I feel bad for Philadelphia fans.
It's not because they lost - every Superbowl has a loser too - it's because the Eagles stopped trying with about four minutes left.
Instead of running a no-huddle to preserve what little time they had left, they nonchalantly dawdled before each play. They didn't even spike the ball or run out of bounds to stop the clock.
Now, I recognize that being down ten points with only a few minutes left and no timeouts is a tough place to be, but therein lies the real test. Mounting an offensive push when you're down is really the only way to measure heart.
It's no coincidence that the games people remember the longest most often have a come from behind story attached to them. In battle, the quality is known as valor, and those who possess it are respected by their foes and honored as heroes by their comrades.
I have the utmost respect for the skills and training of the Philadelphia players. They are arguably the best team in football. The one thing that they don't seem to have is a leader with the heart to pull them through the last four minutes of an important game.
I believe that at the end of the game there were ten guys in green jerseys that were willing to give every ounce of their remaining energy and break every bone in their body just to get that ball across the line twice. The eleventh man, whether he was aware of it or not, whether he will ever admit it or not, simply gave up, and his name is Donovan McNabb.
If I were Jeff Lurie, I'd do everything in my power to find a quarterback that has an indomitable spirit and fantastic leadership. Maybe he should also be able to throw the ball well, but that's almost beside the point. If I found somebody like that on Tuesday, McNabb would be riding the bench or released outright by Wednesday morning.
I am not a Philadelphia Eagles fan. I am a Patriots fan. The two teams played amazing football for 76 (56*) minutes, but I'm disappointed that it wasn't 80 (60*) and starting to wonder if maybe there's a good reason they lost the past few NFC championships.
I'm not sure who would've won if McNabb hadn't decided to take an early vacation, but I really would've loved to watch that game.
As it was, at about the three minute mark, instead of sitting in rapt attention, I went outside to smoke a butt.
* Apparently I was smoking crack and pining for hockey when I wrote this originally. Quarters of a football game are 15 minutes, not 20.