8 Days Until Kickoff
31 August 2019 Uncategorized
In a little over a week, the Eagles start a new chapter with the kickoff to the 2019 season. Paul McFadden may not have been the most prolific player wear the number 8 for the Eagles, but he was one that left a lasting impression. McFadden was drafted in the 12th round of the 1984 NFL Draft, 312th overall. He was a long shot to make an impact in the NFL. The Eagles had won only eight games over the last two seasons, but that didn’t stop McFadden from making the best of his opportunity. The barefoot kicker was close to automatic his rookie year while he set the Eagles single season scoring record. His 30 FG’s earned him an invitation to the Pro Bowl. He was also named Co-MVP of the Eagles.
One of my lasting memories of McFadden is the one kick in that rookie season he didn’t make. The Eagles faced a 10-0 undefeated Miami Dolphins team. The Eagles were huge underdogs, which was typical for that time period, but it was an opportunity for them to shock the NFL. The first 10 games of his rookie year, after burying 19 of his first 22 FG’s, McFadden was the most reliable player on the Eagles. After Ron Jaworski fired a 38-yard TD pass to Melvin Hoover with under 2 mins left, the Eagles could push the Dolphins to overtime. I remember vividly to this day, jumping up and down on the couch as an 8-year-old yearning for something special to happen for the Eagles. Philadelphia would be the one to knock off what seemed to be an unstoppable Dolphins team. There were playoff games in the mid-80’s. The NFL would see that afternoon. Philadelphia wasn’t just another name on the schedule.
Football is a great teacher. As the Eagles lined up for the extra point, I mentally prepared for overtime. The ball never made it through the yellow uprights. Doug Betters blocked it. Paul McFadden missed the automatic extra point. I have not taken an extra point for granted since.
That play is not what defined Paul McFadden’s career with the Eagles. His response did. A situation that could have crushed a rookie kickers confidence didn’t make the former 12th round pick flinch. McFadden nailed 6 FG’s over the next two games and finished the season strong. He followed up his rookie season with another Pro Bowl year in 1985. He was voted Co-MVP of the Eagles by his teammates for the second straight season. Not bad for a barefoot 12th round kicker. McFadden played only 3 years with the Eagles before being cut by Buddy Ryan in 1987.
2017 was a dream come true for Eagles’ fans. 2018 was a setback. A season that was taken away from us in a way we didn’t expect. Just like the barefoot kicker from Youngstown State, we are back and ready to respond. It’s not the setback, it’s all about the comeback. The 2019 Carson Wentz Revenge Tour. It all starts in 8 days #FlyEaglesFly.