A Look Back: The 2004 NFC Title Game

September 16, 2011

With the Eagles facing Atlanta this Sunday night, let’s take a look back at the one Eagles/Falcons game that stands above all others:  The 2004 NFC Championship game.  It’s a game I will always remember; hell, it’s a game every Eagles fan who was around will always remember.  It isn’t so much the game itself though, it is what the game meant to this city.

It’s crazy how different the sports psyche of this town was in 2004 than it is now.  We all know the history.  Philadelphia hadn’t seen a championship since ’83 and was in the longest such streak for any city with 4 major sports teams. This was when Philly sports teams were cursed; we couldn’t win.  Even Smarty Jones fell short.  The Eagles were no different.  The Reid-McNabb led Eagles had made the NFC title game in 2001 and lost to the favored Rams.  The next year, the Birds again made it to the conference championship game, but were stunned by the Buccaneers in the last game at Veterans Stadium.  Then in 2003, the Eagles gave us 4th and 26th in the divisional game against the Packers only to lose horribly in the NFC title game against the Panthers at home.

For a franchise that hadn’t been to the Super Bowl in more than 20 years, ending the season one game short in 2002 and 2003 left the entire city in a collective clinical depression.  These losses were devastating.    Remember, this was when the entire city lived and died with the Eagles; it was long before the rediscovered love affair with the Phillies sparked back up.  Philadelphians were invested in the Eagles, and they had perpetually let us down just when we were on the brink of the promised land.

In the offseason prior to the 2004 campaign, Jeremiah Trotter came home and the Eagles added two key free agents in Javon Kearse and a little-known, quiet, role player receiver from Tenneessee Chattanooga.  After a blistering 13-1 start, the Eagles rested their starters for the final two games of the year.  With a bye in the first round and then an easy home win against the Vikings, the Birds again found themselves one win away from the Super Bowl as a home favorite in the NFC Championship Game.  Their opponent would be the Atlanta Falcons.

The game was played Sunday, January 23, 2005…just after a blizzard blew through Philadelphia leaving 2 feet of snow and 17 degree temperatures with brutal 25 mph winds. (Note: The snow was a good omen.  The Eagles won their first championship in 1948 at Shibe Park in a blizzard.  The weather was so bad that fans were given free entry into the game if they brought a shovel and helped clear the field.)  With those conditions, neither team could rely too much on the passing game and if the Eagles were going to finally get to the Super Bowl, they would need to limit Mike Vick’s game-breaking plays.

After winning the toss, the Eagles decided to kick and put their defense on the field first.  Andy Reid was confident in Jim Johnson’s scheme, which clearly focused much more on containing Vick than it did blitzing.  Jevon Kearse and Derrick Burgess played the edges and didn’t let Vick loose.  After forcing a quick three-and-out, the Eagles drove downfield to the Atlanta 29 where they failed on a fake field goal attempt to Chad Lewis and turned the ball over on downs.  After a 34-yard-drive, Atlanta was forced to punt at the Eagles 38 with a chance to really pin the Birds deep.  Swirling winds wreaked havoc on Chris Mohr though, who could only manage an 8-yard punt.  The Birds took advantage with a 70-yard drive that featured a 36-yard run by #36 and ended with a 4-yard TD plunge by Dorsey Levens, who was pushed into the endzone by Jermaine Mayberry.

On the ensuring possession, Atlanta took 9 minutes off the clock driving to the Eagles 2 with a 1st and goal.  With their backs against the wall, Jim Johnson’s bend-but-don’t-break defense came alive. On first down, the Birds stuffed T.J. Duckett for a loss.  On second down, Michael Lewis blitzed and knocked down a Vick pass attempt.  On 3rd and goal from the 4, Vick dropped back to pass, saw nobody open, and took off up the middle towards the end-zone.  That’s when Hollis Thomas made the first big defensive play of the game when he launched himself at Vick and planted him at the line of scrimmage.  A Jay Feely field goal made the score 7-3.

The Eagles answered with a drive of their own that was kept alive by Donovan McNabb.  On a 3rd and 11 at the Eagles 40, McNabb eluded three defenders in the pocket and then fired to Freddie Mitchell for a first down.  Then, a long completion on an underthrown ball to Greg Lewis put the Eagles on the Atlanta 4.  McNabb capped the drive with a TD pass on a play-action to Chad Lewis for a 14-3 lead.

When the Falcons got the ball back with about 5 minutes left in the first half, they got their running game going a bit.  Then Vick completed a long pass to Alge Crumpler at the Eagles 10, who was absolutely annihilated by Brian Dawkins, but somehow held onto the ball.  Warrick Dunn then raced for a TD through the middle to bring the Falcons within 4 points at halftime.

The Eagles opened up the second-half with a 60-yard drive (Westbrook accounted for 48 of those yards) that ended in a David Akers FG to increase the lead to 17-10.  From this point on, the Eagles defense played to perfection.  Burgess and Kearse didn’t allow Vick any freedom and Trotter and co. stopped Dunn from any significant gains.  Vick was sacked a total of 4 times and he lost more yards on those sacks than he gained through scrambling.

After both teams traded punts, the Falcons started on their own 10-yard line with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.  On 1st down, Dawkins picked off Vick and took the ball to the 11-yard line.  However, Atlanta stood strong and forced the Eagles to settle for another David Akers field goal and a 20-10 lead.

The Eagles entered the 4th quarter with a lead in the NFC Championship Game, something they hadn’t done in their previous three appearances.  The defense continued to limit Vick and the Atlanta offence.  Burgess picked up his second sack of the day on an incredible open-field, one-on-one tackle on Vick.  After two straight Falcon drives ended in punts, the Eagles got the ball on their own 35 yard-line 10 football minutes away from the Super Bowl.  Reid and McNabb would orchestrate their best drive of the day.  An 11-play, seven-minute drive ending in another Chad Lewis TD reception put the Eagles up 27-10 with less than 3 and a half minutes remaining.

That deal-sealing touchdown started the party.  The crowd at the Linc didn’t sit down the entire second-half, but it was much nerves than excitement.  That changed when Chad Lewis hauled in that pass.  The crowd erupted in pure, unadulterated elation.  A weight had been lifted off the Eagles and off this city.  Finally.  Chants of “Super Bowl! Super Bowl! Super Bowl!” went on for what seemed like forever.  Grown men hugging and high-fiving and crying and watching the clock count down to 00:00. As I said before, I’ll never forget it.




Leave a comment


Also in The Shibe Vintage Sports History Blog

The Story of The #GoodBatting Collection

September 01, 2017

It's a mindset. It's a feel. It'’s simple. It's based on your WHY. It's filled with purpose and intent. It's intimate. It's individual. It's genuine. It's a complete understanding of YOU. It's confidence. It's clarity. It's controlled. It's repeatable. It's natural. 

Continue Reading

Interview with the Artist: Keni Thomas

August 31, 2017

A couple of years ago, Keni Thomas was recommended to us as an artist, and we're thrilled that he agreed to join the Shibe team. He has designed a string of absolutely terrific shirts for us, everything from Ben Franklin to Wilt Chamberlain.

Continue Reading

Longest Streaks In Eagles History

July 20, 2017

We’re in the heat of the summer and you know what that means… football is right around the corner. In fact, there are only 52 days left until the Eagles kick off their 2017 season at Washington on September 10. Training camp starts next week at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia. The team will […]

Continue Reading

Size Charts

Select your brand and style to read more about how your purchase will fit:

American Needle fitted hats | '47 Brand hats | '47 Brand apparel | Majestic apparel | Majestic jerseys | Red Jacket apparel | Junk Food apparel | Next Level apparel (Shibe Originals)

Use these tips as a general guide when finding your measurements:

 

American Needle Fitted Hats

If you do not know your size, first determine where on your head you want to wear your hat. Usually it is worn about a half-inch to an inch above the eyebrows and/or just above the ears. Have a friend hold the tape measure (cloth, plastic, or download a printable version here) at the point where you want the hat to rest on your head.  Insert the tip of your little finger between the tape and your head.  Record the measurement and find your Fitted Hat size using the chart below.  This should provide you with a comfortable fit.

 

'47 Brand Hats

 

47 Brand Adjustable Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Adjustable Hats Men's 6 7/8 - 7 5/8 55 - 61
Women's 6 5/8 - 7 1/4 53 - 58
Youth 6 5/8 - 7 1/8 53 - 57

 

47 Brand Fitted Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Fitted Hats XX Small 6 1/2 - 6 5/8 52 - 53
X Small 6 3/4 54
Small 6 7/8 - 7 55 - 56
Medium 7 - 7 1/8 56 - 57
Large 7 1/4 58
X Large 7 3/8 - 7 5/8 59 - 61
XX Large 7 5/8 - 7 3/4 61 - 62
XXX Large 7 7/8 63
XXXX Large 8 64
XXXXX Large 8 1/8 65

 

47 Brand Stretch Fit Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Stretch Fit Fitted Hats Youth 6 1/2 - 6 5/8 52 - 53
Small / Medium 6 7/8 - 7 55 - 56
Medium / Large 7 1/8 - 7 3/8 57 - 59
Large / X Large 7 1/2 - 7 5/8 60 - 61
One Size Fits All 7 - 7 1/2 56 - 60

 

47 Brand Knit Hats Size Chart Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Knit Hats Youth 6 1/2 - 6 3/4 52 - 54
One Size Fits All 6 7/8 - 7 1/2 55 - 60

 

'47 Brand Apparel

 

 
47 Brand Men's Size Chart S M L XL XXL
Neck 14"-14.5" 15"-15.5" 16"-16.5" 17"-17.5" 18"-18.5"
Shoulder 21" 22" 23" 24" 25"
Chest 36"-38" 39"-41" 42"-44" 45"-47" 48"-50"
Waist 28"-30" 31"-33" 34"-36" 37"-39" 40"-42"

 

47 Brand Women's Size Chart S M L XL
Size 2-4 6-8 8-10 10-12
Shoulder 14.25" 15.25" 16.25" 17.25"
Bust 32"-34" 35"-36" 37"-38" 39"-42"
Waist 26"-27" 28"-29" 30"-31" 32"-33"

 

 

Majestic apparel

Men's Sizing (measurements in inches)
  S M L XL XXL 3XL 4XL
Chest 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 52-52 54-56 58-60
Waist 28-30 32-34 36-38 40-42 44-46 48-50 52-54
Hip 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 50-52 54-56 58-60
Sleeve 32-33 33-34 34-35 35-36 36-36 1/2 36 1/2-37 37-37 1/2
Neck 14-14 1/2 15-15 1/2 16-16 1/2 17-17 1/2 18-18 1/2 19-19 1/2 20-20 1/2

 

Women's Sizing (measurements in inches)
  XS S M L XL 1X 2X
Size 0-2 4-6 8-10 12-14 16-18 16W-18W 20W-22W
Chest 32-33 34-35 36-37 38-40 41 1/2-43 1/2 43-45 47-49
Waist 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-32 33 1/2-35 1/2 36-38 39-41
Hip 34 1/2-35 1/2 36 1/2-37 1/2 38 1/2-39 1/2 40 1/2-42 1/2 44-46 46-48 49-51
Sleeve 29 1/4 30 30 3/4 31 1/2 32 32 1/2 33

 

Youth Sizing (measurements in inches)
  S M L XL XXL 3XL
Size 6-8 10-12 14-16 18-20 20 22
Chest 24-26 28-30 32-34 36-38    
Waist 21-23 25-27 29-31 33-35 37-39 40-42

 

 

 

Majestic Jerseys

Adult Men's Replica Jersey Sizing  
Jersey Size Small Medium Large X Large XX Large
Neck (diameter of neck) 6.5 6.75 7 7.25 7.5
Chest (underarm to underarm) 20 1/2 22 1/2 24 1/2 26 1/2 28 1/2
Sleeve (back of inside neck to end of middle sleeve) 8 1/2 8 3/4 9 9 1/4 9 1/2

 

Apparel Sizing Tips:

Use these tips as a general guide when finding your measurements:

Chest/Bust: With your arms at your sides, measure around the fullest part of your chest, across shoulder blades and under arms.

Waist: To measure your natural waistline, wrap the tape so it intersects your navel. Keep tape flat, but comfortably loose.

Hips: Stand with your heels together and measure the fullest part of your hips. Make sure the measuring tape is level all the way around your body.

Inseam: Stand up straight, and start the tape measure high in your crotch. Straighten the tape down the inside of your leg to the bottom of your ankle.

 

 

Red Jacket apparel

 

 

Junk Food apparel

 

Next Level apparel (Shibe Originals)

General Size Neck
(in inches)
Chest
(in inches)
Waist
(in inches)
Arm
(in inches)
Small 14-14.5 34-36 28-30 31.5-32
Medium 15-15.5 38-40 32-34 32.5-33
Large 16-16.5 42-44 36-38 33.5-34
X-Large 17-17.5 46-48 40-42 34.5-35
XX-Large 18 – 18.5 50-52 44-46 35.5-36