In an effort to follow the Eagles on their Manifest destiny of self-purported greatness, I’ll hit the road to enjoy the Delaware Valley on NFL Sundays. This week, we go back to the roots.
Week 4: Warwick Tavern – Somerdale, NJ
The Scene: After the hi-jinx of being at my house with my high school chums during the Cardinals debacle, I had another potential dilemma for Week 4. In a rare pre-Thanksgiving appearance, my brother and his family visited from Atlanta. While staying for the entire weekend, they opted to hang out with my sister-in-law’s family for the game. Meanwhile, I took a far different route.
Menu: Sweet potato fries. Vodka tonics.
Game: Giants at Eagles. Sunday Night Football. Philadelphia vs. New York. Coughlin vs. Reid. Eli vs. Vick. Communism vs. Fascism.
Before we get into Sunday night’s festivities, a quick history lesson.
I spent 26 years of my life as a resident of Somerdale, New Jersey.
My parents lived five minutes away from Warwick Tavern and on average, I passed by it once per day. Alas, it was a bit of a culture shock to finally walk into the place last Wednesday for the first time ever.
I mean, should you entirely trust a bar that is next to a Wawa? Color me skeptical.
Upon arriving there to meet The Barrister, I learned two facts about the bar known as “The ‘Wick”:
1. There is a comedy club in there.
2. They have a fireplace.
Ok, a bar that looks like someone’s house having a comedy club isn’t shocking but a fireplace? Basically, someone ran the bar into the ground, it was renovated, and eventually restored to its current luster.
It was charming enough to earn the nod for Sunday’s game despite not having a real Eagles feel when I stopped by the first time.
Some random dude wearing a Marques Colston jersey gave me a bit of stink-eye but I was in a good mood and didn’t care to inform him that his team’s season was already over.
Meanwhile, the weirdo vibe continued upon entering the bar.
You know that scene in 48 Hours where Eddie Murphy walks into the country-western bar and couldn’t penetrate the awkwardness with Leatherface’s chainsaw?
Maybe they had some bad quesadillas or feared the impending doom of Eli Manning pulling the plug on them in the fourth quarter.
I’ll blame it on the latter and the fact that a loss to the Giants practically sends the season on the road to nowhere.
Thus, prior to kickoff, the crowd was on high-alert.
Of course, the bartender sets the tone for the scene in these cases. I tested this theory because I was hungry and in desperate need of sweet potato fries.
“Can I put in an order for sweet potato fries?” I quickly asked prior to kickoff.
“You want to see a menu? I’m pretty sure we have them.” the gray-haired bartender responded.
Bro, I was just here on Wednesday. You have them. At least, that’s what I wanted to tell him.
Anyhow, the game began with a tsunami of poor offensive play. Neither team could protect the quarterback or go more than five plays in a row without being called for holding.
Despite the game’s early boredom, the bar crowd was vastly entertaining.
My favorite part about Eagles fans is their vast overreaction to every play and utter determination to believe they have a far greater understanding of what is going on with the Eagles than you know, Andy Reid.
Here is a quick sample:
Andre Brown runs off tackle for no gain on New York’s first possession: “YEAH, SHUT HIS A$$ DOWN!!!!”
Victor Cruz catches an 11-yard pass on 3rd and 10 on the following play: “DAMN IT!!!! S***!!!!! HERE WE F—— GO AGAIN.”
A Bryce Brown carry for a one-yard loss on Philly’s second possession: “WHERE THE F— IS MCCOY?!?!?!!?”
Suffice to say, some of these Eagles fans were in playoff mode in Week 4.
The greatest source of frustration for Eagles fans that night after Andy Reid (“RUN THE F—— BALL will become a part of my regular verbal discourse with people for the next month) was none other than Eli Manning.
While I was devouring honey-laced sweet potato fries and vodka tonics, a burly, dark-haired, pale complexion Eagles fan was placed a few stools down to my left.
“THE KING OF BULLSH*T!!!!!” proclaimed Biggie Smalls after watching Eli nimbly elude traffic to complete passes.
“LUCKY A$$ MOTHER F—–!!!!!!!” stated B.I.G.
On an anger scale from 1 to 10, this guy was at a 9. Unfortunately, his buddy (the Silent Majority) didn’t offer up much support. Instead, he just dutifully sat there while his friend repeatedly wigged out regardless of the score.
While Biggie continued his freak out during the game, two other patrons were having a rather amusing discussion. A guy asked a girl about available drug tests at CVS. Apparently, he had a job interview on the horizon and a drug test was included.
He wanted to screen himself beforehand to beat the system. There was even talk of finding clean urine to escape a potential issue and that of course, is when I mentally checked out of that portion of the events.
Meanwhile, B.I.G. was still voicing his opinion rather loudly, which leads me to one of the other endearing qualities of Eagles fans; no matter the circumstances, anyone not wearing green hates the Eagles.
When a disputed DeSean Jackson catch went up to the booth for a review, NBC’s zoom angle didn’t quite do it for him.
He yelled about a conspiracy against the Eagles and how the networks will have 20 different camera angles for other teams around the league; while the Eagles were only granted one.
His point of view was illogical and unrealistic, but yet an entertaining one.
Incredibly, he pined on and on about this but when NBC fired up the network iPod for Victor Cruz’s third quarter touchdown?
Not a peep.
Philadelphia and New York engaged in a classic second-half of NFC East football that was destined to come down to the fourth quarter.
As the case in their two wins, the Eagles putted around for the first few quarters; while doing things that draw the ire of Eagles fans.
Whether it be Reid ignoring his best player (McCoy) or Vick making questionable decisions, this game had all of the typical markings of a water cooler discussion-type finish.
Vick engineered a go-ahead drive to give the Birds a 19-17 lead with 1:43 left in the game. Unfortunately, with the Eagles making Giants kick returner David Wilson look like Devin Hester in his prime and Eli lurking in the shadows, far too much time seemed to be on the clock.
Without a timeout handy, the Giants made their way into Eagles territory on the back of a defensive pass interference call against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at Philly’s 35.
At this point, despair and anger gripped the bar.
Biggie screamed and smashed his fist on the bar top, leading to incredibly uncomfortable silence in the room after the second DPI that landed New York at the Philly 27.
Enter Negadelphia. Game over.
All the Giants had to do was not mess up matters and victory was theirs.
A funny thing happened on the way to a Giants win though. Receiver Ramses Barden was called for offensive pass interference two plays later, placing the ball on the edge of Lawrence Tynes’s field goal range at Philadelphia’s 36.
With seconds remaining, Tynes came on to attempt a 54-yard field goal. He hooked it left and all was right in the universe.
Or maybe not.
“Umm……..Reid called a timeout,” I informed anyone who cared to listen.
Reality began to set in on the soon-to-be disgruntled crowd.
The Notorious One led the charge again.
“ARE YOU F—— SERIOUS?!??!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!” screamed Biggie.
Yup. Andy froze Tynes. That’s right. Reid froze the same kicker who won two NFC title games with game-winning kicks.
When Tynes returned for another chance at a game-winning kick, this effort was right down the middle…and a few inches short.
Finally, Biggie and the rest of the Eagles brethren on hand could exhale.
It took awhile but The ‘Wick was worth the wait.
FINAL: EAGLES 19, GIANTS 17