This will be the first in my series of "Philadelphia Phavorites". The premise is taking some of the most popular and legendary sports figures in Philadelphia history and writing an article about some of their best seasons and moments. Philadelphia Phavorite #1: Brian Dawkins.
It was the 2004 NFC Championship game. Michael Vick dropped back. He completed a pass to pro bowl tight end Alge Crumpler. Crumpler caught the pass but was met with a bone-shattering hit from Brian Dawkins. That was just one of the many hard hits of Brian Dawkins' career.
As soon as Brian Dawkins straps on his helmet, he transforms. He goes from a typical, quiet, well-mannered man to an animal. He talks to himself, he pumps up his teammates and he gets ready to lay people out. After he runs out of the tunnel before game time, fans cheer and the other team watches in fear.
Weapon X was no doubt a fan favorite in Philadelphia. Even today while he is playing for the Broncos, #20 jerseys still fill the seats of Lincoln Financial Field.
What made Brian so popular in Philly was the way he played. Dawkins didn't play football, he went to war. He would do anything in his power to get the ball carrier on the ground, regardless of what would happen to his own body.
He was the center of Jim Johnson's defensive scheme for years. He wasn't just a safety. He would never be in one spot for an entire game. One snap he would be defending wide receivers and the next he would be pressuring the quarterback.
2006 was arguably the best season of Brian's career. That year he recorded 93 tackles, five forced fumbles, four interceptions, and a sack. It is hard to pick out a best season in a career as amazing as his.
Best Game of Career
Dawkins' most memorable game was in 2002 in a game against the Houston Texans, known by fans as the quadrifecta. He became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, a forced fumble, an interception, and a touchdown reception in a single game. The game was a show of just how versatile Brian Dawkins is.
After the 2008 NFL season, the Eagles front office let B-Dawk walk. He ended up signing a 4-year $17 million dollar contract with the Denver Broncos. Philadelphia was enraged. Our hero was gone. Of course the Eagles front office waved it off. Some agreed that it was a good move and Dawkins couldn't play anymore. Well, Dawkins proved all the doubters wrong by recording 116 tackles, a pair of interceptions and a forced fumble while the Eagles safeties struggled all year.
While his stats are impressive, there are some things stats cannot show. It is hard to realize just how much heart this guy gave. He left it all on the field. He never settled for less than 100% effort. If he had a chance to make a play, he would make it. Dawkins will always be remembered as one of the Philadelphia sports all-time greats and as one of the best safeties of all time.