To preface this article, I would like to note that certain teams usually have a characteristic way of dealing with potential problems or general business matters. I could mention many teams that have gone about potential problems the wrong way, including the Eagles during the 2005 season. The Bengals are also a good example (in my opinion, at least), but these things generally have to do with cap space and who’s in charge and not so much with the organization’s tendencies.
As for business matters, every team has a unique approach.
The teams that have won the Super Bowls are the teams who have done it right, like the Patriots in recent years — which obviously means that many teams have done it wrong. This, of course, includes the Eagles, who have never won a Super Bowl.
A particular example would be when they picked up big-play wide receiver Donte Stallworth just two and a half weeks before the start of the regular season. They made the playoffs and finished with a first place 10-6 record that season, and the Eagles had ample opportunity to give the young Stallworth a new, long contract at the beginning of the 2007 free agency.
Instead, they picked up Kevin Curtis and let Stallworth go. In many ways, Curtis showed he was the better wide receiver, showing good speed off the edge and a consistent ability to get open, as he became just the fourth wide receiver in Eagles history to have 75 or more receptions in a single season. Despite this, his measly 6 touchdowns clearly showed that he was not a No. 1 wide receiver and would play far better in the slot, similar to New England’s Wes Welker.
In Stallworth, however, they had a legitimate down field threat, as shown by his 19.1 yards-per-catch average. In fact, the only other wide receiver in recent Eagles history who was a serious threat in that category was Terrell Owens the year before. All in all, his ability to stretch the field was a huge boon to Donovan McNabb, who had great season in both years.
Imagine the Eagles now with both Stallworth and Curtis. Add Reggie Brown to the mix as your No. 2 guy, and you got solid one, two, and three guys.
Would I be writing this right now if that was the case? Definitely not. Would the exasperated Eagles fans be calling into the local sports radio stations every day to complain about the Eagles’ lack of a No. 1 receiver? Probably not.
But the point is, by adding Curtis and subtracting Stallworth, you’re back to where you started from. One step forward, and one step back.
And that’s how it’s been with the Eagles. Not only over this past decade, but over the long Eagles’ history in which they have never won a Super Bowl. Not one. And this is why. This type of management. This type of strategic absentmindedness, doing nothing when action is required. Going nowhere. Taking no legitimate steps in the right direction. There are no other ways to describe it.
I’m sure it’s not just the Eagles. It’s all the loyal football fan bases whose team always seems to be on the cusp of something great, and then…nothing.
And for the Eagles, it doesn’t end with the Curtis-Stallworth example. It hardly even begins there. The team’s unwillingness to believe that there is something, a piece of something important, missing and go out there and do something about it.
This article was supposed to be about Anquan Boldin, but I’m not even out of the preface yet. So I’ll just end here.
Just a shout-out to all the other tortured fans out there, of any sport, anywhere, who might be going through this kind of anguish. I wish you the best of luck.
And to the Eagles…well, in the grand scope of things, 8-8 isn’t so bad compared to, say, a 1-15 record. And besides, I could go on and say a million great things about Anquan Boldin or why the Eagles’ need him, but would that really matter? Isn’t it just stating the obvious?
You can also read Part One here, and Part Two here.