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Today in Philly Sports History: “For Who? For What?” 1995

Sep 3, 2009, 9:00 AM EDT

Watters Despite being a five-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champ with the 49ers, and in the minds of some a fringe Hall-of-Famer, for many, Ricky Watters will forever be remembered for this moment of ignominy. On September 3rd, 1995, in his very first game as an Eagle, Watters short-armed a pass from QB Randall Cunningham to avoid getting plastered by a Tampa Bay defender. His self-preservation tactics drew boos from the crowd, but the real blunder came after the game, as Watters was asked about the incident in the press conference. “I’m not going to trip up there and get knocked out,” offered Watters by way of explanation, before asking the four-word rhetorical question that would drew the ire of millions of Green-Bleeders: “For who? For what?”

Watters, oft considered to be something of a loudmouth, endeared himself to few with his me-first remarks, especially as he had not had time yet to build up any sort of credibility with Eagles fans. Coach Ray Rhodes voiced his displeasure at Watters’ half-stepping, saying “You’ve got to make the plays that are presented to you. If you’ve got to take a lick, you’ve gotta take a lick.” Former Eagles running back Keith Byars tut-tutted Watters’s behavior as well. “He doesn’t know anything about
Philadelphia,” explained Byars. “
He just made himself a living hell for a long time.” The Inquirer even had a catchy name for the whole mess: “Wattersgate.”

Luckily for Ricky, he was able to turn things around somewhat with a couple highly productive years in Philly, making appearances in both the playoffs and the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons. But so unlikely is it that he will ever shake the stigma of “For Who, For What? that Watters has even come to embrace it, even using the phrase as the title for his 2002 autobiography.

  1. Bone - Nov 7, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Smart guy. Too many others are paying for their “taking a lick”, several years after putting down the pigskin. If self preservation isn’t on the mind of ALL players, they better wise up an place it there.

    #GETSMART!

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