The Philadelphia Eagles have been on a free agent rampage this offseason. We were all told the Eagles would be aggressive, but no one saw this many big names going to one team. If you haven't seen them already, the Eagles have signed:
Nnamdi Asomugha, CB from Oakland
Cullen Jenkins, DT from Green Bay
Jason Babin, DE from Tennessee
Vince Young, QB from Tennessee
Ronnie Brown, RB from Miami
They also obtained Dominique Rogers-Cromartie in the Kolb trade.
These are monstrous signings, and good for them for getting all this done. This team is looking for no less than a Super Bowl.
However, these signings have drawn comparisons to the NBA's Miami Heat, in both expectations and hype. We all know what the Heat are in the NBA now: villains, favorites, you name it. They have more haters than any other team. I do not expect the Eagles to get this amount of hate, and these slides will explain why I think that way.
No disrespect toward Nnamdi Asomugha. He is a fantastic athlete and the biggest free agent signing. But he is not, and will not be, the face of the NFL. That honor belongs to either Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.
The Heat's LeBron James, on the other hand, is the face of the NBA (I am open to arguments for Kobe, Wade, and others, but LeBron is the face right now). When LeBron was deciding where he was going to play, he was deciding where the face of the NBA and the biggest free agent in history would play. It was like the whole basketball world hung in the balance.
When the Heat gained LeBron, the hate came for a couple reasons, one of them being that the best player changed teams.
This is not the case with Asomugha, as it is not like bringing the entire NFL into Philly.
Another reason the Eagles will not become as hated as the Heat is this: there was no hour-long ESPN special about where Asomugha would play. Or Jenkins. Or Babin. Or for the Kolb trade.
There was no huge deal besides normal media hype about where Asomugha would play. The lack of a phrase such as "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach" saves the Eagles from hate by the stadium load. LeBron's infamous phrase, decision, everything he did that day, brought more haters.
There is not, or at least I hope to God there is not, any burning of Asomugha jerseys in Oakland, or Babin jerseys in Tennessee.
Here's a big reason the Eagles will not be Heat'd.
There was no huge welcome party for the new acquisitions.
What was there? There were press conferences, news articles, and training camp. None of this "YES WE DID", no introducing the new members as the entire team (notice how the announcer introduced the Big 3 as the 2011 Miami Heat).
The Heat, while it was great for them to get the three they did, went a little overboard on the celebrating with the welcome party. I'm sure Philly will enjoy their new players, but not to the extent of THIS. Yet another couple stadiums of haters saved right there.
I know what you're thinking. Let me clarify myself: these acquisitions WILL help the Eagles. There is no way that every single new player they have obtained will suddenly fail. The Eagles have picked up several established veterans. But, here are reasons why things may not work 100%:
Asomugha—I can see no reason why he should not work.
Rodgers-Cromartie—The only issue here is what to do with Asante Samuel. Personally, I believe Dominique should be moved to safety, so they can have all three on the field at once.
Babin—He was actually in Philly in 2009, but he grew into a Pro Bowler in Tennessee with the 4-3 defense. He will have to adjust to a new system for the fourth straight year.
Young—He will be a backup for Vick, so things should be okay as long as he can learn from Vick and improve his attitude from his Titan days.
Jenkins—How much he will produce is a question, along with his health.
Brown—If he can stay healthy, he will be able to produce, but only as a number two back.
Quite frankly, everyone knew LeBron and Bosh would improve Miami by leaps and bounds. It was almost a given that LeBron would be able to help Miami big time for a long time. The hate flocks to the early favorites, and while the Eagles already have that going for them (cough cough Rob Ryan cough), I do not see it getting to Heat level.
I have to say that when Bosh signed with Miami last summer, it was almost a given that LeBron would go to the Heat. They were the team with his best friend and the most talent.
Fun fact: the Big 3 had been together before, in the Olympics. These three saw the opportunity to play together at an Olympic level, so they did. They might have had it in their minds beforehand to get together on a team.
The new Eagles probably had no idea that they would all be in one place. The decisions to sign were definitely influenced by the opportunity to win and play with Vick. However, something tells me that less hate will be directed towards them for that than the Heat have received. No one expected the Eagles to get together the way they all did.
I expect hate for the Eagles, because they are winners and favorites. However, I cannot see the Eagles receiving as much hate as the Heat did.