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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Why The Eagles Can Win the Super Bowl

Bush League thinks that the Eagles can win, and so do I.

Bush League touts four major reasons, and I won't repeat them here, but I will give you a few of mine.

1. I recall the mid-1980's, when a 19 year-old phenom (okay, he might have been 20) broke in with the New York Mets. The kid could really pitch; his name -- Dwight Gooden. All spring long the talk was how invincible Gooden was, until SF Giants OF Chili Davis came out with his much-quoted line, "He ain't God, man." Well, Gooden had one great 1986, for sure, but there were thsoe who could hit him, and various forms of kryptonite (some self-inflicted) wounded his career. The analogy isn't perfect, but the Patriots, while outstanding, are not invincible. You'll recall it took two very late field goals from the very clutch Adam Vinatieri to win both of their Super Bowls under Bill Belichick -- it wasn't as though the Patriots blew their opponents out of the stadium in either game. They are beatable. Just ask St. Louis and Carolina.

2. Bill Belichick is an excellent coach, but I would stack up Andy Reid and his coordinators (Brad Childress and Jim Johnson) against Belichick, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. Childress, like Weis and Crennel, will get the big job someday, and Johnson would have were he not in his 60's already. To use a golf analogy, New England is the leader in the clubhouse -- someone has to take the title away from them. But don't think that the coaching differential is that great.

3. The Eagles are a far better team than they were last year, even without Terrell Owens, Chad Lewis, Shawn Andrews, N.D. Kalu, Jon Ritchie and Correll Buckhalter, all of whom are on the injured list or out, and even without Duce Staley, Troy Vincent, Carlos Emmons and Bobby Taylor, all of whom are gone. You'll remember how all the pundits questioned how the Eagles could let Taylor and Vincent go (excuse me, Vincent and Taylor, as fans loved Vincent and tolerated Taylor). Well, Lito Sheppard is going to the Pro Bowl, and Sheldon Brown has played great. Remember, Brian Westbrook missed last year's NFC Championship game, and Donovan McNabb is a different player today. Also, in last year's NFC Championship game, the Eagles had only 5 healthy defensive linemen. This year, they have about 9, and one of them is Jevon Kearse. And, naturally, there is Jeremiah Trotter, who made the Pro Bowl even though he only started his first game 9 weeks into the season. That's not to say, of course, that the Patriots aren't one year better or formidable; they certainly are. But people have underestimated this Eagles team all year.

4. Relaxed. Did you notice the happiness but the calm of Donovan McNabb and Brian Dawkins after the Atlanta game? Yes, they were happy, but both said that they still have a job to do. And they weren't nervous about it; they looked like men with a purpose. Of course, you can counter that all New England does is go out there and take care of business, and their record proves that. But it may be that the biggest hurdle for this Eagles' team to win a Super Bowl was getting over the hump that was their conference's championship game. Time will tell.

The best teams in both conferences made it to the Super Bowl.

And both are good enough to win it.


Blogger Corey said...

I think you and I are the only ones outside of Philly who feel that way. Some people are saying NE wins by 17-20 points...I just don't see it.

2:50 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Big wins in the Super Bowl are not that rare. The reason for blowouts is that once a team falls behind, it adopts a high-risk, high-reward strategy of going for broke. Because the team in the lead is an excellent team, the strategy usually fails, and there are more interceptions and big plays. Why? Because the trailing team has to go for it and is already losing, so what's the difference if you lose by 27 or by 10?

Many are drinking the sports MSM's Kool-Aid about New England, and they're treating the Eagles as they're rubes who play on a different plane. If I'm Andy Reid, I like this treatment just fine, because it enables me to fly under the radar screen. If the Eagles win, people will recognize, once and for all, what a good coach Andy Reid is.

11:14 AM  

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