Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles are tied for first … and you’re complaining?

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles throws to Riley Cooper during the first half against the Packers. (Mike Roemer/AP)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles throws to Riley Cooper during the first half against the Packers. (Mike Roemer/AP)

The cynics just can’t help themselves, can they? Here the Eagles sit tied for first in the NFC East and the first thing you hear is, “weak division.” “Lucky,” is the word I heard after the Packers win … fortunate that they beat a third-string quarterback. One radio expert smugly said, “if Rogers plays the Eagles lose!” Give me a break, will ya? Nobody makes excuses for the Eagles when they lose with a third stringer so I don’t want to hear that rhetoric when the Eagles win against the same.

Once again the “D” was sound making plays when it had to. Shady rambled for 155 yards against a stout Packer defense, so don’t call that fluky. Go ahead and get in face of the “O” lineman and tell them that was lucky. And Nick Foles was efficient and turnover-free as he is making the best of his second chance.

Tied for first Eagles fans! Bet you never would have guessed that with 6 games to go.

***

Speaking of second chances, I’d like to share with you a piece I wrote three years ago after a visit I made to Walter Reed Hospital to visit our solders.  As we celebrate the anniversary of the Marine Corps and Veterans Day let us never forget the sacrifices and courage of these men and women who lay it on the line every day to keep the American Dream alive. Hopefully after you read this you will see what luck is really all about!

They are called “Wounded Warriors” and they will tug at your heartstrings like no one you have ever met. They are my heroes and they come in all sizes, shapes, sexes, races, and religions.

These men and women are undrafted free agents and they signed on to their team to protect the American Dream and were given no signing bonuses, no press conferences and no guarantees. Their uniforms are worn with pride and are not adorned with corporate logos … just medals & stripes earned thru sweat and blood … not entitlement.

They don’t second guess their coaches and they simply execute the play that they are asked to run.  

These warriors scoff at the arrogance of entitlement holding to the truth that nobody ever drowned in sweat … you gotta earn what you get. They risk their lives every day to make sure our dreams come true and in the end their dreams were shattered. They too are looking for a second chance, not in the NFL, but in the game of life.

What team do they play for?  Well, they play for the USA, of course. The most powerful team on earth! They are members of the U.S. Military and I met these warriors on Monday in Washington, D.C. at Walter Reed Hospital. I went there to try to inspire them and I came away inspired and blown away by courage and attitudes like I have never seen before. Along with lost dreams went lost teammates, limbs, organs and memories. But what could never be taken away from these warriors is their heart that beats as loud and strongly as ever as they bust their hump everyday to get back into the game of life!

My Who Nuts Award for the best Special Teams Player of the week goes to all of the “Wounded Warriors” I met and showed me what it is really like to be Invincible. The next time you are at the Linc, and they introduce the Hometown Hero to the crowd, stand on your seat and applaud like hell. Make sure the team at Walter Reed can hear you because they too deserve a standing ovation and a second chance.

Vince Papale For Philly.com
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