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Eagles Players Share Funny Lack of Memory of Franchise’s Super Bowl Under Andy Reid

The Chiefs head coach led Philadelphia to Super Bowl XXXIX, but 18 years later, many players have no memory of the era that makes Sunday’s reunion so notable.

The Andy Reid Bowl is approaching. We are nearing the end of a two-week hype cycle, with interview after interview in which the Chiefs’ coach says nice things about the city where he patrolled the sideline for 14 years. The reunion is bringing back a flood of memories for Eagles lovers all over the Philadelphia area, looking back at Reid’s run of six division titles, five trips to the NFC championship game and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX.

But there is one notable group of people from Philly who doesn’t share all those memories: the Eagles’ current players. Of course not! That Super Bowl was 18 years ago, and half of the roster was 7 or younger at the time.

Warning: If you saw the Birds play at Franklin Field, came of age during the Buddy Ryan era or went to an R-rated movie on the Friday night before the Pickle Juice Game, prepare to feel very old.

Now let’s be clear: We are not trying to shame anyone here. First, obviously, your age is not your fault. The first Super Bowl I can remember watching is SB XXVIII in January 1994. I was 6 years old at the time and went to sleep at halftime with the Bills leading the Cowboys 13–6. If conference championship Sunday had gone the other way and we were all covering Bengals-Niners here in Glendale, Ariz., I would not have had much to contribute to the oral history of their previous Super Bowl matchups.

And second, not everyone watches football when they’re in elementary school. I think a lot of times, sports-obsessives assume players are just like them—that they learned how to read by memorizing the backs of trading cards or spent every weekend wearing out NFL Films VHS tapes or DVDs. Some of them were like that. But a lot of players were not, and it’s a totally normal way to grow up.

But I thought it would be fun to roam around a Sheraton ballroom and see what, if anything, the current members of the team might remember about Feb. 6, 2005.

Some questions and answers are lightly edited for space and clarity. Years refer to the actual date of the Super Bowl, not the season those games correspond to.

K’Von Wallace, safety, 25 (born July 25, 1997):

Sports Illustrated: Do you have any memories of the Super Bowl in 2005, when it was Andy Reid with the Eagles against the Patriots?

K’von Wallace: Not much. Hold on. Who was that quarterback?

SI: [Donovan] McNabb against [Tom] Brady.

KW: I don’t remember watching that one. I remember watching the Cardinals play the Steelers [2009]. I remember that game. That was one of the first Super Bowls that I can really, really remember.

Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb stand on the sidelines, McNabb with his helmet off and a coat on

McNabb (right) went 30–51 against the Patriots, throwing for 357 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Andre Dillard, tackle, 27 (born Oct. 3, 1995):

SI: Do you have any memories of watching the Super Bowl in 2005?

Andre Dillard: Oh gosh, I don’t. I think in 2005 I didn’t even care about football. I had to have been like 10. I didn’t have any dreams of playing football back then.

SI: Do you know the first Super Bowl you remember watching as a kid?

AD: The first one I watched? It was Ray Lewis’s last game. I forget, what year was that?

SI: I think that was 2013, when they beat the Niners.

AD: Yeah, that’s the first one that I truly watched, like all the way through. I remember that. I thought that was pretty sick. Trying to think of when I started playing. I was 14, so probably like 2010 or something like that.

Grant Calcaterra, tight end, 24 (born Dec. 4, 1998):

SI: What’s the first Super Bowl you remember watching as a kid?

Grant Calcaterra: Oh man, it has to be either Steelers-Cardinals, or Giants-Patriots with the helmet catch [2008].

SI: So the reason I’m asking, both of those are after Andy Reid coaching the Eagles against the Patriots. I figure you were too young for that one?

GC: Oh yeah, no I was pretty young for that.

SI: How much do you know about that game? Anything you’ve heard through the years?

GC: Not a whole lot [and then the familiar laughter several players gave, as if I had blown their cover].

Jake Elliott, kicker, 28 (born Jan. 21, 1995):

SI: I’m just asking a bunch of your teammates, do you have any memories of watching the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl when Andy Reid was coaching the team in 2005?

Jake Elliott: Oh man. I don’t even know if I watched that game, to be honest with you.

SI: What’s the first Super Bowl you remember watching?

JE: Just being from Chicago, probably the Bears-Colts back in … I want to say 2005? That’s the only one I have distinct memories of.

SI: I think that was two years after Eagles-Patriots.

JE: Oh yeah, that makes sense [Laughs.].

SI: How much do you know about that game, having now played in Philly a while, have you heard anything about it?

JE: Not much! Not much at all. I don’t look back at that stuff at all, unfortunately [Laughs.]. Sorry about that.

SI: No, I don’t care; it’s a good answer. I didn’t know if you picked anything up, just living there, absorbing people talking about it.

JE: No, I don’t; I don’t go back too far in the past.

Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle, 36 (born Jan. 6, 1987):

SI: I’m just asking a bunch of guys on the team, do you have any memories of watching Super Bowl XXXIX, Andy Reid coaching the Eagles against the Patriots?

Ndamukong Suh: No. I was in high school and was not really paying attention to football like that.

SI: I was counting on you, because a lot of your teammates are too young.

NS: Yeah, nah, nah. The only thing I could maybe think I was doing then—one of my best friends, he would always have a Super Bowl party at his house, and we’d always hang out the night before, spend the night and watch the game.

SI: But no memories of the game itself?

NS: No memories of the game at all.

SI: What’s the first Super Bowl you remember watching?

NS: Man, I couldn’t even tell you. I love playing football; I don’t like watching it. Especially, it’s hard for me to watch from a spectator standpoint. I watch from an analytical standpoint, and understanding positions and what guys are doing, and whatnot. So usually it’s just noise in the background.

Darius Slay, cornerback, 32 (born Jan. 1, 1991):

SI: Do you have any memories of watching the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl in 2005?

Darius Slay: Oh hell naw, I don’t remember that. Not really. No memories of that one. I just remember, that’s the one when [Terrell Owens] broke his leg?

SI: Yeah.

DS: That’s the only thing I remember. T.O. having that leg broke or something like that and going for like 120. Went crazy. Other than that, nah, I don’t remember too much about that.

Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens runs with the ball as New England Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison approaches to try to tackle him

After breaking his leg and tearing a ligament in his ankle seven weeks prior, Owens was not yet cleared to play when he stepped onto the field for Super Bowl XXXIX.

SI: Do you remember the first Super Bowl you watched as a kid?

DS: Hell nah. I’m too old now.

SI: But you were watching? You watched every year?

DS: I was watching it, though.

SI: Because you were like 13, 14 when that game happened.

DS: Yeah, I watched it, yeah.

[Note: Darius, give yourself some credit! T.O. had 122 yards. Your memory is pretty good!]

Dallas Goedert, tight end, 28 (born Jan. 3, 1995):

SI: Do you have any memory of watching the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl in ’05.

Dallas Goedert: Ooh. I thought you were gonna say 2017, and I remember that one like it was yesterday. The ’05 Super Bowl. You said it was against the Patriots?

SI: Yeah, that was when Andy was coaching the Eagles.

DG: I remember a lot of Patriots Super Bowls. I know they won. Let me try to think. [long pause] The quarterback was Donovan McNabb [he says fairly confidently, but then looks at me for confirmation before continuing].

SI: But you watched the game, you figure?

DG: Yeah, I figure I watched the game.

SI: What’s the first Super Bowl you remember watching?

DG: It’s probably just plays that [stand out] more. The Santonio Holmes catch was obviously iconic. I don’t even know what year that was, but that would probably be the beginning of it, around then. Obviously you go back, and it’s hard to remember who won the Super Bowl last year and the year before. But yeah, it was cool for me. Growing up, my buddy had a birthday right around then, so we would always celebrate his birthday on Super Bowl Sunday. His dad was a teacher, so we would go to the school and watch the first half there, and then usually by the second half we were in the gym, playing basketball or riding on scooters, stuff like that.

SI: So you think you probably did that in 2005?

DG: I would say 2005, yep, yep. I watched the first half, maybe, and then we were playing our own games. As a kid, I can’t say I was ever the biggest fan of watching the games. I just wanted to play ’em. That’s probably what I did more during the Super Bowls. Like, oh they’re playing football? I should be playing football.

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) celebrates scoring a touchdown

Goedert has played in 12 games so far this season, with three touchdowns and 702 yards on 55 receptions.

Reed Blankenship, safety, 23 (born March 2, 1999):

SI: A question for you, since you’re one of the youngest guys on the team: What’s the first Super Bowl you remember watching as a kid?

Reed Blankenship: Oh man, I didn’t even watch a lot of NFL when I was a kid. Man. Ohh! I think it was the Steelers vs. the Cardinals. And I remember Sports Illustrated [I had told him where I work], the front cover was, I forgot what his name was.

SI: Santonio Holmes.

RB: Yes! And I remember going to school the next day talking about it and stuff. I don’t know why that stands out to me.

SI: That’s funny, a few guys have brought that play up. The reason I ask is because I’m asking guys if they remember the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl when Andy Reid was coaching the Eagles.

RB: Obviously not [Laughs.].

SI: Yeah, you were like 4 or 5 years old.

RB: Yeah, I was like, ah whatever.

SI: Do you know anything about that game? Have you heard about it?

RB: I mean I’ve heard a lot about it I guess, because of Andy. The Philly Special, I guess?

SI: [I cock my head to the side a bit as we both realize what just happened] No that’s the—

RB: That’s the other one! Oh my gosh! That’s crazy.

SI: Yeah, you’ve got like 13 years in between them.

RB: Then that’s how much I know.

SI: This was the T.O. game when he came back from injury? Do you know about this?

RB: Ooooh. O.K. Later on, I learned about it. But honestly, no, that’s crazy.

It’s funny, players have been answering questions about the Super Bowl for 10 days, and some of them talk about being remembered forever for what happens in this one game. And for a lot of people it’s true, which makes the stakes feel pretty high.

But there are also plenty of kids who are too young to care, or who will spend Sunday night playing video games at a sleepover or running around a high school gym on a scooter. And 15-plus years from now there will be many, many people who have absolutely no idea what went down that February 2023 night in State Farm Stadium.

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