September 12, 2017
Could it actually be true? Could it actually be a thing that the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles have their feet firmly planted on the ground of reality?
People aren’t actually running to their windows and yelling E-A-G-L-E-S while on hold as they bid on Super Bowl tickets on the secondary markets while making reservations for Minneapolis in February?
You would think that after traveling to Washington and beating the Redskins on the first Sunday of the season, the expectations would be off the charts. After all, it had been a recent ritual that the Eagles lose to the Redskins, no matter what their record.
Well, the Eagles stashed away that opening game win, and instead of dreams of finally winning a Super Bowl, fans of the Eagles are actually finding problems with the team. You would think there would be a rising chorus of fans singing the praises of the team, but instead, the fan base is basically holding its breath and waiting for further proof.
And further proof is looming this Sunday when the Eagles play at Kansas City where they face Andy Reid’s Chiefs. The Chiefs are fresh off the NFL’s marquee win of opening week when they went up to New England and spanked the defending Super Bowl champions.
The post mortem from the champs through quarterback Tom Brady is that the Pats were still sniffing themselves from their Super Bowl comeback and were not ready to play. Then again, the running display put on by rookie running back Kareem Hunt should have the Eagles worried.
And that is exactly where fans of the Eagles have landed. Instead of the usual inflated reaction, there is a more realistic sit back and wait a bit. Instead of dancing in the streets, there are people rewinding the tape and taking a closer look at what took place in the Washington game and how the team needs to improve.
It’s almost as if the Eagles are a perennial playoff team, and the team’s successes are being measured in terms of how far they will go once in the playoffs, rather than a question of IF they will make the playoffs.
It’s sort of refreshing, but there is also a bit of speculation here that Eagles fans can’t really believe what they are seeing – and they are frightened to buy into the huge upside.
There is no question that the relative long-term feeling about the team is that the Eagles are in great shape for the next several years. No doubt that Carson Wentz is the real deal, and he showed exactly why in the first game of the season when he looked like a combination of Michael Vick and Brett Favre as he escaped a Washington assault to heave a season-opening TD pass on his first test.
It’s hard to believe, but if the entire NFL was suddenly announced as a pool of free agents, Wentz would be the first pick of at least half the ballots, if not more.
Think about it – time is not on the side of Aaron Rodgers, and Brady is trying to pretend being 40-years old is not a big deal. But either guy would make a deal with the Devil to be Wentz’s age with his skill set.
The confusing part for Eagles fans is this very season. The confusing part is trying to figure out if this is going to be a huge jump-start toward a very bright future, or if this season will be a season of growing pains.
In the past, there might have been no hesitation. One win and it was on to the playoffs, and one loss was doomsday. One loss was the one inch of water in which the team would drown, and one win would sail it to January and beyond.
Maybe the fan base of the entire area has been tempered by the Philadelphia 76ers' multi-year process, or the fact that the Flyers and Phillies are selling building blocks one at a time.
Or maybe the typical Eagles fan is just in the process of pinching themselves because this can’t be real.
A franchise quarterback for a generation ... really? Two new wide receivers that can catch the ball ... really? An opening day TD reception by Nelson Agholor ... really? A defense that buries the opposing quarterbacks and wins game one with pressure on the quarterback?
This is the stuff of dreams. This is the stuff that happens in Green Bay and Seattle, in New England and even in Dallas.
But in Philadelphia?
Well, it’s nice everybody is so realistic, but with a quarterback like Wentz, there is no need to pump the brakes too hard. This is going to be a wonderful ride, and despite everybody’s inclination to wait and see what the future might bring. . .
If the Eagles go to Kansas City and win on Sunday, the expectations for THIS season will be through the roof – and we will be back to normal when each week will feel like an entire season.