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Booker Blog: A Stunning Atmosphere


One of the first things I noticed about the anticipation around Philadelphia for this week's opener is how much like a college atmosphere it is, just more spread out. You get the sense that the game's important to everybody, not just the players and the coaches, but the town. You get this idea before you come into the pros that you're going to have fickle fans. I think people get the wrong impression. They take Philly fans the wrong way.

Take last season, for example. I don't think Philly was having a bad season, but the fact of the matter is they weren't having a Philly-like season. But when I came in with Miami, the stadium was packed. Period. Anytime you come to a place like this, the fans are looking forward to opening day just as much, if not more, than we are. That's how it is in college. Everybody bleeds the school colors. That's a rarity in the league.

Speaking of college, I'm still looking forward to college football season, and Florida State, especially. I can't really say I'm looking forward to the opener, since they're not playing much of anybody. I just want the Seminoles to go out there and have the success that Florida State is accustomed to having. I know it's been a while.

I saw that Joe Paterno tied Bobby Bowden's record for wins this past weekend. In that situation, the loser is going to be whoever dies first. And I sincerely mean that. Both of those guys are not retiring until their lives are on the line. And that's just what it comes down to. They're not battling each other – they both love what they do. The only way one is going to surpass the other is if the other one physically or mentality just cannot do it. The only thing after that? Like I said, dead. And I think if you ask them, they'd probably give you the same answer. If you walk into Bobby's office, he'll still be watching tape, just like he's been doing all those years. There's something that can be learned from that – anytime you get a person that age that still loves what he does, that's special.

The 'Noles might have a shot, with the ACC looking down. Now, it's Week 1, and it's not a sprint, but a marathon. But in college, every game counts. I was definitely pulling for Clemson, as I was talking to Brian Dawkins about this morning. I'm obviously for Florida State, but I'll also always go for the conference my team is in. Hopefully the whole ACC can pick it up.

On the topic of Florida State, an old friend has come to nest with us here. It crossed my mind when I saw that Willie Reid got released, that it'd be so cool to have another guy I loved hanging with at Florida State. I actually first found out the Eagles had picked him up when I was in the training room, the Jacuzzi, and I saw him waving and putting his hands up. He probably jumped on a plane as soon as he found out, probably 24 hours before I did. Wow. The first thing I thought was that we are more dangerous now. Whether he's on the practice squad or the active roster, he'll make us better.

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