Don't you just love team unity? When a number of Eagles grew beards toward the end of the season, it made me all warm and fuzzy inside. Camaraderie - that's what sports are all about.
That wasn't the end of it, though. Members of the Birds' defense just got markings applied to their bodies. Not tattoos. Tread marks. That's what happens when you end up beneath a bus.
In the latest example of not-so-fearless leadership, Donovan McNabb hinted - and not very subtly, either - that the Eagles' defense was to blame for the NFC championship loss in Arizona. McNabb was on WIP-AM (610) recently when he was asked why the Birds could not score another touchdown after the Cardinals took a 32-25 lead.
"We were up, 25-24," McNabb said. Then, in case people missed it the first time, he repeated it for good measure. "We were up, 25-24. [The Cardinals] drove down 72 yards by running the ball - probably, what, eight times? And it reminded me so much of [the NFC championship game in] St. Louis where, coming back in that second half, they ran the ball nine times with Marshall Faulk to keep our offense off the field. Because they were terrified of us going back out and scoring more points."
What an interesting, selective memory he has.
It's true that McNabb helped put the Eagles ahead late in the game against Arizona. And it's true the defense had a terrible day. But it's also true that the game wasn't over. Not by any stretch.
After the Cardinals went up, 32-25, nearly three minutes remained on the clock. That's almost 5 percent of the game. (In a shocking development, the Eagles even had a time-out remaining.) Since when do athletes leave work early, kick back, and put their cleats up? If Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers had headed for the bar at the 57-minute mark, yesterday's parade would have been held in Phoenix instead of Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, publicly stating that you did your job - while implying that your coworkers didn't do theirs - can't make you very popular with the other guys at work.
"Some people will say it's not a big deal, but it is," former Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas said.
"When you break that team code, it hits home. When you call someone your teammate, you're calling them your brother. Be loyal to your teammates. It's easy to point fingers. Brian Dawkins is a team player. He would never do that."
McNabb was not available to comment.
The whole thing reminds me of the post-Super Bowl episode of The Office. There was a fire in the building (or so everyone believed), and everyone panicked. When the boss thought there was no escape, he pushed people out of the way and screamed, "We're trapped! Everyone for themselves!"
This McNabb business is sort of like that (only without Steve Carell's comedic genius). When things started to get hot and uncomfortable, McNabb decided it was every man for himself.
"I know Donovan. I respect Donovan. In his mind, he didn't say anything wrong," Douglas said.
"But a leader thinks before he speaks. That would never come out of a leader's mouth. Every year, Donovan says something that's inflammatory, then he doesn't explain himself. Explain yourself. When you alienate people who have your back, I need to understand why. I need to understand how he thinks. Right now, I don't."
That makes two of us.
It's February. It's cold and gray outside, and pitchers and catchers have yet to report. Perhaps you're looking to get away for a while - maybe go some place warm and sunny?
If so, your friends at SportsWit' Travel Agency would like to recommend Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Atlantis Resort is now offering a deal that might interest you: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders package.
From Feb. 22 to March 1, the Cowboys' cheerleaders will be there to shoot their 2009 calendar. They'll also be participating in "special guest activities including cheer clinics and beach yoga."
Sounds scandalous. What could be better for a sports loving, Dallas-hating Philly fan than a few cocktails in the sun with the enemy's women? For $579, you get five days and four nights at the resort, plus a meet-and-greet with the squad and admission to the photo shoot's wrap party.
That, friends, is a bargain. And it would certainly beat hanging out with the Cowboys' players. Fewer catfights this way.
A belated welcome back to 6ABC sports director Gary Papa. . . . According to the New York Daily News, in a post-Super Bowl news conference, MVP Santonio Holmes called the Vince Lombardi Trophy the "Dicky Lombardi" Trophy - twice. . . . Finally got around to watching the premiere of Heroes. Love how they're setting up a good vs. evil battle between Peter and Nathan. . . . Bob Costas going to the MLB Network might be the best off-season signing in baseball.
It was recently reported that, while the Pistons were in Minnesota, Allen Iverson and some friends made a trip to the Shakopee card club. The story also said Iverson took $50,000 to the casino that evening. No biggie, right? Except that, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Iverson took a cab home - then gave the driver $50 for a $54 fare. Guess he didn't do so well at the tables . . .