In case you've been wondering why Ricky Watters has been in the news so much recently, it's because he'll be the Eagles' honorary captain this Sunday, and will address the fans before the game against the Lions. Of course, Watters isn't often remembered in Philadelphia for his 5,112 yards from scrimmage and 32 touchdowns in three seasons with the Birds. You know where this is going...
Watters has been making the media rounds all week, and everybody seems to have their take on his infamous "For who? For what?" line. That was his response in 1995 when a reporter why he short-armed a Randall Cunningham pass with a defender bearing down on him.
It was his first game as an Eagle.
Watters went on 94WIP on Wednesday and admitted he wished he hadn't said it (he apologized at the time, too), that he loves the city and its fans. Obviously that's probably true, otherwise why bother coming back at all, even if he is a Harrisburg native? Sadly though, For who, For what is all most people seem to think about, or talk about most of the time anyway.
It was only three years, but Watters actually had an impressive stint in Philly -- on the field. Coming off a Super Bowl championship with San Francisco, Watters joined the Birds as a free agent, and actually went to the Pro Bowl his first two seasons here. '96 was his most impressive campaign, leading the NFL in carries (353) and yards from scrimmage (1,855) while establishing career highs in rushing yards (1,411) and touchdowns (13).
The Eagles still had some tough defenses at the time, but Watters was
the offense. Philadelphia posted 10-6 records in '95 and '96, went to
the playoffs both seasons, even won a game one year. Rodney Peete and Ty
Detmer were the quarterbacks.
Watters eclipsed 1,100 yards on the ground and 400 yards receiving every year he was here before moving on to finish out his career in Seattle. He had three more 1,200-yard seasons before retiring in 2001 with over 10,000 rushing yards and 78 rushing touchdowns, those totals still good for 20th and 19th all-time over 10 years later. Watters also ranks 20th with 14,891 yards from scrimmage, and 26th with 91 total touchdowns.
Even though For who, For what is what people will always think of first, most fans realize he was a good back -- the numbers suggest he was borderline Hall-of-Fame good. So remember what Ricky said, but just remember how well he played the game, too.