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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Broken wings, broken dreams
My heart may never heal from this.

Heavy and crushed, my heart may never heal from this.

Broken twice by women and thrice by a football team. It is shattered. The shards beyond repair.

Along with it went my faith that good things must eventually come to those who wait.

I've waited a lifetime to see a sea of green, black and white jerseys storm Broad Street. To see an Eagles head coach climb a podium and hoist the Lombardi trophy high. To declare that, finally, we are the champions.

Every other sports team in this city has won the big one in my lifetime. The Tugger's leap, Dr. J's jam, and Bobbie Clarke's broken tooth smile are etched forever in my memory.

But the closest the Eagles have come to soaring above all, is a head-first fall to the Raiders in 1980.

Then came Buddy Ryan and the Fog Bowl eight years later on my birthday. It was as if God, himself, had smote them and I swore I'd never give them my heart again.

Forgettable seasons under Ray Rhodes and Rich Kotite followed.

And then came Andy, the quiet one, and Donovan with the winning grin. They didn't promise us the moon and the stars. Just a darn good football team.

After two false starts, which hurt but not beyond repair, this had to be the year.

Then came a summer of surgery. Old favorites were excised. New faces. Some fresh blood.

But would it be enough?

An O-2 start seemed to say no. I, myself, predicted them to be a .500 team at best.

Ridiculed and written off by the national media, this team turned disgrace on its face with grace. They lacked the talent. At times, they even lacked the players. But they never lacked the heart.

Down, but never out, the scrappy bunch pulled off one miracle win and then another. Momentum builds.

In true Philly fashion, it was never pretty. But somehow they found ways to get the job done, to earn respect and made even me a believer once again. 

Despite their fumbling and ruffled feathers, the Birds backed into the playoffs sitting pretty with the top seed.

Facing Favre and a team of fate, they floundered once more. Then, with time running out, Five found FredEx with a special delivery on Fourth and 26.

Another miracle. It seemed as if God had finally forgiven them.

Years from now, when the pain of this third defeat and national humiliation subsides, the one lingering memory will be that catch.

Even down 14-3 to an upstart team with time running out and a quarterback with aching ribs, we all still prayed for one more miracle last night and waited.

It went unanswered.

Never again will I give this team my heart.

I swear it.

Until the next time.

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at  or call him at 215-269-5051. To read his previous columns, click here.

Jan. 19, 2004