4th and 26

4th and 26 was an American football play that occurred on Sunday, January 11, 2004, during the National Football League (NFL)'s 2003–04 playoffs.[2][3][4][5][6] The play occurred during the fourth quarter of a divisional playoff game between the visiting Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The NFC East champion and top-seeded Eagles were coming off an opening round bye while the fourth-seeded, NFC North champion Packers were the visiting team, coming off an overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks.

4th and 26
Philly (45)
Lincoln Financial Field, the site of the game
Green Bay Packers (4)
(10–6)
Philadelphia Eagles (1)
(12–4)
17 20
Head coach:
Mike Sherman
Head coach:
Andy Reid
1234OT Total
GB 140030 17
PHI 070103 20
DateJanuary 11, 2004
StadiumLincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
RefereeEd Hochuli
Attendance67,707[1]
TV in the United States
NetworkFox
AnnouncersJoe Buck, Troy Aikman and Cris Collinsworth

Game summary

Midway through the first quarter, Packers linebacker Nick Barnett recovered a fumble from Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on the Eagles 40-yard line, and Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Robert Ferguson on the next play. James Thrash returned the ensuing kickoff 36 yards to the 44-yard line. Then McNabb made up for his mistake with a 41-yard run to the Packers 15. But the drive stalled at the 14-yard line and ended with no points when David Akers missed a 30-yard field goal attempt. After the missed field goal, Ahman Green rushed three times for 31 yards before Favre threw his second touchdown pass to Ferguson, giving the Packers a 14–0 lead with 1:16 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, McNabb led the Eagles on a scoring drive, completing five consecutive passes for 77 yards, including a 45-yard pass to Todd Pinkston. On the last play, his 7-yard touchdown pass to Duce Staley cut it to 14–7. Green Bay took the kickoff and drove 67 yards to the Eagles 1-yard line, featuring a 33-yard run by Green, but on fourth down, Green tripped on guard Mike Wahle's leg and was tackled for no gain. The Packers turned the ball over on downs.

Late in the third quarter, the Eagles drove 88 yards in 8 plays to tie the game, despite two 10-yard penalties against them on the drive. McNabb was responsible for all of the yards on the drive, rushing for 37 yards and completing four passes for 72, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Pinkston that tied the game at 14 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Later, Antonio Chatman's 10-yard punt return gave the Packers great field position on their own 49-yard line. On the next play, Favre threw a 44-yard completion to Javon Walker. Philadelphia's defense kept Green Bay out of the end zone, but Ryan Longwell kicked a 21-yard field goal to give them a 17–14 lead.

The play

The drive started with a 22-yard run by Duce Staley, but on the next play, McNabb threw for an incomplete pass. Subsequently, on second down the Eagles were penalized 5 yards for a false start. On the ensuing play, a sack pushed the Eagles back to their own 26 yard line, and on third down McNabb threw another incompletion. The Eagles, faced with a fourth down and 26 yards, needed to convert for a first down, with only 1:12 remaining and no timeouts available. The pass completed to Freddie Mitchell was completed for 28 yards (2 more than was needed for the 1st down)

On fourth down, the play (74 Double Go) called for a slant route to wide receiver Freddie Mitchell.[5] McNabb threw a perfect strike to Mitchell deep into the Packers' secondary. The Packers' coverage, a Cover 2 package, broke down and was sharply criticized by broadcaster Cris Collinsworth. Linebacker Nick Barnett, who was responsible for shallow coverage of Mitchell, decided to bite on the tight end. Inexplicably, Darren Sharper, who was partially responsible for deep coverage of Mitchell, played past the first down marker positioning himself for an interception rather than preventing any catch in front of the marker. The only player that was close to making a play, Packers' safety Bhawoh Jue, was playing the sidelines as is customary in Cover 2 defense and was too late to prevent a catch or first down. Mitchell completed a leaping reception and was brought down at the Packers 46, giving the Eagles a first down.[7] Broadcaster Joe Buck criticized the spot of the ball, as it appeared from the broadcast that Mitchell barely crossed the line to gain but the officials gave him some extra yards.

The play set up David Akers' 37-yard field goal attempt after McNabb ran for another first down. The field goal was good, and the game went into overtime, when Eagles safety Brian Dawkins was able to intercept an errant Brett Favre pass and return it 35 yards, setting up another Akers field goal try. The 31-yard kick was good, giving the Eagles a dramatic 20–17 victory and sent them to their third straight NFC Championship Game, which they lost to the Carolina Panthers.

Officials

See also

References

  1. ^ "Green Bay Packers vs Philadelphia Eagles–National Football League Game Summary" (PDF). National Football League. March 7, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Anderson, Dave (January 16, 2004). "Fourth-and-26 Has No Meaning Yet for Eagles". The New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Reid, Ron (January 15, 2004). "'Fourth and 26' joins some famous names in big-play annals". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  4. ^ Brookover, Bob (December 2, 2004). "Fourth and 26 Forever: The Eagles will never forget Freddie Mitchell's catch. They just wish it led to something bigger". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Frank (January 7, 2011). "Recalling Eagles' Fourth and 26". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  6. ^ Frank, Reuben (January 5, 2011). "Donovan to FredEx: Fourth-and-26 revisited". Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia. Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  7. ^ "fantasyinfocentral.com". Archived from the original on 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2006-08-20.

External links

2003 Green Bay Packers season

The 2003 Green Bay Packers season was the franchise's 85th season overall and their 83rd in the National Football League.

This season finished with an overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round of the 2004 playoffs, after the Packers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round in overtime off an interception return for a touchdown by Al Harris.

The season may be most notable for Brett Favre's Monday night performance against the Oakland Raiders the night after his father had died.

The Packers won the division on the last play of the season. Needing a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss to clinch the division, the Packers routed the Denver Broncos 31-3, while the Vikings lost 18-17 on a last second touchdown by the 3-12 Arizona Cardinals.

2003 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 2003 Philadelphia Eagles season was their 71st in the league. They matched their previous season's record, going 12–4, however, they were again upset in the NFC Championship Game. The team made the playoffs for the fourth straight year, won its third straight NFC East division title, and had the NFC's top record for the second straight season.

After losing their final game in Veterans Stadium to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 NFC Championship Game, Philadelphia looked to turn the page with the opening of brand-new Lincoln Financial Field, but the stadium got an inauspicious start when the Eagles dropped their first two games there, including a season-opening loss to Tampa Bay. A crushing loss to the New England Patriots left the Eagles 0–2 and expected to compete for the Super Bowl, at a precarious 2–3, and it looked to be 2–4 before Brian Westbrook returned a punt for a touchdown to shock the New York Giants in the closing minutes of their Week 7 contest. The play turned the Eagles' season around and they won their next nine games, finishing with a 12–4 record. In the playoffs, the Eagles needed a miracle conversion on 4th and 26 to defeat the Green Bay Packers, but the magic had run out by the next week and the team dropped a 14–3 decision to the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field in the NFC Championship Game.

A preseason holdout by running back Duce Staley resulted in a running back by committee situation by Staley, Westbrook, and Correll Buckhalter. The trio rushed for a combined 1,613 yards and 20 touchdowns and became known as "The Three-Headed Monster." The rushing attack, which also benefited from 355 rushing yard and three touchdowns by quarterback Donovan McNabb, carried the offense, which featured a weak receiving corps that did not record a touchdown until Week 9. There were calls early in the season to replace McNabb with backup A. J. Feeley, but McNabb would find his rhythm and enjoy a great season. The defense weathered early injuries to defensive backs Bobby Taylor and Brian Dawkins to eventually surrender the seventh-fewest points in the league. Cornerback Troy Vincent, in his final season as an Eagle, was elected to the Pro Bowl. The weakness in the defense would be in stopping the run, something the team struggled with even at the height of their nine-game winning streak.

2003–04 NFL playoffs

The National Football League playoffs for the 2003 season began on January 3, 2004. The postseason tournament concluded with the New England Patriots defeating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, 32–29, on February 1, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Beginning with the 2003–04 season, the NFL changed the selection procedures regarding officials for playoff games. The league suspended the prior practice of assembling "all-star" officiating crews of highly rated individual officials. Instead, the league began using the entire crews that were highest rated during the regular season, preserving familiarity and cohesiveness in the officiating. The "all-star" crews were later resumed, beginning with the 2005–06 Conference Championships.

Antonio Freeman

Antonio Michael Freeman (born May 27, 1972) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL), most notably for the Green Bay Packers. He attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Tech.

Freddie Mitchell

Freddie Lee Mitchell Jr. (born November 28, 1978) is a former American football wide receiver who played for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons. He was chosen as a consensus All-American in 2000 while playing college football for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, and he spent four seasons as a member of the Eagles, culminating in an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX following the 2004 NFL season.

A four-sport athlete at Kathleen High School, Mitchell committed to UCLA to play football for the Bruins. In his collegiate debut in 1998, he had four receptions for 108 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown from Cade McNown, as well as a 34-yard touchdown pass to Brian Poli-Dixon. Mitchell broke his femur the following week against Houston and missed most of the season. Limited by a knee cartilage injury throughout the 1999 season, he finished with 38 receptions for 533 yards. As a junior in 2000, Mitchell was a Fred Biletnikoff Award finalist and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors at the conclusion of the season. In the 2000 Sun Bowl, he had nine catches for a Sun Bowl record of 180 yards. He declared for the 2001 NFL Draft following the 2000 season and finished his college career with 77 catches for 1,494 yards and nine touchdowns.

Mitchell was drafted by the Eagles with the 25th selection in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He began the 2001 season as the fourth wide receiver, but surpassed Na Brown to become the team's slot receiver in week eight. Mitchell became the fourth receiver again after the Eagles signed Antonio Freeman before the 2002 season and caught only twelve passes the entire year. Mitchell became the slot receiver once again during the 2003 season, after Freeman left. In the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers, with the Eagles facing a 4th and 26 situation, he caught a 28-yard pass from Donovan McNabb to help lead the team to a win in overtime. He finished the 2003 season with a career-high 35 catches for 498 yards and two touchdowns.

The presence of Terrell Owens in 2004 led to limited opportunities for Mitchell to catch passes and he showed his frustration on and off the field. When Owens went down with an ankle injury towards the end of the season, Mitchell replaced him as the starter and had a two-touchdown performance in the Divisional Playoff Game against the Minnesota Vikings. After the game, Mitchell said, "I just want to thank my hands for being so great." In the week prior to Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots, he created controversy by offending members of the Patriots' secondary, including Rodney Harrison. He caught one pass for 11 yards in the Super Bowl and was released by the Eagles on May 6, 2005.

Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame was the first hall of fame built to honor a single professional American football team. William L. Brault, a Green Bay restaurateur and Packers fan, founded the Hall of Fame in 1966. According to Brault, he got the idea after visitors to Green Bay would repeatedly ask about the Packers' storied history. Sensing opportunity, Brault went to Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, suggesting a "Hall of Fame" should be made to educate tourists about the Packers and their history. Lombardi gave Brault his approval, and according to Brault, as he left, Lombardi called out to him, "Don't screw it up!"

The "Hall" started off as a series of exhibits displayed in the concourse of the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, although it was not a permanent residence, as the exhibits had to be removed each autumn to make room for the Green Bay Bobcats hockey team, which played its home games at the Arena. In 1967, the Packer Hall of Fame Association, a separate corporate entity from the team, was founded and annual induction banquets were subsequently launched in 1970. The Hall did not become a permanent site until 1976 when its new home, an addition to the Brown County Veterans Arena, was formally dedicated on April 3, 1976, by President Gerald R. Ford. Outside of the Hall of Fame was a 'Receiver Statue' that was dedicated to the invention of the Forward Pass.

Over the next 26 years, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame encountered many expansions and renovations. In 2003, renovations to Lambeau Field provided a new home within the new Lambeau Field Atrium for the Hall. Packers legends Bart Starr and Ron Wolf rededicated the Hall on September 4, 2003. The Hall contains a vast array of Packers memorabilia, a re-creation of Vince Lombardi's office, plaques representing each of the inductees and the Lombardi trophies from Green Bay's four Super Bowl wins. As of 2017, the Packers Hall of Fame has inducted 159 people, 24 of whom have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 2018 inductees were offensive tackle Mark Tauscher and kicker Ryan Longwell.

Green Bay Packers cheerleaders

Several Green Bay Packers cheerleading squads have performed in Green Bay Packers' history. The Packers became one of the first professional football teams to have a cheerleading squad, having first used cheerleaders in 1931. The squad performed for 57 years under three separate names. In 1988, it was decided that the team would cease having a professional squad cheer for them. Since 1988, the team uses collegiate squads in a limited role to cheer during home games.

Green Bay Packers records

This article details statistics relating to the Green Bay Packers.

Lincoln Financial Field

Lincoln Financial Field is an American football stadium located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. It serves as the home stadium of the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL) and the Temple Owls football team of Temple University. It is located in South Philadelphia on Pattison Avenue between 11th and South Darien streets, also alongside I-95 as part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. It has a seating capacity of 69,176. Many locals refer to the stadium simply as "The Linc".

The stadium opened on August 3, 2003 after two years of construction that began on May 7, 2001, replacing Veterans Stadium. While total seating capacity is similar to that of "The Vet", the new stadium contains double the number of luxury and wheelchair-accessible seats, along with more modern services. The field's construction included several light emitting diode (LED) video displays, as well as more than 624 feet (190 m) of LED ribbon boards.Naming rights were sold in June 2002 to the Lincoln Financial Group, for a sum of $139.6 million over 21 years. Together, the City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania contributed approximately $188 million to the stadium construction. Additional construction funding was raised from the sale of Stadium Builder's Licenses to Eagles season ticket holders.

The Army–Navy football game is frequently played at the stadium due to Philadelphia being located halfway between both service academies, the stadium being able to house the large crowds in attendance, and the historic nature of the city. Temple University's Division I college football team also plays their home games at Lincoln Financial Field, paying the Eagles $1 million a year to do so. The Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer have played exhibition games here against high-profile international clubs when their stadium Talen Energy Stadium does not provide adequate seating. The stadium also plays host to several soccer games each year. It has also played host to the NCAA lacrosse national championship three times, in 2005, 2006, and 2013 respectively.

In late spring 2013, the Eagles announced that there would be some major upgrades to Lincoln Financial Field over the next two years. The total project estimate was valued at over $125 million. The upgrades included seating expansion, two new HD video boards, upgraded amenities, WiFi, and two new connecting bridges for upper levels. These upgrades were decided upon after research from season ticket holders, advisory boards, and fan focus groups. The majority of these changes, including WiFi (which would accommodate 45,000 users and have coverage over the entire stadium), were completed by the 2013 home opener. The upgraded sound systems and video boards were finished for the 2014 season.

List of Green Bay Packers stadiums

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Since their establishment as a professional football team in 1919, the Packers have played home games in eight stadiums. Their first home was Hagemeister Park, where they played from 1919 to 1922, including their first two seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Hagemeister Park was a park owned by the Hagemeister Brewery. During games ropes were set-up around the field and attendees either walked up or parked their cars nearby. After the first season, a small grandstand was built and the field was fenced off. Green Bay East High School was built at the location of Hagemeister Park in 1922, which forced the Packers to move to Bellevue Park, a small minor league baseball stadium that seated about 5,000. They only played for two seasons at Bellevue Park before moving to City Stadium in 1925. Although City Stadium was the Packers' official home field, in 1933 they began to play some of their home games in Milwaukee to attract more fans and revenue. After hosting one game at Borchert Field in 1933, the Packers played two or three home games each year in Milwaukee, at Wisconsin State Fair Park from 1934 to 1951 and at Marquette Stadium in 1952. The games were moved to Milwaukee County Stadium after it opened in 1953 and continued through 1994, after which the Packers moved back to Green Bay permanently.As of 2018, the current home of the Green Bay Packers is Lambeau Field, an 81,435 seating capacity stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin. By the 1950s, City Stadium was seen by the NFL as too small and outdated to host an NFL team. After threats of forcing the team to move to Milwaukee, the City of Green Bay built New City Stadium, which was funded by a voter-approved bond issue, in 1957. In April 1956, Green Bay voters overwhelmingly approved the bond issue to finance the new stadium. After the Packers founder Curly Lambeau died in 1965, the stadium was renamed to Lambeau Field in his honor. Its original capacity was 32,500 seats, although it was continually expanded from 1961 to 1995 to a capacity of 60,890 seats. The stadium was farther renovated from 2001 to 2003 to increase capacity to 72,515, while also updating various aspects of the stadium. Over 7,000 more seats were added to the south endzone in 2013 and the Lambeau Field Atrium was expanded in 2015. These renovations increased the stadium's capacity to 81,435, making it the third largest football stadium in America. Lambeau Field has been continuously ranked as one of the best stadiums in the NFL NFL. As of 2018, it is also the oldest continually operating NFL stadium, with the Packers having completed their 61st season. Only the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field have longer active home-field tenures in American professional sports.

Magnolia Bowl

The Magnolia Bowl is the LSU–Ole Miss football rivalry. It is an American college football rivalry game played annually by the LSU Tigers football team of Louisiana State University (LSU) and the Ole Miss Rebels football team of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). The teams compete for the Magnolia Bowl Trophy. The Tigers and the Rebels first met in 1894, and have been regular opponents in Southeastern Conference (SEC), meeting annually since 1945. The rivalry was at its height during the 1950s and 1960s, when both teams were highly ranked and during which time both teams claimed a national championship. The rivalry died down from the 1970s to the 1990s, owing to Ole Miss not returning to conference or national prominence since the 1970s and because LSU has seen new rivalries emerge when the SEC split into two divisions in 1992, most notably Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, and Florida. Even though the rivalry has not attracted the same national attention in recent years, it still stirs up passion in both Oxford and Baton Rouge.In 2008, the student bodies of both schools elected to christen the yearly contest the "Magnolia Bowl", the magnolia flower being the state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi, and award a trophy to the winner. Ole Miss defeated LSU 31–13 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to become the first winner of the new trophy.

It is the second most played rivalry for both teams. The 2011 edition in Oxford was the 100th meeting between the two schools. It was also the most lopsided game in series history, as top-ranked LSU defeated Ole Miss and coach Houston Nutt 52–3. In many cases, wins have come in streaks with the longest being 8, (LSU: 1928–37). The next longest win streak is 6, a total reached by both Ole Miss and LSU. The Tigers won from 2002 to 2007, while the Rebels were able to defeat LSU from 1952 to 1957. LSU leads the series 61-40–4.

Packers sweep

The Packers sweep, also known as the Lombardi sweep, is an American football play popularized by Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. The Packers sweep is based on the sweep, a football play that involves a back taking a handoff and running parallel to the line of scrimmage before turning upfield behind lead blockers. The play became noteworthy due to its extensive use by the Packers in the 1960s, when the team won five National Football League (NFL) Championships, as well as the first two Super Bowls. Lombardi used the play as the foundation on which the rest of the team's offensive game plan was built. The dominance of the play, as well as the sustained success of Lombardi's teams in the 1960s, solidified the Packers sweep's reputation as one of the most famous football plays in history.

Rockwood Lodge

Rockwood Lodge was the training facility of the Green Bay Packers from 1946 through 1949. Originally built in 1937 as a retreat for a local Norbertine Order, the lodge was purchased by Packers coach and general manager Curly Lambeau in 1943 and then heavily renovated to serve as the Packers training facility, making it the first self-contained training facility in pro football history. Although the facility was state-of-the-art at the time, many members of the Packers franchise and local fans complained of its large cost, distance from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and its poor practice field. The lodge burned down in 1950, with the likely cause being faulty electrical wiring. The Packers received $75,000 in insurance money from the fire, which would be used to help reestablish the Packers long term financial security. Lambeau resigned from the Packers just a week after the fire. The Rockwood Lodge site would go on to be purchased by Brown County, Wisconsin and developed into a public park.

Super Bowl XXXVIII

Super Bowl XXXVIII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Carolina Panthers and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2003 season. The Patriots defeated the Panthers by a score of 32–29. The game was played at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 1, 2004. At the time, this was the most watched Super Bowl ever with 144.4 million viewers.The Panthers were making their first ever Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–5 regular season record. They also made it the second straight year that a team from the NFC South division made the Super Bowl, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning Super Bowl XXXVII. The Patriots were seeking their second Super Bowl title in three years after posting a 14–2 record.

NFL fans and sports writers widely consider this game one of the most well-played and thrilling Super Bowls; Sports Illustrated writer Peter King hailed it as the "Greatest Super Bowl of all time." Although neither team could score in the first and third quarters, they ended up with a combined total of 868 yards and 61 points. The game was scoreless for a Super Bowl record 26:55 before the two teams combined for 24 points prior to halftime. The clubs then combined for a Super Bowl record 37 points in the fourth quarter. The contest was finally decided when the Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri's 41-yard field goal was made with four seconds left. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time in his career.

The game is also known for its controversial halftime show in which Janet Jackson's breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a second, in what was later referred to as a "wardrobe malfunction". Along with the rest of the halftime show, it led to an immediate crackdown by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and widespread debate on perceived indecency in broadcasting.

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