The year was 2018. The Philadelphia Eagles had gone on a miraculous Super Bowl run, winning their first ever world championship, and all eyes were on the road ahead. Carson Wentz was coming off of a would-be MVP season had he not tore his ACL, the team looked poised to run it back. As we now know, despite another near-miracle, an elongated spiral into chaos sucked this team back to the rebuilding phase, leaving fans to wonder just what went wrong.
The year is now 2023. Jalen Hurts willed a young and talented roster to the Super Bowl just a few months ago and has been handsomely paid for his efforts. The Eagles have been here before, but that’s likely as far as history is going to repeat itself.
The key difference between the 2017 & 2023 Eagles rosters
The Eagles were in a weird spot in 2018. The emotional high of their aforementioned Super Bowl win wasn’t really being enjoyed by everyone. Carson Wentz watched on with a torn ACL as Nick Foles completed one of the most heroic feats in Football history. He then had to watch as Foles became the leader of the locker room throughout the coming offseason while rehabbing his torn ACL. Foles was not only the first quarterback to finally deliver Philadelphia a championship, but he was going to start until Wentz was healthy.
When Carson Wentz returned, it was clear he was below 100%. His throwing mechanics were off as it looked as though the quarterback was having to overcompensate for a weakened ACL, over-exerting his upper body which may well have led to an injury he later suffered. Again, it was Nick Foles who stepped up to lead what almost became another incredible playoff run.
The drama that followed all stemmed from one man – the quarterback. Sure, the Eagles did evade a Super Bowl hangover, but only just. What followed was way worse and could’ve been absolutely debilitating had Howie Roseman not been as aware and cunning as he was.
Jalen Hurts & the Philadelphia Bulldawgs
Fast forward to 2023. The Eagles came up a day late and a buck short in the Super Bowl and many believe had the playing field not had the texture of a granola bar, they would have lifted the Lombardi trophy for the second time in five years. But instead of worries about a Super Bowl hangover or a repeat of what we saw last time around, there’s a real sense of confidence that this is only the beginning of what this team could accomplish.
That’s in large part thanks to charismatic quarterback Jalen Hurts and the culture he has helped to create. The young leader galvanized what was a fractured locker room in 2021 and showed the world just how much potential he had as both a player on the field and a role model away from it.
Howie Roseman listened to his quarterback. He targeted players who Hurts was fond of such as A.J Brown and DeVonta Smith. He started to focus his scouting on players who came from high-character schools such as Georgia as opposed to those who put up exceptional numbers. This is a very different team to the one that slowly spiralled into chaos just a few years ago.
The core of the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles is built on trust. The Eagles’ coaching staff trusts in Jalen Hurts, and Hurts trusts in his teammates. The front office is no longer drafting circle pegs to fit in square holes and everyone is on the same page. It’s why the selection of Jalen Carter, a player who entered the 2023 NFL Draft with a myriad of red flags, was presented as a home-run in spite of them.
Hard work, passion, and a love for the game are all key traits that the Eagles look for when evaluating players. The result of this change in scouting has yielded incredible results, with the team cultivating a relentless winning mindset shared by everyone. Second place isn’t good enough, and when it isn’t, the whole team preaches accountability as opposed to hiding from it. The Eagles are more unified than they ever have been, and that makes them incredibly dangerous.
Super Bowl hangover? Super Bowl shmangover
It was very possible that the Eagles could’ve limped into the offseason deflated after their Super Bowl loss. Instead, Howie Roseman put together another masterful offseason while the players already on the roster were seemingly already locked in on getting back to the Super Bowl and getting over the finish line.
The difference between the last Eagles team to make the Super Bowl and this one? Culture. This young Philadelphia outfit is built on strong foundations that can withstand any storm. Jalen Hurts leads by example and the rest of the team is happy to follow in his footsteps. There will be no worries of a Super Bowl hangover of any kind for the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum