Eagles Playoffs: Mind Your Step Getting On and Off the Bandwagon

Jim McNultyCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2011

It's been quite a ride for Michael Vick and the Eagles this season
It's been quite a ride for Michael Vick and the Eagles this seasonJim McIsaac/Getty Images

The 2010 regular season has been quite a ride for the Philadelphia Eagles.

They've been left for dead (see Kevin Kolb's week 1 injury, week 4 loss to Redskins, week 6 loss to Titans).

They've been Super Bowl contenders (see Michael Vick's virtuoso performance on Monday Night Football against Washington, 4th quarter comeback against the Giants).

They've been left for dead again (see Vikings game, Cowboys game, and looking back at most of Giants game). 

In fact, they've been written off more often than [insert lame tax joke here].

You get the point.

It seems any time the team plays well, the platitudes overfloweth.

But suffer a loss, and they're done. Toast. Don't stand a chance.

Why such the discrepancy?

The national talking heads love to pile on, and who can blame them? It does make for good TV.

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But what's the reality? What do we really know about this team? Do the Eagles really have a chance to win the Super Bowl? Or are they a one-and-done flash-in-the-pan?

Well, we know Michael Vick, when he's "on," has the ability to take over a game and will his team to victory.  We saw that against New York.

We also know he can fall back into bad habits, as we saw against Minnesota when he got injured on the first play of the game and never looked right.

We know Shady McCoy is really good, and that the Eagles almost never run the ball enough to exploit his talents.

Except for the end of the game in Dallas, where the Birds fed the ball to McCoy over and over again, and the Cowboys could do nothing to stop it.

We know the injuries are mounting.

Gone are starting safety Nate Allen and starting linebacker Stewart Bradley.  

Max Jean-Gilles injured himself in the last game of the year.  Asante Samuel is just coming back from injury and hasn't looked like himself yet.

So what to make of all this?

Is it just the inconsistency of a young team? The team's average age is 25.7.

Did they believe their own hype after that enormous comeback against the Giants, only to lay an egg on national TV against the Vikings?

Or are they just not that good?

One person you won't convince of that is head coach Andy Reid. Reid is more animated than I've ever seen him in his 12 seasons in Philadelphia. He seems to sense there's something special about this group of young players.

But they have to get passed a Green Bay team this weekend that has also been a media darling to go to the Super Bowl all season long... except for the moments that they weren't.  

Like when they almost didn't even make the playoffs.

The great thing about the playoffs in sports is that when you make it in, anything can happen—just ask last year's Philadelphia Flyers team that parlayed a final-game shootout win, which sneaked them into the tournament, into an improbably Stanley Cup Finals run that nobody saw coming.

Of course, should the Eagles put together a run of their own, all the talking heads will say they saw this coming with the evolution of Michael Vick at quarterback.

Except for the moments when they didn't.

We'll find out Sunday which version of revisionist history we'll get to enjoy next week. 

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