The only thing I feel after yesterday’s Eagles game is disappointment. I never thought they would have an easy time with Arizona but I did think they would win. They had a lot of chances and there were a lot of mistakes that they made that could have turned things around for them. (The refs also missed a couple of real killers.) Greg Lewis’s drop, McNabb throwing behind Baskett, McNabb underthrowing Baskett, the defense in the entire first half. To be fair Warner was outstanding and the Card’s playcalling really kept the Eagles defense off balance for the first half, but it is a disappointment. In my opinion they probably have two more contending years with this nucleus. They’ll need to figure out what to do with Runyan and Tra Thomas, but they shouldn’t lose anyone else, I don’t think. I’d like to see them add some size in their secondary, upgrade their skill position offensive depth and get a tight end who can block. There is no reason they can’t be back here next year, but after 5 trips to the NFC championship and only one win to show for it time is running out. Below I list the four losses in order of disappointment:
1. 2002 loss to Tampa Bay. This is the gold standard of devastating, frustrating and disappointing losses. They had beaten Tampa convincingly something like four times in a row, including knocking them out of the playoffs the previous year and beating them earlier that season. In the franchise’s history Tampa had never won a game in temperatures below 35 or 40 degrees. It was the last ever game at Veteran’s Stadium. Philly’s defense was dominant that year. Tampa had shown a definite propensity for folding under pressure. For these reasons it simply never occurred to anyone that Tampa could come in and win the game. Add the fact the Eagles got out to a 10-0 lead pretty quickly and it seemed like this would be our day. A long pass to Joe Jurevicious got Tampa back into the game. I can still see Levon Kirkland chugging along trying to catch up to him. Releasing Trotter in the offseason hadn’t really been felt until that one play. I am still convinced that if they play that game 100 time the Eagles win 95 of them. This one still hurts. Devastating.
2. 2009 loss to Arizona. On top of everything: the Cardinals? Really!? The Cardinals!?!?
3. 2003 loss to Carolina. The Eagles were battered this year. Westbrook was out. The game before was the famous 4th and 26 play that saved the game against Green Bay. (See below). If not for this play and the subsequent Brett Favre meltdown, the Eagles don’t even make it to the championship game. Green Bay, Ahman Green in particular, pretty much dominated the Eagles, but McNabb brought them back and brought it into OT. This Eagles team had about four games that year that, in the third quarter, I saw no way for them to win and they did.
Also, Carolina was a good team and they were playing well at the time. The killer here was two-fold:
a. We had lost the previous two NFC Championship games and we were getting anxious. (more anxious than usual.)
b. The way we lost. This will forever be known as the “Todd Pinkston played like a pussy” game. Now, I was never as down on Pinkston as a lot of Eagles fans. I always appreciated him for what he was. A fast receiver with pretty good hands. Good for a long play but certainly not one to go over the middle or make a tough catch in traffic. In this game, however, he let 5’7″ Ricky Manning, Jr. push him around like a little girl, causing, I believe, three McNabb interceptions that at the very least Pinkston should have been able knock away from Manning, if not outright catch. Pinkston was visibly intimidated even though he had at least 4 inches on Manning and was just as fast if not faster. His play in this game single-handedly caused Reid to trade for Terrell Owens in the upcoming offseason. Pinkston redefined the term “coming up small.”
4. 2001 loss to the Rams. This game was really OK. The Rams were the defending Super Bowl Champs and everyone figured they would win it again. (They did wind up losing to the Patriots). Marshall Faulk was hands-down the best player in football at the time. The Eagles actually led at the half mainly because Mike Martz forgot that he had the league’s best player in the game on his team. In the second half he remembered. The Eagles still hung tough but the Rams were just the better team. It was a tremendous accomplishment just to get there that year.
I guess we should know better as Philadelphia sports fans then to think we could actually have two teams in the finals in one year. What do we think this is? 1983?
Mitchell Rothbardt http://www.mitchrothbardttraining.com/ (coming soon)
P.S. If you want me to email you whenever I update, please enter your email in the box to the right that says “Subscribe via email”, put your email in the comments section (you don’t have to register to comment) or send me an email at email@example.com with “Subscribe” in the subject line. You don’t want to miss anything!