5 memorable Brian Dawkins moments ahead of his Celebrity Golf Tournament

NFL: OCT 21 Panthers at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 21: Philadelphia Eagles great Brian Dawkins poses with his daughter prior to the National Football League game between the Carolina Panthers and the Philadelphia Eagles on October 21, 2018 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

Pro Football Hall of Famer and Philadelphia Eagles legend Brian Dawkins will host the Driving Impact Celebrity Golf Tournament at Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, PA on Wednesday. Donovan McNabb, Jeremiah Trotter, Brandon Graham, and Brian Westbrook highlight a star-studded guest list.

The Impact Foundation helps “disadvantaged young people, families, and communities, while also promoting spiritual, cerebral, and physical wellness” based on the values and knowledge Dawkins has gained during his life experience.

Dawkins was the emotional leader of the Eagles during his 13-year span with the team. Philadelphia fans always loved him because he poured his heart and soul onto the football field with the same intensity they have for their team. 

When most people remember Dawkins, they think of the punishing hits and the unwavering intensity that made him one of the most feared defenders in the NFL when he was on the field. They think of the “Weapon X” mantra and the brutal punishment he inflicted on Michael Vick and so many other opponents.

They also remember that Dawkins revealed the strength of his spirituality to the world and how it impacted his role as a leader of men on and off the football field. His invaluable position with the Eagles was never more obvious than in five memorable moments in some of the biggest victories of an entire era for the franchise.

Dawkins Forces Two Fumbles in 44-6 Rout Against Cowboys

The day will go down in the folklore of Eagles history forever. Unfathomable circumstances kept Philadelphia’s playoff hopes alive in the early wave of games in Week 17 of the 2008 season. The Dallas Cowboys choked at Lincoln Financial Field in dramatic fashion, and the stars aligned for the Eagles to earn an unlikely playoff berth.

Dawkins led the swarming Philadelphia defense that remarkably forced turnovers on five straight Dallas possessions in the second and third quarters. He finished the game with five tackles, one sack, and two forced fumbles. Chris Clemons picked up the first fumble and returned it 73 yards for the score. Joselio Hanson picked up the second and returned it 96 yards for the score.

The miracle ride wasn’t over.

Manning, Giants Stunned at the Meadowlands

The New York Giants improbably defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII after the 2007 season. They rode the championship momentum to an 11-1 start in 2008 before a disappointing loss to the Eagles in Week 14. They limped to a 12-4 finish but still captured the top seed in the NFC.

The Eagles took the momentum of a late-season surge and the 44-6 whitewashing against Dallas and defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Round. They set themselves up for a ride up the New Jersey Turnpike to face Eli Manning and the Giants at the Meadowlands.

The Eagles put together one of the complete efforts of the Andy Reid era. Manning repeatedly failed to gain any momentum against the stifling Eagles defense. His frustrated and puzzled look on the sidelines after a late interception demonstrated his inability to solve a division rival that afternoon and throughout most of his career. 

Dawkins finished with 10 tackles in a 23-11 victory in the most overlooked game of one of the wildest seasons in franchise history.

Unfortunately, he would only play one more game in midnight green for the rest of his career. 

Making History Against the Houston Texans

Dawkins made his second Pro Bowl and received his first All-Pro selection in 2001 when the Eagles established themselves in the top tier of the NFL by reaching the NFC Championship Game against the high-flying St. Louis Rams. They entered Week 4 of the 2002 season giving one of the highest point spreads in NFL history to the expansion Houston Texans.

They solidified their status with the NFL’s elite with a 35-17 beatdown at Veterans Stadium, and Dawkins stole the show. He became the first player in NFL history with an interception, sack, reception, and touchdown all in one game. His most memorable highlight came when he turned a fake punt into a 57-yard touchdown reception.

The Sunday afternoon cakewalk was one of many during Andy Reid’s tenure as head coach when the Eagles spent a prolonged period as the class of the NFC and a team that expected to win every single week.

Dawkins Intercepts Favre After 4th & 26

The famous 4th & 26 conversion on the pass from McNabb to Freddie Mitchell set the Eagles up for a game-tying field goal against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round after the 2003 season. However, the miracle play (and questionable ball spot) would’ve become irrelevant without a key defensive stop in overtime.

McNabb and the offense went three-and-out on their first possession of the extra session. Brett Favre took over and made the most ill-advised pass of his Hall of Fame career. Dawkins intercepted the lollipop in the Philadelphia secondary without a Packers receiver in sight. He returned it 35 yards to the Green Bay 34. David Akers capped off the emotional 20-17 win the following possession.

Big Hit Sets Tone in NFC Championship Game

It was the signature play of the signature game of his tenure in Philadelphia. 

Dawkins threw one of the most punishing hits of his career against Alge Crumpler of the Atlanta Falcons during the NFC Championship Game after the 2004 season. The hit sent a message that the Eagles would not be denied from a Super Bowl appearance for a fourth straight time.

Crumpler, listed with a 52-pound advantage on the Eagles free safety, did hold on for the catch after the hit. However, Dawkins made an even more consequential play with a third-quarter interception that set up an Akers field goal that helped the Eagles pull away en route to a 27-10 win. 

He loudly proclaimed, “Hallelujah” from the podium at Lincoln Financial Field during the glorious celebration as the weight had been lifted.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire