Owens' play almost miraculous, but Eagles nothing to marvel at

February 07, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Terrell Owens pulled out all the stops to get his surgically repaired right ankle ready for the Super Bowl. He brought his personal chiropractor, his personal massage therapist and a hyperbaric chamber to North Florida in an attempt to pull off a minor medical miracle.

He also brought a heck of a lot of game, which you might have figured would be enough to bring the long-suffering football fans of Philadelphia what they have been dreaming of for decades.

If you had told me that T.O. was going to catch nine passes for 122 yards, I would have bet the old Toyota that those fans would be singing "Fly, Eagles, Fly" all the way back up I-95 today. I didn't even think he was going to play.

T.O. was the man, but there were times when Donovan McNabb looked like a nervous kid in his first Super Bowl appearance. The New England Patriots really are one of the greatest dynasties in the history of pro football - or, at least, the salary cap era - and they proved that again with a workmanlike 24-21 victory that will leave all of Philadelphia in a major funk for the next few days.

The Eagles shook off their NFC championship jinx with a couple of mistake-free playoff games, only to stumble on the big stage. McNabb ran up some impressive passing numbers, but he also threw three interceptions and blew enough big opportunities to keep the Eagles faithful rehashing this game until next year's season opener.

Gotta give Eagles fans some love, no matter how much it pains me. They came a long way in tremendous numbers and showed why they are known - for better or worse - as the most passionate fans in football, only to see their team come up a short by a field goal.

Well, maybe T.O. can get them each a free massage, which would be nice since I've been rubbing them the wrong way all year.

For those who aren't versed in new-age medicine, the hyperbaric chamber was developed to help divers decompress at sea level, but more recently has been used to aid healing by enhancing the oxygen levels in injured body parts.

Scientific opinions vary on the effectiveness of hyperbaric treatment, but Owens apparently is sold on it.

Personally, I have only two questions: Is the chamber also sound-proof? And, if so, could they put Freddie Mitchell in it?

Mitchell, you might recall, did a lot of talking over the past couple of weeks, but he was shut out until the final minutes of the game. In fact, defensive back Rodney Harrison - the target of some of that trash talk - actually caught one more of McNabb's passes than Mitchell. Harrison's two interceptions probably were the difference in the game.

Bandwagon alert: For all of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's bravado about McNabb and the Eagles last week, he might have mentioned that in 1999 he went on the radio when he was mayor of Philadelphia to campaign for the team to draft running back Ricky Williams instead of McNabb.

We all know how that turned out. Donovan is doing Chunky Soup commercials and Ricky is sitting at home thinking, "I could really use about eight bowls of that right now."

Chalk one up for the old guys. Paul McCartney's halftime performance, and the lavish production that surrounded it, was almost worth the ridiculous price of admission ($500 face value) ... and the only body part he exposed was his heart, which apparently is still beating pretty good after all these years.

Everybody around me stood up yesterday when the Charlie Daniels Band played "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" during the pre-game show, which got me to wondering. So I asked around and was assured that it is not the national anthem down here.

Philly fan humor: A woman in an Eagles jersey stood outside the Adams Mark Hotel yesterday morning with a sign that read:

"Will trade my husband for two tickets."

Right beside her was a guy in an Eagles jersey with another sign: "She means it."

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