Let me start by saying that this is not a situation I ever expected to be in regarding the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles. But here we are, nine games into the season, and it's over. Not in a million years did I see this season turning out like this.
Start with an overconfident team who can talk the talk but can't walk the walk. Throw in an enormous amount of pressure on the head coach by the owner. Add the tragic passing of the head coach's son in training camp. And don't forget about early season-ending injuries sustained to Jason Peters and Jason Kelce.
That's not even addressing the defense, which is as "soft as Cottonelle tissue," as ESPN First Take analyst Stephen A. Smith has frequently said. Firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during the bye week was clearly a panic move by head coach Andy Reid, and it hasn't even remotely paid off, as interim coordinator Todd Bowles is clearly overmatched (or perhaps unlucky, as he's faced Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Tony Romo in consecutive weeks).
All that has led to a 3-6 record for the Eagles, which has all but eliminated them from playoff contention. Throw in the potentially season-ending concussion to Michael Vick, and I fully expect the Eagles to finish the season with six wins at the most.
And what would six wins get for this team? Possibly a third-place finish, depending on how the Eagles do in their two games against RGIII and the Washington Redskins. Six wins would likely result in a top ten draft pick, probably around eight or nine overall.
But seven straight losses to end the season could possibly result in the first overall pick for the Eagles. I wouldn't count on it, as the Kansas City Chiefs still have just one win. It's possible though.
So is that what Eagles fans should be rooting for? Losses from now on?
That's a tough call and it's not something I've ever had to deal with as a fan. I'm 22. I don't remember the dark days of Marion Campbell, or the end of the Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes eras. All I can remember is success, and the idea of rooting for my team to lose games is almost inconceivable.
Yet I think that's what I'm hoping for for the remainder of the season: a high draft pick.
For what it's worth, I think a fan needs to have the best interests of his team at heart. The 2012 season is over. I can't think of a single reason why a 5-11 finish would benefit the future of the Philadelphia Eagles more than a 3-13 finish. That's a difference in five draft picks, and that could be the difference between a solid starter and a future Hall of Famer.
Now, am I actually going to watch Eagles games and root for them to lose? No. That would be impossible. Just as an NFL referee is trained to make the correct call regardless of which team he may prefer to win the game, I have trained myself to root for my team to win games.
But it's nice to know that there is a silver lining out there if and when the Eagles continue to struggle for the rest of this season.
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