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Top Seven Super Bowl Moments from a Philadelphia Eagles fan

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Ok. So we're snowed in, and I'm really past the point of making snow angels (although it is enticing).  That being said, I have some time on my hands and thought I would discuss the most memorable moments of Super Bowl Sunday I can think of that really stand out in my lifetime.  Why seven? These were the ones that really stuck out in my mind. Plus, seven is a lucky number, and I think we could all use a little bit of luck these days. So here they are, in chronological order.

 

7. Super Bowl XXIII- 49ers vs. Bengals

As strange as it sounds, my first memories of the Cincinatti Bengals were that of being a good football team. I saw them beat the Eagles that year at The Vet and they looked very impressive.  It was 1988, and the "Ickey Shuffle" was in full bloom- until they ran into Joe Montana and the San Fransisco 49ers. Trailing 16-13 at their own eight-yard line, Montana took the team downfield with a 92-yard drive, culminating with a touchdown pass to Pennsauken's own John Taylor. 49ers win 20-16. This is clearly one of the most memorable moments in Super Bowl history. Not that I'm a tremendous Joe Montana fan, but when people ask me what I remember most about him, I think of two things: His historic comeback against the Eagles in 1989, and his drive at the end of Super Bowl XXIII.

6. Super Bowl XXV- Giants vs. Bills

For the first time in my life, America was at war. There was no Super Bowl party, and the mood of the game was a somber one. Scott Norwood. Wide right. 20-19 Giants. Enough said. Hard to believe that was the closest the Bills would ever get to winning a Super Bowl, even though they would get three more tries. Next year, the Redskins won, then the Cowboys took home back to back trophies. Yep, every team in the NFC East except our Eagles. No, the Cardinals were SO bad back then they don't count!!

5. Super Bowl XXXII- Broncos vs. Packers Nobody was going to get in Elway's way in Super Bowl XXXII-  photo:http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e260/jgraber/fb_AAID066_8x10John-Elway-Posters.jpg

As somebody who watched John Elway literally get his lunch handed to him in three Super Bowls, I was hoping he would come out on top in this one. Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers were good, and the Denver Broncos were underdogs. For me, all it took was that one play at the five yard line when Elway split those two Green Bay defenders. As this happened, I looked at my sister in unison (whom I had watched Elway's three previous Super Bowl losses with) and the look on both of our faces said it all- there was no way in hell Elway was losing this game. The game was tight (31-24 Denver) and probably one of the most intense Super Bowls ever, but Elway would be vindicated. When he took that last snap with the realization that he wouldn't go home empty handed after years of coming so close, the look on his face still strikes an emotional chord with me to this day. Many have experienced defeat, but very few are able to return and experience victory. Vindication indeed.

 

4. Super Bowl XXXIV- Rams vs. Titans

In Philly, it was snowing. Kind of like it is right now as I look out the window. I almost crashed my Oldsmobile Bravada driving to my girlfriend's apartment at Saint Joe's on the way to this game. Maybe that's why I remember it so much, but I digress. The subplots alone in this Super Bowl made this mention worthy. You had the hometown hero Dick Vermeil, trying to win the big game which he failed to do almost twenty years prior in Philadelphia. Kevin Dyson- OH so close. Photo: http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2008/0115/travel_sbXXXIV_800.jpgYou had Kurt Warner, who years before was a stock boy in a grocery store. The turnaround of the Rams from their two previous seasons was unbelievable- due in large part to the emergence of Warner. After a relatively uneventful first half, the Rams and Titans battled it out in the second half. And when Warner found Issac Bruce for a 73 yard touchdown, all it took was a stop of Kevin Dyson at the goal-line and the Rams win, 23-16. Warner wins the Super Bowl MVP and Vermeil (for the moment) walked off into the sunset as a Super Bowl winner. A storybook ending that was intense and memorable (sorry Jon).

3. Super Bowl XXXVI- Patriots vs. Rams

The Rams were back again (minus Vermeil). I was there in New Orleans with my dad because Cadillac was sponsoring the Super Bowl. We were hoping that the Eagles could take the Rams in the NFC Championship Game so we could see them in person, but we would have to wait three more years for that. Nonetheless, we ate and drank very well out there. The people of New Orleans definitely know how to eat.  We even stayed an extra day and celebrated Mardi Gras. However, we did all of this despite the fact that there were constant threats of terrorism on the New Orleans Super Dome and we were scared just to go in the stadium. The Rams fans were merciless towards the upstart New England Patriots fans on Bourbon Street throughout the week. "How in the world was this rookie quarterback taking over for Drew Bledsoe going to beat "The Greatest Show on Turf?!" they yelled. There was no way...right? False. The game was close the entire time. And even though I despise him, the poise that Tom Brady  showed during that final drive is absolutely classic. In the end, Adam Vinatieri's field goal shocked the world. New England won, 20-17, a star was born in Brady, and New England had a "dynasty" on their hands.

2. Superbowl XXXIX- Patriots vs. Eagles

The people of Jacksonville were wonderful. Using Jacksonville as a city to host the Super Bowl was not. You had to drive half way around the city just to get a good dinner and everything was literally miles away from each other. Just to give you an example, the stadium ran out of food at halftime, and my dad and I had to go to Taco Bell after the game because it was the only place open. Having the privledge of seeing my hometown team in possibly the biggest game they have ever played in was unreal. I had been to Super Bowl XXXVI and the Eagles almost made that one, so this was different. Now to the game: seeing celebrities and TV personalities look in sheer amazement at the legion of Eagles fans who dominated that town is something I will never forget. You could go anywhere in that town and start an "E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!" chant, and someone from literally out of nowhere would join you. It was beautiful, but the same cannot be said for the game. The Eagles turned the ball over four times, Donovan McNabb threw three interceptions when he had only thrown eight all season, and we won't even get started with that "hurry up" offense. You can say the Pats cheated all you want (which they did). On that night however, the Eagles, who are more and more becoming the NFL's version of the Chicago Cubs, did not play the kind of football that made them NFC Champions. Pretty soon, Terrell Owens was doing situps on his front lawn and started fighting Hugh Douglas. Things would never be the same in Eagleville ever again. I still firmly believe what should have been at least one Super Bowl Championship would have easily turned into two or three if things went the other way that night in Jacksonville. What made losing that game even worse was the fact that flights back home to Philadelphia weren't until 8pm the next night, so we had to walk around the city ALL DAY Monday and watch New England fans high five each other everywhere we went. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound.

1. Super Bowl XLII- Giants vs. Patriots

Make no mistake, I HATE the New York Giants. However, there was something about the arrogant, cocky, self righteous New England Patriots with pretty boy extraordinaire Tom Brady and his pompous coach Bill Belichick  that actually had me rooting for the Giants in this one. After all, New England has one of our Super Bowl rings. Moreover, they did it by cheating. The Giants followed the game plan that very few teams actually execute properly in that Super Bowl- they got to Brady and knocked him around. Sacking him five times, New England scored the fewest number of points they scored all season. Sure, it took a David Tyree miracle catch as well as Eli Manning having the drive of his life, but at the end of the day the Giants were champions and won 17-14 (I can't tell you how much that kills me to say that). The victory gives Manning one more ring than a certain quarterback for the Eagles, and the Patriots turned what was almost the perfect season into THE biggest choke job in Super Bowl history. How's THAT for karma?

Epilogue: As time has gone on, I have almost 100% regretted my decision in rooting for the Giants. In July of that year, my friends and I were berated by an obnoxious New York Mets fan at Shea Stadium after the Mets beat the Phillies in an important July game (you know, the one where Jose Reyes was waving his finger after homering off Ryan Madson.) As we left, the fan approached us with his drunken buddies who were wearing 1986 paraphernalia, waving the finger like their boy Reyes, and shouting "Philadelphia is a town of F$%&G LOSERS! Your Eagles will never win. The Giants are the champs. And no matter what your teams do, they will ALWAYS lose in the end. You are losers, and you always will be" It hurt real bad, but I had no ammo, which hurt even more. That all changed three months later on Halloween, when that "gentlemen" was probably caddying for David Wright as we were walking down Broad Street.Phillies parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

Phillies parade photo from http://myteamrivals.typepad.com

thumbnail: http://jewelsinthejungle.net/images/elway6125.jpg