Cimorelli’s Question of the Day

Does it seem a bit surreal that the Eagles are playing in the NFC Championship game on Sunday?

To me, it does.  Maybe because they were 5-5-1 after tying the Bengals.  Maybe because, just over a month ago, we had all resigned ourselves the Kevin Kolb Era beginning in Philadelphia.  Maybe because they need multiple miracles in Week 17 just to get into the playoffs.  Maybe because the Vikings win was somewhat expected, and the Giants win seemed more about what the Giants couldn’t do then it was about what the Eagles could do (which is a total mirage because this defense is playing as well as anyone right now–more on that in a later post).  Maybe because they play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, so it does not have the feel of an NFC Championship game.  I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t seem real.  And, trust me, I’m not complaining. 

The 3 straight losses in NFC Championship games were devastating.  There are six sports defeats in my lifetime that really rocked me to the core of my existence.  And, two of them were in consecutive years–the losses to Tampa Bay and Carolina.  Those games were done-deals.  Those games were just stepping stones to the Super Bowl.  And, those games were both lost in devastating fashion.

I was out of the country for 2004.  The only game I saw all year in English was the Championship game against the Falcons.  I followed the season online, got to a computer to watch the gamecast of the Vikings divisional round game, saw the Falcons game on Armed Forces network, and had to watch the Super Bowl in a rural African hotel that just happened to get the Super Bowl on French TV.  I was not as invested in that Super Bowl as most of you reading this right now, so it did not hurt me like some of the others.

This game coming up against the Cardinals is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my sports fandom.  It is a game that, because of the circumstances and the happenings of the season, I never, EVER expected.  And, if it were any other year, it would be nice just to get here.  But, this year gives us the Arizona Cardinals.  So, with my feeling of the proverbial “playing with house money” is a strange combination of “there’s no way we lose this, right?”  I have never had a “no way we lose this, right?” at the same time as “how did we ever get here?”

It is just all so surreal, and honestly, it kind of scares me because a loss will not be the same devastation as those awful, awful days against Tampa and Carolina, but it will be a totally different devastation–one for which I may or may not be prepared.  Let’s hope it’s a moot point.

6 Replies to “Cimorelli’s Question of the Day”

  1. So there have been 3 losses in your sports fan career that “rocked you to the core of your existence” and two of them were nfc championship games against tampa and carolina. I believe i can safely assume that the other one was a certain unmentionable game in october of 1993. So my question is, did the temple loss in the sweet 16 of the 2000 ncaa tournament to a shaneen holloway-less seton hall team, preventing the seemingly fateful rematch with duke with john chaneys first and would-be only final four appearance on the line from ever occurring, not “rock you to your core”? Does the infamous Ty Shine not rank up there with a certain Mr. Carter in your list of all time sports fandom villians? Because to me, that is a glaring omission.

  2. Oh, and to actually answer the question…yes, this is really weird. Needing 3 playoff contenders to choke in week 17 to squeak into the playoffs and getting it and then now facing off against the #18 defense in the nfl for a spot in the super bowl all seems way too easy to be real. With the Phillies World Series championship still extremely fresh in all our minds, it seemed easier than other years to let go of another failed Eagles season when the going was tough. So now we’re back from the dead and it kind of hit us all by surprise. But no matter how surreal it seems and no matter which road we take to get there, I’m sure that Lombardi trophy will look and feel just as real if we actually pull this off. I mean, I’m sure the Giants’ run last year seemed totally surreal to their fans, and if you ask any of them, I’m sure you won’t hear any complaints about how they got there.

  3. I said that there were six sports defeats that rocked me to my core (sorry, I know you do numbers, I won’t spell it out anymore). But, now that I think more about it, there are 8 (I was counting the Seton Hall game, I just added two personal ones)

    In some semblance of an order (they all sucked, so it’s hard to order them):
    1). Seton Hall over Temple (ranked #4 in the country, and one of the favorites to win the title) in the second round of the 2000 NCAA tournament
    2). Tampa Bay over the Eagles in the 2003 NFC Championship game
    3). Hilltop losing both ends of a day-night double-header against arch-rival South Philly, only needing one win to go to the State finals (this hurt even more because I was 11 years old, so this was my entire life)
    4). Pi Lambda over #1 seeded and title favorites, Delta Sigma Phi, in overtime in the semifinals of the 2001 intramural basketball playoffs
    5). The Blue Jays over the Phillies in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series (yes, I can actually say the name “Joe Carter” since October 29, 2008)
    6). The Pointshavers losing on a last-second three-pointer, up two, in the Roxborough YMCA basketball championship–all coming off a thrilling OT victory in the semis over the three-time defending league champions
    7). Carolina over the Eagles in the 2004 NFC Championship game
    8). After pitching the best 6 innings of my life in holding the undefeated and completely stacked Red Team to one run in the semifinals of the Hilltop Babe Ruth summer league, losing on a 2-out walkoff grand slam by Chris Bruno (I have no idea where he is now, but that one hit has haunted me for 15 years now).

    That’s my list–I wouldn’t have been able to write all of that down if not for October 29, 2008.

  4. Definitely surreal, and strange, and awesome. Your absolutely right, we’ve never had a “no way we lose this” and a “how did we get here?” game. it’s interesting.

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