Since the Eagles were eliminated from the play-offs a couple weeks ago I’ve heard strong criticism of the organization from Philly fans and media. A few national media members have joined in too. Most of their comments are aimed at the Eagles being cheap and lacking desire to be the best.
This afternoon I read an article by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez that was bad enough to legitimately make me angry (Gonzo: Eagles fans can’t kick the habit). Gonzalez compares Eagles fans to drug addicts. He’s advocating a boycott of the team. You see the Eagles are losers and we enable them by buying tickets and merchandise. This is Gonzalez explaining that the fault doesn’t lie solely on the team, but us as fans. “. . . It’s that we’ve become enablers to the very thing that drives us mad – the way the franchise is run and the team’s continued failure to supply a Lombardi Trophy to Philly.”
The Eagles have a 103-56-1 regular season record in the past decade. During that time they won the NFC East 5 times and appeared in the play-offs eight times. They have 10 playoff wins. They appeared in a Super Bowl and in 5 NFC Championship games.
While the management and front office have been under fire, they have kept the team in the upper echelon for the past decade and have not mortgaged the future to do so. Right now the Eagles have numerous young stars and are financially able to sign free agents and renew current players.
A major factor in the sad ending to the 2009 season was the accumulation of injuries. Andy Reid and the Eagles have never used the injuries as an excuse, but their impact on the team cannot be denied. The year got off to a dubious start when Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson passed away shortly before the season began. Early in the year the team lost their starting middle linebacker (Stewart Bradley), who is a major part of the Eagles’ defensive scheme. In mid-season the team lost starting cornerback and kick returner Ellis Hobbs, which caused a chain reaction in the secondary that made the nickel package susceptible. The Eagles also lost linebacker Omar Gaither in the latter part of the season, which was a much bigger loss than most people people realize.
On the other side of the ball the offensive line that the Eagles set up in training camp did not appear together for a single snap during the regular season. During training camp the line was expected to be a major strength. Then Sean Andrews, arguably the best lineman on the team, was lost for the year before the first game of the season. Suddenly the right tackle position had to be filled, which caused shuffling on the line. During the majority of the season the line did an excellent job. Then at the end of the year center Jamaal Jackson was injured. This forced another shuffling of the line, which proved disastrous in two games in Dallas.
And I only mentioned a few injuries, there were many more injuries that occurred during the year (including McNaaab, Curtis, Westbrook, Samuel, Jackson, and others). It was a rough year.
Sure, the end of the season was frustrating. And Andy likes to throw the ball excessively at times. But the management of this team have proven by track record that they are not only competent, they are excellent.
Boycotting the Eagles is asinine.
This was a very entertaining and enjoyable year. The ending was agonizing, but the reasons why it turned out that way do not demand change in management. I’ll take our management over any other in the NFC East and over the vast majority of the teams in the NFL.