After finally taking down the banner of Carson Wentz at Lincoln Financial field, the Philadelphia Eagles found themselves in a bit of a predicament – how do they replace him? After what must have been weeks of deliberation, they settled on a giant picture of the Lombardi Trophy being hoisted into the air by Nick Foles.
There were a lot of different routes they could’ve gone with this. If they really wanted to post a homage to that 2017 season, an image of Jason Kelce in his mummers outfit would’ve been a very snug fit. Outside of that, there are a plethora of Philadelphia legends who would look great on a huge banner outside the stadium. From the terrifying Weapon-X to Harold Carmichael, it’s not like the team were starved of options. They could’ve even gone with some of the young players on the roster, such as first-round pick DeVonta Smith, in a bid to excite fans for the future. Unfortunately, just as they have done for the past three years, the Eagles decided to look behind them once again.
The Eagles worked hard this offseason to fully hit the reset button. Doug Pederson, the Head Coach who won them the Super Bowl and is honoured with a statue outside the stadium, is gone. Carson Wentz, the quarterback who put them in a position to win it in the first place, exiled. This was a big offseason for a team who had done well to avoid a Super Bowl hangover, but instead induced the most debilitating of comedowns. So why, after an offseason of tough decisions, would they once again send a reminder to the league that once upon a time, they won a Super Bowl?
I understand how important that win was to Philadelphia – a city previously starved of a championship for 54 years. Nobody is ever going to forget the tumultuous road it took to get there that season or the endless heartbreaks that came before it. But when the product on the field is a 4-12 team that is now going through a growing phase, it makes very little sense to still harp on about how great things once were.
This is a very young team. There’s a lot of potential embedded in the roster and its captained by a first-year Head Coach and a similarly youthful staff. From a marketing perspective, putting the spotlight on how bright the future might look should excite fans far more than reminding them how far removed you are from those once scintillating heights.
Eagles fans will always despise Cowboys fans for a million reasons, but one of the biggest grievances that Philly fans had with those of Dallas was the fact that they continued to rub in their championship gold from yesteryear – to a point that it was all too easy for David Akers to take a direct shot at the fanbase during the 2018 NFL Draft. Are the Eagles not walking down a similar path?
As of right now, the upside is huge, but this was not a good football team in 2020. It wasn’t brilliant in 2019, and in 2018, there were more than a few bumps and bruises. The franchise is now four-years removed from winning a Championship, but you’d think they’d won it in 2021 with the way it’s continually mentioned and basked over from within.
Let’s not forget that in 2018, players actually asked for a sign, alluding to their iconic win, in the locker room to be taken down. Even the players were tired of hearing about it. It took a matter of months for that sign to be taken down. Four years later, there’s now a giant banner outside the stadium showing how great things once were, contrasting a team that gave up a league-leading amount of sacks and could barely string a drive together last year.
It’s disrespectful to the players, to the coaching staff, and to the fans, who all want to see the team back to the dizzying heights of Championship games. But so long as the franchise continues to sit back in its arm chair and reminisce about the best night in its illustrious history, it’s going to be very hard for anyone to break out of that shadow.
The Eagles had a real opportunity to usher in a new era of Football and create some excitement around the future, promoting the long-term vision and subconsciously some patience along with it. Instead, the Eagles continue to remind everyone that four years ago, they won something.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire