Green and white?
It is Eagles week so all the sporting world is united about just how fucked up it is that quarterback Donovan McNabb will be returning to his former home stadium as a Redskin, to the place where he was the undisputed starter for eleven seasons, where he he led his team to five NFC Beast Division titles, five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl, to the place where he began his professional football career the same year that Andy Reid began his head coaching career, eleven long years before that same head coach thought so little of Dono that he had him traded to a Division rival.
So do not ask me how I missed this story last year, the story of something that would have made Donovan McNabb to the Redskins seem pedestrian:
Troy Aikman considered coming out of retirement to play for the Eagles in 2002.
It all started today when I got an email from lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, my game partner with whom I have been to 21 of the past 22 Eagles-Redskins games, a streak dating back to Donovan McNabb's rookie year of 1999, exclaiming surprise that neither of us had ever heard this, with a link to a piece on Matt Mosely's ESPN NFC Beast blog titled No closure for Donovan McNabb in Philly.
Waaay down in paragraph thirteen of seventeen is this doozy:
As a brief sidebar, Reid once attempted to lure Aikman out of retirement when McNabb was injured early in his career. Aikman gave it some serious thought, but ultimately declined. If you think it was hard adjusting to McNabb in burgundy and gold, how do you think Aikman would have looked in green and white?
So odd I found this that I had to go back and do the research, sure enough there it was, back on 1 November 2009, less than a year ago, Troy Aikman was interviewed by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times and told the story. Google tells me that within three days both the USA Today and Philly.com, the online home of both the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, had picked up the story. I do not recall reading this in the Washington Post online or in the paper.
It was the famous Donovan McNabb Plays with a Broken Ankle game on 17 November 2002, midway into Donovan's fourth season, Dono twisted his ankle on the third play of the game and broke it, then stayed in the game and went on to tie a career mark with four touchdown passes and lead the Eagles to a 38-14 victory over the Cardinals to move the Eagles to 7-3, ultimately in 2002 the Eagles went on to lose the NFC Championship at home, in Veterans Stadium no less, to the Buccaneers.
According to Troy's story, he was in the booth that day doing color analysis on the 49ers at Chargers game all the way across the country when a production assistant passed him a note to return a call at halftime. Troy did, it was Andy Reid, ready with a pitch to lure Troy out of retirement for the rest of the season, Donovan's injury was projected to keep him out six to eight weeks and ended up kept him out the final six regular season games, after a bye week Dono returned for both postseason games.
Apparently Troy seriously considered it before ultimately deciding his post LaVar Arrington life as a broadcaster was safer than heading back under center, he declined coach Reid's offer, thus robbing Redskins fans of the limitless joy derived from taunting Cowboys fans forced to watch their golden boy playing for the other team. Possible failure as an Eagle would have been icing on the cake for Redskins fans.
The chronology works if we look at the timing of the games, Arizona at Philadelphia was at 1:00 pm and San Francisco at San Diego was at 4:00 pm. Donovan makes it through the whole game and is x-rayed immediately following the game, Andy Reid considers his options in Koy Detmer and AJ Feeley and makes the call to FOX to track down Troy before halftime.
I really wish this had happened.
Troy Aikman from here via here.