I Love My Job

I Love My Job: Former Eagles Linebacker Seth Joyner Has Choice Words for Tom Brady

He has a strong message for Eagles fans, too.


Photo courtesy of Seth Joyner.

Former Eagles linebacker Seth Joyner is already out and about in Minneapolis ahead of Sunday’s big game, and the NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst has some final words for the Eagles, Doug Pederson and Jeffrey Lurie. As he takes us down memory lane in this week’s I Love My Job, he also shares a few choice words for Tom Brady and the the entire city of Boston. He’s got a strong message for Eagles fans, too.

I grew up in… Spring Valley, NY about 20 minutes from New York City.

Right now I live in… Arizona. I traded the cold of the East coast for warmth and scenic views. Plus golf. I’m a gold fanatic.

I became a sportscaster after… I retired from playing.

Most people don’t know that… when I first tried it out, I failed miserably. People don’t know I was on the NFL network during its first year. I walked away from it after that year.

The challenge was that… my football knowledge was there, but it was about condensing your words. That takes some training and the only way you get good at it is to do it. After that first year, I walked away from it in frustration and the NBC Sports Philadelphia opportunity fell into my lap probably like ten years later.

As a former player and analyst I feel my job is to… analyze a game fairly and equitably and give my opinion based upon my experience. I feel that organizations sometimes get a little ticked off at players who transition to the media side. But my job now journalistically is to be fair. If I’m reviewing my beloved Eagles and they’re not playing well, the fans need to know why they’re not playing well. If they’re playing well, then it’s my job to give them praise. If organizations looked at it in those terms, they wouldn’t get so butt hurt about things that were said because at the end of the day, it’s just my opinion.

The best word to describe how I’ve been feeling all week is… expectant. People keep saying, “I hope, I hope, I hope.” The one thing I know is nothing comes to those who just hope. At some point in time, that hope needs to transition to expectancy.

I expect… for the Eagles to not only win the Super Bowl, but I expect for them to win it handedly. I feel like this team is supremely built at all three phases. There isn’t any team in the NFC to take down the New England Patriots. I fully expect for this football team to be Super Bowl 52 champions, to take part in that parade marching down Broad Street on Tuesday. As a team if they don’t expect it, then their mindset isn’t in the right place. As a fan base, we’ve come this far. We should expect this team to win. Let’s give them good energy by expecting them to come out victorious.

This weekend my schedule… is gonna be pretty hectic. I’ll be in Minneapolis beginning Friday morning. I’ve got a couple of appearances on Saturday and Sunday morning. And though the game begins at 5:30 Minnesota time, my broadcasting day will start around noon and run pretty late. It’s gonna be a long, long, long, long Sunday night. That’s for sure.

The time I played with a 102 degree fever was… just kind of weird. No one expected me to play. It was not only a big game because it was a Monday night game, but it was a big game because of the team we were playing and the challenge that was before us. They were statistically the best team in the NFL offensively and at that time we were statistically the best team in the league defensively. So to come down sick two days before the biggest game of the year, there there was no question in my mind whether I would play. If I can run, if I can move, if I can do the things that I need to do physically, then I can get out there and play. If I’m sick, I’ll just cough and hack and spit and keep going. The dynamic of football was so much different than how it is now. Guys miss practice and miss games because of an illness. My thing is, you tough it out.

The best way to describe Eagles fans… in one word is passionate. In two words — passionate and intelligent. If I were to combine those words, I’d say passionately intelligent. That’s one of the things people on the national level don’t really get about Philadelphia Eagles fans. Eagles fans really understand the game.

The NFL protests this year… were a long time coming. Back in the day the media would always ask, “where are the voices for social change in professional sports?” But now that we have Colin Kaepernick leading, people are complaining about how it looks. People want to say there’s another way he could’ve done it. Well, if you really stop and look at it, the way that he did it drew the greatest amount of attention. And when you’re protesting, isn’t that the point? From a media standpoint, we don’t get to tell them how they should protest. It’s personal and this kid was willing to risk it all. It’s evident that his inability to secure a job in the NFL is not about his play on the field. It has strictly to do with his stance. Other players have kind of stood on his coattails. They’re having him drag them along while he’s falling away, unable to realize the rest of his career. The rest of the guys have become social activists right behind him. They weren’t spurred to do it outwardly until he stepped up to the forefront.

The best bet I’ve heard of so far… is to be honest, I heard some guy bet a million dollars on the Eagles straight up on the moneyline. I’m like, OK? I’m not a betting man, so I don’t know, but if I were a betting man, I’d certainly be betting on the Eagles. But I don’t know, I guess that’s about as good as it could get. If someone’s got a million dollars to throw away on a 50/50 scenario, that’s newsworthy.

Right now, my message to the Eagles is… believe in yourselves like you’ve believed all season long. Don’t go into this game with a sense of hope. It’s again about expectancy. The same expectancy that they took against the Falcons and Minnesota. If you watched the way they played, they expected to win those games. Early on, they weren’t sure that they could win against the Falcons, but as the game went on, the expectancy level began to rise. When they got to Minnesota, it was clear that they expected to win that football game. If they go into this game with that same expectation and belief, they’re gonna walk away champions.

To Doug Pederson I say… continue to be who you’ve evolved into being this year. Stay aggressive. Continue to put your players in a position to win. Believe that the moment won’t become too big for them. I think what happens with teams when they play against New England is they realize that they can play for a while and then they begin to tighten up at a certain point and when they tighten up, that’s the door that opens. They get conservative. They get away from doing what it is they do best, and that’s the door that opens just wide enough for the Patriots to march in and come back.

To Jeffrey Lurie I say… as an owner, you’ve been through ups and downs. Fourteen years with Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, and the Chip Kelly era trying to right the ship. Enjoy this because although this team is set up to be pretty darn good for the next five, six years, who knows when you’ll be able to enjoy this setting, this stage again. Many greats have played this game and have not had the chance to play in the Super Bowl. Many played early in their careers and chased it their entire career. I played for 13 years, and I finally got to one in my 12th year and lost. The realization that I might never win one was monumental at that point. I was just fortunate enough in my 13th year to have an opportunity to go back again and win one. So, being in this seat, being in this situation doesn’t happen all that often. Enjoy it.

To Tom Brady I say… get your dancing shoes on because our defensive line is coming to get you. He’s had a great run in my estimation, and in my personal opinion, I think given the game in which he now plays in, he’s the greatest to ever play. But it’s time for a new sheriff. It’s time for a changing of the guard, and like I said earlier, I believe that the Philadelphia Eagles have all the intangibles to slide Tom Brady a little agony of defeat.

To the city of Boston I say… great run. This will be your eighth Super Bowl. You’ve already pocketed five of them, ya know. Hey, great run, but it’s Philly’s time. It’s Philly’s turn.

The last time I visited Boston was… wow. A while ago. It was when I was working for the NFL network. It’s crazy because I think there was an Eagles-New England game that was coming up, so the network sent me to Philadelphia and then to New England to do a piece on that game.

Photos courtesy of Seth Joyner.

When I was younger I wanted to be… I never wanted to be anything but a football player. When I was ten years old I wrote an essay that said, “When I grow up I’m going to be a professional football player, and I’m going to buy my mom a new house and a new car.” I lost my mom five years ago. I foud the lettter when I went through some of her stuff.

The one thing I miss about playing… is I like to say I miss two days, actually. I miss gameday and I miss payday. [Laughs] But at the other end of the spectrum, what I miss is the comraderie with just being around the guys. There’s nothing quite like that. When you have 53 guys — some guys you’re closer to than others — but that friendship, that bond, that brotherhood that’s created, that locker room, there’s nothing like that in the world.

If I were on the field on Sunday I’d… soak it up. I hope the players embrace and enjoy. I understand what this means to the city of Philadelphia. This is a monumental point in time for this team and for this city, primarily, because this city has been hungering for this. The Flyers have won championships. The Sixers have won championships. The Phillies have won championships. The last time the Eagles won anything was 1960, 57 years ago, and it wasn’t even a Super Bowl. We’ve been to two Super Bowls and lost them both. These fans will absolutely lose it when this team comes home with this Lombardi trophy. It is something that they will be able to feel good about forever. This gives the city a ten year reprieve that we’ve at least got one because every other team in the Northeast corridor, from Maine to Virginia, has multiple. We’re the only city that sits within that corridor, even if you want to include Pittsburgh in that window, that doesn’t have a Super Bowl championship.

On Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares”… I don’t know. I’m a little old school. I use to put my walkman on with my headset. I had my own music that I’d listen to. I had one song that, once I got in the locker room, I’d put it on repeat. I get it. It’s a different age. Rap became something big when I was growing up and leaving high school and going to college. It was Sugarhill Gang and all of that. I’ve got a teenager now so, when I hear that music it’s like, what are they even saying? But this is the time of the millennial. The same way I like the music that I like for my pregame deal, this is what they got. And if it works for them as a team, as a group, and if they’re unified and grooving to that before a game starts or being introduced Super Bowl-wise than hey, great, just as long as they’re together.

The underdog theme and mentality… is something I can identify with. I was an eighth round draft pick and in today’s world there are only seven rounds in the draft. No one expected me, when I was drafted, to be much of anything. However, I always tell people that I think I was just a training camp body. They bring you in for six weeks, feed you, send you a little bit of money, and then they send you on your way. They really didn’t expect me to excel.

When I see the team embrace this whole underdog thing, to me it says, the world is doubting us and we are systematically going to prove the world wrong. For the first time in the history of the playoffs, in the history of the NFL, a number one seed with home field advantage were underdogs at home, two games in a row. That’s unprecedented so I get why this has become their mantra. Everyone wants to look at them and say, well you guys are OK. You guys are alright. But, Super Bowl champions? NFC East? NFC Conference Champions? Nah, you’re 13-3, but you’re really not that good. Oh, Carson Wentz is hurt? They’ll be one and done. This team is thumbing their nose at the world and saying as long as we believe in ourselves, you don’t need to believe in us. A majority of their fans believe but on the national level people aren’t giving them a shot. But look at this team. Right now they sit on the eve of being Super Bowl 52 champions, and I expect for them to close the deal.