Andy Reid threw a haymaker at the press on Monday. Yesterday, the media countered with a few uppercuts. This heavyweight bout reminds me of the classic pugilist flick Raging Bull. Which got me thinking. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a bit of a movie buff. In my mind, sports and film go hand in hand. So, I’ve decided to combine two of my favorite things: The Eagles and the films of Martin Scorsese. Each of Reid’s ten seasons in Philly has had its share of intriguing subplots. Scorsese’s career is chock-full of memorable narratives. Time to pair up the football field and the movie set.
1999 Eagles – Bringing Out The Dead
I don’t think it’s a coincidence Dead was made in ’99. The flick had glimpses of brilliance, but was mired by a slumping Nic Cage. Ultimately, it failed to find its groove. Reid’s debut season ended with a record of 5-11. It starred journeyman Doug Pederson and the fading Mike Mamula, but introduced the incredible talents of Donovan McNabb.
2000 Eagles – The Color of Money
Paul Newman finally got an Oscar reprising his role as pool shark Fast Eddie Felson. The cinematography was inventive, but without Newman, it would have been unwatchable. Reid’s second season was McNabb’s coming-out party. He carried a young team on his back to an unlikely 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs. Take away Don, they win four games.
2001 Eagles – Mean Streets
The film that put Scorsese on the map and showcased his skills behind the lens was Mean Streets. It also began a long, successful collaboration with a feisty young actor named Robert De Niro. The ’01 Birds let the NFL know they were a force to be reckoned with. Reid seized his first NFC East crown and together with McNabb guided the midnight green to their first NFC Championship Game appearance since the 1980 season.
2002 Eagles – The Gangs of New York
Scorsese’s powerful 19th century epic was a favorite to bring home Oscar glory with ten nominations. Sadly, it lost out to a musical, Chicago. An effing musical! The Birds returned to the mountain top as the team to beat in ’02. They were supposed to close the doors on Veterans Stadium with a victory in the title game. Instead, they lost to the Bucs. The effing Bucs!
2003 – The King of Comedy
Rupert Pupkin wants so bad to be a TV talk show host. He thought he belonged in the same class as Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). In reality, he was a deluded fool who lived inside his own fantasies. The Eagles would once again win their division and advance to their third consecutive championship game, only to have their dreams dashed by the expansion Carolina Panthers, proving once again they were not legit contenders.
2004 Eagles – Goodfellas
Goodfellas is arguably Scorsese’s best film. It’s gritty, gutsy and brash. It also features a kick-ass cast led by an over-the-top Joe Pesci. Despite its greatness, it still came up short in the Best Picture department. The ’04 Eagles cast a villain to be their star — Terrell Owens. His dynamic play and infectious personality provided the team the extra punch needed to finally reach the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, there would be no storybook ending.
2005 – Taxi Driver
Watching Taxi Driver is like dropping acid while riding a roller-coaster. It’s all kinds of crazy. Travis Bickle is a one-man wrecking crew who ruins everything he touches. T.O. unleashed an eight month long campaign of destruction that ended with his suspension for conduct detrimental. It was one of the most bizarre and agonizing periods in the history of the franchise.
2006 – After Hours
After Hours is probably the least heralded of Scorsese’s films. Who knew Griffin Dunne would make a compelling lead character? The strange and twisting plot points toward a not so happy ending, then makes a sharp turn and ends up okay. After McNabb tore his knee up in week 11, the ’06 season looked doomed. But backup Jeff Garcia donned his cape and guided the Birds to five straight wins and a surprising playoff berth.
2007 – The Aviator
The Aviator received much praise, but it was hardly a great film. It wasn’t bad, just merely okay. Unlike others in Marty’s catalog, it doesn’t warrant repeat viewings. Essentially, it’s forgettable. The best word to describe the Iggles 2007 campaign would be, average. An 8-8 record. No playoffs. It was meh. Easily the most uneventful season since Reid arrived.
2008 – The Last Temptation of Christ
Like all groundbreaking Directors, Scorsese doesn’t shy away from controversial subjects. However, he stirred up a super-sized hornet’s nest when he chose to adapt author Nikos Kazantzakis’s acclaimed novel. The film was beset by protests across the globe. Controversy aside, it’s an amazing achievement. One of Marty’s best. Not since 2005 has an Eagles’ season been as theatrical as in 2008. Star quarterback gets benched, makes a triumphant return, and engineers a miraculous drive to a fifth NFC Championship game. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better.
Subscribe to ITI.