I dont know how to feel about the Philadelphia Eagles making it to the Super Bowl. Ive been a fan of the Eagles since I was a child growing up alongside the Delaware River, on the Jersey side. It was just the way it was, for the most part. You grow up in Central Jersey, youre an Eagles fan, with few exceptions and geographic turncoats living among us, of course.
But every Sunday, it was about the green. I have not joined the NFL boycott because the very nature of my job makes that impossible, but I watched my lifelong team with far less frequency throughout the season.
I just can’t stand the owner, y’all.
Jeffrey Lurie has exhibited horrible leadership whenever the question of race comes up. At one time, I thought the Philadelphia Eagles had soul embedded in the very fabric of the uniforms.
I cried for Jerome Brown and his untimely death, scolded my sister for laughing when Randall Cunningham broke his fibula, in ’91, tossed a cheesesteak at the television after Reggie White departed for the Green Bay Packers, and stand alone in the belief that Donovan McNabb is the best Eagle of the Lombardi era. I also remember the elation of finally having a big time playmaker on my team in Terrell Owens, only to be horrified at the manner in which our team would eventually become divided under the weight of his narcissism.
Watching the Eagles has been full of angst, and pain, but there have been many good times, as well. It was a pleasure watching Randall Cunningham play in his prime, an honor to have watched Reggie White, but frustrating to have witnessed the aftermath of two Super Bowl losses.
The Super Bowl XV loss in 1980 happened when I was 7 years old, but I remember the disappointment as it played out on the local media, Channel 6, Channel 10 and Channel 48. I do remember witnessing the changing allegiances of my brothers, friends and schoolmates. I could have sworn we were all green to the end, especially with all the Ron Jaworski jerseys present in playgrounds that summer prior.
But, as days, weeks, months and years progressed, what once appeared to be uniform allegiance to the green and grey, became perverted with doubt by Redskins, New York Giants and, perish the thought, Dallas Cowboys fans gaining favor.
Bandwagon jumps, I thought Theyve never even been to Dallas, how can they be Cowboys fans? Admittedly, short of any continued patronage of this franchise ultimately meant special flavor of bile reserved for the Cowboys, as it should be. After all, the opposite is especially true of Cowboys fans toward the Eagles as well.
But, alas, I have had to stomach their ascendance from the ashes of an obsolete icon in Tom Landry, through there Super Bowl victories in SB XXVII, XXVIII and XXX. Cowboys fans, incorrigible, insufferable and all-out-ugly winners.
The delirium of victory that seemed apparent for the Philadelphia Eagles a bitter disappointment with incomplete pass against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. That disappointment turned into 13 more years of frustration, of limited offenses, of first round exits and of taunts from our victories NFC East brethren year after year.
In the meantime, there has been a lot to digest from within the franchise as well. Because, though I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan, Im a black man first. It was my blackness made be fall so deeply into fandom as Randall Cunningham carried the offense, it acted as an adhesive.
So many brother man archetypes were resident on those Eagles teams over the years; the fiery preacher in Reggie White, the talented young hothead in Chris Carter, the relentlessness of Clyde Simmons, the tragedy of a life gone too soon in the loss of Jerome Brown. I was very racially aware at a very young age. Perhaps it was being because I transitioned through life at a nexus point in culture and history, one in which my community placed an emphasis on music, dress, hair, literature and attitude.
A younger me was struck by the imagery of Buddy Ryan, a proud son of Kentucky if there ever was one and a beloved figure to these black men. At 18, I had already read How to Eat to Live and Message to the Black Man, so my worldview at the time was shaped by what I thought I knew, and what I thought I knew at the time was changed in part by Buddy Ryans lifelong, sincere relationship with his players.
What I thought I knew was challenged by what I believed I knew again when Ray Rhodes was the first black head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. His tenure came to a dismal end when players began tuning out, basically getting a brother fired. Indeed, two disastrous seasons in a row cant be completely on the coach. But, again, we I moved on. Still resolute in the belief that the Philadelphia Eagles would win a the big one, any day now, any day now.
That day came again when Donovan McNabb loss the big one to Tom Brady and company in Super Bowl XXIX. These last 14 years have been torture, with the only redeeming salve being that the Dallas Cowboys have only won 2 playoff games in that same span. Yeah, sweet! But only to a certain extent. Cant really talk smack about it without winning a Super Bowl.
I also have to mention how I grew up wearing Ron Jaworski jerseys, yet was bitten by betrayal as Ol’ Ron became one of the biggest Philly player haters in media history.
@ShaunKing Your recent claims are entirely unfair and inaccurate. Here is the unedited transcript of what was said:
In the meantime, as America slowly, reluctantly, tumultuously wakes from its centuries old slumber regarding our collective racial reality, anomalies within the sphere of my fandom have occurred. One was the Eagles handling of Riley Cooper. You remember? The redneck wide receiver that got caught saying hell kick n*ggers ass on video?
Yeah, he was only suspended for what amounted to a brief vacation. Then, they signed him again. Damn! What was a conscientious, proud black Philadelphia Eagles fan to do? Especially agonizing was how Mike Vick, who was still trying to make the best of his second chance in the NFL, got played into giving Cooper a clean bill of health by defending him in the media.
Vick would later recount that Cooper never even said thank you. This season, as Colin Kaepernick was seeking a job in the National Football League, and it became completely obvious that he was being blackballed, the denial of NFL owners persisted. However, the language that Lurie insisted on using, protesting the national anthem, for example, was off base. It is a certainty that Lurie is aware that Colin Kaepernick, nor anyone else who kneels or raises a fist, is not protesting the national anthem, but racial injustices that persist in this country.
Now, as I await the Super Bowl victory that would place the Philadelphia Eagles in its proper context in the Lombardi Trophy era, Im ever conscious in the belief that the only reason Lurie even entertained the Players Coalition was to usurp the movement. And, seeing as though protest actions completely dissipated within weeks of the announcement of a deal between the NFL and the group led by Malcolm Jenkins, Eric Reid, Malcolm Thomas, and former player Anquan Boldin.
I wont be the first Philadelphia Eagles fan to grimace at the thought of a particular team owner, but I also have to pay credence the idea that a Super Bowl victory would be a feather in his cap. A cap that still doesnt get why players were protesting in the first place, and likely wouldnt care if he did.
Fly, Eagles, Fly! As we march onto victory! Fly, Eagles, Fly! I hope we win despite Jeff-Lu-rie!