(Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Dawkins, Polamalu, and Ed Reed defined the safety position in the NFL for that entire era. I can honestly say that my childhood of being an Eagles fan would not have been the same had it not been for Brian Dawkins.
I think I speak for over half of the Eagles fan base when I say that my favorite Eagles player of all-time is being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Brian Dawkins is the embodiment of what an NFL Hall of Famer should be. He laid it all out on the line every Sunday and was also one of the best players at his position for a decade straight. Dawkins, Polamalu, and Ed Reed defined the safety position in the NFL for that entire era. I can honestly say that my childhood of being an Eagles fan would not have been the same had it not been for Brian Dawkins.
Dawkins was the last pro athlete that I truly idolized. You get to a certain age where an athlete loses his aura. By the time I got into high school, there weren’t many athletes that had me star struck. The only athletes that got me were the ones from my childhood. Even at 24 years old, I still struggled to find the words to talk to Dawk. You reach a certain age where the athletes become the same age as you. They lose their invincibility. If I saw Zach Ertz walking down the street, I would simply tell him I’m a fan and good luck this season. If an 11-year-old me walked by Terrell Owens however, I probably would’ve stuttered like the kid in Billy Madison. Without shame, I tell you that T.O. is still one of my favorite Eagles of all time as well.
The 2004 season gave me the best Eagles football I’d seen, aside from this year’s super bowl victory. Despite how tumultuous Owen’s 2nd season with the team was, I am actually glad he’s representing the Eagles as he enters the Hall of Fame. The ‘04 Eagles didn’t make it to the Super Bowl without him. With T.O.’s effort to come back and play in the game itself, I always wondered why a portion of the fan base couldn’t look past his antics in the 2005 season. I think time heals all wounds, and so does winning a super bowl.
These two former Eagles made me the Eagles fan that I am today. While I knew T.O. was always a head-case, Dawkins was someone I could admire on and off the field. This weekend in Canton, two of my favorite childhood athletes get enshrined into the hall of fame. As I watch, I have reached the realization that I am getting old. Before I know it, kids younger than me will be getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. But in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the 2018 Hall of Fame ceremonies.