|by Ryan Messick |
New Meadowlands Stadium had emptied out. No fans in seats, nobody on the field. The Eagles locker room was mostly empty, with a few players lingering and team employees packing up equipment. The only physical evidence left from what had transpired was the ice scattered across the floor, the Gatorade soaking into the carpet, a few misplaced ceiling tiles that fell victim to what was surely a boisterous celebration and the football tucked into DeSean Jackson’s brown, leather backpack.
After one of, if not the, greatest comebacks in NFL history to steal a 38-31 win over the Giants, the Eagles had the right to celebrate just a bit. Hey, they’re the only team to come back from a 21 point deficit in under eight minutes. Scoring 28 unanswered points earns you a bit of leeway. So when center Mike McGlynn doused head coach Andy Reid with a cooler full of Gatorade, which still dripped from the brim of his cap during the post-game press conference, it’s hard to imagine Reid being the least bit unhappy.
“Someone dumped water on him, and he was pretty hyped,” said Quintin Mikell of his coach. “I’ve never seen him so animated after a game, but it was big, man, that was big.”
As wild as the celebration may have seemed on the field, the locker room, by all accounts, was sheer mayhem. Out on the field it hadn’t sunk in for some Eagles, and who can blame them?
Down 31-10 with 8:09 left. Vick to Celek for a touchdown, an onside kick, Vick on the ground for another score, a defensive stop, Vick to Maclin to tie it, another stop, and another miracle in the form of DeSean Jackson racing past the Giants to win the game. It was a blur.
“It was very shocking, I mean it’s unbelievable,” Todd Herremans said. “As soon as we ran that punt back, I didn’t even know how to feel. I’m out there for the PAT, I didn’t even know we were going to kick it. Cameras were on the field. It was unbelievable.”
Other players had unique experiences of their own. Quintin Mikell had just banged his head on the ground going for an interception on the Giants’ last possession, which he later called the best drop of his life. Doctors were checking Mikell out, so his view was obstructed when Matt Dodge’s right foot sent a low line drive towards Jackson.
“Honestly, I don’t even remember much, I was on the sidelines, I was kind of out of it,” Mikell said. “I heard the crowd go quiet, then I looked up at the big screen and I saw him kind of dancing right on the one-yardline and I was like, ‘Get your butt in the end zone!’”