Is Winning a Super Bowl Overrated?

Posted: June 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 52 Comments »

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.


* * * * *

The Eagles announced the dates and times for Training Camp practices.

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.

* * * * *

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.


52 Comments on “Is Winning a Super Bowl Overrated?”

  1. 1 Davesbeard said at 11:48 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    Just bought mine, awesome so far!

  2. 2 goeagles55 said at 5:51 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    The almanac or the tall boy PBR and Funyuns?

  3. 3 A_T_G said at 7:46 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    He said it is good, so not the PBR.

  4. 4 Ryan Highlands said at 12:16 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I completely agree that while winning the Super Bowl is the goal each and every season, going to the Hall of Fame is the greatest accomplishment you can receive. Typically only 5 people get in per year. More than 10 times that number of NFL players are active for each of the 32 teams every week. The Hall of Fame is truly the best of the best of the best and honors players accordingly. There are some greats such as LT and Dan Marino who never made it all the way to that ring but you can’t dismiss 18,456 yards from scrimmage and 61,361 passing yards because they didn’t have the right teammates/coaches/situation around them. Guys like Kurt Warner have the stats and a ring but only because they found the right team and the right time. Barry Sanders never had a chance and just had to do what he could, still manged to be one of the best.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 1:44 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    The HOF is special. No doubt about that.

    It would be interesting if Dan had to choose between his career as it turned out and say…Mark Rypien’s. What would he do?

  6. 6 Septhinox said at 2:24 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    No way Marino gives up his career to become Mark Rypien. No way. I think you undervalue personal achievement. If it’s one or the other, it’s going to be personal achievement every time.

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 3:48 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I’d love to give Marino some truth serum and here what he’s got to say. You might be dead right.

  8. 8 Jason A Hines said at 12:22 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I felt the same way Tommy. At first I thought it was pure sacrilege, but the more I thought about it, I could see where LT was coming from. The Chargers had some very good to great teams when he was there and yet they never managed to pull it together and lost at least one game in on a fluke type of play. I can see why LT would prefer the HOF to a SB win. The HOF seems more in a player’s control. At the same time, would he be saying this if he had won a SB? Probably not.

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 1:41 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I wonder if LT would feel this way if his team even got to a SB and he lost. He never got to play in the big game.

    Does make for an interesting discussion.

  10. 10 Kevin_aka_RC said at 12:32 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    The only players who don’t have a ring and get diminished are QBs. No one says Emmitt Smith is better than Barry Sanders because he has 3 rings. If you’re LT, it’s not your fault your defense never stopped up in the playoffs or that Philip Rivers tore his ACL in 2007.

    It’s also different if you’re a star. A guy like Mike Patterson, a very good player, will never make the HOF. His only goals are money and ring. A guy like Trent Cole may have HOF on his mind as well. Hopefully both get their wish 🙂

  11. 11 TommyLawlor said at 1:39 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Great point about QBs. They really are judged by SBs, fair or not.

  12. 12 Eric Weaver said at 12:40 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I’ll be there the weekend of August 4 or 11. My gf decided to pick our beach vacation for the first week of TC. How dare her!

    I’ll either be sporting my Kelly green celek or my old school starter Barnett jerseys.

  13. 13 Kristopher Cebula said at 2:13 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    the hall of fame is the crowning achievement celebrating a great career where a ring merely celebrates a great season. i’d have to imagine that the HoF is the top of the mountain for a player.

  14. 14 P_P_K said at 2:35 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Agreed. A ring celebrates a great team accomplishment, the HoF a great personal achievement.

    I was also thinking that as fans, our “careers” are often lifelong, longer than individual players, and usually fixed on one team. Maybe that’s why we want SB wins more than celebrated individuals.

  15. 15 MFall99 said at 3:04 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I’ll take the conversation in another direction and discuss Tommy’s take on how Super Bowl seasons are different. I understand what Tommy’s getting at but I totally disagree with the premise that a Super Bowl season especially for the Eagles would feel any different based on how the year unfolded.

    To me the journey can and will be special regardless of how the regular season unfolds if the Eagles finally won the “big one.” We can enjoy the dominance of a 13-3 team that rolls to a SB win. Or the highs and lows of an up & down season where doubt creeps in, struggles are overcome & the Eagles go on a special playoff run & win the Lombardi Trophy.

    Either scenario would be memorable. Either would be special. Years from now the things that we will remember will be the players who finally brought us a Super Bowl & the playoff run that got the Eagles there. Whether they were 13-3 or 9-7 will never ever matter in my opinion.

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 3:22 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Winning the Super Bowl is a special thing. You’re the champs.

    My point is that how you win it does make a difference. You want to be able to say you were a good team all year, hopefully a very good team. You hope that your franchise’s great players are part of it.

    I’m not saying you must go 15-1 and be the #1 seed. But…can Giants fans truly say they were the best team last year? Was that team fun to watch all year long? There was talk of Coughlin getting fired in November.

    Winning the SB makes you the champs, but what goes into that can make a difference in how the season is viewed and remembered.

    I will take any Eagles title I can, but I hope it comes in a year where we can tell early on that the team has special potential. I want to be able to enjoy the ride, not just the result.

  17. 17 iskar36 said at 3:31 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    “Can Giants fans truly say they were the best team last year?”

    As much as it pains me to say it…. yes, yes they can. At the end of the day, they did everything they needed to do to be the last man standing.

    I understand your point though. But I think MFall99’s point says it all in that years later, you’re not going to be saying “the Eagles won the Superbowl, but…” Sure, I would love the Eagles to have a season where they blow out every opponent and cruise through the Superbowl, but at the end of the season, regardless of how they get there, if they win the Superbowl, I, along with every Eagles fan will absolutely claim the Eagles as the best team.

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 3:47 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Again, it doesn’t have to be that the team is dominant. Someone going 11-5 and winning the SB with a couple of blowouts and a couple of bad losses is fine.

    Going 9-7 and being outscored for the year is a far different story. The Giants were the best postseason team, but not overall.

    If the Eagles win a SB similarly, I’ll be the first to say we aren’t the best team, but rather the hot team in the postseason. I’ll have a big smile on my face, but I’ll concede that the 14-2 Pats or Packers had a better overall year than us.

  19. 19 iskar36 said at 4:31 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    You used a word here that made me reconsider my view. I still think the Giants and Giant fans can claim they are the best team. To me, that is defined as who wins the Superbowl and is the last team left standing. It doesn’t have to be something that is pretty, but it just has to get the job done.

    What they certainly were not is the most dominant team. It is sort of a semantic argument, but to me, I just can’t call the team who wins the superbowl anything less than the best team.

  20. 20 D3Keith said at 6:01 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    It is semantics, and I think I agree with you in spirit but not in semantics.

    The Super Bowl winner is the champion. They earned it, it is legitimate and there are no paper champs or fake champs that won a playoff.

    But the trade-off for the awesomeness of playoffs is that the best team doesn’t always win.

    The team that plays the best in the most important games is the “champion,” but not necessarily the “best,” IMO.

  21. 21 MFall99 said at 10:21 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Well 11-5 will mean you weren’t the best team either because another team or teams will surely have had a better record. Like I stated earlier it’s nitpicking & years from now nobody will care or remember.

    I could make the argument the unexpected Super Bowl is more enjoyable since it comes out of nowhere. Philadelphia loves a good underdog story. Ask Rocky.

    I would love if the Eagles Drago’d their way to a Super Bowl beating up everybody & everything that got in their way. But an underdog story & a team that persevered at the end would be just as fun. The unexpected can be more compelling.

    I would pose this question to Tommy. If the 1995 Eagles that blew out the Lions in the Wild Card Game would have upset the Cowboys the following week in Dallas and rode that wave to a Super Bowl would it have been any less special than if the 04′ team had won it? Just because they weren’t the “best team all season?”

    I would argue the 95′ team would be remembered more. Would be more revered by its fans. Another Rocky movie. Starring Ray Rhodes.

  22. 22 D3Keith said at 5:57 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Tommy I agree with the post above in its entirety, but taken alone, this could’ve gotten a big disagreement post: “My point is that how you win it does make a difference.”

    In the end, winning it is all that matters. Eagles fans especially should feel this way. In the context of a greatest teams of all time discussion, how matters … but to quench this 52-year thirst, I don’t care if the other 31 teams all perish in plane crashes and we win a shiny Vince by default.

    Okay, THAT would suck.

    It would definitely better if the 2012 team stays healthy, and everyone plays to their potential and its a team for the ages … and they win it all.

    But if they are frustrating underachievers that barely win the division, get matched up against weak teams in the playoffs, and still win it all … I’m still doing the running man down Broad and Pattison (and Vine and Arch and 76 and 676 and 130 and Black Horse Pike) to celebrate.

  23. 23 TommyLawlor said at 6:30 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    The other 31 teams perish…hmmm…idea bulb is going off now. The Super Bowl would be the Eagles holding a 7-on-7 drill. Then confetti falls and we’re the champs.

    I like it.

  24. 24 D3FB said at 1:54 AM on June 27th, 2012:

    We would still manage to have somebody blow out a knee.

  25. 25 P_P_K said at 10:37 AM on June 27th, 2012:


  26. 26 A_T_G said at 8:02 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Yes, we would all celebrate, but not all champions are equal. 25 years from now, do we want the Eagles championship team to be remembered in the way the ’84, ’85, or ’86 winner is currently discussed? I can’t remember ever hearing the ’84 or ’86 champs as the subject of fond reminisces.

  27. 27 D3Keith said at 8:59 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Maybe the Eagles’ circumstances are special, but I’m fairly certain we’ll all remember the first Super Bowl winner, no matter how ugly the run is.

    There are plenty of Eagles teams and players who hold a special place in my heart, enough so that I would never switch to another team. I have everything I need, excitement, angst, great memories … all I need now is the cherry on top, and I think I speak for most of us when I say that.

    My dream is to hear Vick stand on the podium and say “this one is for Reggie and Jerome and Dawk and Randall and Donovan and Westbrook and Trotter and Wilbert Montgomery and everyone else who should have stood up here once as Eagles and champions.”

    Or something similarly corny but less contrived.

  28. 28 the guy said at 9:55 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    First is still first.

    The plane crash scenario is needlessly morbid, but assuming there was something like a strike, I’d still take it. It would mean less, but it would also get the monkey off everyone’s backs.

    In the moment? A SB win is a SB win. For posterity? The rest of the East would have to shut up about the rings and admit the Eagles over the past decade were pretty impressive.

    There would be an asterisk on it, but I’d love to hear Giants fans argue the win was meaningless.

    PS: Yes, just Giants. Redskins fans tend towards delusion, and Cowboys fans are too busy rooting for the Yankees. Thank god Eagles fans can’t be stereotyped.

  29. 29 D3Keith said at 11:37 PM on June 26th, 2012:


    Sorry about the plane crash. I couldn’t figure out how to wipe out 31 teams at once … although on second thought that would have to be a big-ass plane.

    Swine flu?

    A contaminated batch of orange gatorade, which doesn’t hit the Eagles because they prefer Lemon-lime?

  30. 30 D3Keith said at 5:51 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Yeah I’m with LT on this one, but this is all about context.

    A player ultimately only has control over himself and his effort, and the fact that his team didn’t win could be due to any number of things — lack of talent, bad game, bad matchup, ran into an equally great or better team, injuries, poor team management/coaching, etc.. Individually, getting to the Hall of Fame is bigger than winning a Super Bowl.

    I call it the Jud Buechler/Bill Wennington vs. Charles Barkley/Karl Malone argument.

    In football, Barry Sanders never won a championship. But he was certainly a championship-worthy player.

    Good offseason topic, but I wouldn’t get fired up about it. Unless I worked for WIP or ESPN radio … I’m sure LT is getting killed today somewhere in sportsradioland.

  31. 31 austinfan said at 3:01 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    It depends HOW you win the SB.

    Giants had maybe the two worst teams ever to win a SB the last five years, they got hot and a bit lucky twice, and faced a team that they have an edge on for some reason.
    But I don’t think anyone in their right mind would consider either Giant SB team a team for the ages, nor will anyone talk about them as a dynasty.
    Had the 2008 Giants, who were 12-4, swept the table, they would have been considered a great team, but ahem, they lost in the first round of the playoffs to you know who.

    To me, a SB is the culmination of a great season to have real meaning, otherwise it’s just fun, but any realistic fan knows they got lucky, which would have been the Eagles in 2008 had they beat the Cardinals. That was a good, but not great Eagle team.

    “Real” SB winners (i.e. not hot streak quirks):
    2009: Saints (13-3)
    2008: Steelers (12-4)
    2006: Colts (12-4)
    2004: Patriots (14-2) – Eagle fans forget how good the Patriots were
    2003: Patriots (14-2)
    2002: Bucs (12-4) – but a great playoff run, they blew everyone out
    2000: Ravens (12-4)
    1999: Rams (13-3)
    1998: Broncos (14-2)
    1997: Broncoes (14-2)
    Broncos raise the question of coaching “luck,” Shanahan put together maybe one of the top five teams of the modern era, then in 12 seasons is 1-4 in the playoffs, go figure

    You get my point, a great season without a SB is a disappointment, a mediocre season when you back in is a fluke, a great season followed by a SB makes you a “legitimate” champion. And to be a truly great team you shouldn’t have to squeeze by in the playoffs, you should trounce the best mano mano.

  32. 32 TommyLawlor said at 3:33 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    The 2010 Packers are a tough team to evaluate. They went 10-6. Didn’t win the division. Didn’t host a playoff game.

    Yet, they never trailed by more than a TD all season (NFL record). Their 6 losses were by a combined 20 points. 2 were in OT. That is amazing. They had a dominant defense. They had a great young QB. The record doesn’t reflect it, but the Packers were special. They deserved to win a title.

  33. 33 Matthew Butch said at 6:18 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    They also lost Rogers for a stretch too, right? I think they lost all of those games as well. Their record should have been better.

  34. 34 D3Keith said at 8:53 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I didn’t know what about the never trailing by more than a TD thing. That’s one of my favorite ways to make excuses for one- and two-loss college teams that need to get into the playoffs.

  35. 35 austinfan said at 8:35 AM on June 27th, 2012:

    They were also a Mike Vick under throw from being knocked out of the playoffs.
    I don’t think they were a great team by any stretch, a good team that jelled at the right time, but as 2011 showed, they had holes.

    Here’s an interesting question, why do the Patriots play better in the regular season than the playoffs? Even when they won it all, they made it harder than it should have been (Carolina in 2003 shouldn’t have been within 2 TDs).

  36. 36 D3Keith said at 5:42 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I think that’s mostly bogus.

    A team that wins the Super Bowl is a legitimate champion. Period, end of story.

    Now comparing SB winners to other SB winners, I agree (because it’s not really debateable) that the two most recent Giants wins were two of the more unexepected, got-hot-in-the-postseason runs ever. Sure that doesn’t put them up with the best 49ers or Steelers teams, but their championship is plenty legitimate.

    It is weird that the Packers, who were clearly last year’s best team, didn’t win the championship. But we’ve all agreed on the rules and how to define champions. Maybe I’m getting hung up on the words “legitimate” and “real.” To suggest any win is not is really just wrong.

    (and yet I maintain that one Alex Henery 33-yard field goal and the Super Bowl champion doesn’t even make the playoffs).

  37. 37 TommyLawlor said at 5:57 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    What we’re talking about here is true in any 1-game playoff format. CFB. NCAA Tourney. A dominant team can have an off day or a lesser team can have a red hot day and suddenly the title is held by a surprising team.

    It doesn’t mean their win isn’t legitimate. The question is whether the team is truly the best team. This is somewhat semantics, but that’s the point of the discussion. In my mind being champion and the best team aren’t the same thing each year.

    Think about conference basketball tournaments. We see one mid-major a year that goes 15-1 or 16-0 in their league, but gets upset in the conference tourney. They often miss out on the NCAAs despite the fact they are clearly the best team from the league. Since the format says the tourney is more important than the regular season, you have months of play go out the window and one game is all that matters. This is why the Big Ten and Pac-10 resisted the conference tourney as long as possible. Why give teams a chance to “steal” the conference title away from a better team?

    In the NFL, bad teams almost never make the playoffs. Seattle 2010 is the one huge exception. Imagine if they’d won the SB despite being 7-9. Would that be the same as the ’85 Bears winning the SB? Technically the title would be the same, but the reality of it would be far, far different.

  38. 38 D3Keith said at 8:06 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Right. In a reply above to Iskar, I wrote roughly the same thing as your second graf:

    ” But the trade-off for the awesomeness of playoffs is that the best team doesn’t always win.

    The team that plays the best in the most important games is the “champion,” but not necessarily the “best,” IMO. ”

    The irony here is that on the day that Division I-A college football is patting itself on the back for creating a four-team playoff, there are still fools crawling out of their holes claiming the regular season needs to be preserved.

    In no form of football does a playoff ruin the regular season. There is the trade-off where sometimes the “best team” doesn’t win — and because we can’t do Best of 7 series and such, that happens. But it’s also what makes it such a rush of adrenaline (or more usually disappointment, if you bleed green).

  39. 39 austinfan said at 12:39 AM on June 27th, 2012:

    The team that wins the SB is the team that won the SB, period.

    The team that dominates and wins all season and wins the SB gets to be considered among the great teams of all time.

    Villanova got hot and won a championship, but other than in reference to a team getting hot, no one talks about them at all. Because they weren’t special.

    The 85 Bears were special, the Broncos, the 49ers, the Bucs in 2002.
    The Giants in 2007 and 2012 aren’t special. They have rings but nothing else.

    It’s fun to win, it’s more fun to be special.
    The ’60 Eagles were special, they’re the only team to stop the greatest football team of all time.

    I don’t want to backdoor into a SB, I want to have a great season topped off by winning a SB.

  40. 40 T_S_O_P said at 1:40 AM on June 27th, 2012:

    The Giants in 2007 and 2012 aren’t special. They have rings but nothing else.
    As this discussion started off with LT, I should say individually there will be a few players and coaches from that team that will go to Canton as a result of ’07 and ’12 that may not have gone otherwise.

    I’m certainly not on board with the last sentence either. I’d take miracles like those performed at the old and the new Meadowlands, refereeing errors like those at Candlestick Park in last years NFCCG. It can take all sorts luck and resilience to help team get over a hump after which they seem far more able to repeat the same thing in a more dominant way. (See the Spanish National football side for details)

  41. 41 Anders Jensen said at 8:32 AM on June 27th, 2012:

    Who? The only one I can think of is Eli.

  42. 42 T_S_O_P said at 1:14 PM on June 27th, 2012:

    Coughlin. Tuck. The GM

  43. 43 D3Keith said at 11:06 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    “2004: Patriots (14-2) – Eagle fans forget how good the Patriots were”

    We’d forget it even more if the Eagles had won, and they were certainly capable of beating that team. The Patriots couldn’t score until the very end of the first half, and the Eagles drove up and down the field.

    They also had four turnovers to the Patriots’ 1. End of story.

    Eagles, Patriots and that year’s Steelers were all very elite teams.

    I think we forget that if the birds didn’t have the NFC wrapped up by the time they were 13-1 they wouldn’t have benched all their starters for three weeks and they probably would have gone 15-1.

  44. 44 MidnightGreenRider said at 6:00 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I bought the Almanac and half way through so far. I don’t agree with all the opinions but the variety of angles is excellent and there’s no wasted space. Blows all the typical magazines out of the water. Fantastic stuff guys!

  45. 45 TommyLawlor said at 6:31 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Glad you like it. I don’t agree with all the opinions either. In a way, that makes it more fun.

  46. 46 D3Keith said at 8:09 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I agree that you assembled nearly the best team possible. I haven’t read it all, nor am I sure my professional critique is wanted or needed, but I was definitely excited when I saw the lineup.

    One funny: I’m like Gabe Bevilacqua. … Gabe. … Bevilacqua. That name sounds familiar. Did I grow up reading his stuff? Did we go to school together?

    (reads the bio page)

    Ooooh, Bounty Bowl. Well why didn’t somebody say something!

    I guess in the era of message board names and Twitter handles, real names sometimes get in the way.

  47. 47 Cafone said at 7:05 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    I realize the question is about NFL players, but I’d like to tackle it from a fan perspective and I have no doubt that Super Bowls are overrated.

    As a fan, what do you get from a Super Bowl victory? You don’t get a ring. You get a day or two of joy. But if you’re a real fan you get that from almost any win.

    You get to see a whole flock of new bandwagon fans wearing your team’s jersey. And other people naturally assume you’re one of those bandwagoners.

    You get to point to the championship when arguing with fans from other teams, but if you do that it kind of means you’re an asshole. And it obviously won’t work against other NFC East fans anyway.

    It makes me sick when I see the trolls on always droning on about winning a Super Bowl. Back in the day if we beat Dallas twice it was a great season. There is a sense of entitlement among many younger Eagles fans these days, thanks to the winning of the Lurie/Banner/Reid era, that causes them to constantly criticize the guys in charge who enabled that sense of entitlement in the first place.

    Anybody can be a fan of a winning team. It takes a little perseverance to stick with a losing one. Those of us that have been around since the bad years are mostly thrilled with what this team has become under Andy Reid. The new fans who bitch about Andy Reid and the Eagles’ lack of a Super Bowl victory, who call a .500 season a disaster, really have no idea how good they have it.

  48. 48 A_T_G said at 8:21 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Yep, and back then you had to walk to the games through a foot of snow, uphill both ways.

    The lower bar for success in the past wasn’t because old school fans were less demanding, it was because we weren’t as talented of a team. Beating Dallas twice was success because it was the most we could hope for. Now, we start the seasons with a legitimate hope of being an elite team. Being disappointed that the talent this team had last year doesn’t make one ungrateful or a poor student of history any more than fans of days gone by we’re when we split with Dallas.

  49. 49 D3Keith said at 8:01 PM on June 26th, 2012:

    Haven’t been to training camp since the first T.O. year, but I plot to make it up every year.

    That year was a lot of fun; people LOVED T.O. then. I should have known something was up when every other player was on the far side of the field away from fans, and T.O. stood, alone, on the fans’ side.

  50. 50 livingonapear said at 5:24 AM on June 27th, 2012:

    On the whole Superbowl thing:

    I agree with this to a large extent, especially in football where you have single elimination in the playoffs. On one hand that makes for an exciting “anything can happen” feel, but on the other hand a 9-7 can, and did, win the Super Bowl. That, frankly, makes me sick. And that’s not just cause I’m an Eagles fan and obligated to hate the Giants, I would feel very unsettled if the Eagles won a Super Bowl at 9-7 and would have to do some pretty heavy rationalization to keep sane. I think I’d end up pretending it belonged to the 2002 team.

    I guess, in the end, I look at it the same way I look at the Harvey Haddix not so perfect game. The truly great will be remembered, while the other “real” ones will be forgotten. So you know what New York, you can have this Super Bowl, I don’t want it.

  51. 51 Mac said at 9:53 AM on June 27th, 2012:

    It would be interesting to see if, 20 years from now Giants fans remember the 2011 season, or if it’s “just another ring.”

  52. 52 Peter Wader said at 6:23 PM on July 31st, 2015:

    Great reading this thread all these years later. Eagles fans being delusional that a Super Bowl win is not important. Eagles fans know nothing about the joy that comes with winning a Super Bowl whether you are 14-2 like the 86 Giants or 9-7 like the 2011 Giants. In a lot of ways the 9-7 Giants were a more special team…a team underrated and dismissed because of the Eagles so called dream team…they came together to win the championship.

    Football is about winning Super Bowls not about anything else. And if you had the opportunity to win a championship…with an 8-8 team you would all take it. Everything else is rationalization.