The moment I realized people had lost their minds over Carson Wentz did not come when President Obama referenced him in the opening of his speech at Eakins Oval on Tuesday. It came a few hours later when I was in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center for SmackDown Live, a weekly WWE show.
A jobber came out to the ring for a non-televised match. He claimed to be wresting in his hometown of Philadelphia. “We have the Liberty Bell,” he said, “we have the cheesesteak, and we finally have a quarterback!” Later, a fan in the crowd had a WENTZ sign, which popped up on TV.
If both professional wrestlers and the president of the United States are picking up on the Carson Wentz hype enough to mention it in their speeches, you know people are excited. But it goes beyond that. Wearing a bootleg Wentz shirsey on the subway last night, I got high-fived by five different strangers. My neighbor and I had our longest conversation ever about Wentz. When I ordered a pizza Sunday after the game, the delivery man and I talked about Carson Wentz for two minutes. I don’t even think we said anything notable. “Wow, what a first start!” “It was pretty good.” “I’m excited.” “I’m excited, too.” I even caught a “How ’bout them Birds” from an Eagles fan while walking through the city.
There is hard evidence of fans’ excitement, too. Carson Wentz jerseys are the top-seller in the NFL since Sunday. Yes, the city is going bonkers over a guy who has done one thing in his NFL career: throw two touchdown passes against the Browns.
It wasn’t just him. Wentz’s debut led a USA Today column headlined “NFL Week 1 overreactions.” Another story from USA Today told readers: “There’s still plenty of time for Carson Wentz to turn into a bust.” FOX Sports’s Chris Chase wrote “why Eagles fans shouldn’t get too excited about Carson Wentz.” Hue Jackson, the Browns coach, dismissed Wentz’s debut as “one game.” Former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth, writing for ESPN’s The Undefeated, says Eagle fans should “should temper their excitement about Wentz and keep expectations, for this season, low.”
I am here to tell you that you should not listen to these people. Carson Wentz may indeed be a bust. But who cares? When I was a sophomore in high school, my friends and I were convinced that Bobby Hoying was the future after he threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-42 victory over the Bengals. The New York Times even wrote about his “sudden stardom.” We were psyched: Bobby Hoying was going to lead the Eagles to a bright future.
We were wrong, of course: That was the high-water mark of Hoying’s career, and the Eagles went 3-13 the next season. But what did we lose by being excited for those few months? Nothing. What’s the worst that could happen if you get too excited about Wentz and he ends up being a bust — someone makes fun of you on Twitter in a few years? You’ll live.
I urge Eagles fans get as excited as they can about Carson Wentz. Do it now, in case he turns into Bobby Hoying. You deserve to have some fun when following this miserable football team that always disappoints you in the end.