I honestly can’t believe I am going to take the bait and actually have thoughts about this. To be totally honest, even though I was an Eagles season ticket holder for years, ran a blog dedicated to Eagles revelry, and was personally rescued from being a Cowboys fan as a 2nd grader by none other then Vince Papale; my interest in the Eagles has steadily declined in the Reid/Lurie/Banner/Donovan era. My heyday for Eagles was the Buddy Ryan Era, but I spent many a Sunday and some serious coin attending games up until about 4 years ago. Maybe that decline was buying my first house, and the Eagles were the first piece of expendable income that could go, and my interest went with it. Or maybe I just don’t like Reid/Lurie/Banner and Donovan. Maybe a combo? Maybe the “smarter than the room” attitude the Eagles brass has carried over these years, the smug “times yours” attitude at press conferences, and the smiling goofiness displayed by the team leader made taking the several thousand dollars I spent a season OUT of their pocket and putting it back into mine, very easy. I did, and while I still watched, it was never like I watched in the past.
Enter Mike Vick. The same smug brass that I have grown to find more and more difficult to root for, sat there and told me they signed Mike Vick and why. The solemn faces rang hollow with me, as their faces often do, and I quickly dismissed it as more about publicity then football. Philadelphia is Phillies crazy. For the first time in a decade or so, Eagles camp was a tree falling in the Philadeplhia sports forest that no one was hearing. Then I sat back and watched the Vick fallout.
The day after he was signed, I was whisked away from my desk to cover a PUP RALLY put on by a local radio station. It was called in reaction to the 1000’s of calls and comments they were receiving. Although no one showed (blame the haste in planning not the sentiment), anti-Vick was the flavor of the day, to be sure. In the time since, a pro-Vick voice has certainly emerged. Calls of, “he paid his debt, he has a right to earn a living.” Last night there was supposed to be a Pro-Vick rally put on by the NAACP. It was cancelled at the Eagles request to make Vick’s first appearance in Philadelphia less of a spectacle. Many friends, family, and co-workers vehemently defended or denounced his right to play.
On a personal level, my initial reaction was… I will root for the SAINTS this year. But truth be told, I have always rooted for the Saints a little. It’s an awesome town that I loved visiting, loved its people, and am really rooting for Nola to get back on its post-Katrina feet. Feeling good about the team and Saints success goes a long way in that recovery that is still on-going. But the Saints are not Vince Papale rescuing me from being a Cowboys fan in 1977, the Saints are not Jaws/Carmichael/Wilbert/Bergey/ Swam Fox /Buddy/etc, the Saints are not Gang Green and the Ultimate Weapon, the Saints are not the Father and Son Banquet I went to and sat with Bosh Pritchard and Dick Vermiel, the Saints are not kicking a football barefoot in my yard like Tony Franklin.
And most times? Neither are Lurie/Banner/Reid/Donovan. And to be sure? I hear my anti-Vick pro-Animals people loud and clear. I love my puppies too and respect those that will not watch the Vick Era Eagles. But, to me, the Eagles are part of something bigger then what they are at any given moment. So while I will certainly tune them out a little more this year then even the past years, the Eagles are more then Lurie/Banner/Reid/Donovan– and they are certainly more then Mike Vick. I think this clicked for me when I read my friend TJ’s Facebook this morning (BELOW). I went to dozens of games with TJ over the years, and he always talked about what it would be like to take his son Teddy to the games, to experience what we did. IT DOESN’T MATTER, WE ROOT FOR THE UNIFORMS was his Status Update. Indeed, Moos. Indeed.
So those of you that want to board up your doggies and boycott the Eagles? Have at it! Those of you that want to continue to root for the team you always have, have at it too. Vick, like all things, Eagles or otherwise, shall pass.
Go Phils! (esp. this year!)