There isn't another franchise in sports that the national media has more misconceptions about than the Philadelphia Eagles.
Every franchise has their fair share of misconceptions. Whether it's that the Raider's fans in the Black Hole are all clinically insane or that 99% of all Cowboys fans have never been to Dallas.
Making assumptions of a loud and unruly minority of fans for a franchise is just unfair for any member of the media or even just a fan to do.
When Juan Castillo was promoted from Eagles' offensive line coach to defensive coordinator, most Eagles' fans probably thought it was a joke. I admit I was pretty shocked myself.
Juan Castillo had been the Eagles offensive line coach since 1998. Castillo does have four years experience as a defensive coordinator, but for a high school in Kingsville, Texas. Why would a coach who hadn't even coached on the defensive side of the ball since 1989 be the ideal candidate for the Eagles in 2011?
Because as Andy Reid put it "There are certain guys that you give the confidence that they can coach anything". But don't take Reid's word for it, the high praise didn't stop with Reid. Leslie Frazier, the Minnesota Vikings former defensive coordinator and current head coach, was a former colleague of Castillo and Reid in Philly in the early 2000's. Frazier spoke of the confidence that former Eagles's defensive coordinator Jim Johnson had in Castillo "I can remember Jim Johnson and our defensive staff putting our game plans together and we’d always get together with Juan just to make sure they were sound in terms of pressures and blitzes. Sometimes, I felt like he was on our defensive staff.
That's the thing about Juan Castillo, he has a great passion for the game and he flat out knows how to coach football. He never had any experience as an offensive lineman, but still had several Pro Bowlers during his tenure as Eagles' line coach.
The other thing to consider about Castillo as a defensive coordinator is you can't construct a great defensive game plan without having a great idea of what the offense will try to do. The advantage Castillo will have will be his knowledge of offensive protection schemes.
The assumption that Castillo was a terrible hire as our defensive coordinator is just ignorant. He is a great football coach, and will bring the Eagles closer to the level of defense they played under the great Jim Johnson.
The three straight NFC Championship game losses by the Eagles in the early 2000s was very difficult to stomach for Eagles fans. But were those three teams, The St. Louis Rams, the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, really that inferior to the Eagles?
I don't think so. All three losses were heartbreaking. The 2001 loss in St. Louis was certainly no upset. The Rams were still "The Best Show on Turf" at the time. Donovan McNabb had a chance to win the game late, but the Rams were clearly the better team.
2002 was what the local Philadelphia media sill calls as their year. The Raiders were the AFC representative in the Superbowl and we all know how will that went. We had the Tampa Bay Bucs at home with the temperature below freezing, which the Bucs never win in cold weather. The Bucs offense was mediocre and the Eagles had learned from their previous NFC Championship failure.
The thing that people didn't realize and still don't respect about the 2002 Bucs is that their defense was pretty epic. Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Ronde Barber, John Lynch and Derrick Brooks were all All Pros in 2002. The Eagles didn't choke a give me type game, they just got beat but a much better team.
The 2003 season finished was another tough loss in a NFC Championship game, but still wasn't to a far lesser team. The Carolina Panthers beat the Eagles 14-3 in a game where the Panthers defensive line simply dominated the game. The pressure the Panthers front four created help them force four turnovers and five sacks.
The three straight losses in those title games still hurts for Eagles fans, but they certainly weren't to mediocre teams.
To be a great head coach in this league you have to win the Superbowl. Having said that, Andy Reid is at least a good football coach.
When Andy Reid took over as head coach in 1999, he took over a train wreck of a team. They needed help all over the offense and the defense needed a lot of work as well. The Eagles didn't have a franchise player to hang their hat on at either side of the ball. In just Reid's second year the Eagles won a playoff game.
Actually, in nine of Reid's 12 seasons, the Eagles have made the playoffs. Reid has won seven NFC East Division titles and five trips to the NFC Title game. Reid hasn't won the Superbowl. The criticism that Reid hasn't won the big one is fair, but does that really make him a bad coach?
Reid has won 118 games as Eagles head coach and has become an quarterback guru. The Eagles have been a top 10 passing attack every season since 2004 despite having the same quarterback start every single game only once in that span.
It's time to give Andy Reid his due, he is a good football coach. When he finally wins the big one, he will truly become a great coach.
Donovan McNabb was one of the most beloved Eagles players of all time. On October 3rd, 2010, this was proven to be true.
Last October, McNabb made his return to Philly, this time as a division rival starting for the Washington Redskins. I was at that game and the reception McNabb received during the Redskins players introduction was one that I will never forget.
The week leading up to this game, the national media took it's shots at Philadelphia fans. Most national sportswriters were writing about how the Eagles fans were awful for booing McNabb before the reunion even took place.
Jemele Hill, a writer for ESPN, wrote a piece on that very subject five days before the game. "What they never deserved was a classy quarterback who changed the course of that franchise." "If there was any justice the final score would be Washington 31 Philadelphia 0".
When Donovan McNabb was introduced before the game the crowd erupted. I saw a man in the front row shouting at the top of his lungs "DONOVAN, THANK YOU!" Sure, there were a few boos and some anti McNabb signs, but probably about 95% of Eagles fans embraced him and still have love for him.
The notion that McNabb was disrespected during his time in Philadelphia is insane. It's quite the opposite. I believe most Eagles fans will root for McNabb this coming season, so long as he stays far away from the NFC East.
We've all heard this a million times, "Philadelphia fans are awful, I mean they booed Santa Claus." Is there anything more irritating for die-hard fans in Philly than the assumption that Eagles fans are classless or they are just a bunch of boo birds?
The thing that always gets brought up about 20 times a season, usually by a national sportswriter who has run out of ideas, is the booing of Santa Claus. You ask most people outside of Philadelphia what year that famous incident took place and they probably have no clue. Well here's a quick history lesson to clear some things up about that fateful afternoon.
The year was 1968, The Eagles started the season off at 0-11, by far the worst in the league. The silver lining, O.J. Simpson was the top prospect in the upcoming draft and the Eagles were on pace to get the No. 1 overall pick. All that was wrecked when the team won their next game, thus forfeiting the top pick in the draft.
Joe Kuharich was the Eagles head coach and general manager. Kuharich was the genius who decided it was a good idea to trade Sonny Jurgensen for Norm Snead. Snead finished the season with 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
During the final game of the season, which the Eagles fell to the Vikings finishing 2-12 on the season, there was a Santa Claus pageant during halftime. The fans at Franklin Field decided to vent their frustration out on Santa Claus, but he wasn't the only one. Head coach Joe Kuharich received his fair share of snow balls as well. Eagles fans were just so upset over the horrible 1968 season, and the fat man just happened to be in the way.
Eagles fans are actually the most loyal fans in sports. Forbes magazine did a study on the most die-hard football fans in the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles came out on top. The study used several factors, including season ticket renewal rates (99.7 percent for Eagles fans) and average attendance during the bad years, combined with the good years.
Eagles fans might be known for booing, but it's more of a sign that they care. They let the players know they expect better from them, kind of like a coach chewing out a star player after a bad play. Regardless of the team's performance, they continue to show up.
I'll leave the skeptics with one final thought. When was the last time an Eagles game was blacked out in Philly due to lack of fans in attendance?