More On Moments

Posted: June 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 11 Comments »

I’m glad so many people have offered thoughts in the discussion on titles vs “moments”.  This isn’t a subject that lends itself to one-liners.  It takes some reflection and thought.

We all want a Super Bowl win.  No one disputes that.  We want it more than anything in the world (sorry Megan Fox, cure for cancer, and world peace).  Someday, Eagles fans will get to rejoice in a Super Bowl win.  I just hope I’m here to be part of it.

That doesn’t mean that the non-title years are a waste.  Think of the great memories of the last 25 years.  There was Randall going down in 1991.  There was the Fog Bowl.  There was Westy missing the 2003 playoffs.  There was the botched field goal vs Dallas in 1997.  Ronde and the pick-six.  Oh wait…I should have listed great memories.  Got stuck on great disasters.

The reason I actually listed those moments is that we even like them in a bizarre way.  It’s sorta like Evel Kenievel watching one of his motorcycle wrecks.  You hate the result, but appreciate the importance of the moment.  And there is something to be said for going down in flames.  The first playoff loss of Andy Reid’s career here was to the Giants in 2000.  It was a non-descript game where they kicked our butt.  Who cares?  The losses in other years…we had our hearts ripped out.  Not always title games, either.  Last season’s loss to Green Bay and the 2006 loss to New Orleans were killers.  We had chances to win both games, but couldn’t get the job done.  Riley Cooper fails to break up a pass in the endzone and we lose.  Scott Young has a false start and that negates a critical 4th down conversion.  Oh, the humanity.

The great moments are what keep us watching.  The Pickle Juice Game.  The Bounty Bowl.  The 4th and 1 game.  The Body Bag Game.  The Miracle at The New Meadowlands.  4th and 26.  NFC title win over Atlanta.   PHI 58, DET 37 (such an underrated gem).  PHI 44, DAL 6.  The House of Pain Game.  And so on.

The problem with great moments is that there is no scoreboard for them.  And that’s what makes winning titles so important.  That’s the way we keep scoreboard.  Win a Super Bowl, you’re in the club.  You matter.  Why?  We can see what you did.  It happened in the framework of a system that let’s us know that the moment is important.

There is no way to compare our great moments vs other teams.  That’s all subjective.  San Diego never won a Super Bowl, but their playoff win over the Dolphins in 1982 is one of the epic games of all time.  Heck, that’s a better win than at least half the Super Bowls.  Since it wasn’t a Super Bowl, that win doesn’t go on the top shelf.

Do we really think the 2001 Patriots, 2005 Steelers, or 2007 Giants were the best teams in football?  No.  But they won the Super Bowl and that makes them champions.  In the NFL, being a champion is all that matters.

Until we do win a title, all we can do is enjoy the great moments when they come along.  Let’s hope 2011 has a couple more in store for us.

* * * * *

Personal note about winning titles.  I am a Duke basketball fan.  Many of you will moan and groan, but I’ve followed the team since 1977.  Coach K was still running the team at West Point when I started following the Blue Devils.

Duke made it to the 1978 NCAA title game.  We lost to Kentucky.  I was allowed to watch the first half, but then forced to go to sleep.  I was 8 at the time and couldn’t make a compelling case for staying up.  I woke up the next morning and ran to the living room where a note read:  Kentucky 94, Duke 88.  Barf.

Things weren’t so great for the next few years.  Some idiot named Krizzyzooski was hired and couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag.  That changed a bit in the mid-80s and the team was great in 1986.  They got to the NCAA title game once again.  I was able to watch this one in its entirety, but Duke lost to Louisville 71-69.  Barf.  To say I was heart broken is to say that the sun is warmish.  I lived and died with Johnny Dawkins.  It crushed me that he didn’t get a title.

I remember walking in the woods a couple of days later.  I saw a newspaper with a picture of the team getting welcomed back to Duke.  All I could think was “It will never be this good again.”  Oops.

1986 wasn’t the end of the journey.  It was the beginning.  Duke has been an elite school since then.  They’ve won 4 titles in the last 25 years.  There have been some great moments and some horrific low points.  I’ve seen some amazing players and some great teams.

Ironically, the two best Duke teams were 1986 and 1999.  Those teams lost in the title game.  The next best two were 1992 and 2001.  Those teams won.

Believe it or not, I enjoy Duke basketball less since winning the titles.  The hollow feeling of 1978 and 1986 made pursuing the championship so huge that it was an obsession.  We had to win.  We had to be validated as a program.  Duke won in 1991 and again in 1992.  Maybe winning consecutive titles is what made things so strange.

I still love Duke basketball and watch 90% of their games.  I still love it when they beat Carolina.  I hate it when they lose in the NCAAs, but that sense of disappointment is lessened by the 4 titles.

I’m curious to see how I’ll react when the Eagles do win a title.  Will that lessen my passion at all?  I’m also curious what will happen when the winning stops.  We all know there will be some point down the line when the team will struggle for a couple of years.  Will that just make me hungry to get back to winning ways or will it kill my optimistic spirit?

For now, let’s focus on how I’ll deal with the post-Super Bowl winning side of things.

11 Comments on “More On Moments”

  1. 1 WPM said at 12:08 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    I dont know why but one of my favorite moments of last year was beating the colts, it seemed as though Peyton has owned us the few times he has played us, was just a huge win coming off that diasterous titans loss, another was the Christmas Game win at the Cowboys in 06, Garcia was great, no one expected us to win that, than again no one expected us to lose to the bucs and panthers in back to back nfc championship games

  2. 2 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:26 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    The Colts win was great. They’d whipped us in ’96, ’99, 2002, and 2006. Not even close. Beating them gave me a great sense of satisfaction.

    Beating Dallas on Christmas was great as well. That was Tony Romo’s first awful game as a starter. Our defense played great and made him look silly. Nice Christmas present for all the Dallas haters.

  3. 3 izzylangfan said at 1:41 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    I was surprised to hear about your waning enthusiasm for Duke following their national championships. But is Duke the same to you as the Eagles?

    I believe that being a true fan is an act of love; and passion that stems from love usually begets more passion and more love. Winning might cut into that sense of desperation, but who knows where that really comes from anyway. If the Eagles win the Superbowl I believe I will stay passionate as ever. And I suspect that given your dedication to the Eagles and Eagles fans that you may be even more passionate than I, a passion that might not wane with mere victory.

  4. 4 Sam said at 1:48 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    I feel the same way about the Red Sox as you do about Duke. I am a transplant to Philadelphia, living in New England until I was 13, and the Sox were everything. After the win in 2004, the passion wasn’t nearly as strong for me.

    Part of that may be that I had outgrown baseball in general by the time 2004 rolled around, so my lingering attachment to the team might have been more about anguish and redemption for years of suffering than about being a Red Sox fan. But there is a great deal of truth in your point. Once you win, that constant gnawing desire/need to get a championship subsides a bit. At least, that was my experience.

  5. 5 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:58 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    I do wonder if part of my situation is that I’ve really put all my eggs in the Eagles basket. I loved watching the Flyers get close last year. Seeing the Sixers run in 2001 was great.

    Those are my teams, but they aren’t my passion. The Eagles are. Maybe an Eagles win would make me even more passionate about the team. Maybe not. I sure want to get a chance to find out.

  6. 6 phillybirdzfan said at 4:17 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    Any moment would be blown up a few times over if it took place on the way to a title. A title will always trump moments in a title-less year because there’s sure to be moments you remember from the title.

    Imagine how big 44-6 and Desean’s bobbled TD in Arizona would be if they had ended up winning the Super Bowl that year.

  7. 7 T_S_O_P said at 4:20 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    I had a 1991 Final 4 t-shirt which had KU, Duke, NC and UCLA… I think. A gift from my Jayhawk friend on my visit in ’92. Being runners up meant the apparel meant nothing to her. I just liked college gear as it was impossible to get in Blighty back then. I still have a Randall Cunningham T shirt from a similar time.

  8. 8 ppk said at 4:45 PM on June 14th, 2011:

    The Eagles are my #1, but I’m also a Phillies fan. Watching the Phils win the 2008 World Series has only increased my passion for the team and the desire to again experience the thrill of victory. If (when) the Eagles win the Super Bowl, I am confident it will surpass any moment, play, or previous victory. Plus, I am certain the sight of Reid hoisting the Lombardi will only amplify my joy and I will then want more chmpionships.

    Kind of like sex, can you ever get too much of a good thing?!

  9. 9 FinnEagle said at 3:27 AM on June 15th, 2011:

    I have three teams that I follow: Eagles, Chicago Blackhawks and my local ice-hockey team Helsinki IFK.

    I started following the Hawks and IFK in the early 90`s and the Eagles in 2003. It has been pretty tough to be fan of those teams, because before 2010, 1998 was the only time that my teams won anything when IFK won the National championship. But in 2010 Hawks won for the first time since 1965 and IFK won this year. The best memory from IFK`s championship by far is from the quarterfinal round. We were playing our hatred rivals Helsinki Jokerit and the series went to game 7. 8400 tickets sold out in 2 minutes and I wasn`t one of the lucky ones, so I ended up wahtcing the game in local sports bar. It was packed and both fans were singing and cheering their own team. It was unbelievably loud and in the morning I had no voice. After that round IFK was overwhelming against rest of the opponents so that night will be THE night to remember.

    But when the IFK and Blackhawks haven`t won, they have give no reason to hope. They have been either good or terrible for whole season long.
    but our beloved Eagles… They love to get your hopes up and then crush them. Even within the game, like the wild card game against the Packers. I was once again certain that this would be the year when Eagles will go all the way. I had an important exam at 8 o`clock in the next morning, but I just couldn`t concentrate studying because all I could think was the game. The game started at midnight and at the halftime I was miserable and sure that game was over. I was thinking about going to bed but something kept me watching. And the hope started to lift its head. The final drive, Deasean`s long catch” oh my God, they are going to wi…##%&¤%¤ RILEY PLAY THE FU….G BALL!
    I couldn`t get any sleep, failed the exam miserably and thought that still I love being an Eagles fan, wouldn`t change it for anything.

  10. 10 bdawk4ever said at 2:59 PM on June 15th, 2011:

    I would love a title, but for now, all we have are the moments. And even when we win a title, those moments will still be important.

    I know my passion won’t be diminished if the Birds win a title. I look at how I feel about the Phillies. I was ecstatic in 2008, and utterly despondent after 2009 and 2010. I know that’s how I’ll feel when the Eagles do win it all.

  11. 11 D3Keith said at 11:12 PM on June 17th, 2011:

    I think the fun is that we don’t know how we’ll feel, or it will feel.

    I’m to a point with the Eagles where I know they’re good enough to do it, and they keep me entertained every year, so I’m happy … it’s just a matter of them finishing. They’ve done literally everything except finish it off.

    So for me, as much as I hate for exterior forces to influence how much I enjoy the game, winning it has become a lot about this potential exchange:

    hater fan: Eagles never won a Super Bow … oh wait.
    Me: Yeah that’s right bish, bask in it. WE are the champions.
    hater fan: Oh yeah, well Dallas won five and you only have one.
    Me: I’m sorry, is Dallas the reigning champ? No? Oh. Have this frothy glass of STFU.
    hater fan: Well at least we didn’t boo Santa.

    One of my favorite moments is the game in the lost year (aka o5) against San Diego where Mikell blocks the kick and Matt Ware runs it back for TD. I remember being so ecstatic I high fived half my row and hugged the random fat guy sitting next to me. If that was for a midseason game, I can only wonder what the parade down Broad will be like.