I’m a masochist.
I must be, since I continue to come back to that which causes me so much pain.
That’s right: I’m an Eagles fan. And with each passing year, I find myself cursing the team, then returning for more, then cursing the team, then returning for more…
In the past, I could justify my misguided actions: injuries, new players taking time to gel, Andy Reid’s proven track record of being almost successful. If there was any sliver of hope, I latched onto it for dear life.
But now, the inevitable death of an era looms, and like a mourner, my emotions have evolved–from denial to rage to depression and, finally, to acceptance.
I’ve accepted that the 2012 version of the Eagles is really no different from the 2011 installment, one which carried the highly ironic moniker of “Dream Team” on its back, yet quickly morphed into a nightmare.
The acceptance phase has been made easier by a collection of players who drop the ball as much with their comments off the field as they do with the actual ball on the field.
Jason Babin apparently has bionic ears to hear remarks from fans in the stands, yet hasn’t picked up a hard count at the line well enough to get a sack past the month of September.
Nnamdi Asomugha is approaching historic "bust" status, yet still finds time to throw his defensive coordinator under the bus, as if his schemes were what's been causing him to miss tackles and get burned on fly patterns.
(In hindsight, Juan Castillo should be grateful to have been pushed off this Titanic before it completely sank).
Michael Vick has repeatedly said that he'll let his play speak for itself. Unfortunately,he has.
In a word, this team is unlikeable. And it trickles from the top down.
For 14 years, Andy Reid has frustrated his fan base by making the same mistakes and rattling off the same hollow mea culpas–verbatim each time–afterward.
His condescending approach to the media and stubborn refusal to commit to strategies obvious enough to every Tuesday Morning Quarterback (check how ridiculous their record is when they run more than they pass) may have been amusing fodder for a while, but has now simply grown stale.
Sadly, a team which once boasted such humble, all-heart characters such as Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook, Jeremiah Trotter and Troy Vincent, now has a cast of characters who seem to carry the same sense of entitlement as their boss.
Most frustrating was that we were willing to grant them a mulligan. Only those with the darkest of souls (perhaps those meanies in the stands Babin was referring to) would not give Reid a period of reprieve upon his son’s tragic death in the offseason. But good will and benefits of the doubt fade over time when that temporary amnesty is not used to advantage.
But let’s climb to the top of the totem pole for a moment, as it’s not fair to lay blame entirely on a stubborn child when there is an enabling parent involved.
Jeffrey Lurie, by all accounts a nice guy, is also loyal to a fault when it comes to his head coach. And by invoking the most passive-aggressive, ambiguous ultimatum known to mankind after last season’s debacle, he has personally opened the lid to this can of worms.
Instead of replacing the lid, it’s time to just throw the can away.
Fans were reluctantly accepting of the frustrations of another Groundhog Day, when meaningful January contests predictably fell short. They are less accepting when witnessing meaningless November contests where the players go through the motions, resulting in a 3-5 record that was three plays away from being 0-8.
So at the halfway point, we know what we have. There is no “A” for effort, just one for arrogance and another for apathy. Soon, the championship drought will tick upward to 53. And it’s quite possible that, throughout more than a half-century-plus futility, this particular squad could be the least desirable of them all.
Yet, with all that said, I will find myself in my normal spot in front of the television next week, hoping against hope, cursing the screen, then returning for more… cursing the screen, then returning for more…
Because, you know, I’m a masochist.