Today is the day when the Eagles do the unthinkable and beat the New England Patriots for their first Super Bowl win and their first championship in 57 years.
To be able to write those words was nearly unfathomable five months ago when the season began. Most people figured the Eagles would be in the 8-9 win range with a few people thinking 10 wins and only crazy people going higher than that. Behold:
To think, at the start of the year we didn't even have an edge in Skintangibles pic.twitter.com/B6IUriKsE3— Zoo With Roy (@zoowithroy) January 23, 2018
Crazy doesn't begin to explain it. Here's an Eagles team that was expected to lose to an eventual 7-9 Redskins team in week 1. They were gifted with injuries to nine-time Pro Bowl tackle and future Hall of Famer Jason Peters, along with Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, and one other guy whose name I can't remember. Oh, that's right, they also lost MVP-candidate Carson Wentz in Week 14. They were also lead by a second year head coach who former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi said in September "might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL."
That team, that wonderful underdog squad, is now one win away from doing what no other Eagles team has done. One more win before a parade the likes of which this city, and perhaps this country, has never seen.
A win tomorrow would mean so much to so many people, but what could it mean for the Phillies?
If you are reading this blog, you no doubt noticed John Middleton two weeks ago in Jeffrey Lurie's box during the NFC Championship game. Don't think for a second that Middleton will be satisfied with Lurie being the only owner who gets to throw a party. This will fuel him to give this city another red and white parade.
The 2017 Eagles did not win thanks to overwhelming talent. They won as a team all season long and didn't even blink when they handed the keys from the mighty Carson Wentz to Nick Foles, a man who nearly gave football up entirely.
The 2004 Eagles had huge names like Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook, Terell Owens, and Donovan McNabb, but they weren't the type of cohesive unit playing in Minneapolis today. As cliche as it sounds, the 2017 Eagles are far more than the sum of their parts.
The Phillies brought in a manager in Gabe Kapler who surely wants to build the same type of team chemistry as Doug Pederson has generated across the street. The 2018 Phillies feature a group of nobodies, at least at this juncture in their careers, but if they can play together like the Eagles, there is more than enough talent to take them far.
Sometimes teams don't follow the designed plan and surprise everyone by contending before they are supposed to. The Eagles had just traded away everything to capture Carson Wentz just a couple years after Chip Kelly emptied the cupboard. They weren't supposed to win anything this year. If Doug Peterson won just two more games than he lost, especially considering the injuries the team sustained, he would have earned a solid pat on the back. His record this season is 15-3.
It's not much different for the team that will gather together in a couple weeks in Clearwater. If Kapler can win 82 games this year, he will have earned his paycheck. But if the Eagles can win 13 games, why can't the Phils win 95?
There is no greater motivational tool than disrespect. The Eagles carried their underdog status through two difficult playoff games so far and they will use it again today. I'd be willing to bet that every single championship team had someone claim at some point that everyone counted them out and they fought against all the disbelievers. Even teams that are expected to win say that. Find a group like this Eagles team who really are disrespected? That chip on their shoulder works like magic.
Nobody thinks the Phillies will do any damage this season, so why not bring the Eagles' underdog mantra to the Phils this year?
Confidence is so important to any professional athlete. A quarterback who completes nine straight passes, a point guard with eight straight baskets, a right-winger with goals in four straight games, a shortstop with a 15-game hitting streak. Good luck being on the opposing end of one of those scenarios because that player feels invincible.
This city has been an underdog for their entire existence, but maybe the stranglehold of the city of Boston on the sports world can shift five hours to the south. The Sixers have the makings of a perennial contender and the Phillies have a young team with a strong farm system and boatloads of cash to spend. There is reason to be optimistic and soon there might be reason to be cocky.
It all starts with a Super Bowl victory today.comments powered by Disqus