(Originally Posted: Friday March 19, 2010)
I would gladly have the Eagles stink for the next decade and not make the playoffs at all, if it meant that they won the Super Bowl just once. We’ve all heard that statement a ton of times. On WIP, on blogs, hell, I bet I’ve even said it before. But have you taken a few moments to sit back and try and grasp what that would actually entail? Losing or even being marginal for a substantial length of time is something that we Eagles fans can’t comprehend anymore. We’ve become spoiled by the team’s success and numerous playoff runs of the past decade.
But as per usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the initial question, “Would you sacrifice your team’s long term future for one parade?” As luck would have it, we have a team that fits pretty nicely into that box for examination. The team that stole the Eagles best chance at probably winning a Super Bowl last decade, the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs won their championship in 2002, but have gone 48-64 since, making the playoffs only twice and getting bounced in the first round both times. During the same time frame, the Birds have won 69 regular season games, been to the playoffs 5 times and have won 6 playoff games.
While Bucs “fans” (for lack of a better term) still have their memories of 2002 and their crappy parade through the stadium parking lot to keep them warm throughout the years, they haven’t seen much good football since. 2002 was a long time ago. Remember what your life was like in ’02? I do, and it was a lot different. I also remember the seven seasons of great to okay football I’ve gotten to experience over those seven years rooting for the Birds. We’ve only had to live through one sub-.500 season. That’s insane!
So make your choice: Would you rather have the 2000’s Eagles or the 2000’s Buccaneers? I chose the Eagles. And it’s not even close.
So Couch, what’s your point? How about we give Reid and the rest of the front office the benefit of the doubt when it comes to free agency? I’ve read the mass bitching on the interwebs since free agency started. “Oh no, we didn’t sign Peppers!” “The Eagles didn’t do anything during the first weekend of free agency!” “Abandon all hope, all ye who sport the midnight green!” How bout we all take a nice big swig of relax juice and calm the hell down.
Football games aren’t won in March. If they were, Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones would have a lot more NFC East banners than Joe Banner in the aughts. As we all know to well, the offseason is very long. (Why does the best sport in the world have the longest offseason? I swear baseball just ended last week, and now it’s starting up again.) There’s plenty of time to pick up players, and that’s exactly what the Birds have been doing recently.
Now I know none of the names are knocking anyone’s socks off, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. (Peppers was way over paid considering the number of games he takes off.) This offseason is also one of the most unusual since the dawn of free agency. Because of the possible upcoming lockout and the removal of the salary cap, only players with six seasons worth of playing time were able to become free agents, instead after the customary four years. So older than normal players were available at the start of free agency. Doesn’t sound much like the kind of guys that the Eagles like, does it?
(Quick possible lockout aside: The NFL makes a mint. Between the TV contracts, tickets, concessions, merchandise and everything else, the NFL virtually prints money. How can there possibly not be enough money for players and owners to be satisfied? I used to be a huge baseball fan, just ask my buddy Jackhole. The 1994 strike killed my love for that game. If the NFL owners and/or players are dumb enough to have a work stoppage, especially with the current economy, they have no idea what kind of shit storm they are in for. I predict that the fans will have a strong voice for the first time in a major sports work stoppage via the internet, and it’s not going to end well for anyone. Stay tuned to the Eaglescouch for more updates on the upcoming NFL apocalypse.)
So the Eagles have brought in Mike Bell, Marlin Jackson and traded for Tapp. I agree, none of these players are blowing us away, but Bell and Jackson may fill real need areas for the team. These seem like the kind of savvy moves the Eagles have been making since Reid and Banner have taken over. And these kinds of moves have kept us competitive almost every year since. They are also dumping some of the dead weight while the cap is off, preparing for the next phase when the new cap returns. Again, very shrewd.
The Eagles will head into next season as a team that will probably finish somewhere around 10-6, and fans will surely complain about that. I doubt that I’ll be able to convince you otherwise, but I’m more than satisfied. Every game will matter. We’ll get into the playoffs. We’ll have a shot at the Super Bowl. The Birds just need to get hot at the right moment just once with this long term philosophy and everyone will finally be happy. (For about a week.) I would much rather have this perennial nine to eleven win team then the sad sack Bucs who’s last glory happened before everyone had cell phones. It’s got to be better for your season to end with bitter disappointment in January, than a slow meandering pointless death in October. That gives you at least eight more games of meaningful football during the year, and isn’t that what this is all about anyway?
I would love to hear your opinions on this one, folks. Please leave some comments below.