Okay, it’s “just football”, not a real military battle with deadly consequences.
But a sense of inspiration going into this big game is a help when you are 2.5 point underdogs in your own house.
The Atlanta Falcons are relying upon a paid mercenary as their Sky Pilot, the professional wrassler Ric Flair, the original “60 Minute Man”. Flair has angered many of his Philly-area fans by shamelessly taking money from the Falcons in exchange for his motivational pre-game speech to be given to the Dirty Birds.
Meanwhile, we’ve got team chaplain Herb Lusk—and to a similar purpose, young Carson Wentz —to prepare our boys for the fight.
“There’s something significantly special about this team,” says Rev. Dr. Herb Lusk, who played running back for the Philadelphia Eagles for three seasons beginning in 1976. “I believe they have a divine connection- I really do.”
Lusk says this team is lead by the faithful from coach Doug Peterson, who he says “never misses Bible study,” to injured quarterback Wentz, who has been open about his Christian faith.
Lusk says this team is different, because the entire team seems driven by a higher purpose.
“You’ve got a guy like Chris Long who donated his salary to public education and who raised over a million dollars for water wells in Africa,” says Lusk, “and the offense coordinator- Frank Reich- he is a theologian with a Masters in Divinity.”
Hmmmm. Ric Flair or Herb Lusk? With the smell of gun grease in the air, I’ll go with the Reverend’s prayer.
One of our favorite Eagles journalists is Jimmy Kempski, and it sounds like he could use a Sky Pilot too, because he thinks we are doomed on Saturday.
At least Kempski is an honest man.
He opened up his Mailbag at the Philly Voice on Friday:
Question from Wilbert Montgomery: Jimmy, we were underdogs in the 1980 NFC Championship Game too. I remember that none of the sportswriters gave us any real chance in that game. Jaws was 9 of 19 for 91 yards on the day. How did that game turn out?
“Yes, Wilbert, I am aware that in the history of the NFL, underdogs do win games. Certainly, the Eagles can win on Saturday. They should be able to win in the trenches on both sides of the ball, which is a significant advantage, and probably the best argument for how they survive another day.
“However, to repeat my very simplistic view on this game, the Eagles are at a severe disadvantage at the quarterback position. Is it really that crazy to pick the Falcons in this game? I’m just giving you my honest opinion of who I think will win this game. I don’t know why people would read me if I wasn’t honest in my analysis.”
At least Jimmy K. provides a ray of faith that if the Eagles do get beat, it won’t happen because of Julio Jones:
Question from Max: Who’s gonna go up against Julio?
“Last year, Jalen Mills followed him all over the field in the second half, but that was more a product of injuries in the secondary. I don’t think they’ll have anyone trail him in this game. If he lines up on Mills’ side, Mills will cover him. If he lines up opposite Ronald Darby, then it’ll be Darby. If he lines up in the slot, then Patrick Robinson will get a shot at him.
“If you have a corner trail a receiver, it becomes more difficult to disguise your coverages, and I don’t think Jim Schwartz wants to lose that.”
That’s the spirit, Jimmy! He subconsciously leaked a little optimism into our battle plan. All that’s missing now is a full-blown conversion to faith in a higher power.
How high can you fly?