Familiar Scene for the Eagles
by Jeff Lyons
It's been said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. So what are we to make of Eagles president Joe Banner's statement that both coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb will be back with the team next season?
Banner's statement came minutes after the Eagles were beaten by Arizona Cardinals in their fifth NFC Championship Game under Andy Reid. Big Red sports a 1-4 record in these games with McNabb as his quarterback. Is that a record worthy of a return for an 11th season?
There's plenty of blame to go around for Sunday's loss. I don't have enough fingers to point out all the negatives. But it's infuriating to see the defense play as well as it did in the second half after letting Kurt Warner run roughshod over them in the first half. The second-half comeback was encouraging, but McNabb has seldom, if ever, led the Eagles to a winning scoring drive in the last two minutes of a game.
Maybe it was unrealistic to think the Eagles were going to make the Super Bowl. After all, they needed all the cosmic tumblers to click into place just to make the playoffs in the first place. They beat a mediocre Vikings team in the first round and then shot down the Plaxico Burress-less Super Bowl champion Giants in the second round. The Cards' Warner is a two-time NFL MVP and has won a Super Bowl, where he was also MVP. And he’s got Larry Fitzgerald, an absolute beast of a wide receiver, as one of his receivers. That is worth noting.
Remember when the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl? They had a world-class wide receiver (Terrell Owens) who also happened to be a world-class jerk. But when McNabb needed the big play, T.O. was there. McNabb has no such weapons now. Kevin Curtis and Desean Jackson are nice complimentary receivers, but neither is a true No. 1. The Eagles need a game-breaking wideout to make it to the next level. They also need some help on the offensive line as Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan get older and more beat up.
Maybe it was all the good feelings left over from the Phillies World Series title that lulled Philadelphia fandom into thinking the Eagles were going to win the Super Bowl. But it says here they were beaten by a better team.
And speaking of the Phillies, there are just 25 days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
Jeff Lyons, senior managing editor of publications for the Philadelphia Bar Association, is a fanatical Philadelphia sports fan. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.