The Phillies won the World Series and Philadelphia blew up. All right, so Philly didn’t exactly become engulfed in a hot, fiery inferno like some may have predicted, but a drunken Ray’s fan climbing a stoplight did get hit in the head with a bottle, that was pretty close, I guess.
No the Phillies’ championship didn’t cause the ultimate destruction of Philadelphia and it’s surrounding suburbs (as many Mets fans would have hoped), but it did lift an anvil-sized weight off the shoulders of Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb and the remainder of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles, who have botched four NFC Championship Games and lost one Superbowl in the past 10 years, were long seen as the golden sons of Philadelphia—destined to bring a winner-starved city its first championship trophy in 25 years. The pressure proved pretty hefty for the likes of McNabb, Reid and co. McNabb threw up in the huddle one too many times, Reid ate one too many donuts and the Eagles disappointed a town that had experienced one too many disappointments, time and time again.
As Hamels, Old Charlie and the rest of the World F’ing Champions paraded around Philly, McNabb and Reid were probably in their separate abodes with Grinch-sized grins on their respective faces. No, McNabb wasn’t smiling because his mom finally let him operate heavy machinery, nor was Reid’s grin an indication of the extra pizzas delivered by Domino’s that day. Instead, McNabb and Reid probably sat back that day and let out a sigh of relieve, (Reid’s probably more closely resembled some type of snore) fore they, for the first time in their respective tenure, no longer had the pressure of an entire city weighing so heavily on their backs.
Coupled with an offseason riddled with shake-ups and interesting and dynamic moves, the Eagles are primed and ready to make their most legitimate run at a Superbowl during the Reid/McNabb era.
Yes, the Eagles lost the leadership and hard-hitting play of Philadelphia’s adopted son, Brian Dawkins, and yes the Eagles have some defensive issues, especially within the Linebacker core and the defensive backfield, but, on the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles are as potent and dangerous as any offense in the National Football League.
With the addition of Jeremy Maclin, a player who will undoubtedly need a few years to develop route-running ability, the Eagles will enter the 2009 season with one of the fastest, most defined receiving cores in the NFC.
The steal of the draft, in my opinion, was LeSean McCoy. His versatility and ability to find the holes, will couple well with the Eagles offensive game-plan—let’s just hope the Reid doesn’t decide to go AWOL with the run game and transform the offense into a one dimensional passing machine like he has in the past.
The Eagles will win 13 games next year, dropping a close one to the Giants at Giant Stadium, getting upset by the Panthers in the second week of the season and losing a meaning-less one to the Broncos in Dawkins’ return to Philly.
As for the playoffs, it’s all up for grabs. But the Eagles, without all of that added Philadelphia pressure (who are we kidding, that pressure will still be there), and with the addition of new offense fire power. Will storm through the NFC side of the bracket, eventually edging out the Steelers in a close one. Afterwards Reid will overdose on Krimpets and Champagne.