Ladies and Gentlemen:

All of the talking heads last week were harping on how the psyche of the Eagles would be damaged by their monumental collapse last week against the Giants. Hopefully, the drubbing they laid on the Niners will put an end to that. At least temporarily. What I would like to note is that the Eagles offense, with the exception of that one quarter against the Giants has been virtually unstoppable. That begins and ends with the play of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook.

There were a lot of big plays last Sunday. There was the flea-flicker to open the game, the goal line stand, the Mike Patterson rumbling-bumbling-stumbling 98 yard run and the Matt Schobel game clinching catch and run. There also was the Brian Westbrook 71 yard touchdown run. To me, this was a defining moment in his career as an Eagle. He breaks through the line and is 50 yards down field looking like he is going to be pushed out of bounds. It itself this would have been a great play but it did not end there. Westbrook turned and leaned into a straight arm that knocked Niners safety Mike Adams back enough for him to lose his balance and Westbrook went in for the score. It looked great in the stadium but when I got home and watched it again on the game that I had recorded (yes, I essentially watched the same game twice) I was awe struck. I think the run was…dare I say…Wilbert Montgomery-esque. There, it’s out and I’m sticking to it! What we don’t typically see when we watch the game on T.V. that you would see in the stadium is the other little things. Westbrook is a brutal one-on-one blocker. There were several times when he leveled blitzing linebackers. If he doesn’t need to pick up a block then he is free and available for a second or third look for McNabb. We always knew that he was a quick running back with good hands but this is the first time we have really been given an indication on how strong he is. Last week I talked about his conditioning and how you need to question it because of the nagging injuries he gets. I am not in any way backing off from this point. I believe that his importance to this team only makes that point much stronger. There is not one running back on this team who is even half as effective as Westbrook is in every facet of the game.

Say what you want about Philadelphia fans. They’re rude, drunk, obnoxious, mean, etc…etc…etc…I’ll tell you what they are. They are the most loyal fans in all of sports. Yeah, You can talk about Red Sox fans, Cubs fans, Packers fans or Steelers fans and, without question, these are loyal die hard fans. The difference is that these fans have enjoyed success over the years. If not for their particular team, as in the case of the Cubs and until very recently the Red Sox, then at least for their city. But Eagles/Philadelphia fans??? I must admit that I got into the Phillies post all-star/Ryan Howard run. For the record, however, I did say to a colleague of mine who works for the San Francisco Giants, when they still had a shot, that he shouldn’t worry. I told him that the Phils would take the wild card lead but then blow it by getting swept by a team that was not in the running for anything. Even with this prediction I was still disappointed when they dropped 2 out of three to the NL East last place Washington Senators to effectively end their wild card run. The point is we have not had a winner in our beloved city for over 23 years. Yet, this past Sunday at the ‘Stick there had to be one Eagles fan to every three Niners fan. And when the Eagles locked it up and some Niners fans were leaving in the third quarter (yes, the third quarter!!!) the Eagles fans stayed to the end. There were many random observations of mine and RT members Tim Holt, Matt Kolber and Dave Basmajian who were all in attendance last Sunday.

-The Eagles Grim Reaper in the upper decks decked out with robe and sickle.
-The notable presence of SFPD in that very same deck where there seemed to be the largest congruence of the Eagles faithful.
-The drunken fan who was being escorted out of the stadium who stopped to scream “You got so many beautiful girls here you just don’t know it. This ain’t like Jersey.”
-Tailgating. Real tailgating, not that wine and Brie crap that I saw at my first Niners game.
-The little old lady sitting next to me who said,”See that’s why I don’t like the Eagles. They always play so dirty.”
-The night manager at a local hotel who was working out with a colleague of mine and told him a story that he insisted she share with me. She said, “Last night, at around 3:00 A.M., this bus rolled in with the words ‘the green legion’ and a green grim reaper painted on the side. These guys pile out of the bus and into the hotel. They then preceded to open the bar all on their own with liquor they had brought in form their own coolers. They were there all night and were the most obnoxious people I have ever seen in my life.”
-Various melees between Eagles and 49ers fans.

I had my own quasi-altercation with a 49er fan. After Greg Lewis’s fumble deep in San Francisco territory in the second quarter. A guy in my section turns to me and says “Just like last week!” Well, let’s just say it took about a dozen guys to hold my ass down. After regaining my composure here is how the conversation played itself out:

I said: “It’s a little early for that.”
He said: “Yeah, just like last week.”
Me: “Look at the scoreboard”
Him: “Look at the Super Bowl rings, we have 5 you have 0!”
Me: “I think you’re living in the past, that was a long time ago.”
Him: “Not that long ago and I’m older than you.”
Me: “I wouldn’t be too sure about that, Grandpa.”
Him:” Watch it!!”

Apparently he was done playing. Tim told me that a lot of Niners fans brought up the whole Super Bowl thing with him. It’s obviously a line they rehearsed and will probably need to use for a little while. Niners fans and sports writers are a different breed. When I read the Chronicle the next morning the head line on the sports page read ‘Niner’s mistakes let one slip away.’ Slip away! Are you kidding me. With the exception of the third quarter, the Eagles dominated. Even if you take away the Patterson fumble return, that play occurred after a valiant goal line stand by the Eagles. I don’t fault the San Francisco faithful for the optimistic viewpoint, I just find it strange and foreign. We’re Eagles fans. We’ll complain that the coach left the starters in too long in a 35-7 rout.

The Birds are a 10 point favorite against the Packers. That’s a big spread but one I’m going to take, The Eagles are a Monday night team, Green Bays defense is anchored by former Eagle Al Harris and Brett Favre will throw three interceptions. In all due respect to the Packers quarterback, who is without question a Hall of Famer, he makes too many mistakes and tries to force too many plays. He should have retired last year. I see a shoot out with the Birds scoring at will but their bruised up secondary giving away too many big plays.

That’s enough for now but next week we’ll talk about what we need to do about the secondary and…drum roll please…the identity of the “Balls” player for 2006.

Go Birds!

Eric Written by:

One Comment

  1. Anonymous
    October 2, 2006

    Wilbert Montgomeryesque… Indeed!

    -Dare I say, my Brother… you may get yet another chance to watch that Game a Third time… Tonight against Green Bay…

    !!!GO BIRDS!!!


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