As we approach Resurrection Sunday, one can’t help as an Eagles fan to think back to November 23, 2008. Following a 36-7 beat down by the Ravens in Baltimore, the Eagles season was all but left for dead.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb was replaced at halftime in that game by Kevin Kolb, leaving the team’s future at the position in question. Throughout the Philadelphia region, the mindset was that the season was essentially over and many changes were on the way.
As everyone knows, the Eagles “dead” season was brought back to life with a 4-1 finish down the stretch and, with a little assistance, ended in earning a playoff spot. Unfortunately, their season ended about 40 yards away from the end zone in the NFC Championship. As Vice President Joe Banner made clear after the game, some changes would be needed.
So…..what is it that the Eagles need the most to help them receive that coveted Lombardi Trophy? Is it a left tackle? A No. 1 wide receiver? Julius Peppers? Knowshon Moreno?
There’s one thing missing that the Eagles must obtain or they will never win a Super Bowl. It’s the intangibles. A better term: KILLER INSTINCT. The Eagles can address every position of need, but if there’s no attitude adjustment the end result will be the same painful, “We were so close!”
The Eagles have a bad habit of waiting to get in a bad situation before playing up to their potential. They waited until their worst loss of the season against Baltimore to lay their best smack down on a competent opponent, a 48-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals (that 38-3 win over the lowly Rams doesn’t count). They waited until they were 5-5-1 to put together that run down the stretch for a chance at the playoffs.
The most vivid memory of all is that they waited until they were down 24-6 to show that they can compete for a Super Bowl berth. Ultimately, this wasn’t good enough and it won’t be next season either.
The majority of champions, no matter the sport, possess at least one individual that has opponents thinking down the stretch “OH LAWD! HOW ARE WE GONNA STOP HIM?!”
That person is someone who, even though you know what they’re going to do, leaves you with no idea how to stop them. The Celtics have Paul Pierce. The Patriots are always a threat when Tom Brady’s healthy. To this day, nobody wants to skate towards Martin Brodeur in the NHL playoffs.
But, the Eagles don’t even have to look that far to see the model of a truly feared champion…
All they have to do is think about last year’s baseball season and look across the street. After going 48-0 in save opportunities en route to a World Series title, Brad Lidge has gained a huge reputation that the game is pretty much won when he steps on the mound.
Who will be that guy for the 2009 Eagles? Will McNabb be that guy if he gets the proper weaponry? Can Stewart Bradley replace Brian Dawkins as the face of the defense? Who has the will power to put themselves in position to win games so his coach won’t blame himself after a loss?
Whoever it is, they need to step up immediately or the Philadelphia Faithful will be in for another disappointing season.