As the 2011 season comes to a close Sunday at Lincoln Financial field, there is no doubt that it was a disappointing season for the Eagles. The team came into the season with Super Bowl expectations and limped out to a 1-4 start.
They need a win Sunday just to finish 8-8 and no matter what happens, they will be watching the postseason instead of playing in it. The poor season has led many fans and media members to call for the firing of Andy Reid. It seems like that will not happen at this point.
So the real question is: what could have been? Even with all the struggles, what would have happened if Michael Vick stayed healthy all year? Vick missed three entire games, plus got knocked out of two other games early. The Eagles were winning both games when Vick got hurt.
It is pretty safe to say if Vick had stayed healthy all year, the Eagles would be the NFC East Champions. There is no doubt that they would have beaten Atlanta in Week 2 if Vick did not get hurt. There is a chance they would have beaten the Giants as well, as they had the lead when Vick went down.
The really sad part is that the NFC East has turned out to be so close. If the Eagles had won just one of those three games (Atlanta, Seattle or the Giants) the Eagles would now control their own destiny and would be able to win the division if they beat the Redskins this Sunday.
It is almost a certainty that if Vick did not get hurt, they would be in the playoffs, even with a disappointing record. 9-7 would have won the division. If you get in the playoffs, anything can happen.
Things could have been so different if Vick stayed healthy, or the Eagles had found a way to win just one more game. That is the really aggravating part of the 2011 season for Eagles fans.
This season was a disappointment and nothing will change that. Andy Reid will likely be back next season with his job on the line. In order to keep his job, the Eagles will have to win the division and likely go deep into the playoffs.
Can they do it? Michael Vick staying healthy will be a good start to reaching that goal.