There is a certain unsettling feeling all around Philadelphia as Sunday creeps closer and closer. People don't seem to be jumping for joy at the Eagles' first intra-division game; instead, the mindset is more confused than elated.
Why? Because everyone knows that this year's first NFC East game has completely different implications.
The Eagles went from soaring high with Donovan McNabb to McNabb-less in a moment that came too fast for most of us to handle. I still look back and remember the day, and the exact moment, I heard that the Eagles had traded McNabb.
It hit me like a train. They traded him to the Washington Redskins?
The media must have made some sort of mistake, I thought, as there is simply no way that the Eagles could trade our quarterback to a rival team.
It was true.
First, denial set in, and I was coming up with totally irrational thoughts:
"Maybe the Redskins will just give him back; we haven't used the draft picks yet right?"
"Maybe the Redskins will realize they don't need him, and they will just drop him! Then the Eagles could pick him up off the free agent list!"
"Maybe McNabb will just pay off the Redskins and he will be able to come back to Philadelphia."
After sleeping on it that night, I woke up with the most disgusting taste in my mouth. McNabb really was gone.
Since that day, I've watched. I watched as the Kevin Kolb era ended faster than it started. Michael Vick stepped in, and already some people are sayin that Vick is playing better than McNabb ever has and can can lead us to a Super Bowl win.
I'm not sure. Truthfully, I have no idea if Vick is the man that will lead us to the Lombardi Trophy. I do know one thing though: we all thought that very same thing about Mr. McNabb.
The day is slowly approaching. Soon, McNabb will be reunited with his old team, his old coach, and his old fans. He will once again step onto Lincoln Financial Field--not in midnight green, but in burgundy red. Once again, McNabb will be lighting up the air with deep passes and quick pocket escapes, but this time it won't be as an Eagle.
Man, this is painful just to write. I am not sure if I will be able to watch this game, because I'm not sure that I am strong enough to see McNabb playing against the Eagles and not for them.
The rivalry between the Eagles and Redskins begins a new era on Sunday: the era of jilted quarterback vs. the team that dropped him. Quite frankly, no one else on the Redskins matters in this match-up.
It is going to be a nasty brawl, and it's crystal clear that McNabb is going to be the only player that even phases the Eagles; they couldn't care less about anyone else. Ex-Eagle or not, he's going to get the royal treatment from the Birds' D: patented blitzes, tough pass defense, and hard hits galore.
Of course, on top of that, he'll get the royal treatment from the fans. A chorus of boos will accompany McNabb no matter where he goes or what he does. It's funny; no matter how well McNabb played or how gracious he was, he was always booed. There is no escape from it.
Like I said earlier, as the seconds tick down to Sunday, I am still having a difficult time deciding if I even want to watch the game. Not because I don't love the Eagles, or I am afraid to see the team handed a loss from our ex-quarterback.
No, it's because I love McNabb too much.
I don't think that I can do it. I can't watch my favorite player of all-time playing against the Eagles. I promise you that I have not watched any Redskins highlights, because I don't want to see them. As soon as they come on SportsCenter, I simply turn off my TV and leave the room.
Sure, I have seen pictures, and it pains me every time I have to look at McNabb in a Redskins uniform.
All that was in my head, and then I realized something: in Philadelphia, I am actually one of the few that is not jumping for joy. My mind is so clouded with not wanting to deal with McNabb, that I've failed to see that everyone else is pumped for the game.
It is me, and maybe a select few with me, that seems to be having a hard time grasping reality.
It hit me just now, like a second train. I am going to attend that Eagles game, and I am not going to care if I see McNabb in a Redskins uniform. You know why? Because it is still McNabb; he is still my favorite player, and he still plays like he always has.
The jersey is totally unimportant. Even better, who cares if he loses to the Eagles? In fact, who cares if he beats the Eagles? I just love watching the guy play, so I am going to go out and support him.
Donovan, a new chapter in your book is beginning to write itself, and I am totally fine with it. No matter what the outcome of the game is, I will be satisfied.
I'll see you on Sunday.