As I strapped on my gear in the cramped un-airconditioned rookie locker room at West Chester University in July of 1980, I recall the sweat dripping off my nose onto my white weatherworn football cleats as I prepared for another agonizing session of two-a-day practices marshaled by Coach Dick Vermeil.
For seven weeks, we went twice a day, full pads, full contact, on the sweltering football fields there. The Oklahoma drill was a staple most mornings, which turned into a macho one-on-one slugfest until the little dictator blew his whistle to end the particular match-up, only to call two other candidates into his local version of the Roman Coliseum.
I lost 24 pounds in that rookie camp.
But I came out tough, in shape, and ready to attack any challenge that was in front of me. I made the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles.
The 1980 NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
And I proudly wear the ring that is a symbol of the blood, sweat, and tears of that I left at the summer grind that year.
We lost Super Bowl XV, as did the Donovan McNabb led Eagles of 2004 in Jacksonville.
But something feels a little different this time. The 2017-18 version of our Eagles have a resiliency that I have rarely seen in professional football.
I mean, losing players like Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos and STILL making it to the big game?
I like the Eagles chances. And even though we are playing a modern day dynasty in Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots. I see a victory parade in our future.
The Lombardi trophy will be back in Philadelphia where it belongs.