|Biography of Grieb||
Observation 5.6 February 14, 2005
So, I've had about a week to digest yet another "setback" in Philadelphia sports. That's right, the Eagles were able to strengthen the curse that has engulfed this city for many years - the city was in a brief remission in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The unfortunate thing is that don't have a very good recollection of the last championship won by a major professional sports team - the Sixers in 1983. I was 11 at the time, so not only were there no pubes growing uncontrollably around my "nether regions," but I was thin and had hair on the top of my head, and not on my back, back then. I didn't even stay up to watch the entire last game of the championship - I had to read about the Sixers winning the next morning, so one can see how much I anticipated the Super Bowl, and a potential Eagles victory.
The entire season, I did ritualistic things, like wearing the same clothes, going to the same bar, sitting in the same bar stool, drinking the same beer, etc., because I foolishly thought that these superstitions would help propel the Eagles to victory. That's like saying that if I scratch my armpits at 10:00 a.m. every day for an entire year, I will win the Powerball Lottery.....you know, I might just give that a chance. I know that I am not alone. I've heard from many people that they did more foolish things than I did.
As most Eagles fans, I (a) really thought we had a chance to win it all, and (b) deep down felt that we would find a way to lose, because this is all I know. But, I kind of felt that they would lose in the NFC championship game, because Terrell Owens, their wide receiver with mad talent, was hurt and, in my mind, contribute to another early playoff exit. The team was able to rally around his injury, and play two great games to make it into the Super Bowl for the first time in 24 years. We have dealt with inadequate coaches such as Marion Campbell and Rich Kotite, flawed ownership, the list includes Norman Braman and Leonard Tose (great guy, but gambled his life and the team away), and players who deserved a far better fate with this team, players like Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham, Jerome Brown, Wes Hopkins, Mike Quick, and Troy Vincent.
It just seemed like this season was going to be different, didn't it? Great management, great coach, and great players. This was the best Eagles team that I have had the privilege of seeing (I didn't get to see the championship teams of the 1940's and 1960). And when they did take the gargantuan step to the big game, after three years of heart-wrenching failure, all the planets seemed to align. T.O. was going to play. The team looked very loose. Vince Lombardi would never let Belichick get a better playoff record than him. Heck, even the city of Philadelphia seemed like a nicer place - people were smiling (as they were cutting you off), the weather was improving. How could this team not win?
Well, I "prognosticated" to a few friends that the two biggest keys of the game were that they Eagles would have to pressure Tom Brady, and they would have to win the turnover battle. They did pressure Brady, but inconsistently. And, their secondary didn't play like they had 3 all pros lining up back there. The offense moved the ball enough to win, but they made more turnovers than a chef at a diner. Three interceptions? One fumbler? Against the best team in the league? This was not a recipe for success, but a roadmap to failure. The Eagles lost, 24-21, and the fact that they kept it close is a testament to how close this team was to being the best in the league. If the Eagles are lucky enough to get to the Super Bowl next season, they can use that experience.
So, here's to all the teams that gave me heartaches over the years:
1. The 1980 Flyers for making it to the cup, and losing it on a controversial offsides call to the Islanders dynasty.....oh yeah, I was so upset about this one that I puked.
2. The 1983 Phillies, for making me believe a bunch of over-the-hill players could sum up the strength to win a World Series for the city. As an aside, I wanted to set fire to Al Holland's mustache.
3. To the 1985 Flyers, who were supposed to be rebuilding, but found their way to the Stanley Cup Finals to face the mighty Edmonton Oilers, only to get swept. I think my deep rooted hatred for Pelle Lindbergh grew during this series (I was a Bob Froese fan - I know there are a handful of you out there!).
4. The 1987 Flyers, for taking the mighty Oilers to 7 games, and then taking a 1-0 lead in game 7, only to wet the bed. Coincidentally, I wanted to set Hextall's beard on fire after that one.
5. The late 1980's and early 1990's Eagles, for having the best defense and the worst offense in football - playing exciting football and losing in the first round of the playoffs every year. Sometimes situations like the Fog Bowl, or the death of Jerome Brown made me think this team was cursed.
6. The 1993 Phillies, for turning a bunch of former rejects into heroes, and then back to rejects after Joe Carter's home run.
7. The Flyers of the mid 1990's to present day for playing so dominantly during the season, and then finding a way to come up lame in the playoffs every stinkin' year.
8. To the 2001 Sixers for starting a season 41-17, making the playoffs, somehow encouraging me to become a basketball fan again, and then crapping on top of my head in a 5-game series loss to Kobe and the Lakers.
9. Of course, the Eagles of the past 4 years - no explanation needed.
Go Wings, Kixx, Soul, and Phantoms!
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