It was one of the greatest moments in Philadelphia sports history. It involved the most unlikely of heroes and forever changed the dynamic between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. It was 4th and 26.
On January 11, 2004, Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell caught undoubtedly the biggest pass he has ever been thrown. In the most unlikely of scenarios, the Eagles were down by 3 points and found themselves with a 4th and 26 in their own zone. If they fail to convert it, Brett Favre’s Green Bay Packers would move on to the divisional round of the playoffs. However, as we all know, McNabb hit Mitchell over the middle of the field which sparked a game-tying drive and eventually an Eagles win in overtime.
Many Eagles fans had started filing out of Lincoln Financial field in disgust. I’m sure even a few people turned off their televisions, knowing that the Eagles had just wasted another good playoff opportunity. Instead, the fate of one play changed the outlook of the 2004 playoffs. Philadelphia not only beat the Packers, but went on to win their next two games en route to a Super Bowl berth.
With the Packers coming back to town for the playoffs, they will do so with a chip on their shoulders. Although most of the players were not on the roster in 2004, their city and faithful certainly have not gotten over the tragedy. It sits deep in the core of every Packer fan’s heart and they are traveling to Philadelphia with the hope of gaining a spark of their own. They are two of the toughest teams in the NFC and it is the most highly anticipated wild card game this weekend. Let’s watch as history takes its course, hopefully with another positive memory for Eagles fans.
Freddie Mitchell lives the moment to this day…and certainly is not bashful about it