Today, Rich Hoffman of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote a piece saying that Super 5, barring a run to the Super Bowl, will not be back next year.
I am a big fan of Rich Hoffman. He is the best Philly columnist since the legendary Bill Lyon. I happen to agree with him here. I have said, repeatedly since April, that the Eagles will not bring Super 5 back without at least a conference championship.
Here’s where Rich and I differ: I believe that the Birds get it done this year. And it starts Saturday.
They swept the Eagles, including a 24-0 shelling in the final week of the regular season. In 19 third meetings involving teams with a regular season sweep in NFL history, the team that finished the season sweep has won the third game 12 times.
Tony Romo dumped that bad luck heifer Jessica Simpson.
The Cowboys got this, right?
Because we have Super 5.
Look, 3-2 is nice, but the Eagles were 6-1 down the stretch—a fact everyone seems to be forgetting. Andy Reid has never (AND THE ROCK MEANS) ever lost his first playoff game. Wade Phillips has never won his first playoff game.
Romo is playing well, but he's never won under the playoff crucible.
Super 5 has won nine times in the playoffs. He, also, has never lost his first playoff game.
The Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game since 1996, but, really, that is more a function of circumstance. They had some really bad teams in there, and some really bad coaches too, so we’ll throw that one out. The bottom line is, this game will come down to one thing: the play of Donovan McNabb.
Here’s the thing. He wasn’t very good last week. There has been an enormous amount of negativity around him and the team this week. There is some sentiment that it is time to move on. His back is against the wall.
Every time—every single time—McNabb has been backed into a corner, he comes out fighting. Last year, he played seven of the worst quarters of football I have ever seen from any player, at any position. He was benched at halftime in that brutal Baltimore game.
How did he respond? Oh, all he did was light up Arizona for 260 yards and four touchdowns to kick off a stretch where the team finished the regular season 4-1 to make the playoffs and go to the NFC Championship for the FIFTH time in his career.
Speaking of NFC Championships, let’s go to the 2004 game. The Eagles were in their fourth one in a row, and there was talk that McNabb should be traded because he was going to lose AGAIN. Michael Vick and the Falcons, fresh off beating Brett Favre in Lambeau, were going to come to the Linc and beat the Eagles, too.
What did McNabb do then? Well, he didn’t lose there, either, winning 27-10.
At the end of the regular season that year, the Eagles sat their regulars for the last two games, and there was talk that they would be rusty and McNabb would lose the first playoff game. McNabb was so rusty that he outdueled Daunte Culpepper for the win, 27-14, throwing for 286 yards and two touchdowns.
Earlier that year, the Eagles lost to the Steelers, and all the focus was one the “argument” that McNabb and Terrell Owens had on the sidelines. All week, the talk was about McNabb’s lack of leadership, Owens’ lack of respect, and how the team would come apart. What happened?
He had 345 yards and four touchdowns. Against the Cowboys. In Dallas. Including a 14.1 second, Playstation-esque, if I hadn’t seen it and you told me about it I wouldn’t have believed it scramble.
And now we have Tony Romo. The up and coming Dallas superstar is going to pass McNabb by, right? He will shred the Eagles defense, right? McNabb will struggle and choke, just like he always does, right?
When I met McNabb, he had a friend with him. I told them what a big fan I was, about the article I wrote calling him the greatest player in Philly sports history of my lifetime, and how I was so sick of the haters.
His reply? “We love the haters. They make us stronger.”
So count him out. Write him off. Call him a choker. I won’t. Not now, not ever.
Eagles 38, Dallas 24.
Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock.