Thursday, July 22, 2004

A Bill W. Moment?  Jon Last may actually be ready for help.
My name is Jonathan and I'm a Philly fan. In 1995, the Philadelphia Eagles made what was then the biggest free-agent signing in sports, acquiring star running back Ricky Watters for $6.9 million per year. In his first game as an Eagle, Watters found his new team losing in the fourth quarter to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quarterback Randall Cunningham (I once went trick-or-treating at his house) threw a pass to him over the middle, and as the ball neared, Watters saw defensive backs fast approaching. He put his hands up and, instead of catching the ball, batted it down.

After the game reporters asked Watters why he'd refused to catch the pass. He explained that the Eagles were probably going to lose and he saw no reason to take a hit in the middle of the field. "For who?" Watters asked defiantly. "For what?"

This, says Last, is emblematic of professional sports in Philadelphia.

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