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Friday, February 15, 2013

A Mattis is on the Sideline Again - Introducing the ASI Panthers

From 1941 to 1951, Dick Mattis coached the football team at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA to an 81-18-1 record.

That's not a misprint.  81-18-1 is correct.

After Mattis retired from coaching, Fritz Brennan, one of his assistant coaches continued the LM gridiron dominance in the suburban Philadelphia region for many years to follow.
ASI Panthers head coach Bill Mattis
Now, another Mattis is trying his hand at football coaching.  Dick Mattis' grandson, Bill Mattis, Jr., is the head coach of the ASI Panthers, an expansion team in the Indoor Gridiron League (IGL), a developmental football league in Philadelphia. 

Now entering its third season, the IGL, which is "powered" by Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul, is a recreational and developmental football league endeavoring to provide "a legitimate opportunity for athletes within the community to pursue their personal dreams of playing professional football."  Mattis,  the owner of AllStarInc, an athlete representation agency in suburban Philadelphia, represents many aspiring young players at different levels of football, while also providing representation, marketing, and publicity services for many retired professional athletes including Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, and Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti.
As for his place on a football sideline, Mattis is hoping some of his grandfather's skill set has been passed along to him.  "As a family, we're very proud of what Dick Mattis accomplished at Lower Merion.  If any coach could be half as successful as he was, it would be a great achievement."

Trying his hand at football for the first time, at nearly 51 years old, is another challenge facing the newest Mattis to coach on the sideline, but he doesn't appear to be worried about that.  "I've coached baseball, softball, basketball and soccer.  It's all about learning and adapting.  There's also a lot of psychology and salesmanship needed.  I was a rarely used player back in high school, but I learned a lot back then from some pretty good coaches."

After finishing ninth grade at Lower Merion School District's Bala Cynwyd Junior High, Mattis played baseball, basketball, and football at Lower Merion's arch rival, Radnor High School from 1977-1980. It was an interesting trade of uniforms especially considering Mattis' family background.
"Fritz Brennan's kid, Johnny, played at Radnor before I got there, so it wasn't an unprecedented move."  Mattis laughed while saying, "My old friends at LM definitely gave me a hard time about being a traitor, but it was fun when we played against them."  He went on to play baseball at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, serving as team captain for three years.

Mattis' most successful coaching stint was when he coached the Upper Darby Blue Storm Girls Travel Soccer team for an eight-year span.  His daughter, Christine, now a senior at Widener University and a starting pitcher on the women's softball team there, was a player on the team and the squad took on many high level opponents over the years.

"We didn't keep track of the records but we won a lot of games...a LOT more than we lost.  Those girls were an incredible bunch and I miss those days of coaching them.  The families were so great in their support, it really made for a lot of fun times."

2013 Concept Uniform for the ASI Panthers
The family sports involvement continues with the ASI Panthers, as the team's player personnel director and general manager is Mattis' son, Will.  A baseball player in high school, Will has been helping his father with the football side of AllStarInc, specifically with recruiting, and has shown not only great promise, but a keen eye for talent, even placing some players with European teams.  "Will knows his stuff.  People better forget the fact that he's only 20 years old.  He does the job, knows the players, and delivers a roster that is very good.  I have no doubt we'll have a very good team."

Does Mattis see this football coaching thing becoming a new full time job?  Probably not.  "I doubt it.  I have too much going on for that!  Seriously though, we'll take it one year at a time and see how it goes.  It's not an easy job, that's for sure."
If family history is an indicator of success or failure, the ASI Panthers definitely have the correct family running the show.
The Panthers regular season games start in mid-April.  More information about the team can be found at the ASI Panthers Facebook page ( page and also at the AllStarInc website by visiting  If you would like to become a "Panther Partner," contact Bill Mattis at 484-477-2622 for more information.
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copyright 2013 AllStarInc Agency  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Korinne M. Jackman contributed to this story. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Coaching Carousel: A Look Forward to the 2013 NFL Season

Now that the Super Bowl and the 2012 NFL Season is behind us, ASI guest blogger, Joe Darrah, takes a look at the newly assigned coaches with an eye towards what these placements could mean for the 2013 season.

The NFL’s coaching carousel came to a halt recently when the Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to a four-year contract. After a rather pedestrian series of acquisitions following Kansas City’s first splash into the coaches’ “free agent” pool by handing the reigns over to its fourth head coach since 1996 in Andy Reid, who had been the league’s longest-tenured, well, NFL chief at that point, things certainly took a turn for the dramatic over a 48-hour period Jan. 16-17 — when Reid’s former flagship in Philadelphia went from on the verge of hiring Bradley to shocking the league and the University of Oregon by agreeing to terms with Ducks’ head coach Chip Kelly, who had interviewed well with the Birds soon after winning the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 4 before “re-committing” himself to the school. Seemingly in stride, Bradley would then fly Florida to interview with Jaguar brass and nab a job that was speculated to go to San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman after the 49ers still current postseason run concluded. But in a league that is more “what have you done for me lately” than any other, Bradley’s interview was so compelling that new general manager David Caldwell didn’t want to wait a few extra weeks to make a hire. 

In the time between Reid’s settlement in KC, Kelly’s second “de-commitment” to Oregon in as many years and Bradley’s contract signing in the “River City,” five other teams also completed new coaching hires (Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland and San Diego) that didn’t make as much of a blip on the NFL radar or gain quite the number of headlines — unless you count the reports that claim Mike McCoy fell out of grace just as quickly with the Eagles as he likely has with Denver fans after the Broncos’ uninspired offensive performance in the AFC divisional playoff against Baltimore Jan. 12 — as did Kelly, Bradley, or even Reid for that matter. However, they’ll all be held equally to task improving their respective squads without there being too much leniency during the transition. Here are my takes on how successful each may be, ranking them in order of how much each team should fare in 2013:

Chicago Bears - Trestman:  Sure, Trestman is nearly nine years removed from his last NFL job as an assistant coach with Miami, but he brings with him a fine resume of NFL accomplishments, especially related to his work with quarterbacks. He twice coordinated the No. 1 passing offense in the league (with Steve Young and the 49ers in 1995 and Rich Gannon and the Raiders in 2002), led two franchises to AFC title games as an offensive coordinator (2002 Raiders and 1989 Browns) and taking the same 2002 Raiders to the Super Bowl, though not really engineering a good showing there. Still, he managed success with the likes of Scott Mitchell in Detroit and Jake Plummer with the Cardinals, a good indication that he’ll be in fine shape with Jay Cutler and a Bears team that won 10 games in 2012. If Chicago holds onto the majority of its key potential unrestricted free agents on the defensive side (namely linebacker Brian Urlacher, tackle Henry Melton and lineman Israel Idonije), expect a new, more-highly powered offense to better compete with Green Bay and Detroit (is Minnesota really for real?) and be back in the playoffs.

San Diego Chargers - McCoy:  With apologies to the “agonized” fan base in Philly, there isn’t likely any city out there where “addition by subtraction” is more of a rallying cry than in Charger country. Despite his overwhelmingly productive stint as an offensive coordinator for two-time champion Dallas in 1992 and 1993, and a few stellar seasons during his 2007-12 head coaching tenure in San Diego (going 13-3 in 2009 and pulling off a five-game winning streak, including the postseason, to advance to the divisional round the year prior), I can’t help but think that Norv Turner will be remembered much like he is in Washington (1994-2000) and Oakland (2004-05) — for his teams’ ultimate failures and inconsistent play. As it stands, McCoy inherits a nice crop of offensive skill players all over the field and should have his squad challenge for a wildcard spot next season, which could be a make-or-break campaign for quarterback Philip Rivers.

Kansas City Chiefs - Reid:  In some ways, Kelly walks into yet another town that’s truly just happy with change for the moment. But, then again, this is Philly; and for unsuccessful head football coaches it can be a virtual hell pit. Kelly should initiate a much better showing for an Eagles team that is quite peculiar in that it has a lot of glaring weaknesses yet seems to have enough pieces in place to be closer to elite than the cellar. If he utilizes Shady McCoy the way an “arguably the best running back in the NFL” should be and has the benefit of a healthy offensive line, it’s not hard to see the Eagles back in the playoffs in 2013. However, with questions remaining at quarterback (will he draft one as well?), even with the thought that Michael Vick won’t be part of the equation, it’s more probable that Philadelphia will lose some high-scoring games while the defense continues to be rebuilt and Kelly tinkers with his system to accommodate Nick Foles or a player to be named later. That should keep Philly content for a calendar year. Maybe. It’s definitely possible that it could. 

Buffalo Bills - Doug Marrone:  Another coach that should have tempered expectations in the general sense as he’s jumping from college to pro ball, Marrone will probably have a shorter learning curve given that he’s taking over a team that expected to be in the playoffs “yesterday.” Like Rivers and McCoy, it will be interesting to see who has the longer leash with the Bills — Marrone or QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Marrone has brought in ‘offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett with him from Syracuse to devote his time to the maligned signal caller, who has proven to light up the stat sheet and fantasy football scoreboards on a fairly regular basis without it translating to postseason success. Likewise, Buffalo has brought on Jets’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to try his hand at fixing the league’s 22-ranked defense, giving Marrone proven coaching commodities to help him pull an already talented team a little further. Let’s call them wild card contenders on the basis that they’ll win at least eight in 2013, even if Marrone isn’t solely credited with miracle-working.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Bradley:  If nothing else, Bradley’s Seahawks had the ability to control games particularly due to its style and attitude (on top of the raw talent, yes). If nothing else, an attitude adjustment is exactly what this squad needs (on top of more raw talent, yes). A terrible team in every sense of the word (OK, Cecil Shorts is a stud and Chad Henne can at least let people forget about Blaine Gabbert temporarily), the Jags should at least be a markedly better defensive team in 2013, which suddenly puts you in position to win more games. They won’t win enough to play more than 16, but if Maurice Jones-Drew sticks around (and has enough in him to remain a concern to opposing defenses) don’t be surprised to see a Jeff Fisher-like induced rebirth a la St. Louis that gives more of a warm, fuzzy feeling in the stands as opposed to nausea. And if that doesn’t happen, maybe everyone can start talking about the Tim Tebow possibility again.

Cleveland Browns - Chudzinski:  The one-time Brown offensive coordinator gets another shot in Cleveland with a more talented, younger nucleus on offense in QB Brandon Weeden and RB Trent Richardson, and gets the “OC” version of the aforementioned Turner, so optimism for at least minor improvement is there. But, really, how good can Weeden be given that there’s not a formidable receiving corps? There’s still more questions than answers, but with new defensive coordinator Ray Horton also brought in; there’s an established presence to assist the first-time head coach. How will former Eagles’ salary cap wizard Joe Banner spend the team’s money? Will he care enough about keeping a decent defense intact?

Arizona Cardinals - Bruce Arians:  Arians is clearly a media darling and a great person to admire in light of the situation he was handed and thrived in with Indianapolis a year ago. But let’s not gloss over that he had Andrew Luck, a player who would make any team better from the jump, and that he’s essentially walking into the NFL’s version of JV quarterbacks (seriously, Larry Fitzgerald, sticking your neck out for Kevin Kolb?) in the desert. Still, a lot of times winning and losing in the NFL comes down to staying appropriately prepared and mentally in check, so don’t look past Arians there. Then again, age and time are not on his side, neither is his lone head coaching track record (21-45 at Temple from 1983-88). He loses a solid defensive coordinator in Horton to Cleveland, so leaning on that unit won’t be likely. Despite temperatures out there, the heart-warming Arian's story could turn chilly pretty quick.

copyright 2013 Joe Darrah All RIGHTS RESERVED