More Sports:

February 13, 2023

John McMullen: Legacy defining moment squandered by Eagles in Super Bowl LVII

A football game wasn’t the only thing lost in the desert on Sunday night.

Opinion Eagles
Jalen-Hurts-Eagles-lose-Super-Bowl_021323_USAT Joe Rondone/USA Today Sports

Jalen Hurts was magnificent on the Eagles' run to the Super Bowl, even if it all fell just short.

GLENDALE, Ariz. —  The best Eagles team of the modern era is now a footnote after losing Super Bowl LVII to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.

Ironically, Philadelphia may have been ground zero of the Ricky Bobby standard – “if you’re not first, you’re last.”

When Sam Hinkie brought “the process” to town, multitudes bought into the sentiment that if you’re not in a position for a championship, you’re irrelevant. Any movement of the goalposts since is revisionist history designed to whitewash flawed thinking in an effort to rationalize failure under the championship-or-bust standard once applied to the Sixers.

In the coming days and weeks as the emotions of losing wear off, some will certainly recognize the run this Eagles team had, but the assumption that this group will stand alongside — never mind atop — 2017, is folly.

The best New England Patriots team was the 2007, 16-0, unit but the New York Giants played spoiler in the Super Bowl. The best team I ever covered until this season was the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, who were 15-1 before getting derailed in the NFC Championship Game when the first perfect season by a kicker came undone with a late Gary Anderson miss.

The worst team of the three-year height of the Ryan Howard/Jimmy Rollins/Chase Utley Phillies was the one that actually won.

The point of all of this is that it’s hard to win championships but the ones who do are remembered.

Legendary former Flyers coach once told his team “Win now, and we'll walk together forever.”

That’s the opportunity this group of Eagles had on Sunday and looked about to secure after 30 minutes of football until a 24-24 halftime advantage turned into a 38-35 setback. 

Moving forward everything gets tougher.

By next week both Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon will likely be gone and may take another assistant or two with them to Indianapolis and Arizona, respectively.

In the coming weeks, Howie Roseman will have some difficult decisions to make when it comes to impending free agents like Miles Sanders, Isaac Seumalo, James Bradberry, T.J. Edwards, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Then you have the extension for Jalen Hurts, which those in the know have estimated will be in the $47 to $52 million range when it comes to average annual value.

A legacy-defining moment was squandered against the Chiefs and the consolation prize is trivia questions about franchise records or individual accolades.

The best team finished second best on the grandest stage.

And now it’s back to square one with the instructions to do it all over again in the shadow of unrealistic expectations.

A football game wasn’t the only thing lost in the desert on Sunday night.    

John McMullen is a contributor to and covers the Eagles and the NFL for Sports Illustrated and JAKIB Sports. He’s also the co-host of “Birds 365,” a daily streaming show covering the Eagles and the NFL, and the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at Follow John on Twitter here