Dawkins Loss Still Reverberates Throughout Eagles Country
It's late March, and all is quiet in Philadelphia.
Because it's not football season.
Sure, the baseball world champions will start a new season after their championship run last year. But it is the pigskin that Philadelphians really covet.
The gridiron has been empty for some time now, in another wallowing defeat that stole the rug right from under each Philadelphia Eagle fan that thought this could be the year.
After suffering through what was initially thought as a down year, then suddenly making the last seed in the playoffs, and then miraculously making it to the conference championship game and getting beat in heartbreaking fashion yet again, Eagles fans went through a lot in only a one month span. The ups and downs were a true thrill ride.
It wasn't enough to make real Eagles fans forget about the Birds' shortcomings.
The Eagles were inconsistent at best throughout the year, finished with a less than commendable 9-6-1 record, barely squeaked into the playoffs, and tied the Cincinnati Bengals. When a team does that, it's not an accomplishment. It's an embarrassment.
That is the very reason why, even though the team would eventually get to the Conference game in the NFC, the fans feel so distraught with the way management has handled this offseason and others in the past.
They failed to recognize the contributions of team leader Brian Dawkins, who lead the team into the playoffs. He was the leader of the team. Not a heartless, selfish quarterback who turns to his mother as a metaphorical fullback.
Dawkins was a fan favorite in Philadelphia for his tenacity and willingness to lay his body on the line for countless bone-crushing hits. The team offered the player around a $3 million, one-year contract. The safety felt this was a slap in the face, and quickly signed with the Denver Broncos.
When the team was floundering with a .500 record, some fans came to grips with the hope that the team would implode and take on a horrific record so that the current regime of head coach Andy Reid, team president Joe Banner, and general manager Tom Heckert would be out by years end.
Although Super Bowl visions would be dancing in their head when the Birds beat the Giants in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, they would soon realize that this would all be a fallacy. The same problems persisted throughout the game: the Eagles lack of playmaking wide receivers.
The management of the team, however, categorically denies this obvious weakness. Quarterback Donovan McNabb's lack of clutch performances might be solved once they bring in a skilled, big bodied receiver.
The reply from the management upon hearing this suggestion?
"We feel like we are good at wide receiver," Reid is often heard saying. This really enrages fans in the city, because it touches on a nerve that makes it seem that Reid thinks he is all-knowing. Just by looking at his fingers (no giant championship rings), you can tell that he does not hold all of the answers.
Maybe that's why the Eagles are so hated these days.
Of course, Philadelphians will follow the squad until the end. But the management certainly has become clueless in fan relations.
Maybe the Eagles will acquire a game-breaking wide receiver to complement the speedster Desean Jackson. Maybe the Eagles weren't the idiots they were made out to be in the Dawkins situation. Maybe it is the fans' fault for all this mess.
The fact is, management makes it seem like they have won numerous Super Bowls and have been tremendously successful in recent years.
With the way the team handles its players and fans, the squad still has a lot of ground to cover before it is anywhere near the respect that a certain baseball team has earned. After failing to win a Championship for this city again, they might want to rethink their self-proclaimed brilliance.
Why? Because that's one of the only things Philadelphia fans respond to.
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