The Philadelphia Eagles have treated their fans very well this decade. They've been competitive in nearly each of every season, made five appearances in the NFC Championship Game, and even made a trip to the Superbowl. And although we haven't yet hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, or attended the victory parade on Broad Street, the Philadelphia Eagles have given us every reason to be optimistic about our football each and every autumn.
The birds have fielded some fantastic teams, with unbelievable talent. Throughout the decade, some of our starters, like Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, , Brian Dawkins, and the entire offensive line, may have been the best in the league at some point.
But for every all-star a team possesses, lurks a dud somewhere on the roster. Such as on a high school football team, for every All-State talent on the squad, lurks a nerdy, pimply-faced band geek who made a bad decision. And although these "failures" attract finger-pointing and laughter, and sometimes want to make us eat ourselves because of their low level of athletic ability and unexcused mental mistakes, you have to admit, they do provide excellent entertainment. You just have to laugh out hysterically when you see a superior linebacker clothesline a weaker running back, or an athletic quarterback stiff arm, to the ground, a 300 lbs. couch-potato of a defensive lineman. In this game, it happens. And when it does, it's amusing.
In the NFL, the talent gap is more narrow than the gap in high school. However, on every team, you can find two players of different abilities. Take our Eagles for example. We had an amazing talent in Jeremiah Trotter, but low and behold, Matt McCoy and his pile jumping ability was also present.
But we shall not neglect the lesser talented who are "playing" for our favorite team. Let us rejoice and praise them!
They're not-so-good, but cheer-able!
They won't set the field on fire, but they're entertaining!
They're never in the news, but lovable!
With that said, I present to you...
The Top 5 Not-So-Good (But Lovable) Eagle Players of Recent.
It is time we honor them.
5. Koy Detmer
No, that's not a nickname. That is his real name. Koy. It means "man who is short, and no better than a backup" in some ancient Native American language. Koy Detmer is not a franchise quarterback in the least, and during some moments, he didn't even look to be a quality back up. But nevertheless, Koy had good character, heart, and a will to win.
Why We Love 'Em: Besides having a mustache worthy of daily worshiping, Detmer proved to be a quality kick holder. If there was a Hall of Fame spot for holders, Detmer would be inducted on the first ballot. David Akers didn't do too well without Koy holding, and the Eagles signed him for that position only during the post season of 2007. He had heart, a "never give up" attitude, and a face that screamed truck driver. Next time you open up a cold one, raise a toast for good ole Koy.
4. Freddie Mitchell
Freddie Mitchell is as close to a "bust" as you're ever going to get. Drafted in the 1st Round of the 2001 NFL Draft, he was supposed to be a weapon for the up-and-coming NFL star, Donovan McNabb. Didn't quite work out as planned. Freddie isn't a lovable guy around the league. In fact, he is very much so loathed.
Mitchell never caught more than 35 passes a season, or caught more than two touchdown receptions. If he spent more time focusing on his football, instead of blaming his own teammates and focusing on other players, he could have been a nice supplement.
Why We Love 'Em: A lot of Eagle fans are going to disagree with putting Freddie Mitchell in this list. However, Freddie Mitchell has been a part of some of the most amazing Eagle offensive plays of this decade. How can you forget 4th and 26? That play is up there with the best in Eagles history. And I know everyone jumped out of their seats when Freddie hauled in the 60-yard bomb from McNabb that took 14.1 seconds on Monday Night Football against the 'boys. Look at the bright side...at least I didn't place Sean Considine here.
Hollis Thomas was signed as an undrafted free agent rookie in 1996, but despite his lowered expectations, he made the All-Rookie Team. Thomas never achieved any other status above mediocre during his term with the Eagles. He was buried in the depth chart for most of the 21st century in midnight green, and was acquired by the New Orleans Saints after the 2005 NFL season. He would eventually be suspended for using performance enhancing drugs.
Why We Love 'Em: Even though Thomas wasn't the greatest of defensive tackles, this man was the "Dane Cook" of football. When the camera was on Hollis, one could not help but laugh. He always cheered his teammates up, even during rough times. One of his favorite shows happen to be Spongebob Squarepants. Even though this "human Patrick Star" didn't clog up the highlight reel for us, everyone has to remember the devastating hit he put on Michael Vick during the 2005 NFC Championship Game.
2. Reno Mahe
What is the exact opposite of a talent like Brian Westbrook? A talent like Reno Mahe. What was so frustrating about Reno Mahe? How about his 0 career touchdowns. Yes, I know he only started one game in his whole five year NFL career, but let's look at some players from the Eagles and around the league who scored more touchdowns than Reno Mahe.
Players who scored more touchdowns than Reno Mahe
People who have the same amount of touchdowns Reno Mahe has
Why We Love 'Em: It is hard to not like the man known as Mr. Mahe. Whether it is his "always happy" personality, or the fact that he once took a part time job at Chickie and Pete's in the off season, you've got to respect the guy. Mahe was an underrated punt returner, as well as a team player. There were conspiracy theories that Andy Reid kept him on the team for so long because they shared the Mormon faith. Personally, I think Andy just loved his cool, unusual name.
1. Mike Bartrum
Mike Bartrum wasn't the most athletic, or dynamic of tight ends. In fact, in his first three seasons in the NFL, he made appearances in only seven games with no receptions. He was listed as a tight end, but wasn't the tight end most teams needed or valued.
Why We Love 'Em: Mike Bartrum is the definition of a "football player". He would do anything Coach Reid or the team asked him to do. For example, in 2005 when Akers was forced to miss two games due to injury, Mike Bartrum stepped in as the kick-off specialist. Need more? How about the time in 2006 when he was the emergency quarterback after the devastating injury to McNabb? Bartrum also happened to be the team's long snapper. He was well-known as one of the league's top long snappers. He was a family man, who loved football. Bartrum had no "moments of frustration" with me, and will be one of the few non-eagle "starters" who will be remembered for a long time.
"The Eagles were great to me. It is a great place to work. The fans are awesome because they care so much about the team. Players appreciate that. They recognize what the fans are all about." - Bartrum
"I want the Eagles to win every, single game. I'm not playing, but I will always be with them in my heart." -Bartrum
This list may be controversial, but it works. That's the good part of the whole thing. You can argue with your buddies over the best Philadelphia Eagle to strap on a helmet this decade, and when that's over, you can argue on who the "not-so-best" Philadelphia Eagle was, as well.
Now, are these the worst players to play the game? Absolutely not.
Would some of them have been starters on some other teams? Most likely.
Do all of these players have more athletic ability in them than anyone who reads this sentence? Probably.
But in this "dry" part of the off season, we have to think of everyone.
Sorry Mike, Freddie, Hollis, Ty, and Mr. Mahe. I didn't mean to put you guys on the spot like that. To be honest, maybe you weren't the most talented Eagles to grace the field. But all of you were a part of some of the best Philadelphia Eagle teams in history. And for that, we appreciate you.
And just for kicks:
Guys who were not-so-good, who didn't make the "lovable" list:
Rod "He Hate Me" Smart