February 01, 2023
The Eagles are about to play the biggest game of their lives, Nick Sirianni is about to coach the biggest game of his life, and it will be the last time the 2022 squad ever takes the field together.
It's the Super Bowl, they know what's on the line, but they know the process that got them there too. No reason to break from it now. Stay with it.
"It's gonna go back to the same thing we kinda started the playoffs with," Sirianni said Tuesday down at the NovaCare Complex. "It is the next game and don't try to make too much of it as far as – we understand the stakes, everybody understands the stakes – but our job is to literally look at the day of where we are right now and take the steps that we need to take today. That's not gonna change."
The season has been an arduous mountain to climb, and there are only two weeks and the Kansas City Chiefs separating the Eagles from the top, where a second-ever Lombardi trophy awaits.
But all year, they've avoided looking ahead or making any assumptions. They made the climb bit by bit and day by day, sticking to a message preached by players and coaches since before Week 1 against Detroit: Put in the work to go 1-0 each day so you can go 1-0 for the week.
That mindset has carried the Eagles to an NFL-best 14-3 record, an NFC East title, and now an NFC Championship following playoff pummelings of the upstart Giants and then the defensive powerhouse 49ers, and though things will inevitably be different when they make the trip over to Arizona next week, Sirianni said they'll be sticking to their routine as best they can.
That and staying in the moment as much as they can.
"Everything else is just be as in the moment as possible and not think about the magnitude of the game," the second-year coach said. "Because it is, it's just the next opportunity for us to get better, for each other, for us to get better as individuals, and for us to go out and play for each other one more time this year."
After the celebration, and after all the pictures were taken with family back at the Linc, Sirianni said he returned home Sunday night to catch the second half of the AFC Championship Game and that his staff is in the early stages of putting the book together on the Chiefs.
The goal for this week, he continued, is to get a big chunk of the gameplan done and get a run of regular practices in before leaving for Arizona, where scheduling will grow a bit more hectic. Said Sirianni: "We're gonna keep these next two weeks as normal as we possibly can for our guys and our schedule."
"Normal" was the key word there. The Eagles are at the end, their opponent is the toughest yet, the stage is bigger than ever and so are the distractions. You can't afford to lose sight of yourself this late in the game.
"When you start treating these games differently that's when mistakes happen," Sirianni said. "That's when you don't stick to the process of who you are and your identity as a team, your fundamentals, all the things we've been talking about all year."
There's wisdom found in the 2017 run.
Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato, and Isaac Seumalo are the seven players left from the underdog run that delivered the franchise its first Super Bowl five years ago.
They know what it's like, and as veteran leaders, Cox, Graham, and Kelce stressed in the leadup to the NFC Championship Game that it's crucial to keep things business as usual.
There are a lot of people still around the NovaCare Complex from 2017 as well, and Sirianni said he's been talking to many of them to get a gauge on how to handle things.
He maintained, however, that these Eagles are their own team and have to do things their way, and as a whole, they feel good about that.
After all, it's gotten them this far. No reason to break from it now.
"This is the last time this team will be together, but that doesn't mean you treat it any different," Sirianni said. "You go about it the exact same way...Just go through the same process over and over and over again and then – that's something I learned so much last year too of just being 2-5 – 'How are we gonna climb out of this hole that we're in?'
"One day at a time, one meeting at a time, one practice at a time, over and over and over again."
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