December 19th, 2010, 1:00PM EDT. The Philadelphia Eagles are playing the New York Football Giants for the second time this year. The Eagles have been on an unexpected and totally unpredictable tear through the NFL. This was supposed to be the rebuilding year for the Eagles after the shocking releasing of their franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb (To the Redskins?! Still trying to figure that one out. I mean c’mon, you know they’re in our division right?). This was the year that Michael Vick continued to reshape his tarnished image. This was the year that Vick, in a bizarre turn of events, made his way back to the field as the starter over Kevin Kolb, the heir apparent to the Eagles quarterback position. It was the year that the Philadelphia Eagles looked as sloppy as ever but somehow managed to make it to the playoffs. It was the year that I became a father.
1:02PM. My wife and I are laying on the sofa in our apartment waiting for the kickoff to what is sure to be a complete and utter routing of the of the New York Football Giants. I’m wearing my black Brian Westbrook jersey, and she’s wearing her pink DeSean Jackson jersey (an early Christmas present). We’ve made our special Eagles victory dip; chili, cream cheese, jalapeno, and guacamole. (This dip nearly guarantees victory over our NFC East rivals.)
My wife and I are ‘all in’. We’re ready. It’s go time.
We know that the Eagles are looking a little sloppy this year and that the Giants are looking pretty darn good, but when you bleed green, you push those fears to the back of your mind. The thing about NFC East division games is that these games are always more than you bargain for. You can plan all you like, but when it comes down to it NFC East division games are always exciting and unexpected.
1:03PM. Waiting for the kick… the Giants are hosting tonight at the Meadowlands and they have some momentum behind them this year, but we’re not scared. The Eagles have beaten the Giants the last nine times they’ve played one other. Eagles fans across the country are… well, timeout. I guess before I go on any further it’s important to note two things here:
- I live and work in New York City and being an Eagles (and Phillies) fan doesn’t win me any popularity contests.
- We had put a lot of jalapenos in the Eagles victory dip tonight.
- My wife was nine months and one day pregnant with our first child on December 19th, 2010.
…back to the game. The Giants won the toss and chose to receive, David Akers kicks off. Time to chow down on Eagles victory dip. The game begins annnnd… ugh, terrible. What a terrible start to a game. As an Eagles fan, it pains me to even think about how badly the Eagles played during the first three and a half quarters of this game; it was dreadful and embarrassing.
I know how this is going to sound but I want to come clean on something here. When the Eagles are losing like this I… I just can’t watch. Trust me, I bleed green but its times like these that I question the coaches, the coordinators, the players’ salaries and their dedication to the game. Usually at this point the special dip begins to feel a little funky in my stomach. My stomach turns and I’m reminded of the many cheap light beers I’ve been drinking. I get a little depressed and I become physically ill. I’ll admit that it’s times like these when I usually turn off the television (I know, I know, I hate those bandwagon fans too). Tonight however, was a little different.
For whatever reason my wife and I took perverse pleasure in the Eagles having what looked like the end of their season handed to them on a nationally televised game. I mean, let’s be honest. The Giants were pretty good this year. All of that momentum and swagger that had brought the Eagles up to this point of the season was being wasted. We were angry!!! We were playing one of our most hated rivals, AND WHAT? THEY DON’T SHOW UP TO PLAY?! We were a little depressed, we were physically ill, we questioned the coaches, the players’ salaries and how many jalapenos we put into the special dip this night.
Near the end of the third quarter Michael Vick threw an eight yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin after an Eagles fumble recovery to bring the score to 24-10. The Eagles were only 14 points down at the end of the third quarter. There was a glimmer of hope, but truthfully the Eagles had been outplayed all game. As an Eagles fan I was just happy they scored a touchdown and would concede to watch the Giants continue to dominate my beloved Eagles while I drown my sorrow in cheap light beer from a can.
Fourth quarter, Giants add insult to injury. They score once again with less than 9 minutes left in the game. Ouch. The score is now 31-10 in favor of the Giants.
Then something special happened, you could see it in the way the Eagles were playing. They were down by three touchdowns, but the Eagles slowly began turning the tide. There was this… spark. It was something that I had not seen before, it was exciting and unexpected. All of the sudden there was light where there had been darkness during the first 51 minutes and 43 seconds of the game. The Eagles had finally come alive. Perhaps Andy Reid had just given one of the most inspiring Lombardiesque pep talks in the history of the NFL. Maybe the Eagles planned this all along. It could have been they had their own Eagles Victory dip on the sidelines. Whatever the case, the Philadelphia Eagles mounted one of the most prolific comebacks in NFL history.
It’s the 4th quarter and there are 14 seconds left on the clock. The Giants failed to kill the clock to end the game and will have to kick off to the Eagles. DeSean Jackson receives a punt from Matt Dodge with 13 seconds left on the clock. DeSean fumbles the ball, my wife and I are frozen in the moment. Before we could react however, Mr. Jackson decided to take this ball and run it into the end z… OHMYGODDESEANJUSTGETINTHEENDZONEALREADY… sorry, the end zone with no time left on the clock!
Here’s a video just in case you’re a Giants fan and you missed the game last year and or didn’t hear about it.
Would you like to read more about this game? No problem, here you go.
Again, what does any of this have to do with being a father?
Well as you can imagine, my nine month and one day pregnant wife literally jumped off the sofa in excitement. We celebrated like any pregnant woman at full term with her husband at full intoxication would do and jumped up, down and around our apartment celebrating like a bunch of crazy teenagers all hopped up on energy drinks. About 3 minutes after our celebration the TV cuts to the news.
Wife: “Honey, my stomach kinda hurts”
Husband: “Uhh yeah probably too many jalepenos, DID YOU SEE THAT!!! WHAT AN AWESOME GAME!!!”
Wife: “What do you think a contraction feels like?”
To make a great story about the Miracle in the New Meadowlands even better it turns out that our first son, Harrision James, was so excited about the incredible come from behind victory of the Philadelphia Eagles that he decided that he was ready to join the Eagles nation; I’m thinking the jumping and Ickey Shuffle my wife did after the Eagles won had something to do with this as well. Harrision James was born the next day. He is a genius, a gentleman and a scholar. He is also an Eagles fan and a consummate lover of Eagles Victory dip. Turns out that so far fatherhood is a lot like this game, exciting and unexpected.
Harrison was born December 20th, 2010. Game on. Ready? Set? Dad!
P.S. – If there are any Steelers fans out there the answer is ‘No, he’s not named after your lineman’.