Back in the late eighties, I was a teenager. And as such I was on the roll during the weekends at night, having fun and celebrating my life with my friends. Consequently I was late in getting up on sunday mornings, often skipping breakfast with my parents, choosing to stay in bed instead.
At that time kabel tv had started to crawl into the market here and with it came the first sports tv channel in kabel tv in my hometown Hamburg in northern Germany, called “Sportkanal” .
I was a long time basketball player and big NBA fan (NY Knicks) and “Sportkanal” was the first broadcaster to show American sports products like NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL and College Sports at the time.
Thus I enjoyed watching “Sportkanal” a lot, following my all time heroes like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan, respectively our very few German role players at that time like Detlef Schrempf (Supersonics) and Chris Welp (76ers, Spurs, Warrios).
But at the time “Sportskanal” also decided to broadcast the full season of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with their dark blue jerseys, golden helmets and the Irish Marching Band playing their tunes at South Bend. And I really liked to lay their on Sunday mornings, watching the guys play and me trying to figure out what this strange game was all about and what the rules of this game may be.
I watched my guys like QB Rick Mirer, T Chris Zorich, WR Raghib “the rocket” Ismail, and the RB’s Ricky Waters and RB Jerome Bettis, who later went on to become a Super Bowl Champion (2006) and Hall-Of-Famer in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ricky Waters actually played for the Eagles in 1995, as I later found out.
I really loved my Sunday mornings with the golden helmets following college legend Lou Holtz on the field, touching the sign „Play like a champion today“ on their way out.
At the time the “Sportskanal” used time outs and other commercial breaks to fill them with parts of the weekly reprise of other US Sports leagues including the NFL.
One day I was laying in my bed, watching tiredly and then there were this scene coming up from the Eagles playing the New York Giants at October 10th, 1988.
The Eagles were playing the Giants in a prime-time game at Veterans Stadium. The Eagles had third-and-goal at the 4-yard line. Cunningham in his White and Kelly-green jersey (I like the midnight green more…!) , rolled right and found himself face-to-face with DE Banks, one of the surest tacklers on the New York defense.
Banks went low, hitting Cunningham just above the knees. The Eagles‘ quarterback appeared to be going down but he put his left hand on the turf, regained his balance, straightened up, and fired a touchdown pass to TE Jimmie Giles.
Banks could not believe his eyes.
And I could neither. I found myself sitting upright in my bed and I think it was at that time a new Eagles fan was born.
At least a Cunningham fan was born.
Unfortunately at the time there was not something like full game broadcasts of NFL games in free TV in Germany, and there weren’t till the 2015th years here in Germany, except for the yearly Superbowl. So it was very difficult to really follow a team or a player over his career.
But I liked the way this player was showing his craftsmanship and he reminded me in some ways of the capabilities of a Michael Jordan or a Carl Lewis in their sports. Surely not in terms of his personality, but in the way his talent shows. (And btw seeing him play for the Cowboys in 2000 is a stinger…)
To my disgrace Sportskanal very soon (1993) disappeared again from tv screens in Germany and with it almost all possibility to follow American Football in my country.
I was back as a basketballer in a desert of soccer. Yiech!
Football became less relevant as huge changes dominated my life with graduating at school, apprenticeship as a banker, military service in the Bundeswehr as a conscript and later on academic studies at the computer science department of the university of Hamburg.
But through this time I remember to have a poster to the wall of my room which I really did not know so much about, but which always had some positive influence on me and gave me something, I cannot truly explain. As I later found out it showed Eagles hero DT Reggie White, who was in a bad move traded later to the Green Bay Packers, also becoming a hero of their community.
Both clubs have retired his number to the stadion roof, which tells you something about this guy. Even so I am not in the church business at all and the left and right of the poster seem to show some church benches, that was not so important to me than watch the Sea-Eagle fly high above this huge man showing power all over his figure, ready to knead you into the dirt.
Despite the period in time between 1998 and 2005, where the “NFL Europe”, and for me the Frankfurt Galaxy, was my connection to football, then there again was a long pause in my engagement with the Eagles, untill the last two years of coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia came around.
I had missed the last period of success in Philly with Donovan McNabb at QB , “Weapon X” at safety and Andy Reid as a coach with some NFC East Championships and a trip to Superbowl 2004 versus the New England Patriots, which the team lost.
I had started to follow the team mostly on the internet at the time and it was then that an army of ants decided to march into my house and take my “men’s cave” in a big offensive.
They worked their way behind the wall paneling, founded a town of their own, and started devastating my memorabilias of books, photos and furniture in that room.
After the exterminator had done his job the room was a battlefield.
Everything was in turmoil, furniture broken, panel ripped of the walls, everything I had stored in the room covered with poison, ant eggs and dust. It was a mess. I needed to renovate the whole room, ripping erverything out and throwing away almost everything, that was in there, including some of my personel history. A sad day.
But I decided at the time to bring the room back to life and in the end develop it into a little chamber of fun for old mens with a big flat screen tv, a dolby 5.1 surrond sound system driven by a surround sound receiver and a good subwoofer as a center piece. And to ensure, that my wife and kid did not get thrown out of their beds in the middle of the night I made sure that the cellar got excellent sound concealment.
Now it was time to decide which shows to put up in the room and I decided to come back to this one old love of mine—Eagles football !
I subscribed to NFL game pass in that year 2010 and from that moment on me and my best friend Manuel didn ‘t miss a single Eagles game. We were actually able to became seen on tv , as this foto was broadcasted in the German tv show “ran football” in January 2018, while we were preparing for an eagles game, sharing our preparations via twitter. I think it was the shoes of my daughter that made the media people choose our picture close to christmas.
I also listen to WIP 94 podcasts a lot. Unfortunately some stupid business rules do not allow me to live stream the broadcast and listen live to John Marks & Ike Reese or Angelo and his crew in the morning show. This prevents me from calling in and sometimes comment on some topics from abroad, but where it hurts most is not to be able to listen to “the Legend” Merrill Reese and his buddy Mike Quick live , while they enthusiastically live broadcast Eagles game.
I have not yet found a possibility to at least download a podcast to re-live the events. This is really a sad thing, because I enjoy listening to the other egale football shows while driving to work or shopping. If you have a tip for me, please go ahead and mail me or comment.
But while playing Fantasy Football with friends and neighbors in my street we also love to watch games together and cheer for our teams like the Eagles , the Packers or the Seahawks.
(And there is luckily no Cowboys fan in the vicinity yet and hopefully never be!)
We were also very lucky with the fact, that the Eagles came to London , Wimbledon Stadium, in October 2018 and we enjoyed the time there on out trip a lot with some friends and some fellow Eagles fans from all over Europe.
Unfortunately we were not yet able to attend an Eagles Game in Lincoln Financial field or any other US stadium, but this time will hopefully come, before my time is finally up and before Trumpist’s have ruined the last bit of the US we grew up with at last.
Before I finish this little insight in my Eagles history I like to add that there are some other things too, which I recognized in my time with the Eagles and which gave me the feeling, that the Eagles organization is somehow special and one which I can associate with.
To name just a few these are:
- The loyalty the eagles organization generally shows towards their players, as it was the case in my time with e.g. Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Nick Foles, Chris Long, Darren Sproles, Jon Dorenbos.
- The loyalty they showed to members of the eagles non players-organization like Howie Roseman in his fight with the mad Chip Kelly
- The eagles giving a superbowl ring to Carol Cullen, serving as a former long time executive assistant for the coaching staff fired by Chip Kelly
- Eagles paying Nick Foles $1M bonus after the QB missed his incentive by 4 Snaps in 2019
- Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie speaking up on social racism and covid-19 in august 2020 (even so I missed it badly during the suffering of Collin Kaepernick and not doing the right thing. I wished the eagles would have picked up his contract, at least during training camp. US citizens owe something to Collin.)
I hope you liked this little information and enjoyed reading it.