Throughout my life I have been a fan of all four Philadelphia sports teams. Until the turn of the century, however, I believed that Philadelphia teams would always break your heart. In my mind, the 2000 Philadelphia Eagles changed all that for good.
After a dismal 1999 season, which marked the emergence of a rookie quarterback named Donovan McNabb, I remember the 2000 NFL season opener against the Dallas Cowboys as a game that was likely ending up in the loss column for the Birds. Their reputation for losing preceded this team, and in my 13-year-old mind I was already expecting another losing season.
This team proved me wrong, however, and beginning with Andy Reid's savvy opening play call of an onside kick, they trounced the feared Cowboys who were led by such stars as Aikman, Irvin, and Smith. The "pickle juice" game, as it would later be called, made me believe that something big was in the works.
McNabb was a wonder to see on the field. Making defenders miss left and right as he scampered his way for a first down, McNabb showed me that one player could change a game when the time arises. No. 5 was proving to be something special.
This team did not win a championship, but they did have potential for greater things down the road.
In 2001 the Eagles found themselves even closer to making a trip to the Super Bowl. Three years and two NFC championship games later, the promise that the 2000 team held was realized when the 2004 team acquired Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse and finally made it to the Super Bowl.
Since 2000, Andy Reid made me a believer, even though recent history has made me have some doubts about a return to the heyday of the early 2000s.
Although, there have been no championship banners to gaze upon, even the most cynical of fans has to admit that prior to the 2000 season, this franchise was in peril. The 2000 season turned this team around, and gave me a glimmer of hope that the losing reputation of the Eagles will soon be erased.