I love the Eagles. I also love the game of football.
When I was younger, my emotions got the best of me. Troy Aikman was Satan. So was Jimmy Johnson. And Emmitt Smith. And Charles Haley. And Larry Allen. I hated them all with unnatural fervor.
I don’t exactly like DeMarcus Ware, but I appreciate the fact he’s a great pass rusher that has Hall of Fame potential. I don’t think he is Satan. (Maybe just Pazuzu)
I now appreciate the game of football. I have less of an “Eagles vs the world” mentality. I still hate the Cowboys, but I’m a lot more rational. And that’s a good thing. Football is the greatest game there is. The way to truly enjoy it is to embrace the great players, no matter who they play for. I’m fascinated by RG3 and his amazing potential. It sucks that he plays for a rival, but I don’t want that to overshadow what a gifted player he is.
I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m an Orioles fan. Buck Showalter is the manager for the O’s. I didn’t know a lot about him before he got to Baltimore. I remember the stories from his Yankees days in the early 90’s. He was overly-strict and it drove his players crazy. Age has mellowed him and I am blown away by what a great manager he is.
One of my favorite things about Showalter is that he doesn’t live under the assumption that the O’s should win every game. There will be times after a tough loss that he’ll stop taking questions in a PC and just say something like “I hope you guys appreciate how good that pitcher was tonight. That was special. I don’t care who you wanted to win. That was great baseball.”
Buck’s point isn’t to give the Orioles a free pass for losing. There are just some nights in professional sports when the opponent outplays you. Rather than pick apart your failure, sometimes you have to acknowledge the other guy. This happens more in baseball since that is such an individual sport. You can have a dominant hitter or pitcher virtually win a game by himself.
There are times when Buck’s mentality applies to football. We lost to Dallas on MNF in early 2008, 41-37. That was a terrific game. It was a hard loss, but you couldn’t be mad at the Eagles. They lost. It was disappointing. They did play well. Dallas just made one or two more plays that night. There have been plenty of intense games against the Giants over the years. Some the Eagles won. Some they lost. Those games have a unique feel because of the intensity. The losses are tough, but I think there is something special about the games since the teams bring out the best in each other. Once you step away from the emotion of the outcome you have to admit it is a great rivalry and that the games are special.
Be an Eagles fan. But also be a football fan. Football is the greatest sport in the world. Enjoy the games.
Unless we lose to the Giants 42-7. Then it’s okay to be bitter.
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Speaking of loving the game…here is a great piece done by Mark Bowden several years ago. He wrote a book on the 1958 title game between the Colts and Giants. Many consider that the greatest game of all time and a signature moment in the rise of pro football.
Bowden got to watch coaches film of the game with Andy Reid. Say what you want about Big Red, but the man knows football. Andy didn’t know who all the players were so his observations and reactions were interesting. He had no preconceived notions. He just shared thoughts based on what he saw on the film.
You can be happy since the Giants blew a lead and lost.