Wake-Up Call: Eagles’ Interest Soaring High

Eagles fans endured the weather to witness a comeback for the ages

If television ratings are any indication, Philadelphia hasn’t been this invested in the Eagles in some time.

As we mentioned yesterday, Sunday’s game between the Eagles and Lions pulled a 34.9 rating, the third-highest rated 1 p.m. Eagles game since 1997. The other two came during the ’04 Super Bowl run — Nov. 7 against the Steelers (35 rating) and Nov. 28 against the Giants (36.7 rating).

The overall numbers are up as well. The cumulative rating for the Eagles’ 13 regular-season games stands at 28.5 —  a 12 percent increase over last year’s mark. Take a look at how the ’13 figures compare to other recent seasons.

(Note: These stats are for 1 o’clock games only.)

2013: 27.9
2012: 24.7
2011: 25.8
2010: 27.2
2009: 25.5
2008: 26.4
2007: 26.5
2006: 29.3
2005: 29.4
2004: 31.9
2003: 27.5
2002: 24.8
2001: 24.6
2000: 26.0

As you can see, the numbers are projected to be better than they were for some of those (very good)  teams of the early 2000’s. I’m sure there are all sorts of different factors that impact the numbers, but it’s interesting nonetheless. If they continue at this clip, the Eagles will pull in their best ratings since at least 2006.

* Director of Grounds Tony Leonard , based on the local weather reports, was expecting a coating to an inch of snow Sunday. Instead, the Linc had approximately eight inches dumped on it in a matter of a few hours.

“Everybody called an audible at that point,” said Leonard, “and you just have to do what you have to do.”

There are four full-time members of the grounds crew present on game day and approximately 10-12 part-timers, some of whom are on hand to help raise the field goal netting. There wasn’t a whole lot of kicking going on in those elements and there was plenty of snow to be removed, so the priorities shifted. Leonard had 8-10 guys on shovels and the rest had snow-blowers, as the crew tried to keep the key yard-markers clear.

One employee wore a pedometer, and ended up logging 25,000-30,000 steps — triple a normal Sunday’s work.

Per NFL rules, all tarps must be off the field by 11:30, according to Leonard. Given the timing, the grounds crew had no choice but to keep the snow on the ground, and took care of what they could.

“We can just react at that point,” Leonard said.

* Chances are, Leonard had a better view of the action than some of the Eagles’ coaches did, at least for a half.

“You know, you really couldn’t see,” admitted Billy Davis, who operates from the coaching booth on gameday.  “You couldn’t see the jersey numbers.  The personnel groupings was a little bit challenging…because you couldn’t see jersey numbers.”

It wasn’t until late second/early third quarter before the group upstairs had a decent look at the action. So they relied on their eyes on the ground.

“You could see better down there,” he said.  “They weren’t doing a whole lot of different personnel groupings because of the severity of the weather, so it wasn’t a challenge, but we could not see from up there.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Mr. Kapadia uses the All-22 to show how Nick Foles and Brent Celek helped ice the game.

The latest Twitter Mailbag on ratings and expectations.

Sheil provides a game review of the defense. His take on the offense can be found here.

Have a look at the latest Eagles playoff scenarios.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The Eagles continue to climb in ESPN’s power rankings.

The Eagles moved into first place in the NFC East this week and improved one spot to No. 9 in ESPN’s weekly Power Rankings. Their five-game winning streak has corresponded with a steady climb from the mid-20s to the top 10.

Of the teams in the top 10, the Eagles have made one of the biggest jumps from the preseason rankings. They have moved up 16 spots from their preseason rank of 25th. The Arizona Cardinals, who also have a first-year head coach, made a 16-place jump from 26th to No. 10. Carolina, which was 23rd in the preseason, is at No. 6, a 17-place progression. With their climb, the Eagles are ranked above all of their remaining opponents: No. 27 Minnesota, No. 13 Chicago and No. 15 Dallas.

Jack McCaffery on the change Chip Kelly has brought with him.

Last season, the Eagles ran the ball 413 times in 16 games, good for the 13th lousiest rushing offense in the NFL. In 13 games this season, the Birds already have rushed 417 times and lead pro football in rushing…

It’s the eternal football riddle, whether the run opens passing opportunities, or if it is the other way around. Either way, Kelly is comfortable calling running plays. But that’s not all he has been willing to try. He has installed a 3-4 defense. He has found new ways to use old players, and fresh ways to mix in new ones. He has loosened the mood to the point where players suggest ideas to him, even in games, and he listens … and succeeds.

COMING UP

We’ll speak to Kelly at 10:40 before practice.

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