I am as excited about this coming season as any Eagles fan. I gobble up every item from Sheil Kapadia and Tim McManus on Birds 24/7. I jockey between the two Philadelphia talk radio stations to catch every Eagles point. I’ll even watch the meaningless fourth pre-season game to see if Ifeanyi Momah can make the team.
Excitement is fueled by expectations; and expectations were fueled by The Statement.
It was a statement that can launch the already high hopes of excited Eagles fans into the stratosphere of unreasonable expectations. The Statement came from none other than NFL booth expert Cris Collinsworth. When asked to name his Super Bowl favorite, the first team out of his mouth was “Eagles.”
“You know, the team that I think has a chance this year is the Philadelphia Eagles,” Collinsworth said in response to the question from legendary play-by-play announcer Al Michaels. Big screens were splattered with beer from spit-takes all over the city. Collinsworth wasn’t finished, “I just feel like Chip Kelly and what they did the first year with that offense, I know they didn’t get it all in, but this year may be a little more advanced with Nick Foles. So, I’m kinda keeping my eye on Philadelphia.”
It wasn’t even a prediction, even though it has been reported as one. It was just a little stronger than a Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re telling me there's a chance?” The subtext of The Statement is that Chip Kelly, aka Football Megamind, couldn’t possibly squeeze all of his knowledge into lesser minds in just one season. He will have to ration his immense football knowledge, like candy to children, over his coaching lifetime.
And Eagles fans believe. The fans, the national media, and, most importantly, the players have willingly joined the Chip Cult. “In Chip We Trust” is a mantra that is recited on sports talk radio.
After false prophets who came to Philadelphia and fell short of leading us to the Promised Land, Eagles fans believe they have found their Messiah. And I am now put in the unenviable position of having to yell at the Chipnotized, “Snap out of it! It’s not going to happen this year!”
That hurts to admit. There are just way too many questions. I believe Nick Foles can and will be a star in this league. But, the defense is still suspect, as is the kicker. Depth is also a problem. What happens if offensive linemen Jason Peters or running back LeSean McCoy gets hurt? Injuries at key positions are inevitable. The Eagles don’t have the depth at most positions to compensate.
And this is coming from the guy who boldly predicted that the Eagles would go from last to first about this same time last year, when no one else believed that would happen.
— Larry Mendte (@LarryMendte) August 20, 2013
I’m now back to tell you that the Eagles will win the division again and win a playoff game, but they are not a Super Bowl team, not yet. I think there will be NFL championships, plural, in Chip Kelly’s future, but not this year.
But don’t take the word of a guy with an inflated opinion of his own opinion. Whenever there is a question about strength of conviction, follow the money. Money is the answer to every mystery. And the money says the Eagles will not be in the Super Bowl this year.
As of this posting, the Bovada Sports Book has the Eagles at 20-1, tied with the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears with the 7th best chance of getting to the big game. The Denver Broncos have the best odds at 6-1. The Seattle Seahawks are 13-2 to repeat.
It is still going to be an exciting year. In the first game of last season, after not showing us much in the pre-season games, the Eagles blew out the Washington Redskins with unusual formations and a frenetic pace that the league had never seen before. This year the Eagles open at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, arguably the worst team in the league. If you think “The Statement” got Eagles fans excited, wait until after the Jaguars romp.
Game 2 in Indianapolis against the Colts and game 4 in San Francisco against the 49ers will give us a better understanding of this team’s chances. If they win both of those games, I may make a retraction of this entire post. But that’s doubtful.
But this time, Eagles fans can say “wait until next year” and it will be true.
Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.