It is a common occurrence for tragedy to spark success in sports.
The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 were followed by the Yankees run to the World Series. In 2006, Hurricane Katrina was followed by a magical 10-win season by the Saints once the Superdome reopened. Back in 2007, the Virginia Tech Massacre led to an improbable Orange Bowl bid for the Hokies. On an individual level, the death of Brett Favre's father led to one of the greatest single-game passing performances in NFL history.
Now, tragedy looks to inspire the Philadelphia Eagles.
|Photo by: Mel Evans|
The oldest of five, Garrett Reid, 29, was well known and loved around the Eagles locker room. As an assistant to the strength and conditioning coach, he worked intimately with players during training camp.
Reid had a well known battle with drug addiction, but his death was still a shock to all. Although the official cause of death has not been released yet, Andy Reid suggested in a press conference that his son may have relapsed, and that could have caused his sudden death.
Throughout his time with the team, Reid developed relationships with several players. None stronger than the one with quarterback Michael Vick. The two faced similar roads to redemption after being incarcerated at one point in their lives.
"Our entire season will be dedicated to Garrett," Vick said.
For a team that was proclaimed to be a "Dream Team" just a season ago, for a majority of the year, they looked to be a group of highly talented individuals with separate agendas. This tragedy may be the turning point to bring the team together and make them one of the most dangerous teams in the National Football League.
"I would never ask for a rallying cry," Andy Reid said. "That's just not how I operate."
The death of Reid's son wasn't asked for, nor would it be a rallying call, but more along the lines of motivation for this talented Eagles squad.
Throughout the season, the team will wear a 'GR' sticker on their helmets to honor Reid. Not only will that serve as a memorial, but it will serve as the glue to keep the team together this year. During the course of a season, a football team is more than just a team -- they are a family. No doubt this will serve as a reality check and form a chemistry between players that at times were lacking unity last season.
There is nothing more dangerous than a motivated team. I believe the death of Garrett Reid and the subsequent dedication of the season to him will be the factor that will join the Eagles together and make them one of the more dominating teams in the league this year.