Young dynasties and championship teams usually credit an earlier playoff exit to being the catalyst for a championship run. Some would argue that any sort of playoff experience is helpful for a young team as they grow together. Will this same logic apply to the Philadelphia Eagles?
It’s happened before in many sports. The Golden State Warriors dynasty saw two disappointing playoff finishes the two prior years before winning three of four titles.
The Kansas City Royals of 2015 attributed their title to losing in the previous World Series. Even the Tampa Bay Lightning have said that the key to their recent Stanley Cup Playoff run was because of being swept by the eighth seed as President Trophy winners.
In the NFL, though, it’s a tad different. Dynasties like the 2000’s Patriots, 90’s Cowboys, and even 80’s 49ers had their Super Bowl runs start without needing prior playoff experience.
For the Philadelphia Eagles, their 2021 playoff push was capped by a 31-15 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While many fans and analysts capped the season off as a success, the conversation tilted to if prior postseason success is key for a young team like this one.
There is certainly some merit to the thought process. The Kansas City Chiefs won a Super Bowl in 2019 after losing in the AFC Championship Game the year prior. The Legion of Boom attribute their 2012 playoff loss to Atlanta as the driving force for their 2013 title.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story either. The 2000’s Eagles used a deep playoff run in 2000 to great effect but could never actually win a Super Bowl. The 90’s Bills, and 80’s Dolphins are prime examples of this as well.
Just because a team gained experience in the playoffs the year prior, doesn’t mean that they’ll be ready to go the next time the team gets to the playoffs. As good as Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals were in 2021, a loaded AFC could cloud any hope of that team getting back to the Super Bowl any time soon.
As far as aspirations for the Philadelphia Eagles, it really all hinges on what happens with quarterback, Jalen Hurts. If he continues to develop into a better passer and leads the team to the playoffs again, where does Hurts have to go in order to prove he’s the face of the franchise for the Eagles?
One playoff win? An NFC Title Game appearance? A Super Bowl?
There’s a lot of grey area in deciding which team uses prior postseason experience to their advantage. It most certainly is a factor for some, but not the be-all-end-all for others. After all, the Eagles were able to win a Super Bowl despite missing the playoffs in 2016.
For the Philadelphia Eagles, all they can do is continuously improve every day and the rest will take of itself. Playoff experience or not, this team doesn’t look like it will matter in the slightest.
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