It has been said that pride is the worst sin of all. Pride is the sin that leads to all others, building the foundation upon which all men shall fall.
The ink was not even dry on the contracts of the Eagles’ newest additions. The big trade that sent former quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona was hardly in the books. Still, many of the Eagles players began spouting off with season-dooming remarks.
“Dream Team,” Vince Young said at a press conference, labeling the Eagles during training camp in the wake of their seemingly successful offseason.
In one fell swoop, the target on the Philadelphia Eagles’ back enlarged. It became evident that Vince Young, as well as his teammates, did not keep a close eye on the NBA season and the expectations and loads of disappointment the Miami Heat—a team that declared their own success before ever achieving any. And all this from a team that truthfully added underachieving backups like quarterback Vince Young and running back Ronnie Brown, a Pro Bowl cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to play their nickelback and former Giants wide receiver Steve Smith, who would not be able to play until at least October after career-threatening surgery in the offseason.
But even so, the Miami Heat, at least to this point, were able to find much more success than the Eagles have attained. The Heat were one of the top teams in the NBA for much of the season, riding their way into the NBA Finals before falling flat on their faces against the Dallas Mavericks.
Fronted by the NFL’s most hated villain and yet still wildly popular Michael Vick, the Eagles have been mildly disappointing and are amongst the worst teams in the NFL at 3-5. Vick, who received a $100 million contract in the offseason, has not played as spectacularly this season as he did in his first season back as a starter last season. Vick has thrown nine interceptions and has a passer rating of 85.8 in eight games—Vick’s passer rating was a fourth-ranked 100.2 in 2010.
And the Eagles’ championship-clinching additions?
Newly-acquired defensive end Jason Babin has had the best season of those newcomers. He has recorded nine sacks this season.
The marquee signing of the offseason, Nnamdi Asomugha, has intercepted just two passes this season, while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie—who came over in the trade with Arizona for former quarterback Kevin Kolb—has had little impact on the Eagles defensively.
The man who deemed the Eagles a “Dream Team,” Vince Young, has hardly seen the field this season, attempting just one pass all year. The hobbled Steve Smith has struggled to see the field and has just five receptions for 63 yards on the season.
Meanwhile, Ronnie Brown, who was supposed to split carries with stud running back Lesean McCoy this season, was actually sent to the Detroit Lions in a trade at the deadline last month, only to return to the Eagles after running back Jerome Harrison failed the physical due to the shocking discovery of a brain tumor.
What the Eagles appeared to have added in talent at their skilled positions of quarterback, running back and in the secondary, the Eagles lost in depth at each and every other position on the field. The Eagles stockpiled at positions where improvement was not necessary while allowing positions such as their offensive line and linebackers unit to go without rectification.
That failure to bolster the positions that needed to be bolstered in favor of adding to the flash and excitement of this team has handed them the disappointing season they have embarked upon.
Opponents continue to exploit the Eagles’ poor linebackers in the short passing game as well as on the ground—the Eagles are 23rd in run defense. On offense, the defense continues to bring pressure on Michael Vick through the Eagles' weak offensive line, forcing the 31-year-old from the pocket and into making dangerous passes.
With the lack of additions where the Eagles truly needed them, they were doomed from the beginning. The “Dream Team” and their foolish statements only set them back from the NFC East Champions they were last season and dropped them—rightfully so—to the bottom of the division.
And perhaps that was pride, not from the players but from those in the front office, who thought they could cut corners and march to the Super Bowl on the shoulders of a select few stars rather than a strong, united team. Unfortunately, highlight-reel players cannot carry you to a championship game in the NFL. The NFL is not the NBA—no matter how much NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may be trying. A Lombardi Trophy comes from the hard work of 53 men, not three.
In the end, the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2011 season will be nothing more than a meager disappointment amongst a list of monumental failures in sports history. And while Andy Reid is fishing on his boat on a rural lake somewhere in Central Pennsylvania, he will wish his final season as the Eagles head coach was much like the Eagles team he fielded this season—nothing but a dream.