The pilot had warned the passengers: Things for the Eagles didn’t look good.
At about the final two-minute warning, the Eagles were down by 5 against the Chicago Bears in Sunday’s wild card playoff game at Soldier Field. And no one on the Spirit flight from Philadelphia to Fort Myers, Fla., could watch what would happen next.
But the Rev. Herb Lusk, a former Eagle who now counsels Eagles players and staff as a team chaplain, was aboard, and he wasn’t going to take that rough news sitting down.
“Let’s pray,” he announced suddenly. His friend the Rev. Reginald Johnson said Lusk quickly called together those around him: “It was like a crisis.”
The Eagles didn’t have much time, so Lusk didn’t waste any. He prayed for the team. He prayed for Nick Foles. He didn’t leave out that Foles is a good fellow, and a God-fearing fellow at that. If the Lord could give Nick one more shot, that’s what they needed, Lusk prayed.
Afterward, as the jet was landing, passengers learned of the reversal of fates. Not only had the Birds scored a touchdown, but the Bears had missed a game-winning field goal in a goal-post-clanging moment that fans quickly christened the “double doink.” Final score: Eagles 16, Bears 15.
“We almost tore that plane up,” Lusk said.
Lusk, who leads the Greater Exodus Baptist Church near Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue, is still celebrating. After the game, he went to visit a former seminary classmate in Naples, Fla., who had recorded it for him. Seeing how events unfolded confirmed for the former running back that the Lord had answered his prayer, but Lusk didn’t want to take too much credit.
“I don’t want to minimize it, but the Bible is very clear: Faith without works is dead,” Lusk said. “You have divine intervention, but you have human responsibility. Those two things go together. They’re a very talented team, is what I’m saying.”
Lusk said he was surprised to learn that Eagles defensive tackle Treyvon Hester had tipped the ball, a move that’s become more clear with slo-mo replays. Learning this only provided more proof for Lusk: You need the work of the people, but you also need God’s touch.