A brief message for all of you who plan to paint your face green and head down to The Linc this weekend: Go wild. Set new records for pre-game consumption. Scream till your cords can take no more. Bash forearms, chests or what ever else you're compelled to after a great play. But just remember this: Win or lose, appreciate these times.
Why do I say this? One hint. I grew up in Buffalo.
The Eagles of this new millennium have now made it to three straight NFC Championship games. The Bills of the 90s made it to four straight. Won them all, only to lose four straight Super Bowls.
My friends always ripped me about the Bills, the only team ever to lose four straight Super Bowls.
I always shot back that they were the only team to ever reach four straight Super Bowls. Besides, if Scott Norwood's kick was good, rather than wide right in '91 against the Giants, they probably would have won the next three, and we wouldn't have to hear what a genius Bill Parcells is.
But it went wide right and the rest is history.
Today, former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly isn't directing the K-Gun offense, he's in the Hall of Fame. James Lofton isn't catching bombs from Kelly, he has joined him in the Hall of Fame. Today's Bills are lucky to win half their games, let alone a conference championship.
I've come to realize that cheering for a team that wins 11, 12 or 13 games a year is a lot better than cheering for one that loses 11, 12 or 13 games a year. The thrill of anticipation that builds before championship games is what's great about being a fan. I hear winning is better, but it was quite a ride just to have the shot at the title.
It's also become painfully evident that great teams don't come along very often. In the NFL, like other team sports, it is cyclical. That Super Bowl run of the Bills ended 10 years ago.
Of course Eagles fans don't have to be told that. It's been more than 20 years since the hometown team reached the Super Bowl. And it has been more than 40 years since the great championship team of Norm Van Brocklin.
And that's the point. Great players like Van Brocklin, Kelly, Montana and Elway, players who are good enough to win and make teams great don't come along very often. And when they're gone, they leave a huge void that takes years to fill. Fans can only remember when, and hope to see their kind again.
I believe Donovan McNabb is one of those players. He can do things on the football field few have ever been able to do. More importantly, he's delivered a winner. The Eagles can be outplayed, but they believe they can count on McNabb to find a way to win. And he usually does.
So enjoy the ride. Cheer, scream, bash - believe! This team has already delivered "4th and Forever" this year and who knows what Sunday will bring.
Can you feel that anticipation building? Isn't it great to be an Eagles fan? I know the people in Buffalo don't have to paint their faces green - they already are - with envy.