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Anticipating Roar Of A Home Opener

Posted Sep 3, 2014

I can still hear the deafening sound of the fans from the playoff game in January. The echoes rattle around Lincoln Financial Field to this day, waiting to be freed for full throttle for the 2014 season opener on Sunday ...

I can still hear the deafening sound of the fans from the playoff game in January. The echoes rattle around Lincoln Financial Field to this day, waiting to be freed for full throttle for the 2014 season opener on Sunday.

It was an awesome environment for the Wild Card playoff game. Eagles fans welcomed the return to the postseason, and the energy level at Lincoln Financial Field was unleashed in a euphoric manner.

We've waited so long to get to this point, and now it's only days away: At a revitalized Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, the Eagles host Jacksonville and more than 69,000 hungry fans will devour every morsel of the afternoon.

"It's going to be a great atmosphere, probably the best of the year," said cornerback Brandon Boykin. "It's a new season. We're back and we have high expectations. The stadium is going to be packed and it's going to be loud, and we have to feed off of that intensity early."

The Eagles reversed the tables last season at FedEx Field, rolling the Redskins 33-27 in a game that wasn't nearly that close. Early dominance silenced the Redskins faithful and the Eagles opened the season the right way.

It was a game that, in the big picture, helped define a season. Under first-year NFL head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles went out and proved that everything he preached to them from the time he took over the job came true.

"Last year we came out and we played really well against the Redskins. It definitely made us think that maybe we've got something special here," said wide receiver Riley Cooper. "We had good practices and we saw was Chip was installing and then we went out there and it all came together. You're thinking, 'It doesn't just work in college. It can work in the league.' Everyone kind of knew that, but then we played our first game in the regular season and it kind of proved it even more.

"Maybe it allowed everyone to, I don't know how to say it, but maybe everyone bought in just a little bit more or believed just a little bit more. We won that game and had some ups and downs after that, but pulled it all together in the second half of the season."

Sunday marks the fifth time the Eagles open their season at Lincoln Financial Field. They are 2-2, with the highs of beating the New York Giants in 2004 -- the Terrell Owens debut, and a high-flying performance from a team on the road to the Super Bowl -- and smashing St. Louis in 2008 when three wide receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark in yards in a 38-3 victory -- and the lows of the loss in 2003 in the stadium-opening defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay and the franchise-changing game in 2010 when Green Bay KO'd quarterback Kevin Kolb, who gave way to Michael Vick at the position.

Both times the Eagles won at Lincoln Financial Field to open the season the team went to the NFC Championship Game, so there's that positive omen to consider.

"It's going to be a lot of fun, a great atmosphere," said linebacker Connor Barwin. "But when it comes down to it, we have to focus and play our best football. I know that everybody is excited. We are, too. The best way to keep that going is to win against a good football team."

"It's our first home game and all of the fans are super excited, but I just want to go out there and fire on all cylinders and have everyone on the same page," said Cooper. "We want to play well and build off of that."

Good plan. Play well. Win the opener, and have a city -- and the fans around the world -- explode as the much-anticipated season gets off on the right foot for everyone.

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