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. Week 8 meant it was back to the future.
Week 8: PJ Whelihan’s – Sewell, NJ
The Scene: Throughout the Delaware Valley, Eagles fans pointed to this game as a way to right the ship. Why? Because Andy Reid is 13-0 after the bye since taking over the Eagles in 1999. What better team for victim #14 than the franchise that Reid defeated to reach his only Super Bowl? Since the Atlanta Falcons were in town, I called on a buddy of mine and staunch Falcons hater to take what shaped up to be known as The Day The Eagles Turned The Season Around En Route To A Wild-Card Berth. Woops.
Menu: Water…Raspberry iced tea…King Club sandwich (grilled chicken on wheat with swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon)…tomato basil soup.
Game: Atlanta at Philadelphia. The undefeated 6-0 Falcons visit Philadelphia; looking for the franchise’s first win in Philly since 1988.
While I was in college PJ Whelihan’s was my spot. Once a week (and sometimes a lot more) my buddies and I (including the legendary Barrister) frequented the establishment while doing the usual things that college kids did; talk about classes, discuss work, enjoy beverages, commiserate over girls and ogle at women because we were too afraid to talk to them.
When I first started hanging out there in the early 2000s, they had a few random TVs floating around the place and a bathroom that was allegedly used for numerous questionable acts including coitus.
In fact, The Barrister and I often joke about how they renovated the place on the back of our grossly out of control spending as college students.
Thus, whenever I head there, it’s hard not to think about the good times of college.
Conversely, the words “good times” and “Eagles” aren’t often mentioned together these days.
Atlanta opened up Sunday’s game with a soul-crushing, 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that lasted eight minutes-plus to further underscore the Birds as a passionless outfit.
Thus, Atlanta’s version of Operation Get Andy Reid fired was in full swing.
Few things are as demoralizing as the enemy taking the football and shoving it up right up your arse to start the game.
With Hurricane Sandy hours away from wreaking havoc on the east coast and the rainy conditions already belting Lincoln Financial Field, Atlanta’s eventual blowout victory quickly became another slow, tortuous journey to defeat.
“LOOK AT THESE PEOPLE!” exclaimed my friend Gary.
Much like myself, he noticed the despair that gripped Eagles fans not only last Sunday but also since the season opener in Cleveland.
When Julio Jones burned the artist formerly known as Nnamdi Asomugha to put Atlanta up 21-7, the mood grew sullen again.
The Linc’s bad juju made its way over the Walt Whitman Bridge and to PJ’s.
However, as depressing as watching the Eagles is these days, I remained entertained thanks to Gary, who enlightened me with his worldly views.
For example, he is highly concerned about the plight of man. As I’ve surmised before here on this blog, we’re at critical mass when it comes to evolution of man.
Gary took it a step further by citing professional wrestling as a way for our youth to claim its manhood.
Back in 2001, WWE mastodon Triple H tore his quadricep muscle. Prior to his return, the WWE decided to roll out a vignette showing Triple H rehabbing while U2’s Beautiful Day played in the background.
Gary grabbed three things from this video that everyone needs to apply to their life:
- Life like a hermit.
In his view, those three things are essential to everyday living. Ah, and knowing how to talk to women. He views that as important as well.
While Matt Ryan tap-danced on the Eagles defense, Gary exchanged life philosophies, suggestions on the greatest teams of all-time, and an explanation on why a female Steelers fan decided to wear a Ben Roethlisberger jersey into a bar.
Regardless of how much we changed topics, the sobering reality of this game attempted to drag us down as Eagles fans.
We’ve become familiar with this song and dance throughout Eagles history. The stink-bomb teams of the 70s…Jim Plunkett and the Raiders…Buddy Ryan’s wildly underachieving teams of the late 80s…Bobby Hoying…Ronde Barber…McNabb’s stamina.
Clearly, this wasn’t our first time to the dance.
Yet, once again we arrived to another low point in Eagles history.
By the second half, Atlanta dragged the Eagles around the field like the spry Larry Holmes beating on a listless Muhammad Ali in 1980.
The Eagles became a weak, disinterested, and passionless bunch that exhibited little desire to right the ship before our eyes.
The football gods were ready to end Reid’s unbeaten bye streak with a resounding thud.
In other news, Gary and I correctly figured out the day and time of each wild card and divisional playoff game from 1988-2011.
Yup, it was that kind of day.
FINAL: FALCONS 30, EAGLES 17