There’s no denying that Desean Jackson was one of the most explosive players in the NFL during the 21st century. Whether it’s on offense as a dynamic pass catcher or on special teams as a returner, D-Jax was a playmaker. But, as Eagles’ fans should already know, Jackson made his greatest impact during his time in midnight green.
Jackson was an Eagle from 2008 to 2013 before falling victim to Chip Kelly’s roster purge. He made a name for himself as the Eagles’ top receiving threat, surpassing 1000 receiving yards three times during his time in Philadelphia. When he was cut, the impact was immediately felt. Without Jackson, the Eagles’ receiver core was left with Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, and Zach Ertz. The group held its own, but really missed the explosiveness that left with D-Jax. After that first season without Jackson, the receiving core really went downhill, boasting the top two receivers of Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, with, at least in his first few years, the unreliable hands of Nelson Agholor as well.
Basically, Jackson’s role was instrumental in the success of the Philly offense. One of the most memorable plays during his time in Philly came in a Monday night matchup versus the Washington Redskins when Michael Vick threw a dime first play of the game for an 88-yard touchdown to Jackson. Plays like this were really regular occurrences for him. That explosiveness, I’ll say it again, was missed after he was cut.
Jackson’s Influence on Me
Honestly, there aren’t many other points I can write about with D-Jax. Eagles’ fans know how good the guy was in Philly, so I don’t need to talk too much more about that. Instead, I want to talk about how Jackson influenced me, and more so how he helped me to become an Eagles’ fan.
It all started one December afternoon during the third grade; my friend and I were hanging out in my living room watching a football game. I didn’t know much about the NFL at the time, so the only team I recognized was the Philadelphia Eagles. Paired with that was the fact that my uncle was an Eagles’ fan, so I pretty quickly decided to root for the Eagles. But I still wasn’t a fan then, I actually considered myself a fan of my local team, the Washington Redskins, but I really wasn’t a fan of them, either. So my friend and I watched, but very quickly, the game started to get out of hand. Eventually, the game ended up sitting at 31-10 with 8:17 remaining.
Miracle at The Meadowlands
If you don’t know which game I was watching by now, you should probably question whether you’re an Eagles’ fan or not. With 8:17 left, down by three scores, the Eagles rallied late and miraculously tied the game up. Then, as if the game wasn’t crazy enough, the greatest football moment I’ve ever personally witnessed happened. With: 12 left, the Eagles sent their punt return team out and realistically take the game to overtime. When the punter mistakenly punted it directly at Desean Jackson. D-Jax muffed it, picked the ball back up, danced through the entire Giant’s punt team. He scored the walk-off, game-winning touchdown.
In case anyone hasn’t figured it yet, this was the Miracle at the New Meadowlands. And it just so happened to be the first Eagles’ game I ever watched. There’s no denying that this was the game which started my passion for Philly. I hadn’t thought about rooting for my family’s hometown team before that game, and it really sparked an interest in both the NFL and Eagles’ football. And, really, I have Desean Jackson to thank for much of that. That punt return is still my favorite play ever and changed my life forever.