(Originally Posted: Friday October 01, 2010)
As we all know, this is the game we all circled on our schedule as soon as it came out. The prodigal son is returning. (I’m actually not sure if that reference is accurate, but it sounds good.) This week was supposed to be all about McNabb vs. Kolb, but against almost everyone’s wildest dreams, another level of craziness has been added with Vick now the starter, and playing with the top QBs in the league.
As much as it pains me to do this, I have to address the Vick situation and my statements in my previous post. I was adamant that Kolb would and should be the starter once he was healthy. Playing Vick this year would be the right play for this season, but doesn’t help us for the future. I felt that Andy Reid thought the same way. Andy is so stubborn, that once he makes a decision, he’ll stick with it, no matter how circumstances change, or what public opinion is. But I guess I was wr-wr-wr-incorrect. Reid looked at the tape, saw how bad our O-line is, how wide open the NFC East is, and decided Vick gives them a real chance to make a deep run in the playoffs. And he’s probably right. Am I still concerned that Vick is going to hit the wall or get injured? Yup. But I’m 100% on the Vick bandwagon right now too. (And that has nothing to do with the fact that I picked Vick up on waivers in my fantasy team.)
Quick conspiracy theory: Am I the only one who thinks that Reid may have put Vick in not only because he gives him the best chance for the whole season, but he’s the hot hand right now, and more than anything he wants to ensure that he wins this week against McNabb? If you think there was a crap storm with the whole Vick/Kolb thing, how rough do you think next week will be if McNabb torches the Eagles and Kolb had struggled?
Alright, now that we got the whole Vick thing out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks, Donovan Jamal McNabb. There are so many little nuances to the story of this game that are fascinating. Before we get to the sideshow aspects of the game, let’s a quick look at the actual game.
McNabb and Reid had been together for 11 years. They know each others strengths and weaknesses. So the question is who does that give the advantage to, the coach or quarterback? I gotta believe it goes to Reid. It’s easier for the defensive coordinator McDermott, who’s only in his 2nd year, to throw some things at McNabb that he hasn’t seen before. Reid also knows McNabb’s weaknesses (as do most of us Birds fans.) One of McNabb’s biggest weaknesses is that he can’t come from behind. So if the Eagles can jump to an early lead, the Birds should be able to wrap this game up early.
Now, let’s get to the circus. The national media is OBSESSED with how McNabb will be treated by the Eagles fans. What I believe will happen, and what is appropriate, is for 5 to be cheered during introductions, given the respect that he is due at the time. But once the game starts, the gloves come off. Once the ball is kicked off, he’s no longer a former Eagle, he’s the Redskins starting quarterback, and should be treated as such. Boos and taunts are completely appropriate. I’m also expected a huge cheer for the first pass that McNabb throws to a receivers feet. I don’t expect anything thrown at him, or any inappropriate signage either. I wouldn’t be surprised if the organization confiscates negative signs at the gates, which for once I would be in favor of. I really want the fans to do this right, to stick in the face of some of the national media who just hate us. Which brings me to…
It’s been tough this week to read national media previews of this week’s game, because so many writers hate the Eagles fans and love to take pot shots at us. To a certain extent, we have embraced the image of being some of the toughest fans in the league. But we’re also some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans around. We hardly ever get credit for that. Any article that I’ve read that had the words “snowballs” or “Santa” in it, I stopped reading immediately. I’m so sick and tired of hearing about that. First of all, those lazy writers should take 10 minutes and read what really happened that day. Secondly, that was over 40 years ago. Why are we still paying for the ‘sins’ of our fathers? When the Falcons fans do something distasteful, does anyone ever bring up what was going on in Atlanta in the late 60s? I don’t think so. As an Eagles fan, I usually relish the hatred we receive from some national writers and outlets, but this week or maybe even over the entire last year I’ve become tired of being called disrespectful and not appreciating what we had in McNabb.
For the game itself, we pulled the Fox’s A-team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. (Yes, I would rather have B.A, Buracus and Murdoch doing it too.) As much as I despised Aikman when he was the stupid Cowboys quarterback, but he is quite good as a color guy on games. He also is one of the few guys who have a good handle of Philly fans and respects and understands us. Unfortunately, he’s teamed up with the holier than thou Joe Buck, who loves to pontificate, and hates Philadelphia. He’s going to be chomping at the bit to take shot after shot at the fans. Ever since Randy Moss fake mooned the Packers fan a couple years ago and Buck acted like he just took a piss on the field, I completely lost it with Buck. If he doesn’t cause me to damage my TV this weekend, or make me teach my young boys some new four letter words before the game is over, it’ll be a miracle. My favorite part of the baseball playoffs is that he goes off football for a couple weeks.
Earlier today I posted on twitter that the over/under for Fox to show the clip of McNabb getting booed at the draft at 7.5 minutes into the first quarter. That clip infuriates me to no end, for a couple reasons. First off, it’s never given the proper context. No one mentions the fact that the fans weren’t booing McNabb, but the pick. The jackoffs at the draft wanted the team to take Ricky Williams (Brilliant idea guys.) Secondly, there were only 30 guys there. Since when do 30 fans represent a city? I never hear anyone mention that fact. The whole city was divided on who the Birds should have taken with that pick between a QB and Ricky Williams. But since one stupid radio host filled a bus with drunks (nothing wrong with that last part) and took them to the draft, I guess they represented the whole city.
Any which way you slice it; this is going to be an emotional, interesting, exciting game. It’s nearly impossible to judge what will happen impartially with all the other factors. I’ll admit I’ve only seen McNabb’s first game this season, but what I’ve read about his game against the Rams is encouraging for us. But one thing not to forget about McNabb is that he does have a canny ability to step up for personal games during the regular season. But even with that said, the Redskins D is abysmal and the whole Eagles team is gonna want this game and that will out weigh one guy on a vendetta. Final score: Eagles 30 Redskins 17.