(I wrote the following essay a couple of weeks ago, and for technical reasons, I never posted it. Between the time that I wrote it, and today (December 12, 2017), Carson Wentz tore his ACL.)
I am a lifelong fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. “Lifelong”, as in I have been attending Philadelphia Eagles games since my father took me to Franklin Field when I was 6 years old. I’ve seen games at Franklin Field, Veterans Stadium (section 722, where I learned how to speak Philadelphian), the Linc, and a few games on the road, too.
A Philadelphia Eagles fan who claims to be a lifelong fan is also a long-suffering fan. The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl. The last championship that they won was on December 26, 1960, before there was such a thing as a Super Bowl.
That 1960 championship happened 368 days before I was born.
If you watch any professional football, you know that the Eagles have the best record right now. They have a 9-1 record, and the next closest team in their own division is the Dallas Cowboys at 5-5.
Their one loss, to the Kansas City Chiefs, happened back in September. If the Eagles played the Chiefs today, the Eagles would win by 20 points. The last time the Eagles won by less than 10 points was 5 weeks ago.
In the interest of total honesty, before the season started, I looked at the schedule, and I made a prediction about the Eagles season. I predicted that they would go 9-7. They are 9-1 right now. Unless the wheels fall off of this team, I underpredicted. I wrote an essay in June called “Waiting for the Playoffs”. I didn’t think this team would make the playoffs this year.
This was a team with big problems in the backfield (cornerback and safety), and question marks about the passing game. I never imagined that they would fix the backfield mess, have the best running defense in the NFL, improve the passing game, and have a respectable rushing offense, too.
This is a team that lost their left tackle (Jason Peters), running back (Darren Sproles), and a linebacker (Jordan Hicks). They’ve done without a star cornerback (Ronald Darby) for 8 weeks. They even played half of their last game without a field goal kicker, and did just fine without him.
All of this success hinges on one person: Carson Wentz. Playing in only his second year, I did not think he would be this good, this fast. He has very good presence of mind. He sees things on the football field that others do not, and he is able to make throws that few other quarterbacks can. In addition, when his protection falls apart, he can scramble and pick up a first down, which is a nice thing to be able to do.
This is my highest praise for a quarterback- I cannot remember the last time he made a decision and I thought “why did he DO that?!” He is playing mistake-free football right now.
Football Gods, please keep Carson Wentz healthy.
I attended Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005 in Jacksonville, between the Philadelphia Eagles and The New England Patriots. The Eagles lost that game 24-21. The game was tied at the end of the 3rd quarter, 14-14. The Eagles had a chance.
Unfortunately, my team was coached by a fellow who didn’t understand how to save timeouts or run a two-minute drill, and my quarterback threw up on the field when things got tense. The other team had Bill Bellichick as coach and Tom Brady at quarterback, so there were no rings for Philadelphia that day.
As I was leaving my seat that day, a kind New England Patriots fan sitting near me stopped me. He saw how upset I was, and he said “don’t worry-your team is great-you’ll be back”.
He didn’t understand what “Long Suffering” means.
Enough about suffering. The Eagles team this year is good. Really good. Good enough that I’m starting to look at Super Bowl LII tickets in sunny Minneapolis, Minnesota. (What kind of sunscreen do I need in Minneapolis in February?)
I know that is premature. But the idea that the Eagles are good is such a strange idea that I don’t know what to do with it. If the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and the City of Cleveland can end their streaks, why not the Philadelphia Eagles?
The answer to “why not the Philadelphia Eagles” is “Carson Wentz’ ACL”.