Philadelphia Eagles: The (Almost) Legend of Josh McCown

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

When the 40-year old Philadelphia Eagles quarterback made his NFL postseason debut on Sunday, the stars were aligned for Josh McCown to go down as a folklore-type hero. Except he didn’t.

The wounds are nowhere near healing yet, for either the fans or most of the players, when it comes to this Philadelphia Eagles season.

But there is a different kind of pain surrounding backup quarterback/elderly man Josh McCown. He clearly gave every last ounce of what he had on Sunday in relief of Carson Wentz, even as he himself clearly was not 100 percent. In throwing for 174 yards and even managing to run for 23 more, McCown did everything you could reasonably expect him to do in the situation.

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Except, you know, he didn’t win the game.

As such, he’ll be reduced to nothing more than a footnote in team history, assuming that he calls it a career or at least doesn’t return to the Eagles.

We should all applaud him for his work this year, acting as a type of player/coach all while being one play away from taking the helm. Thankfully, Carson Wentz would stay in one piece all season until he got Juggernauted by some clown. Then, all of a sudden, the spotlight was squarely on McCown.

It would have been nice if McCown had had a full complement of weapons to throw to, but we all knew what he had to deal with. Still, even with this adversity, he nearly pulled it off. Key word “nearly”.

Because he didn’t, he won’t be able to occupy the same space as Jeff Garcia, whose 2006 heroics will forever be burned into the minds of every Eagles fan. And he couldn’t even climb to the same heights as Freddie Mitchell. Yes, “Fred Ex” was mostly a bum, but we’ll always have 4th and 26.

McCown probably could have at least made it into Herm Edwards territory, but the Eagles weren’t lobbing horseshoes or hand grenades on Sunday, so his effort alone wasn’t enough to get him there.

Sadly, the losing result won’t end in free beers for life in Philly for McCown. Don’t worry, Matt Stairs and Joe Blanton, all of those beers will keep going to you. And if there are any left over, other Philly sports folk heroes can partake as well.

In the annals of one-season, one-game or even one-play wonders that have populated Philadelphia sports throughout the years, McCown came close to etching his name in the book. Sadly, he’ll end up as just another example of the cruelty of sports and the thin margin between being a hero and being an afterthought.

On Sunday, for Josh McCown, the mind was willing but the flesh was weak. You could tell how much it meant to him. But he didn’t blow his chance or let any of us down. These things just happen, and there can’t always be a storybook ending.

Next. Eagles: McCown went out swinging. dark

Still, thank you, Josh McCown. You gave it everything you had. It was far from perfect, but the stuff of legend rarely is. Missed it by that much.