Monday, December 7, 2009

Diehard Fan

It's freezing cold in Spokane yesterday. With wind. A Sunday - a day of rest. So where was I? Heroes and Legends sports bar, downtown. The Philadelphia Eagles were not on television, you see. And I don't have that fancy NFL cable sports package, or whatever it is, that would let me see them anyway. So I bundled up and trudged on down to the bar at 10 a.m., willing the Eagles to make my journey worth it. Which they did, by beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-7. And I appreciate that. But I would have been at the sports bar even if they had lost. I didn't wait at home until half time to see if the trek would be worth it. I weathered the weather right up front because I wanted to watch them get from here to there - win, lose, or draw. However it turned out.

It was a great game. I have no qualms about the blow-out. I watch enough Eagles games that are tense - and disappointing - all the way to the end that I'm perfectly happy with a game that seems won before it ends.

There was one great moment, when the Eagles held the Falcons at the one yard line for three downs - second to fourth - right before the end of the first half. It didn't make the highlight reels - not the ones I saw, anyway - but it was perhaps the greatest moment of the game and a turning point for confidence. The Falcons imagined, I suppose, that one of those straight-up-the-middle runs would result in a touchdown. Three times, three zeros. I love the Eagles. When I don't hate them.

That goal line stand reminded me of a series of downs years ago, when the Eagles were playing the Cardinals. The Cardinals were still part of the NFC East back then, so it was an important game. Reggie White still was with the Eagles, as I recall. And the Cardinals decided what the Falcons decided - maybe it's a bird thing - that at least one of those up-the-middle runs from the one-yard line would score. In that game though, the run up the middle happened seven times - seven times! - because at some point there was an offsides call and the Cardinals got another set of downs. And for seven runs, the Eagles held. That made the highlight reels.

Here's an article about yesterday's goal line stance, which points out that, at the time, the Eagles were ahead only 13-0 - would have been a game changer. And I looked up that goal-line stand from before. Can't find a linkable article, but it was 1992, so it was the Eagles' last season with Reggie White. (There was no Jerome Brown - he had died in a car accident in June.) The Eagles won the game 7-3, so it mattered. And there were three penalties, not just the one. But seven times, no touchdown - that, I'll never forget.


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