Eagles Fans Need the Giants to Win the Super Bowl
It is borderline ridiculous that Tom Coughlin, the man who is in the hot seat so often that one expects him to get fired at halftime of some games, is on the precipice of a second Super Bowl championship. Wasn’t it just last season that saw Coughlin firing his headset into the turf as DeSean Jackson completed another epic Giants choke with his punt return “miracle”? You bet it was.
But here is Coughlin, leading the NFC East champs into the Big Game and looking for all the world capable of capturing another title in a span of five years. And here are Eagles fans faced with the prospect of having to suffer the bragging of insufferable Giants supporters yet again. Though it might be as unpalatable as eating hot soft pretzels or that nasty New York-style pizza, Birds backers had better suck it up and root like crazy for their rivals on Sunday.
Granted, cheering for Captain Hoodie and the Forces of Evil isn’t too easy, either. But if the Eagles organization is ever going to stop thinking it’s doing things the right way, the Giants need to win another Super Bowl. That will show there’s a difference between playing good regular season football and assembling a team of leaders and winners that can get it done in the cauldron of January and February. If the Giants win another championship, the Eagles will be faced with the reality that they have not come close to achieving the stated goal of the franchise.
Jeffrey Lurie and the rest of the Kool-Aid chuggers can rationalize all they want about how their team finished on a four-game winning streak and just one game behind the Giants in the standings, but the fact is that the Giants are in the Super Bowl, and Eagles fans are playing Where’s Waldo? with their head coach. The Eagles were a mediocre 8-8 team that finished in the middle of the league and distinguished itself by blowing leads, playing poor football at home and finishing 1-3 against the fetid NFC West. The standings said the Eagles finished one game behind the Giants. Reality shows they are way much further in arrears.
It’s easy to come close. It’s easy to come in second. What separates the winners from the losers, the champions from the also-rans, is the ability to deliver when it matters. The Eagles certainly didn’t do it this year. Last season, when presented with a home playoff game against the Packers, they failed, also. Say what you want about the Giants and their propensity for choking–and I certainly have said plenty over the years–but when they aren’t channeling Mama Cass, they’re winning big.
The Eagles, meanwhile, capture division titles (six in the past 11 years) but don’t finish the job. Blame it on the quarterback, the defense, the coach, the receivers or the front office, but there are no Lombardi trophies in the case at the Nova Care Center. And that’s the bottom line, not to mention the difference between the Giants and Eagles. While Lurie and Reid try to sell us on the fun and excitement of being in the “tournament” and all of the possibilities included therein–especially a packed stadium filling the cash register–the Giants actually make the most of their post-season opportunities when they arise.
After the Eagles smothered Washington on the regular season’s final day, the spin started in earnest about how the team was so dangerous “no one wanted to face it in the playoffs.” Well, thanks to a scattershot approach to defense and losses to the likes of Arizona, Seattle and Buffalo, nobody had to worry about seeing the Birds in the post-season. It’s nice to think about what-ifs. It’s better to live in the real world.
Last year, the Eagles reached the playoffs, while the Giants sat home, pondering how things might have been different if their punter hadn’t messed up. That was fun…until the Packers walked out of Lincoln Financial Field with a win. It’s New York’s turn to laugh, not just because the Giants won the NFC East, but also because they followed it up with wins over Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco. There’s the difference: when Coughlin’s team gets its chance, it takes advantage.
So, why does it happen? There are a number of reasons, beginning under center. Eli Manning has sure had his share of troubles under center, but it’s impossible to impugn his post-season performance. He is 7-3 all-time in the playoffs and Super Bowl. It’s hard to imagine Michael Vick, who has yet to commit to playing Reid’s system the way it should be, posting a record like that. (He is 2-3 in career playoff starts.) Reid is certainly part of the problem. Now without Jim Johnson, whose defensive genius covered up for some of the head coach’s questionable personnel moves, Reid is unable to field a complete team. This season, his insistence on rushing the passer allowed teams to run the ball on the Eagles. In last year’s playoff loss to the Packers, relatively unknown James Starks ran for 123 yards against the Birds. And don’t even get me started on the Eagles’ historically awful red-zone defense.
It adds up to a team that is not built to win when it counts. Eagles brass can crow about four straight wins to close the regular season, but if the Giants beat the Patriots Sunday, they’ll be able to boast about capturing four in a row in the post-season. In case you didn’t know, there’s a big difference between the two feats. One allows you to contrive momentum for the following season. The other produces a parade.
It may not be easy to root for New York Sunday, but Eagles fans should absolutely put aside their historic animosity and cheer for the Giants. If they bring another Super Bowl home, the Birds might just understand that talking about coming close and dreaming of being a formidable playoff opponent mean nothing. It’s about winning, and the Eagles just don’t do enough of that.
So, gulp, Go Giants!
- The next couple weeks are huge for the Sixers. They play six of the next seven at home before heading on the road for seven of eight. Give Doug Collins credit for helping the team speed over the league’s road kill without its two top big men. But the tour of the NBA’s soft underbelly is over, and it’s time for the Sixers to see where they really stand in the league hierarchy.
- I get that the Phillies don’t want to pay a penny of luxury tax, but trading away a valuable component like Wilson Valdez was a mistake. The Phils’ infield isn’t exactly spry, and Valdez can fill in all over the place. Michael Martinez and his collapsing bat are not the answer. Let’s hope we’re not in for another year of weak bench play.
- The way Temple’s playing of late, it’s tough to buy Bruiser Flint’s assertion that his Drexel team is the city’s best. But give the Dragons big credit. They have won nine in a row and 15 of 16. Drexel plays tremendous defense–particularly against the three-point shot – and seems to be more efficient offensively every game. The Dragons are tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association and have serious NCAA aspirations.