Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Worst Philadelphia Eagles Memories

Below, I discussed the Top Ten Memories that I have of this decade from the Eagles, but now I turn my attention to something a little more somber - the ten worst memories of the decade. Some are familiar and predictable, but the order of some may surprise you. Here we go...

10) Giant Choke (9/17/2006) - The Eagles were completely dominating the Giants at the Linc on this particular day, leading 24-7 until all of a sudden the defense went quiet and the offense could not generate a single first down, allowing the Giants to tie the game at 24 and send it to overtime. In overtime, Eli Manning threw a jump ball and Plaxico Burress leaped over everyone and hauled it in to seal the 30-24 loss that still makes me want to vomit in my own mouth when I think about it.

9) Seahawk Slaughter (12/5/2005) - Ironically, one year to the day of what was perhaps the finest performance of the Andy Reid era, the Eagles found themselves down 35-0 at halftime at home on Monday Night Football to the eventual NFC champs. On the night when Reggie White's number was retired and an emotional crowd was on hand, the team laid what was perhaps its biggest egg of the Reid era, losing 42-0. Two interceptions returned for touchdowns and other general incompetence was on full display.

8) Donovan's injuries (11/14/2005 and 11/19/2006) - 2005 really was the 'lost year' of the decade. McNabb had been injured in the season opener with a sports hernia but it really ended against Dallas, when he threw an interception to Roy Williams who ran it back for a score and Donovan was hurt trying to tackle him. That play capped a Dallas comeback to win 21-20 and ended McNabb's, and by extension, the Eagles' season. The 2006 injury was the torn ACL as he tried to evade Kyle Vandenbosch of the Titans on the sideline. He was headed for what may have been his finest statistical season at that point. Luckily, 2006 was not a lost year as Jeff Garcia was able to assume duties in fine fashion.

7) When the Saints Go Marching In (1/13/2007) - A couple of things really stand out here. First, the Eagles were able to jump out to a 21-13 lead on the host Saints but blew it. Secondly, the officiating was terrible. Thirdly, and most importantly, Andy Reid decided to punt with under 2 minutes to go and the team down by 3. Much has been made of that particular decision, and all the Saints would need was one first down, which they got, holding off the Eagles 27-24. 2006 ended up being a classic 'what if' season, especially given the way it ended.

6) The Mike McMahon Era (November-December 2005) - somehow, the Eagles managed to win two games in the Lost Season out of the seven that McMahon started. His stats were pretty bad - a 45% completion rate, a 55 QB rating, and 5 TD's versus 8 interceptions. This was the one season in which the backups truly failed the team - unlike 2002, 2006, and 2009. The silver lining to this stormy season was the acquisition of Jeff Garcia to be Donovan's backup the next year.

5) NFC Title Loss #4 (1/18/2009) - This game had a bit of the feel from the first NFC Title Game loss from the 2001 season against the Rams - the Eagles were underdogs and they weren't supposed to win on the road. But this game makes the list and the 2001 game doesn't, mostly because the 2001 team was growing still and the 2008 team had the experience to make it, and they also blew a late lead after coming all the way back to go ahead. The 32-25 loss to the Cardinals left a bad taste because it wasn't like they were the Greatest Show on Turf. They were still the Cardinals, but the Eagles defense let the team down.

4) The Terrell Owens Saga (2005) - the nonsense started because T.O. got jealous over the fact that the Eagles actually won games in the playoffs without him and he wanted a new contract despite having signed a 7 year, $49 million contract. Between doing sit ups in his driveway, Drew Rosenhaus answering 'Next Question!', and Owens eventually being suspended and deactivated for conduct detrimental to the team, and a combo of Donovan's injuries and the Mike McMahon 'Era', 2005 is just a season to forget and is probably better off not being acknowledged at all. Lost Season, indeed.

3) NFC Title Loss #3 (1/18/2004) - This game made me cry. It didn't make me angry, and it didn't make me feel hopeful. It just made me cry. A horrible game, the receivers couldn't get anywhere, Donovan got cheap-shotted and injured after throwing three interceptions. Just an ugly, ugly 14-3 loss.

2) Super Bowl XXXIX (2/6/2005) - After finally getting over the hump, the Eagles played a decent game, but it just wasn't enough. 10 points was just too much to overcome against a New England team that was very good. This loss, however, took a while to sink in. It wasn't an immediate reaction. I had always wondered what it would be like for the Eagles to make the Super Bowl, and then I knew how bad it was to lose. 24-21 was the final, the third Patriots title of the decade, and the third by three points.

1) NFC Title Loss #2 (1/19/2003) - I have never been so pissed off in my life as the result of a sporting event. I was angry for literally weeks after this one. The Eagles 27-10 loss to Tampa Bay was the ultimate stomach-punch in my lifetime. This was the final football game in Veterans Stadium, a place where no one wanted to come and play. It was brutally cold and the Bucs had a horrible record in cold weather. In other words, conditions were perfect for a victory lap en route to the team's first Super Bowl appearance since 1980. It looked that way as Duce Staley had a quick strike 20 yard touchdown run. However, Tampa put it together and all of a sudden late in the 4th quarter the Eagles were losing 20-10. One last hope as they marched toward the goal line then the Interception happened - Ronde Barber picked a Donovan pass and took it 92 yards for the final margin of defeat. This is still to me the most bitter loss endured as an Eagles fan, even more so than the Super Bowl. The Birds were supposed to win, and win big. It just didn't work out that way, and it is still a sore spot to this day.


Doyler said...

I think the new decade will start really well for Philly. Just a vibe I'm getting.

Joshua Lattanzi said...

Yeah, we can hope, anyway. The cynical side of me doubts it, though.