Nothing like a cold plate of crow to help digest Eagles' turnaround

THE BALTIMORE SUN

PHILADELPHIA - In the waning moments of the Eagles' resounding 27-10 victory in the NFC championship game, it occurred to me that I had failed to prepare a concession speech.

I've been on the Eagles and their fans pretty hard the past few months, and now they are going to the Super Bowl - and I'm sitting here in front of a big plate of crow, which apparently is a dish that is best served cold.

Hope somebody around here knows the Heimlich maneuver, just in case.

This is a great, great day to be an Eagles fan, even if it comes with a nasty headache and that lingering feeling that you did a couple of things last night that you don't remember and you hope no one else does either. That was a lot of pent-up frustration. It had to go somewhere.

I'm not saying Donovan McNabb got a huge monkey off his back, but it was last seen atop One Liberty Place swatting at airplanes. The big guy patiently picked away at the Atlanta Falcons' defense and chased away all the negative karma that had followed him through three NFC title games.

Donovan was The Man, though - to be fair - the way the Eagles' offensive line played yesterday, Donovan's mom could have thrown for two touchdowns and served everybody hot, steamy Chunky Soup in the pocket. It was a classic team effort, right down to the 12th man that made The Linc an uncomfortable place for the Falcons.

"Those fans were incredible," said Eagles coach Andy Reid, who also came into the game with a large simian creature perched on his shoulders. "They were so loud and obnoxious when they needed to be. That was fantastic."

(Talk about a double standard. I say that kind of thing and get dozens of angry letters. Andy Reid calls Eagles fans obnoxious, and they take it as a compliment.)

"These are the most passionate fans," said owner Jeffrey Lurie. "They are the most intelligent fans. They deserve this."

Passionate? Yes.

Deserving? Yes.

Intelligent?

Let's just say two out of three isn't bad, but I've got to give them credit, battling through the aftermath of one of the worst snowstorms in recent years to lay their wounded hearts on that icy field one more time.

"We're going to Jacksonville," they chanted as they left the stadium.

They earned it.

It usually drives me crazy when athletes and coaches come out after a big win and claim that "nobody thought we could do it," but this is one time that it's hard to argue.

"We had a lot of people turn their backs on us ... who thought we wouldn't be able to do it," said McNabb. "We answered a lot of our critics."

I know of at least one.

OK, that's enough crow. There has been a lot made of the fact that during the playoffs, Eagles fans stand for the whole game, but it's not true.

That's just the world's longest line to the restroom.

I'm not sure Jacksonville is ready for this. I mean, do you think its drunk tank is big enough?

Though you only got a glimpse of it on television, there was a Mike Curtis moment in the third quarter. A fan in a Terrell Owens jersey ran onto the field in a spontaneous and ill-advised expression of joy over the Eagles' dominating performance, but a zealous security guard flattened him with a hit that would have made Jevon Kearse proud. The guy literally was knocked out of one of his shoes.

The security guard must have thought it was me.

Much was made during the World Series of the Red Sox and their unconventional hairstyles, but they've got nothing on the Eagles. Receiver Freddie Mitchell showed up yesterday with an Afro/Mohawk that pretty much blew away anything that Manny Ramirez came up with during the baseball season.

Still can't get over the fact that Levitra sponsors the inflatable tube that the Eagles run through during the opening introductions. When I saw it in person yesterday, I was reminded of something comedian/director/really poor stepfather Woody Allen said in one of his early films when he saw something similarly symbolic and suggestive.

"You don't have to be Fellini to figure that out."

Is Peerless Price the best sports name ever? I've never considered changing my name, but if I did, I definitely think Peerless would be in the running.

In fact, if you want, you can start calling me Peerless Schmuck. For better or worse, I don't think you'd get an argument.

Eagles Sign of the Day: "Red Sox. Mickelson. It's our turn."

My take: You left out my USC Trojans, who had to wait a whole year for another national championship.

Contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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