Devastating moments in Eagles history
Devastating moments in Philadelphia Eagles history are, unfortunately, an all too familiar occurrence despite recent success. An organization that has been around for as long as the Eagles has is bound to experience some ups and downs. The Eagles, though, seem to have had more than their fair share of excruciating moments. These manifest itself in not just pure losses, but moments that go beyond the game.
Jerome Brown tragedy
Brown was one of the best players in the game during his short time in the league. He played alongside Reggie White and Clyde Simmons to form a devastating trio of lineman. The gregarious Brown was a fan favorite and was as good in the locker room as he was on the field. On June 25th, 1992, Brown died when the Corvette he was speeding in crashed into a tree. Brown, unfortunately, also killed his 12-year-old nephew as his driving was deemed reckless. He was as popular a teammate as any and he was coming off two straight All-Pro selections. The deaths shocked not only the team but the city, as well.
Terrell Owens driveway insanity
Devastating moments do not have to be on the field or have to do with the death of a teammate. They also deal with the very core of the team being shaken. T.O had as auspicious a debut as any in franchise history. In his first game and play with the Philadelphia Eagles, Owens caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb. Delighting the fans and shocking the Baltimore Ravens defense, Owens danced into the heart of Philadelphia.
The Eagles went to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2004 season. They lost but managed to stay competitive with the team at the beginning of a dynastic run. Owens played like a man possessed despite coming off a rough injury. He finished with nine catches and 122 yards coming off an injured ankle with a screw inserted to help speed recovery. This was the beginning of the end though as many blamed the loss on McNabb. The speculation was that he was not in good enough shape for the rigors of the game. Owens ratcheted up the speculation with his comments in the offseason during an interview that he was not the one “that got tired during the game.”
The sniping between both stars of the team eventually led to Owen’s infamous “driveway sit-ups. The devastating moment for the franchise and the point when it was all over was not one particular event. It was more a period of time. The months of sniping led to his suspension and ultimately release from the team making them laughingstocks of the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers close down the Vet
Lincoln Financial Field is a nice place to watch a game. There are good sight lines and the amenities are top notch. What it didn’t have until this previous year with the NFC Championship home win was a rich history. Veterans Stadium was a testament to the region and the franchise. No moment though had as much of an impact as the awful loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 NFC Championship game. It was finally the Eagles time to go back to the Super Bowl. The temperatures were extremely cold especially in light of the Bucs being a warm weather team with no expectation of getting a road win.
The Eagles started the game off with a huge 70-yard kick off return. Soon, a TD from running back Duce Staley had Veterans Stadium bursting as the Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead. From that point going forward, any good feeling this classic stadium may have had quickly evaporated. The Bucs used a stifling defense and timely offense to stifle the Eagles and win the game. There are devastating moments that stay with you more than others. Losses happen, but what set this apart was that it was the last game at Veterans Stadium. The sight of Tampa wide receiver Joe Jurevicius racing up the sideline past every Eagles defender set the tone for the rest of the game.
The silence is deafening
The loss to the Buccaneers could uniquely be described as a devastating moment. Many fans wondered when and how they would get past it. Well, many have never really done so. It wasn’t the score, and it wasn’t any trash talk. The singular devastating moment was filling out of the stadium in pure silence.
As the game clock struck zero and the inevitable loss set in; people left just as stunned as they were quiet. The idea that tens of thousands of people in unison could make virtually no sound, demonstrates the scale of the devastation. Fans were numb and couldn’t process what they were seeing as the beloved Vet was shut down by a team from Tampa Bay.
Stats provided by espn.com and nfl.com/players
Flickr Photo: courtesy of bkwaterfront