Beware The Wounded Eagle

one thing, I'd rather be in my position with my team right now than theirs." 

The whole question of revenge as motivation at this level is a fascinating one. If your high school loses to its arch rival, that will add anticipation to next year's meeting. Even college men may be moved to gain retribution for past indignities (see Texas vs. Oklahoma, roughly 2000-05). 

But NFL players are at least chronological grown-ups, sometimes men with families and portfolios and endorsements. Does revenge play a factor at this level? 

"Obviously you don't want to lose," says veteran all-star guard Marco Rivera, whose sentiments reflect most of his teammates' you can find, "and when you lose to a division opponent, especially the way they lost to us, it does something. In the back of your mind, you're thinking, 'Those guys, we've got to get them back. They embarrassed us a little bit and we want to do everything possible to embarrass them.' 

"I don't know if it's revenge. All I know is they're going to work a little harder this week. They might look at a little extra tape. They might study each of us just a little more, just to try and get the edge." 

Veteran receiver Keyshawn Johnson takes it a step further. 

"I don't think right now (revenge) is that big a deal," he offers. "I think that doesn't start happening until you get into the playoff atmosphere. Then you might say, 'Okay, they beat us in the regular season, we'll see them again in the playoffs.' That happened the year I went to the Super Bowl (with Tampa Bay). Philadelphia beat us pretty good up there during the regular season, and one of the things we said going off the field was 'We WILL see y'all again.' Which we did, and we made sure we wouldn't lose that football game." 

But this isn't that. This isn't even Revenge on Dallas, not for the Eagles. For their fans, maybe, but those poor souls are a bit different, and that's another movie. 

After Monday night, the Eagles still have to play Washington again, the Giants twice, Seattle and at St. Louis. The Cowboys can lose this game and move on. The Eagles may not have that luxury. 

The Cowboys will face a wounded tiger Monday night, alright, but it's not about revenge for the Eagles. It's about survival. Dallas' job is to figure that out in advance and be ready for what they're about to face. 

Think Cujo.                                 

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