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The Eagles Butt-Push Maneuver And Mike McCarthy’s Anti-Comedy, With Kalyn Kahler

Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts leaves the field after his team demolished the New York Giants in the NFL Divisional Round.
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

I have never been an elite reporter, and so cannot tell you what it takes to be an elite reporter. But as someone who worked near Kalyn Kahler during her time with us, I can report (exclusively) that some part of being that kind of reporter seems to involve being steamed. Kalyn's stories for The Athletic are good for the same reasons that her stories were so good for us, which is also the same reason that her Sports Illustrated stories were good, and that is because she is a good writer and an equally conscientious and tenacious reporter.

She's also a delightful hang and a very nice person, but if I may circle back to the Being Steamed part—Kalyn works hard, and knows how hard she works, which means among other things that she absolutely does not have time for weenies or layabouts or smug shirking types who do not hold up their end. This is a big part of why she's the best NFL reporter working, and also why bigger and richer people in the football business fear her. They know she really knows her stuff, but they also know that she's steamed, and they know why she's steamed, and in their hearts they know she's right. All of which explains why we were so happy to welcome her as the first Distraction guest of The Multitude Era.

While we begin, as is our custom, by discussing various medical ailments, the episode is, on balance, extremely heavy on Football Stuff. It couldn't really have been otherwise, given that this we are now just about dead center in the most wonderful time of the football year. The season is narrowing toward its conclusion, and what's left looks very promising indeed. Before we got into the forward-looking stuff, though, we spared some time for the teams that survived long enough to make it to the Divisional Round before being churned into the offseason. We spent more time on some than others, naturally—I was given three minutes to talk about the goofy/admirable Giants, but Mike McCarthy's new frontiers in administrative slapstick and the existential uncertainty of the broader Buffalo Bills Situation are more interesting, and so we devoted more conversation to those. I don't believe we mentioned the Jaguars at all, but they've been covered pretty well.

And anyway there's no real reason to look back given how promising Sunday's conference championship games look. There was some actual analysis, here; Kalyn has written about the Eagles' unique ability to butt-push their way to new levels of excellence, and we are always excited to talk about that kind of thing. But also the teams that remain are both really good and genuinely interesting to watch, and there is no set of outcomes from the Conference Championships that wouldn't deliver an extremely promising Super Bowl matchup. I suppose a general shared awe and appreciation at how good the remaining four teams have looked also qualifies as "analysis." Otherwise I'm not really sure what to call the stuff that usually fills out these episodes. Some words spring to mind, but they're not the sort of words you'd generally use to describe your own work product. You know the ones.

All this football talk left us precious little time for the usual bullshit, but we still seized the opportunity to remember a volatile and unusually public former Chicago Bears offensive lineman and do our level best with a Funbag question that was about as close to Normal Gossip territory as those questions tend to get. This is the magic of The Distraction, at least for me: I can spend the better part of an hour talking football with two of the football writers you admire most, and still get to say "now you must kiss the baby" in a Weird Guy Voice at the end. Again, there are many words that could be used to describe that kind of podcast, but I'm happy to go with "ours."

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