I always feel bittersweet towards the end of August entering September. Of course there’s that natural inner child that always gets despondent when the summer comes to an end and school time is about to rear its ugly head, despite that I’m 24 years old and have been out of school for two years. It’s almost programmed inside all of us, at least me.
But at the same time, football is back, I’ve completed nearly half a dozen fantasy drafts, and there’s always excitement for opening kickoff.
But now that I’m older and out of school, that pit in my stomach has been replaced with the pending suspense and possible doom that will be the Philadelphia Eagles' season. Get burned enough times touching the stove and you become conditioned. However, my problem is that in this case, I love touching the stove despite the consequences.
For the most part throughout the past 12 years, the Eagles have been a successful regular season team. Naturally they’ll lose a head-scratcher game or two, or three, but I’m pretty sure you can say that about any of the other 31 teams in the league.
But their problem is systemic and has been for quite some time now. The players and coaches have changed (despite Andy Reid), but it seems to be in their DNA to underachieve annually. Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Todd Pinkston, Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins have all been replaced with different players, but the results remain the same.
You come to expect this throughout the years, but the consequences never cease to induce nausea. The infamous Ronde Barber game in 2003, losing to an underdog Carolina in 2004, blowing their best opportunity in 25 years against the Patriots in 2005, letting Kurt Warner slice through their defense like a knife in 2008, getting blown out by Dallas in 2009, and one underthrown game-ending interception by Michael Vick in 2010.
It comes with the territory.
The roster is fairly talented and deep in respective areas. Their rookie draft class has also held up fairly well since April, with three of them earning starting jobs in Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin.
That’s all fine and dandy, but it always comes down to the most important position on the field.
Michael Vick is coming off of a turnover-laden year and an injury-prone preseason, and he heads the team in a Super Bowl or bust year. All of my insides want the guy to succeed, but there are obvious doubts as well.
Can he stay healthy? Can he limit turnovers? How will the offensive line play without starting left tackle Jason Peters? What happens if third-round rookie Nick Foles has to take over for an extended period of time? These are all grim, yet realistic, concerns.
But again, it comes with the territory.
That’s who this team is and it’s who they’ll always be. The brain farts are imminent, especially with a tough six-game stretch in the early part of the season against the Giants, Steelers, Lions, Falcons, Saints and Cowboys consecutively.
The expectations are through the roof and everyone in the Novacare complex knows so. Andy Reid may be one more 8-8 or worse season away from not having a job. You don’t have to tell anyone what this season means: fans, players or coaches.
I’ll be ready for it, watching and rooting despite the consequences that may loom four months from now. You have to be a glutton for punishment with this team, and I’m happy to say that I wear it as a badge of honor.
I’ve got the stove on and my hand ready to go for the next 16 weeks. Bring it.