Post Flight: Was is really that easy for the Eagles (vs. Washington)?

Welcome to Post Flight, PhillyVoice’s weekly Eagles reaction show that airs the morning after each Birds game. Hosted by Eytan Shander, Post Flight features a rotating cast of PhillyVoice writers, including Jimmy Kempski, as well as other guests from around the football world.

From in-depth analysis of the most recent game to looking ahead at what comes next, Post Flight has you covered no matter what type of fan you are. And we do it all in about 30 minutes. 

Sit back, relax and enjoy this week’s edition of Post Flight…  

Week 3: Eagles 24, Commanders 8

Was it really that easy? Did the Philadelphia Eagles really just obliterate the Washington Commanders – making Carson Wentz look like a child in the process? Yes. The defense was stellar and DeVonte Smith continues to shine. A.J. Brown gets his TD and the Eagles offense was uncontrollable in the second quarter. Hear from Jalen Hurts, Smith, and some of the amazing calls from the game!

If you’d rather just listen, you can do so on Spotify, here. And as always, be sure to like and subscribe.

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NFL shifts Pro Bowl to skills competitions, flag football game

The Pro Bowl as we’ve known it is over. 

The NFL announced Monday morning that it’s doing away with the annual NFC vs. AFC exhibition, instead opting for a week’s worth of skills competitions and a flag football game on February 5, 2023 that the league is now dubbing “The Pro Bowl Games.”

The All-Star event, that’s long been in need of a revamp, will return to Las Vegas for a second straight year, with programming and promotion being helmed by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. Manning, a 14-time Pro Bowler, will also be a consistent on-air personality throughout the week and be part of the coaching staff for the flag football game to cap things off. 

The Pro Bowl has been a point of criticism for years, decades even, from fans and players alike. It’s a meaningless game that renders the risk of injury completely pointless, which means the league’s best – who actually attend, that is – never go at full speed. The end result is usually a high-scoring, but often boring and entirely forgettable affair. 

But with a shift to skills challenges and flag football, the league is hoping this will reignite interest.

“We’ve received invaluable feedback from players, teams and fans about reimagining the Pro Bowl, and as a result, we’re thrilled to use The Pro Bowl Games as a platform to spotlight Flag football as an integral part of the sport’s future while also introducing fun, new forms of competition and entertainment that will bring our players, their families and fans closer than ever before,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business and League Events, in a statement.

The Eagles had five Pro Bowlers last season – center Jason Kelce, cornerback Darius Slay, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, defensive end Josh Sweat, and kicker Jake Elliott – and while the game itself lost its luster a long time ago, a selection to it still means something. 

Sweat, for example, made the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for San Francisco’s Nick Bosa, but in May talked about how he wanted to make the NFC roster “straight up” next time. 

“I don’t want to wait my turn and see if I’m going to get in,” he said

Now, how the new format will incorporate linemen will have to be seen, but Kelce has a few ideas:

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Who won the week in Philly sports: Jalen Hurts is the NFL MVP right now

This week’s edition of “who won the week in Philly sports” has a new wrinkle in it because the Eagles played two games since last Monday. In those two games, both wins, the Birds have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 48-15. Cruising at 3-0, the Eagles look to be the class of the NFC and if the season ended right now, they’d have the NFL MVP under center for them.

I’ve always thought of myself as more pro-Jalen Hurts than the majority of Eagles media members, but I’d be a liar if I said I expected him to lead the league in yards per attempt while completing 67.3 percent of his passes in the first week of the season. Even the staunchest of Hurts supporters among the swarm of Eagles fans out there couldn’t foresee passing performances like this.

I expected Hurts to take a step forward as a passer this season, as he’s done every year since he first stepped on Alabama’s campus as a freshman in 2016. Add that to his wheels and intangibles and there was a path to true contention for the Eagles with Hurts playing like an above-average quarterback. He upped the ante, did a 180, and looks like a young Donovan McNabb now. 

Taking continuous deep shots? Attacking the middle of the field and working the left side when he appeared allergic to doing so in 2021? Commanding this offense with expert pre-snap reads and coverage breakdowns that slow the game down and make it easier for everyone? He’s not just driving the bandwagon for a potential Arizona trip in February, but he’s the NFL’s MVP three weeks into this young season.

Hurts’ passing has caught up to his running game, leadership and vibes. That’s a scary proposition for an NFC that looks increasingly weak and for the taking. Hurts is the toast of Philadelphia at the moment and a clear-cut choice for the person who “won the week” in the Philly sports scene. 

Narrative 📝

The MVP award is not just about raw stats, though Hurts’ are quite good. He’s had back-to-back 300-yard passing performances. He had just two of those in each of his first two years as a pro. His yards per attempt (9.3) and yards per completion (13.9) are more than any QB. He has seven total touchdowns. His 916 passing yards are third in the league and that’s with basically taking the second half of the last two games off after he helped the Birds build insurmountable leads. 

The narrative is there though. Hurts is a figure who’s easy to rally around given his collegiate and pro climb. He was a freshman star for the Crimson Tide in 2016. He was then benched at halftime of the 2017 College Football Championship in favor of current Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who led Alabama to a comeback overtime win over Georgia. Hurts was then relegated to QB2 duty behind Tagovailoa in 2018 before transferring to Oklahoma for the 2019 season. He responded to that rocky ‘Bama exit with 5,149 yards of total offense and 52 total touchdowns en route to finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting.

Hurts built himself into a Day 2 prospect, as the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, enraging both Eagles fans and Carson Wentz alike. Eight months later, he had usurped Wentz as the team’s starter. Rumors swirled that the Eagles wanted to replace Hurts for the 2021 season, but they didn’t. He struggled as a passer in his first full year as QB1, but he ran for 784 yards and 10 touchdowns and led the Birds to a surprise playoff berth. Yet again, there was chatter that the Eagles were going to upgrade at QB. Once more, Hurts entered this season as the starter and has now laid waste to all three defenses he’s faced. 

The rise, fall and rise of Jalen Hurts has been six years in the making and Eagles fans are now reaping the rewards. 

Running the Table 🏃

No, the Eagles aren’t going to go undefeated in 2022, but look at that schedule. Between now and late November’s Sunday Night Football matchup with the Packers, it’s a bit of a wasteland:

 Week Opponent 
4 vs. Jaguars 
@ Cardinals 
vs. Cowboys 
7 BYE 
8 Steelers 
 9  @ Texans 
10 vs. Commanders 
11  @ Colts 

The toughest matchup there is… probably Jacksonville this week? Let’s throw the chips on the table: it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Eagles are 10-0 heading into the Green Bay showdown. 

Jaguars? That won’t be easy, but it’s at home and winnable. Kyler Murray is no longer the best Oklahoma quarterback in the NFL after the way Hurts is balling out. The Cowboys will be either without Dak Prescott or playing with a slowed-down, injured version of him. A home matchup against Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett after that? Thursday night games can be funky, but, come on, it’s the Texans. The Eagles embarrassed the Commanders on the road and then this rabid fan base gets to watch Carson Wentz’s return to Philly on Monday Night Football. The Colts beat the Chiefs in Week 3, but Matt Ryan looks all sorts of washed.

This is a 12-win team, but if things break right and they finish with potentially 14 wins, it’s going to be hard for MVP voters to look over the Eagles’ monumental team success, Hurts’ come up and, of course, his on-field play. 

Ride the Wave 🌊

I got heat for comparing the 2022 Eagles to their 2017 counterparts after the Vikings win, but screw it, I’m continuing with that beat. There’s a special quality to this Eagles team. Things are perfectly falling into place.

The unlikely QB1 is soaring. The formerly maligned head coach is the best in the entire NFC East and maybe the best in the conference outside of the Rams’ Sean McVay. People wanted to exile the defensive coordinator after Week 1 and Jonathan Gannon’s unit has allowed just 13 points since as the D registered 12 sacks. The Birds have the best wide receiver duo in franchise history. Everything is coming up Eagles as Hurts stands tall at the face of the organization and, perhaps if he picks up the hardware, the entire sport. 

Runner-up: DeVonta Smith 🦇

Last week’s winner: Eagles fans 🦅

Who Won the Week 2022 Tally:

Howie Roseman: 4

Bryce Harper: 3

Rhys Hoskins: 3

Rob Thomson: 2

Jalen Hurts: 1

Eagles fans: 1

A.J. Brown: 1

Nick Sirianni: 1

Avonte Maddox: 1

Eagles: 1

Kyle Schwarber: 1

Tyrese Maxey: 1

Tobias Harris: 1

Joel Embiid: 1

Ray Didinger: 1

Phillies bullpen: 1

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Fantasy football news: How serious are injuries to Stefon Diggs, Amon-Ra St. Brown, David Montgomery and others?

It feels like it’s been a relatively light year so far when it comes to fantasy football injuries, with a fair share of big name players getting hurt but few of the setbacks season enders (so far…). 

Week 3 was no different. A handful of key guys, like Stefon Diggs, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Dalvin Cook sustained minor injuries during their games Sunday, but the outlook looks pretty good across the board. 

As you start to plan your fantasy football week, here’s a look at all the latest news on some of the most important fantasy football related injuries:

Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills

You may have seen the NFL’s leading-scoring fantasy wide receiver with an injury designation if he is on your roster, but rest assured, he’s fine. The pass catcher was having issues with the heat down in Miami and was sidelined for a bit dealing with some cramps. He should be healthy next week in a possible shootout with the Ravens.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Lions

St. Brown has been a revelation in 2022 after his strong finish to 2021, and it looks like he should be able to continue raking in targets despite an injury in Week 3. The second year wideout hurt his ankle during the game but was able to return. It seems likely he’ll be fine to play next week but follow his status in practice closely just in case.

D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions

Detroit’s other star skill player sustained an injury to his shoulder that he played through. This on the surface probably isn’t that bad, but add in that he was also playing through a minor ankle injury, and the banged up running back might not be in good shape for Week 4. Keep an eye on Swift news this week and be ready with an alternative plan at RB.

Jamaal Williams will be startable in all leagues if Swift doesn’t play next week.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings

Cook hurt his shoulder but it sounds like he will wear a brace and play through the pain when Minnesota travels to Europe for an early morning Week 4 game. Keep an eye on his status and perhaps consider playing Alexander Mattison with Cook less than 100% next week.

David Montgomery, RB, Bears

The Bears starting running back rolled his leg early in the game and did not return, opening up the road for a monster game for backup Khalil Herbert. Montgomery’s initial scans came back with positive news, and the back is believed to be day to day. Still, Herbert is a must add in every league, especially with Montgomery’s Week 4 status in doubt.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals

Mixon was a workhorse the first two weeks of the year, but an injury to his ankle kept the star RB from touching the ball in the fourth quarter as we was held to a season low 12 carries (and just 24 yards). Mixon’s status for next week is up in the air, but locating Samaje Perine on waivers if you can find him might be a smart precaution.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

Thomas can’t seem to get a break, as a foot injury knocked him out of New Orleans’ Week 3 loss, a setback from which he did not return. Thomas’ status right now for next week us unclear, but Chris Olave seems to be Jameis Winston’s favorite target anyway. Thomas might not be the best start in Week 4 but we’ll see.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Saints

Landry hurt his ankle and did not return, leaving a ton of targets on the table for the aforementioned Olave. There’s a chance the Saints are once again very short-handed at wideout next week, but Landry might still be worth keeping on the bench as he’s yet to eclipse 50 receiving yards.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Saints

With the two previously mentioned injuries to Saints receivers, it would make sense to focus on Smith for a big potential Week 4 but alas, he too suffered an ailment on Sunday. Smith exited with a concussion and he’ll need to pass through the league’s protocol before playing next weekend.

Mac Jones, QB, Patriots

Jones hasn’t lit the world on fire or anything in New England, but the fact that injured reserve is a topic of conversation in the region right now after an ankle injury sidelined Jones is not a good sign. If you are in a very deep two QB league, it looks like Brian Hoyer might be getting a few starts.

A.J. Green, WR, Cardinals

Green has mostly been a fantasy non-factor this year but in case he’s still using a roster spot on your team, he hurt his knee after two targets and no catches Sunday and did not return.

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Sixers media day 2022: Live stream and open thread

Don’t look now, but we are a mere weeks away from competitive basketball returning to Philly (and the entire country, I guess) as the Sixers hold media day in Camden Monday morning.

The team will open up it’s 2022-23 training camp this week, traveling to Charleston, SC to build some team chemistry (or something like that) later this week. 

Did Daryl Morey get it right with his offseason moves? Will Doc Rivers be able to coach this team to postseason success? Will Joel Embiid play like an MVP yet again? What will James Harden look like?

There is no end to the intrigue and breadth of curiosity ahead of the 2022-23 season, with parity in the Eastern Conference and the Sixers expected to contend once again.

Will the players, coaches and execs say anything of note today in South Jersey? Follow along, live, right here as the Sixers kick off the new preseason – and check back all week for detailed analysis, breakdown and news from our beat writer Kyle Neubeck:

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John McMullen: Carson Wentz’s reunion turned into a parade of sacks

LANDOVER, MD. — The hugging started pre-game for Carson Wentz on Sunday and that probably seemed pretty cool for the ex-face of the franchise in Philadelphia.

It started with Jordan Mailata embracing the former Eagles quarterback near midfield and from there, everyone from the guy who dealt Wentz to Indianapolis, general manager Howie Roseman, to his good friends Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce, as well as star tight end Dallas Goedert were very happy to see the veteran signal caller.

The problematic part for Wentz came after kickoff when Jonathan Gannon unleashed his defense which “hugged” Wentz nine more times during a 24-8 drubbing at FedExField.

The highlight for Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s scheme probably came on the first offensive play of the game, a nifty end around to Curtis Samuel that had the Eagles out of sports and gained 15 yards.

After an incomplete pass to first-round pick Jahan Dotson and a five-yard hookup with Samuel, the Commanders faced their first third-down opportunity of the game when Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat met at the QB.

“I don’t think we even talked about football once,” Cox said of the pre-game reunion. “We talked about life, what’s going on, mostly about what we both love most outside of football, hunting and outdoors and things. Asked him how his family was doing but I don’t think we spoke one word about football.”

That talking about football came through the action on the field for Cox and his fellow defensive linemen, who were responsible for eight of the nine sacks, most on four-man pressures with no blitz help.

“We just played our violent style of defense,” said Cox, who was credited with 1.5 sacks and was responsible for setting the tone by being involved in the first two takedowns.

“Loved it,” said edge rusher Haason Reddick, the $15 million man who was brought in to get after opposing quarterbacks and finally registered his first 1.5 sacks as an Eagle in Week 3. “Fletch, he’s one of the great leaders on this team, one of the great Eagles, and he’s still doing it at a high level.”

Cox isn’t the dominant player he once was but the 31-year-old is still impactful and seems to have some extra juice in his legs this season.

“I changed up a lot of things, the way I train is a little different,” Cox explained. “The way I eat is a little different. This year I’m just making sure I let nothing get in my way.”

“To see him continue to ball, he’s just doing everything we’ve talked about at the beginning of the season, just to keep it up, keep playing as well as he has,” Reddick said of Cox. “If he can continue to play like that and set the tone, we’ll continue to rally, we’ll continue to play at an extremely high level as a defense.”

It was certainly follow the leader on Sunday.

Fellow veteran Brandon Graham, 34, found the fountain of youth in the form of the explosion that produced 2.5 sacks and a strip sack that wasn’t quite what BG did in Minneapolis during Super Bowl LII, but it did give the Eagles’ offense a short field which resulted in a 23-yard TD to Goedert on a tight end screen in the second quarter.

“First half, we were hitting [Wentz] and that’s the No. 1 thing as a d-lineman,” Graham said. “You just want to hit [the QB] and we were getting sacks, too. Those hits add up.”

Add up they did.

The Eagles understand better than most what Wentz’s shortcomings are when it comes to playing the position and while hitting any QB early is going to be conducive to solid defensive play, that does get amped up even further with the Washington starter.

Wentz typically doesn’t speed up when he’s getting pressured, but does lose accuracy and has always had trouble with ball security.

All those little mistakes were revealed Sunday as Javon Hargrave and linebacker T.J. Edwards joined Cox, Sweat, Reddick and Graham in getting to Wentz. Philadelphia also recorded 17 hurries, led by Graham’s five with Patrick Johnson also contributing there.

The game was won in the first half with the final 30 minutes serving as extended garbage time where Wentz was able to put up some hollow numbers.

Things were secured, however, by a 24-0 first half when the defense produced six of the nine sacks with two forced fumbles while allowing just 50 total yards.

It was so dominant that Nick Sirianni, an offensive head coach, had to be asked about his defense first.

“We thought [the defensive line] could get after them a little bit, and they did,” said Sirianni. “That’s the strength of our team. That’s what you want, a division game, and you want the strength of your team to play like they did right there.”

John McMullen is a contributor to and covers the Eagles and the NFL for Sports Illustrated and JAKIB Sports. He’s also the co-host of “Birds 365,” a daily streaming show covering the Eagles and the NFL, and the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow John on Twitter here.

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Jalen Hurts jumps to second in NFL MVP odds after 3-0 start

After last week’s Eagles home win over the Vikings, I noted that quarterback Jalen Hurts had jumped to third in NFL MVP odds at +800 on DraftKings Sportsbook behind just Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. Hurts turned in the best game of his young career in the game against Minnesota and he didn’t stop airing out on Sunday in a road win down in Maryland against the Commanders. The odds have jumped once again because of Hurts’ play.

Hurts is now second at +700 behind Allen. This is where the odds currently sit as of Monday morning on DraftKings Sportsbook:

 Player Team  Odds 
 Josh Allen Bills  +300 
Jalen Hurts  Eagles  +600 
Lamar Jackson  Ravens  +700 
 Patrick Mahomes Chiefs  +700 
Tua Tagovailoa  Dolphins  +1400 

Here’s were the odds last Tuesday:

 Player Team   Odds
Josh Allen Bills   +350
 Patrick Mahomes Chiefs   +500
Jalen Hurts  Eagles   +800 
 Justin Herbert  Chargers +1000 
Lamar Jackson  Ravens  +1200 

Right before the season kicked, I had seen MVP odds for Hurts range from +1800 to +2200.

Three games into the season, the Eagles are first in yards gained and fifth in points scored. Hurts leads the whole NFL in yards per attempt (9.3) and yards per completion (13.9) while throwing for 916 yards, four touchdowns and one interception while completing 67.3 percent of his passes. He’s rushed for three touchdowns as well. 

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Two killed after multi-vehicle crash during ‘unsanctioned’ H2Oi drag race in Wildwood, prosecutors say

A man from Pittsburgh was arrested after two people were struck and killed in a car crash in Wildwood during an “unsanctioned” drag racing event on Saturday night, prosecutors said. 

The incident occurred before 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 24, when officers from the Wildwood Police Department were called to Burk and Atlantic Avenues after hearing reports of a multi-vehicle crash involving pedestrians. 

When they arrived, they encountered Gerald J. White, 37, driving a 2003 Infinity, who attempted to flee the scene. He was quickly apprehended by police, according to the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office. A preliminary investigation found that White allegedly struck a 2014 Honda Civic, and then hit two pedestrians. 

One of the pedestrians, Lindsay Weakland, 18, of Carlisle, was pronounced dead at the scene. Timothy Ogden, 34, of Clayton, New Jersey, was the passenger in the Honda Civic and was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries, prosecutors said. 

The crash occurred during H2Oi, an unsanctioned drag racing rally held over the weekend in Wildwood, as well as other beach towns. Three days before the crash occurred, Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron, along with Wildwood’s police and Board of Commissioners, advised visitors and residents of the popular shore destination to be cautious of the event, and reiterated the town’s “zero-tolerance” policy for reckless driving. 

Byron told the Inquirer that his first order of business on Monday morning is to contact officials in Ocean City, Maryland, regarding the event, which was held there previously in 2019 and 2020. Byron said he believes officials in Ocean City must have come up with a solution to keep the drag racing event out of their town. 

“We have heard of tragic deaths around this country based on stray bullets from illegal shootings hitting innocent bystanders and children; this is no different,” said Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland. “Driving a motor vehicle at a high speed in a populated area is essentially the same as discharging a firearm. The results are the same, death and injury. Further, the size and weight of a motor vehicle also results in the destruction of public and private property.” 

Sutherland noted that similar events were held in Rio Grande and Seaville over the past several days, and warned those thinking of holding similar events in the future that there will be swift legal action taken against them. 

White has been charged with two counts of death by auto, two counts of assault by auto, one count of eluding, one count of leaving the scene of an accident, and one count of violation of laws to protect public safety. 

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office at (609) 465-1135. Information can be reported anonymously through the County’s anonymous tip system by visiting this website from any computer or device. 

Those with information about the crash or about H20i can also contact the Cape May County Sheriff’s Tip Line or Cape May County Crime Stoppers at (609) 889-3597. 

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Eagles fans still have mixed feelings about Carson Wentz two years later

LANDOVER, MD. — There is always a big contingent of Eagles fans who make the trip down I-95 to see the Eagles take on Washington, but there’s extra juice this season. As everyone in the Delaware Valley knows, former franchise quarterback, and current Commanders QB, Carson Wentz is facing his old squad in Week 3. If early Sunday morning is any indication, there will be a sea of green in the crowd at FedEx Field. As much as those fans will be amped about an exciting 2-0 Eagles squad, Wentz still remains a huge talking point.

In speaking with some Birds fans before the game, there were mixed feelings on Wentz. For the most part, the fans took an “it is what it is” approach, appreciating his importance to the 2017 Super Bowl team, but also happy that both sides have parted ways. 

“Listen, I wish him the best,” fan Todd Warner said. “I’m glad he’s gone, but I wish him the best and we’re going to get after him today. I think this is his last chance. I think because of that, that it’s his last chance, that he’ll do well. He knows this is his last stop. He’s got to perform.”

“Carson definitely had his downfall in Philly and I think that’s why the fans turned on him,” fan Payton Warner said. “Me, personally, I appreciate Carson’s time and what he did in Philly when he was there. Obviously, his last season there was the start of the downfall of his career and it was kind of best for both parties to split.”

Speaking to a group of fans in the parking lot in throwback Kelly green jerseys who preferred to remain nameless, that ambivalence continued. 

“I hope he does well,” one said, “Not against us obviously, but I hope he has a decent career. It was kind of s***** at the end. He could’ve went about it differently. He admitted that… but it is what it is. He was so good for two years. I think his confidence really went out the door a little.”

“I like what he did,” a fan in the same mini tailgate group added on. “We don’t win the Super Bowl without him, but it was time to move on.”

There are certainly extremes. Some fans dropped expletives. One called him a “team cancer” in the 2020 season and compared him to a male body part, to put it mildly, though that fan threw up a qualifier and said, “I think he’s a good man at heart.” 

Another hopes he gets put on his rear end “at least” four times in the Eagles-Commanders matchup. 

Eagles fan Lance Ackerman had the simplest answer of them all: “There isn’t a player in the league I couldn’t care less about than Carson Wentz.” 

There’s a mix of love and hate in the air at FedEx Field with the thousands of Eagles fans filling the stands. That divisiveness is seemingly at the heart of every QB’s journey in Philadelphia. Let’s see if the fans down here stick to their pregame takes about ol’ No. 11 once the final whistle in the fourth quarter blows. 

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Death of the Fox Brewing Co. files lawsuit seeking to overturn New Jersey’s restrictions on craft brewers

New restrictions that limit the number of social events that breweries in New Jersey can hold are being challenged in court by a Gloucester County craft brewery. 

Death of the Fox Brewing Co., which has operated a combination brewery and coffeehouse in Clarksboro since 2017, filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control did not follow proper procedures before enacting the regulations through a special ruling.

The ruling, which took effect in July, limits breweries to holding 25 on-site events and 52 private parties per year. They also cannot participate in more than 12 off-site events or collaborate with food vendors, including food trucks. 

The ruling, which was finalized in 2019, also outlines the definition of these events. For instance, any on-site activity that includes live music or DJs is considered an event. And though breweries can broadcast TV events – like the Super Bowl – promoting them on social media qualifies them as events. The ruling also requires all brewery guests to tour the facility before purchasing or consuming alcohol.

The ruling was intended to balance competition between breweries and bars and restaurants, which must buy expensive liquor licenses to sell alcohol. Breweries are able to sell alcohol for consumption with a limited license, thanks to a law passed in 2012.

When the special ruling was introduced in 2019, James B. Graziano, acting director of the ABC, told FOX29 that “the legislature never intended the limited licenses to give craft breweries the same privileges of a consumption venue, such as a sports bar or restaurant.” 

“ABC’s new rules are a transparent attempt to favor one kind of business — bars and restaurants — over another — craft breweries,” said Caleb Trotter, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing Death of the Fox. “What’s more, the restriction on event advertising is an unjustifiable imposition on the free speech of breweries.” 

Trotter told NJ Indy that the rules violate the New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act. The law states that people who are “directly affected” by a decision should be allotted reasonable opportunity to submit data and arguments during any proceedings involving proposed rules. The ABC needed to go to the legislature for approval and hold a public comment period, Trotter said.

“State agencies cannot just craft rules behind closed doors without transparency or any opportunity for public involvement,” added Luke Wake, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “State law requires that when an agency wants to impose rules affecting our lives and livelihood, we must have at least an opportunity to voice our concerns. And agencies are required to submit regulations to the legislature — which can decide whether to override this sort of agency action.” 

The Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the lawsuit. 

A spokesperson for the ABC told KYW in July that the provisions in the special ruling were not new, and that they coordinated with several businesses when drawing them up.  

Since the restrictions were implemented, Death of the Fox has been at the forefront of the fight to repeal the ruling, encouraging frequent patrons to urge their elected officials to do something to protect breweries. 

Chuck Garrity, who owns Death of the Fox with his wife, Kat, noted the purpose of their lawsuit is to restore microbrewers’ right to sell beer on their properties and to ensure accountability and transparency in government. 

In the wake of opposition from business owners and state residents, a handful of bills have been introduced in the General Assembly that would repeal or amend the special ruling.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, a Democrat from Middlesex County, told the New Jersey Monitor that changing the current licensing system for breweries is not going to happen overnight, but that lawmakers are prepared to make some of the changes quickly. 

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