Twitter might be the greatest invention of the last century - right up there with AstroTurf and Girls Gone Wild. Without it, we wouldn't know what athletes are thinking at every waking moment and trash talk would require third-party messengers to facilitate the beef.
No longer. Now it's simple and direct. All you need is a computer or a phone and presto - an electronic pimp slap to the grill of your targeted rival. If only Buddy Ryan had been the coach of the Eagles 20 years later; poor Jimmy Johnson would have had to go into hiding.
So, yeah, the 'Boys smacked the Birds (again) last week, but that didn't stop DeSean Jackson from hopping on Twitter and immediately declaring his intentions to seek revenge today (everything sic'd): "Its all good we gonna sting they ass next week lil buddy ..."
Might be my favorite quote of the last year. I especially loved the "lil buddy" Gilligan-esque poke at the end. It was the modern-day version of Joe Namath promising a win over the Colts in the Super Bowl. OK, so maybe DJacc (that's what he calls himself now - not DJack or DJax; make a note of the spelling) didn't guarantee a victory, but the "sting they ass" bit comes pretty close.
All of which means Donovan McNabb was right: The young guys need to step up and make plays in Dallas tonight - now more than ever, and Jackson more than all the rest. He can't do it alone, and it would help if McNabb doesn't badly overthrow him when he's streaking down the field wide open toward the end zone. But, ultimately, how Jackson performs and whether he helps the Birds beat the 'Boys is on Jackson now. He made it so. No one held the BlackBerry to his head and forced him to tweet, and no one required him to film the U-Stream video with the following message:
"[Cowboys corner] Mike Jenkins ain't never shut me down, so y'all chill out over there," Jackson said. "Them boys are scared of me. I'm a dual threat on that field. They be having like four people on your boy out there, but it's all good. I probably get man coverage like 10 percent every game. But I like those odds. I'll take that."
I like those odds, too. But, then, I'm not the one putting on the pads or implying that Mike Jenkins and the 'Boys lose control of their bladders whenever Big Bad DeSean - all 5-foot-10, 175 pounds of him - swaggers onto the field. I'm also not the one who has just five catches for 76 yards and no touchdowns in two games against Dallas this season.
The Eagles-Cowboys rivalry has always been bitter and nasty and heated. That's part of the fun. Michael Irvin was terrific at ramping up the rhetoric, but he killed the Eagles as much with his hands as his words. If Jackson wants to be one of the greats, he needs to do the same. (Don't tell anyone I suggested he needs to be like Irvin.)
How the Cowboys cover Jackson will have a lot to do with his production tonight, but great players always seem to find ways to make big plays in pressure situations with everyone watching. With the exception of the two Dallas games this year, Jackson has done that consistently and well this season. If he does that tonight - if he makes a significant contribution and/or helps the Birds advance - the small man will stand tall and his trash talk will rattle in the brains of the Cowboys and their fans the entire off-season, a particularly cruel kind of protracted torture. If not, if the 'Boys shut him down again, it'll be a terribly disappointing end note to an otherwise fine season for Jackson.
He's in the deep end now. Time to see if he sinks or swims.
Love press box (or, in this case, auditorium) humor. While we were waiting for Brian Westbrook to show up for his news conference the other day, I overheard a media joker cracking wise: "Why do they keep bringing him to the podium? They might as well have Wilbert Montgomery up there." Sad but clever. . . . The video of Eagles fanboy Dave Spadaro spitting on the star at Cowboys Stadium was fairly funny, if a little pathetic. (Grown men and team employees do that?) I kept waiting for George Teague to come out of nowhere and crack Spadaro the way he did to Terrell Owens a few years back. I'm glad the Birds didn't fire Spuds, but I wish they would have shown the same compassion to former gate attendant Dan Leone, who was fired after criticizing the team on Facebook. . . . Bodog.com over/unders for DeSean Jackson today: receptions 41/2, yards 751/2. If he goes over on both, the Birds have a real shot to win. . . . Playoff picks (home teams in caps): BENGALS -3 over Jets, PATS -31/2 over Ravens, Packers +11/2 over CARDS and Eagles +4 over COWBOYS.
Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.