One of the most exciting things about being a sports fan is discovering a new superstar, someone who makes us savor the game we just watched and crave the next one on the schedule. DeSean Jackson is one of the chosen few who fit that description.
It is hardly a revelation that DeSean Jackson is a special player; he has been a human-highlight reel for almost two full seasons now. But he took the next step Sunday against the Giants. It was quick and it was cocky.
Not only did Jackson account for 250 yards in total offense — leading to two pivotal scores in a 45-38 win — but he did so with a style that was distinctly his own. Is it too soon to say that he’s the most exciting Eagle ever?
The play that will be discussed for years came late in the second quarter, when Jackson collected a punt at his own 28-yard line, calmly took a step back to survey the field, and then exploded down the sideline so fast that the Giants pursuers didn’t have time to react. Not even the great Brian
Westbrook was ever able to move that quickly and decisively in a space that confined.
And then there was the game-winner, with five minutes left in the third quarter, when Jackson blew right past converted cornerback Aaron Ross, deftly snatched an underthrown ball and backpedaled the rest of the 60 yards into the end zone.
Not wanting to squander some valuable airtime, Jackson launched into a spirited rendition of a new dance called “The Jerk.”
What happened next was just as important. When Jackson got to the sideline, he found a jubilant Andy Reid ready to swap belly bumps, something the coach would’ve never dreamed of doing with his last superstar receiver, Terrell Owens. Reid loves Jackson — crazy antics and all. And why not? Is there another player in the NFL who could have made those plays?
If we have learned anything from the painful last couple of seasons for Westbrook, it is to embrace every moment of glory because they are all too fleeting for the greatest of athletes. One false move, one bone-crunching hit, and it all may be over. The difference between a superstar and a solid player is a millisecond, nothing more. And no one can predict when the extraordinary suddenly becomes ordinary.
When I took calls yesterday on my WIP radio show, the fans didn’t want to talk about how much better the Eagles are playing, or about the lousy officiating, or Michael Vick. They just wanted to talk about how great it was to have a player like DeSean Jackson, who can scare opponents the way other superstars have always frightened us.
Yes, there are times when he goes too far, but there’s something more important to consider. The kid can play.
– Angelo Cataldi is a Metro columnist and host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays from 5:30-10 a.m.
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