The Super Bowl waiting game

It seemed like it would last forever, at least long enough for the Eagles to bring home a Lom­bardi Trophy and set off the kind of party in Phil­adelphia that the en­tire world would talk about. 

It seemed like it would last forever, at least long enough for the Eagles to bring home a Lom­bardi Trophy and set off the kind of party in Phil­adelphia that the en­tire world would talk about. 

It would be a cel­eb­ra­tion so breath­less and lov­ing that, well, the City of Broth­erly and Sis­terly Love would be revered.

The Eagles reached four con­sec­ut­ive NFC Cham­pi­on­ship Games from 2001 to 2004, and reached a fifth in the 2008 sea­son. Only once, in the 2004 cam­paign, did the Eagles ad­vanced to the Su­per Bowl, where they lost to the New Eng­land Pat­ri­ots, 24-21.

A city cried.

The hope was that the Eagles had es­tab­lished something — they call it a “pro­cess” these days in the world of sports — and that the for­mula for win­ning was something the Eagles could sus­tain for years and years to come.Oth­er than the 2008 play­off run and one-and-done play­off ap­pear­ances in 2009, 2010 and 2013, however, the Eagles haven’t been a Lom­bardi Trophy threat. 

They haven’t won a play­off game since 2008, when Donovan McNabb was the quar­ter­back and Tra Thomas and Jon Run­yan played of­fens­ive tackle and Bri­an West­brook was still mak­ing plays and, gulp, Kev­in Kolb was the quar­ter­back of the fu­ture.

Those are old men now, by foot­ball stand­ards. Times have changed, right? 

We’re still wait­ing. We’re still hop­ing.

Now, an­oth­er Su­per Bowl has come and gone. In­stead of watch­ing with a fevered pitch and a lump in our throats, we stuffed our faces with chips and dip and drank our so­das and cri­tiqued Lady Gaga for her half­time per­form­ance, as if it really mattered.

No Su­per Bowl. No parade.

We’re still wait­ing.

The good news is that every team in the NFL is 0-0 in 2017. And that the NFC East is the mu­sic­al chairs of NFL di­vi­sions, with no back-to-back win­ner since the Eagles in ’03-’04. 

Worst to first in the league hap­pens all the time.

With that, there is the real­ity side of it, too. The Eagles have a lot of work to do. They need weapons to breathe ex­plos­ive­ness in­to the of­fense around fran­chise quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz. They need more pres­sure on the quar­ter­back, bet­ter cov­er­age in the sec­ond­ary and bet­ter tack­ling for the Jim Schwartz-led de­fense.

While the NFC East is an open book, the level of com­pet­i­tion is hopped up. Con­sider the rise of the Dal­las Cow­boys, the re­si­li­ency of Eli Man­ning and the ex­plos­ive Gi­ants passing game and re­vamped de­fense, and the po­tency of Wash­ing­ton and its weapons.

The Eagles need to be good, really good, in this off­season.

It’s a quiet time right now for the team, as they at­tend the col­lege all-star games, dig deep at the late-Feb­ru­ary Scout­ing Com­bine and line up their plan of at­tack for free agency when it opens in early March. The play­ers are scattered about around the globe, en­joy­ing their off­season. The coaches and per­son­nel de­part­ment are pre­par­ing for a hugely im­port­ant peri­od of roster im­prove­ment.

We’re wait­ing again, with every bit of hope. Wentz looks to be the real deal, and teams with su­per­star quar­ter­backs in the NFL are the ones pound­ing on the door of the Su­per Bowl year after year. 

That Su­per Bowl party? It’s been planned for dec­ades.

It’s go­ing to be the party of the cen­tury. All the city of Phil­adelphia needs is a reas­on to go crazy, get nuts and let loose with all the en­ergy that we’ve been sav­ing since 1960, when the Eagles last won a world cham­pi­on­ship.

Is 2017 the year? The next couple of months are go­ing to tell a lot about the foot­ball team and its im­me­di­ate chances to win it all.


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