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Recapping the Decade in Philadelphia Eagles Style

December 31, 2009

As you should know, the year is coming to an end, as is the decade. We, the world, have had our ups and downs over the last 10 years, experiencing both good and bad. The same can be said for the Philadelphia Eagles football team, that of which we here at Bleed Green cover on a constant basis for up-to-date news and information. Since we are approaching the transition from the year 2009 to 2010 and we are about to welcome in a new decade, it seemed appropriate to compile one giant bundle of interesting lists ranking several categories involving our beloved Birds, and it was simply not enough to have one person create this end-of-the-year special, so I had the help of our own fantasy/feature writer Kyle Phillippi and established sports journalist Mike Burke as well, who maintains his own Eagles site BirdsFan.com, and also writes as a columnist in the Sports Gab network. So, without further ado, here is our recap of the decade in Philadelphia Eagles style:

The Decade’s Greatest Players

10. Trent Cole

Through nearly 5 seasons, Cole has already established himself as one of the best Defensive Ends in franchise history. With a career total of 47.0 sacks and counting, the aggressive Cincinnati product has been one of the most reliable forces on the edge of the defensive front.

9. Troy Vincent
Vincent has arguably been one of the top players in the last two decades, but since the focus is on the most recent one, his achievements from the 2000s will be examined. Not only was he a solid tackler and ball-hawk, but Vincent was a leader on the field and a strong example of what a great Cornerback should be. He is among the leaders in Eagles’ history for most career interceptions and earned 4 Pro-Bowl appearances in this decade.

8. Sheldon Brown
Despite not earning the credit of going to the Pro-Bowl or receiving recognized awards, Brown has quietly been one of the most consistent and determined defenders over the last few years. In nearly 8 seasons, the CB has notched 5 defensive touchdowns while often ranking among the team’s highest performers in terms of total tackles compiled and grabbing some interceptions here and there as well. He is well-described as being a hard-hitting Cornerback, but has also shown the capability of being a team leader as well.

7. Jeremiah Trotter
Perhaps Trotter’s trio of stints with the Eagles in this decade have been more amusing than his actual performances on the field, but the veteran Linebacker continues to play with a passion like none other seen in the history of the franchise (of course, with the exception of such players as Brian Dawkins and the ole’ Chuck Bednarik). He has frequently been the leading tackler in the middle of the field for the Birds, and his 4 Pro-Bowl appearances support his great play.

6. Jon Runyan
Although Runyan is among the few on this list that did not begin his career with the Eagles, he surely made an impact while playing in Philadelphia. Of course, being an Offensive Tackle did not allow him to rack up any type of phenomenal mark statistically, but he was a clear-cut force on the line while in midnight green. A back injury sustained while in his Eagle tenure did not keep the big man from continuing his streak of games played by lineman, and overall he was just one of those solid players that will be remembered as one of the hard-nosed, tough and determined Eagles worthy of honor.

5. Tra Thomas
Although they brought about some attention, Thomas’ switches between various first names during his career was definitely not the highlight of his playing days with the Eagles. A 3-time Pro-Bowler this decade, the Left Tackle did an absolutely brilliant job protecting QB Donovan McNabb’s blindside in the pocket, and his quiet success was enough to garner him the award of being one of the best OTs in Eagles’ history according to the voting for the Birds’ 75th Anniversary team. Originally drafted 11th overall in 1998, Thomas definitely lived up the hype the team surrounded him with as a high selection, and is undoubtedly one of the top players of this decade.

4. David Akers
As unexciting as he may appear being a Kicker, Akers deserves to be among the top players of this decade for the Eagles. A 4-time Pro-Bowler, the special teams stud has broken nearly every kicking record in franchise history, and in 2008, set both a record for most points scored in a single season and a team record in the same category. He is currently third in league history for most consecutive field goal conversions in the postseason, and has been the Eagles’ leading scorer in the past decade, which is definitely enough to make him one of the best players over the last 10 seasons.

3. Brian Westbrook
The explosive Westbrook has been the center of the Eagles’ offensive attack since he’s been playing, though that fact can be argued this season for he’s missed several games with multiple injuries. And despite those injuries, the dynamic Running Back has broken records left and right and become the team’s most reliable runner, and perhaps one of the greatest ever in franchise history. His 90 receptions in 2007 were the most by any Eagle ever, and Westbrook is not even a listed Wide Receiver. He has also eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark twice and earned a pair of Pro-Bowl honors.

2. Brian Dawkins (pictured)
If there will be any argument on the choice to put Dawkins at this spot on this list, it will be because some would like him to be at the absolute top of the list. In a remarkable 13 seasons (9 of which were played in this decade) with the Eagles, Dawkins earned 7 Pro-Bowl appearances while breaking numerous records as the starting Free Safety. In 2002, he became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, interception, forced fumble and touchdown reception in the same game. He will always be remembered for his fierce passion for the game and the way he acted as a leader on the field for the entire team.

1. Donovan McNabb
With as much criticism McNabb has taken over the years for a variety of reasons, it’s quite a surprise he’s been able to continue a fine career on both the field and off it. But it’s become obvious he is a tough character and will likely not give up on his career path. He has broken nearly every passing record held by a previous Eagles Quarterback, taken his teams to 5 conference championships and one Super Bowl in this decade. In addition, he’s been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Year, voted to 5 Pro-Bowls, and finished close in the race for the league MVP award in several seasons. There is no question that Donovan McNabb has been the best Philadelphia Eagle in this decade, though the previous few are right behind him.

Honorable Mention: Terrell Owens, Hugh Douglas, Bobby Taylor, Duce Staley, Corey Simon, Chad Lewis, Hollis Thomas
Maybe Next Decade: Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, Stewart Bradley, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy

The Decade’s Greatest Storylines by Kyle Phillippi

1. Eagles finally clinch a Super Bowl appearance after defeating the Atlanta Falcons following three straight losses in the NFC Championship game. (January 24, 2005)

2.Philly trades for the arrogant, but Hall-of-Fame bound Wide Receiver, Terrell Owens. (March 16, 2004)

3. In a stunning move, the Eagles sign troubled Quarterback Michael Vick, who was recently released from jail following his 23-month sentence. (August 14, 2009)

4. The former Eagles’ great and Hall-of-Fame Defensive End Reggie White passes away at the age of 43. (December 26, 2004)

5. Brian Dawkins’ playing days in Philadelphia come to an end when he signs a 5 year, $17 million deal with the Denver Broncos. (March 1, 2009)

6. Kevin Curtis’ 11 catches, 221 yards, and 3 touchdowns lead Eagles to 56-point outing against the Detroit Lions. (September 23, 2007)

7. Jeremiah Trotter’s three stints with the Eagles: drafted in ‘98, signed in ‘04, and then comes back in ‘09.

8. Aged backup Jeff Garcia becomes the starter following McNabb’s season-ending injury, and leads the Birds to 5 consecutive victories, but falls to the Saints in the NFC Divisional Championship game. (2006)

9. David Akers kicks the game-winning field goal injured, backup TE Mike Bartrum boots a kickoff, and LB Mark Simoneau nails an extra point all in one game against the Oakland Raiders. (September 25, 2005)

10. A season to forget: The 2005 Eagles finish 6-10 and do not qualify for the playoffs amid the Terrell Owens controversy and a plague of injuries.

Honorable Mentions

- The Eagles draft Jerome McDougle with the 15th overall selection in 2003, only to realize that he would end up becoming one of the biggest draft busts this decade has ever seen.

- Donovan McNabb breaks nearly every Eagles record for a Quarterback.

- Brian Westbrook sets the Eagles franchise record with 90 receptions in a season in 2007.

The Decade’s Greatest Games by Mike Burke

Eagles Beat Falcons to Win NFC Championship

This has to be the most rewarding for the Eagles during the past decade. After multiple failed attempts to advance passed the NFC Championship, the Eagles packed the Linc for yet another chance. However, this time the Eagles got the much needed win they needed to advance to the Super Bowl. We all know what happened in the Super Bowl but there was never a more rewarding win than the one that came to get to that point. Everyone had that “finally” feeling and it felt great.

Eagles Punch Ticket to Playoffs, Beat Cowboys 44-6

This was the last game of the regular season for the Birds and come kickoff, a lot was at stake. For both teams, it was a win and you’re in scenario. The game started off slow and both teams scored only three points in the first quarter. However, the Eagles rolled from here. They clicked on all cylinders and even scored twice on defense. This was a favorite for everyone as there was a lot on the line and everyone loves punishing Dallas. This win fueled the Eagles all the way to the NFC Championship before they were finally knocked out by the Cardinals.

T.O. Makes His Return to Philadelphia

This guy did everything he could to be the most hated guy in Philadelphia and did a very good job doing it. He gave the fans plenty of material with all his drug overdosing headlines and it didn’t take long for the fans to start the OD chants. The Eagles held him to very limited production and won the game 38-24. Lito Sheppard but the exclamation point on the game as he returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown to seal the deal.

Eagles Destroy Packers in Record Setting Fashion

The Packers came into Philly in a Week 13 matchup coming off of six straight wins. However, Brett Favre and the boys were no match for the Eagles. Donovan McNabb threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns on the day. Terrell Owens recorded eight catches for 161 yards and a touchdown while Brian Westbrook had 11 catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns. To top it off, the Eagles defense held Favre to 131 yards through the air and two interceptions.

Merry Christmas, Eagles Beat Dallas

What’s the best Christmas present anyone could ask for? Beating the Cowboys of course. This happened back in 2006 with Jeff Garcia at the helm. This was truly a game dominated by the defense. They stopped Marion Barber three straight times on the goal line and forced Tony Romo into two interceptions. The win also clinched yet another playoff berth for the Eagles who were on a miraculous run behind Jeff Garcia.

The Decade’s Greatest Plays by Mike Burke (Online Video Links to plays are included)

Onside Kick to Start 2000 Season

A move typically used late in games, the Eagles decided to use an onside kick against the Cowboys on the opening kickoff in the first game of the season. The Eagles had not won an opening game since 1996 and special teams coach John Harbaugh decided to shake things up a bit. Sure enough, the play worked as the Eagles recovered and rolled the Cowboys 41-14. This was just what the Eagles needed as they went 11-5 on the season and made it to the second round of the playoffs.

“FredEx” Delivers – 4th and 26

Down 17-14 to the Packers with just over a minute left in the game, it looked pretty hopeless for the Eagles. No one had any idea about the miracle that was about to take place. Donovan McNabb dropped back and hit Freddie Mitchell across the middle on a deep slant right at the first down mark where he was greeted by two defenders. Mitchell got the first down and the Eagles went on to win the game. *VIDEO LINK*

Donovan McNabb’s 14 Second Scramble on Monday Night Football

Another play featuring Freddie Mitchell, but he was only a small part of this. This comes on a Monday Night Football matchup with the Cowboys. Donovan McNabb dropped back on a pass play, spun out of one tackle, ran way to the right side of the field, ran way to the left side of the field, wound up and threw a deep ball to the middle that was caught by Freddie Mitchell at the Cowboys 15 yardline. This play really just showcased McNabb’s athleticism. *VIDEO LINK*

Brian Westbrook’s Punt Return in the Meadowlands

Down 10-7 with under two minutes left, the Eagles forced the Giants to punt to Brian Westbrook in an offensive struggle in the Meadowlands. After fielding the punt, Westbrook made one man miss then streaked down the sideline and into the end zone. *VIDEO LINK*

Sheldon Brown Kills Reggie Bush

This play came in the playoffs against the Saints and happened on the Saints first possession of the game. Bush took a swing pass out of the backfield which Sheldon Brown read the whole way. Brown closed so quickly Bush never really saw it coming. It seemed like this hit might set a tone for the whole game but the Eagles went on to lose. *VIDEO LINK*

As we welcome in the new year and decade, we at Bleed Green wish you all a safe and happy holiday! Go Eagles!

(picture source)

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