John Goode was in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night, soaking it all in as the Eagles swamped the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 to win the NFC Championship: An Eagle for a season in 1985, Goode watched his son, Najee, and he couldn't help but revel in the moment.
"It was a very proud moment," John Goode said. "When we go out every day and go to work and have a home and try to raise kids to get better every day and make this world a better place, it just seemed like mine went full circle. I heard the crowd sing 'Fly, Eagles, Fly' and it reminded me of 1985, playing at the Vet, and how far the city has come to Lincoln Financial Field and that atmosphere. It was remarkable.
"Najee hadn't yet been born, but his older brother was born, and to see Najee out there, and to hear the crowd, it made me think about so many things. It was an amazing moment."
John Goode was a tight end for the Eagles in that lone season, a bad one in the context of the history of the franchise. A 7-9 team in 1985, the Eagles fired head coach Marion Campbell with one game remaining in the season and replaced him with Fred Bruney for a game. The next year, the Eagles started a new era with Buddy Ryan as the head coach.
By then, Goode's NFL playing days were over. He played for a season in St. Louis with the Cardinals in 1984 (14 receptions) and then the '85 season in Philadelphia. And then it was done.
The memories remain, however. And the lessons Goode taught to his sons were permanent.
"It's so similar," Najee Goode said on Thursday at the NovaCare Complex. "He was drafted by one team (St. Louis) and then came here in his second season. Same with me (Goode was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2012 and joined the Eagles in 2013). It's crazy. It's been cool learning from him about the city when I got here and then embracing Philadelphia. He told me the fans were passionate, how they follow you through thick and thin, and, no matter what, if you are good to the city, it will be good back to you ten-fold."
Goode has been, well, good to the city and to the Eagles. He's bounced around a little bit here as a special teams player and linebacker and this year he's been at his best in the second year of Jim Schwartz's defense. His 200 snaps in the defense this year were the most in his regular-season career. Goode is a key member of Dave Fipp's special teams and adds the ability to play all three linebacker positions.
Goode knew all about the Eagles as a kid, so to be in the midnight green uniform and to be in the Super Bowl is beyond compare.
"After we won on Sunday, I didn't hear him stop singing and rooting at least until he got back on the airplane, on his way back to Cleveland," Najee Goode said. "When I was growing up, my dad's office had Eagles pictures in it and I tried to draw pictures – I loved the Eagles logo – and have fun with it. I saw pictures of him that he displayed. It was pretty neat.
"I've watched film of him playing and I told him I would knock him out if we played. It was really funny to see him playing on film."
John Goode will be in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII expecting to experience thrills and chills and maybe a whole lot more. Can you imagine seeing your son playing in a Super Bowl? The Super Bowl? This Super Bowl?
"It's going to be intense. There will be tingling," John Goode said. "It will be the pinnacle – we're a football family – and for him to be able to reach this goal and knowing all the work that he's put into it, I'm really not surprised. I'm glad that he's with an organization – and what makes it even more special is that it's my organization – that gives him a chance to get to the Super Bowl and contribute along the way.
"I'm just going to be prideful, probably going to shed a few tears, and I'm just going to enjoy the moment. I'm going to try to slow it down so that I can savor every bit of it. It's unbelievable. He is playing for the world championship next Sunday. I can't tell you how excited I am for this."