The final score of the NFC Championship game was 38-7 in favor of Philly, and the shock is still reverberating. We arise this morning to the realization that the Philadelphia Eagles are headed back to the Super Bowl after a 14-year absence. To top that off, theyve got a chance at redemption against the team they faced the last time they went to the big game – the New England Patriots.
Watching the Eagles make it to the Super Bowl yet again has me in my emotions like Ms. Sophia in Color Purple.
All my life I been a Eagles fan. Been strugglin, been cussin, been fightin and been cryin.
Indeed, its a tough row to hoe being an Eagles fan. Part of that tough row is the overwhelming amount of targeted animosity that comes from fans of other teams, as well as the media. I dont know how many times I have to look up at my laptop screen to see yet another story about the rough and tumble Philly faithful and their hijinks.
Philadelphia sports fans history of aggression has city on edge was one fearmongering headline I noticed. That was but one of dozens of stories speaking out about the violent tendencies of the team’s fanbase. Philly, for better or worse, has always been associated with scrapping. Lest we forget that the Flyers of the NHL were called the Broad Street Bullies when our grandparents were in diapers.
Even the Eagles past successes, world champions in 1948, 1949 and 1960, are sneered upon for not taking place in the Super Bowl era. Never mind the fact that those teams beat the very best the league had to offer at the time.
On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles performance was reminiscent of that towns fighting spirit.
The Vikings should have known they were going to get cooked as soon as this happened. #FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/uJ8RmxrWNl
The Eagles, or Egg-les in the local dialect, have been to the precipice of NFL excellence twice before, in 1980 and 2004, but this team is more balanced on both sides of the ball than either of those teams ever were.
Historically, the very best Eagles teams have also been lopsided, with the defensive side of the ball being dominant, while the offense was mostly predicated on stellar quarterback play and very little else. As was the case with Donovan McNabbs grossly underappreciated time under center in Philly, aside from his short and tumultuous pairing with Terrell Owens, the team has always had a problem with finding consistent playmakers.
But this doesnt look like your same ol boring, predictable, ultimately ineffective offense from years past. Like, who wouldve thought Philly QB Nick Foles would pass for over 300 yards and deliver three touchdowns?
Well, some would have. It was a million years ago that Nick Foles was a Pro Bowl quarterback under then-Philly head coach Chip Kelly. You remember, right? That year he threw 27 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions?
Yet, going into their NFC Championship match up against the Minnesota Vikings, all you heard was how Philly would struggle to score against the Vikings defense, a defense that was considered by many to be the very best in the National Football League from top to bottom.
Welp, this so-called bum carved them up something serious. The Vikings have three 2018 Pro Bowl selections on the defensive side of the ball in LB Anthony Barr, DE Everson Griffen, and CB Xavier Rhodes, and a former Pro Bowler in safety Harrison Smith. But none of that mattered in the end. TE Zach Ertz, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Torrey Smith and WR Nelson Agholor each made big plays downfield throughout the game.
Much of the success of the Eagles offense was predicated on the run-pass-option, which Foles masterfully orchestrated time and time again, resulting in Ertz and Jeffreys providing consistent big play threats. Though they performed big time, none of that would have been possible without the threat of Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount tearing off huge chunks of running yards.
The Minnesota Vikings were outclassed on every side of the ball, proving that this was no celestial happenstance. Head coach Doug Pederson’s game plan was concrete, it was deliberate and truly indicative of the fighting spirit that most Philadelphians claim, but the Philadelphia Eagles have seldom lived up to.