The Ghosts of '96

I remember it all so vividly...

The year was 1996 and the Eagles had come off a '95 season filled with promise.  Don't get me wrong, Ray Rhodes wasn't the best coach you'll ever find, but he took a team of relatively undertalented players (Charlie Garner, Rodney Peete) and got 10-6 out of them.  Ricky Watters rushed for 1273 yards that season (that's back when a running game was considered an integral component of an Eagles offense) and the Philly faithful thought that there was no where to go but up.

The draft would be key.

The 1996 draft started well.  In the first round, we selected Jermane Mayberry, who would serve us faithfully and well for years to come (including a pro bowl nod in 2002--nice work, big fella!).  In round 2, we chose Brian Dawkins, who served as the heart and soul of a championship caliber defense for years and who continues to represent all that is best about Philadelphia sports through his passion, intensity and all around awesomeness.  God Damn, Uncle Ray.  This is a great fucking day!

But then an icy wind swept through Madison Square Garden as Commissioner Tagliabue strode to the microphone to announce that the Eagles had selected their quarterback of the future...Bobby Hoying from THE Ohio State University.  We could have not known it at the time, but it was a decision that would plunge the Eagles into irrelevancy and cost Ray Rhodes his job as his weak-armed "project" became synonomous with "failure" at the intersection of Broad and Pattison.

Fast forward to 2007 and another seemingly tranquil time in Eagles history.  The fattest man alive led us to a 10-6 record and we thought that if we wisely used our picks to fill some legitimate holes on the defensive side of the ball, we'd be back in the Super Bowl and exorcise the demons of the past.

How wrong we were.

Instead of addressing anything resembling a pressing issue at the time, the fat man decided to play it cute and draft yet another weak-armed project with gaudy college stats.  We screamed at our televisions when we traded our first.  The crescendo of boos reached an all time high when we first heard the name "Kevin Kolb."  Then all was silent.  And we knew.

Bobby was back.  And this time, shit was going to get real.  He was back to finish what he started.  Not content with the 3-13 season he last delivered, he would plunge the Eagles into a shitstorm of losing that would render the franchise irrelevant and the Linc abandoned.

Our darkest fears came true when the flaccid armed weakling lamely attempted a forward pass against the RavensEd Reed ate Kolb's lunch, shit in his mouth and then had carnal knowledge of his mother as he made the longest interception return in the history of the NFL look like business as usual against Captain Checkdown.  It was going to be a long decade of losing.

But then a miracle happened.  After Donovan got traded and Kolb got the starting job, he actually strode onto the field as if he were going to play football.  He came, he saw, and our Savior, William Clay Matthews III (whom we thanked by drafting his brother and giving him a starting spot), knocked him out of our lives once and for all.

It's morning again in Philadelphia.  The birds are singing, the sky is clear and it's time for some motherfucking football. 

Good luck, Arizona.  Or should I say, I hope Andrew Luck is good, Arizona?

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