The Packers play the Eagles today in Philadelphia in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs. (The Packers feature two Bob Toledo-era Bruins, Spencer Havner and Brandon Chillar -- I don't think there are any Bruins playing for Philly. Troy Aikman is calling the game.)
The Packers playing in Philadelphia recalls the same match-up which took place on January 11, 2004. That game, like "The Catch" and "The Drive," is known by a single phrase: 4th and 26. Late in the game, the Eagles trailed 17-14 and faced a 4th and 26 deep in their own territory. Here's what happened:
The Eagles would tie the game in regulation and win in overtime.
Earlier this week, Philadelphia Sports Daily caught up with Freddie and the always quotable wide receiver didn't let me down:
I actually had to go tell the coaches that I was wide open and to throw me the ball. The coaches literally had to talk into Donovan’s headset and tell him I was wide open and to throw it to me.
Donovan looked at me in the huddle and said, “Ready?” And I said, “Dude, I’ve been ready the whole game.”
I started reading the defense as soon as I got to the line of scrimmage. For most guys, it takes a lot of years to read defenses like that.
The name of the play was a 2 Jet Double Go. What it does is sends Pinkston and Thrash on “Go” routes and what I do, as the Sultan of Slot, is I read the middle. I had to take a certain angle that most young receivers wouldn’t have taken. Any other angle and it would have been a bum play. I was the master of finding holes, and I knew right where the hole would be. It was money.
First of all Donovan’s pass was behind me and it was wobbly, but I had to take advantage of the opportunity that was presented to me. Right when I caught the pill, I kind of knew I had the yardage right away. I looked at the sticks and to see where I was at and I knew I got it. I felt like Michael Jordan hitting a last-second shot or Tiger Woods sinking a 50-foot putt.
There's a lot more if you read the link. As usual, Freddie's quote lasts longer than his actual NFL career. Freddie was and is many things -- but modest isn't one of them.
I really miss Freddie Mitchell. None of his UCLA teams were great teams, but man, were they fun to watch. He was also an incredible college player, whose NFL career was hampered by one of the nastiest broken legs anyone ever witnessed. (Mitchell busted his leg Theisman-style in a game UCLA played at Houston. He managed to come back and play great for UCLA, but his speed was never the same and his pro career was up and down -- mostly down. In case you didn't know, Freddie also played outfield for UCLA's baseball team.) Like I said, we weren't great during the Mitchell years, but Bob Toledo's razzle-dazzle offense (in which Mitchell threw a few touchdown passes on gadgets) was thrilling to witness.