Been quite an interesting 36 hours for your humble author. From a windswept and cold tailgate at the Meadowlands to the best Eagles game in recent memory to the Happiest Place On Earth (tm) and back, I can't certainly complain of a lack of variety in my stimuli. And as I return home this evening in my big-boy pants and assorted standard-issue Banana Republic work clothes (with my cold-weather Eagles costume furtively stuffed into my carry-on baggage like some sort of smuggled sports-feelings WMDs), I've still got a glow about me.
Surely that's the only way I made it through this little trip, which should have left me pretty worn out and haggard. (Certainly my decision to "celebrate" throughout the day alone should have left me a little slow.) Nope. I'm feeling great. Been feeling great all day. Such is the impact of this level of Eagles Awesomeness: it might have the power to cure hangovers and remove the need for sleep. We're having scientists, trained scientists, look into it right now.
My day-after storylines and bulletpoints (written mostly without my usual embarrassingly exhaustive review of the mainstream post-game content, but we'll take what we can get):
All hail the defense. Um, so at what point can we suggest that this is the best Eagles defense since 1991? What will it take? That defense, you might remember, didn't shine like this one has in the post-season, and were more consistently dominant. They also had a bit of mean-spirited swagger that doesn't seem evident in this team. For all the ferocity that this Eagles defense brings on the field, they're not bullies. They're not the Ravens. They just succeed, but without seeming to engender many bad vibes from opponents.
All that said, the worst thing I've ever heard uttered about Brian Dawkins. I actually heard someone a few rows back say, "I hope Brian Dawkins breaks his leg." Out loud! Doesn't he know that God might be listening and will surely punish him dearly for such a remark?
One of these weeks someone will figure it out. Westbrook doesn't have it. He doesn't. He'd love to prove us all wrong (like he did on the screen pass against the Vikings), but the jump isn't there. We probably won't get a straight answer on how hurt he is for a long time -- some knee thing, the dread high ankle sprain, the ribs -- hopefully at least three weeks. But he isn't the weapon that we imagine him to be. Part of that probably has to do with the defenses he's faced in the last month, but he just doesn't look quite as quick. Still, as long as he's willing to step on the field, folks will have to ignore him at their peril -- especially in a warm-weather game on grass.
So if B-West isn't carrying the offense, who is? Well duh. It's the quarterback and a suddenly consistent group of receivers. Is it fair to say that McNabb has entered a new stage in his career over the past two months? This might be worth it's own post, but it sure feels like he's bringing the polished passing skills he's acquired in the past couple years together with a determination and desperation (especially on third down) that he seemed to have last had in 2002. And I'm probably imaginging things here, but he actually seems more confident than he has in a while. Even when things haven't gone well the past couple weeks, he's been fairly unflappable. Makes me smile.
The things we carried. I took a commemorative white towel with Giants' logos all over it from a marketing/ promotions drone when I entered the stadium. The attendant looked at my Trent Cole jersey and Eagles hat and gave me a "Really?" "I want a souvenir to remember this by." Pretty happy with that decision. I'll put it on the shelf with my Phils towel from the NLCS and my plastic coffee mug from Fourth-and-26.
Stoppable (!). I couldn't tell who turned on Eli first: the fans or Tom Coughlin. Folks in section 108 were not happy with young Mr. Manning yesterday. The pick to Samuel prompted a chorus of anti-Eli haterade from the assembled Giants' fans. I cannot explain how happy this made me. To see them turn so quickly: it meant they were very much on edge heading into the game, and suggested that they were rightly terrified of the Eagles. And with so much time to play! It was truly glorious. Though I guess Coughlin wasn't far behind the fans, in that he essentially gave up on throwing the ball in the second half.
Speaking of, you know who loves to say, "I told you so?" Everyone. But mostly Derek gets to say it today. When he wrote this, I was just psyched that he was telling us the Giants wouldn't win the Super Bowl (I was happy with "anyone but the Giants" at that point). But to have the Birds be the ones to beat them, TWICE? Heh heh heh. Take a bow.
And one more shot at the Giants' fans. Dude, y'all certainly left that stadium puh-retty early -- certainly a lot earlier than I was personally convinced that the game was over. I guess my pessimism about games not being over until they are actually over -- which is what happens when your team surrenders two blocked-kick TDs at the end of the first half in a single season -- is stronger than your willingness to cheer your team, THE DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS, until the final whistle of the season. I mean, really, why bother?
Yeah, I'm still soaring with this one. Go Birds.
(Correction: I unforgivably misspelled Brodrick Bunkley's first name in an earlier post. No excuses. Bad form from me. Sloppy.)