I clicked on Pro Football Talk this morning (as I’ve done for a decade now) and scrolled through the headlines. I got down to a story on LaDainian Tomlinson and read something very strange.
LT says he would take going to the Hall of Fame over winning a Super Bowl ring. Say what? That’s football heresy.
The argument is that anyone can win a ring. Only great players go to the Hall of Fame.
My response (I do talk to myself when I read stuff that gets me fired up) is that LT is full of it. Football is the ultimate team game. Going to the HOF is great, but being part of a great team is also special.
Then it hit me…this is an era when great teams don’t seem to win Super Bowls.
Maybe LT is actually onto something. The Giants went 9-7 last year. They were swept by Rex Grossman and the Skins. They needed luck to get into the playoffs. The Giants did win the Super Bowl, but they were not the best team of 2011.
I’m not being anti-Giants here. They scored 394 points during the year. They gave up 400. They didn’t win a game by 14 or more points until December. The Giants were 7-7 prior to winning the final 2 games. At that point, they had been outscored for the year by 38 points. They were the very definition of mediocre. They did get hot at the right time and I take my hat off to them for winning it all. Let’s just not confuse that with greatness.
The Packers were the great team of 2011, but lost. The Pats were the great team of 2010, but lost.
The Saints were the great team of 2009 and they did win. That was a magical season for them from start to finish. They dominated us. They destroyed the Giants. They dominated the Pats on MNF and that really got my attention. You just didn’t see Bill Belichick teams give up 480 yards and 38 points very often.
Go back to the 2004 season for us. We were dominant from the opener. That was a terrific team. Winning the Super Bowl that year would have been special. Winning it in 2008 (the year we lost to ARZ in the NFC title game) would have been weird. There was nothing great about that team.
As to LT’s point…had we won the Super Bowl in ’04, guys like Reno Mahe, Trey Darilek, and Dexter Wynn would have been part of an Eagles championship. Guys like Reggie White, Seth Joyner, and Jerome Brown never got us anywhere close. That is sort of an odd thing to reconcile in your mind.
The goal is absolutely to win a Super Bowl. I do think how you do it does mean something. The Eagles will win one some day and I sure hope it comes in a year that the team is special. I want it to be something we can truly enjoy…a season for the ages.
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Going to Lehigh is a must for any Eagles fan. First, the setting is picturesque. Lehigh is an amazingly beautiful area. How can you not enjoy a day up there?
The vibe is great. You get to watch football, but there isn’t the tension of a real game. I haven’t been in a few years, but there was a festive atmosphere when I did go. People had fun. It is the casual Friday version of football. You are sitting in the stands, just feet away from the players. You can interact with them. People who want autographs can do that after practice.
You get to see football practice. To some, that isn’t a selling point. I love it. You hear the coaches coach. You see the players learning specific skills. I love getting to watch 80 to 90 guys out there working hard. Some will never make a roster, but they are fighting for their football lives. They want it so badly. The stars do things so naturally and casually that it must drive the scrubs crazy. I remember watching Westy field punts back in 2006. It was second nature. Then some rookie came in and looked like he was juggling hand grenades.
The downside is that the team breaks up to units and you can’t watch everything at once. That’s where you have to choose a player or group and just watch them. Ideally you go for multiple days and get to see everything.
It is hot. Sun screen is a must. Take water. There are refreshments being sold if you don’t want to take anything. Wear a hat if you have a bald spot to worry about getting burned (like me and Spadaro).
I’m trying to plan my schedule now. If I’m able to make it up, I’ll let you know.
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Yesterday I referred to the Eagles Almanac as a 2012 season preview. Upon reflection, that was a very limited description.
The Eagles Almanac is 80 pages long. It isn’t the kind of material that will be dated very quickly. I rarely by NFL preview magazines because what you read in June is often bogus in September due to injuries and players going up/down.
Here are some of the topics covered in the EA:
- What really happened to Michael Vick in 2011?
- The cold, hard truth of Juan Castillo’s woeful defensive schemes.
- The make-or-break 2012 season for Andy Reid.
- Breaking down Shady’s elite 2011, and how he can still improve.
- Advice for living in a world where the Giants win it all (again).
- How much does Nnamdi Asomugha have left in the tank?
- Examining the future for the Eagles in 2013 and beyond.
Clearly those aren’t typical preview mag topics.
I covered the Eagles draft picks and wrote a piece on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 season. Here is a snippet from the article on the ’92 team.
1992 wasn’t just another year. It was going to be special. It had to be special. You have to understand that things were very different back then. There was no unrestricted free agency as we know it today. White and a handful of players filed a lawsuit against the NFL asking for their freedom. The players won the case and free agency hit the Eagles immediately.
Tight end Keith Jackson was allowed to leave and signed with the Dolphins for the 1992
season. Reggie White was still under contract, but was in the final year of his deal. No one truly thought White would leave. He was the Eagles, after all. Still, the fact that it was even possible was scary. I think Brown’s death, Jackson’s departure, White’s uncertain future, and Cunningham’s 1991 injury all brought a heightened sense of urgency to the 1992 season. Buddy Ryan started building the Eagles up in the mid-1980s. There was no more tomorrow. It was time to deliver.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to pound you with daily reminders on the Eagles Almanac. I’ll mention it from time to time. Just wanted to make sure I did a better job of describing it than I did yesterday.
If you’re interested, go buy a copy. $4.99 is great value. If you pass, go buy a tall boy PBR and small bag of Funyuns. You can contemplate life and all things will appear infinite…until the PBR is gone.