The Heron’s Nest: A National Anthem – & a Monday night win – for the ages



They did not have Nick Foles, the guy who quarterbacks the offense.

They did not have DeMeco Ryans, the guy who quarterbacks the defense.

Didn’t matter.

They had Chip Kelly, the guy who quarterbacks it all for the Eagles. That really is the only thing that matters.

Kelly inserted Mark Sanchez into the starting QB slot last night and the Eagles never looked back, blowing out the Carolina Panthers, 45-21, before a national TV Monday Night Football audience.

Sanchez made everyone forget about the infamous “butt fumble” and his ignominious exit from New York after four tumultuous years with the Jets. Sanchez went 20 of 37 for 332 yards. Most importantly he threw zero interceptions. It was a better night than anything he did in the Big Apple.

While Sanchez stepped in and the Birds’ offense never missed a beat, the same can not be said of the Panthers and their besieged quarterback Cam Newtown. He was sacked nine times and showed little of the electricity and “flash” that he once demonstrated. He seemed to be favoring one leg.

The Eagles also had one other thing working for them last night.

They had one of the best renditions of the National Anthem I’ve ever heard.

Fittingly on the eve of Veterans Day, Retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Generald Wilson energized the Philly Phaithful with a sterling rendition.

I couldn’t find video from last night. This is him at the Linc last year. He’s sung at lots of sporting events. The Eagles should make him a permanent fixture.

Now comes the hart part for the Eagles.

On a short week, they must go on the road to play a very hot Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Two things about this game: First, remember that game time has been moved back to 4:25 for a national TV audience. Second, the Midwest is in the grips of the return of the ‘polar vortex.’ It’s going to be real cold. The one thing the Eagles did not do particularly well last night was run the ball, and they will need to do that to control the game and keep Rodgers off the field.

Maybe they should take Wilson with them.

The guy made the hair on my neck stand up with an electrifying anthem. And Kelly and the Eagles made sure it didn’t stop.

GOP GOES TO WAR – WITH ITSELF – IN HARRISBURG

Aside from the governor’s race, Pennsylvania Republicans had a pretty good day on Election Day.

So why are they going to war?

Not against Democrats, but each other.

Last week we learned that Senate Majority Leader Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, was facing a challenge from within the GOP ranks. Some members of the conservative wing of the party are not exactly enamored with the former mayor of Chester. In particular, they believe he may have been working against Gov. Tom Corbett’s agenda.

Yesterday several cities indicated they would sue the state over a new law that will give the National Rifle Association the legal grounds to challenge restrictive local gun laws.

Gov. Corbett has indicated he would sign the measure.

No one is more familiar with the challenge facing cities by gun violence than Pileggi. His office offered no comment on yesterday’s legal challenge.

Hmmmm.

Now it appears Pileggi may not be the only Republican targeted in this party struggle.

Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, will now face a challenge for the post of Senate president pro tempore from Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster.

You can get all the details on this Republican hissing match here.

Pileggi’s name often comes up in terms of potential gubernatorial candidates. He will be in the mix of GOP challengers to Tom Wolf four years from now.

But for now his biggest battle may be coming from his own party.