Archive for the ‘ The Fans Take ’ Category

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys – Andy vs David – It’s War.

Throw out the records. Throw out everything that has happened in the season so far. In the early hours of Monday morning, one of the biggest and nastiest rivalries in the NFL steps up for its next installment, as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Dallas Cowboys. This match-up sparks off a major rivalry in the towers of AGS(N) as well, as two of our three writers do battle. Each think their team can do the business come one in the morning, and here they discuss why:

David – The Cowboys Fan.

Ah, the Eagles. There is not a single team in the NFL I dislike more. For years, the face of Donovan McNabb has made me want to vomit in my mouth. When he leaves, what do you do to make me dislike your team more? Replace him with Michael Vick. Yeah, yeah, rehabilitation, he’s changed, blah, blah. I personally would love nothing better than to stuff the Eagles, halt the Vick/MVP talk and give Jason Garrett his fourth win in five since taking over from Waddlin’ Wade Phillips on Sunday night. I know we can, and here’s four reasons why.


1) Jason Garrett Has The Team On A High.

Last week the Dallas Cowboys, a team beginning the season 1-7, defeated the Superbowl runners-up Indianapolis Colts in their own backyard in a quite astonishing victory. Only a narrow defeat to the Saints has spoiled Garrett’s record as head coach, and the ‘Boys are riding high on confidence. Coming into their home stadium with a very, very partisan crowd behind them, they will need no inspiration to play their very best football against the Eagles on Sunday night.


2) If They Cowboys Run, Vick Stays Off The Field.

The Cowboys rushing game, amongst other facets of their play, stood in a horrendous state under the Wade Phillips regime. However, in the last four games under Garrett, the Cowboys have run for as many yards as they did in their last eight. Even Tashard Choice, scorned ever since his opening day fumble against the Redskins, picked up 100 yards in 19 carries against the Colts as part of the 219 yards the entire team picked up. If the Cowboys can run, they can keep the Eagles’ biggest threat in Michael Vick, off the field and frustrated. All of this whilst trying to turn the Eagles’ run defence back to their shaky ways of the opening four weeks of the season.


3) No Asante Samuel.

Whilst I should be focusing on the Cowboys’ positives as opposed to the Eagles’ weaknesses, the loss of pick-machine Asante Samuel for Sunday’s game will undoubtably harm the Eagles. John Kitna is far from the most reliable of quarterbacks, and with six interceptions in his last five games, Samuel could have made quite a difference to the Eagles defence come Sunday.


4) Vick v Ware.

Michael Vick has been the shining light in the Eagles offense this season, despite not even being available for all of it. He has broken all sorts of records and will, no doubt, relish coming up against a Cowboys secondary giving up all kinds of yards through the air. However, on Sunday he comes up against DeMarcus Ware, who lives for sacks against the Eagles, with 8.5 so far in his career. Not to suggest that the Cowboys would attempt to bend the rules in roughing up Vick, but considering his slight build and previous injuries, Ware could find terrorising Vick a significant tool in gaining victory over his favourite opponent.

David Dickson.

Andy – The Eagles Fan

Any game with an NFC East rival is vicious. Theres always more than the ‘W’ at stake.

Now, the Redskins & Giants – big games, sure. But playing the Cowboys…well that’s a whole different animal.

There isn’t a team in the NFL that I enjoy watching lose more than Dallas. One of my favourite games of the last few years was Eagles/Cowboys in week 17 of the 2008 season. We won, 44-6. Total domination. Theres nothing quite like a win over your biggest rival, which is why last year for the Eagles was just not fun.

3 games against the Cowboys, 3 losses, the second of which was a 24-0 shut out. If winning agains your rival is fantastic, losing to them is painful. All 3 of those losses stung, tonight it’s time to get some pride back.

The Eagles have been the better team this year. You all saw how the Cowboys started out…After 7 weeks I had 2 easy wins chalked up. Unfortunately, they got rid of Wade Phillips and now it seems they can play football again.

But lets be honest. This isn’t a pro’s and con’s preview. This isn’t about being fair to both teams. The Eagles are going to win this game.

The Cowboys are not the same team as last year. Neither are the Eagles, for that matter. However, the Eagles are a better team, Dallas are worse. The mismatches wont be there for the Eagles this time. Dallas’ pass rush wont shut down Vick’s game. They don’t have the mobility in their secondary to keep Jackson & Maclin quiet. It’s Philadelphia that overmatch the Cowboys this time round.

We simply have too much speed. In the Vick-led offence, “stopping” the Eagles has been keeping them under 30 points. Every team has issues trying to contain McCoy, Jackson & Maclin. Dallas have no chance of shutting us down as they did almost a year ago.

One of the best things about that 44-6 crushing was seeing how we almost made Tony Romo cry. I’m honestly quite upset he’s out for the rest of the year…there isn’t a QB in the league thats more fun to rattle for Philadelphia. Still, it’ll be a win against the Cowboys all the same, and they don’t come much better than that.

Andy Stuart

Side Note- As a Titans fan, I don’t see what the fuss is about, sure the Eagles are a playoff team, but the Cowboys are a bit average without Romo, just a regulation game with some pumped up fans right? Jamie


How I Became A Fan Of…The Philadelphia Eagles.

My years as a NFL fan are relatively young. To put into context my roots in the sport, lets look at the NBA briefly. Basketball is not hugely popular this side of the pond, but the greatness of a few players means that some names we recognise over here, however little attention we pay. Currently, the biggest of those names is arguably LeBron James. The sheer audacity and talent of that man is starting to spark some interest in the sport worldwide. I was playing a basketball video game recently with a friend, and he remarked “OH, THATS WHERE I KNOW LEBRON JAMES FROM!” He’d heard the name on the wind but wasn’t exactly sure why.

For me & the NFL, that name was LaDanian Tomlinson. The year was 2005, and echoes of this great ‘LT’ reached my ears somehow. I’m not sure what it was that suddenly sparked an interest at this point. I’d watched bits of games late at night before, and I’d not been hooked, but hearing talk of this great “Halfback” kicked something off. Not too long after I found myself in HMV buying a copy of Madden 2006 for Xbox. I sat in my room browsing through rosters, barely understanding any of the positions other than ‘QB’, ‘RB’ & ‘WR’, but I launched myself into a game anyway, determined to pick up on things as they happened.

Now, other Madden nuts out there may remember who was on the cover for 2006…Donovan McNabb. With the Eagles being the franchise of this edition, they were the first team up on exhibition mode. “Eagles…thats a cool name” I thought to myself, and set off. Won the toss and chose to receive first, still unsure of what I was doing. I stumbled through the kick off return and had to select a play…”one with lots of lines and arrows, that looks fine.”

Being on the lowest difficulty, anyone could have done what happened next, but even so…McNabb to Terrell Owens. Touchdown. 6-0. “I LOVE THIS GAME!”

Just like that I was hooked. I learnt the rules, learnt the players, learnt the positions, all from from mooching about on Madden, but I stuck with the Philadelphia Eagles all the way. Thinking about it, if I had gone looking for LaDanian Tomlinson’s team for that first game, I could be a Chargers fan instead…an odd thought.

When I started watching actual games & highlights, I’d see McNabb, T.O & Brian Westbrook making plays, I’d get to know the rest of the players & I just got more and more hooked into the team, and with that began to take a hand in the inevitable disappointment that comes with being an Eagles fan. I’d always enjoyed sport, but never before had I been so emotionally invested in one team. To be THAT disappointed when we lost, but THAT excited when we won was something I hadn’t felt before.

There was one player, however, who drew me in more than anyone else had.

Brian Dawkins

The 8 time Pro Bowl Free Safety, and one of the greatest Eagles of all time. I don’t believe anyone in the last 10 years has approached football with as much passion as Dawkins. The energy and spirit that he brought to every game is the stuff of legend for Birds’ fans, and he’s sorely missed by the vast majority of us. Even if he is a Bronco these days, if you asked me to give one reason why I love the Eagles, it’s him.

How I became a fan could be seen as so fickle. It could so easily have been the Chargers, or any other team with a good ‘overall’ rating on Madden 2006. But it was the Eagles. And nearly 6 years later, it’s still the Eagles. Long may it continue.

Andy Stuart

How I Became A Fan Of…… The Tennessee Titans

I was born before the Tennessee Titans. Sure, the Houston Oilers existed, but as a small child whose only exposure to NFL was my Dad looking really tired on one Monday morning a year in February, a strange colourful TV show on Channel 4 and a weird PC game called ‘Monday Night Football,’ this didn’t mean a lot to me. Was I ready for some football? Not really….

But fate intervened, and Dad’s job saw him having to go over to the States on a regular basis, specifically Knoxville, Tennessee. On one occasion he returned with a weird shaped rugby ball and a program from a team called the ‘Tennessee Titans.’

Now Ok, I was aware of the game, I’d sit through the odd highlights show, and despite not really understanding what I was doing, ‘Monday Night Football’ was a weirdly addictive game. But having a connection to a team, even if it was as spurious as my Dad going to the area, gave me a bigger reason to be involved.

I had no idea that the team had just moved from Houston, I had no idea that they had just changed their name from the Oilers, all I knew was that the Tennessee Titans were my team.

They had a decent, American-sounding quarter back in Steve McNair (more on him later), and a quick, vaguely famous running back called Eddie George. And we seemed good! In the first season I followed them, my team, the Titans, made the superbowl, which was apparently the most important sporting event in the history of mankind. What happened there will go down in NFL folklore as one of the greatest finishes to a Superbowl as Kevin Dyson came up one yard short of the endzone on the final play of the game.

Watching that still hurts now, but in some ways it didn’t matter an end to a season like that, I was hooked! Over the following years sunday night’s involved sitting in front of the TV, ignoring homework and watching a double bill of games on Sky Sports, feeling full after Sunday Lunch. The Titans developed, new players came in, McNair and George left and Jeff Fisher’s tache got bigger. The Titans remained my team, and at the moment, are quite an exciting one, with the most exciting running back in the league, a new, top class reciever in Randy Moss and some young players on the defense causing havoc. It’s a fun time to be a Titans fan, and with Wembley games, more coverage on TV, and a decent UK support-base, an exciting time to be a football fan!

No post on my past with the Titans would be complete without a mention of Steve McNair. A true legend, and from all accounts, a thoroughly decent bloke who was tragically murdered last year, a loss that the franchise are still coming to terms with, and  the Titans 0-6 start last year cannot be divorced from it. The best tribute the guys can show would be for them to go out make franchise history in Dallas, at the Superbowl, this year.

So there it is, a loose connection between my Dad’s company, and a weird, stop-start spot has brought me to this point here today, it’s not the most exciting story, but it’s these weird link’s that draw us and in make sport so dam compelling.



How I Became A Fan Of……The Dallas Cowboys.


I think it was my seventh, maybe eighth, birthday that I was presented with a Sega Megadrive, accompanied with an EA Hockey/John Madden Football double-header cartridge. I excelled at the hockey, since the rules were fairly obvious, but Madden confused my youthful mind. I persevered, consulted Encarta, borrowed a book from the library, and the mist began to lift. I understood why I couldn’t run into the opposition before the snap, why I kept losing the ball after only trying to score four times, and why I couldn’t keep trying to get up and run after being tackled. Becoming gradually less baffled, I started to take a real interest in the sport.

Luckily, at the time, terrestrial television in the UK was well-equipped to deal with such interest. My first experiences came, like many my age, at the hands of Gary Imlach early on a Sunday morning, after Trans World Sport and before Saved By The Bell. Imlach’s voice, to this day, is imprinted in my mind. He would stand next to a famous landmark of sorts, unashamedly quipping jokes and anecdotes I didn’t understand at the time and probably still wouldn’t now, before introducing highlights of the previous weeks games. I was engrossed in the same way that anyone other member of this early-1990s cult was, young or old. Colour, drama, excitement, glitz, glamour…for a young boy, the sport had it all. The WWE to rugby’s Olympic judo. The Harlem Globetrotters to mixed netball. I was hooked.

Having supported a football side for as long as I could remember, the next natural step was to pick a team. My family cared deeply for football, therefore my football team was strictly based around locality. No glory-hunting would be acceptable. The NFL provided me a chance to be a little more creative with my pick. A small television in my room meant that, if I kept the sound down low enough, I could stay up until the early hours to watch the Superbowl in 1994…

Despite my avid watching of the highlights packages, my complete ignorance of the way the playoff system worked (what WERE playoffs?!) meant that I only really discovered who was going to be in the Superbowl a week previously. The Dallas Cowboys would play the Buffalo Bills for the second year running, after trouncing them the previous year. Being seemingly incapable to be impartial whilst watching any form of sport, I needed to pick a team to support. I decided on the Cowboys for a number of reasons:

1) They had won the previous year. If they did it a year ago, they would probably do it again.

2) They played in silver and blue. You could only dream of a ‘soccer’ team to play in silver and blue.

3) Their logo was a star. The Bills logo looked like a speared chicken.

4) They were called the Cowboys for crying out loud. The Bills? I couldn’t identify. I wasn’t called Bill. Who is Bill?!

My allegiances defined, I pinned my eyes open and consumed the entire event. I was wowed, to say the least. The Cowboys went in at half-time 13-6 down, without so much as a touchdown to their name. Up stepped a large running-back by the name of Emmitt Smith, the MVP of the game, to aid the Cowboys to 24 unanswered points in the second half to win their fourth Superbowl. My love affair was set in stone. Troy Aikman became my hero. If I threw my new Dallas mini-football in the playground, I was Troy. If I was the one catching, I’d be Michael Irvin. If I knocked my friends over, I was Emmitt Smith. This trio became three of the biggest sporting heroes of my youth, and to this day, remain my favourite Cowboys players of all time.

My support for the Cowboys continues to this day. It is even more necessary now, during probably the darkest time any Cowboys fan has seen in a long, long time. Dallas are unpopular because of their attitude to being ‘America’s Team’, due to the harking back to days when they used to win everything as opposed to focusing on the present, and probably due to a certain Jerry Jones. But such is part of the beauty of being a British NFL fan. Not living in America enables you to view the landscape of the NFL with a little more perspective. I proud that I support a team for a reason, but I can keep the objective required to enjoy the game for what it is, without being blinded by bias. Hopefully, after the exit of Wade Phillips, I can enjoy the games we play in a little more too…

David Dickson.