It may seem surprising that someone who is 16-2 picking Eagles games this season is admitting to being wrong about the Birds.
My record this year may be outstanding, but I certainly doubted a lot about this franchise before this dream run.
Looking back at many of my pieces over the past two years for this website, there are tons of questionable opinions and many laughable takes.
Thus, on the week before the Eagles embark on Minneapolis for the Super Bowl LII frenzy, I give you a mea culpa of silly headlines, off base opinions and flat out misses from a person who was convinced a trip to Super Sunday wasn’t close for your beloved Birds.
Sorry, Doug Pederson
First off, before I began writing for Philly Influencer, I publicly stated and wrote the Eagles were “doomed” if they hired Doug Pederson to replace Chip Kelly. I most certainly felt Kelly needed to go, but it seemed smart to bring in experience rather than go with a wild card again. Not to mention, Pederson’s tenure as Eagles quarterback in 1999 wasn’t good and he did nothing to stand out as the Birds’ quarterbacks coach or the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Pederson is a phenomenal play caller, decision-maker and leader, while also being brilliant in the NFC Championship win over the Vikings.
Yup, that’s right, brilliant.
I don’t use that word very often. He should be the NFL’s Coach of the Year over Sean McVay and Doug Marrone.
Sorry, Lane Johnson
When Lane Johnson was suspended a second time for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing policy, to me, it seemed smart to trade the talented, yet unreliable right tackle to a non-NFC East opponent. One more suspension, and Johnson would be banned for two years, which means the Eagles would need to move on anyway.
Johnson, much to the benefit of the Eagles, is staying out of trouble and solidifying himself as the best right tackle in football.
Trading Johnson would’ve been a colossal mistake. Good for the Eagles that no one listened to me.
Sorry, Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman
This column is by far the most ridiculous headline and hot take of them all.
As the Birds were winding down another year without any playoffs, featuring a team that featured no viable offensive weapon for Carson Wentz and holes on defense, I wrote their future is the least promising of any Philadelphia professional sports team.
Jeffrey Lurie instructed Howie Roseman to hire a top personnel guy, which he did in Joe Douglas. The outstanding combination of Roseman and Douglas signed veterans Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long, among others, while traded for Jay Ajayi in season.
Eagles management stepped up their game and silenced those, like myself, who felt urgency was lacking.
One more win solidifies their excellence in Philadelphia sports history, and obviously their future was more fruitful than the other three teams in town.
Excuse me, my serving of crow is getting cold and I most certainly will own up and eat every bite.
Before I forget…
• Mea culpas aside, the Eagles NFC Championship beat down of the Vikings was one of the greatest games and victories in franchise history. In addition to Pederson, Nick Foles was brilliant as well. After allowing an opening drive touchdown, the defense made plays like I insisted they needed to. It was an outstanding win that will be remembered for a long time. However, it will lose its luster, and possibly to some, mean nothing if the Birds don’t finish the job February 4th. More on this next week, but the Eagles need to beat the Patriots in Minneapolis. This drought must end for the psyche of Philadelphia sports fans.
• Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made a fool of himself talking about the Eagles at the Senior Bowl. He confuses Foles with Kevin Kolb and appears to also mix in Nick Folk. An ill informed Jones makes a deep Birds postseason run even sweeter.
• You’ll learn over the next week and half how annoying Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is when it comes to public relations. Belichick’s reputation is to say absolutely nothing at press conferences. Truth is though, the man speaks much longer than just about everyone else in the NFL. Head coach and coordinator press conferences usually run 10 to 15 minutes long, and may come close to 20 on a rare occasion. Belichick talked for 30 minutes Wednesday in New England, and yes, he did so in a monotone manner throughout. Belichick spoke very highly of the Eagles defensive front, specifically Fletcher Cox. Truth is, Belichick does this with a lot of teams, even the Jets. Hopefully for the Eagles, Cox doesn’t let the compliment get to his head, and the underdog, disrespected, chip on his shoulder mentality maintains for Super Bowl LII.
• Last week I wrote how the other teams in town should be thanking the Eagles for taking the attention away from some of their downfalls. Well, those two active squads are taking that privacy and running with it full steam ahead. Heading into Thursday night, the 76ers are winners of nine out of 12 and the Flyers nine of 11. Meantime, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are poking their nose in on the Yu Darvish situation. Hopefully these positive developments continue when the spotlight is off the Eagles, whenever that may be.
• Kudos to Sixers head coach Brett Brown for calling out his team after their embarrassing loss in Memphis Monday. The signature play of many head scratchers was when Robert Covington grab the ball after Ben Simmons poked it loose from the Grizzlies in the final seconds down two, decided to go away from the basket and shoot an off balance fade away three with a hand in his face, even though there was enough time on the clock to set something up. The reason I give props to Brown is because his public frustration was followed by an excellent performance from Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric Wednesday against Chicago. This just goes to show that Brown is a good coach, and by the way, his team is playing well lately, minus the clunker in Memphis.
• Congratulations to former Phillies first baseman Jim Thome, who deservedly made the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try. Thome didn’t spend much of his career in Philadelphia and I’d be shocked if he didn’t go into Cooperstown as a Cleveland Indian, but when the Phils brought the slugger to town before the 2003 season, it was a message that Phillies baseball is going to be legitimate again. It was no longer a joke. The franchise finally featured a player of national notoriety. For a kid who loved Phillies baseball when it wasn’t the cool thing to do, Thome made it acceptable. Blocking Ryan Howard or not, which obviously wasn’t his fault, I tip my ball cap to “Gentleman Jim,” a great Phillie, even if only for a brief time.