A Real Bad Trip, Man





GORDONVILLE — What do we all have in common?

Aside from being mere mortals, we all like pizza and we bleed when we are cut by sharp objects.

And if we are normal – or at least semi-normal – and are able to hear, we at least appreciate the music of The Beatles.

And we all have our favorite songs and albums. My Fab Four favorites – despite 50 percent hearing in my left ear – tend to come from the Rubber Soul, Revolver and Magical Mystery Tour albums.

But, top to bottom, I consider their best album to be what is known as The White Album (actual title is The Beatles). A double-album, it includes the likes of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Revolution 1” and “Dear Prudence.”

There are so many others – “Blackbird” and “Mother Nature’s Sun” and “Sexy Sadie” – that I don’t know where to stop myself.

But you can’t argue this point: The White Album is without a dud.

Well, almost.

There is this pesky “song” – lasts 8 minutes and 22 seconds – that comes second to last amid the long and winding sequence of classics. It is called “Revolution 9.”

Not only is “Revolution 9” my least favorite song on my favorite Beatles album, but it is my least favorite Beatles song.

Heck, it might be my least favorite song, period.

Basically, it is a bunch of noise – with the line “number nine, number nine, number nine …” repeated endlessly – that is passed off as an “experimental sound collage” that reveals the influence that Yoko Ono was unfortunately having on John Lennon (even though George Harrison, who penned some of the albums best tunes, was reportedly roped into helping create it).

As forgettable as it may be, “Revolution 9” was kind of stuck in my head at, of all places, a football game last Sunday – about 45 years after it was released.

While the Philadelphia Eagles played as if the turf at Lincoln Financial Field were quicksand and the end zone they were pursuing was protected by a mystical force field, preventing one of the league’s top rated offenses from threatening to score against one of its worst defenses, that irksome phrase began ringing in my ears.

Number Nine.

Number Nine.

Number Nine.

It was like a bad trip, man.

Paul wasn’t dead.

Forget about 6-6-6.

Turn it upside for the real pre-Halloween fright.

The Eagles were, for the ninth straight home game, coming out on the losing end, this time against the rival Dallas Cowboys, 17-3.

And the quarterback, with a chance to be anointed the successor to the throne, was performing like the song “Helter Skelter” was blaring in his helmet instead of the plays from the sideline.

That quarterback, second-year man Nick Foles, happens to wear what number uniform?

You got it.

Number nine.

Number nine.

Number nine.

While it was not fair to deem Foles the face of the franchise based on winning one game in relief and another as a starter against two teams with one win between them, it is not fair to send him packing to the Arena Football League after last Sunday.

Nonetheless, when asked if the Eagles had a worse quarterback performance in a single game, I could only think of one: Pat Ryan.

What was his jersey number during that ill-fated stint of four games, netting a QB rating of 10.3 (for real)?

Not No. 9, but No. 10.

Whether or not you believe in numerology, it is a reminder that it can only get more dismal.

If the Eagles lose again this week, the well-worn “Rocky” movie clips on the big screen might have to give way to the movie “10.”

Instead of piping in all the AC/DC and Rocky soundtrack songs into the Linc, they ought to use “Revolution 9”until further notice.

It would be odd, but you reap what you sow.

The repeated “number nine” would be reminder of the torture the Eagles are putting their fans through with this ongoing home-field disadvantage, and also encouragement that a “Revolution” ought to be in order.

I am a season-ticket holder. I am not a big fan of a lot of the fans, to be brutally honest. Too many seem more interested in drinking in the parking lot than thinking about the game on the field, but I almost can condone cheers drowned by beers.

It has been more than a calendar year since the Eagles prevailed at home. It is the worst example of at-home futility in professional sports, and the worst in the team’s rather sordid history since the 1930s.

Even the Temple football team, which also calls the Linc home, has won a few times there during this span. And the Owls are not exactly the Crimson Tide of Alabama.

How and why is this happening?

A fluke? A byproduct of a team that was terrible last year and has only played three games at home this season, one which hangs perilously in the balance between contending and pretending with nine – yes, there is that number again – games left of a 16-outing slate?

We could get into the Xs and Os, but it is about a suddenly lost culture where coming into town to play a Philadelphia team – particularly the Eagles – once carried some level of mystique.

The feeling is gone and we just can’t seem to get it back.

It might be time to look for rational reasons, beyond the paranormal.

Philadelphia is a sports town, for all its teams. The Phillies are beloved, the Flyers have a cult following and the Sixers get what they give whenever they decide to be good. Even the Union, the soccer team, is developing a loyal base.

But it’s all about the Eagles, first and foremost.

This is a football town.

Sociologists can research the reasons, pointing to Philly’s blue-collar proletariat work ethic, but it can’t be that complicated.

It goes back to 1960 – the year The Beatles started making their mark in Hamburg, Germany.

That is when the Eagles last won the NFL title.

To put it in perspective, that’s more than half a decade before the league champion was crowned after the Super Bowl. It was just called “the championship game” and the players wore crew cuts.

It has been 53 years, and one look around The Linc on game day reveals beer-guzzlers who were not even born in 1960 and might have a hard time naming five Beatles songs, let alone five stars from the last team to put a meaningful banner up in the rafters.

The Phillies are professional franchise with the most losses in the history of American sport, but this is a “what have you done for me lately?” society. They won the World Series in 2008 and also 1980. The Sixers won in recent memory, going all the way in 1983. The Flyers captured the Stanley Cup twice, in 1974 and 1975 and have been in the finals six times since.

The Eagles? Two Super Bowl losses, and a whole lot of ups and downs, since 1960.

That puts them under the microscope; in a fish bowl.

In other cities, where the desperation does not run as deep, a team can play loose in front of a crowd that is not clapping and cheering with clenched fists and teeth.

And during this nine-game swoon at home, the common denominator is a roster with a talent level that needs that added pressure like former coach Andy Reid – whose current 7-0 record in Kansas City includes a win here –  needs another doughnut.

It could be said that the Linc lacks something that Veterans Stadium had, in terms of intimidation, and that might be true. But the saccharine environment can turn sweet in a hurry with a win against another rival, the one-win New York Giants, this Sunday.

Or even more bitter with another loss.

What song will come to mind?

“Ten” by Jewel?

“Ten Little Indians,” the nursery rhyme, or the versions by the Yardbirds or Nilsson?

“Ten Thousand Fists,” by the Disturbed? Probably a little too disturbing.

“Ten With A Two,” by Kenny Chesney? Uh, no. Sore subject in that stadium.

“Ten Times Crazier,” by Blake Shelton, keeping it country, without touching a nerve?

Sounds like we got a winner, assuming we get another loser.

This column originally appeared at http://www.phillyphanatics.com

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