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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Bird brain
An Eagles fan's playoff primer

I've been a Philly sports fan all of my life. So far I've seen the Phillies win the World Series, the Sixers win two championships and the Flyers capture two of Lord Stanley's cups.

Then there's the Eagles. Twice, the birds got my hopes up and then dashed them.

In 1980, a banged-up Ron Jaworski got the team to the Super Bowl only to lose big time to the Raiders, 27-10.

Dec. 31, 1988: A date that lives in Eaglefamy for me.

Eight years later came The Fog Bowl in Chicago on Dec. 31, 1988. I remember the Birds beating on the Bears for the bulk of the first two quarters. Then, the fog rolled in. The rest is history - Bears 20, Eagles 12.

Call it an act of God. All I know is, I stopped following the team after that game. Can you blame me for losing faith?

That is until I was tapped this past summer to take over as phillyBurbs.com's sport editor. Suddenly, I found myself having to get reacquainted with the team. So, I've watched every game so far this season, from the pre-season on.

I hate to admit it, but I've become a fan again. The Birds are once again making me believe and it is to them that I dedicate this week's column.

xcellent season. The Eagles went 12-4 during the regular season, despite losing first string quarterback Donovan McNabb during the last five game and second-string quarterback Koy Detmer for the last four games.
We're No. 1 seed!
In its history, Philadelphia is 6-3 overall in the postseason at the Vet, including three consecutive and decisive wins.

J Feeley played great the last four games. Now, Atlanta could prove tough.
Feeley's stats in five games
And his projected career track.
Feeley's career highlights at NFL.com
Did you know A.J. roped cattle as a kid. "It came very easy to me. It was very similar to throwing a football."
Vick, Falcons shock Packers in Lambeau
It was an unseasonably warm 31 degrees at kickoff. By the time snow began falling at halftime, the Falcons had an astonishing 24-0 lead.
SportingNews.com's Falcons analysis
More important than Michael Vick's 181 total yards or his success in turning certain sacks into positive yards was his ability to manage the game.
Defending Vick? Not So Easy...
The Eagles defense understands what it will be up against next weekend.

oing to be great to have McNabb back. It's been two months since the Birds' $20 million man broke his ankle and continued leading the team to a 38-14 victory against the Cardinals.
Reid: Donovan's going to give it his best shot
I can tell you this: Nobody works harder than Donovan. He's really itching to get back on the football field.
McNabb learns from Feeley while sidelined
Now that he is poised to assume the controls when the Eagles hit the field for the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend, McNabb is humble enough to acknowledge that -- while he was hobbling around on the sidelines -- he saw ways he can improve his game.
McNabb: 'I feel fine'
"He looks fine, he looks ready to go," cornerback Troy Vincent said. "It's great to have No. 5 back."

ots of fans have hope for the first time in years. Can you say bandwagon? The legion of green-clad patrons packing sports bars on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays has grown dramatically in the last few months.
Love the domain name, stay for the fan photos.
Call it a nice view from the cheap seats. It's where the wild things are, especially at Eagles games and on this great-looking site's forum boards.
This personal site is run by George Heim of Northumberland County, Pa., who calls himself "The Mighty Eagle Fan." 
Proving that the Eagles are still good for a laugh, even when they're winning.
Philafans.com, PhillySportsZone.com and ComcastSportsNet.com
Three sites that cover the gambit of Philly sports.

Fans have right to high expectations
This is Andy Reid's Sept. 5 column on NFL.com in which he wrote, "It doesn't bother me that there are critics and that the fans can be demanding. That's welcomed. Hey, I'm demanding. I expect the same from the fans."

uper Bowl-bound? Dare we ask?
Theismann: With or without McNabb, Eagles look Super
The Eagles will be tough to beat at home. And I believe they'll reach the Super Bowl even if injured QB Donovan McNabb can't return.
Fans to get say in Super Bowl MVP
Votes on SuperBowl.com will count 20 percent towards tally with media panel.

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at .

Jan. 6, 2003