Fourth time’s a charm

I forgot to mention the game today. I’ve been running on football overload the past two weeks thanks to the playoffs. But yesterday was exactly what I needed – a real game featuring the Eagles. Since they clinched home field advantage sometime in the preseason and have been resting starters October, I’ve been desperate for a game. And as much as I was certain all of their R&R would not render them rusty, you can’t help but be slightly affected by all of the negative media around you.

Fortunately, the Eagles shut up all of the doubters, and thoroughly dominated the Vikings in a game that was not nearly as close as the 27-14 final may indicate. And to make it even better, I discovered that my new DVR allows me to view HD channels. Which means I got to watch the game in the most glorious and pristine widescreen format that you can imagine. I wanted to cry… well, not really, but you get the idea.

And thus the Football Gods did smile down upon my mighty Birds, and granted them many outstanding (and sometimes fortuitous) plays. And let’s face it, we could use them. For those outside of Philly, one of my fellow fans put together a brief summary of our misery since 1981. The first two are just before my time as a fan, and numbers 12-14 are during my college years when I drifted away from following pro football (largely because of the jerk in #11). I’ve slightly edited the list, and taken out the more personal notes from the original author that would have served only to confuse you.

  1. The Eagles lose to the Raiders in the Super Bowl.
  2. The pre-Buddy years in the abyss.
  3. The Fog Bowl. Eagles return to the playoffs for the first time since Dick Vermiel left. The fog rolls in off the lake and clouds over the Eagles chances of winning against da Bears.
  4. Consecutive playoff losses at home to the Rams and Redskins seal Buddy’s fate. He brought a new attitude to the team and the city that you could argue carries over until today. Unfortunately, Buddy couldn’t get it done in the postseason.
  5. Rich Kotite promoted to head coach.
  6. Randall Cunningham’s leg broken in Week 1 of the 1991 season at Green Bay. This ends up keeping (and it’s oh so true) the greatest single-season defense EVER out of the postseason as Jim McMahon and a parade of nobodies go under center for a Birds team that still wins 10 games but is eliminated from playoff contention in the next to last game of the season by Jim Johnson’s upstart Dallas Cowboys.
  7. Jerome Brown dies.
  8. After winning (against New Orleans) the franchise’s first playoff game since the 1981 NFC Championship game, the ’92-’93 squad loses badly to Dallas. Reggie White’s last game as an Eagles.
  9. Kotite coaches the Eagles to a 7-2 start and is unable to make the playoffs.
  10. “For who? For what?” (Ricky Watters)
  11. Ray Rhodes wins 10 games and a playoff game in his first season as head coach. The Eagles start out 7-2 the next season (the seventh win against Dallas, highlighted by a 106 yard interception return for a TD). Rhodes’ team loses its next three games (with Ty Detmer at the helm) and Rhodes’s subsequent record as head coach is 12-26-1.
  12. Tommy Hutton fumbles the snap on Monday night.
  13. A TV report in November 1997 detailing what a hot commodity Bobby Hoying jerseys have become in the Philadelphia.
  14. Brian Finneran is mugged by an Arizona Cardinal while racing towards the end zone with would have been a touchdown to cinch a win for Andy Reid in his first game as head coach in 1999. Instead, Jake Plummer orchestrates one of his patented Eagles-only comebacks and Big Red starts out 0-1 in his coaching career.
  15. Jason Sehorn makes his luckiest pick since Angie Harmon and returns a McNabb interception for a TD that will doom the Birds to their third loss to the Giants in the 2000-2001 season.
  16. Mike Martz grows a brain and runs Marshall Faulk in the second half of the 2002 NFC Championship Game to beat the Eagles. McNabb throws an INT to Aeneas Williams (intended target was Freddie Mitchell) to end the game.
  17. Jeremiah Trotter released due to a contract dispute with Big Red. His absence in the middle arguably leads to–
  18. Joe friggin’ Jurevicius catches a pass from Brad friggin’ Johnson that results in a score that puts Tampa Bay (whom the Eagles had owned) ahead for good in the 2003 NFC Championship Game. McNabb throws an INT to Ronde Barber to end the game.
  19. Brian Westbrook injures his tricep in the last game of the regular season against Washington and is lost for the playoffs.
  20. Jake Delhomme – the luckiest QB to ever play the game – throwing off his back foot while being hit somehow gets a TD when half of our Pro Bowl secondary overshoots the WR. What should have been a sack turned into the first nail in the coffin. The other nails were put in by the mugging of our WRs by Ricky Manning, Jr. and our inability to tackle DeShaun Foster.

And that leads us to next Sunday: E! A! G! L! E! S! EAGLES!