 Green Bay (9-8), in the first round Sunday at 4:30 p.m. The Cowboys defense features second-year safety Markquese Bell (Bridgeton High School) while second-year wide receiver Bo Melton (Cedar Creek, Mays Landing) has become a key part of the Packers’ offense.

Bell ended the regular season with 94 tackles and two forced fumbles, both second-best on the team. He had two tackles and a pass defense in last Sunday’s 38-10 win over Washington, which enabled the Cowboys to clinch the NFC East title.

Melton caught 16 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown down the stretch for the Packers after being promoted from the practice squad late in the season. He had five catches for 62 yards and two carries for 14 yards in Green Bay’s 17-9 win over Chicago that helped clinch a wildcard berth.

Over in the AFC, Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (Vineland) will be trying to win the Super Bowl for the second straight season. Kansas City (11-6), the No. 3 seed in the AFC, will open the playoffs on Saturday at 8 p.m. against the sixth-seeded Dolphins (11-6).

Pacheco led the Chiefs in rushing with 935 yards and seven touchdowns on 205 carries and also had 44 receptions for 244 yards and two TDs.

Another local player, Chargers defensive tackle Austin Johnson (St. Augustine Prep, Galloway Township) saw his eighth NFL season end last Sunday with a 13-12 loss to the Chiefs. Johnson finished the year with 46 tackles and a forced fumble.

Check Out Greater Atlantic City, NJ Area Athletes Who Played Games In NFL

Many people are not aware of the number of athletes from the Greater Atlantic City Region who have played in the National Football League. Football players who played at high schools in Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, and Ocean Counties have a strong representation in the NFL over the last few decades.

One of the most difficult accomplishments in sports is to make a Professional Sports Roster and earn the opportunity to play in a game at the highest level of the sport. Check out some of the great South Jersey Athletes who have played in games in the NFL:

Gallery Credit: Joshua Hennig/Townsquare Media

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