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Saleem Choudhry - Researcher
Saleem spends his days gathering, interpreting, and disseminating information about the game of pro football. He now shares in his blog some of the more unique stories and facts that he has uncovered while working with the Hall’s vast collection of more than 18 million pages of documents.
Readers to this blog may accuse me of being a Philadelphia Eagles fan. I am not. I am however, totally intrigued by the team's play this season. Sunday's game against the New York Giants was no exception.
The Week 15 battle between the two NFC East rivals had heavy playoff implications as the winner of the game would be in first place in the division. With a 31-10 lead midway in the fourth quarter, the game looked to be well in the Giants hands.
The Eagles, on the other hand, were not finished. In an electrifying fashion, Philly scored 28 point (a franchise record in the final quarter) over a period of 7 minutes, 28 seconds to steal a victory from the Giants. The final touchdown came on a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown by DeSean Jackson as time expired. Incredibly, this was the first time in NFL history that a game was won on a punt return on the final play of the game.
Much has been said of Michael Vick this year, but the same accolades can be heaped towards Jackson as well. In just his third season, Jackson has carved a pretty respectable niche in the history of professional football. He already has a jersey in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's collection when last year he became the first in player in NFL history to score a touchdown of 60-plus-yards in each of the first three games of the season.
With yesterday's game-winning punt return for a TD, Jackson became just the second player in NFL history to score a rushing, receiving and a punt return touchdown in each of his first three seasons. He joins Dick Todd who first accomplished the feat with the Washington Redskins (1939-1941).
Like Jackson, Todd was a key ingredient to his team's performance but possibly more so. While Jackson has played a major role for the Eagles offense and on special teams (he has led the Eagles in receiving yards and punt returns in each of his three seasons), Todd also excelled on defense.
During Todd's eight-year career with the Redskins, which was interrupted by two years of Naval service during World War II (1939-1942, 1945-48), he led the team in scoring once - 1940, punt returns once - 1941, rushing twice -1940, 1946, receiving twice - 1942, 1948, and interceptions twice 1945-46. All the while, he helped lead the Redskins to the NFL championship game in 1940, 1942, and 1945. In the 1942 game, Todd and his Redskins were able to avenge a 73-0 loss to the Chicago Bears in the 1940 game.
Is this a good sign for the Eagles' chances in the playoffs this year? How scary would it be for opposing quarterbacks to see Jackson performing just like Todd in the secondary? We still have two weeks left in the regular season. Anything is possible.