Dear Philadelphia Eagles fans,
Congratulations on reaching your first Super Bowl in over a decade. Well done. I must admit, I am impressed. After Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL in week 14 against the Rams, I counted the Eagles out. I saw how Nick Foles played in the final two weeks of the regular season and thought that there was no way he could get the Eagles to the promised land. Well, he’s done just that, continuing the narrative that the Eagles have told all season long – next man up.
It did not matter who the Eagles lost to injury this season – Wentz, Darren Sproles, Jason Peters, or Jordan Hicks – they kept winning. It’s very premature to proclaim a “team of destiny” ahead of Super Bowl 52, let alone the regular season, but that’s the vibe I’ve gotten from the Eagles – week 16 and 17 aside – all season long.
I must admit, I am not a Philly guy. Those who know me know that I am a Baltimorian at heart. Crabcakes and Natty Boh’s is how I roll, and that will never change. However, I will say that despite what some of my friends that are Eagles fans may think, it’s been pretty cool to see the passion of Philadelphia sports fans erupt in a place like Bloomsburg. After the Eagles curb-stomped the Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship game, I walked down to Capitol and filmed some raw reactions on my smartphone. Even at the bars in downtown Bloomsburg, over two hours away from Philadelphia, that passion was on display in full force. That passion carried into last week and is still going strong today. You can’t escape it. It’s everywhere.I was actually in Philly this past weekend for the Royal Rumble, completely unrelated from football, and the arena was full of people constantly cheering “Fly Eagles Fly,” “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES,” among other things. Some of the cheers were directed at Tom Brady, and are not safe for print. You get the point.
From a matchup standpoint, this should be a great game. Both the Eagles and the Patriots ended the regular season with 13-3 records and the #1 seed in their respective conferences. Looking at the two teams, the Eagles clearly have the better roster. If you’re picking the game solely on talent, the Eagles are the clear favorite. However, the Patriots have a number of advantages. Whether it’s the experience factor, the playing surface, the uniforms (12 of the last 13 Super Bowl winners were wearing their white jerseys), or the Belichick / Brady tandem, the scale tips towards New England in each of these areas. A lot of people will point to the referees being in the Patriots’ back pockets too. I will not go into detail about my game pick in this letter. You can find that in the ‘Pickem’ section. With that being said, I think this will be a great game, and a close one. I think this Super Bowl has the potential to be the best we’ve seen in years.
Two things are for sure to me for Philadelphia, win or lose. The first is that although it will take some time for Wentz to make a full recovery from his torn ACL, the Eagles are a juggernaut that are a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future. The second certainty is that no matter the outcome, the city of Philadelphia will be in a state of chaos this weekend. For the city’s sake, I honestly do not know which result – a win or a loss – would cause the most damage. If you plan on going into Philadelphia for the game, please be careful.
To all of the Eagles fans who I’ve made fun of, picked on (in good fun), or ridiculed this season, once again I say congratulations. Like I said earlier, I counted the Eagles out as soon as Wentz tore his ACL. I ate my words. I picked against the Eagles in both the divisional round against Atlanta and the championship round against the Vikings. You have all let me know about that too. I hope all of you are ready for the big test on Sunday. If the Eagles win, you finally get your ring. If they lose, the rest of the NFL will quickly forget the Eagles’ accomplishments this season, and it’s back to square one. Good luck. May the best team win.
This is the first Super Bowl appearance for several Eagles draftees, including Fletcher Cox
Nick Foles was contemplating retirement before the season. Now, he’s starting in the Super Bowl.