Reliving the Aftermath of the Miracle at the Meadowlands III
Andy Reid's face still showed the shock of the Eagles 28 unanswered points during his post-game press conference at the Meadowlands last year.
You might see a replay or two from that game the Eagles played against the Giants at the Meadowlands last year. I know, just call me Nostradamus for going out on that limb. You probably don’t need them though. It’s hard to imagine anyone who watched that game not having the key plays seared into their mind forever.
Likewise, for anyone fortunate enough to cover the game, the images of the locker room celebration and Andy Reid’s press conference (or Eli Manning’s press conference, for Giants reporters) will be impossible to forget. So, as the Eagles get set to face the Giants today, here’s an article I wrote last year about the chaotic celebration after the Eagles stunned the Giants 38-31.
How Did the Eagles Celebrate a Miracle?
December 20, 2010
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!’”
Jackson did of course, and once the Eagles hit the locker room, there was nothing left to do but celebrate.
“It was crazy, there was some Gatorade,” Herremans said. “I came in the locker room, there was ice and Gatorade all over the floor.”
As the media and players milled around in a celebration-turned-interview session, Brandon Graham burst into the locker room. Hobbling on crutches, he let out a huge yell and celebration number two broke out. DeSean Jackson ran over and the two exchanged a trio of low fives. Then Graham told his story.
Since he needed an isolated place to watch the game due to his torn ACL, Graham was given a spot for his wheelchair in Giants part-owner Steve Tisch’s box. Tisch’s son attended the University of Michigan with Graham.
“I heard everything, from the first half, it’s over, you can go home now,” Graham said of the heckling he received. “’Oh man, ya’ll boys, ya’ll lucky the Bucs lost, because that was the best thing that happened to you today.’”
The always pleasant but always talkative defensive end tried to mind his manners behind enemy lines, but a big reaction was inevitable.
“I did [jump out of my seat], but I was on one leg!” Graham said with a grin from ear to ear. “The fans heard me. Them boys kind of got mad at me, but what can they do? I’m on crutches!”
Graham continued to make his rounds congratulating teammates as the locker room slowly emptied out. In the tunnel just outside the hallway, DeSean Jackson was conducting a radio interview. Jackson had his sunglasses on, black with white frames wrapping around the side. Complimenting his black sweatshirt and grey sweatpants, Jackson wore a brown leather backpack – just the right size for a football. The football.
Still laughing and accepting congratulations, Jackson confirmed that he had recovered the game ball from his big return, which he threw into the stands during his celebration. The third-year wideout then hopped on a golf cart with Jeremy Maclin, Nate Allen and Brandon Graham and sped towards the team bus.
As he passed Eagles fans with VIP or family passes, Jackson waved his white number 10 jersey like a flag. “Heyyyyyyy,” Jackson yelled. “Ea-gles! Ea-gles! Ea-gles!”
The chant continued as he high-fived fans all the way to the exit, where he joined his own friends or family for hugs and celebration. Then, just like that, it was over – but not before one more spooky occurrence.
At 7:15, with the field completely devoid of human life, an animal strolled onto the field. But not just any animal, a black cat. It wasn’t just anywhere on the field, either. The cat walked slowly towards the North end zone. Yes, that end zone, the one where Brent Celek, Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson racked up 28 fourth quarter points.
It crossed the goal line no more than five yards from the spot where Jackson finally chose to break the plane after trotting across the field at the one, then crossed directly in front of the Giants logo painted on the turf before disappearing into the night.
One team’s miracle was one division rival’s bad omen. The whole thing was one for the ages.
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