"I've never been a part of anything like it," Vick said. "When the first quarter was over, I thought we was about to go into halftime. It was unreal. The only thing I could tell myself was, 'It's going to be a long season.'"
Perhaps the most remarkable accomplishment by the Eagles: They managed to upstage Griffin. The game was played eight months to the day since the Redskins quarterback had major knee surgery, and his return was the culmination of a dedicated, high-profile rehab that included a public clash with Washington coach Mike Shanahan that barely put a dent in the fans' fervent adoration for their franchise player.
Griffin was the undisputed star of the show — at least until kickoff. He arrived at the stadium wearing an autographed T-shirt from Les Dauphins de Nice, the American football team in France that welcomed him for a workout during his honeymoon in July. When he threw warm-up passes at the 45-yard line, three camera crews were at the 40. He led a team huddle at the 10, just 5 yards from the spot where his knee gave out in January. He was greeted by baseball legend Tommy Lasorda on the sideline, then made a spectacle of an entrance when the starting lineups were announced, carrying the Redskins flag all the way to the end zone for an extended kneel-down for all to see.
That's the sort of attention that Vick once commanded. And, when the game began, Vick was the better quarterback. At 33, he's 10 years older than Griffin and had to fight for his starting job in training camp, but he's still got game. It would have been a bigger rout if Vick's lateral on first-and-goal at the 4 hadn't been tipped by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and returned 75 yards for a Redskins touchdown.